Wednesday, March 20, 2019

It's All About The Benjamins

A Short History of Israel's Smallest Tribe

As Rachel was dying after the birth of her second son (Jacob's twelfth son), she named him Benoni, "son of my sorrow", but his father Jacob named him Benjamin, "son of my right (hand)". Benjamin is the name he is known by in the Bible. Because Joseph and Benjamin were born to Rachel, they were Jacob's favorite sons, which caused some serious sibling rivalry, at least towards Joseph. Jacob was clearly protective of Benjamin after he thought he had lost Joseph, and the other ten sons of Jacob apparently felt bad about the way they treated Joseph, selling him into slavery, so they became protective of Benjamin as well. 

If you like this (or not), check out my other articles at the
Between The Ears BLOG INDEX, with titles and summaries.

Judah Saves Benjamin

Benjamin and the Goblet
Joseph became powerful in Egypt, and his brothers came to him to buy food, but didn't recognize him. Joseph planted his goblet in Benjamin's pack so Benjamin would look guilty of theft. Judah steps up and offers to trade himself as a slave in Benjamin's place. In spite of Leah and her children (including Judah) being second class citizens in Jacob's eyes, Judah's plea was based on how much sorrow it would cause his father to lose Benjamin. Note in Genesis 44:27 that Judah quotes Jacob who only refers to the two sons of Rachel. The phrase "your servant my father" refers to Jacob. History turned on this speech by Judah, not because he changed Joseph's mind, but because he showed God his own character, willing to sacrifice for Benjamin.

Genesis 44:27 “Your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons; 28 and the one went out from me, and I said, “Surely he is torn in pieces,” and I have not seen him since. 29 ‘If you take this one also from me, and harm befalls him, you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.’ 30 “Now, therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the lad is not with us, since his life is bound up in the lad’s life, 31 when he sees that the lad is not with us, he will die. 

The next thing we read about Benjamin is that he had sons while in Egypt - Gen 46:21.

"Blessings" Of the Twelve Tribes

The next thing we read about Benjamin is in a prophecy about the twelve sons of Jacob. Jacob introduces the prophecy by saying it is for the last days - "And Jacob called his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, and I will tell you what will befall you at the end of days." Gen 49:1, Darby Bible Translation. "End of days" is also translated as latter days, last days, days to come, in the future, etc. Historians use these prophecies to locate Israel's tribes throughout history and at the end time. Here is what Jacob said about Benjamin.

Gen 49:27 Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;
In the morning he devours the prey,
And in the evening he divides the spoil.

I find that cryptic. In fact, most of the sons receive a cryptic saying. Some refer to this chapter as the "blessing of the twelve tribes" - Ellicott's Commentary [1], but most of them don't read like blessings to me. Commentaries agree that Benjamin's "blessing" means he would have a warlike character at some point in the future.


Benjamin is between
Ephraim and Judah
Time passes, Israel leaves Egypt, and a census is taken by Moses. The tribe of Benjamin is neither the largest nor the smallest tribe, for examples, Simeon 22,200, Benjamin 45,600, Judah 76,500 - Num 26. More time passes, and the Promised Land is divided among the tribes (except Levi the priestly tribe). Benjamin's territory is just north of Judah, and contains the city of Jerusalem - Josh 18:11-27.

After the land is divided, many of the tribes of Israel (Zebulun, Issachar, Napthali, Gad, Asher, Dan, Rueben, Simeon) fade from the pages of the Bible. Israel's history is mostly told through Ephraim, Manasseh, Judah, Levi, and Benjamin.

Benjamin Becomes the Smallest Tribe

Judges 19-21 tells a very dark story in Benjamin's history. The men of Gibeah, a Benjamite town, acted like the men of Sodom, wanting to have sex with a man who was spending the night in Gibeah. The man, a Levite, gave them his concubine instead, and they raped her to death. The Levite cut her body in twelve pieces and sent the pieces to each tribe. All Israel banded together for justice against the rapists, but Benjamin wouldn't give them up. Civil war ensued, and Benjamin was reduced to 600 men. Since then, Benjamin has been the smallest tribe. The Bible is silent about whether the rapists lived or died in the civil war. Twice the Bible records incidents of men demanding sex with strangers. Each ended in death and destruction. It may have been God's way or purging that evil from Israel.

Despite their few numbers, surprisingly a Benjamite, Saul, is chosen as king over all Israel. Unfortunately, Saul wasn't a righteous king, and the kingdom was taken from him and given to David, a Jew. While David too had his problems, his dynasty was established forever. But alas, the kingdom of Israel was split in two in the days of David's grandson Rehoboam, the northern ten tribes known as the kingdom of Israel ruled by Jeroboam, the southern three tribes known as the kingdom of Judah ruled by Rehoboam. Consider this verse suggesting that Benjamin would side with Rehoboam and the Jews.
(The prophet Ahijah is talking to Jeroboam about Solomon's son Rehoboam)
1 K 11:35 but I will take the kingdom from his son’s (Rehoboam's) hand and give it to you (Jeroboam), even ten tribes. 36 But to his son (Rehoboam) I will give one tribe, that My servant David may have a lamp always before Me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen for Myself to put My name.
Since Benjamin was so small, and already considered part of Judah, the "one tribe" could be talking about the tribe of Judah; OR Benjamin could be the "one tribe" added to Judah - Gill's Exposition [2].

However, this obscure prophecy in Jeremiah could mean that Benjamin is to split off from Judah at some point. Some teach that Benjamin did just that after the destruction of the second Temple - The Tribe of Benjamin are the Normans [3].
Jer 6:1 Flee for safety, O sons of Benjamin,
From the midst of Jerusalem!
For evil looks down from the north,
And a great destruction.
But that's getting ahead of the story.

Benjamin Saves Judah

Esther appears before the king
The northern ten tribes (known as Israel or Ephraim) are taken captive, and eventually the southern tribes (known as Judah, but includes Benjamin) are also taken captive. During this captivity (478BC) - Introduction to Esther [4], the book of Esther takes place, where Esther, a Benjamite, offers herself to save Judah, that is the ethnic Jews in Persia, repaying what Judah did for Benjamin back in Egypt - Esther Pays An Old Debt [5]. Note that Mordecai and Esther are identified as Jews AND Benjamites - Esther 2:5.

Return To the Land

Meanwhile, King Cyrus agreed to let the Jews rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. Notice who responded to the call. One might say that Judah saved Benjamin again.
Ezra 1:2 Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, 'The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah'.
5 Then the heads of fathers’ households of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and the Levites arose, even everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up and rebuild the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.
Josephus confirms that only Judah and Benjamin came back, but he also refers to the "immense multitude" of the ten tribes that stayed beyond the Euphrates - Antiquities of the Jews  [6].

Benjamin IS Galilee

Judah and Galilee
in Jesus's day

Centuries pass, Judah has taken over Jerusalem, and Benjamin lives north of Judah, in a region called Galilee. This is where Jesus grew up, and where the disciples came from, that is 11 of the 12 original disciples were Benjamites, the exception was Judas Iscariot, a Jew, who was replaced by a Benjamite.
"In this land nearly the whole life of Jesus was spent; and it is worthy of note that 11 of His 12 chosen were Galileans" - The Temple Dictionary of the Bible(Galilee) [7]. 

And the Apostle Paul self identified as both a Jew AND a Benjamite.
Acts 21:39 But Paul said, “I am a Jew of Tarsus
Romans 11:1 For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of  Benjamin.
So nearly all the books in the New Testament were written by Benjamites, the exceptions being Jude (Jesus's brother), Luke and Acts written by Luke (a Gentile companion of Paul), and maybe Hebrews (people argue about the authorship of Hebrews). According to some, Benjamin is fulfilling the prophecy of being a "lamp always before Me in Jerusalem" - 1 K 11:35. Through the Apostolic writings (the lamp), Benjamin will again save Judah, save them from the partial blindness that happened to Israel, including Judah - Rom 11:25.

Benjamin Separates From Judah

After the New Testament era, we follow the story of Benjamin through historical sources. We see Benjamin does indeed split from Judah at the time of the destruction of the Temple 70AD. Eusebius, an early church historian claims that Christians in Jerusalem were supernaturally warned before the siege to flee - Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History , book 3:5:2 , written in 264 A.D [8]. They fled to Pella, a city in northwest Jordan - Did All the Christians Flee to Pella? [9]. From there, they spread into Asia Minor, modern day Turkey. And these early Christians in Pella and Asia Minor were primarily Benjamites - Israel’s Wanderings [10], and many remained there for two centuries - Iceland's Great Inheritance [11].

The Bible can be confusing in its use of the word Jew, as in the case of Esther and Paul, and the rest of the tribe of Benjamin. Since Benjamin was part of Judah, they were also called Jews, but they were aware of their ancestry. Some even refer to Abraham as a Jew, but that is impossible since Judah was Abraham's great-grandson.
During the time that the people of Benjamin were attached to Judah they were often classified as Jews too, but they were not really Jews, because the term "Jews" is simply a contraction of "Judahites", i.e., descendants of Judah, whereas the Benjamites were not descended from Judah at all, but from Benjamin. The Tribe of Benjamin were never called Jews before they were joined to the Tribe of Judah, and they were never so called again after their separation from Judah. And the other ten tribes of Israel were never called Jews at any period of their history, but they were often called Israelites. So, although every Jew was also an Israelite, every Israelite was not a Jew, just as every Scotsman is a Briton, but every Briton is not a Scotsman - Iceland's Great Inheritance [11].

Go West (And North) Young Man

Dacia is Romain, Bulgaria
From Asia Minor, Benjamin traveled north and west to an area called Dacia, Romania and Bulgaria today - British Israel(Benjamin) [3]. Benjamin kept migrating north and west, and today can be found in Norway (Vikings), Normandy, Britain via the Norman Conquest, Iceland, and Quebec. Different authors have different opinions about the whereabouts of modern day Benjamin.  Steve Collins, author of Lost Ten Tribes Found [12] favors Norway - Benjamin: A Wolfpack From the North [13],  Adam Rutherford argues for Iceland - Iceland's Great Inheritance [11], and Peter Salemi includes all the places listed above - British Israel(Benjamin) [3]. All of these authors agree on the Asia Minor, Dacia, and Viking connections. Tracing Benjamin through history is done by looking for Benjamin's identifying characteristics. The historical details can be found in the links above.
  • A small tribe
  • A protected tribe
  • Associated with a wolf
  • Left handed warriors (ironically Benjamin means "Son of my Right Hand")
  • Associated with Judah

I know that some do not believe that the ten tribes of Israel survived to this day. But consider the "blessings" Jacob spoke over his sons in Gen 49. They can't all refer to the Jews in the modern nation of Israel. They refer to nations in the world at the time of the end.

Some say that the lives of the Patriarchs foreshadow events to happen at the end time. So there may be future fulfillments of Judah saving Benjamin, and Benjamin saving Judah. I don’t have any insights into what they may be, but I look forward to watching the future of Benjamin and Judah unfold.


2. http://gill%27s%20exposition/

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Wrestling With Strangers

Another Tale Of Two Brothers

I've been puzzling over the story of Jacob wrestling God for a while.  It's a short story, a few verses in Genesis 32.  But it's the way it starts that puzzles me.

Gen 32:24 Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.

Jacob wrestles a "man"

How exactly does one start a wrestling match with a stranger?  Who started it? If this were a fight for survival with a stranger, why would Jacob choose wrestling as the best form of combat? The next verses don't help clarify the story

Gen 32:25  When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him.Gen 32:26  Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 

If you like this (or not), check out my other articles at the
Between The Ears BLOG INDEX, with titles and summaries.

One theory to explain this is that Jacob wrestled with himself, which fits with "Jacob was left alone". It could be seen as symbolic for when we wrestle with ourselves. That is, we each have a good side and an evil side, and Christians are supposed to wrestle with our evil thoughts and bring them into subjection. This battle takes place "Between The Ears". As much as I like the symbolism, the problem I see with that theory is that no one can dislocate their own thigh.

Another theory is that Jacob thought the man was Esau, and didn't know otherwise until the sun came up. That explains certain facts too, like why Jacob didn't use weapons. If a stranger came on you at night in the desert, you would be inclined to defend yourself in whatever way necessary. If you thought it was your brother, you would exercise restraint.

The Name Change

Focusing on how the wrestling match got started kept me from writing about a more important point in the story, perhaps the main point of the story. So I shelved this for a while because I didn't have a good explanation of how to start a wrestling match with a stranger. When I came back to it recently, I came up with a theory, but I'll get back to that.

Consider that someone gave Jacob the new name Israel.  If someone in a schizophrenic wrestling match renamed himself, would he choose a name that means "prevailed with God" or "prince of God"?  Note that afterwards, Jacob seems convinced he wrestled with God.

Why was it important for Jacob to get a new name?  That has a clearer answer.  It goes back to his birth with his twin brother Esau. The boys struggled [wrestled] so much in the womb that their mother Rebecca inquired of God.

Sibling Rivalry
Gen 25:23 The Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger.”
24 When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
25 Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau.
26 Afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them.

Rebekah with Esau and Jacob
It's not apparent in translation, but notice that "THEY called his name Esau", then "his name was called Jacob". Hebrew scholars say that should be translated "HE called his name Jacob". In other words, Isaac AND Rebecca named Esau, but only Isaac named Jacob. Rebecca apparently didn't approve.

Jacob was named Heel Catcher, and he probably didn't like his name, though he fulfilled it.  Jacob tricked Esau out of his birthright, and later tricked his father Isaac out of the blessing meant for Esau. Esau's response:

Gen 27:36  And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing.
Jacob tricks Isaac
There are interesting connections with English here.  We use the word heel as a derogatory term, usually male.  Also, a heel is crooked, we use the word crooked to describe a dishonest person.  Jacob was crooked in his dealings with his brother.  One might say Jacob "heeled" Esau these two times.  But Jacob learned his lesson at the hand of his father in law Laban, who tricked him like he tricked Isaac.  And Jacob wasn't crooked any more.  So he needed his name reset to reflect his new nature.

The Blessing

Right before his name change, Jacob insists on a blessing.  Did he receive some blessing other than the name change?  If he did, it's not in the text, here's all it says.
Gen 32:29 Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there.
But look at the major events in the rest of Jacob's life.
  • Jacob lost his wife Rachel and his father Isaac a short time later.
  • Jacob's daughter Dinah was raped, and his sons took vengeance.
  • Jacob's son Rueben slept with Jacob's concubine Bilhah.
  • He lost Joseph for 14 years, he thought Joseph was dead.
  • He almost lost Benjamin in Egypt.
  • He spends his last years in Egypt, a foreign land.
Indeed, Jacob himself characterized his life like this.
Gen 42:9 So Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and evil have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning.”

Few and evil.

The Name Change Is the Blessing

My assertion is the name change IS the blessing.  It is the central point of the wrestling story.  The wrestling story is a chiasm*, that is, verses arranged in a mirror image like a menorah.  One's attention is drawn to the central verse, meaning, it is the point of the story.  In this story, the central verse, which has no mirror image, is the name change.  No other blessings are mentioned.  Note the highlighted words mirrored around verse 28.

24 Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.

25 When he saw that he had not prevailed against him,
he touched the socket of his thigh;
so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him.

    26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.”
    But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

         27 So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”
         28 He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, 

              but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.”

        29 Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.”
        But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?”

    And he blessed him there.

    30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said,
    “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.”

31 Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel,
and he was limping on his thigh.

32 Therefore, to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip
which is on the socket of the thigh,
because he touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip.

I ❤ Chiasms ❤ I

Just to make it more obvious, this chiasm is arranged like this.

A. thigh
      B. bless
           C. name     
                 Jacob becomes Israel
           C'. name
      B'. bless
A'. thigh

Jacob's name change was confirmed in Gen 35:9-16, which is also a chiasm, this time unambiguously by God Himself. Some say Jacob's name was changed twice, but my theory is that chapter 35 is a retelling of chapter 32. Esau  (which means doer - Abarim(Esau)) also had another name, which was Edom (which means red).

Jacob became Israel, he reconciled with Esau, and the story should end there, but strife continued between Esau's descendants and Jacob's descendants, and continues to this day. Apparently, Esau's descendants didn't get the memo about reconciliation.  Relations Of Edom And Israel [1]

Back To Wrestling

Jacob wrestled with God (or an angelic representative), not Esau. I find it plausible that he thought he was wrestling with Esau at first. But why wrestling? I got hung up because I had been thinking of wrestling in modern terms, like Olympic wrestling with very specific rules. Biting and gouging the eyes are forbidden in nearly all types of wrestling, modern and ancient. Many styles don't  allow hitting, some don't even allow holds below the waist wiki(Greco-Roman_wrestling) [2], but it was not always so. In ancient times, wrestling was training for soldiers, and in combat, wrestling would have been a fight to the death. In ancient sport wrestling, submission was the goal. Submission wrestling still exists, one match in the 1912 Olympics lasted six hours without a decision - Britannica(Wrestling) [3]. Ancient wrestling was more akin to what we would call hand to hand combat, or mixed martial arts, where anything goes wiki(Pankration) [4].

The notion that Jacob thought it was Esau explains why he didn't use a knife or a rock to win. God (or angel) matched him move for move. The Hebrew word abaq translated here as wrestle Lexicon-Concordance [5] appears nowhere else in the Bible. It's root means dust.  They got dusty.  They wrestled in the dirt. We have an expression 'dust up', meaning a fight. Jacob's wrestling match appears to be more like submission wrestling, but less than a fight to the death.

I still don't know who started it.

The following is from Gotquestions(chiasm) [6]

*A chiasm (also called a chiasmus) is a literary device in which a sequence of ideas is presented and then repeated in reverse order. The result is a “mirror” effect as the ideas are “reflected” back in a passage. Each idea is connected to its “reflection” by a repeated word, often in a related form. The term chiasm comes from the Greek letter chi, which looks like our letter X. Chiastic pattern is also called “ring structure.”

The structure of a chiasm is usually expressed through a series of letters, each letter representing a new idea. For example, the structure ABBA refers to two ideas (A and B) repeated in reverse order (B and A). Often, a chiasm includes another idea in the middle of the repetition: ABXBA. In this structure, the two ideas (A and B) are repeated in reverse order, but a third idea is inserted before the repetition (X). By virtue of its position, the insertion is emphasized.

Is this a real chiasm?
Chiasmus Exchange [7] lists all known chiasms in the Bible. The list keeps growing, as of Jan 7 2019, they list 1929 chiasms! There are chiasms in every book of the Bible, Old and New Testament. Genesis for example has 92 chiasms. Some are small, some span several chapters. Chiasms are used as a literary device to focus attention on the center verse or phrase. They also can serve as a memory aid. Feel free to read my blog article Rhythm And Rhyme [8] where I discuss the chiastic structure of Psalm 67. The Bible has fantastic depth of structure that we are not always aware of. Chiasms are a surprisingly common type of structure to help us gain meaning beyond the words written. Nearly all the Biblical chiasms are visible in English too, occasionally a chiasm word will be translated two different ways, but rarely, and Chiasmus Exchange has found those as well.




Monday, December 31, 2018

Church of God Legacy

A Brief History of the Church of God and the New Testament

Ten Commandments Given at
Mount Sinai
I heard a Jewish rabbi say that the Ten Commandments shaped the course of world civilization - AlephBeta [1]. I agree with that statement, but the Jews don’t get much credit for “spreading the word” of the Ten Commandments. Ancient Israel was not an evangelical nation even though they were meant to be a kingdom of priests to the world – Ex 19:6. And to this day, the Jews are not evangelical, “In general, Jews do not try to convert non-Jews to Judaism” [2]. The Hebrew Old Testament was not even translated into any other language for a thousand years [3][11][12], and then only because of the deportation of the Jews to Babylon, where they came to speak Aramaic. So the Jews can’t take much credit for “shaping the course of world civilization”.

That all changed with Jesus. He said “I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” - Mt 16:18. And He told His church “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel” - Mark 16:15. Jesus started His Church with 12 disciples and 120 members, and in a few years “turned the world upside down” – Acts 17:6.

If you like this (or not), check out my other articles at the
Between The Ears BLOG INDEX, with titles and summaries.

And what about now? We can’t imagine the Western World without a Christian church on almost every corner. There may be pockets of Christianity in places like the Middle East or Asia - Wikipedia(Christianity_by_country) [14], but here in the West, it is part of the fabric of our society . The Book That Made Your World [15] details the many ways the Bible has influenced the world we live in: philosophy, science, literature, education, law, liberty, etc. My goal is not to show all the ways the Bible influenced our world (it takes a whole book), but rather to show that the Church of God was the force behind the scenes. The Church that Jesus started has made a difference to the whole world. There are 2.4 billion Catholics and Protestants, that is, people who profess the name of Jesus Christ - Pew Research Center [16]. 2.4 BILLION – that’s a third of the world’s population, a far cry from 120.

The New Testament itself is intertwined with that world-changing commission to preach the gospel. So let’s ask: Who wrote the New Testament? When? Who canonized it? When? Who translated it? When? Those are the questions I’ll be addressing here.  The history of the New Testament is the history of the Church of God [6], and it is not what I thought, or what one finds in encyclopedias or on Wikipedia. 


Everyone agrees that the Apostles wrote the New Testament, but most sources date the earliest writings decades after Christ’s death. However, the Gospel of Matthew was most likely written by 35 AD, just a few years after His crucifixion. The Book of James, considered to be the first epistle, was most likely written 40-41 AD - When Was the New Testament Written? [17].

Papyrus 46
2 Cor 11:33-12:9
Why a gospel so early? The traditional view is that the Apostles thought Christ’s second coming was imminent, and only after they realized it might be a while, then they wrote it down. Why then do some sources say Matthew wrote his gospel so soon? At first, right after the crucifixion, all new converts were from Jerusalem, and they were eyewitnesses to the events of Christ’s ministry and crucifixion, and everyone there was EXPECTING the Messiah. Convincing them that Jesus was the Messiah they were expecting was (relatively) easy. But as evangelists moved out into the rest of Judea and beyond, they needed an eyewitness record, they needed a written gospel. In Judea outside Jerusalem, they would have heard the OT in synagogue all their lives, but still, this was new. The Apostles devoted themselves to writing it all down VERY early on. It seems that is what is meant in Acts 6:4. “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And the early church made copies everywhere they went. Granted, not as methodical and as meticulous as the Levites and scribes that maintained the Hebrew Scriptures, but they made lots of copies. Today, there are over 5000 copies of the NT, ranging from small fragments to the complete NT, making it the most represented ancient document in the world [18].


Who canonized the NT? In other words, who selected which books that made up the New Testament? The Catholic Church tries to take credit for canonization near the end of the 4th century - [20][21][22]. 

It is sometimes thought that because the New Testament has come down to us in Greek, that the Gentiles from Greek speaking areas were the ones who had authority to preserve the new canon - CBCG(Who Is Jesus?) [24].

We know the responsibility for the Old Testament canon belonged to the Jews – Rom 3:2, and there is very little controversy over the text [4].


Do you think that Jesus was going to leave the New Testament to the Jews who crucified Him?

Do you think that Jesus was going to leave it to the Catholic Church hundreds of years after the Apostles? Or leave it to non believers?

The responsibility for the New Testament canon passed from the Jews to the Apostles, specifically Paul (some say James), Peter, and John (actually still Jews), and preserving that text then passed to the Church. It was John who finalized the canon [25][27]. There is internal evidence in the NT, as well as historical evidence that it was complete by the end of the first century. [17]


Who is responsible for translating the Bible? The Catholic Church again claims credit with the Latin Vulgate, that is Greek New Testament to Latin around 400 AD [7][26]. (Vulgate means language of the people, aka vernacular).  But the Catholic Church was actually playing catch up.
“The Reformers held that the Waldensian Church was formed about 120 A. D., from which date on, they passed down from father to son the teachings they received from the apostles. The Latin Bible, the Italic, was translated from the Greek not later than 157 A. D.” [3].

Why these early translations in Italic (Old Italian)? The early Church evangelists needed a Bible in the vernacular of the people. The Catholic Church actually resisted translating the Bible into the language of the people.

Those of you who have studied church history will recognize the term Waldensian. The Waldensians got their name from their most famous evangelist, Peter Waldo [8]. Some argue that Waldo got his name from the people called Vaudois (people of the valley). But they were known throughout history by many names – Vaudois, Cathari, Toulousians, Albigenses, Transmontani, Lollards, Insabbatti, etc. Insabbatti is an interesting name because it means "without Sabbath" because they didn’t keep the Catholic Sabbath (meaning Sunday), they kept the seventh day Sabbath. The book The Martyr’s Mirror [28] lists over 25 names used for them depending on country and century. Historians have also applied the name Waldensian to groups before and after the Vaudois.

Waldensian symbol
Lux lucet in tenebris
Light glows in the darkness
The Waldensians are usually associated with the Thyatira church of Revelation 2:18-24. They resisted the Church of Rome for centuries. It is difficult to say when the Waldensian era began, but we know it basically ended in martyrdom in 1655, where the French Duke of Savoy tried to eliminate the people and their libraries [29].  The massacre was so brutal it aroused indignation throughout Europe, and in England, where Oliver Cromwell got involved [30]. He sent Samuel Morland to put pressure on the French to end the persecution, and Morland also aided the Waldensians. Morland returned with a copy of the Waldensian New Testament which now lies in the Cambridge University Library [9][10]. After this, the Waldensians were scattered, but not eliminated. Those that remained seemed to lose their way, some of them joined with different branches of the Reformation. However, there are still pockets of Waldenses, even one settlement in North Carolina -  Waldensian Trail of Faith [31].

This Bible in the Cambridge University Library was not the only one to survive, nor the only one to influence translators, and thereby influence the world. In fact, every major translation of the Middle Ages was based on Waldensian Bibles [5][32].

Martin Luther
Luther used the Tepl Bible, named from Tepl, Bohemia. This Tepl manuscript represented a translation of the Waldensian Bible into the German which was spoken before the days of the Reformation. History of the Bible [3]
It is therefore evident that the [KJV] translators of 1611 had before them four Bibles which had come under Waldensian influences: the Diodati in Italian, the Olivetan in French, the Lutheran in German, and the Genevan in English. We have every reason to believe that they had access to at least six Waldensian Bibles written in the old Waldensian vernacular. - Our Authorized Bible Vindicated [7]

The New Testament Scriptures were not entrusted to the Jews or Greeks, nor the Catholic Church, but to the Church of God, who carried that responsibility from the apostles to the printing press and beyond. The Church preserved the text, and the Church translated it into the languages of the people. Nowadays, the texts don’t need the same type of safekeeping, there are simply too many copies of the Greek manuscripts in too many places, and way too many copies of translations in many languages. Today, the attacks on the Bible are of a different nature. The point is that all our Bibles have the mark of the Church of God (especially the Waldensians) on them.


What kind of influence did the Waldensians have on the world? Not only did the Waldensians resist Rome for centuries, evangelize throughout Europe, and influence Bible translation, they directly influenced the early leaders of the Reformation, two of the biggest names, Martin Luther and John Calvin.

I showed earlier that Luther used the Tepl Bible when doing his translation. Here’s the rest of the quote.

We have, therefore, an indication of how much the Reformation under Luther as well as Luther's Bible owed to the Waldenses. [3]

John Calvin

Many Christian Protestant denominations trace their roots to John Calvin and the Reformation movement, including The United Methodist Church. Calvin was influenced by four different Waldensian Bible translations – Greek, Romaunt (the common language of the Vaudois),  French, and Italic (old Italian) [32][33]. And Calvin was a cousin of the Vaudois pastor Pierre Robert, also known as Oliv├ętan, who translated the Bible into French in 1535 - Olivetan [35].


We can see that the truth was passed from father to son for centuries, with the Waldensians being the most well known “torch-bearers”. The legacy of the Church of God is in preserving, translating, and teaching the Scriptures right from the time of the Apostles. The major Bible translations of the Middle Ages, even today, owe a debt to the Church of God. The Reformation owes its origin to the Church of God, though it did not go far enough in “reforming” the Catholic Church. They got some things wrong, but they got many things right too. Many want to claim the Waldensians in their church lineage, without actually living by the Scriptures the way the Waldensians did. The church of God is the rightful inheritor of that legacy.  While we may not be physical descendants of the Waldensians, we are their spiritual descendants. Think of the impact the Church of God has already had on the world in this age – our spiritual ancestors have shaped the course of civilization. And more to come in the next age.

Additional reading on the Waldensians.

Several authors quote from Jean Leger's book  "General History of the Vaudois Churches", but I have been unable to find it online. The Landmark Independent Baptist Church claims to have added Leger's book to their library.

The History Of The Waldenses By J. A. Wylie (1808-1890)

Authentic Details Of The Valdenses: Milner's Church History Of The Valdenses, In Piemont An  Other Countries. With Abridged Translations Of "L'Histoire Des Vaudois" by J. Bresse

A History Of The Vaudois Church From Its Origin, and Of The Vaudois Of Piedmont To The Present Day by Monastier, Antoine

Israel of the Alps by Alexis Muston



[The Revelation of Mount Sinai]  defines our destiny, and shaped the course of world civilization. Without that event, where would we be? Rabbi David Fohrman



This URL appears to be a compilation of three documents by Robert L. Webb, "History of the Bible", "True Bible and True Church Inseparable", and "Preservation of the Bible by the Waldenses". The last of these is a lengthy excerpt from "Our Authorized Bible Vindicated" by Benjamin G. Wilkinson, Ph. D. so quotes from the third part will be listed under "Our Authorized Bible Vindicated".

History of the Bible by Elder Robert L. Webb

It is worthy of consideration that the Old Testament books were not translated into other languages until very near the time of the Christian age.

[4] ibid. The Old Testament "oracles of God" were providentially committed to the Jewish, or Hebrew people (Romans 3: 1,2). The ancient Massoretes (students of Moses' law) devoted their lives to perfection in preserving and copying the Old Testament books. The story of their work is a marvelous testimony to God's preservation of His word to all generations. There is very little controversy regarding the Hebrew text.

[5] ibid. The Scriptures were translated into Latin, French, Dutch, German, and other languages where the Church of Jesus Christ existed through the centuries. 

[6] ibid. True Bible and True Church Inseparable, see [3]

A careful study of the history of the ancient Waldenses, and of Bible texts and translations, clearly reveals how inseparable the true Bible is from the true Church.

[7]  Preservation of the Bible by the Waldenses, excerpt from "Our Authorized Bible Vindicated", 1930, pp. 31-42 by Benjamin G. Wilkinson. see [3].

It is not true, as the Roman Church claims, that she gave the Bible to the world. What she gave was an impure text, a text with thousands of verses so changed as to make way for her unscriptural doctrines. 

[8] ibid.  There are modern writers who attempt to fix the beginning of the Waldenses from Peter Waldo, who began his work about 1175. This is a mistake. The historical name of this people, as properly derived from the valleys where they lived, is Vaudois. Nevertheless the history of the Waldenses, or Vaudois, begins centuries before the days of Waldo.

[9] ibid. More importantly, Oliver Cromwell dispatched diplomat Samuel Morland to force the House of Savoy to lay off the persecution; in fact, he threatened to disrupt high statecraft between England and France unless the French twisted arms on behalf of the Waldensians. ] 

[10] ibid.. Sir Samuel Morland, under the protection of Oliver Cromwell, received from Leger the Waldensian New Testament which now lies in the Cambridge University Library. After the devastating massacre of the Waldenses in 1655, Leger felt that he should collect and give into the hands of Sir Samuel Morland as many pieces of the ancient Waldensian literature as were available.


It is estimated that the first five books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or Pentateuch, were translated in the mid-3rd century BCE and the remaining texts were translated in the 2nd century BCE. 


Some of the first translations of the Torah began during the Babylonian exile, when Aramaic became the lingua franca of the Jews.


The Bible is the most translated book in the world. The United Bible Societies announced that as of 31 December 2007 the complete Bible was available in 438 languages. 



From a review:
These things we now take for granted, but they ALL had their taproots in the Bible, not with Greek philosophers, nor with Englightenment rationalists as we have been misled to believe.



When Was the New Testament Written? - Fred R Coulter
"The evidence is overwhelming that the apostle James used the Gospel of Matthew as a basis for much of his Epistle. Thus, it can be concluded that Matthew was completed (perhaps with some later edits) and was in general use well before 40-41 AD. But it is also possible that Matthew had completed his Gospel as early as 33-35 AD. This theory would fully harmonize with the fact that the apostles gave themselves to “the ministry of the Word” in the first year after the crucifixion. As a Levite, Matthew undoubtedly was in charge of writing and compiling the teachings of Jesus, as described in Acts 6:4. That is why the Gospel of Matthew was the first Gospel account to be completed and why it is the first book of the New Testament."
The evidence is overwhelming that the apostle James used the Gospel of Matthew as a basis for much of his Epistle. Thus, it can be concluded that Matthew was completed (perhaps with some later edits) and was in general use well before 40-41 AD. But it is also possible that Matthew had completed his Gospel as early as 33-35 AD. This theory would fully harmonize with the fact that the apostles gave themselves to “the ministry of the Word” in the first year after the crucifixion. As a Levite, Matthew undoubtedly was in charge of writing and compiling the teachings of Jesus, as described in Acts 6:4. That is why the Gospel of Matthew was the first Gospel account to be completed and why it is the first book of the New Testament.
(A Faithful Version)









The New Testament, as canonized by the Apostle John, contained 27 books. Jerome's late fourth century A.D. Latin Vulgate version, however, which became the standard for the Catholic Church, contained a total number of 41. This added set are known collectively as the Apocrypha, a set of books found in various translations such as the NAB and RSV.


Jerome's Vulgate Latin translation dates to between AD 382 and 420.


The authority to perform such a task was essentially given to three apostles who had been with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration: Peter and the Sons of Zebedee (James and John).

We will see shortly that it was actually the apostle John who had the commission from Christ to finalize and to complete the full canon of the New Testament.

It was recognized that John was the actual one in charge of authorizing the final scriptural books. This is why Peter emphasized the experience that he and John had witnessed on the Mount of Transfiguration with Christ (2 Peter 1:16–19).

[28] The Martyr’s Mirror by Thieleman J. Van Braght - epub or PDF download. - online HTML.
See for a full list of names that people called the Waldensians.


On 24 April 1655, an estimated 1,700 Waldensians were slaughtered; the massacre was so brutal it aroused indignation throughout Europe. ]


Oliver Cromwell became the ruler of England—the Lord Protector—in 1653, after the English Civil Wars. In 1655, when news came to England of the massacre of Waldensians by French troops, Cromwell, and all England, were gripped with horror and indignation at the reports of the brutal treatment of “those of like precious faith.” Accounts of the kidnapping, rape, and gruesome torture of women and children especially fueled the English fury. 


[32]  General History of the Vaudois Churches, p. 165. Leger

One must confess it was by means of the Vaudois of the Valleys that France today has the Bible in her own language.

[33] ibid. Four Bibles produced under Waldensian influence touched the history of Calvin: namely, a Greek, a Waldensian vernacular, a French, and an Italian. Calvin himself was led to his great work by Olivetan, a Waldensian. Thus was the Reformation brought to Calvin.

[34] ibid Olivetan, one of the most illustrious pastors of the Waldensian Valleys, a relative of Calvin.


Sunday, December 2, 2018

I'm Tired, Boss

John Coffey, The Green Mile
You tell God the Father it was a kindness you done. I know you hurtin' and worryin', I can feel it on you, but you oughta quit on it now. Because I want it over and done. I do. I'm tired, boss. Tired of bein' on the road, lonely as a sparrow in the rain. Tired of not ever having me a buddy to be with, or tell me where we's coming from or going to, or why. Mostly I'm tired of people being ugly to each other. I'm tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world everyday. There's too much of it. It's like pieces of glass in my head all the time. Can you understand? - Youtube [1], IMDB Movie Quotes [2]

These are words from the character John Coffey in the movie "The Green Mile".  He is on death row, and he explains why he is ready to die. I think most of us can relate to the line, "Mostly I'm tired of people being ugly to each other." His "supernatural" gift made him more sensitive to people's ugliness, but really it doesn't take a special gift to see the ugliness in the world today. Read the news, ugliness is all around us. And it is unrelenting, it begins to feel as if one is always "bracing for impact". Wars and rumors of wars. Mass shootings. Pedophile priests. Financial crises caused by greed and deceit. Suicide bombings. Religious persecutions. And politics, don't overlook politics.

I'm tired too, Boss.

If you like this (or not), check out my other articles at the
Between The Ears BLOG INDEX, with titles and summaries.

Maybe you or a loved one is having a health crisis. There are plenty of debilitating diseases out there. Many people in hospitals and rest homes are ready to die.  Maybe you or a loved one got injured, like a car accident, or a fall off a ladder. Maybe you or a loved one suffered loss from a natural disaster like a wildfire, or tornado, or had a hurricane destroy your home. Even if you reach old age without sickness or accident, your body will eventually run down. Solomon described it in Eccl 12:1 "Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them”.  The days are coming that we will have no delight in. After poetically describing how the body will wear out in verses 2-7, he concludes in verse 8 with  “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “all is vanity!”

I'm tired Boss.

The Germans gave us a word for this - Weltschmerz, yes it's in the English dictionary. It means world heavy or world weary. Frederick C. Beiser defines Weltschmerz more broadly as "a mood of weariness or sadness about life arising from the acute awareness of evil and suffering" - Wikipedia(Weltschmertz) [3]. The word was coined by a German Romantic poet of the 19th century, "The poets of the Romantic era were a notably gloomy bunch, unwilling or unable to adjust to those realities of the world that they perceived as threatening their right to personal freedom" - Merriam-Webster [4]. Others describe it as being aware of the difference between an ideal world and the real world. Most everyone sees enough good times and bad times in life to recognize the difference between the ideal and the reality. I leave the reader to decide whether you've got "angst, ennui, or weltschmertz" - MentalFloss [5]. All foretold by Solomon 3000 years ago - Eccl 1:8 "All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it."

I'm weltschmertzy, Boss.

Maybe you're still in good health, but you suffer from depression, and sometimes death seems like a way out. You're not alone,  more than 16 million people in the US alone are taking an anti-depressant  drug every year -Time Magazine [6], not to mention self medication with alcohol and street drugs. I think depression in America coincides with kicking God out of public life. Statistically, atheists have way higher rates of depression and suicide than believers - ChristianPost [7]. That doesn't mean believers get to look down on an atheist who is depressed. Maybe a loved one suffers from depression, and you don't know how to help. There are web sites that can help you get started helping them. Learn the symptoms NIMH [8], and "Be There" - PsychCentral [9].

And if you're depressed AND a Christian? Let the self flagellation begin. We know the plan of God, how could we possibly be depressed? We should have joy instead. There are lots of verses about joy in the Bible; joy is listed as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit - Gal 5:22; and we are to "count it all joy when we encounter various trials" - James 1:2.  There must be something wrong if you're depressed instead of joyful; one can come to doubt that they have the Holy Spirit, or doubt that they are a true Christian, or even begin to believe that God has abandoned them. So add guilt and doubt to depression, blame the victim.

You can find examples of depression in the Bible, it just wasn't called that then. Consider the case of Elijah, who one day killed 450 prophets of Baal, and the next day ran for his life, and wanted to die “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.” - 1Kings 19:4. Or the case of Jonah, who preached a successful warning to Nineveh, and then he too wanted to die, "Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.” - Jonah 4:3. It seems to me that Jonah had a death wish throughout the whole story. And Job, who summed it up this way

Job 3:11 “Why did I not die at birth,
17 “There the wicked cease from raging,
And there the weary are at rest.
All of us are tired, Boss.

In some ways though, that is the point of physical existence, this existence that Solomon described as too wearisome to tell. The weariness, the weltschmertz, creates in all of us a desire for rest. God created the Sabbath day by resting. But I think Lamech is expressing world weariness when he names his son Noah, saying "this one will give us rest" - Gen 5:29. Noah's name means rest. "Significantly, the competing lineage of Cain, ends up in the land of Nod, which means Restless Wandering." [10].

God gave us the Sabbath day so we could taste the rest to come. Where Job saw the grave as the  place of rest, the real rest is in a life to come, not death, but in the resurrection, and the Sabbath is a foreshadow that that ultimate rest is coming. The connection between the Sabbath rest and the eternal rest is shown in Heb 4:9 " So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God." No, we don't go to heaven after we die, we are resurrected on this earth with new bodies, spiritual bodies that don't wear out, that don't suffer weariness and depression. And resurrected into a world without wars, disease, and weltschmertz - UCG(life-after-death) [11]. One lesson of this life is to desire that rest that only comes from Jesus Christ.

Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Feast Of Trumpets: Memorial Of What?

All of the Biblical Holy Days are listed in Leviticus 23. The Feast of Trumpets has the shortest description of all of them. After telling us when it occurs, the only thing it tells us to do that is sets it apart from other Holy Days is blow trumpets as a memorial. Which begs the question, “memorial of what?” Here is all that it says.

Lev 23:23 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, 24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. 25 Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

If you like this (or not), check out my other articles at the
Between The Ears BLOG INDEX, with titles and summaries.

We in the Churches of God usually focus on the future fulfillment of this day - UCG(Feast Of Trumpets) [1], when Christ “descends from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first” - 1 Thess 4:16. But Lev 23 was penned by Moses when Israel was still in the wilderness. No one could have known the future meaning of the day until Thessalonians was written, so again, “memorial of what”? Can we set aside what we know the Feast of Trumpets pictures in the future, and put ourselves in the place of ancient Israel 3500 years ago? Let’s start by seeing what we can learn by examining verse 24 more carefully. Here’s the "Freeman" translation of Lev 23:24.
Lev 23:24 It will be to (all of) you a Sabbath, a memorial of Teruah*, a holy meeting.
*According to Lexicon-Concordance [2], the word Teruah is variously translated as :

shout 11
shouting 8
alarm 6
sound 3
blow 1
blowing 2
joy 2
jubilee 1
noise 1
rejoicing 1

So, rather than citing that whole list, I will use the Hebrew word Teruah.That’s it, that’s all it says about keeping the day – 1) Sabbath 2) memorial of Teruah 3) holy meeting 4) offering. Notice there is no mention of trumpets here, though Teruah is usually associated with the blast of a shofar, also called “cry of the shofar” or “shout of the shofar”. The list of words translated from Teruah give more meaning to 1 Thess 4:16 “with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God”. One article I read suggested that the memorial of Teruah is a memorial of Jericho. And there certainly are a lot of parallels between The Day of Teruah and Jericho. Here are three.

The wals of Jericho fell at the sound of the shofars

1. Six days of Jericho parallel six "trumpet plagues of Revelation.
  • For six days seven priests walk around Jericho with the ark blowing shofars -  Josh 6.
  • In Revelation, six trumpet plagues fall upon the earth - Rev 8-11.
2. Jericho typifies the fall of this world at the seventh blast.
  • On the seventh day, the priests circled Jericho seven times, and at the seventh circuit,  the people shouted when the priests blew the shofars ... the wall collapsed - Josh 6:20.
  • Rev 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”
3. Possession of the Kingdom.
  • Israel began to take possession of the Promised Land with the collapse of Jericho.
  • Revelation 11:18 the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name.

You can find more parallels between Day of Teruah and Jericho - Trumpets And Fall Of Jericho [3]. But Jericho was conquered after Israel entered the promised land. So The Day of Teruah couldn’t be a memorial of Jericho. The Battle of Jericho is certainly a type of the ultimate Day of Teruah , that is Christ's return, but the Day of Teruah is not a memorial of Jericho. As best I can tell, Leviticus was written just after the Tabernacle was built, meaning within two years of leaving Egypt, but clearly before entering the promised land - Wikipedia(Book_of_Leviticus) [4]. When else do we read about a shofar blast? A shofar blast familiar to all Israel? In their collective memory so to speak?

Mount Sinai

At Sinai. We associate the giving of the Ten Commandments with Sinai on the Feast of Pentecost - Israel arrives at Mount Sinai [5]. But before the Ten Commandments were given, here’s what happened.

Exodus 19:18 Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. 19 When the sound of the trumpet [shofar] grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder.

In fact, it is the first use of the word shofar in the Bible. And here’s what happened before that.

Exodus 19:3 Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. 5 Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”
7 So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the Lord had commanded him. 8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do!”

So for ancient Israel, in the desert, before entering the Promised Land, the shofar blast was a direct reminder of the covenant they made with God Himself at Mount Sinai, not that many years before. Note the people repeat their acceptance of the covenant in Ex 24:7. God’s voice is likened to a shofar blast, and it made quite an impression on Israel. Here’s their reaction after hearing the shofar and the Ten Commandments from God Himself,
Exodus 20:18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.

Depiction of sound/color synesthesia
Note the people SAW the thunder.  According to many Hebrew scholars, this is not a mistranslation - Seeing The Sounds [6]. Some English translations say “witness” or “perceive”, like we might say in English "I see" meaning "I understand", but it looks like it really means physical sight was involved - What's Bothering Rashi? [7]. This was an intense revelation from God. "They saw what was audible and heard what was visible" - Seeing Sounds [8]. One interpretation is that it was mass synesthesia, where synesthesia means "union of the senses". There are people who routinely see sounds as color, but this was a case where everyone was seeing sounds. They SAW the thunder. As with many things Biblical, many scholars do not agree with this interpretation - Seeing Sounds [8].

The original memory aid
The Day of Teruah is also a memorial of creation itself, but ancient Israel probably couldn’t have known that either. These words also came later,  “When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy” - Job 38:7. Shouted (for joy) is the same root word as teruah. I would argue that Teruah is a reminder to remember everything the Bible says to remember. Every verse where God says to remember something (and there are many) could be brought to mind by the shofar blast, making it a memory aid, like a string on your finger. The tradition of the Jews is to blow the shofar 100 times on the Day of Teruah, could there be 100 things God wants to remind us of? There are 215 verses in the KJV that use the word "remember", and 48 of these tell us as humans to remember something. I compiled a list of these verses, they are listed after the References section.

Remember these!
The holy days picture God’s plan for Israel, and ultimately for all of mankind, but they also picture His plan for each one of us. We often refer to Egypt as a type of sin, where God delivered Israel from Egypt, pictured by Passover and the Exodus, which can be likened to our personal deliverance from the slavery of sin. There is an old saying “In every generation, each person must regard himself as if he had come out of Egypt.” - The First Step [9]. Likewise, Israel experienced a national awakening on the day of Pentecost when God spoke to them directly (the Jews refer to this as the Revelation). God made a covenant with the nation of Israel. The New Testament shows a more personal connection between God and His church on the same day of Pentecost, when the disciples received the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire. At some point in our calling, God made Himself known to each one of us, a personal revelation if you will. I didn’t see thunder, or hear His voice from a mountain, or have a tongue of fire dancing on my head, but He made Himself real to me. We usually use language like “He opened my mind”.  We followed through to baptism, where we made a covenant with God, not a national covenant, but a personal one. The Day of Teruah is reminding each of us that we made that commitment. The Day of Teruah means many things to the nation of Israel, some of which have yet to come to pass, but it also means something to each of us personally – it means remember.



Verses with an admonition to remember

Exodus 13:3 And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt

Exodus 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Numbers 15:39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them ;

Numbers 15:40 That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.

Deuteronomy 5:15 And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm:

Deuteronomy 7:18 Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the Lord thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt;

Deuteronomy 8:2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.

Deuteronomy 8:18 But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

Deuteronomy 9:7 Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the Lord thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the Lord.

Deuteronomy 15:15 And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing to day.

Deuteronomy 16:3 Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.

Deuteronomy 16:12 And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt: and thou shalt observe and do these statutes.

Deuteronomy 24:9 Remember what the Lord thy God did unto Miriam by the way, after that ye were come forth out of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 24:18 But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt

Deuteronomy 24:22 And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt

Deuteronomy 25:17 Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt;

Deuteronomy 32:7 Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.

Joshua 1:13 Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, The Lord your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.

1 Chronicles 16:12 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

Nehemiah 4:14 And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.

Esther 9:28 And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed.

Job 36:24 Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold.

Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.

Psalm 22:27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.

Psalm 45:17 I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.

Psalm 63:6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. 7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.

Psalm 77:11 I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.

Psalm 103:18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

Psalm 105:5 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

Psalm 111:4 He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.

Psalm 119:52 I remembered thy judgments of old, O Lord; and have comforted myself.

Psalm 119:55 I have remembered thy name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept thy law.

Psalm 137:1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.

Ecclesiastes 11:8 But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

Ezekiel 16:43 Because thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, but hast fretted me in all these things; behold, therefore I also will recompense thy way upon thine head, saith the Lord God: and thou shalt not commit this lewdness above all thine abominations.

Micah 6:5 O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal; that ye may know the righteousness of the Lord.

Malachi 4:4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.

Luke 17:32 Remember Lot's wife.

John 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

2 Timothy 2:8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:

Hebrews 13:3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Revelation 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.