Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Moderator Notes

I asked my Jewish friend, as well as Rabbi Alan Cook, about the local Meshiakhii, or “Ones who follow the Messiah”. It is agreed among my friends that one who raises from the dead is at least a prophet, although might say he or she could be the Messiah. This leads me to another question: How did Jesus determine truth? There has always been different ways to determine truth.

Pontius Pilatus should not have been a Roman citizen. He was the son of a prominent wine merchant, and the family legend was that the family’s citizenship was and the legend of the family bought with a gift or Spanish wine to Ceaser. His other name, Pilatus, referred to his skill with the pilat, or javelin. It is said he demonstrated his skill with the pilat by executing Jewish 'criminals' at one hundred paces. Pontius Pilate said with a sneer: “What is truth?” In his system truth was found at the point of a javelin.

This is not true with Jesus. The Mishna is very specific regarding truth. Very simply, truth is established by two or three witnesses. A witness might refer to a person, but could also be an event or existence. For example, “The stars bear witness”, is the first example cited in Jerushalmi Barakhot. According to the Talmud, two stars show are associated with a bit of doubt and three stars establish truth. In the fifth chapter of Matthew, Jesus’ ideas of witnessing an argument is no more than the application of the laws cited in both the Talmud and the Mishna. If the witnesses are human or of human action, then there is always some doubt as to the surety of the attempt at reconciliation. In the case a human witness or a divine event, the witness does not bring any doubt. Divine witness is absolute proof of truth. The phrase absolute truth applies only to truth witnessed by the presence or action of God.

In high school, the geometry students were taught by the chairman of the Mathematics department, Dr. Clyde T. McCormick, whose favorite questions were: “What do you know for sure?” or “How do you know for sure?” He taught us the difference between the relative truth of geometry proofs and absolute truth. Please notice, in Acts, that Jesus alone in an upper room persisted in calling his disciples as witnesses, even the one we call “the doubter”. They went out to expand the church, and did so almost always at least with two more persons. On an interesting note, Paul was never a witness, so Saul Paulus had need of two additional witnesses. Paul's blindness is taken by many scholars as prophetic to evils begun in the Pauline church.

Thank you for your prayers for Dawn Blackman. Her heart catheterization found no structural problems, but she still has problems and your prayers should continue. If we as a church need to have things that absolute truth, don’t we need God's works to testify?

Blessings to you and yours,
Paul Kohler