Ezekiel 28 War

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Ezekiel 28 War

Nobody visits the Bible Errancy forums regularly it seems so I'll ask this here:

I'm looking for suggestions on material (or just facts directly if you have them) to counter Christian arguments about the Ezekiel 38 war prophecy. This is a pretty popular topic floating around now and I'd like to be more prepared to debate it. I assume the defense will probably require a grasp of history around the time the prophecy was written as well as translation-related issues. Most prophecies that I'm familiar with in the bible usually turn out to be written after some event and then the writings themselves are claimed to be older than they are to "prove" them. This can be coaxed out of the text with careful examination.

So far nothing has turned up on my searches but "pro" stuff. The Christians are busy bees and have written enough to swamp the search engines it seems. So I'm hoping someone here is an expert or can point me to one. I'm not a hardcore Bible scholar so I can offer as an argument is "I'm quite sure since god doesn't exist that it's false" but I'd like a little more to counter someone who is starting from a belief in god without having to argue that point first.

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Ezekiel may have been a Jew,

Ezekiel may have been a Jew, or at least someone who the Jews quickly adopted as one of their own, but the book attributed to him fits just as neatly into other Chaldean texts of the period and he himself is described as one. The Chaldeans, though semitic, had a quite different history to the Jews - having once been the big guys in the region (southern Iraq) but by the time of Ezekiel had been absorbed into the Assyrian hegemony. Their texts (the great flood, for example, was one of theirs long before it made it into Jewish lore) were big hits in the region and absorbed into several other religions with little alteration (Chaldeans were not monotheistic, which probably explains a lot of the Jewish god's extremely schizophrenic tendencies in their version of the flood story - the Chaldean flood was administered by several gods, some of whom disagreed with what the others were up to, hence the extreme cruelty and small mercy thing).


By the time Ezekiel was on the go Chaldean literature had evolved into elaborate digs at the Assyrian authorities. For periods Chaldeans had even managed to infiltrate the power system and get one of their number into the top job, so they were convinced wth some justification that eventually they'd get their place in the sun back and divine retribution would be levelled against the Assyrians. The Jews, allegedly forcibly inducted into the Assyrian hegemony, would have recognised people who, for all their multitude of gods, spoke their language. Likewise the Chaldeans apparently had a real respect for these semitic cousins in their midst whose chip on their shoulder and lust for genocidal slaughter of all their "enemies" made the Chaldean digs at the emperor look like love letters. There was no doubt that the period saw the two cultures mixing quite a lot, united initially by a common grudge and then by a blurring of the theological distinctions between them.


Ezekiel is described as a "priest" and if his texts haven't been butchered to make them fit a Jewish vision of retribution, one who subscribed to a monotheistic belief. His "Gog from the Land of Magog" story - pitched as a prophecy, implying that its not just a threat idly meant - speaks volumes for the view that it was written by and for people who exercised no political or military means to make good their grievances and therefore projected their wishful thinking into a future when their god(s) would suddenly decide to kick some real ass.


The alliance of nations mentioned in the prophecy, even if one lends credence to the more modern interpretations which fundamentalists seem to prefer, are laughable. But they weren't then - lands such as Ethiopia did traditionally contain people whose culture, religion and abilities offended the Jews. They might never have actually been a real threat to this peculiarly paranoid group of tribes but they were known to them, and apparently hated by them. Ezekiel (and again we have to ignore the real possibility that he wrote something quite different but which was hammered into a particularly Jewish story) talks about a final getting together of all these hated neighbours under a fictional noble in a last push to wipe out the Jews. They of course have the biggest genocidal bully of the lot on their side and win the day.


Ezekiel gets credited with a few other little oddities that mark him out as something a little "different" to the standard Jewish prophet of the time. His ability to resurrect people from the dead and so on again lend themselves more to the later tradition in the lands once ruled by the Assyrians to regard Chaldeans as "sorcerers" and top occultists. The words eventually became synonymous. How Jewish he really was therefore is anything but a given in my view, which is ironic given where the fundies are going now with his stories. The whole prophecy might have started out as yet another empty Chaldean threat which, with a few name and location changes, became cobbled into an even emptier Jewish one.


So one thing you might care to point out to someone who starts off on the assumption that he or she is "quoting" a deity speaking through one of his faithful is that the deity in question might be Ishtar (now THERE was a woman you wouldn't want to offend!) and the land whose people are saved from invasion and granted perpetual freedom is southern Iraq.


Ironic, huh? Given the laughable "alliance" that most recently invaded ...


(PS: I have always had a sneaking regard for Ezekiel ever since I learnt that his pop's name was Buzi. I can identify with that one!)

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