The Ebla tablets are a collection of as many as 1800 complete clay tablets, 4700 fragments and many thousand minor chips found in the palace archivesof the ancient city of Ebla, Syria. The tablets were discovered by Italian archaeologist Paolo Matthiae and his team in 1974–75 during their excavations at the ancient city of Tell Mardikh. The tablets, which were found in situ on collapsed shelves, retained many of their contemporary clay tags to help reference them. They all date to the period between ca. 2500 BC and the destruction of the city ca. 2250 BC. Today, the tablets are being held in the Syrian museums of Aleppo, Damascus, and Idlib. Two languages appeared in the writing on the tablets: Sumerian, and a previously unknown language that used the Sumerian cuneiform script (Sumerian logograms or "Sumerograms") as a phonetic representation of the locally spoken Ebla language. The latter script was initially identified as proto-Canaanite by professor Giovanni Pettinato, who first deciphered the tablets, because it predated the Semitic languages of Canaan, like Ugaritic and Hebrew. Pettinato later retracted the designation and decided to call it simply "Eblaite", the name by which it is known today. Two languages appeared in the writing on the tablets: Sumerian, and a previously unknown language that used the Sumerian
cuneiform script (Sumerian logograms or "Sumerograms") as a phonetic representation of the locally spoken Ebla language. The latter script was initially identified as proto-Canaanite by professor Giovanni Pettinato, who first deciphered the tablets, because it predated the Semitic languages of Canaan, like Ugaritic and Hebrew. Pettinato later retracted the designation and decided to call it simply "Eblaite", the name by which it is known today3rd millennium Ebla was a polytheistic society. Some well-known Semitic deities appear at Ebla, including Dagan , Ishtar(Ashtar), Resheph (Rasap), Kamish, Hadad(Hadda), Shapash (Shipish), and some otherwise unknown ones (Kura, Nidakul), plus a few Sumerian gods (Enki and Ninki) and Hurrian gods (Ashtapi, Hebat, Ishara). The four city gates were named after the gods Dagan, Baal (Hadda), Rasap, and Utu. Overall, about forty deities are mentioned in the tablets as receiving sacrifices. Among Pettinato's controversial claims, he has also suggested that there was a change in the theophoric names shown in many of the tablets found in the archive from *El to *Yah, indicated in the example of the transition from Mika'il to Mikaya. He regards this as evidence for an early use of the divine name Yah, a god who he believes later emerged as Yahweh (YHWH). Bottero has suggested that this shift may instead indicate the popular acceptance of the Akkadian god Ea, introduced from the Sargonid Empire. Archi[ and Rainey, on the other hand, have suggested that the "-ya" is actually a diminutive ending used in shortened forms of personal names, and Müller has argued that the cuneiform sign NI should be interpreted, in this case, as an abbreviation for ì(-lí) ("god") rather than as ià (*Yah)—a view that Archi has since adopted with a modification, his reading been ì or lí. In any case, no list of gods or offerings mentions a deity by the name of Ya, and the connection with Yahweh is largely rejected today. Many ancient Hebraic names that have not been found in other Near Eastern languages have been reported to occur in similar forms in Eblaite (Adamu, H'à-wa, Jabal, Abarama, Bilhah, Ishma-el, Isûra-el, Esau, Mika-el, Mikaya, Saul, David, et al.). A large number of Biblical locations (many of them known from other sources) have also been reported to occur in the texts: for example Ashtaroth, Sinai, Jerusalem (Ye-ru-sa-lu-um), Hazor, Lachish, Gezer, Dor, Megiddo, Joppa, Ur etc. Giovanni Pettinato has also claimed to find references to Sodom and Gomorrah.
Please pray for me:
I will be going to Uganda from 24 January until 5 February. I will be visiting Ugandan soldiers I served with in Iraq. I hope to go on a sight-seeing safari and preach.
New Aramaic Resource
"The first Gospel: The Aramaic Gospel before Matthew, Mark, Luke and John" by Robert E. Aldridge
Jesus and His disciples spoke Aramaic. This book is about the first gospel, the Aramaic gospel written before the New Testament that served as a literary source for the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. From 40 to 65 AD, it was the Church's only written account of Jesus. Its influence was enormous. But by 500 AD it was declared a forbidden writing and had disappeared. Many early Christian writers spoke about it, but modern scholars have not investigated what they said. It is a forgotten writing -- almost a lost book of the Bible. What did it say?
ORDERING INFO: Go to the publisher's website, www.westbowpress.com. Click on "BOOKSTORE", and then type "The First Gospel" in the "Title, Author, ISBN" box. CONTACT INFO: Members of the media or academia may contact Mr. Aldridge by writing to PO Box 234, North Hollywood, CA 91601.
Robert E. Aldridge is an expert in early Christian literature and has written a number of articles in the field, including "The Lost Ending of the Didache." Studying the Didache gave him a greater understanding of the early Church and led him to search for other early Christian writings. Mr. Aldridge lives in Los Angeles.
Baal in the Bible
The god Baal plays a major role in the Bible, in the New Testament as well as the Old. (Jesus was accused of casting out demons in the name of Baal-zebub in Matthew 12:22-32. By this time, however, Baal had come to be a title of Satan or the Devil.)
Strictly speaking, Baal means "master," "lord," or "husband." (It is still used to mean "husband" in Modern Israeli Hebrew.) Jesus used the word "Baal" in the Semitic language he spoke in Matthew 10:24-25. Jesus said if they call the Master (or "Baal") of the house Satan, what will they call the members of his household?
In fact, one of King David's son was named "Baal is Yahweh," meaning "Yahweh is the Lord." (Another of David's sons was named Adonijah-which means "Yahweh is Adonai" or "Yahweh is Lord." Jews still use the word "Adonai" as a title for Yahweh but it simply means "Lord." The god Tammuz was also called Adonai-or in the Greek form Adonis.
Despite the fact that the word "Baal" originally meant simply "Lord" the word Baal came t o be associated with the god Baal Haddad or Lord Haddad. This is, most likely, the god that is called Baal in the Bible. (Some scholars feel that Baal Melqart, the Baal worshiped in Tyre and Sidon is the Baal referred to in the Bible. However, Baal Melqart is most likely identical with Baal Haddad. )
We did not know a lot about Canaanite religion until a Syrian farmer plowing his field accidently excavated a hoard of clay tablets, some of which were Canaanite religious texts. These important records were discovered at modern Ras Shamra. The language of the tablets is Ugarit, a Canaanite language very closely related to Hebrew.
In Canaanite mythology El is the chief God and the Creator. The word "El" simply means god and is a word used for God in the Old Testament. This word "El" is linguistically related to the Hebrew word Eloheim (which is plural for El) and the Arabic word Allah. (The word "Allah" comes from the Aramaic word for God.) In Canaanite religion El has a wife Asherah. The gods are the sons of El. One of El's sons is Dagan. He is a god of grain. The son of Dagan is Baal. (Dagan's consort was Belatu.) Baal is the God of Thunder and rain. His sister is Anath. Anath is the goddess of war and sexuality. There are various other gods and goddesses including the sun goddess Shapash. In other Semitic religions the sun god was male and was called Shamash-which is the Hebrew word for sun.
(We see here that neither Baal nor Tammuz were solar deities. Shapash or Shamash is the god (or goddess) of the sun. Baal is the god of Thunder and Tammuz is a god of shepherds. Both Baal Haddad and Tammuz were probably fertility gods. Fertility gods seem to be more important to the ancients than sun gods. A great amount of false information is put out about Baal and Tammuz. The best way to combat false information is by putting accurate information out. Our knowledge about the religions of Baal and Tammuz has been clarified by recent archeological discoveries.
There are various authorities we can consult concerning ancient Semitic religions. Canaanite religion was slightly different from Babylonian religion-which was influenced by ancient Sumerian religious beliefs.
The main ancient authority we have on "Baalism" is the "Cycle of Baal" discovered among the Ugaritic texts. It must be born in mind that the text is fragmentary and there are gaps in the texts.
The Baal Cycle
In the first part of the Baal cycle, the god Yam demands that El depose Baal as ruler and instate Yam as ruler in his place. Yam means "Sea." Later on in the tale Yam is called Lotan which is most likely the same as Leviathan. Baal must fight Yam. The craftsman of the gods, who is called Kathar-wa-Khasis, crafts weapons for Baal. Kathar-wa-Khasis means "Skillful and Wise" and he is the Egyptian god Ptah. With these two weapons he defeated Yam and reclaimed his throne. Afterwards, Baal Hadad decides that he needs a palace like the rest of the gods. He asks his sister-lover Anath, the goddess of love and war, to make known his request to El and then also to Ashterah, the mother of the gods. Gaining permission, Kathar-wa-Khasis builds him a royal palace. Later, Baal defies Mot, the god of death. Eventually, it is determined that Baal must submit to death. Shapash, the goddess of the sun, gains an allowance of time before he turns himself over to death. He is allowed a conjugal visit with the "heifer" (probably Anath) before he dies. As he is the god of rain, the consequence of his death is drought and famine. Anath appeals to El concerning Baal. El sees in a dream that Baal has resurrected. Anath descends into Sheol and kills Mot and grinds him into powder. The sun goddess searches the world for Baal asking "Jezebel" meaning "Where is Baal." Finally, Baal reveals himself. Mot has reconstituted himself. Baal and Mot fight with each other. They are equal in strength and are unable to defeat each other. At long last, El pronounces Baal as king. Baal establishes his rule.
The reason this is important is that so-called "Anti-Missionary" groups such as "Jews for Judaism" (which is in actuality a hate group) try to point to Baal and Tammuz to prove that Yeshua (Jesus) is not the Messiah and that "Christianity" is based on paganism. I believe in the Bible. But, the argument can be made that Judaism is based on paganism. It can be argued that the story of Noah's Ark is based on the Babylonian "Epic of Gilgamesh."
It can be argued that the Law of Moses inscribed on Tablets of Stone are based on the Law-code of Hammurabi which is an inscribed stone tablet containing laws that Hammurabi claims that he received from the sun-god Shamash.
Ancient Egyptian's used Arks.
Ancient pagan temples discovered in Syria older than Solomon's Temple have the same layout and design as the Temple of Yahweh.
The ancient Midianites worshiped in Tabernacles in the desert and used brass serpents similar to the one Moses built.
So, now we know from archeological evidence that ancient pagans worshiped in Temples similar to Solomon's Temple, they used Law-codes inscribed on stone tablets, used Arks similar to the Ark of the Covenant and used Brass Serpents.
I do not believe that Judaism is based on paganism. What I am trying to do is to demonstrate the falsity of the argument that Christianity is based on paganism. There are also important differences between the ancient Israelites and their pagan neighbors. Knowing about ancient Israel's neighbors and their beliefs also helps us to read the Bible like the ancient and to understand the culture of Biblical times.
Assad promises to fight on
Syrian President Bashar Assad vowed Tuesday to respond to threats against him with an "iron hand" and refused to step down, insisting he still has his people's support despite the 10-month-old uprising against him. In his first speech since June, Assad repeated claims that a foreign conspiracy and terrorists are behind the unrest -- not true reform-seekers. "Our priority now is to regain security which we basked in for decades, and this can only be achieved by hitting the terrorists with an iron hand," Assad said in a nearly two-hour speech at Damascus University, where he stood at a podium flanked by Syrian flags. "We will not be lenient with those who work with outsiders against the country."
Hopefully, the Syrian people will continue to work for the overthrow of Mr. Assad who is a brutal dictator-a friend of radical Shiite Muslim and no true friend of Christianity nor of the Christian community of Syria.
Iran's threats and Iranian Scientist killed
Iran has been threatening to close down the Straits of Hormuz. If it does-and it is very likely to do it-it would be an act of war-and war will follow. The United States has accused Iran of bluffing. Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, 32, was killed today after a magnetic explosive device was slipped under his car by a motorcyclist and then detonated, according to Iranian news reports. It's a tactic one Iranian semi-official outlet, Fars News, noted was similar to the failed assassination of university professor Fereidoun Abbassi Davani in 2010. Davani is now the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization. Another nuclear scientist, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, was killed almost exactly two years ago by a remote-controlled bomb attached to his car. Roshan is the fourth scientist linked to Iran's nuclear program killed in the past two years. He was a chemistry engineer, serving as professor at a Tehran university as well as a deputy director of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, Fars News reported. Roshan's driver was wounded in the blast and later died. Hours after the attack, Iranian officials accused the U.S. and Israel of being behind the assassination, the latest in a string of incidents apparently aimed at disrupting Iran's nuclear program that Israeli and western intelligence agencies are suspected of spearheading. "America and Israel's heinous act will not change the course of the Iranian nation," the Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said in a statement, referring to the bombing.
My opinion is that America and or Israel was involved in this assassination. And I think it was the right thing to do. The ultimate goal of the Iranians is to build a nuclear bomb and to perhaps use it. If they do-millions will die. (See Norman Podhertz's World War IV for the possible scenario.
Jesus rebuked James and John the Sons of Thunder (Aramaic , Boanerges-meaning basically "Tempestuous Ones"-literally, "Sons of the Storm-wind" ) they wanted to call down fire from heaven and destroy and entire city of Samaritans. Jesus said to them (according to Luke's Gospel), I have come not to destroy men's lives but to save them. I believe we must wage warfare against radical Islam. This is a just and necessary war. However, we should avoid using a nuclear bomb. If we have to go to war against Iran to prevent up to four million people being killed in a nuclear conflagration-we should do it. Hopefully, it would be an air force bombing mission. War is a terrible thing-but sometimes it is necessary. We have a major conceptional error on the War on Terror-this is a battle of ideas. Our efforts should be concentrated on discrediting and delegitimizing the ideology of Islamism-including the life of Mohammad and the contents of the Koran. If we attack an evil ideology perhaps less people would die. But until we deal with the ideology-it will continue to be a threat to every non-Muslim.
Supreme court decides to protect Religious Liberty
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a groundbreaking case, the Supreme Court on Wednesday held for the first time that religious employees of a church cannot sue for employment discrimination. But the court's unanimous decision in a case from Michigan did not specify the distinction between a secular employee, who can take advantage of the government's protection from discrimination and retaliation, and a religious employee, who can't. It was, nevertheless, the first time the high court has acknowledged the existence of a "ministerial exception" to anti-discrimination laws — a doctrine developed in lower court rulings. This doctrine says the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of religion shields churches and their operations from the reach of such protective laws when the issue involves employees of these institutions.
This was a unanimous ruling and important. Discrimination laws-designed to discriminate against Christians for their religious beliefs-are the greatest threats to religious freedom in the United States and around the world today. See "Silenced: the War against Christians" by Don Wildman-and its video series with Janet Parshall.
No praying in Jesus Name
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a North Carolina county commission over the mostly Christian prayers offered at the beginning of its public meetings. The justices on Tuesday left in place a federal appeals court ruling that held that the predominantly Christian prayers at the start of Forsyth County commission meetings violated the First Amendment's prohibition on government endorsement of a particular religion. The commission said its doors have long been open to religious leaders of many faiths. But the appeals court in Richmond, Va., found that more than three-quarters of the 33 invocations given before meetings between May 2007 and December 2008 referred to "Jesus," ''Jesus Christ," ''Christ" or "Savior."
My feeling about this: America is-and should be a Christian nation-that allows religious liberty. After all, Jesus Christ is called "Our Lord" in the United States constitution. No one should be prevented from praying in "Jesus Name" in any occasion whatsoever. This is a bad precedent. No Muslim would be prevented from praying an Islamic prayer-but we are instituting rules that discriminate against Christians.
Check out www.nestorian.org This website has a lot of good information on the history of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Aramaic Christian heritage.
Israel ends African Jewish Customs
ASHKELON, Israel (AP) — Israel is closing the books on a rare millennia-old Jewish tradition. Nearly three decades after Israel began airlifting Ethiopia's ancient Jewish community out of the Horn of Africa, Israel's rabbis are now working to phase out the community's white-turbaned clergy, the kessoch, whose unusual religious practices are at odds with the rabbinate's Orthodox Judaism. The effort has added to the sense of discrimination felt by Israel's 120,000 Ethiopian citizens. These sentiments boiled over this month after a group of landlords in the southern town of Kiryat Malachi refused to accept them as tenants, prompting a large rally planned for Wednesday across from Israel's parliament. "We are just like all the other Jews. We don't have any other religion," said Kess Semai Elias, 42. Descendants of the lost Israelite tribe of Dan, according to Jewish lore, Ethiopian Jews spent millennia isolated from the rest of the Jewish world. In most Jewish communities, the priesthood of the Bible was replaced by rabbis who emphasized text study and prayer. Ethiopia's Jewish kessoch continued the traditions of Biblical-era priests, sacrificing animals and collecting the first fruits of the harvest. The two traditions diverged so much that the first trickle of Ethiopian Jewish immigrants to Israel were asked to undergo a quickened conversion ceremony to appease rabbis who were dubious about their religious pedigree. When Israeli clandestine operations rescued large groups of Ethiopian Jews from war and famine in the 1980s and early 1990s, a rabbinic consensus was reached and the newcomers did not have to convert — except for a group known as the Falash Mura, whose ancestors were forcibly converted to Christianity generations before. The 58 kessoch who arrived in Israel in those early days maintained their leadership role in the Ethiopian Jewish community, and in 1992 successfully lobbied the Israeli government to grant them salaries and status similar to those of government rabbis. But as the aging clergy began ordaining a new generation of kessoch over the past decade, and those new leaders also wanted recognition, Israel's rabbinate objected. After public demonstrations and a brief hunger strike, the newly ordained kessoch struck a bittersweet deal last month with Israel's ministry of religious services. The ministry would finally implement a 2010 government resolution to recognize 13 of them and give them state salaries. But Israel's state rabbis made it very clear to the new kessoch: They would be the last. "It's for the best," said Rabbi Yosef Hadana, 63, of the Israeli rabbinate.
Apparently, the "Beta Israel" " Black Jews of Ethiopia have their origins in Coptic Ethiopian Christians who were Judaizers and converted to Judaism. However, they had no contacts with other Jewish communities, so they formed their own form of Judaism that was strictly based on Scriptures and not on Rabbinic tradition. Therefore, their form of Judaism is more Biblically based than modern Jewish sects. Judaism, as it exists today, is not the Biblical faith. It is as different from biblical Judaism as Christianity is.
Persian Women's Rights Activist Murdered in Houston, Texas by Iranian Government?
The shooting death of 30-year-old Gelareh Bagherzadeh: In prior interviews with the Houston Chronicle about her protest activities against the Iranian government, Bagherzadeh requested that she not use her last name because she feared for her safety, the newspaper reports. Police have said the woman's body was discovered early Monday inside her car. The vehicle had crashed into a luxury townhouse development and its motor was still running when responding officers arrived at the scene. Bagherzadeh's purse and cellphone were found inside the vehicle. Houston Police Department spokesman Victor Senties told the Associated Press that Bagherzadeh, who was born in France and raised Iranian, was active in promoting Iranian women's rights. Investigators are not sure if the shooting was related to those activities. Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/01/18/iranian-student-activist-fatally-shot-in-houston/#ixzz1jr1NKD2F
Please Remember my blog and youtube. I have had over 300,000 hits on my youtube and now I am putting up a teaching video every week. www.youtube.com/aramaic12.