Time is an Illusion

For well over a year, I have been working on the hypothesis/theory that time does not exist at all. Theoretical physics, quantum mechanics, string theory, relativity (general and special), and mathematics were really not my high points in school.

Albert Einstien‘s simplified equation of E=MC2 in lay terms means that energy (E) is equal to the amount of mass (M) multiplied by the speed of light (C) in a vacuum and squared (2). Theoretically, MC2 could be converted into E (proven) and E could be converted back to MC2 (unproven, for the most part).

God has all the “time” in the physical universe because God is not a physical being. John the Apostle wrote that, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24 ESV).

It is quite easy to determine that God transcends space, time, and infinite dimensions.

E=MC2 is also based on the hypothesis that time (at least in a vacuum such as interstellar space) travels at a constant speed and is the universal speed limit of the universe. However, modern science is teaching us that this is not the case, In fact, the speed of light seems to be changing.

If light is indeed slowing down, then our fundamental answers from secular science concerning the age of the universe (as well as the rest of creation) is in error. This is a “back to the drawing board” mandate for all of secular science. Of course, Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking would scream “crucify him” over my theories and hypothesis.

This hypothesis and theory also destroys radiocarbon dating to some extent. Radiocarbon dating requires measuring instrument calibration with an artifact of known age to have any accuracy. Science has no accuracy on any artifact over roughly 4,000 years of age. Therefore, radiocarbon dating of the universe of 14.7 billion years of age is highly inaccurate, at least as far as the radiocarbon dating equipment is concerned when calibrated with a an artifact of known age.

Dr. Chuck Missler used the example of creating a large triangle in which the sum added up to over 180 degrees. This example was a wonderful example to prove the curvature of the Earth. Unfortunately, I have some friends who suggest that the Earth is flat, planets are demons, there is no outer space, stars are angels, and that the Earth is the center of the universe with everything rotating around us. I thought these myths were laid to waste by men like Galileo Galelei in the middle-ages. I was obviously mistaken.

Surprising as it may be to most none-scientists and even to some scientists, Albert Einstein concluded in his later years that the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously. In 1952, in his book ‘Relativity,’ in discussing Minkowski’s Space World interpretation of his theory of relativity, Einstein wrote: “Since there exists in this four dimensional Structure [space-time] no longer any sections which represent “now” objectively, the concepts of happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended, but yet complicated. It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four dimensional existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three dimensional existence.”

Einstein’s belief in an undivided solid reality was clear to him, so much so that he completely rejected the separation we experience as the moment of now. He believed there is no true division between past and future, there is rather a single existence. His most descriptive testimony to this faith came when his lifelong friend Michele Besso died. Einstein wrote a letter to Besso’s family, saying that although Besso had preceded him in death it was of no consequence, “…for us physicists believe the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one.”

It would further appear that we are not bound by one, two, three, or even four dimensions. Mathematics seem to indicate that there are an unlimited or infinite number of dimensions in both the spirit world and the physical world. However, as mortal beings with a beginning (Genesis 1), we cannot fully understand or perceive these additional dimensions. In fact, we must think of three dimensions in two dimensional terminology to even understand a three dimensional world.

God is an infinite Being and no human can fully answer these God-sized questions, but through God’s Word, we can understand much about who God is and what He is like. May we all wholeheartedly continue to seek after Him. As such he transcends space and time.

Time travel is often discussed as a possible discovery. However, clocks do not measure time, they measure the movement of a mechanical device. Just as the curvature of the Earth affects the degrees of a triangle, a person with a shorter leg or more dominate leg will eventually walk in a complete circle without the benefit of landmarks or navigational instruments.

Most people have heard of the grandfather paradox. The grandfather paradox and other similar paradoxes are unnecessary to disprove time travel. It is impossible for either backward or forward travel in time. This is because time does not exist.

To take things further than large triangles or paradoxes, lights, including laser light are subject to the same physics. General relativity predicts that the path of light is bent in a gravitational field; light passing a massive body is deflected towards that body. This effect has been confirmed by observing the light of stars or distant quasars being deflected as it passes the Sun.

This and related predictions follow from the fact that light follows what is called a light-like or null geodesic—a generalization of the straight lines along which light travels in classical physics. Such geodesics are the generalization of the invariance of lightspeed in special relativity. As one examines suitable model spacetimes (either the exterior Schwarzschild solution or, for more than a single mass, the post-Newtonian expansion), several effects of gravity on light propagation emerge. Although the bending of light can also be derived by extending the universality of free fall to light, the angle of deflection resulting from such calculations is only half the value given by general relativity.

Closely related to light deflection is the gravitational time delay (or Shapiro delay), the phenomenon that light signals take longer to move through a gravitational field than they would in the absence of that field. There have been numerous successful tests of this prediction. In the parameterized post-Newtonian formalism (PPN), measurements of both the deflection of light and the gravitational time delay determine a parameter called γ, which encodes the influence of gravity on the geometry of space.

So although one may perceive that they are travelling forward or backward in time, the starting point (present time) will always be the ending point. There can be no gain or loss as time as it is only a perception relative only to our location as mere mortals.

I submit that spacetime does not exist as a dimension. Time is nothing more than a tool that mankind has invented to measure distance, not unlike an inch, meter, mile, or an astronomical unit.

Albert Einstein was wrong on his view of the spacetime continuum. I have no respect for men like Richard Dawkins or Stephen Hawking who try to disprove the existence of God through mathematics. The physical world cannot be applied to a spiritual world. Both men are geniuses, but Paul the Apostle spoke of such men.

  • For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
    (Romans 1:19-23 ESV)

Time is mankind’s perceived sequence of events. It is no different than 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 or 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700 and other sequences. As such, time does not exist, neither is God or the spiritual world subject to the boundaries of time.

The physical world is subject to time. From a linear perspective, we began in Genesis 1:1, that is the beginning of physical time and universe. We have no ending as we all have eternal life as a gift from our Creator. Where we spend that eternity is up to the decisions that we make here during our physical existence.

  • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
    (John 1:1-3 ESV)
  • For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
    (Colossians 1:16-17 ESV)

The Image of God

The Image of God is a concept and theological doctrine in Christianity and Judaism which asserts that human beings are created in God‘s image and therefore have inherent value independent of their utility or function.

  • Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
    (Genesis 1:26-27 ESV)

Man in the image of God; what does this mean in practical terms? It cannot refer to bodily, biological form since God is a Spirit and man is earthly. But while it may be true that the body does not belong to the image, since God does not have a body, yet somehow we would like to see man’s body (which is a very real part of man) included in the image. Language and creativity,—two important parts of the image, are impossible without a body. And God the Almighty agreed to share with man dominion and authority over the animal kingdom (Genesis 1:28), an activity in which the whole man, body as well as mind, is involved. Furthermore the Son of God honored the human body by becoming flesh and dwelling among men (John 1:14) (Hebrews 2:14). C. S. Lewis suggests that before the Fall, the first man, Adam mirrored Christ the man of Galilee even more nearly than Christ would have resembled his own half-brothers. If this is so, it seems almost blasphemy to consider Adam sired by a shambling ape.

  • And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
    (Genesis 1:28 ESV)
  • And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
    (John 1:14 ESV)
  • Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.
    (Hebrews 2:14 ESV)
  • Answers in Genesis: Man – The Image of God

Humans in God’s image were intended at creation to bring glory to God as people who hadn’t sinned. Fallen humanity hasn’t lost the image of God, but the image is tarnished. “With Adam’s moral freedom to choose,” says Mark, “he rebelled against God, which has profoundly damaged the image of God in humanity and affects us in all areas of life. Through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection, God is now restoring his original image in humans as they are transformed by following Jesus Christ.” The writer of Hebrews says of Jesus that “the Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3-4). Jesus shows us who God is and what God is like.

  • He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
    (Hebrews 1:3-4 ESV)
  • Thinking Through Faith: What is the “Image of God”?

The Torah has additional references that indicate that mankind was created in the image of God.

  • .This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.
    (Genesis 5:1-3 ESV)
  • “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.
    (Genesis 9:6 ESV)

We are made in God’s image, but the potential value of this image will not be realized unless we become conformed to the image of Christ in our morality. To be living in God’s image, we must be in a right (i.e., moral) relationship with God and with other humans, using our minds and our authority to serve God and our fellow humans. This is what it means to be in the image of God and conformed to the perfect image, his Son.

The Holy Bible states that Jesus Christ is the visible image of God.

  • He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.
    (Colossians 1:13-16 ESV)
  • In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
    (2 Corinthians 4:4-7 ESV)
  • GotQuestons: What does it mean that man is made in the “image of God”

Og, King of Bashan

The Gilgal is the Israeli Stonehenge. The structure is composed of over 40,000 stones that are arranged in 4 circles. It is quite big – the diameter of the outer circle is about 150 meters/490 feet. The site is estimated to be 5,000 years old.

Og, according to the Holy Bible, was an Amorite king of Bashan who, along with his army, was slain by Moses and his men at the battle of Edrei.

Og is mentioned in Jewish folklore as being alive from the time of Noah up until the time of his death in battle with the Israelites. It is also written in the Midrash that he had a special compartment in Noah’s Ark just for him. Aggadah suggests an alternative to this; that he sat upon the top of the ark, riding out the flood for the duration of the storm from this location.

I reject that Og survived the flood by any means due to the following passage of Scripture:

  • Then the LORD said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate, and seven pairs of the birds of the heavens also, male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth. For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.”
    (Genesis 7:1-4 ESV)

God clearly stated, “For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground” (Genesis 7:4).

When studying  the Sons of God and the Nephilim, it is apparent that “Nephilim were on the earth before the flood, and also afterward. (Genesis 6:4).

  • When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.
    (Genesis 6:1-4 ESV)

The Holy Bible is silent on how the Sons of God were established after the flood. Many apocryphal books and commentaries deal with this question, I will not however, as I do not believe speculation should be included in any serious Bible study.

Og is introduced in the Book of Numbers. Like his neighbor Sihon of Heshbon, whom Moses had previously conquered at the battle of Jahaz he was an Amorite king, the ruler of Bashan, which contained sixty walled cities and many unwalled towns, with his capital at Ashtaroth where there still exists a 70-foot mound.

Th Book of Deuteronomy says, “Then we turned and went up the way to Bashan. And Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. But the LORD said to me, ‘Do not fear him, for I have given him and all his people and his land into your hand. And you shall do to him as you did to Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.’ So the LORD our God gave into our hand Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people, and we struck him down until he had no survivor left. And we took all his cities at that time–there was not a city that we did not take from them–sixty cities, the whole region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan. All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates, and bars, besides very many unwalled villages. And we devoted them to destruction, as we did to Sihon the king of Heshbon, devoting to destruction every city, men, women, and children. But all the livestock and the spoil of the cities we took as our plunder” (Deuteronomy 3:1-7 ESV).

Og’s destruction is told in Psalms 135:8-12 and 136:2-22 as one of many great victories for the nation of Israel, and the Book of Amos 2:9-10 may refer to Og as “the Amorite” whose height was like the height of the cedars and whose strength was like the oaks.

  • He it was who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and of beast; who in your midst, O Egypt, sent signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants; who struck down many nations and killed mighty kings, Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan, and gave their land as a heritage, a heritage to his people Israel.
    (Psalms 135:8-12 ESV)
  • Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, for his steadfast love endures forever; and brought Israel out from among them, for his steadfast love endures forever; with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who divided the Red Sea in two, for his steadfast love endures forever; and made Israel pass through the midst of it, for his steadfast love endures forever; but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who led his people through the wilderness, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who struck down great kings, for his steadfast love endures forever; and killed mighty kings, for his steadfast love endures forever; Sihon, king of the Amorites, for his steadfast love endures forever; and Og, king of Bashan, for his steadfast love endures forever; and gave their land as a heritage, for his steadfast love endures forever; a heritage to Israel his servant, for his steadfast love endures forever.
    (Psalms 136:2-22 ESV)
  • “Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars and who was as strong as the oaks; I destroyed his fruit above and his roots beneath. Also it was I who brought you up out of the land of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite.
    (Amos 2:9-10 ESV)

In Deuteronomy 3:11 and later in the Book of Numbers and Book of Joshua, Og is pronounced as the last of the Rephaim. Deuteronomy 3:11 declares that his “bedstead” (translated in some texts as “sarcophagus”) of iron is “nine cubits in length and four cubits in width” (13.5 ft x 6 ft) according to the standard cubit of a man. It goes on to say that at the royal city of Rabbah of the Ammonites, his giant bedstead could still be seen as a novelty at the time the narrative was written. If the giant king’s bedstead was built in proportion to his size as most beds are, he may have been between 9 to 13 feet in height. However, later Rabbinic tradition has it, that the length of his bedstead was measured with the cubits of Og himself. The Talmud further embellishes in fantastic detail that Og was so large that he sought the destruction of the Israelites by uprooting a mountain so large, that it would have crushed the entire Israelite encampment. Moses, fulfilling the LORD’s injunction not to fear him, seized a spear of ten cubits length, and jumped a similar vertical distance, succeeding in stabbing Og in the ankle. The LORD then caused Og’s teeth to lengthen until they grew into the mountain he held aloft; millions of ants then swarmed into his mouth, killing him. It is noteworthy that the region north of the River Jabbok, or Bashan, “the land of Rephaim”, contains hundreds of megalithic stone tombs (dolmen) dating from the 5th to 3rd millennia BC. In 1918, Gustav Dalman discovered in the neighborhood of Amman Jordan (Amman is built on the ancient city of Rabbah of Ammon) a noteworthy dolmen which matched the approximate dimensions of Og’s bed as described in the Holy Bible. Such ancient rock burials are seldom seen west of the Jordan river, and the only other concentration of these megaliths are to be found in the hills of Judah in the vicinity of Hebron, where the giant sons of Anak were said to have lived (Numbers 13:33)

  • (For only Og the king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim. Behold, his bed was a bed of iron. Is it not in Rabbah of the Ammonites? Nine cubits was its length, and four cubits its breadth, according to the common cubit.)
    (Deuteronomy 3:11 ESV)
  • And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”
    (Numbers 13:33 ESV)
  • Now these are the kings of the land whom the people of Israel defeated and took possession of their land beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise, from the Valley of the Arnon to Mount Hermon, with all the Arabah eastward: Sihon king of the Amorites who lived at Heshbon and ruled from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, and from the middle of the valley as far as the river Jabbok, the boundary of the Ammonites, that is, half of Gilead, and the Arabah to the Sea of Chinneroth eastward, and in the direction of Beth-jeshimoth, to the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, southward to the foot of the slopes of Pisgah; and Og king of Bashan, one of the remnant of the Rephaim, who lived at Ashtaroth and at Edrei and ruled over Mount Hermon and Salecah and all Bashan to the boundary of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and over half of Gilead to the boundary of Sihon king of Heshbon.
    (Joshua 12:1-5 ESV)
  • Now Joshua was old and advanced in years, and the LORD said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to possess. This is the land that yet remains: all the regions of the Philistines, and all those of the Geshurites (from the Shihor, which is east of Egypt, northward to the boundary of Ekron, it is counted as Canaanite; there are five rulers of the Philistines, those of Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron), and those of the Avvim, in the south, all the land of the Canaanites, and Mearah that belongs to the Sidonians, to Aphek, to the boundary of the Amorites, and the land of the Gebalites, and all Lebanon, toward the sunrise, from Baal-gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo-hamath, all the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon to Misrephoth-maim, even all the Sidonians. I myself will drive them out from before the people of Israel. Only allot the land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have commanded you. Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance to the nine tribes and half the tribe of Manasseh.” With the other half of the tribe of Manasseh the Reubenites and the Gadites received their inheritance, which Moses gave them, beyond the Jordan eastward, as Moses the servant of the LORD gave them: from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, and the city that is in the middle of the valley, and all the tableland of Medeba as far as Dibon; and all the cities of Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, as far as the boundary of the Ammonites; and Gilead, and the region of the Geshurites and Maacathites, and all Mount Hermon, and all Bashan to Salecah; all the kingdom of Og in Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei (he alone was left of the remnant of the Rephaim); these Moses had struck and driven out.
    (Joshua 13:1-12 ESV)

A reference to “Og” appears in a Phoenician inscription from Byblos (Byblos 13) published in 1974 by Wolfgang Rölling in “Eine new phoenizische Inschrift aus Byblos,” (Neue Ephemeris für Semitische Epigraphik, vol 2, 1-15 and plate 1). It appears in a damaged 7-line funerary inscription that Rölling dates to around 500 BC, and appears to say that if someone disturbs the bones of the occupant, “the mighty Og will avenge me.”

A possible connection can also be made with the much older Ugaritic text KTU 1.108, which uses the term “king” in association with the root /rp/ or “Rapah” (the Rephaim of the Bible) and geographic place names that probably correspond to the cities of Ashtaroth and Edrei in the Holy Bible, and with which king Og is clearly associated (Deuteronomy 1:4; Joshua 9:10; 12:4; 13:12, 31).

  • In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the people of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him in commandment to them, after he had defeated Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth and in Edrei.
    (Deuteronomy 1:3-4 ESV)
  • They said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” And Joshua said to them, “Who are you? And where do you come from?” They said to him, “From a very distant country your servants have come, because of the name of the LORD your God. For we have heard a report of him, and all that he did in Egypt, and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon the king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth.
    (Joshua 9:8-10 ESV)
  • Now these are the kings of the land whom the people of Israel defeated and took possession of their land beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise, from the Valley of the Arnon to Mount Hermon, with all the Arabah eastward: Sihon king of the Amorites who lived at Heshbon and ruled from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, and from the middle of the valley as far as the river Jabbok, the boundary of the Ammonites, that is, half of Gilead, and the Arabah to the Sea of Chinneroth eastward, and in the direction of Beth-jeshimoth, to the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, southward to the foot of the slopes of Pisgah; and Og king of Bashan, one of the remnant of the Rephaim, who lived at Ashtaroth and at Edrei and ruled over Mount Hermon and Salecah and all Bashan to the boundary of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and over half of Gilead to the boundary of Sihon king of Heshbon. (Joshua 12:1-5 ESV)
  • Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance to the nine tribes and half the tribe of Manasseh.” With the other half of the tribe of Manasseh the Reubenites and the Gadites received their inheritance, which Moses gave them, beyond the Jordan eastward, as Moses the servant of the LORD gave them: from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, and the city that is in the middle of the valley, and all the tableland of Medeba as far as Dibon; and all the cities of Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, as far as the boundary of the Ammonites; and Gilead, and the region of the Geshurites and Maacathites, and all Mount Hermon, and all Bashan to Salecah; all the kingdom of Og in Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei (he alone was left of the remnant of the Rephaim); these Moses had struck and driven out.
    (Joshua 13:7-12 ESV)
  • Their region extended from Mahanaim, through all Bashan, the whole kingdom of Og king of Bashan, and all the towns of Jair, which are in Bashan, sixty cities, and half Gilead, and Ashtaroth, and Edrei, the cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan. These were allotted to the people of Machir the son of Manasseh for the half of the people of Machir according to their clans.
    (Joshua 13:30-31 ESV)

The 2nd century BC apocryphal book “Ogias the Giant” or “The Book of Giants” depicts the adventures of a giant named Ogias who fought a great dragon, and who was supposedly either identical with the Biblical Og or was Og’s father.

The book enjoyed considerable currency for several centuries, especially due to having been taken up by the Manichaean religion.

Free Will

Free will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long been debated in philosophy. Historically, the constraint of dominant concern has been the metaphysical constraint of determinism, which stated most simply is the notion that the present dictates the future entirely, that every occurrence results from prior events. The two main positions within that debate are metaphysical libertarianism, the claim that determinism is false, so free will exists is at least possible—and hard determinism, the claim that determinism is true, so free will does not exist.

Both of these positions, which agree that causal determination is the relevant factor in the question of free will, are classed as incompatibilist. Positions that deny that determinism is relevant are classified as compatibilist, and offer various alternative explanations of what constraints are relevant, such as physical constraints (e.g. chains or imprisonment), social constraints (e.g. threat of punishment or censure), or psychological constraints (e.g. compulsions or phobias). Such compatibilists thus consider the debate between libertarianism and hard determinism a false dilemma.

Some compatibilists assert that determinism is not just compatible with free will, but actually necessary for it; that the randomness of indeterminism is a greater obstacle to free will. Similarly, hard incompatibilism, while still holding that determinism is an obstacle to free will, agrees with the aforementioned compatibilists that indeterminism is likewise an obstacle to free will, and concludes that free will is thus impossible in either case.

The principle of free will has religiousethical, and scientific implications. For example, in the religious realm, free will implies that individual will and choices can coexist with an omnipotentdivinity. In ethics, it may hold implications for whether individuals can be held morally accountable for their actions. In science, neuroscientific findings regarding free will may suggest different ways of predicting human behavior.

If humans are responsible for their actions, they must have free will, the ability to choose right from wrong. But ideas about God‘s providence and scientific notions of biological and psychological determinism create problems for the presumption of free will. This paradox has fascinated Jewish thinkers since the Talmud.

According to Josephus, the Sadducees believed that:

  • There is no fate
  • God does not commit evil
  • man has free will; “man has the free choice of good or evil”
  • the soul is not immortal; there is no afterlife, and
  • there are no rewards or penalties after death

The Sadducees rejected the belief in resurrection of the dead, which was a central tenet believed by Pharisees and by Early Christians. This often provoked hostilities. Furthermore, the Sadducees rejected the Oral Law as proposed by the Pharisees. Rather, they saw the Torah as the sole source of divine authority. The written law, in its depiction of the priesthood, corroborated the power and enforced the hegemony of the Sadducees in Judean society.

The Pharisees (Latin pharisæus, –i; from Hebrew פְּרוּשִׁים pĕrûshîm, pl. of פָּרוּשׁpārûsh, meaning “set apart”, Qal passive participle of the verb פָּרָשׁ pārāsh,[1][2]through Greek φαρισαῖος, -ου pharisaios[3]) were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought among Jews during the Second Temple period beginning under the Hasmonean dynasty (140–37 BCE) in the wake of theMaccabean Revolt.

Conflicts between the Pharisees and the Sadducees took place in the context of much broader and longstanding social and religious conflicts among Jews dating back to the Babylonian captivity and exacerbated by the Roman conquest. One conflict was class, between the wealthy and the poor, as the Sadducees included mainly the priestly and aristocratic families. Another conflict was cultural, between those who favored Hellenization and those who resisted it. A third was juridico-religious, between those who emphasized the importance of the Second Temple with its cultic rites and services, and those who emphasized the importance of other Mosaic laws and prophetic values. A fourth point of conflict, specifically religious, involved different interpretations of the Torah and how to apply it to current Jewish life, with the Sadducees recognizing only the Written Torah and rejecting doctrines such as the Oral Torah and the Resurrection of the Dead.

Free will in theology is an important part of the debate on free will in general. This article discusses the doctrine of free will as it has been, and is, interpreted within the various branches of ChristianityJudaismIslamHinduism and Zoroastrianism. Religions vary greatly in their response to the Standard argument against free will, and thus might appeal to any number of responses to “the paradox of free will” – the claim that omniscience and free will are incompatible.

The Catholic Encyclopedia says, “The question of free will, moral liberty, or the liberum arbitrium of the Schoolmen, ranks amongst the three or four most important philosophical problems of all time. It ramifies into ethics, theologymetaphysics, andpsychology. The view adopted in response to it will determine a man’s position in regard to the most momentous issues that present themselves to the human mind. On the one hand, does man possess genuinemoral freedom, power of real choice, true ability to determine the course of his thoughts and volitions, to decide which motives shall prevail within his mind, to modify and mould his own character? Or, on the other, are man’s thoughts and volitions, his character and external actions, all merely the inevitable outcome of his circumstances? Are they all inexorably predetermined in every detail along rigid lines by events of the past, over which he himself has had no sort of control? This is the real import of the free-will problem.

Light Inside The Darkness

  • In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights–the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night–and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
    (Genesis 1:1-19 ESV)

According to Scripture, God “created the heavens and the earth” on Day One of Creation Week (Genesis 1:1). Initially all was dark, until God said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). Days Two and Three saw the oceans, firmament (atmosphere), continents, and plants created and formed, as the earth was being progressively prepared for man’s habitation. It was on Day Four that God created the sun, moon, and stars, proclaiming, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven” (Genesis 1:14), one purpose of which was “to give light upon the earth” (Genesis 1:15).

The light in Genesis 1:3 was directional, coming from a particular source. The earth was evidently rotating underneath it, causing alternating periods of light and dark. “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night” (Genesis 1:5).

Skeptics have long ridiculed the science of biblical creation over this point. How could there be light bathing the earth before the sun was created? Obviously the Bible must be in error. But as always, this apparent error drives us to look more closely at the relevant data, both scientific and biblical.

Actually there are many sources of light, not just the sun. There are also many types of light, not just visible light. Short-wave light includes ultraviolet light, X-rays, and others. Long-wave light includes infrared light, radio waves, etc. Light is produced by friction, by fire, by numerous chemical reactions, as well as the nuclear reactions of atomic fission and fusion, which is what we think is occurring in the sun. God had at His fingertips many options to accomplish His purposes. Light does not automatically require the sun.

Dr. Henry Morris made an interesting point about this passage when he said that because God is light, dwelling in light (1 Timothy 6:16), He did not have to create light. But God did create darkness (Isaiah 45:7) “as the initial state of the unformed and uninhabited earth (Genesis 1:2).” He created the primeval darkness to form a division between day and night.

  • I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time–he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
    (1 Timothy 6:13-16 ESV)
  • I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.
    (Isaiah 45:7 ESV)
  • The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
    (Genesis 1:2 ESV)

Furthermore, we have important data given by the Hebrew words used in the creation account. When God created “light” in verse 3, the word used connotes the presence of light only, while the word used for “lights” on Day Four is best translated “light bearers,” or permanent light sources. Their purpose was not only to give light, but to serve as timekeepers for man once he was created. According to the best stellar creation theory now available, light from stars created anywhere in the universe on Day Four would reach earth in two earth days, and would be useful to Adam on Day Six.

The Holy Bible tells us that no sun or moon is necessary to produce light because God Himself is light. Saint John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5 ESV) and “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5 ESV).

The Book of Revelation tells us of a new heaven and a new earth. It says. “And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day–and there will be no night there” (Revelation 21:23-25 ESV).

  • Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed– on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass. And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day–and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
    (Revelation 21:1-27 ESV)

This all presents a problem for those who hold to the theory of Day-age creationism, a type of old Earth creationism. Day-age creationism is an interpretation of the creation accounts in Genesis. It holds that the six days referred to in the Genesis account of creation are not ordinary 24-hour days, but are much longer periods (of thousands or millions of years). The Genesis account is then reconciled with the age of the Earth. Proponents of the day-age theory can be found among both theistic evolutionists, who accept the scientific consensus on evolution, and progressive creationists, who reject it. The theories are said to be built on the understanding that the Hebrew word “yom” is used to refer to a time period, with a beginning and an end and not necessarily that of a 24-hour day.

Genesis 1:12 tells us that “the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind.” This was Day Three of the Creation Week. However, Genesis then tells us that the sun, moon and stars were created on Day Four of the Creation Week (Genesis 1:14-19).

Plants need sunlight for photosynthesis and cannot wait in darkness for thousands or millions of years. If the days were long periods of time as demanded by critics of a literal Creation Week, plants could not survive.

Keep in mind that the Creation Week was a uniquely miraculous time, and we are justified in speculating that miraculous events may have been taking place outside of today’s natural laws. How much better and more satisfying it is to accept Scripture as it stands. It doesn’t need to be fully understood and explained by modern scientific thought; it just needs to be believed and obeyed.

The Fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil

The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
(Genesis 2:15-17 ESV)

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
(Genesis 3:1-7 ESV)

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever–” therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
(Genesis 3:8-24 ESV)

In his First Epistle to Timothy, Paul the Apostle wrote, “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” (1 Timothy 2:11-14 ESV).

Paul the Apostle was telling Timothy that the serpent beguiled Eve. Adam was not beguiled by the serpent. He absolutely saw through the subtlety of the serpent and chose to follow Eve into sin because of his love for her.. He was willing to give up everything, his walk with God (YHWH) and even risk death to keep Eve as part of his life (for better or for worse),

In Jewish tradition, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the eating of its fruit represents the beginning of the mixture of good and evil together.Before that time, the two were separate, and evil had only a nebulous existence in potentia. While free choice (apparently) did exist before eating the fruit, evil existed as an entity separate from the human psyche, and it was not in human nature to desire it. Eating and internalizing the forbidden fruit changed this and thus was born the yeitzer hara, the Evil Inclination.

Rashi notes that the first sin came about because Eve added an additional clause to the Divine command:

“Neither shall you touch it.” [By saying this, Eve] added to the command, and thereby came to detract [from it]. This is as it is written [Proverbs 30:6], “Do not add to His Words.”
In the 

Talmud

, several opinions are proposed as to the identity of the fruit:
  • Rabbi Meir says that the fruit was a grape, made into wine. The Zohar explains similarly that Noah attempted (but failed) to rectify the sin of Adam by using grape wine for holy purposes. The midrash states that the fruit was grape, or squeezed grapes (perhaps again alluding to wine).
  • Rabbi Nechemia says that the fruit was a fig, as it was from fig leaves that God made garments for Adam and Eve upon expelling them from the Garden: “By that with which they were made low were they rectified.”
  • On the other hand, Rabbi Yehuda proposes that the fruit was wheat, because “a babe does not know to call its mother and father until it tastes the taste of grain.” On this, Tosafot there explains, “And this is called the Tree of Knowledge.”

In Christian theology, the tree of knowledge is a forbidden tree yielding fruit that when eaten, came forth original sin and subsequently, the Fall of Man in Genesis 2-3.

In CatholicismAugustine of Hippo taught that the tree should be understood both symbolically and as a real tree – similarly to Jerusalem being both a real city and a figure of Heavenly Jerusalem. Augustine underlined that the fruits of that tree were not evil by themselves, because everything that God created was good (Genesis 1:12). It was disobedience of Adam and Eve, who had been told by God not to eat of the tree (Genesis 2:17), that was obnoxious and caused disorder in the creation, thus humanity inherited sin and guilt from Adam and Eve’s sin.

In Western Christian art, the fruit of the tree is commonly depicted as the apple, which originated in central Asia. This depiction may have originated as a Latin pun: by eating the malum (apple), Eve contracted mālum (evil). or simply because of religious artists’ poetic licence.

Satan’s motive operandi is deceit, being the father of all lies. He didn’t tempt Eve to eat from the Tree of Life, as that would have led to eternal life. Instead he chose to tempt her with the fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil. The Tree of Good of Evil was a double-edged sword as indicated by it’s name. Not only would consuming this fruit open one’s eyes to morality and end innocense, the consumption of the fruit of this tree would also release our inner demons, the evil that each carry inside of us. Lies, disobedience, rape, murder, homosexuality, etc. all became part of our nature.

Satan’s careful planning and cunning deception coupled with Eve’s willingness to listen and then cooperate with this deception was a disaster for mankind. “Eve took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her and he ate” (Genesis. 3:6). Satan did not take the fruit and put it in Eve’s mouth. He can tempt but he cannot force. Adam and Eve were totally responsible for their actions.

  • So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
    (Genesis 3:6 ESV)
  • But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
    (James 1:14-15 ESV)

Defining God

For the purpose of this article, we are going to use the definition of God (YHWH) contained in the Holy Bible. As such, God is the Creator of the universe (matter, energy, space, and time), along with other principalities and beings whose primary existence is outside this universe. However, God did not just create the universe and leave it to its own fate as deists proclaim. God is the personal being who walked and talked with Adam and Eve, the first human beings, in the Garden of Eden. God is also Savior of mankind, coming to Earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth  (Yeshua HaMashiach) to provide the ultimate example of holiness and the ultimate sacrifice for humanity’s evilness, in order to restore our personal relationship with Him. According to Christianity, God is the self-existent One, having no need of being created, since He has existed forever and is the cause of all things, including the dimension of time, to which He is not subject.. Likewise, God is not subject to the physical creation, but is spiritual in nature, residing in the spiritual dimensions of heaven. God’s power over the physical creation is absolute, such that He can manipulate matter, energy, space, and time at will. For this reason, God is said to be all powerful—able to accomplish any possible task He wills to do. Along with being all powerful, God is also all knowing—having knowledge of all things that are possible to be known, including the entire history of the universe—past, present, and future. Because God is all powerful (omnipotent) and all knowing (omniscient), He is also able to be present at all places at all times (omnipresent). God is also all loving—according to the Bible, “God is love” (1 John 4:16). The love of God prompted Him to create human beings in His image, in order to share His love with us. The Christian scriptures say that we can fulfill the entire law of God by loving Him and loving our fellow human beings (Matthew 22:37-40). God is absolutely holy—without any moral or character defect. In fact, the Bible says that God is incapable of doing any evil, despite being all powerful. God is unchangeable. In other words, He does not change any of His attributes or character at any time. Despite humanity’s tendency to change its definition of morality, God’s moral character does not evolve with the times, but remains constant.

The Scriptures tell us that God has many different names. The following article lists many of these names.

I have recently received a email from a reader who wants to know if God is tangible, among other things. Saint John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
(John 1:1-3 ESV)

In his Epistle to the Colossians, Paul the Apostle wrote. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
(Colossians 1:15-17 ESV)

In his Epistle to the Romans, Paul the Apsotle write, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”
(Romans 1:17-25 ESV)

This article will also address why I refer to the Old Testament as the Tanakh, the Five Books of Moses as the Torah, the New Testament as the B’rit Chadashah, Jesus Christ as Yeshua HaMashiach, God as YHWH or Yahweh, and the Holy Spirit as the Ruach HaKodesh.

In this day and age, Universalists and the Interfaith Movement claim that all people worship the same god and that all paths lead to heaven. This is simply not true, there can only be one truth. Anything else is a contradiction.

In his First Epistle to Timothy, Paul the Apostle wrote, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”
(1 Timothy 2:5-6 ESV)

In his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, Paul the Apostle wrote. “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
(2 Corinthians 6:14-18 ESV)

Saint John wrote, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
(1 John 5:7 KJV)

Hopefully, this article will answer all the questions that were posed by the individual who sent me a message. May God bless you and keep you always. Shalom!

Two Birds, One Stone, and a Mustard Seed

Semina Sinapis NigraeThe Parable of the Mustard Seed is one of the shorter parables of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ). It appears in three of the Canonical Gospels of the New Testament (B’rit Chadashah).

“Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less [G3398] than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater [G3187] than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it” (Mark 4:30-32 KJV).

Most people who have read this parable and concluded that the size (amount) of the mustard seed represents the amount of faith a Christian must have to please God (Jehovah). Some have taken the mustard seed under the microscope and argued about whether it really is the smallest of seeds. Secular critics of Biblical literature have used this parable to attempt to demonstrate that Yeshua was in error because the mustard seed is not the smallest seed in the world. This kind of skeptical criticism overlooks and, as a result, misses the point and the lesson in the parable.

The plant referred to in this parable (which is paralleled in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke) is generally considered to be the black mustard, a large annual plant up to ten to twelve feet tall with a stout central stem and strong branches. It bears yellow flowers producing minute seeds. In actuality the seed is so small that when it is incorporated into jewelry, the makers encase it in a glass globe the size of a marble, which serves to magnify the seed so it may be easily seen. According to rabbinical sources, Jews did not grow this plant in gardens, and this is consistent with Matthew’s description of it being sown in a field. Luke tells the parable with the plant in a garden instead, presumably recasting the story for an audience outside Israel. Yeshua was not comparing the mustard seed to all other seeds in the world, but to seeds that a local farmer might have sown in his field. It is absolutely true that the black mustard seed was the smallest seed ever sown by a first-century farmer in that part of the world. The black mustard seed was a small seed, well known to the audience and the very soul of a proverbial expression with which they would already be familiar. Though there are smaller seeds in the world (epiphytic orchids), is there a better illustration or would it grow into so large a plant in the Israel of Yeshua’s day? Even if there is a larger garden plant, would it be known to the audience of the parable?

Many Christians immediate reaction to this parable is a blend of relief and shame. It is reassuring to know that even a minute amount of faith is so powerful. On the other hand, this parable makes Christians ponder exactly how much faith they actually have. What if your faith isn’t even the size of a mustard seed?  How much is a epiphytic orchid’s sized amount of faith worth?  What if you need an electron microscope to see your faith? These comparisons of quantity and size can actually lead to discouragement for many people. Many Christians also feel chastened by this parable. I don’t believe Yeshua intended for this parable to be a chastisement. I believe Yeshua is actually encouraging us that no matter how meager our faith may initially appear, that tiny little speck is the beginning of our path to completeness and joy. God takes us where we are, loves us as we are, and makes us His own.

The mustard seed, one of the world’s smallest of seeds produces a large tree. Likewise, it is the same with the Kingdom of God. A small seed when planted in good soil produces amazing growth, both in individuals and in the Kingdom of God taken as a whole. What can mustard seeds teach us about the Kingdom of God? The tiny mustard seed literally grew to be a tree which attracted numerous birds because they loved the little black mustard seed it produced. God’s kingdom works in a similar fashion. It starts from the smallest beginnings in the hearts of men and women who are receptive to God’s word. It works unseen and causes a transformation from within. Just as a seed has no power to change itself until it is planted in the ground, we cannot truly change our lives until God gives us the power of His Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh).

This parable isn’t necessarily a size comparison between our faith and a mustard seed. It is the characteristic of the mustard seed that matters. In Israel, the mustard seed is an incredibly invasive plant that can grow quite large (unlike other parts of the world) and its characteristics include growing in the worst soil conditions and being able to lift obstructions like large concrete blocks and entire roadways out of the way because of its strength. Therefore, this parable was meant as encouragement telling us to have the characteristic of the mustard seed (pushing through even in difficult times and poor growing conditions), not that we had to have faith the size (amount) of a mustard seed.

The olive seed was sown and was transformed into a tree. The tree grew and produced out branches. The tree attracted birds because they loved the seeds that the tree produced and the tree provided shelter to the birds. The Bible tells us that Christians (Gentiles) are the branches and that the root (tree) is a representative of the Jewish people (Romans 11). The seeds (fruit) of the olive tree represents Salvation that was provided to all of mankind through the Gospels and the text of the Old Testament (Tanakh) and the New Testament. The doctrine of free will teaches that it is up to us to accept the fruit as nourishment. The birds and branches of the parable represents nations and gentiles. Once the birds have eaten the fruit of the olive tree and taken shelter from the olive tree, they become part of the olive tree. Christians are now also included and considered to be the heirs to the promise and the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3). Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

The parable isn’t meant to discourage anyone and it is not a chastisement. The parable is meant to encourage Christians so that their faith will grow. We aren’t supposed to compare the size of our mustard seed or to count how many mustard seeds one might have. We are supposed to work tirelessly until we enter the Kingdom of God, even in difficult times or under persecution or threat of persecution.

There Can Only Be One Truth

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:11-18 KJV). We are obviously in a spiritual battle that had been being fought since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, Many of our opponents may seem to be human, that is because they are human. They are being led to attack the faithful because they are being led by evil spirits and demons.

Organizing a one world government with a global currently and a global religious system may seem like a good idea for peace and safety. No such system has ever worked or ever will as long as men rule the earth.. They use terms like “Chrislam” for religions that are being hybridized to convince us all roads lead to God. They tell us we all worship the same gods and that the only differences between us are social and culture. They tell s a lot of things about peace and safety and  a safe new world order. I will remind you of the Apostle Paul’s words concerning peace and safety. He said, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 KJV).”

Truth has a variety of meanings, primarily being in accord with fact or reality, fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal and, in common usage, constancy or sincerity in action or character. The opposite of truth is falsehood, which, correspondingly, can also take on a logical, factual, or ethical meaning.

Various theories and views of truth continue to be debated among scholars and philosophers. Language and words are a means by which humans convey information to one another and the method used to recognize a “truth” is termed a criterion of truth. There are differing claims on such questions as what constitutes truth: what things are truthbearers capable of being true or false; how to define and identify truth; the roles that revealed and acquired knowledge play; and whether truth is subjective or objectiverelative or absolute.

Religion is a collection of cultural systemsbelief systems, and worldviews that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narrativessymbolstraditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive moralityethicsreligious laws or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature.

The word “religion” is sometimes used interchangeably with faith or belief system, but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Many religions have organized behaviorsclergy, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural), and/or scriptures. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or godssacrificesfestivalsfeasts,tranceinitiationsfunerary servicesmatrimonial servicesmeditationmusicartdancepublic service, or other aspects of human culture. However, there are examples of religions for which some or many of these aspects of structure, belief, or practices are absent.

The development of religion has taken different forms in different cultures. Some religions place an emphasis on belief, while others emphasize practice. Some religions focus on the subjective experience of the religious individual, while others consider the activities of the religious community to be most important. Some religions claim to be universal, believing their laws and cosmology to be binding for everyone, while others are intended to be practiced only by a closely defined or localized group. In many places religion has been associated with public institutions such aseducationhospitals, the familygovernment, and political hierarchies. Anthropologists John Monoghan and Peter Just state that, “it seems apparent that one thing religion or belief helps us do is deal with problems of human life that are significant, persistent, and intolerable. One important way in which religious beliefs accomplish this is by providing a set of ideas about how and why the world is put together that allows people to accommodate anxieties and deal with misfortune.

Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transculturalinternational faiths; indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths. One modern academic theory of religion,social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings, and thus religion, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.

Truth and religion are very important to the development of a man or woman’s soul. But is religion the answer that we are really looking for? No, region is an institution of mankind. What we are looking for, searching for and missing is  a relationship with God (YHWH). The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (YHWH) wants a relationship with us and we can have that through Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus Christ). All other pathways fail, there is no other way to receive salvayion than through Yeshua’s atonement made of Calvary over 2,000 years ago.

Rick Warren can go on being a false prophet and leading people astray with his support and endorsement of Islam. There is no gap we can bridge to bring Muslims into the sanctuary of God. They must make that step on their own. We cannot  change our worldviews or moral codes to make the Corpus Christianum more attractive to others. I will not bow my head in prayer with Rick Warren as he prays at Barack Obama‘s Inauguration, praying to god, who is most merciful in Isa’s name. This is not my God. I neither serve, worship, nor hold any reverence for him.

This is what we see the angel warning people of in John’s vision in the Book of Revelation when he wrote,”And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities (Revelation 18:4-5 KJV).” This warning is directed at the “Christian” church of the last days and God is warning the true Christians to leave before they too are held accountable for her sins.

False preachers and prophets are everywhere, there are very few churches left that teach Biblical Sound Doctrine anymore. They have sold their souls for popularity and wealth. Most churches I know of are nothing more than a social club. I even find it necessary to define who God (YHWH) is when writing articles  This is especially true since everyone is told that we all worship the same God anymore.

Yeshua Hamashiach said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:13-23 KJV).

There are not many ways to get to the Kingdom of Heaven as some would like you to believe. There is only one way, through Yeshua, to obtain salvation. We don’t all worship the same God, Muslims worship an ancient, pre-Islamic moon god, Mormons worship “Another Jesus” (Galatians 1:8).

There can only be one truth, anything that contradicts this fact is a lie.

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
(Revelation 13:16-18 KJV)

The Last In Line: Antichrist Revealed

There is much speculation about the identity of the Antichrist. Some of the more popular targets at the moment are Vladimir Putin, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Pope Benedict XVI, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and William Arthur Philip Louis. So, who is the Antichrist, and how will we recognize him when he comes into power?

Yeshua prayed for strength and for His disciples and those who did and would believe in Him before He entered Garden of Gethsemane and was betrayed, arrested, tried, crucified and resurrected. The Garden of Gethsemane was symbolic is many ways. The fall of man occurred in the Garden of Eden which brought the curse of death through sin, likewise the events in which Yeshua would defeat Satan and provide salvation unto all sinners who accepted His sacrifice began in a garden. During Yeshua’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, He said, “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12 KJV).

The Son of Perdition is a phrase that appears in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament). Many theologians and scholars also consider “the beast that goes into perdition” mentioned in the Book of Revelation to be references to the “Son of Perdition.”

According to theologians and scholars, Yeshua, the Apostle Paul, and the Apostle John’s Son of Perdition (Man of Sin) is also prophesied of in the Book of Daniel. The Apostle John related the Son of Perdition (G684) concepts by language, referring to “the star that fell from heaven” (Revelation 9:1) by two names, one Greek, and the other Hebrew (Revelation 9:11). The Greek name is “Apollyon” (G623) and means the destroyer (Satan). The Hebrew name is “Abaddon” (G3) and means destroying angel (Satan). Perdition (G684) means destruction, waste or damnable.

We can conclude that the Antichrist is a reference to the “son of sin” or the “man of lawlessness” from the definitions of these words and the references to him throughout the Scriptures.

The Apostle Paul and the Apostle Timothy in there second epistle to the Thessalonians wrote, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 KJV).

When speaking in a parable Yeshua said, “But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first” (Matthew 19:30) and “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen” (Matthew 20:16).

The Revelation of Saint John the Divine gives us are strongest warnings and clues concerning the false religion and kingdom of the prophesied Antichrist. The two key chapters in the Book of Revelation are the thirteenth and seventeenth chapters.

Revelation 13 ends with a clue and warning that states, “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six [666]” (Revelation 13:18 KJV).

The Prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’S vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence. Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies” (Jeremiah 51:6-9 KJV).

If anyone looks at the pagan holidays that have been adopted and “Christianized” by the Corpus Christianum, it is apparent that all of these holidays (including Christmas, Lent, Easter, Saint Valentine’s Day, etc.) started with the ancient Sumerians on the plains of Shinar. What specifically occurred on the plains of Shinar? For this we must return to the Book of Genesis.

After the Great Flood, Noah planted a vineyard. He drank the wine he produced and became intoxicated and passed out. His son Ham sinned against his father and told Noah’s other sons, Shem and Japheth. After Noah woke up, he realized what Ham had done. Noah said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant” (Genesis 9:25-27).

After the death of Noah, Genesis lists the genealogy of Noah’s sons,  Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The Bible says, “Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations. And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtecha: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan. And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD” (Genesis 10:1-9 KJV).

The King James Version says that Nimrod “began to be a mighty (H1368) one in the earth.” The Hebrew word used for mighty is gibbowr (גִּבּוֹר). The Gibborim are the “Mighty Men of Renown” created by the Watchers (a class of angel) when they left their heavenly abode and came down to the daughters of men and produced the “Nephilim” and “Mighty Men of Renown” as recorded in Genesis Chapter 6:1-4 of the Tanakh (Old Testament). They were half breeds, angelic-human hybrids. The union of these beasts with humans produced children that were different in many ways. The first apparent difference was that they developed giantism. They were giants. Og the King of Bashan had a bed that was 13 to 15 feet long; and Goliath was 6 cubits tall (9 feet) and they had six fingers and toes. In addition to giantism, the Gibborim had powerful psychic abilities like out of body experiences, levitation, mind control, time travel, mind reading, remote viewing, the power of placing curses and diseases, the power of removing curses and diseases, and ways of knowing and predicting the future. They were astrologers, homosexuals, lesbians, cannibals, serial killers, and the mighty men of renown. They had super powerful brains and they were extremely intelligent. They knew all the sciences. In short, they had demonic powers. They used these powers to control and enslave mankind and this is how they built the great pyramids and great wonders around. The presence of these hybrids (abominations) was one of the reason for the Flood of Noah and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone.

To continue, the Genesis narrative states, “And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city. And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim. And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth, And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha. These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations” (Genesis 10:8-20 KJV).

Nimrod began to construct cities and a kingdom. Nimrod and Semiramis (Nimrod’s wife) founded a Mystery Religion (this religion is the basis of all pagan religions throughout the world today). In Nimrod’s kingdom of Babylon, he began to build a tower to wage war on God (YHVH) in retaliation for the death of his ancestors that perished in the Great Flood.

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
(Genesis 11:1-9 KJV)

As the people whose language was confounded began to disperse around the earth, they took their Mystery Religion with them. Nimrod was known by many names throughout many cultures. These cultures also began to build monuments (Egyptians, Mayans, Aztecs, Hindus, etc.) to serve their false gods.

The Sumerian “Epic of Gilgamesh” tells many of the same events contained in the Scriptures of the Holy Bible. How does Gilgamesh compare with Nimrod? Josephus says of Nimrod, “Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah — a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it were through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny — seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence upon his own power. He also said he would be revenged on God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach! and that he would avenge himself on God for destroying their forefathers.”

Nimrod is Gilgamesh. Please see the following links from Dr. David Livingston for a much more detailed account and his findings on this subject.

Enkidu and Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh is shown with a subdued lion.

Dr. David Livingston writes that, “The Epic of Gilgamesh has some very indecent sections. Alexander Heidel, first translator of the epic, had the decency to translate the vilest parts into Latin. Spieser, however, gave it to us “straight” (Pritchard 1955: 72). With this kind of literature in the palace, who needs pornography? Gilgamesh was a vile, filthy, man. Yet the myth says of him that he was “2/3 god and 1/3 man.”

In summary, we can conclude that Nimrod declared war on God (YHVH). The Epic of Gilgamesh states that he was 2/3 god and 1/3 human. Two thirds is exactly 66.6% (666). Therefore, Nimrod was the first Antichrist in history.

The Book of Revelation says, “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration” (Revelation 17:1-6 KJV).

Why does John wonder with great admiration when he is shown the woman that sat upon the beast and was drunken with the blood of the saints and the martyrs of Yeshua? Because the woman is the Corpus Christianum. A woman almost always represents the church in prophecy. The woman is a whore (the mother of all whores) and an abomination (the mother of all abominations) and she is called Babylon. This is representative of the witchcraft and pagan rituals celebrated by the Corpus Christianum today after forsaking the instructions and the commandments of God (YHVH). The woman is also drunken with the blood of the saints and the martyrs of Yeshua. So the Corpus Christianum has sanctified and participated in the murder of God’s people.

And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
(Revelation 17:7-18 KJV)

The angel tells John that, “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”

So John is presented with a riddle, a riddle that is very strange and perplexing. What is a best that was, and is not, and yet is? This beast ascended out of the bottomless pit and will go into perdition. The woman also sets upon seven mountains.

I think it is fair to conclude that the woman that sits on seven hills is a reference to the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church. Vatican Hill (one of the seven hills upon which Rome was built) is a name that was given, long before the founding of Christianity or Catholicism. The name “Vatican” has often been thought to derive from the Latin “vates”, meaning “seer, soothsayer”, though this is uncertain and it is also possible that “Vaticanus” comes from an unrelated Etruscan loan-word. Indeed, the Vatican Hill was the home of the Vates long before pre-Christian Rome. Vaticanus, also known as Vagitanus, was an Etruscan god of prophecy, and his temple was built on the ancient site of Vaticanum (Vatican Hill).

The angel continued to explain to John, “And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” We can determine from history who the first seven kings are with  fairly good certainty.

  1. Nimrod
  2. Pharaoh Amenhotep II
  3. Sennacherib
  4. Baal-Eser II
  5. Antiochus IV Epiphanes
  6. Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
  7. Adolf Hitler

For additional information on these kings see the Wikipedia links above or Peter Goodgame’s website concerning the Giza Discovery.

The angel tells John that, “And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” So this clearly indicates that the Antichrist was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition. So the appearance of the Antichrist is the Second Coming of the Antichrist. Satan counterfeits everything that God (YHVH) creates or does. He is the master of deception and the father of all lies and sin.

When Moses died, Satan had to fight Michael the Archangel over Moses’ body. Deuteronomy says, “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the LORD shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended” (Deuteronomy 34:1-8 KJV). Jude, the brother of Yeshua and James wrote, “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee” (Jude 1:9 KJV).

Satan clearly wanted Moses’ body. For what purpose? Resurrection and deception. It is not only God (YHVH) that can work miracles, signs and wonders. Yeshua said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23 KJV).

The Apostle Paul, in his second epistle to the Corinthians wrote, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15 KJV).

John the Baptist was the spirit of Elijah, reincarnation is not possible as we are born and die only once. The Apostle Paul wrote, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:27-28 KJV). Solomon wrote, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 KJV).

The prophesied Antichrist will be the spirit of one of the seven kings that have fallen. If Babylon is the mother of harlots and the abominations on the earth then who is her son? Her son is Nimrod, just as the Babylonian tales of Nimrod’s death and Semiramis’ “virgin birth” of Tammuz (the reincarnation of Nimrod and the “son of god” whom she later married). Nimrod (Ra, Baal, Osiris, etc.) was deified as the sun god and Semiramis was deified as the Queen of Heaven (Ishtar, Easter, Isis, Dianna, etc.). The Antichrist is Nimrod.

The ten horns are ten kings who will come to power with the beast will only exist for one hour (fifteen days). Together with the beast they will make war against the Corpus Christianum and will destroy the harlot church that sets on seven hills. Therefore John wrote what the angel cried out as a warning to the church in the last days, “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:4-5 KJV).

These ten kings have many possibilities including a entity that does not yet exist. Three of these possibilities are the United Nations, European Union and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf. However, this is only speculation on my part and was not revealed to me by the Holy Spirit as Nimrod’s identification as the Antichrist was revealed.

Europe: Many Tongues, One Voice

His Eye is on the Sparrow

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
(Matthew 6:25-34 ESV)

For years, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have counseled members to have a year’s supply of food and other essentials stored for emergency preparedness and independence. Joseph Smith, the first prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints taught that “The Church and its members are commanded by the Lord to be self-reliant and independent” (Doctrine and Covenants 78:13-14). I have always called this “Squirrel Syndrome”.

In this day and age martial law seems to be imminent, we have a president (Barack Obama) who appears to be ineligible for office and cares nothing about the rule of law, natural disasters seem to be striking more frequently, the entire world is experiencing economic depression and war seems to be likely between many countries. Given these conditions, I believe it is indeed prudent to plan ahead a few days.

Storing a years’s worth of food and essentials is overkill. It is expensive, unnecessary and shows a lack of faith in God’s Providence for His creation.

If a person makes the right choices in this life there is no reason that one should be anxious. Yeshua provided two fortiori arguments in Matthew 6:25-34, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” and “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” These fortiori arguments show that since God cares even for the birds and the lilies, how much more will He care for His own. To be anxious demonstrates a lack of faith in God, who promises that he will graciously care for all these things.

Yeshua said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 ESV). In his epistle to the Romans the Apostle Paul wrote, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 ESV). In their epistle to the Philippians the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Timothy wrote, “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:5-6 ESV).

Human beings are of more value than animals because only humans are created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27), because God gave the human race dominion over all the earth and all its creatures (Genesis 1:28), and because God loves mankind so much that He sent His only begotten Son to pay the ultimate price for our sins (John 3:16).

There is scarcely any sin against which our Lord Jesus more warns his disciples, than disquieting, distracting, distrustful cares about the things of this life. This often insnares the poor as much as the love of wealth does the rich. But there is a carefulness about temporal things which is a duty, though we must not carry these lawful cares too far. Take no thought for your life. Not about the length of it; but refer it to God to lengthen or shorten it as he pleases; our times are in his hand, and they are in a good hand. Not about the comforts of this life; but leave it to God to make it bitter or sweet as he pleases. Food and raiment God has promised, therefore we may expect them. Take no thought for the morrow, for the time to come. Be not anxious for the future, how you shall live next year, or when you are old, or what you shall leave behind you. As we must not boast of tomorrow, so we must not care for to-morrow, or the events of it. God has given us life, and has given us the body. And what can he not do for us, who did that? If we take care about our souls and for eternity, which are more than the body and its life, we may leave it to God to provide for us food and raiment, which are less. Improve this as an encouragement to trust in God. We must reconcile ourselves to our worldly estate, as we do to our stature. We cannot alter the disposals of Providence, therefore we must submit and resign ourselves to them. Thoughtfulness for our souls is the best cure of thoughtfulness for the world. Seek first the kingdom of God, and make religion your business: say not that this is the way to starve; no, it is the way to be well provided for, even in this world. The conclusion of the whole matter is, that it is the will and command of the Lord Jesus, that by daily prayers we may get strength to bear us up under our daily troubles, and to arm us against the temptations that attend them, and then let none of these things move us. Happy are those who take the Lord for their God, and make full proof of it by trusting themselves wholly to his wise disposal. Let thy Spirit convince us of sin in the want of this disposition, and take away the worldliness of our hearts.
(Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
(Matthew 10:28-33 ESV)

It is not food, clothing, shelter, cars, and other personal possessions that we need to be concerned with in this life, that is materialism. God has promised to provide our needs already, and God always keeps His promises (Joshua 1:1-6; Numbers 23:19). We need to concentrate our efforts to walk as Messiah Yeshua walked. Tomorrow will worry about itself and today is more than enough trouble already.

Holidays or Holy Days? Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD. And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD. And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD. Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. These are the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the LORD. Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.
(Leviticus 23:1-44 KJV)

The Torah specifically lists all of God’s commanded festivals and Holy Days. The Roman Catholic Church did away with these feasts in Christendom and replaced them with “Christianized” pagan festivals to make Christianity more “palatable” to pagans.

Can a pagan holiday or ritual be “Christianized”? The Apostle Paul said, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 KJV). Likewise, Moses was given the following commandment from YHVH, “When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it” (Deuteronomy 12:29-32 KJV). No, you cannot “Christianize” a pagan ritual or holiday (this also applies to such practices as “Holy Yoga” which is no different than using an Ouija board during a church service).

The festivals and Holy Days of God found in the twenty-third chapter of the Book of Leviticus are among the most fascinating and revealing topics of study and inspiration in the entire Bible, yet at the same time, they are probably the least understood. This article will lead you step by step through each festival, examining the foundational truths that God wanted us to learn when He gave us these feasts.

Bible believers who are lovers of God’s Word will discover that the festivals and Holy Days of the Lord are not only historic events, but are also prophetic. They speak in much detail about the first and second coming of the Messiah (Jesus Christ). In addition, these festivals and Holy Days give us tremendous insight into living the life that God desires for us as believers, and into understanding our personal relationship with God.

The first Holy Day is to be observed every week, the weekly Sabbath day (Leviticus 23:3). In the first book of the Bible, Genesis, we find that God created man on the sixth day of the creation week (Genesis 1:24-31). “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2:2-3).. The Hebrew word for “rested” is shabath and is related to the word Sabbath. Literally, God sabbathed, or rested; He ceased from the work of creating (Exodus 20:8-11). In resting, God also blessed and sanctified the seventh day as a gift for mankind (Genesis 2:2-3; Exodus 16:29). To sanctify something means to set it apart as holy. Since God made the Sabbath holy (Exodus 16:23; Exodus 20:11; Nehemiah 9:14), He instructed those who follow Him to remember to keep it holy by resting on it as well (Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15). Keeping the Sabbath, then, reminds us that God is our Creator.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
(Leviticus 23:1-3 KJV)

Passover is a festival and Holy Day. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan in the Jewish calendar. It is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays.

In the narrative of the Exodus, the Bible tells that God helped the Children of Israel escape slavery in Egypt by inflicting ten plagues upon the Egyptians before Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves; the tenth and worst of the plagues was the death of the first-born. The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the angel of death (Malach HaMavet)passed over these homes. When Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise (leaven). In commemoration, for the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason it is called “The Festival of the Unleavened Bread.” Matzah (flat unleavened bread) is a symbol of the holiday, and leaven (yeast) is a symbol of sin.

These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
(Leviticus 23:4-8 KJV)

Three matzah are served during the Passover Seder. The middle one will be broken in two, and one half hidden. After the meal, the children are sent out to find it. Then, every member of the family eats a small piece. This half of the middle matzah is called Afikoman. The three Matzos are representative of the Godhead (Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit) The middle matzo is representative of Messiah Yeshua. The Africoman matzo is represented of the broken body of Yeshua, His death by crucifixion and ressurection on the third day.

King David, Isaiah and Zechariah all prophesied concerning the crucifixion of Yeshua. When one reads these prophecies the symbolism of the matzah becomes very apparent. Rabbinical decree states that unleavened flatbread (matzah) used for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread should be uniformly pierced, striped, and slightly browned (bruised).

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me. Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him. The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations. All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.
(Psalms 22:1-31 KJV)

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
(Isaiah 53:1-12 KJV)

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
(Zechariah 12:10 KJV)

And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
(Luke 22:19-20 KJV)

The feast of the Passover was to continue seven days; not idle days, spent in sport, as many that are called Christians spend their Holy Days. Offerings were made to the Lord at his altar; and the people were taught to employ their time in prayer, and praise, and godly meditation. The sheaf of first-fruits was typical of the Lord Jesus, who is risen from the dead as the First-fruits of them that slept. Our Lord Jesus rose from the dead on the very day that the first-fruits were offered. We are taught by this law to honor the Lord with our substance, and with the first-fruits of all our increase. They were not to eat of their new corn, till God’s part was offered to him out of it; and we must always begin with God: begin every day with him, begin every meal with him, begin every affair and business with him; seek first the kingdom of God.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD. And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD. And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD. Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.
(Leviticus 23:9-22 KJV)

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
(1 Corinthians 15:20-23 KJV)

In biblical times and to this very day, on the first day after Passover, the Feast of Firstfruits is celebrated. Yeshua is the firstfruit of salvation.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
(Leviticus 23:23-25 KJV)

According to Scripture, it is useful to study the time of Christ’s coming.  Consider the following verse about knowing the time of the Messiah’s coming.

Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
(1 Peter 1:10-11 KJV)

Many of us have read the famous quote of Messiah Yeshua in the four gospels when he declared that his second coming would come at a time “that no man knows.” How many of us knew that he was possibly making a reference to the Feast of Trumpets? The Feast of Trumpets is known by Jews as “The Day That No Man Knows.” And why is it called this? Because it is the feast that can only be determined by the sighting of the new moon, and so “no man” can calculate the exact day or hour of when this feast day will begin.

I have always believed the Feast of Trumpets would be fulfilled in the Second Coming.  For a long time the Lord’s repeated claim that no one would know the day or hour has confused many people. How could no one know the day or hour when it’s a Jewish Feast and the first day of their New Year? Putting together two other pieces of Scripture clarify this issue.

Daniel wrote, “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time” (Daniel 7:25 KJV). This is a reference that the Antichrist will try to change the set times and laws.This means he will abolish all references to the festivals and Holy Days of God and their observance. Therefore, only the Jewish and Christians in diaspora that have fled after the Abomination of Desolation takes place the second time (the first Abomination of Desolation occurred under the rule of Antiochus IV Epiphanes in the 2nd century BC), the world would not know anything about the nearness of Rosh Hashanah as the time for the Second Coming approaches..

Likewise, Matthew recorded the words of Yeshua when he wrote, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:29-30 KJV). This would indicate that the faithful who are still observing the festivals and Holy Days of God will not be able to tell when Rosh Hashanah arrives because the moon will be completely dark.  That means no one on Earth will know the day and hour of Yeshua’s return.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.
(Leviticus 23:26-32 KJV)

Through Yeshua’s death at the cross, the way to the Father is free for everybody at anytime. The Apostle Mark wrote, “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:37-39 KJV).

When Yeshua arrives on planet Earth for the second time, He will come out of the Holy of Holies (the Kingdom of God). When He returns, beside other functions, He will come as the High Priest to his chosen people Israel (Zechariah 12:10). After a Jewish tradition, the scapegoat did return from the desert at Yom Kippur, which followed Yeshua’s crucifixion. Since Yeshua’s crucifixion at Golgotha, the glory of the LORD was not present anymore in the Holy of Holies at the Temple during the last 40 years before the destruction of the Temple through Titus. Since then, the crimson strip of wool tied to one of the scapegoat’s horns, did not turn white anymore.

The blowing of trumpets represented the preaching of the gospel, by which men are called to repent of sin, and to accept the salvation of Christ, which was signified by the day of atonement. Also it invited to rejoice in God, and become strangers and pilgrims on earth, which was denoted by the Feast of Tabernacles, observed in the same month. At the beginning of the year, they were called by this sound of trumpet to shake off spiritual drowsiness, to search and try their ways, and to amend them. The day of atonement was the ninth day after this; thus they were awakened to prepare for that day, by sincere and serious repentance, that it might indeed be to them a day of atonement. The humbling of our souls for sin, and the making our peace with God, is work that requires the whole man, and the closest application of mind. On that day God spake peace to his people, and to his saints; therefore they must lay aside all their wordly business, that they might the more clearly hear that voice of joy and gladness.

The Day of Atonement is the most solemn day on the Hebrew calendar. When it come into its climactic fulfillment it will be an event of epic, Biblical proportions. Because a blockbuster future Yom Kippur will become the last day of this present evil age.

For most people the Yom Kippur, a “day of covering” (for sin), or a Day of Atonement is just another obscure Jewish holiday. Our Jewish brethren celebrate this as a day for reflection upon deeds done during the past year and with that the hope of doing better in the next. The tenth day of Tishrei is a date on a Hebrew calendar of unknown significance to the gentiles. The lost tribes of Israel, swaddled in materialism and paganism throughout the world, are still suffering from amnesia. They are having trouble remembering their God and where they came from. And even those who through the blood of Messiah have entered into the Commonwealth of Israel do not know about it yet. (Ephesian 2:1-13). They have their ticket to the mansions. So why should they study the Old Testament and reflect upon their Hebrew roots? And since most postmodern Christians now listen to men rather than searching the Holy Scriptures for themselves they have not considered the Day of Atonement. Nor have they looked in to discover what it all might mean. But all of this is destined to change. The Day of Atonement is destined to be a global event remembered forever by all humanity.

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
(Ephesians 2:1-13 KJV)

A future Yom Kippur will usher the world and its people into the Apocalypse, the unveiling of Messiah. Messiah’s righteous judgments await the wicked, both angelic and human, and those justified by faith in the ultimate atoning blood covering of Messiah who at His first coming was Israel’s promised Sacrifice Lamb and the Suffering Servant the prophet Isaiah spoke about in Isaiah 53. And so this is why the angelic rulers stir up the heathen gentiles to rage (Psalm 2). The coming Throne of David is the ultimate target of all humanistic, communistic, capitalistic, ecclesiastic, and monarchical anti-Semitic loathing and furor.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. These are the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the LORD.
(Leviticus 23:33-38 KJV)

In the feast of Tabernacles there was a remembrance of their dwelling in tents, or booths, in the wilderness, as well as their fathers dwelling in tents in Canaan; to remind them of their origin and their deliverance. Christ’s tabernacling on earth in human nature, might also be prefigured. And it represents the believer’s life on earth: a stranger and pilgrim here below, his home and heart are above with his Saviour. They would the more value the comforts and conveniences of their own houses, when they had been seven days dwelling in the booths. It is good for those who have ease and plenty, sometimes to learn what it is to endure hardness. The joy of harvest ought to be improved for the furtherance of our joy in God. The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; therefore whatever we have the comfort of, he must have the glory of, especially when any mercy is perfected. God appointed these feasts, “Beside the sabbaths and your free-will offerings.” Calls to extraordinary services will not excuse from constant and stated ones.

On the “last and greatest day” of the Feast, the people gathered at the Temple, bearing lulav, a cluster of palm, myrtle and willow branches, in one hand and ethrog, or citron fruit, in the other.  As the libations of water and wine were poured out, the priests sang the Hallel psalms, remembering God’s mercies to Israel and praising Him for His greatness.  As the singing drew to a close, the people vigorously shook their palm branches toward the altar, with the possible intent of ritually reminding God of His promises to the nation.The Feast of Tabernacles has a fuller and deeper significance than a mere memorial celebration, however. It also holds a future meaning, as Zechariah the prophet made clear, a meaning not only for Israel, but for all nations.  When Messiah comes to reign over the earth, God tabernacling in the midst of men, He will insist that the Gentile nations make a universal pilgrimage to Jerusalem to join Israel in celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles.  If any nation rebels, it will be severely punished. Jerusalem will then be the spiritual center of the world.

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
(Zechariah 14:16-19 KJV)

Yeshua freed us from the curse of Pharisaical bondage. However, today in Judaism and the Corpus Christianum, many of us are seeing this same bondage applied and imposed upon us by those who claim to have a corrective ministry. They form the basis for their corrective ministries with “no compromise” on a verse found in the Torah which they claim forbids us to celebrate birthdays, national holidays, etc.

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
(Deuteronomy 4:2 KJV)

The celebration of Hanukkah, Purim, Independence Day, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Birthdays and Weddings are not prohibited by this mitzvah in any form whatsoever. In fact we see Yeshua celebrating a wedding and Hanukkah in Scriptures.

And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication [Hanukkah], and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.
(John 10:22-30 KJV)

Yeshua was at the Temple during the Feast of Hanukkah. He could have said something about it and if He had any problem with it He would have, just as He did when He cleansed the Temple of those selling sacrificial animals in the courtyard and the money-changers.

Since the Jews added the feasts of Purim (the origins of which are described in the book of Esther) and Hanukkah, otherwise known as the Feast of Lights or  Feast of Dedication (John 10:22-23), some believe we are free to add any religious holidays and celebrations of our own choosing. Is this true?

Important differences in the background and intent of these observances are obvious when we compare them to Christmas, Easter and Halloween. The Jews instituted Purim to commemorate their deliverance during the time of Esther, and Hanukkah to celebrate the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple after its defilement by Antiochus Epiphanes.

Neither celebration originated in paganism, although over the centuries these celebrations have taken on some practices, like the Hanukkah bush, that are rooted in paganism.

In their original form, Hanukkah and Purim, like the American holiday of Thanksgiving, are celebrations of thanks and honor to God for His intervention and blessings. The way some Americans celebrate Thanksgiving is far removed from the original intent, but that does not alter the real meaning and significance of the day.

An important distinction between acceptable holidays and those rooted in paganism (like Christmas and Easter) is that they do not alter, replace or distort the meaning of a festival of God or other Biblical truth.

The Tanakh  is filled with prophecies and warning from God and though His prophets who warned us not to worship Him in the manner that the pagans served their gods. These warnings were largely ignored, and today Mystery Babylon has risen again.

Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.
(Deuteronomy 6:14-15 KJV)

Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
(Jeremiah 10:1-5 KJV)

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
(Hebrews 13:8-9 KJV)

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
(Colossians 2:16-17 KJV)

Our purpose on Earth is to support and bring esteem to one another. We are not supposed to turn are noses up boastfully in pride if we disagree with another unless our disagreement is Biblical, and if our objection is Biblical it is therefore valid. James, the brother of Yeshua wrote, “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?” (James 4:11-12 KJV).

The Cult of Christianity

After Sunday worship in recent months, Mormon bishops around the country gathered their congregations for an unusual PowerPoint presentation to unveil the church’s latest strategy for overcoming what it calls its “perception problem.”

Top Mormon leaders had hired two big-name advertising agencies in 2009, Ogilvy & Mather and Hall & Partners, to find out what Americans think of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Using focus groups and surveys, they found that Americans who had any opinion at all used adjectives that were downright negative: “secretive,” “cultish,” “sexist,” “controlling,” “pushy,” “anti-gay.”

On seeing these results, some of those watching the presentation booed while others laughed, according to people at the meetings. But then they were told that the church was ready with a response: a multimillion-dollar television, billboard and Internet advertising campaign that uses the tagline, “I’m a Mormon.” The campaign, which began in 2010, was recently extended to 21 media markets, and features the personal stories of members who defy stereotyping, including a Hawaiian longboard surfing champion, a fashion designer and single father in New York City and a Haitian-American woman who is mayor of a small Utah city.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ website says, “One definition listed for ‘cult’ in Webster’s Dictionary is “a religion regarded as unorthodox.” Since the roots of Mormonism are not a break off from the Catholic or Protestant churches, it is seen by some as “unorthodox.” For example, the LDS definition of the Godhead differs from the Nicene Creed accepted by most Catholic or Protestant churches. The “cult” label is usually applied by Church opponents attempting to criticize or discredit the Church. However, sometimes it’s simply a matter of characterization that has grown up over time by the lack of understanding. Such misunderstandings often vanish when people begin to realize the commonality of what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really teaches and believes. That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world whom we love and worship. When people begin to see and recognize these things about Mormons, then their opinion of the Church usually changes, and old beliefs are replaced with new understanding.”

Joseph Smith, Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, which gave rise to Mormonism. Smith is regarded by his followers as a prophet.

Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont, the fourth child of Joseph Smith, Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith. By 1817, Smith’s family had moved to the “burned-over district” of western New York, an area repeatedly swept by religious revivals during the Second Great Awakening. Smith family members held divergent views about organized religion, but they believed in visions and prophecies and engaged in folk religious practices typical of the era.

According to Smith, beginning in the early 1820s he had visions, in one of which an angel directed him to a buried book of golden plates, inscribed with a Christian history of ancient American civilizations. In 1830, he published an English translation of these plates as the Book of Mormon, and organized the Church of Christ, as the restoration of the early Christian church. Church members were later called Latter Day Saints, Saints, or Mormons.

Joseph Smith made many false prophecies and yje Book of Mormon is filled with errors and discrepancies. Remember, that YHVH defined false prophets in the Torah. Please note that having several fulfilled prophecies and even a single false prophecy still means that the person is not a true prophet of God.  The test for a prophet is not if he gets them most right, but all right.

But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’– when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.
(Deuteronomy 18:20-22 ESV)

Joseph Smith not only a false prophet, but he changed Scriptures and even wrote the Book of Mormon as an addition to the Holy Bible that was “corrupt and translated incorrectly” according to him.

You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.
(Deuteronomy 4:2 ESV)

Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.
(Deuteronomy 12:32 ESV)

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
(Proverbs 30:5-6 ESV)

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
(Galatians 1:6-12 KJV)

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
(Revelation 22:18-19 KJV)

In 1831, Smith moved west to Kirtland, Ohio intending to establish a city of Zion in western Missouri, but Missouri settlers expelled the Saints in 1833. After leading Zion’s Camp, an unsuccessful expedition to recover the land, Smith began building a temple in Kirtland. In 1837, the Kirtland Safety Society, a bank established by Smith and other church leaders, collapsed. The following year Smith joined his followers in northern Missouri, where earlier settlers fearing the rapid growth of Mormon communities fought them in the 1838 Mormon War. The Saints were defeated and expelled from Missouri, and Smith was imprisoned.

After being allowed to escape state custody in 1839, Smith led his followers to settle at Nauvoo, Illinois on Mississippi River swampland. There he served as both mayor and commander of its large militia, the Nauvoo Legion. In early 1844, he announced his candidacy for President of the United States. That summer, after the Nauvoo Expositor criticized Smith’s practice of polygamy and called for the repeal of the Nauvoo Charter, the Nauvoo City Council ordered the paper’s destruction. During the ensuing turmoil, Smith first declared martial law and then surrendered to the governor of Illinois. Although the governor promised his safety, Smith was killed while awaiting trial in Carthage, Illinois.

Smith’s followers regard many of his publications as scripture. His teachings include unique views about the nature of God, cosmology, family structures, political organization, and religious collectivism. He is seen as one of the most charismatic and inventive figures of American history, and his followers regard him as a prophet of at least the stature of Moses and Elijah. Smith’s legacy includes a number of religious denominations, including the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Missouri-based Community of Christ, which collectively claim a growing membership of more than 14 million worldwide.

The Book of Abraham is a 1835 work produced by Joseph Smith that he said was based on Egyptian papyri purchased from a traveling mummy exhibition. According to Smith, the book was "a translation of some ancient records, purporting to be the writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus". Smith's translation of the papyri describes a story of Abraham's early life, including a vision of the cosmos. Upon examination by Egyptologists, the papyri were found to bear no resemblance to Joseph Smith's interpretation, and were common Egyptian funerary texts, dating to about the first century BC. As a result, the Book of Abraham has been the source of significant controversy, with Mormon apologists offering a variety of explanations as to the reason for the differences.

So is the issue really an attempt to criticize or discredit the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? Is the issue simply a matter of characterization that has grown up over time by the lack of understanding? Do they have a perception problem or are they being fairly criticized?

The first thing someone will notice when looking at the cover of the Book of Mormon is that is proclaims itself to be “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” The Apostle Paul warned of exactly this kind of deception in his epistles to the churches in Cornith (G2882),  Greece (G882) and Galatia (G1053).

I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
(2 Corinthians 11:1-4 ESV)

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
(Galatians 1:6-9 ESV)

In the Torah, YHVH commanded us, “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2 ESV) and “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it” (Deuteronomy 12:32 ESV).

In the Book of Proverbs, King Solomon wrote, “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6 ESV).

In the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John wrote, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19 ESV).

One common tactic that Satan uses to deceive people is to claim new revelations that aren’t in the Bible. His bag of tricks includes written “revelations” like the Book of Mormon and the Qur’an.  These extra-Biblical revelations are often very seductive because they offer alleged secret knowledge that wasn’t revealed in the Bible.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints considers itself not just a Christian denomination, but rather the only true expression of Christianity. However, the history, theology and practices of Mormonism show this religious movement to be outside of orthodox Christianity.

Mormons believe that their church is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30), the only organization authorized by the Almighty God to preach His Gospel and administer the ordinances of salvation, and the only Church which has power to save (Mormon Doctrine; 1977 ed, p. 136).

Mormons either deny or pervert every essential doctrine of historic Christianity, including the uniqueness of God, the virgin birth, the Trinity, the authority of Scripture (by relegating it to a position below their other sacred writings), and salvation by grace through faith.

Individuals who, while claiming to be Christians, reject one of more central key doctrines of the Christian faith are considered heretics. Groups which reject such doctrines while claiming to represent Christianity, are considered cults of Christianity. A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrinal system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible. Thus, while Mormons profess to be Christians, they are outside orthodox Christianity and the Mormon Church is considered to be, theologically, a cult of Christianity.

Is Mormonism Christian? No, Mormonism is not Christian. Why is Mormonism a non-Christian religion? It is not Christian because it denies that there is only one God, denies the true Gospel, adds works to salvation, denies that Jesus is the uncreated creator, distorts the biblical teaching of the atonement, and undermines the authority and reliability of the Bible.

Mormon theology teaches that God is only one of countless gods, that he used to be a man on another planet, that he became a god by following the laws and ordinances of that god on that world, and that he brought one of his wives to this world with whom he produces spirit children who then inhabit human bodies at birth. The first spirit child to be born was Jesus. The second was Satan, and then we all followed.  The Bible says that there is only one God (Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 44:6-8; Isaiah 45:5), that God has  been God eternally (Psalm 90:2) , which means he was never a man on another planet.  Since the Bible denies the existence of other gods (and goddesses), the idea that Jesus is the product of a god and goddess couple is rejected.  The Bible tells us that the Jesus of Mormonism is definitely not the same Jesus of the Bible. Therefore, faith in the Mormon Jesus is faith misplaced because the Mormon Jesus doesn’t exist.

In order to justify its aberrant theology, Mormonism has undermined the authority and trustworthiness of the Bible.  The 8th article of faith from the Mormon Church states, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.”  This means that when the Bible contradicts Mormonism, the Bible isn’t trustworthy.

The interesting thing is that Joseph Smith (the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) allegedly corrected the Bible in what is called , though it is not used by the Mormon church.  Though they claim they trust the Bible, in reality they do not.  They use Mormon presuppositions to interpret it instead of letting it speak for itself.  For example, where the Bible says there are no other gods in the universe (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6-8), they interpret it to mean “no other gods of this world,” which is not what those verses say.  They do not trust the Bible and they often state that the Bible is not translated correctly.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints also have many unusual rituals, such as baptism for the dead and eternal marriage. Mormons are also taught secret handshakes and are given secret names that are said to be necessary to enter heaven. Through these temple rituals men and women can become gods and goddesses, according to the Mormon Church. It claims that these rites were a part of early Christianity but were sabotaged by false teachers. However, these Mormon temple rituals are not supported by the Bible, ancient Jewish literature, or early Christian history. Many the rituals and symbolism found in Mormonism have roots in paganism and Freemasonry.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
(1 John 4:1 ESV)

So is the issue really an attempt to criticize or discredit the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? Is the issue simply a matter of characterization that has grown up over time by the lack of understanding? Do they have a perception problem or are they being fairly criticized?

Nobody that calls Mormonism a cult is unfairly attempting to criticize or discredit the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The problem with Mormonism is not a matter of characterization that has grown up over time through a lack of understanding. The problem with Mormonism is Mormon Doctrine which is entirely unorthodox. The problem with the Mormon Church is that they worship “another Jesus” who is Satan’s brother and a god who used to be a man on the planet Kolob before he was exalted to become a deity.

Behemoth

Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him. Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play. He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens. The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about. Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.
(Job 40:15-24 KJV)

The Hebrew word used for Behemoth in the Book of Job is transliterated into English as Bĕhemowth (בַּהֲמוֹת). It is speculated that Behemoth was a now extinct sauropod sauropod , perhaps a Diplodocus or Brachiosaurus. Some scholars have interpreted Behemoth to be an elephant or hippopotamus, but from the detailed description in Job 40:15-24, this is obviously a ridiculous conclusion. Behemoth is a masculine noun, but a singular noun of Egyptian derivation.

Interestingly, the Hebrew word Bĕhemah (בְּהֵמָה), appears throughout the Tanakh in reference to God’s creation of beasts. Bĕhemah is a feminine noun, but it is plural.

The beasts [Bĕhemah] of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
(Joel 1:20 KJV)

Behemoth is a beast mentioned in the Book of Job and the Book of Joel. Metaphorically, the name has come to be used for any extremely large or powerful entity.

In Jewish aprocrypha and pseudepigrapha such as the Book of Enoch, Behemoth is the primal unconquerable monster of the land, as Leviathan is the primal monster of the waters of the sea and Ziz (a cockatrice or griffin) the primordial monster of the sky. In Book of Enoch, Leviathan lives in the Abyss, while Behemoth the land-monster lives in an invisible desert east of the garden of Eden. A Jewish rabbinic legend describes a great battle which will take place between them at the end of time. It says, “they will interlock with one another and engage in combat, with his horns the Behemoth will gore with strength, the fish [Leviathan] will leap to meet him with his fins, with power. Their Creator will approach them with his mighty sword [and slay them both].” Then, “from the beautiful skin of the Leviathan, God will construct canopies to shelter the righteous, who will eat the meat of the Behemoth and the Leviathan amid great joy and merriment.” (Artscroll Siddur, p. 719).

The Young Earth Creationist opinion is that Leviathan and Behemoth are names given to dinosaurs which lived in Biblical times.

Since the 17th century there have been many attempts to identify Behemoth. Some scholars have seen him as a real creature, usually the hippopotamus, although occasionally as the elephant, crocodile, water buffalo or for some creationists, a dinosaur. The reference to Behemoth’s “tail” that “moves like a cedar” (Job 40:17), is a problem for those who dismiss Behemoth as a hippopotamus, elephant, crocodile or water buffalo, since it cannot easily be identified with the tail of any of these animals or their distant ancestors.

You can draw any conclusion you want from this article, but I believe entirely that Behemoth was a now extinct sauropod dinosaur.

Mankind Was Created in the Image of God

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
(Genesis 1:26-31 ESV)

Out of all of God’s creation, only mankind was created in the image of God. But was does it mean to be created in the image of God?

The Hebrew word for “image” used in Genesis 1:26 is tselem (צֶלֶם), Strong’s H6754. The usage of this word suggests that man is made in the likeness or resemblance of God.

God clearly does not have a body of flesh and bones. Yeshua said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24 KJV).

In the Book of Revelation, John wrote, “And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God” (Revelation 4:2-5 KJV).

Certain groups, notably the Mormons, have committed the error of saying that God the Father has a body, and have thus become anthropomorphites, people who say that God has a human form.

This form of doctrinal decay has also set in among certain segments of American Evangelicalism, most notably in the Pentecostal Word Faith movement. Many Evangelicals have (temporarily or permanently) bought into the idea that the Father has a body.

Anthropomorphites argue that man is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27) and point to verses that refer to the strong right arm of God, the eyes of God, and so forth.

Tatian the Syrian said, “Our God has no introduction in time. He alone is without beginning, and is himself the beginning of all things. God is a spirit, not attending upon matter, but the maker of material spirits and of the appearances which are in matter. He is invisible, being himself the Father of both sensible and invisible things.”

The Bible is clear that mankind, unlike the rest of creation,  is made in the image of God. Furthermore, the Bible repeats this truth after sin enters the world, which means even though sin has stained and marred us, we remain God’s image bearers.

Part of being made in God’s image is that Adam had the capacity to make free choices. Although he was given a righteous nature, Adam made an evil choice to rebel against his Creator. In so doing, Adam marred the image of God within himself, and he passed that damaged likeness on to all his descendants (Romans 5:12). Today, we still bear the image of God (James 3:9), but we also bear the scars of sin. Mentally, morally, socially, and physically, we show the effects of sin.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned — for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.
(Romans 5:12-13 ESV)

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
(James 3:7-10 ESV)

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:9-11 KJV).

John Calvin wrote the following comments on Colossians 3:10:

“We are renewed after the image of God. Hence, too we learn, on the one hand, what is the end of our regeneration, that is, that we may be made like God, and that His glory may shine forth in us; and, on the other hand, what is the image of God, of which mention is made by Moses in Genesis 9:6, the rectitude and integrity of the whole soul, so that man reflects, like a mirror, the wisdom, righteousness, and goodness of God. He speaks somewhat differently in the Epistle to the Ephesians, but the meaning is the same. Paul, at the same time, teaches, that there is nothing more excellent at which the Colossians can aspire, inasmuch as this is our highest perfection and blessedness to bear the image of God.”

What John Calvin is saying is that to image God is to “mirror” His invisible attributes to the world, somewhat like Moses, who radiated the glory of God after being in God’s presence. Therefore we are not to reflect Adam, the culture or even ourselves to the world. Rather God has bestowed upon us the amazing ability and awesome responsibility to be His mirrors on the earth, reflecting His goodness and glory to all for His glory and our joy. All persons are God’s image in a basic sense, but Christians image Him more than non-Christians and mature Christians do so even more.

God formed man from the dust and gave him life by sharing His own breath (Genesis 2:7). Accordingly, man is unique among all God’s creations, having both a material body and an immaterial soul/spirit.

The good news is that when God redeems an individual, He begins to restore the original image of God, creating a “new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). That redemption is only available by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior from the sin that separates us from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Through Christ, we are made new creations in the likeness of God (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The image of God is generally held to mean that people contain within their nature elements that reflect God’s nature: compassion, reason, love, hate, patience, kindness, self-awareness, etc. Man was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Though we have a physical image, it does not mean that God has one. Rather, God is spirit (John 4:24), not flesh and bones (Luke 24:39).

Yeshua alone has imaged God perfectly. Many New Testament Scriptures, and even Yeshua Himself, declare this.

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
(2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV)

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.
(Colossians 1:11-16 ESV)

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
(Hebrews 1:1-4 ESV)

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.
(John 12:44-45 ESV)

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
(John 14:8-11 ESV)

Yeshua told is how we can best mirror the image of God and the radiance of His Glory as Moses did. Yeshua said, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16 ESV).

Egypt: The Egyptians Will Become God’s People

In 2011, many of the prophecies contained within Isaiah 19 were fulfilled. There are still many more that have not yet been fulfilled, but I can assire you (as with all Bible prophecy) they will come to pass.

The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it. And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom. And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards.
(Isaiah 19:1-3 KJV)

Isaiah 19:1-3 was fulfilled and continues to be fulfilled during the Egyptian Revolution which began on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 and has continued to this very day. Many scholars have included the Eqyptian Revolution as part of the so-called “Arab Spring” which began around the same time.

Some contemporary prominent Egyptians who oppose Arab nationalism or the idea that Egyptians are Arabs include Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Zahi Hawass, popular writer Osama Anwar Okasha, Egyptian-born Harvard University Professor Leila Ahmed, Member of Parliament Suzie Greiss, in addition to different local groups and intellectuals. This understanding is also expressed in other contexts, such as Neil DeRosa’s novel “Joseph’s Seed” in his depiction of an Egyptian character “who declares that Egyptians are not Arabs and never will be.”

Egyptian critics of Arab nationalism contend that it has worked to erode and/or relegate native Egyptian identity by superimposing only one aspect of Egypt’s culture. These views and sources for collective identification in the Egyptian state are captured in the words of a linguistic anthropologist who conducted fieldwork in Cairo:

“Historically, Egyptians have considered themselves as distinct from ‘Arabs’ and even at present rarely do they make that identification in casual contexts; il-‘arab [the Arabs] as used by Egyptians refers mainly to the inhabitants of the Gulf states. Egypt has been both a leader of pan-Arabism and a site of intense resentment towards that ideology. Egyptians had to be made, often forcefully, into “Arabs” [during the Nasser era] because they did not historically identify themselves as such. Egypt was self-consciously a nation not only before pan-Arabism but also before becoming a colony of the British Empire. Its territorial continuity since ancient times, its unique history as exemplified in its pharaonic past and later on its Coptic language and culture, had already made Egypt into a nation for centuries. Egyptians saw themselves, their history, culture and language as specifically Egyptian and not “Arab.”

It is very important to remember that the Egyptians are not of Arabic descent. Genesis 10:6 tells us that the Egyptians are the descendants of Mizraim, Noah’s grandson.

Isaiah prophesied that, “And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts.
(Isaiah 19:4 KJV)

A presidential election will be held in Egypt on May 23-24, 2012 (with a run-off on June 16-17, 2012, if necessary). This will be the second presidential election in Egypt’s history with more than one candidate, following the 2005 election.

Depending on the results of this upcoming presidential election, this could very well fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 19:4. The Muslim Brotherhood has at least one candidate attempting to win this election.

When the prophesied “cruel lord” and “fierce king” comes into power and rules over the Egyptians, things will indeed become very bad throughout all of Egypt.

And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted and dried up. And they shall turn the rivers far away; and the brooks of defence shall be emptied and dried up: the reeds and flags shall wither. The paper reeds by the brooks, by the mouth of the brooks, and every thing sown by the brooks, shall wither, be driven away, and be no more. The fishers also shall mourn, and all they that cast angle into the brooks shall lament, and they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish. Moreover they that work in fine flax, and they that weave networks, shall be confounded. And they shall be broken in the purposes thereof, all that make sluices and ponds for fish. Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings? Where are they? where are thy wise men? and let them tell thee now, and let them know what the LORD of hosts hath purposed upon Egypt. The princes of Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived; they have also seduced Egypt, even they that are the stay of the tribes thereof. The LORD hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit. Neither shall there be any work for Egypt, which the head or tail, branch or rush, may do. In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which he shaketh over it. And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of hosts, which he hath determined against it. In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of hosts; one shall be called, The city of destruction.
(Isaiah 19:5-18 KJV)

The Bible explicitly states in the Torah that God will save those who call upon Him and turn from their wickedness and serve Him.

And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.
(Deuteronomy 30:1-3 KJV)

King Solomon echoed this principle when he recorded God’s words to him.

If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:13-14 KJV)

In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them. And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform it. And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them. In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.
(Isaiah 19:19-25 KJV)

The Jewish and Egyptian people have a long history together. Many will spend eternity together serving YHVH – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Our God is indeed an awesome and merciful God.

Creation Week

The first eleven chapters of Genesis (literally “beginnings”) are often ridiculed and discounted by scientists, scholars and archaeologists as “fantasy” or “mythological” tales from ancient times. Keep in mind these same skeptics can accept that monkeys became people, fish grew legs and walked out of the water and dinosaurs turned into birds.

Many have suggested theories of what took place berween Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.

Today a debate rages about the question of origins and where creation and humanity came from. Much of the passion that surrounds this question is because the question of origins has implications for everything else. For example, Genesis says that there was a beginning to history which means there will be an end. Genesis says that creation comes from God which means it belongs to God. Genesis says that people come from God which means that people will stand before God in the end.

The main viewpoints (worldview) of unbelievers are Deism (Deism emphasize that God created everything, but is not present in the workings of His creation. Therefore, in this viewpoint, God exhibits His transcendent.), Pantheism (Pantheism states that God is part of His creation.  Therefore, in this viewpoint God shows His personal immanence.), Panentheism or Monism (Panentheism and Monism emphasize that “all in God and all is one), Process Theology or Open Theism (Process Theology or Open Theism states that God is in process, growing in knowledge with His creation. God is in process, growing in knowledge with His creation emphasize God’s personal nature.) and Naturalism (Naturalism states that matter comes forth from natural processes, without aid from any supernatural entity. In this worldview, matter and life are created by chance. This viewpoint emphasizes that matter is either eternally existent or it comes into effect ex nihilo, ‘out of nothing’.).

There are several Judeo-Christian views on the creation of the “heaves and earth”  as well.

In Historic Creationism, Genesis 1:1 records the making of all of creation by God out of nothing (or ex nihilo) through a merism of “heavens and earth,” which means the sky above and land below, or the totality of creation. Since the word used for “beginning” in Genesis 1:1 is reshit in Hebrew, which means an indefinite period of time, it is likely that all of creation was completed over an extended period of time (anywhere from days to billions of years). Then Genesis 1:2 begins the description of God preparing the uninhabitable land for the creation of mankind. The preparation of the uncultivated land for and creation of Adam and Eve occurred in six literal twenty-four hour days. This view leaves open the possibility of both an old earth and six literal days of creation.

In Creationism, God created the entire universe, including Adam and Eve, in six literal twenty-four hour days. This view is almost always accompanied with a belief in a young earth as it seeks to be faithful to the Biblical text while not giving much credence to the scientific claims of such things as an old earth.

In the Gap Theory, Genesis 1:1 explains a first creation that happened perhaps billions of years ago. Then, a catastrophic event, likely the fall of Satan from Heaven, left the earth in the destroyed condition of Genesis 1:2. God responded to this disaster by recreating the earth again a few thousand years ago in six literal days and repopulating the earth as is recorded in Genesis 1:3-27. According to this view the earth is old from the first creation, and mankind is young because of the recent creation. The problems with this view include the fact that nothing in the Bible speaks of two creations, and at the end of the six days of creation God declared all that He had made “very good,” which does not correlate with the claim that the earth had been destroyed and made “very bad.”

In the Literary Framework view, Genesis 1-2 is intended to be read as a figurative framework explaining creation in a topical and not sequential order. In this view the six days of creation listed in Genesis 1 are also to be interpreted metaphorically as not literal twenty-four hour days. The Literary Framework view is outlined as below.

There are serious problems with this viewpoint. Most obviously, Exodus 20:11 clearly states that the six days of creation are literal, saying, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
(Exodus 20:8-11 KJV)

In the Day-Age View, God created the universe, including Adam and Eve, in six sequential periods of time that are not literal twenty-four hour days. The problem with this view is that the six days of creation are seemingly clearly literal days. Also, refer to Exodus 20:8-11.

In Theistic Evolution, God essentially began creation and then pulled back from working directly in creation to instead work through the process of evolution. The only exception would be God involving Himself again directly in the making of human life. For the most part, this view accepts the hypothesis of evolution but seeks to insert God as the creator of matter and overseer of the evolutionary process. This view also believes that species evolved over a long period of time, which requires an old earth.

The biblical problems with theistic evolution are many. First, Genesis 1 repeatedly states that creation and its species came into existence because “God said” and not because of evolutionary process. Additionally, Genesis 1 continually states that after God commanded creation to come into existence, “it was so,” which shows that God’s commands brought about the instantaneous response of creation coming into being and not through a long evolutionary process detached from God. Second, evolution teaches that one species evolves into other species while Genesis 1 says that each species had offspring “according to its kind” (Genesis 1:21, Genesis 1:24, and Genesis 1:25) and not another kind as evolution postulates. Third, the rest of Scripture portrays God as continually involved in the details of creation, including making the grass grow (Psalm 104:14; Matthew 6:30), feeding the birds (Matthew 6:26), and feeding the other creatures (Psalm 104:21, Psalm 104:25-30). This portrait of God from Scripture clearly does not paint Him as remote and involved in creation only indirectly.

For an much more extensive overview and insight into God’s creation of everything, please refer to the article  “Answers To Common Questions About Creation” from Pastor Mark Driscoll at the following link.

Now that the creation myths and theories have been presented, I will explain (to the best of my ability) the historical and Biblical account of creation from the book of Beginnings, Genesis.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1 KJV)

Genesis 1:1 is a merism, a figure of speech, by which a single thing is referred to by a conventional phrase that enumerates several of its parts, or which lists several synonyms for the same thing. It is similar to the dust jacket or preface of a book to tell the reader what the book is about. Merisms are conspicuous features of Biblical poetry. For example, in Genesis 1:1, when God creates “the heavens and the earth” (KJV), the two parts combine to indicate that God created the whole universe. Similarly, in Psalm 139, the psalmist declares that God knows “my downsitting and mine uprising”, indicating that God knows all the psalmist’s actions.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
(Genesis 1:2 KJV)

In Genesis 1:2 we find the Holy Spirit hovering over the waters of the planet. The word “hover” can be translated “moving, vibrating, fluttering gently” on the surface of the waters. The Rabbis note that “‘hover’ is a description of the eagle hovering over the young to care for them and protect them. Matter itself is lifeless. The Spirit of God quickens (gives life) and transforms it into material for a living world.”

From the Hebrew text Genesis 1:2 reads: “And the earth was nothingness and waste (terrifying) was upon the face of the primeval ocean, and Spirit of God hovered upon the face of the oceans.” Water is the womb of life and there is more water observed on earth than upon any other planet observed in space!

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
(Genesis 1:3-5 KJV)

There was light on the first day. There was also day and night, this means the earth was rotating on it’s axis on the first day. Skeptics love this verse because they claim it is a contradiction as the sun. moon and stars were not created until the fourth day. The implications of Genesis 1:3 are that there was light and that light source was entirely independent  from the sun, moon and stars.

Skeptics have long ridiculed the science of Biblical creation over this point. How could there be light bathing the earth before the sun was created? Obviously the Bible must be in error. But as always, this apparent error drives us to look more closely at the relevant data, both scientific and biblical.

Actually there are many sources of light, not just the sun. There are also many types of light, not just visible light. Short-wave light includes ultraviolet light, X-rays, and others. Long-wave light includes infrared light, radio waves, etc. Light is produced by friction, by fire, by numerous chemical reactions, as well as the nuclear reactions of atomic fission and fusion, which is what we think is occurring in the sun. God had at His fingertips many options to accomplish His purposes. Light does not automatically require the sun.

Furthermore, we have important data given by the Hebrew words used in the creation account. When God created “light” in verse 3, the word used connotes the presence of light only, while the word used for “lights” on Day Four is best translated “light bearers,” or permanent light sources. Their purpose was not only to give light, but to serve as timekeepers for man once he was created. According to the best stellar creation theory now available, light from stars created anywhere in the universe on Day Four would reach earth in two earth days, and would be useful to Adam on Day Six.

We know from many other Scriptures throughout the Bible that the sun, moon and stars are not necessary because God Himself is light.

And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
(Exodus 14:19-20 KJV)

And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
(Matthew 17:1-2 KJV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
(John 1:1-5 KJV)

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
(Luke 2:8-11 KJV)

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
(Revelation 21:1-25 KJV)

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
(Genesis 1:6-8 KJV)

The firmament in the heavens is the only place in the creation narrative where God did “see that it was good.” It was necessary, but not good. Please see my article “Seventh Heaven” below for more details on this subject.

On the third day all the waters under the heaven were gathered in one place which He called seas, the dry land was called Earth. Then God created all grasses, trees and vegetation.

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day.
(Genesis 1:9-13 KJV)

On the fourth day of creation, God created the sun, moon and stars and established the ordinances for them so that they would be for signs, seasons, nights and days.

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
(Genesis 1:14-19 KJV)

On the fifth day, God created every animal that lives in the sea; fish, whales, sea lions, shrimp, clams, and oysters.He also created the birds of the air (and probably all flightless birds like ostrich as well).

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
(Genesis 1:20-23 KJV)

On the sixth and final day of creation, God created all things that dwell on land. From earthworms to cattle to humans.

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
(Genesis 1:24-31 KJV)

On the sixth day (Friday), God completed the work on His creation. On the seventh day, God rested from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
(Genesis 2:1-3 KJV)

Everything that God created was created mature. This includes plants, animals, star, galaxies, and humans. So now you know what came first, the chicken, not the egg.

Your Redemption Draweth Nigh

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
(Matthew 24:3-51 ESV)

An interesting seismic pattern seems to have developed throughout the world. Approximately every 188 days a major earthquake is occurring somewhere in the world, most notably along the Pacific Ring of Fire.  Yeshua warned His followers that there would be earthquakes in various places and even compared the signs of the end  of the world and His second coming to birth pains or the beginning of sorrows (G5604).What has yet to be conclusively established is whether this 188 anomaly, is random or follows any predictable or consistent cycle or pattern. So far, there’s been four earthquakes that can be connected or attributed to this 188 day cycle. The 8.8 magnitude earthquake that occurred in Chile, the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that occurred in Christchurch, New Zealand, the 9.1 magnitude earthquake that occurred in Japan, and the 7.3 magnitude earthquake that occurred in Fiji.

Once is normal, twice is interesting, three times begins to show a pattern, and the fourth time means you’re blind and naive or just don’t want to accept the evidence if you still refuse to even consider the imminent threat of this cycle continuing and take it more seriously. It has been calculated that the chance of this occurring four times in a pattern is over 1 in 48 million. If the pattern continues with a fifth earthquake the statistics increase to over 1 in 17 billion. The next date correlating to this pattern is March 22, 2012.

Last night before I went to bed I watched a few videos on YouTube, two were from friends that are also ministers. I have provided the links below.

As you are probably aware by now, there were a series of earthquakes this morning (Tuesday, March 20, 2012). The largest earthquake was in Oaxaca, Mexico. This is irrefutable proof that God is speaking to us and working through cycles, seasons and patterns according to Bible prophecy.

O LORD, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works. O LORD our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we bring to remembrance. They are dead, they will not live; they are shades, they will not arise; to that end you have visited them with destruction and wiped out all remembrance of them. But you have increased the nation, O LORD, you have increased the nation; you are glorified; you have enlarged all the borders of the land. O LORD, in distress they sought you; they poured out a whispered prayer when your discipline was upon them. Like a pregnant woman who writhes and cries out in her pangs when she is near to giving birth, so were we because of you, O LORD; we were pregnant, we writhed, but we have given birth to wind. We have accomplished no deliverance in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen. Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.
(Isaiah 26:12-19 ESV)

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
(1 Thessalonians 5:1-24 ESV)

This morning my friend, William Tyrone Jackson II, claims he was given a revelation from the Holy Spirit. If you divide 188  by 7  (number of days in earthquake cycle divided by number of days in a week) you will arrive with the sum of 26.8. If we round off 26.8 we will arrive with a sum of 27. In humans, the 27th week of pregnancy is the beginning of the third trimester. Most physicians agree that at 27 weeks the unborn child has reached “fetal” viability. I think it is more than fair, using this data,  to conclude that the beginning of sorrows or birth pains has probably begun.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
(Psalms 121:1-8 KJV)

If you haven’t made you peace with God and accepted Yeshua (Jesus Christ) as your Savior and Messiah, you still have time to do so. Things are about to get serious here on planet Earth. If you have already accepted Him as your Savior and Messiah, it would be a good time to make sure your are serving Him with all your heart, soul and mind.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
(Matthew 22:36-38 KJV)

Those who have been redeemed should be encouraged and encourage one another as things continue to get worse.

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
(Luke 21:28 KJV)

Apparently Mexico had planned a simulated earthquake drill today at noon. They were planning on simulating a 7.9 magnitude earthquake. At 12:02 PM (local time at epicenter) today’s earthquake occurred. Mexican officials rated the temblor as a 7.8 magnitude earthquake earthquake.

The Author of Confusion

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
(1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV)

The Sacred Name Movement (SNM) is a movement within certain sects of Corpus Christendom that claims to seek to conform Christianity to its “Hebrew Roots” in practice, belief and worship. The best known distinction of the SNM is its advocacy of the use of the “sacred name” Yahweh, and the use of the original Hebrew name of Jesus, often transcribed as Yahshua.

The Sacred Name Movement arose in the early 20th century out of the Adventist movement. Clarence Orvil Dodd, a member of the Church of God (Seventh Day), began keeping the Jewish festivals (including Passover) in 1928 and adopted sacred name doctrines in the late 1930s.

The Movement started with the formation of the Assembly of Yahweh in Holt, Michigan (USA) in the early 1930s. The leaders of this group claim that a founding member was visited by two angels who explained that The Messiah’s Name is properly Yahshua.

Visited by an angel that reveals a truth? That seems to be a basis in most cults throughout America and the world in general..

The Apostle Paul said, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6-9 KJV).

The use of the sacred names has led to the production of Sacred Name Bible translations. Most of these Bibles use modern translations like the KJV with the common titles “God and Lord” replaced with the Sacred Names. These translations include The Word of Yahweh, The Scriptures, The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible, Angelo Traina’s Holy Name Bible, The Sacred Name King James Bible, The Sacred Scriptures (Family of Yah Edition), The Sacred Scriptures (Bethel Edition), The Hebraic Roots Bible, The Aramaic English New Testament, The Restoration Study Bible (RSB) and many other translations, some still in progress of being translated and published.

Some of the favorite passages of Scripture by Sacred Name Movement adherents are Psalms 9:10, Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21 and Acts 4:12.

And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
(Psalms 9:10 KJV)

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
(Joel 2:32 KJV)

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
(Acts 2:21 KJV)

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
(Acts 4:12 KJV)

Thus, according to their interpretations, one cannot call out to God through Jesus Christ and be saved without the knowledge of His true “sacred name.”

Yahshua is an argued transliteration of the original Hebrew or Aramaic name of Jesus commonly used by individuals in the Sacred Name Movement. The spelling Yahshua and Yahshuah are not found in Hebrew texts. The Hebrew Bible uses Yehoshuah and Yeshua, which means “YHWH is Salvation.” Christians, historians, and linguists outside the Sacred Name Movement for the most part reject the term Yahshua in favor of Yeshua as the original pronunciation.

Sacred Name Movement adherents teach that since the Messiah will “come in his Father’s Name” (John 5:43) then he must have the name of YHWH (Yahweh), or at least the abbreviated form (YAH) in his spoken name.

Critics say that in their labor to get the pronunciation Yahshua out of Yehoshuah, SNM adherents are ignoring Hebrew linguistics that do not allow the “waw” to be silent, so Yahshua is a questioned translation. Furthermore, it is argued by some that this pronunciation is not attested in antiquity, unlike the pronunciation Yehoshuah or Yehoshua.

Yeshua was a common alternative form of the name Joshua (Yehoshuah) in later books of the Hebrew Bible and among Jews of the Second Temple Period. The name corresponds to the Greek spelling Iesous, from which comes the English spelling Jesus. In English the name Yeshua is extensively used by followers of Messianic Judaism as well as other Christian denominations who wish to use what they consider to be Jesus’ Hebrew or Aramaic name.

Yahshuah is a form of the Hebrew name of Jesus produced by mystical speculation at various periods of history, but which is rejected by mainstream linguistics and textual scholarship in the field of ancient languages. The first ones to use a name of Jesus something like Yahshuah were Renaissance occultists. In the second half of the 16th century, when knowledge of Biblical Hebrew first began to spread among a significant number of Christians, certain esoterically-minded or occultistic circles came up with the idea of deriving the Hebrew name of Jesus by adding the Hebrew letter shin ש into the middle of the Tetragrammaton divine name yod-he-waw-he (יהוה or YHWH) to produce the form yod-he-shin-waw-he (יהשוה).

Those who call the Messiah Yeshua or Jesus  are accused of perpetuating a Jewish conspiracy and “denying His name” or “degrading Him” by their use of Yeshua or Jesus. I have heard some claim that the use of Yeshua or Jesus is blasphemy, taking the name of the Lord in vain, and even that the use of these names is the worship of the Antichrist. If you have never read or heard these outlandish accusations, you probably will eventually.

A person does not need to know Hebrew and Greek linguistics in order to be spiritual. However, if a person is going to take it upon himself to instruct others about subjects of a linguistic and Hebraic nature, he should know the Hebrew language and he should know some basics about linguistics. This is especially true if he is going to use his Hebrew-based linguistic teachings to accuse his brethren of being part of a “Jewish conspiracy” to “deny the true name of the Messiah.”

In Nehemiah 8:17, Joshua’s name is 100% identical to the name which today’s Messianic Jews use for the Messiah, Yeshua. Strong’s confirms this pronunciation, and tells us that there were ten Israelites in the Bible who bore this name (http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=H3442). Therefore the shortening of Yehoshua to Yeshua predates the Christian era by at least 500 years, and cannot be the result of a Jewish conspiracy to hide the Messiah’s true name. To claim that the shortened form Yeshua is the result of a Jewish conspiracy is to ignore the facts of history and the facts of the Hebrew Scriptures. The form Yeshua existed for several hundred years before the Messiah was even born. Even in the pre-Christian Septuagint, we see the Greek form IHSOUS (Yesous) in the title of the Book of Joshua. (This is also proof that Yesous has no connection to the pagan god Zeus.)

Why is the Yahshua form used by no one but Sacred Name Movement adherents and people who have been influenced by Sacred Name Movement adherents? Probably because no such name exists in the Hebrew Bible and, to my knowledge, no such name exists in any extra-Biblical Hebrew literature (other than SNM literature). It appears that Dr. Ben-Gigi is correct when he said, “People invented the name Yahshua to fit within their theology”.

The Apostle Paul warned Timothy about “doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmising” (1 Timothy 6:4). Unfortunately, this is an accurate description of what goes on among many people in the Sacred Name Movement. Personally, I would rather fellowship with non-contentious people who call the Messiah Jesus than with contentious people who insist that everyone call Him Yahshua, an errant and false name and docytrine (Acts. 4:12).

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
(1 Timothy 6:3-5 KJV)

Also consider that those associated with the Sacred Name Movement like to refer to the Apostle Paul as Sha’ul. It is interesting to note that his name was Shau’l in the ninth chapter of Acts. Thereafter, Peter referred to him as Paul beginning in thirteenth chapter of Acts, which states, “Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him” (Acts 13:9 KJV). Sha’ul is never referred to as anything but Paul again. This is obviously another story, but bears influence on this article.

This article was not written and compiled to persuade people to quit saying Yahshua. If people want to continue using a mistransliteration that was erroneously contrived by early Sacred Name Movement pioneers who didn’t know Hebrew, it really doesn’t matter to me. I doubt that their mistransliteration matters much to the Lord, either. What does matter, though, is the spreading of false accusations against Messianic Jews and Christians who call the Messiah Yeshua or Jesus Christ.

It is far past time that we as believers place stumblingblock in our brother and sisters paths, and the time to pass judgement on them (outside of Scripture) was never ours in the first place. It is written, “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way” (Romans 14:8-13 KJV).

Seventh Heaven

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
(Psalms 19:1 KJV)

The Third Heaven is a spiritual division of the universe within Judeo-Christian cosmology. In some traditions it is considered the abode of God, and in others a lower level of Paradise, commonly one of seven. Seven Heavens is a part of religious cosmology found in many major religions such as Islam, Judaism and Hinduism and in some minor religions such as Hermeticism and Gnosticism. The Divine Throne is said to be in or above the seventh heaven in most Abrahamic religions.

It is believed that the origin of this myth goes back to astrology. Ancient astrologists could identify seven great heavenly objects and assumed each was floating in a separate heaven. The number seven in Biblical references symbolically represented perfect completion, as in the seven-day week, the seven eyes and horns seen on the Lamb of God in The Book of Revelation, and the seventh in the generations of Adam: Lamech who was completely wicked, and Enoch who walked with God.

According to Jewish teachings in the Talmud, the universe is made of seven heavens (Shamayim). Vilon (Isaiah 40:22), also called Arafel, Raki’a  (Genesis 1:17), Shehaqim (Psalms 78:23), Zebul (Isaiah 63:15, I Kings 8:13), Ma’on (Deuteronomy 26:15, Psalms 42:9), Machon (1 Kings 7:30, Deuteronomy 28:12), and Araboththe seventh Heaven where the ofanim, the seraphim, the hayyoth and the throne of the Lord are located.

The Jewish Merkavah and Heichalot literature was devoted to discussing the details of these heavens, sometimes in connection with traditions relating to Enoch, such as the Third Book of Enoch.

The Hebrew Bible does not mention third heaven or the number of heavens.

References to distinct concepts known as “Heaven” ( Shamayim) occur in the very earliest books of the Tanakh. The second use of the word heaven, in Genesis 1:8 and 20 refers to the atmosphere over the earth in which birds fly. The third, mentioned in Genesis 1:14, is the setting for the celestial lights, later identified (Genesis 1:16) as the sun, moon and stars. The first use of the word heaven is used in Genesis 1:1 to describe the heaven of heavens (Deuteronomy 10:14) the light creation in Genesis 1:3 is all the celestial beings such as the angels and the very image that the Spirit of God makes for Himself to receive glory on the throne of God as God. When God divided the light from darkness (Genesis 1:4-5) this was the separation of the Heaven of Heavens into two sections Day (God’s throne) and Night (where our universe is contained).

A third concept of Heaven, also called shamayi h’shamayim (the “Heaven of Heavens”) is mentioned in such passages as Genesis 28:12, Deuteronomy 10:14 and 1 Kings 8:27 as a distinctly spiritual realm containing (or being traveled by) angels and God Himself.

Due to the ambiguity of the term “Heaven” as it is used in the books of the Tanakh, and the fact that the word in Hebrew, shamayim, is plural, a number of interpretations have been offered for various texts involving its nature, notably the assumption of the prophet Elijah.

An Epistle of the Apostle Paul, included in the Brit Chadashah, contains an explicit reference to the Third Heaven. In a letter to the Corinthian church he writes, “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4 KJV). The Greek says “caught away”, not “caught up” possibly reflecting Jewish beliefs that Paradise was somewhere other than the uppermost heaven.

The apparent parallelism of the passage equates the Third Heaven with “Paradise” the traditional destination of redeemed humans and the general connotation of the term “Heaven” in mainstream Christianity.

Four allusions to the Apocalypse of Moses occur in close proximity in 2 Corinthians. The allusions are “Satan as an angel of light”, the distinction of Satan and the serpent as two beings, “Third Heaven” and “Paradise”, the connection to this Jewish material has led to discussion about whether Paul accepted these traditions, or alternatively whether Paul’s vision of Third Heaven is a continuation of his conflict with the Superapostles in the previous chapter, and that the material comes not from his own teaching, but in reply to material similar to Apocalypse of Moses being transmitted by the Superapostles to the Corinthians. Whether this is so partly depends on whether irony is detected in this section. The relationship of Paul of Tarsus and Judaism is still widely disputed among many people.

This article will not discuss the beliefs of Islam, Hinduism, Hermeticism and Gnosticism any further regarding their theology on this subject. Sound Doctrine Ministries mission is to proclaim the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah and provide glory to God, the God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Therefore, the doctrines and theology of these false religions are of no further interest to us  regarding this topic.

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
(Genesis 1:6-8 KJV)

The English word “firmament” in the Bible is a translation of the Hebrew, raqiameaning “expanse.” Its meaning is not “firm boundary” as Biblical critics have alleged, but might be better paraphrased as “stretched-out thinness” or simply “space.”

Its first occurrence in the Bible relates it to heaven  (Genesis 1:6-8). This firmament obviously could not be a solid boundary above the sky, but is essentially the atmosphere, the “first heaven,” the “space” where the birds were to “fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven” (Genesis 1:20).

Many Young Earth Creationists have interpreted the “waters above the firmament” as a theoretical water canopy which once surrounded the Earth but no longer exists (their source of the waters of Noah’s flood). This is incorrect when closely examined within the literal framework of the Genesis narrative. The reason is because of what is said in this next passage.

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
(Genesis 1:14-19 KJV)

There is a second firmament, or second heaven, where God placed the sun, moon, and stars, stretching out into the infinite reaches of space. (Genesis 1:17).

The Prophet Ezekiel’s had a vision in which he described seeing God as attended and served by a vast company of angels, who are all his messengers, his ministers, doing his commandments. Ezekiel then described the firmament beneath the very throne of God, and above the mighty cherubim  who seem always in Scripture to indicate the near presence of God.

And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies.
(Ezekiel 1:22-23 KJV)

This glorious firmament, brilliantly crystalline in appearance, must be “the third heaven” which the Apostle Paul described in his epistle to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 12:2-4).

There are three “firmaments” or “heavens” mentioned in the Bible, atmospheric space (Genesis 1:20), stellar space (Genesis 1:17), and the third heaven (II Corinthians 12:2), where God’s throne is located.

The firmament deals with the structure of the present heavens and Earth. There is presently a three heavens structure. Again, let’s look back at Genesis 1:6-8 and more closely examine that passage to determine the present structure.

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
(Genesis 1:6-8 KJV)

On the second day of the creation, God “divided” the waters (plural) into two parts with a “firmament” in the midst. According to the Genesis narrative, both the waters that were upon the face of the Earth and the waters which God placed above the firmament He called Seas.

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
(Genesis 1:9-10 KJV)

This is important to understand. We know that the waters on the Earth are called “Seas” in the Bible, but there is also another “Sea” that is spoken of in the Scriptures, and that one is above the firmament. During the six days of the Creation, God defined three heavens.

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
(Genesis 1:14-15 KJV)

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
(Genesis 1:20 KJV)

These two heavens constitute a continuum called the “firmament,” and this firmament is collectively called “Heaven”.

And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
(Genesis 1:8 KJV)

The Third Heaven is above this higher “Sea,” and this higher sea is before and below the Throne of God.

And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
(Revelation 4:6 KJV)

Therefore, this particular “Sea” above the firmament is above the known physical universe. Since the sun, moon and stars are “in” the firmament this “Sea” must be above them. This is difficult for the mankind and science to understand, but it is a Scriptural fact on cosmology.  It represents a firm and impassable barrier between the world of man and the Kingdom of God.

Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.
(Psalms 148:4 KJV)

This is almost certainly the firmament or sea that John saw in his visions.  This is the present sea of separation that will no longer exist when God destroys the old world and makes all things new after the Reign of Yeshua during the Millennial Kingdom and the final judgment that follows.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
(Revelation 21:1 KJV)

This now gives us a better understanding of what the Apostle Paul was talking about when he speaks of a place called the third heaven.

Although the third heaven is not directly mentioned in the Genesis narrative, the established structure of all things is defined in Genesis and, when understood, allows us to comprehend exactly where and what Paul was talking about when he mentions the third heaven in his epistle to the Corinthians. It also gives the reader a better understanding of John’s vision in Revelation. Again, when the Lord God divided the waters He created a boundary which presently exists between the two lower heavens (which constitute the firmament) and the third heaven (where the throne of God is). That boundary is that “Sea,” and again that “sea” is above the two heavens of the firmament. It is also likened in passages of Scripture to crystal or smooth glass.

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
(Revelation 15:2 KJV)

All three heavens “declare the glory of God” and all three firmaments “sheweth His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). Therefore, we should “Praise God in His sanctuary” and also “praise Him in the firmament of His power” (Psalm 150:1).

Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
(Psalms 150:1-6 KJV)

Many times throughout my life, I have likened the universe to a type of snow globe on Almighty God’s desktop. This study of the firmament and the order of the universe does nothing if not prove that analogy to be very accurate.

Replacement Theology?

Regarding the theological status of modern day Jewish people, covenant theology is often referred to as “supersessionism,” or “replacement theology”, due to the perception that it teaches that God has abandoned the promises made to the Jews and has replaced the Jews with Christians as his chosen people in the earth.

Are you really foolish enough to believe this heresy? If so, what part of ‘Everlasting Covenant” don’t you understand?

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
(Numbers 23:19 ESV)

Is it conceivable that God could break His promises or forsake His people? Could He ever reject His people and take another people in their stead? If so, there is no confidence in our faith and hope. Surely God is faithful to Israel.

Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
(Isaiah 49:15-16 KJV)

In God We Trust?

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
(Psalm 46:1-3 ESV)

“In God We Trust” was adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956. The phrase has appeared on U.S. coins since 1864 and on paper currency since 1957. Strict Separationists have questioned the legality of this motto because they state that it violates The United States Constitution which forbids the government from passing any law respecting the establishment of a religion. However, the United States Supreme Court has rejected the legal basis for this claim. Religious accomodationists, on the other hand, state that this entrenched practice has not historically presented any constitutional difficulty, is not coercive, and does not prefer one narrow sect over another. Outside of constitutional objections, President Theodore Roosevelt took issue with placing the motto on coinage as he considered it sacrilegious to put the name of God on money.

As we draw to the end of of another year and into the new year, it is a time for reflection. The media reviews the top news stories and events that occured during the past year. Many people plan New Year’s Resolutions to put into effect on New Year’s Day. A New Year’s Resolution is generally a goal someone sets out to accomplish in the coming year. Some examples include resolutions to donate to the poor more often, to become more assertive, or to become more environmentally responsible. A key element to a New Year’s Resolution that sets it apart from other resolutions is that it is made in anticipation of the New Year, and new beginnings. People committing themselves to a New Year’s Resolution plan to do so for the whole following year.

At watchnight services, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making these resolutions. There are other religious parallels to this tradition. During Judaism’s New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement), one is to reflect upon one’s wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness. People may act similarly during the Christian fasting period of Lent, though the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility. The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually.

Presently, the United States is suffering from financial and economic crises. Unemployment is high and jobs are virtually nonexistent in many places. Crime rates are increasing and religion and morality are under complete persecution both nationally and internationally.The last year brought the “Arab Spring” to the Middle East, many regional wars, several asteroids, comets and solar flares either passing within close proximity to the orbit of the earth or directly impacting the atmosphere or planet.

The great Tōhoku earthquake (it was the most powerful known earthquake ever to have hit Japan, and one of the five most powerful earthquakes in the world since record-keeping began) and a subsequent tsunami which left 15,844 people dead, 5,890 people injured, and 3,451 people missing. The tsunami resulted in the still ongoing level seven meltdowns at the Fukishima Nuclear Power Plants and worldwide fallout of nuclear isotopes. Hundreds of thousand of animals died with no apparent cause around the world. The United States saw severe weather outbreaks that produced record numbers of tornadoes decimating many areas through tornado prone areas. Haboobs on scales not seen before occurred in Arizona and the southwest. Medical professionals have been compelled to provide abortions against their will. Homosexuals are gaining the right to marry and clergy is being compelled to preside over their weddings under threat of criminal prosecution. We have seen many false prophets either proclaiming to be the Messiah or predicting the end of the world. This list could continue for pages, but you get the idea.

Yeshua was sitting on the Mount of Olives and His disciples came to him privately and asked Him, “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the world?” Yeshua answered them saying, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect (Matthew 24:4-14, 37-44).”

Obviously, many of the warning signs that Yeshua proclaimed would be a warning that the end was near are occurring  Many prophecies from the Tanakh have been fulfilled in the Middle East and the stage has been set for the fulfillment of many more of these prophecies in the very near future.

We undoubtedly have a problem. The question is, can we do anything about it? Can we convince God to delay His judgement or wrath on this wicked earth? It would appear so. Consider the story of Jonah the Prophet and the city Nineveh in the Tanakh.

Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
(Jonah 3:1-10 ESV)

Jonah named the place and the date of the judgement that was to come upon Nineveh. When the people heard it they repented of their sins. When God saw this he changed His mind and did not destroy Nineveh as He said He would. The key is repentance. What is repentance? Repentance is confession to God, ceasing sin against God, and resolving to live according to His laws (Torah). It typically includes an admission of guilt, a promise or resolve not to repeat the offense; an attempt to make restitution for the wrong, or in some way to reverse the harmful effects of the wrong where possible.

In Biblical Hebrew, the idea of repentance is represented by two verbs: “shuv” (to return) and “nicham” (to feel sorrow). In the New Testament, the word translated as “repentance” is the Greek word metanoia, “after/behind one’s mind”, which is a compound word of the preposition “meta” (after, with), and the verb “noeo” (to perceive, to think, the result of perceiving or observing). In this compound word the preposition combines the two meanings of time and change, which may be denoted by “after” and “different”; so that the whole compound means: “to think differently after”. Metanoia is therefore primarily an after-thought, different from the former thought; a change of mind accompanied by regret and change of conduct, “change of mind and heart”, or, “change of consciousness”. A description of repentance in the New Testament can be found in the Parable of the Prodigal Son found in the Gospel of Luke.

Immediately after King Solomon finished construction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, he consecrated (made sacred) and dedicated the Holy Temple to God. King Solomon and the Children of Israel sacrificed 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep to Hashem at this time. God accepted their sacrifice and told them exactly how to stay under His mercy and protection.

Then the LORD appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time. And as for you, if you will walk before me as David your father walked, doing according to all that I have commanded you and keeping my statutes and my rules, then I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to rule Israel.’ “But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And at this house, which was exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’ Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.'”
(2 Chronicles 7:12-22 ESV)

So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.
(Hebrews 6:17-18 ESV)

In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.
(Psalms 56:11 KJV)

Best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year.