Challenges to Orthodoxy – In Discussion

Seems societyvs not only denies the true gospel but seeks to come up with his own, one which looks to works righteousness rather than the gift and righteousness of God.” (Swordbearer)

Interesting you should mention this – in fact – I am studying the roots of the atonement idea – anyone else doing this – in fact yes? I am looking at what the Jewish rabbi said about the 3 aspects of atonement in the torah and prophets and how Jesus says ‘he will fulfill the Torah and Prophets’…and then looking at the idea with more depth. Maybe I am working through this idea and the discussion is very helpful – where I stand at the atonement I am not sure at this point but it goes like this:

(a) Jewish atonement – 3 aspects (Torah (Blood), Repentance, and Charity)
(b) Christian aspect actually respects all 3 of these ideas – but holds up one as the only atonement that matters
(c) Jesus mention each idea in all gospels – repentance, charity (we also see this in Acts community), and sacrifice
(d) Maybe Jesus fulfills the blood atonement (from Hebrews) once and for all – not to happen yearly now – all are cleared
(e) However, all may be cleared but we still have our parts in the good news – repentance and charity.

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Jesus – Matt 5:17 and John the Baptist’s – Matt 3:2 – first words). Jesus seems to be telling people ‘repent’ is the first thing to do to follow him – and first thing John requests of everyone in following God (exact same message). Repentance is given a fairly weighty position if you ask me.

We can see – for some odd reason beyond any reason – God accepts people that are charitable (Matt 25: 31-40) and loving (Matt 22:36-40). Nowhere in these gospels until the very end is the atonement even mentioned – at that we have discussed in depth – but we are still required to do something or we can lose our place in the kingdom.

Heck, even Puritan is saying not believing in the Messiah makes one subject to no atonement – but what he is really saying there is ‘what you do’ matters. Believing something is a type of action in Puritan’s wording (a verb). I find it hypocritical you guys can push on idea about faith and then hold another about losing that salvation based on ‘actions’. It’s not one or the other obviously. Even Paul in his letters admits this – even after he talks about how people are saved by faith – apparently they condemned by their actions. And I am not pulling one over your eyes – check it out in Paul’s letters when he tells people they will not inherit the kingdom of heaven – apparently it is based on ‘what they do’ (ie: namely being immoral in some way or form). He is telling this to a Christian community all the time in his letters.

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The article I sent you shows the existence of the Trinity in the Old Testament” (Puritan)

Actually, I am asking rabbi’s and others in the Jewish community who actually study the Hebrew and have dedicated themselves to studying the whole of the Tanakh – and they say there is no proof of a Trinity…I have to think they are right on this – they dedicate their lives to those teachings. I have not set up a ‘straw man’ whatsoever – I have claimed the Tanakh does not mention a Trinity and I am very sure of this – even the NT never uses the actual word. I don’t see why not addressing the idea Jesus may not be God is problematic – he was the Messiah/Christ sent from God.

 As for the divinity of Jesus – I am not worried. If he is God – I follow his teachings anyways – if He is not God – I am not breaking the 1st commandment (There is only One God). To be perfectly honest, most of the disciples outside of the 3 synoptic gospels neither make this claim about Jesus’ divinity – but mainly his special position as Messiah(Jewish term)/Christ (Greek term). It’s rather funny that you guys bash pluralism yet hold to a form of it in the Trinity – irony?

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Let me ask you, since Judaists were wrong about Messiah…why trust them on the Psalms (or any other prophetic interpretations)?” (Puritan)

(v.5-6)
Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done,
And Your thoughts toward us;
There is none to compare with You
If I would declare and speak of them,
They would be too numerous to count.
Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;
My ears You have opened;
Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.

David is writing a Psalm and in vs. 5 we see how God is very insurmountable in knowing about- in vs. 6 David says simply ‘you opened my ears’…so he could hear and write some of it. Now you tell me, in context, how a ‘body you have prepared for me’ (from Hebrews 10:6) even fits in the context of that Psalm? I think the Psalm 40 version is accurate and makes sense from the Rabbinical viewpoint – Hebrews 10 is flawed.

Just some Food for thought?

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55 thoughts on “Challenges to Orthodoxy – In Discussion

  1. (a) Jewish atonement – 3 aspects (Torah (Blood), Repentance, and Charity)
    (b) Christian aspect actually respects all 3 of these ideas – but holds up one as the only atonement that matters (societyvs)

    I don’t know any who preach that Repentance and Charity do not matter. Do you?

    Again I ask you, what is wrong with the following view of our means of atonement;

    We are not able to atone for our sin and so Christ gave His life that whosoever beliveth in Him may have eternal life. Through the act of repenting and accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior we are cleansed of our sin, instantly. Charity and good works do not atone for sin but are a (super)natural result of the soul that is turned toward God.

    That is biblical truth to me, and that is preached from most pulpits. If you are hearing another message preached it would not surprise me as the Christian church is utterly fallen in false teachings and worldliness. But I don’t think you should state that Christianity teaches that Repentance and Charity do not matter. They do preach it but it just gets over run by the “salvation by faith alone” message. Salvation is by faith alone, but that does not mean we just say a prayer and nothing changes in our life. It just seems that way due to the hypocrisy that abounds in todays churches.

    The gospel is not faulty. In a nut shell here it is; Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. Repent, accept Jesus, follow His example.

    Of course you may have to read the bible to know how to follow Him. Jesus sacrificed His life, what will you do in response?

  2. I don’t think it’s a matter of teaching that charity and repentence don’t matter, it’s that in Christianity, they aren’t enough, or aren’t sufficient on their own. A blood sacrifice was required in Christianity, compared to Judaism. The website that Society links to earlier — Outreach Judaism — teaches that blood sacrifies weren’t a requirement, and charity/repentence are enough. You can be as charitable or reptentent as you want. If you haven’t accepted the sacrifice of Christ, you’re either hellbound or headed for destruction. Whereas in Judaism, atonement doesn’t mean one must have a blood sacrifice for it to be acceptable.

    Society,

    In terms of seeking your own gospel, maybe you could respond by saying that you are seeking your own works/righteousness, because anything along those lines is what God gave you, or how God created you to be. Therefore, if something provided by God, how can you be looking away from God?

    **Nowhere in these gospels until the very end is the atonement even mentioned – at that we have discussed in depth – but we are still required to do something or we can lose our place in the kingdom.**

    I really think this is key. If we took Jesus’ words only, in order to develop an atonement theology, how much would blood sacrifice play into it?

  3. “I don’t know any who preach that Repentance and Charity do not matter. Do you?” (Ken)

    That’s true – all of the teachers I know do focus strongly on repentance and love (or charity) – however my response was about the Jewish view this is part of 3 aspects of atonement – which Christianity out-right denies – only Jesus blood is considered atonement and not the other aspects…and I am beginning to think they are aspects of our involvement with God (ie: atonement also).

    “Again I ask you, what is wrong with the following view of our means of atonement” (Ken)

    One problem with it – actually 2:

    (a) God has forbidden human sacrifice – which Jesus would be (however I am not too dug into this idea personally)

    (b) The atonement of the blood was only for sins of ingorance or done non-intentionally (based purely on Leviticus 17). Now you tell me – does that cover every sin we committ?

    “We are not able to atone for our sin” (Ken)

    We talking Gentiles or Jewish people here?…because there is difference. The Jewish people did have a system to atone for sin – 3 various ideas are found in the Torah and Prophets. Jesus’ death would of acted as a blood sacrifice – and if anything – allowed for Gentiles to meet with God and removed the barrier (and our sin of ignorance). That was a one time sacrifice – happened once and is ‘finished’. Path has been paved to God outside the temple or whatever – however – repentance and charity are still required of us (from our ends).

    “That is biblical truth to me, and that is preached from most pulpits. If you are hearing another message preached it would not surprise me as the Christian church is utterly fallen in false teachings and worldliness” (Ken)

    Actually I am not hearing this from any church whatsoever – fact is – most churches don’t know very much about atonement in the first place. For them, what you call biblical truth, Jesus’ blood covers every single sin and accept it once and we’re done – nothing more. Then they teach repent and live a life of charity. However, this is ass backwards.

    What was Jesus’ first word to anyone in Matthew (including his disciples) – ‘repent’ (also John the Baptist’s first word). What was the reason?…’for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’. That right there talks about our responsiblity in the process (repentance is an action) and for what reason – the teachings are the ‘kingdom of heaven’. Nowhere until 20+ chapters later do we even get into blood atonement (which is under 10% of the book). I see all 3 aspects of atonement right there – and the blood sacrifice was to allow all entrance in God’s court. But entrance is just that – an entrance – we still need to learn how to be ‘priests’ in that court (which is now fully our responsibility).

    “Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. Repent, accept Jesus, follow His example.” (Ken)

    What is the fulfillment exactly? That’s the million dollar question – if you check after that comment in Matt 5:17 – Jesus does mention to not annul the laws (of the Torah) nor to allow our righteousness to be lessened (ie: our actions). Well, if he fulfilled them – or makes them complete – he does not do away with them either (every jot and tittle will remain in tact). And the fact we have a Trinity belief in the church shows me the church has annulled some laws – and the salvation calculation doesn’t help either – it takes an aspect of atonement and places it in a primary position – thus making our actions so secondary people do get confused as to the meaning of their role in atonement and relationship with God.

    But if I am so off – expain to me why the atonement of Christ alone is all the matters – I can then put away any and everything and focus on nothing – because that atonement is ‘finished’ or ‘done once already’ and there is nothing I can do to add to it nor take away from it. Basically, I don’t have to do jack sh*t if that is simply the truth.

  4. “Whereas in Judaism, atonement doesn’t mean one must have a blood sacrifice for it to be acceptable.” (OSS)

    That’s true – and the Jewish nation even predicts the end to the sacrificial system – which is also true – in both their’s and our faith. We will disagree on when this happened – but the fact remains we both agree on this. Problem is, we say it started with Jesus and they do not – and I am cool with that. I personally see the sacrifice of Jesus as all including – no matter where people are from – they can come to God. Jewish people have always had God – so this idea is like meaningless to them.

    “In terms of seeking your own gospel, maybe you could respond by saying that you are seeking your own works/righteousness, because anything along those lines is what God gave you, or how God created you to be.” (OSS)

    Good point – however if I make that case (even if it is true) – I will be singled out as seeking my own desires and whatever and not God’s (I am guessing this will give them ammo to say I am not seeking God but myself). But we both know, your sentence is quite true – we cannot go beyond the experience God has given us and how that shapes us.

    “how much would blood sacrifice play into it?” (OSS)

    The problem I am looking into exactly with some fervor and I think I am hitting closer to home in the gospels than I ever thought I would. Then again, I am open to rebuttal.

  5. Just want to correct one thing here.

    That’s true – all of the teachers I know do focus strongly on repentance and love (or charity) –

    Charity here is actual charity, not a vague love which would be hard to define. Tzedekah, giving to help someone in need atones. We can’t get away with just saying we love, we have to dig into those pockets, get off our rears, and go work to make the world a better place. Words and deeds are always required.

  6. “Words and deeds are always required” (Yael)

    I agree with this concept – it actually gets raised quite poignantly in Matt 25 – and it is all about charity (doing something for another on the basis of doing good for the other – real action). When I read Singer’s point on this, and all these aspects, I was quite enlightened by it and tended to sympathize.

    I have been raising this issue for some time now concerning what the depth of ‘belief’ means – from what I see in the writings. I also see word and deed involved in that process and basically life is about charity ‘treat others how you want to be treated’ – that line starts with ‘treating others’ (rightly or fairly). I always see that as requirig action.

    On charity alone, I see the atoning feature to be honest. Giving just makes you feel ‘good’ or ‘right’ when you do it – almost as if you were meant to do this. I truly enjoy the action of giving and being involved in another’s personal benefit – it always feels like the right thing to do. My wife and I will likely donate money to a charity for the benefit of inner-city grads who do not have the money to enjoy the fun that goes along with grad (including the dresses, the whole night, or the photo’s). The true reason is because I ‘have walked in those shoes’ but on an even stronger note – I did a lot of dirt as a teen in the inner-city and maybe this is my path back to righting that wrong?

  7. Now instead of making problems you are trying to fix problems. That’s the right thing to do. I’ve never figured out why this view of atonement is so troubling to some. Why should atonement always be about something that makes no difference to anyone other than the person who supposedly has their sins atoned? What good is such an atonement? It’s just about self. Repentance and tzedekah? That’s about the world around us. What better atonement could there be than to make the lives of others just a litle easier?

  8. Fulfilling the Law and the Prophets is rather clear. Jesus upheld the Law (He didn’t break any one of them), which is impossible for the natural man or woman, and He was predicted by the Prophets, He was a key part of their prophecies. What He is also saying is that He is directly from God and of God. The first commandment would call on us to recognize God’s work.

    The sad truth is that evangelical Christianity has turned “claiming Jesus” into a marketing tool. It is too easy but it is also the starting point for real conection with our Savior. Gen 15:6 – “Abram believed God and God credited it to him as righteousness”. It still took decades for Abraham to reach the highest level his faith could attain – Gen. 22. Accepting Christ’s atonement is like that Gen. 15:6 starting point.

    But Yael is correct that we shouldn’t over-complicate the issue. Charity towards others is agape love (God is Love in Latin reads, “Deus Caritas Est”). A person who lives a life full of charity has recognized God already. Falling in love with the Savior just makes that bond stronger.

  9. JIm, why do you do the things you do the faith – because of the atonement or because of the teachings? If you say both – that is an answer – but answer fully for the atonement part also then.

    I will answer you on the Fulfillment idea from Matt 5:17 also – but I have to go to a luncheon and make some HR connections for students – when I get back – I will reply.

  10. because of the atonement or because of the teachings

    Both. if the atonement doesn’t mean anything to you the teachings won’t (regardless of what one says). If the teachings don’t mean anything to you, the atonement won’t.

  11. “Fulfilling the Law and the Prophets is rather clear. Jesus upheld the Law (He didn’t break any one of them), which is impossible for the natural man or woman, and He was predicted by the Prophets” (Jim)

    There is a lot there to process – this is what is taught in most churches – that much I do know. I don’t neccesarily agree with it though.

    The passage from Matt 5:17 reads :”Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

    It seems fairly clear to me Jesus is upholding the law and admitting it will not ‘be abolished’…and even his fulfillment of it is subject to his own words ‘until heaven and earth pass away’ (has not happened as of yet) – and only when ‘all is accomplished’. Even if Jesus keeps the law perfectly – so what – it is not leaving anytime soon by his own admission – so for me – either that teachings about Jesus being perfect in completion of them is flawed or not the point of this passage.

    As for the perfect keeping of the commandments – I agree – but the church doesn’t. They think Jesus is in the God-head – and that is severely problematic in keeping the commandments – namely the very 1st one (you shall have no other Gods before Me). Now Jesus does not claim this status – it is acclaimed of him – except in John (which is only 1 of 4 gospels). But yeah – I’d say if Jesus was in the Trinity then he breaks the very 1st commandment by nature of God being One.

    Predicted by the prophets/Torah is one thing – fulfilling what they taught is another aspect. I discuss the 3 pieces of atonement as involving us in the relationship – and even the bible doesn’t hide this “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” (Matt 10:38-39). That sounds a lot like sacrifice and playing our part to me – if not the literally same sacrifice – in the same spirit. How is it any Christian can really claim Jesus is not asking for our part in the atonement? Now Jesus did his part – but he still taught us about repentance and charity as key pieces – which is on us to do (not Him).

    I see Jesus as fulfilling the law and prophets by the atonement – both his and ours. He did his part to pave the ‘way’ – but we still have to follow ‘truth’ and live ‘life’. Our part is quite clear in the scriptures and always has been – repentance and living lives of charity (treat others…). Now one part of that was upon Jesus fully – and he did what he did 1900+ years ago to ensure Gentile involvement.

    However, just because Jesus died does not mean we are totally forgiven – we are forgiven our ignorances in time past (prior to learning about/from God). We are responsible now for every single thing we do (once realizing that) – and this means we need a way to atone for those problems – via repentance and charity (righting the wrongs we did to another) – and this is solely falling on us (as per the gospel teachings). I have very little problem with being responsible about what ‘I do’ – so I am not sure I truly get the dilemma with this 3 version view of atonement?

  12. Society,

    **Good point – however if I make that case (even if it is true) – I will be singled out as seeking my own desires and whatever and not God’s**

    Which could then lead you to ask why can’t your desires match God’s? If you desire world peace, or if you desire to be kinder, and thus you look towards those desires — aren’t those the same desires God has?

    **The problem I am looking into exactly with some fervor and I think I am hitting closer to home in the gospels than I ever thought I would. Then again, I am open to rebuttal.**

    In looking at the Gospels, I don’t see how we could come anywhere close to how Christianity explains the atonement. Most of what is used, or how it’s described, seems to come directly from the letters. So it’s like the letters are interpreting the Gospels for us, rather than vice versa.

    **Charity here is actual charity, not a vague love which would be hard to define. Tzedekah, giving to help someone in need atones. **

    I also think this is key. One of the big problems I have with Christianity is that as long as you have God’s forgiveness, you’re okay. You don’t have to be nicer to people. Yes, being nicer/kinder/more just is a demonstration of one’s repentence. But so long as you’re covered by blood, you’re okay. If you aren’t as kind as you could be, that’s okay, so long as you repent to God and feel sorry.

    Whereas with Judaism, it seems to go beyond that. If you sin against another person, you atone to that person, not God. (Or perhaps both). But the atonement can’t just be towards God. You can’t just feel sorry about what you did, and apologize to God.

    **It seems fairly clear to me Jesus is upholding the law and admitting it will not ‘be abolished’**

    I think this should raise a few more questions. What did Jesus mean by fufill? Fufilled in what way? Does fufill mean that he completely followed them? Or does he ‘fufill’ by meeting the law’s requirements? The answer to this would probably rely on the purpose behind the law itself.

    Here are the dictionary definitions:

    1archaic : to make full : fill
    2 a: to put into effect : execute b: to meet the requirements of (a business order) c: to bring to an end d: to measure up to : satisfy
    3 a: to convert into reality b: to develop the full potentialities of

    And if Jesus is God, can we honestly say that Jesus fufilling the law holds any meaning for us? THere would be no way for Jesus to not fufill or follow those laws, if he was God. God can’t sin, so it is impossible for God to break any of those laws. Therefore, to say that Jesus did what no other person could do would set us up for an uneven comparison, since we are not God.

  13. “Which could then lead you to ask why can’t your desires match God’s?” (OSS)

    Good point actually – and i agree with the concept within it. Sometimes are desires do match up with God’s – like with peace or forgiveness – so true!

    “Most of what is used, or how it’s described, seems to come directly from the letters” (OSS)

    Bingo! Then we have the other problem of ‘inerrancy’ to deal with in this problem – that these books line up one with another on all things so cross-referencing makes all the sense in the world to do. Some of it does line up – however – some of it is a little different. I would also make the point of the Jewish people get a 3 atonement system from the Torah and Prophets – doesn’t that more than legitimize it as true – something Jesus also would of partook in?

    “If you aren’t as kind as you could be, that’s okay, so long as you repent to God and feel sorry.” (OSS)

    Good point again! I think this is what i am getting at when I look at the gospels and I see it asking us for real world responsibility for actions we committ to others – plus we need to put the focus where it needs to be anyways.

    Now that you mention it – the atonement (blood) is finished (for all) – towards God – maybe repentance and charity are our acts towards one another as atonement? Gives me two views now.

  14. But if atonement is a done deal with God and repentance and charity are towards everyone else, does that mean you never have to repent for the things you do wrong against God? I guess I just don’t see how these can be separated. Now I understand that you are talking solely to non-Jews here, but….Yom Kippur is the most incredible service of the whole year, when we make our peace with God and for one moment before the Ark closes, I feel totally clean and at peace with God. This comes around every year, we prepare for 40 days ahead of time so it’s not a one time deal. I can’t imagine not having this time each year to really get back on track. A one time deal just seems so lacking. You know what I mean?

  15. “I guess I just don’t see how these can be separated” (Yael)

    Good point – I only posed the idea because I was thinking through it and I was rushed a little. I guess my view underscores the relation to God a little too much if I seperate the 3 types of atonement into what we do to people and God. I also see them as quite inter-connected in that God gave the teachings and we are following them – so God is always in the corner of one’s mind no matter what teaching they are following. However, I also like the view repentance and charity include others but also include God – kinda like loving God by loving my neighbor and loving myself…and the 3 are inseperable and inter-twined.

  16. “3 a: to convert into reality b: to develop the full potentialities of”

    I like this view of fulfilling something – I really like it and it is how I see that Matt 5 passage. I think it is a little of each aspect in the definition but I always see this aspect shine through even in the stuff said afterwards in Matt 5. I think fulfilling something is about making it ‘real’ and ‘elaborating’ on it. However, I think Jesus is addressing the problems with religion and hypocrisy that can creep in and hurt people via the faith system – and in this sense he was only being more ‘realistic’ with what he was reading and seeing the larger possibilities.

    “Therefore, to say that Jesus did what no other person could do would set us up for an uneven comparison, since we are not God.” (OSS)

    I seen you make this point before and I think you have something with it – namely in the perfection comparison thing. I think it is quite un-equal to make the comparison of a flawed human with a perfect being…doesn’t help the human in any way. I also think that the idea we cannot follow the laws of God is quite weird – why would God even give commands we could not follow – to rub it in our face?

  17. Even worse if commands were given us that we could not follow yet God told us we could, that they weren’t even hard to follow! If this to just mock us? Deuteronomy 31:11, 14 “Surely this instruction I enjoin upon you today is not too baffling for you, nor is it out of reach. No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart to observe it.”

    Even worse if we were sent into exile for not following what God knew we could not follow! Lamentations. all the awfulness after the first Temple was destroyed. A sadistic God beating the crap out of us just for enjoyment?

    Even worse if we’re now sent to hell for finally learning the lesson the hard way, that God is only one so that we adamantly refust to now believe God is three!

    Worse than weird, IMO, this is truly evil. Only an abusive parent would treat their child this way.

    Anyway, the standard for observance is not perfection; it is repentance when we fail and then teshuva, returning, continuing to try to do better. People like to quote the law and the punishments, stone the adultery, kill the murderer and say who can live under such a system, yet a thorough study of Torah shows that although the standard given is high, immediately afterwards we find that the expectation was one of showing mercy. Look at David. He was not stoned to death or killed for breaking two of the first 10! Afterwards God even said David was a man after God’s heart! What does that mean? I would say either having God’s heart imeans one repents and strives to do better, and not because of any sacrifice since sacrifice could not cover an intentional sin, or else having God’s heart means one is consumed with adultery and murder. The first interpretation describes the heart of a God whose people are still here, still worshiping God the same way as always, through Torah, prayer, and deeds of loving kindness; the second interpretation describes the heart of a God who set us aside for another and sends us to hell as a result. Needless to say, I have rejected this last interpretation and embraced the first.

  18. But if I am so off – expain to me why the atonement of Christ alone is all the matters – I can then put away any and everything and focus on nothing – because that atonement is ‘finished’ or ‘done once already’ and there is nothing I can do to add to it nor take away from it. Basically, I don’t have to do jack sh*t if that is simply the truth. (societyvs)

    I understand how this can be confusing, especially in theway the church speaks one thing and does another.

    When you truly repent, accept that Jesus is your only hope for atonement of sins, and commit to follow Him, you are saved. IF YOU HAVE DONE THIS … THEN you will surely be changed and will truly desire to love and be charitable. Repentance and acceptance does come first and is the primary requirement. You no longer have to be under any law to keep you in line because Christ is in you. You are directed by His will. You are not perfect but you will no doubt do your best to abide in His spirit.

    How can you say that equates to “I don’t have to do jack sh*t “???

  19. Good point, Ken. I think Jason is saying that he does have to do “jack sh*t” after all (see the March 6, 2008 at 3:52 pm comment). Maybe I misread it but that sounds like a life commitment to me.

    Society, I’m confused with how the Trinity breaks the First Commandment. The concept is to help us get a better picture of God and the three natures of God appear throughout Scripture. How does it represent a false God?

  20. Society,

    I like the third definition, too,and it really puts a new spin on the Sermon. It casts the law in a much more favorable light, in perhaps Jesus is showing that we have not yet discovered it’s full potential, the full goodness it can produce.

    **I also think that the idea we cannot follow the laws of God is quite weird – why would God even give commands we could not follow – to rub it in our face?**

    I agree. The only way I can see this, if God provides laws impossible to follow, is that God sets up humanity to fail. It doesn’t matter if a way out is provided through Jesus. That does nothing to address the beginning aspect, which is someone must be punished for inevitable failure.

    Plus, if the law is like that, why do so many Psalms express delight in it? Why do they rejoice in following it?

    Perhaps the view of the law needs to change. If we go along Yael’s method, where the law is supposed to produce repentence, perahps the overall goal of the law is to produce growth. Change for the better. If the standards were so-so, then what would we be growing towards? If the standards are high, then it calls for developement. It calls for the death of bad habits.

  21. “How can you say that equates to “I don’t have to do jack sh*t “???” (Ken)

    By basic reasoning on what the depth of the atonement means. If atonement covers all sins – from past, present, and future – then no matter what I do it will be covered – willingly or un-willingly. That view leaves me with asking for the covering of the blood and then basically all is solved. But that’s one view of it – the ‘once saved always saved’ idea…which I am not sure you adhere to.

    “When you truly repent, accept that Jesus is your only hope for atonement of sins, and commit to follow Him, you are saved” (Ken)

    Then I see equal importance in accepting the sacrifice (God) and committment (Us) – and there is 2 sided view of atonement in that statement. God does his part and we have to do ours (repent and change) – but nonetheless – without the committment – is the atonement enough to save a person no matter what they do? That is what I am getting at with the questioning more or less.

  22. “Society, I’m confused with how the Trinity breaks the First Commandment. The concept is to help us get a better picture of God and the three natures of God appear throughout Scripture. How does it represent a false God?” (Jim)

    Easy – there are 3 seperate entities shown within scripture thus seperating God into 3. Now the 3 may equal 1 – I would say in spirit and intent – but in substance? This is not a Jewish teaching at all and never has been – and likely never will be. Were the Jewish people wrong about their own scriptures when God says on numerous occasions ‘He is One’? I mean, they would have to be for the Trinity to work at all.

    Problem for me is Jesus never states he is God outright and unmistakeably – and I mean nowhere does he do this. It is acclaimed of him and said of him – but never does the words come from him. Even the John passages are hidden in weird symbolism and we can read some of them as ‘Jesus is saying He is God’ – but fact is – not blatantly he isn’t – I am talking about John here of course.

    I don’t find one place where Jesus says he is God – but I find many places where he is seperated from God in very nature and title. Top that off, the Jewish tradition – which he is fulfilling – has as it’s mandate there is only ‘One God’ as the first commandment from God on Sinai – are we to truly believe Jesus breaks this commandment and adds himself in? What are we thinking when we think that – Jesus was Jewish to the core and never even broke the law apparently – so I find it very hard to believe he would start the breaking at commandment 1.

    If Jesus is God – then explain it out so I can at least hear the case. This is always outright assumed as fact and cannot be dialogued on – but I don’t see it as clear fact and can make a good argument to why ‘this is not so’. However, I am not dead sure on this topic but I am leaning more strongly towards God is One and not Three in One. It’s just not a historical Jewish teaching plain and simple – and Jewish writers wrote the gospels and letters – it’s tough for me to see them also breaking the Shema.

  23. How does it represent a false God?

    The Spirit of God that hovered over the waters and convicted Saul et al.

    The Angel of the LORD (Malek Hashem)
    that visited Abram, Minoah and Gideon and wrestled with Jacob et al.

    The Creator, Yahweh.

    Again, how does it represent a false God?

  24. “God does his part and we have to do ours (repent and change)” (society)

    Yes and God will direct us to do our part. Either we are in Him (and He is in us) or we have not truly repented, accepted and committed (or we have lost what we once found).

  25. “Either we are in Him (and He is in us)” (Ken)

    I agree – but how do you explain this quote – literal or spiritual or symbolic?

  26. “The Spirit of God that hovered over the waters and convicted Saul et al.” (Jim)

    That is basically the spirit of God doing what God wants to do – an outworking of the One…I don’t see Trinity at all there.

    “The Angel of the LORD (Malek Hashem) that visited Abram, Minoah and Gideon and wrestled with Jacob et al.” (Jim)

    I don’t see the divinity here – the angel of the Lord is a little different than Jesus if you ask me…isn’t an angel an angel?

    “The Creator, Yahweh.” (Jim)

    The One and only One – consistent with the Judaic teachings.

    I am not sure I get the point Jim – are these the proof texts for saying Jesus is God?

  27. I agree – but how do you explain this quote – literal or spiritual or symbolic? (Jason)

    It is my belief and experience that God can and does come into our life via the Holy Spirit. We are able to refuse and walk away from it but when we make the commitment and see the truth through those glasses it is of no value to go back to a life without it.

  28. “It is my belief and experience that God can and does come into our life via the Holy Spirit.” (Ken)

    It is also my contention that God’s Spirit eminates from the One – not seperate but part of the one.

  29. “It is also my contention that God’s Spirit eminates from the One – not seperate but part of the one.” (Jason)

    Well, leaving the aspect of whether His spirit is wholly contained in one aside, then let us look at the original discussion of atonement. If His spirit is able to tranform our life radically then can you see how we can be completely forgiven?

  30. “If His spirit is able to tranform our life radically then can you see how we can be completely forgiven?” (Ken)

    I have no problem whatsoever with God forgiving us totally – I agree. But if you think that Jesus’ blood sacrifice covers that then you need to check into that a little deeper – it paved a ‘way’ to God. God will forgive us totally if we deal with our ‘sins’ before Him and the ones we wronged. Now that will take some work on our part – but nothing wrong with responsibility is there?

    Ken if I steal from you – like a robbery or something – how would you feel? The money is bad enough but the hurt I cause is you is even worse. So how would I make that right (atone)? Pray to God? No – I need to come to you and ask for your forgiveness for the full force of forgiveness to be realized. I not only wronged God’s teachings – but I also wronged my brother. How can God forgive me when I give nothing back to you? I see atonement as a relationship between God and us.

  31. “So how would I make that right (atone)? Pray to God? No ” (Jason)

    If you steal from me both God and I are wronged but I am not going to decide your eternal destiny. Yes God wants you to make amends with me but moreover He wants you to repent and bow to His majesty and Lordship.

  32. “Yes God wants you to make amends with me but moreover He wants you to repent and bow to His majesty and Lordship.” (Ken)

    But what’s important to God – that I make it right with him or with you? See that’s the thing in all of this I don’t get. I didn’t rip him off and harm Him – but you! So where is atonement needed? I need to make sure we can see ‘eye to eye’ again – as equals – and not as distant strangers. God – well – this is not something that is His problem – I did this to you and I need to come to you.

  33. So if you steal from me …

    You broke His commandment not to steal. As a thief you are not acceptable in His presence. You need to make that right between Him and you. But there is no way to do that provided by God unless you are believing the OT method and if that is the case you had better find a sacrifice and stoke up the fire. I would think that would be your primary concern… and yes part of making it right with Him is making it right with me but the major concern is to have your sins atoned for.

  34. “You broke His commandment not to steal” (Ken)

    Who’s the commandment about? It’s definitely about our relationship. If I steal – I make it up to you – and by that atoning action – I also fufill God’s law – to repent. I make it right with both of you.

  35. Jason, in my reality and truth we have a personal relationship with our God and with each other. How we maintain our human relationship reflects on how right we are we God but they are separate and distinct. Our relationship with God is what gives (or lacks to give) us guidance with others.

    God has laid out a set of laws (commandments) that we are to try to maintain and they speak to both our relationship with Him and others. Breaking any of them is sin and must be atoned for… etc, etc.

    But I fear you make a grave error to believe that God would rather us put our relationsip with others before our relationship with Him.

  36. ** But there is no way to do that provided by God unless you are believing the OT method and if that is the case you had better find a sacrifice and stoke up the fire. **

    But the website Society listed showed that sacrifice was not the only way to atone for something, or to make something right with God. God also provided repentence alone. Therefore, if one steals, one could simply repent of that action, or pay the person money for the action stolen.

  37. OSS, if you are addressing our eternal salvation and mean to say that we must repent and accept the sacrifice of Christ as our atonement, then I agree. Otherwise I don’t believe there to be another way. Our atonement to the other person puts us right with the other person but between us and God we, as believers in Christ, must put our trust and faith in the only one who was worthy and able to atone for our sin.

  38. BTW, this discussion between Jason goes back a ways and I have no problem with someone others believing what they want. I have checked out many of Jasons sources and I have not found a reason to change my beliefs as they do not line up with what I am reading and getting from the Holy Spirit.

    The only reason I continue to jump in is because Jason seems to maintain that mainstream Christianity (and certain NT scriptures) teaches that Christ is a quick fix, one time, cure all that requires no action by us but a simple prayer. There is a lot more to salvation through Christ than that and I believe the scriptures and pulpit messages are quite clear on our responsibility toward others. It is just that we can not redeem our own sin, the sacrifice of Christ is our only hope of eternal salvation.

    Now if Jason were to say there are many in the church who believe that all we need to do is say a prayer and we can do whatever we want after that, I would agree. They believe that because, though the church preaches the correct gospel, they mostly go about life as if they do not know the love of God and how he allowed His only Son to die a horrible death to bring us that salvation. If they truly believed and lived in and through Christ there would not be any tolerance to false teachings and worldliness in our churches.

    The fault lies with the leaders of todays churches, not the gospel of Christ.

  39. “we have a personal relationship with our God and with each other” (Ken)

    I tend to disagree on the very personal aspect of this – because I am not sure how this relationship is personal with God as in comparison with other people (which is where we borrow the term personal relationship). We follow the teachings of God and in that sense – it is personal to each of us to act upon what we learn. However, that definition of personal is different than a personal relationship with someone else (ie: like a friend or something).

    “But I fear you make a grave error to believe that God would rather us put our relationsip with others before our relationship with Him.” (Ken)

    Possibly, but to me the commanment Love God and love your neighbor as yourself are so inter-twined as an idea – revolving around the same concept – I think it is quite explainable my ‘error’. We can’t love God and not love our neighbor can we?

    “our eternal salvation and mean to say that we must repent and accept the sacrifice of Christ as our atonement, then I agree” (Ken)

    I wouls ask – why do we have to accept it? Isn’t this another case of adding rules to an action where none were present (ie: atonement)? Jesus dies for everyone – that sacrifice was for all – and now we want to think we can limit that to those who ‘accept’ it? I don’t agree – the atonement in the gospels does not show this aspect at all – a limited atonement set aside for those accept only – did Jesus die for some?

    “There is a lot more to salvation through Christ” (Ken)

    And that’s exactly what i am saying also – this atonement idea isn’t so ‘cut and dry’ an idea – there is a lot of aspects apparently – and I point to 3 atonement ideas from Jewish sources (which Jesus also seemed to teach). I guess I am making the idea of salvation into something more personal to the person – and not something they do not ‘touch and interact’ with.

    “It is just that we can not redeem our own sin, the sacrifice of Christ is our only hope of eternal salvation” (Ken)

    See Hebrews 9:7 “but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people COMMITTED IN IGNORANCE.”

    That above passage directly relates to the Christ – who plays a dual role – high priest and sacrifice. However, I have highlighted on section for you to read – which is also what the Jewish rabbi pointed out to me about Levitcus 17 (which this passage is relating to) – the blood sacrifice only took care of sins committed in ‘ignorance’ and not ‘wilfull’ sins (this was on you). However, to me, the passage is clearly saying Jesus created a ‘way’ for everyone (fulfilling sacrifice) to come to God and now we have as our responsiblity to be ‘personal priests’ of a sort.

    The sacrifice is ‘finished’ – all are welcome to enter God’s presence – but we are responsible for what we do and those sins are not covered – thus aspects of atonement have to also exist in the form of repentance and charity.

    Hebrews 10:26 “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins”

    But what do we see later on:

    Heb 13:16 “And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” – Interesting – sounds like charity? Hebrews 13 seems to outline charity as a way of pleasing God – like a way of living (very similar to Matthew 25 – Sheep and Goats parable). Although repentance is not specifically mentioned – charity is mentioned as an ‘acceptable sacrifice’.

    I am not making anything up about atonement – it’s in the letter of Hebrews quite clearly and also supported by a rabbinical scholar. 2 aspects show up directly in Hebrews 9-13 and I can show that – but read it for yourself and see. Paul, or whoeve wrote it, does use the sacrfice clearly as a way to enter God’s presence.

    Heb 10:19 “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus”

  40. Jason, like I said, I allow you and others their opinions.

    Please do not quote scripture to me, I have studied the laws, sacrifices and ceremonies of the Jews. I find that they all are a foreshadow of the life, teachings and sacrifice of Jesus Christ their messiah. While many were able to recognize Him as the messiah, many did not and they put Him to death without cause. The Jews today maintain that Jesus Christ was not the messiah, the gospel of Christ does.

    I understand how the scripture can be read to mean other than what I believe and there are various ways one can read it, but I do hope you understand one thing…

    The Gospel of Christ as believed by myself and professed (but not lived out) by mainstream Christianity is not one of “say a simple prayer and do whatever you want”. There is a big difference between that and the Gospel of Christ, and unfortunately the world (inside and ouside of the faith) does not understand that any more. The last thing we need is good souls like yourself (who are trying to live out the faith despite the church) telling others that the Gospel of Christ is tainted because it lets you just say a quick meaningless prayer and you are saved once and for all.

  41. society**That is basically the spirit of God doing what God wants to do – an outworking of the One…I don’t see Trinity at all there.

    You mention a dualism, but then you say there is no Trinity there. That would be because you are only seeing two persons of the Trinity. And if you agree that there is a dualism, and you have defined it as such, what is impossible about you seeing a Trinity? And if you have Creator and spirit, then the other revelation of God would logically be in the flesh.

    Angels are angels, true. But the “angel of the Lord” is no ordinary angel. The “angel of the LORD” in Gen 18:13 speaks and it is recorded as “Jehovah said”.

    Genesis 32:28 – Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”

    The word for God there is Elohim, which is plural.
    Finally, Jesus is the Son of God doing what God wants to do. As you said yourself, the “outworking of the One”. Now, do you not see it?

  42. Jim, I am in agreement with Jason on this one. I too used to believe and teach that Jesus was 100% God and yet 100% man. Not any more. I see one God (creator), one Son of God (Messiah, Lord and Savior), and one Holy Spirit (comforter and revealer).

    I don’t see why God would give the first commandment that there is only one God and then confuse the issue. I don’t see why Jesus (if He is God) would pray to His Father and teach us to do the same. I don’t see why Jesus (if He is God) would promise to *send* the Holy Spirit if He and the Spirit were one with God. Too many things to try to wrap our heads around when we have the clear commandment that there is only one God.

    Rather, I see that God, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one in purpose yet three distinct persons or entities. When Jesus says “I am”, and “you have seen me therefor you have seen God”, I take that as Jesus saying I am one with God in purpose and Holiness… just as we are able to be through Jesus Christ. When Jesus says “where two or three gather in my name I will be there also” and promises to come into our hearts when we open the door it is like we are one with God as He is.

    At the end of the day, I don’t see where Jesus claims to be God. I only see Him pointing to His father as the one and only God. I do not (any more) pray to and glorify Jesus as is done in so many hymns and services, I praise the Lord our God as Jesus did.

    Yet Jesus Christ has been set up as ruler of the earth, our high priest, our Savior, and our Judge. No doubt we are to believe in Him as the one who sacrificed that we may have eternal life. Yet He was *sent* by God, God did not transform into a human.

  43. “And if you have Creator and spirit, then the other revelation of God would logically be in the flesh” (Jim)

    What if…and this is going to sound ‘weird’…God is a Spirit? Then the outworking would be a logical eminating of the One (and not a seperate being).

    “But the “angel of the Lord” is no ordinary angel. The “angel of the LORD” in Gen 18:13 speaks and it is recorded as “Jehovah said”.” (Jim)

    Then Jesus is an angel? Isn’t that the logical conclusion for the wording you have provided from the Torah? Although, I am not sure I agree with your assessment of that passage.

    “The word for God there is Elohim, which is plural” (Jim)

    Again – I have provided the idea God and His heavenly court as proof for the ‘plural’ – or even the royal ‘we’. If this was so evident in the passage – then how come the Jewish scholars of the day missed it? Wouldn’t this idea of a dualism or trinity be in their writings somewhere?

    “Finally, Jesus is the Son of God doing what God wants to do. As you said yourself, the “outworking of the One”. Now, do you not see it?” (Jim)

    Son of God as a term can also mean us – adopted sons of God – but it does not mean we are God. There is an obvious difference between a son and a Father – 2 beings. If you see Jesus as the son then you have to support dualism (at the least).

    I don’t see that in the passages nor in the term ‘son of God’. Actually the term is also used in Job 1:6 to mean ‘angels’ – oddly enough. And I am not sure Jesus was an angel since this is never quoted of him or anyone else – maybe a heavenly being – who we call the Christ…a special position – but also seperate from God – but in His God’s court.

    As for the Jewish aspect of those passages – I have no clue how they would read the Jacob thing – but likely as an ‘angel of God’ simply put.

  44. Ken,

    **OSS, if you are addressing our eternal salvation and mean to say that we must repent and accept the sacrifice of Christ as our atonement, then I agree.**

    The problem here is, based on the website Society quoted, is that he’s saying Judaism doesn’t teach that a blood sacrifice is the only way to atone with God. There are three ways: blood sacrifice, repentence, and charity. You can have a complete atonement without any sort of blood sacrifice. You could simply repent, without any blood involved, and be fine. So I was addressing the idea that if Society is only following the Tanakh, the only way he was to atone is to find an animal and sacrifice it, because he has the way of repentence. In fact, I believe the website points out that nowhere in the Tanakh does it say that a blood sacrifice is the only acceptable method of atonement. Even for eternal salvation. Or even to say that the Tanakh is a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of the Messiah — nothing in Judaism teaches that a human sacrifice will atone for sins, be pleasing to God, or that the Messiah will save by being some sort of sacrifice.

    **The only reason I continue to jump in is because Jason seems to maintain that mainstream Christianity (and certain NT scriptures) teaches that Christ is a quick fix, one time, cure all that requires no action by us but a simple prayer. There is a lot more to salvation through Christ than that and I believe the scriptures and pulpit messages are quite clear on our responsibility toward others. **

    I see Society using the quick fix idea because if you don’t accept Christ, then all the repentence/charity you do are meaningless in the eyes of God. Yes, the Bible teaches that your faith in God/Christ must produce fruits. But this also leads down to the idea that you could have the most wretched person on the face of this planet put his faith in Christ three seconds before death, and he’s fine. He’ll be redeemed. Where another person who does not put his faith in Christ could spend a life time doing good things, sincerely repenting when he did wrong and try to fix it, and he’d be condemned, simply because he didn’t trust in the blood sacrifice. So in a way, the sacrifice of Christ is used as a quick fix, because you don’t really need the fruits, depending on how close to death you are when you’re saved.

    And if the sacrifice is all that’s truly necessary, then that is also somewhat of an escape clause, because even if your fruits aren’t that good, you can always be truly sorry about it and ask God for forgiveness. You don’t need 100% effort into doing charity, because you’ll always be okay, so long as you trust in the blood sacrifice.

  45. OSS, I don’t mean to say that I know what God would do in the case of last minute repenters, but to me that doesn’t seem to be the way the person would be judged. Someone who ignores the call of Cod all his life and then knows enough to call on God in his last moments would likely be the one hearing the words “why do you call me Lord, I do not know you”.

    Judaism does view atonement in different ways, but I see the blood sacrifices as a direct foreshadowing of the blood of Christ, our ultimate and only promised way of atonement. Of course I don’t limit God in that manner, of in any manner of my understanding. If God sees the life of a dedicated Muslim, Jew, Native, Bhudist or whatever and forgives their sins due to their deeds of righteousness… then who am I to say ‘but he did not say the prayer and accept Jesus Christ as Savior’?

    All I can go by is what I see as the promised path.

  46. Pingback: Trinity in Tanakh? « Her Delight Is In Torah

  47. Jim,
    I wrote out a response to your claims about the trinity in Tanakh, analyzing the Hebrew in the texts you pointed out. If you or anyone else is interested in reading it, here’s a link. Your claims about the Hebrew don’t match up with the Hebrew. Everyone makes interpretations, but I think they should at least be based on the facts of Hebrew and not on erroneous information.

    As to your comment about Elohim, there is no point re-inventing the wheel, I didn’t write a post about Elohim, Rabbi Singer already wrote one. Did Someone Find the Trinity in the Name of God?

    Have you been reading messianic materials lately, Jim? I hope not. I’ve always respected you are who you are, but misquoting Hebrew in Torah doesn’t earn you many brownie points, you know? It’s the lashon HaKodesh, tongue of the holy literally, or the more common usage, the holy language. Be careful how you handle it. It is more valued than gold. You have your beliefs which you obviously want to see in Torah, but don’t try to force them by misuse of Hebrew, that is what the messianics try to do and it only earns them disdain.

  48. I read the whole link Yael – even now I don’t understand everything written – might take me a few reads – but great study! It does leave room open for Jim’s view I would say – namely in the Jacob story – however I am falling towards ‘angel of the Lord’ as being descriptive of who the being was – someone from God’s court (and not divinity) – and I think you point that out in one section in that study.

  49. Yes, there is room for his interpretation in the Jacob story, I will not claim victory for my particular interpretation(s), that’s not how Torah should be handled. I prefer to just analyze the meanings, ask questions, and then leave it at that. These stories are all quite vague, there can be any number of questions raised as to their meaning, my questions are only my own. Would I personally use these stories as solid proof of a major theological teaching? Obviously not but what others do is their business. It’s just that it needs to be done honestly without trying to force the Hebrew to conform to one particular point of view. I think I told you many months ago, Hebrew is not dogmatic. English is dogmatic, Hebrew is not. And that’s one of the things I enjoy so much about it.

  50. “prefer to just analyze the meanings, ask questions, and then leave it at that.” (Yael)

    Same – even with the NT over here. I can be disliked for something – but it better not be my interpretation alone – I better wrong someone in some sort of way for that treatment. Cause reading and studying that’s one thing – but living – let my teachings bare that out.

  51. Came across another instance of an angel of God. 2 Kings 19:35, a malak Adonai, godly angel, kills 185,000 in the Assyrian camp. Strange how this reference wasn’t used as back-up for the claim that malak Adonai is actually Jesus….

  52. Yale, I wouldn’t be all to surprised if it starts getting including as a reference to Jesus – I do believe they think he was judgmental and will once again be severly judgmental (on th last day).

  53. I’ve never seen it that way, I have to admit. Always I’ve seen Jesus, gentle and kind, providing the means for people to approach an angry, vindictive God.

    BTW, I think I was right about the source of this claim. I did a browse through a prominent messianic site and there it was, clear as could be, the bold claim that malak Adonai is Jesus. I’m good! I suppose though, their style is not hard to recognize.

  54. “I’ve never seen it that way, I have to admit” (Yael)

    Same – but as you mention the Messianic(s) – in trying to be right they might justify pretty much anything to make their point. To be honest, this whole angel thing I have never heard before until Jim mentioned it – and also another site made mention to it (orthodox Christians of some sort). I find it a big stretch also and reading back into a passage from a current perspective (which is not good interpretation).

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