Saturday, September 30, 2006


Rainbow by bluemist57, Adelaide, Australia
Covenant, meaning a solemn contract, is the customary word used to translate the Hebrew word berith (ברית) as it is used in the Hebrew Bible

God's promise to Israel in both the Old Testament and the New Testament that He would redeem the nation of Israel, give Israel the land of Zion, and "appear in his glory" and "come out of Zion" when "all Israel shall be saved" (cf. Psalm 102:15-18, Romans 11:25-27).

While the word is used to identify treaties or similar contracts between rulers or individuals, the primary covenants mentioned in the Bible are the one between God and the Israelites (Old Testament) and the one between God and the Christian Church (New Testament). This covenant was the basis for the Torah, and the claimed status of the Israelites as God's "chosen people." According to the terms of the covenant, Israelites understand that God had promised to undertake certain things on behalf of the people of Israel, and that the Israelites owed God obedience and worship in return.


Friday, September 29, 2006

Jacob's Ladder

The angels climb Jacob‘s Ladder on the west front of Bath AbbeyJacob's Ladder refers to a ladder to heaven described in the Genesis 28:11-19 which the biblical patriarch Jacob envisioned during his flight from his brother Esau:

"Jacob left Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he came to the place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of
the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he
dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached
to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the LORD stood above it [or "beside him"] and said, "I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your descendants; and your descendants shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and by you and your descendants shall all the families of the earth bless themselves. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done that of which I have spoken to you." Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place; and I did not know it." And he was afraid, and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Gog and Magog

Gog and Magog giving Paddy a lift out of the mire. From Punch magazine, 1846The tradition of Gog and Magog begins with cryptic Biblical references regarding apocalyptic prophecy in the Book of Ezekiel. The ambiguity of this tradition cannot be overstated. The very nature of these entities differs greatly in the discourse according to the places and times of the sources. They are variously presented as human beings, supernatural beings (giants or demons), nations, or as lands. Part of the confusion is the difference between the Tanakh and Septuagint (BHS p.967) and internal contradictions in the text.

References to Gog and Magog appear in the Book of Revelation, in the Qur'an as Yajooj-Majooj (Arabic يأجوج و مأجوج, Yecüc-Mecüc in the Turkish spelling) and occur widely in mythology and folklore.


Passage of the Red Sea

Location of the Red SeaThe Passage of the Red Sea is an incident in the Exodus, the account of the march of Moses and the Israelites on their escape out of Egypt. It describes the crossing of yam suph, commonly translated as the Red Sea.

Biblical Narrative
The narrative is found in the Book of Exodus, chapters 13:17-15:12.

Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, has agreed to allow the Israelite slaves to leave Egypt peacefully. God instructs Moses to lead them out, not "by way of the land of the Philistines", but by the Red Sea wilderness. Guided by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, they travel from Succoth to Etham, "on the edge of the wilderness," where they make their encampment.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount  by Carl Heinrich Bloch.The Sermon on the Mount was, according to the Gospel of Matthew, a particular sermon given by Jesus of Nazareth (estimated around AD 30) on a mountainside to his disciples and a large crowd (Matt 5:1; Matt. 7:28). The recounting of the Sermon on the Mount comes from Matthew 5-7.

The best-known portions of the Sermon to most is the Beatitudes, found at the beginning of the section. It also contains the Lord's Prayer and the injunctions to "resist not evil" and "turn the other cheek", as well as Jesus' version of the Golden Rule. Other lines often quoted are the references to "salt of the Earth," "light of the world," and "judge not, lest ye be judged."

The Lord's Prayer

" 9"This, then, is how you should pray: " 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11Give us today our daily bread. 12Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.' 14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." -Matthew 6:9-15


Monday, September 25, 2006

The Exodus

Possible Exodus RoutesThe Exodus, more fully The Exodus of Israel out of Egypt, was the departure of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt under the leadership of Moses and Aaron as described in the biblical Book of Exodus. It forms the basis of the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Biblical narrative
The Israelites had moved from the land of Canaan into Egypt when Joseph was prime minister of Egypt. After the death of Joseph and a change in rulership, the Egyptians were now suspicious of the Israelites, particularly because they had begun to greatly increase in number. Therefore they enslaved the Israelites and used them as labor in building projects.


Saturday, September 23, 2006


Statue of Moses near Vor Frue Kirke, Copenhagen, Denmark. Sculptor: H. W. Bissen (1798-1853)
According to the Hebrew Bible, Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, and received the Torah of Judaism from God on Mount Sinai. The Torah contains the life story of Moses and his people until his death at the age of 120 years, according to some calculations in the year 2488, or 1272 BC. Consequently, "may you live to 120" has become a common blessing among Jews.

Moses's greatest legacy was probably expounding the doctrine of monotheism, which was not widely accepted at the time, codifying it in Jewish religion with the 1st Commandment, and punishing polytheists. He is revered as a prophet in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Four Quarters of Jerusalem

Conard Schich, a famous Architect who lived in Jerusalem at the end of the nineteenth century, created a three dimentional model of Jerusalem as he envisaged it to be during the period of the Second Temple. The size of this model is 99 by 85 cmThe Armenian Quarter is one of the four quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem, the other three being the Jewish Quarter, the Christian Quarter and the Muslim Quarter. It might appear that the Armenian quarter would be a part of the Christian Quarter, since virtually all Armenians residing in Jerusalem are Christians, yet for historical reasons the Armenian quarter has remained separate and has not suffered the same disruptions as the other quarters over the last thousand years. Although the smallest of the four quarters, with the fewest residents, the Armenians and their patriarchate remain staunchly independent and present a vigorous presence in the Old City. The story of the Armenian quarter, its growth and decline, its assets and community, is one often overlooked in studies of Jerusalem.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Roman Empire

The Roman Empire at its greatest extent
The Roman Empire is the term conventionally used to describe the Ancient Roman society in the centuries following its reorganization under the leadership of Caesar Augustus in the late 1st century BC. After Constantinople had been made capital and the Western parts were lost, the Eastern part continued its existence, in what is currently known as Byzantine Empire.

Roman Empire is also used as translation of the expression, Imperium Romanum, probably the best known Latin expression where the word imperium is used in the meaning of a territory, the "Roman Empire", as that part of the world under Roman rule.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006


The Creation of Light  by Gustave Doré.Creationism or "creation theology" encompasses the belief that human beings, the world and the universe were created by God.

In Abrahamic religions, creationism or creation theology is the origin belief that humans, life, the Earth, and the universe were created by a supreme being or deity's supernatural intervention. The intervention may be seen either as an act of creation from nothing (Ex nihilo).

Many who hold "creation" beliefs consider such to be an aspect of religious faith which is compatible with (or otherwise unaffected by) scientific views. One example of such a belief would be that God created the Earth, and also created evolution in order for earth to sustain life over a long period of time.


Monday, September 18, 2006

The Holy Land

Valley of the Dead Sea, a desertic area that was the main scenary of the Biblical revelations.The expression "The Holy Land" (Hebrew ארץ הקודש) generally refers to the Land of Israel, otherwise known as the region of Palestine (sometimes including parts of Jordan, Syria and Egypt). It concerns the areas that hold significant religious importance to any or all three monotheistic Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The Holy Land is the territory where the Biblical stories took place, those described by the Tanakh or those by the New Testament. The concept had its evolution in the same Scriptures. For some Biblical authors the territory was marked by the concept of Promised Land, but for others it refers to those events in any place related to the People of Israel.



Alexandria (Greek: Αλεξάνδρεια), (population of 3.5 to 5 million), is the second-largest city in Egypt, and its largest seaport. Alexandria extends about 20 miles (32 km) along the coast of the Mediterranean sea in the northwest of Egypt. It is home to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the New Library of Alexandria, and is an important industrial centre because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez.

In ancient times, the city was known for the Lighthouse of Alexandria (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) and the Library of Alexandria (the largest library in the ancient world). Ongoing maritime archaeology in the harbour of Alexandria (which began in 1994) is revealing details of Alexandria both before the arrival of Alexander, when a city named Rhakotis existed there, and during the Ptolemaic dynasty.


Saturday, September 16, 2006


Map of CanaanCanaan (Arabic کنعان, Hebrew כְּנַעַן, Septuagint Greek Χανααν) is an ancient term for a region roughly corresponding to present-day Israel/Palestine including the West Bank, Western Jordan, southern and coastal Syria and Lebanon continuing up until the border of modern Turkey.
Various Canaanite sites have been excavated by archaeologists, most notably the Canaanite town of Ugarit, which was rediscovered in 1928. Much of our modern knowledge about the Canaanites stems from excavation in this area.

In linguistic terms, Canaanite refers to the common ancestor of closely related semitic languages including Hebrew, and Ugaritic, and was the first language to use a semitic alphabet, from which the others derived their scripts; see Canaanite languages.

The name Canaan is of obscure origins but is extremely ancient; the first known references appear in the 3rd millennium bc, possibly from hurrian sources in the Mesopotamian city of Nuzi.


Friday, September 15, 2006


The prophet Elijah in the wildernessChristianity and Jewish prophecy is Old Testament Bible prophecies interpreted by some to concern a Messiah, which are thought by Christians to have been fulfilled by Jesus during his time on earth, as described in the New Testament. Following is a list of verses from the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible, Old Testament) that show Christian interpretations regarding Messianic prophecies, supporting the claim that Jesus has been promised by God to be born as a human, and is the awaited Messiah:


Wednesday, September 13, 2006


11th century book in Syriac Serto.Aramaic is a Semitic language with a 3,000-year history. It has been the language of administration of empires and the language of divine worship. It is the original language of large sections of the biblical books of Daniel and Ezra, and is the main language of the Talmud. Aramaic is believed to have been the native language of Jesus. In the following passage, spoken by Jesus while being crucified, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani" is Aramaic. Matthew 27:46 has a direct parallel in Psalm 22 (written nearly 1000 years before the birth of Jesus):

About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama
sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
-Matthew 27:46

Even at the point of death Jesus quotes scripture.

Modern Aramaic is spoken today as a first language by numerous, scattered communities, most significantly by Assyrians. The language is considered to be endangered.



Reconstruction of the Temple of Solomon.Solomon (Latin name) or Shlomo (Hebrew: שְׁלֹמֹה, Arabic: سليمان, Sulayman; "peace") is a figure described in Middle Eastern scriptures as a wise ruler of an empire, living perhaps around 1000 BCE. The names "Shlomo" and "Solomon" are usually associated with the Biblical account of his life.

His father was named David (Hebrew).

Solomon's Temple (Hebrew: בית המקדש, transliterated Beit HaMikdash), also known as the First Temple, was, according to the Bible, the first Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. It functioned as a religious focal point for worship and the sacrifices known as the korbanot in ancient Judaism. Completed in the 10th century BCE, it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Temples of Jerusalem

A sketch of the First Temple based on descriptions in the TanakhThe Temple in Jerusalem or the Holy Temple (Hebrew: בית המקדש, transliterated Bet HaMikdash) was built in ancient Jerusalem in c. 10th century BCE and was subsequently rebuilt twice, after the Babylonian Captivity and during Herod the Great's renovation. It was the center of Israelite Jewish worship, primarily for the offering of sacrifices known as the korbanot. It was located on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, was the center of ancient Judaism, and has remained a focal point for Jewish services over the millennia. Orthodox and Conservative Judaism anticipate the Third Temple being built in the future.

The First Temple, also known as Solomon's Temple, was, according to the Bible, the first Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. It functioned as a religious focal point for worship and the sacrifices known as the korbanot in ancient Judaism. Completed in the 10th century BCE, it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.

According to the Hebrew Bible, the first Temple was built by Solomon (a sketch of Solomon's Temple above). It replaced the Tabernacle of Moses.

Monday, September 11, 2006


The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United States Library of CongressThe writings of the old and new testaments, as accepted by the Christian church as a divine revelation: in certain churches embracing also parts of the Apocrypha (not in the canonical Hebrew Scriptures nor in the Authorized Version).

If one takes a thoughful, unbiased look at the Judeo-Christian texts (Old and New Testaments, in any language), eliminating all presuppositions, they will discover that they all point to one thing: The Messiah.
Speaking to the serpent, God said,

"And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." -Genesis 3 (3:15)

Jesus is The Messiah.


Saturday, September 09, 2006


Noah‘s Ark, Französischer Meister (The French Master), Magyar Szépmüvészeti Múzeum, Budapest. c.1675.(Hebrew) [from nuah to come to rest, be at rest, reach rest, settle down into repose] biblical patriarch, son of Lamech, connected with the flood which overwhelmed the earth, as related in Gen. 7-9. he and his family alone survived the deluge by means of an ark, which he had been commanded to build and to place therein " of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth..." (Gen. 7:2).

While the Deluge and Noah's Ark are the best-known element of the story of Noah, he is also mentioned as the "first husbandman" and the inventor of wine, as well as in connection with the somewhat mysterious episode of his drunkenness and the subsequent Curse of Ham.


Friday, September 08, 2006


Western Wall Dome, JerusalemJerusalem is the holiest city of Judaism (since the 10th century BCE) and some denominations of Christianity (since the 5th century CE) and, after Mecca and Medina, the third holiest city of Islam (since the 7th century CE). A heterogeneous city, Jerusalem represents a wide range of national, religious, and socioeconomic groups. The section called the "Old City" is surrounded by walls and consists of four quarters: Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. The status of the united Jerusalem as Israel's capital is not widely recognised by the international community (see Positions on Jerusalem), and Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem is particularly controversial.

Jerusalem has long been embedded into the religious consciousness of the Jewish people. Jews have always studied and personalized the struggle by King David to capture Jerusalem and his desire to build the Jewish temple there, as described in the Book of Samuel and the Book of Psalms.


Thursday, September 07, 2006


East Africa, showing the course of the River Nile, with the Blue and White Nile marked in those coloursThe Nile (Arabic: النيل an-nīl), in Africa, is one of the two longest rivers on Earth.

The word "Nile" ('nIl) comes from the word Neilos (Νειλος), a Greek name for the Nile. Another Greek name for the Nile was Aigyptos (Αιγυπτος), which itself is the source of the name "Egypt."

There are two great branches of the Nile: the White Nile, from equatorial East Africa, and the Blue Nile, from Ethiopia. Both branches formed on the western flanks of the East African Rift, which is the southern African part of the Great Rift Valley. Lake Victoria, which lies between Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, is considered to be the source of the Nile, although the lake itself has feeder rivers of considerable size from the other Great Lakes of Africa. In particular, the farthest headstream of the Nile is the Ruvyironza River in Burundi, which is an upper branch of the Kagera River. The Kagera flows for 690 km (429 miles) before reaching Lake Victoria.

The birth of Moses occurred at a time when the current Egyptian monarch had commanded that all male children born to Hebrew captives should be killed by drowning in the Nile River.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Bileam, the donkey, and the Angel (by Gustav Jager, 1836)Balaam (Hebrew: בִּלְעָם) is a prophet in the Torah, his story occurring in Numbers 22-24). The etymology of his name is uncertain, and discussed below. Every ancient reference to Balaam considers him a non-Israelite, a prophet, and the son of Beor, though Beor is not so clearly identified. Though other sources describe the apparently positive blessings he delivers upon the Israelites, he is reviled as a "wicked man" in the major story concerning him.

The stories
There are two fairly separate accounts of Balaam in the Bible:
  1. Balaam and Balak, containing a brief aside concerning Balaam and the donkey
  2. Balaam and the Midianites

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Mount Nebo

The Dead Sea is viewable in the distance from atop Mount Nebo. The promised land is just beyond the Jordan River and the Dead SeaMount Nebo (Arabic: جبل نيبو) is an elevated ridge that is approximately 817 metres (2680 feet) above sea level, in what is now western Jordan. The view from the summit provides a panorama of the Holy Land, and to the north, a more limited one of the valley of the River Jordan. The West Bank city of Jericho is usually visible from the summit, as is Jerusalem on a very clear day.

Judaism and Christianity
According to the final chapter of Deuteronomy, Mount Nebo is where the Hebrew prophet Moses was given a view of the promised land that God was giving to the Hebrews.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels for children written by C. S. Lewis. It is considered a classic of Children's literature and is the author's best known work. Written by Lewis between 1949 and 1954 and illustrated by Pauline Baynes, The Chronicles of Narnia present the adventures of children who play central roles in the unfolding history of the realm of Narnia, a place where animals talk, magic is common, and good is fighting evil. In the majority of the books, children from our world find themselves transported to Narnia by a magical portal. Once there, they are quickly involved in setting some wrong to right with the help of the lion Aslan who is the central character of the series.

The Chronicles of Narnia contain many allusions to Christian ideas which are easily accessible to younger readers; however, the books are not weighty, and can be read for their adventure, colour, and mythological ideas alone. Because of this, they have become favourites with both children and adults, Christians and non-Christians. In addition to Christian themes, Lewis also borrows characters from Greek and Roman mythology as well as traditional British and Irish fairy tales.


Saturday, September 02, 2006


Overview map of ancient MesopotamiaMesopotamia refers to the region now occupied by modern Iraq, eastern Syria, and southern Turkey. The name comes from the Greek words μέσος "between" and ποταμός "river", referring to the area between the Euphrates and the Tigris (the Arabic term is بين نهرين Bayn Nahrain "between two rivers"). The fertile area watered by these two rivers is known as the "Cradle of Civilization," (see also cradle of humanity) and it was here that the first literate societies developed.

The biblical Patriarch Abraham was from Ur in Mesopotamia.

There has never been a political entity called Mesopotamia, nor does Mesopotamia have any definite boundaries; the name is simply a convenient one invented by Greek historians to refer to a broad geographical area.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Ark of the Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant may have looked similar to this chest - found in the Tomb of Tutankhamun.The Ark of the Covenant (ארון הברית in Hebrew: aron habrit) is described in the Hebrew Bible as a sacred container, wherein rested the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments. The Ark was built at the command of God, in accord with Moses's prophetic vision on Mount Sinai (Exodus 25:9-10). Its primary function was for God to communicate with Moses, "from between the two cherubim" on the Ark's cover (Exodus 25:22). The Ark and its sanctuary were "the beauty of Israel" (Lamentations 2:1). Rashi and some Midrashim suggest that there were two arks - a temporary one made by Moses and a later one made by Bezalel (Hertz 1936).

During the journeys of the Israelites, the Ark was carried by the priests in advance of the host (Numbers 4:5, 6; 10:33-36; Psalms 68:1; 132:8). The Ark was borne by priests into the bed of the Jordan, which separated, opening a pathway for the whole of the host to pass over (Joshua 3:15, 16; 4:7, 10, 11, 17, 18). The Ark was moreover borne in the procession round Jericho (Josh. 6:4, 6, 8, 11, 12). When carried, the Ark was always wrapped in a veil, in badger skins, a blue cloth, and was carefully concealed, even from the eyes of the Levites who carried it.





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