This morning in my reading through the Book of Numbers, I once more came across the story of the Red Heifer in chapter 19.
I promptly asked a friend of Jewish decent his own views and found him surprisingly unaware of this ancient tradition. That seemed peculiar as in my Pentecostal upbringing and my own devotion to scripture, this has always been held up as a sign of the second coming of Christ, prefaced by activity in Jerusalem to rebuild Solomon's Temple. As well, kept front and center by charlatans who constantly feed the media with predictions of that exact dare.
Being somewhat facetious, I decided to go to the real source of today's "gospel", ChatGPT:
"The story of the Red Heifer is a significant aspect of Jewish religious tradition, and it centers around the purification of the Temple and the people. According to Jewish law, the ashes of a red heifer were used in the purification rites of people and objects that had become ritually impure.
Today, there is a belief among some Jewish groups that the building of the Third Temple in Jerusalem is necessary for the coming of the Messiah. However, the construction of the Temple is seen as problematic by many because of its location on the Temple Mount, which is currently occupied by the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
Despite this, the story of the Red Heifer remains an important part of Jewish tradition, and its enduring significance reflects the ongoing relationship between the Jewish people and the land of Israel."
My curiosity piqued once more, so I wanted to see where AI would take me if I asked about an even earlier prophesy of Moses regarding Ishmael, the son of Hagar, Abraham's wife's handmade. This prophesy of late has served many as validation of scripture. I was dumbfounded by the clarity:
"The story of Hagar in the book of Genesis recounts how she was cast out of Abraham's household along with her son Ishmael. While wandering in the desert, Hagar encounters an angel of God who prophesies to her that her son will be the father of a great nation. This prophecy is later fulfilled through the descendants of Ishmael, who become the founders of the Arab people. In the Christian tradition, this prophecy validates Moses' own prophecy about the Jews and the coming Messiah. Christians view Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of Moses' prophecy, and the fact that Hagar's son also received a divine prophecy is seen as further proof that God is working throughout history to bring about his plan of redemption for all people. Moreover, Hagar's story serves as a reminder that God's love extends to all people, even those who are marginalized or oppressed. This message of inclusion and acceptance is a central tenet of the Christian faith and is reflected in many of Jesus' teachings."
For centuries the ancient writings of Judaism have foretold the coming of a Messiah, yet when the Christ came, though himself born a Jew, he began to challenge their religion, speaking compassion into the legalism of what Judaism had become in light of their own prophets warnings, Jesus was accused of heresy and relinquished into the hands of Roman tyrants.
These gentile infidels who had by then conquered Isreal in order to quite the potential of an uprising then crucified Jesus and unknowingly, provided God opportunity to demonstrate the concept of ressurection. This phenomenon was sufficient to birth "The People of the Way" among the followers of Jesus.
Later in Antioch, a new religious movement began evolving called, Christianity. However, it was soon nationalized and employed by colonialist to expand their empire and
within 600 years had so persecuted one named Muhammed that he developed another competing religion.
The irony is that Islam would grow sufficient to again validate another Old Testament prophesy shared by an angel with Hagar, that is that her son would become a great nation, similar as with another son of Abraham, Isaac.
This is the source of my awe, the mystery behind this ancient script!
Now curious, but somewhat in jest again, I thought I would ask ChatGPT the same question in a different way, slanted in a way that would not hint as earlier of Biblical prophecy:
"In Islam, the prophecy of Ismael becoming a nation is considered to be a fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham, who was the father of both Ismael and Isaac. According to Islamic belief, Abraham had two wives, Sarah who gave birth to Isaac, and Hagar who gave birth to Ismael. After Sarah became jealous of Hagar and Ismael, Abraham sent Hagar and their son into the desert, but God promised to make Ismael a great nation.The validation of this prophecy in Islam comes from the fact that Ismael did indeed become the father of a great nation. According to Islamic tradition, Ismael settled in the region of Mecca, where he married and had many children. His descendants became known as the Ishmaelites, and they formed a powerful tribal confederation that controlled much of the Arabian Peninsula. The most notable descendant of Ismael was the Prophet Muhammad, who was born in the city of Mecca and who founded the religion of Islam. Thus, in Islam, the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham through the establishment of Ismael's lineage and the birth of Prophet Muhammad is seen as a validation of the prophecy that Ismael would become a great nation."
Unbelievable, how full circle AI has taken me. That'll preach unless ChatGPT becomes the next Golden Calf!