It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

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steve
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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by steve » Mon Sep 29, 2008 12:44 am

Paidion,

You wrote:
Jesus doesn’t differentiate between the command to hate your enemy and the other commands that “were said to the men of old.” They are all lumped together. Why didn’t Jesus say of the other commands to which He referred in the books of Moses “The Father said to you …, but I say to you …”? Had He done so, it would certainly have appeared that Jesus was teaching differently from the Father. But He wasn’t!
You think Jesus did not differentiate between "Hate your enemy" and the other examples of their accustomed teaching which He listed? Nothing could be more conspicuously incorrect! The instruction to hate one's enemies was the only example of the seven that Jesus both refuted and contradicted, because, in fact, it was not part of the mosaic legislation, as were the other six.

Concerning the first six examples given (Do not murder; Do not commit adultery; Give a bill of divorce, if you divorce your wife; Do not swear falsely; An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth; Love your neighbor), Jesus made no objection, raised no contradiction, and, in fact, offered no commentary that could not already be found elsewhere (stated or implied) in the Old Testament.

Of the first example, He did not revoke or disagree with the command against murder, but simply added that one also must not be unjustly angry. The Old Testament had plenty to say against inappropriate anger (Prov.14:17; 22:24; 29:22/ Eccl.7:9/ Jonah 4:4). This was not a new revelation from Jesus, just a new connection to the sixth commandment.

Of the second example, He did not revoke the command against adultery, but He added that one also must not lust after a woman. Such lust was already condemned in the Old Testament (Ex.20:17/ Job 31:1/ Jer.5:8). Nothing new here either.

Of the third example, He expressed no disagreement with the custom of giving a writ of divorce when divorcing. He merely clarified that there is only one ground for divorce that God will recognize. In another place (Matt.19:1-9), He based this very same teaching upon the Old Testament record of the first marriage (Genesis 1 and 2), which suggests that they should have been able to figure this out (without Jesus) from what Moses had already written in the Torah. In fact, in that place, He prefaced His statement about no ground for divorce other than fornication with the question, "Have you not read [Genesis 2:24]?" Clearly, He was not claiming to be presenting a new idea, absent from the Torah.

Of the fourth example, He said that one ought to get along without any oaths at all (though He did not say, as if to contradict Moses, that one is now free to break his oaths). The Old Testament never commanded people to make oaths (except in the case of one who had lost property entrusted to him), so Jesus' telling His disciples to live without oaths can hardly be said to contradict any command of Moses on the subject. Ecclesiastes 5 talks about oaths, and also makes it clear that it is often better to make no oaths. Jesus gave no new ethic here, either.

Of the fifth example, Jesus said that one ought not to press his legal rights to retaliation (though He gave no indication that the courts, when prosecuting a violent crime, should adopt some code of punishment different from that of Moses). "Turning the other cheek" was always an option in the Old Testament (David did so with both Saul and Shimei), and presents no violation of the civil code of criminal punishments. In other words, the law telling the courts that the proper punishment for one who has taken another man's eye was that the assailant should lose an eye of his own was never intended to deprive the victim of the right not to press charges. This is the option that Jesus encouraged His disciples to take.

Of the sixth example, He agreed that one ought to love his neighbor (just as Moses said), but clarified that one's enemy is also a neighbor and should be loved as well. Teaching to the contrary by the rabbis had been misleading—and even contrary to the mosaic legislation! Loving enemies has many precedents in the Old Testament (e.g. Exodus 23:4-5/ Prov.25:21-22/ 1 Sam.24:10-11/ 2 Sam.18:5/ 2 Kings 6:21-23). There was nothing new or novel (just something ignored by the rabbis) in Jesus' command to love enemies. The Christian obligation to love is "no new commandment...but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning" (1 John 2:7).

In no point in the Sermon on the Mount did Jesus abrogate or show any dissatisfaction with the laws given by Moses. However, He sharply renounced the command to hate one's enemy, for the simple reason that, unlike the other examples given, it was a man-made, and wrong-headed, commandment.

It is true that Jesus said, "You have heard it said by (or to) those of old times..." rather than, "You have heard the Father say..." But this is entirely irrelevant to proving your point, since He was simply referring to a variety of things they had often heard rabbis say in the synagogues. It goes without saying that very much, if not most, of the rules taught by the rabbis would either be the laws of God, which the rabbis were obliged to teach, or applications of those laws that were unobjectionable.

This assumption lies behind Jesus' instruction to His disciples, elsewhere, that they ought to observe "everything [the rabbis, speaking from Moses' seat in the synagogue] bid you to observe and do" (Matt.23:2-3). Obviously, most (but not all) of the things taught from Moses' seat would be derived from and consistent with the divine law. In Jesus representations of what the disciples had often heard (but never adequately understood) in the synagogues, it is predictable that most of the content would have been the commandments of God, and this is what we find to be the case in Jesus' selection of points to elucidate.

When Jesus said, "You have heard...but I say to you..." the second part was not to be taken as a contradiction, an abolition or renunciation of the first, but rather as a way of saying, "Your teachers have told you this much... but I say they did not go nearly far enough! The Law implies much more than the rabbis have understood or taught! I will now fill-in what they neglected to tell you..." It is astonishing that one could think that Jesus, in Matthew 5:21-48, would commence to dismantle the law of Moses, immediately after He had declared that He had not come to do any such thing (vv.17-20).

Your suggestion that "the commandment of God," in Mark 7, did not include the command to kill disobedient children is a stretch in the extreme! Jesus' whole point was to contrast the "word of God" from the "traditions" concocted by man. In doing so, He places two commandments (both of which "Moses said") in juxtaposition against the traditional practices of the Pharisees. He clearly intended to say that these things that Moses had said were "the commandments of God" which the Pharisees were nullifying by their traditions. To suggest that the first mentioned law of Moses was presented as authoritative, but the second was not raises insuperable difficulties. In making His point, why did Jesus include a law which (you say) was not a law of God, alongside one that clearly was a law of God, and then say that the Pharisees had violated them by their traditions—if, in fact, even one of the two was itself such a tradition?

Paidion, you are a clever man, but your intelligence is not put to good use when you employ it in dodging the clear teaching of Jesus, fabricating fantastic subterfuges of extremely unlikely interpretations, simply to avoid admitting that your doctrine is faulty. I know and regret that this comment may hurt your feelings, and I never do so lightly or happily, but I can see your arguments in no other light—they are so far-fetched! Sometimes it is better just to say, "You know, I may have been wrong about that."

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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by Paidion » Mon Sep 29, 2008 2:29 pm

Steve wrote:Your suggestion that "the commandment of God," in Mark 7, did not include the command to kill disobedient children is a stretch in the extreme! Jesus' whole point was to contrast the "word of God" from the "traditions" concocted by man. In doing so, He places two commandments (both of which "Moses said") in juxtaposition against the traditional practices of the Pharisees. He clearly intended to say that these things that Moses had said were "the commandments of God" which the Pharisees were nullifying by their traditions. To suggest that the first mentioned law of Moses was presented as authoritative, but the second was not raises insuperable difficulties. In making His point, why did Jesus include a law which (you say) was not a law of God, alongside one that clearly was a law of God, and then say that the Pharisees had violated them by their traditions—if, in fact, even one of the two was itself such a tradition?


Actually, Jesus did not say that the Pharisees had violated THEM by their traditions. He indicated that they violated the command to honour father and mother with monetary help by telling their father and mother that the money which should have been given to them was given to God. He didn't indicate that they were violating the other Mosaic injunction to kill children who cursed their father or mother, by refraining from doing so.

I think I have already given a possible reason for Jesus inclusion of the other Mosaic injuction --- that He included it simply because for the Jews it was part and parcel of the other. For they professed Moses as being their teacher.
Paidion, you are a clever man, but your intelligence is not put to good use when you employ it in dodging the clear teaching of Jesus, fabricating fantastic subterfuges of extremely unlikely interpretations, simply to avoid admitting that your doctrine is faulty. I know and regret that this comment may hurt your feelings, and I never do so lightly or happily, but I can see your arguments in no other light—they are so far-fetched! Sometimes it is better just to say, "You know, I may have been wrong about that."
No you haven't hurt my feelings. I would be ashamed and embarassed if you had. For that would indicate that I possess the kind of human pride that needs to be extirpated by the baptism of fire which our Lord brings upon His people that they may be purified as gold.
Actually, I AM presently experiencing that purifying fire in another area of my life, and thank God, I am accepting it as from God, and am learning to allow Him to destroy the dross which is still in my life.

I have certainly noticed the strong manner with which you reply to those with whom you greatly disagree. It doesn't bother me at all. I don't doubt that you are a much more effective debater than I, much more vebally articulate, and you may be more intelligent as well. I have noticed throughout the years, however, that some of the most intelligent people are often mistaken.

As for admitting that I am wrong, I have done that for many years. I was once a strong Calvinist who believed that I was born again and could not be unborn, that I was saved from hell, and so couldn't possibly go there no matter what I did. I am glad to say that God convicted me through second century Christian writings, and I repented of that false thinking.
Throughout the years, I "admitted I was wrong" about classic trinitarian belief, belief that we possess "immortal souls", dispensationalism, eternal suffering in hell, and a host of others.

As for the present issue, you have not yet convinced me (or am I becoming too settled in my old age?) Right now, I think I must continue to see it as I have expressed it, or accept a false picture of God. I see no other alternative at present. Nevertheless, I thank you for the food for thought you have presented, and you may rest assured that I will continue to think a lot about this issue.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 82.

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steve
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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by steve » Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:29 pm

Paidion,

I am glad not to have hurt your feelings, and I am sorry about whatever trials you may be experiencing at the moment.

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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by Homer » Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:53 pm

Steve,

While I am in disagreement with Paidion's position, I am not sure I am in agreement with you in regard to the following:
Apart from coming here in a human form and showing us how it is done, what else was there about God's expectations that Jesus made known, which had not been made known in the Old Testament? Specifically, I would like to know if you can point to one thing that Jesus taught or exemplified that was not already in the ethical teachings of the Old Testament. If you can find no examples (I can't), then how can you create such an artificial dichotomy between the ethics revealed in the Old Testament and those revealed in Jesus?
Perhaps I am wrong, but it seems to me the ethic of the Law of Christ is more advanced than that of the Old Testament. Although there are other points that could be discussed, I would like to focus on one: sexual ethics.

You wrote to Paidion:
Of the second example, He did not revoke the command against adultery, but He added that one also must not lust after a woman. Such lust was already condemned in the Old Testament (Ex.20:17/ Job 31:1/ Jer.5:8). Nothing new here either.
If the person under the Law must not lust after anyone other than his (one) wife, it is difficult to see how polygamy, which was not forbidden, could occur. There seems to be no indication that polygamy was forbidden or that God was displeased with David having more than one wife. And was not adultery, under the Old Testament, limited to the spouse of others? Was sexual intercourse forbidden with concubines, servants, or slaves? Was sex forbidden in all cases between the unmarried?

There seems to be a considerable difference between the sexual ethics of the New Testament and that of the old.

You have got me pondering the comparison of the NT and OT ethics, and not so sure of my position.

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steve
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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by steve » Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:47 am

Hi Homer,

Technically, there is nothing in the teaching of Jesus or the apostles that forbade any sexual behavior that was not condemned in the Old Testament (in fact, the Old Testament has extensive lists of sexual sins, including bestiality, which are not mentioned in the New Testament—thus the OT is more sweeping in its defining of sexual sin than is the NT). We can assume that the word "fornication" in the NT covered all the forms of unlawful sex defined in the OT law—but there is no way of knowing whether it included more than did the OT.

I believe that the loftier vision of marriage presented by Paul suggests that Christian sexuality should be restricted to one partner (an image of Christ and His one bride), but apart from this, I know of no New Testament teaching that defines sexual morality in stricter terms than did the Old Testament. I may be forgetting something, but I can't think of any new sexual restrictions added in the teachings of Jesus that went beyond Old Testament teachings.

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Homer
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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by Homer » Sun Oct 05, 2008 12:17 am

Hi Steve,

You wrote:
I may be forgetting something, but I can't think of any new sexual restrictions added in the teachings of Jesus that went beyond Old Testament teachings.
When Jesus said:

Matthew 5:28
"whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart".


You indicated that you think the following texts amount to the same thing Jesus taught: Exodus 20:7, Job 31:1, Jeremiah 5:8. After considering each, I would comment as follows:

1. Ex.20:17, one of the Ten Commandments, only forbids coveting your neighbor's wife and says nothing about lusting after another available woman when a person already has a wife.

2. Job 31:1 expresses Job's intent to live as Jesus commanded (see above), however it does not in itself imply the existance of a command, at that time, to do as Job did unless we admit that commands are established by what might be described as "approved precedent" (i.e. Job's example amounts to an implied command for us to do likewise). If we use this method, then it seems we must admit that Abraham's payment of a tithe to Melchisedec also establishes a requirement for us to give tithes.

3. Jer.5:8, as in #1 above, refers only to lust for the wife of another.

Perhaps you can think of other scriptures in the Old Testament that support your position; I am eager to hear of them and be corrected if I am mistaken. It seems to me that men in the Old Testament behaved without condemnation in ways that Jesus would never condone.

Thanks for your consideration.

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Homer
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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by Homer » Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:25 pm

Steve,

Good to see you are safely home. I know you have been very busy; hope you will have time to respond to my previous post on this thread before you are on the road again.

God bless, Homer

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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by steve » Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:14 pm

Hi Homer,

It may be that Moses and Jeremiah only condemned lusting after other men's wives, but Job's statement, even if not rising to the level of a commandment, is definitely given as an example of the habits of a righteous man. His covenant with his eyes was that he would not look upon a "maid," which would be an unmarried woman.

Technically, one could argue that Jesus' statement specifically had married women in mind. If He did not intend this, then it would not seem appropriate to describe the sin as committing adultery in the heart (fornication in the heart would have been more inclusive a term). How could an act committed in the imagination be called "adultery in the heart," if the same act, when actually performed, would not be adultery? I am not saying that Jesus approved of lustful fantasies about unmarried women. It just seems questionable whether this is what He was referring to in His famous comment.

If, as I believe, Job's behavior (so highly commended by God, in Job 1) were to be recognized as a standard to emulate, it would not be necessary for Jesus to repeat it—just as He did not repeat the laws about homosexuality and bestiality—in order for His disciples to know how He felt about such things. However, the sexual standards He taught would still be none other than those already presented in the Old Testament, and therefore, would not be revolutionary.

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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by Homer » Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:27 pm

Steve,

Considering the following:

Matthew 19:3-9 (New King James Version)

3. The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
4. And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6. So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
7. They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”
8. He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”


In His response to the Pharisees' question about divorce, Jesus goes back to the creation story. He cites no OT precept in His reply but seems to infer that God's original intent for marriage is seen in the creation story. Given that there is no explicit command in the OT, but yet divorce/remarriage, absent the exception for fornication, is said by Jesus to constitute adultery, it would then seem to have been adultery from the time of Adam and Eve until Moses permitted divorce.

This brings to mind the following questions:

1. Did the creation story example actually establish, by inference, a precept regarding divorce/remarriage (or polygamy) prior to Moses?

2. Or does Jesus merely point out, in His response to the Pharisees, God's original intent prior to the fall, without an implied precept being established.

If #1 is correct, it would seem Moses (or God through Moses) for a time sanctioned (or overlooked) divorce/remarriage (and polygamy) and thus sanctioned (or overlooked) what was in effect adultery.

If #2 is correct, then it would seem Jesus did teach something new regarding morality that the OT did not.

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Re: It's A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

Post by steve » Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:25 am

I take position #2. When I said that Jesus did not teach higher standards than those that can be found in the Old Testament, I was not restricting the Old Testament revelation to the dictates of the Mosaic law. Jesus definitely brought many things to light that most Jews had never noticed or thought-through in their Bible—but He did find them there. Thus, whether the Jews had previously discovered this, or not, I believe that Jesus brought such a revelation to light as could have been deduced by a thoughtful, spiritual man reading the Old Testament.

Job was a thoughtful, spiritual man, who apparently understood God's standards prior to the giving of the law. Consider, also, how far ahead of the Pharisees David was in his non-legalistic thinking (e.g. Ps.51:16-17). It seems to me that Jesus was not contradicting the righteous requirements of the Old Testament, but was expounding them and bringing out from them such lessons as the Jews, if spiritual, should have been able to deduce, had they not been deriving their teaching from the mere letter of the law. That, I believe, is why Jesus's answer to their question began with, "Have you not read...?" (Matt.19:4).

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