I’ve had a large number of questions repeatedly asked by the same people, but the most persistent, like a buzzing mosquito, and equally annoying, is our own little Rodkins, with his insistence that the Jews committed genocide, so I’m going to have to give a brief English lesson, and then inform him of the actual occurrences in the ‘Bronze Age book of fairy tales’. By his standards, one might as well accuse Saruman of indulging in genocide.
Nevertheless, I’ll indulge him, as is my wont.
Genocide. –n. the policy of deliberately killing a nationality or ethnic group.
10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 13 When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. 15 This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.
16 However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Completely destroy[a] them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you. 18 Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God.
You see, Rodkins, context is important, as once the preceding verses are read then, gee, would you believe it?! the jews did not commit genocide! Doesn’t that just horrify you? Cherry-picking is such fun, isn’t it?
There is historical evidence that the Canaanites flourished well into the second century AD, which is the last time they are mentioned, and that because of their detestable practises of offering their first-born to Moloch.
Now on to mournfully malevolent Mike, whose heart is as black as his username. Here’s his most frequent post, and which I have answered before, and will again, and he’ll either ignore it or deny it; it doesn’t really matter.
Matthew 16:27-28, "For the Son of man is ABOUT to come in the glory of his Father WITH HIS ANGELS; AND THEN HE SHALL REWARD every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There are SOME OF THOSE STANDING HERE, who IN NO WISE WILL TASTE DEATH, until they have seen the Son of man coming in his kingdom."
It doesn’t even take a Biblical scholar, just one versed in the English language, to see how faulty the reasoning is here. Jesus rose from the dead and after forty days ascended into heaven, having by this time been seen by hundreds of witnesses. Now, I’m not sure if you’re aware of the fact that language uses sentences, so: "For the Son of man is ABOUT to come in the glory of his Father WITH HIS ANGELS; AND THEN HE SHALL REWARD every man according to his works.
New sentence, you know, the way people speak? Verily I say unto you, There are SOME OF THOSE STANDING HERE, who IN NO WISE WILL TASTE DEATH, until they have seen the Son of man coming in his kingdom."
Now Mike, you’re being a naughty boy and cherry-picking again. Remember, context is everything. Here is the entire piece from which you abstracted those two verses.
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[e] is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
You see Mike, Biblical scholars as far back as Martin Luther interpreted this verse to mean the restoration of Israel and that generation is the one that sees Israel being restored. All you have to do is read it with both eyes and, if possible, an open mind.
When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for TRULY, I say to you, you will NOT HAVE GONE through ALL THE TOWNS of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matt. 10:23)
Mike, Mike, Mike…it’s a matter of historical record that the disciples were so viciously persecuted that they never did get the chance to preach in all the cities and towns of Israel. Try reading a bit of history from real historians.
Thus endeth this lesson.
John Nielson. Where do we start? How about the life of Jesus, whom so many people claimed never existed, but was rated, in October 2012, by MIT (a not insubstantial university) as the most influential person of all time. Not bad for a man who never existed!
Now to the deeds of Jesus and the events recorded around His life and death.
THALLUS (~ 52 A.D.) Although his works exist only in fragments, Julius Africanus debates Thallus' explanation of the midday darkness which occurred during the Passover of Jesus' crucifixion. Thallus tries to dismiss the darkness as a natural occurrence (a solar eclipse) but Africanus argues (and any astronomer can confirm) a solar eclipse cannot physically occur during a full moon due to the alignment of the planets.
Phlegon of Tralles, a 2nd century secular historian, also mentions the darkness and tries to dismiss it as a solar eclipse. He also states the event occurred during the time of Tiberius Caesar.
‘On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness. The rocks were rent by an earthquake and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun. For the Hebrews celebrate the Passover on the 14th day according to the moon, and the passion of our Saviour falls on the day before the Passover. But an eclipse of the sun takes place only when the moon comes under the sun. And it cannot happen at any other time...’ Phlegon
CELSUS (~ 178 A.D.) Celsus was a second century Roman author and avid opponent of Christianity. He went to great lengths to disprove the divinity of Jesus yet never denied His actual existence. Unfortunately for Celsus, he sets himself up for criticism by mimicking the exact accusations brought against Jesus by the Pharisees which had already been addressed and refuted in the New Testament. There are two very important facts regarding Celsus which make him one of the most important witnesses in this discussion:
Though most secular passages are accused of being Christian interpolations, we can accept with certainty this is not the case with Celsus! The sheer volume of his writings (specifically designed to discredit Christianity) coupled with the hostile accusations presented in his work dismiss this chance immediately.
The idea of Celsus getting his information entirely from Christian sources (another recurring accusation against secular evidence) is wholly absurd. Though he is obviously aware of his opponents' beliefs (as anyone who is engaging in a debate should be), Celsus wrote his exposition in the form of a dialogue between a "Jewish Critic" and himself. This gives us cause to believe he used non-Christian (probably Jewish) sources.
On Jesus' Miracles: ‘Jesus, on account of his poverty, was hired out to go to Egypt. While there he acquired certain [magical] powers... He returned home highly elated at possessing these powers, and on the strength of them gave himself out to be a god... It was by means of sorcery that He was able to accomplish the wonders which He performed... Let us believe that these cures, or the resurrection, or the feeding of a multitude with a few loaves... These are nothing more than the tricks of jugglers... It is by the names of certain demons, and by the use of incantations, that the Christians appear to be possessed of [miraculous] power...’
Not only does Celsus confirm Jesus' existence, he also tries to debate the source of Jesus' miracles. Like the Pharisees of Jesus' day, Celsus tries to dismiss these miracles as both demonic possession and cheap parlour tricks. However, he is clearly grasping at straws: On one hand Celsus accuses Jesus of performing magic learned in Egypt, then later states it is by the power of possession, then states the miracles were not really miracles at all but were illusionary tricks performed by a deceiver, then finally states the miracles never occurred!
On the Virgin Birth: ‘Jesus had come from a village in Judea, and was the son of a poor Jewess who gained her living by the work of her hands. His mother had been turned out by her husband, who was a carpenter by trade, on being convicted of adultery [with a Roman soldier named Panthera]. Being thus driven away by her husband, and wandering about in disgrace, she gave birth to Jesus, a bastard.’
Celsus acknowledges Jesus' birth and existence but does not accept the concept of a virgin conception. He tries to dismiss Mary's premarital pregnancy as the result of an affair she had with a Roman soldier. Strangely enough, there is a very similar passage in the Jewish Talmud which makes the same accusation. This gives us reason to believe Celsus might have referenced Jewish sources for some of his arguments.
On the Apostles: ‘Jesus gathered around him ten or eleven persons of notorious character... tax-collectors, sailors, and fishermen... [He was] deserted and delivered up by those who had been his associates, who had him for their teacher, and who believed he was the saviour and son of the greatest God... Those who were his associates while alive, who listened to his voice, and enjoyed his instructions as their teacher, on seeing him subjected to punishment and death, neither died with nor for him... but denied that they were even his disciples, lest they die along with Him.’
Celsus' intentions were to argue that if the disciples really believed Jesus was the Son of God, they would not have forsaken Him at His arrest. Instead, he only ends up confirming the Biblical account! The Bible tells us when Jesus was arrested, the apostles denied being His followers. It was only upon Jesus' resurrection they understood the spiritual principles concerning Jesus' crucifixion and boldly went out to preach the Gospel. Celsus is also wrong with his statement, [they] neither died with nor for him. We are told by early historians all but one of the remaining apostles were killed for their faith.
On Jesus' Divinity: ‘One who was a God could neither flee nor be led away a prisoner... What great deeds did Jesus perform as God? Did he put his enemies to shame or bring to an end what was designed against him? No calamity happened even to him who condemned him... Why does he not give some manifestation of his divinity, and free himself from this reproach, and take vengeance upon those who insult both him and his Father?’
Celsus ridicules Jesus for the exact same reasons the Pharisees of His time ridiculed Him- if Jesus was the Son of God, why didn't He save Himself from the cross? Neither Celsus nor the Pharisees understood the spiritual implications of Jesus' death to atone for sin. Celsus also asks why no judgment came upon the Jews but history shows shortly after His death Jerusalem was invaded by the Romans, the Jewish temple was destroyed, and the Jewish people were dispersed for almost 2,000 years!
John the Baptist ‘If any one predicted to us that the Son of God was to visit mankind, he was one of our prophets, and the prophet of our God? John, who baptized Jesus, was a Jew.’
Celsus confirms Jesus' baptism by John but asserts that John was the only one who actually prophesied His coming- not the Old Testament
On the Crucifixion: ‘Jesus accordingly exhibited after His death only the appearance of wounds received on the cross, and was not in reality so wounded as He is described to have been.’
In this statement, Celsus confirms Jesus' death by crucifixion although he claims the only wounds Jesus received were those inflicted by the crucifixion (thus denying any previous torture had taken place). But not even history offers Celsus the benefit of a doubt as floggings were the standard form of torture given to victims prior to crucifixion. Celsus contradicts himself yet again when he later states Jesus was probably never even crucified but instead had an impostor die in His place!
Provide evidence of fulfilled prophecies.
Finally, because this piece is long enough already, I’m going to mention an astonishing piece of prophecy and, if you want more, there’s plenty where that came from. Isaiah 44: 24-28.
“This is what the Lord says—
your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:
I am the Lord,
the Maker of all things,
who stretches out the heavens,
who spreads out the earth by myself,
25 who foils the signs of false prophets
and makes fools of diviners,
who overthrows the learning of the wise
and turns it into nonsense,
26 who carries out the words of his servants
and fulfills the predictions of his messengers,
who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’
of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’
and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,’
27 who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry,
and I will dry up your streams,’
28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd
and will accomplish all that I please;
he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,”
and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”’
Many, many people have tried to post-date this because of its uncanny accuracy, but there are contemporary sources that mention it, such as the ‘Cyrus Cylinder’ at the British Museum. This describes in some detail, in his own hand, if Cuneiform can considered to be own hand, his invasion and conquest of Babylon, plus his subsequent plans to restore Israel to its former glory.
The prophecy, by Isaiah, was written one hundred and fifty years before the time. It was fulfilled exactly as prophesied.
Thus endeth the lesson for now.
But not the never-ending parade of straw men and setting fire thereto.
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