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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 12:02am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

"Love your neighbor as yourself" comes from the book of Leviticus, just a stone's throw (pun somewhat intended) from the regulations on human sexuality that began this thread.

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Leviticus 19:18 “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”

Arguably, “neighbor” in this context means “your people” and is a statement of nationalism. The Israelites need to stick together.

This was the question posed to Jesus of “Who is your neighbor?” when he told the Parable of the Good Samaritan, and he’s the one who transformed it into a statement of universal love. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 5:56am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Jesus also said that He came to FULFILL the Law (fulfilling the punishment for mankind's sins by taking the death sentence for same Himself on the Cross) and the "Kingdom of Heaven is upon you" (or "in your midst"), meaning wherever the King (Jesus) rules (like in the hearts of believers; you've heard "Jesus is in my heart"), there is the Kingdom.

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That's not an interpretation that would have made much sense to the people Jesus was (allegedly) talking to. They'd been taught to expect a LITERAL MANIFESTATION of the Kingdom of Heaven, right here on Earth.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 6:03am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Meanwhile, there's that vexing pronouncement from Jesus in Luke 14...

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."

Believers have tied themselves in all kinds of knots, trying to make it say something other than what it says. Take the word of God.Jesus literally -- except when you don't!

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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 6:58am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

That's not an interpretation that would have made much sense to the people Jesus was (allegedly) talking to. They'd been taught to expect a LITERAL MANIFESTATION of the Kingdom of Heaven, right here on Earth.
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Well...YEAH!  That's why they crucified Him!  They were expecting a warrior/conqueror to deliver them from Roman rule, not a manifestation of peace and love!  (Of course, that's only because the teachers of the Law at the time took things out of context and ignored all the prophecies of God's "Suffering Servant," who indeed would show God's love.)
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 7:07am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Meanwhile, there's that vexing pronouncement from Jesus in Luke 14...

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."

Believers have tied themselves in all kinds of knots, trying to make it say something other than what it says. Take the word of God.Jesus literally -- except when you don't!
______________________________

Well, no.  We just don't take things out of context.  If Jesus talks about love over and over and then says ONE thing about "hate," the reasonable student would think "Hmm...there's probably a deeper meaning here."  Or not even that deep--common sense would lead anybody reading that passage to realize that it's by COMPARISON, we should "hate" anyone or anything that is not God our Creator, who deserves our complete and total love (worship).  But if one needs to go deeper, the word used there is "miseo" which means "regard less than" (not the malicious version of "hate" a modern English reader first thinks of).

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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 7:49am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

If Jesus talks about love over and over and then says ONE thing about "hate," the reasonable student would think "Hmm...there's probably a deeper meaning here."

••

Like I said -- take it literally, except when you don't.

A decidedly fuzzy system, given that the eternal salvation of people's SOULS is in the balance.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 7:54am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Of course, that's only because the teachers of the Law at the time took things out of context and ignored all the prophecies of God's "Suffering Servant," who indeed would show God's love.

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Except the "suffering servant" in the ORIGINAL CONTEXT is the Nation of Israel itself*. In no way did the ancient Hebrews interpret it as a reference to the/a Messiah. (By the time Jesus showed up, most had given up on the Messiah story completely. Like so many OT "prophecies" it had shown no signs of coming true.)

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* That's the Jewish interpretation, and, hey! It's THEIR STORY, right?

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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 8:58am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

In no way did the ancient Hebrews interpret it as a reference to the/a Messiah.
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You're throwing a lot of people under the same umbrella.  In the Gospels, we clearly see different factions all with their own set of beliefs--the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Zealots, and the followers of John the Baptist, and there are also mentioned others claiming to be the Messiah, and they had followers.  One of the beliefs of the Pharisees (and Jesus had plenty of problems with them) was that God was sending a Messiah to rule the world from Israel.  So, obviously, you can't say that there was one interpretation of the Suffering Servant idea or that the people had given up on their Messiah.  And even if the "Israel as Suffering Servant" idea was prevalent, that doesn't make it right.  A cursory reading of ISAIAH 53, the main Suffering Servant text, would seem to lean towards it being a single person--a prophet, king, or judge.  With its history of falling away and isolating, it's hard to believe that Israel as a whole would see itself in many of these verses:

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    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.

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
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.
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.

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.
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.
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’swill 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.


(And, of course, there are at least fifteen prophetic references here that Jesus ended up fulfilling, 700 years later.)

 



Edited by Eric Jansen on 12 October 2018 at 9:01am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 9:02am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

It certainly is lucky you Christians came alonge to show the Jews they were getting their own mythology wrong.

Well, not lucky for THEM, of course.

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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 9:27am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I don't know. All I'm certain of is that I'm becoming less and less inclined to believe as I grow older, because too much of the Bible is savage, cruel, contradictory, and packed with nonsense that supports the status quo (whatever it might be) over the downtrodden.

Edited by Andrew Bitner on 12 October 2018 at 9:30am
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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 9:30am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I think that there is *something* out there but I also believe that human religion has nothing at all to do with it, much less offering any way of understanding what it might be.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 9:51am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

The truly mind boggling thing in all of this is that there doesn’t need to be “something out there.” The whole Universe could literally have sprung into being from nothing. In fact, it really didn’t have any other options!
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