From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
This was Jesus’ only mistake, but it was a whopper: his generation passed away 2 thousand years ago and nothing much happened. So much for the “Kingdom of Heaven.” If Jesus was a prophet he’s a pretty terrible one. His prediction was justifiably ridiculed for ages.
Or perhaps as with other biblical conundrums and paradoxes, we just have to forget everything “they” taught us and re-read the verses with fresh eyes and a little less cynicism.
Ask now, and see, can a man bear a child? Why then do I see every man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor? Why has every face turned pale?
And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people.
Communism was originally a Christian ideal. All who were filled with the Holy Spirit joined together in brotherhood to take care of each other. But unlike modern day Communism, it was voluntary not forced.
Moreover, I gave them statutes that were not good and judgments by which they could not live, and I defiled them by their own gifts in their passing of every firstborn through [the fire], that I might devastate them. I did it that they might know that I am the Lord.
And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”
All that open the womb are mine, and every firstling of your cattle born a male, ox or sheep. The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before me empty-handed.
Isaac was the first born Jew of the original covenant, and thus had to be offered to God. Fortunately he was redeemed by a ram (click the image to see the full version). God will provide for us, though we must trust him.
Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are saying to you, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon,’ for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you. I have not sent them, declares the Lord, but they are prophesying falsely in my name.
King Nebuchadnezzar had already plundered Israel’s treasures and sent many of the Jews into exile. Now they were threatening to conquer Jerusalem. Jeremiah urged the people to accept the yoke of Babylon: