Gospel Jesus as lord of a here-and-now kingdom

Thomas

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Now I’m thinking that it was a mistake to frame my view of what Jesus is promoting in the gospels as being opposed to Christian doctrines ...
I suppose as the first step you'd have to outline what doctrines you reject as unChristian?
 

Longfellow

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I got distracted by what I see as smoke and mirrors hiding the kingdom of Jesus from people and repelling them away from learning about it, which makes me part of the smoke and mirrors. All I need to talk about is learning to live the way He says to live.
 

RJM

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" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:30-31
 

Cino

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And then there is this passage of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:17-20)

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Which I've always wondered about, since Peter's vision of eating food that's not pure by the commandments, and Paul's mission to the Gentiles seem to go counter this teaching by Jesus himself.

What is the Christian way of reconciling these?
 

RJM

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What is the Christian way of reconciling these
To me the answer is in the last lines:

For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus came to renew the spirit of the law,*
lost in dry ritual, and to end blood sacrifice which had lost its meaning.

But that's just my own opinion, and it is strongly contested by many, lol

*The eternal real divine law governing all men
 

muhammad_isa

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For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
For me, I interpret that as saying that the Pharisees taught "the law", but weren't good in keeping it.
Furthermore, I believe that they manipulated it through loopholes, changing a word here or there.

Nothing changes, does it? 🙃
 

Longfellow

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And then there is this passage of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:17-20)



Which I've always wondered about, since Peter's vision of eating food that's not pure by the commandments, and Paul's mission to the Gentiles seem to go counter this teaching by Jesus himself.

What is the Christian way of reconciling these?
I’m not a Christian, but I have a response to that. Jesus was not saying that the Jews had to abandon their law, but other people don’t have to follow it to enter His kingdom.
 

Thomas

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What is the Christian way of reconciling these?
Like @RJM, I've always seen is as a 'spirit and letter' thing.

There's an essay on the interpretation of Peter's vision in Acts 10 which argues that the vision in the dream, of the food being laid on the sheet, and the word of God "That which God hath cleansed, do not thou call common" (Acts 10:15) Peter interprets to mean the gentiles, not the food, in that gentiles were seen as unclean.

The essay argues that the Law is not abrogated, but rather Christians interpret it to mean both the gentiles and the food – thus by extension the law. He cites both Christian and Jewish scholars who say this is reading into the text, and the correct interpretation is that the vision was about the gentiles, not about food, and made sense once Peter found Cornelius being baptised by God at Caesarea.

Further, there was at the time – Paul seems aware of it – Jewish mystical speculation that, at the End Times, the gentile would be called to the Covenant in God. One can reason this – if God is God then He is God of all, and it's a tough God that promises everything to the Jews and consigns the rest of the world to perdition!
And @RabbiO can correct me on this, but I'm pretty sure the Laws of Isreal called the Jews to a love of neighbour in its broadest sense?

Also, of course, as a good Jew, you can't help wondering on the justice of a law that seems to condemn people who may be gentile, but are clearly honest, good, God-fearing folk!
 

RJM

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" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:30-31
Matthew concludes this saying slightly differently:

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22: 36-40)
 

Cino

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Like @RJM, I've always seen is as a 'spirit and letter' thing.
So it's about being righteous (by the law) in spirit rather than letter. I imagine the challenge to Christians throughout the ages is where to draw the line between letter and spirit?

Paul himself warned against eating meat slaughtered by pagan butchers, who would sacrifice parts of the animal to pagan gods as part of their job - the ancient pagans had laws and rituals regarding the slaughtering of animals, too, which happened to be incompatible with the Jewish ones. Was this a case of letter or spirit?
 

Thomas

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I think you're referring to 1 Corinthians 8:7-13?

I think Paul is making a pastoral point here, it's not about the meat, as such, it's about 'scandalising your brother' ... he's making a rule for the good of the community. He also hints at the injunction against meat being hardly the thing that will decide whether or not we get to heaven ... but that's my aside and I'd have to research that ...

Certainly Paul affirmed practices which in hindsight we might look at as dubious – women covering their heads, for example – but they were the cultural practice of the day, and Paul was a man of his times. I don't think he was a social revolutionary, he was a Jesus revolutionary, if you see what I mean. And I'm pretty sure he employed women on missionary work .... so go figure.

Personally, I also am mindful of texts like 1C8:7-13 and elsewhere used by institutional clergy to shut down question, challenge or dissent ...
 

RJM

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IMO Paul explains himself more fully in 1Corinthians 10

Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

Let no man seek his own, but every man another's well being

(edited)


 
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Cino

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I think Paul is making a pastoral point here, it's not about the meat, as such, it's about 'scandalising your brother' ... he's making a rule for the good of the community. He also hints at the injunction against meat being hardly the thing that will decide whether or not we get to heaven ... but that's my aside and I'd have to research that ...

Is Paul's example the gold standard to Christians, when it comes to deciding what the spirit of a law means? Or was the a development, further discussion over the centuries?

I seem to remember that the Reformers, Zwingli, Calvin et al. were struggling to find the right balance, from "first principles" based solely on scripture, regarding this question.

So the food purity laws were abrogated (except where explicit worship of pagan deities was involved). The laws regarding divorce were abrogated by Jesus himself. Which other laws/commandments did Christians have discussions about, how to live or keep them?
 

muhammad_isa

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..if God is God then He is God of all, and it's a tough God that promises everything to the Jews and consigns the rest of the world to perdition!
..but God does not condemn anybody .. we wrong our own souls.
People believe all sorts of things.
What is meant by "the law"?
I think that this is the important question.

I also notice that it is easy to cherry-pick what we want to follow, and ignore those we don't.
I think that applies to everybody under the sun. :D

Also, of course, as a good Jew, you can't help wondering on the justice of a law that seems to condemn people who may be gentile, but are clearly honest, good, God-fearing folk!
Almighty God rewards the sincere .. in this life, and more importantly in the life hereafter.
He knows who is sincere, and who is not.

Life is a spiritual journey. We journey on from plane-to plane.
Some people, however, stifle their growth by being stubborn.
There are many reasons .. desires .. tribal affinities .. fear of loss of wealth etc.
 

Cino

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What is meant by "the law"?
I think that this is the important question.

Regarding "the law", I was asking about the Torah Commandments, in the context of Jesus' teaching to fulfill them and to be "righteous" (a word with a specific set of meanings in the old testament) regarding them. Later developments in Christianity, such as the vision of Peter in Acts, and Paul's teachings on which meat was unfit for consumption by Christians, seem on the face of it to lead away from this teaching of "fulfilling" the law and being "righteous", and Roger and Thomas pointed out how fulfilling the law in spirit rather than letter was what Jesus was teaching his followers.

Also, of course, as a good Jew, you can't help wondering on the justice of a law that seems to condemn people who may be gentile, but are clearly honest, good, God-fearing folk!

I think Judaism has the concept of a righteous gentile, who abides by a subset of the laws, but it would be best if one of our Jewish contributors here were to weigh in some time.
 

muhammad_isa

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Regarding "the law", I was asking about the Torah Commandments, in the context of Jesus' teaching to fulfill them and to be "righteous" (a word with a specific set of meanings in the old testament) regarding them. Later developments in Christianity, such as the vision of Peter in Acts, and Paul's teachings on which meat was unfit for consumption by Christians, seem on the face of it to lead away from this teaching of "fulfilling" the law and being "righteous", and Roger and Thomas pointed out how fulfilling the law in spirit rather than letter was what Jesus was teaching his followers.
Yes, I know what you were referring to.
Most Christians I know, are in agreement with the ten commandments being "law".
Why do you think that is?

When I speak about "law", I don't refer to how the folds in a garment should be made ..
.. or having different crockery for meat or milk etc.
These "laws" are not what Jesus was referring to, imo.

There are major sins and minor sins.
Why don't we discuss the major ones first .. eh?
 

RJM

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"This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:

Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

...
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man ..."


Very clear, imo
 
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muhammad_isa

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@RJM
Those verses are referring to hypocrites. You will see that if you read the first few verses of the chapter.
Not all Pharisees were hypocrites, and neither are all Jews today.

After all, mother Mary herself was a Jew [ Pharisee?] .. and she was NOT a hypocrite!
 
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