In April, seven years will have passed since I joined social media. In 2006, I saw Calvin Tang on television discussing a start-up called Newsvine. I signed up. A lot has transpired in seven years on Newsvine. This article is a retrospect of these seven years.
Retrospecting is the act of looking back and reflecting on the past. I looked to a time that predates Islam, Christianity, and Judaism to frame my worldview; a philosophy known as Solidarity. This concept has guided my thinking about the rapidly shifting world reported on Newsvine.
For me, Solidarity started with a dream.*
Solidarity is older than Abraham. It runs like a thread through all the philosophies and religions of the Middle East. It emphasizes the common good of the group. The democracies of the West favor individualism rooted in Greek philosophy.
The clash in the world-views of East and West is real and deep; deeper than religion. There is a fundamental philosophical incompatibility between the two that must be bridged in order to develop a third philosophy permitting co-existence.
I realized anyone attempting to bridge the cultural divide must first reinvent the world; politically, economically, and theologically.
MIDDLE EAST PEACE
In the 1980's I affiliated with the Seventh-Day Adventists and gradually wandered from the church by the 1990's. My interest in religion was reawakened by reports in 2000 about the Second Intifada. Palestinian Arabs protested Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Equipped with no more than an Apple laptop and an internet connection, I began an independent inquiry into prophecies about the restoration of literal Jews to a literal land of Israel.
As I studied, I discovered important theological correctives that harmonize Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
I studied with an honest heart and honest questions. I consulted all available points of view and relied on prayer and common sense to formulate my conclusions. I never segregated God or alienated the supernatural from my research. My conclusions are original; they were not taught to me by any particular religious group.
Those who have begun to subscribe to these teachings are called Solidarists. To Jews they are Jews; to Christians they are Christians; and, to Muslims they are Muslims.
Following are the most original and notable points of Solidarity Theology I developed over the last seven years and communicated here on the pages of Newsvine:
1. Dual Messiahs.* "Messiah" is the Hebrew term for the ultimate national savior. It means "anointed" because God endows a human being with the Holy Spirit and thus the supernatural powers to accomplish his mission.
"Christ" is the Greek equivalent of "messiah". When Christianity spread to non-Jews, the significance of the messiah became less national and more universal.
"Dual" means two.
Jesus Christ is the first of the Dual Messiahs. That Jesus Christ was the first messiah to appear is confirmed by the 70 Weeks Prophecy found in Daniel 9:24-27.
The 70 Weeks Prophecy validates Jesus Christ; the timing of His appearance, covenant ministry, and sacrificial death. According to standard principles of interpretation, the 70 weeks correspond to 70 times 7 (weeks) of years for a total of 490 prophetic years.
The beginning point for this 490-year period is identified in verse 25 as the year of the decree to restore Jerusalem. This decree was issued by Persia following the defeat of Babylon.
Likewise, the timing of the second of the Dual Messiahs yet to appear is confirmed by the 2300 Days Prophecy found in Daniel 8:14.
In Hebrew literature the titles of the respective messiahs are Moshiach ben David and Moshiach ben Joseph.
The different though complementary roles of the Dual Messiahs figure in the linear Plan of Salvation as follows. By linear I mean historical. Salvation is not as system of philosophy so much it is a revelation through the ebb and flow of history of God's ethical dealings with humankind.
1. God desired the universal salvation of Jew and Gentile.
2. God chose the Jews to accomplish the mission teaching this plan to the world.
3. The orderly Plan of Salvation is taught through the object lesson of the Tabernacle and the Temple. Dual Messiahs correspond to the different, though complementary, chambers known as the Holy Place and Most Holy Place. The correspondence extends to the different sacrifices and priesthoods.
4. God made immutable, unconditional promises to the Jews; i.e., 1) that they would number as the sand of the sea; and 2) inherit the Promised Land.
5. The Jews failed their mission and were carried into captivity by the Assyrians and Babylonians. Babylon destroyed the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
6. The Persian ruler Cyrus returned the Jews from exile and authorized the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple.
7. With the exception of a brief period under the Maccabees, the Judea was a vassal nation of Persia, Macedonia, and Rome. The times of exile were foretold by the prophets, beginning with Moses.
8. The first of the Dual Messiahs, Jesus Christ, appeared on schedule according to the 70 Weeks prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27.
9. Jesus was rejected by a majority of the Jews, AS DESIGNED BY GOD AS PART OF THE UNIVERSAL PLAN OF SALVATION. The times of exile had not been exhausted.
The Apostle Paul explains that the rejection was caused in part by a supernaturally imposed blindness.
10. Those Jews who saw through the blindness are "the elect", chosen to carry forward the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles. The blindness of Israel is temporary, for the sake of the Gentiles, and will continue until the period known as the Fullness of the Gentiles.
11. Jesus said to the Jews, "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive" (John 5:43). This prophecy anticipates the last messiah.
12. The last of the Dual Messiahs restores Israel after the period of exile ends for the Jews and the Fullness of the Gentiles comes to its conclusion.
13. During the Restoration, God fulfills His immutable promises to the Jews by returning them to the Promised Land. The Restoration has two phases: The Jews begin to return while "unconverted", perhaps secularized, and then later revivified by the Spirit of God.
14. Jew and Gentile alike see the harmony of the Plan of Salvation. The Jews, before alienated for the sake of the Gentiles, are now honored as "kings and priests" to the nations.
15. Jew and Gentile worship God in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, a House of Prayer for ALL people in accordance with the prophecies.
16. Jesus returns to earth the second time and receives the body of collective monotheists as His bride.
[ . . . to be continued. Please check back for Part 2.]
* Sometime about the mid-1990's Pope John Paul II visited me in dreams of the night. The same dream came twice, as when Joseph said to Pharaoh, "And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; [it is] because the thing [is] established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass" (Genesis 41:32).
I was taught by Protestants to loathe Catholicism. I now understand I was misled to doubt the integrity of Catholicism. While still under the pall of an anti-Catholic influence, I saw in a dream Pope John Paul II speaking from a lectern to a crowd of the common people. I admired him from my position among the crowd. He stepped away from the lectern and bade me to join him on the podium and speak. I thought, This ought not to be, for the reason that he was Catholic. Nevertheless, I proceeded to join him. He rapidly faded from view, leaving me feeling sorrowful over his absence and shaken in the fear that I was confronted by the daunting task of speaking to those he left behind.
This dream I consider to be a miracle.
The significance of this dream is only now becoming apparent to me as I develop the teachings of Solidarity Theology. "Solidarity" is more than a sentiment. It is a definable, ancient philosophy supporting the monotheistic religions of the Near East, the same religions currently locked in the thresholds of mutual conflict. I believe that exploring their common roots and recovering the essence of Solidarity is the way to engage Jews, Christians, and Muslims in meaningful dialogue toward peaceful co-existence.