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Refined by Law

Moreover, I gave them statutes that were not good and judgments by which they could not live, and I defiled them by their own gifts in their passing of every firstborn through [the fire], that I might devastate them. I did it that they might know that I am the Lord.

Ezekiel 20:25
Moses Viewing the Promised Land
Frederic Edwin Church – 1846

Moses charged the Israelites to learn the law and obey it, and then sent the people into the Promised Land. He was not allowed in with them of course, but perhaps that was for the best. After a short honeymoon, the people plotted against each other and fought viciously. Saul attacked David relentlessly, and the Israelites battled the Judeans for hundreds of years. Moses no doubt knew it would be a disaster.

This law contributed to the internecine warfare:

If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known, some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him. But you shall kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. And all Israel shall hear and fear and never again do any such wickedness as this among you.

Deuteronomy 13:6

No doubt it helped cause the sinat hinam that fragmented the Jewish peoples and destroyed us many times, including the destruction of the temples and our repeated exiles.

However the law has a positive side: it refines our skills at argumentation, persuasion, logic and cooperation, and breeds us to excel in all manner of scientific and artistic fields – because winning was a matter of life and death. Thus we have many prominent lawyers and politicians, and they fought on both sides of the recent impeachment fiasco: Schiff, Nadler, Schumer, Dershowitz, Barr, and Sekulow (some have converted to Christianity). This kind of high stakes contest is nothing new for the Jews.

An adverse consequence of this skill is our propensity to gang up and bully to impose dangerous laws and policies on our home countries, such as censorship and open borders, that backfire resulting in our destruction. Pogroms and the Holocaust were the result of this. And of course, we’re experts at relentless persecution of the Palestinians and demonization of them as ‘terrorists’. Fortunately the effectiveness of these deplorable tactics is waning.

Furnace of Bad Laws

Such bad laws offend our modern sensibilities. People today look back at biblical strictures in horror and contempt. We consider them to be monstrous and blame today’s problems on that kind of thinking. Ironically our self righteousness, thirst for justice and legal acumen are the fruit of this law. It shaped us as a people and helps explain both our successes and our debacles. It was another ‘furnace’ not unlike slavery:

But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day.

Deuteronomy 4:20

For you, O God, have tested us;
  you have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net;
  you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
you let men ride over our heads;
  we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

Psalm 66:10

Biblical law wasn’t meant to be perfect. How could it be? Its purpose was to breed us into a great people. It was part of the first covenant to bring us from slavery to freedom. It was never meant to be permanent, though of course many Zionists are still living in the age when you can take land by force and target people for sniping with the accusation of “Amalek” (‘antisemite’, ‘jihadi’, ‘terrorist’, etc).

The purpose of this harsh law is not only to force the people to understand the law, but also to induce us to modify it as necessary. The bible has many examples of amending the law. For example, the granting of property rights to the daughters of Zelophehad can be considered an early assertion of equal rights.

Once as a people we can understand the law, learn the law, perfect it, and universally obey it, we can enter the Promised Land. This is the point of the New Covenant announced by Jeremiah: the covenant of peace. In this covenant, we establish equality with other nations, and everyone knows the law:

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.

Jeremiah 31:33

The purpose of knowing the law by heart is so that we no longer need judges or governments. As slavery in Egypt was imposed by outside tyrants, bad laws are a form of self-inflicted oppression. We were given freedom in stages and certainly backtracked many times. Free speech as we know it today was established when the US Constitution proclaimed liberty in 1786. This achievement leaves no doubt that all people are capable of knowing the law. We need only do a better job of sharing our values of freedom and prosperity with the rest of the world.

Fulfilling the Law

Jesus rescinded many of the ‘bad’ laws and ordinances, such as stoning for adultery and expanding the menu of edible foods. As a gay man, he was no doubt motivated by the prohibition on homosexuality, even if he never referenced it. Most importantly he established equality with the other nations: they are all perfectly capable of learning and obeying the law so that we can all live together in freedom:

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:1

This is the reverse Tower of Babel when God confounded us and dispersed us, and we continue this process of reintegration today.

Thus Jesus ‘fulfilled’ the law of Moses and the prophets on a newly transformed people, as predicted by King David:

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
  today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
  and the ends of the earth your possession.”

Psalm 2:7

This achievement was the essence of his appeal among the Jews, as well as the source of scorn and condemnation. The rabbis were still holding onto the old ways and didn’t want to forfeit their charter on right and wrong. Zionists still cling to the precepts of the old covenant such as attacking Amalek and taking land by force. The ultra orthodox study the ancient law and know it better than anyone. This inflates their sense of supremacy, but they fail to appreciate that the purpose isn’t just to know it but to practice and perfect it to create the Garden of Eden. They are stuck in time, having misconstrued God’s promise.

Contempt for the ‘bad laws’ that inspired socialist doctrines reassures them that they are God. Bernie is hailed as nothing less.

America has been tremendously successful in perfecting the law, including implementing equal rights for all. We must end the wars on drugs, guns and ‘sex trafficking’ among other hysterias, and gradually scale back our police state. We must also abolish entitlements including social security and medicare. But these things will happen. Everyone will not just know God’s law, but they will agree to it (love it) and obey it. Then we can live in safety and abundance in the land the Lord swore to give to our fathers.

Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
  be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
  and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
  lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
  for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Psalm 2:10

Wrestling with God

And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”

Genesis 32:24
Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, Alexandre-Louis Leloir, 1865
Roger Quilliot Art Museum, Clermont-Ferrand, France
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Children of God

All that open the womb are mine, and every firstling of your cattle born a male, ox or sheep. The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before me empty-handed.

Exodus 34:19
The Sacrifice of Isaac; Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – 1729
Palazzo Patriarcale, Udine, Italy

Isaac was the first born Jew of the original covenant, and thus had to be offered to God. Fortunately he was redeemed by a ram (click the image to see the full version). God will provide for us, though we must trust him.

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Covenant of Peace

Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 10:16
A rainbow rises from the mountains near the Dead Sea.
Rainbow over Israel
Continue reading Covenant of Peace

Zionism: False Prophecy

Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are saying to you, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon,’ for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you. I have not sent them, declares the Lord, but they are prophesying falsely in my name.

Jeremiah 27:15
Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem – Rembrandt van Rijn – 1630
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

King Nebuchadnezzar had already plundered Israel’s treasures and sent many of the Jews into exile. Now they were threatening to conquer Jerusalem. Jeremiah urged the people to accept the yoke of Babylon:

Continue reading Zionism: False Prophecy

Down with the Kitarchy

Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 (King Solomon)
Jethro advising Moses
Jan van Bronchorst – 1659
Royal Palace of Amsterdam

The goal of both Judaism and Christianity is to be obedient not to man or princes or kings or a government, but only to God.

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The Wages of Sin

But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
    they make mouths at me; they wag their heads:
“He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
    let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

Psalm 22:6

The most powerful yet unrecognized psychological dynamic is the vicious cycle of sin, scorn and denial. It can start in childhood with a small but embarrassing mistake, whether unintentional or premeditated. The offender is then subjected to painful (if mild) scorn by others. The result can be denial – pretend the embarrassing incident never happened. All traces of it are blotted from memory. If people show scorn on their face when you pass, look again – it is gone. Perhaps it was just in your head? All is well.

Jesus, King of the Jews – Danish – 1613
Continue reading The Wages of Sin

Sins of the Fathers

As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart.

2 Samuel 6:16
The arrival of the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem by a singing and dancing King David – Van Lint – 1650

David’s wife Michal knew that her father, King Saul, who was denied the honor of bringing the Ark into its everlasting home in Jerusalem, would never have conducted himself with such vulgarity. And perhaps she knew that this celebration was premature, and that David was susceptible to the same dark forces that doomed her father.

Continue reading Sins of the Fathers