Salvation and forgiveness – comparing the Jewish Bible with the NT

I wrote this years ago, but I thought I could share it here. It originally contained my attempts at saying the special name of God. Hopefully I rooted all of that crap out.

So, without further ado.

What is salvation?

The actual Hebrew word comes from the word yasha meaning to help, free, deliver, or save. In the Torah, it is not used in the same way the new testament uses it, since it is not used in the context of sin, just deliverance from some sort of trouble (physical, “real” trouble) like the Israelite deliverance from Egypt (Exo 14:13), or from the Philistines (1 Sam 14:45). Even with the rest of the Jewish Bible, “salvation” isn’t really viewed as someone’s being saved from sin. Now one can say that someone is “saved” from sin, but to be honest, the Jewish Bible doesn’t really talk about sin like that. It deals more with righteousness, atonement, and forgiveness.

What is forgiveness?

When it comes to sin against God, forgiveness is where he frees a person from their debt of sin, and normally involves sparing them from his wrath and blame. There are three Hebrew words that involve forgiveness.

The word “salach” simply means to pardon or spare.

The word “nasa'” means to bear, lift, take. This is where God takes the sin from you, or he bears your sin. It is interesting how the Torah speaks of accountability for wrong. When a person is guilty of doing a wrong, then it says, “he shall bear his sin” (e.g., Lev 5:1; 20:17; 5:31). But when forgiven, God bears their sin (Exo 32:32; 23:21, Gen 18:24; Psalm 32:5). I believe it could mean, on the part of the person sinned against, to bear the cost and not apply it to the person who has sinned. Or it could mean to take away, or lift from the sinner the guilt or blame of the crime. On the part of the person who has sinned, it means to bear the responsibility, blame, and cost of the crime, until it has been paid or forgiven.

The final word is kaphar, which means to cover according to Strongs Hebrew Dictionary (number 3722), and also has the meanings of “to placate, pacify, expiate, make reconciliation, make atonement, condone or cancel”. This was compiled from both Strongs Dictionary and Brown Driver Briggs (BDB) Abridged Hebrew Dictionary.

How was such forgiveness obtained?
As said before, “salvation from sin” is not the emphasis of the Jewish Bible. It speaks more of forgiveness and atonement for sin, while salvation is used for physical deliverance.

So how did a person get forgiveness for sin? How did one get atonement? We need to be honest with this question. There are people who may misuse our answer, but we must remain faithful to scripture. What is the first incidence of a way of forgiveness?

I wouldn’t say that this first example is a strong example, but I believe it is a good one, nonetheless.

Gen 4:3-7 As time passed, it happened that Cain brought an offering to God from the fruit of the ground. Abel also brought some of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat of it. God respected Abel and his offering, but he didn’t respect Cain and his offering. Cain was very angry, and the expression on his face fell. God said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why has the expression of your face fallen? If you do well, will it not be lifted up? If you don’t do well, sin crouches at the door. Its desire is for you, but you are to rule over it.”

Cain’s offering to God was not acceptable. Cain was angry. But the almighty said if you do better, if you do well, if you do good, then you will be exalted. But if not, sin is ready to devour you. The message here is that if Cain wants to, he can rule it. If he does better and does good, then he can overcome wrong-doing and make up for acts that are unacceptable to the Almighty.

As I say, that was possibly a weaker scripture, but the principle in it is still strong. If we do what is unacceptable, we can find elevation and forgiveness (from the same Hebrew root word, nasa’) in doing better and making a change for the better.

OK, the next way of getting forgiveness is through sacrifice, but not on its own. The section dealing with sacrifice extensively is in Leviticus, specifically chapters 4-6, but the chapters around it are very informative. But the fact that more is needed than simple ritual, a mindless, heartless action in sacrifice can be seen by some of the actions done during the ceremony, also by the prophetical statements later in the Jewish Bible.

In the actual ceremony, the person who is bringing the sin offering normally puts his hand on the head of the animal, normally a sign of confession of wrongdoings and failures, or some sort of transferral where the animal somehow represents the man (compare Lev 1:4; 4:4; 16:21). The act of the laying on of hands is used in different ways. In Genesis 48, Jacob lays hands on the sons of Joseph in order to bless them. In Leviticus 24:14, in the case of blasphemy, the people who heard the offender blaspheme lay hands on the head of the person who had cursed the name of God before they kill him for it. It seems to be a symbol of personal responsibility and accountability against the offender. This is a fearful act, because if a person has been wrongly accused and executed, the false witnesses will be held accountable. In Numbers 8:10 the community of Israel lay hands on the heads of the Levites, setting them apart for their distinct office amongst Israel, and giving them over to God. Moses lays hands on Joshua to set him apart as the next leader of the people of Israel, transferring his authority to Joshua (Num 27:18,23).

So as was said before, the primary meaning in the act of the laying on of hands in the rite of animal sacrifice is the transferral of something from the offender to his sacrificial offering. If it were connected with what happens in Yom Kippurim (Day of Atonement, Lev 16), then it would be accompanied with confession. Or it could be the act of devoting the animal to God, or both.

Look at each occurrence of this laying of hands and you will see that there was a severity with each case. Laying hands on the animal on Yom HaKippurim in order to confess sins, blessings, setting apart, all these things could not be real to the Almighty if the basis of them was false. What authority could be conveyed to Joshua if Moshe had none from God? How severe would it be for false witnesses who consigned an innocent man to death for blasphemy? So when the man lays hands on the animal in order to offer it to God, he cannot be doing it for false reasons, with fake intent, NO HEART REPENTANCE, or else the sacrifice means nothing and the man still bears his sin, and that is a fearful thing (see Isaiah 1, Hoshea 6:6).

The animal, once devoted, would be ritually slaughtered and this would bring the forgiveness of God. The man would receive atonement, a ritual covering/cleansing/ransom for his sins (Lev 4:20,26,31, etc.), the life of the animal for his (see Lev 17:11). Before anyone jumps to any conclusions, this sacrifice would be useless if there is no repentance from the person who sinned. Based on the Torah, you cannot use an already dead animal, or spilt blood for atonement. You need to put your hands literally on the ANIMAL (there is NO human sacrifice in Torah), with the truth of your repentance, and then you can obtain forgiveness. If there are sins done by the whole congregation, or on Yom HaKippurim, a representative, like the chief priest or the head of the congregation would put his hands on the sacrifice, showing everyone’s repentance for the sin.

There was also a bloodless sacrifice for those who couldn’t afford to give an animal according to Leviticus 5:11-13, which counters any idea that blood is NECESSARY for forgiveness and atonement. The key ingredients of a true sacrifice appear to be devotion and true repentance. This is seen in other parts of scripture (e.g. Psalm 51:19 [17 in Christian bibles]).

When reading these parts of scripture that talk of sacrifices, you can see that the rituals were very specific. It wasn’t just a case of slaughtering anything anyhow, whatever you liked, as long as it was bloody, without a care of who was doing the sacrificing. Not anyone could offer a ritual animal sacrifice. In the Torah, only Levitical priests could offer sacrifices. The blood and the fat of the animal had to be dealt with in a specific way. If it was a bloodless offering, it had to be treated in a special way. You couldn’t bring any-any animal, like a donkey or horse or tadpole. It had to be what the Torah specified, like a bull of the first year that was unblemished. Even the type of flour was specified. The blood of the animal sacrifice was sprinkled IN the temple, on or near the altar. This was not just a simple show of butchering, but a specific ritual with a specific meaning.

Sacrifices and offerings didn’t cover ALL sins. The early chapters of Leviticus specifies what sorts of sins they covered. They only cover inadvertent sins and I don’t believe it covered every possible inadvertent sin either. Sins done with a high hand (defiantly, not necessarily “presumptuously”) could not be forgiven by sacrifice according to Numbers 15:30-31 (see context).

Now what about if a person has no sacrifice to offer? According to Deut 12, sacrifices can’t be done anywhere. It has to be done in the place where God chooses to place his name, which according to 1 Kings 8 is the temple of God in Jerusalem. That temple has been destroyed a number of times and now it is in a ruined state. There have been situations where people live too far from a temple, and they still fail and do wrong. What about gentiles? They do wrong as well according to the bad stuff that happened in Genesis and in some of the prophetic writings. What does the Jewish Bible say?

First, let me give an analogy before I give scripture. This doesn’t mean that the analogy is more important than scripture, but it will help with understanding.

If you commit a wrong against your father or someone who you respect a lot and you can’t see a way to repay them for the wrong, what do you do? Well, most decent people would go to that person humbly and ask them for forgiveness. It is up to the person that you’ve wronged and the relationship you have with the person whether they’ll forgive you or not. If there is love there, then you’ll probably get forgiven.

How much more is this true for our heavenly father?

Now when it comes to our creator, God, let’s see what his character is like (because as shown in the above analogy, it depends on the person).

Exo 20:5,6 you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, God your Deity, am a jealous deity, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me, and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Exo 34:6,7 God passed by before him, and proclaimed, “God! God, mighty in compassion and grace, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth, keeping loving kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and disobedience and sin; but not utterly acquitting, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the children’s children, on the third and on the fourth generation.”

I think there is something wonderful about these verses, yet something so scary. People may see a contradiction between a forgiving deity who doesn’t utterly acquit a person. I’ve noticed that a similar Hebrew phrase is used in Jeremiah 30:11 and 46:28. You can see what that says. I was reading a book called “Who needs God?” by Harold Kushner. It showed how necessary it was that when a person is forgiven for a sin, they needed to know that it is taken seriously. With a person very close to me, they said if they ever cheated on me, they couldn’t take it if I just gave them forgiveness so easily. That would make it too cheap. There has to be some reaction, some “punishment”. Some try to make out that when God says that he will not totally acquit a person he means that that person still needs to give a sacrifice. That isn’t really what the text is saying. Looking at the other usages of the Hebrew phrase, it may just point to chastisement on God’s part on the person who has failed or done the crime or that the crime will not be totally unpunished. The definition of that word in hebrew translated “totally acquitting” according to my hebrew lexicon at home (A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament: Based upon the Lexical Work of Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner) is “to leave unpunished”. So this agrees with the conclusion that the statement is really saying that God will not leave a sin totally unpunished. You don’t get off scott-free.

We must still remember that God is merciful, gracious, and compassionate (which will lead me to my next point). He has mercy on those that try their best for him, on those that try to turn back to him from their evil ways. He may lighten the chastisement in his loving kindness, or even see the state of a person’s broken heart and spirit (remember Psalm 51) and choose to leave out the punishment since in a way the lesson is learned. This can be seen in some significant scriptures (Ezekiel 18:27-28; 33:14-16; Psalm 51). God, in his mercy, even accepts righteous prayer and fasting and repentance in order to forgive sins (2 Chronicles 7:14; Hoshea 14:3 [2 in Christian bibles]; Proverbs 16:6; Psalms 32:5).

Please note that repentance doesn’t mean simply to be sorry for sin. It may be part of the equation but not the whole thing. Remember that although the Almighty knows our hearts, he also expects a change in our actions. True repentance is where a person stops DOING the wrong, and thus turns (teshuvah) from it and turns towards DOING what is right and good. See Isaiah 1 and Isaiah 58 and compare it with Deut 10:12-13 and Exodus 20:6. Loving God isn’t simply a feeling or simple “faith”. It is a lifestyle. It is in what you DO. Look in the scriptures in Isaiah (and all over the place) and I hope you will see that although God wants a good heart, he is telling people to change your lives and actions and says little about “have faith” and “believe”. He wants obedience, which is what he says through his prophet, Samuel (1 Samuel 15:22). Don’t worry. He doesn’t leave gentiles out (1 Kings 8:41-43; Isaiah 56, Jonah 2).

So you should see from all this that sacrifice IS one way to get forgiveness. If a person is in the position to give a sacrifice to God in the proper way (through a Levite at the temple) he should do so. The other means of obtaining forgiveness do not negate that, in the same way that sacrifice (especially blood sacrifice) is not the SOLE means of asking and receiving God’s forgiveness. Remembering the above analogy where you sin against your father or a person you respect, if you don’t have the means to repay them you shouldn’t just forget asking for forgiveness, thinking that you are forever in sin against them. It is necessary that you must ask so that you show them that you understand and admit your guilt. It’s up to them to forgive you. Knowing God, he is more than capable of forgiving when a payment or sacrifice is not possible, when asked sincerely for forgiveness. He is not as rigid as people make out, where he MUST have blood in order to be appeased. Anyone saying that must be mistaking him for a vampire or a pagan deity who not only enjoys animal blood, but also enjoys human blood too. He is wise, merciful, and righteous. He can see our hearts enough to see our repentance (which is key to almost all forgiveness), and has enough love and strength to take away our sins when he sees that we are but dust, and when we recognise that we are dust compared to his excellent glory.

What about righteousness?

Of course we have the Torah to show both Jew and Gentile God’s standard for righteousness. Although different parts of the Torah apply to different people, God still requires that we do what is right towards him and each other. Here is a summary of his standards.

Lev 18:5 You shall therefore keep my statutes and my ordinances; which if a man does, he shall live in them: I am God.

Deu 6:4,5 Hear, Israel: God is our Deity; God is one: and you shall love God your Deity with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.

Deu 6:13,14 You shall fear God your Deity; and him shall you serve, and shall swear by his name. You shall not go after other deities, of the deities of the peoples who are round about you;

Lev 19:18b but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am God.

Mic 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good. What does God require of you, but to act justly [do judgment], to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your Master?

Although these were taken from the Hebrew scriptures, I believe that these principles have worldwide connotations and can be obeyed by any human. An example of a righteous man can be seen in Ezekiel 18. The Torah and the Jewish Bible has much more to say on this, but from what has been shown before, you should be able to love God, that means to keep his laws, teachings, and principles. That means in your actions as well as in your heart. Sin (or maybe more properly failure/wrongdoing, since the Hebrew word normally translated sin means to miss the mark) is when you disobey God’s principles. According to Proverbs 16:6 you can avoid or leave sin by fearing (revering or respecting) God and thus by doing his will. It’s already been seen how to obtain forgiveness in your own situation.

I hope you read scriptures like the Psalms and other places to show you how to deal with our own failures. Knowing that God forgives and can throw your sins into the sea of forgetfulness (Micah 7:18) and take your sins far away from you (Psalm 103:8-14), turn away from your wrongdoing and try your best to do right. Give it your all. God is like a father who will help you when you try and have mercy on you if you slip up and miss the mark. Be strong in God and in the power of his might!

Remember, God wants righteousness. If you ain’t perfect, and slip, here’s some encouragement, especially for those who are told that God expects total perfection.

Pro 24:16 For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises up again; But the wicked are overthrown by calamity.

Comparison with “new testament” doctrine

Although this article was inspired by William Gaddam, who was asking people about their journey out of Christianity and how they see forgiveness and atonement now, and also by Raine Miller who pointed me to some statements in the Christian “new testament” which would be good to address, I realise that the main point in this article is none of these things. Believe me, they are great secondary reasons and I appreciate the two people for pointing me towards this effort. But I realise that when a person has left Christianity and yet holds on to the promise of the Hebrew Scriptures, they need to know how to deal with life and its harshness in light of the Jewish Bible. One harsh thing we have to deal with is the fact that we fail ourselves and God. I hope you don’t mind the order I put that in, and I pray that God doesn’t think I am putting him in second place objectively. But subjectively speaking, in our personal selfish world, when we fail God, we fail ourselves and although God can forgive us, it is sometimes an ordeal to forgive ourselves. I just want to show you how God forgives and how his love is great enough to forgive you. With love so great, you have no right to hold on to your past sins. I’m that passionate about it. With such love, who can deny it by saying “Lord, I know you’ve forgiven me, but I see myself as a better judge, so I won’t forgive myself”? You may not be saying that consciously, but by rejecting his forgiveness, what do you think you are saying about his judging skills? Are you any better than him for holding onto the guilt of your sin? When God forgives you, accept it, put your sins behind you. You will have a memory of your sin, but don’t let it hold you back. Turn away from your sins and focus on the righteous path (or the path of the righteous). If you want inner healing, then acknowledge your sins, ask forgiveness, and then turn from those sins, praise God, and move on towards righteousness.

I also want you to see that you don’t need a messiah figure to obtain forgiveness. Look to the Almighty Father alone, since it is written, “God is near to all that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth” (Psalm 145:18). He loves you enough to forgive your sin. Have a one-on-one with your heavenly master, and admit to him your sins. Rely on his mercy by giving a TRUTHFUL, SINCERE prayer.

OK, let’s take a look at a few statements that the new testament makes and compare and contrast it with what we’ve learnt by asking several questions.

Acts 4:12 Salvation only in the name of Yeshua or Jesus (I’ll just use Yeshua from here on it, as if the pronunciation of his name matters, as if he really matters).

Heb 5:9 Yeshua called the author/causer of eternal salvation.

John 3:36, Rom 10:9, Mark 16:16 If a person believes in Yeshua, he is saved. If not, he is damned.

Eph 2:8,9 Saved by grace, not works.

Rom 3:25; 5:9, Heb 9 Forgiven by the sacrifice/blood of Yeshua.

Questions:

1) According to the Jewish Bible what is salvation and forgiveness?

2) What ways are there to obtain either?

3) Is Yeshua’s sacrifice a valid way to either?

4) How does the idea of salvation only through Yeshua’s name or sacrifice compare with the Jewish Bible?

5) How does the Jewish Bible, God’s word, describe a life and relationship with him?

Now questions one and two have been answered already, but what about the other questions?

Now let’s look at Yeshua’s sacrifice in light of Torah. According to Christian doctrine, Yeshua’s death pays for our sins, but he also died to “fulfil” the Torah. To fulfil means to obey. Now there is nothing in the Jewish Bible that states that the sacrifices had any sort of prophetic quality. I believe that is read into scripture rather than taken from it. If Yeshua was born “under the Torah” (Galatians 4:4), then his death is subject to the law.

Did the Torah prescribe human sacrifice? No! Does the Torah say that human blood can atone for sin? No! Was Yeshua’s blood taken to the altar in Jerusalem, the place where God had placed his name? No! Was his fat burned? No! Did Yeshua die on an altar? No! A cross is definitely not an altar. Did Yeshua die of blood loss, like sacrificial animals? No! Crucificixion causes slow death by fatigue and asphyxiation (suffocation) with a lot of blood clotting in the person’s body. Were the sinners repentant when Yeshua died? Did they give Yeshua up to death with a repentant heart? No, there was no repentance! As was said before, you can’t hope for a sacrifice or death in the past to help you when you sin in the future. That simply means you have to either give another sacrifice or use other means of obtaining forgiveness. Did Levites slaughter Yeshua ritually? No, pagan Romans did!

So judging Yeshua’s death by the Torah that he was under, is it valid in any way? No!

An important question is: was it really necessary for Yeshua to die? Since there are other means of obtaining forgiveness and atonement other than blood sacrifice, then no, not really. According to the Hebrew Scriptures, every person is responsible for their own failures and wrongdoings (Deut 24:16; Ezek 18:20). No matter how righteous Yeshua was, he could “save” or atone for no one by dying. So they can go to God and obtain forgiveness.

What about question four, about salvation in Yeshua’s name? According to the Jewish Bible, God is the ultimate saviour (Isaiah 43:11; Hoshea 13:4). He has a special name, the Tetragrammaton or the four letter name, that I won’t attempt to spell out here. There is no other name given in the Jewish Bible by which man can be saved or forgiven so to say that there is another name by which a man can be saved is not fromthe Jewish Bible, and thus is erroneous due to its baselessness.

How does the Jewish Bible talk about a life and relationship with God? I think Micah 6:6-8 deals with that nicely, and it is possible for us all to do?

Mic 6:6-8 How shall I come before God, And bow myself before the exalted Deity? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, With calves a year old? Will God be pleased with thousands of rams? With tens of thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my disobedience? The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good. What does God require of you, but to act justly, To love mercy, and to walk humbly with your Deity?

Don’t let failure and wrong drag you down or back! Don’t accept any cheap imitations of God’s mercy and grace! He can save you from physical troubles and forgive you of sins. Just ask in sincerity, return to the right ways and live your life in the light of his love. Be encouraged.

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Soon???

The one who testifies to these things says, “Definitely, I’m coming quickly.” Amen. Definitely, come, Lord Jesus! (Revelations 22:20)

If there was one thing that undermined the writer of the book of Revelations, it is this short verse. The fact that it is attached to the new testament brings into question the standards used to judge what books went in and, therefore, casts doubt on the rest of the collection of books of the new testament. The Jewish Bible (or “old testament”) isn’t included, since those books were put together by other people using a different standard.

The principle in the Jewish Bible, the law of Moses, is that if someone makes a prediction in God’s name and it doesn’t come true, then God did not command that prophet. There are limitations to this criteria. For example, if it is predicted that God is sending some punishment, but the guilty party repents, it may be that the punishment doesn’t happen due to another biblical principle of forgiveness which can (but not always) remove the divine punishment. The problem here is that this limitation does not apply to this prediction or promise of Jesus to come soon or quickly. There is no criteria or limitation given by Jesus that says “but if you do this, I will delay.” In fact, the very wording of the verse destroys that idea. How?

The Greek word translated “quickly” means the following, based on Strong’s Dictionary, Strong’s number 5035.

takh-oo’; neuter singular of G5036 (as adverb); shortly, i.e. without delay, soon, or (by surprise) suddenly, or (by implication, of ease) readily:—lightly, quickly.

“Without delay.” “Soon.” “Shortly.” The promise is that Jesus is coming really soon as can be seen by the response of the writer, “Definitely! Come!” which reflects the desire for the object of the writer’s devotion to come as soon as possible. It logically and naturally follows that a person would want to see the object of their devotion arrive with haste.

Based on all this, I can make a simple and accurate observation: 2000 years and counting is not soon! It’s not quickly! It is not shortly! And there’s not point in referring to some verse that says “a thousand years to God is like a day” because God isn’t talking to himself. He’s talking to humans to whom a thousand years is a thousand years, and it is not “soon” or “shortly” to us. It’s not as if God is so trapped in his own reality that he can’t speak to us in ours.

Now I can already hear the devil’s advocate in my mind saying, “But wait, writer! Isn’t one of the meanings “by surprise?” Doesn’t that make it possible that Jesus could have meant “well, it’s gonna take a long time, but hey, when I come, it’s gonna be sudden and unexpected, like a surprise.” And I think those who want to believe in Jesus or who want to harmonize the words of the new testament with their beliefs may think such logic is acceptable. But – and you can call this my personal opinion – I think such reasoning is unnatural. Let me write out that version of John’s verse.

And Jesus said, “Definitely, I could come any time, even millennia from now, you may not even see it, but truly, when I come, it’ll be so sudden, like a surprise.”
John: Definitely, Jesus! Come by surprise, any time you like!”

That seems ridiculous to me. Whereas the more natural understanding of

And Jesus said, “Definitely, I’ll be with you shortly.”
John: Definitely, Jesus! Come!

Although it undermines the christian’s hope, it makes a lot more sense.

So, to summarise, it’s my conclusion that Revelations 22:20 shows John to be a false prophet since it’s an obvious lie, and its inclusion into the new testament casts doubt on the whole collection of books.

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Infinite stupidity

So I was told, without evidence, that we are god; humans are god, that we are from infinite energy. This wasn’t a christian, but, as per usual, this person wasn’t much into defining terms or explaining, only declaring and accusing when I asked questions.

But isn’t this blog called “Leaving Jesus?” What does new age “anthropo-theism” or pantheism have to do with Jesus?

For me, on a rational level, there is no central difference between claiming one man is God and claiming we all are God. And the claim of mainstream christianity, be it Protestant or Catholic, is that God, the infinite entity, became a man.

What does the word, “infinite,” mean? Simply, it means without limit, the “in” meaning “absense of” or “no,” and “finite” meaning “limit.”

Infinite is something without boundary, impossible to number or calculate, immeasurable. Infinity cannot be counted. That means there is no “one, two, three” and onwards because each discreet number is limited, while infinity has no limits and hence cannot be divided. There is no such consistent notion of “half of infinity,” since, because there is no boundary or extremity or limit, there is no place where you can split it in half.

So then I come to a human. To cut to the chase, the very nature and core of human existence is limit. There’s only so fast a human can run, only so much his living body can take. He can only lift so much, calculate a certain amount of digits. A human can only be in one place, and even if it is believed that he can expand his awareness, even that can’t encompass a speck of the world system. The human eye can only see and the ear can only ear certain frequencies, but no more. The eye can only see so far. Even the rational side of man has limits. Both physically and non-physically, humans are limited.

From the very birth of the idea that “humans are god” or “a human is god,” reality calls bullshit! The universe calls the person holding that idea self-deluded and a liar.

You see, once it is said that the human set foot on the earth, he is already in one place. When it was written that Jesus was sleeping in a boat, or when it says that he was born, those very words negate infinity. It’s much worse when Jesus’ supposed suffering, crucifixion and death occur. Jesus was not suffering in the north pole. He didn’t die in Greenland. The spear wasn’t stuck into the side of the moon. He was in one place at one time, total and utter “finity.”

God, the infinite being, cannot be a man. Divinity cannot “take on flesh.” Creator cannot become creature. And the reason why is very simple: God cannot un-God. The very nature of God is not man, and the very nature of man is not God. The meaning of infinity is the opposite of limited and one cannot be the other without losing what it is. It’s that simple.

“But God can do anything.”

Again, this immature argument rolls off the tongue of children, no matter how old they are. There is no biblical or rational basis for such a claim. Even christians admit, if thinking about the greek writings, that God cannot lie or be tempted. So God cannot do absolutely everything. And being infinite doesn’t meaning one can or will do anything.

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(In)Justice will be done

Someone close to me ended up with one of these leaflets attempting to convert a person to christianity. I read it, bemused at the approach that it used. It was almost instantaneously recognised that the tactics of Living Waters, Ray Comfort’s lot, and it was, the European version. It started off with the character thinking that he’s good, but then comparing him to a loose and inaccurate version of the 10 commandments of the Jews, finding him lacking and with no way to be seen as good again. I’ve already written about the terrible flaws I see in that approach that make it akin to deception. You can find the first part of that here.

I just want to focus a certain section of it that says the following:

God is a holy, righteous judge. He hates sin! Jesus warned that God, in his wrath, will cast all who sin against him into eternal fire “where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:42). Then how can anyone get to heaven? There’s only one way … If a sinless person offered to take your punishment, then justice would be served and you could go free!”

There are two things I notice about this approach, not just one.

Firstly, I notice that after showing that a person has sinned, done wrong against a good God, then next question out of the guy’s mouth isn’t one of repentance. It’s not “wow, I haven’t been a good person, and I’ve wronged someone who has done so much for me. How do I make it right?” No, the focus of the “sinner” is “How can anyone get to heaven?” How do I get the reward? How do I get the bliss? It’s bit like a kid who keeps being spiteful to his parents, only to find out that that he’s not gonna get his present. The leaflet portrays the “sinner” as the selfish kid who just wants his present, not really caring about the actual relationship with the parent.

And in that superficial desire for the presents, the leaflet drops the “sweet” words: get an innocent or sinless person to take the punishment for you, and justice will be done.

Just think about that. First the person who gets the punishment doesn’t deserve it. This is clearly admitted since the proposed substitute is called “sinless,” which means the person is totally innocent of any crime. And then the claim is that “justice will have been done” if innocent gets the punishment of the wicked. On its very face, this isn’t justice. Justice is not “anyone pays the fine.” When the city of Sodom was threatened with destruction from God for wrongdoing, Abraham argued,

Far be it from You to do a thing such as this, to put to death the righteous with the wicked so that the righteous should be like the wicked. Far be it from You! Will the Judge of the entire earth not perform justice? (Genesis 18:25)

Abraham would see that the punishment of good people like the wicked is not justice. Justice would not be done. The law of God teaches that each man will die for his own crimes, personal responsibility. The prophets of God, Jeremiah and Ezekiel teach that the person who sins is the one who will be punished, with Ezekiel making it clear in chapter 18 of his book, verse 20, that the good deeds of the righteous is his own, and the evil deeds of the bad person is his own, no transference. Biblical justice is that a person gets what they deserve.

I believe that even according to our human sense of justice, it is unjust, it is injustice, for an innocent person to be put to death or to be sent to jail or to pay the fine for a crime he didn’t commit. It’s not a kindness, especially for selfish kids to get presents.

So the notion that innocent people dying is “justice served.” That’s a disgusting idea, the absolute perversion of justice.

But that is christianity, the root of christianity. Rank injustice is seen as a great good.

Do I need to say more?

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Irredeemable

I can’t say that I remember the young man I was 18 years ago, the time when I started that irreversible journey of looking through the Jewish Bible to check out all the supposed messianic prophecies that some had said pointed to Jesus. He’s a stranger to me now, only a footstep in the desert-path I’m on, a step buried by the winds of time, but is part of the reason I’m where I am. I wouldn’t be who I am without that man.

Neither can it be said that I remember the man I was, earlier than the “messianic prophecies” guy, who went through all the books of Paul, scribbling in his notebooks all the Jewish Bible verses that Paul violated and treated with contempt to create his “gospel.”

And what about the guy who years after, maybe 10 years ago, went thru the gospels and the book of Acts of the Apostles with even more notebooks, urged to do so on the behest of his christian wife who was eager to regain the christian man she had fallen in love with? I lost those notebooks but not the echo of that part of my path.

Each of these past versions of me made firm the bars of my current prison of thought concerning the bastard of Nazareth and the collection of books based on claims about him. I haven’t said anything inaccurate in that previous sentence.

As I currently try to actively retrace the steps of that more recent version of myself, deliberating over the pages of the gospel writers and how they portray the illegitimate son of Miriam, I recognise that parts of my path that I thought were unrelated to this subject have gained even more relevance to reading the words of Jesus and his followers.

For example, for the past few years I’ve been engrossed in learning about flat earth. What does that have to do with reading the new testament? Nothing on the surface! Yet in my cogitations and pondering over the topic, I learned about logical fallacies and the importance of rational coherence in argumentation. Lo and behold, as I read the gospels again, I notice the supposedly perfect man, the alleged divine being, committing logical fallacies. I don’t think I would have spotted them if I hadn’t gone through what I went through. What an odd connection!

I may write about such fallacies once I’ve gone a fair way into the project.

But another thing I realise even more than I did that Passover in 2003 is that there is simply no going back for me. For Jesus to be such a loser with regards to the predictions and messages of the Jewish Bible was one thing. I could have rejected Paul but still revered Jesus if Jesus had done what was explicitly predicted in the Jewish Bible. But Jesus’ failure when it came to the Jewish Bible was significant.

To then take another approach and judge Jesus from his own stories, the gospels, and to find him again to be both failure and loser was like dragging a dead man to an open grave and burying him.

To now go again through the gospels with new depths and insights to find Jesus worse off than before for seemingly more reasons is like digging up the rotting and malodorous corpse, and throwing it in the furnace in order to be cremated. When I first went through the gospels, I had a simple disagreement with the character of Jesus. Now I see more of a distasteful identity, a person that does not reflect the teachings of the God of the Jewish Bible, but something akin to a deluded egoist, someone who, in order to defy his enemies, will totally break away from the character of the anointed Davidic king promised to keep Israel safe to become one who strips the Jews of something special to offer it to the nations (Matthew 21), thereby undermining his own messianic claims.

I know. I already know a retort. “Jesus was supposed to be someone outside of the expectation of the Jews. They had their desire to have a political figure, a physical warrior, come and save them from the Romans. Jesus instead came as a suffering servant to forgive sins.” (By the way, not only do the depictions of Jesus in the gospels mess up the “suffering servant” angle, in the Jewish Bible there is no explicit and clear link between the suffering servant and “messiah.”) I’m sure at least one of the two remaining readers of this blog – me being one of them – can see the issue with this argument: there’s not one clear and explicit text in the Jewish Bible that the promised anointed one would forgive sins. Oooops!

So yes, I’m irredeemable. My only journey is forward and away from seeing Jesus as anything more than a bastard, possibly seeing him as less. The door seems closed.

Let me get back to work.

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The major ways Jesus fails

In the video below, I go through the significant failings I found over 15 years ago in the claims of Jesus’ messiahship that caused me to walk away from christianity. I’m trying something new, so click on the image below to be taken to the video.

If clicking the image doesn’t work, you can click on the following link: 191. 300+ Messianic Prophecies? Final Summary (odysee.com)

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Lost in translation

Just a bit of speculation. It may not be a strong point but it’s something rumbling in my head right now.

Jesus was a Jew living in Judaea, supposedly. He said a lot of stuff. And one thing I wonder about it what he and the gospel writers actually meant. Jews and Muslims make much ado about tradition and lineage, there being a link of transmission from the original writers to today’s teachers. For those guys, and for catholics, there needs to be an authoritative tradition to explain what the text and the sayings actually meant.

The Protestant branches of christianity, the tradition-rejecting branch do not do this. As far as I know, there is no such tradition, just a book. They have faith that God’s spirit will teach them what Jesus and the Bible actually meant. The shattering of the church into so many different denominations and sects is evidence of the fallacy and failure of such a methodology.

But this regards the meaning of the text, the meaning of what the gospel writers and the other creators of the new testament wrote. Thinking about it, I have another issue.

Jesus is supposed to have been a Jew living in Judaea. What language did they speak? The fact that the new testament keeps dropping statements in Hebrew or Aramaic is a clue that they were not avid Greek-speakers in their day-to-day lives. Ok, let me just focus on the gospels and the lives of Jesus and his Jewish followers. It doesn’t seem like their day-to-day language was Greek, but rather Hebrew or Aramaic.

If this is true, then let me state an obvious truth: the oldest manuscripts of the gospels are in Greek.

Is anyone seeing my problem yet? Jesus may have been speaking in Hebrew and/or Aramaic but the writings about him were written in Greek. You don’t see it yet?

If people were around who spoke the same language, and one person chooses to write the words of another in that same language, there is at least some chance that it’s a direct quote, word-for-word, verbatim. But if someone chooses to write those words in a different language, then there is no chance for verbatim at all, especially if the language are from two different families of language, not so related. Verbatim is out of the window; now there is only interpretation and personal understanding, commentary if you will.

So when a person asks, “what did Jesus say?” what can the truthful answer be? That we don’t know what he actually said, only what someone translated his words to have meant? But that started off with a dreadfully significant point: “we don’t know what he said.”

Question: if I don’t know what he said, word-for-word, then can I truly know what he meant?

For all my bringing up the point that there is no authoritative transmission from him down to modern preachers and teachers of christianity about what he truly meant, or the fact that the writers of the gospels left no such tradition, do my present ponderings bring up a more fundamental problem? If I don’t know what he actually said, and I only have a foreign translation of his teachings (and I’m not sure if they used word-for-word translations or the method of paraphrase), then hasn’t something been lost in translation from the very beginning?

So a friend of mine brought up questions about the possibility of the trinity doctrine in Matthew 28:19. At the time, I challenged such a notion in terms of doctrine and whether there was enough in the Greek text to point to the entire doctrine. But now I wonder on a more fundamental level. We’re arguing about the Greek text, but we don’t even know what the man, the supposed man, actually said. And if we don’t have that, what prayer do we have of understanding what he actually meant?

Anyway, this was just a speculation. Maybe more than that. Either way, it puzzles me.

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Trinity in the Matthew 28:19

So I was asked if the trinity is the Matthew 28:19, the phrase “the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” In order to answer that question, a word needs defining. What is “the trinity?”

Simply put, the trinity is the doctrine that there is one God made up of three distinct persons, those being the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each person is called “God” and has the full nature and attributes of divinity, yet there is only one God.

No, I’m not gonna use this article to call out the contradiction. I just want to make a simple point about the verse.

When I did my studies into the trinity, I came across a certain habit amongst trinitarians. They would find places in the new testament (and sometimes the Jewish Bible), simply find a place where all three seem to be named or mentioned, and claim that as proof of the trinity, as if proximity of the names in a verse proved the trinity. Unfortunately, they miss key elements of the trinity doctrine.

In order for a verse to prove the trinity, it has to comport with the definition of the doctrine. The doctrine is not simply that there are three persons. So simply naming all three in one verse or in a number of verses doesn’t meet the standard. Simply saying “The son beat and kicked the spirit out of his father” doesn’t make one a trinitarian any more than saying “the father, through his spirit, taught me about the son.” Again, simply naming all three is not enough because that is not the trinity doctrine, nor is it an important part of it.

In order for a verse or passage to prove the trinity, it must claim, at very least, that the three make up the one God. Does Matthew 28:19 overtly do this? No. It makes no statement whatsoever about the relationship between the father, son and holy spirit. It says nothing about them making up the one God. All the verse says is “in the name of the father, son and holy spirit.” Nothing more, and nothing less. That is not the trinity.

I know. It says “the name” in the singular. But here’s a question. In Genesis 48:16, Jacob talks about the “name” – singular – of his fathers, Abraham and Isaac. Does that make Abraham and Isaac duality of some kind, the way “the father, son and spirit” are meant to be a trinity? Merely because the word, “name,” is in the singular? The answer is no!

So, to be as clear as I can, the trinity is not in Matthew 28:19 because key elements of the doctrine are not there. It does not say the three make up one God. I know people try to interpret it like that, but there’s a difference between facts and opinion. The fact is what the text says, and the interpretation is the opinion. Blurring the lines between fact and opinion is the recipe for just making the “bible” into your own mental image. The text, the fact, says nothing about “three-in-one-God.” I don’t really care about the self-contradictory opinion.

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Paul’s foolish criteria

“And if Christ hasn’t risen, then our preaching is worthless, and your faith also is worthless.” (1 Corinthians 15:14)

Some use this statement as a criteria of falsification about faith in Jesus. To them, if it can be proven that Jesus did not rise from the dead then faith in him is worthless and pointless.

Based on this understanding, it should be seen that Paul has made a fundamental error. You may wonder what this error is. In a way, Paul would have made his faith in Jesus something totally separate from what has been revealed in the Jewish Bible.

In the Jewish Bible, there is no criteria whatsoever that says that the Messiah existence is somehow contingent upon his being redirected. Nowhere at all does it say that the Messiah will be killed and resurrected. Not even the overused chapter of Isaiah 53 overtly claims that the Messiah will be killed and resurrected because the Messiah isn’t even overtly mentioned in the text.

But Paul has raised this criteria to so exalted a place, this wholly unbiblical criteria. And in the eyes of Paul, anyone who doesn’t share this view has a wholly worthless faith.

To that I say, NO! No, Paul! If a person makes such a mistake, as you do, and raise something with no basis in truth to excessive levels, and then finds it to be fallacious, there is place and space in God’s economy to find oneself again, to see the mistake one makes, take a step, collect oneself, dust oneself off, and then return back to the truth of the one true God.

It’s odd. I started writing this 5 years ago in 2016. It’s so short. Yet I end up finishing it in 2021. Does that mean anything? Maybe not.

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If I could change the world …

I can’t. It’s that simple.

Someone I think I regard as a friend and I have had brief exchanges about some of the points I’ve brought up on this blog and he’s brought up some valid points. The fact is that for every point I bring up, every argument against the christian message that I bring up, christians do have comebacks. It’s not like I lay down challenges that cannot be answered, in a way. And I do mean “in a way.” By “in a way,” I mean that I can saying one thing and the christian can say something in an attempt at a response. Now that doesn’t mean that the christian refutes my point, it just means that he says something, whether logically relevant or not.

For example, I can say “Jesus was not be the seed of David because his biological father was not the seed of David in accordance with biblical precedent.” Now a christian could say in reply, “Well, Mary was descended from David too.” Or they could say, “Well, Jesus couldn’t have the sin nature so God had to be his father.” Yes, the christian has points he can refer to in an attempt to oppose my point. Do their points actually refute my first point? Or have they done a logical fallacy in reply? Do I even have to try to refute every single one of their arguments? Is that even the point?

Look, my wife’s a christian. A good amount of people she knows are christians. My birth family were and are christians. I’ve been ill-formed, non-conformist for quite some time. I can see and I know that they can’t change me and I cannot change them. They are them and I am me. It’s that simple. They don’t have some knock-out argument to get me to follow their religion and I don’t believe I have a knock-out argument to change them. That’s because this is about more than just arguments and the throwing around of opinions and facts. There is much more involved. Relationships, emotions, tradition, etc.

When I write my articles, I don’t write them to change people. I write them for me. If nobody reads them, I have my record. It’s just that I’ve made this record more outward-showing. If I question myself and ask how I got here or why I have my point of view, I have a record of it. I’m blessed that one or two people who read it resonate with it. But that’s just an extra.

You see, I understand, based on the Proverbs of Solomon, that a person who is happy with his ways will not be convinced otherwise. The reason why there is no point in trying to refute every point of a christian is because it’s not about his defenses; it’s about his heart’s satisfaction with christianity. I could refute all the points and he would still be happy with Jesus. He’ll probably try to come at me with some points as well, but I’m happy being totally opposed to Jesus, Paul and the New Testament. Does that mean truth is irrelevant? Hell no! It has its necessary place. But arguments and debates don’t really have much benefit. Trying to make the world and people conform to me is futile. I was speaking to a gentleman recently who was talking about the need to work on oneself. That’s the only thing we can change, the only thing I can truly change. When my insides are good, then my experience with my outsides will improve. Once again, Solomon teaches me that for a person who is afflicted, all his days are terrible, but a person with a merry heart has a continual feast. Working on oneself will yield many more positive results than wrestling with the world. Or, or, maybe wrestling the world is simply an expression of the inner struggle. But once one’s priorities are set straight, I believe much of the struggle in life will be sweeter.

I want to thank the one who I think is a friend for inspiring this article. I hope it reminds me in future where to put my efforts/

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