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Tag Archives: ANE culture

The Wedding Feast

Wedding Feast - 1

from Google Images

I am currently involved in a study of the eschatology of the parables of Jesus. In Matthew 22 Jesus told The Parable of the Wedding Feast. In it Jesus tells a story of a king who made a wedding for his son, and he sent out his servants to those who had been invited. A quick read might overlook the fact that the servants were sent out to the invited guests to extend the second invitation, and this symbolizes the two covenants God made with Israel.[1] This was a common practice among those living in the ancient Middle East. The custom is put forth in the book of Esther chapters five through seven. Although the first banquet was enjoyable, it was merely the forerunner of the second and most important banquet, and it was at the second banquet that the heart of the person making the feast was made known (cf. John 3:16; cf. Esther 7:1-6; Acts 7:13). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2018 in 70 AD Eschatology

 

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How to Soften a Hard Heart

hard heart

from Google Images

In Matthew 19:8 Jesus told the Pharisees who questioned him about divorce that Moses allowed divorce because of their hard hearts. As a whole, ancient Israel simply wouldn’t accept a monogamous relationship. Therefore, in order to protect the more vulnerable woman, God (through Moses) commanded Israel how former wives and their children should be treated in the event a man should marry another woman. Even so, and remembering that it has been my position that Israel was at the time of his inheritance no more righteous than the Egyptians whom God had judged on Israel’s behalf, this idea of a hard heart should be explored in the light of the Canaanite wars. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2016 in apologetics

 

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Why Kill Midianite Women and Children?

ChoicesIt is not just the Biblical critic who gets upset over passages like Numbers 31:12-18, but even those of us who believe the Bible contains God’s word for us have trouble understanding what God is doing. I remember sitting in Sunday school when a woman told us she was involved in reading the Old Testament. She said that she was horrified at some of the things that occurred, and admitted she didn’t understand many of God’s judgments, as they pertain to things of the nature we find in this scripture. She finally concluded that she was glad to have been born this side of the Cross. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2016 in apologetics

 

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Was God Cruel to the Midianites?

Baal-peorSome Biblical critics seem to want to demonize the God of the Bible over his treatment of the Midianites in Numbers 31. What really occurred there and why did Moses command Israel to slay all the non-virgin women and all the male children with the sword? Some have accused God of genocide in this passage, and that over the trifle matter of calling him by a different name. Is that true, and if not why was God so upset over the worship of Baal-Peor? How was the virginity of the young females found out? Is it true that Israel violated these innocent girls by performing an inspection of some kind on their genitals? Serious accusations such as these arise out of emotional outrage and usually a misunderstanding of the text, but let’s try to understand what really went on. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2016 in apologetics

 

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How Can We View Joshua’s Campaign?

JerichoSome Biblical critics point out that Joshua’s campaign against the Canaanite people was ruthless and inhumane,[1] often pointing to Israeli psychologist’s, Dr. Georges Tamarin, 1966 study of Joshua’s war tactics, which study involved the opinions of over a thousand Israeli children.[2] They often point out Joshua 6:21and 8:25 as particularly disconcerting. Imagine, completely destroying Jericho and Ai and everyone within both cities, whether men or women, young or old. How can one justify this kind of warfare? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2016 in apologetics

 

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What about New Testament Slavery?

Slavery in New Testament - 2

from Google Images

The Roman world in the first century AD was completely different from what we find in the Mosaic Law and ancient Judaism. I don’t mean to imply that ANE nations surrounding Israel had no slavery. They did, but the New Testament reaches out to foreign nations—i.e. gentile nations, and is not only concerned with the Jews. Therefore, the social structures of the gentiles are laid bare and God through the preaching / writing of the New Testament begins to confront them, exposing the wrong and pointing to right behavior. Slavery in 1st century Rome is an institution, in fact, it is claimed that 85 to 95% of Rome’s population were slaves![1] Some Biblical critics seem to believe that, because Jesus didn’t equip his disciples with an opposing economic plan that he never said anything explicit against slavery, but they are wrong. From the very first day of his public ministry Jesus pointed out what he had set out to do; namely, “… to proclaim release for captives and …to set free the oppressed, (Luke 4:18 Moffatt; cf. Isaiah 61:1). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2015 in apologetics

 

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The Dignity of the Poor Under the Law

Hammurabi CodeOnce we understand that it was God’s desire to eliminate poverty in the land (Deuteronomy 15:4), the Scriptures that concern servitude take on new meaning, especially when one considers that in the year of release (every 7th year) the master was to load down the released servant (the poor) with gifts (Deuteronomy 15:13-14).[1] In other words the wealthy were called upon to offer an image of God in their persons, in that, because their ancestors were once bondservants in Egypt and God released them, so they were to do for their servants as God had done for their ancestors. Therefore and unlike accusations coming from the new atheists meant to denigrate God, great dignity was afforded the poor, just as Israel was given great dignity in the eyes of the Egyptians when God redeemed his people from bondage in Egypt. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2015 in apologetics

 

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Did God Permit Rape in War?

Women POW

from Google Images

Some seem to believe that God allowed male Israelites to rape foreign women during times of war. Is this so? No, it is not, and that point of view is the result of taking phrases out of their context in the Bible![1] Raping women prisoners of war in other ANE cultures was common, but it was forbidden in Israel. Nevertheless, some Biblical critics conclude that certain Old Testament passages concerning warfare depict Israelite men raping women POWs, and claim this is permitted by God through the Law of Moses. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2015 in apologetics

 

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Why No Female Priests?

Priestess

from Google Images

Historical records, including the New Testament, show that priests held positions of political authority. For millennia women generally have been deprived of political power even though those who were able to break the mold and did control great power (such as queens) showed no less ability than that of their male counterparts. For this reason modern critics, in light of our modern feminist movement, have found fault with the Mosaic Law’s treatment of women with regard to the priesthood. Why, if other ANE cultures had priestesses, didn’t Israel do likewise?[1] Since the Mosaic Law operated within the patriarchal culture of the day, and other ANE nations in that culture employed women in the office of priest, why didn’t Israel do the same? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2015 in apologetics

 

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Property and the Levirate Marriage

Levirate Marriage

from Google Images

Some Biblical critics take issue with scripture’s treatment of women, believing that women were held in contempt and considered more or less the property of the male, but this isn’t true.[1] In my last few blogposts we’ve seen that the idea that God, as understood through the Mosaic Law, was not misogynistic as he has been accused by some of the new atheists and other modern critics. Males and females are often addressed collectively in the Old Testament and treated equally as far as responsibility is concerned. Nevertheless, the obvious differences between the sexes also demand specific treatment, but the different ceremonies should not be understood as biased against women. Often the Mosaic Law defended the woman in a patriarchal culture, where the woman might be vulnerable to ill treatment. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2015 in apologetics

 

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The Spirit of Jealousy Trial

Jealousy

from Google Images

In Numbers 5:11-31 we find a very strange ceremony, at least by modern standards, whereby suspicion of guilt over adultery is satisfied by one drinking holy water. First, the water is mixed with the dust of the Tabernacle, making it bitter (Numbers 5:17). Afterwards, an offering is made by burning barley meal on the altar of God (Numbers 5:12-15, 23-26). The point is, if the person is guilty, that one’s belly would swell up and the thigh would rot (Numbers 5:27)—presumably death would follow. Nevertheless, if death did not follow, the Law does prescribe public execution (Leviticus 20:10).[1] Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2015 in apologetics

 

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Does God Hate Women?

from Google Images

from Google Images

For that matter does the Mosaic Law show an aversion for women? I think we need to remember that it is only in recent generations that women have enjoyed anything approaching complete freedom. Equality with males has been a long and tough road to travel, and its journey by far remains incomplete. This is especially evident in less developed nations of our world. Understanding this places the Bible in a somewhat different perspective. For example, Jesus claimed in Matthew 19:8 that Moses permitted men to divorce their wives because of their hard hearts.[1] In other words, if freedom of choice was to be valued at all, God had to deal with men’s hard hearts, or, put another way, some concessions had to be made for the sake of progress, because mankind, including Israel, was not at the point of valuing certain issues. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2015 in apologetics

 

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The Enuma Elish

from Google Images

from Google Images

According to Chris or, as I mentioned in my previous blogpost, according to his analyses of Karen Armstrong’s book A History of God, the story of creation is found first, not in the Biblical text, but in the Enuma Elish, seven clay tablets found in the ruins of the palace of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh (see his next video HERE). They date to the 12th century BC and contain interesting allusions to the Genesis account of creation. In fact, in 1876 they were published by George Smith as the Chaldean Genesis! Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2015 in atheism, naturalism

 

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