Friday, July 5, 2013

The Superiority of Christianity

Please come in, dear Madam and Sir

May I show you our wares we have available here in Ye Olde Religion Shoppe?

Our main display shows Christianity, on special today for the not too discerning customer. See how popular it is. See how it solves all existential problems with one fell swoop. With absolutely no capital outlay on our side we offer you, in writing, a guaranteed happy afterlife, and an absolute written guarantee that you will never enter the eternal burning hell. How can you argue with these things? Can we really say these things are not true? Is it not better to rather be safe than sorry, so very sorry - for ever? And you have to admit, the very thought of smugly looking at those heathen sinners over in hell for the rest of eternity does have a certain attraction. Serves them so right for laughing at you.

And, while Christianity offers (of course) the ever-present Omni-God, like our Islamic and Judaism ranges, Christianity offers so much more. Here, if you accept the offer within the next hour, you also get ...... are you ready for this ..... Jesus !! Your very own friend, whom you will have a personal relationship with. Feeling lost, sad, scared .... your troubles are over, because Jesus loves you. He is always with you, and you can chat with him at all times. He understands you, not like those other bastards. Choose from our wide variety of Jesuses - like Sven Jesus, the blue-eyed Caucasian Jesus, Buddy Jesus, Hero Jesus, Crack-Whore Jesus, Biker Jesus, Political Jesus, Environmental Jesus and so many more. In fact, why don't you create your very own, with our Biblical Interpretation Kit?

And the chances of you not finding a tailor-made Christianity just for someone as special as you - nil, I tell you, nil. We have over 40,000 versions available in stock, with more arriving any time (ask about our brand new African Christian Ancestor Worship Special). But, let me assure you, if it should happen that somehow you are not happy with our range we can design your very own brand right here and now. For a small extra fee you even get to call yourself Pastor X.

We have over 2 billion customers, all willing to attest to the sheer wonderful experience that is Christianity. It just has to be true. Put an end to all life's pesky questions on science, morality, decisions, responsibility and stop fearing anything at all. Why think, why wonder, why bother with "I don't know" when you can have all that wonderful, unquestioning Christian Certainty. Answers, my friend, Answers, we have them all. Who made us, where do we come from, where are we going  - easy.

Buddhism - too hard, Islam - all those prayers, Judaism - oy, so many rules. Ah Christianity - all the answers, all the salvation, all the time. Just give your heart to Jesus, say I'm sorry and accept that you are a sinner and dirtier than filthy rags. Christianity also provides endless opportunities to bully and manipulate other people - especially the young ones. This makes it a remarkably good religion for the parent or teacher.

So, shall I ring one up for you?

The Greatest Man Who Never Was

A brief guide to the making of Jesus of Nazareth, the Greatest Man Who Never Was.

1. No one "just made-up" Jesus.

If we step around the centuries of fabrication and glorification which informs everyone's perception of Jesus Christ and closely examine the two hundred year gestation period of the current Lord and Savior – that is approximately 100 BC - 100 AD – we can see a perfectly plausible and, indeed, convincing process by which, upon the legacy of earlier times and from piety and scripture alone, the Christian godman emerged into the light.

Beliefs created the man; the man did not create the beliefs.

In essence Jesus Christ is like every other ancient god, a personification of Principals and Forces. More than anything else, the figure of Jesus symbolized and personified Just Law, Divine Punishment and Reward. The myth did not require the happenstance of a genuine human life to get it going – which is one reason why, as a human being, the superhero is at best only partially formed, even after passing through several revisions and re-workings.

2. Evolving Hero myth

The Jews, a repeatedly conquered people on the fringes of great empires, long nurtured hope for a deliverer. Such heroes of the people were a staple of their sacred literature. During the period 1st century BC / 1st century AD, whilst the Herodian aristocracy happily danced to the tune of the caesars, exploitation of the common people intensified. Upon their backs now weighed the priesthood, the landowning elite and the Romans. The stage had been set in which rabbis and rebels could pitch subversive ideas to the despised and exploited masses.

The Jewish religious radicals – militant patriots within Palestine and proto-Christians of the Jewish diaspora – contended for the future of Judaism. In the Levant, militant resistance to Rome had the upper hand until the final debacle of 135. In the diaspora, a repackaged piety centered on a personal savior god eventually gained the ascendancy, advancing with each successive reversal of belligerency and the attendant flood of refugees and captive slaves into the cities of the Mediterranean.

The early Jewish-Christian scribes drew most of their inspiration from the traditional source – the vast stock of Jewish sacred writings, which were (and are) a reiterating statement of lost piety, divine punishment and righteousness regained.

The earliest "Christ" reigned in Heaven at God's right hand. Nowhere was a genuine human life to be found. Only at the End of Days would he arrive to judge the quick and the dead. Only those who worshipped him, the Elect, would enter the Kingdom.

3. Paganizing the Jewish Myth

Judaism in the Diaspora, for all its exclusivity, became Hellenized. It also attracted a following among pagans disillusioned with their arbitrary traditional gods. In the cities of the eastern Mediterranean, this neo-Judaism fused a multiplicity of old Jewish themes – Son of Man, Wisdom and Messiah with ideas long familiar to pagans: redemptive sacrifice, Son of God, Logos. The farrago made little headway against a reorganizing rabbinic Judaism but found a ready ear among pagans long accustomed to syncretic gods.

Because heavenly existence remained unknowable the handful of intellectuals who led the various bands of early proto-Christians spoke of their Christ by use of an allegorical human life. Set in times past, present and future, it was a device by which their Lord resolved ethical issues and uttered divine Wisdom. Each worthy tenet of a higher morality, every pithy statement of priestly wisdom, was coupled to the majestic name of Jesus the Christ to give sanction and assurance of its heavenly origin.

A revised 'rabbinic' Judaism made an impressive revival in the Roman world in the 2nd century. But by then the heresy now called Christianity had been commandeered by gentile pagans who saw opportunity in a hybridized oriental cult with a strong Jewish core. They took the stock of Jewish scripture, long available in the Greek language, and set it to a new purpose.

4. Allegory mutates into "reality"

The earliest works on the Christian godman had been simple liturgical documents in which the figure of Jesus had no discernible features, no true biography – merely attributes befitting his messianic status, such as absolute assuredness and "authority". A new generation of ex-pagan scribes, convincing themselves that this Lord and Savior had in reality walked upon the earth, set to work to thoroughly ground their hero in an historical setting.

They selected the reign of the most famous Jewish king – Herod – for his birth and the tenure of the most brutal Roman governor – Pilate – for his ministry. The activity of a genuine, pacifist prophet – John the Baptist – was used as a prologue to their hero's own tale and useful historical detail was gleaned from the works of the Jewish historian Josephus.

Scavenging through the pious romances and holy heroics of Hebrew scripture and Jewish history the Christian scribes found edifying story lines and useful characterization. Their intent was that, in the day-to-day struggle for a mass following, their Christ should match rival gods point for point, miracle for miracle. Even so, Christ's "life" remained extremely thin. His "ministry" and wonder working filled only eight weeks or so of "biography" – and that included 40 days and nights in the wilderness.

To make good the shortage of material, Christ's so-called "life" was back-projected as the "fulfillment of prophecy" – art imitating artifice. On the pretext "That Scripture Might Be Fulfilled" every utterance and pronouncement of the ancient Jewish prophets was wrenched out of context and repurposed as a prefiguring of the Christian wonder-worker.

To those who already "believed" it was the majestic design of an ineffable God, weaving the wondrous image of his only begotten son across several centuries of Jewish history. The misadventure and internecine strife of an entire people were reduced to the prologue for the Christian godman.

The compendium that resulted – ambiguous, inconsistent, improbable and impossible – though never intended as a "history", nonetheless masqueraded as such, underpinning the claims of the faith to a unique historical foundation. But any attempt to reconstruct the timetable or itinerary of the "ministry" of the Christian savior is doomed to failure because the gospels are both inadequate and contradictory. One moment Jesus is in the Decapolis, receiving word of the death of John the Baptist, the next he is in Phoenicia expelling demons. One moment Jesus is "transfiguring" on a mountain in Syria, the next he is pontificating in Samaria.

5. It's All a Fraud

Every instance in the godman's "career" was nothing other than a set piece, templated from an earlier source. Jesus the Christ, King of Kings, Light of the World, High Priest forever, Good Shepherd, Universal Judge and the Savior of Mankind is nothing less than – nothing other than – an omnibus edition of all that had gone before, the final product of ancient religious syncretism.

A 'life' conjured up from pious fantasy, a mass of borrowed quotations, copied story elements and a corpus of self-serving speculation, does not constitute an historical reality.

It constitutes a myth, a hero-myth, in essentials no different from the legends of champions that times of crisis called into existence in many cultures. "Jesus Christ Lord and Savior" is certainly the most convoluted and enduring of such accretions but its fabrication from simple elements is no less apparent than that of any other west Asian salvation god.

Makes You Think

If all this sounds shocking and difficult to accept reflect on the following:

1. Absolutely nothing at all from secular history corroborates the sacred biography and yet this 'greatest story' is peppered with numerous anachronisms, contradictions and absurdities. For example, at the time that Joseph and the pregnant Mary are said to have gone off to Bethlehem for a supposed Roman census, Galilee (unlike Judea) was not a Roman province and therefore ma and pa would have had no reason to make the journey.

2. Nazareth (let alone a city of Nazareth) did not exist during the first century.

3. Many elements of the 'Passion' make no sense historically. For example, a trial for Jesus, when suspected rebels were habitually arrested and executed by the Romans without trial?

4. There is NO corroborating evidence for the existence of the 12 Apostles and absolutely NO evidence for the colorful variety of martyrs' deaths they supposedly experienced. The Bible itself actually mentions the death of only two apostles, a James who was put to death by Herod Agrippa and the nasty Judas Iscariot. The fanciful heroics were dreamed up to inspire generations of gullible Christians.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Paul vs Luke

The apostle Paul said in Galatians 1:20, "Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not." So, who said Paul was lying about the things he said in Galatians 1? The writer of the Acts (supposedly Luke) did.

Luke said that Paul was struck blind and led about by hand and was taught the things he must do and was baptized by the disciples at Damascus (Acts 9: 18-19).

Paul said nothing about being struck blind but that he received a revelation from God and Jesus Christ and that he conferred not with flesh and blood but went into Arabia and returned to Damascus (Gal. 1:11-17).

Luke said that Paul went to Jerusalem and tried to join the disciples but they were afraid of him and that Barnabus brought Paul before the apostles. Then Paul was with them (the disciples) going in and coming out at Jerusalem  (Acts 9:26-28).

Paul said that he went to Jerusalem after 3 years of preaching his gospel and went to see Peter and stayed with him for 15 days and didn't see any of the other apostles except James. (Gal. 1:18-19).

Luke said that Paul was summoned to Jerusalem about the circumcision dispute and went preaching his gospel to all and then went into private conference with the apostles (Acts 15: 1-5).

Paul said that he went up to Jerusalem by revelation and spoke to the apostles privately (Gal. 2:1-2).

Luke says that the apostles added three things to Paul's gentile converts and instructed that they could learn the rest of the law of Moses by attending the synagogues in every city (Acts 15:19-21).

Paul said that "they added nothing to me" (Gal. 2: 6).

Luke said that Paul was in subjection to the other apostles (Acts 15) Paul said he wasn't (Gal. 2). But, remember that Paul said, "before God, I lie not". No doubt, somebody was lying...

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mystery Babylon

There is a key to understanding the book of Revelation and that key is the first verse of the book "things which must shortly come to pass" over 1900 years ago. Once someone understands that "Mystery Babylon" is Jerusalem, the rest is easy.

1 - Mystery Babylon is continually called the "great city" (Revelation 14:8; 16:19; 17:18; 18:10,16,18,19) as is Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8)

2 - It is described as receiving God's wrath (Revelation 14:8,19; 16:19) as is Jerusalem (Matthew 22:7; 23:37,38; Mark 12:9; Luke 13:34,35; 19:27,41-44; 20:16; 21:20; 23:28-31; Acts 6:14; 7:51,52; Galatians 4:21-31; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16).

3 - It is said to be fornicating (Revelation 14:8; 17:2) as is Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8. In the OT when Babylon was about to be used by God to judge Jerusalem, Jerusalem is said to be fornicating also (Ezek. 16:28, 30) (Jer. 3:1, 6,8.

4 - It is said that outside the city blood flowed for 1600 furlongs (200 miles) (Revelation 14:20), this is the north-south length of the land of Judea. Also, Josephus speaks of rivers of blood where dead bodies were washing up because they were slaughtered by the Romans and remained unburied. He also relates of the blood flow actually putting out fires in houses.

5 - Great hail weighing one talent is said to fall upon men there (Revelation 16:21). Josephus tells of the Roman catapults being used to cast whitewashed boulders over the walls of Jerusalem and they each weighed one talent.

6 - It is described as the great whore (Revelation 17:2), which is fitting for apostate Jerusalem being estranged from God. Again, in the OT, when Babylon was to judge Jerusalem, the prophet Ezekiel and Jeremiah call Jerusalem a harlot, a whore and a whorish woman (Ezek. 16:28, 30) (Jer. 3:1, 6, 8.

7 - It is described as being adorned in OT priestly apparel (Revelation 17:4, 5; 18:16) which is fitting for apostate Jerusalem having a form of godliness but being far from God. Even on the forehead is written "Mother of harlots . . ." just like "Holiness to the Lord" is written on the foreheads of the OT priesthood (Exodus 28:36-38).

8 - It is clearly not literal Babylon, as it is called a "mystery" (Revelation 17:5).

9 - It is being held responsible for the "blood of the saints" and the "blood of the martyrs of Jesus (Revelation 17:6; 18:24) just as Jerusalem was (Matthew 23:29-39; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, see references in #2 above also).

10 - It can be shown that the NT constantly contrasts two Jerusalems:

10a - Heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 11:16; 12:22) VS Earthly Jerusalem (Galatians 4:21-31).

10b - The city with foundations (Hebrews 11:10) VS the "no continuing" city (Hebrews 13:14)

10c - The city whose builder is God (Hebrews 11:10) VS the city whose builder is man (Galatians 4:21-31)

10d - The Jerusalem to come (Hebrews 13:14) VS the Jerusalem that "now is" (in Paul's day, Galatians 4:25)

10e - The Jerusalem that is above (Galatians 4:26) VS the Jerusalem that is below (Galatians 4:21-31)

10f - The Jerusalem that is free (Galatians 4:26) VS the Jerusalem that is in bondage (Galatians 4:25)

I believe I can carry this contrast on into Revelation and establish the following additional ones:

10g - The Holy City (Revelation 21:2; 22:19) VS the Wicked City (Revelation 17-18)

10h - The Bride (Revelation 21:9; 22:17) VS the Harlot (Revelation 17:15,16)

10i - New Jerusalem (Revelation 3:12; 21:2) VS Old Earthly Jerusalem.

11 - It is said to make war with the Lamb (Revelation 17:14) as is Jerusalem (see references in #2 above) and the first-century Jews (Almost every chapter in the book of Acts!). When Saul of Tarsus persecuted the Christians, Jesus said, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" (Acts 9:4).

12 - The beast hates her, makes her desolate and naked, eats her flesh and burns her with fire (Revelation 17:16), which is exactly what the Romans did to Jerusalem.

13 - The saints abiding in Babylon were told to escape (Revelation 18:4) as were the saints abiding in Jerusalem at the time of the Roman siege (Luke 21:20-22).

14 - It claims it is not a "widow" (Revelation 18:7), but if it is Jerusalem then it is fitting to be called a widow for she killed her own husband (Jesus).

15 - In its judgment it experiences death, mourning, famine and being burned with fire (Revelation 18:8 which is very descriptive of what happens in the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

16 - Her judgment is an act of God's vengeance (Revelation 18:20) as is Jerusalem's (Luke 21:22; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; Hebrews 10:28-31).

17 - Jerusalem is fittingly called "spiritually . . . Sodom and Egypt" (Revelation 11:8 and in the same passage called "the great city" (see #1 above). Sodom was destroyed for fornication, Babylon in Revelation is destroyed for fornication, and Jerusalem was destroyed for spiritual fornication. Egypt was destroyed for holding Israel in bondage, Babylon is destroyed for persecuting the saints and holding them in bondage, Jerusalem was destroyed for persecuting the saints and holding them in spiritual bondage.

18 - The "voice of the bridegroom" and of the "bride" was to be heard no more in her (Revelation 18:23) and these terms are associated with Jesus and the church (John 3:29). Since Jesus told His church to depart from Jerusalem (Revelation 18:4), then the bride was removed and thus the voice of the bridegroom was also removed.

19 - The seven mountains on which the woman, "Mystery Babylon" sits are the seven mountains of Judea on which Jerusalem sits as the capitol city: Mt. Acra, Mt. Gareb, Mt. Ophel, Mt. Moriah, Mt. Bezetha, Mt. Goath and Mt. Zion. Jerusalem is a city of seven mountains (Rev. 17:9).

20 - If Peter remained with the church in Jerusalem (Galatians 2:7), then he metaphorically calls it Babylon in 1 Peter 5:13.

Thus based on the above reasons I believe that the Babylon of Revelation is an apocalyptic style description of Jerusalem and its destruction in 70 AD and without understanding that, the rest of the book cannot be understood.

The Imminent Return of Christ

Many Christians expect the return of Christ at any time today and his return has been Imminent ever since the pre-millennialism movements circa 1830. William Miller of the Millerite movement had Jesus returning and the end of the present age date set as 1844. Since that time many dates have been set but, alas, no return and no thousand-year reign on the earth has begun.

The New Testament writers are clear about the "soon" return of Christ over 1,900 years ago. Read what they have to say:

When John the Baptist began to preach, he warned everybody to repent because the kingdom of heaven was near (Matt. 3:2). When the people and their leaders came out to see John, he emphatically told them that the Day of Judgment was not far away (Matt. 3:7-12; Luke 3:7-9, 16-17).

After John the Baptist had been imprisoned, Jesus continued to preach repentance. The reason was the same -- the time had come and the kingdom was near (Mark 1:14-15).

When Jesus sent out the Twelve to the people of Israel, they were instructed to preach that the kingdom was near. He warned them that they would be persecuted because of Him. However, Jesus assured them that they would not run out of cities to flee to before He returned (Matt. 10:5-7, 22-23).

When Jesus dined with the Pharisees, He told them that it would be their generation that would be held accountable for all the righteous blood that had been shed on the earth (Luke 11:37, 50-51).

Near the end of His ministry, Jesus told His disciples that if anyone from their adulterous and sinful generation were to deny Him, upon His coming in the Father's glory with the angels, He would reward each one of them for what they had done by also denying them. Then, He flatly stated that some of the disciples to whom He was speaking would not die before they saw Him coming in His kingdom (Matt. 16:27-28; Mark. 8:38-9:1).

When Jesus pronounced His seven woes upon the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, He again stated that their generation would be the one responsible for all the righteous blood that had been shed on the earth (Matt. 23:35-36).

In His Olivet Discourse, Jesus explained to His disciples that their generation would not pass away before it had witnessed the Apostasy, the preaching of the Gospel throughout the world, the end of the age, the desolation of their temple, the overthrow of their nation, the coming of the Son of Man, and the Day of Judgment. He told them that they needed to watch and pray so that they could escape all the things that were about to transpire (Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21:5-36).

At His trial, Jesus told the High Priest that he would see the day when the Son of Man would be sitting at the right hand of the Father and coming on the clouds of heaven (Matt. 26:64; Mark 14:62).

Following His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus spoke to the apostle Peter about his own death. When Peter asked how the apostle John would die, Jesus implied that John might not die until He returned. Afterward, John wrote that some of the brothers believed Jesus had said that he would never die, but John countered by indicating that Jesus had only said that he might live until the Second Coming (John 21:18-23).

On the day of Pentecost, Peter told the people that the fulfillment of the prophet Joel's words had come. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was an undeniable sign that they were in the last days and that the manifestation of the Day of the Lord was not far away. Peter begged the people to save themselves from their corrupt generation. Some understood the urgency of Peter's words and in response were baptized (Acts 2:1, 16-20, 40-41).

Years later when he wrote to the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul indicated that some believers might still be alive to witness the Second Coming (1 Thess. 4:15ff).

Paul told the Corinthians that there was not much time left and that the world in its present form was currently passing away (1 Cor. 7:29, 31). He informed them that the fulfillment of the ages had arrived (1 Cor. 10:11). Later, he said that not all of them would die before the resurrection had occurred (1 Cor. 15:51ff).

When Paul wrote to the Romans, he advised them that the hour had come for them to realize that their salvation was much sooner than originally expected (Rom. 13:11). Then, he told them that it would not be long before God crushed Satan under their feet (Rom. 16:20).

James instructed the people to be patient until the coming of the Lord. Next, he stated that Jesus and the Judgment were coming soon (James 5:7-9).

Paul informed the Philippians that the Lord's coming was near (Php. 4:5).

The author of Hebrews wrote that the Old Covenant was in the process of passing away and that it would shortly be abolished (Heb. 8:13). The regulations of the covenant were only to be applicable until the new order had arrived (Heb. 9:10). The author further informed the Hebrews that when Jesus entered into heaven it had occurred at the end of the ages (Heb. 9:26). The Hebrews were encouraged to meet with each other more often as they saw the Day of the Lord getting nearer. They were then told that the time was very short and that the coming of the Lord would occur without delay (Heb. 10:25, 37).

The apostle Peter told the people that it was the last times and their salvation was ready to be revealed (1 Pet. 1:5). He also informed them that the Lord had been manifested in those same last times for their sake (1 Pet. 1:20). In addition, he said that the Lord was ready to judge the living and the dead and that the end of all things was near (1 Pet. 4:5, 7).

Paul suggested that Timothy might still be alive at the Second Coming when he charged him to remain faithful until that time came (1 Tim. 6:12-14).

Jude warned the people that godless men had slipped in among them. Then, he reminded them that they were in the last times and their situation was just as the Apostles had foretold would happen (Jude 4, 18).

The apostle John told the people that the darkness was passing and the true light was already shinning (1 John 2:8). Afterward, he stated that the world and its desires were currently passing away (1 John 2:17). He told them that many antichrists had come. He then said that their presence was a clear indication that it was the last hour (1 John 2:18).

In the book of Revelation, the apostle John wrote that the events, which were being disclosed, were going to happen soon. He then stated that those who heard, read and took the prophecy to heart would be blessed because the time was near (Rev. 1:1, 3).

When Jesus addressed the church in Ephesus, He warned them that if they did not repent He would come to them very soon and remove their church from its place (Rev. 2:5). He told the church in Pergamum that they also needed to repent. If they did not, He said that He would quickly come back and bring judgment upon them (Rev. 2:16). To the church in Thyatira, Jesus advised them to hold on to what they had until He returned (Rev. 2:25). Jesus exhorted the church in Sardis to wake up or He would come like a thief and they would not know when He was going to come to them (Rev. 3:3). The church in Philadelphia was commended for their endurance. As a consequence, Jesus told them that He would keep them from the hour of trial that was about to occur. He then declared that He was going to come back soon (Rev. 3:10-11). In his message to the church in Laodicia, Jesus stated that He was about to judge them for their lukewarmness and that they should be zealous and repent (Rev. 3:16, 19).

At the end of the book, John was told that the things, which had just been revealed, would soon take place (Rev. 22:6). Following that, Jesus announced that He was coming soon and that those who kept the words of the prophecy would be blessed (Rev. 22:7). Afterward, John was instructed not to seal up the book because the time was near (Rev. 22:10). Jesus again proclaimed that He was coming soon. He then added that His reward was with Him and He would give to everybody according to what they had done (Rev. 22:12). Jesus closed by once more declaring that He would come back soon (Rev. 22:20).

Without a doubt, the smell of imminence was in the air. These passages prove it. Jesus said He was going to come back soon, before His contemporaries had all died off. He did not say that He would return anytime over a period of two thousand years or more. He said soon! All the authors of the New Testament wrote and preached the same thing. Any eschatological approach that claims otherwise, not only brings the consistency of the New Testament into question, but also ultimately calls Jesus and the New Testament writers liars. If they were merely mistaken then they spoke presumptuously and should not be listened to or fear anything they have said, according to the Law: “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him” (Deut. 18:22).