Backdrop and Review
It has been a while since our last update. As way of review, our mission is to produce Reproduction Bibles. There’s a saying that is true, “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” In our case, however, that is really not true. It is done when it is done right.
When we set out to reconstruct the medieval Bible in English, we ran into many obstacles. At first they seemed insurmountable. After all, the medieval Bible is in Latin. To complicate matters, medieval Latin is filled with abbreviations that to the uninitiated is almost impossible to decipher. Over time, actually much time, we overcame each of the obstacles one by one.
Today, we have in our possession the entire text in English of the medieval Bible with all of the prologues, prefaces, and arguments as well as all of the books of the Bible in the exact order in which they originallly appear.
All of the original medieval Bibles now in museums and rare book rooms of libraries produce an impact just by glancing at the pages that none of the modern Bibles are capable of producing. Moreover, all medieval Bibles are on large pages large enough to read the text and on thick pages. There is nothing cheap or flimsy about them.
As way of background, we started researching medieval Bibles about ten years ago. An earlier test book from 2013 of just the book of Genesis based on the woodcuts of the Anton Koberger German Bible printed in 1483 in Cologne is amateurish looking compared with what we are now developing and producing. The remarkably positive reactions, however, to that little book was quite encouraging. We formed Hebert Publishers, LLC in 2014 for the express purpose of reproducing medieval and Renaissance period Bibles in English.
Much time has been spent, mostly online, at rare book rooms in libraries and museums, mostly in Europe and in the United States. This has resulted in quite a bit of collecting, identifying regions and periods, archiving, documenting terms and conditions, communicating with personnel in these libraries and museums, and assessing whether or not we have enough material to produce an entire Bible or perhaps parts of the Bible such as the Gospel Books or a book of the Apocalypse.
The historical significance of the Gutenberg Bible is that it is aesthetically beautiful. That Bible, moreover, is a testament to German engineering, because the Gutenberg Bible was the first printed book in Europe. And, for the first time in Western history, the text of the Bible became fixed and mass produced for Europeans, who could read Latin. Finally, what followed was the mass production of other books and a general growth in literacy among the rising mercantile class ensuring that the ideas and ideals of the Renaissance would have legs. The unintended consequence of Gutenberg's printing press was the quick spread of the ideas of the Reformation.
When printed, the Gutenberg Bible was in Latin and was filled with abbreviations of words. This writing convention from the earlier middle ages carried over into this Bible. The Gutenberg Bible, moreover, is a medieval Roman Catholic Bible printed in Germany during the beginning of the Renaissance prior to the Reformation. Approximately 180 folio sized editions were printed beginning in 1454 in Mainz, and about 14 letter sized editions printed beginning in 1460 in Bamberg. We have taken the typeface that was reproduced into a font, and developed hand done letters and used them with the Douai Reims Version, a Roman Catholic translation done directly from Latin into English during the Counter Reformation, in order to reproduce the Gutenberg Bible in English.
Since we have high resolution art in the form of hand done letters scanned at 600 DPI, we divided the work into 19 sections each made up of 96 pages. These are broken into two volumes with Volume I covering Genesis to the Psalms and Volume II covering Proverbs to the Apocalypse. In total, that is about 1,800 pages, or about 900 pages per volume. Our guess is that each volume will be as thick as a ream of paper since we are not using thin paper typical in commercial bibles. We are working with a laid cotton in a natural color by the brand Mohawk for our first edition made right here in the United States of America.
One of the issues that we came across in developing the Gutenberg Bible in English was matching color across the entire Bible. Initially, we mixed mediums. We used both handpainted and digitally produced art and text. Even though our RGB calibrations matched 100 percent, they did not match in our initial test prints. We were, yes, disappointed. We gave the project a rest, and slept on it for a period as we researched and considered other Reproduction Bible projects for future development
We went back to the drawing board. And, we rolled up our sleeves and resorted to the old fashion way of doing things. We again worked by hand. We reproduced the entire black letter typeface by hand. We did the same with the Roman numeral set and the red and blue letters that open each sentence in the Psalms. That was scanned at high resolution, imported into Photoshop, and then the rubrics were redone. It took time, it took patience, and we believe it paid off.
Thursday, November 19, we conducted a test print of the first section of 96 pages on laid cotton paper, and we finally have a final worthy of moving forward for completing our work, sewing 114 to 115 signatures by hand, and then binding the finished two volumes in period binding in real leather. Our estimate is that we have 30 to 60 days of work in front of us to complete the Gutenberg Bible in English. Early 2021 is our target date.
We have developed an assortment of Christmas and Hanukkah cards using some of the finest examples of art from the Medieval period. They are available in our storefront under Cards on our website. Our Madonna and Child by Berlinghiero is from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and comes in either English or Spanish. Our Crusader Era three kings following the Star of Bethlehem comes from the manuscript Codex Bruchsal 1 located in the Badische Landesbibliothek in Germany. Over time we will add to our inventory in order to make available to you alternatives to the bland secular cards, which undermine the reason for the season.
Outside, the dogs of war inflicted the ugliness of mayhem, fear and terror upon those, who wanted to live peaceful and productive lives. When bishops fought for the rights to a bishopric, bloodshed followed. Such were the days in Mainz when Johann Gutenberg had engaged in the relentless pursuit of perfection of the moveable type, ink embedded with varnish, and the printing press that would produce the most beautiful printed book in the world, the Gutenberg Bible.
Within its pages is the cultural carry over from the earlier middle ages, especially in the Psalms of King David. Each sentence begins with a red or blue letter, and when the page is looked upon, there is the tantalizing mystery of beauty of the text of the medieval Bible.
And, this is where we are in the development of our tribute to Johann Gutenberg and the medieval Bible. We are slowly, carefully, inserting over a thousand custom designed letters developed in FontLab Studio into the text of the psalms in order to as faithfully as possible replicate the look and feel of these pages. The work is slow, tedious, and frankly - not that exciting. But, it has to be done in order to get this right. We developed these letters for the Psalms in FontLab Studio over a year ago, and for anyone, who knows how to develop fonts based on historic work, that alone is a quite type consuming and exacting task.
Earlier on, we ran into some speed bumps along the way in our production of the Gutenberg Bible in English. A missing 200 word prologue set us back, but that was resolved thus enabling us to have in hand - finally - the entire text of the medieval Bible from Genesis to Revelation - all of the prologues, prefaces, and arguments in the order in which they appear in the Gutenberg Bible … in English. We suspect that this is a first.
We are near the finish line. And, we suspect that this is why snails appear in the borders of so many manuscripts of the psalms from the middle ages. These books take a long time to produce.
On the Mediterranean coast of Spain, in 306 AD, 19 bishops and 24 priests convened in Elvira for a church council. Among the 81 edicts laid down was a peculiar one dealing with graffiti. Canon 52 of the Council of Elvira reads,
"Anyone who writes scandalous graffiti in a church is to be condemned."
Canon 75 reads, "If someone falsely accuses a bishop, presbyter, or deacon of a crime and cannot offer evidence, he or she is excluded from communion even at the time of death."
As early as 306 AD, we read of issues raised for discussion and rulings dealing with the scandal of clergy sexual abuse.
Living in the Information Age
Richard Sipe, Former Benedictine Monk and Clerical Sex Therapist said the following in the documentary film Mea Maxima Culpa : Silence in the House of God,
"The system of the catholic clergy ... selects, cultivates, protects, defends, and produces sexual abusers."
The 2004 John Jay Report titled The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States, was commissioned by the U.S. bishops, and found that 87 percent of the sex abuse victims were post-pubescent males --making this a homosexual problem within the "celibate" priesthood.
The movie producers of Spotlight, the Netflix series The Keepers, and the HBO special Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God all exposed the charade of "celibate" priests -- non castrated men, who are in fact sexually active, perverted, and predatory. Each of these troubling windows into the dark closets of the spiritually unregenerate and depraved suggest that the problem of the sexually predatory priest is more common than we are willing to accept and admit, and so widespread that a nationwide investigation by every state Attorney General is warranted.
The August 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report on the breadth and depth of predatory priests within the Roman Catholic Church, and the widespread cover ups by cardinals and bishops, demand the abolishment of statute of limitations and out of court settlement with non-disclosure provisions so that the truth may bring justice and closure to all of the victims -- not just those who have come forward.
Our Degenerate Classical Heritage
The Roman Catholic rite is rooted in Judaism and was developed by Christian Jews in Rome to emulate the worship in Jerusalem’s temple. The epistle to the Hebrews, it seems looking in hindsight, was a refutation of the Catholic rite that more than likely developed at the time the epistle was written.
The "celibate" priesthood, however, directly contradicts the Bible and comes out of paganism. The Roman Catholic Church's management structure -- made up of the "celibate" priesthood -- more closely resembles the teachings of Plato than those of the Apostles. Consider the teachings of Plato.
The dialogues of Plato, such as Symposium and Phaedrus, are littered with discussions of debased homo erotic lust and pederasty. Plato's descriptions of all male symposiums in classical Greece focus on adults targeting and accustoming young pre-pubescent boys and adolescents typically between the ages of 12 and 16 for homosexual relations. The end result for the indoctrinated youth is the reward of being given attention, education, and societal advancement. Through the characters in the dialogues, Plato presents the adult to adolescent homosexual love as heavenly and divine, and preferable to the common love that "inferior people" experience.
In the Republic, moreover, Plato lays out the ideal state based on a caste system with philosopher kings running the top-down system. In our Western tradition we see that those philosopher kings have been the "celibate" priests of the Roman Catholic Church -- popes, cardinals, bishops, and priests. The medieval formula to govern society was simplified into three classes.
Written by King Alfred the Great in the late 800s, Boethius’ The Consolation of Philosophy asserted the following, "In the case of the king, the resources and tools with which to rule are that he have his land fully manned; he must have praying men, fighting men and working men. You know also that without these tools no king may make his ability known. Another aspect of his resources is that he must have the means of support for his tools, the three classes of men."
This ordering of medieval society was repeatedly reaffirmed by others in Western Europe. Bishop Adalbero of Laon, for example, said the following in the late 900s, "Here below, some pray, others fight, still others work . . . ."
That top down command structure ruled by oratores, the "celibate" priests who prayed, was executed by bellatores, the aristocratic class that fought, and supported at the bottom by the laboratores, those, who labored. Maintaining social stability was based on knowing your place. Questioning and challenging that top down structure was not tolerated. Challenging the integrity of the priest was dismissed as outrageous given the institution's zero tolerance for scandal.
The Force of Church Tradition
In 1049 AD, the Benedictine monk Peter Damian wrote a letter to Pope Leo IX (1048-1054) and complained about clergy engaging in pedophilia and keeping concubines. Pope Leo IX praised Peter Damian and verified the truth of his findings and recommendations. Yet he considerably softened the reformer’s urgings that decisive action be taken to root offenders from the ranks of the clergy. The pope decided to exclude only those who had offended repeatedly and over a long period of time. In 1051 AD, Peter Damian wrote the book titled Book of Gomorrah. He outed the homosexual subculture within the church, the "celibate" clergy.
The Church was a thousand years old before it took a definitive stand demanding celibacy in the Twelfth Century at the Second Lateran Council of 1153 AD under Pope Innocent II with an edict forbidding priests to marry. Canon VI states, "We also decree that those in the orders of subdeacon and above who have taken wives or concubines are to be deprived of their position and ecclesiastical benefice. For since they ought to be in fact and in name temples of God, vessels of the Lord and sanctuaries of the Holy Spirit, it is unbecoming that they give themselves up to marriage and impurity."
The Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 AD under Pope Innocent III further developed church tradition. Canon XIV titled Clerical Incontinence states, "In order that the morals and conduct of clerics may be reformed for the better, let all of them strive to live in a continent and chaste way, especially those in holy orders. Let them beware of every vice involving lust, especially that on account of which the wrath of God came down from heaven upon the sons of disobedience, so that they may be worthy to minister in the sight of almighty God with a pure heart and an unsullied body. Lest the ease of receiving pardon prove an incentive to sin, we decree that those who are caught giving way to the vice of incontinence are to be punished according to canonical sanctions, in proportion to the seriousness of their sins. We order such sanctions to be effectively and strictly observed, in order that those whom the fear of God does not hold back from evil may at least be restrained from sin by temporal punishment. Therefore anyone who has been suspended for this reason and presumes to celebrate divine services, shall not only be deprived of his ecclesiastical benefices but shall also, on account of his twofold fault, be deposed in perpetuity. Prelates who dare to support such persons in their wickedness, especially if they do it for money or for some other temporal advantage, are to be subject to like punishment. Those clerics who have not renounced the marriage bond, following the custom of their region, shall be punished even more severely if they fall into sin, since for them it is possible to make lawful use of matrimony."
In 1563, the Council of Trent reaffirmed celibacy among priests. Canon X from Session Twenty Four states,
"If any one saith, that the marriage state is to be placed above the state of virginity, or of celibacy, and that it is not better and more blessed to remain in virginity, or in celibacy, than to be united in matrimony; let him be anathema."
The Charade is Over
Many have had that Aha! moment.
The “celibate” priesthood is a cultural carry over from the paganism of the pre-Christian Era. It entered into and adulterated the church , which was originally self governed by heterosexual married men. The history of the Roman Catholic Church amply demonstrates an animosity towards heterosexual monogamous sexuality within the bonds of marriage as a God ordained norm for all people. The Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 demanded that married priests renounce their marriage bonds in contradiction to the command of Scripture, "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."
What the Western church has done is create a holier than thou class, called the priesthood, who alone can serve as an intermediary between God and mankind, and who alone can dispense the grace of God via the sacraments to the penitential class called the laity -- disempowered and spoon fed.
The priesthood in Roman Catholicism's sacramental theology is an institutionalized monopoly on access to God via such rites as confession, which occurs during confirmation. Young children, far below the age of moral accountability and sexual puberty, have been catechized and groomed into confessing their inner secrets to "celibate" priests, who they have been told are stand ins for Jesus Christ. The confessional -- that weak link and point of vulnerability -- has been historically used to pry open the nature of a confessor's "impure thoughts." And some of the consecrated priests, revered by the community of the faithful, in the midst of administering the sacraments, exploited the vulnerable as they grew older, for their perverted sexual gratification. Homosexuals in and out of the closet mascarading as “celibate” priests use the confessional to uncover the nature of “impure thoughts” and with the majority of the sexual predations targeting adolescent males. Like the degenerates from our classical heritage described by Plato, "celibate" priests have been operating under the cover of Church tradition to manipulate and sexually abuse those in their care. What resulted in the victims, who described what had happened, was sexual trauma, split personality disorder to cope, loss of faith and atheism, and what some labeled as Soul Death.
With skill and cunning, the word eucharist, which means thanksgiving, was transformed into an idolized object of adoration eclipsing the original intent and meaning in Scripture. In this system, only the consecrated priest, in the order of Melchizedek, can transform the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The adoration of the Eucharist, once consecrated by a priest, whether by a closeted predatory sodomite and pervert or not, demonstrates the power to hold the person of faith within the Catholic framework in subjugation and bondage.
And, the insult to injury is the Catholic teaching that a bad priest does not invalidate a sacrament. As Pauls Smith, Jr., a Catholic apologist, put it in Catholic Exchange, "The holiness of the priest has no bearing on the sanctity of a sacrament. In the strictest sense, the priest does not perform a sacrament: Christ, acting through the priest, performs the sacrament."
Christ does not inhabit the trash can of an utterly defiled soul. Christ empties and cleans out the trash can -- those who actually yield and repent through faith. If a person is not transformed, he remains a vessel of dishonor-- the chamber pot, and is only fit for the resurrection of shame and contempt. The prophet Isaiah said, "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear." That is the difference between the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Scripture. Yes, they actually contradict each other thus begging the writing of a Syllabus of Errors of the Roman Catholic Church.
Pope Francis, cardinals, and bishops -- the higher echelon of the church -- enabled, shuffled around, covered up, praised the culprits, denied, down played the accusations, accused the victims, and used the church's funds to block stiffer legislation that would have better protected victims. Attorneys concluded that the Roman Catholic Church functioned like a criminal syndicate. And, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò released a letter implicating Pope Francis with having full knowledge of the in-house problems and then covering them up.
Pope Francis responded to the scandal with calls for fasting and prayer, not castration of “celibate” priests, as a next step forward. He said, ‘We showed no care for the little ones.’ The Catholic laity, blind and asleep, unwitting and enabling accomplices, victims suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, ignore the homosexual subculture of the church, which is the "celibate" clergy. The unnatural elevation of a "celibate" priesthood class, those who control the Roman Catholic Church, above what God had ordained -- heterosexual marriage with fidelity -- has only resulted in the perpetuation of closeted sexual perversions long kept in the dark due to the repression and distortion of Natural Law. And thus, we have the adage from the Middle Ages, “With wine and boys around, the monks have no need of the Devil to tempt them.”
There is a medieval practice of chastisement, which continues to this day within the cult known as Opus Dei. This Catholic "spirituality" is corporal mortification. The Cilice is a spiked chain worn around the upper thigh for two hours each day, except for Church feast days, Sundays, and certain times of the year. And, the Discipline is a cord-like whip resembling macrame, used on the buttocks or back once a week. Opus Dei members must ask permission to use it more often, which many do. Will this beat me, whip me, and make me feel cheap "spirituality" ever transform sinners into saints? Of course not.
The fact is this: the homosexual subculture within the Roman Catholic Church is the "celibate" priesthood. Some among the “celibate” priest supports transgenderism for children,” and “favors homosexuals kissing during the mass.” Jesuit publications openly praise the hundreds of fine openly "gay" priests. And, therein lies the absurd contradiction of a society in moral decline being welcomed into the post-Vatican II church.
The "celibate" priesthood is a charade of psychologically twisted, and morally depraved hearted individuals. They mouth the Gospels and creeds with accurate eloquence during Sunday mass, but their hardened hearts and seared consciences are a million miles away from the divine light, which remains concealed from them. They belong in the outer darkness, and in that place of torment for the hypocrites. And they belong in a place beneath the circle of hell where Judas is in the scheme of things.
Some parishioners responded to the homilies that called for prayer and fasting with, "Let's see what the Pope does." The Pope declared a state of emergency given that plastics are littering the oceans. Chicago's Cardinal Blase Cupich said, ‘We have a bigger agenda than to be distracted by all of this.’ Washington, D.C.’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl called for a ‘season of healing.’ Season of healing? Did these closeted predatory homosexuals castrate themselves? Of course not.
Many Catholics remain blind, asleep, and devoted to lighting candles and saying the rosary in response to a widespread problem that has existed since the emergence of the "celibate" class of priests. Like some Fundamentalists among Evangelicals, who find actually examining facts a burden, many Catholics prefer to be told how to view this issue, and how to respond. These are the tactics of the destructive religious cults.
Lessons from History
The problems within the Roman Catholic Church long precede its own Great Apostasy -- the Third Secret of Fatima -- that came with Vatican II followed by the Koran kissing John Paul II and the type of ecumenicalism called for that renders the Gospel of Jesus Christ as irrelevant. Pope Francis and the Lavender Mafia running the Vatican are the end results of the Modernism put into place with Vatican II.
Henry II of England was right. No diplomatic immunity for priests, court jurisdiction must be in the state's civil and criminal court.
Erasmus was right to publish In Praise of Folly where he satirized the superstitions and traditions of the Catholic Church.
Martin Luther was right to denounce penances and indulgences, which we now know developed as a result of mistranslations manipulated into self serving church doctrine.
Henry VIII of England was right. No more foreign control of the nation's culture, language, and mores.
The English were right to decapitate Bloody Mary, the Catholic queen, who tried to reestablish Catholicism in England.
Queen Elizabeth was right to forbid Catholicism in England.
The many writers of the Geneva Bible notes were right. The pope is the Antichrist sitting on the city of seven hills, and the Roman Catholic Church is the great whore of Babylon. The Mass and the Eucharist are idolatries. Their call to Catholics stands, "Come out of her lest you partake in her sins!"
Twelve of the original 13 English colonies in the New World had good reason to initially forbid the practice of Roman Catholicism. Only Maryland permitted Roman Catholics safe harbor.
The French Revolutionaries were right. No more non-tax paying church amidst a bankrupted nation.
Reform, Conform, or Come Out
For loyal Roman Catholics, who demand a top to bottom house cleaning within the homosexual subculture of the church, the very backbone of the church, will require the laity via the parish councils to exert unprecedented control. Transferring high risk priests out of a parish to an unsuspecting parish will not solve the underlying problem, though that is what has been happening. Extreme vetting in the seminaries -- the hotbed for predatory homosexuals like Cardinal Theodore McCarrick-- must bar those with homosexual preferences. But, laity have no control on cardinals and bishops. Laity does not run the church or seminaries. And, the laity does not cover up and protect homosexuals like Cardinal Donald Wuerl and even Pope Francis have.
Priests, who rock the boat, end up without a parish and living out of a suitcase. Consider the case of Juan Carlos Gavancho from Our Lady of Sorrows in Santa Barbara, California. Gavanacho in part said on August 26th,
"If you are Catholic, and you love the Catholic Church, you cannot just say, “Well, let’s pray, let’s offer a couple of rosaries, and we’ll see what happens. You cannot do that. ... Demand from your leaders the truth — only then everything will be fine. With Jesus! Not with cardinals, not with popes. These are human beings. Some are wonderful, some are bad. Only with Christ. Only by doing his will. Only by staying next to him faithfully, everything will be fine. ... I have my hope in God, and in you, the laity. You will save the Church."
Gavanacho had the audacity to call his parish to discernment and to seek and demand the truth and change, because there are those who want to destroy the church from within.
Some Catholic priests blame shift and point to the fairly recent infiltration of the church by homosexuals at the behest of Communists pointing to books like The Homosexual Network: Private Lives & Public Policy by Enrique T. Rueda , The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita: A Masonic Blueprint for the Subversion of the Catholic Church by John Vennari, or School of Darkness by Bella V. Dodd. True or not, these misdirections to blame Communists with a subversive agenda betray the obvious -- the "celibate" priesthood, standing there in plain sight, is an objectively observable disorder, a violation of Natural Law.
For loyal Roman Catholics, who think they can reform the church from within, their theology necessitates a "celibate" priesthood — the root cause of the problem, as documented from the beginnings of church history. And, thus Roman Catholics, who are determined to be loyal to the mother church, force themselves to live in denial of the reality of the nature of human sexuality when it is denied expression as God intended. It becomes perverted and predatory.
For Roman Catholics, who fall sway to the argument from Jesuits that the real enemy is homophobia, that course can only lead to a sexual liberation theology to further confirm the Great Apostasy within the church. Within Miami alone, between 70 and 90 percent of the "celibate" priests are actively practicing homosexuals. BishopAccountabilty.org claims that 70 percent of the United States bishops are sexually active homosexuals. It's so "in your face" that two priests, Diego Berrio from the Mission of San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights, Illinois and Edwin Giraldo Cortez of Soacha, Colombia and from the St. Aloysius Parish in Chicago, were arrested for lewd and lascivious behavior when caught sodomizing each other in broad daylight in the back seat of a car on Ocean Drive. The politically correct church will conform to society in rapid moral decline where evil is called good, and good is called evil, and rather than being a beckoning light to society, will have nothing of value to offer other than the smell of incense, the sound of bells, and the light from candles. The church, taking this course of action, will just accelerate the collapse of society and become "a cage for every unclean spirit."
The appropriate response to the pederasty and pedophilia within the "celibate" priesthood is to abolish the professional priesthood altogether. That is the argument laid out in the 2013 book by Garry Wills titled, Why Priests? A Failed Tradition. Coupled with Communal Bible Reading, in a church without fake priests, fake pastors, fake rabbis, fake imams, and fake holy men from the East, we have two powerful methods to move people of faith forward. For the Roman Catholic laity reclaiming leadership, that course of action if successfully implemented from within, would in the truest sense be a Reformation.
Peter denied Jesus three times. John stayed with Jesus until the end. And, Judas betrayed Jesus. That betrayal resulted in the publicly humiliating trial and execution of Christ. Afterwards, Judas did the right thing. Judas hanged himself. It is as much descriptive as it is prescriptive.
The sexual misfits of predatory homosexuals masquerading as "celibate" priests, bishops, cardinals, and popes -- all who have sodomized, downplayed, covered up, enabled, shuffled around, blocked inquiries, and denied -- belong on the end of a rope. That is what Judas would do.
The visionary behind the Museum of the Bible, Hobby Lobby’s president Steve Green, had participated in a fraudulent scheme organized by three Israelis to illegally smuggle ancient artifacts in violation of the laws of both the United States of America and Republic of Iraq: the National Stolen Property Act, Iraq’s Antiquities Law, and Iraq’s Antiquities and Heritage Law.
The scheme that Green participated in was uncovered by U.S. Custom and Border Protection when the intercepted packages bore shipping labels that falsely declared that the ancient Sumerian artifacts’ country of origin were Turkey and Israel with falsified package descriptions indicating “Tile Samples” and a deliberate undervalued declaration.
In addition to paying a $3 million fine, Green was ordered by the U. S. Department of Justice to forfeit 3,800 fraudulently obtained cultural artifacts that had been sold to him by the Israeli dealers so that they could be returned to Iraq.
According to Newsweek, “Despite warnings from an ‘expert on cultural property law’ that the objects were likely stolen from Iraqi archeological sites, Hobby Lobby purchased thousands of the antiquities anyway, violating federal law.”
According to the federal government’s complaint, “On or about December 8, 2010, [Steve Green, the President of Hobby Lobby] authorized payment of $1,600,000 million U.S. Dollars for the Order to be wired to seven personal bank accounts associated with five different individuals. Israeli Dealer #1 provided the payee account information to Hobby Lobby. The payees included Israeli Dealers #1 and #2, the UAE Dealer and two other individuals, but did not include Israeli Dealer #3, who was represented in the Invoice to be the seller of the Artifacts.”
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized the artifacts. When intercepted, the Department of Homeland Security asked Eckart Frahm, an Assyriologist at Yale University to assess the cache of 450 ancient cuneiform tablets and 3,000 ancient clay bullae. They had come from the lost Sumerian city of Irisagrig in Iraq and dated from between 2100 B.C. and 1600 B.C. These were Early Dynastic religious incantations and one religious text from the Neo-Babylonian period.
The theft of a nation’s cultural legacy is the largest form of organized crime. These things do not happen by accident. They are planned and coordinated as outlined in the complaint. Either Green was a naive victim of the Israeli dealers, or a willing accomplice in the organized crime scheme.
According to the complaint filed by the United States of America to seize the artifacts, “The use of multiple shipping addresses for a single recipient is consistent with methods used by cultural property smugglers to avoid scrutiny by Customs.”
Mr. Green claims he never had planned to exhibit the illegally acquired artifacts in his museum. Understandably, they had nothing to do with the Bible or the people of the Bible. Their value was in resale, tax avoidance schemes, and in charitable bequests to governmental institutions such as the Smithsonian to ensure one’s untarnished name endures for generations.
The organized crime scheme, had it played out undetected, might have followed this plausible scenario: Green might have kept a few of the finest artifacts for himself. He then donates remaining artifacts valued at $11.82 million to the U.S. government. The tax write off reduces the tax liability on $4 billion in income. A bill is introduced by his state's congressman for a small near eastern museum bearing the donor's name: the Steve Green Gallery of Sumerian Culture immortalized on the mall in Washington, D.C. Here, a villain would have been transformed into a generational thinking philanthropist. That was not to be.
According to Newsweek, “The Oklahoma-based retail giant [Hobby Lobby] earned $3.7 billion in income in 2015.”
According to National Public Radio, “Israeli police and tax authorities issued a statement saying the [Israeli] dealers provided fictitious invoices for the sales and an American allegedly used the invoices to receive large-scale tax breaks — and paid dealers kickbacks in return.”
About a year earlier, a spokesperson for the National Museum in Iraq had said, “These pieces are very important to us and they should be returned home ... to Iraq, to the rightful owner of these pieces.”
On May 2, 2018, representatives of the U. S. government hand delivered some of the rare artifacts to the Iraqi Ambassador to the United States Dr. Fareed Yasseen. Thomas D. Homan, the Director of U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement said, “It is a great honor for me to return so many priceless cultural artifacts to the people of Iraq.”
In a statement posted to the embassy’s website the Iraqi ambassador said, “Not only [does United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security, US Custom and Border Protection, and US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York] enforce the law, they serve a sense of historic justice, and they help in the fight against criminal and terrorist networks. They serve a sense of historic justice because they are returning items to their natural homes, and to a nation that is very attached to its cultural heritage. They help in the fight against criminal and terrorist networks because they prevent the latter from taking advantage of these precious items to raise funds. The attachment of Iraqis to the witnesses of their rich history is not new. Since the 1920s, Iraq has adopted strict laws to protect its cultural heritage, with a blanket ban on the possession, sale, exporting and trafficking of such items. Iraq will seek to apply all existing legislation to repatriate any illegally exported archeological pieces, but the legal protections in place still include time bars and cut-off dates that prevent us from recovering our cultural heritage.”
When anyone takes away someone else’s cultural heritage, they destroy their history - something the Hobby Lobby and the Green family is apparently not yet sensitive to.
The Palestinians do this all the time. "Solomon’s Temple," they claim, "never existed." The Israeli’s and Evangelical Christian Zionists do it as well. "Palestine never existed," they claim. Never mind that all of the old Bibles with maps label the middle east as Palestine.
Let us remember that the Islamic assault on the Tomb of Christ in Jerusalem triggered the First Crusade. How? The Fatimid Muslims desecrated and destroyed the Tomb of Christ. Remove everything, and the historical connection - that tactile and factual linkage with the past - ceases. When the West learned of the barbarity - the crime against our shared Western heritage - something sacred, Pope Urban II called for the Crusades. The Fatimids were ousted and Jerusalem’s legacy of being the place of the Tomb of Christ was preserved. The medieval Latin church served as a faithful witness to cherish, protect, and preserve our shared legacy.
When peoples in the modern world, such as Arabs, are relegated into the class of the demonized other, or the enemy of God’s chosen, it then becomes quite easy to lie and steal given the self inflicted delusion of having divine right or the moral high ground. Ask any Evangelical Christian Zionist their opinion regarding the One State, the Two State, or the No State Solution, and then just carefully listen.
We at Reproduction Bibles took a closer look at Museum of the Bible when their offensive video clip advertisements touted the Jefferson Bible - a butchery of the New Testament by our third president - as if it was worth celebrating and seeing. We also took offense with the museum’s absurd misrepresentations of the Reformation and the reformers. We also took offense with the likes of a Rick Warren as a member of the board of directors. Many visitors leave Museum of the Bible disappointed, because the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the central climactic theme of the Bible, is conspicuously absent.
According to the Jerusalem Post, “The [Museum of the Bible] celebrates Jews and Judaism as the noble, beloved and even feared antecedents to Christianity, and argues that its best modern expression is in the State of Israel.”
Today’s equivalent to the Cuban Missile Crisis is the stand off between the Western Alliance and Russia over Syria.
The past events of history are prologues for the future events yet to happen. Similarly, prophecies in the Bible that haven been fulfilled often serve as indicators for a greater future fulfillment. The prophecy in Isaiah 17, the destruction of Damascus, was fulfilled within a decade of Isaiah'a chilling prophecy. The military superpower of the day, the Assyrians, came in and did what they did best. Damascus was captured by Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria in 732 B.C. Ten years later, Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel, fell to the Assyrians. One hundred years after Isaiah, Jeremiah prophesied the fall of the rebuilt city of Damascus. And, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took the city.
Today, Syria does not loot goods from Jacob. They did that in the past with the trade routes hence that reference by Isaiah. Today, Syria's singular offense is harboring Hezbollah. The destruction of Damascus it seems will happen again, and may well be one of the triggers to the blowback, which results in the time of Jacob's trouble and Armageddon, when Jerusalem is surrounded by armies.
The following are the Biblical passages typically associated with Damascus: Isaiah 17, Jeremiah 49:23-30, Zechariah 9:1-8, and Revelation 9.
Isaiah 17 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
1 The burden of Damascus. Behold Damascus shall cease to be a city, and shall be as a ruinous heap of stones. 2 The cities of Aroer shall be left for flocks, and they shall rest there, and there shall be none to make them afraid. 3 And aid shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus: and the remnant of Syria shall be as the glory of the children of Israel: saith the Lord of hosts. 4 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall grow lean. 5 And it shall be as when one gathereth in the harvest that which remaineth, and his arm shall gather the ears of corn: and it shall be as he that seeketh ears in the vale of Raphaim. 6 And the fruit thereof that shall be left upon it, shall be as one cluster of grapes, and as the shaking of the olive tree, two or three berries in the top of a bough, or four or five upon the top of the tree, saith the Lord the God of Israel. 7 In that day man shall bow down himself to his Maker, and his eyes shall look to the Holy One of Israel. 8 And he shall not look to the altars which his hands made: and he shall not have respect to the things that his fingers wrought, such as groves and temples. 9 In that day his strong cities shall be forsaken, as the ploughs, and the corn that were left before the face of the children of Israel, and thou shalt be desolate. 10 Because thou hast forgotten God thy saviour, and hast not remembered thy strong helper: therefore shalt thou plant good plants, and shalt sow strange seed. 11 In the day of thy planting shall be the wild grape, and in the morning thy seed shall flourish: the harvest is taken away in the day of inheritance, and shall grieve thee much. 12 Woe to the multitude of many people, like the multitude of the roaring sea: and the tumult of crowds, like the noise of many waters. 13 Nations shall make a noise like the noise of waters overflowing, but he shall rebuke him, and he shall flee far off: and he shall be carried away as the dust of the mountains before the wind, and as a whirlwind before a tempest. 14 In the time of the evening, behold there shall be trouble: the morning shall come, and he shall not be: this is the portion of them that have wasted us, and the lot of them that spoiled us. (Isaiah 17:1-14)
Jeremiah 49 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
23 Against Damascus. Emath is confounded and Arphad: for they have heard very bad tidings, they are troubled as in the sea: through care they could not rest. 24 Damascus is undone, she is put to flight, trembling hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her as a woman in labour. 25 How have they forsaken the city of renown, the city of joy! 26 Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets: and all the men of war shall be silent in that day, saith the Lord of hosts. 27 And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall devour the strong holds of Benadad. 28 Against Cedar and against the kingdoms of Asor, which Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon destroyed. Thus saith the Lord: Arise, and go ye up to Cedar, and waste the children of the east. 29 They shall take their tents, and their flocks: and shall carry off for themselves their curtains, and all their vessels, and their camels: and they shall call fear upon them round about. 30 Flee ye, get away speedily, sit in deep holes, you that inhabit Asor, saith the Lord: for Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon hath taken counsel against you, and hath conceived designs against you. (Jeremiah 49:23-30)
Zechariah 9 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
1 The burden of the word of the Lord in the land of Hadrach, and of Damascus the rest thereof: for the eye of man, and of all the tribes of Israel is the Lord's. 2 Emath also in the borders thereof, and Tyre, and Sidon: for they have taken to themselves to be exceeding wise. 3 And Tyre hath built herself a strong hold, and heaped together silver as earth, and gold as the mire of the streets. 4 Behold the Lord shall possess her, and shall strike her strength in the sea, and she shall be devoured with fire. 5 Ascalon shall see, and shall fear, and Gaza, and shall be very sorrowful: and Accaron, because her hope is confounded: and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Scallion shall not be inhabited. 6 And the divider shall sit in Azotus, and I will destroy the pride of the Philistines. 7 And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth: and even he shall be left to our God, and he shall be as a governor in Juda, and Accaron as a Jebusite. 8 And I will encompass my house with them that serve me in war, going and returning, and the oppressor shall no more pass through them: for now I have seen with my eyes. (Zechariah 9:1-8 )
Revelation 9 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
13 And the sixth angel sounded the trumpet: and I heard a voice from the four horns of the great altar, which is before the eyes of God, 14 Saying to the sixth angel, who had the trumpet: Loose the four angels, who are bound in the great river Euphrates. 15 And the four angels were loosed, who were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year: for to kill the third part of men. 16 And the number of the army of horsemen was twenty thousand times ten thousand. And I heard the number of them. 17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision: and they that sat on them, had breastplates of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone, and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions: and from their mouths proceeded fire, and smoke, and brimstone. 18 And by these three plagues was slain the third part of men, by the fire and by the smoke and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths, and in their tails. For, their tails are like to serpents, and have heads: and with them they hurt. 20 And the rest of the men, who were not slain by these plagues, did not do penance from the works of their hands, that they should not adore devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and wood, which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: 21 Neither did they penance from their murders, nor from their sorceries, nor from their fornication, nor from their thefts. (Revelation 9:13-21)
Never underestimate the power of women. In the ancient world, worship of the Mother Goddess was almost universal. In the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance period, manuscripts and books were produced to warn men in places of power of the wiles and power of women.
Consider Jahel (Yah'el in Hebrew), Heber's wife, who drove a tent peg through the skull of their enemy. In the Book of Judges we read, "So Jahel Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and taking also a hammer: and going in softly, and with silence, she put the nail upon the temples of his head, and striking it With the hammer, drove it through his brain fast into the ground: and so passing from deep sleep to death, he fainted away and died." (Judges 4:21)
Who was this poor fool? Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite army of King Jabin of Hazor, who sough to "raise his stars above the stars of God."
And, consider Judith, who in the Deuterocanonical text bearing that name, beguiled the enemy for the purpose of severing his head from his body.
In Judith we read, "And when it was grown late, his servants made haste to their lodgings, and Vagao shut the chamber doors, and went his way. And they were all overcharged with wine. And Judith was alone in the chamber.
4 But Holofernes lay on his bed, fast asleep, being exceedingly drunk. And Judith spoke to her maid to stand without before the chamber, and to watch: And Judith stood before the bed praying with tears, and the motion of her lips in silence, Saying: Strengthen me, O Lord God of Israel, and in this hour look on the works of my hands, that as thou hast promised, thou mayst raise up Jerusalem thy city: and that I may bring to pass that which I have purposed, having a belief that it might be done by thee. And when she had said this, she went to the pillar that was at his bed's head, and loosed his sword that hung tied upon it. And when she had drawn it out, she took him by the hair of his head, and said: Strengthen me, O Lord God, at this hour. And she struck twice upon his neck, and cut off his head, and took off his canopy from the pillars, and rolled away his headless body." (Judith 13:1-10)
Who was this poor fool? Holofernes, the general of Nebuchadnezzar, who thought he could get some action on the side while invading Judea for plunder. Like the Canaanites in the Book of Judges, he though he could raise his "stars above the stars of God."
Finally, consider the flip side to these heroines from the great tales of the Bible. Consider Salome, the daughter Herod II and Herodias. She was the offspring of intermarriage between Edomites and the sell out Levites, who had embraced Hellenism (today we would call it multiculturalism and progressive liberalism). John the Baptist had been imprisoned for challenging her mother's honor through his accusations that Herod should not be sleeping with his brother's wife. Enamored by her beauty no doubt, Herod promised her anything if she would but dance. Let me entertain you, she did. Her feminine charms come down to use as the Dance of the Seven Veils. In exchange for what must have been a breathtaking performance, she demanded the head of John the Baptist on a silver platter.
In the gospel account according to the apostle Matthew we read, "For Herod had apprehended John and bound him, and put him into prison, because of Herodias, his brother's wife. For John said to him: It is not lawful for thee to have her. And having a mind to put him to death, he feared the people: because they esteemed him as a prophet. But on Herod's birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them: and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath, to give her whatsoever she would ask of him. But she being instructed before by her mother, said: Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist. And the king was struck sad: yet because of his oath, and for them that sat with him at table, he commanded it to be given. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. And his head was brought in a dish: and it was given to the damsel, and she brought it to her mother." (Matthew 14:3-11)
The poor fool was Herod, who had been played, because he regretted what he had promised to do.
Love them. Fear them. Revere them. God knows what women are capable of in order to protect those they love. The lessons from the Bible are clear: Men, be careful, be mindful, and be ever respectful, because you could lose your head.
His name was Solomon ben Isaac. He is better known as Rashi, which is the acronym derived from Rabbi Solomon son of Isaac. He was born in Troyes, France in 1040 and died in Troyes, France in 1105. Talmudic scholars to this day revere the commentaries of Rashi.
His father is believed to have had vineyards in the Champagne region, and Rashi was a merchant on behalf of his father’s business where he more than likely took part in the annual international trade fair to show case and sell wine.
In his day, Rashi more than likely grew to become known as the learned Solomon of Troyes. During his life, he marked himself with distinction for being an astute teacher of Talmud and Bible to the Jewish community, and drew many students to himself.
Rashi appears to have borrowed the common practice among Latin Christian scholars of applying a gloss, a summary and interpretation to the portions of the Latin Bible, to key passages of the Bible and Talmud in his own commentaries. In contrast to Christians of his day, however, Rashi stressed the literal approach to reading and understanding the Scripture, which was contrary to the allegorical method used by the Church. Moreover, it is widely believed that non Jews sought out Rashi for advice on some matters.
For years, Rashi studied in Worms and Mainz. His legacy is in his commentaries. Rashi's selection of the Midrash for the first commentary on Genesis was probably meant to refute both Islamic and Papal claims to the Holy Land. Rashi's argument was God had bestowed upon Israel the Holy Land as a divine gift.
Perhaps missed by many, at issue with the Pope’s appeal and Rashi’s response in his commentary on Genesis (Bereshit), is question and answer as to who and what is the True Israel of God. That question as to who and what is the True Israel of God, for Christians, is answered in the words of Jesus in the Gospels, the Second Prologue to Romans in the medieval Latin Bible, Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the last book in the Bible the Apocalypse, which advance a Continuation Theology (not to be confused with Replacement Theology). For Jews, that question is answered in descent. Nevertheless, they called each other dogs. From the words of Jesus, the prologue writers, and the rabbis ... if you were held in low esteem , or in contempt ... you were just a dog.
When the First Crusade launched in 1096, the Jewish community in the Rhineland suffered two months of mayhem at the hands of unprincipled men, who were stirred up by itinerant preachers. At the age of 56, the already well known Rashi survived the period of mayhem and traveled the 280 miles return trip to Troyes, where Jews had the protection of Eudes II, the Count of Champagne.
The Hebrew prayer Av Harakhamim, Father of Mercies, was probably composed immediately after the misfortune that befell the Jewish communities at the hands of German Crusaders heading south in 1096. Since that time, the prayer has been recited in synagogues prior to opening the Ark to bring forth the Torah. It reads:
Father of mercies, may You willingly do good to Zion. Rebuild the walls of Jerusalem; for in You alone have we trusted, King, God, elevated and exalted, Master of the World.
In 1110, Hugh, the abbey of St. Victor in Paris, reassessed his understanding of how to read Scripture with his exposure to the writings of Rashi. Hugh of St. Victor later taught in Paris from about 1125 until 1141 from where learning spread across Europe. This learning contributed to the Twelfth Century renaissance, which reaches its apex in the late 1100s.
In the period that followed Hugh of St. Victor, we see Hebrew letters appearing in some Latin Bibles, as well as the use of an appendix to Bibles with a Glossary of Interpretation of Hebrew Names. Consider the following:
A Latin Vulgate Bible was produced between 1178 and 1199 at the abbey of St Albans under Abbot Simon and his successor Abbot Warin. This particular Bible evidences Jewish influences, as it was produced to resemble a Torah scroll when opened. It has three columns per page. Moreover, folio 121 r, which is the opening to the prophet Jeremiah’s Lamentations, features perfectly written Hebrew letters, aleph through taf, in gold leaf, and is believed to have been scribed by a Jew, possibly with Sephardic training. This Bible is held by the Parker Library in Corpus Christi College in Cambridge and is known as CCCC MS 48. See it online.
Another Latin Vulgate Bible, the Lumley Bible with the Interpretation of Hebrew names, was produced in 1250 and is now held by the British Library and is known as Royal 1 E II. See it online.
And again, another Latin Vulgate Bible, the Bible of William of Devon with the Interpretation of Hebrew names, was produced in 1275 and is now held by the British Library and is known as Royal 1 D 1. See it online.
Rashi (or others), however, played a joke on the Latin Christians of Europe, and the legacy persists to this day. Consider the name Caleb. Ask almost any Christian today, especially a fundamentalist, what the Hebrew name Caleb means, and more than likely he will tell you it means “dog.” It actually means whole hearted.
CALEB is actually a compound word in Hebrew - something that is quite common in ancient Hebrew. Col (Cuf + Lamed) = all or whole. Lev (Lamed + Vet) = heart. Therefore, CALEB (or COLEV as pronounced in Hebrew) actually means "whole hearted". (Source: https://www.behindthename.com/bb/fact/175074)
The name Caleb serves as a metaphor in the Bible. The only way to enter into the promises, the Promised Land, is with your whole heart. Rendering that name, Kol Lev, as dog betrays not just bad translation, but deliberate misdirection with an insult added. Rashi’s sarcastic jab has reverberated for about a thousand years. You really cannot blame Rashi, as I believe, he is indeed the source of this misdirection given that he was an eye witness to the mayhem of the times.
Jerusalem is at the center of Jewish and Christian belief and much of the Bible. Jerusalem is believed to be the throne of God on earth, and a river flows from beneath the throne. Beneath the city’s Temple Mount is the Gihon spring, one of the four rivers from paradise.
But, as the “eternal” and “undivided” capital of Israel, this is the stuff of religious and political propaganda, and political claims awaiting the conclusions of military conflicts and divine intervention to settle this simmering dispute.
The City of David, not too far from the birthplace of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, will be the trigger for Armageddon. And, it is to Jerusalem that Jesus Christ will return.
Since 1947, Jerusalem has been earmarked by the international community as an international city, a corpus separatum, which is Latin for a separate body. In spite of this, both Jews and Arabs claim Jerusalem as their capital city. One insists on a unified city. The other insists on a divided city. Neither side can come to a peace agreement. Both sides refuse to come to a peace agreement. Each side blames the other for the impasse. And, the give war a chance crowd, the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC), has triumphed. Like it or not, we are going to be dragged into Armageddon, and play a leading role.
In its long history, the city of Jerusalem has been attacked 52 times, captured and recaptured 44 times, besieged 23 times, and destroyed twice.
Jerusalem, as a matter of historic fact, has only served as a capital city for one other kingdom upon this earth. The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem ruled from the city from 1099 until 1187. The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem came about in response to Muslims having desecrated the tomb of Christ and making it too dangerous for Christians to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem. As a medieval feudal kingdom, the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem was ruled over by the following kings:
1100–1118 Baldwin I
1118–1131 Baldwin II
1131–1143 Melisende with Fulk
1143-1152-1163 Baldwin III
1163–1174 Amalric I
1174–1185 Baldwin IV
1185–1186 Baldwin V
They were not Jews, Arabs, or Muslims. They were not Turks, Egyptians, or Persians. They were unapologetic Franks and Normans - north western Europeans, Christians who practiced the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church.
During the Islamic periods before and after the control of Jerusalem by Latin Christians, the city was never a capital city to others. It was just a holy city to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Only ancient Israel, the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, and the modern State of Israel have had Jerusalem as a capital city.
In response to America’s December 6, 2017 announcement of its embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Palestinians, along with much of the Muslim and Arab world via the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on December 13, 2017 declared East Jerusalem, which is the Arab quarter, to be the capital of a hoped for State of Palestine.
The Temple Mount is located in East Jerusalem. This is where the Western Wall, Al-Aqsa Mosque, Dome of the Rock, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre sit.
So, this Christmas season, we remember the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, in Bethlehem. And, we can plainly see that the time approaches for the culmination of all things.
Jesus, the lamb of God, was born to die for all of us. The Christmas story points to Good Friday and Easter. It also points to the return of Christ as noted in the Nicene Creed - from the right hand of the Father, He will come again to judge the living and the dead. He will again cleanse the Temple to make it fit for proper worship.
Pointing to 70 AD as well as his return, Jesus said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered together thy children, as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldest not? Behold, your house is left unto you desolate; For I say to you, you shall not see me henceforth till you say: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:37-39)
When he was taken away to be crucified, the women of Jerusalem cried, because they knew. “But Jesus turning to them, said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me; but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For behold, the days shall come, wherein they will say: Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the paps that have not given suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us; and to the hills: Cover us. For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?” (Luke 23:29-31)
The Jews of the High Priest Caiaphas' Israel rejected, humiliated, and had their Messiah crucified at the hands of the Romans. This they did when they were “green.” Still young. They had gone through a series of attempts at self governance: patriarchs, judges, kings, prophets, priests, and after the time of Christ - teachers, or rabbis.
Now, two thousand years later, secular atheism and Talmudic Judaism define the State of Israel. As a dry tree, in an apostate state, with out the sap of God’s Spirit as defined in the New Testament, the State of Israel hosts gay pride parades in Tel Aviv. This odd fact underscores the prophetic accuracy of the Scriptures, which lament that if God had not saved a remnant, Israel would become like Sodom. In fact, the Book of Revelation denounces Jerusalem as Sodom and Egypt.
At the apex of ancient Israel, two whores came to King Solomon to settle a custody dispute over a child. One was willing to have the child cut in half, which betrayed the grief for the loss of her own child. And, in Solomon’s wisdom, the child was given to the rightful mother, who wanted to preserve the child in one piece.
So is the case with Jerusalem and the litigants - the whores. Each is guilty of misrepresentations - lies and thefts. Yet, only one is truly entitled to lay legitimate claim. And, as a result, the consequences will be far worse than cutting a child in half. In our day, Jerusalem has become a cup of trembling. (Zechariah 12:2)
The nations will be gathered against Jerusalem, two thirds of Israel will die. (Zechariah 13:8 ) The dry dead wood will be burned. “Nations, nations in the valley of destruction: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of destruction.” (Joel 3:13) And then the LORD will suddenly appear to fight to preserve the surviving remnant. In that day, all will know that the LORD is a wall, a shield, around His people.
Thieves and liars are not numbered among His people. As the angels proclaimed that first Christmas Day, “Peace on earth to men of good will.” These are those without guile, the misrepresentations, treachery, and thievery.
This Christmas season, we should all pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
With the opening of the Museum of the Bible close to the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, I could not help but notice several evangelical groups jumping on the bandwagon to celebrate the ideas, works, and legacy of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and by extension his most rotund excellency, his royal majesty Henry VIII.
Alison Brown, a spokesperson for Museum of the Bible, appeared in an October 2017 video posted to Facebook and stated that in the early Sixteenth Century the Roman Catholic Church had degenerated, or devolved, into a system of penances and indulgences and thanks to the rise of humanism and the existence of Gutenberg’s press, Luther’s theology came forth to rescue Western Europe.
But, these are just simplistic, in fact, they are dumbed down, views of key historical events that result in distorted politicized narratives to advance propaganda. And, they end up in comic book theology by the likes of Chick Tracts, which is designed for fifth graders or those, who rely on comic strips for their history and theology.
As the wonders of serendipity played out, I happened to be in a Lutheran Church as a venue for a home owner’s association meeting in October 2017. And there, in a Lutheran Church, which takes its name and theology from Martin Luther, was a Roman Catholic flyer for an Indulgence. The fact is the sacrament of confession and the issuance of indulgences exist to this day within the Roman Catholic Church. And, the fact that this flyer was near the altar in a denomination with friendly ties with the Vatican indicates that the wild fire that inspired Luther’s own state church has fizzled out.
This installment seeks to provoke the questions as to whether we should celebrate or reflect and reassess during the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Was it a reformation or a revolt? Should we celebrate or reassess? Did the protestors achieve their aims? Has their legacy succeeded or failed? Or worse, was the Protestant Reformation the beginning of the great apostasy - the great falling away - mentioned in the Bible as a sign of the beginning of the end - a prerequisite for the appearance of history’s last two men to deceive and terrorize the earth prior to the Second Advent?
In your run of the mill Protestant propaganda and mythologized history, the narrative can imply this: Prior to Luther the powers that be had outwitted the Almighty and undermined the saving power of the Gospel. From the time of the Emperor Constantine to Luther, salvation had been blocked by the craftiness of men. Hence during that 1200 year period, when the Roman Catholic Church dominated Western European culture, the salvation that Jesus Christ and the Apostles preached ceased to become possible. And thus, due to the incompetence and impotence of God, as is the underlying premise, it took the competence of the German Augustinian monk, Martin Luther, to rescue Western Christendom from the works of the devil and his lies.
Machiavelli’s political playbook called The Prince was more responsible for the Protestant revolt than Luther’s 95 Thesis. The ideas and their justifications in that political treatise had spread across Europe. The reformers did not reform, they revolted, curried favor with secular princes, and then together established their own state sponsored churches. The revolt then became violent.
Luther’s appeal to his own conscience - the divine right of conscience, if you will - trumped the Pope’s claim to apostolic succession and any king’s claim to the divine right of rulership. This maneuver of circular reasoning was indeed clever, but it was also the same maneuver described in Genesis prior to the fall - you shall become gods, and decide for yourselves. With Luther’s words, “... to go against conscience is neither right nor safe,” the opportunity had presented itself to the princes of Europe to continue in the centuries old tug of war with the church as to whose sword should be held higher: that of the church or that of the temporal power. Those in political power, it certainly seemed, could appeal to conscience rather than to orthodox doctrine, bishops, or tradition.
What followed Luther’s epiphany was not a reformation, but a series of religious wars more horrific than World War I. My French ancestry traces back to The Thirty Years War, when Etienne and Antoine Hebert fled the Old World due to the apocalypse unleashed onto northern Europe thanks to Luther. Academics playfully refer to Luther as a bull in a china cabinet. Art historians see him as just a jack ass among the fine porcelain that had been handed down by previous generations.
These “reformers” then acted like the Taliban, like the Shiites, and like the Ottomans. They destroyed the great murals painted on the church walls - and destroyed far more than that. I have been to several English Cathedrals, like the one in Durham, England, and have seen with my own eyes what happened during the reign of Edward VI. The Romanesque period illustrations depicting many of the key narratives from the Bible - they were all gone. White washed, as if they had never existed. What happened was no different than what had happened when the Ottoman Turks took the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. The barbarians - yes these so called reformers - vandalized so much of the sacred art, our shared cultural legacy. When I saw the great Durham Cathedral in England, I remembered the same horror, the same feeling of disgust and contempt that I had felt when years earlier I saw the stripped bare walls at the hands of Islamic zeal within the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey.
There was little difference between these reformers and the jihadists other than the profession of their different faiths. They were cut out of the same fabric. The reformers produced wild fire that scorched all in its path.
But, is the comparison of the Protestant “reformers” with Islamic jihadists truly fair? Recall that after the Jews of Medina refused to recognize Mohammed as a prophet, Mohammed turned on the Jews with violence and the Khyber Massacre followed. Similarly, after the Jews refused to convert and heed Luther’s version of the Gospel, Luther directed the confiscation of their books, the burning of synagogues, the denial of safe passage, and more.
Luther’s theology of the Jews, in fact, had laid the ground work for Adolph Hitler’s attempt to wed German Lutheranism with the politics of Nazism. Though that failed, the cultural ground work laid by Luther made it easy for the rise of Hitler.
In contrast, it should be recalled, Bernard of Clairvaux, a Roman Catholic, forbade harm or ill will directed towards the Jews living in Europe. Jews served as a living testimony of the covenant of God with His ancient people as well as a testimony of His wrath given their scattering. During the Holocaust, Pope Pius XII helped save close to a million Jews as recorded by both Jewish historians and as enshrined in the Holocaust Museum in Israel. But, these are inconvenient facts that undercut Protestant mythology.
Wild Fire in the Minds of Men
As early as John Wycliffe and with Martin Luther, as noble as their efforts may have seemed to them and their followers in producing a Bible in the vernacular, what resulted were Peasant Revolts. Strange fire in the minds of sincere and easily misguided men took hold. Then, the heavy hand of the state came in to maintain order. What later followed was worse with the likes of Henry VIII, who was a thief, a liar, and a murderer. He declared himself head of his state church, he seized the assets of the Roman Catholic Church, and he also murdered, or should we say lawfully executed, many of his wives. He did not have the decency to unilaterally divorce his many wives and grant them estates with an allowance. Instead, he had their heads cut off in public. Animals do not behave like this great English reformer and patron to the English Bible.
Jean Cohen, better known as John Calvin, was an early user of the term Architect of the Universe to describe God. It is a term embraced by Freemasons, and he headed the Reform Movement - a theological term to describe his sect, which was created outside of the Roman Catholic Church. With the advent of Calvin’s theology and the new permissibility to lend with interest, international money lenders returned to England during the reign of Oliver Cromwell and established the Bank of England, a central bank. Usury had been forbidden since 1290 when the Jews had been expelled, under royal decree - the first of its kind - due to usury, debasing of the currency through the widespread clipping of coins, and the public outcry against foreclosures, which in 1215 the Magna Carta had addressed - no deed in lieu of foreclosure - must have a trial by jury. Financial capitalism and total depravity work well together as is evidenced in any economic crisis.
No American Protestant in their right mind would have wanted to live in Queen Elizabeth’s England or John Calvin’s Geneva if they knew what these people had created and the penalties for not abiding during their tenure. The same is true of Oliver Cromwell’s England when the Geneva Bible wielding Puritans took control. Yet, in all romanticized and mythologized histories, villains are transformed into saints, tyranny is transformed into religious liberty, and of course doctrinal heresies are transformed into the new orthodoxy.
With the blows inflicted onto the church by Luther, Calvin, and Henry VIII, Christendom as a unified whole had been divided, and it ceased to function as it had in the past. What followed the Protestant Reformation, the revolt, were incremental degrees of progressive absurdities and increasing stupidities, and it exists in America with a thousand and one designer denominations as evidence that we live in the Age of Apostasy.
The Bible did not produce the Age of Apostasy where heresy is the new orthodoxy. The so called “reformers,” their Sixteenth Century formulas for salvation, and their fanatical followers did all of this as they completely forgot how to read a narrative, and instead became jolted by the staccato produced by verse numbers that inspired one line theologies as the basis for new sects and cults. When not satisfied with that, the chain reference method of study came to play as the narrative on the page was thrown out. This was made worse by preachers playing hop scotch with the Scriptures with, “Now turn with me in your Bibles here and there and back to here ... “ in order to create novel edifices for ever new doctrines, practices, and more. The power of a narrative from the Bible to speak to the hearer had been lost. In its place rose the charismatic preacher, who would later insist that the letter of the Word was dead as was orthodoxy.
Today, we see the mythologizing of history with overlays of heroic Protestant theology in the form of David Barton’s patriotic Christianity and our American heritage. While it’s true that many of our founding fathers held to Christian values, their deistic theology and anti super natural rationalism suggests that they were not Christians. The Christians, who settled the English colonies that became the United States of America, were Anglicans in Jamestown; Puritans in Plymouth; Catholics in Maryland; Moravians, Quakers, Mennonites, and Amish in Pennsylvania, and so forth. These were indeed good, God fearing people, who wanted to leave Luther and Calvin’s aftershocks behind them as England and Europe continued to quake.
Many of the political founders of the Republic, in contrast, were theological deists, and members of secretive societies like George Washington’s Freemasons and Thomas Jefferson’s Rosicrucians. When things did not suit their fancies, like Thomas Jefferson, they took a razor knife to the Scriptures and cut out all of the offending passages - “like dung” to use this enlightened President’s own words - and cast them aside so that the gems could shine. Though Jefferson debased the Scriptures, Museum of the Bible, in one of its other videos posted to social media, considers the Jefferson Bible, the anticipation of higher literary criticism and the Jesus Seminar, worthy of show casing.
One of the first Black Lives Matter movements was lead by John Brown, an abolitionist, who decided to take action rather than secure the power of the Spirit - as did Moses, the Prophets, Jesus, and the Apostles - all of whom were partakers to different degrees to the promised Divine Nature. In John Brown, a Bible believer, one man’s freedom fighter became another man’s terrorist. Brown was indeed in the moral right to demand the liberation of the enslaved peoples from Africa - those, who had been reduced to the legal status of property by a deranged Republic dominated by Freemasons and even regarded by many as a curiosity of God’s creation belonging to a pre Adamic race and beyond the pale of redemption. Where the Spirit of God is not, human reason informed by a Scripture verse or two intervenes and the result is not always nice. Brown was hanged by the neck until dead for his failed efforts.
The rippling of ironies of this tug of war between the church and state across history are seen in the symbolism in Annapolis, Maryland where State Circle sits at a higher elevation than Church Circle. The state’s governor is the head of the Episcopal Church, and during two terms as the state’s first Jewish governor, Marvin Mandel, a non believer in Jesus Christ, was also the head of the Episcopal Church. Mandel was forced out of political office due to corruption. That same church ordained women and openly homosexual men, and blessed same sex unions - all of these things affronts and mocking parodies of the values clearly described in the Bible. Yet, with “Here I stand, I can do no other ...” and Luther’s Five Solas, “Who am I to judge?" - to quote Pope Francis with intended irony.
The End is Near
Today, Bible wielding charlatans dominate the airwaves on television and radio and appeal to the come as you are crowd, willing to send in a check in exchange for prosperity since these gullible victims, sheeple, are not taught to repent, to transform their thinking, intentions, speech, associations, and behavior. Oh no. Why place demands on people to change their lives when just faith alone can be easily received. After all, the old religion was stuck in the Dark Ages, which they will remind us, though that phrase came from a hater of the church and atheist: Voltaire.
The legacy of the Protestant Reformers also includes the freak side show of Bible believing pentecostal snake handlers and strychnine drinkers in Appalachia. In those hills, gawkers come in to observe the spectacle where side bets are placed as to whether the ambulance will be called yet again to haul away the fool slain not for tempting God, but for his own idiocies.
And, consider the Messianic Jews and the Hebrew Roots Movement types. Fake “rabbis,” who have never studied at a yeshiva, preach in places where crosses have been removed - so as not to offend. From them we learn that there is no salvation in the gentile church, his name is not Jesus, it’s Yeshua, and God’s sacred name is spelled G-d in order to give everyone yet more reason to laugh. But, these subversive mamzars, Israel first Zionist infiltrators, who denounce the Catholic, Orthodox, and even Protestant churches as gentile churches, exist to make Judaism or atheism look like reasonable alternatives to faith in Christ. (Recall that in 1983, Marilyn Ferguson explained in her book The Aquarian Conspiracy that the churches would be infiltrated and subverted). They want to dismantle Western culture, which includes public celebrations of Christmas, because these “pagan celebrations” compete with their narrative that hates the legacy of the church of the ha goyim. Among them are the likes of the pentecostal messianic Dr. Michael Brown, who once said on his radio broadcast, “We cannot let the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty become the face of American Christianity.” Why? The 2016 Christian documentary film by Steve Bannon called Torchbearer featured Phil Robertson - and not a Jew, a Freemason, or one of their kind.
Instead of taking on the murder of the unborn, legalized by Roe v Wade, we see the likes of the messianic Jonathan Cahn, another self-proclaimed rabbi, who waged a theatrical complaint about the proposed erection of the Temple of Baal in Manhattan. With the triumph of symbolism, the painful reality of child sacrifice continues, and the supernatural portal to permit evil spirits to flow into this dimension is the U.S. Congress and the Supreme Court - not a recreation of Greco-Roman architecture to call attention to Muslims in the middle east destroying historic artifacts. Yet, such is the absurd state of what passes as Christianity in America where “... to go against conscience is neither right nor safe” is the banner of truth rather than millennia old orthodox doctrine to inform and guide us.
And so, many reject or walk away from Christ not for rising from the dead, but because of the televised idiocies done in his name and the nonsense done on the weekends, which are then showcased on YouTube. And with Luther’s Five Solas in hand, the fig tree that Christ said would not again bear fruit in their mind is God’s gift that keeps on giving and giving to humanity. Dr. Michael Brown, again, underscores the problem of his own making with, “We have created defective disciples.” Yes, this is what happens due to defective motives, defective theology, defective methods, and defective and deceptive practices.
The apple never falls far from the tree. Amidst the morphing of charismatic and pentecostal beliefs and practices in America there has been explosive growth in what should rightfully be called the all embracing Lunatic Fringe. Women moan like cows, men bark like dogs, prophecies never come to pass, well educated church goers drop dead when faith healing does not occur, and preachers blame those in the cushioned seats for not having enough faith. In these bizarre mental constructs that is post Protestant charismatic and pentecostal belief, instead of people heading for the exits, they are mesmerized by the “thou shalt not judge or touch God’s anointed” directives as these charlatans tweak their messages and when necessary become carpet baggers as they move on to exploit other equally uninformed and vulnerable audiences. Among them, another pentecostal messianic, Sid Roth, functions like a Jerry Springer, show casing the latest in the bizarre from the fly over states or the inner cities for those desirous of the signs and wonders and the new things that God is doing in the earth. But, as Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz has insisted, “Who needs God? We have Talmud!” So, with religion in America as it is, the atheist rabbi has a point.
The most articulate denunciation of the confusion and nonsense does not come from the Roman Catholic Church, but ironically from John McArthur, who embraces the theology of John Calvin. But, his books ranging from Charismatic Chaos to Strange Fire, which denounced charismatic and pentecostal theologies and practices, are far too polite, because Twentieth Century Christianity is witness to the unveiling of another Jesus, another Gospel, and a spirit quite different from the old time religion of the founders of the faith. And, as irony would have it, McArthur once stated a believer in Christ could repent after receiving the mark of the beast, thus earning him dis-accredidation among listeners.
Instead of Sacred Scripture, the Bible as politics and propaganda to promote foreign policy in the middle east came about due to the amazing C.I Scofield and his reference notes, all coincidently assembled when the World Zionist Congress was eyeing Palestine to advance the Rothschild funded colonial settlement project for the Jews. When Dallas Theological Seminary made the Scofield Bible its Bible in the early 1900s, it only took a couple of generations for Christian Zionism to rise into political prominence as that ideology subverted and displaced long held values of pacifism and social justice. Today, the two beasts stand among us. He looks like a lamb, but speaks like a dragon, the serpent of old. He is a clever devil. Deceptive. And, an adversary to the truth.
The hundreds of translations into the same language leave those, who indeed seek God, befuddled. With the spirit of inclusiveness and accommodation in mind, even Charles Darwin, Teilhard de Chardin, or an atheist would not be as offended to read, “And a wind from God blew over the face of the waters” rather than “And the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the deep.” In the post reformation era, these are just words, after all, and not Sacred Scripture. Ask any King James Version Only Bible believer, and you will get schooled on the foolishness - in fact, the satanic nature - of the modern translations. And, here in modern Bible translation theory and practice we have the bastard step child of higher literary criticism, like Luther, a uniquely German phenomenon.
Dykes, lesbians living in sin with other women, sit in the highest of religious offices in some mainline Protestant denominations. And, in others, same sex unions and marriages take place - grave offenses that would have made the ancient Greeks and Romans blush, because they, actually knew better. Yet, like it or not, these abominations are among the fruits of the Protestant Reformation. These are all part of Luther’s legacy - where each man, sitting under his own fig tree, can decide for himself with him and the Bible alone as to what constitutes sound doctrine and right conduct.
When new error is piled on top of old error, and greater errors seek to out do milder errors, we have religion in America, or as Ross Douthout titles his book, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics. It is non denominational, inter denominational, it is mainline churches subverted by Freemasons, Zionists, feminists, New Age occultists, and homosexuals all with an agenda, and each seeking to force fit its vision for the future onto the Bible and their undiscerning followers. No less than a Billy Graham, a Freemason, spread the Gospel, albeit a watered down version, to a generation mired in the sexual and drug revolution.
It is packed with imposter apostles, fake prophets, lying signs and wonders, and just cold comfort for change. Among them the parade of ass clowns entertain the herd of goats. And the prophet Balaam rides again with the wind in his back and even ministers in the oval office.
The Green family, in its $500 million worth of wisdom in building the Museum of the Bible, saw fit to include on its board of directors Rick Warren, who has a dark cloud of many internet rumors hanging over him of promoting Chrislam, the idea that both Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Whether true or not, there are many who do not approve of Warren ... perhaps due to his ties with the Council on Foreign Relations, that policy group that provides the U.S. State Department with its marching orders.
So, my advice to the Museum of the Bible is to hold a dedication ceremony of their holding of the Jefferson Bible and invite the Freemasons, Rosicrucians, and the like, ditch the dumbed down Protestant theology and opinions on the Reformation, drop the mythologized and romanticized historical narratives, and reduce the collection of actual Bibles that will be on display to just artifacts. Without objectivity and neutrality, controversies and offenses are inevitable.