Monday, June 20, 2011

The Many Historical Blunders of Lew White’s Fossilized Customs



I was recently given a book entitled Fossilized Customs: The Pagan Origins of Popular Customs (Seventh Edition) by a friend who asked my opinion of it. I certainly don't intend an exhaustive criticism of Mr. White's book here, but I have labored to refute those portions of his research which intersect with my own. The following should be enough to deflate his pretensions of credibility (which characterizes the messianic movement) for readers. Most of Mr. White's research is composed of pernicious internet staples, and if you are looking for sources you will find next to none in his book (what rare sources he does give are themselves mostly worthless)—pretty insulting to his readers considering the gravitas of his claims. It would be nice to see him at least correct these mentioned indictments in future editions, but I'm not holding my breath. White's many typographical mistakes have been preserved in this response.

Mithraism:
Lew flaunts an incessant
barrage of claims with respect to Mithraism throughout his entire book. They are all based on an anachronistic assumption that the mystery religion existed in the West before the rise of Christianity: a position which is universally rejected by modern Mithraic and Hellenistic scholarship. Giving no sources, he states, "Mithraism was the primary religion of the Roman Empire from BCE 222 through the 4th century CE." (55, bold emphasis his) On the same page, Lew then goes on to claim that Christianity heavily borrowed pagan ideas from the religion.
Edwin M. Yamauchi, author of Persia and the Bible, is a primary authority in this field and is professor emeritus in ancient history at Miami
University. In 1975 he was invited by the empress of Iran to deliver a paper at the Second International Congress of Mithraic Studies in Tehran. Yamauchi rejects the notion that Mithraism had expanded to Rome before the start of the first century, much less that it was "the primary religion of the Roman Empire" before Christ (as R.W. Glenn and others have noted, in the second-half of the second Temple period Ceaser veneration was actually the main religion, with most Roman citizens viewing the gods as antiquated myths). Yamauchi states:


The first public recognition of the Mithras in Rome was the state visit of Tiridates, the king of Armenia, in AD 66...The earliest Mithraic inscription in the West is a statue of a prefect under the emperor Trajan in AD 101...The earliest mithraea are dated to the early second century...That's basically what's wrong with the theories about Mithraism influencing the beginnings of Christianity.(1)


Richard Gordon, senior fellow at the University of East Anglia, states in his work that the religion did not exist in a developed sense until the mid-second century and places the establishment of the mysteries approximately between 117-161 AD.(2) As quoted by Yamauchi, Dr. Ronald Nash states, "The flowering of Mithraism occurred after the close of the New Testament canon, too late to have influenced the development of first century Christianity."(3)

So then, we have no evidence for Mithraism in Rome until decades after the establishment of Christianity, in fact, as Yamauchi notes, it is not until the middle of the second and third and fourth centuries that the religion became meaningfully established in the West (it's at this period that most mithraium and inscriptions appear with the earliest mithraium dating to the second century) much less was the religion "the primary religion" of the empire in 222 BC as White claims. As a mystery religion Mithraism was quite diminutive even at its height. Leif E. Vaage (B.A., M.Div., PhD) notes, "Unlike Isism or the cult of the Magna Mater, Mithraism had no public presence or persona, and appears rigorously to have denied itself all opportunities for self-promotion and display which might win it adherents or at least the acquaintance and passive admiration of the masses."(4)

As mentioned already, Lew goes on to state and highly emphasize in his book the following claim, "Other historians have put it this way: 'Christianity didn't conquer Mithraic Paganism. Mithraism blended in, and changed names.'" (55)

The only place I can find this quote is on internet sources leading back to White and he gives no source. In his book The Roman Cult of Mithras, Manfred Clauss, professor of ancient history at Free University in Berlin rejects Mithraism as a Christian "fore-runner."(5) Leonard Patterson in his book Mithraism and Christianity published by Cambridge states that there is "no direct connection between the two religions either in origin or development."(6) Yamauchi also lists Adolf von Harnak (University of Geissen), Arthur Darby Nock (University of Frothingham), S. G. F Bradon (University of Manchester), William R. Halliday and Ernst Benz (University of Marburg) as having come to the agreement that there is "little evidence to support claims of such influence and mutual borrowing" between the two religions.(7)

He also cites renowned Munich professor Gary Lease, who states:


After almost 100 years of unremitting labor, the conclusion appears inescapable that neither Mithraism nor Christianity proved to be an obvious and direct influence upon the other in the development and demise or survival of either religion. Their beliefs and practices are well accounted for by their most obvious origins and there is no need to explain one in terms of the other.(8)


On the same page White quotes another conveniently unnamed "historian" in another conveniently unnamed work: "The entire European continent and New World would be Mithraic today, if Christianity hadn't come along."(55)

He appears to be quoting a translation of Vie de Jesus by the anti-Catholic Frenchman Ernest Renan (or perhaps someone borrowing from Renan): "If Christianity had been checked...the world would have become Mithraic." Renan words are hot off the press—in 1863. Yamauchi calls him a "sensationalist" and notes that Albert Schweitzer criticized him in his famous work. He states, "Renan's work, published nearly 150 years ago, has no value as a source. He knew very little about Mithraism, and besides, we know a lot more about it today. Yet this is a quote that's commonly used by people who don't understand the context. It's simply far-fetched."(9)

It's common to find these types of inane claims in works related to the mystery religions dating before the second world war, but this is only because our understanding of the mystery religions at the time was extremely deficient. White's reoccurring claim that Mithraism was a large competing religion is unfounded speculation as we have previously charged through Leif E. Vaage.

In point ten of his list on the same page White claims an ancient pagan ritual called the taurobolium, in which a live bull is slaughtered above a grate-drenching an initiate in the pit bellow with the bull's blood--influenced the Christian practice of "Easter-time baptisms".

I'm not sure what White's views on baptism are or why he would feel the need to connect a practice commanded by Jesus in the earliest synoptic with paganism. The taurobolium itself is only reported in the second century and is only found in Mithraism in exceptional cases as it almost always associated with the separate cult of Attis. Quoting the Swiss scholar G√ľnter Wagner (whose works are still a prized foundation in this area), Yamauchi again rebukes this claim as an obdurate anachronism. "Again, the dating of practices like this are the Achilles' heel of these comparative studies...there's no way this rite could have influenced Christianity's theology about redemption.(10) We are also told by White that "the center of the Mithraic sun-cult was at Rome." But, Mithraism is a Persian religion...which is why the name of the god is itself a Persian word.

Constintine:

White wants us to believe that Constantine was responsible for forcing Christianity on pagans through political means:


"Constantine made Christianity the Roman State religion, but its form was far from anything known to the first Nazarenes. Constantine had to MERGE the multitudes of Pagans—who were mostly his own soldiers—with the Nazarene faith, in order to control his vast empire. This…produced what we see today as "Christianity". The main issue at his Nicene Council in 325 CE centered on the date of "EASTER", again the most important point in the Pagan mind when the sun 'crossed' the Zodiac at Taurus."(11)





Let's take this one step at a time. Did Constantine "make Christianity" the "Roman state religion"? No. All the edict of Milan did was make Christianity legal. Did Constantine force Christianity on the pagan masses for political control? No. Dr. Chris Forbes from Macquarie University is a Senior Lecturer in Ancient History, and Deputy Chairman of the Society for the Study of Early Christianity. When he was presented with this idea in an interview he responded:





Constantine didn't use [Christianity] for social control. Constantine didn't make Christianity compulsory. All he did was make it legal whereas beforehand being a Christian had been an offense punishable by death. All Constantine had done was make it legal to be a Christian. He certainly never made it compulsory...Most people were [pagans]. Christians were still a minority under Constantine.(12)


As for the claim that "[t]he main issue at his Nicene Council in 325 CE centered on the date of 'EASTER'" and his other claim that this was all some conspiracy to introduce pagan astrology into Christianity: Nicaea was convened to deal foremost with the Arian heresy. That's church history 101. As for the pagan conspiracy, many of the members of Nicaea still bore the scars from the last Roman persecutions. Does White seriously want us to believe they would just hand over the religion they were recently being murdered for to be transmogrified into pagan sun worship? Diocletian had just issued an Empire-wide persecution attempting to wipe out Christianity for good. Why did Nicaea set the date of Easter on the Sunday following the paschal full moon? Because that was the date of Passover in the Jewish calendar. No pagan conspiracy needed.

Miracle Cancer Cure?
On pages 69-70 White has a commercial for a natural miracle cure for cancer he wants you to buy composed of Flore-Essence Tea, Cansema and black salve. "For some reason, the mutant cells respond to it, and the 'message' to self-destruct begins to work. Canerous tentacles recede, and the 'tumors' shrink away. Skin cancers fade away to nothing."

The above quote appears under the entry "Backpfeifengesicht" in the German dictionary.

Jesus means "hail Zuess"?
Here's a real knee-slapper. On pages 17-8 White has much to say about the "real pronunciation" of the name of Jesus. He says it is proper to pronounce it "Yahushua" and that the "esus" at the end of the name Jesus derives from the same root as that in the word Zeus. On page 145 he writes:


The fake name of the Mashiach, "JESUS", is a Greco-Romanism, and means absolutely nothing in Hebrew. If it were a "translation", then it could be "re-translated" back into Hebrew. When taken back into the Greek it means "hey-Zues", or "hail Zues". The closest word to sus in Hebrew is "soos", and means "horse." So "he-soos" means "the horse". Zeus is depicted as a Centaur…Sus in Latin means PIG.





The etymology of the word Jesus is quite innocent. In Aramaic his name was Yeshua (Yahusua is the longer form of the same name). The New Testament writers themselves amended Yeshua to Iesous as any of the 5,700 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament will relate then a "J" was exchanged for the "I" as it went through the German. It was not a pagan act. White has therefore succeeded in accusing the New Testament writers of calling Jesus Zeus and a pig because they were the ones who changed his name to Iesous. Why didn't the New Testament authors use the same Aramaic term Yeshua when they were composing their books of the Bible? Because there are no letters yod and shin in Greek and as a proper name the Greek grammar exchanges the ending of the word. This is an innocent process called transliteration; you take the alphabets of two different languages and try the best you can to make a word pronouncible in the other.

White commonly says that it is through the Hebrew name "Yahushua" alone that we are saved (hmmm…that's strange. White is quoting Acts 4:12 where Luke always uses the Greek Iesous and never the Aramaic Yeshua or Yahushua or anything like it)(13) We have no issue pronouncing Yeshua in English. But imagine if you were Roman and I demanded you start making sounds that don't exist in your language and that you neglect the necessity of your own grammar. White's teachings smack of ridiculous, superstition. As if "Yahusua" is some magical conglomeration of sounds that saves or sanctifies you rather than the meaning or person behind the word. It's hardly worth even having to point this out, but Acts isn't talking about a series of vocalizations that saves you (or else Luke wouldn't have transliterated Yeshua to Iesous). He is talking about the authority represented by the name.
What of all this Zeus business?


The Jewish-Christian scholar Dr. Michael Brown (who actually holds a PhD in Semitic languages) describes this popular internet claim as "bizarre," "amazing" "psuedo-scholarship" in the "fringe" and charitably describes it as harboring, "as much evidence as the latest Elvis sighting." He explains why Semitic linguist don't give it the light of day in his article in the Q and A on his website.(14)

Jack-o-Lanterns of Human Fat?

White regurgitates the whole "Druids used human fat to fuel Jack-o-lanterns" spiel that has been popularized by sensationalists like Scott A. Johnson and Jack Chick's popular Gospel tracks. His Halloween track entitled "The Trick" is a richly comedic spectacle:

It states, "They would leave a jack-o'-lantern with a lighted candle made of human fat to prevent those inside from being killed by demons in the night."


Lew, in his book states:


"The Pre-Christian Druids had the barbarians doing ghastly things…[They] chose certain children to be burned alive on "bone-fires", as offerings to the sun…The fat left over from the child was fashioned into a candle, and placed into a carved-out pumpkin, or a hollowed out vegetable with a "round" (sun-shaped) design. The victim was called Jack-of-the-lantern."(15)





The reasons why this is completely impossible pile up immediately, and for that reason Lew gives no source, and there exists no academic source which supports his claim. Consider as an example that pumpkins were only introduced to Europe 500 years ago. This is a big deal. Explorers to the New World like Jacques Cartier were the first to describe them and later led to their introduction to the Old World.(16) Besides those World of War Craft nerds that still like to flaunt their desperate insipidness at Stonehenge annually, the Druids ceased to enjoy any substantial existence nearly one thousand five hundred years prior due to persecution under such Roman emperors as Tiberius and Claudius. This renders Johnson, Chick, and Lew's claim--that in the Old World they were carving out pumpkins native only to the New World in the first century—-anachronistic. The practice of carving Jack-o'-Lanterns originates from the Middle Ages with the ancient Druids and their religion having little to do with the matter (besides on the sensationalist websites Lew is taking his information from). The tradition derives from an overtly Christian themed myth called Stingy Jack and the medieval practice of commemorating souls in purgatory with candles cradled in turnips.(17) 18th century Irish-American immigrants switched to pumpkins because they were far more practical.(18)

White's animadversion against the Trinity:
On page 104 it's claimed that the Christian Trinity is pagan (how original!). Some of his evidence being two images of the Egyptian gods Horus, Isis and Osiris (White misidentifies Horus as Ra. I have a copy of the same image and can verify that it is not Ra).

The doctrine of the Trinity is so inextricable with the gospel that the church has always historically recognized that a denial of the doctrine necessarily compromises the gospel (thus the Athenasian, Nicene, and Constantinopolitan creeds). White is unable to offer any exegesis in his denial of who the Bible teaches God is (for those looking for an exegetical defense of the doctrine I highly recommend James White's book The Forgotten Trinity). He simply spits out idiotic Jehovah's Witness party lines and speculatively asserts that the Trinity is a later pagan idea introduced by those naughty Romans and other exotic and absurdly geographically unrelated pagan cultures. (Those stupid early Christians--couldn't define or defend any of their own doctrines without their Arian nanny Constantine.....Errrr, never mind Tertullian).

He may get away with fooling many of his impressionable readers that the Trinity is not Jewish in its roots, but that sort of unfounded fantasizing doesn't fly in inter-testamental studies and is immediately dispelled by any brief study of the New Testament. The notion of a divine plurality in the Godhead is well documented in post-Christian second temple Judaism and served as the historical backdrop for the Christian doctrine; it was a mainstream Jewish view in the time period during and leading up to Jesus' ministry. The Jewish scholar Alan Segal and specialist Michael S. Heiser as two leading authorities demonstrate as much in their work.(19)

Like I said, White uses bad Jehovah's Witness arguments rather than giving any exegesis. Does he discuss the New Testament's emphatic claims to the unity and deity of Christ with the Father as in John 1:1, John 10, John 8:58, 2 Peter 1:1 or Titus 2:13?(20) Does he even try to explain why the Son in His high priestly prayer differentiates His own will from the Father? Does he deal with passages like John 14:26 which refers to the Holy Spirit in personal pronouns and distinguishes Him from the Son and Father or passages like the opening of Acts 5 which affirm Him to be God? What are we to make of the earliest synoptic material which records Jesus commanding to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as Warfield has so brilliantly detailed in his classic treatment? White has set to flight the Holy Spirit, indicted the Son as a maniacal schizophrenic and crucified the Father. He is, by all indications, a Sabellian heretic--confounding the Persons of God into one Person--a single person of God who obnoxiously enjoys dressing up as the Father, the Spirit and Jesus then confusing all of his doxa followers by praying to Himself with different wills and functions, referring to Himself in triads of personhood incessantly in personal and distinguished pronouns and while dressed up in His Jesus mask demands that men baptize in the name of the other two masks of Himself. Theeeeennnnn White's Sabellian version of god tells us whoppers like those found in John 16:7ff:



But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I
do not go away, the Helper [the Spirit] will not come to you; but if I go, I
will send Him to you. "And He, when He comes, will convict the world
concerning sin and righteousness and judgment...because I go to the Father
and you no longer see Me.



According to White we should understand this passage to mean:


But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do
not go away, I will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Myself to you.
And when Myself, comes, He [that is, Myself] will convict the world
concerning sin and righteousness and judgment...because I go to Myself and
you no longer see Me.

Or how about Jesus' dying words on the cross:

Myself, Myself, why have I forsaken Me? Myself, into you I commend
the spirit of Myself.

Then there's that perspicacious theological gem in John 5:30:

I can do nothing on my own…because I seek not my own will but the will of myself
who sent me.

Yep. The Jesus of Sabellianism is a babbling idiot...or He just enjoys deceiving all His followers with intractable anfractuosities that look an awful lot like historical Trinitarianism.



Lewis' classic apologetic falls upon White at this point: Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or His claims stand, and He is indeed distinct in person from the Father and Spirit. None were, but even if it be the case that every ancient pagan religion was Trinitarian, Christians would still be bound by scripture to believe the doctrine whether they like it or not.

In attempting to attribute the Jewish doctrine with paganism White flagrantly demonstrates that he either has 1) no idea what the doctrine of the Trinity teaches or 2) what pagan religions teach. On page 104 for example, he shows us two images of the Egyptian gods Horus, Isis and Osiris. The following abuse of Egyptian religion is indicative of his anachronistic and hysterical misuse of other religions like Zoroastrianism and Hinduism:
Did the Egyptians believe in a god, three in eternal, persons yet one in substance as the Christian doctrine of the Trinity teaches?

The Egyptians were, of course, polytheists. They believed the gods Nut and Geb sexually begat the twins Isis and Osiris as two separate, corporeal individuals who individually taught the Egyptian people various disciplines such as agriculture and art. Osiris has a brother named Seth who kills him and chops his body into fourteen pieces and scatters them across Egypt. Isis finds the pieces, reassembles them then has sex with his corpse in the form of a bird whereby she becomes pregnant with Horus. (Don't judge you Necrophobes! After all no one gets hurt right…) Horus then avenges Osiris by defeating Seth and taking back the throne. The three are often paired together as an archetypal representation of the family. They are not "one substance" as the Trinity teaches. Not one of them is eternal as the Bible teaches of the Trinity. Unlike the Trinity they represent a literal, corporal family (when Jesus uses the terms "Son" and "Father" in relation to the Christian Trinity He means them only in the Jewish sense for function and likeness of beingness. Not that He was begotten by the Father in His existence as such passages as John 1:1 deny.) All the aforementioned about the Osirian cycle is related in Plutarch.


Nephilim:On pages 131 and 203, a common internet image of a "nephilim" from an "archeological dig" is shown. White also has a lot to say about the Nephilim on page 126.
First and foremost, for the doubters, I ran White's image through a program called JEPGsnoop(21) which identifies doctored photos and retrieves a wealth of information about a given image. The original was taken on a Sony Cybershot U camera. It is classified as a class one photograph-meaning it has been edited--parts of the image contain completely different compression signatures than the original image itself. Not only that, but the program reveals that the image has been run through and saved as a photoshop 7.0 file—the professional program we should expect to see if the image is a hoax. There are no reports of archeology digging up nine foot tall skeletons. It is for this reason that White wants to claim there is a massive conspiracy for archeologist to hide them when they "dig them up regularly." This is a case of White failing to do his homework.

For example, on pages 126 he claims that Josephus attests to the existence of "3-4m tall humans." First of all, Josephus was writing in the first century. There were no remaining Nephilim for him to attest to at that time on his own witness. Second, Josephus did not even place Goliath's height at 3-4 meters tall (9 to 13 feet). He tells us that Goliath was 6 ft 6 inch just like the Septuagint does and closer to the Qumran material (22). White gets his notion that the Nephilim were nine feet tall on the basis nothing more than tradition since most Bibles are based on the later Masoretic reading of Samuel which has long been recognized to be nearly intractably corrupt at this point (that text family even leaves off an entire paragraph in chapter 10 of the first division of the book).

The average height in the ancient world was under five and a half feet. Anyone of Goliath's 6 and a half foot height would have been a giant in the most literal sense. The only other argument for giants the size White wants them refers to King Og of Bashan whose iron sarcophagus (and not him) is reported at thirteen feet long. As Michael Heiser has told me, this is a poor argument if one is familiar with the nesting style of Near Eastern royal coffins.
In connecting the Nephilim with alien appearances White elsewhere supports the idea that the Hebrew word Nephilim strictly means "fallen ones" rather than "giants" (it appears he wants to take the whole Sitchin route of relating them with aliens in this way.(23)

Heiser has proven by the necesity of the morphology of the term that it must mean "giants" and not "fallen ones." (There's a yod vocalization marker in the word that makes White's etymology impossible.)(24)

This current post is incomplete and will be added to then overhauled as a PDF as time continues.

1) Lee Strobel, The Case for the Real Jesus: A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks on the Identity of Christ 2007. Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 169.
2) Edwin Yamauchi quotes this in Persia and the Bible (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baer, 1996), 510.
3) Ibid. 169.
4) Vaage, Leif E. (Editor). Religious Rivalries in the Early Roman Empire and the Rise of Christianity. Waterloo, ON, CAN: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2006. 175.
5) (trans. Richard Gordon), New York: Routledge, 2000), 7.
6) Mithraism and Christianity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1921), 94.
7) Ibid. Strobel, 170
8) Ibid.
9) Ibid.
10) Ibid. 174
11) Ibid. White, 56-7
12)
Dr. Chris Forbes, Brief Historical Critique of Zeitgeist. 2009.

13) Ibid. White, 145.

14)
Here.
15) Ibid. White, 47-8
16) See footnotes on page: James Phinney Baxter et tal. A Memoir of Jacques Cartier, Sieur De Limoilou (New York: Dodd Mead & Company, 1906), 178.
17) Nicholas Rogers, Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night. (USA: Oxford University Press, 2002),57.
18) Lesley Pratt Bannatyne, Holloween: An American History (Luisiana: Pelican Publishing company, 1990), x.

19) See Heiser's website and more recent posting on the
subject.

20) See
my paper The Deity of Christ in John 1:1, Titus 2:13 and John 20:28.

21) Using
this original of the image as it is the first and only occurrence which displays on Google search using the keyword "nephilim". If White has another one he is free to offer it.

22) Quoted by
Heiser.

23)
Here.

24) Nephilim morphology
PDF.

31 comments:

  1. A bit thick with the snark eh? Considering that "Christianity" (or rather Cretinism the original title) has become so polluted with paganism, at least White is attempting to uncover that.

    The Hebrew scriptures say YH is SINGULAR--unchangeable and unique and by extension, so is YH's Word; the three aspects of YH (which humans mirror--your mind, your word/body, your spirit) that people have made into 3 g-ds is a total affront to YHUH.

    The prejudice against Israelites (you call them Jews) is obvious; Christianity was a political/temporal power once (you can't hide from prophecy or the knowing that Israel had of who the Beast of Prey and the Prostitute on the Beast is).

    YH has not and will not change. But humans presume to change set-apart times (Sunday instead of Saturday; Ishtar instead of Pesach) and the Torah ("fix" the Sayings that YH--the Word--wrote with the Finger of YH on stone!).

    As for Constantine: he nor you can hide from the hint that Revelation gives about Laodicaea (Council of Laodicaea anyone?); nor what Daniel wrote about.

    i don't know Mr. White all that much but this book of his is interesting and ties in with what a lot of others are uncovering; myself included.

    You can have your "expert"...i'll take YH's written, embodied (Yahshuah, the D'Var), and expressed Word by YH's Ruach over theirs and yours dear scoffer--ANY DAY.

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    1. Actually the Hebrew bible says God is "echad" which means "one". This is in the famous passage "Hear oh Israel the Lord our God the Lord is ONE. However there is another word in Hebrew which also means "one", i.e. "yacheed". The word echad refers to a multiplicity that forms one single entity. For example the bible says a man and a woman become "echad" after being joined in marriage. There are still two people but they are in some way also "one".

      Yacheed on the other hand refers to something that is not a multiplicity in nature. It does not use that word to refer to God.

      I can't figure out what the rest of your post is saying.

      Delete
    2. Because of my health I am restricted pretty much to research on the internet. There is a wonderful library here in Charlotte, NC at UNCC and I can access everything in their library and more. I always try to double or even triple check everything, However, this is difficult to do without make errors or mistakes. We all make them and if we begin with a preconceived idea of looking specifically for mistakes then that is exactly what we will find. We should enter into a research project with the purpose of finding the truth wherever that leads us. Do we knowingly seek to deceive or do we make errors unknowingly while seeking the truth?

      Delete
  2. to add a little correction to my initial post. "Christianity was a political/temporal power once" should include that it was called "Rome" when it was temporal and then became "Christianity" when it transformed into a "Christian" power.

    ...and "anonymous" to you (but known to myself) because i am not "plugged in" to facebook, twitter, or any other electronica; except of course for the access i do decide to take.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I do not agree with a lot of Lew White's conclusions. However, I admire his diligence in trying to uncover the truth,even if he makes mistakes. I would like to point out a few related items of interest. Regarding Mithraism: Samuele Bacchiocchi, in his book, "From Sabbath to Sunday", (pg 253,1977 hardback edition) makes reference to the fact that the earliest known Christian mosaic (dated ca. A.D. 240) portrays Christ as the Sun (Helios) ascending on the quadriga chariot with a flying cloak and a nimbus behind his head from which irradiate seven rays. In numerous pagan pictorial representations, the Sun or Mithra is portrayed as a man with a disk at the back of his head. Further, I recall a passage from the New Testament where the Messiah thanks the Father for "giving me your name", which I believe was His reference to the first 3 letters of the Tetragrammaton, "Yah", as in Yahshua, Yahushua, etc., all meaning basically Yah is our salvation, Yah saves, and so forth. I see absolutely no connection between the name Jesus (which you and I both know is not what the Messiah was known by) and the term "God". The prophet Joel stated "there is only one name under heaven by which we may be saved" and Peter quoted him in Acts. You can rest assured that name was not Jesus. The Father Himself states,"My Name is Yahuah, and I do not change". Unfortunately, Christians have historically demonstrated that they continue in the apostacy of the Israelites (see Ezekiel 8:6-16): Christmas trees (asherim), praying to saints, Good Friday (wrong day); weeping for the Sun god (Helios Christos?), Easter sunrise services, etc. And just where is our Passover Lamb in all this pagan nonsense? Oh! Two more things: 1.If Yahuah is his name, and he deosn't change, why do most Christians call Him "God"? My understanding is that Elohim means "Mighty One". 2. If His Name is Yahuah, and he doesn't change, what right did the early Christians have to try and change the Sabbath to Sunday (I've read most of the early apologetics. I really like the one about 8 people on Noah's Ark being the symbolic justification), particularly when the Messiah Himself said that anyone who breaks the least of his commands and teaches others to do likewise will be considered least in His Father's kingdom. Jon Bartz

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  4. I for one agree with Keith Truth re Lew White. Anonymous of Nov 13, 2011 - I noticed you didn't provide the scripture verse or verses to substantiate your claim that Jesus somewhere in the New Testament, "thanked the Father for giving Him His (Yah's)name." Also, "you and I" do NOT know that the name of "Jesus" has "no connection"....blah, blah, blah. You're so typical of many Messyanics and Hebrew roots folk who make claims but provide no proofs. Either provide proof of your claims, or be quiet. Plus, I've got news for you, the Messyanics (spelled this way on purpose) have just as much "Paganism" in their doctrine(s) as do Christians! Quite a few of them believe in "plural marriage" (a man can have many wives) just because the ancient Israelites did it! That was a "Pagan" practice NOT ordained of the Almighty Who allowed Abraham to have a concubine, but a concubine was not a sex partner, but was a helper for the wife. That Abraham took his concubine for sexual use, was NOT God's will - as was made plain by the severe, long-term, negative consequences - like continual WAR between two nations! I shouldn't need to explain about the relationship between Arabs and Israelites then or now, for those who know their bible history - right? My point for those who can't comprehend, is that just because the ancient Israelites practiced 'something,' does not mean that WE, TODAY, are to do likewise! Everything in the Word MUST be taken in CONTEXT and compared to the REST of the Word, in order to properly interpret it. Jesus gave us the PROPER interpretation of all the Old Testament writings, it is HE we should be following, not Sages. Plus, Jesus is to be the "head" of the "called out ones," not the Sages, nor mystic Judaism, nor the Talmud, nor the letter of the law. Life is in Jesus, not merely the written word - "I am the way, the TRUTH, and the Life" said He.

    Messyanics have other Pagan practices too, like the mystic Kabbalah with all it's worship of numbers, and Hebrew letters, etc. Then Messyanics have their Pagan Babylonian TALMUD and "oral traditions" of the "sages." So, all this talk about paganism in Christianity - yes, there is some, but Messyanics and Heb Roots systems, have just as much Paganism in them, if not MORE!

    Isn't their name-calling just a bit hypocritical??? Think it is.

    Debra

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  5. Further to my comments of July 2011...

    Anonymous of Nov 13 2011 i appreciate your comments. I would add that Yahu/YHU is the "root" name for both the ABBA and ban/son. "Yasha" is "salvation" in Hebrew; ancient Hebrew plays on sounds, words, and meanings. Thus Yahusha can sound a lot like "yasha"; it's pretty cool. YHUH warned Yashra'al in Shmt/Exodus 23:21 that "my name is in him", being the Prophet he would send to us; Yahusha. In Yahuchanon/John 17 Yahusha actually prays to ABBA and speaks of revealing YHUH's Name to his taught ones (by word, deed, and presence); also in Yahuchanon/John he tells one of his disciples if you have seen me you have seen the ABBA. Also, the malak/angel Gabryal speaking to Myram when announcing that she was chosen to bear the Mashiach says, "he shall be called 'Yahusha' for he shall save his people from their sins".


    "J-sus" does not contain the name YHUH. It is derived from the Pagans (unable to pronounce Hebrew words) trying to give YHUH their highest G-d's esteem, i.e., "dje-us"/Zeus; but ends up suggesting our Saviour is an ass since "sus" in Hebrew means Horse; asses were the common "horse" of the day for Yashra'al. The letter "J" is only about 500 years old. Also when anyone says "L-RD" or "G-d" they have a problem; they could be referring to any idol in their hearts; by saying "amen" (as in Amen-Ra, Egyptian paganism, instead of "ameyn") people are assenting to the prayer and its recipient. It was the plan of YH's enemies to obscure YH's name and steal glory from YHUH and get us to break the 3rd Saying/Command of misrepresenting YH's character by hypocrisy and to bring it to nothing by not using it. Sun-day is a day dedicated to the devils/fallen ones who kept the Shbt before it was instituted on erets/earth (according to 1Enoch and Jubilees). Not being under the law and expecting to get away with it (Law-/Torah-lessness) is what most Krystyanay/Christians (converts to Yashra'al) practice today. If being Twrhless was so simple Yahusha would not need to have suffered and died so horribly.


    Yahusha's said that he did not come to destroy or do away with Twrh, but to "fulfill", menaing establish and confirm it so we would know how to keep it. The Ceremonial Twrh of the Lewite Priesthood was the shadow (or temporary placeholder) of his ultimate sacrifice to kaphar/cover us (atone for our sins); and pointed to his appointment as High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Sovereign of Righteousness) for our sakes. The other aspects of the Twrh still stand: i.e., YHUH's mandatory set apart moadym/times includng the weekly Shbt of Rest (you can praise and worship him any day of the week but the Shbt/7th day--S-turday to the Pagans--is his day of REST); Kasrut (clean and unclean foods--YH knows better than all of us combined what is good for us to eat); Employee/"Slave"-Employer relations; Husband/Wife duties and Male/Female distinctions; Farming and Husbandry; Liability; social interaction with believers and unbelievers, et alii. Yahusha predicted beyond his physical presence on erets/earth that Shbt remains: "pray that your flight is not in the winter or on a Shbt day" alluding to the fall of Yerushalaym in 70AD roman calendar. Yasha YHU/Isaiah 66 explains we will continue to keep Shbt (7th day) and New Moons on erets before YHUH not in shamaym (heaven).

    Shalwm.

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  6. re my comments to Anonymous of Nov 13 2011...

    oh dear: spirit is willing; flesh is weak.


    Meant to comment:
    "dje-sus" (and 'iesous'), giving the "J" sound which is foreign to Hebrew and Aramaic too (as i understand it)...

    third Saying/Command against* misrepresenting...

    Yahusha would not need to have suffered and die so horribly...

    various typos...
    _____________________


    would like to add:
    The eh (ay) sound as in Yahweh (yaw-way) is likely Greek in origin as they refer to Nuach/Noah as "Noe" in the so-called N-w Testament (which is actually the fulfilled prophecy of the Renewed Covenant: i.e., the receiving of YHUH/YHUShA's Ruach/Spirit at Shabuot/Pentecost written of in YermYahu/Jeremiah 31.) Hence, "YaHUaH" as likely a closer transliteration of b'Sham/Shem. But i continue to study and come out of Babel. May the everlasting light of YHUH through YHUShA and by Ruach ha Qodash continue to brighten our studies and guide our feet on YHUH's Pathway.

    i know, i'm packing a lot of info into my comment with all the brackets and slashes but i don't frequent this place often.


    Shalwm Aleykm, b'sham YHUShA.
    SR.

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  7. Anonymous of Feb 23 2012... aren't you jumping to conclusions? I thank the author of this article for their graciousness of allowing opposing comments. We should "shut up" because you don't like our comments? How about you actually bring your Ruach/Spirit-inspired insights instead of choosing to level nastiness? smh. This is the internet. Get over it.


    Apparently, according to your suggestion anyone with a knowledge of the Hebrew way and/or a willingness to speak Hebrew is a "Messyanic" or "Hebrew roots"?

    Wow. YaHUShA our Saviour said "this tribe (Yshra'al) shall not pass" suggesting in part part to me that we would still be here; even if only a remnant. i for one am neither a descendant of the European Ashkenazi Yaphathite converts who call themselves 'Jews' or Pagan Krystyanay grafted into Yshra'al. i was led by YH's Ruach to know who i am by intense scripture and supporting historical secular study (since childhood); family history; and discussion with others awakening to their heritage. i grew up honouring YHUH's Commands; as a sinner i have also gained the experience of being grafted in to Yshra'al through YaHUShA. i agree that "Messyanics" are too much like Pharisees or Ebionites. And the Talmud is often profane being the written version of the Oral Twrh YaHUShA opposed.


    As for Abraham; he was following the custom of the day in order to fulfill YHUH's promise concerning him and his wife. Don't you know that Twrh (YHUH's instructions) commands a Yshra'alite to raise up seed to his deceased brother should the brother die without giving his wife children? In effect making his sister-in-law his wife while he gives her a child. Abraham and Sawrah/Sarah used human reasoning instead of faith to bring forth the promised son (after all they were very aged); therein lies the real error and unintended consequences of the strife between Yshma'al/Ishmael and Yts'haq/Isaac; Yshma'al was 13 years older and the "first born" by human standards but not by YH's plan.

    The original model for marriage is the Adam the image of YHUH: one male and one female. Polygamy and modern concubines are often an excuse or cover for fornication and adultery, imo. it could also be seen as a form of legalized prostitution; why can't a male help a female as YHUShA did without expecting sexual favour from them?


    i think the Kabbalists and Talmudists capitalized on YHUH's Word and people's ignorance (feigned or real) and created bastardized versions of it; after all, scripture is useful for instruction and doctrine according to Paul; that does not preclude false doctrine. Their religions come from Babylon and the traditions of men; and they are doing violence to YHUH's Sovereign-dom misleading people, imo.


    In defense of the alaph-bayt (Hebrew alphabet); it is composed of letters with multiple dimensions: representational image (like Ox for Alaph), letter character, number, and sound. Anything can be misused to conduct witchcraft and sorcery, false divination, et alii; modern Christianity, e.g., imo


    Free scripture software like the Interlinear Scripture Analyzer is available that parallels the Hebrew and English with the transliteration of the Concordant Literal Version; and anyone can freely acquire online Aramaic "N-w T-stament" translations (Aramaic is closest to Hebrew). By reading and study (with prayer and comparing to Twrh) we can get a better sense of what those of that culture were actually saying and meant. Our culture is Pagan (Babylonian/Persian/Greek/Roman); should we not at least get an understanding of what the Ancient Hebrew culture was like since YHUH chose to speak and write the Eseret ha Dabrim (10 Sayings) in Paleo Hebrew?


    Shalwm Aleykm, b'sham YHUShA.
    SR

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  8. I agree that Mithraism did not influence the development of first century Christianity. It was the second, third, and most especially, the 4th century when the influence was realized. When in an attempt to gain converts to the Christian faith, the Catholics compromised with the Mithraists (pagans); allowing Mithraic idolatrous practices to continue that stood in opposition to becoming a 'new creation' in Jesus/Yeshua at conversion. These practices and customs were 'sterilized' or cleaned up by linking them with things from the Christian faith. Example: The 'Asherah' tree idol used in worship of the sun reborn on December 25th became 'Christianized' in celebrating the Son's birthday (Jesus/Yeshua) - the tree used now called the 'Christmas' tree.
    As a follower of Yeshua I want nothing to do with anything that has to do with idols. It's sin. Plain and simple. If you read "Fossilized Customs" and in good conscience still observe Christmas, Easter, Halloween,tithing,etc. then it may do you good to ask Yahweh to show you where your heart really is in Him.

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    1. Rubbish! Only one thing that needs to be said! Revelation 12:9: Satan has deceived the WHOLE world. If this is not true, that the WHOLE world is deceived, then the Word of the Creator is a lie. We should all know, and believe, that His Word is truth. Think about this and humble yourselves before the Creator and maybe He will show mercy and give you His wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Ecclesiastes 8:5—Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment.

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    2. Yes, yes ‘Rubbish’ I am in agreement with you! Satan has deceived the WHOLE world! If a person takes the time and ‘proves all things’, like we are instructed to do, it becomes very clear how this spiritual being is able to fulfill this prophecy. Yahshua (Yah-saves) tells mankind this is not His Kingdom. We are also told not to love the world or anything in the world. Yahweh (His name is on the Moabite stone and on the pillar king Solomon built and raised at the Red Sea crossing) has seasons for everything under heaven. The season of the assembly is over (Eph. 3:10-11) and we are now in the season of Amos 8:11-14! Satan has, and is, deceiving the entire world by religion! Check the fruits of the tree (religion)! Ephesians 4:4-5—There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5 one Sovereign, one faith, one baptism; 6 one Elohim and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. You will not get this unity following man.
      Truth is defined in any dictionary as undisputable fact! Lew might have missed the facts on some points in his book, but it is still very clear that Christianity is full of idolatry practice that goes back to Nimrod the great hunter before Yahweh. Hislop goes into great detail with ‘facts’ proving this point. Christianity has currently 2.1 billion members who can’t agree to be united (denominations). 2.1 billion members! Largest religion on this planet! What happened to “small is the gate and narrow is the road and only a few will find it?” America’s fruit (Christianity): Statue of Liberty is a roman goddess and America has worshiped this goddess by giving her the title of a national monument! We are also warned that many will come in Yahshua’s Name (not Jesus) claiming He is the Messiah and deceive many. We see the Sacred Name Movement and all its sub groups gaining popularity today!
      When a belief is presented, prove it with facts! Be like a child and always ask why! Proverbs 4:18-19—The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. 19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. Believe His Word not man! Apply what His Word says to your daily life and see if He does not give you more understanding. I’ll give you a simple example: I was doing and in-depth study on Ex.23:13 a while back. During the study I took everything I had in the house with the name ‘nike’ and its symbol on it and burned it in the burn barrel. Wow! The mercy I was shown by Him who created me was absolutely amazing. . . very humbling!
      Proverbs 18:13 He that judgeth a matter before he investigates is not wise.

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    3. Yes, very interesting discussions above. We have some connection with the
      MOTHER of so called "Christianity" and her daughters following along.
      Being raised in a staunce Catholic family, altar boy, on and on, for some
      30 years, we can say Lew White has done a great service in bringing these
      Fossilized Pagan customs to light. These customs are still very much alive
      and well and growing it seems, which the Spiritual decline abserved every-
      where we look confirms. This past week gave us another witness to the world
      in election of a new Pope. Did you see it? the beast clothed in Purple and
      Scarlet, the Pagan Dagon Fish hats, the pompus garments, the adulation shown
      by the mob, the "man" in white, standing there for, how long? drinking it in.
      What did the Master Yahuah, warn the Apostles? the Pharasees LOVE to dress in
      long robes and get the greetings and adulation in the market, "BUT NOT YOU" be
      ye meek and humble as I, follow me, etc. etc. Another important fact that is
      overlooked in this Pope, he is the first JESUIT ever chosen. Why is this very
      important? Most do not know there are really TWO popes, white, supposed leader
      of the church, and the BLACK, the ruler of the Jesuits. If you don't know the
      history of Jesuits,information is available on the NET, Satanic, murderuos
      world rulers. So these monsters have solidified their stranglehold of power,
      and will have no restraining force of the White pope. Should be an interesting
      ride from here on out. STAY TUNED.

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  9. Lew White...the same Lew White that you are all talking about runs (or at least ran) a headshop in Louisville where he sold his books right next to bongs, music albums and pornographic images.
    THIS is where you are getting your "Biblical" knowledge from, people!
    Grow up. Move along. Party's over.
    www.fossilizedcustoms.org ~ for proof!

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    1. Hi
      When owning the headshop do you realize how many pagans he reached out to and how many turned to YHWH,he outsmarted Shatan for a long time until you Christians broke he's good works. Shatan used you well, sons of plunder.

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    2. Lew is a modalist among other heterodox doctrines. The majority of major creeds throughout history imply that adherence to modalism is an assault on the gospel itself. Paul rebuked Peter at the council of Jerusalem. I think I'm ok for publicly challenging Lew's book.

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    3. david was a satanist, yep, cuz he played music

      there's no porno in Lew's shop

      and where is the commandment that says cannabis is prohibited?

      now, go gobble a pork-chop and look in the mirror

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    4. I am not knocking Lew White at all, in fact I agree with some of the things he teaches. I am just making a comment on your cannabis prohibited. In the New Testament in several places Paul talks about actions which are not acceptable to the Kingdom of Heaven. One of them in the KJV is called sorcery, that that is a bad translation like the KJV is, because the Greek word is Pharmcah which means drug sorcery, which is mind altering drugs. i.e. opiates, cannabis, acid, LSD, and so on. I dont think any believer should be using cannabis, and I am an ex-medical cannabis user. Notice I said ex.

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    5. Sorry, I just want to change one thing, I do believe Medical Cannabis is ok for cancer patients. It does help with mood, appetite, and pain, but for recreational, it is not ok, and that is not me it is what the Word says.

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  10. Dear Writer, so far i have seen much of your attempts (valid or not) to discredit Lews findings, what i have not seen is any areas of his findings that you agree with. Should I then conclude that nothing in his book has any validity and that we are nowhere closer to uncovering truth ? If we are to worship in Spirit and Truth, should we not attempt to find that truth ? A better approach may have been to contact Lew directly, and advise him of his inacuracies, allowing him therefore to correct them, not sure if that was done but i think it would be a more love thy neighbor type approach to this situation, the snide remarks whilst funny dont serve to glorify Yahweh in any way. thanks for your insight though

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    1. I did contact Lew. He refused to talk to me.

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    2. There is NOTHING truthful in White's book, neither Alexander Hislop. Show me ONE verse in Scripture that states that Nimrod was married. Just look at how many s@xual symbolism White sees everywhere and the worst thing is that he lists flimsy sources. He just doctors up a story out of thin air.

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  11. Just a quick note, there are lots of things wrong in his book, but there are allot of things right. It's up to us to make them out for ourselves. We all know each of us will find our own way to our ultimate end, so as humans it's good to just help where we can and let others find their way to. Just don't bow blindly but talk openly to what our who you feel is your creator. It's all opinion and we all got one or many. Lol

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  12. Ben, I am an ex-Southern Baptists member, I have been a deacon, and even delivered a few sermons. I am a ordained Minister now, not with the Southern Baptists, I am non-denominational. There are things that Lew White says that I do not agree with, but there are some I do. One of the things i do agree with and if you would do a more in depth search you will find out Christianity has been fooled, and a lot of the doctrines and dogmas steeped in Christianity today is of pagan origin. You spoke about Mithra sun worshipers, well there was a stone found from this pagan cult recently that predates Christianity, which has a carving of what looks like a crucifix. Maybe Lew wont talk to you, but I would love too, so I have my name on this post and you can contact me anything. I have my email attached to my name. Just shoot me an email.

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    1. Can you provide a source for this pre-Christian 'crucifix stone' or is this just a rumor you saw on the internet?

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    2. sorry for the late reply, I did not get a message you replied to me. I just happened to check the site out again. I will do some serious research, and get you exact unrefutable documentation. It is very clear I will have to have all my t's crossed and all my I's doted. What I have is probably not good enough for you, and I am not being mean i just know by the way you talk you want exact dates and accredited research, and I dont blame you because I am the same way. give me a few days, because I am in the middle of an important project. Thanks Ken.

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    3. By the way I do not agree at all with what Lew White says about the Trinity. He has changed the original Hebrew words in Genesis 1:26 to try and take out Make and change it with breathe, and taken out In Our form, as Our image to shared essence. This is very bad what he is doing, even though I agree with him about the cross I dont agree at all with what he is doing with the Trinity, and some of his other teachings are blasphemy. But that does not mean he is wrong about everything. I think he started out good, but like a lot of teachers went to far and went bad. We as believers must research and be sure of everything, so we dont end up doing the same blasphemy Lew has done.

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  13. Ben if you are interested I have a site www.fellowshipoftheWay.com it is a Scripture teaching site without any concerns for doctrine or dogmas. I am in the process of translating the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures to English. I call the translation "The Way Translation." I have three columns, the first is the original Hebrew from the Westminster Leningrad Codex, the middle column is the Basic Translation which is a word for word exact translation to English. Hebrew sentence structure is backwards from English, so the Way Translation uses the same words and the Basic Translation, just put in proper English grammar. There is the Fellowship Press which is news articles about history, and word events that believers need to know about, but the main point of the site is Scripture studies. It is set up in a teaching format where people can make comments, and ask questions about Scriptures or commentary. I will post any comment from anyone, as long as it is not foul, hate, or attack language. There is not place for that among believers, because Yahusha Messiah said, "Love one another as I have loved you." Amen! Please let us love one another as He loves us.

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  14. Ben, in all fairness to Lew about the photograph of the so called Nephilim, which i do not agree with Lew about. Whenever I write an article for Fellowship Press, and use a photograph, I always run it through Photoshop or Photo-scape to re-size it for the web. If you dont it takes for every to load and slows down my website. I have not read much of Lew Book, but the Nephilim before the great flood were not sired by messengers or angles. Number one, messengers are obedient to Elohim, and those that are not are called demons, not angles. Number two messengers or angles are sexless. The Master says in Matthew Chapter 22, verses 29 and 30, “You have strayed, not understanding the Scriptures or the power of Elohim. For in the resurrection they do not marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the messengers (angels) of Elohim in the heavens.’” The sons of Elohim were not messengers or angels they were the line of Seth, and the daughters of men were the wicked line of Cain. The Strong's word is H5303: nphil (nef-eel’) properly, a feller, i.e. a bully or tyrant. The only other place this word is used in Scripture is Numbers Chapter 13 verse 33. The K.J.V. says, “And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight. This was an exaggeration because those who went with Caleb into the Promised Land were afraid to back go back in, so they exaggerated their report to Moses and the people. Firstly how could the sons of Anak be descendants of the Nephlim of Genesis Chapter 6, since all, except the family of Noach died in the great flood? If you want a more in depth look at this please check out http://www.fellowshipoftheway.com/genesis-6

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  15. Nothing in Lew White's book is truth

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  16. Hi. I have a great guilt over Jeremiah 10. Can you help me? I have seen so many websites that say that Jer 10:3 is not about carving an image but rather it is ONLY about tree chopping. In essence, this is what they say that verse 3 says:

    "For one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the chopped tree by the woodsman with the tree cutting instrument."

    Look at it again:

    "For one cutteth a tree out of the forest" <------- Clearly a tree is being cut

    "The work of the hands" <------- the chopped tree

    "Of the workman" <------- The woodsman

    "With the axe" <------- With a tree cutting instrument

    Therefore, they say, verse 3 is talking ONLY about tree chopping and not wood carving.
    Questions:
    1) Why would a hand carved idol need to be fastened with nails and hammers, when all wooden idols in Jeremiah's day were small and could be made in such a manner that it would be steadied by itself?

    2) Why does the verse mention a forest when in other portions of Scripture when wooden idols are mentioned, they don't care where the wood came from?

    3) Why do all older versions of the Bible translate maatsad as a tree cutting instrument, i.e. an axe?

    4) Why does it mention the "signs of heaven" as the tree verse immediately follows the "signs of heaven" winter solstice?

    5) Why does verse 4 say IT while verse 5 says THEY? Doesn't the use of different pronouns imply a change in topic? Meaning that verses 3 and 4 independently talk of a decorated tree while verse 5 describes the idols. Therefore verses 3 and 4 are independent and have no bearing on verse 5.

    6) Modern translations water down verse 3 and add the word chisel to the verse when verse 3 in the Original Hebrew has no chisel. Isn't the NIV rendering of verse 3 deceiving people?

    7) "With silver and with gold" in verse 4 is just a metaphor for objects placed on a tree just like "it is raining cats and dogs"?

    These are not my ideologies but theirs, I am feeling wracked with guilt and don't know which interpretation to believe. On one hand the idols view is plausible and on the other hand the "chopped tree" view is also plausible. Who should I believe? Is the NIV really deceiving us? Please give some thought to my questions. I don't want to have an accursed object in my living room. Which view does the Original Hebrew support? Thanks for your time.

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