Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dershowitz & Silverglate vs. Vatican?

Re: Sue Vatican for Temple Treasures

Dear David, Shalom,

It is indeed a good and proper idea to sue the Vatican for the Jewish property and holy items it is holding, a form of aggravated robbery attended initially, we know, but myriad counts of aggravated assault and worse.

There should be lawyers, not only Jews, to sue for this crime against humanity, history, memory and holy items of an entire people by a global corporation that keeps bodies and souls enthralled.

People of the media 'profile' of Dershowitz and his friend Harvey Silverglate and so many others should prepare a proper plaintiff's motion, a class action on behalf of the entire Jewish people and State of Israel for the immediate return, with interest of the Temple treasures and ALL OTHER Jewish property held in Vatican City and in all other Catholic churches of any kind in Europe and any part of the world.

Then the matter of whether Israel will recognize the existence of the Vatican can be discussed by the entire Jewish people with reference to Moshe and the Rambam, particularly with reference to Hilchot Avodat Kokhavim in Mishne...

Dr. Narrett


Prof. Eugene Narrett

Jewish Treasures in the Vatican

Miriam Woelke has left a new comment on the post "Jewish Treasures in the Vatican":


That's the whole problem. Besides some talks between President Peres and the Pope or the two Chief Rabbis (Amar / Metzger) and the Pope, nothing is happening.

Of course, the best would be to bring some real proof such as photos with a Menorah.

And sometimes it even seems that no one in Israel is really interested anyway. It probably on depends on how much we inform the wider public.

Israeli negotiations with the Vatican over Temple treasures?

Worldwide interest is growing in the holy issue of the Temple treasures and Jewish manuscripts currently held hostage by the Vatican.

Sue Vatican for Temple Treasures

Vatican has no right to retain the Temple treasures now that the Jewish Homeland has been revived, as prophesied (contrary to accursed replacement theology), and it is incumbent upon the Jews to build the Third Temple in which the Temple treasures can serve their God-ordained and consecrated purpose.

Perhaps Israel must enlist the best Jewish lawyers, with the blessings of God, and sue the Vatican if it insists on being proud and stubborn by resisting the Word and Will of God.

"Render to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." The pope is playing both God and Caesar and needs to be brought down to Earth like Nebuchadnezzar was, and whose history lesson Belshazzar failed to learn from and lost his kingdom as a consequence. Is Rome's destruction imminent?

The Temple treasures are not the rightful property of the Vatican. For the Vatican to cruelly keep the Temple treasures held hostage in Rome, isn't too Christian. They must be returned to where they belong: Jerusalem.

From The History Channel Forum:
youngstown wrote:

David: That's like a wife sueing a husband for a portion of the lottery winnings.....all she should do
is take him to bed and be nice to him. Yellin don't get the job done. :-D

My response:

Too many Jews have had illicit relationships with the Vatican, being overly nice, kissing butt, and all it got them was a one knight(hood) stand. ]:)

It's past time for Jews to regain their composure, self-respect and dignity that has been lost, and act accordingly.

The Vatican and its Friends are Not Your Friends

The oligarchy that runs Israel are subcontractors for Nato-Rome/EU.

Prof. Eugene Narrett


There are many ways to convey a message and lawyers are not necessarily the sole avenue.
Rome used deadly force to steal and destroy here and we do not advocate that unless of course anyone intends to do that to our people again. That is in relation with foreign murderers. Our own crop is a completely different kettle of fish.
Negotiations with the Vatican is the best way.
The Vatican can be given options they will appreciate to have I am sure.
One of them is of course they keeping Vatican icons in Eretz Israel... if they return to us what they have usurped from our property.
That does not mean necessarily denying access to Christian Pilgrims until such time when what the Vatican holds of ours is returned to us, but rather assuming control over said locations for the duration of the negotiations.
Our problem is not with our Christian friends and co travelers but with the Vatican itself.
That of course requires real JEWISH leadership, not the trash up there now.

SHmuel HaLevi

Radio Free Israel
Eretz Israel


Radio Free Israel

Shmuel HaLevi is a Jew, Father, Grandfather, Husband, Teacher, "Gaucho", radio aficionado and Senior Engineer for the U.S. Department of Defense Avionic Programs who was worked on combat aircraft from the F-16 to the B-2 and from the F-15 to the F-117 to the A.V.-8 and A.H.-64, C-17, C.O.H.-58, C-130 and A.T.F. A (seldom used) Consultant for the Israeli Ministry of Defense, Mr. HaLevi is a U.S. D.o.D. Certified Trainer and Graduation Officer for the Israeli Ministry of Education, writer for the University of Tel Aviv Technology Center, Quality Assurance Engineer and patents holder. Presently, Mr. HaLevi serves as the Laboratory equipment technologist supporting key foreign equipment manufacturers.

Faithless and Fickle Heterosexuals

In Rebuking Minister, McCain May Have Alienated Evangelicals
The Rev. Rod Parsley paces the stage, wiping his forehead and shouting to his congregation in a taped sermon that marriage is under attack by "tortured and angry homosexuals."
- By Kimberly Kindy
Senator McCain shows how shallow his religious beliefs are and how weak he is in standing up to criticism about religious leaders who endorsed him without agreeing with every single thing he represents. They should support Ron Paul or Chuck Baldwin.

As far as Rod Parsley's salvo about marriage being under attack by "tortured and angry homosexuals," that's true to an extent. However, the greatest danger, what weakens the institution of marriage the most, are faithless and fickle heterosexuals who fail to keep their vows or remember why they took them in the first place.

If I Were the President by Chuck Baldwin

McCain Madness

God and the Gays

Herbert W. Armstrong

Herbert W. Armstrong

As Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall testifies:

Herbert W. Armstrong was a God-send to restore long lost truths; stood against traditional Christianity's error and taught the plain truth of the Bible; restored our Hebrew roots; warned world leaders about a German-dominated European Union and offered the hope and comfort of Christ's return to save us from its nuclear holocaust; he brought God's Church back on track, and he died, full of faith and wisdom, leaving a lasting impression on those who continue the quest for God's Kingdom.

This world says the cause of racial problems is segregation, when in fact the opposite is the case.

Just What Do You Mean...Kingdom of God?
Is it the CHURCH? Is it something "setup in the hearts of men"? Is it the British Empire? Is it "the good within you"? Is it "the Millennium"? Each of these is widely taught - yet none is right!

Herbert W. Armstrong Was Ahead of His Time!
Mr. Armstrong was ahead of his time. The principles of prophecy he spoke of remain absolutely true: a final revival of the unholy Roman Empire is prophesied and the EU is forging ahead with that Frankenstein Monster now.

The Plain Truth About Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God
Herbert W. Armstrong was courageously teaching the plain truth around the world, announcing the good news of the Wonderful World Tomorrow, the Kingdom of God that will soon be established with the return and reign of Christ.

Was Herbert W. Armstrong Elijah?
Was Herbert W. Armstrong the prophesied individual to come in the power and spirit of Elijah, as taught by the former Worldwide Church of God and still believed by many of the branches of the Sabbath-keeping Church of God?

Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God Mentioned in Israeli Newspaper
One of the Worldwide Church of God beliefs is that there will be a politico-military mess that will take place by next year. In their opinion, Germany, and maybe even Italy, will attempt to conquer the world. That attempt will ignite a world war that will take two thirds of the world's population, but that afterwards there will begin a true peace for planet Earth. The members of the Worldwide Church of God will be among those that survive and they believe that eventually their beliefs will be accepted by all the Earth.

Is All Animal Flesh Good Food?
Were all animals made clean? What about the unclean animals shown to Peter in a vision? Here is a straightforward Bible answer, giving the New Testament teaching. This subject is important to your health and well-being!

Accusations Against Herbert W. Armstrong
Those who truly are Christians understand that the Christian thing to do, especially in light of the fact that the worst accusations against Herbert W. Armstrong would be thrown out of court, dismissed for lack of evidence, is to give Herbert W. Armstrong the benefit of the doubt, as we would want, knowing we're to love our neighbor as ourselves...

The Healing of the Nations

The Healing of the Nations
by Ron Fraser

Medical science is losing the fight against new forms of infection and disease.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mysteries of the Menorah

Mysteries of the Menorah
Meir Soloveichik

March 2008

In 2004, the two chief rabbis of Israel, Shlomo Amar and Yonah Metzger, traveled to the Vatican for a historic meeting with Pope John Paul II. An ambitious interfaith agenda had been planned for the encounter, but Rabbi Amar had more on his mind than religious dialogue. “I could not resist,” he told Israeli radio. “I asked them about the Temple vessels and the menorah.” In so doing, Rabbi Amar reflected a belief common among many Jews: that the solid-gold candelabrum taken by the Roman ravagers of ancient Jerusalem remains in the city that was once the heart of the empire.

There is, scholars have noted, no reason to think that the Vatican has been hiding the candelabrum these many centuries. All sources indicate that the seized Temple treasures were originally displayed by the Roman conquerors in an edifice called (in an antique instance of Orwellian usage) the “Temple of Peace.” The vessels were then taken from Rome when the city was plundered by the Goths in the 5th century c.e. The Vatican itself vehemently denies having any knowledge of the menorah’s whereabouts.

And yet “my heart tells me this is not the truth,” responds Rabbi Amar. Nor is he the only religious Jew whose heart dwells in longing memory both on the menorah and on the Temple from which its light once radiated to the world. Today, the site where the menorah proudly stood is an area physically empty of Jews, a fact commemorated every year on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av: the day on which, according to tradition, the First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 b.c.e. and, half a millennium later, the even more magnificent Second Temple was sacked and burned by the Romans in 70 c.e.

To be sure, one might respond to the rabbi’s plea by noting that, although the physical object has indeed been lost to history, in another sense the menorah has indeed returned to the Jewish people. After all, the displacement of the menorah to Rome is inextricably associated with the most famous visual image of the Temple’s destruction: the still-standing arch of triumph erected by the victorious emperor Titus along the road to the Roman Forum. The original pagan inscription on this edifice, whose pediment depicts the victory parade of the Roman forces and their train of spoils, proclaims its dedication “to the divine Titus Vespasianus Augustus, son of the divine Vespasian.”

Nor was it only Rome’s emperor-worshipping pagans who saw a cosmic significance in the conquest of Jerusalem. To the Christian Church, the destruction of the Temple served as an ultimate sign that the Jews were no longer God’s chosen people, divine favor having now been transferred to a newer and better Israel. As recently as 1821, a plaque on the other side of the arch notes, Pope Pius VII ordered the rehabilitation of this monument, so “remarkable in terms of both religion and art.”

But today the Jews have returned to Jerusalem, and their sovereignty over the Holy Land has been restored. The work commemorated by the arch has, it would seem, been undone. Indeed, it was to underline this thrilling transformation that, in the late 1940’s, the nascent state of Israel chose the menorah depicted on the arch of Titus as its symbol. Alec Mishory, an Israeli art historian, explains the rationale:

The menorah is returned from the arch of Titus, where it symbolizes defeat, humiliation, and disgrace, and is installed in a place of honor on the emblem of the state, the establishment of which is testimony to the eternity of the Jewish people.

But if the menorah has indeed been returned, and if the defeat wrought by Titus has been reversed, why then do observant Jews continue to mourn what Titus brought about? Why does the ninth of Av, which embodies the twin ideas of exile and dispersion, need to be observed at all?

In answering this question we need to examine the enigmatic image of the menorah more closely, and revisit a mystery that has confounded many over the centuries.


We know a great deal about the configuration of the menorah from the biblical book of Exodus. Beaten out of solid gold, the ancient candelabrum boasted six branches emerging from a seventh, its central shaft. The menorah was adorned with golden buttons, cups, and flowers.

What goes unmentioned in the Bible is the menorah’s foundation: how it was supported. Halakhic tradition long insisted that it stood on a three-legged base, and this has been confirmed by archeological evidence. Throughout the land of Israel and the early Diaspora, painted and etched images of the menorah have been discovered dating to the first century c.e. and immediately thereafter; virtually everywhere the base is discernible, it is a tripod.

An exception, however, is the most famous image of all: the one on the arch of Titus. There, Rome’s triumphant soldiers are carrying a menorah mounted on a large stepped pedestal.

The mystery is still deeper. Studying the image on the arch, one can discern dragons or sea serpents adorning the steps of the pedestal—just the sort of pagan art that Jewish sages singled out as associated with idolatry. “If one finds vessels,” we are told in the Talmud, “upon which are the forms of a sun, or a moon, or a dragon, let him throw them into the Dead Sea.” Pillars decorated with dragons virtually identical to those on the menorah’s pedestal have been discovered in the Roman temple at Didyma in southern Turkey. It beggars belief that the Temple candelabrum would have incorporated such a fundamentally pagan aesthetic.

Several answers have been offered to these conundrums. According to some, a stepped pedestal was in fact a more customary motif than has been thought. Others have speculated that, at some point after the Temple’s destruction, a pedestal was substituted for the original tripod. Thus, Rabbi Isaac Herzog, the first chief rabbi of Israel and an astute scholar in his own right, suggested that the base must have broken off during the return voyage from Judea, to be replaced with a pedestal of Roman design in preparation for the procession into the city.

But perhaps the most interesting theory has been put forward by the Israeli scholar Daniel Sperber, who has proposed that the menorah had already been altered from its authentically original design by the time of the Temple’s destruction. Noting the basic similarity of the dragons on the arch to those on the temple at Didyma, Sperber points to a significant difference: unlike the sea-dragons on the menorah, those at Didyma are ridden by naked nymphs. Perhaps, he suggests, the new pedestal was the brainchild of someone eager to introduce a pagan motif into the Temple while at the same time remaining nominally sensitive to Jewish concerns.

Who might that have been? The perfect culprit is the man who has served as a villain in both the Jewish and Christian traditions: King Herod, the Idumean dictator and client of Rome who ruled Jerusalem around the time of the birth of Jesus.

Herod’s relationship with the Temple was a complex one. On the one hand, all contemporary sources, including the rabbis of the Mishnah, agree that he oversaw a stupendous refurbishing of the Temple Mount, elevating its architectural status into an eighth wonder of the ancient world. On the other hand, the contemporaneous historian Josephus recorded the king’s efforts to Romanize the Temple, as well as the outrage this sparked among his subjects:

For the king had erected over the great gate of the Temple a large golden eagle, of great value, and had dedicated it to the Temple. Now the law forbids those that propose to live according to it to erect images or representations of any living creature. So these wise men persuaded [their followers] to pull down the golden eagle; alleging that although they should incur any danger which might bring them to their deaths, the virtue of the action now proposed to them would appear much more advantageous to them than the pleasures of life.

In suggesting that the same Herod who could bring an eagle into the Temple might also have placed dragons on the menorah, Sperber observes that during the reign of an earlier king, Antigonus, the city of Jerusalem had been plundered by Parthians. There is no question, he writes, that the vessels of the Temple were damaged in the process. And so, “when Herod came to restore the Temple, and to fix its vessels, he was presented with the opportunity to create a new foundation [for the menorah] in the style of the temple of Didyma, with symbols taken from the altar of Apollo.”

If Sperber is right about this, it might explain the profusion of images of the authentic menorah—devoid of dragons, and with a clearly defined tripod base—drawn and scrawled over Jewish walls and floors in the Holy Land and the Diaspora in the days before and after the Temple’s destruction. As Sperber concludes, drawing such a menorah would have been an act of defiance against Rome and all it stood for, as well as a profound expression of longing for the day when Judaism, and Judaism alone, would dictate how the God of Israel was worshipped in Jerusalem.


With this in mind we can return to the emblem of the modern state of Israel, chosen in order to emphasize the restoration of Jewish sovereignty. As it happens, much debate surrounded the precise configuration of this artifact. Among the proposals submitted at the time, one leading candidate showed the traditional three-footed menorah flanked by two other ancient symbols: a palm frond (lulav) and a ram’s horn (shofar). Although the proposed emblem also incorporated seven stars, a symbol linked to the writings of Theodor Herzl, religious imagery clearly prevailed over political, and the proposal likewise included a Hebrew phrase, “peace over Israel,” taken from Scripture.

In the end, however, the committee overseeing the choice of symbol declined this proposal, rejecting the biblical phrase, the shofar and lulav, and the tripod menorah, and settling ultimately on the menorah of the arch of Titus flanked by two olive branches signaling Israel’s peaceful intentions. While granting that the pairing of a menorah with two olive branches nods to Israel’s religious history by harking back to imagery from the book of the prophet Zechariah, Mishory writes that the emblem “clearly shows that in the struggle between the ‘secular camp,’ which wanted to emphasize the state’s socialist and democratic present and future, and the ‘religious camp,’ which wished to stress the grandeur of the past and its link to the God of Israel, the former won.”

Indeed, when the state’s seal was officially announced, Rabbi Herzog, an ardent Zionist, protested on both religious and archeological grounds:
It is not good what our government does today. Just when we have merited once again the light of Zion that is symbolized by the menorah, [the state] chose specifically the image of the menorah that is on the arch of Titus, which, it appears, was altered by foreigners. . . . And not only this, but an expert in the science of antiquities has testified to me that the menorahs that are formed on the graves in [Jewish] catacombs in Rome . . . are all with three legs, as are all those formed on the mosaics in the remains of ancient synagogues that are in the land of Israel.

“How right are the words of Rabbi Herzog,” exclaims Sperber, for whom Israel’s choice of emblem was a tragic error. In seeking to restore Jewish political honor, the Jewish state ended up insulting the Jewish faith; in seeking to emphasize Jewish political independence, it ended up selecting a symbol of Judaism’s spiritual servitude.


Thus does a late-1940’s debate over a state seal raise the deeper question of the ultimate purpose of the Jewish return to the Holy Land—a question that in modern Jewish thought long predates the birth of Israel itself. Was that purpose to enable the Jews to be a people like all others? Or was it to enable the Jewish people to forge a stronger relationship with their faith, with their God, and with their destiny?

For Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888), the foremost exponent of Orthodoxy in Germany, the first approach reflected the worldview of many a modern Jew for whom “the Jewish state, both of the past and of the future, is to be regarded as belonging to the same class as all other political phenomena.” But this view, wrote Rabbi Hirsch, “is not the old Jewish view. It is in fact un-Jewish and untrue.” And he continued, invoking the language of Isaiah:

O, long not for the mighty state, for the state of deep diplomatic speech, for tongues which purposely stammer and speak unintelligibly. Look upon Zion, the city of our future. Let thine eyes see Jerusalem, a home of peace, a tent that shall never more be removed, the stakes whereof shall never more be plucked up, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. For when the Lord shall be there with us in majesty, there in a place of broad rivers and streams no ship of war shall cruise, no vessel pass by. But God, our Judge, God our Lawgiver, God our King, He it is Who will then help us.

A Jewish commonwealth, in other words, embodies the idea that Jews are not merely one people among others, but have been chosen for an unparalleled relationship with the God Who dwells in Jerusalem. In the Bible, as Norman Podhoretz has observed (“Jerusalem: The Scandal of Particularity,” COMMENTARY , July-August 2007), Jerusalem is both a political capital and a religious one; it is the capital both of Judea and of Judaism. This is the reason that, of all the fast days in the Jewish calendar, the ninth of Av is the saddest. Three weeks earlier, on another annual fast day, Jews mark the date on which the Romans broke through the walls of Jerusalem, the locus of the Jewish polity. On the ninth of Av, they bewail the ultimate defeat: the destruction of the Temple, the locus of the Jewish faith.


No one understood this better, I would argue, than Titus himself. He did not see his victory over Judea as a purely political phenomenon, and he knew that undoing the deep damage he had successfully wrought would require much more than the restoration of Jewish power.

That brings us to still another mystery involving the images on the arch.

It is often assumed that the centerpiece of the Roman victory parade was the menorah. This is understandable enough: during the Second Temple period, the menorah served as the symbol of Jewish sovereignty on coins minted by Jewish kings. It is also logical, given the way the relief on the arch prominently positions the captured menorah to highlight the political subjugation of the Jews. But Josephus, who was an eyewitness of the triumphal procession, insists in his Wars of the Jews that the menorah (the appearance of which, he notes in passing, had been “changed from that which we made use of”) was not the most salient object on display. In exhibiting what he had acquired from Jerusalem, Titus saved what he believed to be the most important artifact for last:

[T]here followed those pageants [of captives] a great number of ships; and for the other spoils, they were carried in great plenty. But for those that were taken in the Temple of Jerusalem, they made the greatest figure of them all; that is, the golden table, of the weight of many talents; the candlestick also, that was made of gold, . . . and the last of all the spoils was carried the Law of the Jews. [emphasis added]

It seems, then, that for Titus the most significant of all the spoils taken from Jerusalem was a scroll of the Torah, the book of Jewish law. This statement by Josephus caught the attention of William Whiston, the historian’s 18th-century translator, who remarks correctly that “the Law or Pentateuch does not appear on that arch at all”—a fact, he says, that deserves “the consideration of the inquisitive reader.”

Why is the ostensible centerpiece of the spoils missing from Titus’s arch? And what was this scroll that was displayed along with the Temple treasures?

In a series of lectures published in the 19th century, William Knight, then a lecturer at the University of Bristol, offered a theory as to the first of these puzzles. A review published at the time summarizes Knight’s argument:

Mr. Knight corroborates the account of Josephus by a passage, apparently overlooked by modern writers, from the work of Biondo, the earliest authority on the antiquities of Rome, who wrote in the first half of the 15th century, and who ends his description of the objects carried in the procession and sculptured on the arch with these words: “Postea portabatur Lex Judaeorum marmoreal item extans.” (“After this was carried the Law of the Jews, which also is extant in the marble.”) This passage, which appears in the edition of 1511, is omitted in those printed in 1531 and 1559. May we not hence, with some probability, infer that between the years 1511 and 1531, the Book of the Law ceased to be visible in the bas-relief?


In short, according to Knight, the arch when built did contain an image depicting the parading of the Torah through the streets of Rome, but the image had become effaced over the centuries. Perhaps; as we shall see, there may be another explanation. But whatever the case may be, what exactly was the “Law of the Jews” that Titus brought back from Jerusalem?

It was unlikely to have been merely a scroll stolen randomly from some synagogue in Jerusalem. Rather, like all the other objects in the procession, it must have been a copy of the Law taken from the Temple itself. And indeed the Mishnah and the Talmud refer to a very valuable copy of the Torah that was kept in the Temple courtyard. Some versions call this the “sefer Azarah,” the courtyard scroll, while others use a slightly different word with a similar spelling: “sefer Ezra,” that is, the scroll written by Ezra, the leader who oversaw the initial building of the Second Temple after the Jews’ return from exile in Babylonia.

The latter name signifies that the scroll was considered quite old and authoritative—hence, the source to be consulted in addressing any textual questions that might arise about the Law. And this copy of the Torah also served as a reminder of national priorities. Deuteronomy informs us that a Jewish king is obligated to write a Torah for himself and keep it with him at all times. Citing the discussion of this law in the Jerusalem Talmud, Maimonides in the 12th century adds an interesting detail:

The king is commanded to write a Torah as a king, aside from the one he had as a commoner. . . . And [this Torah] is checked [against] the Sefer ha-Azarah according to the instruction of the High Court. That which he had as a commoner he places in storage, and the one he wrote after becoming king must be with him always. And if he goes out to war the Torah must be with him.

Maimonides here is recapitulating the ancient idea that while sovereignty was supremely important, and while Jews had to be prepared to defend themselves by means of military force when necessary, power could not be allowed to become an end in itself. Jews, especially those ruling in Jerusalem, could never forget that their ultimate obligation was to serve the God who dwelled in the Temple of Jerusalem.

No wonder, then, that Titus placed such a high value on the most important Torah in the possession of the Jewish people, the oldest and most authoritative version of the Mosaic Law, the one kept in the Temple as a symbol of Jewish chosenness. As if to emphasize the point, Josephus tells us that although the menorah and the other golden vessels were displayed in the Temple of Peace, the most valued objects seized by Titus, including the Law and the “purple veils of the holy place,” were kept not there but in the royal palace.* Titus knew that his greatest victory was the capture not of Judea but of the Temple, and that his legacy lay first and foremost in the blow he had dealt to the Jewish faith by bringing about the exile of the Torah itself.

What Titus knew, the Jews knew as well, though they refused to accept it. Throughout the centuries of dispersion, the Jewish dream of redemption was always two-part: first, that Jewish sovereignty be restored over the land of Israel, and second, that the Torah return to the Temple of God and its supreme significance be recognized by all humanity. As the prophet Isaiah had proclaimed centuries earlier:

And it shall come to pass in the end of days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.


Have, then, the triumph of Titus and the message of the arch been undone? Or does there remain something to be mourned?

The idea that mourning for Zion has indeed become irrelevant is another notion that predates the founding of the state of Israel, and that in some places and times has even been acted upon. In describing a 19th-century instance of this, Rabbi Hirsch recalled how “one evening on the ninth of Av, the rabbi of a small town in South Germany had his synagogue brilliantly lit up and invited the members of his congregation to attend in their best clothes.” Given the civil rights that German Jews had recently won, petitioning God for a return to Holy Land had evidently become an anachronism to this rabbi. “Jerusalem, he said, was here. Palestine was now situated on German soil.”

In hindsight, such sentiments seem laughable or tragically deluded. But even at the time, Rabbi Hirsch found them radically deficient. On the ninth of Av, he wrote, Jews grieved for much more than their historic loss of political rights, and they still had much to mourn even after having been offered equal status as citizens:

In the darkest centuries of the exile, when the Roman sword rent the curtain of the Temple . . . the majesty of God and the holiness of the Torah found refuge in Jewish family life, the Jewish home. . . . The barriers are [now] falling, the chains are being struck off. . . . Will Israel be able to carry over its intimacy with God from the ghetto into the court, from the hovels into the mansions, from the heder into the salon, from the corner shop into the office, from the shul into the “temple”? Is Israel equipped to take over with it into the new civic life the old allegiance to God, the old sanctity of the Torah? Or do the divine presence, the kingship of God, the Torah, face the last and sternest stage of their exile?

Today there still seems reason from a religious perspective to affirm the accuracy of Rabbi Hirsch’s concerns. In both Israel and America, Jews have experienced unparalleled freedoms, achieved great economic success, and exercised appropriate degrees of political power. At the same time, unprecedented numbers in the United States have rejected Jewish particularity by intermarrying and assimilating, while post-Zionism has made analogous inroads into the core identity of many secular Jews in Israel. The exile of the Jews has to a palpable extent come to its end; but does not the exile of the Torah, boldly proclaimed by Titus, continue?

There have been, admittedly, moments of transcendent and redemptive significance that have infused even the most secular Jews with intimations of what it means to be a chosen people. Pondering the famous photograph of Israeli soldiers gazing in wonder at the just-captured Western Wall on the day Jerusalem was won in 1967, the writer Yossi Klein Halevi observes:

Many of the paratroopers identified themselves as Israelis first, Jews only a distant second; some weren’t quite sure whether they identified as Jews at all. And yet it is at the Wall of all places, symbol of the quietism of exile, where secular Israelis become reconciled with their Jewishness. As one paratrooper put it, “At the Wall I discovered that I’m a Jew.” History had yielded the moment of consolation that generations of believing Jews had insisted, against all logic, must come. “We received the Torah at Mount Sinai,” wrote the Yiddish poet Jacob Glatstein, “and in [the Holocaust] we gave it back.” In Jerusalem, at the Wall, if only for a moment, we considered accepting it again.

“If only for a moment.” And then the moment passed. Living in Jerusalem after Israel’s failed 2006 campaign in Lebanon, in a season “in which the disappointments that have marred much of Israeli life in the last 25 years have culminated in . . . political shame and military defeat,” Klein Halevi confesses that most of the time he does not feel he is in any place unusual. Even so, however, there continue to be those moments—moments in which

I suddenly remember where I am. I feel myself, then, like one of those barefoot and wide-eyed Ethiopian immigrants, silently stepping off the plane at Ben-Gurion airport into Zion. I recall, too, my father’s wonder at the Wall, whose fragile and improbable endurance he saw as a metaphor for the Jewish people. Like him, I ask myself what it is about this strange little people that continually finds itself at the center of international attention, repeatedly on the front lines against totalitarian forces of evil—Nazism, Soviet Communism, now jihadism—all of which [have] marked the Jews as their primary obstacle to achieving world domination. At those moments, I feel gratitude for having found my place in this story.

We live in an age when one might think that the chosenness of the Jews had become impossible to doubt. Yet, consciously or not, many Jews, in Israel and the Diaspora, doubt it all the same. In this sense, the menorah that has come to symbolize the Jewish state, the menorah of Titus, perfectly embodies the unredeemed condition of the world, a world in which there is both much to be joyously celebrated and much that remains to be mourned, and to be longed for. Not for nothing do religious Jews continue every morning to pray, in words recited for millennia,

May You cause a new light to shine over Zion, and may we all soon be worthy of its light.

Meir Soloveichik is associate rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in New York and a doctoral candidate in the philosophy of religion at Princeton. His "Why Beards?" appeared in the February COMMENTARY .

What Jewish David will take on Vatican Goliath?

Re: Sue Vatican for Temple Treasures

Yes, of course, but like the International community, the Vatican is strong and I don't know if any lawyer here feels that he can take on a case like this and make a living- survive while doing so. If you find someone who is doing this, let me know, and I will interview the lawyer/s.

The Tamar Yonah Show

A biting & sometimes humorous analysis of current events, Israeli politics & the Jewish World.

In the Wilderness

"And HaShem spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after coming out of the land of Egypt..."
(Numbers 1:1)
Iyar 24, 5768 / May 28, 2008
38th day of the Omer

This upcoming Shabbat, in synagogues around the world the Jewish nation begins to read the book of Numbers, the fourth of the five books of Torah, written by the hand of Moshe rabbeinu - Moses our master. Called in English "Numbers" after the census which opens the book, it is known in Hebrew as Bemidbar - "in the desert." The book of Bemidbar shines a light on the thirty nine years in which the generation known as dor ha-dey'a - "the generation of knowledge" wandered bemidbar - "in the wilderness."

The generation that emerged from Egyptian bondage and sojourned in the desert for four decades has never failed to fascinate all who have read of their adventures throughout the more than three thousand years that have followed. The heights to which they rose were staggering, and the depths to which they fell when they did indeed stumble, were nearly cataclysmic. Reading of their trials and tribulations, safely in the comforts of our own homes and communities, we often find ourselves, as any Monday morning quarterback, clucking our tongues at their lapses of vision, faith and patience. But what were they really up against, and should we be so quick to judge them unfavorably?

The appellation dor ha-dey'a - "the generation of knowledge" which belongs only to the generation of the desert denotes both a very lofty spiritual existence, and a place of closeness to G-d. For this was the generation which G-d Himself lifted up out of the impurity of Egypt in which they were enslaved and drew near to Him, just fifty days later revealing to them Torah on Mount Sinai, establishing an everlasting covenant between the people of Israel and the G-d of Israel. But no less dramatic and no less challenging was the setting in which G-d chose to do all this: bemidbar - in the wilderness.

The vast vacant landscape of the wilderness at once reflects both the infinite endless nature of G-d Himself, and puts into sharp contrasting perspective the smallness and insignificance of man. In other words, having been redeemed from Egypt without being prepared spiritually, emotional, or physically for whatever their sudden liberation held in store for them, these former bondsmen found themselves in an environment that provided for them precious little in terms of physical survival or even social cohesion. Every move they were to make in the desert, either as individuals or as a society was necessarily a reflection of their utter dependence upon G-d. Even the encampment that they formed in the opening chapters of Bemidbar is one that revolves around G-d's presence in the Tabernacle, and whose borders are created by the people themselves. No rivers or mountains provide for them a natural border. No safe verdant valley misleads them into thinking that they can set down roots and make it on their own. Placed in an unremittingly harsh environment, yet being nourished each day by the manna, as if from the very table of G-d Himself, their very existence embodies immense contradictions. Being faced with implacable foes who seemingly emerge without warning out of the desert dust itself, while all the while living by the Torah that they were still receiving through Moses, we can only marvel in naked wonder at the spiritual stature of the generation. That they sometimes stumbled is not an indictment of their lack of vision or ingratitude but a testimony to their humanity.

Our sages also marveled at the seeming incongruities of greatness and smallness which distinguished this generation. Even the beloved Rabbi Akiva remarked that the generation of the desert would not enter into the world to come. Whether we understand this to be an admonition that they did not merit the world to come, or a paean to their righteousness and an acknowledgment that they were, for all intents and purposes, already on a spiritual level equivalent to that of the world to come, is a reflection of how we, the descendants of these remarkable people, see our roles in the continuing journey toward redemption.

Tune in to this week's Temple Talk to hear Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven discuss Sefer Bemidbar - Numbers - the Book of the Wilderness, the enigmatic generation of knowledge, the upcoming festival of Shavuoth, and what it takes to not just become familiar with Torah, but to make it our own.

"Bemidbar - the book of the desert - the setting G-d chose for the transmission of Torah, a setting void of ego and whose vastness echoes G-d’s infinite being." Click here to view Rabbi Richman's short teaching on parashat Bemidbar, (Numbers 1:1-4:20).
Blessings from the holy city of Jerusalem,
Yitzchak Reuven
PO Box 31876
Jerusalem, Israel 97500

Monday, May 26, 2008

Second Temple Period Quarry Discovered
(26/05/2008 08:05)
by Shauna Naghi

( Dr. Gerald Finkelstein, who is leading a new archaeological dig in Jerusalem, claims to have discovered the very quarry which supplied stones used thousands of years ago to build Jerusalem's Western Wall, also known as the Kotel.

Pottery from the Herodian period through the destruction of the Second Temple was found at the excavation site. These finds, paired with the type of stone, further suggested the quarry's connection to the construction of the supporting walls surrounding the Temple Mount, including the Kotel.

Can't see video player? Click here.

In the above video, Dr. Finkelstein expresses his excitement at this dig, his first time working on an archaeological site in Israel.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Armstrong Survivor?

From a twisted website:

Hoover Ben-Ariel">David Hoover Ben-Ariel

May 12, 2008 – 11:08 pm

I have had the misfortune in the past of having met David Ben-Ariel (before he had ever been Ariel). He was David Hoover when I knew him, and he was apparently unbalanced enough that he even had my father a little nervous. I was very young so I don’t remember a huge amount, but I do remember not being all that impressed.

I just did a search for Herbert Armstrong on the web, and I found it interesting that almost every post I found was written by this guy, and that he has lots of posts and blogs around the web, some of them with very odd names (who is Chuck Baldwin anyways?). When I found posts that didn’t seem to come from him, well, oddly enough, they managed to anyway.

So I linked to one of them.

Not because I agree with anything he says. But because this blog is going to be much more toxic to his message than any of his blogs will be to mine. And I’m looking for other Armstrongite blogs and sites too, if you know of any, post them here. It may give them a short bump in the ratings, but it will also link them inexorably to a blog that they really want nothing at all to do with. They won’t link back, but it doesn’t matter. Hopefully it will have them a little angry that there’s nothing they can do about it.

Hee hee hee.


[An assortment of sordid comments not shown]

Feel free to talk about me behind my back, but at least know what you’re talking about. But that would be honest, fair and decent, wouldn’t it?

A Higher Calling: Quest for the Kingdom of God

By David Ben-Ariel on May 24, 2008

After reading these pitiful posts, they just don't jive with the title (I SURVIVED Jesus, the apostles & prophets teachings) of the forum.

Sad, pitiful, wretched, and bitter.
Jesus warned how the scattered seed would fare
By IAM on May 25, 2008

I remember you, Russell Miller, and was in Spokesman’s Club with your father, Mike Miller, who was always respectful to fellowship with, and your mother Sandy and her red-headed sister too.

My name was David Hoover then, but I’ve since legally changed it, as I testify in God-given Names and From Toledo to Jerusalem.

You were just a wee lad, but last I saw you was in the main branch of the Toledo Library, downtown, all grown up with your father, using the computer. Sad that you’ve been corrupted from whatever truth God graciously taught you growing up. Perhaps after wandering in the wilderness for awhile, exercising your freedom to be a slave, you’ll come around and return to the Faith once delivered to you, so help you God.

By David Ben-Ariel on May 25, 2008

The Plain Truth About Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God

Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God Mentioned in Israeli Newspaper

Was Herbert W. Armstrong Elijah?

Herbert W. Armstrong Was Ahead of His Time!

Israel Work History (Worldwide Church of God)

Miriam Weiss: Holocaust Survivor and Kibbutz Mother

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Plain Truth About Easter by Herbert W. Armstrong

The Plain Truth About Easter

by Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986)

The Resurrection was not on Easter Sunday! Easter is not a Christian name, but the title of the idolatrous "queen of heaven." Here's an explanation of the true origin and meaning of Lent, Easter eggs, and sunrise services!

WHY DO you believe the things you believe, do the things you do?

The chances are you never stopped to ask yourself that question. You have been taught since childhood to accept Easter as the chief of the Christian holidays.

You have supposed it is part of the true Christian religion to observe Lent, "Holy Week," "Good Friday," to buy hot cross buns at the bakery, to have colored Easter eggs, to dress up and go to church Easter Sunday—perhaps to attend an Easter sunrise service!

Because of the "sheep" instinct in humans, most of us believe a lot of things that are not true. Most of us do a lot of things that are wrong, supposing these things to be right, or even sacred!

Ishtar the Pagan Goddess

What is the meaning of the name "Easter"? You have been led to suppose the word means "resurrection of Christ." For 1600 years the Western world has been taught that Christ rose from the dead on Sunday morning. But that is merely one of the fables the Apostle Paul warned readers of the New Testament to expect. The resurrection did not occur on Sunday!

The name "Easter," which is merely the slightly changed English spelling of the name of the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian goddess Ishtar, comes to us from old Teutonic mythology where it is known as Ostern. The Phoenician name of this goddess was Astarte, consort of Baal, the sun god, whose worship is denounced by the Almighty in the Bible as the most abominable of all pagan idolatry.

Look up the word "Easter" in Webster's dictionary. You will find it clearly reveals the pagan origin of the name.

In the large five-volume Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, only six brief lines are given to the name "Easter," because it occurs only once in the Bible—and that only in the Authorized King James translation. Says Hastings: "Easter, used in Authorized Version as the translation of 'Pascha' in Acts 12:4, 'Intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.' Revised Standard Version has substituted correctly 'the Passover.'"

Apostles Observed Passover

The World Almanac, 1968 edition, page 187, says: "In the second century A.D., Easter Day was, among Christians in Asia Minor [that is, in the Churches at Ephesus, Galatia, etc.—the so called "Gentile" churches raised up by the Apostle Paul] the 14th of Nisan, the seventh month of the Jewish [civil] calendar." In other words, the 14th day of the first month of the sacred calendar, and it was not then called by the name of the pagan deity "Easter," but by the Bible name "Passover."

Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and the holy days God had ordained forever were all observed by Jesus, and the early apostles, and the converted Gentile Christians (Acts 2:1; 12:3; 18:21; 20:6, 16; I Corinthians 5:7-8; 16:8). Passover is a memorial of the crucifixion of Christ (Luke 22:19). Passover, observed by the early true Church, occurred not on Sunday or any fixed day of the week, but on a calendar day of the year. The day of the week varies from year to year.

Easter is one of the pagan days Paul warned Gentile converts they must not return to observing (Galatians 4:9-10).

How, then, did this pagan festival enter into and fasten itself upon a professing Christianity? That is a surprising story—but first, notice the true origin and nature of Easter.

Its Chaldean Origin

Easter, as Alexander Hislop says (The Two Babylons, p. 103), "bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven. . . ."

The ancient gods of the pagans had many different names. While this goddess was called Astarte by the Phoenicians, it appears on Assyrian monuments found by Layard in excavations at Nineveh as Ishtar (Austen H. Layard, Nineveh and Babylon, Vol. II, p. 629). Both were pronounced "Easter." Likewise, Bel (referred to in the Old Testament), also was called Molech. It was for sacrificing to Molech (I Kings 11:1-11, especially verse 7. where Molech is called an abomination) and other pagan gods that the Eternal condemned Solomon, and rended away the Kingdom of Israel from his son.

In the ancient Chaldean idolatrous sun-worship, as practiced by the Phoenicians, Baal was the sun god; Astarte, his consort or wife. And Astarte is the same as Ishtar, or the English "Easter."

Says Hislop: "The festival, of which we read in Church history, under the name of Easter, in the third or fourth centuries, was quite a different festival from that now observed in the Romish [and Protestant] Church, and at that time was not known by any such name as Easter. It was called Pascha, or the Passover, and . . . was very early observed by many professing Christians. . . . That festival agreed originally with the time of the Jewish Passover, when Christ was crucified. . . . That festival was not idolatrous, and it was preceded by no Lent" (The Two Babylons, p. 104).

Where Did We Get Lent?

"Howbeit you should know," wrote Johannes Cassianus (John Cassian) in the fifth century, "that as long as the primitive church retained its perfection unbroken, this observance of Lent did not exist" (First Conference Abbot Theonas, chapter 30).

Jesus observed no Lent. The apostles and the early true Church of God observed no Lenten season. Then how did this observance originate?

"The forty days' abstinence of Lent was directly borrowed from the worshippers of the Babylonian goddess. Such a Lent of forty days, in the spring of the year, is still observed by the Yezidis or pagan Devil worshippers of Koordistan, who have inherited it from their early masters, the Babylonians. Such a Lent of forty days was held in spring by the Pagan Mexicans. . . . Such a Lent of forty days was observed in Egypt . . ." (The Two Babylons, pp. 104, 105). In fact this Egyptian Lent of forty days was observed expressly in honor of Osiris, also known as Adonis in Syria and Tammuz in Babylonia (Sabaean Researches, by John Landseer, pp. 111, 112).

Do you realize what has happened? God Almighty commanded His people to observe the Passover forever! (Exodus 12:24.) This command was given while the Israelites were still in Egypt, prior to the Old Covenant, or the Law of Moses! It pictured, before the crucifixion, Christ's death for the remission of our sins, as a type looking forward to it. At His last Passover, Jesus changed the emblems used from the blood of a lamb and eating its roasted body to the bread and wine.

Jesus did not abolish Passover—He merely changed the emblems, or symbols used. All the apostles of Christ and true Christians of the first century true Church observed it on the 14th day of the first month of the sacred calendar. It is now a memorial of Christ's death, reaffirming, year by year on its anniversary, the true Christian's faith in the blood of Christ for the remission of his sins, and the broken body of Christ for his physical healing.

But what has happened? Do you realize it? All Western nations have been deceived into dropping the festival God ordained forever to commemorate the death of the true Saviour for our sins, and substituting in its place the pagan festival in commemoration of the counterfeit "savior" and mediator Baal, the sun god, named after the mythical Ishtar, his wife—actually none other than the ancient Semiramis, who palmed herself off as the wife of the sun god, the idolatrous "queen of heaven."

This is not Christian! It is pagan to the core!

Yet scores of millions are deceived into observing this form of heathen idolatry, under the delusion they are honoring Jesus Christ the Son of the Creator God!

Easter does not honor Christ! And yet, have you not been like a blind sheep, following the other millions in observing this custom? "The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent" (Acts 17:30).

Dyed Eggs

But did you know that dyed Easter eggs also figured in the ancient Babylonian mystery rites, just as they do in Easter observance today? Yes, these are pagan, too.

It is recorded in Edward Davies' The Mythology and Rites of the British Druids, page 210, that the ancient Druids bore an egg as the sacred emblem of their idolatrous order.

Eggs were sacred to many ancient civilizations and formed an integral part of the religious ceremonies in Egypt and in the Orient.

According to James Bonwick: "Eggs were hung up in the Egyptian temples. Bunsen calls attention to the mundane egg, the emblem of generative life, proceeding from the mouth of the great god of Egypt. The mystic egg of Babylon, hatching the Venus Ishtar, fell from heaven to the Euphrates. Dyed eggs were sacred Easter offerings in Egypt, as they are still in China and Europe. Easter, or spring, was the season of birth, terrestrial and celestial" (Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought, pp. 211-212).

Why do people who believe themselves to be Christians dye eggs at Easter? Do they suppose the Bible ordained, or commands, this heathen custom? There is not a word of it in the New Testament. Certainly Christ did not start it, and the apostles and early Christians did none of it!

Then why should you do it today? Why follow heathenism and try to convince yourself you are a Christian? God calls such things abomination!

Easter Sunrise Services

You think Easter sunrise services are beautiful? Listen! God was showing the Prophet Ezekiel the sins of His people in a vision—a prophecy for today! "Turn thee yet again," said God, "and thou shalt see greater abominations than these [Ezekiel had just been shown, in vision, idol worship among professing people of God]. And he brought me [in vision] into the inner court of the Eternal's house, and behold . . . between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with . . . their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east. Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing . . . that they commit the abominations which they commit here? . . . Therefore will I deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them"! (Ezekiel 8:15-18.)

Do you grasp at this most abominable thing is?

It is the identical thing millions are doing every Easter Sunday morning—the sunrise service—standing with their faces toward the east, as the sun is rising, in a service of worship which honors the sun god and his mythical idolatrous consort, goddess Easter. Yes, deceived into believing this is Christian, millions practice every Easter the identical form of the ancient sun worship of the sun god Baal! Throughout the Bible this is revealed as the most abominable of all idolatry in the sight of the Eternal Creator!

How Easter Crept Into the Church

Such is the origin and early history of Easter.

How, then, was this pagan festival injected into professing Christian religion, as a substitute for an ordinance of God?

Before revealing briefly the astonishing account of this great deception, two facts must be firmly fixed in mind.

First, Jesus and the apostles foretold, not a universal, widespread popular growth of the true New Testament Church, but a falling away from the truth on the part of the great majority. Prophesying a popular, universal falling away from the faith once delivered, to the Thessalonians Paul stated, "The mystery of iniquity doth already work," only some 20 years after the Church began! He referred to the very "Chaldean Mysteries," of which Easter and Christmas were the two chief festivals!

Second, although Jesus said the gates of hell would never prevail against His church, yet it is prophesied in the New Testament to be the "little flock"—never as a great, large, popular universal church (Luke 12:32).

This is the very fact the world does not realize today!

TWO Churches---One False, One True

In New Testament prophecy two churches are described.

One, the great and powerful and universal church, a part of the world, actually ruling in its politics over many nations, and united with the "Holy Roman Empire," is brought to a concrete focus in Revelation 17.

This church is pictured with great pomp, ritual and display, decked in purple, scarlet and gold—proud, worldly, boastful. She is pictured as a universal deceiver—all the Western nations spiritually drunk with her false doctrines, their spiritual perception so blurred by her paganized teachings and practices they are unable to clearly distinguish truth! She boasts she is the true Church, yet she is drunken with the blood of the saints she has caused to be martyred!

But how could she have deceived the whole world, as foretold in God's Word? Surely, the Protestant world isn't deceived!

Oh, but it is! Notice, verse 5, she is a mother church!. Her daughters are also churches who have come out of her, in protest, calling themselves Protestant—but they are fundamentally of her family in pagan doctrines and practices!

They, too, make themselves a part of this world, taking active part in its politics—the very act which made a "harlot" out of their mother!

The entire apostate family—mother, and more than 400 daughter denominations, all divided against each other and in confusion of doctrines, yet all united in the chief pagan doctrines and festivals—has a family name! They call themselves "Christian," but God calls them something else—"Mystery, Babylon the Great"!

"Babylon" means confusion! God always names people and things by calling them what they are! And here are the identical ancient Babylonian Mysteries now wrapped in the false cloak labeled "Christianity"—but in fact it is the same old "Babylonian Mystery System."

But where, then, was the true Church?

TRUE Church SmallScattered

Did the true Church of God, of which Jesus Christ is the living, directing Head, become perverted—did it merely apostatize into the system described above?

No! The gates of hell have never prevailed against the true Church of God, and never will! The true Church has never fallen! It has never ceased!

But the true Church of God is pictured in prophecy as the "little flock"! The New Testament describes this Church as continually persecuted, despised by the large popular churches because it is not OF this world or its politics, but has kept itself unspotted from the world! It has always kept the Commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 12:17). It has kept God's Festivals, not the pagan holidays. It has been empowered with the Spirit of God!

That Church never became the great popular church, as the Protestant world supposes! That Church has always existed, and it exists today!

Then where did it go? Where was it during the Middle. Ages? Where is it today?

First, remember this Church was never large, never politically powerful, or a world-known organization of men. It is a spiritual organism, not a political organization. It is composed of all whose hearts and lives have been changed by the Spirit of God, whether visibly together, or individually scattered.

Under the lash of continual persecution and opposition from the organized forces of this world, it is difficult for such a people to remain united and organized together.

Daniel prophesied the true people of God would be scattered (Daniel 12:7) Ezekiel foretold it (Ezekiel 34:5-12). Jeremiah, too (Jeremiah 23:1-2). Jesus foretold it (Matthew 26:31). The apostolic Church was soon scattered by persecution (Acts 8:1).

Ignored by Most Histories

You don't read much of this true Body of Christ in the secular histories of this world! No, the world little notes, nor long remembers, the activities of this "little flock," hated and despised by the world, driven to the wilderness by persecution, always opposed, usually scattered! But there are enough references to it in authentic histories to show that it has continued through every century to now!

The prophecies bring this Church into concrete focus in the 12th chapter of Revelation. There she is shown spiritually, in the glory and splendor of the Spirit of God, but visibly in the world as a persecuted Commandment-keeping Church driven into the wilderness, for 1260 years, through the Middle Ages!

Even in Paul's day, many among those attending at Antioch, at Jerusalem, at Ephesus, at Corinth, and other places, began to apostatize and turn away from the truth. Divisions sprang up. Those individuals, unconverted or turned from God's truth and way of life, were no part of God's true Church, though visibly assembling with those who were. The "mystery of iniquity" was already working inside these visible churches. This apostasy increased! By the year AD 125 the majority in most churches, especially those Gentile-born, were continuing in many of their old pagan beliefs and practices, though professing to be Christian! Gradually, a smaller and smaller portion of the visible churches going by the name "Christian" remained truly yielded to God and His truth, and led of His Spirit. After Constantine took virtual control of the visible, professing Church in the early fourth century, this visible organization became almost wholly pagan, and began excommunicating and persecuting all who held to the true Word of God! Finally, it became necessary for real Christians, who, even as a scattered people, alone composed the true Christian Church, to flee from the jurisdiction of Rome in order truly to worship God! Thus, the visible, organized Church which rose to power was the FALSE Church—the fallen woman of Revelation 17.

Injected Into the Church

Nothing illustrates this very fact more vividly than the actual history of the injecting of Easter into the Western Church.

Here is the quick, brief history of it, from the Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th edition, Vol. VIII, pp. 828-829):

"There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. . . . The first Christians [the original true Church] continued to observe the Jewish [that is, God's] festivals, though in a new spirit, as commemorations of events which those festivals had foreshadowed. Thus the Passover, with a new conception added to it, of Christ as the true Paschal Lamb and the first fruits from the dead, continued to be observed.

"Although the observance of Easter was at a very early period in the practice of the Christian Church, a serious difference as to the day for its observance soon arose between the Christians of Jewish and those of Gentile descent, which led to a long and bitter controversy. With the Jewish Christians . . . the fast ended . . . on the 14th day of the moon at evening . . . without regard to the day of the week. The Gentile Christians on the other hand [that is, the beginning of the Roman Church, now substituting pagan for true Christian doctrines] . . . identified the first day of the week with the resurrection, and kept the preceding Friday as the commemoration of the crucifixion, irrespective of the day of the month.

"Generally speaking, the Western Churches [Catholic] kept Easter on the 1st day of the week, while the Eastern Churches [containing most of those who remained as part of the true Christian Church] followed the Jewish rule. [That is, observing Passover on the 14th of the first sacred month instead of the pagan Easter.]

"Polycarp, the disciple of John the Evangelist, and bishop of Smyrna, visited Rome in 159 [sic] to confer with Anicetus, the bishop of that see, on the subject, and urged the tradition which he had received from the apostles of observing the 14th day. Anicetus, however, declined. About forty years later (197), the question was discussed in a very different spirit between Victor, bishop of Rome, and Polycrates, metropolitan of proconsular Asia [the territory of the Churches at Ephesus, Galatia, Antioch, Philadelphia, and all those mentioned in Revelation 2 and 3—the Churches established through the Apostle Paul]. That province was the only portion of Christendom which still adhered to the Jewish usage. Victor demanded that all should adopt the usage prevailing at Rome. This Polycrates firmly refused to agree to, and urged many weighty reasons to the contrary, whereupon Victor proceeded to excommunicate Polycrates and the Christians who continued the Eastern usage [that is, who continued in God's way, as Jesus, Peter, Paul, and all the early true Church had done]. He was, however, restrained [by other bishops] from actually proceeding to enforce the decree of excommunication . . . and the Asiatic churches retained their usage unmolested. We find the Jewish [true Christian Passover] usage from time to time reasserting itself after this, but it never prevailed to any large extent.

"A final settlement of the dispute was one among the other reasons which led Constantine to summon the council at Nicaea in 325. At that time the Syrians and Antiochenes were the solitary champions of the observance of the 14th day. The decision of the council was unanimous that Easter was to be kept on Sunday, and on the same Sunday throughout the world, and that 'none hereafter should follow the blindness of the Jews.' [That is, in plain language, the Roman Church now decreed that none should be allowed to follow the ways of Christ—of the true Christian Church!]

". . . The few who afterwards separated themselves from the unity of the church [the politically organized Church], and continued to keep the 14th day, were named 'Quartodecimani,' and the dispute itself is known as the 'Quartodeciman controversy.'"

Thus you see how the politically organized church at Rome grew to great size and power by adopting popular pagan practices and how she gradually stamped out the true teachings, doctrines, and practices of Jesus Christ and the true Church, so far as any collective practice is concerned.

True Christians Kept Passover

The New Testament reveals that Jesus, the apostles, and the New Testament Church, both Jewish- and Gentile-born, observed God's Sabbaths, and God's Festivals—weekly and annually! Take your Bible and carefully read Acts 2:1; 12:3-4 (remember the word "Easter" here is a mistranslation in the King James Version—originally inspired "Passover," and so corrected in the Revised Standard Version); Acts 18:21; 20:6, 16; I Corinthians 16:8.

Eusebius, historian of the early centuries of the Church, speaks of the true Christians observing Passover on the 14th of Nisan, first month of the Sacred Calendar.

"A question of no small importance arose at that time. For the parishes of all Asia, as from an older tradition, held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the Savior's passover . . . the bishops of Asia, led by Polycrates, decided to hold to the old custom handed down to them. He himself, in a letter which he addressed to Victor and the church of Rome, set forth in the following words the tradition which had come down to him:

"'We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord's coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles . . . and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord . . . and Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia . . . the bishop and martyr Sagaris . . . the blessed Papirius, or Melito. . . . All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith"' (Ecclesiastical History, book V, chapters XXIII and XXIV).

But as the false, paganized church grew in size and political power, decrees were passed in the fourth century AD imposing the death sentence upon Christians found keeping God's Sabbath, or God's Festivals. Finally, in order to keep the true way of God, many Christians (composing the true Church) fled for their lives.

But another large portion of the true Church of God, failing to flee, yet remaining true to God's truth, paid with their lives in martyrdom (Revelation 2:13; 6:9; 13-15; 17:6; 18:24).

They loved obedience to God more than their lives! Do you?

But through all generations, through every century, though persecuted, scattered, unrecognized by the world, many true Christians have kept alive the true Church of God—the Church composed of those who have the Holy Spirit of God.

What God Did Command

The "communion," often called the "Lord's Supper," is actually the Passover—as the ordinance should more properly be called. On observing the Passover, as on every practice, Jude exhorts "that ye should contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints."

Now that we know the pagan origin of the Easter celebration, let's clear away the web of error that covers the truth about keeping the Passover, the memorial of Christ's death.

Let's examine the way Jesus observed this ordinance, because we can't be wrong if we follow His example. In Luke 22:14-20, we read, "And when the hour was come, he [Jesus] sat down. . . . And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."

Notice, it was "when the hour was come," that Jesus introduced the unleavened bread and the wine. There was a definite time—a definite hour—when He held this ordinance as an example for us.

Notice, too, He commanded them to observe it—"This do"! And why? "In remembrance of me," said Jesus. He instituted this New Testament way of keeping the Passover, on that tragic night, the very eve of His death.

In Matthew's account, the Bible shows that this ordinance was at the very time of the Passover, "as they were eating" (Matthew 26:2, 26). Jesus knew that His time had come. He was our passover, sacrificed for us (I Corinthians 5:7).

The Passover had always been held on the eve of the 14th of God's first month, according to the Sacred or Jewish Calendar. It was the night of the final and last Passover supper that Jesus introduced these New Testament emblems—the unleavened bread and the wine—in place of the lamb that was always slain annually. (For a full explanation of the original Passover as God instituted it, see Mr. Armstrong's booklet Pagan Holidays or God's Holy Days—Which?)

Remember Jesus commanded: "This do in remembrance of me." Why? Because the Passover was commanded "forever."

The Passover was to be observed annually, along with the Days of Unleavened Bread. "Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season year to year" (Exodus 13:10). Jesus set us an example (I Peter 2:21), observing this ordinance at the same time once a year (Luke 2:42). Suppose the Israelites in Egypt had observed this ordinance at some other time than that set by God? They would not have been saved when the death angel passed by that night! God does things on time. He has given us an exact time for this ordinance. Jesus instituted the New Testament symbols "when the hour was come."

The Ordinance of Humility

In giving us their accounts, Matthew, Mark and Luke describe the taking of unleavened bread and wine. But John relates another part of this ordinance.

In the 13th chapter of John we notice that after the Passover supper was ended (verse 2), Jesus took a towel (verse 4)and began to wash His disciples' feet (verse 5).

"So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you" (John 13:12-15).

If any of you are wondering if this ordinance of humility is a command to you, then turn to Matthew 28:19, 20. Here Jesus said to these same disciples: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them . . . teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded YOU." So they were to teach us to observe all things whatsoever Jesus commanded them!

Kept Once a Year in the Apostolic Church

In I Corinthians 5:7, 8, Paul tells the Corinthians: Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven . . . but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." And in the 11th chapter he gives the directions regarding this ordinance.

Some misunderstand verse 26 which says: "As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup," by interpreting it "take it as often as you wish." But it does not say that!

It says "as often" as you observe it, "ye do show the Lord's death till he come." Even Jesus commanded, "This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me" (verse 25). We do it in remembrance of the Lord's death—a memorial of His death. As you know, memorials are celebrated annually, once a year, on the anniversary of the events commemorated. So we observe the memorial of Christ's death annually. And just as often as each year comes around, we are to "show the Lord's death till he come," by keeping this memorial.

Christ instituted this ordinance on the eve of His death. It was the 14th of Abib, by God's Sacred Calendar, in the very beginning of the day. God starts days at sunset, not midnight. So, later that same day, after Jesus had gone out to Gethsemane, Judas Iscariot led the crowd to seize Jesus. Then He was crucified later that same day, in the daylight part of this same 14th of the month Abib.

By following the example of Jesus in observing this sacred ordinance at the same time He did—the very same time the Passover was forever commanded to be observed—we continue to remember His death, annually, on the eve of the crucifixion.

Some always question the meaning of Paul in verses 27-29 in I Corinthians 11. The apostle is not speaking about a Christian being worthy or unworthy to take it. It is speaking of the manner in which it is done. We take it unworthily if we take it wrongly, in the wrong manner. Once we learn the truth about its observance, and yet take it at any other time than when God says, then we take it unworthily. We take it unworthily if we do not accept the body and blood of Christ. So let's not take this most sacred ordinance to our condemnation, but take it worthily instead!

"Easter" a Mistranslation

Following the example of Jesus and the apostles, the early Church observed the Passover, and the Days of Unleavened Bread which immediately followed. Notice Acts 12:3. The Holy Spirit of God inspired these words: Then were the days of unleavened bread." But in the next verse we read of "Easter."

We have already seen that "Easter" was injected into the Church years after the time of Christ. Again, this word Easter" is a mistranslation. The original Greek word is pascha, meaning Passover. In every other place, exactly the same word is used in the original and always rendered Passover. Many other translations, including the New King James Version, faithfully render this verse in Acts as "intending after the Passover to bring him forth to the people."

So this verse, instead of mentioning Easter, really proves that the Church, ten years after the death of Christ, was still observing Passover.

What Does "Break Bread" Mean?

There are some denominations that read Acts 20:7 as a proof that the "Lord's Supper" should be taken each Sunday morning! First notice that this was after the Days of Unleavened Bread (verse 6). Paul was preaching a farewell meeting, not on Sunday morning, but on Saturday night. It was after midnight (verse 7), that they broke bread because they were hungry. When they "had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day," Paul departed.

So this was just an ordinary meal!

The same expression "break bread" is found in Acts 27:34, 35. "Wherefore I pray you to take some meat . . . he took bread . . . and when he had broken it, he began to eat." Also Acts 2:46: "And breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness." This could not possibly have been the "Lord's Supper" or, more properly, Passover, because Paul says that if we take it to satisfy our hunger we take it to our condemnation (I Corinthians 11:34). In that day, everyone "broke bread" at ordinary meals, because they did not have the kind of bread that we slice. Jesus broke bread because it was at the Passover supper, while eating a meal.

We need to return to the faith once delivered. Let us humbly and obediently observe this sacred ordinance as we are commanded, at the scriptural time, after sunset, the 14th of Abib according to the Sacred Calendar. (If you haven't as yet read about the observance of this ordinance, see How Often Should We Partake of the Lord's Supper?)

Christians Kept the Passover

Jesus Christ kept the Passover. So did the Apostle John. And so did some Christians in Scotland even until the 7th century AD.

This information comes from no less an ecclesiastical authority than the church historian Bede. His Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation would astound many who have assumed that Christ and the early apostles all kept Easter.

He writes that "John, following the customs of the Law, used to begin the Feast of Easter [actually the Passover] on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month, whether it fell on the Sabbath or on any other day" (III, 25).

The Apostle John was the author of five books of the New Testament and the "disciple whom Jesus loved." Yet he kept the Passover on the 14th day of the first month (Nisan) just as God commanded in the time of Moses. That is the plain statement of this early Catholic theologian!

But where did John's custom come from? From the very example of Jesus Christ! "Nor did our Lord, the Author and Giver of the Gospel, eat the old Passover or institute the Sacrament of the New Testament to be celebrated by the Church in memory of His Passion on . . . [any other day], but on the fourteenth" (Eccl. History, III, 25).

Bede thus reiterates what the Bible itself plainly tells us—that Christ partook of the old Passover and then substituted the New Testament symbols of the bread and wine on the 14th of the first month.

The custom of keeping the New Testament Passover, after the example of Christ and John, persisted among isolated groups for centuries. Bede tells us that some faithful were still keeping it in Scotland in the 7th century! (II, 19.)

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