Do we (Muslims, Christians and Jews) believe in the same God or not?

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by Muhammad-Khalifa, Feb 29, 2004.

  1. Friend2men

    Friend2men New Member

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    Yes, the Resurrection is a credibility sign.

    As for God's redemptive work in the world, what I believe is that God's redemption begins with the TEACHING of Jesus; obedience to this, and baptism into the covenant with him, is redemptive for individuals, and, to the extent that the teachings are disseminated and practiced, this is also redemptive for 'the world.'

    Second, God's redemption of the world is brought by the RULE of the world by Jesus. When Jesus was raised and appeared to the Twelve he said 'All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me...' Initially, Jesus had taught people how to find the Kingdom of God, but after Jesus completed his divine mission, he was rewarded with the crown as king of kings.

    This kingship fulfills the prophecy of Daniel 7.13-14 (a universal king called the Son of Man); compare Mat 17 (Jesus' Transfiguration) and Matt 28.2-20 (Resurrection) and Rev. 1.12-19 (The Son of Man appearance).

    (Incidentally, if you don't yet have Bible software, I strongly recommend the free download at e-sword.net)

    Jesus is the Lord or King if you like,and a battle and separation is occurring, between Jesus' kingdom and that of Satan in the world. Victory comes, first, for an individual who departs Satan and joins Jesus, then ultimately comes the separation of good from evil. This is the redemption!

    As for your question about the revelance of the Resurrection to the Kingdom, this is a topic deserving of a lengthy discourse, because a full answer should encompass the many strands of belief regarding the Resurrection, in order to show its meaning in the context of Jesus' establishment of the Kingdom. In simplist terms Jesus said 'I AM the resurrection... (Jn 11.25). Again, I wish I had the time to give you the essay this question deserves! Perhaps a simple one-line answer would be to say that personal adherence to Jesus' Way FULFILLS or PERFECTS the raising-to-life imagery that was encoded in the resurrection lore of those times.

    As for resurrection and baptism: I am not quite making an outright equation between them. However, baptism into Jesus' kingdom -- and hence, deliverance from death and satan -- is gained by submitting to the true original catechism of the Didache of Jesus (rather than the corrupt baptismal notions expressed elsewhere, such as in Lukan writings).

    As you note in your final paragraph, I am indeed a heterodox Christian (as so many are!) I do not accept in toto the re-formulation of the faith that occurred in the Seven Councils of the 3rd century. I only accept the earliest primitive form of the teaching (Matthew, Didache, John; and letters of James, John and Peter; and Revelation).

    So, your observation about my 'rewriting the biblical tradition' and 'revising mainstream concepts' is correct. I happen to think the concept of the canon of scripture is flawed, and likewise wiht some christian concepts formulated after Constantine.

    Finally, regarding my glib characterization of Islam as differing from Christianity: I still believe this is essentially accurate to say, for a number of reasons. However, it would be foolish to make this too sweeping and categorical, as if there are no sentiments shared between the two. On the contrary, there are a great many teachings in common! (Again, this subject deserves a bit more discussion than I have time!)

    The deeper question is one of the spirituality behind a teacher and the teaching. In my view, certain essentials must be contained in the teaching in order for it to be said to be 'the same.' One of those essentials is the idea of the Way of Life vs the way of death; Islam, Judaism and Christianity all contain this within the scriptures; however, individual clerics do not always adhere to this. Another 'essential' is the Judgment Day. Again, this can be found in the respective Scriptures, but clerics sometimes omit this or differ about it.

    The 'essential' that DIFFERENTIATES a Christian teacher from a Jewish or Islamic one (in my understanding) is the concept of Jesus as the Messiah or christ or King or Caliph or Khalifa --whatever word you like, they all mean essentially the same. Christians believe of course that Jesus is the promised King and that he now rules. As I understand things (though of course I may be deceived), the Jews rejected Jesus as the promised King, and Muslims either rejected him too, or perhaps never understood the distinction between a prophet and a divinely anointed king; or -- what I think is quite likely -- the incoherence and inflation of mutliple, incompatible Christologies that were in play, made it difficult for Muslims even to approach the subject.
     
  2. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    No need for an essay .. Just a quick, relevant scripture passage would be great. Let's limit ourselves to the synoptic gospels (Mark, Matthew & Luke).

    Sounds like you've got some research ability I currently don't have. As a favor, would you use your information retrieval software to find us a passage that links Jesus' physical resurrection to the Kingdom.

    Also, since this thread is about G-d's nature and character, would you find us a passage that links Jesus' resurrection to our understanding of what G-d is like?
     
  3. Friend2men

    Friend2men New Member

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    Regarding Jesus' resurrection and Kingdom, I'm happy to oblige you.

    First, this is a topic in which some elements are given by Jesus in public presentations, and others are esoteric. Jesus taught openly, and privately in parables to engage persons individually. This personalization is a key aspect of divine rule.

    Second, let me make distinctions about the range of meanings of the Resurrection, as of course this topic evokes a number of opinions, to say the least~!

    I. Resurrection a sign

    As I previously stated a couple of times, the main reason God arranged for Jesus’ death and resurrection is not directly related to kingship per se, but is given as a sign. (Mat 12.39-49 and 16.12).
    Besides a vindication in the Resurrection, Jesus’ martyrdom (or anyone’s) can perhaps be understood as a sign of sincerity.
    Another ‘sign’ aspect is the fact that the death and resurrection fulfill some prophecies and types.

    II Resurrection as a theological event and mystery

    Other Christians have expounded on the meaning of Christ’s death and resurrection in assorted ways, not all of which do I accept, nor do I understand; but I just mention the fact that there are other points of view, including some in the bible. Incidentally, famous UK cleric Tom Wright has written a huge encyclopedic book on the Resurrection, which would cover lots of this.

    III. Resurrection and Rule or Kingship

    Now we get to your specific interest I think.

    Jesus’ Resurrection in direct linkage with God’s Kingdom can perhaps best be understood in this way:

    Jesus’ death came about as a culmination of his service to God. Because he did not fail, but continued in faithfulness, Jesus was rewarded with the crown and scepter of rulership. He is the first person resurrected in the newly realized Kingdom of God that God inaugurated in him.

    Others who come after, believing and following his example, and suffering, and perhaps losing their lives on behalf of this kingdom, will share in the rule and will receive authority and ‘crowns’ in reward. Mat. 16.24; 27.9; Jas. 1.12; 1Pe 5.4; Rev. 2.10.

    Today, the Word which Jesus spoke now in fact reigns over much of the world, subtly or manifestly. (The Word defined as his ethos, commandments, teachings) Whether people believe and obey this Word, or disbelieve and disobey, this Word rules either way—people who don’t see this yet are just being given time to discover it for themselves. In the afterlife, peoples’ souls are judged by what they have learned from this Word and how they have responded. This is the Word of Life that Jesus uniquely brought.

    Even the many who seek to oppose, corrupt, and undermine the Word, unwittingly advance it! Imitators and counterfeits of him, and even haters, are unwittingly honoring and advancing him. This is a mystery I won’t go into, but it isn’t hard to see it happening in history, and it is alluded to in Scripture.

    And this Word attained its indelible power over the world, and over each soul, because God raised his true messenger from the tomb.

    In addition there are other esoteric and under-publicized discoveries pertaining to kingship and the risen Jesus in the Scripture.

    Lastly, concerning God's nature and character revealed in the resurrection: I think the best way to answer this is not with a proof-text, but by asking God for His answer! This is a primary teaching of Jesus. (Mat 7.7-11) Each of us who wants to know God can ask and receive from Him, if we are willing to accept the invitation. This is the character and identity of God that Jesus reveals above all.

    Jesus reveals God as the Father. This is radically contrary to other god-models which portray Him as an extortioner or whatever. And this teaching can be readily confirmed by hearing, believing and obeying it. Peace.
     
  4. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    The early Indian religions had prayers and hymns concerned with seeking forgiveness that were clearly directed toward a merciful supreme being. I believe these antedated Jesus by hundreds years.

    Regarding Jesus' resurrection and Kingdom, I was wondering if your Bible software had a "Wild Goose Chase" option because not a single one of your scripture quotes had anything to do with the question at issue. Jesus' resurrection seems to be irrelevant to the Kingdom. Nor am I aware of any statements attributed to him that make the connection.

    As an aside. descriptions of Jesus' physical resurrection are inconsistent with his own descriptions of immortality.
     
  5. Friend2men

    Friend2men New Member

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    I think the easiest way to grasp the ALL of the issues concerning Christ, and really, all issue regarding Abrahamic religions and life itself, is expressed in one event.

    A statement attributed to Jaroslav Pelikan sums it up (Paraphrasing):

    “If the resurrection happened, nothing else matters.”
    If the resurrection didn’t happen, nothing else matters.”

    In other words if the resurrection happened, then this validates Jesus and his work and words. If the resurrection happened and you believe in it and obey, then your mind is opened to understanding. Believing is the key to answering questions and to eternal life.

    So, if you accept the claim that he arose, then the answer to questions like ‘what is the relationship between the resurrection and the kingdom?’ is answered by first praying to God and asking Him to reveal the meaning.

    Then He may direct you to reading texts (if any) that seem to connect the two. This is what I did and communicated to you. To my mind, thanks to God, the connection is not at all hard to understand. I believe Christ was raised to life, more or less as claimed in Matthew.

    On the other hand if one believes the resurrection did not happen (that is, that the testimonies were falsehoods) then, naturally, one will not spiritually see any link between the presumed non-event and the proclamation of the kingdom.
    This apparently was your experience.

    Christ also taught that people would be divided into those who see and those who don’t. In fact he deliberately spoke to the world primarily in parables, in order to exclude some and include others.
     
  6. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    It is unclear in my mind whether Jesus resurrection is essential to faith.


    The issue is not whether I believe Jesus was resurrected. The issue is whether this event is essential to realizing the Kingsom. So far the only connection made has been to suggest that his resurrection added to Jesus' credibility. In my mind Jesus was self-validating by his teachings and his example.

    Moreover, he continually deemphasized his own importance and before his departure promised the Holy Spirit as a Helper who would provide ongoing guidance in realizing the Kingdom and staying attuned to divine truth.

    Jesus proclaimed the kingdom before he was crucified.

    Btw, did Jesus himself ever say that his resurrection was essential to realizing the Kingdom? I'm trying to be open minded, but I'm inclined to take Jesus' words over your paraphase of something Jaroslav Pelikan may have said.
     
  7. Selaphiel

    Selaphiel New Member

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    I believe the resurrection is absolutely essential to the Kingdom. Within the resurrection there is a promise, this promise is the hope that makes the Kingdom something that can be prepared on earth. We are called to discipleship in encounter with the grace of salvation. The discipleship is to take up the cross, which is to follow the path of Jesus Christ.
    With the power of the promise of resurrection, the cross is no longer a threat, it is a throne, the very throne where Jesus fulfilled his work and was exalted above every name. We shall also have this resurrection when He returns. With the promise of ressurection, the way of the cross is not a burden, but it is a gift. The cross and resurrection is the ultimate turnover, the ultimate proof that God has the power to take the most dreadful and turn it to glory and hope.
     
  8. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    Where does Jesus say this?
     
  9. Selaphiel

    Selaphiel New Member

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    Jesus does not say so explicitly, but it is biblical theology.

    Acts 17:31
    Romans 5:18, 6:4-11 and 6:20-22
    1.Corinthians 15:20-23
    2.Corinthians 4:13-14
    1.Thessalonians 4:16-18
    1.Peter 1:3-5

    This is probably just some of it. This was just what came to mind first.
     
  10. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant New Member

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    regarding the resurrection conversation

    [QUOTE]John 2:18 - 22 So the Jews answered and said to Him, "What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said. [/QUOTE]

    we are called to believe this ...this is THE hope that lies within.. He rose from the dead and is victorious over death.. its the whole point of our faith.. He gave us our freedom from death. So yes its integral to our faith to believe this.. otherwise whats the point? Live a good life? well we cant do that according to the bible.. so we TRY to live a good life.. to what end.. die after living a sucky life and then stay dead in our sins forever never to be with God.... big whoop.

    No.. we believe and we die and we receive resurrection bodies like our Lord and we reside with Him forever and ever. That is our reward.
     
  11. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    I realize that. The purpose of my question was to point out that Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom and then 200 years later other people stipulate the parameters of the Kingdom. They also make assertions about immortality and resurrection that are very hard to reconcile to what Jesus himself presumably said on the subject. No one seems troubled by any of this.
     
  12. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant New Member

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    the parameters of the kingdom of God

    The kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven seem to be variations of the same idea. A kingdom implies a king. Our king is Jesus. Jesus said His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). Jesus' authority did not come from man but from God (Luke 22:29).
    Entrance into the kingdom of God is by a new birth (John 3:5), repentance (Matt. 3:2), and the divine call (1 Thess. 2:12). We are told to seek the kingdom of God first (Matt. 6:33) and to pray for its arrival (Matt. 6:10). "The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit," (Rom. 14:17). It is also a future kingdom where full ruler-ship in the actual presence of the king Jesus will occur when He returns to earth.

    compliments of CARM.org


    Faithfulservant <~~~~ not troubled by any of this... everything is in the bible.. seek and you shall find knock and the door will be opened.
     
  13. Selaphiel

    Selaphiel New Member

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    If it were 200 years later it could be troubling. However, Pauls epistle to the Romans is written around 50AD, 1.Corinthians around 55AD. In those epistles (and others) Paul talks about having visited Peter, John and James in Jerusalem on 3 separate occasions to make sure that he preached the correct gospel. And he refers to this as an event that that he first did a long time ago, so we are probably down to around 35-40AD, that is within few years of the death of Jesus. There is not a single writing in the entire NT that is as young as 200AD, the latest one is probably the John writings around 90-100AD.
    That Paul talks about death and resurrection all the time is a good indicator. His writings are the earliest writings and he specifically refer to the apostles and the risen Jesus as sources for his knowledge.
     
  14. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    Which of these mentions the Kingdom?
     
  15. Selaphiel

    Selaphiel New Member

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    Why would there be anything about the Kingdom in those verses? You asked for verses that talked about the centrality of the resurrection.
    Asking for specific verses on everything is a misunderstanding of how theology is made. The scriptures are coherent and together they form a total message. This is just as fallacious as asking for a verse where Jesus explicitly says that he is one person of the triune God. The trinity is derived from the total message, in the light of the whole message the trinity is an absolute necessity. It is the same with other theology.

    The overall message is that the Kingdom is dualistic. It has started with the coming of Jesus. He showed the way, he showed where that way leads, he showed that God will not let the just remain dead. He leaves his power for the church started by the Apostles by giving them the Holy spirit and promises that the Kingdom shall continue with them, in fact they shall even more power than himself.
    In addition he payed for our sins by sacrificing himself as a sinless being, taking on the sins of the world, he is the lamb of God. This gives us the freedom from sin. From this state of righteousness he calls us to follow the way of the cross. We, as the church, is his body on earth. And we shall help establish his Kingdom on earth until he returns and brings it to completion, and on this day of completion the just will be resurrected and evil destroyed.

    To argue for a Christianity where the resurrection is not important is simply not possible using the Christian canon, at least not if you are going to deal with the texts honestly. The start of the kingdom, cross and resurrection are preached in all the gospels and all the epistles.
     
  16. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    Because we were linking Jesus resurrection to the Kingdom
    Does that mean that people can make inferences about what scripture is saying even though the text has no bearing on a particular issue?


    So he did not have to have said it for someone to conclude it?

    King James Bible : "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." This does not sound like a future state of affairs to me. Nor does it sounds like a state where justice prevails. Actually, I don't think justice and evil are issues in the afterlife. They are concerns for us in this life.
     
  17. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    I understand the concept of Kingdom as a state of affairs that reflects the "rule" of divine principles. Here's the problem: Christ Jesus is described as invisible. See I Timothy 1:16-17. Why would an invisible essence of Deity need to be re-incarnated if the true nature is spirit?

    Likewise, beyond the element of added credibility for people who need miracles to bolster their fath, what purpose would a physical resurrection have had to make Jesus a special instrument for facilitating the divine-human interface?
     
  18. Friend2men

    Friend2men New Member

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    Hi Netti,

    Apologies for not replying previoiusly, but I am just now getting around to reading and catching up.

    I think all the questions you raise are really quite valid, and have spurred many thinkers to ponder, beginning with the apostles themselves. I believe that the significance and meaning unfolded to their minds over decades of reflection.

    A few of my own thoughts to address your thought-provoking questions...

    You wrote:

    "The issue is not whether I believe Jesus was resurrected. The issue is whether this event is essential to realizing the Kingdom. So far the only connection made has been to suggest that his resurrection added to Jesus' credibility. In my mind Jesus was self-validating by his teachings and his example."

    In reply, I would observe that this self-validation, solely by his teachings also drew multitudes to him. Then came miracles and a rapidly growing reputation. Rather early in his work, he performed a spectacular miraculous feeding, twice, and rather soon this became the signature event (I believe) of his kingdom proclamation.

    There's a prayer in the Didache (ca. A.D. 49) which I think perhaps reveals the sense of the relationship between Jesus, the Father, the kingdom and eternal life:

    "[10.1 After you have had your fill [of banquet food], give thanks thus:

    10.2 We give thanks to you holy Father for your holy Name which you have made to dwell in our hearts and for the knowledge, faith and immortality which you have revealed to us through Jesus your servant. To you be glory for ever.

    10.3 You Lord almighty have created everything for the sake of your Name; you have given human beings food and drink to partake with enjoyment so that they might
    give thanks; but to us you have given the grace of spiritual food and drink and
    of eternal life through Jesus your servant."

    In my view (and I doubt that many Christians would agree) Jesus' Resurrection was intended, as I said, as a proof or sign, but ALSO to subtly convey that the widely shared future expectation of an eschatological resurrection, was ALREADY realized and accomplished in himself. There should thus be no more speculation and fantasy about recovering one's body. He was raised first as the firstborn, signalling that everyone who wants to receive life must somehow participate in his raising. This is attained through esoteric union. While we are still alive, our spirits are regenerated--and this is really the beginning of the resurrection for us. See especially John 11:23-27...

    " Jesus said to her, Your brother shall rise again.

    (24) Martha said to Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

    (25) Jesus said to her, I am the Resurrection and the Life! He who believes in Me, though he die, yet he shall live. (26) And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?

    (27) She said to Him, Yes, Lord, I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who has come into the world."

    ===================================
    Netti-Netti continues...

    "Moreover, he continually deemphasized his own importance and before his departure promised the Holy Spirit as a Helper who would provide ongoing guidance in realizing the Kingdom and staying attuned to divine truth."

    In reply I would put it similarly that he emphasized the obvious preferability of the Paraclete given universally to enable the Truth to be inwardly known, overcoming the limitation imposed by his own physicality.
     
  19. Friend2men

    Friend2men New Member

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    Regarding the Kingdom and Resurrection, a further point or two...

    Jesus taught that, prior to his arrival, the Kingdom as taught by John the Baptist required the use of force. This text has been variously interpreted, but I see this sect as jihadists seeking to overthrow the Temple Quislings and gentile occupation. Jesus apparently transcends this violence completely, with the ethos of love and pacifism.

    His own flesh becomes the locus of, or the portal into, eternal life, which is the Kingdom not of this world. And the raising of his flesh is the doorway into it.
     
  20. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    Ok, where does Jesus say it's important?

    This observation would seem to suggest an unambiguous convergence that is not obvious to me. For one thing, it appears that the gospel of John is the result of evangelistic, missionizing fervor that includes statements attributed to Jesus that contradict what he is reported to have said elsewhere.

    In particular, in Matthew 22:30 Jesus describes the afterlife as not involving a physical resurrection like the one associated with Jesus' departure. Note that he speaks of immortality in terms of people being "like the angels in heaven." This comment about the afterlife appears in the context of a discussion of a hypothetical woman who was married multiple times while on earth. Who would she be married to in the afterlife? Jesus responds to the question by in effect saying that physical proximity and the immediacy and exclusivity of a marital bond are moot considerations that simply don't apply to angelic beings who don't have bodies like humans do.

    The position that humans will resurrect and get their physical bodies back is hard to reconcile to what Jesus was telling us before, namely, that we will not have bodies like the ones we had while we were out and about in the evolutionary world.
     

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