Sunday, May 5, 2013

Our Father and Our King

I read the following response related to the Arab relationship with God from Rabbi Dov bar-Leib on his blog End of Days.

“There is much to say on this topic regarding Yishma'el's relationship with G-d. It should be noted that the name HaShem (YKWK) never appears in association with Yishma'el. Only the Name Elokim appears with Yishma'el in the Torah. This is NOT the case of Hagar, his mother, though, who entreated HaShem the first time Sarah afflicted her when Hagar had first become pregnant. Yet, with Yishma'el himself one only finds the Name Elokim (G-d's attribute of strict justice without tempering Mercy.) So the Name of G-d which Yishma'el knows is Allah. They know NOT the Name of HaShem. Allah is from the root Elokim. It also shows up in their understanding of G-d's relationship to the individual. They understand being Allah's servant (Abdullah for instance as a common name amongst Muslims). Yet, they cannot conceive G-d to be a Father. There are no names like Benaiyahu (Son of HaShem) in Islamic names. So Muslims only understand their obedience to Allah while Christians are honed in to G-d as their Father, service out of love. I once had a friend who was a Muslim. He was very critical about the concept of G-d being a Father. He thought the only appropriate way to understand G-d was as a King. Yet, the Jewish way of course is to understand G-d as being Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father Our King), not the Christian way of exclusively Our Father and not the Muslim way of exclusively Our King.”  May 5, 2013 Rabbi Dov bar Lieb

In a general sense Rabbi Dov’s view is very accurate.  Islam emphasizes harsh, strict judgment while Christians tend to emphasize God’s love and mercy seeing God as the merciful father.  The exceptions to this are those Christians that read and know the Old Testament and are able to see God as One. Deuteronomy 6:4 says “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!  He is both the merciful Father and our King.  He is both loving and just.  He not only provides the loving messiah but also the reigning King messiah.  When the messiah arrives some will be expecting the God’s merciful aspect and will be shocked to see severe judgment instead!

As it says of the messiah in Isaiah 61:1-2, The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God.”

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