Twice in the past month I was engaged in heated Twitter DM debates over the possibilities of Jesus being born during the Feast of the Tabernacle. Both of these twitter followers, who were very convinced of this, were in no way having none of me or my theories. I was told by one that my theory relies too much on astronomy, and the Talmud is not valid scripture that is full of Jewish mysticism. Although I respect their beliefs, I must answer to what I believe to be complete nonsense, and a poor theory with more questions than answers. I’m still learning about this theory, and the origins of it, but there are people, more than one, who share this belief. Know this, I will except all challenges with vigor.
From the little research I have uncovered thus far, D Thomas Lancaster, the Director of Education at the Fruits of Zion church in Hudson, WI and Dr. David R. Reagan the Founder and Director for Lamb & Lion Ministries in Mckinney, TX seem to be important proponents of this theory. However, Lancaster states on his website about this belief, “Admittedly, this is all speculative. The Gospels do not actually indicate that John was born on the first day of Passover, that Yeshua was born on the first day of Sukkot, or that he was circumcised on the eighth day of Sukkot. Nevertheless, there may be evidence that the early Jewish believers thought so.” However, I would like to see this evidence to study it more. Reagan also downplays this theory by stating on his website, “Christmas is not a commandment. It is far more important HOW we celebrate (“remember the reason for the season”) than WHEN. Let us not give or receive condemnation for observing the 25th of December, rather let us celebrate that God’s Son became fully human and lived a perfect life so that He could become our perfect sacrifice and conquer sin and death in our place.”
Unlike Lancaster and Reagan, I believe that the Talmud foretells of both the birth and death of Jesus by comparing him to Jewish Patriarchs. They were born and died during the Passover month of Nisan. This makes knowing Jesus’ birth important because it connects his birth to Talmud. This shows us that he was Jewish and worshiped the Jewish religious celebrations. It also proves he was not only spiritually perfect, but also perfect within the Jewish calendar which is based on Lunar phases, another creation of God. This may be a hobby for them, but I’m very serious about it. You use information from the Talmud that tells of Zechariah's Temple encounter, but ignore the most important verse. Evidence proves that Christians have been using this verse since the 2nd century, and may have been using it much longer.
R. Yehoshua, says: In Nissan the world was created, and in the same month the patriarchs were born, and in Nissan they also died; Isaac was born on the Passover; on New Year’s Day Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah were visited, Joseph was released from prison, and the bondage of our fathers in Egypt ceased. In Nisan our ancestors were redeemed from Egypt, and in the same month we shall again be redeemed.
To my Twitter challengers, I will start out by saying that if you care about finding the date of the Nativity, the account in Matthew 2 is the most important evidence in the pursuit of this. I have discovered when Matthew 2 and astronomy is dismissed because it is evil, there is usually a cryptic interpretation of one or more Bible verses soon to follow, and I’m the one of accused of not relying enough on the Bible. I will not tolerate humans twisting Bible verses to come up with invalid theories. God provided the verse; humans have misused it. This practice may attract some people to Christ, but others are not impressed with the obvious misuse of scripture, history, and science. They are turned in the opposite direction. The Talmud is composed of several books. It is the Oral Law of God, and the second most important scripture in Judaism next to the Torah, and is not full of “Jewish Mysticism” I will address more in future blogs. But, now I what to focus on the Feast of the Tabernacle or Booths.
I must confess that until recently I knew little of the Feast of the Tabernacle. It is one of the most important times of worship in Judaism. It last seven days. During this time Jews spend the night in small makeshift tents or booths to remind them of the time that the Ark of the Convenient was housed in a tent before the building of the Temple. Leviticus explains this.
(Leviticus 23:39-43) On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD seven days. On the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest. And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. . .. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
The supporters of the Feast of the Tabernacle birth of Jesus point to the OT prophet Zechariah. His book prophetises that a time will come when the whole world will at some time worship the Feast in the name of Jesus. John 7:37-39 follows this belief.
(Zechariah 14:16) Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.
(John 7:37-39) On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
While both of these verses, one from the OT and one from the mouth of Jesus, foretell of a time when the world will observe the Feast. I’m not sure about announcing the time of the Nativity. Good for bolstering the theory, but not enough to base the whole belief on. They point to Luke for the dating of this belief. Luke tells us of the miracle birth of John the Baptist. We know John was 6 months older than Jesus. Luke states:
(Luke 1:5-7) In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
Theologians know that John's father, Zechariah was serving in the Temple nine months before Passover, when it was revealed to him by an angel of the Lord that his wife would soon become pregnant. Alright this is a good start we have some historical evidence, ironically from the Talmud, that his priestly order had Temple duties at this time. Therefore we can date the time of the Angel coming before him. But, after that the actual time of conception becomes murky. Luke continues,
(Luke 1:23-25) When his time of service was completed, he returned home. After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
Problems start to appear after this because we do not know when Zechariah left to go home after his service was complete nor how long it took after he arrived home for Elizabeth to become pregnant. If she become pregnant right away, John was born near the time of Passover and Jesus near the time of the Feast of the Tabernacle if she became pregnant five to six months after the time of Zechariah's encounter with the angel, Jesus would have been born at Passover. We also know from Luke that Jesus was born in a manger because the rooms in Bethlehem were full. One must remember that during this Feast, Jews were to sleep in makeshift tents outdoors, not in rooms. If Jesus was born during this time Jesus would have been born in a tent because it was what Jews did, and not a manger because there were no rooms available. This defeats the purpose of reminding Jews of the day when the Ark was housed in a tent. Luke states,
(Luke 2:7) and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Here is what messing from the Tabernacle birth theory. There is no ancient evidence for a Star of Bethlehem, there is no verse from the Bible or Talmud that clearly states a possible date for the Tabernacle Nativity, and no early Church traditions that indicate that those living close to the time of Jesus were worshiping his birth at the time of the Feast of the Tabernacle. See my earlier blogs about what the Talmud says about the birth of the Patriarchs being born and dying during the month of Passover, the observance of the Chinese comet in 5BCE during the month of Passover, Clement of Alexandria's 2nd century statement of Gnostic Christians celebrating Christmas and Easter on the same day of the year, Hipploytus’ 3rd century statue that tells of Jesus birth during Passover, and Origen, who was Clement’s student, commentary on the Star being a comet. I also tell how the Magi related the comet to the birth of Jesus in my book, The Essence of Perfection. Until my next blog, GO WITH GOD, and please learn more about the Jewish festivals that Jesus was a part of, and worshiped.
Anyone who has followed me for while knows that I believe that Jesus was born during the Passover month of Nisan in 5 BCE. This is based on information from the Talmud and the Chinese who observed a comet during that same time. I write about this in great detail in my book, The Essence of Perfection. But, from time to time I’m confronted by someone who has been falsely deceived into believing that that Jesus’ Star of Bethlehem was a 3BCE planetary conjunction. Nowhere in the Bible are celestial conjunctions used to predict or warn the people. Prophecy given by God to the Jews was done through dreams, angles, or God directly speaking to people, and never through interpretations of conjunctions. But, today some are using the signs in the heavens to justify current or future events. The alignment of Jupiter and Venus are not signs from God, only natural occurrences. Never-the-less, people can use the flexibility of conjunctions to proclaim them as "signs" for the second coming of Jesus or the birth of Jesus. For example, one of the more well known is from Rick Larson, a lawyer from Texas who believes the Star of Bethlehem was a conjunction.
According to Larson, a triple conjunction started on September 11, 3 BCE, which he believes was the Conception of Jesus. This was the first meeting of Jupiter and Regulus (looking east). Regulus is the brightest star in Leo and thought to be very special. The nation of Israel is often referred to as the “Lion of Judah,” so this meeting would have been important to this theory. Then, nine months (the duration of a pregnancy) later, on June 17, 2 BCE, Jupiter and Venus (the planet of mothers) met in Leo (over Israel this would have been in the west), and it would have been a very bright “star” indeed. This would have marked the birth of Jesus. Then on December 25, 2 BCE, if you were in Jerusalem looking south toward Bethlehem, Jupiter would be “standing” in Virgo, the constellation of the Virgin (Mary being a virgin). Larson believes that this was the day the Magi visited the baby Jesus.
Major flaws include; First, many nations are represented by lions, its too easy to speculate. Second, most historians agree that Herod died in 4 BCE, thus Jesus could not have been born after that in 3 BCE. Third, Herod's sons date the beginning of their reigns as 4 BCE. If you believe Herod was a mega-manic, you know he would not have shared his reign with anyone. His sons would have to wait for him die. Fourth, the Magi did not chart horoscopes for unknown people. They were for mostly the rich, or soon to be new royalty. Their horoscopes were based on many factors we can not possibly know today. For example, the weather and direction and speed of the wind was important in their predictions. This means each was different and unique. Also, there is no evidence from the Bible that combined conjunctions and prophecy. Finally, there are no primary sources from this time that mention anything special about the 3 BCE alignment. I have not found mention of this or any other conjunctions from any Babylonian sources or other sources. This also includes Jewish sources. The Jews were not astronomers, and focused only on Moon phases and Lunar and Solar Eclipses. This is very muddled research conducted by Larson. All of this information is easy to find. I know many Christians have watched Larson's documentary have been inspired by it, but his research is not valid, and way too much speculation is involved for any real historian to use. Whenever confronted with someone who believes strongly on the Star being a conjunction, I ask them these questions.
Time to wake up people, Jesus was Jewish, and the last Jewish Patriarch. His life was perfect. Not only spiritually, but also chronologically based on the Jewish calendar. He was born during the month of Passover and died during the month of Passover as foretold in the Talmud just as Isaac before him. If you want to know more, follow me on twitter! Until my next post, as always GO WITH GOD!
When I was a young boy, I spent a weekend vacation in Springfield, Illinois. Not only is this the capital of Illinois, but is also the hometown and resting place of Abraham Lincoln. In one of the many gift shops, I came across a list of similarities between Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. For some reason I thought this was really cool and fun to read. In the spirit of this, I created a list of similarities between Isaac and Jesus. Theologians often compare the two.
The final outcome was that Isaac became the father of the Israel people, and Jesus became the savior of the world. Here is the really interesting part, the Talmud tells us that the Patriarchs, and in particular Isaac, were born and died during the Passover month of Nisan. In 5 BCE the Chinese observed a comet during the month of March. This is the only recorded ANCIENT primary source of any celestial object that could be the Star of Bethlehem. This is just more evidence that Jesus was born during the time of Passover. If anyone tells you different, ask them if there are any ancient sources for their star? They have nothing. This comet also just so happens to be during the month of Nisan. Passover in 5 BCE was on March 23. For more on the “Star” and why the Magi would follow this, read The Essence of Perfection. Until next time, as always, GO WITH GOD.
As the Democratic candidates ascend on South Carolina over the week they will pander to many factions in order to gain their votes. Yes, this includes the Christian community. Joe Biden’s opening speech is just a preview of what to expect this week. It was not by chance that he chose to end his speech with the words, “God bless you all, and may God protect our church.” I question if this was warning to Christian Democrats to vote for him to save the church from the other Dems and Trump. Let’s not forget that it was not too long ago that he flipped his position on the Hyde Amendment that would allow federal funding for abortions. Once against the Hyde amendment it, he is now for it in the mist of a heated race for the presidential nomination. His current stance on abortion is very unclear, and something he needs to be asked to clear up. The big question is what else will he flip on if he becomes president? How can he ask God to protect the church while at the same time going along with the far left of the Democratic party’s stance on abortion? He claims to be a devote Catholic, but believes its alright to undermine the Church’s position on abortion. You can not serve two masters. Your either on the side of the Church or not. This was a disgusting display of political pandering on the highest stage. It was not by accident that he chose these words. South Carolina is part of the Bible belt.
While I believe in separation of church and state, I also believe that is the duty of our elected leaders to uphold the same Judeo-Christian values our nation was found on, including the belief and fear of God. According to a 2016 Gallup poll, 79% of Americans believe in a god. Expect all of the Democrats to side-step their stance, and now the far left of the Democratic Party’s stance, on abortion. This will be the one issue they will not want to talk about on the national stage taking place in a heavy red state. They now all have the same stance, making abortion a non-topic. If you are Pro-life you will not have a Democratic candidate to chose from. They are all Pro-Choice. Joe may not come out against abortion, but his chosen silence is even worse. Joe is not the only one to expect political double talk from. Elizabeth Warren will must likely not forgo the possibility to remind the people of South Carolina about her days of teaching Sunday school in the Methodist Church. I guess if you taught Sunday school at one time you have a free pass to plagiarize and lie. Until next blog, GO WITH GOD!
(Updated from 3/21/19) Today, June 21, is the summer solstice. But, in the ancient Jewish calendar it was on a different day than the actual solar solstice. Every time I think I have started to grasp the Jewish calendar, that rapidly change. Although rather complex, I will attempt to explain it here. Most years Passover is the first Full-Moon after the vernal equinox. But, sometimes Passover begins on the second Full-Moon after the vernal equinox. This is because the Jewish calendar is lunar based, but the Jewish year solar based. 12 lunar months are shorter than a full solar year. These extra days, that becomes an extra month, are needed to keep the two calendars in sequence. Normally the 1st of Nissan (the 1st month of the Jewish calendar), a New Moon, falls before the vernal equinox, but this year, an intercalary year, it falls on April 6. Alright, that is a little clearer, but wait, the Jewish calendar also has totally different days for their equinoxes called tekufahs. The Jewish Encyclopedia neatly sums this up. It states,
The four teḳufot are: (1) Teḳufat Nisan, the vernal equinox (March 21), when the sun enters Aries; this is the beginning of spring, or "'et hazera'" (seed-time), when day and night are equal; (2) Teḳufat Tammuz, the summer solstice (June 21), when the sun enters Cancer; this is the summer season, or "'et ha-ḳaẓir" (harvest-time), when the day is the longest in the year; (3) Teḳufat Tishri, the autumnal equinox (Sept. 23), when the sun enters Libra, and autumn, or "'et ha-haẓir" (vintage-time), begins, and when the day again equals the night; (4) Teḳufat Ṭebet, the winter solstice (Dec. 22), when the sun enters Capricornus; this is the beginning ofwinter, or "'et ha-ḥoref"(stripping-time), when the night is the longest during the year. Each teḳufah, according to Samuel Yarḥinai, marks the beginning of a period of 91 days and 7½ hours.
To neatly sum this up, the Jewish calendar, based on Moon phases is shorter than the Solar year. Because of this extra days were needed for the Jewish month to occur at the same time of the year. It would be like December occurring earlier and earlier each year. At some point it would occur in the summer. Until next time, GO WITH GOD!
(From 11/17/17) Luke informs us that one month after Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph presented Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem. Once there, two witnesses came forward to predict the future of Jesus. Both were very devote, and more than likely knew of the tradition of prophets being born and dying during the month of Passover, and more specifically Issac being born and dying during the Passover month. From The Essence of Perfection:
In Jewish tradition, this was not uncommon; in fact, it was customary for parents to take their firstborn males to the Temple. This is because in Exodus 13:1–2 “the Lord said to Moses, ‘Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether man or animal.’” This meant that every firstborn son was to become the family priest, in charge of sacrifices for every member of the family. But, after the Exodus from Egypt, the Israelites committed the serious sin of the Golden Calf, in which only the tribe of Levi were not guilty. Numbers 3:11–12 informs us that, because of this, God decreed that the Levites were his and were to take the place of the firstborn sons of Israel. In Numbers 18:15, the Lord ordered that that the firstborn of any woman not from the tribe of Levi or a priest had to be redeemed from service to God by paying five shekels of silver one month after birth to a Temple priest.
Thus, as tradition called for, Jesus, who was from the tribe of Judah, was to undergo the Pidyon HaBen, meaning “the Redemption of the firstborn son.” In the traditional ceremony, Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple 31 days after birth. He would next have to respond to a ritual set of questioning indicating that this was Mary’s firstborn son. This also required him to redeem the newborn Jesus by paying the five silver shekels to the Temple priest, followed by a sacrifice of two young pigeons.
By preforming this ritual and receiving the five shekel offering, the Levites took the place of Jesus as a priest. Later it was the Levites who offered Jesus to the cross. The irony is that Jesus could never be a Temple priest or preform important day-to-day rituals there because he was not a Levite, but his death in 30 CE and the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE allowed him to become more than a priest. Jesus must have had something other than the role of high priest to aspire to.
Perhaps it was a combination of the testimony of the visiting Magi, Simeon and Anna at the Temple and Old Testament prophesy that inspired the young Jesus to become a prophet himself. If Simeon and Anna, who were elderly and worshiped on a regular basis at the Temple, were aware of the integral existence mentioned in the Talmud, then they also would have been aware of any future prophets being born during Passover and presented to the priest as part of the redemption of the firstborn son only 31 days after the Passover celebrations. Thus, their testimonies are important and they are the perfect witnesses. There must have been something special about Jesus; he more than likely did not have a halo over his head as depicted in Renaissance paintings, and probably would have looked like any other 31-day-old newborn, but the presence of signs in the night sky, the fact that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and the prophesy found in the Talmud may have aided Simeon and Anna in making their prediction of great things for Jesus.
We know from Luke,
DURING PASSOVER: PART 1
I recently noticed that Pro-Choicers, who are very good at thinking like lawyers, have been using verses from the OT to support their cause. According to them, God does not consider an unborn a legal human until birth. For example, 2 Kings 8:12 states,
12 And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child.
The punishment of the Babylonians is told in Isaiah 13:18, never mind that the fetus is called “fruit of the womb.”
18 Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eyes shall not spare children.
My response to this is that these were time of war, and it was part of the rules of combat. God did not literally say that it was alright to kill a fetus without atonement, only in times of war as his punishment against the enemies of Israel.
Perhaps the most misused verse is Exodus 21:18 from the RSV version of the Bible. It states,
22 “When men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no harm follows, the one who hurt her shall[b]be fined, according as the woman’s husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
But, the older King James translation specifically notes that the woman was injured, but the baby was born without “mischief.” Of course, this is not noted by the Pro-Choicers. In fact, the NRSV has changed the wording of the verse to indicate that the baby was safely born. The KJV verse states,
22 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
I’m not even going to blog about the importance of the Annunciation to Mary in the NT to the Catholic Church. Early on in Church history, the pregnant Mary was revered. This is not only scene in the Catholic Church, but all Christian Churches. Because of this, I have always wondered why Mary, pregnant with child, traveled to the town of Bethlehem when she was so close to delivery. Luke mentions that Caesar Augustus issued a degree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman Empire. This required everyone to register in his town of origin. Matthew gives no account of a Roman census. But, if this were also the time during Passover, it might explain why Mary would travel at such a critical time in her pregnancy. In order to align with the integral idea, Jesus’ birth would have had to occur around Passover during the month of Nissan, and Joseph and Mary would have visited the Temple during the Passover worship. To the Jews, Passover was the most important holiday, and the Temple the most sacred site in Israel.
According to the Bible, the First Temple was built by King Solomon around 957 BCE. Deuteronomy 12:2–27 says that the Temple replaced the Tabernacle in the Sinai Desert constructed by followers of Moses, becoming the sole place of sacrifice in Israel. In 586 BCE, the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple. In 536 BCE, King Cyrus of Persia ordered the rebuilding of the Temple. Around 20 BCE, during the reign of Herod, the Temple was renovated and expanded, becoming known as Herod’s Temple. In 70 CE, the Temple was destroyed by the Romans during the Jewish War. In 691 CE, after the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem, a Muslim shrine, the Dome of the Rock, was constructed on the Temple Mount and remains there today.
The Talmud mentions that pregnant women were close enough to the Temple during times of worship that they could smell the sacrifices. In Avot 5:8, it is acknowledged, “Ten miracles were wrought in the Sanctuary: No woman miscarried from the scent of the holy meat, and the holy meat never stank . . . and a man never said to his fellow, “The place is too strait for me to lodge in Jerusalem.”[Hence, according to this passage, even women close to birth had a special place to worship. Never too strait refers to the fact that rooms to stay in were always available. Therefore, women were an important part of Temple worship and had their own place in the Temple.
I believe that all of this shows that Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem mainly because it was the time of Passover. A good Jew was suppose to go to Jerusalem during Passover. Women had their place at the Temple, and pregnant women were there also. According the Talmud, they were protected while there. My blogs are here for you to learn. What you do with this information is your choice. I'm only a messenger. There is ample proof that Jesus was born during Passover, and early forms of Antisemitism crushed this belief. For more on my message read, The Essence of Perfection. The more you help me with my message the more it can get out. It is important to inform the world of Jesus' perfection and to remind people that he was Jewish, and would not approve of the rampant rise in Antisemitism.
1 Rodkinson, New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud, 2765.
Greetings everyone! For those of you, who have been here before, WELCOME BACK! For those of you who are new, ALL ARE WELCOME! I blog here from time to time. You can see from my past blogs that I randomly blog about many different topics. It just depends what mood I'm in at the time. This blog will focus on Christian meditation.
In meditation, one thinks deeply or focuses the mind for a period in silence, or with the aid of chanting for religious or spiritual purposes, or as a method of relaxation. Buddhists and Hindus have been practicing meditation for thousands of years. In the oldest texts from India, it was used to calm the mind. There are several different ways to achieve this state. It can be done through breathing techniques, concentrating on an object, or by chants. Sometimes people have experienced parts of their body vibrating during the process. Once the body is calm, the mind can investigate how things really are. This will lead to what Buddhist call insight. The ultimate form of insight is enlightenment. Christian meditation is different from Buddhist or Hindu meditation. Christian meditation requires one to focus on the word of God. The OT has several verses that specifically say the Written Law. Eastern meditation is more about clearing one's mind, while Christian is all about learning and gaining peace through awareness of God. Both can help one to achieve peace. In addition, clearer focus, and may lead to better health and relaxation.
Meditation verses from the OT include:
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.
Meditation verses from the NT include:
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. 31 They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.) 34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” 36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.
Interestingly, science may have an explanation for the change in Jesus’ appearance in Luke 9:28-36, also known as the Transfiguration, after praying. In recent years, scientists have studied the effects of meditation on the body and found some interesting results. By comparing blood samples of long-term meditators and a control group, the scientists found that the meditators had 2209 genes that were differentially expressed (switched on or off). Specifically, 1275 were up-regulated (their activity increased) and 934 were down-regulated (their activity decreased. Additionally, it was found that there were 1561 genes that expressed differently between a group of novice meditators who did eight weeks of meditation training and the control group. Specifically, 874 genes were up-regulated and 687 were down-regulated. The research team concluded the following:
The RR (relaxation response) is clinically effective for ameliorating symptoms in a variety of stress-related disorders including cardiovascular, autoimmune, and other inflammatory conditions and pain. We hypothesize that RR elicitation is associated with systemic gene expression changes in cellular metabolism, oxidative phosphory-lation/generation of reactive oxygen species and response to oxidative stress and that these changes to some degree serve to ameliorate the negative impact of stress.
In short, they concluded that meditation changes your genes, and the more experience one has in meditation the more gene changes are possible. Some nurses even suggest meditation practice to ease patient suffering. Mary Grace Umlauf, PhD, RN, wrote a book titled Healing Meditation that explores this subject and suggests that nurses use meditation as part of their nursing practice.
In my book, The Essence of Perfection, I devote a chapter to the Resurrection. One possible explanation to this may also be linked or similar to a highly superior form of meditation. Of course, humans would have a difficult time replicating Jesus’ Resurrection. Over the next few weeks, I will be experimenting with podcasts. I hope to have something soon. Until next post, as always, GO WITH GOD!
1 Jeffery Dusek, et al., "Genomic Counter-Stress Changes Induced by the Relaxation Response," Plos ONE 3, no. 7 (July 2008): 1–8. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost.
2 Mary Grace Umlauf, Healing Meditation (Albany (NY): Delmar, 1997), 9.
In the modern era, Paul is one of the most misunderstood of the apostles. The New Testament informs us that Paul, known as Saul before his conversion to Christianity, was a “zealous” Pharisee who intensely persecuted any followers of Jesus. Acts 3:3–9 tells us his “come to Jesus moment” occurred while traveling to Damascus under a persecution order from the high priest, when he was blinded by light and asked by Jesus, “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?” Paul was a Jewish-Roman, but also one of the most important leaders of the new religion known as Christianity.
Those against Paul claim that his writings undermined the authority of Torah Law in order to allow for easier gentile conversions to Christianity. Even modern philosophers have questioned Paul’s motives. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote in The Antichrist,
The fate of the Gospels was decided by death—it hung on the “cross.” . . . It was only death, that unexpected and shameful death; it was only the cross, which was usually reserved for the canaille (masses) only—it was only this appalling paradox which brought the disciples face to face with the real riddle: “Who was it? what was it?”—Here everything must be accounted for as necessary; everything must have a meaning, a reason, the highest sort of reason; the love of a disciple excludes all chance. Only then did the chasm of doubt yawn: “Who put him to death? who was his natural enemy?”—this question flashed like a lightning-stroke. Answer: dominant Judaism, its ruling class. From that moment, one found one’s self in revolt against the established order, and began to understand Jesus as in revolt against the established order.
Nietzsche, no friend of Judaism either, set out to demonstrate that Western Civilization had lost faith in God. When he said, “God is dead,” he did not mean in a literal sense that God had died. It was more of a reflection of Enlightenment thinking, after centuries of being ruled by governments that controlled populations through religion and an aristocratic social order. Nietzsche was saying that God was no longer required, and faith useless. This included the Pharisees. Nietzsche believed it was their goal to create a ruling class first and to bring spiritual well-being to the Jews afterward. Likewise, the apostles sought to undermine the established authority of Pharisees by replacing the old order with the new order, Christianity. Nietzsche suggests that the apostles were passionate enough to even become martyrs to accomplish their overall goal. Paul becomes the main leader in his view of the conspiracy to establish the new order. Nietzsche even suggests that the Pauline Community had a problem not only with the Pharisees but with other strands of Christianity. One school, in particular, was the school of Alexandria. Again, in The Antichrist, he writes:
The God that Paul invented for himself, a God who “reduced to absurdity” “the wisdom of this world” (especially the two great enemies of superstition, philology and medicine), is in truth only an indication of Paul’s resolute determination to accomplish that very thing himself: to give one’s own will the name of God, thora—that is essentially Jewish. Paul wants to dispose of the “wisdom of this world”: his enemies are the good philologians and physicians of the Alexandrine school—on them he makes his war.
Throughout the Antichrist, Nietzsche blames Paul for everything from the battle between science and religion, in order to control ideology, to the battle of whether or not to allow the use of philosophy within religious interpretations of Jesus. However, in recent years Paul’s commitment to Judaism is gaining popularity. John Gager writes in his book Reinventing Paul, that Paul was not completely unaware of some of the charges against him. He states,
What is more, I believe that Paul was painfully aware of this accusation against him and sought to refute it in his letter to the Romans: “Do we overthrow the law through faith? By no means! On the contrary we uphold the law.” (3.31) “Is the law sin? By no means!” (7.7) “Has God rejected his people? By no means! (11.1)
Therefore, Paul did not call for a complete separation between the Gentiles and Jews, only for Jews to see their error in denying Jesus as the Son of God. If there existed a competition between different ideologies within the Christian community, which is what Nietzsche suggests, then many years later, the followers of the Alexandrian school would have been disappointed, as many of their saints were latter stripped of their designations during the Middle Ages. He was right on the 2nd century rift in Church doctrine. However, Nietzsche was wrong for suggesting that Paul's doctrine was against the Alexadrain school, and that Paul was against knowledge. Clement of Alexandria, one of the schools most important leaders said of Paul in Chapter 11 of The Paedagogus (Book I),
For Paul says that it was given to be a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Galatians 3:24 So that from this it is clear, that one alone, true, good, just, in the image and likeness of the Father, His Son Jesus, the Word of God, is our Instructor; to whom God has entrusted us, as an affectionate father commits his children to a worthy tutor, expressly charging us, This is my beloved Son: hear Him. Matthew 17:5 The divine Instructor is trustworthy, adorned as He is with three of the fairest ornament — knowledge, benevolence, and authority of utterance — with knowledge, for He is the paternal wisdom: All Wisdom is from the Lord, and with Him for evermore;— with authority of utterance, for He is God and Creator: For all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made; John 1:3 — and with benevolence, for He alone gave Himself a sacrifice or us: For the good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep; John 10:11 and He has so given it. Now, benevolence is nothing but wishing to do good to one's neighbor for his sake.
Unlike some of the 2nd and 3rd century Church Fathers, Paul was not against the Jews or their "Law." In fact he embraced it, and know it well being a former Pharisee. I hope you enjoyed this blog, and can learn from it. Jesus was Jewish, Paul was Jewish, and the first Christians were Jewish. Jesus loved the Temple! It is up to Christians to keep these values alive, and end Antisemitism wherever it is. Util next post, GO WITH GOD!
1 F. W. Nietzsche, The Antichrist (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.,1924), 115.
2 Ibid, 136.
3 John G. Gager, Reinventing Paul (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 53.
15 years ago I became interested in the date that Jesus was born. This led to several years of research, I quickly realized that there was no valid information that provided any real answers to this question. Since this website is getting some interest, I will post from time to time some of the information I learned during this quest.