By: Steve Daskal,
CHRISTIAN MESSIANIC ANALYSIS AND APOLOGETICS
** A brother in Christ recently asked me about a seeming inconsistency in the Exodus account of Moses’ interactions with God and the Israelites at Mt. Sinai. He thought it appeared as if the number of trips up and trips down didn’t match. I had never actually sat down to work this out, though I’ve been hearing and reading this story repeatedly since I was in grade school. This is what I found:
Ex 19 — The Israelites are three months after leaving Egypt via Rephidim [located in the Sinai desert]. They’ve reached Sinai, and set up camp in front of the mountain. Moses goes up the mountain the first time [v3], he returns to the people [v7] and warns them that they are going to get the terms of the Covenant, and they agree to them — without having heard them — based upon God’s taking them out of Egypt and providing for this huge mass of people in the desert for 3 months.
FROM: Steve Daskal
CHRISTIAN MESSIANIC ANALYSIS & APOLOGETICS
What Was Happening? Judah is on the Brink of Disaster
— Judah’s new king at this time, Jehoiakim, aka Eliakim, is a relatively young man. But he is characterized in 2 Chronicles 36:1-8 and 2 Kings 23:34-24:6 as being an evil king, who did not follow the pattern of godliness of his father Josiah. Josiah had been an ally of Assyria against Egypt who died in battle when the Egyptians had defeated the last remnant of Assyrian power at Megiddo [in the lands of the former northern Israelite kingdom of Israel].
— Jeremiah refers to him this way: “your eyes and your heart are intent only upon your own dishonest gain, and on shedding innocent blood and on practicing oppression and extortion.” [Jer. 22:17] While it may have required heavy taxes and harsh action to pay the required tributes to great powers and keep his throne in the face of widespread violence and disorder, the tone of Jeremiah’s condemnation [and those in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles] indicates that not only was Jehoiakim tough and demanding, he was also brutal and corrupt. Jehoiakim apparently reverted to the idolatry and unjust rule of his grandfather Amon and great-grandfather Manasseh [ref 2Ki21]. Jehoiakim also openly rejected and mocked prophetic warnings from Jeremiah [36:23-27] and had them destroyed.
FROM: CHRISTIAN MESSIANIC ANALYSIS AND APOLOGETICS
BY: Steve Daskal
The Jewish faith, as was being taught & practiced in Jesus’ day, was no longer a single unified faith focused on “the Law and the Prophets,” but was made up of several sects that at best disdained or ignored each other, each following its own particular interpretations that suited them.
The Sadducees denied that anything beyond Torah [The Law, Pentateuch, Five Bks of Moses] was inspired of or delivered from God. So, they didn’t accept that there would be a Messiah at all. The Torah references frequently cited, such as Gen 3:15 and in Deuteronomy when Moses tells them that a Prophet like himself will come to lead Israel back to God after they have “fallen away,” point to from the perspectives of Christians, and of Pharisees, but they aren’t unambiguous/direct statements. The Psalms & the Prophets were considered by the Sadducees the way we’d consider books by C.S. Lewis or G.K. Chesterton — good reading, edifying, but neither inspired nor authoritative for doctrine. The Kohanim [the priesthood-by-descent] and many of the other Levites were Sadducees. They controlled the Temple in Jesus’ day and had a sizeable presence on the Sanhedrin which was the religious court that had been granted ultimate socio-religious authority for the Jews of Judea under Roman rule.
Unity is found in those who believe in the three Foundational Christian Creeds
Steven E. Daskal
It is not uncommon for a Christian seeking to share the Gospel with someone from an unchurched background to be confronted with this sort of response: “If Christianity is right, if it is true, how come there are so many different denominations that all disagree with each other?”
In reality, there are two aspects to this issue. First, some religious groups that claim to be Christian churches or are generally believed to be Christian are not — they “preach another Christ.” The Church of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) teaches about a Christ who is not wholly God and wholly Man, is not a part of a single triune Godhead, and is not in himself the source of salvation. The Church of Scientology doesn’t preach Christ at all. The Church of Jesus Christ, Scientist (Christian Science) preaches Jesus as a faith healer, not part of the Godhead, not the Savior of Biblical Christianity. True Christianity has to reflect the main teachings and doctrines of the entire Bible, not hang on a handful of verses used to create a man-made religion.
The Feast of (Re)Dedication
Steven E Daskal, December 2015
Maybe you’ve heard of Khanukah. Khanukah is commonly known as “the festival of lights,” but what it REALLY means is “The Dedication.” Khanukah is a holiday we Jewish people celebrate every year. I’d like to tell you a little more about this fun holiday.
Jewish people all around the world have celebrated Khanukah for over 2100 years. Unlike Yom Kippur, the “Shlosh Regalim,” or Purim, Khanukah is not a holiday we are commanded to celebrate in the Old Testament. In fact Khanukah itself isn’t even mentioned in the Old Testament, though the events leading up to it were prophesied by Daniel (11:19-45). The holiday was only mentioned once in the New Testament (John 10:22), for that matter. Khanukah celebrates a miraculous event that happened over 200 years after the last book of the Old Testament was written and about 160 years before Jesus was born. In a very real sense, if Khanukah had never happened, Christmas would have been impossible. But most Jewish people don’t realize that Jesus is the Messiah, the Prince of the House of David, of the Root of Jesse, promised to them by God throughout the Old Testament.
The Critical non-Patriarch
Blessed — even while living in the valley
An Encouragement: I encourage you to read through Genesis 37-50 on your own, since I can only hit the “high points” of this lengthy, worthwhile portion of Scripture.
Joseph was the second-youngest child of Jacob, the third of the patriarchs (Abraham and Isaac) who were the founders of the tribe of the Hebrews. His mother was Rakhel (Rachel), one of Jacob’s two full wives. He had single full brother, Benjamin, who was the youngest in the family, but Rakhel died bearing him. He had many half-brothers and half-sisters, born to his aunt, Leah, and to his mother’s and aunt’s maidservants whom they gave to his father Jacob as secondary wives (sometimes referred to as concubines) to bear children to Jacob on their behalf, in accord with the pagan customs of the time. Rakhel and Leah were bitter rivals, Leah being the elder, Jacob’s first wife, and the mother of Jacob’s first sons, but Rakhel being the more beautiful, the one Jacob truly loved, and the one whose sons were Jacob’s favorites. Continue reading
JACOB–Distracted, Deceived, and Blessed
Steve Daskal, CMAA
We must begin by going back to Genesis 25:19-34. If we aren’t clear on this, there is little to be gained from the rest of the story of Isaac and Jacob.
In v.19-21, we see the “generations of Isaac” discussed primarily as leading to the birth of Jacob and Esau.
The great events of Isaac’s life are his miraculous birth to elderly Sarah, the testing on Mt. Moriah when he was about 12 or 13, his marriage to Rebecca, his repeating his father’s failed deception with a later Abimelekh of the Philistines, and the passing on of the covenantal blessing to Jacob. Isaac was something of a prodigy of faith — like Solomon much later, he started well, but didn’t end very well.