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Which god?    God or god?

“Thou shalt have no other god before me.”  (Exodus 20:3 KJV)

Of course -
I had to go download the 2012 Democratic National Platform -
titled Moving America Forward.

Let’s deal with the second item first -
no mention of Jerusalem.
After downloading the PDF version of the file I did a search for the word Jerusalem -
just to be sure it really wasn’t there.
Normally - at this point – I’d put in the extract of what was said.
Since nothing was said – all I got was
“Acrobat has finished searching the document.  No matches were found.”
OK – it really isn’t there.

Some would ask –
What’s the big deal?
Why should anyone care whether Jerusalem is mentioned in anyone’s platform for an American political party?

For the answer to that – let’s look at the previous Democratic National Platform.
Four years ago – the word Jerusalem appeared twice -
in two adjacent sentences -
in a section subtitled
Stand with Allies and Pursue Diplomacy in the Middle East.

That section is two paragraphs long.
Here they are –

Stand with Allies and Pursue Diplomacy in the Middle East

For more than three decades, Israelis, Palestinians, Arab leaders, and the rest of the world have looked to America to lead the effort to build the road to a secure and lasting peace. Our starting point must always be our special relationship with Israel, grounded in shared interests and shared values, and a clear, strong, fundamental commitment to the security of Israel, our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy. That commitment, which requires us to ensure that Israel retains a qualitative edge for its national security and its right to self-defense, is all the more important as we contend with growing threats in the region–a strengthened Iran, a chaotic Iraq, the resurgence of Al Qaeda, the reinvigoration of Hamas and Hezbollah. We support the implementation of the memorandum of understanding that pledges $30 billion in assistance to Israel over the next decade to enhance and ensure its security.

It is in the best interests of all parties, including the United States,  that we take an active role to help secure a lasting settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a democratic, viable Palestinian state dedicated to living in peace and security side by side with the Jewish State of Israel. To do so, we must help Israel identify and strengthen those partners who are truly committed to peace, while isolating those who seek conflict and instability, and stand with Israel against those who seek its destruction. The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel's right to exist, and abides by past agreements. Sustained American leadership for peace and security will require patient efforts and the personal commitment of the President of the United States. The creation of a Palestinian state through final status negotiations, together with an international compensation mechanism, should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel. All understand that it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949. Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.

This year -
in a section subtitled
The Middle East
which is part of a larger section called
Strengthening Alliances, Expanding Partnerships, and Reinvigorating International Institutions

We see this –

President Obama and the Democratic Party maintain an unshakable commitment to Israel’s security. A strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States not simply because we share strategic interests, but also because we share common values. For this reason, despite budgetary constraints, the President has worked with Congress to increase security assistance to Israel every single year since taking office, providing nearly $10 billion in the past three years. The administration has also worked to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region. And we have deepened defense cooperation – including funding the Iron Dome system – to help Israel address its most pressing threats, including the growing danger posed by rockets and missiles emanating from the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. The President’s consistent support for Israel’s right to defend itself and his steadfast opposition to any attempt to delegitimize Israel on the world stage are further evidence of our enduring commitment to Israel’s security.

It is precisely because of this commitment that President Obama and the Democratic Party seek peace between Israelis and Palestinians. A just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian accord, producing two states for two peoples, would contribute to regional stability and help sustain Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state. At the same time, the President has made clear that there will be no lasting peace unless Israel’s security concerns are met. President Obama will continue to press Arab states to reach out to Israel. We will continue to support Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, which have been pillars of peace and stability in the region for many years. And even as the President and the Democratic Party continue to encourage all parties to be resolute in the pursuit of peace, we will insist that any Palestinian partner must recognize Israel’s right to exist, reject violence, and adhere to existing agreements.

Elsewhere in the region, President Obama is committed to maintaining robust security cooperation with Gulf Cooperation Council states and our other partners aimed at deterring aggression, checking Iran’s destabilizing activities, ensuring the free flow of commerce essential to the global economy, and building a regional security architecture to counter terrorism, proliferation, ballistic missiles, piracy, and other common threats.

So -
without getting caught up in whether any of this is even possible -
without getting into whether Iran and various terror groups are willing to give up their stated goal of wiping Israel off the face of the earth will happen -
without getting into whether it’s in Israel’s best interests to give land back -
without getting into the question of who was there first -
let’s look at what the missing word – Jerusalem – means.

Prior to the 1967 war -
Jerusalem had been a divided city since the UN split the area into six areas -
three Arab and three Jewish.
Jerusalem was likewise split into Arab and Jewish areas.
The Jewish people didn’t like the agreement – but accepted it.
The Arabs didn’t like it either – and rejected the authority of the UN to even do this.

The day after the agreement was signed -
the Palestinian Arabs and Arab states attacked.

By the end of this war -
Israel had – among other things – captured the Arab side of Jerusalem.

So – we can see -
the whole thing is really messy.

But -
the underlying question here -
why is it important that Jerusalem isn’t mentioned?

It’s part of a larger question -
just how much is the US really willing to back Israel?

The current administration is willing to give up some (if not all) of the land that Israel captured during the Six Day War in 1967.  See maps below from the Jewish Virtual Library

And here we have Israel today from about.com geography -

With this latest platform from the democratic party -
they appear to also be willing to give up half of Jerusalem.

But still –
Why is this so important?

For the answer to this -
let’s go back to Exodus -
to a time when God had just freed His people from the Pharaoh -
and they were being led through the desert by Moses.
Those same people -
God’s chosen ones -
had just turned away from Him while He was giving Moses the Ten Commandments -
as we see in Exodus 32:1-10 –

The Golden Calf

Ex 32:1 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

Ex 32:2 Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.”  

Ex 32:3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron.  

Ex 32:4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”

Ex 32:5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the LORD.”  

Ex 32:6 So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.

Ex 32:7 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt.  

Ex 32:8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’

Ex 32:9 “I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people.  

Ex 32:10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

Things aren’t sounding too good for the Chosen People.

But -
at this point –
they had Moses on their side -
and he tried to intercede with God on their behalf -
as we see in Exodus 32:11-14 –

Ex 32:11 But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. “O LORD,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand?  

Ex 32:12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people.  

Ex 32:13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’ ”  

Ex 32:14 Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

Verse 13 is the key one here –

Ex 32:13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’ ”

It was a rocky road for God’s chosen people -
things were going up and down for them -
all throughout history they turn away from God and something happens to them –
they lose their land – then get it back -
they become captives – then are freed -
it’s just one things after another.

This really shouldn’t have been a surprise to these Chosen People.

In Levitcus 26:14-46 -
we read –

Punishment for Disobedience

Lev 26:14 “ ‘But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands,  

Lev 26:15 and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant,  

Lev 26:16 then I will do this to you: I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it.  

Lev 26:17 I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you.

Lev 26:18 “ ‘If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over.  

Lev 26:19 I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze.  

Lev 26:20 Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of the land yield their fruit.

Lev 26:21 “ ‘If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me, I will multiply your afflictions seven times over, as your sins deserve.  

Lev 26:22 I will send wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children, destroy your cattle and make you so few in number that your roads will be deserted.

Lev 26:23 “ ‘If in spite of these things you do not accept my correction but continue to be hostile toward me,  

Lev 26:24 I myself will be hostile toward you and will afflict you for your sins seven times over.  

Lev 26:25 And I will bring the sword upon you to avenge the breaking of the covenant. When you withdraw into your cities, I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands.  

Lev 26:26 When I cut off your supply of bread, ten women will be able to bake your bread in one oven, and they will dole out the bread by weight. You will eat, but you will not be satisfied.

Lev 26:27 “ ‘If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me,  

Lev 26:28 then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over.  

Lev 26:29 You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters.  

Lev 26:30 I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars and pile your dead bodies on the lifeless forms of your idols, and I will abhor you.  

Lev 26:31 I will turn your cities into ruins and lay waste your sanctuaries, and I will take no delight in the pleasing aroma of your offerings.  

Lev 26:32 I will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled.  

Lev 26:33 I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins.  

Lev 26:34 Then the land will enjoy its Sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its Sabbaths.  

Lev 26:35 All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the Sabbaths you lived in it.

Lev 26:36 “ ‘As for those of you who are left, I will make their hearts so fearful in the lands of their enemies that the sound of a windblown leaf will put them to flight. They will run as though fleeing from the sword, and they will fall, even though no one is pursuing them.  

Lev 26:37 They will stumble over one another as though fleeing from the sword, even though no one is pursuing them. So you will not be able to stand before your enemies.  

Lev 26:38 You will perish among the nations; the land of your enemies will devour you.  

Lev 26:39 Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their fathers’ sins they will waste away.

Lev 26:40 “ ‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their fathers—their treachery against me and their hostility toward me,  

Lev 26:41 which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin,  

Lev 26:42 I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.  

Lev 26:43 For the land will be deserted by them and will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them. They will pay for their sins because they rejected my laws and abhorred my decrees.  

Lev 26:44 Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the LORD their God.  

Lev 26:45 But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the LORD.’ ”

Lev 26:46 These are the decrees, the laws and the regulations that the LORD established on Mount Sinai between himself and the Israelites through Moses.

I know -
it’s a long section.
But look what God says here.

Essentially -
He is saying to rely on Him -
to follow Him and His ways -
to trust Him to take care of them.

He didn’t tell them to trust in people -
He certainly didn’t tell them to trust the government.

He wants us to trust Him.

Only He can save us.

In the Old Testament days -
there was the Law to follow.

Today – the Jewish people still go by that law.

As Christians -
we have the New Testament -
a Saviour – Jesus who died to save us.

But for the Jewish people -
they still believe in the covenant.

At this point -
one may very likely think I’m saying don’t count on the Democrats to save you.
The thing is -
I said don’t count on the government to save you.
It really doesn’t matter which party -
don’t count on them.

While the Republicans are saying that this reference to Jerusalem should remain -
remember these same Republicans also tell us that Christians, Jews, and Muslims all worship the same God.
The truth is -
we most certainly do not.

For example -
a critically important difference is Jesus -
The Messiah.
While the Jewish people do not believe that Jesus is The Messiah -
they do believe that God will send One -
as we see in Acts 3:11-26
(What we see here is just after Peter healed a crippled beggar)

Peter Speaks to the Onlookers

Ac 3:11 While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade.  

Ac 3:12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?  

Ac 3:13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go.  

Ac 3:14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you.  

Ac 3:15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.  

Ac 3:16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

Ac 3:17 “Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders.  

Ac 3:18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer.  

Ac 3:19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,  

Ac 3:20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.  

Ac 3:21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.  

Ac 3:22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you.  

Ac 3:23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’

Ac 3:24 “Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days.  

Ac 3:25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’  

Ac 3:26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

Peter is addressing the Jewish people here.
Note – he isn’t arguing whether God would send a Messiah or not -
he isn’t arguing whether God would send to save them or not -
he’s assuming the Jewish people knew these things already -
because they were foretold in the Old Testament.
What he’s telling them is that Jesus is the Messiah – the Son of God.

From the Muslim point of view -
God didn’t have a Son -
didn’t send a Messiah -
didn’t do anything to save us.

It’s difficult to put any order to when things were actually written in the Qu’ran -
given that except for the 1st Sura the order is by decreasing number of verses.

At any rate -
we see the following –

First – a declaration that Jesus never died.
Without that death – there is no salvation.
While the Jewish people will way that Jesus wasn’t the One –
they don’t dispute that God would send a Messiah.

[4:157] And for claiming that they killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of GOD. In fact, they never killed him, they never crucified him - they were made to think that they did. All factions who are disputing in this matter are full of doubt concerning this issue. They possess no knowledge; they only conjecture. For certain, they never killed him.

Second – a declaration that God never had a Son.  Again – The Jewish people dispute who the Son of God is – but not that there is One.

[4:171] O people of the scripture, do not transgress the limits of your religion, and do not say about GOD except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was a messenger of GOD, and His word that He had sent to Mary, and a revelation from Him. Therefore, you shall believe in GOD and His messengers. You shall not say, "Trinity." You shall refrain from this for your own good. GOD is only one god. Be He glorified; He is much too glorious to have a son. To Him belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. GOD suffices as Lord and Master.

Third – there is a reference to the Holy Spirit.

[2:87] We gave Moses the scripture, and subsequent to him we sent other messengers, and we gave Jesus, son of Mary, profound miracles and supported him with the Holy Spirit. Is it not a fact that every time a messenger went to you with anything you disliked, your ego caused you to be arrogant? Some of them you rejected, and some of them you killed.

To Christians – The Holy Spirit is extremely important.

For one thing – we have Jesus’ words about the coming of The Holy Spirit.

Jn 14:23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

Jn 14:24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Jn 14:25All this I have spoken while still with you.  

Jn 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Jn 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Mt 12:31 And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.  

Mt 12:32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

For the Jewish people – while the dispute about Jesus still remains -
the existence of the Holy Spirit is not an issue -
as we see in Psalms 51:7-12 –

Ps 51:7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Ps 51:8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Ps 51:9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.

Ps 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Ps 51:11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Ps 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

The reference in the Qu’ran to the Holy Spirit is very similar to its reference to Jesus.
The names are the same -
but the concept is very much different.

Remember this from Sura 41:171 –

You shall not say, "Trinity." You shall refrain from this for your own good. GOD is only one god.

If we don’t say Trinity -
then the concept of God being three in one -
it’s gone.

We have no Son – no salvation.

We have no Holy Spirit – no Counselor – no Teacher – no Comforter.

Clearly – the Muslim god – is not the God of the Jews and the Christians.

No – we can’t count on the government to save us -
no matter which party we are talking about.

From the Old Testament –

Lev 26:45 But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the LORD.’ ”

From the New Testament –

Jn 3:14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,  

Jn 3:15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

From the Qu’ran –

[2:41] You shall believe in what I have revealed herein, confirming what you have; do not be the first to reject it. Do not trade away My revelations for a cheap price, and observe Me.

So –

From the Old Testament – God’s covenant will save – when it is followed.

From the New Testament – belief in Jesus – as the Son of God – will save.

From Islam – Belief in what the Qu’ran says will save.  BTW – In Islam – the religious leaders are the power in the government.

Ultimately –

For the Jewish and Christian people – the government cannot save us – only God can.

For the Muslims – they are counting on the government will save them – because their god is also the “leader” of their government.

In contrast – Jesus said –

Mt 22:15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words.  

Mt 22:16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are.  

Mt 22:17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

Mt 22:18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me?  

Mt 22:19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius,  

Mt 22:20 and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”

Mt 22:21 “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

Mt 22:22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

Clearly – God and the government are not one and the same to the Christians and Jews.

Who is saving you?

Post Script –

After writing this, I learned that the Democrats added both Jerusalem and God back into their platform.  I just watched a replay of the vote.  After hearing the voices of those for and against the amendment – which required a 2/3 yes vote to pass – it was incredible to see that it was considered passed after three consecutive votes when the no votes were clearly louder than the yes votes.  After it was declared passed – there were boos from the audience.

The sentence below was added to the previously quoted section on the Middle East:

“Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”

OK – it’s a good statement.
The question is – do they really mean it?
They obviously did not get the 2/3 voice vote to approve.  
I seriously doubt that they even got half.
But they called it passed.

In the end – it was obvious that many in attendance disagreed with it -
and in fact didn’t like it at all -
didn’t want it there.

Makes one wonder -
what do the Republicans really feel?
Do they do it just to make people happy -
or do they really mean it?
Or were they just fortunate enough to not be the ones to remove it -
and we’ll never know the truth about why it’s in their platform.

Either way – the question still stands –

Who is saving you?


September 5, 2012

I was watching the Democratic Convention when word broke that this year’s platform didn’t mention

(1) God

(2) Jerusalem.

Democratic Party Platform