Cowardly Slave Industries

When we read the Ten Commandments in original context we find that they are followed immediately by what we should recognize as the first statute or judgment in the Torah an entry about slaves and ownership or to put it mildly how to treat a servant.  This is not a coincidence or disjointed alert.  Exodus 21:2 is the slice that complements Exodus 20;2, the preamble to the Ten Words; a deliberate attempt by the Lord’s servant Moses to raise Israel’s morality at least to golden rule level.  

If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment.

(Exodus 21:2, NASB)

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

(Exodus 20:2, NASB)

The privilege of having servants was as destructive for ancient Israel as it is for European kingdoms, the United States of America and the British Empire.  It is difficult to recover from centuries of pursuing dominion over our fellows.

Imagine connecting your head to your torso without your neck

The corrupting of love into a loyalty trip has caused untold misery and confusion with the onslaught of misogyny and racial discrimination.  Even at the  level of golden rule love we have been misled.  Messianic love surpasses “do to others as you’d like done to you”.  People and nations that like to think of themselves as Christian had better start looking for a makeover.  The ten commandments without statutes and judgments are a monster of Frankenstein proportions.  There is no practical good to “You shall not steal” without the judgments of reconciliation and repayment.

The surprising test for governments

Treating workers with the deference due is the benchmark.  After all,  if a man needs servants, he is indebted to them.  His status is tied to their wellbeing and labour.  Having to give them leave every 24 hours, for one day per week, for one year every 7 years and for one year in every 50 years was more than most employers could stand. 

“You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family.” (Leviticus 25:10, NASB)

Leviticus 25:10

Land abuse and perversion

There are few public policies that defy God’s intentions for every human than the real estate confusion. Governments and influential entities affirm the right of each individual to life but not the space to live. The search for space to live outside of earth’s boundaries a denial of mankind’s basic need. Remember the founding of Australia! The export of unsavoury types is still a plank in misanthropic circles. Think again about how every good thing gets corrupted when there are avowed rebels around.

The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me. (Leviticus 25:23, NASB)

Leviticus 25:23

Resisting the call to treat employees with respect ends badly for the employer, and whether the employer is a nation, a corporation, family or individual. Ends quite badly. Time to pay and send away cannot be ignored.

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were in Jerusalem to proclaim release to them:

Jeremiah 34:8, NASB

Making a covenant means cutting a deal,  karat berit.  The infinitive steers us towards the material deal and not the features of the action.

Freedom for workers is supposed to be cyclical and most people actually cherish having the same employer for life.  Capitalism is the love of money authorized and celebrated and subjected to daily speculation (stock trading  etc).

This agreement could have saved Judah from exile and destruction of the temple and city.  Its failure demonstrated that people who are capitalist will chose God’s anger over doing the right thing.  

Strategic eye contact

Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.”

Luke 7:44

The Lord Christ turns to one person and speaks to another.  This may seem like a trashing of the highly recommended way to speak with people.  Presence, eye contact  and responsiveness are part of good communications.  Here the Lord wants to direct Simon’s eyes to look where he is looking.  Strategic as this may be in this case, it is a supremely great thing to see what Christ see.  The sight holds out opportunities to be good,  gracious, generous, and kind.  Eye contact, with or without strategic intent, has purpose.

Topnotch greetings

Here is a sample greeting that is laced with a maxim about the value of days as gifts. It is easy to find gifts that rank higher than any day of the week. From a Christian perspective there is eternal life, way more valuable than any day. How does one receive the best gift EVERY DAY. Does each day get better than the last? They all cannot be the best.

Days are not the greatest gifts

A day is precious but is gone in 24 hours.

Not only are greeting mills products likely to be disguised hacks, scams, and phishing tactics they also spread meaningless tripe like “the greatest gift is waking up”, The greatest gift cannot happen every day.

Court solutions to religious conflict

“After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth.”

(Act 18:1, NASB)

Paul and the Corinthian experience

The Corinthian church is famous for the fact that there are two letters addressed to her by Paul.  There are also undercurrents of unspeakable vice (incest), disorderly bahaviour in the assemblies of the church, and a general penchant for prostitution and homosexuality.  The Corinthian experence shines a light on the intersections between church, state and duelling religions. This is far from being an irrelevant perspective, when we consider the intense passions of religious faith in the news today, in Afghanistan, the United States, Israel, the Arab republics and any nation where a religion has its fingers on the levers of state.

The maxims of religion are not commonsense in the Corinthian experience or anywhere else

It is rather dangerous to think that there is no science to what religions sell. Judaism descended into divisions among the priesthood, the academics and the political savvy. The twenty-frist century world is not exempt from this phenomenon. The experience seems to have begun with Paul’s encounter with the Greek philosophers in Athens (Act 17:22 ff) and chose to leave  being mocked by them (Act 17:32-34).  It was his teamwork with Aquila and Priscilla who have been recently deported from Rome and happened to be tentmakers, as was Paul, and who gave him room and board.

It seems that Paul did his tentmaking and preaching-teaching part-time until Silas and  Timothy joined him from Macedonia, at which time he devoted himself to the word of God, namely, that Yeshua was the Messiah. Paul was not preaching the law of God.  He evidently used it to do so.  

Matters heated up when the synagoue leader believed the message and was baptized, which in turn led to a host of Corinthians following his lead.  Then, in his precognition, the Lord encouraged Psul in a vision to “stop being fearful, and to keep on speaking, and not to be silent”.  One does not need to guess who would want Paul to be silent.

Paul taught the word of God for eighteen months and then the Jews, thinking they had an opportunity under the auspces of proconsul of Achaia Gallio, brought charges against Paul. We are going to see a slam dunk of the illegitimate hostility of Jews against Christ in the courts of Greece.  Other attempts to have Paul silenced will take place in the Roman court system, bringing Paul to his treasuresd destiny, the imperial household.

The charge

13) This man persuades men to worship God contrary to the law [of God/Moses].

Proceedings interrupted

14) But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrong or of vicious crime, O Jews, it would be reasonable for me to put up with you;” (Act 18:14, NASB)

It ought to be difficult to bring charges of crime and sedition againts believers, but it seems that people have become incregasingly attracted to political constructs for church’s progress and success.  The people who are willing to foment and perpetrate violence and murders can be found in the contexts of Jewish, African, Palestinian, Islamic, Buddhist, and American politics.

I raise again the flag of warning to people of genuine spirituality:  stay away from government interference in matters of your beliefs.  Mixing beliefs with political ideologies and law of any kind never ends well for those who do.  We cannot imagine that Iranians, Jews, and anyone with a book that is a tool for divine revelation is unaware that telling people what to believe under threat of death is pure beastliness and not worthy of association with humanity. Let us see how a synagogue responded to the court’s dismissal of a case against God’s messenger. 

If there was a crime here I would tolerate you

but if there are questions about words and names and your own [Jewish/Mosaic/Elohistic] law, look after it yourselves; I am unwilling to be a judge of these matters. 

Verse 15

Kicked out of court and mob violence

16) And he drove them away from the judgment seat. 17) And they all took hold of Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and began beating him in front of the judgment seat. But Gallio was not concerned about any of these things. (Act 18:16-17, NASB)

And the government barely blinked.

Think Abraham, Eat and Drink Blessing

Blessings stream around Abraham.  The human family, every family, owes Abraham an award for the blessing.  Since the man from Mesopotamia is not God whence is he the source of blessing?  From being old man with an old wife Abraham goes on to be the focal point of the Hebrew people’s 400 year sojourn in Egypt,  their 40 year journey to the promised land,  their production of David’s family, and the security against their neighbours.  If one listens to James alone one would never guess that Abram was a man that God saved from sin, and the neo-Pharisee would have people believe that the bottom line of godliness is one to ten commandments, or perhaps a package of hundreds.  That is an incredibly nourishment poor life to live in a land of bread and wine.

The endurance of favour to Abraham

Despite the Lord’s anger being kindled against Israel, and although He had repeatedly given them into the hand of Hazael king of Aram, and into the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael (2 Kings 13:3, NASB) His policy towards Israel included an apparent endless regard for Abraham.

22) Now Hazael king of Aram had oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. 23)  But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them and turned to them because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them or cast them from His presence until now. (2 Kings 13:22-23, NASB)

2) And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; 3) And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.

Genesis 12:2-3, NASB

The food and drink in Abraham’s blessing

18) And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. 19) He blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20) And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” He gave him a tenth of all.

Genesis 14:18-20, NASB

There is nothing the Aaronic (Levitical)  kingdom could add to Abraham’s estate.  The writer of Hebrews makes the case for the great Levitical priesthood to be subject to the figure who blessed Abram.

“Now observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the choicest spoils.”

Hebrews 7:4

9) And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes, 10) for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.”

Hebrews 7:9-10

The endpoint is not Levitical

Perfection and commandments are terminal concepts.  Four  Greek terms entole, teleios, telos, teleiosis are related to the proto-root TEL.  These four terms, (1) command, (2) a perfect or mature person or thing, (3) a goal or end, and (4) maturity or perfection are performance trackers.  Grace, on the other hand delivers irrevocable gifts.

Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron?

Hebrews 7:11, NASB

Now since perfection has not come and cannot come through the Levitical priesthood there is no quest for a new  priesthood, but there is a new and superior one.  All the shadows of the levitical system, it is furnishings,  processes and chronology are mere picturee or shadows of the end of all things..  But let us return to the substance of blessing.

Mere talk that truly matters

Both barak and eulogeo BLESS are terms defining speech.  A simple thing like saying “good morning ” is a blessing, as are way more consequential speech like eulogies. When GOD pronounces someone blessed it is necessarily consequential, ant not mere words for a good feeling. So how are Abraham, his descendants and believers eulogized?

Divine eulogies

Abraham blessed and blessing others

Who is going to forget that Yeshua connected the dots of eating and drinking with apparent no regard for one of the Levitical system’s most traditions, the ban on ingesting blood?  In fact, the blood ban goes all the way back to the early days of the post flood world.  Who is going to forget that after Yahweh’s words of blessing to Abram (Genesis 12:2 and 3) Melchisedec blessed Abram with bread and wine (Genesis 14:18-20)?

Christ turns away condemnation and blesses all

Who is going to forget that Yeshua gave his flesh and blood as food for the nourishment of the elect, or that he is a beautiful shepherd whose duties are feeding and guarding his flock? Bread and wine, food and drink are in a new place, far from the shadows, figures and types.

Christ is not enough?

Tacking on anyone or anything to the apostolic message is pure and mindless imitation of ancient Israel.  God’s will, as performed by the Lord Christ, is also his (will and) testament. Christ’s death changes everything: the covenant, the glory and the adoption. By dying he opened the way into God’s family and he left no stone unturned.

Wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption

“But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 1:30-31, NASB

What else can people be legitimately  interested in?  A phony kind of love seems to be a popular target, but loving God apart from loving people is an abortion pill.

The law is not enough

Of all the things Christ could be for humanity Creator and prosecutor are a couple for which we need no fanfare. Maybe one for the upcoming creation; but what purpose does that serve in the current season of earth’s history? Definitely no fanfare for Christ as prosecutor. That role he leaves with Moses.  Yes, Christ cannot simultaneously be the accuser and defense lawyer.  The diabolic nature of the false teaching about Christ as inscribed of the Sinai Covenant on human hearts can hardly be more graphic.   Nobody gets the Holy Spirit from Christ because they kept the law of Moses, neither ten Commandments, nor statutes nor judgments.  It has to be a demon who tells people that they, having received the Spirit of apart from any kind of law,  need the law to maintain the new status.

Who, if not the Nazarene?

Despite the expulsion from Eden and the flaming sword blocking the way back, God’s actions demonstrated his primary interest in the preparation of the family through which his Son would be born. God did not expose Abraham to Melchizedek or include Rahab in the family that moved into Canaan because he wanted to create a racist heaven in Canaan. The law, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, their expulsion from Canaan, the destruction of the temple were obviously not feathers in Moses cap. As Luke says, the convincing proofs (Acts 1:3) of Christ’s identity and our destiny are within reach of all who care sufficiently to give a little attention to the narratives of the Risen Christ. Of course, he is enough.

Cheers! Raise a chalice!

“I shall lift up the cup of salvation And call upon the name of the Lord.” (Psalms 116:13, NASB)

This seems to be the call of the saved.  “Cup of salvation” signifies a toast for the experience.  One does not take the cup to get saved, one drinks to recall and memorialize, repeatedly, as indicated by the imperfect tense of נשא, nasa, אשא. essa

It ought to be apparent cup experience that this does not call for raising a literal cup as in the communion service when one wants to memorialize Salvation. It should mean primarily that Christ as Saviour is the savour or flavour of our praise. Why shouldn’t Christ be the centre of upward praise?