The Second Coming of Christ Continues...
Weeding Satanically Inspired Doctrines Out of the Teachings of the Churches
"Then God blessed them [Adam and Eve], and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'" (Genesis 1:28)
"For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves with many sorrows." (1 Timothy 6:10)
"The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field: but while he slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field. How then does it have tares?' He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Do you want us then to go and gather them up?' But he said, 'No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn."'" (Matthew 13:24-30)
1. In this article, we're going to unscramble the teachings of Satan from the teaching of God regarding such "thorny issues" as church prohibitions against intermarriage, homosexuality, divorce, abortion, birth control, etc. In doing so, we will also examine the origin of concepts such as racism and slavery which are already widely recognized as being ungodly.
2. Those who ideologically claim that the Bible itself is the "Word of God" mistakenly assume that all of the characters in the Bible who claimed to represent God were in fact representing God. Jesus Christ did NOT make such an assumption! The Pharisees claimed to represent God, but Jesus characterized them as being a "brood of vipers" (Matthew 23:29-36), adding that their kind had been persecuting and murdering prophets sent from God from the beginning of the Hebrew scriptures (Abel in Genesis 4:1-9) to the end of the Hebrew scriptures (Zecharaiah in II Chronicles 24:17-22). While attending a dinner with some Pharisees and lawyers, one of the lawyers pointed out, "Teacher, by saying such things, you reproach us also." Jesus responded by reiterating the points made in Matthew 23:29-36 and added, "Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key to knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered." (Luke:45-54).
3. The "key of knowledge" which Jesus was referring is summarized in Matthew 22:37-40 (i.e. to seek the truth relative to the commandment to love your neighbors as yourselves-with no restrictions placed on either commandment). Those Pharisees, scribes, and lawyers were making a comfortable living by preaching a doctrine of strict obedience to the 613 (in many cases conflicting) laws which the authors of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Dueteronomy claimed to have come from God through Moses (only 10 were written in stone). Jesus chastised them not only for failing to obey those laws themselves, but also for engaging in practices which clearly violated the spirit and intent for which those laws were originally written (i.e. to help guide people toward following God's two most fundamental commandments). By focusing people's attention on detailed laws and punishments (many of which had outlived their usefulness), they were in fact leading people away from God rather than toward Him. Jesus pointed out numerous examples of this throughout his ministry.
4. To weed the Satanically inspired doctrines out of contemporary church teachings, we need to re-examine the stories in Genesis from the point of view of God's two most fundamental commandments, as Jesus did (Matthew 37:40). You may be thinking, "That's a novel idea--interpreting the Hebrew scriptures the way Jesus did. Why haven't our religious leaders been doing that?" Good question! ASK THEM!
THREE LEVELS OF INTERPRETATION
1. In my article "HOW IT ALL BEGAN" (on this web site) I point out that many of the stories in Genesis were intentionally designed to serve as parables for teaching the nature of the Kingdom of God during the "oral tradition" years. They were designed to have two or even three levels of interpretation.
2. The "third-heaven" level of interpretation is the one where the Adam represents mankind, Eve represents the early church, the "earth" represents mankind's perceptions of popular truths, and "heaven" represents mankind's perceptions of God. Jesus based most of his parables on this level of interpretation. His parables were designed to be easily remembered by a majority of people in Palestine who were illiterate and therefore unable to read the Hebrew scriptures themselves. My HOW IT ALL BEGAN article describes his probable third-heaven-level interpretations of the first 10 Chapter of Genesis (to the end of the Noah story), so I won't repeat them in this article--except to add that if Adam represents mankind and Eve represents the early church, then God's command "to be fruitful and multiply" means that we are commanded to procreate SPIRITUALLY (i.e. to become a "fisher of men"), thereby expanding the Kingdom of God in the "earth" of mankind's perceptions of popular truths--which is precisely what Jesus taught! Third-heaven levels of interpretation are often viewed (and dismissed) as being "apocalyptic" by those who don't understand the basis for the symbolisms that are being used.
3. The "second-heaven" level of interpretation is to view those stories pretty much literally, but to discuss and evaluate all aspects of those stories from the point of view of God's two most fundamental commandments. At this level, to further verify which teachings which "of God" and which are "of Satan", you often need to examine the "fruits which those teachings bear" (which in some cases don't become clear until several chapters later). So, regardless of the claims regarding the "of God" origin of such teachings when they were first introduced, you are asked (by God and Jesus) to USE YOUR OWN MIND (Matthew 13:9) to determine: which teachings bore Godly fruits, which teachings bore ungodly fruits, and why. In this article, I'll be illustrating "second-heaven" levels of interpretation of the remaining stories in Genesis.
4. The "first-heaven" level of interpretation is the "earthly" or "worldly" way of viewing such stories. These interpretations are often based Biblical quotations taken out of context, and/or on criteria other than God's two most fundamental commandments. Such interpretations are often described (incorrectly) as being "literal" interpretations, and they usually comprise a "sea" of scrambled teachings--some of which are "of God" and others of which "of Satan" but which nevertheless appear to be consistent based on commonly accepted worldly criteria. Interpretations that are designed to make the bloody idol of national sovereignty appear to be more "holy" than God Himself (as in the writings of Hal Lindsey, Pat Robertson, etc.) are classic examples of "first-heaven" types of interpretation. On those infrequent occasions when our nation's major news agencies (like TIME Magazine) discuss interpretations of the scriptures, they normally limit their discussions to these "first-heaven" types of interpretation. They publish the lies and censor the truth. Attempts to censor God's originally intended interpretations of the scriptures are about to come to an end. "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea." (Revelation 21:1).
OK, let's get on with the stories...
GOD'S PROMISE TO ABRAHAM
1. In chapter 12, God promises Abraham (a.k.a. Abram) "I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you; and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Then, while camped near Shechem in Canann, God told Abraham, "To your descendants I will give this land." Abraham built stone alters for God nearly everywhere he went. In Chapter 17, God added, "This is my covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised." In many parts of the world, for health reasons, non-Jewish males are circumcised as well.
TRUST IN THE LORD
1. A famine developed, so Abraham and his relatives and servants journeyed south to Egypt. As they were about to enter Egypt, Abraham told his wife, Sarah (a.k.a. Sarai), to tell everyone that she was his sister, because he feared that if the Egyptians knew that she was his wife, they would kill him in order to get her. Evidently, Abraham was only asking her to tell a half-truth (or a half-lie), because as he explains in Genesis 20:12, she was in fact his half-sister. Anyhow, the Pharaoh took a liking to her, invited her to his place, and gave many gifts to Abraham and his followers. However, God began plaguing the Pharaoh's place, and when the Pharaoh learned that it was because Sarah was Abraham's wife, he returned Sarah, scolded Abraham for his xenophobic attitude towards foreigners, and asked them all to leave Egypt.
2. In Chapter 20, Abraham performed this "sister act" again while traveling through the land of Gerer where the local Philistine king Abimelech took a liking to Sarah but learned in a dream that he would suffer dire consequences if he slept with Abraham's wife. This time, the king scolded Abraham for his xenophobic attitude towards foreigners but invited him and his followers to stay and share the land. Then in Chapter 26, Abraham's son Isaac performed a similar "sister act" with his wife (and first cousin) Rebekah with that very same king Abimelech. Once again, upon discovering Isaac's deception, Abimelech scolded Isaac for his xenophobic attitude towards foreigners but invited him to stay and share the land. Since repetition is a form of emphasis, evidently the authors of Genesis REALLY wanted to emphasize that
1) The Lord sanctified the marriage bond , and
2) That one should trust in the Lord rather than adopting a xenophobic attitude toward foreigners
(i.e. one should put one's faith in the ultimate effectiveness of God's two most fundamental commandments).
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."
1. By the time they returned to Canaan from Egypt, Abraham and his followers (including his nephew Lot) had become quite wealthy by the standards of their time. However, they soon discovered that "the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock" (Genesis 13:6-7). It's interesting to note here that the authors of Genesis recognized quite early on that "overpopulation" can be a problem. To avoid strife, Abraham and Lot agreed to split up. Lot chose to live in the plains of Jordan (near Sodom), and Abraham chose to live in the hills of Canaan to the west.
2. Chapter 14 of Genesis "sets the stage" for the remaining stories regarding Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and Jacob's twelve sons. It contains the first Biblical descriptions of wars being fought between "cities" and "nations", so the concept which we refer to these days as "national sovereignty" was fully operational by then. However, by today's standards, such political entities would be referred to as mere towns or villages. Five of the towns in Canaan and Jordan (including Sodom and Gomorrah) rebelled after paying tribute to the king of Elam for 12 years. Elam, with the help of some other kings who were still loyal to him, responded by militarily conquering the towns which rebelled, enslaving their citizens, and confiscating their properties.
3. When Abraham learned that his nephew Lot was among those captured, he hastily armed and trained 318 of his "servants" (who were probably shepherds) and launched a nighttime attack on Elam's forces, causing them to scatter, thereby freeing Lot along with Lot's family and servants and many others. These included the residents of Sodom and Salem and their possessions.
4. The kings of Sodom and Salem, who had escaped enslavement by fleeing to the mountains, rejoiced and glorified God and Abraham upon his return. Sodom asked only for return of his people and offered to let Abraham keep their possessions which had been taken. But Abraham declined, "...lest you should say, 'I have made Abraham rich'". Abraham sought rewards from God, not from men.
5. Notice that the concept of slavery was fully operational by then, though the life style of the "servants" in those days was probably not much different from the lifestyles of their master's family members (who probably worked as shepherds as well). One could acquire "servants" in those days by means of conquest, by purchasing them, or by receiving them as gifts. An important point to note about this story is that, according to the authors of Genesis, the concept of total annihilation (i.e. destroying every man, woman, child, and animal) in neighboring towns and villages had NOT been invented yet.
THE STORY OF SODOM AND GOMORRAH (the second-heaven interpretation)
1. One day, Abraham offered his hospitality to three "men" who told him that they were on their way to Sodom "because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is grievous." One of them added, "I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know." (Genesis 18:20-21) Abraham (showing concern for his neighbors) haggled with them, successfully using the argument that the righteous should not be destroyed along with the wicked. They finally agreed that if they could find as many as 10 who were righteous among them, they would spare the cities of the plain. LESSON: God is willing to negotiate with those who appeal to His two most fundamental commandments.
2. When two of those men (a.k.a. "angels") arrived at Sodom, Abraham's nephew Lot greeted them and offered to host them. Once inside, the "men of Sodom both young and old" surrounded Lot's house and demanded that the two men be brought out so that they could "know them carnally." Lot stepped outside, told them to stop acting so wickedly, and offered to bring his two virgin daughters out for them instead. But they refused, saying "This one [Lot] came in to sojourn [to stay for a short while], and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them." (Genesis 19:8-9) The two guests reached out, pulled Lot back into the house, "shut the door", and then struck the men of Sodom "with blindness" so that they could no longer find the door. [In the third-heaven interpretation of this story, that "door" metaphorically represents the "gateway to heaven" and the two guests inside are God's two most fundamental commandments, but we're focusing on second-heaven interpretations in this article]
3. The two men explained to Lot that they were about to destroy the city and recommended that he warn his relatives and friends there to flee with him. Lot tried, but he was unsuccessful in convincing them to flee with him. So the two men took Lot, his (Egyptian) wife, and two daughters out of Sodom and urged them to flee to the mountains and "don't look back." Fearful of the hardships of mountain life, Lot convinced the men to spare one small village called Zoar. When they arrived in Zoar, they heard the sounds of "fire and brimstone" raining down upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot's wife looked back to see what was happening and became a "pillar of salt." So Lot fled with his two daughters into the mountains.
4. While in the mountains, Lot's daughters became concerned that the three of them were the only ones left alive on the earth, so on two successive nights, they each encouraged Lot to drink wine until he passed out, and then mated with him. The fact that they had to ply Lot with wine until he was unconscious in order to mate with him is the first indication in the Bible that incest between parents and siblings was not considered to be morally acceptable. We know today that there are valid biological (as well as moral) reasons why practicing incest is a bad idea. Anyhow, according to the authors of Genesis, the descendants of Lot's older daughter became known as the Moabites (Ruth was a Moabite), and the descendants of Lot's younger daughter became known and the people of Ammon (named after an Egyptian god of fertility). It's significant to note that in spite of their (allegedly) incestuous origin, the Moabites and Ammonites remained among the "major players" throughout the course of Israel's history, as recorded in the Old Testament.
5. As with the Garden of Eden story, Jesus recognized that the Sodom and Gomorrah story was deliberately designed to serve as a multi-purpose parable to help educate listeners regarding the nature of mankind's perceptions of popular truths. One of the most common (Satanically inspired) conclusions derived from this story is that the "wickedness" which God was attempting to cleanse from the earth by destroying Sodom and Gomorrah was due to the homosexual attitudes and practices of the people there. But in fact, the story doesn't really say that. Since homosexuals tend not to reproduce, if that were the reason the Lord viewed them as being "wicked", then all the Lord needed to do to "solve" that problems was to wait. In fact, numerous passages throughout the Bible show that God continued to create homosexual people (from heterosexual couples) for thousands of years after Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed.
6. A key question that needs to be answered is why did Lot offer to send his two virgin daughters out to the men of Sodom in place of the two "angels"? Were the authors of Genesis attempting to show here (as they do elsewhere) that Hebrew men in those days often regarded women as little more than property? Perhaps. But it appears that the real point of this portion of the parable is for us (the readers or listeners) to consider how WE would view that situation if WE substituted two women for those two guests. If those two guests were FEMALE angels, then homosexuality would no longer be an issue in this story. Right? But the conduct of those men outside of Lot's house would STILL be wicked! Their actions and attitudes clearly violated God's two most commandments--regardless or which sexes were involved.
7. In Matthew 19:11-12 Jesus said, "All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: 'FOR THERE ARE EUNUCHS WHO ARE BORN THUS FROM THEIR MOTHER'S WOMB, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.'" Unlike the Levite priests of Dueteronomy, Chapter 23, Jesus included eunuchs (and by implication homosexuals) in his definition of neighbor. He recognized a fact (which modern science has since confirmed) that men (and women for that matter) are not all created genetically equal with regards of sexuality. In the 6th Chapter of I Corinthians, it appears that St. Paul was unable to give up that part of his Jewish upbringing (assuming that St Paul actually wrote that part), because he includes "homosexuals" in his list of those who could "not inherit the kingdom of God." I do not believe Jesus would agree with Paul on that point; St. Paul never claimed to be perfect (Romans 3:23). Anyhow, the lesson which the authors of the Sodom and Gomorrah story sought to teach is that God views rape as wickedness, regardless of whether it is heterosexual rape or homosexual rape. Acts like rape, sexual harassment, and child abuse reflect a PROFOUND LACK OF RESPECT for the privacy and well being of ones neighbors--a point which often gets overlooked when churches Satanically preach fear and hatred toward "homosexuals."
"Blessed are the poor in spirit [humble], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
THE STORY OF ISHMAEL AND ISSAC
1. On numerous occasions, the Lord promised Abraham that his descendants would inherit the land in and around Canaan. But Abraham had just one wife, Sarah, and she was childless. So Sarah arranged for Abraham to mate with her Egyptian handmaiden, Haggar. While pregnant with Abraham's first child, Haggar began to look down on Sarah. When Sarah sought to punish her for such an attitude, Haggar fled into the desert, but an angel of the Lord convinced her to return, promising her that her offspring would become a great nation (Genesis 16). One of the three men whom Abraham hosted in the above story predicted that Sarah would have a child by Abraham, even though they were both well beyond child-bearing age. Sarah laughed at the thought, so when she did finally bear Abraham a child, she called the child Isaac (which means "laughter").
2. God tested Abraham by instructing him to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering, but once Abraham had demonstrated his willingness to obey God, even at such a tremendous personal cost, God provided him with a goat (a.k.a. "a lamb") to be sacrificed instead. The intended point here was that God doesn't really approve of human sacrifices, even from his most obedient servants.
3. Later on, Sarah became upset with the way Ishmael was treating her son Isaac, so she requested that Haggar and her son be sent out into the desert (presumably to die). Abraham hesitated to grant that request until the Lord reassured him that Haggar and their son would survive. So according to the "birthright" tradition, Abraham's birthright blessings (and inheritance) would now go to Isaac rather than Ishmael. Nevertheless, in Chapter 25, Ishmael returned to help Isaac bury their father, Abraham.
4. In Chapter 24, Abraham decides that it's time to arrange a marriage for Isaac. He told his servant to swear that he would "not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; but you shall go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac." From the point of view of God's two most fundamental commandments, we can detect some racial prejudice in Abraham's instructions here. We'll see where this leads... The servant swore the oath to Abraham, packed up ten camels, and journeyed to the "city" of Nahor, in Mesopotamia, where Abraham's relatives lived. While waiting beside a well, the servant decided that he would accept the first woman who offered him water not only for himself but also for his camels (i.e. the first woman who treated a stranger as a neighbor) to be the one whom the Lord had chosen for Isaac. That woman turned out to be Rebekah, a daughter of Abraham's brother Nahor (of the "city" of Nahor). After gifts were exchanged, all agreed (including most importantly Rebekah herself) that Rebekah should journey to Canaan to become Isaac's wife.
5. Rebekah bore Isaac twins (Esau and Jacob). Although Esau was technically the "firstborn", Jacob eventually convinced Esau to sell him his birthright in exchange for a pot of stew. Later, Rebekah convinced Jacob to trick the elderly (nearly blind) Isaac into granting him his birthright blessing (Isaac thought he was bestowing it on Esau). Birthright issues were big deal in those days-even between twins. (We'll come back to this point later). Esau was very angry and decided that he should kill Jacob, so Rebekah urged Jacob to flee. Before Jacob left, Isaac convinced him that he should "not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padan Aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother's father, and take yourself a wife from there of the daughters of Laban, your mother's brother." So Isaac passed his father's concept of keeping marriages "within the family" on to his son Jacob, and thus was sown the seed of the Hebrew's intermittent tradition of prohibiting "intermarriage" (marrying outside of the "Hebrew race"). Chapter 28 tells us that Esau decided to do some "marrying within the family" as well, so he married a daughter of Ishmael "in addition to the wives he had". Obviously, there were no prohibitions against polygamy in those days. Earlier, at the end of Chapter 26, we can see that Esau had married two Hittite women who "were a grief of mind" to Isaac and Rebekah, but who no doubt contributed their genes to the far-from-pure "Hebrew race" as well. As you will see, starting in Genesis, the authors of the Old Testament repeatedly trash the "pure Hebrew race" theory which is the logical basis for the prohibition against "intermarriage." Why? Because that prohibition and its supporting theory placed an ungodly restriction on the Hebrews' definition of neighbor--a fact that probably did not go unnoticed among their non-Hebrew neighbors.
6. In Chapter 28, Jacob had a dream and saw "a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to the heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it." In this dream, God bestows the same blessings on Jacob that He had bestowed on Abraham and Isaac. Jacob decided the place must be holy, so turned the stone he was sleeping on into a pillar, poured oil on it, and called the place Bethel (it was formerly known as Luz). He also promised God that if He kept him safe, so that he could return to his father's house in peace, he would give God a tenth of his possessions (thus began the tradition of "tithing").
7. When Jacob arrived at Uncle Laban's place, he immediately fell in love with Laban's younger daughter, Rachel. Leban took advantage of the situation by convincing Jacob to work seven years for the right to marry Rachel. When those seven years were up, Leban tricked Jacob by substituting his older daughter Leah instead. Then he convinced Jacob to work another seven years for the real Rachel. Here the authors of Genesis emphasize quite convincingly that at a time when men generally regarded women as mere "property", Jacob regarded women with high value and respect.
8. Although Jacob never really intended to marry Leah and didn't really love her, he did have his first four sons with her (Rueben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah) and a daughter (Dinah). Rachel turned out to be barren for the time being, so like Sarah before her, she arranged for her husband to sire children with her handmaiden Bilhah who bore Jacob two sons (Dan and Naphtali). Leah then decided to offer Jacob herown handmaiden Sipah who also bore Jacob two sons (Gad and Asher). Then Leah bore Jacob two more sons (Issachar and Zebulum). Finally, Rachel bore Jacob two sons (Joseph and Benjamin). Thus began the patriarchs whose descendants became known as "the twelve tribes of Israel".
9. Eventually, Jacob decided it was time to leave Laban's place and start his own "city". After engaging in some trickery regarding the division of livestock (that's a third-heaven story), Jacob decided to flee hastily with his family and their possessions. Laban pursuesd them and finally caught up with them seven days later. God warned Laban in a dream, "Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad," so Laban merely chastised Jacob for leaving without giving him an opportunity to say goodbye to his daughters and grandchildren. He also inquired about the whereabouts of some family "idols" that were missing. Rachel, who had taken them, hid them under a camel saddle upon which she sat claiming "the manner of women is with me." Laban respectfully declined to move a woman in her condition, so Laban and Jacob decided to make peace with each other and part as friends.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."
10. In Chapter 32, when Jacob learns that Esau and his servants are approaching, he immediately sent his family off into hiding and began to send a succession servants with livestock and gifts to his brother. That night, Jacob "wrestled with a man" (with God? Satan?) until the break of day. The man "touched the socked of his hip" putting it out of joint, but Jacob refused to let go until he received a blessing from him. He said, "Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel [literally "Prince with God"], for you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed." Jacob called the place "Peniel. For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." Jacob was expecting the worst, but he continued praying to God for deliverance, and when Esau finally arrived, he "ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept." Soon they were all back together again. As it turned out, Esau had done quite well himself and didn't need all those gifts which Jacob had offered to him.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
THE DINAH INCIDENT
1. Jacob purchased some land and near the village of Shechem in Canaan and settled there with his family and servants. In Chapter 34, Jacob's daughter Dinah went out to socialize with the daughters of Shechem. But when the young prince of Shechem saw her, he reportedly "lay with her and violated her." The common assumption is that the young prince "raped" her, but the wording chosen by the authors of Genesis doesn't really say that. Anyhow, one way or another, the prince fell in love with Dinah, "spoke kindly to her", and asked his father to arrange a marriage for them, as was the custom in those days (arranged marriages).
2. When Jacob and his sons heard what had (allegedly) happened to Dinah, they were grieved and very angry. The prince's father visited Jacob and proposed marriages not only between the prince and Dinah but also between the men and women of his town and the men and women of Jacob's encampment. But two of Jacob's sons (Simeon and Levi) "spoke deceitfully", because their sister had been defiled. They insisted that in order for them to agree to Shechem's proposal, all of the men of Shechem would have to be circumcised. The young prince agreed immediately, for "He was more honorable than all of the household of his father." Not long thereafter, the rest of the men of Shechem agreed to be circumcised as well.
3. On the third day after that, while the men of Shechem were still in pain from being circumcised, Simeon and Levi took swords and killed ALL of the men in Shechem (probably by sneaking into their homes at night). Then they "took" Dinah out of the prince's house. It's interesting to note that Dinah's views regarding all this were conspicuously withheld from the narrative (a subtle point--it was "a man's world" in those days). When the rest of Jacob's sons learned that the men of Shechem were dead, they plundered the village, taking the "women and little ones" captive, and stealing their possessions (including sheep, oxen, and donkeys).
4. When Jacob leaned of this, he was dismayed. He told Simeon and Levi, "You have troubled me by making me obnoxious among the inhabitants of the land...and since I am few in number, they will gather themselves together against me and kill me. I shall be destroyed, my household and I." To which Simeon and Levi replied, "Should he treat our sister like a harlot?"
5. WAIT a minute! WHAT? How could these sons of Jacob, the revered "patriarchs" whose descendants became the "twelve tribes of Israel" commit such awful violations of God's two most fundamental commandments? And even if they did, why would the authors of Genesis go to the trouble (during the "oral tradition" years) to describe such a shameful incident? Why? Because, according to the authors of Genesis, this was the first of a very long recorded succession of bloody "fruits" that resulted from the concept that we presently refer to as "racism"--an ungodly limitation on the definition of neighbor based on largely mythical claims regarding "bloodlines" that has both distinguished AND PLAGUED the self-proclaimed "descendants of Abraham" ever since. Notice that just as Cain did after he murdered his brother Abel, Simeon and Levi use a dishonest rhetorical question to divert attention away from their Satanically inspired misdeeds (diversion--one of Satan's favorite and most successful tactics).
6. In America, the largely Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has served God well by ardently combating attitudes of racism, based of the tragic experiences of the Jews in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. In the nation state of Israel, however, Jewish attitudes of racism are so rampant that they have been codified in their civil laws (regarding property rights, etc.). The state of Israel's policies regarding "Jewish settlements" has been a continuing problem for them, because according to God's guidance, those should be "Jewish/Muslim/Christian" settlements. As long as the Jews in the state of Israel continue to refuse to heed God's four thousand years of guidance regarding the perils of racism, they will continue to be "God's chosen example" rather than "God's chosen people"....
7. Anyhow, getting on with the story, in Chapter 35 Jacob received instructions from God to leave Shechem and go to Bethel. So he told his sons to hand over the "foreign idols" and jewelry which they had collected and buried them under a tree. As they journeyed, "the terror of God was upon the cities that were all around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob." In Bethel, Jacob received further assurances from God that his descendants would inherit the land around him, and he was told to start using the name Israel from then on.
8. There are some in Israel today who regard the conduct of Simeon and Levi above as being "heroic", because it instilled the "terror of God" in the cities around them. The authors of Genesis didn't view it that way. In Chapter 49, when Israel (a.k.a. Jacob) was giving his death-bed blessings to his twelve sons, he bestowed his birthright blessing on his second YOUNGEST son, Joseph. According to the traditions of his day, that birthright would normally have gone to his firstborn son, but he said "Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity and excellency of power. Unstable as water, you shall not excel, because you went up to your father's bed; then you defiled it--he went up to my couch." In denying the birthright to Simeon and Levi, he said "Simeon and Levi are brothers; instruments of cruelty are in their habitation. Let not my soul enter their council; let not my honor be united to their assembly; for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they hamstrung an ox. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel." Apparently, Levi was blamed for coming up with the idea to commit those atrocities at Shechem, because from this point on, the descendants of Levi had no land of their own. The Levites were "cursed" to roam throughout lands belonging to the descendants of Levi's brothers, and because they had no land to till or sheep to shepherd, they eventually became the PRIESTS of Israel! (remember Matthew 23:35?)
9. It is also important to note the authors of the Old Testament, especially in Genesis, repeatedly trashed the traditional "monarchy principle" of awarding a winner-take-all "birthright" to one's firstborn son. Why? Because that principle bestowed temporal power (and possessions) without regard to God's two most fundamental commandments!
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."
THE STORY OF JOSEPH, PART I
1. The story of Joseph begins in Chapter 37. Being the firstborn son of his beloved Rachel, Joseph was Jacob's favorite, and Jacob made no effort to hide his feelings in that regard. Jacob gave Joseph a fancy multi-colored coat, which made his older brother jealous. Then Joseph himself made matters worse by describing visions which he had in dreams that allegorically depicted his older brothers bowing down to him. WOW! There it is folks! In Chapter 37, the authors of Genesis point out clearly that ALLEGORICAL interpretations of visions, symbols, and words are not only important, but true! [Bad news for the "creationists"] Joseph's older brothers finally decided to put an end to this by throwing Joseph into a well. Then they began to have second thoughts, so at Judah's urging, they pulled Joseph out of the well and sold him as a slave to some passing Ishmaelites (a.k.a. Midianites) who took Joseph to Egypt. To conceal their crime, they tore up Joseph's multi-colored coat, spattered it with goat's blood, and used it to convince Jacob that Joseph had been killed by a "wild beast".
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
THE STORY OF JUDAH AND TAMAR
The authors of Genesis interrupted their story of Joseph to present the following story which was of pivotal significance in the historical development of what we refer to these days as the "Jewish race."
1. After that, Judah (perhaps to escape his guilt) moved to Canaan and married a Canaanite woman who bore him three sons. Judah arranged for his eldest son, Er, to marry a woman named Tamar whom the text indicates was also a Canaanite. But Er "was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord killed him." [Where did Er learn to become so wicked? Was it from his father who had participated in the plunder Shechem and who sold his own brother into slavery?] ...So Judah instructed his second son, Onan, "go into" Tamar in order to produce heirs for the deceased Er. This was in accordance with a custom known as the "Levirate marriage tradition" which was designed to provide a form of security for widows (and to encourage further physical procreation). But Onan (apparently because he wanted to inherit Er's possessions himself) chose instead to "emit on the ground". God responded by "killing" Onan as well. So Judah told Tamar to go back and live with her parents until his youngest son (Shelah) was old enough to marry her.
2. When it became evident that Judah had forgotten about his promise to her, Tamar put on the garments of a harlot (but hid here identity with a veil), met Judah by the roadside, and enticed him into having sex with her (thereby making her pregnant). She then convinced Judah to give her his rod, signet and cord for use as collateral on a promise he made to give her a goat in exchanges for her services. Later, when Tamar's pregnancy was discovered, Judha ordered that she be put to death (burned) for harlotry. But Tamar sent that rod, signet, and cord to Judah saying, "By the man to whom these belong, I am with child. Please determine whose these are." Judah acknowledged that they were his saying, "She has been more righteous than I, because I did not give her to Shelah, my son."
3. As a result of that sequence of events, Tamar gave birth to male twins, Zerah (upon whose wrist the midwife tied a piece of red thread to mark the first born) and Perez (who "broke through" to actually be born before Zerah. The rules of inheritance in those days placed a high degree of importance on the order of birth, and according to those rules, Zerah was considered to be the "first born", by virtue of the red thread that had been placed on his wrist. However, it was the descendants of Judah and Tamar through PEREZ who eventually became known as "Jews" (of the tribe of Judah) and these included kings David and Solomon and Jesus Christ.
4. The are several important points to be noted about this story. First of all, it confirmed the wisdom of the Levirate marriage tradition. Why? Because under the conditions which existed at that time, it permitted a widow to have children and retain the possessions of her deceased husband (i.e. it conformed with the commandment to love you neighbor as yourself). Second, it showed that despite his past mistakes, Judah was basically a righteous person. Third, it exposed the hypocrisy of the double-standard that prevailed in those days whereby adultery was punishable by death for a woman, but was considered to be "no big deal" for a man. Although no longer so severe, this double-standard attitude still persists throughout the world today, even in the United States Air Force.
5. There are two additional points which some church leaders have derived from this story which are definitely Satanically inspired. Some allege that God killed Onan because he "masturbated", and that therefore the practice of masturbation is "evil." Some have also claimed that masturbation leads to "blindness" or "insanity". Any time church leaders have to lie in order to justify their doctrines, you can be SURE that such doctrines are inspired by Satan rather than God. In fact, what they have done is to take Onan's actions completely out of context. They could just as easily have taken Tamar's actions out of context in order to assert that "God rewards harlotry."
6. The other Satanically inspired doctrine which some churches have derived from this story is that Onan's actions and God's response "proved" that voluntary birth-control efforts are "evil." First we need to bring a BIG point out into the open--most religious organizations have traditionally had strong FINANCIAL REASONS for supporting marriage and opposing non-procreating activities such as divorce, homosexuality, prostitution, abortion, birth control, masturbation, etc. Sanctifying marriages among financially supporting church members and encouraging them to limit their sexual activities to those which are likely to produce children (within those marriages) promises to create an exponential increase in the number of future financially supporting church members. The Satanic nature of prohibitions against voluntary birth control (by whatever means except abortion) is rather subtle. Policies which "force" couples to have children when they don't really want any can hardly be considered neighborly, but the real Satanic nature of such policies can be seen in their "fruits". Although it is true that most of the deaths and misery that we see occurring from war, starvation, and disease are being caused primarily by mankind's worship of Satan's "national sovereignty" idol (and our churches' support or toleration of such worship), the problem of overpopulation is ALSO creating such tradgedies in many parts of the world, even where there are no wars. Those who seek to alleviate this growing problem by voluntarily practicing birth control themselves or by supporting efforts to encourage VOLUNTARY practices of birth control elsewhere are in fact following the commandment to love their neighbors as themselves. Our churches should be SUPPORTING such efforts, not opposing them.
THE STORY OF JOSEPH, PART II
1. Continuing now with the Joseph story, in Chapter 39 we see that Joseph was sold as a slave to Potiphar, the Captain of the Guard in the Pharaoh's palace. Joseph performed his duties well, but when he rejected attempts by Potiphar's wife to seduce him, Potiphar's wife falsely accused Joseph of coming in to "mock" her, so Joseph was sent to prison. While in prison, Joseph correctly interpreted the allegorical meanings of some dreams his fellow prisoners had been having. Not coincidentally, the Pharaoh was having such dreams himself, and when he heard that Joseph was really good at interpreting dreams, he asked Joseph to come and interpret them for him. Joseph correctly interpreted the Pharaoh's dreams to mean that Egypt would have great harvests for the next seven years, but then there would be seven years of famine. He recommended that the Pharaoh store up enough grain during the good years to get them comfortably through the bad years. The Pharaoh was impressed, so he put Joseph in charge of such a project, and he gave Joseph the daughter of an Egyptian priest, Asenath, to be his wife. Asenath bore Joseph two sons (Manasseh and Ephraim). [Once gain, the authors of Genesis were hinting to their readers (or listeners) that if they looked for the Godly allegorical interpretations in their stories, they would be rewarded!]
"Blessed are those who hunger and search for righteousness, for they shall be filled."
2. In the process of building and filling grain storage facilities throughout Egypt, Joseph rose to become one of the highest ranking officials in Egypt. The great famine predicted in the Pharaoh's dream did in fact occur. It was so wide-spread that Jacob decided to send his ten eldest sons down to Egypt to purchase some of that grain. When they arrived, Joseph recognized them, but they did not recognize him. Joseph, evidently still hurt by the way his elder brothers had treated him, decided to spoof them for a while to see if their attitudes had changed. Speaking through an interpreter, he accused them of being spies, but they convincingly talked their way out of that charge. In the course of the conversation, Joseph learned that his younger brother Benjamin had remained with Canaan. So Joseph insisted that they go back to Canaan and bring Benjamin back with them to prove that they were telling the truth. He also insisted that Simeon be retained as a hostage. They agreed, so Joseph issued them some grain and returned their money (hidden within the grain sacks).
3. At first, Jacob resisted the idea of sending Benjamin to Egypt, but his other sons insisted that it had to be done, so he finally agreed. So off they went with Benjamin, many gifts, and twice as much money as they had before for the purchase of more grain. When they arrived, Joseph sent some servants out to invite them in for dinner. Joseph arranged for them to be seated by order of birth, and when the food was served, Benjamin received five times as much as the others. The next morning, Joseph instructed his servants to return their money hidden again within the sacks of grain that they had purchased. Joseph also told them to put his silver cup (which he used for "practicing divination") into one of Benjamin's grain sacks. After they left the city, Joseph sent his servants out after them to search their grain sacks for the "missing" cup. The eleven brothers responded that it was absurd to think that they would steal that cup, and that if it were found among them, then the one who had it should die and the rest of them should become slaves. Sure enough, the servants found the cup in Benjamin's sack, so they took Benjamin back to Joseph's place.
4. The remaining ten brothers, realizing that their father would surely die of remorse if they went home without Benjamin, returned to Joseph's place to beg for mercy. Judah explained the whole situation to Joseph and begged Joseph to keep him instead of Benjamin. Joseph asked all his servants to leave and then broke out in tears as he revealed who he was to his brothers. He invited them to bring their father Jacob to Egypt and to settled with their families and servants in the fertile land of nearby Goshen. This was clearly a victory for those who ultimately ended up following God's two most fundamental commandments.
"Blessed are those who morn, for they shall be comforted."
OTHER SECOND-HEAVEN LESSONS FROM GENESIS
1. God will make life difficult for those who lie or sin against their neighbors, but He will ultimately forgive them if they repent (as did Jacob to Esau and Judah to Joseph).
2. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were rewarded NOT because they directed worship toward themselves, rather because they directed worship toward God and ACCEPTED GUIDANCE FROM HIM! ("He who has ears to hear, let him hear" Matthew 13:9. See also Revelation 22:8-9)
3. Man-made doctrines which violate God's two most fundamental commandments tend to create ungodly "fruits" for generation after generation until they are finally "cut off" as civilization evolves. [Those which are still with us WILL be "cut off" when the second coming of Christ is done!]
GOD'S GUIDANCE REGARDING MARRIAGE-RELATED ISSUES
1. As shown earlier in this article, religious prohibitions against "intermarriages", homosexuality, masturbation, and VOLUNTARY birth control have proven to be violations God's two most fundamental commandments. They are Satanically inspired doctrines designed to serve the financial interests of religious organizations, not the interests of God.
2. Religious prohibitions against divorce and abortion appear to fit in the above category as well, but unlike those listed above, these two prohibitions CAN be justified from the point of view of God's two most fundamental commandments. Theoretically at least, the Roman Catholic Church and "Christian right" organizations have a solid Biblical basis for opposing abortion; they are merely extending their definition of neighbor back into the womb to the point of human conception. In Matthew 19:4-6 Jesus said, "Have you not read the He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female', and said 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate [or let no man split asunder]". It is commonly thought that by "one flesh", Jesus was referring to the marriage bond, since he made that statement during a discussion about divorce. However, judging from the way Jesus viewed the Hebrew scriptures, it appears likely that he was also referring (or may bave been pirmarily referring) to the human FETUS (where the two actually do become "one flesh" in the physical sense), because the original purpose of the marriage bond which they were discussing was to help create a stable and nourishing family environment into which children could be born and raised ("Let no man split a FETUS asunder").
3. The reason we have such a dilemma regarding the abortion issue is because for a period of up to nine months, we have a potential conflict among neighborly interests. The interests of the fetus are obvious. The interests of the mother, on the other hand, are far more complex. Should she be forced to bear a child that she does not want or could not competently raise? Should she have a right to retain control over her own bodily functions? Should she be treated like "property" as was the custom during the days of Abraham? Attempting to "resolve" such dilemmas by simply "passing a law" is not the kind of response that God is looking for! Throughout history, attempts by religious organizations to use the "tools of Cain" (death sentences, jail sentences, etc.) have often produced disastrous results for mankind and for those religious organizations (consider the role of the Levites in Chapters 20 and 21 of the book of Judges, for example). This dilemma is symptomatic of a far more fundamental problem that needs to be fixed.
4. Surveys have shown that in the United States at least, the percentage of Roman Catholic women who have abortions is about the same as the percentage of women in general who have abortions. Why have the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church had so little success at persuading their own female parishioners not to have abortions? Why? It's because they lack credibility in the eyes of their female parishioners. And why is that? It's because they HAVE NOT BEEN PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF KINGDOM OF GOD AS TAUGHT BY JESUS CHRIST! Instead, their message has contained such a scrambled up "sea" of Godly doctrines and Satanically inspired doctrines that these doctrines have pretty much canceled each other out! But there's still hope. Recent efforts to portray the realities of abortion on cable TV have probably done far more to reduce actual abortion rates than have the current efforts to use the "tools of Cain" for such purposes. This approach treats women with dignity and respect!
5. In today's world, the marriage bond is no longer viewed, in general, as being exclusively for the purposes of creating and raising children. Many people get married today in order to "share a relationship" with another person for the rest of their lives, or to take advantage of civil laws that tend to favor married couples. Since for the most part, our churches have not been preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God as taught by Jesus Christ, their parishioners are generally unaware of how to recognize and appropriately deal with the growth of Satanically inspired "trees of logic" which often lead to breakups in relationships, even among couples who have children. So it's no wonder that our divorce rates are so high. In Matthew 19:9 Jesus said, "whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery: and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery." That was quite a contrast from the Hebrew tradition where a husband could divorce a wife simply issuing a certificate of divorce (as if his wife were merely a piece of property). Jesus made it clear what God wants with regards to the marriage bond. But Jesus also made it clear that adultery is a sin which can be forgiven. The Catholic Church's attempt to "enforce" Matthew 19:9 by refusing to allow divorced Catholics to take part in communion cerimonies unless they get their marriage officially "annulled" is misguided and to a large extent dishonest (a key indicator that it is inspired by Satan). The churches' true objective should be to do whatever they can to ensure that children have a stable and nourishing family or family-like environment to grow up in, regardless of who is married to whom.
WHICH DOCTRINES HAVE WITHSTOOD THE TEST OF TIME?
1. The Ten Commandments have held up very well over the centuries from the point of view of God's two most fundamental commandments, although one might question why Christians observe their "Sabbath" on Sunday.
2. Few would disagree that mankind has benefited tremendously from the church's custom of marriage and the roles which churches have played in helping marriages and family relationships to succeed.
3. The church doctrine of monogamy, which was implemented after the New Testament was written, has helped to continue God's Biblically recorded trend of raising the status of women from that of "property" to an essentially equal status with men.
There are more, but we'll discuss them next time.
To learn more exciting details and historical perspectives regarding the stories of Sodom and Gomorrah, The Dinah Incident, Judah and Tamar, etc., I highly recommend you read "THE HARLOT BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD--Forbidden Tales of the Bible" by Johathan Kirsch. It's great!
Next month (July), we'll take a second-heaven look at the role of the Old testament Levites: the good, the bad, and the influences they've had.
one grain of salt
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Last modified on Friday, May 03, 2002