Psycho-Babble Faith Thread 429741

Shown: posts 1 to 25 of 37. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

Ancient Near Eastern Covenants

Posted by MKB on December 15, 2004, at 0:20:41

Anybody interested in discussing these?

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants MKB

Posted by rayww on December 15, 2004, at 8:59:20

In reply to Ancient Near Eastern Covenants, posted by MKB on December 15, 2004, at 0:20:41

How ancient? Beginning with whom? And from there tracing them back to when?

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants

Posted by simcha on December 16, 2004, at 16:33:20

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants MKB, posted by rayww on December 15, 2004, at 8:59:20

What cultures and which covenants and how ancient? This is a wide topic. I can speak a little about the Jewish Covenant.

Simcha

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants simcha

Posted by MKB on December 16, 2004, at 16:49:09

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants, posted by simcha on December 16, 2004, at 16:33:20

Great! I would love to discuss the Abrahamic covenant in Genesis 15 and how it follows the pattern of other covenants of that time.

Specifically, I guess we could start with making the point that these covenants predated written treaties or covenants, but they were binding on the participants. OK, so far?

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants

Posted by rayww on December 17, 2004, at 14:25:41

In reply to Ancient Near Eastern Covenants, posted by MKB on December 15, 2004, at 0:20:41

This is strange. The TV show I am watching right now as I write is talking about how we judge and condemn others based on traditional doctrine and cultural gospel, or gospel according to our interpretation, rather than the real gospel that Jesus taught. Unrighteous judgements when others don't see or do things the way we do, like thinking a person is the vilest of sinners because he doesn't wash his hands before sitting down to a meal, is one example.

The doctrine of hand washing was used as an example of an ancient ordinance, that doesn't fit with reality judgement.
I love the symbolism of being clean before you do anything, but being clean should be internal, heart/mind/thoughts/attitude/motives thing. If hand washing could be used as a sacred reminder to be clean I could see it, but to judge someone as though he were the vilest of sinners for simply not washing his hands before a meal is taking it too far.

What is the background of this ancient custom? Where did it stem from? Can it be traced back to Abraham?

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants MKB

Posted by rayww on December 17, 2004, at 14:39:28

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants simcha, posted by MKB on December 16, 2004, at 16:49:09

> Great! I would love to discuss the Abrahamic covenant in Genesis 15 and how it follows the pattern of other covenants of that time.
>
> Specifically, I guess we could start with making the point that these covenants predated written treaties or covenants, but they were binding on the participants. OK, so far?

<
<Are you aware that "nearly" everyone living on earth today has mixed somewhere in their lineage, seed of Abraham? Think about it.
http://scriptures.lds.org/query?words=Genesis+15&scripturesearch_button=Search

When we are talking about the Abrahamic covenant we are talking about ourselves. we are the seed that is as numerous as the stars. Abraham was before the tower of Babal, when languages came into existance. This is a subject that reaches out to all. In other words, we have "claim" on the blessings of Abraham "if" we keep the abrahamic covenants. What are they?

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants MKB

Posted by rayww on December 17, 2004, at 15:36:37

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants simcha, posted by MKB on December 16, 2004, at 16:49:09

It seems there has been a history of scattering and gathering where the House of Israel (Abraham's seed) is concerned. It's like kneading bread. The house of Israel gets scattered, becomes the leaven, and after it is kneaded and beat up a bit, it is shaped into a loaf, refined in the heat, and finally a delicious loaf pops out of the oven. That's me and you. Hello, glad to meet and know who you really are.
Leaven can go both ways, and has. In the end the leaven of the house of Israel will be good, and that's the promise in the Abrahamic covenant. It's going to end up good. Why else would all the ancient prophets have looked forward to our day?

So what are the choices? Let's try, either stay in the bin, or get into the loaf? Oooo, that takes us back another step. Plant the grain, nourish and grow it, harvest and bin it, take it to the mill and grind it all up, then make the loaf. I'm having too much fun here. it's time to get to work. Where did the grain seed come from? The daddy and mommy seed, and where did that come from? Family history genetics.

God has told us what will happen, but He didn't tell us what we would have to do to get there. We don't know what we will yet have to go through in order to prepare the loaf that we present to Jesus when he comes again. God is gathering right now for the last time, and it's going to work. It is working. It seems like that is a really hard one to grasp. Sometimes all we have to do is connect the little dots. Duhhh, why can't I just do it?

We are the product of our family history. Do what we can with what we have and who we are, then pass it on to the next generation....seed, flour, dough, loaf, bread, butter, jam, yuum.

I like to write like this, but you guys are going to think I'm the village idiot with a weird sense of fun.

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants rayww

Posted by MKB on December 17, 2004, at 19:27:56

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants, posted by rayww on December 17, 2004, at 14:25:41

The Judaism of today is very different from the religion of the patriarchs. With the Babylonian exile about 586 BC and the destruction of the temple, Jews could no longer use the sacrificial system to atone for their sins. So the rabbis developed a set of man-made laws that regulated every aspect of a Jew's life. In short, all of these 600+ laws are called the Talmud. This is where the handwashing tradition comes in, along with things like not carrying a burden on the Sabbath, etc. Jesus condemned the way the rabbis burdened the people with all these laws. He criticized the rabbis for substituting the commandments of men for the commandments of God. He never gave any validity to the Talmud.

It was in God's plan to destroy the sacrificial system (which is still not in existence) to make way for the New Covenant in Jesus, but the Jewish establishment codified their own system of righteousness in the Talmud, which was far removed from the ancient Judaism.

The Jewish leaders and traditions that Jesus condemned had to do with these man-made laws in the Talmud, not with the original sacrificial system described in the Torah.

 

Lou's response to MKB's post- MKB

Posted by Lou Pilder on December 17, 2004, at 21:15:46

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants rayww, posted by MKB on December 17, 2004, at 19:27:56

MKB, You wrote,[...these 600 laws are called the Talmud. This is where the handwashing...along with things like not carrying a burden on the Sabbath...Jesus condemned the way the rabbis burdened the people with all these laws.
I am wondering if you have read from the book of Jeremiah , which is in what some call the Old Testament, the following:
[...Thus the Lord said to me; " Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, by which the kings of Judah come in and by which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem, and say to them, 'Hear the word of the Lord, you kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalam, who enter by these gates. Thus says the Lord, 'Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in bythe gates of Jerusalem, nor carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers...].
Lou

 

Re: Lou's response to MKB's post- Lou Pilder

Posted by MKB on December 17, 2004, at 21:32:39

In reply to Lou's response to MKB's post- MKB, posted by Lou Pilder on December 17, 2004, at 21:15:46

OK. Thanks for that. Where is it that it says its OK to get someone else to carry the burden for you? Is that in the OT or in the Talmud? Jesus condemned this practice in Matthew 23.

.."The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works, for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."

The chapter goes on with specific examples of how the scribes and Pharisees perverted the law of Moses. He called them blind guides who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.

 

Lou's request to MKB MKB

Posted by Lou Pilder on December 17, 2004, at 21:38:30

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants rayww, posted by MKB on December 17, 2004, at 19:27:56

MKB,
You wrote about the book that the orthodox jews use today called the Talmud in your post above.
You also wrote,[...It was God's plan to destroy the sacrifitial system (which is still not in existance) to make way for the New Covenant in Jesus, but the Jewish establishment codified their own system of rightiousness in the Talmud, which is far removed from ancient Judaism...].
I feel put down when I read what you wrote here and I am requesting that you examine the guidlines for the faith board which are on the opening page. I feel that IMO what you wrote has the potential to arrouse antisemitic feelings.
Lou

 

Re: Lou's request to MKB Lou Pilder

Posted by MKB on December 17, 2004, at 22:07:27

In reply to Lou's request to MKB MKB, posted by Lou Pilder on December 17, 2004, at 21:38:30

> MKB,
> You wrote about the book that the orthodox jews use today called the Talmud in your post above.
> You also wrote,[...It was God's plan to destroy the sacrifitial system (which is still not in existance) to make way for the New Covenant in Jesus, but the Jewish establishment codified their own system of rightiousness in the Talmud, which is far removed from ancient Judaism...].
> I feel put down when I read what you wrote here and I am requesting that you examine the guidlines for the faith board which are on the opening page. I feel that IMO what you wrote has the potential to arrouse antisemitic feelings.
> Lou
>

I don't think I put anything that wasn't factual. God said in Jeremiah 31:31ff - "Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put *my law in their minds and write it on their hearts*, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."

The Old Testament prophets repeatedly warned Israel and Judah that they were not being obedient to the Law. When the last temple was finally destroyed in AD 70 (an event which Jesus predicted), the process of developing the man-made traditions and laws of the Talmud intensified and continued until about AD 500.

When Jeremiah speaks of a new covenant, he is speaking of Jesus, the sacrificial lamb. Jeremiah's reference to the laws written on the heart come from the fact that those who accept Christ have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to guide them.

I do not have antisemitic feelings and I hope no one else does. Discussing Judaism vs Christianity does not require that we hate each other.

However, I just want you to know that I have taught in an Orthodox Jewish school. Those children had been trained to hold their noses when they drove past a Christian church. They ridiculed one of their classmates because his family celebrated Christmas (just the Santa part). Growing up as a Christian, I was never prompted in any way to have negative feelings against Jews, despite obvious differences in our theology. So I was a bit shocked at the vicious anti-Christian sentiment I saw among Orthodox Jews. Not all of them, but some.

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants

Posted by MKB on December 18, 2004, at 10:28:17

In reply to Ancient Near Eastern Covenants, posted by MKB on December 15, 2004, at 0:20:41

Some ancient written treaties are available from the 3rd to the 8th centuries BC. But even before the advent of written treaties, binding covenants existed in the ancient near east.

The origin of the word covenant is uncertain, but some think it means "to eat" or "to choose." Sometimes the term used actually means "to cut a covenant."

There were slightly different forms of covenants depending on whether the parties were equals or not. But in general, "to cut a covenant" referred to the fact that slain animals were laid on the ground. The blood was a necessary part of the covenant. The parties to the covenant would then walk between the parts of the slain animals. By doing this they were saying "May it be done to me as has been done to these animals if I break this covenant."

The covenant was binding even upon future generations. Only a son or direct descendant could change or modify the covenant, in which case a new covenant would be "cut" with a son or direct descendant of the other party.

After walking through the dead bodies of the animals, the parties would share a meal together.
Understanding the cultural background of ancient near eastern covenants is very helpful when you're trying to understand biblical covenants. The covenants between the Jewish people and God were updated many times over the years.

In the covenant God made with Abraham in Genesis 15, only God passed through the cut pieces. He did not make Abraham pass through the pieces. Some see this as a "promissory covenant" meaning that God was guaranteeing he would keep his part of the covenant no matter what Abraham did. Other scholars are not so sure about whether Abraham had to do anything or not. In later covenants, it was very clear that the Israelites were required to do something in order for God to keep his part of the covenant.

The Passover meal, as well as the Christian communion, can be understood in light of the "cutting the covenant" tradition. That is why Christians take communion: to confirm their part in the New Covenant.

Jesus was a descendant of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. Legally, he fulfilled all the requirements for "cutting a new covenant." The descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, according to the Old Testament prophets, had failed to keep the laws of the Old Testament. Because they had participated in many covenants with God over a thousand years or so, they deserved to die, according to the law of the time. Jesus, as a physical descendant, took the punishment for them. Therefore, He, as Son of God and Son of Man, was uniquely able to "cut the New Covenant."
That is why it is said of Jesus that he fulfilled all righteousness, even man's law.

This is just a little background information off the top of my head. Perhaps it will interest some enough to encourage further study. Believe me, the Bible will make a lot more sense to you if you can understand this historical background.

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants

Posted by MKB on December 18, 2004, at 11:01:34

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants, posted by MKB on December 18, 2004, at 10:28:17

The Hebrew prophet Isaiah refers to the substitutionary death of Christ in Isaiah 53, written about 700 years before Jesus was born.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/index.php?search=isaiah%2053&version=31

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants

Posted by rayww on December 18, 2004, at 11:23:46

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants, posted by MKB on December 18, 2004, at 10:28:17

This is very interesting. Were the covenants between God and just the Jewish people, or the whole house of Israel? What about the Gentiles? If God loves everyone, He would have a plan that includes all at some point, wouldn't He?

If these covenants were updated many times over the years, what is happening today to update them? Has God stopped speaking or is He perhaps speaking to another people? God has never stopped caring or speaking to someone on the earth. He has continually been involved in scattering, then gathering, in working with the first, then the last, and back to the first again, etc. If you scroll down a bit, there are some good verses on this. Unfortunately, I couldn't narrow it down to the best ones, as there are more than one.
http://scriptures.lds.org/query?words=first+last+last+first&search.x=31&search.y=10

>> The covenants between the Jewish people and God were updated many times over the years.

In the covenant God made with Abraham in Genesis 15, only God passed through the cut pieces. He did not make Abraham pass through the pieces. Some see this as a "promissory covenant" meaning that God was guaranteeing he would keep his part of the covenant no matter what Abraham did. Other scholars are not so sure about whether Abraham had to do anything or not. In later covenants, it was very clear that the Israelites were required to do something in order for God to keep his part of the covenant.

<well, you have my attention, Please continue.

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants rayww

Posted by MKB on December 18, 2004, at 11:26:25

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants, posted by rayww on December 18, 2004, at 11:23:46

The final covenant was when Jesus died. Jesus said, "It if finished." And he was right.

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants rayww

Posted by MKB on December 18, 2004, at 11:27:32

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants, posted by rayww on December 18, 2004, at 11:23:46

Sorry, that was supposed to be, "It is finished."

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants rayww

Posted by MKB on December 18, 2004, at 11:40:22

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants, posted by rayww on December 18, 2004, at 11:23:46

The only "updating" that occurs is when a person accepts the covenant that Jesus initiated.

When an individual acknowledges they have failed to live up to God's law (sinned), they accept the fact that Jesus took the punishment for their sins and confess Him as Savior. In doing this, it is understood that Jesus was Son of God (deity), as well as Son of Man. At the moment of belief, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell the new believer. The Holy Spirit is God living within and He speaks, leads, comforts, corrects, and empowers for service. It is because we can have the Holy Spirit of God living within us that no further revelation is needed. The death of Christ and the completion of the New Testament canon about Him is it. "It is finished."

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants MKB

Posted by Dinah on December 19, 2004, at 10:10:40

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants rayww, posted by MKB on December 17, 2004, at 19:27:56

Please be respectful of the customs and beliefs of others.

There are many reasons for the law in Judaism, some very beatiful reasons that have to do with loving and serving God as he said he wished through his words to Moses in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Although I am not Jewish, I try to follow those laws because they speak of God's wishes as delivered to Moses. I don't feel comfortable picking and choosing which laws still apply today.

I honor the Jews of history who so loved God and so wished to follow his wishes that they built a fence around the Torah to make certain they didn't inadvertantly cause offense.

I am not saying that it is everyone's way of showing love to God. But it is a beautiful and sincere way of doing it and should be respected, not written off as hypocrisy or legalism.

People who follow the laws of Moses are doing so in love and thanksgiving.

Also, insofar as allowing non-Jews to do needed tasks on the Sabbath and Holy Days. The whole thing was explained to me during a seminar I went to on Judaism. I don't recall it well enough to repeat it properly, but I assure you that these Gentiles are held in high esteem and in gratitude. I'll see if I can do some research on the matter.

In your religion, the belief is that God wished to destroy the sacrificial system that he himself put in place to make way for the new Covenant. I respect the fact that you believe that. But it is in keeping with the spirit of this board to state that as the belief of your religion, not as an undisputed fact, so as to respect the faith of those who believe otherwise.

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants rayww

Posted by Dinah on December 19, 2004, at 10:28:02

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants, posted by rayww on December 17, 2004, at 14:25:41

> The doctrine of hand washing was used as an example of an ancient ordinance, that doesn't fit with reality judgement.

In the TV show? I'm surprised. I thought in this day and age, the attitude would be more tolerant and respectful of other traditions. "Reality judgment" depends a lot on the reasons why people do it.

> I love the symbolism of being clean before you do anything, but being clean should be internal, heart/mind/thoughts/attitude/motives thing. If hand washing could be used as a sacred reminder to be clean I could see it, but to judge someone as though he were the vilest of sinners for simply not washing his hands before a meal is taking it too far.
>
> What is the background of this ancient custom? Where did it stem from? Can it be traced back to Abraham?
>

I'm glad you are asking, Ray. Perhaps you'll come to understand the tradition and the reasons for it in a richer way.

I suggest for reading: "To Life! : A Celebration of Jewish Being and Thinking"
by Rabbi Kushner, and Deuteronomy and Leviticus. It might be especially enlightening to read a version with commentary from Jewish sholars. I haven't yet had a chance to read "The Jewish Study Bible" but The Stone Edition Tanakh (which I can't locate on Amazon) and my personal favorite "Etz Hayim Torah and Commentary" both contain interesting commentary.

 

Re: Your post... Dinah

Posted by TofuEmmy on December 19, 2004, at 11:03:48

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants MKB, posted by Dinah on December 19, 2004, at 10:10:40

...is like someone opened a window in here! It feels better already. Calmer, warmer, and more peaceful.

Thank you.

 

You are very welcome. :) (nm) TofuEmmy

Posted by Dinah on December 19, 2004, at 13:21:23

In reply to Re: Your post... Dinah, posted by TofuEmmy on December 19, 2004, at 11:03:48

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants Dinah

Posted by rayww on December 22, 2004, at 14:21:47

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants rayww, posted by Dinah on December 19, 2004, at 10:28:02

Thank-you Dinah. To understand religion, is to understand Judaism.

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants Dinah

Posted by MKB on January 9, 2005, at 22:45:34

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants MKB, posted by Dinah on December 19, 2004, at 10:10:40


> There are many reasons for the law in Judaism, some very beatiful reasons that have to do with loving and serving God as he said he wished through his words to Moses in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

I think you have not understood my point. I don't believe I spoke against the Law of Moses. Even Jesus said he came to fulfill the Law of Moses. Most of my post was about the Talmud, which is a different matter altogether. The Talmud is not in the Bible.

>Although I am not Jewish, I try to follow those laws because they speak of God's wishes as delivered to Moses. I don't feel comfortable picking and choosing which laws still apply today.

I'm not sure which laws it is you are trying to follow. The laws regarding sacrifice cannot be followed as there is no longer a Levitical priesthood. Are you saying you follow the dietary laws? Or the 10 commandments? Or some of the other laws? Even in the Old Testament, salvation was by faith. ("The just shall live by faith." Habakkuk 2:4) All the commandments were wrapped in "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart."

> I honor the Jews of history who so loved God and so wished to follow his wishes that they built a fence around the Torah to make certain they didn't inadvertantly cause offense.

I also honor the Jews of history. However, I think of the Torah making a protective hedge around them, rather than the Jews putting a hedge around the Torah.

> I am not saying that it is everyone's way of showing love to God. But it is a beautiful and sincere way of doing it and should be respected, not written off as hypocrisy or legalism.

If my comments sounded disrespectful to you, I'm so sorry. However, I was trying to point out that Jesus did condemn legalism, particularly in his confrontations with the Pharisees. When Jesus was confronting the Pharisees, he was not condemning the Law of Moses; he was condemning the Talmud.
>
> People who follow the laws of Moses are doing so in love and thanksgiving.

As I said, I am not condemning the Laws of Moses. However, it is a fact that many of them are impossible to follow today, because there is no Levitical priesthood.

> In your religion, the belief is that God wished to destroy the sacrificial system that he himself put in place to make way for the new Covenant. I respect the fact that you believe that. But it is in keeping with the spirit of this board to state that as the belief of your religion, not as an undisputed fact, so as to respect the faith of those who believe otherwise.

It is a fact that the sacrificial system is destroyed. There is no Temple and has not been one since 70 A.D. It is not possible for the sacrificial system to be reinstituted unless a new Temple can be built on the original site, which is now occupied by the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim mosque.

The only reason I say it was God's will, is because I don't believe anything happens outside of God's permissive will. I think if it was God's will for the temple to be there, it would be there.

The main thing I want to clarify is that the Torah is not the same as the Talmud.

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants MKB

Posted by Dinah on January 10, 2005, at 21:19:45

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants Dinah, posted by MKB on January 9, 2005, at 22:45:34

Since this board is equally respectful of all faiths, I'm certain you didn't mean to be disrespectful of the Talmud or those who obey the Talmud either?

What I said stands as I said it. The Talmud is regarded by many as a fence around the Torah, guarding against inadvertant offense against God by observant Jews. I believe it is a beautiful concept born of love of God, not legalism.


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