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Showing posts from May, 2018

Different Beliefs about the Kingdom of Heaven

Kingdom of Heaven Series #2 Different Beliefs about the Kingdom of Heaven
This is the second of a series of blogs about the meaning of the Kingdom of Heaven to Yeshua and his followers. The Kingdom of Heaven was a hot topic before and during the time of Yeshua. It was connected to two beliefs that had grown in popularity – the arrival of the Anointed One (Mashiach / Messiah) and the Son of Man. Since the invasion of the Assyrians and the exile of members of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) in the 8th century BCE, the prophets had been prophesying that God would free the Jewish homeland from the yoke of foreign oppressors. After the fall of the Southern Kingdom and the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE, the prophets continued to promise that at some point in the future God would redeem the land and return it to his people.
There have been a number of “foreign oppressors” in the history of Israel, but at the time of Yeshua it was the Roman Empire that was the problem. Fervor over cla…

What the Kingdom of Heaven is and is not.

Kingdom of Heaven Series #1 What the Kingdom of Heaven is and is not.
A primary difference between the Yeshua Movement and other Jewish sects was Yeshua’s Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the first of a series of blogs about what the Kingdom of Heaven meant to Yeshua and his followers. Understanding the principles and values embedded in Yeshua’s Kingdom of Heavenmessage has the power to transform lives today – without need of the tangled web of institutional theologies and Christology’s that have been attached to it over the past 2,000 years.
Let’s begin by addressing two very important points:
(1) The Kingdom of Heaven is not a reference to a “kingdom in a place called Heaven.”
(2) The Kingdom of Heaven is not a reference about “going to Heaven when you die.”
When Yeshua usually used the word translated “Heaven” he use it as a euphemism for “God.”
A euphemism is a word or phrase used instead of another word or phrase that members of the intended audience might find offensive.

What Did Jesus Look Like?

But what did he really look like, as a man living in Judaea in the 1st century? This subject has long been of interest.  It is worth emphasizing that images of Jesus over time give us clues on how Jesus was imagined in different environments, but say absolutely nothing about what he really looked like. Our images of Jesus were largely created in the Byzantine era (4th-6th centuries). Byzantine images of Jesus were based on the image of a Graeco-Roman deity, for example the famous statue of Olympian Zeus by Phidias in the 4th century BCE.
As time went on the sun god’s halo was also added to Jesus’s head to show his heavenly nature. The winged victory in the hands of Olympian Zeus was replaced with gesture of blessing, with the Bible held in Jesus’s hand instead of a spear. This iconography of Jesus with long hair, a beard and a halo comes from the 4th century onwards, with Jesus sitting on a heavenly throne, like Olympian Zeus, as cosmic judge of the world: the Alpha and Omega, beginni…

What does “kick against the pricks” mean?

What image comes to mind when you hear the biblical phrase “kick against the pricks”? There is no doubt in my mind that the images that pop into 21st century American minds aren’t the same as that of readers of the Greek text of Acts 1800 years ago. It is a very important phrase that gives us a glimpse into the minds of the scribes that copied the Greek text and the Gentiles that read it.
The New Testament has been preserved in more manuscripts than any other ancient work, having over 5,800 complete or fragmented Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages including Syriac, Slavic, Gothic, Ethiopic, Coptic and Armenian. None of those manuscripts are the original manuscript of Acts. It has not been found. The earliest complete manuscripts of New Testament books were copied over 300 years after the original manuscript was written. In order to keep things in perspective, consider the fact that in July America will celebrate its 242…

Is the Sea of Galilee a sea or a lake or is the name wrong?

The New International Version of Matthew 4:18 reads as follows:
“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew.They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.”
Walking by the Sea of Galilee” and “casting a net into the lake”? Was there a lake next to the sea?Not according to the map below.

And then when we compare the Sea of Galilee to the Mediterranean Sea, they are clearly very different types of bodies of water.
I think most of us have two very different meanings for the words "sea" and "lake." We can see on the map that there is no lake next to the Sea of Galilee. So, the obvious question is why did the translators of the New International Version use “sea” in one place and “lake” in another?"
In order to answer that question we must first check the Greek manuscripts and see what Greek words the translators translated. In both places we find the same word, θάλασσαv (THALASSAN), n…

Ancient Artifacts Smuggled by Hobby Lobby Traced to Mysterious Sumerian City

Some of the 5,500 stolen artifacts purchased by Hobby Lobby are believed to have originated in the long-lost city of Irisagrig. “The tablets, primarily from the Ur III and Old Babylonian period (2100-1600 BCE), are mostly legal and administrative documents. Keep in mind that Abraham lived about 2000 BCE. See pictures and read article at --

Fragment from ‘Unknown’ Dead Sea Scroll Revealed with Space-Age Imaging

On Tuesday, the Antiquities Authority revealed a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls from Cave 11. The fragment contains letters written in the ancient Hebrew script known as Paleo-Hebrew.... This fragment cannot be attributed to any one of the known manuscripts.This raises the possibility that it belonged to a still unknown manuscript. Twenty-eight types of light exposures are used to show the different elements in the scrolls, allowing for a “new reading” of the text. See pictures and read complete article at --