Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, January 10, 2021
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sun 10-Jan-2021 26th of Tevet, 5781
Ex 6:2-13 1 Ki 5-6 Ps 105 Lk 19:28-48 (Eph 4)
All Lives Matter – Part 2 by Dr. Raymond Finney
REMORSEFUL ABOUT ABORTION? In a congregation of this size, we almost certainly have women who have had abortions and men who have fathered aborted babies. This RR may stir emotional pain. It is beyond the scope of this RR to discuss in detail post-abortion syndrome, a form of post-traumatic stress disorder. Several Websites offer suggestions. (Google for more information.) You probably live near a crisis pregnancy center, staffed by women who deeply love Yeshua and want to help you. Rabbi Weiner is also available for counseling. Never forget: Your Father loves you and is willing to forgive and forget any transgression, if you ask Him. Now is the time to rid yourself of any guilt you may have harbored for years (1 John 1:9): If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. God has created you for a life of joyful worship and service, not a life of sadness and grief-stricken guilt.
LIFE-AFFIRMING SCRIPTURES: I continue a three-part series on abortion, as we approach Sanctity of Human Life Sunday (January 17). What guidance can we gain from the Holy Scriptures? Consider the following verses, which represent only a sample of Scriptures related to the miracle of life:
● WE (INCLUDING PRE-BORN BABIES) ARE CREATED IN GOD’S IMAGE:
The Bible clearly states that God (Hebrew: Elohim) created humans in His image. Since the image of God is not a physical body but is an eternal spirit, the human counterpart of Elohim’s image (spirit) is our eternal soul. By having souls, humans are unique among the world’s animals. When God breathed His breath into Adam’s nostrils, He transferred His immortal spirit into succeeding generations of Adam’s race. Worthless “shells of clay” belonging to Adam (and, later, to us) became images of God because of our souls. There is no age limit (before or after birth) for a human to receive God’s love and His eternal spirit.
** Reference: Genesis 1:1, 26-28a || Genesis 2:7, 22 || Job 10:8-12; 31:15.
● WE HUMANS ARE GOD’S CHILDREN: God not only created us, He also considers us to be His children. There is no age limit (before or after birth) to be considered a child of God.
** Reference: Acts 17:28 || 1 John 3:1a, 2a.
● GOD KNOWS AND LOVES US, EVEN BEFORE WE ARE BORN: Scriptures clearly teach that Father God knows and loves His children, even before birth.
** Reference: Psalm 139:13-16 || Jeremiah 1:4-5a || Isaiah 49:1b, 5a.
● GOD HAS PLANS FOR US, EVEN BEFORE WE ARE BORN: Scriptures clearly teach that Father God has plans for the future lives of His children, even before birth.
** Reference: Genesis 25:22-23a || Romans 9:10-11 || Matthew 1:18b, 22-23 || Luke 1:36a, 44; 2:21.
● WE ARE SPECIAL IN GOD’S EYES: We humans– God’s children and descendants of Adam and Chavah (Eve) – are so special that God knows every detail about us.
** Reference: Matthew 10:30.
● CHILDREN ARE GIFTS FROM GOD TO BECOME A FAMILY’S HERITAGE: God gives to a man and woman– the nucleus of a family– children as a special gift, a blessing, a heritage.
** Reference: Psalm 127:3
● GOD– NOT MAN– SHOULD DECIDE WHEN A LIFE ENDS: God, the Creator and Giver of life, should decide when that life ends. Man should leave that decision to God.
** Reference: Job 12:10 || Psalm 31:15.
● GOD FORBIDS BLOOD SHEDDING (KILLING) OF AN INNOCENT PERSON:
The lives of God’s children are sacred. We must carefully safeguard the lives of others. One of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:13) has been incorrectly translated (King James Version, KJV) as: “Thou shalt not kill.” In this commandment, the Hebrew verb is ratsach = “intentional, planned, or premeditated killing.” Properly translated, the commandment is: “You shall not murder.” Most translations more recent than the KJV are correctly rendered.
** Reference: Exodus 20:1, 13 || Exodus 21:22-23 || Exodus 23:7 || Proverbs 6:16, 17c.
● ABORTION AS MODERN-DAY MOLOCH WORSHIP? Moloch (Molech) was an ancient pagan (Ammonite) god. Moloch was a metal statue (idol) constructed as a man’s body, with hollow belly and outstretched arms, and a bull’s head. A roaring fire was built in Moloch’s belly, causing his arms and hands to become exceedingly hot. Living newborn infants were placed in Moloch’s arms to die a gruesome, sacrificial death. The Ammonites loudly played flutes and banged drums to drown out the screams of newborn infants being roasted alive. The Bible expressly forbade the Israelites from sacrificing their infants to Moloch. No one today would sacrifice a newborn infant in such a horrific manner. Some question whether today’s abortion could be the counterpart of ancient Moloch sacrifices. In ancient Canaan, a parent made sacrifices to Moloch to ensure a better life. Today, a pregnant woman may seek an abortion for a better life (to attend school, to be able to work, to limit family size, and so forth). In latter stages of pregnancy, the unborn baby can feel pain. Ammonites sacrificed babies by the thousands; Americans sacrifice babies by the tens of millions. The Supreme Court says it is okay to do so, but is it really okay unless the mother’s life is in jeopardy?
** Reference: Leviticus 18:21; 20:2-5 || 1 Kings 11:4-7 || 2 Kings 23:10; 16:3; 21:6 || 2 Chronicles 33:4-6 || Jeremiah 32:35 || Isaiah 57:4-5.
● GOD PRESCRIBED HARSH PUNISHMENT FOR THOSE WHO KILLED HIS CREATION: Ancient Israel lived under Divine laws that demanded harsh punishment, even the death penalty, for the willful taking of human life.
** Reference: Genesis 9:6 || Exodus 21:22-25.
● YESHUA’S LOVE OF AND PROTECTIVE HEART TOWARD CHILDREN: Yeshua loved/ loves little children and sternly warned (then) and would still warn (today) against harming them in any way. Yeshua, knowing the careful, miraculous love in which children are created, would never think of an unborn child as merely a burdensome “clump of cells” to be discarded for convenience.
** Reference: Matthew 19:14. Similar passages: Mark 10:14 and Luke 18:16 ||
Matthew 18:6. Similar passages: Mark 9:42 and Luke 17:2.
● IN DISPUTED OR AMBIGUOUS LAW, GOD’S LAW IS SUPREME: The Bible pays great deference to rulers and governments. If man’s laws (including Supreme Court opinions) conflict with God’s laws, though, we are instructed to follow God’s laws.
** Reference: Acts 5:29.
● GODS WORD IS SUPERIOR TO FALSE TEACHINGS AND KNOWLEDGE:
Many false teachings have arisen and will continue to arise. Truth comes from the Word of God, even if false teachers claim otherwise. Paul cautioned Timothy to avoid “science” or “knowledge” (Greek = gnosis), if such “babbling” contradict faith. We have much babbling of learned men and women today (media, university professors, politicians, etc.), which contradicts God’s Truth.
** Reference: 1 Timothy 6:20-21a.
● CONTRADICTING GOD’S WORD SOWS SEEDS OF A BITTER HARVEST: As God warned and punished Israel for her sins, He surely warns and will punish America for her sins (including abortion on such magnitude as now practiced in this country). Any people harvest what they sow.
** Reference: Hosea 8:7a.
● “MY BODY (AND ANY BABY INSIDE) IS MINE TO DO WITH AS I WISH:” A popular justification for abortion raised by feminists is: “It’s my body. I’ll do with it whatever I wish. No man or no government will tell me what I can or must do.” The Bible clearly teaches that a person’s body (and a baby growing inside) is God’s temple. Disrespecting “God’s temple” by abusing drugs, abortion for convenience, and other forms of defilement dishonors Creator God.
** Reference: Isaiah 53:5 || Romans 12:1 || 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20.
● FIGHT FOR YOUR BELIEFS: If you are pro-life and wish to encourage women not to abort their babies for convenience, become a voice for life. An unborn baby has no voice and cannot plead for mercy. He/ she only has us for his/ her voice. A well-known anti-abortion movie, The Silent Scream, may be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Hb3DFELq4Y . God has given the responsibility for healing a nation from her sins to one group of people– “[The LORD’s] people who are called by [His] name” (2 Chronicles 7:14). We Believers who are called by His name are burdened with seeking to heal America, through humbling ourselves, praying, seeking His face (His presence), and turning from wickedness. We are not doing very well, are we? Recall the famous quotation of Edmund Burke (1729-1797): “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
** Reference: 2 Chronicles 7:14 || Jude 1:3b.
● DO YOUR DUTY TO DEFEND THE WEAK: Is there anyone weaker than an unborn baby? Scriptures command us to defend the poor, the fatherless, the afflicted, and the needy. We Believers are, therefore, commanded to defend unborn babies’ lives (without resorting to violence or illegal actions).
** Reference: Psalm 82:3-4 || Proverbs 31:8-9.
● YOUR SILENCE IS UNACCEPTABLE: A Believer who remains silent, when faced with sin or injustice, becomes a party to the sin or injustice. The following Proverbs passage explains that the One who guards your life [God] knows and will repay those who failed to rescue those being led to slaughter.
** Reference: Isaiah 5:20a || Proverbs 24:11-12 || James (Jacob) 4:17.
● OUR CHOICE– LIFE OR DEATH: Adonai gives His children the choice (free will) of life or death, but cautions us to choose life for ourselves and our children.
** Reference: Deuteronomy 30:19.
● PUNISHMENT FOR THOSE KILLING THE UNBORN AND OTHER INNOCENT PERSONS: Adonai promises to punish those who shed the blood of innocent persons. In the Amos passage, note that He is offended by those who “rip open a pregnant woman’s body” for gain.
** Reference: Genesis 9:6 || Amos 1:13.
● IS A PREGNANCY RESULTING FROM RAPE OR INCEST A CANDIDATE FOR ABORTION? Such poor women, having been impregnated through incest or rape, certainly tug at the heartstrings the most. Much prayer and counseling from family members and spiritual leaders would be necessary to come to a decision about abortion, and, even so, that decision may be an unhappy one. Scriptures indicate that the one who sins must be punished and the children shall not be punished for sins of the fathers.
** Reference: Deuteronomy 24:16 || 2 Kings 14:6 || Ezekiel 18:19-20.
GOD HAS NO OPINION ON ABORTION? I hope we never rely on unsaved and ignorant people who defy and disbelieve God’s Word, while insisting that we accept their “knowledge and interpretation” of this precious document. These people are wrong, when they teach that God has no opinion on abortion. I have even heard some people “prove” the Bible condones abortion. God has much to say about guarding life, even if not calling out abortion by name. He loves all of us, unborn babies included. He wants to be our God. As our God, He can manage the Universe without our help. When we foolishly insist on making Divine decisions, it is as if an ant watches a complicated skyscraper being constructed and decides it needs to supervise the construction. The brainpower of an ant will be of no help to the architects, engineers, and construction workers. God should decide when life ends.
IF PEOPLE ONLY KNEW: On a personal note, I spent a lifetime practicing medicine. I worked long and hard to understand just a little of the intricacies of the human body. At retirement, though, I realized that I had garnered just the tiniest amount of knowledge about the wondrous human body. And, the essence of life remained as mysterious and miraculous as ever. I have never heard anyone adequately explain the difference between life and death. (That is, why is a terminal cancer patient alive at 3:09 pm, but dies at 3:10 pm? What changed in that minute between life and death?) Read the “Ode for the Aging,” written by Kohelet in Ecclesiastes 12:1-8. [Kohelet = “Preacher,” who was an aging Solomon.] The Kohelet also had difficulty understanding aging and death, framing death in beautiful, poetic terms, but Solomon still does not explain the physiology of life and death (the cause of death).
I offer the following, some statistics (only estimates) about the number of cells in the human body. A 250-pound linebacker obviously has more cells than his 100-pound wife. Do not get hung up on numbers, but marvel at what Creator God has created. Even though no one knows how many cells compose a human body, one estimate is that the average man may have 30- to 40-trillion cells.
We have two bodies. One “body” is the structure of bone and flesh we see. The other “body” is an important collection of cells (the gut flora) living inside of us. [Flora = group of living plants, commonly called our “intestinal microbiome.”] Bacteria living in the intestinal tract are most important. It has been estimated that the normal gut may harbor 40-trillion (more or less) bacteria of many types (species), as well as viruses and fungi. Before rushing to your physician for antibiotics to rid your gut of these bacteria, know that you could not live without them. They are indispensable in digestion, manufacturing vitamins and other necessary substances, and providing other key health benefits. You supply the intestinal bacteria with food, water, warmth, and shelter, and they keep you alive. Many persons wisely supplement (increase) their gut bacteria by ingesting live bacteria (probiotics/ prebiotics, yogurt, buttermilk, etc.). Health/ wellness teachers, understanding God’s gift to us by the bacteria living in our intestines, emphasize: “Immunity starts in the gut.” It’s almost like Elohim has a plan, right?
Each one of your trillions of cells is miraculously designed. This design could have occurred only by God, and not by random joining of chemicals, no matter how much time lapsed for these reactions to sort themselves out. (Sorry, Darwin, your simplistic theory of evolution was wrong, unless Elohim used and directed evolutionary processes in His creation!)
Each cell is a chemical factory. Each cell communicates with other cells to heal itself, to kill itself if it becomes cancerous (apoptosis), and to work together with similar and different cells to perform complicated tasks necessary for life. Each cell reproduces itself. Each cell accomplishes so many tasks that we should bow in awe before Adonai at the mere thought of them all. In the future, I may write a series of RRs on the miracle of life. Life is so very fascinating, even though most people take life for granted.
Each one of our cells is far, far more complicated than an entire city, but each cell is so small that it can be seen only by aid of a light microscope. And, further details can be seen only with an electron microscope. And, further details cannot be seen with any microscope but only are made known by chemical and other laboratory tests. “In the beginning,” Creator God miraculously made His creation on a tremendously large scale (the Universe) as well as on the tiniest scale (cells, atoms, subatomic particles). The psalmist knew how to sift out the fools among us (Psalm 14:1a): … The fool said in his heart: “There is no God….”
Even so, those claiming to be the most “learned” among us– who too often prove themselves to be the know-it-all fools among us– accept Godless evolution and argue that abortion can be performed because the product of conception (embryo or fetus) is only a “clump of cells.” God must shake His head a great deal, knowing that He blesses some people with the most intelligence, but they use that intelligence to be the stupidest, most arrogant ones among His children.
Since you have the Scriptures (above) and even more Scriptures, you can know Adonai’s perfect will for His children. You can know Divine secrets and plans, without spending years to earn a Ph.D. or being appointed to a university faculty. When you open your Bible, you have the wisdom of the ages– no, you have a sample of the wisdom of God– at your fingertips.
DEHUMANIZATION AS A WEAPON OF WAR: Except for abortion to save the mother’s life or health, I view abortion on demand, as practiced on the scale of America, as clearly a war against the unborn baby. Every abortion primarily claims a casualty (death) of at least one baby. Every abortion secondarily may claim other casualties (grief, depression) of at least the baby’s mother.
In war, the enemy must be dehumanized. Think what must be done to make young soldiers– often still in their teens– to be willing to kill other humans. The military realizes that during basic training and other training the young soldier must be taught that the enemy is subhuman, that he must be hated, and that he may need to be killed. War is about killing the enemy and destroying his property. In a few weeks, a young recruit can be taught to hate and kill other young people, much like himself. Bomber crews must not think of the deaths of people (even civilians) caused by the bombs falling from their bomb bay doors. In short, the enemy must be dehumanized. Causing deaths of fellow humans– who have families, who love and are loved, who enjoy life, and who want to live– would be intolerable. But, causing deaths of dehumanized objects (who are portrayed as subhuman animals; who are possibly of a different race, religion, or culture; and who are not thought of as having loving families) is tolerable.
The abortion movement excels in dehumanizing an unborn baby. Consider the difference in pregnancies, depending on whether a woman visits an abortion clinic for an abortion or an obstetrician’s office for delivery of her baby:
● Abortionists want to perform the abortion as quickly as possible. Only one “patient” (the pregnant woman) is of concern to an abortionist. Abortion is the only physician-performed procedure which has a mortality rate which exceeds fifty percent. At least one baby dies in each abortion (more if twins, triplets,…).
** Obstetricians lay out plans for months of pregnancy, the delivery, and the postpartum care. Diets, pregnancy goals, and other issues relevant to the health and well-being of both mama and baby are discussed. At least two patients– mama and her baby/ babies– are of concern to the obstetrician. Compare the death rate in abortion– more than 100,000 baby deaths per 100,000 abortions– with the maternal death rate in America of approximately 17.4 women per 100,000 childbirths. This death rate may seem low, but we can– and must– do better. (Compare America’s maternal death rate with Monaco’s maternal death rate of 1.8 deaths/ 100,000 childbirths and Afghanistan’s maternal death rate of 110.6 deaths/ 100,000 childbirths.)
● Abortionists resist showing a pregnant woman an ultrasound or letting her listen to fetal heart tones (heartbeats).
** Obstetricians show ultrasounds and probably make “souvenir” copies for her and the grandparents. The ultrasounds are discussed (gender, presence or absence of any abnormalities). Mama listens to the fetal heart tones of her baby.
● Abortionists use cold, clinical terms for the baby, such as “product of conception” or “fetus.” While these terms are medically correct, they do not have the warm mother-child connotation as does “baby.” The baby is not named. The goal of abortion is “termination” of the pregnancy. The pregnancy may be kept a secret. Mama is often lonely, having no one in whom to confide, seek guidance, or have a shoulder on which to cry.
** Obstetricians and office staff happily talk about the baby. They inquire about any name chosen for the baby. Mama is usually excited and happy. She tells her relatives and friends, and may attend baby showers. The goal of obstetrical care is safe delivery of a healthy infant. And, yes, many pregnant women do have that famous “glow” about them. My wife never looked more attractive than when she was pregnant with our four children. See glow of pregnancy: https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy-glow and other sites. (Okay, vomiting into a toilet with morning sickness is not a good look.)
● Abortionists usually do not speak of the father, if he is even known.
** Obstetricians try, as much as possible, to involve the father in the pregnancy. Fathers now can go into the delivery room (not allowed when my children were born) to witness the miracle of life unfold, and they are given such ceremonial tasks as cutting the umbilical cord.
TO BE CONTINUED: I will complete Part 3 of this RR series next Sunday. Until then, Shalom and Maranatha.