What exactly is the idea behind “love your enemy as yourself”? Bob shows us it’s more complicated than you might think: It might be that you’re supposed to love your enemy because you’re hoping God will be the one to dole out punishment to the wicked (far more severely than you could). Or maybe loving your enemy will, as Bob says, “make your enemy feel like a jerk,” thereby psychologically heaping fiery coals on his head.
Also, is it really St. Peter’s job to decide who does and does not get into Heaven? And what’s the deal with Revelation: isn’t the Roman Empire supposed to rise again? We’ll get to the bottom of it all with The Human Bible.
The Bible, love it or hate it, is a book filled with puzzles and mysteries. It will be a hard task to one Ravell as many of them as possible. We want to understand the Bible is a human book, not a book inspired by a God.
I’m Robert M. Price and this is the very human.
I am your host, Robert M. Price, and this is the Human Bible, the human Bible is a radio show and podcast of the Center for Inquiry, a think tank advancing science reason, freedom of inquiring and humanist values and public affairs. And at the grass roots. As we usually do, what say we get up to speed?
And you remember the point of that. There’s a lot of stuff I tempted to take for granted because I’ve been in this whole thing so long, so many years, so many decades, that I’m a fish in water when it comes to some of these things about biblical criticism. And I’ve long since learned I mustn’t take things for granted that very intelligent people are at sea just as quickly as dense ones. If a teacher assumes they know what they’re there to learn. Right. So, in fact, everything didn’t stop me if you’ve heard this one. When I was teaching at a Baptist school, I did the introductory Bible classes for freshmen. And these kids were like Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostals and so on. Fundamentalists. Right. Bible waivers. Right. And I decided I better gauge where they were at because given that they all went to Bible believing churches, they might have a pretty good knowledge of the Bible. I know I did. By the time I went to college. So I got gave them this Bible Knowledge quiz, which I quickly renamed the Bible Ignorance Quiz after doing a couple of times because I would ask questions of varying depth. And holy mackerel, it was amazing. People knew virtually nothing. They could name the Ten Commandments or any of them really. They had no idea who wrote the Gospels or what gospels were known. When the Bible was written, any of his stuff. So I’m not going to make the same mistake again if I can help at a lot of the questions we deal with and the apologetics arguments and all that presuppose acquaintance with certain issues. So I’m trying to to provide that the head of the show.
So they give you the prerequisites and those of you that already know this stuff.
It wouldn’t hurt you to hear it again from a new perspective with some good, smart ass remark Senate? Well, a while ago I was doing this form critical thing. I was trying to introduce the. Method of biblical study where you determine what sort of a piece of literature. Am I reading because often the rules of a genre will govern how you’re supposed to understand the thing. If you try to take poetry as prose, it’s not going to work. And if you think a parable is literal history, you get all kinds of headaches. You weren’t supposed to get it. And so I went into, among other things, the solms because, oh, man, here’s a favorite of a lot of people who read a devotional. And they want to connect with God through these these lyrics. And they kinda think they’re poems or prayers or something. And then a lot of it works that way. Search me. Oh, Lord. And you know, if there’s any wicked way in me and things like that. But then you run smack dab into these hidden reefs and boulders, references to a king and warfare and stuff like this. And what is going on here? Well, nobody exactly knows. But we do have a lot of information about the form of these texts that a lot of them, maybe almost all of them, were really written for the king of Judah to sing, or at least to be sung for him by the Levitical choirs and the temple and so forth.
Other other theory is that some of them were hymns of various kinds to be sung again by the the staff singers in the temple. But on behalf of any worshiper who could go in and say, look, I’m in trouble, I wonder, would you sing one of the laments to God for me asking for help because I can’t put it into words or. Oh, man, things that go on great for me. I want to make a thanks of offering and to have you sing one of the thank Thanksgiving songs and stuff like that. And we dealt with a bunch of them. Will one of them. I don’t think we ever got to. And I wanted to mention it was the genre or the form of wisdom psalms. There are some that are poetic, but they don’t seem to have had any ritual occasion. I don’t know that they were ever really. I don’t know that any scholar envision a scenario in which these would actually have been sung there. I’ve actually come closer to being autonomous. Poetry, the kind of thing people are looking for in all the Psalms. Why are these so different? Well, they’re about wisdom and the Torah or the Jewish law and things like that. Some of them involve some prayer to God, but a lot of them are just meditations on the why is life and righteousness and so on. And a lot of them would really fit almost better in the Book of Proverbs for Ravi’s reasons. And that is because they seem to have been written by scribes, the same ones by whom and for whom the Book of Proverbs was written. People that were conversant with a Psalms. Well, yeah, they heard them sung in the temple, but they were the people that copy them. Course, that’s what a scribe literally means, though. The term becomes broader and use somebody that is really conversant with the scriptures, but it stems from being a copy, a strike, no Xerox machines, no printing presses, no E books or anything. Back then you had to have copies made. The old ones would wear out. You had to have new inj and I have several of them. And so there were people who were professional scribes and the course were secular scribes to the did contracts and all that. But these guys were were temples, scribes in all probability. And they made copies of The Solms. They compile the song book together that contains 150 songs. And it looks like they put their own stamp on it by adding these few wisdom’s songs to just, I guess, edify of the reader or the singer or whatever, just to have a little extra in there. And I want to read you parts of three of them, because there’s some pretty interesting stuff to point out in them. One is the very first psalm. And of course, that makes an awful lot of sense, right, because the compilers where these scribes and wise men, sages and all that, and so they’re they’re christening the book with one of theirs.
And it’s a short one. Here it is from the revised standard version. Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked. It doesn’t take their advice, nor sits nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers. That would be me, I guess. But his delight is in the law of Yerby and on his law he meditates day and night. He’s like a tree planted by streams of waters that yields its fruit and its season, and its leaf does not wither. And all that he does, he prospers.
Pause there. Now you read that kind of thing all over the proverbs, right? Honesty is the best policy. It’s not just right.
But you’re going to come out ahead that way as they are. Here you go. You have that right here. OK. Verse four, the wicked are not so, but like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore, the wicked will not stand and the judgment that they won’t survive. Nor centers in the congregation of the righteous.
For Yahoo! A knows the way of the righteous like. He keeps an eye on your path. If you’re righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. He’s headed for his doom.
Now, why would that be? Why doesn’t it say the believer has a good destination? Whereas the the unbeliever, the pagan, the heretic, the heathen is in for big trouble. They’re not really that interested in that. The scribes, they kind of assume, well, we’re all Israelites, Hebrews, Jews, whatever.
And so they’re unbelievers and are really in view anyhow, though, oddly, there was in some like we’re gonna see the very next one. I look at whether that there is a sense of a larger fellowship of the sages, that you don’t have to be a Jew to be wise. Now, if you’re not a Jew, you’re under no obligation to keep all the rules of the Torah, the ceremonial laws. And I didn’t expect Arabs to do the sacrifices that the Torah mandated and all that. But there there’s a lot of wisdom in it that you’ll find everywhere among the wise. And so, yeah, the why.
So the ones that know not to go down certain blind alleys, they they consider the consequences of their actions. So, yeah, they know where they’re going. So they’re going to wind up in a good place. Now that’s a little naive, but that’s the way it’s supposed to work.
Right. There are always things that intervene and and it doesn’t quite work out that way in the Book of Jobe and the Book of Ecclesiastes, these are taken a bad side of the argument.
But yeah, this sounds a lot like the Book of Proverbs. Here’s one about the Torah, the law, and it’s fairly short, too. This is Psalm 19. The heavens are telling the glory of God in the firmament of a dome over the earth, proclaims his handiwork day to day, puts forth speech and night to night, declares knowledge.
There’s no speech, nor are there words. Their voice is not heard yet. Their voice goes out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world. Let me just pause there.
The idea that the look. Look at the heavens, the stars and all that stuff. Doesn’t that fill you with wonder? Very much like Immanuel Kant, who said two things. Fill me with wonder. The starry heavens above and the moral law within. Well, these guys could have signed on onto that. And some centuries later, this kind of scribal wisdom is going to give birth to these strange apocalyptic works where Enoch and other people, other seers and sages, not prophets, mind you, but scribes. Interestingly, just like their authors, they go through the heavens guided by an angel, kind of like Scrooge with the various ghosts, and they’re shown how the heavens are made up and where the store houses of the rain and the snow and the stars are kept and where the fallen angels are in prison. That was part of wisdom because these guys were among the early natural philosophers, like the ones like the Ionian philosophers and Greek. These guys study the heavens and wisdom included reading the stars. Astrology was included with this and the divination telling the future. So they speculated about how the universe must be set up. Here’s like the seed of it right here. But then we flip over to the text of the Torah, the law, the commandments, the law of.
Oh, wait a minute. No, I’m sorry. I’ve got to go back up to and a verse four in them as the heavens.
He has set a tent for the sun, which comes forth like a bridegroom leaving his chamber and like a strong man runs its course with joy. It’s rising as from the end of the heavens and it’s circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
Now we’re gonna get into the Torah, the commandments. Why this business about the sun, which, by the way, seems to be derived from UWC nothin’s him to the sun over in Egypt, right? Because these guys had that international perspective and they liked what they read there. But why does it have to do with the law? Why does it go on to get into that? Well. Because Sun Gods for some reason were believed to be the law givers. Apollo was the law giver. Moses comes out of the tent just like this, the tent of meeting with commandments and his face is shining. Right. This all goes back to that complex complex of mythic aims. If you’ve ever seen the Code of Harm Arabe, it’s inscribed on this huge stone table. And there’s an illustration of the top of it, of the Emperor Hammurabi receiving these laws. From whom? Just any old God. No, Shamash, the sun God. Right.
So that’s that’s why these things are linked together. And then we get into the law. And of course, here’s where the scribe is really dig in. The law of Yahoo! Is perfect. Reviving the soul, the testimony of Yahoo! Vé is sure making wise the simple, the precepts of Yahoo! They are right. Rejoicing the heart. The commandment of Yahoo is pure and lightening the eyes. The fear of Yahoo! Is clean, enduring forever the ordinances of Yahoo. They are true and righteous altogether more to be desired. Or they than gold even much find gold sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them, as thy servant warned in keeping them, there is great reward. But who can discern his errors and not? Now it passes into a prayer. Clear. Allow me from hidden faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins. Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless and innocent of great transgressions. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in my sight. OIRA, my rock and my redeemer.
So, yeah, this is a lyric by somebody Veges loves that, Tara. And it’s it’s pretty great poetry. Now, this I don’t want to I’m too old to spend the time reading this whole thing. But there’s another masterpiece. I mean, you wouldn’t really think anybody could wax so lyrical about the Torah. What do I mean, even if you think it’s important. Right. There’s all kinds of commandments in there that are pretty mundane. I like it then. Puzzling. Thou shalt not deceive. Goeden its mother’s milk Adhiambo at day. That’s a thrill.
Nonetheless, the scribe who loves this waxes eloquent. Let me just read you the beginning of Song 119. Blessed of those whose way is blameless, who walk in, that is, you know, live according to the law of Yahweh. A blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong but walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded by precepts to be kept diligently. Oh, that my ways may be steadfast in keeping vice statutes. Then I shall not be put to shame having my eyes fixed on all thy commandments. I will praise thee with an upright heart. When I learn by righteous ordinances, I will observe by statutes. Oh, for sake.
May not utterly. But there’s all kinds of good stuff in here.
Well, let me just read a little bit more of this to show you of the heart of the person writing this. How can a young man keep his way pure? Now, that’s a big thing with the Book of Proverbs. There’s a lot of talk about young people, young men, and the only ones that were educated and how they can avoid the traps of youth. Well, again, it’s just like Proverbs. This could fit their almost. How can a young man keep his way pure by guarding it?
According to my word, with my whole heart, I seek the let me not wander from my commandments. I I’ve laid up thy word in my heart that I might not sin against the blessed be thy will ya. They teach me thy statues with my lips. I declare all the ordinances of thy mouth right. He’s a teacher and he’s publicly teaching these commandments in the way of thy testimonies. I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on the precepts and fix my eyes on thy ways. I will delight in my statutes.
I will not forget thy word. This goes on for a hundred and seventy six verses, and it doesn’t.
Wear out. I don’t know how anybody could have done this, but the same sentiments are paraphrased again and again and again.
I heard a guy do a series of sermons, hum, old psalm, and that got tiring pretty quick. But this is just beautifully written and repetitive and yet not redundant at the end. We start hearing some nastiness. How?
Oh, boy, I hate those who don’t love the commandments of God and and so forth in this.
I think you find if you’re a if you’re a New Testament fan and you are looking at the gospel portrait of the Pharisees, you ought to read this because it shows the heart of the Pharisees. They wanted nothing more than to live every minute of every day according to the commandments of God. And did some of them look down on people who didn’t? Well, yeah, that’s a very common temptation to religious folk. So if you want to see the mind and heart of such a person, they’re not, Carol. They weren’t just charac jaws. This kind of wisdom, Sollom is is really perfect.
I think it’s really a window into the soul of people like that. So unimportant kind of of song.
Well, apologetics, what do we say about that apologetics? Is never having to say you’re sorry.
Now, here’s Proverbs. Here’s something somebody asked me about just recently in the Epistle to the Romans. There’s a quote from Proverbs. So really you could you can take it out of either source. But I just copied it out of Romans 12 versus 19 through 20. Is there any way of getting out of this beloved never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God for it is written. Vengeance is mine. I will repay, says the Lord. No quote. And here’s the proverb saying, if your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he’s thirsty, give him drink. For by doing so, you will heap burning coals upon his head. Oh boy. Now what’s the problem?
I guess I don’t even need to ask. It’s just rhetorical. This would be a classic case of what Nietzsche said about the slave morality and the cowardice of piety.
Oh, yeah. I’m gonna turn the other cheek. You’re my enemy.
But I’m gonna help you out here cause I’m really giving you enough rope to hang yourself. You’re nasty to me. I’m nice to you. You’re really gonna catch it when God punishes. Now, I could refuse to feed you. Right. But that wouldn’t be nearly as good as God kicking your butt on the day of judgment or whatever, seeing you come to a nasty end. I’m just going to make you even more guilty by having you accept my hospitality. Yeah, that’s pretty awful. Nietzsche would say. Why don’t you just strike back? It’d be better if you were above the fray, right? If you were the ubermensch and you can’t be bothered with the abuse of these nothings.
But if you were to be riled up, at least be honest, for Pete’s sake. So, yeah, this this looks kind of bad. Now, it looks bad to two devout Bible believers, too. They don’t want to believe this. I mean, they’re not looking at this as some excuse to get somebody in deeper. I mean, I’ve never met one who did. It speaks well of them that they have a problem with this. Surely Paul and the Holy Spirit and so forth are not advising us to just set up our persecutors. Are our enemies for worse, kick in the butt. And then so here’s the apologetic. Here’s the apologist argument. Oh, no, no, no. Paul merely means and perhaps the proverb meant that you will shame the person who abuses you by turning the other cheek and loving your enemies sincerely. Now they’re going to feel like a real jerk. Their cheeks will burn with shame. And that’s what it means to heap burning coals on somebodies head. Well, it’s not impossible, I guess, but I just can’t think that that’s not a dodge, especially since now. Again, I don’t know what the writer of the proverb had in mind to the coyner of the proverb, whatever it is, because they often have no context that just wise and witty sayings. Right. But in the context of Romans twelve. I think it’s pretty clear. Right. He. Couples it with this. Well, no, wait a minute. The whole quote, I’m sorry, you have the whole quote as their vengeance is mine. I will repay. Well, I guess two different Texas in it. Yeah. OK, I was right the first time. Vengeance is mine. I would pay the fact that the writer brings that in and links it to this thing about feeding and giving drink to your enemy. The point seems to be you’re heaping the coals of God’s vengeance on his head. You’re going to make it worse for him when God squares the accounts. So I’m afraid it is unworthy nastiness. I just don’t think in context, which is supposed to mean so much. Right. Context is king. You hear preachers say, and usually they’re right. But if the context means anything. Yeah. This is just spiteful nastiness in the name of supposedly benevolent religion. Don’t don’t get the idea. I’m trying to indict the Bible in all Bible believers. It’s just that.
If you believe the whole darn thing is inherent and infallible, you’re going to start having to perjure your conscience by coming up with.
Lame rationalizations like this.
Here is a question from the mysterious nay whore and exmormon who asks or says and asks. I was reviewing the Sermon on the Mount this weekend and Matthew six twenty two struck me as a verse. I have never understood. What does it mean for the eye to be the light of the body? What does it mean in verse 23? That the light can be darkness. Did the people of the New Testament believe that light and dark were different things than we know them to be now? Did they think that dark was radiated from somewhere rather than just an absence of light?
That is so, so incredibly interesting. I read a novel once where they made some kind of thing like that, that there was a dark sun that you couldn’t see that radiated evil and all that.
And this this is just really interesting. I think I did a sermon on this once, but let’s take a look at the whole passage. A short one. Matthew, 25. Fifteen. The eye is the lamp of the body light in that sense. So if you’re I think I’m reading this. Yeah. I got this from the new American standard by the eye as the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness? I think this is an example of metonymy where a one variety of which has the inner stand for the outer. And so when they say that if your eye is sound, you won’t be in darkness. But literally it’s saying darkness won’t be in you. I think it’s the same sort of ideas in the gospel of John. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have a light of life. So everything will be clear to you. If you are blind, you appear to be in darkness and darkness appears to be in you. In fact, if you start losing your sight, it appears there’s some kind of mist is congealing around your brain or something. And, you know, it’s not getting dark out there. It apparently is getting dark in here. So I think that’s the idea of the light in the body or the darkness in the body. You’re really in the light or the darkness. But what about the eye? Part of it? Well, it fits the metaphor. If the if the inner outer thing is metonymy, the eye being the lamp is metaphore. Right is a comparison of analogous things. The eye is like the lamp. OK, that I guess that’s pretty obvious. But what do they mean? The eye is sound. Or if the eye is not sound? Well, on one level, of course, you if you’re grossly nearsighted or you’re blind or something like that, your eye is unsound. It’s not healthy. But this does have a known metaphorical significance beyond that. And here’s here’s a verse to compare it with. Also in Matthew Matthew, 25 15. This is in the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, whether guy goes out. So what is it, three hour intervals? He needs farm workers to harvesters crop. He doesn’t have regular hands on salary he needs. He goes out and gets day laborers and he and he gets some later and later in the day until they finally, though, he needs them at the when there’s only one hour left. He’s got to get it done. And then he has the paymaster come out and give everybody their wages. Well, the guys that have been Leyburn, him a son all day, are shocked when when they give the same wage to all the workers, including the guys. I worked one lousy hour and they start complaining and the guy says, but it’s my money. I mean that. Didn’t you agree with me for so and so amount? So what if I’m giving it to the guys that worked only a day? That’s really none of your business. And he says, is your eye evil because I am good. The evil lie. Well, doesn’t mean that in this case, if the image was a sound I is a generous one. Another unsound or evil eye. It means you’re squinting as a miser. It’s not too tough to figure out the point of metaphor. And surely that’s got to be the point in Matthew, because this thing about the eye is sound or not sound is placed smack dab in the middle of a bunch of sayings about generosity, alms giving and stuff like that. So I think that’s the point.
You’re just gonna be out of kilter and misperceive everything. If you’re stingy, you’re going to be walking in darkness. If you’re generous, you’re your. Seeing things clearly because this is the way God wants you to be and other people will like you and so on. So I think that’s what’s what’s in view there.
Wow. That’s in the Bible. But is this is that in the Bible? One of the favorite segments, according to listener surveys on the human Bible. And this time I don’t know why I didn’t think Alison before. Maybe I didn’t. I forgot. I don’t know. Does Saint Peter admit people to heaven? Is he up there at the pearly gates in some folk away? Let in, some in. I mean, that’s the way we always hear about it in movies and stories. Yes. St. Peter’s up there at the Pearly Gates. Is that anywhere in the Bible? Well, no, but you can see where they got it. There is the passage in Matthew 16. Oh, boy, I forgot the actual verse, but it’s chapter 16. This is after this is in Matthew’s version of Peter’s confession. It’s kind of expanded from the original shorter version and Mark. And he’s congratulating Peter because when he asks, who do you guys think I am? And he says, well, here you’re the Christ, the son of a living God. And he congratulates and blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah. So on. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. And whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. And whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. What is that all about? Well, Arthur drives. I think you say it. It’s spelled Deeyah e W.S.. But I can never quite remember. I think it’s drives or drives and Dutch. He wrote a really interesting comparative religion study of the character of Peter. I believe it’s called The Legend of Simon Peter. Frank Zindler translated it for American Atheist Press some years ago, and Drabs suggests that there are mythic forms that have been applied to Pete that have their original home in Myth Rasam and in Roman religion because Mithras and Janus and others had.
The key is to go to heaven and would meet souls leaving the body and usher them in. Janus also had these keys of heaven because he had the two faces and he would let one year out and another one in and so on. He thought that Peter is simply a kind of Christian version of that myth. And there was no Peter. Well, I’m pretty close to that myself, actually. But not for that reason. I won’t go into it here, though. I have on the human Bible before, I think Simon, Peter or Simon CFS is a kind of reworked version of one of the so-called errors or Pillar Apostles of Jerusalem, Simmi and Barkly office. One of the bishops, if you want to call a map of the Jerusalem church, who may well have been a historical figure, albeit fictive lea associated with with Jesus, whether he was historical or legendary. And that’s getting off into another whole can of worms. Right. But it’s if you just want to know, is this trying to say Peter is the door man for the heavenly apartment complex? No. No. You have to go a little closer to home. This is rabbinic terminology to have the like the kingdom of heaven is in Jewish terms of the time. It means like the the faithful Jewish life you took on your shoulders, the yoke of the kingdom of heaven. If you undertook to be a pious Jew and how would you know what was the pious thing to do? The Jewish thing to do? Well, there were scribes later, rabbis who had the keys and could bind and loose. That is, they could determine what you could and could not do on the Sabbath. The scripture said you weren’t to work on the Sabbath. Virginia, you know, what exactly does that mean? Can’t work at your job for pay? Well, of course it means that. But does it mean you can’t build something or go out and have recreation, something on your your own property while these guys would waive this and make these decisions? And you find that in the missioner part of the Talmud. Right. So they had the the ability to bind and loose for four fellow Jews who wanted guidance to bind means to bind someone to give them an obligation. The Torah says you must do this. To lose is a way of saying, look, you don’t need to worry about this. I’m declaring this. All right? This food is kosher. Go ahead. And it could also denote excommunication, binding and loosing. There’s a use of this, I think, in Luke. Where? Jesus is chewing out the Pharisees. Maybe in Matthew 23, too, I don’t remember where it says you bind great burdens on men’s shoulders. But don’t lift a finger to carry them yourselves. Well, that’s talking about hypocrisy. Kind of like today when a congressman who voted for Obamacare want to be exempt from it. Right. It’s the same sort of thing. But that’s that’s the point. The binding and loosing Pader and more likely his Invision successors in the church at Antioch, I think are being given rabbinic authority. You guys can decide we will do what you say. Can we eat with gentiles? Believers? You decide. We’ll do what you say. So Peter and his successor bishops have the the authority to make religious legal decisions in the kingdom of heaven means in a Jewish setting like this, not the kingdom in the sky.
I mean, sometimes it does mean that. But in a case like this, it means the heavenly order, the divine order of the Torah.
Joe, I’m glad glad we got that straight, right?
That’s that’s a real toughie. Matthew, is has he almost always paraphrase the phrase Kingdom of God that he found in Mark and Q and made it into Kingdom of Heaven because of one of those rabbinic decisions? They decided, you know, that says you’re not the take the name of Yahav a your God in vain. But what exactly does that mean? Well, let’s play it safe and never use it at all, except the high priest can utter it in the holy of holies on the day of atonement. Otherwise, no, just like in Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
But all I said was this highly. But it’s good enough for Jehovah. Right? Oh, no. That’s blasphemy. Yeah. Because this was one of the binding and loosing decisions, this case binding. Well, because of that, Matthew doesn’t like even the word God. All. That’s too, too chancy for him. And so he he replaces it with heaven. So kingdom of Heaven really means the kingdom of God, which tends to mean you have the same place you’re already at, but seen through the lens of the Torah in obedience to it.
So. Let’s say we check the old score, prophetic score card.
This time, we’ve you know, I like to do this in one of two ways. Does the Bible really predict so-and-so that people say as predicted or assuming that it does, that it get it right? Well, this is kind of both of the same time.
You will find among fundamentalists in the especially dispensation lists the No. And by this, like I mean, these are these books writers have books on the end times in particular I’m thinking of like how Lindsay and so on. There’s zillions of these books and they say, oh yeah, the things predicted in the Book of Revelation and elsewhere are all going to happen.
But they were predicted for our day, not the time of the original writers and readers. Which comes in pretty handy, right, since they’re all dead. And if it pertained only to their time, we’re up the creek without a paddle. Right.
So you asked her refer to our day and everything that happens in the last day is up to the time of Jesus.
Of course, the New Testament writers thought they were in the last days. Right. They didn’t envision some 2000 friggin years, at least until the second coming. But so this you know, you’d already know there’s going to be a shell game here. Well, among those things they figure are predicted in the Book of Revelation is that the Roman Empire famously fallen, crumbling under the assault of the barbarians and all that stuff. It will rise again in the last days.
And that probably means what they used to say, the common market today. I guess I’d probably say the European Union. I read most of this stuff, I guess, back in the 70s, like all my fellow teenage fundamentalists. What a great movie that would be. Right. I was a teenage fundamentalist. They I read how Lindsays Lake Red Planet Earth. We all did. And in it, he has all these predictions and oh, man, we could just go on four whole episodes about that. But he’s typical in saying the Roman Empire will rise again now. Why? Why would this be? Well, simply because in the Book of Revelation, the predicted return of Christ is the amines, the laying low of the Roman Empire, the the empire of the beast, who is very thinly veiled, as is the Roman emperor. There’s imagery that suggests Nero. But the Book of Revelation already has the same kind of thing with a revived Nero. He’d been killed 30 years before. It was probably written in the time of donation at the turn of the century. And there’s these big hints that say dimension was like a new Nero real villain bomb. And and he’s the beast and so forth. A mark of the beast as a Roman commerce stamp is all kinds of indications that the writer was thinking of events of his own day and an invasion from Patha across the Euphrates, which was a common fear of the Romans. There’s an awful lot of contemporary references and none about the remote future, you see. So there’s the problem. Christ is going to come very quickly. The book says many times. And when he does, he smash in the Roman Empire under foot. Well, guess what happened? Take a look at the map. Take a look at the calendar. It didn’t come true. Right. So prophetic scorecard. That’s a big zero.
Now, since obviously people who believe in the Bible is an inspired, inerrant and fallible, just cannot afford to understand that. That’s what the text says, despite all the clues. Look, I know it’s a book filled with obscure symbolism, but really it’s not that bad. You do a little homework and you can see what what it’s talking about for the most part, if it’s infallible in a narrative canon. And that was. Right. And so they say, OK, you see, what it really meant was that whenever Christ does come back, there’s gonna be a Roman Empire for him to kick to smithereens. So there you go. Christ is going to come back soon relative to our day. And when he does well, there’s got to be a Roman Empire there to meet him. So what do we got here that looks like it might be good candidate, no common market or European Union. So, you see, the whole thing is just this kind of fit just as well under apologetics is never having to say you’re sorry. It’s theological, but covering for the drastic failure of the prophecy of the second coming of Christ happening by the end of the century. The first century. And that is scarcely the that’s embarrassment is scarcely only that of the writer of revelation. Right. That that problem pops up all over the New Testament, that insofar as what it really did predict. Second coming of Christ coincided with the fall of the Roman Empire. Not even close. Sorry. I love the Book of Revelation is just filled with terrific symbolism and so on. I you know, I you might not know it, but I really love the Bible. I just don’t believe it anymore than I believe the Iliad or the Odyssey, which I also love. Just, you know. So you have to have to go together. In fact, I find that if you can drop your illusions about the Bible, you will probably love it even more for its own sake. As a piece of history and literature you’ll have. Oh, what shall we say? An impartial interest? Nothing. No vested interest, no urgency that you gotta make sense of this. Because when you do, you know what kind of a source of continual migraines that is. The pressure is off. If you say, oh, yeah. Okay, it’s not literally true. Maybe it’s not even supposed to be literally true, but it isn’t. And and so understanding what it really means. Man, oh, man. Is that fun. I think, you know, that is loyal human Bible listeners. And what are we saying? It’s a human bible, not a divine one. So I’ll see you next time. I’m next. Mind opening, thought provoking and loads of fun episode of the Hilman Bible.
Thanks for joining me on this episode of the Human Bible to send us questions or comments on the show, which we really hope you do. You can e-mail questions at the human Bible, dot net or feed back at the human bible dot net. We’re also on Twitter at Human Bible, on Facebook at slash the Human Bible. And you can even leave a voicemail on our human bible hotline by calling seven one six seven one. B, i. B, Ellie. You can get all that information and more on our Web site. The human Bible dot net views expressed on the human Bible aren’t necessarily the views of the Center for Inquiry, nor its affiliated organizations. The Human Bible is produced by Adam Isaac in Amherst, New York, and features contributions from Debbie Goddard. I’m your host, Robert M. Price.