Monday, October 25, 2010

WTF Moment in Bible Study: Jesus' Dogs

Yeah, I know...another WTF moment in Bible study.

So, hubby and I have finished Revelations and now we're back in Psalms! YAY!! A triumphant return in less than a year.

So anyway, I haven't done a WTF moment in Bible Study in a while although I've come up across some interesting doozies. But it is fitting that at the end of the Bible, a dramatic one should present itself.

Now, going from the gospels, the epistles, and what all in the New Testament, Jesus called folks "dogs" twice.   Dog apparently was a slang used back in the day (In Jesus' day) which means, "Strangers, foreigners, folks not like us."

This was the term Jesus used when a foreign woman came up to him asking healing for her daughter:
He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." Matthew 15:26

It's the kinda thing that makes little ethnic me a bit antzy...and depending on how spiritual I'm being, I pretty much accepted it as Jesus (the son of God) just testing the woman and urging her on to faith. Or Jesus (the son of Man) having a little more growing in favor to do and working out his provincial kinks. After all, this is the Saviour of the world who when he heard the Greeks say, "We want to see Jesus" heard the call that "the world wants to see me, so I must prepare myself to die for the world. So, yeah, he loved people...all people.

But then, up comes this:
For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and fornicators, and murderers, and idolaters, and whoever loves and makes a lie. Rev 22:15

Aargh, YES, the Lord of all life has not gotten rid of the old slang. John the Revelator has Jesus -- white hair, sword coming out of his mouth, sitting on a throne-- using an epithet for stranger. 

Dang! That's scary! Okay, I can deal with folks being called fornicators, sorcerers, idolatoers.
I can deal with the cowardly and unbelieving and all liars having their part in the lake of fire.
I can even deal with the question of why are there gates to a city if no one is outside it or wait a second why are there trees for healing if no one gets sick so there really must be some kind of person not quite saved enough to get into heaven. (Won't go into detail about the priests in Ezekiel's vision who can't see the Prince's face although they serve him forever. Won't go into detail about what exactly does God do with all those people who were born in the millenium but not under the holy spirit and who joined Satan during the 1000 year Little Season because although Satan hadn't been loosed to tempt them, they still had the unredeemed human spirit that was at war with God.)

But this dogs thing! ??? Wow, what an insult to be outside the kingdom! Now it's a spiritual kingdom and folks are still the "strangers"...well, in a spiritual non-ethnic way, you're not Jewish and not in the Chosen People kinda way. True, I don't think folks in heaven will always be talking about the "dogs" outside the gates (Not even sure if they're outside the gates or in hell. One of those annoying places where the Greek punctuation isn't really known) But the fact that Jesus was so harsh here, that even in his spiritual ascended self he uses this phrase.

So who are these dogs? Well, I'm still gonna go with the stranger hypothesis. But they might be saved dogs, if you know what I mean. People who knew Jesus but who kept indulging in their sins and returning to their sin like a dog returns to his vomit. 

Either way, it certainly is a shocker when one ponders it. All the tribes of the world are in heaven in Revelations  -- and Jesus is grown up, the lamb of God (for the world) the lion of Judah and son of David (for Jews) and yet, the wounding comment he had used against the Syro-Phenician woman to show her non-belongingness still exists...and is one of the last words on his lips.... Well, near to "And the Spirit says, 'Come.'"

Yeah, it blows the mind. Well, it blows MY mind. I've never liked being an outsider, you know. Strive to enter, folks. Don't want Jesus calling us "dogs" now, do we? 
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