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Subject: A sincere question for those who believe the Bible word for word [Long] rss

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Jonathan "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
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An intro disclaimer:
This is an honest, sincere question from someone attempting to gain understanding from other parties. I have no intentions of arguing or even replying beyond saying thank you for your input or clarifying something that is asked of me to clarify. This isnt a 'Gotcha' situation.

Ok here we go: I am somewhat familiar with the Holy of Holies regarding the Jewish Temple, that there were strict rules, ceremonies of preparation, that if not done right, without sin you were to be struck down. If I am remembering correctly I believe the Bible mentions at least on person being killed? Little shaky on that part, I was raised in a Christian home/church but havent gone much since my adult years.

With that in mind, please allow me to take you to 64-63 BC, Pompey (Later to be Caesar's chief rival in the Civil Wars) marches into Judea, in a series of events that leads him to besieging the Jewish Temple compound. He succeeds, slaughters everyone inside. And then despite the protestations of the people enters the Holy of Holies, out of respect he does not plunder it but leaves it intact, goes about his merry way, orders the Temple cleansed and that religious practices be resumed.

Next example is Titus, son of the Emperor Vespasian, after a long hard fight that started under his father, Titus finally subjugates Jerusalem in AD 70, the Zealots again making their last stand inside the Temple Walls. Again they are all slaughtered, except this time, Titus (Probably tired of dealing with the area) enters the Holy of Holies, plunders it, and orders not only the Temple razed but the entire city of Jerusalem destroyed which leads to what the Jews call the 2nd Diaspora (The first being under Babylonian forces if memory serves).

Titus not being struck down in the Holy of Holies can be explained by the New Testament belief that God no longer inhabited the Temple after Jesus came and went. That I get. The monkey wrench in the whole thing is Pompey.

Our main source on this time was the Jewish historian Josephus, who owed his life and patronage to the Flavian dynasty, specifically Vespasian and Titus. He was a Jewish turncoat rebel leader who fought Vespasian at the beginning of the 1st Jewish Revolt, surrendered and was spared and spent the rest of his life in their retinue. Obviously his histories are slanted to their side in order to keep his head.

Given the time difference Josephus was not present when Pompey did what he did. And I have examined the possibility that it was made up, however the source material seems to guarantee the opposite. There would be no reason for Josephus to include a story about Pompey that would prove Josephus' religion to be wrong and even more so Josephus actually spends more time in his work of this period bemoaning the fact that the Holy of Holies was desecrated rather than giving much detail to the fighting/siege of the Temple itself.

He had nothing to gain by including this story, and in fact might have incurred a slap on the wrist from the Flavian's as Pompey's memory under their dynasty was under going something of a revival (Pompey had been made persona non grata by the Julio-Claudians as he had opposed Octavian (Augustus) adopted Father Caesar and as you all know the victors write history). The last of the Julio-Claudians were the infamous Caligula and Nero, so the Flavians were obviously distancing themselves from that memory. A story like this obviously was not flattering to Josephus' beliefs nor Pompey's memory.

It would seem for all intents and purposes that Pompey entered the Holy of Holies, was not Jewish nor a High Priest and was not struck down. Contrary to what the Old Testament seems to spell out fairly plainly.

Why these things bother me, I havent the foggiest idea but there it is. Am I missing something? Am I misremembering something from my childhood to teen years in church? Thank you all for your time.
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You seem to direct the question to Christians but ask a question more relevantly put to Jews:

Torah Law only applies to Jews. Romans weren't Jews and so were not subject to the prohibition. If anything, Jews were obligated if possible to keep them out.

There's a debate about the nature of how a Jew entering the qodesh qodeshim when forbidden would die. The view that I subscribe to is that the person would with the incense etc enter a state rather like a trance. Only doing it in the right way would be safe. Neither Ptolemy nor Titus entered any such state.
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Well, there is the cheap cop out that he was struck down, eventually. That he didn't live a long life and quietly expire in his sleep an old man leaves this way out for literalists.
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Thank you both.

Moshe, I suppose that is an error of my upbringing, in the Christian church (at least what I was exposed to) was that anyone who didnt fit the qualifications was to be struck down. This would appear to be a misreading of Jewish law then carried over to the Christian religion?

The Chin, a fair point, a historian examining Titus' short reign said that more than likely that when he died young there would have been those who murmured that it was God's punishment on him for desecrating the Temple.

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Luftwaffe Flak wrote:
Thank you both.

Moshe, I suppose that is an error of my upbringing, in the Christian church (at least what I was exposed to) was that anyone who didnt fit the qualifications was to be struck down. This would appear to be a misreading of Jewish law then carried over to the Christian religion?...

I'll be accused of bashing Christians as always but it is my opinion that Christian tradition uniformly mischaracterizes Jewish Law and that this is no accident. When it was formulated as a separate religion, Christianity was virulently antisemitic, hostile to Jews and everything Jewish, while yet claiming to be an offshoot of Judaism nevertheless. THus, I consider Christianity as like a tree which may look healthy on the outside and which yet is rotten and poisoned in its roots, effecting the entire tree.
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From a christian viewpoint the temple was no longer the center of worship. When Christ was killed (Matt 27:51) the curtain separating the holy from most holy tore signifying that the area not "holy" anymore.

This is from a biblical view and not a Jewish one.
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That works for Titus but not Pompey.
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lochmoigh wrote:
From a christian viewpoint the temple was no longer the center of worship. When Christ was killed (Matt 27:51) the curtain separating the holy from most holy tore signifying that the area not "holy" anymore.

This is from a biblical view and not a Jewish one.


Damien, this is correct for Titus but not Pompey which was my question. Pompey did it before the Temple curtain was ripped/before Jesus was even born (63 BC). Hence my curiosity being piqued.

Moshe, thank you again.

Edit: ninja'ed by J.
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Even Star Wars had plot holes man...I would expect anything written and translated by 1000 different people would produce the same results.
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I don't have time to dig around today to make a long reply but I would also point out that the original Temple was looted by the Babylonians and in the book of Daniel, along with several other stories we also have the feast of Belshazzar, where it was the irreverent use of the temple treasures that lead to "The Writing on the Wall" and his death almost immediately following.

So just going in and plundering didn't cause instant death even in the OT long before Christ. But disrespecting/mocking God was still imminently perilous. So the prohibition was obviously more complex than just going into parts of the temple when you shouldn't.

For those who like pictures.

http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/rembrandt-belsha...

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The stated reason for any deaths for improperly entering the Holy of Holies in Leviticus 16 was that the presence of God was there, over the atonement cover of the ark of the covenant. By the time Pompey entered the temple, two important things had happened: first, the glory of the Lord had departed from the temple (Ezekiel 10), and second, the place where God was to appear, the Ark of the Covenant, was no longer in the temple. These two things, combined with the unfaithfulness of the Jewish people and the fact that, as Meerkat said, the death for violating its sanctity was more complicated than it commonly assumed, likely explain what happened with Pompey.
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twomillionbucks wrote:
The stated reason for any deaths for improperly entering the Holy of Holies in Leviticus 16 was that the presence of God was there, over the atonement cover of the ark of the covenant. By the time Pompey entered the temple, two important things had happened: first, the glory of the Lord had departed from the temple (Ezekiel 10), and second, the place where God was to appear, the Ark of the Covenant, was no longer in the temple. These two things, combined with the unfaithfulness of the Jewish people and the fact that, as Meerkat said, the death for violating its sanctity was more complicated than it commonly assumed, likely explain what happened with Pompey.

Thanks to for pointing me to the passage - I assume this is what you are referring to:

Leviticus 16:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the Lord, and died;

2 And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.


To this I would also add my "take":

The detailed rituals in Leviticus were prescribed by the Lord to teach the people, because they weren't ready to live the plain but more challenging gospel later taught by Jesus (to forgive your enemies, etc.). They had spent 400 years as slaves in Egypt and needed basic schooling - they had already shown their immature spiritual level by worshiping the golden calf, etc.

My impression is that part of what is going on here is that the holy of holies was symbolic of entering the presence of the Lord, and was set apart as a place that only the pure and authorized could enter. A symbol that one must rise above the common and ordinary, to aspire to something higher.

Luftwaffe Flak wrote:
I suppose that is an error of my upbringing, in the Christian church (at least what I was exposed to) was that anyone who didnt fit the qualifications was to be struck down.

My personal opinion is that God is merciful and will, sooner or later, bless us with everything we are willing to qualify for.

Sometimes he is strict because that's what we need. But God is just as well as merciful. He will not be mocked, and has limits to what he will put up with, before he gives people the full consequences of their actions. Very much like a good parent, in my view.

In the time of Leviticus the people needed very strict rules and harsh visible consequences, before they would "get the point."

But if it's the church officially striking someone down, rather than God - then I have a problem with that.
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Do none of the Christians who have posted recognize how blatantly antisemitic their attitudes are? "Those awful Jews..."
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Meerkat wrote:
So just going in and plundering didn't cause instant death even in the OT long before Christ. But disrespecting/mocking God was still imminently perilous. So the prohibition was obviously more complex than just going into parts of the temple when you shouldn't.

I admit that fathoming the mind of God is impossible, but I imagine that plundering his temple would be disrespecting him.
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whac3 wrote:
Do none of the Christians who have posted recognize how blatantly antisemitic their attitudes are? "Those awful Jews..."


I thought you might say something like this.

Truth is, the unbelief of the Jews is a major theme of both the old and the new testaments.

Jeremiah wrote:
When people fall down, do they not get up?
When someone turns away, do they not return?
Why then have these people turned away?
Why does Jerusalem always turn away?
They cling to deceit;
they refuse to return.
I have listened attentively,
but they do not say what is right.
None of them repent of their wickedness,
saying, “What have I done?”
Each pursues their own course
like a horse charging into battle.
Even the stork in the sky
knows her appointed seasons,
and the dove, the swift and the thrush
observe the time of their migration.
But my people do not know
the requirements of the Lord.


(For Moshe:The Hebrew.)

But the emphasis is always on unbelief, not on race. It is rather obvious, I expect, that the Christian will think Judaism went off the rails somewhere, otherwise we would be Jews and not Christians. Perhaps Christianity is inherently antisemetic? But I think it would be closer to the truth to say that the Bible seems to support the view that, when you get down to it, the state of the Jews wasn't all that different from any other people group. You still had a wide gate with many that found it and a narrow gate where few did- and that holds true whether someone is, or was, Jew or gentile.
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whac3 wrote:
Do none of the Christians who have posted recognize how blatantly antisemitic their attitudes are? "Those awful Jews..."


No because the Jews are no more awful than any Christian. WE ALL fail. That is one of the core teachings of Christianity. WE ALL have to repent routinely for those failures. Jews repent a bit differently but I know that they also repent routinely for failures.

If we were quoting New Testament and talked about the MANY MANY failures groups and individuals were called on there would you think we were being "anti-X"

And more importantly are you saying that any of what was quoted was untrue? If your own people look back and see these lapses as mistakes you can learn from, why shouldn't others learn the same lessons from those same mistakes?

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whac3 wrote:
Do none of the Christians who have posted recognize how blatantly antisemitic their attitudes are? "Those awful Jews..."


Somewhere near the same level of antisemitic as you are anti-christian...

If there wasn't some level of contention based on the system of belief both sides would be the same.
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jmilum wrote:
Meerkat wrote:
So just going in and plundering didn't cause instant death even in the OT long before Christ. But disrespecting/mocking God was still imminently perilous. So the prohibition was obviously more complex than just going into parts of the temple when you shouldn't.

I admit that fathoming the mind of God is impossible, but I imagine that plundering his temple would be disrespecting him.


It is more complicated than that. So that I will not be seen as being anti-Semitic in my re-telling of the synopsis of the story here is a link from a Jewish Website that covers it.

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/144569/jewish/...



Quote:

The Beginning of the End

At the end of King Solomon's life, he was guilty of indiscretions unbefitting his great stature. G‑d told him he would be punished. After his death, the kingdom would be torn in two.

Indeed, after Solomon's death, the ten northern tribes refused to accept his son Rehoboam as their king. In 796 BCE, the country was divided into two kingdoms: the Kingdom of Israel in the north and the Kingdom of Judah (containing Jerusalem) in the south.

The kings of the Kingdom of Israel practiced idolatry, but so did many of the kings of the Kingdom of Judah. G‑d sent prophets repeatedly to admonish the Jews, but they refused to change their ways, choosing instead to deride these prophets as false messengers coming to discourage them with predictions of destruction.

In one egregious example, in 661 BCE, the prophet Zechariah ben Jehoiada chastised the nation for their sins, warning them of the grave punishments that would befall them if they would not change their ways. Rather than accept his rebuke, the nation stoned Zechariah to death in the Temple courtyard. Incredibly, this occurred on Yom Kippur.

Rather than allowing Zechariah's blood to settle into the earth, G‑d caused it to bubble up. The people tried to cover it with earth, but it continued to seethe for the next 252 years, until the Destruction of the Temple (more on this later on).

As a result of the disobedient and corrupt behavior of the Jews, G‑d did not provide either kingdom with the peace and security that the united kingdom had enjoyed under Solomon's reign. Their common enemy was the Assyrian empire to the north.

In 555 BCE, Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom, fell to the Assyrians, and the Kingdom of Israel came to an end. Scores of thousands of the conquered people were led into captivity. They were transported to distant provinces of the Assyrian empire, and they disappeared completely. The Assyrians repopulated the land with exiles that had been uprooted from other countries, whose descendants came to be called the Samaritans or Kuttim. No trace has been found of the Ten Tribes.

The Kingdom of Judah miraculously survived the Assyrian threat and lasted another 150 years. Their kings were not uniformly evil as the kings of the Kingdom of Israel had been; they had several truly righteous monarchs – notably among them Hezekiah and Josiah – and enjoyed occasional bouts of resurgent spiritual health. But eventually, they would fall victim to the Babylonians.

Beginning in 463 BCE, Jeremiah prophesized about the Babylonian threat and warned the Jews of the terrible devastation they would incur if they did not stop worshipping idols and mistreating each other. But his melancholic prophecies, recorded in the Book of Jeremiah, went largely unheeded by the Jews, who mocked and persecuted him.

Some eighteen years before the destruction of the Temple, Jeremiah was imprisoned by King Jehoiakim (apparently due to his persistent prophecies foretelling the fall of Jerusalem). G‑d then spoke to Jeremiah (Jeremiah ch. 36):

"Take for yourself a scroll and write upon it all the words that I have spoken to you concerning Israel and concerning Judah. . . . Perhaps the house of Judah will hear all the evil that I plan to do to them, in order that they should repent, each man of his evil way, and I will forgive their iniquity and their sin."]

Jeremiah summoned his devoted disciple, Baruch ben Neriah, and dictated to him a heart-rending and graphic warning of the coming doom; this prophecy eventually became known as the Book of Lamentations ("Eichah").

In this scroll, Jeremiah described and mourned the devastation that G‑d would wreak upon Jerusalem and the Holy Land: children starving; cannibalism on the part of hunger-crazed mothers, the city abandoned.

Baruch ben Neriah followed Jeremiah's instructions. He publicly read the scroll in the Holy Temple.

When the king was informed of this event, he asked that the scroll be read to him. After hearing but a few verses, the king grabbed the scroll and callously threw it into the fireplace.

When Jeremiah was informed of the king's actions, he sat and composed another chapter that he added to the book. This Book of Lamentations is read in the synagogue every year on the eve of the Ninth of Av.



I will let you go read the rest of the middle part yourself if you want, it is a very interesting story, but the upshot is... G-d used Nebuchadnezzar to punish Israel. Which is why he was not killed for violating the temple.

Quote:

Thus ended the empire of David and Solomon; thus the magnificent city and Holy Temple were destroyed. Thus G‑d punished His people for deserting Him and His laws. All this had been predicted in the Torah, and it truly came to pass with all the horror of which Moses had warned.


However when Nebuchandnezzer's son, Belshazzar defiled the items from the temple he was killed.







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I was raised in Christian (evangelical) churches (attending services at least once weekly) and I never ever heard one single thing said in church or from another Christian that sounded anti-Semitic. There was Jesus and his followers and there was everyone else. As far as I knew throughout my youth and teen years, Jesus and his followers were Jews and those that opposed him were also Jews. And then a Roman had him killed.

The bad guys were the Sadducees and the Pharisees which were also just people as far as I was concerned.

We picked a side and that was that. Jews (by race) are just as free as anyone else to be Christian just as the first Christians were Jews. It never would have occurred to me to think of a Jew as something other than a person who either had or hadn't accepted Christianity.
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jarredscott78 wrote:
I was raised in Christian (evangelical) churches (attending services at least once weekly) and I never ever heard one single thing said in church or from another Christian that sounded anti-Semitic. There was Jesus and his followers and there was everyone else. As far as I knew throughout my youth and teen years, Jesus and his followers were Jews and those that opposed him were also Jews. And then a Roman had him killed.

The bad guys were the Sadducees and the Pharisees which were also just people as far as I was concerned.

We picked a side and that was that. Jews (by race) are just as free as anyone else to be Christian just as the first Christians were Jews. It never would have occurred to me to think of a Jew as something other than a person who either had or hadn't accepted Christianity.

It really depends on how your Christian church interprets things. The bible can be used as a basis to both love everyone, as well as to hate infidels not dissimilar to the way radical muslims interpret their scripture.

I should point out, for example, that Sadducees and Pharisees ("the bad guys") are both groups of Jews.

In Germany, historically, anti-Semitism was a part of Christian faith. Look at the stuff Luther wrote about Jews. During the Third Reich, Germany consisted predominately of Christian believers and the Holocaust was apparently not opposite to their beliefs. There even was a Protestant/Evangelical movement called "German Christians", highly anti-Semitic, who professed their loyalty to the Nazis and controlled the majority of regional Christian churches by 1945 (excluding the Catholics). On the other hand, individual dissident clergymen were in fact sent to the concentration camps. Mainly to KZ Dachau, where 1034 Christian priests lost their lives. (Most of them Poles however.)

Today, the Christian churches of Germany aren't purposefully anti-Semitic anymore, although Ratzinger as Pope tried to bring back the old version of the Good Friday prayer for the Jews, which was altered after the Second Vatican Council. I remember praying for the Jews to "accept Jesus" when I was attending church as a child, although they weren't referred to as "perfidious" as in the old version. (Easter used to be my favourite Christian holiday, since that involved a pompous 2-3 hour long mass beginning at 5 a.m. on Easter Sunday. Did I mention that as a kid I wanted to become a Catholic priest?)
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Luftwaffe Flak wrote:
I am somewhat familiar with the Holy of Holies

I'm very familiar with it, but then I was pretty slutty in my 30s.
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I remember once having a conversation with a (non too strict) christian who was borderline offended when I referred to Jesus as a Jew. I am sure the attitude Moshe refers to exists, it's just far from universal.
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Venga2 wrote:
I remember once having a conversation with a (non too strict) christian who was borderline offended when I referred to Jesus as a Jew. I am sure the attitude Moshe refers to exists, it's just far from universal.

Unless challenged on it, all good people in the Bible are presented as Christians, most of the bad ones as Jews. Whenever Jews are mentioned as Jews, it's only to discuss how they are wrong and what they did wrong. In other words, Jews are uniformly and systematically cast in a bad light in Christian literature.

EDIT:
Oh, unless they convert of course.
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whac3 wrote:
Venga2 wrote:
I remember once having a conversation with a (non too strict) christian who was borderline offended when I referred to Jesus as a Jew. I am sure the attitude Moshe refers to exists, it's just far from universal.

Unless challenged on it, all good people in the Bible are presented as Christians, most of the bad ones as Jews. Whenever Jews are mentioned as Jews, it's only to discuss how they are wrong and what they did wrong. In other words, Jews are uniformly and systematically cast in a bad light in Christian literature.

EDIT:
Oh, unless they convert of course.
If you say so. I haven't read any biblical literature in a long time, so I'll bow out of that discussion.
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whac3 wrote:

Unless challenged on it, all good people in the Bible are presented as Christians, most of the bad ones as Jews.


I'm calling your hand and raising one Gentile.
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