Let me clarify a basic contrast that seems to have escaped you.
On the one side you have the word of God – I refer here to the Jewish Scriptures which we both acknowledge as the words of the Living God. On the other hand you have the speculation of men. The fact that the speculation that these men engage in revolves around the words of God does not change the status of these theories – they remain speculation.
I will clarify.
We are discussing the worship of Jesus – a worship that you condone and one which I see as the greatest rebellion against God.
Wonder of wonders! We both point to the same Jewish Scriptures to support our respective positions!
The difference is that I am pointing to direct and explicit commandments from God while you are simply using Scripture as a springboard for your own speculations.
I pointed to the Sinai revelation. It was not me who decided that this passage is relevant to this discussion. The Author of Scripture made it abundantly clear that this event was His teaching on the subject of idolatry.
You pointed to the sacrifice of Isaac and the smiting of the firstborn. May I bring it to your attention that the Author of Scripture did NOT present these as a teaching on the subject of idolatry – it is YOU who decided that these narratives have a bearing on this discussion.
Furthermore – the Sinai revelation was a comprehensive teaching on the subject. The Author of Scripture Himself tied up all the loose ends. The doctrine He taught was simple, straightforward and complete – it was that we are to worship only the God who revealed Himself to our ancestors at Sinai as our ancestors preserved that revelation (Deuteronomy 4:9; Isaiah 43:10).
The theory that you are building out of the narratives in Genesis and Exodus are not spelled out in Scripture at all. These are your own speculations.
Do you not see the stark contrast between your own speculations and the explicit, direct and comprehensive word of God?
Furthermore – because my nation does not accept your fanciful speculations you then say that we “overlook” the sacrifice of Isaac?! Your condescending tone about Israel retelling the story as a “wonderful story of the dedication and devotion of Abraham” – as if this is the insignificant part of the story – the “sideshow” so to speak – speaks volumes. Perhaps you noticed that the Author of Scripture Himself calls our attention to this aspect of the story (Genesis 22:18).
Since you seem to be in the mood of some speculation about the role of the sacrifice of the firstborn let me share some of my own speculations on the subject.
Israel is God’s firstborn (Exodus 4:22; Jeremiah 31:8), His only one (2Samuel 7:23), that He loves (Deuteronomy 7:8) . Throughout our history we have been called upon to give up our lives in obedience to God’s voice that commands us to refrain from worshipping idols. Isaac’s sacrifice served as the model and the inspiration for tens of thousands of subsequent sacrifices of God’s firstborn. The inspiration generated by these sacrifices continues to illuminate the world in the very same way that Isaac’s sacrifice illuminated and brought blessing: By testifying that God alone is sovereign over every facet of existence.
When it comes to my remarks about the alleged resurrection of Jesus you chose to ignore my main point and instead you addressed the comments that I put in parenthesis.
To remind you – my main point was that the distinction that you made between the resurrection and other miracles (that it was unaided) – is a distinction that has no basis in Scripture. Scripture uses the broad brush “sign or wonder” to teach that no miracle can move us from the path God set us on when He took us out of Egypt. Yet you come with your own speculation and create a distinction and then you preach to me that I am “entirely on my own”. Gil, it is you who stand on your own against the plain word of God.
(I disagree with your arguments concerning my parenthetical statement but I fear that if I spell it out you will limit your response to this peripheral part of our argument and continue to avoid the main issue.)
I will go back now to your opening comments
You say that you are not given to the back and forth of “he is” “he is not”. If you noticed that has not been the style of our discussion. Yes, we both have misunderstood each other at times as is expected amongst people from such different world-views – but all in all our discussions have not been a matter of each of us attempting to state their opinion more emphatically but rather each of us attempting to bring more light, clarity and articulation to the basis of our beliefs.
You seem to be disappointed that you cannot bring the Christian Scriptures to support your position. This sentiment perhaps goes to the root of our differences. According to your own standard (that a claim for prophecy be measured in light of previous revelation) what you should have done is that you should have studied the Jewish Scriptures and the Jewish Scriptures alone, absorbed its spirit and allowed yourself to become saturated with its teachings – you should have developed a complete world-view on that basis and then and only then evaluate the claims of Christianity in that light. Do you not agree that this would be the proper approach?
If this would have been your approach – then you should be able to demonstrate from the Jewish Scriptures why it is that you accept the claims of Christianity.
Peace and light
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal