Forgiveness and Atonement – the Golden Rule

I wrote this in answer to an email I received. I hope the following is not too confusing 🙂

I build my theology top down. There are two main laws (or categories of laws).

1. love your God
2. love your fellow being

The two cannot really be separated, for you cannot love God and at the same time hate your fellow being, and the love of God can be expressed via loving your fellow beings.

Some people may have never heard of the Creator, but through the love of their fellow beings they express the love of God.

For this reason you really only find one law that is in all ancient religions and philosophies: the Golden Rule.

Religion in Jerusalem – before Abraham was called?

Many Christians are curious about this mysterious figure called Melchizedek. What was the religion in Jerusalem before Abraham was called? How could he be the high Priest of the Most High when the office of the High Priest was only defined in the Law? Somehow this doesn’t fit into the picture, at least, of traditional theology.

Gen 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.

Is Jesus saying Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are alive?

Jesus said the following in Matthew:

Matthew 22:32 “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, BUT OF THE LIVING”.

Did he mean that they were alive? To understand what he said, we need to consider Jewish thought.

Forgiveness and Atonement – are sacrifices a must?

In the previous post we mentioned that in a foreign land there was no need for sacrifices. One could simply repent and pray towards Jerusalem and the Temple. But what if the Temple no longer existed? Was repentance and prayer still accepted by God?

This is the passage in question, Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple:

2 Chronicles 6:
34 “When Your people go out to battle against their enemies, by whatever way You shall send them, and they pray to You toward this city which You have chosen and the house which I have built for Your name,
35 then hear from heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
36 “When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin) and You are angry with them and deliver them to an enemy, so that they take them away captive to a land far off or near,
37 if they take thought in the land where they are taken captive, and repent and make supplication to You in the land of their captivity, saying, ‘We have sinned, we have committed iniquity and have acted wickedly’;
38 if they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, where they have been taken captive, and pray toward their land which You have given to their fathers and the city which You have chosen, and toward the house which I have built for Your name,
39 then hear from heaven, from Your dwelling place, their prayer and supplications, and maintain their cause and forgive Your people who have sinned against You.

This is all good, but what could be done if there was no Temple and no sacrifices, like during the Babylonian captivity?

Misapplied Passages – Does Hosea teach what men should do in marriage?

I have decided to write about this topic as misapplying Hosea has been causing harm to many Christian men. I will not give an exposition on the passage, it is quite simple. Read it for yourselves.

Many churches and bible colleges teach that once a wife cheats and leaves the husband the man shall never remarry but wait for his wife to return to him. Even if she marries another man, this poor guy must wait with the hope that she divorces him, or perhaps one day her husband dies, and she might return to her rightful husband.

I am aware of a man who was indoctrinated with this doctrine, after divorce lived alone all his life and on his deathbed regretted it. There are many others who are in the same position, so please take note and help them if you meet them.