YESHUA BAR ELOHIM: THE ENIGMA OF JESUS AS SON

JESUS AS SON: PART 2 “ENTRANCE OF THE KING”

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
    today I have begotten you…

Kiss the Son,
    lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
    for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

-Psalm 2

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It may come as a surprise to some of you reading this series that one of the implications of Jesus’s title as Son is that of royalty. In fact it’s even more peculiar that the 2 Psalm identifies the king as the Anointed, sound familiar? It’s actually at this point that the message of the Gospels comes clear. Jesus is portrayed as the King, that is the ‘Anointed’. Now, there’s a little more to this that’s revealed in the book of Deuteronomy where the role of the king of Israel is revealed.

The king in the book of Deuteronomy is revealed to be the ‘son’ of Yahweh, the one who would serve under him and be taught/instructed by him. This is pivotal to making sense of what’s going on in the Old Testament/Tanakh. There are of course many stories whose implications may not fully be grasped and as such may cause the biblical texts to be misunderstood. But do not worry, we are here to walk through this together. It is possible to gather some understanding through study.

I hope that the full implications of this understanding of Jesus as Son sheds some light on why Herod was so threatened in the Gospels? And why the New Testament’s adamant stance regarding Jesus’ exclusive claims to sonship are unrivalled? It is a difficult thing to compress in blog form but it is my hope that the essence of the meaning is being fully communicated. This is also fundamentally why Jesus’ message-the Good News/Gospel-is that of God’s Kingdom Come.

All the kings of Israel in the Old Testament were evaluated based on their willingness to submit to Yahweh and be taught by him. This is why, whether the kings were successful in building the nation and making it prosperous or not, it did not take away or add to Yahweh’s judgement. The minute they departed from his counsel, they were judged harshly. Now, what does this understanding have to tell us living in today’s world?

There are several implications but I’ll select a few;

a. The King has enlarged his territory over the world, not just geographical Israel as seen in Acts 1.

b. The extension of the kingdom does not exclude the original recipients of the Revelation of Yahweh’s word, i.e. the Jews as seen in Romans 9.

c. The new Israel formed by Yahweh is as wide as the whole world and as far reaching as the periods in time when other followers of Jesus lived as seen in Genesis 12.

d. The new people formed are proof of God’s power invading the world to transform it, “the old has gone, the new has come” as seen in the book of Revelation.

e. The life Jesus lived as submitted to God, yet being fully God is an example set for his followers as seen in Philippians 2.

f. This is why belief in Jesus automatically makes the believer an ‘heir’, or better yet, a ‘co-heir’ with him of the kingdom.

g. The belief in Jesus also automatically makes those called by his name to become the ‘kings and priests/ kingdom of priests’ that the Torah/Law of Moses speaks about. This is evidence of a government structure in the Anointed’s agenda as revealed in the New Testament.

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BLACK PANTHER: THE MOST UNIQUE CONTRIBUTION TO BLACK THEOLOGY

God works through me, the same as you. There is no feat I achieve that you are not capable of.”

-Black Panther

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As fascinating and as unexpected as it may sound, the Black Panther is indeed a very important figure in comics. This exception of the Black Panther does not exclude other significant black superheroes of authority and influence such as the Blue Marvel. But, the Panther takes first place because he came before the rest. His impact on African American thought was revolutionary. At a time when the African American community battled with self identity, Marvel Comics showed that they could rise up to the occasion and create a character who would be the image of African Americans. The Black Panther, though unassociated to the group that went by the same name did something unimaginable. It not only changed how African Americans saw themselves, it also demonstrated that though they originally hailed from Africa [which had been christened the ‘Dark Continent’ in the sixties], that they and their homeland were not so ‘dark’ after all.

In a manner that must have stunned DC readers at the time, the Black Panther was a point in and of himself. Unlike DC’s Cyborg, the Panther was not a sidekick, he was his own authority. He has remained, since the time of his creation, a king, a genius of Marvel’s top cream, a superhero and a priceless contribution to the Avengers’ team on panel. Now, here’s where some of you may ask some questions like, “Wasn’t Marvel just trying to capitalize on a present issue to earn some extra income?”. The answer, a resounding “No”, here’s why; Stan Lee had pointed out that he did not like his character being ‘shadows’ of the so-called ‘main hero’ because he felt that they took something away from this main hero. He later on went to state that he would not do to any of his characters what DC had done to Batman’s Robin and subjugate them.

At a time when comic books themselves were seeking relevance, Stan Lee and Marvel Comics were on the right path. Seeking to create characters of substance, and relatability; meaning that the selling point of the characters would not be on their power or abilities but on their diverse personalities, weaknesses, challenges and ability to ‘rise up’ as it were after being knocked down several times over. This, if I must say, is a strength. And as recent comic news is showing us, Cap’s history has been re-written. He is now a triple agent and a HYDRA project?? Anyway, many fans are a bit confused about this reveal but this story is bound to be one that may lead fans to respect the Captain even more. Some of you might be skeptical but watch this space…

Now, to the issue at hand, Black Theology and Black Panther’s contribution to the same. Black theology has had a very powerful influence on American society as a whole. Be it loved or hated, it is a force to reckon with. Seeing the likes of Martin Luther King Junior, pardon me, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. springboard the revolution in the U.S. that shook the very core of the rest of America we got the best comparison to the Black Panther character. We got Barack Obama, an educated African man who made African American history through his dual heritage as a Hawaii-born black man. It’s this point that makes me respect Marvel; they looked into the future by being great analysts of the present. I speak and express myself in these posts as a young African man of black descent and I have grown up reading comics. Not only do I love them, I relish their perspectives on several events. As an African theologian, I am thrilled to see the parallels that can be made from the comic book/fictional realm and the realm of theology. If some of the greatest ministers advised other preachers/theologians to hold a paper in one hand and the Bible in another, then comic books qualify right there near the newspaper.

Kudos Marvel on bringing the character to the big screen in Captain America Civil War!

“The more different we are, the more we find that we are the same”

-Chinese Proverb

WHAT ‘GANGLAND’ HAS TO SAY ABOUT KENYA’S POTENTIAL

WHEN ALL WE NEED IS A CAPABLE GROUP OF LEADERS FOR THE NEXT PHASE…

“You know originally, the gangs were created to protect everybody in the community. There was lynching and bombing going on and the gangs were there to protect. What people don’t understand is that a lot of the leaders died. Medgar Evers (has been shot), Bunchy Carter (has been shot), Fred Hampton (has been shot), MLK (has been shot in Memphis Tennessee). These youngsters didn’t have any direction. No leaders to look up to so they imploded on themselves”

-Lecrae

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Lecrae CC3…When the Christian Artists Get Real

It’s amazing how personal this song is, personal in the sense that it speaks from the heart about the heartbreaking effects of the difficulties being faced by many in the U.S. right now. Many of these difficulties are not recent as many of us would think because each and every single one of them have caused strains in inter-ethnic relationships. These strains are presented as being brought about (primarily) by a quest for identity–an identity in a new land/time period. Whereas in the past great leaders emerged who helped make a difference and level the grounds for those from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds, the need to progress, evolve and adapt is urgent.

So much crime has taken place because of hatred and indifference. These things, as the song would point out, have not helped lessen the burden being borne by either side of the conflict. Although these things are of great concern, the song would rightly point out that “it was a crooked system like this that left the King of kings bloodless”, a straight up nod to the fact that the systems in place that deny us the rights to be treated as human beings, regardless of race/ethnicity need to be acknowledged. Not only are they to be acknowledged but undone altogether.

Kenya’s current interest in advancing the nation falls under one oddly similar situation as the U.S.; it needs to accept and take advantage of its diversity. With over 40 tribes, each possessing sub-tribes of their own, Kenya’s diversity is as beautiful as the view of a rose in a kaleidoscope: Each mirror reflection interacts with another reflection from another angle and thus creates a beautiful view.Why tribal politics lets us down is yet to be understood, but the fact is, the power has been and always remains in the hands of the people to change things. Although, like the U.S., there were those who came before to fight the oppressive laws and systems that denied the people equal rights as the rest, Kenya can build right now and today from that great history and become greater.

Although there are issues that have kept many suppressed and kept under the feet of oppressive powers and laws, there still remains a great chance that they can rise up again and produce amazing people. As though things couldn’t get any stranger, Obama was Kenyan and became the president of the U.S. for two whole terms. Whereas some disagree as to his heritage, they should remember that Kenya, like the U.S. had great leaders that suffered to give the people freedom. No one bred from this beautiful land is without worth and value (forgive me here, I am letting loose on my patriotism here. I am Kenyan after all!).

Hence, if Obama can lead, so can any one in the world, but it starts here. No more crime, No more violence. No more pitiful fighting and squabbling. No more lying. No more corruption and stealing. No more negative tribal politics. No more extortion. No more robbing the people. As Lecrae and Propaganda’s ‘Gangland’ rightly point out, Jesus is the best example to learn from regarding leadership and making a difference, as well as living a life worthy of God in the midst of difficulty. This, I believe is what the Gospel of Jesus offers my people and the world today.

Why don’t we make a difference by tackling our issues differently?

Why don’t we dare to be better?

Why don’t we dare to love?

Why don’t we dare to share when it hurts?

Why don’t we dare to be different?

LECRAE FT. PROPAGANDA: GANGLAND

WHY THIS SONG SPEAKS VOLUMES…HAVE WE FORGOTTEN THE PAST?

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[Intro]
We not playin’ out here, it’s for real. We livin’ out here for life, we tryna to get it. Ain’t nobody finna take our life. I keep my young homies out here with these things, my big homies keep handlin’ me. And we keep it crackin’. My other name should’ve been Jesse James cause I stay with my cannon. I didn’t have no choice, I was raised right around the corner from where we standin’. Hollow points in it and all of that, I’m ready. We gang bangin’!

[Intro: Lecrae]
My cousin *beep* was a killer
He done pulled a lot of triggers
He done made a lot of mamas cry
And if you ask him why he do it he’d just say, “I’m young and foolish”
Bang on you right before he made them bullets fly

[Verse 1: Lecrae]
He ain’t have no sense of dignity, his daddy was a mystery
He’ll probably end up dead or sittin’ in a penitentary
And tell the judge he can go to hell for the sentence
And it probably make no sense to you but listen to the history:
The new Jim Crow or the old one
People out here fightin’ for equality and honestly I think they owed some
Back and forth some
Cleaver got a message for the people
Bunchy with ’em and they tryna stop the evil
And they cliqued up with they fist up
The whole neighborhood feelin’ like they meant somethin’
Then it was a mix-up, fed’s got ’em fixed up
End of the movement, back to the bricks, bruh
And Raymond Washington about to start the Crips up
They gettin’ bigger every day and tryna fix stuff
They saw Geronimo Pratt dodgin’ bullets from attacks
Guess they figure, “We don’t really want it this much”

[Break 1: Lecrae]
You know originally, the gangs were created to protect everybody in the community. There was lynching and bombing going on and the gangs were there to protect. What people don’t understand is that a lot of the leaders died. Medgar Evers (has been shot), Bunchy Carter (has been shot), Fred Hampton (has been shot), MLK (has been shot in Memphis Tennessee). These youngsters didn’t have any direction. No leaders to look up to so they imploded on themselves

[Verse 2: Lecrae]
They say that Crip stands for Community
Revolutionary Interparty Service
Way before the genocide and the murders
A little after integration was the verdict
When bombs might go off at the Sunday service (baow!)
They protectin’ they community
Then it turn into diplomatic immunity
Then a fight against oppression was the pressin’
Now they keep on losin’ battles and they started losin’ unity
Now they beat each other blue-black
Force fed self hate ’till the truth crack
Got they own folks hidin’ on the rooftops
They ain’t finna take no more, they finna shoot back (baow!)
Now they bond like a family they all bloods
From the concrete jungle to the small hoods
Throwin’ signs up, now the crime’s up
We was meant to kill oppression now we loadin’ 9’s up
But never mind us, grind us
Factory done closed, now a lot of people jobless
Now they got the drugs comin’ in from Nicaragua
Government done turned a blind eye, or they liars

[Break 2: Lecrae]
It was a perfect storm. I mean, we’re talkin’ post-segregation. And what are you gonna do? The factories have closed and no one’s hiring anybody from the urban community because of what you look like. And now there’s a war going on in Nicaragua and drugs are being imported into your community. Are you gonna to sell drugs or are you gonna be homeless? Cause the government’s not paying attention

[Verse 3: Propaganda]
Huh, man you tell me
What’s a reasonable man to say?
There’s a high school in Alabama named after Robert E. Lee And it’s 89% black, you don’t see the irony?
What it do to a psyche, it’s simple, you don’t like me
What I’m ‘posed to do now?
Delusional calling that system criminal justice
Where the rich and the guilty are safer than the poor and the innocent
Why would we listen?
When American churches scuff they Toms on our brother’s dead bodies
As they march to stop gay marriage
We had issues with Planned Parenthood too
We just cared about black lives outside the womb just as much as in
Young man gon’ find purpose somehow
And a nation was at least around
And when them vice lords told him he was of royal descent
And that war on drugs felt much more like war on the poor
He figured forget it
So why don’t you come stay a while?
Tell us that the son of man walked on Egyptian
And Eastern soil and wasn’t just a Western construct
Or master used to control us
But what the Master used to free us
And it was a crooked system just like this that left the King of Kings bloodless
Yeah, we are truly a descendant of a King
Only his reign is infinite
And being right is a distant second to the joy of compassion
Why don’t you come stay a while?

DC’s KINGDOM COME: MESHING UP THE PULPIT AND THE COMIC BOOK

PART 2: WHEN BIG QUESTIONS ARE RAISED ON THE PULPIT OF THE ARTS

“The meek would [indeed] inherit the earth…but God didn’t account for the mighty”

-Dodds to Minister at hospital bedside

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What a powerful way to begin the story. Kingdom Come, like the Dark Knight Returns series (i.e. the comic books) came in a multi-part series. The setting of KC is in a dystopian future where the heroes have come into the fore and have demonstrated to the ordinary, regular person that power is everything. This is seen in how reckless they have become in how they dish out justice to criminals and villains; a matter that had brought one of DC’s main characters, Batman to loggerheads with Superman–another one of DC’s top heroes.

Bruce Wayne (Batman’s alter ego), broken, aged and disenchanted with the current state of affairs, criticizes Superman for his failure to be an example. Bruce goes on to state that because of Clark Kent’s (Superman’s alter ego) failure to mentor the growing number of young heroes who had taken it upon themselves to fight crime, that he is to blame for the social unrest that has taken over the world. With the revelation that Superman’s failure has resulted in global consequences, Bruce wages war on Clark, declaring that he is unfit to lead. With Batman’s aides and allies by his side, they take up arms declaring the end of the reign of the unchecked forces and combat them.

Meanwhile, Dodds looks on as the embodiment of God’s wrath in the DCU (DC Universe), the Spectre, prompts him to look on from a distance and judge the actions of these vastly powerful beings. Therein lies the crux of the story, does absolute power in the name of fighting for good necessarily bring security? For as the narrative shows the reader, all this came about when one young hero of this alternate timeline decided to murder the Joker in cold blood after a court proceeding. But this act alone made many question whether men and women who empowered vastly like Superman were truly equal.

Many were in fear wondering if truly, the Law would apply to such beings. For as Dodd’s rightly asks, “Does the Law apply to those with immense power? With those more privileged than others?” Jail them, they can break out. Threaten them and with their bare hands, they can kill you. Ignore their actions, and there is civil unrest. Confront them and danger looms like a shadow?

Is it truly possible to speak out against injustice in this world. Because, if so, how terrifying is it to be the average mortal who is given the power to sway things in his favor given the power of the Wrath of God. How terrifying it is too for when God’s people pray so are they made like Dodd’s for they are in his position, demonstrating that truly, the meek will reclaim and not only inherit the earth.

-END

DC’s KINGDOM COME: CONTROL AND THE IMAGE FACTOR

PART I: INTRODUCTION TO THE POWER OF SPEAKING TO SOCIETY’S ISSUES THROUGH COMICS

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Hey everyone, as some of you have already noticed, I have two separate blogs running concurrently right now. I apologize if it has caused some confusion but I am here to tell you that it happened by accident. But, since it has happened, I’ll work with this. I’ll use either for my posts but I know you’ll still have a blast taking this journey with me. Now, for the matter at hand, for the issue concerning DC’s Kingdom Come comic book, let’s get right on to it shall we?

DC, home of the world’s most iconic superheroes. It actually seems to me that the more it seems we get older (fan or not) we still get to hear some commotion about their characters; whether it be Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Cyborg…e.t.c. We encounter them from nearly everything we can see, feel or hear. Whether it be You Tube, TV, cinema, comics, newspaper articles or blogs like this one (wink wink, nudge nudge) we can’t escape them. Odd, right? Why should these things that we should discard as childish be of such relevance and entertainment value, especially to adults?

DC’s Kingdom Come is one of the graphic novels that has been hailed by many fans as well as critics over history as a classic comic book tale. I do not want to spoil the narrative of the comic and give its best parts but I feel that it has a great value, seeing that it comes right off the Bible’s Sermon on the Mount: A sermon that has been recorded as being spoken by Jesus and here’s the gist of it, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”