600,000?


This is an e-mail I sent to a newspaper columnist. FYI.

Dear Mr William M. Esposo,

Blessings! I pray that this e-mail find you in good health. I read with much interest your "As I Wrecked This Chair" columns on Israel (January 11 and 15, 2009). Let me lay down my cards on the table first. I am a pastor of an evangelical church here in Makati City. One of our members gave me copies of your column asking for my response. I used to work for the media before. So I decided to do what I was trained to do. Go to the source. That's why I decided to e-mail you. I would like to ask for some clarifications.

1.You wrote in "Who are the real terrorists in the Holy Land?"
that, "Much of what is written in the Old Testament, many history scholars dispute — a lot of them concluding that these were mostly the wishful thinking of landless nomadic tribes."

I think that's a generalization. May I ask who were the
"many history scholars" you were specifically referring to? Because I'm afraid you may be talking about the liberal scholars whose alleged historical conclusions were already discredited by recent archaeological finds in Israel. And, granting for the sake of discussion, that there were "a lot of them", that does not mean that their assertions were true just because of their sheer number. The majority is not always right, as shown by the mob that shouted for the Lord's crucifixion.

2. You wrote in "'Anti-Semitism' as Jewish counter propaganda"
that "The Old Testament talked about an angel sent by God to slay the 600,000 Assyrians. Come again? Even the great Persian Empire never had that much armed force in one place, so where did the 600,000 Assyrians come from?"

However, I checked my Bible and I saw one instance that might be what you are referring to. In 2 Kings 19:35 it says, "That night the angel of the LORD went out and put to death A HUNDRED AND EIGHT-FIVE THOUSAND men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies!" (Emphasis mine) Now, admittedly, 185,000 was a huge number. But that's way far below 600,000! I might have missed it but can you cite from which passage in the Old Testament you got it? Questioning whether there is an army in history that big is one thing, but misquoting the actual number is another. I think you need to set your facts straight.

I am not in a position to question your sincerity or your faith as a "Christian" though personally I disagree with your interpretation "that the God that is talked about in the Old Testament is so different from the God that Jesus Christ introduced to mankind." (From the 'Anti-Semitism' article) But that is a question of interpretation and not of facts. That is something that we can discuss over coffee (Game? My treat.) I decided to focus my questions on facts. I hope you would not lump this e-mail among those you might have received condemning you to fire and brimstone because of your views on the Old Testament. Though I disagreed with you, I pray you found me agreeable.

Thank you and looking forward to your response.

God richly bless you!

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