Rise and Shine! (On the Elderly)

Rise and Shine
Rise and Shine! (On the Elderly)
By Terri C

 

If you’ve spent much time in Scripture, it’s apparent that the elderly are to be revered, respected and cared for. They are to be recognized for their wisdom, their lifelong contributions to society and community, and for the work they’ve done to prepare their families for a future. In Biblical times, it was a honor to care for the aged and to glean from their wisdom! These days it seems as though as soon as we deem our elderly unproductive to society, we find a nice “place” for them with a name like “Shady Acres” or “Pleasant Ridge Manor”. How many do you know personally who move into a place like that after 50+ years in their own home, and die within a year or so? The statistics are staggering! Gone are the days when Grandma rested on a daybed in our living room, spending her last days listening to her grandchildren play and being cared for by hands that she herself raised. Too often, Grandmas are dropped into an environment of beeping monitors and strangers, without any comforts of home. Somewhere along the way, our society has made both birth and death a medical procedure, instead of the miracle from God that both can be.

 

~I will stop here for just a moment to acknowledge that in many cases, there is not another option for the elderly. I know this all too well, because my mother lives at “Pleasant Ridge Manor”. Her medical needs are beyond what I am able to provide, and her dementia adds challenges that are above my skill set. And so I understand that sometimes, admittance to a “nursing home” is the only option.~

 

Another scenario that many of our elderly are facing is being alone in a home they can no longer maintain. Many can’t drive anymore, and even a trip to the market is beyond what they can perform on their own. Whatever the living arrangements, too many of our senior citizens are facing darkness, after years of being light for everyone else! Are there ways that we can shine God’s light on them? Absolutely! If I were a betting girl, I’d put my last dollar on the fact that within ten miles of where any of us live, there is an elderly person longing for some light!  Aching for it in their innermost parts!

 

Of course, before we go about shining light on anyone, we check our own connection to the Light Source. We do this through repentance, Scripture study, and prayer.

 

Once we know that we are operating in light and not shadows, we can extend that light to the elderly in our own communities! I know that you could add to my list of tips, and I hope that you will! To get started making a real difference in the lives of the elderly, here are some things we can do:

 

 

  • Start at “home”: Reach out to the aged in your own family! Remember great aunt Gertrude from all the family reunions? She would love some photos of the newest member in the family bloodline! A short call, a handwritten note or a visit would make her day! Since uncle Bo died, she is lonely everyday.

 

 

 

  • Find more: We live in a time when not many people know who their neighbors are. Chances are, there is an elderly person with a need right in our own neighborhood! Find out. Once found, we can help in many ways. Cutting the lawn, fixing a broken step on their porch, dropping off a casserole or even some fresh cut flowers can really make a difference in their day. And don’t forget to check on them during inclimate weather!

 

 

 

  • Drop by the nearest nursing home: There is someone on the administration  staff that will talk to  you about  what the greatest needs are there. Often, you can form a small Bible study, quilting class, or even a weekly tea!

 

 

 

  • Give generously what you can give: Everytown, USA has an office dedicated to services for the elderly. Drop by your local office to see what you have to give that would be helpful. Giving doesn’t have to be cash money, although if you have that…give it! There is also a need for clothing, toiletries and blankets. Check the basement and the attic! There is something there gathering dust that an elderly person is going without today.

 

 

 

  • Volunteer: Services like “Meals on Wheels” are always looking for help! If you’re not sure where to begin, check with religious organizations in your community, the local center for the elderly, or do some research on the internet to find the need in your town.

 

 

 

  • Utilize social media: If you have an elderly person on your friend list, don’t forget that the internet might be their only social life! Near or far, someone would benefit from you staying in touch through messaging. Ask them questions about their lives! Our elderly are a treasure trove of wisdom and experience. Too often, we are in too much of a hurry to just listen to them. Slow down to learn that the benefit of communication with the elderly is a two-way street! They are blessed by someone who cares enough to keep in touch, and we are blessed by their wisdom and knowledge.

 


God is faithful! If we ask Him how we can be light to the elderly, He will be sure to open some doors for us, and place someone with a need right in our path. We need only walk through those doors and pay attention to who is set in our path.  Let’s never forget that the best way to shine light will always be to share our time! Whether we’re dropping by for a visit or just chatting for a moment in the produce section of the market, we can make a difference in the lives of the elderly every day. Let’s make today the day to start!

I’ll “see” you again soon, dear reader. Until then… Rise and Shine!

 

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Righteous Among the Nations: Top Gers that Helped Israel in the Tanakh (Part b).

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https://www.facebook.com/CenterforTanakhBasedStudies

By: William Jackson

Professor Elie Wiesel, the author of 57 books and an Auschwitz survivor, once said of those that saved the Jews;

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Professor Elie Wiesel

“And so we must know these good people who helped Jews during the Holocaust. We must learn from them, and in gratitude and hope, we must remember them.”(1)

Sadly, the Holocaust was not the only time of oppression for the Jews. We see the struggle of the Israelites ebb and flow throughout history and especially in the Tanakh. In some of these dark and challenging times, we see an outsider lending a hand and sometimes rescuing them. We covered five of these events yesterday in Part 1. As Elie Wiesel states “we must remember them.” Here is the second half of our top ten list of  Gers that Helped Israel in the Tanakh.

6. The Woman Who Protected Israel’s Assets

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Joshua had the privilege of leading Israel into the Promised Land. Like any good military leader, he needed intelligence before making his move. Israel’s first conquest would be a border city called Jericho. Joshua first sent two spies into the city to scout out the situation. As fate would have it, the enemy became aware of the spies’ presence, and the King’s men began a search for them. A local girl by the name of Rahab hid Joshua’s spies. When Rahab was questioned, at the cost of her own life, she lied about their whereabouts (Joshua 2:4-6). Rahab then confessed to the two spies that she knew they served the one and only Elohim (God), (Joshua 2:9, 11). She also asked that she and her family be spared in the impending attack. The two spies conceded (Joshua 2:14,17-21, 6:17,23,25). Yes, Rehab saved the lives of two men, but also she ensured the intelligence they gathered returned to the Israelites, helping to secure their victory. Rahab was a true heroine. She joined the people of Israel, and the Lord honored her request (2).

7. The Manipulative Allie

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After Joshua’s victory over Jericho, he and his men spent a year battling armies for the occupation of Canaan, the Promise Land. One day a ragtag group of people showed up to make an alliance with the Israelites. Based off their appearance and testimonies, it seemed as though these people had come from a far away land (Joshua 9:7-14). They were eager to unite with Israel after hearing all about their victories. So Joshua made a treaty with them (Joshua 9:15), but after a few days it was discovered that this foreign tribe, the Gibeonites, were local (Joshua 9:16-17). Joshua confronted them about their deception. The people of Gibeon expressed that they feared for their lives because of the promise YHVH gave to Israel, the land. The Gibeonites were willing to be subjects of Israel. Joshua honored his promise, and the Gibeonites became subservient to the Israelites (Joshua 9:24-26). Ironically, because of this alliance, when Gibeon came under attack by foreign armies, Israel came to their rescue. This started a chain of victories for the Israelites throughout the southern region. Inadvertently, the alliance with Gibeon and the will of HaShem helped to secure Canaan for YHVH’s people (Joshua 10:40-42)

8. The Female Assassin of Opportunity

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In about the 12th century BCE Israel was ruled by a ruthless Canaanite King by the name of Jabin (Judges 4:2-3). King Jablin’s Army Commander was Sisra, who had 900 iron chariots at his disposal. As promised, HaShem defeated Sisra and his army on the plains of Esdraelon, Israel (3). The only survivor was Sisra, who escaped from the battlefield. In his solo retreat, he ended up at the tent of Jael, a Kenite woman (Judges 5:24). Jael, a cordial hoist, made Sisra feel safe. She lulled him to sleep with blankets and goat’s milk. When Sisra was fast asleep she then drove a tent peg into his head – situation solved (Judges 4:21).

9. A Gentile Example for Israel

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The Recabites belonged to a clan that descended from their ancestor Jehonadab. It appears Jehonadab established rules for the family early on. These three rules were: 1. don’t drink wine (Jeremiah 35:6, 8), 2. live in tents (Jeremiah 35:7,10), and 3. don’t grow crops (Jeremiah 35:8). So when the prophet Jeremiah invited them to the Temple and offered them wine, they were quick to decline as they were loyal to the family vows (Jeremiah 35:3-6, 8). HaShem brought attention to this family that lived with the Israelites, making their loyalty an example for Israel. Jeremiah said to the Recabites on HaShem’s behalf:

“‘You have obeyed your ancestor Jehonadab in every respect, following all his instructions.’ Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Recab will always have descendants who serve me.’” Jeremiah 35:18-19

Consequently, HaShem compared Israel’s level of loyalty to the Racabites and Israel was sorely lacking. Because of their lack of obedience, HaShem tells Israel He will send them disasters (Jeremiah 35:16-17), and just as the prophet Jeremiah had warned, the city of Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians in 586 BC (4).

10. Cyrus King of Persia 537 BCE

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King Cyrus, or as history knows him “Cyrus the Great,” was the King of the Achaemenid Empire, which is modern day Iran. He defeated the Babylonians in 539 BCE (5). Now it was and is common practice to take over a nation’s assets after you defeat that nation, and these assets sometimes comes in the form of other countries. For the country that was occupied, this usually meant the oppression continued, just under new management. However, Cyrus was different. He didn’t pillage; he preserved. This remarkable man had a tendency to embrace the cultures of the countries he controlled. YHVH would place it on Cyrus’s heart to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. Thus “Cyrus the Great” released the Israelites, allowing them to return home and build the Temple (2 Chronicles 36:22-23, Ezra 1:1-3). As history and the Tanakh tells us, because of a foreign King motivated by HaShem, the second Temple was completed on the very site of the first Temple in 516 BCE (6) .

Conclusion:

We spent only two days covering a millennium and a half picking out only ten of those that helped out Israel – there are quite a bit more. For those that would like to pursue this topic, the book “Righteous Gentiles in the Hebrew Bible” is an excellent source. So why did and why do these Gers do what they do? Because HaShem tells us to: Jeremiah 22:3, Isaiah 1:17, Zechariah 7:9-10, Psalm 10:18, 82:3, Proverbs 31:9.

References

(1) By Carol Rittner, The Courage to Care: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust

(2) Mag. Claudia R. Wintoch, (2003) The Inclusion of Gentiles in the Old Testament, World Revival School of Ministry

(3) By Richard Morse Hodge MADD (1915) Historical Geography of Bible Lands a Manual for Teachers with Fourteen Maps

(4) Israel Restored, Biblical Archeology following the Babylonian Captivity

(5) Chuck Missler, The Fall of Babylon Versus The Destruction of Babylon

(6) Ancient Jewish History: The Persians, Jewish Virtual Library

 

Righteousness – Straight from Tanakh

By William Jackson

https://www.facebook.com/CenterforTanakhBasedStudies

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I was sitting in the Doctor’s office and the results were in.  The Doctor says, “Mr. Jackson, if you don’t have this surgery immediately you will become a quadriplegic”.  “Wow!” I thought. This seems pretty extreme, especially since my only symptom was numbness in my extremities .  I kept thinking that if it weren’t for these tests (x-rays, MRIs… etc.) and specialists (Doctors, Nurses… etc.), this silent killer would have blissfully taken away my life, or at least the quality of my life.  Coming to the conclusion that I needed a laminectomy on my own would have be impossible.  Imagine me trying to self-diagnose myself without the benefits of a MRI and the medical personnel who reads the images?  There is no way that I could have done all of that on my own.  The same thing holds true when it comes to assessing our own righteousness.  Without a comprehensive understanding of the standards and proper assistance, you would end up floundering. For instance, there are many people who perceive themselves as righteous when they are not. Likewise there are those who are righteous, but don’t think that they are. How does one know where they stand?

Why?

We should first start with an elementary question: “Why pursue righteousness?”  If you are reading this, you are probably somebody who takes your relationship with God pretty seriously.  Righteousness is a very important part of that relationship.  The definition of righteousness is “an attribute that implies that a person’s actions are justified, and can have the connotation that the person has been ‘judged’ or ‘reckoned’ as leading a life that is pleasing to God.” Therefore it is implied anyone desiring a relationship with God would also desire to be righteous.  In addition, there are other benefits, which include:

  1. Receiving the love of God: Psalm 146:8, Proverbs 15:9
  2. Being protected and rescued by God:  Psalm 5:13, 34:16, 20, Proverbs 11:8, 21, 13:6, 18:10
  3. Receiving God’s rewards: Ezekiel 18:19, Psalm 58:12, 75:11, Proverbs 3:33, 11:18, 28, 12:21, 13:21, 25, 21:21 We also have all of Proverbs 10, which talks about the curse of the wicked and blessings for the righteous.
  4. Life: Ezekiel 18:9, 17, 19, 21, 27, 28, 32, Proverbs 10:2, 11:4, 19, 30, 12:28, 14:32, 21:21

Evaluating:

Now that we know the benefits of living righteously, how is can we go about being righteous? As stated earlier we need a reference to evaluate ourselves.  The Tanakh serves as this gauge.  Each of the following verses are linked to the Hebrew word “tsaddiq,” which means righteous.  These are statutes in the Tanakh one must meet to be considered righteous:

 

  1. Honor God:

 

  1. Behaving appropriately in our community and homes:

 

  1. Do not be deceitful:

 

  1. Be Charitable:

 

  1. Behavior in our marriages:

God is referred to as righteous over 50 times throughout the Tanakh (see note). No wonder King David in Psalm 143:2 tells God that compared to Him, no one is righteous.  Nevertheless, the Tanakh does establish that there were those who are considered righteous:  Noah (Genesis 6:9, 7:1, Ezekiel 14:14,20), Abraham (Genesis 15:6), Daniel (Ezekiel 14:14,20) and Job (Ezekiel 14:14,20).  We of course know these men were less than perfect, unlike God.  We must understand being righteous is not a permanent status.  As Psalms 11:5 tells us, God will test us.  This implies we could fail the test and sometimes lose our righteousness or even be considered wicked (Ezekiel 18:24).  Many fall short – even Job communicated his frustration with measuring up to God’s righteousness (Job 4:17, 15:14, 25:4). For that reason, we need to remember that if we are righteous today, maintaining that place is a challenge.  Righteousness is a vulnerable position, and we must guard it by adhering to His word.  Just remember as King Solomon said, if we fail His test the good news is we can recover:

Proverbs 24:16 For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 For there isn’t a righteous person on earth who does [only] good and never sins.

Accountability:

We spent a considerable amount of time determining the elements required for an individual to be considered righteous.  In the first paragraph we spoke about tests and machines used in the medical field that can assess our health, but we have not addressed a critical component.  That, of course, is the Doctor or Nurse.  Yes, we need an external source to help us confirm where we stand.  Think about it – if we went through life determining the scores of our own report cards we would all pass with “flying colors!”  As such, we need somebody who is at the same place in our faith walk or preferably further ahead.  This person has to know us well, and he or she can’t be afraid to “tell us like it is.”  This person is often a spouse but it can be somebody that you have chosen as an accountability partner. So why do we have to bother with accountability to a third party? Okay, let’s take charity as an example (since it appears to be very significant on the list of factors that comprise righteousness).  Many people consider themselves charitable but upon closer examination, you might see they have been stingy with a tip or that they do not donate time and/or money to the less fortunate.  An accountability partner or spouse might be capable of giving constructive criticism or possibly generating dialogue that would allow you to be more objective, and in doing so, you would be able to achieve an accurate self-appraisal.  When we are held accountable, our performance improves.

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Conclusion:

The pursuit of righteousness is an ongoing struggle.  In spite of there being promises, King Solomon was all too eager to tell us in Ecclesiastes that sometimes bad things happen to good people and sometimes good things happen to bad people (Ecclesiastes 7:15, 8:14, 9:2).  The frustration that comes from this downside can be a way of determining the sincerity of our quest.  If we are doing it for the reward and not the relationship with our Maker, then we will be subject to resentment. Remember, when we do something without desiring something more, our sincerity has become genuine.

DANIEL-IN-PRAYER

Note: Verses where God is considered righteous; Deuteronomy 32:4, Judges 5:11, 1 Samuel 12:7, Isaiah 5:16, 24:16, 26:7, 42:21, Jeremiah 11:20, 23:6, 33:16, Zephaniah 3:5, Psalm 7:12, 18, 9:5, 11:7, 22:32, 35:28, 36:7, 11, 48:11, 50:6, 51:16, 71:15, 19, 24, 72:1, 88:13, 89:15, 17, 97:2, 6, 12, 103:17, 106:31, 111:3, 112:3, 4, 116:5, 119:7, 40, 62, 75, 106, 123, 137, 138, 142, 144, 164, 172, 129:4, 143:1, 143:11, 145:7, 17, Job 36:3, 37:23, and Daniel 9:7

40 Weeks Past the Cross – Two Natures

Looking Through a New Lens40 Weeks Past the Cross – Two Natures
By: Terrie C

I woke up in a bad mood today. The kind of mood that tempts me, when someone is looking toward me clearly intent on speaking, to raise my hand and say “Today is not the day, and I am not the one!” I don’t do it, of course, but do note the temptation. That grumpy side of me is part of who I am. Just as I have a divine light in me, I have a darker side. If I didn’t, how could my free will truly be free will? To just deny this side of myself, or to renounce it like I did in my days of Christiandom, leaves me not understanding half of myself. How can I advance past or conquer that which I do not understand? In the ten months since I have walked past the cross to have a one-on-one relationship with the One True God, I have had to look at everything through a new lens. Scripture, doctrine, God Himself…. everything looks different!

 

This bad mood reminded me this morning that I also have to begin to see myself through a new lens. For ten years, I ate a steady doctrine diet called “die to self”. Reading the Holy Scriptures through a new lens, though, I see that I am to live, not die! How well will I live if I go around pretending that half of me doesn’t exist? The truth is, the darker side of me plays an important role in the whole picture of my life. Yours does, too. We just need to learn how to have a healthy perspective about it, and to get a firm grip on it, so that we can conquer it. We need to know how to relate to this side of ourselves, what we can learn from it, and how we can utilize it to bring glory to God.  

 

Don’t get me wrong, I am not glorifying this side of me and I am not nurturing it. It is mine to conquer to be able to live a sinless life. What I am doing this week is taking a long, honest look at my own darker tendencies to see what I can learn!

 

When I feel grumpy like today, it gives me the opportunity to investigate what is out of balance in my life. Sleep? Nutrition? Study? Something is askew, to be sure!

 

When I feel tempted, it is an opportunity to learn about my own weaknesses. Where did it originate? What triggers the temptation? How can I best conquer it? Fight or flight?

 

When I feel angry at someone else, it’s often an indicator to check myself. Chances are, the very thing I am angry at them for is a quality within myself I need to address.

 

When I do that which I fully know that I shouldn’t do, I can also know my prayer life is on shaky ground, and needs to be addressed. Being securely connected to God’s light fortifies me to think about Him and His Ways before I act. Doing that which I oughtn’t is proof positive that I am thinking more on my own selfish desires than on Him!

 

It doesn’t make me evil to acknowledge the existence of this side of me, it makes me human. Fumbling occasionally with this part of my being doesn’t pull me farther from God, it propels me toward Him! Some of my most profound experiences with Him have occurred after such a fumble.

 

Indeed, the darker side of me serves a purpose in the grand scheme of things, if I acknowledge

and understand it.  After all, if I had no darker qualities, what would drive me to reach toward light? If I had no inclination to ever do wrong, then how could I choose to do right? If obedience was my only nature, would that obedience be as valuable as it is when achieving it takes effort and discipline on my part?

 

On days when my darker side feels powerful and prominent, I know it’s an indicator that I need to pull out my spiritual mirror and take an honest assessment. I pull out that mirror prayerfully, asking God to show me what lies beneath any of my darker inclinations, and He is so faithful to answer.  More often than not, I am surprised by the answer! More often than not, His answer is key to me conquering a problem area for me.

 

Some of my darker tendencies were easy for me to conquer when I started walking with God. Some, though, aren’t so clear-cut. They slip out in smaller ways, and can even be easy to miss because they wear a disguise. A good way to take account of what I still struggle with is to check on the things I confess in prayer. If I find myself confessing the same thing month after month, then I know it’s time to address the sin in a different way. God doesn’t want a verbatim confession from us daily, He wants us to repent! How can we repent from that which we aren’t even aware?

 

Both my divine spark and my dark inclinations were bestowed upon me by my Creator. What I do with either is the very heart of my own free will. Christianity taught me that only Jesus was perfect and righteous. Funny though, there are plenty of men in the Tanakh that were righteous, but not perfect!

 

I’m done walking around with my head hung low, proclaiming my own unworthiness! That is not a prideful statement, I assure you. I am well aware of my many, many shortcomings. If I were unworthy of the love, mercy and grace God gives His own, would He have ever called me out of my atheism to walk with Him? Would He be patient when I stumble, would He shower me with His shalom like He does so often? I’m learning here on this side of the cross that humility isn’t thinking less of myself, but thinking of myself less often than I think of my God and my fellow man. When I choose to walk in His ways I am worthy of all His Word says I am. Even when, and perhaps especially when, I fall and rise again!

 


For a righteous man falleth seven times, and riseth up again…

from the 24th Proverb

 

Righteous Among the Nations: Top Gers that Helped Israel in the Tanakh (Part A).

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By: William Jackson

Center for Tanakh Based Studies

The Holocaust Memorial Museum, in Yad Vashem Israel, currently recognizes 24,811 saviors (1). These are people who rescued Jews from the horror which was the Holocaust. These “Righteous Gentiles” often did these heroic deeds at the risk of themselves and their family’s. The heroes range from Corrie ten Boom, who paid a dear price in saving others, to the obscure like Major Karl Plagge, a German Army officer who used his position to protect some 1,240 Jews. We also know that those that showed favor towards the Jews were not only limited to just those whose courage surfaced during World War II.

As we look in Tanakh, we see several non-Israelie figures that helped to perpetuate Israel’s story. Some of these Gentiles would save people who would later become significant in Torah. We will look at 5 of these Gentiles that helped the Israelites today and then tomorrow on Wednesday, we’ll do the other 5. Lets start at the beginning.

1. Mamre the earliest recorded Hebrew Allie (2)

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Around 2084 BCE, Abram established his residence in Canaan (modern day Israel). He chose a spot near a man called Mamre (Genesis 13:18). After Abram settled into his new digs, his nephew Lot becomes tied up in a hostage situation. Lot’s captors belonged to Kedorlaomer, the King of Elam. Elam is the precursor to modern day Iran (things don’t change). In the same verse that we hear about Lot’s demise, Mamre and his relatives (Eshcol and Aner), are mentioned as Abram’s Allies (Genesis 14:13). Abram, known for his empathy for others, goes to rescue Lot in a commando style raid with only 318 men (read Genesis 14:14-16). The mission was a success and Lot was saved. Since Mamre and his alliance with Abram was introduced directly before this raid, does this mean Mamre helped? If we skip forward to verse 24 we see that Abram had his allies compensated after the raid. You see, having reliable friends was critical here because the area Abram lived in was prone to conflict. As we read earlier in Genesis 14:1-12, we get a depiction of how hostile the Siddim Valley (Dead Sea), really was. 

2. A King blessing the Father of the Israelite Nation (3)

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After Abram returned from his rescue mission, the King of Shalem (Peace), Melchizedek, brought him bread, wine, and a blessing. Melchizedek was Elohim’s (God’s) high priest and he not only blessed Abram but gave all credit to HaShem for the victory, (Genesis 14: 17-20). If we skip forward and read the first part of Psalm 110 we see King David painting these events in a poetry picture. We also see in verse 4 that this blessing made Abram a Kohen (priest).

3. Fighting against Civil Authority for the Israelites

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Many of the righteous Gers commemorated at the Holocaust Memorial Museum did so by saving young Hebrew children (Irena Sendler, Kate Lipner, Lois Gunden…etc). These brave soles often did this at the risk of their very own lives. Now lets meet Shiphrah and Puah, the two woman who share this same form of bravery, but did it almost 4 millenniums earlier. These Egyptian mid-wives were ordered by Pharaoh to kill the Hebrew baby boys. More fearful of YHVH then Pharaoh these women allowed the male infants to live. When confronted by Pharaoh they explained “…the Hebrew women aren’t like the Egyptian women — they go into labor and give birth before the midwife arrives.” (Exodus 1:19). There is some debate about the nationality of these woman. One source says “Shiphrah and Puah were non-Israelite midwives, who were said to be pious women and true converts ” (4) . Regardless of their origins, HaShem rewarded these women for saving these Hebrew boys (Exodus 1:20-21).

4. Foster care for an Israelite Prophet

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The midwives not following Pharaoh’s orders caused Pharaoh to take drastic measures. To exterminate the Hebrew boys, he ordered them to be thrown into the river (Exodus 1:22). So as we know, a Levi woman has a child and desperate due to Pharaoh’s orders puts the baby in a papyrus basket, coated in clay and tar (Exodus 2:1-3). She then sets sail to this vessel down the Nile. Contrary to Pharaoh’s psychopathic tendencies, his daughter finds this Hebrew baby and brings him up as her own (Exodus 2:5-10). This was of course Moses. Because of these twists and turns, Moses was brought up in Pharaoh’s palace which might have given Moses some beneficial skills when dealing with another Pharaoh latter on. Due to the compassionate heart of a Princess Israel’s greatest Prophet was saved (Deuteronomy 34:10).

5. The Foreign Priest that helped organize Israel

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Moses, later in life, spends 40 years in Madyan (5). Here he marries the daughter of a Midian Priest. The priest’s name was Jethro. In about 1446 BCE Moses gets the call up from Adonai to led His people out of Egypt (Exodus 3:2-10). Moses then goes on a journey marked with challenges and miracles which brings him and the Israelites to the far side of the Red Sea (Exodus 4:18-17:16). Here his father-in-law Jethro visits him and hears all the magnificent things YHVH did for the Israelites. This prompted Jethro to honor YHVH with a burnt offering and sacrifices(Exodus 18:12). The next day Jethro shifts gears and intercedes with Moses on his organizational skills (Exodus 18:17-19). He teaches Moses methods of managing the Israelites (Exodus 18:19-26). Some pieces of the valuable advice Jethro gives are (6);

a. Bring the peoples cases before YHVH.

b. Teach the people the Law of YHVH.

c. Show them how to live their lives

d. Put honest YHVH fearing men over the Israelites in leadership positions.

And as abruptly as Jethro enters the picture, he leaves to return to his people leaving behind his lasting wisdom.

Conclusion

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Tomorrow we will finish our top ten list of Righteous Gentiles in the Tanakh. We will meet two woman, an assassin and a protector. We will meet a conniving group that would receive an honored alliance with Israel and a loyal family HaShem would use as an example to the Israelites. And finally we will meet a man who ended the oppression of the Israelites.

References

(1) “Righteous Among the Nations”: Famous Saviors, Jewish Virtual Library

(2) Alliance, BibleStudyTool.com

(3) By Nissan Mindel, Abraham, Our Father, Chabad.org

(4) Midrash Tadshe, Ozar ha-Midrashim [Eisenstein], p. 474

(5) Moses, Aaron and Miriam (Level Basic), Judaism 101

(6) By William Jackson, (March 1 2015) “Who was Jethro?” (believer in G-d or pagan), Center for Tanakh Based Studies

Talmudic Influence on Christianity

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By William Jackson

What if I told you that the Christian messiah was influenced by Talmud and that a large chunk of the Christian Testament (NT) was Talmudic.  Most would shake their heads in disbelief, Christianity and Rabbinical Judaism see themselves as being different from the other. Actually one might say that one of the greatest obstacle that sets them apart are their individual writings (Talmud and NT).  Yet, Christianity which was born at the turn of the common era grabbed many common Jewish colloquialisms and infused them into their doctrine.

I compared passages of either and thought I was onto something;

  1. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the beam that is in your own eye? —Matthew 7:3
  2. Do they say, take the splinter out of your eye, he will retort: “Remove the beam out of your  own eye.”—R. Johanan, surnamed Bar Napha, 199-279 A.D., Baba Bathra 15b.
  1. Let what you say be simply yes or no.—Matthew 5:37
  2. Let your yes be yes, and your no be no.—R. Abaye, died 338 A.D., Baba Metzia 49a
  1. The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. —Mark 2:27
  2. It (the Sabbath) is committed to your hands, not you to its hands. —R. Jonathan ben Joseph, flourished after the destruction of the Temple, Yoma 85a
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 Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf 

Alas the more I studied it out the more I found that this was not a unique finding.  Famous Rabbinical and Christian authors wrote books on these comparisons a century ago.  Probably one of the best works was done by Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf (1858-1923) who was a prominent American Rabbi of one of the oldest synagogue in Philadelphia1.   In 1901 he wrote “Talmudic Parallels to New Testament Teachings”2.   In his book, between pages 182 through 191, he cites 45 parallel understandings between the Talmud and the NT.  As an example, below is a list of some of the “Beatitudes” (Matthew 5:1-12) quoted by the Christian messiah and comparative verses in the Talmud:

                       New Testament

The Sermon on the Mount Carl Bloch, 1890

                                      Talmud

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1. Blessed are the poor in spirit. 1. More acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice is the humble spirit.
2. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. 2. Whoso makes peace among his fellow-men enjoys the fruit thereof here, and shall reap his reward also in the world to come
3. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy, Matthew 5:7 3. Whoso is merciful toward his fellow creatures will be mercifully dealt with by his Father in Heaven. R. Gamaliel Beribbi, 3rd century A.C., Shabbath 151b
4. Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10. 4. Be rather of the persecuted than of the persecutors. Whoso is persecuted and reviled and does not persecute and revile in return will meet with his reward. -R. Abbahu, 279-310 A.C., Baba Kamma 93a
5. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, not one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 5. Even heaven and earth shall pass away, but the word of the Lord shall endure forever.
6. Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven 6. The least of the commandments demands as much of thy observance as the greatest.

That same year Reverend D.A. Friedman, a writer of Hebrew literature published his book “Maxims and Proverbs of Bible and Talmud”3. Two years after that Robert Travers Herford (1860–1950) a British minister and scholar of rabbinical literature, wrote “Christianity in Talmud and Midrash”4 in 1903.  All three authors had a workable understanding of the others religion and were able to easily couple passages between the Talmud and NT.

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Robert Travers Herford

So how did the Talmud influence the NT?  Let’s look at our own culture to grab a better understanding.  There are terms and phrases that are in our common use.  Many of us do not know where they come from but they are woven into the fiber of our western dialog.  Here are some expressions and their origins:

“A fool and his money are soon parted”

  • This was a rhyme by Thomas Tusser, 1573 CE, England.

“A friend in need is a friend indeed”

  • This was written in the 3rd century BCE by Quintus Ennius a Roman Poet

“A picture paints a thousand words”

  • Editor Arthur Brisbane to the Syracuse Advertising Men’s Club, March 1911

“You can’t teach a dog new tricks”

  •  John Fitzherbert’s “The boke of husbandry”, 1534 CE, England

These maxims in our daily language are 100s, even 1,000s of years old and many are not from our own country, yet we use them as simple guidelines.  So let’s go back about 2 millenniums.  We need to remember that many Talmudic expression and guidelines were used in the Jewish culture before and after the birth of Christianity.  Additionally, all of the Christian books within the NT were written almost entirely by Jewish authors.  This explains why Talmudic expressions and proverbs made it into the mouths of the Christian apostles.  Some might argue that many of these Talmudic phrases were taken from the NT not vice versa.  Yes, it is true that many of these Talmudic expressions are dated after the first century common era and many Christian believed the NT was accepted in the first century.  However, we need to remember that the Christian Testament wasn’t vented and canonized until 363 CE5 at the Council of Laodicea.  Before this there were hundreds of Christian books and several gospels6.  So the Christiaan Bible, as its understood today, did not exist in the first century.  Also there are no surviving originals of any of the books to the NT to back the theory it was made in the first century. As for the Talmudic phrases used in the Christian bible, they are dated before the canonization of the Christian testament.

Conclusion

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Although the NT has many philosophies and expressions from the Talmud this does not imply that the books are the same.  Each possesses doctrine and rituals that are distinctive to the other party.  Also, either book does possess understandings and concepts that are rich and unique to either religion.

References

(1) Fall River Daily Evening News” (Vol. 11, no. 227. Feb. 24, 1870-Mar. 26, 1926). Almy, Milne & Co. Library of Congress. 1870–1926.

(2) Joseph Krauskopf, Talmudic Parallels to New Testament Teachings, page 182, 1901

(3) D.A. Friedman, Maxims and proverbs of Bible and Talmud , 1901

(4) Robert Travers Herford, Christianity in Talmud and Midrash, 1903

(5) Schaff (ed.), Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers XIV, The Christian classics ethereal library.

(6) Philip Jenkins, HOW MANY GOSPELS, Patheos, March 8, 2013