Category: New Testament


December: Winter Solstice, Christmas

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In essence Romans 14.5 states: Each person will assess the value and meaning of a day. One person will value one particular day as more important than all other days. While another person will place the exact same value on each day. What’s important is that each person needs to have complete confidence in their decision about how they value the day(s).

 
For decades, I have not enjoyed this time of year, and my biggest reason is December 25 and the event that is associated with it.

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Deuteronomy 6.16-19

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For this Torah Portion, I look specifically at Deuteronomy 6.16-19.

In this essay, I will discuss that trying the LORD should be understood with Moses’ appending phrase “as you did as Massah.”

I will again discuss that while this portion is Torah, and Torah is equated with law and commandments, that the Torah contains tones that seem to come directly from Moses as a person, the elder statesman.

I will discuss that Moses is exhorting Israel to remain faithful to Jehovah in order to find success, and I will discuss that there is a long history of trying to understand what is right in the sight of the LORD.

Here is the discussion: Deuteronomy 6.16-19.

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Tao Te Ching, Chapter 55

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My comments and thoughts regarding Tao Te Ching, Chapter 55 are now available.

Blessings and Shalom

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Deuteronomy 6.4-9

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For this Torah Portion, I look specifically at Deuteronomy 6.4-9.

In this essay, I will discuss the Shema, looking at some details and giving my thoughts about what Moses wanted Israel to do in order to remain faithful to Jehovah.

I will also briefly discuss some aspects of the Shema and whether or not, in context, sets a foundation for monotheism.

Here is the discussion: Deuteronomy 6.4-9.

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Discussing My Counterpoint – Part Seven

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In Discussing My Counterpoint – Part Seven, I address the Respondent’s third reply to my counterpoint, they said:

I brought up the blameless reference to show the way you earlier used it and ‘apt to teach’ would indicate one is not necessarily sinful even if not blameless. We are agreed on that. I acknowledge the requirement that church officers are mandated to be monogamists.

RH: “Is it more of a directive? I have to answer, no, because the word ‘directive’ insinuates, connotes, denotes: an order, or an edict, or a mandate, or a requirement. Nowhere does Scripture require, mandate, order a man to be only monogamous.”

Respondent: My view is that 1 Corinthians 7:2 could be that verse! I don’t know Greek but I understand “let … ” in Scripture in many such context to indicate a directive e.g. “let not man put asunder.” At times, LET denotes a request or permission but mostly it is an imperative. It could also mean rent [e.g. Matthew 21:41] or send down [e.g. Mark 2:4, Luke 5:5]

Paul was not inspired to write: “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man be married, and let every woman have a husband.” I once alluded to singularity noting seed vs seeds in Galatians 3:16. Now I am alluding also to “OWN.” It connotes possessive/exclusive or better still personalization. This is harmonious with the permissible inference from Genesis 2 that ‘one man + one woman for life’ is God’s intent. Jesus went back to creation and the NT promotes/records only monogamy to take us back to God’s original plan.

In the link are my original comments, along with some added and extensive thoughts from me in my Post Segment Review: Discussing My Counterpoint – Part Seven.

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Discussing My Counterpoint – Part Six

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In Discussing My Counterpoint – Part Six, I address the Respondent’s third reply to my counterpoint, they said:

RH: “for some reason a polygamous man loses his ability to be called ‘blameless’ that alone ‘disqualifies’…”

Respondent: If a man is not blameless by virtue of being a polygamist then God has laid something at his charge. The ‘blameless’ term may pertain to another thing or be viewed on its own rather than as qualifying the other attributes stated. If one is blameable for violating the other enumerated qualities (e.g. patient, apt to teach, husband of one wife…) then it could possibly tantamount to sin but not necessarily?

RH: “I can accept that ‘each man have his own wife’ *suggests* monogamy, and may actually be interpreted as directly encouraging monogamy, but encouraging toward monogamy is *not* condemnation and is *not* prohibition of polygamy.”

Respondent: If interpreted that way then it is weightier than just a suggestion:
“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.”
It more of a directive than ‘you don’t have to marry but if you do in other to avoid immorality, have your OWN spouse: don’t engage in sex outside of marriage AND don’t take or share another person’s spouse. Otherwise, Paul could have simply stated: “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man be married, and let every woman have a husband.”

In the link are my original comments, along with some added and extensive thoughts from me in my Post Segment Review: Discussing My Counterpoint – Part Six.

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Discussing My Counterpoint – Part Five

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In Discussing My Counterpoint – Part Five, I address the Respondent’s third reply to my counterpoint, they said:

Good answer. I did not need you to say any particular thing, I just wanted you to present sound reasoning for whatever your position is. I am willing to suspend my earlier statement that I understand polygamy to be sinful under the new covenant. SUSPEND not yet totally withdrawn! If you scrutinize my first response to the original question, you may detect a bit of initial reluctance but casual view of 1 Corinthians 7:2 influenced my understanding.

However, looking at that verse again in its context, it may be that polygamy is not precluded.

1 Corinthians 7:1-5

1Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

It seems that specifying the number of spouses one may have is not the focus of that passage. To avoid sexual immorality, Paul is stating that each man should have sexual relations with his own wife and each woman should only have same with her own husband. While on the surface the tone is of monogamy, the passage does not exclude a polygamous man from rendering due benevolence to his wives.

The Scripture is emphatic in Romans 7:2-3 that a woman cannot be married to another man while the initial husband is alive without being designated an adulteress. However, there is no Scriptural condemnation anywhere in the Bible of a man having more than a single wife. We can reasonably expect that some of the converts in the early church might have been polygamous and there was no reference of anyone being asked to dissolve such marriage. Consider the following:

1 Timothy 3:1-5

1This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

God did not just ask for a married man, he specifically said he must have one wife and that opens up the plausibility of brothers who may have multiple wives in the congregation. This suggests God wants a monogamist who is a more fitting example to the flock; historically and practically polygamous homes are more contentious.

The above is an alternate view and interpretation that I am willing to consider aside the fact that “each man have his own wife” also suggests monogamy -even if remotely.

As per Paul’s recommendation of celibacy, the next verse shows it was his own preference and not a law for others, (ditto 1 Timothy 4:1-3)

1 Corinthians 7:8-9

8I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. 9But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

Obviously one who is monogamous and a mature Christian is unlikely to go ahead to practice polygamy in faith. The issue is should unbelievers be taught/asked to put away all but their first wife in order to come unto Christ? Unless it can be shown that polygamy is a form of adultery/fornication the answer may be…

In the link are my original comments, along with some added and extensive thoughts from me in my Post Segment Review: Discussing My Counterpoint – Part Five.

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