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15 hours ago, PaulS said:

No, it wasn't in line with Jewish expectations.  Just show me one instance of where Jewish expectations included Gentiles preparing for God's kingdom?

 

You'll have to establish your first sentence beyond mere opinion. 

As for Jewish expectations and Paul, I give you Ehrman, ".....words of the prophets that at the end of time God's salvation would extend not only to his people, Israel, but to all the nations of the earth.................the word of salvation, therefore, was not only for the people of Israel, but for all people." I'm not sure what you mean by preparing but if salvation was to be extended it would require an announcement and there would be questions - just like there was for the Jews. Actually the Jews had the same option as the Gentiles: accept (capitulate) and surrender to God or be annihilated.............and Jesus prepared them. 

15 hours ago, PaulS said:

 

15 hours ago, PaulS said:

 

When I have asked for sources to consider, you don't have real answers - so it seems all of this is opinion which is fine but, as previously mentioned, in this endeavor - since we have both on numerous occasions referred to Ehrman (and others) -  there are scholars who have studied this stuff in depth, and are helpful in trying to get a real understanding of the available sources. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Time to throw AJ into all this.  

Forgiveness is the only way to rid yourself of resentment.  It does nothing for the other, but everything for the self.

I agree.

As a side note, the biblical scholar Paul Fredriksen in her book 'When Christians were Jews' writes: from the beginning - before Paul was even involved - the movement had admitted Gentiles without requiring them to be circumcised. James, Peter and John all affirmed that position, back in Jerusalem." She adds, "Paul worked in concert with James about the collection for the Jerusalem community throughout the rest of his missions. No ideological breach yawned between the two men." Hurtado, another scholar, agrees.

A rather interesting point which contradicts other impressions of James and the community.

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14 hours ago, Burl said:

So what do the Messianic Jews have to say about Paul?

Which ones?

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12 hours ago, thormas said:
 

I assume that is accurate yet Paul, other missionaries to the Gentiles, the Jerusalem Council and the Jewish scriptures and the prophets have a different understanding about this. Seems Paul was right on this and if he wasn't then we, Gentiles, wouldn't be having this discussion 😜 

The Jerusalem Council?  Please explain where you can demonstrate this other than in Paul's writings. 

And we've probably done to death the discussion about the prophets - you keep insisting Paul was aligned to their Kingdom expectations - I disagree.  I think the argument is weighted in my favour - you don't.  We've both said our reasons.

12 hours ago, thormas said:

I believe that Jesus' message was for Jews but it doesn't follow that the message of the Kingdom, the End-Time, was not for 'all nations.' 

Paul, I have no problem exploring this however everything I'm reading points to the Kingdom being announced to the Gentiles: to join the Kingdom or not requires a choice and, like the Jews, they had to be told what was happening and be encouraged to make that decision for the Kingdom (that those deciding against the Kingdom would be annihilated, I get). Even your sentence (above) assumes a choice: capitulation or annihilation - and a choice requires some understanding. Where, exactly, are you getting this other than it being your opinion?  Have you read Ehrman or someone else with similar expertise - I would like to know so I can check it out.  

Capitulation or annihilation AFTER the kingdom has come.  There is no invitation to get right with the God of Israel before the Kingdom.  Jews yes, not gentiles.  Gentiles would get their just deserts and be overcome.  If they submit when the kingdom comes they will stay, if not they will be annihilated.  Either way, the Kingdom will be ruled by Jews and gentiles will not have an equal part in ruling the kingdom.  There is no invitation for gentiles to repent prior to the Kingdom, according to Jewish expectations.  I am reading all of this in Isaiah, Daniel, the NT and various scholars.  Let's do it the other way - you show me where you can find Jewish expectations (pre-Jesus) included an invitation for gentiles to join the kingdom alongside the Jews.  Can you cite any scholar rather than your own opinion?

12 hours ago, thormas said:

I agree that it is apparent that there was a disagreement - however the Council of Jerusalem settled the matter in Paul's favor around 50 CE. And it does appear (unless you have further information) that this finding was in line with the Jewish prophets about the end-time. I get that we don't have writings of Peter and James - but we do have the Council and its finding. As for the Ebonities, given their position, they were not on the side that 'won' at the Council.

Again, so says PAUL - only.  Where can you substantiate that the Council held whatever view you say it does, outside of Paul?  And it doesn't gel with the Ebionites, as just one alternate opinion.  It also, by Paul's own admission, doesn't reflect what James and Peter were doing, as far as anybody can tell.  That there was a disagreement makes it clear they weren't on the same page, at the very least when the disagreement arose, otherwise there'd be no disagreement.  Erhman believes Paul lost the disagreement but tries to save face in Galatians.

12 hours ago, thormas said:

Paul was preaching to the Gentiles about the Kingdom - and Paul was not alone: there were other missionaries to the Gentiles as evidenced in his letters to the Romans and Galatians.

Yes, I'm not saying Paul necessarily had an original thought on this matter.  That doesn't mean it was aligned with Jewish expectations though.

12 hours ago, thormas said:

I do think, based on the scholars that I'm reading, that the Ebonities were on the wrong side of this and at odds with the their prophets/scriptures.

That's odd, because the scholars I'm reading saying we can know very little about the Ebionites and what we can say about them really is only speculation.  So I'm not sure which scholars you are reading that are so certain about them.

12 hours ago, thormas said:

Where exactly have I misunderstood the Jewish expectation and on what - other than your opinion - are you basing that. I have been careful to not simply give my opinion but to present the findings of biblical experts on this issue. 

You have presented no findings from biblical experts to substantiate that Paul was aligned with Jewish expectations for the Kingdom, that's just plain bias.  Show me somewhere clear cut where just one of these scholars states clearly that Paul was aligned with Jewish expectations of the kingdom.  It shouldn't be hard.

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22 minutes ago, PaulS said:

Which ones?

I don’t know enough about them.  Just seems like a likely place to look.

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11 hours ago, thormas said:

Ok, so you agree that Jesus understood his own scriptures and he understood that the Kingdom would include the Gentiles. You just believe his understanding was different than Paul's. But where exactly are you getting Jesus' expectation about Gentile domination by God? Sure other kingdoms and kings would cease to exist but are you saying that Jesus expected that the Gentiles who accepted the Kingdom of God would continue to be dominated 'in the Kingdom' or be considered 2nd class or unequal in the eyes of God or the Jews? Did Paul say that other kingdoms would not be defeated - is that why he was different? Did Paul say the Gentile (kingdoms) would not be dominated and destroyed at the end? If not, the only difference is Jesus preached to the Jews and Paul extended that to the Gentiles. 

No, that is no the only difference at all.  Jesus promoted a Jewish elite ruling the Kingdom - the Jewish God would rule and Jesus' disciples would be on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel.  They don't need to judge the Gentiles because the God of Israel will have sorted them out when he has defeated them.  All of the language (and the Jewish expectation of a military messiah) points to a different approach to the gentiles and their power base versus Jews that weren't being faithful to their God.  It was those Jews that Jesus was calling.  Paul broadened the message to the Gentiles which clearly in the NT was never Jesus' method of operation.  Because we wasn't interested in the Gentiles - they weren't Jews and he didn't particular care for them primarily because his mission was to get them on-board with the kingdom, not the gentiles.

11 hours ago, thormas said:

And we have already established that the Jews, of necessity, were the focus of Jesus and the ones to whom the announcement of the fulfillment of the promise of the Kingdom must first be announced. 

Not 'first', because the fulfillment of the promise was only for them.  No promise was ever made to the gentiles.  It has always been Jewish scriptures making promises to the Jews, only.

11 hours ago, thormas said:
 I'm not reading into or missing Jesus' point and I have repeatedly acknowledged his focus and the reason for it. The issue now is your interpretation of 'dealing with the Gentiles.' I get what you're saying but where does Jesus say that capitulation is the only way for a Gentile to 'join the Kingdom?' Again, where does he explicitly rule out letting them know about the Kingdom and making a decision for it? 

Isaiah, Daniel and the Jewish expectation that a military messiah would come and defeat the gentiles and restore Israel to be the power on earth, led by the God of Israel, is a good start to understanding why Jesus thought like he did about the impending Kingdom.  As for explicitly ruling out inviting gentiles into the kingdom - Jesus is captured anywhere as ruling it out, but nor does he say anything about supporting homosexuality, slavery, or republican politics.  His actions such as a lack of invitation to the gentiles, adherence to Judaism and their belief in a military messiah, and language about 'Rome' being overthrown, all demonstrate who he thought the invitation to join the kingdom was for.  Yet he isn't read as extending this invitation to any non-Jews, ever.  I don't think that's an editing mistake.  Surely if you were a betting man, you can plainly see what the odds are in favor of.

11 hours ago, thormas said:

No, the 'initial' surprise, as she stated, was the number of Gentiles, pagans, in the first place - when they came to preach in the Diaspora. As she indicated, there were really very few (any?) Gentiles in the rural areas of Galilee and Judea where Jesus taught and traveled with his disciples and few even in Jerusalem. It was a new world, a new experience for them.

The Gentiles, not being Jews, would not know that they were to be overthrown by God so how could they be offended (or not be offended) that Jesus didn't care about this - they had no idea what 'this' was?

They would be offended by the message of Jesus and his understanding of who the kingdom was for, if that message had been portrayed as Jesus had intended.  Instead, the Christians that thought it was okay to invite gentiles into the kingdom adjusted the message.  That was the turning point for Christianity.

11 hours ago, thormas said:

What modified message? 

That Jesus' invitation to prepare for the kingdom extended to the gentiles.  It didn't.

11 hours ago, thormas said:

Isaiah speaks of all people assembling on the mountain (Jerusalem): both Israel and the nations will feast together on a meal made by God himself...and God will wipe away every tear.  And, unless Jesus was not so great at being an apocalyptic prophet, he understood and accepted this. 

Everything in Isaiah is focused on Israel - direct references to Israel, God's chosen people, the princes and rulers of his chosen people etc etc.  There are only the three verses you mention above which I cannot extrapolate against the rest of Isaiah and Daniel and Jewish expectations of a military messiah, to mean God is equally inviting all to be part of his kingdom.  The only thing that makes sense, against the evidence of everything else preached about the kingdom by prophets or Jesus, is that after the kingdom has been implemented and God's power restored, that then there will be peace across the land.  This is entirely different to inviting non-Jews to participate in or prepare for, the Kingdom.

11 hours ago, thormas said:

Outside his preaching to the Jews - yes. Outside his intentions is reading into Jesus.

It is demonstrated by Jesus - that is beyond dispute.  Jesus never demonstrated extended the invitation to prepare for God's kingdom to non-Jews.  For you to read more into it is a personal opinion, not based on what we read about Jesus.

11 hours ago, thormas said:

But Fredriksen's point, the teaching of the prophets, was that Gentiles or the nations were not meant to 'join the Jews' (i.e. convert or become Jews) but to 'join with' the Jews (they would still be Gentiles in the Kingdom) all worshipping the true God. Again, unless Jesus was really bad at what he did, he knew and understood his own scriptures - although his focus was the Jews.

Inviting non-Jews to join the Kingdom was NOT the teaching of the prophets.  Jesus most likely did understand his own scriptures - that's why he wasn't inviting the non-Jews into the Kingdom.

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39 minutes ago, Burl said:

I don’t know enough about them.  Just seems like a likely place to look.

What I mean is are you talking about ancient peoples or are you talking about the modern religious movement of Messianic Judaism?

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9 minutes ago, PaulS said:

What I mean is are you talking about ancient peoples or are you talking about the modern religious movement of Messianic Judaism?

I’d ask a rabbi.  There is plenty of literature but I would not know where to start.

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15 hours ago, thormas said:
Paul I get that but we both know and have used scholars like Ehrman to make sense of this stuff - so opinion is one thing (and all are entitled to it) but it would seem that we are trying to determine what is accurate here (regarding the OT and the NT) and that requires reference to the Ehrman's of the world. And it is always nice to know what something is based on because I for one like to follow up and determine if I understand correctly or have missed something.

Actually I'm reading and quoting Ehrman and others.

I know, but I just discussing this with you, not writing a paper for university.  I don't have time to trawl back through dozens of books and blog posts to quote for you.  I have made some quotes, as have you - I have made some opinion statements and outlined my reasoning.  There isn't a scholar to accurately quote for every thought on these matters.

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For the first quote, Ehrman is making a statement on Paul so I have not read into it, it is there for the reading. Whether or not James and Jesus agreed is another issue: James' issue seems to be 'conversion' (Council of Jerusalem resolved that) and we simply don't know if Jesus had any issues with the outreach to Gentiles.

Again, any outreach of Jesus to the gentiles is omitted from the NT, as is any opinion of James and Peter, or the Council.  That seems a little more than convenient for Paul's writings which make up the bulk of the early Christian bible.  But that doesn't seem to hinder you from believing they all fall into line with Paul.  For me, the balance of probability lies with the evidence that is provided, not speculation of what is not.  Jesus never invited gentiles to the kingdom - that should be telling enough.  But on top of that we see that Judaism (prior to and up to Jesus' existence) never invited gentiles into the coming Kingdom but expected them to be coerced into the kingdom by their all-conquering God.  We see nothing of James, the head of the Jerusalem church encouraging broadening the message to the gentiles (other than Paul's account of winning an argument about Jewish law - which is a bit suss if you read Erhman - Erhman thinks he lost the argument) and no examples of James' doing so.  And we have just some noted groups such as the Ebionites who thought Paul was a false prophet - not that he had an element of the message wrong (whether to follow Jewish law or not) but complete disregard for him as a false prophet.  The weight of evidence is simply against Paul and Jesus agreeing that Jesus' message should also be extended to gentiles.  It is a Pauline development (probably helped with earlier developments by somebody).

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Second quote is also simply quoted from Ehrman.  If we don't want to call it an invitation, fine - because it's not like if one said no, life would remain the same. However, an announcement so Gentiles would know what was coming, what apostles were talking about and some explanation (as Jesus did for the Jews) seems necessary since we're dealing with human beings. Isaiah was about all nations feasting at the table of God - it was to be inclusive. And, again, people, the Gentiles had to be given some clue about what was happening. The Kingdom didn't come right away, why? Fredriksen writes that it dawned on the disciples that they had to continue the announcement of Jesus to the Jews in order to prepare 'all' of Israel - thus the missionary activity to the Diaspora. I have not misread and I am not simply relying on opinion.

As I've mentioned earlier, the entire book of Isaiah is directed at Israel, other than possibly the couple of verses that might be interpreted to mean that everybody will share equally in the Kingdom (after it has come and the powers that be have been overthrown).  It just doesn't marry up with the rest of Isaiah or Jewish expectations of a military messiah coming to defeat the gentiles and restore Israel to the seat of power.  I say the Disciples stayed true to Jesus by continuing to preach to the Jews because that's indeed who Jesus' message was for  - it's just that Paul went a different direction to them (and Jesus) and created his own understanding of who Jesus' teachings were for (not necessarily original to Paul in its entirety, but not of Jesus nonetheless).

Consider Isaiah 60 -  foreigners will build up your (Israel's) walls, their kings shall minister to them (i.e. subservience), nations shall bring you their wealth, with their kings led in procession, for the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish.  Doesn't sound like a one-size-fits-all kingdom to me.  Israel will be the boss and those gentiles that submit will survive in the kingdom.  Isaiah is replete with the message of subordination of foreigners.  They weren't being invited into the Kingdom - it was going to happen, irrespective.

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Of course there is a reason for Jesus not preaching to the Gentiles and we have been all over that: his focus was on the people of God as God was fulfilling his promise to them. Jesus did not come to announce to the Gentiles but it does not follow that Jesus wasn't aware that they too would be included. As to how he thought they would be included we have no real idea but he was dead, the Kingdom was not established and it was left to his followers. And it wasn't just Paul who reached out to the Gentiles: the Roman community predated him and there were other missionaries in Galatia and of course we have Peter in Rome and dying there in the mid 60s CE. 

That was his focus because the promise was ONLY ever made to the 'people of God'.  It was never a promise or an invitation to the gentiles.  That is clear in the scriptures, old and new.

Peter possibly did make it to Rome but it is likely he wasn't there until some 20-30 years after Jesus died.  I can entertain that his beliefs had modified since immediately following Jesus' death.  Perhaps the success of Paul, following their disputes in Jerusalem, caused him to rethink his views.  Who knows.  

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I would have to check but I assume that as head of the Jerusalem community, James was involved with or at the Council when the decision was made in 50 CE. Did he abide by the council or go off on his own? 

We may never know, because currently there is nothing to corroborate Paul's version.

As a slight aside - how do you interpret Matthew 10:5-6 where Jesus says to his disciples "“Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans,  but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel".  If Jesus thought his message was for all, why not simply say that and encourage his disciples to share it amongst all?  Following the principle of occam's razor, that would seem a pretty logical conclusion if indeed Jesus did think his message was actually for everybody.  Why the dodge?

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2 hours ago, Burl said:

I’d ask a rabbi.  There is plenty of literature but I would not know where to start.

You don't think asking 'a' rabbi might be like asking 'a' Christian what God thinks of homosexuality? :)

I'm comfortable with my conclusions so I don't feel the need myself (of chasing down further relevant literary sources on the Jewish understanding of who/what the messiah would usher in) nor do I have the time or energy.  But if anybody else wants to pursue it, I'd be all ears.  That said, I might see if I can get an email response from a Hebrew congregation in Perth.

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11 hours ago, PaulS said:

I know, but I just discussing this with you, not writing a paper for university.  I don't have time to trawl back through dozens of books and blog posts to quote for you.  I have made some quotes, as have you - I have made some opinion statements and outlined my reasoning.  There isn't a scholar to accurately quote for every thought on these matters.

That's fair - and I get it. What is then a bit strange is when I do quote someone like an Ehrman (especially his 5th quote) to be told I'm reading into it when it doesn't jive with an 'opinion' that is based on a reading of the text that is not supported by the experts.

11 hours ago, PaulS said:

Again, any outreach of Jesus to the gentiles is omitted from the NT, as is any opinion of James and Peter, or the Council.  That seems a little more than convenient for Paul's writings which make up the bulk of the early Christian bible.  But that doesn't seem to hinder you from believing they all fall into line with Paul.  For me, the balance of probability lies with the evidence that is provided, not speculation of what is not.  Jesus never invited gentiles to the kingdom - that should be telling enough.  But on top of that we see that Judaism (prior to and up to Jesus' existence) never invited gentiles into the coming Kingdom but expected them to be coerced into the kingdom by their all-conquering God.  We see nothing of James, the head of the Jerusalem church encouraging broadening the message to the gentiles (other than Paul's account of winning an argument about Jewish law - which is a bit suss if you read Erhman - Erhman thinks he lost the argument) and no examples of James' doing so.  And we have just some noted groups such as the Ebionites who thought Paul was a false prophet - not that he had an element of the message wrong (whether to follow Jewish law or not) but complete disregard for him as a false prophet.  The weight of evidence is simply against Paul and Jesus agreeing that Jesus' message should also be extended to gentiles.  It is a Pauline development (probably helped with earlier developments by somebody).

I agree on the lack of a (formal) Paul-like Gentile outreach by Jesus but to then take this to conclude that Jesus would have been against such an outreach to 'all nations' is a stretch - there is, to my knowledge, nothing in the text to make this leap or on which to base this 'opinion.'  In contrast, I have looked at a number (6) of scholars, with expertise in the Bible, and, so far, I have found none who entertain such an idea (that Jesus would not have understand or would have been against such an outreach). Your assumption cuts Jesus off from his own religious history. I get that you are offering an opinion, I get that you don't have the time to 'trawl back through books'  - but an opinion does not settle the matter or give it equal weight compared to scholarly 'opinion.' 

As mentioned, Fredriksen speaks about James (above) on this and by the fact that there is a Council, all, including James and Peter, would have already known about an outreach to Gentiles. And the members of the Council, making the decision that the Gentiles didn't have to convert to Judaism made it even easier for the success of that outreach.

I have no problem allowing that I may be wrong on this issue but that is why I have been asking for support for your position - not simply from one's own reading of the texts but for scholars who agree and support your position. It doesn't matter to me if I'm wrong (see below) on the texts and if it turns out that Jesus did not believe his message was for all (I do not take the Bible literally or as gospel truth - so to speak) then it is my opinion that it was for all and the community, carrying on the work of Jesus as they understood it, got that right. 

If the outreach to Gentiles is Pauline, who established the Roman community and who were the missionaries to Galatia? Are you saying that there was no outreach to Gentiles other than Paul? 

11 hours ago, PaulS said:

As I've mentioned earlier, the entire book of Isaiah is directed at Israel, other than possibly the couple of verses that might be interpreted to mean that everybody will share equally in the Kingdom (after it has come and the powers that be have been overthrown).  It just doesn't marry up with the rest of Isaiah or Jewish expectations of a military messiah coming to defeat the gentiles and restore Israel to the seat of power.  I say the Disciples stayed true to Jesus by continuing to preach to the Jews because that's indeed who Jesus' message was for  - it's just that Paul went a different direction to them (and Jesus) and created his own understanding of who Jesus' teachings were for (not necessarily original to Paul in its entirety, but not of Jesus nonetheless).

Consider Isaiah 60 -  foreigners will build up your (Israel's) walls, their kings shall minister to them (i.e. subservience), nations shall bring you their wealth, with their kings led in procession, for the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish.  Doesn't sound like a one-size-fits-all kingdom to me.  Israel will be the boss and those gentiles that submit will survive in the kingdom.  Isaiah is replete with the message of subordination of foreigners.  They weren't being invited into the Kingdom - it was going to happen, irrespective.

Didn't catch the earlier mention of Isiah.  But of course it is directed at Israel - it is the Jewish scripture. However those ' couple of verses' are still part of the scriptures and God's promise/intention. On this I simply have to say you really do need to refer to a scholar to test your opinion, your reading. 

If the disciples continued Jesus' preaching/announcement to Israel knowing that Jesus was not a military Messiah  ............then part of the prophecy, as you understand it, changed: without a military Messiah and the conquest of the Gentiles, there was no coercion. 

It seems, given Jesus preaching of love and forgiveness, that even he didn't agree with this part of the prophecy - nor did he speak of the conquered Gentiles doing what is written in Isiah. If there was no military Messiah..........all of this part of Isaiah is a misunderstanding of God's intention just as many misunderstood what his Messiah would be.

11 hours ago, PaulS said:

That was his focus because the promise was ONLY ever made to the 'people of God'.  It was never a promise or an invitation to the gentiles.  That is clear in the scriptures, old and new.

Peter possibly did make it to Rome but it is likely he wasn't there until some 20-30 years after Jesus died.  I can entertain that his beliefs had modified since immediately following Jesus' death.  Perhaps the success of Paul, following their disputes in Jerusalem, caused him to rethink his views.  Who knows.  

I agree that there was only a promise to Israel and not the Gentiles - because they were the people of God and the prophets of their God came to instruct them. However the prophets also spoke to Israel about God's intention that was to include 'all nations.' So not a promise to the Gentiles not an invitation (as mentioned before, that they could reject and life would go on). However, that 'all nations' were to be part of the Kingdom was clear in Isaiah. 

It seems that the outreach to Gentiles began with the Judean community: Frederiksen writes that with the delay of the Kingdom (even in the first few years), they realized they had to announce the Kingdom to all of Isreal and that brought them to the Diaspora where, as discussed, they encountered Gentles everywhere, some of whom were already 'part of' the synagogue.

What I don't know is did they also start to see other Gentiles respond to their message - who they began to include?? What also interests me is if the disciples of Jesus, those who knew him, started this outreach or supported it - then they, knowing him, saw no conflict with this outreach and the preaching of Jesus to the Jews.......it was all of the same piece. And this would suggest that they either knew that Jesus did have some meaning interaction with non-Jews or that it was in line with his ministry. Now that is an opinion and I am researching it to see who started the outreach to the Gentiles.

I have, throughout this, been dealing with the texts and the interpretation of those texts and I believe a 'correct understanding' is more probable when based on the work of critical scholars than on an 'opinion.'  Now I turn to opinion, however first two issues that seem beyond debate: Jesus was wrong about the establishment of the Kingdom in the lifetime of his followers and Israel was wrong about a military Messiah. It also seems obvious that Israel was wrong about the defeat of all other kingdoms and the 'coercion' of the Gentiles. Given all of this, and recognizing the singular focus of Jesus (and to your point, regardless of his understanding of the Gentiles), it seems that, of necessity, the disciples had to adjust and that came to include the Gentiles and they found a rationale or a directive about this outreach based in the Jewish scriptures. As they did when trying to come to grips with and understand his crucifixion, so too they turned to their scriptures and found 'an answer' about theGentiles. As it turned out, the Gentiles were open to the message of and about Jesus and God, their number grew throughout the 1st C CE and they became the Christian community.  

11 hours ago, PaulS said:

As a slight aside - how do you interpret Matthew 10:5-6 where Jesus says to his disciples "“Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans,  but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel".  If Jesus thought his message was for all, why not simply say that and encourage his disciples to share it amongst all?  Following the principle of occam's razor, that would seem a pretty logical conclusion if indeed Jesus did think his message was actually for everybody.  Why the dodge?

I would have to look into it but, at first glance, it again seem to speak of the singular focus and the urgency of concentrating on Israel.

Again, I don't accept nor have I found a scholar who takes this as you do -as evidence that the message of the Kingdom was for the Jews alone.

Edited by thormas
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12 hours ago, PaulS said:

I know, but I just discussing this with you, not writing a paper for university.  I don't have time to trawl back through dozens of books and blog posts to quote for you.  I have made some quotes, as have you - I have made some opinion statements and outlined my reasoning.  There isn't a scholar to accurately quote for every thought on these matters.

APOLOGIES FOR THE DUPLICATION, I WAS TRYING TO TIGHTEN MY RESPONSE AND RAN OUT OF TIME. THIS IS THE MORE CONCISE RESPONSE.

That's fair - and I get it. What is then a bit strange is when I do quote someone like an Ehrman (especially his 5th quote) to be told I'm reading into it because it doesn't jive with an 'opinion' that is based on a reading of the text that is not supported by the experts. In addition, you never dealt with that Ehrman quote.

11 hours ago, PaulS said:

Again, any outreach of Jesus to the gentiles is omitted from the NT, as is any opinion of James and Peter, or the Council.  That seems a little more than convenient for Paul's writings which make up the bulk of the early Christian bible.  But that doesn't seem to hinder you from believing they all fall into line with Paul.  For me, the balance of probability lies with the evidence that is provided, not speculation of what is not.  Jesus never invited gentiles to the kingdom - that should be telling enough.  But on top of that we see that Judaism (prior to and up to Jesus' existence) never invited gentiles into the coming Kingdom but expected them to be coerced into the kingdom by their all-conquering God.  We see nothing of James, the head of the Jerusalem church encouraging broadening the message to the gentiles (other than Paul's account of winning an argument about Jewish law - which is a bit suss if you read Erhman - Erhman thinks he lost the argument) and no examples of James' doing so.  And we have just some noted groups such as the Ebionites who thought Paul was a false prophet - not that he had an element of the message wrong (whether to follow Jewish law or not) but complete disregard for him as a false prophet.  The weight of evidence is simply against Paul and Jesus agreeing that Jesus' message should also be extended to gentiles.  It is a Pauline development (probably helped with earlier developments by somebody).

I agree on the lack of a (formal) Paul-like Gentile outreach by Jesus but to then take this to conclude that Jesus would have been against such an outreach to 'all nations' is a stretch - there is, to my knowledge, nothing in the text to make this leap or on which to base this 'opinion.'  In contrast, I have looked at a number (6) of scholars, with expertise in the Bible, and, so far, I have found none who entertain such an idea (that Jesus would not have understand or would have been against such an outreach). Your assumption cuts Jesus off from his own religious history. 

I get that you are offering an opinion, I get that you don't have the time to 'trawl back through books'  - but, regarding the texts, an opinion does not settle the matter or give it equal weight compared to scholarly 'opinion.' I have no problem allowing that I may be wrong on this issue but that is why I have been asking for support for your position - not simply from one's own reading of the texts but for scholars who agree and support your position. 

As mentioned, Fredriksen speaks about James (above) on this and by the fact that there is a Council, all, including James and Peter, would have already known about an outreach to Gentiles. And the members of the Council, making the decision that the Gentiles didn't have to convert to Judaism made it even easier for the success of that outreach.

If the outreach to Gentiles is Pauline, who established the Roman community and who were the missionaries to Galatia? Are you saying that there was no outreach to Gentiles other than Paul? 

11 hours ago, PaulS said:

As I've mentioned earlier, the entire book of Isaiah is directed at Israel, other than possibly the couple of verses that might be interpreted to mean that everybody will share equally in the Kingdom (after it has come and the powers that be have been overthrown).  It just doesn't marry up with the rest of Isaiah or Jewish expectations of a military messiah coming to defeat the gentiles and restore Israel to the seat of power.  I say the Disciples stayed true to Jesus by continuing to preach to the Jews because that's indeed who Jesus' message was for  - it's just that Paul went a different direction to them (and Jesus) and created his own understanding of who Jesus' teachings were for (not necessarily original to Paul in its entirety, but not of Jesus nonetheless).

Consider Isaiah 60 -  foreigners will build up your (Israel's) walls, their kings shall minister to them (i.e. subservience), nations shall bring you their wealth, with their kings led in procession, for the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish.  Doesn't sound like a one-size-fits-all kingdom to me.  Israel will be the boss and those gentiles that submit will survive in the kingdom.  Isaiah is replete with the message of subordination of foreigners.  They weren't being invited into the Kingdom - it was going to happen, irrespective.

Didn't catch the earlier mention of Isiah.  But of course it is directed at Israel - it is the Jewish scripture. However those ' couple of verses' are still part of the scriptures and God's promise/intention. On this I simply have to say you really do need to refer to a scholar to test your opinion, your reading. 

If the disciples continued Jesus' preaching/announcement to Israel knowing that Jesus was not a military Messiah  ............then part of the prophecy, as you understand it, had changed: without a military Messiah and the conquest of the Gentiles, there was no coercion. 

11 hours ago, PaulS said:

That was his focus because the promise was ONLY ever made to the 'people of God'.  It was never a promise or an invitation to the gentiles.  That is clear in the scriptures, old and new.

Peter possibly did make it to Rome but it is likely he wasn't there until some 20-30 years after Jesus died.  I can entertain that his beliefs had modified since immediately following Jesus' death.  Perhaps the success of Paul, following their disputes in Jerusalem, caused him to rethink his views.  Who knows.  

I agree that there was only a promise to Israel and not the Gentiles - because they were the people of God and the prophets of their God came to instruct them. However the prophets also spoke to Israel about God's intention that was to include 'all nations.' So not a promise to the Gentiles not an invitation (as mentioned before, that they could reject and life would go on). However, that 'all nations' were to be part of the Kingdom was clear in Isaiah. 

It seems that the outreach to Gentiles began with the Judean community: Frederiksen writes that with the delay of the Kingdom (even in the first few years), they realized they had to announce the Kingdom to all of Isreal and that brought them to the Diaspora where, as discussed, they encountered Gentles everywhere, some of whom were already 'part of' the synagogue.

What I don't know is did they also start to see other Gentiles respond to their message - who they began to include?? What also interests me is if the disciples of Jesus, those who knew him, started this outreach or supported it - then they, knowing him, saw no conflict with this outreach and the preaching of Jesus to the Jews.......it was all of the same piece. And this would suggest that they either knew that Jesus did have some meaning interaction with non-Jews or that it was in line with his ministry. Now that is an opinion and I am researching it to see who started the outreach to the Gentiles.

11 hours ago, PaulS said:

As a slight aside - how do you interpret Matthew 10:5-6 where Jesus says to his disciples "“Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans,  but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel".  If Jesus thought his message was for all, why not simply say that and encourage his disciples to share it amongst all?  Following the principle of occam's razor, that would seem a pretty logical conclusion if indeed Jesus did think his message was actually for everybody.  Why the dodge?

I would have to look into it but, at first glance, it again seem to speak of the singular focus and the urgency of concentrating on Israel.

Again, I don't accept nor have I found a scholar who takes this as you do -as evidence that the message of the Kingdom was for the Jews alone.

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Posted (edited)

Matthew 10:17-20 continues to say the disciples will eventually bear witness to the Romans and the Gentiles.

Matthew 10:5-6 indicates the disciples are to go to only the most accepting of Jewish households first in order to avoid being persecuted out of business before accumulating critical mass.

These verses would seem to be a matter of ensuring the first seeds of Jesus’ church were planted in fertile ground rather than a restriction of the message.

Edited by Burl
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7 minutes ago, Burl said:

Matthew 10:17-20 continues to say the disciples will eventually bear witness to the Romans and the Gentiles.

Matthew 10:5-6 indicates the disciples are to go to only the most accepting of Jewish households first in order to avoid being persecuted out of business before accumulating critical mass.

These verses would seem to be a matter of ensuring the first seeds of Jesus’ church were planted in fertile ground rather than a restriction of the message.

Thanks.

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Just a thought, but if the news about Jesus needs to be preached to all the people's of the earth before God's kingdom can come,... Well we've just now, in the past 50 years or so, discovered people/tribes living in the Amazon. . . . . So if the news and message about Jesus needs to be spoken to or shared with everyone first,... That would be a relatively recent event.

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13 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

Just a thought, but if the news about Jesus needs to be preached to all the people's of the earth before God's kingdom can come,... Well we've just now, in the past 50 years or so, discovered people/tribes living in the Amazon. . . . . So if the news and message about Jesus needs to be spoken to or shared with everyone first,... That would be a relatively recent event.

Not sure it 'needs' to be preached to all just that it had begun to be preached to Gentiles in the 1st C CE.

We all know that continued and created some horrific situations for native people. So. I'd leave the Amazons alone and I hope no missionaries have visited them.

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10 minutes ago, thormas said:

Not sure it 'needs' to be preached to all just that it had begun to be preached to Gentiles in the 1st C CE.

We all know that continued and created some horrific situations for native people. So. I'd leave the Amazons alone and I hope no missionaries have visited them.

Maybe we can compromise and just preach to the Amazon Primes.

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13 minutes ago, Burl said:

Maybe we can compromise and just preach to the Amazon Primes.

Good one..........if we had a picture you could add this to the Heathens section.

Again Burl, well done, I do love humor: it gave me a good laugh.

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4 hours ago, Burl said:

Matthew 10:17-20 continues to say the disciples will eventually bear witness to the Romans and the Gentiles.

Matthew 10:5-6 indicates the disciples are to go to only the most accepting of Jewish households first in order to avoid being persecuted out of business before accumulating critical mass.

These verses would seem to be a matter of ensuring the first seeds of Jesus’ church were planted in fertile ground rather than a restriction of the message.

I'm reading on the group called Hellenists that supposedly split from the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem and seemingly had to do with the first missionary activities. Interesting stuff but i wish authors would give a chronology. 

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29 minutes ago, thormas said:

Not sure it 'needs' to be preached to all just that it had begun to be preached to Gentiles in the 1st C CE.

We all know that continued and created some horrific situations for native people. So. I'd leave the Amazons alone and I hope no missionaries have visited them.

I agree with you. I hope people leave them alone and just let them have their lives that seem to be a lot better and more sensible than ours, especially since we don't know what we are doing with Christianity right now too. It's like we don't have much if anything to offer them, except maybe that there's this guy Jesus whose spirit can help people out and be a good thing. But that's it, don't tell them anything else, it will just mix them up and make them as messed up as we are.

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Just now, Elen1107 said:

I agree with you. I hope people leave them alone and just let them have their lives that seem to be a lot better and more sensible than ours, especially since we don't know what we are doing with Christianity right now too. It's like we don't have much if anything to offer them, except maybe that there's this guy Jesus whose spirit can help people out and be a good thing. But that's it, don't tell them anything else, it will just mix them up and make them as messed up as we are.

Agreed.

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1 minute ago, thormas said:

Agreed.

I'm wondering it that's all that most of the first Christians had as well. There's this guy Jesus whose spirit can help people out and be a real good thing, and that's it. Seems like the "good news" didn't always have to be this elaborate and complicated thing. People got the faith and some belief and took it from there. It' the belief and faith that counts, not all this blah-blah-blah that we are sometimes subjected to. Nobody had a New Testament, it hadn't even been written yet, but I think they had something good and real going for them all the same.

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5 hours ago, thormas said:

Again, any outreach of Jesus to the gentiles is omitted from the NT

I have just been rereading Ehrman's 'Jesus, Apocalyptic Prophet' and he makes this very interesting statement, after commenting that salvation was to be universal - for Everyone: "Note that in a number of the apocalyptic sayings of Jesus that we have considered, there is talk of non-Jews coming into the Kingdom. He speaks, for example, of people (whom I take to be Gentiles) coming from the east and west, north and south to enter the Kingdom and dine with the Jewish ancestors Abraham and Company while (some) Jews are left outside. And he discusses the final judgment of the nations - the same word as "Gentiles," that is non-Jews - in the story of the future separation of the sheep and the goats. The coming of the Son of Man is not an event to be beheld only by Jews, but by the whole world."

Ehrman, at the very least, confirms Jesus' mention and inclusion of Gentiles or non-Jews entering and partaking of the Kingdom. Given this, one wonders if the gospel stories of Jesus interacting with non-Jews is historical or based on a memory of something that Jesus did or would have done during his ministry or  even the acting out of a parable or of the eschatological event that was to come. 

The question then is does Jesus' talk of non-Jews (Ehrman) suggest or foreshadow an outreach to the Gentiles, would such an outreach be a continuation of Jesus' message to the Jews and was the coming of the Gentiles, from all directions, the result of coercion or a decision for the Kingdom, after hearing and responding to the words and actions of the followers of Jesus?

Interesting stuff.  

 

Note: I would add to that if one is separating sheep from goats, someone has to first 'call and guide' (i.e. shepherd) them and that this would take place before the sheep are actually 'let in' to the ............ Kingdom.  

 

Edited by thormas
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51 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

I'm wondering it that's all that most of the first Christians had as well. There's this guy Jesus whose spirit can help people out and be a real good thing, and that's it. Seems like the "good news" didn't always have to be this elaborate and complicated thing. People got the faith and some belief and took it from there. It' the belief and faith that counts, not all this blah-blah-blah that we are sometimes subjected to. Nobody had a New Testament, it hadn't even been written yet, but I think they had something good and real going for them all the same.

Seems the 1st Christians had the resurrection experience/insight, however we imagine that.

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12 minutes ago, thormas said:

Seems the 1st Christians had the resurrection experience/insight, however we imagine that.

Even during Jesus's ministry, a lot of people just seemed to get the faith, just the simple message of "good news" , and then Jesus and his group went off to somewhere else, leaving those people to figure somethings out and do something on their own. I think people experienced him as eternal, whether it was during or after his ministry or thousand(s) of years later.

Edited by Elen1107
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