Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Why Write A Blog?

In particular, why do I write this blog? I was prompted to ask myself this question after watching a TED talk called Start With Why [1] by Simon Sinek, recommend by Eryn Defoort [2]. I was poised over my keyboard and ready to answer that with a fairly short statement, and I thought "why do other people write blogs?" So I went off on an internet search, and realized there is more than one answer. 15 Reasons here [3], 9 Reasons there [4]. Top Ten Reasons here [5]. And more personal reasons there [6]. So now I have to research more - read what everyone else wrote, and decide what applies to me. Although somewhat painful, this is much easier and far more complete than figuring everything out for myself. In reading these, I realized my reasons have changed over time, and I could identify some unintended consequences of blogging, fame and fortune not among the consequences however.

Between The Ears BLOG INDEX, with titles and summaries.

Circa 1985 [8]
In 2011, I had a stroke which paralyzed my right side. Over time, I have regained a lot of movement, but I still have deficits. While I was in hospital for rehab, I blogged daily about my stroke and my rehab, first on Facebook and email, and eventually on CaringBridge [7], I was a little compulsive about it for a while. I was definitely hoping for a full recovery, but that hasn't happened yet. One thing I miss a great deal is playing piano. I think I was pretty good at it, see for yourself [8]. Playing piano kind of defined my role in my church too, I played for hymns, accompanied and directed choir for a few years, stuff like that. I was a musician. After my stroke, I felt like I had no role anymore.

Later that year, the minister started a speech club, which I normally wouldn't have signed up for, but I thought that this was something I could do to contribute again, and maybe God was opening a new door. But after a couple seasons, I grew tired of it, plus it didn't seem I had any more of a place than I did before club. So you will see that my earliest blog articles are transcripts of speeches I gave in club. It still took a while to start blogging though.

So why would I think my speeches would be worth listening to? In 2003, I began to study Hebrew. I'm not fluent at it, but I see interesting Biblical insights only available in the original language, no filters due to translation. I also began to study Hebrew commentaries, and learned there is a wealth of information out there that Christians don't ever hear because of a bias against anything Jewish and a bias against the Old Testament. It wasn't academic Old Testament stuff that I was learning - with the growing Messianic movement, I was learning more about Jesus Christ. I felt like I had a gold mine of interesting Bible info to share. You know that feeling when you learn something that you think is so cool, and you just want to tell people about it? Even if they don't want to hear it...

And books. I get interesting ideas from books.

Psalm 23 decoded by Haik-Vantoura,
and handwritten by her
Well, why did I decide to study Hebrew? Christians don't really need a reason to study Bible languages, but here's my story. This too goes back to music. I read a book called Music of the Bible Revealed [9] by Suzanne Haik-Vantoura. She claims the cantillation marks in the Hebrew can be decoded into melodies. As choir director, I took Haik-Vantoura's melodies of Psalms 23 and 150, and wrote them out for a choir, a fragment of Psalm 23 is at right. It was a challenge for everyone, but we did perform them. And for the first time, I was going through verses word by word in Hebrew. I was struck with the brevity of Hebrew. For example, "the Lord is my shepherd" is translated from "YHVH ROI", (יְהוָה רֹעִי).

Work didn't set me free either
After my stroke, it was really important to me to return to work, to prove my worth. I think everyone wants to feel important, well at least feel useful. In the long run, I may have done better treating rehab like a full time job instead of working at an actual full time job. But I did derive satisfaction, if not importance, at my job. For instance, I am coauthor on a few scientific papers - NEJM [10] for one, and I wanted to be first author on one of my own. I wrote a couple articles, but they never left the building. So, I'm a frustrated author with something to prove.

So I started writing this blog. Some of the reasons I still write have changed over the years. And the way I write has evolved. I do more research than at first, and I include references, mostly online references so the reader can click and read the quote or research for themselves, somewhat like writing a scientific paper, but you can't click on paper. I also have a few friends review articles before I publish them, the opposite of Andrew Sullivan's approach to blogging which is "We blog now—as news reaches us, as facts emerge." Why I Blog [6].

Should have read this [11]

I went through the 35 reasons listed in the articles I referenced above where other people advocate blogging. Some don't apply to me, laughably so. For instance, two articles mentioned making money. What? From blogging? For another instance, "become comfortable being known". Most of my articles get about 70 viewers, and none of them are throwing cash at me.

But there are some actual benefits in these 35 reasons I can relate to, here's a few.

Become a better writer/thinker, also expressed as turning messy ideas into neat ones - I read stuff and think "isn't that interesting?" But the process of writing it down so others can enjoy it too helps me to understand it better. Sometimes, you can't figure something out till you write it down, and maybe rewrite it a couple times. It becomes a way of doing Bible study.

Inspire others - If it inspired me, maybe it will inspire others. "Freely you have received, freely give" - Matt 10:8.

You’ll develop an eye for meaningful things - Now, when I hear or read something Biblical, I'm evaluating it for blog worthiness. There are topics I never would have studied into unless I had the intent to write about it. I'm discovering that I like Old Testament typology, where a character or a story or a place has Messianic symbolism, my favorite being the Tabernacle. I like finding things that make more sense in Hebrew, sometimes different from my previous understanding. I like seeing how interconnected the Bible is, written over many centuries, yet woven together. "Show me wonders in Your Torah" - Psalms 119:18.

One benefit not mentioned in these 35 reasons is simply to preach the gospel in some way (yes I know much of what I write gets a bit academic). Whether or not one believes in the priesthood of all believers - 1Peter 2:9, I think we all have a duty to do "what we can with what we've got, where we are" - Squire Bill Widener (NOT Teddy Roosevelt) [12]. In other words, it's something I can do. I am fond of the saying, "preach a good sermon, use words if you have to" - NOT Francis Assisi [13].

Oh, and the blog title "Between The Ears". I had to choose a title when I first set up this blog, and it's what came to mind. "The biggest battle a Christian will ever face will occur between your ears – in your mind" - Rodney Burton [14]. I learned there is another blog named Between The Ears [15] out there, go figure. If I started this blog today, I might choose the title "New Beginning", or maybe "Learning Things I Didn't Want To Know". The stroke forced me to start over in some ways, like a vine getting pruned. I don't know if I'm a better person, but I'm a different person.


1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sioZd3AxmnE&app=desktop
2. http://eryndefoort.com/
3. http://www.becomingminimalist.com/15-reasons-i-think-you-should-blog/
4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/danreich/2011/10/15/9-reasons-you-should-blog/#4d8d16057b83
5. https://www.lifewire.com/top-reasons-to-start-blog-3476742
6. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/11/why-i-blog/307060/
7. https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jlfreeman/journal
8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWmzRerYSfk
9. http://musicofthebiblerevealed.blogspot.com/
10. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1311707
11. https://www.amazon.com/Blogging-Dummies-Amy-Lupold-Bair/dp/1118712099
12. https://suebrewton.com/tag/do-what-you-can-with-what-youve-got-where-you-are/
13. http://www.christianpost.com/news/preach-the-gospel-and-since-its-necessary-use-words-77231/
14. https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/fighting-between-the-ears-rodney-burton-sermon-on-youth-131589#
15. https://betweentheearsblog.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Here Comes The Groom

Link to Between The Ears BLOG INDEX, with titles and summaries.

"Here Comes The Bride"
Modern weddings make a production about the entrance of the bride, inspiring music and lyrics we're all familiar with. Not so much for the groom. However, in the customs of ancient Jewish weddings, the arrival of the groom was the anticipated event. And many recognize that the arrival of the groom in ancient Jewish wedding custom parallels the (second) coming of Jesus. Many of these Jewish wedding customs from betrothal to the marriage supper foreshadow events in the Bible, past, present, and future. Many events and sayings in the Bible make more sense when viewed through the lens of a wedding. How do we know the parallels with Jesus? The Bible says so.

Rev 19:7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.
2 Cor 11:2  For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.
Eph 5:31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 

It is not just New Testament teaching however. When Israel entered into covenant with God after deliverance from Egypt, it was, among other things, a marriage covenant.

Jer 31:31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.

Let's look at some of the elements of a Jewish wedding and how the groom (Jesus) and the bride (the church) fulfill the typology.


The groom's father had the responsibility of finding a wife for his son. Matchmaking took place between the groom's father and the bride's father, ideally with input from the bride and groom. The groom and his father would visit the bride's family for formal negotiations. The groom, armed with the bride price and wine, would knock.  If the bride agreed to open the door, everyone would share the first of four glasses of wine, after which the couple was considered married - some say it was after the third glass. It was binding on the groom but not the bride who could back out at anytime. Otherwise, the groom could only  back out by divorce, recall the story of Mary and Joseph. Next, the fathers and the couple worked out the marriage contract, called a ketubah, paid the bride price, and the four of them would share a second glass of wine. At the conclusion of the ketubah, the bride and groom would
Ketubah [1]
drink a third glass of wine. The groom would not drink wine again till the wedding ceremony, where they would share the fourth glass. Notice the parallels with the "last supper", which was actually a Passover service.  A meal would follow the ketubah. The groom returned to his father's house to prepare a bridal chamber for her, this took from one to two years.

knock - Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

bride price Acts 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 

wine - Mt 26:29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."

bridal chamber - John 14:2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

Passover - Jesus Christ, our Passover, formally presented the New Covenant to His Bride, at Passover, in the format of a first century Jewish marriage proposal - Golden Sheaves [2].

Preparation Period

After the ketubah is worked out and dinner is eaten, the groom and his father go home. The groom gets busy preparing a place for his bride, while the bride prepares herself. They both do a mikveh, (baptism) symbolizing a major change in their lives. The bride would sew her wedding dress. The groom might send gifts to the bride to keep her interest alive.  When things were ready, the groom's father would send the groom to fetch his bride. The groom and the bride would know approximately but not exactly when, only his father. The bride waited with her friends. The groom friends would go before him blowing the shofar, and shouting.

prepare a place - John 14:2  for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

bride prepares herself - Rev 19:7 for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.

mikveh - Acts 1:4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which," He said, "you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

wedding dress -  Rev 19:8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

gifts - 1 Cor 12:4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.

fetching the bride
Mark 13:32 But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 
Mt 25:6 At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' 
1 Thess 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Wedding Day

When the groom's father decides the time is right, he sends the groom to fetch the bride. She waits with her friends for the sound of the groom's friends announcing his arrival. They travel back to the groom's father's house where a wedding canopy (called a chuppah) is set up. The wedding ceremony takes place under the chuppah, where they drink the fourth glass of wine together. They smash this glass underfoot symbolizing that no one else may drink from this glass, that is no one else may partake of this special relationship. After the ceremony, the wedding is consummated, and the seven day feast begins.

bridesmaids - Since bridegrooms typically came for their brides in the middle of the night, to "steal them away", the bride would have to have her lamp and her belongings ready at all times. Her sisters or bridesmaids would also be waiting, keeping their lamps trimmed in anticipation of the late night festivities - ReturnToGod  [3]

groom's friends - As the bridegroom approached the bride's home, he would shout and blow the shofar (ram's horn trumpet) so that she had some warning to gather her belongings to take into the wedding chamber - ReturnToGod  [3]

canopy - Isaiah 4:5 then the Lord will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy (chuppah).

glass - Also a sign that the covenant broken can not be put back together - TASC [4].

consummation - On the wedding day, the bridegroom is seen as a king and the bride as a queen. During the consummation of the marriage, the bridegroom (Jesus) will be crowned King over all the earth and the bride (believers in Christ) will live with Him and rule with Him forever - Layman's Watch [5]. In other words, the consummation is a coronation.

feast - the newly weds went into the wedding chamber for a seven day honeymoon - Wild Olive [6], while the guests feasted for seven days.

Marriage Supper

After the seven days, the bride and groom emerge to share the marriage supper with the guests.

Rev 19:9 Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’”

That is good news (gospel) indeed.

From the betrothal where a ketubah is written, through the time of preparation where the groom prepares a place and the bride prepares herself, to the wedding day, a coronation as it were, the Bible in many ways pictures Jesus as marrying a bride*.

If you liked this, be sure to check out my other blog articles. The archive at the right side of this page is complete, but it does not give titles or summaries, it is more convenient to use my custom BLOG INDEX which does have titles and summaries of my blog articles. 


1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clM1SEJfixo
2. http://www.goldensheaves.org/pages/passover_bride_31.html
3. http://www.returntogod.com/hebrew/wedding.htm
4. http://tasc-creationscience.org/content/ancient-jewish-wedding-missing-link-christianity
5. http://laymanswatch.com/LaymansWatch_files/Overviews/MarriageSupperWeddingOfChristToChurch.htm
6. http://www.wildolive.co.uk/weddings.htm

* Some object to aspects of the wedding analogy because of ways the analogy breaks down.  To give some examples: The Church is called the body of Christ, does that imply Jesus will marry Himself? God is already our Father, will He then become our father in law? If a man is to leave his father and mother, how is it Jesus goes to prepare a place for us in His Father's house? Every analogy eventually breaks down, but I see many more types fulfilled in the Jewish wedding analogy than I see contradictions.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Unleavened Beer?

Soon, many of us will be keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread, a week long feast which is marked by its name - unleavened bread. We remove leaven and leavened products from our homes, and during the festival we eat unleavened bread, taking in "the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth". The question always comes up, especially for newcomers, what is leaven? And at some point, what about beer? People ask because they know that bread and beer are both made with yeast. So it is a valid question. The instant reaction is "it's not the days of unleavened beer." But I think there is more to the answer than saying it's not the days of unleavened beer.

Credentials are in order for this discussion. I have made bread off and on for over 40 years. I have also made beer off and on for even longer. I am not a microbiologist nor do I play one on TV, for that I rely on "First Steps in Yeast Culturing" by Pierre Lajotte [1].

Leavened Versus Leavening

The Bible is clear that we should remove both leaven and leavened products, Ex 13:7 "Unleavened bread (matzoh meaning sweet) shall be eaten throughout the seven days; and nothing leavened (chametz meaning sour) shall be seen among you, nor shall any leaven (s'or meaning leaven)  be seen among you in all your borders." That would include bread crumbs not because they are leavenING (bread crumbs do not contain live yeast cells, they were killed in the baking process), but because they are leavenED (chametz). And it would include yeast because it is leavenING (s'or), not because it is leavenED (chametz). Note this is a New Testament command as well, 1 Cor 5:7 "Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed."

Give Us This Day Our Daily Beer

The Sediment Is Brewer's Yeast
The problem is that beer does contain live yeast cells. And the yeast cells in beer are exactly the same yeast used to make bread.   "Most yeasts used in baking are of the same species common in alcoholic fermentation." - Wikipedia Yeast [2]. The beer is not leavenED, but it does contain leavenING. One might argue that they are really different yeasts in beer versus bread. I have done the experiment of harvesting yeast from a batch of homebrewed beer (see picture) and using it to make bread. It made perfectly good bread. Remember it's the same yeast.

Sediment in a Bottle of Beer
One might argue that there isn't enough yeast in a bottle of beer to make a loaf of bread. But there are many websites that show how to culture the yeast from a single bottle of beer into a sufficient population for brewing or bread making, for example How To Brew []. It is simple enough, I've done it, maintaining sanitation is the biggest challenge. The best beers to culture from will have sediment on the bottom - that sediment is yeast, visible viable yeast. Note that the German beer hefeweizen means "yeast wheat". Filtered or pasteurized beer will not throw sediment. Only the larger commercial breweries filter or pasteurize their beer. And when "it's not the days of unleavened beer" was coined (the American dark ages of beer), nearly all beer was filtered if not pasteurized. Now the craft beer industry is producing lots of unfiltered beer with live yeast. Remember it's the same yeast.

Straining At Gnats?

Agar plate with yeast colonies
Well, how little is too little to worry about? Now we enter the gray area. Lajotte describes techniques for growing a single yeast cell into a culture, and eventually into a "pitchable" population. Technically, a single yeast cell is leavenING,  but without proper equipment and techniques, unlikely to leaven dough. Amy's Bread by Amy Scherber [3] describes a method for creating a sourdough bread starter beginning with nothing but flour and water. There are yeast cells on the grains (which get ground into flour) that reproduce and eventually ferment the flour and water into a viable population for bread making. For this reason, when making matzoh, Jews only allow flour and water to be mixed no more than 18 minutes before baking lest it begin to leaven spontaneously - Wiki Matzo [4]. Once the starter is viable, it is incorporated into bread dough and leavens it. A pinch of dough is saved as a starter for the next batch.   Yeast lives on the skins of grapes too, and there are yeast cells in the air.  So one can start with zero yeast cells and make leaven.

Ancient Israel would have only known the sourdough method. They did not have the option to buy a cake of yeast after Unleavened Bread was over. They would have started fresh with flour and water to grow a bread starter. This takes a few days.

Don't Read This Paragraph

Beer makers, in their quest to distinguish their brew from the competition, get creative in choosing sources of yeast for their "wild ales".  Rogue Brewing has created Beard Beer by culturing yeasts found in the master brewers beard - Mental Floss [5]. 7 Cent Brewery in Australia used the brewmaster's navel lint as a source for yeast, "the first beer in the world fermented from yeast captured from the brewer's belly button fluff." - CNET [6].

Back To Leaven

Sourdough Bread
One question newcomers don't ask is "what is bread?" Beer and bread are both made from grain, water, and yeast, but beer is not bread. Even though throughout history, beer has been known as liquid bread - Liquid Bread [7]. But is it "chametz" or "s'or"? At its simplest, bread is flour moistened with water and cooked, it is solid. Flour needs enzymes and yeast to rise without additional leavening, which narrows the field to a handful of grains. There is unfortunate complexity, confusion, and contradiction on the subject, among Jews and Christians and scientists, even among the Jews themselves. For example, the Jews say matzoh may only be made from five types of grain: wheat, barley, rice, oats and spelt, but this is from the Talmud, not the Bible - Wiki Chametz [8]. Science has concluded that the five grains are just different strains of wheat and barley  - The DAF []. What these five grains have in common is that they are self leavening, their flours plus water is enough to cause them to rise. Therefore, Jews argue they are the only grains that can make matzoh. And some Karaite Jews think "only the leavening of grains known to leaven are forbidden to eat as leavened" - Karaite Judaism [9]. Non gluten grains and non grain flours can be leavened with yeast (albeit poorly) or chemical leavening like baking powder, flours from oats, rice, lentils, coconut, or almond for examples. Scientists have even developed methods to make bread from cockroach flour - Neatorama [10]. Some don't think flours other than the Five count as "leavenable", some don't think chemical leavening is "chametz". As far as I understand it, over time the idea of leavening was merged with the the idea of self leavening grains. Most Jews would argue that since beer is made from barley (one of the Five) and fermented, it is chametz. I would argue that science has isolated the leavening agent yeast from the liquid beer, thanks to Anton van Leeuwenhoek, 1680 and Louis Pasteur, 1857 - Explore Yeast [11], and it is the leavening agent that's got to go, not the beer. One can separate yeast from beer, but one cannot separate yeast from a loaf of bread. Remember, it's the same yeast.

Don't Wine

Bread leavened with wine yeast 
Wine is commanded as the Passover service along with the unleavened bread. From this we see that fermented beverages are OK. But don't think it's because wine yeast is somehow different from beer yeast. It is still yeast (Saccharomyces). And yes, I did the experiment of making challah bread with wine yeast. It made perfectly good bread. According to Jeff Meyers [12], sourdough starters in ancient Israel were inoculated with the lees (sediment) from wine. Unlike beer, modern wine does not have yeast sediment in the bottle.

Back To the Future 

Something tells me no one has this leavening thing completely figured out. Like I said above, it is complex, confusing, and contradictory. Consider when the whole world keeps Unleavened Bread. Yes, they will. How is it possible to remove all the leaven from within your borders as a nation? or worldwide? This puts an undue hardship on bakeries. And breweries. Yeast is their livelihood. Many breweries jealously guard their particular strain of yeast, devoting laboratories and microbiologists to maintain it indefinitely. Chemicals and pharmaceuticals are routinely grown in Saccharomyces cerevisiae aka bread yeast Wiki Yeast[2]. I find it impossible that bakeries, breweries, and pharmaceuticals would have to start over every year. Is there a difference between home brewers and commercial breweries? Between the home baker and the commercial bakery? What about a brewer who wants to age a beer more than a year? Or a baker that needs to maintain his sourdough starter? Maybe I don't understand leaven completely.

Currently, people who keep Unleavened Bread rely on people who don't keep it. Some Jews will sell their leaven and beer and whiskey to a Gentile, then buy it back when the Days are done. Some of us keep our beer and whiskey, but throw out breads and leavening as we understand it. But still we rely on an outside source to replenish our bread supply the moment the Days are done.


What to do in the meantime, till Christ comes back? Take the simplistic approach that it's not the days of unleavened beer and ignore the whole question? Or put out (as in drink up) all barley based beer because barley is one of the Five self leavening grains? Or put out beer where sediment is visible? Or search for a better answer? I guess each of us has to decide. But decide based on the Bible and facts, not just traditions.


1. http://www.homebrewing.org/First-Steps-in-Yeast-Culturing_p_2037.html
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeast
3. https://www.amazon.com/Amys-Bread-Amy-Scherber/dp/0688124011
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matzo
5. http://mentalfloss.com/article/52658/beer-was-brewed-using-yeast-grown-beard
6. https://www.cnet.com/news/belly-button-beer-mines-yeast-from-navel-lint-totally-not-gross/
7. https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/LiquidBreadMunsey.pdf
8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chametz
9. http://www.karaitejudaism.org/talks/Leaven_Leavened_and_Unleavened.htm
10. http://www.neatorama.com/2017/03/01/Scientists-Have-Come-Up-With-A-Way-To-Make-Bread-Out-Of-Cockroach-Flour/
11. http://www.exploreyeast.com/article/history-yeast
12. http://jeffreyjmeyers.blogspot.com/2012/12/on-leaven-yeast-and-lords-supper.html

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Life Is InThe Blood

Blood is amazing stuff. The life giving qualities of blood have been realized by modern medicine. For example, blood transfusions are familiar, blood tests routine. Stem cells derived from blood are regularly used to treat diseases like leukemia that were formerly untreatable. And research into blood may lead to other cures, or slow down aging. There are entire medical journals published about blood.

Blood Rites

But modern science isn't the first to recognize the importance of blood. For example, bathing in blood was once thought to be a cure for leprosy - Wonders and Marvels [1]. In 1898, Henry Clay Trumbull wrote The Blood Covenant [2], abbreviated BC below, documenting rituals and beliefs about blood from cultures around the world - many of the facts here came directly from Trumbull. It seems every culture has some superstitious beliefs about blood. The question arises whether other cultures influenced ancient Biblical culture or vice versa. Since all mankind sprang from Noah, it seems reasonable to assume that understanding the importance of blood came from Noah. In Genesis 9:4, God told Noah "Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood". And Noah no doubt heard the story of Adam and Eve being clothed with animal skins by God after being evicted from the Garden. Blood had to be shed to "cover" Adam and Eve. Blood was called life right from the beginning.

People of many many tribes throughout history have used blood in making covenants - with regional variations. Two people would enter a covenant by cutting themselves and exchanging blood - Syrians by literally drinking from each others veins - BC p6;  Scythians mixed their blood with wine first (called vinum assiratum, covenant wine) - BC p44; Dayaks and Kayans of Borneo mixed their blood with water first - BC p36-37; the Bangala of Africa by letting their bloods mingle by pressing their cuts together BC p25; the Norse by mingling their blood on the ground BC p30; Indians and  Persians would use the blood of a substitutionary animal - BC p120; Fijians, Indians, Chibchas of Central America, Scots and more would use a substitutionary liquid like wine (or whisky) to represent the blood of the participants - BC pp136,137,139,141. Trumbull documents many more rites like these from all over the world. All these rituals were intended to make the two parties closer than brothers for life, hence the term blood brothers. So close that one blood brother could not marry the second blood brother's sister, it was considered incest. Blood brothers were considered closer than husband and wife. Blood Is Thicker Than Water

What this really means is the blood of a covenant is thicker than the water of the womb. Which means we've actually got it backward -- the "water of the womb," or our family relationships, is not as strong as the "blood of the covenant." - Misused Proverbs [3]

Why the need for such rituals? They are bizarre and savage from our point of view. It's a question of trust. There were no policemen to turn to in ancient times. Anyone who saw the scar from a blood covenant knew he was messing with two, not one, it was protection. A blood brother had your back no matter what. He would fight along side you, and avenge your death. He would care for your family if needed. Anyone who betrayed a blood covenant had essentially agreed to die a bloody death, so you had to really trust the one you covenanted with.  Mingling blood is more serious than a handshake, or a signature, or even pinky swearing.

Blood Covenants

Abraham appears to have made covenants with his neighbors. In Genesis 14:13, it says "Mamre and his relatives, Eshcol and Aner, were Abram's allies." The Hebrew here implies more, "they were masters of the covenant with Abram". They had "cut" a covenant, sacrificing animals and walking between their slaughtered halves. We also see Abraham make a covenant with Abimelech in Genesis 21:27.

People also saw blood as a vehicle to join with the divine. Making yourself bleed over a dead person was thought to put you into union with "the other side".

Those who give some of their blood to the ghost of a man just dead and lingering near (and of course, the principle is the same when the offering of blood is to the gods, thereby) effect with it a union, which on the one side implies submission, and on the other side friendliness.”  H. C. Trumbull quoting Herbert Spencer, The Blood Covenant [2]

But can humans initiate union with God? Isn't it more accurate to say He initiates union with us, including the when and the how? So how does God cut a covenant with man? That is what happened between God and Abraham (and eventually all mankind). God initiated the covenant using sacrificial animals to cut a covenant with Abraham. In Genesis 15, God tells Abraham to cut a heifer, a goat, and a lamb. This meant cutting them in two, down the middle. Abraham laid the halves opposite each other. God passed betwen the halves alone appearing as a torch and an oven (light and heat),  but Abraham did not pass between the halves. God was going to keep the covenant forever unconditionally, Abraham would eventually die so he could not.
Gen 15:18 To your descendants I have given this land,
From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates
When humans cut a covenant, they write two copies of it, cut animals, walk between the pieces, then exchange blood, names, property, and even sons - Beth Tikkun [4]. We see how lopsided it is to covenant with God, and it is tempting to think He did it all for me, I don't have to do anything. How did these exchanges take place between Abraham and God?
  • Blood - The sign of the Abrahamic covenant is circumcision. Jesus also shed His blood for us.
  • Names - God took part of His name YHVH and gave the H to Abram (Exalted Father), making his name Abraham (Father of Many). This happened in Gen 17. Jesus reveals God as Father (Abba) in the New Testament (Ab in Hebrew means Father). 
  • Property - Verse 18 above shows the property God promised to Abraham's descendants. Abraham gave a tenth of all to Melchizedek.
  • Sons - Abraham offered up his son Isaac, though God stopped him. God the Father gave His son Jesus to Abraham and all those under the covenant.
The Abrahamic covenant is originally given in Gen 12, expanded in Gen 15 and 17, and expanded again in Gen 21. It is extended to Abraham's son Isaac in Gen 26 and extended again to Jacob in Gen 28. God extended the covenant to all Israel at mount Sinai. It is known as the Old Covenant, and recorded in Exodus 24:6-8.

6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and the other half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7 Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!” 8 So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

All the promises to Abraham are part of the Old Covenant ratified in Exodus 24. Ancient Israel did possess the land promised to Abraham, but the Abrahamic Covenant will see its ultimate fulfillment when Messiah returns - Got Questions [5].

Abrahamic, Mosaic, and New Covenants

Does this Abrahamic blood covenant even apply to "New Covenant" Christians today?  Yes, it does.
The importance of understanding the Blood Covenant is found in the fact that the basis of Christianity is rooted in a Blood Covenant - Faith Writers [6].
The New Covenant is a blood covenant. And yes, it involves a responding action on the part of the Bride. The Christian faith is ultimately a continuation and an unfolding of the Abrahamic Covenant. It is a two way agreement between YHVH-God and His covenant people, the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
He will use the New Covenant he makes within human hearts to fulfill the Old Covenant He made with the Nation of Israel. End Time Pilgrim [7]

In Galation 3:29, we see this.
And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring (seed), heirs according to the promise.
This does not mean that the Christian church, whoever that is, is entitled to the physical land of Israel. Indeed, "The Abrahamic covenant is remarkably inclusive, containing promises to the natural descendants of Abraham, to his spiritual sons and daughters, and indeed to Christ as well." - ICEJ [8]. Pay attention to what is promised to whom.

The promises are like the spring harvest pictured by the Feast of First Fruits and the main fall harvest pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles. Physical Israel is the spring harvest, the church is the fall harvest.

Drink My Blood

Where is the blood in the New Covenant? Jesus bled to death on the cross, but what do we do? Many are repulsed reading about drinking each others blood when making a covenant, but that's what Jesus asked us to do. And this repulsed His hearers as well.
John 6:53 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
John 6:66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” 68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. "

We learn later that Jesus was referring to a substitute, the bread and wine of the Passover ceremony. The Passover wine is a metaphor for the blood that seals our covenant with God Himself. Let's remember Peter's words "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. " Let's also remember the seriousness of a blood covenant. I certainly didn't realize the gravity of the commitment I made when I entered into a blood covenant with God. In America, we simply don't learn much about blood covenants. I entered into it with the wrong motives. Only now, 35 years later, am I beginning to understand. Am I willing to do whatever He asks to keep my end of the covenant? We have pledged our lives in this New Covenant, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 12:1


1. http://www.wondersandmarvels.com/2011/12/how-to-cure-leprosy-according-to-a-medieval-physician.html
2. https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Covenant-H-Clay-Trumbull/dp/0892280298
3. http://www.cracked.com/article_20251_the-5-most-frequently-misused-proverbs.html
4. http://www.bethtikkun.com/visuals/Torah%20Project/TPGenesis_15b.pdf
5. https://www.gotquestions.org/Abrahamic-covenant.html
6. http://www.faithwriters.com/article-details.php?id=4089
7. http://endtimepilgrim.org/bloodcove.htm
8. https://int.icej.org/content/seed-abraham

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

What's In A Name?

Consider this synopsis of the Gospel story.

Zechariah, a priest, and his wife Elizabeth begat John the Baptist, who declared that Jesus, born in Bethlehem, was both the Son of God and the lamb of God. Jesus the Christ, also known as Immanuel, was born of Joseph and Mary, and lived in Nazareth. Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot in the Garden of Gethsemene, sentenced by Pontius Pilate to die instead of Barabbas, and crucified on Golgotha. After His death, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, both members of the Sanhedrin, laid Jesus in Joseph's tomb, and Jesus was resurrected three days later.

This is not the whole of the Gospel message, but the names, places, and events are familiar to Christianity. Many believe there are no random names in the Bible, that everyone is named according to who or what they are or will become. If we look at the names involved, we will see a deeper layer of meaning. Breaking it down sentence by sentence, name by name.

Sentence One

Zechariah, a priest, and his wife Elizabeth begat John the Baptist, who declared that Jesus, born in Bethlehem, was both the Son of God and the lamb of God.

Zachariah (Zicharyah)  - God remembers. The name Zachariah consists of two parts. The ending of the name is יה, the abbreviated form of the Name of the Lord: יהוה or YHWH. The first part of the name Zacharias was taken from the verb זכר (zakar), meaning to think about, meditate, or remember. Zachariah was a Levitical priest of the line of Abijah who had a vision of the angel Gabriel while serving in the temple. Gabriel told him his wife would bear a son, and his name would be John - Incensed [1].

Elizabeth - (Elishevah) - Oath of God. Elizabeth, is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name אלישבע, Elisheba, which was the name of the wife of Aaron; the "mother of all priests". The Hebrew name Elisheba, consists of two parts. The first part is אל (El) the common abbreviation of Elohim or God. The second part is שבע (shaba), meaning oath, swear, adjure.

John the Baptist Named
John the Baptist (Jochanan) - Grace of God. The name John, or rather the Hebrew original, Johannan, consists of two elements. The first part is יה the abbreviated form of the Name of the Lord. The final part of Johannan comes from the verb חנן (hanan), meaning to be gracious. To emphasize the idea that Biblical names are not accidental, the angel Gabriel told Zacharias the baby's name would be John (Luke 1:13). Zacharias was struck dumb till the baby was named.

Jesus (Yeshua) - Salvation. The name Jesus is the Greek transliteration of the name יהושע (Joshua) and consists of two elements. The first part is the appellative יה (Yah) YHWH. The second element of the name Joshua/Jesus comes from the root-verb ישע (yasha'), meaning to save or deliver. Note how much more meaningful it is if we put the Hebrew back into Isaiah 12:1-3.
1 Then you will say on that day, "I will give thanks to You, O LORD; For although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, And You comfort me. 2 "Behold, God is my salvation (Jesus), I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation (Jesus)." 3 Therefore you will joyously draw water From the springs of salvation (Jesus).

Bethlehem - House of Bread. The name Bethlehem consists of two words. The first word is בית (bayit), the Bible's regular word for house. The second part of the name Bethlehem comes from the curious root group לחם (laham), meaning either make war or use as food. So, the name Bethlehem means House Of Bread, with the strong connotation of House Of Battle.

John 6:32-35 is called the Bread of Life Discourse of Jesus. It was given in the synagogue of Capernaum shortly after the feeding of 5000 - Wikipedia  [2].

John 6:32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” 34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.” 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
Here's what GotQuestions had to say about the  Bread of Life Discourse.
“I am the Bread of Life” (John 6:35) is one of the seven “I AM” statements of Jesus. Jesus used the same phrase “I AM” in seven declarations about Himself. Bread is such a basic food item that it becomes synonymous for food in general. Bread also plays an integral part of the Jewish Passover meal. The Jews were to eat unleavened bread during the Passover feast and then for seven days following as a celebration of the exodus from Egypt. Finally, when the Jews (Israelites) were wandering in the desert for 40 years, God rained down “bread from heaven” to sustain the nation. - GotQuestions [3]

Bethlehem was also significant because that's where the Temple lambs came from. John the Baptist (remember he was a Levitical priest) testified that Jesus was the Lamb of God`.

The bawling of sheep rang across the fields of Bethlehem. Migdal Eder, the Tower of the Flock, was the place where lambs destined for the Temple were born and raised. Every firstborn male lamb from the area around Bethlehem was considered holy, set aside for sacrifice in Jerusalem - Why Bethlehem [4]
The Tower of the Flock was probably the very place where Mary placed Jesus in a manger, just like the newborn lambs - The Birth Revisited [5]

Luke's original audience would have immediately picked up on the religious significance of the Bethlehem shepherds watching their flocks by night. Aware of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and the Jewish Temple worship of the day, they would have known that when you said Bethlehem, you said "sacrificial lambs". The hills around Bethlehem were home to the thousands of lambs used in ritual worship in the Temple.  Every day, according to the Torah, two lambs were required for a daily sacrifice in the Temple, meaning that 730 were needed each year plus the tens of thousands more lambs needed for Pesach (Passover) as well as for the other religious rituals. Everyone in Israel recognized Bethlehem as being synonymous with sacrificial lambs - The Birth Revisited [5]
We could rewrite the first sentence like this.

God remembered His covenant with His people Israel, where He promised them the grace of salvation (Is 53:6) found in the New Covenant (Jer 31:31). The mediator of this new covenant is Jesus, who is the Son of God, the Bread From Heaven, and the Lamb of God, pictured in the symbols of the Passover service.

Sentence Two

Jesus Christ, also known as Immanuel, was born of Joseph and Mary and lived in Nazareth.

Christ - Anointed One. Christos is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Mashiach. It is really a title, not a name. The English word Messiah is identical to the noun and adjective משיח (mashiah), meaning Anointed One, and comes from the Hebrew verb משח (mashah), meaning to anoint. The name Messiah is really a pseudonym for King

Immanuel - God With Us. The name Immanuel consists of three parts:
1) The Hebrew preposition עם (im), meaning 'with'.
2) The nu-part in Immanu comes from the common pronominal suffix that means 'us'.
3) The third part of the name Immanuel is the Hebrew word אל (El), the common abbreviation of the word אלהים (Elohim), denoting the genus God.

Joseph - Increaser, Repeater, Doubler. The name Joseph comes from the verb יסף (yasap) meaning to add, increase, or repeat. But wait, there's more. Based on Biblical prophecies, ancient rabbis spoke of two Messiahs, one who would fight for and deliver His people, and another who would suffer and die for His people. They call the fighter Messiah ben (son of) David, the redeemer Messiah ben (son of) Joseph, the Doubler. Hebrew For Christians [6] lists 60 parallels between the lives of Joseph, son of Jacob and Jesus the Christ. Messiah ben Joseph is the one who died on the cross. Messiah ben David will return soon in power and glory. Others dispute the authenticity of this, saying the writings about the two Messiahs are from long after Jesus' death.

Mary (Miriam) - Beloved, Bitterness, Rebellion. The name Miriam is probably Egyptian of origin, derived from a word that means Beloved. But to a Hebrew audience it may have seemed that the name Miriam came from the verb מרה (mara) meaning to be rebellious or disobedient. However, the Greek name Maria (which became Mary in the English language) may have reminded a Hebrew audience of the Hebrew and Aramaic verb מרר (marar), meaning to be bitter or strong. Jonathan Cahn said it this way "a world of bitterness and rebellion to give birth to salvation." - Book Of Mysteries [7]

Nazareth - Branch, Scattered, Sown. There is disagreement on the origin and meaning of the name Nazareth.  Some scholars believe that the name Nazareth came from the verb נצר II (nasar II), meaning to be green, and translate it as Branch, the place where Messiah would grow up as a branch, and from where He would branch out. Others believe it is from the verb זרה (zara), meaning to scatter or winnow, or זרע (zara'), meaning to scatter or sow. On the one hand, a branch from the root of Jesse, on the other hand, the parable of the sower. On the other hand, I am the vine, you are the branches, on the other hand, the parable of the wheat and tares.

We could rewrite sentence two like this.

A world of bitterness and rebellion gave birth to salvation, in the person of the Anointed One,  the Messiah whose government will increase without end. The Son of God branched out from humble beginnings to sow the seed of the Word of God.

Sentence Three

Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot in Gethsemene, sentenced by Pontius Pilate to die instead of Barabbas, and crucified on Golgotha.

Judas given 30 pieces of silver
Judas (Judah, Yehuda) - Praise. The name Judas is the Hellenized version of the Hebrew name Judah, and the name Judah comes from the Hebrew root-verb ידה, meaning to praise. How does the betrayer's name mean praise? My only theory is that ידה derives from יד meaning hand. In a sense, Judas raised his hand to Jesus. Also, Jesus was betrayed by the Jewish (Yehudim) elite. He was one of their own, just as Judas was one of His own.
Iscariot - City Dweller. The Hebrew name consists of two elements. The first element is the common Hebrew noun איש ('ish), meaning man. The second part of our name appears in the Old Testament as Kerioth, which was a town situated on the southern border of the territory of the tribe of Judah. The name Kerioth is a plural of the noun קריה (qiryah), meaning city, which comes from the verb קרה (qara), meaning to meet or get together. The Sanhedrin gathered to plot against Jesus.

Stone Olive Press
Gethsemane - (Olive) Oil Press. The name Gethsemane is Hebrew (or Aramaic) and consists of two elements. The first part comes from the word גת (gat), meaning press. The second part of our name comes from the root שמן (smn), and may either mean olive oil or eight. Isaiah wrote of Jesus death:
Is 53:10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
Jesus is the one crushed, Mark 14:34 "My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death".  The crushing betrayal of the Messiah at Gethsemane (and on the cross at Golgotha) brought forth the Holy Spirit, symbolized by the oil.  There are many parallels between the Garden of Eden and the Garden of Gethsemane.

Another interpretation might be that Jesus ushered in a new beginning, analogous to the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles.

Ecce Homo – Behold the Man
Pilate (Pilatus) - Freedman, Spear In HandSeveral commentators insist that the name Pilatus came from the derived word pilleum, which denoted a small felt hat or fez-like cap, predominantly worn by manumitted (freed) slaves to indicate their former status, or rather their newly obtained freedom. A freed slave was hence known as pilleatus or pileatus, meaning "one of the pilleum". I was upset to learn this meaning of Pilate's name, that the one who ordered Jesus execution should be a Freedman. Does this mean that humanity thinks the way to freedom is deicide (killing God)? Or that only by the death of Jesus can we really be freed from sin? Other commentators believe Pilate means spear in hand. Ultimately, Jesus was killed by a spear to the side.
Pontius - Fifth - The name Pontius either means Fifth or Belonging To The Sea. I don't understand how either of these meanings makes sense.

Barabbas - Son of the Father. The name Barabbas is Greek transliteration of a Chaldean or Aramaic name. It consists of two elements. The first part is the Chaldean or Aramaic word בר (bar), meaning son. The second part of the name Barabbas comes from the Semitic word אב (ab), basically meaning father. Jesus was also Son of the Father. In the Atonement (Yom Kippur) ceremony, two goats were presented to the High Priest, one was sacrificed, and one was sent away, a recurring theme in the Bible, see Cain and Abel [8]. Pilate unknowingly acted out Yom Kippur with Jesus and Barabbas.

Golgotha - Place of the Skull.  Golgotha is translated right in the Bible in Mark 15:22 Then they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. It's not clear why it's called Place of the Skull, whether it is due to the appearance of the hill, or the presence of skulls from previous crucifixions - Gospel Mysteries [9].

Rewriting sentence three.

Our Savior was crushed by the betrayal of a gathering of the Jews, His own people, first by His friend, and then by the High Priest and the Council, who sent Him to the Romans to be killed. As on Yom Kippur, the innocent was slain, the guilty sent away. His blood was poured out on a cross in a place called the Skull, that we may have salvation, and receive the gift of God's own Spirit as a down payment on eternal life.

Sentence Four

After His death, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, both members of the Sanhedrin, laid Jesus in Joseph's tomb, and Jesus was resurrected three days later.

Joseph - Increaser, Repeater, Doubler. Joseph was covered above. Note there were two Josephs in Jesus life, like a repeat.
Pomegranates and Bells on the High Priest's Robe
of Arimathea - The Heights. Arimathea literally means The Heights. Job 22:12 "Is not God in the heights of heaven?" God the Father was looking out for Jesus from on high. A possible interpretation could be that God magnified Jesus sacrifice.  Embedded in the name Arimathea is rimmon which means pomegranate, which adorned the robe of the High Priest, and which some say symbolizes righteousness. Perhaps Jesus life could be summed up as the Height of Righteousness.

Victory of the People
Nicodemus - Victory Of The People. The name Nicodemus is a compound of two elements. The first part of our name comes from the word νικη (nike), meaning victory. The second part of the name Nicodemus comes from the familiar noun δημος (demos), meaning people. All the people on earth have been prisoners held captive by the Adversary. Jesus has given us the victory over him. Dt 5:6 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage."

Sanhedrin - Council. From the Greek sunedrion , "a council-chamber", the supreme council of the Jewish people in the time of Christ and earlier. The Great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem had 70 members plus the High Priest. This hearkens back to the time of Moses where 70 men were chosen to help Moses judge the people - GotQuestions [10]. It also hearkens back to the "table of nations" in Gen 10, a listing of 70 nations descended from Noah. In other words, the Great Sanhedrin passed judgment on Jesus on behalf of all the nations on Earth. It was not unanimous however.

Rewriting sentence four.

Our savior's life was the height of righteousness. He won victory for all the people of earth. In his death, He freed us from bondage to sin. In His resurrection, He was set in the heights of heaven where He saves us by His life.

What's In A Name?

Taking a simple account of the Gospel and expanding the meaning of the names gives a richer, deeper story.  The Bible text has many layers of meaning.

God remembered His covenant with His people Israel, where He promised them the grace of salvation (Is 53:6) found in the New Covenant (Jer 31:31). The mediator of this new covenant is Jesus, who is the Son of God, the Bread From Heaven, and the Lamb of God, pictured in the symbols of the Passover service. A world of bitterness and rebellion gave birth to salvation, in the person of the Anointed One,  the Messiah whose government will increase without end. The Son of God branched out from humble beginnings to sow the seed of the Word of God. Our Savior was crushed by the betrayal of a gathering of the Jews, His own people, first by His friend, and then by the High Priest and the Council, who sent Him to the Romans to be killed. As on Yom Kippur, the innocent was slain, the guilty sent away. His blood was poured out on a cross in a place called the Skull, that we may have salvation, and receive the gift of God's own Spirit as a down payment on eternal life. Our savior's life was the height of righteousness. He won victory for all the people of earth. In his death, He freed us from bondage to sin. In His resurrection, He was set in the heights of heaven where He saves us by His life.


Nearly all the descriptions of the meanings of the names came from Abarim Publications. To avoid clutter, I didn't include individual references above, but this would have been difficult without the info at Abarim. I'm indebted to them. Their website is http://www.abarim-publications.com/. From there, one can research almost any name or place in the Bible. 

1. http://jlfreeman-1.blogspot.com/2015/10/incensed.html
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bread_of_Life_Discourse
3. https://gotquestions.org/bread-of-life.html
4. http://www.cbn.com/special/thenativitymovie/articles/whybethlehem.aspx
5, http://hethathasanear.com/Birth.html
6. http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Articles/Mashiach_ben_Yosef/mashiach_ben_yosef.html
7. https://www.amazon.com/Book-Mysteries-Jonathan-Cahn/dp/162998941X
8. http://jlfreeman-1.blogspot.com/2016/08/a-tale-of-two-siblings.html
9. http://www.gospel-mysteries.net/golgotha.html
10. https://gotquestions.org/Sanhedrin.html