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Tag Archives: Jewish law

Misrepresenting God

When you misrepresent someone or something, this usually involves giving a false or misleading account. Whether by action, deeds or words, misrepresentation distorts, perverts and puts a new spin on something. From a spiritual perspective, Christians and or churches often exhibit subtle ways of misrepresenting God. This is displayed through Syncretism which is the  fusion of two or more belief systems, and can be applied to philosophy, politics, and religion. In the Old Testament, Jews began to misrepresent God by adopting and observing pagan gods and practices.

Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light which is Life, John 8:12.

There are other examples in Scripture that are much more obvious. The context of the passage above involves a woman caught in the act of adultery. According to Jewish law, this woman must be sentenced to death. The local scribes and Pharisees brought her to Jesus to either test him or simply get his opinion on this matter. Instead of taking the bait, Jesus gets down on one knee, writing with his finger in loose soil. Legend has it that Jesus began to write down transgressions committed by people in the crowd who were about to stone this woman. Bible scholars suggest that Jesus was writing down specific sins, ways that these religious leaders were also misrepresenting God.

We are even discovered to be misrepresenting God, for we testified of Him that He raised Christ, Whom He did not raise in case it is true that the dead are not raised, 1 Corinthians 15:15.

According to the apostle Paul, anyone who denies the resurrection of Jesus also misrepresents God. Prior to this passage, Paul lists several accounts of individuals who met with Jesus after being crucified on a cross. Perhaps, Paul was merely reminding first century believers of the facts. Nearly 2000 years later, atheists and agnostics have cast doubt on Jesus’ resurrection, relying on science rather than faith. However, an entire chapter of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 15, is devoted to highlighting the power and significance of Jesus’ resurrection. While it takes time to change, may this blog inspire you to stop misrepresenting God.

by Jay Mankus

Costing More Than Its Worth

 

In times of crisis or natural disaster, the normal rule of law is often overlooked.  Thus, when Hurricane Katrina brought mass flooding to New Orleans, looters were rampant, taking whatever they could find and carry.  These acts of transgressions were excused as people were forced to go into survivor mode.

People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving, Proverbs 6:30.

In the days when Israel was a thriving nation, a similar mindset occurred.  Anyone thought to steal due to hunger pains wasn’t as criticized as one who committed crimes out of greed.  Nonetheless, Jewish law stated that anyone caught would have to pay back 7 times the amount stolen,  Thus, crime doesn’t pay, costing more than its worth.

Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house, Proverbs 6:31.

Solomon takes this concept one step further, comparing adultery to stealing.  This analogy is considered out of date by Hollywood, especially as the biblical concept of marriage fades from American culture.  This moral decline reveals a downward trend with no end in sight.  Despite the lack of a moral conscience, its essential to spread the word that poor decisions cost more than a moment of pleasure is worth.

by Jay Mankus

Love and Marriage

The sitcom Married with Children mocked the biblical concept of love and marriage.  However, as Christian couples in America began to live hypocritical lives, often resulting in divorce, I guess you can say Hollywood had plenty of material to work with.  Nonetheless, for ten seasons Al Bundy portrayed a new form of love and marriage, laughing at the struggles an average family endures on a weekly basis.

“Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother, Mark 12:19.

During another week in history, “Let’s See if We can Fool Jesus This Time,” also known as Passion Week, the Sadduceees refer to still other aspect of love and marriage.  Referencing Jewish Law found in the Torah, a religious leader tries to play Trivia Pursuit with Jesus.  Before the answer to his question is provided, it is clear he was no match for the King of Kings and Lord of lords.

Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven, Mark 12:24-25.

Love prior to entering any relationship is tough enough on its own.  However, when you add marriage to this equation, the complication is magnified.  The apostle Paul chose to remain single, not wanting this distraction in his life.  Yet for those who are stuck as Al Bundy often eluded to his own marriage, a different form of love is required, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.  Therefore, pray for the fruits of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23 so that the love you display may have an eternal impact.

by Jay Mankus

Free Falling

Tom Petty’s 1989 song Free Fallin’ refers to a boy who broke up with a decent girl, breaking her heart.  As a result, a sense of guilt leads Petty toward a downward spiral, free falling into a state of depression.   On the surface, many are great at hiding their pain, trying to stay cool or avoid unwanted attention.  Yet, deep inside the average soul, hurt is accumulating day by day, searching for someone or something to elevate this weight.

In Acts 11:1-3, a similar burden was lifted from the church, opening the heavens for a spiritual free fall.  Up until this point, Jewish law prohibited anyone in this faith to associate with Gentiles, especially partaking in unclean food according to Leviticus 11.  However, angelic intervention, 2 visions and a message from God redefined a Jews perspective of impurity, Acts 11:8-10.  Everything changed in Acts 11:15 as the Holy Spirit, fell upon the Gentiles in Caesarea.

According to the apostle Paul, God allows this to happen periodically, as He determines, 1 Corinthians 12:11.  This spiritual free fall is for the common good of the church, 1 Corinthians 12:6, occurring throughout the book of Acts 2:4, 4:31, 10:44-46 and so on.  Unfortunately, seminary’s, the school which trains future pastor’s, disagree with the book of Acts, claiming this was a momentary, supernatural out pouring of the Spirit, no longer active, ceasing to exist.  This notion has caused many in the church to free fall, questioning the existence of God.

While I don’t have the answer or power to end this thousand year old debate, I do want to prevent future believers from free falling from the faith.  If God can part a sea in the Old Testament and cause a dead man to rise from the grave after 3 days in the New Testament, why can’t the Holy Spirit free fall today to commence another spiritual awakening?  Although, prayers shouldn’t treat God like someone going to a check out counter, Matthew 21:21-22 promises great things to those who believe.  If you follow in the footsteps of George Whitfield, you might just experience another spiritual free fall.

by Jay Mankus

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