There was a bunch of feedback on last week's post. In this post I follow up with another passage about Abram. Hope this will help answer questions. Read on for more.
One of the overriding plot complications of the NT is that it was written by witnesses who were using the inspired Testimony taken from the vault at Sychar.
Many of the encounters recorded in the inspired NT are dealing with the faulty reasoning of people using the public and edited copies of the text. Fiction, if you will, about god and his ways.
Taking fiction as truth happens all the time in our modern world. Virtually all reasoning from data found on TV broadcasts, for example, follows the very same pattern. Our modern media creates stories from the same priestly communities and often using the same set of fiction creating tricks. They intentionally mislead.
So the inspired text appears designed to teach by example on how people easily draw wrong conclusions in the fictional world created by the editors. Both in historical time and in our modern world. This is a fundamental life lesson that very few actually learn. With deadly jabs promoted regularly by this same fictional world, this is now an actual survival skill.
In this post I want to explore an example of this by looking at material from John chapter 8. Our current draft of what might be inspired is in the TT. Note that we regularly change these drafts, even their addresses, so I am giving a link that is valid the week this post goes live, but which is subject to change in the future. So beware if you are reading an archive of this blog. The following link will grow stale with time.
This story begins with Pharisees bringing a woman caught in adultery. They are condeming her because of the Law of Moses. Remember, 'Moses' as a document title is the normal name for the first 5 books of modern Bibles. In most languages besides English, these are simply named Moses 1 through Moses 5 to reflect this fact. It is part of the story of Acts 15 to know this. These books are not normally Genesis, Exodus and so on. Moses was an important character, and an inspired writer, but not a massive writer. Note the difference.
This story of the woman caught in adultery is a good example of very smart people reasoning about their world using very bad data. They assume those books accurately reflect what god actually inspired. So they think they have a sure textual foundation for how they are reasoning. They assume any reasoning problems are relatively small. They are coming to Joshua to check what they already assume is pretty sound logic, and are asking Joshua as an expert in the text how he would reason about this situation.
Note this is how smart people practice their logical reasoning skills. They debate interpretations of the text. So the story starts out with scribes and pharisees who wanted to play a standard game with Joshua.
Joshua's answer is seen in paragraph #5. 'If you stay in my word you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.' Joshua's answer is not based on reasoning about the passage itself, nor the details of the woman's specific case. Instead he is taking the subject down to the base documents.
His reference to those documents is 'my word' as used in this passage. Joshua here is saying their Law of Moses is fiction, and not inspired. Joshua is saying he inspired a different document. If these men would use that document, then their lives would be very different. Not just in this specific logical case, but over every aspect of their lives.
Remember the Bible presents not just 1 textual problem, but a myriad of them, enough to seriously mess up someone's life.
In paragraph #7, the scribes and pharisees drop back to a different defense, that they are the sons of Abram. This is a reference to Abram's place as father of all the faithful. They believe their text is valid to the tradition that springs from Abram. Christians and Jews both believe this to this day.
They retort that they are not enslaved, and they object that Joshua is saying they are not free. This is itself illogical on its face because the law they are quoting from Moses to defend stoning a woman did not exist in Abram's day, so it cannot have contributed to Abram's life success whatever it may have been.
Joshua objects to their answer again, and says the proof of following Abram is to do works similar to Abram. Abram never did this sort of thing, like trying to condemn a woman over adultery. Joshua then says they have a different father, always a reference to Cain, son of the serpent, who fornicated with Eve.
By paragraph #8, they protest even this point. The story has been shifted back to the garden, and so they now claim to be sons of god himself. So no longer sons of Abram.
Now that their logical argument is coming from the garden, Joshua hits home with the basic problem. They want to kill this woman they have brought to him, and Joshua says that evidence, and not the text itself, really means they are sons of Cain. Note that theoretical arguments fail when real data refutes them. Wanting to stone someone is the hard evidence that refutes their argument and condemns these men.
They are marking who they have as their conceptual ancestor by the very introduction to their encounter with Joshua. They want to stone a woman. They want to kill.
Joshua is just showing it off. Taking them back to a point where both texts agree. Their action, with the help of broken text, belies what family they are in. By the end of paragraph #8, he triggers them again and says whomever preserves his word will never see death.
Never See Death?
Joshua is stating the prize for following him via the inspired text. When people follow that text, and not Moses, the prize is a walk off, as we discussed last week with Abram and others. Because walking off is conditioned on a commandment to not kill, these men, if they follow through with stoning the woman, will see her death, and will have sealed their own fate in the same step.
In paragraph #9, they retort that Abram and the prophets have died. So nobody of any significance escaped death.
This is another example of my basic point. They are reasoning perfectly well but based on their trust in fundamentally faulty data. They are reading Moses, after all, thinking it is true. In that version Abram dies.
Joshua's answer to their point is that not only did Abram not die, so he is saying their text was wrong, but that Abram lived to see Joshua's day. This means Abram lived to see Joshua's own birth, more than 2000 years after he was a walk off. And, that Joshua knows this about Abram. And, that Abram rejoiced and was glad to see Joshua's day.
Throughout this encounter Joshua is showing himself to know things about people and places and times that only god could know. These fleeting details should have stopped these men in their tracks, but it was beyond them. Joshua does this all the time throughout the inspired text, and he does it in our lives even today.
By paragraph #10, they try and grapple with this by pushing Joshua's age back, estimating he is under 50 years of age. Given that Abram must have been many more years back they estimate the gap between life lengths does not close.
There are different ways to read Joshua's answer to their point on that gap. Joshua is either saying he was around to see Abram's birth, the conventional interpretation, which in any case he did, having told Abram to leave Ur.
Or, the text can be read to say that Joshua spoke to these scribes and pharisees BEFORE Abram was born.
In other words, Joshua might be saying the souls of these men are actually quite old too, but because of death they keep going around through multiple lives and forgetting earlier lives. Forgetting their encounters with Joshua in former lives.
Both ways to read this make Joshua out as god, and existing before Abram's birth. But the latter read suggests something else, these scribes and Pharisees, as opposed to Abram, have gone around repeatedly through various lifetimes because of their own poor actions.
By paragraph #11, their only answer is to pick up stones to try and kill Joshua himself. Showing by their continued actions they are sons of Cain, and will be going around through future lives yet again.
This story is adding details about walk offs that we cannot see until we know Abram was a walk off himself. Abram looked forward to Joshua's birth and saw it when that birth happened.
This is not some strange allegory, but a statement about what the over 2000 year old Abram, watching from the skies, actually witnessed going on here on earth.
So, walk offs can continue to monitor events here on earth. Indeed, they may remain active in earth's affairs. How much so, and in what ways, is a question for a different study. Moses and Elijah, for example, are heavily involved in the events surrounding Joshua's earthly life, so they are examples of heavy involvement. This may not be universally true.
If you were to become a walk off you too could easily live 2000 more years and watch stuff going on in world history. If you were engaged in earth's affairs regularly, at the same pace as history happened, then you could have kept up with changes in vernacular language, for example. So you could easily have come to speak perfect modern English.
Theoretically, all of future earth history can be followed by walk offs, a key lesson to readers of this story involving the scribes and Pharisees.
This story is an example of how people select what they want to be true. Sons of Cain want to kill, and will find justification in the text that they themselves wrote into the text. The editors were liars because they misrepresented what Joshua had actually inspired in his word.
As observers of this story we can see the same pattern everywhere we look in the world around us. The reasoning that people are using about Covid and the jab are exactly the same. Smart people are using horrible data from the modern descendants of Cain to rationalize getting a deadly jab.
Finally this passage gives examples of the grand prize. Walking off earth alive and not seeing death. Just as Abram did, and so too, many others.
Does understanding walk offs make a life of faith easier? Or harder?
Because our list of walk offs has been very short, the normal list of Enoch, Moses, Elijah and Joshua, plus the possibility of a few kings, this prize has been very rare, and thus very hard to achieve.
Now, we think walking off is normal for anyone who actually follows Joshua. This cannot be done by people following Moses, that has not changed. Church friends who still use Moses are still 'born again' as they say.
But the list of walk offs now includes nearly all the heros of the text. Even when we don't have written accounts of their exact walk off event.
So the bar to being a walk off is substantially lowered by this understanding.
This also can be used to better explain various strange prophetic encounters. Walk offs are traditionally called 'angels.' Normally these are reported as visions, but there are a few cases where these involve encounters with regular looking humans. This latter case, when genuine, may actually be encounters with people who were taken up long ago, former walk offs.
I am particularly thinking of encounters with people who appear out of nowhere and then disappear seemingly into nowhere. Ryan and I have run into 2 different cases where this happened to people we know. In both cases our friends ran into people who were coming and going but most certainly not from this constrained world.
Likely these are encounters with walk offs who are monitoring various souls here on earth, appearing and disappearing as needed. Importantly, monitoring souls across lives, as Joshua may have been hinting at in this passage.