2/28/15

From Jim McGuiggan... Abrahamic Community (3)

Abrahamic Community (3)

The Implications of the Abrahamic Community
In creating a new Abrahamic community God was providing a community of witness for the world.
In electing Abraham, Israel and the NT Church, God did not immediately take them from the earth to heaven. They were intended to bring light and salvation to the nations (Isaiah 49:6 and elsewhere). The Messiah didn't pray that his disciples should be taken out of the world he prayed that God would protect them as he sent them into the world in the same way the Father sent him into the world (John 17:13-18). The world was to see and hear something and that was to be brought to the world by the Community.
In creating a new Abrahamic community God was bearing witness that the existing structures were not suited for his redemptive purposes.
The political powers as they established themselves were not the way to life. One of the results of the (continuing) Fall was socio-political structures that were centers of rebellion against him. At an earthly level these governments held nations together by 'enlightened self-interest,' providing their basic needs.
The creation of the Abrahamic community (whatever its form, Israel, the Messiah or the NT Church) was the word of God against the world.
Its very existence denies that nations 'live' very well or that they pass life on to others without God. [Ethics, for the Abrahamic Community, must be theological ethics. This Community is a "new creation" and it is to function in the world asnd for the world in the image of God who is its creatior. See Ephesians 5:1-2.] 
It is a judgment against self-sufficiency and all schemes that place humanity's present or future blessing in the hands of humanity itself (science, medicine, social programs, various forms of government or political theory).
It is a judgment against all the ways in which injustice is nurtured in societies, ancient or modern, that are, intentionally at least, built for merely human purposes and by mere human enterprise.
In its developed state it is a community which relativizes all the distinctions which do or can lead to injustice. Galatians 3:26-29. Distinctions such as race, gender and class. (This is one of the reasons that the 'Mosaic Jewishness' of the Community could not be its final form. 'Mosaic Jewishness' created two families, two communities rather than one universal Abrahamic community, which is what the one God sought.)
The political structures are witnessed against in a number of important events. In rescuing Lot (2 Peter 2:7) from Sodom, Gomorrah and the cities of the plain, God rendered judgment on a societal structure which he condemned in the words of Ezekiel as 'arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and the needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me...' (Ezekiel 16:49-50).
Genesis 18:20-21 tells us the outcry against the power-brokers in Sodom and Gomorrah was so bad that God said, 'I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me...' The word rendered 'outcry' is almost a technical word for 'legal appeal'. It's used on numerous occasions in the early chapters of Exodus (for example, 2:23; 3:7,9) when Israel is crying out to God for justice. It's also the word used to describe widows and orphans who 'cry' to God. (See David Daube's'Exodus Pattern in the Bible'.) In Genesis 14:21-24 Abraham won't allow Sodom to subsidize his war effort in any way.
In rescuing Israel from oppressive Egypt we have another open judgment against a major power. In creating Israel a socio-political entity on the basis of a new covenantal law, God was speaking his mind about all the other systems and socio-political entities. In Leviticus 18:1-5 we hear, 'The Lord said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord."'
In addition to the injustice that was (is) rife in the world, these world political structures set themselves up in an act of rebellion against God and were/are therefore estranged from him
In creating a new Abrahamic community God was bearing witness to the existing structures that God continued to care for them and sought to redeem them.
The very existence of the Community is a continuing witness--a visible and historical witness--that God is at work to redeem, bless and transform humanity. The right response to that witness is to come to faith in the God who purposed and executes that witness.
The fact that the witness is a community witness and that that community exhibits a certain lifestyle makes it clear that what God is ultimately interested in is not individual transformation or redemption, but social. (The teaching/preaching that confines itself to personal salvation misses the biblical thrust. The teaching/preaching that offers only or almost exclusively individual salvation undermines the biblical Story.)
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.

The Only True God by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=10&article=5014

The Only True God

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The Bible is full of scriptures that, when quoted without any consideration of the immediate and remote contexts, a person can misuse in all sorts of ways. As proof that we do not have to work to provide for our family’s material needs, some may quote Jesus’ statement, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life” (John 6:27). In order to show that Jesus was a liar, the Bible critic might quote Jesus’ acknowledgement: “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true” (John 5:31). Those who exclude baptism from God’s plan of salvation often quote John 4:2: “Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples.” When the Bible reader is “rightly dividing” (2 Timothy 2:15, NKJV) or “handling accurately the word of truth” (NASB), however, he will remember that “[t]he sum of thy [God’s] word is truth” (Psalm 119:160, emp. added). Since the Bible teaches “if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10; cf. 1 Timothy 5:8), Jesus never implied that working to help feed one’s family is wrong (John 6:27). “He simply was saying that spiritual food is more important than physical food, and as such, should be given a higher priority” (Butt, 2003, emp. in orig.). Jesus did not confess wrongdoing in John 5:31. He simply acknowledged that, in accordance with the law (cf. Deuteronomy 19:15), His testimony apart from other witnesses would be considered invalid or insufficient to establish truth (cf. John 8:13-20; see Lyons, 2004). Likewise, Jesus never taught that baptism was unnecessary for salvation. In fact, He taught the very opposite (cf. John 3:3,5; Mark 16:16; Matthew 28:18-20; see Lyons, 2003).
Consider another proof text from the Gospel of John regarding the nature of Christ. Some (e.g., Jehovah’s Witnesses) contend that Jesus was not deity since, on one occasion, He prayed to the Father: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3; cf. “Should You Believe...?,” 2000). Allegedly, by calling the Father, “the only true God,” Jesus excluded Himself from being deity. Such an interpretation of John 17:3, however, contradicts numerous other passages within John’s own gospel account. From beginning to end, John bore witness to the deity of Christ. Some of the evidence from the Gospel of John includes the following:
  • In the very first verse of John, the apostle testified: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (emp. added; cf. 1:14,17).
  • Two verses later the reader learns that “[a]ll things came into being by Him [the Word], and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:3, NASB).
  • Still in the first chapter of John, the apostle testified that John the Baptizer was the one whom Isaiah foretold would “prepare...the way of Jehovah” (Isaiah 40:3; John 1:23; cf. 14:6). For Whom did John the Baptizer come to prepare the way? Isaiah called Him “Jehovah.” The apostle John, as well as John the Baptizer, referred to Jehovah as “Jesus” (John 1:17), “the Christ” (3:28), “the Word” (1:1), “the Light” (1:17), “the Lamb” (1:29), “the Truth” (5:33), etc.
  • When the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well told Jesus, “I know that Messiah is coming” (John 4:25), Jesus responded, “I who speak to you am He” (vs. 26). Isaiah foretold that the Messiah would be called “Mighty God” (9:6) and “Jehovah” (40:3). Thus, by claiming to be the Messiah, Jesus was claiming to be God.
  • In John chapter nine, Jesus miraculously healed a man with congenital blindness (vs. 1). When this man appeared before various Jews in the synagogue and called Jesus a prophet (vs. 17), he was instructed to “give glory to God,” not Jesus, because allegedly Jesus “is a sinner” (vs. 24). Later, after the man born blind was cast out of the synagogue, he confessed faith in Jesus andworshiped (Greek proskuneo) Him (vs. 38). In the Gospel of John, this word (proskuneo) is found 11 times: nine times in reference to worshiping the Father (John 4:2-24), once in reference to Greeks who came to “worship” in Jerusalem during Passover (12:20), and once in reference to the worship Jesus received from a man whom He had miraculously healed, and who had just confessed faith in Jesus. Indeed, by accepting worship Jesus acknowledged His deity (cf. Matthew 4:10; Hebrews 1:6).
  • While at the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, Jesus claimed: “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him” (vs. 31). Why did Jesus’ enemies want to stone Him? The Jews said to Christ: “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God” (vs. 33, emp. added; cf. 5:17-18).
  • After Jesus rose from the dead, the apostle Thomas called Jesus, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Jesus responded: “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (vs. 29). Notice that Jesus did not deny His deity, rather He acknowledged Thomas’ faith and commended future believers. Believers in what? In that which Thomas had just confessed—that Jesus is Lord and God.
It was in the overall context of John’s gospel account, which is filled with statements testifying of Jesus’ deity, that the apostle recorded Jesus’ prayer to His Father the night of His betrayal (John 17). But how can Jesus’ statement about His Father being “the only true God” (17:3) be harmonized with statements by Jesus, the apostle John, John the Baptizer, Thomas, etc. affirming the deity of Christ? When a person understands that Jesus’ statement was made in opposition to the world’s false gods, and not Himself, the reference to the Father being “the only true God” harmonizes perfectly with the many scriptures that attest to the deity of Christ (including those outside of the book of John; cf. Matthew 1:23; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:5-13). On the eve of Jesus’ crucifixion, it was completely natural for Him to pray that “all flesh/people” (John 17:2, NKJV/NIV), many of whom were (and still are) pagan idolaters, would come to know “the only true God” and receive eternal life (17:3). Thus, Jesus contrasted Himself not with the Father, but “with all forms of pagan polytheism, mystic pantheism, and philosophic naturalism” (Jamieson, et al., 1997).
Furthermore, if Jesus’ reference to the Father being “the only true God” somehow excludes Jesus from being deity, then (to be consistent) Jesus also must be disqualified from being man’s Savior. Jehovah said: “Besides me there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:11; cf. Hosea 13:4; Jude 25). Yet, Paul and Peter referred to Jesus as our “Savior” several times in their inspired writings (Ephesians 5:23; Philippians 3:20; 2 Timothy 1:10; 2 Peter 1:1,11; 2:20; etc.). Also, if Jesus is excluded from Godhood (based on a misinterpretation of John 17:3), then, pray tell, must God the Father be excluded from being man’s Lord? To the church at Ephesus, Paul wrote that there is “one Lord” (4:4, emp. added), and, according to Jude 4 (using Jehovah’s Witnesses own New World Translation) “our only Owner and Lord” is “Jesus Christ” (emp. added). Yet, in addition to Jesus being called Lord throughout the New Testament, so is God the Father (Matthew 11:25; Luke 1:32; Acts 1:25) and the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17).
Obviously, when the Bible reveals that there is only one God, one Savior, one Lord, one Creator (Isaiah 44:24; John 1:3), etc., reason and revelation demand that we understand the inspired writers to be excluding everyone and everything—other than the triune God. As former Jehovah’s Witness David Reed explained: “Jesus’ being called our ‘only’ Lord does not rule out the Lordship of the Father and the Holy Spirit, and the Father’s being called the ‘only’ true God does not exclude the Son and the Holy Spirit from deity” (1986, p. 82).

REFERENCES

Butt, Kyle (2003), “Wearing Gold and Braided Hair,” Apologetics Press,http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2264.
Jamieson, Robert, et al. (1997), Jamieson, Faussett, Brown Bible Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Lyons, Eric (2003), “The Bible’s Teaching on Baptism: Contradictory or Complementary?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/617.
Lyons, Eric (2004), “Was Jesus Trustworthy?” Apologetics Press,http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/516.
Reed, David (1986), Jehovah’s Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
“Should You Believe in the Trinity?” (2000), The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.

From Mark Copeland... The Days Of Creation


                        "THE CASE FOR CREATION"

                          The Days Of Creation

INTRODUCTION

1. In this study, we are have briefly considered...
   a. The Biblical Case For Creation
   b. The Philosophical Case For Creation
   c. The Scientific Case For Creation
   d. The Historical Case For Creation

2. In the remaining lessons, we shall address issues related to both
   creation and evolution...
   
   a. The days of creation in Genesis 1 and 2
   b. Difficulties with the theory of evolution

[Some believe creationism and evolution theory can be reconciled by how
one defines the word "day" as used in Genesis chapter one.  Well, let's
take a look at...]

I. THE DAYS OF CREATION (DEFINITION)

   A. THE HEBREW WORD "YOM"...
      1. A noun meaning day, time, year
      2. It is used to describe:
         a. The period of light (as contrasted with the period of
            darkness) - Gen 1:5; 1Ki 19:4
         b. The period of twenty-four hours - Deu 16:8; 2Ki 25:30
         c. A generic span of time - Gen 26:8; Num 20:15
         d. A given point of time - Gen 2:17; 47:26
         e. In the plural, a year - Lev 25:29; 1Sa 27:7
      -- The Complete WordStudy Dictionary

   B. "YOM" IN GENESIS 1 AND 2...
      1. The daylight hours from sunrise to sunset - Gen 1:5,14,18 ("the day")
      2. A literal 24 hour cycle - Gen 1:14 ("for days")
      3. A generic span of time - Gen 2:4 ("in the day...")
      -- Moses used the word "yom" at least three different ways

[Because yom can be diverse in its meaning, there are at least four
views as to the days of creation...]

II. THE DAYS OF CREATION (FOUR VIEWS)

   A. YOUNG EARTH CREATIONISM...
      1. God created all things (heavens and earth) in six 24-hour days
         - Gen 1:3-2:2; Exo 20:11
      2. The earth is thousands rather than billions of years old
      3. Proponents of this view include:
         a. Henry M. Morris, Duane Gish (Institute For Creation Research)
         b. Ken Ham (Answers In Genesis)
         c. The Creation Research Society
      -- This is the most literal view of the Genesis account

   B. GAP CREATIONISM...
      1. There was a gap of time between the 1st and 2nd verses of Genesis - Gen 1:1-2
      2. There was a pre-Adamic world, which experienced a cataclysmic
         judgment, leaving the planet in a chaotic state - Gen 1:2
      3. From which God then re-created the world in six literal 24 hour days - Gen 1:2-3
      4. This view attempts to reconcile the apparent age of the earth,
         the literal days of creation, plus the origin of Satan and evil
         before the Fall of man
      5. Proponents of this view include:
         a. C. I. Scofield, Harry Rimmer, Arthur Pink, Donald Grey Barnhouse
         b. David Reagan (Learn The Bible), Gaines R. Johnson (Christian
            Geology Ministry)
      -- This view was once very popular, not so much today

   C. PROGRESSIVE CREATIONISM...
      1. Each "day" is a long period of geological time - cf. "day" in Gen 2:3
      2. God created new forms of life gradually, over a period of
         hundreds of millions of years
      3. This view generally rejects macro-evolution, believing it to be
         biologically untenable and not supported by the fossil record
      4. Proponents of this view include:
         a. Bernard Ramm, and many members of American Scientific
            Affiliation
         b. Hugh Ross (Reasons To Believe)
         c. Answers In Creation
         d. God And Science
         e. John Clayton (Does God Exist?)
      -- This view has become more popular in recent times

   D. LITERARY FRAMEWORK THEORY...
      1. Genesis 1-2 is not a literal or scientific description of the
         origin of the universe
      2. Rather, an ancient religious text which outlines a theology of creation
      3. The seven day "framework" is therefore not meant to be
         chronological but a literary or symbolic structure designed to
         reinforce the purposefulness of God in creation and the Sabbath
         commandment - Wikipedia, Framework Interpretation (Genesis)
      4. Proponents of this view include:
         a. Many theistic evolutionists and some Progressive Creationists (sample)
         b. The Catholic Church is also supportive of this view (sample)
      -- This view considers the Genesis account completely symbolic or figurative

CONCLUSION

1. Each of these views has been held by people who...
   a. Believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God
   b. Believe that God is the Creator of all things

2. Some may have been persuaded to a particular view...
   a. By what they believe to be overwhelming scientific evidence
   b. Without considering the case for six literal 24 hour days

In our next study, we shall consider "The Case For Six Literal 24 Hour
Days"...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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From Gary... Bible Reading February 28


Bible Reading  

February 28

The World English Bible

Feb. 28
Exodus 9

Exo 9:1 Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh, and tell him, 'This is what Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, says: "Let my people go, that they may serve me.
Exo 9:2 For if you refuse to let them go, and hold them still,
Exo 9:3 behold, the hand of Yahweh is on your livestock which are in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the herds, and on the flocks with a very grievous pestilence.
Exo 9:4 Yahweh will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt; and there shall nothing die of all that belongs to the children of Israel." ' "
Exo 9:5 Yahweh appointed a set time, saying, "Tomorrow Yahweh shall do this thing in the land."
Exo 9:6 Yahweh did that thing on the next day; and all the livestock of Egypt died, but of the livestock of the children of Israel, not one died.
Exo 9:7 Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not so much as one of the livestock of the Israelites dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was stubborn, and he didn't let the people go.
Exo 9:8 Yahweh said to Moses and to Aaron, "Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the sky in the sight of Pharaoh.
Exo 9:9 It shall become small dust over all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with boils on man and on animal, throughout all the land of Egypt."
Exo 9:10 They took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward the sky; and it became a boil breaking forth with boils on man and on animal.
Exo 9:11 The magicians couldn't stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boils were on the magicians, and on all the Egyptians.
Exo 9:12 Yahweh hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he didn't listen to them, as Yahweh had spoken to Moses.
Exo 9:13 Yahweh said to Moses, "Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and tell him, 'This is what Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, says: "Let my people go, that they may serve me.
Exo 9:14 For this time I will send all my plagues against your heart, against your officials, and against your people; that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth.
Exo 9:15 For now I would have put forth my hand, and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth;
Exo 9:16 but indeed for this cause I have made you stand: to show you my power, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth;
Exo 9:17 as you still exalt yourself against my people, that you won't let them go.
Exo 9:18 Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as has not been in Egypt since the day it was founded even until now.
Exo 9:19 Now therefore command that all of your livestock and all that you have in the field be brought into shelter. Every man and animal that is found in the field, and isn't brought home, the hail shall come down on them, and they shall die." ' "
Exo 9:20 Those who feared the word of Yahweh among the servants of Pharaoh made their servants and their livestock flee into the houses.
Exo 9:21 Whoever didn't regard the word of Yahweh left his servants and his livestock in the field.
Exo 9:22 Yahweh said to Moses, "Stretch forth your hand toward the sky, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, on man, and on animal, and on every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt."
Exo 9:23 Moses stretched forth his rod toward the heavens, and Yahweh sent thunder, hail, and lightning flashed down to the earth. Yahweh rained hail on the land of Egypt.
Exo 9:24 So there was very severe hail, and lightning mixed with the hail, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.
Exo 9:25 The hail struck throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and animal; and the hail struck every herb of the field, and broke every tree of the field.
Exo 9:26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail.
Exo 9:27 Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, "I have sinned this time. Yahweh is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.
Exo 9:28 Pray to Yahweh; for there has been enough of mighty thunderings and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer."
Exo 9:29 Moses said to him, "As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands to Yahweh. The thunders shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that you may know that the earth is Yahweh's.
Exo 9:30 But as for you and your servants, I know that you don't yet fear Yahweh God."
Exo 9:31 The flax and the barley were struck, for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was in bloom.
Exo 9:32 But the wheat and the spelt were not struck, for they had not grown up.
Exo 9:33 Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands to Yahweh; and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured on the earth.
Exo 9:34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
Exo 9:35 The heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he didn't let the children of Israel go, just as Yahweh had spoken through Moses.


Feb. 29
Exodus 10

Exo 10:1 Yahweh said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I may show these my signs in the midst of them,
Exo 10:2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your son's son, what things I have done to Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that you may know that I am Yahweh."
Exo 10:3 Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and said to him, "This is what Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, says: 'How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me.
Exo 10:4 Or else, if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country,
Exo 10:5 and they shall cover the surface of the earth, so that one won't be able to see the earth. They shall eat the residue of that which has escaped, which remains to you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which grows for you out of the field.
Exo 10:6 Your houses shall be filled, and the houses of all your servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; as neither your fathers nor your fathers' fathers have seen, since the day that they were on the earth to this day.' " He turned, and went out from Pharaoh.
Exo 10:7 Pharaoh's servants said to him, "How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve Yahweh, their God. Don't you yet know that Egypt is destroyed?"
Exo 10:8 Moses and Aaron were brought again to Pharaoh, and he said to them, "Go, serve Yahweh your God; but who are those who will go?"
Exo 10:9 Moses said, "We will go with our young and with our old; with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast to Yahweh."
Exo 10:10 He said to them, "Yahweh be with you if I will let you go with your little ones! See, evil is clearly before your faces.
Exo 10:11 Not so! Go now you who are men, and serve Yahweh; for that is what you desire!" They were driven out from Pharaoh's presence.
Exo 10:12 Yahweh said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up on the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail has left."
Exo 10:13 Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and Yahweh brought an east wind on the land all that day, and all the night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.
Exo 10:14 The locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the borders of Egypt. They were very grievous. Before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such.
Exo 10:15 For they covered the surface of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened, and they ate every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. There remained nothing green, either tree or herb of the field, through all the land of Egypt.
Exo 10:16 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste, and he said, "I have sinned against Yahweh your God, and against you.
Exo 10:17 Now therefore please forgive my sin again, and pray to Yahweh your God, that he may also take away from me this death."
Exo 10:18 He went out from Pharaoh, and prayed to Yahweh.
Exo 10:19 Yahweh turned an exceeding strong west wind, which took up the locusts, and drove them into the Red Sea. There remained not one locust in all the borders of Egypt.
Exo 10:20 But Yahweh hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he didn't let the children of Israel go.
Exo 10:21 Yahweh said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt."
Exo 10:22 Moses stretched forth his hand toward the sky, and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days.
Exo 10:23 They didn't see one another, neither did anyone rise from his place for three days; but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
Exo 10:24 Pharaoh called to Moses, and said, "Go, serve Yahweh. Only let your flocks and your herds stay behind. Let your little ones also go with you."
Exo 10:25 Moses said, "You must also give into our hand sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to Yahweh our God.
Exo 10:26 Our livestock also shall go with us. There shall not a hoof be left behind, for of it we must take to serve Yahweh our God; and we don't know with what we must serve Yahweh, until we come there."
Exo 10:27 But Yahweh hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he wouldn't let them go.
Exo 10:28 Pharaoh said to him, "Get away from me! Be careful to see my face no more; for in the day you see my face you shall die!"
Exo 10:29 Moses said, "You have spoken well. I will see your face again no more."


Feb. 28, 29
Mark 2

Mar 2:1 When he entered again into Capernaum after some days, it was heard that he was in the house.
Mar 2:2 Immediately many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even around the door; and he spoke the word to them.
Mar 2:3 Four people came, carrying a paralytic to him.
Mar 2:4 When they could not come near to him for the crowd, they removed the roof where he was. When they had broken it up, they let down the mat that the paralytic was lying on.
Mar 2:5 Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you."
Mar 2:6 But there were some of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,
Mar 2:7 "Why does this man speak blasphemies like that? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
Mar 2:8 Immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you reason these things in your hearts?
Mar 2:9 Which is easier, to tell the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven;' or to say, 'Arise, and take up your bed, and walk?'
Mar 2:10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" -he said to the paralytic-
Mar 2:11 "I tell you, arise, take up your mat, and go to your house."
Mar 2:12 He arose, and immediately took up the mat, and went out in front of them all; so that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"
Mar 2:13 He went out again by the seaside. All the multitude came to him, and he taught them.
Mar 2:14 As he passed by, he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he arose and followed him.
Mar 2:15 It happened, that he was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners sat down with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many, and they followed him.
Mar 2:16 The scribes and the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, "Why is it that he eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?"
Mar 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he said to them, "Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Mar 2:18 John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting, and they came and asked him, "Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples don't fast?"
Mar 2:19 Jesus said to them, "Can the groomsmen fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they can't fast.
Mar 2:20 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then will they fast in that day.
Mar 2:21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, or else the patch shrinks and the new tears away from the old, and a worse hole is made.
Mar 2:22 No one puts new wine into old wineskins, or else the new wine will burst the skins, and the wine pours out, and the skins will be destroyed; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins."
Mar 2:23 It happened that he was going on the Sabbath day through the grain fields, and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of grain.
Mar 2:24 The Pharisees said to him, "Behold, why do they do that which is not lawful on the Sabbath day?"
Mar 2:25 He said to them, "Did you never read what David did, when he had need, and was hungry-he, and those who were with him?
Mar 2:26 How he entered into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the show bread, which is not lawful to eat except for the priests, and gave also to those who were with him?"
Mar 2:27 He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
Mar 2:28 Therefore the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath."
 

From Gary.... Insightful humility


I think the nine little statements in the picture are worth reading (again and again)!!! Why? Because they are very insightful.  Again, why? Well, because young children don't have all the "baggage" that those of us who are "ancient" have!!!  And sometimes that baggage gets in the way of being spiritual. The disciples of Jesus were not immune to such things, as this brief quote from Matthew illustrates.

Matthew, Chapter 18 (WEB)
2  Jesus called a little child to himself, and set him in their midst, 3 and said, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.   4 Whoever therefore humbles himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.   5  Whoever receives one such little child in my name receives me,

For a month or two I have been following a Greek instructor via email and trying to learn a few things about New Testament Koine Greek.  It is difficult for me, due to my advanced years, to absorb everything, but a few things stick. Today, I was listening to a rather extensive explanation of Galatians 1:13 and realized that for all the teachers knowledge, the simplest, most literal translation was the best. Now, don't get me wrong- this person is a great teacher, but sometimes a little child or even a new-be in Greek can be right about something. Having said all that- remember to be humble, Gary!!!

By the way, of all the nine statements above, I like number 7 and 9 the best. 

2/27/15

From Jim McGuiggan.... Abrahamic Community (2)

Abrahamic Community (2)

Introduction to the Nature and Identity of the Abrahamic Community
The Abrahamic community is one given a destiny by God. The love which expressed itself in creating the Abrahamic community was not exhausted by that creation and choice, it was a choice of love on behalf of all humanity. It was God's intention concerning Abraham and his children that, 'all people of the earth will be blessed through you' (Genesis 12:3; see 18:18; 22:18; 26:4).
God didn't lift Abraham out of the world and into heaven when he chose him. He called him out of the world that he might be a witness for God in and for the world.
For the nation to lose sight of this and to become self-centered was (1) to deny in practice the profound breadth, depth and grandeur of the love of Yahweh which embraced all humanity in every age and, (2) to lose sight of their own destiny as the bearers of this love to humanity.
The Abrahamic community is one with a specific ethical lifestyle.
What we have already said about the nature of the community has profound consequences for the way it sees and lives its life.
It doesn't operate on the basis of autonomous reason or rational proposals but as a result of how God (who later reveals himself as Yahweh) moved toward them.
It doesn't operate from a basis of self-sufficiency but complete dependence;
It doesn't operate from a basis of spelled out certainties but trust, even in the face of uncertainty;
It doesn't operate from a basis of earning God's affection but assurance;
It doesn't operate from a basis of self-centeredness but mission;
It doesn't operate from a basis of individualism but community. 
Genesis 18:19 says this, 'For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.'
One reason for the call (18:19) was that there might be a people who would 'keep the way of the Lord'. The way of the Lord is life in keeping with the character of God as it would show itself if lived out in terms of a redeemed human community. The righteousness and justice of this new community was to be a God-imitating righteousness and justice.
The continuity between Israel and Abraham shows that Gen 18.19 has a direct bearing on the Mosaic covenantal law which must then reflect God's intentions as expressed here. Their social and political life (that is, their life as 'citizens' and fellow humans within the parameters of the Mosaic law) was to be one of 'God-imitating righteousness and justice' in keeping with this text. In other words, what we see fleshed out in detail in the Mosaic covenant is the development of 'the way of the Lord' here.
But, it was such a justice and righteousness within an elect community! The justice and righteousness of Israel was peculiarly shaped and so witnessed to something which went beyond the justice and righteousness of outsiders. It bore witness to Yahweh and all that that would involve.
Their ethics were theological as well as social. The Abrahamic community did not do justice and righteousness because everyone expected it of them, or because everybody else was just and righteous, or because some god or other called for it, or because it was what enlightened self-interest would dictate, or because it was what 'practical reason' would lead them to. Their total lives were lived out in light of Yahweh's dealings with them! I judge this truth to be of fundamental importance and should keep us from 'secularizing' justice and righteousness.
Israel was called out of Egypt and the kind of society they became was radically different from Egyptian society. Israel's Lord was altogether different from Pharaoh, the Lord of Egypt who used cunning, murder plots and cruelty to further his oppressive ends. The gods of Egypt as understood and proclaimed by the Egyptian hierarchy were the foundation of Egyptian society and the foundation and shape of Israelite society took it's rise from the character and purposes of Yahweh which is why we have Leviticus 18:1-5.
The Abrahamic community had certain indelible marks of its identity.
Putting together what has been said up to this point, let me spell out what that means in some specific areas.
The boundaries of the Abrahamic community were determined by Yahweh alone;
Not all physical kin of Abraham were in the elect community;
The visible forms of the Abrahamic community were variable through the ages;
There has always been only one Abrahamic community.
God didn't choose Melchizedek in creating the new Community. Nor did he choose Abraham's father, uncle or nephew. That was the Lord's sovereign right. As Paul would put it in Galatians 3:16, God didn't say, 'and to seeds,' so making a covenant with many people (he spoke to Abraham alone), he did say to Abraham 'and to your seed' ('your,' that is, Abraham's seed, which came to fullness in Jesus Christ).
And while God cared for Lot, Ishmael and Esau (out of his grace he blessed them richly), they were excluded from the covenanted community as the line through which God would bless humanity in Jesus Christ. So although they were Abraham's physical kin, they and their peoples (Arabs, Edomites, Ammonites and Moabites) were excluded. Paul makes this point in Romans 9:6-8.
The Community as Abraham, Isaac & Jacob was a waiting, wandering, dependent, trusting (though weak at times), called community. It multiplied in Egypt while it waited, a dependent, vulnerable, persecuted and pleading community. It was rescued and nationalized at Sinai, was purged, instructed and at the same time sustained in the Wilderness. Its social shape changed, its community structure changed and new laws came in to shape, convict, protect and enlighten it. It became a settled people, a divided people, a faithless people and an exiled people. Their life as a called community was sustained by the 'righteous remnant' who were God's gift to the nation at large (Isaiah 42:6; 49:8 messianic also).
In NT times, the Abrahamic community was peopled by trusting Jews and Gentiles who turned to the Jewish Messiah, who epitomized all that 'Abraham's seed' was intended to mean. In becoming Christ's who was Abraham's seed, believing Jews and Gentiles became Abraham's seed and heirs.
Down through the centuries there has been the true Abrahamic community even within the physical descendants of Abraham through Jacob.
Those Jews who rejected the Messiah (Abraham's seed) were 'cut off from among his people' (Acts 3:22-23).
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.

The Passion and Antisemitism: Who Murdered Jesus? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=10&article=1084

The Passion and Antisemitism: Who Murdered Jesus?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The furor surrounding Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ preceded by many months the release of the movie on February 25. The official Web site states: “Passion is a vivid depiction of the last 12 hours of Jesus Christ’s life” (Passion Web site). Special emphasis is placed on the physical suffering Christ endured. Throughout the film, the language spoken is the first-century Jewish language, Aramaic, except when the Romans speak their language, i.e., Latin (Novak, 2003). Gibson, who both produced and directed the film, sank $25 million of his own money into the venture.
Much of the stir over the film stems from the role of the Jews in their involvement in Christ’s crucifixion. In fact, outcries of “anti-Semitism” have been vociferous, especially from representatives of the Anti-Defamation League. Their contention is that Jews are depicted in the film as “bloodthirsty, sadistic, money-hungry enemies of God” who are portrayed as “the ones responsible for the decision to crucify Jesus” (as quoted in Hudson, 2003; cf. Zoll, 2003). The fear is that the film will fuel hatred and bigotry against Jews. A committee of nine Jewish and Catholic scholars unanimously found the film to project a uniformly negative picture of Jews (“ADL and Mel…”). The Vatican early avoided offering an endorsement of the film by declining to make an official statement (“Vatican Has Not…”; cf. “Mel Gibson’s…”). This action is to be expected in view of the conciliatory tone manifested by Vatican II (Abbott, 1955, pp. 663-667). Even Twentieth Century Fox decided not to participate in the distribution of the film (“20th Decides…”; cf. “Legislator Tries…”; O’Reilly…”).
Separate from the controversy generated by Gibson’s film, the more central issue concerns to what extent the Jewish generation of the first century contributed to, or participated in, the death of Christ. If the New Testament is the verbally inspired Word of God, then it is an accurate and reliable report of the facts, and its depiction of the details surrounding the crucifixion are normative and final. That being the case, how does the New Testament represent the role of the Jews in the death of Christ?
A great many verses allude to the role played by the Jews, especially the leadership, in the death of Jesus. For some time prior to the crucifixion, the Jewish authorities were determined to oppose Jesus. This persecution was aimed at achieving His death:
So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff (Luke 4:28-30, emp. added).
Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God (John 5:18-19, emp. added).
After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, becausethe Jews sought to kill Him… “Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” (John 7:1-2,19, emp. added).
“I know that you are Abraham's descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.” They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this.” Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by (John 8:37-41,59, emp. added).
Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him…. Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand (John 10:31-32,39, emp. added).
Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death…. Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command, that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it, that they might seize Him (John 11:53, 57, emp. added).
And He was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him, and were unable to do anything; for all the people were very attentive to hear Him (Luke 19:47-48, emp. added).
And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people (Luke 22:2, emp. added).
Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him (Matthew 26:3-4, emp. added).
These (and many other) verses demonstrate unquestionable participation of the Jews in bringing about the death of Jesus. One still can hear the mournful tones of Jesus Himself, in His sadness over the Jews rejecting Him: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23:37-39). He was referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and the demise of the Jewish commonwealth at the hands of the Romans in A.D. 70. Read carefully His unmistakable allusion to the reason for this holocaustic event:
Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:41-44).
He clearly attributed their national demise to their stubborn rejection of Him as the predicted Messiah, Savior, and King.
Does the Bible, then, indicate that a large percentage, perhaps even a majority, of the Jews of first century Palestine was “collectively guilty” for the death of Jesus? The inspired evidence suggests so. Listen carefully to the apostle Paul’s assessment, keeping in mind that he, himself, was a Jew—in fact, “a Hebrew of the Hebrews” (Philippians 3:5; cf. Acts 22:3; Romans 11:1; 2 Corinthians 11:22). Speaking to Thessalonian Christians, he wrote:
For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, emp. added).
This same apostle Paul met with constant resistance from fellow Jews. After he spoke at the Jewish synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia, a crowd of people that consisted of nearly the whole city gathered to hear him expound the Word of God. Notice the reaction of the Jews in the crowd:
But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles….” But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region (Acts 13:45-46,50-51).
Paul met with the same resistance from the general Jewish public that Jesus encountered—so much so that he wrote to Gentiles concerning Jews: “Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake” (Romans 11:28). He meant that the majority of the Jews had rejected Christ and Christianity. Only a “remnant” (Romans 11:5), i.e., a small minority, embraced Christ.
What role did the Romans play in the death of Christ? It certainly is true that Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross. First-century Palestine was under the jurisdiction of Rome. Though Rome permitted the Jews to retain a king in Judea (Herod), the Jews were subject to Roman law in legal matters. In order to achieve the execution of Jesus, the Jews had to appeal to the Roman authorities for permission (John 18:31). A simple reading of the verses that pertain to Jewish attempts to acquire this permission for the execution are clear in their depiction of Roman reluctance in the matter. Pilate, the governing procurator in Jerusalem, sought literally to quell and diffuse the Jewish efforts to kill Jesus. He called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people and stated plainly to them:
“You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him. I will therefore chastise Him and release Him” (for it was necessary for him to release one to them at the feast). And they all cried out at once, saying, “Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas”—who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder. Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them. But they shouted, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” Then he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go.” But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed. So Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested. And he released to them the one they requested, who for rebellion and murder had been thrown into prison; but he delivered Jesus to their will (Luke 23:14-25).
It is difficult to conceptualize the level of hostility possessed by the Jewish hierarchy, and even by a segment of the Jewish population, toward a man who had done nothing worthy of such hatred. It is incredible to think that they would clamor for the release of a known murderer and insurrectionist, rather than allow the release of Jesus. Yes, the Roman authority was complicit in the death of Jesus. But Pilate would have had no interest in pursuing the matter if the Jewish leaders and crowd had not pressed for it. In fact, he went to great lengths to perform a symbolic ceremony in order to communicate the fact that he was not responsible for Jesus’ death. He announced to the multitude: “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it” (Matthew 27:24). Technically, the Romans cannot rightly be said to be ultimately responsible. If the Jews had not pressed the matter, Pilate never would have conceded to having Him executed. The apostle Peter made this point very clear by placing the blame for the crucifixion of Jesus squarely on the shoulders of Jerusalem Jews:
Men of Israel…the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses (Acts 3:12-16, emp. added).
Notice that even though the Romans administered the actual crucifixion, Peter pointedly stated to his Jewish audience, not only that Pilate wanted to release Jesus, but that the Jews (“you”)—not the Romans—“killed the Prince of life.”
Does God lay the blame for the death of Christ on the Jews as an ethnic group? Of course not. Though the generation of Jews who were contemporary to Jesus cried out to Pilate, “His blood be on us and on our children” (Matthew 27:25, emp. added), it remains a biblical fact that “the son shall not bear the guilt of the father” (Ezekiel 18:20). A majority of a particular ethnic group in a particular geographical locale at a particular moment in history may band together and act in concert to perpetrate a social injustice. But such an action does not indict all individuals everywhere who share that ethnicity. “For there is no partiality with God” (Romans 2:11), and neither should there be with any of us.
In fact, the New Testament teaches that ethnicity should have nothing to do with the practice of the Christian religion—which includes how we see ourselves, as well as how we treat others. Listen carefully to Paul’s declarations on the subject: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham's seed” (Galatians 3:28-29, emp. added). Jesus obliterated the ethnic distinction between Jew and non-Jew:
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity (Ephesians 2:14-17).
In the higher sense, neither the Jews nor the Romans crucified Jesus. Oh, they were all complicit, including Judas Iscariot. But so were we. Every accountable human being who has ever lived or ever will live has committed sin that necessitated the death of Christ—if atonement was to be made so that sin could be forgiven. Since Jesus died for the sins of the whole world (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2), every sinner is responsible for His death. But that being said, the Bible is equally clear that in reality, Jesus laid down His own life for humanity: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep…. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:11,17-18; cf. Galatians 1:4; 2:20; Ephesians 5:2; 1 John 3:16). Of course, the fact that Jesus was willing to sacrifice Himself on the behalf of humanity does not alter the fact that it still required human beings, in this case first-century Jews, exercising their own free will to kill Him. A good summary passage on this matter is Acts 4:27-28—“for of a truth in this city against thy holy Servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, were gathered together, to do whatsoever thy hand and thy council foreordained to come to pass.”

CONCLUSION

The movie is, indeed, graphic. Despite various inaccuracies and additions that usually come with an attempt to transfer a biblical narrative to the screen, The Passion of the Christ nevertheless does a credible job of reenacting the excruciating torment that Jesus endured by undergoing Roman scourging and crucifixion. The film fosters a renewed appreciation of the suffering that Jesus subjected Himself to in behalf of sinful humanity.
Anti-Semitism is sinful and unchristian. Those who crucified Jesus are to be pitied. Even Jesus said concerning them: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). But we need not deny or rewrite history in the process. We now live in a post-Christian culture. If Gibson would have produced a movie depicting Jesus as a homosexual, the liberal, “politically correct,” anti-Christian forces would have been the first to defend the undertaking under the guise of “artistic license,” “free speech,” and “creativity.” But dare to venture into spiritual reality by showing the historicity of sinful man mistreating the Son of God, and the champions of moral degradation and hedonism raise angry, bitter voices of protest. The irony of the ages is—He died even for them.

REFERENCES

Abbott, Walter, ed. (1966), The Documents of Vatican II (New York, NY: America Press).
“ADL and Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion,’ ” [On-line], URL: http://www.adl.org/interfaith/gibson_qa.asp.
Hudson, Deal (2003), “The Gospel according to Braveheart,” The Spectator, [On-line], URL: http://www.spectator.co.uk/article.php3?table=old&section=current&issue= 2003-09-20&id=3427&searchText=.
“Legislator Tries to Censor Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion,’ ” [On-line], URL: http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2003/8/27/124709.shtml.
“Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion’ Makes Waves,” [On-line], URL: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/08/08/entertainment/main567445.shtml.
Novak, Michael (2003), “Passion Play,” The Weekly Standard, [On-line], URL: http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/014ziqma.asp.
“O’Reilly: Elite Media out to Destroy Mel Gibson,” [On-line], URL: http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2003/9/15/223513.shtml.
Passion Web site, [On-line], URL: http://www.passion-movie.com/english/index.html.
“20th Decides Against Distributing Gibson’s ‘The Passion,’ ” [On-line], URL: http://www.imdb.com/SB?20030829#3.
“Vatican Has Not Taken A Position on Gibson’s Film ‘The Passion,’ Top Cardinal Assures ADL,” [On-line], URL: http://www.adl.org/PresRele/VaticanJewish_96/4355_96.htm.
Zoll, Rachel (2003), “Jewish Civil Rights Leader Says Actor Mel Gibson Espouses Anti-Semitic Views,” [On-line], URL: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2003/09/19/ national1505EDT0626.DTL.