Stoning? Quick and Painless? (How to Read the Bible)

Rushgin

A Disturbance in the Force
Hi. I know of two Christians who insist that stoning in Biblical times was not as bad as it is today. The logic of one of them was that God made man in his image, therefore He would not prescribe any kind of execution that would mutilate the body, which means that stoning must have been quick. They make quite a few arguments to back this up, but nothing Biblical. I checked Google and can not find any Scripture to back up their views, but I'm not exactly an expert in the Bible.

Is there anyone in here who knows of Scripture that says stoning used to be humane? Thanks. : )
 

RyanX

The Living Force
Re: Stoning? Quick and Painless?

Rushgin said:
Is there anyone in here who knows of Scripture that says stoning used to be humane? Thanks. : )

I'm just curious, why does this even matter? It sounds like you are just trying to win an argument with your friends. If that is the case, this seems like entirely selfish to attempt to bring this up on a public forum. Also, I would maybe question why I was friends with somebody who thought such a way about stoning. It sounds like your "friends" have become ponerized to a certain extent.

Death in such a way strikes me as entirely inhumane, Scripture or no Scripture.

Ryan
 

Rushgin

A Disturbance in the Force
Re: Stoning? Quick and Painless?

RyanX said:
Rushgin said:
Is there anyone in here who knows of Scripture that says stoning used to be humane? Thanks. : )

I'm just curious, why does this even matter? It sounds like you are just trying to win an argument with your friends. If that is the case, this seems like entirely selfish to attempt to bring this up on a public forum. Also, I would maybe question why I was friends with somebody who thought such a way about stoning. It sounds like your "friends" have become ponerized to a certain extent.

Death in such a way strikes me as entirely inhumane, Scripture or no Scripture.

Ryan

It's important whether stoning is deemed humane in the Bible, because the Christians at the other place are claiming to adhere to God's word. I would agree that stoning is barbaric, either way. But if it could be shown that the Bible condemns it, then that's an argument they can't ignore. Maybe I should have written down more of their arguments.

Here, check this guy out. He's totally nuts...

_http://isgodimaginary.com/forum/index.php/topic,39326.msg177289.html#msg177289

The Christians, except for a gay one, aren't even arguing with him.
 

Smallwood

Jedi Master
Re: Stoning? Quick and Painless?

If argument could sway someone locked into blind belief, the world wouldn't be in this shape. My two cents.
 

Laura

Administrator
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FOTCM Member
Re: Stoning? Quick and Painless?

There are no scriptures that suggest stoning is humane. It was not intended to be humane. It was intended to be long, slow, painful and humiliating.

After all these years of study, my guess is that the god of the Old Testament was more or less a reflection of the 2 things: 1) the emergence of certain pathologies around 1600 BC as a consequence of environmental pressures 2) the pathological mental attributes of the group of individuals who edited the texts together around the time of the Maccabbees. In short, Jahweh/Jehovah is a psychopath. He/It is not interested in being humane.

You can easily find these things out yourself. Get a good copy of Strong's Exhaustive Concordance (for the KJV), which includes a Greek and Hebrew lexicon, a copy of Zondervan's Amplified for comparison, and you can also get the Bible as a searchable text file for computer searches. Amazing what you discover when you do word searches and comparisons.
 

Deckard

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Re: Stoning? Quick and Painless?

Rushgin said:
Hi. I know of two Christians who insist that stoning in Biblical times was not as bad as it is today. The logic of one of them was that God made man in his image, therefore He would not prescribe any kind of execution that would mutilate the body, which means that stoning must have been quick. They make quite a few arguments to back this up, but nothing Biblical. I checked Google and can not find any Scripture to back up their views, but I'm not exactly an expert in the Bible.

Is there anyone in here who knows of Scripture that says stoning used to be humane? Thanks. : )
Hi, besides the points that Laura made about Yahweh based on her research.
Can you imagine how stoning can kill anyone without mutilating their body? That's ludicrous to say the least.
 

Mountain Crown

The Living Force
Re: Stoning? Quick and Painless?

Rushgin said:
But if it could be shown that the Bible condemns it, then that's an argument they can't ignore.

You may want to rethink this assumption.

Christians are indoctrinated to accept many propositions on the basis of external authority, precluding any logical process within an individual. Two of the more basic propositions are that the bible is God's word, and that the foundations of church doctrine are axiomatic.

Research by scholars on the nature of revelation and inspiration is usually too much for those of such indoctrination, causing them to go to any means to defend what they believe.
 

RyanX

The Living Force
Re: Stoning? Quick and Painless?

Rushgin said:
RyanX said:
Rushgin said:
Is there anyone in here who knows of Scripture that says stoning used to be humane? Thanks. : )

I'm just curious, why does this even matter? It sounds like you are just trying to win an argument with your friends. If that is the case, this seems like entirely selfish to attempt to bring this up on a public forum. Also, I would maybe question why I was friends with somebody who thought such a way about stoning. It sounds like your "friends" have become ponerized to a certain extent.

Death in such a way strikes me as entirely inhumane, Scripture or no Scripture.

Ryan

It's important whether stoning is deemed humane in the Bible, because the Christians at the other place are claiming to adhere to God's word. I would agree that stoning is barbaric, either way. But if it could be shown that the Bible condemns it, then that's an argument they can't ignore.

I apologize if I came across harsh, I did not understand the context behind your question.

I realize it is difficult to hear such converse thinking coming from Christians or others. The urge to argue and try to convince them that their belief is wrong or faulty is sometimes overwhelming. I have been caught up by these arguments in the past too and I've learned that in an argumentative setting people will not typically change their mind. This is irregardless of the evidence you or anybody else presents. When one can see how this sort of thinking leads to all sorts of violent acts, wars and whatnot, it is very difficult to stay in a detached, unemotional state and not want to convince these people otherwise. So I can empathize with your concern.

As Laura pointed out, the sources to contradict this thinking are out there. Once you have convinced yourself of this you must ask yourself what is the value of trying to preach this to others? I may be mistaken, but it sounds like you are trying to "beat them at their own game" by finding a line or passage in the one source they hold as holy to show them that they are, in fact, wrong. But in this process you essentially must sink to their level of only defining reality within a single source.

Just some things to consider.

Ryan
 

Laura

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Re: Stoning? Quick and Painless?

There is also the big problem between the philosophy behind the Old Testament vs the philosophy behind the New Testament. The Old Testament was never meant to be part of the Christian "bible."

The simplest answer to the issue is to establish a principle which you can do with the following quotes:

Gospel of John said:
8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 8:4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
8:5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 8:6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
8:7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8:8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
8:9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
8:10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Gospel of Matthew said:
5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 5:2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

{...}

25:14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
25:15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
25:16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
25:17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
25:18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
25:19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
25:20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
25:22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
25:23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
25:24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25:25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
25:26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 25:27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
25:28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
25:29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 25:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 25:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 25:42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 25:43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
25:44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.


Gospel of Luke said:
6:27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 6:28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
6:29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.
6:30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
6:31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
6:32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
6:33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
6:34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
6:39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 6:40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
6:41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 6:42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.
6:43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
6:44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.
6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

{...}

11:14 And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered.
11:15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.
11:16 And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven.
11:17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.
11:18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.
11:19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.
11:20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

{...}

20:9 Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.
20:10 And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty.
20:11 And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty.
20:12 And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out.
20:13 Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.
20:14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.
20:15 So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? 20:16 He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.
20:17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? 20:18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
 

gaman

Jedi Master
Re: Stoning? Quick and Painless?

Laura said:
Gospel of Luke said:
{...}
20:9 Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.
20:10 And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty.
20:11 And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty.
20:12 And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out.
20:13 Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.
20:14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.
20:15 So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? 20:16 He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.
20:17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? 20:18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

I am glad that you posted this parable. I have seen this before, but I haven't understood it no matter how many times I read it and try to digest it. It makes me feel dumb/missing something and frustrated when I encounter situations like this where other people "get it" and I don't until it is explained to me and then I easily see it and wonder why I didn't get it in the first place.

Would someone explain this parable to me? The last few verses just don't make sense to me -- I can't understand what is being taught / what I can learn from it.

Thanks.
 

Laura

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Re: Stoning? Quick and Painless?

There's a handy little book entitled "Patterns of Persuasion" that explain chreia. Look it up on google and read some articles about it. I've written about this rhetorical device just a little bit in another thread on the forum, but I'll reproduce it here:

In my opinion, there's a real possibility that the "god" that the man around whom the Jesus myth accreted WAS talking about in terms of the "heavenly father" and the "kingdom of god" was "Beelzebul."

In "Christian Origins and the Language of the Kingdom of God," Michael L. Humphries analyzes the "Beelzebul controversy" and draws some fascinating conclusions, though he doesn't go as far as I have in the above statement. When reading his analysis, it occurred to me that it was obvious that the god of the real "Jesus" WAS Beelzebul.

Walter Bauer proposes:

Perhaps - I repeat, perhaps - certain manifestations of Christian life that the authors of the church renounce as "heresies" originally had not been such at all, but were the only form of the new religion - that is, for those regions they were simply "Christianity." The possibility also exists that their adherents constituted the majority, and that they looked down with hatred and scorn on the orthodox, who for them were the false believers.
That's pretty much the attitude the Cathars had toward the Catholic Church - that the church was the false religion. They also claimed that the god of the Old Testament - the Jewish Yahweh/Jehovah - was the evil demiurge. We notice that Christianity has adopted this god as the "father of Jesus."

So, clearly, something is wrong with Christianity as we know it.

Norman Perrin wrote:

The central aspect of the teaching of Jesus was that concerning the Kingdom of God. Of this there can be no doubt and today no scholar does, in fact, doubt it. Jesus appeared as one who proclaimed the Kingdom; all else in his message and ministry serves a function in relation to that proclamation and derives meaning from it. The challenge to discipleship, the ethical teaching, the disputes about oral tradition or ceremonial law, even the pronouncement of the forgiveness of sins and the welcoming of the outcast in the name of God - all these are to be understood in context of the Kingdom proclamation or they are not to be understood at all.
Burton Mack writes:

The concept of the kingdom therefore functions like a "skeleton key" whereby all seemingly loose threads are gathered into a unifying whole; and comprehension comes only to the reader who knows this to be true. [...] Crossan effectively argues on behalf of a sapiential or ethical understanding of the kingdom as represented by a first-century Mediterranean Jewish peasantry. The kingdom constitutes a present reality characterized by social and cultural engagement with ruling powers ... resistance against oppression.

I don't know why it doesn't occur to biblical scholars such as Mack, to consider the hyperdimensional hypothesis and compare Jesus to the Siberian Shaman who has access to the "kingdom."

The Beelzebul controversy has been going on for a long time. Nobody really understands the meaning of the accusation that "He [Jesus] casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of demons."

The designation of Beelzebul as the "ruler of demons (Satan) is difficult to trace to any other source. According to one scholar quoted by Humphries:

The derivation of the name is disputed, and is in any case unimportant for the meaning of the text, since Beelzebul is simply a popular name for the prince of demons. The name dos NOT occur in Jewish literature, but appears to represent the same figure as Belial in the intertestamental literature. (Marshall)

Humphries does not agree with this easy tossing away of the importance of the etymology of the name. He points out that Marshall says 1) the name is absent in the Jewish literature, and thus disputed; BUT 2) is said to represent a popular name for the ruler of demons! That is contradictory.

The precise explanation of the name Beelzebul is, apparently, without documentation prior to the composition of the biblical text. It appears later in the writings of Origen, Hippolytus, and "The Testament of Solomon."

The correlation of Beelzebul with the "ruler of demons" (Satan) is actually quite problematic. Hippolytus, in fact, distinguishes between Beelzebul and Satan and Origen makes no connection between the two at all.

The brainwashed type of Bible scholar (the true believers with an agenda) tend to assume that Beelzebul was a well-known lord of demons, but that is, in fact, not the case. It is not established that Mediterranean Jews customarily regarded Beelzebul as the "ruler of demons." This designation only occurs in later Christian literature.

Humphries argues a connection between Beelzebul and the Canaanite-Syrian deity zbl bl ars, or "the prince, lord of the earth".

Beel is the Greek transliteration of the Aramaic Beel from the Hebrew Baal, meaning "owner," "lord," or "prince." The problem is with the "zebul" part.

The majority of New Testament texts read "Beelzeboul" but the Vulgate and Syrian text cite the alternate: Beelzeboub. This leaves open the possibility that there was an association between Beelzebul(b) and the ancient PHILISTINE deity Ball zebub (Baal muian in the Septuagint "Lord of the flies"). Some scholars propose that Beelzebul and Baalzebub are one and the same. The more likely possibility is that Baalzebub represents a pun ("lord of the flies") on the original name of Baal zebul whose rule was not limited to the region of Philistia.

The reading of this name that seems to be gaining support translates the name as: LORD OF HEAVEN. This thesis was developed by W.E.M. Aitken and Lloyd Gaston. Each took a different approach to analyzing the word ZEBUL, and arrived at the same conclusion that ZEBUL signifies the DWELLING OF GOD, whether heaven or a temple.

This conclusion came from analyzing rabbinic literature. According to Rosh ha-shanah 17a: "There is no zebul except the temple, for it is written: 'I have built thee a beth zebul.'"

In Aboth de Rabbi Nathan, it is said that ZEBUL is the name of one of the SEVEN HEAVENS.

According to Hagigah 12b, ZEBUL is the fifth heaven ...

These reading apparently derive from the saying in 1 Kings 8:13, where BETH ZEBUL represents a parallel expression for Yahweh's eternal dwelling, and from Isaiah 63:15, where ZEBUL designates the heavenly throne of Yahweh. Habakkuk 3:11 uses ZEBUL as the "dwelling place of the Sun and Moon." Aitken draws the conclusion:

This makes it clear that ZEBUL was understood specifically of the dwelling of God, whether that was though of as the temple on earth or the heavens; in later ages when the temple has disappeared it was still used of heaven.
Additional evidence was provided by another scholar, Gaston, who pointed out that the Septuagint texts of 1 Kings 8:13 and Isaiah 63:15 translate ZEBUL with the Greek OIKOS, meaning "temple."

So, it seems pretty certain that Beelzebul means Lord of Heaven or the one that dwells in the dwelling place of God.

How did he come to be known as the Lord of Demons???

One theory suggested is that this was a Jewish thing, a rendering of Baalshamaim, the Jewish name for Zeus Olympios. Baalshamaim was a pagan sky god whose cult was a source of rear and hatred for loyal Palestinian Jews during the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes whom the book of Daniel labels the "abomination of desolation." The argument is:

1) since Baalshamaim is a foreign deity, he is a demon ("for all the gods of the nations are demons" psalms 95:5)

2) Since he is the god of heaven, he is the chief rival of Yahweh, and therefore must be Satan, the ruler of demons.

3) Because Yahweh is the only TRUE god of heaven, therefore, no other deity can carry that name - Baalshamaim) and therefore an alternate designation is necessary: ZEBUL replaces SHAMAIM.

It is also thought that the principle target of the text could have been the early Jesus people, keeping in mind that Jesus identified himself with the "master of the house" which they took to be threats toward the Temple.

Of course, all of the above assumes that we are discussing a real, historical event, and it is not really clear that this is the case! The Q document gives no indication of conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees regarding his behavior toward the temple. The charge that Jesus sought to destroy the temple is a much later story wrapped around Jesus - the same as the claim that he was the "son of god."

Moreover, there is another possible interpretation for ZEBUL: elevate, exalted, height, glorified.

That, of course, fits better with my notion that what was being discussed as the "kingdom of god" was actually an understanding of hyperdimensional realities.

There is quite a bit of discussion of this word and its possible etymology in the book referenced above.

Bottom line is, to the Jews, all other gods were demons, so, if there was any historical reality to this event, what it means is that the basis of the accusation was that Jesus cast out demons by the power of some foreign god.

As I suggest, maybe he did.

The point is that this was a charge of "deviance." The accusation is saying: "He is not one of us, he is not a Jew, he is not a child of Israel, but a child of Beelzebul." And, since Jesus was said to be a Galilean, from the North, this makes perfect sense. The charge was intended to label Jesus as an outsider: he does not belong.

Jesus retort is introduced with a statement that he is able to discern the strategy of his accusers - that they intend to label him as a deviant. The charge of Black Magic is intended to defame, to diminish, to label Jesus as an outsider and to garner support against him. Being labeled in this way is supposed to draw lines, to create in others the impression of us vs. them.

The response is in two parts.

The first part is his remark about the disasters that befall those who are divided: the charge of demon collusion to cast out demons is absurd because everyone knows that a divided kingdom falls.

This does not, of course, address the deeper charge of deviance; it only attacks the surface logic of the accusation. The accusers are, essentially, caught in a trap for the issue of the unity of the demonic kingdom was not even in their minds.

Since this is a chreia - an elaboration tale that was created to exemplify what Jesus WOULD or MIGHT have said in such a situation - one scholar suggests that it was based on some knowledge of the real Jesus, that it is possible that when Jesus was once reproached for exorcising demons by Beelzebul, he retorted: "Devil against devil? some strategy!" This is a clever bit of sophistry similar to the numerous Cynic chreiai.

However, he does not counter the charge of deviance!!!

What he does is point out that when the accuser's own sons perform exorcisms, they are not charged with demon collusion so, what the accuser grant to their own sons - that they are performing exorcisms by the power of god - must also be granted to Jesus, or the sons will also be held up to question. In other words, the practice of exorcism itself precludes demon collusion.

This does not, of course, necessarily mean that there were Jewish exorcists because we must remember that this is a chreia, not a historical account, but rather a clever story created by later Jewish Christians within a Jewish context. The implication is actually deeper. Humphries writes:

The force of the arguments aims to locate oneself within the Israelite field, to designate and legitimate one's ethos thereby. The discourse is not about distinguishing between valid and invalid exorcisms, but about being for Beelzebul or for Yahweh, for Satan's kingdom or Yahweh's kingdom, an outsider or an insider. [...] It is also quite clear... that Jesus' response turns the tables on his accusers. Insofar as they refuse to recognize the power of the kingdom in his exorcisms, they find themselves in danger of standing outside the kingdom. No one belonging to the kingdom of God could identify Jesus' exorcisms, or any exorcism for that matter, a s satanic. If the accusers do not accept the "quality in common" ... if they do not grant to Jesus what they grant to their own sons, then it is precisely this failure of recognition that renders the accusers themselves as deviant. And so a sharp distinction is indeed established. The exchange between Jesus and his accusers constitutes a battle over who represents the legitimate expression of Israel.

Clearly, to my mind, the individual writing this story understood himself as an "insider" of Israel and sought to use this method to draw Jesus in as an insider as well. This suggests strongly that Jesus WAS an outsider to Israel, was NOT a Jew, and Beelzebul WAS the name of the deity Jesus "promoted" originally.
 

Buddy

The Living Force
Re: Stoning? Quick and Painless?

gaman said:
Would someone explain this parable to me? The last few verses just don't make sense to me -- I can't understand what is being taught / what I can learn from it.

Thanks.


I see the parable as a lesson in stewardship, or individuals acting in proper relation to existence and the necessity to avoid rejecting what seems, at first sight, to be unseemly, ill-fitting and threatening, but upon closer inspection, represents the one piece of the puzzle that would orient everything else into proper perspective (make it whole).

If the stone represents the "Kingdom of God within" or the Creative Source, then the day will come when some individuals finally recognize it and fall down in grief and those who refuse to recognize it will will be torn apart as the bits and pieces of their false knowledge return (re-integrate) to their original source at the 7th Density end state. (The individual hasn't packed his sphere with unified knowledge, so there's nothing of value the Universe can use to see itself from that perspective, so even what little 'knowledge' the individual has will be taken away).

Another way of looking at this might be to consider that conscious minds should be involved in the process of gathering deep structural knowledge of everything within their realm. We exist for a purpose like organisms within ecosystems. People in mechanical societies are pathologically afraid of this purpose because it means giving up their investments in whole structures of so-called knowledge and having to start over, so they place themselves in a state of antagonism with the universe or anyone who threatens to expose 'the truth'.
A person/group who has spent their lives collecting different information makes a bigger contribution to the One at the end state and therefore has a place as a cornerstone in the Universe's structure of being, simply by virtue of the fact that their knowledge is a greater totality.

This is just one or two possible ways of looking at it. I could be completely misreading it though, so just take it for whatever it's worth. Others may have a different view.
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Re: Stoning? Quick and Painless?

Good points, Buddy. I'm trying to interest ya'll in one of the things I find fascinating: ancient literature.

Let me give a few more hints here:

There are two parts to chreia: the saying and the setting. In the case of the passage in question, this is the saying: "The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? 20:18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder."

We know this is the saying because it is preceded by: "What is this then that is written..."

The setting that is supposed to set up the background is the story about the vineyard.

Let's look at it a bit more closely:

Luke said:
20:9 Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.

Who is it that planted the vineyard? Who are the "sharecroppers" that he rented it to? What does the "far country" represent? Are these even important elements?

Luke said:
20:10 And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty.

Who is the servant or what does the servant represent?

Luke said:
20:11 And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty.
20:12 And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out.

What do these events of "sending servants" to collect his share of the crop represent?

Luke said:
20:13 Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.
20:14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.

Now, obviously, that was a totally stupid way of reasoning by any stretch of the imagination. So, what does it represent?

Luke said:
20:15 So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? 20:16 He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.

Who is this "they" that heard it? If you go back a few lines, you will see that he was addressing a group of people that included the chief priests and scribes of the Jerusalem temple. So, obviously, that is the "they." And earlier, the exchange with the chief priests and scribes had gone as follows:

19:47 And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, 19:48 And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.
20:1 And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders, 20:2 And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority? 20:3 And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me: 20:4 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? 20:5 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not? 20:6 But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.
20:7 And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was.
20:8 And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

That exchange more firmly establishes the story as part of the chreia tradition. Notice how Jesus cleverly laid a trap for the scribes and priests and they KNEW it. So we have two ways of looking at this: either some event similar to this actually happened in some context involving a person around whom the Jesus legend accreted, in which case, it would identify him as a Hellenic educated thinker - a cynic; or it was a pure chreia - a story made up to exemplify what the master would have said and done in a particular situation, in which case the author was a Hellenic educated thinker. This is not Jewish argumentation - it is Greek.

Anyway, back to the passage in question. Now that the story has been told - and we see that it has something to do with the authority of Jesus - the trap is sprung:

Luke said:
20:17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? 20:18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

The most obvious conclusion to be drawn is that those rejecting the stone, those falling on the stone, and those upon whom the stone will fall, are the Jews - the worshippers of Jahweh/Jehovah.

That, of course, would suggest that the story was written at least AFTER the destruction of the Jerusalem temple when it became clear that the "Jewish Kingdom" that was supposed to last for ever and ever was kaput.

BUT, there can be another, deeper meaning. Buddy has gone part way there. Consider the discussion I posted above where we understand that "the kingdom of heaven" is the central thing about the message of "Jesus." No matter which way you cut it, as a cynic or otherwise, that is what the guy wanted to talk about mainly. So, if we understand this "kingdom of heaven" concept as the cornerstone, a whole new level of meaning appears before us. It is no longer an attack on the Jews, but rather an exposure of those who are lawless and who don't understand that just because the owner of the vineyard is in a "far country" that he won't know what is going on and impose retribution. The "owner" of the Vineyard is, in a sense, the "kingdom of heaven" or the hyperdimensional realms.

Let me try to explain what I mean more precisely with a bit of help from Swedenborg.

Our reality, Swedenborg proposed, is paralleled by another, "higher" reality. He was a bit iffy about this other reality, imagining it to be more airy-fairy and ethereal than what the Cs propose as a paraphysical realm such as higher densities. But anyway, Swedenborg's ideas will do for the moment.

According to Swedenborg, our decisions can influence this other world and their desires can influence ours. Everything we touch resonates in that other world and every action we perform here is also an interaction with that other reality.

To be aware of those other realms, Swedenborg said that people only need to let go of their ego - what we understand as false personality or the predator's mind, or social/familial/religious programming. (You can see here where ego is "stumbling on the stone" and being "broken." So this is getting close to what Buddy wrote.)

All our subjective emotions and perspectives create a kind of blindness, an opaque wall of self-reflection through which we cannot see. (You can see this in the attitude of the men who decided to kill the heir thinking that this would get the inheritance for themselves!)

Evil spirits, according to Swedenborg, can definitely encourage blindness in many ways. They can drive us to be obsessive about our ideas and opinions, causing us to only see our own reflection in the world "out there" and thus missing the miracles of creation/reality. This is where we see "on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." That is definitely what happens to people who steadfastly refuse to admit or acknowledge hyperdimensional realities. And of course, we need to remember exactly what it was that the scribes and chief priests believed in order to understand that this is exactly how this chreia applied to them. As Swedenborg said, there is no real sin in this universe except a willful refusal to see the wonders of creation and acknowledge them. That point is reiterated in the first book of Romans where we read:

1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

But, even having said all that, I'm sure that there are other layers of meaning here...
 

Buddy

The Living Force
Re: Stoning? Quick and Painless?

Laura said:
I'm trying to interest ya'll in one of the things I find fascinating: ancient literature.

I've been interested in this ever since the first post I read concerning "Jesus retort is introduced with a statement that he is able to discern the strategy of his accusers."

Although the esoteric meanings require a lot of contemplation and data gathering, I thought it to be the key to understanding how to avoid the set-ups that marginalize, nominalize and get people accused of imaginary crimes so that they can then be 'put away' without difficulty.

I also thought it to be a valuable aid in learning how to anticipate and avoid difficulties during confrontations with certain petty tyrants by taking advantage of the fact that their wishful thinking is bound to lead to them 'forgetting' about something, which when brought to light, neutralizes their arguments for all to see.

--edit: changed the first sentence to clarify my meaning.
 

gaman

Jedi Master
Re: Stoning? Quick and Painless?

Laura and Buddy, thank you both for the help. You have relayed much deeper meanings with more detail than I even assumed to be there. I would not have gleaned anything near the depth (with supporting knowledge) that you did from the passage, but I do see some errors I made even at the start:

1) Assumed the parable would/should yield a simple meaning such as what a child understands from the "Boy Who Cried Wolf" type of stories.

2) Assumed the parable stood independently on its own, rather than taking into context what was going on and causing it to be relayed and the possible intents of relaying it.

3) Talk of the "stone" or the "star" in reference to spirituality / alchemy tend to throw my mind in a whirl because of numerous mentions of them where I can't understand what they represent and it seems some secret (i.e. the corner stone, the stone upon which a house is built, find the stone, the wise men saw a star, you will know when you have the right mixture because you will see a start appear on it, etc.). I easily get thrown off in areas like this also because of my negative introvert telling me I can never understand it and that takes away power/energy of thought or something.

Old and ancient writings used to interest me from about the time I was 15 until about 20, but I kept running into so much that I couldn't understand and figure out, including concepts that I had/have trouble understanding including "the logos", the "names of god", etc.

Woops, sorry to run on about me but my frustration and insecurity in this manner got the better of me. I will look into "Patterns of Persuasion" to learn more.

Thanks again!
 
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