Seventh Response to Dalton Lifsey
First; a word on the purpose of this discussion.
You are quick to accuse me of using “circular reasoning”. You seem to be under the assumption that the only reason I do not “see” what you see in the text of Isaiah is because of my “predisposed suppositions” that have no foundation in the teaching that we received from God.
You realize, of-course, that I could throw that accusation right back at you. I could argue that the only reason you see what you see in the text is because of your “predisposed suppositions”. But the purpose of this discussion is to put facts on the table – and let the audience decide which one of us is using circular reasoning. That is the difference between persuasion and education.
The one argument of mine that you chose to address in your previous post (- my assertion that the incarnation is like saying that good is bad) is not based on a “predisposed assumption” as you assert. Please read the following posts and address them or retract your accusation.
Concerning Isaiah 9:6
You missed the entire point of my post concerning this passage.
My point was that it is on your shoulders to prove without any doubt that this passage teaches us to direct worship to one who possesses all of the properties of a man. You completely failed to do that.
I showed you that there are two ways of translating the verse that utterly negate your interpretation. I also showed you that even according to your translation (which I actually accept as the most logical), the verse is not teaching what you would have it say. Yet you accuse me of “putting all my eggs into one basket”?! How do you justify such an accusation? Did you at all read what I wrote?
My point with showing alternative translations was that there are other viable ways of reading this passage. If you want to argue that these translations are bizarre and absurd, you will have to acknowledge that they are far less absurd and bizarre than the belief that a man can somehow be God.
You want me to read Isaiah 9:6 in context of Isaiah 10:21 – no not 10:21 – but two words that you cherry picked out of 10:21 – yet you want me to ignore all of the contextual evidence that I presented to you in my fifth post?
If you read this verse in context – you are left with no question that it is talking of Hezekiah. The prophet made that abundantly clear. You have your own little problems with what the prophet said – you cannot fathom how it is that King Hezekiah fulfilled these prophecies. That doesn’t give you a right to tamper with the words of the prophet.
(As an aside – If you believe that a man can be God – and you also believe that the only way that this prophecy can be fulfilled is by having a man be God – than how do you know that Hezekiah isn’t that “mystery god-man” that the prophet was referring to?)
In any case, your lack of appreciation for Hezekiah’s career and your exaggeration of Jesus’ career needs to be put in perspective.
Assyria was the most powerful nation of the time. It was the scourge of the land. In one night the world’s greatest superpower became a banana republic. Their entire army dies in one night and the city it threatened with annihilation is saved. On the same day, the sun goes back in the sky and turns afternoon into morning. How does this compare to the healing of a few lepers and some questionable sightings of a crucified man?
“Oh, but that was in the world of objective reality – I was talking about the influence that Jesus had on the subjective minds of men” – you say.
Yes; I recognize that Jesus was the most influential man on earth, but is that something to be proud of? The Crusades, the Inquisition and the holocaust were only the apex of years of oppression and pain – is that the influence that you are pointing to? And what Jesus did to the Jews was nothing compared to what he did to the Gentiles. The Jews were physically oppressed in his name – but the Gentiles had darkness poured into their souls. The Jews suffered the holocaust – the followers of Jesus perpetrated it.
“But that was not the “real” Jesus” – you protest. The “real” Jesus loves the Jewish people.
For argument’s sake – I’ll buy your story (- just don’t try it in a court of law – the jury will never accept the argument: “that wasn’t the real me”.) So we have two incarnations of Jesus; the “fake” Jesus and the “real” Jesus. Which one of these two was more influential? For many dark centuries, no-one ever heard of the “real” Jesus. The blood-soaked pages of history should tell you that it was the fake Jesus who was far more influential than his brother.
One more point on the world of subjective reality.
You seem to be under the impression that Jesus’ career somehow “eclipsed” the miracles that God performed on behalf of Hezekiah. I actually agree with you – and let me explain.
An eclipse is when a body of darkness obstructs the light. It sometimes allows some light to shine through – but after everything is said and done – an eclipse is an obstruction of light. – That, my friend, is Jesus for you.
Since you seem to enjoy verbosity – I will take the liberty to elaborate.
The greatest light is God’s truth. The greatest happiness of humanity is to receive that light – and God promised that humanity will one day merit to receive that light (Isaiah 60:3). At the time of creation, God planted certain basic truths into the hearts of human beings. This is our ability to sense right from wrong, to enjoy truth and to be repulsed by falsehood. God also chose a nation for Himself, and He planted certain truths into the heart of this nation (Deuteronomy 4:35). For many centuries the Jewish people walked with this truth, but their Gentile neighbors did not appreciate it. The miracles that God performed for Hezekiah represented a turning point in history. From that point on, the Gentile nations began to seek the God of Israel (Isaiah 19:18). The phenomena of Gentiles seeking the God of Israel continued to grow – until the time of the eclipse.
Christianity came and rode the light in order to spread the darkness.
Christianity is not entirely evil, if it would be, it wouldn’t be so evil. If Christianity were completely evil, no-one would give it a second glance, and it would have harmed no-one. Christianity took some of the truths that God gave the world, and claimed them for herself. There are some truths, or half-truths, that Christianity does share with the world, but it wants the world to credit her; Christianity, as the source of light. It is like someone who steals all of your money and wants you to be his eternal slave when he returns some of it back to you.
There are three primary truths that Christianity twisted for the detriment of all men; the witness nation, the Messianic hope and the relationship that God shares with every one of His creations. (There are actually several more, but I will try to keep it brief.)
The Jewish people are God’s witness nation. There is no question that we disappointed God time and time again, but God’s purpose can never be thwarted. God taught us who it is that we are to worship, and who it is that all of mankind will one day worship (Deuteronomy 4:35, Isaiah 54:5). After more than 3000 years, the word; “Jew”, is still associated with the worship of the One Creator of all – and the word; “Jew” is still associated with a repudiation of the worship of any other entity.
The world began learning this truth from us – particularly after the spectacular destruction of the Assyrian army.
Along came Christianity and taught the world that the Jewish people are “false witnesses”. The Jewish people testify that they were taught by God who it is that we are to worship – but Christianity declares – “Don’t believe them”. Christianity rode the reputation of our prophets, but Christianity shut the mouth of those who ratified the authenticity of those same prophets. Christianity rode the glory that was added to David’s throne through Hezekiah, but they taught the world that Hezekiah was a failure.
That is the first eclipse of Christianity – they eclipsed the testimony of God’s witnesses.
The next truth distorted by Christianity is the Messianic hope. God told the Jewish prophets that He has a plan of peace for all mankind (Zephaniah 3:9). The Jewish prophets planted a seed of hope in the heart of mankind – a hope that inspired many to persevere through the greatest trials. This hope is God’s love for all mankind.
Along came Christianity and usurped that hope for itself. Christianity invented a concept of a “new election” – an election that the prophets said nothing about (and I challenge you Dalton, show me ONE verse from the Jewish Scriptures which indicates that there will be a new election on the basis of devotion to an individual). Christianity taught the world that if you want the Messianic hope – you must worship our Jesus. Christianity stole the hope that rightfully belongs to all of mankind and tries to persuade people that the only place it can be purchased is in their store.
(It always struck me as odd, that the election of Israel according to the Bible means greater responsibility and greater punishment (Amos 3:2), while the Christian “election” is a free ticket to “eternal life”.)
That is the second eclipse of Christianity – Christianity eclipsed the universal truth of the Messianic hope.
The most important truth that Christianity eclipses is the relationship that God shares with every one of His creations.
When Jesus said: “No-one comes to the Father, but through me”, it seems like he was saying something about himself, but he was not. Jesus was making a statement about you and about me and about every man and woman that inhabit God’s earth.
Jesus was teaching that you cannot have a direct relationship with your Creator. Jesus falsely taught that there is a barrier between the Creator and His creations – and he offers himself as the only way to overcome this otherwise “insurmountable barrier”. This teaching is false.
The deepest need of every human being is the need for a relationship with God. The inner core of our being yearns to connect to its Creator. Our Creator knows this (obviously). Just as He provided for our physical needs; we have air to breath, water to drink and food to eat – He provided us with our deepest need. All we need to do is to open our hearts a little. We would then recognize in every beat of our hearts – a caress from God. We would feel every breath as an embrace, and we would recognize that He carries us constantly as a mother cradles her infant. After all, it is He who gave us existence to begin with, it is He who designed our heart and keeps it beating and it is He who constantly and lovingly sustains every aspect of our lives. There is nothing closer to us than our Creator. All we need to do is to recognize these truths and call upon Him with sincerity – but Christianity came and eclipsed this truth.
Now Dalton, I recognize that you may find it difficult to reject the man who taught you to see it as if all of your inalienable rights are coming from him. But I am not asking you to reject him. Just do what the Jewish people have been doing for the past 2000 years – ignore him. If you ignore him long enough – he will go away. He only thrives on your attention. In fact, as it is with every idol, his entire existence is only the product of the attention that the worshipers pay to him.
Dalton, I encourage you to join the swelling ranks of Jews and Gentiles who direct all of their religious devotion to our common Creator and to Him alone. We stand together, Jew and Gentile, with one heart, a heart filled with a pure and unadulterated love for God that is not eclipsed in any way. A dedication that is predicated on God’s universal principles of justice and charity -Jeremiah 9:23; 22:16; Micah 6:8; Isaiah 9:6 (7). The Jewish prophets predicted that eventually all of mankind will stand shoulder to shoulder in service of the One God of Israel. There is no reason for you to wait. It is your inalienable right.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal