Joe Butta & Steve Daskal
Genesis: Chapter 1
14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night. They will serve as signs for the appointed times and for days and years.15 They will be lights in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made the two great lights—the greater light to have dominion over the day and the lesser light to have dominion over the night—as well as the stars. 17 God placed them in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth, 18 to dominate the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 Evening came and then morning: the fourth day. — Genesis 1:14-19 (HCSB)
The earth in which we live was draped in darkness until the light was made to shine upon it. The lights in the sky are to serve as signs for appointed times, days and years. The greater light [sun] dominates day, stars are visible at night while a full moon would dominate the night.
BY: Steven E Daskal
This is a simple question at one level, and a much more complex one beyond that. It is one of my favorite Biblical conundrums, because we know quite a bit, yet so little. BTW, while Melchizedek is commonly used, the pronunciation and Hebrew spelling reflect Melkhizedek (the KH being the sound common to Semitic and Slavic languages, while CH is the sound common to many linguistic families, as found in “Church” or “Chalice”). I tend to use the KH version.
At the simplest level, it is a reference back to Abram’s (later Abraham) life in Genesis:
(Gen 14:17-24 NIV84) After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.” But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and have taken an oath that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the thong of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me — to Aner, Eshcol and Mamre. Let them have their share.”
By: Joe Butta and Steve Daskal
CHRISTIAN MESSIANIC ANALYSIS AND APOLOGETICS
In the previous post the following comments were made concerning Biblical Christianity: “The latter [Christianity] emphasizes loving God with all one’s heart, mind, and strength, and loving others as one loves oneself. The latter [also] emphasizes confession, repentance, and acceptance of divine forgiveness. Sin, as understood in Biblical Christianity, is the fallen spiritual nature that we have inherited from our first earthly parents, Adam and Eve. Unlike secular humanists and Islamists, who see humankind as basically good but corruptible, the faith that Jesus inspired and is taught in the Bible insists that we have all sinned and this is due to the sin nature that we inherited.
Biblical Christianity is not a faith based on strict adherence to Mosaic law. It is based instead upon a unique relationship between the omnipotent, eternal Creator God and His people, through whom He would redeem all of mankind from sin. God instituted the Torah through Moses to give the new nation of Israel, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, a standard for living that, if followed, would set them apart from the ruthless, fatalistic, idol-worshipers around them and thereby enable them to be a holy nation — holiness in Hebrew meaning “set apart.”
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.
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.
Christians believe that Jesus instituted Communion at the Last Supper. In fact Jesus had just taken the middle matzah called the Afikomen from the single stack of three matzah during the Passover observance. He broke that matzah and then equated that unleavened bread to His body and poured the wine and equated that to His blood.
Seems simple enough but not for many professing Christians. Catholics believe the bread and wine actually becomes the physical body and blood of Jesus and those Christians who do not believe that are denied Communion in a Catholic Church. A local Catholic Bishop may make an agreement with a local Orthodox Bishop to extend Communion to Orthodox Christians. However, Local Orthodox Bishops will not comply. The Orthodox Church does not permit non-Orthodox Christians to take Communion in an Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church forbids Orthodox Christians from taking Communion in non-Orthodox Churches.
Likewise Catholics are forbidden from taking Communion from non-Catholic Ministers. The Catholic Church considers taking Communion in a non-Catholic or Orthodox Church to be a grave evil and mortal sin. The Catholic Church considers their Bishops and Orthodox Bishops to have a direct line succession going back to the Apostles. Since non-Orthodox and Catholic Pastors cannot claim that line of succession they are considered illegitimate to offer Communion according to the Roman Catholic Church.
No one has any control as to where they were born or to whom they were born. We are raised by parents who identify with a particular faith and that faith was transmitted to us. Some of us were then sent to religious schools where we were further indoctrinated into that faith. All faiths have variations within them. Movement within these variations can often cause at a minimum verbal conflict or shunning. In contemporary Christianity movement between Orthodox, Catholic, Traditional Protestant, Baptist and Evangelical occurs often without fear of physical repercussions. This cannot be said about Islam. Movement between Shi’a and Sunni groups can often end in violence. A Sunni who is a Salafi could never accept a relative or friend becoming Shi’a. This is so because Shi’ites are viewed as heretics. Judaism is extremely diverse. Rabbinical Judaism encompasses Ultra-Orthodox, Orthodox, Khabad Lubavitch, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist. Khabad Lubavich is one of several kHasidic [or, more commonly, Chasidic or Hasidic] sects which are a branch within what would be considered ultra-Orthodox [kHeredim] Judaism. Khasidim have a different worship style [more music, more dancing, more spontaneity than other kHeredim], but equally strict social and lifestyle rules and similarly insular [avoiding contact with non-Kosher-keeping people who are viewed as ceremonially unclean]. Modern Orthodox Jews keep most of the same rabbinic laws, but will work and do business with, and to a large degree socialize with, non-Jews and secular Jews.