Category: Christianity

Articles related to Christianity and Christian practice.

Was Jesus the Jewish Messiah?

Was Jesus the Jewish Messiah?

The idea of a “Messiah” is found outside of the Torah. The Torah does not promise a “Messiah”. I personally do not consider anything but the Torah inspired or authoritative, so therefore I don’t accept that there even needs to be a Messiah. However, if you do accept the Judean writings (i.e. the rest of the Tanakh/Old Testament after the five books of Moses) to be inspired and/or authoritative, did Jesus fulfill the requirements necessary to be the promised “Messiah”?

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Does Forgiveness Require Death?

Does Forgiveness Require Death?

In the New Testament book of Hebrews, we find this well known Christian assertion:

Indeed according to the law almost everything was purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Heb 9:22 NET)

Is this actually true? This idea is often cross referenced to the following “prooftext” from the Hebrew Scriptures:

for the life of every living thing is in the blood. So I myself have assigned it to you on the altar to make atonement for your lives, for the blood makes atonement by means of the life. (Lev 17:11)

Taken out of context, you might agree with the assertion given in Hebrews 9:22, but there are a few easily overlooked problems that arise if one jumps to this conclusion.

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The Problem with Christian Holidays

The Problem with Christian Holidays

25 years before my deeper study of the scriptures prompted me to leave the church, I had already developed strong convictions against Christian holidays. There is virtually no-one, not even among conservative Christian scholars and apologists, who denies the pagan origins of Christian holidays. The question is: what, if anything, is wrong with co-opting pagan practices?

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Are we Free from the Law?

Are we Free from the Law?

It is a Christian concept that Jesus has freed us from the law. By law we mean the law of Moses, called the Torah. When you see the word law in english translations of the Hebrew scriptures, the Hebrew word that has been translated such is the word Torah, which literally means instruction. Etymologically it comes from an archery term meaning “to hit the mark”.

Torah, as a body of instructions, was given by YHWH to the nation of Israel through Moses at Mt. Sinai (see Exodus 19). The famous 10 commandments are but a small subset of Torah. There are many instructions contained in the books of Moses. Rabbinic Judaism has counted 613 of them. We may not agree exactly with their count, but it serves to show that there are many more than 10.

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The New Covenant Problem

The New Covenant Problem

A foundational principle of Christianity is the claim that a new covenant was instituted by Jesus’ death and resurrection, replacing the covenant made between YHWH and Israel at Mount Sinai. No longer are we required to observe YHWH’s instructions, for we are saved by simple faith in Jesus and nothing else.

What if it could be easily shown from the New Testament that the new covenant is still in the future? What would that mean for Christianity? Could it be that the Mount Sinai covenant stills stands, leaving Christianity without excuse for abandoning YHWH’s instructions, even teaching people to break them?

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