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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Friday, February 22, 2008

context context context

The one word you hear from a real estate agent when asked whats most important in their job--------location!!!! As far as understanding Scripture goes, context is everything. As you have seen, like in my previous post about satan, I am seeing traditional concepts and beliefs about certain subjects in a whole new light. The Bible is very silent about the origin of satan. I mean we know the traditional understanding is that he was once an angel who fell because he wanted to overthrow God and place himself above God. Hmmmmm sounds alot like adam and his desire to be like God via eating of the tree of good and evil. The name satan in the hebrew and greek means adversary. The name demons means slanderers. Whenever anyone opposes God and His authority, are they not acting as His adversary and therefore being a satan??? Some ideas to ponder.

The context of the Bible is to a jewish audience. They were His chosen people and He created a covenant relationship with them. God is the maker of ALL creation, all people groups, animals and so on. He specifically chose the Israelites to be the ones He would use in order to reveal Himself to the entire creation. Language can be tricky, the word *world* is used many times throughout the Bible. The context determines how it is to be interpreted. We need to put on glasses of the audience God and Jesus were speaking to. They had a very solid understanding of what was meant by Jesus and the other writers of the New Testament, as well as fully knowing the Law and the Prophets. When *world* is used in the NT it means the world of the people according to covenantal understanding. It is the local world dominated by the Romans and the world of covenant relationship to God. It is not intended to mean the entire world,the whole planet. Back then those people would have no point of reference for taking *world* to mean the entire planet. I hope your all with me here, please ask for more clarification in comments or emails if you need it.

One of the most difficult aspects of all Christianity is eschatology, aka last things and end times. Futurism, aka premillennial dispensationlism, is the predominant view now and has been for a long time. The interesting thing is it did not come into existence until the 1800's!!!! Preterism, aka past fulfillment, was a view that was held by many in the early Church and down thru church history. Many atheists and skeptics point to Jesus declaring to His generation that He would return again before they passed away, as never having happened and thus Jesus lied. Even CS Lewis said this was the saddest blot on all of Christianity. Funny thing is, Jesus DID return!!! He came back in glory and judgment in 70AD when the Old Covenant was done away with and the Law and sacrificail system was abolished. Jesus made a New Covenant which restored all who believe in Him back into relationship with God and having eternal life. Look at Matthew, the olivet discourse. Jesus tells His disciples of his death burial and resurrection and His coming again. Why would He tell them this in the way He did if He really was meaning to speak to all of us 2,000 or so years in the future??? Jesus did NOT lie!!!! He came back, only it was not a physical return. No where does He say that it would be physical though again context context context. A book, *Like Father, Like Son* by Don Preston explains very thoroughly. He also has a website, eschatology.org where he has lots and lots of info you can explore and he has a forum where you can ask questions and challenge any idea and understanding.

I hope this whets many an appetite to search and find for fresh understanding as to what the Bible has to say. I hope anyone feels free to di8scuss any wonderings that come to their mind and please anyone who likes to send me and email, i love taling to anyone. I know this is somewhat brief but i hope to share more as time goes on and provide sources for anyone to further their own curiosity if they so choose.


At 6:09 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Robert, thanks for commenting on my blog. At first I thought you were my personal friend robert who lives on Victoria Island.

Your blog is interesting because you seem open to following the truth. Some of the beliefs you suggest here are ways of reading the Bible that got me driven out of the institutional church as a heretic.


At 1:41 PM, Blogger Robert said...

Mike- thank you for stopping by. I really like your blog because you seem to lay all caution to the wind.

I understand what you are saying and have heard stories from other of being driven out as a heretic. i am trying slowly and gently to wade my way through and uncover what God has placed there. I still am seeking to be a change agent within the TC

peace and grace- Robert

At 5:19 PM, Blogger karen said...

Bravo, Robert! Welcome to the heresy club. You're in good company! Jesus is here, too! ;-)
Hugs, my friend!

At 7:28 PM, Blogger Gypsy said...

Well Robert, as you are very aware I am quite ignorant of the bible and its teachings so you certainly have taught me a thing or two. I've got to admit though, I do find it all quite mind boggling at times but maybe its because my exposure to religion has been very limited.

At 1:19 PM, Blogger The Troll said...

Context, context, context! Amen.

Here's one that I didn't understand until recently. And one that still isn't really Christian Orthodoxy, but I believe it.

Why was Jesus so angry at the money-changers and animal-sellers at the Jerusalem Temple?

Fact: Jesus would have taught in several Temples that had one or the other or both in the vicinity. Capernaum's Temple likely had both.

Fact: The Levites were allowed, even expected, to feed their families and make a modest profit from such things. They had almost no land-inheritance, after all.

Conclusion: The view held by some that simply allowing such activity in the vicinity of a house-of-worship angered Jesus is wrong.

What I now believe is this:

He was angry because at Passover Time at the Jeruselem they'd crammed ALL the booths into the Gate of the Gentiles. Deliberately and obnoxiously.

Gentiles who felt the call of Jehovah had travelled a long way in order to learn more. Instead, they couldn't hear or see anything but frantic commerce. Commerce that could easily have been carried out a reasonable distance from the ceremonies.

The Jews, called to be a LIGHT to the Gentiles and their GUIDES to righteous living were doing the opposite.

What Jesus says while driving out the money-changers quotes both Jeriamiah and Isaiah. The Isaiah part is from Chapter 56 which specifically addresses the issue of the Temple being a house for the Gentiles too. Other parts of Isaiah specifically address the way the Chosen People are to be helpful to Gentiles seeking the One True God.

Final Conclusion: Although it's possible that the vendors were price-gouging, the MAIN reason for the Christ's anger was their BLOCKING the path of Gentiles seeking the Lord. The Jews had been "thieves" not of a few pennies by means of unfair exchange rates. But thieves of something far more precious. They'd stolen the opportunity to know God from the Gentile visitors.

One notes that the only other time Christ shows great anger also concerns those who deliberately block people from hearing the Good News.

Food-for-thought, anyway.

At 4:52 PM, Blogger Robert said...

mr troll- wow!!! Talk about a meaty take on that scenario!! I see the sense you make in that interpreation, and yes Jesus saved His most heated exchanges for the religious jewish leaders who rather than being Gods light and leading others to Him were covering Him up and seeking their own power and glory.

I hope to have you stop by often my friend, as i plan on doing at your place. We have to conspire on ways to mess with our sweet lil gypsy friend lol


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