HARD TOPICS: When a biblical man dies without the Gospel...

For those of you who know me, you’d attest that I am a “Trekkie.” I’ve seen all; original series, Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space 9, and Enterprise television episodes. I also own every single Star Trek movie ever made! – Therefore the death of Leonard Nimoy struck me emotionally and spiritually.

The character, which Leonard Nimoy played, Spock was a human like alien with strange customs and strange linguistic phrases. Interestingly, these customs and phrases are all based upon Nimoy’s religious heritage called Hasidic Judaism. This more mystical form of Judaism hails from eastern Europe. Through the centuries these Eastern European Jews migrated to the United States, predominately to the New England area. It was in these sacred Hasidic synagogues Nimoy learned not only how to read and speak Hebrew and Yiddish, but he also learned how to perform the holy gestures which are unique to the Hasidic Jews. Spock’s famous “live long and prosper” phrase is one with which most Trekkies tell each other good-bye. Beautifully “live long and prosper” is translated from Deuteronomy 5:33. “Walk in obedience to all that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.”
In honor of Nimoy’s death, one of my students posted the phrase, “he lived and prospered.” Sadly while that may be true of Nimoy’s earthly life, he will not know of the eternal intent of the phrase. I often say to my classes that the Jewish people are by and large biblical people, but they don’t know the Gospel. This reality is certainly true in Nimoy’s case. He undoubtedly knew Deuteronomy 5:33 in Hebrew and English, but he never had a relationship with the Christ who fulfills this passage. Deuteronomy 4-6 is a call for Israel to have a holy relationship with their God, who through progressive revelation (Scriptures) we know to be Christ Jesus. To not correlate this passage with the New Testament is like trying to swim across the Atlantic Ocean, a boat is much easier.
Spok’s salutation of, “live long and prosper,” can only be fulfilled by eternal faith placed in Christ. Without writing a dissertation on this subject, a quote from Hebrews 11-12 summarizes my understanding of what Nimoy didn’t grasp.
Hebrews 11:13, “These all (the believers noted in Hebrews 11) died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
I know of no time that Nimoy ever professed belief in Christ. Therefore, If I had the chance to speak with Mr. Nimoy before he died, I would have told him that he indeed could, “live long and prosper.” The only thing this biblical man needed to do was to acknowledge how Christ fulfilled the Old Testament and makes an eternal way for us all to Live long and Prosper in His eternal presence.

Therefore, I’m emotionally sad that we lost such a great actor, and I’m Spiritually sad because a man who knew the Bible didn’t know the Christ.

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