The Berean Voice - Hope of Israel Ministries

The Berean Voice - Hope of Israel Ministries

The Berean Voice Hope of Israel Ministries (Church of YEHOVAH) Volume 3, Number 5 September-October 2002 Inside.... Page 2 From the Editor Page 3 Is...

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The Berean Voice Hope of Israel Ministries (Church of YEHOVAH)

Volume 3, Number 5 September-October 2002

Inside.... Page 2 From the Editor Page 3 Is meeting Sinai Really the Mountain of YEHOVAH Page 30 A Sin that Stands Condemned Page 31 Letters from Our Readers... Page 40 The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse! Page 60 The Incorruptible God? Page 62 “And Did Those Feet...?” Page 63 The House of Israel Page 69 The Fraud of Islam: How the Conspiracy Thrives

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse!

Page 77 Radiocarbon Dating: Tool or Magic Wand? Page 80 Is Judaism the Religion of Moses? Part 8 Page 89 William Blake and His Famous Poem “Jerusalem”

2 The Sin of Homosexuality An outstanding characteristic of fallen man is his inability to believe the evidence of his own eyes and ears. Even YEHOVAH God’s own servant people, preserved by Him in spite of their sins, were many times rebuked by Him for their failure to hear all that He had spoken: “He hath poured upon him (Jacob-Israel) the fury of His anger, and the strength of battle; and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew it not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart” (Is. 42:25).

Hope of Israel Ministries (Church of YEHOVAH) The Berean Voice Magazine P.O. Box 6772 Thousand Oaks, CA 91359-6772, U.S.A. Website (West Coast): http://hope-of-israel.org Website (East Coast): http://hope-of-isreal.net E-mail: [email protected] Fax: (818) 878-9334 Editor and Director: John D. Keyser Contributing Writers: Terry Anderson Ernest Martin Dr. Daud Hammid Technical Advisor: Sean Keyser

Hope of Israel Ministries —

Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!

It would seem that academics and theologians — especially the latter — find it difficult to accept YEHOVAH’s Truth from one not of their calling or position. In taking offence that YEHOVAH has overlooked them and chosen a “lesser” mortal to serve His purpose, they today stand in rejection of His Word as did the Sanhedrin in the days of the Messiah’s earthly ministry. Those who would not accept Yeshua then are the same as those who reject him now. Spiritual wickedness in high places? Indeed! In YEHOVAH’s Word it plainly shows that sodomy and all its attendant perversions are abominations in the sight of YEHOVAH and are roundly condemned. Not only is the Law very clear on this (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Deuteronomy 23:17), but nowhere in the New Testament Scriptures do we find the law removed or modified. Although many “Christian” scholars ignore this fact, Paul certainly does not (Romans 1:18-32). The reader should pay particular attention to “that recompence of error.” It is claimed that some people are “just built that way.” We can expect the enemies of YEHOVAH to make such a claim; but every one who is worthy of the name Christian must deny such a claim because it is not possible for the Righteous and Just God to condemn without cause that which is of His own creation. YEHOVAH has condemned sodomy and all such perversions. They are therefore not of His creation, but the insinuations of Satan into the minds of sinful men. In history, sodomy is a prominent feature of apostasy and decline. It is a sign of the end of an age. Like Sodom and Gomorah the cry of this people “is waxen great before the face of the Lord” (Genesis 19:13). Disobedience to His Law has resulted in that same Law breaking us in the form of AIDS and its complications — now sweeping the world. Repentance is the only way to stop this terrible curse.

— John D. Keyser

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Is Mt. Sinai Really the Mountain of YEHOVAH? When Queen Helena, mother of Constantine the “Great,” chose Jebel Musa in the Sinai peninsula as the site of the biblical Mt. Sinai, the Christian world blindly assumed this to be true. Every year excited tourists climb the slopes of the so-called Mountain of God, photographing Elijah’s cave and the monastery of St. Katherine -totally unaware that the REAL Mt. Sinai lies across the Gulf of Aqaba in what is now Saudi Arabia. How could this be?

John D. Keyser

T

he exodus of the Israelites from the land of Egypt has been commemorated each year for the past 33 centuries by the celebration of Passover. The historical and religious records of the Hebrews are replete with references to the Exodus, the forty years in the Wilderness and the Covenant at Mt. Sinai. The people of Israel have been constantly reminded of the Shekinah Glory of YEHOVAH God descending upon the mount in front of all the people; yet its exact location was de-emphasized lest attempts be made to make the place a cult center. There is, in fact, no recorded instance in the Bible of anyone even trying to pay a return visit to Mt. Sinai, with two possible exceptions: the Prophet Elijah and the Apostle Paul. Some four centuries after the Exodus, Elijah escaped for his life after having slain the priests of Ba’al on Mt. Carmel. Setting his course to the mountain in Sinai, he lost his way in the desert and had to be revived by the angel of YEHOVAH -who placed him in a cave in the mountain. Paul, after his conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9), went to Arabia -- and possibly Mt. Sinai -- to be taught by YEHOVAH. Nowadays, it seems, one doesn’t need a guiding angel to find Mt. Sinai. It has become customary, since the time of Constantine the Great, for the majority of the Christian world to accept the area of the Sinai peninsula for the location of the biblical Mt. Sinai. The modern pilgrim, as pilgrims have done for centuries past, sets his sights on the monastery of Santa Katarina -- so named after the martyred Katherine of Egypt whose body angels supposedly carried to the nearby peak bearing her name. After an overnight stay, at daybreak, the pilgrims begin the climb to Jebel Musa (”Mount Moses” in Arabic). It is the southern peak of a two mile massif rising south of the monastery -- the “traditional” Mt. Sinai with which the descent of the Shekinah Glory and the Lawgiving are associated. The climb to that peak is long and arduous, involving an ascent of some 2,500 feet. One path is by way of some 4,000 steps laid out by the monks along the western slopes of the massif. An easier route -- one that takes several hours longer -- begins in the valley between the massif and a The Berean Voice September-October 2002

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mountain appropriately named after Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses. This route rises gradually along the eastern slopes until it connects with the last 750 steps of the first path. It was at that intersection, according to the tradition of the monks, that Elijah encountered YEHOVAH. A Christian chapel and a Muslim shrine, both small and crudely built mark the spot where the Tablets of the Law were supposedly given to Moses. A cave nearby is revered as the “cleft in the rock” wherein YEHOVAH placed Moses as His Shekinah Glory passed by him, as related in Exodus 33:22. A well along the descent route is identified as the well from which Moses watered the flock of his father-in-law. Every possible event relating to the Mountain of God is thus assigned by the monks’ traditions a definite spot on the peak of Jebel Musa and its surroundings.

St. Katherine’s Monastery From Jebel Musa one can clearly see some of the other peaks which make up the granite heartland, of which this mount is a member. Surprisingly, it appears to be quite lower than many of its neighbors! Indeed, in support of the Saint Katherine legend, the monks have put up a sign in the main building which proclaims: Altitude 5, 012 ft. Moses Mount 7,560 ft. Sta. Katherine Mount 8,576 ft. Since it is evident that Mt. Katherine is indeed the higher one -- in fact, the highest in the peninsula -- one is disappointed that, contrary to long-held beliefs, YEHOVAH God brought the

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Children of Israel to this forbidding area, to impress upon them His might and His laws NOT from the tallest mountain around! Had YEHOVAH missed the right mountain? The Danish Expedition of 1761-1767 DOUBTED that the traditional Mt. Sinai was correctly identified. Von Haven, a member of the expedition, quickly realized the impossibility of the site: I have observed earlier that we could not possibly be at Mount Sinai. The monastery [of St. Katherine] was situated in a NARROW VALLEY, which was not even large enough for a medium-sized army to be able to camp in, LET ALONE THE 600,000 MEN THAT MOSES HAD WITH HIM, who, together with their wives and children, must have come to over 3,000,000 (Thorkild Hansen: Arabia Felix: The Danish Expedition of 1761-1767. P. 181).

Burckhardt’s Theory In the year 1809, the Swiss scholar Johann Ludwig Burckhardt arrived in the Near East on behalf of the British Association for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa. A student of Arabic and of Muslim customs, Burckhardt donned Arab clothes and changed his name to Ibrahim Ibn Abd Allah -- Abraham the Son of Allah’s Servant. In this capacity he was able to travel to parts forbidden to infidels, discovering the ancient Egyptian temples at Abu Simbel and the Nabatean rock city of Petra in the Transjordan. On April 15, 1816 -- with the goal of retracing the route of the Exodus and establishing the true identity of Mt. Sinai -- he set out on camelback from the town of Suez at the head of the Gulf of Suez. Following the supposed route taken by Moses and the Israelites, he traveled south along the western coast of the peninsula where the mountains begin some ten to twenty miles away from the coast, creating a desolate coastal plain. Here and there this plain is cut by wadis and several hot springs -- including one favored by the Egyptian pharaohs. As he traveled south, Burckhardt noted the geography, topography and the distances. He compared conditions and place names with the descriptions and names of the stations of the Exodus as mentioned in the Bible. Where the limestone plateau ends, Burckhardt turned inland following a sandy belt which separates the plateau from an area of Nubian sandstone. After following this natural cross-Sinai avenue for a while, he set his course southward into the granite heartland, reaching the Katherine monastery from the north. Burckhardt climbed mounts Musa and Katherine and explored the area extensively. He was especially fascinated by Mt. Umm Shumar -- a mere 180 feet shorter than Mt. St. Katherine -- which rises somewhat southward of the Musa-Katherine group. From a distance, the top of Mt. Umm Shumar dazzled in the sun “with the most brilliant white colour,” due to an unusual inclusion of particles of mica in the granite rocks, forming “a striking contrast with the blackened surface of the slate and the red granite” of the mountain’s lower parts and the surrounding area. The convent’s records mentioned that Umm Shumar used to be a principal location of monastic settlements.

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Burckhardt’s journey back was by way of Wadi Feiran and its oasis -- the largest in the Sinai. Where the wadi leaves the mountains and reaches the coastal strip, Burckhardt climbed up an impressive mountain rising over 6,800 feet called Mt. Serbal -- one of the tallest in the peninsula. There he found remains of shrines and pilgrims’ inscriptions. Additional research established the fact that the main monastic center in Sinai -- through most of the centuries -- was at Wadi Feiran near Serbal, NOT at St. Katherine. When Burckhardt published his findings (Travels in Syria and the Holy Land), his conclusions shook the scholarly and biblical worlds. The true Mt. Sinai, he declared, was NOT Mt. Musa, but Mt. Serbal!

The Robinson and Smith Expedition The next major expedition to Sinai was made by the American Edward Robinson, together with Eli Smith. Like Burckhardt, they left Suez City on camelback, armed with his book and the maps of the Frenchman Count Leon de Laborde who toured the peninsula in 1826 and 1828. It took Robinson and Smith 13 days in early spring to reach the monastery of St. Katherine. Once there, Robinson thoroughly examined the monks’ legends and discovered that at Feiran there was indeed a superior monastic community (sometimes led by full bishops) to which Katherine and several other monastic communities in the southern Sinai were subordinate. Tradition, therefore, placed GREATER EMPHASIS on Feiran. In the tales and documents he also uncovered the fact that mounts Musa and Katherine were of NO CHRISTIAN CONSEQUENCE in the early Christian centuries, and that Katherine’s supremacy only developed in the 17th century when the other unfortified monastic communities fell prey to invaders and marauders. Checking local Arab traditions, Robinson found that the biblical names “Sinai” and “Horeb” were TOTALLY UNKNOWN to the local Bedouins! It was the Katherine monks who began to apply these names to certain mountains in the area. Was Burckhardt right after all? In his book Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea, Robinson found a problem with the route by which Burckhardt had the Israelites reach Serbal, and therefore declined from endorsing the new idea. However, he shared the doubts regarding Jebel Musa and pointed to another nearby mountain as a better choice.

Lepsius’ Findings The possibility that the long-held tradition identifying Mt. Sinai with Mt. Musa was incorrect was a challenge that the great Egyptologist and founder of scientific archaeology, Karl Richard Lepsius, simply could not resist. He crossed the Gulf of Suez by boat, landing at el-Tor (”The Bull”) -- the harbor town where Christian pilgrims to St. Katherine’s monastery and Jebel Musa used to land even before the Muslims made it a major stopover on the sea route from Egypt to Mecca. Nearby rose the majestic Mt. Umm Shumar, which Lepsius frequently considered “a candidate” along with Musa and Serbal. But after extensive research and studying the area first-hand, he focused on the big issue of the day: Musa or Serbal? He published his findings in two volumes entitles Discoveries in Egypt, Ethiopia and the Peninsula of Sinai 1842-1845 and Letters from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sinai -- the latter including The Berean Voice September-October 2002

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the full text of his reports to the king of Prussia, under whose patronage he traveled. In this work Lepsius VOICED DOUBTS regarding Jebel Musa almost as soon as he reached the area: “The remoteness of that district, its distance from frequented roads of communication and its position in the lofty range,” he wrote, “rendered it peculiarly applicable for individual hermits, but for the same reason INAPPLICABLE FOR A LARGE PEOPLE.” He felt certain that the hundreds of thousands of Israelites could not have subsisted among the desolate granite peaks of Jebel Musa for the long (almost a year) stay at Mt. Sinai. The monastic traditions, he confirmed, DATED TO THE 6TH CENTURY A.D. AT THE EARLIEST. Therefore, they could not serve as a guide in this quest. The true Mt. Sinai, Lepsius stressed, was in a desert plain; and it was also called in the Bible Mt. Horeb, the Mount of the Dryness. MUSA WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF OTHER MOUNTAINS AND NOT IN A DESERT AREA. There was no fertile place capable of sustaining the Israelite multitudes near Jebel Musa. Moses first came to the Mountain of God in search of grazing for his flock of sheep; this he could not find at the desolate Jebel Musa in the Sinai Peninsula. When the conclusions of the prestigious Lepsius were published, they shook tradition in two ways -- he EMPHATICALLY DENIED the identification of Mt. Sinai with Jebel Musa, voting for Serbal; and he challenged the Exodus route previously taken for granted. The debate that followed raged for almost a quarter of a century and produced discoveries by other researchers -- notably Charles Foster (The Historical Geography of Arabia; Israel in the Wilderness) and William H. Bartlett (Forty Days in the Desert on the Track of the Israelites). They added Traditional Mt. Sinai -- Jebel Musa suggestions, confirmations and lingering doubts.

The Palmer Expedition In 1868 the British government joined the Palestine Exploration Fund in sending a full-scale expedition to the Sinai. Its main mission, in addition to extensive geodesic and mapping work, was to establish once and for all the route of the Exodus and the location of Mt. Sinai. The group was led by Captains Charles W. Wilson and Henry Spencer Palmer of the Royal Engineers. It also included Professor Edward Henry Palmer -- a noted Orientalist and Arabist. The expedition’s official report (Ordnance Survey of the Peninsula of Sinai) was enlarged upon by the two Palmers in separate works. Previous expeditions went into the Sinai for brief tours -- mostly in springtime. The Wilson-Palmer expedition, however, departed from Suez on November 11, 1868, and returned to Egypt on April 24, 1869 -- staying in the peninsula from the beginning of winter until the following spring. As a result, one of its first discoveries was that the mountainous south GETS VERY COLD in the The Berean Voice September-October 2002

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winter and that it snows there, making passage very difficult, if not impossible. The higher peaks, such as Musa and Katherine, remain snow covered for most of the winter months. The Israelites -who had never seen snow in Egypt -- had stayed for almost a year in this area; yet there is absolutely NO MENTION at all in the Bible of either snow or even cold weather. While Captain Palmer (Sinai: Ancient History from the Monuments) provided data on the archaeological and historical evidence uncovered (early habitations, Egyptian presence, inscriptions on the first known alphabet), it was the task of Professor E.H. Palmer (The Desert of the Exodus) to outline the group’s conclusions regarding the route and the mountain. In spite of LINGERING DOUBTS, the group vetoed Serbal and voted for the Mt. Musa location -- but with a twist. Since in front of Mt. Musa there was no valley wide enough where the Israelites could set up camp and see YEHOVAH’s Shekinah Glory, Palmer offered an alternate solution: The “correct” Mt. Sinai was not the southern peak of the massif (Jebel Musa), but its northern peak, Ras-Sufsafeh, which faces “the spacious plain of Er-Rahah where no less than two million Israelites could encamp.” In spite of the long-held tradition, he concluded, “we are compelled to REJECT” Jebel Musa as the Mountain of God and of the Lawgiving. As is wont to happen, the views of Professor Palmer were soon criticized, supported or modified by other scholars. Before long, there were several southern peaks that were offered as the true Mt. Sinai.

The Research of Charles Beke Back in April of 1860, the Journal of Sacred Literature published a revolutionary idea that the Mountain of God was not in southern Sinai at all, but should be looked for in the central plateau. The anonymous contributor pointed out that its name, Badi-yeth el-Tih, was very significant: it meant “the Wilderness of the Wandering,” and the local Bedouins explain that it was there that Moses and the Children of Israel wandered. The article suggested a certain peak of the el-Tih as the proper Mt. Sinai. So, in 1873, a geographer and linguist by the name of Charles T. Beke (who explored and mapped the origins of the Nile) set out “in search of the true Mount Sinai.” His research established the fact that Jebel Musa was so NAMED AFTER A FOURTH-CENTURY MONK CALLED MUSA who was famous for his piety and miracles -- and NOT after the biblical Moses; and that the claims for Jebel Musa were begun only circa 550 A.D. by the Roman emperor Constantine. Beke also pointed out that the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius described Mt. Sinai as the HIGHEST in its area -- which ruled out both Musa and Serbal. Beke also asked the important question: How could the Israelites have gone south at all, past the Egyptian garrisons in the mining areas and stayed for almost a year in Egyptian controlled territory? His question has remained one of the unanswered objections to a southern location of Mt. Sinai. Charles Beke could be remembered as the man who finally found the general location of the TRUE Mt. Sinai since his publication was entitled Discoveries of Sinai in Arabia and Midian. He The Berean Voice September-October 2002

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concluded that the mountain was a volcano somewhere SOUTHEAST OF THE DEAD SEA. He thus raised many questions which cleared the desk for fresh and unfettered thinking regarding the location of the mountain and the route of the Exodus.

Other Sources Over the years many historians and scholars have realized the TRADITIONAL site of Mt. Sinai in the peninsula between the two gulfs of the Red Sea is MISPLACED and UNTENABLE. Sir Richard Burton, writing in 1883, summed up the various sites supposed to be Mount Sinai as follows: "....the SO-CALLED SINAI (JEBEL MUSA) is simply a MODERN FORGERY, dating probably from the 2nd century A.D.;...the first mount Sinai (Jebel Serbal) was INVENTED by the Copts, the second (Jebel Musa) by the Greeks, the third (Jebel Musa) by the Moslems, and the fourth (Jebel Susafeh) by Dr. Robinson...." James Hastings, prolific author of Bible dictionaries and other study aids, also saw the absurdity of the Sinai peninsula location. In an excellent critique he lays down the following points: IF the Israelites really went into the Sinai peninsula, the route and goal of their wanderings have probably been correctly identified. We have shown that the tradition in favour of Jebel Musa is earlier and more constant than has generally been recognized. But the real difficulty begins with the question whether the biblical Mt. Sinai was in the peninsula [OF SINAI], after all. Objection after objection has been raised under this head, and some of them are not easy to refute. (1) The biblical references to Mt. Sinai do not seem to warrant an identification in the limits of the peninsula. Dt.1:2 gives a distance of 11 days from Horeb to the mountains of Seir, and this would agree well enough with the distance from Jebel Musa. But in other passages, such as Dt.33:2, Hab.3:8, the contiguity between Sinai and Edom seems to be more pronounced: even if we grant a certain freedom of expression to poetical passages, still such language as Dt.33:2: I came from Sinai, And rose from Seir unto them, might, in view of Hebrew parallelism of the members, IMPLY MORE than that Sinai was in the direction of Seir. It might be urged in reply that the passage continues – He shined forth from Mt. Paran, And came from Meribah Kadesh, and Paran has been commonly identified with Feiran in the peninsula [of Sinai]. But this identification has also been questioned on account of the parallelism with Kadesh and other references. (2) Some of the places in the itinerary of Exodus have apparently been found outside the limits of the peninsula, as Elim in Elath-Eloth, and the encampment by the sea in the Gulf of Akaba. (3) Mt. Sinai is suspiciously connected with the land of Midian, and it

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Is Mt. Sinai the Mountain of YEHOVAH? has to be shown that the Sinaitic peninsula could be thus described. At the time of the Exodus it [Sinai Peninsula] was an Egyptian province. These and OTHER OBJECTIONS have been raised against the TRADITIONAL THEORY; their resolution depends upon the final discrimination of the documents underlying the Pent. and upon the results of further archaeological investigations, not only in the peninsula of Sinai but TO THE N. AND E. OF IT (Dictionary of the Bible. T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh. 1947. Vol. IV, p. 538). On page 536 of this same volume, Hastings makes further observations: The real problem lies in the identification of the mountain described in the Pent., especially in view of the fact that the whole of the [Sinai] Peninsula is a mass of mountains, many of which are conspicuous objects in the landscape, and certain to have early attracted attention and invited nomenclature. We are assuming that Mt. Sinai is somewhere in the tongue of land at the head of the Red Sea, between the two arms of that sea which constitute respectively the Gulf of Akaba and the Gulf of Suez. It should, however, be remembered that Sayce thinks he has grounds for LOCATING MT. SINAI OUTSIDE THE PENINSULA AND IN THE LAND OF MIDIAN ITSELF. In this he is following in some points as earlier...suggestion of Beke. Hastings points out the main advantages in Sayce's theory: The advantage of such a theory lies in the fact (1) that Mt. Sinai is closely connected with the land of Midian in the biblical account. Thither Moses escapes from the wrath of Pharaoh, and while engaged in pastoral occupations in that land [Midian] he sees the theophany of the burning bush. Moreover, his wife and her relations are Midianite. The general opinion is that MIDIAN IS ON THE FARTHER SIDE OF AKABA TO THE EAST AND NORTH, and that special evidence is needed if we would include in it the surroundings of the traditional Mt. Sinai. (2) The theory furnishes a new explanation of the encampment of the Israelites by the sea, which on this theory is the Gulf of Akaba; (3) it finds a site for the much-disputed Elim in the modern Aileh (ancient Eloth); (4) it explains why nothing is said about the exquisite valley of Feiran [in the western side of the Sinai peninsula] by a writer [Moses] who is so careful to record the palm-trees and springs (certainly of a much inferior quality) at Elim; the identification of Rephidim with Feiran is, on this hypothesis, incorrectly made.

Captain Haynes of the Palmer Search Expedition of 1882 has a comment in his notes about the location of Sinai. It reads as follows: "From the account in Ex.3,1, the mount of God considered with respect to Canaan -- for Exodus was written after the Israelites reached the Holy Land -- was at the 'BACK [SIDE] OF THE DESERT,' and also WITH RESPECT TO EGYPT IN FRONT OF MIDIAN, for we read that Moses returned unto Jethro from SINAI to get leave to go back to Egypt (Ex.4, 18)." C.C. Robertson comments on this in his book On the Track of the Exodus:

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In Ex.16,1, Sinai is sited on the farther side of the wilderness of Sin from Elim. Moses was therefore somewhere on the border of Midian; in well-watered pasture country; in the vicinity of the mount or hill Horeb, or Sinai, from which the wilderness of Sinai took its name. In patriarchal times the ruling prince of a tribe was also the chief priest. The "flock of Jethro" signifies the entire wealth of the Midianites in their camels, cattle and sheep. We must imagine the wilderness of Sinai AS A WIDE AREA OF GRAZING COUNTRY, with thousands of tribesmen encamped under the orders of Moses for the care and protection of their property. This security could be maintained only so long as they were WITHIN the limits of their tribal territory, and well armed against any cattle-raiding incursions from their neighbours. Now the traditional site of the wilderness of Sinai is in the HEART OF THE MOUNTAINOUS REGION OF THE SINAI PENINSULA, with Mount Sinai (7,450 feet) representing the "mount of the law" Horeb or Sinai. This traditional site is more than a hundred miles from the head of the Gulf of Akaba, the nearest Midianite country. It is quite certain that Moses DID NOT conduct the Midianite flocks over a hundred miles of rugged, mountainous country, to make a present of them to the Amalekites in Feiran! Robertson goes on to present FURTHER PROOF for the Midian location of the Mountain of God: The location of Sinai in Midian is confirmed by the incident recorded in Num.10:29, when Moses required Midianite scouts who knew the country to lead the march out of the wilderness of Sinai to the wilderness of Paran, on the west of the Wadi Araba. Before leaving Sinai for Paran, Moses told his father-in-law that he was about to undertake the conquest of Canaan. Hobab appears to have been the same individual as Jethro who welcomed Moses on arrival of the Israelites in Midian. Now he came the second time to visit Moses before their departure. Moses asked Hobab to accompany him on the march to Paran, as he knew the country. Hobab declined, not being willing to leave his country and kindred. [Where was his country? MIDIAN, OF COURSE!!] In Ferrar Fenton's translation: "I will not go from my country and from my children with you." Whether he returned to Modiana or was persuaded by Moses is not recorded, but the incident SHOWS THAT THE ISRAELITES IN THE WILDERNESS OF SINAI WERE WITHIN THE MIDIAN BORDERS. -- Pp. 88-89. Alois Musil sums up the arguments in favor of the Midian location of Mt. Sinai in his work The Northern Hegaz, in the following manner: When the Israelites fled from Egypt they endeavoured as soon as possible to escape from the reach of Egyptian political influence. They found a refuge in a country which afforded them not only safety but also the necessary food supplies. This country must have had an

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Is Mt. Sinai the Mountain of YEHOVAH? abundance of water with rich pastures, and must have been situated near large transport routes so that they could purchase what they needed from the trade caravans. Moses knew such a country, the land of Midian, where he himself had found a refuge, and where in the person of his father-in-law the priest of Midian, he had a powerful protector not only for himself but also for his kindred of Israel. He therefore led the Israelites DIRECT FROM EGYPT INTO MIDIAN TO THE MOUNTAIN OF GOD, where Jehovah appeared to him (Appendix VI).

Constantine and His Mother It has become customary since the time of Constantine the Great for the majority of the Christian world to accept the area of the Sinai peninsula for the location of the biblical Mt. Sinai. Unknown to most, the REASON this location was selected rests solely with the opinions of one man -- the Roman emperor Constantine the Great (c.280-337 A.D.)! The question is, of course, did Constantine select the correct spot? What prompted him to pick the rugged, mountainous region of south-central Sinai? The answers to these questions may surprise you! As we have seen, there was not the SLIGHTEST biblical or historical evidence to sustain the selection of this site as the proper place for the giving of the Law. In fact, just the OPPOSITE was the case, yet Constantine's opinion prevailed while he remained alive -- and is paramount to this present day. What we must understand is that Mt. Sinai in the Sinai peninsula was selected exclusively through the agency of dreams and visions that Constantine experienced throughout his troubled life. Constantine had a long history of visionary experiences. From the year 312 A.D. they became a regular part of the emperor's life; and throughout his career he was affected by FREQUENT supernatural occurrences. And, according to Constantine himself, he never had a reversal in his affairs if he heeded these visions. Coin of Constantine the Great

The beginning of his trust in the SUPERNATURAL occurred just before the battle at Milvian Bridge outside Rome, which gained for him the mastery of the western portion of the Roman Empire. As the story goes, he witnessed (along with his troops) a parhelion (a bright image appearing on a solar halo) of the sun which appeared to him as a cross in the heavens. With the cross he noticed the Greek letters Chi Rho accompanied with the words "by this sign conquer." The followThe Berean Voice September-October 2002

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ing evening he supposedly had a VISION of Christ who told him to adopt the sign of the "Chi Rho" as a symbol to protect him and his armies, and that he would always be victorious. It was this so-called (by Constantine) "supernatural sign" that moved the emperor into thinking he had been DIVINELY SELECTED to bring about a universal kingdom that would usher in divine salvation and peace to the world. According to Ernest L. Martin: "This visionary experience had a profound effect upon Constantine. In the following years he featured himself as the DIVINELY CHOSEN instrument of God to bring in the universal (Catholic) kingdom to the totality of the world. It gave Constantine great confidence that he was a special and elect vessel of God himself. And in all the battles that Constantine fought from A.D. 312 onward, with what he called the salutary sign of the "Chi Rho" in the advance of his armies, convinced him that he was indeed that special person selected by God to bring to pass the universal kingdom of Christ on earth" (Secrets of Golgotha. ASK Publications, CA P. 99). It appears that not long after his visionary experience at Milvian Bridge, Constantine began to think of himself as a new Moses ordained by God to lead the true people of God into a new world order with Constantine as its head. To reinforce this identification with Moses, Constantine had a special tent constructed in the form of a cross which he, LIKE MOSES, placed "outside the camp." (Exodus 33:7). It was into this tent that he and his trusted advisors would enter before any military action to seek "divine counsel" to direct them in the upcoming engagement. Eusebius -- church historian and scholar of the third and fourth centuries -- noted what usually happened when Constantine entered this tent: "And making earnest supplications to God, he was always honored after a little while with a manifestation of His [God's ] presence. And then, AS IF MOVED BY A DIVINE IMPULSE, he would RUSH from the tent, and SUDDENLY give orders to his army to move at once without delay, and on the instant to draw their swords. On this they would immediately commence Constantine the Great the attack, fight vigorously, so as with incredible celerity to secure the victory, and raise trophies of victory over their enemies" (Life of Constantine, II. 12). These "divine impulses" ruled Constantine's life. Eusebius noted that Constantine's visions and supernatural encounters became such an ingrained part of his affairs that "a thousand such acts as these were familiarly and habitually done by the emperor" (Ibid., II, 12 & 14). Constantine's WHOLE LIFE was filled with visions, dreams and supernatural wonders; and they became foremost in all his major decisions! "This was," notes Michael Grant, "an epoch...in which VISIONS were frequently and continually seen, or imagined to be seen, by all and sundry, especially at decisive turning points of his-

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tory, and it was natural enough for someone who had played such an important part as Constantine to believe, or require others to believe, that he, too, had seen a vision, which supported his [supposed] adherence to Christianity" (Constantine the Great: The Man and His Times. Charles Scribner's Sons, N.Y. 1994. P. 138). "The ancient world," continues Grant, "and especially the world of Constantine's epoch, was as credulous of significant nocturnal dreams as it was of other kinds of visions. 'It is to dreams,' wrote Tertullian, 'that the majority of humankind owe their knowledge of God.' Artemidorus of Ephesus devoted a study to the subject, the Oneirocriticon. Divine powers were believed to visit people very often in their dreams and give them messages, and this was thought to apply particularly to great and powerful men. Thus an angel was said to have appeared in a dream to Licinius, and Constantine himself was said to have seen and talked with God in dreams, as part of his LIFELONG RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SUPERNATURAL" (Ibid., p. 140). And there was no exception to this when Constantine selected Jebel Musa in the Sinai peninsula as the "true" site of the Mountain of God. As we shall see, there was no biblical or historical teaching that prompted Constantine to pick the area in the wilderness of the Sinai. The Jews themselves had NO FIRM TRADITION regarding the location of Mt. Sinai. Notice what the Jewish Encyclopedia says: There is no Jewish tradition of the geographical location of Mt. Sinai; it seems that its exact location was obscure already in the time of the monarchy....The Christian hermits and monks, mostly from Egypt, who settled in Southern Sinai from the second century C.E. on, made repeated efforts to identify the locality of the Exodus with actual places to which the believers could make their way as pilgrims. The identification of Mt. Sinai either with Jebel Sirbal near the oasis of Firan (Paran; Nilus, Cosmos Indicopleustes), or with Jebel Musa, CAN BE TRACED BACK AS FAR AS THE FOURTH CENTURY C.E. [TO CONSTANTINE'S TIME]. (Vol. 14, p. 1599). The selection of the Sinai peninsula for the site of Mt. Sinai probably occurred at the same time Constantine decided to build a church at the supposed place of Christ's resurrection in Jerusalem. The identification of "holy sites" in the Middle East was the result of an ATONING ACTION by Constantine for the deaths of his wife Fausta and his son Crispus -- executed at his own command. In a fit of depression Constantine sent his MOTHER HELENA to the Middle East to discover the spots he had "foreseen" in his visions. Helena confirmed her son’s belief by constructing the first church at the site of the assumed Mt. Sinai -- calling it the Chapel of the Burning Bush. A monastic community developed around the chapel and, to protect both the monks and the chapel from the attacks of roving Bedouin marauders, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I built a fortress-like basilica around the chapel in 542 A.D. The basilica was called the Church of Transfiguration in memory of the transfiguration of Yeshua the Messiah in the presence of Moses and Elijah on sacred Mt. Tabor. It is now known as St. Katherine’s monastery. All this construction and religious activity served to more firmly establish the legendary association of Jebel Musa as the biblical Mt. Sinai.

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The strange thing is that almost all of the spots that Helena "identified" as holy sites were previously occupied by some sort of PAGAN structure! "The very place where Jesus himself was believed [according to Constantine's "dreams"] to have met his death and to have received the burial that preceded his Resurrection: the Church of the Anastasis or the Holy Sepulchre on Mount Golgotha, [was built] upon the site of a Jewish burial chamber and beneath A TEMPLE OF APHRODITE" (Constantine the Great: The Man and His Times, by Michael Grant. P. 202). Not only that, but while Helena was in Palestine she ordered a church to be built on the spot where the "cross of Christ" supposedly had been buried! In order to find the "cross," "she had made inquiries among the local people, who advised her to proceed to a place where 'ancient persecutors' had built a shrine of the PAGAN GODDESS Aphrodite. STIMULATED BY VISIONS, she ordered that the site should be excavated, whereupon, according to St. Ambrose's work On the Death of Theodosius (De Obitu Theodosii, 395), three crosses were disinterred..." (Ibid., p. 203). One of these three "crosses" was taken to be the "true" cross on which Christ had met his death and, records Michael Grant, "in consequence, Helena built a church on the spot." In the town of Bethlehem a further great ecclesiastical building was constructed on Constantine's orders. "Its focal point," states Grant, "was the rock-cut grotto, which was supposed to be the birthplace of Jesus (and PAGAN WOMEN had come there on a fixed date every year to mourn for the death of Adonis). Over this revered spot, surrounded by a railing, was constructed an octagonal martyrium" (Ibid., p. 206). Grant goes on to show that "at Mambre, too (Ramath-el-Khalil, two miles north of Hebron), where Jesus had taught the disciples, a small church was built at the order of Constantine, shortly before 330. It adjoined the terebinth or oak tree (known as OGYGES), venerated from very ancient times..." (Ibid., p. 206). Helena's flurry of activity in Palestine was soon engulfed in myth; however, the essential truths of her building campaign have come down to us today. The local Jews, ever open to monetary rewards for their "service," helped Helena locate, to her own satisfaction, "all the spots where every important event in the recorded career of Jesus at Jerusalem [and outside the city] supposedly took place" (Ibid., p. 204). "She arranged," notes Grant, "for each of these places to be dug up, and promptly identified what was found there to her own satisfaction. The authenticity of these finds, dating back, as was alleged, to a so much earlier time -- the tomb, Golgotha, the True Cross and the locations where Jesus was born and ascended to heaven -- has AROUSED SKEPTICISM, which is hardly surprising." S. Runciman, in Byzantine Civilisation (1933) critically notes that Helena's thrilling discoveries were made "with miraculous aid seldom now vouchsafed to archaeologists" (p. 26). The Sinai peninsula was one such place she visited. "The origin of the present Monastery of Saint Catherine on the NW slope of Jebel Musa is traced back to A.D. 527, when Emperor Justinian established it on the site where Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, had erected a small church two centuries earlier." (The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible. Abingdon Press, N.Y. 1962. P.376).

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Eusebius and other religious authorities of the time saw NO OBVIOUS REASON why Constantine would have picked Jebel Musa as the site of Mt. Sinai! The selection of this spot came through secret visions and supernatural revelations known only to Constantine himself and his mother Helena. As Ernest L. Martin points out, "The emperor's opinions, however, prevailed. He CLAIMED to possess divine knowledge, just like the apostles, and those visionary experiences gave him the essential teachings which he thought to have as their source his Saviour and which he considered necessary for all the Christian Church to follow" (Secrets of Golgotha, p.107). Visions, dreams and miracles -- when they are obviously NOT from God -- are the most UNRELIABLE "proofs" for demonstrating historical, geographical and theological truths. Instead of relying on MANIFESTATIONS OF DEMONS, Constantine should have consulted the pages of the Bible for clues to determine the TRUE SITE of Mt. Sinai!

The Biblical Evidence When Moses fled Egypt in fear for his life, he journeyed to the land of Midian in the Arabian peninsula -- now part of modern-day Saudi Arabia. Here he helped the seven daughters of Jethro, priest of Midian. As a result he was invited to Jethro's home and entered Jethro's employment as a shepherd for his flocks. Eventually he married Zipporah, one of Jethro's daughters, and was blessed with two children. Toward the end of his 40-year sojourn in Midian, Moses was shepherding Jethro's flock near Mt. Horeb, where he came across a sight that was to change his life forever. Notice the account in Exodus 3: "Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the PRIEST OF MIDIAN, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to HOREB, THE MOUNTAIN OF GOD." (Verse 1, RSV). Keep in mind the phrase, "MOUNTAIN OF GOD." "And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, but the bush was not consumed." (Verse 2). Later on, after leading the Israelites OUT OF EGYPT and crossing the Red Sea, Moses encamped near Mt. Sinai, which, in the biblical account, is termed the "MOUNTAIN OF GOD"! Shortly after arriving in the vicinity, "Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, together with Moses' sons and wife, came to him in the desert, where he was CAMPED NEAR THE MOUNTAIN OF GOD." (Ex. 18:5). To further reinforce the identity of Mt. Sinai, the narrative in the Book of Exodus states: "So he [God] said, 'I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: WHEN YOU HAVE BROUGHT THE PEOPLE OUT OF EGYPT, YOU SHALL SERVE GOD ON THIS MOUNTAIN' " (Exodus 3:12). This promise to Moses was made from the burning bush while he was tending Jethro's flock in MIDIAN! Clearly, the MOUNTAIN OF GOD IN MIDIAN, where Moses lived for forty years, is the SAME MOUNTAIN OF GOD he led the Israelites to after the Exodus from Egypt! This has not been lost on some researchers:

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The location of Horeb, or Sinai, somewhere in the land of Midian is evidently well supported....Examination of the [biblical] narrative tends to confirm this view. "When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt ye shall serve God upon this mountain." This was spoken to Moses at Horeb, "the MOUNTAIN OF GOD," IN MIDIAN; and indicates that the Exodus would be completed on the arrival of the Israelites at HOREB, WHERE MOSES STOOD WHEN "THE ANGEL OF THE LORD" APPEARED TO HIM." (On the Track of the Exodus, by C.C. Robertson. Artisan Sales, Thousand Oaks, CA. 1990. P. 87.).

Paul’s Supporting Statement Any doubt that might remain is dispelled by a statement of the apostle Paul found in Galatians 4: "For these are the two covenants: the one from MOUNT SINAI which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar -- for this Hagar is MOUNT SINAI IN ARABIA, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children..." (Verses 24-25). The reference to HAGAR also indicates WHERE the Mountain of God is situated. Peake's Commentary on the Bible explains: "Their mothers likewise represent the two dispensations. Hagar represents that given on Mt. Sinai, and, Paul notes in passing the appropriateness of the fact that Mt. Sinai is IN ARABIA, the land to which HAGAR was exiled (p. 977). James A. Montgomery, in his book Arabia and the Bible, takes this a step further: This experience of St. Paul with the Nabataean government of Damascus was preceded by his retirement into Arabia immediately after his conversion, as he briefly relates in Gal.1:17. The region no doubt was what the Romans came to call Arabia Petraea, Trans-Jordan; he returned thence to Damascus. There were 'desert' districts therein plenty to gratify his desire for solitude; again one of the great souls of the True Religion started his career from the desert. That this Arabian experience of the apostle brought him actually to Sinai, in the footsteps of Moses and Elijah, has been advanced by some scholars, in view of his subsequent reference, in the same epistle, to SINAI AND HAGAR, 4:24, 25. Montgomery now looks at the Textus Receptus – The textus receptus of the Greek is represented by the American Standard Version: "Which things contain an allegory; for these women are two covenants; one from Mount Sinai, bearing children unto bondage, which is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai IN ARABIA and answereth to the Jerusalem that is now." But the second 'Hagar' is now generally admitted to be a gloss, and there remains the question how to interpret the sentence with the excision. I suggest the meaning is: "This is Mount Sinai in Arabia (then the gloss) that is Hagar," i.e. THE LAND OF THE HAGARENES; and so the gloss is interpretatively correct, although out of place. Montgomery now shows where the "Sons of Hagar" were located –

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Is Mt. Sinai the Mountain of YEHOVAH? The Arabians are called 'sons of Hagar' in Baruch 3:23, while the Hagarenes (or Hagarites -- both in AV) are frequently mentioned in connection with the ARAB PEOPLES TO THE EAST AND SOUTH OF PALESTINE. E.G., Ps.83:6,7, "Edom and Israel, Moab and the HAGARENES, Gebal [= the Arabic plural jibal, 'mountains,' still the name of the mountainous region south of the Dead Sea], and Ammon and Amalek." 'Hagarene may have served as a general name of the Arabs for the Jews with reminiscence of the concubine Hagar....identification of Hagar and Hagarenes has been made with the AGRAIOI OF PTOLEMY, OF STRABO, ETC., IN NW ARABIA; but this important people must be connected with Al-Hijr in the Thamudene country [of NW Arabia], the region of El-Ula....(University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia. 1934. Pp. 34-35).

The Land of Midian Some "authorities" have claimed that the land of Midian included the Sinai peninsula and the area of the traditional Mt. Sinai. Can this be true? Just WHERE was the geographical area called Midian? Werner Keller makes the location clear: Moses does what Sinuhe had done before him. He flees eastward to get out of Egyptian territory. Since Canaan is occupied by Egypt, Moses chooses for his exile the mountains of Midian EAST OF THE GULF OF AQABAH, with which he had a remote connection. Ketura had been Abraham's second wife, after Sarah's death (Gen.25:1). One of her sons was called Midian. The tribe of Midian is often called KENITES in the Old Testament (Num.24:21). The name means "belonging to the coppersmiths" -- QAIN in Arabic, QAINAYA in Aramaic = a SMITH. This designation connects up with the presence of METAL in the neighbourhood of the tribal territory. The mountain ranges EAST OF THE GULF OF AQABAH are rich in copper, as the investigations of Nelson Glueck of America have indicated (The Bible as History. William Morrow & Co. Inc. New York. 1981. P. 123). This location of Midian EAST of the Gulf of Aqaba is verified by many other scholars. "The Biblical references connecting SINAI with Mount Seir, Edom and the LAND OF MIDIAN seem clearly to indicate this region EAST OF THE AELANITIC GULF (e.g. of AKABA) as pointed out by Beke (1834), Wallhausen (1886), Sayce (1894), Moore (1895), Shede (1897), Gall (1898), Gunkel (1903), Edward Meyer (1906), Schmidt (1908), Gressmann (1913), Haupt (1914) and by Alois Musil in 'The Northern Hegaz' (1911)" (On the Track of the Exodus, p.87). Not only that, but the area WEST of the Gulf of Aqaba has ALWAYS been Egyptian territory -- even up to this present day! Author James Montgomery points out that "the land west of a line from the wady of Egypt to the Elanitic Gulf [Gulf of Aqaba] has always belonged to the Egyptian political sphere, and actually that is the present boundary of Egypt....the south-Arabians called the SAME REGION MSR, i.e. MISRAIM, EGYPT" (Arabia and the Bible, p.31).

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Arab tradition likewise places Midian EAST of the Gulf of Aqaba. The famous British explorer Charles Doughty, whose travels in Arabia were legendary, tells of "a tradition amongst their ancestors [of Arabs Doughty met in Arabia Deserta] that 'very anciently they occupied all that country about MAAN, WHERE ALSO MOSES FED THE FLOCKS OF JETHRO THE PROPHET....' " (Travels in Arabia Deserta. Random House, New York. 1921. P.130). The fact that the territory WEST of the Gulf of Aqaba -- that is, the SINAI PENINSULA -- has always been Egyptian territory brings to mind another point: If Moses led the Children of Israel OUT OF EGYPT (see Ex.12:39, 41; 12:18) then logic dictates they had to CROSS THE GULF OF AQABA INTO MIDIAN to "leave" the land or territory of Egypt! If Mt. Sinai was in the Sinai peninsula, the Israelites could never have left Egypt.

The Testimony of Josephus Josephus, the first-century A.D. Jewish historian, upholds this concept that the Mountain of God is located in Midian -- the NW corner of the present day Saudi Arabia. Notice what he plainly says: Now when Raguel [Jethro], Moses father-in-law, understood in what a prosperous condition his affairs were, he willingly came to meet him. And Moses took Zipporah, his wife, and his children, and pleased himself with his coming. And when he [Moses] had offered sacrifice, he made a feast for the multitude, NEAR THE BUSH HE HAD FORMERLY SEEN; which multitude, every one according to their families, partook of the feast (Antiquities of the Jews, bk.III, chapter III). In chapter II of the same book Josephus notes that "going gradually on, he [Moses] came to Mount Sinai, in three months' time after they were removed out of Egypt; AT WHICH MOUNTAIN, as we have before related, THE VISION OF THE BUSH, AND THE OTHER WONDERFUL APPEARANCES, HAD HAPPENED" (Section 5). Josephus understood, then, that the mountain of the burning bush in Midian was the same mountain from which the Law was delivered to the Israelites by God. Further on, in chapter XI, Josephus states the following: "....and when he [Moses] came to the CITY MIDIAN, which lay upon the Red Sea...he sat upon a certain well....It was not far from the city....These virgins [Jethro's daughters], who took care of their father's flocks, which sort of work it was customary and very familiar for women to do IN THE COUNTRY OF THE TROGLODYTES...." (Book II, section 1 & 2). The Berean Voice September-October 2002

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This land of the TROGLODYTES was visited by Charles Doughty when he passed through an area of northwestern Arabia called the MEDAIN. In his book he explains that the Medain is the "Syrian caravaners' name for the hewn monuments in the crags of El-Hejr on the Haj road, SIX REMOVES NORTH OF MEDINA." The publisher of Doughty's book notes that "Mr. Doughty found the Troglodyte cities to be sandstone cliffs with the funeral monuments sculptured in them of an antique town, and like those which are seen in the 'Valley of Moses' or Petra" (Travels in Arabia Deserta, pp.136-137). Josephus reveals another clue in book III, chapter I, verse 5: So he [Moses] placed himself in the midst of them, and told them he came to bring them from God a deliverance from their present distress. Accordingly a little after came a vast number of QUAILS which is a bird more plentiful IN THIS ARABIAN GULF than anywhere else, flying over the sea, and hovered over them, till werried with their laborious flight, and, indeed, as usual, flying very near to the earth, they fell down upon the Hebrews, who caught them and satisfied their hunger with them, and supposed that this was the method whereby God meant to supply them with food (Antiquities of the Jews). This incident, recorded by Josephus, is that of Exodus 16 and Numbers 11 -- occurring AFTER the Israelites had crossed the Red Sea. "THIS ARABIAN GULF" can be none other than the Gulf of Aqaba! Therefore, the Mountain of God, or Mt. Sinai, was EAST of the Arabian Gulf -in the land of Midian.

Volcanic Origins? In the last century an Englishman named Charles Beke published a controversial pamphlet entitled Mount Sinai a Volcano. While he was studying the biblical description of the day of the lawgiving, Beke came to the startling conclusion expressed in the title of his pamphlet. The day of the lawgiving at Mt. Sinai is described in Exodus 19 in these words: Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were THUNDERINGS AND LIGHTNINGS, and a THICK CLOUD on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was COMPLETELY IN SMOKE, because the Lord descended upon it IN FIRE. Its [Sinai's] SMOKE ASCENDED like the smoke of a furnace, and the WHOLE MOUNTAIN QUAKED GREATLY.... Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the MOUNTAIN SMOKING; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off (Verses 16-18; 20:18). Beke explained the pillar of smoke and fire as the ignited column of ashes and vapors ERUPTED BY A VOLCANO! Other passages in the Bible tend to support Beke's viewpoint. The book of Judges in particular shows an ACTIVE volcano: "Lord, when You went out from Seir, when You marched from the The Berean Voice September-October 2002

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field of Edom, the earth trembled and the heavens poured, the clouds also poured water; the mountains gushed [flowed] before the LORD, THIS SINAI, before the Lord God of Israel. (Verses 4-5, NKJV). Notice, now, the book of Psalms: "O god, when You went out before Your people, When You marched through the wilderness, THE EARTH SHOOK; The heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God; SINAI ITSELF WAS MOVED at the presence of God, the God of Israel." (Verse 7-8). If we take all these verses together it becomes obvious that tremendous forces of nature were unleashed during the time of the Exodus and the giving of the law at Sinai! Immanuel Velikovsky, in his revolutionary work entitled Ages in Chaos, CLEARLY saw this discovery of Beke's in the pages of the Bible: If we do not limit ourselves to the few passages from the Book of Exodus cited in support of the idea that MOUNT SINAI WAS A VOLCANO, the activity of which impressed the Israelites, but turn our attention to the many other passages in the various books of the Scriptures referring to the Exodus, we soon feel bound to make the unusual admission that, if the words mean what they say, the scope of the catastrophe must have exceeded by far the extent of the disturbance that could be caused by one active volcano [Sinai]. Volcanic activity spread far and wide, and MOUNT SINAI WAS BUT ONE FURNACE in a great plain of smoking furnaces. Earth, sea, and sky participated in the upheaval (Vol.I. Sidgwick and Jackson, London. 1977. P.19). Beke, therefore, was not at all unreasonable when he deduced that Mount Sinai must have been a VOLCANO. To prove his theory, Beke set out for the Sinai region in an attempt to identify the precise peak that might have been responsible. But he returned to England disappointed after learning that there is NOTHING CONCEIVABLY VOLCANIC about south Sinai's JEBEL MUSA -- the traditional Mount Sinai of the Bible! Not only that, but Beke discovered the other mountains in the Sinai peninsula are also NON-VOLCANIC!! With this in mind, Beke opted instead for ARABIA as being the location of Mt. Sinai. All down the western side of the Arabian peninsula are vast lava and ash fields known as "HARRAS" -- evidence of massive volcanic activity in the past. Notes James Montgomery: In the LAND OF MIDIAN there are extensive HARRA-DISTRICTS, and to the northeast of Medina lies that of Khaibar, famous as an oasis in pre-Muslim times....These volcanic deposits raise the question whether the biblical language has not been inspired in some of its descriptions by actual VOLCANIC OUTBURSTS. Montgomery goes on to relate:

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Is Mt. Sinai the Mountain of YEHOVAH? Moritz records (p.13) the account of such phenomena by the Arabic historians, occurring near Medina in the time of the Caliph Omar, again in 1256, and in the same century similar outbursts near Aden and on the margin of North Syria; and he would illustrate from Is.34:9-10, in the judgment upon Edom, whose southern bounds ran into the LAVA-REGION OF MIDIAN: 'The streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch.' These VOLCANIC PHENOMENA have indeed induced some scholars to place the FIERY AND SMOKING SINAI of biblical legend IN THE HARRAS OF MIDIAN" (Arabia and the Bible, pp. 84-85).

Alois Musil, in his Topographical Itineraries, certainly believed this. He found conclusive evidence that Mt. Sinai is located in the volcanic harra of MIDIAN, east of the Red Sea. John M. Allegro, of Dead sea Scroll fame, was also convinced of a volcanic Mt. Sinai: When, at Horeb/Sinai, Jehovah appeared before his people to reveal to them the Law through Moses, he showed Himself in VOLCANIC FIRE: And you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while the mountain BURNED WITH FIRE to the heart of heaven, wrapped in darkness, cloud, and gloom. Then the Lord spoke to you out of THE MIDST OF THE FIRE; you heard the sound of words, but saw no form; there was only a voice. (Dt. 4: 11-12). Some scholars have identified the Mountain of God with the volcano Hala El-Bedr, which rises on the eastern slope of a range called Tadras in Northwest Arabia; others argue for the plateau of Petra in Mt. Seir, for Serbal, and even for Serabit el-Khadim" (The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth. Westbridge Books, Devon, England. 1979. P. 170). Peake's Commentary on the Bible notes that the reason for these choices lies in the paucity of evidence for the traditional site in the Sinai peninsula. "The chief reasons for discounting the traditional identification are (a) that the description of the mountain in Exodus 19 is widely thought to point to a VOLCANO, but there are no volcanoes in the Sinai Peninsula; (b) that the Sinai Peninsula lay within the jurisdiction of the Pharaoh, and that therefore the fugitive Israelites would AVOID it; (c) that Jethro’s clan of the Midianites LIVED EAST OF THE GULF OF AQABA, and NOT in the south of the Sinai peninsula" (Pp. 211-212).

The Sacred Mountain of Midian Traditions abound of a SACRED MOUNTAIN in the land of Midian. These traditions -stretching back into dim antiquity -- all converge on the same theme. Charles Doughty relates one such tradition he heard during his travels in Arabia: Aad [ancient tribe of Arabia] defeated Thamud (ancient peoples in el-Yemen or Arabia Felix). Thamud emigrated northwards alighted upon the plain of EL-HEJR [area where Midian was located] under Mount Ethlib. In later generations God's warning is come to these sinners, which of a vain confidence had hewed them dwellings in the rocks, by the The Berean Voice September-October 2002

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mouth of Salih, a prince of their own nation. The idolatrous Thamudites required of him a sign: 'Let the mountain, they said, bring forth a she-camel ten months gone with young, and they would believe him! Then the mountain wailed, as in pangs to be delivered, and there issued from the rocky womb that she-camel or naga which they had desired of God's prophet....The days ended there fell a fearful wind, sarsar, the EARTH SHOOK, a VOICE WAS HEARD from heaven, and on the morrow the idolatrous people were found lying upon their faces (as the nomads used to slumber) all dead corpses, and the land was empty of them as it had never been inhabited. A like evil ending is told of Aad, and of the Midianites. The Syrian Moslems show a mountainous crag (el-Howwara) in this plain, which opened her bosom and received the orphan calf again (Travels in Arabia Deserta. Random House, N.Y. Pp. 136-137). The Jewish historian Josephus was aware of the Arabian traditions regarding a SACRED MOUNTAIN. In book II of the Antiquities of the Jews, he equates this mountain WITH THAT OF SINAI. Notice! Now Moses, when he had obtained the favour of Jethro, for that was one of the names of Raguel, stayed there [in Midian] and fed his flock; but some time afterward, taking his station at the MOUNTAIN CALLED SINAI, he drove his flocks thither to feed them. Now this is the HIGHEST of all the mountains there about, and the best for pasturage, the herbage being there good; and it had not been before fed upon, because of the opinion men had THAT GOD DWELT THERE, the shepherds not daring to ascend up to it; and here it was that a wonderful prodigy happened to Moses; for a fire fed upon a thorn-bush, yet did the green leaves and the flowers continue untouched, and the fire did not at all consume the fruit-branches, although the flame was great and fierce (Chapter XII, verse 1) Further on, in book III, Josephus narrates the account of Moses climbing up the mountain to commune with God, once again showing the sacred nature of Sinai: When he [Moses] had said this, he ascended up to mount Sinai, which is the HIGHEST OF ALL THE MOUNTAINS THAT ARE IN THAT COUNTRY, and is not only very difficult to be ascended by men, on account of its vast altitude, but because of the sharpness of its precipices; nay, indeed, it cannot be looked at without pain of the eyes: and besides this, it was terrible and inaccessible, on account of the rumour that passed about, THAT GOD DWELT THERE (Chapter 5, section 1). Peake's Commentary states that "at the beginning of the summer, the grass in the lower pastures begins to be burnt up, and the Bedouin go to the mountain slopes. 'The mountain of God,' that is, THE SACRED MOUNTAIN, was so called...because the Midianites already regarded it as sacred, as the dwelling-place of deity...." (p. 211).

Locating Horeb Can we now pinpoint the Mountain of God -- the REAL Mt. Sinai-with exactitude? We have seen all the evidence plainly pointing our gaze to the ancient and fabled land of Midian. Are The Berean Voice September-October 2002

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there any clues that will lead us right to the very slopes of the mountain of the lawgiving? Keep reading, for there certainly are! Returning to Peake's Commentary once again, we learn the following: "It [Mt. Sinai] is sometimes called HOREB (E, D), sometimes SINAI (J, P), the names appearing to be interchangeable. Some think that Horeb refers to the range and Sinai to the peak; others the opposite. Heinisch holds that there is much to be said for the conjecture of Sandra (Moses und der Pentateuch (1924), 37, 359) that Horeb represents the Midianite name for the mountain and Sinai the one used by the Canaanites and the Amorite population of the peninsula. It is thus Jabel el Lawz -- The Real Mt. Sinai called Horeb here, since Moses is among the Midianites...." (p. 212). This explanation is CLOSE, but not one-hundred percent correct! The British author and archaeologist H. St. John Philby spent a significant portion of his life exploring the wadis and mountains of northwest Arabia -- the biblical land of Midian. In the book he wrote following his exploration of Midian, Philby outlines his adventures in that mountainous land: From here my guide and I climbed up the cliff to visit The 'Circles' of Jethro on the summit of Musalla ridge, from which we climbed down quite easily to our camp on the far side. [Alois] Musil tells us that he had to fetch a circuit of two kilometres to approach the ridge from the north; but the more direct approach presented no difficulty. A cairn marked the spot where Jethro is supposed to have prayed, and all round it are numerous circles, the significance of which is difficult to guess: presumably some stance marked out for the benefit of pilgrims visiting the scene of Jethro's argument with the Midianites. from here I had a magnificent view of the whole of the Midian mountain range: with LAUZ and its sister peaks in the northeast and Maqla' a very little north of east, with the valley of al-Numair separating the latter from the long low ridge of All Marra, extending from east to south-east, where the TWO PEAKS OF HURAB stood out in front of the great range of Zuhd, which runs down to a point not far from the sea to our southward...the spot that held my imagination was the smooth, double-headed, granite boss of HURAB (pronounced HRUB by 'Id), AN OBVIOUS CANDIDATE FOR IDENTIFICATION WITH THE MOUNT HOREB OF THE EXODUS, with the burning bush and the tablets of the Law: THE ONLY CANDIDATE FOR THE HONOUR WHICH CAN CLAIM TO HAVE PRESERVED THE NAME. Philby goes on to explore the area –

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So far as I am aware the existence of THIS HILL IN MIDIAN HAD NEVER BEEN NOTED BEFORE; and naturally I was anxious to explore it and its surroundings....A couple of miles brought us to the edge of a wide chasm, with forty-foot cliffs of sandstone and silt along the left bank, and an easier rise on our side, strewn liberally with large granite and basalt boulders from the steep flank of HURAB just ahead of us. The Land-Rover could go no farther, and I made my inspection of the VALLEY and the edge of the mountain on foot. The massif is granite, with dykes of basalt at intervals, running from south-west to north-east at an angle of thirty degrees. I did not attempt to emulate Moses' feat of climbing it, if indeed he did; but I made a careful search in the valley and its sandstone cliffs in the hope of finding a few Badawin wasms, but the channel itself, 100 yards wide and thickly covered with Acacia bushes and trees, and the deep gorge of the mountain from which it emerges, were quite impressive... According to Hasballah, THE NAME OF HURAB APPLIES PRIMARILY TO THE WADI, while he called THE MOUNTAIN ITSELF AL MANIFA (which simply means 'the lofty') (The Land of Midian. Ernest Benn Ltd., London. 1957. Pp. 222-224). Philby was not the first to explore WADI HROB -Alois Musil himself camped there during his exploration of Midian; and he specifically IDENTIFIED HROB WITH HOREB. If you examine a detailed map of this area, the WADI HOREB can be seen to run into the foothills of one of the MOST IMPRESSIVE PEAKS OF MIDIAN, and also the HIGHEST -- JABEL EL LAWZ (LAUZ)! Jabel el Lawz is indeed impressive. Those who have looked up at its massive granite slopes are awed by its sheer ruggedness and size. It continually impressed H. St. John Philby as he wandered through the mountains and wadis of Midian. "...I took advantage of our long halt to inspect the country from the top of a charming 100-foot hillock of rhyolite and andosite on the very edge of the Afal channel. It was a nice fine morning with a coldish breeze blowing from the north. The MAIN PEAK OF LAUZ, partly in cloud, rose to the south-east of our position....The upper part of the valley varied from 500 to 1,500 yards in width, with occasional wider basins allowing of splendid views of the great mountains, INCLUDING THE LAUZ SUMMIT on which there seemed to be a patch of snow. the guide confirmed that it was snow: and, if so, it was the first and only time that I have ever seen snow in Sa'udi Arabia...." Philby notes that Burton never explored the gullies of Lauz: "Burton had never examined the gullies of Lauz or the other mountains of the Midian chain; and it is not unlikely that they may contain minerals of various kinds. The basalt pyramid of Maqla' looked climbable, but THE SHEER GRANITE OF THE LAUZ PEAKS would have needed more time and energy than I had at my disposal. So far as I know they [the PEAKS OF LAUZ] HAVE NEVER BEEN CLIMBED BY ANY HUMAN BEING."

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Philby punctuates his book with superlatives such as "the GREAT MASSIF of Jabal Lauz," "Lauz and the other GREAT GIANTS of Midian," "the GREAT PEAK of Lauz," and "the Lauz MASSIF." Is THIS peak that so impressed Philby and Musil the REAL Mt. Sinai of the Bible?

The Real Mt. Sinai Discovered? In July 1988 a report came out in the High Flight Foundation Newsletter that startled its curious readers: Great news! We strongly feel that the REAL Mt. Sinai has been discovered. Since February, we have been searching in Egypt and Saudi Arabia in an attempt to find the real Mt. Sinai, currently believed to be in Egypt. The Bible, however, is quite clear that Mt. Sinai is IN ARABIA (Galatians 4:25). We have found an underwater land bridge in the Red Sea in the area of the tip of the Sinai peninsula. This land bridge was photographed and found to be a perfect underwater bridge to Arabia. Larry Williams and I [Bob Cornuke] have taken two trips to SAUDI ARABIA and traveled to JABEL AL LAWZ. This mountain is believed by some Biblical scholars to possibly be the real Mt. Sinai. Jabel al Lawz is an 8,000 ft. mountain with a huge valley at its base. In this VALLEY we found an ANCIENT ALTAR with petroglyphs of the Egyptian bullgod, Hathor, inscribed in the rocks. We feel this is the altar where Aaron made the Golden Calf. There were also very strong readings of the mineral gold registered at this site (Report by Bob Cornuke on Noah's Ark and Mt. Sinai).

The Beach of the Crossing on the Eastern Side of the Sinai Peninsula -- Note Ruins of Egyptian Frontier Fortress In the book Treasures of the Lost Races, published in 1982, author Rene Noorbergen writes about the reasons for identifying Jebel el Lauz with the Sinai of the Exodus:

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The theory on which Ron Wyatt was basing his exploratory trip to the Middle East was founded on TWO very obvious points made by Flavius Josephus and recorded in the Bible. Both mention that the Hebrew children went SOUTH FROM EGYPT, through the desert, ending at the shore of the Red Sea in an area where 'the mountains were closed with the sea.' That the Red Sea at that time extended, in name at least, AS FAR AS EILAT AT THE TOP OF THE GULF OF AQABA can be seen in I Kings 9:26, where it states that 'King Solomon made a navy of ships in EZION-GEBER, which is beside ELOTH, ON THE SHORE OF THE RED SEA, IN THE LAND OF EDOM.' Wyatt reasoned therefore that the Israelites had crossed the Sinai from west to east and had finally reached an area on the EASTERN COAST (GULF OF AQABA) where a mountain range met the sea. According to the record, the Egyptians had taken over the mountain peaks near the area to prevent the Hebrews from escaping. It also mentions that AFTER they had crossed the Red Sea, Moses took them to 'Mt. Sinai in order to offer sacrifices to God.' Rene Noorbergen discusses Wyatt's exploration of the eastern shore of the Sinai peninsula: A careful examination of the eastern shore of the Sinai Peninsula allows for only one place where two million people and their flocks can be gathered. it is the wide expanse of beach near NUWEBA, the south end Wadi Watir -- The Way the Israelites Approached the Beach of of which is closed off by the Crossing steep mountains! Nearby is a wide and wild mountain gorge known as the WADI WATIR, an ancient dried-out riverbed that forms a NATURAL ROADWAY into the Sinai desert. What's more, the traditional Mt. Sinai is deep within the Sinai desert, while both the Bible and Josephus indicate that Moses took the Hebrews to Mt. Sinai after they crossed the Red Sea into what is now known as ARABIA. Interestingly, not far from the opposite shore is a mountain known as Jabel el Lawz, A STEEP, FORBIDDING PEAK. Is it perhaps that this is the Mt. Sinai that Moses speaks of? There are many different theories regarding the possible location of the real Mt. Sinai, and Ron Wyatt's location wasn't all that farfetched. The route the Israelites took is related next – He held that the Israelites, after leaving Egypt, went DOWN the western side of the Sinai along the Gulf of Suez and crossed the Sinai from west to east through its most rugged

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Is Mt. Sinai the Mountain of YEHOVAH? mountainous section by travelling over the dried-out riverbeds that run into each other. Their route, according to him, could well have gone via the Wadi Feiran, connecting with the Wadi El Akhdar, which in turn runs into the Wadi Salaqa, becomes the wadi Zaranek, and eventually meets the Gulf of Aqaba via the well-known Wadi Watir. The Wadi Watir is the only wadi that ends at a wide beach-like expanse whose southernmost end is cut off by steep mountains. An escaping horde of people arriving at the Red Sea via the Wadi Watir had ONLY TWO CHOICES: to be annihilated on the beach by the pursuing armies that could enclose it from the north, while it was hemmed in by mountains on the west and south; OR to go FORWARD INTO THE WATER. There simply could have been no other (pp. 163-166).

Ronald E. Wyatt -- amateur archaeologist and theologian from Tennessee -- had long been interested in the location of Mt. Sinai. In 1978 he did some exploratory work in the Red Sea; and, in 1984, after spending 75 days in a Saudi Arabian jail, returned to the U.S. to be interviewed by the CBS MORNING NEWS on April 17. In the interview Mr. Wyatt explained the choice of Jabel El Lawz as the REAL Mt. Sinai: We found some chariot parts that looked like the chariots found in King Tut's tomb in the Gulf of Aqaba, WEST OF THIS JABEL EL LAWZ. Now, we found these at depths from 60 feet out to 200 feet and over a stretch of about a mile and a half. And we believe that was the crossing site, so in the Biblical narrative, they arrived at Mt. Sinai after crossing the Red Sea. The language in the Bible indicated that they stayed 'IN' A MOUNTAIN; ENCLOSED IN A MOUNTAIN. So, an aerial map showed that this JABEL EL LAWZ HAD A LARGE VALLEY ENCLOSED IN THE RIM OF AN ANCIENT VOLCANO. There's about 5,000 acres in there. We felt this was the place. And, in Exodus 24:4 and Leviticus 6:28, 11:33 and 15:12, it tells of SOME ARTIFACTS that were to be found. There would be TWELVE PILLARS OF STONE AND AN ALTAR AND SOME POTTERY, and so this is why we looked at that particular mountain. In the following year (1985) David Fasold of Port Salerno, Florida accompanied Ron Wyatt to Jabel El Lawz to carry out an archaeological survey. Mr. Fasold relates the events of that fruitful expedition: On April 2, 3 and 4 of 1985, an archaeological survey was conducted by Mr. Ronald Wyatt of Madison, Tennessee, at Jabel el Lawz, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The molecular survey, leading to points of interest, was carried out by Mr. David Fasold of Port Salerno, Florida, who accompanied Mr. Wyatt and Samran Al-Moteiri, a prominent citizen of Tabuk [town in NW Saudi Arabia], who had gained permission to conduct the survey. The purpose of the investigation was that Mr. Wyatt's premise that the mountain, JABEL EL LAWZ, represented the TRUE MT. SINAI IN THE LAND OF MIDIAN, which is, of course, IN NORTHERN ARABIA, and NOT in the Sinai Peninsula. The site is located some 144 kilometers by road from Tabuk towards Hagl. When soon after crossing a bridge, a dry wadi is followed west for a distance of 48.7 kilometers. Questioning a Bedouin tribesman proved very fruitful –

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Upon questioning a Bedouin in the area if this was indeed Jabel El Lawz, Ibrahim Salem Frich responded with "nahm, Jabel Musa henna!", which means "yes, the MOUNTAIN OF MOSES IS HERE!" The Bedouin showed us the REMAINS OF A TEMPLE that, during the reign of Sulyimin, the Turkish " Sulyimin, the great," has been stripped of cut stone for building material for a mosque in Hagl. I would have liked to have seen this mosque to ascertain how many blocks were removed from the site, but time did not permit. 25 rectangular blocks, 16 ½" by 8 1/4," varying in length from 26 1/4" to 39", were scattered at the site below a RAISED PLATFORM, and 10 pillar sections are visible, varying in height from 10" to 26" with a 22 3/4" diameter. The TEMPLE PLATFORM represents ¼ of a circle leading from a set of three pools joined to a large rock best described as the size of an "up-ended" car, which carries slightly incised, esoteric symbols. This site nestles between TWO MOUNTAINS. The molecular survey uncovered some interesting remains: Closer to the wadi, the molecular survey uncovered a line of 12 CIRCLES OF STONE with an outside diameter of 18 feet, consisting of three rows of stones in thickness. It would appear to this writer that the construction was not a "shaft grave" or walls for wells, but the REMAINS OF STANDING TOWERS. THE 12 were spaced five feet apart from one another in a straight line bearing 193 degrees magnetic. the elevation at this site is 4,050 feet, some 20 feet above the wadi, 70 feet below the TEMPLE REMAINS and less than 1/8 of a mile distance from THE TEMPLE; from tower The Charred Top of Jabel el Lawz number four, JABEL EL LAWZ bearing 216 degrees and the other mountain at 270 degrees. Directly across the wadi, a survey line was followed to a low grouping of stones that were COVERED WITH PETROGLYPHS in the following manner: an area of the stone was washed with a substance that was absorbed by the rock about 1/8 of an inch; a pointed tool was then employed that, when struck against the blackened rock to a depth of 1/4 of an inch, left a white mark. The artist thus portrayed images of Hathor and Apis, the Egyptian sacred cows, in dotted outline with their markings, in several cases, six figures apiece.

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Is Mt. Sinai the Mountain of YEHOVAH? When shown to an archaeologist sent from Riyad University to verify the site, Wyatt was congratulated on the discovery and the area promptly closed. All photographs were confiscated. Later visits by Larry Williams finds the area fenced off – Two visits to the site in the spring of 1988 by Larry Williams, an explorer from Rancho Sante Fe, California, verified by photograph that the petroglyph site was now enclosed by a 12 foot, chain link fence and barbed wire, with a large blue and white 4 foot by 8 foot sign in the Arabic and English that it was a protected site of historical importance. Two other sites, the TEMPLE and the towers, are protected by the same type fence, encircling TWO entire mountains. This writer feels that the cost involved in the fencing alone shows that the Saudis are taking this site very seriously....I can assure you that this was Wyatt's first trip to the site, but not his first attempt. I can personally verify that the discoveries were made in accordance with the theory formulated by Wyatt that the Exodus route from the Egyptians crossed the eastern arm of the Red Sea, INTO MIDIAN AND RETURNING TO MT. HOREB -- JABEL EL LAWZ (Discovered: Noah's Ark, by Ronald E. Wyatt. World Bible Society, Tennessee. 1989. Pp. 45-47).

All the evidence we have covered CLEARLY points to the land of Midian on the eastern side of the Gulf of Aqaba as being the CORRECT LOCATION for Mt. Sinai -- the Mountain of God. Jebel el Lauz appears to be the REAL mountain of the lawgiving; and we wait with eager anticipation for further evidence to emerge from this site in Saudi Arabia and from the pen of researchers and adventurers who made the startling disclosures we have just read about. God, in his good time, will reveal ALL TRUTH to those who serve and obey Him.

A Sin that Stands Condemned For the sin of sodomy there is only condemnation. As revealed in Genesis 18, YEHOVAH God, accompanied by two angels, was on His way to execute judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah. On the way “The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre,” the account begins, which includes the promise given that Sarah will conceive and give birth to a baby son. Then “the men set out and looked towards Sodom, and Abraham went with them to start them on their way” (verse 16). Sodomy is a plague which afflicts Israel (U.S., Britain, etc.) today -- a plague for which there is no cure, only judgment. At the return of YEHOVAH God and the Messiah we can expect the same judgment that was visited upon Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of Abraham. Those who continue to break YEHOVAH’s law will have to pay the full penalty -read Luke 17:28-30. Judging from the quickening spread of AIDS in our society today, we can expect the full judgment of YEHOVAH when he returns.

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Letters from Our Readers... The Hope of Israel Mail Bag Here’s my take on it for now, and if I am totally off the wall, I’d appreciate your correction. (My occupation was as a true systems analyst; everything I ever accomIt has been a long time since V. (my wife) and I have plished came out of the minds of my co-workers -- I simbeen so excited to read newsletters, magazines, bookply knew how to do it, they didn’t -- which is my way of lets, published by the many churches of God, offshoots saying I am easily corrected). of HWA’s WCG, as the one you’ve been sending us, since September 2001, The Berean Voice -- we devour This is my “Rapture” speculation: Scientists have disit, from cover to cover. Thank you! covered a particle in our blood that is indestructible, even to atomic blast. In my opinion, everything is freWe go back to the 1960s in our reading, to 1969 baptism quency, there is nothing that isn’t frequency; every cell for V., and 1979 baptism for me. I’ll not bother you with in our body has many particles that resonate to frequenthe details, which for the past few months have also incies -- even prayer is frequency and has been measured cluded WFD/TPM in our diet of printed and audio mateboth in the doing and in the results. Yeshua’s voice is rials. We now are among the many scattered brethren of frequency (many frequencies). When he shouts “Come what I call “The Kitchen Table Church of God” (the two up here” the Firstfruit(s) will respond and take a round of us, alone at home, we are in our early 70s). trip to the 3rd heaven, just as he, the first of the Firstfruit(s), did. Not all saints are Firstfruit(s). We are In the past 20+ years we’ve known 3,600 WCG brethren all given Yehovah’s Holy Spirit to grow in knowledge by face, 2000 by name, and have supped with 600 of and understanding of His Word. Some are given the them. So to be alone is somewhat aggravating to me. The Spirit of Christ (Yeshua), Agape. Only the command “to command to assemble with your brethren cannot be aclove your neighbor as yourself” can be accomplished by commodated just now, even though all the large splinthe saints who have Agape. (John, I know you underters have local congregations here in northwest stand this because of what you have written lately re Arkansas. I’m concerned about that. your own WCG history and later association with WFD and now on your own since 1999). Yeshua was supposed I’ve downloaded all issues of The Berean Voice from to teach for seven years but was cut off midway. He still January 2000, except the Sep-Oct 2000 issue was not must teach those last three and one-half years. Those available on either of your web sites. If you have a hard who are raptured will rule under Yeshua in the millencopy, please send it to me, or email me the bv5.pdf file. nial Kingdom of God. (Many more resurrected saints Thank you! will serve in that government). No amount of discipleship in any church of God will teach any of us what we I’ve also downloaded the first group of Bible Corresponneed to know to rule even a corporation, let alone a city dence courses and the test and answer sheet. That is our or more. At best we develop right attitudes toward othnext work. ers, our brethren, and the folks across the street, our neighbors, with Agape. The Rapture issue also aggravates me. Do you have any material specifically directed to that issue that you D.B. (Arkansas) would send me? Thank you! Dear John,

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COMMENT: Thank you for your interesting letter. I Yeshua will be in two stages -- first, the RAPTURE (his coming for the saints), and then later the REVELATION (his coming with the saints). The interval between these two events, the so-called great tribulation period, is commonly regarded as seven years. Verses like Revelation 1:7, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him,” are applied to the REVELATION -- his coming in power and Margaret had been ill and bedridden for a year and a half glory. The RAPTURE, on the other hand, is presented before her revelation, and had plenty of time to read and as a quiet, invisible, and secret coming. ponder the Scriptures. She apparently noticed that something happens after Matthew 24:40’s “taken” and after II In all respect to those who believe this way, this is a Thessalonians 2:7’s “taken.” Putting the two passages to- strange doctrine indeed! The very text on which the gether, she reasoned that only after the rapture -- when catching up (or rapture) is based implies just the opposome would be left on earth -- would the “Antichrist” be site! “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven revealed. According to her “logic” some could literally be with a SHOUT, with the VOICE of the archangel, and taken out of the way (via the rapture) while others could be with the TRUMP of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be left on earth for something less desirable. caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Evidently no one in the 18 centuries prior to Margaret had Lord in the air” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17). ever taken these two “takens,” tied them together, and introduced this radically new doctrine which many have This text indicates anything but a quiet, secret rapture. As well as the sound of the Messiah himself descendfallen for in the years since. ing from heaven with a SHOUT, the VOICE of the One can search the Bible from one end to the other and archangel, and the TRUMPET of God, there will be never find the word “rapture.” The word itself is from the the sounds of praise and rejoicing from vast multiLatin rapere, the same word from which “rape” comes tudes of saints as they are caught up to meet the Mesfrom, and it means to seize, to take away. A far more ap- siah! propriate expression would be to simply say what the Bible says: that believers will be “caught up” to meet Yeshua The Bible plainly says “The Lord himself shall dein the air. Unfortunately, the word “rapture” is now in scend from heaven with a shout.” To read “invisible” common use and is applied to the catching up of believers or “quiet” into this scene is nothing less than twisting the scriptures. If Paul was trying to describe a secret to meet the Messiah at his coming. event, he certainly chose the wrong words! The issue in question is not the word “rapture.” The doctrine of the second coming of Yeshua the Messiah, which In fact, Yeshua warned against the idea of secrecy in has been the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) of the true connection with his second coming: “If any man shall Church of God over the centuries, is not the issue. That be- say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it lievers will actually be caught up to meet the Messiah in not....If they shall say unto you...behold, he is in the the air is not the issue. The real issue before us is whether SECRET chamber; believe it not. For as the lightning this catching up (or rapture) is a separate and earlier event cometh out of the east, and shineth unto the west, so from the coming of Yeshua. shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:23-27). Christians who hold what is called the “dispensational” interpretation of prophecy, teach that the second coming of must, however, disagree regarding the Rapture. The Rapture theory was born in 1830 when a young Scottish girl by the name of Margaret Macdonald had a private revelation in Port Glasgow, Scotland, that a select group of Christians would be caught up to meet the Messiah in the air before the days of the so-called Antichrist.

The Berean Voice September-October 2002

Hope of Israel Mail Bag There is absolutely no indication whatsoever in the Bible that the second coming of Yeshua the Messiah will be a secret event -- only the TIME of the event is secret. Yeshua stressed that men do not know the day or the hour of the second coming. It will be “as it was in the days of Noah” when people were eating, drinking, and getting married -not expecting destruction to descend upon them. They “knew not UNTIL the flood came, and took them all away, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:36-39). The wicked knew not until the flood came -but, obviously, when it arrived they knew it was there! It was no secret event. It was observed and experienced by believers and unbelievers alike. ***

33 Make the HELL a hospitable place by twisting the word of God, cause it is ur destination. Herbert W. Armstrong is waiting for you.

COMMENT: Dear friend, clearly your understanding of the Bible is as bad as your spelling! I don’t believe we have any common ground to communicate on. The Bible nowhere says the Flood was global in that it completely covered the earth with the highest mountains submerged. I challenge you to show me WHERE in the Bible it reveals the earth (world, planet) was completely covered by water. Your magazine subscription has been canceled -- I would hate to see YEHOVAH God’s word relegated to the trash can.

Gentleman/Ladies: *** Hello and Shalom! Will you please add my name to your mailing list? Also, will you please send me the Septem- Hi John, ber/October 2000 and November/December 2000 back isThanks for getting back with me. Take your time with sues? I would greatly appreciate it. my article. One thing I’ll mention as food for thought: I am a prisoner, so I don’t have much money. But I do plan the governments of men are what keeps marriage regulated generally, with licenses and prohibitions etc. This to tithe to you as soon as I am able. is a usurpation of Yah’s kingdom and laws. His laws regulate marriage in a different manner than this false Thank you, and may Yehovah bless you richly! government we grew up with. We are literally struggling at every point to re-introduce His people to ALL Sincerely, of those laws, none of which are abolished. This includes the presumed phrase, “If a man have two A.C. wives...” Deuteronomy 21:15. *** As far as Timothy Henry, I already answered the same question by him! It’s on my other computer, but essenTo John D. Keyser, tially, two things easily answer his question. Ur magazine is full of Blasphemy. Is anything hard for the Lord? Is anything impossible for God? Why are you doing (1) If one keeps Saturday or Sunday as Sabbath, the High Holy Days interrupt that “7 day pattern” dramatithe Devil’s bidding? cally, SEVERAL TIMES IN THE YEAR. This is of course because the Holy Days are on a lunar schedule, Ur magazine is FREE. What is ur gain? while the current commercial week is artificial and By saying that the Flood is regional, u make God a liar. keeps revolving. A different day in the 6 day work Please continue my magazine subscription. I will do my week is “interrupted” every year on those feasts. part by throwing it into the trash. Whereas in the lunar sabbath schedule, only the New

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Moons, Pentecost, and the Day of Atonement “interrupt.” Dear Mr. Keyser, Pentecost just runs through the day after the 7th sabbath, and the New Moon days are right in a row following the I’m enjoying reading the latest publication of Berean fourth sabbath, like a mini-vacation each month. Voice. But, I need a little prayer, as suddenly I have an eye problem that is in the left eye. Essentially what has (2) The Genesis account states, “the evening and the morn- happened is that a blood vessel broke in the superior ing were the...day” on each of the days of creation. But on oblique muscle and therefore causes me to see double the Seventh Day, the “evening and morning” phrase is en- vertically. This is very frustrating, but I will get over it, tirely missing. This leaves open the idea that some “sev- it takes about 3 months to heal. So, I’m experiencing enth days,” particularly at the new moon, may be longer quite a bit of problem with seeing, walking, driving than a “solar day.” and reading. Thank you for prayers. Blessings, in the King’s service, J. (Missouri) *** My Dear Friends and Family in HaShem, Dear Brother Keyser I pray you and all your staff are growing in the revelation knowledge of YeHoVaH, Amen. Would you please print the address and website above so more concerned followers of YeHoVaH can find us. We are Jewish Nazarenes and thanks to you Brother Keyser we are also “Lunar Sabbatarians,” Amen!

Also I’m wondering if you even take prayer requests which I’m sure you do. It has been a difficult winter here and glad it is getting over with, as both our older son and daughter need work. We have been helping as much as we can, but it would sure be nice if they had more work. Thank you so much. Thanks again for good publications. May Yahweh continue to bless you and this work. Sincerely, R.C. (Washington)

COMMENT: Yes, we take prayer requests.

Like most of the 1st century Jewish Nazarenes we do not believe Rabbi “Yahushua ben Yosef” [Jesus] truly became HaShem’s Son until his mikvah for Nazarene priesthood by John the Immerser. We also do not believe, “like you also,” that Rabbi Yahushua pre-existed. However, we do believe that ”Metatron” or “Michael the Prince” did pre-exist as the Spirit Agent of YeHoVaH, and this Spirit indwelt the Messiah at Baptism. It also left him on the death Stake! (Mt. 27:46).

Readers, please pray for the on-going health of this lady and that her children find suitable employment.

I write the articles for our website from my prison cell and Cynthia my wife keeps the site up to date and answers e-mails. We both love and cherish The Berean Voice magazine!

For this year, this is the dates that I have found myself: 13 April = 1st. Abib -- 14th March was too early. The Jews are under the cup of Babylon like the Worldwide Church of God of Armstrong.

“Shalom” D.I. (Indiana)

For me, the moon commands the seasons. Excuse me for my bad English, I am a Swiss who speaks French. ***

*** Dear Sir, Since a long time I don’t agree with the Worldwide Church of God, neither with the Jewish Calendar.

Yours truly. (Switzerland)

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For me the next important date is the 24th June -- a full Mr. Keyser keep up the good work. Please, please moon. don’t change. I have been in the truth for 34 years and have seen ministers come and go, I am so afraid that *** you are too good to be true. I pray for you all. God bless you all, may the mighty hand of Yahweh always Dear Brethren: be with you and bless you and the excellent work you do. I have a son in Vancouver, B.C. Who has lately shown a keen interest in prophecy, especially since the Sept. 11th With Christian love, incident and thought maybe you could help me. M.D.C. (South Africa). I’m in my nineties, my eye sight is poor, and my writing skills have much to be desired. I thought rather than writing numerous letters that I would have you send him the current issue of The Berean Voice which would answer many of his questions regarding our Great Creator’s ways and keep him up to date on the world’s condition today.

P.S. May I please have your viewpoint on how the Sabbath should be kept or any articles on keeping the Sabbath day as well as knowing the True and Living God. The Second Coming of Yehovah.

COMMENT: Thank you for your very encourag-

ing letter. With YEHOVAH God’s spirit and your If he is interested he must reply and would like to sub- prayers I will stay the course and proclaim scribe and have his name added to your mailing list. Any YEHOVAH’s truth until the day I die. Let us know if other literature you feel would be helpful to a newcomer you received articles on the above subjects. would also be appreciated. *** Dear John, Yours in Yahweh’s service, F.W. (Canada) Shalom y saludos de Espana soleada. COMMENT: Your son’s name has been added to our mailing list. And today it is going to be a sunny day and I should be at work outside where there is much to do. But the *** other day I had a brilliant idea which I want to talk to you about forthwith. Dear Mr. Keyser, A few days ago I read your article 12 Proofs That Thank you so much for the magazine, I just want to let you Yeshua Did Not Pre-exist again. I have noticed before know how grateful I am for all the work you and your team that it always pays to read an article for a second time, put into the magazine; also the article on Are You a Com- unless it is trash right from the start like so much of fortable Christian was excellent. It is good to get articles what I receive. The article is really great but what good that uplift us and encourage us, we are living in such a is it if only a limited number of people will become acsin-sick world; so it’s good to get articles like that. quainted with it. For the greater part they will be only those who are on your mailing list. Then it struck me We don’t want to hear about prophecy all the time, don’t that it should be made widely known and I was reget me wrong we have to know, but us being on our own minded of a brother and friend in Avilla, who persenot fellowshipping with people one does get discouraged veres in his belief that there are two Eternals. I have so we do need to hear and read articles of encouragement. tried my very best to persuade him to reconsider his wild idea, yea, I have now even sent him a copy of

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your article and maybe he will now realize that his theory and others with me know plenty more. Either the text is based on hot air. I have not received an answer as yet. could be changed to read what it is supposed to say or the text can be left as is but with a note in the margin Now this man by the looks of it is a self-righteous man what the correct text should read. I am sure we will find who thinks like so many in the CSOG=CSOMAN that he a consensus. I hope you are still with me, all I ask you has got all the truth and that people should listen to him is to mull this suggestion over in your mind and I hope like to a prophet. One day he put an ad in the Journal or you can see the usefulness of this, yea I even dare say Servants’ News forgot which, asking for people to help that YHWH will reckon it to us as righteousness when him to re-write the KJV Bible. He needed brethren to help we do bring out His complete Bible, based on the corhim to correct the manuscript. I offered my assistance and rect translation of the original texts without any received part of the new manuscript for correction. I no- eisegesis. ticed many errors and also errors which could easily be corrected, like stating the true names of the Father and the Well, John, I sign off here but I urge you to consider Son, but my suggestions fell on deaf ears. I was inclined to this, together you and I and many more will be able to chuck it but remembered the Psalm: “who swears to his pull this off easily, with the Spirit of YHWH. If a sinown hurt and does not change” so I finished the job and re- gle individual can accomplish it without bringing anyturned the manuscript, asking him at the same time not to thing new then we, the true seekers of truth, will also be able to bring this about and YHWH will bless us, be send another one. certain of that. In due course I received a copy of the Bible that had been printed and published in the USA but I am afraid there will Please let me hear from you at an early opportunity. be few takers since the letters are extremely small and the Your brother truth seeker in Yashua Messhiach. whole format is such that it is not conducive to easy read- J.K.P. (Spain) ing, even though his great friend Norman Edwards calls it “The Readable KJV.” Still, it was a massive undertaking COMMENT: Thank you for your thought-provokand he did it all by himself, indeed with the help of others ing letter. While I certainly realize there is a need for an unadulterated translation of the Bible, I do not feel that but he was the power behind the whole project. this is where I should be placing my emphasis. There is Now John, do not you think that we could do a lot better, so much doctrinally wrong with the Churches of God do you not share my opinion that what he produced can be and Christendom in general, that I strongly feel my greatly improved upon? Of course it can, I have often won- thrust must be in correcting these errors wherever I dered why there does not exist a Perfect King James Ver- find them. Other people are actively engaged in transsion, one which has all the features. Just recently I lating the Bible afresh, and one I can recommend is acquired a new Bible, the NKJV, but it is nothing special, James D. Tabor and “The Original Bible Project.” He shows the same errors as all other Bibles and it has not has almost completed his translation -- which has given us the true names of the Father and the Son, neither taken many years -- and it should remove a lot of the are all the sayings of Yashua in red, I would prefer blue, errors found in present translations. How far it goes reand so on and so forth. It is just another KJ with a new title, mains to be seen. I will reserve judgment on that until I have seen the complete text. You can contact Mr. Tabut it does not live up to the expectations I had of it. bor at: 408 South Pasadena Ave., Pasadena, CA There is so much wrong with all the King James Bibles, 91105, U.S.A. and this should be corrected, except for the poetic lan*** guage and the Thees and Thous etc., there should come into existence a perfect Bible which shows up all the errors contained in the KJV, all those you have pointed out and I Hi John:

The Berean Voice September-October 2002

Hope of Israel Mail Bag Thanks for the newsletter, I like the title, it is most fitting and you might like to use the following quote even if the author will not act according to his own deadly accurate rhetoric. It may however cause other people to THINK! “To believe that we could be wrong about something -- almost anything -- is unfortunately a very ego-shattering experience for some (if not most) human beings. The exposure of -- myths and biases -- can be so psychologically disruptive that it is tantamount to complete ego destruction. When the security blanket is gone, so is the particular niche of comfort into which we can conveniently creep when some CHALLENGING NEW THOUGHT comes along to disturb our mental processes. We do have our first line of DEFENSES AGAINST TRUTH, and they are far more effective than any radar set or military advance -- early warning -- missile system. They unfailingly tell us that we are NOT WRONG, but RIGHT AFTER ALL!

37 ilar fashion and what is your relationship like today? Are you able to work full-time like he does, to produce your huge newsletter, or are you retired/independently wealthy enough not to have to work to earn your own living? Did your leaving have a major impact on Bill’s following and support or is he still as dismissive of anyone who crosses him? I haven’t read any of his material for years. While I respect him as a researcher and writer, I am not very impressed with his conduct and attitude as a professed believer and therefore brother in Messiah.

I am 64 this month and still work a full-time job to support myself but the demands of my research/writing and resulting correspondence is becoming overwhelming. I believe in co-operation rather than competition. It is evident to me that a number of different people are being used by the Creator to delve into various topics because it is simply too much for one person and I totally reject the hierarchical approach taken by Most people STUBBORNLY RESIST ANY NEW Bill and most of the offshoots of the WCG. TRUTH with a whole series of first-line defenses and several back-up systems to boot! But when TRUTH finally Can’t be much more candid than that, will you reciproexhausts all their defenses, they are forced to resort to that cate and work with me to challenge peoples “comfort one-and-only tired old excuse:’Just who do you think you zone” in the organizations perpetuating the false docare? Where did you get your authority from?’ If all else trines of HWA? fails, people tend to fall back on this put-down.” Kindest regards, Who do you think wrote that insightful piece? None other M.M. (Canada) than Garner Ted Armstrong in the Aug/75 “Good News.” COMMENT: Yes, I received the same treatment I have only read about half of your newsletter and I can al- from Dankenbring -- he just can’t bear to have someready see that to understand some things of “where you are one disagree with him. I haven’t heard from him in coming from” and consider new paradigms, as I hope you several years now, and probably never will. I haven’t also will, we need to EXCHANGE back issues. I was of seen any sign of repentance for his totally unchristian course expecting you to send me the back issue where you way of treating people. I hold a full-time job in the printed my article, but if you will send me all your back is- lighting industry and endeavor to produce the magasues by the cheapest method I will reciprocate with all of zine, work on the websites and hopefully spend some mine so we can compare notes. time with my family in the process! I rely on the support of readers and YEHOVAH’s inspiration to keep Incidently, you can tell me it is none of my business if you publishing the magazine and provide articles etc. for wish, but I am curious. You must remember the vile dia- those who are interested. I really don’t know what sort tribes thrown at me on tapes and in print by Bill of impact I had on Dankenbring’s following, but I Dankenbring, all because I dared to give one of his key know a number of those who receive the PF are also on contributors a tape by Jim Rector! Did he teat you in a sim- the mailing list for The Berean Voice.

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Hope of Israel Mail Bag

that are common to Judeo-Christianity. Just because pagans valued these things as well doesn’t make them I received your address from The Journal, April 30, 2001 bad. issue. I read some years ago an article which I believe was written by you entitled “Prophetess or Medium” about El- Why Xmas isn’t mentioned in the Bible. Well, for the len G. White, also an article again about E.G. White and most part Christ isn’t in the Bible. For another chunk the “Thyatira Church.” he is alive and isn’t accepted by the general populace as divine. And finally, Xmas like other Christian pracYou were then with W.F. Dankenbring. Anyway, do you tices was something that developed later as a part of still have these articles, and if so would you please send Christian culture. me them? I lent them to a friend a while back and he didn’t return them. I no longer receive the Prophecy Flash. I do “By this time the ‘Easter’ tradition was strong enough believe W.F. Dankenbring went on a bit about dates. Hope to challenge the authentic Passover truth of the aposto hear from you, and that you are keeping well. tles and their successors.” Dear Mr. John D. Keyser,

Yours faithfully, D.L.P. (England)

Easter wasn’t a replacement for Passover. Early Christians practiced Passover most likely because they were Jewish. You see initially it was believed that you had to COMMENT: The articles you are referring to are El- be Jewish to be Christian. len G. White -- Messenger or Medium? And The Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Prophecy! Copies have Passover was when the Jews were preparing to leave been sent to you. Your comment about Dankenbring going Egypt and God sent the angel of death (Azriel) to kill on about dates is an understatement! I can’t recall how the first born children of every family. Yet the Jews many different dates he came up with for the return of were instructed to put lamb’s blood upon their door so Yeshua during the ten years I was associated with him! that the angel would “passover” their households. “Beware of the false prophets! They come to you wearing sheep’s clothing, but underneath they are hungry wolves! “Search the scriptures diligently, from Old Testament You will recognize them by their fruit” (Matthew 7:15, to New, and you will find no mention of Jews or Chris16). tians observing an annual period of 40 days of fasting and abstinence preceding the festival of the Passover, *** yet today most of the Christian world observes a 40 day period called Lent, which precedes the festival of Just because Xmas has pagan origins doesn’t mean it Easter Sunday. A period of 40 days is rather common shouldn’t be practiced. You can’t define something by its in scripture, however.” origin. It’s meaning is dependent on what it means to the people today who practice it. It WAS a pagan holiday. Um...well first of all you have to make a distinction beNOW it is a Christian holiday. tween Jews and Christians. The majority of the Bible is about Jews. Jesus was a Jew. So it’s not going to have a To put it another way many of our words have Latin ori- lot about Christian culture as Christianity had barely gins, but mean something VERY different than what they started. mean in Latin. For instance the words “vagina” is Latin for sheath (sword sheath). Fasting and abstinence before Passover? Well, Passover is a Jewish holiday. So aside from the fact that The meaning of Dec. 25th originally was pagan. Now it is- most early Christians were Jewish, I don’t see why n’t. Furthermore, some pagan religions encouraged values Christians would be required to celebrate Passover.

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One important point about the idea of Sola Scriptura. That is the idea of turning to the Bible alone for truth. That policy is itself not in the Bible. In fact throughout the Bible God comes to men in dreams and leads them with prophets. Where in the Bible do you have people looking through ancient texts to see what their spiritual ancestor’s did?

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Dear Kiwihope: I just wanted to thank you for your information on the prayer Shawls (Talis or Tallit) and other stuff on your site, it was very informational and helpful to myself and others.

Shalom, As an ex-Catholic I think Lent is a great spiritual practice. F. Fasting and prayers are important to spirituality. *** Conspiracies? Yes, most definitely. In the 1800s the current pope forbade Catholics from being Freemasons. From Dear Mr. Keyser, then on some believe, it was the intent of the Freemasons to infiltrate the church. Some recent events suggest that is Thank you for The Berean Voice and for sending me happening. the book by Jonathan David Brown Keeping Yahweh’s Appointments. E.N. I would be very appreciative if you would send me any COMMENT: I find your reasoning totally bizarre. other articles you have. I saw two in the Mail Bag that YEHOVAH God does not take pagan holidays and make sound interesting Did the Apostle Peter Ever Visit them Christian! December 25 was originally pagan -- and Rome? and Joseph and the Engineering Wonders of still is! Yeshua the Messiah was not born anywhere near Egypt. that time of year. Not only that, but the Bible indicates we should not observe the Messiah’s birthday -- or anyone Your faithfully, else’s for that matter! I.G. Regarding Easter (which is totally pagan) the Bible nowhere indicates this is a replacement for Passover. But I guess this doesn’t matter to you since you believe that the Bible is not the sole source of truth. You have obviously been deceived by Catholic propaganda. When men rely solely on dreams or visions to conduct their lives they are wide open to the influence of Satan and his minions. While it is true that some personalities in the Bible received visions from YEHOVAH God, these visions NEVER contradicted the living Word of YEHOVAH found in the pages of the Bible. The Bible is always the ultimate yardstick to determine whether something is true, or not.

COMMENT: The articles have been sent -- you should have them by now. ***

I searched the web for information on why people observe birthdays. I believe you are right. But I think you missed one special birthday in the O.T. And I think it is very key. When you read the first chapter of Job you will see that they were celebrating their day. V.4: “And his sons went and feasted in their houses, everyone on his day.” I believe that the birthday is the only one that can be called his day. Just thought you might be interWhile you say you are an ex-Catholic, it is quite obvious ested in this. you have not yet shed the baggage of Catholic paganism and lies. Until you do so you will never arrive at the truth I firmly believe that birthdays are as pagan as xmas, of YEHOVAH. easter, halloween, etc. You did a very good job on the article. -- K.

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The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse In the book of Revelation we find a disturbing vision of four fearsome horsemen (Rev. 6:1-8). Each of these horsemen is a symbol of four major spiritual agencies that have determined the character of the so-called Christian Age from the time of Yeshua down to the present. The first and greatest in its effect is the TRUE gospel (the WHITE horse) -- followed by strife, heresies and death!

John D. Keyser

T

he book of Revelation is of great importance in that it provides spiritual strength and insight for YEHOVAH’s people. It highlights YEHOVAH’s interest in the churches of His people and the close and loving care that Yeshua the Messiah exercises toward them as the Fine Shepherd. Yeshua knows exactly what conditions prevail and what must be done. This is especially manifest in the first three chapters of the book. Some people view Revelation as being so highly symbolic that it cannot be understood, or they take little care in interpreting it to come up with fantastic and erroneous results. But YEHOVAH God wants His people to understand, and He caused the Bible to be written to be understood and to provide guidance for them. The KEY to understanding Revelation is the same as the key to understand other parts of the Bible -- YOU MUST USE THE BIBLE TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE! If we search the Scriptures we will find in them the things used as symbolisms in Revelation. By comparing these Scripture texts we can understand what the Revelation symbols mean. The apostle John was steeped in the Old Testament and draws on the rich evocative imagery of the prophets. He knew -- as certainly as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel knew -- that what he wrote was directly given him by YEHOVAH, stamped with His authority. So with this mind, let us delve into one of the most mysterious and awesome subjects of the book of Revelation -- the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse!

The Horse as a Bible Symbol To correctly understand this portion of the book of Revelation, we need to learn

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the significance of the horse as a Biblical symbol. For this information we must turn to the Old Testament; for the horse is not mentioned in the New -- except in Revelation. A study of the Old Testament will show that the horse is first of all the symbol of strength, might, or force of a certain kind for conquest and for progress. Characterized as he is by strength combined with speed and fearlessness, the horse aptly symbolizes that form of spiritual vitality and power that sustains, energizes and carries forward -- despite all that opposes it. It represents a GREAT SPIRITUAL MOVEMENT, whether good or evil. The horse especially typifies strength and courage for conflict. We should especially notice YEHOVAH God’s own description of the characteristics with which He endowed the horse. Addressing Job, He said: Have you given the horse strength? Have you clothed his neck with thunder? Can you frighten him like a locust? His majestic snorting strikes terror. He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength; he gallops into the clash of arms. He mocks at fear, and is not frightened; nor does he turn back from the sword (Job 39:19-22). Here YEHOVAH holds the horse up to admiration because of his strength, his utter fearlessness, and his refusal to be turned back by any form of danger. YEHOVAH further speaks of his irresistible determination and power to advance in the face of armed resistance: He devours the distance with fierceness and rage; nor does he stand firm, because the trumpet has sounded. At the blast of the trumpet he says, “Aha!” He smells the battle from afar, the thunder of captains and shouting (Job 39: 24-25).

The symbol of the horse and rider is as old as Jacob’s prophecy in Genesis 49:17: “Dan shall be a serpent by the way, a viper by the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider shall fall backward.” The same figure, in a similar sense, is found in the Song of Moses when the children of Israel reached the far side of the Red Sea: “Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to

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The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

YEHOVAH, and spoke, saying: ‘I will sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!’” (Exodus 15:1). From this we get the distinct idea that the horse represents the progress of some great enterprise backed by strong military power. Therefore, anything that is pictured in the Bible as being carried forward by a horse is a movement that is sustained by mighty power -- one that advances into conflict against the opposing forces with fearlessness and with prospects of success. Other passages in the Bible reinforce this concept. Notice Isaiah 31:1 (note the words, “rely on horses...because they are very strong”); Jeremiah 4:13 (”His horses are swifter than eagles”); Jeremiah 12:5 (”how can you contend with horses?”); Hosea 14:3 (”We will not ride on horses”) and Psalm 33:17 (”Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength”). When we take into consideration the significance of the horse as a Biblical symbol -- as well as other factors -- it becomes apparent that the four horses of Revelation 6, and their riders, present a prophetic picture of the MIGHTY SPIRITUAL INFLUENCES, agencies or powers, which were to arise and go forth into the whole world at the beginning of the “Christian Era” -- and which were to impart to that era those special characteristics whereby it is set apart from all previous periods in the world’s history. That our era is clearly set apart from the eras that preceded it, that it has various characteristics which are all its own, and that its most distinctive features are due entirely to influences which came into being at, and immediately after, the death and resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah, are FACTS that cannot be denied! By common acclamation this age is known as the “Christian Era” and its civilization is commonly termed “Christian Civilization.” Throughout the world its system of reckoning time has the date (although incorrect) of the birth of the Messiah for its starting-point. As a result, all men throughout the civilized world render -- whether Christian or not -- involuntary recognition to Yeshua the Messiah. They acknowledge (even though it is most repugnant to them to do so) that YEHOVAH’s doctrine has been the leading factor in shaping the course of human affairs for the last almost 2,000 years, and that the birth of the Messiah into this world was the beginning of an entirely new order of things among men. In retrospect, we cannot fail to observe that the spiritual powers or agencies which have had the chief part in shaping the course of human affairs from the dawn of this era until now, have been FOUR in number. Not only that, but a careful examination of these powers or agencies show that they correspond respectively -- and in the precise order in which they arose -- to the symbolical representations of the four horses and their riders in the book of Revelation. The resemblance is so clear in each case that it is readily seen when pointed out -- and no twisting or manipulation of the meaning of the symbols is needed to produce the true explanation as YEHOVAH God intended. This unique correspondence between the broad characteristic marks of the Christian Era and the symbolical scenarios shown under the first four seals of Revelation is, in itself, STRONG PROOF of the correctness of the interpretation. The agreement is too complete -- and it extends to too many details -- to be attributed to mere chance.

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The visions of these four seals represent the going forth of mighty powers YEHOVAH God has used to shape the course of affairs throughout the entire age. They are to reach the very height of their activities in the closing days of this era, and show to us that the end is near -- even at the door!

The White Horse Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” And I looked and behold, a WHITE HORSE. And he who sat on it had a BOW; and a CROWN was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer (Revelation 6:1-2). The identifying symbols in this passage are (1) the COLOR of the horse, white; (2) the BOW; (3) the CROWN; (4) the fact that the rider went forth conquering (gaining victories from the very start) and ultimately “to conquer” (i.e. to finally triumph over all enemies). These marks or symbols are more than enough to show there is but one event or epoch in the history of the world that fits accurately into the scene we are now viewing. And that is the going forth of YEHOVAH’s truth with the power of His holy spirit. There is nothing else in the past, and nothing that has been revealed concerning the future, that can be made to harmonize with this scene -- or with these symbols. The SENDING FORTH of YEHOVAH’S TRUTH perfectly fits the scene and perfectly explains the symbols without any manipulation whatsoever. The words by which this vision is described suffice to put before us the entire sweep of the gospel from its amazing beginning to its triumphant end. The indisputable fact is that whatever explanation of the vision you may adopt, it is clear that of all the influences that have combined to shape the character of Western Civilization, and have controlled the course of human affairs from the beginning of the age until now, the most potent by far has been, and is today, THE GOSPEL OF YEHOVAH GOD as proclaimed by Yeshua the Messiah and the apostles. In reality, the history of the leading nations of the world is in fact the history of Christianity -- whereas those nations which have been uninfluenced by the gospel are virtually without a history, and without any contributing part in the development of civilization. Their condition has been, at the best, one of age-long stagnation. The other three influences -- which have operated in the affairs of men throughout this age -had their rise in the SAME historical events that occasioned the going forth of the gospel. We will look into this shortly. It makes a strong statement for the UNITY of this group of visions. The Berean Voice September-October 2002

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True Christianity is very far from being a failure, as many would like to think; nor has the energy with which it was launched in the early days of this era dissipated -- it is energized by the spirit of YEHOVAH God. Nor is there any possibility of failure here because the rider of the white horse went forth winning victories everywhere at the beginning, and with the certainty also of a COMPLETE TRIUMPH at the end -- “conquering, and to conquer.” Chapter 5 of the book of Revelation shows us the risen Messiah ascending the throne room of YEHOVAH God and sitting at His right hand to share in the sovereignty of the universe. It follows that since the very purpose for which he offered himself as a sacrifice was for “the sins of the world,” then the first exercise of his kingly authority would be the sending forth of YEHOVAH’s message of salvation into the very world which he had died to save. All of this agrees perfectly with the Messiah’s parting words and instructions to his disciples, by whom that message was to be carried into the world: “Thus,” he told them, “it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and” -- the very next thing it should be noted -- “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all nations.” And, furthermore, for this worldwide mission they were shortly to be “endued with POWER FROM ON HIGH” (the holy spirit -- Luke 24:46-49). The very next thing after the enthronement of Yeshua the Messiah in heaven was the coming down of “power from on high,” in the form of the holy spirit or power of YEHOVAH for the very purpose of energizing the mission of preaching the gospel to the world -- which mission is NOT YET fully accomplished. The color of the horse -- WHITE -- bears strong testimony to this because, as we have already pointed out, this color is used exclusively throughout the Bible to designate things DIVINE and PURE. There is absolutely NO REASON for assuming we have an exception here -- and an exception so great as to reverse the meaning of the symbol, as many in the Churches of God believe today. Not only that, but the evidence for this is raised from the level of high probability to that of VIRTUAL CERTAINTY by the fact that when YEHOVAH God issues forth out of heaven to fulfil the words “and to conquer” (Revelation 19:11), He will come riding a WHITE HORSE: “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, A WHITE HORSE. And He who sat on him...” The words italicized are identical to those of Revelation 6:2. It is simply not conceivable that this identity of language could have had any other purpose than to reveal the IDENTITY of the subject. Could anything be plainer than the fact that the end of YEHOVAH’s war and victory in Chapter 19:11 corresponds with its beginning here in Chapter 6:2? Those who make the rider of the white horse a symbol of the Antichrist of the last days, or of false religion -- thereby REVERSING the meaning of the symbol which the holy spirit has employed here -- realize of course that the COLOR of the horse completely CONTRADICTS their interpretation. They say (with no proof whatsoever to support it) that the Antichrist appears on a white horse in imitation of YEHOVAH God; but this is not dealing fairly or intelligently with the symbols. These symbols have, in every case, a Divine fitness, ascertainable from the Bible itself, to express pictorially the thing or event they are intended to represent.

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The Bow He that sat on the white horse had a bow. The bow is a familiar weapon of war -- its peculiarity being that it can strike at a distance. It is used figuratively for power to make war, whether in a material or spiritual sense. Thus we find Jacob prophesying about Joseph, saying: “But his bow remained in strength” (Genesis 49:24). The bow is employed figuratively as a weapon used by YEHOVAH God. Job speaks of “the arrows of the Almighty” (6:4), and similar mentions can be found in Deuteronomy 32:23, 42; Lamentations 2:4; Psalms 18:14; 45:4; 77:17 and various other places in the Bible. Then we read of “the arrow of the Lord’s [YEHOVAH’s] deliverance” in 2 Kings 13:17. This is sufficient to show that the BOW is a symbol of that which discharges the messages of YEHOVAH God towards the mark they are intended to reach. In other words, it symbolizes the preaching of the true gospel in general and the individual gospel teacher in particular. In Habakkuk’s prophecy is a highly figurative passage in which the prophet sees a vision, and in describing it he speaks of YEHOVAH God as riding upon horses and chariots of salvation. In this connection he says: “Your BOW was made quite ready; oaths were sworn over Your arrows....The sun and moon stood still in their habitation; at the light of Your arrows they went, at the shining of Your glittering spear....You went forth for the salvation of Your people, for salvation with Your Anointed. You struck the head from the house of the wicked...” (Habakkuk 3:8-13; cf. Psalm 110:6). From this scripture we can clearly see that the BOW is a SYMBOL OF YEHOVAH GOD’S WORD in the day when He goes forth into all the world for the “salvation” of men -- as pictured in Revelation 19:11. Another passage that sheds clear light upon the symbol of the bow is Psalm 45 -- notice! Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty One [YEHOVAH], with Your glory and Your majesty. And in Your majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness; and Your right hand shall teach You awesome things. Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies; the peoples fall under You (verses 3-5). In these verses the mention of arrows implies that the royal Warrior had a bow, since in the other scriptures the mention of the bow implies the arrows. Also, in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, verse 4 of this psalm reads as follows: “And in Thy majesty ride, and bend Thy bow, and prosper and reign, because of truth,” etc. The Bible -- figuratively speaking -- puts a BOW and ARROWS into the hands of YEHOVAH God and sends Him forth on a white horse -- in the “day of salvation.” However, the Bible DOES NOT say a word of false religion or any Antichrist going forth on a white horse (or any other), or of his carrying a bow. And since we must interpret scripture only by scripture, we have in this case no choice but to be guided by scripture and take this passage as referring to YEHOVAH God in the book of Revelation -- or else abandon the Bible entirely.

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The Crown The meaning of the clause “and a CROWN was given to him” agrees with the view that in this vision we have YEHOVAH’s TRUTH going forth into the world in the form of the gospel. In the original Greek the word for “crown” in this clause is STEPHA.NOS. In the New Testament two Greek words are used for the English word “crown” -- the other one being DI.ADEMA. According to the Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary (edited by Merill C. Tenney) – In the N.T. (Gr. Stepha.nos and di.adema are used). The first refers to a garland or chaplet such as was worn by a victorious athlete. This type of crown is employed figuratively by Paul and John as A SYMBOL OF CHRISTIAN TRIUMPH (II Tim. 4:8, Rev. 2:10). The diadem was A SYMBOL OF THE POWER TO RULE. In the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, by James Hastings, we read the following: In the NT the victor’s crown at the games (stepha.nos) is USED SYMBOLICALLY OF THE REWARD OF A FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN COURSE, the incorruptible “stepha.nos” being contrasted with the corruptible (I Cor. 9:25; cf. II Tim. 2:5). It is a ‘CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS’ (II Tim. 4:8), the ‘IMMORTAL CROWN OF GLORY,’ the ‘CROWN OF LIFE’ (Ja. 1:12, Rev. 2:10; cf. 3:11). Hence in visions of heaven the crowns are prominent. The elders in Rev. 4:4 wear crowns (STEPHA.NOS) of gold; in the “Ascension of Isaiah” the prophet sees crowns laid up in the highest heaven for the saints; in “Barlaam and Josaphat,” Josaphat sees the people of the heavenly city with crowns in their hands (J.F. Boissonade “Avec. Groeca,” Paris, 1829-31, iv. 360)....Lactantius (”de Mort. Pers.” 16) describes the martyr’s garland of victory as ‘AN UNFADING CROWN LAID UP IN THE KINGDOM OF THE LORD.’ John Peter Lange, in the Commentary On the Holy Scriptures, has this to say -“Dusterdieck maintains that ‘stepha.nos’ here [Rev. 6:2] (as I Cor. IX. 25) denotes only the ‘WREATH’ OF A WARRIOR -- not the ‘crown’ of a king. The New Testament clearly shows that the crown (stepha.nos) of the rider in Revelation 6:2 is one of RIGHTEOUSNESS and CHRISTIAN REWARD: I Thess. 2:19: For what is our hope, or the CROWN [STEPHA.NOS] in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy. II Tim. 4:8: Now there is in store for me the CROWN [STEPHA.NOS] of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day -- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. James 1:12: Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the CROWN [STEPHA.NOS] of life that God has promised to those who love him. Rev. 4:4: Surrounding the throne were 24 other thrones, and seated on them were 24 elders. They were dressed in WHITE and had CROWNS [STEPHA.NOS] of gold on their heads. The Berean Voice September-October 2002

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Now the other Greek word for “crown” -- DI.ADEMA -- is commented on by Allen C. Myers in the Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary: Also in Revelation Gk. “Diadema” indicates a ROYAL CROWN, worn by the dragon (12:3, unlike the crown worn by the woman with child mentioned at V.1), the beast (13:1), and THE RIDER OF THE WHITE HORSE (19:12) who has MANY diadems because of his authority over ALL KINGS. The Bible dictionary, Insight On the Scriptures, has this to say – In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the Greek word DI.A’DE.MA is rendered “diadem” by modern translators. It is always used as a SYMBOL OF KINGLY DIGNITY, whether real or merely claimed. The “great fiery-colored dragon” (Satan the Devil) has a diadem upon each of its seven heads. (Rev. 12:3, 9) A diadem adorns each of the ten horns of the symbolic seven-headed “wild beast” that ascends out of “the sea.” (Rev. 13:1)....Also at Revelation 6:2 and 14:14, Jesus Christ is pictured as wearing a crown (STE’PHA.NOS). Here we clearly see the difference between the white horse of Revelation 6:2 and the white horse and rider of Revelation 19:12. The rider of the white horse in Revelation 6:2 wears the ste’pha.nos -- a symbol of Christian triumph and the reward of a faithful Christian course -- while the rider in Revelation 19:12 wears the crown or diadem of Kingly dignity and the power to rule. The first horse (Revelation 6:2) represents the going forth of YEHOVAH’s Truth, proclaimed powerfully by Yeshua himself and then by the apostles and disciples as they took the gospel message to the four corners of the known world; while the last horse (Revelation 19:12) represents YEHOVAH God Himself returning to earth in His Shekinah Glory to once again take up residence in a newly built Temple.

Conquering and To Conquer If we are still uncertain regarding the identity of the rider of the white horse in Revelation 6:2, the last words of the passage -- “And he went forth conquering and to conquer” -- should surely make the matter perfectly clear. The entire clause is a most wonderful and descriptive explanation of the Messiah’s career in the New Testament. “He went forth conquering” -- these words bring up before our minds the early triumphs of the gospel of the Kingdom of God, from the day it was first proclaimed “with the holy spirit sent down from heaven” to the end of the Book of Acts. And all the way from Jerusalem to Rome to Britain. Then the last three words -- “and to conquer” -- carry our thoughts forward to “the end,” referred to by the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15 where he unfolds the gospel of the Kingdom of God: “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when he puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign till he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (24-26). It is to this last victory over death and the grave that the words “and to conquer” especially refer -- for chapter 20:14 of the Book of Revelation records this final triumph, saying: “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire.” And then, referring to the same event, the apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 15:54-55: “Then shall be brought to

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pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” Therefore the words “conquering, and to conquer” provide strong, conclusive proof that the passage refers to Yeshua the Messiah -- and not to some antichrist. Also, it particularly symbolizes the GOING FORTH OF YEHOVAH’S GOSPEL into the world -- from the first century through to the return of the Messiah and YEHOVAH God at the end of the age.

The Red Horse When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” And another horse, FIERY RED, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to TAKE PEACE FROM THE EARTH, and that people should kill one another; and there was given him a great SWORD (Revelation 6:3-4). These words aptly describe the symbols of another mighty spiritual agency or power that has exerted a tremendous influence in shaping the development of Christian evangelism down through the ages. The color of the horse (RED), the words “to take peace from the earth” and “kill one another,” -- and the symbol of “a great sword” -- clearly testify as to the significance of this feature of the vision. What we have here is a symbolic prophecy of WAR. But it would be a great mistake to regard this symbol as meaning only (or even primarily) physical wars. It signifies something much broader in scope than that -- namely STRIFE OR VARIANCE OF EVERY SORT. In other words, what is pictured here is something SPIRITUAL rather than material. This is underscored by Yeshua’s words in Matthew 10:34, when he sent forth the twelve apostles to proclaim the Kingdom of God. Their “peace” was to come upon every house they entered that was worthy, while if it were not worthy their peace was to return to them (v.13). Yeshua then warned them to “beware of men,” predicting that they would be DELIVERED UP TO COUNCILS, and that they would be SCOURGED and BROUGHT BEFORE KINGS AND GOVERNORS. He then warned them that BROTHER SHOULD DELIVER UP BROTHER TO DEATH, and THE FATHER THE CHILD; and CHILDREN SHOULD RISE UP AGAINST THEIR PARENTS and cause them to be put to death (vss. 17-21). So here we have Yeshua the Messiah’s own words -- spoken at the first going forth of the gospel -- that the IMMEDIATE EFFECT would be antagonism, variance and deadly strife. In other words, THE RED HORSE WAS TO FOLLOW HARD ON THE HEELS OF THE WHITE HORSE! And then, to sum up the whole matter into a single vivid sentence, Yeshua draws a word picture which astonishingly agrees with this detail of the picture of the rider on the red horse, saying: “Think not that I am come to send peace on the earth; I CAME NOT TO SEND PEACE, BUT A SWORD” (v.34). When we compare these words with those of the vision in Revelation 6:4, “power was given him TO TAKE PEACE FROM THE EARTH...and there was given him A GREAT SWORD,” we can’t help but come to the conclusion that this apparent similarity of language is designed to reveal to us that the prophecy and the vision refer to the same thing. Not only that but Yeshua’s next words explain the figurative expression “a sword” -- as follows:

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For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-inlaw against her mother-in-law, so that a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household (Matthew 10:35-36, JNT). Yeshua’s words in Luke 12:49-53 throw additional light on this subject. Speaking prophetically and using highly figurative language (vs. 35ff.) about the time of his absence, he uses these words: “I am come to send FIRE on the earth; and what will I if it be already kindled.” It is very clear from what follows that the word “fire” in this verse is descriptive of the same thing as the word “SWORD” in Matthew 10:34 (we should understand that “fire” and “sword” are commonly joined together when used figuratively). For Yeshua goes on to say: “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on the earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather DIVISION. For FROM HENCEFORTH” (he had just referred to his approaching crucifixion) “there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter and the daughter against the mother; the mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” The words of Yeshua, cited above from Matthew 10:35-36, are a quotation from the Book of Micah, where it is written – For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter -in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house. The birth of Yeshua in Bethlehem is foretold a little earlier in this same prophecy (Micah 5:2), and his sacrificial death is implied in Micah 6:6-7. It is extremely interesting to follow the connection between the going forth of the gospel and the various forms of strife -- including wars -- that are sure to follow. The evangelists carry the gospel message into regions far beyond the reaches of civilization; they encounter opposition from the natives -- and often pay for their faith with their lives. But eventually animosity and suspicion are overcome by kindness and gentleness; the natives listen to the message; the gospel begins to do its work; and the community is slowly raised out of the depths of paganism. Also, their confidence in the evangelists has been gained, so that later, when the trader arrives on the scene, with an eye to business, he finds a favorable situation of which he proceeds to take full advantage. The natives are shamelessly exploited; and if the country is rich in natural resources, one nation after another presses into the opening made by the missionary; competition and rivalry follow; the natives start to realize (to their sorrow) that the men from “Christian countries” are not Christian at all; resentment and hatred of foreigners arise; agitators and terrorists seize the opportunity to fan the embers of hatred into a blaze; uprisings and other disturbances occur; and soon the whole country is seething. Thus the RED HORSE gallops hard upon the heels of the white horse; and when the seething turmoil comes to a climax, someone who has the ear of the public will, in all likelihood, rise up and lay all the evils brought about by a greedy and unscrupulous commercialism right at the door of the missionary. Such, then, were the various kinds of “wars and fightings” that were to follow the gospel message everywhere that it went. This has been the state of affairs from the days of the apostles of Yeshua until now. The gospel has divided families into hostile camps, tearing apart the very closest ties of nature. Then, with its effects widening, it has divided communities into antagonistic groups; and then nations; and finally it has set nation against nation. Sometimes the warfare has been con-

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fined to words, feelings and attitudes. More often than not it has taken the form of physical violence -- persecutions, imprisonments, tortures, and where there was resistance (as between Protestants and Catholics in France, and later Ireland) civil wars. The Roman Catholic Church murdered millions of people during the Middle Ages -- this would never have occurred but for the gospel. All other causes of dispute put together have not contributed nearly as much to hostility between human beings as the single cause of religious difference regarding the gospel. Yeshua’s words have proved profoundly true: “I came NOT to send peace, but a SWORD”! What tremendous foresight Yeshua possessed! The explanation of the meaning of the red horse has been given by the Messiah himself -from his very own lips! How needful it was that his very own people should hear the truth from his very own lips -- that it was the EXACT OPPOSITE, “not peace but a SWORD”! In the Book of Acts we can see clearly the beginning of the career of the red horse rider. Strife began where the gospel began -- in Jerusalem where “a great persecution” swirled around Stephen. From here it went forth, always following the course of the gospel. At Antioch in Pisidia the Jews raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas -- and expelled them from their coasts. At Iconium the Jews stirred up the Gentiles against them, the result being that Paul was severely stoned and thought to be dead when dragged from the city. At the gospel’s first appearance in Europe, at Philippi, antagonism and persecution immediately came to the surface. Next, at Thessalonica, the entire city was in an uproar. At Corinth and at Ephesus it was the same story; and so on to the end. The gospel was making its way against the united opposition of Judaism, Paganism, Greek philosophy and Roman cynicism -- which afterwards changed into fierce persecution -- and everywhere causing strife. We should note that there is nothing in the symbols of the second seal which speaks of actual physical war. This we find under the fourth seal, where we find the words “to kill with the sword.” In the seal under discussion the words “to take peace from the earth” DO NOT imply war in the ordinary sense. The word “peace” in its Biblical significance means welfare, prosperity, tranquility. At the time of Yeshua and the apostles the world was caught up in the pax Romana -- a state of political tranquility maintained by the iron hand of Imperial Rome. Historians describe this remarkable era of Roman domination as “The two centuries of peace.” This era began with the reign of Augustus Caesar (30 BC - 14 AD) who was at the very height of his career when the Messiah was born in Judea (Luke 2:1). The reign of Augustus is regarded by secular historians as “the beginning of a new age.” Little do they realize to what extent, and in what manner, that “new age” was shaped by the influence of the child of Bethlehem and the man of Galilee. The pax Romana was thoroughly established over the whole world in the days of Tiberius Caesar, the successor of Augustus, who ruled the empire at the time of Yeshua’s ministry. It continued through the reigns of Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Titus, Trajan and Hadrian, to that of Marcus Aurelius. It embraced the period of John’s visions on the island of Patmos, except for one outbreak in the days of Domitian, which was probably the occasion of John’s exile. With this fact in mind we can see special significance in the words spoken about the RED HORSE RIDER -- that it was “given him to take peace from the earth.” This was done so effectively that strife, wars and fightings have not ceased from that time to this, nor will until the return of the Messiah and

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YEHOVAH God. These words could not apply to the last days of our era because FOR THERE WILL THEN BE NO “PEACE” TO BE TAKEN AWAY FROM THE EARTH! It is a remarkable fact that the gospel was not to bring peace to the parts of the earth to which it was to go but, on the contrary, conflict. For the past 2,000 years the gospel has caused strife wherever it has gone. It has aroused antagonism, hatred and discord everywhere. The white horse rider with his bow has been closely followed -- even to the ends of the earth -- by the red horse with the “great sword.” Yeshua made it known that instead of finding ready acceptance the gospel message was to encounter the most determined and violent resistance from all the powers of earth and the spirit world; that it was to be war from start to finish. He told his followers that they must be prepared to endure persecution like good soldiers; that they must take to themselves all the armor of YEHOVAH God; that they would need a sword more than a cloak; that there was to be “no discharge in that war,” since they must fight to the very end the good fight of faith. That the spiritual warfare he foretold would last for twenty centuries was not -- and could not -- have been for a moment supposed by the first disciples. But we, from our place in time, can see, in the light of these visions of the Book of Revelation, that it was to be so. While this is so, we should keep in mind that while the influences represented by the last three horses of Revelation are in their very nature evil and hostile to the gospel, they nevertheless are appointed to further YEHOVAH’s purposes in the spreading of the gospel. For example, the opposition that Satan raised up everywhere against the apostle Paul -- which caused Paul to be removed from the field of labor and imprisoned in Rome -- had just the opposite effect from that which Satan intended. Paul, guided by the spirit of YEHOVAH, was able to write from his prison and say, “I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel” (Phil. 1:12). And so it will be with all these bitterly hostile influences. While recognizing their evil character and intent, we may nevertheless view them as agencies which YEHOVAH God is using for the accomplishment of His great plan and purpose for this age.

The Black Horse When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” And I looked, and behold, a BLACK HORSE, and he who sat on it had a PAIR OF SCALES in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of WHEAT for a denarius, and three quarts of BARLEY for a denarius; and do not harm the OIL and the WINE” (Revelation 6:5-6). Most commentaries about these verses clearly show that the authors are groping blindly after the meaning of the symbols. It is commonly assumed that this vision represents famine; and the prices quoted for the wheat and barley are supposed to support this theory -- for it is said that these are “famine prices.” However, this is not a satisfactory explanation. There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that a man, going forth with a pair of scales and crying the sale of wheat and barley at any prices, is a symbol of famine. Neither has any proof been given that the prices quoted in these verses are “famine prices.” Nor is it easy to see what the command not to hurt the oil and the wine has to do The Berean Voice September-October 2002

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with famine. That command simply does not fit into the picture of famine at all -- see the Biblical symbols of famine in Genesis 41:1-7. The true explanation will fully reveal the Biblical significance of the color of the horse (BLACK), the scales or balances, and the things mentioned by the voice from the midst of the cherubim, i.e. wheat, barley, oil and wine. Furthermore, it should be noted that to the rider ON THE PALE HORSE (fourth seal) power is given to kill “with hunger.” This in itself is enough to demonstrate that the black horse rider symbolizes something more and different than famine, otherwise we have a duplication here. That we have something directly in contrast with the gospel itself should be very clear -- for black is the diametric opposite of white. Not only that, but the gospel freely gives the bread of life, while here we find something that sells the prime necessities, both for rich and poor at fixed prices. The Good News of the Kingdom of God brings blessings for all; but here is something that would “hurt” the oil and the wine if not restrained by divine command.

The Balances of Deceit To get a clear understanding of this part of the vision, we need to go to the Book of Hosea. Notice! Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure (Hosea 8:8). My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto Him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations (Hosea 9:17). He (Jacob) is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress (margin, deceive) (Hosea 12:7). Here we have a clear prophecy of the characteristics of apostate Israel during the time the gospel was going out to the world. As a nation it was to be “swallowed The Black Horse of Revelation 6. The famished up” among the Gentiles. As individuals look indicates a famine of the true gospel. they were to be “wanderers among the nations.” AND THEY WOULD ADDICT THEMSELVES TO THE DECEITFUL MERCHANDISING OF THE GOSPEL! The passage last quoted above matches the symbol of the black horse rider so perfectly that we cannot doubt that the former is given us to unlock the meaning of the latter. The color BLACK symbolizes that which is hidden (deceit), as white fitly represents that which is truthful and open. And the balances are plainly shown to represent THE MERCHANDISING OF THE GOSPEL, to which our nations of Israel have addicted ourselves!

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Here, then, is something great enough in its influence upon all mankind to be compared with the gospel itself, though of OPPOSITE CHARACTER -- a thing that has followed the course of the gospel everywhere, even as the BLACK HORSE is shown following the white horse. It is a force that has powerfully affected the very character of Christian civilization. While the rider of the white horse symbolizes the going forth of the TRUE gospel under the power of YEHOVAH’s spirit, the rider of the black horse symbolizes the going forth of a FALSE gospel under Satan’s spirit -- a false gospel going forth with “the balances of deceit” -- a deceitful gospel that has ensnared millions! If the WHITE HORSE and its rider represents the going forth of the TRUE gospel, the BLACK HORSE (which is the very opposite of white) must represent the going forth of a FALSE gospel -- a gospel of darkness and death. The history of the past nineteen centuries fully confirms this conclusion. Paul mentions that the black horse was beginning to ride in his day when he proclaimed: “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work,” and “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that day will not come unless the falling away [from the true gospel] comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God....The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion [in the form of the black horse], that they should believe the lie [the false gospel], that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth [true gospel] but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thessalonians 2:7, 3-4, 9-12). This came to pass when the Roman Empire collapsed and the Roman Catholic Church rose to power in its vacuum. From Paul’s day to the present, the black horse has followed right behind the white and red horses, seemingly to overwhelm and hide from the world the true gospel message that Yeshua and the disciples brought to a darkened civilization. Look around you today -- instead of one pure, unadulterated worship of YEHOVAH God you find dozens, even hundreds, of differing and bickering “Christian” sects each claiming to have the “truth.” Logic dictates that only one can have the truth and that one, wherever it may be, is the result of the work of the white horse and its rider, while all the others are a result of the ride of the BLACK HORSE across the centuries. The prophecy of Hosea and the vision of John have been fulfilled, but the end is not yet.

The Ephah Powerful corroboration of this understanding of the rider of the black horse is found in the visions of Zechariah. In Chapter Four Zechariah describes his vision of the golden candlestick whose seven lamps were fed with golden oil through golden pipes -- this being a figure of YEHOVAH God’s testimony on earth through His seven churches (see Revelation 2:1 - 3:22). This part of Zechariah closely parallels the visions John had at Patmos. Turning from the contemplation of the golden candlestick, Zechariah saw a flying roll (or scroll) which the angel that talked with him said was “the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth.” This shows that out of Judea was to come not only “the blessing of Abraham” (the true gospel) through those who were of “the faith of Abraham,” but also “the curse” (the false gospel) through those who rejected YEHOVAH’s truth and refused to submit themselves to His righteousness (Romans 10:3). The Berean Voice September-October 2002

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Then Zechariah was commanded to lift up his eyes, and upon doing so he saw an ephah (a measure that was covered with a circular lid of lead) going forth, of which the angel said, “This is their resemblance through all the earth” (5:6). Here is a key to understanding this subject. For the ephah, or corn measure, has almost the same identical significance as the balance (scales) in the hand of the rider of the black horse. And the words “this is their resemblance through all the earth” prophesy the very same thing concerning Israel as the words of Hosea, “He is a merchant” of YEHOVAH’s truth. Following this the angel said to Zechariah, “This is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah” (a woman is the symbol of a church or congregation in the Bible), and he qualified this by saying, “This is wickedness.” Clearly, then, what we are seeing here is a FALSE CHURCH. Following this there came out two women having the wings of a stork. The wind filled their wings and they carried forth the ephah. At this Zechariah asked, “whither do these bear the ephah?” The angel replied, “To build a house in the land of Shinar (that is, BABYLON), and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base” (verses 7-11). So this false church or religion is transported, in the vision, to Babylon. Shinar is, of course, the mystical city Babylon of Revelation 18, “that great city” in which the ultimate development of false religion is seen -- and which is to be overthrown by Yeshua the Messiah and YEHOVAH God at their coming. This house is not placed on YEHOVAH’s enduring foundation of truth but is, as the angel said, “upon her own base” of falsehood and deceit. As a result, its overthrow will be complete in the day when the word shall go forth, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen,” and heaven will ring with the praise of the angels.

“Bread By Weight” In the English Version of the Old Testament issued by the Jewish Publication Society of America, the word “ephah” in Zechariah 5 is rendered “measure” -- (”This is the measure that goeth forth”), which brings this vision still closer to that of John’s, who heard a voice in the midst of the four cherubim say, “A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny” (Revelation 6:6). Let us now consider the significance of the words uttered by that voice. read:

In the Bible the term “bread” can figuratively be both good and bad. In Proverbs 4:14-17 we Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on. For they do not sleep unless they have done evil; and their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.

In a verse that can apply equally as well to the gospel, we read: “Bread gained by falsehood [deceit] is pleasurable to a man, but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel” (Proverbs 20:17). Isaiah 55:2 shows that YEHOVAH’s spiritual provisions are far more important than material things by stating: “Why do you people keep paying out money for what is not bread [false reliThe Berean Voice September-October 2002

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gion], and why is your toil for what results in no satisfaction? Listen intently to me, and eat what is good [true religion], and let your soul find its exquisite delight in fatness itself.” To eat “bread by weight” and to “drink water by measure” (Ezekiel 4:16) is to be in an evil state. It means that YEHOVAH’s truth has been completely commercialized and corrupted, and is measured out to the people by some great religious authority who feeds them what they think they should have -- with no regard to the truth. The words that characterize the mission of the BLACK horse and rider mention specifically the BREAD of the rich, “wheat,” and the BREAD of the poor, “barley”; therefore declaring in figurative language that the very bread of life (THE TRUE GOSPEL) of every individual was to be under the control of this system, which has clearly come to pass in the actions of the Roman Catholic Church down through the centuries. The amount of truth to be feed the masses was determined by the upper echelons of the church, who corrupted and perverted the gospel message for their own ends. And their “decrees” were more absolute than those of Caesar of old! For those with a mind to see, it is those who are able to place an inflexible price upon the true gospel who are really the masters of the people’s lives or “souls.” We can plainly see, as a result of the above facts, that the system described in Revelation 18, under the symbol of a great commercial and pagan city, is the outcome of the mission of the black horse and its rider -- and has reached full development in our day. This complete dominance of “Christian” civilization has come about so quietly, and so gradually, that only a few wide-awake people have realized what was going on. And their voices, when they attempted to raise a warning, were quickly stifled or drowned out. The ministry of YEHOVAH’s Word has been commercialized by men professing to be Yeshua’s ministers and ambassadors in an evil and hostile world who, in reality, are nothing but mouth-pieces of the world, preaching a “gospel” that is thoroughly conformed to the world. Not only have they made profit from YEHOVAH’s Word, but they have adulterated the bread of life making it both unpalatable and unwholesome. Such a state of affairs has come into existence throughout the “Christian” world -- and has now developed into full maturity.

The Oil and the Wine The voice that issued forth from the midst of the cherubim, was a voice of not merely prophecy but also of authority. It added this prohibition: “And see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” Now in the Bible oil is a symbol of YEHOVAH’s holy spirit, and has been the force behind the ride of the white horse of Revelation. Wine, in the Bible, is also one of the gifts included among YEHOVAH’s blessings to mankind. An abundant supply of wine, symbolized by the “vine” in the oft-repeated expression “sitting under one’s own vine and fig tree,” denotes prosperity and security under YEHOVAH’s righteous rule -- see I Kings 4:25; II Kings 18:31; Isaiah 36:16; Micah 4:4 and Zechariah 3:10. Wine is also included in the restoration blessings promised by YEHOVAH in Joel 3:18; Amos 9:13-14 and Zechariah 9:17. What we learn from the ride of the black horse is that the power for harm allowed to the rider was RESTRICTED -- even as YEHOVAH set strict limits to Satan’s power to harm Job. The rider of the black horse was not permitted -- in any part of his career -- to “hurt the oil and the wine.” In other words, the power of YEHOVAH’s spirit in disseminating the true gospel could not be hindered in any way by the ride of the black horse. Nor, even, could YEHOVAH’s The Berean Voice September-October 2002

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ultimate blessings on those He called to His service be affected by the black horse rider. There should be great comfort in this assurance for those who are truly the people of YEHOVAH. It clearly tells them that even in the days of spiritual dearth -- when the giving forth of the bread of life was to be by measure and by price -- the “oil” of YEHOVAH’s spirit and the “wine” of His joy were not to be injured, and that today His people can always have a heart gladdened by the wine of YEHOVAH, and a face shining with the oil of YEHOVAH. There is another passage from the Old Testament in which the four symbols -- the wheat and the barley, the wine and the oil -- are mentioned: The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth. Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished. The vine is dried up and the fig tree languisheth;...because joy is withered away from the sons of men (Joel 1:10-12). This important prophetic passage further shows how the chief products of the Promised Land are used as the symbols of SPIRITUAL realities. These symbols speak most dramatically of the consoling and healing influences of YEHOVAH’s true gospel; and the words of the voice which the apostle John heard in the midst of the four living creatures lets us know that the rider of the black horse was not to be permitted to “hurt” the restoring and healing ministry of the true gospel.

The Pale Horse When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” And I looked, and behold, a PALE HORSE. And the name of him who sat on it was DEATH, and HADES followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to KILL WITH SWORD, with HUNGER, with DEATH, and by the BEASTS OF THE EARTH (Revelation 6:7-8). The word here rendered “pale” is chloros, from which the gas known as “chlorine” is named. It is of a sickly green -- a livid, corpse-like color. The word occurs in only two other places in the Book of Revelation, in both of which it is translated “green” (see 8:7 and 9:4). The significance of the color of the horse is not so clear as in the other three horses. However, we do not need as much help in this case as in the others, for the name of the rider is plainly given -- DEATH. Moreover, Death is joined here with HELL, that is, Hades or the grave. The rider is “Death,” and his mission is “to kill”; and Hades -- or the grave -- is pictured as following with him to gather in, as it were, the victims. Since death has been busy in all parts of this world since the fall of man, it is evident that this passage is highly figurative and symbolic. Therefore, “death” must here be the RESULT of some destructive spiritual influence that has been specially active in the gospel era. From what we have learned about the black horse the meaning of the PALE horse should not be difficult to ascertain. It is a fact that Satan has the power of death (Hebrews 2:14); and we learn from the Parable of the Tares that after the sowing of the “good seed” of the gospel (represented by the WHITE The Berean Voice September-October 2002

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horse), the enemy was to come and sow tares (a FALSE gospel) among the wheat. In explaining the parable Yeshua the Messiah said that “the enemy” who sowed the tares “is the Devil” (Matthew 13:24, 25, 38, and 39). This was the FORCE behind the ride of the BLACK horse. Since the four horses represent respectively the four spiritual agencies that have chiefly influenced and determined the character of “Christian” civilization, and that the first horse and rider represent the gospel of YEHOVAH, then Yeshua’s teaching would lead us to expect something going forth to COUNTERACT the true gospel, something representative of some special form of Satanic activity corresponding to the going forth of “the enemy” into the field (world) after Yeshua and the apostles sowed the good seed therein. This was accomplished by the ride of the BLACK horse. The going forth into the world of YEHOVAH’s gospel necessitated a complete change of tactics on the part of the “enemy.” Satan’s devices, which had served to keep the nations in the darkness and corruption of paganism would serve no longer. Other means must therefore be adopted; and the course of the gospel must be observed and followed with something specially adapted to counteract its influence and nullify its effects. The effect of the gospel is to impart LIFE; but the purpose of Satan is “TO KILL.” Those who obey Yeshua in faith are gathered into the Kingdom of God where “grace reigns unto eternal life.” In contrast with this, DEATH is accompanied by Hell, or the grave, into which its victims are gathered. The gospel is “the word of TRUTH” The Pale Horse of Revelation 6 so, by way of contrast, Satan would employ for his ends various forms of “the lie” (II Thessalonians 2:12). In other words, some deceptive form of teaching, some imitation of the gospel, “another gospel,” which represents “another Jesus,” a gospel which corrupts and perverts the true gospel of YEHOVAH. This deadly, soul-destroying lie -- in various forms -- has followed the track of the gospel in every part of the field -- and from the days of the apostles until now. Wherever the WHITE horse and his rider have gone, the RED and BLACK horses have followed, with the PALE horse and his rider tagging along in the rear with hell or the grave as his companion. DEATH and the GRAVE were the natural results for those who refused to partake of the heresies of the black horse! Satan has used various destructive agencies, not the least was the sword. As Paul mentioned, the purity of the gospel was being perverted in his day and many were being put to death as a result. With the ascendancy of the Papacy the death toll increased. Historians have conservatively estimated that at least 50 million people were put to death by the Roman Catholic Church during the Middle Ages.

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Those who tried to obey the true gospel were labeled “heretics” and bitterly persecuted by the Church. Some who rejected the teachings of the Roman Church had molten lead poured into their ears and mouths. Eyes were gouged out and others were cruelly beaten with whips. Many were forced to jump from cliffs onto long spikes fixed below where, quivering from pain, they slowly died. Others were choked to death with mangled pieces of their own flesh, with urine, or excrement. The ride of the BLACK horse, which prompted the Inquisition, caused wars which involved entire cities. In 1209 the city of Beziers was taken by men who had been promised by the pope that by engaging in the crusade against “heretics” they would, at death, bypass purgatory and immediately enter heaven. Sixty thousand people in this city perished by the sword while blood flowed in the streets. The PALE horse was gathering more victims. At Lavaur, in 1211, the governor was hanged on a gibbet and his wife thrown into a well and crushed with stones. Four hundred people in this town were burned alive. The crusaders attended high mass in the morning, then proceeded to take other towns in the vicinity. In this siege alone it is estimated that 100,000 Albigenses fell in one day. Their bodies were heaped together and burned. Satan has often been able to use “the beasts of the earth” (which represent human governments) with devastating effect in opposition to the true gospel. All this has fed the insatiable appetite of the PALE horse and his companion, the GRAVE. Through these ages of darkness and apostasy, there were a people called the Waldenses who denied the supremacy of Rome, who rejected image worship as idolatry, and who apparently kept the true Sabbath. Under the fiercest persecutions of the Roman Church they maintained their faith -they stood unflinchingly for YEHOVAH’S word and His honor. In return they suffered “famine, persecution, war, -- all three, sometimes in succession and sometimes together” (Wylie: History of the Waldenses, p.2). “Literally,” says Wylie, “did the Waldenses suffer all the things of which the apostle speaks, as endured by the martyrs of old, with other torments not then invented, or which the rage of even a Nero shrank from inflicting. ‘They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented (of whom the world was not worthy); they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens, and caves of the earth’” Continues Wylie: “The soldiers [of the Vatican] were not content with the quick dispatch of the sword; they invented new and hitherto unheard-of modes of torture and death. No man at this day dare write in plain words all the disgusting and horrible deeds of these men; their wickedness can never be all known, because it never can be all told” (p. 141). “The corn in many places remained uncut, the grapes rotted on the bough, and the fruit dropped from the trees. Strangers who had come to find health in the pure mountain air obtained from the soil nothing but a grave” (p. 129). While “beasts of the earth” can certainly imply human governments -- it can also be taken quite literally! Laments Wylie: “Little children were torn from the arms of their mothers, clasped by their tiny feet, and their heads dashed against the rocks; or were held between two soldiers and their quivering limbs torn up by main force. Their mangled bodies were then thrown on the highways or fields, to be devoured by beasts”(p.141). Under the Roman Empire Christians were tied to stakes in the arena and devoured by lions to the amusement of the Roman masses. Others were given a short sword to face the animals -- the result was the same.

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Conclusion The four living creatures, who are associated in a special way with YEHOVAH’s purposes in the new creation, are definitely related to the action of the four horses and their riders. This further confirms the fact that what YEHOVAH has revealed to us here are the symbols of the four major spiritual agencies, whereby the character of this age has been largely determined. The first and greatest in its effect is the TRUE gospel (the WHITE horse) -- through which YEHOVAH God is acting upon the world directly through His Word and spirit. By the other three the effects of the Messiah’s coming into the world act upon it indirectly. For the strife and variance (the “sword”) which he said he would send throughout the earth (the RED horse), were provoked by the true gospel, and have always and everywhere followed in its wake. Likewise the powerful influence of the propagation of a commercialized and perverted gospel by Satan’s campaign of venomous lies, murderous heresies, suppression of the Scriptures and stirring up the hatred of governments against the true gospel (the BLACK horse), has led to the great harvest of the PALE horse of DEATH and the GRAVE. If you are at all observant you will realize that the color scheme of the horses shows a progression downward, ending in darkness and death. This, of course, is “according to the course of this world” (Ephesians 2:2). But YEHOVAH God’s order reverses this. He finds us in a state of death and darkness, and raises us up to the brilliant light of His Holy Word, bringing us to the time when YEHOVAH “will wipe away every tear” from our eyes, and to the time when “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former thing have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). This is the time when YEHOVAH God the Father Himself will once again dwell with mankind, “and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God” (21:3). Satan has done a superlative job, for even today the very Churches of God are thoroughly confused over the meaning of the Book of Revelation. Many believe the white horse and its rider represent false religion -- an interpretation that is thoroughly refuted by the Bible. Others believe that with Bin Laden and President Bush we have entered into the time of the red horse, while others believe it represents coming wars that will precede the end of the age. According to some the black horse represents famine or global inflation -- or a connection with the black uniformed SS troops of Nazi Germany!! The majority believe the pale horse represents plague or pestilence -- but the original Greek does not say that! The word translated “plague” in some versions of the Bible is also translated “death” in others. Revelation 6:8 clearly defines the pale horse by naming it “Death”! While plague or pestilence can certainly be the outcome of persecution by those promoting false religion, this is NOT the main thrust of the ride of the pale horse. Only when you interpret scripture with scripture can the TRUTH regarding the four horsemen of the Apocalypse be revealed.

Upcoming Articles...

Colossians 1:15-20 Inside the Arab Mind The Significance of the Year A.D. 30

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The Incorruptible God?

The Incorruptible God? Terry Anderson

P

roponents of a multi-person God almost never attempt to explain how the preexistent Son of God was separated from his “godpower” or “essence” to become a man. Frequently they dismiss the problem as beyond all comprehension. They begin with the assumption that since the Trinity exists this transition from God to man must have happened. There is no need to question its logic. Maybe the Son had a robe and the robe had all the power. Then he removed the robe and “poof,” he shed his power. Then the Father and the Holy Spirit put their heads together and said let’s make the Son into a sperm, and you, Holy Spirit, take the sperm and place it inside the woman Mary. So we assume that the “Son member” of the Triune [or Biune] Godhead must have temporarily ceased to exist at the God level. For some 30 years then we had a Binitarian Godhead. Is this getting a little complex and clinical? Sorry, but to unravel the Trinitarian [or Binitarian] thinking there is no way around complexity for it is inconceivable and confusing to begin with.

Perplexed by this inscrutable Trinitarian idea the ordinary pew-sitter is committed to this puzzle: Even though God can’t die and God knows all and God is all-powerful these characteristics don’t matter because God became a man and left all that behind. So it is said that the immortal became mortal and died. But what about incorruptibility? In Romans the first chapter, God indicts the human race for rejecting His knowledge and creative powers. God complains that man, in his rush to reject God and rely on his own wisdom, refashioned God to be like the creation, like animals and corruptible man. Now isn’t that exactly what the proponents of Trinitarian orthodoxy do in stating that Jesus was the preexistent God? They made God corruptible. This corresponds also to the Trinitarian claims of dualism -- the concept of two natures in Jesus which harmonizes with the pagan philosophies of the time. We still have the problem of incorruptibility, though. This is a very challenging difficulty because we can’t get from point A (God) to point B (man) without the meaning of both words -- God and man -- being destroyed. This is the same problem we have with immortality (”tis mystery all -- the immortal dies,” as the famous hymn tells us).

All the attributes which make God special and unique have to be temporarily put on the shelf if one is to believe in Jesus Christ as a real human being. The immutability, omniscience, omnipresence and immortality of God have to be suspended for a time. The claim by some Trinitarians is that when the God-Son became the Man-Son then all these God traits were left beHow, if Jesus was God, could he have hind. The eternal Son became mortal man in a become corruptible and not done horrific transitory form awaiting his return to the God- damage to Paul’s statement about God’s inhead. corruptibility? We know that God did not allow Jesus to see corruption, meaning that if

The Berean Voice September-October 2002

The Incorruptible God? Christ’s body had not been resurrected it would have decayed and experienced corruption. The mere act of transitioning from God to human was an act of becoming corruptible or capable of corruption or decay. There is only one way around this and that is to assert that Jesus was not really a man and did not really “come in the flesh,” the corruptible flesh. Our human existence is a progressive state of corruption. From the moment we are born we are in a constant state of decay, our cells dying and being replaced and some, in the case of the brain, dying and not being replaced. God made the creation subject to this condition of corruption (Romans 8:20-21) expressly to force us to look forward to becoming incorruptible through Christ and the coming resurrection which will grant us entrance into his glorious Kingdom (I Corinthians 15:23, etc.) Romans 1:18-22 says that the “wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead (divine nature), so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man and birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things.”

61 son, not three [or two]!) as the only eternal power and divine Being. It is His glory alone which is supreme, as He states repeatedly in numerous verses in Isaiah 44 and 45. The convoluted and complex reasoning of the Greeks, adopted by the church councils, was a product of their own perverted “wisdom” necessary to fill the vacuum of knowledge created by them in rejection of the Hebrew God’s simple plan of salvation for all. Creating their own problem, they attempted to solve it with a maze of mystical theories of One and Three. The pagans believed that God was impersonal and unapproachable and, therefore, had to be brought down to earth so that mortal (corruptible) man could associated and feel close to God. So they made God like mortal (corruptible) man -- exactly what God said could not be done! In their wisdom they became fools, and why? Because they just could not accept the simplicity of God’s revealed word. They possessed also a deep-seated opposition to the Hebrew faith of Jesus and his belief that God was one Person only. The irony of the whole story is that God did reveal Himself in corruptible man and “the word became flesh and dwelt amongst us.” But this is a far cry from the immortal God actually becoming mortal man. Jesus the Messiah became exactly what God intended for Adam. Adam failed. The second Adam, though corruptible, led the way to eternal life and incorruptibility. This second Adam was the perfect reflection and image of the Eternal God. Because of Christ’s perfect life in serving God and mankind he became the firstborn among many other brethren.

This is a focused indictment by Paul against Greek and Roman philosophical teachI Corinthians 15 is another marvelous ings and it summarily destroys, in a few verses, revelation from God outlining His plan for all the pagan ’Gnostic notions of the day. First of Adam and the human race. In 34 verses God all, God establishes Himself (singular, One Per- destroys not one but two unscriptural doc-

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trines -- the immortality of the soul and the Trinity. Christ, the second Adam, was corruptible but he overcame sin and corruption to sit at the exalted right hand of God. “For this corruption must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality.” Thus, what started out as a disaster, man in the garden, will turn into a glorious victory in the Kingdom of the Messiah and the only true God, the Father (John 17:3; I John 5:20). The Greeks were not far off. Their problem was one of arrogance and pride. They thought they knew better than God and had to complicate matters when the simplicity of God’s Plan would have sufficed. In complexity there is confusion and profit. From the beginning of time powerful men knew that esotericism (secret

knowledge) was a way to control the masses. If a political or ecclesiastical body can dictate truth which the average man or woman cannot understand but must believe, on pain of death or excommunication, then power and control are secured. Knowingly or unknowingly, this is the path the early post-biblical church chose, a path which has led multitudes into confusion. Millions who believe in this “impossible” Christ who is neither God nor man are unable to explain the mystery of the Trinity. They accept it as tradition and often out of fear. How much suffering and pain could have been averted if belief in the simplicity of Christ and his word about himself, God and the Kingdom had prevailed?

“And Did Those Feet...?” The lovely little town of Glastonbury, in the typically English county of Somerset, can truly be named as one of the most hallowed spots in Christendom. Its ancient abbey stands on the site of what was one of the first of the Christian churches. There is good evidence that certain of the Messiah’s apostles journeyed to Britain. Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea (A.D. 260-340), wrote: “The Apostles passed beyond the Ocean to the Isles called the Britannic Isles.” The ancient British writer, Gildas, said: “These islands received the beams of light -that is, the holy precepts of Christ, the true Sun -- at the latter part, as we know, of the reign of Tiberius Caesar” (several years after the Crucifixion). Venantius Fortunatus, Bishop of Poictiers, wrote in A.D. 531 that Paul preached in Ultima Thule, the “utmost bounds of the West.” Cressy, monk and historian, recorded that Joseph of Arimathea died at Glastonbury. Glastonbury traditions maintain most emphatically that Joseph and his little group built the first church, of wattles, on the spot where the abbey ruins now stand. From Glastonbury went forth missionaries to bear the gospel of the Messiah to the continent of Europe and every corner of the British Isles. The story of King Arthur and his knights and their quest for the Holy Grail was drawn from the traditions surrounding Glastonbury: the Avalon of the legends. Arthur and his queen, Guinevere, were historical personages. One thing can be said of Glastonbury which cannot be said of any other ecclesiastical city. The religion of YEHOVAH God has there been taught, without a break, from within a very few years of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah.

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The House of Israel

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The House of Israel

“Hail, Denmark!” A Mother Nation of Modern Israel

tration below, two men form the supporters of the present Danish arms. It should also be remembered that a large part of England, traditionally Ephraim in origin, has been THE NORTHERN EUROPEAN Kingdom of settled by people who at least came from Denmark. Denmark comprises the peninsula of Jutland; an archiThe very close ties which have, for centuries, pelago which includes Zealand and various islands; the outlying islands of Borholm and the Faroes and the de- connected Denmark with the rest of the Celto-Saxon world are too obvious to call for pendency of Greenland. Denmark was emphasis here. In Denmark, a separated from Sweden in 1523 and guide book written for English from Norway in 1815. tourists, Clive Holland has very aptly pointed out that “Probably no Danmark, as it is known to other country in Europe will imits own people, appears to have been press the English visitor more the first settled by a branch of the tribe markedly than does Denmark with of Dan who reached the islands of the things we have in common Denmark by sea, apparently from rather than the things in which we Greece. Eldad, the Jewish historian, differ.” tells us that during the reign of Jeroboam, or about 970 B.C., “Dan refused to shed his In a modern political sense, Denmark is a brother’s blood, and rather than go to war with Judah, he left the country and went in a body to Javan (Greece) and crowned democracy, and it may be worth pointing out to Danmark.” These people named their new home that Iceland, a one-time Danish dependency, was given in 1918 a free and sovereign status identical with that of a Danmares, meaning Dan’s country. British Dominion or an American Commonwealth. InThe modern Danes, however, are unlikely to deed, it is reasonably safe to assume that the five million have descended purely from Danite stock, for there is Danes can be identified with the Protestant remnant of considerable traditional evidence to suggest that Den- the woman (Israel’s) seed referred to in the twelfth chapmark was a popular base for other Israel peoples. The ter of Revelation. Like their kinsfolk in Holland and BritNormans, for example, who are believed to have been ain, the Danes are at present enmeshed in the Babylonian largely of Benjamite stock, were domiciled for some web of Europe, but we may be reasonably sure that Dentime in Denmark before taking possession of Normandy. mark will, at no far distant date, be able to throw off this The Norman invasion of Britain is, even today, described incubus and to join in full communion with its companin Danish history books as a civil war between two ions, the whole House of Israel. branches of the Danish people. A man was, again, the heraldic sign of Reuben and, as will be seen from the illus-

The Berean Voice September-October 2002

-- H. Hartland Schooling

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The House of Israel

“Bearing the Name of Dan Their Father”

tions that Dan the Proud was “the first king of the northern folk in Denmark.”

ISRAEL’S TRIBE OF DAN was moved by strong leadership. Jacob’s deathbed pronouncement: “He shall leap from Bashan” was fulfilled at an early period. There is good evidence that a section broke away whilst the tribe was in Egypt and moved to Greece. Soon after the main body settled in Canaan they considered their allocation of territory too small and a portion of the Danites moved northwards to settle for a while in the northern limits of the land of Israel.

There can be no doubt that a goodly portion of our northern peoples heading their movements into the British Isles -- and thence to the ends of the earth -were Danites who never lost sight of the name of Dan their father.

The Scriptural record emphasizes the tribe’s forceful parental affection: “They named it after Dan their father.” During their westward moving, trail-blazing journeyings, they clearly continued the practice. Their ever-westward trek bears witness to this. As we know, Josephus placed the bulk of Ten-tribed Israel beyond the upper reaches of the River Euphrates, in ancient Scythia, on their way to the western isles and coastlands of Israel’s God-provided home -- the Appointed Place. Strong contingents remained behind to found the countries of the North Sea fringe as we now know them.

-- L. Buxton Gresty

The Normans: Israel’s Final Ingathering “THE NORMANS of the 11th century were men of Scandinavian descent, who had cast away every outward trace of the language, manners and feelings which made them kindred to Englishmen, and had adopted instead the language, manners and feelings of Latin France.” Such is the authoritative statement of the great historian of the Norman Conquest of England in his book under that title (Vol. 1, p. 149, ed. 1870).

No “French Conquest

The trail blazers of Dan had, perforce, to use the rivers. These would help in the establishment of forward bases for the main body, as and when westward movement by way of forest trails became feasible. There would be a great deal of portaging up and between rivers. And so we see the patronymic of “Dan their father” on the great rivers of the trail; such names as Don, Dnieper, Dneister, Danube. Vowels were then of no great consequence. At the North Sea, they reached a point at which progress was halted for centuries, subsequently naming it Danmark.

An immense amount of very careful study has been made in modern England of the Norman Conquest and the settlement in England of the Normans. Less careful study of the event has occurred in France, where a great deal of spurious pride is felt in the fact that England was “conquered by Frenchmen.” One supposes that this is natural, as a compensation for the numerous and heavy defeats later inflicted on France by England -- including the conquest of the French Empire in Canada and India. It is even said that some indigenous Channel Islanders allow themselves airs as Research into the history of the “northern” peo- representing England’s conquerors, the Islands being ples from which the English-speaking and kindred folk the last relic of the former Duchy of Normandy. have descended has uncovered a wealth of traditional testimony to the movements of our ancestors from Scythia -It is impossible to deny the importance of the the jumping off spot from the Caspian region of Media. Norman Conquest, though in fact, its importance can be over-estimated. Our country is England, not Interesting confirmation emerges from the work Normanland; our language is English not French, of Snorre Sturlason Heimskringla (the lives of the Norse though it is much influenced by Norman French. Our Kings) edited and translated by Erling Monsen. It men- laws go back long before the Conquest, whilst the

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The House of Israel character of the English people of the 11th and earlier centuries is very closely akin to that of the modern English. There is danger that nonsense may be promulgated about the line of English sovereigns beginning with William the Conqueror. Among the British peoples, the English are distinguished by the dreadful trait of snobbery. It is true that Normans settled in Wales, Scotland and Ireland, but few if any Scots, Welsh or Irish would dream of priding themselves on Norman descent. In England, families of note love to talk of “coming over with the Conqueror,” almost always a myth.

65 but the Viking chiefs were easy on the matter of marriage and frequently had concubines as well as lawful wives.

Rollo was styled the Patrician of Normandy, as was his son, but thereafter the title of Duke was used. The 6th Duke was Robert II known as the Devil and the Magnificent. It was his bastard, William, the son of Arlotta, daughter of a tanner of Falaise, who conquered England. William was thus descended from Rollo whose descent is traced from Fornjot King of Finland, some centuries before 911. This information Scandinavian Ancestry comes from the Heimskingla, the chronicle of the Kings of Normandy, which contains an account of In the 9th and 10th centuries the lands of Norway Odin, who led his people from Asia into Europe, and and Denmark sent bands of adventurers in search of loot. who figures in the direct ancestry of Her Majesty, Very soon many of these Danes, or Vikings as they were Queen Elizabeth II. collectively named, began to settle in the lands which they The Numbers of the Normans had raided and found them far more economically attractive than the rocky barrenness of Norway. In Ireland, the Danes settled around the coasts and founded most of the It is important to be sure of this. In most cases ports. In England they secured the north eastern part of the of Viking settlement the numbers were not over large country which became known as the Danelaw. Their influ- -- judging by the size of the long ships which have ence is shown in many place names, like Grimsby (Grim’s been preserved. There could always, of course, have Cliff) and Whitby, and in words of Norse origin which been arrivals of reinforcements, but the Viking settlecame into the English language. Alfred the Great fought ments were not like those of the English in the 5th centhem to a standstill in the 9th century. His successors, the tury. The latter were migrations of peoples which Kings of Wessex, reconquered the Danelaw and became turned the former ex-province of Britain into England. Kings of England. When they declined in the 11th century The Viking settlement in Normandy was that of a relathe Danes conquered England, and Danish kings reigned tively small body of warriors, who for the most part from 1016 to 1042. The English King, Ethelred the Un- found their women among the natives. If we reckon ready fled to the court of his brother-in-law, the Duke of 20,000 as the number of Rollo’s adherents we are Normandy, Richard II. probably putting the number too high.

The Origin of Normandy

Within a few generations they were absorbed into the French population. In the 150 years after 911, A century before Richard II, the Vikings had rav- the only place where Scandinavian speech still linaged northern France. The French King Charles the Sim- gered was Bayeaux. Odo, William’s brother, the ple finding that he could not expel them, made a settlement bishop needed help to talk to this section of his flock. with their leader, Rollo or Rolf. In 911, in a treaty between William himself, though illiterate, was far too Charles and Rollo, the latter was recognized as ruler over the country which came to be known as Northman’s land intelligent not to know of his Norse ancestry; so, too, or Normandy. In return, Rollo and his men became Chris- must his closest associates have known. But they tians, i.e. were baptized. Rollo did fealty to the French thought of themselves as Frenchmen, and they had the King. He is supposed to have married the latter’s daughter audacity to feel superior to the English who were a

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people, steeped in civilization, literature and law which the appeared some years ago in The Voice of the NetherNormans did not possess. Prof. Trevelyn called the Con- lands, in which H. Posthumus, a Dutch writer, pointed queror a high-souled villain. out that “few people in either Britain or the Netherlands realize the age and intimacy of Anglo-Dutch relations.” During the last 2,000 years by social, political The Significance of the Conquest and economic movements the influence of the NetherEven Charles Kingsley who described the Con- lands on British development has been considerable. quest as a crime (aided as he said by the Church of Rome) was fain to add that it brought England into the current of Many British and Dutch people have a comEuropean life. Most historians look on it as the consolida- mon ancestry from which they have inherited similar tion of England. Perhaps the best way to view it is as the qualities. Their passionate love of liberty has made in-gathering of the last significant racial element of the them the pioneers of modern democracy and religious Servant People. tolerance. “Nations of shopkeepers” both, their genius for commerce built up the strength which finally broke However, there is usually more than one way in the power of Louis XIV and Napoleon and stimulated which an event can occur. For 50 years, from Ethelred’s the love of enterprise which has made them explorers exile in Normandy to 1066, England and Normandy were and colonists in the world. drawn closer together. Every plan to prevent the Conquest failed. The last King of the old Wessex line, the Confessor, Before Caesar’s conquest of Britain, there deliberately ruined his country, by being too holy to beget were Low Dutch people who had immigrated into Brita son. On his deathbed he acknowledged his sin. ain from Flanders, because of floods; the Frisians conducted most of Britain’s import and export trade before It is estimated that there were 1 million to 1 ½ million peo- the invasions of the Anglo-Saxons in the fifth and sixth ple in England in 1066; by 1086 one-third of these had per- centuries. In the eighth century, England was a centre ished or been exiled. Many had been blinded or had their of learning. Some missionaries, like Willibrod and hands cut off. Their places were taken by Normans, Bret- Boniface, worked among the Frisians. Then in the ons and all sorts of blackguards west of the Alps who had ninth and tenth centuries, the learned men of England been attracted by the prospect of loot -- blessed by the -- Alcuin among them -- were driven by the attacks of Pope as a crusade (the English Church had been slow in the Danes to the Continent. In the latter half of the tenth century, the foreign trade of London laid the foundapaying Peter’s Pence). tion of its future commercial greatness. Because of its The Norman villains fell out amongst them- relations with the merchants of the Dutch towns of Tiel selves, and many of them were kicked out by their own and Dordrecht -- the greatest commercial centres of kings. Henry I with an army of English conquered Nor- that time -- England’s prosperity increased. mandy. The mass of Israel was now gathered into the ApFollowing the Norman Conquest, there came pointed Place. many Flemish weavers who had a large share in the de-- Leslie G. Pine velopment of England. Dutch immigrants started sheep-farming, which was to contribute so much to Our Kinsfolk in the Netherlands -- England’s early greatness. The Flemish type of industrial organisation inspired the formation of the English Always Closely Associated guilds of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In the THE NETHERLANDS must, undoubtedly, con- twelfth century, Dutch merchants had their own pritain a significant portion of the Israelite remnant still out- vate wharves in London and were members of the side the Company of Nations. Support for this contention Guildhall. At the time of the Conquest, many An-

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glo-Saxon refugees settled in the Low Countries. Thomas land. The Quakers, like many other sects, were proda’ Becket escaped to Holland. Time and again Dutch sol- ucts of Dutch sectarianism -- William Penn’s wife and diers have fought on English soil, where some of their de- mother were Dutch. scendants now are. In 1165, for example, Henry II fought the Welsh with Flemish and Brabant troops. Dutch gunsmiths, tapestry-makers, glaziers, printers and especially skilled drainage workers With Dutch help, England had, soon after the pe- brought many new arts. Dutch engineers helped to riod of Edward I, become the chief wool-growing country drain the fens of Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and in Europe and the services of the cloth manufacturers of many other counties -- one Dutch engineer alone rethe Netherlands were promised: “They shall feed on fat claimed about 400,000 acres. Dutch immigrants beef and mutton till nothing but fullness shall stint their helped to develop Manchester and the cotton industry; stomachs.” Again, thousands of weavers came over as in- Newcastle and the manufacture of steel; and Sheffield, structors and assistants to the English. England at this time where they introduced knife-making. Dutch felt-makwas still a farming country, and the capital and enterprise ers laid the foundation of the hat industry; Dutchmen of the Dutch were also courted, with the result that such ar- made the cables and cordage for the Royal Navy; they tisans as linen-weavers, felt-makers and clock-makers introduced paper, soap, saltpetre, silk and lace-makwere introduced. Dutch printing presses became famous at ing. They took to England that most important commodity -- tea! an early date. The first complete English Bible came from Holland, and Caxton learned his trade in the Netherlands. Many English writers like Wyclif, Chaucer and Thomas More spent some time in Holland and many of their countrymen took refuge in the Netherlands during the Wars of the Roses. The closest relations between England and the Dutch existed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. England was still short of all sorts of manufactures and most of the trade was in Dutch hands; even English fish-markets were supplied by Dutch fishermen. All this stimulated a close contact with Dutch methods, institutions and industries. Intense Dutch immigration prepared the way for a Dutch prince on the British throne and for a large part England owes its subsequent prosperity to the effect of religious persecutions in the Netherlands. In 1527, when England’s population numbered 5,000,000, London alone had 15,000 Flemings. In 1562, 40,000 more arrived and as many in the following years. On the other hand, royal action against the Plymouth Brethren drove English Protestants to Holland; but Cromwell again sent for Dutch divines as teachers. Thousands of English Protestants were to help the Dutch in their fight with the Spaniards, and English religious separatists went to Leyden and some sailed from there with the Mayflower to found New Eng-

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How the Dutch were influenced by English culture we can understand when we remember that among the English writers who lived in Holland were such outstanding men as Thomas Elliot, Thomas Wyatt, John Locke, Marlowe, Raleigh, Cartwright and Ben Jonson. Butler and John Payne took their theatre company over to Leyden in 1636. Stalwart, pioneering Dutch folk have, in their scores of thousands, moved to the overseas countries of the English-speaking Family of Nations. They have always proved a worthy, stabilizing force in these new lands. In 1688, William of Orange was invited to England “to restore English liberty and to protect the Protestant religion.” And after the death of William, close literary relations existed between the two countries. Bearing in mind this long cultural interaction between England and the Netherlands, there is no doubt that the Dutch have felt themselves to be something more than mere allies of Britain in her struggle against evil. One further point of supreme interest is that Salic Law -- a Continental law which excludes fe-

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males from dynastic succession -- does not operate in the however, its power had been broken and its capital deNetherlands where, as in England, a queen may reign in stroyed. her own right. Thus both countries observe the Zelophehad law of ancient Israel, whereby a woman may This up-to-date account of Canaanite sit on the throne where there is no male heir. Carthage is particularly important as showing the westward trend of migration from Bible lands. As has The National flag of the Netherlands carries three happened so often in more recent centuries, the horizontal bands of red, white and blue. The Dutch arms Canaanite and subsequent treks followed trading have also a significant affinity with the Royal arms of Brit- routes which had long been traveled. The trails blazed ain. not only by the ships of Tyre but also by the “navy of ships” inaugurated in Israel by the wise and mighty -- Reginald H.W. Cox Solomon provided the guide and the “know-how” for those who were westward bound in the following forHannibal -- the Phoeno-Canaanite mative centuries of European civilization. Canaanites in quite considerable numbers reached western regions of the Isles of Britain in the centuries B.C. by way of Spain. We may be sure that their being here brought no comfort to God’s incoming people of Israel. The factor of prime importance is that their wanderings supply incontestable secular proof of migrations from the Holy Land to the Isles of the West. Moreover, the researchers have shown that many of the Phoeno-Canaanites who fled before Joshua had a “western” appearance. From the sculptured portraits of In The Life and Death of Carthage, Professor Hannibal it is manifest that he was a man of Hellenic Gilbert Picard explains that, despite its ancient glories, physiognomy, i.e. similar to many northern Europeans Carthage is now nothing but a ruinous heap in the suburbs of today. of Tunis. It first became known as a refuge for Canaanites For a correct appraisal of the early colonizers driven out of Palestine by Joshua. There is secular testiof the Isles of the West -- Motherland of the new namony of this exodus from Procopius of Caesarea, a reliable fifth-century historian who recorded that, in his day, tions who proceeded to inaugurate new nations to the there was at Tigisis, near modern Tangiers, a column bear- West and far South -- it is necessary to realize that the ing the inscription: “We are they who fled before the face sprinkling of Canaanites, of whom Hannibal was an of Joshua, the robber, the son of Nun.” The book describes example, are now part and parcel of the major core of Carthage as a Phoenician colony. On this, it is important to Celto-Saxondom.

HANNIBAL’S EXPLOITS with elephant chargers have thrilled schoolboys of many generations. His stand against the empire of Rome and his incredible invasion of its vast heartland are familiar enough to all. But comparatively few people realize that this remarkable military genius and his compatriots were, most of them, Old Testament Canaanites -- a carry-over from the days when Joshua and his Israelites disputed with their ancestors for possession of their Promised Land.

remember that there were Phoeno-Canaanites and Phoeno-Israelites, for the Mediterranean coastlands of Palestine were inhabited in part by each of these peoples. By the twelfth century B.C. It had become a trading centre, operated chiefly by the merchants of the trafficking city of Canaanite Tyre. The Phoenician inhabitants of Carthage were, in fact, Canaanites. Carthaginian domination developed over most of North Africa and across to Europe, Spain being particularly involved. By 146 B.C.,

-- The Bible Research Handbook “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,” Let Israel now say -- “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive...” Psalm 124:1-3

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THE FRAUD OF ISLAM: HOW THE CONSPIRACY THRIVES Dr. Daud Hammid

"We should have no illusions about the matter: no part of the world will be excluded. Now that Islam has national, military, and economic power, it will attempt to extend its religion everywhere, including the British Commonwealth and the United States..." -- so wrote French Protestant theologian Jacques Ellul in his 1985 book, The Dhimmi, a methodical study of the treatment of non-Moslems by Islam, both throughout history as well as in our own times. Since then, Ellul's foresight has been fulfilled in a striking and dramatic manner that quite possibly even he did not envision. Saturated in billions of oil dollars, the world’s fundamentalist Moslem movement is headed and financed primarily by Saudi Arabia -- with the support of other Arab countries. The Saudi government, with its allies and offshoot organizations, so-called "charities" and businesses, has been bankrolling the worldwide terrorist coalition of terrorist organizations, religiously bound to expand Fundamentalist Islam everywhere. Special targets are the United States, Europe and almost every other developed country. All this is done blatantly, under the tender cover of democratic law and idealism. By now we all know about Osama Bin Laden, where he came from and from where his support and financing were mostly obtained. What we tend to forget is that Bin Laden is not alone, that many other "Bin Ladens" are still out there, awaiting their "moment of glory". Not all of them are directly involved in bombings and murder. Most of them support the Islamic cause by lavish media presentations, interviews and "presentations" of Arab "dignitaries" and so-called religious figures. The pro-Islamic misinformation, to which we are now exposed, contains a great number of blatantly deceiving statements. They come along with a fascinating collection of barefaced falsifications and outright lies about the real meaning and purposes of Islam. WHAT IS THE REAL ISLAM? "Islam is not a new religion," -- says the Moslem misinformation purveyors -- "but the same truth that God revealed through all His prophets to every people". They omit to mention, however, the fact that Moslems believe their religion came to TOTALLY REPLACE the Bible, as well as both Judaism and Christianity, with everything associated with them or born of them. And that is simply and precisely what Islam teaches! According to the Koran (the Moslem holy book), not all men are born equal. Moslems consider themselves the master race of "the prophet" and look down at others as inferior. Indeed, their The Berean Voice September-October 2002

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religious texts vilify Christians and Jews (jointly called "peoples of the Book") as "apes" and "pigs". Such passages, however, are found only in the original Arabic. They are seldom found in translations into other languages, especially not in Western tongues. As noted in this article, the term "Islam" is Arabic stands not for "peace" but for "submission," and includes a play-on-words to the similarly-sounding Hebrew "Shalom", which does mean "peace". The Islamic view of "peace" ("salem") with an adversary or "infidel" (non-Moslem) does not signify coexistence or cooperation. The Islamic definition of "peace" is the conquest, or "submission" of the enemy. ISLAM VERSUS THE WORLD Moslems divide the world into two irreconcilable camps, the first is "dar al-Islam", or "house of Islam", which includes all countries where Islam currently prevails, and the second is "dar al-harb", or "house of war", which includes everywhere else. The object of Islam and its followers is to expand their faith (and power) until the whole world is within their realm. It is a global vision, similar to that used in the last century by Communism, but much more powerful, being a religion as well as a political ideology. THE HOLY WAR The vehicle for Islamic expansion is the concept of "jihad" or "holy war". In translation, they misrepresent "jihad" as "struggle" and sometimes "self defense". In reality, the Koran instructs that "jihad" is a "sacred duty", incumbent on "every Moslem". There is also a schedule of rewards for those who "dispose of" infidels (which include any non-Moslem, Christians, Jews, Hindus and others). The same rewards are bestowed also upon all those who die while participating in holy-war campaigns. As the Yussuf Ali English translation of the Koran states: "Allah hath conferred on those who fight [for him] with their wealth and their lives a rank above those who tarry." In addition, "he who has not taken part, or at least considered taking part, in a campaign of jihad until [he reaches] the end of his life, meets his death holding a branch of hypocrisy." Millions of Moslems who believe these writings to be divine have died due to their participation in Islamic so-called holy wars. Many terrorist atrocities are committed by groups that utilize the word "jihad", whether in their names or in their goal. Contrary to affirmations which Moslem leaders continuously feed Western listeners, killing innocent civilian "infidels" is far from disobeying Islamic precepts. Indeed such actions are equal to killing soldiers or other religions' leaders. A "STRANGE" FAITH !?! The Moslem apologists state that Islam seems strange to Westerners because the West is highly secularized. "Moslems have religion always uppermost in their minds," they say, implying that others do not. The simple truth is that Islam seems strange because it is the pure reverse to any other faith -- that is, completely contrary to the Western concept of what a religion should stand for -- especially to those Westerners who are heirs of the Biblical, Christian tradition. It is a religion

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which considers war to be holy, has no concept of peace at all, which is considered pointless and hollow. Nor does it recognize the concept of co-existence or toleration. Islam is a religion which teaches that the way to heaven and salvation is secured through murder. It also promotes slavery as a sacred practice and considers the bondage and humiliation of all women, including their own mothers, as a divine order. It is a faith which seeks the destruction of all other religions (especially those based on the Bible, which is regarded as a fake and a Satanic book) and the subjugation of all nations as its sanctified goal. Such a creed may well seem strange to the Western mind. This, however, is precisely what Islam is. Today, in the modern Western societies, police powers are never used for religious ends, and the government does not favor one religious group over another. This concept is entirely foreign to Islam. Islam makes no distinction between religion and state. It enforces the Islamic code as the sole law of the land, both religious and secular thereby, in fact, putting anyone who is not a Moslem outside the protection of the law. In practical terms, Islam mandates a theocracy, which amounts to the dictatorial rule of the Moslem nobility and clergy. That is why democracies are unknown in the Islamic world and why Moslems show such hostility to free societies. To a fundamentalist Moslem, the very idea of democracy is heresy. ORIGINS The Moslems claim that Judaism (and, by extension, Christianity) share with Islam a common origin in the patriarch Abraham. They believe it was Abraham who "established the settlement which today is the city of Mekkah [or Mecca] and built the Ka'a'ba, towards which all Moslems turn when they pray." However, the Biblical records indicate that Abraham never visited the Arabian Peninsula. Muhammad maintained that the Christians and the Jews -- as agents of Satan, of course -- "forged" or "falsified" the Bible. He therefore altered the Biblical story and cast Ishmael (Abraham first son and traditional father of all Arabs) as the heir of God's promise, instead of Isaac -- as the Bible explicitly stated many centuries before the writing of the Koran. ISLAM AND JESUS CHRIST As for Jesus Christ, Islam portrays him as a minor prophet, certainly not as the Son of God, nor as the Messiah and definitely not as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Moslems still offer animal sacrifices and at recent ceremonies in Mecca slaughtered a staggering 500,000 animals. Christianity centers on the ideas of the incarnation and of salvation by faith, both of which are rank heresy and blasphemy to a Moslem. In Islam, salvation is by works, not by faith. Further, Islamic "good deeds" are not necessarily charitable, humanitarian acts of kindness, but may also be the assassination of "non-believers". Especially targeted are "the People of the Bible", the Islamic euphemism for all Christians and Jews.

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The minute, basic chronology of Muhammad in the Moslem tradition and story is superficially accurate, but non-Moslem historians are far from approving that he was "of a deeply religious nature", known for "truthfulness, generosity, and sincerity", or "calm and meditative". In fact, very little is known about Muhammad, but it seems clear that he was the illiterate son of a nomadic "traveling merchant" Arab tribe sub-chieftain. This is the Arab way of referring to the traditional occupation of the Bedouin nomads of the Southern Arabia Peninsula. The commodity in which they "traded" was mostly human slaves. This would account for both his grotesque distortions of the Biblical account -- which he likely got from some tribesmen, which he met on the trail -- and for his sanctification of slavery as a way of life. Since the stories told around the tribal campfire in the Arabian Desert related only the biblical heroes and their stories -- and lacked mention of any meaningful biblical teachings -- Muhammad had no concept of the morality and ethics of the Bible. The teachings and values of the Bible are therefore missing from Islam. The cruelty and rigidity of Muhammad's ancient Arabian paganism is the core of Islam's creed. ISLAM -- REVERSAL OF CHRISTIANITY When Muhammad and his followers returned to Mecca from Medina, he did not, as the Moslems state to westerners, "forgive his enemies". In Islamic tradition the very concept of "forgiveness" is unknown and unrecognized. Instead, the rule of "blood revenge" is mandatory. While in exile, Muhammad had gathered a band of marauding warriors and given them a religious sanction for their activities. They were called "The Mystic Fighters" and scored stunning victories, to the point that the superstitious, pagan populace believed them to be divinely inspired. Those who did not join were promptly executed. In theological terms, Muhammad was less of a religious figure than a war-chieftain, a soldier and a tyrant. In contradiction to Biblical prophets, and as a total contrast to Jesus Christ, his kingdom was purely political-military in nature. In sum, Islam dogmatized the spiritual and secular realms in a rigid theocracy, which admits no deviation. It was for this reason that 19th-century scholar Ernest Renan called Islam "the heaviest chains which have ever shackled humanity". ISLAMIC "EVANGELISM" - THE "SWORD OF ISLAM" Perhaps the boldest falsehood in the representation of Islam and the Moslems is the contention that the spread of the new faith was "rapid and peaceful". It was indeed rapid, but far from peaceful. Its most prominent symbol is the "Seif-el-Islam" -- “The Sword of Islam". Indeed, the most important symbol of Islam is, appropriately enough, the sword (or the saber) and the sword was the primary instrument of Islamic expansionism. In most cases the conquered were given only two choices -- immediate conversion or a speedily cut throat. Since in Islam the concepts of "peace" and "submission" are synonymous, "peace" can be achieved only by total submission to Islam. No other form of peace is conceivable to a Moslem. Therefore, when Muhammad's "mystic fighters" subdued a nation, they believed that "peace" had

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prevailed. Likewise today, "peace" to a Moslem means only one thing -- a total capitulation of all humanity to Islam. Violence and militarism did not end with Moslem conquests. Islamic factions, each claiming to represent the "one true faith", have been at each other's throats for centuries. As the scholar David Pryce-Jones masterfully demonstrated in The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs, conspiracy, intrigue, and assassination have been the rule rather than the exception in the Islamic world." ISLAMIC "TOLERATION" "It is one function of Islamic law," says Moslem proponents "to protect the privileged status of minorities, and this is why non-Moslem places of worship have flourished all over the Islamic world." Here we leave the realm of exaggeration and distortion and enter the realm of outright pristine lies. For the most part, churches and synagogues have been destroyed, vandalized, or completely outlawed. In Saudi Arabia, it is illegal to open or maintain a church. In "moderate" countries such as Egypt, Christians have not been able to get permission to repair their churches or build new ones for decades. Saudi Arabia is not the only Moslem country which has obliterated every trace of Judaism and Christianity and outlawed all non-Moslem religious practices, even among foreigners who live there and bring that country their wealth. In particular, however, Saudi Arabia has done all this with little or no outcry from the West. Moreover, there exists not a single case in the entire Islamic world in which non-Moslems have been given equal civil rights and/or freedom of worship. While the Moslems freely evangelize in America and enjoy the Western tradition of civil rights, such activities are forbidden under Islam, which considers apostasy a capital crime. In Islam, Christians and Jews are Dhimmi -- second-class citizens -- and are subject to discriminatory laws, double standards, repressive taxation, and humiliating public ceremonies of submission. Impressive and conclusive documentation for these realities exist aplenty and are available to all who care to find them. To the Moslems claim that "many examples of Moslem tolerance toward other faiths" there is only one example given: Omar's conquest of Jerusalem in 634, not an event that is fresh in the minds of many. The claim is that Omar declared freedom of worship to all, a statement which must be accepted on faith alone, since there is no proof of it in writing and anyway it has at no time been followed in practice by Omar or any of his successors. WOMEN IN ISLAM The Islamic spokesmen claim that a Moslem woman is "an individual in her own right" -hardly a great concession. In any case, the Moslem's claim is certainly not confirmed in the writings

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of the Koran, Islamic law (the Sha'ri'ia) or the treatment of women in Moslem countries. Moslems generally avoid discussing the topic of women with "infidels" -- with good reason. In Islamic societies women are regarded and treated as beasts of burden, or merely childbearing machines, with no rights whatsoever. Saudi Arabia and the late unlamented Taliban's Afghanistan, both good examples for Moslem regimes, forbid women to drive and restrict them to certain menial occupations. Further, women must be veiled in public. The claim that "no Moslem girl can be forced to marry against her will" is simply false. In patriarchal Islamic society, the father -- not the bride -- chooses the husband; no one ever considers that the bride's opinion has any merit. As noted in the British documentary, Death of a Princess, the Moslems have executed women who marry against the will of their fathers. The Moslems concede the obvious, that Islam permits men to have more than one wife. Moslem women, however, are not permitted to have more than one husband, and any sexual deviation on their part is severely punished, often by public flogging or death, in a ceremony held every Friday in every public square. Many Islamic countries also feature mut'a, or "the law of desire". This system of "temporary marriage" is akin to legalized prostitution. Under this law, a Moslem man may hire a "temporary wife" for a fixed amount of money. All the benefits in this system belong to the man, who may hire as many temporary wives as he please. All children from a "temporary wife" belong to the man. Of course, a Moslem woman cannot hire a temporary husband. Islamic clergy support the practice of "temporary wives" and hail its "Koranic roots". This symbolizes the larger truth that, in Islam, the entire system of the suppression and brutalization of women is seen as of divine origin and bearing divine approval. HUMAN RIGHTS The Moslems maintain that Islam "guarantees human rights." The real question is whether Islam allows, or even recognizes the concept of any human rights whatsoever! The evidence confirms that Islam is decidedly hostile to the very concept of human rights. A Moslem Arab delegate to the United Nations once asserted on record: "the concept of human rights is a degenerate Western imperialist notion". An Amnesty International report specifies massive and systematic violations of human rights in virtually all-Islamic countries. They include: torture, arrest and detention without charge, cruel and unusual punishment, amputation of body parts, capital punishment for political and religious dissent, sexual abuse and mass violence against minorities Nowhere in the Islamic world is there freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and association, or even true freedom of enterprise. Without these precious freedoms, any concept of human rights is meaningless.

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The Fraud of Islam

75 SLAVERY AND RACISM

The defenders of Islam avoid the fact that the Koran, and the Moslem religious law called the "Sha'ri'ia," not only permits but in fact perpetuates and sanctifies slavery. In fact, they command that children of slave women remain slaves from birth to death. No Islamic country can accept Islam as the state religion and the Koran and the "Sha'ri'ia" as the law-of-the-land, as does Saudi Arabia, and abolish slavery at the same time. The institution of slavery is too ingrained in Islamic law. This is why slavery is common in almost all Moslem countries, although officially the fact is vehemently denied. Saudi Arabia announced its intention to abolish slavery in the mid-1960s -- a full century after the rest of the world. There is overwhelming evidence, however, that this announcement was only a public relations gesture, and Saudi slavery continues unabated. As professor Murray Gordon convincingly shows in his book Slavery in the Islamic World, the Arabs were the chief slave masters and traders for centuries, concentrating their efforts in black Africa. They still are. In fact, in spoken Arabic, the words "black" and "slave" are the same. Women were also prime targets and enslaved for use as sexual objects, and not only in the harems of wealthy Arabs and Islamic royalty. In all cases, non-Moslems were prime candidates for slavery because Islam considers them inferior. It should be stressed that this is not only a matter of history but of ongoing practice today. Recent reports show how the Islamic dictatorship of Sudan -- as part of its brutal campaigns against the Christian Sudanese in the south -- were enslaving the children of the Dinka tribe and other Christian communities. Unfortunately, the world press has showed little interest in the story. ISLAMIC LAW According to the Moslems’ public relation campaign, Islam "believes that the Divine Law, the "Sha'ri'ia", should be taken very seriously". This is true and constitutes a primary reason why Islam clashes so strongly with Western society. When they are dealing with a Western audience, the Moslems purposely neglect to mention what this supposedly divine law mandates. The "Sha'ri'ia" is a belch from the Dark Ages, a rigid, barbaric code that calls for beheadings, dismemberments, and public flogging for a number of crimes, some rather petty. The "Sha'ri'ia" contains no presumption of innocence, allows no right for counsel or appeal, and permits no trial by a jury of one's peers. In practical terms, the accused is at the mercy of Islamic clerics. In this system, Moslem and non-Moslem alike can expect no justice. Hence, it should come as no surprise that under Islam public executions constitute a kind of spectator sport, especially in Saudi Arabia. Sometimes the executioner cuts the prisoner to draw blood before performing the sentence, an act of needless cruelty. An assistant then pokes the victim in the ribs with a stick so that he jerks his head upward to meet the falling sword or ax. The blood flows and the crowd of spectators cheer.

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The Moslems claim that in Islamic societies minorities have the right to their own courts. This is an outright lie. The "Sha'ri'ia" is imposed on non-Moslem minorities in places such as the Sudan and Egypt. PRIMORDIAL EVIL RELIGION? In modern times Moslems became attuned to the kind of thing Westerners want to hear. For example, they write that Islam considers itself the "primordial religion," which "seeks to return man to his original, true nature, in which he is in harmony with creation, inspired to do good, and confirming the Oneness of God". They even include a tale in which a man's sins were forgiven because he gave water to a dog. This sort of spiritual pabulum is much more palatable to trendy Westerners than the stark reality of the legalized bloodshed of the "Sha'ri'ia" or the religious hatred of the jihad. In practice, Islam's respect for God's creation is very much in doubt. They say that Islam's rules of warfare supposedly include "prohibitions against harming civilians and against destroying crops, trees, and livestock". This is another barefaced lie. No such prohibition has ever existed in Islam. The fact is that Islamic terrorism against America, Israel and other nations has integrated all of these in abundance. Moslem terrorists have murdered thousands of helpless, unarmed civilians, with the Twin Towers in New York not the only -- although it is (as of now) the largest and most spectacular case. Islamic Iraq has killed thousands of defenseless Kurds with poison gas, which did not spare women, children and even the victims' livestock. It is also hard to understand how the sacrificial slaughter of a half million animals in Saudi Arabia squares with respect for life. Islam never had any respect for life, any form of life, including the life of its own believers. SUMMARY In the final analysis, our vision of Islam -- armed with slick, effective propaganda -- is very nearly the reverse of the truth. Contrary to the claims of Moslem propagandists, Islam is a relatively new religion, adapted largely from longstanding custom and neo-pagan practices on the Arabian Peninsula. It is not inclusive, but exclusive and sectarian. It is not peaceful, but glorifies war and conquest. It is not tolerant, but considers all other religions inferior and ultimately aims to eliminate them. It is not liberating, but enslaving -- in both the spiritual and the physical senses. Islam does not respect human rights but is hostile to the very concept. Islam is inherently repressive and theocratic and cannot accommodate democratic thought or action. Islamic imperialism is on the rise. Hence, there is indeed a great need for Christians and Jews to understand Islam and the Moslems. For that one must avoid the devious advertising of billionaire sheikhs. Instead, Christians must avidly seek the truth about today's most dangerous threat to Western, Judeo-Christian civilization.

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Radiocarbon Dating: Tool or Magic Wand?

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Radiocarbon Dating: Tool or Magic Wand? Robert F. Helfinstine, P.E.

A

rchaeologists, anthropologists and others involved in researching things of the past have used the tools of radiocarbon (C14) dating as a supposedly accurate measurement of time in past history by which they could correlate activities from remote parts of the world. As the method has been used and the procedures improved with modern technology, the assumptions on which the method has been based have been brought into question. And if the assumptions are questionable, what about the results? How many individuals who submit samples for dating understand the limitations of the dating results? What have been some of the objectives in obtaining C14 dates? In Literature of the American Indians, by Sanders and Peek, the authors use C14 dating of ancient Indian sites to “prove” that the Indian culture was older than that of the Egyptians, which was dated by a different method. Charles Ginenthal stated, “...radiocarbon dating is not employed to test theories, but to support them...radiocarbon always gives a scattered set of dates. The theorists then pick the ones they believe to be correct” (”The Extinction of the Mammoth,” The Velikovskian, special edition, 1997, p. 160). The ages of organic fossils, such as once living plant or animal remains, are often determined by the radiocarbon method. A certain amount of carbon in the living plant or animal tissue is C14, usually obtained in the form of C14O2 from its environment. In a stable environment, the amount of C14 is in

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equilibrium; that is, the amount of decay equals the amount of new C14 taken in. When a plant or animal dies, there is no additional C14 taken into the tissue, and the C14 decreases as a function of time with a half-life of 5,700 years. By measuring the remaining C14/C12 ratio in a sample of wood, leather or ashes from an ancient campfire and compared with a “standard” ratio, a theoretical age of the sample is obtained. How accurate is that age? The assumptions (Faure, Gunter, Principles of Isotope Geology, 1977, p. 307) on which the dating is made are: 1. It is independent of time for 70,000 years. 2. The value is independent of geologic location. 3. The percent of C14 is not species dependent. 4. The generation activity of C14 is a known constant. 5. There is no C14 contamination with modern C14. 6. There is no loss of C14 except by radioactive decay. Radiocarbon is generated in the upper atmosphere primarily by cosmic ray bombardment of nitrogen (N14), converting it to C14. The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology states that the concentration of C14 in the Earth’s atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere is “relatively” uniform. It then goes on to explain how the relatively uniform condition is really a variable. A key factor in the C14 generation rate is the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field. According to the technical monograph, Ori-

78 gin and destiny of the Earth’s Magnetic Field (Barnes, Thomas G., “Origin and Destiny of the Earth’s Magnetic Field,” Technical Monograph number 4, Second Ed., 1983, p. 17), the magnetic field is decaying as a first order exponential with a half life of 1,400 years, a number much less than the 5,700 year half life of C14. The consequence of this decay is that there is a corresponding exponential; increase of the generation rate of C14. Using present conditions as a reference will result in an increase in the apparent age of older samples. The cosmic ray flux is an unknown for past ages. The eleven-year sun-spot cycle also has a cyclic effect on the generation rate. Dilution of C14 in the atmosphere is caused by burning of hydrocarbon fuel or by release of C12 from CO2 sinks (Ginenthal, op cit., pp. 178-180) as the result of atmosphere and hydrosphere warming. The two main sinks for old carbon are the Arctic tundra, which absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere, and methane hydrate, a frozen mixture of methane and water found in the tundra and the ocean. Geological location is probably one of the biggest variables in the C14 process, yet it seems to be systematically ignored. A few examples include a living tree growing next to an airport dated as being 10,000 years old (Huber, Bruno, “Recording Gaseous Exchange under Field Conditions,” The Physiology of Trees, K.V. Thinmann, ed., new York, 1958, p. 194), and living aquatic plants from Montezuma Well in Arizona, which shows apparent ages from 17,300 to 24,750 years (Ogden, J. Gordon III, “Radiocarbon and Pollen Evidence for a Sudden Change in Climate in the Great Lake Region 10,000 Years Ago,” Quaternary Paleoecology, New Haven, CT., 1967, p. 119). Why the erroneous numbers? It is assumed that the tree by the airport has obtained carbon from the exhaust fumes of aircraft which diluted the natural C14 in the atmosphere. The plants at Montezuma Well are evidently getting much of

Radiocarbon Dating: Tool or Magic Wand? their carbon from the well water, carbon that has lost most of its C14 content by being aged in the ground for many years. This apparent aging is known as the Seuss effect. Plants, and the animals that feed on them, are influenced by the amount of “old carbon” in their immediate environment. Studies of soil and water conditions show that CO2 concentration in water under grasslands is approximately 1,000 times greater than CO2 concentrations in water in equilibrium with air. Forest areas showed an increase of CO2 concentrations in both soil and water 100 times that of rain water (Encyclopedia Britannica, Macropedia, Vol. 7, p. 733). Therefore, both plants and animals from zones with high concentrations of old carbon will provide specimens that appear older by conventional C14 standards than they actually are. There are also assumptions of ages of certain rock formations. Yet, radiocarbon dating old wood samples extracted from the rock show dates radically different from the assumed age. An example is a partly burned but unfossilized branch found in Cretaceous limestone in Texas that was dated as 12,800+/-200 years B.P. (Before Present) (Found by Wilbur Fields of Joplin, MO; radiocarbon dating: UCLA-2088, 10/23/78). Spruce wood, described as being in near normal condition, taken from the buried forest of Upper Michigan, was dated at 10,200 years B.P. Other fossil wood found along the north shore of Lake Superior shows similar dates. The relatively narrow dates for fossil wood is a problem for some researchers who have definite presuppositions about the time period of certain fossils. Wood found around the carcass of a baby mammoth, Dima, was dated between 9,000 and 10,000 years B.P. Samples of the carcass tissue were dated at

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Radiocarbon Dating: Tool or Magic Wand? 26,000 and 40,000 years B.P. (Guthrie, R. Dale, Frozen Fauna of the Mammoth Steppe, 1990, pp. 9-10). Fat and blood samples from the Berezovka mammoth were dated at 39,000 years B.P., but the plant and pollen remains found in its stomach were dated between 6,000 and 7,000 years B.P. (Ginenthal, op cit., p. 163). These examples tend to indicate that older samples can give a variety of dates, many of which may have little direct correlation to dates obtained by other methods. This brings to question the validity of many C14 dates found in the literature. When the material being dated has an unknown past history, how can the measured date be considered valid?

79 process has its own limitations. The influence of the Earth’s magnetic field can be compensated to some extent, but the large differences due to geographical locations can only be guessed at. Carbon 14 is not the useful tool it was thought to be, but it is often used as a kind of magic wand in attempts to provide validity for establishing dates of ancient fossils. And because of the general commitment to using C14 dates, Charles Ginenthal commented, “I

Contamination is a potential problem with old samples if the containers they are kept in are made of wood Were radio carbon tests seriously off the mark in dating this lower jaw of an or wood products or extinct sloth, a megathere, at 20,000 years old? are exposed to the air. Carbon 14 can be absorbed by the sample believe that because radiocarbon dating is the and made to appear younger than its normal C14 one, great backbone and support of the superdate. How much this effects the real date is ques- structure of the uniformitarian history of the tionable because of the other variables in the sys- past,...all of this evidence for a distorted ratem. This brief summary of the C14 dating tion of C14/C12,...will be denied” problem shows that the assumptions on which (Ginenthal, op cit., p. 184). the process was originally established need to be A word to the wise is said to be suffireconsidered. It is not independent of time; it is dependent on geographical location; it is species cient. Let’s hope that there are some wise independent; the generation activity is changing, dividuals willing to acknowledge the problem. Old paradigms are hard to replace. and it is subject to contamination. There have been a number of “correction factors” proposed in attempts to normalize C14 dating. Tree ring dating has been used, but that

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Is Judaism the Religion of Moses?

Is Judaism the Religion of Moses? The beginning of the Sanhedrin, the origin of the "traditions of the elders,” the usurpation of authority by laymen -- these are discussed in this installment.

by Ernest Martin Part Eight

I

n previous installments we followed the Egyptian rule of Palestine until 198 B.C. In that year the Syrian kingdom on the north invaded and conquered the territory of Judea. The change in government from Alexandria to Antioch in Syria -- and the resultant establishment of the Syrian way of life in Palestine -- meant that a readjustment had to be made in the Jews' manner of living inherited from the Egyptian Hellenists. The Syrians were Hellenists as much as the Egyptians were but there was quite a difference in their mode of observing it!

The Religious Anarchy Ends When the Syrians assumed control of Palestine, the Jews were fully conscious that something new was taking place. It was this contrast between the Egyptian Hellenism they had been used to and the Syrian Hellenism which they were now obliged to follow, that shocked a few Jews into becoming cognizant that another way of life was possible -- their old way of life -- living by the Holy Scriptures! The Jews knew the Scriptures plainly did not recognize either form of Hellenism. New interest in God and the religion of Moses began to revive.

Beginning of Sanhedrin This new interest in the religion of their forefathers caused some of the Jews to reflect on the past in order to ascertain how their forefathers had been governed in their religious life. They recognized that from the time of Ezra and Nehemiah to Alexander the Great, the Sopherim had been the religious leaders and teachers of the people. The Sopherim, remember, had disappeared from the scene -- Simon the Just was the last of them. Understanding that some organization like the Sopherim must exist if there was to be religious unity and the people properly taught the Law, the leaders of this new revival decided to meet in council with one another. Its avowed purpose was to direct those who were desiring to live ac-

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cording to the Law of their forefathers. This council became known by the Greek name, THE SANHEDRIN. It is not clear when the Sanhedrin first began meeting. It must have been just a short time after the Syrians came into Palestine, perhaps about 196 B.C. or immediately thereafter (Lauterbach, Rabbinic Essays, p. 207). The influence of the Sanhedrin was not great at first. Not many of the Jews recognized its authority or adhered to its injunctions. Yet, with its establishment, we can say that outright religious anarchy came to an end, even though the majority of the Jews were still greatly affected by Hellenism.

Fanatical Zeal of Syrian Hellenists When the Syrians subdued the Egyptians in Palestine in 198 B.C., they brought to the Jews their own ideas concerning Hellenism. To the Syrians there must be nothing that rivaled their way of thinking. Egyptian Hellenists had allowed the Old Testament to be used. The interpretation of it, however, must be by Greek methods -- it had to be Grecianized. Thus, we have the Septuagint Version. BUT THE SYRIAN HELLENISTS WOULD NOT ALLOW THE OLD TESTAMENT EVEN TO BE IN EXISTENCE. Only Greek ways were allowed. No form of individual or nationalistic religion was allowed to exist that conflicted in any way with the doctrines of the Syrians. The outstanding advocate of this philosophy was the Syrian king, Antiochus Epiphanes, who ruled from 175 to 164 B.C. Antiochus Epiphanes was a Hellenist enthusiast, proud of his Athenian citizenship and bent on spreading Hellenic civilization throughout his domains. He built various temples to Apollo and Jupiter. He observed, and commanded his subjects to observe, all the pagan Greek festivities to the heathen gods. So fanatical was he in his zeal to implant his beliefs on all others that some of his contemporaries called him HALF-CRAZED (Margolis, History of the Jewish People, p. 135). He let nothing hinder him from realizing his desires. A large number of the Jews readily accepted the newly established Syrian doctrine of complete surrender to the philosophies of Hellenism. Most of the Jews were thoroughly accustomed to much of the Greek culture anyway, and it was no hard thing to transfer allegiance from the Egyptians to the Syrians. Yet, by the time of Antiochus Epiphanes other Jews had also begun to take a new interest in religion -- the religion of their forefathers. This new concern for religion was beginning to spread among the Jews of Palestine. When Antiochus Epiphanes heard that some of the Jews were rejecting his doctrines of total adherence to Hellenism, he began to persecute many of them. The persecution inevitably caused more Jews to side with the cause of religion. This stubbornness of the Jews infuriated Antiochus. He then began -- in a fit of demoniac insanity -- widespread persecution, committing heinous indignities against all those who would not conform to his ways. The Berean Voice September-October 2002

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Not all the Jews were in disfavor with Antiochus. Many of the wealthy and influential families, and specially many of the chief priests, wickedly supported Antiochus in his wild schemes. As the persecution grew more intense, a great many of the common people went against Antiochus. The result of this unparalleled persecution by this madman inevitably brought a further quickening interest in the Scriptures. Many began to take up arms against the Syrians. The cry went throughout the land that, in reality, this was a RELIGIOUS WAR and that the Jews were fighting for their Law and their God. This belief boosted renewed interest in fighting against Antiochus.

Judas Maccabee The Jews, in order to band themselves together against the Syrians, came to the side of Judas Maccabee and his four brothers. An army was formed for two purposes: 1) defeating Antiochus Epiphanes and 2) driving out the Syrians from Palestine. This army was quickly put into action. After many successful battles, in succeeding decades, this Jewish army managed to accomplish both things! Antiochus' armies were defeated in 165 B.C. and by 142 B.C. the Syrians were completely driven from the land. Practical independence for the Jews resulted.

Religious Authority Re-established Among Jews With the defeat of Antiochus Epiphanes in 165 B.C., the religious history of the Jews enters a new phase. The Sanhedrin, which had been feebly established some thirty years before, was now OFFICIALLY DECLARED THE RELIGIOUS AUTHORITY AMONG THE JEWS OF PALESTINE. Being in virtual control of the land, the Jews were in position to re-establish the religion that had been in a state of decay for so long. Now, for the first time since the period of the Sopherim, they had independent religious authority. The Sanhedrin took the place of the Sopherim in directing the religious life of the people. But, this governing body of men was to be greatly different from the priestly Sopherim. During the period of religious anarchy before Antiochus Epiphanes, a fundamental change took place in the attitudes of the priests. Many of the priests were outright Hellenists and steeped in the pagan philosophies of that culture. Not only that, many of them had sided with Antiochus Epiphanes against the common people during the Maccabean Revolt. Such activities caused the common people to be wary of the priests and their teaching. There was a general distrust for anything priestly at this time. A few priests had not allied themselves with Hellenism and Antiochus Epiphanes. But the large majority, in one way or another, were not faithful to the religion of their forefathers. This general lack of trust for the priests led most of the common people to disapprove of their re-assuming their full former role of being religious authorities. Only those priests who had not been openly in favor of Hellenism were sought and allowed to take their former positions. The common people could not bring themselves to entrust the other priests with the right to help regulate the religious life of the Jews. Only to these faithful priests were committed chairs in the new Sanhedrin (Lauterbach, Rabbinic Essays, p. 209).

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Non-Priestly Teachers Assume Authoritative Positions Under Egyptian control, within the period of the religious anarchy, Palestine had no official teachers of the Law. A few individuals here and there endeavoured to study the Scriptures in a personal way. Without official teachers, the study obviously had to be personal and in private. The fact that a few independent students of the Law existed is proved by the few learned men who came to the fore with the establishment of a Sanhedrin. We are further assured of this when we realize that this new Sanhedrin, organized about 196 B.C., was composed of LAY TEACHERS as well as some priests. "The study of the Law NOW BECAME a matter of private piety, and as such WAS NOT LIMITED TO THE PRIESTS" (Lauterbach, Rabbinic Essays, p. 198). This private study, without proper guidance from recognized authority such as the Sopherim were, brought about some surprising results. (This is the same condition that happened in the Protestant Reformation. Many lay teachers arose, because the Bible was made available by the printing press, and many confusing and contradictory divisions arose amongst those who were coming out of the Catholic Church.) Many of these Jewish teachers, likewise, because of their independent private study in the Scripture, were not in unity on many of their teachings. And, too, many of these teachers were variously affected by Hellenism. "We shall therefore be not far from the truth if we represent the Sanhedrin, in the years from its foundation down to the outbreak of the Maccabean Revolt, as an Assembly of priests and LAYMEN, some of whom inclined to Hellenism while others opposed it out of loyalty to the Torah" (Herford, The Pharisees, p. 27). The differing degrees of Hellenic absorption among the teachers, mixed with independent study of the Scripture, brought about a new variety of opinions. And, in the discussions that followed to determine which opinions to use, the LAY TEACHERS claimed as much right to voice their views as the priests. The lay teachers were assured of the common people being behind them. "At the beginning of the second century these non-priestly teachers already exerted a great influence in the community and began persistently TO CLAIM FOR THEMSELVES, as teachers of the Law, THE SAME AUTHORITY WHICH, TILL THEN, THE PRIESTS EXCLUSIVELY HAD ENJOYED" (Lauterbach, Rabbinic Essays, p. 28). Such privileges that the lay teachers were usurping to themselves would never have been permitted while the Sopherim, the successors of Ezra and Nehemiah, were in authority. The Law of Moses, which God had directly commanded him, clearly enjoined that the priests, with their helpers the Levites, were to perform the functions of teachers, not just any layman who would presume to do so.

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Some of these priests were in the Sanhedrin and were willing to re-establish the religious life of the people, in accordance with the directions in the Law. But the new laymen, who had now also become teachers of the Law because of their independent study, were not willing to give up this new power they had acquired. Human reason insisted that they were as competent to teach the people as the priests.

Lay Teachers Reject Sole Authority of Priests to Teach! When the Sanhedrin was re-organized after Antiochus Epiphanes, the lay teachers exhibited more power than ever before. The priests, who were under a ban of discredit before the Maccabean Revolt, were even more so afterwards. The lay teachers repudiated the claim that the priests had an exclusive right to be in authority. Lauterbach says that these lay teachers "refused to recognize the authority of the priests as a class, and, inasmuch as many of the priests had proven unfaithful guardians of the Law, they would not entrust to them the religious life of the people" (Rabbinic Essays, p. 209). This privilege, of assuming the role of the priests, was not a complete usurpation of every prerogative of the priests. They still were the only ones allowed to perform the ritualistic Temple services, etc. No lay teacher ever thought of taking over this exclusive position of the priests. But from the time of the re-establishment of the Sanhedrin, after the Maccabean Revolt, the lay teachers became the important RELIGIOUS LEADERS. Sanhedrin Faces Many New Problems The establishment of the Sanhedrin was recognized as a necessity in order that there could be a resumption of some form of the religion of Moses. "The members of this Sanhedrin took up the interrupted activity of the former teachers, the Sopherim, and, like them, sought to teach and interpret the Law and to regulate the life of the people in accordance with the laws and traditions of the fathers. But in their attempt to harmonize the laws of the fathers with the life of their own times, THEY ENCOUNTERED SOME GREAT DIFFICULTIES" (Lauterbach, Rabbinic Essays, p. 105). The people were keeping so many new customs, not observed by their forefathers, that the members of the Sanhedrin became perplexed over what to do. It was not easy to find support from the Scriptures which might condone some of the practices of the Jews at this time. The members of the Sanhedrin began to look for ways of JUSTIFYING the people, rather than following the Scripture commands to correct them (Deut. 32:1-47). "Many new customs and practices for which there were no precedents in the traditions of the fathers, and NOT THE SLIGHTEST INDICATION IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, were

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observed by the people and CONSIDERED BY THEM AS A PART OF THEIR RELIGIOUS LAWS AND PRACTICES" (ibid., p. 195). The majority of the teachers in the Sanhedrin came to the conclusion that the proper thing to do was to find some way to authoritatively justify these new customs. They were well aware that they could not go to the Scripture for their support. This presented a troublesome situation to the Jewish teachers. "The DIFFICULTY was to find a sanction in the Torah for the new customs and practices which had established themselves in the community ..." (Herford, Talmud and Apocrypha, p. 66). The only commands the Jews had from God in this matter were clearly negative. "Learn not the way of the heathen" (Jer. 10:2). "Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them [the heathen] ... and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations [the heathen] serve their gods? EVEN SO WILL I DO LIKEWISE" (Deut. 12:30). How to avoid these plain Scripture commands, and get these new customs sanctioned as proper religious observances? The teachers thought it would have been misadventurous to tell the people who wanted to retain these customs the simple commands of the Scriptures. The people were not about to give up these new customs. The teachers were assured of this. What, then, did the teachers do to finally get these new religious customs and practices authorized and as having the sanction of God? They came out with a most ingenious fiction which shows an amazing and clever display of human reasoning.

Teachers Pronounce Heathen Customs Jewish in Origin The conclusion of the Jewish teachers may surprise you. They merely taught that all the customs and practices which the Jews were now observing were actually Jewish in origin! "They reasoned this: It is hardly possible that FOREIGN CUSTOMS AND NON-JEWISH LAWS SHOULD HAVE MET WITH SUCH UNIVERSAL ACCEPTANCE. THE TOTAL ABSENCE OF OBJECTION ON THE PART OF THE PEOPLE TO SUCH CUSTOMS VOUCHED FOR THEIR JEWISH ORIGIN, IN THE OPINION of the teachers" (Lauterbach, Rabbinic Essays, p. 211). The Jewish teachers told the people that it was simply not possible for them, being Jews, to have inherited any heathen custom or practice! Since the Jewish teachers accepted these customs as actually being Jewish in origin, it became necessary to carry the theory just a little further. The theory went like this: Since the customs were supposedly Jewish, then they must have been taught by the prophets and the teachers of Israel, even by Moses himself! That is how the customs and practices of the Jews, which in reality they The Berean Voice September-October 2002

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had inherited from the heathen within the period of religious anarchy, were falsely termed the "traditions of the fathers" -- handed down from Moses, the prophets and teachers of old! These traditions Jesus condemned. There was, however, one difficulty for the Jewish teachers to overcome in this interpretation. There were no such customs and practices as these mentioned in all of Moses' Law nor in any other part of the Scripture. This did not dampen the spirit of the Jewish teachers! They also had an answer for this. They maintained that these customs were not put down in written form, and because of this, were not found in the text of Scripture. "These customs were handed down ORALLY from Moses," was their assertion! "They were passed by word of mouth from Moses through every generation." By assuming that there was an Oral Law, called the "traditions of the fathers," this freed the Jewish teachers from having to appeal to the Written Scripture for evidence to back up their statements. "Accordingly, the teachers themselves CAME TO BELIEVE that such generally recognized laws and practices MUST HAVE BEEN old traditional laws and practices accepted by the fathers and transmitted to following generations IN ADDITION to the Written Law. Such a belief would naturally free the teachers from the necessity of finding SCRIPTURAL PROOF FOR ALL THE NEW PRACTICES" (Lauterbach, Rabbinic Essays, p. 211). These traditional laws -- the Oral Laws -- were not from Moses nor any of the prophets. There is not a single reference in the Scripture that Moses gave the Israelites any Oral or Traditional Laws that were to be handed down along with the Written Word. The Bible states just the opposite. It plainly says that Moses WROTE THE WHOLE LAW IN A BOOK. There was no such thing as an Oral Law of Moses. Notice: "And it came to pass, when Moses had MADE AN END OF WRITING THE WORDS OF THIS LAW IN A BOOK, UNTIL THEY WERE FINISHED, that Moses commanded the Levites ... saying, TAKE THIS BOOK OF THE LAW, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there FOR A WITNESS AGAINST THEE" (Deut. 31:24-26). Moses wrote the Law in a book. And it was this written Word of God that was to be a witness against the Israelites for future generations, not any so-called Oral Law. Notice this confession of Dr. Lauterbach: "These traditional laws naturally had no indication in the Written Law and no basis in the teachings of the Sopherim, BECAUSE THEY DEVELOPED AFTER THE PERIOD OF THE SOPHERIM" (ibid., p. 206).

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In other words tradition originated in the period of the religious anarchy, when the Egyptians were in control of Palestine. "The reorganized Sanhedrin had to reckon with these NEW LAWS AND CUSTOMS, NOW CONSIDERED AS TRADITIONAL because observed and practiced by the people FOR A GENERATION OR MORE" (ibid., p. 206). We should not suppose that this theory of the origin of the Traditional laws was wholeheartedly accepted by all the teachers and members of the Sanhedrin.

Some Teachers Disapprove of New Interpretation "The theory of an authoritative traditional law (which might be taught independently of the Scripture) WAS ALTOGETHER TOO NEW to be unhesitatingly accepted ... THE THEORY WAS TOO STARTLING AND NOVEL to be unconditionally accepted" (ibid., p. 211). The Jewish teachers who were the most prone to accept the new fictional interpretation were the lay teachers. Some of the priests were not quite sure this was the way of handling the situation. They maintained that the Sopherim of old had always relied upon the Scripture, and that they would never have countenanced such interpretations which completely side-tracked the Word of God. "In their [the priests'] opinion, the main thing was to observe the laws of the fathers as conained in the Book of the Law, because the people had pledged themselves, by oath, in the time of Ezra, to do so. If changed conditions required additional laws and new regulations, the PRIESTS and RULERS were competent to decree them according to the authority given to them in Deut. 17:8-13" (ibid., p. 209). obey.

The priests, as a whole, declared that the Scripture was the only necessary code of laws to "This apparently simple solution offered by the priestly group in the Sanhedrin DID NOT FIND FAVOR WITH THE LAY MEMBERS OF THAT BODY" (ibid., p. 209).

The lay teachers, who outnumbered the priestly group, claimed the only way of reconciling these new customs with the Scripture was to recognize them as Oral laws handed down from Moses. They began to formulate methods of explaining how these laws were ordained by Moses and transmitted to the Jews then living. Their explanations were not true, but they deliberately taught them anyway. Lauterbach says that these lay teachers of the Sanhedrin devised the "methods for connecting with the Law all those new decisions and customs which were now universally observed by the people, THUS MAKING THEM APPEAR as part of the laws of the fathers" (ibid., p. 210). Notice, THEY MADE THEM APPEAR as if they were actual traditions of Moses! The Berean Voice September-October 2002

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Is Judaism the Religion of Moses?

Clever Answers to Opponents The lay teachers had an answer for almost every question that an opponent might ask them concerning the validity of these Traditional laws. If one would mention that Deuteronomy 4:2 forbade the addition to the Law, the lay teachers would readily admit that fact but staunchly affirm that the recognition of the Traditional laws was not adding to the Law of Moses. They claimed these laws originated with Moses and represented the complete revelation that God gave him (ibid., p. 44). If some opponent would voice the truth about the recent origin of these laws, the lay teachers merely declared that the laws were actually Mosaic but had been long forgotten and had just been recalled and reintroduced (ibid., p. 45). And when someone would prove beyond question that these laws were nothing more than pagan practices, Lieberman paints out that in such cases the JEWS COULD MAINTAIN THAT THE HEATHEN WERE FOLLOWING JEWISH PRACTICES AND NOT VICE VERSA" (Hellenism in Jewish Palestine, p. 129). Such interpretations were absurdly extreme, completely unjustified and utterly false! How they managed to palm off such fallacious interpretations as actual truth can be understood only if we recognize that THE PEOPLE WANTED TO RECEIVE THIS ERROR. With the people behind them, the lay teachers could teach about what they wished. "Certain religious practices, considered by the later teachers as part of the traditional law, or as handed down by Moses, ORIGINATED IN REALITY FROM OTHER, PERHAPS NON-JEWISH SOURCES, AND HAD NO AUTHORITY OTHER THAN THE AUTHORITY OF THE PEOPLE WHO ADOPTED THEM" (ibid., p. 241). With the acceptance of these new customs and practices we can date the true beginning of Judaism as a religion! The opportunity of returning to the Law of Moses was rejected. From that time forward, about 150 years before Christ, we become familiar in history with the real Judaism -a religion which the apostle Paul calls the "Jews' religion."

(To be continued next issue) Be Sure to Visit the Hope of Israel Website On the INTERNET! THE HOPE OF ISRAEL WEBSITES ON THE INTERNET now have hundreds of articles for download, as well as books and many other features for the discerning Christian who is seeking answers to the mysteries of life. Be sure to visit the Hope of Israel home pages at: http://hope-of-israel.org

http://hope-of-isreal.net (note spelling)

The Berean Voice September-October 2002

Jerusalem

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William Blake and His Famous Poem “Jerusalem” The lines “Did you ever hear about Jesus walkin’, Jesus walkin’ down by Avalon?” from Summertime in England refer to an ancient legend that Yeshua the Messiah once visited England. References to this legend include a poem by William Blake and the inspirational song Jerusalem. Blake’s text (from Milton) is as follows:

Jerusalem And did those feet in ancient time Walk upon England’s mountains green? And was the Holy Lamb of God On England’s pleasant pastures seen? And did the Countenance Divine Shine forth upon our clouded hills? And was Jerusalem builded here Among those dark Satanic mills? Bring me my bow of burning gold! Bring me my arrows of desire! Bring me my spear! O clouds unfold! Bring me my Chariot of Fire! I will not cease from mental fight; Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand Till we have built Jerusalem In England’s green and pleasant land.

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Jerusalem

The words were set to music much later, in 1916, by the English composer Hubert Parry, and later orchestrated by Sir Edward Elgar in 1922. “Jerusalem” was first performed at a Votes for Women concert in 1916. A short snippet of the melody of “Jerusalem” may also be heard at the very end of “A Town Called Paradise” on No Guru No Method No Teacher. The following extract is taken from the William Blake home page: William Blake (b. Nov. 28, 1757, London -- d. Aug. 12, 1827, London) was the first of the great English Romantic poets, as well as a painter, engraver and printer. Blake is frequently referred to as a mystic, but this is not really accurate. He deliberately wrote in the style of the Hebrew prophets and envisioned his works as expressions of prophecy, following in the footsteps (or, more precisely strapping on the sandals) of Elijah and Milton.

-- Courtesy of www.originofnations.org

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The Berean Voice September-October 2002