ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

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steve
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Re: ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by steve » Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:32 am

I wish that SDAs could simply stand back and look objectively at the nature of their biblical arguments—especially when addressing their advocacy of the Old Testament sabbath and food laws.

There are several stages to the argument against the SDA position:

1) Though Jesus said that He did not come to "destroy the law" (as the SDAs often point out), yet the Bible does clearly affirm that there was a "change in the law" (Heb.7:12). Though the context of Hebrews 7 is focused on that specific change seen in the priesthood, the statement in verse 12 is extrapolating from this change in the priesthood to a broader change in the law (there would be no other object in making the statement in verse 12). If this was all that we had on the subject, we would be left to speculate in the dark as to what specific kinds of changes in the law have been brought about by the coming of Christ. But we are not left to guess.

2) The sabbath was the first, and most conspicuous change in the law to appear in the New Testament. First, by Jesus indicating that His coming, as one "greater than the temple" actually supersedes the sabbath, as the work associated with the temple itself supersedes the sabbath. On this basis, Jesus justified His disciples' violation of the sabbath because they were on His business, just as the priests can violate sabbath because they are doing temple business. He said that it was no more serious than David violating the ceremonial law of showbread (Matthew 12:1-8).

On another occasion, He said that He works every day (in violation of the sabbath commandment) for the simple reason that His Father works a seven-day work week, and He imitates His Father (John 5:16-19), just as we are commanded to do (Eph.5:1).

Jesus plainly stated that it is lawful to do good on the sabbath (Matthew 12:12), which is the only kind of behavior that we are allowed to do all week long (Gal.6:10/Eph.2:10/1 Tim.6:18/Heb.13:16/James 4:17/1 Peter 2:20; 3:6, 11). Since it is lawful to do the same thing on the sabbath, it removes any difference between the observance of the sabbath and the observance of any other day.

This is why Paul tells us that some Christians "observe every day alike," which he does not condemn (Rom.14:5). Paul also lists sabbath days with other laws which were a shadow (Col.2:16-17) given by God to anticipate Christ (just as did the tabernacle and its ceremonies—Hebrews 8:5).

Paul said that, when the Galatians began to "observe days and months and seasons and years" that he feared that their conversion had not taken hold (Galatians 4:10-11). The SDA suggestion that Paul was referring to something other than the Jewish holidays is refuted by noting that Paul's concern was with Christians putting themselves under the Jewish law (Gal.4:3-6; 5:1-4), not pagan practices.

How do the SDAs respond to this volume of New Testament data? Their case is almost 100% negative. It consists in taking each of these key passages and trying to argue that not one of them means what the average reader would think that they mean.

Do the SDAs have a single positive case for the New Testament upholding the sabbath obligation? Only Hebrews 4:9, which describes a "keeping of sabbath" still incumbent on the people of God. This "keeping of sabbath" is described by the author as a "rest" that Christians must "strive to enter"—even though the Book of Hebrews has not one line advocating the keeping of the Jewish law, and, in general, is primarily directed toward discouraging Jewish believers returning to the practices of Judaism. Why would he break ranks with his own argument in order to interject a statement about the need to observe the sabbath?

The "rest" that Hebrews 4 recommends is not the observance of an Old Testament commandment, but a "rest" that was predicted in the Old Testament (in Psalm 95). That "rest" is seen as foreshadowed in God's resting on the seventh day of creation and also in Israel's entrance into Canaan. However, the author clearly points out that the "rest" of which he speaks was something the Israelites did not enter (they did observe the seventh-day sabbath). The rest recommended by the author of Hebrews was only anticipated in the Old Testament, and has become a reality in Christ. Jesus speaks of this "rest" as a "rest to your souls" (Matthew 11:28-30).

To mistake this "keeping of sabbath" for advocacy of observing the seventh-day sabbath (rather than the spiritual rest that is prefigured in the Old Testament sabbath) is as great a mistake as to take the exhortation, in 1 Corinthians 5:8, that we should "keep the feast" (that is, the Feast of Unleavened Bread) as an advocacy of our keeping the Jewish feast by that name, or Paul's reference to our "having been circumcised" (Col.2:11) as a reference to the physical operation.

3) Then, when we go to the New Testament looking for its teaching about the Jewish dietary restrictions, we find the case to be no different. We first find Jesus declaring that one cannot be defiled by what goes into the mouth—an idea that directly contradicts the Jewish teaching that certain foods are inherently unclean and defiling to the eater (Matthew 15:11, 17).

In Luke 10:8, when Jesus sent His disciples out to evangelize, He told them to eat anything that was served to them (something no Jew observing the dietary laws could do), which can mean little else than that they might, at times, be served foods that they, as Jews, would otherwise regard as unclean.

When Peter was told that the animals which he was calling "unclean" should not be given that pejorative label, because "God has cleansed" them (Acts 10:15), he only later learned that there was an intended application to "unclean" Gentiles. He was not expected to realize that application at the time of the vision, but was supposed to regard the unclean animals in the sheet as that which God had cleansed, and which he was being commanded to eat. The cleanness of Gentiles was a secondary (and intended) application.

When the Jerusalem Council was deciding how many of the Jewish scruples should be accommodated by Gentile Christians, they conspicuously left sabbath keeping and kosher diet off their list of "necessary things" (Acts 15:28-29). "No other burden" of the law was to be added.

In the decision of that Council, some of the restrictions that were enjoined were of a dietary nature, but they were the things related to involvement in idolatry, not to a kosher diet. The same concern is expressed in Revelation 2:14 and 20.

Paul never spoke of dietary laws, except to say that they were unrelated to Christian obligations, and should not be advocated. He said that rules about "meat and drink" (along with sabbaths, new moons and festivals) were among the Old Testament shadows that prefigured Christ. A few verses later, he said that food restrictions are on no spiritual value (Col.2:20-23). Elsewhere, Paul said that those who restrict believers from eating certain meats were teaching "doctrines of demons" because "every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused (1 Tim.4:1-5).

What is the SDA response to this data? Again, entirely negative. They expend all of their energy trying to prove that these verses do not teach their obvious meanings. Where do they find a single New Testament verse that positively advocates the observance of dietary regulations? I have never seen one. Even if they can contrive clever ways of arguing against the plain meaning of the relevant passages, the simple facts remain that, in order to prove the obligation of Christians to keep a kosher diet, they can show no positive teaching in the New Testament, and must rest their whole case on undermining the meaning of every relevant passage.

The SDAs do not do biblical studies as the rest of us do. They do not go to the New Testament to discover the teaching of Jesus or Paul about keeping the sabbath or dietary laws (else they would have no difficulty seeing the clear teaching). They begin with the assumption that their doctrine is correct, and that the New Testament writers must agree with them, and then go to the New Testament to engage in damage control, trying to prove that the teaching there is not really refuting them, as it appears to do in every place.

This is no different than the approach taken by the Roman Catholics to the subject of their doctrines about the Virgin Mary. They assume that certain things are true about Mary, and assume that the New Testament must agree with them. When every relevant New Testament text refutes their assumptions about Mary, they must expend all of their energy doing damage control, and trying to make "black" appear to be "white." The arguments are not only unimpressive (though sometimes quite ingenious), but they do not bear the marks of an honest inquiry into the teaching of scripture.

Now I know that RND will post a point-by-point "answer" to each sentence in this post—as per his regular practice. I am going to place this requirement upon any such response: it has to be worth posting. For example such statements as,
Well TK, I suppose in taking that logic to the next step one could say Peter was actually being disobedient to God because he didn't "kill and eat" the gentile men that came to his door that day!


and
Christ didn't die on the cross for people to eat whatever they felt like eating.


Are not worth the time it takes to read them. Adding a smiley face does not make them any more worthy of the space they occupy. We are desiring grown-up discussions here.

To avoid wasting my time, and in keeping with our standards here, I am going to ask that any response from RND actually contain arguments based upon scriptural exegesis. For the sake of myself and the many people who have complained to me about RNDs lengthy and vacuous postings, I will delete any that are mere negations without argumentation, or that are statements depending on nothing but humor for their validity. We do not need merely more verbiage—though real biblical exegesis—and pertinent humor— are always welcome.

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Re: ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by RND » Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:47 pm

steve wrote:I wish that SDAs could simply stand back and look objectively at the nature of their biblical arguments—especially when addressing their advocacy of the Old Testament sabbath and food laws.

There are several stages to the argument against the SDA position:

1) Though Jesus said that He did not come to "destroy the law" (as the SDAs often point out), yet the Bible does clearly affirm that there was a "change in the law" (Heb.7:12). Though the context of Hebrews 7 is focused on that specific change seen in the priesthood, the statement in verse 12 is extrapolating from this change in the priesthood to a broader change in the law (there would be no other object in making the statement in verse 12). If this was all that we had on the subject, we would be left to speculate in the dark as to what specific kinds of changes in the law have been brought about by the coming of Christ. But we are not left to guess.
Steve, two minor things to point out. The article posted was from a Messanic Rabbi. So when you say, "I wish that SDAs could simply stand back and look objectively at the nature of their biblical arguments" you should include Messanics's as well.
Second, Jesus is the embodiment of the "new covenant." No more killing of bulls, goats and lambs necessary. No more restrictive access to the inner sanctuary.
2) The sabbath was the first, and most conspicuous change in the law to appear in the New Testament. First, by Jesus indicating that His coming, as one "greater than the temple" actually supersedes the sabbath, as the work associated with the temple itself supersedes the sabbath. On this basis, Jesus justified His disciples' violation of the sabbath because they were on His business, just as the priests can violate sabbath because they are doing temple business. He said that it was no more serious than David violating the ceremonial law of showbread (Matthew 12:1-8).

On another occasion, He said that He works every day (in violation of the sabbath commandment) for the simple reason that His Father works a seven-day work week, and He imitates His Father (John 5:16-19), just as we are commanded to do (Eph.5:1).

Jesus plainly stated that it is lawful to do good on the sabbath (Matthew 12:12), which is the only kind of behavior that we are allowed to do all week long (Gal.6:10/Eph.2:10/1 Tim.6:18/Heb.13:16/James 4:17/1 Peter 2:20; 3:6, 11). Since it is lawful to do the same thing on the sabbath, it removes any difference between the observance of the sabbath and the observance of any other day.

This is why Paul tells us that some Christians "observe every day alike," which he does not condemn (Rom.14:5). Paul also lists sabbath days with other laws which were a shadow (Col.2:16-17) given by God to anticipate Christ (just as did the tabernacle and its ceremonies—Hebrews 8:5).
In that this post is regarding "food" and not the sabbath I'll defer comment as not to derail the thread.
Paul said that, when the Galatians began to "observe days and months and seasons and years" that he feared that their conversion had not taken hold (Galatians 4:10-11). The SDA suggestion that Paul was referring to something other than the Jewish holidays is refuted by noting that Paul's concern was with Christians putting themselves under the Jewish law (Gal.4:3-6; 5:1-4), not pagan practices.
From the same Messanic Rabbi comes this about Galatians 4:10-11:

GALATIANS - WAS PAUL TEACHING AGAINST THE LAW?

Now, I know you don't like when I do this "cut and paste" part of an article from another here but I only do this to point you to the fact that there is indeed another POV that can be taken that is just as logical, just as sound from a historic standpoint. I am not suggesting you are wrong and the Rabbi is right, I'm simply suggesting another POV. I realize I take a huge risk posting this because it may be deleted. But that's no way to discuss something.

"The next verse has been widely misunderstood. Yet in regard to identifying Paul's opponents, it is one of the most important verses in the letter to the Galatians:

GALATIANS 4:10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. (NKJV)

The long-standing position of traditional Christian scholars is that Paul is criticizing the Galatians here for keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days given to Israel in the Torah. However, this position requires the assumption that Paul equates the observance of God's Holy Days with slavery to/worship of evil spirit beings.

This view ignores Paul's command to the Corinthians to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread (I Cor. 5:8), as well as his background and training as a Torah-observant Pharisee. In fact, it comes dangerously close to implying Paul held the Gnostic position that the god of the Old Testament was an evil angelic being ("demiurge").

Clearly, the sectarians proselytizing at Galatia were trying to get the congregation to observe some type of Jewish "days and months and seasons and years." But were these the same "days and months and seasons and years" that normative Judaism kept?

If you remember from our earlier discussion, Paul's use of the phrase "Works of the Law" indicates that he was speaking specifically against beliefs held by the Qumran Essene sectarians, as defined in 4QMMT. According to Martin Abegg, another Qumran document (4Q327) was connected to 4QMMT:

4Q327 . . . plots the Sabbaths and festivals for one complete solar year . . . This is one of the few calendars that designates the extrabiblical Festival of Oil, which fell on the twenty-second day of the sixth month. The structure of the work makes it likely that two more extrabiblical festivals were originally listed as well: the Wine Festival and the Festival of Wood Offering. . . .

Some scholars believe that 4Q327 was not actually a separate and distinct work. They argue that instead it originally attached to the beginning of one copy of A Sectarian Manifesto (text 84). In favor of this suggestion is the handwriting: the same scribe wrote both 4Q327 and the copy of the Manifesto. . . . (p. 319, Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation)

A recent article in the Biblical Archaeological Review gives us some specific information about this calendar and how it differed from the calendar used by the majority of Jews:

Even the Essene calendar was different. The Temple authorities maintained a lunar calendar; the Essenes followed a solar calendar, which consisted of exactly 52 weeks per year, that is, 364 days. According to this calendar, festivals always fell on the same day of the week. Thus, Rosh Hashanah (the Feast of Trumpets), Passover and the first day of Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) always occurred on a Wednesday. The Essenes considered the solar calendar used by the Hasmoneans in the Temple, tied as it was to a 354-day lunar calendar, to be adulterated with Babylonian elements. For example, the names of the months-Nisan, Shevet, Adar, Tishri-were Babylonian. The difference in calendars created a terrible discrepancy in holiday observance, with the Temple authorities and the Essenes celebrating festivals on different days. This naturally created a sharp rift between the two groups. (p. 64, "Jerusalem's Essene Gateway," Biblical Archaeological Review, May/June 1997)

The Essene calendar was a rival to the traditional Jewish calendar endorsed by the Pharisees. Paul, trained as a Pharisee (Acts 23:6; 26:5; Phi. 3:5), would have followed the traditional calendar sanctioned by the Temple authorities. Yeshua himself endorsed this calendar indirectly (Matt. 23:1-3).

The Essene calendar (and consequently, their new year) always began on a Wednesday because the sun, moon, and stars were created on this day (Gen. 1:14-19). The first of the month was called "A Day of Remembrance"; however, the Essene months generally did not start with a new moon. The Qumran sectarians, following the Essene calendar, had substituted different feast days and different months for the true calendar observed by the majority of Jews. Because of the seasonal drift caused by the structure of their calendar, the Essene seasons were also off. Finally, as another document from Qumran (4Q319, "Calendar of the Heavenly Signs") shows, the Essenes had a different system of sabbatical and Jubilee years.

It is easy to understand why Paul would have viewed this calendar and its different holy "days," "months" which did not start on the new moon, out-of-sync "seasons," and variant sabbatical "years" as demonically inspired. These "days and months and seasons and years" were just as much satanic counterfeits as the pagan observances the Galatians had kept before their conversion."
How do the SDAs respond to this volume of New Testament data? Their case is almost 100% negative. It consists in taking each of these key passages and trying to argue that not one of them means what the average reader would think that they mean.
You know, that might be true for some SDA's. It's just as true for some Calvinist's, Methodist's, Catholic's, etc. so this isn't a trait merely limited to Adventist's.

The point is Steve is that there is a whole host of historical reasoning that SDA's, and especially Messianisc's cite is both sound and based on the common history and reality of the 1st Century church.
Do the SDAs have a single positive case for the New Testament upholding the sabbath obligation? Only Hebrews 4:9, which describes a "keeping of sabbath" still incumbent on the people of God. This "keeping of sabbath" is described by the author as a "rest" that Christians must "strive to enter"—even though the Book of Hebrews has not one line advocating the keeping of the Jewish law, and, in general, is primarily directed toward discouraging Jewish believers returning to the practices of Judaism. Why would he break ranks with his own argument in order to interject a statement about the need to observe the sabbath?

The "rest" that Hebrews 4 recommends is not the observance of an Old Testament commandment, but a "rest" that was predicted in the Old Testament (in Psalm 95). That "rest" is seen as foreshadowed in God's resting on the seventh day of creation and also in Israel's entrance into Canaan. However, the author clearly points out that the "rest" of which he speaks was something the Israelites did not enter (they did observe the seventh-day sabbath). The rest recommended by the author of Hebrews was only anticipated in the Old Testament, and has become a reality in Christ. Jesus speaks of this "rest" as a "rest to your souls" (Matthew 11:28-30).

To mistake this "keeping of sabbath" for advocacy of observing the seventh-day sabbath (rather than the spiritual rest that is prefigured in the Old Testament sabbath) is as great a mistake as to take the exhortation, in 1 Corinthians 5:8, that we should "keep the feast" (that is, the Feast of Unleavened Bread) as an advocacy of our keeping the Jewish feast by that name, or Paul's reference to our "having been circumcised" (Col.2:11) as a reference to the physical operation.


In that this post is regarding "food" and not the sabbath I'll defer comment as not to derail the thread.
3) Then, when we go to the New Testament looking for its teaching about the Jewish dietary restrictions, we find the case to be no different. We first find Jesus declaring that one cannot be defiled by what goes into the mouth—an idea that directly contradicts the Jewish teaching that certain foods are inherently unclean and defiling to the eater (Matthew 15:11, 17).

In Luke 10:8, when Jesus sent His disciples out to evangelize, He told them to eat anything that was served to them (something no Jew observing the dietary laws could do), which can mean little else than that they might, at times, be served foods that they, as Jews, would otherwise regard as unclean.
Steve, Jesus sent His disciple out to evangelize to a "Jewish Nation" so the likely hood that the would be serving unclean animals was minimal to non-existent at best:

Mat 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into [any] city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

Luke 10:8 has more to do with the Pharisaical nature of Jewish life in the day of Christ where wild rites, and rituals had become the norm. As Matthew Henry says, "Probably, Christ here refers to the traditions of the elders about their meat which were so many that those who observed them were extremely critical, you could hardly set a dish of meat before them, but there was some scruple or other concerning it"
When Peter was told that the animals which he was calling "unclean" should not be given that pejorative label, because "God has cleansed" them (Acts 10:15), he only later learned that there was an intended application to "unclean" Gentiles. He was not expected to realize that application at the time of the vision, but was supposed to regard the unclean animals in the sheet as that which God had cleansed, and which he was being commanded to eat. The cleanness of Gentiles was a secondary (and intended) application.
Steve, that's somewhat confusing logic in my mind. It would seem to me that if the "primary" application was indeed eating unclean animals then there would some example given of Peter heeding to the commandment he was given in vision. Also you stated that "The cleanness of Gentiles was a secondary (and intended) application" but that doesn't it seems clear to me since there is nothing citing where Peter did as God stated to do in vision.

An example might be where Paul saw Jesus in vision in Acts 9. Paul did exactly what he was told to do in that vision. In that it seems there in nothing to indicate Peter set off to eat an unclean animal then I can't honestly say that this is the "primary" application of Acts 10.
When the Jerusalem Council was deciding how many of the Jewish scruples should be accommodated by Gentile Christians, they conspicuously left sabbath keeping and kosher diet off their list of "necessary things" (Acts 15:28-29). "No other burden" of the law was to be added.
Steve, that's actually incorrect. In fact all four of the requirements that they did require come straight from the Mosaic law.
In the decision of that Council, some of the restrictions that were enjoined were of a dietary nature, but they were the things related to involvement in idolatry, not to a kosher diet. The same concern is expressed in Revelation 2:14 and 20.
Eating these that die of themselves (i.e. strangled) or eating blood were both "Kosher" requirements.
Paul never spoke of dietary laws, except to say that they were unrelated to Christian obligations, and should not be advocated. He said that rules about "meat and drink" (along with sabbaths, new moons and festivals) were among the Old Testament shadows that prefigured Christ. A few verses later, he said that food restrictions are on no spiritual value (Col.2:20-23). Elsewhere, Paul said that those who restrict believers from eating certain meats were teaching "doctrines of demons" because "every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused (1 Tim.4:1-5).
Steve, everything Paul said was regarding the vanity and philosophies of men, and not God. Verse 8 makes this abundantly clear.

"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

In fact, Paul teaching seems to be right out of the playbook of the doctrine of Jesus.

KJV - Mar 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, [as] the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

KJV - Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
What is the SDA response to this data? Again, entirely negative. They expend all of their energy trying to prove that these verses do not teach their obvious meanings. Where do they find a single New Testament verse that positively advocates the observance of dietary regulations?


Taken in historical context where in scripture does one find that these dietary regulations have been set aside?
I have never seen one. Even if they can contrive clever ways of arguing against the plain meaning of the relevant passages, the simple facts remain that, in order to prove the obligation of Christians to keep a kosher diet, they can show no positive teaching in the New Testament, and must rest their whole case on undermining the meaning of every relevant passage.
Well, Steve, I can't speak for all Adventist certainly but when I see different teachers and theologians(non- Adventist's) making statements about the meaning of scripture that makes the position you take seem different than mine what am I to say?
The SDAs do not do biblical studies as the rest of us do. They do not go to the New Testament to discover the teaching of Jesus or Paul about keeping the sabbath or dietary laws (else they would have no difficulty seeing the clear teaching). They begin with the assumption that their doctrine is correct, and that the New Testament writers must agree with them, and then go to the New Testament to engage in damage control, trying to prove that the teaching there is not really refuting them, as it appears to do in every place.
Ha, that's laughable! Have you ever been to an Adventist bible study or read the vast amounts of Bible commentary that Adventists have written? I am constantly blown away at Adventist that study the Bible seriously not to prove their doctrines right but to demonstrate that the Bible is right.
This is no different than the approach taken by the Roman Catholics to the subject of their doctrines about the Virgin Mary. They assume that certain things are true about Mary, and assume that the New Testament must agree with them. When every relevant New Testament text refutes their assumptions about Mary, they must expend all of their energy doing damage control, and trying to make "black" appear to be "white." The arguments are not only unimpressive (though sometimes quite ingenious), but they do not bear the marks of an honest inquiry into the teaching of scripture.
Steve, would it be helpful for me to point out that virtually every argument you've made regarding food and the sabbath is exactly, 100% the same as the arguments I see Catholics make regarding these doctrines?
Now I know that RND will post a point-by-point "answer" to each sentence in this post—as per his regular practice. I am going to place this requirement upon any such response: it has to be worth posting. For example such statements as,
Well TK, I suppose in taking that logic to the next step one could say Peter was actually being disobedient to God because he didn't "kill and eat" the gentile men that came to his door that day!


and
Christ didn't die on the cross for people to eat whatever they felt like eating.


Are not worth the time it takes to read them. Adding a smiley face does not make them any more worthy of the space they occupy. We are desiring grown-up discussions here.
That's a subjective statement regarding posting and frankly it gives you the out you need to go "poof" to my entry. So be it.
To avoid wasting my time, and in keeping with our standards here, I am going to ask that any response from RND actually contain arguments based upon scriptural exegesis. For the sake of myself and the many people who have complained to me about RNDs lengthy and vacuous postings, I will delete any that are mere negations without argumentation, or that are statements depending on nothing but humor for their validity. We do not need merely more verbiage—though real biblical exegesis—and pertinent humor— are always welcome.
Steve that's again a subjective way of looking at things. What is the difference between your exegesis that makes subjective statements about "day, months, and years" without any historical understanding mine where I provide ample proof from other commentaries or teachers?
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher, 1788-1860

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Re: ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by TK » Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:12 pm

Steve wrote:
When the Jerusalem Council was deciding how many of the Jewish scruples should be accommodated by Gentile Christians, they conspicuously left sabbath keeping and kosher diet off their list of "necessary things" (Acts 15:28-29). "No other burden" of the law was to be added.
To which RND wrote:
Steve, that's actually incorrect. In fact all four of the requirements that they did require come straight from the Mosaic law.
but werent those 4 things only as a concession to the Jewish believers who couldn't (yet) conceive that strictures of the law didnt apply to disciples of Christ in the New Covenant?
24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law”—to whom we gave no such commandment— 25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.
in other words, some unauthorized jewish believers started freaking out new gentile converts by saying they had to be circumsised and otherwise keep the law. the council came up with a classic compromise- things that wouldnt be too difficult to keep for these new gentile converts and hopefully satisfy the mistaken (but perhaps well-intentioned) jewish believers. no blood drinking, no strangling your cows when a more humane method will do, no sexual immorality (which would seem to be a moral law apart from the mosaic law) and no eating meat offered to idols. it's still just meat, but why confuse the issue for these former idol worshipers. It appears the HS was interested in keeping the peace, and therefore the compromise was made. But I would think it unwise to assume that this compromise expressed God's true heart on the matter. sometimes good is okay when people arent ready to accept the very best.

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Re: ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by RND » Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:30 pm

TK wrote:Steve wrote:
When the Jerusalem Council was deciding how many of the Jewish scruples should be accommodated by Gentile Christians, they conspicuously left sabbath keeping and kosher diet off their list of "necessary things" (Acts 15:28-29). "No other burden" of the law was to be added.
To which RND wrote:
Steve, that's actually incorrect. In fact all four of the requirements that they did require come straight from the Mosaic law.
but werent those 4 things only as a concession to the Jewish believers who couldn't (yet) conceive that strictures of the law didnt apply to disciples of Christ in the New Covenant?
Not in my mind TK. The issue was salvation and what one needed to do to be saved. These four commandments from the Mosaic law were not necessary for salvation but were good to be observed none the less.

in other words, some unauthorized jewish believers started freaking out new gentile converts by saying they had to be circumsised and otherwise keep the law.


Right....to be saved.

Act 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, [and said], Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.
the council came up with a classic compromise- things that wouldnt be too difficult to keep for these new gentile converts and hopefully satisfy the mistaken (but perhaps well-intentioned) jewish believers. no blood drinking, no strangling your cows when a more humane method will do, no sexual immorality (which would seem to be a moral law apart from the mosaic law) and no eating meat offered to idols.
Did the council offer these as requirements for salvation TK?

Act 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

Personally, I don't believe they did because they never stated keeping these things was a requirement to salvation.
it's still just meat, but why confuse the issue for these former idol worshipers.


I agree.
It appears the HS was interested in keeping the peace, and therefore the compromise was made. But I would think it unwise to assume that this compromise expressed God's true heart on the matter. sometimes good is okay when people arent ready to accept the very best.
What would assume was "God's true heart on the matter" was?
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Re: ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by steve » Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:09 pm

[This response is to RND's last post directed to me. I apparently tried to post this at the same time as TK posted his, so there may be some overlap.]

RND,

I must have used a word you are not familiar with—"exegesis."

Your last post is full of the same stuff as your previous posts...and you don't seem to realize it.

First, I have no respect for the Messianic Movement. I can not see any difference between it and the Judaizers that Paul condemned as preaching "another gospel." Their arguments are, in fact, exactly like those of the SDAs, so I agree with you that my remarks apply to them.

How uncritically you approach their arguments! There is no evidence that the teachings of the Essenes (the Qumran Community that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls) ever had influence outside their own cloistered community. To say that the Galatians were being influenced by Essene doctrines is ludicrous in the extreme! Does anyone know of a single Essene that went to Gentile lands to "evangelize" Gentiles with their ideas? The Essenes were so separatist that they did not even want to defile themselves by contact with other observant Jews! This whole argument is 100% speculation of the most absurd kind. The fact that you can find someone dishonest enough to make the claim, and people naive enough to believe it (because they so desperately want to believe it) does not make any of their ridiculous statements "exegetical." Are you aware that one can find a scholar to say any stupid thing that one wishes to document? An honest Bible student must weigh the credibility of sources—not simply cling to the ones who, regardless of the stupidity of their claims, happen to agree with the position we are desperately trying to prove.

In some cases, your last post continued to simply answer with negations—not arguments. This, I am convinced, was because there simply are no credible arguments that one could bring against some of my points. Yet, you never seem to have the honesty (or the good sense?) to acknowledge that you have been shown to be wrong. That is what makes your participation here so odious to many of the honest people who have been engaged in reverent dialogue here for years. I have pointed this out to you several times, but you seem to lack even the capacity to understand the criticism.

On a few specifics in your response:

You wrote:
Second, Jesus is the embodiment of the "new covenant." No more killing of bulls, goats and lambs necessary. No more restrictive access to the inner sanctuary.
This was presented as if it was a second argument, but it is not clear what it was arguing against.
You know, that might be true for some SDA's. It's just as true for some Calvinist's, Methodist's, Catholic's, etc. so this isn't a trait merely limited to Adventist's.
Fine. But this does not justify the Adventists in taking this improper and disrespectful approach to the scriptures, just because other false doctrines rely on the same methodology.
The point is Steve is that there is a whole host of historical reasoning that SDA's, and especially Messianisc's cite is both sound and based on the common history and reality of the 1st Century church.
It is all ideologically driven. As I said, someone who has an agenda (rather than a heart to find the truth) can easily find scholars of every stripe to claim some historical scenario existed. There are as many scholars as there are opinions. It would be best to read the Bible. You once told us that you have studied the Bible for three years, but your posts do not indicate that you have studied the Bible itself. You have apparently studied under the direction of Adventists, Messianic Rabbis, and other ideologues. This can be less helpful than not studying the Bible at all. You seem to have no common sense in your approach to scriptural interpretation. You would probably have more of this if you studied the Bible on your own, without being confused by alleged "scholars."


You wrote:
Steve, Jesus sent His disciple out to evangelize to a "Jewish Nation" so the likely hood that the would be serving unclean animals was minimal to non-existent at best:

Mat 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into [any] city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

Luke 10:8 has more to do with the Pharisaical nature of Jewish life in the day of Christ where wild rites, and rituals had become the norm. As Matthew Henry says, "Probably, Christ here refers to the traditions of the elders about their meat which were so many that those who observed them were extremely critical, you could hardly set a dish of meat before them, but there was some scruple or other concerning it"
Even though Jesus sent them initially to the Jews only (Matt.10:8), perhaps you should have read a few verses further, and you would have found that His instructions extended to their later outreaches in Gentile lands (which were going to happen after He left them). Thus He tells them they will bear witness to the Gentiles (Matt.10:18). Besides, the instructions in Luke 10 are about a different outreach than that in Matthew 10. The latter involved the twelve, whereas the former involved the seventy.

The disciples were not Pharisees. Peter had declared himself "an unclean man" when Jesus called him. Simon was a Zealot (from another, non-Pharisaic party). Others, like Matthew, the tax collector, were about as far from the Pharisees in their convictions as Jesus Himself was. It would not be necessary for Jesus to tell them to ignore picayune Pharisaic dietary scruples, since the disciples were certainly not influenced by such.

You are showing desperation in your answers again (still).

You wrote:
Also you stated that "The cleanness of Gentiles was a secondary (and intended) application" but that doesn't it seems clear to me since there is nothing citing where Peter did as God stated to do in vision.
That Peter did not do so does not negate the plain meaning of the command. Yes, Saul was not disobedient to his vision, but that provides no argument about Peter's case. The fact that you don't realize this is an illustration of what I mean when I tell you that you do not know what an argument is. An argument is not the same thing as an assertion. Until you learn the difference, you are not likely to even know how other rational readers are perceiving your posts.

I wrote:
When the Jerusalem Council was deciding how many of the Jewish scruples should be accommodated by Gentile Christians, they conspicuously left sabbath keeping and kosher diet off their list of "necessary things" (Acts 15:28-29). "No other burden" of the law was to be added...In the decision of that Council, some of the restrictions that were enjoined were of a dietary nature, but they were the things related to involvement in idolatry, not to a kosher diet.
To which, you replied:
Steve, that's actually incorrect. In fact all four of the requirements that they did require come straight from the Mosaic law...Eating these that die of themselves (i.e. strangled) or eating blood were both "Kosher" requirements.
First, even if these four things really were forbidden in the Law, this would not make your point. I did not deny (previously) that these practices were in the Law. My point is that, even if they were in Law, they are the only restrictions that the Council imposed upon the Gentiles (i.e., they did not say anything about calendar observance or kosher animals). Restrictions on blood and meat sacrificed to idols are not the same thing as defining certain species of animals as "unclean." Someone without an agenda could see this immediately.

Second, where do you find, in the Law, restrictions against fornication and the forbidding of eating meat sacrificed to idols, or things strangled? I would like to see the actual commands that you have in mind. There are commands against prostitution, and there is the command that an unmarried couple who sleeps together must get married—but is this the same as a general command against fornication? When it comes to meat sacrificed to idols, we might include this under the many general commands against idolatry, but it is not exactly the same. Paul tells the Corinthians that they must have no compromise with idolatry, but that eating meat that was sacrificed to idols is not intrinsically defiling (1 Cor.8:10-11; 10:20, 23-28). In fact, Paul teaches them that all foods are lawful for them to eat, though some are not profitable (1 Cor.6:12-13). Also, an animal's dying "of natural causes" is not equivalent to being "strangled," no matter how much you close your eyes and wish for it to be true. This identification was the most absurd of all your points so far.

Sorry, but your arguments about the Jerusalem Council's decree are completely fallacious—meaning that decree still stands against your doctrine.

You wrote:
Steve, everything Paul said was regarding the vanity and philosophies of men, and not God. Verse 8 makes this abundantly clear.
To teach Gentiles to observe the ceremonial laws was, in Paul's thinking, a doctrine and tradition of men. These rules were from God, when given to Israel at Sinai, but the imposition of them on New Covenant believers was entirely a human tradition—as the whole Book of Galatians demonstrates (the absurd claims of the Messianics notwithstanding).
Taken in historical context where in scripture does one find that these dietary regulations have been set aside?
This is the wrong question. The relevant question would be, "Where do we find them imposed in the New Covenant?" We are specifically told that the coming of the New Covenant has made the Old Covenant obsolete (Hebrews 8:13). This being the case, there remains no need to observe the rules of the Old Covenant, unless we find them presented somewhere as requirements of the New Covenant. The task is yours to find those passages. You cannot. It's not your fault. They aren't there to be found. What is your fault is that you wish to impose them where God does not.

You wrote:
Well, Steve, I can't speak for all Adventist certainly but when I see different teachers and theologians(non- Adventist's) making statements about the meaning of scripture that makes the position you take seem different than mine what am I to say?
If this is a question, I don't know what it is asking. However, there is (if this is what you are asking) a huge difference between my methods and yours. I am affirming what the scriptures actually say in specific places. You are affirming what the scripture does not say anywhere, and simply denying that the passages that contradict you actually mean what they say. It is a totally opposite approach to biblical studies.

Steve, would it be helpful for me to point out that virtually every argument you've made regarding food and the sabbath is exactly, 100% the same as the arguments I see Catholics make regarding these doctrines?
Not so. The Catholics say we are to keep a Sunday Sabbath. That is as opposite to my position as is yours. Nice try. There is no validity in your statement. Unfortunately, that is not unusual.
What is the difference between your exegesis that makes subjective statements about "day, months, and years" without any historical understanding mine where I provide ample proof from other commentaries or teachers?
That is exactly the difference between your arguments and mine. Mine come from scripture. Yours come from commentaries and teachers. I have read the commentaries too. The difference is that I do not go to them to find support for my presuppositions, and then attach to those who support my views, regardless how foolish their arguments may be. What I do is use them to gather data, and then weigh the legitimacy of arguments before making up my mind on a topic. Though I don't know your age, I suspect that I have been following this procedure (as well as dialoguing with SDAs) since before you were born. That is why you will have to do better in trying to convince me.

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Re: ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by kaufmannphillips » Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:37 pm

Steve wrote:
In Luke 10:8, when Jesus sent His disciples out to evangelize, He told them to eat anything that was served to them (something no Jew observing the dietary laws could do), which can mean little else than that they might, at times, be served foods that they, as Jews, would otherwise regard as unclean.
At this point in the narrative, Jesus had not yet died. How are Christian theologians to understand this matter then? Does the "new covenant" begin before Jesus' death, thus exempting the disciples from the dietary code? Were the disciples still under the Mosaic covenant prior to his death, or not?
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Re: ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by steve » Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:44 pm

It is a good question that I am not sure I can answer authoritatively. I offer only my thoughts:

I believe that the gradual breaking-in of the Kingdom of God was launched at the first appearance of John the Baptist and continued progressively through the ministry of Jesus. It seems that Jesus considered the preaching of the Kingdom of God to something that supersedes the "law and the prophets." He seemed to imply this when He said, "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached..." (Luke 16:16)

John was himself a transitional character, overlapping the period of the law and the period of the preaching of the kingdom. The full supplanting of the law's relevance took place gradually, as the preaching of the kingdom by John, Jesus and the disciples progressed. Rather than seeing the single crucifixion event and the punctiliar moment of transition, I am inclined to see the whole earthly career of Jesus as the transition. Thus, there was a sense in which the law still deserved the disciples' respect (e.g. Matt.5:23; 23:1-3).

Yet, the King's presence trumped the authority of the temple (Matt.12:6), since He was Lord even of the sabbath (Matt.12:8). In the presence of the Substance, the shadows became irrelevant (Col.2:16-17), so that issues such as ritual cleanness and uncleanness, prescribed by the law, were themselves obsolete when the Lawgiver HImself was in command on the scene. This is why Jesus could allow His disciples to violate the sabbath, to treat all foods as clean, and why He Himself could touch lepers and women with issues of blood, etc., without contracting ritual defilement.

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Re: ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by kaufmannphillips » Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:53 pm

Hi, Steve,

Thank you for responding to my post.
Steve wrote:
I believe that the gradual breaking-in of the Kingdom of God was launched at the first appearance of John the Baptist and continued progressively through the ministry of Jesus. It seems that Jesus considered the preaching of the Kingdom of God to something that supersedes the "law and the prophets." He seemed to imply this when He said, "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached..." (Luke 16:16)
Continuing your citation from Luke 16: "... and every one forces into it - but it is easier for the heaven and the earth to pass than for one serif of the law to fall."
Steve wrote:
Yet, the King's presence trumped the authority of the temple (Matt.12:6), since He was Lord even of the sabbath (Matt.12:8). In the presence of the Substance, the shadows became irrelevant (Col.2:16-17), so that issues such as ritual cleanness and uncleanness, prescribed by the law, were themselves obsolete when the Lawgiver HImself was in command on the scene. This is why Jesus could allow His disciples to violate the sabbath, to treat all foods as clean, and why He Himself could touch lepers and women with issues of blood, etc., without contracting ritual defilement.
(a) Beyond characterizing Jesus as allowing his disciples to treat all foods as clean, you have portrayed him as virtually commanding them to eat unclean foods: "In Luke 10:8, when Jesus sent His disciples out to evangelize, He told them to eat anything that was served to them (something no Jew observing the dietary laws could do), which can mean little else than that they might, at times, be served foods that they, as Jews, would otherwise regard as unclean."

This may encounter some tension, though, with the narrative in Acts 11, which has Peter asserting: "Nothing doing, Lord, for never has anything common or unclean entered into my mouth!" How could Peter make such an objection, if he had followed Jesus' instruction to the extent that you have outlined? Why would he make such an objection, if he had heard Jesus' instruction to such an extent?

(b) Your characterization here may also encounter some tension with Paul's account of Jesus as being "under the law" (q.v., Galatians 4). The Jesus you describe is not under the law, but above the law.

(c) Let us imagine that somebody emerges in our own time, claiming to be the Elijah before the Second Coming. In the course of this person's activities, he endorses theft from the government and from certain institutions, as a means for bankrolling evangelistic efforts. He also coaches his supporters to practice "flirty fishing." How are we to respond to this?

Let us imagine, for a moment, that we are Jews living in the first century. We have made a covenant with G-d that entails certain behaviors, and our sacred literature underscores the terrible consequences of failing to uphold our covenant. Our recent national history has vindicated standing by the covenant in the face of deadly imperial persecution. And now somebody shows up, portraying themselves and their lackeys as being above the terms of the covenant which is etched in their very flesh. How are we to respond to this?

(d) Where does the NT text indicate that Jesus "touch[ed] lepers and women with issues of blood, etc., without contracting ritual defilement"?
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Re: ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by steve » Sun Mar 15, 2009 3:53 am

Continuing your citation from Luke 16: "... and every one forces into it - but it is easier for the heaven and the earth to pass than for one serif of the law to fall."
I do not believe that any part of the law failed. I also do not believe that Jesus destroyed the law. But I believe that He did fulfill it. That is, He inaugurated the new order that the ceremonies of the law anticipated, rendering them obsolete.
This may encounter some tension, though, with the narrative in Acts 11, which has Peter asserting: "Nothing doing, Lord, for never has anything common or unclean entered into my mouth!" How could Peter make such an objection, if he had followed Jesus' instruction to the extent that you have outlined? Why would he make such an objection, if he had heard Jesus' instruction to such an extent?
I don't think there is a problem here. Though Jesus told the disciples to eat whatever is placed before them, since they were sent only among the Jews on this occcasion, there is a very good chance that nothing unclean had been put before them by their hosts. This would explain how Peter, at a later time, could truthfully protest tha he had never eaten unclean foods. As for Peter's having this objection after Jesus having given these instructions previously, such cluelessness is not uncharacteristic of the disciples.
(b) Your characterization here may also encounter some tension with Paul's account of Jesus as being "under the law" (q.v., Galatians 4). The Jesus you describe is not under the law, but above the law.
Jesus was indeed "born under the law," as Paul says. Therefore, He was circumcised on the eighth day, dedicated on the fortieth day, and raised in a kosher house. It was not until the kingdom began to be preached that Jesus began to show independence of the ritual law, though not neglecting it entirely.
(c) Let us imagine that somebody emerges in our own time, claiming to be the Elijah before the Second Coming. In the course of this person's activities, he endorses theft from the government and from certain institutions, as a means for bankrolling evangelistic efforts. He also coaches his supporters to practice "flirty fishing." How are we to respond to this?
If the man is behaving immorally, then it is a dead giveaway that he is a charlatan. However, if he is only messing with ritual forms of worship, and introducing more spiritual forms—and especially if he can credibly show that the New Testament itself had predicted that one would come, bringing in such a new order, then it would be wise to give him a fair hearing.
Let us imagine, for a moment, that we are Jews living in the first century. We have made a covenant with G-d that entails certain behaviors, and our sacred literature underscores the terrible consequences of failing to uphold our covenant. Our recent national history has vindicated standing by the covenant in the face of deadly imperial persecution. And now somebody shows up, portraying themselves and their lackeys as being above the terms of the covenant which is etched in their very flesh. How are we to respond to this?
Someone behaving like that would likely get himself crucified!
(d) Where does the NT text indicate that Jesus "touch[ed] lepers and women with issues of blood, etc., without contracting ritual defilement"?
Whether these actions transferred defilement to Jesus or not would be a matter of disagreement between the Jews and the writers of the New Testament. That Jesus did come into physical contact with such people is recorded clearly enough (Matt.8:3/ 9:20). The fact that His condition of cleanness passed to them by the touch (i.e., the leper became clean, and the cause of the woman's defilement ended) would suggest, I believe, that the transfer was unilateral, and that no defilement transferred to Him. At least we do not find Him quarantining Himself as if He believed that He had become unclean.

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Re: ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by kaufmannphillips » Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:29 am

Hi, Steve,

Thank you for your response.
kaufmannphillips wrote:
Continuing your citation from Luke 16: "... and every one forces into it - but it is easier for the heaven and the earth to pass than for one serif of the law to fall."

steve wrote:
I do not believe that any part of the law failed. I also do not believe that Jesus destroyed the law. But I believe that He did fulfill it. That is, He inaugurated the new order that the ceremonies of the law anticipated, rendering them obsolete.


At the risk of being pedantic, the preferable rendering of the word is "fall," not "fail." Interesting that out of ninety occurrences of the Greek word, the KJV renders it as "fall" 88 times, and as "fail" only this once. Theological skew?

In mainstream Christianity, many serifs of the law have fallen - fallen from esteem, fallen from exercise, fallen from enforcement.
steve wrote:
In Luke 10:8, when Jesus sent His disciples out to evangelize, He told them to eat anything that was served to them (something no Jew observing the dietary laws could do), which can mean little else than that they might, at times, be served foods that they, as Jews, would otherwise regard as unclean.

kaufmannphillips wrote:
This may encounter some tension, though, with the narrative in Acts 11, which has Peter asserting: "Nothing doing, Lord, for never has anything common or unclean entered into my mouth!" How could Peter make such an objection, if he had followed Jesus' instruction to the extent that you have outlined? Why would he make such an objection, if he had heard Jesus' instruction to such an extent?

steve wrote:
I don't think there is a problem here. Though Jesus told the disciples to eat whatever is placed before them, since they were sent only among the Jews on this occcasion, there is a very good chance that nothing unclean had been put before them by their hosts. This would explain how Peter, at a later time, could truthfully protest tha he had never eaten unclean foods.
(a) So, then - Jesus' command "can mean little else than that they might, at times, be served foods that they, as Jews, would otherwise regard as unclean," but "since they were sent only among the Jews on this occcasion, there is a very good chance that nothing unclean had been put before them by their hosts."

(b) In Luke 10, the instruction we have been looking at is given to the "other seventy," and not to the twelve - so Peter would not have been assigned said instruction.
steve wrote:
As for Peter's having this objection after Jesus having given these instructions previously, such cluelessness is not uncharacteristic of the disciples.
Then again, Peter - like the other disciples - is thought to have the holy spirit by this juncture.
kaufmannphillips wrote:
Your characterization here may also encounter some tension with Paul's account of Jesus as being "under the law" (q.v., Galatians 4). The Jesus you describe is not under the law, but above the law.

steve wrote:
Jesus was indeed "born under the law," as Paul says. Therefore, He was circumcised on the eighth day, dedicated on the fortieth day, and raised in a kosher house. It was not until the kingdom began to be preached that Jesus began to show independence of the ritual law, though not neglecting it entirely.
(a) The Torah covenant does not distinguish between ritual law and non-ritual law. The consequence for violating the shabbath - a mere ritual, one might say - was capital punishment. And the New Testament of most Christians argues that "whomever will keep the whole law, but will stumble in one [point of it] - he has become guilty of all [points of it]."

(b) "And when the just one turns from his justness and does unjustness - like all of the abominations which the wicked man will do - will he also live? All his justness which he has done, will not be brought to remembrance; in his transgression which he has transgressed, and in his misdoing which he has misdone - in them he will die [Ezekiel 18:24]."
kaufmannphillips wrote:
Let us imagine that somebody emerges in our own time, claiming to be the Elijah before the Second Coming. In the course of this person's activities, he endorses theft from the government and from certain institutions, as a means for bankrolling evangelistic efforts. He also coaches his supporters to practice "flirty fishing." How are we to respond to this?

steve wrote:
If the man is behaving immorally, then it is a dead giveaway that he is a charlatan. However, if he is only messing with ritual forms of worship, and introducing more spiritual forms—and especially if he can credibly show that the New Testament itself had predicted that one would come, bringing in such a new order, then it would be wise to give him a fair hearing.
(a) The distinction between morality and ritual is fallacious. Transgressing a precept of one's covenantal obligation to G-d is a moral issue - even when it is a ritual precept.

(b) Let us imagine that the Elijah-claimant attempts to reinstitute practice of Torah ritual, "turn[ing] ... the heart of the sons to the fathers." Or let us imagine that the claimant spiritualized observance of baptism and the Lord's Supper. We may imagine the sorts of response - and/or we may note historically the sorts of response enjoyed by the Armstrongites and the Quakers.
kaufmannphillips wrote:
Let us imagine, for a moment, that we are Jews living in the first century. We have made a covenant with G-d that entails certain behaviors, and our sacred literature underscores the terrible consequences of failing to uphold our covenant. Our recent national history has vindicated standing by the covenant in the face of deadly imperial persecution. And now somebody shows up, portraying themselves and their lackeys as being above the terms of the covenant which is etched in their very flesh. How are we to respond to this?

steve wrote:
Someone behaving like that would likely get himself crucified!
Cute is a limited substitute for substance, my friend. Please do not sidestep the issue: in that scenario, how are we to respond?

One fundamental liability of Christianity - at least, in its mainstream form - is its dissonance from the simple vectors of the faith that it imagines itself to fulfill. G-d spends centuries teaching his people to worship only him - a singular G-d whom Solomon says "the heavens and the heavens of the heavens do not contain" - and then he throws them a curve-ball by showing up in a human body, with a distinct personhood of its own? G-d spends centuries teaching his people to be faithful to him by keeping his covenant and its precepts - with the intention of flipping them over to a faithfulness by disregarding the covenant and transgressing its precepts? G-d ties their eating of blood to their dispossession of the land (amidst a welter of butchery and misery, one may note) - and then enshrines his new covenant in the pantomime of that very act [cf. Ezekiel 33:25]?
kaufmannphillips wrote:
Where does the NT text indicate that Jesus "touch[ed] lepers and women with issues of blood, etc., without contracting ritual defilement"?

steve wrote:
Whether these actions transferred defilement to Jesus or not would be a matter of disagreement between the Jews and the writers of the New Testament. That Jesus did come into physical contact with such people is recorded clearly enough (Matt.8:3/ 9:20). The fact that His condition of cleanness passed to them by the touch (i.e., the leper became clean, and the cause of the woman's defilement ended) would suggest, I believe, that the transfer was unilateral, and that no defilement transferred to Him. At least we do not find Him quarantining Himself as if He believed that He had become unclean.
Where do the precepts of the covenant require quarantine for ritual defilement - that is, in such a way that we would find the lack of its observance noticeable in the gospel narratives?


Thank you for your time and thought, Steve.

Shalom, Emmet
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