Sunday 28 October 2018

Three Texts: What do they mean? Response to Sophiee Saguy

There were three texts brought to me by Sophiee Saguy in a brief conversation had on Rabbi Eli Cohen's Facebook page. I want to take a look at the texts and see what they say. Are they statements of evil excused by Christians or something else?

Matthew 23:33 You snakes, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?

Jesus' words were a condemnation of the Pharisees. It was their responsiblity to lead the people of Israel in the right direction to worship God, but they not doing so. In fact, their efforts (not all Pharisees to clarify) were in vain and they were not leading the people properly. There is more to say about the context of Matthew 23 which can be found here:

Matthew 10:34 Think not that I have come to send peace to the world. I come not to send peace, but the sword.

Here is what Jesus said for the full context said:
"34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36     a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[c]

37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

In the actual context of Matthew 10:34-39 and (same applies to Luke 12:49-53), Jesus is speaking about a metaphorical sword of division within families that will occur if someone chooses to follow him. He is saying in essence if you don't love me more than your family, don't follow me because by doing so you will have opposition from your family and your friends.

Even your co-workers in work or those who claim Jesus' name but don't obey him will also come after an individual should they continue their faith in Jesus.

John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life. But he who does not believe in the Son shall not see life, but shall suffer the everlasting wrath of God.

Let us take a look:
"John 3:31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God[i] gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them."
The statement itself isn't evil, but a warning. That those who refuse the follow Jesus and believe in his testimony, whether they be Jew or Gentile, will not have eternal life.

None of the statements of the New Testament above are evil, nor excused as such.

Answering Judaism.

Friday 5 October 2018

Was Judas saved?

16th of June 2024: Disclaimer, Sam Shamoun no longer holds to Calvinism. Any argument he brings to show Calvinism should not be taken as what he teaches and believes now.

I had said the following in an article a few years ago:

"The subject of Judas may need another paper. I would need to think on this topic. But I'll gladly comment on the verses below regarding him."

The context was to look at certain texts that had been brought to me by Sam Shamoun. There was no malice involved from either party, just a look the texts presented. I gave my comments in the paper above but the point of Judas isn't a point I have dwelt on that much.

It's one elephant in the room that shouldn't really be ignored, was Judas saved? Was a born again believer that fell away or was he someone who merely gave intellectual assent to? Was Judas falling a way a failure on Jesus or the Father's part? (Obviously not on that particular point).

Obviously and admittedly, he wasn't born again.

Let's first look at John 12:1-8
"12:1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

We see here that Judas claimed that the money could have been given to the poor. What we have here is what we would call in the modern age a virtue signaller, saying something but not really having a proper conviction. Judas had no actual concern for the poor, this was merely a cover for the fact that Judas helped himself to the money. Jesus knew that Judas would do this, he knew what was in the hearts of men (John 2:24). John writing this as a historian and the fact he is listed on several occasions at "the disciple whom Jesus loved". The apostles didn't know one of them was going to betray Jesus, even wondering who it was going to be, the reveal taking place at The Lord's Supper.

Even before that, there is a clear indication that the devil prompted Judas to betray Jesus. We obviously know this happened as again, John is writing this as history, telling us what happened.

Could any one of the apostles betrayed Jesus, it is a possiblity. Obviously we are on the other side of the New Testament so we know who was going to betray Jesus but only he and the betrayer knew what was going to happen, the other disciples did not. They didn't know who would betray them in their midst, because anyone can talk the talk and not walk the walk.

As said in the article posted above, You can technically argue that those who left never believed to begin with but how do you deal with someone who has been in Christ for years, regenerated and born again and falls away? To say there is no possibility of falling away renders the warnings vacuous and pointless.

The case of Judas doesn't set a precedent that every single person who falls away was never saved to begin with. I am also aware you can have someone who is rich in theology but dead in works, they say the right things but never live it out. They could be pharisees covering their evil or even trying to live the best lives they can without even giving God honour, thanks or even love.

Again this would ignore the basic warnings of scripture telling us to stay firm and hold to Christ and if we choose to abandon him, we will be cut off, even if we say all the right things and do what is right.

Judas is one case of "Oh he was never saved to begin with" but that doesn't answer or address the warnings in the Bible directed to Christians, not unbelievers but Christians.

Paul knew the warnings he gave would apply to the congregations he addressed, like the Corinthians for instance:
"1 Corinthians 10:1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.

11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Vigilance is something to always hold onto, taking care not to do the same evil things that the Israelites did in the Old Testament and sadly the church itself has repeated the same mistakes as Israel albeit in different ways to how we think.

Granted others can point out if you are truly saved, you'll persevere to the end (At least that perspective preaches holy living) but it is interesting to wonder how they would reconcile that with the warnings of scripture as mentioned above.

So was Judas saved? Short answer, no.

Answering Judaism.