Being Compliant of an unjust law could be a necessity at times and a good strategy sometimes, but rarely both. But in the case of Gideon the Valorous, it was both a Necessity and a Strategy.The Midianites, who were the Overlords to the Israelites, extracted tribute in the form of agricultural produce, which probably kept the Israelites poor, with no reserves or leisure – the twin benefits of prosperous activity. Each day’s labour was expended on earning their bare livelihood.In these hard times for the Israelites, the Overlords kept an eye on the Compliance of the rules the Midianites had made to keep the Israelites in that state of want and lack of leisure.Seeming to be compliant yet threshing wheat near the wine press keeping his activity out of the view of the Midianites was the valorous man Gideon.The Midianites, Amalekites and the children of the East came in multitudes like grasshoppers and entered into the labour of the Israelites and destroyed the very source of their sustenance. This impoverished the Israelites.I can imagine what a plight it would have been when mere numbers are used to subjugate a people in their own land; depriving them of the very source of their sustenance and making them labour without pride & having to conceal their labour and the meagre rewards which accrue out of such clandestine labour, in their own lands. Can one forgive the perpetrators of such cruelty? I guess not.I can imagine a Gideon, a valorous man, slinking and threshing his homegrown wheat in his own land, gathering the same and saving the wheat for his near and dear ones- all because he was ranged against a multitude of men who outnumbered his clan. Yet that spirit in Gideon sustained him to not give up, but toil in silence and in the dark and gather as much as possible.When that ass seeking King Saul spared the Amalekite King Agag, much later despite Prophet Samuel’s instructions, did he recall the plight his ancestor Gideon suffered at the hands of the Amalekites? I guess not. Saul was protecting Agag the king of the Amalekites. Samuel definitely had a longer memory of how that Amalekites had attacked the Israelites from the rear, harming the women. children and the enfeebled lot on their journey to Canaan.Even if Saul hadn’t read that history, he should have had some idea of how a valorous man like Gideon had to cower under the Overlordship of the Amalekites and should have diligently carried out the instructions of Samuel. Alas, Saul didn’t! Saul became a big man in his own eyes – rightly spotted by Samuel and questioned.Gideon, a valorous man threshing in the dark and away from the sight of the Amalekites had a reason. The Amalekites attacked the enfeebled and the impoverished, having no MANLINESS in them nor the courage to risk and make a frontal attack on their enemies.An Amalekite doesn’t need your land, he needs your wheat and corn- the finished products. An Amalekite doesn’t want to administer, he just needs all the resources from others.Moses was able to identify this trait in the Amalekites very early. The Amalekites stole or used violent means to obtain the resources of others without expending any labour on it. At Rephedim, Moses anoints them as enemies of God.If I have not yet convinced the reader about the ways of an Amalekite, look at that Amalekite who found the same Saul – who wanted to save the life of Agag the Amalekite – in a moribund state leaning on a sword in the mount of Gilboa begging the Amalekite to deliver the coup de grace on Saul. That wretched Amalekite dares to kill a King, though ostensibly at the king’s request. Who knows? There were three, one was the dying Saul, the other was that wretched Amalekite and finally, as always, the Almighty. Out of this one killed the other and very rarely God stands as a witness in such sordid human affairs – except in the case of Abel. Now that Amalekite narrates a story to David, the ultimate story teller. David, the Shrewdest King of Israel, knows better‼️ The Amalekite steals the crown and the bracelet from the dead Saul and takes it to David for a reward.David was DAVID. Uses the opportunity to redeem his own image in front of the Israelites – especially the Benjamites but also kills the Amalekite for having dared to have been responsible for the final blow to the dying King of Israel. David remembers how to handle an Amalekite – spare them not!So Gideon was dealing with these type of Amalekites and that needed outward compliance for SURVIVAL – that compliance was strategy.There is another kind of compliance – Compliant so that one doesn’t take up an issue which carries no purpose.Jesus, while in the flesh, asks Peter whether the Kings collect customs and tribute from their own children? Peter promptly answers in the negative and Jesus says something absolutely BRILLIANT and becomes Compliant of those unfair Laws, without any Conviction in what he recommended to Peter to do. Read the following:Matt 17: 24 & 25Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.Jesus tells Peter to pay not out of the offerings given by people or any other laboured money, but tells Peter to cast a hook and pay the money found in the mouth of the fish as tribute/ custom for Him and Peter. He demeans their greed by getting the money from a fish.I sense the contempt Jesus had for such unfair taxation; and the method He used to defray the tax liability was amazing.I see this episode as a clear proof of Compliance without Conviction.In keeping with His saying : Render unto God that which is God’s, and unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, that piece of money that came out of a fish’s belly, is paid out to the Caesar.Don’t rebel when your rebellion is to no avail. Just comply WITH CONTEMPT!
Posts tagged ‘jesus’
Socrates was highlighted and brought to public view beyond the territory in which he lived by two persons, one was Plato and the other one was Xenophon.
Plato is read well, whereas Xenophon is not read much for reasons more than the fact that he did not have an illustrious disciple like Aristotle.
Xenophon is supposed to have been turnpiked by Socrates and asked: How men are made virtuous?
When Xenophon pleaded ignorance, much as the Biblical command of Jesus to Matthew at the customs, is supposed to have stated: FOLLOW ME & LEARN‼️
This Xenophon became Socrates’ follower and wrote many books, which have mostly survived and the one book called Apology deals with the trial of Socrates and the defence.
The interesting part of all this is that Xenophon being the head of 10,000 men of the mercenary band, had gone on a war and was actually absent from Athens at the time of the trial and execution of Socrates. Yet, what Xenophon wrote of Socrates, is accepted by historians as true.
The point I am labouring at is that one need NOT BE A WITNESS to the events to gather facts from those who were present at the scene and present those facts as History. Therefore on a comparative basis, much of the History wouldn’t measure up to the touchstone of historicity if the same yardstick which is applied to Jesus were to be applied to those historical figures.
Like Plato and Xenophon to Socrates, the persons who were in a position to write about Jesus were John and the other 10 disciples who survived the crucifixion. But it was not any of these who brought out the teachings of Jesus as much as the Evangelist Paul. An erudite Jew, with a Roman citizenship. This Paul of Tarsus, earlier called Saul, wrote on Jesus and his teachings by the mid fist century of the Common Era. The evangelism of Paul made enclaves of Christianity in various cities of Greece and the Asia Minor. That is History. A record not disputed. Paul had not met Jesus while Jesus was in the flesh, however Paul says that Jesus appeared to him. This is almost a few years after Jesus’ crucifixion, if we take that as a fact, then Pontius Pilate, who as per historical records was the Roman Prefect in-charge of Judaea executing the functions on behalf of the Roman emperor, was contemporaneous to Jesus historically.
But why was not Jesus’ name not mentioned in the records?
I believe that not only the Roman Prefect was not interested in perpetuating the status of persons who could be a threat to the the Roman Empire; even the Jewish Religious heads were against the memory of Jesus, consequently all records must have been destroyed so as to gloss over the empty tomb issue.
Further, looking at Jesus from the synoptic Gospels, Jesus was then a popular local hero shuttling between Galilee and Judaea, at variance with the established Jewish faith and its informal custodians like the Pharisees and the Scribes and it wouldn’t have been anybody’s case to glorify his deeds in the flesh or to perpetuate the memory of Jesus. In fact the Jews then being under the Roman vassalage, the local authorities were interested in maintaining status quo lest a worse fate befall them. Therefore, to look for contemporary references either in the Roman history or the Jewish history wouldn’t be of much avail.
At least one and a half decade had passed before Paul starts his epistolary venture, before the Gospel writer Mark wrote his Gospel.
Therefore the forerunner to the Gospels were those 13 epistles written by Paul the evangelist to the various branches he had established around Greece and Asia Minor. These pockets of Christian Faith coagulated into the Church. These are facts.
I’d like to excerpt Schopenhauer here from his essay WISDOM OF LIFE:
“We can thus understand how it is that the vainest people in the world are always talking about la gloire, with the most implicit faith in it as a stimulus to great actions and great works. But there can he no doubt that fame is something secondary in its character, a mere echo or reflection—as it were, a shadow or symptom—of merit: and, in any case, what excites admiration must be of more value than the admiration itself. The truth is that a man is made happy, not by fame, but by that which brings him fame, by his merits, or to speak more correctly, by the disposition and capacity from which his merits proceed, whether they be moral or intellectual. The best side of a man’s nature must of necessity be more important for him than for anyone else: the reflection of it, the opinion which exists in the heads of others, is a matter that can affect him only in a very subordinate degree. He who deserves fame without getting it possesses by far the more important element of happiness, which should console him for the loss of the other. It is not that a man is thought to be great by masses of incompetent and often infatuated people, but that he really is great, which should move us to envy his position; and his happiness lies, not in the fact that posterity will hear of him, but that he is the creator of thoughts worthy to be treasured up and studied for hundreds of years.
Therefore, it was the content of Jesus’ teachings which Paul gathered from the Apostles which form the bulk of his exhortations to those pockets of Christianity which Paul established, which formed the kernel and substance of Jesus’ sayings and lent to the appeal and coagulation of the movement called the Church at Antioch.
In the case of Jesus the man, the man Jesus died and His ideas sprouted and spread. Whether he was crucified, buried and resurrected could be a matter of faith but that the Faith led to the discovery of tracing those teachings to Jesus, which is discovery of a fact from an Idea.
That atoms existed was an Idea even before it was discovered and proved and its structure hypothesised though chemistry. Likewise, Jesus was a discovery and that discovery is a fact that its origins are not concentrated at one point does not take away the fact that it was historical.
If Imran Khan could rely on the revelations made by the Angel Gibrel to the Prophet Mohammed as ‘facts’ and implicitly believe in those facts as historical, he should at least concede to the fact that Jesus, Isa Nabi, for him and refrain from questioning the Historicity of Jesus.
I may not agree with the belief that Jesus was merely a prophet, but Mr. Imran is bound to believe as a fact that Jesus was born, lived a Prophet and would return.
At least each man is to be judged by the same yardstick which he uses, for Jesus said:
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
(Matthew Chapter 7)
One of the two pet Christian notions of each generation is that that generation is the culmination of all discoveries and revelations on Christian theology. The Second notion is that the Second Coming of Christ would happen within their generation, for sure.
The first notion is erroneous and the second one could turn out to be false.
As regards the First notion, that notion is a good insulation against reading up the Christian theological material written over the ages, consequently it affords one to be puffed up with a sense of prophetic confidence – Elijah like, being emboldened to tell God that he was the only one who had not fallen to the coercive methods of Jezebel in Baal-ising Israel. But God, who in his en passant reply tells the mortal Elijah that he had reserved for himself 7000 men who had not bent their knees before Baal.
So one day, when my father was still alive, to emphasise the point that Jesus’ healing was conditional, I told him that Jesus always told those whom he had healed that they should SIN NO MORE.
He calmly said: Son read the Bible. Jesus has said that only twice, and both are reported only in the Gospel of John. One was to the woman who was caught in the very act of adultery, and the other was to the invalid who had lain in the vicinity of the pool at Bethesda, for a full 38 years.
I scurried to my Bible and read chapters 5 & 8 of the Gospel of John, and found that indeed to that woman and that invalid Jesus had said : Go and sin no more.
I asked my dad: Why did he say that only to these two, whereas the Bible has multiple instances of Jesus having healed many?
I am yet to recover from my Dad’s reply: Son, these were the only two persons in the whole New Testament who NEVER SOUGHT RELIEF FROM JESUS. ONE WAS RECONCILED TO THE FACT THAT SHE WAS AN ADULTERER, AND THE OTHER THOUGHT THAT THE ONLY WAY TO GET HEALED WAS TO BE THE FIRST TO GET INTO THE POOL AFTER THE MOVING OF THE WATERS‼️
These two persons did not ask Jesus for relief, not did anyone else intercede in their behalf, in fact they both were resigned to their condition; one as a sinner deserving being stoned in public; the other one, stuck in the formalism of ‘being the first after moving of the waters’. They neither thought that they deserved relief nor did they believe that there was an option outside their own judgement and knowledge.
These persons when they obtained their relief unsought, had to be intimated not of repentance, but not committing sins in the future, as Jesus had already cleansed them of their past sins through Grace.
I was flabbergasted at his interpretation, I’ve never heard of any such interpretation of GO AND SIN NO MORE, neither before nor after.
I believe that every generation is intimated through Discovery or Revelation from the Bible and to believe that ‘our generation’ is the culmination of all understanding of the Bible is downright erroneous.
As regards the second notion, Jesus’ warnings were aimed at an awareness of human consciousness to be prepared continually, without any backlogs of un-repented sins & unresolved spiritual issues, so that when the end comes, one could stand prepared before the seat of Judgement.
But Jesus’ ‘continual awareness’ and ‘constant doing’, have been hijacked through institutionalised anxiety, by stamping everyone of being perpetually guilty. The more the anxiety the more a man would believe that the end is near. Time hastens. If the end were to be near, then Death is the only option for him to consider. This idea of Death has to be interposed with a more redeeming idea of the Second Coming. But his own unworthiness would rule out him being ‘raptured’. Now that Death has been relegated as a NO OPTION, he has to believe that the Second Coming SHALL HAPPEN WITHIN HIS OWN LIFETIME. Consequently, the Second Coming has become the mechanism for everyone to ignore Death, which could also happen before the Second Coming, yet institutionalised Belief that it SHALL happen before his death, keeps his attention fixed not in being “raptured” but with the anxiety of being LEFT BEHIND‼️
Secondly, it preempts the thought of Death. So why not believe that the Second Coming is imminent? Forgetting fully that no man, not even the Son knows the end of Time.
Instead of following Good and doing Good, PERPETUALLY, everyone is anxiety ridden to predict that end, that day of reckoning, and be prepared and flawless, for that one day!
When Bartimaeus’ eyes were opened, he realised that he had shouted out to the Son of David while he was still oblivious of the milling crowd outside Jericho, following Jesus.If only had Bartimaeus SEEN the crowd, he’d NOT have called out to Jesus, being afraid to draw attention to himself and having become overawed.Our faith remains stifled and unarticulated because we feel others are watching!Turn a blind eye and call out, the Redemption maybe in our calling to attention the Saviour passing by.
This portion in chapter 7 of the Gospel of John has been a great challenge to my understanding.
22 Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man.
23 If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?
There is a commingling of the Ten Commandments and the other Rules given by Moses. Jesus tells those Jews who tried to kill Him contextually thus in the same chapter:
19 Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?
It appears that Jesus was trying to dissuade the Jewish people who were trying to kill Him, that they ought not to kill, as killing would be breaking of a commandment of God.
But a few verses later he brings in the conflict arising between CIRCUMCISION and SABBATH.
My understanding is that Circumcision started with Abraham and definitely doesn’t find a part in the Ten Commandments; whereas keeping the Sabbath holy is a commandment of God.
Jesus brings in the conflict, between circumcision and the Sabbath, by saying that if the eighth day after the birth of a male child were to fall on a Sabbath day, you Jews circumcise the male child even on Sabbath, as you believe that the TRADITION of yore should not be broken. But by circumcising the child on the Sabbath, you are violating one of the Ten Commandments. Thereafter, Jesus Justifies circumcision on Sabbath by stating that if for the benefit of the child circumcision is carried out on the eighth day, only through an infringement of breaking the Sabbath, then DOING GOOD, like HEALING (making a person whole) on the Sabbath would not tantamount to breaking the Sabbath!
The underlying principle which Jesus said was: God is good and if any deed is done infringing a general law, such Good deed should not be seen as a deed having violated the general law.
How he got them!
It was not the Circumcision that Jesus was questioning but the tradition of circumcising only on the eighth day, come what may, though the eighth day fell on a Sabbath, which Jesus drew as a parallel to justify good deeds, like healing and making people whole.
Another way of looking at theses passages is that a General Law need not be strictly applied to every PARTICULAR situation. A child would have only one eighth day after his birth and if it were to fall on a Sabbath, why break the tradition? After all that work of circumcising was not the choice of the parents, assuming that the day of birth of a child would be beyond the choice of a parent. Therefore, in the PARTICULAR case of male children whose eighth day fell on Sabbath, the act of circumcising would not offend the General law of the Sabbath, but would act as an EXCEPTION to the observances of the Sabbath. Likewise, if Jesus were to heal on the Sabbath, such healing would also fall within the exception and would not attract the penalties for non observance of the Sabbath.
Many would have read the following passage from the New Testament: Matthew chapter 17:
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain, Remove from here to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
21But this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting.
The above passage was when the disciples could not drive away the evil spirit from the boy, and Jesus stepped in and cured the boy. Thereafter Jesus’ disciples ask him WHY THEY WERE NOT ABLE TO DO WHAT JESUS SUCCEEDED IN DOING?
The Godhood of Jesus is revealed in this passage, not because he succeeded where his disciples failed, but because Jesus says in unequivocal terms that it is the successful efforts of PRAYER &FASTING, which enables a human to perform such miracles. Secondly, Jesus doesn’t find fault with the father of the boy or worse still, even with the boy, but STATES THE INADEQUACIES IF HIS OWN DISCIPLES.
Cut back and let us see some passages of Paul in I Corinthians chapter 11 verse 30 says thus:
For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
James says this at Chapter 4:3:
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
The first is a passage by the self declared Apostle and the latter passage is by probably the earthly sibling of Jesus, if not the one who was one of the Boanerges.
In any case, both the pillars one of the Jerusalem and the other of the Gentiles points fingers at others instead of looking into themselves and spread fear, guilt and a sense of inadequacy in OTHERS. These “apostles” we’re constantly excavating reasons for either the sicknesses or the non-receipt of the things sought through prayers by the lay men!
THAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE. In their eagerness in building the Church, they couldn’t continue the path of self purification through prayers and fasting!
If anyone is eager to believe that Christianity is being used to purvey guilt and portray the laymen as inadequate only in the recent centuries, then they are terribly wrong. The process started immediately after Jesus’ death and resurrection!
Christ did not make the other man’s faults or INADEQUACIES as his reasons for non curing. No doubt He was/is God, but He recommended His disciples to look into themselves and not to find Pretexts.
That is/was and would be Christianity and not as what the disciples wrote with a misplaced fervour to build a Church!
God save us from false preachers of Christianity.
Rapture means the act of the Chosen few of God, being transformed at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and being conveyed into Eternity with Christ, without dying or death. This is being Peddled by most Pentecostals as a sure shot happening BOUND TO HAPPEN DURING THIS GENERATION ITSELF.
In the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 13 there is an elaborate discussion between Jesus in the flesh, and His favourite disciples John, James, Peter & Andrew, wherein Jesus says that EVEN THE SON OF MAN DOESN’T KNOW THE TIME OF SUCH HAPPENING!
Firstly, Jesus REFRAINS from marking the Time of such an event. But He goes on to say the broad happenings which would take place prior to the event, and finally rounds it off by saying THIS GENERATION SHALL NOT PASS TILL ALL THESE THINGS BE DONE! (Verse 30).
If Jesus had meant the generation which ‘ lived’ during his Life in the world, surely the EVENT IS OVER. But, to my understanding, it was not THAT GENERATION , BUT THE GENERATION WHICH READS (had read, are reading and who will read in the future) WHAT HE HAD SAID THEN!
So, essentially what Jesus said was that Rapture (unlike, erroneously interpreted in the Pauline epistles) could happen or even DEATH could overtake the Rapture, but a human being’s duty was to be PREPARED – Jesus says, “WATCH”! His emphasis was on INDIVIDUAL SALVATION and INDIVIDUAL EFFORT.
Secondly Jesus’ foretelling at verses 24 & 25 that THE SUN SHALL BE DARKENED AND THE MOON SHALL NOT GIVE HER LIGHT, are not external events, but similar to what Solomon says in ECCLESIASTES Ch 12, where he figuratively forewarns the state of disrepair, human body and mind is susceptible to fall into, with age and sickness, and thus reminds man that youth is Vanity! Solomon goes on to add that THE WHOLE DUTY OF MAN WAS TO FEAR GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS!
Might be, Solomon, was a fallen man, yet his words were true. It is like those contrite statements made by the Rich man from the Hell, a lot too late. Solomon’s realization might have come at a time when he couldn’t make amends, or who knows whether God forgave him in the last minute, like Jesus promised the robber on the cross? We can’t judge.
Jesus’ statement has been interpreted by the Pauline epistles to have an immediacy on the hearers, probably based on a genuine belief held by Peter, Paul & c. that RAPTURE was IMMINENT. But by hindsight we all know that Neros, Caligulas & c., came after Jesus and did most of those things foretold by Jesus. Yet , most, nay, all Christians believe that the Rapture hasn’t happened yet .
Therefore, instead of hustling the Christian believers into a Rapture trap, without hinting at the predominant certainty of Mortality, and skimming their resources through tithe amassing, they should be enlightened of the true meaning as explained by me and tell them to be ready to have an EPIPHANY AT THE POINT OF MORTALITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL if the RAPTURE doesn’t happen during one’s lifetime.
But that would not create a hysteria and the revenue flow that follows such hustling!
CHOOSE TO BE FREE. BELIEVE RATIONALLY!