Archive for the ‘Old Testament History’ Category

Six Questions and Answers related to the Book of Genesis

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

Answers_From_Genesis

COGwriter

Many people have questions about the Bible in general and the first several chapters of the Book of Genesis in particular.

The first six chapters of Genesis present a sum­mary of vital high points of approximately the first 1600-1700 years of mankind — from Adam’s creation to just before Noah’s Flood (details on calculations can be found in the article Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End?).

We in the Continuing Church of God have looked at various questions that were taken from authentic letters emanating from Ambassador College sponsored programs and publications or received as emails by us. This particular set of questions and answer is an update strongly based upon those in the 1973 booklet (shown above) written by the late John Ross Schroeder, but with most answers partially updated by Dr. Bob Thiel in 2014. Biblical quotes are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.

We addressed many of them before, and here are six more:

• “Where is the land of Nod?”

“And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden” (Genesis 4:16). Cain was exiled to the land of Nod as punishment for brutally murdering his younger brother, Abel.

It was located east of Eden. Eden was probably in the region of the Holy Land. So Nod was probably east of the region we now know as the Holy Land — the area where the twelve tribes of ancient Israel dwelled together. The Hebrew word for “Nod” means “wandering.” This was the land of Cain’s wandering. It is a general area — not a specific geographical location.

• “The Bible says that Enoch ‘was not, for God took him’ (Genesis 5:24), and that he was ‘translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him’ (Hebrews 11:5). What actually happened to Enoch? Where did he go? Where is he now?”

At this moment Enoch is dead and in his grave. We know this because it clearly states in Hebrews that Enoch died in faith, not having received the promises (Hebrews 11:5, 13). And Genesis 5:23 plainly states that all the days of Enoch were 365 years.

It is true that God dealt with Enoch in a unique manner. Enoch was one of those rare persons who realized the tremendous importance in living God’s way. From age 65 until his death, three hundred years later, Enoch “walked with God” (Genesis 5:22). And God is always particularly concerned for those who put Him first in their lives. You may also wish to read the free booklet titled Where are Enoch and Elijah? It explains more fully what happened to Enoch.

• “Genesis 6:4 seems to indicate that angels married women prior to Noah’s Flood. How could this possibly be true?”

The biblical record reveals that angels are created spirits (Hebrews 1:14). They are not mortal flesh like humans. Christ said in three places that angels do not marry.

Angels are created spirits and do not reproduce by sexual intercourse or any other means (Luke 20:34-36; Matt. 22:30; Mark 12:25).

With this understanding, read the first four verses of Genesis 6: “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose … the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”

Who were these “sons of God”? Obviously they were male human beings. Adam was a son of God by creation (Luke 3:38). And all of Adam’s male descendants are sons of God in that sense. Since these “sons of God” married women, they can­not be angels — notice the context of Genesis 6. “The Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man …” (verse 3). Here again the sons of God are called men. Because the sons of God sinned, God said: “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth” (verse 7). Not one word about angels.

Notice that God said because of sin He would destroy man — not angels. Angels are spirits and could not be destroyed by water. With the outpouring of the deluge “all flesh died … and every man” (Genesis 7:21-23).

• “Some say there was no rain on the earth from the time of Adam to Noah. Is this what Genesis 2:5-6 means?”

Genesis — the first book of the Old Testament — answers basic questions about origins. Genesis means “beginning” or “origin.” The second chapter of Genesis fills in various details of the creation account that the first chapter leaves out. When both chapters are taken together, they complement and mutually amplify each other.

With this in mind, observe what Genesis 2:5-6 actually says: “No shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up; for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground; but there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground” (Jewish Publication Society translation).

Now consider these facts: (1) God causes rain — He set laws in motion to bring it about. There could be no rain if God had not set laws in motion to produce it. (2) Most important, Genesis 2:6 does not say that the mist descended upon the earth, as most assume. It says that a mist went UP FROM the earth! (3) Genesis 2:5-6 is speaking of a time prior to — not after — the third day of creation week.

Notice the proof.

The mist ascended from the earth before any shrubs or herbs appeared. Genesis 1:11-13 shows that the types of vegetation on earth today were not created until the third day. The mist that ascended before the third day was needed to prepare the soil for plant life on that day. The mist ascended according to the laws of evaporation, became clouds, descended as rain, and readied the land for vegetation.

Genesis 2:5-6 tells us who is the Originator or Maker of weather and climate. It tells us about the beginning of climate for the age of man. God is the Beginner or Originator of a climatic process set in motion on the third day of creation week. This process is still in effect today. It is common knowledge that clouds are formed by the condensation of water vapor and mist that has first gone up from the earth by evaporation. Under certain conditions water droplets form and return to the earth as rain or other types of precipitation. A mere mist without rain could not have sustained plant life over all the earth for the great length of time between Adam and Noah.

The Bible is clearly telling us about the beginning of weather patterns to water the soon-to-be-created plant life. The little word “yet” is clearly implied in the latter portion of Genesis 2:5: “. . . for the Lord God had not [that is, not YET] caused it to rain upon the earth…. ”

Afterward it did rain when the evaporation-condensation-precipitation cycle was begun by a gracious God who takes care of His creation and sustains it.

• “Did God intend man to eat meat before the Flood (Genesis 9:3)?”

The Bible shows that Abel offered a sacrifice of his flock before the Flood (Genesis 4:4). His occupation was keeping sheep (verse 2). Wouldn’t it be a bit odd for a man to keep a large flock of animals just to offer an occasional sacrifice? The obvious indication is that he and others ate of the flocks.

The laws of clean and unclean animals were well known before the Flood. God told Noah to take seven pairs of each kind of clean animal and one pair of each unclean animal into the ark (Genesis 7:2). There is no record that God explained to Noah which animals were clean and which were unclean. This must have been common knowledge among those who followed God’s way of life. Such knowledge was then important only if mankind was actually eating meat.

The fossil record of the pre-Flood world indicates that man ate all types of meat before the Flood. It is most likely that Genesis 9:3 is simply a reaffirmation from God to man that animal life would still be available for food — even though many animals had now been given a wild nature (see Genesis 9:2). They now had a fear of man which they did not have before the Flood. This made it more difficult (but not impossible) for man to hunt them for food. Neither did God go to the trouble of telling Noah about the differences between the clean and unclean when He commanded him, “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you.” Noah already knew the distinction.

If you wish to learn more about biblically clean and unclean meats, read our free article: The New Testament Church and Unclean Meats.

• “I’ve asked several people if they knew who wrote the book of Genesis and no one can give me an answer. Can you help?”

Pick up any authorized King James Version of the Bible. Open it to the book of Genesis. The title the translators chose was “The first book of Moses called Genesis.”

Jesus said, in a conversation with certain religious leaders of His day, “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:45-47). Here is Jesus’ own personal testimony that Moses wrote Scripture.

But what part?

Jesus gave the division of the Old Testament in Luke 24:44: “… All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms [a representative book of the writings].”

That being said, at least one other added a little bit in the Book of Deuteronomy that Moses primarily wrote, as it documents Moses’ death (Deuteronomy 38:5-12) . But there is no scriptural reason to believe that Moses was not the one who originally penned the Book of Genesis.

Some additional questions and answers are found in the article: Questions and Answers from Genesis.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Questions and Answers from Genesis Many wonder about certain early events that this article discusses.
How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation? Does the Bible allow for the creation of the universe and earth billions of years ago? Why do some believe they are no older than 6,000 years old? What is the gap theory? Were the days of creation in Genesis 1:3 through 2:3 24 hours long? Here is a link to a sermon: Genesis, ‘Prehistoric man,’ and the Gap theory. Here is a link to a related article in Spanish: ¿Cuán vieja es la Tierra? ¿Cuán largos fueron los Días de la Creación? ¿Teoría de la brecha?
Did Angels Marry Human Women? Many insist this is so and also that this mating caused giants to be born. Did this come from the ‘Book of Enoch’? What does Genesis 6:4 really mean? A related video is also available: Did Angels Marry Women and Produce Giants?
Where Did God Come From? Any ideas? And how has God been able to exist? Who is God?
Is God’s Existence Logical? Some say it is not logical to believe in God. Is that true? Here is a link to a YouTube sermon titled Is it logical to believe in God?
Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God’s Existence Logical? Part II This short article clearly answers what ‘pseudo-scientists’ refuse to acknowledge. Here is a link to a YouTube video titled Quickly Disprove Evolution as the Origin of Life.
How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation? Does the Bible allow for the creation of the universe and earth billions of years ago? Why do some believe they are no older than 6,000 years old? What is the gap theory? Where the days of creation in Genesis 1:3 through 2:3 24 hours long?
Where are Enoch and Elijah? Booklet by the late Dr. Herman Hoeh.
How is God Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient? Here is a biblical article which answers what many really wonder about it.
Has time been lost? It Saturday the seventh day of the week?
Why Were You Born? Why did God make you? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. You may also wish to read the article What is Your Destiny? or watch the video, also titled What is Your Destiny?
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?

Might there have been humanoids prior to Adam?

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017


Australopithecus sediba (Brett Eloff)

COGwriter

Did God make ‘prehistoric’ human-like beings prior to Adam?

Many have wondered about this as various scientists and others have made claims.

But notice a couple of observations:

Modern humans (Homo sapiens or Homo sapiens sapiens) are the only extant members of the hominin clade, a branch of great apes characterized by erect posture and bipedal locomotion; manual dexterity and increased tool use; and a general trend toward larger, more complex brains and societies.Early hominids, such as the australopithecines whose brains and anatomy are in many ways more similar to non-human apes, are less often thought of or referred to as “human” than hominids of the genus Homo (Human. Wikipedia, viewed 02/21/15)

Scientists admit that all humans have the same mother, though they often consider that mother was older than Eve of the Book of Genesis.

Now, as used by critical historians, “prehistoric time” is said to refer to earliest antiquity nowhere documented in written records. But the Bible records, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Here is a documented account reaching back to the beginning of the physical universe. “Prehistoric time,” in that sense, is therefore irreconcilable with Scripture. It should come as no surprise, therefore, to learn that biblical passages reveal occurrences prior to the time of man.

If however, we define prehistoric as the time before humans began to write, then we can speak of prehistoric creatures and events.

There were no prehistoric humans prior to Adam. Including others of the ‘genus Homo.’

As modern humans are concerned, the Bible plainly states that Adam was “the first man” (1 Corinthians 15:45), and he named his wife “Eve because she was the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20). Adam and Eve were therefore the first humans.

While there are fossil records of apes and other creatures that predate Adam, these creatures were not the same as modern humans as far God is concerned.

But many scientists have tried to teach otherwise. The Bible reveals that they should know the truth, but do not:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:18-25)

Many scientists have served the creature and would not accept the truth about life and humanity which they clearly should know (see also Is God’s Existence Logical? and Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God’s Existence Logical? Part II).

Most scientists do not know what humans are. The Bible answers this. Here is one part of the answer:

5 For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. 6 But one testified in a certain place, saying:

“What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?
7 You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”

For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. (Hebrews 2:5-8)

Pre-Adamic primates were not put on the earth to rule it later. Humans were.

It is NOT toolmaking nor manual dexterity that make humans different than non-human primates.

Humans have the spirit of man in them, whereas animals, including the other primates, do not. The reality that there is a spirit in humans is taught in both the Old and New Testaments:

8 But there is a spirit in man,
And the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding. (Job 32:8)

11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? (1 Corinthians 2:11)

God gave animals instinct, but not the type of understanding that He gave humans. Many scientists will not admit that there is a spirit in man that God gave.

Pre-Adamic primates, were, at best, like advanced chimpanzees. There were no humans before Adam.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Is God’s Existence Logical? Some say it is not logical to believe in God. Is that true? Here is a link to a YouTube sermon titled Is it logical to believe in God?
Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God’s Existence Logical? Part II This short article clearly answers what ‘pseudo-scientists’ refuse to acknowledge. Here is a link to a YouTube video titled Quickly Disprove Evolution as the Origin of Life.
How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation? Does the Bible allow for the creation of the universe and earth billions of years ago? Why do some believe they are no older than 6,000 years old? What is the gap theory? Where the days of creation in Genesis 1:3 through 2:3 24 hours long? Here is a link to a sermon: Genesis, ‘Prehistoric man,’ and the Gap theory. Here is a link to a related article in Spanish: ¿Cuán vieja es la Tierra? ¿Cuán largos fueron los Días de la Creación? ¿Teoría de la brecha?
Questions and Answers from Genesis Many wonder about certain early events that this article discusses.
Did Angels Marry Human Women? Many insist this is so and also that this mating caused giants to be born. Did this come from the ‘Book of Enoch’? What does Genesis 6:4 really mean? A related video is also available: Did Angels Marry Women and Produce Giants?
Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
Where Did God Come From? Any ideas? And how has God been able to exist? Who is God?
How is God Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient? Here is a biblical article which answers what many really wonder about it.
Has time been lost? It Saturday the seventh day of the week?
Why Were You Born? Why did God make you? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. You may also wish to read the article What is Your Destiny? or watch the video, also titled What is Your Destiny?
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Jews, TPM, and the Biblical date of Passover

Thursday, March 30th, 2017


A Shmura Matzo (Unleavened Bread is Used for Passover)

COGwriter

When is the Christian Passover for 2017? Sunday, April 9th, after sunset which is when the 14th of Nisan begins. On Monday, April 10th after sunset which is when the 15th of Nisan begins–called the Night to be Observed (watch also The Night to Be Much Observed).

The date of the Christian Passover has been controversial for millenia. We in the Continuing Church of God believe that we follow Jesus’ example, as well as those of the early faithful Christians, and hence observe it towards the beginning of the 14th of Nisan.

Yet, TPM’s William Dankenbring (who was once a WCG writer) wrote an article titled: “SEVENTEEN PROOFS Why Passover Should Be Observed on Nisan 15!

But, of course, although many Jews did keep the 15th (and still do), that is not when Jesus observed the Passover, nor when the original Passover was observed.

The Bible is clear that the 14th of the month is God’s Passover and the 15th day begins a different time:

5 On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD’s Passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD (Leviticus 23:5-6, NKJV).

5 “The fourteenth day of the first month, at twilight, is the Passover of Yahweh (Leviticus 23:5, NJB)

5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord’s passover. (Leviticus 23:5, KJV)

There is only one “twilight” for the 14th and that is right after sunset that BEGINS the day. Thus, the 14th is clearly the day of God’s Passover.

Now, the following is the first place in the Bible that the calendar date of the Passover is specifically mentioned:

Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire–its head with its legs and its entrails. You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover (Exodus 12:3-11, NKJV).

6 And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month: and the whole multitude of the children of Israel shall sacrifice it in the evening. (Exodus 12:6, Douay-Rheims)

Notice that the fourteenth day of the month is the Lord’s Passover and that is when the lambs were sacrificed. It should be noted that the Douay-Rheims is a Catholic approved translation of scripture, yet they will observe April 16th as Passover, while calling it Easter in the English languages and switching its emphasis away from the biblical teachings on Passover.

But getting back to TPM, interestingly it agrees with the Old Testament as it admits that the New Testament teaches that the Passover lambs are to be sacrificed on the 14th of Nisan:

According to the gospel of John, Nisan 14 is the very day the Passover lambs would have been slain – the day before the high holy day of the first day of Unleavened Bread (John 19:14-16)…Christ Himself died, as OUR “Passover lamb…Paul himself declares, “For indeed, Christ our PASSOVER, was sacrificed for us” (I Cor.5:7). This implies that He was sacrificed at the appointed time when ALL the Passover lambs were being killed, which was on the afternoon of Nisan 14” (I Cor.5:7) (Dankenbring W.F. What Year and Date Was Christ Crucified? http://www.triumphpro.com/passover_nisan_new_moons_29_31_ad.htm 6/20/06).

Hence, although I would have selected a different proof text, there is agreement that the Passover lambs were sacrificed sometime on the 14th of Nisan. Some would have been sacrificed at twilight and others apparently later. Jesus kept the Passover at twilight and was killed later on the 14th.

Who does the Bible say was the Lamb of God? Well, Jesus the Christ of course:

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29).

And was Jesus the Passover lamb sacrificed for us?

For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Thus, according to the Bible (and even TPM), the Passover lambs were sacrificed on the 14th of Nisan. Jesus was the Lamb of God who was the Passover sacrificed for us. Thus, if one agrees with TPM that the New Testament teaches that the Passover lambs were sacrificed on the 14th of Nisan, then one should agree that the New Testament Passover should also be observed on the 14th of Nisan. TPM however, seems to feel that the Passover is to be observed the night after the lambs are killed.

What About Jewish Practices?

TPM claims that the day that Jews NOW commonly observe is proof that Passover for Christians must be the 15th of Nisan.

Here is some of its statements along that line:

Proof No. 5 — the Day the Jews Observe

The apostle Paul wrote, “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? MUCH EVERY WAY,” he answered his own question. He went on: “chiefly, because that unto THEM were committed the ORACLES OF GOD” (Romans 3:1-2). God entrusted His Word and by extension His Holy Days and revelations TO THE JEWS for them to be preserved throughout the generations and centuries and millennia. Were it not for the Jews’ faithfulness to this command, we would not even possess the entire Old Testament of the Bible, where the laws and commandments of God are all recorded!

The Jews all understand the truth about Passover, and all orthodox Jews to this very day, and all Judaism as a whole, observes Passover on NISAN 15, just as their forefathers and ancestors have done, century after century after century! (Dankenbring WF. Come out of Babylon, My People! SEVENTEEN PROOFS Why PASSOVER Should Be Observed on Nisan 15! http://www.triumphpro.com/passover17.htm 6/21/06).

The problem is that most Jews have not been faithful to the original date. And while the Jews know which day is the fourteenth of Nisan, the fact that they added additional dates for the Passover (and some of the other Holy Days for those of the diaspora) does not make them the judge of how or when to observe the Holy Days (this is to be done by the “body of Christ”, Colossians 2:17, AFV). One of the reasons they did this is that they confused the meal they take on the 15th (the “night to be much observed,” Exodus 12:42 KJV, see also The Night to Be Observed) with the Passover celebration (many Jews still have meals on both nights, though it is not clear that they still know why).

Here is proof from the Jewish Encyclopedia that the Jews should realize that Passover is on the 14th:

Lev. xxiii., however, seems to distinguish between Passover, which is set for the fourteenth day of the month, and http://d3sva65x0i5hnc.cloudfront.net/V09p548007.jpg(the Festival of Unleavened Bread; ἑορτή τῶν ἀζύμων, Luke xxii. 1; Josephus, “B. J.” ii. 1, § 3), appointed for the fifteenth day. Passover. (Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906)

Here are two other explanations as to why there has been confusion amongst Jews:

Two Passovers

The gospels appear to say that the Messiah ate a Passover meal with the twelve on the evening beginning Nisan 14, and John appears to say Jews were having their Passover meal one day later. There are different theories to explain this.

1. The Sadducees and Pharisees disagreed on the day of Passover. The Sadducees (more conservative group) believed the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread were separate feast days. They held Passover on the fourteenth as God decreed in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. Those of the majority opinion, including the Pharisees, held Passover on the fifteenth. Jesus may have been following both dates by having Passover with the disciples on the fourteenth and becoming the Passover lamb on the fifteenth.

2. Thousands of people would come to Jerusalem to have their lambs ritually slain in the Temple. If they only had one day in which to prepare for the Passover, it would have been extremely difficult to have slaughtered all the lambs brought in to be sacrificed. Therefore, they worked on two different time scales. The northern part of the country went with the old way of dating (starting from morning and going to the following morning). The southern part of the country followed the official dating method (from evening to evening). Thus, there were two times when lambs were being killed in the Temple for sacrifice (Sampson R & Pierce L. A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays. Heart of Wisdom Publishing June 2001, p. 112)

Thus, for whatever reason, the Jews got a little bit confused. With some keeping the correct date–the same date that Jesus kept (and He would have known which date was biblically correct). Many forget that Jesus condemned the Jews for relying on non-biblical traditions above the Bible (e.g. Mark 7:9-13).

What Happened Before Passover?

TPM argues that last meal that Jesus ate before His crucifixion was before the Passover, thus was not a Passover meal:

What, Then, Was the “Last Supper”?

In fact, the apostle John himself writes, “Now BEFORE the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come . . . and supper being ended, the devil having already put it in the heart of Judas Iscariot . . . to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from SUPPER [the “Last Supper”], and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself” (John 13:1-4). He then began to wash the disciples’ feet (vs.5-12).

John plainly calls this mean a “SUPPER” – not the “Passover” meal! He plainly says it occurred “BEFORE” the upcoming Feast of the Passover (verse 1). There is NO WAY that meal could have been the “Passover,” as so many seem to assume! (Dankenbring W.F. What Year and Date Was Christ Crucified? http://www.triumphpro.com/passover_nisan_new_moons_29_31_ad.htm 6/20/06).

Now plainly John says this final “supper” was “before” the Passover! Therefore it could not have been the “Passover”!…

Therefore, when we understand it, there is absolutely NO PROOF that the “last supper” was actually the “Passover” itself, as so many people assume. (Dankenbring WF. John 19:14 — What Do You Mean, “About the Sixth Hour”? http://www.triumphpro.com/john_19,_sixth_hour.htm 6/23/06).

Jesus sent Peter and John telling them, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.” In context, then, He is telling them to “Prepare for the coming Passover Feast” – all the seven days of “Passover” (verse 1). They had to prepare – that is, obtain “unleavened bread,” and all the things necessary for observing the Passover for seven days. That is why this day was called a day of preparation.’ Jesus was telling His disciples to ‘PREPARE’ for the up-coming Passover – that is, to GET READY and make preparations. He did not say the meal that very night would be the Passover! Luke plainly calls it “supper” – not “Passover” – as we shall see! (Dankenbring WF. Was the Lord’s Supper Really the Passover? Prophecy Flash, March-April 2010.)

Contrary to what TPM wrote above, Jesus DOES call this meal the Passover in Matthew, Mark, and Luke:

18 And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.”‘”

19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover.

20 When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve. 21 Now as they were eating (Matthew 26:18-21).

14 Wherever he goes in, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”‘ 15 Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us.”

16 So His disciples went out, and came into the city, and found it just as He had said to them; and they prepared the Passover.

17 In the evening He came with the twelve. 18 Now as they sat and ate, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will betray Me.” (Mark 14:14-18)

15 With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer..(Luke 22:15).

Also, contrary to what TPM wrote above, TPM’s contention of what John plainly says is in error. Additionally, TPM’s quoting of those passages gives the appearance that certain events were absolutely together when the reading of the entire context shows that this is NOT the case.

A review of the Greek in John 13:1 shows that before the Passover that Jesus knew His hour had come and that He loved His disciples. It does not say that He had SUPPER before the Passover.

Below are two literal translations, the first of which also shows the relevant Strong’s number of each of the Greek words:

4253 1161 3588 1859 3588 3957 1492 3588
before Now the feast of the passover, when knew the

2424 3754 2064 846 3588 5610 2443
Jesus that was come his the hour that

3327 1537 3588 2889 5127 4314 3588
he should depart out of the world this unto the

3962 25 3588 9999 2398 3588 1722 3588
Father, having loved which were his own the in the

2889 1519 9999 5056. 25 846
world, unto the end. he loved them. (Interlinear Transliterated Bible. Copyright (c) 1994 by Biblesoft).

And before the feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He should move from this world to the Father, loving (His) own in the world, He loved them to (the) end (Green J.P. Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, 3rd ed. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Mi, 1996).

(Note: I added the term “the” in the four places where J. Green left it blank.)

Thus to teach that John 13 plainly states that supper was before the Passover is not supported by the main verse (13:1). Secondarily, the word supper is used in the next verse. The Greek word used is transliterated as deipnon, a term normally referring to the evening meal:

deipnon (dipe’-non)…dinner, i.e. the chief meal (usually in the evening) (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

A dinner meal was normally in late afternoon or the evening (and the evening begins at/after twilight). Jesus’ acts immediately after the meal was completed did occur on the Tuesday evening portion of the 14th of Nisan. They were NOT on the 13th as some have suggested (this is also confirmed by 1 Corinthians 11:23 which will be quoted later).

Thus, John 13 is clearly supportive of a 14th Passover.

Furthermore, the real question is how did God view this particular meal, or at least the symbolism after the meal? Notice what Jesus told His disciples about this meal:

And He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.” So they said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare?” And He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. Then you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?” ‘ Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.” So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover. When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”(Luke 22:8-19).

Thus, it is clear that on that evening of the 14th, Jesus and His disciples observed the Passover. TPM may wish to assert that the meal was eaten before sunset, but since the passover lambs were not killed until the twilight on the 14th (Exodus 12:6) and the verse specifically says that Jesus did not sit down until the hour had come, the fact is that this is the Passover according to Jesus. This is when He implemented the footwashing, the wine, and the bread–it should be noted that Paul clearly teaches that this was done at night (1 Corinthians 11:23). And we are to do this in remembrance of Jesus, and since Passover is an annual 14th of Nisan event (Numbers 9:2-5), this means on the 14th shortly after sunset.

And that is what we in the Continuing Church of God (as well as most in CG7 and other COG groups) do.

TPM is Following Error

There was controversy associated with the date of Passover that began in the second century. Some wanted the original date of the 14th, some wanted Sunday instead, while some others wanted the 15th.

Around 155 A.D. Polycarp of Smyrna went to Rome to deal with various heretics and he tried to persuade the Roman bishop Anicetus not to change Passover to an Easter Sunday holiday. Irenaeus records this about Passover:

And when the blessed Polycarp was sojourning in Rome in the time of Anicetus, although a slight controversy had arisen among them as to certain other points…For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp to forego the observance [in his own way], inasmuch as these things had been always observed by John the disciple of our Lord, and by other apostles with whom he had been conversant; nor, on the other hand, could Polycarp succeed in persuading Anicetus to keep [the observance in his way], for he maintained that he was bound to adhere to the usage of the presbyters who preceded him. And in this state of affairs they held fellowship with each other; and Anicetus conceded to Polycarp in the Church the celebration of the Eucharist, by way of showing him respect (Irenaeus. FRAGMENTS FROM THE LOST WRITINGS OF IRENAEUS. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors); American Edition copyright © 1885. Electronic version copyright © 1997 by New Advent, Inc).

For it was in Rome and Greek Jerusalem that the habit of changing the date of Passover began.

It may be of interest to note “And in Rome …Anicetus assumed the leadership of the Christians there… But Justin was especially prominent in those days” (Eusebius Church History. Book IV, Chapter 11). This may indicate that the heretic Justin Martyr influenced Anicetus so much that he would not agree to only observe the Nisan 14 Passover (Justin opposed various biblical practices).

However, those in Asia Minor, did not change the date in the second century.

Apollinaris was a church leader of Hierapolis in Phrygia of Asia Minor. Around 180 A.D. he wrote (possibly because some wanted Sunday or others the 15th):

The fourteenth day, the true Passover of the Lord; the great sacrifice, the Son of God instead of the lamb, who was bound, who bound the strong, and who was judged, though Judge of living and dead, and who was delivered into the hands of sinners to be crucified, who was lifted up on the horns of the unicorn, and who was pierced in His holy side, who poured forth from His side the two purifying elements, water and blood, word and spirit, and who was buried on the day of the passover, the stone being placed upon the tomb (Apollinaris. From the Book Concerning Passover. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors; American Edition copyright © 1885. Copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby).

One Anglican scholar noted:

…there is no doubt that Apollinarius was a Quartodeciman…Those who kept Passover in the evening understood it to be a repetition of the Lord’s Supper (Stewart-Sykes A. Melito of Sardis On Pascha. St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood (NY), 2001, p. 81).

Melito of Sardis of Asia Minor, probably by 180 A.D., wrote the following on Passover:

When Servilius Paulus was proconsul of Asia, at the time that Sagaris suffered martyrdom, there arose a great controversy at Laodicea concerning the time of the celebration of the Passover, which on that occasion had happened to fall at the proper season (Melito. Translation by Roberts and Donaldson. On the passover. Online version copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/melito.html 11/18/06).

Click here for a complete version of The Homily On the Passover by Melito. If your church does not teach you about the Passover and why you should observe it, your church simply is not following the teachings and practices of Early Christianity.

A decade or so after Melito’s death, Roman Bishop Victor tried to enforce the preferred Roman Sunday date for Passover and stop Christians from following the biblical date of Nisan 14.

The Catholic writer Eusebius recorded that Polycrates of Ephesus, around 195 A.D. wrote the following to the Roman Bishop Victor who, as the previous writing showed, wanted all who professed Christ to change Passover from the 14th of Nisan to Sunday:

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, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus. And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna. Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead? All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ‘ We ought to obey God rather than man’ (Eusebius. Church History, Book V, Chapter 24. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Notice that Polycrates said that he and the other early church leaders (like the Apostles Philip and John, and their successors like Polycarp, Thraseas, Sagaris, Papirius, Melito) would not deviate from the Bible, and that they knew the Bible taught them to keep the Passover on the correct date, and not on a Sunday (unless that was the correct date, as it was last year). Also notice that they always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. Polycrates also reminded the Roman bishop that true followers of Christ “obey God rather than men”.

Hence it is clear that throughout the second century, the churches in Asia Minor continued to observe the Passover on the 14th of Nisan (and for doing so, they were labeled as Quartodecimans, fourteenthers, by the Romans), unlike the Romans, and they refused to accept the authority of any Roman bishop over scripture.

While many English-speakers are unaware, the date called Easter in English (March 27, 2016) is supposed to be a change of the date for Passover. For one of several proofs, notice that the Catholic Priest Bede (also known as “the Venerable Bede”) recorded from a Catholic Abbot named Wilfrid who was trying to justify near the beginning of the eighth century why it was acceptable to not follow the Apostle John’s practices regarding Passover and change the 14th to an Easter Sunday:

Far be it from me to charge John with foolishness: he literally observed the decrees of the Mosaic law when the Church was still Jewish in many respects, at a time when the apostles were unable to bring a sudden end to that law which God ordained…So John, in accordance with the custom of the law, began the celebration of Easter Day in the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month, regardless of whether it fell on the sabbath or any other day (Bede (Monk). Edited by Judith McClure and Roger Collins. The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Oxford University Press, NY, 1999).

Many languages use a term meaning Passover, like pascha, and hence somewhat realize that they are supposed to be observing Passover, though they observe more like ancient Easter.

Notice what the Roman Catholic priest and historian Bellarmino Bagatti wrote related to the fourth century:

…the inhabitants of Syria, of Cilcia and of Mesopotamia were still celebrating Easter {Passover} with the Jews…

(Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Gentiles in Palestine. Nihil obstat: Ignatius Mancini, 1 Februari 1970. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari, 26 Februari 1970. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 28 Februarii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1971, pp. 47-48).

The scholars of the Greco-Roman faiths all realize that what is celebrated now and called “Easter” was supposed to be an observation of Passover.

Why the change of date?

The respected Protestant scholar J.B. Lightfoot specifically wrote:

the Churches of Asia Minor which regulated their Easter festival by the Jewish passover without regard to the day of the week, but with those of Rome and Alexandria and Gaul which observed another rule; thus avoiding even the semblance of Judaism (Lightfoot, Joseph Barber. Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. Macmillan and co., limited, 1910. Original from the University of California. Digitized Oct 16, 2007, p. 331).

Yet, no early Christian (or even Catholic) called Passover “Easter.” Nearly all realized that Christians were supposed to observe Passover. And the truly faithful kept it on the 14th of Nisan, not the 15th and not on a Sunday that was not the 14th.

In the second century, it was reported that Passover was an annual event and that it was held at night (Epistula Apostolorum, Chapter 15 as shown in Elliot JK. The apocryphal New Testament: a collection of apocryphal Christian literature in an English translation, reprint edition. Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 565). The Eastern Orthodox realize that this is so, as one of their priests has written:

Pascha is the feast of universal redemption. Our earliest sources for the an­nual celebration of the Christian Pascha come to us from the second century…The feast, however, must have originated in the apostolic period…According to the earliest documents, Pascha is described as a nocturnal celebration…(Calivas, Alkiviadis C. The Origins of Pascha and Great Week – Part I. Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1992. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith8504 viewed 11/04/2011)

Yet, modern “Easter” practices are in the early morning, not in the evening, and do not have the practices that early Christians had. Nor did they observe Lent.

Notice what a respected Protestant scholar reported about the second century:

The most important in this festival was the passover day, the 14th of Nisan…In it they ate unleavened bread, probably like the Jews, eight days through…there is no trace of a yearly festival of the resurrection among them…the Christians of Asia Minor appealed in favor of their passover solemnity on the 14th Nisan to John (Gieseler, Johann Karl Ludwig. A Text-book of Church History. Translated by Samuel Davidson, John Winstanley Hull, Mary A. Robinson. Harper & brothers, 1857, Original from the University of Michigan, Digitized Feb 17, 2006, p. 166).

So, like the Apostle John (the last of the original apostles to die), the early faithful Christians observed Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. And they did this on the 14th after sunset.

The Christian Passover for 2017 is Sunday, April 9th, after sunset, which is when the 14th of Nisan begins. On Monday, April 10th after sunset which is when the 15th of Nisan begins–called the Night to be Observed (watch also The Night to Be Much Observed).

Several articles of related interest may include:

TPM: Passover on the 14th or 15th? While the real COG observes Passover on the 14th, some observe it on the 15th. Why is the 14th correct? A related sermon is titled Is Passover on the 14th or 15th for Christians?
Keeping Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread How should Christians keep Passover, especially if they are by themselves. Why does the Church of God not require lambs for Passover? How does one keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? For a step-by-step video for Christians to keep it, check out CCOG Passover Service.
Preparing for Passover The Apostle Paul taught that Christians should examine themselves prior to taking Passover. This YouTube video sermon gives suggestions on how to prepare.
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins? There is also a detailed YouTube video available titled History of the Christian Passover.
The Night to Be Observed What is the night to be much observed? When is it? Why do Jews keep Passover twice and emphasize the wrong date? A related video is available and is titled The Night to Be Much Observed.
Melito’s Homily on the Passover This is one of the earliest Christian writings about the Passover. This also includes what Apollinaris wrote on the Passover as well.
Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread?
Do they have any use or meaning now? This article supplies some biblical answers.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible?
This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
What Happened in the Crucifixion Week?
How long are three days and three nights? Did Jesus die on “Good Friday”? Was the resurrection on Sunday? Do you really know? Who determined the date of Easter?
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? What do scholars and the Bible reveal?
Is Lent a Christian Holiday? When did it originate? What about Ash Wednesday? If you observe them, do you know why?
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history teach about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur 🙂 In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.

Do you know when the Exodus was?

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017


Some Proposed Routes of the Exodus

COGwriter

There is a lot of confusion in the mainstream about when the Exodus was.

From time to time, there are various reports from some archaeologists and Egyptologists who deny the account of the Exodus in the Bible. Part of the reason for their denial is that they often hold to the wrong century for the time of the Exodus.

This denial is not new, but has been long running.

Notice the following from several decades ago:

“There is no record of any Exodus in the Egyptian records.” So thousands of students are assured by college professors. And few stop to question this blanket statement from such erudite scholars. …

The following statement by an eminent historian summarizes the views of many:

The present century has brought extensive archaeological investigations in Egypt, the Holy Land, and adjacent countries which indicate that the Biblical account of the enslavement of the Children of Israel in Egypt and their exodus to the promised land of Canaan is traditional and legendary and without support of documentary archaeological evidence… no Egyptian records have been found relating to this early period of Hebrew history (Homer Hockett, The Critical Method in Historical Research and Writing, p. 52).

(Grabbe L. The Exodus. Tomorrow’s World, April 1971, pp. 28-29).

One of the reasons for this is that many scholars have assumed, for various reasons, that it supposedly should have occurred around 1250 B.C. Based upon that time period, there is no evidence that they see in Egypt or in the Palestinian region that supports the view that great numbers of Israelites left Egypt and settled in the area that ancient Israel came to dominate.

Part of the problem is the assumption that Ramesses II was supposedly the Pharaoh that was the one that Moses dealt with. This misconception was carried forward in the popular movie starring Charlton Heston as Moses and Yul Brynner as Pharaoh Ramses/Ramesses. Ramesses II was pharaoh from about 1279 to 1213 B.C.

But is the right period of time to be looking at?

Well, there is a clear numeric reference to the year of the Exodus in the Bible. Notice:

1 And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord. (1 Kings 6:1)

So, 1 Kings 6:1 shows 480 years from the exodus from Egypt to the fourth year of Solomon’s reign. That would have been about 966 B.C. (see When was the Exodus?).

The late Dr. Herman Hoeh was with the Radio Church of God and then the Worldwide Church of God. He did a lot of historical research throughout his lifetime.

In December 1983, Dr. Herman Hoeh wrote:

Exodus date 1443 occurred at end of ninth year, beginning of tenth year of Amenhotep II who reigned jointly two and a half years with Thutmose III. Thutmose III reigned 54 years 1504-1450 B.C. Amenhotep II began to reign in 1453 B.C. Daughter of Thutmose I (a pharaoh) was Hatshepsut, who adopted Moses. She ruled jointly with her nephew Thutmose from 1504 to 1483 B.C. In the year 1483 Moses’ stepmother and protector died. This agrees with Moses’ flight 40 years before Exodus. (Hoeh H. Notes on the Reign of Kings. December 1983)

Notice that the belief was that it was Amenhotep II, not Ramses II, that was the pharaoh that Moses dealt with.

Although in 1983 he was leaning towards a date of the exodus in 1443 B.C., in a conversation on December 3, 1997, he changed that date to 1446 B.C. according to the following:

There are notes from a phone conversation with Dr. Hoeh from December 3, 1997 that speak of a kings chronology beginning in 930 B.C.

CHRONOLOGY UPDATE FROM A PHONE CONVERSATION (Dec 1997)

Dr. Hoeh: he is in a position to support a “change of my perspective” of Israel

— can prove date “about” 930 B.C. is a correct date

— Edwin Thiele — first year of Rehoboam was 930 B.C.

– spring to spring not autumn to autumn
– cannot move this date up or down
– Jews recognized autumn to autumn

Harvard Sem. Monograph #48
“Studies in the Chronology of the Divided Monarchy of Israel”
by William Hamilton Barnes
Scholars Press 1991 Harvard Univ.

– Kings of Tyre are linked with building of temple — Solomon 1561 (?)

— 1446 date of Exodus
— 1406 Jordan crossing
— 3983 Creation
— 2328 Flood * 2327 end of Flood
— 1975 Abraham’s birth
— 1800 Abraham’s death
— 6 1/2 years after crossing of Jordan land was divided after 400 years

A correction is in order

— beginning of Jeroboam’s/Rehoboam’s reign(s) = 930 B.C.

— 3983 B.C. = Creation

— 2328-2327 B.C. = Flood

— End of 6,000 = 2018 A.D.

— Edwin Thiele:

Thiele has correct date at the beginning of Jeroboam’s/Rehoboam’s reigns.

Spring to Spring “STUDIES ON THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE DIVIDED MONARCHY OF ISRAEL” by Edwin Thiele

— 1446 = Exodus
— 1406 = Entry into Promised Land

— Jehu = “Yahu” (Assyrian records)

— Spring of 930 B.C. = Beginning of Jeroboam’s reign

— Velikovsky & Amalekites:

So, Herman Hoeh came to a 1446 B.C. date for the exodus. Although I did not see the above account from Dr. Hoeh until March 2015, back in 2009, I published a book where I quoted 1 Kings 6:1 and the 966 B.C. date of Solomon’s reign, hence also coming to the 1446 B.C. date.

Notice also the following:

Biblical Chronology: Dating the Exodus

The central text for establishing the exact date of the exodus, 1 Kgs 6:1, connects it to later Israelite history by noting that Solomon began constructing the Temple in the 480th year after the exodus, signifying an elapsed time of 479 years. 12 All but the minimalists agree that the 479 years begin with May of 967 or 966 B .C., depending on whether one accepts Young’s or Thiele’s version of Solomon’s regnal dates. 13 Thus the 479 years began in either 1446 or 1445 B .C., either of which can be substantiated by the biblical text and agree with the conclusions of this article. [Petrovich D. AMENHOTEP II AN D THE HISTORICITY OF THE EXODUS- PHARAOH. The Master’s Seminary Journal. TMSJ 17/1 (Spring 2006) 81-110. http://www.tms.edu/m/17f.pdf viewed 03/07/15]

1446 is possible.

Notice the following:

17 “But when the time of the promise drew near which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt 18 till another king arose who did not know Joseph. 19 This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, making them expose their babies, so that they might not live. 20 At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father’s house for three months. 21 But when he was set out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son. 22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.

23 “Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. 24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian. 25 For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand. 26 And the next day he appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?’ 27 But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller in the land of Midian, where he had two sons. (Acts 7:17-29)

7 And Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three years old when they spoke to Pharaoh. (Exodus 7:7)

Looking at these passages, we can see that Moses was in Midian for 40 years.

Rameses I and II become impossible.

Why?

Rameses I and and his son Rameses II are believed to have reigned for 2 and 66 years (consecutively) respectively. The Bible shows that Moses was born (Exodus 2:1-8) after the city of Rameses was built (Exodus 1:7). The Bible also shows that Moses was eighty when he went to Pharaoh to ask for the departure of the children of Israel (Exodus 7:7). Thus, adding the reigns of the two Pharaoh Rameses together makes it impossible that either was the Pharaoh of the Exodus.

Thus, simply because the Israelites earlier left a region called Rameses does not mean that it had been named after a pharaoh of the 19th dynasty–it certainly does not align with the Bible or secular history.

Now, I would add that according to certain readings of an inscription on the “Merneptah Stele,” the ancient Israelites already occupied the land of Canaan during the 1213-1203 B.C. reign of Merneptah (Jürgen von Beckerath, Chronologie des Pharaonischen Ägypten, Mainz, (1997), pp.190). The “Merneptah Stele” tells of a battle, shows people dressed like Canaanites, and tells of Egypt’s destroying seed of Israel. This seed would likely be grain as Egypt did not destroy all of Israel then. (A stele/stela is an upright stone slab or column typically bearing a commemorative inscription or relief design.)

Anyway, the “Merneptah Stele” basically means that idea the Exodus happened during the time of Ramses II is impossible.

Why?

Ramesses II allegedly reigned until 1213 B.C. and the Bible shows that the children of Israel wandered for forty years in the wilderness (Numbers 14:34-35; 32:13) before settling in the land of Canaan. It would make no sense that a defeated Ramses II could have reigned for at least 30 years (40 years, less the ten of Merneptah) after experiencing the plagues and loss of armies as described in the account in the Book of Exodus.

The term Rameses is mentioned in the Bible several time. Three are in connection with the children of Israel leaving that area (Exodus 12:37; Numbers 33:3,5). But notice the first reference:

5 Then Pharaoh spoke to Joseph, saying, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. 6 The land of Egypt is before you. Have your father and brothers dwell in the best of the land; let them dwell in the land of Goshen. …

11 And Joseph situated his father and his brothers, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. (Genesis 47:5-6, 11)

From the above account it looks as if it is possible that Rameses was the name of an area centuries before the Exodus.

The name Ramesses means “Ra [is] the one who gave birth [to] him”. (Rameses, Wikipedia, viewed 03/08/15).

Since Ra was an important god to the Egyptians, perhaps because its of location and where sunrise was perceived elsewhere in Egypt, the area could have been considered a ‘child’ of Ra. Ra was a god of the Egyptians for many centuries:

Ra /rɑː/[1] or Re /reɪ/ … is the ancient Egyptian solar deity. By the Fifth Dynasty (2494 to 2345 BCE) he had become a major god in ancient Egyptian religion, identified primarily with the midday sun. (Ra. Wikipedia, accessed 03/14/15).

The Bible teaches:

40 Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. 41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years — on that very same day — it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:40-41)

Thus, the biblical chronology indicates that the children of Israel entered Egypt around 1876 B.C. (1446 B.C. plus 430 years). Ra was already a major god to the Egyptians for centuries before the children of Israel went to the area of Rameses.

In the 19th dynasty, its first leader took the name Ramesses for himself:

Originally called Pa-ra-mes-su, Ramesses I was of non-royal birth, being born into a noble military family from the Nile delta region. (Rameses I. Wikipedia, viewed 03/08/15).

Since Rameses I was not of royal birth and was starting his own dynasty (considered to be Egypt’s 19th), he decided to take the name, which he would have heard of, to himself. He probably felt that name gave him the type of authority he wanted to project.

Thus because of the length of time the Egyptians worshiped Ra, simply because the Israelites earlier left a region called Rameses does not mean that it had been named after a pharaoh of the 19th dynasty. The Pulpit Commentary on Genesis 47:11 indicates that the area of Rameses could have existed in the time of Joseph, but was later fortified by the Israelites while they were slaves in Egypt–and that probably was the case. If may have also been because of its fortification that Pa-ra-mes-su decided to take the name Ramesses for himself.

Then, if Ramesses II was not the Pharaoh of the Exodus, who could be?

Dr. Hoeh mentioned Amenhotep II.

Notice more information about Amenhotep II:

Chaeremon, an Egyptian who lived in the first half of the first century … as a priest and pedagogue in Alexandria and after 49 in Rome as the tutor of Nero, gives yet another version of the story. The goddess Isis appeared to King Amenophis in a dream and reproached him because of the destruction of her temple in times of war. The priest and scribe Phritibantes (“the chief of the temple”) advised him to propitiate the goddess by “purging” Egypt of the lepers. The King gathered 250,000 lepers and expelled them from Egypt. Their leaders were Moses and Joseph, whose Egyptian names were Tisithen and Peteseph. (Assmann J. Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism. Harvard University Press, 2009, p. 35)

The Abandonment of Avaris During the Reign of Amenhotep II

Archaeologist, Douglas Petrovich at the University of Toronto has written a fascinating article (Douglas Petrovich, ‘Toward Pinpointing the Timing of the Abandonment of Avaris During the Middle of the 18th Dynasty,’ in Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections, Vol. 5:2, 2013, 9-28) which explores the precise timing of the abandonment of the ancient Egyptian city of Avaris during the Egyptian 18th Dynasty. In the article, Petrovich explores the various theories about the exact timing of the abandonment of the city of Avaris which seems to coincide with Amenhotep II. The significance of this and its possible relevance to the exodus, is that it is indirect evidence of a major crisis event which happened in the 9th year of Amenhotep’s rule. That event could very well be the Israelite exodus. This is not exactly what Petrovich is stating in the article, but it could be what he is implying. The timing is exactly in line with the “Early-Date Exodus/Conquest” model.

At the end of the article Petrovich makes some starling observations in his conclusions:

More inscriptional evidence may attest directly to the Year-9 crisis is Amenhotep II’s commissioning of a decree for his couriers to destroy all the images of the gods, singling out Amun-Re in particular. Given that Thutmose III and Amenhotep II expressly ascribed praise to Amun-Re for military victories on their Asiatic campaigns, and that Amenhotep II originated and/or perpetuated the desecration of Hatshepsut’s images throughout Egypt, there is plenty of reason to hypothesize that the religious crisis—and subsequent decree to destroy all the “bodies” of Egyptian deities throughout the land—may be intricately bound to the military and political turmoil of his Year-9. Moreover, a potential interruption in the high priesthood of Amun during this time may also attest to this “perfect storm” of events. Therefore, a religious crisis focused on Amun-Re at this time may have been initiated by Amenhotep II as a result of a devastating loss in battle which coincided with the abandonment of their principle naval base from which military operations into Asia were launched, and led to an unavoidable shift in foreign policy. (Ibid., 22)

Why would Amenhotep II order the destruction of the images of Egyptian gods? Why was there major turmoil & upheaval in Egypt’s religious practices? Why was there a complete change of foreign policy with regard Egypt’s nearest neighbors in Asia [in the Levant] in the later part of Amenhotep II’s reign? This evidence alone does not prove the exodus, but it is certainly consistent with the behavior of an autocratic & military ruler such as Amenhotep II, if such an event such as the biblical exodus took place. The exodus was an event in which Egypt’s gods were rendered impotent and pharaoh’s military forces were drastically reduced. I submit that the exodus, as it is exactly described in the Bible, is the most reasonable explanation for this turn of event’s Amenhotep II’s rule. (Wright T. Was There an Exodus & Conquest? July 20, 2013. http://crossexamined.org/was-there-an-exodus-conquest/#_ftn11 viewed 03/01/15)

Was Amenhotep II possibly Pharaoh at the right time? Notice:

Egyptian Chronology: Dating the Pharaonic Reigns

Before determining whether Amenhotep II is a viable candidate for the exodus-pharaoh, one must synchronize the date of the exodus with Egyptian history. Though inspirati on does not extend to extra-biblical literature or ancient inscriptions, some extant writings are trustworthy. Several factors are relevant.

First, the Ebers Papyrus, an ancient Egyptian manuscript that dates the heliacal rising of Sothis in Year 9, Month 3, Season 3, Day 9 ( ca . 15 May) of Amenhotep I’s reign, records this astronomical even that assigns its composition to an identifiable time in the Eighteenth Dynasty. [26 The Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt (ca. 1560-1307 B.C)…]

Since astronomers can pinpoint this event by charting the positions of stars in antiquity, the papyrus can be dated to ca . 1541 B.C., making the initial regnal year ca. 1550 B.C.. This widely accepted dating is based on the ancient capital of Memphis as the point of observation, despite the Theban provenance of the papyrus. A Theban point of observation, which is accepted by other Egyptologists, dates the papyrus to c a. 1523 B.C. [27 William A. Ward, “ The Present Status of Egyptian Chronology,” BASOR 288 (Nov 1992):58-5 …] Though the Egyptians never stated where they observed the Sothic rising, Olympiodorus noted in A.D. 6 that it was celebrated at Alexandria, after being observed at Memphis. [28 Ibid., 59.]

Therefore, Memphis is the probable correct point of observation for the rising. Second, even without astronomical dating, the chronology of Egypt in the mid- 1400s B.C. remains sure. Ward notes that “New Kingdom chronology can be fairly well established on the basis of the monuments and synchronisms, without recourse to the astronomical materia l.” [29 Ibid., 56. Egypt’s New Kingdom (ca. 1560-1069 B .C.) consists of Dynasties 18-20.] As for the Eighteenth Dynasty, he adds that the 25-year gap separating current theories on its starting date narrows to a scant three or four years by the middle of the dynasty, meaning that most mainstream Egyptologists consider the dating of Egypt’s exodus-er a history to be fixed and reliable. [30 Ibid.]

Last, regnal dates of Eighteenth-Dynasty pharaohs from the Ebers Papyrus to the exodus are fixed with relative certainty. With firm regnal dates for Amenhotep I, the reigns of the subsequent Eighteenth-Dynasty pharaohs down to Amenhotep II are as follows: Thutmose I (ca. 1529 -1516 B.C.), Thutmose II ( ca . 1516-1506 B.C.), Queen Hatshepsut (ca. 1504 -1484 B .C.), Thutmose III (ca . 1506-1452 B.C.), and Amenhotep II (ca. 1455-1418 B.C.). [31 Egyptologists disagree over the year of Thutmose III’s accession, with three views predominant: ca. 1504 B.C., ca .1490 B.C., and ca. 1479 B.C. (Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel 104). The year 1504 is prefer red because of its exclusive agreement with the Ebers Papyrus when assuming a Memphite point of observation for the rising of Sothis. Shea agrees (William Shea, “Amenhotep II as Phar aoh,” Bible and Spade 16/2 [200 3]:43 ).] With these reigns chronologically ordered, a positive evaluation of Amenhotep II’s candidacy for the exodus-pharaoh is possible. [Petrovich D. AMENHOTEP II AN D THE HISTORICITY OF THE EXODUS- PHARAOH. The Master’s Seminary Journal. TMSJ 17/1 (Spring 2006) 81-110. http://www.tms.edu/m/17f.pdf viewed 03/07/15]

Is there any other evidence?

Yes, there is an ancient Egyptian document called the Ipuwer papyrus, of which a 13th century B.C. copy was found. It includes information that sounds like the plagues of Egypt that the Book of Exodus tells of. It is believed to date prior to the 13th century, hence it too tends to point more towards a 15th century B.C. date for the Exodus (though some claim it was older).

As far as travel related to the Exodus, notice:

If the dating of archaeological sites should be based on pottery and other historical considerations (such as the chronology of Egypt’s pharaohs), then all of the evidence from Tell Jericho argues for its destruction and burning around 1401-1406 B.C. All of the evidence from Jericho at this time (ca. 1401-6 B.C.) fits the biblical record in an amazing way, from the details about the city being burned along with everything in it [offered to God as a burnt offering] (see Joshua 6), to the walls having dwelling places [houses] where Rahab helped the Jewish spies enter the city to spy its defenses (Joshua 2).

Continuing research at Jericho and now new research at Tel-el Maqatir (biblical Ai?) is yielding results that confirm the biblical record of Joshua’s conquest in amazing ways. Most critical scholars place Ai at et-Tell but there is no archaeological evidence of a destruction there which fits the biblical description. However, just one kilometer west is another site (Tel el-Maqatir) which very well could be the biblical site of Ai. This conclusion is based, once again, not on opinion but on hard evidence. (see, Bryant Wood’s, ‘The Search for Joshua’s Ai,’ in Richard S. Hess, Gerald A. Klingbeil and Paul K. Ray Jr., Editors, Critical Issues in Early Israelite History (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 2008), 205-40.) (Wright T. Was There an Exodus & Conquest? July 20, 2013. http://crossexamined.org/was-there-an-exodus-conquest/#_ftn11 viewed 03/01/15)

I would add if the Exodus did take place in 1446 B.C., forty years of wilderness wandering would bring us to 1406 B.C. as a likely time for the destruction of Jericho.

As for others who do not believe it occurred because of looking at dates about two centuries later, understand that the Bible teaches:

4… Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. (Romans 3:4)

20… Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge — 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. (1 Timothy 6:20-21)

The Bible also tells of people who are “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7).

So, when you hear the opinion of ‘scholars’ when they blatantly contradict the Bible, realize that the Bible is still true.

Just because there were pharaohs of the 19th dynasty named Ramesses, does not mean that the Exodus occurred during that dynasty. The Bible tells of the existence of a region called Rameses centuries before the Exodus. ‘Ra’ worship was around for many centuries before the children of Israel entered Egypt.

Events related to Amenhotep II and Jericho are consistent with the biblical account.

The Exodus happened and it happened over 3400 years ago.

Despite the evidence that the Exodus occurred when and as the Bible tells of it, many do not wish to believe it.

Some items of related interest may include the following:

When was the Exodus? Did it Happen? Some deny the biblical account of the Exodus. Was Ramses II the pharaoh then? When did the Exodus occur? Is there proof outside of the Bible that there was an Exodus? Here is a related article in the Spanish language: ¿Cuándo fue el Éxodo? ¿Ocurrió realmente?
Reasons, Proofs, and Ramifications of the Ten Plagues of Exodus What do you know about these plagues? Is there any confirmation outside the Bible? Might something worse be coming? A related two-part sermon is available: Egypt and the Plagues (Part 1) and Exodus Plagues and Prophecy (Part 2).
Exodus and the Days of Unleavened Bread This article discusses parts of the Book of Exodus with some connections to the Days of Unleavened Bread. A related sermon is available and is titled: Unleavened Bread: Lessons in Exodus. Another sermon is Exodus, Judgments, and Jesus.
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur 🙂 In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Timelines and Early Church History This has dates and some timelines when biblical and non-biblical events took place.

Islamic State’s looting accidentally reveals information on one mentioned in the Bible

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017


Ancient relief of King Sennacherib

COGwriter

Another archeological discovery supports what the Bible teaches in the Hebrew scriptures (AKA the Old Testament). This one was the results of looting and pillaging by the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State:

Archaeologists in Iraq are decrying the latest destruction of the nation’s historic heritage by the Islamic State while celebrating an amazing discovery of biblical significance made possible only by the terror group’s looting.

The slow recovery of Mosul by Iraqi forces, backed by an international coalition, has allowed archaeologists to examine ISIS’ damage to artifacts at the site of ancient Nineveh. In 2014, shortly after taking control of Mosul, ISIS militants rigged the Nabi Younus shrine – the traditional burial site of the prophet Jonah – with explosives and blew it up.

It is now known that ISIS dug tunnels beneath the leveled shrine in search of artifacts to sell on the world market to fund its military activities. Those now-abandoned tunnels, archaeologist say, have revealed the palace of the seventh century B.C. Assyrian King Sennacherib and his son King Esarhaddon.

Sennacherib’s invasion of the biblical kingdom of Judah in 701 B.C. is one of the most thoroughly documented historical events in the Bible, being recounted at 2 Kings 18:13-19:37, 2 Chronicles 32:1-23, Isaiah 36:1-37:38, as well as in a marble bas-relief now in the British Museum and on an Assyrian clay prism proclaiming Sennacherib’s “victory” over Judah’s King Hezekiah. http://www.wnd.com/2017/03/isis-looting-uncovers-palace-of-2-biblical-kings/#GUCKzzFyVPA5BhDK.99

The palace of the Biblical King Sennacherib, long buried underneath the tomb of the prophet Jonah in the Biblical city of Nineveh, has incredibly been discovered by Iraqi archaeologists as a result of efforts by the Islamic State (ISIS) to destroy the site and loot its priceless antiquities.

The shrine is, according to tradition, built on the burial site of Jonah, known as Nabi Yunis in the Koran. Located in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the structure was destroyed by ISIS in July 2014. When the city was liberated by Iraqi troops a few weeks ago, archaeologist were dismayed to find that not only had ISIS used dynamite to destroy the shrine, but the terror group had tunneled underneath and carried away hundreds of artifacts to sell on the black market.

However, the tunnels revealed a completely unexpected treasure: the 2,300-year-old palace of King Sennacherib, mentioned in the Bible. During Sennacherib‘s reign, Nineveh was one of the richest cities in the world. His military campaign against the Kingdom of Judah is described in the Bible.

After these things, and this faithfulness, Sancheriv king of Ashur came, and entered into Yehudah, and encamped against the fortified cities, and thought to make a breach therein for himself. II Chronicles 32:1

The palace, built by Sennacherib, who ruled Assyria from 705 BCE to 681 BCE, was later expanded by his son, Esarhaddon (681-669 BC). The palace was partly destroyed during the Sack of Nineveh in 612 BCE.

Archaeologists are working desperately to save whatever they can, as the tunnels are unstable.

“I can only imagine how much Daesh (ISIS) discovered down there before we got here,” Iraqi archaeologist Layla Salih, who is supervising the team carrying out the emergency exploration, told the Telegraph. “We believe they took many of the artifacts, such as pottery and smaller pieces, away to sell. But what they left will be studied and will add a lot to our knowledge of the period.” https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/84367/palace-biblical-king-sennacherib-discovered-beneath-isis-destruction-jonahs-tomb/#pScCwKWhtDKFs7qt.99

A few years ago, the Islamic State destroyed and pillaged what has been called Jonah’s tomb (see ‘Persecuted’ film, coming persecution, Iraqi persecution, and unearthing Jonah?).

Sennacherib is mentioned in thirteen passages in the Old Testament. Here is the first:

13 And in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. 14 Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong; turn away from me; whatever you impose on me I will pay.” And the king of Assyria assessed Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16 At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria. (2 Kings 18:13-16)

The relief shown at the beginning of this post has Sennacherib coming as a conquering king–which is apparently how Hezekiah originally viewed him.

This find in Nineveh is interesting as we get closer to the end that archeologists continue to find more evidence of biblical peoples, figures, and events.

Of course, for those of us who believe the Bible, no further proof is needed. But for some who have heard statements from pseudo-archaeologists that deny the biblical accounts, it may be helpful for them to realize that as time goes on, more and more archaeological evidence surfaces that supports the Bible.

Anyway, the archeological discovery provides further evidence of the accounts in the Bible. The Bible has proven trustworthy as it truly is.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Read the Bible Christians should read and study the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading. Here is a link in Mandarin Chinese: 读圣经 Here is a link in the Spanish language: Lea la Biblia..
Bible: Superstition or Authority? Should you rely on the Bible? Is it reliable? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
How to Study the Bible David Jon Hill wrote this initially and Dr. Thiel added scriptures, tips, and suggestions to it. A 2015 sermon is available and is also titled How to Study the Bible.
What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation? Should the Bible be literally understood? What do the writings of the Bible, Origen, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Augustine show?
Why Terrorism? Is Terrorism Prophesied? What does the Bible teach? Which nations may be affected? Here is a link to a related sermon: Terrorism, Christianity, and Islam.

Another search for the Ark of the Covenant?

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

The Ark of the Covenant
Depiction of Levites Carrying the Ark of the Covenant

COGwriter

There is another place some are now looking to find the Ark of the Covenant:

An international team of archaeologists has announced plans to search an area the Bible says once stored the Ark of the Covenant.

On the highest hills in west Jerusalem, Kiriath-Jearim is mentioned in the Bible as a resting place of the Ark of the Covenant, a gold-gilded wooden chest from the Book of Exodus that contained tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments.

The project is a joint venture of Tel Aviv University and Collège de France to be directed by Israel Finkelstein, Christophe Nicolle and Thomas Römer.

In 1905, a farmer discovered remnants of a Byzantine place of worship on the hill. This summer, archaeologists will climb the mound to search for new information regarding passages from the Hebrew Bible. …

Excavation at the site is due to take place between August and September.

“The place is important for several reasons,” Finkelstein said. “It’s a large, central site in the Jerusalem hills that hasn’t been studied until now. It may be the only key site in Judah that hasn’t undergone a systematic archaeological excavation.”

In the First Book of Samuel, the ark brought curses, plagues and suffering to the Philistines. Its terrifying metaphysical powers have been adopted by Hollywood filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg and Cecil B. DeMille.

Spielberg’s 1981 “Raiders of the Lost Ark” saw the sacred covenant become the object of a race against time between fictional archaeologist Indiana Jones and Nazi antagonists.

The biblical town of Kiriath-Jearim (Cariathiarim) is strategically located on one of the highest hills in Judea, 10 miles west of Jerusalem, just west of Abu Gosh. The name of Kiriath Jearim means in Hebrew “the city of forests.” Its Arabic name is Deir el-Azar and could come from a reference to Eleazar, who, according to 1 Samuel 7:1-2, took charge of the Ark of the Covenant when it was brought to Kiriath-Jearim: “And the men of Kirjathjearim came, and fetched up the ark of the Lord, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the Lord. And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjathjearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.” 02/13/17 http://www.wnd.com/2017/02/new-mission-of-real-life-raiders-of-the-lost-ark/#S3juIVyEF5ByOklj.99

Israeli and French researchers will begin excavating the ancient site of Kiriath-Jearim, for the first time in August.

It is one of the few remaining unexplored biblical sites, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept for two decades, according to the Bible.

The Ark – which is believed to be a wooden and gold plated box that contains the ten commandments handed to Moses, were speculated to come with a curse.

The rumours inspired the script of Hollywood blockbuster Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Historians have never been able to find the infamous golden chest or the ten commandments believed to be housed inside. 02/13/17 https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2855876/scientists-to-explore-home-to-the-ark-of-the-covenant-in-hope-they-will-find-missing-10-commandments/

Some believe that the search in Kiriath-Jearim is more for the Ten Commandments than the Ark of the Covenant, but I suspect the researchers will be pleased if they find anything of direct biblical connection–and they very well may.

A while back, someone asked me the following:

Also what do you think about the ark of the covenant being taken to Elephantine in Egypt and then being in Ethiopia and the Priests in Ethiopia taking a gift (probably the Ark) to Christ when He returns?

The point that Cornuke was making was that The priests move the ark to the Elephantine island in Egypt because Manasseh was doing so many bad things that he might have threatened doing something to the ark and that when Josiah was telling the priests to put the ark in the temple is because it wasn’t there and that possibly the reason why Josiah attacked Pharoah Neco was because he had the ark because Neco claimed he was doing God’s work. There are claims that in Elephantine there is a and Jewish priest establishment with a temple.

Cornuke is Robert Cornuke, author of ‘Temple,’ a book I have read.

I would like to address some of that and some other views of the Ark of the Covenant.

Many claim that the Ark of the Covenant is in Ethiopia.

Here is something I read from an account in 1710 (and yes, the English is hard to read as the source is difficult and some words clearly are spelled incorrectly as far as we in the 21st century are concerned as it has an “f” often where we would have an “s”):

Then the aforesaid Book proceeds to give an Account how the first begotten, at the Initi’gation of Azariah the Son of Sadoc the fable about Prieft, took an Oath to one another to carry away with them the Ark. Ark of the Covenant, which they call’d the Heavenly Sion and that going by Night to the Temple, Providence fo ordering it, they found the Gates open, and put the Ark upon a Cart, and being attended by abundance of People, with much Wealth, and great Acclamations, they travell’d to fwiftly, that Solomon, who went to recover the Ark, could not overtake them, and with the fame Expedition they crofs’d the ‘Red Sea as joyfully as the Children of Ifrael had done, with only this Difference, that the Ifraelites pafs’d it on Foot without being wet, and they flying in their Chariots ; fo that the Sea obey’d the “former, and the Air was fubfervient to the latter.

This Book farther tells us, that when Queen Maqueda underfood that her Son already made King was coming, and brought along with him all the firft begotten, as alfo the Ark of the Heavemly God of Sion, (he went out with great Solemnity to meet them, and plac’d the Ark in the Temp!e of the Laud of Maqueda, all the People of Ethiopia receiving the Knowledge of the true God (Balthazar Telles, John Stevens. The Travels of the Jesuits in Ethiopia. J Knapton, 1710, University of Lausanne, p. 69).

The above would not seem biblically possible, but the Ethiopians have long believed that the Ark is in their country and that a son of Solomon, who is not mentioned in the Bible, brought it there.

However, the Bible shows that well after Solomon’s sons would have died, that the Ark was still in Jerusalem:

35:1 Now Josiah kept a Passover to the LORD in Jerusalem, and they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the first month. 2 And he set the priests in their duties and encouraged them for the service of the house of the LORD. 3 Then he said to the Levites who taught all Israel, who were holy to the LORD: “Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, built. It shall no longer be a burden on your shoulders. Now serve the LORD your God and His people Israel (2 Chronicles 35:1-3).

Thus, if the Ark of the Covenant possibly made it to Ethiopia it was not until well AFTER the Ethiopians normally claim it first came there.

And if it was, maybe it first was in Egypt and moved by Jewish leaders, like Robert Cornuke seems to believe. That may be at least biblically plausible.

Here is another claim about the location of the biblical Ark of the Covenant:

Ark of Covenant resting beneath Temple Mount?
With Mideast in turmoil, new evidence Solomon made provisions to hide
WND – Sept 22, 2012

One of the persistent theories about the whereabouts of the Ark is that it lay buried in secret tunnels and passageways constructed by King Solomon for the specific purpose of keeping it from enemies who might one day capture and destroy the Temple.

Now there is compelling new evidence that’s just what happened – and that the Ark still rests beneath the chamber known as the Holy of Holies, moved there through an elaborate machine constructed under the direction of Solomon long before the invasion of the Babylonians and the sacking of the Temple. http://www.wnd.com/2012/09/ark-of-covenant-resting-beneath-temple-mount/

Notice another view of the Ark’s location:

9 January 2014

livescience.com – A newly translated Hebrew text claims to reveal where treasures from King Solomon’s temple were hidden and discusses the fate of the Ark of the Covenant itself.

But unlike the Indiana Jones movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” the text leaves the exact location of the Ark unclear and states that it, and the other treasures, “shall not be revealed until the day of the coming of the Messiah son of David …” putting it out of reach of any would-be treasure seeker…

The newly translated text, called “Treatise of the Vessels” (Massekhet Kelim in Hebrew), says the “treasures were concealed by a number of Levites and prophets,” writes James Davila, a professor at the University of St. Andrews, in an article in the book “Old Testament Pseudepigrapha More Noncanonical Scriptures Volume 1″ (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2013).

“Some of these (treasures) were hidden in various locations in the Land of Israel and in Babylonia, while others were delivered into the hands of the angels Shamshiel, Michael, Gabriel and perhaps Sariel …” writes Davila in his article.

The treatise is similar in some ways to the metallic “Copper Scroll,” one of the Dead Sea Scrolls found near the site of Qumran in the West Bank. The Copper Scroll also discusses the location of hidden treasure, although not from Solomon’s Temple…The Copper Scroll, which dates back around 1,900 years, and is made of copper, shows several “striking parallels” with the newly translated treatise, Davila said. http://topinfopost.com/2014/01/09/the-ark-of-covenant-revealed-in-hebrew-text

I have heard the Hebrew claim years before the above came out. One concern that I have had is that if the Ark of the Covenant is found, this could possibly get more of the Jews to support the ecumenical end-time religion that will call itself Catholic. This would be consistent with biblical (Revelation 13:4,8; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12) and Catholic prophecies (see further below).

The first direct reference to this ark in the Bible is in the Book of Exodus:

10 “And they shall make an ark of acacia wood; two and a half cubits shall be its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height. 11 And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and shall make on it a molding of gold all around. 12 You shall cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in its four corners; two rings shall be on one side, and two rings on the other side. 13 And you shall make poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. 14 You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, that the ark may be carried by them. 15 The poles shall be in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. 16 And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you. (Exodus 25:10-16)

The Bible is clear that the Ark of the Covenant is or will be in heaven:

19 Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail. (Revelation 11:19)

It has been suggested that the physical ark of the covenant that the children of Israel had was patterned on one in heaven, thus it could still be on earth. If it will be found, there is a small chance that the Continuing Church of God may have some involvement with it as we are considering involvement in an archeological project in Jerusalem in the area known as Mt. Zion. On October 24, 2013, while attempting to take some photos and to video some of the remains of the Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill, I was approached by a Jewish rabbi named Avraham Goldstein of the Diaspora Yeshiva who claims that the Ark of the Covenant is below that building on Mt. Zion of the Western Hill.

Notice also the following Islamic view of the Ark:

The Book of Revelation says the Ark is in the temple of God in heaven (Rev. 11:19). Muslim scholars say it will be found near the end of times by the Mahdi – a messianic figure in Islam. http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=102119

It is interesting, however, that many of the Muslims believe that their Mahdi will rise up after the finding of the Ark (the Mahdi of Islamic prophecy seems to be the same one that the Bible indicates will be the final King of the South). Events seem to be happening in the Arab nations that align with the rising up of such a leader. Perhaps, if the Ark is publicly shown, he could point to it as proof that his timing for rising up was prophesied. We will see.

I perhaps should add that certain Catholic prophecies indicate that the two witnesses (which they often consider will be Enoch and Elijah) will rise up after the Ark is found:

Bl. Dionysus of Luetzenberg…prophecies:

After the discovery of the Ark of the Covenant, Enoch and Elias will restore the Holy Sacrament of the Altar; Because of the fact that the Ark of the Covenant will be in the possession of the two holy prophets and not in Antichrist’s hands, the Jews will recognize that Jesus is the true Messias…”

( Luetzenberg, Antichristus Chapter 29 as cited in Birch D.A. Trial, Tribulation & Triumph. Queenship Publishing, Goleta (CA), 1996, p. 509)

Now the Bible is clear that the Ark of the Covenant will be in heaven:

Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail. (Revelation 11:19)

And it probably is there now.

But since both Islamic and Catholic prophecies suggest that it will be found, it is possible that some of them will point to the Ark in Ethiopia (some believe Ethiopia has the original Ark, while others believe that it has an early copy) or one in Jerusalem (or elsewhere) as proof that their prophecies are to be fulfilled. Or perhaps to a different location in the future. Or Catholics may claim that if the Ark of the Covenant has not been found, that some will claim that this is additional proof that the real two witnesses are not God’s two witnesses. Notice that the Catholics want to place their practices on it (by Holy Sacrament, they seem to mean their Eucharistic practices; here is an article about their origins: Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist?), these are the same Catholics that also keep trying to gain control of the Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill.

Others say that Zion was really on the eastern side side of Jerusalem, and thus, that may be where the Ark could be or end up.

If the ark of the covenant is now below the Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill, known as Mt. Zion, that would have ramifications for the world as well as the Continuing Church of God (see Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill). It possibly could be related to a dream by a lady named Fesilafai Fiso Leaana of New Zealand, She had a dream after going to bed on December 8, 2012 that included a comment about the Ark, see Temple Institute claims about the ‘Foundation Stone’ not truly scriptural and differ from Continuing Church of God beliefs and Dreams, the Bible, and the Continuing Church of God.

I presume that if the Ark ever publicly is shown (the one in Ethiopia was supposed to be shown a few times, but has not been), some may wish to more thoroughly examine it.

However, if it is the actual Ark of the Covenant, this would seem to be quite dangerous from a biblical point of view:

1 Again David gathered all the choice men of Israel, thirty thousand. 2 And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, whose name is called by the Name, the LORD of Hosts, who dwells between the cherubim. 3 So they set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart. 4 And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill, accompanying the ark of God; and Ahio went before the ark. 5 Then David and all the house of Israel played music before the LORD on all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals.

6 And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7 Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God. (2 Samuel 6:1-7)

Only Levites were supposed to move the Ark, and that is what David finally realized. Non-Levites, like Uzzah were never supposed to touch it.

Oddly, various Catholics claim that Jesus’ mother Mary herself is the ‘Ark of the Covenant.’ Notice the following:

May 27, 2016

Father René Laurentin, an expert on Marian apparitions, noted in his book, An Appeal from Mary in Argentina, “the key to the messages is found in Revelation 11:19-12:17. Mary appears to Gladys as the Woman clothed with the Sun and the Ark of the New Covenant…God wants to renew the covenant with his people, through Mary, His Ark of the Covenant,” and again, “Mary comes to restore the faith.”

Direction for Boarding the Ark

Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant, tells us how to return to God which she wants spread worldwide. http://www.ncregister.com/blog/joseph-pronechen/its-official-major-apparitions-of-mary-are-approved/#ixzz4Aib7BYO8

That is absurd, but many associated with the Church of Rome believe that Mary will be used to unify the world around a modified religion that will be called Catholic. ‘Mary’ is part of the ecumenical and interfaith agendas that the Vatican is pushing, and of course, she is NOT the Ark of the New Covenant.

As far as the Ark goes, while it may be remotely possible that the Ark could be in Ethiopia, I remain highly skeptical. Nor is it likely to be in Kiriath-Jearim, though that would not seem to be impossible.

As far as where the Ark is to end up, furthermore, notice:

8 Arise, O Lord, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength. 9 Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness,And let Your saints shout for joy. 10 For Your servant David’s sake, Do not turn away the face of Your Anointed. 11 The Lord has sworn in truth to David; He will not turn from it: “I will set upon your throne the fruit of your body. 12 If your sons will keep My covenant And My testimony which I shall teach them, Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forevermore.” 13 For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place: 14 “This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it. 15 I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her poor with bread. 16 I will also clothe her priests with salvation, And her saints shall shout aloud for joy. 17 There I will make the horn of David grow;I will prepare a lamp for My Anointed. 18 His enemies I will clothe with shame, But upon Himself His crown shall flourish.” (Psalms 132:8-18)

While Solomon wanted it to be in the temple he built to house the ark forever, God had David write Zion was the chosen location.

There is a chance that we will see the Ark or a strong claim that someone has located the Ark within the next decade or so.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? Although people like Timothy LaHaye teach a third Jewish temple is required, who is ‘the temple of God” in the New Testament? Does the Bible require a rebuilt Jewish Temple? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Por qué no se requiere un templo judío en Jerusalén? Here is a link to a sermon titled The Temple, Prophecy, and the Work.
The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World The Temple Institute is watching a ‘red heifer.’ Why might this be important in the sequence of end time events? Here is a related link in the Spanish language Novilla roja descubierta en EE.UU. e Instituto del Templo está interesado en ella. Here is a related video in English The Red Heifer and the End of the World.
Location of the Prophesied Physical Temple Leroy Neff gives his rationalse for the location of the coming temple.
Solomon’s Temple This is a a 5 minute animated film that shows one artist’s understanding of the details about Solomon’s temple.
Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God How has God used dreams in the past? Does God still use dreams? Did He use any involving those in the Continuing Church of God? Here is a link in Spanish: Sueños, la Biblia, la Iglesia de Dios de la Radio, y la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. A related sermon is also available: Dreams, COGs, and One Man Rule.
Africa: Its Biblical Past and Prophesied Future What does the Bible teach about Africa and its future? Did the early Church reach Africa? Were there Sabbath-keepers in Ethiopia? Will God call all the Africans?
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What happened at Fatima? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Eastern/Greek Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers? Here is a link to a YouTube video Marian Apparitions May Fulfill Prophecy. Here is a link to a sermon video: Why Learn About Fatima?
Catholic Prophecies: Do They Mirror, Highlight, or Contradict Biblical Prophecies? People of all faiths may be surprised to see what various Roman and Orthodox Catholic prophets have been predicting as many of their predictions will be looked to in the 21st century.
Who Are The Two Witnesses? What is their job? What does the Bible reveal? What has the Church of God taught on this subject? Might even Roman Catholic prophecies give some clues here? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quiénes son los dos testigos?
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? (And the Protestants) Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video sermon of related interest is: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and a video sermon is also available: Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? See also World Council of Churches Peace Plan.

Catholic and biblical warnings about Christmas trees

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

COGwriter

What does the Bible teach about using trees in worship? Have Catholic writers made warnings against Christmas trees?

First, notice that the Bible has a lot of warnings about trees:

2″Do not learn the ways of the nations
or be terrified by signs in the sky,
though the nations are terrified by them.
3 For the customs of the peoples are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
4 They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.
5 Like a scarecrow in a melon patch,
their idols cannot speak;
they must be carried
because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them;
they can do no harm
nor can they do any good.” (Jeremiah 10:2-5, NIV).

2 Thus saith our Lord: According to the ways of the Gentiles learn not: and (a) of the signs of heaven, which the heathen fear, be not afraid:
3 Because the laws of the people are vain: because the work of the hand of the artificer hath cut a tree out of the forest with an axe.
4 with silver and gold he hath decked it: with nails and hammers he hath compacted it, that it fall not asunder.. .(Jerermie/Jeremiah 10:2-4, The Original And True Douay Old Testament Of Anno Domini 1609. Prepared and Edited by Dr. William von Peters, Ph.D. Copyright © 2005, Dr. William G. von Peters. Ph.D. 2005 copyright assigned to VSC Corp.).

29 When the Lord thy God shall have destroyed before thy face the nations, that thou enterest in to possess, and thou shalt possess them, and dwell in their land:
30 beware left thou imitate them, after they be subverted at thy entering in, and thou require their ceremonies, saying: As these nations have worshipped their Gods, so will I also worship.
31 Thou shalt not do in like manner to the Lord thy God. For all the abominations, that our Lord doeth abhor, have they done to their Gods, offering their sons and daughters, and burning them with fire (Deuteronomy 12:29-31, DOT).

While the trees themselves cannot harm us, God says that they cannot do any good.

And nowhere in the Bible is there any hint that trees should be associated with the birth of Jesus Christ. Much promoted related to December 25th is not biblical (watch also Fake News, Jesus, and His Birth).

Catholics used to warn that because of Martin Luther’s promotion of Christmas trees, that this form of idolatry made Protestantism the “Tannenbaum religion” (tannenbaum literally means “fir tree” and is the German term for Christmas tree.

The “Venerable” Cesare Baronius, a Catholic of the 16th century, wrote about a practice of using lights (which are commonly used on Christmas trees):

If the candles which were formerly distributed at the Saturnalia are now identified with the feast of the Purification of our Lady? What, I ask, is there so surprising if holy bishops have allowed certain customs firmly rooted among pagan peoples, and so tenaciously adhered to by them that even after their conversion to Christianity they could not be induced to surrender them, to be transferred to the worship of the true God?” (Baronius, “Annales”, ad ann. 58, n. 77). (as cited in Thurston, Herbert. “Lights.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 21 Dec. 2009 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09244b.htm>)

Thus, Baronius seems to be saying that Saturnalia lights are a pagan practice, yet using them is acceptable. The period of Saturnalia coincides with the Christmas-New Year’s period in modern times.

But even the Rheims‘ version of the New Testament (a Catholic approved translation) states the following about pagan practices:

15. And what agreement with Christ and Belial? or what part hath the faithful with the infidel? 16. And what agreement hath the temple of God with Idols? For you are the temple of the living God. as God saith, Then I will dwell, and walk in them, and will be their God: and they shall be my people. 17. For the which cause, Go out of the midst of them, and separate yourselves. saith our Lord, and touch not the unclean: and I will receive you (2 Corinthians 6:15-17, The Original And True Rheims New Testament Of Anno Domini 1582. Prepared and Edited by Dr. William von Peters, Ph.D. Copyright © 1998, Dr. William G. von Peters. Ph.D. 2004, copyright assigned to VSC Corp.).

So unclean practices associated with idols are prohibited by God. Does not that include celebrating as the idolaters celebrate, like using evergreen trees?

Even the the old Roman Saturnalia and Persian Mithraism (which have been somewhat combined in the Greco-Roman religions) were an adaption of an even earlier mystery religion – the Babylonian mystery cult. The ancient Babylonians celebrated the rebirth of Nimrod as the newborn Tammuz by worshipping an evergreen tree (like the ‘modern’ Christmas tree). The Babylonians also celebrated this rebirth during the time of the winter solstice. Despite biblical admonitions against the use of green trees (Jeremiah 3:12-13), many seem to think that this is fine.

Notice, however, that using green trees as part of worship was condemned by God thousands of years ago:

2 ‘You must completely destroy all the places where the nations you dispossess have served their gods, on high mountains, on hills, under any spreading tree; 3 you must tear down their altars, smash their sacred stones, burn their sacred poles, hack to bits the statues of their gods and obliterate their name from that place. (Deuteronomy 12:2-3, New Jerusalem Bible, NJB, a Catholic translation)

2 Destroy all the places in which the nations, that you shall possess, worshipped their gods upon high mountains, and hills, and under every shady tree: 3 Overthrow their altars, and break down their statues, burn their groves with fire, and break their idols in pieces: destroy their names out of those places. 4 You shall not do so to the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 12:2-4, DOT, a Catholic translation).

16 Beware lest perhaps your heart be deceived, and you depart from our Lord, and serve strange Gods, and adore them (Deuteronomy 11:16, DOT).

12 So go and shout words towards the north, and say: “Come back, disloyal Israel, Yahweh declares, I shall frown on you no more, since I am merciful, Yahweh declares. I shall not keep my anger for ever.

13 Only acknowledge your guilt: how you have rebelled against Yahweh your God, how you have prostituted yourself with the Strangers under every green tree and have not listened to my voice, Yahweh declares. (Jeremiah 3:12-13, NJB)

24 God is spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24, NJB)

Catholic translations of the Bible show that spreading shady trees, like evergreens, were not to be part of the worship of the true God–and that people should not be deceived and serve such strange practices. The truth is that Christmas reminds us that people are often unwilling to worship God as He intended, but instead often prefer pagan substitutes that they rationalize as somehow acceptable if they pretend the holiday is about Jesus.

Those who truly believe Jesus’ words, “Human beings live not on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4, NJB) will not celebrate a compromised pagan holiday such as Christmas because it contains practices and symbols (see also What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?) warned against in the Bible and was never enjoined upon true believers to practice.

And although many Catholics now have Christmas trees, notice something from the Vatican:

Rome, Dec. 22: Sant Claus, and Christmas trees, have been condemned in an editorial in the Vatican weekly newspaper, “L’Osservatore della Domenica.” The editorial describes Santa Claus as a “monstrous substitute” for the Christ Child, and says that the idea of Santa “is offensive to the faith” and “will not and must not be accepted or tolerated by Christians.” The use of Christmas trees — which have only recently become a part of the Italian Christmas — is condemned as “an attempt to substitute the Crib ….. with a certain feeling of naturalism and paganism.” (http://www.deccanchronicle.com/dc50/vatican-paper-disfavours-santa-claus-684)

No one should be using Christmas trees, Santa Claus, etc. And even some in the Vatican are telling people that.

The Catholics once considered that having a decorated fir tree in one’s house, which of course is not a symbol associated with the birth of Jesus in the Bible, during the Christmas season was a form of idolatry.

However, over time, as the use of trees gained more universal acceptance, those of the Catholic faith decided to no longer decry their use.

The Bible, Church of God sources, and Catholic sources have warned about the use of objects like Christmas trees. Since the use of them most certainly does not come from the Bible, no Christian should wish to have one. For more information, here is a link to the sermon: Fake News, Jesus, and His Birth.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the genuine Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example? Here is a related sermon video: Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong: Reformers with Differences.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity?
What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? What about the use of the cross, by the early Church?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity?
Was Jesus Born in the Grotto of the Nativity? Was Jesus born in a below ground cave? Was Jesus born below the “Church of the Nativity”? Were the wise men there?
How did December 25th become Christmas? Was Jesus born then? If not, why December 25? Here is the article translated into Mandarin Chinese 12月25日最后是怎么被许多基督的信仰者采纳的.
Is Keeping Christmas a Sin? Is keeping Christmas acceptable for true Christians? What are some scriptures to consider?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Temple Institute’s ‘foundation stone’ views are in error

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

COGwriter

A few years ago, I was able to visit the Temple Institute in Jerusalem. While I was somewhat familiar with this group, I had not fully understood certain aspects of its position related to the Temple Mount until I watched a presentation there.

The Temple Institute believes that it must clear the Temple Mount of Islamic structures:

When will the reconstruction of the Holy Temple Commence?

There are two approaches to answering this question.

One approach is based on the geo-political dynamics of the Temple Mount, and the other approach is based on the desire of the nation of Israel and her fellow nations to rebuild the Holy Temple.

Geo-politically, the Temple Mount has to be cleared of the Dome of the Rock and the mosques which are presently located upon it before the physical rebuilding of the Holy Temple can begin. Many scenarios can be imagined which would accomplish this, the most promising, and not necessarily the most far-fetched, would entail Moslem recognition of the Mount as the intended location for the rebuilt Temple. With the acquiescence of the Moslem world the Moslem structures currently on the Mount would be disassembled and reassembled elsewhere. (http://www.templeinstitute.org/frequently-asked-questions.htm viewed 11/10/13)

Of course, the Muslims are not interested in getting their famous Dome of the Rock and their mosques removed. So, that is not likely, even after a war. That is part of why I have long understood that the Jews would be willing to resume animal sacrifices without the rebuilding of a full Jewish Temple–and that is consistent with the Bible (Ezra 3:6) as well as the position of certain Jewish leaders, such as those in the reconstituted Sanhedrin (see Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required?) and even some at the Temple Institute.

But the following was something I had not fully understood that the Temple Institute had before visiting:

Our sages teach that the stone under the Dome of the Rock is called the “Foundation Stone,” for it is the very foundation of creation. It is the spiritual center of the world and the starting point of creation; all the prayers of all mankind assemble in this place before ascending on high to G-d. It was here that the Ark of the Covenant was placed within the Holy of Holies.(The “Foundation Stone” of Creation. http://www.templeinstitute.org/ctl_articles_2.htm viewed 11/10/13)

Being the King of the Universe, God could have chosen any location in the universe “to place His name,” “to dwell,” and “to rest His presence.” Where did He chose do to this? Jerusalem, and more precisely, the Temple Mount. (Deuteronomy 12:5, I Kings 8:29 & 11:36, Isaiah 37:16 & 60:13, Ezekiel 43:7, Zechariah 8:3, Joel 4:17, Psalm 32:13) If God is incorporeal and omniscient, why or even how could there be a precise location for His Presence to dwell? Couldn’t Rabbi Nachman have directed his sentiments anywhere, since God is everywhere? Yes, God is everywhere. Yet He chose to manifest Himself more intensely and to associate His Name with one specific place, Jerusalem. And even more precisely, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

“In many places, when speaking of the Jerusalem, the Torah calls it, ‘The place that G-d will choose to make His Name dwell there.’ To the extent that we can understand it, this means that G-d associates Himself with this place. This is very difficult for the human mind to comprehend, and indeed, Solomon, the wisest of all men, found it impossible to understand. He thus said to G-d, ‘Behold, the heavens and the heavens of Heaven cannot contain you, how much less this House that I have built’ (1-Kings 8:27). Yet, he knew that G-d had somehow associated Himself with this place, as G-d Himself had proclaimed.” Aryeh Kaplan

The Temple Mount, where God chose to place His Name, is literally the point of creation; the place where the physical realm came into existence. And it is the place where everything we can’t see, i.e. the spiritual world, attaches itself to the physical. It is literally the portal between heaven and the earth. This precise point of creation on the Temple Mount is called the Even Shetiyah, the Foundation Stone.

It appears to me that the primeval point which G-d created out of nothing is what the sages called the foundation stone from where the world was founded.” – Nachmanides, Commentary to the Torah, Genesis 1,1

“When the Holy One, blessed is He, created His world, He created it like an infant born from its mother. For a fetus born from the mother, begins from its navel and expands outward to all four directions so too, the Holy One, blessed is He, began to create the world from the Foundation Stone and from that, the entire world was established.” – Midrash Tanchuma – Pikudei #3

Jacob saw a vision of this primeval point of creation that links heaven and earth. His vision is famously known as “Jacob’s ladder” and is recorded in Genesis 28.

Jacob departed from Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. He encountered the place and spent the night . . . he took from the stones of the place which he arranged around his head, and lay down in that place. And he dreamt, and behold! A ladder was set earthward and its top reached heavenward; and behold! Angels of God were ascending and descending on it . . . Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely Hashem is present in this place and I did not know! And he became frightened and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the abode of God and this is the gate of the heavens! Jacob arose early in the morning and took the stone that he placed around his head and set it up as a pillar; and poured oil on its top . . . and said this stone which I have set up as a pillar shall become a House of God.

Did you catch that? Even prior to the Temple standing, Jacob called the Temple Mount the “abode of God” and “the gate of the heavens.”…

Yet at the same time what an apt name – the place – as if it is the only place of real significance in the world. Jacob slept at the precise location of the future altar of the Holy Temple. No wonder it was the place where Adam, Cain, Abel, and Noah made sacrifices, according to Pirke de Rabbi Eliezar 31. And it was the place where Abraham bound Isaac to the altar. In fact the 12 stones Jacob gathered around his head before he slept came from the altar Abraham made and bound Isaac upon (A call to remember. August 5, 2013. http://www.templeinstitute.org/a-call-to-remember.htm)

They are placed on the Foundation Stone, the Even Shtiya, of the Temple Mount, the Holy of Holies. We Jews know that upon it, Yitzhak was bound, it was purchased by David from Aravna and over it Solomonn built the First Temple. (Medad Y. A Found(dation) Stone Lost. June 29, 2102; reprinted from Jerusalem Post Blogs. http://www.templeinstitute.org/archive/29-06-12.htm viewed 11/10/13)

So, claiming that this comes from the Bible as well as Jewish tradition, the Temple Institute claims that the stone that Jacob used as a pillar was the foundation for the creation of the world, and because of that, the Muslim structure must be removed from the Temple Mount area and a Jewish temple build there.

Here is what the Bible records about Jacob, the stone, and the related dream:

10 Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. 12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”

16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”

18 Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.” (Genesis 28:10-22)

The Bible does not seem to place the creation importance on this particular stone itself that the Temple Institute places on it. It does NOT teach that this same stone was used by Adam, Cain, Abel, and Noah.

Jesus warned that the Jews sometimes relied on their own traditions above the Bible (Mark 7:9-13) and that is what the Temple Institute seems to be doing in some instances (see also The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World; here is a related video The Red Heifer and the End of the World).

That being said, the Temple Institute is preparing to perform animal sacrifices, has given statements showing that it is willing to do them without a new temple being built (only an altar and some implements with a Levite are biblically-required per scripture, and the Temple Institute has basically claimed to have all of that).

The Bible teaches that animal sacrifices will stop (Daniel 9:27; 11:31), which means that they first must start. And irrespective of Jewish traditions about a foundational stone, the Temple Institute and others have indicated a willingness to start the sacrifices when allowed. And that may very well happen after some type of peace deal is confirmed in the Middle East (cf. Daniel 9:27; see also The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27).

Now, getting back to the stone itself, there are other legends/traditions as well. Some (Jews and non-Jews) believe that David purchased it based upon the following account from the Bible:

18 And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up, erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 So David, according to the word of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded. 20 Now Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming toward him. So Araunah went out and bowed before the king with his face to the ground.

21 Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”

And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the Lord, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.”

22 Now Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood. 23 All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king.”

And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept you.”

24 Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel. (2 Samuel 24:18-25)

Since this is a place that David sacrificed, if the stone was there, David could have purchased it.

While the Temple Institute seems to believe that the stone is below ground in the Temple Mount area, others have other views. Notice the following:

The Stone of Scone, more commonly known as the Stone of Destiny or the Coronation Stone (though the former name sometimes refers to Lia Fáil) is a block of sandstone historically kept at the now-ruined abbey in Scone, near Perth. It is also known as Jacob’s Pillow Stone, Jacob’s Pillar Stone and as the Tanist Stone.

Traditionally, it is supposed to be the stone which Jacob used as a pillow. It was originally supposed to have been used as the Coronation Stone of the early Dalriada Scots when they lived in Ireland…

In 1996 the British Government decided that the Stone should be kept in Scotland when not in use at coronations, and on November 15, 1996, after a handover ceremony at the Border between representatives of the Home Office and of the Scottish Office, it was returned to Scotland and transported to Edinburgh Castle where it remains…

In the story of the threshing floor of Arvana, the story of the dedication of Jerusalem in the days of David, as it is told in the book of Divrei Hayamim (Chronicles), we find a verse that has no parallel in chapter 24 of Shmuel II, which is the original source for the compiler of Divrei Hayamim: “And David said: This is the house of God and this is the sacrificial altar for Israel” (Divrei Hayamim I 22:1). The phraseology is very similar to that of Jacob in the story of the ladder (“This is none other than the house of the Lord and this is the gate of heaven” [verse 17]), and it seems that this is an attempt to identify various places of ceremonial significance, Beit-El and Jerusalem, as one place. (Palgren H. Stone of Scone – Stone of Destiny – Jacob’s Pillow/Pillar Stone – BabyLon(don) & Rennes Le Chateau. October 1, 2005. http://www.redicecreations.com/winterwonderland/stoneofscone.html viewed 11/10/13)

We have seen a late work on prophecy gravely affirming that the Prophet Jeremiah died in Ireland, having been forced hither by the wandering sons of Ephraim. One of the few unquestionable facts connected with early Irish history, is the intercourse between Ireland and the Phoenicians, through Spain. The Israelitish settlers, according to the tradition, carried with them Jacob’s pillow or pillar, known as the Lia Fail or Stone of Destiny, which secured a perpetual monarchy to the people so happy as to possess it. This stone, at the crowning of the first king of the Scots in Scotland, was borrowed… (The Christian remembrancer; or, The Churchman’s Biblical, ecclesiastical & literary miscellany. 1864. Original from Oxford University, Digitized, Oct 5, 2006, p. 2).

I have seen what is supposed to be the above stone (it was in England when I saw it in 1992, but it moved to Scotland). Historically, many COG groups that had leaders in the old Worldwide Church of God, have tended to believe that Jacob’s stone is the Stone of Destiny that is currently in Scotland (but there is controversy–some believe the real stone is lost/hidden and a replacement is what is now in Scotland).

Other stones that may have had biblical usage may, however, very well have been part of the first or second temples in Jerusalem.

Some stones from the second temple were believed to be moved to build what seems to have been the first Christian church building in Jerusalem (see Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill). While this building might relate to one that the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2 may end up in, it would not yet seem to be a place that animal sacrifices would begin in–especially since the Temple Institute has another location in mind. That being said, because of traditions that this building is above the tomb of David and the ark of the covenant (many discount that, but others disagree, see also Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill), if additional archaeological evidence surfaces to support this (or some other location related to David, the ark of the covenant, or the temple), groups like the Temple Institute may change their location ideas.

Be that as it may, since the Bible teaches that animal sacrifices will stop (Daniel 9:27; 11:31), they must first resume. And currently this most likely is in the Temple Mount area (though there are other possible locations). This resumption of animal sacrifices is something that the Temple Institute may well be involved in–and they mainly only need permission from Israeli authorities to do so. One person there reported to one of our sons that this could be done within hours of getting permission.

And getting that permission is not impossible. Though it may well take a war, peace deal, and/or political gridlock for that to happen. But it will come to pass as the Bible teaches.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? Although people like Timothy LaHaye teach a third Jewish temple is required, who is ‘the temple of God” in the New Testament? Does the Bible require a rebuilt Jewish Temple? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Por qué no se requiere un templo judío en Jerusalén? Here is a link to a sermon titled The Temple, Prophecy, and the Work.
The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World The Temple Institute is watching a ‘red heifer.’ Why might this be important in the sequence of end time events? Here is a related link in the Spanish language Novilla roja descubierta en EE.UU. e Instituto del Templo está interesado en ella. Here is a related video in English The Red Heifer and the End of the World.
Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill Could this building, often referred to as the Cenacle, possibly have been the oldest actual Christian church building?
Does the ‘Cenacle’ deal have prophetic ramifications? After a 20 year negotiation, the Church of Rome has negotiated the right to have Catholic mass in the building known as the Cenacle. It is in the area where the Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill once stood. This is believed to be the location of the earliest Christian church building. How does the Bible define the ‘temple of God’ in the New Testament? Could this be the area where the ‘man of sin’ will sit in the “temple of God’ that Bible prophecy discusses in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4? This is a YouTube video.
The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27 This prophecy could give up to 3 1/2 years advance notice of the coming Great Tribulation. Will most ignore or misunderstand its fulfillment? Here is a link to a related sermon video Daniel 9:27 and the Start of the Great Tribulation.
Jerusalem: Past, Present, and Future What does the Bible say about Jerusalem and its future? Is Jerusalem going to be divided and eliminated? Is Jesus returning to the area of Jerusalem? There is also a related YouTube video you can watch titled Jerusalem To be divided and eliminated.
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: 主编: 谁是’大罪人’?Here is a link to a related YouTube video, in English, titled Who is the Man of Sin?
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel.

Is 2017 the ‘Year of Jubilee’? Can Jesus return then?

Friday, November 11th, 2016

Blowing of a Shofar

COGwriter

Is the ‘Year of Jubilee’ 2017? Could Jesus return then?

Some seem to think so:

A current theory is that Jesus will return in 2017, based on the idea that 2017 is a Jubilee year that will fulfill a medieval rabbi’s prophecy. … there is no way to be certain that 2017 is an actual year of Jubilee. And, even if it is, it would not signal the return of Christ. … In ancient times, the Jubilee year began with the Sanhedrin’s blast of the shofar (ram’s horn). http://www.gotquestions.org/Jubilee-2017.html

Last year, the editor of World News Daily, Joseph Farah, posted the following:

November 8, 2015

JERUSALEM – Several years ago, Ludwig Schneider, a German-language scholar, discovered an amazing prophecy dating back to 1217 by a scholarly and highly respected rabbi by the name of Judah Ben Samuel.

…in the year Judah Ben Samuel died in 1217, he prophesied that the Ottoman Turks would rule over the holy city of Jerusalem for eight Jubilees. Now, keep in mind, he made this prediction 300 years before the Turks seized control of Jerusalem in 1517. In fact, the Ottoman Empire, as it would become to be known, did not even really exist yet in 1217.

According to Judah Ben Samuel, 1217 was a Jubilee Year. If he was right, that would also make 1517 a Jubilee Year. …

The rabbi also prophesied that during the ninth Jubilee, Jerusalem would be a “no-man’s land.” This is exactly what happened from 1917 to 1967, due to the fact that the Holy Land was placed under British Mandate in 1917 by the League of Nations and literally “belonged” to no nation. …

The rabbi also prophesied that during the 10th Jubilee, Jerusalem would be under the control of the Jews and the Messianic “end times” would begin. The 10th Jubilee began in 1967 and will be concluded in – 2017.

What should we expect to happen in 2017? I will leave that to your imagination.

But one thing is certain: Judah Ben Samuel made some truly remarkable prophecies that came to pass. http://www.wnd.com/2015/11/will-2017-be-a-jubilee-year/#TYEyp5EYgHULig9h.99

Before going further, I would add that WND’s editor pushed the false idea that the so-called Shemitah year ran from September 25, 2014 through September 13, 2015. Global economic collapse was predicted to occur on September 13, 2015 according to items his site posted (see Does end of Mark Biltz’s Shemitah mean that the Tribulation starts tomorrow?). That was wrong (see Jonathan Cahn defends ‘The Mystery of the Shemitah,’ whereas COGwriter denounces it).

Furthermore, if the Shemitah year really was from September 25, 2014 through September 13, 2015, then we should have been in the Jubilee until October 2016 as the Jubilee year begins ten days after the seventh Shemitah year in that cycle ends.

Here is what the Bible itself teaches about the Jubilee year:

8 ‘And you shall count seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years. 9 Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land. 10 And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family. 11 That fiftieth year shall be a Jubilee to you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of its own accord, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine. 12 For it is the Jubilee; it shall be holy to you; you shall eat its produce from the field.

13 ‘In this Year of Jubilee, each of you shall return to his possession. 14 And if you sell anything to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor’s hand, you shall not oppress one another. 15 According to the number of years after the Jubilee you shall buy from your neighbor, and according to the number of years of crops he shall sell to you. 16 According to the multitude of years you shall increase its price, and according to the fewer number of years you shall diminish its price; for he sells to you according to the number of the years of the crops. 17 Therefore you shall not oppress one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 25:8-17)

25 ‘If one of your brethren becomes poor, and has sold some of his possession, and if his redeeming relative comes to redeem it, then he may redeem what his brother sold. 26 Or if the man has no one to redeem it, but he himself becomes able to redeem it, 27 then let him count the years since its sale, and restore the remainder to the man to whom he sold it, that he may return to his possession. 28 But if he is not able to have it restored to himself, then what was sold shall remain in the hand of him who bought it until the Year of Jubilee; and in the Jubilee it shall be released, and he shall return to his possession.

29 ‘If a man sells a house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold; within a full year he may redeem it. 30 But if it is not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house in the walled city shall belong permanently to him who bought it, throughout his generations. It shall not be released in the Jubilee. 31 However the houses of villages which have no wall around them shall be counted as the fields of the country. They may be redeemed, and they shall be released in the Jubilee. 32 Nevertheless the cities of the Levites, and the houses in the cities of their possession, the Levites may redeem at any time. 33 And if a man purchases a house from the Levites, then the house that was sold in the city of his possession shall be released in the Jubilee; for the houses in the cities of the Levites are their possession among the children of Israel. 34 But the field of the common-land of their cities may not be sold, for it is their perpetual possession. (Leviticus 25:25-34)

40 As a hired servant and a sojourner he shall be with you, and shall serve you until the Year of Jubilee. 41 And then he shall depart from you — he and his children with him — and shall return to his own family. He shall return to the possession of his fathers. (Leviticus 25:40-41)

47 ‘Now if a sojourner or stranger close to you becomes rich, and one of your brethren who dwells by him becomes poor, and sells himself to the stranger or sojourner close to you, or to a member of the stranger’s family, 48 after he is sold he may be redeemed again. One of his brothers may redeem him; 49 or his uncle or his uncle’s son may redeem him; or anyone who is near of kin to him in his family may redeem him; or if he is able he may redeem himself. 50 Thus he shall reckon with him who bought him: The price of his release shall be according to the number of years, from the year that he was sold to him until the Year of Jubilee; it shall be according to the time of a hired servant for him. 51 If there are still many years remaining, according to them he shall repay the price of his redemption from the money with which he was bought. 52 And if there remain but a few years until the Year of Jubilee, then he shall reckon with him, and according to his years he shall repay him the price of his redemption. 53 He shall be with him as a yearly hired servant, and he shall not rule with rigor over him in your sight. 54 And if he is not redeemed in these years, then he shall be released in the Year of Jubilee — he and his children with him. 55 For the children of Israel are servants to Me; they are My servants whom I brought out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 25:47-55)

2 And they said: “The Lord commanded my lord Moses to give the land as an inheritance by lot to the children of Israel, and my lord was commanded by the Lord to give the inheritance of our brother Zelophehad to his daughters. 3 Now if they are married to any of the sons of the other tribes of the children of Israel, then their inheritance will be taken from the inheritance of our fathers, and it will be added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they marry; so it will be taken from the lot of our inheritance. 4 And when the Jubilee of the children of Israel comes, then their inheritance will be added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they marry; so their inheritance will be taken away from the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers. (Numbers 36:2-4)

16 ‘If a man dedicates to the Lord part of a field of his possession, then your valuation shall be according to the seed for it. A homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver. 17 If he dedicates his field from the Year of Jubilee, according to your valuation it shall stand. 18 But if he dedicates his field after the Jubilee, then the priest shall reckon to him the money due according to the years that remain till the Year of Jubilee, and it shall be deducted from your valuation. 19 And if he who dedicates the field ever wishes to redeem it, then he must add one-fifth of the money of your valuation to it, and it shall belong to him. 20 But if he does not want to redeem the field, or if he has sold the field to another man, it shall not be redeemed anymore; 21 but the field, when it is released in the Jubilee, shall be holy to the Lord, as a devoted field; it shall be the possession of the priest.

22 ‘And if a man dedicates to the Lord a field which he has bought, which is not the field of his possession, 23 then the priest shall reckon to him the worth of your valuation, up to the Year of Jubilee, and he shall give your valuation on that day as a holy offering to the Lord. 24 In the Year of Jubilee the field shall return to him from whom it was bought, to the one who owned the land as a possession. (Leviticus 27:16-24)

Essentially, the jubilee was a reset for society and a new chance for those who had not handled their finances as well as others may have. People would get their ancestral lands back, if they would have sold them. And since it was supposed to be observed once every 50 years, most people who did not die in childhood would have experienced it once or even twice in their lifetime (yes, even three times was possible).

As far as the meaning of the term translated as jubilee, notice the following:

The translation “Jubilee year” results from a mistaken application of cognates (similar words in different languages). In the original Hebrew, the year was called the “year of the horn,” or, in Hebrew, “the year of the yovel.” The Latin for yovel is iobileus, which just happens to sound like the Latin word iubileus, connected to the verb iubilare, “to celebrate.” The English “Jubilee year” comes from the Latin. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-joel-hoffman/five-mistakes-bible-translation_b_1129620.html

Some have suggested that because the jubilee is not observed, that this is perhaps why there tends to be major economic problems every 50-60 or so years. Notice the following:

Kondratieff long wave cycle (K-wave) was originally used to explain long wave economic cycles. Its originator Nickolai Kondratieff was a Russian economist (1892-1938) in Stalin’s Agricultural Academy and Business Research Institute (“Long Waves in Economic Life” – originally published in German in 1926). Kondratieff’s major premise was that capitalist economies displayed long wave cycles of boom and bust ranging between 50-60 years in duration. Kondratieff’s study covered the period 1789 to 1926 and was centered on prices and interest rates.”

“The 50-60 year cycle of catastrophe and renewal had been observed and recorded by the ancient Mayans of Central America and by the ancient Israelites. Further studies have discovered similar long economic waves from the period of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Kondratieff identified four distinct phases the economy goes through. They are a period of inflationary growth, followed by stagflation, then deflationary growth and finally depression.” http://www.gold-eagle.com/editorials_02/chapmand062902.html See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kondratiev_wave

Some now point to Judah Ben Samuel’s track record as proof that his Jubilee cycle predicted many events, but there are many reasons to discount his prediction for 2017.

One of the most important is that it is NOT possible for Jesus to return in 2017. Jesus said He returns AFTER the tribulation:

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31)

The period know as the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21) cannot start until 3 1/2 years AFTER the deal in Daniel 9:27 has been confirmed by a prince for seven years (see The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27).

Let’s look more into another report about this rabbi Samuel:

A 13th century German rabbi from Regensburg wrote many books in German. He was Judah Ben Samuel, AKA Judah he-Hasid (Judah the Pious) and he has made some astonishing and specific predictions about the future of Israel that have come true already. He made a prophecy 750 years before it has happened So far it has been fullfilled to the letter. This rabbi died in 1217 and was a mystic. He devoted himself chiefly to kabbalistic studies. …

Judah Ben Samuel was a student of Gematria and astrological observations http://www.rapturewatch.net/2017-end-of-10th-jubilee

Essentially, the above report says that Judah Ben Samuel followed kabbalistic teachings and astrology. He was not God’s prophet (see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God). Even The Protestant World News Daily should realize this.

That being said, Satan does have a plan and throughout the centuries he has had false prophets make predictions that have some accuracy. In the time of the end, many will be confused by false prophecies and other doctrines of demons.

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1).

Nearly everyone will be deceived in the end times. Though not by Judah Ben Samuel.

There will be lying wonders as well:

9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

Many will be deceived.

From time to time I receive emails from some who think they know when the jubilee year is, despite the fact that history does not clearly record a particular year that the children of Israel actually observed it. There was, for one example, someone who emailed me and claimed that the 50 year biblical jubilee would begin on October 8, 2011. He was upset that I would not proclaim that as he was convinced that was the year. I told him I did not believe that the jubilee period could have began then. One of the reasons is that since God has a 6,000 plan for humankind that should be up within a decade or two and since 6,000 years is divisible by 50, I did not believe that 2011-2012 could possibly have been the year of jubilee.

I have looked at a lot of calculations for the next Jubilee year and am not absolutely certain which is correct. One that is supposedly based upon the reign of King Josiah seems to point to the 2028 or 2027 time period (see The Book of Life and the Feast of Trumpets?), but there are others that point to Hezekiah (2 Kings 19:29-34) that suggest more like a 2050 or 2051 date which seems too distant. Another from the Talmud that leaves over 200 years off, seems to point to 2038, while one related to Ezekiel 40:1 (which the Pulpit commentary says may have been 575 BC) points to 2026 , and one by the Rabbi known as Maimonides seems to point to 2025 (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12967-sabbatical-year-and-jubilee#anchor9).

Here is some information from what seems to be a Protestant source that suggests 2028 as the next Jubilee:

The Bible relates this information about the year of Jubilee.

“Count off seven sabbaths of years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years [seven ‘sevens’]. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.”

Leviticus 25:8-12

The Bible further states the Jewish year begins in the first month of Nisan, since the time of Exodus, although modern Jews actually begin the civil New Year six months later in the seventh month (Tishrei). So using this understanding, the forty-ninth year (seventh Sabbath) would have started in the month of Nisan and ended just before the month of Nisan the following year. There would have been no planting in that year if they followed God’s laws. God also says not to sow or reap in the year of Jubilee as well, the fiftieth year, so why does He say to wait until the tenth day of the seventh month before the year is proclaimed when the Jews clearly should already be “observing” the Jubilee by not planting crops? We will examine this issue shortly. So a year of Jubilee begins on the first of Nisan, is proclaimed midway through the year on the Day of Atonement, and ends at the start of a new year in the month of Nisan.

Assuming Josephus was correct on this point, the year of Jubilee he reported would probably have been Nisan 1, 3738 A.M. to Adar 29, 3739 A.M. This corresponds to March 28, 23 B.C to March 16, 22 B.C. Projecting these dates 50 years ahead across the B.C. to A.D. threshold gives us March 14, 28 A.D. (Nisan 1, 3788 A.M.) to March 31, 29 A.D. (Adar II 29, 3789 A.M.) as the first year of Jubilee in the year of our Lord (anno domini – A.D.). This period of time partially overlaps the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, which ended in August of 29 A.D. If you aspire to do your counting from the first of Tishrei (using that as the beginning of the New Year), then the Jubilee Year would have been September 21, 23 B.C. to September 10, 22 B.C. instead, effectively moving the dates six months into the future. The next Jubilee (28/29 A.D.) using this accounting method would have lined up very close to the 15th year of Tiberius… being off by only three to four weeks longer…

So we see from using more accurate calendar math that the next year of Jubilee from Josephus’ writings was between 28 and 29 A.D. not just 28 A.D. as we originally calculated. If we project this Jubilee year 2,000 years into the future… forty (generations) fifty year periods (Jubilees), we get the first of Tishrei in the year 5789 A.M. This translates into September 21, 2028 A.D. on the Gregorian calendar and the end of that Jewish year using the same calendar is September 9, 2029 A.D. The tenth of Tishrei of this Jubilee year, the Day of Atonement, is September 30, 2028 A.D. as you already know. (Vargo RH. 2028 ~ GOD’S PLAN FOR MANKIND. Chapter 26. ASIN: B00885RJ9Y, 2007. http://webwaydrive.com/2028/Jubilee%20Year%20Revelation.htm; the same conclusion is in R.H. Vargo’s 2009 book: Tribulation: God’s Plan for the End of The Age, p. 16)

I am not certain that 2028 must be the year, but it could be the next Jubiliee. I never accepted Harbinger author Jonathan Kahn’s belief that the Shemitah year was from Trumpets 2014 to Trumpets 2015. But I would add that it is possible that the millennium could start on a year of Jubilee.

Why?

Well, since the Bible teaches “the land shall enjoy its sabbaths” (Leviticus 26:34-35), the jubilee year is considered one of them (in addition to the every seven year land Sabbath of Exodus 23:10-11), and the final Day of the Lord lasts one year (Isaiah 34:8), it is possible that the Day of the Lord or the period immediately after the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His kingdom will be the next jubilee year.

But that is speculation.

What is NOT speculation is for me to declare that according to what Jesus taught in Matthew 24 as well as passages in the Book of Daniel that Jesus is NOT going to return in 2017 and the ‘Messianic era,’ which some would consider to be the millennium, cannot possibly start in 2017.

As far as prophetic teachings go, we in the Continuing Church of God “have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19, KJV).”

Why?

Because we really do rely on what the Bible teaches.

Jesus will NOT return in 2017.

A related video we made is available: 2017 Year of Jubilee and the Messianic Age?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? Does God have 7,000 year plan? What year may the six thousand years of human rule end? When will Jesus return? 2023 or 20xx? There is also a video titled The 6000 Year Plan: Is the end of humanity’s reign almost up? Here is a link to the article in Spanish: ¿Tiene Dios un plan de 6,000 años?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2016, 2017, or 2018? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2016 o 2017? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter video is: Can the Great Tribulation Start in 2016?
The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27 This prophecy could give up to 3 1/2 years advance notice of the coming Great Tribulation. Will most ignore or misunderstand its fulfillment? Here is a link to a related sermon video Daniel 9:27 and the Start of the Great Tribulation.
Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected? What does the Bible really teach? Does the Church flee or is it taken up just prior to the great tribulation? Who really is left behind? There is also a YouTube video with information Did Jesus Teach a Pre-tribulation Rapture?
The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today? What is the Jubilee? Is fasting healthy? Here is a link to a sermon: Day of Atonement: How Jesus fulfilled His part for the Atonement. Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: El Día de Expiación –Su significado cristiano.
Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God How has God used dreams in the past? Does God still use dreams? Did He use any involving those in the Continuing Church of God? A related sermon is also available: Dreams, COGs, and One Man Rule.
How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? There is also a sermon-length video titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God. Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Cómo determinar si alguien es un verdadero profeta de Dios?
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful among all real Christian groups to the word of God.

Does Chinese writing show any connection to events of the Bible?

Sunday, November 6th, 2016
gui si eer tièn
Devil = Secret + Person + Garden

COGwriter

Do the Chinese people have ties to the Book of Genesis? Have the Chinese retained any indirect knowledge of this in their writing?

The simple answer is yes.

Let’s notice what the Bible teaches Adam’s wife Eve:

20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. (Genesis 3:20)

All who lived would certainly include the Chinese.

The Bible also specifically teaches that all peoples were together and of the same language until after the tower of Babel:

1 Now the whole earth had one language and one speech…

6 And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. 7 Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. 9 Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth. (Genesis 11:1,6-9).

Thus, until God confused human language and scattered people abroad, all humans were together and spoke the same language.

If the Bible is true (and I believe that it certainly is) then we would expect that perhaps somewhere the Chinese may have preserved some knowledge of some of the events recorded in the Bible prior to this scattering as well as some connection to the area of Babel.

Chinese Characters Provide a Clue

Chinese characters are essentially the symbolic representation of words. It is my understanding that both the Chinese and Japanese languages share some of the same characters, and though they pronounce the words differently, thus a few of the characters have the same meaning in Japanese as they do in Chinese. There are over 600 symbols Chinese characters, and although some were changed in the 20th century, most still are essentially the same as they were thousands of years ago. (Now since I do not read Chinese, or Japanese, I am relying exclusively on the works of others–most heavily from Kees Noorlander from http://www.morgenster.org/signs.htm from which this portion of this paper is indebted to, plus a little bit from Babel Fish by Alta Vista, and quite a bit from http://www.zhongwen.com/ and from the book The Discovery of Genesis). It should be noted that in the 1950s China nearly decided to abolish characters and even now most Chinese are not taught the history and tradition behind their writing system.

Anyway, since the characters had to start from somewhere (and biblically they would have started sometime after the construction of the tower of Babel), some have suggested that perhaps these characters help demonstrate that the Chinese characters (and Japanese for that matter) demonstrate that they were familiar with some of the events recorded in the first chapters of the Book of Genesis.

For example, the Book of Genesis records:

8 The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden…9 The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden…10 Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. (Genesis 2:8,9, 10).

The English term garden can be represented by the Chinese word tièn (also spelled tián). The Chinese symbol is four irrigation channels within an area of land (it can also mean farm or field). Or it possibly may be the four rivers with a type of tree in the middle of it.

Was that symbol influenced by the events recorded in the Bible or is this a coincidence?

It is difficult to know for certain as there are other Chinese symbols that can be used instead for garden.

However, there are several other characters to explore. There were two famous trees in the Garden of Eden:

9 The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:9).

Recall that God gave Adam one command after placing him in the garden:

15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:15-17).

It is of interest to note that a Chinese symbol for Prohibition is the combination of the symbols for two trees (mù) and command. It should be noted that God, while He originally prohibited one tree, later prohibited access to the second tree (see Genesis 3:22-24).

In Genesis Eve stated:

2 We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden (Genesis 3:2).

It is also of interest to note that the Chinese symbol for Fruit is the combination of the symbols for tree and garden. While Adam and Eve were in the garden, the devil decided to implement his plan to alienate humans from God. His plan was to suggest that God withheld secret information for the humans in the garden.

1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'” 4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5).

As shown above, notice that the Chinese symbol for Devil is composed of the characters for secret, person, and garden. Sadly, Eve seemed to believe the devil as she desired to benefit from the fruit of the tree that was prohibited:

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate (Genesis 3:6).

God decided later to prohibit the second tree lest Eve and others desired it so much that they would go for it as well (see Genesis 3:22-24).

Notice the symbol for the Chinese word lán for desire or greed is a combination of the symbols for woman and two trees. After succumbing to temptation, humans noticed that they were naked:

7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. (Genesis 3:7).

The Chinese symbol for being naked has to do with clothing, one tree (the one that Adam and Eve were originally told not to eat from perhaps), and a garden with four irrigation canals. After Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden they had children. On of their sons was Abel, who raised and sacrificed sheep:

2 Now Abel was a keeper of sheep…4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering (Genesis 4:2,4).

Notice what a Chinese character meaning righteous is made of sheep + a hand + a lance. Interestingly, the New Testament account of Abel refers to:

35…the blood of righteous Abel (Matthew 23:35).

Thus, the Chinese symbol agrees with the New Testament account that essentially the sacrifice of sheep (by Abel, for example) was righteous.

Many know that Chinese history contains an account of some type of worldwide flood. There may be a couple of aspects of it preserved in its characters.

Notice a couple of statements in the Bible concerning the flood:

1 Then the LORD said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. (Genesis 7:1).

20…in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water (1 Peter 3:20).

A Chinese word chuán for a type of boat is 8 + a mouth + a vessel. It may be of interest to note that one of the Chinese symbols for flood (chong) is a combination of an inverted symbol meaning “first Earthly branch” and eight (the term for eight may instead mean “person remaining””–that of itself is interesting as that the symbol for eight and “person remaining” look about the same–recall that on the ark there were only eight persons remaining alive).

After the flood, humans stayed together and built a tower:

1 Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. 3 Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. 4 And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:1-4).

Yet God did not care for this:

5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 And the LORD said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. 7 Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 11:5-7).

It is highly likely that when people saw others speaking foreign languages, that they thought that somehow something at this tower affected their mouths. The Chinese symbol of a tower is grass + clay + mankind + mouth. The tower of Babel was built with bricks (grass and clay) and humans originally had one language (or mouth). It is possible that this symbol is showing that the ancient Chinese recognized a connection to the biblical tower of Babel.

The Bible shows that after God confused the languages in Babel that He scattered humans all over:

8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. 9 Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth (Genesis 11:8-9).

For more about this, and to see the actual Chinese characters (which for some reason would not copy properly over to this post, please check out China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 1: Genesis and Chinese Characters.

Chinese Characters Predate Moses

While researching this paper I came across a quote that perhaps should be placed here:

…the ancient Chinese people were quite familiar with the same record which the Hebrew Moses is popularly given credit for writing some 700 to 1,000 years later. Imagine this information being stored in special characters that were in use hundreds of years before the first page of the Bible was written! (Kang C.H., Nelson E.R. The Discovery of Genesis: How the Truths of Genesis Were Found Hidden in the Chinese Language. Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 1979, p. 5)

Notice that the development of Chinese characters predates the writing of the Book of Genesis. Thus, the Chinese characters seem to provide an ‘independent’ account that verifies portions of the accounts in Genesis.

Continuing, the authors of the previous citation go so far as to state:

Moreover we believe that the Chinese actually employed this historical knowledge as one small facet in the process of building their written language. The significance of this claim is broad. But most important, it appears to us to give support and added acceptance of the much slandered account of Biblical Genesis (Ibid).

Thus, the existence of these Chinese characters should be a comfort to the Chinese that their ancestors did have some type of biblical witness, as well as the modern believers that even in a land as removed as it is from the Middle East, the Chinese did know about various portions of the Genesis account. And since their characters were developed prior to Moses writing Genesis, their very existence provides additional verification that the events were known for many thousands of years.

In addition to Chinese characters, the following is a prayer believed to be said prior to the acceptance of polytheism in China. This is believed to have been written in the neighborhood of 2230 B.C., about 700 or so years before Moses wrote the Book of Genesis:

Of old in the beginning was the great chaos, without form and dark. The five elements had not begun to revolve, nor the sun and the moon to shine. In the midst thereof there existed neither forms nor sound. Thou, O spiritual sovereign camest forth in Thy presidency, and the first didst divide the grosser parts from the purer. Thou madest heaven; Thou madest earth; Thou madest man. All things with their reproducing power got their being (He Sacrificed to ShangTi as reported in, without its edits, Kang C.H., Nelson E.R. The Discovery of Genesis: How the Truths of Genesis Were Found Hidden in the Chinese Language. Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 1979, p. 15).

The above, though not in perfect agreement, is in substantial agreement with the first chapter of the Book of Genesis. This account suggests that at least portions of what God did as also recorded in Genesis were known to ancient peoples, including the Chinese.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 1: Genesis and Chinese Characters Where did the Chinese people come from? This article provides information showing that the Chinese peoples must have known about various accounts in the Book of Genesis up until their dispersion after the Tower of Babel. Here is a link to a version of this article in Spanish: ¿Prueban los caracteres chinos la exactitud de la Biblia?
China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 2: The Sabbath and Some of God’s Witness in China When did Christianity first come to China? And is there early evidence that they observed the seventh day sabbath?
Asia in Prophecy What is Ahead for Asia? Who are the “Kings of the East”? What will happen to nearly all the Chinese, Russians, Indians, and others of Asia? China in prophecy, where? Who has the 200,000,000 man army related to Armageddon? A YouTube video of interest may be Is China THE Threat to the United States of America?