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It’s frustrating at times watching christians attempt to describe what they believe as if it makes perfect sense, little realising that they’ve replaced what God actually said for what they want him to say in order for Jesus to be relevant and useful.
So they see that in the garden of Eden, God says “on the day you eat from the forbidden tree, you’ll most definitely die.” Yet man didn’t die on that same day. So what I hear from them is that the man died “spiritually,” that he lost some relationship with God, that he was consigned to having a sin nature, and a judgment of hell at the end of one’s life.
Some would say this “spiritual death” means a loss of innocence, a time when a man’s faculty of discerning right from wrong would be distorted, compromised and unreliable.
And either or both of these forms of “spiritual death” would be inherited by all humans that followed the first man and woman, the only solution being the execution of “the messiah,” someone who was either God in the flesh, or a sinless human who had some sort of pre-existence.
What is amazing about these christian notions is that it’s based on the notion that when God said “on that day … you must die,” he meant “within the span of a day and a night from the time the man eats the fruit, the man will expire, stop existing, stop breathing.” For those christians, if man didn’t die naturally within about 24 hours of him eating the fruit, then that gives them the liberty to “interpret” novel meanings of death and create a need for Jesus and also create the notion of “spiritual death.”
Let’s be blunt and honest, you and me. When God made man a living being, there is little confusion about what that means, even if it is hard to put into words. God formed man and breathed into him the breath of life, and then man could breath for himself, walk, talk, think, have biological functions. There’s no notion of “spiritual life.” The dude was just alive.
So when God threatens death, there is no valid reason for confusion about what He was talking about. God would take away that vital principle, the “autonomous,” biological and conscious aspect of man and reduce him to being inert.
Why make things more complicated by introducing a concept to the books of Moses that is nowhere there, the ambiguous concept of “spiritual death?” Well, except from trying to force Jesus into the text.
“But David, even you have to admit, man didn’t die on the same day that he ate from the fruit.”
Sure, I can admit that. But that’s not the issue. The first question to ask is what God meant when he said what he said, according to the Hebrew, not the English.
Now an old Jewish commentary/translation called Targum Yerushalmi (or Targum Jonathan or Targum Pseudo-Jonathan) gives its interpretation.
On the day you eat from it, you shall be liable to death. (https://www.sefaria.org/Targum_Jonathan_on_Genesis.2)
A rabbi from old times, RambaN, or Nachmanides, used concepts that were in the books of Moses to bring across his interpretation. He said, in his commentary on this verse, that this statement means that on the day the man eats from the tree, he shall incur the death penalty. The same phrase is used in 1 Kings 2:42 where king Solomon informs a man that on the day that he should leave a place, he will certainly die. The issue is the certainty of death, not the time of death.
Both of these approaches retain the understanding of “you are going to die” or “your death is certain” without resorting to novel ideas to push an agenda.
Think about it! God says “you’re going to definitely die!” To a living being, that makes simple sense. But to turn death into “separation from God,” or “losing a relationship,” or “loss of innocence,” or being consigned to eternal torment or such like is to rip and rid the word of its consistent meaning.
But it should not be surprising that christians load onto the text such novel, innovative and foreign ideas. For too many of them, these chapters describe where three Gods (“elohim,” “God’s spirit,” “let us make man …”) make a perfect creation (“very good” somehow means “perfect”), the evil devil turns into or possesses a snake, where the messiah is supposed to bruise the devil’s head while the devil bruises the messiah’s heel. All these things are supposed to happen but the text is silent on such things.
It seems like christians lose their grasp of language when they find a text they want to shove Jesus into.
Of old have you laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of your hands. They shall perish, but you shall endure: yea, all of them shall grow old like a garment; as a vesture shall you change them, and they shall be changed: But you are the same, and your years shall have no end. (Psalm 102:25-27)
I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he. (Isaiah 41:4)
Knowledgeable christians should recognise portions of these passages. The Jesus-worshippers among them will say that the new testament books of Hebrews and Revelations applies these passages from the Jewish Bible to Jesus. They will say that since these passages talk about God in the “old testament” and the new testament applies them to Jesus, therefore Jesus is God.
Amazingly enough, these texts refute the very idea that Jesus could be God.
Both of these passages say a similar thing. They refer to the eternity of God. That means the timeless nature of God. God created time, he is outside of its power.
To be outside of time means that God’s nature is exactly the same way right now as it was back thousands of years ago. It will be exactly the same thousands of years in the future. At any moment in time, God can say “I’m the same one,” or “I am he.”
The same cannot be said for a human. Humans grow older. We start this life stupid, lacking understanding and knowledge. We grow, change, mature. I’m not the same person I was when I was born. My knowledge, maturity, size and capacity has changed as well as many other things about me. I can’t say “I am the same” as the person I was when I was born.
Now look at the Jesus presented by the new testament. He wa born, he grew up, he grew in wisdom, his body and mind changed over his life according to the new testament. His body was also changed due to injury and death. That dude was like any human, changing, maturing, etc.
Comparing the changeless, eternal, timeless God with the changing, growing, developing Jesus, stuck in time as any human, it is plain to see that Jesus was not God at all!
Another popular teaching amongst christians is the doctrine that you cannot be good or do good without being possessed by or having indwelling the holy spirit. Yes I did say, “having indwelling the holy spirit.” I used “indwelling” as an adverb. Sorry, I got lost there.
Anyway, this teaching further reinforces the view of the helplessness of man, how we are powerless to obey God without this other influence working in our bones that is not from our own will or strength but from God’s.
Question: “How can I live a holy life?
Answer: In order to address the question of how to live a holy life, we must first understand what holy means. To be holy means to be set apart or separate from sin and evil. God is holy—completely separate from everything that is evil (1 John 1:5). God calls us to be holy, just as He is (1 Peter 1:16, quoting Leviticus 19:2), but it’s vital to understand that apart from God this is impossible. We must have the Holy Spirit indwelling us and filling us with His holiness. We can only live a holy life through the power of the Spirit; thus, the first step to living a holy life is to accept Jesus as Savior (Ephesians 1:13). (from https://www.gotquestions.org/holy-life.html)
He empowers us to do what is right, live in faith and do good works (Ro 7:18, Eph 2:4-10). It is always God’s work in us that means that we are saved in Christ and living new lives for him. It is the Spirit that makes Christians aware of their sin and empowers them to turn away in repentance. (http://christianity.net.au/questions/why_do_we_need_the_holy_spirit)
As you can see, for christians, they are taught that it is highly important to this other spirit (it’s not the human spirit, so it’s an “other” spirit) living in you to “empower” or give you the ability to live obediently to God.
This has to be contrasted with the the books of Moses and the Jewish Bible on a whole which gives a distinctly different picture.
In Genesis 4:7, God tells Cain that there is forgiveness and acceptance if he does what is good; but if he doesn’t improve, sin crouches at the door. God adds something contradictory to the christian doctrine. He says that although sin desires Cain, Cain can master it.
That makes no sense with the xtian doctrine of man being a helpless slave to sin. A helpless slave is the utter opposite of the possibility God reveals to Cain. God says Cain can master it.
In Deuteronomy 30:11-14, Moses teaches that the commandment, the Torah, that he’s taught to Israel, which he received from God, was not beyond their ability, it wasn’t too hard or out of reach. This prophet, who had the most direct communication with Deity, said that the commandment was so close and accessible to Israel for them to do it.
For any who accept the five books of Moses as having high authority conferred upon them by God, it should be of great importance that God never taught or commanded that a man needs the other spirit, His holy spirit, just to obey him. Such an idea is absent from the law of God.
Deuteronomy 30 continues with expressing this ability of the human Israelites to obey God by focusing on choice. Between verses 15 and 20, Moses lays before them the choice to do good and obey God, and to do evil and disobey God. And he says to Israel, “Choose life! Choose good!”
It may not seem like a big thing. I get it. But tell me something, does God, the all-knowing, ever command a person to do what they cannot do? When he commands a man not to murder, that necessarily implies that man has the ability to refrain from taking the physical life of someone else. When he tells the earth to bring forth grass and animals, that means he has already given the ability for the earth to do as it’s told. That’s the power and wisdom of God.
So when Israel is offered a choice by God’s prophet, that necessarily implies that the people have the ability to fulfil either part of the choice.
The message of the Hebrew Bible, over and over again, is that man is not powerless. God has set before any man a choice, a demand. It has been shown to us what is good and what God requires from us: fairness, kindness and humility before God (Micah 6:8). A man can find favour in the eyes of God as Noah did.
It never said you need God’s spirit just to obey him. Guess what? We’re already made in God’s image. That means a whole lot.
It’s been 14 years since I rejected Jesus. And in that time, I’ve still had an ongoing relationship with different churches due to my christian wife. A good amount of times I’ve presented the fact that I’ve left christiannty and why I did it.
There’s been a common occurrence at every church I’ve been to:
The congregants and the pastor are ignorant of the messianic prophecies in the Jewish Bible. They have no clue how to deal with an informed rejection of Jesus. They have ways for dealing with the “unchurched” (not effective ways, but they go with the rehearsed story of Jesus dying for sins). But to deal with someone who can quote or refer to more messianic prophecies than they even know with knowledge of the context, they are generally quite lost.
In 14 years there have been 4 or 5 attempts to get me to be christian again, one of them coming from my wife. All of them showed weak to non-existent knowledge of their “old testament” (the only thing I accept as a legitimate reason to accept Jesus as messiah), all of them were very short-lived, lasting one or two tries, and most of them were referring me elsewhere to do the footwork. One time I was referred to the new testament, which turned me further away from the idea of Jesus being the messiah based on the horrific misuse of the Jewish Bible. And the other pointed me to a video by Chuck Missler, which showed me how terrible christians were at using the Jewish Bible in a consistently cogent manner. The person who referred me to Chuck Missler didn’t even know or understand the evidences he was providing.
All this shows me that the christian faith of today in general is based on ignorance and a different foundation to the men of their “new testament,” if it is taken on face value. Those men were at least quoting the Jewish Bible (or its Greek translation), even if they did so horribly. It was all they had.
But the modern christians I deal with can’t even do that badly and do far worse.
Modern christians haven’t adopted a pagan/idolatrous religion simply because many of them worship a false god, whether it be jesus or a combination of divinities in some union, but because their faith is not based on knowledge of the Jewish Bible, but on something else, be it their emotional devotion to a man or their craving to be saved from death.
Knowing the truth is one of the first steps to freeing oneself from rebellion against God. For too many christians, the ignorance of the Jewish Bible is the first step to embracing that rebellion with a horrific sense of joy.
James, the author of the book “Leaving Jesus,” inspired me to write a ebook of my own. It’s been a long time coming but it is in its final stages before I try self-publishing it. So far, the main title will be “Paul of Tarsus – The Bitter Root.” There may also be a subtitle, “A layman’s journey through Paul’s usage of the Hebrew Scriptures and more.” Hopefully it interests someone.
I wonder though, is Kindle the best format for as many people as possible? Or are there other popular formats people wish to have available? If you have a view, please feel free to comment.
But I’ve got another idea for another book but I’ll get started on that once this one is actually out there.
All the best to everyone out there.
I had the “joy” of seeing another fallacy christians make about God’s emissaries.
I read an article written by Jews who had rejected the Torah to adopt idolatry, Jews for Jesus. In it, they claim that there is an entity known as “the Angel of the Lord,” which is a special deputy that, because this representative of God has the rights an representative would have, speaking God’s word in his authority, they mistake for being God Himself. This “Angel,” according to these people, appeared a number of times to people like Hagar and Gideon.
Now I already stated that Jesus never claimed he was this angel. He never gave these acolytes and devotees authorisation to force his identity on the emissary that appears in the Jewish Bible. So their claims are pure unauthorised speculation. I also showed that, if Jesus is God as they claim, then since it is called “God’s angel/deputy” in the text, it is as much an angel of Jesus as it is an angel of the father. So it makes no sense to have this emissary of Jesus actually be Jesus.
But with all that aside, these people make another unwarranted assumption when they force this special deputy into existence.
In the text of the Jewish Bible, God has many “angels.” In Genesis 19, two of His emissaries arrive to save Lot. Multiple emissaries meet with Jacob in Genesis 32. God assembles many angels in Job 1. So God has many supernatural agents.
Whenever this “THE Angel of the Lord” is mentioned in the Jewish Bible, there is never a definite article in the text in the Hebrew. It may say “malakh HaShem” (I’m not going to transliterate God’s special name so that’s why I use the substitute word “HaShem”), or “malakh elohim.” Both of these could just as simply be understood as “an angel of God” or “an angel of the Lord.” There is no definite article in the Hebrew to say THE angel of the Lord.
So knowing that God has many angels, the question comes up, what clear and explicit piece of evidence shows that the deputy of God that appeared to Hagar is the same one that appeared to Gideon or the one that appeared to Abraham and Jacob? It’s not that many angelic appearances have an emissary speaking for God because that’s what a representative or a messenger does. Any supernatural messenger would have that connection to Deity. Any messenger saying “ I’m gonna bless your offspring” is still a messenger conveying the message of the Sender. Any messenger saying “you didn’t withhold your only son from me” is still a messenger conveying a message from the Sender. Any deputy has the authority of the person who sent him. Any emissary has the authority given to him by the one who commissioned him. A representative … represents.
And these messengers don’t normally have names. So it’s not like this is a messenger saying to Hagar, “Hey, I’m Nigel, the ONLY special Angel (with a capital A) from God,” and then this same messenger comes to Abraham and says “hey, it’s me, Nigel again,” and then appears to Gideon saying, “Don’t be afraid because it’s me, Nigel again.” There is no such explicit evidence.
So again, where is the evidence from the text of the Hebrew Bible that this is one and the same angel?
There is no such evidence. This is a speculating christian once again forcing a claim in the text that isn’t even there. A king with a myriad of messengers isn’t limited to sending one or giving his authority to one.
So like many of these christian claims, this claim of a singular “The Angel of the Lord” is without foundation in the Jewish Bible.
A victim of the christian insistence that Jesus must be in the Jewish Bible is the angel. Claims are made that because the angel seems to be equated with God when the text is read superficially, somehow that angel becomes a pre-existent Jesus.
Two facts make this claim baseless. There are other scriptural facts that make the claim nonsensical, but here, to save me writing an essay, I’ll just focus on two.
Firstly, what does the term “angel” mean in its original Hebrew context? It should be made clear from now that the English word “angel” adds a distortion to the meaning of the word. The Hebrew word “mal’akh” does not have a supernatural or religious aspect inherent in it like the term “angel.” It doesn’t inherently mean “a spiritual being.” The term means “a deputy, an emissary, a messenger, representative.” The idea is of one sent to do a particular job or to act or speak in the place of the sender. Moses sends melakhim, kings send melackhim, and God sends melakhim.
Immediately there is a separation between the deputy and the sender, the representative and the person he is meant to represent. Based on the terms, a messenger is not the sender. An emissary can speak with the authority of the person who sent him and the words of the messenger are the words of the one who sent him. But based on the word itself, one sent, the person sent is not the person who sent him.
Therefore, the messengers of Moses are not Moses. But when they speak, it is Moses speaking.
In the same way, when a messenger of the Lord says “I tell you that I will do X,” logically, it is the word of God, not the messenger. When the representative of God says “you haven’t withheld your son from me” he is saying is speaking God’s words, not his own.
Secondly, Jesus never claimed to be such a messenger as the ones mentioned in the Jewish Bible. There is not one passage in the new testament that makes the claim that Jesus was the angel of God.
This is extremely important because when a christian starts trying to paint the identity of Jesus onto the angels in the Jewish Bible and in the Torah, they are doing so without his permission, without his say so. They’re making a case based on their own personal agenda with nothing really based on the text of the new testament. And it is based on speculation, not some fact in the text. As Jesus never claimed to be that angel, the whole belief is based on speculation.
Someone tried to tell me that the emissary in the Torah points to the Trinity, but with knowledge of what an emissary is and the fact that Jesus gave no permission for christians to paint his identity where it never was, the argument is a baseless, fruitless one.