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  1. It was impressive to hear that Worthy has a ministry in the Holy Land. A. Can we learn more specifics about Worthy Ministries and its work, like some stories about how it has gone? I found a nice article in Messianic Times about a tour George was doing in the US: https://www.messianictimes.com/news/community/j/item/1916-george-and-rivkah-whitten-share-at-beth-messiah It must be courageous work, ministering in such a community directly. The Worthy News website says: This is impressive that you are helping spiritually hungry people in the region. Were there some unfortunate obstacles to becoming a 501c3? B. Can we learn about Kehilat Matan Todah and the Project Hear O Israel? I only found this webpage summary (http://sevenfoldsministry.tripod.com/) Peace - Shalom.
  2. Hello! It was impressive to hear that Worthy has a ministry in the Holy Land. A. Can we learn more specifics about Worthy Ministries and its work, like some stories about how it has gone? I found a nice article in Messianic Times about a tour George was doing in the US: It must be courageous work, ministering in such a community directly. The Worthy News website says: This is impressive that you are helping spiritually hungry people in the region. Were there some unfortunate obstacles to becoming a 501c3? B. And where can we hear about the Project Hear O Israel? I found this webpage summary (http://sevenfoldsministry.tripod.com/)
  3. These three sites also tend to suggest "behold" as a central meaning: http://www.biblelandstudies.com/Hey.html http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/137077/jewish/Hei-The-Deed.htm http://www.hebrewtoday.com/content/hebrew-alphabet-letter-hei-ה The basic image is a person with his hands up. It could be praise, beholding, or showing his hands, bringing to mind Jesus showing his hands. The Chabad website cites Isaiah 25 where it uses the word "Behold" with "Hi-" One could check Strong's dictionary for more information on Behold as "Hi-" Also, I am not the only person to notice this connection. I found out about this topic when researching the discussion on the piercing of the hands in Psalm 22, finding the claim that YHWH desciphers as ARM BEHOLD NAIL BEHOLD. One can look at the websites discussing this for more details. And one can also check the three passages of Isaiah 52-53, Psalm 22, and Zechariah 11-13 to see how these concepts repeat in each.
  4. The result for some has been that YHWH deciphers as Arm Behold Nail Behold, and they see this as a reference to Christ showing his arms/hands pierced by nails to Thomas in John 20, whereupon Thomas says "My Lord and My God". This whole pattern strongly brings to mind Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, and Zechariah 11-13 that describe Messiah as pierced and talk about his wounded or pierced arm(s).
  5. I. Jewish traditions and mystics have over the centuries tried to find inner meanings in the sacred name of the Lord using its letters. The name of the Lord itself is called the Tetragramaton, meaning the "Four Letters". For reference, a fictional movie was made on the topic called "Pi", which related the Name to the Fibonacci sequence. Reverence for the name was shown in the Old Testament period by sometimes replacing YHWH in the Biblical text with Adonai, meaning Lord. Numerous names included references to YHWH, including perhaps the Hebrew name for Jesus, Yeshua, and others like Yehoshua, Yeshayahu. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeshua) In the New Testament, we find numerous references to the Lord, rather than the name YHWH being explicit. The Lord's name is important in the New Testament, and that name is Jesus, and it is also Yahweh. Note also how Jesus' name is said to come from the Lord in some NT manuscripts: ^ My guess is that the original read like the footnote says, because otherwise this underlined phrasing becomes redundant: "While I was with them in the world,[b]I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept". This passage seems to be suggesting that Jesus ("Yeshua") received Yahweh's name. In looking for an inner meaning in the name YHWH, I am not looking for the plain linguistic meaning (PSHAT), discussed in Moses' talk with the Lord in Exodus 3: By the way, I do not understand what the author means in the underlined bold part above. II. One rare way to interpret the inner meaning of words in Jewish tradition and mysticism has been to use the pictoral meanings and names of the words' letters. This would have actually been the normal way to read the letters had Hebrew been a pictoral language like Chinese, or to some extent Egyptian or Sumerian. However, while retaining traces of development out of pictoral script, ancient Hebrew was not itself relying on a pictoral-based alphabet. The Chabad website has an article deciphering the words for Passover and Pharaoh in Hebrew using the words' original letters' pictoral meanings: This book below gives a long discussion on this inner meaning of Passover. Below is an excerpt: Here is another explanation: III. Using this method with YHWH, the concepts of arm, behold, nail, behold seem to appear. Hebrew letters in the time of David and, before him, the Torah, used an alphabet wherein the letters looked more like the objects they were named after. Hence, the Hebrew letter called "yod" looked more like a "hand" than it does today. According to Jewish Encyclopedia, the letter ' , pronounced y and called "yod" refers to arm/hand. (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/15114-yod) Also, according to the same encyclopedia, the letter l , pronounced w and called "waw" refers to nail/hook. My first problem is the question: What does the original pictogram for Heh/Hey mean? It looked like a man with his arms upraised. Below you can see the Hebrew Letter in its early form: Next here is how the letter looked like in Phoenician and in Middle Hebrew, the script in which David wrote his Psalms. This was before the current Assyrian or "Ashurite" script was adopted. Some possible explanations for the meaning of the letter Heh: A. Creating or taking/giving oneself B. Behold Do you agree with what I underlined in the quote above? C. (The meaning is unknown) D. Behold, breath, or creative breath E. Jubilation, window
  6. Good answer, Zemke! I think this is legitimate as an explanation. There can be different good, reasonable ways to deal with the passage. Do you have to approve my Likes, before they appear? Thanks to both of you for writing in!
  7. Psalm 40 ascribes the Psalm to David and describes the Lord hearing his cry for salvation and bringing him out of a pit. Below is the JPT translation with Hebrew: 1. For the conductor, of David a song. אלַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר: 2. I have greatly hoped for the Lord, and He extended [His ear] to me and heard my cry. בקַוֹּה קִוִּיתִי יְהֹוָה וַיֵּט אֵלַי וַיִּשְׁמַע שַׁוְעָתִי: 3. And He drew me up out of the roaring pit, from the thick mire, and He set my feet upon a rock, He established my steps. גוַיַּעֲלֵנִי | מִבּוֹר שָׁאוֹן מִטִּיט הַיָּוֵן וַיָּקֶם עַל סֶלַע רַגְלָי כּוֹנֵן אֲשֻׁרָי: 4. He put a new song into my mouth, a praise to our God, so that many may see and fear, and trust in the Lord. דוַיִּתֵּן בְּפִי | שִׁיר חָדָשׁ תְּהִלָּה לֵאלֹהֵינוּ יִרְאוּ רַבִּים וְיִירָאוּ וְיִבְטְחוּ בַּיהֹוָה: I. By ascribing the Psalm to David, the Psalm makes itself implicitly Messianic. It suggests that David, whom the Tanakh calls the "Sweet Singer of Israel", wrote the Psalm, sang it, or that it otherwise belonged to him directly. The Psalm becomes Messianic in the eyes of the Tanakh's audience, because the Tanakh repeatedly refers to the Messiah allegorically as "David". (eg. Isaiah 55, Ezekiel 34 and 37, and also in the books of Jeremiah and Hosea). The Psalm is also Messianic due to verse 4, where it says that his new song brings "many" to trust in the Lord. The "many" or "multidudes" in the Tanakh is commonly a reference to the "many nations" (eg. in Isaiah 52-53). Turning the many nations to the Lord is a duty of the Messiah (eg. in Is. 11). II. The Psalm's reference to the Lord bringing him out of the roaring pit and mire and onto a rock is a reference to resurrection. This is because the "pit" in the Psalms refers to the state of physical death. By saying that the Lord drew him out of the pit, it means that David was in that pit of the state of death and then that the Lord drew him out of it. One scholar notes how "the Pit" was a reference to the state of death: L. Bronner says something similar about the concept of the pit in Psalm 16: III. Verse 7 is interesting, because it says the Lord gouged ("Karah") ears for him. Here is the JPT: You dug (karah) ears for me אָזְנַיִם כָּרִיתָ לִּי עוֹלָה This is relevant because earlier in Psalm 22, in some text variants, it says that the narrator's enemies gouged (Hebrew: karu; Greek LXX: oruksan) his hands. Verse 7 about the gouging of the ears shows that David is able to use gouging (karah) as a verb metaphorically describing gouging performed on one's body. The gouging of the ears therefore in Psalm 40:7 opens up the possibility that David is using a similar expression of gouging the hands in Psalm 22. Psalm 40 itself has major elements in common with Psalm 22. They both describe the narrator as being "encompassed" by evil, hunted by enemies, being in a state of death (Psalm 22 has it "the dust of death"; Psalm 40 has "a roaring Pit" and "thick mire"), as crying for help, as the Lord saving him, then the narrator praising the Lord to the assembly, and the righteous praising the Lord: 10. I brought tidings of righteousness in a great assembly. Behold, I will not withhold my lips, O Lord, You know. יבִּשַּׂרְתִּי צֶדֶק | בְּקָהָל רָב הִנֵּה שְׂפָתַי לֹא אֶכְלָא יְהֹוָה אַתָּה יָדָעְתָּ: 11. I did not conceal Your charity within my heart; I stated Your faith and Your salvation-I did not withhold Your kindness and truth-to a great assembly. יאצִדְקָתְךָ לֹא כִסִּיתִי | בְּתוֹךְ לִבִּי אֱמוּנָתְךָ וּתְשׁוּעָתְךָ אָמָרְתִּי לֹא כִחַדְתִּי חַסְדְּךָ וַאֲמִתְּךָ לְקָהָל רָב: 13. For countless evils have encompassed me יגכִּי אָפְפוּ עָלַי 15. May those who seek my soul to destroy it be shamed and embarrassed together; may those who seek to harm me retreat and be humiliated. טויֵבֹשׁוּ וְיַחְפְּרוּ | יַחַד מְבַקְשֵׁי נַפְשִׁי לִסְפּוֹתָהּ יִסֹּגוּ אָחוֹר וְיִכָּלְמוּ חֲפֵצֵי רָעָתִי: 16. May they be bewildered afterwards because of their shame, those who say about me, "Aha! Aha!" טזיָשֹׁמּוּ עַל עֵקֶב בָּשְׁתָּם הָאֹמְרִים לִי הֶאָח | הֶאָח: 17. All who seek You shall exult and rejoice; those who love Your salvation shall constantly say, "May the Lord be magnified." יזיָשִׂישׂוּ וְיִשְׂמְחוּ | בְּךָ כָּל מְבַקְשֶׁיךָ יֹאמְרוּ תָמִיד יִגְדַּל יְהֹוָה אֹהֲבֵי תְּשׁוּעָתֶךָ: IV. One of the controversies about seeing this Psalm as Messianic however, is that in the course of the Psalm, it talks about the narrator's "iniquities". One possible explanation is that these iniquities are those that the Messiah is bearing on behalf of others, as the Messiah is described as doing in Isaiah 53. For more information, see: The Uses of the Old Testament in the New, By Walter C. Kaiser, https://books.google.com/books?id=k7ZKAwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq="psalm+40"+messianic+OR+messiah+OR+resurrection&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj6-5LZ8eXRAhVLwiYKHd_tB7MQ6AEIlgMwRQ#v=onepage&q="psalm 40" messianic OR messiah OR resurrection&f=false
  8. gdemoss: Thanks for your lengthy response. The spiritual things you said are nice, although I am not sure how that would prove or disprove transubstantiation, other than what you said " Bread is bread. Wine is wine. " This though I think cannot be said in an absolute way under the Biblical ideas, since Jesus says "this is my body", as opposed to, say, "this is only bread". As a matter of exegesis, I don't know anyplace in the Bible where Jesus pointed to a specific, real life object and said "this is", naming a second specific real life object and meant it only metaphorically. Anyway, I don't want to make too much out of this one issue. I don't have a big opinion on the Catholic v Lutheran debate as to which side is Biblical. Only if I accept a strong materialistic preference in interpreting the Bible would I prefer the Calvinist/Zwinglian answer about the food to be the Biblical one. But my point in the thread is just to see a pattern on maybe a dozen issues where Calvin or other Reformed pick the materialistic side of debates involving the supernatural. There are many writings that describe Calvin as using Reason and the Natural Order. But I haven't found anything explaining why as a rule in the Reformed system the material and naturalistic explanations for supernatural Christian traditions are by default and as a pattern seen as strongly preferable. A good example is where Calvin writes about the Lutherans and the debate over the moving rock: Their second objection is more foolish and more childish -- "How could a rock," say they, "that stood firm in its place, follow the Israelites?" -- as if it were not abundantly manifest, that by the word rock is meant the stream of water, which never ceased to accompany the people. As a matter of normal reading of literature, once I have no problem with seeing events in it as supernatural, if I accept Calvin's claim that the rock here is a visible object, I have no problem in imagining that it miraculously moved. I don't see why it is so "abundantly manifest" that the word "rock" means "stream of water" to the point where the Lutheran question about this is "foolish". As a matter of common speech, I don't see how the words can be the same. Luke Skywalker moving a rock with the Force. If Luke can do this, I don't know why as a matter of the paranormal this could not be meant to happen in the Torah if Paul actually said that a physical object, "rock", was following them and moving. Let me give a fifth example besides those I've listed. Are you familiar with the story of the dry bones rising in Ezekiel 37? Why cannot this story be an actual prophecy about a real, physical resurrection? Reformed theologian William Young writes in John Calvin on the Visions of Ezekiel: E. A. De Boer, professor of the Theological University of the Reformed Churches, writes the same thing in his book John Calvin on the Visions of Ezekiel: Historical and Hermeneutical Studies : https://books.google.com/books?id=RR0_7RuCXhgC&pg=PA182&lpg=PA182&dq="Ezeki el+37"++calvin+commentary&source=bl&ots=IsCZQ-ouhb&sig=vsYxNo-dvvv9GixewLS7UOIPzzg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjj3638o IfMAhUCaD4KHfJxDQAQ6AEINDAE#v=onepage&q="Ezekiel 37" calvin commentary&f=false In case they mistakenly misrepresented Calvin, it still means that the two Reformed theologians are promoting a reading of Ezekiel 37 that is not a prophecy of a supernatural physical resurrection. I don't know why once we accept the supernatural that such a reading of a physical resurrection being actually predicted is ruled out. Even if the context is Israel, a resurrection still makes sense in the context, as Israel's dead would get physically resurrected too in Judaism's beliefs.
  9. Gdemoss, The way that you think about the scriptures appeals to me on an emotional level. Based on your answer, you seem to be quite open to the supernatural, having a personal preference to accept it when that is the normal meaning of scripture. Accepting scripture's real meaning, supernatural or not is your goal, and supernaturalism is not a major obstacle to you. You seem like the kind of person who, after Jesus says in John 6 " I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world... Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. ", and Jesus follows this by asking "Doth this offend you?", would be the kind of person who would answer: "Whatever you say, Jesus, I agree". In the verses leading up to Jesus' question, Jesus never specified whether he was talking about something supernatural or not. The famous Reformed writer Gill says about Jesus' question and about John 6's statement that "many disciples" left Jesus because they couldn't handle this teaching: In other words, Jesus was saying that if the "many disciples" could not handle the teaching that they must eat Jesus' body corporeally (with their mouths), then their mentality couldn't handle the teaching of Jesus' bodily Ascension either. In contrast, in being so open to the supernatural, you seem to be quite open to Jesus' teachings, whether they seem materialistically "absurd" or not. This raises a fourth issue in which the Reformed approach reveals a naturalistic reading of the text: the question of the Eucharistic bread. Communion elements Luther took the view that Jesus' flesh had become a spirit body, and so that Jesus' body in "spirit mode" could be in communion bread, just like he proposed that it went in and through the wall in John 20. Paul talks about spirit bodies in 1 Corinthians 15:44 : "They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies." Calvin's view though was that since Jesus' body was human and in heaven, it was impossible for it to be "invisible" on earth in bread, as he explained in his Institutes. For me, if I accept a supernatural idea of Jesus having a spirit body that can go into matter, I don't have a problem as an issue of logic with Jesus' spirit body going into communion bread. However, if I accept a stricter naturalistic view of Jesus' body, then I would be sympathetic to Calvin's view. In normal modern naturalistic perceptions of the human body, we don't think of it becoming invisible or going in spirit mode into bread. So for me to advocate the latter, Reformed view that Jesus is not actually in communion bread, it would lead me to ask why I should rely on more naturalistic premises on this topic.
  10. Saved34, I should have made it clearer. You are well on the right track. Calvin over and over came back to an emphasis on the "natural order" like Hesselnik explains, and he used a test of "reasonableness" vs. "absurdity"/"foolishness" on supernatural issues that he disagreed with Lutherans and Catholics about. He took the position that the Catholics and Lutherans were "ignorant". Now, I am not necessarily arguing here that Calvin is wrong when he says that something is just natural or that it didn't really happen. I am trying to unpack his logic and find out the premises behind these kinds of judgments. For example, why does he call the Catholics' claim that they have a group of exorcists who cast out demons "a compound of ignorant and stupid falsehoods"? How does he know that the Catholics can never show anyone reasonably that they succeeded in their work? It seems to me that the unstated reason for his intense skepticism is that casting out demons is not something that can be proven in a material way. In my opening post I just gave three examples for the sake of brevity, but I can think of seven or so others. It is hard for me to claim to you that Calvinists look for natural explanations most of the time overall. However, when Calvin does argue with Catholics and Lutherans over whether something supernatural happened, it stands out to me personally that Calvin always picks the naturalistic explanation. I am not trying to claim that Reformed don't care about the Bible or that they don't believe that God can do anything supernatural. But in the late renaissance when their movement started, whenever they had a definite argument against Lutherans and Catholics on a question of the supernatural, they had a very strong pattern of picking the natural explanation. It's true that nowadays there is a section of Reformed Christians who believe we are in the End Times and they have supernatural expectations about it. But this is a different mentality than Reformed had in the 16th century. Calvin never even wrote a commentary on Revelation, even though he wrote detailed commentaries on almost every other book in the Bible.
  11. This is a great explanation by you, Ezra. The quote you gave is from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scholasticism It's a good point that Calvin came our of a movement that used scholasticism to reach conclusions about religion and reality. Knowledge was to be reached by "rigorous" reasoning, as it explains. However, to simply leave it at that is not enough. The Catholic writers who came before Calvin and who used scholasticism were fine with proposing that the preincarnate Jesus was a "spiritual rock" who was actually following the Israelites in the desert like the cloud and the pillar of fire did. They were OK as a matter of their logic with accepting that Jesus was supernaturally present there in the desert. Likewise, the scholastic Catholics did not have a logic problem with thinking that there were real demon beings who Christian exorcists succeeded in casting out with prayers in the medieval period. When I think of the issue purely in terms of logic and fully allow for the supernatural, I don't have a problem thinking that Christian exorcists succeed occasionally in their work. So it seems to be not just a matter of Calvin using scholasticism - and you are right that he did include that method -, but also a matter of Calvin reaching certain conclusions based on his strong emphasis on the natural order like John Hesselnik wrote about in the quote I gave in my first message above. So I am looking to see if Reformed writers have explained more about this. Thanks again for writing in about this.
  12. OK, Thanks for explaining, Omegaman. I had written: "So I am looking to see if Reformed writers have ever laid out the basis for their premises in this naturalistic aspect of their reasoning." I think that it's forwards to explain your basis for judging texts. A person has certain presuppositions. Leaving them stated or unstated is not backwards or forwards. When a person turns to a text saying something like "the spiritual rock followed the Israelites, and the rock was Christ", (Cf. 1 Cor 10:3-4), the reader has a choice of how to read this. Paul doesn't say about that verse explicitly "this verse I just wrote means..." The verse requires interpreting. And the reader has a choice of whether to read that naturally or supernaturally. A person who strongly prefers a naturalistic interpretation will pick that materialistic reading. Of course, he might not admit that he is picking it for that reason or being materialistic, but that naturalistic preference can still be his guiding spirit. So in Calvin's case, his reasoning was that hard, visible, physical "rocks" don't follow people, so the word must not mean "rock" but some other piece of nature - in this case a stream - that does move. It appears to be what happened that he read the text itself as saying that a visible rock was actually moving in the desert, but then he thought that this doesn't happen, so "rock" must mean another word instead of "rock". And instead of explaining that he was using naturalistic criteria and explaining his premises, he just announced that his conclusion about rock = stream was, in his words, "abundantly manifest". It's like if I told you that I saw a ball of fire fly through the air in the Texas desert and you, not being familiar with such phenomena, said that it was "abundantly manifest" that I must mean another object instead, but without ever explaining that you were using your experience in nature as your criteria. So I am looking to see if Calvinist writers ever explained their premises when they picked a naturalistic or sensory explanation of religious phenomena or claims.
  13. OK, how about this: I think people stopped believing in Santa not just if they caught their parents hiding presents, but if they figured Santa Claus couldn't fit down the chimney. Isn't that holding Santa to materialistic, naturalistic criteria to judge if he really goes down chimneys? When we say that the bishop in Switzerland didn't have a supernatural vision of the angels and apostle Peter or that Mary didn't bless the spring, aren't we using a kind of naturalistic test to debunk it too? When the major Reformed theologian J. Mede implies that people in the Bible didn't have actual demons, isn't he using materialistic criteria to say that? I am trying to see if Reformed writers ever explained this, instead of just saying that they were using "common sense". Because some other people use common sense to think that there were real demons in Bible times or that the bishop had a real vision. So I am trying to see what the reasoning is.
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