FACTS ABOUT THE BIBLE – BY JOHN LEHTI "MONEY IN A FISH'S MOUTH!"
Aramaic, the language which Jesus spoke, is still used in parts of Syria today in its original form with the same idiomatic phrases and slang. One old expression is "you can find a shekel in the mouth of a fish." Meaning: If you catch a good fish you can always sell it easily at the market..............When Jesus was in Capernaum and the Roman tax-collector asked for the head tax everyone paid to Rome (two silver coins, worth a shekel), Jesus told Peter, who was a fisherman, to go- catch a fish which would have a piece of money in it's mouth (Matt.17:27) Many authorities are agreed he was using the slang of the day- in other words, to catch a fish good enough to sell on the market for a shekel and thus pay their tax. During the 1st century A.D., when the Greeks were translating the Gospels into their own language, they had no understanding of the true meaning of these Aramaic expressions and so the story came out as though Peter actually caught a fish swimming around with a piece of money in its mouth- which doesn't mean Jesus COULDN'T work a miracle in this case, for he raised the dead and healed many who were blind and lame, but it is interesting to note he never performed miracles for his own comfort and benefit!
Someone's response from the internet: "I found this article interesting. I don't like when people explain away the miracles of God but this one is different for me. I like the fact that he says, "it doesn't mean Jesus couldn't work a miracle in this case."This explanation makes sense to me especially after learning another language and a different culture's slang. Since Peter was a fisherman that makes sense too. I think Jesus was practical as well as miraculous! What do you think?"
The problem with the idea that Jesus was just telling Peter to buy a fish and sell it is that the Temple required each person to pay a half-sheqel tax-each Jewish man that is. There is no way someone was going to pay a silver shekel for a fish! A shekel would be the equivalent of several hundred dollars for most people in the first century. I discuss this more in depth in my book "Christ the Man." Knowing Biblical languages such as Aramaic is important. However, it is equally important to know the culture of the times-including the value of currencies. Here John Lehti (and George Lamsa) are wrong!
From Aleph to Tau
Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida has put up a very interesting page on their site. It begins as a view of the Milky Way Galaxy viewed from a distance of 10 million light years and then Zooms in towards Earth in powers of ten. 10 million, to one million, to 100,000 light years and then it finally reaches a large Oak tree. If ever there was a witness to creation, these folks have captured it for our viewing pleasure! Once you click on the site, the software does all the work. Sit back and imagine how perfect our universe is! You can play it forward and backward to be amazed over and over. At the end it says AUTO....click on that and review the process in reverse! http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/scienceopticsu/powersof10/
Caught in the Middle: The U.S. and Syrian Christians Eric Metaxas, BreakPoint Monday, June 04, 2012 http://www.religiontoday.com/columnists/breakpoint/caught-in-the-middle-the-u-s-and-syrian-christians.html
This past Memorial Day weekend, while Americans were traveling to cookouts, U.N. officials were travelling to Houla, a cluster of villages north of Homs, the epicenter of the Syrian uprising. The massacre of 108 civilians was only the most recent atrocity in a 15-month-old conflict that has killed between 13,000 and 19,000 people, most of them civilians. In an epic understatement, the New York Times declared that the massacre "raised questions about the viability" of a peace plan being promoted by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. It's tempting to mock the credulousness of those who, despite ample historical evidence to the contrary, still think that outsiders can impose their vision of a more just society on Syria. But that would be wrong if for no other reason than the "international community" seems intent on doing just that. Instead, it's the time for asking hard questions of those who are arguing for a greater American involvement in Syria. I say "American" because the simple truth is that, in matters like these, if the U.S. avoids getting involved, the rest of the world is neither willing nor able to intervene effectively: They'll have to settle for harsh language. One of the hardest questions is this: What will become of Syria's substantial Christian population? The U.S. never asked this question about Iraq's Christian population before it invaded that country and the result was catastrophic for people whose ancestors, in the words of an earlier broadcast, "worshipped Jesus Christ back when most of ours worshipped trees and practiced the occasional human sacrifice." Syrian Christians, who comprise 10 percent of the population and who can trace their roots back to the first people to be called "Christians" (see Acts 15), know that story all too well. Their concerns and misgivings were the subject of a recent article in the New York Review of Books. An Orthodox Christian in Aleppo, Syria's largest city, called the Assad regime "very bad," an opinion for which he was arrested. At the same time, he pointed out that Syrian Christians are free to express their beliefs and practices under the current regime, a freedom he doubts the opposition would grant. As one woman put it, no one has called her a kafir — unbeliever — in more than 30 years. She's convinced that this would change if the opposition came to power. Even if this weren't the case, the fact is that Christians, like their Iraqi brethren, would be caught in the middle if an all-out civil war broke out. And while Iraqi Christians could flee to Syria, where would Syrian Christians flee? It's easy for Westerners to insist on some ideal arrangement. We don't face a possible choice between leaving our ancestral homes or covering ourselves when we go to the market. What's happening in Syria is tragic and outrageous. But we've already made life worse for the ancient Christian community in Iraq. Another one, the Copts in Egypt, is feeling increasingly vulnerable after the fall of Hosni Mubarak. While what happened in Egypt was beyond our control, we do control whether or how we will intervene in Syria. And our leaders may determine that intervening to save innocent lives is the right thing to do. But this time, we cannot and must not forget to count Christians among the innocent lives worth saving. Folks, we've got to care about our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. What are we in the church doing to help them? As Dietrich Bonhoeffer famously said: "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." For more on this, please visit BreakPoint.org. Publication date: June 4, 2012
RUSSIA WILL NOT STOP DEFENDING AND PROTECTING SYRIA Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer recently argued that no matter what atrocities the Alawite regime in Syria commits-Russia will back them up. Russia's actions have vindicated Krauthammer's statements. Having lived in Syria and having observed the regime's evil with my own eyes-I believe that a change of regime in Syria is necessary.
Ethnic Syrian Christians in Syria that support the Alawite regime Read this excellent article in the Assyrian International News Agency (www.aina.org) a great resource! -It is well known that most Christians in Syria support Assad's regime because they fear what may come instead, given the experience in Iraq and Egypt. But if the regime falls, only certain Christian groups would benefit, while others would be regarded as traitors by the Sunni majority. A friend and I have the last days discussed ideas and analysis of Syria's future, the day Assad's regime is no longer able to keep the country in its grip. My friend was born and raised in Aleppo, but he lives abroad. Recently he sat down and studied the map of Syria. He wanted to see in which parts of the country the army is heavily engaged. It is mostly in the cities of Homs, Hama, Houla, Jisr el Shughoor, and Rastin (in the West). Not so much in other strong Sunni strongholds like Aleppo, Deir-Zor or Dara'a, where the uprising began in March 2011. Is there a reason behind this? Of course we can't know for sure, but a strategy may be that the regime wants to achieve an cleansing of Sunnis in some areas west of the river Al-Assi (Orontes in Latin) in order to create facts on the ground. Sunni Arabs will then be terrorized and forced to flee. When the regime eventually realizes that the battle for all of Syria is lost, the Alawites will withdraw and form their own state with one Christian group. Its boundaries would then be the river Assi's western bank to the East, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Lebanon to the south and Turkey to the north. The Christians in question are called Melkites, those who once joined the Byzantine king of Constantinople. In the Middle East the Greek Orthodox Melkites are therfore called Roum Orthodox and Catholic Melkites are Roum Catholic. The word Roum comes from the Eastern Roman Empire and the designation Melkites is now used mainly for Greek Catholics. They live mainly in the area of Wadi Al-Nasara (The Christian valley) in the coastal region and would represent at least one third of the population in the new Alawite State. The Russian fleet in the port city of Tartus would offer protection to Melkites and Alawites. In return, the Russians, who are Orthodox, would have free access to the important Mediterranean port of Tartus. –Note-not all Syrian Christians support the regime-and not even all Melkites do-but many do-out of fear of the Muslim Brotherhood mostly.
FOXNEWS liberal hypocrisy Obama a "Drone Warrior"? (June 5, 2012) BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Back of the Book" segment tonight. President Obama, terror warrior. Actually, the president is the drone king, conducting the war on terror from space, killing al Qaeda and Taliban leaders with Hellfire missiles. Some Americans believe that if George Bush or Dick Cheney had conducted the war like that, the American left would have gone nuts. But there is largely silence from liberals on Mr. Obama's drone strategy. Joining us now from Washington, Charles Krauthammer, who wrote a syndicated column this week on this subject. Not only in the United States, but around the world. You don't hear, you know, remember the unilateral. Well, the drone program is certainly unilateral. And certainly, the guy that's deciding is President Obama and nobody else. So the silence is deafening all over the world. CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, RAILWAY HOST: And it's across the board. It's on just about every comparable issue. Think of Gore. For years and years, the left here and abroad was complaining about this was a very big denial. Updating a role that America holds dear. Obama himself opposed it, railed against it. When he was president, he went around the world on his first apology tour, speaking about what a stain it was and now it remains open to hear a peep from the left. You hear nothing. I've never -- with the Patriot Act, eavesdropping, wiretaps. Preventative detention; indefinite detention in addition to prisoners. All of these with the Bush administration tearing up the Constitution. Every single one is still in place. Do you hear a word from the left? And the worst is just the Afghan war itself. Think about this. Obama triples the number of troops. He doubles the casualty rate. So it isn't only the rights of people, but Americans are dying. Can you imagine if this war were being conducted with the higher rate of casualties with the surge by George Bush or even by John McCain? They would be out there in the streets. Because it's Obama, because it's a liberal, because it's a Democrat, you get nothing. I have respect for principled lefties like a Kucinich, who opposes this, left, right, no matter who's in power. But for the rest of them, they are hypocrites, and they are acting entirely out of tactical advantage and not out of principle. Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/oreilly/2012/06/06/krauthammer-obama-drone-warrior#ixzz1x1fZzqhZ
The recent edition of the Christian Research Institute's magazine deals with the danger of "Chrislam." This is a merger of Christianity and Islam that is occurring in many "mainline" churches. Apparently, Rick Warren of Saddleback Church was promoting "Chrislam" but he backed down when confronted with a backlash from conservative Christians. Mr. Warren was quoted in a newspaper article as being a supporter of Chrislam-but now he denies those comments. "Mainline" protestants that support "Chrislam" often put Korans in their pews next to the Bible and incorporate Islamic prayers and verses from the Koran into their services. I think that this is insanity.
"For Greater Glory" and Hollywood lightens up on Christians My book "The Hammer of God" deals with Judas Maccabee (from the Aramaic word for "the Hammer"), Charles Martel (from the Latin word for "the Hammer") and the Battle for religious liberty. The new movie "For Greater Glory" also deals with this issue. The movie deals with the Christiano War of the 1920s in Mexico. The Mexican government waged war against Christianity and the Christians were forced to fight back. I saw the movie and strongly recommend it. It is rated R-but if I were rating it-I would rate it PG or PG-13. I was going to take a child with me to see the movie-but then I saw it was rated R-so I waited and watched it by myself. It shows dead bodies of Christian martyrs and Christians being taken to the firing squad and shot but no real gratuitous violence. For decades Hollywood has portrayed Christians and Christianity in a very negative light-but things seem to be changing with pro-Christian movies such as "The Blind Side," "The Book of Eli" and "Machine Gun Preacher" and several other movies such as "Ghost Rider: The Spirit of Vengence." I think this is a very positive development and hope it continues.
Obamacare lawsuit: My comments on "Our Military Heroes: On Wings of Eagles" I would like your audience to pray about religious freedom and freedom of speech in chaplain's sermons. During the Clinton administration, President Clinton attempted to forbid Catholic chaplain's from preaching about the Partial Birth abortion issue. The issue went to court and the court decided that the Catholic chaplains should be able to freely preach according to their faith tradition during religious services without government interference. People look to the church for spiritual and moral guidance. Chaplains shouldn't be restricted from answering those questions-or providing moral direction-due to governmental policies. The issue has come up again. This time, the Catholic church is caving in. Catholic chaplains are not allowed to speak about the Obamacare lawsuit. This is unfortunate, because this issue has been settled by the courts. Chaplains are free to preach according to dictates of their faith tradition. I don't think chaplains should aim to preach controversial sermons all the time –but, they need to be able to speak on relevant issues and things affecting the lives of their parishoners. Also, they shouldn't be muzzled by government regulation. Also, all those in the military swear to "protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic." Requiring Christian institutions to provide birth control and abortion enducing pills which violates their doctrines and the teachings of the Bible and of Jesus Christ is clearly unconstitional. So here we have freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and freedom of religious being violated. Christians need to be informed and pray.
Obama and Leaks and Rush Limbaugh (June 8 program): I remember leading into the Iraq war, battle plans, war plans would show up in detail, specific war plans for Iraq and later Afghanistan, would show up on the front page of either the New York Times or the Washington Post. When those leaks took place we all speculated that those leaks were coming from career appointees or political appointees from the Clinton years. Remember, Bush did not purge. As a show of good faith, trying to heal the wounds of America, put everybody back together, all of the political appointees over at the CIA, State Department, Pentagon, Bush left them there. He did not replace them with his own people, as a show of faith. And it wasn't long before efforts to sabotage Bush military plans started showing up on the front page of the big newspapers and on the networks. And it was easy to speculate that the leakers were holdover Democrats, Clinton appointees trying to undermine Bush. And of course the Republican establishment didn't want to hear that. They thought when it came to foreign policy and national security, that members of the establishment took off their partisan hats and everybody worked together. We would loudly shout at 'em, "Get real. Get modern. You've got Democrats who are trying to undermine." We were shouting at Bush, "Why don't you understand they're trying to undermine you?" He probably did. Anyway, those leaks were good. The press approved of every leak that might undermine a Republican president's strategy and plans. But now we've got some really detailed leaks, that some of the stuff on the Kill List, Obama is personally picking the targets. This stuff is being leaked with detail that people have rarely seen in leaked information. And then you have the Stuxnet, the computer virus that confounded the Iranian nuclear plan. People admit, "Yep, we did it." Huge national security breach. I mean, even Democrat senators are outraged over it. When's the last time a newspaper said anything about a source? So despite complaints from both Republican and Democrat senators, the New York Times is courageously vowing to continue to publish these secrets. And the reason this stuff is being leaked, like the Stuxnet and the Kill List, this stuff is being leaked to make Obama look like a tough guy. It's to burnish his reputation. After all, he's a thin, wiry, can't even throw a baseball looking like a guy, president. There's not a whole lot of masculinity there in appearance. Plus, he's a liberal Democrat. That means he's a dove. Liberal Democrat, progressive, socialist, whatever, means that in his mind the US military is the focus of evil in the modern world. But it's election time. Gotta make Obama look tough. The United States is a great nation at risk in a dangerous world, and Obama's got to be made to look like he's up to the task. And so this stuff is being leaked to show how tough Obama is and how engaged he is and how willing he is to pull the trigger on the bad guys. That's what the Kill List is all about. And the New York Times is doing its duty, "We're gonna keep publishing this stuff. By the way, Obama is not the guy sending us the stuff." You have to admit the New York Times is consistent. They always publish national security secrets if they will hurt a Republican president, or if they will help a Democrat president. They don't play favorites. But the most preposterous thing in this Politico story relating to the New York Times." (Of course, Obama is leaking the information for political purposes.)
Housecats in the Bible
The only place domesticated cats are mentioned in the Bible is Baruch 6:19-22 in which idols are mocked-it says that cats lay down and sleep on idols. Baruch 6 is also known as "the Epistle of Jeremiah." It is in the Apocryphal books and is included in the 1611 King James Version.
Aramaic Christians mentioned in new book about Obama "The Amateur"
Samatha Power is a dangerous left-wing radical who became an embarrassment to Mr. Obama-so for at time he got rid of her-according to "The Amateur" "Samantha Power, the far-out leftist fire-brand, complained that the administration's cautious, first-do-no-harm approach in the Arab Spring had effectively sidelined her in White House councils. She said she'd been relegated to "doing rinky-dink do-gooder stuff," such as advocating on behalf of beleaguered Christians of Iraq, and no longer had as much access to the president. She was itching to get back into the fray…" This is on page 216 of Edward Klein's "The Amateur." This shows that neither she nor the administration takes the persecution of the Middle East's Christians seriously. I believe the rise of radical Islam and the persecution of Copts and Assyrians is the most important crisis that the world now faces.
Discussion about "Aramaic New Testament"
Reader: I've recently been curious about the source languages of the Holy Word of God. And, while I've been a discple of Jesus for most of my life I have always felt that Aramaic is one of the source languages. My study of this began a couple of months ago by a web search. This took me initially to Rev. Glenn David Bauscher and some of his work on the subject. Initially I started reading Rev. Bauscher's translation of the New Teatament from the Aramaic. You make no mention of his work in your book Treasures of the Language of Jesus. I'm curious if you are familiar with Rev. Bauscher and what you think about his point of view. He maintains a web site at www.aramaicnt.com. I've found your book to be informative and objective. So, that is why I'm seeking your opinion here as I want to be certain I'm walking down the right path in my study. Thank you for your time and efforts for the cause of Our Lord and Savior, Yeshua Meshikha.
Preliminary Response: Hi, I believe it is helpful to have an accurate translation of the Aramaic version of the New Testament to consult, BUT-the Peshitta is a translation of the Greek BACK into Aramaic. The Gospels and Acts have an Aramaic substratum-but it is obvious that Paul wrote his epistles in Greek and not in Aramaic. Some people falsely pass off the entire Peshitta as the original New Testament. The Peshitta is hugely important-but we shouldn't make it out to be something that it isn't. Also, you have the disciples of George Lamsa, Lamsa was a good popularizer of Aramaic-but I find his scholarship lacking. Certain New Agers and other cultists use Lamsa's materials. I will check out Rev. Bauscher's site-I probably have reviewed it before a while back. Jan Magiera has a nice straitforward and usable translation of the Peshitta. Anyway, I will get back with you soon. My books "Christ's Language" and "The Language of Jesus" include an Aramaic resource guide. Now, I have two interests-the Aramaic roots of the New Testament and the history of the Aramaic Christians. I do include recommended Aramaic resources. I like Joachim Jeremias's work. He was a moderate (a little conservative) and explained Aramaic and the Jewish cultural background very well.
I will email you again soon...
Mel Gibson will move forward with 'The Maccabees': source NANCY DILLON Thursday, April 12, 2012
Mel Gibson still plans to make his movie about Jewish revolt, despite his war of words with screenwriter Joe Eszterhas and the Anti-Defamation League calling him a "serial bigot." The "Braveheart" director will forge ahead with "The Maccabees" even if Warner Bros. drops the project entirely after rejecting Eszterhas' script, a source told the Daily News. "If (Warner Bros.) throws it back to Mel, he can do it independently. He's had this project for ten years. He's not going to give it up now," the Gibson source said. Apparently, Eszterhas converted to Christianity about ten years ago. That's great! But, I don't think he has handled this situation with Mel Gibson professionally. He has written an e-book entitled "Between Heaven and Mel" in which he attacks Mel Gibson.
Sources tell TMZ ... Mel Gibson believes "The Maccabees" project with Warner Bros. -- the project that triggered nuclear war between Mel and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas -- is still alive, but in fact it might as well be buried in a rose garden. A source connected to Mel tells us, "The project is going forward without Eszterhas. He [Mel] still has a relationship with Warner Bros."
As you know by now, Eszterhas has written a blistering, 9-page letter accusing Mel of making unspeakable anti-Semitic remarks and even celebrating John Lennon's death.
As for Mel's claim the movie project is still alive, a source intimately connected with it tells TMZ,"There are no plans on making it into a movie." Our source, who has first-hand knowledge, tells us Warner Bros. was tentative in the first place about doing the project, but was banking on the script "being a heroic story, like Braveheart." The source says, "When the script was submitted, no one liked it ... including Mel." We're told even if the script was good, the project would still have had to clear a number of hurdles, but given what was submitted, it's effectively D.O.A. One last thing ... Mel could shop the project elsewhere when Warner Bros. officially pulls the plug.
Mel Gibson wrote a letter to Joe explaining his position: Joe, I have your letter. I am not going to respond to it line by line, but I will say that the great majority of the facts as well as the statements and actions attributed to me in your letter are utter fabrications. I would have thought that a man of principle, as you purport to be, would have withdrawn from the project regardless of the money if you truly believed me to be the person you describe in your letter. I guess you only had a problem with me after Warner Brothers rejected your script. I will acknowledge like most creative people I am passionate and intense. I was very frustrated that when you arrived at my home at the expense of both Warner Brothers and myself you hadn't written a single word of a script or even an outline after 15 months of research, meetings, discussions and the outpouring of my heartfelt vision for this story. I did react more strongly than I should have. I promptly sent you a written apology, the colorful words of which you apparently now find offensive. Let me now clearly apologize to you and your family in the simplest of terms. Contrary to your assertion that I was only developing Maccabees to burnish my tarnished reputation, I have been working on this project for over 10 years and it was publicly announced 8 years ago. I absolutely want to make this movie; it's just that neither Warner Brothers nor I want to make this movie based on your script. Honestly, Joe, not only was the script delivered later than you promised, both Warner Brothers and I were extraordinarily disappointed with the draft. In 25 years of script development I have never seen a more substandard first draft or a more significant waste of time. The decision not to proceed with you was based on the quality of your script, not on any other factor. I think that we can agree that this should be our last communication. Mel
Mel Gibson has a passion for the story of Judah Maccabee, one of the greatest Jewish heroes of all time, but is not doing the movie as an act of contrition. Sources very close to Mel tell TMZ ... Gibson does not feel the need to bridge a gap between himself and the Jewish community, because he doesn't believe a gap exists. They say Mel is adamant -- he does not hate Jews, noting that his lawyers are Jewish, his publicist is Jewish, and he has many Jewish friends and employees. As for Mel's anti-Semitic rant during his 2006 DUI arrest, Mel has written two public letters of apology and also met with numerous leaders in the Jewish community to discuss where he went wrong. As for the movie, Mel has wanted to produce it for a decade, telling our sources it's actually a statement against corruption in the church. Mel believes Maccabee's story parallels the modern church, and he thinks the movie will help force change.
So, how could the Maccabee story parallel that of the modern Catholic Church? Well, if you read the book of Maccabees-it was through apostate Jews willing to "reform" their religion that the Greek's attempted to assimilate the Jews into Greek paganism. First, a Jewish high priest paid the Greeks for his appointment-and agreed to implement Antiochus Epiphanes assimilation program-which included introducing idolatry into the temple, burning all copies of the Holy Bible, and executing parents who circumcised their baby boys-and killing the circumcised babies. People in the Temple and the priesthood worked to implement these policies until the revolt occurred.
Most older Catholics I know miss the Pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic Church. Catholic priests have complained to me about it and told me that it was a "failure." And if the goal was to prevent the decline of the church-it has failed-because Christianity-and Roman Catholicism-is currently in decline. But I think that this decline can be reversed. I am not a Catholic so I have no preference for either form of Catholicism. But, the Church, which includes Catholicism, needs to prosper and we need to find valid ways for the church to do so. Perhaps Mr. Gibson has some correct observations on how the Church needs to reform. In this conflict with Eszterhaus-I support Mr. Gibson.
Not the time to mince words…Sometimes I wonder if I should avoid controversial issues in this newsletter. But I believe that the Republic is in grave danger and we must speak out-while we still can. I am seriously considering fleeing to Malta in case Obama is re-elected. If he is-America will no longer be a free country. The American people voted in a dangerous inexperienced and incompetent left-wing extremist into the presidency. Let us hope that the country corrects this problem this November. The problem is that the Republican candidate is also a left-wing extremist! However, if we have a change of administration there is reason for optimism that the country can be saved. So, if I think something is important I will speak out on it-even if someone might find my comments offensive. (Why Malta? It is an English and Semitic speaking devoutly Christian country with freedom of religion. Maltese is derived from Arabic mostly-and Punic-which was a form of Hebrew. Malta is a Catholic country.)