Author Topic: Old Testament Heretics (and Saints)  (Read 2132 times)

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Offline eik

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Old Testament Heretics (and Saints)
« on: June 23, 2021, 09:56:13 PM »

Welcome to the Biblical and Theology Section of 1Faith

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As Jesus said, Mat 7:13 "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:"

But on the other hand,

Isa 55:6 "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:"
and 
Psa 27:4 "One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple."
and
Act 17:26 "From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands."
Act 17:27 "God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us."
and
Act 17:30 "In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent."

Lack of perfection in, or even ignorance of, the knowledge of God is something that God had tolerated in times of old, and to an extent, continues to tolerate. But he does so for his benefit, because in working out everything for his own purposes, he ensures that the lack of knowledge today may lead to God being glorified tomorrow, whether in repentance, or in death, depending on the worthiness of the individual and their response to his mercy.

Pro 16:4 "The LORD works out everything to its proper end,  even the wicked for a day of disaster."

A question then is what is it within a person that determines whether ignorance of God today will lead to repentance, backsliding or death tomorrow. One answer is that it depends on the degree of self-honesty. If one concedes one is essentially ignorant of God or of limited faith, and one purports to act within those boundaries, one is more likely to find God than if one is not honest with oneself and pretends to know things that one doesn't know; or call the good, evil and the evil, good; or truth, lies, and lies, truth.

It is the deceit of pretence, or hypocrisy, that God abhors.

Isa 5:20 "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter."
Jhn 9:41 Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains."

So a blind man is his sinfulness may yet be appointed for salvation. But on the other hand, s self-righteous person who leads people astray, may be rejected for repentance. This was the issue with the Pharisees, and with Simon Magus, who offered to purchase gift of the laying on of hands. What could be more self-righteous than that? The response was to expose it for what it was:

Act 8:21 "Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
Act 8:22 "Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee."
Act 8:23 "For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity."

He was bitter and envious for he had not the gift, but desired the gift to magnify himself and profit from it. He valued his faith, which he knew to be valuable, and the gift of the Holy Spirit also, but only for worldly interest, and not to the end of receiving glory from God.

So with this in mind, I intend, in a leisurely fashion, to scan some Old Testament characters and peoples who fit his mould, and see whom God rejected, and compare them with those who God accepted, but predominantly focusing on those whom God rejected.

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Offline eik

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Re: Old Testament Heretics (and Saints)
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2021, 11:25:50 PM »
The Golden Calf
______________

The most famous heresy of the Israelites was the creation of the golden calf at Sinai. The creation of a calf wasn't quite so strange as it might at first appear, given what the calf likely represented to them, i.e. (inter alia) the god Ptah, which in Egyptian mythology possed some of the of attributes of YHWH. Ptah was the head of the Egyptian pantheon, a creator god who existed before all other things, conceived the world, and brought it into being through the creative power of speech (similar to Genesis).

Ptah was the god who listens to prayers.

Due to a number of alternative chronologies in use amongst scholars, we can't be sure of the date of the exodus. The 17th through to the 15th century BC is however a likely date according to the New Chronology) (the Old or secular chronology gives it in the thirteenth century BC (ca. 1275 BC) which is falling out of favour with evangelicals. At some time around the 15th century Ptah began to be denoted by a sacred bull, Apis.  The bull also links to the god Ra of the New Kingdom, which commenced in the 16th century. Ra was also a supreme deity in the Old Kingdom. Ra is the sun god, but his attributes are also those of Ptah, such as supreme deity.  The two gods were confounded together. However under Ramesses II, the two gods existed side by side, and then Ptah became supreme again under the Ptolemies.

A feature of idolatry is the ever changing attributes and status of the gods, whose particular status depends on the location and on the political dynasty in power. Ptah was worshipped in Memphis and in Thebes. Ra was particularly worshipped at Heliopolis. The cult of the Mnevis bull, an embodiment of Ra, had its center in Heliopolis and there was a formal burial ground for the sacrificed bulls north of the city.

Ra ruled in all parts of the created world: the sky, the Earth, and the underworld. He was the god of the sun, order, kings and the sky.

So in the image of the bull, we have religious syncretism, not just in the breaking of the commandment not to worship idols, but in the association of YHWH with the sun god and with Egypts' rulers, and effectively a god created by humanity, with variable attributes and a variable theology determined by those in power. The rulers of Egypt used religion to maintain order. These gods were the tools of government of the Pharaohs.

It was Aaron who associated YHWH with the golden calf (Ex 32:5) and therefore with Ptah and / or Ra. In the idolatry of the Israelites, YHWH was reduced to being a member of a pantheon, a human-created god. When the Israelites migrated to Canaan, it was the semitic god Ba'al who became the focus of syncretism.

Contrast then the religion of the golden calf, with the ever changing nature of the religion of the government of today, which is dependent on the vagaries and doctrines of the political parties. The religion of the golden calf is the religion of the British government.

(to be continued)







Offline eik

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Re: Old Testament Heretics (and Saints)
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2021, 05:26:44 AM »
An alternative identification of the golden calf is with the Hathor heifer, if the calf be construed as female, rather than male (as in the 1 Kings 12:28-29 Hebrew text of the later biblical Jereboam reference to the golden calf).

From Wikepedia
Quote
"Hathor (Ancient Egyptian: ḥwt-ḥr "House of Horus", Ancient Greek: Ἁθώρ Hathōr,  Coptic: ϩⲁⲑⲱⲣ) was a major goddess in ancient Egyptian religion who played a wide variety of  roles. As a sky deity, she was the mother or consort of the sky god Horus and the sun god Ra, both of whom were connected with kingship, and thus she was the symbolic mother of their earthly representatives, the pharaohs. She was one of several goddesses who acted as the Eye of Ra, Ra's feminine counterpart, and in this form she had a vengeful aspect that protected him from his enemies. Her beneficent side represented music, dance, joy, love, sexuality, and maternal care, and she acted as the consort of several male deities and the mother of their sons. These two aspects of the goddess exemplified the Egyptian conception of femininity. Hathor crossed boundaries between worlds, helping deceased souls in the transition to the afterlife.

Hathor was often depicted as a cow, symbolizing her maternal and celestial aspect, although her  most common form was a woman wearing a headdress of cow horns and a sun disk. She could also be represented as a lioness, cobra, or sycamore tree."

As with the male gods, Hathor was also subject to mutation and displacement by other female gods, notably Isis, but remained as a separate deity until the first centuries AD. The reason for positing the golden calf as a heifer rather than a bull lies in circumstantial and in archeological evidence:

(a) Re the biblical references to the later statute-replicas of the golden calves made by Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:28-29): in the (earlier) Septuagint text, his calves are identified as female, although the later Hebrew text identifies them as male.
   
(b) the Israelites reported behaviour whilst engaged in worship (running wild) of the calf which suggests an element of fertility deity worship. The proto sinaitic texts from Serabit el-​Khadim (see below) identify Hathor as associated with, or derived from the Canaanite fertility goddess Ba'alat. 
   
(c) Hathor was the goddess identified by archaeology as being worshipped at Serabit el-Khadim, which is now an archaeological site of immense importance as disclosing ancient mining and metal working and in the many proto-sinaitic script texts found there. Proto-sinaitic script is Proto-Hebrew and is different from Egyptian Hieroglyphics. The reason for the many proto-sinaitic inscriptions at this place are because those who worked there were Semitic speakers, i.e. not Egyptians, although they had Egyptian masters.
   
(d) Serabit el-Khadim is identified with the Dophkah of Num 33:12 "And they took their journey out of the wilderness of Sin, and encamped in Dophkah" via the modern Egyptian place name of Du Mofka(t) (a reference to Turquoise), the ancient Egyptian name for the plateau site of Serabit el-​Khadim. So this could have been where the Hebrews picked up the Hathor worshippers amongst them, other Hebrews who resided in Dophkah and who mined metals at the mines of Serabit el-​Khadim. The main body of Hebrews had started their journey in Avaris, in Goshen, the Hyksos capital of Egypt located at the modern site of Tell el-Dab'a in the northeastern region of the Nile Delta.
   
(e) The skills uses to make the golden calf would have been specialist skills not known to the ordinary Israelites from Goshen. The Semitic speaking miners and metal workers at Serabit el-​Khadim would have possed those skills.

 
(f) There is a Proto-Sinaitic (P-S) inscription near the entrance to Mine N at Serabit el-Khadim, appearing to be a message in pure, archaic Hebrew by a single author.  It begins with an opening statement that appears to note the removal of an enslaving tyrant, followed by another Divine act: the early demise of those who had strayed to Ba'alat, the Egyptian cow-goddess Hathor. The wording of the inscription with its many parallels in the Old Testament, clues to its age, and the identification of the site with the fifth camp of the Israelites en route to Mt. Sinai,all strongly suggest an Israelite Exodus context (taken from HEBREWS SMELTING WITH ḤOBAB ARE REMINDED OF THOSE WHO STRAYED TO A GOLDEN COW-DEITY by Rabbi Michael S. Bar-Ron).

(g) The exodus involved what the bible calls a mixed-multitude (Exodus 12:38) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erev_Rav). These may well have included Kenites (who were related to the Midianites from northwest Arabia). The Kenites are identified as master metal workers, following in the footsteps of Tubal-Cain (Gen 4:22). Hobab, the father-in-law of Moses, is described as a Kenite, and were likely involved in copper-mines and smelting works at the plateau site of Serabit el-​Khadim.

(h) In order to conquer the promised land, the Israelites would have needed weapons, and so would have needed access to metal  workers. The suggestion is that the Israelites were heavily reliant on these Kennites (Hathor/ Ba'alat worshippers) from Serabit el-​Khadim.

Finally there is a suggestion that the cult of Apis-bull worship in Egypt may itself have derived from the legacy of the exodus. The Exodus and the golden calf are both mentioned in a non-Jewish source by Hecataeus of Abdera as early as the 4th century BC, a century before the Septuagint was written in Alexandria and other references by 3rd century scholars Artapanus and Manetho.
Quote
"Considering Hecataeus' branding Jewish ways a "misanthropic and inhospitable way of life" and his odd rendering of biblical events, it is clear that the philosopher was neither aiming to please a Jewish audience nor was he under their infuence.  He had learned from Egyptian traditions when he visited Thebes before composing his history of Egypt.  According to Artapanus, the Egyptian memory of Moses stretched back far earlier, leaving indelible imprints on Egyptian religion.  These include the rise ofthe Apis bull cult, the ibis becoming "the sacred guardian spirit of the city" of Hermopolis, and the introduction of circumcision."
(from HEBREWS SMELTING WITH ḤOBAB ARE REMINDED OF THOSE WHO STRAYED TO A GOLDEN COW-DEITY by Rabbi Michael S. Bar-Ron).

(to be continued)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erev_Rav

Offline eik

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Re: Old Testament Heretics (and Saints)
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2021, 12:29:33 AM »
To sum up so far. We have Kenites or other Hebrews who didn't live in the land of Goshen, where all the other Israelites came from, picked up along the route of the Israelite exodus at Serabit el-Khadim or Dophkah, the Turquoise mines, where copper was also mined. They were certainly Semitic speakers and used a proto-Hebrew alphabet. According to A. H. Sayce, the name 'Kenite' is identical to an Aramaic word meaning a smith. They worshipped at the local temple of Hathor built in the location of the mines, a major Egyptian female (fertility) deity, whose rites were associated with dancing, and debauchery. They wouldn't have experienced the miracles of Moses in Goshen.

Then we have also the Eqyptian pantheon, which was never harmonious in that gods had overlapping functions, and were localized, such as Seth, Amun, Ra, Ptah. Ptah is one of the most important in theological terms, as one of the oldest, giving its name to Egypt (a graecized name with the "pt" derived from Ptah) and having the  "ah" ending (similar to ya, yah, aya etc being the personal names of God from the equally ancient mesopotamian states). So Ptah is identified with Enki, the original Sumerian montheistic deity, who is Lord creator. In the Ptah / Enki lineage, we have the preservation of the monotheistic name and characteritics of the monotheistic God, but from the tower of babel, corrupted by the introduction of pantheons, mothers goddesses etc, and no longer a reflection of the Yahweh revealed by Moses to the Israelites.
 
One source of degradation of Egyptian religion would be the early introduction of Hathor, the ancient Egyptian mother goddess, and the introduction of the Apis Bull, as her son. Apis was the herald of Ptah in Memphis, and a cultic symbol of the king in Memphis from the earliest times, embodying the qualities of the kings (who weren?t called pharaohs until the New Kingdom - c. 1570-1069 BC). The Apis Bull was the living image of Ptah and the manifestation of his "glorious soul". (So the original creator god became transformed into the likeness of an animal - see Romans Ch 1).

Those who worked at the Eqyptian mines, whoever they were ethnically, were not servants of Yahweh, as was the family of Moses' wife. The Midianites with whom the Kennites were associated, were also associated with Moab (see Numbers 25). The Moabites worshipped the Ba'al of Peor (Egyptian Pi-Hor - "House of Horus"). Hathor was similar to Canaanite fertility deities and to Isis, another Egyptian goddess associated with Horus. She was the mother of the Apis Bull linked to Ptah. There was another ancient mineworks, also possibly used by the Egyptians, some miles north of the head of the Gulf of Aqaba, east of which was Midianite territory. This one also had a temple to Hathor. So the Midianites as also the Moabites, and the metal workers, had been corrupted by Egyptian idolatry.

So what happened at Mt Sinai? Moses was a long time in coming down the mountain. The Israelites feared that he would not return and asked Aaron to make gods for them (Exodus 32:1). "As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him."

Aaron complied and gathered up the Israelites' golden earrings. He melted them and the metal workers constructed a golden calf. Aaron also built an altar before the calf and deemed the calf-idol a representation of YHWH. And the next day, the Israelites made offerings and celebrated. Now clearly it was the metal workers who constructed the calf. Aaron was probably too naive to grasp what they were intending. Given that the Israelites were entering into the territories of the Midianites, they likely made a Hathor idol to promote their own god.

Some of the Israelites may have been deceived, thinking the calf was the herald of Ptah, the Lord creator of Egypt. Chaos and confusion reigned, no doubt. People had little idea what they were worshipping. There was no theology, no doctrine, but only degradation and revelry and disobedience: the Israelites became a laughing stock to their enemies.

God was going to destroy these heretics, these rebels, because they had disobeyed his command. Ex 32:7 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt.They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, `These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.' "I have seen these people," the LORD said to Moses, "and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation."

It was only through the intercession of Moses that they weren't all destroyed, but punished. However before they were punished they were given the chance to repent: Ex 32:26 "So [Moses] stood at the entrance to the camp and said, "Whoever is for the LORD, come to me." And all the Levites rallied to him."

Of those who didn't repent, 3000  were killed immediately (Ex 32:28), and then a plague (Ex 32:35). And then further wrath in Ex 32:33 "The LORD replied to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book."

Why such harsh punishments? The people were already saved from their Egyptian oppressors, but they pretended that they had to earn their salvation by creating new gods for themselves. They weren't content with being saved, and distrusted the one who had saved them. In their hearts they returned to the gods of Egypt, the idol gods associated with the perverse exercise of human will, which had never benefited them. They rejected the true God whom had demonstrated salvation to them. They disobeyed his authority. And that is the point: heresy is about human will in rebellion to God's authority, and trumping it.

Offline eik

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Re: Old Testament Heretics (and Saints)
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2021, 05:53:46 PM »
Heresy of Balaam and Food Sacrificed to idols
================================

After the golden calf incident, a similar kind of incident occured with the Midianites and Moabites much later, after their confinement in the desert in Kadesh and/or Kadesh Barnea, possibly near the town of Petra (but it is still debated) for 38 years or so.

Now the Israelites were about to invade Canaan from the east, crossing the Jordan. In Numbers 25, pursuant to the false prophet's Balaam's advice, Balaam, son of Bepr, told King Balak how to get the Israelites to commit sin by enticing them with sexual immorality and food sacrificed to idols (Revelation 2:14). This was an attempt to hinder their journey into Canaan by seduction.

One thing I omitted: the Ba'al of Peor, idol god of the Moabites and Midianites, whose transliteration is "Ba'al of the House of Horus," is eponymous with Hathor.  In ancient Egyptian Hathor is, ḥwt-ḥr "House of Horus". So the Ba'al of Peor was possible the Ba'al consort of Hathor (who was functionally equivalent to Ba'alat of Byblos in northern Canaan). Horus was a sky deity, and naturally worshipped on a peak. Hathor was the mother or consort of the sky god Horus (and the sun god Ra) in Egyptian mythology.

The cults of Hathor (consort of Horus), Horus, Osiris and Isis (the mother of Horus) became common throughout Egypt from its unification at the beginning of the Old Kingdom period circa 2686 BC. Isis is denoted similarly to Hathor with a cows horns and solar disc between the horns, but wasn't denoted by the body of a cow, as Hathor was. Both were fertility deities. From the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055-1650 BC), Horus was syncretized with the fertility god Min, so Isis was regarded as Min's mother (Wiki).

Peor is also the name of a mountain peak, east of the Jordan,  mentioned in Numbers 23:28, to which Balak, king of Moab led Balaam in his fourth and final attempt to induce Balaam to pronounce a curse upon the Israelites threatening to occupy his land.  Balaam refused to curse them, and continued to offer blessings (24:1-9).

Here the Midianites and Moabites were able once again to tempte the Israelites to sin, because they were still taken with the Egyptian gods/goddesses of the peoples whom they were surrounded by.

Numbers 25 "While Israel was staying in Shittim (preparing to cross the Jordan) the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the Lord?s anger burned against them."

Inevitably the Israelites suffered another plague: 25,000 died. And many more would have done but for the actions of Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, who turned God's anger from the Israelites by killing one of the Israelite idolators.  So this sin didn't extent to the whole of the Israelites. Again they were able to continue.

Again the punishment was because they had been saved by God, but they had forgotten their salvation.

The New Testament teaches that Christians are not to eat food sacrificed to idols, not because idols are anything, but because it may cause those who are weak to sin and lose faith, and turn to idols themselves. 1 Cor 8.

Again the sin of heresy is shown to be associated with man made gods, idols and with disobedience. Thus the necessity for the Christian to turn from idols 1 Thessalonians 1:9, 1 John 5:21.

It is also singular that these man made gods invariably include femine deities. In one sense, the sin of Adam was to first exalt his wife Eve into a deity on a par with God, before joining in with her sin. I shall be continuing with this theme, as in this age, it is seen that many heresies of today are synonymous with idolatry of the female, and the repudiation of God's divine order.








Offline eik

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Re: Old Testament Heretics (and Saints)
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2021, 07:49:33 PM »
Ba'al of Pe'or (Pt II)
_______________

The biblical account introduces sundry complexities. The first concerns the relation between the Midianites and the Moabites, and their gods. For the Moabites, their national god was Chemosh, who likely resembled the Ammonite god Moloch, and was likely the consort of the goddess Ashtar-Chemosh, likely identical with Semitic mother-goddess Ashtar, and Canaanite fertility goddess Astart or Ashtart (known to the Greeks as Astarte, and the Babylonians as Ishtar). These were bad gods and godesses that demanded human sacrifice and ritual immorality.

The second issue is why were the Midianites punished far more harshly than the Moabites at this time.

In respect of the Moabites gods, Num 25:2 "And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods."

So bowing down to Moabites gods from a distance was as far as Israel went with the Moabites. There is no suggestion that they adopted the Moabites gods. From this point on, the Bible refers only to the Ba'al of Pe'or.

The Ba'al of Pe'or was more likely to have been a Midianite god, due to the Egypt connection, and the matter that the bible associates Pe'or with the Midianites in Num 25:17,18. (Pe'or = Pi Horus = house of Horus). Horus (consort Hathor) was a god of kingship and the sky, one supposes resembling the angel of YHWH at Mt Sinai. Pe'or was a high peak, similar to Sinai.

In Num 25:17,18 it is written "Vex the Midianites, and smite them: For they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister, which was slain in the day of the plague for Peor's sake."

So the Israelites were beguiled (a) by their god Peor, and (b) by the intermarriage with Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian.

The Midianites, partners with the Moabites, likely thought of themselves as kindred of the Israelites, may be more than the Moabites. After all, Moses was married to a midianite. Yet they had apostatized and adopted Egyptian gods or their equivalents. So what was really going on?

It seems inspired by the successful apostasy of Israel with the Moabites, the Midianites also got in on the act. Neither wanted the Israelites on their land. There seems to have been a common plan to seduce the Israelites inspired by Balaam, but each nation engaged its own gods.

The analogy between YHWH and Horus the sky god likely deceived some of the Israelites. They might have supposed that any god worshipped on a peak was the same god. They were likely seduced by the Midianites into accepting the Ba'al of Peor as YHWH on the supposition that he was YHWH. 2 Corinthians 11:14 "And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."

The Midianites likely went further than the Moabites, and sought to convert the Israelites to their Horus religion. Horus was by the time of the Exodus, associated with Min, an Egyptian male fertility deity (this occured in the middle kingdom period 1975 BC to 1640 BC). They sought intermarriage with the Israelites as a way of seducing the Israelites to accept their Hathor-Horus cult.

This is why YHWH was so angry with the Israelites. With the Moabites it was limited to sexual immorality, but with the Midianites, it involved an attempt to subvert the religion entirely.

Hence the destruction of the Midianites ordained. They were literally wiped out.

Offline eik

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Re: Old Testament Heretics (and Saints)
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2021, 06:45:44 PM »
Ba'al of Pe'or Pt III
_______________

Another complexity that has been raised with the Baal of Peor incident is the question of why the intermarriage of the Midianite woman, Kozbi daughter of Zur, a tribal chief of a Midianite family, and Zimri son of Saluof, was prohibited, and resulted in the death sentence, whereas the marriage of Moses to the Midianite woman Zipporah was permitted.

It seems that context is everything. The Israelites had "yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor", the Midianite God, syncretizing him with YHWH, after the traditional manner of pagan syncretization, which occurs with pagan gods all the time (e.g. Horus and Min, Hathor and Isis &etc). This intermarriage was intended no doubt to cement this theological ecumenism, but also indicated rebellion against the rule of Moses. Later on, after the Midiniates in the locality had been destroyed, intermarriage with unmarried Midianite women was permitted, where there was no danger of syncretization.

Numbers 31:8 "but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man."

In the case of Zipporah, the Jewish Midrash has it that she was sympathetic to the Israelite God, and twice saved Moses, once from her father Jethro, sympathic to Pharoah, who persecuted Moses on learning he was a fugitive, and a second time as related in the bible in Exodus 4:24, when Moses had omitted to circumcize their son, whereupon Zipporah circumcized him to stop the avenging angel from killing Moses.

Another puzzle is why the Midianites had even involved themselves with the Moabites at this juncture, since their lands were outside the promised land, extending into Arabia. Presumably they were a dominant force in those days and their realms extended into Moabite territory. The Baar of Peor incident was seen as an aggressive act, similar to the earlier attack of the Amalekites, who were cursed forever.

The lesson is that the more dangerous heresies are those that seek to destroy faith and undermine God's authority under the shallow doctrines of ecunemism that are so prevalent today. Instead of prioritising the gospel, ecumenism tends to focus on political and social messages.

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Re: Old Testament Heretics (and Saints)
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2021, 03:05:04 PM »
Ba'al of Pe'or Pt IV
_______________

Many today express outrage at the outcome of the saga with the Midianites, describing God, even YHWH, as vengeful and a hypocrite. The answer lies to these charges that liberals today make against God lies in a careful study of the text.

First the Midianites had purposely set out to undermine the authority of Moses and YHWH, in order to destroy the Israelite nation, per the counsel of Balaam. So even if the war was fought in unorthodox ways there could be no doubting the malice of the Midianites and their intentions, and which extended to the souls of the Israelites.

Secondly it was partly due to the Midianites that God sent the plague on Israel and 24000 had died in the plague, and in addition  "all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel."  These were all casualties of the Midianites.

Thirdly if the Midianites had been left in situ, they would undoubtedly try again to destroy the Israelites, as the Moabites later did after Israel had become established. So it became necessary, in the context of the primitive societies of those days, to destroy the Midianites as just retribution against evil doers bent on destroying the project of God by heretical doctrines, false gods and immorality.

cf. Heb 10:31 "It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

Num 25:17 "Vex the Midianites, and smite them:
Num 25:18 "For they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister, which was slain in the day of the plague for Peor's sake."

Num 31:1 "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Num 31:2 "Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people."
Num 31:3 "And Moses spake unto the people, saying, Arm some of yourselves unto the war, and let them go against the Midianites, and avenge the LORD of Midian."

Num 31:7 "And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males."
Num 31:8 "And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword."
Num 31:9 "And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods."
Num 31:10 "And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire.
Num 31:11 "And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of men and of beasts.
Num 31:12 "And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near Jericho.
Num 31:13 "And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp."
Num 31:14 "And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle.
Num 31:15 "And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?
Num 31:16 "Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD."
Num 31:17 "Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him."
Num 31:18 "But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."
Num 31:19 "And do ye abide without the camp seven days: whosoever hath killed any person, and whosoever hath touched any slain, purify both yourselves and your captives on the third day, and on the seventh day."

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