By: Joe Butta and Steve Daskal
Christian Messianic Analysis and Apologetics
Can inanimate, purposeless, formless nothingness create something animate, purposeful, and alive? That would appear to violate the basic laws of physics [e.g., the laws of thermodynamics]. Before anything was or could be, there had to be Someone. Even the ancients understood this, and came up with a vast array of myths about one or more superhuman “gods” creating the world, starting with dust and water, and then everything else. Their reasons for doing so were obscure, but basically came down to either needing something to occupy themselves with [life and humanity as toys for gods] or needing workers to toil for them and feed their superhuman egos [life and humanity as slaves for gods]. But if these gods had the same vices and many of the same needs as mankind, how could they have created the universe, and why are they worthy of any respect, much less love?
The Bible presents a very different situation, in which an eternal, complete [God needing neither slaves nor toys] creates the universe to enjoy the process [aesthetics, accomplishment] and humanity with whom to enjoy it through interpersonal relationship.
By: Joe Butta/Steve Daskal
Christian Messianic Analysis and Apologetics
There can be little doubt that this world is troubled by a myriad of problems. But that isn’t anything new — mankind has faced problems since Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden. So what has changed? Why do we so often have a sense that something is deeply wrong — that something is missing?
For the most part modern Americans have come to avoid or reject Biblical truth because we have been told through schools and the media/entertainment industry, dominated by secular humanist progressives, that a truly caring, loving God would not permit all the suffering and injustice we perceive around us. They assert that if God did exist, He would want us to be happy. So either God does not care — isn’t really good, God isn’t powerful enough to “clean house,” or God isn’t there and perhaps never was.
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.
The unbelievers in our schools and universities often teach that the existence of so much evil in this world negates the existence of a holy and righteous God. Life itself proceeds with no discernible purpose. Events that occur in the cosmos appear to be totally random. The First Law of Thermodynamics proves since energy cannot be created or destroyed the universe has always existed.
Since we cannot argue that creation exists then how can creation exist apart from an act of creating initiated by an unseen Creator?
Most people throughout history believed or practiced their religion because they were raised to do so, made to feel guilty if they failed to do so, or coerced by social pressure to “fit in” with their family/clan/neighbors/local elites. Prior to the 20th century, there was generally little questioning of authority, and swift, vigorous punishment for those who dared to do so. What people learned in the home and school was also not all that demanding – it took an hour or so on a sabbath-day, or was the “price” for a feast day off from one’s work demands, or on fairly rare occasion required some self-denial for a fast day. There were always privileged, authoritative “religious” to obey: priests/monks/nuns on up through archbishops, or rabbis, or imams/mullahs, or the like, many of whom in turn had still higher human authorities to whom they were held accountable. These religious did not share their shortcomings, therefore many of the laity were convinced that they, unlike themselves, didn’t have any.