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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.

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.

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?