Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Bible is not against "Interacial" Marriage

The Torah's commands against marriages with Moab, Amon and the Canaanites were about mixed marriages on Spiritual grounds.  The issue with the marriages Balaam helped arranged is deliberately explained as the daughters of Moab leading them to into idolatry.

Lots of people want to deny this, yes even today some still try to preach against White People marrying Black People (as if that modern ethnic divide could possibly correlate to any tribal relations in The Bible).

Even going off just The Torah  Who Israelites are allowed to marry, and who they're not, makes no sense if it's purely Ethnic or genealogical lines, they're too arbitrary.  The commands against it are primarily directed at Canaanites, which would work in that context.  But then Moab and Ammon, who descend from Lot, Abraham's Nephew.  One could speculate their gene pool was corrupted by their Incestuous origin, but in Deuteronomy 2 Yahuah still recognized their right to their land as much as he does Edom's.  Their idolatry is I believe the reason they normally can't marry Israelites, yet God's promise of the land he gave to the family of Abraham still applies to them in spite of that.

However marriages to Mizraimites, other descendants of Ham, same son of Noah as Canaan, are repeatedly shown to be okay.  Hagar and Abraham's relationship was not disapproved of by God.  Then Ishmael married a Mizraimite.  Joseph married the daughter of a Priest.  Leviticus 24 records the son of a Danite Woman and a Mizraimite man being an Israelite.  You can conjecture his ancestry related to his Sin all you want, but the text doesn't say that, his Punishment shows he was considered a citizen.  Later the Book of Chronicles tells us of other marriages with Mizraimites that happened pretty early on.

I just did a post on the Cushite Wife of Moses.  It can be viewed as an oversimplification of the passage to say it's explicitly approving that marriage, yet if Moses was wrong to marry her, Yahuah would have said so as Moses Sin at Meribah is not glossed over.

Edom is not included on those prohibited to marry either.  On the one hand you could say that makes sense, they are closer related to Israel then them, coming from Jacob's Twin.  Yet Edom himself married some Canaanites he wasn't supposed to, so why wasn't that condemnation inherited by their descendants if genetics not who they worship was the issue?  Plus in other contexts The Torah mentions Edom right by Moab and Amon.  The difference is Moab and Amon worshiped Idols, Chemosh and Molech, while Edom as I've talked about before seem to have worshiped Yahuah, often worshiped Him wrong perhaps, but still worshiped Him.  Compare Deuteronomy 23:3 to 23:7.

And in a post I'm working on for my Prophecy blog, I'm going to suggest the Mizraimites (often translated Egypt and Egyptian) of the Torah may not have worshiped Idols yet either.

The Levites had many special restrictions, they were not allowed to even marry women of other Tribes of Israel.  You can't use their restrictions to interpret general Laws for all the people.

Now, going beyond The Torah, since most Christian consider all of The Bible canon.

The Book of Ruth.

One website obsessed with saying Interracial marriage is wrong regardless of faith, insists Ruth was not a Moabitess.  This was not a Torah only website obviously, or they'd just do what I've seen some Torah only people do and reject the line of David.  They seem to overlook that if you want to be selective about Canon only the Book of Ruth places a Ruth in Davids ancestry in the TNAK, and Matthew does not repeat her Moabite status.  Though I feel Matthew's mention of her name does Canonize the book of Ruth for all Christians, since there is no other Biblical source he could have gotten it from.

This website argued the Country or Plain of Moab mentioned in Ruth is not in what you usually see Moab limited to on Maps, south of Reuben and the river Arnon, but land that was Moabite before the conquest under Joshua.  I think this website was trying to argue it wasn't even Tran-Jordan. This forgets that Deuteronomy 2 explicitly says God wasn't going to give Israelites any land of Edom, Moab or Amon.  The Trans-Jordan tribes decision to stay Trans-Jordon when that wasn't the original plan arguably complicated this, but I still think it was mostly only Canaanite and Ishmaelite territory they borrowed.

They say it doesn't matter that Ruth is called a Moabitess, they believe she was an Israelite, yet is the only Israelite ever repeatedly called a Moabite.

But regardless of all their technical arguments about what terms mean.  To any literary analysis of the book it is absurd to deny that Ruth was a foreigner and that it is advocating for allowing a foreigner to marry into Israel if they are faithful to The Torah.  Ruth is ignorant of the ways Israel at the start and needs to learn them from Naomi.  And in Ruth 4:5-6, why else would the kinsman in line before Boaz reject her out of concern of his inheritance being barred unless he was concerned with the laws against marrying Moabites?  Obviously people who thought those laws were purely Ethnic existed back then, Ruth is a book written to argue against that belief.

Uriah The Hittie's marriage to Bathsheba was not an issue either, because he was clearly someone who worshiped Yahuah and who Yahuah considered His Servant.

Ezra and Nehemiah.

Some argue that it is specifically Ezra and Nehemiah who's decisions strongly leave no room for allowing ethnically mixed marriages.  Skeptics of The Bible see them as clearly philosophically opposed to the Book of Ruth (and try to claim Ruth was written about the same time).

Now I haven't studied these two book as much I as should yet.  Maybe they too are being miss-characterized by those who opposed mixed Marriages.  If so I apologize that I can't adequately defend them here just yet.

What I am going to say is that while I believe the books of Ezra and Nehemiah are canonical inspired records of History.  Ezra and Nehemiah were still flawed fallible humans who's interpretations of The Torah we don't necessarily have to agree with.  Even Paul sometimes said "says I not The Lord", and I trust Paul's Judgment more then theirs.

The website I have in mind says The Messiah (they believe that is Jesus) upheld the rulings of Ezra and Nehemiah.  But I see no place in The Gospels where Jesus does that.  The book of Ezra is never directly quoted in the New Testament, there is one verse where arguably Jesus is referencing Nehemiah, but that is disputable.  But even then, the verse of Nehemiah in question is not one of their rulings but describing the Manna miracle in the Wilderness.

Jesus acknowledgment of the Second Temple in John 4 is only upholding Zerubabel and Jeshua, Ezra and Nehemiah came later.  Likewise the Prophetic books of the return form Captivity period uphold those two a lot but don't mention Ezra of Nehemiah.  And I think even they possibly built The Temple on the wrong location.

Malachi who was clearly quoted by Jesus as a Prophet, says in chapter 2 verse 11 that the issue is marrying "the daughter of a strange god".  He was a contemporary of the same concerns Ezra and Nehemiah were dealing with.  And the only specific people group spoken of negatively in Malachi is Esau, who were not among those prohibited to marry in the Torah as I laid out.

In The New Testament, Paul taught that there is neither Jew or Gentile in The Church in Galatians three, and about Gentiles being grafted into Israel Unnaturally in Romans 11.

Wives of Moses

I want to dedicate a post specifically to this question, since it's something I haven't made up my mind 100% on yet.

Most famously is Zipporah, daughter of Jethro also called Raguel, a Priest in Midian.  That could imply they were ethnically Midianite (descendants of Abraham by Keturah) but maybe not.

There is a controversy in Numbers 12 about Moses marrying a Custhie Wife.  There have been two common theories about who this is.

Either it's the same person as Zipporah, thus making this relevant to speculation about the Tribal identity of her and her father Jethro.

Or the extra-Biblical tradition recorded in Josephus that Moses married a Nubian Cushite Princess when he conquered Kush for Egypt was back when he was still a Prince of Egypt.  (This is  in DeMille's The Ten Commandments 1956 film, but it doesn't make their marrying explicit, cause it's 1950s America).

In either of those cases I'm inclined to question, why was it just becoming an issue now?

It's often overlooked that in Exodus 18:2 Moses went Zipporah back to Jethro in Midian.

The Miriam and Aaron are condemned by God for objecting to Moses marriage is taken as prof their objection was wrong.  While that can suit my own agenda well, it's perhaps an oversimplification, since what God was directly angry at was their implying their authority was equal to Moses.  So it's more like this was a minor issue bringing a greater one to the forefront.

What were the objecting to however?  This passage become relevant to two debates about Marriage.  Mixed or "Interracial" Marriage, and Polygamy.

Zipporah is last mentioned by that name in Exodus 18. And this passage seems to be the only place after that Moses having a wife comes up.  So whether or not Polygamy is possibly relevant here is just dependent on if they are the same wife.   Zipporah could have passed away by this point, leaving Moses free to remarry regardless of how okay with Polygamy you interpret the Torah as being.  If Polygamy was their objection, I think they would have said "in addition to".

None of the verses in the Torah taken as condemning mixed marriages even address descent from Cush, they seem to be about Canaanite, Moab and Ammon.  Intermarriages with Mizraimites are not objected to at all, so the ban on Canaan can't inferred to include all Hamites.  I believe these are in truth about spiritually mixed marriages, not ethnicity, I'll be doing a post on that later.

That proves Yahuah wouldn't have objected to a Cushite wife, but Miriam and Aaron are a different story.

In The Torah Zipporah and Jethro's clan is never explicitly called Kenite.  So people who limit their Canon to the Torah might insist they aren't.

But for those of us who consider Judges a worthwhile source.  Judges 1:16 says the Father in Law of Moses was a Kenite.  Going of that verse alone it could be a different Father in Law is who was meant.  But later Judged 4:11 clarifies these are people who descend form Hobab, and again calls them Kenites.  Now this verse as it's rendered in English at least can be accused of contradicting Numbers 10:29.  Numbers Says Hobaba was the son of Moses Father In Law, while this verse in Judges looks like it's calling Hobab Moses Father in Law.  It might be something is lost int translation her,e that it might to call Hobab and the Father in Law of Moses ancestors of this clan.

Only this verse in Numbers calls Raguel a Midianite, and not just of the region of Midian.  But even then Midianite can mean that and not stickily ethnically.  Genesis 15 lists the Kenites as people who already existed at this time, that is different other places in Genesis where I think the narrative voice is mentioning people who'll exist later.

People who don't want The Bible to make sense love to accuse Kenites of being being the descendants of Cain, who's line logically perished in The Flood.  However if you look at Kenite's placement in the Strongs, the Pre-Flood patriarch name it's closes to is Cainan or Kenen of Genesis 5, the son of Enosh son of Seth.  Luke 3 tells us another person with this same name (in the Greek text it's spelled identically to the Genesis 5 Kenen) exited after the Flood as a son of Aprhaxad son of Shem.  My theory on this extra name of Luke 3 is that Shelah was a younger son of Arphaxad who married his niece Kene's daughter.  The Kenites could be people who paternally descended form this Kenen.

That Exodus 4 strongly implies Jethro's family didn't practice Circumcision, I think is also evidence against them descending form Abraham.

I myself had strongly argued for Zipporah being the Kushites wife in my post about Cushites in Arabia.  However that argument was by no means dependent on that, I had another verse implying Cushites and Midian being associated with the same area.

And since my conclusion is most likely this was someone Moses married at the time this controversy broke in Numbers 12, or just a little before.  Given where they were, in Arabia, this Wife of Moses is still evidence for Cushites in Arabia.

For the Josephus tradition, you could get around my first question by saying Moses was obviously separated from her when he fled Egypt, and perhaps they were reunited now.   But still, I feel Josephus is recording a story someone before him imagined to explain this mysterious verse in Numbers while also making Moses more awesome.  I think it's also dependent on assumptions about "Egypt" that may be wrong.

Numbers 11 ends with the Israelites settling at a place called Hazeroth.  Could be this was a place where Cushites dwelt, and Moses married one of them.

Modern Americans have a distorted view of what Conservatism is.

Both ones who are conservative, and one's who attack Conservatism.  I'm not saying American Conservatives aren't conservative, mostly they are, I'm saying they are delusional in how they define themselves.

The origins of the Right Wing/Left Wing terminology are in the French Revolution, where those who supported the King sat on the right side of the Assembly, and those who opposed the King sat on the left.  The word Conservative comes form the idea of conserving how things were, and thus throughout 19th Century European literature, the Conservatives were the Monarchists and Royalists.  And the way things were before the Revolutions, was the State headed by the King held absolute authority, and regulated aboslutly everything.

So the idea that Conservative = Small Government, is totally wrong.

And American Conservatives don't support small government.

They support laws to enforce morality from Prostitution to Gambling to Drugs, they support Wars, they supported the Patriotic Act.  They talk a lot about cutting Government spending, but are offended by any suggestion to cut what actually is the most expensive part of our Government, military spending.

They don't want to make Government small, they just want to prevent it from accidentally doing anything good.

For the most part, the only position I hold what modern America considers the Conservative position on is Guns, I'm firmly against all restrictions on Gun Ownership.  However in 19th Century Europe that was not considered a Conservative position, that was the position held by Karl Marx.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Offices of Apostle and Prophet

The New Testament offices of Apostle and Prophet are not the same, they are distinct.

I am a Continuationist, the Spiritual Gifts are for today, one of those if Prophecy.

An Apostle is something more specific.  Chris White has a good video on Apostolic Succession directed at Catholic Doctrine.
Thing is other versions of that doctrine have been utilized by non Catholic denominations.  I already did a post once on the Baptist version of it some Baptist believe.

This post is partly about a problem I've noticed of some Pentecostal and Charismatic Christian Leaders calling themselves Apostle.  Paul defined himself as the Last Apostle (1 Corinthians 15:8-9), and made clear you had to be an eye witness to the Resurrection to be an Apostle in the verses leading up to that.

Critics of Continuationism sometimes assert that the Canon isn't closed if there is still Prophecy, and some Contuionationists seem to effectively teach that.  Prophecy has to be tested against Scripture, and I believe only Apostles could add to Scripture.  In order for something to be Scripture it had to be written by an Apostle or approved by one.

I've seen some Ceasationists use Apostle and Prophet as if they are the same.  But The New Testament clearly treats them as distinct.  There are some passages where you can cite that verse alone and say maybe they're being used as synonyms there.  And in a sense I think every Apostle was a Prophet.   But verses like 1 Corinthians 12:28 clearly define them as distinct.

Some of the people who want to reject Paul, act like Paul's claim to Apostolic status makes him a 13th Apostle, or in some way the only one additional to the 12.  But that's clearly not what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15, placing James the Half-Brother of Jesus and many others between the 12 and himself as the last.  Acts 14:14 says Paul and Barnabas were both Apostles.

Peter calls Paul's writings Scripture at the end of 2 Peter.  Which he wouldn't have done if Paul wasn't an Apostle.

I bring this up because the Anti-Paul people often desire to limit the title of Apostle only to the 12 (with Matthias taking Judas's spot).  Yet they try get around the full implication that that would remove canonical status from at least 2 of the Gospels.  And that they may have to throw out James and Jude too if you believe the tradition that they were written by Half-Brothers of Jesus not the James the Lesser and Jude "Not Iscariot" of the 12.  And they frequently use James in their attacks on Paul.

Ironically for all this James vs Paul theorizing nonsense, it is only Paul and Luke in Acts (who they sometimes want to reject as being of Paul) who tell us James the Brother of Jesus was a leader of the Early Church.    Without them, we'd have no Biblical basis for believing that that James ever became a Believer at all.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Do we use the phrase "The Ten Commandments" incorrectly?

It's not uncommon to see people claim this.  I myself had been under similar misconceptions in the past, and had to edit some mistakes out of the post I made earlier today.

Now it's true the narrative presented in the film The Ten Commandments is garbled.  I mean it arguably undermined the moral of the narrative that they change it so the people hadn't received the Commandments yet when they engage din the Golden Calf orgy.  DeMille kind of anticipated the Godfather Baptism montage by having them break the Commandments as God writes them.

It is true that they are not being written in Stone when God first gave them in Exodus 20, there they are spoken by Yahuah to the People directly, without even using Moses as a middle man.

It is true that The Bible does not use the exact three word phrase "The Ten Commandments" in Exodus 20, or Deuteronomy 5 where they are repeated.

Exodus 34:28 says of Moses "And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.".  The context f this Chapter, is kinda unclear about exactly what that means.  It may be, given the issues of translating, that there should be an "and" between "words of the Covenant" and "The Ten Commandments".  I say this based on the fact that the "words of the Covenant' arguably refers to Exodus 20:22-23:33, and the Covenant is then ratified in chapter 24.

At any-rate Exodus 34:28 is about the second set of Stone Tablets, the first set are mentioned in the last verse of Exodus 31, verse 18.  It could be on the original Tablets were only written the information relied in 25:1-31:17.  Israel's breaking of the Covenant with the Golden Calf as these were written, changed things.  Originally the contents of Exodus 20:22-23:33 were written on a scroll as Exodus 24 records.  But that is unclear.  It could have been all three sets of instructions. 

However the people claiming that phrase refers to a mostly completely different set of rules, are ignoring that the phrase appears twice more in Deuteronomy, in 4:13 and 10:4.  Deuteronomy 10:4 defined that that phrase refers to more clearly then any other verse.
"And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which Yahuah spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and Yahuah gave them unto me."
That clearly describes the commands given in Exodus 20, Moses is also repeating the wording of how he described that event in Deuteronomy 5:4.

Now one article you'll find online (and I agree with their political point about it violating the Establishment Clause to put the Commandments on Government buildings), gives a list of ten different commands, well at least three overlap, saying that's what Exodus 34:28 called 'The Ten Commandments".  This list is arbitrarily taking 10 of the commands given earlier in Exodus 34, as a warning not to make a covenant with the Canaanites, and they aren't even consecutive.  They are, first is verse 14 worded incorrectly, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 25 is split into two commands, and then so is 26.  Just reading chapter 34 you would not see that as listing of ten commands.

Perhaps they would simply argue Deuteronomy is contradicting Exodus.  But even on it's own, you have to draw some flimsily conclusions to think Exodus is calling that list of more then 10 instructions the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 34 defines what was written on the second Tablets as the same thing written on the first.

How do Torah only people determine what is The Torah?

People like the Remember the Commands YouTube Channel keep saying things like "The Torah never told us to recognize the Canon of Jamnia, or or Protestant England".  My response is.

How do you know the Torah is what we today think it is?  Nothing in The Torah defines it as Five Books of Moses, one of which is actually an historical narrative of events that happened before Moses was born, so traditionally saying Moses wrote it kinda hurts seeing it as an eye witness account of that history.  And another is a book Moses couldn't have physically wrote himself since it records his death.

Now Deuteronomy can be called a "Book of Moses" since it's mostly a record of Speeches Moses gave, so quoting it for the most part is quoting Moses.... IF it's an authentic account.

Only Deuteronomy refers to there being a "Book of Law" in that exact phrase.   You can interpret those verses as implying what your reading now is part of that book, but that's kinda iffy.  It seems equally likely it's referring to a book already written.

Why would a book of Laws also include all these historical narratives?  Well there being commands to remember things seemingly makes the historical narratives part of the Law.  But still, one could easily argue that The Torah proper is just what God gave to Moses on mount Sinai.

Exodus 20:22 begins the full Covenant Law Code, which arguably concludes in Exodus 24:4, this was written in a Scroll by Moses.  But Exodus 25:1 through 31:17 are what is defined as being written in Stone, according to 31:18.  The Stones had to be carved again after the Golden Calf incident.  But Exodus 34:28 says the second set of Tablets were written by Moses dictated by Yahuah not by the Finger of Yahuah like the first Tablets were. 

Leviticus is stuff added later, as are the parts of Numbers that are new Commands, they don't even define themselves as part of either the original Scroll of Moses or what was written in Stone.  Deuteronomy meanwhile, doesn't even pass it's own Prophet Test by the standards of how Remember the Commands interprets things.  But even if presumed to be a valid record of Speeches Moses gave at the end of the wandering, it mostly demonstrates that Moses memory was often faulty, even the Ten Commandments are expressed differently.

I'm certain Deuteronomy is Canon, since I think anything Jesus quoted as Scripture must be Scripture, and Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6 for what He called the Greatest Commandment.  In fact Deuteronomy is the most quoted book of The Torah in the New Testament, with even some NT references to the Ten Commandments seemingly preferring Deuteronomy's version.  Jesus also quotes Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus, and allusions are made to events from Numbers.

Thing is, I think it's fairly illogical to accept Deuteronomy as Canon but not Joshua.  I think Deuteronomy and Joshua's scrolls mostly had the same human author, much of Deuteronomy seems like it's written there just to set the stage for Joshua.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Prophet Test of Deuteronomy

Most websites I find online talking about the Prophet Test of Deuteronomy in relation to Jonah, Jeremiah or Ezekiel, are doing so assuming the readers will not question the Prophetic Status of those three Prophets, and so we must interpret Deuteronomy in a way that is consistent with them being valid Prophets.

But I have become aware of a growing Torah only movement, or at least heavily Torah centric, that would rather reject Prophets of the TNAK as true Prophets then change their overly strict "Plain Reading" interpretation of Deuteronomy.  To them it's blasphemous to use Jeremiah 18 to interpret Deuteronomy 18, they would say Jeremiah 18 was Jeremiah making excuses for himself.

Jonah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel are all upheld as Prophets by the New Testament.  So as a Christian I need to uphold them as legit Prophets.

What Jeremiah says Yahuah said in Jeremiah 18 is absolutely consistent with The Torah, the Torah repeatedly teaches that God's Blessings and Curses are conditioned upon behavior.  In fact Deuteronomy's prophecy in chapters 29 and 30 is entirety couched as a hypothetical.

This website teaches plenty I disagree with, like on Ezekiel and Tyre which I'll get to later.  But it's a analysis on the Prophet test of Deuteronomy that I think is over all pretty helpful.

What's deemed a capital offense is prophesying in the name of other gods, or saying it's okay to worship other gods. That is what it's most concerned with.  Deuteronomy 18:22 says.
"When a prophet speaketh in the name of Yahuah, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Yahuah hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him."
It doesn't say this Prophet wasn't a true Believer, or even that he never was a true Prophet.  But he spoke Presumptuously, and for that reasons you should no longer fear his words.  But it doesn't call for execution.  In English in the KJV it looks like this Prophet would also be guilty of Deuteronomy 18:20's offense, but clearly there is a difference.

Interestingly some offshoots of Mormonism like Temple Lot teach that Josephus Smith was a true Prophet at first, but eventually went bad and spoke Presumptuously.  I think the very foundation of what Joseph Smith taught from the start had major inconsistencies with Scripture.   But it's interesting to note that here.

As a Continuationist Christian, I think it's important to note that 1 John 4:2-3 says "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God".  There is no room for exceptions to either of those declarations.  Likewise 1 John 5:1 "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God".

Now, I disagree whole heartedly with the assertion that Ezekiel's Prophecy of Tyre failed.  Or that we need to expand it's time-frame to include Alexander to make it not a failure (I believe Isaiah 23's Prophecy about Tyre is specifically of Alexander's conquest, where Kittim/Greece is mentioned).

First of all, there is an accusation that Ezekiel 29:17-20 is some kind of admission that his Prophecy about Tyre failed.  This is not the case.  God is saying Nebuchadnezzar and his army performed a service for him by sieging Tyre, and so he's giving him Egypt to reward that service.  Strictly speaking we do not know whether that Siege was successful based on Ezekiel 29 alone.

Now some might infer that if sieging Tyre was successful they wouldn't need to capture another country to be paid for it.  A, plenty of successful sieges have failed to produce booty, like when Xerxes captured Athens.  B, I can counter that if no judgment was inflicted on Tyre, they performed no service to be paid for.

People are reading things into Ezekiel 26 that aren't there when they say Nebuchadnezzar had to capture the Island to fulfill the Prophecy.  What people ignore criticizing this Prophecy is the origin of the Island being the main city was the people fleeing there during this Siege, and that is what Ezekiel is describing.  The Mainland city is all Ezekiel is clearly saying will be destroyed.

And as far as saying the not being inhabited part is a failure because Tyre exists to this day.  That is false, there is a city in New Testament and modern times calling itself Tyre, but that doesn't make it Tyre, it was not built on the same location.  The Mainland city Nebuchadnezzar destroyed is still a barren ruin right not.

Now one could say Alexander's actions have some relevance because of how he threw many of the ruins of the old city into the sea as he built his land bridge.  But that is a minor epilogue.

Now as far as questioning of Nebuchadnezzar ever captured Egypt.   I talked about that on my Prophecy blog.

But going back to the conditional commands.  As far as some people who might fear I'm weakening the Prophet Test's usefulness in opposing cults.  The conditional aspect is only an excuse if a nation wide change in behavior happens.