Does the difference in the genealogies of Jesus Christ in the gospels of Matthew and Luke present a problem for Christian faith by challenging historicity of Christ? Perhaps you have heard this difference explained by claiming that Matthew is tracing the ancestry of Christ’s father and Luke the ancestry of his mother. But that’s not the full story. In reality, both evangelists are tracing genealogy of Christ through his father, but Matthew follows the biological ancestry while Luke follows legal ancestry. This divergency exists because of a common ancient near eastern custom of levirate marriage. Since women in the ancient world did not have the right to own land, they risked losing all their property if their husbands died before they had a mature son. A mature male relative closest to her husband, however, could rescue the widow and her children from the doom of poverty by marrying her. This way he would preserve her estate, becoming her legal guardian and redeemer, but by doing so he would legally assume the identity of her deceased husband and would have to give up the rights to inheritance he could receive from his father. Such an act was often seen as heroic charity, especially if the redeemer came from a wealthier family, as it can be seen in the book of Ruth. Continue to read…
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I am the way, the truth and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
Sometimes historical events are so convoluted that it is no wonder that few saw what was happening. More often, however, historical events seem unsurprising in hindsight and we more often wonder why past generations did not see the imminent consequences until it was too late.
There are certain undeniable truths facing us today. Undeniable however does not mean that they cannot be ignored. It increasingly seems we may be living in a time where future generations will wonder why we failed to more timely act in the face of such obvious calamity. Five truths.
1. Crushing and unsustainable debt, public and private. Routinely living beyond our means in the USA and throughout western liberal democracies.
2. Both Iran and an evolving pan-Arabia based on strict Sharia law profess a commitment to destroying Israel, are fervently anti-semitic, and do not care a whit for western style liberal democracy or individual rights.
3. The Muslim world is growing by birth rates and by proselytizing and is fervent regarding strict adherence to Islam. In contrast, the western-styled liberal democracies, to include the US suffer declining and unsustainable demographic trends.
4. The collapse of the Bible believing church in Europe and the United States.
5. We’re going on a second decade of war against Islamic people. Notwithstanding or espoused noble purposes, it’s still two decades of war.
These five truths do not make portend well for the future. As someone else recently observed, as we approach 17 TRILLION dollars in debt, a substantial percentage of voters and most the conventional media care more about how Mitt Romney spent his personal millions than how the current President has spent trillions of dollars of our money (and our children’s money).
We’re spending billions and countless lives to build Islamic nation states. We’re in our second decade of war in Afghanistan. They are so grateful that our “allied” Afghan troops there increasingly turn their guns on our troops. In newly “democratic” and “liberated” Libya which we helped “liberate,” the grateful Libyans recently (a) enacted a Thank the Yanks Day!, (b) enacted a constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion, or (c) stormed our consulate and murdered our Ambassador, who had no U.S. Marines to guard him. Answer: (c) only. Same thing recently in Egypt, but our Ambassador was not murdered, notwithstanding our own efforts to disarm the Marines responsible for guarding our embassy in Egypt. They love us, not really. Our money and words of appeasement are not what they want. Like Hitler in 1920s Germany, they’re pretty forthright about what they want: elimination of Israel, elimination of Jews, and global caliphate. Not terribly different from the Nazis or the Soviets, really.
The Afghans turning their guns on US and the Libyan’s way of thanking the USA are likely only a foretaste of what’s to come. Unfortunately, our financial, demographic and religious trajectories do not trend favorably for western liberalism.
Finally, the fact that so many of our political elites, up to and including our President and Secretary of State, refuse to acknowledge the fundamental and deep level of this conflict, does not advance our chances. The recent attacks against us had to be the result of a several months old YouTube video – just had to be, because it could not be something more fundamental, like a clash of incompatible civilizations. No, it must be something frivolous and just a matter of misunderstanding. The only misunderstanding is on our side, and it’s more an issue of denial that “they” don’t share our affinity for pluralism, compromise and tolerance.
A light is needed for the West. The darker it becomes, the greater the opportunity for light to be seen. Pray hard.
Soft hands and kind eyes my faithful mate
mothering our children and making our home
the sun quietly rising to kiss her peaceful face
A gift of mountains and oceans so deep
betraying the majestic power and beauty of creation
a sun rising to warm and cheer our fallen race
Our perfect Creator from beyond time
driving out darkness and dying for His lost sheep
the Son rising and saving in an act of amazing grace.