Facing Scripture III – An Open Letter to Charles from Jim

Charles,

I am deeply troubled at the liberties you take when employing scripture. You have attempted to turn Tanach into your puppet in the final paragraph here: https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/changed-lives-a-letter-from-jim/#comment-17701 . But however hard you try to superimpose the voice of God with your own, God’s voice is stronger. Let us examine your abuse of those scriptures from Tanach that indicate in your opinion that we cannot enter the love of God without entering into communion with the Father and the Son. (Because you are short on time, I will limit myself to discussing the only this egregious abuse of scripture, and not the other two topics as well.)

You have grossly misrepresented Tanach to suit your own purpose. Do you have no respect for God? None of the scriptures from Tanach teaches that one must enter “into communion with… the Son” as you pretend them to do. You take verses that mention a son and impose upon it your own theology.

Examine Prov. 30.4 honestly. The author writes of his ignorance. In that framework, he asks: “Who ascended to heaven and descended? … Who established all the ends of the earth? What is his name and what is the name of his son, if you know?” This question is rhetorical. But you jump upon the mention of a son to the one who established the earth. What you ignore is that it teaches nothing about entering communion with him. It is too bad that you did not read v. 6: “Do not add to His words, lest He prove to you, and you be found a liar.” Had you taken that to heart, you might not have seized so readily upon a phrase that sounded Christological on the surface but taught none of what you wanted it to teach.

Shall you fare better in Daniel 3.25? I doubt it. Let us see, here we have one who appears to Nebuchadnezzar to be like a son of a god (or a son of the gods). So, in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego a powerful being appears, and you have quickly seized upon the phrase. But you know what it does not say? It does not say anything about having communion with such a being. (By the way, Nebuchadnezzar’s exclamation means nothing that a powerful being, i.e. an angel, has appeared in the fire with the three men.) You have once again seized upon something that sounds vaguely Christological and attached to it meaning that is not in the text.

In fact, the omission of such a being in their profession of faith is glaring in light of your misappropriation of the verse. They tell Nebuchadnezzar: “Behold there is our God whom we worship; He can save us…. And if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not worship your god, neither will we prostrate ourselves to the golden image that you have set up” (v. 17-18). They mention nothing about the son in whom you have placed your faith. Their faith is only in God. The one who appears to the king as one like a son of God is only an agent. Nothing justifies your gross misrepresentation of the text. It does not exist for you to impose your voice upon.

And for the psalm, it does not speak of having with communion with the son either. David writes that God has declared David to be his son. (If this seems far-fetched, consider that God tells David that Solomon will be a son to Him in 2 Sam. 7.14.) And there he says nothing about having communion with the son. David writes: “Serve the Lord (HaShem) with fear, and rejoice with quaking” (v.11) He writes nothing of having communion with the son. But you have reacted to the word “son” as if it meant that something Christological. It clearly says nothing of the sort.

None of the three passages says anything about having communion with the son. But you, hearing them mention a son of a god in one sense or another, stopped listening to the passages at that point. Then you took over and attempted to superimpose them with Christian doctrine. I can hardly believe that you would be so careless and disrespectful of scripture; the precious scripture you to which you ascribe true doctrine and real spiritual experience. And yet, this is precisely what you have been. You have tried to drown the voice of prophets with your own idle musings. You have attempted to paper over the Word of God with the word of man.

Recently, I answered you on “Facing Scripture”. There I pointed out that you had only proven R’ Blumenthal correct through your arguments. You reference Deuteronomy 4, but you ignore that essential teaching that does not fit your theology. “To you it was shown so that you would acknowledge that the Lord is God; there is no other besides Him” (Deut. 4.35) and “So acknowledge today and take to heart that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other” (v. 39). There it is stated twice that God is alone: “there is no other”. It says nothing about having communion with the Father and the Son. It teaches against your man-made doctrine.

If you wish to know what God says, you will have to be quiet long enough to let Him speak. You cannot drown out his message with your own and hope to get it right. The liberties you have taken here are nothing short of disgraceful. Surely you do not expect us to listen to you over God.

Jim

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7 Responses to Facing Scripture III – An Open Letter to Charles from Jim

  1. Shomer says:

    When reading the bible honestly, I discovered that there are two sons of “God”. ELOHIM describes HIS son this way:
    2 Mose 4:22 KJV And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:
    And in the “New Testament” we read, that the son of a Greek “Theos” ist a graven idol on two crossed bars. Does Charles really want a communion, consuming a baked sun divinity (host) with Israel or rather with a pagan divinity?

  2. I am honoured to be favoured with such attention, and I seek to reply to both of your posts, when occasion provides, but I have a great deal of other pressing work to attend to at the moment, and it will take some time. I request your patience in the meanwhile. I continue to pray for you both.

  3. Jim, it is a most serious charge ‘to turn Tanach into a puppet’ – in many ways more serious than murder, and I take it very carefully.
    However I do appreciate your focussing your words to my lack of time, which is kind.

    I wrote amongst many other things,’How can we know the love of God, without entering into the communion between the Father and the Son (1 Jn.1.2-3, Prov.30.4, Dan.3.25, Ps.2.6-12)?’

    Now first, I don’t think any of the texts from Tenach I quoted prove that communion with the Son is necessary to communion with the Father per se. Other texts are needed for this. However they all point to the Being of the Son of God, a point often denied by Jewish and of course almost all my Muslim friends (to whom I have often quoted the whole passage from Proverbs in Hebrew, incl v.6), it also indicates that the knowledge of Him is extremely important.

    So let’s reexamine the texts.

    Proverbs 30. Professing ignorance is often a mark of the discovery of real wisdom, Ps.73.22, the greatest fool of all is the man who knows himself to be wise Prov.26.12. Be careful about denigrating inspired authors, (Rashi attributes the first names to Solomon). As to his ignorance of the Name of HaShem and the Name of His Son (שֶּׁם בְּנוֹ), does that not suggest a serious defect with full communion?

    Only a stranger does not know the name of his generous host.

    It’s interesting to note that, the word ‘found a liar’, may also be translated, ‘to have been lied to’ the reflexive (or niphal) of to lie. Unless all our traditions are correct, some of us here have been lied to, is it not important that we know what those lies are and who has spoken them, without perpetuating them. Is not adding to the scripure with oral traditions, the purity of and first origin of which remains unclear in violation of this, as it is of Deut.4.2 and 12.32?

    Shall we pass on our the lies in our right hand to our progeny, or will we as we should discover and forsake them for the truth?

    Daniel 3.25. Nebuchadnezzar became one of the wisest of pagan Kings, not for nothing was he described as the head of gold, finer even than the silver of the liberating Cyrus. Look at his extraordinary profession of faith (better than many doctrinally Arminian Protestants) in Dan.4.31-32. What lead to this faith? At this stage, he was astonished by the contrast between his own dead religion and that of the faithful Jews, a contrast marked by a life saving communion in the fire with the Son of God (Aram. בַר-אֱלָהִין). It is a contrast that marks out Daniel also later, when he has vision of the Son of man being worshipped (יִפְלְחוּן) and receiving eternal dominion and glory along with the Ancient of Days (7.13-14), and when again he sees the same Messiah slain for sin (9.26) to accomplish the Divine sevenfold purpose. God manifested Himself in the fire with them, as He has to the patriarchs and prophets, at the hand of the Messenger (Mal.3.2). He can be known no other way, even Nebuchadnezzar glimpsed that.

    It is curious that the watershed between dead and living faith is not so different now.

    In Ps.2, something a little more exalted is taking place than a glimpse of Solomon’s ephemeral reign. In a restricted way, 2 Sam.7.14, it’s true Solomon and his progeny are referred to. But where is Solomon now and where is his throne – in the dust? David’s Seed, the seed of Eve who in being bruised will crush the serpent’s head, His throne will endure forever. This double view is also seen in Ps.89 and many other similar passages. The key question about Ps.2, is what is the Day of the decree, and the day of the begetting.

    According to your view this would simply be the day of Solomon’s birth, but that is far from the true sense and it betrays an ignorance of the communion the psalm reveals. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you perish from the way. (Yes, בַר is used in the Tenach of ‘son’).

  4. Pingback: Facing Scripture IV – a response to Charles | 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources

  5. Jim says:

    Charles,

    It is good of you to admit that Proverbs 30, Daniel 3, and Psalm 2 do not prove that “communion with the Son is necessary to communion with the Father per se” but that other verses are necessary. This is a most telling statement, and from this we have clear evidence that you are disinterested in what Tanach says and much more interested in what you can make it say.

    If you had a passage that clearly stated that one need to have communion with the son, you would have presented it in the first place. Obviously no such passage exists. So you must rely on a pastiche of verses which sound vaguely Christological. And then with a bit of trickery, a little sleight of hand, you will make them appear to indicate that one needs Jesus to get to God. You will group them with other verses, unrelated verses to put Christian doctrine in the mouth of Tanach. Charles, understanding scripture is not a ventriloquist act. You must not put your words into the mouth of Tanach.

    You tell us that these verses establish the “Being of the Son of God”. I can hardly believe you would write such a thing. This central doctrine to Christianity is established upon a rhetorical question in the Proverbs? Preposterous! Psalm 2 cannot be talking about David’s throne, you assert, so it must be some other “Son of God” than David or Solomon. I am sure you will not deny that God promised David that his throne would be forever, that kingship would be to him and his descendants. The Psalm does nothing to establish a “Son of God” like you would have it to be. In some ways, however, the worst verse to establish this “Son of God” is the verse in Daniel. There, no “Son of God” appears, only one with an appearance like a son of God or a son of the gods. Having an appearance of something is not being something. From the context alone, one would be highly suspicious of your claims that this verse is one which establishes the “Being of the Son of God,” but the verse clearly says nothing of the kind.

    And yet, you continue to manipulate Daniel and attempt to put your theology in his mouth. The attempt, however, is so sloppy; it is shocking to me that you would even attempt such a thing. You out and out ignore the words of Nebuchadnezzar, because they do not suit your purpose. Not only did he not actually claim that the one that looked like son of the gods was divine, he outright calls him an angel, sent from God (3.28). He does not praise the angel but the one who sent him. But the phrase “son of god” sounds too good for you to pass up and so you must infuse it with your own meaning. And so you alter the meaning of the text to suit your own theological agenda.

    Instead of facing the scripture, you change topics. You begin an incomprehensible tirade about living and dead faiths, which has nothing to do with any of the passages you quote. They are merely your way of dodging the issue at hand. The culmination of the paragraph in question is your unfounded assertion that “God manifested himself in the fire with them” and that God can be known no other way. In fact, Daniel says quite the opposite. There is no “Son of God” in the flames and the angel who is there is never worshiped.

    Once again, you have failed to face scripture. You have seized upon a verse here or there upon which you hope to erect your theology. You do not learn the lessons of Torah; you attempt to hi-jack it to teach your own theology. As noted elsewhere, your teaching flies in the face of Deuteronomy 4. Moses does not tell the people that God can “be known no other way” than through any of your imagined theophanies. He directs them to the experience at Sinai. He impresses upon them the very opposite of your teaching, that they are not to associate God with any form. And he says: “To you it was shown so that you would acknowledge the Lord is God; there is no other beside Him” (v. 36). He does not teach them of a Father and Son combo, but that God is alone.

    If you could have found a passage that stated that one must come to God through His son, you would have brought it out, instead of reading into these passages. You would not cast about looking for random verses just to establish “the Son” and then hope to find some to establish the necessity of coming to him later on. You would not have seized upon the angel in Daniel, because he looked like a son of the gods. And you would not have ignored that this angel is not worshiped by any in the passage. I guess what I’m trying to say is: Charles, we can see your mouth moving.

    Jim

  6. Dina says:

    Charles, you have yet to confront Deuteronomy 4 directly, instead of finding vague passages that support your theology.

    I have said many times that even if it appears in some instances that God manifested as a person or that mediation was needed (incorrect interpretation but let’s leave that for now), we are still only permitted to worship God according to the knowledge of Him that He imparted to us at Sinai.

    You can’t justify your worship if you face this passage.

  7. Jim says:

    Charles,

    R’ Blumenthal, Dina, and I have all referred you to Deuteronomy 4 on various occasions. One that you may have missed was here: https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/facing-scripture-2/#comment-17593 . I do not see how you can get around the fact that the Torah and you are at odds regarding what is the central event of Torah. The Torah refers us to the Sinai event regarding how they are to understand God. You refer to us to the servants of God rather than God Himself. To whom are we to listen–to Torah or to you?

    Jim

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