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Ben Masada

When the Salt is in the Meat

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WHEN THE SALTicon1.png IS IN THE MEAT

That's something for a Jew to learn from the NT: What Torah means by the salt of the Covenant. I always wondered why salt and what it pointed to. I found the answer in the words of Jesus in his Sermon of the Mount.

According to Leviticus 2:13, it was a must for every sacrificial offering be seasoned with salt in order to be accepted before the Lord. I knew that salt is what makes any food acceptable to the tasteicon1.png buds of living beings but, how to understand it in theological terms?

Then, I read Jesus' Sermon of the Mount. This sermon is recorded between Matthew 5:1 and until 7:29. It was delivered in the ears of a crowd of Jews according to Matthew 5:1 and 7:28. Then I read Matthew 5:13 and the truth about the salt of the Covenant was revealed unto me. "You (Jews) are the salt of the earth" said Jesus. That's when I understood the reason why burning sacrifices were accepted as a sweet savoricon1.png before the Lord. They were meant to represent the Jewish People.

At the same breath, I understood the allegory of the book of Job. While Job represents Israel, his Gentile friends who came to commiserate with him because of his plight represent the Gentiles. At the end, when they needed to offer a sacrifice so that the Lord be appeased of His anger at them, they were told to do it through Job or their prayers would never be accepted before the Lord.(Job 42:7-9) Then, and only then, as the salt was in the meaticon1.png, the Lord accepted the intercession of Job.

Ben

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I personally found Jesus was talking of something else entirely different to the salt of sacrifices in his sermon where he says "you are the salt of the earth". Jesus goes on to explain this comment about the distinctiveness of salt, and his comments seem focused on this rather than the sacrificial system of Leviticus. However, I did find the Levitical teachings on salt to be valuable in interpreting Mark 9:49, where Jesus said everyone is to be "salted with fire". I understood that entirely within the context of a "covenant of salt".

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Posted (edited)

I personally found Jesus was talking of something else entirely different to the salt of sacrifices in his sermon where he says "you are the salt of the earth". Jesus goes on to explain this comment about the distinctiveness of salt, and his comments seem focused on this rather than the sacrificial system of Leviticus. However, I did find the Levitical teachings on salt to be valuable in interpreting Mark 9:49, where Jesus said everyone is to be "salted with fire". I understood that entirely within the context of a "covenant of salt".

But of course PA, what else is new? Preconceived notions never cease amazing me. But I think you have failed to understand Jesus' words as to mean anything else but the original meaning and furthermore that to be salted with fire rather adds wood to the fire in terms that for every day that Israel fails to bring the world closer to God, she gets closer to another holocalust of fire.

Ben

Edited by Ben Masada

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Too much salt will kill anything. We don't need that much salt in our lives. Think about it. I don't know about the light part but when it comes to salt there should be a tiny amount of it to work.

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Posted (edited)

But of course PA, what else is new? Preconceived notions never cease amazing me. But I think you have failed to understand Jesus' words as to mean anything else but the original meaning and furthermore that to be salted with fire rather adds wood to the fire in terms that for every day that Israel fails to bring the world closer to God, she gets closer to another holocalust of fire.

Ben

On the contrary, I had no preconceived notion on this. Several years ago I was involved in a Bible Study on Mark 9. I asked the question about verse 49 to our study leader, he didn't know what it meant, neither did anyone else. We had a system in this group that if a question is asked that no one can answer, the person who asked the question was charged with researching it through the week and bringing the answer to next week's study. So I looked into it, and since I was still a university student with plenty of time on my hands I devoted a heap of time to the question, studying it in detail from absolutely every angle I could think of. I came back the next week with a 2500 word essay on Mark 9:49. One verse, 2500 words. I explored in detail the ideas of salt in the Bible, including Leviticus 2 and Jesus' comments that "you are the salt of the earth". I found that Jesus' use of the salt concept here had nothing to do with Leviticus 2. I had no preconceived notion before I began the study, but afterwards I had a good idea.

I'd link a copy of my essay to this post, but unfortunately it's on my PC which has a broken Power Supply at the moment (I'm posting from my laptop).

Incidentally, the link between Job and offerings of salt is one worth noting. You may be right, I haven't studied Job in a long long time now, but on the face of it I'm inclined to agree that the idea has merit. I'd have to restudy the topic before I put my full agreement behind you, though.

Edited by Paranoid Android

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11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? (Matthew)

If you look at this passage from Matthew, you can see that the reference to salt is in the context to what Jesus said immediately before. He was addressing a crowd who probably were mainly Jewish, but the references to 'you' mean any who are humbled, persecuted, oppressed, etc. for the sake of God. It is they who are the salt of the earth.

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On the contrary, I had no preconceived notion on this. Several years ago I was involved in a Bible Study on Mark 9. I asked the question about verse 49 to our study leader, he didn't know what it meant, neither did anyone else. We had a system in this group that if a question is asked that no one can answer, the person who asked the question was charged with researching it through the week and bringing the answer to next week's study. So I looked into it, and since I was still a university student with plenty of time on my hands I devoted a heap of time to the question, studying it in detail from absolutely every angle I could think of. I came back the next week with a 2500 word essay on Mark 9:49. One verse, 2500 words. I explored in detail the ideas of salt in the Bible, including Leviticus 2 and Jesus' comments that "you are the salt of the earth". I found that Jesus' use of the salt concept here had nothing to do with Leviticus 2. I had no preconceived notion before I began the study, but afterwards I had a good idea.

I'd link a copy of my essay to this post, but unfortunately it's on my PC which has a broken Power Supply at the moment (I'm posting from my laptop).

Incidentally, the link between Job and offerings of salt is one worth noting. You may be right, I haven't studied Job in a long long time now, but on the face of it I'm inclined to agree that the idea has merit. I'd have to restudy the topic before I put my full agreement behind you, though.

The reference of Jesus' words to the Jews as the salt of the earth and your reminding me of Mark 9:46, both took me to Zechariah 3 which identified the Jews in their lack of a decision to leave Babylon and return to the Land of Israel. It was then the excuse that they were not pure enough from the customs of the Gentiles to return to the Land. Especially the well-to-do would use that excuse in order not to disturb their lives with the hardships of starting all over again. Just as today we have Ultra Orthodox Jews claiming that the Lord Himself is to purify the Jews in the Diaspora before they can return. The Prophet would assert then to the Jews in Babylon that at the end of the exile, like a brand snatched from the fire, they were pure enough to return. (Zech. 3:2) The salt had gone through the fire. Today it seems to be worse because even after the Holocaust, some Ultra Orthodox Jews still need more fire to get completely purified.

Ben

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11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? (Matthew)

If you look at this passage from Matthew, you can see that the reference to salt is in the context to what Jesus said immediately before. He was addressing a crowd who probably were mainly Jewish, but the references to 'you' mean any who are humbled, persecuted, oppressed, etc. for the sake of God. It is they who are the salt of the earth.

Jesus was not the first one to remind us of the salt used as a symbol for the Jewish People. Since the establishment of the sacrifices, salt was a must to season the sacrifices as a symbol for the People of Israel. And with reference to Jesus' words in Mat. 5:11, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you BECAUSE OF ME." Are you aware that almost 100% of Jewish persecutions and oppression and slanders are all because of Jesus? I never forgot once on the TV the Syrian Dictator Assad wondering why Americans are so ready to stand for the killers of their own god Jesus. Well, at least we stay with the blessing that's all because of Jesus.

Ben

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Posted (edited)

Jesus was not the first one to remind us of the salt used as a symbol for the Jewish People. Since the establishment of the sacrifices, salt was a must to season the sacrifices as a symbol for the People of Israel. And with reference to Jesus' words in Mat. 5:11, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you BECAUSE OF ME." Are you aware that almost 100% of Jewish persecutions and oppression and slanders are all because of Jesus? I never forgot once on the TV the Syrian Dictator Assad wondering why Americans are so ready to stand for the killers of their own god Jesus. Well, at least we stay with the blessing that's all because of Jesus.

Ben

You seem to be misunderstanding the phrase, 'because of me'. It means that those who gladly suffer for Jesus' sake (because they love him and believe he is God) are blessed, i.e. the salt of the earth.

It doesn't mean that it is Jesus' fault that the Jews are suffering. Jesus was preaching to the whole of mankind, not just the Jews.

He often used everyday words like salt, bread, light, sheep, vines, etc, in his teaching so people could more easily relate to what he was saying. The fact that salt was a familiar item in Jewish sacrifice just adds to the poignancy of what he was saying - the martyrs who shed their blood for Christ (and in a sense offer themselves as a sacrifice for others, as Christ did) are the salt of the earth.

Edited by Philangeli

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You seem to be misunderstanding the phrase, 'because of me'. It means that those who gladly suffer for Jesus' sake (because they love him and believe he is God) are blessed, i.e. the salt of the earth. It doesn't mean that it is Jesus' fault that the Jews are suffering. Jesus was preaching to the whole of mankind, not just the Jews. He often used everyday words like salt, bread, light, sheep, vines, etc, in his teaching so people could more easily relate to what he was saying. The fact that salt was a familiar item in Jewish sacrifice just adds to the poignancy of what he was saying - the martyrs who shed their blood for Christ (and in a sense offer themselves as a sacrifice for others, as Christ did) are the salt of the earth.

I cannot understand what is not in the text. Your explanation above between parenthesis is not even implied in the text. Jesus was a Jewish man. He could never have spoken as being God. Therefore, the Jews could never believe him as being God. The idea that he was God or son of God started with Paul. (Acts 9:20) So, because the Jews could not believe that he was God, they would suffer for it. I never implied that it was Jesus' fault that Jews since then and up to this very day suffer because of him. The fault is upon those who accuse the Jews of not believing that he was God.

Now, with regards to Jesus preaching to the whole mankind and not just to the Jews, I find quite weird that his gospel of salvation was ONLY for the Jews and not for the Gentiles as he himself forbade his disciples to take his gospel to the Gentiles but to the Jews only. (Mat. 10:5,6) I find it strange because the role of the Jew on earth is to serve as light unto the nations. (Isa. 42:6)

And to offer his life as sacrifice for others as you mention above, I find the opposite to be true in the case of Jesus as he prayed three times in the Gethsemani not to walk the via dolorosa. It means that it was not his will to offer his life for others. "Let Thy will be done, NOT MINE." What was his will? Obviously, not to offer his life for others.

Ben

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