The Second Coming of Christ

by maccauk 33 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • EverApostate
    So many Jews see the Messiah as a personifaction of a hope, of a day when humanity will conquer war, sickness, poverty, and all of its worst enemies. We, all of humanity, will rule over all that is evil and bring redemption and peace to our world. We have the ability

    That is a Good Hope. I believe this would come true one day. Thanks

    There was always one question that I wanted to ask a Jew. Are you completely fine in accepting the blood shed rampage performed by Moses, Joshua, David, Samuel in your Holy book ? If you say that God commanded them how are you so sure ? Even if God commanded, how can you accept that God as a loving one ?

    Even terrorists today slaughter in the name of God, and claim that their God commands it.

  • David_Jay

    The Torah (Genesis through Deuteronomy) is a product of the Babylonian exile. It is a reinterpretation of history in Jewish folkloric terms, adding religious explanations to our past to preserve our culture while in Babylon captivity, looking to be returned to the Promised Land again.

    So while Jews see Torah (and other Scripture) as written under God's providence, it doesn't mean that it is a book of facts. For instance, Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Longfellow tells the famous story of the midnight ride of Paul Revere and his famous call to warn the American colonists about the arrival of the British recoats: "The Britsh are coming! The Britsh are coming!"

    Every American knows it as history, but the problem is it isn't. It never happened. It's just a poem. Paul Revere is a real person and attempted to warn the colonists of the British invasion, but was captured. It was Samuel Prescott that accomplished the mission.

    Longfellow's poem is folklore, a form of genre that captures the cherished truths in a form of narrative and hands it down to generations in a format to keep those truths alive through the ages. The same can be said about the folklore about George Washington chopping down his father's cherry tree, Betsy Ross making the first American flag, turkey being served at the first Thanksgiving dinner, etc. These are not stories of facts. They are folkloric, filled with American truths to preserve culture and promote American values.

    The stories in the Torah are similar. In reality a bunch of escaped slaves from Egypt could have never amassed together a genocidal army and conquered whole nations. The idea is not only disgusting, it's illogical. The people are starving and dying of thirst in the desert one moment but then a mighty and formidable army of war the next? Not likely.

    No, the Jews were in exile in Babylon when they wrote these stories. They were afraid of assimilating, losing their cultural identity. So they developed the synagogue and liturgical system.

    The liturgical system is a formal set of prayers and holy Scripture readings that taught lessons about their culture, designed to be read on select Sabbaths over the period of one year. Like American folklore, they gave their history a bit of a twist, setting up everything with a religious origin. For instance, Passover and the Festival of Booths had pre-Exodus origins. But via the Torah, the new liturgy claimed both festivals were linked exclusively to the Exodus from Egypt and their travel to the Promised Land.

    We Jews are actually a combination of the children of Abraham and some slaves that left Egypt as well as the people of Canaan. We didn't kill the people who originally lived in the Fertile Crescent. We intermixed with them. We are them!

    But we did force our monotheism upon them, especially during the Davidic dynasty, and this eventually "killed" the remnants of the previous Canaanites in that sense. But that is not all.

    The narratives are written from the standpoint of the Jews who are exiled in Babylon. We wanted to be returned to the Promised Land. We saw Nebuchadnezzar as a new type of Pharaoh and the gods of the heathens as the Canaanites. We wanted them wiped out so we could be set free.

    Torah ends with Moses not being allowed to enter the Promised Land but getting to see the land area from far off. This is where the Jews saw themselves in Babylon. And the story ends there. It isn't history. It's liturgy.

    The stories of David were put together shortly before, during, and after the exile. They are also liturgy. David's exploits are very much like the stories of Paul Revere. There is truth, but little fact.

    It appears you have the Christian concept of Scripture and God in mind. Jews don't see the Tanakh (our word for the Bible) as you are describing it. And the "God is love" thing, agai it too is a Christian thing.

    Jews are called the children of Israel, not the children of Abraham. Israel is that name God gave to Jacob because Jacob wrestled with God. We get our name from Jacob because we are not in an "sit down, accept , and obey" relationship with some long-haired hippie-loves-everybody god that Christians talk about.

    Jews are in a covenant with a God they wrestle with, that they don't always agree with, that we often argue with or say we think God isn't acting right by what God is doing. That is part of our job in this covenant relationship. We wrestle God daily like this.

    We are far from perfect, or course. And some of us might like to think we have all the answers (and they don't, I assure you). But we are far different from the measuring stick you are using. You got that from Christian theology. Jews think very, very differently.

    So it's good you are asking. We don't approve of actual genocide. We wouldn't have had a problem with the Spanish Inquisition or the Holocaust if that was the case. These events in Torah mean something else. They are folkloric allegories against heathen worship of idol gods.

  • David_Jay

    Oh, and for those of you who just can't believe that we Jews aren't smart enough to read the Torah this way, note the following, very brief (and very funny) video about Sukkot, the Festival of Booths.

    Note the reference on how it was originally a harvest tradition where harvesters lived in temporary huts to gather the crops of the fall and later the Exodus tradition of the Festival of Booths was applied to it.

    (And yes, this video was made with the help of the producers of The Lego Movie.)

  • Cold Steel
    Cold Steel
    David_Jay ยป The Romans had no hatred of the Temple and tried to save it. It caught fire in the siege by mistake.

    True. One account (Josephus?) reports that fighters on both sides ceased hostilities and worked together in an ineffectual attempt to put out the flames. Titus had given strict orders to not to burn the temple. No one knows who threw the firebrand into the temple that was responsible for its destruction.

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