Christian Theological/Philosophical Book Club discussion

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message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert Lampros | 57 comments Webster’s Dictionary defines “prophet” as, “A member of some religion (such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) who delivers messages that are believed to have come from God.” The Old Testament Prophets were generally humble men of prayer whom God charged with the task of rebuking the people of Israel for their sins and exhorting them to change and obey God’s rules. Often the primary sin was idolatry, the worship of false deities that usually took the form of small statues forged in gold, silver, or other precious metals. After warning their nation about God’s anger, or in between warnings about the horrible results of sin and idolatry, the OT Prophets proclaimed the supreme benefits of returning to Yahweh, repenting of evil, and living within the boundaries of God’s Law passed down through Moses.

The Books of the Prophets contain a rich store of beautiful poetry, glorious descriptions of natural wonders and bold expressions of God’s immensity and power. The poetic language inspires fear, hope, amazement, or some combination of the three, depending on the will of the Holy Spirit. Although the Old Testament prophecies came before the birth of Jesus Christ, before the Cross and Resurrection gave opportunity for adoption as God’s children, one can hear a fatherly tone in the Prophets’ admonitions, the Creator pleading for the hearts of His beloved, the people called to be His own. Not one of the prophecies fails to include a guarantee of prosperity, peace, and everlasting joy for those who renounce their idols and conform to God’s will, which He states, somewhat paradoxically, is the only path to true freedom.

As one can imagine these Prophets were not very well-liked by a majority of the people. They were feared and respected to a degree, but also hated. Being messengers of God, their words carried power to effect change in society and impact the souls of their hearers, a change that rarely meant an increase in comfort or pleasure. Mainly they came with an ultimatum, and sometimes they got killed for it, but because of their faith they possessed the courage to do what God said. In his Sermon on the Mount, Christ encourages his disciples to imitate such faith. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake… when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12) As difficult as their words may have been to hear, they were the words of a God who sincerely cared for His people and who wanted them to survive and inherit blessings in the future.

The main Prophets of the Old Testament are: Aaron, Abraham, Agur, Ahijah, Amos, Asaph, Azariah, Daniel, David, Deborah, Elijah, Elisha, Enoch, Ezekiel, Ezra, Gad, Habakkuk, Haggai, Hanani, Hosea, Huldah, Iddo, Isaiah, Jacob, Jehu, Jeremiah, Joel, John the Baptist, Jonah, Joshua, Malachi, Micah, Micaiah, Miriam, Moses, Nahum, Nathan, Noah, Obadiah, Oded, Samuel, Shemaiah, Urijah, Zecheriah (son of Berechiah), Zecheriah (son of Jehoiada), and Zephaniah.

Since Christ the Son of God was incarnated, crucified, and resurrected, starting with the Apostles all who bear testimony to the Gospel are technically prophets. The angel from Revelation tells Saint John, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10) Not only is it important to God that we confess and hold fast to the truth of Christ’s Lordship, it’s also necessary for our salvation and for the salvation of those who don’t believe. “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven, but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32)


message 2: by G. (new)

G. Julian | 70 comments You should not be so gullible in believing the Old Testament when they say this is God. People did not know how to understand God without a bona-fide spiritual master. Jesus said that you can know something or someone by the fruits that come from it or him. As far as the "God" in the Old Testament is concerned; there are two ideas present El Shaddai ~ a god of love and Jehovah ~ a god of hate. In John 8.44, Jesus talks to the high priests of Jehovah (Yahweh) and reveals who he really is The Devil. Thus, people in the old world accepted someone as God because he had an awesome weapon or he was an alien from another planet or was voted in. Considering all the evil of Jehovah; I would say without question that my guru is right; Jehovah must be the devil. Jules


message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert Lampros | 57 comments Thanks for responding, Jules, however the God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Three persons united in one Holy Trinity. The first covenant came by Abraham and the Mosaic Law, then Christ came to establish the new covenant set forth in the Gospels.


message 4: by G. (new)

G. Julian | 70 comments You are a fool who has been brainwashed by religion and you have short circuited your intelligence. If the two are the same than why are there such big differences :
Jehovah - cannot say his name or he kills you
El - his name is all auspicious and can save you at death
Jehovah - accepts only animal sacrifices and gets drunk on alcohol.
El - accepts only vegetarian sacrifices and drinks only fruit nectar
Jehovah - stabs his servants in the back; murdered 11 million innocent people in the old world
El - cherishes his disciples and murders no-one
Karen Armstrong, the foremost authority on ancient history said this : "In the ancient home of Canaan, El Shaddai was worshipped in the north, while Yahweh was worshipped in the south. Though out history, these two personalities have been worshipped in different places by different people for thousands of years." If you collect the characteristics of Jehovah (yahweh) and El Shaddai and then presents them to a psychiatrist; you will hear him say that this person is a lunatic and should be institutionalized. But God is not a lunatic. Only the bastard religion you subscribe to of Christianity & Judaism are lunatics. It is not the only choice either. There's the Eastern Orthodox Christianity too. Within that context is where I'm coming from : The Desposni ~ the Disciplic Succession of Jesus, presided by James & Peter (apostles) ~ where the Paulian religion was rejected as not true to Jesus. Om-tat-sat


message 5: by R.J. (last edited Jul 09, 2016 08:49AM) (new)

R.J. Gilbert (rjagilbert) | 93 comments You know what. He actually makes sense...but...not in the way he probably wants to.

You see, if you study world religions enough, you start to see this "angry god" pattern overlapped by this "Spirit of truth" pattern--over and over and over again. It's like this Spirit of truth is constantly trying to rescue mankind from this blood-thirsty god of wrath and anger, and all through world history you see individuals (the Bible calls them prophets) who commune with this Spirit and then bring peace and sanity to their region...for a short time. But that false god always comes back in and corrupts what good has come of it.

In modern times, we have a church of Latter Day Saints that believes somewhat in this principle of a present Spirit. The same goes for the Charismatic movement. The problem is that they are so easily corrupted. The LDS from its structure and the desire for those who are corrupt to cloy and claw their way to the top. The Charismatic movement, in contrast, is corrupted by a complete lack of organization and too many of those same corrupted individuals who gather a following (and a book deal) using false prophecies coated with sugar.

G, the main disagreement I have with your teaching is that you have confined the Spinner of Galaxies to a name. That is not something that is forbidden, but it is still a bad idea. Humans can't comprehend the vastness of the Spirit that spun the universe into existence, so they confine it within a name. Inevitably, that name comes to be misunderstood and corrupted, and people begin to worship something that is much less than what it could be. Inevitably, the pattern repeats when that god of lies and deceit comes in and takes on that name, pretends for a while to be what the people expect him to be, and then slowly changes that named god into the same bloodthirsty monster that has kept mankind enslaved for thousands and thousands of years.

Robert (and others who will read this and shake their heads), I know that, within what Christianity has become, this sounds like some kind of false teaching, but I really have to ask: is your god so small that he can be confined to a temple? To a city? To a single culture? Is he so small that his "holy land" can be pinpointed on a map? Is he confined, then, to a continent? To a planet? To a single star in the sky? If your god is bigger than that, why have you confined him to a single book? What if the Greater God has been reaching out to humanity on all continents, through all of history, and you don't recognize it because you have limited His testimony to the few prophets of your Bible who came to know him within the confinements of a name?


message 6: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle Fun.
Gotta love them Old Testament prophets. Just what God gave us. Luke 16:19 - 31.

We have Moses and the Prophets. Jesus sees them as essential.

Great topic Robert. Thanx.


message 7: by Greg (new)

Greg Rigby | 6 comments Which is more important, faith or truth? The writings you refer to were put together at a time when The Egyptian Pharaoh was 'The Lord God' and his pronouncements taken and written down as 'The Word of God' - the patriarchs were all close to the Pharaohs and some of them may even have been Pharaohs at the time Egypt was occupied by the Semitic tribes. Read Irenaeus' work - 'Against Heresies' to learn what the prevailing beliefs were that were suppressed by the early Christians.


message 8: by Robert (new)

Robert Lampros | 57 comments The Biblical Prophets are true prophets of the one true God.


message 9: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle Exactly what Robert just said.

Secret documents Greg???? Trustworthy because???? Downey or Scotty 3 ply?!


message 10: by Greg (new)

Greg Rigby | 6 comments Robert wrote: "The Biblical Prophets are true prophets of the one true God."
How do you know that? Where did you learn it? Were you there? You are picking up from a tradition of belief that was indoctrinated by ignorant priest astrologers. Look at the explanation of the Adam and Eve Story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrUBE...


message 11: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle How do you know for sure they were ignorant? Were you there?


message 12: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle Looks like fun. I'll watch the Adam and Eve story when I get home tonight.


message 13: by Robert (new)

Robert Lampros | 57 comments Sorry, Greg, I believe that the Bible is from God. You won't change my mind on that. Thanks for your comments, sir.


message 14: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle Yep, I double checked: it's definitely God's book. I also compared it to many other books.
No doubt at all.


message 15: by R.J. (new)

R.J. Gilbert (rjagilbert) | 93 comments Prophecy is one of those things that is often imitated but never duplicated. If you don't have the gift, stay out of the kitchen.

I'm pretty sick of doomsday prophets. They all seem to want the attention and the followers, but they never seem to care much about accuracy.

Real prophets don't just cry out for justice or warn of doom. They equip. If God is going to tell them "something is coming", He is going to equip them with the tools they need to deal with it. Either it is a vision for action or it is a word of encouragement. Sometimes, it's actual physical abilities that are given so the prophet can help the people deal with the problem. But real prophets don't just say "Fall on your knees and beg God for mercy!" They don't say "Jesus is coming soon!" That's just a clanging cymbal.


message 16: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle I like that idea that real prophets equip. I good warning to Repent is equipping.
Obedience is 90% of our religion. Whether we feel loving or not.


message 17: by G. (new)

G. Julian | 70 comments Thanks for your comments and meditations. jules


message 18: by Greg (new)

Greg Rigby | 6 comments Robert wrote: "Sorry, Greg, I believe that the Bible is from God. You won't change my mind on that. Thanks for your comments, sir."
It is not me that would change your mind - beliefs are only changed by new experience - a book can help you get that - try this: https://www.dropbox.com/s/so5rpx8w1qd...
GREG


message 19: by G. (new)

G. Julian | 70 comments I wouldn't be so sure of that Robert, the Old Testament has had a lot of criticism and skepticism as far back as the 13th Century. Julian wrote : The God of the Pharisee Jews, who is called Yahweh is inconsistent with the merciful father of Jesus.
Jules


message 20: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle Did anybody ever bother to read that bit of the Bible where Jesus comes as a warrior with wrath? Identical to the god of the O.T..
Typical.
Similar to God's killing in the N.T..


message 21: by R.J. (new)

R.J. Gilbert (rjagilbert) | 93 comments Rod wrote: "Obedience is 90% of our religion. Whether we feel loving or not."

I disagree. Before they were "Christians", the disciples called themselves "followers of the Way." That could be construed as "obedience", but it could also be more of a willing desire to seek out the Path and then follow it whether or not they were "commanded" to.

Being a "follower of the Way" is as much about understanding the way as it is being "obedient" to it. I've seen far too many people being obedient to something that they thought was the "Way" that led them way, way, WAAAY off the Path. Rarely did they see the inevitable disaster because they did not think they needed to think--only to follow.


message 22: by Robert (new)

Robert Dallmann (robert_dallmann) | 1586 comments Greg wrote: "It is not me that would change your mind - beliefs are only changed by new experience..."

God says quote: 2 Timothy 3:16 - "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"

Experiences will SURELY lead you astray...

2 Thessalonians 2:9 - "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,"


message 23: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle Best not to easily trust experiences. And never trust pleasure to reveal Truth. And pain is occasionally a very good thing.


message 24: by Robert (new)

Robert Dallmann (robert_dallmann) | 1586 comments Rod wrote: "Best not to easily trust experiences. And never trust pleasure to reveal Truth. And pain is occasionally a very good thing."

AMEN!

Hebrews 12:8 - "But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons."


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