Jun  2018 18
Interpreting the Bible Against the Gospel

An Egyptian official from 4,000 years ago:

Joseph’s people were such ingrates. My country took in caravans of Semites who were starving. We fed them. We gave them room to grow. The problem is we were too good to them. They multiplied like rats. Their numbers threatened to overwhelm the Egyptian population.

After so many generations of living off of Egyptians, really to the point of exploitation, it was time to right the scales of justice. So, we culled their population by thinning out their male children. We put them to work—no more welfare for Semites! Well, they did not like the new terms of their arrangement in Egypt. They ignored decree after decree.

About that time, a series of most unfortunate events hit our land. In the ensuing chaos, the Semites mounted an escape, but not before killing our firstborn on their way out! My people pursued them into the wilderness, but without success in bringing them back. Good riddance. Semites were lawbreakers who did not deserve to be here, anyway.

A Sadducee and temple official, who held his job by the will of his boss, who held his job because the Romans gave it to him. The end of the week after Jesus disrupted the moneychangers in the temple precincts during the last week of his life:

Jesus got what he deserved. The Romans need only the most slender excuse to shut down the temple, erect an image of one of their gods within, or level this city. The inane Zealots wage guerilla warfare against them constantly. The Pharisees stoke popular hated against our overlords.

The actions of either group could bring the wrath of Caesar upon us. Me and my ilk are viewed as collaborators with the enemies, as traitors. We are not. We simply see no other option than to cooperate with them. We uphold their laws, and in so doing we preserve the lives of the many.

This deluded Jesus of Nazareth threatened our very existence by that stunt in the temple precincts this week. People from all over the empire came here for Passover. They needed proper coinage for the temple tax and unblemished animals for sacrifice. The economy of Jerusalem, not just the temple, hinges on this season every year.

Jesus’ destruction of property and disruption of business has seriously jeopardized Jerusalem’s ability to pay Rome what we owe this year. We’ll be lucky if the crucifixion of Jesus appeases the wrath of the governor and his overlords and they don’t decide to exact further retribution. The cost of breaking their laws is too high. We must live by their laws.

Any one of a number of white clergy, North or South, in the decades preceding the Civil War:

The separation of blacks and whites is the law. It is God’s law, it is natural law, and human laws need to reflect God’s natural laws.

These ungodly individuals petitioning for the abolition of slavery are undermining the divine will. Some are going so far as to destroy other men’s property, or take a life, or claim the Constitution of the United States is illegitimate because it enshrines slavery in the law. Well, enshrining slavery is one of the matters that atheistic document got right!

Now, if the Constitution declared this nation’s allegiance to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, then the U.S. would be where we need to be: founded on the Bible and seeking to fulfill the will of God as we know that will through reading the Bible. God is not mocked by those who seek lifestyles and laws, like legitimizing blacks and whites living as equals, that are contrary to His will.

An excerpt from my president’s greeting on the Phillips website:

Some Bible interpreters claim they are not interpreting at all but are simply presenting the definitive, unadulterated words of God. Nonsense. We all interpret. In fact, it is our responsibility to interpret. How Christians interpret the Bible matters. It matters a great deal.

The recent public statements by officials of the Trump administration using the Bible as a warrant for its policy of separating children from their families at the southern U.S. border, in the name of good order, is morally reprehensible. Those officials are interpreting scripture in a way that subverts the Gospel to promote their cruel version of Empire.

That’s my interpretation.

 

Browse more posts by: Gary Peluso-Verdend, Phillips Faculty
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