The Bronze Serpent

From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
(Numbers 21:4-9 ESV)

The Tanakh (Old Testament) was revealed to us by God (YHWH) and often was written as a shadow of a new and better things to come (typology) which would be provided by the B’rit Chadashah.(New Testament). Any true scholar of Scripture would concur to this fact.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV). Unfortunately, many believers never have read the Tanakh and consequently have no foundation for understanding the B’rit Chadashah. They often discount the Tanakh as the “Old Testament” and reject many of its teachings with the attitude that the B’rit Chadashah has replaced the Tanakh and somehow has made it obsolete. Approximately thirty-three percent of the prophecies in the Tanakh have not been fulfilled yet, so how can it be old? Approximately eighty-five percent of the B’rit Chadashah is quoted from the Tanakh, so how can it be new? The Bible is a book of eight covenants and every Word is alive and relevant for yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

The passage about the Children of Israel and the Bronze Serpent (Nehushtan) in the Book of Numbers is symbolic of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ). The Apostle Paul wrote, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:13-14 KJV).

In the third chapter of the Gospel of John, we find Yeshua having a conversation with a man named Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin. He was someone who knew the Tanakh very well and it was obvious to him that there was something special about Yeshua. Unfortunately, he didn’t know enough to be able to see Yeshua as the Messiah. This was not due to some deficiency in Yeshua. It was because there was a deficiency in Nicodemus’ understanding of who the Messiah was supposed to be and what he was supposed to accomplish. So Yeshua gave him an example he should have been able to understand.

  • Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
    (John 3:10-15 KJV)

The Children of Israel were complaining about the manna (food descending from heaven) was because it was not a perfect food. It met their needs, but it did not meet the human desire for variety. Purely spiritual food may have lacked a certain earthiness, and this may well have been at the core of the complaint. So when the Children of Israel complained about manna, God reminded them that the things that are purely from the earth (like serpents) are not good in themselves either.

Snakes are the creature least able to elevate themselves. As a result of the serpent deceiving Eve in the Garden of Eden, the serpent is the animal that was brought the lowest. Unlike kosher animals, serpents make full contact with the earth. Venomous snakes remind us that lots of natural (earthly) things are in fact very bad for our health. Humans are the only ‘animals’ on the planet that walk fully upright. This is also a shadow of what we need to try to accomplish during our lives, to ascend to heaven.

If we see a snake elevating on a pole, we perceive a fortiori argument. If a snake can ascend, then surely we can as well. We realize that if we try to aspire to greater heights, then God will be willing to play an active role in our lives, and change the natural progression of things. God is willing to meddle with nature, but we must first understand that our relationship with God does not come about because we are in harmony with the earth, but because we are striving for a relationship with Him.

The Bronze Serpent had no healing properties whatsoever. It did nothing to save the Children of Israel that had been bitten in the wilderness by venomous serpents. It was an object of faith. By looking at the Bronze Serpent that Moses made and lifted up on pole, the Children of Israel acted on their faith in God’s instructions that were revealed to Moses.

  • Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
    (Hebrews 11:1-3 ESV)

This emblem (a brozne serpent raised on a pole) is distinctive in that Yeshua the Messiah personally applied it to Himself. The more you examine it, the stranger it appears. Brass was the Levitical symbol of judgment and brass was the metal that was associated with fire (as the brazen altar, etc.). The serpent was symbolic of sin, introduced in the Garden of Eden. This is a strange emblem, indeed, for the Savior of mankind. The deadly serpent is transformed into an emblem of healing and life, just as the death that came in the Garden of Eden was defeated by the gift of eternal life offered through Yeshua’s atonement on the cross.

There is only one way we can assure that we will satisfy our goal of ascending to heaven. That way, the one and only way, is through faith in Yeshua the Messiah.

  • “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
    (John 3:16-21 ESV)
  • Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
    (John 14:6-7 KJV)

The Apostle Paul wrote, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 10:9-11 KJV).

Have you completely trusted in Yeshua and in nothing else for the forgiveness of your sins?  Are you relying on Yeshua and Him alone for your righteousness, for your safety, your forgiveness, or are you putting even the smallest bit of your works before God as part of the reason you are to be saved?  If you are relying in anyway on your efforts, then you are in great danger of damnation, if you’re redeemed at all.  Righteousness before God does not come by your efforts, but through the sacrifice of Yeshua. If you could get to earn eternal life through righteousness, then there was no need for Yeshua to die on the cross and make atonement for our sins (Galatians 2:21)..

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Disturbing the Priest

Confession is the acknowledgment of sin (or one’s sinfulness) or wrongs. It is a religious practice in a number of faith traditions. In the Corpus Christendom, confession is a sacrament practiced by the Catholic ChurchEastern Orthodox ChurchEastern Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Lutheran Church, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Among most of these churches, the Sacrament of Penance is the method of the Church by which individual men and women may confess sins committed after baptism and have them absolved by a priest. This sacrament is known by many names, including penance, reconciliation and confession.

The Sacrament of Penance requires three acts on the part of the penitent; contrition (sorrow of the soul for the sins committed), disclosure of the sins (the confession), and satisfaction (the penance).

Religious denominations within the Corpus Christendom who practice the Sacrament of Penance instruct their followers to confess their sins to a man, but the Holy Bible reveals that those who have received salvation can appeal directly to God (YHWH) through Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) to receive forgiveness for their sins.

David confessed his sins to God when he prayed and wrote, “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin” (Psalms 32:5 KJV) and “Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me” (Psalms 51:2-3 KJV).

The Apostle John wrote, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 KJV).

Those who practice the Sacrament of Penance receive absolution (forgiveness) from a priest who claims to be the Vicar of Christ or acting”In Persona Christi,” a Latin phrase meaning “in the person of Christ.” Essentially, such a priest is claiming to be Yeshua HaMashiach’s personal representative on Earth and are claiming to be the mediator between God and man.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6 KJV).

According to Roman Catholics, “The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as the second plank [of salvation].” (Pg. 363, #1446) and “After having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year” (Pg. 365, #1457). This doctrine essentially teaches that if a believer leaves the Catholic Church, they will not be able to obtain forgiveness for their sins, which means that their salvation is invalid.

The Sacrament of Penance is salvation based on works. In his epistle to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wrote, “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” (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV).

These doctrines are in direct conflict with the teachings of the Holy Bible. In his epistle to the Galatians, The Apostle Paul wrote, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1 KJV).

To some extent, most churches that practice the Sacrament of Penance also practice the Sacrament of Absolution of the Dead. Yeshua taught us that, “Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him” (Luke 20:37-38 KJV). Praying for the dead is not a biblical concept. Our prayers have no bearing on someone once they have died. At that point their eternal future is confirmed. Either they are saved through faith in Yeshua and are in God’s presence where they are experiencing rest and the joy of being in His presence, or they eternally separated from God, in hell and awaiting judgement.

Prayers on behalf of the dead have no meaning, for nothing can be changed by them. The Word of God shows us that the dead no longer have any physical or mental activity.  Solomon wrote, “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten” (Ecclesiastes 9:5 KJV).

The Prophet Isaiah wrote, “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men” (Isaiah 29:13 KJV).

All those who follow Yeshua as Messiah and Savior need to read the Holy Bible. The doctrines and commandments of men are worthless. Every question to every detail of your life has an answer within Scripture. Be encouraged to listen to many teachers and ministers, but read the Scriptures for yourself and by yourself. Never trust, always verify.

Yeshua said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16:24-28 KJV).

The Apostle Paul wrote, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 10:9-11 KJV). There are no further works or actions required to obtain salvation. It really is that simple.

Can a person receive forgiveness directly from God through faith, or must he avail himself of a priest’s mediation? The Holy Bible is very clear, no priest is needed to mediate between God and man. The Sacrament of Penance and doctrine of absolution are not biblical.

Do I mind disturbing the priest? Not at all, not in the least.

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).

Capital Punishment: A Biblical Perspective

Capital punishment is the sentence of death upon a person by a court order and carried out by the government as a punishment for a criminal offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences.

Whenever an execution is imminent, many questions are often raised Should capital punishment be acceptable in a civilized society? Is it morally right for a government to administer capital punishment? What is the purpose behind capital punishment, and is it accomplished? How do we find the answers to such questions? For Christians who believe in Biblical inerrancy and infallibility, we must look to the Holy Bible (the Word of God) for answers.

In the Book of Genesis, we have an account of the first murder in history. Cain killed his brother Abel in a fit of anger and jealousy after God was pleased with Abel’s offering and displeased with the offering made by Cain. The punishment that Cain received from God for killing his brother was not death. Cain received exile from being in the presence of God and was sentenced to be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth. God then protected Cain from receiving harm or death at the hands of any man.

In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” Then the LORD said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
(Genesis 4:3-16 ESV)

Lamech was a descendent of Cain and the father of Noah. The scriptures tell us that Lamech killed a young man at one point for hitting him (Genesis 4:23) Throughout the generations wickedness continued to flourish and increase on the earth until every intention of the thoughts of mankind’s his heart was only evil continually. This made God sorry that he had made man, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them (Genesis 6:7).”

Noah found favor in the eyes of God. Noah and his wife, their three sons, and their son’s three wives were spared from the flood that destroyed the rest of mankind. Only eight people were selected for salvation. That is the problem with a society without just punishment for criminals. Lawlessness abounds and spreads like a disease until all of society is corrupted.

Immediately after the flood, God blessed Noah and his family saying to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood (Genesis 9:1-4).”

But they were also given a new and awesome responsibility. God told Noah and his family, “And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image. (Genesis 9:5-6).”

God now is requiring mankind to account for their actions. He requires murderers to be put to death by mankind. This new requirement is based on one fact, the fact that God had made mankind in His image. To murder someone who is created in the image of God is a serious offense that is punishable by the death of the offender. Also, because mankind was created in the image of God, he possesses the ability and responsibility to exercise justice and righteousness. Mankind is capable of administering the sentence prescribed by God.

It would appear that before the flood people may have taken God’s protection of Cain as a license to murder without any consequences. With the flood, God administered a form of capital punishment upon a violent and corrupt society. After the flood, God gave mankind the obligation and responsibility to take the life of those who committed the crime of murder.

The Torah, or Laws of Moses, prescribed the administration of capital punishment for many additional offenses. These laws were both civil and religious laws and they have served as the basis for criminal justice in many other civilizations since first given by God. The Torah prescribes capital punishment for premeditated murder, kidnapping, striking an expecting mother which causes the child to be born prematurely and die, failure to keep a killer animal from killing, killing a thief in revenge, sorcery or witchcraft, bestiality, adultery, incest, homosexuality, being a medium or spiritualist, and even breaking the Sabbath among many other offenses.

Were the laws of the Torah good laws? The Apostle Paul said that they were “holy and righteous and good” (Romans 7:12). While the religious aspects of these laws were temporary (Galatians 2:23-25), the civil laws served their purpose well to govern and preserve a nation. Who would be so presumptuous to say that they could improve upon such a civil code of ethics? Many have arrogantly presumed they could do better, and crime has gotten worse, not better. In conclusion, capital punishment was ordained by God in the laws of the Torah.

Unlike the Old Testament, the New Testament is not designed to govern or regulate civil governments. It is designed for those in Messiah Yeshua’s kingdom, which is spiritual in nature (John 18:36). The purpose of the New Testament is to help mankind achieve and maintain a relationship with God through Yeshua,  His only begotten Son. So for the most part, it does not concern itself with telling mankind how to righteously regulate their civil affairs as these commandments had already been given to mankind in the Tanakh. However, in defining our relationship to civil authorities while subject to a higher law, there are references which reveal God’s attitude toward capital punishment

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
(Romans 13:1-7 ESV)

The Apostle Paul tells us that governmental authorities are established and instituted by God and that they serve as ministers of God, as “an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.” When a government fulfills its responsibility upon those who are evil, it “does not bear the sword in vain.” This is a clear allusion to the administration of capital punishment. Therefore, the New Testament supports the government’s right to exercise the death penalty on those who commit capital offenses.

The Apostle Paul also said he was willing to die if he committed anything for which he deserved to die (Acts 25:11). This is a clear implication that in Paul’s opinion some crimes were worthy of the death penalty.Although the New Testament focuses on the responsibilities of the followers of Yeshua in His spiritual kingdom, there is certainly no indication that it is wrong for government to administer capital punishment when deemed appropriate. The principle established in Genesis 9:5-6, given to all of mankind before the saving grace that is provided by Yeshua’s atonement for our sins remains a responsibility placed upon the governments of mankind.

Some opponents of capital punishment will tell you that the Holy Bible says “Thou shalt not kill.” This is actually a mistranslation of the Hebrew word ‘ratsach.’ Ratsach is literally translated to murder. This commandment forbids killing with malice and premeditation (Exodus 20:13). Throughout the following two chapters of Exodus, God prescribes the death penalty for nine different crimes. The commandment not to murder is directed toward individuals; one must ignore the context and twist the Scriptures to apply this verse to the issue of capital punishment.

Ezekiel wrote that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:32). However, one must consider the context of this passage of Scripture which states that the soul that sins shall die and no one else will bear the iniquity of any other person (Ezekiel 18:4). It also states that certain sins make one worthy of death (Ezekiel 18:10-13). God encourages the wicked to repent and do what is right (Ezekiel 18:21-23), but states that even the righteous person who begins to do wickedness shall die if they do not repent (Ezekiel 18:24). The entire contextual discourse of the passage is that mankind should repent before it is too late because God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that will not prevent Him from carrying out capital punishment when appropriate.

Some opponents of capital punishment claim that it does not work as it does absolutely nothing to deter crime. That is only true when the sentence is not carried out quickly. King Solomon said, “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil (Ecclesiastes 8:11 ESV).” Capital punishment does keep an offender from killing again, escaping from a life sentence in prison, or possibly being paroled or pardoned in the future. The ineffectiveness of capital punishment in deterring crime by others is an argument against our system of administering capital punishment. It is not an effective argument against capital punishment itself.

Capital punishment is not just a deterrent. There is also the issue of justice, and justice always demands that the punishment fits the crime. This is what is meant by “an eye for an eye.” It is a reference to equal and just punishment, not the actual plucking out of another person’s eye. Some crimes are so heinous that any punishment other than the death penalty is an injustice.

Other capital punishment opponents argue that innocent people are executed occasionally. Unfortunately, this is a fact of life. But as before, this is an argument that pertains to a system in which capital punishment is administered. It is not an argument against the idea of capital punishment itself. The Holy Bible states that capital punishment could not be applied unless the crime was seen by two or more witnesses (Deuteronomy 17:6). If a single witness made an accusation that proved false, the penalty for the crime could be applied to the false witness (Deuteronomy 19:15-21).

Capital punishment should be applied to criminals that are convicted in cases in which there are two or more eyewitnesses, and there is no doubt about the guilt of the defendant. When the conviction is dependent upon laboratory evidence and there are no eyewitnesses, then the maximum penalty should be life in prison. Sometimes laboratory evidence is later proved faulty as it did in the case of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito who were convicted of murdering Meredith Kercher on the witness of Rudy Guede (who had already admitted to the crime and was brokering a deal with prosecutors) and tainted forensic evidence. In these type of criminal proceedings that rely almost entirely on circumstantial evidence, a convicted person can later be released from prison if the laboratory evidence is later proved faulty.

Does God approve of capital punishment? I have demonstrated that God gave mankind the responsibility of carrying it out after the flood, God’s own illustration of justice in the government He gave to Israel, how believers today are to acknowledge the right and responsibility given by God to governments to be His ministers in avenging wrath on wrongdoers. Obviously, any civilized nation detests violence and bloodshed. However, civilization cannot exist with violence and corruption running rampant. or when government fails to administer justice with punishment that fits the crime.

How does God view governments that fail to carry out their responsibility to execute wrath upon the wrongdoer? As with anything that takes away justice, with sorrow and distress (Isaiah 5:20-23), and as with anyone who fails to fulfill their responsibility, they are cursed (Jeremiah 48:10).

Many people may refuse to accept what the Holy Bible has to say about capital punishment, but let those who profess to be believers and accept the Holy Bible as the inspired, inerrant and infallible Word of God acknowledge that capital punishment is ordained by God.

The Devil’s Advocate

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
(Proverbs 29:11 ESV)

How then are we supposed to correct someone who has wronged us in any way? How do we aproach another believer that has transgressed against us in any fashion? The Apostle Paul addresses that very issue in his second epistle to Timothy.

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
(2 Timothy 4:1-5 KJV)

Yeshua taught on the subject of someone being wronged by another believer. In his discourse, he addressed how the matter should be approached and specifically addresses gosssip and slander.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
(Matthew 18:15-17 ESV)

The Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Galatians addresses the works of the flesh and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Enmity, strife, rivalries, dissensions and divisions are clearly listed as fruits of the works of the flesh. Paul warns us that “those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” This admonition is for believers, not unbelievers, yet it warns of being rejected from entering the kingdom of heaven.

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:19-23 ESV)

The Apostle Paul continues by telling believers how we should interact with each other within our fellowship with each other through Messiah Yeshua in his epistle to the Ephesians.

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the calling with which you are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
(Ephesians 4:1-3 MKJV)

James, the brother of Yeshua, wrote at great length in his epistle to the twelve tribes of Israel who were in diaspora at the time about the taming of the tongue.

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 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 3:5-10 ESV)

This article has made it very clear how serious and potentially dangerous the sin of gossip is to a believer and warns of other sins that may be incurred by a person engaging in gossip or breaking the laws of lashon hara. King David probably left us with the best advice regarding our communication in one of my favorite Psalms, it says, “I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me” (Psalms 39:1 KJV). Don’t play the part of the Devil’s Advocate. Yeshua’s followers are under enough persecution from Satan without your assistance.