Showing posts from March, 2007
Take up your cross daily?Luke 9 (23-25) says (quoting Yeshua): "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?Most christians believe and teach that this quote means that a person must be willing to give up their life (and indeed to die) for Yeshua. However, a close reading of this passage along with a sound understanding of Semitic idioms brings the true meaning to light.First of all, we see the idiom “deny the self.”To the Semitic mind this is a simple enough idiom. It means “to set aside self interest.”This is precisely what is meant by the Semitic idiom “lose oneself.”A form of this idiom appears in this quote in the statement, “whoever loses his life for me…” Interestingly, in this passage, Yeshua uses this same phrase twice. Once to mean &quo…
"My grace is sufficient for you."

Speaking of "a thorn in the flesh," Paul writes that he "beseeched the Lord three times that it would be removed from him," but that the Lord replied "my grace is sufficient for you." This is one of our translations at least. This phrase has generally been interpreted to mean that Paul should basically learn to live with his "thorn" and accept God's "grace" and be content with it.

But, this is not what Paul wrote nor what he meant. Remembering that Paul's thorn was a man who was tormenting the church, one can easily see from 2 Corinthians, that Paul's thorn was indeed removed.

Paul said that he was given "a thorn in the flesh," "lest I should be exalted above measure." In the Aramaic language (Paul's native tongue), the word for "exalted" is sageb "to raise up."Paul, here makes a play on words using this same Aramaic word in two senses. …
A "thorn in the flesh?"In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul writes 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.Many Christians believe that this verse means that God wants some of us (Paul included) to stay sick. They say that Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was an eye disease, migraine, baldness or some other type of sickness, and that God refused to heal him, telling him “my grace is sufficient for you.”

However, the word “thorn” as an idiomatic expression, is never used in the Bible to mean a sickness or physical affliction. Numbers 33:55 But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.Here, the “thorns” are people who …
Forever his mercy?

The Hodu cry of the Hillel (Psalm 118:1) says: "howdu layhwah ciy ´ tOV ciy l',owlaM Has'DO." - " Let us give thanks to Yahwah for [he is] good; for forever [is] his mercy."

Now, Websters defines "mercy" as: benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant.

The remainder of Psalm 118 describes how Yahwah will provide a means for the writer (David) to destroy his enemies. Hardly an act of mercy.

The Hebrew word translated as "mercy," is chesed from the root chasad, a primative Hebrew root meaning, to bow by bending the neck.

But, can an all-powerful God be described properly as "bowing" rather than "merciful?" The answer, of course is …
Mark of the Beast?

Many Christian groups believe in the so-called “mark of the beast”—a supposed mark or sign upon the forehead and hand of those who worship the image of the antichrist.
Revelation 13:16: “And the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the freemen and the slaves, it causes that they give to them all a mark on their right hand, or on their foreheads”
Of course, this interpretation fails to recognize a Hebrew idiom--"a mark upon the hand/head." In the old testament this idiom has a simple meaning. To have "a mark upon the head" means to recall that which the mark stands for, namely God's word. To have "a mark upon the hand" means to be marked for the work of God's word.

Exo 13:9 "Moreover, it will serve you as a sign on your hand and as a reminder between your eyes, so that Yahweh's Law may be on your lips; because with a strong hand Yahweh brought you out of Egypt.

Deu 11:18 Therefore, you are to store up these w…