Tag Archives: Holy Land

Apocalyptic Extremism: No Longer a Laughing Matter

judenstaat

The American rabbi is convinced that many have been scratching their heads trying to figure out why on earth the government of Israel and writes in “Zionism’s Marriage of Convenience to Anti-Semitism” that so many staunch Zionists are just fine with the election of Donald Trump

– the darling of the anti-Semitic alt-right.

Zionism not being new he does find it having a

cozy, if somewhat Faustian relationship with anti-Semitism since its very origins.

He argues that

Theodor Herzl (born Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl) also known in Hebrew as חוֹזֵה הַמְדִינָה‎, Chozeh HaMedinah (lit. “Visionary of the State”) an Austro-Hungarian journalist, playwright, political activist, and writer who was one of the fathers of modern political Zionism. – in Basel, 1897

The founder of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl never made a secret of his belief that his new movement would have to depend upon anti-Semitism and anti-Semites in order to create a Jewish state. In his pamphlet, “The Jewish State,” he suggested raising money for the effort by means of a “direct subscription,” adding that “not only poor Jews but also Christians who wanted to get rid of them would subscribe a small amount to this fund.”

Scholars such as Yehuda Bibas, Zvi Hirsch Kalischer and Judah Alkalai were already promoting Zionist ideas before him.

Herzl grew to believe that anti-semitism could not be defeated or cured, only avoided, and that the only way to avoid it was the establishment of a Jewish state where there would be place to co-operate with those anti-Semites he even thought could become their most dependable friends and allies. {his diary}

Russian imperial statesman Vyacheslav von Plehve, whose efforts to uphold autocratic principle, a police-bureaucratic government, minister of the interior and an infamous anti-Semite who encouraged the Kishinev pogroms on April 19 and 20, 1903, and a second, smaller riot that erupted in October 1905.

Herman S. Shapiro. “Kishinever shekhita, elegie” [Kishinev Massacre Elegy]. New York: Asna Goldberg, 1904. Irene Heskes Collection. The illustration in the center of this elegy depicts the April 1903 Kishinev massacre.

The most popular newspaper in Kishinev, the Russian-language anti-Semitic newspaper Бессарабец (Bessarabetz, meaning “Bessarabian“), published by Pavel Krushevan, regularly published articles with headlines such as “Death to the Jews!” and “Crusade against the Hated Race!” (referring to the Jews).

The Times published a forged dispatch by Vyacheslav von Plehve, the Minister of Interior, to the governor of Bessarabia, which supposedly gave orders not to stop the rioters.

Today it is again that same region in eastern Europe where again such hate against the Jews is growing and infecting the West of Europe, by mouth of the right wing neo fascist groups. As in the previous century Plehve’s would not have worried

as long as the Zionists encouraged emigration of Jews from Russia, the Russian authorities would not disturb them.

perhaps several living in the Balkan, East and West Europe would not mind giving them time to leave.

Rabbi Brant Rosen looks at British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour who is perhaps best remembered for his World War I statement (the Balfour Declaration) expressing official British approval of Zionism. Though he may be long been lionized as a Zionist hero, he wasn’t particularly well-known for his love for Jews or the Jewish people.

(see: 1917 Balfour Declaration, 1905 Aliens Act)

The rabbi writes:

Balfour spoke of the “undoubted evils which had fallen on the country from an alien immigration which was largely Jewish.” Balfour, like many Christians of his class, “did not believe that Jews could be assimilated into Gentile British society.”

In this regard, it is worth noting that the sole Jewish member of British government, Edwin Montagu, strongly objected to the Balfour Declaration, submitting a memorandum to the British cabinet in August 1917 that resonates with haunting prescience today:

I wish to place on record my view that the policy of His Majesty’s Government is anti-Semitic and in result will prove a rallying ground for Anti-Semites in every country in the world…When the Jews are told that Palestine is their national home, every country will immediately desire to get rid of its Jewish citizens, and you will find a population in Palestine driving out its present inhabitants…

When the Jew has a national home, surely it follows that the impetus to deprive us of the rights of British citizenship must be enormously increased. Palestine will become the world’s Ghetto. Why should the Russian give the Jew equal rights? His national home is Palestine. Why does Lord Rothschild attach so much importance to the difference between British and foreign Jews? All Jews will be foreign Jews, inhabitants of the great country of Palestine.

He also looks at the most troubling example of Zionist association with anti-Semitism which occurred in 1933, when the Jewish Agency struck a deal with the Nazis’ Economic Ministry known as the Ha’avrah (Transfer) agreement.

Today we may wonder how it could come so far that the Zionist movement came to negotiate with Nazi Germany in order to facilitate the transfer of German Jews and their property to Palestine.

(see also an essay for Yad Vashem’s Shoah Resource Center, Israeli historian Y’faat Weiss pointing out that the Nazi regime’s participation in the agreement was motivated both by a fear of the boycott and its desire to rid Germany of its Jews.)

For the rabbi

it is not difficult to understand why, on a practical level, the Zionist movement would find a perverse kind of common cause with anti-Semitic regimes. As a form of ethnic nationalism, Zionism has always been dependent upon the maintenance of a demographic majority of Jews in the land. It makes sense that Zionists have been willing to deal with nations that were more than happy to rid themselves of their Jews in order that they maintain their own national ethnic homogeneity.

Would there be a big problem that there was taken a “Faustian bargain” like Brant Rosen calls it?

I would not think that Zionism from its origin has

necessarily fed off the existence of anti-Semites to justify the need for a Jewish state.

because normally every Jews and sincere Christian would know that God had promised a Holy Land to the descendants of Abraham. What I well can see is that several secular Jews saw a good opportunity to enlarge their power and to get some own state where they would be really their own boss.

Even more tragically, as Edwin Montagu predicted, Jewish ethnic nationalism did indeed result in a “population in Palestine driving out its inhabitants.”

I think one big problem is that Israel has too many secular politicians who allow the extremist fundamentalist Jews to take in the land of others and are not worrying about the respect human beings have to show to other creations of the Most High Elohim.

Our Christian believe that Jerusalem shall have to become the capital of the Holy Land and God’s Kingdom should be known to all lovers of God and to be a reality the world has to cope with. In the end God His Kingdom shall anyway establish.

Like rabbi Brant Rosen writes Millenarianism has taken on many forms, most of which were rooted in the belief that the physical restoration of the Jews to the land would be a necessary precursor to the apocalypse and the eventual second coming of the Messiah. This religious dogma, brought by a.o. English Puritan colonists but also by very liberal non-trinitarian Christians to North America, could evolve into previous century and present-day Christian and Jewish Zionism.

Clean-shaven man in his 60s, with gray hair, wearing glasses, dressed in a dark suit and blue tie, speaking from behind a dark, varnished wooden lectern, with his right arm outstretched.  The front of the lectern is emblazoned with the Great Seal of the United States.

John Charles Hagee, the 5th of 6 pastors in his family, all of whom were named John Hagee, dating back to the colonial era.

In his second article he looks a.o. at Pastor John Hagee, founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church, a charismatic megachurch in San Antonio, Texas. He also is the the CEO of his non-profit corporation, Global Evangelism Television (GETV) and founder and National Chairman of the Christian-Zionist organization Christians United for Israel (CUFI), incorporated on February 7, 2006, the largest coalition of Evangelical Zionists in the world.

Hagee, who believes the Bible commands Christians to support the State of Israel and the Jewish people, is one of those American ‘prophets’ and doom preachers who makes his apocalyptic religious views clear.

The rabbi also looks at Hagee’s 2005 book (and not 2007) Jerusalem Countdown: A Warning to the World, where Hagee interprets the Bible to predict that Russia and the Islamic states will invade Israel and will be destroyed by God. This will cause the antichrist, (for Hagee) the head of the European Union, to create a confrontation over Israel between China and the West, getting Israel to be covered in “a sea of human blood.” .

Hagee’s attack against Christian antisemitism in his book Jerusalem Countdown claimed that Adolf Hitler’s antisemitism derived especially from his Catholic background (calling Hitler “a spiritual leader in the Catholic Church”), and that the Catholic Church under Pope Pius XII encouraged Nazism instead of denouncing it (pp. 79–81)

[The book echoes predictions made in The Late, Great Planet Earth, the best-selling 1970 book co-authored by Hal Lindsey and Carole C. Carlson.]

Rabbi Rosen also looks at Hagee’s more recent book, “Four Blood Moons,” in which Hagee promotes the Blood moon prophecy, and states that a tetrad (a series of four consecutive lunar eclipses —coinciding on Jewish holidays — with six full moons in between, and no intervening partial lunar eclipses) which began with the April 2014 lunar eclipse is a sign of the end times as described in the Bible in the Book of Joel, Acts 2:20 and Revelation 6:12. The tetrad ended with the lunar eclipse on September 27-28, 2015. (see what Haggee wrote).

[In January 2014, Mike Moore, the then General Secretary of Christian Witness to Israel, wrote a lengthy article dismissing the claims of Biltz and Hagee. Moore’s view was that no significance can be drawn from the eclipses]

PressConf.jpg

David Brog, Executive Director of Christians United For Israel (CUFI), an American pro-Israel Christian organization

Further the rabbi looks at CUFI’s Jewish Executive Director, David Brog, who clearly serves to give cover to Christian Zionists, painting them as “mainstream” and not nearly as scary as their beliefs would indicate.

Steve Bannon at 2017 CPAC by Michael Vadon.jpg

Bannon at the 2017 CPAC

Next former naval officer, banker, radio host, research director, film producer and media executive, Breitbart editor Stephen Bannon, currently serving as assistant to the President and White House chief strategist in the Trump administration comes under the attention. His documentary “Destroying the Great Satan: The Rise of Islamic Facism (sic) in America” can give us an idea how his mind may be tormented by the fundamentalist evangelist teachings.

While most of the Jewish concern toward Bannon has primarily focused on his alt-right leanings and his personal comments about Jews, less attention has been given to his apocalyptic world view. Strongly influenced by generational theorists William Strauss and Neil Howe’s book “The Fourth Turning: What Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny”  Bannon ascribes to the theory that American history has operated in four-stage cycles, moving from major crisis to awakening to major crisis.

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Preceding article

What to do in the Face of Global Anti-semitism

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Further reading

  1. Zionism in Palestine
  2. The relationship between Ariel Sharon and the Rebbe (Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson)
  3. Israel loves wars.
  4. Six Years Ago: The US-NATO-Israel Sponsored Al Qaeda Insurgency in Syria. Who Was Behind The 2011 “Protest Movement”?
  5. Abby Martin and Eran Efrati on Institutionalized Israeli War Crimes and Oppression of Palestinians
  6. From Washington to the Middle East, Should the World Brace for March 15?
  7. Steve Cohen’s ‘That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Anti-Semitic’
  8. Does Feminism Have Room for Zionists? – The New York Times
  9. Emily Shire’s Zionist Feminism
  10. From Washington to the Middle East, Should the World Brace for March 15? | James Perloff
  11. The false teachings of Zionism & dispensationalism
  12. How did the Talmudic “Noahide Laws” Become Part of American Law?
  13. A Liberal Zionism for the Trump Era
  14. The control-freakism of the CIA, UK and other western supposed “intelligence” organizations!
  15. Origin Of The Oppression Of Palestine By israel
  16. Canada offers tax deduction for promoting ethnic nationalism, war
  17. Will the Royal Family Celebrate 100 Years of Shame by Endorsing Israel?
  18. Pro-Palestinian activist: Zionism and feminism don’t go together
  19. What Linda Sarsour Said
  20. Zionism vs Islam – Which is More Dangerous?
  21. The Millet System & Minorities in Israel/Palestine
  22. The Charge of Replacement Theology is a Cover for Fuzzy Theology
  23. Alliel – A Window Into Tribal Arrogance
  24. “Many American left-liberal Jews believe that Israel only deserves to exist…if Israel serves as a ‘light unto the nations…’ and is ethically perfect”
  25. The Rise of Anti-Seminism
  26. What Type of Utopia Will Israel Be?
  27. Italian rabbis accuse biblical conference of fueling anti-Judaism
  28. On anti-Semitism, anti-Islam and fictitious alliances in U.S.
  29. US 2018 Budget Guarantees Foreign Assistance Only for Israel, State Dept. Says
  30. German newspaper backtracks after listing Netanyahu as a ‘crazy world leader’

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Shalom Rav

gettyimages-632915360-1280x720 photo credit: Getty Images

In my previous post, I explored how Zionism has historically fed off of anti-Semites and anti-Semitic regimes to justify the need for a Jewish state. In this post, I’d like to discuss a phenomenon that has even more ominous resonance for the current political moment: the willingness of political Zionists, Israeli politicians and right wing Israel advocates to court the support of Christian millenarians and apocalyptic extremists.

Some history: In the century after the Protestant reformation, the religious ideology of millenarianism began to spread throughout Europe. Millenarianism took many forms, most of which were rooted in the belief that the physical restoration of the Jews to the land would be a necessary precursor to the apocalypse and the eventual second coming of the Messiah. This religious dogma was eventually brought by English Puritan colonists to North America, where it evolved into present-day Christian Zionism.

It is safe to…

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Filed under History, Political affairs, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs, World affairs

9 Adar and bickering or loving followers of the Torah preparing for Pesach

The Catholics may have started their Lenten Season and try to lessen what they normally would eat and cut in entertainment activities. When we look around us we may find a few people who want to take the time to go over to a willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time.

Many religious observances have fasting in their program.

You should know that it is not bad to have every year some cleaning of the body and mind. Also in the house many may do a Spring cleaning. Abstinence from food or drink or both may be done for health, ritualistic, religious, or ethical purposes. All over the world we can find peoples taking abstention which may be complete or partial, lengthy, of short duration, or intermittent. Fasting has been promoted and practised from antiquity worldwide by physicians, by the founders and followers of many religions, by culturally designated individuals (e.g., hunters or candidates for initiation rites), and by individuals or groups as an expression of protest against what they believe are violations of social, ethical, or political principles.

Since at least the 5th century bce fasting has been used therapeutically. The ancient Greek physician who lived during Greece’s Classical period and is traditionally regarded as the father of medicine, Hippocrates recommended abstinence from food or drink for patients who exhibited certain symptoms of illness.

Beit Hillel is located in Israel

Northern district, Mevo’ot HaHermon council, moshav Beit Hillel

Detail of the Knesset Menorah, Jerusalem: Hillel the Elder teaching a man the meaning of the whole Torah while he stands on one foot

In almost every rabbinic book we can find mention of 9 Adar as a fast day. Though we must admit that during the last 2,000 years, not many Jews actually observed it. According to tradition, 9 Adar was the day on which initially peaceful and constructive disagreements between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai, the two great schools of thought during the Mishnaic period, erupted into a violent conflict over 18 points of law. The 1st century Jewish scholar Shammai was the most eminent contemporary, an important figure in Judaism‘s core work of rabbinic literature, the Mishnah, and the halakhic opponent of Hillel, the highest authority among the Pharisees (predecessors to Rabbinic Judaism), founder of the House of Hillel school for Tannaïm (Sages of the Mishnah) and the founder of a dynasty of Sages who stood at the head of the Jews living in the Land of Israel until roughly the fifth century of the Common Era.

Hillel was the head of the great school, at first associated with Menahem the Essene, who might be the same Menahem the Essene as the one mentioned by Flavius Josephus in relation to King Herod, afterward with Shammai, Hillel’s peer in the teaching of Jewish Law. The family of Jesus Christ also belonged to the Essenes.

Hillel and his Torah colleague Shammai were both disciples of Shemaya and Avtalyon as well as the last of the Zugos. (The five generations of Zugos were Jose ben Joezer and Jose ben Jochanan, Joshua ben Perachiah and Nitai HaArbeli, Judah ben Tabbai and Shimon ben Shatach, Shemaya and Avtalyon, and Hillel and Shammai.) Both were fearless upholders of the Torah’s honour, standing up to Herod and brooking no mockery of Judaism.

Due to increased Roman persecution, Hillel and Shammai their disciples were unable to analyze new situations as deeply as Jewish scholars once could. As a result, the emerging scholars broke off into two schools of thought, known as Bais Shammai and Bais Hillel or Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai, and wound up disputing more than 300 cases. This beginning of large-scale argumentation (machlokes) is viewed by the Talmud as a sad diminution in Torah scholarship, which, due to the lack of clarity, had drastic results for the Jewish people.

At first the scholars personally treated each other with great love and respect. But according to various sources 9 Adar was the day on which initially peaceful and constructive disagreements between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai, erupted into a violent conflict over 18 points of law, killing as many as 3,000 students in the fighting which should have been avoided.

We can take 9 Adar as a cautionary tale. There is a timely and pressing need to examine how the model of machloket l’shem shamayim (dispute for the sake of Heaven) between Beit Hillel, which produced 14 generations of great leaders, spanning nearly 400 years, and guiding the Jewish people through some of their most difficult times, and Beit Shammai devolved into a Jewish civil war. The lesson from that occasion is that

if we don’t work to resolve conflict peaceably and in a way in which everyone walks out stronger and the community is strengthened,

notes Nurit Bachrach, director of Mosaica: The Center for Consensual Conflict Resolution.

9Adar9 Adar, may be looked at as a day we should recognize the urgency to impart skills for constructive conflict to future Jewish leaders and therefore the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution has therefore chosen this day to be the international Jewish Day of Constructive Conflict (machloket l’shem shamayim), dedicated to both the study and practice of Judaism and conflict resolution.

People need to have their minds open for different thoughts. They should always try to negotiate with those of other opinions and should always remember that all people are creations of the Most High, in His image, which we should show respect.

As in any community there may be different thoughts or different schools. All created in the image of God should respect the others around them. We also should know that nobody can know everything, but God. We as fallible human beings shall have to try to work things out. God has given us time to do that. He also has given His Word and His Law, which we remembered this last weekend. That Torah or Written Law should be our guide. We should follow those instructions.

There are 18 ways you or your organization can participate in your home, workplace, synagogue, school and community, recalling the 18 matters over which the conflict erupted.

Traditional Fast Day Customs (Minhagim)

  1. Fast (ta’anit)
  2. Fast from destructive speech (ta’anit dibbur)
  3. Contribute (tzedakah)
  4. Self-reflect (teshuvah)
  5. Pray (tefilah)
  6. Cook/eat (se’udah)

 

Learn/Teach (Talmud Torah)

  1. Write
  2. Study/Read/listen
  3. Give a dvar torah (words of Torah)
  4. Teach
  5. Announce/share/tell
  6. Create

 

Be a Rodef Shalom for the Day

  1. Sign/Create a Rodef Shalom Agreement (Haskamah)
  2. Greet others as a rodef shalom
  3. Be a rodef shalom in your own conflicts
  4. Be a rodef shalom for others in conflict
  5. Be a rodef shalom by facilitating a constructive conversation
  6. Invite a professional rodef shalom

 

On this day it is also important that we do think about the reason why we received the Torah and how we should use it as a guide to construct our life. If we want to be a Child of God we should behave like one. As children of God we do have to feel like brothers and sisters of each other, respecting and loving each other, trying together to please our heavenly Father.

When we treasure our friendship with the Most High Elohim Hashem Jehovah, we should strive to please Him in every aspect of our life, including our thoughts. Preparing ourselves for the coming period, living up to Erev Pesach or 14 Nisan on Monday April the 10th in 2017 and hoping to have a joyful Pesach the next two days days, we may take the coming days to think how we can better our life and cleanse our inner soul. Fasting, or trying not to be tempted by certain things we so love, is a good way to train our self.

Everybody has to work at himself or herself to come to have “a pure heart”. This has to happen by focusing our minds on what is chaste, virtuous, and praiseworthy. (Ps. 24:3, 4; 51:6; Phil. 4:8) Granted, Jehovah makes allowances for our imperfect nature. He knows that we are prone to improper desires. But we do have to recognize that it saddens Him when we nurture wrong thoughts instead of doing all we can to reject them. (Gen. 6:5, 6) Therefore let us remember those squabbling studious Jewish followers of Hillel and his Torah colleague Shammai, and make sure that we do not fall in the trap of discussing so much smaller things that they grow above our head into something which would bring us to fight and do something against the Will of the Most High.

Going up to the days of Pesach we can take time to meditate on the Word of God plus His Works and to reflect on our way of living. It can be a good thing to avoid being tempted to eat or drink certain things we love, and to stand still by those who were going day in day out through the desert, hoping to find the promised Holy Land soon. We too still have our hopes on the Holy Land and look forward to see it coming to a time of peace. We therefore should take enough time to consider what it is what God wants and to come to accept that Jews, Christians and Muslims should all be partakers of that Holy Land. In the end all the world should know that the Kingdom of God shall be the place for all lovers of God, no matter from which school they came of from which denomination they were part of. Jerusalem shall be the capital of God’s Kingdom here on earth and there shall be place enough for all those who want to do the Will of God.

Doing the Will of God should be our aim. To do that Will of God we may only worship One True God and keep ourselves away form all sorts of heathen rites and traditions. So, if you want to fast, do it, but do it with a pure heart, not mixing with pagan traditions and keep your thoughts chaste or spotless. An important way to show our complete reliance on Jehovah is by making our fight against unclean thoughts and staying restraint a matter of prayer. When we draw close to Jehovah in prayer, he draws close to us. He generously gives us his holy spirit, thus strengthening our resolve to resist immoral thoughts and remain chaste. Let us these days remember that and let peace grow in our hearts and share it with others around us.

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Preceding articles

Happy First Day of Spring: Spring Cleaning!

From the Ramadan into the eid

Your Future

7 Ways To Become A Better Christian

Reactions against those of the other sex

Glimlach raam naar je ziel

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Additional reading

  1. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  2. Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God
  3. Gone astray, away from God
  4. Creation of the earth and man #3 Of the Sabbath day #1 the Seventh day
  5. First mention of a solution against death 7 Human sacrifice
  6. Hanukkahgiving or Thanksgivvukah
  7. Displeasures and Actions of the Almighty God
  8. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  9. Lenten Season and our minds and hearts the spiritual temple in which God seeks to live

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Other related articles

  1. The other way around?
  2. A Moment of Bliss
  3. Lent
  4. Day 0 – The Preparation, The Mission
  5. Catholic-Judeo Spirituality of Fasting: It’s all about squealing with joy
  6. Why Catholics Observe Lent Uniquely
  7. Daily Mass: Fasting for God. Catholic Inspiration
  8. Lent is Here and I’m Late Posting This!
  9. Five Reasons Not to Observe Lent*
  10. What Did You Give Up For Lent?
  11. Fasting For… (3.4.2017)
  12. Meditation on Lent: Good Gifts
  13. Lent – An Invitation to Joy
  14. Facebook Fast
  15. Soul Food: Lent Temptation cakes
  16. Begone, Satan!
  17. Why is Fasting So Difficult For Me?
  18. Day 3 Fasting & Abstinence: Good Read
  19. Lent Day 4: 3/4/2017
  20. Day 4 Fasting: Day of Temptations
  21. Taking the Other Seriously
  22. What Does God Really Want From Us this Lent?
  23. The Unbiblical Nature of the Lenten Season!
  24. March 2017 Fasting Log
  25. “Why Do You Fast?”
  26. My Fast is Finished but God’s Not
  27. It is well with my soul
  28. Lent Day 5: 3/5/2017
  29. Day 5 Fasting & Abstinence: Blessed Sunday
  30. Healing crisis
  31. Fasting Opens Us Up
  32. slob days
  33. Fasting Echoes Joy
  34. Lent 6 ~ Fasting to Repair and Restore
  35. Lent Day 6: 3/6/2017
  36. Day 6 Fasting: Adjustment Over
  37. 1029
  38. 100 days to Ramadan
  39. Aiming for an outstanding Ramadan The holy month of Ramadan this year is going to start at the end of May.
  40. Targets for Ramadan
  41. Daily News Egypt: Twitter reveals increase of users’ activities in Ramadan
  42. Fasting Tips for New Muslims
  43. When Is Laylatul Qadr?
  44. Praying Maghrib and Esha in Jamaat in The Last 10 Nights of Ramadaan
  45. Prolonged Du’a in Sujood and Tashahud in The Last 10 Nights of Ramadaan
  46. Doing Good Deeds in The Last 10 Blessed Days of Ramadaan
  47. Tips for The Last 10 Nights of Ramadaan
  48. “Better Than:” The Spirit of Fasting
  49. Detox

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Being and Feeling, Health affairs, Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Coming together in dark days

A few hours before I shall light the first candle at nightfall I shall look at the 1st day of Chanukah but also shall see how many come to celebrate a feast, they also call the feast of light, but has its main day on the birthday of the goddess of light, December 25. Lots of heathen but also lots of Christians shall have little candles in their decorated trees.

In my home the coming days there’ll also be some light, spiritual and literal, to have me thinking of the wonders of the Most High. The Eternal Being have been for ever, having made us in His image, has always been prepared to be there for those who want to be with Him. These present times there may be lots of darkness, violence and hate against each other. The heavenly Creator never created the human beings to go fighting against each other. Those people who claim to be lovers of God, be it Jews, Christians or Muslims, should all feel united under the same umbrella of their Divine Creator. Especially in these darker and colder days of the year we should make more time to come in each others warm houses to feel the generous warmth of solidarity.

It is in those darker days when we do not have to go to work, but can enjoy some free time, that we should bring up remembrances of how we and our ancestors grew up. We must become aware of how our minds get filled with lots of stuff as we grow from baby to adult, and how we are modelled by it. Growing up we come to certain believes and want to follow certain ideas. The beliefs we create are part of what forms our being, but they are also based on our genetic heritage, what other’s tell us, and what we accept as fact based on our experiences.  (Which explains why siblings can be alike or different and also why some twins raised in separate home turn out to have similar tastes and beliefs.)

English: The Byzantine army under Nikephoros P...

English: The Byzantine army under Nikephoros Phokas captures Halep (Berrhoea), Syria, in February 963. Ελληνικά: Κατάληψη του Χαλεπίου (αρχαία Βέρροια) της Συρίας από τον βυζαντινό στρατό του Νικηφόρου Φωκά, Φεβρουάριος 963. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The day that Byzantine troops led by Nicephorus Phocas, who had lead an expedition against the Saracen Emirate of Crete, and stormed Chandax and wrested control of the entire island from the Muslims, in 961 defeated Moslem forces and seized Aleppo, we once more have a picture of a destroyed Aleppo and a ruined city of Mosul.

As the 10th century temporary turn of events could not have been good for the Jews who had been living in Aleppo since Biblical times because it was the Moslem conquest of the city in 636 that removed the disabilities placed on the Jews by the Byzantines. Lots of times the Jews had to face difficulties and many generations had to suffer under persecution, like the ones who found themselves squeezed out of the major cities and ports into the area known as White Russia on  this day in 1791 when Great empress of Russia Russian Yekaterina Velikaya, also known as Catherine II (the Great) created the Pale of Settlement.

When tonight I, like the Jewish troops with General Sherman, who kindle the first light of Chanukah in Savannah, GA. in 1864 (24th of Kislev, 5625) I’ll try to remember the good thing which happened to the Jewish community and the many signs which proof that they are a special blessed people. The world shall have to know that the Jews are the Chosen people who have been promised to reside in a Holy Land. This Holy Land may perhaps be something lots of people will not like to see realised, but the world must know that the Plan of the Most High Maker shall become a reality.

In the ancient books is being told of that Great Plan. Not only Jews know of it; Christians and Muslims are also told about the prospects believers in God may expect. In the Torah the Most High calls people to share the news of a Messiah, a liberator for all. Generally lots of Jews look perhaps at a different Messiah than the Messianic Jews and Christians. Though perhaps because many of the Hebrew people forgot about their Creator, it can well be that This Holy Creator made His call also clear to the goy or goyim. For that reason Christians and Jews should look at each other, know their roots, know their common writings, and should learn from each other how to prepare themselves for the day that Messiah may come or return to this earth for finally bringing to Jerusalem full glory, as the capital of the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Jewish wedding in Aleppo, Syria, 1914.

Jewish wedding in Aleppo, Syria, 1914. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Though thick-skinned the Jews always tried to find a way to survive, never loosing their faith in their Maker and the hope in the promise made to him by their patriarch Abraham. Christians and Muslims today should also know that the Most High spoke about a terrible time, when more natural disasters would come over man, but also where children would come to stand up against their parents, and religions would come to fight against each other. We may well see lots of signs described in the Holy Scriptures as being the sings of the Endtimes.

Not having the pretension to be a spiritual leader or rabbi, but looking at the Torah, I can only come to the impression we have arrived in times that those who really love God should come together, unite and should come to spread the Good News. Lovers of God should spread the love and message of peace. Together they should become strong to help each other in the coming difficult times. By helping each other to come to understand each their way of life and come to see the religious teachings having to grow to a point where they shall be in line with God His teaching and not keeping any more to human dogmatic teachings.

Perhaps not regularly writing here, nor on my own site, I am honoured that I am allowed to share some thoughts from the Holy Scriptures and that I hopefully may show some ways Jews see the world and hold their religion high. By bringing also some news from the Jewish site I do hope this shall shed some light on present and future events and shall bring some more mutual understanding between the different religious groups our world has created .

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Please do find my introductions to my site

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Additional reading

  1. Roman, Aztec and other rites still influencing us today
  2. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  3. Germanic mythological influences up to today’s Christmas celebrations
  4. Solstice, Saturnalia and Christmas-stress
  5. Pagan Holidays
  6. The imaginational war against Christmas
  7. Objects around the birth and death of Jesus
  8. With child and righteousness greater than the law
  9. Continues Syrian conflict needing not only dialogue
  10. To freeze the fighting in Aleppo
  11. Old texts saved behind a wall at the Mar Behnam monastery

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Further related articles

  1. Living Beyond Our World
  2. Chankkah
  3. Toldos – Generations
  4. Happy Chanukah, Y’all!
  5. Holiday Traditions – Chanukah
  6. Our Style: Happy Chanukah!

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Announcement, Being and Feeling, Crimes & Atrocities, Lifestyle, Religious affairs, Social affairs, World affairs

Sukkoth, Gog, Magog, Armageddon, a covenant and Jerusalem

Moadim L’Simcha (Appointed Times for Joy) and Shabbat Shalom dear readers!

The joyous holiday of Sukkoth (Sukkot or Feast or Tabernacles or Feast of Booths), one of the three Pilgrim Festivals of the Hebrew Bible, is observed on the Jewish calendar dates of 15-21 Tishrei and is immediately followed by the holiday of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. The final day of Sukkot is known as Hoshana Rabba (“Great Hosanna”) (In 2016 coming Monday and Tuesday) and with the eighth day should for Christians also be important, being it a day of Solemn Assembly, commemorating the completion of the annual cycle of readings from the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) and being called Simḥat Torah (“Rejoicing of the Law”). .

The seventh day of the festival of Sukkot, considered to be the final day of the New Year’s Divine “judgment” in which the year’s fate is determined; in addition to the Four Kinds taken on the preceding days of Sukkot, an additional willow is taken on this day; it is customary to stay up all night on the eve of Hoshanah Rabbah and study Torah.

During the week long festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles), the regular Parasha (Torah portion) for Shabbat is suspended, and a special Parasha pertaining to the holiday is read in synagogues around the world.

Readings for Shabbat Chol Hamoed Sukkot
Exodus 33:12–34:26; Ezekiel 38:18–39:16; Revelation 21:1–22:21

For lovers of God the Jewish reading for today is one which should concern all, being aware of the importance of the covenant made by the Most High.

“Behold, I make a covenant: before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord: for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.”  (Exodus 34:10)

In this special Sukkot reading, Moses asks that God’s presence would go with Israel, and God agrees. The marvellous thing about God the Divine Creator is that He loves His creation so much, that when people ask Him to be with them and to go with them, God will do that. He is there for all who want Him nearby.
Encouraged by this positive response, Moses also asks to see God’s glory.  Once again, God graciously complies with his request and invites Moses to ascend Mount Sinai with two newly hewn stone tablets so that He can re-carve the Ten Commandments. Those mitzvah or commandments were given to be a guide for mankind, so that they could build up a good relationship with their Most High Maker.
It was there on that mountain that God revealed His glory to Moses in such a fearsome spectacle of power that God had to protect Moses from being destroyed by it.
“There is a place near Me where you can stand on a rock.  When My glory passes by, I will put you in an opening in the rock.  I will cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove My hand.  You will see My back.  But My face must not be seen.”  (Exodus 33:21–23)
It’s clear that Moses, having experienced the power of the presence of God, understands that His presence is more than sufficient against any threat Israel might encounter inside or outside of the Promised Land.
This is a great prospect for God’s nation. We also know now that God promised Abraham that his seed and sons by faith, would come to live in the Holy Land. In the end all Jews, the children of Abraham, will find their Holy Nation there and find Jerusalem to be the capital of the nation of God’s people. They would be sent in exile and have to endure lots of problems throughout history, but there shall come a time when they shall be all united under God’s Kingdom. God will gather His People to their own land and the whole world shall come to know it.
The world shall have to come to hear that Israel shall be restored and that also others came to know the Law of God and shall be willing to live according the covenant also brought to them by the sent one from God, rabbi Jeshua, the son of man and son of God, who gave his life as a ransom payment for all sinners, so that all people could come back to God to be His children. He provided a new covenant, one of reconciliation.
But we should take heed, God has given a warning that terrible times shall come  over the world. The Restoration of Israel shall be challenged.
“This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, My hot anger will be aroused.”  (Ezekiel 38:18)
In the Haftarah (prophetic portion) for this Shabbat Chol Hamoed (intermediate day of the festival) of Sukkot, the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel describes an end-time scenario in which formidable armies from the north, under the leadership of Gog, will challenge the restoration of Israel.
Gog (left) and Magog, wooden effigies in the Guildhall, London

Gog (left) and Magog, wooden effigies in the Guildhall, London – Courtesy of the British Tourist Authority

Gog is a chief prince living in the land of Magog (Ezekiel 38:2).  Many scholars believe Magog refers to Russia.  The invading land of Gomer is often believed to be Germany.

Several lands in the coalition army are easily identifiable: Iran (Persia), Northern Sudan (ancient Ethiopia or Cush), Libya (Put), and Turkey (Togarmah).
Last year at this time, Russia made significant moves into the Middle East, reportedly to fight against ISIS.  Last week, however, it negotiated its first “permanent” air base in the region at Khmeimim, Syria and its naval base in Tartus, Syria will soon become “permanent” as well.
Russia also recently installed its S-300 surface-to-air missile defence system in Syria and completed the transfer of the system to Iran last month.
In effect, Russia has become a major military broker in the region.  It is right now on the doorstep of Israel, and it plans to stay.
The nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38 will unite and come upon Israel “like a cloud that covers the land” for the purpose of looting the wealth that she has amassed in what was a desolate land only seventy years ago.
Yet, God will not abandon His People.  He will utterly destroy the coalition forces of Gog so that all nations will come to know the holiness of the Lord (Ezekiel 38:18–23).
The forces that come against Israel will be so large in their day of defeat that Gog’s weaponry will provide fuel for Israel for seven years (Ezekiel 39:9).
“They will not need to gather wood from the fields or cut it from the forests, because they will use the weapons for fuel.  And they will plunder those who plundered them and loot those who looted them, declares the Sovereign LORD.”  (Ezekiel 39:10)
Moreover, so many soldiers will die in this battle that it will take seven months for Israel to bury them all and cleanse their land (Ezekiel 39:12).

A man carries a Torah scroll that is protected by a silver Torah tik (case) during Sukkot at the Western Wall.

The Jews read about this end-time battle during Sukkot, because according to Rabbinic tradition, this war will be waged during the month of Tishri, the month in which the holiday of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) falls.

Interestingly enough, the war that is described in Ezekiel is similar to the war described in the 14th chapter of Zechariah, the Haftarah reading on the first day of Sukkot.  And in Zechariah we learn that the Gentiles who survive the war against Israel will be required to keep Sukkot annually by coming up to the Holy City of Jerusalem to worship the Lord.
“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 Feast of Tabernacles [Sukkot].  If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain.”  (Zechariah 14:1617)
This should give us food to think about the matter of feasts and holidays we do have to partake.

Sukkot at the Western (Wailing) Wall.

 

 

Psalm 27 presents a clear connection between Sukkot and God’s protection of Israel and those who trust in Him:
“For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle [sukkah]; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.”  (Psalm 27:5)
The word translated here as tabernacle is the Hebrew word sukkah (סכה)When evil threatens God’s people, He will hide them in His sukkah, inaccessible from the enemy on the rock of His presence.
Now that is a promise we can trust in during these last days!

 

The Battle of Armageddon

“When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison, and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth — Gog and Magog — to gather them for battle.”  (Revelation 20:78)
Gog and Magog are also mentioned in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) in connection with Armageddon and the final battle between the forces of good and evil.
This war with Gog and Magog is not the same war described in Ezekiel 38 but a final end-time battle after the thousand-year reign of Jeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah).
The Son of David, Jeshua, will come again — this time as our conquering Messiah to defeat the invading forces forever.  All who have believed in their Saviour, Jeshua, will inherit eternity in God’s Kingdom of which the New Jerusalem shall be the capital of a revived Garden of Eden complete with trees of life and pure living water that will be good to eat and drink forever.

Ancient ruins atop Har Meggido in Israel

Armageddon is mentioned only once in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) in chapter 16 of the Book of Revelation.
“They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty….  Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.”  (Revelation 16:14, 16)
The word Armageddon is derived from Har Magedon (meaning mountain of Megiddo) and is mentioned many times in the Tanakh (Old Testament).
Megiddo is derived from the Hebrew word gadad, meaning to penetrate, muster troops together, perhaps even invade.
In this end-time invasion, we once again see Israel’s enemies mounting a war against Jerusalem.  This time, however, we see the spiritual forces behind the rebellion against God:
“They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.”  (Revelation 9:11)
The words Abaddon and Apollyon mean Destroyer.
And this time, God pours out on the Destroyer and all rebels the full extent of His judgment, including everlasting torment for Satan, the beast and the false prophet.
“They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city He loves.  But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.  And Satan, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown.  They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:910)
With an Outstretched Arm
As we read how God will hurl His fury against Gog with pestilence and with blood, floods, giant hailstones, fire and brimstone, it’s easy to see from this Haftarah portion that God is furious with those who come against the Land of Israel(Ezekiel 38:22).
In fact, there are several parallels between God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt long ago and His future deliverance of Israel from Gog in the end times.  In both, we see that God saves and rescues Israel with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm.
The phrase with a strong hand and an outstretched arm (בְּיָ֣ד חֲ֭זָקָה וּבִזְר֣וֹעַ נְטוּיָ֑ה) has special meaning in Jewish tradition.  It represents God using His power on behalf of His people.  The “arm of the Lord” also represents His salvation, which in Hebrew is Jeshua.
“You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror.”  (Jeremiah 32:21, see also Deuteronomy 4:34; 26:8; Exodus 6:6)
As Russia expands its influence in the region and neighboring nations plot to annihilate Israel, there is certainly evidence that Ezekiel 38 is on the horizon.  Yet, this Sukkot Parasha reveals that God’s Divine Sheltering Presence over Israel has not ended but will continue past the end of this age.
God is not finished with the Jewish People and Israel.  This is plainly evident when we consider how Bible Prophecy concerning Israel is being fulfilled during these end times before our very eyes.
The Brit Chadashah (New Covenant) also tells us that God’s plan to reach out to the nations through Israel did not end with the death and resurrection of Messiah, but continues to this day and will in the world to come:
“For if their casting Yeshua [Jesus] aside means reconciliation for the world, what will their accepting Him mean?  It will be life from the dead!”  (Romans 11:15)
The Book of Romans promises that when the Jewish People come to know Jeshua, it will be like life from the dead for the world.
Before this can happen, however, they must first hear the Good News of Jeshua!
“How can they call on Him unless they believe in Him?  How can they believe in Him unless they hear about Him?  How can they hear about Him unless someone preaches to them?”  (Romans 10:14)
It is up to the followers of Jeshua to follow up the task given by this master, rabbi Jeshua. Therefore Christians, being aware that the times are coming closer, should make work of it, spreading the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God.
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With thanks to the Messianic Bible
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Additional reading

  1. Ninth of Av
  2. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  3. Jerusalem God’s City for ever
  4. Glory of only One God Who gives His Word
  5. Vayikra after its opening word וַיִּקְרָא, which means and He called
  6. Holy land Christian exodus
  7. How do we know the coming of Jesus is very near?
  8. Armageddon, har and megiddo, an action or a place
  9. Ember and light the ransomed of Jehovah
  10. Ransom for all
  11. Jerusalem and a son’s kingdom
  12. Bringing into safety from Irak and Iran
  13. 2015 the year of ISIS
  14. This Week’s Developments in Weekly World Watch 15-21 July
  15. The promise a guarantee of something and the heir that is going to have
  16. Chemical warsite and Pushing king of the South

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Further reading

  1. Understanding the Battle of Gog and Magog
  2. Trend Update: Burden of Damascus/Russian Embassy Takes Fire, October 2016
  3. Zork Nemesis – The Forbidden Lands
  4. War is upon us!
  5. Russia, Iran, and The War with Israel
  6. The Coming War
  7. Ezekiel blog: My version of the end of the world, part I
  8. Ezekiel blog: My version of the end of the world Part II
  9. Who are the real Gog and Magog in prophecy?
  10. Less of Me
  11. “My Relationship with Jesus Christ”
  12. Trend Update: Ezekiel 38-39/Magog (Russia)/Golan Heights, Passover 2016
  13. Alliance Formation

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Filed under Religious affairs, World affairs