Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If You Truly Believed in G-d, What Would You Be Like?

 

I was watching a video where Dennis Prager interviewed Jordan Peterson.

Peterson said he has difficulty with the question, “Do you believe in G-d?” commenting, in effect, that if you say that you do truly believe, it would mean you were living a transformative life, both for yourself and those around you, and who among us can lay claim to that? I had another thought on this matter, however, which was that a person who truly believed in G-d would never be asked such a question.

We Jews are lucky because, whether we believe or not, we get a ticket into the next world. If we truly mess up, we have to go to Gehinnom (as bad as hell, if not worse), but for a maximum of only one year. While there, we experience a painful dry-cleaning of our souls, so to speak, but afterward enter a sublime world to come. But that world to come, although stress-free, is kind of boring. Our souls up there wait impatiently for the Messiah to come, whereupon they will be brought back to earth and assume a physical form as our bodies are resurrected in the Land of Israel. You see, the action is here, not up there, since the soul’s purpose is to highlight or extract the spiritual spark in everything physical, and to obey G-d’s many commandments, but it can only do so in partnership with a physical body on planet earth.

Still, the question of what it would be like to truly believe in G-d does arouse interest. My faith begins with the people who live in Israel. I see G-d in them. A young family who lives next door includes four children that I do not believe could have grown up the way they did and be who they are anywhere else. How to describe them? High achievers yet humble, sure of themselves yet respectful of others. The seven-year-old boy, especially, has a great future in front of him. Possessed of a regal bearing, the other neighborhood kids his age look up to him and follow his lead. What distinguishes Israelis of any age is their laser-like focus on the matter at hand and extreme honesty; I find these qualities to be divine. Interestingly, the kids in the family next door go to a religious school even though, while the mother is observant, the father is not.

Whenever I visit the central bus station in Jerusalem, I also see G-d — in the soldiers who are milling about, sitting down for coffee and a snack, waiting for a bus. Such joy and love of life, humility, respect, knowing so much yet still full of innocence. Plus, they would sacrifice their lives for me. And, in a sense, the civilized world depends on them.

I am curious if anyone reading this would be willing to answer the question in the title. Of course, if you are already a true believer, you would perhaps be willing to enlighten us as to what your life of true belief is like.

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There are 103 comments.

  1. Arahant Member

    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu: I am curious if anyone reading this would be willing to answer the question in the title.

    I think the answer depends on one’s definitions and ideas of G-d. I am sure that the Saudi pilot who shot up our naval air station would probably consider himself to be a true believer in G-d.

    Jordan Peterson obviously has a very different definition, and doesn’t think he’s living up to it as well as he should or could. In some ways, my definition of what we should be like is not too far from his “living a transformative life, both for yourself and those around you,” but I’m a bit more gentle in my assessment. I figure we are here to learn and to teach, to try to fully realize our spiritual potential, to support each other in climbing the mountain of spirit. One is not born to climb Everest. One learns, one trains, one acclimates, one prepares. Not everyone is going to climb Everest, or even a much shorter local mountain. I will climb as high as I can, and I will help others to also climb. For each of us who improves ourselves, who learns more of spirit, the whole world is lifted.

    We give the world wings.

    • #1
    • December 8, 2019, at 3:22 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  2. J Climacus Member

    I can best describe this with an anecdote. I met my wife in the months before I left for Marine Corps Officer Candidates School (OCS) in 1986. We fell in love and, as it turned out, that love had a lot to do with me making it through OCS. I knew that she would be waiting for me whether I succeeded or failed, and knowing that something wonderful awaited me however things turned out gave me a serenity and a strength that supported me through all the struggles that came with OCS. When you know you’ve already got what you were looking for, everything else becomes easier. 

    A similar thing happened on a deeper scale when I returned to the Catholic faith. Knowing that God is on the other side of all the struggles, triumphs and tragedies of life makes them much more bearable. Even more knowing, as a Christian, that God has suffered with me and as I do.

    I think it has to do with the fact that men can endure a great amount of suffering if they believe that suffering is worthwhile and meaningful, but very little suffering if they think it is pointless. Our culture seems to have become a grand exercise in suffering avoidance as we have gradually abandoned God. Abortion, divorce, gay marriage, the expectation that government will respond to any problem anyone has – all these seem to me to be driven by an impulse to avoid suffering at all costs.

    Of course I’m describing this in somewhat simplistic terms. Only the saints have the faith, hope and love to endure life with complete peace and serenity, even actively embracing their suffering. I’m far from that. It’s more like I turn to God to receive the peace and serenity I need when I’m starting to lose it. It gets better the older I get and the further I deepen my faith.

    If I truly lived as though I believe in God, down to my bones, I would have that peace and serenity 24/7.

    • #2
    • December 8, 2019, at 3:43 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  3. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Inactive
    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu

    J Climacus (View Comment):
    If I truly lived as though I believe in God, down to my bones, I would have that peace and serenity 24/7.

    To this, I might add: even in the midst of struggle, which is a significant part of life. It’s like a great general, being calm and at peace in the throes of battle.

    • #3
    • December 8, 2019, at 3:54 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  4. KentForrester Coolidge

    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu:

    We Jews are lucky because, whether we believe or not, we get a ticket into the next world. If we truly mess up, we have to go to Gehinnom (as bad as hell, if not worse), but for a maximum of only one year. While there, we experience a painful dry-cleaning of our souls, so to speak, but afterwards enter a sublime world to come. But that world to come, although stress free, is kind of boring. Our souls up there wait impatiently for the Messiah to come, whereupon they will be brought back to earth and assume a physical form as our bodies are resurrected in the Land of Israel. You see, the action is here, not up there, since the soul’s purpose is to highlight or extract the spiritual spark in everything physical, and to obey G-d’s many commandments, but it can only do so in partnership with a physical body on planet earth.

    Yehoshua, I’ve never come across the thorough and complicated Jewish eschatology that you offer up here. How common is that eschatology among orthodox believers? Would the ultra-orthodox agree with your version?

    I mostly agree with your remarks about the young Jewish soldiers you saw at the main bus station in Jerusalem. I was there recently and much the same thoughts ran through my head. I’ve always seen the Jewish military as the first line of defense against the forces of evil. And I sleep better knowing that they are there.

    • #4
    • December 8, 2019, at 4:52 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  5. KentForrester Coolidge

    I’ve never seen life as a struggle, a “veil of tears,” or a testing ground of some sort. I guess I’m lucky.

    My life has been rather trouble free — and thus has never resembled a struggle. I describe my life as tidy and rather serene. I had an easy job (I’ve been retired for 25 years) and I have a compatible wife. My children are good natured and settled in their careers. (One is a funeral director, one a manager.) They even visit every now and then and never stretch their visit more than a day or two. (My grandkids can mess with my serenity every so often.)

    I hope I can get out of this world without too much trouble. 

     

    • #5
    • December 8, 2019, at 5:02 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Inactive
    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    Yehoshua, I’ve never come across the thorough and complicated Jewish eschatology that you offer up here. How common is that eschatology among orthodox believers? Would the ultra-orthodox agree with your version?

    Yes, it’s the commonly held version among ultra-orthodox, too, although, I should point out, the afterlife is not a Jewish obsession, the main thing being what you do during your time here on earth.

    • #6
    • December 8, 2019, at 5:08 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Arahant (View Comment):
    I figure we are here to learn and to teach, to try to fully realize our spiritual potential, to support each other in climbing the mountain of spirit. One is not born to climb Everest. One learns, one trains, one acclimates, one prepares. Not everyone is going to climb Everest, or even a much shorter local mountain. I will climb as high as I can, and I will help others to also climb. For each of us who improves ourselves, who learns more of spirit, the whole world is lifted.

    I love @arahant‘s description.

    What does transformative mean? To me, it’s about opening up to possibility and acknowledging G-d in my life. Sometimes I have a strong sense of him; other times, my experience is more fragile. But to transform, to allow oneself to change, even when we are afraid, is what G-d calls us to do. And as Arahant, says, we help each other.

    • #7
    • December 8, 2019, at 7:01 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  8. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I do NOT agree with the OP in terms of the afterlife. I think after death the souls of good people return to their divine source, but there is nothing in the Torah that tells us more than that. I think living this life for the purpose of an afterlife introduces a host of distortive effects.

    For me, belief in G-d means seeing our lives as having a purpose in partnership and co-creation with our Creator. It means not trying to eliminate our connection to him by pursuing a “safe” life.

     

    • #8
    • December 8, 2019, at 8:10 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  9. Henry Castaigne Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    I’ve never seen life as a struggle, a “veil of tears,” or a testing ground of some sort. I guess I’m lucky.

    I don’t think that you would make a good Buddhist. 

    • #9
    • December 8, 2019, at 8:29 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  10. MarciN Member

    I think the question posed–“If you truly believed in G-d, what would you be like?”–is too broad to answer usefully. I imagine most people would respond, “I do believe in G-d, and I am me.” :-) 

    • #10
    • December 8, 2019, at 10:42 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  11. Barfly Member

    I confess that I don’t understand the question. I hold that belief is sin, and is antithetical to faith. 

    But you already know I’m a stickler for definitions. To believe is arrogant; faith requires the humility to say “I can’t know, but this is what I choose.”

    • #11
    • December 8, 2019, at 11:03 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  12. KentForrester Coolidge

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    I’ve never seen life as a struggle, a “veil of tears,” or a testing ground of some sort. I guess I’m lucky.

    I don’t think that you would make a good Buddhist.

    Henry, happily, I don’t care much about being a good Buddhist. I’d rather be a good speller, a good fellow, a good pool player, or a good husband. I do like their outfits, though, especially the orange robes that some wear. Very handsome.

    I would want my bowl to be the red lacquered kind.

    I’m already a vegetarian, go commando, and have a bald head. I’m halfway there.

    • #12
    • December 8, 2019, at 12:11 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  13. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Inactive
    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu

    Barfly (View Comment):
    I hold that belief is sin, and is antithetical to faith

    I once heard this:

    Belief is being shipwrecked, holding on to a piece of wood and having certainty that you will float to shore.

    Faith is being shipwrecked without a piece of wood to hold onto and having certainty that you will somehow be saved.

    • #13
    • December 8, 2019, at 12:20 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  14. J Climacus Member

    I watched the segment of the Prager/Peterson interview where they discuss belief in God. He says he doesn’t like to claim belief in God because he doesn’t know what he’d be like if he really believed in God. If he did, it would be a “transformative event.” He would live “maximally courageous and maximally truthful”, whereas “right now he’s only at 20% or 60% or 70%, living in some measure at cross purposes to himself.” So, he tries to act like he believes, “but would never claim that he manages it, because it’s a lot to manage, and you have to be careful about claiming to manage things you can’t manage.”

    I see what he’s getting at, but he references Christianity in this answer, and I don’t think he really understands what Christianity is about. Christianity is not about managing things yourself, or getting yourself to operate at 100%. That sounds more like a self-actualization seminar. It’s about a man, Jesus Christ, and what His Life, Death, and Resurrection mean for ourselves and the world, fulfilled through loving submission to Him. It’s allowing Christ to work through you whether you are operating at 100% or not. The true Christian is not someone necessarily operating at 100% and doing great things, but someone who, despite the disordered state of his own life, keeps turning to Christ even, perhaps especially, in those moments when he is not maximally truthful or courageous. St. Peter denied Christ three times, but when Christ asked Peter (after His Resurrection) whether he loved Him, Peter responded simply “Yes, Lord.” His answer was an act of humility, fully aware of his denials, acknowledging his own sinfulness and cowardice. It’s that persistent turning to Christ, despite our continued sinning and betrayals, that is the mark of the believer. It’s not a claim on anything, like we think we’ve achieved something. It’s an acknowledgment that without Christ, we won’t really achieve anything worth anything, but with Him, He will achieve the world through us, because He has already won the victory.

     

     

    • #14
    • December 8, 2019, at 1:47 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  15. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Do you believe in your husband or wife? Do you believe in your children or your parents? Of course, you do. So you always honor them, right? You always act in a way that makes them proud?

    I mean, you have to look them in the eyes. That must make it easy. 

    Or maybe knowledge and familiarity do not automatically result in gratitude and loving behavior. Maybe love requires more than knowledge. Maybe we struggle to even identify love in every circumstance, before the will and the body even enter into the equation. 

    As for boredom in absence of hardships, you need only recall pleasant days with your own loving family and friends to know that harmony is not without surprises and delightful challenges. 

    • #15
    • December 8, 2019, at 6:43 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  16. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    I’ve seen this video before, shortly after it was made. It was very profound and moving, and I think that it illustrates Prof. Peterson’s error. I’ve thought about this quite a bit, long before today’s post.

    Prof. Peterson’s essential argument is that if you truly believed in God, you would act in accordance with that belief with the utmost seriousness, and would therefore be perfect. The fact that you are not perfect means that you don’t actually believe in God, or at least you don’t have the right to claim that you do.

    This is a doctrine of works-based salvation, but one that is even more difficult than most, because under Prof. Peterson’s formulation, you cannot even claim belief in God — which is equivalent to truly committing yourself to the ideal, in his formulation, I think — until you are perfect. Sadly, this gets in the way of seeking God’s help in the process of improving yourself, which is called “sanctification” in Evangelical terminology, distinguished from “justification” which occurs at the moment of true belief.

    Paul deals with this in Romans 7 and 8, in great detail, and also in his summary at the start of Ephesians 2:

    1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    The really interesting part, for me, is the reason that Paul gives for the necessity that salvation be by grace through faith alone, and not by works. So that no one can boast. Boasting is pride. Our desire to perfect ourselves is a manifestation of pride.

    I do not write this to be critical of Prof. Peterson. We all struggle with pride, myself included. I think that he may be quite close to this realization.

    • #16
    • December 11, 2019, at 12:16 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  17. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    To answer the question posed by the OP: 

    I am a true believer, and as a consequence, I am a work in progress. I’m still quite a mess, but God is working on me, when I’m wise or humble enough to follow His lead.

    • #17
    • December 11, 2019, at 12:19 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  18. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    iWe (View Comment):

    I do NOT agree with the OP in terms of the afterlife. I think after death the souls of good people return to their divine source, but there is nothing in the Torah that tells us more than that. I think living this life for the purpose of an afterlife introduces a host of distortive effects.

    For me, belief in G-d means seeing our lives as having a purpose in partnership and co-creation with our Creator. It means not trying to eliminate our connection to him by pursuing a “safe” life.

     

    iWe, this is so interesting.

    By “Torah,” I assume that you’re referring to the first five books of the Old Testament. I don’t recall anything about an afterlife in the arc from Genesis to Deuteronomy, though there is a peaceful death at a good old age, often translated as being “gathered to his people.” I don’t know the Hebrew connotations. This description was used in the deaths of Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Aaron, and Moses.

    As far as I know, the first express reference to an afterlife is in Daniel 12. This is the very end of the Book of Daniel, and the very last line, by an angelic being or perhaps God speaking to Daniel in a vision, is: “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.” I don’t know how modern Jews interpret this.

     

    • #18
    • December 11, 2019, at 12:34 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Prof. Peterson’s essential argument is that if you truly believed in God, you would act in accordance with that belief with the utmost seriousness, and would therefore be perfect. The fact that you are not perfect means that you don’t actually believe in God, or at least you don’t have the right to claim that you do.

    I didn’t watch the video, but I assume your interpretation is correct, Jerry. I believe Peterson is misguided. From a Jewish standpoint, G-d doesn’t expect us to ever be perfect–that’s G-d’s job!– but he does want us to strive to be the best people we can be.

    • #19
    • December 11, 2019, at 12:36 PM PST
    • Like
  20. HeavyWater Inactive

    It all depends on which definition of God turned out to be the correct definition.

    For example, if I really believed that God would put all of the non-Pentecostal Christians in an eternal hell while putting all Pentecostal Christians in an eternal heaven, I would give serious consideration to becoming a Pentecostal Christian.

    Similarly, if I really believed that God would put all of the Shia Muslims in heaven while putting the Sunni Muslims in hell, I would give serious consideration to becoming a Shia Muslim.

    It’s possible that God will let every human being into heaven because, after all, life is tough and there should be some bonus at the end of a difficult and challenging experience.

    So, maybe the Buddhist girl who dies in a tsunami at 2 years old gets to go to heaven along with the Christian man who dies in his sleep at age 86.

    Or maybe God is a vengeful being and wants to have everyone burn in hell just for the fun of it. Maybe that’s why God created small pox?

    The speculation can go on forever. So, I have no idea as to what I would be like if I truly believed in God unless I had a chance to ask him, “How do I get off of your deep doo-doo list?”

    • #20
    • December 11, 2019, at 1:17 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  21. Merrijane Thatcher

    Well, this is a very interesting discussion. Latter-day Saint eschatology is a little different, but we do believe in a literal resurrection into a perfected physical body. Aside from no longer having to deal with physical illness/hardship, we do believe we will continue to progress, learn, and grow, which may entail emotional highs and lows.

    In any case, I don’t think what we believe about the details of the afterlife is nearly as important as how we behave in this life. But I don’t speak as an authority on the subject.

    • #21
    • December 11, 2019, at 3:06 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  22. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I don’t recall anything about an afterlife in the arc from Genesis to Deuteronomy, though there is a peaceful death at a good old age, often translated as being “gathered to his people.” I don’t know the Hebrew connotations. This description was used in the deaths of Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Aaron, and Moses.

    The language differs from person to person, but there is no hint of heaven here. Moshe and Jacob are more alive for the Jewish people than they were during most of their lives: we have Moshe in mind every time we fulfill a commandment.

     

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    As far as I know, the first express reference to an afterlife is in Daniel 12. This is the very end of the Book of Daniel, and the very last line, by an angelic being or perhaps God speaking to Daniel in a vision, is: “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.” I don’t know how modern Jews interpret this.

    Most see it as a reference to the time of resurrection of the dead, which is mashed within Judaism along with the coming of the Messiah, and the rebuilding of the Temple. There is much speculation, but nothing concrete. 

    • #22
    • December 11, 2019, at 3:13 PM PST
    • 1 like
  23. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    iWe (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I don’t recall anything about an afterlife in the arc from Genesis to Deuteronomy, though there is a peaceful death at a good old age, often translated as being “gathered to his people.” I don’t know the Hebrew connotations. This description was used in the deaths of Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Aaron, and Moses.

    The language differs from person to person, but there is no hint of heaven here. Moshe and Jacob are more alive for the Jewish people than they were during most of their lives: we have Moshe in mind every time we fulfill a commandment.

     

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    As far as I know, the first express reference to an afterlife is in Daniel 12. This is the very end of the Book of Daniel, and the very last line, by an angelic being or perhaps God speaking to Daniel in a vision, is: “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.” I don’t know how modern Jews interpret this.

    Most see it as a reference to the time of resurrection of the dead, which is mashed within Judaism along with the coming of the Messiah, and the rebuilding of the Temple. There is much speculation, but nothing concrete.

    Thanks, iWe. I have a follow-up question, for you and/or any other Jewish believers who might know. What are the major Old Testament references to Messiah, from the Jewish perspective?

    Obviously, I have my thoughts about this as a Christian believer, but I’m curious about the Jewish perspective on this.

    • #23
    • December 11, 2019, at 3:44 PM PST
    • Like
  24. HeavyWater Inactive

    iWe (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    As far as I know, the first express reference to an afterlife is in Daniel 12. This is the very end of the Book of Daniel, and the very last line, by an angelic being or perhaps God speaking to Daniel in a vision, is: “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.” I don’t know how modern Jews interpret this.

    Most see it as a reference to the time of resurrection of the dead, which is mashed within Judaism along with the coming of the Messiah, and the rebuilding of the Temple. There is much speculation, but nothing concrete.

    iWe, 

    Why don’t you view Isaiah 52:13-53:12 as a reference to Jesus as the Messiah?

    Here’s part of it, Isaiah 53:4-6

    Surely he has borne our infirmities
    and carried our diseases;
    yet we accounted him stricken,
    struck down by God, and afflicted.
    5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,
    crushed for our iniquities;
    upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
    and by his bruises we are healed.
    6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have all turned to our own way,
    and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

    I wonder if your answer would align with Dennis Prager’s?

     

    • #24
    • December 11, 2019, at 3:47 PM PST
    • Like
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I don’t recall anything about an afterlife in the arc from Genesis to Deuteronomy, though there is a peaceful death at a good old age, often translated as being “gathered to his people.” I don’t know the Hebrew connotations. This description was used in the deaths of Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Aaron, and Moses.

    The language differs from person to person, but there is no hint of heaven here. Moshe and Jacob are more alive for the Jewish people than they were during most of their lives: we have Moshe in mind every time we fulfill a commandment.

     

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    As far as I know, the first express reference to an afterlife is in Daniel 12. This is the very end of the Book of Daniel, and the very last line, by an angelic being or perhaps God speaking to Daniel in a vision, is: “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.” I don’t know how modern Jews interpret this.

    Most see it as a reference to the time of resurrection of the dead, which is mashed within Judaism along with the coming of the Messiah, and the rebuilding of the Temple. There is much speculation, but nothing concrete.

    Thanks, iWe. I have a follow-up question, for you and/or any other Jewish believers who might know. What are the major Old Testament references to Messiah, from the Jewish perspective?

    Obviously, I have my thoughts about this as a Christian believer, but I’m curious about the Jewish perspective on this.

    I don’t know all the places the Meshiach is referenced, but to me, it doesn’t matter. He has not arrived yet. You can identify every place where the Meshiach is, or could be referenced, but he is not named. And he hasn’t come, from our point of view.

    • #25
    • December 11, 2019, at 4:02 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  26. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    The God question is a bit mixed up for most people. God exists, no “belief” is necessary or required. To look around and not see God’s will in everything, and thus his existence, requires a certain type of willful ignorance. What most people mean when they say they “believe in God” is actually if they sign on to a moral framework called a Religion. Not exactly the same thing, though many confuse them. God is simple, Religion is harder and less certain.

    • #26
    • December 11, 2019, at 4:22 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  27. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I don’t recall anything about an afterlife in the arc from Genesis to Deuteronomy, though there is a peaceful death at a good old age, often translated as being “gathered to his people.” I don’t know the Hebrew connotations. This description was used in the deaths of Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Aaron, and Moses.

    The language differs from person to person, but there is no hint of heaven here. Moshe and Jacob are more alive for the Jewish people than they were during most of their lives: we have Moshe in mind every time we fulfill a commandment.

     

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    As far as I know, the first express reference to an afterlife is in Daniel 12. This is the very end of the Book of Daniel, and the very last line, by an angelic being or perhaps God speaking to Daniel in a vision, is: “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.” I don’t know how modern Jews interpret this.

    Most see it as a reference to the time of resurrection of the dead, which is mashed within Judaism along with the coming of the Messiah, and the rebuilding of the Temple. There is much speculation, but nothing concrete.

    Thanks, iWe. I have a follow-up question, for you and/or any other Jewish believers who might know. What are the major Old Testament references to Messiah, from the Jewish perspective?

    Obviously, I have my thoughts about this as a Christian believer, but I’m curious about the Jewish perspective on this.

    I don’t know all the places the Meshiach is referenced, but to me, it doesn’t matter. He has not arrived yet. You can identify every place where the Meshiach is, or could be referenced, but he is not named. And he hasn’t come, from our point of view.

    Susan, I’m not trying to set up a “gotcha.” I’m trying to understand the Jewish view of Messiah, which obviously differs from my view.

    • #27
    • December 11, 2019, at 4:43 PM PST
    • 1 like
  28. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I don’t recall anything about an afterlife in the arc from Genesis to Deuteronomy, though there is a peaceful death at a good old age, often translated as being “gathered to his people.” I don’t know the Hebrew connotations. This description was used in the deaths of Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Aaron, and Moses.

    The language differs from person to person, but there is no hint of heaven here. Moshe and Jacob are more alive for the Jewish people than they were during most of their lives: we have Moshe in mind every time we fulfill a commandment.

     

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    As far as I know, the first express reference to an afterlife is in Daniel 12. This is the very end of the Book of Daniel, and the very last line, by an angelic being or perhaps God speaking to Daniel in a vision, is: “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.” I don’t know how modern Jews interpret this.

    Most see it as a reference to the time of resurrection of the dead, which is mashed within Judaism along with the coming of the Messiah, and the rebuilding of the Temple. There is much speculation, but nothing concrete.

    Thanks, iWe. I have a follow-up question, for you and/or any other Jewish believers who might know. What are the major Old Testament references to Messiah, from the Jewish perspective?

    Obviously, I have my thoughts about this as a Christian believer, but I’m curious about the Jewish perspective on this.

    I don’t know all the places the Meshiach is referenced, but to me, it doesn’t matter. He has not arrived yet. You can identify every place where the Meshiach is, or could be referenced, but he is not named. And he hasn’t come, from our point of view.

    Susan, I’m not trying to set up a “gotcha.” I’m trying to understand the Jewish view of Messiah, which obviously differs from my view.

    I’m sorry, Jerry, I didn’t feel a gotcha; it’s just that it’s not a topic that is high on my priority list. Here is a link with a lot of the information you’ve requested; it includes some of the beliefs that vary with different groups. It also give the Torah citations.

    • #28
    • December 11, 2019, at 5:18 PM PST
    • Like
  29. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    . . .

    Thanks, iWe. I have a follow-up question, for you and/or any other Jewish believers who might know. What are the major Old Testament references to Messiah, from the Jewish perspective?

    Obviously, I have my thoughts about this as a Christian believer, but I’m curious about the Jewish perspective on this.

    I don’t know all the places the Meshiach is referenced, but to me, it doesn’t matter. He has not arrived yet. You can identify every place where the Meshiach is, or could be referenced, but he is not named. And he hasn’t come, from our point of view.

    Susan, I’m not trying to set up a “gotcha.” I’m trying to understand the Jewish view of Messiah, which obviously differs from my view.

    I’m sorry, Jerry, I didn’t feel a gotcha; it’s just that it’s not a topic that is high on my priority list. Here is a link with a lot of the information you’ve requested; it includes some of the beliefs that vary with different groups. It also give the Torah citations.

    Susan, thank you so much for the link. It is fascinating, and triggered many connections and thoughts. I won’t bore you with them, except one interesting coincidence.

    The link said that Jacob referred to Messiah as “Shiloh” in Genesis 49. Not coincidentally, Shiloh was the name of a major battle in our Civil War in 1862, an important victory for Grant in his path toward overall command and the battle with the worst casualties in US history up to that point (though, sadly, there were even higher casualties in a few subsequent battles). I say “not coincidentally” just because Shiloh, Tennessee must have been named after this Biblical reference. I’m not claiming that Grant was the Messiah.

    Shiloh was also important because the overall Confederate commander, Albert Sidney Johnston, was killed in the battle. He was arguably the best general in the South, and Jefferson Davis reportedly believed that his death was “the turning point of our fate.”

    • #29
    • December 11, 2019, at 6:26 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  30. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Inactive
    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu

    As Jerry G noted above, we are works in progress, a most Chassidic concept. Classically speaking, Chassidic Jews would do soul searching every night before bed. They would write down everything they did during the day together with comments as to what was lacking in each act so as to improve tomorrow. We can always do better. More than this, the transformation can be radical. For example, after you finish praying, you are ideally a different, better person than you were before. Otherwise, what is the purpose of prayer? And so on, from moment to moment. It is a steep challenge. Each day, we are commanded to remember that we were slaves in Egypt. No matter how high you climbed yesterday, you were a slave with strictly limited potential compared to what you can become today.

    My own journey towards G-d began in Israel. Perhaps because it is a place where potential is reached and exceeded. It’s like the story of Jacob removing the massive stone from the well after meeting the shepherds there. He has just had the famous “Jacob’s Ladder” dream where G-d promises him a glorious future. Recognizing his potential, Jacob has the strength to remove the stone but, of course, this is not because Jacob is a weight lifter, but rather because his heart and soul have been aroused with the message that he can achieve greatness and so he is capable of anything. This is really the story of modern Israel — the transformation of desert and swamp into near paradise despite the constant threat of war — as well.

    • #30
    • December 11, 2019, at 7:09 PM PST
    • 3 likes