Archive for the ‘Bible Events’ Category

Incense Protected Biblical Israelites from Radiation Burn

July 1st, 2013 No comments

In Talking with God: The Radioactive Ark Of The Testimony, I explore several key biblical terms and items associated with the Ark that have either been mistranslated or not clearly understood over time. One such item found in several verses of the Old Testament is “incense” (Hebrew, k’toret). My study uncovered a startling use for incense.

Throughout history consumers of incense have used the sweet, smoky fragrance for mystical rites—but not the ancient Israelites. For them incense had a very practical, protective function relative to the Ark of the Testimony. The Israelite priests were trained to manufacture and use the Lord’s specified mixture, not to propitiate the gods, not to make a nice smell, not to drive away demons or please kings and pharaohs. Instead, incense was used to protect the priests and people from radiation burn. The resinous material had to be burned to become activated. It was the protective smoke, not the fragrance, that made incense effective.

Where did the danger of radiation burn come from?

Many Old Testament laws were designed to protect the Israelite priests and people from radioactivity emanating from a cloud through which the Lord spoke when it descended onto the Ark. People died or became ill if they came too near or touched the Ark. Thus, the incense, uniforms of the priests, sacrifices, and strict safety regulations were all designed to protect priests, people, animals, buildings, clothing, and the environment from the radioactive danger emanating from the cloud.

This unique use of incense was in no way mystical or magical. The ingredients in the incense had a demonstrable, chemical, protective effect. In fact, researchers today are studying how the ingredients found in incense might counteract the effects of radioactivity. In an article appearing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Indian researchers assert that certain spices (a generic term for the chemicals contained in incense) “…can protect bacteria from radiation [and] might lead to a way of reducing the side effects of radiotherapy for cancer patients” (emphasis added, London Guardian, May 25, 2000).

Incense was widely used among ancient peoples, but as far as I know, only the biblical Israelites used it to protect themselves from the radiation in the cloud. In later times, however, the Israelites no longer used it to protect themselves. The incense altars that have been found all over biblical lands were probably simply used for ritual purposes.

The correct formula – a matter of life or death

The instructions for making incense were quite precise, and the Bible describes the recipe in detail. If the priests included a wrong ingredient or made a mistake in their measuring, the incense was rendered ineffective—to the detriment of everyone in the area. For example, when Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu brought incense that contained the wrong ingredients “before the Lord,” they were “consumed … and they died before the Lord” (Leviticus 10:1–2). If their incense had contained the correct ingredients and portions, they would have been protected.

Numbers 16 reports that a mob, attempting to overthrow Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, assembled at the door of the tent of meeting (at Moses’ clever invitation) with the wrong incense material burning. When the “radiance of the Lord” appeared, all 250 men and their leaders were consumed.

The ‘filling of hands’

In another biblical scenario, the Hebrew oomeelaytaw et yawdawm is traditionally translated “consecration,” a ceremony for installation of the priests. However, oomeelaytaw et yawdawm literally means “filling the hands.”

Leviticus 12–13 explains that Aaron, Moses’ brother, was to take a handful of incense and put it “on the fire before the Lord so that the … incense may cover” the Ark’s covering so that he would not die. In other words, with this order the Lord was protecting Aaron from the radioactive effects of the cloud.

The radical shift from incense as a protective material to one used in mystical rites raises several important questions, especially in our modern age where radioactive dangers abound. What was the chemical composition of the biblical incense? How did it protect against radioactivity? Why did the purpose of incense shift from protective to mystical?

There are clear answers to these questions, and the pieces to this puzzle have been put together in Talking with God: The Radioactive Ark Of The Testimony. Available online. Join the ongoing investigation of the Old Testament’s puzzling questions at

The first Passover and 4 clues to its existence

April 4th, 2012 No comments

Was the story of the Israelites fleeing Egypt after years of slavery history or myth? Were there really 10 plagues that became so progressively terrible that they forced the Pharaoh to finally release all the Israelite slaves? Was there really a leader named Moses, and did he guide this “mixed multitude” for 40 years in the wilderness of the Sinai desert? These questions have puzzled biblical scholars, archeologists, and all those interested in solving one of the Old Testament’s most intriguing mysteries.

Passover is the Jewish festival that celebrates the flight of the Israelites out of Egypt. During this Passover season it is particularly pertinent to wonder, did the Exodus really happen?

Clues and speculations abound regarding alleged items of evidence discovered for the Exodus, and nearly all have their champions and detractors. It seems that every time a theory is proposed and the Exodus mystery appears to be solved, it is quickly shot down for one reason or another.

Nevertheless, ongoing archeological and etymological investigations into the Exodus have produced some tantalizing items and scholarship. Presented for your consideration are Exhibits 1–4. Read and wonder…

Exhibit 1: The Ipuwer Papyrus. How could plagues described in an Egyptian papyrus be so similar to those found in the Bible?

In the early 1800’s, a papyrus was found in Egypt called The Admonitions of an Egyptian. It is now in the Leiden Museum in Holland. An Egyptian named Ipuwer wrote it at the end of the Middle Kingdom, around 1650 B.C.E.; scribes copied it in the 19th Dynasty, in the 1200’s B.C.E. Below are some of the amazingly similar plagues described in both the Ipuwer papyrus and the Bible. (The biblical plagues befell the Egyptians at the time of Moses and the Exodus, which has been dated sometime between 1570 to 1290 B.C.E.)

The river is blood. All the waters of the river were turned to blood. (Exod. 7:20)
Men … thirst after water. The Egyptians dug around the river for water to drink. (Exod. 7:24)
Gates, columns and walls are consumed by fire. And fire came down to earth. (Exod. 9:23)
Everywhere barley has perished. And the flax and the barley were smitten. (Exod. 9:31)
The cattle moan because of the state of the land. The hand of the Lord is … on the cattle, which is in the field. (Exod. 9:3)
Men are few, and he who places his brother in the land is everywhere. 

The children of princes are dashed against the walls.

At midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt from the firstborn of Pharaoh … to the firstborn of the captive who was in prison. (Exod. 12:29)
Pestilence is throughout the land. I have sent forth my hand and smitten you and your people with pestilence. (Exod. 9:15)
The land [was not light or bright]. (This is a guess of translators. It’s actually blank on the papyrus.) There was thick darkness (or darkness of gloom) in all the land or Egypt. (Exod. 10:22)
Hair [has fallen out] for everybody. He whose hair has fallen out.* (Lev. 13:40)
Gold, lapis lazuli, silver … are strung on the necks of maidservants. And they asked of the Egyptians articles of silver and … gold … and they plundered Egypt. (Exod. 12:35)

*Admittedly this biblical reference about hair falling out occurs after both the writing of Ipuwer and the flight out of Egypt. However, I include it here because in my book, Talking With God: The Radioactive Ark of the Testimony., I explain that the cloud that settled on the ark was radioactive, and one of the effects of close contact was hair loss. Mysteries abound!

The disparity of the dates between the Ipuwer and Exodus documents is enough to convince many scholars that no relation exists between the two. In addition, prevalent theory now claims the papyrus is simply ahistorical. Be that as it may, the similarities are striking, and why they are remains a mystery. Could it be that the scribes who copied the document at the time of the Exodus were experiencing similar calamities to the earlier ones and were using Ipuwer’s words to warn the present-day Pharaoh?

Exhibit 2: The Israelites’ Travel Itinerary and the Egyptian Maps. Did the cities the Israelites camped in on their way to Canaan really exist?

One of the most contentious problems regarding the Exodus investigation is the fact that there is no archeological evidence for various places mentioned in the biblical travel itinerary of the Israelites as they fled Egypt for the Promised Land, Canaan. In an article in the September/October 1994 issue of Biblical Archaeological Review, Charles R. Krahmalkov, then Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Languages at the University of Michigan, points out that various scholars have used this explanation to “reject the entire story” of Israel’s origins, and therefore the Exodus.

However, Krahmalkov discusses a number of biblical sites that appear to be corroborated by Egyptian sources. Among them are Dibon (Numbers 13:45), a city where the Israelites’ camped on their way to invade Canaan, and Hebron (Numbers 13:22), another city targeted for invasion.

Krahmalkov concedes the lack of archaeological evidence, but he points out that the Egyptians thoroughly mapped these sites, as well as a number of other regions mentioned in the Bible. The mapping was done in the Late Bronze age, in Dynasties XVIII and XIX (according to his dating, 1560–1200 B.C.E. He dates the Exodus in the range of 1400–1200 B.C.E.). Also include are the cities of Iyyn and Abel (biblical Abel Shittim) both in Numbers 13: 45–50; Yom haMelach (Numbers 34:3); and Athar (Hebrew Atharim) (Numbers 21:1). The maps survive in list form, and they are found on the temple walls of ancient Egyptian kings. Since they are documented in the most important extra-biblical source—Egypt—the evidence is strong that these cities indeed existed at the time of the Exodus.

Exhibit 3: Aper-el’s Tomb. Was there a Hebrew advisor to Egyptian kings at the time of the Exodus?

In 1987, searchers rediscovered a tomb in the Saqqara region of Egypt belonging to a man they call Aper-el. They say his name is an Egyptian version of a Hebrew name. Aper-el was vizier to the famous Amenhotep III (1370–1293 B.C.E., 18th Dynasty) and later to his son, the monotheistic king Akhenaten. They dated the tomb around 1353–1335 B.C.E., but there is something of mystery here.

The tomb was originally discovered by the legendary archeologist Sir Flinders Petrie in the 1880’s. He copied an inscription that spells the vizier’s name Aperia. I don’t know if the 1987 team found other inscriptions with the -el ending, but -el would be the equivalent of Elohim, one of the terms for God in the Bible. The ending -ia would indicate Ya, short for YHWH or Yaweh, the other biblical name for God, generally translated “Lord.” (Think the familiar Halleluya, Hebrew for “praise the Lord.”)

It is tantalizing to wonder if Aper-el/Aperia was indeed a Hebrew advisor to the young king Akhenaten. If so, did Aper-el/Aperia influence Akhenaten’s thinking toward monotheism? In any case, it would place a Hebrew advisor to the kings within the range of years claimed for the Exodus just as Joseph was to an Egyptian king hundreds of years earlier. In the book of Genesis, Joseph rose from captive to be second only to the Pharaoh, and he was empowered to save Egypt from starvation during a seven-year drought. It isn’t known how Aperel/Aperia got there!

Exhibit 4: Is the name of the Hebrew midwife in Exodus the same as that of a slave mentioned in an ancient Egyptian papyrus?

The Brooklyn Museum has a papyrus, possibly from Thebes, with a list of slaves from the Egyptian Middle Kingdom, about 1740 bce. It includes a slave named Shiphra and others with Semitic names. In the Bible, a Hebrew woman with the same name, Shiphra, was one of two midwives the Pharaoh commissioned to kill all the male Hebrew children at the time Moses was born (Exod. 1:15). She didn’t. Since by that time all Hebrews had been put into servitude by the Pharaoh, the midwife Shiphra would also have been a slave. The fact that the name Shiphra is found in both the Bible and the papyrus indicates that the name and the woman’s condition of slavery were familiar to both Israelites and Egyptians.

The mystery continues

Although the comparisons between the Ipuwer Papyrus and the Bible are tantalizing, Ipuwer alone does not provide absolute evidence for the Exodus and the Passover. For that matter it can’t even account for the existence of the Israelites.

While there is little tangible archeological evidence and until the mystery is finally solved, we are left to rely on the venerable Passover service to connect us to our past at this holiday season. We must be content to repeat the most pertinent of the famous “Four Questions,” which the youngest at the table asks on the first night:

“Why is this night different from all other nights?”

Facts about what really happened to the Israelites can be found in the new book Talking with God. The Radioactive Ark Of The Testimony. Communication Through It. Protection From It. by Roger D. Isaacs. Available at Amazon. Join our ongoing investigation of Old Testament mysteries at


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.


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.


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!

Considering Achan and Rahab of Jericho

February 19th, 2011 1 comment

Debby’s comments on the Jericho-connected battle of Ai story. (Joshua 7:1–8:28) (I discuss this on pages 313–316 of Talking With God.) Ai was another city that the invading Israelites attacked.

Their first attempt ended in disaster. The inhabitants of the Ai chased a small army of 3,000 Israelites and killed 36 of them. Achan, a man from the tribe of Judah, took the blame for this defeat He stole some items during the destruction of Jericho, when the people were expressly ordered to give them to “the treasury of the Lord.” The Lord told Joshua that he wouldn’t be able to capture Ai until the guilt was expiated. Achan confessed and he, his family, and his animals were stoned to death.

Then the Lord told Joshua it was alright to attack Ai. So Joshua assembled an army of 30,000 soldiers, and they succeeded in capturing and destroying the city. After prohibiting the people from taking loot from Jericho, the Lord now permitted them to take it from Ai.

Debby feels that this story is a lesson “learned that there was no room for even a single bad apple among the Israelites and that God meant business.” She contrasts this with the Jericho story where Rahab, the prostitute, hid the Israelite spies so they could safely return from Jericho to give their reports to Joshua.

Debby concludes: “I think the point of the story is this: The contrast [is] between Achan and Rahab of Jericho, whose reward for relinquishing Canaan to the Israelites actually won Canaan back for her in the form of The Promised Land, while Achan’s disloyalty to Israel brought him the same type of execution reserved for Canaanites at the same time his family lost its inheritance. Once … the lesson was learned… God told Joshua to take his whole army for a second attack-30,000 men, proving what a gross miscalculation they’d made the first time when the Lord wasn’t helping them. And as their reward, contrary to the usual rules, the Lord would allow them to keep all the plunder for themselves.”

The rabbis and scholars have worried over this story for centuries. There are countless explanations for the misdeeds of one man, which ended in killing 36 Israelite soldiers and the perpetrator’s whole family. I have given my opinion in the book in one of the few times I make a conjecture.

I believe that the entire Achan story was inserted into an original, simple explanation of the attack on Ai. I explain why it never should have been there in the first place. If it is omitted, there remains a smooth story detailing that Joshua sent spies to Ai. They miscalculated what it would take to capture the city. Then, and only then, after the too small army was defeated, did Joshua use the communications device, the Ark, to ask the Lord what to do. Then, omitting the Achan story, the normal procedure took place.

The Lord said to Joshua, “Up! Condition the people, and say ‘condition yourselves against tomorrow.’” (Where?) Why?  For communication to work, the dangerous cloud had to be on the Ark, and the people had to protect themselves from it. The orders to send the full army now came directly from the Lord through the Ark.

Finally, while the details of the story could well be historical, when it was finally written presents a problem. Once again, as with so much of the Bible, we find that it was perfectly possible that the event took place, and the observers passed the details on orally as accurately as they could. However, when it came to the writing, the scribes no longer knew the technical aspects. I conclude this for several reasons.

(1)  The concept of Ark of the Testimony (Ark of communication) isn’t mentioned. Here it is not even called the Ark of the Covenant, as it was later known, but only “ark [of the ] Lord.” So while observers explained that Joshua “fell down before the ark,” they didn’t seem to know why any longer.

(2)  Whether or not it is true that the Achan story was inserted, this too was at a later date. Joshua said to Achan, “My son…, give glory to the Lord…and make confession to him.” (Joshua 7:19) This is a use of the word “glory” in its later sense. There is no understanding that it was the radioactive substance in the cloud. One could hardly give that to the Lord!

(3)  Third, scholars have pointed out that Ai means “ruin.” To call it a “ruin” before it was destroyed is strange. It makes one suspect that the writer gave it the name after the fact.

As an aside I must mention that scholars have long felt the whole Ai story was just that— a story. They reason that archaeologists have found no trace of a city or destruction at the level dating to the attack in a place thought to be Ai, called et-Tell. However, very recently a nearby location called Khirbet-el-Maqatir has turned up evidence of a city that was destroyed at least partially by fire at the exact time of Joshua’s attack and in the perfect place where the event could have occurred. It even produced a child burial urn, indicating that there were women at the site. This, it is felt, could well be the city of Ai.

So, while Debby’s explanation of the contrast between Achan and Rahab is most ingenious,  I feel that a study of the original word meanings don’t indicate they were actually meant to show a comparison between good and evil people.


The Ark of Jericho

February 17th, 2011 No comments

Debby asks …

“Why you didn’t seize the opportunity to capture the flag through the battle of Jericho story, for I believe that this single incident wins your entire argument that the ark was a communication device.”

She recaps the Jericho story and continues: “Subsequently, when the trumpets blasted and the people shouted, the wall collapsed.  Is it not logical to suppose that at that precise premeditated moment, the Lord emitted an immense sound (or nuclear explosion) from the ark that caused the walls’ collapse?… The Lord’s directive for the priests to be blowing into the trumpets may have somehow equalized the pressure in the priests’ ears, just as the loud shouting may have equalized the pressure in the people’s ears against the explosion.  Otherwise they might have all become deaf from the event.”

Debby’s supposition is very interesting, and it brings up two points about how I’ve gone about writing Talking With God.

(1)  In all my research throughout the book, I have tried my best to stick to the actual descriptions of events exactly as they are related.

(2)  Where I have conjectured, I state that clearly. It is usually relating to word meanings or to the few descriptions that seem out of context or lacking in contextual logic.

In the case of the attack on Jericho, all we really have are the words describing the system for knocking down the city’s walls:

  • marching with the Ark
  • blowing of rams’ horns
  • shouting.

There is no mention of the Lord’s participation in the event (other than His order for the Israelites’ leader, Joshua, to carry out His instructions).  Thus, He was not included in the actual process. As to the possibility of the Ark’s emitting sound or explosion, once again there is no actual description of the occurrence.

In discussing actual communication through the Ark, I have emphasized the need for protection when using it. The priests and anyone exposed to Ark had to condition themselves. (“Condition” is my interpretation of the word “sanctify.”)

The Jericho story is in the Joshua 6. The very beginning of the book is a continuation of the book of Numbers, the history of the wilderness journey that extended into the Israelites’ first months in The Promised Land, Canaan.

The story starts with the Israelites preparing to cross the Jordon River into Canaan.  Joshua 3:5–7 says, “And Joshua said to the people, ‘Condition yourselves for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you…’ And Joshua spoke to the priests, saying. ‘Take up the Ark of the Covenant, and pass on before the people’… And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘This day I will begin to magnify you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know… I will be with you.’” The rest of the story details the crossing of the Jordon with the Ark.

If the Lord spoke to Joshua, it had to be through the cloud.  So, to protect the people from the cloud’s danger, the Lord ordered them to condition themselves. When the Lord spoke, the ark could not have been wrapped as it normally was when born by the priests, so the people were commanded to follow it from “about two thousand cubits… come not near it.” (Joshua 3:4)

The ingredients were all there for proper use of the Ark as a communications device:

  • the Lord speaking
  • danger when He appeared
  • protection by conditioning.

Now we come to the Jericho story.  Joshua had received orders from the Lord detailing the system for destroying the city and the people. “Joshua …called the priests, and said to them, ‘Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.’” (Joshua 6:6) “The seven priests … passed on and the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them.”

NOTE: With one exception explained in my Appendix A, the Book of Joshua doesn’t use ark of the testimony.

Nowhere is there mention of Joshua conditioning the people or the Lord speaking to them.  Joshua, not the Lord, gaves all orders to the priests.  So we must conclude that the Ark was, as usual, wrapped during the Jericho attack, and therefore posed no danger to the priests or the people. Itcould not have been used in its communications role.  So, while Debby’s thought is most interesting (and creative!), I have to stick to how the Bible describes the events at that point in time.