Evolutionary religion is the quest for truth. Revelatory religion IS that truth.

Our Savior, Jesus Christ - Yeshua

The Christus

Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy

with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; Deuteronomy 7:9

Link to the 613 Commandments (Mitzvot) of Judaism

www.jewfaq.org/613.htm, and/or this one by a rabbi: http://ohr.edu/judaism/articles/taryag.pdf.

A large number of these 613 relate to the ancient temple practices and are, of course, no longer valid. Many others still have efficacy in the Orthodox Jewish community.

Want to see Marlena's other sites?

http://comeuntochrist.blogspot.com/, http://judaicaworld.wordpress.com/, http://www.mormonsandjews.net/ http://www.jewishconvert-lds.com/ http://www.peopleofthebook-judaica.com/

New article by Marlena on JewishJournal.com.
Why Would a Jew Become a Mormon?


A Mormon's Guide to Judaism, People of The Book and Notes of a Jewish Convert to the LDS Church available on Kindle!! Download them to your phone and read anytime. They will help you understand one of the three seminal religions and cultures; the similarities and differences between Judaism and the LDS Church.

For more info: marlenatanya@gmail.com

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B’nai Sholom (Children of Peace)

As the new president of this woderful and unique organization, I invite all my readers to click on http://www.mormonsandjews.org. We are an organization of Jewish converts, Mormons and interested friends. We hold a large group get together the Thursdays just before General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Located at 142 West 200 North, Salt Lake City, UT  84103. At each event we feature speakers on Judaism, a buffet of Jewish foods, dancing and other entertainment. B’nai Sholom will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2017.
Please check out the numerous links. More are being added. We would love your email to sign up for event notices and be informed of important genealogical and other articles. On the home page, click on Membership and Donations.

We accept tax deductible donations: The Ensign Foundation, P.O. Box 52, Sandy, UT 84091. 

A 'Lost' Tribe of Israel Returns Home

A ‘Lost’ Tribe of Israel Returns Home

1 Votes

Bnei Menashe in Adloyada of Purim in Carmiel, ...
Bnei Menashe in Adloyada of Purim in Carmiel, Israel by Jusmine via Wikipedia
Most people have heard of the ‘ten lost tribes of Israel’. In reality they were never lost; they were just submerged among the much larger non Jewish population in the places where they lived, or they moved to distant lands, and over the course of centuries became detached from the main body of the Jewish People; and were forgotten. The well known Marano Jews, who are the descendants of Jews forced to convert into the Catholic Church in 15thcentury Spain and Portugal, are a good example of a submerged Jewish population. The Jewish communities in India and China are a good example of remote Jewish communities, who in the 12th  and 13th century became detached from the body of Israel and were forgotten. Today the Jews of India and China are remembered primarily because, unlike Jews in Europe and the Middle East, the Jews in India and China never were subject to Anti-Semitism or any form of religious oppression.
Now, a new group of  ‘lost’ Indian Jews, who are descendants of the tribe of Menashe, one of the ten tribes exiled from the Land of Israel in 721 BCE by the conquering Assyrian Empire, are returning home. In March 2005, Israeli Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar officially backed the Bnei Menashe’s claim to be Jewish. That announcement led to a wave of immigration from India to Israel; and about 1,700 of the 7,200-strong Bnei Menashe community arrived in Israel. But the flow stopped in 2007, when Israel stopped giving visas to the Bnei Menashe due to objections from some ultra-Orthodox Rabbis.
Israel’s decision to reverse that policy now will pave the way for all the remaining Bnei Menashe members to migrate. A source close to the prime minister’s office gave two reasons for the change in Israeli policy.  Some of the donors to Shavei Israel, an organization that seeks to repatriate  ‘lost’ Jewish communities, are also donors to Netanyahu, and several fundamentalist Christian groups that support Netanyahu also pressured him strongly because they believe that the return of the remnants of the ten lost tribes is a necessary part of the coming Messianic Age.
The Bnei Menashe Indian Jewish community says it is one of the ten lost tribes of Israel who were exiled when Assyrians invaded the northern kingdom of Israel in the 8th century BCE. According to its oral tradition, the tribe travelled through Persia, Afghanistan, Tibet, China and on to India, where it eventually settled in the north-eastern states of Manipur and Mizoram.
When the new group of 53 Bnei Moshe landed in Tel Aviv there were emotional scenes at Ben Gurion airport as the newcomers were greeted by relatives who had moved to Israel during the first wave of immigration. Several hundred more Bnei Menashe members are due to arrive in the coming weeks, said Michael Freund, a spokesman for the Shavei Israel group which helped organize the journey for the Bnei Menashe members. “The members of this tribe have never forgotten where they came from. and we are excited to be able to help them come back,”
Freund, a passionate religious Zionist from New York, immigrated to Israel in 1995 and was employed as deputy communications director for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his first term. In 1997 Freund discovered one of the many letters sent by the Bnei Menashe on a desk in the prime minister’s office. “The letter, hand-written and in a faded orange envelope, looked like it had been through a washing machine. At first, I thought the whole thing was nuts,” he said. But he was intrigued enough to visit the tribe in India. “When I met them and saw the similarities between their customs and beliefs and the biblical Israelites, I was convinced that these are indeed descendants of the lost tribes” Freund said.
Ethiopian Jews are another remote community that returned to Israel a generation ago after a separation of over 2,000 years. The amazing 1991 rescue of 15,000 Ethiopian Jews in an airlift lasting less than 48 hours stirred and inspired people for several weeks. Subsequently, the difficult problems the newcomers faced (similar to those of the 900,000 Russian Jews who immigrated in the 1970′s and 1980′s) occupied the Jewish media. Now both are taken for granted. The miracle has become routine.
But if you had told the Jews of Ethiopia two generations ago that they would someday all fly to Israel in a giant silver bird, they could only conceive of this as a Messianic miracle.  If you had told Russian Jews a generation ago that the Soviet regime would collapse, and the Soviet Empire disintegrate; while hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews would emigrate to Israel, they would have conceived it only as a Messianic dream. In our own generation therefore we have seen the dramatic fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “I will bring your offspring from the East (India) and gather you from the (European) West. To the North (Russia) I will say ‘give them up’ and to the South (Ethiopia) ‘do not hold them’.  Bring my sons from far away, my daughters from the end of the earth.” (Isaiah 43:5-6) Truly amazing things are happening in our generation if we would only open our eyes.
Rabbi Maller’s web site is: rabbimaller.com

Holy War or Luciferian?

By  Norman Jay Landerman-Moore
Anacortes, WA

A careful study of ancient history reveals that among all peoples of antiquity, war was linked with religion. In Roland deVaux’s volume titled “Ancient Israel”, we read;

 “It was begun [in pagan societies] at the command of the gods, or at least with their approval, manifested by omens; it was accompanied by sacrifices, and conducted with the help of the gods who ensured victory, for which they were thanked by an offering of part of the booty.” Then he adds this; “More strictly still, the holy war of Islam, the jihad, is the duty incumbent upon every Moslem to spread his faith by force of arms, by compulsion.”

This last notion of holy war, Islamic jihad, is completely and utterly foreign to Israel. It is incompatible with the idea of Yahism, as a particular religion and a peculiar possession of the chosen, the covenant people and their God. This means that Israel did not fight for its faith, but for its existence. As we are witnessing today.

Anciently, Israel considered war as a sacred action, with its own particular ideology and rites. When Israelites took up arms they were called the people of Yahweh or people of God, the troops of God, or the armies of Yahweh [the armies of heaven]. Combatants were required to maintain a state of ritual cleanliness, i.e. “to be made holy”. They were bound by oath to remain continent, and this obligation extended to
cleanliness of the camp, which must be kept “holy” if Yahweh was to encamp with His troops. The visible sign of the presence of Yahweh was the Ark of the Covenant. Faith was an indispensable condition. Those without faith, those who exhibited fear and did not have the requisite religious disposition [testimony of purpose] were sent away.

This is the principal fact: it was Yahweh who fought for Israel, not Israel which fought  for its God. The holy war, in Israel, was not, is not a war of religion as the Islamic jihad is; undertaken to spread the Moslem faith, killing and destroying, subjugating and dispensing dhimmitude upon the innocent, upon all “non believers”.

The ideology of Islamic belief is rooted in Satan’s plan of compulsion. It was no idle threat when he said he would take silver and gold [and oil] and by up tyrants and priests [Imams and Clerics] and “rule with blood and horror on this earth.” Islam is an enemy to God and mankind. It is truly unfortunate that so many have chosen to be bound by the cords of such evil, being led to an utter destruction of their souls.

The fundamental object of the jihadists war against Jews, Christians and all non-Muslims is not conversion by force to Islam.  Rather, the jihad is being waged to bring non-Muslims into the Islamic Order  as slaves.  The Qur'anic verse (9:29) that explicitly directs Muslims to make war against Jews and Christians directs them,(Muslims), to make others (Jews and Christians) "pay the jizua with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued".  In Islamic law, this condition of submission is known as dhimma, and those within it are a dhiminis, a "guilty" people.  

The classic Islamic scholar As-Sawi specifies that the payment of the jizya signifies that non-Muslims are to be rendered "humble, submissive and obedient to the judgments of Islam" that exercises Sharia Law upon the entire world, a world viewed in Islamic terms as a Mosque.  Thus subjugation and a life of dhimmitude or slavery, or death, which ever is dispensed to the Jew or Christian, or non-Muslim, is executed by Islam.  In sum, all infidels must humble themselves before the Muslim and become a Dhimini, or be dead.  There is no tolerance for the Muslim to follow in their Islamic code, nor is there the "Golden Rule".

This article printed by permission. Please direct any comments to: marlenamuchnick@yahoo.com.


November 12, 2012  RSS

Interview with a Jew-loving Ukrainian Mormon

Posted by Mark Paredes
LDS Seminary and Institute (= Mormon Hillel) coordinators are an oft-overlooked resource for Jewish leaders in Europe who are attempting to conduct outreach to friendly Christian communities. Some of the most philo-Semitic Mormons I have ever met are Institute directors, and one has profoundly changed my life. Marin Iachimov, the Institute coordinator for Romania and several other countries, kindly invited me to speak on LDS-Jewish relations in Romania and Moldova, and I met my lovely wife-to-be in Bucharest. I havealready blogged about the former Institute directors in Lund, Sweden, a German couple who organized groups of young Mormons to clean Jewish cemeteries. In this column I’d like to profile the dynamic philo-Semite who serves as the Seminary and Institute coordinator for Ukraine. If you know Jews in Ukraine, by all means forward this interview to them.     
Igor Piddubnyi has been an Institute coordinator for 15 years, and writes that he “was always attracted to our brothers, the Jews. I had many Jewish friends during my school years.” Like many Mormons, Igor had this to say about his trip to Israel: “I love them [Jews] with all my heart. I have never heard that I had Jewish roots, but when I went to Israel, I felt home. I almost wept as I stood at the Western wall. There is still something sacred there.” In addition, Igor speaks and reads some Hebrew. I asked him to respond to a few questions for this blog, and he was kind enough to send the following responses:
How long have you been a Mormon? When did your interest in Judaism begin?
I was baptized in June 1993. My wife was baptized in February 1991, when there were only five members of the Church in Ukraine. As I look back, the topic of Judaism has been on my mind since I can remember. Basically, it started along with my membership in the Church, after I had come back from serving in the Soviet Army.
Which Jewish sites have you visited in Ukraine?
As a S&I (CES) coordinator I travel a lot throughout Ukraine. As I visit classes in the mission branches, I often pass by famous Jewish sites. All of them are located in picturesque areas. Sometimes I visit such places to think about my life and feel closer to God. So far I have visited:
  • the grave of Baal Shem Tov (in Medzhybyzh), the founder of Hasidism
  • the grave of Rabbi Nahman (in Uman), the most famous leader of Hasidism
  • the grave of Rabbi Levi Yitzhak (in Berdichev)
  • the grave of Rabbi Nathan (in Bratslav), the disciple of Rabbi Nachman
  • old synagogues in western Ukraine, including Rivne and Dubno, Lviv and Chernivtsi. Here is a site in Russian about the Jewish heritage of Ukraine. I believe they are working on the English version, but it’s not available yet. I have visited more than half of these places.
Besides the Bible, what is your favorite work of Jewish literature?
I have not read the Talmud yet, but I really like Moshe Haim Luzzato’s “Mesilat Yesharim” (The Path of the Just). He wrote it when he was 33. I also like Martin Buber’s “The Tales of Hasidim” (parables and stories) and  “Roots of the Bible” by Friedrich Weinreb. The three books (Gardens) by the modern writer Shalom Arush (especially his “Garden of Peace”) should be read by every husband.
You recently purchased a Torah with commentary by Rashi. How does this add to your understanding of Judaism -- and Mormonism?
Jewish people are people of details as we know. They believe that there are no excess words in the Scriptures. Rashi wrote his commentaries with a close look at small details, but also gives a lot of contextual material. When I read some passages in the Bible that are difficult to understand, where principles can't be seen because of lack of context, I usually try to look up the same passage in the Torah with Rashi or other commentaries to see what historical background can found there. For example, in Genesis 6:1 – 8 we read about “sons of God and daughters of men” – the time when the Lord, because of the wickedness of men, gives them a certain time to repent. Rashi suggests two meanings for the expression “the sons of God” – 1. Sons of the princes and the nobles of the land; 2. Messengers of the Most High, who mingled with men. Regarding the first possible meaning he explained, by quoting other authors, that wickedness was so great that when princes or nobles of the land saw “daughters of men” beautifying themselves before entering the nuptial canopy, a son of the noble or prince would come and take them by force “from whomever they chose” - even a married woman. After that the Lord sets the countdown timer. Many details give additional insights into the situation from which we can draw principles. The stories I used to read by blocks and pages, now become words and letters. I started to underline not sentences or verses as before, but words that become a basis for principles and doctrines
What were the spiritual highlights of your trip to Israel?
When I first went to Israel (it was November and I was flying in from cold Moscow), the very smell of the air in Tel Aviv, rose bushes, trees and many other details added to my understanding of why it’s a land chosen above all other lands and why they still fight for it. I remember my first feeling of seeing the Western Wall. I could not believe I was standing there. I was touching the wall of the Temple Mount and thinking how many lives were lost and touched at this place. I could feel somehow that I was standing in the middle of the universe, that that was the place of most interest for me. I have visited quite a few countries and seen wonderful sites and historical places, but I have never felt anything like that. For me it was such a native and natural place. Another highlight – Masada. It has a very dramatic story. It was so amazing to walk among stones that have seen so much. The trip to Israel changed my understanding of the Scriptures. The distances to, colors, smell of the places I visited – every time I come across those in the Scriptures – they become alive, it expands my understanding. Also, the Garden Tomb was such a touching moment. When we were leaving, I stood on Friday night on the Mount of Olives and looked at the Temple Mount. It was difficult to part with this city, I felt as if I was leaving someone very close to my heart. Jerusalem has a living soul.
What do you see as the most important Jewish-Mormon ties?
The belief in the absolute truth. Focus on the family. Working on your personal salvation by hard spiritual labor. Following the path of those who have trodden the path of righteousness before. Waiting for the Messiah (or for His return) with an single to the glory of God. Being separated from the world. I believe the Lord applied the same pattern working with the latter-day group of His covenant people as he used with ancient Israel. That’s why we have the same Root and we can find many similarities in the concepts of Judaism and Mormonism.

Mark Paredes blogs for the Jewish Journal, the Deseret News, and Meridian Magazine. 

To circumcise, or not to circumcise?

A practice that's been a religious obligation for millennia is now in dispute. Is circumcision "mutilation?"

The earliest circumcisions date back to around 2400 B.C.
The earliest circumcisions date back to around 2400 B.C. Photo: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images SEE ALL 48 PHOTOS
How did the practice start?The Egyptians were removing the foreskins of young boys as early as 2400 B.C., but the origins of circumcision remain a mystery. "It's like asking the question, 'Where did religion come from?'" said medical historian David L. Gollaher. Jews have performed the ritual on 8-day-old boys for at least 3,000 years, in accordance with God's commandment to Abraham that circumcising "the flesh of your foreskins...shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you." Muslims consider circumcision a purification ritual that can be performed on males of any age, and some African societies initiate pubescent boys into manhood through a circumcision ritual that tests their ability to withstand pain. For Americans, starting in the late 19th century, circumcision was touted as a cure for nervousness, masturbation, and imbecility. It remains a routine procedure in the U.S., with more than half of all boys circumcised — far more than in Europe.
Does the operation have real health benefits?
Three recent large-scale studies of African men have found that circumcision markedly lowers the risk of infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS; it also reduces infection from other sexually transmitted diseases, including the cancer-causing human papillomavirus (HPV). Researchers say that's because the foreskin can develop microscopic tears during sexual activity, allowing infections to more easily reach the bloodstream. Circumcision has also been found to reduce the risk of urinary-tract infections in a baby's first year. Citing those studies, the American Academy of Pediatrics in August shifted its previously neutral stance on circumcision and announced that the procedure has "significant" health benefits. For every 909 circumcisions, the pediatricians reported, one man will be spared a diagnosis of penile cancer.
So why do some people oppose it?Many frame their opposition to circumcision as a human rights issue: They see removing a healthy part of a newborn's body without his consent as an involuntary form of "mutilation" — a violation of medical ethics. "Babies should be left alone," said Georganne Chapin of the anti-circumcision group Intact America. "When they become men, they can make their own informed decision about whether they want to remove a part of their own penises." Chapin and other so-called "intactivists" dispute the evidence of circumcision's medical benefits — infections can be prevented with proper hygiene and condoms, they claim — and point to the pain involved and the risks of bleeding, infection, and other complications. Some critics also maintain that circumcision makes the penis less sensitive, robbing men of the full range of sexual pleasure. Intactivists seek to change society's attitudes about the operation, with the goal, according to movement leader Matthew Hess, of "making cutting boys' foreskin a federal crime."
Have they made progress?
The procedure is definitely becoming less prevalent. Rates of hospital circumcision in the U.S. have dropped from a high of about 79 percent in the 1970s to 55 percent in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That may be partly because Medicaid has stopped paying for the surgery in 18 states; some insurance companies also have stopped covering it. In addition, Latin American immigrants tend not to circumcise. But another reason for the decline is that the moral argument against circumcision is swaying many American parents. In San Francisco last year, 12,000 citizens supported a ballot initiative that would have made circumcision a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or a year in jail. A judge blocked the referendum on a technicality, but the ban's sponsor, Lloyd Schofield, claimed victory. "Just getting people to think and discuss this is very rewarding," he said. And this year in Cologne, Germany, a regional court ruled that the botched ritual circumcision of a 4-year-old Muslim boy amounted to assault, and the German Medical Association counseled doctors to stop performing the operation.
How have religions responded?
Across Germany, furious protests by religious Jews and Muslims prompted lawmakers to draft a law making circumcision explicitly legal, as long as it is carried out by trained experts and parents are informed of medical risks. A similar clash ignited this summer in New York City, after city health officials found that in the last decade, 11 baby boys there had contracted herpes infections — and two of them had died — through a rare Orthodox Jewish rite called metzitzah b'peh, in which the mohel who performs ritual circumcision sucks the blood directly from the fresh wound. The city's Board of Health proposed making parents sign a form laying out the medical risks, but ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders vowed to defy the order and last week won a temporary injunction. New parents not bound by religious custom, meanwhile, are facing the circumcision decision with considerable doubt and confusion. Circumcision "does have a medical benefit," says Dr. Doug Diekema, who took part in the American Academy of Pediatrics task force on the procedure. "Not everyone would trade that foreskin for that medical benefit. It's a hard decision, and there are good reasons for almost any decision you want to make."
The life of a mohel
Max Mintz has circumcised more than 9,700 babies during the past 30 years and expects to hit the 10,000 mark by year's end. A retired Houston-area pediatrician, he performs the ritual for Jewish families in Texas and across the country, and will happily circumcise non-Jewish babies, too. Mintz, who charges about $350 for his services, says the procedure takes about a minute, involving a deft cut with a ritual knife called an izmel. "If you know how to do something surgically, just changing to another instrument is not so difficult," Mintz said. "And the ritual method is so much simpler." An Orthodox Jew, Mintz is gratified to be able to marry his faith with his surgical skills. And performing a bris, the Hebrew word for circumcision, is "always a very happy occasion," he said. "I don't have to do funerals like a rabbi. Everyone wants to meet you."
From The Week magazine and online zine - www.theweek.com/article/index

October 29, 2012

Anti-Semitic political party makes gains in Ukrainian elections

The Ukrainian ultranationalist Svoboda Party has made unprecedented gains in the country’s parliamentary elections, where it garnered 12 percent of the vote.
Svoboda -- or Freedom Party – has gained a reputation as an anti-Semitic movement due to anti-Jewish statements by its leaders.

Sunday’s vote means the party can now control a faction in parliament for the first time, according to exit polls. The party won less than one percent of the vote in the last election in 2007.
Party leader Oleg Tyagnibok has called in the past for purges of the approximately 400,000 Jews living in Ukraine, as well as other minorities. The party has held several protest rallies against the presence of Jews in Uman, in the center of the country.

Exit polls showed the governing party of President Viktor F. Yanukovich in the lead with 27.6 percent to 32 percent, followed by Tymoshenko’s 24 percent. Svoboda appeared to be fourth largest, after a party led by a former boxing champion, Vitali Klitschko.

Earlier this month, Svoboda signed a cooperation agreement with Yulia Tymoshenko’s Fatherland party, which was second strongest in the elections.

The agreement between Svoboda and Tymoshenko’s party drew a critical statement over the weekend from Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. “Anti-Semitic insults by Svoboda have caused outrage on a number of occasions both in Ukraine and in Israel,” Liberman said. “The expression of such views reminds of the darkest pages in the history of the last century that has led humanity to the tragedy of the World War II.”

From writers of the Jewish Journal

What Is A Messianic Jew?

This article is by my friend, Phil Ortega, who is a scholarly man raised as a Messianic Jew and he is well versed in  Sephardic Judaism and Judaica in general. He is also a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of some years. He has graciously allowed me to publish his very insightful paper on Messianic Jews. He introduces himself and lays out the information for us all to learn from:

I am a direct descendant of Francisco Ortega who charted the coast of California in the 1600's.  My ancestors settled in Northern New Mexico in 1658 and we are a Land Grant Family.  I am currently writing a book on the Ortegas of Northern New Mexico, who to this day still speak 15th century Spanish and Ladino.

Ladino is the language of the Sephardic Jew as is Yiddish to the Ashkenazic Jew.  Yiddish is a mix of German and Hebrew and Ladino is a mix of Spanish and Hebrew.
Messianic Jews are committed Jews who believe in Yeshua (Jesus) as the Jewish Messiah of Israel of whom the Jewish Law and Prophets spoke.To many this seems a glaring contradiction. Christians are Christians, Jews are decidedly not Christian. So goes the understanding that has prevailed through nearly two thousand years of history.

Messianic Jews call this a mistaken - and even anti-Scriptural - understanding. Historical and Biblical evidence demonstrates that following Yeshua was initially an entirely Jewish concept. Decades upon decades of persecution, division, and confused theology all contributed to the dichotomy between Jews and believers in Yeshua that many take for granted today.

The First Century
Two thousand years ago Yeshua was a Jew living among Jewish people. "Yeshua," by which Jesus was called during his time on earth, is itself a Hebrew word for "Salvation." Yeshua kept Torah, or the Law of Moses. He studied the Jewish Scriptures that many now know as the "Old Testament," and read them aloud at the local synagogue on Shabbat (Luke 4:16). He was called rabbi ("master") by his followers.

"Think not that I came to abolish the law and the prophets: I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them." - Yeshua, Matthew 5:17

After His (Jesus) death and resurrection, His following increased. From the book of Acts and other historical evidence, many believe that in the first century A.D. hundreds of thousands of Jews followed His teachings (Acts 2:41, 2:47, 4:4, 6:7, 9:31, 21:20), and established Messianic Synagogues throughout the Roman Empire and beyond (James 1:1, 2:2).
One of the first debates these early disciples faced seems ironic to us now: Could non-Jews participate in the community of Yeshua's followers without becoming Jews? At the very birth of Judaism, God had told Abraham that He would bless all nations of the earth through Abraham's offspring (Genesis 12.3). Accordingly, the apostolic council in Acts 15 decided that non-Jews could follow Yeshua without converting to Judaism.

Many factors intervened in the following years. Believers in Yeshua suffered increased opposition from both Roman authorities and Jewish synagogue leaders. As more and more Gentiles came to accept this faith and as the original Jewish apostles passed away, the Jewishness of that first-century faith was gradually lost.

Christianity later became the state religion of the Roman Empire. Eventually an anti-Semitic view of the Messiah's life and death became accepted theology in Christian Europe for hundreds of years.

Modern Messianic Judaism
Though Messianic Judaism itself dates back to Yeshua's twelve apostles, its "resurrection" is a relatively new phenomenon.In the late 1800s, after several large-scale "revivals" among protestant believers in the United States and Europe, many Christians sought to tell Jewish people about Yeshua, or Jesus. Even as some Jewish people in Europe began to desire to return to the land of Israel and establish a permanent Jewish homeland there, the Lord stirred many Jews to look at the so-called "Christian Bible," or New Testament Scriptures, for themselves.

Centuries of continuing anti-Semitism in the name of Jesus had left the Jewish community skeptical. But some Jewish men and women did become followers of Yeshua during this time. In the following decades whole congregations of Jewish believers in Jesus were born. This movement was dubbed "Hebrew Christianity."

"They are the Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Messiah!"- Rabbi Sha'ul (Paul), Romans 9:4-5). "Hebrew Christianity" has since become known as "Messianic Judaism." There are now tens of thousands of Messianic Jews in the United States alone; some estimate as many as 100,000. Messianic synagogues are springing up in almost every major city across the U.S., and Messianic Judaism is quickly growing in other nations throughout North and South America, Europe, Oceania, and the former Soviet republics.

The Messianic Judaism Identity
Messianic Jews recognize that their existence is entirely due to God's intervention on behalf of His Jewish people. Messianic Judaism is part of the fulfillment of God's many Scriptural promises of eternal love and faithfulness to Israel.The "Messianic Jewish identity" is wholly dependent on the person of Yeshua: God Himself come to earth to reconcile the Jewish people and all nations to Himself.

"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all." - Isaiah 53:6

The foundation of Messianic Judaism, therefore, is each individual's personal relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through Messiah Yeshua. In the Hebrew Law God clearly demands a blood sacrifice for the remittance of sins. Each Messianic Jew recognizes his or her own sinfulness and has accepted that Yeshua Himself provided this sacrifice.Another important aspect of the Messianic Judaism is: If Yeshua really is the Jewish Messiah of whom all the Jewish Law and Prophets spoke, then it is the most Jewish thing in the world to follow Him!

Should Jews really attempt to assimilate into churches and forego their Jewish identity when they choose to put their faith in the Jewish Messiah? Some say yes and some say no, thus we find Messianic Judaic Congregations.

Messianic Judaism Beliefs Vs Articles of Faith, Pearl of Great Price
1. That the BIBLE, consisting of the Tenach (Holy Scriptures) and the later writings commonly known as the B'rit Hadasha (New Covenant), is the only infallible and authoritative word of God. We recognize its divine inspiration, and accept its teachings as our final authority in all matters of faith and practice (Deut. 6:4-9; Prov. 3:1-6; Ps. 119:89, 105; Isa. 48:12-16; Rom. 8:14-17; II Tim. 2:15, 3:16-17). Article of Faith 8 - We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

2. GOD - Believe that the Shema, "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one" (Deut. 6:4), teaches that God is Echad, as so declared: a united one, a composite unity, eternally existent in plural oneness [Gen. 1:1 (Elohim: God); (the word Elohim being plural) Gen. 1:26 "Let us make man in our image";
Gen. 2:24 Adam & Eve were created to be as one flesh (basar echad)], that He is a personal God who created us ( Gen. 1 & 2), and that He exists forever in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as mentioned in Romans 8:14-17 (Father, Spirit, and Messiah - Son) and Matt. 28:18-20 (immersing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

a.) GOD THE FATHER (Abba) John 6:27b; I Cor 1:3; Gal. 1:1; Rev. 3:5, 21; Jer. 3:4, 19; 31:9; Mal. 1:6; Matt. 6:9, 32; Luke 10:21-22; John 1:14; 4:23; 5:17-26; 6:28-46; Rom. 8:14-15.

b.) GOD THE SON (HaBen)God does have a Son [Ps. 2; Prov. 30:4-6 (cf. Heb. 1); Luke 12:35-37; John 1:29-34, 49; 3:14-18].The Son, called Yeshua (Jesus), meaning salvation, came to this world born of a virgin [Isa. 7:14 (cf. Luke 1:30-35)]. The Son is God (Deity), and is worshipped as God, having existed eternally [Ps. 110:1 (cf. Heb. 1:13); Isa. 9:6-7; Matt. 28:18-20; Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 1:15-19; Rev. 3:21 (Heb. 1 - worshipped by angels); Rev. 4:8, 5:5-14].

This One is the promised Mashiach (Messiah) of Israel [ Is. 9:6-7; 11:1; Dan. 9 (esp. verses 20-26); Isa. 53; John 1:17, 40-41, 45, 49; Mark 8:29].He is the root and offspring of David, the bright and morning star (Num. 24:17; Rev. 22:16).He is our Passover, the Lamb of God ( I Cor. 5:7; Rev. 5; John 1:29).

c) GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT (Ruach HaKodesh) - Introduced in Gen. 1:2b.In the Tenach, the Spirit of God came upon individuals during the times of our forefathers, like Moses, David (see II Sam. 23:1-3), and the Prophets, for the specific purposes.

In the New Covenant, the Messiah, Yeshua, promised His disciples that "the Comforter" would come to them after He was gone, described as the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17, 26), who was with them and would be in them. Yeshua further declared that the Spirit of Truth, would guide us into all truth and would glorify Him - the Messiah - not Himself (John 16:13-15). He empowers us (Acts 1:8). He seals us [Eph. 1:13; 4:30 (see NIV and Jewish New Testament versions)]. If we have not the Spirit, we are not His (Rom. 8:9). He leads us and teaches us (Rom. 8:14-17). His indwelling enables us to live a godly life. Acts 2:38 says, "Repent, be immersed, and receive the Holy Spirit."

Article of Faith 1 - We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

Article of Faith 4 - We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

3. MAN - Created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27), but through disobedience, man fell from his first state and became separated from God (Gen. 2:17; 3:22-24). Therefore, according to the Scriptures, all men are born with a sinful nature, not the same as born in sin, (Ps. 14:1-3; 49:7; 53:13; Isa. 64:6; Rom. 3:9-12, 23; 5:12).

Article of Faith 2 - We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.Man's only hope for redemption (salvation) is through the atonement made by the Messiah (Lev. 17:11; Isa. 53; Dan. 9:24-26; I Cor. 15:22; Heb. 9:11-14, 28; John 1:12, 3:36), resulting in regeneration by the Holy Spirit (Tit. 3:5), which is the new birth (John 3:3-8). For by grace we are saved through faith, it is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9).

Article of Faith 3 - We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

4. RESURRECTION AND JUDGMENT – Believe in the resurrection of both the redeemed and the lost: the former to everlasting life and the latter to eternal separation from God, a state of everlasting punishment (Job 14:14; 19:25-27; Dan. 12:2-3; John 3:36; 11:25-26; Rev. 20:5-6, 10-15; 21:7-8).

a) THE MESSIAH – The Redeemer. The Scriptures promised two “comings” of the Messiah:
b) First coming Promised in Dan. 9:24-26. Its purpose was to make atonement for sin (Dan. 9:24-26; Isa. 53; Rom. 3:21-31; Heb. 9-10; John 3:16-17).
c) Second coming Promised coming in the air to receive the believers to Himself (I Thess. 4:13-18; John 14:1-6; I Cor. 15:51-57).
d) Messiah's return to the earth. The Redeemer shall come to Zion (Isa. 59:20-21; Zech. 14:4). Israel's spiritual redemption (Zech. 12:8-13:1; Rom. 11:25-27; Heb. 9:28; Jer. 31:31-40; the New Covenant).

Israel's national restoration is to recover the remnant of His people Israel from the four corners of the earth, and restore the Davidic Kingdom (Isa. 11 - to re-establish the throne and kingdom of David, which will last forever) [Isa. 9:6-7 (cf. Luke 1:30-33); Jer. 23:3-8].

5. ISRAEL IN PROPHECY - Believe in God's end-time plan for the nation of Israel and for the world. A central part of Messianic Judaism is the belief in the physical and spiritual restoration of Israel, as taught in the Scriptures. The greatest miracle of our day has been the re-establishment or rebirth of the State of Israel according to prophecy (Ezek. 34:11-31; 36-39; Hos. 3; Amos 9:11-15; Zech. 12-14; Isa. 11; 43; 54; 60-62; 66; Rom. 11:1-34) (see also Scriptures under V. THE MESSIAH).

Article of Faith 10 - We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

6. MESSIANIC JUDAISM - Recognize that Jewish people (physical descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob, whether through the mother's or the father's blood-line) who place their faith in Israel's Messiah, Yeshua, continue to be Jewish according to the Scriptures (Rom. 2:28-29). Gentiles who place their faith in Yeshua, are "grafted into" the Jewish olive tree of faith (Rom. 11:17-25) becoming spiritual sons and daughters of Abraham (Gal. 3:28-29).
We observe and celebrate the Jewish Holy Days given by God to Israel, with their fulfillment in and through the Messiah Yeshua.

We believe that true "Biblical Judaism," the faith of first century believers, which we seek to practice, acknowledges the continuity of faith in the one true God, revealed throughout the Scriptures, and ultimately manifested in God's Son, Yeshua the Messiah. We believe that salvation has always been "by faith," and that works of law, or righteous acts, have never saved anyone (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 2-6; Eph. 2:8-9; Heb. 11:6, 39).

We acknowledge that the New Covenant body of believers is composed of both Jews and Gentiles who have received Yeshua the Messiah as the Promised Redeemer. The "middle wall of partition" has been broken down and now we worship the God of Israel together (I Cor. 12:13; Eph. 2:13-14).

Article of Faith 9 - We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

Article of Faith 10 - We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

The Spanish Expulsion, 1492

Little has been written of the Sephardim (Spanish, Latin) Jews and their great trials in history. Here is an excerpt from the Jewish Virtual Library that will give much insight into the tribulations of the 15th century Jewish communities in Spain.

In the same month in which their Majesties [Ferdinand and Isabella] issued the edict that all Jews should be driven out of the kingdom and its territories, in the same month they gave me the order to undertake with sufficient men my expedition of discovery to the Indies." So begins Christopher Columbus's diary. The expulsion that Columbus refers to was so cataclysmic an event that ever since, the date 1492 has been almost as important in Jewish history as in American history. On July 30 of that year, the entire Jewish community, some 200,000 people, were expelled from Spain.

Tens of thousands of refugees died while trying to reach safety. In some instances, Spanish ship captains charged Jewish passengers exorbitant sums, then dumped them overboard in the middle of the ocean. In the last days before the expulsion, rumors spread throughout Spain that the fleeing refugees had swallowed gold and diamonds, and many Jews were knifed to death by brigands hoping to find treasures in their stomachs.
The Jews' expulsion had been the pet project of the Spanish Inquisition, headed by Father Tomas de Torquemada. Torquemada believed that as long as the Jews remained in Spain, they would influence the tens of thousands of recent Jewish converts to Christianity to continue practicing Judaism. Ferdinand and Isabella rejected Torquemada's demand that the Jews be expelled until January 1492, when the Spanish Army defeated Muslim forces in Granada, thereby restoring the whole of Spain to Christian rule. With their most important project, the country's unification, accomplished, the king and queen concluded that the Jews were expendable. On March 30, they issued the expulsion decree, the order to take effect in precisely four months. The short time span was a great boon to the rest of Spain, as the Jews were forced to liquidate their homes and businesses at absurdly low prices. Throughout those frantic months, Dominican priests actively encouraged Jews to convert to Christianity and thereby gain salvation both in this world and the next.

The most fortunate of the expelled Jews succeeded in escaping to Turkey. Sultan Bajazet welcomed them warmly. "How can you call Ferdinand of Aragon a wise king," he was fond of asking, "the same Ferdinand who impoverished his own land and enriched ours?" Among the most unfortunate refugees were those who fled to neighboring Portugal. In 1496, King Manuel of Portugal concluded an agreement to marry Isabella, the daughter of Spain's monarchs. As a condition of the marriage, the Spanish royal family insisted that Portugal expel her Jews. King Manuel agreed, although he was reluctant to lose his affluent and accomplished Jewish community.

Read the entire article at: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/

Secret Combinations Revisited

Daniel C. Peterson writes a wonderful article here about this very interesting subject and we take an excerpt from it here. Read the full article at:


It has long been contended by critics of the Book of Mormon that its "Gadianton robbers" are merely nineteenth-century Freemasons, transparently disguised.1 As one of their chief arguments for that notion, such writers as David Persuitte and Robert Hullinger have pointed out that the Book of Mormon refers to the Gadianton robbers using the same phrase, "secret combination," with which contemporary newspapers referred to the Masons during the great anti-Masonic agitation of the late 1820s.2
One can easily demonstrate, though, that the word "combination" was commonly used, in the nineteenth century and earlier, in the sense of "conspiracy." Thus, its use for the robbers of Gadianton seems to bear little real significance for the question of Book of Mormon authorship, proving at best that the text's English vocabulary is most likely that of a nineteenth-century American. But this was never in doubt.3
However, in a 1989 article, Dan Vogel took the argument even further. "At the time of the Book of Mormon's publication," he claimed, "the term 'secret combinations' was used almost exclusively to refer to Freemasonry."4According to this view—which soon tends to lose its modest "almost"—it is the phrase as a whole that uniquely denotes Freemasonry and, so, points to a nineteenth-century origin for the Book of Mormon as well as to the real identity of the (presumably fictional) Gadianton robbers.5
The obvious problem with such a view is that it is difficult to see why the joining of a common adjective like "secret" to a common term of the day like "combination" should be regarded as a technical piece of esoteric jargon so distinctive as to constitute a definitive test of authorship or a conclusive refutation of the Book of Mormon's historical authenticity. The evidence supporting Vogel's claim, furthermore, seems to have been drawn from an overly narrow sampling of documents, and to be, simply, too sparse to sustain him. I noted this in 1990:
Vogel's own evidence—which consists of seven anti-Masonic newspaper quotations—merely demonstrates what has been known for many years, that the phrase was indeed sometimes employed in reference to Masons. But this is a far cry from demonstrating that such was itsexclusive use. . . .What is needed, before one can confidently declare that the phrase "secret combination" was never used in non-Masonic contexts in the 1820s and 1830s, is a careful search of documents from that period of American history that have nothing to do with the controversy surrounding the Masons. This has not yet been done.6
I made a small effort in that direction for my 1990 article, but the results, while they were interesting and suggested that Vogel was probably wrong, remained inconclusive. A computerized search of available nineteenth-century federal and state court opinions revealed ten occurrences of the phrase "secret combination(s)," not one of which referred to the Masons. Unfortunately, though, the earliest of these dated only to 1850, fully two decades after the publication of the Book of Mormon. This lack of pre-1850 references was, I believe, a merely accidental effect of the fact that court decisions of the first half of the nineteenth century remain largely uncomputerized, and so could not be easily searched. Following a somewhat different research direction, I located a passionate 1831 attack on bar associations, by a Massachusetts journalist named Frederick Robinson, in which such phrases as "secret bar association," "secret brotherhood of the bar," "combination," "conspiracy," "secret society," and "secret fraternity" all appeared in close proximity. It seemed mere bad luck that the precise phrase "secret combination" did not actually occur.7

Passover Promises Fulfilled in the Last Supper

Terry W. Treseder
April 1990 Ensign

Our Lord’s last meal as a mortal stands out in gospel history as the initiation of events so great in magnitude that every human soul—living, dead, or yet unborn—would come to depend on Jesus the Messiah for immortality and exaltation. The timing for this significant event was the choice of the Master Teacher.
The Last Supper was not only outstanding as a new sacrament. It was also the fulfillment of more than a thousand years of promises repeated and prayed for every year during the Passover service since the days of Israel’s wandering in the wilderness. The more we understand and appreciate the Passover service as the Jews observed it in Jesus’ day, the more deeply we can understand our sacramental covenants and marvel anew at the infinite love and sacrifice of our Brother, the Lord Jesus Christ.
As God of the Old Testament, Jehovah specifically commanded his newly freed children to remember their deliverance from Egypt:
“And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this self-same day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance forever. …
“And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
“That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses.” (Ex. 12:17, 26–27.)
By instituting the Passover service, the Lord ensured that his idolatrous children would be better prepared for their spiritual king.
The Passover celebrated Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage. Through his prophet Moses, the Lord displayed his power by a series of plagues. To prepare for the last plague, the awful death of every firstborn of every unprotected household, the Lord commanded each family to sacrifice a perfect, unblemished lamb:
“Ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
“For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.” (Ex. 12:22–23.)
During that night of deliverance, Israelite families feasted on the meal of the sacrificial lamb and unleavened bread, for they had no time in their urgent haste to wait for leavened bread to rise. (See Ex. 12:39.)
Throughout the 3,000-year history of the Passover ceremony, very little of it has changed. The basic symbols present in the biblical Passover service remain to this day, and the order of service and the meaning of the symbolic menu are the same. Only speaking parts for the children have been added to the Haggadah (the Passover script) to help teach them about the Exodus, and two extra symbolic foods were included in the Seder plate after the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. 1 We can ponder the Last Supper, then, in light of this Passover tradition, keeping in mind that the Lord himself established the sacred observance, later to fulfill it and reestablish it as the sacrament.

A Clean House

On the first day of Passover, the Lord sent two of his disciples to locate and prepare a place where he and his disciples could celebrate the Passover. (See Mark 14:12–15.)
The two disciples sent to prepare for the Seder were directed to an upper chamber. While there, they probably inspected the room to make certain it was scrupulously clean. Even today, as the eve of Passover approaches, spring-cleaning is part of every faithful Hebrew’s religious regime. 2
The Savior may have carried this tradition to his Father’s house, the temple. He began his public ministry during a Passover celebration by cleansing the temple of money-changers and thieves. (See John 2:15.) He ended his ministry in like manner: After his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, amid adoring acclamations of Passover crowds, he again cleared the temple of nonsacred activities. (See Matt. 21:12.) On both occasions, he beckoned the spiritually hungry crowds into the now-clean sanctuary and healed the sick, preached the gospel, and prophesied of his death, resurrection, and second coming.

Sacrificial Lamb

Mark records that on “the first day of unleavened bread … they killed the passover.” (Mark 14:12.) During the afternoon of the first day of Passover, a senior member of the household customarily took an unblemished lamb to the temple as an offering. The lamb was killed by a priest, then returned to the bearer for the Passover meal. 3 For the meat to be fit for the Seder, a priest had to sacrifice the animal in the temple.
This requirement helps to explain why historians reported such large crowds in Jerusalem during Passover week. (Josephus records 256,500 for a single Passover.) 4 Out of tradition and religious belief, these tremendous crowds came to Jerusalem, where they had their lambs sacrificed in the temple. By law, these lambs had to be slain within a two-hour period (approximately 3:00 to 5:00 P.M.). This was possible to do because it had become the custom to perform these sacrifices on two successive days. 5
If the Savior ate his Passover meal on the first of these two days (which seems to be the case, according to Mark’s chronology), then on the following day, the day of his crucifixion, “our Lord, the real sacrifice of which all earlier altar victims had been but prototypes, died on the cross while the passover lambs were being slain at the temple.” 6
The Savior’s identity with the sacrificial lamb is extensively verified throughout scripture, ancient and modern. Isaiah prophesied, “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter.” (Isa. 53:7.)
Peter proclaimed: “Ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things … but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world.” (1 Pet. 1:18–20.)
Mormon cried out, “O then ye unbelieving, turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day.” (Morm. 9:6.)
Only the sinless, unblemished Messiah could redeem us from our sins and placate the harsh demands of justice. Like the children of Israel, we, too, can be saved from the destroyer by the blood of the Lamb if we will but “strike it upon the lintel and upon the doorposts” of our lives through repentance.

The Fruit of the Vine

The fruit of the vine—wine or grape juice—served two separate purposes during the ancient Seder service. It serves the same purpose today. The first glass symbolizes rejoicing for freedom won. A blessing is pronounced on the wine or grape juice:
“Blessed art Thou, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who created the produce of the vine. Blessed art Thou, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has … sanctified us with His Commandments. And Thou hast given us, O Lord our God, in love, … the Festival of Matzot [unleavened bread], the season of our freedom … and hast given us for our inheritance Your appointed holy times in rejoicing and gladness.” 7
The Messiah did not bless this first cup in the traditional manner. Instead, he “took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:
“For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.” (Luke 22:17–18.)
There would be no joy for the Savior until his mission on earth was completed, until he returned a glorified, resurrected being who had conquered all things in behalf of his sin-bound brothers and sisters.

Unleavened Bread

As part of the Passover preparation, the upper chamber would have been purged of leaven (yeast). No products containing leaven could be present anywhere in the house. 8
The eating of unleavened bread, or matza, has always been a distinguishing feature of the Passover. In fact, the scripture often calls the celebration the “Feast of Unleavened Bread.” (See Ex. 12:17; Matt. 26:17.) Today, as anciently, members of the household comb the entire house the evening before Seder, looking for any crumbs of bread or bottles of yeast-fermented beverage. The pile of leavened products are then taken from the home and burned. For an entire week, the only bread that can be eaten is matza.
The Lord expressly commanded this part of the Passover:
“Seven days … ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.” (Ex. 12:19–20.)
Paul elaborated on the meaning of leaven in the Passover when he wrote: “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
“Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Cor. 5:6–8.)
Did the Lord break unleavened or leavened bread when he introduced the sacrament? In the Greek manuscripts, the word azumos is used when speaking of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the word artos is used when describing the bread used in the Last Supper. The use of either type of bread would have been consistent with the Master’s teaching style of traditional Hebrew observance and symbolic innovation. Had he broken matza, he would have conformed to Passover ritual yet imbued matza with a new meaning. Had he broken a new loaf of leavened bread, he would have dramatically illustrated the new leaven of salvation, which he introduced into the world:
“Another parable spake he unto them; the Kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” (Matt. 13:33.)
Just as the bread represented Christ and his atoning sacrifice, his disciples were to spread his message of salvation. They were to act as leavening agents, themselves empowered by the new leaven of the gospel.
As he does today after cleansing his hands, the Seder leader anciently gave thanks to God, blessed the matza, and passed it around for others to eat. 9 Matza was the symbol of freedom, the Israelites having left Egypt so hurriedly that bread could not properly rise.
The Lord added new meaning to the symbolic bread when he “took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19.)
The bread still represents freedom—freedom from death and sin—but it also represents the medium through which that freedom is won. Likewise, when we take the sacramental bread, we are symbolically making the Savior a part of us, of our lives. Jesus is the bread of our lives, the only means of redemption. Jesus often referred to himself as the bread of life during his ministry. (See John 6:47–51.)

Again, the Fruit of the Vine

In the Seder, when all have eaten a portion of matza, the leader traditionally tells the story of the Exodus, pausing four times during his narrative to bless the fruit of the vine and to pray for fulfillment of divine promises:
“Save us, O Lord, we pray thee. We pray thee, O Lord, prosper us … May the All-Merciful make us worthy to see the days of the Messiah, and the life of the World to come. ‘He is a tower of salvation to His King and shows kindness to His anointed, to David and to his seed forever.’ He who makes peace in His heights, may He make peace for all of us and for all Israel. And say, Amen!” 10
Again, the Lord departed from tradition by augmenting the meaning of the wine or grape juice: “This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke 22:20.)
The promises were fulfilled that night through the shedding of the blood of God’s own beloved Son. The juice no longer represented anticipatory promises but promises faithfully kept.

Bitter Herbs

“And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.” (Ex. 12:8.)
It is customary at this point in the Passover service to eat bitter herbs, such as horseradish or green onions, representing the bitterness of bondage. Very often, crushed herbs (marror) are eaten on matza, along with haroset (a mixture of apples, nuts, and spiced sauce). Haroset represents the mortar that the Israelites used for making bricks. 11
Though scripture does not specifically mention this tradition, Jesus may have followed this well-established pattern. It is worth noting that, at the time when Jesus and his disciples would have been eating this unpleasant part of the meal—immediately following the blessing on the juice—Jesus became deeply “troubled in spirit.” As they ate, the Savior testified, “Behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.” (Luke 22:21; see Matt. 26:21.)
The Lord had washed the feet of Judas Iscariot as lovingly as he had washed the feet of all the others. He had offered Judas the emblems of eternal life, a supreme gift of love. Knowing that this Apostle had eaten to his own damnation, the Lord probably could not have helped feeling utter sadness as he contemplated the loss and betrayal of one he loved.

Salt Water

Complementing bitter herbs are dishes of salt water, into which diners dip greens (karpas), such as lettuce or onion stems. Salt water represents the tears of slavery. 12
We can find only a hint that Jesus and his disciples followed this custom. After Jesus declared that a traitor was present, his disciples began speculating about who could be the guilty one. “And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord is it I?
“And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.” (Matt. 26:22–23.)
The bitterness and tears of spiritual bondage, in contrast with the joyful gladness of freedom, could not be better illustrated.
Those who choose to follow the Savior partake of the joy and redemption that can come only from the Lord’s atoning sacrifice, represented by the fruit of the vine and by life-giving bread. Those who reject Him partake of misery and spiritual enslavement, as represented by bitter herbs and salt water.

Meal Discourse

Following the symbolic meal of the Exodus, Jesus and his disciples would have begun to eat a feast, 13 which anciently included the sacrificial lamb. After the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, however, Jewish families refrained from eating roasted meat so as to avoid the sacrilege of eating unfit meat (meat that could not be prepared in the temple). A roasted shank-bone was added to the Seder plate to symbolize the Passover lamb. 14
At this time in the Seder, the Passover leader typically comments on the theme of freedom. (Modern rabbis often quote rabbinical proverbs or discuss historical events, like the Holocaust, the Russian persecution, or the state of Israel.) John recorded the most magnificent Passover discourse in the history of mankind, which began shortly after the feast. (See John 13–17.)
The Lord prefaced his discourse by washing the feet of his Apostles, usually a token of honor a host bestowed on esteemed guests. 15 The Savior thus tenderly exemplified the high virtues of a Master who served, a Master who loved. (See John 13:12–15.)
Following this act of love, the Lord expressed love for his Apostles throughout the rest of the evening, admonishing them to follow his example:
“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. …
“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:9, 12.)
The Savior dwelt on the message of love, predicted the circumstances of his own death, comforted the Apostles with the assurance that he would return, explained the role of the Holy Ghost, and offered an intercessory prayer to God on behalf of “his own, which were in the world.” (John 13:1; see John 13–17.)
These same messages should permeate our thoughts as we ponder the Savior’s life and mission during our sacramental prayers.

Hymn of Freedom

“And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.” (Mark 14:26.)
The Seder service traditionally ends with songs of praise and freedom. 16
What hymn did the Savior of mankind sing on his way to Gethsemane? Here the scriptures are silent. Perhaps it was the Hallel, the name given to Psalms 113–18 [Ps. 113–118], which Israel sang at the great feasts. Or perhaps it was Psalm 136 [Ps. 136], known as the “great Hallel.” 17 Family circles at the Passover and in the temple recited these psalms. All of them are hymns of praise and thanksgiving for the Lord’s might and deliverance. Psalm 118 [Ps. 118] is a messianic hymn reflecting upon the Savior’s redemption of mankind from physical and spiritual death. Psalm 116 [Ps. 116] also speaks of deliverance from death.
Hundreds of Passover hymns have since been composed and sung over the centuries—some biblical, others rabbinical, others written by modern psalmists. During this Passover season, millions of Jewish families will sing one such hymn:
Therefore, let us rejoice
At the wonder of our deliverance
From bondage to freedom,
From agony to joy,
From mourning to festivity,
From darkness to light,
Before God let us ever sing a new song. 18
[illustrations] Illustrated by Del Parson

Terry W. Treseder serves as a counselor in the Young Women presidency for the Crystal Heights Second Ward, Salt Lake Highland Stake. She received a B.A. in communications and Middle Eastern studies from Brigham Young University.

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  1.   1. See The Yeshiva University Haggadah, ed. Steven F. Cohen and Kenneth Brander (Jerusalem: Koren Publishers Jerusalem, 1985), pp. 24, 30, 26. The Seder meal today contains eight symbolic foods: matza (unleavened bread), bitter herbs, marror (bitter pulp), wine, roasted egg, roasted shank-bone, karpas (greens), and haroset (sweet fruit mixture). The first four of these are basic to the service and were undoubtedly present at the Last Supper. The egg and shank-bone were added following the destruction of Jerusalem. They represent the Passover lamb that can no longer be sacrificed for the Seder. The egg represents fertility and new life. There is some question about the origin of karpas and haroset, which are greens dipped in Mediterranean-style condiments. Leo Trapp, The Complete Book of Jewish Observance (New York: Behrman House, 1980), p. 182, asserts that anciently wealthy families customarily ate these foods and that they were incorporated into the Seder early in Israel’s history to symbolize Israel’s choice status as the elect of God. Exodus meanings were later added and were probably well established by the time of Jesus’ birth.

Biblical Roots of Judaism-Outline of Progress Series

Understanding the Old Testament Through Jewish Eyes:http://judaicaworld.wordpress.com/understanding-the-o-t-through-jewish-eyes/ *********************************************************

Chart of Tribal Lineage

Sometimes the tribes are listed genealogically (Gen. 35:23; I Chron. 2:1-2) sometimes in cultic formation (Num. 2-3; Deut. 27:12); and sometimes geographically (Num. 34:14-28; I Chron. 6:54 ff.; Ezek. 48:1 ff.). Usually twelve tribes are mentioned, but the identification of the tribes varies: in one Dinah is listed in place of Benjamin (Gen. 29-30), and in Chronicles both halves of the tribe of Manasseh are counted (I Chron. 2-3; 6:54-80). Some lists mention only ten tribes (Deut. 33:6 ff.; II Sam. 19:43); one gives eleven tribes (I King 11:31); and in Gen. 46:48 ff. there are thirteen. Gerald A. Larue, PhD.

Blog Archive

Ken Bowers - Champion of Freedom

Dear Reader: The fight for brotherhood and individual freedom is a universal one. The Jewish people are a sub-civilization - seemingly complete - and yet they have struggled for millenia to be able to enjoy the unalienable rights which a loving and benevolent God gave all of mankind. We must protect our freedoms. The Adversary relishes the opportunities he has to take them from us. One of the strongest advocates we have today is a man who has worked at the side of the great W. Cleon Skousen (www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/cleonskousen). Ken Bowers is a brilliant researcher, popular speaker and the author of several books and CDs which provide deep insight on the issues of the secret combinations that threaten our country's freedom. Please check out his books. View his short video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdug-XaSMik If you are interested in Ken's books, email him at ken.bowers@yahoo.com. He will mail them to you. Please purchase through Ken. His website is: An Appeal to Heaven: http://www.kenbowers.blogspot.com/. You will be very interested in his books. New classics, intense, very readable! Beneath The Tide Beneath the Tide (Ken Bowers) Hiding In Plain Sight - for Latter-day Saints
Hiding in Plain Sight (Ken Bowers)
Quotations on Liberty - a compilation of quotations from General Authorities of the LDS church, our Founding Fathers and other great men and women throughout history. Knowing what threatens our peace helps to keep the peace.

The Gospel Dispensations

First: Six generations Adam (4,000 bc), Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahaleleel, Jared Second: Three generations Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech Third: Ten generations Noah (2944 bc), Shem, Arphaxad, Salah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah Fourth: 14 generations Abraham (1992 b.c. if born when Terah was 130), Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David Fifth: 14 generations Moses, Jechonias, Jesus Christ (a.d. 7*) Sixth: Dispensation of Meridian of Time Commenced 1830-40 Twelve apostles Seventh: Dispensation Fulness of Times Joseph Smith (1805). The 7th dispensation began 1800 years after the 6th dispensation began. * refers to latter-day scholarship. From: Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis-2 Samuel; LDS Church Education System 1980

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Marlena with Messianic Jews

Marlena with Messianic Jews

Kippah - A Blessing On Your Head

It is perhaps the most instantly identifiable mark of a Jew.

In the Western world, it is customary to remove one's head covering when meeting an important person. In Judaism, putting on a head covering is a sign of respect.

The uniqueness of a Jewish head covering is hinted at in the blessing we say every morning, thanking God for "crowning Israel with splendor" (Talmud - Brachot 60b)

The kippah is a means to draw out one's inner sense of respect for God.

The Talmud says that the purpose of wearing a kippah is to remind us of God, who is the Higher Authority "above us" (Kiddushin 31a). External actions create internal awareness; wearing a symbolic, tangible "something above us" reinforces that idea that God is always watching. The kippah is a means to draw out one's inner sense of respect for God.

It's easy to remember God while at the synagogue or around the Shabbat table. But Jewish consciousness is meant to pervade all aspects of our lives ― how we treat others, how we conduct business, and how we look at the world.

Appropriately, the Yiddish word for head covering, "yarmulke," comes from the Aramaic, yira malka, which means "awe of the King."

In Hebrew, the head covering is called "kippah" ― literally "dome."

Making A Statement

To wear a kippah is to proclaim "I am a proud Jew." There is a fascinating phenomenon whereby non-observant Jews visiting Israel will wear a kippah for the duration of their stay. It may be out of a sense that the entire Land of Israel is holy like a synagogue. Or it may be the removal of any self-consciousness that can often accompany public expression of Jewishness in the diaspora.

Wearing a kippah makes one a Torah ambassador and reflects on all Jews.

Indeed, wearing a kippah is a big statement, and obligates the wearer to live up to a certain standard of behavior. A person has to think twice before cutting in line at the bank, or berating an incompetent waiter. Wearing a kippah makes one a Torah ambassador and reflects on all Jews. The actions of someone wearing a kippah can create a Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of God's name) or conversely a Chillul Hashem (desecration of His name).

Of course, putting on a kippah does not automatically confer "role model" status. Sometimes we unfortunately hear of a religious person caught in some indiscretion. I recall one time in Los Angeles, noticing that a drunken, disheveled man was walking down the street ― wearing a kippah! He wasn't Jewish, but he'd found an old kippah and thought it helped him fit in with the neighborhood atmosphere. For me, it drove home the idea that it's not fair to "judge Judaism" based on someone displaying the outer trappings of observance.

When To Wear A Kippah?

From a biblical standpoint, only the Kohanim serving in the Temple were required to cover their heads (see Exodus 28:4). Yet for many centuries, the obligatory custom has been for Jewish men to wear a kippah all the time, as the Code of Jewish Law says, "It is forbidden to walk four cubits without a head covering."

Does a kippah have to be worn while playing sports? This issue came to the fore recently with the publicity surrounding Tamir Goodman, the basketball sensation who is an observant Jew.

The answer is that it is preferable to wear even a small kippah, pinned to the hair. (Velcro works great!) If it is impossible because of the game conditions or rules, it is okay to play without a kippah.

When bathing or swimming, one does not wear a kippah.

Certainly, a head covering is obligatory while engaged in prayer and Torah study.

What kind of head covering qualifies? Basically anything ― including a baseball cap or a scarf tied around one's head. Of course, in the synagogue, it is more respectful to use a regular kippah.

A kippah should be large enough to be seen from all sides.

How large must a kippah be? Rabbi Moshe Feinstein states that the minimum measure is that "which would be called a head covering." Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef says the kippah should be large enough to be seen from all sides.

The style of kippah worn can reflect an interesting sociological phenomena, often denoting a person's group affiliation. For example, yeshivah-style Jews wear a black velvet kippah. Modern Orthodox Jews often wear a knitted, colored kippah. Many Chassidic Jews wear a fur hat (shtreimel) on Shabbat and holidays.

Additionally, many also wear a hat when they pray to increase awareness of the Almighty as they stand before Him. (Mishne Brura 183:11)

Rabbi Shraga Simmons, www.aish.com

Biblical Hebrew Names: by Index or Category

Check this out. Can be very helpful in learning Old Testament names and meanings in history.


Shabbat Menorah

Shabbat Menorah
Friday night worship

Moses Delivers The Law Into Hands of Priests