Of Men, Gods And Wars

By Mary Sparrowdancer
c. 2005 - All Rights Reserved
It was in the month of July when I reluctantly began writing this paper - reluctant because it is never easy to write about politics and religion in one paper - but writing it nevertheless because America appears to be caught up in a slow but steady and determined push to stir more and more strange religion into its melting pot of strange politics at this time. If the state religion of choice claimed roots that were benevolent and all-encompassing, then perhaps this mixture might indeed turn out to be a true and decent balm for this country and our increasing effects on the world - perhaps it might mean something good for us all - but unfortunately this is not the case.
While I wondered how to put this into words that would not offend, the haze and mist of summer heat drifted up into the treetops outside, and the only sounds coming through my den office windows were those of a cardinal family and a towhee family announcing their arrivals at the busy birdfeeder on the veranda where a young cowbird stood by himself. For a moment I stopped writing, grateful to focus on something more calming, something that did not require translation. I watched as my feathered neighbors approached the seed dish, with awkward youngsters putting their best efforts forth to follow the examples of etiquette shown to them by the adults. All took turns at the feeder without protest or argument. I watched as one towhee juvenile took a moment to put a seed into the open mouth of the young cowbird who, although in the vicinity of food, was without a family and had apparently not yet figured out how to feed himself. There were no armed guards out there, no seed counters, and no one was lording himself over the others or threatening to smite and smote them, along with past and future generations.
This was perhaps a reflection of true peace - a natural peace inherent in all if given half a chance. This appeared to be a peace in which anonymous lessons of etiquette, equality and compassion clearly have rather universal benefits. It was a moment of blessing, filled with grace because feeding the hungry can be a moment of profound blessing. Moments of such grace validate the lives and dignity of both the giver and receiver. I, the onlooker, also received a blessing of peace simply from having watched the gift of grain as it was given and received. It was an act of grace moving through nature like the reflections of the sun in many mirrors.
Then, I returned to the paper. While my Florida day was filled with summer haze and songbirds, in a distant country, far from here - in a land where I have never walked and my children have never walked - there, it would be the smoke from the bombs and guns of yet another war drifting through the July air. I knew that as I wrote down these words, strangers were being pitted against strangers and urged to kill each other by elected and non-elected leaders, all apparently worshipping the same strange God. The lives of many, as well as the secrets of antiquity, were being destroyed and rendered into dust.
July, it seemed, would be a very good month to find shade (or shelter) and reflect upon politics and religion, ideals and beliefs, and how we arrived here at this frightening cliff from which we can now jump, lemming-like, or from which we can back away and calmly rethink things. Oddly, mingled in with the reluctance to write this paper was a sense of urgency to write it as quickly as possible - before the reign of the court-appointed "God of America" becomes further established.
On the surface, this push for an association between America and a God seems innocent enough - what harm could possibly come from this, many might wonder. Who could possibly find fault in displaying the Ten Commandments in state buildings, schools, parks, courthouses and other places all over the United States?
And yet, the Founding Fathers of this country - some of them scholars fluent in multiple languages, many of them deists flatly rejecting organized religion - wanted to keep the oil and vinegar of religion and politics separate. One might reasonably wonder if the scholars of yesterday knew something that we, their poorly schooled, industrialized, obedient and unaware descendants no longer have access to - no longer realize. Perhaps they knew of something that, over the passage of time, has become as hazy and nebulous as rising steam on a July afternoon.
According to the CIA's Worldfact Book, at this time approximately 33% of the world's population are Christians, 20% are Muslims, and "0.23%" are Jewish. Christianity, Islam and Judaism are all considered to be Abrahamic religions, or "desert monotheism," all somehow pledging belief in the same God. This means that while less than one-half of one percent of the earth's people are Jewish, over 50% of the earth's people have aligned themselves with "the God of Israel."
According to the Old Testament and the Ten Commandments, the foremost command from the God of Israel is that there is only one god - Jehovah - and no other gods are to be worshipped, acknowledged, mentioned, recognized, honored or heeded other than the God of Israel. On a scale of one-to-ten, this command is of such importance, it is listed as Number One, Number Two, Number Three and Number Four in the Protestant and Hebrew Ten Commandments - Number One, Number Two, and Number Three in the Catholic Ten Commandments.
Over the centuries, many have come to accept this as truth: there is "only one God - the God of Israel," despite the fact that historical texts as well as their own bibles do not support this. Commands One, Two, Three and Four have exerted a powerful influence on many minds, enough so that it has come to be something of an embarrassment in the US these days to hint at anything other than the "Only One God" mantra.
Nevertheless, the "Only One God" command has raised a few daring questions here and there throughout time, primarily, "If there is only one god, why is there reference in the Ten Commandments and the bible to "other" gods?" And, "Who, exactly, are the 'other gods?'" And, "Who, for that matter, is this One And Only One God of Israel?" Other questions also beg to be asked: "Is it possible that our understanding of the word, 'God,' has become blurred over the slow march of centuries?" And, of course, if we are all blindly pledging allegiance to the God of Israel - a war god - what, then, are Christians to do with the teachings of Jesus, who attempted to instill lessons of peace and compassion?
Webster's defines "god," (no caps) as "the supreme or ultimate reality.the infinite Mind.a person or thing of supreme value." These seem to be reasonable descriptions, certainly not likely to incite a riot. (Neither "Jehovah," nor "Yahweh" are mentioned in Webster's definition of "god.")
It would appear to some of us that there is an infinite Mind underlying all of nature - an unnamed, unknowable Awareness that is the glue between cause and effect. According to the various written accounts, however, the numerous gods and angels who have paid numerous visits here appear to be representatives or ambassadors - celestial dignitaries - visiting from distant points of Light - or from darkness. Various gods appear to have played a role in the development of this planet since day one. Some have been loved and others have been feared, based upon their traits, their works and by the fruits they have produced. Some have shared teachings of Light that have helped restore peace and bring order to chaos, and others have imparted darker teachings that have resulted in chaos, war and bloodshed.
In order to have a more complete understanding of what or who the gods are, it is necessary to take a look at what has been written about them both in translated English as well as in Hebrew and Egyptian. If we only look at the "authorized translations," then we can only see what has been interpreted for us by others.
Looking first at the King James English translation of the Old Testament (OT),
most will quickly notice that "god" is presented to the reader in various ways. Sometimes we see the word written as "god," sometimes GOD, sometimes LORD God, sometimes as God Almighty, etc. "God," with only the first letter in caps, is first mentioned in Genesis 1.
In then looking at the Hebrew from which the English has been translated, something else emerges on page one of Genesis, which is where the questions start rising.
When you see the English word, "God," with only the first letter in caps, this is actually a translation of the Hebrew word, "elohim." There is no upper- and lowercase distinction in Hebrew. The letters that we see presented in caps in the English translations, therefore, are an English touch to underscore the translator's opinions. In some cases, the translators have capitalized this word, and in other cases, left it in lowercase.
Elohim is a word referring to angels, rulers, gods, human judges, entities, something not quite describable, Shining Ones, something usually eliciting extreme awe when encountered. Many people have pointed out over the years that "elohim" - due to its "im" ending which is like the English "s" - indicates this is a plural word. Apologists have explained this as "majestic plural" (one God having many facets) while other scholars contend that it means just exactly what it says: gods.
"Elohim" is translated into English as the plural word, "gods," approximately two hundred times in the OT, but in over 2000 other instances it is translated into English as a singular noun and capitalized: God.
Genesis 1 is about the unnamed, anonymous elohim. These are the anonymous elohim who created ["bara" in Hebrew, associated with a divine creative power] the earth and in their eyes everything was good. They then created [bara] humanity in their own image, male and female, and blessed all that had been created, including the animals.
To bless something is to validate its existence, to declare it special and beloved, to give it importance, and to direct conscious energy onto it. Genesis 1 appears to be a rather nice little story, giving dignity and a blessed, sacred meaning to all of creation - even to the cowbird being fed by the towhee on my veranda. It seems to speak of a thread of divine potential running through everything. Things were off to a good start.
There is no mention of dust in this first story of Genesis, no mention of forbidden trees, forbidden knowledge, forbidden fruits, curses, or of a garden from which we were evicted in shame. Genesis 1 also says that every fruit, seed and vegetation on earth was given to humanity by the anonymous elohim. There was nothing of the plant or vegetable kingdom that was in any way forbidden to humanity. By divine right, therefore, we have been invited to partake of every sort of vegetation on this planet.
In Genesis 2 we learn of other elohim who are not anonymous, but who have a name that sets them apart from the other elohim. These are the elohim known by the four-letter tetragrammaton, YHVH, which most Christians pronounce as Yahweh or Jehovah. It is a name considered too sacred to pronounce by many of those who are Jewish.
After the unnamed elohim had created [bara] the earth and humanity in Genesis 1 and then in Genesis 2 they rested, a new story begins. The second Genesis story is about the Jehovah elohim, and how they fashioned and formed ["asah" and "ytzr" - to fashion, form, bind, to cause distress] things. It is in this second story that we learn of forbidden knowledge and forbidden fruits because these elohim did not want humanity to be in their image at all. We learn of a garden belonging to the Jehovah elohim into which humans were placed as workers. It is felt by some that it was in part the Hebrew word, "asah" that led the early Gnostics to identify the Jehovah elohim not as a god, but as a "demiurge," or "one who fashions, shapes, and models" a material world.
Other elohim are later mentioned, some identified by specific names or attributes. A few of those named are the "Chemosh elohim" who are referred to in Judges and Kings. The Ashtoreth (Ishtar) and Milcom elohim are also mentioned in Kings. No English caps are permitted for the god-word, and all three of these elohim are described as an "abomination" by the Jehovah elohim in 2 Kings 23:13.
Among the most important of the elohim were the Dagon elohim, although they too were translated in the OT merely as "gods" rather than "God" or "Gods." The Dagon are said to be associated with, or a personification of, Ea and Oannes, both of which are said to be names for the Sumerian god, Enki. These were known as the fish gods, or the fish of heaven. These are the gods of wisdom, compassion, civil laws, arts, sciences and agriculture, and their teachings predated Judaism. In Hebrew, the word for fish is "dag" or "dagah," and the Hebrew word for grain is "dagan."
Oannes, according to Berossus, a Babylonian priest and historian, was a fish god of wisdom, imparting concepts of civil liberties at a time when such concepts were badly needed. Of Oannes Berossus wrote, "He gave them an insight into letters and sciences, and arts of every kind. He taught them to construct cities, to found temples, to compile laws, and explained to them the principles of geometrical knowledge. He made them distinguish the seeds of the earth, and shewed (sic) them how to collect the fruits; in short, he instructed them in every thing which could tend to soften manners and humanize their lives."
Hammurabi, (Hammurapi), King of Babylonia, (ca. 1700s B.C.), holds a respected place in ancient history as having revised and then committed to writing early civil laws during his reign. Mention of him and his contributions to ancient humanity can be found in accepted places such as The World Book Encyclopedia. In the Introduction to the Code of Hammurabi, he mentions his own close kinship with the Dagon. According to the translation, Hammurabi states he is their offspring.
Worthy of note in any mention of the Dagon, and the Ea/Oannes fish of heaven, are the people of the Dogon Tribe, who live near Timbuktu in Africa. These people are monotheistic, that is they believe in an underlying, universal Creator or Supreme Being. Among the parts of creation that the Dogon honor are the fish gods who once visited them. The people of this remotely located tribe say that generous fish gods (the leader of whom they call, "Nommo"), came to Earth in a whirling "ark," bringing gifts, including domesticated grains. This is similar to some Native American traditions stating that the gift of corn was given to them by Shining Ones.
The Dogon priests relayed their account of an ancient visitation to French anthropologist, Marcel Griaule, in 1947. They explained that the fish gods claimed to have come from Sirius (the Dog Star). Through drawings and descriptions, the Dogon revealed that they were shown by the visitors that Sirius is actually not one star, but three stars, and one of them is very, very small - "the smallest thing in the sky and the heaviest."
The gatekeepers of accepted and permitted knowledge, however, were quick to jump on Graiule's published works. They rather vehemently dismissed any possibility of any astronomical knowledge being given to any of the Dogon by any fish gods - perhaps underscoring once again the command that there can be no other gods seen, noted or experienced except for the One who has the full attention of over half of the population on Earth at this time. Additional information found on a website of NASA indicates Sirius is indeed a binary star system containing the first white dwarf to be discovered. Sirius C, while still suspected to exist, has not yet been confirmed by astronomers. (Of curious note, "nasa" can be found in several places in the Hebrew OT. It means to "lift, bear up, carry, take.")
How the Dogon would otherwise know that Sirius was a triple star system, in which one star is an extremely dense, heavy white dwarf has not yet been adequately explained in my opinion. Neither has the origin of corn been fully explained. According to the authors and editors of Corn: Origin, History, Technology and Production, a 968-page scholarly agricultural book by Wiley Publishers, corn is "one of the most studied plants on this planet, yet we cannot account with certainty for its complete origin."
In addition, no complete and certain explanation has been given to the origins of the domestic dog, domestic cat, domestic sheep, and numerous other domesticated plants and animals that seemed to have simply "appeared" along with an extraordinarily advanced civilization approximately 10,000 years ago. The likelihood of this all suddenly happening without a little "help from above" seems implausible. We are also told our ancestors were just emerging - dimwitted and hirsute - from the Stone Age at that time.
It would appear that throughout the planet's history there have been and continue to be ongoing encounters that cannot be fully explained, some seemingly with "gods" for lack of a better word, despite commands One, Two, Three and Four of the God of Israel. The encounters continue at the present time.
In Hebrew, "Jehovah" (YHVH) occurs over 6,000 times in the OT, but for some reason it is kept out of the English translations in the King James Version (and most other English versions), except for about 8 times, which includes a few name variations. When you see "LORD God" written in English in the King James OT, with LORD all in caps, this is how "Jehovah elohim" has been translated into English. Again, as stated, there is no mention of the Jehovah elohim until Genesis 2. When you see "GOD" - all in caps in the English OT - it is simply another translation for the Jehovah elohim.
"LORD God of hosts," and "LORD of hosts" which appears almost 400 times, is the English translation for "Jehovah elohim tzba," or just the Jehovah tzba, meaning the Jehovah elohim that are assembled to go forth in an army for war. Host simply means an organized army, prepared for warfare. The name "Jehovah" is described by a song in Exodus 15:3 in King James as, "Yahweh is a man of war." The Catholic translation has omitted the word, "man" and has used, instead, the word, "warrior."
"Almighty God," which has only the first letters of both words capitalized in English, is the translation we are given for "Al Shadai," which is pronounced "El Shadday." This is a most important name, and it is this encounter that might be a pivotal and frightening turning point. The name does not appear in many English translations. It is, specifically, Al Shadai of the Jehovah elohim who established the covenant of circumcision with Abram, changing his name to Abraham, and stating that Al Shadai of the Jehovah elohim would be the everlasting elohim to Abraham and Abraham's descendents.
Al Shadai is given a Latin translation in the Vulgate suggesting omnipotence, while the Hebrew suggests "almighty; most powerful." According to Strong's Concordance, Shadai comes from the root word, "shadad" meaning "to deal violently with, despoil, devastate, ruin, destroy, spoil."
It is the Jehovah elohim who, after the flood, gave new dietary guidelines to their Chosen People, first stating that instead of the fruits, nuts and vegetarian diet suggested by the anonymous elohim in Genesis 1, the Chosen may eat everything moving. Later, this was amended so that unclean food would be excluded from their diet.
According to the instructions in Deuteronomy 14:21, the Chosen People were told that they must not eat any animal that has "died of itself" (as in what we might refer to as "downer cattle"). Instead, they received instructions that they should give this meat to strangers, or sell it to foreigners.
This is an important statement because it makes abundantly clear the fact that the Jehovah elohim not only have a distinctly Chosen People, but that the Jehovah elohim also consider other humans to be strangers or foreigners.
The question that must then be asked, is, "How could anything be seen as a stranger in the mind of the true, universal Creator of the universe?" A universal Creator, (which the Founding Fathers specifically referred to as "God of Nature") - a Zero Point Field of light running through everything - would presumably be familiar with every particle of all created matter, because each particle would be residing within its Awareness. Therefore, while there might be strangers seen in the mind of a visiting god, there could not be a single particle seen to be a stranger or a foreigner in the Mind of a Universal Awareness.
There does appear to be something that is truly universal, something that does not have a name and sees nothing as a stranger. It makes its presence known through the acts of grace that it imparts. It was clearly evident the moment when the towhee gave to another bird the food from his own mouth.
All cultures have a word for the gods. All people know of them and that the gods come from a distant place - above. The Egyptian word for god is pronounced, "netjer," with the plural being "netjeru." It is actually spelled in Egyptian with no vowels: "ntr," with the "t" pronounced as "tj." It means shining ones, gods, guardians.
There seems to be a specific reference to the netjeru in the OT at least once. The reference to them appears as a warning in Jeremiah 4:16. The words are, "Watchers (or guardians) come from a distant earth to speak out against the cities of Judah."
"Watchers" is a plural word, and therefore in Hebrew "The Watchers" are referred to as, "Natzarim."
Natzarim is a word that sounds mysteriously familiar. The similarity between this word and a word used to describe Jesus, the "Nazorean," is rather profound. Spelling variations are to be expected as this word travels from one language into another, and then is spelled in a way that attempts to recreate the sound of the original word.
A search reveals there was no town ever mentioned in the OT called "Nazareth." Additionally, no one else is spoken of as coming from Nazareth.
Perhaps "Jesus of Nazareth" does not, in fact, refer to an important teacher of unknown past coming from a nonexistent city. Perhaps it refers, instead, to him. His origin, as stated in Jeremiah, would have been a distant place. Perhaps he was Jesus the Netjeru - a Shining One, a guardian paying us yet another of his many, and much-needed visits.
Strangely enough, he is also identified with the symbol of a fish, with grain, and with lessons of compassion, love and civility. On more than one occasion, he fed the strangers following him, validating their existence with fish and grain (loaves), perhaps as though to stir an ancient, sleeping memory waiting to be reawakened.
It remains unanswered why or how the Early Church Fathers chain-linked the teachings of Jesus to the teachings of the Jehovah elohim as revealed in the Old Testament. There is no mention of "Jehovah," or "Yahweh," in the New Testament. We might rightly ask, therefore, how and why Christians continue to pledge themselves to a God of war, instead of to the God of love, peace and illumination that was taught by Jesus, one he refers to merely as, "father."
As he reestablished ancient teachings of peace, Jesus openly violated and/or abrogated the laws and covenants of the Jehovah elohim. In the Gospel of Thomas, which was uncovered when the hidden scrolls were discovered in Nag Hammadi in 1945, Jesus is quoted as saying that if circumcision were important to the true God, males would be born already circumcised. When asked in Mark 10:19 (Mark is thought by scholars to be the earliest of the four gospels), about the commandments, he gave only six, specifically omitting the commands to worship the Jehovah elohim.
Through his acts of compassion, he openly violated the Sabbath laws, the dietary laws and ritual laws of the Jehovah elohim, explaining that laws are meant to assist humanity, not to be worshipped by them. In Matthew 15:11, he reminded people that what comes out of one's mouth is more important than what goes into it.
His strongest indictment against the God of Israel, however, remains standing in stark clarity in the book of John. It is there, in John, that this strange entity known as "Jesus" says several notable things. He says that when you learn the truth, the truth will set you free. He states that he is not of this world - but from another. And, he says much more. (It is curious that John, in Greek is "Ioannes," sounding distinctly similar to Ea/Oannes.)
The indictment is in John 8. Jesus was speaking about his father to a gathering of the descendants of Abraham. The descendants then spoke of their father - God. Jesus replied that he was speaking of true God, and "Abraham did not do this." According to the New American Bible, Catholic translation, he further stated, "You belong to your father the devil ['diabolos,' Greek, meaning slanderer] and you willingly carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him."
These are perhaps the harshest of all recorded words that he spoke, and he spoke them not against the people - not against the Jews through whom the thread of true grace also runs, exactly as it runs through all of us, through all of creation. He clearly demonstrated that he loved the Jews - that he loved everyone. This indictment was against their God, or against a great misunderstanding that had somehow taken place in which a god of war had asserted himself to be the god of all.
Early scholars as well as the early Gnostics wrote that the crucifixion was an allegory, a story written for the unschooled masses so they might understand the bitter loss of good teachings. The early writings state that he was never physically crucified for the simple reason that he was not a physical human being. He was something else. He was, as he stated, not from this earth. Attempts to try and "prove" his human origin have always been met with utter failure, for good reason. From what has been written, he is Jesus the Natzarim, the Shining One. He is a guardian - a watcher - from a distant earth.
His followers called his teachings "The Way." Unfortunately, many of his teachings were banned by vote of the Early Church Fathers while they fashioned [asah] The Way into Christianity, giving it three heads and joining it at the hip to a god of war.
In 1948, a proposal was made to insert the words, "under God" into the "Pledge of Allegiance" to the US flag. In 1954, those words were added in, and the new and improved phrase became, "One nation, under God." Many people, including children, continue to be required to recite this. The problem is, no one has asked, "Which God?" According to what has been written, and unless a clear distinction is soon made, this pledge means, "One nation under the God of Israel."
At this time, at least 4,000 courthouses and parks in the United State are now displaying the Ten Commandments - including the four commandments pertaining to the God of Israel that were omitted by Jesus in the book of Mark. The Ten Commandments and the Old Testament command us to listen to no one's words and to no teachings other than those of the God of Israel. We are accepting and displaying, therefore, commands to ignore the words of peace and civility taught by the Christ, and to embrace, instead, the teachings of Jehovah, the "man of war."
I am not among those born as a Chosen One of the God of Israel. I am among the 99.77% of humanity apparently recognized only as a "stranger or a foreigner" in the eyes of the Jehovah elohim. I am, like most of creation, more like the cowbird who finds herself standing just outside the inner circle at the birdfeeder, waiting for an anonymous gift of grace to validate my existence.
It is August now as I finish this paper, August, the month when we remember that in 1945 Christians from the United States were dispatched by a Christian president to drop weapons of mass destruction on Japan. With arrogance and lies, our current Christian leaders have turned the earth red with the blood of strangers and foreigners, and mingled into it the blood of our own children, our relatives and our friends, because yet another American war is being waged in a distant land where most Americans have never walked. This time, as the ways of war have become apparently routine and expected in the eyes of the few elite, neither the lives nor the deaths of the sacrificed ones have received appropriate acknowledgment or validation. So distant from God and respect is this picture, it is barren of any grace.
It seems a given that as long as people continue to blindly - albeit innocently - align themselves with a God of war rather than a still-awaiting God of love, the teachings of peace and compassion from good teachers will continue to be ignored. Their teachings will be crucified and exchanged for the unending quick fix of material greed and blood lust. In doing so, humanity will forget yet again that in the end, all that we can truly take with us as we move forward on our Way is our love.
Perhaps the United States human judges might consider these observations before they approve, appoint or select for us all any further rules, rulers, commands, commandos or commanders seeking to do the bidding of a "man of war."
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Mary Sparrowdancer is the author of The Love Song of the Universe, published by Hampton Roads in 2001. It is a book about peace. Mary was raised a Catholic, left Christianity and converted to Judaism in the 1970s, where she was sent to Hebrew school. She later left Judaism and became an atheist. In 1988, she was awakened by a bright light shining on her. She was subsequently ordained.
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References -
Central Intelligence Agency: World Factbook, 07/2005
Sirius - binary system, white dwarf - 07/2005
Fragments of Chaldaean History, Berossus, 07/2005
Demiurge: The Catholic Encyclopedia - 07/2005
CNN: Law Center. Supreme Court Weighs Ten Commandment Cases. 07/2005.
New American Bible, New Catholic Translation. 1987, Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Temple, Robert, 1998, The Sirius Mystery, Destiny Books, Vermont.
Blue Letter Bible - King James Version. (For those who do not know how to read Hebrew, Latin or Greek, this is a good place to start learning some basics.) 07/2005
Gospel of Thomas - at - 07/2005
Nag Hammadi discovery 07/2005
Alton Raines
One can stray a little too far from the original context, and through extremes of conjecture, arrive at an improper conclusion. Mary writes:
"... it makes abundantly clear the fact that the Jehovah elohim not only have a distinctly Chosen People, but that the Jehovah elohim also consider other humans to be strangers or foreigners.
The question that must then be asked, is, "How could anything be seen as a stranger in the mind of the true, universal Creator of the universe?"
The reason those outside the 'camp of Israel' were called 'strangers' and 'foreigners' had strictly to do being outside the Covenant God made with these certain people. God did not make this Covenant with all mankind, but only with a select people which he brought up and delivered out of slavery in Egypt -- the chief purpose of which was to set the stage for a future reunification of all people under the second, new covenant, through the blood of Christ, untainted by the law of sin and death. Had God imposed upon all mankind the first covenant, there would have been no hope, for it was the very law of sin and death, "added for (because of) transgressions" -- whereas God, in his mercy, left the rest of mankind outside of the Covenant, so that when the New Covenant came in, Paul might be able to declare the mercy of God on man, saying "And the times of this ignorance God winked at..." (Acts 17:30). Few people realize the power and ramifications of the First Covenant God struck with Israel, and why he limited it to a 'chosen people.' Men had already seen fit to establish themselves in tribal fashion, seeing one another as stranger/foreigner, possessing land and establishing kingdoms, territories, religions and sects, etc. The New Covenant would seek to spiritually unite all men and women through love, "there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." It wasn't merely a matter of creating contrast, but a matter of engraving in a people an understanding of sin and death that would last through the ages.

To suggest that Jesus rejected any of the Decalogue (the 10 commandments) is simply preposterous. He laid claim to being the very author of those Commandments, and further, expanded on them at the Sermon on the Mount. He took exception with several elements of the law of Moses, the more than 264 additional laws, edicts and statutes outside of the 10, in some cases clarifying what has been misunderstood and in other cases rejecting them entirely noting that some statutes were permitted because man was so sinful; but Jesus' rounding off the 10 into 2, "love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength, and your neighbor as yourself," was not a denial of the full 10. He simply pointed out that the 10 are summed up in 2, which existed OUTSIDE the Decalogue, revealing that if any man disputed the 10 Commandments, God's law was still evident outside of the wrote element of the Decalogue itself (for the law of God has always been).
Jesus did not always recite all ten when speaking, but by no means can one deduce from this that he rejected those he did not mention, anymore so than to imagine that when he said to look upon a woman with lust was the same as committing adultery, that the same did not obviously apply to a woman looking upon a man. Lust is lust. Adultery is adultery. Those listening understood without Jesus needing to be verbose. Besides, he blatantly stated "Not one dot or stroke shall pass from the law until all things be fulfilled," and that is yet forthcoming (Hebrews 1:13).

This supposed division between the 'desert god' of war and violence and retribution and the God of Jesus Christ -- even Jesus Christ himself being that very same God, is a groundless position staked in poor conjecture at best (and usually a revisionistic desire to gut the character and majesty of the Godhead by eliminating the attributes which condemn sin and for which there will be retribution -- the justice of God). Jesus laid claim to being the author of all inspired scripture, to being mystically the alpha and omega, our very Creator and authorized the Torah and the Prophets in terms which sincere believers to this day cherish, study and comprehend according to simple rules of reasonable hermeneutics (not to mention cohesive guidance by the Spirit of Truth itself).

In another example, Mary quickly seems to decide that the city of Nazareth must not have actually existed since it's never mentioned in the Old Testament. That's like looking at a highway map from 1921 and not finding route 66 and deciding that more contemporary maps must be lying or in error when they show a route 66. Nazareth did not exist then, but did come into existence -- even on two dramatic levels; Its coming into being was prophetic.
The prophet Isaiah said the Messiah would come up a tender shoot, and lo and behold, 'Nazaret' means "new shoot." And how fitting -- a new thing has come forth, new fruit, from a new vine, established in the will of God to unite all men and women in faith through the righteous, faithful obedience of one man, Jesus the Christ.. The Old Covenant, which was broken and made void by the people from day one, was done away with, literally put to death once and for all at the cross -- as Jesus was the final sacrifice for sins, acceptable to God the Father. The New Covenant would mark a new creation entirely, and "the favorable year of the Lord," where his grace and mercy and longsuffering would be poured out "upon all flesh." It wasn't that there was a mean, nasty warrior god of the desert for a time and then Jesus appears in conflict with that God --rather, it was that same Christ-Spirit, the pre-existent Lord of Lords, which orchestrated all the events found in the Old Testament record, the very same Lord God.
Under the first Covenant, mediated by angels, that same Spirit incarnated as the person of Jesus to announce the New Covenant; that first Covenant called "the ministry of death" (2 Cor 3:7), by the law which could never save and could never give life -- but established the foundation for the second, the ministry of Life, whereby salvation was made manifest in the living -- even ever-living and resurrected -- person of Jesus Christ, that all men might enter through the door of perfect human righteousness before a perfect and holy Godhead, by grace through faith.

But, that said, I must concur with Mary wholeheartedly, that we presently live in times where evil men have wrestled to themselves that which they do not understand, and are using in the corruption of their power; it is Christ and Christ alone, judge of the living and the dead, who will tread the winepress of the wrath of God (Isaiah 63:3) -- no human agency has any right or place in that judgment and will not have any. As it is written, "The violence of men cannot achieve the righteousness of God," and all who let themselves be fooled into believing otherwise will suffer the consequences; "he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword."
The NeoCon agenda appears to be poised for some kind of twisted Armageddon campaign, and they just may get it... but the prophets tell us God will send a deluding influence, that they might all believe a great lie, who took pleasure in unrighteousness and received not the love of the truth (2 Thess), and that the war machine of earth and men, of EVERY nation, will be brought into the valley of Jehosephat, and then the Almighty will destroy them there, forever. By the word of his mouth, he will obliterate the war-mongers and mighty men, and we will trample them beneath our feet as ash. And there shall be war no more.



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