The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for January, 2007

TOTALITARIAN TOLERANCE

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 30, 2007

(I’d like to quote an article from LifeSiteNews.com and follow it with some brief thoughts

British PM ~ No Religious Exemption Forcing Provision of Goods and Services to Gays

MP’s will not be allowed free vote on issue

By Hilary White

LONDON, January 29, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – British Prime Minister
Tony Blair has announced today that there will be no exemptions
possible for Catholic adoption agencies who attempt to refuse services
to homosexual partners.

“I start from a very firm foundation. There is no place in our society
for discrimination,” Blair said. “That’s why I support the right of gay
couples to apply to adopt like any other couple.”

“While views obviously differ, everyone is agreed that above all the
interests of the children and particularly the most vulnerable children
must come first,” he added.

Blair is expected to announce a “transition period” after the SOR’s
come into general effect to allow Churches to become accustomed to
compromising their beliefs. Blair said the rules will not come “fully”
into force until the end of 2008. In the meantime, Catholic agencies,
he said, had a “statutory duty” to refer homosexual couples to other
agencies. Blair also added that the House of Commons Labour MP’s would
not be allowed a free vote on the issue.

The PM’s decision has been expected since last week to be in line with
his cabinet who, it was said, were appalled and in a state of near
revolt over the possibility that he would allow Catholics to act
according to their religious principles.

Blair’s announcement comes in the midst of what some are calling the
most serious Church/state crisis in Britain in a century. It also comes
at the end of Blair’s long tenure as Prime Minister and leader of his
party with polls showing slipping support for Labour.

The recently-passed Equality Act’s Sexual Orientation Regulations
(SOR’s) specify that no one may “discriminate” against homosexuals in
the provision of goods and services, including in religious schools,
adoption and social aid agencies, hotels or rental facilities.

Last week, the head of the Catholic Church of England and Wales, Cormac
Cardinal Murphy O’Connor, addressed a letter to MP’s saying that
Catholic adoption agencies, that handle the bulk of the “difficult”
cases of child adoptions, would be forced to close instead of allow the
government to coerce their religious conscience.

The controversy between the government and the Catholic Church over the
impending implementation of the SOR’s had by the weekend descended into
name-calling with some British MP’s dusting off some of Britain’s
nearly-forgotten traditional anti-clerical and anti-papal slurs.

Cardinal Murphy O’Connor responded today saying he was “deeply
disappointed” at the decision. “We are, of course, deeply disappointed
that no exemption will be granted to our agencies on the grounds of
widely held religious conviction and conscience,” he said.

“We look to the forthcoming Parliamentary debate to address some of the
fundamental issues centred on the well-being of the child, whose needs
must always be put first.”

British Catholics can expect little from a change in government. The
head of the opposition Tories, David Cameron, announced that he also
does not favour an exemption for Catholic or other religious agencies
or services. He said, however, that his party members would have a free
vote.

The opt-out proposal had the support of some Jewish and Muslim groups,
as well as the Church of England’s leadership, Archbishop of Canterbury
Rowan Williams and John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu, Archbishop of York.

“I start from a very firm foundation. there is no place in our society for discrimination,” Blair said. Apparently, this Pontius Pilatician doesn’t seem to understand that to discriminate means “too choose.” In its classical meaning it referred to an act of judgement or choice in accoprdance with right reason and morality. To act towards or choose one thing over another for any reason is to engage in a form of discrimination. What classifies the act as just or unjust discrimination is the morality (or lack thereof) underlying it. Mister Blair talks about the firm foundation he starts from, that there can be no discrimination in his society, yet it is clear his statement is a begging of the question.

“The controversy between the government and the Catholic Church over the impending implimentation of the SOR’s had by the weekend descended into name-calling with some British MP’s dusting off some of Britain’s nearly-forgotten traditional anti-clerical and anti-papal slurs.” How firm is the foundation Mister Blair claims to be starting from-that there can be no discrimination in his society- when his fellow advocates for the SOR’s act are clearly doing operating from anti-Catholic bigotries?

“While views obviously differ, everyone is agreed that above all the interests of the children and particularly the most vulnerable children must come first.” This is just so much horse manure. The SOR’s act has nothing to do with children up for adoption, its only concern is the interests of the gay lobby. the children’s well-being never factored into the act. Blair is here just giving lip service to the concerns of his opponents. Here is some testimony from some people who are growing or have grown up in same sex homes. And here are some facts from psychological studies.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states this: “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every UNJUST discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (2358 my emphasis). Is it unjust not to allow two people of the same sex to adopt a child and thus form an un-natural family? Is it unjust not to allow a same sex couple to adopt a child because, as is well known, same sex relations tend to be much more prone to violence than heterosexual ones; not to mention much more promiscuous as well?

For more stats and figures, go here.

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The Pillars of Unbelief—Machiavelli by Peter Kreeft

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 30, 2007

(The following is excerpted from THE OFFICIAL PETER KREEFT WEBSITE.   The portion I have quoted is from the introduction to a series of articles which originally appeared in the NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER (see link below).   This introduction is prefixed to an article on Machiavelli.  It is hoped that the reader will, after reading this brief introduction, proceed to Mister Kreeft’s website and aquaint him/herself with the other “Pillars of Unbelief.”

The Pillars of Unbelief—Machiavelli by Peter Kreeft


The Pillars of Unbelief—Machiavelli
More Featured Writing
Source: Jan-Feb 1988
National Catholic RegisterExternal link
(opens new window)

Just as we have pillars of Christian faith, the saints, so are there individuals who have become pillars of unbelief. Peter Kreeft discusses six modern thinkers with an enormous impact on everyday life, and with great harm to the Christian mind:

* Machiavelli – inventor of “the new morality”
* Kant – subjectivizer of Truth
* Nietzsche – self-proclaimed “Anti-Christ”
* Freud – founder of the “sexual revolution”
* Marx – false Moses for the masses, and
* Sartre – apostle of absurdity.

We need to talk about “enemies” of the faith because the life of faith is a real war. So say all the prophets, Apostles, martyrs and our Lord Himself.

Yet, we try to avoid talking about enemies. Why?

Partly because of our fear of confusing spiritual with material enemies; of hating the sinner along with the sin; of forgetting that “our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens” (Eph. 6:12).

But that fear is more unfounded today than ever in the past. No age has been more suspicious of militarism, more terrified of the horrors of physical war, than ours. And no age has been more prone to confuse the sin with the sinner, not by hating the sinner along with the sin but by loving the sin along with the sinner. We often use “compassion” as an equivalent for moral relativism.

We’re also soft. We don’t like to fight because fighting means suffering and sacrifice. War may not quite be hell, but it’s damned uncomfortable. And anyway, we’re not sure there’s anything worth fighting for. Perhaps we lack courage because we lack a reason for courage.

This is how we think as moderns, but not as Catholics. As Catholics we know life is spiritual warfare and that there are spiritual enemies. Once we admit that, the next step follows inevitably. It is essential in warfare to know your enemy. Otherwise, his spies pass by undetected. So this series is devoted to knowing our spiritual enemies in the struggle for the modern heart. We’ll discuss six modern thinkers who’ve had an enormous impact on our everyday life. They have also done great harm to the Christian mind.

Their names: Machiavelli, the inventor of “the new morality”; Kant, the subjectivizer of Truth; Nietzsche, the self-proclaimed “Anti-Christ”; Freud, the founder of the “sexual revolution”; Marx, the false Moses for the masses; and Sartre, the apostle of absurdity.

Read more, beginning with the words Niccolo Machiavelli (1496-1527), as the founder of modern political and social philosophy…”

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Democrats Plans for Dividing and Demonizing Pro-Lifers

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 29, 2007

Democrats Plans for Dividing and Demonizing Pro-Lifers
Plan to promote more contraception and thereby make pro-lifers look like hypocritical extremists

By Joseph A. D’Agostino
FRONT ROYAL, Virginia, January 26, 2007 (pop.org/LifeSiteNews.com) – Democratic leaders in Congress have quietly begun the next phase of their new strategy to divide and demonize pro-life Americans. This strategy includes targeting crisis pregnancy centers because of their tremendous success, a strategy led by Rep. Henry Waxman (D.-Calif.), the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee thanks to last fall’s election results.

Waxman and others are miffed because CPCs tellwomen about the incontrovertible connection between abortion and breast cancer. He is also the Democrats’ point man against teaching children to abstain from sexual relations. Yet going after CPCs is unlikely to divide pro-lifers or go far in demonizing us outside of the Dems’ base voters.

More insidious is the issue of contraception. Having learned the hard way that the unabashed celebration of abortion was losing them votes, Democrats in the last election cycle sought to portray themselves as moderate on the issue and even recruited a fair number of pro-life candidates to run for Congress, with considerable success. Now that they have taken control of our national legislature, they must appear to care about reducing abortion while not doing anything that would actually reduce abortion and alienate their fanatically pro-death base, and at the same time isolate truly pro-life Americans in the minds of the so-called “abortion grays.”

These are American voters who have qualms about abortion but do not wish it outlawed, and are thus susceptible to appeals from either side of the abortion divide. Most abortion grays view as unpleasantly extremist both the NARAL, Barbara Boxer types who embrace even partial-birth abortion and principled anti-abortion activists who believe every single unborn child should be saved however inconvenient he may be.

Because of Roe v. Wade and political realities, banning most abortions is not on congressional pro-lifers’ agenda for the time being, so pro-abortion forces have found another way to do harm, in more ways than one. Their approach could not only divide and demonize pro-lifers, but would spread disease among youth, increase their psychic distress, and inflate the number of abortions.

The Dems’ plan is to promote contraception as a means of reducing abortion and watch pro-lifers, who know contraception increases abortion, squirm as the media portrays any opposition to more federal funding for contraceptive programs as hypocritical extremism on the part of pro-lifers. Of course, a plan to reduce abortion by increasing contraceptive prevalence has highly persuasive surface plausibility. More
contraception means fewer unwanted pregnancies, right? And fewer unwanted pregnancies means fewer abortions, right? It seems so obvious, common-sensical, and practical.

Yet experience has proven it false. You don’t need statistics to know this, and this time I will refrain from offering a passel of them. When contraceptive use exploded in the United States during the 1970s, so did the abortion rate. Continued promotion of contraception, including the distribution of free condoms en masse to high-schoolers, in the ‘80s and ‘90s did nothing to reduce the abortion rate, which has dipped slightly in the past few years—coinciding with a rise in abstinence and anti-abortion attitudes among young people. Foreign countries have experienced the same pattern: Wherever contraceptive use has become widespread, so has abortion. Far more often than not, they go in tandem, not in opposition.

Why is this? For one thing, contraception isn’t very effective. Some methods work well in the laboratory, but few people conduct their sex lives in laboratories. In the real world, contraception fails all the time. In fact, 53% of unplanned pregnancies happen to women who are using contraception.

More fundamentally, the contraceptive mentality causes abortion. When women and girls choose to sleep with men whose children they don’t want, they will take steps to ensure those children aren’t born. If
contraception fails, they will abort. And because abortion is easily available, these women can be lax about using contraception, knowing there is a cheap and legal fall-back option.

Some anti-abortion Democrats, though, are pursuing the pro-contraception strategy. New Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.), who says he opposes abortion, introduced a bill on Congress’ first day this year that would increase funding for contraception and the morning-after pill. Senators Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy have signed on—which should tell you something. Rep. Tim Ryan (D.-Ohio), another abortion opponent, has a bill that would fund more contraception but also provide help to women who decide to carry unplanned pregnancies to term. These sort of bills could split pro-life members of Congress and make those who oppose them seem extreme and heartless.

They should remember that contraception increases abortion. They should also remember that contraceptives give young people a false sense of security, leading them to engage in riskier behavior than they otherwise would even though contraception is of limited effectiveness in preventing pregnancies and disease (and many form of contraception actually increase disease risk, at least for women). Moreover, all forms of contraception cause illness. Fro example, there is no doubt that the contraceptive pill increases cancer risks. Putting more pills into the hands of young women means federal funding for the killng of American girls.

Pro-lifers should be ready for these controversies when the Democratic establishment and their media allies choose to move them to the front burner of American politics.

Joseph A. D’Agostino is Vice President for Communications at the Population Research Institute.

(c) Copyright: LifeSiteNews.com is a production of Interim Publishing . Permission to republish is granted (with limitation*) but acknowledgement of source is *REQUIRED* (use LifeSiteNews.com).

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About this site.

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 27, 2007

I am in the process of moving my posts from my old site (also called The Divine Lamp) to this one.  One problem I am encountering is the fact that the Perfomancing  feature which works so well with my other wordpress and e-blogger blogs, does not work with this one.  This means the tranfering of posts will take some time.  In order to see what I have up so far on this site see the categories listed on the right.

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THE HOUSE OF FAITH

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 25, 2007

house-of-faith.JPG
Often the Church has been called the building of God(1 Cor 3:9). TheLord Himself compared Himself to the stone which the builders rejected, but which was made into the cornerstone (Mt 21:42; see also Act 4:11; 1 Pet 2:7; Psalm 117:22). On this foundation the Church is built by the apostles (1 Cor 3:11), and from it the Church Receives durability and consolidation. This edifice has many names to describe it: the house of God (1 Tim 3:15) in which dwells his family; The household of God in the Spirit (Eph 2:19-22); the dwelling place of God among men (Rev 21:3); and especially, the holy temple. THIS TEMPLE, SYMBOLIZED IN PLACES OF WORSHIP BUILT OUT OF STONE, IS PRAISED BY THE HOLY FATHERS AND, NOT WITHOUT REASON, IS COMPARED IN THE LITURGY TO THE HOLY CITY, THE NEW JERUSALEM. As living stones we here on earth are built into it (1 Pet 2:5). John contemplates this holy city coming down from heaven at the renewal of the world as a bride made ready and adorned for her husband (Rev 21:16). (Vat II; Dog. Const., Lumen Gentium, art. 6. Emphasis added)

May he who is answer you on the day of your distress. May the name of the God Of Jacob establish you on the heights, defend you from his temple, and give you foundation from Zion. May He remember every one of your offerings, accept every one of your oblations. May he give you all your heart desires, bring to accomplishment every plan of yours. (psalm 20:2-5. My translation see NAB 20:2-5)

Yahweh is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear?

Yahweh is the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?

When evil doers came at me to eat up my flesh, even my adversaries and my foes, they stumbled and fell.

Thoiugh an army should camp against me, my heart shall not fear.

Though war should rise against me, even then I will b confident.

One thing have I asked from Yahweh, that I will seek after, that I may dwell in the house of Yahweh all the days of my life, to see Yahweh’s beauty, and to inquire in his temple.

For in the day of trouble he will keep me secretly in his pavilion.In the covert of his tabernacle he will hide me. He will lift me up on a rock. (Psalm 27:1-5 WEB bible; also NAB)

Great is Yahweh, and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, in his holy mountain.

Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion above the heights of the north, the city of the great king.

God has shown himself in her citadel as a refuge.

For, behold, the kings assembled themselves, they passed by together.

they saw, then they were amazed. They were dismayed. They hurried away.

Trembling took hold of them there, pain, as of a woman in travail…

As we have heard, so we have seen, in the city of Yahweh of Armies, in the city of our God. God will establish it forever.

We have thought about your loving kindness, God, in the midst of your temple.

As is your name, God, so is your praise to the ends of the earth. Uour right hand is full of righteuousness.

Let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice, because of your judgements.

Walk about Zion, and go around her, number its towers, mark well her bulwarks,consider her places, that you may tell it to the next generation.

For this God is our God forever and ever. He will be our guide even to death. ( Psalm 48 :1-6, 8-14. WEB Bible. italicised words in vs. 2 are my modification.

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:1-2)

ANGELUS COMMENTARY FROM POPE BENEDICT XVI: Psalm 126 (127), just proclaimed, presents before our eyes a spectacle in movement: a house under construction, the city with its watchmen, family life, night watches, daily work, the little and great secrets of daily life. However, over all rises a decisive presence: that of the Lord who watches over the works of man, as the incisive beginning of the psalm suggests: “Uless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build.”

A solid society is born, indeed, from the commitment of all its members, but it has need of the blessing and support of that God who, unfortunately, is often excluded and ignored. The Book of Proverbs underlines the primacy of divine action for the well-being of a community and it does so in a radical way, affirming that “the blessings of the Lord make rich, and he adds no sorrow with it” (Prov 10:22) [Comm. on Psalm 126 (127); Pope Benedict XVI]. Go here to read the rest.

See St. Augustine’s notes on this Psalm here.

Posted in NOTES ON THE PSALMS, OTHER STUFF, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

ISAIAH 1:10-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 25, 2007

ISAIAH 1:10-17.

Vs. 10. Hear the word of Yahweh, you who rule Sodom. Listen to the instruction of our God you Gomorrah-people.

Having begun the oracle by calling heaven and earth to attention as witnesses, the prophet now calls on the sinful rulers and people to attend to God’s teaching. Notice the link between vss 9 and 10 (Sodom, Gomorrah). This shows that vss 10-17 are to be taken as relating to vss 2-9. Having seperated themselves from God (2-9) they still seek him in worship (10-17). In the crrent passage God shows he is having none of that.

“Hear…” (Heb shama; shaw-mah) This may be intended not only as a call to attention but also as a reminder of the shema, the traditional morning prayer of devout Jews which opens with the word “hear”.It is a prayer that insists on complete fidelity and reliance on God. “HEAR, OR ISRAEL, THE LORD IS OUR GOD, THE LORD ALONE! FOR THIS REASON, YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD, YOUR GOD, WITH YOUR ENTIRE HEART, WITH YOUR ENTIRE SOUL, AND WITH ALL OF YOUR STRENGTH. (Dt 6:5) In order to worship God properly one must be right with him. See the story of righteous Abraham and his role in the Sodom and Gomorrah event (Gen 18:16-19:29)

Vs 11. What care do I have concerning the number of your sacrifices? says the Lord. I have had quite enough of your whole burnt offerings of rams, and of the fat of your fatted beasts; no delight do I take in the blood of your bulls, your lambs, or your goats.

This verse notes several common sacrifices mandated by the law. God is not here condemning sacrifices as useless, a claim once made by some liberal scholars. The point of the verses being examined is the proper disposition needed for such sacrifices (see Amos 5:21-24; Hosea 6:6; Jer 7:21-23; Matt 5:21-26)

Vs 12 When you come before my face, who required these things from you, that you should trample my courts?

To be “before” someones “face” is Heb idiom for being present in someones company. God never required that people come before him in the temple (trample my courts) with useless sacrifices.

Vs 13 Bring to me no more of your vain offerings; your incense is an abomination before me. Your new moon and sabbath assemblies are solemnities of wickedness which I cannot endure.

Just as God cannot bear sacrifices done with impure motives, neither can he tolerate the celebration of holy days when the same motives are present.

Vs 14. Your new moons and feast days my soul hates; they have become a burden upon me, and I am tired of bearing them.

The word used for hate in the verse is “shane” (saw-nay). It refers to the hatred of a personal enemy. This enemy God is tired (la’ah, law-ah. that is, disgusted) with bearing (enduring).

Vs 15 When you spread out your hands (ie. in prayer) i will conceal my eyes from you; if you make a multitude of prayers, I will refuse to listen; for your hands are filled with blood.

God will refuse to look upon hands outstreched in prayer because they are covered with blood. Some scholars think the blood refers to the blood of the worthless sacrifices mentioned in previous verses. I think it’s a preparation for vs 21. Since this is my blog the scholars gets overuled (it feels good to be king). The reference to God concealing his eyes may be a link to vs 12 which speaks of the people coming before the face (into the presence) of God.

Vs 16-17. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; take away your evil deeds from before my eyes; stop doing evil, learn how to do good,strive after justice, remove oppression, protect the fatherless, plead the widows cause.

Notice the reference to God’s eyes, it links with the reference in vs 15. This is one reason why, in vs 15, I think “your hands are full of blood” does not refer to sacrifice. God has changed his focus from sins against himself, to sins against others. What the people are told to correct here was a special concern of God’s. Recall the words of our Blessed Lord about the greatest commandment: You shall love the Lord, your God, with your entire heart, your entire soul, and your entire mind. This is the first and the greatest of the commandments. The second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as if he were your very self. All of the law, and all of the prophets depend on these two commands. (Mt 22:34-40; quoting Dt 6:5 and Lev 19:18)

For more about widows, orphans, and the oppressed see Ex 22:21-24; Mal 3:4-5; Amos 4:1-5. Note the close connection to sacrifice and justice in the last two passages.

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ISAIAH 1:4-9

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 24, 2007

ISAIAH 1:4-9
Vs 4. “woe, sinful nation, a people burdened down by iniquity, offspring of sinners, sons of corruption! They have forsaken Yahweh, and scorned the holy one of Israel. They have gone away backward.”

Described as Israel in verse 3 (a name that relates them to God) they are here simply called a sinful nation. In verse 2 they were described as sons (of God), and in verse 3 as My (God’s) people. But here in verse 4 the relation ship is shown as broken. Now they are refered to as offspring and sons of evil and corruption. Notice that the possesive “my” has become the distant “them”. What they wanted in verse 3– not to know God–they have gotten. God no longer knows them in a personal way.

Verse 4 also contains a word play in Hebrew. The word iniquity in Heb means literally to be bent backward. It denotes perversity. The people “burdened down by iniquity” (bent backwardness, a state of perversity), have “gone away backward” from God. Their sins have led to apostasy. Their rebellion is complete (vs 2).

Vs 5-6. There is now nowhere for you to be further struck, yet you revolt again and again. From the bottom of your feet, to the very top of your head there is no undamaged place, only wounds and welts and sores; they have not been closed, nor bandaged, nor soothed with oil.

We’ve seen that the people have seperated themselves from God as their father (vss 2-3); and that God has seperated himself from them as his children (vs 4). Now, in verses 5-6, we see God thru the prophet describe the people in terms of a rebellious slave. This of course relates to the family seperation theme and the theme of rebellion mentioned in vs 2. Yet it also continues the theme of senselessness alluded to in vs 3 (the senseless beasts). A slave who has been beaten so frequently that his wounds not only do not heal, but also cover every inch of his body, has no sense at all.

Vss 7-9. (7)”Your land is laid to waste, fire burns you cities; foreigners consume your land before your very eyes; it is waste, overthrown by aliens. (8)And Daughter Zion stands lonely, like a hut in a vineyard, like a shack in a cucmber patch, like a city under siege. (9)Had not the Lord of Hosts (armies) left us as a remnant, we would be as Sodom; we would be like Gomorrah.”

These verses relate to vss 5 and 6. The southern kingdom of Judah is like the slave that has been beaten over and over again. The beating has been military invasion and the desolation it brings. What event is being refered to here is slightly debated by scholars.

There were three invasions of the kingdom in the prophets day. The first is called the Syro-Ephraimite war of 735-732 BC. This event saw Syria (also called Damascus or Aram) and the northern kingdom of Israel (Ephraim) invade Judah. They wanted that kingdom to enter into an alliance with them against the growing might of Assyria. Ahaz, king of Judah, refused and was attacked. The plan was to install a puppet king to replace him. Ahaz appealed to Assyria for help. That kingdom invaded and destroyed Syria and reduced both Israel (north) and Judah (south) to vassalage, forcing them to pay heavy tribute (see Is. 7-8; 2 Kings 16; 2 Chron 28:16-27). Some think this is the event being refered to here.

The second invasion took place when Assyria, under Sargon, invaded in 712 BC.

The third invasion was in 701 BC, near the end of the prophets career. This too was by the Assyrians under Sennacherib. When Sqargon II died in 705, several of its vassal kingdoms, including Judah under Hezekiah, rebelled. The new king Sennacherib advanced and reduced most of the rebel kingdoms. In 701 BC he invaded Judah and laid much of the land and cities to waste. He laid siege to the Jerusalem but, as the prophet had predicted, the holy city was saved. See 2 Kings 18-19; Is 36-38; 2 Chron 32. Most scholars think it is this event being spoken of in Is 1.

The land being laid waste and invasion by foreign armies are two of the curses threatened against the people for breaking the covenant. See Deut 28:16-69.

The symbol of the hut in a vineyard or vegetable patch is quaint, like a picture you might see on a calender. That is, if you forget the fact that the land is wasted. It was common for Jewish farmers at harvest and vintage time to construct huts in their fields. This was probably to protect the harvested fruit. As the harvest proceeded the once quaint scene would turn ugly as the land began to look more and more desolate because of the disappearing fruit and greenery. It is this bleak image that the prophet is playing with.

657px-syro-ephraimite_war.jpg A map of the Syro-Ephraimite War.

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ISAIAH 1:2-9

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 23, 2007

Read 1:2-9

Vs 2 “Hear…sons have I raised…”  This verse and the whole of chapter one reflects the Deuteronomistic covenant theology.   In the book of Deuteronomy, as the people stood on the Plains of Moab prepared to enter the Promised Land, Moses delivered a series of five speeches which focused on God’s love for his people and what was expected of them in return.

Moses begins by summarizing important events from the Exodus wanderings (chapters 1-3). He then moves into a moral exhortation on fidelity to God and his commands, and also gives warnings about what will happen if the people are unfaithful (ch 4).
Within this chapter he warns the people not to make idols for themselves: Therefore, you shall carefully watch over your souls, for you have not seen any likeness in the day Jehovah (Yahweh) spoke to you in Horeb out of the midst of fire, that you deal corruptly, and make for yourselves a graven image, a likeness of any figure, the form of a male or female, the form of any animal in the EARTH; the form of any winged bird that flies in the HEAVENS; the form of any creeping thing on the ground; the form of any fish in the waters under the EARTH; and that you not lift up your eyes towards the HEAVENS and shall see the sun, and the HEAVENS, and you be drawn away to worship them, and serve them; which Jehovah (Yahweh) your God has alloted to all the peoples under all the HEAVENS. (Dt. 4:15-19, LITV translation. This is a literal translation (Protestant). I have added the words in parenthesis which reflects the more commonly accepted spelling of the Hebrew name for God.)

After giving these warnings Moses says: When you father sons (i.e. have children) and son’s son (have grandchildren), and you have been long in the land, and have dealt corruptly, and have made a graven image, a likeness of anything, and have done evil in the sight of Jehovah (Yahweh) your God, to provoke him to anger; I CALL HEAVEN AND EARTH TO WITNESS AGAINST YOU TODAY that you shall soon utterly perish from off the land to which you go over the Jordan to posses it; You shall not prolong your days on it, but shall be utterly destroyed. (Dt 4:25-26, LITV)

Here we see that heaven and earth are called upon as witnesses to the future covenant infidelity of the people and their punishment. A similar statement is found in Dt 30:15-20.

Scholars believe that Isaiah, or, rather, God thru him, is alluding to such passages and is engaging in what was known as a Ri’b (Reeb= covenant lawsuit). Some scholars object to this since it would mean that God is acting as both prosecutor and judge. I am of the opinion that this objection is lame. What would be a conflict of interests among men need not be a conflict of interest with God.

“I have raised sons…they have disowned me.” They have repudiated one of their founding tradition. God had said to Moses: “You shall say to Pharaoh, ‘thus says the Lord, my son is Israel, Israel is my firstborn. Therefore, I say unto you, let my son go, that he may worship me.'” (Ex 4:22-23)

“Sons have I RAISED UP.” The phrase “raised up” provides an important link to some other prophecies early in this book. In 2:2 we will see that God’s mountain shall be RAISED ABOVE the hills. In 2:6-22 we read that man will be BROUGHT LOW, the opposite of being raised up. All that is EXALTED without reference to God will come down. And God alone will be RAISED UP (exalted) on that day.

Vs 3. “Does not an Ox its owner know, an ass its master’s manger…Israel does not know…does not understand.” One of several allusions to the important song of Moses found in Deuteronomy 32 (see the context and the song 31:16-32:44)

Comparing people who rebel against God to senseless animals is very common in the bible. One of my favorite passages is 2 Peter 2, especially vss 12, 15, and 22. It is important to note that Israel’s sin is rebellion in verse 2. The words of verse 3 (Israel does not know…does not understand)imply, in the Hebrew text, that this is willful agnosticism, a part of the rebellion.

ISAIAH 1:4-9
Vs 4. “woe, sinful nation, a people burdened down by iniquity, offspring of sinners, sons of corruption! They have forsaken Yahweh, and scorned the holy one of Israel. They have gone away backward.”

Described as Israel in verse 3 (a name that relates them to God) they are here simply called a sinful nation. In verse 2 they were described as sons (of God), and in verse 3 as My (God’s) people. But here in verse 4 the relation ship is shown as broken. Now they are refered to as offspring and sons of evil and corruption. Notice that the possesive “my” has become the distant “them”. What they wanted in verse 3– not to know God–they have gotten. God no longer knows them in a personal way.

Verse 4 also contains a word play in Hebrew. The word iniquity in Heb means literally to be bent backward. It denotes perversity. The people “burdened down by iniquity” (bent backwardness, a state of perversity), have “gone away backward” from God. Their sins have led to apostasy. Their rebellion is complete (vs 2).

Vs 5-6. There is now nowhere for you to be further struck, yet you revolt again and again. From the bottom of your feet, to the very top of your head there is no undamaged place, only wounds and welts and sores; they have not been closed, nor bandaged, nor soothed with oil.

We’ve seen that the people have seperated themselves from God as their father (vss 2-3); and that God has seperated himself from them as his children (vs 4). Now, in verses 5-6, we see God thru the prophet describe the people in terms of a rebellious slave. This of course relates to the family seperation theme and the theme of rebellion mentioned in vs 2. Yet it also continues the theme of senselessness alluded to in vs 3 (the senseless beasts). A slave who has been beaten so frequently that his wounds not only do not heal, but also cover every inch of his body, has no sense at all.

Vss 7-9. (7)”Your land is laid to waste, fire burns you cities; foreigners consume your land before your very eyes; it is waste, overthrown by aliens. (8)And Daughter Zion stands lonely, like a hut in a vineyard, like a shack in a cucmber patch, like a city under siege. (9)Had not the Lord of Hosts (armies) left us as a remnant, we would be as Sodom; we would be like Gomorrah.”

These verses relate to vss 5 and 6. The southern kingdom of Judah is like the slave that has been beaten over and over again. The beating has been military invasion and the desolation it brings. What event is being refered to here is slightly debated by scholars.

There were three invasions of the kingdom in the prophets day. The first is called the Syro-Ephraimite war of 735-732 BC. This event saw Syria (also called Damascus or Aram) and the northern kingdom of Israel (Ephraim) invade Judah. They wanted that kingdom to enter into an alliance with them against the growing might of Assyria. Ahaz, king of Judah, refused and was attacked. The plan was to install a puppet king to replace him. Ahaz appealed to Assyria for help. That kingdom invaded and destroyed Syria and reduced both Israel (north) and Judah (south) to vassalage, forcing them to pay heavy tribute (see Is. 7-8; 2 Kings 16; 2 Chron 28:16-27). Some think this is the event being refered to here.

The second invasion took place when Assyria, under Sargon, invaded in 712 BC.

The third invasion was in 701 BC, near the end of the prophets career. This too was by the Assyrians under Sennacherib. When Sqargon II died in 705, several of its vassal kingdoms, including Judah under Hezekiah, rebelled. The new king Sennacherib advanced and reduced most of the rebel kingdoms. In 701 BC he invaded Judah and laid much of the land and cities to waste. He laid siege to the Jerusalem but, as the prophet had predicted, the holy city was saved. See 2 Kings 18-19; Is 36-38; 2 Chron 32. Most scholars think it is this event being spoken of in Is 1.

The land being laid waste and invasion by foreign armies are two of the curses threatened against the people for breaking the covenant. See Deut 28:16-69.

The symbol of the hut in a vineyard or vegetable patch is quaint, like a picture you might see on a calender. That is, if you forget the fact that the land is wasted. It was common for Jewish farmers at harvest and vintage time to construct huts in their fields. This was probably to protect the harvested fruit. As the harvest proceeded the once quaint scene would turn ugly as the land began to look more and more desolate because of the disappearing fruit and greenery. It is this bleak image that the prophet is playing with.

657px-syro-ephraimite_war.jpg A map of the Syro-Ephraimite War.

Posted in Bible, NOTES ON ISAIAH | Leave a Comment »

INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 23, 2007

THE DIVINE LAMP: INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH
I wont be going into introductions to the book but, because these are important and aid in understanding the text, I have provided some links.

Catholic Encyclopedia.

Jewish Encyclopedia.

Father William Most.

Father Mitch Pacwa. This is an audio program. Show 30 contains an intro to the prophet. Shows 30-51 give commentary on Isaiah chapters 1-39. Real Player is required to listen to these programs and can be downloaded and used for free here.

A good protestant introduction.

Another Protestant intro (brief, 3 pages)

Isaiah: His Life and Times. Protestant. Rather dated. Part of the Internet Arhive.

Biblical Dictionary. Non-Catholic. Dated.

Like all the books of the writing prophets (except Daniel) this book opens with a superscription (vs 1). The purpose of the superscription is to introduce us to the prophet and to the time period in which his ministry took place. This latter aspect of the verse is done by namoing the monarchs whor occupied the throne of the Southern Kingdom.

(Note: Fro a proper understanding of the historical situation of the pre-exilic prophets it is important to keep in mind that the Davidic Kingdom split in two after the death of Solomon. If you are unfamiliar with the history and theology of this event please read the following:

The law of the king (Deuteronomy 17:14-20).

The rise and fall of Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-43. 1 Kings 12:1-33).

The division of the kingdom and the “original sin” of the new Northern kingdom (1 KIngs 12:1-33. 1 Kings 13:1-34).

Also, read this historical summary (protestant).

Posted in Bible, NOTES ON ISAIAH | Leave a Comment »

Moloch Lives

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 22, 2007

Today is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Here are some resources:

From the USCCB

1) A Statement On the 30th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade. (from 2002)
From Human Life International

1) Pro-Choice Violence, Big Media and Big Abortion.

2) Pro-Choice Violence and Big Pharmaceuticals.

3) Pro-Choice Violence and American Culture.

From LifeNews.com

1) Abortion Advocates Change terms of Debate in the Face of Pro-Life Public Opinion.

2) President Bush Tells Pro-Life Marchers to Persuade Others On Abortion.

Cybercast News Service

1) Sen. Clinton’s Abortion Record May Haunt ’08 Campaign.

Catholics iin the Public Square

1) Roe v. Wade Must Be Destroyed.

2) Archbishop Donald Wuerl: Helping Pelosi Get Away with Murder.

Intercollegiate Studies Institute

1) Is Abortion Morally Justifiable in a Free Society? (This is a debate between Peter Kreeft, as Catholic Philosopher, and David Boonin, Associate Professor of Philosophy at UC-Boulder. Scroll down near the bottom of the page. The debate is offered in both audio and video.)

The Official Peter Kreeft Site

1) Pro-Life Philosophy (Audio. Scroll down to number 19.)

Pro-Life Pulse

1) Note to AP: Update stylebook on correct use of “fetus”

Against the Grain

1) Archbishop Donnald Wuerl-Aiding & Abetting Nancy Pelosi? (A round-up of information relating to the recent fiasco. Lots of links)

Mirror of Justice
1) Roe v. Wade anniversary.

In Communion (Website of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship)

1) Abortion and the Early Church.

Posted in Abortion/Pro Life | Leave a Comment »

 
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