Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Sword Drill for the Theologically Curious: In the Beginning...Gods Aplenty




The heavens praise your wonders, Lord,
    your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.
 For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord?
    Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings?

In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared;

    he is more awesome than all who surround him.
Psalm 89:5-7
(These are the "Us" of "Let us make man in our image and "Genesis 3:22 22And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."
The Trees of Knowledge of Good and Evil as well as The Tree of Life were God-fruit trees and not for humans evidently.

The uh oh scripture that didn't make the cut and should have.

"When the Most High (’elyôn) gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated humanity, he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of divine beings. For Yahweh’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage."

Deuteronomy 32:8-9


"There are two points to take away from this passage. First, the passage presents an apparently older mythic theme that describes when the divine beings, that is each deity in the divine counsel, ( The El-ohim of Genesis 2-3) were assigned and allotted their own nation. Israel was the nation that Yahweh received.

Second, Yahweh received his divine portion, Israel, through an action initiated by the god El, here identifiable through his epithet “the Most High.” In other words, the passage depicts two gods: one, the Most High (El), is seen as assigning nations to the divine beings or gods (the Hebrew word is elohim, plural “gods”) in his council; the other, Yahweh, is depicted as receiving from the first god, the Most High, his particular allotment, namely the people of Israel. Similarly, in another older tradition now preserved in Numbers 21:29, the god Chemosh is assigned to the people of Moab."

The complete discussion and responses can be found here:


(That's as short as I can make it and offer it as a bit of historical and theological stimulation outside the boxes of the Churches of God :)




25 comments:

Anonymous said...

So the question that comes to mind, Did different gods have different rules for their group of people? Judging by the different customs and histories one finds around the world, one would think so. Do all of them plan to return at some point? Will we ever know which one was assigned to our particular gene pool? Just wondering. Maybe Ancient Aliens isn't so far off the mark after all.

Anonymous said...

I believe in the ancient alien theory.

Byker Bob said...

Careful, Dennis. We’ve got some people here who believe they’ve won discussions by posting that they know people who are involved in creating programs and that those people think we’re all wet! No additional facts to combat the ones presented, (which actually would indicate a deeper fund of knowledge and possibly effortless superiority) just rationalization and empty words.

BB

Dennis Diehl said...

I'm sorryBB. Could you clarify. I have no idea what you are saying or mean.

Anonymous said...

"No additional facts to combat the ones presented, ..."

Bob, your attempts to apply entropy to society are clearly misguided. Societies do evolve and can become more ordered. Man is not a collection of molecules in a box. He has a brain and can control his environment. The future is what me make it. It is not inevitable. But it is pointless to argue with you. I made my point but you won't accept it. You never do. You are not an honest, ethical or rational debater. I am moving on. I don't feel the need to "win" every argument. I made my point. You are bullheaded, but not everyone else here is. I don't expect to dislodge you from your comfort zone "box". You are not prepared to learn anything from someone you despise. That is your problem, not mine.

You don't have to believe my personal stories if you don't want to. I don't believe yours either.

Byker Bob said...

No problem. You probably quit reading the Richard Ames/Galatians thread at about 100 comments. The discussion I’m referencing happened in the last quarter of the comments.

BB

Retired Prof said...

Dennis Diehl said...

"I'm sorryBB. Could you clarify. I have no idea what you are saying or mean."

March 24, 2018 at 1:22 PM

I got the impression he was writing a parody of nck.

Dennis Diehl said...

" You shall have no other gods before me for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous god" is better rendered "You shall bring no other gods(which were seen to exist too) into my presence..."

It explains the "jealously"

Byker Bob said...

@ 2:14 - Of course controls can be applied to any system to thwart the natural progression from orderliness to random state. That never was the argument. Cryogenics can stop almost any progression so long as the temperature does not drop. In science you can always use higher laws or a combination of lower laws to thwart or delay the inevitable laws. An example is using helium or hydrogen to thwart the effects of gravity on an object that is heavier than air. People use man made law to accomplish the same with society. Jim Crow law would be the elephant in the room example.

The original discussion was about whether or not ethnically uniform societies naturally transitioned towards diversity, in a world consisting of multiple races, and whether the new diverse and multicultural societies formed could be successful. They can and do unless someone who doesn’t like that decides to start movements to break it down. Pre-Hitler, according to historic reports, Jews and Poles really enjoyed living and working in Germany. They felt safe.

While you took umbrage with my citing of the second law of thermodynamics, I could just as easily have made my point through the principle of osmosis and the natural drive towards equilibrium.

In order to create a revolution, you must foment dissatisfaction with the status quo amongst as broad a cross section of the general population as possible. The vast majority of Americans are very content living in diversity and a multicultural society. Most of us already have people of other ethnicities married into our families (or we are married into theirs).

I just seem to be bullheaded to you because I cannot buy into or endorse your contentions or theories. I’m accustomed to people wanting me to be on their teams. Sometimes morally and ethically, you just can’t do that. I hold back a lot, but I’ll let this much fly for you. Years ago, people attempted to recruit me to the movement, even to the extent of wanting me to be an officer in one of their offshore banks. I can’t be part of any group that does not believe in treating all humans with justice and equality. And, I’m not about to learn more hatred. All my friends are good moral and ethical people with positive and humane solutions. That’s how I roll.

BB

True Bread said...

define "god"

Near_Earth_Object said...

Ron Dart at AC BS back in the Seventies discussed some of these points. So this is not outside the box for some Armstrongists. Maybe it has been forgotten. It is a fascinating topic. Apparently, Elohim refers to a class of beings. I am not sure if a tight definition can be formulated from scripture. It must connect in some way with "principalities and powers" in the NT. Some observations:

1. I looked at six translations and I could not find anything that would support the statement "Similarly, in another older tradition now preserved in Numbers 21:29, the god Chemosh is assigned to the people of Moab." Instead, this was just a run-of-the-mill statement about Moab's worship of Chemosh.

2. God had a number of names. He may act under one name in one sentence and under a different name in the next sentence. It is confusing and nebulous.

Anonymous said...

The Hebrew says according to the number of the children of Israel, not anything to do with "gods".

Bnai Israel nothing here about gods at all ,,,,לְמִסְפַּר בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל

Ariel Ben Noach said...

Only the Qumran fragment has it as 'sons of God'. According to Nehemia Gordon, it is a small fragment and does not even have the word 'number' nor can it be traced with certainty to Deu 32:8.

Although most of Qumran match with the Hebrew manuscripts, there are a few that do not. Another thing that's different is Psalm 145. The Masoretic Text has a missing 'nun' (what would have been verse 14), an acrostic anomaly. The Jews immediately determined that the Qumran's v14 ('nun') was fabricated. The scribe copied almost the entire 'tsade' verse, just omitting the first two words.

Using NKJV is closer to the Hebrew text. It speaks of 'sons of Adam' (bene Adam) and 'sons of Israel' (bene Yisrael). In Gen 11, there listed the 70 descendants of Noah after the flood, excluding his sons who were born before the flood. In Gen 46:27, all the persons of the house of Jacob who went to Egypt were 70. Because of this Hebrew parellelism in Deu 32:8, I'm sticking with 'sons of Israel' and not 'sons of God'. And also because of the parellelism, vv8-9 are speaking the same God which in Gen 14:22 when speaking to the idolater Sodom king, Abram qualified it by saying 'Yehovah El Elyon'. But between brethren, Melchizedek, just El Elyon. Deu 32 does not have polytheism in it.

Below is just additional information. I do not wish to hijack Dennis' post ...

Deu 32 is styled differently than the other chapters. Deu 31:30 states it is a song of Moses which the Israelites were commanded to memorize (Deu 31:19). Songs are easier to remember. The entire Torah was read only every seven years.

One doesn't need to know Hebrew in order to notice this difference in the Aleppo Codex (http://www.aleppocodex.org/newsite/index.html). Each verse is divided into two columns. It is poetic and uses Hebrew parallelism. At times, each element of the verse will have the same meaning on both columns. Other times, the elements in the two columns are opposite. Example of this is verse 1 (NKJV), the 1st column has 'Give ear', the 2nd column has 'And hear', both speaks the same meaning. The 1st col has 'O heavens', the 2nd col has 'O earth', contrasting. The 1st col has 'and I will speak', the 2nd col has 'the words of my mouth', conveying similar thought.

Misunderstanding Hebrew parallelism is evident in NT writings. The author of John thought that Psalm 22:18 speaks of two different actions (John 19:23-24). Compare it with Mt 27:35, Mark 15:24, and Luke 23:34.

Another example is Zech 9:9 which employs synonymous parallelism, restating the same thing. The author of Matthew did not understand the prophecy, he thought there should be two animals (Mt 21:1-7). The other gospel writers understood it correctly as speaking of one animal (Mark 11:7; Luke 19:29-35; John 12:14).

The problem with NT writers is that they project Tanakh prophecies onto Jesus and crafted their stories (prophecy historicized). The gospel writers quoted Zech 9:9 and omitted the next verse (v10) which begins with 'And', meaning it's part of the previous verse. The Messiah will be coming on a donkey (v9), a working animal, and he will cut off the chariot/horse, an animal used for war, from Jerusalem (v10). Once he enters Jerusalem, he will end wars, not thousands of years later. It's easy for any Jew to claim he is the Messiah and tell everyone that he will fulfill the prophecies later.

Ariel Ben Noach said...

cont...

Deuteronomy 32, V1 is similar in language to Isaiah 1:2 and can be called the two witnesses :) (Deu 4:26, 30:19). V2's imagery is similar to Isa 55:10. Each of us is different, some are like a tender herb, others like grass. The word of God comes to us in different ways, dew, a raindrop, showers, or even snow (Isa 55:10). But it shall accomplish what God pleases (Isa 55:11).

V3 is the first verse in the chapter that mentions Yehovah. V4 speaks of Yehovah as the Rock, (not Jesus, remember Psalm 110:1 the LORD is Yehovah/God the Father and the lord according to WCG is Adonai or Jesus which is not really since it is adoni not Adonai). Also, v4 mentions other names or attributes of Yehovah such as Perfect, Just, Faithful/Truthful, without iniquity and Righteous.

V5 the mood changes and God blames His children Israel for their sins. The entire chapter is prophetic of what would happen. This verse is parallel to Jer 31:32, "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord."

The author of Hebrews tampers with this by changing it in Heb 8:9, "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them , says the Lord."

There's nothing in Jer 31 that states God disregarded the Israelites. On the contrary, Jer 31:35-37 tells us the impossible events that will make God cast off Israel.

The New Covenant will be made with the children of Israel. New covenant in Hebrew is 'brit chadasha'. New moon in Hebrew is 'chodesh'. Both 'chadasha' and 'chodesh' have the same root word 'chadash'. What happens to the old moon when there's a new moon? New moon can be called 'renewed' moon. Would you renew your marriage vow with a different woman?

Deu 32:6 speaks of God as our Father. God's relationship with His people is either Father or Husband. He is a Father to those who were born in the faith. He is a Husband to those who joined after they were born.

Sorry, I had to insert the above here instead of in the other post because I do not want to add fuel to the fire ...

When I first commented on this blog, it was anonymously and I just gave the URL links related to the post. After a couple of comments, I realized no one was going to the links which were Jewish sites. That's when I created this pseudonym and posted under this name, and immediately I was attacked. It dawned on me the bias Christians have against anything Jewish. They have been conditioned that the Jews are spiritually blind and do not know what Tanakh is speaking about. I'm not a scholar, you can readily tell from my comments that what I'm doing is just collecting information from various sites and condensing them. I know I provide too much information like the one in Ps 22. I did not want to give you something less and you end up finding a Christian site refuting what limited information I shared (if I just used kaari and did not discuss krh and kaaru). Because of your bias, I'm sure you would readily believe the Christian site. I hope that the different information provided by all of us on this blog helps us in our journey ...

Shalom


DennisCDiehl said...

Thanks BB.

Brian Drawbaugh said...

Just finished (a few minutes ago, actually) reading "The Unseen Realm- Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible" by Michael Heiser. The book looks at the unseen spiritual world mentioned or alluded to in many Bible passages. Heiser calls it the Deut 32 Worldview. Very interesting read for those so interested. Helps us to get into the sandals of those who wrote the book and understand what *they* were thinking. - Brian

nck said...

Retired Prof. I don't understand the connection you made between Dennis's posting on multiple Gods and BBs "parody" I cannot find.

Through Armstrongism I had accepted the idea of multiple Gods as a lot of my previous culture accepted multiple spirits all around.

Since the movie "Highlander 1" I indeed reasoned that perhaps there had been some contention in heaven where the outcome was "there can be only one". 8 down one to go, so to speak. We are only in some last phase of a bigger picture.

Of course Armstrongism redefined the concept of "god" as a family.

As having served multiple royal families I would understand the "majestatis pluralis" argument better than republican and democratic scolars.

But the pluralis argument is plain rubbish in light of the pantheon of gods in contextual cultures and older texts.

So HWA again was on to something that educated people like me would at first sight differ on opinion.

But Dennis looking at the context of sumerian literature provides interesting read.

Highlander one I recommend for extra biblical musings before there were 3 gods.

Nck

nck said...

3:42 Dennis.

Exactly.

What moron is jealous of a wooden statue?

However a real powerfull contender ogling your wife. It could trigger epic and holy condemnation.

Nck

Yes and No to HWA said...

Ariel Ben Noach argues:

“Misunderstanding Hebrew parallelism is evident in NT writings...

“Another example is Zech 9:9 ... The author of Matthew did not understand the prophecy, he thought there should be two animals (Mt 21:1-7).

“The author of Hebrews tampers with this by changing it in Heb 8:9...

“The problem with NT writers is that they project Tanakh prophecies onto Jesus and crafted their stories (prophecy historicized).”

I would disagree with your conclusions and/or choice of words.

I would suggest a reading of Richard France’s introduction to his commentary on the Gospel Of Matthew, in the NICNT series, for a primer on a different perspective.

Here are a few quotes:

“There is obviously something more subtle going on here than the simple claim that messianic predictions have been fulfilled...

“Those who have studied the interpretation of Scripture among other Jews at the time, particularly at Qumran and among the rabbis, recognize that they are on familiar ground in Matthew, sometimes in the actual interpretation methods he employed, but also more widely in the creative ways he goes about discovering patterns of fulfillment, ways which modern exegetical scholarship often finds surprising and unpersuasive. But Matthew was not writing for modern exegetical scholars, and we may safely assume that at least some of his intended readers/hearers would have shared his delight in searching for particular patterns...

“Often it [Matthew’s quotes] does not correspond to the LXX text which is the basis of most of his (and the NT writers) quotations. Sometimes it looks like an independent rendering of the Hebrew, but often it does not correspond closely to any version now available to us... the prevalence of his textual “freedom” especially in the formula-quotations suggest that Matthew was sometimes willing to modify the wording of the text in order to draw out more clearly for his readers the sense in which he perceived it to have been fulfilled in Jesus...

“The formula-quotations are thus not themselves part of Matthew’s tradition, but his own editorial gloss on the story of Jesus; their subtle and elusive quality is testimony to the ingenuity of his pervasive midrashic agenda, of which these eleven quotations are but the most prominent and distinctive outcrops...” (pp.12-14)

“Sometimes the appeal to Scripture is overt, as in the five quotations which form the structural basis of 1:18-2:23 and in the biblically derived list of names which precedes those opening scenes. More often, however, the testimony of Scripture is woven into the way the stories are told, so that their significance depends on the ability of the reader to recognize allusions to the biblical events and persons and to draw the appropriate conclusions... Clearly the author of this gospel knew the OT scriptures very well indeed, in their more obscure details as well as their more prominent features, and felt that he could assume at least a reasonable scriptural background in his readers... Even in our day, when printed texts of the whole OT are readily available, it may be doubted whether most readers of Matthew know the texts well enough to follow all the subtleties of his arguments from Scripture...” (pp.25-26).

DennisCDiehl said...

It seems obvious because of how the Gospels appealed to so much OT scripture to cobble together the story of Jesus birth and death that the authors were not eyewitnesses to anything. The Gospels are not "like four people describing an accident."

The use of OT scripture was essential to flesh out Jesus because no one knew how and where he was born and under what circumstances nor much if anything about his death. The contradictions in the accounts belie this. The names of the Gospels were affixed decades after being written as anonymous works which was a very common practice at the time.

And as noted, it is not history prophecied but rather prophecy historized which is why the events of the NT seem to be foreshadowed in the OT when in fact the story, quotes or events of Jesus life were taken from the OT to begin with to tell the story.

DennisCDiehl said...

It seems obvious because of how the Gospels appealed to so much OT scripture to cobble together the story of Jesus birth and death that the authors were not eyewitnesses to anything. The Gospels are not "like four people describing an accident."

The use of OT scripture was essential to flesh out Jesus because no one knew how and where he was born and under what circumstances nor much if anything about his death. The contradictions in the accounts belie this. The names of the Gospels were affixed decades after being written as anonymous works which was a very common practice at the time.

And as noted, it is not history prophecied but rather prophecy historized which is why the events of the NT seem to be foreshadowed in the OT when in fact the story, quotes or events of Jesus life were taken from the OT to begin with to tell the story.

DennisCDiehl said...

Matthew's flub up of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on TWO animals because he obviously misunderstood the OT comment on the Messiah riding on a "Colt, the foal of an ass" as two animals. The other Gospels correct this mistake but Matthew actually says Jesus did ride into town on "them" which would be ridiculous . It shows "Matthew" was not an eyewitness to anything and Jesus probably did not actually take the ride literally.

Psalm 22 was used whole cloth to put words into the mouth of the dying Jesus on the cross when in fact no one really knew what he said. It is why the story seems so prophetic and spoken of in the OT. It was and the story was taken from the OT

Retired Prof said...

It occurs to me that, in the council of the Elohim, YHWH must have been sort of a pariah. What reasonable deity would associate with anybody who behaved the way he did?

No wonder he was a jealous god who forbade the Israelites to worship any others. Imagine what any human with good sense would do who got acquainted with an alternative who would refrain from confusing their language, or ordering some poor schmuck to cut the throat of his beloved son, or flooding out almost every living thing on earth. Switch sides, right?

Ariel Ben Noach said...

You have a valid point. Yehovah says "I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am Yehovah, that doeth all these things." (JPS, Isaiah 45:7).

Job's wife said to him, “Dost thou still hold fast thine integrity? blaspheme God, and die.” (Job 2:9). Job replied, "Thou speakest as one of the impious women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" (Job 2:10).

Satan is an obedient angel of God who is designed to be man's accuser. Why?

(If anyone's blood pressure is about to shoot up, please research first the scripture you were erroneously taught referring to Satan. Pay attention to verse 2.)

“Whatever I command you [Torah], be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it. If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for Yehovah your God is testing you to know whether you love Yehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after Yehovah your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him." (Deu 12:32-13:4)

Why did Yehovah make the statement in Isaiah 45:7? The first verse speaks of Cyrus who is a Zoroastrian, a believer in 2 opposing deities - Ahura Mazda (good god, creator, no evil comes from him) and Angra Mainyu (evil god, destroyer). Yehovah is saying that He is the only God, who alone creates both good and evil. Unfortunately, the spirit of Zoroastrianism is still around us.

Yehovah does not have a council of deities squabbling and plotting to overthrow Him. Elohim can be translated as angels (Psalm 8:5). It can also mean human judges (Exodus 22:8-9). The Hebrew 'el' simply means power. In Gen 31:29, Laban is speaking of the power [el] of his hand to hurt Jacob. No one would say Laban was god. 'El' is one of Yehovah's names, titles or attributes, signifying He is the source of power or might. Almost all of His names are attributes. His unique name is Yehovah. Ex 3:15: “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘Yehovah God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’

Anonymous said...

True Bread said... define "god"

The self-proclaimed Matzo Matzo man, who goes by the moniker False Bread, has requested a definition of god. I'll give him two.

Definition # 1: god, with a little 'g', is a little guy who passes himself off in place of the true God. For example, a person who appropriates a title of Jesus, such as True Bread.

Definition # 2: God, with a big 'G', is the Big Guy who is going to throw the god from Definition # 1 in the lake of fire.