Psycho-Babble Faith Thread 429741

Shown: posts 13 to 37 of 37. Go back in thread:

 

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.

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants Dinah

Posted by MKB on January 10, 2005, at 21:54:57

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants MKB, posted by Dinah on January 10, 2005, at 21:19:45

I believe what I said was factual. It stands as I wrote it. It is a fact that Jesus condemned the extra laws and regulations which later became part of the Talmud. I was only reporting that. Most people do not realize that the Judaism of today is vastly different from the Judaism of the Old Testament. If you don't like what I wrote, blame Jesus.

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants Dinah

Posted by MKB on January 10, 2005, at 22:15:15

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants MKB, posted by Dinah on January 10, 2005, at 21:19:45

Here are a few passages from Matthew that may help the reader to understand what Jesus had to say about legalism:
Matt. 12:1-14
Matt. 15:1-20
Matt. 16:5-12

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants MKB

Posted by Dinah on January 10, 2005, at 22:26:36

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants Dinah, posted by MKB on January 10, 2005, at 21:54:57

No, I don't believe I will blame Jesus.

 

Re: blocked for 6 weeks MKB

Posted by Dr. Bob on January 11, 2005, at 2:45:22

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants Dinah, posted by MKB on January 10, 2005, at 21:54:57

> If you don't like what I wrote, blame Jesus.

Please respect the views of others and be sensitive to their feelings. The last time you were blocked it was for 3 weeks, so this time it's for 6.

If you or others have questions about this or about posting policies in general, or are interested in alternative ways of expressing yourself, please see the FAQ:

http://www.dr-bob.org/babble/faq.html#civil

Follow-ups regarding these issues should be redirected to Psycho-Babble Administration. They, as well as replies to the above post, should of course themselves be civil.

Thanks,

Bob

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants

Posted by ayrity on January 11, 2005, at 13:26:49

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

This thread has been so full of misconceptions about Judaism and the Talmud that I don't know where to begin.

Regarding the "legalism" aforementioned in this thread: Remember that during Jesus' time, religious law = civil law; in otherwords, there was a theocracy at that time. Jewish religious law necessarily evolved to encompass all aspects of religious as well as civil life.

In the Diaspora, Jews were always a small, persecuted minority. Strict adherence to law and observence held the community together and ensured the survival of the Jewish people for the next two milenia.

More importantly, observant Jews do not see Halakah (Jewish law) as a burden, but rather a way of life that enobles existence and sanctifies every moment of the day. In practical terms, observing the laws really isn't that difficult. I kept strictly kosher for awhile and it was not difficult. Observant Jews live near a synogogue and don't have to worry about driving on the Sabbath, etc. See below for more comments-->


> Most of my post was about the Talmud, which is a different matter altogether. The Talmud is not in the Bible.

That is not in keeping with the Jewish view of the Bible and the Talmud. The Talmud is the Oral Law, every bit as valid and binding as the original written scriptures and handed down at the same time on Mt Sinai according to Jewish belief. (see more comments below)


> 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.

As you are aware, the Talmud as such did not exist as a written document at that time; so Jesus could not have been condemning the Talmud specifically. All of the "legalism" you mention is found directly in the the Torah (5 books of Moses). The Talmud is merely elaboration and commentary on laws already found in the Bible- yes, the "Old" Testament or Torah.

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

Again, that is an incomplete understanding of what the Talmud is. Jews think of the Torah in two forms- the Written Torah (the 5 books of Moses) and the Oral Torah (oral tradition handed down to Moses at Sinai, eventually written down in the Mishnah by later sages and amplified and commented upon in the Gemarah; both the Mishnah and Gemarah make up the Talmud). So, to observant Jews, it is imposible to think of Torah without Talmud. As I mentioned in another thread, see http://www.jewfaq.org/torah.htm for an excellent explanation of Jewish beliefs regarding the Torah and Talmud.

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants MKB

Posted by Gabbix2 on January 11, 2005, at 17:14:40

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants Dinah, posted by MKB on January 10, 2005, at 21:54:57

If you don't like what I wrote, blame Jesus.

It's too bad they don't teach irony in some Sunday Schools

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants ayrity

Posted by Dinah on January 12, 2005, at 10:25:19

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants, posted by ayrity on January 11, 2005, at 13:26:49

I hope I hadn't gotten it too wrong. I'm rather fond of the Talmud, based on my understanding of it. If my understanding is too far off, I'll have to do some more study.

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants

Posted by ayrity on January 12, 2005, at 23:27:45

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants ayrity, posted by Dinah on January 12, 2005, at 10:25:19

> I hope I hadn't gotten it too wrong. I'm rather fond of the Talmud, based on my understanding of it. If my understanding is too far off, I'll have to do some more study.

Nope, I think you're on the right track. My posts were not directed at you specifically. Your interest in Judaism makes me feel proud about my own heritage. Keep it up!

 

:-) (nm) ayrity

Posted by Dinah on January 13, 2005, at 4:13:26

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants, posted by ayrity on January 12, 2005, at 23:27:45

 

Financial contributions Dinah

Posted by Wronged on January 13, 2005, at 5:32:27

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants MKB, posted by Dinah on January 10, 2005, at 22:26:36

Dinah,
I saw your name on the list of financial supporters of Dr. Bob's. Is that you? How nice of you to help him out. What kind of perks come with that?

 

Redirect: Financial contributions

Posted by Dr. Bob on January 13, 2005, at 17:51:49

In reply to Financial contributions Dinah, posted by Wronged on January 13, 2005, at 5:32:27

> I saw your name on the list of financial supporters of Dr. Bob's...

Sorry to interrupt, but I'd like to redirect follow-ups not about faith to Psycho-Babble Administration. Here's a link:

http://www.dr-bob.org/babble/admin/20041218/msgs/441773.html

Thanks,

Bob

 

Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants ayrity

Posted by Dinah on January 18, 2005, at 20:47:17

In reply to Re: Ancient Near Eastern Covenants, posted by ayrity on January 12, 2005, at 23:27:45

To be honest, I'd have converted to Orthodox Judaism if the Rabbi hadn't told me, and probably correctly, that God cared more about unity in my (Christian) family than he did where I worshipped. I don't want to confuse my son. But Rabbi Kushner is the closest thing I've found to someone who shares my theology.

But it's very difficult at times. I haven't been to Sunday School for a very long time, since our old Sunday School teacher (who had been to seminary) quit teaching our class. Too often, I hear things that bring me to tears, as I don't feel that the things I value are taken as seriously or respectfully as I would prefer. I called the rabbi again, in tears, asking again what to do. He said that the course I was taking, calmly explaining what I believed, was what I should continue to do. But I haven't the strength, I guess, and have pretty much stopped going to church altogether.

So much for unity. :(


This is the end of the thread.


Show another thread

URL of post in thread:


Psycho-Babble Faith | Extras | FAQ


[dr. bob] Dr. Bob is Robert Hsiung, MD, bob@dr-bob.org

Script revised: February 4, 2008
URL: http://www.dr-bob.org/cgi-bin/pb/mget.pl
Copyright 2006-17 Robert Hsiung.
Owned and operated by Dr. Bob LLC and not the University of Chicago.