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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Prophecy?

I've got an old Iron Maiden song playing somewhere back in the caverns of my cranium as I visualize my Christian brothers and sisters running for the hills to avoid capture by Nero's soldiers back in the first century. Nero, by this point, was already soaking Christians in flammable liquids, and igniting them to warm and illuminate his lavish parties, a practice which would be difficult to visualize or justify if the life of Jesus Christ had been at that time simply a 25-30 year old bucolic legend based on the story of Mithra.

I know that many things fade with time. They certainly did for me. Also, there are things I'm now learning that I never knew. I thought I'd take some time and share some information, out of love, and in the spirit of the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. We've entertained the theory that prophecy was written after it had already been fulfilled. There are some notable exceptions to this, and the case of Jesus would seem to be one of them. One resource we have during our own lifespans is proof of the relative intactness of the Old Testament scriptures, at least over a 2,500 year time span, because of the ways in which these compare to the so-called "Dead Sea" scrolls. So, any theories involving Catholic tampering do not apply. There are some fairly specific prophecies, part of the ancient Jewish literature, which pertain directly to Jesus Christ, and were written well in advance of His life, death, and resurrection.

First, lets turn to Luke 24: 44-45, where we read:

"He said to them, 'This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.' Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures."

There are two major Old Testament passages which describe and directly apply to the experiences of Jesus. Psalm 22, and Isaiah 52, and 53 contain some amazing descriptive language, and there are certainly others. Bible Scholars have identified scores of references in the Law, Prophets, and Psalms which foreshadow, prophesy, or describe Jesus Christ.

I'm going to highlight, or excerpt these chapters, because I know from experience that if I just list chapter and verse, most people will never look them up and read them for themselves.

Psalm 22:

1. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?

6. But, I am a worm, not a human being. I am scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
7. All who see me mock me, they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8. He trusts in the Lord, they say, let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.
9. Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me feel secure on my mother's breast.
10. From birth I was cast on you; from my mother's womb you have been my God.

15. My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.
16 Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me.
18. They divide my clothes among them, and cast lots for my garment.

25. From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly, before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
26. The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise him-may your hearts live forever.
27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations.
29. All the rich of the earth will feast and worship, all those who go down to the dust will kneel before him--those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn. He has done it!

Isaiah 52: 13 See my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him--his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness--
15 so he will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.

Isaiah 53:
1 Who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by others, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life, and be satisfied by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.


He that hath an ear, let him hear!

In Christian Love,
BB

32 comments:

Corky said...

The faithful servant. Who is that faithful servant?

Isa 49:3 And said unto me(Isaiah),Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.

Isaiah is talking about the faithful servants of God in Israel, such as himself, who had not forsaken God as had those of Zion (the north of Jerusalem).

Psalm 22.

You left out some verses, like this one:

Psa 22:12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.

Hmmm. Doesn't sound much like Jesus there does it? And, neither does this:

Psa 22:20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.
Psa 22:21 Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.

See what you can do when you yank passages out of context? It's a Psalm (a hymn) not a prophecy.

Corky said...

Now go to Matt. 1:23. Matthew referring to Jesus says:

Mat 1:22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Mat 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

This is from Isaiah 7:14 (without Matthew's added words)

Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

A sign of what? That Ahaz would win against the counsel of evil against Israel (Isa. 7:3-12) by the two kings.

So, now back to the child in verse 14.

Isa 7:15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
Isa 7:16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

So, another example of the Christian habit of yanking passages out of context to apply them to Jesus when they have nothing whatever to do with Jesus.

And people wonder why the Jews weren't convinced.

Ralph said...

Corky, good points. I've often asked, who was Isaac's father?
Genesis 21:1-2:

"And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken, for Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age".

Special births seem to run in the bible from OT through NT.

If paul says "we brethren, as Isaac was, are children of the promise(Gal 4:28)", would that signify a string of special but random births in history?

Jacob and Esau had some tampering. Jeremiah was "formed in the belly and known before you came out of the womb. I appointed you a prophet".

This is basically what Paul refers to in Romans 9:7-15, and then points out there is no way we can choose to be one of those.

Paul considered himself one of them in Galatians 1:15:

"But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb.."

When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, he said "unless you are born atgain..."

The word "again" is translated from the Greek "anothen" and means "from above" whereas "born again is "annagennao" literally "again born".

So, Jesus challenged Nicodemus' concepts of birthright by saying "unless you are born from above.."

Now if you take all these statements and place them in the context of Romans 8:29-30, you pretty much eliminate christianity as we generally recognize it.

In 1 Peter 1:3, we see "...who hath begotten us again unto a lively hope..."

So from the text of Romans 8:29-30, we see that they were literally born, at birth as isaac was, of the same promise, foreknown, and then called, or "begotten again" with a hope.

In 1 Peter 1:2, just above that last quote, we see "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father..."

So, there you have an actual birth in the same fahsion as Isaac afwhich those folks, whoever they are are THEN "born again" or "begotten again", actually called.

That idea knocks christianity totally on its ass.

Neotherm said...

BB:

The passages of scripture that you cite obviously refer to Christ. But only to a mind that has spiritual discernment.

I think that Nostradamus lacks validity but I believe Biblical prophecy has validity. But the "natural mind" would likely see Nostradamus and Biblical prophecy as being on the same par -- both just ridiculous musings.

The experiment that you are running will not demonstrate the validity of the Bible to the detractor. And anti-Biblical posts will not demonstrate the lack of validity of the Bible to the believer.

It will only demonstrate the extraordinary difference between how the natural mind thinks and how the spiritual mind thinks.

As the Bible accurately predicts, the natural mind will have such observations as I have just made in utter derision.

Just to let you know what is going to happen. (Could this a prophecy?)

-- Neo

Allen C. Dexter said...

I obviously have no "spiritual discernment," a convenient put down that proves absolutely nothing.

In my opinion, the passages cited aren't prophecies of Jesus at all, but people who desperately want to believe make them so. Jesus Christ is and always was a farce, and Christianity has nothing more in it than any other faith extant in this crazy, mixed-up world.

Time to get back to something a little more solid. I'll go see what's on TV. Maybe Natgeo or the Science channel has something worth spending mental time on. I'm certainly not going to waste another minute reading or commenting on these so-called prophecies of Jesus.

Corky said...

Neotherm said...
It will only demonstrate the extraordinary difference between how the natural mind thinks and how the spiritual mind thinks.

So, you have something other than a natural (human) mind? Demonstrate that please.

I bet you dollars for donuts that you think with the same human mind as I do or anyone else does. Know why? Because, that's all you have.

At least, I suppose your brain is inside your head like everyone else's is, right?

Ralph said...

Neo, Corky has made a valid and biblical point. If the natural mind is enmity against God, and cannot be subject to God's laws, by what "spiritual" process would you define understanding?

Let's say you have a government which has decided to operate by God's laws. If no natural mind can be subject to God, how would you know the judge has spiritual discernment?

If he goes by the bible? But the bible has over 38,000 versions of truth and growing. The fact that these versions are increasing is evidence that Romans 8:7 is true.

Assuming your mind is natural, what would give the judge power over you?

The defense in this case would be "Since I have a natural mind, and there is no proof that I posesess anything other than a natural mind, I am not and cannot be subject to God's laws. And since there is no way of proving that you, the judge, have a spiritual mind, I cannot trust your judgement. Have a nice day".

This is actually the presumption of innocence, and the law actually does recognize that fact under common law.

How do the courts get around it? By getting you to swear or affirm, thereby waiving your rights. You have given them permission to ignore your common law rights, which include Isaiah 54:17 and isaiah 50:8.

Unfortunately, both Neo and BB are supporting a religious system that supports subjectivity, and does not allow legal protections of the individual. The law will allow all versions of religion, as long as those versions do not question the power of the law to prosecute you. IOW, Satan loves religious freedom, as long as it doesn't challenge his power to rule(Matthew 4, Luke 4).

Atheists may argue that is crap, but it is the ancient basis of law. The great atheist Thomas Paine agreed in principle with the above scriptures when he stated that government at its best is but a necessary evil. The law violates Jesus' teaching in Luke 11:52.

Neotherm said...

Corky:

Just to the point. The sword cuts both directions. Please demonstrate that I do not have an additional spriritual dimension to my mind.

The evidence of a spiritual understanding that I proffer is that I, along with other Christians, can understand the main themes of the Bible whereas to the natural mind the spiritual dimension of belief in God is foolishness.

No doubt that is wholly unacceptable to the natural mind and rightly so. But I am not concerned about its acceptability to the natural mind. That's not my gig.

-- Neo

Neotherm said...

Ralph:

There is the understanding among Christians of the Invisible Body of Christ. These people constitute the Elect.

But what does membership in the Elect confer? Members of the Elect will not be perfect in the execution of Christian practice. In general, while there will be outcomes and results correlated with being a member of the Elect, these results are not the criteria for membership. The one and only criteria is that God is working with the member.

If a theocracy were established somewhere consisting of Christians only, each with spiritual understanding imparted by God, I believe there would yet be problems. Because we are also still human and we live in a time when God permits us to exercise our humanness engendering whatever learning that must occur.

This may seem like a retreat from the claims of the spiritual depth of Christianity. But what about the philosophical purity of atheism (or any other ideology for that claims superiority to Christianity) when put into practice? We may look to the history of the former Soviet Union for this determination.

-- Neo

Retired Prof said...

I have seen many kinds of special discernment besides the spiritual.

I know a professor who has Marxist discernment. Give him a work of literature--any work whatever--and he can show you how it predicts the overthrow of capitalism and the coming triumph of a peaceful, prosperous society where workers stand side by side in comradely harmony.

I know several women scholars who have feminist discernment. Give them the same work you gave the Marxist and they will demonstrate how that work valorizes the paternalistic hegemony and promotes the oppression of females. Unless it was written by a woman. In that case it attacks the paternalistic hegemony and promotes the liberation of females.

Give the same work to a critic I know with Freudian discernment, and he will describe conflicts among the author's id, ego, and superego, unconsciously represented as separate characters in the story. Based on that analysis, he will typically diagnose the author as suffering from a latent Oedipal complex (or if it is a woman, an Electra complex). Or he may instead dissect the psychology of a character in the story and describe that character's childhood relationships with mother and father as the character progressed through the oral, anal, and phallic stages of psychosocial development. Freudian discernment makes all this possible even if the story begins when the character is 30 years old.

To me, these kinds of discernment are just as special and have the same relation to the natural mind as spiritual discernment.

Ralph said...

Neo, the burden of proof is on you, especially since you would have to prove, in complete contradiction of Paul's teachings, that you actually do have a spiritual dimension qualifying you over others.

Corky has already challenged me on Romans chapter 8 and 9, and I've already pointed out there is simply no way by which any person can demonstrate an extra spiritual dimension.

And, as I've pointed out, the very act of defining that spiritual dimension makes it subject to algoreithms and therefore subject to programming in a computer, so that there would be no difference whatever to any human discernment, between God and a computer.

This was exactly Godel's problem, because he too believed in God. he developed his theorem t show that the human mind could define all truth in one single package, but then he tried to demonstrate some process of intuition that escaped formalism.

But the very act of definition reduced all processes to formailsm, and therefore to mechanical programming.

Jefferson had it as correct as it can be made: All are created equal before law, endowed by that creator with inalienable rights.

If the law violates those rights, they can alter or abolish it.

Even biblically, Neo, christianity is wrong. All versions.

Ralph said...

Neo: "There is the understanding among christians of the invisible body of Christ. These people constitute the elect".

Really? All 38,000 versions? No definitions, no logic, no process of discernment, just whoever says so?

Your statement directly challenges even the teachings of Paul, as I've aleady pointed out. He said no such recognition exists.
It cannot be done, and there's good reason for this. Look at history. Every body that has clzaimed such powers has killed, tortured, and enslaved the masses in some form.

If the people can, by their own recognition, set themselves somehow apart from the "world", then there is no need of God in the first place. We can do it on our own. And that makes the atheists correct.

Neo, any avoidance of the logical conclusions of Paul in Romans 8 and 9 merely lead to exactly the kind of religious confusion we see around us today, proving christians wrong and Paul right.

Ralph said...

Retired Prof, good points. That's why there can be no special discernment or decision procedure by which any human can represent God.

The same process of discernment producing diversity which you describe has alread produced the same varieties of discernment in christianity.

The only resulting conclusion can be individual freedom of interpretation. Nobody has a monopoly. I like that.

Neotherm said...

Ralph:

The burden of proof is not on me because I have no interest in convincing anybody. In fact, I believe that such attempts at persuasion ultimately yield nothing.

-- Neo

Corky said...

Neotherm said...
I, along with other Christians, can understand the main themes of the Bible.

Oh yeah? Which of the over 38,000 versions of that are you?

Please demonstrate that I do not have an additional spriritual dimension to my mind.

Because you can't prove that you do. There, done. Wasn't that easy?

Ralph said...

Yes, Neo, because there's nothing that can be proven. But OTOH, the atheist must settle for that which can't be proven either.

No one has the upper hand.

Corky said...

Neotherm said...
Ralph:

The burden of proof is not on me because I have no interest in convincing anybody. In fact, I believe that such attempts at persuasion ultimately yield nothing
.

If that's the case, why did you make the statement thay you are spiritually minded and only spiritually minded people can understand the Bible? (my paraphrase of your words).

I say prove that you have the gift of the holy spirit.

You can do that simply by typing a message to me in another language that I know besides English.

Or, by raising someone from the dead. Or, by laying your hands on someone and they speak in unlearned languages. Or, you could restore my lost teeth - that would convince me.

Ralph said...

Oh, speaking in unknown tongues. I couldn;t resist this one. remember that favorite herb used from Isaiah 28, "here a little and there a little"?

"For with stammering lips an another tongue will he speak to his people...that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken".

So, Corky, If Neo spoke to you in another tongue which only you knew, how would I know you weren't both playing me?

Corky said...

Ralph said...
So, Corky, If Neo spoke to you in another tongue which only you knew, how would I know you weren't both playing me?

You wouldn't. And, neither did those other people on the day of Pentecost, 2,000 years ago. Neat trick, huh?

Morris Loess and Les S. Moore said...

Prof, did you have a brainfart? The feminist buzzword is "patriarchal hegemony," not "paternalistic hegemony."

Allen C. Dexter said...

Retired Prof, thanks for your succinct summary. I thoroughly resent anybody claiming they have a spiritual component in their minds that I do not have. It's pure non-demonstarable nonsense to give an aura of superiority.

Ralph said...

I always wondered how that referred to a time when the sun was darkened and the moon turned to blood. I have seen the moon on nights of solar eclipse, and it did seem to be red as blood.

Was there an eclipse occurring at that time?

However, if we look at it in terms of law, it would merely thre right of all humans to claim equality and freedom before the law.

Joel 2 says they will be "delivered", where Acts 2 says "saved".

In a time when law was absolute, the right of the people to be "delivered' might be quite a heady experience. Obviousy they took a more 'socialist" approach as Acts 2:45 indicates. This, however would also be seen as the abandonment of strict observance and a willingness to share.

Certainly the property was theirs to dispose of as they wished, as we see in the case of Ananias and Saphira(Acts 5:4).

This, to me, seems more like "screw the higher powers! Let's take care of each other!"

The reason it strikes me this way is in Acts 5:17. The high priests, who were Sadducees along with selected family members, as seemed to be their practice, were upset at this common distribution of goods(barter?) that by-passed the authority of the Sanhedrin as quisling rulers for Rome.

When Peter was brought before them after being released from prison, he said "We ought to obey God rather than men".

What we see clearly is a distribution of wealth by common consent, not law, and not taxes. And it was a rejection of the legal statutes of men.

In fact, since no natural mind can be subject to God, only innocence before God could be presumed, and guilt could only be claimed by an accuser. Accusatorial law as opposed to inquisitional law, which was practiced by the Romans under code law.

Neotherm said...

Corky:

I just made a comment. My intent was not to persaude.

Some elemental logic. Just because you can't prove that something exists to someone doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. You may lack to means for the proof or the hearer may not have the preparation to receive the proof, etc.

I might ask that you prove that I do not have a spiritual dimension in my mind. And since you cannot do that, I might assert that this is the proof that I do. But I don't think you would accept that. Neither will I accept your argument.

-- Neo

The Painful Truth said...

If the natural mind is enmity against God, and cannot be subject to God's laws or God's mind, this entity would be "deanthropomorphisation" in nature and character.

With this in mind we could say that the world's Messianic messengers come from the whims, irrationality, and delusions of the human mind. For if you cannot know the mind of God, how can you teach about what cannot be known?

Ralph said...

That's pretty direct, PT. You've hit another nail on the head. One of the problems with religion is that it anthropomorphizes God, and yet, the natural mind cannot be subject to God.

To borrow from Betty's book, "there is none righteous, no not one". No possible authorities.

Byker Bob said...

As I read some of the comments, I can't help but remember two gentlemen from whom I purchased wrecked motorcycles. Both had suffered permanent injury to their legs, injuries which would cause pain and disability for the rest of their lives. It was very difficult, on an emotional level, for me to aquire the bikes from them, knowing that. Quite predictably, they were pretty much down on two wheeled transportation.

I've also met some riders at motorcycle events who had overcome disabilities, to ride again, either with prostheses, or on different, specially constructed bikes. And, then, there were those who could no longer ride, but were at the events in wheelchairs, simply because they liked the people.

They say that survival is one of the strongest instincts common to the human species. I've seen even this either thwarted or played with. Every heroin addict who ever puts that spike into his vein knows the statistics, but chooses to ignore them.

In that big game, known as life, we all go to the window, and we all place our bets. Nobody else can do that for us. Nor should we want them to.

BB

The Painful Truth said...

Bob I posted a video on the front page here that expresses how we all see life as a different expression of our own personal reality.

To see the reality of others is the most difficult thing to do unless you yourself have lived it. No one here has lived your own reality in its entirety. No one person can say this is right for you or try this it will work.

This is our world and we share it within the context of that shell we have built. I believe the video does a decent job of teaching us this.

Corky said...

Neotherm said...
I might ask that you prove that I do not have a spiritual dimension in my mind.

There is really no need, you already know it. You would like others to think you do but you, yourself, know you don't.

From the NT you think that you are supposed to have the gift of the holy spirit. However, if you read in the Acts where the evangelist, Philip, baptized people - they did not receive the holy spirit until the apostles laid hands on them.

There are no more apostles, and the spirit gifts were done away (I Cor. 13:8-13). That's how I know you only have a human mind just like everyone else - you are nothing "special", no matter how much you wish your were.

Neotherm said...

Corky:

That's really idiosyncratic.

-- Neo

Ralph said...

PT, you bring out a valid point.

This, in essence, is what Paul wrote of when he wrote of jesus as one who had tasted all the suffering we ourselves suffer.

Now, whether there actually was such a person or not is actually moot from the perspective of law, because what Paul taught is that there is no process by which any human can control law to the degree that s/he can judge or punish others. "We have a heavenly high priest".

Suppose we don't, and that there is no God or no heaven. From the standpoint of law, we are left with the dilemma faced in the US today. If there is a total separation of church and state, then the only thing that rules is mobocracy. If enough people belive a thing, it is law, which is now creating the kind of splinter groups and watchdog groups, along with greater emphasis on the 2nd amendment, etc.

IOW, unless everyone accepts that something has a force that justifies the individual, you have only force as the final arbiter.

What Paul did was to create a judge a high priest, whose existence had already paid the penalty of lawbreaking, and thyat high priest, that procedural judge, was not within the limitations of jewish law(Melchisadek, whatever that means).

By including all peoples under that law equally, Paul actually fashioned a system of justice based on exactly the same principles described by jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.

Who represents that power? We have no way of knowing, and Paul tells us it is impossible to try. Therefoee, the 1st amendment recognizes that fact, and is "incorporated into the 14th amendment regarding the states.

"Due process" is a term defined as "lawful judgement of peers" or common law, which is a protection against both federal and state government, and, under the provisions of isaiah 54:17, Isiah 50:8, 1 Corinthians 6, Matthew 18;15-18, is a process that protects the right of individual conscience against legal encroachment, as Hamilton points out in "Federalist 78".

But as Ayn Rand has so beautifully pointed out, we have been told that our souls are subject to either church or state, to Attila or the Witch Doctor, and we have no personal rights except to belong to one or the other. Rand, of course, denies this as rubbish.

But the bible also denies this need to sacrifice ourselves to church or state, to "beast" or "false prophet". W#e are free before this universe, before God, if we choose to call it that, and lawfully, we are unbder the protection of that God against all accusers.

That is the traditional meaning of due process of law.

Corky said...

Neotherm said...
Corky:

That's really idiosyncratic
.

Proved you wrong using your own Bible though, didn't I? That is, of course, unless you don't believe what Paul said, huh? huh?

Ralph said...

Corky, you're trickier than I am.