The Counterfeit Netzer
This week (Jan 20) on Shabbat Night Live, there are certain verses in the Bible that, as believers, we clearly identify as referring to Yeshua — others, however, who call themselves believers, don’t see it that way.
Jake Hilton explains why the same prophecies in your Bible that you attribute to Yeshua are seen, by the Mormons, as referring to Joseph Smith.
Watch the episode — included on this blog post.
While you watch, consider the questions below. The timeline for each discussion topic in the video is noted on each question. Post your answers in the comments section and let’s get some discussion going!
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 16:00) How is Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 11:14 – “Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” – particularly relevant in our contemporary world, where power-seeking and opportunism are so widespread? What is the most formidable weapon for today’s faithful against those who would corrupt their souls to usurp the place of YeHoVaH in their lives?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 20:00) Similarly, how does the bitter statement in Revelation 3:16 against those souls who are “lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot” dramatize the need for all believers to become conversant with doctrine and scripture, and to avoid the pitfalls of laziness, presumption of salvation, or careless syncretism among conflicting belief systems? What are examples of proactive conduct that could protect the faithful against this ever-present danger?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 24:00) How do the images of Isaiah 11: 1 and 10 illustrate both the integrity of genuine prophecy in their allusion to Yeshua and the hidden dangers of interpretation by unscrupulous individuals who would seek to ingratiate themselves into salvation history? How does a view of these references as an extended metaphor suggest their ultimate power to expose and denigrate the false prophets and self-styled figureheads who seek to co-opt reverence for their own ends?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 28:00) How does the episode recounted in Luke 4:16-21 continue to constitute a paradigm of prophetic fulfillment and the challenge of belief that remains every bit as provocative as for its first-century participants? How has a pervasive ignorance of the Davidic lineage and its various scriptural references on the part of many evangelical Christians arguably led to a superficial view of Yeshua that has resulted in his rejection by many potential believers?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 33:00) Similarly, how has the cryptic reference in Matthew 2:23 –“He shall be called a Nazarene” – been poorly apprehended by otherwise diligent scholars of scripture who have undervalued Yeshua’s affinity with the House of David? How do Nathaniel’s critical words in John 1:46 unwittingly give voice to those skeptics who would dismiss Yeshua’s identity and ministry owing to an ostensible scribal error?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 38:00) How does the historical reflex of David’s lineage, which was exemplified initially by Saul’s disobedience and his replacement by David, whose kingship was in turn disgraced by his own sinfulness, ultimately contribute indirectly to the divine integrity of Yeshua as a ruler? How has his spiritual kingdom endured despite the vagaries of those earthly rulers who continue to try yet fail to depose him?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 42:00) Similarly, how has a popular narrative episode like David’s defeat of Goliath been allowed to obscure the complex and diverse life of this shepherd-minstrel, who rose from obscurity, exile, and outlawry to the consolidation of the tribes of Israel and the establishment of the city of Jerusalem before his downfall? Why is it necessary for today’s followers of Yeshua to recall these seemingly unrelated deeds as they cultivate their spiritual life with the Messiah?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 47:00) How does the recurrence of the root-and-branch imagery that denotes Yeshua as the Messiah, extending as it does from the prophetic texts through the Book of the Revelation, indirectly implicate a mortal figure like Joseph Smith for the presumption of ingratiating himself into this prophecy or appropriating it to his own created theology? How do his ensuing texts demonstrate the dangers of an exegesis that can distort its primary source?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 51:00) Similarly, how do Joseph Smith’s presumptive readings of these images illustrate the perennial hazard of sophistry – a disingenuous manipulation of language for self-serving ends – which is itself an accessible rhetorical resource for Satan, who specializes in mixing lies with truth to foster confusion, doubt, and arbitrary distinctions of meaning?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 54:00) How might Smith’s reliance on an English text of scripture have been exploited toward this same goal of establishing a man-made religion? How can a parsing of the King James Version without the attendant recourse to Greek or Hebrew texts or related sources lead to such potential errors as his apparent conflation of the lineages of Jesse and of Ephraim, to say nothing of the questionable identification of Yeshua with the “stump” of Jesse?