Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Desire of Women

From my Eschatology Blog

The Desire of Women

Daniel 11:37, universally agree by PreMillennial Futurists to be about The Antichrist
"Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all."
 What is meant by "the desire of women" here is perhaps the most crypt mystery of this verse.  No identical phrase seems to appear anywhere else in Scripture.

There are two very popular wrong views about this phrase, which derive form a similar bad reading.  That it means he's a Homosexual, or that it means he's a Misogynist.  The latter is usually only argued for by those focused on a Mahdi theory, but even back when I was leaning towards the Madhi view I never considered that argument plausible.  The former happens to fit in with the other great Boogeyman modern Evangelical Christians are afraid of, western liberals.  There are of course LGBT individuals and supporters who are politically "Conservative" in other areas, like Log Cabin Republicans, and Libertarians.

Even if the phrase implied a lack of sexual desire for Women, that doesn't leave Homosexuality as the only option, it could also be Asexual.  But that's not what the phrase means.  If it was meant to say that it would have said he doesn't desire women.

The grammar is about something Women desire, which equally invalidates the other false conclusion.

I agree with both Chuck Missler and Chris White that "The Desire of Women" is a Messianic Title.  And with White that "the God of His Fathers" is The God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.  I agree with White's Antichrist Theory in terms of the first half of the 7th Week, but not the second half and his related Pre-Wrath suppositions.  The Willful King will disregard the True Messiah by claiming the title for himself.

The beginning of Messianic Prophecy, in fact all Prophecy, is Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
The promise of The Seed of The Woman.  Latter we have Isaiah 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.
Luke 1:41-45
 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.  And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.  And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord."
And at the center of this theme is Revelation 12, where The Woman gives birth to The Man Child.
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.  And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.  And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.  And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 
So "The Desire of Women" is clearly Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
 This is not one of the standard Clobber Passages, but it is something that comes up.  Of course my view of the passage is agreed with by plenty who hold the position that Homosexuality is a Sin.

As I presented on that blog, I choose not to distract from the issue at hand by going into my views on Homosexuality in the Bible.  But since it's relevant I wanted to share it here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New Testament Legalism is just as bad as Old Testament Legalism


Alan Kurschner did a Pod Cast on the Hebrew Roots movement.

I agree that the Blood Moon theory is bunk.  And I agree that it's vitally important to stress how we are not Bound by The Law anymore.  And not just Ceremonial Law but Moral Law too, the Sabbath, Circumcision, Decalogue, Leviticus 18-20, all of it..  While there are lots of nuances to his approach I may not like, I agree with what he was trying to say, until he started defining the "Law of Christ".

He defines the Law of Christ as an even heavier standard to meet then the Law of Moses was.  That could not be more of an insult to Christ.  Jesus said in Matthew 11:30 "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  And in Matthew 23:4 condemning the Pharisees.  "For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."

The Basis for Alan's error would be a common misunderstanding of The Sermon on The Mount's intent. I too used to love observing how Jesus in fact makes each Law he address more difficult to obey, not easier.  But I've learned from that error, and will quote the Sermon study from the Grace Thru Faith blog.
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
Matt. 5:21-48 is a part of the Sermon on the mount that has always bothered me. It’s not what Jesus taught that’s a problem for me, but how it has been perceived.

I grew up learning that in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus was giving us a guide for holy living . But I no longer believe that was entirely the case. I believe in Matt. 5:21-48 He was expanding on His statement in Matt. 5:20 that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
For all their faults, the Pharisees and teachers of the law were men who devoted their lives to keeping even the smallest details of the Law. They thought by doing this they were earning a righteousness that would gain them admittance to God’s kingdom.  But Jesus said that even as obsessive as they were about the Law, they had fallen hopelessly short of the mark and would certainly not enter the Kingdom.
I believe what He said after that was a series of examples showing what it would take for them to attain the level of righteousness necessary to enter the kingdom in their own strength. I think He chose the first two examples because they were straight from the 10 commandments and were something no self respecting Pharisee would never dream of doing.
The "Law of Christ" is a term The Bile uses only once, in Galatians 6, I prefer the term Law of Love, which is founded on many more Bible verses like Romans 13:10, and the words of Jesus himself, and Johns Epistles.  Or "Law of Liberty" used by James.  That's Semantics however.

The Law of Love has only Two Commands.  Matthew 22:35-40 (Parallels in Mark 12 and Luke 10).
Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, "Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law?"  Jesus said unto him, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like unto it, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
 That is it. Christians should not be Legalistically judging each other on how well their behavior matches the Sermon on The Mount, or Paul's Epistles, or anything else.  As long as we're walking in the Spirit and trying to obey these Two Commands we will do well.

The point of the New Covenant is that The Law is Written on our Hearts.  Not in a book, not even The Book (Jeremiah 31:33, Romans 2:13, Hebrews 8:10 and 10:16).  As Commander William Riker once said "When has justice ever been as simple as a rulebook"

I won't accuse Alan of failing to understand Salvation by Faith Alone.  But it seems he is accusing anyone who chooses to keep any of The Law.

He does make a point to say he's all for Studying Judaism, including Rabbinic sources.  (I think Christians should be very weary of Rabbinic sources.)  But Studying is all. 

This may not be his intent, but it seems like he's accusing any Christians who Observe the Sabbath, or Jewish Holy Days and any other aspects of Mosaic Law of rejecting The Gospel, no matter what their mindset in doing so is.  He's Forgetting Romans 14.  Paul makes clear we are not to Judge other Christians who choose to or feel called by The Holy Spirit to follow Mosaic Customs, including even the Dietary Laws.  And a careful study of Scripture makes clear New Testament Christians absolutely kept the Sabbath and Observed Jewish Holy Days.  It wasn't doing these things at all Paul was condemning in those passages Alan so enjoyed citing.  Judging brethren for engaging in Jewish Customs at all is itself a form of Legalism.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sergius and Bacchus

Sergius (or Serge) and Bacchus were fourth-century Roman Christian soldiers revered as martyrs and saints by the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches. Their feast day is 7 October.

The saints' story is told in the Greek text known as The Passion of Sergius and Bacchus. The story is ostensibly set during the reign of Roman Emperor Galerius (305 to 311), though it contains a number of contradictions and anachronisms that make dating difficult. The work itself may date to the mid-5th century. (Woods, David (2000). "The Origin of the Cult of SS. Sergius and Bacchus". From The Military Martyrs. Retrieved June 25, 2009.)

They are the most famous example of two Christian who engages in a Adelphopoiesis, or adelphopoiia type union.

Marcia Aurelia Ceionia Demetrias

Marcia Aurelia Ceionia Demetrias

She was an early Christian from the late Second Century A.D.  And was the mistress of the Emperor Commodus.

She is not discussed often by modern Evangelical Christian historians, because she presents a problem to many of them.  She was engaged in extra martial affairs, and used the influence she gained though them to do good in advancing the Gospel.
Marcia was most likely Christian and persuaded Commodus to adopt a policy in favor of Christians, and kept close relations with Victor, Bishop of Rome.[2] After Pope Victor I gave her a list she had asked for including all of the Christians sentenced to mine works in Sardinia, she convinced Commodus to allow them to return to Rome.[2][4] Despite the fact that Marcia was not Commodus' legal wife, he treated her like one and was thus greatly influenced by her. The inscription found in Anagnia testifies that the local city council decided to build a monument, commemorating particularly the restoration of baths on her account.
Today, mainstream Christianity is way too prudish.  They interpret the adultery laws completely gender neutrally, and insist they apply to all kinds of sexual expression.  And they also like to assume that Christians living pre-Constantine where nearly infallible unless it was someone known to have taught a weird Gnostic or Proto-Arrian heresy.

Of course we don’t know if Marcia was ever involved with Commodus while he was still married to Crispina.  It’s after she was divorced and killed that Marcia had clearly become Commodous’s favorite.  But the possibly of being involved before seems to me to be the only way to explain her escaping her potential culpability in Lucilla’s failed conspiracy.

But in fact early Christians were certainly no less flawed then we are today.  Meanwhile it’s pretty clear that Adultery in the Bible is defined in a clearly patriarchal context, it’s about sleeping with another man’s wife, not another woman’s husband.

And now I’m sure many are shocked.  “Are you condoning that double standard?".  Well I also believe from my studies that The Bible’s sex restrictions are mainly concerned with reproduction.  Adultery is defined as “Lying carnally" with another man’s wife.  The Hebrew word translated “carnally" is the same word translated “seed" only being used as a noun.  That word basically means Sperm or Semen, the basic premise is that it refers to potential reproduction.  Wives had a responsibility to the Tribe to make sure that if they become pregnant it was their husband’s child.  But in fact I do not see the Bible as condemning all extramarital sex the way most people do.

So yes I agree the double standard is unfair.  But society has decided to rectify it by putting on men the same restrictions women used to have.  I say the advancement of society should increase freedom not decrease it.  I think a couple should decide between themselves what they are or aren't okay with.

Marcia was a an interesting woman.  I may not approve of everything she did but I admire her.  She wound up being involved in Commodus’s death when he decided he wanted to get rid of her.  Where she said a favorite quote of mine.

    "Well done, indeed, Commodus. This is fine return for the kindness and affection I have lavished on you and for the drunken insults which I have endured from you all these years. A fuddled drunkard is not going to get the better of a sober woman".

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Amnon and Tamar, II Samuel 13

I did not include this in my Incest in The Bible Study because while it's relevant I don't consider Incest the main concern here, but rather Rape.

It's important to remember the Chapter Titles you often see in modern Bibles are not part of the original inspired text.  And I'm reminded of this every time I see a Bible name this part of II Samuel "Incest in David's House", when clearly it's Rape not Incest that is the greater focus of the story.

No, I'm not saying that because I have a modern bias of seeing Rape as the most unforgivable offense.  I'm saying that because without the context of the rest of The Bible, we wouldn't even know from this narrative alone that Brother-Sister incest wasn't allowed in Ancient Israel.

Why do I say that?  Verses 12-13 Tamar says "Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.  And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? and as for thee, thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee."

Pretty telling detail, it seems as if she expects David would have allowed such a marriage if Amnon had gone after it in a proper fashion.

How do we explain that line in the Context of what we know from Leviticus and Deuteronomy?  Mostly I think she may just be saying whatever she can think of to get him to stop.  But other theories could be provided.

I'm emphasizing this not to lessen how much of a Sin Brother-Sister Incest is.  But because certain skeptics of The Bible have an obsession with making it seem like The Bible is okay with Rape.

Yes, the parts of Israel's Civil Law code dealing with the issue are not ideal to the modern World.  No Ancient Culture's was.  But first and foremost I can simply point to the Golden Rule.  And then there is this incident, and Genesis 24, as well as Sodom and Gomorrah, which was about Gang Raping Immigrants, NOT Homosexuality.  The Law of Moses was imperfect.