Monday, October 31, 2011

The West Bank

Also referred to in Israel and by Jews as "Judea and Samaria," The West Bank (Hebrew: הגדה המערבית, Hagadah Hamaaravit) is a landlocked territory on the west bank of the Jordan River in the Middle East. To the west, north, and south the West Bank shares borders with the mainland Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River , lies the country of Jordan. The West Bank also contains a significant coast line along the western bank of the Dead Sea. Since 1967 most of the West Bank has been under Israeli occupation.

Prior to the First World War, the area now known as the West Bank was under Ottoman rule as part of the province of Syria. In the 1920 San Remo conference, the victorious Allied powers allocated the area to the British Mandate of Palestine. The 1948 Arab-Israeli War saw the establishment of Israel in parts of the former Mandate, while the West Bank was captured and annexed by Jordan, who destroyed any existing Jewish villages. The 1949 Armistice Agreements defined its interim boundary. From 1948 until 1967, the area was under Jordanian rule, and Jordan did not officially relinquish its claim to the area until 1988. Jordan's claim was never recognized by the international community.

The West Bank was captured by Israel during the Six-Day War. With the exception of East Jerusalem, the West Bank was not annexed by Israel. Most of the residents are Arabs, although a large number of Israeli settlements have been built in the region since 1967.

For 400 years immediately prior to the First World War, the area now known as the West Bank was under Ottoman rule as part of the province of Syria. At the 1920 San Remo conference, the victorious Allied powers (UK, US, etc.) allocated the area to the British Mandate of Palestine. Following World War II, United Nations passed the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine which aimed to establish a two-state solution within Palestine. The Resolution designated the territory described as "Samaria and Judea" (now known as the "West Bank") as part of the proposed Arab state, but following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War this area was captured by Trans-Jordan (renamed Jordan in 1949). The name "West Bank" was proposed by the Jordanian authorities to describe the area west of Jordan River. The 1949 Armistice Agreements defined its interim boundary. From 1948 until 1967, the area was under Jordanian rule, and Jordan did not officially relinquish its claim to the area until 1988, ceding its territorial claims to the PLO and eventually stripping West Bank Palestinians of Jordanian citizenship.

According to Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University, who routinely condemns Israel as a "racist state" and has clamored for its destruction, Jordan's claim was never formally recognized by the international community, with the exception of the United Kingdom.
The first time a legitimate Palestinian government was established in Gaza and prevented from extending its authority over other parts of Palestine was in September 1948. It was King Abdullah I of Jordan who at the time opposed the All-Palestine Government (APG) (Hukumat ‘Umum Filastin), which interfered with his plan to annex Central Palestine to his kingdom. Indeed, the APG was recognised by the Arab League (who was less shamelessly subservient to imperial agendas at the time than it is today) as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and the legitimate heir to the Arab Higher Committee. Repressive measures were undertaken by Jordan’s king to purge the West Bank of all supporters of the APG and many inducements were offered to those willing to support his bid for annexation, dubbed “unification.” Once Abdullah annexed the territory “legally and administratively,” the “international community,” i.e. the United Kingdom and Israel, recognized his expanded kingdom (minus East Jerusalem) while the Arab League continued to oppose it, at the prodding of the APG. The APG would soon disappear from legal and popular memory, with Gaza subjected to complete and total Egyptian administration. Central Palestine was renamed the West Bank and declared as part of Jordan as a step on the way to Arab unity and in support of the Palestinians. Opposition to the annexation was portrayed by the king as opposition to Arab unity and Palestinian liberation. This is precisely what the Fatah putschists and their president are hoping to achieve in the West Bank today, except that the unity they are seeking is an ideological one between the Fatah putschists and their American and Israeli and Arab sponsors.

The West Bank was occupied by Israel during the Six-Day War in June, 1967. With the exception of East Jerusalem and the former Israeli-Jordanian no man's land, the West Bank was not annexed by Israel but remained under Israeli military control. Most of the residents are Arabs, although a large number of Israeli settlements have been built in the region since 1967. Close to 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank settlements, annexed East Jerusalem and the former Israeli-Jordanian no man's land areas.

However, not everyone would agree with the above analysis, especially with regard to the idea of Israeli "Occupation." As noted on Daniel Pipes website, a reader comment on, "Israel has a war to win," the following was submitted by Jyoti (India) on Jul 23, 2006:
Muslims cannot blame the escalation on so called Israeli occupation because If occupation is the reason for Terrorism & War than why the Hell these Islamists are committing acts of mass murder and Terror in every corner of globe. Check these links to see list of recent deadly terror attacks by Islamist Terrorists.

In a May/June 2011 issue of INTERVIEWS BY NIV ELIS, Moment Magazine, the topic, "What Is Israel's Next Move In The New Middle East"
In recent months, the Middle East has been set aflame by democratic uprisings, popular protests, brutal crackdowns, political upheaval and international military intervention, shattering conventional wisdom about the region. Israel—surrounded by a newly unstable Arab world and confronting a Palestinian march toward statehood—faces uncertainty on every front. Moment speaks with an array of leading Middle East experts and thinkers to examine how Israel should weather the storms unleashed by the “Arab Spring.”


Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Tree of Jesse

(Hebrew: ישי Yishay) refers to a passage in the biblical Book of Isaiah which metaphorically describes the descent of the Messiah and is accepted by Christians as pertaining to Jesus, and is often represented in art, particularly in that of the Medieval period, the earliest dating from the 11th century.
1 "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.

2 And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear," (Isaiah 11:1-3 ESV)
  • And there shall come forth  (יצא yatsa')
  • a rod (חטר choter)
  • out of the stem (גזע geza`)
  • of Jesse, (ישי Yishay)
  • and a Branch (נצר netser)
  • shall grow (פרה parah)
  • out of his roots: (שרש sheresh)
  • And the spirit (רוח ruwach)
  • of the LORD (יהוה Yĕhovah)
  • shall rest (נוח nuwach)
  • upon him, the spirit (רוח ruwach)
  • of wisdom (חכמה chokmah)
  • and understanding, (בינה biynah)
  • the spirit (רוח ruwach)
  • of counsel (עצה `etsah)
  • and might, (גבורה gĕbuwrah)
  • the spirit (רוח ruwach)
  • of knowledge (דעת da`ath)
  • and of the fear (יראה yir'ah)
  • of the LORD;(יהוה Yĕhovah)
  • And shall make him of quick understanding (ריח ruwach)
  • in the fear (יראה yir'ah)
  • of the LORD: (יהוה Yĕhovah)
  • and he shall not judge (שפט shaphat)
  • after the sight (מראה mar'eh)
  • of his eyes, (עין `ayin)
  • neither reprove (יכח yakach)
  • after the hearing (משמע mishma`)
  • of his ears: (אזן 'ozen)
  • —English KJV
In the above passage, the Messiah is called a Shoot (or Rod), and a Branch. The words are to symbolize a small, frail outgrowth easily broken off. He emerges from the stem of Jesse at a time when the royal family was chopped down, almost to the ground. It would bud again. At the time of Christ's birth, the house of David was brought very low. So Jesus announced, early, that His kingdom was not of this world.

In the New Testament the lineage of Jesus is traced by two of the Gospel writers, Matthew and Luke. Luke describes the "generations of Christ" in Luke 3:23-38, beginning with:
23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,
But his family went back through Heli, and tracing backwards through his "earthly father," Joseph, all the way back to Adam.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Book of Kells

An ornately illustrated manuscript called The Book of Kells (less widely known as the Book of Columba, or in Irish as Leabhar Cheanannais) produced by Celtic monks around AD 800 in the style known as Insular art. It is one of the more lavishly illuminated manuscripts to survive from the Middle Ages and has been described as the zenith of Western calligraphy and illumination. It contains the four gospels of the Bible in Latin, along with prefatory and explanatory matter decorated with numerous colourful illustrations and illuminations. Today it is on permanent display at the Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland.

The Book of Kells is the high point of a group of manuscripts in what is known as the Insular style produced from the late 6th through the early 9th centuries in monasteries in Ireland, Scotland and northern England and in continental monasteries with Irish or English foundations.

Folio 27r from the Lindisfarne Gospels
contains the incipit Liber generationis
of the Gospel of Matthew.
These manuscripts include the Cathach of St. Columba, the Ambrosiana Orosius, a fragmentary gospel in the Durham cathedral library (all from the early 7th century), and the Book of Durrow (from the second half of the 7th century). From the early 8th century come the Durham Gospels, the Echternach Gospels, the Lindisfarne Gospels (see illustration at left), and the Lichfield Gospels. The St. Gall Gospel Book and the Macregal Gospels come from the late 8th century. The Book of Armagh (dated to 807–809), the Turin Gospel Book Fragment, the Leiden Priscian, the St. Gall Priscian and the Macdurnan Gospel all date from the early 9th century. Scholars place these manuscripts together based on similarities in artistic style, script, and textual traditions. The fully developed style of the ornamentation of the Book of Kells places it late in this series, either from the late eighth or early ninth century. The Book of Kells follows many of the iconographic and stylistic traditions found in these earlier manuscripts. For example, the form of the decorated letters found in the incipit pages for the Gospels is surprisingly consistent in Insular Gospels. Compare, for example, the incipit pages of the Gospel of Matthew in the Lindisfarne Gospels and in the Book of Kells both of which feature intricate decorative knotwork inside the outlines formed by the enlarged initial letters of the text.

The name "Book of Kells" is derived from the Abbey of Kells in Kells, County Meath in Ireland, where it was kept for much of the medieval period. The Abbey of Kells dates back to about 800 A.D., at the time of the Viking invasions, and was founded by monks from the monastery at Iona (off the Western coast of Scotland). Iona, which had been a missionary centre for the Columban community, had been founded by St. Columba in the middle of the 6th century. When repeated Viking raids made Iona too dangerous, the majority of the community removed to Kells, which became the centre of the group of communities founded by St. Columba.

Folio 27v contains the four evangelist
symbols. lion, ox, eagle, and man
The date and place of production of the manuscript has been the subject of considerable debate. Traditionally, the book was thought to have been created in the time of Saint Columba (also known as St. Columcille), possibly even as the work of his own hands. However, it is now generally accepted that this tradition is false based on palaeographic grounds: the style of script in which the book is written did not develop until well after Columba's death, making it impossible for him to have written it.

The manuscript was never finished. There are at least five competing theories about the manuscript's place of origin and time of completion. First, the book may have been created entirely at Iona, then brought to Kells and never finished. Second, the book may have been begun at Iona and continued at Kells, but never finished. Third, the manuscript may have been produced entirely in the scriptorium at Kells. Fourth, it may have been produced in the north of England, perhaps at Lindisfarne, then brought to Iona and from there to Kells. Finally, it may have been the product of an unknown monastery in Scotland. Although the question of the exact location of the book's production will probably never be answered conclusively, the second theory, that it was begun at Iona and finished at Kells, is currently the most widely accepted. Regardless of which theory is true, it is certain that the Book of Kells was produced by Columban monks closely associated with the community at Iona.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ancient Egypt

 was a civilization located along the Lower Nile, reaching from the Nile Delta in the north to as far south as Jebel Barkal at the time of its greatest extension (15th century BC). It lasted for three millennia, from circa 3200 BC to 343 BC, ending when Artaxerxes III conquered Egypt. As a civilization based on irrigation it is the quintessential example of an "hydraulic empire."

Egypt was a transcontinental nation located mostly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula lying in Asia.

Details of mummy of the pharaoh
Ramesses II. Date: 1912
Location: Cairo Museum.
There are several words used in the bible that refer to Egypt, 2 are Hebrew/Aramaic and 2 are Greek.

Hebrew/Aramaic (Old Testament)
Strongs # Hebrew Transliteration Pronunciation English
H4714 מִצְרַיִם dual for מָצוֹר Mitsrayim mits·rah'·yim Egypt, Egyptian, Mizraim, Egyptians
H4713 מִצְרִי Mitsriy mits·rē' Egyptian, Egyptian, Egypt, Egyptian women
Greek (New Testament)
Strongs # Greek Transliteration Pronunciation English
G125 Αἴγυπτος Aigyptos ī'-güp-tosEgypt
G124ΑἰγύπτιοςAigyptiosī-gü'p-tē-osEgyptian, Egyptians

Biblical references containing "Egypt"

The Oxyrhynchus papyri are the most numerous group of the earliest copies of the New Testament. They are surviving portions of codices (books) written in Greek language uncial (capital) letters on papyrus (see also Greek alphabet). The first of these were excavated by Bernard Pyne Grenfell and Arthur Surridge Hunt in Oxyrhynchus Egypt, over the turn of the 20th century. Of the 118 registered New Testament papyri, 44 (37%) are from Oxyrhynchus. The earliest are dated to the middle of the second century, so were copied within a century of the writing of the original New Testament documents.
Graham Hancock: Quest for the Lost Civilization

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Hebrew: שמואל Shĕmuw'el, "his name is El" is an important leader of ancient Israel in the Book(s) of Samuel in the Hebrew Bible.

His status, as viewed by rabbinical literature, is that he was the last of the Hebrew Judges and the first of the major prophets who began to prophesy inside the Land of Israel. He was thus at the cusp between two eras.

In the Biblical narrative, Hannah is one of two wives of Elkanah; the other, Peninnah, bore a child to Elkanah, but Hannah remained childless. Nevertheless, Elkanah preferred Hannah. Every year Elkanah would offer a sacrifice at the Shiloh sanctuary, and give Hannah twice as big a portion of it as he would to Penninah. One day Hannah went up to the temple, and prayed silently, while Eli the High Priest was sitting on a chair near the doorpost. In her prayer she begs for a child in return for giving the child up, putting him in the service of the Shiloh priests, and raising him as a nazir.
10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. 11 And she vowed a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head."
—1 Samuel 1:10-11
Eli thought she was drunk and questioned her, but when she explained herself he says, "Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him." (1 Samuel 1:17). That night she went home with her husband, they had marital relations, and she became pregnant. As promised, when the child was born, she raised him as a nazarite (nazir)and put him into the service of the Shiloh priests, then she sang/prayed a song of praise for his birth - the Song of Hannah. Subsequently, when the child proved himself a good worker, Eli blesses Hannah again, and Hannah has four or five more children. (From the text it is unclear whether she had five children total, or five in addition to Samuel 1 Samuel 2:21.)

Some authors see the biblical Samuel as combining descriptions of two distinct roles:

1. A seer: (Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he said, "Come, let us go to the seer," for today’s "prophet" was formerly called a seer.) 1 Samuel 9:9) , based at Ramah, and seemingly known scarcely beyond the immediate neighbourhood of Ramah (Saul, for example, not having heard of him, with his servant informing him of his existence instead). In this role, Samuel is associated with the bands of musical ecstatic roaming prophets (shouters - neb'im) at Gibeah, Bethel, and Gilgal, and some traditional scholars have argued that Samuel was the founder of these groups. At Ramah, Samuel secretly anoints Saul, after having met him for the first time, while Saul was looking for his father's flock, and treated him to a meal.

2. A prophet: based at Shiloh, who went throughout the land, from place to place, with unwearied zeal, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting the people to repentance. In this role, Samuel acted as a (biblical) judge, publicly advising the nation, and also giving private advice to individuals. Eventually Samuel delegates this role to his sons, based at Beersheba, but they behave corruptly and so the people, facing invasion from the Ammonites, persuade Samuel to appoint a king. Samuel reluctantly does so, and anoints Saul in front of the entire nation, who had gathered to see him.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

N.T. Wright

Tom (N.T.) Wright is the former Bishop of Durham of the Anglican Church and a leading British New Testament scholar. Ordinarily he is known as "Tom Wright", although his academic work has always been published under the name "NT Wright" (Nicholas Thomas). He is generally perceived as coming from a moderately evangelical perspective. He is associated with the so-called Third Quest for the Historical Jesus, and the New Perspective on Paul (a complex movement with many unique positions, originating from the probing works of James Dunn and E. P. Sanders). He argues that the current understanding of Jesus must be connected with what is known to be true about him from the historical perspective of first century Judaism and Christianity.

Wright has written over 30 books and has introduced a New Book Simply Jesus: a Thought-Provoking and Entertaining Perspective on Who Jesus Was.

In the tradition of C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity for believers confronting the challenge of connecting with their faith today, SIMPLY JESUS: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters offers a provocative new picture of how to understand who Jesus was and how we should relate to him today. → Read More about the New Book

Earlier, he completed three books in a projected six-volume scholarly series Christian Origins and the Question of God. These are:

1. The New Testament and the People of God,
2. Jesus and the Victory of God and,
3. The Resurrection of the Son of God.

He has also written books on a popular level, including The Challenge of Jesus and the projected twelve volume For Everyone Bible commentary series in a similar vein to William Barclay's Daily Study Bible series.


Saturday, October 22, 2011


refers to the important theological concept in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, although the meaning differs in Islam as you will see later in this article. In one sense, it is an attribute of God whereby he is said to be holy and righteous. In another sense it refers to the righteousness of man; either his inherent righteousness (or the lack thereof), or his potential right standing before God or as being "judged" or "reckoned" as righteous by God (as the patriarch Abraham was in Genesis).
4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: "This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir." 5 And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." 6 And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
—Gen. 15:4-6 ESV
Following the wandering in the desert, Moses reminds the Israelites they had provoked the LORD in the wilderness, that they had been been rebellious, and the size and might of the enemies they would encounter as they were to cross over the Jordan. This was to drive them to God, and engage their hope in him. Moses assures them of victory, because of the presence of God with them. He warns them not to have the least thought of their own righteousness, as if that was why they would have this coming success.
4 "Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, 'It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,' whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you. 5 Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
—Deuteronomy 9:4-5
Man cannot be righteous in the sight of God on his own merits therefore, man must have God's righteousness imputed, or transferred, to him.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Crown of Thorns

In Christianity, the Crown of Thorns (Greek: στεφανον εξ ακανθων, stephanos ek akantha "crown"+"of"+"a thorn"), one of the instruments of the Passion, was the woven chaplet of thorn branches worn by Jesus before his crucifixion. It is mentioned in the Gospels of Matthew (27:29), Mark (15:17), and John (19:2, 5) and is often alluded to by the Early Church Fathers, such as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and others.

John the Evangelist describes it like this:
1 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. 3 They came up to him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and struck him with their hands.
The particular favours God designed for his people in captivity, were foretold by Isaiah, long before they went into captivity. Very great difficulties would be in the way of their deliverance; but it is promised that by Divine power they should all be removed. God knew who should be the Deliverer of his people; and let his church know it, that when they heard such a name talked of, they might know their redemption drew nigh. It is the greatest honour of the greatest men, to be employed as instruments of the Divine favour to his people. In things wherein men serve themselves, and look no further, God makes them do all his pleasure. And a nobler Shepherd than Cyrus does his Father's will, till his work is fully completed.
who says of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose'; saying of Jerusalem, 'She shall be built,' and of the temple, 'Your foundation shall be laid.'"
—Isa 44:28

Then, approximately 700 years later:
18 So the Jews said to him, "What sign do you show us for doing these things?"
19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." 20 The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?" 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
—John 2:18-21
And the people who saw Jesus being crucified, were reminded of what he had said
27 And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. 29 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, "Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!"
—Mark 15:27-30

After Jesus had died on the cross, and had been buried in a tomb that had been donated by Joseph of Arimathea three days did, in fact, pass.
22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
—John 2:22
Hillsong United - Hosanna

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Joseph of Arimathea

According to the Gospels, Joseph of Arimathea was the man who donated his own prepared tomb for the burial of Jesus after Jesus was crucified. A native of Arimathea, he was apparently a man of wealth, and a member of the Sanhedrin (which is the way bouleutēs, literally "senator", is interpreted in Matthew 27:57 and Luke 23:50). Joseph was an "honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God" (Mark 15:43):
43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
The Greek word for bold used in the above is τολμάω tolmaō, "not to dread or shun through fear."

Pontius Pilate, who was reassured by a centurion that the death had really taken place, allowed Joseph's request. Joseph immediately purchased fine linen (Mark 15:46) and proceeded to Golgotha to take the body down from the cross. There, assisted by Nicodemus, he took the body and wrapped it in the fine linen, sprinkling it with the myrrh and aloes which Nicodemus had brought (John 19:39).

The body was then conveyed to a new tomb that had been hewn for Joseph himself out of a rock in his garden nearby. There they laid it, in the presence of Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and other women, and rolled a great stone to the entrance, and departed (Luke 23:53, 55). This was done speedily, "for the Sabbath was drawing on".
53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.

Joseph of Arimathea is venerated as a saint by the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. His feast-day is March 17 among Latins, and July 31 in the East. He appears in some early New Testament apocrypha, and a series of legends grew around him during the Middle Ages, which tied him to Britain and the Holy Grail.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Abomination Of Desolation

(or desolating sacrilege) is a term found in the Hebrew Bible, in the book of Daniel. It also occurs in the book of 1 Maccabees and in the New Testament gospels, for example:
And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. –Luke 16:15

The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. –Rev 17:4

But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Rev 21:27

from the Greek βδέλυγμα bdelygma a foul thing, a detestable thing, of idols and things pertaining to idolatry

In the case of idolatry, the Old Testament often describes such things as an abomination by the Israelites:
And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as [did] David his father. –1 Kings 11:6
Hebrew: רַע ra` "ad, wrong, ill, lousy, foul, moldy, mouldy, noxious, unkind, verminous, atrocious; evil, wicked, vicious, meany, nefarious, baleful; dangerous, malignant"

But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel. –2 Kings 16:3

And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. 2 Kings 21:2

Hebrew: תועבה tow`ebah "nf. abomination, shameful deed, profanity, scabrousness, villainousness, anathema; idols, idolatry"

Matthew Henry says this about Dan. 11:31-45
From Antiochus the account seems to pass to antichrist. Reference seems to be made to the Roman empire, the fourth monarchy, in its pagan, early Christian, and papal states. The end of the Lord's anger against his people approaches, as well as the end of his patience towards his enemies. If we would escape the ruin of the infidel, the idolater, the superstitious and cruel persecutor, as well as that of the profane, let us make the oracles of God our standard of truth and of duty, the foundation of our hope, and the light of our paths through this dark world, to the glorious inheritance above.

As a good part of biblical references to the concept of abomination relates to things generally considered as idolatrous, evil, vile, nefarious, wicked, etc., there was recently something that came to my attention that stuck out in my thinking as unexplainably odd. Of course, after putting two and two together this, too, made perfect sense. Just more pure evil...hidden in deception.

We have the idea of Abomination of Desolation of Matthew and Mark (Jesus, and the Daniel reference) tucked neatly away from our years of making assumptions about what, exactly, it means. It seems rather clear, from the above passages, that we are not talking about a "person" being the Abomination of Desolation but rather, something that is vile, wicked, evil in the eyes of God.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Spiritual Warfare

Contemporary Evangelical circles are particularly interested in the concept of spiritual warfare. Some Evangelicals believe that when someone is attacked by demons or fallen spirits, the targeted person can combat the attack by prayer, fasting, consulting with their spiritual advisers, and perhaps also by a process known as casting out demons.
He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.
—Isaiah 59:17
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
—2 Corinthians 10:3-6

A scriptural basis for the concept of spiritual warfare is found in the Epistle to the Ephesians, where Paul of Tarsus metaphorically arms the Christian with weapons and armor that recall those of a Roman centurion:
“ 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
—Ephesians 6:10-18

Major traditions of Western Christianity — including Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant — acknowledge a belief in the reality (or ontological existence) of a fallen angel known as the Devil and Satan. This affirmation is reinforced in the writings of the Early Church Fathers, in the Councils and Creeds of the early Church, and in the later confessional documents of some Christian denominations.

The doctrinal position of some Western Christian Church traditions is that Satan and other fallen angels, or demons, are spiritual entities that exist and sometimes manifest their presence in the world. These entities exist to deceive humanity. Their primary mission is to thwart God's purposes on earth, and to prevent non-believers from placing faith in Christ and to prevent Christians from being effective disciples of Yeshua (Jesus). Satan is referred to as "the father of lies" (John 8:44) and as "the accuser of our brothers" (Revelation 12:10).


War John Piper Sermon Jam,
Underground Church Preparations interview with Chuck Missler.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


(Hebrew: יעקב Ya`aqob "heel holder" or "supplanter" from עָקַב "to supplant, circumvent, take by the heel, follow at the heel, assail insidiously, overreach"), later known as Israel (Hebrew: ישראל Yisra'el Gen 32:28 "God prevails"), is the third biblical Patriarch. His father was Isaac and his grandfather was Abraham. His story is told in the Book of Genesis, at Gen 25:19 which begins, "And these [are] the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son: Abraham begat Isaac...."

Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah, sixty years old when Esau and Jacob were born, while Abraham was 160 years old. He and his twin brother, Esau, were markedly different in appearance and behavior. Esau was a ruddy hunter, while Jacob was a gentle man who "dwelled in tents," interpreted by most biblical scholars as a mark of his studiousness in the "tents" of Torah.
And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob [was] a plain man, dwelling in tents. –Gen 25:27

During Rebekah's pregnancy, "the children struggled together within her" (Genesis 25:22).

According to Rashi
Whenever Rebecca passed a house of study, Jacob would become agitated, indicating his natural inclination for Torah study. If she passed a house of idol worship, however, Esau would become agitated, expressing his own penchant for idolatry. (Rashi, Bereishis 25:22) Seeking to understand this paradox, Rebecca approached Shem, the son of Noah, who had an academy of higher learning and was also a prophet. He revealed that Rebecca would give birth to twins whose character would be completely divergent from each other. Jacob would embrace righteousness; Esav, his evil inclination. (Rashi, Bereishis 25:23)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Alexander the Great

 (in Greek Μέγας Αλέξανδρος, transliterated Megas Alexandros) (Alexander III of Macedon) most likely in Pella, Macedon, in July, 356 BC, died in Babylon, on June 10, 323 BC, King of Macedon 336–323 BC, is considered one of the most successful military commanders in world history (if not the greatest), conquering most of the known world before his death.

Alexander is also known in the Zoroastrian Middle Persian work Arda Wiraz Nāmag as "the accursed Alexander" due to his conquest of the Persian Empire and the destruction of its capital Persepolis.

He is also known in Middle Eastern traditions as Dhul-Qarnayn in Arabic and Dul-Qarnayim in Hebrew and Aramaic (the two-horned one) (see also: Aramaic of Jesus), apparently due to an image on coins minted during his rule that seemingly depicted him with the two ram's horns of the Egyptian god Ammon.

He is known as Sikandar in Hindi; in fact in India, the term Sikandar is used as a synonym for "expert" or "extremely skilled"; in the Malay Language he is known as Iskandar Zulkarnain.

Following the unification of the multiple city-states of ancient Greece under the rule of his father, Philip II of Macedon, (a labor Alexander had to repeat twice because the southern Greeks rebelled after Philip's death), Alexander conquered the Persian Empire, including Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia, Gaza, Egypt, Bactria and Mesopotamia and extended the boundaries of his own empire as far as the Punjab. Alexander integrated foreigners (non-Macedonians, non-Greeks1) into his army and administration, leading some scholars to credit him with a "policy of fusion." He encouraged marriage between his army and foreigners, and practiced it himself. After twelve years of constant military campaigning, Alexander died, possibly of malaria, typhoid, or even viral encephalitis. His conquests ushered in centuries of Greek settlement and rule over foreign areas, a period known as the Hellenistic Age. Alexander himself lived on in the history and myth of both Greek and non-Greek cultures. Already during his lifetime, and especially after his death, his exploits inspired a literary tradition in which he appears as a towering legendary hero in the tradition of Achilles.

Daniel's vision of the ram and the he-goat
God gives Daniel a foresight of the destruction of other kingdoms, which in their day were as powerful as that of Babylon. Could we foresee the changes that shall be when we are gone, we should be less affected with changes in our own day. The ram with two horns was the second empire, that of Media and Persia. He saw this ram overcome by a he-goat. This was Alexander the Great. Alexander, when about thirty-three years of age, and in his full strength, died, and showed the vanity of worldly pomp and power, and that they cannot make a man happy. While men dispute, as in the case of Alexander, respecting the death of some prosperous warrior, it is plain that the great First Cause of all had no more of his plan for him to execute, and therefore cut him off. Instead of that one great horn, there came up four notable ones, Alexander's four chief captains. A little horn became a great persecutor of the church and people of God. It seems that the Mohammedan delusion is here pointed out. It prospered, and at one time nearly destroyed the holy religion God's right hand had planted. It is just with God to deprive those of the privileges of his house who despise and profane them; and to make those know the worth of ordinances by the want of them, who would not know it by the enjoyment of them. Daniel heard the time of this calamity limited and determined; but not the time when it should come. If we would know the mind of God, we must apply to Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; not hid from us, but hid for us. There is much difficulty as to the precise time here stated, but the end of it cannot be very distant. God will, for his own glory, see to the cleansing of the church in due time. Christ died to cleanse his church; and he will so cleanse it as to present it blameless to himself.
[Matthew Henry Commentary on Daniel 8:1-14]


Friday, October 14, 2011


is a fraternal organization. Members are joined together by shared ideals of both a moral and metaphysical nature and, in most of its branches, by a constitutional declaration of belief in a Supreme Being. Organisationally, Freemasonry is governed on a geographic basis by independent, Sovereign Grand Lodges and Grand Orients which may, or may not, be in a state of mutual recognition.

Freemasonry is an esoteric society, in that certain aspects of its internal work are not generally disclosed to the public. In recent years, Freemasons have stated that Freemasonry has become less a secret society and more of a society with secrets. It also claims that most of the "secrets" of Freemasonry were revealed and have been known to the public since as early as the eighteenth century.

For this and other reasons, most modern freemasons regard the traditional concern over secrecy as a demonstration of their ability to keep a promise and as a surrogate for the organization's concern over the privacy of their own affairs. The private aspects of modern Freemasonry deal with elements of ritual and the modes of recognition amongst members within the ritual.


Thursday, October 13, 2011


(pronounced "Sheh-ole" Hebrew: שאול shĕ'owl, "sheol, underworld, grave, hell, pit") is the common destination of both the righteous and the unrighteous dead, as recounted in Job 26:6; Isa 5:14; etc.

Sheol is sometimes compared to Hades, the gloomy, twilight afterlife of Greek mythology. The word "hades" was in fact substituted for "sheol" when the Hebrew bible was translated into Greek. The New Testament   also uses "hades" to refer to the abode of the dead.

By the second century BC, Jews who accepted the Oral Tradition had come to believe that those in sheol awaited the resurrection either in comfort (in the bosom of Abraham) or in torment. This belief is reflected in Jesus' story of Lazarus and Dives. At that time Jews who rejected the Oral Tradition believed that Sheol meant simply the grave. According to the Yeshiva Beth HaShem website, "While the KJV and other translations sometime translate Sheol as 'Hell' it merely means 'the grave.'

Anglicans, who do not share a concept of "hades" with the Eastern Orthodox, have traditionally translated "sheol" (and "hades") as "hell" (for example in the King James Version). However, to avoid confusion of what are separate concepts in the Bible, modern English versions of the Bible tend either to transliterate the word sheol or to use an alternative term such as the "grave" (e.g. the NIV). Roman Catholics generally translate "sheol" as "death."

The origin of the term sheol is obscure.

One theory is that Sheol is connected ša'al, the root of which means "to burrow" and is thus related to šu'al "fox" or "burrower".

Biblical scholar and archaeologist William F. Albright suggests that the Hebrew root for SHE'OL is SHA'AL, which means "to ask, to interrogate, to question." Neal A. Maxwell Institute scholar John Tvedtnes connects this with the common theme in near-death experiences of the interrogation of the soul after crossing the Tunnel.

As regards the origin not of the term but of the concept, the Jewish Encyclopedia considers more probable the view that it originated in animistic conceits: "With the body in the grave remains connected the soul (as in dreams): the dead buried in family graves continue to have communion (comp. Jer. 31:15 ).

He that scattered Israel, knows where to find them. It is comfortable to observe the goodness of the Lord in the gifts of providence. But our souls are never valuable as gardens, unless watered with the dews of God's Spirit and grace. A precious promise follows, which will not have full accomplishment except in the heavenly Zion. Let them be satisfied of God's loving-kindness, and they will be satisfied with it, and desire no more to make them happy. Rachel is represented as rising from her grave, and refusing to be comforted, supposing her offspring rooted out. The murder of the children at Bethlehem, by Herod, Matthew 2:16-18, in some degree fulfilled this prediction, but could not be its full meaning. If we have hope in the end, concerning an eternal inheritance, for ourselves and those belonging to us, all temporal afflictions may be borne, and will be for our good. –Matthew Henry's Commentary on Jeremiah 31:10-17


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Plagues of Egypt

The Plagues of Egypt (Hebrew: מִצְרַיִם מכות, makkah Mitsrayim) or the Ten Plagues (עשר המכות, Eser Ha-Makot) are the ten calamities inflicted upon Egypt by God in the Biblical story recounted the book of Exodus, chapters 7-12, in order to convince Pharaoh to let the Israelite slaves leave.

The plagues as they appear in the Torah are:

1. (Ex 7:14-25) rivers and other water sources turned to blood (דָם 'Dam')
2. (Ex 7:26-8:11) amphibians (commonly believed to be frogs) (צְּפַרְדֵּעַ 'Tsfardeia')
3. (Ex 8:12-15) lice (כִנִּים 'Kinim')
4. (Ex 8:16-28) Either flies, wild animals or beetles (עָרוֹב 'Arov')
5. (Ex 9:1-7) disease on livestock (דֶּבֶר 'Dever')
6. (Ex 9:8-12) unhealable boils (שְׁחִין 'Shkhin')
7. (Ex 9:13-35) hail mixed with fire (בָּרָד 'Barad')
8. (Ex 10:1-20) locusts (אַרְבֶּה 'Arbeh')
9. (Ex 10:21-29) darkness (חוֹשֶך 'Choshech')
10. (Ex 11:1-12:36) death of the firstborn (מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת 'Makat Bechorot')

Whereas all the other plagues did not affect the Israelites, the Torah indicates that they were only spared from the final plague by sacrificing the Paschal lamb, marking their doorpost with the lamb's blood, and eating the roasted sacrifice together with Matzot ("Poor Man's Bread" לחם עוני) in a celebratory feast. The Torah describes God as actually passing through Egypt to kill all firstborn, but passing over (hence "Passover") houses which have the sign of lambs' blood on the doorpost. It was this plague which resulted in Pharaoh finally relenting, and sending the Israelites away at whatever terms they wished.

The Torah also relates God's instructions to Moses that the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt must be celebrated yearly on the holiday of Passover ("Pesah" פסח); the rituals observed on Passover recall the events surrounding the Exodus from Egypt. The Torah additionally cites God's sparing of the Israelite firstborn as a rationale for the commandment of the redemption of the firstborn (Exodus 13:11-16).

This event is also commemorated by the fast of the firstborn on the day preceding Passover but which is traditionally not observed because a siyum celebration is held which obviates the need for a fast.

The plagues of Egypt are recognized by Christians, Muslims, and Jews.

The first three plagues seemed to affect "all the land of Egypt," while the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 9th did not affect the children of Israel. Conditions of the 8th plague are unclear. For the last plague the Torah indicates that they were only spared from the final plague by sacrificing the Paschal lamb, marking their doorpost with the lamb's blood, and eating the roasted sacrifice together with Matzot (לחם עוני) in a celebratory feast. The Torah describes the angel of death as actually passing through Egypt to kill all firstborn children, but passing over (hence "Passover") houses which have the sign of lambs' blood on the doorpost. The night of this plague, Pharaoh finally relents and sends the Israelites away under their terms.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

General epistles

also called Catholic Epistles, are books in the New Testament in the form of letters. They are termed "general" because for the most part their intended audience seems to be Christians in general rather than individual persons or congregations as is the case with the Pauline epistles. However, 2 John and 3 John are included in this group despite their addresses respectively to the "elect lady", speculated by many to be the church itself, and to "Gaius", about whom there has been much speculation but little in the way of conclusive proof as to his identity.

There has been considerable speculation as to the authorship of these works. All but the most conservative scholars tend to believe 2 Peter to be a pseudonymous forgery, but these scholars are adamant in their defense of its authenticity and place in the Biblical canon. Some Protestants tend to attribute the epistles of James and Jude to Jesus' younger half-brothers, while Roman Catholics and others who hold to the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary see this as heretical.


John Piper - How are general and special revelation different?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dallas Willard

Is American philosophy professor and author born in Buffalo, Missouri. His work in philosophy has been primarily in phenomenology, particularly the work of Edmund Husserl. His more popular work has been in the area of Christian spiritual formation, within the various expressions of historic Christian orthodoxy.

Willard attended William Jewell College, and later graduated from Tennessee Temple College in 1956 with a B.A. in Psychology, and from Baylor University in 1956 with a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion. He went to graduate school at Baylor University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earning a Ph. D. in Philosophy with a minor in the History of Science in 1964.

In his book, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God he says,
"The most telling thing about the contemporary Christian is that he or she has no compelling sense that understanding of and conformity with the clear teachings of Christ is of any vital importance to [their] life, and certainly not that it is in any way essential. Such obedience is regarded as just out of the question or impossible."
Video: Transformed by the Renewing of the Mind


Sunday, October 09, 2011


A superior or higher-ranking angel; chief of the angels. They are to be found in a number of religious traditions, including Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
The word archangel is derived from Greek:
αρχαγγελος archangelos
αρχ arch, "first, primary"
αγγελος angelos, "messenger".

In Judaism
There are no explicit references to archangels in the canonical texts of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Indeed even angels are uncommon except in later works like Daniel. The earliest references to archangels are in the literature of the intertestamental period.

It is therefore widely speculated that Jewish interest in angels was learned during the Babylonian exile. According to Rabbi Simeon ben Lakish of Tiberias (230–270 CE), all the specific names for the angels were brought back by the Jews from Babylon, and some modern commentators would argue that the details of the angelic hierarchy were largely Zoroastrian in origin.

Within the rabbinic tradition and the Kabbalah, the usual number given is at least seven: Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel, Sariel,Raguel and Remiel (possibly the Ramiel of the Apocalypse of Baruch, said to preside over true visions). Zadkiel, Jophiel, Haniel and Chamuel are also listed as archangels.

In Christianity
The New Testament rarely speaks of angels, and makes only two references to archangels,

1. Michael in Jude 1:9, (which is referring in passing to a Jewish legend)
9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"


2. I Thessalonians 4:16, where the "voice of an archangel" will be heard at the return of Christ
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

Contrary to popular belief Gabriel is never called 'archangel' in the Gospels.


Friday, October 07, 2011


image from the Terra satellite
shows the Mediterranean Sea (left)
and portions of the Middle East.
(Hebrew: פלשת Pĕlesheth "land of sojouners") is one of several names for the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the banks of the Jordan River with various adjoining lands. Many different definitions of the region have been used in the past three millennia.

The region in the 9th century BCE. Notice the coastal land of Philistia, from which the name "Palestine" derives. Ancient Egyptian texts call the entire levantine coastal area R-t-n-u (conventionally Retenu), which stretched along the Mediterranean coast in between modern Egypt and Turkey.

It subdivided into three regions. Retenu's southern region (called Djahy) approximates modern Israel with the Palestinian Territories, the central region Lebanon, and the northern region (called Amurru) the Syrian coast as far north as the Orontes River near Turkey.

The term "Palestine" derives from the word Philistine, the name of a non-Semitic ethnic group, who inhabited a smaller area on the southern coast, called Philistia, whose borders approximate the modern Gaza Strip. Philistia encompassed the five cities of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath. The Egyptian texts of the temple at Medinet Habu, record a people called the P-r-s-t (conventionally Peleset), one of the Sea Peoples who invaded Egypt in Ramesses III's reign. This is considered very likely to be a reference to the Philistines (Hebrew: פלשתי Pĕlishtiy "immigrants"), usually translated as Philistia in English, is used in the Bible to denote they were descendants of Mizraim, one of the sons of Ham who immigrated from Caphtor (Hebrew: כַּפְתּוֹר Kaphtor)  to the the original home of the Philistines, perhaps on the southwest coast of Asia Minor, maybe in Egypt or close by, or more probably on the island of Crete.


Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Names of God

God is the term for the Supreme Being believed by the majority to be the creator, ruler and/or the sum total of, existence. Conceptions of God can vary widely, despite the common use of the same term for them all.
The God of monotheism, or the supreme deity in the pantheist, panentheist and henotheistic religions, is not always thought of by believers in the same terms as are deities in many other religions — as a powerful, human-like, supernatural being — but rather, becomes esoteric, the deification of a philosophical category — the Ultimate, the Absolute Infinite, the Transcendent, the One, the All, Existence or Being itself, the ground of being, the monistic substrate, etc.
Theologians and philosophers have studied countless conceptions of God since the dawn of civilization. The question of the existence of God classically falls under the branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, but is also one of the key discussions taking place within the field of the philosophy of religion.
The development of English orthography was dominated by Christian texts. Capitalized "God" was first used to refer to the Judeo-Christian concept, and may now signify any monotheistic conception of God, including the translations of the Arabic Allāh and the African Masai Engai.
  • Adonay YHWH as "Lord God"
  • YHWH Elohim as "Lord God"
  • κυριος ο θεος as "Lord God" (in the New Testament)
The use of capitalization, as for a proper noun, has persisted to disambiguate the concept of a singular God from pagan deities for which lower case god has continued to be applied, mirroring the use of Latin deus.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


(Greek: Andreas, Ανδρέας "manly"), called in the Orthodox tradition Protocletos, or the First-called, is a Christian Apostle, brother of Simon Peter.
One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. John:1:40 ESV

According to Christian tradition, Andrew was born at Bethsaida (Greek: Βηθσαϊδά Bēthsaïda "house or place of hunting or fishing" of Aramaic origin בַּיִת צַיָּד bayith "house" tsayad "hunter"), a small fishing village on the west shore of Lake Gennesaret Sea of Galilee, home of Andrew, Peter, Philip and John (John 1:44). Since he was a Jew, Andreas was almost certainly not his given name, but no Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him. He had been a disciple of John the Baptist (John 1:37-40) and was one of the first to follow Jesus. He lived at Capernaum (Mark 1:29). In the gospels he is referred to as being present on some important occasions as one of the disciples more closely attached to Jesus (Mark 13:3; John 6:8, 12:22). In the book of Matthew, Jesus said, to Andrew and his brother Simon, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Greek: ἁλιεύς ἄνθρωπος halieus "a fisherman, fisher" anthrōpos "a human being, whether male or female") in Acts there is only a bare mention of him (Acts 1:13).
John Piper Apostles and Church Growth

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Abrahamic religion

In the study of comparative religion, an Abrahamic religion is any of those religions deriving from a common ancient Semitic tradition and traced by their adherents to Abraham (Hebrew: אברהם 'Abraham "Father/Leader of many", previously אברם 'Abram see Gen 17:5, Arabic ابراهيم), a patriarch whose life is narrated in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, and as a prophet in the Qur'an.

This forms a large group of related, largely monotheistic religions, generally held to include Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the Bahá’í Faith (based upon Islam), and comprises about half of the world's religious adherents.

According to the Jewish tradition, Abraham was the first person to reject idolatry, hence he symbolically appears as the founder of monotheistic religions. In that sense, Abrahamic religion could be simply equated with monotheistic religion, but not all monotheistic religions are Abrahamic. In Islam he is considered as the first monotheist and is often refered to as Ibrahim al-Hanif or Abraham the Monotheist. The term, desert monotheism, is sometimes used for a similar purpose of comparison in historical contexts, but not for modern faiths.

All the Abrahamic religions are derived to some extent from Judaism as practiced in ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah prior to the Babylonian Exile, at the beginning of the 1st millennium BCE. Many believe that Judaism in Biblical Israel was renovated and reformed to some extent in the 6th century BCE by Ezra and other priests returning to Israel from the exile. Samaritanism separated from Judaism in the next few centuries.

Christianity originated in Judea, at the end of the 1st century, as a radically reformed branch of Judaism; it spread to ancient Greece and Rome, and from there to most of Europe, Asia, the Americas, and many other parts of the world. Over the centuries, Christianity split into many separate churches and denominations. A major split in the 5th century separated various Oriental Churches from the Catholic church centered in Rome. Other major splits were the East-West Schism in the 11th century, separating the Roman Catholic Church from the Eastern Orthodox Churches; and the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, that gave birth to hundreds of independent Protestant denominations.


Saturday, October 01, 2011

Yom Kippur

 (יוֹם כִּפֻּר] yowm kippūr), the Jewish holiday of the Day of Atonement. The word kippur (Hebrew: כִּפֻּר) is from the root word kaphar (Hebrew: כָּפַר) "to cover, purge, make an atonement, make reconciliation, cover over with pitch"). It is one of the Yamim Noraim (Hebrew, "Days of Awe"). The day is commemorated with a 25-hour fast and intensive prayer. It is considered the holiest day of the Jewish year.

The rites for Yom Kippur are set forth in the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus (cf. Exodus 30:10; Leviticus 23:27-31, 25:9; Numbers 29:7-11). It is described as a solemn fast, on which no food or drink could be consumed, and on which all work is forbidden. Sacrifices were offered in the Temple in Jerusalem.

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, falls on It occurs on the tenth day of the seventh month. Here are the coinciding secular date in 2011: October 7-8.

Morning: Leviticus 16:1-34 and Numbers 29:7-11
Afternoon: Leviticus 18:1-30

The text tells the ritual of Yom Kippur. After the death of Aaron's sons, God told Moses to tell Aaron not to come at will into the Most Holy Place, lest he die, for God appeared in the cloud there. Aaron was to enter only after bathing in water, dressing in his sacral linen tunic, breeches, sash, and turban, and bringing a bull for a sin offering, two rams for burnt offerings, and two he-goats for sin offerings. Aaron was to take the two goats to the entrance of the Tabernacle and place lots upon them, one marked for the Lord and the other for Azazel. Aaron was to offer the goat designated for the Lord as a sin offering, and to send off to the wilderness the goat designated for Azazel. Aaron was then to offer the bull of sin offering. Aaron was then to take a pan of glowing coals from the altar and two handfuls of incense and put the incense on the fire before the Most Holy Place, so that the cloud from the incense would screen the Ark of the Covenant. He was to sprinkle some of the bull's blood and then some of the goat's blood over and in front of the Ark, to purge the Shrine of the uncleanness and transgression of the Israelites.


Yom Kippur – The Feasts of The Lord
and Cello Soloist Teodora Miteva, Bulgaria/Austria performed this concert with the Vienna Philharmonic Women´s Orchestra at the St. Thekla Church in Vienna. Conducted by Izabella Shareyko.
1) "Kol Nidrei" Max Bruch - Part 1  "Kol Nidrei" Max Bruch - Part 2 Teodora Miteva, Cello




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