69 million page views

My hand is still extended ...

Reader comment on item: On Islam and Islamism
in response to reader comment: Oliver, A hand of friendship is always welcome

Submitted by Oliver (United States), Oct 24, 2009 at 15:20

Submitted by Seamus Dafydd Dives MacNemi (United States), Oct 19, 2009 at 09:59

I think there have been many misunderstandings perpetuated throughout the ages and I have made it my mission in life to clarify many things as regarding the LAW and the way of Jeshua. As he was a Jew it must be understood that what he taught was no more than the thinking of the more prominent thinkers in the religious community of his day. Their concern was primarily for the maintenance of the integrity of the total community. They were not so much concerned with ideas of salvation in the after life. These sorts of ideas were solely the ideas of the Greeks and the Romans. The focus of the Rabbis (and to some greater degree the thinking of the religious community of my own folk) was the living of a proper life in this world.

The only 'evidence' that is available as to what 'Jesus' taught is contained in what is called the New Testament – these 'teachings' do not reflect any 'connection' to the religious beliefs of the Greeks & Romans – and they are always in opposition to the 'then current' teachings of the religious Jews of Jesus' day. The NT indicates there was a great chasm between those who considered themselves to be 'the righteous ones' and those who were 'sinners' – Jesus told these 'righteous ones', in no uncertain terms, that their judgment would be more severe because they were misleading those who might otherwise find mercy from YHWH.

Jesus said:
Mat 9:13 Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' ... for ... Mat 12:7 if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless.[ESV]

Hos 6:3 And let us know, eagerly strive to know the LORD, His going forth is sure as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter rain that watereth the earth.'
Hos 6:4 O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the dew that early passeth away.
Hos 6:5 Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets, I have slain them by the words of My mouth; and thy judgment goeth forth as the light.
Hos 6:6 For I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God rather than burnt-offerings.[JPS]

Always, the "LAW" was a central focus in our lives. It must be understood that the purpose of the LAW was not punishment to retribution, rather it was directed toward the maintenance of the integrity of the whole community. The LAW established for us norms of social behavior. It seperated that which was proper from that which was improper behavior. It endeavoured to establish an attitude of reverance for all of life, not just one aspect or situation in life. The focus in our communities was on social cooperation and communal responsibility and not necessarily on personal gain. Our concern was for wisdom and not for power in direct opposition the the thinking of the Greeks and Romans who thought only of elevating themselves. Herein lies the real source of the conflict between us and the Greeks and the Romans. This conflict has lasted to this very day and it has been a plague upon the Jews and upon my folks for as long as we can remember.

Mar 12:29 Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Mar 12:30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'

Mar 12:31 The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."

The 'righteous ones' of Jesus day had no love for their 'neighbor' and only feigned love for YHWH – they hated everything and everyone that did not align it/themselves with their form of self-righteousness of keeping the Law. Where YHWH desired that they show mercy they had only contempt and hatred – they hated the Samaritans – they hated the Romans – they hated Jesus and they hated everyone who believed what he had to say. Do not think that I am 'unaware' that your inferences to 'Greeks and Romans' are veiled slights against the 'Greek and Roman' forms of Christianity – as I am not a practitioner of either form these slights are as 'water off a duck's back' – however, even though these groups are not without blame for the persecution perpetrated upon Jewry, the true underlying cause for this plague of unrelenting havoc is founded in the unmitigated hatred of Jesus and all the he taught – Christianity was wrong to return hatred for hatred BUT Jewry was wrong to have hated in the first place. It is because I love YHWH that I offer my hand in friendship and love – if you love YHWH …

Yeshua was for us a humane and very human being. We did not see him as some sort of unreachable god. He touched our lives as a man and not as a god. We saw in him those qualities of humanity that we should strive to emulate in our own lives. Always he was true to his word. As he said, so he did and what he did could be done by any one who took the time to learn and to discipline his or her mind to the purpose. This is what it means to be a disciple, to be disciplined in thinking and in acting. It is much like the martial arts masters of the Orient. Consider the many feats of physical prowess of those men women and you will see what we are aiming at. But for us, it was not a matter of gaining power over others as it is and was for the Greeks and Romans. Rather it was to gain self mastery because as we see it, we cannot always master the situation around us but we can (and must) master ourselves within the context of the situation.

YHWH is not an unreachable God – YHWH wants us to 'eagerly strive to know' Him – YHWH (Emanuel) came to live among us to demonstrate His 'availability' and His 'desire' that we should come to know Him. Unless you know YHWH for who He truly is all your self-mastery is but worthless human efforts – merely the self-righteousness decried by Jesus.

Our tradition teaches us that every soul that comes into this life is given two cups. One cup is a cup of sweetness and the other is a cup of bitterness and before a soul leaves this life it must drink from both cups. There are no exceptions to this rule, not for a king or for even the wisest of men. Every man and woman born into this life must likewise drink from the same two cups. It is only thus that one might learn the true meaning of life. As it is said," Life is a matter of choices. Choose wisely and live well. Choose other wise and "Oh well", better luck next incarnation".

Jesus also taught against the 'traditions of men' as an avenue of approaching the righteousness of YHWH. While 'life' certainly has its 'ups and downs', with trust in YHWH one can face those travails with a certain hope of everlasting blessings – I find no evidence for a 'second chance' at getting it 'right'.


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2024 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)