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Yom Kippur: Not for Atonement or Fasting

September 10th, 2013 No comments

Yom Kippur has only one purpose: rest. In this respect it joins the other festivals of Passover (Pesach), Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), Festival of Booths (Succot), and the first day of the seventh month (Rosh Hashana). Here is the traditional translation:

“In the tenth day of the seventh month, you will afflict your souls and do no work… for on this day he [the priest] will atone for you to cleanse you from all your sins before the Lord, and you will be clean. It is a Sabbath of rest to you, and you will afflict your souls and any work you will not do … and he [the priest] will atone for the holy sanctuary and the tent of meeting and the altar and for all the people … to make atonement for the Israelites from all their sins once in a year.” (Leviticus 16:29-34)

This seems like a perfectly reasonable translation until it seems to be saying that the sanctuary, the tent of meeting, and the altar also need atoning. Something must be wrong with the translation.

I have italicized the suspect words in the passage.

The first is afflict. The Hebrew word for afflict is awnaw, which is always translated in connection with Yom Kippur as meaning “to fast.” Strong’s Concordance shows many other meanings, such as “abase self, deal hardly with, humble, ravish,” and the Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament says it means “to be wretched, emaciated, submit to, bowed, weak, humiliate, castigate oneself.” Logic says that combining “doing no work” and “resting” with fasting, humbling, or castigating oneself makes no sense. How can you both rest and punish the body at the same time?

Second, it is the soul that is central to the command for the rest day: “Afflict (awnaw) your souls.” (Leviticus 26:29) The Hebrew word for soul is nefesh, which is a substance and has a specific location. “The soul (nefesh) of the flesh is in the blood.” (Leviticus 17:11) The priest burns animal blood as a sacrifice to atone for the soul: “And I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement for your souls.” (Leviticus 17:11)

Third, the word translated atonement is the Hebrew keeper, meaning “cover.” Keeper is usually used with al, “on,” and this is another clue that atone for is not the correct translation. The true translation of Leviticus 17:11 should be, “The soul of flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to cover on your souls, for it is the blood that covers in ["in" is the proper translation] the soul.”

Keeper leads us to the main point of this explanation of Yom Kippur. Keeper is directly related to kippur of Yom Kippur. Therefore, the actual translation and purpose of Yom Kippur should be Day of Covering, which is accomplished by resting the body along with its soul. (Leviticus 16:29) Continuing the very straightforward translation, resting leaves the soul refreshed or nawfash in Hebrew, the word from which nefesh, soul, is derived.

Exodus 23:12 says animals, too, are to rest. There is even a suggestion that the soul substance is present in the Lord. Leviticus 26:11 has the Lord saying, “And I will set My dwelling in the midst of you, and My soul will not reject you.” Therefore, when the Bible says the Lord rested on the seventh (Sabbath) day of creation in Genesis 2:2, perhaps it is referring to the Lord resting His soul like people and animals.

Now as to what is done on Yom Kippur, translating awnaw as “afflicting” doesn’t make sense when combined with the soul, nefesh. However, the related ancient languages of Akkadian and Middle Assyrian provide logical concepts for “rest.” The exact cognate ennoo in the Akkadian translates “to shift, to change.” One associated quote attesting to the rest concept in the Middle Assyrian nomenclature is, “Like the dead, (lie still and) do not change the side [lit. "kidney"] on which you sleep.” So rather than afflicting the soul, awnaw from the Akkadian may suggest changing the position of the body by resting to affect the soul. That makes sense. It might be something like, “You will change your soul and all work you will not do, a Sabbath of rest it will be to you, and you will change your soul.” This would be a direct statement that resting leads to changing or altering the soul substance to a calmed condition.

The real bombshell from this passage that unearths a whole can of worms for the world’s major religions is the mistranslation of “sin,” the last of the questionable words in the command for Yom Kippur. On this day the priest is to use animal blood to cover on the people from all their “sins.” Let me leave you with this thought and ask you to find out the whole story and the true meaning of “sin” in my book Talking With God: The Radioactive Ark of the Testimony. Protection From It. Communication Through It. If sin is wrongdoing, why doesn’t an apology or punishment suffice? Why perform an animal sacrifice to fix the problem, and what effect does that have on mitigating it?
1. The Chicago Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute, vol. 4, p. 176

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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 TalkingWithGod.net.

Questions on the Role of Religion, the Destiny of Man

December 21st, 2010 No comments

Walter remarked about “‘Religious Teaching’, which encourages separation and exclusivity among people.” Essentially, I agree. In my book, in the chapter titled “What is God?” I touch on the topic (p.309) specifically in relation to my theory which drives the work.

You make another point that you “feel that all men have an inner desire for spiritual growth or evolution.” My Introduction begins, “From the time man first turned his eyes upward and looked beyond himself to the leaves on the trees or the stars in the sky, he was probably overcome with one powerful sensation, perhaps an ageless instinct: curiosity. To the degree a man is curious, so is he civilized…” It seems obvious that curiosity drives growth, so perhaps we are saying much the same thing.

As to an afterlife, my short post, “God’s Nature, Love and Life After Death (Part 4)“, recaps Genesis 3:19, “For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” Since my purpose in writing Talking With God is to clarify what the Bible is saying, I’m afraid I can’t go much further than that statement. That is to say, any feelings about a realm to which we go after death is most certainly yours to contemplate, and, as the saying goes, “only time will tell.” Again thank you for your thoughtful and literate comments. They are much appreciated

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God’s Nature, Love and Life After Death (Part 4)

December 16th, 2010 2 comments

This is the last post of four in response to Donald question:

In your … opinion what and who is God, his nature, his will, his role in the universe, does he “love” us, is there life with him after death, etc.

 

Life with Him after death

Finally, is there “life with him after death?” Here I can only quote the famous lines in Genesis 3:19: “For dust you are and to dust you shall return.” Once again, this is a matter of reading the words. We may or may not want to accept the fact that there is no heaven and hell in the Four Books, but it does make one pause to reflect.

Now, all is not lost. I do point out on page 309 of the book a possible answer to how all that is laid out in the Bible (according to my interpretation) affects us today. I do attach some importance to that answer.

I don’t know if this answers your question as to what I believe. You must remember that my role in writing Talking With God was to clarify what I think are mistranslated words, leading to gross misunderstanding. I don’t pretend to have all, or many cases, any of the answers.

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God’s Nature, Love and Life After Death (Part 2)

December 12th, 2010 6 comments

This is the second of four responses to Donald question:

In your … opinion what and who is God, his nature, his will, his role in the universe, does he “love” us, is there life with him after death, etc.

 

His nature and will and role in the universe

Now searching Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers for “His nature and will and role in the universe,” it seems to me that the purpose of God from Abraham to Moses was to set out rules or laws for people to follow if they wished to live lives of wellbeing. Those rules were not only given to the Israelites; the Bible clearly states that other peoples who did not follow them were doomed to destruction.

At the same time, there is nothing that suggests that it was God’s intention to continue a dialogue with humans much after David, considering David’s conversation with God through the ephod. So His role in the universe, as it relates to people, if we pay close attention to the words, was pretty much finished after that time. Then we might conclude that, from the point of view of the legislative part of the Bible, God’s role in the universe was to lay out rules and thereafter resign His responsibility toward the people. It might then follow that from that time on the people were on their own.

To take this a step further, one might ask if God was much interested in the Israelites as a group. True, the purpose of the exodus was to liberate a whole people, move them relatively safely across the wilderness, and give them a home nation. But the Bible really puts this happening in context with a covenant God made with Abraham hundreds of years before.

It is interesting that with almost no exceptions God never speaks to a group. When this was attempted at Sinai, there was so much danger that it was a dismal failure and never tried again. One could say God’s speaking to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, when the latter two conspired against Moses, was speaking to “a group.” However, that was also a dangerous situation. The cloud seriously affected Miriam and not Moses and Aaron only because they were properly protected.

No, God’s conversations were primarily one on one. This seems also to have been the case with the prophets, though I don’t believe their telling of their experiences with God was anything other than in their imaginations. (This extends right up to today when sermons go off on made-up tangents regarding what was meant by this or that biblical verse. I have no patience with anyone who says he speaks for the Lord.)

Certainly when the Israelites reached Canaan, there was no longer any communication. God seems to have withdrawn from “His people.”

Applying some logic, another possibility is that god might be a personal God, not necessarily a God to a specific people, other than at the time of laying out the law at Sinai.

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