An Eye for an Eye

And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him; Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again. And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death. Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.
(Leviticus 24:19-22 KJV)

This piece of legislation sounds barbaric and inhumane to many modern people. And until rather recently scholars tended to interpret it in terms of the practice reflecting a very early stage in the development of the Hebrew legal system.

Fortunately, archaeological discoveries have unearthed legal materials from the ancient Near East that have facilitated a better understanding of this piece of legislation than can be found in more recent commentaries on the Tanakh and Torah.

The meaning of the principle, an eye for an eye, is that a person who has injured another person is similarly injured in retribution, or according to other interpretations receives the value of the injury in compensation.

The phrase, “an eye for an eye” is a quotation from several passages of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) which means that a person who has injured the eye of another, either literally has his own eye injured as punishment, or according to other interpretations is instructed to pay the monetary value of an eye as compensation. It defined and restricted the extent of retribution in the laws of the Torah.

The English word “talion” means a punishment identical to the offense, from the Latin “talio”. The principle of “an eye for an eye” is often referred to using the Latin phrase “lex talionis, the law of talion.

The principal of lex talionis is found in three passages of the Tanakh, all of which occur inside the Torah.

  • If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
    (Exodus 21:22-25 KJV)
  • And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him; Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again. And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death. Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.
    (Leviticus 24:19-22 KJV)
  • And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you. And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you. And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
    (Deuteronomy 19:18-21 KJV)

A similar law is found in the ancient Mesopotamian “Code of Hammurabi.” Earlier codes legislated financial compensation for bodily injuries, but Hammurabi seems to have been the first to require physical injury for physical injury. This has led some historians to conclude that there was a time when monetary compensation redressed personal injuries because the state did not consider them to be crimes against society.

This law of equivalency was a significant development in the history of jurisprudence in the sense that what used to be a private matter between two families was now taken over by the state and considered to be criminal behavior. This fits very well with the Tanakh understanding of offenses against others as offenses against the covenant community and against the God (YHWH) of the covenant.

The term lex talionis does not always and only refer to literal eye-for-an-eye codes of justice but applies to the broader class of legal systems that specify formulaic penalties for specific crimes, which are thought to be fitting in their severity. Some propose that this was at least in part intended to prevent excessive punishment at the hands of either an avenging private party or the state. The most common expression of lex talionis is “an eye for an eye”, but other interpretations have been given as well. Legal codes following the principle of lex talionis have one thing in common: prescribed ‘fitting’ counter punishment for an offence. In the famous legal code written by Hammurabi, the principle of exact reciprocity is very clearly used. For example, if a person caused the death of another person, the killer would be put to death (Hammurabi’s code, §230).

Under the right conditions, such as the ability for all actors to participate in an iterative fashion, the “eye for an eye” punishment system has a mathematical basis in the tit for tat game theory strategy.

The simplest example is the “eye for an eye” principle. In that case, the rule was that punishment must be exactly equal to the crime. Conversely, the twelve tables of Rome merely prescribed particular penalties for particular crimes. The Anglo-Saxon legal code substituted payment of wergild for direct retribution: a particular person’s life had a fixed value, derived from his social position; any homicide was compensated by paying the appropriate wergild, regardless of intent. Under the British Common Law, successful plaintiffs were entitled to repayment equal to their loss (in monetary terms). In the modern tort law system, this has been extended to translate non-economic losses into money as well. The meaning of the principle Eye for an Eye is that a person who has been injured by another person returns the offending action to the originator in compensation, or that an authority does so on behalf of the injured person. The exact Latin (lex talionis) to English translation of this phrase is actually “The law of retaliation.” At the root of this principle is that one of the purposes of the law is to provide equitable retribution for an offended party.

It’s difficult to determine to what extent this legislation was strictly enforced. We do know that in the case of murder the life of the murderer was taken (life for life). But apart from this, the formulation “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” etc., seems to have been a technical phrase used to express the idea of equivalency, leaving the court to determine the nature and extent of the equivalence.

Since there is no form of punishment in the Torah that calls for the maiming of an offender, there is no case where a conspiratorial false witness could possibly be punished by the court injuring to his eye, tooth, hand, or foot. There is no verse that even appears to mandate injury to the eye, tooth, or foot. Thus, it is impossible to read “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” literally in the context of a conspiratorial witness.

The Union of Orthodox Congregations says, “The Oral Law explains, based upon the biblical verses, that the Bible mandates a sophisticated five-part monetary form of compensation, consisting of payment for “Damages, Pain, Medical Expenses, Incapacitation, and Mental Anguish” — which underlies many modern legal codes. Some rabbinic literature explains, moreover, that the expression, “An eye for an eye, etc.” suggests that the perpetrator deserves to lose his own eye, but that biblical law treats him leniently.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. had dissented from the actual practice of reciprocal justice. He stated, “The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.” Likewise, Mahatma Gandhi had stated, “An-eye-for-an-eye-for-an-eye-for-an-eye ends in making everybody blind.”

Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) said, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away” (Matthew 5:38-42 KJV).

The intent of the law of retribution was to ensure that the punishment corresponded to the crime in order to control the punishment inflicted on the guilty one. Yeshua was not abrogating this important legal principle, but was rather inviting the Corpus Christianum in their daily lives to go beyond the letter of the law. The implicit intention of the law, to eliminate personal revenge, was stated explicitly by Yeshua; and He, in His own person and ministry, modeled it for us.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:17-19 KJV).

The biblical principal of lex talionis was to teach us to punish criminals equivalent to the degree of crime they had committed against a victim. The principals of lex talionis are still relied upon by any fair modern jurisprudence system throughout the world today. It teaches us to punish the crime accordingly, but not necessarily with literal equality in retaliation. Those convicted of murder are subject to the death penalty, this is biblical and fair and just. Amputation of the hand of a thief is not warranted under modern jurisprudence or the biblical passages that support and teach lex talionis. Many Muslim nations that implement and practice Islamic Sharia Law apply the the “eye for an eye” rule quite literally. These Muslim countries do not use or understand the concept of lex talionis appropriately (e.g., stoning to death is the penalty for married men and women who commit adultery, homosexuals (LGBT) are routinely executed, and thieves are punished by the amputation of both hands).

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Resurrection of a Nation

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
(Ezekiel 37:1-10 KJV)

Speaking on the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz in Poland in 2010, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proclaimed the fulfillment of the prophet Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones.

“The Jewish people rose from ashes and destruction, from a terrible pain that can never be healed,” Netanyahu said at the ceremony. “Armed with the Jewish spirit, the justice of man, and the vision of the prophets, we sprouted new branches and grew deep roots. Dry bones became covered with flesh, a spirit filled them, and they lived and stood on their own feet, as Ezekiel prophesied.”

Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
(Ezekiel 37:11-14 KJV)

Netanyahu often quotes scripture in his speeches. From his youth, he has been a student of the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament, which records the history of Israel and its people.

Experts say archaeological excavations in Jerusalem and throughout the country continually verify the authenticity of the Bible, which all Israeli children study as part of their school curriculum.

Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.
(Isaiah 66:8 KJV)

Master of the Moon

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.
(Jeremiah 51:7 KJV)

The Fertile Crescent, nicknamed “The Cradle of Civilization” due to the birth of various kingdoms within its borders, is a crescent-shaped region containing the comparatively moist and fertile land of otherwise arid and semi-arid Western Asia.

In current usage the Fertile Crescent has a maximum extent and a minimum extent. All definitions include Mesopotamia, the land in and around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The major nation in this region is Iraq, with small portions of Iran near the Persian Gulf, Kuwait to the south and Turkey in the north. More typically the Fertile Crescent includes also the Levantine coast of the Mediterranean Sea, with Syria, Jordan, Israel, and Lebanon. Water sources include the Jordan River. At maximum extent, the Fertile Crescent also may include Egypt and the Nile Valley within it. The inner boundary is delimited by the dry climate of the Syrian Desert to the south. Around the outer boundary are the arid and semi-arid lands of the Zagros Mountains to the east, the Anatolian Highlands to the north, and the Sahara Desert to the west.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a pagan as a follower of any polytheistic religion. It would be fair to extend this definition to the worship of any false god(s) or goddess(s), those without any religion, and those who worship any god other than Yahweh (YHWH), the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Immediately following the Great Flood, Noah and his family were blessed by God and told to, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 9:1).

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. 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 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 thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. 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.
(Genesis 10:1-12, 11:1-4 KJV)

Instead of accepting God’s blessing and obeying His commandment, people settled on the plains of Shinar and began to establish a kingdom and build a tower (Tower of Babel) in direct opposition and disobedience to God’s wishes and commandments.

The Tower of Babel is historical account of a unified humanity using all its resources to establish a city that is the antithesis of what God intended when he created the world. The Tower of Babel is a symbol of human autonomy, and the city builders see themselves as determining and establishing their own destiny without any reference to God.

The Ancient Babylonian enterprise was all about human independence and self-sufficiency apart from God. The builders believed that they had no need of God. Their technology and social unity give them confidence in their own ability, and they have high aspirations, constructing a tower with its top in the heavens. Contrary to God’s plan that people should fill the earth, the city-building project is designed to prevent the population from being dispersed over the face of the whole earth.

Nimrod’s hunting was not just for animals, but for the souls of men. He sought to turn people away from God. The Jerusalem Targum has Nimrod saying, “Depart from the judgement of God, and follow the judgement of Nimrod.” Genesis informs us that Nimrod was building his own kingdom. He was establishing a centralized society in much the same way as the leaders United Nations and the European Union are today. His government would control resources and the workforce. A self-sufficient society, under one leader, with no need for God. Nimrod’s kingdom was to be a satanic counterfeit of the coming Messianic Kingdom, for he had established himself as mankind’s savior. Nimrod is Satan’s first attempt to raise up a human universal ruler of men. There have been many subsequent attempts, such as Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, Muhammad Ibn `Abd Allāh Ibn `Abd al-Muttalib and Adolf Hitler. Satan will finally succeed in his attempts with the rise of the the Antichrist.

The Corpus Christianum and Judaism have been influenced and corrupted by the adoption of the rituals and practices of Babylon’s Mystery Religion. The Torah specifically forbids this where it is written, “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).

The Book of Exodus also says, “Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee” (Exodus 23:24; Exodus 23:32-33).

The influence of Babylon’s Mystery Religion doesn’t end with the corruption of the Corpus Christianum and Judaism. As previously stated, Mystery Babylon is the basis for any and all other religions in the world. The Apostle John wrote, “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).

Abrahamic religions are the monotheistic faiths emphasizing and tracing their common origin to Abraham or recognizing a spiritual tradition identified with him. It is said that there are three major Abrahamic religions. These  are reputed  to be, in chronological order of founding, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Judaism regards itself as the religion of the descendants of Jacob, a grandson of Abraham. It has a strictly unitary view of God (YHWH), and the central holy book for almost all branches is the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), as elucidated in the Oral Torah (Mishnah, Talmud and Midrash).

Christianity began as a sect of Judaism in the Mediterranean Basin of the 1st century CE and evolved into a separate religion, the Christian Church, with distinctive beliefs and practices. The Christian Bible (Tanakh and B’rit Chadashah) is usually held to be the ultimate authority, alongside Sacred Tradition in some denominations (such as Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy).

Islam arose in Arabia in the 7th century CE with a strictly unitary view of God (Allah). Muslims (adherents of Islam) typically hold the Qur’an to be the ultimate authority, as revealed and elucidated through the teachings and practices of Muhammad.

Less well-known Abrahamic religions, originally offshoots of Shi’a Islam, include the Bahá’í Faith and Druze.

Although Islam claims to be a Abrahamic religion and monotheistic, it is neither. It may make references to some Patriarchs from Judaism and Christianity, but in almost all cases the backgrounds and personal attributes of these characters are not in harmony with the Tanakh or B’rit Chadashah.

Almost all scholars agree that Babylon was the source of all pagan religions in the world. Nimrod was the human father of idolatry and paganism. Even to this day, the earth is still held tightly in the Mystery Religion of Nimrod. Alexander Hislop taught that mythological persons like Adonis, Apollo, Bacchus, Cupid, Dagon, Hercules, Janus, Mars, Mithra, Moloch, Orion, Osiris, Pluto, Saturn, Vulcan, Zoraster, and many more, were all Nimrod.

A star (or stars) and crescent featuring in some combination form the basis of symbols widely found across the ancient world, with examples attested from the Eastern Mediterranean and Central Asia. The star and crescent appear in combination in finds from in and around ancient Israel. It has been associated with the Moabites (14th or early 13th – 6th century BC), as the symbol or symbols appear on what are thought to be Moabite name seals. Crescents appearing together with a star or stars are a common feature of Sumerian iconography, the crescent usually being associated with the moon god Sin (Nanna to the Sumerians) and the star (often identified as Venus) with Ishtar (Inanna to the Sumerians). However, in this context, there is a third element often seen, that being the sun disk of Shamash. Academic discussion of a star or stars together with crescents in Sumerian representations does not always clearly indicate if they appear in isolation (the “star and crescent” as such) or as part of a triad of symbols, “the three celestial emblems, the sun disk of Shamash (Utu to the Sumerians), the crescent of Sin (Nanna), and the star of Ishtar” or “the crescent of Sin (the moon god), the star of Ishtar and the ray of Shamash”. All of the gods mentioned in connection to the star and crescent symbol are either Nimrod or his mother and wife (Nimrod married his mother) Semiramis (Queen of Heaven). Nimrod and Semiramis, were the prototypes for all pagan gods and goddesses that permeated all subsequent cultures and societies.

The Arabs, before the time of Muhammed, accepted and worshiped, after a fashion, a supreme god called Allah. Interestingly, not many Muslims want to accept that Allah was already being worshipped at the Kabba in Mecca by Arab pagans before Muhammad came. Some Muslims become angry when they are confronted with this fact. The name Allah, as the Qur’an itself is witness, was well known in pre-Islamic Arabia. Indeed, both it and its feminine form, Allat, are found not infrequently among the theophorous names in inscriptions from North Africa.

In Old Testament times, Nabonidus (555-539 BC), the last king of Babylon, built Tayma, Arabia as a center of Moon-god worship. Scholars have noted that South Arabia’s stellar religion has always been dominated by the Moon-god in various variations. Many scholars have also noticed that the Moon-god’s name “Sin” is a part of such Arabic words as “Sinai,” the “wilderness of Sin,” etc. When the popularity of the Moon-god waned elsewhere, the Arabs remained true to their conviction that the Moon-god was the greatest of all gods. While they worshipped 360 gods at the Kaaba in Mecca, the Moon-god was the chief deity. Mecca was in fact built as a shrine for the Moon-god.

Allah is Al-Ilah, which is related to Enlil, Baal, Baili, and to many other false gods. So Allah, contrary to popular belief, was not invented by Muhammad, the Muslim prophet, but in fact existed before his birth. Muhammad’s father’s name was Abdullah, abd in the Arabic language refers to a slave/servant therefore Abdullah means servant of Allah. In an allegory, a poem was written centred on Gilgamesh (Nimrod). The goddess is addressed and scolded for trying to kill Gilgamesh.

Tammuz, the lover of thy youth. Thou causest to weep every year. The bright-colored Allahu bird thou didst love. Thou didst crush him and break his pinions.”
(James George Frazer, The Golden Bough, Vol. IX, Unabridged Edition, The Scapegoat)

The Allahu bird in Islam symbolizes the Archangel of Death. As with everything else in Islam, it is a culture founded upon death and conquest, not peace as Muslims claim and would like everyone to believe.

Archaeological evidence proves that the symbol of the crescent moon and the star and the name of Allah were in use as far back as 2,500 BCE, 3,100 years before the founding of Islam.

The Holy Bible teaches that God cannot be tempted by evil and neither tempts anyone with evil. Evil is understood as referring to immorality and sin. Specifically, immorality and sin is the transgression of the law. The law defines all sin and immorality in the Torah.

King David wrote, “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psalms 5:4-5 KJV).

The Apostle James wrote, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:13-17 KJV).

The Prophet Habakkuk wrote, “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?” (Habakkuk 1:13 KJV).

In stark contrast, the Qur’an teaches that Allah is the author of evil. “Lo! the hypocrites seek to beguile Allah, but it is He Who beguileth them. When they stand up to worship they perform it languidly and to be seen of men, and are mindful of Allah but little; Swaying between this (and that), (belonging) neither to these nor to those. He whom Allah causeth to go astray, thou (O Muhammad) wilt not find a way for him: O ye who believe! Choose not disbelievers for (your) friends in place of believers. Would ye give Allah a clear warrant against you?” (Qur’an Surah 4:142-144).

The Torah teaches that God cannot lie. It says, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19 KJV).

The Apostle John recorded Yeshua’s words when he wrote, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44 KJV).

Islam teaches and condones the practice of Taqiyya. In summary, Taqiyya means religious dissimulation. It is a practice emphasized in Shi’a Islam whereby adherents may conceal their religion when they are under threat, persecution, or compulsion. This means a legal dispensation whereby a believing individual can deny his faith or commit otherwise illegal or blasphemous acts while they are under those risks.

The Apostle Matthew recorded Yeshua’s words and wrote, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33 KJV).

The Qur’an teaches, “He is Allah, the One! Allah, the eternally Besought of all! He begetteth not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him” (Qur’an Surah 112:1-4). The “Oneness of Allah” is taught in every sect and offshoot of Islam. The inscriptions on the outside of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem make many blasphemous statements concerning God and Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ).

The Apostle John wrote, “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (1 John 2:22-23 KJV).

Coincidentally, the Dome of the Rock was built over the wrong rock. This fulfilled many prophecies including the prophecy recorded by the Apostle John when he wrote, “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months” (Revelation 11:1-2 KJV). Not only does God’s prophetic words always come true, but in some ways we can see that He has a sense of humor.

There can only be one truth. The Qur’an contradicts itself many times. The Tanakh and B’rit Chadashah have no contradiction or errors as they are the infallible Word of God. Allah is not God, Muhammad was not a prophet and the Qur’an is not holy. All things come full circle, and all false religions were born in Babylon. It is written, “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen” (Matthew 20:16 KJV).

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.