Rightly Dividing

Rightly Dividing vs. Wrongly Subtracting

How dedicated are you in your walk? In a world of compromises, many are willing to compromise the Word and their future by selling out to this shallow, transitory world.

Yahweh is a Mighty One of detail and He expects nothing short of total compliance. To demonstrate, consider the specifics He instructed for the design of the High Priest’s robe, down to its smallest embellishment. Consider the intricate design in the structure and furnishing of the tabernacle and temple. Note how He commanded the Ark of the Covenant to be transported, and even killed a man who unwittingly touched it.

Both the priest, temple, and ark were central to His worship and reveal the strictness Yahweh expects in His devotion.
When Yahshua said in Matthew 5:18 that not one yod or tittle would pass from Yahweh’s commands, He was conveying to us that compliance to even the smallest part of Yahweh’s mandate is a must.

Is Halfway Okay?
Let’s face facts. Humans are naturally lazy. We cut corners and do just enough to get by. We like to water down clear commands to make them more palatable, change worship to our liking – which is to be more like the world – and to bring in simpler substitutes to get around demanding requirements. That has been the well-walked path of churchianity all through the centuries.

Human nature consistently proves that once you crack open the door, the floodgates of compromise are not far behind. If you allow the camel to work its nose under the tent flap you will soon have a thousand pounds of dromedary in your lap.

The question is, how much devotion does Yahweh expect of His worshipers? If going halfway is okay with Him, then we can go halfway. If not, then our duty is to learn exactly what He wants. He is the One in charge. He decides our eternal future.

Why would we NOT want to be zealous in the way we honor Him? Yahweh is clear that he hates halfhearted, indifferent effort.
“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth,” Revelation 3:16. He’ll reject anyone having a permissive attitude who accepts half-truths and compromise in their worship.

Not one of Yahweh’s inspired writers presented any part of Yahweh’s worship as optional. Yahweh never allows multiple choices when it comes to our worship and obedience. There is only one way to follow Him – and everything must go that way. Paul wrote, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Master, one faith, one baptism,” Ephesians 4:4-5.

In His wisdom, knowing clearly the nature of people, Yahshua pronounced that the way is narrow. That means it is exacting and restrictive. Because of it, few would find and maintain the Truth.

Attention to detail in faith and obedience reveals the heart and strength of personal resolve. In Matthew 5:19 Yahshua said, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Does that mean practicing and teaching commandment breaking will still allow a place in the Kingdom, but only as a doorkeeper?

The Twenty Century New Testament in combination with Moffatt’s translation reads in verse 19 that such a person will be “least esteemed in the realm of heaven.” In other words, the commandment breaking, no-law advocate will have zero respect or honor among the heavenly hosts, which includes Yahweh and Yahshua.

Our salvation hinges on true understanding of the Bible and what is expected of us. Whether we walk in Truth depends on a correct grasp of that Truth as well as our resolve to follow it.

In 2Thessalonians 5:21 Paul wrote, “Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good.” Paul also told Timothy, “Study to show yourself approved unto Elohim, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth,” 2Timothy 2:15.
That doesn’t mean running to the minister with every Bible question. It means studying it out yourself to learn the Truth.

One Path, Not Many
We cannot afford to be flippant or careless with the Scriptures. The Word, Paul said, is given for proper doctrine, correction, and instruction in righteous living, 2Timothy 3:16. It speaks to the ultimate goal of salvation. Why should Yahweh give us specific instruction about life and worship if we’re just going to toss it all out and follow our own plan?

Many Bible students approach the Word in a piecemeal way, yanking verses or parts of verses from their context and completely changing the meaning. Others ignore passages that don’t agree with their beliefs.

Paul told Timothy: “Take heed unto yourself, and unto the doctrine [proper teachings]; continue in them: for in doing this you shall save both yourself, and them that hear you,” 1Timothy 4:16.

For a variety of reasons some passages create difficulty in understanding. Doctrinal problems result when care is not taken to rightly divide the Word. Along with impure motives, rebellion led churchianity to purge from their teachings the law and obedience, including observance of the Sabbath and Feast days.

Our culture suffers profoundly from ignorance of the Scriptures. Clerics steeped in man-made tradition only compound the problem. In Job 38:2 Yahweh asks rhetorically of Job as well as us in our day, “Who [is] this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?”

Simply put, Yahweh asks who are these teachers who teach when they don’t know the truth themselves, and only make matters worse?

Not even a small percentage of churchgoers is aware of 2Timothy 2:15 and its command for individual study. The mandate is for each to “rightly divide the word of truth.” This phrase derives from the Greek orthotomeo. The Expository Dictionary says it does not mean dividing Scripture from Scripture, but teaching Scripture accurately.

The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge says the reference “is not to dividing up Scripture into dispensations, and applying to ourselves only what is allegedly valid for this dispensation…The emphasis is not upon ‘right division’ (which in the practice of some is ‘wrong subtraction,’ but on correct interpretation)” p. 1432.

Another verse addressing proper discernment of teachings is Philippians 1:10, where, after Paul encourages us to abound in knowledge and in all judgment, he says, “That you may approve the things that are excellent…” “Are excellent” should have been rendered, set apart that which is better from what is not (Restoration Study Bible note).

Every teaching must harmonize with the Word. When it doesn’t the result is the error the church has promoted for the past 2,000 years.

If the Roman Church had eradicated unorthodox beliefs and practices instead of blending error with truth, churchianity would be completely different today. There would not be this stark contrast between what the apostles and Yahshua taught and practiced with today’s tangled mishmash of doctrines.

How then can we read Yahweh’s Word and know that we are properly understanding it? How can we make right interpretations? How should we go about rightly dividing the Word and testing doctrines that differ?

Bible study is serious business. Study of the Word should be systematic. It takes discipline and dedication to do it properly.
To get off on the right foot, start with good study Bibles like the Companion and Restoration Study Bible. Your understanding will increase exponentially when you dig down to the foundational languages of the text, which these Bibles do.

When you compare other parallel or contrasting verses, as typically provided in a good study Bible like the RSB, you get a more complete understanding.

Some Bible Study Basics
Both the Old and New testaments were written in Hebrew. That’s clear for several reasons, not the least of which is that most every writer writes in his native language, which for the writers of both testaments was Hebrew.

These were not Greeks or Greek-speaking Jews living in Galilee in the first century. They were native, blue-collar Jews who spoke Hebrew, the language of the nation. Even Paul who was a native Benjaminite-Jew wrote to Hebrew-speaking Jews in various assemblies of the dispersion.

Yet only Greek manuscripts of the New Testament survive today, of which there are some 5,400, not to mention thousands of Latin versions and other languages like Syriac, Coptic and Armenian.

Most of the existing manuscripts derive from the Middle Ages, from the 7th century onward. Of all the thousands of Greek manuscripts, no two are exactly alike. Some scholars put the differences at 200,000, others at 300,000, meaning there are more differences in manuscripts than there are words in the entire New Testament.

Realize also that the manuscripts were all hand written (which is what “manu-script” means). Sometimes scribes left out words, lines or even entire pages, especially when two lines ended with the same words. It didn’t help that they didn’t use paragraph divisions, lower case letters, or punctuation.

Complicating the process was the lack of spacing between words. Words were all run together in the ancient Hebrew and Greek texts.

Sometimes translators with insufficient understanding would introduce mistakes when they thought they were fixing a factual or doctrinal error.

Some of their changes are not critical but others are. For instance, the oldest and best manuscripts of John don’t have the story of the woman taken in adultery, where Yahshua says, “He that is without sin cast the first stone.” Think about that – if only sinless people could inflict such punishment, then the Old Testament law of stoning would not exist.
This account does not appear in any manuscript until the 12th century.

The passage of 1John 5:7-8 is the only one in the entire Bible appearing to teach a trinity of father son and Holy Spirit. The passage, however, is missing in all except one of the 5,400 Greek manuscripts in existence, and then it doesn’t occur until after the invention of the printing press in the 15th century.

Ironically, sometimes the more difficult a passage reads the more faithful is to the original translation when scribes didn’t try so hard to manipulate the text.

Error from Ignorance
All of this is to say that trying to understand Yahweh’s Word through a cloudy filter thousands of years old, and through several languages besides, can at times be like trying to create a gourmet meal in the kitchen of a storm-tossed ship. Simplistic explanations are not always sufficient.

This is just one more case for the importance of the Old Testament as the anchor for New Testament teachings. Sometimes it is the only authority we have to ascertain the truth of a New Testament passage.

Yahshua taught the Old Testament, often referred to it, and urged His followers to read it and follow its teachings. In a question about the fate of wives in the resurrection, the Sadducees in Matthew 22 tried to trip Yahshua up. He told them, “You do err, not knowing the Scriptures.”

He went to the foundation of Truth, the Old Testament, known as the Scriptures.

Modern clerics would rather Yahshua have said, “But soon when I die and am resurrected I will have put to rest that obsolete Old Testament and given you freedom to live as you wish. Rest assured that no matter how you conduct your life you will still be saved. So hang on a few decades longer until a fellow named Paul writes a new Bible that will free you from the need to obey the statutes Yahweh gave for salvation.”

If the Old Testament is defunct, then why did Yahshua quote the Old Testament to prove who He was? Why did Yahshua refer to the Old Testament as proof of His Messiahship? Why did Yahshua instruct in his sermons to live by every word that comes from Yahweh? Why did Yahshua take so much time and effort expounding the teachings of the Old Testament?

The Old Testament Scriptures are the foundation of Yahweh’s Word. They testify to His existence, His purpose, and the plan for Yahshua’s coming to this earth. They cannot be subtracted from the Bible without destroying the message, meaning, and design of the entire Word.

Discovering the Real Temple Mount, Pt. 2

While some may interpret the contents and conclusions of this article as anti-Semitic, this could not be further from the truth. Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry supports the nation of Israel and believes that the entire nation of Israel, including the traditional Temple Mount area, forthrightly belongs to the Jewish people. This article is only interested in the truth and how the facts impact Yahweh’s prophetic Word.

In this second installment on Discovering the Real Temple Mount we will focus on several critical aspects providing important clues as to where the temple originally stood, including biblical prophecies and historical accounts of the destruction of Herod’s temple and Jerusalem. We will also examine evidence for Fortress Antonia and the Roman Tenth Legion. However, before we begin our expedition of truth, here is a summary from part one:

  •  The ancient City of David, today a national archaeology site, is located south of the traditional Temple Mount and is synonymous with Zion, 2Samuel 5:7; 1Chronicles 11:5; Psalm 76:2.
  • Solomon expanded the ancient City of David by filling in the Millo and connecting the City of David with the Ophel, the biblical location for the temple, 1Kings 11:27. The Ophel, Mount Zion, and Mount Moriah are all synonymous, 2Chronicles 3:1.
  • Solomon’s Temple was built over the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, 1Chronicles 21:15-30. A threshing floor requires a flat and hard surface. The rock underneath the Dome of the Rock does not meet these requirements and therefore likely not the location of Ornan’s threshing floor.
  •  During the 7th Century CE, 70 Jewish families from Tiberius relocated to Jerusalem and requested to be near the Pool of Siloam and the Temple.
  • The Gihon Spring is the only natural spring and major water source in Jerusalem. It’s located within the City of David, a third of a mile from the traditional Temple Mount.
  •  According to Aristeas (Alexandrian Jew, 2nd / 3rd century BCE) and Tacitus (Roman historian, 2nd Century CE) there was a spring-like reservoir gushing from the Temple precincts.

For additional information on the above summary, see part one of this article.

Not One Stone
Let’s begin our journey by considering one of the most important prophecies Yahshua the Messiah gave in the New Testament. “And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! And Yahshua answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down,” Mark 13:1-2.

Mark 13, along with Matthew 24 and Luke 21, is known as the Olivet Prophecy. This passage begins with the disciples complimenting the stones of the temple. In response to this admiration, Yahshua responded by saying that these great buildings would be torn down with not one stone remaining.

It’s important to realize that Yahshua used the word “buildings.” Many who believe that the temple was located on the traditional Temple Mount will contend that Yahshua was referring only to the inner sanctuary and not to the entire temple complex. They do this to explain the remaining western wall, also known as the Wailing Wall.

This wall is the holiest site in Judaism. It’s believed that this wall was part of the outer western wall of Herod’s Temple. As a side note, there’s debate as to whether this wall was even built by Herod. Eli Shukron, an archaeologist with the Israeli Antiquities Authority, found a coin at the base of the Wailing Wall dating back to around 18 CE, 20 years after King Herold. Based on this, this wall was likely not built by King Herold, but by Agrippa II, Herold’s great-grandson.

Returning to the topic at hand, when Yahshua gave this prophecy, Mark 13 records that He and the disciples were on the Mount of Olives looking back to the temple. From this location, He would have viewed not only the inner sanctuary of the temple, but the entire temple precincts. With this in mind, along with the fact that He uses the word “buildings,” it seems unlikely that he was only referring to the inner sanctuary. It is far more probable that He was referring to the entire temple platform.

If He was referring to entire precincts, this would have most certainly included the outer western wall. And remember, He stated that not one stone would remain upon another. Based on this prophecy and the known facts, how is it possible that the Wailing Wall remains today? There is no good explanation. Either Yahshua exaggerated or the Temple Mount is not the location of the ancient temple and this wall belongs to something else entirely.

Antiquity Supports Destruction

Ancient site of Gomorrah

In addition to Yahshua’s prophecy, there is also evidence from antiquity to the destruction of the temple. Both Jewish and Christian sources confirm similar ruin to the temple. In fact, not only do they validate what Yahshua stated, but do so in a manner that verifies it was not only the inner sanctuary, but the entire platform, including the outer walls.

One of the most well-known accounts is from Flavius Josephus. Josephus lived between 37 and 100 CE and is one of the most renowned scholars and historians of the first century. He lived before and after the temple was destroyed. Therefore, this man provides invaluable firsthand testimony of this destruction.

Josephus in War of the Jews recounts, “I cannot but wish that we had all died before we had seen that holy city demolished by the hands of our enemies, or the foundations of our Holy Temple dug up, after so profane a manner” (Bk. VII, ch.8).

The reference to “profane” here verifies that the Romans had no reverence for the temple. Even more importantly, Josephus states the foundation stones themselves were dug up and removed. Based on this, it’s hard to believe that Rome would have allowed the foundation stones of the current Temple Mount and the Wailing Wall to remain.

Evidence for the destruction of the entire temple platform is also found from Epiphanius of Salamis, a fourth century bishop in Cyprus. In his work, On Weights and Measures, he testifies to this destruction. “It was the second year of his reign when he [Hadrian] went up to Jerusalem, the famous and much-praised city which had been destroyed by Titus the son of Vespasian. He found it utterly destroyed and God’s Holy Temple a ruin, there being nothing where the city had stood but a few dwellings and one small church,” pp. 17-18.

Epiphanius records the eyewitness account of Emperor Hadrian. He states that Hadrian visited Jerusalem two years into his reign, approximately 119 CE. When he arrived, he was amazed at the devastation the city suffered under the Roman General Titus.

He confirms that the temple was in ruin and that Jerusalem was utterly destroyed. Except for a few buildings and a small church, nothing remained. Considering this, is it reasonable to believe that Titus would have allowed the foundations of the temple mount along with a large portion of the western wall to remain? This is highly unlikely.

Another man who provides insight into the temple’s destruction is Eusebius of Caesarea. Eusebius lived during the fourth century and was a historian, scholar, and bishop of Caesarea Maritima. He is one of the most well-known historians of the early church.

In his work, Proof of the Gospel, he states the following: “Mount Sion was burned and left utterly desolate, and the Mount of the House of God became as a grove of the wood. If our own observation has any value, we have seen in our own time Sion once so famous ploughed with yokes of oxen by the Romans and utterly devastated, and Jerusalem as the oracle says, deserted like a lodge” (Bk. VI, ch.13, sect. 273).

Eusebius states that Yahweh’s House, referring to the temple, had become as a grove of woods, i.e., empty or without presence. He goes on to lament how such a place could have been so devastated that it was reduced to a plot of farmland where the oxen ploughed.

Considering this description from Eusebius, is it realistic to believe that the foundation stones along with the western wall of the current Temple Mount was intact after the invasion of the Roman army? As we saw from Josephus and Epiphanius, such a conclusion is nearly impossible to draw.

Later in this same work, Proof of the Gospel, Eusebius states, “The hill called Sion and Jerusalem, the buildings there, the Temple, the Holy of Holies, the Altar, and whatever else there was dedicated to the glory of God, [has] been utterly removed or shaken, in fulfillment of the Word” (Bk. VIII, ch.3, sect. 405).

Eusebius states here that the temple was “utterly removed or shaken.” And as we see here, he was referring to the Temple, the Holy of holies, and all that was considered holy. It’s probably safe to assume that Eusebius was referring to more than the inner sanctuary. He was referring to the entire temple complex, including the outer walls.

There’s one more account from Eusebius that we will consider. In Proof of the Gospel he astoundingly states that, “Their ancient holy place, at any rate, and their Temple are to this day as much destroyed as Sodom” (Bk. V, ch.23, sect. 250).

Eusebius compares the destruction of the temple to the devastation that Sodom suffered in the Old Testament. During our last trip to Israel we had the chance to visit what many believe is the ancient city of Gomorrah. As we know, Gomorrah suffered the same fate as Sodom. As you can see in the above image of Gomorrah, nothing remains of this ancient city. What was once a bustling city has been reduced to rubble. Except for ash and a few remaining sulfur balls, Gomorrah today is a wasteland.

Assuming that Eusebius was not exaggerating, is it possible that the Roman army left the foundation of the temple and Wailing Wall unscathed? Doubtful.

Jerusalem Itself Razed
In addition to the temple, Yahshua also prophesied a similar fate for the city of Jerusalem. “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace-but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another,’ Luke 19:41-44, NIV.

Historically, Yahshua’s prophecy here of Jerusalem’s destruction was fulfilled by Titus and the Roman army. It’s amazing how history validates the Bible. Archaeology and scholarship have overwhelmingly confirmed the accuracy of the Bible.

Similar to what Yahshua said about the temple, He says here regarding Jerusalem. He verifies that not one stone would be left upon another. And as we know through antiquity, Jerusalem’s destruction was so great that the city was hardly identifiable.

For instance, according to Josephus in Wars of the Jews, “And truly, the very view itself was a melancholy thing; for those places which were adorned with trees and pleasant gardens, were now become desolate country every way, and its trees were all cut down. Nor could any foreigner that had formerly seen Judaea and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it as a desert, but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change. For the war had laid all signs of beauty quite waste. Nor if anyone that had known the place before, had come on a sudden to it now, would he have known it again” (Bk. VI. ch.1).

According to Josephus, after Rome’s destruction of the city of Jerusalem it was unrecognizable. This once grand city had been reduced to rubble. He describes the city as “desolate.” Astonishingly, he goes on to say that even those who were familiar with the city would not have known it after Rome’s destruction.

Knowing that the temple was the central focus of Jerusalem, how is it possible to reconcile this description with the remaining foundation of the traditional Temple Mount and the western wall? Considering that these objects would have been well known and easily identifiable, how is it possible that even those who were familiar with the city before would not have recognized it afterward? Assuming Josephus is not exaggerating, such a conclusion is improbable.

Josephus also describes this destruction in book VVI, chapter 7, “As he came to Jerusalem in his progress, and compared the melancholy condition he saw it then in, with the ancient glory of the city with the greatness of its present ruins (as well as its ancient splendor). He could not but pity the destruction of the city … Yet there was no small quantity of the riches that had been in that city still found among the ruins, a great deal of which the Romans dug up; but the greatest part was discovered by those who were captives, and so they [the Romans] carried it away; I mean the gold and the silver, and the rest of that most precious furniture which the Jews had, and which the owners had treasured up under ground against the uncertainties of war.”
Not only was the city of Jerusalem completely destroyed, but much of the city was dug up. After Jerusalem fell to the Romans, the army began looking for valuables, including gold and silver. To hide many of these valuables, many Jews buried them. So not only was the city completely demolished, but they excavated the very foundation stones, including within the temple precincts, looking for plunder.

This confirms Yahshua’s prophecy that not one stone would remain, including the foundation stones. Based on this, it’s hard to fathom how anything substantial would have remained within the city or temple platform, especially considering the ornateness of the temple. It’s likely that the temple was ground zero for many of these Romans who desecrated the holy place for personal gain.

In addition to the Jewish historian Josephus, we also find evidence for Jerusalem’s destruction from the early church. Gregory of Nyssa, a fourth century bishop and Nicene Father, also gives an account of Jerusalem’s desolation, “Up to the time of the manifestation of Christ the royal palaces in Jerusalem were in all their splendor: there was their far-famed Temple, … [but now] no traces even of their Temple can be recognized, and their splendid city has been left in ruins, so that there remains to the Jews nothing of the ancient institutions; while by the command of those who rule over them the very ground of Jerusalem which they so venerated is forbidden to them,” Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, p. 940.

As Josephus before him, Gregory of Nyssa confirms that the temple was unrecognizable and the city was in ruins. He stated that there were no traces of the temple. We know that the Temple Mount foundation along with the Wailing Wall existed during the fourth century. How is it possible that such prominent landmarks were missed? How is it possible that no traces of the temple remained if large portions of the foundation and walls of the temple remained? The logical answer is, what we call the Temple Mount today is not the location of the temple.

Real Temple Mount

Avi-Yonah’s model showing Fortress Antonia just to the right of the Temple’s courtyard. This Proportionally inaccurate model could never hold upwards of 10,000 people of the Tenth Roman Legion.

The Remaining Monument
We find a clue as to what the Temple Mount was from Josephus in Wars of the Jews. He states, “And where is now that great city, the metropolis of the Jewish nation, which was fortified by so many walls round about, which had so many fortresses and large towers to defend it, which could hardly contain the instruments prepared for the war, and which had so many ten thousands of men to fight for it? Where is this city that was believed to have God himself inhabiting therein? It is now demolished to the very foundations, and hath nothing left but that monument of it preserved, I mean the camp of those that hath destroyed it” (Bk. 7, ch.8).

Josephus here paints a dreadful picture of the ancient city of Jerusalem. He describes how the once crown jewel of the Jewish nation had been reduced to its very foundation and how only one monument remained, i.e., the camp.

What camp is Josephus referring to? From a historical standpoint, the only possible answer is Fortress Antonia. This was the Roman camp or fort that existed during the time of the Messiah and after the destruction of Jerusalem. So according to Josephus, the only substantial structure that remained after Rome’s demolition of Jerusalem was this Roman fort. Everything else within the city was demolished.

Based on this, where do you suppose Fortress Antonia was located? The only plausible answer is the traditional Temple Mount, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock are located. Again, Josephus confirms that the only remaining structure was the Roman fort and there is only one major structure that still exists today within the city of Jerusalem from that time period and that is the Temple Mount platform. This means that the current Temple Mount along with the Wailing Wall was not part of the temple, but of Fortress Antonia.

Now before we go any further with Fortress Antonia, let’s first review the Roman Tenth Legion.

Rome’s Tenth Legion Stationed There
From newhistorian.com we learn about the location and history of this important military power: “Bricks from the bathhouse were stamped with the name of the Tenth Roman Legion, which was part of the takeover of Jewish Yerushalayim. Its soldiers were garrisoned there until 300 CE. The Tenth Roman Legion (Legio X Fretensis) was created by Augustus Caesar between 41 and 40 BCE, specifically to fight in the civil war which marked the beginning of the end of the Republic of Rome. The tenth legion existed until at least the 410’s,” “Reminders of the Tenth Roman Legion Unearthed in Jerusalem.”

One of the most important facts we see here is that the Roman Tenth Legion was an actual legion, coming from the Latin Legio. We’ll see later why this is important. We also find here that the 10th Legion was established by Augustus Caesar between 41 and 40 BCE in response to the civil war within Rome. This source also verifiers that the Tenth Legion was stationed in Jerusalem until about 300 CE and existed until the 410s. So long after Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Romans, the Tenth Legion remained there for nearly 200 years.

A Legion Is Like a CityReal Temple Mount
Now what do we know historically about the actual size of a legion and a legionary camp? French author, Yann Le Bohec, verifies the number and complexity of a typical Roman camp: “With almost 5000 men, a legionary camp was the equivalent of a town. Consequently everything that was essential for the daily life of such a community — hospital, stores, workshops, baths, as well as public lavatories — was to be found,” The Imperial Roman Army, p. 160.

Le Bohec verifies that a Roman legion consisted of about 5,000 men. Keep in mind that this doesn’t include the support staff. According to some, support staff would have added several thousand more. We also see here that a legionary camp would have been equivalent to an average town, including various stores, workshops, baths, and many other conveniences.

As a secondary witness to the number of a legion, the Cyclopedia of Biblical Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature states, “The legion appears to have originally contained about 3000 men, and to have risen gradually to twice that number, or even more. In and about the time of Christ it seems to have consisted of 6000 men, and this was exclusive of horsemen, who usually formed an additional body amounting to one tenth of the infantry,” Vol. V, “Legion,” p. 329.

Based on this and the previous reference, a Roman legion consisted of about 5,000-6,000 horsemen. Again, support staff would have likely added many more. In all, a typical Roman legion could have had as high as 10,000 people.

Now why is this number important? It verifies that the current model of Fortress Antonia as shown by scholarship could not be right. As seen in the model of Fortress Antonia as displayed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem (see image on pg. ?), it would be impossible to fit more than a few hundred troops.

So how does scholarship explain this discrepancy? Many claim that the Roman Tenth Legion was not a legion, but a cohort, containing about 600 men. There are two issues with this: (1) the Tenth Legion was not a cohort, but a legion, coming from the Latin Legio X Fretensis, meaning, “Tenth legion of the Strait.” And number two, a typical legionary camp or fortress was the size of a city. Therefore, based on this evidence, the traditional model at the Israel Museum is likely incorrect.

Fortress Antonia
Besides the inaccuracies we have already seen, Josephus, an eyewitness to this Roman fortress, provides several important facts that modern scholarships seems to overlook.

First, here’s what Josephus states in Antiquities of the Jews, “Now on the north side [of the temple] was built a citadel, whose walls were square, and strong, and of extraordinary firmness. This citadel was built by the Kings of the Asamonean race, who were also High Priests, before Herod; and they called it the tower…But for the tower itself, when Herod the King of the Jews had fortified it more firmly than before, in order to secure and guard the temple, he gratified Antonius; who was his friend, and the Roman ruler; and then gave it the name of the tower of Antonia” (Bk. XV, ch.11).

Josephus further provides somewhat of a lengthy but crucial description of Fortress Antonia in War of the Jews: “Now as to the tower of Antonia, it was situated at the corner of two cloisters of the court of the Temple; of that on the west, and that on the north. It was erected upon a rock of fifty cubits in height, and was on a great precipice. It was the work of King Herod, wherein he demonstrated his natural magnanimity. In the first place, the rock itself was covered over with smooth pieces of stone, from its foundation, both for ornament, and that any one who would either try to get up or to go down it might not be able to hold his feet upon it. Next to this, and before you come to the edifice of the tower itself, there was a wall three cubits high; but within that wall all the space of the tower of Antonia itself was built upon, to the height of forty cubits. The inward parts had the largeness and form of a palace it being parted into all kinds of rooms and other conveniences, such as courts, and places for bathing, and broad spaces for camps; insomuch that, by having all conveniences that cities wanted, it might seem to be composed of several cities. By its magnificence it seemed a palace. And as the entire structure resembled that of a tower, it contained also four other distinct towers at its four corners; whereof the others were but fifty cubits high; whereas that which lay upon the southeast corner was seventy cubits high, that from thence the whole Temple might be viewed, but on the corner where it joined to the two cloisters of the Temple, it had passages down to them both, through which the guard (for there always lay in this tower a Roman legion) went several ways among the cloisters, with their arms, on the Jewish festivals, in order to watch the people, that they might not there attempt to make any innovations; for the Temple was a fortress that guarded the city, as was the tower of Antonia a guard to the Temple, and in that tower were the guards of those three. There was also a peculiar fortress belonging to the upper city, which was Herod’s palace, but for the hill Bezetha, it was divided from the tower Antonia, as we have already told you, and as that hill on which the tower of Antonia stood was the highest of these three, so did it adjoin to the new city, and was the only place that hindered the sight of the Temple on the north.” (Bk. 5, ch.8).

We learn a great deal of information from these two accounts from Josephus. As a help to provide the information succinctly, below is a summary highlighting the major or crucial points:

  • Fortress Antonia was originally a fortress built by the Hasmoneans, i.e., Maccabees.
  •  Herold further fortified the fortress to protect the temple and gave it the name “Fortress Antonia” in honor of Mark Anthony.
  • The temple and Fort Antonia were connected by two cloisters, i.e., covered bridges, (Wars VI, 2, 144 confirms this distance at 600 feet).
  • A typical Roman fortress contained all kinds of conveniences (e.g. courts, places for bathing, and broad spaces for camps), similar to an actual city.
  •  Fortress Antonia had four distinct towers at its four corners measuring 50 cubits (75 feet), except for the southeast corner, which measured 70 cubits (105 feet) high, from which the temple could be viewed.
  • Fortress Antonia housed the Tenth Roman Legion, approximately 6,000 horsemen.
  •  As the temple was to guard Jerusalem, Fortress Antonia was to guard the temple.
  • Fortress Antonia was located on the highest of the three hills.
  • From the north, Fortress Antonia obscured or blocked the view of the temple.

There are several points here that are inconsistent with the model at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Missing Connectors and Hills
Josephus mentions two covered bridges that connected the temple and Fortress Antonia. No such bridges exist in the model at the Israel Museum. Also, the description of the fort resembling a city and housing a 6,000-man army does not fit the current model, as it is far too small. We also find inconsistencies with the towers. The towers depicted on the model have four equal length towers, while Josephus clearly states that the tower overlooking the temple was 25 additional cubits. He also stated that the fort obscured or blocked the view of the temple coming from the north. This is certainly not depicted by the model. Another major problem between the model and Josephus’ account is the fact that the fortress was on the third highest hill.

These last two points are critically important to understand, as again neither one is depicted by the model at the Israel Museum. However, if the temple was within the City of David on the Ophel and Fortress Antonia on the Temple Mount or the Haram esh-Sharif, everything falls into place. When you survey the City of David, the Ophel, and the Temple Mount area, the Temple Mount area is on the third highest hill and also obscures the Ophel and the City of David coming from the north.

Roman Fortress at Neuss, Germany

Roman Fortresses Built Alike
Another indication for the traditional Temple Mount being the location of Fortress Antonia is the fact that it shares similar dimensions with other legionary camps. The Temple Mount platform is 36 acres in size with the eastern wall measuring 1,541 feet, the southern wall measuring 918 feet, the western wall measuring 1,601 feet, and the northern wall measuring 1,033 feet. While the Temple Mount resembles a rectangle, it is in fact a trapezoid.

This shape is again similar to other Roman forts. For example, there is a Roman fortress in Caerleon, Wales, dating to 75 CE. It measures a total of 50 acres. It is believed that this particular fort housed the Second Roman Legion, approximately 5,500 men.

There is another example in Neuss, Germany, dating to 80 CE. The size is 59 acres and possibly housed the Nineteenth Roman Legion. There are remains of a Roman fort from Haltern, Germany, with a total size of 85 acres. It’s thought this fort housed two Roman legions.

As can be seen here, the size and shape of these Roman fortresses strongly resemble the area known as the Temple Mount. Could this only be coincidence? It is highly doubtful. It is far more likely that these similarities offer additional evidence for the Temple Mount platform being the location of Fortress Antonia. One fact is for certain: the model at the Israel Museum does not fit the description from Josephus or what archaeology confirms regarding a Roman fort or legionary camp.

The Paul Dilemma
A final piece of evidence for the Temple Mount being the location of Fortress Antonia comes from the 23rd chapter of Acts. “The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks…Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, ‘Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at nine tonight,’” vv. 10, 23, NIV.

Due to a dispute caused partially by Paul, the Romans were forced to fetch Paul from the temple to the barracks, i.e., Fortress Antonia. Notice that the men who retrieved Paul came DOWN from the barracks to the temple. This shows that the Roman fortress was of a higher elevation than the temple and verifies Josephus’ account that Fortress Antonia was on the highest of the three hills.

We also see here that Rome provided two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to escort Paul from Jerusalem to Caesarea, a total of 470 men. Again, some theorize that the Tenth Legion was not a legion, but a cohort. In other words, they claim that instead of 6,000 men, Fortress Antonia housed only 600 men.

Knowing that Rome provided Paul with 470 men, is it reasonable to assume that the Roman Tenth Legion consisted of only a cohort? If true, this means that they gave 78% of their military force to escort one man and leaving only 22% to guard the entire city of Jerusalem. This is highly improbable! However, assuming that the Tenth Roman Legion was an actual legion consisted of 6,000 men, 470 men is possible, especially knowing that Paul was a Roman citizen.

Prophetic Impact
While this theory is not salvational, it is a belief that may hold a crucial key to future prophecy. The Bible is clear that a third temple will be rebuilt before Yahshua’s coming.
Yahshua in Matthew 24:15 states, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:).” The phrase “holy place” is an allusion to the Holy of Holies within the temple.

Paul also describes a temple in 2Thessalonians 2:3-4: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called Elohim, or that is worshipped; so that he as Elohim sitteth in the temple of Elohim, shewing himself that he is Elohim.” Paul clearly states here that the son of perdition or Anti-messiah will sit in a temple exalting himself as elohim or as a god to be worshiped.

As a final reference, John of Patmos in Revelation 11:1-2 records, “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of Elohim, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” John not only confirms here a temple, but also describes the outer court.

Based on this and the two previous accounts, there is little doubt that a third temple will be rebuilt prior to the return of Yahshua the Messiah. Assuming that the temple was originally located within the City of David, as indicated by the evidence, and Jewish scholarship accepted this conclusion, this could radically change and impact future prophecy.

We hope you enjoyed the teaching: Discovering the Real Temple Mount, Pt. 2

Also, check out part 1 of the series Discovering the Real Temple Mount , Pt. 1

Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for many other interesting videos!

Lost Temple Mount FOUND? Pt. 1

Many assume today that the Temple Mount within the old city of Jerusalem is where the Jewish or Old Testament temple originally stood. However, what if this was not the case? What if the temple were located elsewhere?

There is a theory that is gaining popularity that places the temple not on the traditional Temple Mount, but instead within the city of David. In our last trip to Israel, Elder Don Esposito with the Congregation of YHWH, Jerusalem, was gracious enough to help coordinate and serve as our tour guide. While there in Israel, he introduced the group to this theory.

While I was hesitant to believe this theory, it was difficult to refute. After returning home in November of 2016, I sought every reference I could find supporting this theory, including: The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot by Ernest Martin and Temple by Robert Cornuke. I also considered the counter-evidence. In all, I spent several hundred hours reviewing this theory.

Important, but Not Salvational

Before launching into the evidence supporting the temple as being located within the city of David, let us consider the importance of this theory. While this is not a salvational belief, it is a belief that may have far-reaching impact on prophecy.

The traditional Temple Mount contains the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Both of these buildings are sacred to Islam. For this reason it’s impossible today for the Jews to build a third temple on the Temple Mount. As a side note, Muslims call the Temple Mount the Haram esh-Sharif, meaning “the Noble Sanctuary.”

While it may not be possible for the Jews to rebuild a temple on today’s Temple Mount, nothing would hinder them from rebuilding within the city of David. However, for this to occur the Jews would also have to acknowledge that the current Temple Mount is not the location of the temple. Considering that the Temple Mount and Wailing Wall, which is believed to be the outer western wall to the ancient temple, is the holiest site in Judaism, such acceptance would not be easy.

For the Jews to accept that the temple was not on the Temple Mount, but instead within the city of David, evidence would have to be found so conclusive that even the most ardent Jew could not reject this realization. While this may never happen, considering the current excavations occurring within the city of David, the thought of such evidence being found is within the realm of possibility.

Reviewing the GeographyTemple Mount

As seen in the graphic, we can see several important geographical features, including the Mount of Olives, the traditional Temple Mount, the Kidron Valley, the Central Valley, the Gihon Spring, and the current site for the city of David. Below is additional information on each these locations:

The Mount of Olives is a mountain ridge on the east side of the city of Jerusalem. At one point, it had olive trees covering its slopes. Today there is a Jewish cemetery with approximately 150,000 graves. This mountain ridge was a significant location during Yahshua’s ministry. It was the place where He delivered His Olivet Prophecy and where He retreated hours before His death, i.e., the Garden of Gethsemane.

The traditional Temple Mount is where many believe the Jewish temple once stood. Again, Muslims call this place the Haram esh-Sharif, translated as, “the Noble Sanctuary.” Both the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, and the Dome of the Rock reside on the traditional Temple Mount.

The Kidron Valley separates Jerusalem, including the city of David and the traditional Temple Mount, from the Mount of Olives. This valley continues east through the Judean Desert and toward the Dead Sea.

The Central Valley, also called the Tyropoeon Valley and the Valley of the Cheesemakers, is a rugged ravine on the west side of the City of David or the ancient city of Jerusalem and marks its western boundary, as the Kidron Valley does on the east.

The Gihon Spring is along the Kidron Valley near the ancient City of David. The name “Gihon” comes from the Hebrew gihu, meaning, “gushing forth.” It is one of the world’s largest intermittent springs and made life possible for ancient Jerusalem. While the water from the spring was used for irrigation in the Kidron, it was also central to temple worship. We will explore the Gihon further in this article.

The City of David is the location for the ancient Jebusite City that David conquered and renamed to the City of David or Jerusalem. It is approximately 12 acres in size. It begins at the Millo (i.e., a ravine that separated the City of David from the Ophel, which Solomon filled in during his reign) and extends southward.

Today the City of David is an Israeli national park and a major archaeological site. Archaeologists have discovered many subterranean tunnels, reservoirs, and possibly an ancient room that was used for animal sacrifices. Also discovered underneath the City of David is Hezekiah’s tunnel and the Gihon Spring. On the southwest side of the city is the Pool of Siloam.

City of the David = Zion

We begin our investigating for the real temple mount by turning to the Bible. As with so many other truths, Yahweh’s Word holds the key in unlocking the truth as to where the original temple stood. Following is a compilation of Scripture confirming that the city of David and Mount Zion (i.e., the location of the temple) are synonymous:
“Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David,” 2Samuel 5:7.

This passage clearly states that Zion and the city of David are the same. This point is critically important, as Scripture also shows that Mount Zion was the location of the temple.

“And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, Thou shalt not come hither. Nevertheless David took the castle of Zion, which is the city of David,” 1Chronicles 11:5.

As noted in the previous passage, 1Chronicles 11 confirms that Zion is also the city of David. The word “castle” here comes from the Hebrew matsuwd and refers to a place of defense. Because Jebus was located between the Kidron and Central valleys, it was a well defensible area.

“In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion,” Psalm 76:2.

The word “Salem” derives from the Hebrew shalem. Strong’s states that this word is “an early name of Jerusalem.” This passage is critically important, as it shows a connection between the ancient city of David, the temple, and Zion and offers indisputable evidence for the temple being located within ancient Jerusalem and not on the Haram esh-Sharif.

Remember that the old City of David only included the 12-acre plot of land between the Kidron and Central valleys. It did not include the 36-acre Temple Mount located a third of a mile north. As we will explain in part two of this article, the current Temple Mount platform was developed much later.

Using only the Bible as a roadmap and knowing the location for the ancient city of David, a strong case can be made for the temple being located within the City of David and not on today’s Temple Mount. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

The Akra, Millo, and Ophel

When it comes to the location of the temple, there are three terms to understand – the Akra, Millo, and Ophel. The Akra was another name of the City of David. The Millo was a ravine that King Solomon filled in. And the Ophel is where the temple was originally located.

In 2Samuel 5:9 we find a description of the boundaries of ancient Jerusalem during the reign of King David: “So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward.”

The word “fort” refers to the impregnability of the City of David. This was due to its location between the Kidron and Tyropoeon valleys. We see that David built his city from the Millo inward. Tis ravine separated ancient Jerusalem from the Ophel.

Scripture records that Solomon later filled in this ravine: “And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father,” 1Kings 11:27.

The word “repaired” here comes from the Hebrew cagar and is a primitive root meaning, “to shut up,” Strong’s. By filling in the Millo, Solomon shut up the ravine known as Millo. In doing so, he also connected the City of David with the Ophel.

This is why Psalms 122:3 describes Jerusalem as a city “compact together.” The word “compact” comes from the Hebrew chabar and according to Strong’s means to “join.” When Solomon filled in the Millo, he enlarged the City of David by joining it with the Ophel.

Now what connection do the Millo and Ophel have to the temple? According to 1Maccabees 13:52 the Ophel is the location of the temple. The KJV with Apocrypha reads, “…Moreover the hill of the temple that was by the tower he made stronger than it was, and there he dwelt himself with his company.” As a secondary reference, the Catholic Study Bible states, “…He also strengthened the fortifications of the temple mount alongside the citadel, and he and his people dwelt there.”

Even though Maccabees is not considered inspired or part of the canon of Scripture, it still offers invaluable historical insight during the time of the Maccabees and Hasmoneans.

As seen in the above citation, the biblical temple mount or “temple hill” was located alongside the tower or citadel. As 2Samuel 5:9 shows, the “fort” or “citadel” refers to the City of David: “So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David….”

This provides conclusive evidence for the temple being located on the Ophel and alongside the City of David. This also places the biblical temple mount approximately a third of a mile south from the traditional Temple Mount.

Ornan’s Threshing Floor

Temple mount

Rock under the Dome of The Rock

Another biblical clue to the location of the temple is the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. This threshing floor is found in 2Chronicles 3:1, “Then Solomon began to build the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where Yahweh appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.”

Scripture records that Solomon built the Temple on Mount Moriah and over the threshing floor that David purchased from Ornan the Jebusite. The mention here of Mount Moriah and Zion is important. It shows that these locations are synonymous, as is also the City of David and Zion.

The threshing floor where Solomon built the temple belonged to a Jebusite. This fact suggests that it was likely within the borders of the Jebusite city. If true, this would place the threshing floor within the City of David and not on today’s Temple Mount. Remember that what they call the Temple Mount today is a third of a mile from the ancient Jebusite city.

What is a threshing floor? This was an area where farmers would separate the grain from the straw and husks. This required a surface that was flat, smooth and hard. The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (ISBE) states,

The threshing-floors are constructed in the fields, preferably in an exposed position in order to get the full benefit of the winds. If there is a danger of marauders they are clustered together close to the village. The floor is a level, circular area 25 to 40 ft. in diameter, prepared by first picking out the stones, and then wetting the ground, tamping or rolling it, and finally sweeping it. A border of stones usually surrounds the floor to keep in the grain. The sheaves of grain which have been brought on the backs of men, donkeys, camels, or oxen, are heaped on this area, and the process of tramping out begins. In some localities several animals, commonly oxen or donkeys, are tied abreast and driven round and round the floor. In other places two oxen are yoked together to a drag, the bottom of which is studded with pieces of basaltic stone. This drag, on which the driver, and perhaps his family, sits or stands, is driven in a circular path over the grain.”

The surface of a threshing floor had to be flat, smooth, and hard. This allowed the oxen to tread the grain. It must also be in a location where there would be sufficient wind to separate the grain. This is key as it pertains to the temple.

Most believe that Ornan’s threshing floor was under the Dome of Rock on the traditional Temple Mount. The problem is, as seen in the image below, the surface underneath the Dome of the Rock is not flat. This fact alone makes it highly unlikely this area served as a threshing floor.

Since the Temple Mount location is the highest of the three hills, i.e., when compared to the City of David and Ophel, many claim that the wind conditions would be better suited on the Temple Mount. While it’s true that the elevation of the traditional Temple Mount is higher than the City of David and Ophel, such elevation is not required.

Another issue with the threshing floor being located on the traditional Temple Mount is that threshing floors were prone to robbery. ISBE states, “Threshing-floors are in danger of being robbed (1 Sam 23:1). For this reason, someone always sleeps on the floor until the grain is removed (Ruth 3:7). In Syria, at the threshing season, it is customary for the family to move out to the vicinity of the threshing-floor. A booth is constructed for shade; the mother prepares the meals and takes her turn with the father and children at riding on the sledge,” “Threshing-Floor.”

With this in mind, does it make sense that Ornan and his family would place their threshing floor a third of a mile from the “fort”? Keep in mind that during this time the traditional Temple Mount contained no walls or defense. It was completely open to attack. It is far more likely that Ornan’s threshing floor was within the confines of the old Jebusite city and not on an unguarded hill a third of a mile away.

The Gihon Spring

One of the most compelling reasons for the temple’s being located within the City of David is the location of the Gihon Spring. This spring sets along the Kidron Valley near the ancient City of David. The name “Gihon” comes from the Hebrew gihu, meaning, “gushing forth.” It is one of the world’s largest intermittent springs and made life possible for ancient Jerusalem. While the water from the spring was used for irrigation in the Kidron, it was also central to temple worship.

The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary speaks to the ancient and modern history of this famous spring, “The intermittent spring that constituted Jerusalem’s most ancient water supply, situated in the Kidron Valley just below the eastern hill (Ophel). This abundant source of water was entirely covered over and concealed from outside the walls and was conducted by a specially built conduit to a pool within the walls where a besieged city could get all the water it needed. ‘Why should the kings of Assyria come and find abundant water?’ the people queried in the time of Hezekiah (2 Chron 32:2-4). Hezekiah’s Tunnel, 1,777 feet long, hewn out of the solid rock and comparable to the tunnels at Megiddo and Gezer, conducted the water to a reservoir within the city. From the top of Ophel the ancient Jebusites (c. 2000 B.C.) had cut a passage through the rock where waterpots could be let down a 40-foot shaft to receive the water in the pool 50 feet back from the Gihon. Early excavations at Jerusalem by the Palestine Exploration Fund under the direction of Sir Charles Warren (1867) resulted in finding the 40-foot rock-cut shaft. It is now known as Warren’s Shaft. Conrad Shick in 1891 discovered an ancient surface canal that conveyed water from the Gihon Spring to the old pool of Siloam, located just within the SE extremity of the ancient city. Isaiah seems to have alluded to the softly flowing waters of this gentle brook when he spoke poetically of ‘the gently flowing waters of Shiloah’ (Isa 8:6),” “Gihon.”

As stated, the Gihon is Jerusalem’s most ancient water supply. Without the Gihon there would have been no Jebusite city for David to conquer. Jerusalem today would likely not exist without this spring.

The location of the Gihon Spring is just east from the Ophel, which joins the ancient city of David. Again, this is one-third mile from the traditional Temple Mount. Knowing that the Gihon is the only major water source in Jerusalem, does it make sense that Israel would have built their temple a third of a mile away from their only water source on the traditional Temple Mount?

This is especially perplexing considering the thousands of animals that Israel offered on the Sabbath and annual Feast days for which thousands of gallons of water are needed.

History says that Rome built aqueducts from Bethlehem to the Temple Mount. While this theoretically could have provided a water source for Herod’s temple, it could not have for Solomon’s. So while there is evidence of ancient reservoirs underneath the traditional Temple Mount dating to the time of Rome, there is no evidence of a water source prior to Rome’s rule. This presents a real problem for the traditional Temple Mount site.

Ancient Witnesses to Temple Location

History speaks of 70 Jewish families who relocated from Tiberius to Jerusalem in the 7th century CE. Tiberius is located in northern Israel along the Sea of Galilee. Reuvin Hammer, in his book Jerusalem Anthology, describes this relocation: “Omar decreed that seventy households should come. They agreed to that. After that he asked: ‘Where do you wish to live within the city?’ They replied, ‘In the southern section of the city, which is the market of the Jews.’ Their request was to enable them to be near the site of the Temple and its gates, as well as to the water of Shiloah, which could be used for immersion.

This was granted them by Omar, the Emir of the Believers.”

Omar was the companion of Mohammed and the second caliph or Islamic leader within Islam.

Several important points need to be made here. These Jewish families insisted on the southern section of the city, near the Pool of Siloam. There is only one section of Jerusalem that is in the southern portion and contains the Pool of Siloam and that is the ancient city of David.

According to these Jewish families, this was also the area where the temple once stood. This is hard evidence for the temple location within the city of David and not on the traditional Temple Mount.

This author also states that the water from the Pool of Siloam could be used for immersions, which would have included ceremonial washings. What was the water source for the Pool of Siloam? This was the Gihon Spring.

In our expedition to Israel several in the group walked through the Gihon Spring channel underneath the City of David to the Pool of Siloam.

The fact that water from the Gihon could be used for ceremonial purposes verifies that not all water was equal. It also adds credence to the importance of the Gihon for temple worship. Again this begs the question why the Jews would have built their temple a third of a mile from their only water source. Such an idea seems completely preposterous.

A Gushing Spring

The smoking gun for the temple as it relates to the Gihon Spring is eyewitness testimony of a spring-like reservoir within the temple precincts. Two men provide evidence for this.

The first eyewitness to confirm this fact is a man named Aristeas, a Jew who lived during the 2nd or 3rd century BCE. Eusebius, the 4th century church historian, records his account.

“There is an inexhaustible reservoir of water, as would be expected from an abundant spring gushing up naturally from within; there being moreover wonderful and indescribable cisterns underground, of five furlongs, according to their showing, all around the foundation of the Temple, and countless pipes from them, so that the streams on every side met together. And all these have been fastened with lead at the bottom of the side-walls, and over these has been spread a great quantity of plaster, all having been carefully wrought,” Eusebius’ recording of Aristeas, chapter 38.

Aristeas was an eyewitness to the temple location from the 2nd or 3rd century BCE. It’s important to realize that this was not Herold’s temple, but the temple of Ezra and Nehemiah. Aristeas said that there was an “inexhaustible reservoir of water, as would be expected from an abundant spring gushing up naturally from within.”

The only spring within Jerusalem is the Gihon. If what this eyewitness said is true, the only possible location for the Temple would be within the City of David and above the Gihon Spring.

Remarkably, Aristeas is not the only eyewitness of a spring-like reservoir within the temple area. Tacitus, a Roman historian dating to the 2nd century CE, describes a similar account. He states, “The temple resembled a citadel, and had its own walls, which were more laboriously constructed than the others. Even the colonnades with which it was surrounded formed an admirable outwork. It contained an inexhaustible spring; there were subterranean excavations in the hill, and tanks and cisterns for holding rainwater. The founders of the state had foreseen that frequent wars would result from the singularity of its customs, and so had made very provision against the most protracted siege.”

Before describing what Tacitus saw, it should be noted that this man lived nearly 400 years after Aristeas and was not a Jew, but a Roman. He would have also been referring to Herold’s temple and not to the temple during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. However, even with these differences, both men refer to an inexhaustible spring within the temple. Again, the only spring they could be referring to is the Gihon. This is the only spring and major water source within the ancient city of Jerusalem. Tacitus also describes subterranean excavations or tunnels in the hill along with cisterns for holding rainwater. This provides additional credibility to the ancient City of David and not the traditional Temple Mount. From firsthand experience I can attest that there are many subterranean tunnels and cisterns within the City of David. The sheer size and number of tunnels are astonishing.

Along with these eyewitness accounts, Joel 3:18 provides a prophetic description of the future temple and shows similar evidence of a spring. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of Yahweh, and shall  water the valley of Shittim.”

This is a future prophecy of the temple within the millennial Kingdom. Joel confirms here that a fountain will spring forth from underneath the temple, i.e., house of Yahweh. So not only do we see ancient eyewitness testimonies that the temple contained a springlike reservoir gushing up from underneath the temple precincts, but a similar account is provided from the prophet Joel as it pertains to the future temple.

Again, these facts present a real problem for those who claim that the temple was on the traditional Temple Mount. The only way to reconcile the accounts from Aristeas, Tacitus, and the Book of Joel is to relocate the temple from the traditional Temple Mount to the Ophel, near the Gihon Spring.

In part two (Coming soon!), we will continue exploring the evidence that the temple was located within the ancient City of David. We will review biblical prophecies and historical documents on the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, along with an in-depth look at Fortress Antonia and the Tenth Legion.

Please take a moment to complete our short survey. We appreciate your time and value your feedback.

Eliyah

It’s Time To Fix The Breach

It’s Time to Fix the Breach

With an assault on the Old Testament and its central teaching of obedience, Churchianity early on fabricated a clash of doctrines over the centuries in what should have been a seamless succession of teachings brought over from the New Testament. Beyond that, what was taught in the New Testament should reflect what is taught today.

A number of prophecies tell us that before Yahshua returns there will be another return – a movement of returning to teaching true biblical principles founded on obeying Yahweh’s statutes and laws.

This prophetic key has been universally overlooked, but not because it is hidden. In fact, it goes to the very core of how the plan of salvation is designed.

Before we investigate, turn to a runner-up prophecy in Isaiah 58:12:  “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in.”

This is a prophetic announcement for the last days. It is about getting back to what was originally given to Yahweh’s people, meaning His foundational pledge.  It is about fixing what has been neglected for 2,000 years.

The prophet calls it a breach. A breach is a break or rupture. Something fundamentally important has undergone a serious and destructive separation. To fix this critical problem there must be a return to original ways and teachings of the Word.

The Scriptures don’t leave us clueless when it comes to the design of the Bible. We have been given a bridge between Old and New testaments that shows a dynamic bond between the two.

Sadly, this essential link is universally ignored today, even though it is key to understanding the truth of the New Testament and the plan of salvation. We find this dynamic link in the final verses of the last book of the Old Testament, just where we would expect it. As we move to the New Testament, we will find it again.

 

Malachi’s Prophetic Link

The prophecy is in Malachi 4:5-6 , “Behold, I will send you Elijah [Eliyah] the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Yahweh: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

Although it ends the Old Testament, the passage leaps forward to the end of the age, providing a key link to our day.

First, notice that it warns about smiting the earth with a curse unless hearts are turned. Why historically did Yahweh send curses on people? The most well-known collection of blessings and curses is in Deut. 28. In this chapter, the first 14 verses promise His blessings for obedience. The last 54 verses are a warning of the curses we earn for disobedience. It is quite clear that disobedience is the leading problem in the scriptural hall of shame.

Throughout His Word Yahweh disciplines His people for failing to worship Him by following His statutes and judgments. Today, as the culture increasingly leaves the Bible for secular ways and humanistic thinking, we progressively see Yahweh’s judgment in response.

Whenever Israel of old followed the same pathway of rebellion that our culture is on, their problems increased proportionately. The final straw was when their enemies rose up and conquered them. We are facing the same judgment and it will hit this world like a ton of bricks.

The list of potential threats is great and runs the gamut from Eboli infection to electromagnetic pulse radiation that could grind all electronics to a standstill and literally put us back into the dark ages for years. Miniature atomic bombs, terrorist attacks on our big cities, all kinds of natural earth calamities and disasters originating from outer space …these are just some of the threats we face.

Once Yahweh takes His protective hand away, watch out. In the September 11 tragedy, we had just a taste of what looms ahead.

The classic passage that defines judgment for disobedience is Deuteronomy 28:15, 20: “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of Yahweh thy Elohim, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee. Yahweh shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.”

 

The Heart of Malachi 4:6

The prophet Malachi tells us that there will be a turning of the hearts of the fathers to the children and vice-versa.

This does not mean simply a renewed, loving relationship between fathers and children. Nor does it mean only a reaffirming of paternal respect.

It means giving later generations the same faith and conviction the fathers of old had in following Yahweh. It is about walking the same path of obedience walked by Israelite forefathers.

The Adversary is ramping up his opposition to Yahweh. Bible believers are being murdered in the Mideast, Africa, and elsewhere because they refuse to convert to another belief. The culture is turning to the dark side as it redefines morality. We are inundated with moral evils everywhere, and this is just the beginning.

The essence of the Hebrew in Malachi 4:6 is, “To restore the hearts by turning the disobedient to the insight and obedience of the righteous in order to make ready a people prepared for Yahweh.”

Verse 4 is the key lead-in, where the prophet says, “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.” This clearly connects the phrase, “turn the heart” in verse 6 to mean go back to obeying Yahweh’s statutes and judgments.

 

The Same Prophecy Found in Luke

We pick up this Old Testament prophecy in the New Testament book of Luke. It reflects the purpose for which John the Baptist came, readying the way for Yahshua the Messiah: “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Eliyah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for Yahweh,” Luke 1:17.

This passage is even clearer in defining the expression, “turn the hearts” to mean going from disobedience to the “wisdom” (moral prudence) of the “just” (holy, righteous ones).

The prophet Eliyah’s principal mission was to save as many as he could from being cursed. He did this by revealing the true Creator and Father Yahweh over the false idol Baal, and by teaching obedience to covenant law.

John the Baptist mirrored the message in the refrain “repent.” Repent means to stop sinning. Stop rebelling. Stop disobeying. Turn your life around. Obey the commandments, statutes and judgments given by Almighty Yahweh.

Malachi 3:1 prophesies the sending of this messenger to prepare the way of the Son. He is a messenger on a mission to uphold the covenant Yahweh made with His faithful.  “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Sovereign, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith Yahweh of hosts.”

Who exactly is this messenger coming in the spirit and power of Eliyah? Is the OT prophet Eliyah himself going to be resurrected in our time? Jewish Seders include an empty chair at the table in anticipation that Eliyah will return to herald the Messiah in fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy.

When questioned, John the Baptist denied being Eliyah. When Yahshua said Eliyah was come now, He meant only in a sense, through John the Baptist.

If the Jews had accepted Yahshua as the Messiah, John the Baptist would have been this Eliyah preparing His way in every sense of the word., as we read in Malachi. That is what Yahshua was waiting to see.

 

Other Striking Similarities

Comparing just their physical appearances, Eliyah and John the Baptist bear striking resemblances.

About Eliyah, 2Kings 1:8 reads, “And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Eliyah the Tishbite.”

Concerning  John the Baptist, Matthew 3:4 reads, “And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins.”

Both men preferred to work alone, out in the hinterland. Eliyah dwells in the cliffs of the brook Cherith, sleeps under juniper trees, lodges in caves, and haunts the slopes of Carmel. If he does enter a city it is only to deliver a message from Yahweh and then vanish. He’s a mysterious prophet with his startling appearance, abrupt speeches and stealthy appearances. He’s also the loftiest prophet in the Old Testament.

Similarly, John the Baptist is described as one crying in the wilderness. He was startling in his own right, coming around the corner munching on a grasshopper and licking wild honey. Yahshua said there is no one greater.

Eliyah’s life-long task is to protest against a corrupt civilization. He is called by Yahweh to save the nation from lapsing into heathenism and false worship. He takes his stand on traditional principles and bears witness of fundamental truths that should never have been neglected. Baal worship would likely have overrun the nation if not stopped. His mission was to stop it.

John the Baptist also came preaching repentance and returning to Yahweh’s statutes and laws. He was just wasting his breath if the Messiah intended to abolish those statutes and laws with His death.

Both Eliyah and John withstood kings and had high-profile enemies (Eliyah had Ahab to contend with, while John had Herod as his rival).

Luke 1:17 mirrors Malachi 4:6 with the same mission for John the Baptist that Eliyah had. “And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to Yahweh their Elohim. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Eliyah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for Yahweh.”

Luke 1:17 in other translations reads – “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Eliyah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for Yahweh.”

The New English Bible reads, “to convert the rebellious to the ways of the righteous.”

In Matthew 17:11 Yahshua said Eliyah would pave the way for His own return and “restore all things.” This was in explaining the vision of the transfiguration showing Moses and Eliyah.

 

Moses and Eliyah

Can you see the connection? Moses is the transmitter of Yahweh’s laws and mediator of the first covenant, and Eliyah is the prophet who was sent to restore the law and obedience to Israel. But the association goes further: Yahshua as the third person in the vision showed us how to keep that law as intended.  The vision is now complete!

Back to Matthew 17. Remember that Yahshua said in v. 12 that Eliyah had come already. Had the people accepted Yahshua, then John would have been the prophesied Eliyah preparing His way. Not understanding this, Yahshua’s words are an enigma to many. It can only mean that we today are still awaiting the complete fulfillment of this prophecy.

A sister prophecy is found in Acts 3:20-21: “And he shall send Yahshua the Messiah, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which Elohim hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

True worship will have a presence in this world before the Savior returns to establish His Kingdom on earth. A restoration is necessary because the Bible has been abandoned in our day. What is commonly preached and taught today is not a succession of Apostolic teachings.

A Baptist thinks that what he is hearing each week is exactly the same thing the apostles taught and preached.

The Presbyterian thinks that what he is hearing from the pulpit is the same thing the apostles taught and preached.

Today’s Catholic thinks that what he is hearing each week is exactly the same thing Peter and the apostles taught and preached.

Who is right? All of them? There were 21 Ecumenical Councils called by the early Roman church spanning 16 centuries. These councils were convened for the very purpose of stopping the doctrinal turmoil that embroiled the church in controversy while establishing the doctrine that all the church would follow. The first was called by Roman Emperor Constantine in the year 325, known as the Council of Nicea because it was held at Nicea in Bithynia.

The Nicean Council was the first attempt to have a uniform Christian doctrine. “You mean Catholic doctrine,” some might say. Same thing. Christian doctrine is Catholic doctrine, which was formally adopted at these church councils.

From these 21 councils the Roman church adopted the following teachings embraced today:

  • Yahshua was deity on earth.
  • Establishment and dating of Easter
  • Defining the Holy Ghost as a divine person
  • Mary as the mother of G-d
  • The Trinity
  • The nature and purpose for icons in worship
  • Bread and wine as the literal body and blood in the eucharist
  • Immortal soul; purgatory; prayers for the dead.

 

Caustic Gnostic Beliefs

A lot of these teachings grew out of Gnosticism through Greek philosophy.

Gnoticism is an umbrella term for a collection of teachings from Greek philosophy through Platonism, mysticism, and Oriental superstition. These pagan beliefs began to mingle with Christian teachings. The results are the many nonbiblical teachings extant today in churchianity, like the immortal soul and heaven and hell doctrines.

The heretics that the apostles had to contend with, like Marcion and Simon Magus, were powerfully influenced by Gnosticism. So we see early on that the apostles were already contending with this heresy. Paul was on the front line defense, as Gnostic teachings began to infiltrate assemblies he established in Macedonia.

On Mars Hill he observed that the Greeks liked to sit around and discuss some new thing. That is what they were best at. They loved their philosophy, and much of it was Gnostic in origin and flavor. As pagan teachings entered in, the Hebraic basis of the faith was pushed out.

 

Gnostic Basis for Heresies

Today we ask, as for keeping the Ten Commandments, where did the Sabbath go? Where are the Feasts that were observed in Old and New testaments? What happened to the clean food laws? What about dead meaning dead rather than living on in total awareness? What about ever-burning hell, from the words sheol and hades, when both terms mean the grave?

Many New Testament teachings were abandoned and replaced by Gnostic-centered church teachings having no basis in Scripture. Counterfeit practices bestowed by heathens also became common fare.

 

Discounting Everything Physical

Gnostics saw the material world as the work of a lesser, evil deity. Everything physical was evil and we must get beyond it to experience the divine. This leads inevitably to the notion that what we do in our physical actions has virtually no spiritual impact. Carry this over to today’s belief that works are unnecessary.

The Gnostic held that to know is the highest truth, and that is where the word Gnostic comes from – the Greek word, “to know.”

Another way that Gnostic or Platonic Christianity downplays the material is the way it teaches that the soul is immortal. The body, then, is considered unnecessary baggage that compromises the reality of, or the need for, a resurrection. For both the Gnostic and Christian, the individual lives on after death, as he or she automatically ascends to the spiritual.

The physical world is the starting point, the proving ground. Why would Yahweh ever place us in an evil environment? Talk about defeating His purpose!

It was mankind’s sin that polluted this world, not an inherent evilness in the material.

Yahshua said in His prayer in John 17:17 that the Word is truth and that we are sanctified through the truth. Sanctified means set apart as we willingly obey what the Word tells us to do.

 

Yahweh Challenges Us

Another prophecy informs us that going back to right teachings will result in the kind of blessing everyone wants. Malachi 3:12 shows us what happens when a people submit to their father in heaven: “And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith Yahweh of hosts.”

Imagine a whole nation like ours turning to Yahweh with one mind and heart in humble, willing obedience! But that’s highly unlikely. Most fear what they think would be losing their freedom and ability to live their lives their own way. They don’t understand the blessings of obedience.

Just the thought of following the Scriptures puts some into paralysis. They fight it with every inch of their being. They obviously haven’t a clue about the life-changing impact doing so will have on them from now and into eternity.

Yahweh issues a direct challenge in the book of Malachi. He says prove Me. Experience the joy, peace of mind, and happiness that come with following Me. Walk in newness of life, Paul said in Romans 6.

Turn from the dead-end ways of this world and experience peace, joy and deep-down fulfillment and contentment in your life just by conforming to your Father’s will. Rather than putting off a commitment yet again, try it, and see how Yahweh always keeps His promise. He will never forsake those who follow Him.

Modern Church traditions

When Worship Went Wrong

Modern Worship

At Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry we spend a great deal of time and energy debunking error, both from the pulpit, on television, and in this magazine and literature. We aren’t alone by any means. This effort has been ongoing by others for 1500 years. Still, most of the world remains steeped in fourth century heresies and 15th century Reformation deviations from the Scriptures. A huge challenge for us is that most of churchianity doesn’t know any better. They blindly trust in clerics and in traditional dogmas. And they don’t bother to test what they are told against Scripture. Once the resistance from unbelieving relatives and friends is overcome, tradition is the next barrier for the new truth seeker. The vast majority are not even looking for truth. They blindly accept the beliefs they grew up with, thinking there is no need to go further. In their minds their inherited belief system has to be right because “Mom and Dad believed it, and that’s good enough for me.”

We read inProverbs 14:12: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Do you not agree that testing the veracity of your faith against Yahweh’s Word is serious business? Incredibly, the vast majority leave the most crucial part of life – their personal salvation – up to someone else. If I planned to climb a 10,000-foot mountain peak and someone gave me an old rope to use, I would be crazy not to check that rope for integrity first before I trusted it with my life.   Yahweh won’t accept willful indif-ference to the Truth that’s right there in plain sight. He demands that we examine our beliefs and then make necessary changes. “Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good,” 1Thessalonians 5:21. Any minister who refuses to take questions from the congregation about doctrinal teachings is playing with their salvation. He is guilty of malfeasance for violating a clear, biblical directive. Today we will zero in on the most widespread and popular of traditional errors. We at YRM test all of our teachings against Scripture, as well as anyone else’s teachings. In fact, we welcome inquiries about what we believe and teach. A prime purpose for publishing the Restoration Study Bible was to answer the many questions people have about certain passages. How else will anyone discover what they may have missed unless they critically test what they believe against Scripture? How else can we come to the Truth unless we separate out error through diligent inquiry? Because of a refusal to put their teachings to the test, a tangled mishmash of error runs deep in today’s church culture.Conflict with the Word is why so many are turned  off by traditional belief systems.

A Failed Reformation

Many of today’s popular deviations from Scripture began in the Reformation, driven by a desire to get as far away from the Roman Church as possible, just as the Roman Church itself turned away from the Hebraic roots of the New Testament and developed their own teachings.   We can cite their inventing of Easter to replace Passover and Sunday to replace the Sabbath and a myriad of other serious deviations. Where the Bible commands that we honor Yahweh by His real Name, the church manufactured a name and turned titles into names that are still used today. The reformers didn’t do any better by taking off on their own tangents and not dealing with gross errors. Beginning in the 1300s the Reformers themselves threw one baby after another out with the bathwater. until there wasn’t much left of the Apostolic faith. They thought they were cleaning up the church when all they did was whitewash it and overlay more aberrations that proved just as far off from Scripture.

Instead of following the Word as it is written, the 14th century reformers created their own doctrines by twisting the Word and eliminating fundamental teachings of Yahshua that bind the Scriptures into a harmonious unit, as Yahweh designed it. The first big leap into their apostasy was to eliminate the Old Testament as the foundation of truth.

This is news to many today. Because they never looked into the Scriptures and compared church teachings diacritically with the Word, they just assume everything is okay. They believe that their faith flowed seamlessly from the apostles into their church pulpit.

Apostasy was prophesied. Age-old sacrilege was not lost on the apostles in the New Testament era. They saw what was happening, and what was coming.

The brother of James wrote in Jude 4: “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, wicked men, turning the grace of our Elohim into lasciviousness, and denying the only Sovereign Yahweh, and our Master Yahshua Messiah.”

They denied Yahshua by ignoring what He taught about obeying the Father. And then there was GRACE. They turned grace into an excuse for lawless living. Quite reminiscent of what we hear today! “Grace over obedience, grace covers all. Just rely on His grace,” no obedience necessary. This is the main problem with modern worship.

They reasoned that the more sin you commit the more grace you get in a corruption of the true purpose of grace and forgiveness.

To show how corrupt things can get, one of Martin Luther’s key objections to the Roman Church was its selling of indulgences to get souls released from purgatory, as if the church had such powers. But the belief degenerated further into the practice of paying the church to absolve you of your sin even BEFORE you committed the sin!

Luther railed against the church’s arrogation of Yahweh’s authority. The world’s way of thinking is to compromise your beliefs, find a work-around. In the case of the Roman Catholic Church, just make your own rules and authority. The mindset of the church for centuries has been to change for expediency, back away from truth for the sake of numbers.

No one, including the biggest church in the world, has the right to fiddle with Yahweh’s ordinances and usurp His authority.

Peter prophesied, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of,” 2Peter 2:1-2.

At one time or another, every believer has been criticized for following the Scriptures as commanded. Yahweh will turn such criticism on its head. Those who will not follow the Word are in for some big surprises.

The Protestant reformers missed the mark by failing to follow all the Bible’s teachings.

Often when people leave a group because of a serious doctrinal disagreement they also start believing teachings other than those for which they left.

Luther fit this dynamic. He made a left turn after his original grievances with the Roman church and he struck at the heart of the biblical teaching of obedience itself. He reinterpreted the Bible’s teaching on justification and called it “the chief article of the whole Christian doctrine, which comprehends the understanding of all godliness.” He said the church stands or falls on it. Luther maintained that justification by grace alone through faith alone in Yahshua’s righteousness alone is the gospel, the core on which all other Christian doctrines stand. Luther added the word “alone” to the Bible’s teaching on grace and justification.

Calvin: Organizer, Consolidator

Along comes John Calvin, a latecomer to the Reformation. He took Reformation teachings to a new level. His doctrines permeate most Protestant denominations today. Calvin systemized the doctrines of Protestantism and organized its ecclesiastical discipline. He consolidated the scattered forces of the Reformation.

 Whenever someone claims to be saved by faith alone, believes it is impossible for a believer to be eternally lost, and believes in salvationary predestination, he is reflecting Calvinist teachings.

Ironically, Calvin and other reformers based their teachings on the supposed principle that the Scriptures are the sole source of truth. The problem is, they didn’t teach the Scriptures. They totally missed the mark. That led to more controversies, which in turn led to more than 33,000 distinct groups and denominations in the world, according to the World Christian Encyclopedia.

Calvin differed with Luther over the nature of communion. And Calvin could not tolerate Spanish theologian Michael Servetus’ teaching against the Trinity, so Calvin testified against him at a Catholic inquisition and Servetus was then burned at the stake in 1553.

The central idea of Calvinism is the sovereignty of Yahweh. Calvin did not discover the sovereignty of Yahweh. He isolated it as an idea. He exalted the sovereignty of Yahweh to override all other truths of Scripture.

Now, we have no problem with Yahweh’s sovereignty. But Calvin twisted the idea to say that if Yahweh is absolutely sovereign, then it follows that salvation depends entirely on Him and not on man. Exit teachings of obedience. Exit the law. Enter total, supreme grace.

Calvinism Creates More Error

Calvin said Yahshua died only for the ones Yahweh had unconditionally chosen to save. This flies in the very face of the most quoted passage in all the Bible, John 3:16. Yahshua said that anyone can accept the truth and conform their lives to it.

We are saved only at the resurrection. Before that we are subject at any time to falling away. Yahshua clearly tells us in Matthew 10:22: “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Paul corroborates that in Hebrews 3:14: “For we are made partakers of Messiah, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.”

Calvin taught that we are saved now, and once we are converted there is no way we can change our destiny. I discussed this with a Calvinist once and I quoted Hebrews 6:6, saying we surely can fall away once we have been converted. He had no answer, except that maybe those who fall away never were really converted, an argument that contradicts the very definition of being converted.

Calvin said that because Yahweh is supreme and salvation comes only through Him, and because man can do nothing but evil, then when He saves us we need do nothing to remain saved. Two points here:

First, the whole biblical teaching of obedience is turned on its head if we believe Calvin. In Matthew 7:21, Yahshua said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Master, Master, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

Hebrews 5:9 reads: “And being made perfect he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”

Paul wrote to the Romans in 2:13: “For not the hearers of the law are just before Elohim, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”

And we find in 1John 2:5-6, “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of Elohim perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”

Eternal Security Not Secure

Calvin also taught the doctrine of once saved, always saved, or eternal security. That means that you cannot fall from grace once you have been called by Yahweh, because that would be resisting the power of Yahweh.

This teaching does not take into account that calling does not mean choos-ing. Yahshua said many are called, but few are chosen. Yahweh doesn’t want robots or He would have created automatons instead of humans with free will.

The Apostle Paul wrote in 1Corinthians 9:27: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

Another major teaching of Calvinism is irresistible grace. It is also called ef-ficacious grace or invincible grace.

Calvinists believe that those who have been unconditionally elected to eternal life cannot resist Yahweh’s grace and His determination to save them. Just as those elected to damnation can do nothing about it, those who are elected to salvation can do nothing to resist it.

Again, their timing is way off. Yahweh chooses us at the resurrection. Until then we are merely called. Elect means chosen. Calvinists say those being called are already chosen.

Titus 2:11 says that the grace of Elohim that brings salvation has appeared to all people (Titus 2:11) and yet millions have rejected it. Each person is accountable for his own life, according to John 12:47-48. Those who reject the teachings of Yahshua are held accountable.

Personal accountability is the central teaching of the Scripture. If we have no accountability, if we are simply on salvational auto pilot and there is nothing we can do one way or the other to be ultimately saved or lost, then the whole plan of salvation of honing a people for Yahweh’s service is irrelevant.

The message of conforming to the image of Yahshua and the will of Yahweh is rendered meaningless by many major doc-trines today as well. Yahshua’s teachings tell us to obey the Father and not the will of man just as He did.

Salvation Based on Obedience, Not Talk

Nowhere in Yahweh’s Word can we find that salvation is instantly guaranteed in a believer’s life based on a mere confession or pronouncement. The Apostle Paul talked about having a “hope” of salvation in 1Thessalonians 5:8-9. He explained in 2Corinthians 2:15 that being saved is a process that is not completed until the end.

In 1Corinthians 3:15 he describes sal-vation and being saved as a state no one automatically possesses and is not instantly achieved upon conversion. He wasn’t even sure of his own future but he simply had the “hope” that he might attain the resurrection.

He said in Philippians 3:11-12: “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after…”

If this apostle who was taught by the mouth of the resurrected Savior Himself (Gal. 1:11-12) and who wrote much of the New Testament was not certain of his own salvation, how can anyone today say they are already saved? Yet you hear well-meaning evangelists ask, “Are you saved?” and then tell you just to pronounce a few words to accept the Savior and you are permanently home free.

Those who think they have salvation may then live any kind of life they please and still be assured an eternal reward.

Repentance from Sin

You don’t hear much about repentance these days, yet the act of repentance is essential to being a converted child of Almighty Yahweh in the process of becoming saved. Many have missed this key part of conversion in the New Testament. Without understanding repentance and changing of your life, you cannot know what it means to be saved.

Before we can repent of sin we need to comprehend what sin is.

Everyone knows what crime is. A crime is like a sin. Webster defines a crime as an act that violates a law. The same is true for sin. In the clearest and most precise definition in the Bible, 1John 3:4 says that sin is a violation of Biblical law: Here is the Bible’s fundamental definition of sin:  “Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” That’s crystal clear.

If sin is breaking of law, then NOT breaking of law means obedience to the law. We can break a law in ignorance because we did not know about it. That doesn’t mean that sin is not imputed to us simply because we were unaware of it. We are still a violator.

We can speed down a highway not knowing what the speed limit is and still be charged with a traffic violation. Ignorance is no excuse.

Everyone has broken Biblical law and therefore all humans are sinners whether they know it or not. The law includes the Ten Commandments. Lying, stealing, killing – these are all acts of sin by Biblical definition. The Bible also gives other laws that Yahweh commands to be observed, and violation of any one of them is also sin by the simple definition of sin. Sin leads to eternal death.

If we are guilty as charged of a lifetime of unrepented, intentional, premeditated sin, our hope of salvation will be dashed.

The Scriptures tell us that unless we confess our sins, seek forgiveness, and turn completely around to live a different life, we are spiritually lost. There is no hope beyond this earthly life unless we change and conform to the Scriptures in how we live.

James 4:4 tells us that the ways of the world make one the enemy of the Heavenly Father Yahweh, and those ways lead to death. On the other hand, Proverbs 12:28 reveals, “In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.”

And that is where repentance is pivotal. Repentance moves us away from sin and toward righteousness.

Almighty Yahweh will not allow an unrepentant sinner to sit on a throne in His coming Kingdom. The Messiah Yahshua instructed His followers in Matthew 18:3, “Except you be converted and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Conversion requires change and it begins with repentance.

Repentance Is a Transformation

In Luke 13 we read that there were some murdered Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. In verse 3 our Savior said, “Except you repent, you shall likewise perish.”

Repentance is fundamental. Our sins have separated us from our Father in Heaven. Those sins must be forgiven as the first step to salvation.

One Greek word translated repent in the New Testament is metanoeo. It is a verb that includes a realization that one is a sinner. But it goes beyond just realization. It means to change one’s very perception or view of sin and to understand that sin is death. Sin that is practiced in one’s life ultimately ends in spiritual death.

A related word for repent in the New Testament is the Greek noun metanoia. This word signifies a real change in one’s entire attitude toward sin itself, which affects the whole life. It means a change in how we live. It amounts to a complete turnaround, not just to be sorry for sin but to make a 180-degree reverse course in how we live. It means a renouncement of sin and its destructive ways and to practice it no more.

Too often, however, is the more common and erroneous understanding of repentance, signified by the Greek metamelomai. It simply means that I regret what I did because I got caught. It is the kind of regret children often have when their parents punish them for doing something wrong.

In the Bible, it is also the kind of regret that Judas Iscariot felt for betraying the Savior Yahshua. But this is a false regret that lacks the power and force to effect permanent change in one’s life. It is shallow and  easily reversed. As soon as the punishment stops, the person is back to his sin again.

Genuine, scriptural repentance is the person who admits his sin, seeks forgiveness, and then makes a complete turnaround – permanently stopping what he or she had been doing, never to repeat it. True repentance leads to true conversion. Nothing less will do.

Just to say I’m sorry is not enough. Just apologizing for your sin but failing to turn from sinful behavior is not repentance. If I steal your car, then tell you I am sorry but I still keep the car, I have not repented.  A change must take place in the heart. I must make everything right again by a complete heart transformation

In the New Testament, which in most doctrinal respects is simply a mirror of the Old Testament, we read from Acts 17:30: “And the times of this ignorance Elohim winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent.”

Ezekiel 18:21 gives us the proper perspective on repentance. The prophet writes: “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he has committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he has committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?  says Yahweh Elohim: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?”

For all its efforts, the Reformation only scratched the surface in church cleanup.It missed the real mark. The reformers, in reaction to what they rightfully saw as a plethora of man-made dos and don’ts in a man-made religion, made a radical turn that derailed truth even further.

By: Alan Mansager

 

Watch: “What Happened to Worship?” from Discover the Truth TV below.

greek influence in christianity

Churchianity’s Grecianized Worship

One of the major barriers to understanding the correct teaching of Yahweh’s Word is the simple fact that the Western world looks at the Scriptures through Western eyes. In truth, the Bible is about Middle Eastern people and their Hebrew-centered beliefs in the Mighty One named Yahweh.

Because of doctrinal derailment by the Adversary, most churchgoers today don’t recognize the truth when it hits them squarely between the eyes. They have swallowed hook, line, and sinker so many falsehoods for so long that when the truth is presented to them it seems strange and unbelievable.

It started when the Roman church found Biblical truths rooted in a Hebrew faith distasteful. Anti-Semitism was strong. That the Roman church had a “Jewish” Messiah at its center was an inescapable fact that the church fathers avoided like a dark secret.

To distance itself from its Hebraic roots, the early church created a new “sabbath” day and called it Sunday – the L-rd’s Day – with the justification that the Savior rose on Sunday. To reinforce this doctrine the church revamped another observance, the Hebraic Passover,  into a Latinized-Grecianized Easter observance. Other Biblical holy days were replaced by pagan celebrations that came to be called “holidays.” And New Testament writings, mostly by a Hebrew named Shau’l (a name altered to the Grecianized “Paul”) were twisted to support a whole array of unscriptural doctrines and Greek philosophy of men like Plato.

Torn from their Israelite roots and joined to a European culture, the Apostles are made to look as if they wrote their epistles on the steps of Roman basilicas. The question becomes, is the Bible a Hebrew book, a Greek book, a Latin book or a hopeless mixture? And how is the Truth reflected?

Hebrew is the language of the oldest Old Testament manu-scripts. Greek is the preeminent language of  the New Testament (though not the original  New Testament lan-guage). Therefore, in the minds of many the Bible is a book with a first section reflecting Hebraic faith and a new section reflecting a Grecian set of beliefs and practices.

This has been the major belief for centuries, even though the New Testament was written by Hebrews about Hebrew people who spoke Hebrew and lived in an Israelite society. That the oldest New Testament manuscrips in existence are in Greek does not mean they were composed in Greek. Keep in mind that the oldest available manuscripts of the Old Testament were in Greek also, until even older Dead Sea Scrolls were found with their Old Testament text in Hebrew.

Implied in today’s majority teachings is that the New Testament included progressive Jews who were in the process of switching from their Israelite faith to Greek thinking and beliefs. In this supposed reform process they were giving up the Sabbath for Sunday, Passover for Easter, other Feasts for Xmas, and obedience to the law for grace and faith alone.

But this presents a huge problem. We find that the Sabbath is still in effect in the New Testament, along with the Feasts and the law. We find Shau’l himself teaching that the law is not made void but is established, Romans 3:31. Even if it is argued that the Feasts and law were on their way out, why do we find them in the prophecies of the coming millennial Kingdom still being followed and enforced? Read Isaiah 66, Ezekiel 45, Micah 4:2; Zechariah 14.

Yahweh made a covenant with Israel and Israel only. Other peoples and nations may join in that agreement called the New Covenant through a grafting in process. To do that they obey the same laws given to Israel and accept the other terms of the covenant. May YOU  join with those who today are seeking Him through a pure and obedient heart.

Christianity and Greek paganism

Was the Savior Greek?

Why is a Hebrew Called by a Greek Name?

Suppose a new Bible translation had the second chapter of Matthew begin like this: “Now when Yahshua the Messiah was born at Athens Grecia in the days of Alexander the Great, behold there came wise men from the east to Olympia, Saying, ‘Where is He that is born king of the Greeks? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him. When Alexander had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Olympia with him.’”If you read such a translation you would be troubled, too. “My Bible says the Savior was Hebrew, born of the tribe of Judah at Bethlehem!” you would say. “That translation is wrong! The Greeks were pagans. He wasn’t Greek nor was he born among Greeks.” You would be absolutely right. Now let’s look at this passage as it appears in the King James Version: “Now when Jesus was born inBethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is bom King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”

Now the facts are right, expressing the Hebrew heritage and birth of our Savior. But one problem remains. “Jesus” is a Greek name. It is as out of place in the setting of Hebrew Israel as the Hebrew Savior would be if born in Greece – to be king of the Greeks.

Yahshua the Hebrew

Our Savior was a Hebrew, born of a Jewish mother. He had a Hebrew family. He spoke Hebrew, lived the Hebrew culture, kept and taught Hebrew laws, had Hebrew followers, and quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures. So what is He doing in our Bibles with a Latinized-Anglicized-Greek name? And why, being a Hebrew, is He referred to by the purely Greek title “Christos” rather than the Hebrew “Mashiyach” (“Messiah”)? One might argue, that’s because ours is an English Bible, not a Hebrew one.

If that is true, then why is the Greek “Christ” and its possessive “Christ’s” found 570 times in our ENGLISH Bibles, while the original, Hebrew-rooted “Messiah” appears a mere four times? Others may say, well, this just shows that the New Testament was originally inspired in the Greek. Not true, and we can cite myriads of reasons that the New Testament was written in Hebrew or perhaps Aramaic. But that still does not explain why the Greek title Christ, meaning “anointed,” remains untranslated in our ENGLISH versions.

Hebrews Loathed Greek Culture

Was the New Testament written in Greek? Consider. The Jews of the Savior’s day spoke Hebrew (or some say its sister language Aramaic). They held nothing but animosity for the heathen Greeks and the Hellenization policy of the Seleucid rulers. Why would the Jewish Apostles be writing in Greek under these circumstances and social tensions? What average Jew could or would want to read Greek writings (even if the Apostles could write Greek, which most could not)? Some Alexandrian Jews had resettled in Judea and did speak Aramaic.

Josephus, the eminent  first-century Hebrew priest and historian – who said he far exceeded the average Jew in learning – wrote, “I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness…” (Antiquities of the Jews, 20:11:1). If this eminent priest and scholar could not speak Greek, how could most of the common Jews in Judea?

Yahshua sent the l2 Disciples “not to the Gentiles [Greeks included], but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” Matthew 10:6. Obviously, these Hebrew Disciples writing for Israelites wrote in Hebrew – so the average Hebrew would understand. To think they would be writing in Hebrew but inserting Greek substitute names for the Father and Son is absurd. On the contrary. They would use the personal Names first revealed from On High to the Hebrew patriarchs in the Hebrew language long before the Greek language even existed! (see Gen. 4:1, 26)

The Case for ’Yahshua’

That the Heavenly Father’s personal, revealed, covenant Name is Yahweh is widely known and recognized in religious circles. But how do we know that the Savior’s Name is Yahshua? First, the “J” did not exist in any language until about the 15th century common era (A.D.). This eliminates both “Jehovah” and “Jesus.” Second, Yahshua said He came in His Father’s Name, John 5:43. YAHweh and YAHshua both bear the family name “Yah.” The Name Yah-shua means “Yah’s salvation.” Third, Yahshua was a Jew, a descendant of the Hebrews. He would no more have a Greek name than a German would have a Chinese name.

Born again in the Bible

Born Twice (A look at the Born Again concept)

A rather savvy Pharisee named Nicodemus privately approached the Messiah Yahshua at night to say he was convinced that Yahshua was a teacher sent from Yahweh.

Yahshua used the opportunity to reveal a central fact about the Kingdom. “Yahshua answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of Elohim,”John 3:3.

Confused by Yahshua’s statement, Nicodemus asked how can a person be born when he is old? Can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born all over again?

Then Yahshua detailed what He meant. “Yahshua answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of Elohim.”

Yahshua said that being born again for salvation involves two fundamentals: being born of water and the Spirit. Yahshua was talking about a process of conversion. That spiritual transformation that must occur in a Believer’s life leads to a full-fledged, new creation of an individual who no longer continues in his old nature, indulging in the world’s pleasures and sins, but now reflects the very image of Yahweh in thought and action.

A Process Taking Time

Conversion is a life-long development, not an easy and quick confession followed by back to business as usual. To be found worthy of the Kingdom requires a complete, permanent change of mind and heart.

Transforming of the individual from a serial sinner into a spiritually mature individual useful to Yahweh in advancing His Kingdom requires a lifetime of tests and trials. It doesn’t happen with a mere declaration of Yahshua as one’s personal Savior; that’s only the start.

John gave us a crucial element to being born again: “For whatsoever is born of Elohim overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith,” 1John 5:4.

In Revelation 2:26 Yahshua says, “And he that overcomes, and keeps my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.” Obedience to the Word is how we overcome in this life. It leads to a position of rulership in the next, “To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne,”Revelation 3:21.

To be born again means overcoming. But what does “overcome” mean? Isn’t a simple confession enough? Not any more than blowing on your hands will wash away grimy dirt.

Overcoming our old nature and the pulls of this world is serious, difficult business. It takes a lifetime.

Windfall Blessings Now?

No wonder people want to believe that being born again (being “saved”) is just a five-second confession! Isaiah tells us what everyone would rather hear: “Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits,” Isaiah 30:10

Tell everyone that entrance into the Kingdom is easy and effortless and filled with all the worldly blessings imaginable. That’s prophesying (teaching) deceits. That’s today’s popular messages in a nutshell and an amazingly accurate prophecy about them.

The popular doctrine of being born again says it’s all downhill once you accept Yahshua. You are now saved, and you will slide on through completely unscathed. Even better, you will have great health and wealth and prosperity as well.

But where’s the evidence? Which person who has undergone real, authentic conversion has been inundated with health and riches—and no problems from then on? This most popular of sermon themes of nominal worship is fundamentally not just flawed but a lie from the very the lips of haSatan himself.

Nowhere does Yahweh’s Word teach it and nowhere is there any evidence of it in the Word. In fact, the opposite is the truth.

A Tribulation Guarantee

Instead of sunshine, lollypops and roses, many of His true Worshipers will pay the ultimate sacrifice for living for Yahweh. We read of the consequences for some followers in the end times in Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

Forget the sugar and spice and everything nice. Forget wealth and health. There’s going to be conflict when you take up the same walk that Yahshua took, which is the only walk that leads to salvation. This is fact and is anything but popular. The world in general has little love of the truth of Yahweh because the truth is convicting. And remember how Yahshua ended up—nailed to a post! Is Yahweh going to give you what He didn’t even give His own son? Are we to have it better than Yahweh’s own, beloved Son had it?

We are told not to be surprised when tested for our faith. Yahshua guaranteed it, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes [shall be] they of his own household,”Matthew 10:34-36.

This is why the way is called narrow. Salvation comes at a great sacrificial price. Peter wrote, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Messiah’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy,” 1Peter 4:12-13.

If we follow in Yahshua’s footsteps then we will experience the kinds of things He did.

That’s all part of the refining process. Sifting takes out the junk. Heat melts away impurities. What is left is a highly refined product that Yahweh can use. He can’t utilize what is tainted with unrepented sin, 1Corinthians 6:9.

Let’s dig into the ancient language itself and see what “born again” actually means as taught by Yahshua Himself.

The Greek and ‘Born Again’

“Born again” starts with being begotten from above. Let’s look at the two words individually. “Born” is the Greek gennao and in Yahshua’s teaching means the entire birth process – from the beginning at begettal to the ending at birth. Gennao is used inMatthew 1:20, where Joseph is told by the angel that Mary’s conception (gennao , begetting) is by the Holy Spirit.

“Again” is anothen and means: 1) from above, from a higher place; of things which come from heaven or Yahweh; 2) from the first, from the beginning.

We are begotten spiritually by the Word of truth, James 1:8 tells us. Yahshua uses the process of conception and growth of a baby to illustrate the same concept with a babe in the Word. First the conception, then the gestation period, then the actual birth. In that process the newborn undergoes radical change—from a single ovum or egg barely visible to the unaided eye to the birth of a fully developed infant.

When the egg becomes fertilized the begettal occurs. Spiritually for the True Worshiper it starts at baptism, when a part of the Holy Spirit is given by the laying on of hands of the ministry to start the spiritual growth process. Paul said in 1Corinthians 1:22 that we are “…given the earnest of the spirit in our hearts.” He said again in 2Corinthians 5:5: “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing [is] Elohim, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.”

Earnest means down payment, from the Greek arrabon. It is just the initial infusion of His Spirit. So long as the person does not quench the Spirit through sin, it will then develop and grow over time to create a fully developed Believer ready to be delivered by rebirth of that believer. He is at that time “born again.”

John 3:34 reveals that Yahshua is the exception to this. He got the FULL measure of the Spirit at His immersion by John. “For he whom Yahweh hath sent speaketh the words of Yahweh: for Yahweh giveth not the Spirit by measure [unto Him].”

Resurrection by the Spirit

Now we can review what we know so far about Yahshua’s teaching of being born again. From John 3:3 we learn: “Yahshua answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of Elohim.”

Nicodemus needed further clarification, which Yahshua provides in verse 5: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of Elohim.”

A man who was once being counseled for immersion said he believed that baptism wasn’t really necessary. Not only did Yahshua contradict that by His own words and by His own example of baptism, but the man was essentially saying he didn’t need the Holy Spirit, either, because at baptism is the very time the Holy Spirit is given through the laying on of hands of the elders.

Simply put, without the Holy Spirit in you, you will not be raised in the coming resurrection. Paul wrote, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Yahshua from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up the Messiah from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you,” Romans 8:11. See also John 6:63 and 2Corinthians 3:6.

The path to salvation begins with repentance from past sins followed by water baptism and laying on of hands for the Holy Spirit. Being born of water is not speaking of the fluid in the amniotic sac, as some have claimed. We all are born that way, and it would be pointless to mention it as something required of the believer when he has no choice in the matter!

To be born again we need power that comes down from above—from Yahweh Himself. And that power is the infusing of His Spirit. If this doesn’t happen, you cannot enter the Kingdom.

Changed By the Spirit

When Yahshua comes back to this earth His people will be drawn to Him by the Holy Spirit they were given at baptism. John 12:32: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.” Draw is the Greek helko and means to draw by power. The Spirit will act like a magnet, and you must be “magnetized” to be drawn to Yahshua.

This is exactly how Yahshua was resurrected: “For Messiah also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to Elohim, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” 1Peter 3:18. He was instantly changed and raised by the Holy Spirit.

Now comes the key verse 6: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” What does He mean to be born of the Spirit? Once that seed of the Holy Spirit is given it grows within the mind and heart to produce a mature believer.

Ultimately, and this is the result of the entire process, that person will be physically changed to spirit essence at the resurrection.

Paul had written in 1Thessalonians 4:16-17: “For the Master himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of Elohim: and the dead in Messiah shall rise first: Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Master in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Savior.”

The process of spiritual maturity that started with repentance and water immersion ends with a miraculous transformation of a mind and heart, and from a physical human being into a spirit being at the return of Yahshua. He will raise His own at that time and reward them with a position in His kingdom.

“Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death had no power, but they shall be priests of Yahweh and of Messiah, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6).

This is the ultimate work of the Holy Spirit and the glorious future that awaits the faithful who keep the commandments and have the faith of Yahshua.

The saints will no longer be flesh and blood but will have spirit energy as do Yahweh and Yahshua.

Like the Wind

Yahshua demonstrated it further. He said in John 3:8, “The wind blows where it lists, and you hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell whence it comes, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

Yahshua compares the transformation to spirit essence with the wind. Wind is the Greek pneuma as demonstrated in Acts 2 when the Spirit was given and they heard a mighty sound like wind. Wind is often used in conjunction with the Holy Spirit. It has much the same properties.

Wind blows where Yahweh desires it to blow. He has complete control over it. Wind is invisible, you can’t tell where it comes from and where it goes. Yet it has power. So is the spirit essence of the True Worshiper in his spirit body at the resurrection.

Yahshua in spirit form could appear and disappear at will. Suddenly there He was in a locked room with His disciples. He could present himself to His Father in heaven and be back on earth that same day. How did He do it? With Spirit power. He was spirit. Someday His chosen will have the same. Spirit essence is not limited by time, space or physical restrictions.

One must be begotten before one is born. The process of being “born again” is not a simple conversion experience. Pursuit of a Scriptural way of life must then follow.

Following are some key reasons you cannot be born again and still be a human in a physical body:

Peter explains it clearly in 1Peter 1:23: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of Elohim, which lives and abides for ever. For all flesh [is] as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower thereof falleth away:”

The spiritual commitment and life-change that is done spiritually ends with an actual spirit body that cannot break down, get sick, die or decay (incorruptible!). It will be immortal. Peter said plainly, being born again means not being physical, not being corruptible but incorruptible. Incorruptible is the Greek aphthartos and means immortal. It is used of Yahweh Himself. Being born again means you are immortal.

Yahshua said in John 3:6, that which is born of the spirit IS spirit, not flesh. Being born again means to be of spirit in form and substance. “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of Elohim; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption,” 1Corinthians 15:50.

“Born again” is an entire process not just a confession; a declaration of sin is just the start of the spiritual process that results in being reborn.

They No Longer Sin

Now read 1John 3:9, “Whosoever is born of Elohim doth not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of Elohim.”

Here is another simple test for the “born again” claim. Is the individual now sinless? Can he or she commit sin? The fact is, no human is sinless in this present world, Romans 3:23. Therefore, no one but Yahshua has been born again. He is the only one who was resurrected into spirit essence and the only one who is sinless.

Paul said in Rom. 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of Elohim.” No one is any different from anyone else on that score. John said that if you are born again you cannot sin. The reason is simple. Being born again you are now a spirit being. You’ve made the cut. You are completely transformed in mind and heart as well as in essence.

Being born again you have overcome your sinful, human nature, the world’s obstacles and Satan’s devices. As a spirit being your mind is transformed so you no longer rebel against Yahweh through sin.

“If you know that he is righteous, you know that every one that does righteousness is born of him,” 1John 2:29. Righteousness is sinlessness. Show me a sinless person and I would agree that he or she is born again. I would also agree that they are now spirit beings and no longer flesh and blood.

Spirit Given by Measure

John 3:34 reveals that the Holy Spirit is given in limited fashion. As we grow in grace, knowledge, and obedience, more of the Spirit is given to us. Acts 5:32 says He gives His spirit to those who obey.

With Yahshua it was different. The Spirit was not given to Yahshua in increments, but in whole: “For He whom Elohim has sent speaks the words of Elohim: for Elohim gives not the Spirit by measure unto Him.”

But to us He gives just a small part of the Spirit at first, to see whether we will continue faithful and grow with it. “Who has also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2Cor. 1:22). Earnest is the Greek arrhabon and means a pledge or an advance, like a down payment.

As with Yahshua’s human begettal, the Holy Spirit is given us as a spiritual “begettal.” Then as we grow spiritually more of the Spirit is given, helping us mature into the nature and righteous stature of Yahshua.

Before any spiritual begettal takes place, though, repentance must occur. We find a prime example of repentance in Acts 2. It came following Peter’s explanation to the assembled Jews who came from 15 countries to keep Pentecost, saying that because of their sins and false accusation they themselves were the ones who put Yahshua to death. They were devastated, ashamed, stirred up, and asked Peter, “What shall we do?”

They were humbled and willing to change and do anything they were asked to do. That is the spirit of true repentance.

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Yahshua Messiah for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as Yahweh our Elohim shall call” (Acts 2:38-39).

Yahshua likened the Holy Spirit to flowing water, which will cover the earth when the Kingdom comes. His cleansing blood at Passover allowed the Holy Spirit to come and remain on earth. Through the sacrifice of Yahshua we receive the Holy Spirit by baptism in His Name. Our sins are washed away, and once empowered by the Spirit, we keep Yahweh’s laws and strive to stop sinning.

Yahshua Was Born Again

You may be wondering, has anyone ever been born again? Yes indeed. As the firstfruits of many brethren, Yahshua Himself was.

Yahshua was the first to be resurrected with a body changed from flesh and blood to spirit. Those in the first resurrection shall also be changed to a spirit body: “And he is the head of the body, the assembly: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18).

Paul also wrote, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many believers” (Rom 8:29).

Yahshua as the firstborn among brethren was “born again.” That occurred when His physical body was changed to spirit essence when He rose from the dead. He was begotten (gennao) of water baptism and of the Spirit and was ultimately born from above (anothen) when He took on spirit form.

Being given the Holy Spirit upon baptism into Yahshua’s saving Name is just the beginning for us.

Work of the Spirit

His indwelling Spirit gives us peace of mind and produces fruits: “But the fruit of the Spirit of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23).

But beyond what it does for us now, the portion of the Holy Spirit we receive upon immersion is also a kind of pledge or security toward an inheritance one day of the Kingdom.

Paul writes that we are sealed in Yahshua with the Holy Spirit of promise, Ephesians 1:13. He adds, “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:14).

Just as in a legal contract when an earnest deposit is made, there is a period during which the legal system puts everything in order. All necessary groundwork must be laid so that both parties are satisfied that they are getting just what they are bargaining for.

What, then, is expected of us during this early begettal and “spiritual gestation” period prior to being born again?

Our Obligation

Peter writes, “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby: If so be you have tasted that the Savior is gracious” (1Pet. 2:1-3). We must grow in grace and knowledge of the Word, 2Peter 3:18.

This change is imperative.Yahshua said, “Marvel not that I said unto you, You must be born again” (John 3:7). To be different from the natural man with his envies, jealousies, hypocrisies, lies, worldly desires—that is the work the Spirit implanted at baptism.

Most are too busy with their daily lives to focus on their Father in heaven. Only when it is too late will many get serious about how they live.

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able,” Luke 13:24.

His chosen are humble and teachable as little children and they put into practice what the Bible requires. “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3).

We develop the character and love of Yahshua our Savior through obedience, just as He did. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered,” Hebrews 5:8.

Carnal Won’t Enter

Yahshua went on to say that only a few would be willing to pay the price to be in the Kingdom.

We are told plainly in 1Corinthians 6:9-10 that those who practice sin will have no place in the Kingdom, and will not be begotten of His Spirit and born again.

“Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of Yahweh? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, not idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of Yahweh .”

During the spiritual bettal when the Holy Spirit is working in the repentant heart, the old nature gives away to a completely different individual:

“Therefore if any man be in Messiah, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new,”2Corinthians 6:17-18.

A Few Are Called Now

Being “begotten from above” by Yahweh’s Holy Spirit is a fulfillment of the promise made by Yahshua. The Heavenly Father is calling a few select people now to become His sons and daughters and to rule with Him in the Kingdom.

This is all made possible by the death and resurrection of His Son Yahshua, who paid the price for our sins and arose that we might have life. He is now our Advocate as we struggle to overcome the world, Satan, and our carnal nature.

He intercedes for us, and through the Holy Spirit we grow in grace and knowledge of Yahweh, fitting into His design for the faithful. Once our spiritual growth has reached a maturity that Yahweh can use for His Kingdom, then we are ready to be born again.

By: Alan Mansager

The Beanie: Torah or Tradition?

Rather paradoxical is how some writers twist plain Scripture to say just the opposite of what was intended. This is the case with the 11th chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Assembly at Corinth, where female worshipers are told to wear a veil and men are admonished to be bareheaded.

Yet, some use this and other passages to say that a man should wear a covering on his head much like Orthodox and Conservative Jews do in synagogues.

We know that Jews will not allow anyone to come into the synagogue unless wearing a skullcap known as a yarmulkeor kepah (beanie). Today at Israel’s holy places or shrines, including the Wailing Wall, all visiting males must wear coverings on their heads. So pervasive is this practice that attendants will place a small paper cap on any visitor’s uncovered head.

Many Scriptures cited as proof that men should wear a covering on their heads simply do not bear up under even a little scrutiny. We will examine the remarks of at least one author and show the error of his conclusions.

High Priests and Mourning

Given as an example that King David wore a yarmulke in worship is 2Samuel 15:30: “And David went up by the ascent of Mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot; and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.” This allegedly proves that he always worshiped Yahweh with his head covered.

In the context of the verse, however, we learn that King David is in the midst of an upheaval, with his son Absalom trying to usurp his father’s throne. Note verse 31, “Andkippah3one avid, ‘Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.’ And David said, ‘O Yahweh, I pray You, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.’”

Now notice verse 32, “And it came to pass that when David was come to the top of the mount, where he worshiped Elohim, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat rent, and earth upon his head.” Hushai is expressing severe contrition, tearing his coat and throwing dirt upon his head. This corroborates the statement that David was in severe distress and shame because of Ahithophel’s treachery.

Jeremiah 14:4 gives another example of shame and contrition leading to wearing a covering, “Because of the ground which is cracked, since there is no rain upon the land, the farmers are ashamed, they cover their heads.”

Going barefoot is also a sign of mourning. Because David was grieving and in shame he covered his head and went barefoot—not a normal worship practice.

The high priest wore a mitre, and his assistants were also to wear a headdress while doing Yahweh’s service, Exodus 28:39-41. Verses 39-4 instruct the making of the coat of fine linen, the mitre of fine linen, and the girdle of needlework. Aaron’s sons were also to have coats and girdles and bonnets for glory and beauty.

Some scholars say that the anointing of Aaron’s sons was not necessarily to have them officiate at that time but to prepare them to take over whenever Aaron was unable to continue his office as the high priest. We, however, are not high priests—Yahshua is. Were He a Levite He might wear the mitre in heaven. His priesthood is of the Melchisedek order as we are, not of the Levitical,Hebrews 5:6.

Proponents of head coverings for men maintained that men were not to remove their covering even for the dead. They citeLeviticus 10:6, where Moses commanded Aaron and the priests not to uncover their heads after Yahweh had destroyed Aaron two sons for burning unauthorized fire on the altar. The reason was that these two sons, Nadab and Abihu, were negligent in their duties as priests.

Verse 6 reads: “And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, ‘Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest you die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: But let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which Yahweh has kindled.’”

Interestingly, the NIV reads, “Do not let your hair become unkept,” instead of “uncover not your heads.” Here is an extreme event of mourning and disgrace for the Aaronic priesthood. Furthermore, the priestly headgear is not the same as the yarmulke.

Wisdom Like a Crown

Proponents have tried to equate the yarmulke with an ornament of grace in Proverbs 1:9. The pericope must begin at verse 7, “The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge but fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son hear the instruction of your father and forsake not the law of your mother. For they shall be an ornament of grace unto your head and chains about your neck.”

This has nothing to do with the yarmulke being an ornament of grace. Grace here is unmerited kindness from Yahweh that comes with following the instructions of the father and advice by the mother. An ornament of grace adorns the individual who submits to Yahweh. It is not a command to wear the yarmulke or the headdress, neither is it an admonition to wear chains around the neck.

Proverbs 4:7-9 is quoted to imply that wisdom is compared to a head-dress or yarmulke. “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you: she shall bring you to honor, when you do embrace her. She shall give to your head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to you.”

Again, the meaning and sense of this verse is simply enlightenment, giving us honor like a beautiful crown upon our heads.

Verse 10 goes on to say, “My son listen to me and do as I say and you will have a long, good life.” (Living Bible) This has nothing to do with the kepah or the yarmulke. It simply shows that a crown of life will be given to those who overcome and keep Yahweh’s words.

One writer says, “Isaiah likens Zion to the kepah, as a crown of glory and a royal diadem,” and he cites Isaiah 62:3. The meaning, however, is not that wearing a yarmulke will give us a crown of glory, but rather that He will hold us aloft in His hands for all to see as a splendid crown for the King of Kings. It is the reward that Yahshua gets for His people whom He has helped to overcome and who have become kings and priests in the Kingdom. Wearing a yarmulke has nothing to do with this honor. It is not a badge or uniform. It is poetic language extolling obedience to Yahweh.

Of Women’s Attire

“It is called a garment of praise in Isaiah 61:3,” says one writer. “The Hebrew word here translated garment is maateh and means a head covering as used in Isaiah 3:20 and Ezekiel 44:18.” Actually, the word maateh is Strong’s Concordance No. 4594 and is translated vestment. Brown, Driver, Briggs Gesenius translates maateh as “wrap, mantle.” And in Isaiah 61:3 as a mantle of praise in the figurative sense. It does not mean head covering.

The writer, however, maintains, “It means ‘a head covering’ as used in Isaiah 3:20.” Isaiah 3:20 reads: “The bonnet, the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands and the tablets and the earrings.”

There are two words that the writer may have been referring to. The word bonnet is No. 6287, peer in Hebrew, a fancy headdress. The other is headband, No. 7196 (qishur) or girdle.

Just why the author would bring in Isaiah 3:20 is difficult to comprehend. If we merely get the context, verses 16 and 17, we learn that Yahweh is speaking here about the dress of women. It has nothing to do with men wearing head coverings.

In seeking any verse that mentions head covering, these yarmulke proponents have seized on verses pertaining to women’s attire and compounded their error.

Some yarmulke advocates attempt to gain support from Ezekiel 44: 18, which reads, “They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads and they shall have linen breeches upon their loins. They shall not gird themselves with anything that causes sweat.”

Verse 15 shows that this refers to priests, the sons of Zadok. As we have noted before, the priests of the Levitical order were to wear something on their heads when they officiated in worship. One wonders, however, how one can confuse the dress of women inIsaiah 3:20 with the priests in Ezekiel 44: 18, while building a case for the man’s yarmulke.

Appeals have also been made to Isaiah 61:10, which reads, “I will greatly rejoice in Yahweh, my soul shall be joyful in my Elohim; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments and the bride adorns herself with jewels.”

Nothing to Rejoice In

One author says, “Ezekiel was commanded by Yahweh to wear the tire (Hebrew peer) upon his head and to command the children of Israel to do the same. Ezekiel 24: 17 and 23.” It is important that we note verse 16 of Ezekiel 24, which speaks about the death of Ezekiel’s wife. Verse 16 reads,

“Son of man, behold, I take away from you the desire of your eyes with a stroke: yet neither shall you mourn nor weep, neither shall your tears run down.” And verse 17 continues, “Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of your head upon you and put your shoes upon your feet, and cover not your lips, and eat not the bread of men.”

It is quite obvious here that the man is not to mourn and not take off his “tire” (Hebrew peer, meaning a turban or fancy headdress). Ezekiel is to wear the headdress and not go barefoot as did King David when he was mourning. He was to put shoes upon his feet and he was not to cover his lips nor eat the bread of men. Again this has to do with mourning and has nothing to do with worship.

Notice verse 23, which reads, “And your tires (fancy headdress, turban) shall be upon your heads and your shoes upon your feet: and you shall not mourn nor weep but you shall pine away for your iniquities and mourn one toward another.” Yahweh is telling Israel that He will take away their strength and joy of their glory. The desire of their eyes and the things that they revel in will be removed because judgment is coming. It has nothing to do with wearing a kepah to worship Yahweh.

They Went Wearing Street Hats

The writer notes, “King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold and commanded all to bow down and worship it. But there were three Jews in his kingdom who would not worship the image, they worshiped only Yahweh. So the king had them thrown down into a fiery furnace. They went to this fire trusting in Yahweh with their caps on their heads, Daniel 3: 1, 21. And I believe they were praying all the way. “

Interestingly, the word “hat” referred to in Daniel 3:21 is from the Hebrew karbela (No. 3737 in Strong’s). It appears only in this verse and is translated hat. It involves casual clothing thrown on like a mantle; the akkadian cognate is cap. It has nothing to do with worship either in the synagogue or in the temple. It is an article of street clothing, a mantle type of cap or turban, according to theTheological Wordbook of the Old Testament.

Covering in the New Testament

One writer asks, “We are told by Paul to pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5: 17. Let us suppose that a man is working in the oilfields where he has to wear a hardhat on his head and work about 10 hours a day. Would it be a sin to pray while working? The way most people explain 1Corinthians 11, it would be. Let us understand and get back to the old paths, which are the good ways.”

The writer answers his own question. If we understand the verse to mean that a man is literally to pray without ceasing, he would not be working out in the oil fields while praying. Correctly understood, Paul tells us we should be in an attitude of prayerful reverence and close communion with Yahweh at all times. It does not mean that men should forever be on their knees praying with a yarmulkeon their heads.

Next this writer notes, “In 1Corinthians 11, Paul explains the headdress of men and women in praying or prophesying, As this article concerns men, we will not go into the women part of it. ‘But I would have you know, that the head of every man is the Messiah; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of the Messiah is Yahweh,’ 1Corinthians 11:3. We have three heads mentioned here: the head of man (Messiah), the head of woman (man), the head of Messiah (Yahweh).

Let us take up the next verse now. ‘Every man praying or prophesying, having his head (Messiah) covered dishonors his head (Messiah).’ We pray in the Name of our Head, which is the Messiah. If for any reason we do not do this, we are covering our head (Messiah) and dishonoring Him.”

Notice how the author makes his own judgments. He says, “Whenever we do not pray in the Name of the Messiah we are covering Him.” The Scripture nowhere says that whenever we do not pray in the Name of Yahshua we are “covering Him,” It simply is not a scriptural idea. It is a man-made notion for a man-made doctrine.

Let us continue, “In Paul’s day there were people who would try to hide the fact that they were believers in Yahshua if they were around Jews who did not believe in Him. Thus, they covered the fact that they believed in Him, and this dishonored Him, their Head. This is not talking about the head on your shoulders but the head Messiah and we are not to cover that head when we pray. We are to pray in His Name showing all that He is our head,”

Obviously the man is trying to build a case by inserting his own thoughts and projecting certain concepts into his private interpretation, making Yahweh’s Word of no effect. He attempts to make us believe that any time we pray to Yahweh and do not petition in the Name of His Son Yahshua the Messiah we are covering our head, meaning the Messiah. He gives no Scripture to support this assertion that we “cover the Messiah” by not praying in His Name.

He goes on, “Now let us look at the next verse. ‘But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head (man) for that is even all one as if she were shaven,’ 1Corinthians 11:5. So, Paul is saying that a man should have a covering on his physical head, the head on his shoulders [as well as] when the woman prays or prophesies or he is causing her to dishonor him (her head).”

Covered By Proxy?

Can you just hear the twisting of Scripture? He says that if the woman is praying, then the MAN must have a covering on his head or she is dishonoring the husband! This is not the meaning of the verse at all, but is a gross perversion of Scripture. If the woman prays with nothing on her head, how does the man’s head covering prevent her from dishonoring him?

“If a man does not have a physical headcovering, it is the same as if his wife had her head shaved.” Obviously then a man would not have to have on any headcovering if his wife were not in attendance either at the synagogue or at the meeting worshiping Yahweh. So long as the man is alone he would not need a covering of any kind, according to this writer’s reasoning. If the wife is praying (according to this perverted interpretation) and the HUSBAND does not cover his head, then it is as if SHE had shaved her head!

Paul says differently. He says that if the woman does not cover her own head (the head on her shoulders) it is as if she were shaven, which the NIV correctly says is a sign of a disgraceful act. The man’s head covering has nothing to do with the woman’s head being shaved. It is her own head that is to be covered.

He continues, “And only women caught in adultery had their heads shaved. This has always been a custom among the Jews even today, for women caught in adultery, to shave their heads. Paul also shows this in verse 6 that the woman is to cover her physical head also. Man and woman both are to have a headdress on when they worship Yahweh. This shows that neither one is without each other in Yahweh, 1Corinthians 11: 11-12.”

The above conclusion of the writer totally misses the basic thrust of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Paul is clearly teaching that if the woman does not have a covering on her head she is less than pious. The context of 1Corinthians 11: 11-12 simply means that the man is not without the woman because all men are born from women. But woman was formed from man’s rib. Yet, both man and woman are from Yahweh Who is the Creator of all life.

Man’s Own Rules and Traditions

From his book, What Is a Jew, Rabbi Morris N. Kertzer states in the section, “Do All Jews Wear Hats When They Pray?”: “There is a tendency by all faiths to exalt customs into firmly established religious principle.”

Leaders in Judaism themselves admit there is nothing in the Bible that teaches men to wear anything on their heads or even wear a prayer shawl.

“We know from archeological remains that in ancient days, the people of Israel were often bareheaded. In the British Museum , I saw a bas-relief of the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, portraying Jews who wore no headgear. The modern Orthodox practice, therefore, of keeping the head covered at all times does not go back to ancient Palestine . However, in the East the privileged classes wore some head ornament as a sign of their status and in time this custom spread to all groups.” (What Is a Jew?)Rabbi Mossis N. Kertzer, p. 93)

Professor Jacob Z. Lauterbach has pointed out, “The custom of praying bareheaded or with covered head is not at all a question of law. It is merely a matter of social propriety and decorum.” This is true as far as the Old Testament is concerned. The Apostle Paul makes it plain that in the New Testament men are to have nothing on their heads in worship, and women are to have their heads covered.

by Donald R. Mansager
Gnosticism and Christianity

Mystical Gnosticism Enters Church Doors

The “church” has left the foundation of exclusive worship of the Father and is morphing into an environment where, utterly illogical and unthinkable, the worshiper esteems and exalts self above the One worshiped. Ancient apostasies are returning full circle as age-old Gnostic teachings are dramatically changing the religious landscape. They called it New Age, but there was nothing new about it. It was as old as Babylon and even older. This heresy that says we humans are really “gods” reaches all the way back to the Garden of Eden, when Ha Satan enticed Eve that she could be “divine” if she followed his instructions to defy Yahweh.

Popularized by the ‘80s New Age Movement, the dogma of self-glorification moved into mainstream culture and now into the Main Street church. Ancient mystery worship is back. One of its daughters, Gnosticism, began to permeate the New Testament movement early on and to pollute true teachings nearly from the start. So insidious were its diabolical dogmas that they were to dramatically influence the next 2,000 years of church doctrine and worship, opening the door to the grand-scale sacrilege we see today. It is time we learned where today’s trendy doctrines really came from and how you can come out from under the spell of an age-old scourge that Paul calls “damnable heresies” and their “pernicious ways that many would follow.”

Apostles Were Concerned

As he traveled from town to town teaching the truths he learned from the Savior, the Apostle Paul was a witness to many successes. At the same time he began to be increasingly concerned with what he was hearing from various quarters.

Concern led to alarm as Paul launched a campaign to warn the various Assemblies about the insidious heresy. So did Peter. Each was aware of apostates out to get their own followers at the expense of truth taught in the newly established Assembly. Just as the New Testament Body was beginning to get its feet on the ground, wolves were circling. The Apostles’ early fears proved abundantly justified.

Little is known about what exactly happened in the first two centuries following the death of the Apostles. One thing is sure, however. What occurred was far-reaching and would change the face of New Testament worship worldwide for the next two millennia down to our day. The die was cast, and its imprint was a familiar one. Many heretical teachings have become major tenets today, and none supported in Scripture. We also know that Gnosticism was at its most influential while the early Assembly was in its infancy. One researcher describes it this way:

“As the apostolic age comes to a close, the [Assembly] seems to pass through a dark tunnel. When it comes out at the other side, the original bond of unity, the clear standards, and the love of [Yahweh] seem to have been replaced by an unsettling, institutionalized spirit of domination and by beliefs which are more Gnostic than Christian. What happened? We are now confronted with the possibility that the original identity and true definition of Christianity have become lost,” from The Apostasy of the Lost Century, p. 9.

Why were the Apostles so concerned? What was it that posed such a deadly threat to the truth? It was nothing less than age-old Babylonian mystery religion beginning to take root through heretical and influential teachers. These apostates were mixing the teachings of Eastern mysteries and Greek paganism with the Bible. The Apostles had already confronted one of them, whom the Scriptures identify as Simon (Magus). “Magus” because he was a member of the Median tribe of Magi or Persian mystics who interpreted celestial phenomena and used wizards’ spells, according to the writer Herodotus. We read of Simon Magus when he attempted to buy the Holy Spirit from Peter and John in Acts chapter 8.

Another heretic was Marcion, a man who worked hard to completely separate the Messianic Faith from its Old Testament roots. He regarded the Old Testament as a catalog of crimes against humanity by an evil, sinister Mighty One.

Truth Nearly Smothered

These men were leaders in this far­reaching movement of Gnostic teachings. This was primitive idolatry that centered on worship of self, not on Yahweh. In fact, Yahweh was seen by Gnostics as an evil sub-deity who made a serious mistake in creating the physical world. He imprisoned human beings in physical bodies even though they are innately “divine.” You can sense the rudiments of the immortal soul doctrine in the making.

The Gnostic believed humans possessed a spark of divine nature just waiting to be released at death to reunite with the true deity. The problem the Gnostic saw is that man doesn’t know that he is at the center of this great plot by a sinister creator, and is imprisoned by the created world. All that is physical is evil and useless. The way to salvation is knowledge, the Gnostic says. Enlightened knowledge is what Satan tempted Eve with: “For Elohim knows  that in the day  you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods,  knowing  good  and evil,” Genesis 3:5.

This heresy, according to some historians, became a formidable contender with the early Faith and nearly smothered it. So powerful were its dogmas, so far-reaching was Gnostic teaching that its tenets were to impact church teachings irreconcilably and saturate popular worship all the way down to today.

More than one source has noted that Gnosticism made a deep impact on Christianity: “Scholars have debated whether (1) Gnosticism was a wide­spread scheme that flourished before the birth of [Messiah) and influenced Christianity from the outset, or (2) whether it was a movement that developed concurrently with Christianity and came to affect it significantly only in the second a subsequent centuries, or (3) it was a basic alteration of Christianity that arose after the disappointment of the earliest Christians’ expectation of the end of the age,” Dictionary of Bible and Religion, “Gnosticism,” p. 396.

Regardless as to the exact time of its inception, Gnosticism was to work its evil on the early faith. As one scholar writes, “The great menace, in fact of Gnosticism, was its refusal to remain outside of Christianity. It fastened itself as a parasite upon the Christian faith,drawing substance from it and at the same time robbing it of its individual character and vitality,” Deceptions and Myths of the Bible by Lloyd M. Graham, p.284.

That “individual character” being robbed was the early Assembly’s Israelite faith and the fact that the New Testament Assembly shared the same bond with Yahweh that Israel did — including the same commanded obedience to His statutes. With Gnostic influence, that relationship would forever change, and the “church” would early on-adhere to unscriptural beliefs and practices that would dominate and alter its personality and character. Only a small remnant would continue teaching the truth of the Bible.

Back to Babylon

With today’s decline in Bible-centered religion and worship, the sinister teachings of ancient Gnostic forefathers and other Babylonian mysteries have begun to grow and infiltrate in ever newer and bolder ways. How could such an obviously pagan movement be coming back? For NeoGnosticism to flourish today, traditional standards and values must first be dismantled. This is being done socially, politically, in the classroom, and now in churches. For this new Gnosticism to be successful, the past and its values must be completely erased.Secular history is being rewritten to take out references to the Bible and Biblical mores. The breakdown in the family and educational misdirection will ensure that traditional values will not be passed on to the next generation.

Socially, behavior that was once driven by Biblical undertones supported by a deep reverence in and fear of the power of the Almighty has been replaced by a man-made “politically correct” worldview. Whereas Biblical religion teaches that Yahweh alone constructs the reality of right and wrong, good and evil, NeoGnosticism sees the culture itself as divine. Gnostic philosophy says every problem must have a societal solution. The new behavioral standard of correctness is now fluid, changing with the times, rather than unchangeable since creation.

To grasp the significance of what is happening to the “church” as well as to society, we must first come to know more about the Gnostic religion, how it rose to prominence in the first centuries of the New Testament era, and how it still lives in doctrines and teachings of most denominations.

Gnosticism: A Quick Course

The Greek word Gnostic derives from a verb meaning “to know” It combines aspects of Greek philosophy, Oriental mysticism, and Christianity. It stresses salvation through gnosis or knowledge.

This teaching says “history is a progress from materialism and paganism, by way of religion and ethics, to spiritual freedom and gnosis ….The spirit in man is united with the soul so that it may be formed and educated in practical life, for it needs psychic and sense training,”Encyclopedia of World Religions, p. 146.

How did such a hybrid religious system arise? According to the book, Mystery Religions in the Ancient World, by Joscelyn Godwin, it was a combined effort. “In both Palestine and Egypt at the end of the Hellenistic age, unorthodox Jews mingled with Greek philosophers and Persian dualists; and somewhere in that confused but thrilling encounter Gnosticism was born, the religion of Gnosis — knowledge of the true nature of things” (p. 84).

“True nature”? Here is what this source describes as a major tenet of Gnosticism: “The world is a stupendous mistake, created by a foolish or vicious creator-god. This creator or Demiurge (Yahweh) is a god of very low grade on the celestial hierarchy, himself the result of a grave error, who thinks he is supreme. His pride and incompetence have resulted in the sorry state of the world as we know it, and the blind and ignorant condition of most of mankind. The Gnostic, however, is not fooled. Although like every man he suffers under the tyranny of this monster, he knows that far above the Demiurge there is another God. He believes, moreover, that humanity is not totally without hope of reaching this true God whom the Demiurge does his best to hide, both from himself and from his subjects,” Ibid.(Demiurge is Greek meaning “craftsman, maker, creator.”)

To understand modern doctrines we need to realize that Gnosis-centered teachings also reject the law of the Old Testament, the holy days and weekly Sabbath, as well as many other com­mands Yahweh gave to His chosen people Israel.

It is the hidden force behind the immortal soul doctrine, universal salvation teachings, the once-saved-always-saved tenet, the belief in a reward in heaven, and many practices engaged in but not supported by the Scriptures (like the custom of pouring rather than immersion for baptism). It even explains the pervasive belief that Yahshua the Messiah came to do away with His Father’s “harsh,” Old Testament laws.

Clearer View of Worship Today

As one digs deeper into the tenets of this mystic religion, one begins to see the pieces of a diabolical puzzle begin to come together.  When the pieces are placed side by side a clearer picture of modern worship emerges from the darkness of mysticism. The simple fact is, Gnosticism and Christianity grew up together and would strongly influenced each other.

Notice this statement: “Gnosticism emerged in schools of thought within the church in the early second century and soon established itself as a way of understanding Christianity in all of the church’s principal centers … Gnosticism was thus a major threat to the early church,” Holman Bible Dictionary, p. 558.

Another source shows just how powerful this movement was in turning people from the Scriptures: “Its rapid growth in the ancient world was encouraged by an early Christian fascination with Greek philosophy and mythology … early Christians were led into Gnosticism when they rejected the Old Testament and their Jewish roots, and turned to Platonic Dualism,” Mercer Dictionary of the Bible, p. 334.

One of the Gnostic sects had a particularly profound impact on early Christianity. Its founder was the Persian Mani. “He established a highly syncretistic form of Gnosticism called Manichaeism, which became widespread and which even included Augustine among its converts,” The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, p. 417. This heresy combined Zoroastrian, Gnostic Christian, and pagan elements.

With one of the “church fathers” even involved, it is no wonder that many Christian teachings would be forever influenced by the heresies of this paganistic movement.

Doctrinal Ties to False Worship

There are really only two religions in the world: the religion of “He” (Yahweh) and the religion of “Me” (paganism). All false religion has as its core the worship and advancement of self through human philosophy. Anything that replaces the worship of Yahweh is idolatry. Any religion based on the worship of another mighty one either springs from a rebellious heart that refuses to acknowledge Yahweh as supreme, or is simply practiced out of ignorance. Either way, True Worship is displaced while glory is given to idols — even the idolatry of self-worship. The Prophet Samuel told King Saul, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (1Sam 15:23).

Let’s look at some modern doctrines and see how they equate with what was being taught in Gnostic circles even while Peter, Paul, James, and John were teaching the truths of Yahshua and the Scriptures.

First, here are some revealing statements about some of today’s New Age notions, as well as church beliefs and practices that, astonishingly, are tied to Gnostic teachings. “From the Coptic Gnostic papyri (and their Greek originals) it is evident that the Christian Gnostic systems developed for some centuries alongside the orthodox forerunner of the main Christian church. and were distinguished by such matters as giving priority to immediate experience rather than ecclesiastical structure, teaching that ignorance rather than sin is the cause of suffering, recognizing a feminine as well as a masculine element in the divine, explaining the resurrection of [Messiah] as spiritual rather than bodily, and pointing to self-knowledge as knowledge of [Yahweh],” Myth and Mystery by Jack Finegan, p. 258.

This writer explains that while Biblical worship stresses a single, correct faith that is ever one and the same, the Gnostics believed that the Holy Spirit continued to teach new things in an evolution of beliefs.As a result, the apostate church “came to alternative thoughts and practices that were plainly meaningful to many, and that have continued to be of influence in various forms of religious tradition, including the esoteric,” ibid.

The belief among some that the “church” has the authority to set doctrine over the Bible is in line with this same Gnostic belief of an ever-growing and expanding belief system. This belief is at odds with Psalm 119:89: “For ever, O Yahweh, thy word is settled in heaven.” In other words, no new is revealed over what has already been revealed in Scripture.

Teachings that were once Bible based began to take on Gnostic flavor, as one authority notes: “The early Christian preachers and writers, seeking to speak and write to be understood, used terms current in the first century world in the vague context of gnostic religious longings and gave them new meaning in the context of the incarnation, death, and resurrection of [Yahshua],” Holman, p. 559.    This same source also reveals, “The classic answer to the question of why gnosticism arose is that it represents the ‘radical Hellenizing of Christianity.’ In this view, gnosticism’ resulted from the attempt of early Christian thinkers to make Christianity understandable, acceptable, and respectable in a world almost totally permeated by Greek assumptions about the reality of the World,” p. 559.

Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, says that the “church” did not go into wholesale corruption until after the martyrdom of James the Just (61-62 C.E.), “when Symeon the cousin of [Yahshua] was chosen bishop of Jerusalem, and a certain Thebouthis, who was not chosen,began the corruption ‘by the seven heresies, to which he belonged, ‘” A Source Book for Ancient Church History, Joseph C. Ayer, p. 109.

Old Heresies Strong Today

These seven heresies or movements in Gnosticism were initiated by Gnostic teachers, two of whom were Simon Magus and Marcion. They and other teachers were so effective and influential that many of their heresies are still alive and well in the basic beliefs and majordoctrines of most denominations today. Let’s look at some.

Universal salvation

The Gnostic Carpocratians taught that each person must pass from body to body until one has experienced every kind of action in the world. Then the soul is liberated to soar upward to the god who is above the maker(s) of the world (meaning the lesser mighty one,Yahweh). In this way all souls are saved. This belief arises from Oriental teachings of reincarnation. It traces to the world’s first lie, when Satan told Eve, “You won’t die if you disobey Yahweh.”

Elements of this universal salvation teaching of Gnosticism are still evident in the common belief that the dead live on in heaven when they “die.” Furthermore, if all are saved eventually anyway, where is the need to honor Yahweh through obedience? The logical conclusion leads inevitably to the Gnostic-rooted teaching of grace over obedience, along with the “faith alone” teaching, neither of which the Bible supports or teaches.

Law versus grace

It was the Old Testament Mighty One of harsh law and retributive justice (Yahweh) who made the world, Marcion taught. Through it He maintains unjust control. It is the higher New Testament god of love and grace, from whom Yahshua came, who is above Yahweh and unknown who will ultimately triumph over the lesser Old Testament deity. Marcion made much of the contrast between the law and the Evangels, that is, the first as coming from a wicked mighty one while the latter from a loving Father. These Gnostic notions were to profoundly affect church doctrine.As one source notes, “Christian theology also had taken seriously the concepts of love and mercy, rather than stressing law and ecclesiastical authority,” Mercer, p. 548

The law is against us

This idea is implicit in most church teachings today with their misinterpretation of grace and love. That the law is somehow bad is not found in any Scripture, however, and therefore had another origin. In fact, the Scriptures say just the opposite, that the law is good and good for us, Romans 7: 12; Psalm 19:7; lJohn 5:3; John 14:21. The Gnostic Ptolemaeus wrote that the law was imperfect, unjust, and had to be abrogated by Yahshua. The law came from an imperfect Demiurge (Yahweh), an inferior mighty one.

No-law beliefs were popular among Gnostics. “They claimed that the spiritual Christians were not responsible for what they did and could not really sin. Thus they could act in any way they pleased without fear of discipline,” Holman, p. 558. In the mind of the Gnostic, it wasn’t the human being who brought on his own problems, but Yahweh who was responsible.

“The Gnostic Marcion thus rejected the Old Testament, pointing out that the lesser or subordinate god revealed in it dealt with matter, insisted on law rather than grace, and was responsible for our decaying, tragedy-filled world,” Ibid. The reason Marcion rejected Yahweh “was not for His role as Creator, but for having given the Law,” Mercer, p. 548.

Gnosticism lies at the core of the modern belief that if man obeys Yahweh he is being “legalistic,” which is the same diabolic lie Satan used on Eve when he told her that she need not obeyYahweh’s warning against eating of the fruit of the tree. “He’s only trying to keep you from being as great as He is, Eve.” The Gnostics fell under the same spell, only they thought they could even be GREATER than Yahweh.

Finegan says that obeying the Scripture was not popular among the enlightened Gnostics, “For those [Gnostics] who are spiritual and perfect, however, such a course of conduct [obedience to Yahweh] is not at all necessary. They will be entirely and undoubtedly saved, not by means of conduct, but because they are spiritual by nature,” Myth and Mystery, p. 231.

The same reasoning is shared by the no-law clerics of our day. If I’m already saved, why obey any law? is their rationale.

The strength of Gnosticism was that it played on man’s carnal desires. And it struck at the heart of True Worship by attacking Yahweh and opening Him up to suspicion and doubt. Since Yahweh was inferior and was doing all He could to keep man from attaining his full,spiritual potential, keeping His laws and commandments will only inhibit man and keep him chained and in subjection, the believed.

In the same way, to reject Yahweh’s laws today is reflective of a covert animosity toward Yahweh as well. Only a rebellious heart refuses to obey. Romans 8:7 says, “The carnal mind is enmity against Elohim.” Enmity means deep-seated hatred.

John, however, writes, “For this is the love of Yahweh, that we keep His commandments,” lJohn 5:3. The converse of this verse is also true — disobedience to His laws means a rejection of Him and His desires for His people.

The ancient Gnostic and today’s neo-Gnostic both reject what Paul wrote in Romans 7: 12, “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” They also avoid the passage that reads, “He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21).

Immortal soul

The teaching that the human being is an immortal being is central to Gnosticism. As shown, the Gnostic held that man is divine being held in a physical world by an evil sub-Mighty One who created the physical world and imprisoned us. Man’s true place belongs with the gods, says the Gnostic.

Finegan writes, “The Gnostic systems envision not only the end-experience of the individual, for whom death is liberation from entanglement in matter and the beginning of the ascent of the soul to its proper heavenly home, but also the end-goal for the whole cosmos,”Myth and Mystery, p. 257.

The notion of an immortal soul is rooted squarely in paganism. As Ramsay MacMullen writes, “Their religious views we might suppose began with, or logically rested on, ideas of immortality. Homer portrayed man as having a soul, and Elysian Fields to go to after death.Plato taught of life indestructible” (Christianizing the Roman Empire, AD 100-400, “What Pagans Believed,” p. 11).

This writer offers further insight as he describes the words spoken at a pagan funeral, remarkably similar to what one hears in funerals today: ” … he [the deceased] now lives among the gods, traversing the heavens and looking down on life below” (Ibid.).

The pagan Greek philosopher Plutarch, writing in the first century, once gave this consolation on the death of a child: “It feels no more pain; its soul is indestructible, according to ‘traditional teachings’ and Dionysiac rites; better, according to ‘traditional and ancient customs,’ the soul returns to a ‘finer and more divine fate and country,” MacMullen, p. 126.

An inferior Old Testament

The biggest force for rejecting the teachings of Yahweh in the Old Testament comes from Marcion. “The gnostic Marcion thus rejected the Old Testament, pointing out that the lesser or subordinate god revealed in it dealt with matter, insisted on law rather than grace, and was responsible for our decaying, tragedy-filled world.” =Holman Bible Dictionary, p. 558.

Another source writes about Marcion, “He has [Yahshua] descend to Hell after the Crucifixion to rescue the Old Testament ‘villains’ and all the Gentiles, leaving behind Abraham, Moses and all the other henchmen of [Yahweh]” Godwin, pp. 85-86.

Marcion even compiled and wrote his own New Testament, in which he contrasted the Old Testament to the New Testament on love and justice. He omitted what did not promote love.

Through the influence of Marcion the picture is becoming clearer why the precepts of Yahweh as first given in the Old Testament Scriptures are put in the closet today by most denominations.

Trinity

Some Gnostic teachings reflect the Babylonian and Egyptian concepts of a trinitarian godhead. The worship of three main deities is common in ancient, pagan religious systems. The oldest is from Babylon, where the father Nimrod was worshiped along with his wifeSemiramis and son Tammuz. Other variants of this include Egyptian (Osiris, Isis, Horus); Graeco-Roman (Zeus, Poseidon, Hades; Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto); Christian (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).

The Gnostic work called The Gospel of the Egyptians includes the trinitarian concept and provides another bridge to this teaching in churchianity. “The first section of the work…tells of the origin of the heavenly world. From the supreme God, who is the Great Invisible Spirit, there evolves a trinity made up of Father, Mother (Barbelo), and Son,” Myth and Mystery, p. 251.

Significantly the deification of Mary as the “mother of G-d” fits well into the trinitarian pattern of ancient worship systems involving a mother in a trine god hierarchy.

Mother of G-d

The idea of a mother god is 4,000 years old. The Chaldeans called her Beltis, in Assyria she was known as Ishtar (from which we get Easter); the Phrygians called her Cybele; she was Isis or Hathor in Egypt; Astarte among the Canaanites; Dianna with the Ephesians, and Aphrodite in Greece.

Here is how the Gnostic embraced mother god-ism: “The being who fell out of the Pleroma [heavenly hierarchy] became the mother of Christ, and Christ returned to the Pleroma. Jesus emanated from Christ who returned to the Pleroma (although other ideas of his origin were advanced too), and the Holy Spirit emanated from Ecclesia. The mother, however, was unable to return to the Pleroma, and she brought forth another son, the Demiurge, who is the creator of all things outside the Pleroma, and the ruler of everything under him,” Myth and Mystery, p. 229.

Hence we have the Gnostic concept of the ancient belief in a “mother of G-d.” She becomes the literal mother of the Demiurge Yahweh and is called Sophia (Wisdom). Significant are the parallels between this mother concept and the “Virgin Mary” is presented venerated today. Ultimately, Sophia or Mother wisdom is restored to her place among the deities, not unlike the way prayers are directed to Mary today.

New Age

New Age is nothing more than warmed-over Gnosticism, as noted by Christopher Lash in an issue of Omni magazine: “The New Age movement is best understood … as the 20th century revival of an ancient religious tradition, gnosticism … ”

As churchianity accelerates the watering down of Scriptural precepts, New Age neo-Gnosticism is stepping through church doors and into the pulpits. As the book The New Age Explosion explains, “It is interesting that New Agers such as Besant would mention ‘Gnosis’ in the church.’ For in essence, the New Age is a revival of the gnosticism that was prevalent in the days of Paul and the early apostles,” p. 42.

Sophia the Feminist

Exalting of the female long predated Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug, who are just minor characters in an age-old worship of feminine power and mystique. Feminist roots reach back to the beginning of creation — to the mystic’s interpretation of Genesis, where Eve caught on to the “plot” of the Demiurge or creator and realized that it was the snake, not Yahweh, that was telling the truth. The snake was the emissary of the real “god.” The enlightened Eve with her special wisdom realized that she need not be subject either to Yahweh or to her husband and could transcend this fleshly existence through ignoring what Yahweh told her. All she had to do was to believe Satan.

Eve, therefore, becomes the bearer of truth on earth for the mystic. Some Gnostic teachings say that Eve became the light-bringing serpent.

From the idea of wisdom in the form of a woman came the Gnostic Sophia, a feminine deity whose name in Greek means skill and wisdom. She is seen as the mother of Yahshua, even the progenitor of Yahweh and the world-soul. She is seen as the mother goddess of many pagan religions.

New Age religion also focuses on Sophia as the divine providence who will save humanity. According to certain Gnostic teachings, man is physical and evil; woman is spiritual and divine. The idea of women as manifestations of the true “divine” is at the root of the movement to ordain women, to lead worship back to its “true” origins — back to Dame Wisdom.

As William Gentz writes of Gnostic teachings, “The two most common themes in this literature as a whole are the creation of the world as a perversion of the divine plan, and the role of wisdom [Sophia] and/ or Jesus as the bearer of the divine message of deliverance from the world of matter,” The Dictionary of Bible and Religion, p. 396.

History is also reflected in the modern push to get rid of the patriarchal order in society and replace it with a matriarchal one. Because the family is what passes on traditional values to the next generation, the family order is the next logical institution to come under attack.

Family responsibilities to rear children are increasingly being taken over by the state, which can mold them into its “politically correct” ideology. Without parental guidance, young people are increasingly finding their values on the streets and in gangs. Instead of advocatinga return to family values and responsibilities, those in power perpetuate what has already proven to fail. As a former first lady said in a Mother’s Day commencement address at George Washington University a few years ago, “Our community must be a family.”

Come Out of Her My People’

 These are some of the salient teachings of Gnosticism. This ancient heresy that is making a big comeback throughout our culture stands Biblical truths on their head as it seeks to make right wrong and wrong right. Gnosticism is an effective and powerful tool that theAdversary has used through the centuries to corrupt True worship and twist proper and true teachings so that the vast majority will worship in error. This is the heresy that gave Paul one of his biggest headaches, which was a harbinger of bigger problems to come in our day.

Return with us to pure, unadulterated worship of the one true Father in heaven. Leave the doctrines of heathendom produced by compromise with error. Come out to the light of truth. Enter the strait gate and walk the narrow way that leads to everlasting life!

by Alan Mansager