The conflict between Roland and Oliver

(I apologize for the lack of background story! The poem is long and complicated, so, in lieu of an entire explanation, I hope that those of you desiring to further understand the book will read it. However, I would not recommend it for those who can easily see through holes in both plot and theology, as you may be laughing your head off the entire time. 🙂

“The Song of Roland”, written in the 11th century, was a poetic literary work which centered on fictional events of the Spanish Crusades. The story line focused on the elements of tension between French commanders, betrayal of Christianity by one of the king’s men, and the concept that those in “the right” (namely, Catholic Christianity) would always prevail over those in “the wrong”, (any heathen entity separate from Christianity), no matter the odds.

At the time when the poem was set, Charlemagne was the king of France, and had been fighting the crusades in Spain for seven years. Lord Roland, one of the main characters, was Charlemagne’s nephew. Oliver was Roland’s liegeman – this meant Oliver held a position of power which was subordinate to Roland, who served under the king. Although Oliver attended Roland and was his subordinate, the two were great friends. Oliver however, was the only one who was willing to compromise on core beliefs for the sake of preserving the other person’s honor. When they disagreed, it was not Roland who stepped down to try and resolve the situation – it was Oliver.

One of the most crucial conflicts in the story (aside from Ganelon’s betrayal of France and the tension he had with Roland) was the conflict between Roland and Oliver. At the sound of the blast of a thousand trumpets, the rear-guard knew that the Muslims were coming with forces much larger than their mere 20,000 soldiers. Defeat was imminent. Both Oliver and Roland knew this. However, the two men responded differently.

Oliver entreated Roland to blow the trumpet to call Charlemagne to come assist them in the battle. However, Roland thought this would be a cowardly move and said that he would rather be thought of as a great and brave man than as a military victor. Of course, in saying this, he sets himself up to be a martyr of the Christian faith, instead of doing what his job was: conquering!


Contrary to the readers’ expectations, the 20,000 French soldiers were able to completely obliterate the 100,000 Muslim forces! It would appear that Roland was right; the military victory did come, after all, and they would be loved by Charlemagne and viewed as brave men.

Then, unexpected by the French, there was another blast from afar – the blowing of seven thousand trumpets, which belonged to Muslim forces numbering 300,000! If the French and Oliver hesitated to fight 100,000 with 20,000, then no doubt they would be completely struck with fear at the multiplication of those forces, in fresh and ready condition! Again Oliver entreats Roland. “Dude, fine, we killed the 100,000 with little damage to ourselves. But here comes three times that, and our army is tired. We really should call the King and his troops before we are completely destroyed.”

Against all reason, Roland refuses yet again to call the king. Oliver gives in again and joins his comrade in the fighting. But the French take a large blow this time around, until eventually they only have 60 men left, to fight against Muslim forces far more numerous than them, in the thousands. What happens?

All of a sudden, there is a role reversal. Roland decides that they may as well blow the trumpet. He now admits that they and their remaining 60 men will die, and, for the sake of honor, he hopes that the King will arrive on the scene and avenge their deaths in the name of France and the Christian faith.

Oliver was aghast! They had fought this far without the king – and now Roland wished to blow the trumpet, after losing 19,940 men as a result of his desire for his family’s honor. Although Oliver had wanted to call the King before, he wanted no part in it now. He told Roland that the blame for the massacre belonged to Roland alone.

If they had called for backup before, when there were a few of them, it would have been reasonable. But at this point, they would surely be seen as cowardly. Such was Oliver’s position. Yet, although he was not willing to abandon his position, he wasn’t willing to abandon Roland either – so he chose to obey his commander.

Yet, although the battle ended in a crushing defeat of the rear-guard’s 20,000 forces, Roland believed that the gain was greater than the loss – that it would be worth it. Was it?

Makayla

(Sorry for the cryptic ending! 😛)

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The Immorality of the Decameron

The Black Plague struck Europe in the 17th century, and modern historians estimate that it wiped out nearly one third of Europe’s total population. There was no cure – the people were helpless to save themselves. And many of them cried out to God – but there was no salvation. The Plague continued to spread.

The culture lost its faith in God. They began to revive the worldviews and thinking of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, renewing principles of logic and reason, and throwing themselves to enjoy things of the physical world, for they knew they could die at any moment. They lost a sense of morality found in Scripture – they drifted from the religious devotion of the earlier medieval periods because they felt that God had abandoned them.

Using the system of thinking I have learnt to adopt in this course, the changes become more marked and easier to see.

#1 – Sovereignty – In earlier periods, the people would have looked to God as their sovereign, but now they were going through hard times and believed that God had abandoned them. Even though God still held a position of sovereignty over them, they chose to ignore Him. The people didn’t realize that hard times may also come after choosing to follow God, as a test of faith.

#2 – Authority – As a result of the above points, the people switched from relying on both the Church and the State, to simply relying on the State.

#3 – Law – In spite of the fact that the laws of the land still existed and the State was in control, many officials were incapable of enforcing said laws, because of the great sickness and confusion. Moral law, however, was a different story – there was NO control, because the Church had lost its power in the eyes of the people. Since the people had decided that they didn’t want God to be their sovereign, they simply decided not to follow his moral laws. This led to an extreme moral deterioration in which adultery, murder, and theft abounded, and was often even glorified through the literature.

To quote “The Decameron” … “whereby every man was free to do what was right in his own eyes.”

To quote the Bible … “every man did what was right in his own eyes.”

The Israelites also fell prey to this mindset, yet God did not give up on them. The Europeans should have learned their lesson from the Israelites.

#4 – Sanctions – No one was getting punished for disobeying the moral laws that the nations had once held to, because there was no longer any punishment for disobedience of those moral laws. (Reason #1 – Moral decline. Reason #2 – Most potential enforcers of correct moral sanctions were unable to actually enforce them.) New sanctions were being presented, such as: If one should choose to commit adultery, let him – he may die soon anyway.

#5 – Inheritance – When faced with the bleak prospect of imminent death by an incurable virus, people lost heart. According to them, the end was near. They had no desire to work towards the future, because they had lost hope in the future. This resulted in many people living “for the moment”, doing whatever they wanted, regardless of the consequences. This calls to mind the age-old phrase, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we may die.”


Boccaccio invoked the name of God in order to hide what he was really dishing out, which was smut literature, for the purpose of the satisfaction of sexual desires. I will not be reading the more unsavory parts of the Decameron, but the mere fact that in one chapter God’s name is called upon, and then in the next a sexual scene is described, impresses upon me that perhaps Boccaccio was not himself a man of moral uprightness and perfect character.

In general, the Decameron emphasized that religion required reason and sincere faith. According to the book, actions didn’t matter, as seen in the chapters in which impure conduct is described. Yet biblically, deeds displayed true faith. Moral uprightness shows the world that we believers truly are different and have a different spirit inside of us.

We even have this problem today. People believe that as long as they have faith in God, say that He is the lord of their lives, and accept the fact that Christ will forever be the only perfect man, they can do whatever they want. They say that actions don’t much matter to their faith – that, as long as they are sincere in merely their thoughts, they are “all good” under heaven. This is certainly not the case – but people didn’t get it in the 1700s, and they still don’t get it today.

Sadly, even contemporary literature displays this theme – a book may refer to God, in passing, but yet the characters themselves may act just like the world, with debauchery and impure swearing – in other words, like non-Christians. One example is the popular and exciting ‘Divergent’ series – yes, full of adventure, and it does throw a few bones to a supreme deity – yet full of moral decay to the foundations.

“People can’t read your thoughts to see if you have a truly sincere faith. A truly sincere faith is shown by the deeds and actions of the believer.”

Makayla

Was Boccaccio Better Suited as a Historian or a Story-teller?

I don’t particularly enjoy the study of medieval literature, but there are elements I prefer. I enjoy reading parts with suspense, mystery, and adventure, and I get frustrated with foolish characters or predictable plots. Medieval literature in general, seems to me to be low-quality. Theological documents may not have poor writing, but I also tend to disagree with a lot of Catholic opinions.

Giovani Boccaccio wrote the Decameron, a collection of 100 stories within one overall story. The book opens with an introduction to the Black Plague, the content of the first chapter. In fact, this section is one of the most important source documents for the history of the Black Plague. Bocaccio described the plague in chillingly real terms – the death and isolation caused waves of change that would ripple on for years. In his writing, Boccaccio is passionate, descriptive, and specific. As a historical document, it is anything but boring to read.

The second part of the book contains stories that Boccaccio made up or copied down. Boccaccio’s plot involved ten young people telling a story each for two days. The stories that the characters told were honestly, not interesting to me at all. Some could have been made into a thrilling novel, but Boccaccio obviously did not have that talent of grabbing the reader’s attention when making up stories. Sticking to dramatizing history would have been a better pursuit for him.

However, in his stories, Boccaccio was continually seeking to emphasize one point – that the church was insufficient, incompetent, and hypocritical. I think that, to him, getting his point across was more important than trying to make his writing good, lovely, pure, cohesive, interesting, thought-provoking, and deep. He focused more on the concepts of chance and fortune, airy-fairy plots, unrealistic choices, and, in general, he did not spend long enough on the individual events of a story or dramatize them at all.

In conclusion, I believe that Boccaccio wrote in a clearer, more interesting, and more dramatic fashion when he wrote on actual events.

Makayla

Medieval Literature as Lifestyle Advice

When we think of a typical Christian life, we might think of someone who has devoted their life to loving Christ through obeying and trusting in Him and serving others. But practically, getting down to the minute level, what’s the Christian decision when faced with chores, or friendships? In these cases, where there is less scriptural perogative, we must rely on Biblical principles to guide us. Everyday life is full of pot-holes to any believer, but we don’t have to be afraid of them.

Two documents of the medieval period, “Song of Roland” and “The Little Flowers of St Francis”, attempted to show moral decisions in the everyday lives of extraordinary people. But what about us ordinary people? What can we learn from these examples? Some of us will never be faced with the problems that the characters were faced with, but we certainly have other problems! What do we do?

Song of Roland

The conflict between Oliver and Roland is one of the crucial points in the narrative. Yet, the way that the characters deal with the conflict is rather unsatisfying at best, and simply stupid at worst. If an idea is wrong, and you tell a friend, and you’re right, they should listen. But if they don’t listen, and it still results in a positive outcome, does that make their decision any less undesirable? Oliver was right and Roland was wrong, yet the latter wouldn’t budge, and did whatever he felt would save their honor, and that of his own family.

As far as ethical decisions go, I’m sure that it is plain to see that Ganelon’s betrayal was wrong. His punishment? Getting pulled apart by horses.

How can we, in this modern world, use this as an example as to how we should deal with betrayal today? The practice of pulling people apart by horses (dismemberment) was NOT biblical at ALL. If one of OUR friends betray us, should we follow Charlemagne’s example by tying their limbs to horses and tearing them apart? (To enlighten you; this is a rhetorical question.) So as you can see, not all principles (and in my opinion, hardly any!) constitute as moral enough to emulate in our everyday lives. However, the principles of love, loyalty, bravery, grief, and righteous judgement are all absolutely biblical gems to take away from this book, if you should read it.

Little Flowers

The earliest chapters of the book details St Francis’ rise (or perhaps I should say descent) to holy poverty. Many men join him and become his followers, his “brethren”. There are additional sections dedicated to the actions of St Francis himself, Brother Bernard, Brother Juniper, Brother Giles, and select other of the brethren. The chapters in the latter part of the book are more focused on ethics and guidance in heavenly matters than on detailed stories of the lives of those belonging to the order.

One trouble with the ethical advice given by Brother Giles in the final chapters of the book is that they seem to contradict at key points. He stresses the major importance of not working for salvation, not even bothering to work at ALL – then says we must be diligent. (Diligent in what? Being lazy?!) He says that chastity is the most important virtue – then redefines chastity as charity! (Which is absolutely incorrect.) The strict principles of the monastic and Fransiscan orders are anything but biblical.

Biblically, a man should be free to “eat and drink, and find satisfaction in his work.” He should be allowed to marry a good wife, “for her measure is far above rubies”. He could have cattle and sheep, and land, and children “as numerous as the stars”. He could be a great leader, and still be “a man after God’s own heart.” Yet, all these principles go against Franciscan tradition. Which begs the question – were the friars substituting God’s system with their own tradition?

These two books don’t satisfy a longing for truth. Neither of these books show us how to live, or even if we will go to heaven if we copy the characters in the stories. Yes, both contain concepts such as the sovereignty of God, tight systems of institutional hierarchy, obedience as crucial to success. Yet, although there were rules galore littering the chapters of these books, neither book dealt with or explained the true Law – the Law of their own God!

Makayla

“The Little Flowers” and Eternity

As far as I have currently read in “The Little Flowers of St Francis”, I have noticed that penance, prayer, and obedience to the brethren in poverty, have taken precedence over the study of the Bible. A common man of the time would have viewed the Franciscan order as the most holy group of men, and would try to emulate their behavior as well as he could, and hope for the best (namely, to get into heaven) with as little time spent in purgatory as possible. The stories in the “Little Flowers” emphasize the concepts of heaven, hell, and lastly, purgatory, which concept is totally unbiblical and belongs solely to the Catholic church and her supporters.

Not even the friars themselves were certain of their salvation. It appeared that one could gain salvation through many paths ….

1. by the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus,

2. by the stigmata (five wounds of the Passion of Christ) that were on St Francis’ body,

3. by giving up all earthly things and desending into the deepest poverty, praying often, and afflicting yourself with fasting in order that you could “atone” for your own sins, and, in doing so, become more holy than others, and not have to spend so long in purgatory.

Thank you for reading!

The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi

English 145: “If you had been listening to these stories in 1300, what would you have concluded from them is the way to gain eternal life?”

“The Little Flowers of Saint Francis of Assisi” were written in order to share some of the notable works that St Francis performed during his time, and also included several stories of the other brethren in his convent. He was born into a wealthy family, and lived a normal life of the average rich young man, which included setting off to war. But that excursion was cut short when a vision sent him back to Assisi, where he began to feel convicted of his sins and, in order to do penance, he resolved to give up ownership of material things and to enter the line of work I like to term as “evangelistic begging”. He abandoned house and business in order that he might preach about God and spread the word about the life of poverty, and simply relied on the people of the towns he entered to give him sustenance.

His ministry grew to gigantic proportions – He founded the Orders of the Friars Minor, Third Order of St Francis, ands the Order of St Clare. At first, he only had twelve followers – but as he continued to spread the word about the glory of a life in poverty, many more people, often rich, joined the brotherhood. Women were directed to the women’s convent, under the order of St. Clare, one of St. Francis’ earlier converts.

In “The Little Flowers”, he and his disciples are quoted for many speeches and beliefs, most of which used the act of “penance” (which included fasting, praying, wearing uncomfortable garments, etc), and the life of extreme poverty (living in a convent, but when out on the road, relying on the whims of the people for sustenance and shelter), as a ways to become the holiest of men. In the book, there was no concept of Christ’s sacrifice as paying for their sins – instead, the Friars Minor appeared to believe that merely by fasting, praying, discussing holy things, and living a self-abusive life in poverty, would eventually cause them to be regarded as saints and give them access to the Kingdom of heaven.

Many key stories do not discuss the issue of “repentance” – the only specific changes that converts made to their lifestyle was to enter the convent – a structure of man-made rules and traditions. Although the main rule of the Order of St Francis was “To follow the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and to walk in his footsteps,” they could not show those who did not wish to give up everything they had, how they could be saved. In the story of the town of Gubbio, the St. Francis established the Third Order of St Francis, a more relaxed order for those who still needed to dwell in one place, and attend business – but it is still not said how these people attained their salvation and there is no mention of Jesus. This concept of “salvation through Christ and Christ alone” is not mentioned in the book.

Reading through the stories, I noticed several recurring themes.

1. The Friars Minor were not to question or even wonder about why St Francis made certain decisions. In fact, the curious thoughts in their minds were considered to be thoughts put there by the devil! (This is a problem, because, if the friars could not understand how the St Fracis made his decisions, then how would they know how to make decisions in the future?)

2. The life of poverty was glorious, and made sinful men holy. (Scripturally speaking, the word “holy” is mistranslated. At it’s root, the Hebrew word actually means “set-apart”. Nowhere in scripture does it state that living a life of poverty would “make you holy” … in contrast, the only lifestyle that God said would “set his people apart from the nations (state reference)” was the lifestyle of following the Law of God. The Israelites lived very different lives from the nations around them and were “set apart”, because of the blessings of obeying the Law.)

3. St Francis , and his closest followers, such as Brothers Ruffino and Bernard, were holy men. St Francis closest followers were considered to be the most holy men since the apostles. (I confess, I have a hard time accepting that these men were equal, or even ‘close’, in holiness set-apartness when compared to the apostles. One fundamental difference between the apostles and the followers of St Francis, was their preaching. The apostles preached Jesus, God, Law, Salvation, Grace, and Love. The Friars Minor preached Penance, Abstinence, Tradition, Poverty, Sainthood, and Passivity.)

An issue resides in the rules of the convent. The Bible only says to avoid certain meats – however, the Fransiscans were not to eat ANY meat. The Bible said not to have a love of money – the Fransiscans abandoned money altogether. The Bible stated not to commit adultery or abominable sexual relations – the Fransiscans set up certain boundaries for biblical marriage itself, saying that those devoted to a husband or wife cannot be fully devoted to Christ and the Church.

The Fransiscan lifestyle may fit some people, but to say “obeying these rules makes you holy” is to side with the Pharisees of old. The traditions of the Friars mirrored the purpose of the trradition of the Phariesses – redefining holiness, in their eyes, a better definition. But holiness needs no new definition – the definition of “set-apartness” will always and forever involve being different from the the nations, in obedience to God’s commands.

Makayla

The Pharisees vs. the Apostles

The Pharisees were a religious sect within Judaism who believed in the deity of Yahovah and in the Torah (which is found in the first five books of the Bible) and the prophetic books. They also adhered to a strict set of laws that were not a part of the Mosaic law, referred to as the “Oral Law”, just for classification purposes. The term “oral law” is not found in the Bible, but it is the term believers use to refer to the strict customs and rituals that the Pharisees believed were essential to a righteous life.

Therein lies one difference between the apostles and the Pharisees: their respective adherence (or lack thereof!) to the Torah and/or the traditions of men. The Pharisees were Jews who did not believe in the salvation though Jesus. The apostles were Jews who did believe in salvation through Jesus! Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their traditions, not because traditions are bad, but because the religious leaders required others to keep them as well; thus, adding to the law.

“And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” Mark 7:9, NIV

“Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.” Deuteronomy 4:2, NIV

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Mathew 5:17-20, NIV

This brings me to my second point, which is regarding the deity of Jesus. When one makes the decision to live their life for Jesus, it is changed forever. Those changes include acknowledging Jesus as Savior and the only way to be saved from eternal death.

The changes also include a free personal decision to obey Him, as he desires us to obey Him. One of the ways we obey Him is by following the Law He commanded us to obey, but remembering not to add to or take away from those Words of the Law (Mathew 5.)


One of the main differences between this essay and the one on Yeshua and Pharisees, is that Yeshua claimed to be the Messiah, but he claimed it quietly. As far as we can read in the gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John, Yeshua wanted with everything in Him to share His message, but only with those who would receive it.

“He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. Mathew 10:40, NKJV

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Mathew 11:15, NKJV

However, not only did the disciples and apostles believe in the deity of Yeshua, they preached it! Repeatedly! To everyone! Although Yeshua was a public figure in His time, his apostles were 12 times the punch with a lot more disclosure.

“being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.” Acts 4:2, NKJV

Conclusion…

The first point of argument between Yeshua and the Pharisees was the law; whether to add to and take away from it, or to obey it as it was commanded in the Bible. Yeshua’s opinion was the right opinion.

The second point of argument between Yeshua and the Pharisees was the deity of Yeshua. Yeshua said He was the Son of God, and the Pharisees said it was untrue and that Yeshua was a heretic. The Pharisees were wrong and Yeshua was right.

Modern Christians will tell you that all you need to do to be in right standing with God is to have faith in Jesus. They may tell you that you don’t need to even try to obey the Law, since you couldn’t do it perfectly anyway, and they may tell you “grace paid it all.” I tell you – show me where it says that “grace” is an offering you can hand back to God as a thank-you-note for saving you, instead of repenting and turning from the sin in your life that made Christ have to die in the first place.

My point is, you cannot have faith in Yeshua and say that you love Him without showing Him that you love him. In the end times, it won’t matter how many times you’ve taken advantage of the “free gift of grace”, but how you choose to act in accordance with the terms of the covenant. You need faith – and you need obedience too.

“And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelations 12:17, NKJV

Thanks for reading!

Makayla

Yeshua vs. The Pharisees

“According to Mark’s gospel, what was main issue dividing Jesus (Yeshua) from the scribes and the Pharisees?”

Yeshua, the man from Nazareth, was constantly butting heads with the Pharisees. They were continually trying to catch him in wrongdoing. Why? Because he challenged them and their traditions, pointed out their sin and inconsistencies in front of their people, and told them things they didn’t want to hear.

The position of the Pharisees in old Hebrew life was felt immensely in the culture at that time. The Pharisees asserted that when God gave the law to Moses at Sinai, he also gave an Oral Law, which was not written down but was instead repeated through generations in order to be kept by all Jews.

(There is no evidence of such an Oral law in Scripture. The Oral Law was, in actuality, made up by the Pharisees as a sort of “fence” in order to keep the Israelites far away from disobeying one of God’s commands.)

To illustrate the effect of the Oral Law in Ancient Jewish life, consider this command from the written Law, as given to Moses …

“The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.” Exodus 23:19, NKJV (emphasis and underlines mine.)

Boiling a goat in its mother’s milk was a tradition practiced by the pagans in their fertility festivals. The fertility festivals were the pagan equivalent of the Hebrew FESTIVAL OF FIRSTFRUITS (To reference the festivals, see Leviticus 23.) Yahweh commanded the Israelites not to do so because He did not want to be worshipped with pagan rituals.

“When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, 30 take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ 31 You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.”

Deuteronomy 12:29-31, NKJV

The Oral Law dictates that, not only must we not boil a goat in its mother’s milk, we may not have ANY kind of meat with ANY dairy product during one meal, or mixed in one dish. Now, logically, if you follow this Oral Law to the letter you will avoid breaking God’s law, which only says not to boil a goat in its mother’s milk. But not only is the Oral law not commanded by God, it is a direct violation of a command God gave His people …

“You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”

Deuteronomy 4:2, NKJV (Emphasis mine)

By creating an Oral Law which was pushed forward as “mandatory”, the Pharisees were actually detracting from the importance of the actual Law of God and making it more difficult to understand and obey. Think of what confusion we have today, (which is the goal of this essay to clear up,) as a result!

The Pharisees forsook the commandments of God for the sake of their own traditions. Yeshua obeyed God’s Law and forsook the traditions of the elders.

Why would we think that Yeshua and the Pharisees could reconcile when, in fact, they stood on opposite sides? See the below verses for an illustration of the Pharisees’ philosophy described, as opposed to Jesus’ philosophy described.

Pharisees

  • For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men — the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” Mark 7:8, NKJV
  • “He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your own tradition?” Mathew 15:3

Both verses illustrate how detrimental it was that the Pharisees kept their own traditions … holding them to be on the same level as God’s Laws.

Yeshua

  • “But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.” John 14:31, NKJV

Yeshua obeys his Father’s commands, not only because it is right to do so, but because He loves the Father. Oh, and this is how He shows the whole world that he loves the Father!

  • “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.” John 14:11, NKJV
  • “Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” John 7:16, NKJV
  • John 5:19, John 12:49

Conclusion

The main issue dividing Yeshua from the Pharisees was that The Pharisees had strayed from the Law to their traditions. Yeshua believed in His Father’s Law, not LawPlus.

Thanks for reading!

Makayla

Miracles in Yeshua’s Ministry

Yeshua of Nazareth performed amazing miracles … these miracles were life-giving to thousands of people, yet sometimes we don’t look further to see the significance of what he did. Like even the disciples, we miss the meanings in the parables and miracles, and it is an honor and privilege to look closer – see WHY Yeshua did what he did.

The miracles were not only to help people. They were His divine authority over everything on earth.

The first miracles (as seen in the book of Mark) that Yeshua performed were healing the sick and casting out demons. He showed the powers of darkness that He, the light of the world, had come and was in authority over them. Interestingly, he did not want to be immediately known as the Son of God. He stopped people from hearing, and he spoke to them in parables, saying “he who has ears to hear, let them hear.” He wanted his message of salvation to be heard and understood by those who WANTED it – those who knew they were sinners and wanted to be made righteous and whole – those who would diligently study His Words. His disciples did not begin this way; they often asked Yeshua for clarification.

The miracle of healing a paralyzed man

One sabbath day in Capernaum, (Matthew 9:1-8,Mark 2:1-12, and Luke 5:17-26 NKJV,) a paralyzed man was let down through the roof of the house where Yeshua was staying for Him to heal. There were Pharisees present. (The pharisees were experts in the law of God. However, they added their own laws, known as ‘fence’ laws, that would ensure that none of the Israelites would even come close to disobeying a law. However, in doing so they missed the meaning of the simple laws given at Mount Sinai, and worse, established themselves as lawbreakers. (See Deuteronomy 4:2))

Yeshua forgave the man’s sins, and the Pharisees had a big issue with that. They didn’t think he could forgive sins because they didn’t believe He was God. But in order that he might test their hardened hearts and offer them the opportunity to see and understand, Yeshua showed them – he miraculously healed the paralyzed man with divine power.

(Something interesting we might take note of was that immediately before displaying his power and authority in such an amazing way, Yeshua extinguished the Pharisees authority in one fell swoop – he told the man to take up his mat. That may seem like no big deal to us, but the Jews back then understood that it was against the Oral Law to carry something, like a mat, on the sabbath. Because the Oral Law was distracting the Jews from focusing on the actual law and the spirit of the law, and because the Pharisees asserted that their personal fence laws were necessary for everyone, (thereby adding to the law of God), it is important to understand that Yeshua was breaking down the Pharisees’ traditions; he was not breaking down the Law of God.)

Casting out demons

Yeshua silenced the demons he cast out because they knew He was the son of God (Mark 1:34.) At first, he wanted to keep it a secret. We can’t know for sure why, but we can make guesses based on why he refuses to do things in other cases. Sometimes because it was against the Law of God, (refer to the passage concerning Jesus’ tempting in Luke 4,) and sometimes, as he said, “His hour had not yet come.” (John 2:4 and John 7:6.)

Yeshua cast out demons with authority. (Examples of Yeshua casting out demons: Mark 1:21-28; 5:1-20; 7:24-30; 9:14-29) Yeshua was once approached by a Samaritan woman. (Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30 NKJV) She begged Him to heal her daughter. Mathew says that Yeshua was silent. The disciples then asked Yeshua to send her away! Yeshua replied, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (By ‘lost sheep’, he meant the Israelites that were scattered in the exiles of the Old Testament.) The woman knew she was not a lost sheep. She was a Samaritan. But she responded, “Yes master. But even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.”

Her response shows such a mind-blowing understanding of how God’s family works! She compared herself and her daughter to dogs in the master’s household. Dogs aren’t children, but they are still part of the household.

This was the point that the Samaritan woman was making. She told Yeshua, “But I am in your household! I know I’m a Samaritan, but I believe in You! Please accept me, even as a dog, and heal us with your mighty power.”

Yeshua then told her, ““O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.”

Then, Yeshua accepted her into His household. He gave her the crumbs. And her daughter was healed. All because of her great faith.

This miracle showed three things:

1. Yeshua had authority to cast out the demon.

2. The woman, although a Samaritan, demonstrated by her faith that she was worthy of acceptance into God’s kingdom.

3. Yeshua had come to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. But that did not mean that he would not honor the promises that God made to the foreigners

Proof of deity

Over the course of history, there have been many men who claimed to be messiahs, but we can easily understand that something that big should not be believed until it is proven to be true. So, the question would arise; how would people know for sure that Yeshua was the Messiah, other than that He said that he was?

The answer lies in the Prophetic books. Isaiah writes,

“The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them,
And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;
It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice,
Even with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
The excellence of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
The excellency of our God.

“Strengthen the weak hands,
And make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are fearful-hearted,
“Be strong, do not fear!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
With the recompense of God;
He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

Then the lame shall leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the dumb sing.
For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness,
And streams in the desert.

Isaiah 35:1-6, NJKV

I understand that this passage relates to the coming of the Messiah. Whether it refers to the first or second coming, I do not know, but we can see that “the glory of the Lord” will come and He will “save”. Isaiah said there would be miraculous reversals of sickness (see the sentences in bold.)

The eyes of the blind opened -> John 9
The ears of the deaf unstopped and the dumb singing ->
Mark 7:31-37 The lame leap like a deer ->   John 5:1-15, Acts 14:8-10 (a miracle of Paul through the power of Jesus Christ.)

“The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” – Mathew 11:5, NKJV

Conclusions

The miracles that Jesus performed were not merely to heal the sick – they also illustrated His authority over creation, power over darkness, and the proof that he was the Salvation of God.

Yeshua knew he and his teachings would not be accepted by the Pharisees and Sadducees, because they held to unnecessary traditions instead of merely keeping the Law of God that Yeshua preached.

Thanks for reading!

Makayla

Source -> https://jewsforjesus.org/jewish-resources/messianic-prophecy/the-messiah-would-perform-signs-of-healing

A senator’s speech

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Cicero was an ancient cultivator of rhetoric in Ancient Rome. He was an active master of rhetoric within the years 106 BC and 43 BC, when he was assassinated. In approx. 63 BC, Cicero gave a speech in the Senate, in order to try to persuade a man named Catiline to leave the city of Rome. Catiline was a senator who was supposedly a power-monger and a traitorous threat to Rome.

The speech is a brilliant example of persuasion and a great example of how although Cicero could not say for sure what he did, he was seriously good at persuasive speaking.

The first and biggest problem that appears when studying the text is that Cicero gives NO evidence for any of his implied (and serious) accusations. He accuses Catiline of treason; killing his wife; causing all crime in the city; ill character; and never gives a shred of evidence.

If the speech had not been given in the Senate but in a court trial, then Catiline could easily have refuted all these accusations based upon lack of evidence. But because Cicero’s speech was not presented within the confines of a judicial system, he did not have to present evidence. He merely had to use his strong powers of persuasion in order to influence and convince the Senate that Catiline was the scumbag that Cicero said he was.

He portrayed himself as having been a victim of Catiline’s crimes, and assured the Senate that he had been patient and restrained in dealing with the wayward Catiline. He implied that he himself held purely honorable intentions.

He brought to mind measuring rods to help his case that were of sentimental value to the Senate – the gods, the Republic, and Roman tradition. In doing so he was “getting inside their heads” to subconsciously and emotionally influence them to his line of thinking by identifying with them.

Conclusion

The speech was not based upon convincing Catiline to leave by using logic. He used persuasion and emotional rhetoric. (This is similar to a sect of ancient philosophers who practiced persuasion and manipulated reason to the point where they could logically prove something, even if it wasn’t actually true.) Cicero proved nothing, yet he accomplished his goal – he got Catiline to leave.

There was really nothing Catiline could have said to protect himself– not because of a lack of things to say, but because Catiline was unable to interrupt him. It was a speech presented to the Senate, not a legal proceeding. At that point, Catiline would have been embarrassed and publicly shamed. To rebuild whatever reputation he had left would take eons. In defeat, he gave in and left, and I don’t blame him. If you are not affluent in rhetoric, you simply cannot beat the master.

~Makayla