A very big deal

Why Christ is an unprecedented and inimitable big deal eludes even Christians.  Those who we think are Christian leaders – standard bearing and accountable – lare mostly something else, and quite unlike the apostles, not to mention the Nazarene himself.  The Christian buck, fortunately, stops with Christ. The race to the bottom features mere miracle talk, lots of books and comments, and it is not Christ who gets the highest praise.  Moses needed kings and priests to succeed him and make his message a success. By comparison Allah needs a human operative to make his message a success, while John the Baptist was pretty sure that God would make offspring out of stones if John’s contemporaries kept up their resistance to God’s instructions and promises. We believe that God’s appearance to Abram (Genesis 12:1, 17:2, 18:1) are not fiction. If we want to be permanently juveniles, always waiting to be told what to do, we can simply stay in line behind Moses or even our national and local governments. People telling us what to think and do is just fine if you want an entry level spiritual relationship and experience. The number of Christians who believe that righteousness and morality are both simply doing as we are told keeps growing. That there is no such thing as a successful religious nation is proven by God’s choices for world-ruling empires, as if he knew that these same powers would kick up dust long after they lost their influence. The successors of the Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman rulers are evidence that the mighty fall, and our human view, even the views of prophets, generals and mighty men hit the dirt.   That makes Christ the inimitable and absolute monarch of leaders.

Hello! Goodbye!

A lot of hot air is circulating about religion, religious rights, and especially how religion can fulfill the needs of civic government.  God allowed four non-religious governments to dominate the world, so where ever you dug up your religion from, please keep it out of my nation’s government.  Comparison is fascinating study, especially for theology students.  There was, a few years ago,  a rumour that a new and logical religious perspective was possible, provisionally named Chrislam.  That perspective and the rumour about a new ecumenical deal died because there is no global pattern for religious government.   An evaluation of the judicially-challenged powerbrokers of the twenty-first  century can only conclude that truth and its seekers have been replaced by phony monarchs, poor rich heroes, cruel vigilantes and crumbly opposition cutthroats.   The righteous nation dies in the womb.  In the rise of the somewhat popular religions we have the evidence that religion in government has never ended well for the governed, especially for women, children, foreigners and migrants.  Multi-faith statements and prayers are a feel-good but perforated bag that tends to turn grace and goodness into misleading and debauched gateways to more rebellion and endless revolution.  We live, work, and play with people of every description but we are not obliged to embrace their beliefs. 

More than a prophet

Prophets are talkers, often uninformed, unenlightened, prone to sink to the popular contemporary threads in opposition to decency.  Sometimes prophets are asked to play out their message, or to make their private lives a feature of the message they are commissioned to bring.  They are spokespersons.  They do not have to heal, repair, punish or comfort anyone.  It is sufficient that the nabi’ (Hebrew for prophet) says what God tells him.  Sooner or later prophets get laughed out of town by the home crowd.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.”

Mark 6:4, NASB

Prophet going where no-one dares

Yeshua described the messenger who announced his arrival as “more than a prophet”.  This messenger is also evaluated as the greatest man to be born, and the messenger and his monarch showed absolutely no interest in the contemporary government aligning with the movements of kingdom of God.  The two are necessarily incompatible. Caesar and God are not equal “buddies” in governing the world.  There is a thin line between being a disciple and being an adversary (a satanas, a person who opposes or resists); and that line reveals the difference between what we can see – even after heaven smiles on us – and what is spiritual and eternal.  The person who is authorized to speak for God might as well buck the trend, trash the tradition because the tradition and the trend hand learned how to not bend towards the guarantors of their success: the children.

21) From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. 22) Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” 23) But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

Matthew 16:21-23, NASB

We are a stunted society because kids and parents mutually scorn each other’s choices sufficiently to part ways

Mediation perfection towards peace

If you have wondered or worried why, after two world wars, after countless tribal and territorial conflicts, the deadly competition and bloodletting continues, you might try finding a nation or people demonstrating a meaningful commitment to the brotherhood of all humans.  The American people are not alone,  struggling to explain the distance they have covered towards a peaceful and prosperous society.  Try finding a governor, mayor, local elder who is willing to affirm the value of common human principles  ahead of his people’s self-interest.  Millions of people will never see a conflict-free decade, never choose their local or national leader, never go out on the street without the fear of being assaulted by someone who thinks you do not belong.  “Money can’t buy you love” goes the song, and more than a few believe that money was going to buy the nations peace.  The peace is largely denied in places where it is explicitly promised.   We do not know whether the UN will be able to monitor and indict, for example,  the predation and bigory, the genocidal social policies  that are shaping realities of our time, both in living colour and the virtual.  A peace won by killing one’s neighbours is a poor foundation for a sustainable society.

So where are the dream-weavers, the deal makers, the philosophers, all the wiz-kids, the wheelers and dealers of academia and commerce?   If they had what it takes to help humanity arrest the terrors of kings, generals, mighty men,  tanks and  high-flying missiles they would have used it.  Imagine though the standing ovation for the leader on the word scene who offers a plausible priority roadmap for feeding the hungry, calming the seas of strife!  Even if his plan is not really  viable that person will be called a “god”.  That is where today’s “more than a prophet” personality is going to come from.  A fabulous personality like this is bound to be a genuine mediator, expected to relate to both sides involved in any process by actually belonging to both sides.  That guy will be a quickly recognized fraud , because it is laughable that people imagine that the boss of all the prophets need a prophet, priest or king to make his benefits flow.  Our personal demonstration of accountability to the community where we live is not atonement.   It is a small drop in the ocean of salvation for all.

Prophets are not superhuman

Let me conclude with an overview of the religious movements that have risen since the Galilean and his disciples operated as heaven’s witnesses in the early first century. Against the backdrop of Moses and John the Baptist there is no human authority and when Moses himself sought God’s mind on the rights of women to inherit and hold property and gets told that they absolutely do, we know that sects (no negative significance intended) that have risen without a superhuman figure are wisps of smoke in the air. Whether they are in Asia, the Middle East, Europe or North America, they all take their cues from a prophetic figure, sometimes a learned figure. Even when the recognized figure is clearly uncharismatic or unread people follow with one eye closed. Prophets are not a replacement for God’s voice. Let us be convinced that the God who spoke to Abraham spoke to David; the God who spoke to Martin Luther speaks to all Christians, and wants to speak with us. Furthermore, the prophets of old were notably not experienced in the things they predicted or modeled, so this generation needs to hear directly from God, bypassing human opinions and dreams at the critical junctures. Calling people to follow and revere a prophet is profoundly misguided. People need a bigger deal deal than a prophet or a thousand volume of commentary on what God wants.

7) Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, In ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8) He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?”

Micah 6:7-8, NASB

Holy Voice

Divine utterance, hailstones, coals of fire, arrows, lightning flashes, and water channels seem like strange companions, but not so strange when we realize that humans have learned about divine reality and majesty from observing nature (the created world) (Romans 1:20)  We should therefore not be too hesitant to  admit that God reveals himself outside of human writings.  God’s voice is reasonably associated with words and messages, hence the Bible has become the finest place to experience divine communications.  The Bible may be the most popular (most printed) book, but it also ranks highly among the misunderstood books of all time.  If man had to look at nature to hear God speak there would be far less misunderstanding.   There would be no thriving sacred book business where the books contradict each other.  There would be little room for variations of interpretation.  But with our own eyes we can see and differentiate, along with the Scriptures, rain, sunshine, night and day.  The confusion over (1) God’s mission Psalm 18:16 (2) purposeful deliverance of people in trouble and Psalm 18:17 and (3) taking pleasure in humans is synthetic Psalm 18:19.  People were not confused about what thunder, lightning, and rain were or what they did.

Spin this with a little culture

A rain shower is a phenomenon we cannot spin.  A tree in the autumn whose leaves stay green is still a tree, and a tree whose leaves dry up, do not change colour and do not fall to the ground is not an evergreen.
Yahweh’s thundering in the sky is associated with El Elyon’s use of his voice.Noone seems to have received the gospel apart from human messengers, a point driven home by Paul (Romans 10:14).  The Incarnation seems to end the reliance on nature for saving information and set in motion what we can only call a beautiful human involvement in God’s most magnificent venture.  Those saved people who refuse to learn to read the text are like the meteorologists who know nothing about the direction of the wind, the temperatures aloft, and the moisture that a cloud may hold.

Say it again, Psalmist

For a second time, in Psalm 29, the songwriter associates thunder with God’s voice, and sets forth an explanation of natural phenomena as displaying God’s power and lordship and as accomplishing his purposes. He repeats “Yahweh’s voice” in verses 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9.  Even though he does not once say “I love you” should not such an array of God’s utterances have led the translators to see the facts of history and not turn the summary or conclusion into an uncertain future. Why choose “will give” from yitten? Why choose “will bless” from yĕbarek?  Is it not true that Yahweh kept giving strength to his people and kept blessing his people with peace? A holy speaker would know the difference and how important is was to give Yahweh credit for what he has been doing for Abraham’s descendants.