The Old Testament 

Richard Dawkins Thomas Paine
The Unchanging God Marcion
Issues Apion
A Different Perspective

Nikolai Ge, Christ in the Synagogue

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins is one of the 'new atheist' authors who came to public prominence in the years after 9/11. (These authors are unable to differentiate Christians from Muslims or any other; 'religious people' is as fine-grained a distinction as they can make.) This tribe of author is reminiscent of the old fire-breathers like Father Coughlin and David Duke; they hate a particular class of their fellow travellers on spaceship Earth. Though Christians are the primary target against whom they agitate, they take an occasional swipe against the God of the Old Testament:

  • “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
  • (The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins,
    p. 51).

Richard Dawkins prosecutes his case against God by adducing Abraham's binding of Isaac. God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son, his beloved son, his miracle son. At the last moment the angel of God stays Abraham's hand, having made the wondrous provision of giving the Ram, a fore-runner for God's own Son:

"Such unpleasant episodes in Abraham's story are mere peccadilloes compared with the infamous tale of the sacrificing of his son Isaac. . .God ordered Abraham to make a burnt offering of his longed-for son. Abraham built an altar, put firewood upon it, and trussed Isaac up on top of the wood. His murdering knife was already in his hand when an angel dramatically intervened with the news of a last-minute change of plan: God was only joking after all, 'tempting' Abraham, and testing his faith." (Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, pp. 274-275).

God was not 'joking' at all, He was in deadly earnest; what He meant was Calvary,


Mount Moriah Problems
Mount Calvary Only Begotten
Jewish Tradition Detractors

Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine, who produced the pamphlet 'Common Sense' which assisted the American Revolution, was a Deist not an atheist, yet in his hostility to revealed religion he was second to none. His contempt for the Jews was exceeded only by his contempt for the Christians:

  • “Could we permit ourselves to suppose that the Almighty would distinguish any nation of people by the name of his chosen people, we must suppose that people to have been an example to all the rest of the world of the purest piety and humanity, and not such a nation of ruffians and cut-throats as the ancient Jews were,— a people who, corrupted by and copying after such monsters and imposters as Moses and Aaron, Joshua, Samuel, and David, had distinguished themselves above all others on the face of the known earth for barbarity and wickedness. If we will not stubbornly shut our eyes and steel our hearts it is impossible not to see, in spite of all that long-established superstition imposes upon the mind, that the flattering appellation of his chosen people is no other than a LIE which the priests and leaders of the Jews had invented to cover the baseness of their own characters; and which Christian priests sometimes as corrupt, and often as cruel, have professed to believe.”
  • (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, Volume II, Chapter I - The Old Testament).

This author becomes downright tiresome in his railing against the Jews, making accusations which simply cannot be defended. He quotes the prayer of Agur, then pronounces,

"This has not any of the marks of being a Jewish prayer, for the Jews never prayed but when they were in trouble, and never for anything but victory, vengeance, or riches." (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, Part II, Chapter I - The Old Testament).

The confluence of the movement here discussed and European anti-semitism is apparent. It was Nietzsche's old misery, that these people hated the Jews and ascribed all manner of moral failings to this group, then went into church, and were depressed to hear that God became incarnate as a Jew! Are Paine's accusations against the living God of crimes against humanity justified?:

The Bible
Human Initiative
Ancient Historians
The Problem of Evil
Child Sacrifice Today
Last Stand
Binding of Isaac
Infidels' Indictment

Joshua at the Walls of Jericho

This paradigm, that contrasts a brutal and vengeful Old Testament God with the merciful God presented in the New Testament, has continued to be popular with modern 'liberals,' who apply their favored concept of 'evolution' to this purported development:

“Well indeed has an eminent divine of the Church of England in our own time called on Christians to rejoice over this evolution, “between the God of Samuel, who ordered infants to be slaughtered, and the God of the Psalmist, whose tender mercies are over all his works; between the God of the Patriarchs, who was always repenting, and the God of the Apostles, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, with whom there is no variableness nor shadow of turning, between the God of the Old Testament, who walked in the garden in the cool of the day, and the God of the New Testament, whom no man hath seen nor can see; between the God of Leviticus, who was so particular about the sacrificial furniture and utensils, and the God of the Acts, who dwelleth not in temples made with hands; between the God who hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and the God who will have all men to be saved; between the God of Exodus, who is merciful only to those who love him, and the God of Christ — the heavenly Father — who is kind unto the unthankful and the evil.” (Andrew D. White, A History of the Warfare of Science and Theology, pp. 313-314).

Of course, the God of the New Testament also proposes to judge, after a while, perhaps to the surprise of some.


The Unchanging God

The enemies of the gospel can't make up their minds whether they hate the God of the Old Testament for being hateful and vengeful. . .or whether they hate Christians for believing (falsely) that the God of the Old Testament is hateful and vengeful!:

"The foundational Christian slander against the Jews is that the 'God of the Old Testament' is the heartless God of the Law, of revenge, of punishment, while the 'God of the New Testament' is the God of love, mercy, and forgiveness." (James Carroll, Constantine's Sword, pp. 117-118).

But, of course, Christians do not so believe. One point which cannot be contested is that God never changes; He is the same, from one Testament to another:

“'For I am the LORD, I do not change;
Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
Yet from the days of your fathers
You have gone away from My ordinances
And have not kept them.
Return to Me, and I will return to you,'
Says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:6-7).

God has ever been a God of loving-kindness, and also a God of judgment; He has never wavered or changed in character. "In the inspired writings the term hesed ['loving-kindness'] occurs mostly in the sense of showing kindness to those who have no claim to it whatever. For this reason the term hesed is employed to express the good bestowed upon us by God: 'I will mention the loving-kindness of the Lord' (Isa. lxiii. 7)." (Moses Maimonides, The Guide for the Perplexed, p. 453). The most transparent and complete revelation of His love for His children is in the cross, but that love has been there from the beginning:

Moreover, the God of the New Testament will also ultimately come in judgment:

"Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen." (Revelation 1:7).


The second century heresiarch Marcion represents one logical development of this tendency. Like the above-quoted worthies, Marcion despised the God of the Old Testament; he thought Him cruel and vindictive.

  • “Marcion explained the Old Testament in its literal sense and rejected every allegorical interpretation. He recognized it as the revelation of the creator of the world and the god of the Jews, but placed it, just on that account, in sharpest contrast to the Gospel. He demonstrated the contradictions between the Old Testament and the Gospel in a voluminous work (the αντιθεσεις)  In the god of the former book he saw a being whose character was stern justice, and therefore anger, contentiousness and unmercifulness. The law which rules nature and man appeared to him to accord with the characteristics of this god and the kind of law revealed by him, and therefore it seemed credible to him that this god is the creator and lord of the world (κοσμοκρατωρ). As the law which governs the world is inflexible, and yet, on the other hand, full of contradictions, just and again brutal, and as the law of the Old Testament exhibits the same features, so the god of creation was to Marcion a being who united in himself the whole gradations of attributes from justice to malevolence, from obstinacy to inconsistency.”
  • (Adolf von Harnack, History of Dogma, Volume 1, Chapter V, Marcion's Attempt to Set Aside the Old Testament Foundation of Christianity, to Purify Tradition and to Reform Christendom on the Basis of the Pauline Gospel, pp. 325-326).

Marcion's 'insight' is not compatible with the New Testament as written. Jesus, for example, sitting in the temple at Jerusalem, explained to His mother why He had not left with them:

“His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. 48So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”

“And He said to them, 'Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?' But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.” (Luke 2:41-50).

To whom was the temple at Jerusalem consecrated? To none but the Creator God, the God of the Old Testament. So how can He have been sent by a hitherto unknown, alien god, when He understands this temple to be the place of His Father's business?

The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple, William Holman Hunt
The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple, William Holman Hunt

There are so many difficulties of this kind standing in Marcion's path that he was obliged to go through Luke's gospel, expunging all the material that identified the living God as the Creator God, or even anything that indicated that Jesus was Jewish! Even his own preferred authorities, Luke and Paul, are not on his side:

"But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets." (Acts 24:14).

The Five Books
Against Marcion

One problem that springs to the reader's attention is that now, after Marcion's innovations, we have an excessive and unlawful number of gods. Count 'em on your fingers or on your toes, there are now: 1.) a Creator God, revealed in the Old Testament, malevolent and revengeful; and 2.) a benign God, loving and merciful, revealed in the New Testament. Modern authorities like Elaine Pagels cannot even imagine why anyone would kick up a fuss about how many gods there are, but back in the day this was an issue around which some folks held strong opinions:

“Jesus answered him, 'The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

“So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, £with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

“Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, 'You are not far from the kingdom of God.'” (Mark 12:29-34).

The spirit of Marcion is not dead yet; there are still to this day people who want to revive the paradigm of a non-Jewish Jesus. Among admirers was enrolled Adolf von Harnack, quoted above, who studied Marcion not in the spirit of the heresy-hunters of old, who studied Marcion only to show him the door, but in admiration of a man whose time had come:

"To reject the Old Testament in the second century was an error the Church rightly resisted; to maintain it in the sixteenth century was a destiny the Reformation could not yet escape; but still to preserve it in the nineteenth century as one of the canonical documents of Protestantism is the result of religious and ecclesiastical paralysis." (Adolf von Harnack, Marcion, quoted p. 211, Philip Jenkins, The Great and Holy War).

'Liberal' German scholarship had been building to this conclusion for many years, ultimately leading to the flat-out denial that Jesus was a Jew, and the Nazified 'German Church.' People should not assume that 'liberalism' arises from an unprejudiced search for truth; these people wanted a German Jesus, and did what it took to get one; their modern descendants want an East Village Jesus, and do what it takes to arrive at their desideratum. This tendency is not dead yet. Some people point out that Galilee, while a part of the kingdom of David and Solomon, had become separated and was forcibly re-attached to Judaea only during the period of the Hasmoneans. They claim that, in spite of the reconversion of its inhabitants, they remained more Greek than Jewish:

"Hellenistic influence has been downplayed by scholars in the interest of buttressing the picture of Jesus appearing in the midst of a thoroughly Jewish culture. Unfortunately for this view, archaeological evidence of hellenization in Galilee continues to increase." (Burton Mack, The Lost Gospel, The Book of Q and Christian Origins, p. 57).

Of course, as was the case with Marcion, they can only impose this portrait of Jesus by expunging material from the gospels on a wholesale basis, which they are fully prepared to do, claiming these are later 'layers' deposited upon their original 'Cynic Sage' Jesus:

Tertullian got a great deal of merriment out of mocking Marcion, because his own gospel reported Jesus' presence in synagogues, and what kind of people are likely to congregate in synagogues, if not Jews? Marcion, alas, lived too early to understand the technology; it's all in 'layers.' That way, whatever you dislike can be made into a later addition. Basically, he's saying that Mark made up the synagogue sightings:

"Naturally, Mark had to recast everything. . .The conflict with the scribes and Pharisees required a narrative setting and so would take place, according to Mark, in synagogues." (Burton Mack, The Lost Gospel, The Book of Q and Christian Origins, p. 179).

Marcion, unfortunately, was not a lone ranger. The early church saw an entire movement based on this anti-semitic and anti-monotheistic perspective, called gnosticism. In this version of 'Christianity,' the Christians do not worship and adore, but rather scorn, the God of the Jews. According to Saturnilus, one teacher of this tendency, Jesus came to overthrow the Jewish God's dominion:

"And he says that the God of the Jews is one of the angels, and, on account of the Father’s wishing to deprive of sovereignty all the Archons, that Christ came for the overthrow of the God of the Jews, and for the salvation of those that believe upon Him; and that these have in them the scintillation of life." (Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies, Book 7, Chapter 16, The System of Saturnilus).

This system underwent a revival in the south of France during the dark ages, in the religion of the Cathars. In a twist of fate stranger than any fiction, their viewpoint was taken up by Jews in the region who naturalized these originally anti-Judaic ideas and imported them into Judaism. The hybrid product they created, the Kabbalah, is now very nearly mainstream Judaism.

Christianity rejected these ideas at their birth, but to this day the 'Jesus' publishing industry strives to bring about a revival of gnosticism, as unlovely and unwanted a man-made religious production as ever was:

The spirit of Marcion is not extinct even to this day. In the nineteenth century, the hatchet job the 'higher critics' did on the Old Testament, which came to be understood as a polytheistic paean to Yahweh's triumph over the Chaos Monster, was developed in part to make the New Testament seem by contrast an oasis of calm and rationality. How Jesus' positive attitude to the Hebrew scriptures fits into this portrayal, they did not explain.

More recently, British Bible scholar Margaret Barker has attracted a following with her 'Temple Theology,' which teaches that the kings of Israel sat enthroned as God in the Holy of Holies of the First Temple, but that this embarrassing fact has been expunged from the text of the Old Testament by the villainous 'Deuteronomist.' She is not in any way hostile to the religion of ancient Israel as she understands it, however she believes the Old Testament as it now stands is an elaborate cover-up. She considers herself a Christian, though she is not a monotheist. She urges Christians to strip away the layers of falsification in the Old Testament: "The importance of this for Christians is the fact that the roots of Christianity are in the first temple traditions, and so we have to try to recover what lies beneath the reworked materials." (Margaret Barker, Temple Theology: An Introduction, p. 36).



In both testaments, redemption is in the blood, a concept that causes a great deal of distress nowadays:

Washed from our Sins Passover Lamb
Purchase Price Without Shedding of Blood
Cur Deus Homo Haemophobia
Abel's Sacrifice One Sin One Time
God's Wrath Paganism

  • And Abraham said, my son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering,.... In which answer Abraham may have respect to the Messiah, the Lamb of God, John 1:29, whom he had provided in council and covenant before the world was; and who in promise, and type, and figure, was slain from the foundation of the world, Revelation 13:8; and whom in due time God would send into the world, John 10:36, and make him an offering for sin, Isaiah 53:10, and accept of him in the room and stead of his people: and this was a provision that could only be made by the Lord, and was the produce of his infinite wisdom, and the fruit of his grace, favor, and good will and of which Abraham had a clear sight and strong persuasion, see John 8:56. . .”
  • (John Gill, Commentary on Genesis 22:8).

Critics of Christianity of the Richard Dawkins caliber insist that, if Christians really believed the Bible, they would refrain from eating lobster and wearing garments of different fabric. Is this true?:

Eating Lobster Moral Law
Ceremonial Law Universal Law
Sabbath Keeping The Talmud
Law of Love Kiss the Son

There is nothing wrong with the law, there is something wrong with us. Moses' law was not self-activating or self-enforcing. Moses taught the people what was wrong, and awakened in them a sense of sin, but without conferring the ability to observe righteousness, leading to a frustrating stasis. Thus the law is doomed to futility in that it only condemns, it cannot justify. The law is spiritual and can only be observed adequately with a willing heart. The Holy Spirit corrects this cardiac insufficiency:

"To say it again: the problem was not with God's Law. The problem was with us, sinful human beings. The Law itself was perfect, but we were not — far from it!— and so what was intended to bring life became the ministry of death and condemnation. Why? Because it was not written on our hearts but rather on tablets of stone (2 Cor. 3:3-7)." (Michael Brown, Hyper-Grace, Kindle location 178).

Some aspects of the law foretold the coming of the Messiah; these have been fulfilled. These are aspects of the ceremonial law, such as the law of temple sacrifices. Modern-day Jews observe these injunctions no more than do Christians; their experts have, on their own authority, invented other means of atonement, not instituted by God. But Christians have not simply abandoned these Mosaic laws. They have seen, and believed, the reality to which they pointed:

"Third, a shadow disappears when the sunlight is directly overhead. When the true Light of [the] world came, He dispelled the shadows. Just as Christ fulfilled or will fulfill every word prophecy about Him, so He fulfilled every picture prophecy about Him. This is why the Old Testament symbols and types are no longer operative or appropriate: they are fulfilled prophecies. To continue using the types after Jesus came would compromise and make suspect His identify as the Christ of God. The cessation of the Old Testament types was confirmation of His identity and successful work." (Michael P. V. Barrett, Starting at Moses, Kindle location 4320).

The law's moral teaching remains instructive. Three great religions re-tell the Old Testament stories, Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Christians know who God means when He says, "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD." (Leviticus 19:18), because this matter was explained by Jesus in His story of the good Samaritan. However, some Jewish interpreters take an exclusivist tack, which irreligious critics like Richard Dawkins want to represent as original and authentic, which it is not:

"Jesus limited his in-group of the saved strictly to Jews, in which respect he was following the Old Testament tradition, which was all he knew. . .'Neighbor' means fellow Jew. Moses Maimonides, the highly respected twelfth-century rabbi and physician, expounds the full meaning of 'Thou shalt not kill' as follows: 'If one slays a single Israelite, he transgresses a negative commandment, for Scripture says, Thou shalt not murder. If one murders willfully in the presence of witnesses, he is put to death by the sword. Needless to say, one is not put to death if he kills a heathen.' Needless to say!" (Richard Dawkins, pp. 288-289).

This exclusivist tack is taken neither by the Old Testament nor by first century Jews such as Philo Judaeus, whose Judaism was universal and non-racial. Personified 'Nobility' cautions against trusting to racial heritage: "'Relationship is not measured by blood alone, where truth is the judge, but by a similarity of actions, and by a careful imitation of the conduct of your ancestors.'" (Philo Judaeus, On the Virtues, Chapter XXXVI (195).). Philo's Judaism welcomed converts, as some of the Talmudic rabbis did not:

"All those men therefore who, although they did not originally choose to honor the Creator and Father of the universe, have yet changed and done so afterwards, having learnt to prefer to honor a single monarch rather than a number of rulers, we must look upon as our friends and kinsmen, since they display that greatest of all bonds with which to cement friendship and kindred, namely, a pious and God-loving disposition, and we ought to sympathize in joy with and to congratulate them, since even if they were blind previously they have now received their sight, beholding the most brilliant of all lights instead of the most profound darkness." (Philo Judaeus, On the Virtues, Chapter XXXIII (179).)

Philo's 'Israel' was the congregation which had gathered around the living God; he would not have understood today's Jews, who think it is perfectly OK to be an atheist. . .but not a Christian! By the time of the Talmud one begins to see an exclusivist vein of interpretation, though the tendency evidently already existed in New Testament times, and at times provides a foil for Jesus' teaching. The Zealots, presumably, took the same particularist tack, although what is known of their viewpoint comes mainly from summary notices by an unsympathetic witness, Josephus. Possible reasons for the growth and spread of the narrower viewpoint include the experience of near-genocide undergone by the community in those days, which might naturally foster a xenophobic and inward-looking contraction:

Both testaments recount mighty works of God. These signs and wonder testify to God's authorship:

"For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?" (Hebrews 2:2-4).

Are the miracle records of the Bible a scandal sufficient to destroy that work's credibility, or the wonderful truth?:

An Example Immutable God
Cautionary Note The Enlightenment
Benedict de Spinoza Pinball Machine
David Hume Natural Explanations

It is alleged by critics that Jehovah is a man of war, versus the New Testament Prince of Peace:

"Thus a rude savage man, who has learned only the presence of power in Nature, conceives of God mainly as a force, and speaks of Him as a God of power. Such, though not without beautiful exceptions, is the character ascribed to Jehovah in the Old Testament. "The Lord is a man of war." He is "the Lord of Hosts." He kills men, and their cattle. If there is trouble in the enemies' city, it is the Lord who hath caused it. He will "whet his glittering sword and render vengeance to his enemies. He will make his arrows drunk with blood, and his sword shall devour flesh!" It is with the sword that God pleads with all men. He encourages men to fight, and says, "Cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood." He sends blood into the streets; he waters the land with blood, and in blood he dissolves the mountains. He brandishes his sword before kings, and they tremble at every moment. He treads nations as grapes in a wine-press, and his garments are stained with their life's blood."
(Parker, Theodore. Works of Theodore Parker (Kindle Locations 721-728). The Perfect Library.)

This is an odd choice of incident to make the charge, because as Theodore Parker's fellow Unitarian Julia Ward Howe realized, the One treading out the grapes of wrath is Jesus, the Word of God: "He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." (Revelation 19:10-16). While his description of the God of the Old Testament is tendentious and one-sided, when he says, "War is in utter violation of Christianity," it is not self-evident he is wrong. One can whole-heartedly agree with him that, "aggressive war is a sin." You would think otherwise if you listened to the sermons in many Christian churches. There are a bundle of New Testament verses which, if ever you hear about them in an evangelical church, it is only to note an exception clause. Thus we hear that the rich young ruler did not really have to give up his wealth, nor need anyone turn the other cheek:

Some people say that there is no promise of a future life to come, beyond the grave, in the Old Testament. These people believe eternal life is a promise found exclusively in the New Testament. If this were true, it would be a major difference between the New and Old Testaments. Eventually Rabbinic Judaism came to embrace the concept of a life to come: "[Rabbi Eleazar ha-Kappar] used to say, 'They that are born are doomed to die; and the dead to be brought to life again; and the living to be judged, to know, to make known, and to be made conscious that He is God, He the Maker, He the Creator, He the Discerner, He the Judge, He the Witness, He the Accuser; He it is that will in future judge, blessed be He. . .'" (Pirke Avot, Sayings of the Fathers, Book IV, Saying 28). But when and how this development came about is in dispute.

But is it true that this doctrine is unknown to the Old Testament? Both testaments contain promises of blessings in the "hereafter:"

"Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day; for surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off." (Proverbs 23:17-18).

What could the "hereafter" mean? Is this simply a promise sustaining hope for the immediate future? Is God merely promising the righteous longevity: a slightly longer tenure on this earth than what is enjoyed by the wicked? Or here:

"For he sees wise men die; likewise the fool and the senseless person perish, and leave their wealth to others. . .Nevertheless man, though in honor, does not remain; he is like the beasts that perish. This is the way of those who are foolish, and of their posterity who approve their sayings. Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me." (Psalm 49:10-15).

Men, all men, the wise and the foolish both, perish like beasts. But the righteous is promised that "God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave." What does this mean?: 'This time. Eventually, of course, not, because everyone dies in the end.' Is that really all these promises mean: 'this time'?

What saith the scriptures?:



It is difficult to locate any meaningful dividing line between modern authors like Richard Dawkins and an ancient author like the grammarian Apion. The latter is usually called an anti-semite, though, like Dawkins, he mostly objected to the Jews' religion rather than to their personal existence. Had they converted to paganism, he'd have been content. Once an author has explained that only hopelessly depraved people can follow a god who is obscenely wicked, it is somewhat difficult for readers to credit the disclaimer to follow:


Different Perspective

Now let's take a completely different tack, and leaving behind these ignorant and hateful men, query the living Word of God, who certainly knows the times and circumstances of the composition of scripture. Jesus informs us that the Old Testament is the word of God and cannot be broken. He quotes Psalm 82:

“Jesus answered them, 'Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?” (John 10:34-35).

Whatever is wrapped up in the statement that 'scripture cannot be broken,' it is certain that the living God inspired the Old Testament and expresses His character therein. This is a God of love, but also a God of judgment.

The Old Testament, by its own terms, does not teach us about a static, unchanging world. This world came into being, it has an origin, and it has a destination. Certain themes are struck throughout, such as the coming of the Messiah and the entry of the Gentiles into the Kingdom of God:

“‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’” (Isaiah 49:6.)

“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Micah 4:1-3.)

“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:2-4).

“All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.” (Psalm 86:9).

“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You. For the kingdom is the LORD’S, and He rules over the nations.” (Psalm 22:27-28).

“‘On that day I will raise up The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’ says the LORD who does this thing.” (Amos 9:11-12).

“I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” (Psalm 2:7-8)

“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)

“And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” (Isaiah 11:10)

“The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” (Isaiah 60:3).

“For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one accord. From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My worshipers, the daughter of My dispersed ones, shall bring My offering.” (Zephaniah 3:9-10).

“‘Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,’ says the LORD. ‘Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst.’ Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you.’” (Zechariah 2:10-11).

“O LORD, my strength and my fortress, My refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, ‘Surely our fathers have inherited lies, Worthlessness and unprofitable things.’” (Jeremiah 16:19).

“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Peoples shall yet come, inhabitants of many cities; The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, “Let us continue to go and pray before the LORD, and seek the LORD of hosts. I myself will go also.” Yes, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.’ “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’” (Zechariah 8:20-23).

“‘For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations,’ says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 1:11).

Who are They? Boundary Line
Retrogression Apocrypha
The Gentiles and the Kingdom A Test Case
Psalm 96 In the Belly of the Fish
Ruth What Then?

Instead of responding to each fulfilled prophecy with astonishment, as if it were some altogether new and unheard-of thing, for instance, that Paul wanted to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, why not rejoice that God has a plan and described the plan and is fulfilling the plan?: