Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Messianic Seal of Jerusalem - A Few Quotes, Comments, and Ikons

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These eight artifacts shown above were all found to contain the same 3-part Messianic Seal composed of Seven-branched Jewish Menorah atop a Star of David which connects its base to a simple Christian Fish symbol below. As it turns out the traditionally Christian emblem of the Fish may also have even deeper roots within Judaism, apparently because 'the symbol of the Fish has been meaningful to Jews, previous to [Christianity]'.

As of now, all that can truly be said about the Messianic Seal of Jerusalem is there have been many claims, as well as counterclaims, about this particular ikon which continue to pile up in newspapers, magazines, journals and throughout the internet. One could even say the tension still mounts whenever the issue is raised among the experts and scholars actually involved, who apparently continue to vehemently disagree about this mysterious emblem (which seem to have come from out of nowhere). The drama marches on as the shovels keep digging up the dirt throughout today's Israel. Weighing the odds realistically, there is still a chance at least one of those shovels may uncover the real truth concerning the Messianic Seal..
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Friday, October 26, 2012

The Cornerstone: A Few Definition of the Star of David References

The Cornerstone: A Few Definition of the Star of David References:.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Just like the Star of David, the Star of Mary is a Six-Pointed Hexagram

One of most little known facts when comes to actual Christianity, as it was practiced for centuries, happens to be that, just like the Star of David in Judaism, the Star of Mary in Christianity is also symbolized by a Hexagram. Readers should feel quite assured this isn't some modern ploy or conspiracy to promote the Six-Pointed Star, or to obscure its so-called dark, Occult past. Instead, it is a historical fact that, from the very beginning, a fairly prominent symbol of the Church, known as the Star of Mary or the Star of the Sea, has been represented by a hexagram. This can only mean those so-called Christians, who hysterically continue to yell and scream about the hexagram being a Satanic symbol which has never used by Christianity, are simply lying to themselves and to others (meaning everyone else unfortunate enough to listen) about the historical facts concerning the hexagram.

A 13th century Church in Asturias, Spain known as 'Iglesia de Santa María' (1270 A.D.)
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These particular facts in question show quite clearly that when hexagrams were used to represent the Saints of the Church (David, Solomon, Mary, Jesus), they were seen by some of the earliest Christians as sacred and holy symbols of inherent goodness and were certainly not evil. Also, these early Christians probably knew full well about the dangers concerning the Occult and, in their eyes, the hexagram was neither dangerous nor a symbol of evil spiritual forces. Obviously, Christianity's deliberate choice of the hexagram as the official symbol designating Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, provides a strong indication that the Six-Pointed Star was, is, and will continue to be, a genuine Christian symbol which does not represent evil in any way, shape, or form. The evidence of history proves just the exact opposite- that the hexagram is a righteous symbol of both King David and his descendants, which include the Virgin Mary, as well as her Son Jesus Christ, 'the bright, Morning Star'.




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The Six-Pointed Star of Mary Reference List

Marian star symbolisms generally come in...the Six-Pointed, which is in fact the star of David, is used to highlight Mary's role in salvation as helper...It symbolizes the restitution of the original harmony between God and humanity.

- Q: What is the origin of Mary's title: 'Star of the Sea'?, Campus.Udayton.edu

Another classic title for the Virgin Mary is Stella Maris, or Star of the Sea...A Six-Pointed star is a reminder that Mary is from the line of David (as the Star of David has six points).

- Star of the Sea, by Jenny Schroedel and Reverend John Schroedel, Netplaces.com

The feast of the Holy Name of Mary...originated in Spain and was approved by the Holy See in 1513; Innocent XI extended its observance to the whole Church in 1683...Symbols: Star of David, or Six-Pointed Star appropriate for this feast.
- Memorial of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, CatholicCulture.org

Another example if a religious star tattoo is the Jewish Star of David...Roman Catholics regard the Six-Pointed Star as a representation of celestial bodies relating to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

- Star Tattoos, Tattoo-Art.com

Mary is the Divine Mother archetype...Her signs and symbols are the Rose and Chalice, the Six Pointed Star and the element of water

- The Virgin Mother Mary, GoddessWithin.co.uk



Monday, October 22, 2012

A Ikonographic Look at the Papal Hexagram


BASIC GUIDE TO THE FOUR-PART IKON-CUBE FEATURING THE PAPAL HEXAGRAM

AT TOP LEFT: A close-up picture of Pope Benedict XVI's Papal hat known as a mitre. The six-pointed hexagram located in the front of the head-piece appears to be a Seal of Solomon, rather than a Star of David. The Church has also tended to refer to most any hexagram as a Star of Creation, or Creator's Star. Historically however, only the Seal of Solomon had triangular lines which were interwoven (or interlaced) with one another.

AT TOP RIGHT: A side by side metaphorical modern history of the Jewish people. From the horrors of Nazi Germany in the 1940s to the founding of Israel in 1948, this 3,000 year journey of the Jewish people has yet to end. Once again, their enemies have been destroyed as they have moved onward and forward, in a noble effort to live on and prosper. The yellow star of David on the left side has the German word Jude (Jew in English) written in the center. Numerous forms of colored badges were used by the Nazis, but the six-pointed Stars of David identifying Jews have had the most historical repercussions so far- as in the slogan- 'Never again'. The blue Star of David on the right side is an exact replica, including the exact color, of the Davidic Star found upon the official, national flag of Israel. In Israel today, this symbol is nearly always referred to as a Magen David (Shield of David in English).



AT BOTTOM LEFT: These two black hexagrams in a all-white background are basic representations of a Star of David, seen on the left side, and a Seal of Solomon, seen on the right. A close enough examination between the two symbols clearly show the three-dimensional qualities of the Seal of Solomon on the right. This optical illusion of interwoven triangular lines occurs simply because of the way it has been drawn. Although the viewer may perceive depth when looking at the Seal, the reality remains that this symbol is just as flat as the Star of David pictured on the left.

AT BOTTOM RIGHT: A six-pointed hexagram carved upon one of the walls of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, the official capital of the Roman Catholic Church. A specifically Christian hexagram is most commonly known as a Star of Creation, or Creator's Star. A close-up inspection of this symbol reveals that, just like the one on top of the Pope's head, this star also has the appearance of interwoven (or interlaced) triangular lines. Thus, the proper term for this particular hexagram would be the Seal of Solomon, rather than the Star of David, a term which the Israelis themselves never use.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Can you Define the 'Judeo/Christian' Tradition According to the Dictionary?

Can you Define the 'Judeo/Christian' Tradition According to the Dictionary?

A Comprehensive List of Definitions for 'Judeo-Christian'



The Top Five Definitions of 'Judeo-Christian' including Duplicates

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Judeo-Christian Definition #1
Ju·de·o-Chris·tian [joo-dey-oh-kris-chuhn] adjective
1. of or pertaining to the religious writings, beliefs, values, or traditions held in common by Judaism and Christianity.
Also, Judaeo-Christian. Origin: 1895-1900

- Dictionary.com


Judeo-Christian Definition #2
Alternative forms: Judæo-Christian, Judaeo-Christian
Etymology: From Judeo- + Christian. (Adjective)
Judeo-Christian: Of or pertaining to Judaism and Christianity.
Hypernyms: Abrahamic, Judeo-Islamo-Christian

- English Wiktionary


Judeo-Christian Definition #3
Ju·deo-Chris·tian: (adjective) \jü-dā-ō-kris-chən, -krish- also jü-dē-ō- or jü-dē-ō-\
Definition of JUDEO-CHRISTIAN: having historical roots in both Judaism and Christianity
Origin of JUDEO-CHRISTIAN Latin Judaeus Jew - more at jew,
First Known Use: 1899 Next Word in the Dictionary: Judeo-German
Previous Word in the Dictionary: Judeo-

- Mirriam Webster Dictionary
 


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Judeo-Christian Definition #4
Judeo-Christian (adj.) 1. having origins in both Judaism and Christianity; of or pertaining to Christianity; as, the Judeo-Christian tradition.

- Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

Judeo-Christian Definition #4a
\Judeo-Christian\ adj.  having origins in both Judaism and Christianity; of or pertaining to Christianity; as, the Judeo-Christian tradition.

- GNU Collaborative International Dictionary of English
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Judeo-Christian Definition #5
judeo-christian (adjective): being historically related to both Judaism and Christianity; "the Judeo-Christian tradition"

- WordNet 3.0 Dictionary (2006)

Judeo-Christian Definition #5a
Judeo-christian: (adj) being historically related to both Judaism and Christianity; "the Judeo-Christian tradition" [syn: Judeo-Christian]

- WordIQ.com

Judeo-Christian Definition #5b
Judeo-Christian (adj.) - being historically related to both Judaism and Christianity; "the Judeo-Christian tradition"

- The Free Dictionary's Thesaurus

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The text just listed above is basically a short appendix of definitions related to the specific term 'Judeo-Christian' which can also be spelled as Judeo/Christian with a '/'. While no one really knows for sure, the first English spelling of this term was most probably 'Judaeo-Christian', which added an 'a' but still used the dash, rather than clumping them together into one word or writing it with a space between them like the word 'no one' rather than 'someone'. In terms of capitalization, some writers tend to capitalize just the 'J' in 'Judeo' such as 'Judeo-christian' while a few others don't bother capitalizing any of it, as in 'judeo-christian'. Considering the fact that those who still harbor hatred towards Jews have always tended to prefer writing the designation of their 'enemy' as 'jew' rather than 'Jew', the most appropriate spelling has been, and should continue to be, 'Judeo-Christian'. This seems not only most respectful way to spell it, but the most historically accurate. The reason for this can be seen by the well understood differences in meaning between 'God' (of the Holy Bible) and 'god' (a false, non-Biblical deity).

It should come as no surprise that, because of the dominant, centuries old, Christian influence on the English language, 'God' has always been understood to connote the supernatural entity described in detail throughout the entire Bible, which Christianity has traditionally viewed as 'God the Father'. Jews refer to this Divine being as either 'Adonai', 'HaShem' or sometimes in a more casual manner by the unique designation 'G-d'. Because of the traditionally devout Jewish reverence for the name of God, a great many practicing Jews (Orthodox) will try to show their continuing respect for the God of the Old Testament with the humble combination of letters with a hyphen seen as 'G-d'. Make no mistake about it, the only reason the English language spells 'Jew' 'Judaism' and 'Judeo-' is to indicate a belief and adherence to 'God' alone, rather than any other, non-biblical 'god'. Yes, there are frequent references to other supernatural entities and deities, which the authors of the Bible usually always identified as false 'gods' not worthy enough to ever be spelled with a capital 'G', let alone worshiped and prayed to. Thus, the primary understanding remains the same in that God, by definition, can only mean  the God of Judaism and the God of Christianity, and no other, not even Islam. Why? Well, the only historical for God used by Muslims is Allah, not the LORD or God, while Jews who lived in English-speaking nations have at least sometimes used the same designation as the English-speaking Gentile majority. Indeed, English-speaking Judaism understood quite well that they most certainly did not worship any god at all, but only God (of their Bible).


The 2,000 year reverence, reading, studying, reciting, quoting, and publishing of the same basic text can only be called one thing 'Judeo/Christian'. Or should one call it Hindu, Muslim, or Buddhist instead?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Comparing the Seven Noahide Laws of Judaism with the Judeo/Christian Ten Commandments


Our Rabbis taught: 'Seven precepts were the sons of Noah commanded: social laws (to Establish Courts of justice), to refrain from Blasphemy, Idolatry; Adultery, bloodshed (Murder), robbery (Theft), and eating flesh cut from a living animal (Animal Cruelty).'

- Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 56a


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In most quarters of Christianity, the Seven Laws of Noah as described by the Talmud and other Jewish religious texts have not been seen as much of a problem when it comes to their own faith. This is not, as some overly suspicious critics might claim, because they haven't been studied closely enough by Christian scholars, for they indeed have been, more than once. In fact, they have been examined, on and off again, by the religious authorities of Christianity for many centuries now and they have all come to the same general conclusion. That conclusion is that Judaism's Seven Noahide Laws are basically compatible with the main tenets of Christianity, most especially the Old Testament's 10 Commandments which has been an essential aspect of Christian faith since the earliest days of the Church. The specific reasons why the 7 Laws of Noah may be seen as compatible with the Judeo/Christian 10 Ten Commandments have been briefly outlined below in the following manner:
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+ Although the exact ordering of the Seven Laws of Noah differs somewhat depending upon the source, one of the more popular modern lists reads as follows: Do not commit Idolatry (1), Blasphemy (2), Sexual Perversion (3), Murder (4), Theft (5), or Animal Cruelty (6), and to Establish Courts to enforce these laws (7).
+ Judaism believes all of mankind, which includes all Gentiles (non-Jews), are required to obey the 7 Laws of Noah, while nearly every major form of Christianity believes Christians are bound by the 10 Commandments given to Moses by the LORD atop Mt. Sinai.
+ In recent decades, some Christians (nearly all of them American Protestant) have become much more inclined to include the 7 Laws of Noah in their form of Christianity and have even began to promote both the study of, and obedience towards, them among fellow Christians.
+ One of the major reasons why Christianity holds the 10 Commandments in such high esteem is that they were mentioned in particular by Jesus Christ in the Gospels. They include the following:
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The Judeo/Christian Ten Commandments

I. YHVH is the LORD your God. You will have no other gods but Him.  
II. You will not use the name of the LORD in vain.  
III. You will honor the Sabbath day.  
IV. You will honor your father and your mother.  
V. You will not kill.  
VI. You will not commit adultery.
VII. You will not steal.  
VIII. You will not lie.  
IX. You will not envy another man's wife
X. You will not envy another man's property.

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+ At a minimum, the 10 Commandments does, in fact, include at least 5 out of the 7 Laws of Noah. At least 2 of them happen to be nearly the exact same and even use the same wording.
+ The other 3 Commandments are specific aspects of the more generalized Noahide Laws which, by definition, must include the narrowly defined Commandments with which they are equated.
+ These 5 'equalities' between the 10 Commandments and the 7 Noahide Laws can be seen in the following manner in the table below:
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5 Equalities between 7 Laws and 10 Commandments
1st Noahide Law (No Idolatry) = 1st Commandment (One God)
2nd Noahide Law (No Blasphemy) = 2nd Commandment (LORD's Name in vain)
3rd Noahide Law (No Sexual Perversion) = 6th Commandment (No Adultery)
4th Noahide Law (No Murder) = 5th Commandment (No Murder)
5th Noahide Law (No Theft) = 7th Commandment (No Theft)
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+ This shows that the 3rd, 4th, 8th, 9th and 10th Commandments (honoring the Sabbath and one's parents, lying- bearing false witness, envy of another's spouse, and envy of another's property) have not been included in the 7 Laws of Noah in the 'literal' sense. However, a careful, patient examination of the Noahide laws indicates there is good reason to believe they can and should be included indirectly through inference.
+ Disobedience to the 3rd Commandment impelling Christians to honor the Sabbath day could rightfully be seen as either outright Blasphemy and/or Idolatry and thus a violation of either the 1st or 2nd Law of Noah or both simultaneously.
+ The breaking of the 4th Commandment to honor one's father and mother could be considered a lesser form of Blasphemy and thus a violation of the 2nd Law of Noah.
+ The breaking of the 8th Commandment to not bear false witness against your neighbor (lying) could also be seen as a form of Blasphemy and therefore another type of violation of the 2nd Law of Noah.
+ The breaking of the 9th Commandment to not envy another man's wife could be construed as a minor form of sexual perversion which is prohibited by the 3rd Law of Noah.
- The breaking of the 10th Commandment to not envy another's property could be seen as a subtle form of idolatry and therefore prohibited by the 1st Law of Noah.
+ Thus, a more thorough and comprehensive examination of the actual meaning underlying the 7 Laws of Noah indicates that all 10 Commandments are either explicitly or implicitly included in the more generalized 7 Noahide Laws. This can be seen in a simplified format by the comparison chart seen below:
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Commandment = Noahide Law indirectly including Commandment
III. You will honor the Sabbath day. = 1) You will not commit Idolatry, 2) You will not commit Blasphemy.  
IV. You will honor your father and your mother. 2) You will not commit Blasphemy.
VIII. You will not lie. = 2) You will not commit Blasphemy.
IX. You will not envy another man's wife. = 3) You will not commit Sexual Perversion.
X. You wull not envy another man's property. = 1) You will not commit Idolatry.
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+ This leaves the 6th and 7th Laws of Noah (prohibiting animal cruelty and for establishing courts of justice) which do not appear to be included in the 10 Commandments.
+ In terms of the 6th Law of Noah (You will not commit Animal Cruelty), this is dealt with directly in the Book of Acts when the Council of Jerusalem issued a ruling mentioning Animal Cruelty in the following manner: 'It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, FROM THE MEAT OF STRANGLED ANIMALS and from blood.' (Book of Acts 15:19-20)
+ Finally, when it comes to the 7th Law of Noah (You will establish Courts to enforce these Laws), it could be said that Jesus was already under the assumption that courts would, in fact, be established for this very purpose for He uses the word 'court' specifically in Matthew 5:21- 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the COURT,' as well as Matthew 5:22 and 5:25.
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In conclusion, there appears to be more than enough basic proof, both Scriptural and otherwise, that there is indeed a general compatibility between Judaism's 7 Laws of Noah and the Judeo/Christian 10 Commandments. At least 5 out of 10 Commandments are quite literally included in the 7 Noahide Laws, while disobedience to the other 5 Commandments may quite easily be seen as differing forms of Idolatry, Blasphemy, or Sexual Perversion and therefore also prohibited by the 7 Laws of Noah. At the same time, the 6th and 7th Laws of Noah not directly included in the 10 Commandments are at least mentioned in certain passages of the New Testament, thus making them an assumed portion of Christianity's overall ethical and moral laws, rules, and traditions. In the end, Christians should have little to fear when it comes to obeying Judaism's 7 Laws of Noah, unless of course they also fear obedience to the laws of Christianity itself, of which there seems to be little to no difference when examined carefully enough. Does this mean Christians should now look to the 7 Laws of Noah instead of the 10 Commandments? Of course not, mainly because Jesus Christ mentions the 10 Commandments specifically in the Gospels, but also because obedience to the 10 Commandments mentioned in both the Old and New Testament may indeed be considered obedience to the 7 Noahide Laws as well.
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In Judaism, the Seven Laws of Noah (Hebrew: שבע מצוות בני נח‎ Sheva mitzvot B'nei Noach) form the major part of the Noachide Laws, or Noahide Code. This code is a set of moral imperatives that, according to the Talmud, were given by God as a binding set of laws for the "children of Noah" - that is, all of humankind. According to religious Judaism, any non-Jew who adheres to these laws is regarded as a righteous gentile, and is assured of a place in the World to Come (Olam Haba), the final reward of the righteous. Adherents are often called "B'nei Noach" (Children of Noah) or "Noahides" and may often network in Jewish synagogues.

- Noahide Laws, Wikipedia


May the LORD God bless you in the name of St. Judas Maccabaeus.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Enduring Mystery of the Judeo/Christian Seven Heavens

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the Third Heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 

- 2 Corinthians 12:2

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The Seven Heavens are described in numerous Judeo/Christian Apocryphal books including: 3 Baruch, 2 and 3 Enoch, the Testament of Levi, the Revelation of Moses, the Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah, the Apocalypse of St. Paul, and the Apocryphon of John. They are also found in numerous official texts of Judaism too numerous to count. According to Jewish teachings, mainly from the Talmud, the celestial realm is composed of seven heavens called Shamayim. These, along with their literal meanings in English, can be listed as follows:

I. Vilon (וילון) = veil, curtain
II. Raki’a (רקיע) = expanse, canopy
III. Shehaqim (שחקים) = clouds
IV. Zebul (זבול) = habitation
V. Ma’on (מעון) = refuge
VI. Machon (מכון) = city, established place
VII. Araboth (ערבות) = deserts

The names and meanings listed above are considered the standard Jewish (and even Christian) summary of the Seven Heavens of the Biblical God. Throughout the pertinent literature, a certain core tradition emerges from both the official Jewish documents of antiquity and the Judeo/Christian Apocrypha. This can be summarized in fairly simple manner:

I. Vilon is called a veil, or curtain, because it serves as a physical barrier to the upper six realms rendering them invisible.
II. Rakia is called an expanse, or canopy, because that’s ‘where the sun, moon, and stars are fixed’ into place.
III. Shekim is called clouds because upon them lies Paradise, the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life
IV. Zebul is called habitation because this is where the Heavenly Jerusalem is located
V. Ma’on is called refuge because it is here where most of the Angelic host reside
VI. Makon is called city, or established place, because this where the Angelic University, the City of Angels, has been established
VII. Araboth is called desert because it is very dry and without any air housing the Throne of God and the Seven Archangels

Some theologians and mystics have elaborated far more Heavens than just the standard seven. One scenario admits to only Seven Heavens, but then goes on to include 196 different provinces as well. The Jewish mystical text, the Zohar speaks of ’390 Heavens and 70,000 worlds,’ just as the gnostic thinker Basilides speculated upon ’365 Heavens.’ A figure named Jellenek in the Jewish document called Beth Ha-Midrasch recounts a legends which describes 955 Heavens. One source sums it up in a fairly typical way:

Seven levels of heaven are part of the 196 providences of heaven. The first level of heaven is closest to the Earth. Second level is thought to house sinners awaiting judgment. The third level is where the food of the angels is produced, manna. The fourth level is where the Great Winds are. The fifth level has Samael as the ruling prince. The sixth level of heaven has the Angels of Time, Seas, Rivers, and Crops. The seventh level is the home of ineffable light and is the closest to God.

- Seven Levels of Heavens, Reference.com

According to the Legends of the Jews, by Louis Ginzberg, Eden alone contains 310 separate worlds along with ‘seven compartments for seven different classes of the pious’. In some later versions of the 2nd Book of Enoch, ten levels are mentioned instead of the traditional Seven Heavens. This is due, however, to later additions to the original document which only described Seven celestial realms. One researcher makes note of these more recent changes from seven to ten as follows:

In Enoch 2 the Heavens number 10. Here the 8th Heaven is called Muzaloth. The 9th Heaven, home of the 12 signs of the zodiac, is called Kukhavim. The 10th, where Enoch saw the “vision of the face of the Lord”, is called Aravoth (Hebrew term for the 12 signs of the Zodiac). The confusion of the Heavens is clear here from the fact that the signs of the zodiac do not lodge in the Heavens named after them.

As already discussed, the age-old idea of God’s abode consisting of ‘Seven Heavens appears in The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs and other Jewish apocrypha’. At the same time, these Seven Heavens were also a familiar concept ‘to the ancient Persians and Babylonians.’ In particular, the Persians saw their greatest Deity ‘in the highest of the 7 Heavens, seated on a great white throne, surrounded by winged cherubim.’ A possible reason for this happens that they may well have gotten this idea from the Jews themselves, considering the fact that their greatest prophet Zoroaster was thought to be a heretic Jew who was exiled from ancient Judea before founding a new religion in Persia. Basically, there are two dual opposing theories concerning the Jewish concept of Seven Heavens. One side argues it is all a later Pagan (non-Jewish) influence. An example of their unconvincing claims reads as follows:

The pagan concept of the seven layer of Heaven crept into Judaism and the number seven can be found in Judaism more than anywhere else. Why? Because Midrash teaches, there are seven layers of Heaven, obviously an influence of Paganism in Judaism.

- 7 Layers of Heaven, by Bjorn EnFiddle



First of all, it is not at all obvious that the Bible’s repeated and significant use of the number Seven is connected at all to any Pagan influence of Hebrew mythology. Who is to say that the Hebrews and their ancient story of 7-days of Creation and Seven Heavens didn’t affect the Pagans who may well have borrowed from them? A more reasonable side of the debate deliberately notes the following factors about the Persian use of the number Seven as it relates to Judaism:

The number 7 was of special importance in the Zoroastrian religion, where there were 7 creations, 7 regions of the world, 7 Amesha Spenta (who became the 7 archangels of Judaism), and so on. This would have a great influence on the evolution of numerology in Judaism. However, the number 7 was already significant in Judaic numerology, indicating some earlier influence.

- Answers.com, What is the significance of the number Seven in the Bible?

Indeed, this ‘earlier influence’ may well have been Moses, the original author of the Bible, writing in or near Egypt and unaffected by either Persian or any other Pagan influences. It is more than possible that he mentions and institutes a sacred and holy tradition utilizing the number Seven due to both Divine inspiration and ancient, pre-existing Hebrew legends about the number.
The theological doctrine of the Seven Heavens has been a standard aspect of Christian mysticism for several centuries at least. Not only that, it continues to play a large role in Judaism, most especially in the more traditional Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox religious communities. Indeed, one must concede that the expression, ‘Seventh Heaven’ is, in fact, a fairly popular catch phrase much like the term ‘Cloud Nine’. Most everyone knows that it means something like Nirvana or Paradise and can be used to describe an extremely good feeling, outlook, or situation. As the Dictionary defines it:

Seventh Heaven – n
1. the final state of eternal bliss, especially according to Talmudic and Muslim eschatology
2. a state of supreme happiness [so named from the belief that there are seven levels of heaven, the seventh and most exalted being the abode of God and the angels.]

- World English Dictionary

Considering the fact that most Christians today tend to believe in only one Heaven, it remains quite puzzling as to where this English expression originates. Some may contend it comes from some vague Western awareness of the traditional Seven Heavens found in the Muslim religion. Given the fact most Westerners remain woefully ignorant about their own Christian heritage, let alone Islamic cosmology, it seems far more likely that the early Christian belief in Seven Heavens has never really been erased from memory. Indeed, the general theory of Heaven consisting of Seven different realms can be found not just in the Jewish Apocrypha, but also in several texts usually considered Christian in origin.

Seven Heavens is a part of religious cosmology found in many major religions such as Islam, Judaism and Hinduism and in some minor [Christian-based] religions such as Hermeticism and Gnosticism. The Divine Throne is said to be in or above the seventh heaven in most Abrahamic religions.

- Seven Heavens, Wikipedia

One Jewish writer appears to object to those who would label the theological concept of Seven Heavens as a Muslim doctrine, unique to the Islamic faith. As he states correctly, the whole ‘concept’ of the Seven Heavens is very old. In fact, it had become quite popular many centuries before the ‘rise of Islam, and has deep roots in Jewish tradition.’ Here is a brief summary of these Jewish origins:

Some of the Rabbis of the Talmud had very precise ideas about the structure of the upper regions. They were presumably influenced by the fact that the Hebrew word for “heavens” or “sky” appears only in a plural form: shamayim, implying a multiplicity of heavens. Given the special role of the number seven in the Bible, it was natural that this number should also determine the arrangement of the heavens. The Jewish sages had no trouble finding distinct functions for each of the seven levels. The heavens, mysterious as they are, affect us in many aspects of our daily life, as well as having important religious associations. Thus, according to one quaint itemization, one heaven is required simply to screen off the light at night-time, another to store the rain and snow, and still another to house the planets. Others have more religious uses, accommodating the souls of the righteous and the unborn, as well as various levels of angels, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and the throne of God.

- “In Seventh Heaven”, The Jewish Star, by Eliezer Segal

On a recent Canadian radio broadcast, a caller inquired ‘about the origins of the English expression “seventh heaven.”‘ Unfortunately, he was mistakenly told that this phrase came from Islam and their own religious ‘conception of Paradise, which is divided into several celestial levels, awarded according to the degree of righteousness achieved during one’s mortal lifetime.’ The reality is that Christian theologians throughout the ages have known far more about the originally Jewish legend concerning the Biblical God’s Seven Heavens and this has been reflected with the popular English turn of phrase ‘Seventh Heaven’. Different levels of Heaven (and Hell) has actually been a standard aspect of literary Christianity, mainly due to Dante and his masterpiece, the Divine Comedy. Nonetheless, the Seven Heavens tradition is still predominantly Jewish and firmly rooted in Judaism and ancient Hebrew tradition. One of those traditions concerns the Shechinah which is supposed to be a huge, shimmering celestial aura denoting the actual presence of God. Some Jews believe this ‘aura’ could be seen at the Temple of Jerusalem during its most holy times. One of the more traditional myths about this Shechinah can be described as follows:

When Adam sinned, the Shechinah departed to the First Heaven. The sin of Kayin forced it to the Second Heaven; the Generation of Enosh to the Third; the generation of the Flood to the Fourth; The generation of the Dispersion to the Fifth; Sodomites, to the Sixth; Egypt of Avraham’s day, to the Seventh.

- Bereishis Rabbah 19:7

Another popular story involves the time when the ancient Israelites gathered at the foot of Mount Sinai to meet with God. Legend has it, they were all ‘treated to a glimpse of all seven heavens opened up above them.’ Another slightly amusing story is written in the Talmud. Apparently, a group of scholarly Rabbis debated and discussed the prophet ‘Ezekiel’s mysterious vision of the heavenly chariot’ so eloquently, that a voice from Heaven suddenly proclaimed to them that ‘a place is prepared to you, and a table is set for you–you and your students are admitted to the third level.’

May the LORD God bless you in the name of St. Judas Maccabaeus.

The Goat and the Rabbit in Jewish Midrash...



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The merciful Creator did not overlook the wild Goat or the Rabbit, but provided for them a refuge and a protecting shelter. It follows that He created all that is necessary for man.

- Jewish Midrash, Genesis Rabba 12

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Talmudic Proverb about a Dog, a Cat, and a Mouse...



Rabbi Eleazar was asked by his disciples: 'Why does a Dog know its owner while a Cat does not?' He answered them: 'If he who eats something of that from which a Mouse has eaten loses his memory, how much more so the animal which eats the Mouse itself!'

- The Babylonian Talmud, Horayoth 13a