Rosh Hashanah A Day of Rest, Not the New Year

September 21st, 2011 No comments

Rosh Hashanah is called the Jewish New Year, and this year it begins at sundown, September 28th. The words Rosh Hashanah (head of the year) are not found in the Five Books of Moses at all. They are used just once and that is in Ezekiel 40:1, but there it is only in reference to a Jubilee year, not a New Year. The ordinance that is called Rosh Hashanah today is found in Leviticus 23:24. It is in the seventh month, called Tishri:

“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the Israelites, saying in the seventh month on the first of the month you will have a Sabbath…a holy gathering. You will do no work of service….’ ”

The actual Jewish New Year, that is the first day of the first month, is ordained in Exodus 12:2 and refers to the month of Nisan:

“And the Lord said to Moses and to Aaron in the land of Egypt…This month shall be the head of months Rosh Chadoshim) for you. It will be the first of the months of the year for you.”

The day now called Rosh Hashanah has come to be a day leading to the holiday of Yom Kippur, which is traditionally observed as a time of self-examination and repentance. But that wasn’t its original purpose as described in the Bible. Its original purpose was to be a day of rest. One of seven rest days prescribed in the Bible, the others included Passover (Pesach), the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag Hamatzot), the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), the Festival of Booths (Succot), the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and the Sabbath day.

It is interesting that almost no online references to Rosh Hashanah refer to the biblical ordinance, but are overwhelmingly concerned with its later significance.

Why rest days? The clue is found in the law concerning the Sabbath day as found in the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:4. There the Lord commanded:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to sanctify it. Six days you will work…But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. In it you will not do any work, you, your son and your daughter, your man servant, your maid servant, nor your cattle nor the sojourner within your gates. Because in six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day….”

There was a reason given why the Lord rested and why humans and work animals were also to rest. It is a fascinating reason, and it is detailed in my book Talking with God: The Radioactive Ark Of The Testimony. Available at Amazon. Join the ongoing investigation of the Old Testament’s puzzling questions at TalkingWithGod.net.

How Did the Biblical ‘Glory’ Change from a Dangerous Substance to Praise for the Lord?

August 17th, 2011 No comments

Read my latest article exploring the puzzle of the word “glory.” In it I ask how the biblical glory changed from a dangerous substance to “praise for the Lord.” I’d enjoy reading your thoughts.

Source

Tags:

Are Biblical Sacrifices ‘Hocus Pocus’ or Unknown Science?

June 7th, 2011 No comments

This question came to me from Debby, and it’s an interesting one. See what you think.

Roger:

I’m still reading your book but very often while looking up specific passages in my Bible, I get sidetracked.  Case in point:  After consulting Lev. 13 to see the NIV translation compared to your account of radiation burn, I ended up continuing through Lev. 14 to find the treatment for it.  And though I agree that radiation burn symptoms as you describe them are similar to what’s described in the 13th chapter, the cleansing process in the 14th chapter fall back into the “hocus pocus” category for me.  That’s where guilt offerings, wave offerings or sin offerings, come into play – with priests required to dip one finger into oil and then touch an earlobe, or kill one bird and let the other one fly away.  These things seem irrational in my rational world and I don’t see how this procedure would cleanse anyone of anything…

Here’s my answer.

Debby:

Once again you wonder about a significant question. Are the various sacrifices mentioned in my Chapter 10 pp 228-274, which are part of the cleansing (protection) process simply irrational “hocus pocus?”

My answer would be to suggest more “hocus pocus.”

Believe it or not a tiny white sphere, taken into your stomach:

  • Will stop nausea caused by a mysterious radioactive machine (x-ray for radiation therapy). (Ondansetron).
  • Will protect your body from heart attack (Lipitor).
  • Will bring down your high blood pressure (Furosemide).
  • Will make your blood more normal (Potassium, prevents low levels).
  • Will return your arrhythmic heart to an even rhythm (Amidarone).
  • Will make your head stop hurting (Aspirin).
  • And:

    Will protect you from radioactivity!!  See  this recent article.

A tiny white sphere (pill)? Impossible!

And think of all those clear liquids that get squirted into your arm to protect you from so many terrible diseases. Miracles?

So just because we don’t know the mechanics of how the biblical systems worked doesn’t mean they didn’t (or did). Maybe someday it will all come clear!

Now also, in case you feel that answer is unsatisfactory, take a look at the incense study I did (Chapter 9, pp. 184-201). It shows how what many have understood to be only hocus pocus and “smell goods” was actually chemically designed for protection against radiation burn. I believe other such studies, say into your Leviticus 14 question, may clear up longstanding misunderstandings. And the powerful tool of etymology might again come to our aid in getting to the facts.

Thanks, Debby, for another excellent question!

More Thoughts About Anger

May 25th, 2011 No comments

Blog Sparks Interest in Anger Management, Control and Causes

Friends, I’m pleased to report that my latest article, “Was ‘the Anger of the Lord’ a Natural Phenomenon?” has attracted much interest online. I’m also curious. Why such a strong interest? Are readers drawn to the topic of the Lord’s anger or just anger in general? Do we fear the anger of the Lord or the anger that lurks within us? Are we seeking the causes of anger? Or the management of it?

This topic brings to mind the well-known story of Cain and Abel. The sons of Adam and Eve, these two brothers just couldn’t get along. Cain had a terrible anger management problem, and for reasons that are detailed in Genesis, he murdered his brother. (By the way, I talk about this incident on page 170 of Talking With God as it relates to the dangerous atmosphere that Cain created by spilling his brother’s blood.)

And then there’s the story of Moses, who came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of stone containing the Lord’s words after spending 40 days there. When he saw that the Israelites had become corrupt and rebellious, thinking he would never return, he became so angry he smashed the tablets.

Anger Management – Is that the Issue?

I suspect my article touched a nerve because anger, while a normal human emotion, is difficult to contain and control. It can be used for both evil, as in the case of Cain, or good, i.e., a righteous anger against injustice, corruption, etc. as in Moses’ case.

We both fear and are fueled by anger. Indeed, from human conflict to road rage, we certainly seem to be engulfed by anger in the world today. Even the weather seems enraged as we’ve seen recently in Missouri, Japan, and the almost biblical floods along the Mississippi basin.

I offer no answers. Just pondering the puzzle of our humanity…

What do you think? Are people morbidly fascinated by anger? How much does anger influence our actions today, individually and globally, for right or wrong?

Was ‘the Anger of the Lord’ a Natural Phenomenon?

May 19th, 2011 No comments

In my book, Talking with God: The Radioactive Ark Of The Testimony, I explore several key biblical terms associated with the ark that have either been mistranslated or not clearly understood over time. One phrase found in several verses of the Old Testament is “the anger of the Lord.” There has never really been a satisfactory explanation as to how the Lord’s “anger” worked as it is described in the Bible.

In the Old Testament there certainly are instances when anger (Hebrew verb, kawtsaf, noun, ketsef) means just that, anger, but often, when the word is used in relation to the Lord, it is followed by a strange reaction relating to the verb to glow, or more specifically, glowed. When the anger of the Lord glowed, the result was that the person(s) at whom this phenomenon was aimed contracted a “plague.”

Old Testament Examples

Num. 1:53: When the tabernacle was constructed in the Wilderness the Bible says the Lord appointed the tribe of Levi, the Levites, to “camp around the tabernacle of testimony so there will be no anger [ketsef] on the Israelites.” Later (Num. 8:19), the Lord told Moses to have the Levites serve there so that “there will not be a plague among the Israelites for coming near [the tabernacle].”

Something happened to automatically trigger plague when the people came too close to the tabernacle. When Moses ordered the Levites to “camp around” the ark, it was to protect the people from a natural reaction, the plague.

Num. 16:46; Hebrew Bible 17:11: At one time in the Wilderness a small group of men rebelled against Moses and Aaron. They were killed, and this caused all the Israelites to turn on the two leaders. The Bible says the Lord told Moses and Aaron to “get away from the midst of the congregation and I shall consume them in a moment.”

Then, instead of pleading with the Lord on behalf of the people, “Moses said to Aaron, ‘Take the censer, and put fire on it…and lay incense on it and go, hurry to the congregation, and make atonement for them for the anger has gone forth from the Lord, and the plague has begun” (emphasis added). Aaron did as he was told “and stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stayed.” In other words, a chemical procedure, caused by the burning of incense, had taken place. The chemicals in the burning incense eventually stopped the plague.

By the way, “atonement” is a mistranslation, and I will discuss this piece to the puzzle in another article.

Num. 11:33: While in the Wilderness the people complained that they had no meat to eat. The Lord brought them quails, but when he saw them “lusting” after the meat, His anger “glowed among the people while the meat was still between their teeth…and the Lord struck among the people a very great plague.” It took two days for the people to gather the quails, so one might assume that the “glow” may have hastened their rotting, causing deadly illness.

Num. 12: 9–10: When Miriam and Aaron, Moses’ sister and brother, “spoke against Moses, because he had married a Cushite woman, the anger of the Lord glowed against them and Miriam’s skin turned white as snow.” (To understand the chemical reason why Aaron’s skin wasn’t affected, read pp. 86–88 in my new book, Talking With God.)

Num. 14:11–12: In the Wilderness the Israelites complained bitterly when the spies, who had been sent out to survey the land the people were about to enter, brought back an “evil report.” Although the story does not specifically say that the Lord’s anger glowed, it does warn that He would strike the people with “pestilence.” However, He recanted but said He would fill the whole earth with His glory. (Glory, too, is a word that has two totally separate meanings, one being part of the process that involved the plague. I intend to write about it in my next discussion.) As for those 20 years and older, their “dead bodies shall fall in the Wilderness.” That plague played a part in this episode is made clear by the fact that it killed the spies who had brought the evil report (Num. 14:37).

The “anger” that glowed and led to plague indicates a cause-effect relationship. Why was this? Was the glowing anger something more than just the Lord losing His temper? If so, exactly what was it? And what really was the reaction translated as “plague?”

I believe there are clear answers to these questions, and I have put together the pieces to this puzzle in Talking with God: The Radioactive Ark Of The Testimony. Available at Amazon. Join our ongoing investigation of the Old Testament’s puzzling questions at TalkingWithGod.net.