Bible

A JOURNEY OF UNDERSTANDING

Earthrise Over Compton Crater (NASA/LRO/Wikipedia)

Earthrise Over Compton Crater (NASA/LRO/Wikipedia)

2016-07-08 @ 00:00 CDT

On this Gregorian date, I am 57 Gregorian years old. Oh frabjous day (insert sarcastic tone of voice). 😉

But turning points in one’s life – my soon-coming marriage being a far more important one to my mind – are good times to stop and reflect. Tonight, before I went to bed, I decided to take just such a break.

I found it difficult to decide which version of the above poster I should put up. Should I put up the one I made which points out that the Earth is, in effect, my personal, psychological (not religious) “mandala” – a symbol of the wholeness of self that I seek, a wholeness rooted in a unified understanding of “both geos and kosmos“? (See this page, section “Functional Analysis”, subsection “Extraverted iNtuition”, for the basis of that last turn of phrase.) Should I play with the joke that “it’s a small world after all”, or should I note soberly that we really are “one world”?

In the end, I picked the idea that says all of the above and more to me, the one that states the root of everything else I seek to believe and to do: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

But my mind branches out from there in many directions of discovery about myself, others, and the world. One of the most profound directions began (formally) when I signed up for Vicky Jo Varner’s Type Discovery course on 2009-03-16. What I allude to about psychological type is based on what I started learning there. In time I was able to extend another psychologist’s model of how personality type works onto a biblical foundation. Here is how my mind is meant to work as a Christian, with the Eternal God ruling it and the Ego (in effect, how the biblical “Spirit of Man” behaves) being subordinated to Him while being in very close touch with my inner Self.

The "Converted" ENFP Psyche (After Haas/Hunziker)

The “Converted” ENFP Psyche (After Haas/Hunziker)

I used to have discussions of my studies of this particular topic on this blog and on another which I took down. Perhaps, should my very limited time allow it, I can start such discussions again.(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Bible, Culture, Daily Life, Despair.com, Humor, Inspirational Posters, Internet, Personality Type, Psychology | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

TW COMMENTARY: A METAPHYSICAL RESEARCH PROGRAM?

Metaphysical Research Programs

Metaphysical Research Programs

2016-06-30 @ 10:45 CDT

This Commentary under my byline (real name, not pen name) may be found on the Tomorrow’s World Web site, and is a publication of the Living Church of God. – (יוחנן רכב)

Is the idea that the universe and everything in it—including life—came to be and then evolved by solely natural causes “just a theory”? Or is it something else entirely?

Sir Karl Popper (1902–1994) is regarded as one of the 20th century’s greatest philosophers of science. Few if any knew the implications of evolution better than he. His answer to the above questions is telling. He called evolution, taken in the broadest possible sense, a “metaphysical research program” (Werner Gitt, In the Beginning Was Information, chapter 6.4, paragraph 11). What did Popper mean?

If evolution, taken in that broad sense, were simply a physical research program, then it would limit itself to studying the physical origins and history of the universe and of life within it. Then evolution really would be “just a theory”—a scientific explanation of physical reality that could be tested and, should the physical facts demand it, disproved. But Popper called evolution a metaphysical research program—an attempt to address questions which actually are beyond the scope of natural science. Among those questions are: What is the origin of the universe? What is its first cause? What is the ultimate reason for the existence of the universe? Is its existence even necessary? If those questions sound familiar, they should. They are the same questions religious people ask, all around the world. These same questions are asked by scientists who believe in special creation and intelligent design, rather than in evolution.

(Read more…)

Categories: Bible, Church of God, Internet, Science, YouTube | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

HEADS OF MICE, OR TAILS OF A LION?

The Puzzle of Europe

The Puzzle of Europe

2016-05-27 @ 08:30 CDT

This blog is a stub – one meant to keep as a “ready reference” an interesting (if short) article on EurActiv.com. The article is entitled, “Conflict analyst: EU would have ‘second most powerful military on Earth'”. I can well believe it. So why not have it? I mean in Europe’s long-term, if totally carnal self-interest.

 Jesús Núñez (EFE) - c/o EurActiv.com

Jesús Núñez (EFE) – c/o EurActiv.com

The original article is in Spanish. Here is a quote from the English version:

The EU would have “the second most powerful military” in the world if its members pooled its resources, insisted the co-director of the Institute of Studies on Conflict and Humanitarian Action in an interview with EurActiv Spain.

“If we added the capabilities we have in the EU together, we would automatically become the second most powerful military force on Earth and the reason we aren’t is because there is no political will. This is because each national government would rather be the head of a mouse rather than the tail of a lion,” said Jesús Núñez, a conflict analyst.

According to Núñez, the EU has reached a point where it has to decide whether “to remain the eternal adolescent, going cap in hand to its parents, the US within the framework of NATO, at the weekend because it doesn’t want to fly the nest and be responsible for its actions” or finally become “master of its own destiny and focus on European defence”.

That is certainly the problem – no surprise really, given European history: “Each national government would rather be the head of a mouse rather than the tail of a lion.” But be careful what you wish for, Mr. Núñez – you might get it! Actually, “might” is too mild a word, because the need for a European military gets stronger every year, if not ever day. But history and biblical prophecy alike teach us a vital lesson: each time that lion arises, it’s trouble not just for Europe, but for everybody else within reach.

The biblical book of Revelation speaks of a time when, yet once more, the mice will get together to form a lion:

(Rev 17:12 RSV) And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast.
(Rev 17:13 RSV) These are of one mind and give over their power and authority to the beast…
(Rev 17:17 RSV) for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and giving over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

The Living Church of God publishes two booklets on the topic and related topics: Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled!, and The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor, or Soon-Coming Reality? – in addition to many broadcasts found on the Tomorrow’s World Web site. – (יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Bible, Church of God, Internet, World News | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

MEDITATING ON THE TETRAGRAMMATON (YHWH)

The Tetragrammaton (Psalms 96:10, Hebrew Masoretic Text)

The Tetragrammaton (Psalms 96:10, Hebrew Masoretic Text)

2016-02-07 @ 15:30 CST

In our common English Bible versions, in the “Old Testament” (and in translations of the Jewish Tanakh), we see very frequently “the LORD” (normally as “small caps”) as opposed to “the Lord”. “The Lord” most frequently represents the Hebrew Adonay (אדני), and sometimes Adon (אדן) or ha-Adon (האדן). But when we see “the LORD”, and also “GOD” as representing Elohim (אלהים), almost always the original Hebrew word actually is the famous “Tetragrammaton”: Yehawweh (יהוה). The Hebrew Masoretic reading tradition instructs the reader to substitute Adonay or Elohim for Yehawweh, and to avoid trying to pronounce the latter – and our common English versions reflect this instruction faithfully.

Yet the same reading tradition makes it possible to know, and to reconstruct correctly, the original pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. Its pronunciation was never lost – only kept hidden. Of course the original meaning was never lost either, as it is clearly translated in both Testaments (“the Eternal” is an effective one-phrase rendering).

I am jumping ahead of myself here in giving the pronunciation Yehawweh, because while the famous academic consensus, Yahweh, is valid biblical Hebrew, it is not correct biblical Hebrew – for reasons I shall explain. What I mean is while the ancient Hebrews could have used Yahweh, because it follows the rules of their language, the evidence is they actually did not use Yahweh – but used Yehawweh instead.

My first clue in unraveling the mystery came thanks to the work of the late Suzanne Haik-Vantoura (hereafter SHV), The Music of the Bible Revealed. The Hebrew Masoretic Text contains not only consonants, but vowel-points and melodic accents, which together preserve its “reading tradition”. “Letting the Bible interpret the Bible”, SHV not only deciphered the original melodic meaning of the accents, but inferred that the melodies they preserved were as old as the words and were created by the same authors. This means we must pay close attention to how (יהוה) is accented, for the accents – particularly in Psalms 96:10 – imply a specific number of syllables and what kinds of vowels should be used as well. Originally, (יהוה) had three syllables, not two, and also had a vowel pattern related to those of Adonay and Elohim which substitute for it (short-long-long). This rules out the academic inference Yahweh, and it also rules out any and all other inferences which refuse to take the Masoretic “reading tradition” as ancient and authoritative.

My second clue came thanks to an out-of-print book, 201 Hebrew Verbs (Barron’s Educational Services, Inc.), by the now-deceased Prof. Abraham S. Halkin. In his table of conjugations for the root *hayah, we find the following:

*Hayah in Modern Hebrew (c/o Abraham S. Halkin)

*Hayah in Modern Hebrew (c/o Abraham S. Halkin)

In two stems of the verb root, the masculine 3rd person singular gives us exactly the vowel pattern we need to be consistent with the accents. Which one should we choose: yehawweh (Pi`el stem) or yehuwweh (Pu`al stem)?

*Hayah - Pi`el and Pu`al forms (c/o Abraham S. Halkin)

*Hayah – Pi`el and Pu`al forms (c/o Abraham S. Halkin)

Pu`al is reflexive, and would make (יהוה) a created being. But (יהוה) is the uncreated Creator – so the intensive Pi`el is what we should accept. But I wondered if Prof. Halkin read rather too much into both verb stems. Surely it is the context, not the verb stem itself, which makes (יהוה) out to be the Eternal Creator God. Besides, it is freely acknowledged that the real root of (יהוה) is the older form *hawah. The conjugation of the Pi`el stem, were *hayah the actual root, would be notably different. It would have the letter yod, not the letter waw or vav, in the middle of any resulting verb form.

I learned this last fact much later from a book published by the same company, 501 Hebrew Roots by Shmuel Bolosky. The Pi`el stem of *hayah appears in Mishnaic Hebrew, and its masculine 3rd person singular would be yehayyeh, as given below. Prof. Bolosky notes its meaning as “bring into existence, produce”, which sheds light on why Prof. Halkin took yehawweh to mean “form, constitute”. But again, given the biblical context, surely God’s eternity is stated directly by the word, and only by context His capacity as Creator. Or is there something more than the verbal context that may be considered?

Yehayyeh - Mishnaic Hebrew (c/o Shmuel Bolosky)

Yehayyeh – Mishnaic Hebrew (c/o Shmuel Bolosky)

First, let us take (יהוה) as it appears in Psalm 96:10 – where the accentuation required is completely beyond dispute – and re-point it so that the word may be pronounced according to its original Pi`el stem:

Yehawweh - Pi`el Stem With Accents (Based on Psalms 96:10)

*Yehawweh – Pi`el Stem With Accents (Based on Psalms 96:10)

Some years ago, after I got this far in my research, I gave a presentation in London on SHV’s work. Before I spoke, Jill Purce, a specialist in the art form called “overtone chant”, demonstrated various applications of the art, including the series of vowels which alone give the entire ascending harmonic series in its results. Jill linked this series of vowels to Yahweh, which of course is the academic consensus. I explained to her, and to the rest of my audience, that Yahweh doesn’t have all the vowels required for what she did – but that Yehawweh does. In effect, Yehawweh is a transcription into Hebrew of a specific way of producing the harmonic series.

Another Jewish author and mathematician, Stan Tenan, showed me years ago a thesis: what scientists call the “Big Bang” may be described mathematically as an impulse generating the entire harmonic series (and, I presume long after the fact, the interactions of these waves). After hearing Jill’s presentation, I remembered what Stan told and showed me.

On the basis of all of the above, I submit that Yehawweh is the most “onomatopoeic” word known to man. Its sound represents the creation of all things by an Eternal Creator God, and thus who and what God fundamentally is.

But let us turn the question inside out. This multiple “coincidence” between sound, meaning, and location in Hebrew grammar, so far as I can see, could only happen if the root system of Hebrew – indeed, I suspect, of the whole Semitic language family – originally was constructed with the sound transcribed by Yehawweh as its ultimate basis. This means that Yehawweh – which, incidentally, would have been spelled Yehawwey (יהוי) in old Hebrew – is older, far older, than Hebrew itself. According to the Bible – by implication at least – it likely was the first or second word Adam heard from another. “Who are You?” was perhaps his first question to that Other. “(I am) Yehawweh” is the obvious answer. That name would have indicated to Adam its meaning by its very sound, whether or not Adam then had the capacity to understand its full implications.

The name Yehawweh, then, is itself positive evidence of His existence, eternal power, and Godhead. It points to who and what He is: the Eternal Creator God. His signature is written in mathematical and acoustical law, as it were. Yet so much more important to Him is the meaning of His name than the phonetics of His name that He hid the latter in plain sight from us in the Hebrew Masoretic Text – even while making sure the meaning of His name was never lost from view. – (יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Bible, Hebrew, Language, Music | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

HOLY QUOTES: GENESIS 1:1 (HEBREW-ENGLISH)

Genesis 1:1 (Hebrew-English)

Genesis 1:1 (Hebrew-English)

2015-12-18 @ 06:30 CST

This is my first experiment in making Biblical Hebrew-English graphics based on particular verses of the Bible (meaning both the original Hebrew Scriptures and the Hebrew New Testament version of Franz Delitzsch, translated from the Greek Received Text). The Hebrew texts are “fully pointed” – that is, they have the musical accents, the vowel-points, and the other signs required for a full understanding of the pronunciation and melodic rendition.

For that matter, if I wanted to I could do citations from the Greek Received Text, or perhaps even better, one of the critical editions of the Greek New Testament which seek to restore the original text (in its wording) as accurately as possible. It’s just that 1) I don’t know Greek all that well but do know Hebrew pretty well and 2) for me, Biblical Hebrew is a “personal cultural value”, in my Bible study at the very least. – (יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Bible, Hebrew, Holy Quotes, Language | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

“WE HAVE FORGOTTEN GOD”

2015-11-26 @ 12:30 PM CST

(This was written on 2015-11-17 and sent as a proposed LCG Commentary to my supervisors. As it has not been accepted there for publication, I will put forward the text here as my personal thoughts about Thanksgiving. The hymn-melody given above is not what I’m used to in connection with the lyrics – but it certainly is inspirational!)

Almost immediately after Halloween was over, the local grocery store—part of a major chain in the United States—took down its Halloween decorations and put up decorations for Christmas. Where pumpkins, witches and skeletons once stood, Santa Claus now towers over grocery shoppers. One sees the same in local shopping malls and on private property outdoors: Christmas decorations are already up—and it’s not even Thanksgiving Day yet.

The motive is obvious: to encourage shopping for the Christmas holiday season. “Black Friday”—the start of the Christmas retail drive—used to be the day after Thanksgiving Thursday. Now, it’s essentially whatever day in November on which a retailer can post a “pre-Black Friday sale”. And Thanksgiving Day? For many, it seems to have become “Turkey Day”—if not even less: “Football Day”.

What has happened to Thanksgiving Day in the American consciousness?

Our American Thanksgiving Day has deep roots, but we need go back no farther than the American Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation of Thanksgiving, made on October 3, 1863, called upon the American people to give thanks for God’s manifest blessings, given even in the midst of such a terrible conflict. Lincoln set the last Thursday of the following November for a national day of thanksgiving, and in time this day was made a national holiday.

But how many today remember an earlier proclamation by President Lincoln? His Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day, made on March 30, 1863, called on the nation to fast and pray, seeking repentance before God and God’s deliverance in response. Who now in high political office would dare say the following words to the American people, even in the name of what Thomas Jefferson called “Nature’s God”—let alone of the God of the Bible?

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!”

God heard the sincere prayers of the American people. President Lincoln acknowledged this when he proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving, six months later. The American people were grateful for God’s deliverance and blessings. Are we?

What was true for ancient Israel and Judah was true for the United States in Lincoln’s day, and is just as true for the United States and all the descendants of Israel and Judah now. It is just as true for any other nation which seeks to serve God in truth (Proverbs 14:34). As God said to King Solomon: “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).

Our free booklets, The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy, Who Controls the Weather?, and Twelve Keys to Answered Prayer, are just three we could recommend on this topic. Wherever you are in the world, be thankful at all times for God’s blessings and deliverance as you obey Him! – (יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Bible, Church of God, World News | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

MY LCG COMMENTARIES TO DATE

The Puzzle of Europe

The Puzzle of Europe

2015-11-18 @ 11:30 CST

Here is a list of all the Living Church of God (LCG) Commentaries, published under my byline, which I can find. More will be added as they are published. (The above graphic was published as the header of one of my Commentaries, “Watch Europe!” Its original source is unknown to me.)

Why the World Needs the Lamb of God

Has Science Made God Obsolete?

Our Values, God’s Values

Character and Personality

Tracking Cultural Trends

Religion and Society

Prediction Addiction

The World Next Door

Watch Europe!

Who Crucified Jesus?

Where’s Your Sense of Humor?

Why is America Losing Its Moral Compass?

A Metaphysical Research Program?

What’s It All For?

(יוחנן רכב)

Categories: Bible, Church of God | Tags: , | 3 Comments

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