Is There An Overlooked Græco-Judæan Military Ethos Originating in Sparta?
by Mark Mountjoy
It is amazing how fresh studies and review of ancient sources keeps revealing more and more information about the Biblical past and how, through continuous research, a more detailed picture of the newly founded second century B.C. Jewish state becomes clearer and clearer. While digging into Jewish antiquities to understand the rule and deeds of Jonathan Apphus, I ran across some comments in Josephus where Jonathan alleges to the Spartans that the Jews and the Spartans are of the same race through Abraham.1 When I read the pericope of Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews 13.5.8:163-168 I was surprised and stopped in my tracks!
In the epistle Jonathan notifies the Spartans that, because of envy the Jews have been compassed about with many wars by reason of the covetousness of Judea's neighbors, but now they have overcome them and have this occassion to renew their pledge of allegiance, kinship and mutual assistance. But the question that immediately presents itself is: How on earth are Jews related to Spartans and where is that information to be found in the "sacred writings"?
A Version of this Essay Was First Published in Natural
Israel Only Salvationism is a False Gospel, A Private Facebook Group
by Mark Mountjoy
Not since the heydays of the Sadducees (135 B.C.—A.D. 66) has there been such a curious phenomenon attachiing itself to the interests and business of God's people as the ascendance of Israel Only savants. These, like the Sadducees, pride themselves in knowing better than to believe the fantastic and the extraordinary, the bizarre, the supernatural and the unexplainable. For the Sadducees there was no afterlife, no angels, no spirits, no heaven and no hell—yet they took central positions in the hub of the Jewish world—serving in the Second Temple and administrating its ministries and services, on all accounts, going through the motions. These Sadducees were situated in the upper echelons of Jewish society where they enjoyed positions of authority, pride of place and access to riches—all the while not believing in the vast and boundless God of the possible and the doer of what would seemingly be impossible.
Now, let's consider the pedagogic role and the possible ulterior motives of Israel Only (I.O.) savants. Where do they stand on the message of the Bible, where is the authority for their role as Bible teachers and what's in it for them? To discover the attitudes we are dealing with, take note of belittling, outragious and condescending statements coming from one of their leading spokemen, one Michael Bradley:
"If you believe there was a literal first man named Adam formed from dirt and lived 950 years, who had a wife formed from one of his ribs who was deceived by a talking snake, and that over a million people departed Egypt and roamed around Egypt and Arabia for forty years without leaving a single trace, then you believe in a fairytale.
If you believe that there was a great flood and Noah saved all the animals in a ship that took a hundred years to make (in a desert), that Enoch levitated into the clouds, that a pole turned into a snake, that Joshua made the sun stop for an hour, that a single man killed an entire army with the jawbone of a donkey, that a donkey spoke then you believe in a fairytale.
If you believe that three men were consumed in a burning furnace and came out unscathed, a there was a person (Jonah) who lived in a fish for three days, that a man (Daniel) was supernaturally protected from being eaten by lions, that water was made into wine, that Jesus passed through people invisibly, that dead people were brought back to life, that five thousand people were fed from five loaves of bread, that Jesus walked in water, calmed a storm with a word, raised back to life after being dead for three days and then levitated into the clouds. . .you believe a fairytale."
These statements are simply unfortunate! And they especially ironic coming, as they do, from a person who fancies himself equal to the task of teaching the whole Christian world the "real" truth about Israel, the Good News and the goal and termination history. But, let us first ask: Who authorized them to "teach and reprove, correct and instruct" (2 Timothy 3:16)? How can they presume to lead if, as they say, the creation of Adam; the age to which he lived; the formation of Eve from his ribs; the serpent story; the Israelite exodus and forty year sojourn; the construction of the Ark and Deluge; the translation of Enoch; the staff-into-a-snake story; the story of Joshua and the two days (not one hour!) the sun stood still are real accounts of actual events?
If they cannot believe Samson killed an entire army of Philistines with the jawbone of an ass or accept that a dumb donkey rebuke Balaam—they are "in the know," but we believe in fairytales? And they laugh about the Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace and the rescue of Jonah by a large fish; and the preservation of Daniel among hungry lions as silly fables believed by gullible people. Worse still, they deny that Jesus turned water into wine or passed through people invisibly; or that dead people were by him revived to life and that five thousand people were satisfied on five loaves of bread.
They do not accept that the Lord walked on the Sea of Tiberius or ever calmed a raging storm with the command: "Peace be still!
Finally (and this tells us how degraded, dark and destitute these minds are): they repudiate that Christ arose from the dead and ascended to the clouds forty days later. For Israel Only all these accounts (in the Old and in the New Testament) are all trifling myths!
We ask, then, on what grounds do they cherry-pick and differentiate between the "fake news" of miracles, prodigies and paranormal events and the so-called "good news" of salvation for "Israel only"? Why do they believe they know that New Testament salvation "for Israel only" is any different than any other story in the Bible? Or, to put it another way, If the Bible is no better than Alice in Wonderland, what makes the story of salvation, their cause célèbre so important and how can they tell the part of the "fairytale" they are interested in is true?
From whence comes this special knowledge, this unique discernment and why on earth do they approach us and pretend to care?
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