“St. Gennaro’s Blood Relic Miraculously Liquefies In The Presence Of Pope Francis In Naples”

The blood relic of St. Gennaro, patron saint of Naples, today miraculously liquefied in the presence of Pope Francis, the first time the miracle has occured in the presence of a pontiff since 1848.

“His blood has half-liquefied,” the Archbishop of Naples, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, said at the conclusion of Pope Francis’ address to diocesan priests and religious in the city’s cathedral. “It’s a sign that St. Gennaro loves the Pope, who is Neapolitan like us.”

Pope Francis immediately and lightheartedly replied: “The archbishop said the blood is half-liquefied. It means the saint loves us halfway. We all have to convert a little more so that he loves us more.”

Today’s wondrous occurance knows just one precedent. It is the first time St. Gennaro’s blood relic has liquefied in the presence of a pontiff since the miracle occurred in the presence of Pope Pius IX in 1848.

Pius IX was the longest-reigning elected pope in the history of the Catholic Church (31 years). He convened the First Vatican Council, which decreed papal infallibility; defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, meaning that Mary was conceived without original sin; and he was the last Pope to rule as the sovereign of the papal states which fell to the Italian army in 1870.

Fleeing the Mazzini riots in 1848, Pope Pius IX was rescued by a ship sent by Francis II of Bourbon, who took him to the Royal Palace of Portici. The Pope expressed his desire to go to the Cathedral of Naples. There the miracle of St. Gennaro occurred in his presence.

As a token of his gratitude, the pontiff donated a golden chalice to the cathedral in the saint’s honor. The chalice is today numbered among the “Ten Wonders of the Treasure of St. Gennaro.”

As Cardinal Sepe today announced the miracle, in the adjacent streets people could be heard shouting with neapolitan passion: “It’s a miracle, it’s a miracle!”

In fact, the mysterious liquefying of the blood relic has rarely occurred outside the “canonical” date. The dried blood of St. Gennaro, which is preserved in two glass phials in the Naples Cathedral, traditionally liquefies three times a year: on the saint’s September 19 feast, which commemorates his martyrdom in the Catholic liturgical calendar; December 16, the date of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 1631, which was believed to have been halted through the saint’s intervention; and the Saturday before the first Sunday in May.

St. Gennaro was bishop of Naples and is a saint and martyr of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Historical sources claim he was martyred in the year 305 during the Diocletian persecution.

According to legend, St. Gennaro’s blood was saved by a woman called Eusebia just after his death. The practice of gathering blood for relics was a common practice beginning in the days of persecution when the early Christians soaked cloths in the blood shed by martyrs or, if possible, actually collected the liquid in flasks to keep as devotional items. In the catacombs these flasks were buried with the dead. Their discovery indicated that the person had died a martyr.

After his meeting with priests and consecrated religious in the Naples cathedral, Pope Francis will greet the sick in the Basilica of Gesù, followed by a meeting with young people on the Caracciolo sea-front.

Diane Montagna is Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.

blood relic

“It is in place to note that according to the Jewish Bible, no miracle, not even a resurrection, can justify Jesus’ claims for divinity – Deuteronomy 13:2-6

“Rome, Italy, Mar 21, 2015 / 01:24 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- While Pope Francis was giving some advice to the religious, priests and seminarians of Naples on Saturday, a miracle occurred: a vial of dried blood from a fourth century saint liquefied.
This stunning but locally known and accepted phenomenon is said to happen three times a year: May 1, Sept. 19, which is the saint’s feast day, and Dec. 16.
The last time this occured with a Pope was in 1848 with Pius IX. It didn’t happen when St. John Paul II visited the city in October of 1979, or when Benedict XVI went in October of 2007.
The blood belongs to St. Januarius, Patron of Naples and former bishop and martyr of the city, whose bones are also preserved in the cathedral. He’s believed to have been martyred during the infamous persecution of Christians during the rule of the Roman emperor Diocletian, who retired in 305.
On March 21, at the end of the meeting with priests, religious and seminarians in the cathedral of Naples, the Pope gave a blessing with the relic. When received by the cardinal of the diocese, Crescenzio Sepe, the blood was still solid on one side of the vial.
When Pope Francis returned the reliquary, the cardinal told him: “It seems that St. Januarius loves the Pope, because the blood is already half liquefied.”
For the miracle to occur, it’s necessary to wait several minutes before the dried, red-colored mass confined to one side of the reliquary becomes blood that covers the entire glass.
Francis quipped in response: “you can see that the saint only loves us a little. We have to convert more,” drawing laughter from those within earshot.”

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Judge Not

Christianity claims to be the only path to salvation before God. Many individual Christian denominations take this claim one step further with the assertion that this path leads exclusively through membership in their particular church.

This claim is not unique to Christianity. Many religions lay claim to exclusive possession of the way to eternal reward. What is different about Christianity is that its claim is refuted through its own accusation against Judaism. Christianity’s claim to exclusivity is internally inconsistent and self-contradictory – in a word: hypocritical.

You see, Christianity acknowledges that before the advent of Jesus, the Jewish people enjoyed a unique relationship with God. Judaism does not claim that the path to God is limited to membership in the Jewish community. According to Judaism, any human being who acknowledges his or her debt to the Creator, and lives a life in line with the conscience that God planted into our hearts, will be rewarded by God. But Judaism does claim that the Jewish people stand in a special relationship with God as a chosen nation.

Christianity contends that the Jewish people forfeited this singular standing before God. I will allow Matthew’s Jesus to present the position of the Church.

“Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.

But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matthew 21:33-43)

The meaning of the parable is obvious. The owner of the vineyard is God, the husbandman is the Jewish people, the son is Jesus, and the “nation bringing fruits thereof” is the Christian Church. According to Matthew’s Jesus, killing the “son” warranted that the kingdom of God be taken from the Jews.

Let us now see how Christianity fares according to the judgment it pronounced against Judaism.

We will note that there are many extenuating factors that mitigate the alleged guilt of the Jews in the death of Jesus;

Even according to the biased narrative of the Christian Scriptures, it was not the Jews who killed Jesus, it was the Romans.

The number of Jews that could have been involved in his death had to be minuscule. The majority of Jews that were alive then could not all have been in that place at that one point in time.

Even those Jews who might have been involved in his death could not be considered representatives of Judaism as a belief system. The core texts of Judaism do not preach hatred against Jesus. On the contrary, the Jewish Scriptures that were venerated by the Jewish people of the time, devote more space to the castigation of the Jewish nation than they do in criticism of her enemies.

The hateful and sinister motivations attributed by Matthew’s Jesus to the Jewish people (-“This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.”) is contradicted by John. According to Matthew, the Jews recognize that Jesus is “the heir” and their motivation for killing him was to “seize on his inheritance”. According to John the Jews were motivated to move against Jesus because they considered him a blasphemer (John 10:33), and feared that his activities will provoke the Romans to take action against the larger community (John 11:48).

Even the Christians, who accept Jesus’ claims, must acknowledge there was no way that the Jews could have known, before the alleged resurrection, that Jesus was who he claimed to be. Matthew’s Jesus declares that the generation will be given no sign except for his pending resurrection (Matthew 16:4). Thus before his alleged resurrection, the people had no way of clearly and conclusively verifying his claims. (It is in place to note that according to the Jewish Bible, no miracle, not even a resurrection, can justify Jesus’ claims for divinity – Deuteronomy 13:2-6.)

Still and all, despite all of these mitigating factors, Christianity asserts that the Jewish people have had “the kingdom of God” taken from them because they killed someone who claimed to be God’s son.

Let us now see how Christianity has dealt with the one who is explicitly identified by the Jewish Bible as God’s firstborn son. The Jewish Scriptures repeatedly and openly declare that the Jewish people are God’s children, His firstborn son (Exodus 4:22, Deuteronomy 14:1, Jeremiah 31:8).

How did the Church treat God’s firstborn son?

A cursory glance at Church history reveals that the Church poisoned the minds of mankind against the Jewish people. They oppressed, tortured and killed millions of Jews from the days of Constantine until the holocaust.

None of the extenuating factors that mitigate the guilt of the Jews in the death of Jesus apply to the guilt of Christendom in the persecution of the Jew.

It was the Christians and the Church themselves who persecuted and killed countless Jews.

The number of Christians involved in these crimes reach the millions over the centuries.

The core texts of Christianity preach this very hatred of God’s firstborn son, and the greatest scholars in Church history understood the texts to mean precisely what they say – that the Jews are no less than the children of the devil.

The motive that the Church had to persecute the Jews is obvious to every student of history. The Church was attempting to seize the inheritance of the Jewish people. They wanted the blessings that God had promised to the Jewish people, and the fact that the Jews were still claiming those blessings, and the fact that their claim is more credible than the claim of the Church, was a thorn in their side.

The Church was in possession of all of the evidence that is necessary to prove that the Jewish people are truly God’s son; namely the Jewish Bible.

So, if the Jewish people had “the kingdom of God taken from them” because of the death of Jesus, what happens to the Church for the death of millions of Jews?

Oh, I forgot the excuses. “Those weren’t real Christians, those murderers cannot be considered true representatives of the Church, “real Christians” helped and saved Jews etc.”

All of these excuses, and more are applicable to the Jewish people in relation to the death of Jesus. But Matthew’s Jesus brushes all of these excuses aside and passes his harsh judgment against the Jewish people of all generations. If these excuses are not accepted by Matthew’s Jesus, they cannot work for the Church.

According to the Church’s own judgment, they cannot be the exclusive masters of the “kingdom of God”. If a one time act took the kingdom away from the entirety of the Jewish people, then 2000 years of widespread persecution should have done the same for the Church.

The judgment that Matthew’s Jesus pronounces against the Jewish people condemns the Christian Church and effectively nullifies her theological claims.

Source: https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com

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THE ONE WHO BELIEVES Mi Shemaamin | מי שמאמין

“No other army praises Hashem in the middle of a battle like this!”

THE ONE WHO BELIEVES

Every place, all the time
The old and young has
Beautiful and less beautiful days
Among them answers to all the questions

There is one mighty God
He gives us everything in this world
Between darkness to a sun beam
We only need to choose the path

It is known life is a gift
All is expected and is allowed

The one who believes is not afraid
To lose faith
We all have the King of the universe
Who guards us from it all

This nation is a family
One and one more is the secret of success
The nation of Israel will never give up
We will always stay on the map

It is known life is a gift
All is expected and is allowed

The one who believes is not afraid
To lose faith
We all have the King of the universe
Who guards us from it all

Bechol makom kol hazmna
Yesh lechulanu migadol ve’ad katan
Yamim yafim vegam pachot
Uvenehem tshuva lechol hashe’elot

Yesh Elohim echad gadol
Hu ba’olam haze noten lanu hakol
Ben afela lekeren or
Et hanativ anachnu rak tzrichim livchor

Veze yadu’a hachayim hem matana
Hakol tzafuy veharashut netuna

Mi shema’amin lo mefached
Et ha’emuna le’abed
Velanu yesh et melech ha’olam
Vehu shomer otanu mikulam

Ha’am haze hu mishpacha
Echad ve’od echad ze sod ha’atzlacha
Am Israel lo yevater
Tamid al hamapa anachnu nisha’er

Veze yadu’a hachayim hem matana
Hakol tzafuy veharashut netuna

Mi shema’amin lo mefached
Et ha’emuna le’abed
Velanu yesh et melech ha’olam
Vehu shomer otanu mikulam

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“Changed Lives” – A Letter from Jim

Dear …

I understand that your life may have changed in remarkable ways since you came to believe in Jesus. But I am not sure why you think this amounts to proof of anything. Many people put their faith in untrue systems and have big changes in their life. Many Mormons, for example, find that their lives are much improved by their newfound religious faith. Also, like Christians, they believe that a personal experience has verified for them the verity of their faith—they appeal to burning in the bosom.

And of course this is not limited to Mormons. Muslims have big life changes. So do Hindus and Buddhists. Even New Agers can have significant life improvements through their faith in the power of crystals, body energies, and other forces of the imagination.

I hardly think you hold them all to be true, because of the improvements in their lives.

So how does this happen? How do all of these people change their lives through the power of belief? I argue that what happens is a placebo effect, which is one reason the same faith will “work” for one and not for another. It is not that they are equally credible; they cannot all be true with their conflicting claims. Rather, like a sugar pill which alleviates pain because of a person’s certitude that he is taking a pain reliever, one, who previously felt himself helpless before his appetites, when he believes he has found spiritual help, is often able to overcome his appetites and change his life for the better.

An interesting documentary, called Kumare’, illustrates this point. The filmmaker wanted to show that religion is a sham, and that people are able to improve their own lives. He posed as a guru, growing his hair and beard, adopting an accent, and teaching yoga. People believed that he was a “holy man” and began to come to him for spiritual enlightenment. They hoped he could help them improve their lives. He taught them a meditation techniques where they passed a blue energy from one to the other, an object of the imagination that he invented. And, they believed that they actually were passing along this blue energy. And he told them they had the power to change.

As time went on, he got a core following. They really believed in him. They believed his spiritual teachings brought them enlightenment and changed their lives. But it was all made up. The point was that they had the power to change themselves the entire time. When he finally revealed the truth to them, a few were angry and left. Most were fascinated. But the point is, he invented a “spirituality” that seemed to improve one’s life. However, it was not true. The blue light was a fiction. They only imagined this spiritual energy.

But it appeared to be real to them. They were searching for something and they found it. Unfortunately, they were not searching for truth; so they did not find that. And the enlightenment they found turned out to be a product of their fruitful imaginations. They had attached themselves to fantasy.

Torah does not bring one to fantasy. It empowers the person through expectation, not through imagination. HaShem tells Cain that he can overcome sin. He does not need special intervention to live a good life. The Torah also commands the Jewish people to circumcise their hearts. I believe this means that one should bring his desires in line with the correct path. He should not fantasize about things that are inappropriate and degrading to the human being. He should not wish that he could violate the Torah. He must constantly bring his desires in line with the Torah, with the teachings of His Creator and Master.

Unfortunately, people sometimes feel powerless before their own desires. They desire a shortcut to happiness and personal improvement. They desire to be rescued from themselves. And when this happens, they are more easily influenced to embrace false religions. And, when they feel that the religion has given them the easy answer they desire, they become convinced of its verity. However, they are mistaken. They have not submitted themselves to Truth.

Christianity, in its many guises, has relieved man of personal responsibility. It has denied the value of man, that he can choose the good and refuse the evil. Torah tells us that the Law is not too hard to keep. And if we falter, it beckons us to return to God and His Torah.

Christianity offers an excuse to the sinner. It lies to him, convincing him that he could never have kept the Torah. It enforces his feeling of powerlessness, and tells him that it is all right. Someone has taken care of things for him. To this individual, he feels indebted and devotes himself to him. But this error is tremendous. The Torah was never beyond his reach, and the excuse offered to him by the followers of Jesus only convinces him of the futility of following God.

It is no proof of religious truth that it has changed your life. Many lives have been changed by religions you hold to be false. You do not hold them all equally true. The Truth will not be found by abandoning oneself to a sense of hopelessness or the search for easy answers. The Truth requires investigation and thought. Your life may very well be better, and I am glad for you that it is. But that does not make Christianity true, any more than Mormonism is true.

Jim

Source: https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/changed-lives-a-letter-from-jim/

jesuschangedmylifejpg

“It is no proof of religious truth that it has changed your life. “

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“Changed Lives” – A Letter from Jim

noachbenavraham:

“Changed Lives” – A Letter from Jim

I understand that your life may have changed in remarkable ways since you came to believe in Jesus.

Originally posted on 1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources:

Dear …

I understand that your life may have changed in remarkable ways since you came to believe in Jesus. But I am not sure why you think this amounts to proof of anything. Many people put their faith in untrue systems and have big changes in their life. Many Mormons, for example, find that their lives are much improved by their newfound religious faith. Also, like Christians, they believe that a personal experience has verified for them the verity of their faith—they appeal to burning in the bosom.

And of course this is not limited to Mormons. Muslims have big life changes. So do Hindus and Buddhists. Even New Agers can have significant life improvements through their faith in the power of crystals, body energies, and other forces of the imagination.

I hardly think you hold them all to be true, because of the improvements in their lives.

So…

View original 777 more words

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Israel’s Orthodox Ravers Are On A Holy Mission To Dance

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A group of Na Nachs goof off before a wedding performance in Tel Aviv. Marlon Bishop for NPR

BY MARLON BISHOP

Natan Gabbay takes a gulp of clear liquor and warms up on his shofar, the ram’s horn trumpet that is sacred in Judaism. He’s a member of a whimsical Orthodox sect known as Na Nach. Tonight, about a dozen Na Nachs have been hired as an entertainment act for a fancy wedding outside Tel Aviv. It’s a surprise — the guests have no idea what’s in store for them.

“We barge in, all of us together, and start to dance with them,” Gabbay says. “The people in the wedding will see a different kind of happiness. This is happiness with holiness, together.”

They slip the DJ a special CD of their music. Suddenly, a dozen young men with big beards, stiff dress clothes and long, curling sidelocks rush the dance floor.

Electronic dance tracks begin to pump from the speakers, and the Na Nachs jump around like teenagers at a music festival. With heavy bass drums and hard-edged synthesizers, the soundtrack isn’t much different from those of the wild trance parties Israel is famous for — save for the lyrics, which all concern God and the Torah. The religious themes don’t stop the secular wedding guests from joining in and having a good time. After 15 minutes, the Na Nachs rush out as suddenly as they came, leaving big grins on everyone’s faces.

Na Nachs make merry at weddings for money, but they’re more than a novelty act. They’re a growing religious movement with a distinct vision of ultra-Orthodox Judaism.

Na Nach took off about 30 years ago as a countercultural offshoot of the Breslovers, a Hasidic sect that follows the mystical writings of 19th-century Ukrainian rabbi Nachman of Breslov. Their central belief is that happiness is key to a rich relationship with God, and that it’s their spiritual duty — a mitzvah — to spread that happiness to others.

“Rabbi Nachman says that when you’re happy, you keep the Torah better,” says Zohar Ginsberg, a 24-year-old member of the sect. “So you have to do whatever you can to be happy. Dance. Sing. Jokes. Nonsense.”

For the Na Nachs, dancing to electronic music is actually a matter of the soul. That appealed to Ginsberg: He grew up in a religious family, but found himself slipping away from Judaism as a teenager. When he came across Nachman’s teachings, it was a revelation.

“You have to find a way to connect with love,” Ginsberg says, “not to feel like it’s just a bunch of rules that you do and it makes your life better. You want to feel like it’s something that gives you liveliness and happiness.”

In a sense, the Na Nach are very traditional. They keep strict religious rules about diet and modesty, for example. But in most other ways, their religious style diverges from other Hasidic groups. Shaul Magid, a scholar of Hasidic Judaism from the University of Indiana, says while most Orthodox movements focus on reading and studying, the Na Nachs are more interested in having intense, personal and ecstatic experiences with God.

“Prayer, joy, celebration: This becomes the core of religious living for the Na Nach,” Magid says.

The Na Nachs’ interest in dancing and ecstatic experiences leads Magid to compare them to another subculture: ravers.

“Rave culture is very big in Israel,” Magid says. “And in some way the Na Nach people are replicating a particular certain kind of rave culture within the norms of ultra-Orthodox Judaism.”

The group has attracted lots of younger Israelis who grew up in secular families and find themselves interested in Orthodox Judaism. In fact, many of them are former ravers who decided to trade in the party life for a more spiritual lifestyle.

Those rave culture roots show themselves in the Na Nachs’ famous joyrides that happen every week in cities all over Israel. A few days after the wedding, Zohar Ginsberg and his buddies pile into a colorful van covered in stickers and drive through Jerusalem’s curvy streets, blasting music from a speaker system strapped to the roof. They play house and trance music, but also Torah-themed reggae, rock and evenmizrahi (“Eastern” pop).

“Hopefully people will get a little happy when we pass by,” Ginsberg says, “and they’ll get the light of Rabbi Nachman.”

At red lights, the Na Nachs jump out and dance around in the intersections, bringing an instant, religious-tinged rave party wherever they go. What’s more remarkable is what happens next: Some pedestrians drop whatever they are doing for a few moments and dance along.

“I just felt acceptance and welcoming. And love,” says Gabriella Wernick, a passerby who found the good vibes to be contagious.

Secular Jews like Wernick often like the Na Nachs. Magid thinks that’s extraordinary when you consider that tensions are high between secular and religious Israelis.

“The Na Nachs are really just interested in proselytizing joy,” Magid says. “So in that sense, they’re really a breath of fresh air for a lot of the secular Jews. They allow for a certain kind of exposure to traditional Judaism that secular Jews would never have because they would never have that sort of contact with the ultra-Orthodox community.”

Magid thinks the Na Nachs are helping to create some understanding between the two groups. Still, Ginsberg feels that his movement is often misunderstood: “A lot of people think we’re crazy. Some people think we use drugs. But the truth is almost none of the Na Nachs use drugs. We’re just happy from Rabbi Nachman himself. He gives us the power to dance in the streets.”

Fellow Na Nach Gabbay, however, doesn’t mind if you call him crazy.

“We prefer to be crazy in happiness than normal and sad,” Gabbay says. “Being Na Nach opens your heart. It makes you feel free.”

Shira Bannerman contributed reporting and production to this piece. Source: http://www.npr.org

One of my favorite NaNach Videos:

Na Nach HAFATZA during LEBANON war

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Daniel 9 – A True Biblical Interpretation

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The book of Daniel is filled with Messianic illusions and calculations that even left Daniel pondering their meanings. Additionally, a large proportion of the book is written in Aramaic rather than the traditional Hebrew adding to the complexity of these biblical texts.

The ninth chapter has been of particular interest to both Jews and Christians.

The message of a merciful God communicated in verse 18, “for not because of our righteousness do we pour out supplications before You, but because of Your great compassion.” has been a foundation of a Jews personal and spiritual relationship with God.

Christians on the other hand tend to focus of verses 24 -26. The following is the Christian translation of those verses:

24) Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25)”Know therefore and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again with plaza and moat but in troubled times.
26) Then after sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off but not for himself and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.”

Many Christians assert that these passages are a prophesy that predicts the exact dates that the Messiah will come and also die. They believe that Jesus fulfilled these predictions.

Before examining these verses it is important to point out that: 1) Based on the Hebrew original and context, Jews have very valid reasons for rejecting the Christian interpretation and 2) the New Testament authors never quote these passages and calculations as a proof-text.

To understand this chapter we must begin with an explanation of the term “weeks.”

Daniel chapter 9 uses the Hebrew word (שבעים ~ Shavuim) to represents a period of time multiplied by seven. For various reasons this word is translated as “weeks” and means a multiple of seven years rather than a multiple of seven days.

a) We see a similar use in the verse, “You shall count~ שבע שבתת השנים) seven Shabbaths of years), seven years seven times… forty-nine years.” Leviticus 25:8
b) A Shabbath is a period of seven days and shares the same Hebrew root for the word
(שבועה~Shevuah) that means “week”.
c) Normally the plural of week would be (שבעות ~ Shavuot) in Daniel it uses the masculine “ים” ending for ( שבעים~ Shavuim) similar to (years ~ שנים) This indicates that (שבעים~ Shavuim) is referring to a multiple of seven years
d) Both Jews and Christian agree that this is referring to a multiple of years.

Therefore in Daniel chapter 9, each week is a period of seven years.

Christian polemicists interpret these passages in the following way. These passages are being spoken by Daniel after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the evil Babylonian empire. At some point after the destruction there will be a “decree” issued to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Starting from the issuing of that decree, 7 and 62 weeks totaling 69 weeks of years (483 years), will pass and then the Messiah will come and in that same 7 year period “week” he will be cut off, but not for himself, but for the sins of mankind. Then the city and sanctuary will be destroyed. Christian assert that their calculation prove that Jesus fulfilled this prophesy to the exact day.

After the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem any Jews that survived the Babylonian slaughter were exiled from their land. Daniel, for example lived in Babylon. Eventually the Babylonians were conquered by the Persian Empire.

Christians claim that the decree mentioned in Daniel 9:25 was issued by the Persian King Artaxerxes in the year 444 BCE, based on Nehemiah 2:1-8. These passages speak about the king giving Nehemiah “letters” (אגרות ~ Iggrot) for safe passage and permission to rebuild the Temple.

The building of Jerusalem was started and halted several times and there are actually three additional decrees mentioned earlier in the Bible.
1) In Ezra 1:1-4, King Cyrus issues a proclamation (קול ~ Kol) and writings (מכתב ~ Mechtav) granting the Jews permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple.
2) Ezra 6:12-13, King Darius issues a decree (טעם ~Taim) granting permission to rebuilt the Temple.
3) Ezra 7:11-16, Artaxerxex, issues a decree (טעם ~Taim) granting permission to rebuilt the Temple. (Artaxerxex is a Persian title of royalty and can refer to different leaders. This is similar to the way Pharaoh is the title of rulers of Egypt)

We will see latter that it is significant that in these verses there are four different words used to describe these proclamations and none of them match the Hebrew word used in Daniel 9 which is (דבר ~ Devar) that means “word.”

With four different proclamations there is no historical justification to choose the one mentioned in Nehemiah 2 and there is no reliable source stating that it occurred exactly in 444 BCE. It seems that Christian picked this passage out of convenience and assigned it this specific date, because, if you start at 444 BCE and count 69 weeks of years (483 years) you reach 39 CE. Whatever their reason for choosing Nehemiah’s reference and attributing it as having occurred in 444 BCE it is still 7 years off from the year 32 CE when Jesus supposedly died.

This 7 year discrepancy is resolved by Christian theologians who redefined the definition of a “year.” They claim that prophesies like Daniel’s are to be understood in “Prophetic years” that have 360 days rather then 365 ¼ days. The argument that Daniel might be speaking to Babylonians who may have had a 360 year is unsubstantiated and refuted by the fact that this particular passage is spoken in Hebrew to Jews who had a different calendar than and Babylonians who spoke Aramaic.

One Christian attempt to prove this concept of Prophetic years is from the New Testament:

“They will tread underfoot the holy city for 42 months, and they will prophesy for 1260 days.” Revelations 11:2-3

By dividing 1260 (days) by 42 (months) you get 30 days per month, they claim that each month is 30 days and a Prophetic Biblical year would therefore be being 360 days (30×12=360).

An additional proof-text utilizes the events surrounding the flood. The following verses are quoted to show how biblical months were periods of 30 days,

“the water prevailed upon the earth 150 days” Gen 7:24 and

the flood started on,

“the 17th day of the second month” Gen 7:11, and ended on,

“the 17th day of the seventh month.” Gen 8:4.

They argue that by taking this exact 5 month period and dividing it into the150 days you will see that there must be 5 months of 30 days each and therefore a year would be 360 days.

The Christian argument continues that the difference between a solar year of 365 ¼ days and the so called prophetic year of 360 days is what caused the 7 year discrepancy in their interpretation of Daniel 9 and the resolution of the problem is accomplished by converting the time period from “biblical” years to solar years.

They argue that that by multiplying 360 days by 483 years (69 weeks of years) you get 173,880 prophetic days. To convert this to solar years you divide the 173,880 days by 365 1/4 (days) and you will get 476 years. 444 BCE plus 476 years will give you the year 32 CE, which they claim is the year that Jesus not only made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Messiah’s arrival) but was also crucified (cut off ).

Before explaining why this line of reasoning is absolutely false and a simply an act of desperation to resolve their 7year miscalculation, we must explore the correct meaning of Daniel 9 and the concept of a Jewish calendar year.

TRANSLATING DANIEL CORRECTLY

It is essential to a correct understanding of Daniel 9, to point out that it is incorrect to read this passage as if it were speaking about the Messiah.

This may appear obvious to Christians since their translations has the word “Messiah” mentioned twice in this chapter; however this is the result of a blatant and intentional mistranslation of the Hebrew word (משיח ~ Moshiach”).

This word literally means “anointed” and is an adjective as in the 1 Samuel 10:1-2 where the word clearly mean an act of consecration. It is not a personal pronoun that refers to a particular individual called “The Messiah.” The word (משיח ~ Moshiach”) is used throughout Jewish scriptures no less than 100 times and refers to a variety of individuals and objects. For example:

Priests: Leviticus 4:3
Kings: 1 Kings 1:39
Prophets: Isaiah 61:1
Temple Alter: Exodus 40:9-11
Matzot ~ Unleavened Bread: Numbers 6:15
Cyrus ~ a non-Jewish Persian King: Isaiah 45:1

Even in Christian translations the word Moshiach is translated 99% of the time as “anointed.” The only exception is twice in Daniel 9 verses 25 and 26. This inconsistency is even more blatant since Christian translators translate the word (משיח ~ Moshiach) as “anointed” one verse earlier when it is used in Daniel 9:24. In this instance it is referring to anointing the inner most chamber of the Holy Temple known as the “Holy of Holies,” (קדשים קדש ~ Kodesh Kedoshim). It is incorrect to translate this, as some missionaries do, to mean the “most holy one” in an attempt to have this refer to the Messiah rather than a place.

Therefore in Daniel the passages should be correctly translated as:

Daniel 9:24 “Until an anointed prince” and not as “Until Messiah he prince.”

Daniel 9:25. “an anointed one will be cut off” and not as “the Messiah will be cut off.”

Additionally, in verse 25 there is no definite article (Hey ~ ה) before the word (משיח ~ Moshiach) and it is incorrect to translate this as “the Messiah” or “the anointed one” as if it were speaking about one exclusive individual. When translating correctly as an “anointed individual” the passages could be referring any one of a number of different individuals or objects that were anointed and not necessarily “the Messiah.”

A careful examination of Daniel 9 will lead to a clear understand of exactly to whom and what this chapter is referring.

An additional mistake made by Christians is the translation of 7 and 62 weeks as one undivided unity of 69 weeks. The Christian version makes it sound as if the arrival and “cutting off” of the “Messiah” will take place sixty-nine weeks (483 years) after a decree to restore Jerusalem. They add the 7 and 62 weeks together and have one person (the Messiah) and two events occurring towards the end of the 69th week.

Actually, according to the Hebrew the 7 and 62 weeks are two separate and distinct periods. One event happens after 7 weeks and another event after an additional 62 weeks.

Simply put, if you wanted to say 69 in Hebrew you would say “sixty and nine.” You would not say “seven and sixty two.”

Furthermore, in Daniel it is written “7 weeks and 62 weeks rather than “7 and 62 weeks.” The use of the word “weeks” after each number also shows that they are separate events. The use of the definite article (ה ~ Hey) that means “the” in verse 26, “and after the 62 weeks shall an anointed one be cut off,” is sometimes deleted in Christian translations, but it’s presence in the Hebrew original clearly indicates that the 62 weeks is to be treated as separate period of time from the original 7 weeks.

The correct translation should be:

“ until an anointed prince shall be 7 weeks (49 years),” “then for 62 weeks (434 years) it (Jerusalem) will be built again but in troubled times.” Then after (those) the 62 weeks shall an anointed one will be cut off.” Daniel 9:24-25

Two separate events and anointed ones, 62 weeks (434 years) apart.

Christians also incorrectly translated the Hebrew (V’ayn Lo ~ לו ואין), at the end of Daniel 9:26. They translate it that he will be cut off “but not for himself,” as if it refers to someone being cut off not for himself but cut off for us and indicating a form of vicarious attainment. However the Hebrew original means “and he will be no more” literally “and no more of him” and indicates the finality of his demise. Interestingly the Hebrew word (kares ~ כרת) translated as “cut off” biblically refers to someone who has sinned so grievously that they are put to death by heavenly decree as a divine punishment for their own transgressions.

An awareness of these eight mistranslations is essential to understanding the ninth chapter of Daniel. To recap:

1. (קדשים קדש) mean “holy of holies” not the “most holy one”
2. (דבר ~ Devar) that means “word” not decree.
3. (משיח ~ Moshiach”) means “anointed” not “Messiah” verse 23
4. (משיח ~ Moshiach”) means “anointed” not “Messiah” verse 24
5. “seven weeks and sixty-two ” means two events one at 7 weeks and the other 62 weeks later not one event after a cumulative 69 weeks
6. (Hey ~ ה) mean “the”
7. (V’ayn Lo ~ לו ואין) mean “will be no more” not “not for himself”
8. (kares ~ כרת) means death to a transgressor the cuts off their relationship to God.

JEWISH CALANDER YEARS

In addition to theses these eight mistranslations Christians, as mentioned above, manipulate their calculation of the 69 weeks in Daniel 9 in an attempt to have them coincide with the arrival and death of Jesus in Jerusalem.

Christians based their understand with a belief that the starting point of the prophesy begins in 444 BCE with the decree issued by King Artaxerxex (Ezra 7:ll-16). Sixty–nine weeks (483 years) would bring you to 39 CE. This is 7 years off the commonly accepted date of 32 CE being the year Jesus was put to death. As mentioned above they attempt to resolve this issue by transforming “prophetic years” into solar years. The problem is that according to Jewish tradition and scriptures there is no such thing as a prophetic year of 360 days.

Jewish scripture clearly teach that the Jewish calendar is both Solar and Lunar. As early as Genesis 1:14, that deals with the creation of the sun and the moon, we are told that “Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years” Both luminaries are used to determine our calendar.

A solar year is 365 1/4 days and a lunar year is 11 days shorter, 354 days long. Unlike the Gentile’s year where then length of the months is set by convention rather than a relationship to the lunar calendar, a Biblical Jewish calendar must coincide with both the sun (for seasons) and the moon. When God, commanded the people of Israel to sanctify the months he established the month that the Exodus took place as the first of the months. Exodus 12:1. God also commanded to observe Passover in the springtime as is says,

“Observe the month of springtime and perform the Passover for God, for in the month on springtime God took you out of Egypt.” Deut 16:1.

In other words, a biblical calendar must coincide the months with the seasons creating a Solar- Lunar calendar.

There is an eleven day difference between a solar and lunar year. If Jewish holidays were established solely by a lunar year the holidays would move further and further away from their original seasons. This happens all the time with the Muslim Lunar calendar with Ramadan falling in a variety of seasons. A biblical Solar/Lunar calendar corrects this by adding a 13 month leap year approximately every 4 years. Some years have 12 months and the leap year has 13. The fabricated “prophetic year” of 360 days could not exist because it would not allow Jewish holidays to coincide with both months and seasons.

UNDERSTANDING DANIEL

Now we can return to the beginning of Daniel 9 and establish the correct starting point for Daniel’s prophesy.

The Christian major error in establishing the starting point of Daniel prophesy is caused by their mistranslation of the verse, “know therefore and discern that from the going forth of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.” Daniel 9:25

Since their translation asserts that the starting point of this prophesy is from the issuing of a certain decree to rebuild Jerusalem, they incorrectly assume that it is the decree of King Artaxerxex. However, as mentioned above, there were a number of different decrees made concerning returning and rebuilding Jerusalem.

In Daniel 9:25 the original Hebrew used the word (דבר ~ Devar) which is significantly different from a human decree. The word (דבר ~ Devar) refers to a prophetic word. In the beginning of Daniel 9 verse 2, this word is used when Daniel says that he wants to understand “the word of the Lord to the Prophet Jeremiah.”

As mentioned above, in all of the passages that mention some form of decree or proclamation concerning Jerusalem, none of them use the Hebrew word (דבר ~ Devar).

The correct translation of Daniel should be:

“Know therefore and discern that from the going forth of the word to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” Daniel 9:25

Therefore the correct starting point of Daniel’s prophesy must be associated with the issuing of a prophetic word and not a human decree.

The word (דבר ~ Devar) is used in the beginning of Daniel chapter 9. A careful reading of the beginning of this chapter clarifies the correct meaning of the reference to the “word to restore and to build Jerusalem” mentioned in Daniel 9:25.

Chapter 9 begins as follow:

“I Daniel considered (or contemplated) in the books the number of the years which the word (דבר ~ Devar) of G-d came to Jeremiah the Prophet that would accomplish to the destruction of Jerusalem” Daniel 9:2

Here Daniel uses the word (דבר ~ Devar) when pondering the numbers of years that Jeremiah had spoken about. Jeremiah had twice prophesied concerning a 70 year period.

Once Jeremiah said:

“and these nation shall serve the King of Babylon 70 years and it shall come to pass when seventy years are accomplished that I will punish the King of Babylon and that nation … and make it everlasting desolation” Jeremiah 25: 11-12

This prophesy states that Babylon would dominate Israel for a total of 70 years.

Jeremiah also says:

“After 70 years are accomplished to Babylon I will take heed of you and perform My good word towards you in causing you to return to this place.” Jeremiah 29:l0

This prophesy states, that after the 70 years, in addition to the end of Babylonian domination, the Jews would also return to Jerusalem from the Babylonian exile.

There are two Jeremiah prophesies concerning: 1) subjugation, and 2) return to Jerusalem.

Jeremiah’s 70 years start from the initial subjugation of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. This took place 18 years before the destruction of Jerusalem, as demonstrated by the following passages,

We know that the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in the 19th year of King Nebuchadnezzar. As it says:

“In the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan the chief executioner was in service of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem… and destroyed the Temple of God” Jeremiah 52:12-13

The 19th year means that 18 full years had already been completed. Nebuchadnezzar started to subjugate Jerusalem in his first year of his rule; this can be derived from the following verses;

“in King Yehoyakim’s third year (three completed years) Nebuchadnezzar came to besiege Jerusalem” Daniel 1:1

“in the fourth year (three completed years) of Yehoyakim which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar” Jeremiah 25:1

These verses demonstrate that Nebuchadnezzar started to besiege Jerusalem in his first year and the destruction of Jerusalem took place in his “19th” year. Therefore, 18 complete years had passed from the beginning of the siege until the destruction of Jerusalem. During these 18 years Jerusalem was laid siege and completely surrounded.

Scriptures also indicate that the 70 years of Jeremiah were completed with the advent of Cyrus the King of the Persian Empire. As it says:

“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled.” Ezra 1:1-3

“Those who survived the sword he exiled to Babylon, where they became slaves to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia began to reign. This was the fulfillment of the word of God to Jeremiah, until the land would be appeased of its Sabbatical years, all the years of its desolation it rested, to the completion of 70 years. In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, upon the expiration of God’s prophesy spoken by Jeremiah. God aroused the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia and he issues a proclamation… to build God a Temple in Jerusalem.” 2 Chronicles 36:20-23

In addition to the Babylonian rule ended in fulfillment of Jeremiah 25:11-12, Cyrus also gave permission, in fulfillment of Jeremiah 29:l0, to the Jews to return to Jerusalem, as it says;

“Whoever is among you all his people, let his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord G-d of Israel.” Ezra 1:4

It is important to remember that from the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, 18 years before the fall of Jerusalem, until the fall of the Babylonian Empire, when Cyrus came into power, 70 years had elapsed. By subtracting the 18 years subjugation before the destruction of the first Temple from the total of 70 years we are left with 52 years. This proves that King Cyrus arose to power and fulfilled Jeremiah’s prophesy 52 years after the destruction of Jerusalem.

This plays an essential role in understanding Daniel 9. Daniel yearned not only for the Babylonian Empire to cease 70 years after the subjugation of Jerusalem; he yearned to see the return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple.

When Daniel begins speaking in chapter 9 it is in the first year of Darius the Median. This Darius is mentioned earlier in Daniel 6:1 and called the Mede so that he would not be confused with Darius son of Achasverous the Persian, who was born later during the days of Haman and Esther.

Daniel was confused because although he now witnessed that, with the advent of Darius the 70 years to the Babylonian subjugation were over in fulfillment of Jeremiah 25:11-12, Daniel had not yet seen the fulfillment of Jeremiah 29:10 that promised that after the 70 years the Jewish exiles would return and rebuild Jerusalem. He did not foresee that very shortly Cyrus world rule and fulfill this promise.

Daniel thought that perhaps, due to the sins of Israel the date had been delayed. This is why Daniel confesses for the sins of the people in verse 4-20 and says.

“Now I was still speaking and praying and confessing my sins and the sins of my people Israel and casting my supplications before the Lord My God about the holy mountain (the Sanctuary as seen in Isaiah 56:7) of my God.” Daniel 9:20

This is explains why in the beginning of chapter 9 Daniel contemplated the number of years to the destruction of Jerusalem and not to the subjugation, as it says.

“I Daniel contemplated the calculations, the number of years about that which the word of God came to the prophet Jeremiah, to complete the 70 years to the destruction (לחרבות ~ L’Charvot) of Jerusalem.” Daniel 9:2

Daniel saw that the subjugation was over but he no only wanted to see the return to Jerusalem he wanted to know when the destruction would end with the building of the second Temple.

In fact, after one year of rule by Darius, King Cyrus took power and fulfilled Jeremiah 29 and allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem. But Daniel’s desire to understand the years of Jeremiah to the destruction of Jerusalem, result in the revelation of a new and additional understanding of Jeremiah:

There are now three different prophesies concerning 70 years.

1) 70 years of subjugation (Jeremiah 25)
2) 70 years till they return to the Jerusalem (Jeremiah 29)
3) 70 years of the destruction of Jerusalem (Daniel 9).

Whereas the calculations of the first two begin with the subjugation of Jerusalem 18 years before its destruction, Daniel’s new insight into the 70 years of total destruction must be calculated from a different starting point, the date that Jerusalem was destroyed. In fact, starting from the destruction of the first Temple until the completion of the building of second Temple was exactly 70 years.

As a result of Daniel’s praying, confessing and contemplating about the years to the destruction of Jerusalem, the angel Gabriel (verse 21), revealed to him and expanded prophesy of 70 weeks (490 years).

The starting point of this prophesy “that from the going of the word to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” Daniel 9:25, also begins from the Destruction of the First Temple.

The use of the Hebrew word (דבר ~ Devar) in both Daniel 9:25 and Daniel 9:2 also establishes that they share the same beginning point, the destruction of Jerusalem.

Starting from the destruction of Jerusalem we can now see the meaning of Daniel 9:24-26. From the Prophetic word (דבר ~ Devar) that refers to the destruction of the first Temple until an anointed Prince (the Hebrew (נגיד ~ nageid) is correctly translated as Leader), will be 7 weeks (49 years). As demonstrated earlier, from the destruction of Jerusalem until Cyrus was 52 years, this is within the 7th week (49 years and before the 8th weeks 56 years).

Cyrus not only initiated the rebuilding of the Temple (Ezra 1:1-3, Ezra 5:13, Ezra 6:3 and Isaiah 44:28), he is also called and identified as God’s anointed, as it says,

“thus says the Lord to His anointed, Cyrus” Isaiah 45:1

Remember there are two anointed subjects, one after 7 weeks and another after an additional 62 weeks.

The first “anointed” individual identified as a prince/leader in Daniel 9:25 is King Cyrus, who came 7 weeks of years after the destruction of Jerusalem. Then from Cyrus’ Decree to rebuild Jerusalem, “it will be built again” for an additional 62 weeks (434 years). But “in troubled times,” Daniel 9:25, meaning under the foreign domination of the subsequent Persian, Greek and Roman rule. The Greek is mentioned in Daniel 11:2 and Roman alluded to in Daniel 1:30 where the word (כתים ~ Kittim) refers to the Roman capital of Constantinople)

Then in the 69th week (483 years) after the destruction of the first Temple and 1 week (7 years) before the destruction of the second Temple, an anointed one is cut off.

The fact that there is no definite article indicates that this can refer to several different anointed subjects. King Agrippa the last King of Israel (Kings are considered anointed as it says in 1 Chronicles 11:3) who was killed during this time. It also refers to the last High priest (priests are anointed as seen in Leviticus 4) and the sacrifices (indicated in Leviticus 8:10-11). All three subjects were considered anointed and were cut off during the final week before the destruction of the second Temple.

“The people of the prince will come and destroy the city and the Sanctuary” Daniel 9:26,

refers to the Roman legions of Vespasian and Titus who destroyed Jerusalem.

Additionally the sacrificial system (that was anointed) ceased during this last week before the completion of the total 70 weeks of 490 years, as it says, “

“during half of week he will abolish sacrifice and meal-offerings” Daniel 9:27

Historically during the years before the destruction of the second Temple the Romans set up idolatry in the Temple fulfilling the final verse in Daniel 9 that says;

“upon wings of abomination shall come one who make desolate until the decreed destruction is poured out desolator” Daniel 9:27

The Romans, who are often symbolized by the Eagle Wings resting on their standards, would desecrate the Temple with idolatry; destroy the Temple that would remain desolate until the Roman exile is finished with the advent of the true Messianic age of complete peace, tranquility and knowledge of God. Today’s exile is considered an extension of the Roman exile that has lasted more than 2,000 years.

In Daniel 9 the original 70 years are from the destruction of the first Temple until the building of the second. If they had returned whole-heartedly there would have been know need for the second Temple to be destroyed and the events listed verse 24 would have been fulfilled.

“Seventy weeks (490 years) are determined upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression and to make an end of sins and to make reconciliation for iniquity(atone for there past transgressions), and to bring in everlasting righteousness (Temple service that brings righteousness), and to seal up the vision and prophecy (fulfill the promises of the prophets and end the prophetic era) and, and to anoint the Holy of Holies (the Temple)” Daniel 9:24

The angel Gabriel reveals to Daniel this additional understanding of the 70 years extending them from 70 years to 70 weeks of years stretching the time span to 490 years that span from the destruction of the first Temple to the Destruction of the second Temple. This prophesy also included a description of events that would unfold if the Jewish people did not repent properly.

These are the 70 years for the first exile (52 year until Cyrus and 18 additional years to dedicate the second Temple) and 420 years of the second temple.

Although there appears to be a discrepancy in chronology between the Jewish and secular Gregorian calendars of 166 years (with the secular dates earlier) it is clear that Jewish record keeping is more reliable and consistent concerning these events. Babylonian calendars changed arbitrarily with every new Babylonian king and limited archeological discoveries often reflect their arbitrary chronology. (According to secular chronology 586 BCE is the year incorrectly associated with the destruction of the first Temple the Jewish)

This is how Daniel 9:24-26 should be correctly translated and understood:

24) Seventy weeks (490 years) are determined upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Holy of Holies.”
25) Know therefore and discern that from the issuing of a word to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (starting from its destruction) until an anointed Prince (Cyrus) will be seven weeks (49 years) and then for sixty-two weeks (434 years) it will be built again with plaza and moat but in troubled times. (Persian, Greek and Roman domination)
26) Then after the sixty-two weeks (483 years from the destruction of the first Temple) an anointed one (sacrifices, last Jewish priest and king) will be cut off and will be no more, and the people of the prince (Romans) who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. (in the 70th week 490 years from the destruction of the first Temple)

This is a brief explanation of Daniel chapter 9. Any attempt to apply this chapter to Jesus is erroneous and wrought with mistranslations and misinterpretations.

Source: http://jewsforjudaism.org/

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Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God

Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God
The odds of life existing on another planet grow ever longer. Intelligent design, anyone?
By ERIC METAXAS

BN-GE020_EDPHow_M_20141225105536

In 1966 Time magazine ran a cover story asking: Is God Dead? Many have accepted the cultural narrative that he’s obsolete—that as science progresses, there is less need for a “God” to explain the universe. Yet it turns out that the rumors of God’s death were premature. More amazing is that the relatively recent case for his existence comes from a surprising place—science itself.

Here’s the story: The same year Time featured the now-famous headline, the astronomer Carl Sagan announced that there were two important criteria for a planet to support life: The right kind of star, and a planet the right distance from that star. Given the roughly octillion—1 followed by 27 zeros—planets in the universe, there should have been about septillion—1 followed by 24 zeros—planets capable of supporting life.

With such spectacular odds, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, a large, expensive collection of private and publicly funded projects launched in the 1960s, was sure to turn up something soon. Scientists listened with a vast radio telescopic network for signals that resembled coded intelligence and were not merely random. But as years passed, the silence from the rest of the universe was deafening. Congress defunded SETI in 1993, but the search continues with private funds. As of 2014, researchers have discovered precisely bubkis—0 followed by nothing.

What happened? As our knowledge of the universe increased, it became clear that there were far more factors necessary for life than Sagan supposed. His two parameters grew to 10 and then 20 and then 50, and so the number of potentially life-supporting planets decreased accordingly. The number dropped to a few thousand planets and kept on plummeting.

Even SETI proponents acknowledged the problem. Peter Schenkel wrote in a 2006 piece for Skeptical Inquirer magazine: “In light of new findings and insights, it seems appropriate to put excessive euphoria to rest . . . . We should quietly admit that the early estimates . . . may no longer be tenable.”

As factors continued to be discovered, the number of possible planets hit zero, and kept going. In other words, the odds turned against any planet in the universe supporting life, including this one. Probability said that even we shouldn’t be here.

Today there are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life—every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart. Without a massive planet like Jupiter nearby, whose gravity will draw away asteroids, a thousand times as many would hit Earth’s surface. The odds against life in the universe are simply astonishing.

Yet here we are, not only existing, but talking about existing. What can account for it? Can every one of those many parameters have been perfect by accident? At what point is it fair to admit that science suggests that we cannot be the result of random forces? Doesn’t assuming that an intelligence created these perfect conditions require far less faith than believing that a life-sustaining Earth just happened to beat the inconceivable odds to come into being?

There’s more. The fine-tuning necessary for life to exist on a planet is nothing compared with the fine-tuning required for the universe to exist at all. For example, astrophysicists now know that the values of the four fundamental forces—gravity, the electromagnetic force, and the “strong” and “weak” nuclear forces—were determined less than one millionth of a second after the big bang. Alter any one value and the universe could not exist. For instance, if the ratio between the nuclear strong force and the electromagnetic force had been off by the tiniest fraction of the tiniest fraction—by even one part in 100,000,000,000,000,000—then no stars could have ever formed at all. Feel free to gulp.

Multiply that single parameter by all the other necessary conditions, and the odds against the universe existing are so heart-stoppingly astronomical that the notion that it all “just happened” defies common sense. It would be like tossing a coin and having it come up heads 10 quintillion times in a row. Really?

Fred Hoyle, the astronomer who coined the term “big bang,” said that his atheism was “greatly shaken” at these developments. He later wrote that “a common-sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology . . . . The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

Theoretical physicist Paul Davies has said that “the appearance of design is overwhelming” and Oxford professor Dr. John Lennox has said “the more we get to know about our universe, the more the hypothesis that there is a Creator . . . gains in credibility as the best explanation of why we are here.”

The greatest miracle of all time, without any close seconds, is the universe. It is the miracle of all miracles, one that ineluctably points with the combined brightness of every star to something—or Someone—beyond itself.

Mr. Metaxas is the author, most recently, of “Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life” (Dutton Adult, 2014).

Correction

An earlier version understated the number of zeroes in an octillion and a septillion.

Get Shocked See How Small the Earth Is

✡ Believe in God in 5 Minutes Scientific Proof

The Torah’s view on Creation

Source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/eric-metaxas-science-increasingly-makes-the-case-for-god-1419544568

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Don’t let this world fool you

Chapter 4: Mishna 19: Don’t let this world fool you

By Chaim Coffman

“Rabbi Yannai said: It is not in our power to explain why the wicked are at ease, or why the righteous suffer”

This is the age-old question of why evil people seem to have it easy and the righteous suffer. This world is a world of falsehood because we see many things that don’t make any sense to us.

Someone who spends their lives learning Torah and integrating its ideals in their lives, why should they have it so hard in this world? If after all, if they are doing their best to serve G-d, then they should have abundance in their world so they can devote their time to learning! Unfortunately we see them suffer and have a hard time!

One reason that the righteous suffer is because G-d wants to give them greater reward in the next world. If they have suffering in this world then they get atonement for whatever transgressions they may have done and go to the next world with a clean slate ready to get the just reward they deserve.

At the same time, the evil ones seem to have it easy in this world without worries. The reason for this is that they are essentially receiving their reward from the next world in this world. That means for whatever mitzvos they did in this world, they will get the reward now and not have a portion in the world-to-come.

This is because a person has to earn a portion in the world-to-come. The Talmud tells us if you didn’t prepare yourself spiritually in this world then there will be no opportunity to have the next world.

Even though the Mishna at the beginning of every chapter of Ethics of our Fathers starts out by saying that every Jew has a portion in the world-to-come, nonetheless there are things a person could do to lose it! One thing that we have to keep in mind is that it is not in our power to explain this.

We have to realize that G-d runs the world and gives each person their trials and tribulations to help them reach their true potential. Some have it easier, some harder, each one according to what spiritual goals they can reach. They help us grow and strengthen ourselves.

We may question things as not being fair because of our own struggles and others who seem to have it easy. We have to realize though at the end of our lives we will have to give an accounting for what we did in this world.

We can’t worry about why someone else may have had it easier or anything else but we will have to answer for what we have done! As we see from the end of the book of Job, we can’t understand what goes in this world.

G-d takes care of nature at every second of every day taking care of its needs to make sure that things run properly. We can’t even imagine everything that goes into that! So too, how can we begin to imagine what goes on here with regards to how things appear!

This world is like a mirage. We have to navigate ourselves through it but through the blueprint which He gave us. This is indeed a formidable challenge which we have to constantly work on to strengthen.

images

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JESUS FAILED TO FULFILL ANY OF THE SIX AUTHENTIC JEWISH MESSIANIC CRITERIA

JESUS FAILED TO FULFILL ANY OF THE SIX AUTHENTIC

 JEWISH MESSIANIC CRITERIA

temple

The Kotel-Wailing Wall, Jerusalem 1912

INTRODUCTION: The word “messiah”[1] means anointed with oil. All kings,[2] high priests,[3] and prophets [4] in the Jewish Bible are described as “messiahs” because they were all anointed with oil into God’s service. Many Jewish prophets foretold that a particular messiah, the Messiah ben David, would appear and fulfill six major prophecies that will lead the world into a special Messianic Era. These messianic criteria are and have always been universally accepted by the Jewish People. Jesus did not qualify as the Jewish Messiah ben David for the simple reason that he did not fulfill any of these criteria.  The Messiah ben David must:

  1. have the correct genealogy by being
    descended from King David and
    King Solomon,
  2. be anointed King of Israel,
  3. return the Jewish People to Israel,
  4. rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem,
  5. bring peace to the world and end all war,
  6. bring knowledge of God to the world.

    THE BIBLE’S MESSIANIC CRITERIA ARE EMPIRICALLY VERIFIABLE:
    “Faith” is irrelevant to the Jewish concept of the Messiah ben David, because an individual either fulfills these prophetic criteria or he doesn’t. Christianity requires faith that Jesus is their “messiah” precisely because he didn’t fulfill any of the Jewish messianic criteria. Christianity’s concept of faith in Jesus is therefore a substitute for this defect. It is important to note that the fulfillment of each of the six Jewish messianic criteria is empirically verifiable and therefore no faith is required to determine the identity of the Jewish Messiah ben David. For example, the entire world will be able to observe that the Temple has been rebuilt, the Jews have returned to Israel, the entire world believes in God, and the world is at peace. Virtually none of the Christian messianic “proofs” are empirically verifiable.

MAIMONIDES AND THE MESSIAH BEN DAVID:Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (the Rambam) was one of the greatest rabbinic sages in Jewish history. He explained how someday we would know the identity of the Messiah ben David: 

“We may assume that an individual is the Messiah [ben David] if he fulfills the following conditions: He must be a ruler, from the House of David, immersed in the Torah and its commandments like David his ancestor. He must also follow both the written and the Oral Torah, lead all Jews back to the Torah, strengthen the observance of its laws, and fight God’s battles. If one fulfills these conditions, then we may assume that he is the Messiah. If he does this successfully, and then rebuilds the Temple [Beis HaMikdash] on its original site and gathers all the dispersed Jews, then we may be certain that he is the Messiah. He will then perfect the entire world and bring all men to serve God in unity. It is true that the prophet Isaiah predicted, ‘The wolf shall live with the sheep, the leopard shall lie down with the kid.’[5] This however, is merely an allegory, meaning that the Jews will live safely, even with the wicked nations, who are likened to wolves and leopards.”[6]

THE FIRST MESSIANIC CRITERIA IS GENEALOGY: Of the six primary Jewish messianic criteria, the only one that the Christian Bible claimed for Jesus was genealogy. The Messiah ben David must be Jewish, from the Tribe of Judah, from the seed of King David, and from the seed of King Solomon. (Seegenealogy chart).

  1. He must be Jewish.[7] One is Jewish if their mother is Jewish.[8]
  1. He must be from the tribe of Judah.[9] Under Jewish law, tribal affiliation is through the birth father only.[10] Since Jesus allegedly had no human father, he had no tribal affiliation. Therefore, Jesus was not from the tribe of Judah and is eliminated from messianic consideration.

The book of Chronicles in the Jewish Bible lists the genealogy of Abraham through King David plus an additional 29 descendants. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke provide conflicting genealogies for Jesus in an unsuccessful attempt to demonstrate that Jesus fulfilled the messianic criteria of genealogy. These three genealogies are listed, compared, and contrasted on the following page.

GENEALOGY CHART
( Click Here )

 JESUS DID NOT QUALIFY: NOTES TO THE GENEALOGIES OF MATTHEW AND LUKE [11]Matthew and Luke made numerous mistakes in their so-called “genealogies” of Jesus that eliminate him from messianic consideration. The numbers to the left of the text below refer back to the numbers on the genealogy chart on the preceding page:

(1)   He must be from the House of David.
[12] Matthew 1 and Luke 3 traced Jesus’ lineage through Joseph back to King David. However, the Gospels assert that the “holy spirit” was Jesus’ father (not Joseph).[13] There is no indication in the Gospels that Joseph ever adopted Jesus although under Jewish law certain family and tribal affiliations must be through the birth father and cannot be claimed by adoption.[14] For example, if a Jewish priest, (a Cohen), has a male child, he has the status of a priest by birthright. However, if he adopts a child whose birth father was not a Cohen, the child does not have the status of a priest like his adopted father. Since Joseph was not Jesus’ birth father, there is no evidence in the Gospels that Jesus was from the house of David, which cannot be conferred through adoption under Jewish law. This eliminates Jesus from messianic consideration.

(2)   He must be from the Seed of Solomon[15]According to prophecy, the Messiah ben David must descend through David’s son Solomon. Not only was Solomon a king, he built the firstTemple, which has profound messianic implications. Matthew claimed that Jesus descended through Solomon but Luke claimed that Jesus descended through Nathan, David’s other son (who was not a king). This eliminates Jesus’ genealogy through Luke.

(3)   A Fifteen Generation Difference: Luke’s genealogy from David to Jesus is fifteen generations longer than Matthew’s genealogy from David to Jesus. This undermines the Christian claim that the Gospels are the “word of God,” because God certainly knows the genealogy of King David. Some Christians attempt to solve this fatal problem by claiming that Luke’s genealogy is actually that of Mary, although Mary is not mentioned in Luke’s genealogy. Further, this claim is rendered meaningless by the fact that Jewish law only recognizes tribal affiliation through the father.[16] Even if one could consider the genealogy of the mother, if one assumes a generation is at least twenty years, this means that Joseph was at least three hundred years older than his wife (fifteen extra generations times twenty years per generation equals a three hundred year difference in their ages). This gives new meaning to the idea of a “May-December” relationship.

(4)   Who was Jesus’ Grandfather? The two “genealogies” do not agree on the identity of Jesus’ grandfather. According to Matthew, Jesus’ grandfather was Jacob and according to Luke he was Heli. This creates another devastating contradiction, further undermining the credibility of the genealogies given for Jesus by Matthew and Luke.   

PAUL AND THE GENEALOGIES: The apostle Paul was the putative author of the Epistles Titus and Timothy, which subtly address the issue of Jesus’ genealogy:

  • “But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless.”(Titus 3:3)
  • “…nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than Godly edification which is in faith.” (1 Timothy 1:4)

CONCLUSION: The flawed and contradictory genealogies in Luke and Matthew are extremely problematic since genealogy is the only authentic messianic criteria that the Christian Bible claims that Jesus fulfilled. Jesus is eliminated from messianic consideration because of the myriad of errors and problems in both Matthew and Luke’s genealogies.

THE SECOND MESSIANIC CRITERIA IS THAT HE WILL BE ANOINTED KING OF ISRAEL. The term “messiah” means anointed with oil and in a messianic context refers to an anointed king. According to Jewish prophecy the Messiah ben David must descend from David who was a King of Israel. Therefore, David’s messianic descendant must also be an anointed king of Israel.  It is necessary that a Jewish prophet (or a High Priest) anoint Jewish kings (with oil) because prophets are messengers of God and authenticate their right to kingship. For example, the prophet Samuel anointed King Saul with oil,[17] and Samuel also anointed King David with oil.[18]

This is one of the reasons the prophet Malachi prophesized that the prophet Elijah would return prior to the coming of the Messiah ben David.[19] A prophet (Elijah) must anoint David’s messianic descendent king of Israel. Accordingly, in the Christian Bible Matthew claimed that John the Baptist was “Elijah the prophet.”[20] Problematically, the Gospel of John (contradicting Matthew) reported that John the Baptist said he was not Elijah the prophet,[21] creating yet another problem for Jesus.

According to the Gospel of John, when the Roman Procurator Pilate asked Jesus if he was “king of the Jews,” Jesus answered “yes.”[22] In addition, the Gospels report that a woman anointed Jesus’ head with oil,[23] and a woman anointed Jesus’ feet with oil.[24] Jesus was also anointed with oil for his burial.[25] Interestingly, since Jesus claimed to be king of an “otherworldly kingdom,”[26] this anointing with burial oil may have been intended by the Gospel writer to initiate his rule into a “spiritual” kingdom.” However, although Jesus may have claimed to be “king of Israel” and nameless women may have anointed him with oil, these women were not prophets and there is no indication in the Gospels that Jesus was ever anointed Jesus king of Israel.

SAMUEL: “When your days are complete and you lie with your forefathers, I shall raise up after you your offspring who will issue from your loins, and I shall make his kingdom firm. He shall build a Temple for My sake, and I shall make firm the throne of his kingdom forever. I shall be a Father unto him and he shall be a son unto Me, so that when he sins I will chastise him with the rod of men and with afflictions of human beings. But My kindness will not be removed from him as I removed [it] from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your dynasty and your kingdom will remain steadfast before you for all time; your throne will remain firm forever.” (2 Samuel 7:12-16)

CHRONICLES: “When your days are complete to go to your forefathers, I will raise up after you your offspring who will be from among your sons; and I shall make his kingdom firm. He shall build a Temple for Me and I shall make his throne firm forever.” (1 Chronicles 17:11-12)

CONCLUSION: Jesus may have claimed to be “king” and women may have anointed him with oil. However, a prophet never anointed Jesus king of Israel. Therefore, he failed to fulfill this messianic criteria and is therefore eliminated from messianic consideration.

THE THIRD MESSIANIC CRITERIA IS THAT HE WILL BRING THE JEWISH PEOPLE BACK TO ISRAEL. Not only did Jesus fail to bring the Jewish People back to Israel, the Jews were expelled from Israel shortly after Jesus lived. This is the opposite of what this messianic prophecy requires.

ISAIAH: “He will arise a banner for the nations and assemble the castaways of Israel; and He will gather in the dispersed ones of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:12)

ISAIAH: “It shall be on that day that Hashem will thresh, from the surging [Euphrates] River to the Brook of Egypt, and you [Israel] will be gathered up one by one, O Children of Israel. It shall be on that day that a great shofar will be blown, and those who are lost in the land of Assyria and those cast away in the land of Egypt will come [together], and they will prostrate themselves to Hashem on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 27:12-13)

JEREMIAH: “I will return the captivity of Judah and captivity of Israel, and will rebuild them as at first.” (Jeremiah 33:7)

CONCLUSION: Jesus did not return the Jewish People to Israel and he is therefore eliminated from messianic consideration.

THE FOURTH MESSIANIC CRITERIA IS THAT HE WILL REBUILD THE TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM.Obviously, Jesus could not have fulfilled the messianic prophecy to rebuild the Temple since it was not destroyed during his lifetime. This (third) Temple must be built on the Temple Mount as specifically described by the prophet Ezekiel.[27] John’s Gospel reported that Jesus said that the Temple would be destroyed and he would re-rebuild it.[28]Matthew’s Gospel reported that Jesus was accused of threatening to destroy the Temple.[29] Perhaps the authors of these Gospels realized that Jesus had not fulfilled this messianic criteria and these comments were intended to address this problem. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Jewish Messiah ben David must build the third Temple.

EZEKIEL: “I will seal a covenant of peace with them; it will be an eternal covenant with them; and I will emplace them and increase them, and I will place My Sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be among them; I will be a God to them and they will be a people to Me. Then the nations will know that I am Hashem who sanctifies Israel, when My Sanctuary will be among them forever.” (Ezekiel 37:26-28)

MICAH: “It will be in the end of days that the Mountain of the Temple of Hashem will be firmly established as the most prominent of the mountains, and it will be exalted up above the hills, and peoples will stream to it.” (Micah 4:1)

ISAIAH: “It will happen in the end of days; The Mountain of the Temple of Hashem will be firmly established as the head of the mountains, and it will be exalted above the hills, and all the nations will stream to it. Many peoples will go and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the Mountain of Hashem, to the Temple of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us of His ways and we will walk in His paths.” (Isaiah 2: 2,3)

CONCLUSION: Jesus never rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem in the manner described by the prophet Ezekiel and is therefore eliminated from messianic consideration.

THE FIFTH MESSIANIC CRITERIA IS THAT HE WILL BRING PEACE TO THE WORLD AND END ALL WAR.  Jesus brought no peace to the world. Israel was destroyed in two wars with Rome shortly after Jesus lived. The last 2000 years have been the most violent in human history and the Church that was founded in Jesus’ name caused many of these wars. Since its re-establishment in 1948, Israel has not been safe from her enemies.

EZEKIEL: “I will seal a covenant of peace with them; it will be an eternal covenant with them; and I will emplace them and increase them, and I will place My Sanctuary among them forever.” (Ezekiel 37:26)

MICAH: “He will judge between many peoples, and will settle the arguments of mighty nations from far away. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning knives; nation will not lift sword against nations, nor will they learn war anymore.” (Micah 4:3)

ISAIAH: “He will judge among the nations, and will settle the arguments of many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift sword against nation and they will no longer study warfare.” (Isaiah 2:4)

CONCLUSION: Jesus brought no peace to the world, and he is therefore eliminated from messianic consideration.

THE SIXTH MESSIANIC CRITERIA IS THAT HE WILL BRING KNOWLEDGE OF GOD TO THE WORLD. Jesus did not bring knowledge of the Jewish God to the world. The Christian Bible directly contradicts the Jewish definition of God and directly contradicts all fundamental Jewish teachings about God. Most of the world still does not know God. Ironically, whenever a Christian missionary proselytizes a non-believer he provesthat the Messiah ben David has not yet come. His act of proselytizing is a graphic demonstration that the world is not yet filled with knowledge of God.

ISAIAH: “They will neither injure nor destroy in all of My sacred mountain; for the earth will be as filled with knowledge of Hashem as water covering the sea bed.” (Isaiah 11:9)

ISAIAH: “The glory of Hashem will be revealed, and all flesh together will see that the mouth of Hashem has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:5)

ZEPHANIAH: “For then I will change the nations [to speak] a pure language, so that they all will proclaim the Name of Hashem, to worship Him with a united resolve.” (Zephaniah 3:9)

JEREMIAH: “They will no longer teach – each man his fellow, each man his brother-saying, “Know Hashem! For all of them will know Me, from their smallest to their greatest – the word of Hashem – when I will forgive their iniquity and will no longer recall their sin.” (Jeremiah   31:33)

CONCLUSION: Jesus failed to bring knowledge of God to the world and is therefore eliminated from messianic consideration. The Messiah ben David by definition is the man who fulfills the six authentic messianic criteria discussed above. The Christian idea of “belief or faith” in this messiah or in his identity is never mentioned in the Jewish Bible because it is irrelevant. In Jewish terms, failure to fulfill even one of the messianic criteria isconclusive proof that individual is not the Messiah ben David. Therefore, when Jesus died without fulfilling any of the six messianic criteria, this was conclusive proof that he was not the Messiah ben David.

THERE IS NO “SECOND COMING” CONCEPT IN THE JEWISH BIBLE: Missionaries respond with their “second coming” theory, which asserts that Jesus will accomplish everything when he comes “next time.” There are two major problems with this Christian answer. First, the second coming theory has no scriptural basis in the Jewish Bible. In fact, scripture states that when a person dies, “on that day his plans all perish.”[30] Therefore, according to scripture, when Jesus died, his plans ended.Second, the second coming theory can apply to any person who has ever lived and therefore is totally meaningless. For example, one can claim that their Gentile grandmother was the messiah. When challenged that she didn’t accomplish anything, one can say that when she “comes back” she will be born a Jewish man with the correct genealogy and will accomplish everything!

[1]  “Moshiach” in Hebrew, and “christ” in Greek

[2]  1 Kings 1:39

[3]  Lev. 4:3

[4]  Isaiah 61:1

[5]  Isaiah 11:6

[6] Talmud Yad, Melachim 11:4

[7]  Numbers 24:17, Deut. 17:15

[8]  Lev. 24:10, Ezra 10:2,3

[9]  Genesis 49:10

[10]  Numbers 34:14, Numbers 1:18-44, Leviticus 24:10,

[11]  Source: Let’s Get Biblical by Rabbi Tovia Singer

[12]  Jeremiah 33:17-20, 1 Chron. 17:11-12

[13]  Matthew 1:18

[14]  Numbers 34:14, Numbers 1:18-44, Leviticus 24:10

[15]  2 Samuel 7:12-16, Psalms 89:29-38, 1 Chron.17:11-14, 22:9-10, 28:6-7

[16]  Numbers 1:18

[17] 1 Samuel 15:1

[18] 1 Samuel 16:1, 13

[19] Malachi 3:23-24

[20] Matthew 11:11-14, 17:12-13

[21] John 1:21

[22] John 18:37

[23] Mark 14:3, Matthew 26:7

[24] Luke 7:38, John 12:3

[25] John 12:7, Matthew 26:12

[26] John 18:36

[27]  Ezekiel, chapters 40-48

[28]  John 2:19

[29]  Matthew 26:61

[30] Psalm 146:4

Source: http://www.26reasons.com/reason8.html

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Loving Thy Neighbor: Judaism’s Unique Approach

Loving Thy Neighbor: Judaism’s Unique Approach

By Yaakov Astor

Many people – Jew and Christian alike – are surprised to discover that the principle “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is found in the “Old” Testament, and even in Leviticus, probably the most maligned (and misunderstood) book in what we Jews call the Torah.

The Christian Gospels also say that loving thy neighbor is one of the two greatest commandments (Mark 12:29-31). However, long before Christianity, Jewish tradition taught: “Love thy neighbor is one of the great principles in the Torah” (Sifra 2:12). The famous Jewish sage Hillel, who flourished well before Christianity, said: “Don’t do unto others what you would not want do to you – that is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary” (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbos 31a).

However, Judaism’s love principle not only came before Christianity but goes deeper and is more effective than most people, Jew and non-Jew, imagine.

It is not enough to only cite inspiring aphorisms. For instance, Christianity prides itself on the idea of “loving thy enemies” (Matthew 5:43-44). Judaism goes further, however, because it not only provides the aphorism but gives us examples how to love our enemies:

If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him. If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall help him to lift it up. (Exodus 23:4-5)

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. (Proverbs 25:21)

The Torah does not merely cite an aphorism, but provides a case study how to live up to it. The Talmud goes even further and provides more examples and numerous details how to fulfill the love principle.

The Gospel writers blasted Judaism for being legalistic. Love is a spiritual thing, not a legal concept, they said. However, by doing so, they totally missed the point. Yes, love is a spiritual thing; it is all over the Torah. But so often the love principle is not easy to actually live up to.

How does one live up to the principle? Judaism’s renowned emphasis on education comes into play here. From the earliest years, Jewish children in home and school are taught a) practical applications of the love idea and b) that it is a law, not just a nice idea.

Pounding that into generation after generation of children may not have guaranteed that everyone would fulfill it perfectly, but increased the odds of its practical implementation in everyday life in ways those merely echoing the platitudes could never approach.

Listen, I’m not here to knock Christianity. I think it can be, has been and still is for many people a positive force. But it is also, historically, the bloodiest religion in history. Could the fact that they taught the aphorism but failed to make it practical like Judaism did have to do with it?

On that note, we can now understand why Hillel said, “Don’t do unto others what you would not want done to you,” which is the inverse of love thy neighbor. Why not word it in the positive, as Christianity did: “Do unto others as you would want them to do to you”?

Because it is not so easy to love an enemy; someone that has done wrong to you. Therefore, at the minimum, “don’t do unto them as you wouldn’t want done to you.” Included in Hillel’s aphorism is Judaism’s practical approach to all the lofty ideals that attract people to the Bible. It’s not enough to espouse them. In the Torah’s eyes, we have to really work on ourselves to live up to them.

Source: http://www.simpletoremember.com/

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“When it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy…the difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, whereas Iran could soon be armed with…nuclear arms.”

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