Theology Thursdays: The Dead Sea Scrolls, Prophecy and Messiah X
In a specific sense there is a profound relationship between what theologian Jabril Muhammad writes in his book, Is It Possible That The Honorable Elijah Muhammad Is Still Physically Alive??? and what is written in the special study sponsored by the office of the United States' Secretary Of Defense called, "Sustaining Military Dominance: Examples from Ancient History."
More specifically, out of the context of the two respective writings, there is a connection between the following statement in the Defense Department's report which reads, "The U.S. cannot avoid history. We aren't going to be an exception."; and the following statement written by Minister Jabril Muhammad, in his book, "There is a great resemblance or similarity between the histories of various prophets, messengers, saints, and certain great men (often taken to be prophets of Allah) and the history of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad."
The Defense Department's special study, according to respected Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, was commissioned to answer the following question: What could the United States learn from the successes and failures of ancient powers? According to Dana Priest, "The secretary's office had sponspored a private study of the great empires -- Macedonia under Alexander the Great, Republican Rome, the Mongols -- asking how they maintained their dominance."
In Minister Jabril Muhammad's book, he writes of the similarity between some of the central figures of the scriptures and The Honorable Elijah Muhammad (Messenger Muhammad), "In any case it is vital for our people to know why there is a similarity in the first place between those men and the Messenger. I won't go into that, except to note that all of those men point to the Messenger. If this can be proven, it shows a wise preconceived purpose, design or plan."
A plan by who or Whom?
One of the concepts absolutely necessary to understanding all of the above is that of "types," or the study of "typology" undertaken by both theologians and historians. The subscribers to Minister Jabril Muhammad's mailing list just received a significant amount of material regarding this subject. Here, from another source, is an approach to the subject, from the perspective of how it relates to the Bible, from "A Study of Biblical Typology" by Wayne Jackson
Exactly what is a type? Theologically speaking, a type may be defined as “A figure or ensample of something future and more or less prophetic, called the ‘Antitype’” (E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, p. 768).
Muenscher says a type is “the preordained representative relation which certain persons, events, and institutions of the Old Testament bear to corresponding persons, events, and institutions in the New” (quoted in: M. S. Terry, Biblical Hermeneutics, p. 246).
Wick Broomall has a concise statement that is helpful. “A type is a shadow cast on the pages of Old Testament history by a truth whose full embodiment or antitype is found in the New Testament revelation” (Baker’s Dictionary of Theology, p. 533).
We would, in summary, suggest the following definition, which we paraphrase from Terry. A type is a real, exalted happening in history which was divinely ordained by the omniscient God to be a prophetic picture of the good things which He purposed to bring to fruition in Christ Jesus.
There are several words used in the Greek New Testament to denote what we have just defined as a type. First, there is the term tupos (the basis of our English word “type”). Though this word is variously employed in the New Testament, it is certainly used in our present sense in Romans 5:14 where Paul declares that Adam “is a figure (tupos) of him that was to come, i.e., Christ.”
Second, there is the word skia, rendered “shadow.” In Colossians 2:17, certain elements of the Mosaic system are said to be “a shadow of the things to come” (cf. Heb. 8:5; 10:1).
Third, there is the term hupodeigma, translated “copy,” and used in conjunction with “shadow” in Hebrews 8:5 (cf. Heb. 9:23).
Fourth, the Greek word parabole (compare our English, “parable”) is found in Hebrews 9:9, where certain elements of the tabernacle are “a figure for the present time” (cf. Heb. 11:19).
Finally, one should note the use of antitupon, rendered “figure” (KJV) or “pattern” (ASV) in Hebrews 9:24, and “like figure” (KJV) or “true likeness” (ASV) in I Peter 3:21. This word, as used in the New Testament, denotes “that which corresponds to” the type; it is the reality which fulfills the prophetic picture.
Some who have been made (or persuaded) to dislike religion (even to hate it) may say that they have no use or interest in typology and what it is all about. Well, while some of those emotions are understandable, are they really justified in light of how influential the Bible is, even in symbolic terms? As we have implied throughout this series, one of the supports upholding the power of those ruling the world is the notion that there is a natural division of reality in religious and secular categories. But can that notion really be proven when one seriously gets into the study of epistemology, science and mathematics?
Another way to approach this subject is from the persepctive of the motive of why that special report, "Sustaining Military Dominance: Examples from Ancient History," conducted by the Office of Net Assessment for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, in the summer of 2001, was undertaken in the first place.
Think this over. The effort or argument to separate reality in "religious" and "secular" categories cannot be sustained for long when the premise, presuppositions and propositions involved in that effort are scrutinized. Neither can the argument used to justify the separation of the study of "history" and "prophecy" be sustained for very long when placed under similar scrutiny.
Those involved in the government's special study of Macedonia under Alexander the Great, Republican Rome, and the Mongols as instructive examples for (and of) the United States undertook the study of some very serious typology. The study's conclusion, "The U.S. cannot avoid history. We aren't going to be an exception." is actually a law of nature and prophecy, in one statement.
Any Christian or Muslim would have to consider this special U.S. government study of Macedonia under Alexander the Great, Republican Rome, and the Mongols, in terms of what the Bible states in the book of Acts, chapter 17 verse 26 and what the Holy Qur'an states in surah 7 verse 34 which read, "From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand which should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries." and "And every nation has a term; so when its term comes, they cannot remain behind the least while, nor can they precede (it)," respectively.
Think this over. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught that there were 100 individuals studying prophecy on behalf of the United States government. Their focus was primarily learning from prophecy, how to circumvent it, and seeking to influence events and perceptions so that the general public would not be aware that history and current events fulfilled it (prophecy). This dynamic was referred to as "the problem of prophecy."
If what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught about "the problem of prophecy" is true, what are the implications, not only in terms of how history has been revised, but also in terms of how the news is reported everyday in leading newspapers, radio, and televeision networks? Also, what are the implications for the Black experience in America - specifically, the fact that Blacks were kept illiterate, and particularly prevented from reading the Bible, in some cases for over 300 years, in this country? Combine that fact with the manner in which Black teachers were trained by White theologians and preachers about the subject of Jesus and the meaning of his birth, life, ministry and death. Many of us are totally ignorant of this history and present reality. That ignorance doesn't mean this history and present reality aren't affecting all of us or the way we are governed today.
Think of the above in terms of typology, history, and prophecy and this statement from, Is It Possible That The Honorable Elijah Muhammad Is Still Physically Alive???, "...it is easier to show this resemblance between some of those men and Messenger Muhammad than between him and some others. For example, it is easier to show the similarity between Moses and Messenger Muhammad than between Jesus and the Messenger. Of course, it can and has been done. One of the main reasons is the emotional factor. Most Black people are much more emotionally attached to Jesus than to Moses. Moreover, Jesus is identified with God to a much greater degree in the minds of most Blacks than is Moses."
Think of all of this in terms of how many brilliant Black political students, leaders and observers are conditioned and seem to feel the need to consistently write and speak in the public (to Black people) warning against an embrace of the concept of messianic leadership. Where does this bias, among such Black intellectuals, against "messianic leadership," come from? Look at this in terms of how J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI's COINTELPRO wiped out Black leadership, in a particular way, starting with the Honorable Marcus Garvey.
Could Herod, written of in the New Testament be considered in many important respects, as a type or "sign" of J. Edgar Hoover?
Why isn't there any major and popular Black-led theological seminary in this country producing thousands of preachers every year?
All of this is related to the eventual rise of Black people into political and economic power in the United States of America, as well as Africa; and the planning of those extremely high up at the top of this world's power pyramid who want to prevent that from happening.
Thursday, March 27, 2003
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