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No. 75: The Great Hangover, Part 2

BIBLICAL Horizons, No. 75
July, 1995
Copyright 1995, Biblical Horizons

(continued from Biblical Horizons 74)

Four Elements of the Hangover

Second, Hellenism. If Roman Catholicism maintains the myth of Rome, Eastern Orthodoxy focuses on perpetuating the horrors of Hellenism. They are Greeks, after all, and not Jews. All the tripe and trash of oriental paganism and mystery cult religion finds its place in Orthodoxy: monasticism, image worship, celibacy, navel contemplation, the virginity of Mary, etc. This is all Holy Tradition, a tradition that does not go back to the Bible but to the Hellenistic civilization of the late ancient world.

But Hellenism has had another pernicious effect, and not just in the East. The Greek philosophers have been regarded as classics, and have routinely been studied in the West for centuries. The philosophers are the Greek counterfeit of the prophets. The Third Age of the Old Creation was the age of the Restoration, of prophets and of philosophers. One has to choose between them, and Western civilization has always chosen the philosophers. This is why we should rejoice to see Western civilization finally dying.

Greek philosophy (Plato, Socrates, etc.) have no more to teach us than do Confucius, Buddha, Lao-Tse, and the Bhavaghad-Gita. All of these arose at this time in history, and all are evil counterfeits. Aristotelian logic has blinded thinking people for 2000 years. It is time to recognize that God meant business when he said that Greece is the enemy of the faith.

We need to wake up, look in the mirror, have a cup of coffee and three acetaminophen, and get over this hangover if we are going to give our grandchildren something better. The only people who need to study Greek are historians and New Testament scholars.

Third, Jewry. Anyone who dares to say anything that might be construed as negative about the Jews is going to be called an anti-Semite. I have written in the past that the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people, and have been called a Nazi and an anti-Semite by no less than a theonomic postmillennialist (who believes Romans 11 is still to be fulfilled in the future).

It is no longer possible today to say that Jews are unsaved and need to turn to Christ, unless you are willing to be called an anti-Semite. Any Christian, therefore, must be willing to live with this hateful slur; and facing that fact, we might as well be honest and say what really needs to be said.

The Jews are no longer God’s special people. They are also no longer any kind of curse, because the curse they took upon themselves when they crucified Jesus was fulfilled in ad 70 (Matthew 27:25). Since that time, Jews are no different from any other pagan people.

The Jews have no special part in God’s future plans for history. They will be converted, because all nations will be converted. But there is nothing special about their conversion. The promises of Romans 11 were fulfilled in the ad 60s (Revelation 7). Sadly, many Medieval and Reformation theologians, and virtually all the Puritans, all Dispensationalists, and many regular premillennialists, amillennialists, and postmillennialists today — all were/are fixated on the Jews. The Jews must be provided special prayers and attention, because they are still the center of history. Their conversion will be "life from the dead" for history. Or, when the Church is raptured, the Jews will take over. Everyone who thinks this way is still thinking in Old Creation categories. He does not understand the meaning of the coming of the New Creation in history.

The religion of Judaism carries forward the oral law tradition that Jesus said was authored by Satan, and that plagued the earliest Church in the form of the Judaizers. Yet, we find Christian theologians turning to the Mishnah and Talmud to explain serious theological matters, seemingly oblivious to Jesus’ condemnation of it. Those who want to deny the Lord’s Supper to children regularly turn to these demonic books in order to justify their position. It is, frankly, amazing. Why not quote from the Quran or the Book of Mormon?

Today, of course, mainline Christian theologians declare that Jews do not need to convert to Christianity to be saved. This is the position not only of liberals, but of supposedly conservative people as well (the First Things inner circle).

Christians should view Jews the same way they view Moslems and humanists. Liberal Jews are basically secular humanists, and conservative Jews are like Mormons and Moslems: They have a false Bible that has nothing to do with the real Bible.

Obviously, we must sympathize with the European Jews who suffered so horribly 50 years ago. But we must also sympathize with the Bosnian Moslems and the Palestinian Moslems as well, both of which have been rather badly treated. We must sympathize with pagan Hutus and Tutsis and Buddhist Tibetans, Cambodians, and South Viet-Namese. From our perspective as Christians, the Jews are no different from any of the rest of these.

We need to wake up, look in the mirror, have a cup of coffee and three ibuproffn, and get over this hangover if we are going to give our grandchildren something better. The only people who need to study the Mishnah and Talmud are historians.

It would be very good, however, for Christian schools to teach Hebrew. Hebrew is much more important than Greek for Biblical study, not just because 4/5 of the Bible is in Hebrew, but also because Hebrew thought forms and grammatical constructions underlie the Greek New Testament.

Finally, the Land. I have never had the money to visit Palestine, and I don’t know that I ever shall. People who have visited it say that it does help get a picture of some aspects of Biblical history, and so I wish I could get over there some day. Even so, a visit to the "holy land" is problematic in two regards. First, the various New Testament sites are incorrect, as I mentioned above. Second, the land today looks much more like a desert than it did in Biblical times. Movies about Bible stories always look like they were filmed in Arizona or Morocco, and are misleading. Palestine was a green and verdant land in the ancient world.

But enough on that. Superstitious belief that this land is still holy accounts for the erection of shrines there by the early church, and the pilgrimages and crusades there later on. For many people, such superstitions still govern their visits to this locale. (I recall a friend who visited with some charismatics. When they got to the supposed site of the Upper Room, she said, they went bananas, screaming and falling down in fits of glossolalia.)

Superstitions about this land are commonplace in Dispensationalism, and some postmillennialists also believe that "the land belongs to the Jews." At this day, American foreign policy is warped by the need to placate this superstition. (I am not saying that we should be pro-Arab, just that our pro-Israeli stance is colored by the presence of superstitious Christians in and around our government.)

The land of Palestine does not belong to the Jews. God gave it to them in Abraham’s day, and God took it back in ad 70. Anybody who thinks that it still belongs to them because God gave it to them is just plain ignorant of the Bible. This land, like all others, belongs to whoever lives there and can hold it.

We need to wake up, look in the mirror, have a cup of coffee and three naproxen sodiums, and get over this hangover if we are going to give our grandchildren something better. The only people who need to visit the land of Palestine are scholars.