Forum Posts

Steven Blonder
Oct 14, 2019
In Kabbalah
Follow-up Oracle of the Phoenix with the study of the Zohar (Splendor) as offered by scholar Daniel Matt who authors the Pritzker edition translation. Sign-up for classes and listen to the archives by checking out the facebook group Zohar Zoom at https://www.facebook.com/groups/382202722521430/
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Steven Blonder
Oct 23, 2018
In Religion
Question 1 - Hi- I finished reading your book. I don’t really get the message behind it, especially the pictures at the end. Do you mind walking me through? Hi there, I'm flattered you read the book. The story is my own journey from seeing the UFOs to trying to make sense of them and the unusual experiences surrounding the sighting. The "message" is that God exists (assuming the animal images in the landscape are "real", that our concept of Messiah is changing from the Pisces idea of the only son of God being sacrificed to absolve our sins to an Aguarian idea of all people being "children of God" who can tap into the inner higher self to heal themselves, find guidance and knowledge that is needed to live a good life for themselves and others. The sighting I use as a marker for this shift in Messianic concepts by bringing in the old prophesies for fulfillment by showing that they were written with many layers of meaning - including what I call a hyperliteral interpretation. Example - when Isaiah says in 11:7 that there will be peace when the lion lies with the lamb and the wolf, etc. the pictures of these same animals are embedded in the earth images that I perceive - knowing full well others may not see them because they are not wired like me (or cross-wired as the case me be). So therefore this narrative must ultimately be reduced to my own "personal myth" which may or may not be embraced by others to create a more widely shared "collective myth". I've brought in controversial material that seeks to reframe Christianity as no longer a religion of sacrifice (Pisces) by using channeled material to show he did not die on the cross and to correlate his water based "miracles" to be sourced from the age of Pisces which will now give way to Aquarian mythology related to the qualities of that sign such as space, sky, brotherhood, etc. that will create a new myth which may or may not have a religious framework. The messages for the fundamentalist religions is that our theologies/civilizations split off so we can come back together - keeping our traditions but losing the idea of one religion being the best or only true representation of God's will. To that end, I show that the Christian concept of Jesus has been distorted, that the Jewish Messiah to come has already shown up in the guise of Cyrus (God's only anointed messiah in the Tanakh) and that his image as a king on a throne (we can project ourselves into the role of king) is one of the key images shown in the landscape within God's "Temple". I emphasize Cyrus because if you look at the Jewish bible called the Tanakh - the last book is Chronicles II. The last verse is "Thus said Cyrus king of Persia: Hashem, God of Heaven, has given to me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has commanded me to build Him a Temple in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is there a among you of His entire people -- May Hashem His God be with him, and let him go up!" Most people would read this as Cyrus saying this while the Jews were captive in Babylonia and refer to Cyrus' freeing them so they could build the second temple in Jerusalem. I read this as him talking about a New Jerusalem which correlates with the "Tabernacle" that holds the images I show - which by the way are the same images present in describing the Cherubim that guards the Ark of the Testament - and is present in Ezekiel's visions which also involve UFO types of imaging. These animals also represent the astrological fixed cross - Taurus (the Ox/Bull, Scorpio (The higher form of the Eagle), Leo (the Lion) and Aquarius (the human child). All of these images are better viewed on the home page of my website www.oracleofthephoenix.com They are labeled in a very light blue so it is easier to see them on the map. My recent work has been around digging further into why these images? What do they represent and why are they used? One hypothesis is that they represent our own inner alignment - making peace within ourselves. One idea is that the fixed cross correlates with our 5 senses: Sight, Touch, Taste, Smell and Hear. We could assign Sight to the Eagle, Touch to the Human, Taste to the Lion (Leo is all about taste:-) and Smell to the Ox/Bull as they are known for their nasal qualities and Hear to our new age in that Sound is made of waves and the Aquarian symbol shows the Human pouring the waters or Aether (as a fifth element) out of a jar into the waves with the starlit background. There is also a relationship in that Taurus represents the 1st sign of Earth, Eagle, 2nd sign of Water or Emotion, Leo 2nd sign of Fire representing Spirit and Aquarius the 3rd sign of Air - the mind. All these elements need to be aligned for inner peace to occur. They also correlate with 4 Worlds of Kabbalah - Aziluth - Fire/Spirit, Emanation, Briah - Air/Mental, Creation, Yetzirah - Water/Emotions, Formation and Assiyah - Earth, Senses, Action. There are references in The Book of Revelation that speak to the stars falling to the earth as well as other images that can be interpreted as being related to the images in the landscape - even the idea of Jesus coming from the clouds (our own vision of the area from the satellite) to reflect the new concept of Jesus (or the Christ Consciousness) being within us. In addition the Fixed signs themselves point to something being "fixed" in consciousness while the Cardinal signs are "initiatory" and the Cadent signs are "dissolving" so we have an alchemical process happening here (within and without) where the fixed signs act as a force of coalescence. To wrap up, given all of these dramatic shifts in religious sensibilities, I've introduced the Kabbalah and its Tree of Life symbol as a way to navigate an Institution lessening of the hold on the masses so that a roadmap can be used to construct new common sense ethics for a community that is grounded in a new understanding of "God's Presence" in our reality. This Presence opens the door to exploring our foundation concepts in just about everything beginning with Evolutionary theory and how it just doesn't work the way scientists commonly look at it. It also opens us up to a multi-dimensional physics that changes our orientation from a Cartesian scientism to a more balanced - wholistic perception of our realities. I close with the Book of Job to show that we have all been tested and "used" by "God" so he could better incarnate into us. Jung's Answer to Job would be a good follow-up to my book. See the forum on my Website for more ideas and information. I hope this helps. Steve
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Steven Blonder
Oct 17, 2018
In Kabbalah
Asher Crispe teaches how Science (especially quantum theory) correlates with a Kabbalistic framework. https://www.chabad.org/multimedia/media_cdo/aid/912082/jewish/Unified-Field-Theory.htm
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Steven Blonder
Aug 13, 2018
In Religion
I've been in discussions regarding the authenticity of the Torah which is questioned due to the late date of the conventional text today - the Masoretic text. Since Oracle of the Phoenix is concerned mainly with the Isaiah prophesies I think it prudent to include the translation of the Great Scroll of Isaiah found in the Qumran cave dated to 1 B.C. Here is a side-by-side English translation showing the Dead Sea Scroll version against the JPS version which many Bibles use for their translation. There are subtle differences in the text but one interesting thing is that the older version uses the term oracles instead of prophesies. There is also an interesting correspondence with Phoenix in the Egypt section (19:18) which wikipedia comments on here: " In that day five cities in the land of Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear by the Lord of hosts: one will be called the City of Destruction.[9] Some Hebrew manuscripts, the Arabic text, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Targum, and Vulgate refer to the Sun, while the Septuagint reads Asedek (literally Righteousness). The name "City of the Sun" is used in the Revised Standard Version and New International Version. John Wycliffe used the Greek name Heliopolis.[10] As many know - Phoenix is known as the Valley of the Sun. Coincidence? It may seem like I'm force-fitting biblical references to support my book narrative. This could very well be but I think it's worth pointing out but the main thing is to use the oldest text of Isaiah to analyse the prophesies or oracles that point to the visionary encounter the book speaks to.
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Steven Blonder
Aug 05, 2018
In Kabbalah
See this video for a discussion regarding how Astrology and Reincarnation are viewed by those who have studied this topic seriously form the Rabbis and the Texts.
What Kabbalah and Judaism has to say about Astrology content media
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Steven Blonder
Jul 28, 2018
In Future Book Edits
I wrote the following in the Tree of Life chapter: Since Yesod is on the middle pillar between Hod and Netzach and rules sex and reproduction, it behooves us to contemplate the Leviticus laws beyond their assumed meaning. Again we are faced with the potential displacement of spiritual guidance with overly obsessive laws concerning purity. Case in point is the Leviticus law prohibiting a man lying with another man as he lies with a woman. If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20: 13, KJV The interesting thing about this verse is that the word “mankind” is translated from the Hebrew word zakar, z (zayin), k (kaf), r (resh). There are only three other instances of this word in the biblical texts. One is a reiteration of the first and the other two are in the New Testament. If a seldom used word appears in a verse that is as widely quoted as this one, I take note: this is important. The Hebrew word for womankind is Isha, which is the common word for women. Zakar, on the other hand, is only used in this singular context and in the repetitions in similar verses. Since this is a special occurrence, a deconstruction of the word itself can provide clues to the intent being communicated by looking at the meaning of each letter. The first letter in zakar is zayin, which Yitzchak Ginsburgh defines as meaning “a woman of valor”, which seems odd to begin a word denoting mankind. Ginsburgh says “‘The Shabbat Queen’ who, in general, signifies woman in relation to man-- ‘the woman of valor is the crown of her husband’-- has the power to reveal in her husband his own superconscious crown, the experience of serene pleasure and sublime will innate in the day of Shabbat.” The next letter, kaf, means the crown: the power to actualize potential. This represents the crown Sefirah of Keter as it sits at the top of the Tree of Life, waiting for consciousness to rise up to its highest position. The word kipah begins with the kaf and expresses the notion of God’s palm on the top of one’s head (yarmulke). The final letter, resh, means process: the art of clarification which is hopefully gained by a letter-by-letter analysis. Resh also means head, as well as the beginning of wisdom. That meaning also hints at the second Sefirah of Chokhmah, which also sits high up in the Tree of Life. The woman of “valor” can be viewed as our own inner bride that has been pushed deep into the subconscious through several thousand years of dominant patriarchal culture. Since she is subconscious – at least for most males – the natural impulse is to project her “separateness” onto willing or unwilling partners we engage with in the World of Assiah or Action. Thus, Leviticus’ meticulous prohibition against “laying” with a laundry list of prohibited companions serves less as a warning and may be perceived as more of a directive for males to reclaim the disowned female qualities within. St. Paul reiterated the law in his writings but he used an entirely different word that contained the Greek prefix “arsen.” This word connotates “fire” as associated with the inner serpent called the Kundalini – liquid fire – found in eastern religions. This is the same substance called the Holy Breath – the Ruach (spirit) called Shekinah in Hebrew, which is the feminine aspect of God. The word is also tied to extreme male domination. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- When and if I am able to submit an edit for this section, the first correction I would make is concerning the word Zakar. At the time I did the search, I only found it in the few passages I referenced. With today's new Bible Concordance software - it makes it much easier to scour the books to find find any other instances. I went ahead and checked on it again and to much embarrassment, I found 58 occurrences. It is interesting to me that it is first referenced in Genesis 1:27 Here you can see that man is associated to Adam who was created as Them - male (Zakar) and female (Onekeba). In Genesis 5:2 they - the male and female will be called Adam or Man. Genesis 6:9 talks about the two-ness of everything (male and female) that should reside in the Ark. The Noah narrative continues with the same references to male and female and then we switch gears in Genesis 17:10. Now Abraham comes in the picture along with God's covenant which now requires that males be circumcised. The word of for circumcision is a variation of the word Moyal (which is what a rabbi who performs this in modern times). The word for foreskin is araletchem or variations. The appearance of this word also occurs in Deuteronomy 10:16 where it refers to a circumcision of the foreskin of the heart. This could have led to Paul's departure from conventional notions concerning circumcision of the foreskin of the penis (there is no clarification of where the circumcision was to take place or what foreskin was referred to. This verse does not reference males or females. There are a couple of different words translated to stiff-necked people however, probably in the context of hardened hearts which is our clue here that what's being talked about is a method to soften one's heart which means to me - a development of the female trait of compassion. But, there is also a Kabbalistic interpretation in that the foreskin is referencing the sefirah of Yesod which together with Malchut represent the sacred phallic. The circumcision is the removal of the impurity that would prevent a "clean" connection with the sefirah above Yesod - Tiferet which represents the heart. So now we are talking about a spiritual oneness that the Torah promotes and the actualization of it that Paul promotes as the "heart" he references is likely the same sefirah Tiferent but approaching it from the top down. Whereas the Torah moves from sexual lust up to love, Paul seeks to move from the harsh judgement of Gevurah/Din - down to Tiferet. The foreskin acts as a dividing force preventing these unions and must be sacrificed to overcome/rise above the binary relationships preventing the unions. Based on the lack of normalization of the word for foreskin, I think it is safe to say that the word could be interpreted in different ways depending on the context and even with that, there is always room for re-interpretation as I've suggested above. Back to Zakar, we visit this word again in Leviticus. This where we see Zakar being paired - not with Female but with Woman or Wife - depending on how it's translated. Prior to Leviticus 18:22 where this occurs, Zakar is used alone in verses concerning purity - around sacrifices and the priesthood. In 18:22 it translates Zakar to mankind where everywhere else we've seen it as male. Then we have womankind coming from the work Isha which means Woman or Wife. There is nothing about a male lying with another male in this verse - that comes in 20:13. Adding more confusion around all this we now have a man in Hebrew -v' ish which is the common name for man when talking about mankind, is paired off with Zakar who here is translated as mankind which we've already substantiated really means male, who are then compared as to lying with a woman (Isha). So we don't have a man lying with a man nor a male lying with a male we have a man lying with a male. The first instance of the word v'ish (with man) occurs in Genesis 19:31.It occurs in a strange story of Lot's daughters complaining that there is no man on earth who can come into the them in the manner of earth's (nature?). They devise a plan to get their father drunk on successive nights where each daughter takes a turn sleeping with him so they can get pregnant. This begs the question as to why there we no earth men available to sleep with? We know these were the times of Sodom and Gomorrah of which we are told there were men of evil. We know sodomy is derived from this story. But who were these people? One Rabbi speculates that there were aliens and hybrids running around at the time who were known as the Nephilim. In any event this usage of Ish continues in ways that infer evil or taintedness and is the word used in the purity laws of Leviticus and the Exodus massacres we come upon later. I think we can draw from this that the reading of Leviticus 20:13 is filled with nuance that cannot be simply translated as a prohibition against homosexuality. We can deduce much from the absence of the word female. If we were talking strictly in sexual terms why we would not pair the word male with the word female? The first use of the word Isha (woman) occurs in Genesis 2:23. It is where the bone from Adam is taken to create a woman. This is why the word is interchangeably used as wife. So now we an interesting conundrum - If Adam consists of male and female and here the division takes place, what are we to make of the later prohibitions in Leviticus? Why not say Adam shouldn't lay with Adam like Adam lies with Eve? This would be pretty clear as to what's going on. No, it seems we have an evil inclination or intent in play with ish in relationship to a male but it even gets a bit weirder as we continue to deconstruct the verse. Let's review where we're at up to now: If a man with un-pure intent, lies with a male ... the next word is mishkebay which is translated here as "as those who lie". The only other appearance (yes I checked) other than Leviticus 18:22 above is found in Genesis 49:4 where it is translated as "from the bed" as in "you went up from the bed of your father and then you defiled it". Let's fill that in to Lev 20:13 - If a man with un-pure intent lies with a male from the bed of a woman then we have an abomination... So more confusion - are we talking about an un-pure man trying to get a threesome going? Or, perhaps this is about having a male pretending to be a wife or a woman? Or is this about keeping the un-pure man out of bed - period? Or is this about protecting an innocent since Zakar is first used in Genesis as having been created by God to pair with the female to become the Adam? Or finally, is this about anything to have to with an external expression of what might strictly be an internal psychological reality. After all - to this point there has been no proof of the battles of Joshua where the multitudes of Ish were supposedly slaughtered. Perhaps the whole debate is an internal meditation on the warring factions of ourselves as found in other stories such as the Bhagavad Gita. For now, I'll stand by the analysis I put into the book that we are looking at a more Jungian type of psychological projection issue. The word Zakar does relate to more female characteristics that are most likely suppressed and projected outwards where men of un-pure intent can take advantage of this shadow expression which in the extreme shows up in rape. The integration of the male and female qualities is important to Tikkun Olam as I understand it today. How that is expressed between consenting adults is not for me or anyone imo to say. I will add another addendum in that I think there is a possibility that underlying the prohibition of what appears to be homosexuality is an amplification of the original sin of eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil - Daat - which promises to make one like Gods but also to become mortal and truly die. I read this as being thrown into the Binary experience (even God appears to us as binary in his mercy vs. judgment ways). In Leviticus we are told the binary experience of homosexuality will also result in death speaks to limitations of the binary position in and of itself imo. Death itself is presented as binary even though the presence of an afterlife would void the duality). Rather than speak of the act as an abomination, it would be more accurate to speak of it as queerness without all the political correctness used to normalize the term. Queer Theory put sex and gender across spectrums where the binary view, characteristic of a closed system, gives way to the open system of Queer Theory.
Leviticus and Zakar content media
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Steven Blonder
Jul 22, 2018
In Religion
Alan F. Segal wrote a book titled "Paul The Convert: The Apostolate and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee" which solidly puts Paul into the context of a first century stream of Merkabah Mysticism. This was operational within the prophetic streams of Judaism - especially Ezekiel 1 which is likened to both Luke's and Paul's own description of Kavod or Glory coming from the light Paul encounters with all the images explored in the Oracle of the Phoenix, such as the Cherubim, throne, etc. Beyond the 2nd chapter of Segal's book, I'm also attaching a review of its entirety by Cary C. Newman of Baylor University Press.
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Steven Blonder
Jul 22, 2018
In Religion
This is a very good article that lays out the background on the split between Judaism and Christianity. The author is a leader in the Anglican Ministry and thus ends his essay with a Christian's choice of how to resolve the issues presented. I think those choices are not clear-cut in that the idea of Redemption or the Messianic concept seems to have different meanings for all religions. For one religion to impose its concept on another is, I believe, an exercise of triumphalism. "So how does Christian theology deal with Judaism? In very broad terms, Christians have responded in four different ways: 1. To assert, there is no salvation apart from personal faith in Christ, and every person must declare a personal faith allegiance in Jesus the Messiah, with no exception for Jews. 2. God has two covenants with humankind in parallel operation, one for Jews and another for the Gentiles. Such views can range from: the idea that Jesus was/ is the only Messiah, but Jews who don’t recognize the fact may still be redeemed by observance of the Abrahamic covenant, through to the view that there is one Messiah for the Jews, and another for Gentiles - Jesus . 3. There is only one covenant, but two expressions – Jewish and Christian, and ultimately Jesus will be seen by all to be the one Messiah of God. 4. Christianity has got its Christology wrong. Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah, and his later followers - especially Paul – wrongly bequeathed that title upon him posthumously." Christology, Messianism and Jewish-Christian Relations June 1, 2009 by Tim Dean Christology, Messianism and Jewish-Christian relations by Tim Dean 📷For Christians down the ages, the foundational Christological idea that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah has determined the Church’s attitudes to Judaism and Jews. Jewish expectation of the coming of the Messiah proceeds unabated since the birth of Christianity. In Jewish prayer books and recited regularly in Synagogue services is Maimonides’ affirmation: ‘I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah, and, though he tarry, I wait daily for his coming.’ This essay seeks to explore one key question: How can Christians understand the persistence of Judaism and acknowledge the faithfulness to God of many Jews over the last two millennia, who nevertheless cannot accept Jesus as Messiah? This is no abstract theoretical question, but a personal pilgrimage – a lived out quest for appropriate Christian-Jewish relations that respects the integrity of both faiths. Jewish Christology Is there such a thing as Jewish Christology? ‘Yes’, in that Judaism does engage in questioning the nature and role of Jesus, and ‘no’, because Judaism will never use the term Christ, as it would be seen as affirming Jesus as Messiah. So how do Jews understand ‘messiah’ and view Jesus? According to Louis Jacobs, ‘messiah’ in Hebrew Scriptures refers to anyone ‘actually anointed with sacred oil for the purpose of high office, such as the king or high priest. The term is also applied to any person for whom God has a special purpose: Cyrus, king of Persia, for instance.’ Biblical antecedents led to the development of the doctrine of the Messiah, as ‘the person believed to be sent by God to usher in a new era in which all mankind will worship the true God’[Jacobs 1995:342] With other Rabbinical scholars, he insists the doctrine of Messiah firmly denotes a this-worldly aspect of Jewish eschatology. Thus Jewish traditions are clear in their expectations of a personal Messiah: He will bring an end to oppression, gather in the Jewish exiles, rebuild the Temple, end war, and introduce a golden age of universal peace. He will be a wise leader from King David’s royal household, a leader of the redeemed people, not the Redeemer – who is God alone. He will bring about the resurrection of the dead. Crucially for a Jewish evaluation of Jesus, the Messiah is not God. As Cohn-Sherbock puts it, Although the Messiah was now viewed as an ideal human person who would rescue the nation, there was no expectation that he would be divine.’ [Cohn-Sherbock 2004:20]. Indeed, Jews hold that it is impossible for God to become human. The Messiah cannot forgive sins, that is God’s prerogative. David Rosen adds ‘the condition of one’s personal soul has nothing to do with the identity of the Messiah, but is a matter between the individual and God.’ [Kendal & Rosen:46] In addition, Cohn-Sherbock notes that today, belief in the coming of a personal messiah has dwindled, with some non-Orthodox movements translating ‘belief in the Messiah into a belief in a Messianic period’. [Cohn-Sherbock 2004:20] Secular Zionism adopted elements in the Messianic tradition which were hospitable to their effort to restore the Jews to their ancient land. Later Religious Zionists, hold that while the establishment of the State of Israel cannot be identified with the Messianic hope, it is to be seen as the beginning of the redemption. (Jacobs:343) Rejection of Jesus as Messiah, has been interpreted by some Christians as being a perverse, deliberate and malignant denial of the obvious. But in the light of this brief survey of Jewish messianic reasoning, Christians should at least acknowledge the truth of Martin Buber’s comment, ‘We, Israel, are not able to believe this.’ Why? Because messianic redemption is about a total, irreversible redemption of this world, once and for all. This is expanded upon by Schalom Ben-Chorin, ‘The concept of the redeemed soul in the midst of an unredeemed world is alien to the Jew, profoundly alien ... This is the innermost reason for Israel’s rejection of Jesus, not a merely external, merely national conception of messianism. In Jewish eyes, redemption means redemption from all evil.’ [Moltmann 1994:120] So a ‘Jewish Christology’ finds no ‘Christ’ in Jesus. The Christian response is to argue that Jesus’ messiahship was in an unexpected form as far as contemporary Jewish understanding was concerned. The particular form it took was consistent with the Hebrew scriptures, albeit based on a different interpretation of the texts. Anti-Judaism The Jewish inability to accept Jesus as Messiah, led to theological formulations within Christianity which developed into a profound anti-Judaism: that the Christian church has ‘superseded’ Judaism, thereby rendering it redundant in offering any hope of ‘salvation’ to Jews outside faith in Christ. As Reuther observes: Anti-Judaism was the negative side of the Christian affirmation that Jesus was the Christ. ... But since the Jewish religious leaders rejected this claim, the church developed a polemic against the Jews and Judaism to explain how the church could claim to be the fulfillment of a Jewish religious tradition when the Jewish religious teachers themselves denied this.’ [Reuther 1981:31] It is important to make a distinction between anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism, though a clear distinction is not always possible. Anti-Judaism includes the negative stereotyping of Jewish religious faith, expressed in the idea of supersessionism. It is based exclusively on theological grounds. However, that religious idea took on political dimensions with the rise of Christendom when the church’s power extended to civil regulation. Arguably, it is the latter phenomenon, which helped breed anti-Semitism – an ideology of hatred of the Jewish people as an ethnic group, whose very biological make-up is seen as evil. It can also carry a ‘Christian’ motif ‘thinking of Jews today as responsible for the death of Jesus, transforming the execution of Jesus into a metaphysical act of deicide for which Jews are culpable’. [UCC:75] Without any intention of mitigating the offence of anti-Judaism, it also needs to be marked that the antipathy of each of the two faiths has been mutual. Jewish ‘anti-Christianity’ also existed at the time of Paul and the early Church, and in later Jewish writings. But the crucial difference is in the relative power relationships between the two. When Paul was writing, the Church was in an inferior power-relation to the dominant Jewish faith; but at least from the fourth century through to the present day, the position has been reversed with Christianity dominant in relation to Judaism and exerting considerable political and social influence over Jews. Paul No consideration of the relationship between Christianity and Judaism can take place without considering the influence of Paul, especially his letter to the Romans. For insight into Paul’s understanding of the issues, I am focusing on Tom Wright’s commentary for these reasons: this is a substantial contemporary work on Romans fully cognizant of the Holocaust and Christian anti-Judaism;in common with many scholars since FC Baur in 1836, Wright puts chapters 9-11 at the center of Paul’s theological treatise; and because Wright does not accept the understanding of the issue offered at this essay’s conclusion - though, arguably, his framework of understanding should allow it. Wright is cautious about anyone claiming to have fully understood the complex thought of Romans. He is passionately trying to understand Paul’s thinking within his time and context, warning that Paul is not writing to our contemporary agendas about how all religions are basically the same, nor how the one God has made two equally valid covenants, one with Jews and the other with Christians. (Wright 2002:621) Paul’s fundamental insights here, which have earned him much criticism from his fellow Jews from that day to this, are [1] to uncouple the Mosaic law from the Abrahamic covenant and thus [2] to regard the Abrahamic covenant as fulfilled ‘apart from the law’ (3:21); [3] to see the Torah as applying to Jews only, and hence not being relevant to the eschatological period when the Gentiles were coming in to God’s people; [4] to see the Torah as intensifying the problems of Adam’s sin for those who were ‘under the Torah’, and thus as something from which its adherents needed to be freed; and [5] to claim, nevertheless, that the Torah had been given by God, had performed the paradoxical tasks assigned to it, and now strangely fulfilled in the creation of the new people of God in Christ and by the Spirit. [Wright 2002:402] Romans offers no other conclusion than Paul’s firm belief that Jesus was the Messiah for Jews, as well the Gentiles. Paul could not have conceived of there being two parallel covenants in operation, one for Jews, and one for the rest. ‘Any suggestion that Paul would have encountered a split, a twin-track salvation-history, in which Jews should remain Jews and Gentiles might become Christians is without the slightest foundation in his thought or writings.’ True, and Wright also observes ‘There is no easy answer to the large-scale question underneath this discussion. If there were, Paul would have given it.’ [Wright 2002: 451/2] However, it should be noted that Paul has genuine concern for his own people, and will have no thought that God has abandoned Jews, or his covenant with them. ‘All Israel will be saved.’ (Rom 11:26) In Paul’s day, there were unresolved issues within the Christian community, crucially the question of their identity as a Jewish, or non-Jewish, entity. All the early leaders and followers of this ‘Jesus movement’ were Jews who still attended synagogue. So were they a movement within Judaism or quite separate, and if the latter would there be a continuing Judaism quite separate from the growing Christian movement? Significantly, no-where in Romans does Paul call for the evangelisation of Jews. Indeed, much of his argument seems to be exhorting Gentile Christians in Rome not to abandon Jews, and to recognise them as the covenant people of God. ‘Has God rejected his people? By no means!’ (Rom 11:1) So why doesn’t Paul call for Jewish evangelisation? Wright offers four possible explanations. First, there is a danger that Gentile Christians in Rome will assume that God has rejected Jews for good. Secondly, Rome had a long tradition of anti-Jewish sentiment. Thirdly, after Claudius’s death in 54CE thousands of Jews returned to the capital, and so it would be easy for the small young church to feel threatened and regard them as the enemy. Finally, by the late 50s there was increasing tension in Judaea and Galilee, and Rome seemed to want to provoke a Jewish rebellion. So Gentile Christians in Rome, would be eager to distance themselves from any sense of complicity with the impending revolt. [Wright 2002:623] Given the common understanding that Christ’s second coming was not far off, it was impossible for Paul to conceive that Judaism would be flourishing two millennia later. I have no doubt that Paul thought it essential that Jews accept Jesus was their Messiah, and expected that Jews would eventually follow suit. It is also evident that Paul thought his argument in Romans 11 would be effective: that Jews would be jealous when they saw God’s blessings within the Gentile community, and as a consequence be won over.He could not possibly have conceived that Christians would persecute Jews at various times and places throughout subsequent millennia. Thus giving Jews every reason to find the notion of their proposed jealousy utterly ludicrous - and also giving them good reason to see in the unrighteous behavior of the Church an emptiness in the claim that Jesus is the Messiah. Judaism, Christianity and liberation Alongside the sometimes adverse nature of Christian-Jewish relations, there have been times and places down the ages characterised by good relations. Since the Holocaust, there have been fresh Jewish-Christian dialogues which have led to renewed interest in the ‘historical Jesus’, and a re-examination of ‘Christology from below’. However, within the Jewish community, opinions about Jesus range from those who deny his very existence through to those who accept some of the narrative history of Jesus’ life in the Gospels. And given the horrors of the Nazi era alone, it should not surprise anyone that among Jews, the fear exists that to acknowledge in any way ‘that Jesus has something of value to say to Jews, is to open the door to apostasy to a religion which Jews have given up their lives rather than embrace.’ [Jacobs:284] Two dimensions of the renewed interest in Christian-Jewish dialogue will be mentioned here: Liberation Theology, and the Jewish faith of Jesus. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, some Jewish scholars began to articulate liberation theologies, openly building on the work of the Christian liberation theologians. Five books encapsulated the debate. The Jewish proponents were Dan Cohn-Sherbock (1987), and Marc Ellis (1987 & 1989).Those writings were followed by a collection of essays from Jews and Christians, edited by Otto Maduro (1991), plus a review of all the volumes by Cohn-Sherbock (1992). The rich vein of common ground discovered by these Jewish authors was based on the liberationist’s emphasis on a ‘Christology from below’. These authors were able to acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth as one who stood fully in the prophetic tradition of the Hebrew scriptures: someone who acted out of the righteous tradition of the Law and the Prophets in advocating the rights of the poor, marginalised and oppressed; someone who saw this as inextricably bound up with the faithful worship of God over and against the empty behaviour, rituals and worship of some religious leaders. The attraction of Boff, Gutierrez and Sobrino, et al, is that ‘unlike theologians of the past, liberation theologians are not concerned to analyse Jesus’ dual nature as God and man; abstract speculation about the central issue of traditional theology have been set aside. Instead, liberation theology focuses on the historical Jesus ... What is of crucial significance for Jewish-Christian dialogue is the primary emphasis on understanding Jesus as a first century Jew.’ [Cohn-Sherbock 1992: 9] Cohn-Sherbock recognises at the heart of Christian liberation theology there is a vision of Jesus as a prophet of Israel, calling the people back to the true worship of God. He therefore argues that Jews should not see Jesus’ departure from Jewish law as co-terminus with a rejection of Judaism, but rather as:... a critique of religious corruption and moral stagnation. In his confrontation with the leaders of the nation, Jesus echoed the words of the prophets by denouncing hypocrisy and injustice. The love of wealth and the exploitation of the poor, he contended, made it impossible to establish a proper relationship with God. ... As a prophetic figure Jesus should be recognizable to all Jews; like the prophets, he emphasized that loving-kindness is at the heart of the Jewish faith. Jesus’ words thus recalled such figures as Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Jeremiah; he stood firmly in the Jewish tradition. [Cohn-Sherbock 1992:38] In the Christology from above and below debate, orthodox Christian belief sees them as two sides of the same coin. Wolfhart Pannenburg argues that: Jesus cannot be properly understood in isolation from this relationship. Consequently, a Christology from below that concentrates solely on the historical Jesus is inadequate. However, a Christology from above that begins with the pre-existent Logos or divine Son, without demonstrating how a firm basis for acknowledging the divinity of the Son can be found in the mission and vocation of Jesus, is also inadequate. [Greene:311/2] Pannenburg also observes that there is a danger in a ‘from above’ approach to Christology in that it ‘tends to overlook the historical particularity of the man Jesus, his relationship to the God whose kingdom he proclaimed and his setting within the Judaism of his time.’ [Greene:18] The problem is one of emphasis. Where Christian engagement with Judaism is concerned, I believe relationships have been impaired precisely because the Church at times over-emphasized a Christology ‘from above’ in thought, worship and practice. In this light it’s significant that Jewish engagement with liberation theology has welcomed its emphasis on Christology from below. For it focuses on the ‘this-worldly’ activity of Jesus in the prophetic tradition, with his liberating emphasis on justice and freedom from oppression being at the heart of the Law. Albrecht Ritschl’s concept of Christology as ‘from below to above’ is a corrective to much Christian thought and practice. We must surely understand Jesus in the manner of God’s revelation to humankind in history – engaging first with Jesus’ Jewish humanity, and seeing in that historic person the expression of deity and God’s commitment to all humankind. A too exclusive focus on Christology from above has created an over-emphasis on the transcendental nature of Christianity - the supernatural at the expense of the natural - which becomes expressed in Christian sacramentalist rituals that disembody Jesus of Nazareth from ‘Christ’. Thus, it loses the dynamic ‘Jewishness’ of Jesus, his understanding of God revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures, and Jesus’ commitment to the Torah and Prophets. It further divides the Christian community from its Jewish heritage. As Colin Greene observes: A Christ who is emptied of Jesus of Nazareth and becomes a supernatural deityother becomes not only removed from the stuff of life with its urgent concerns for just and moral behaviour, but it also becomes removed from Jesus the Jew whose ‘Christ-ness’ is dislocated from the very religiouscultural world which informs and explains the notion of ‘Messiah’. [Greene:19] When such a ‘disembodied Christ’ comes to ascendancy in the Church, it has reinforced one of the long held Jewish objections to Christian life and practice. Rightly so. Cohn-Sherbock reiterates that Jewish objection:... the fervent Jewish expectation of a total transformation of the world was replaced by a spiritualized and individualized hope for immortal, celestial life. The reign of God ... appeared as a heavenly promise that offered salvation for the individual. Within this framework, the temporal world was understood as having only preparatory value. (...) This concept of an internalized and spiritualised Kingdom of God has worked throughout history as a deterrent for Christian action. [Cohn-Sherbock 1992:15/16] Looking afresh at the historical Jesus, can lead to a renewed understanding of the Jewish faith of Jesus, and his relations with Jewish religious authorities. One of the issues identified as needing revision by Cohn-Sherbock, Reuther, Rosen, et al, is Christian attitudes to Pharisees. This is important for two reasons: because Jesus’ denunciations of some Pharisees are used by some Christian in their claim that God sent Jesus as Messiah because of Jewish religious failure; and because the Pharisees are the predecessors of today’s Rabbinic Judaism. Part of the issue is the extent to which people want to argue that Jesus’ attacks on Pharisees were either: 1] specific charges brought against specific individuals, specific leaders collectively, at a particular place and point in time; or 2] a thorough denunciation of all Pharisees, their institutions and everything they ever stood for. Within Jewish-Christian relations, the question of the Pharisees can tend to polarize - with Christians who hold to the second viewpoint being met by an equally untenable view that the Gospel writers accounts of Pharisees cannot possibly be true. Support for the first interpretation comes from Matthew in what is seen to be the most virulent attack on Pharisees by Jesus – the ‘seven woes’ in chapter 23. As Luz points out, these are qualified by verse 2 where Jesus says ‘the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they preach.’ (NRSV) Matthew consistently lays stress on their (Pharisees) practices rather than their doctrines. ... their words fail to match their deeds. That the disciples must ‘do everything they tell you’ (23:2) is, of course, hyperbole that, rhetorically, reaffirms the main thrust of Matthew’s Gospel, the emphasis of practice over theory. [Luz 1995:122] Some Jewish scholars are quite prepared to recognize that the Pharisees Jesus addressed were either as corrupt or hypocritical as Jesus described, or were at least capable of being so. David Rosen sees a very important distinction between those Pharisees Jesus is recorded as addressing and Pharisees as they are to be truly understood (Kendall & Rosen 2006:3), and the Jewish scholars engaged in dialogue on Liberation Theology have no difficulty in acknowledging corruption in the Jewish leadership which Jesus confronted. It is also true to assert as Jacobs does that ‘Christianity itself owes much to the Pharisaic background of Jesus – the Christian doctrine of the Hereafter and the resurrection of the dead, for instance.’ [Jacobs:376] Reuther argues that Pharisees such as Hillel ‘were making some of the same interpretations of the law as Jesus did’. [Reuther 1981:37] More than that the Church must not lose sight of Jesus’ total commitment to the Jewish faith and its heritage. So when Jesus attacked money-changers in the Temple, it was not an attack on the Temple itself, or the Hebrew faith, rather an attack on corruption and an affirmation of the sanctity and significance of the Temple. Christianity must also affirm that it is Jewish. Not in the sense that any branch of Judaism wants to claim Christianity as its own. Rather, that Christianity is formed of Jewish faith and culture, gets its paramount theme, ‘messiah’ from it (without which, by definition, Christianity cannot be understood). Patronising generosity As David Goldberg has observed, ‘Monotheism, by definition is triumphalist. Judaism says we are the Chosen People. Christianity asserts that there is no salvation out side the Church. Islam says there is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is the last and greatest of all the prophets.’ [1] Within those triumphalist affirmations, which appear to assert each faith’s exclusive hold of the overall meta-narrative of human history, each faith continues to develop frameworks for understanding the other – some negative and others affirmative. Judaism has a long tradition of acknowledging that Gentiles can have a place in the life of God and the world to come. Essentially there are two ways of being righteous, for Jews it is summed up in the Abrahamic covenant and Mosaic laws, formulated as observing 613 commandments. For the Gentiles there is the Noahide Covenant which ‘reflects God’s commitment to care for all humanity and not destroy it (Gen. 9:9-11). In return He expects all humanity to lead a moral life (Gen. 9:4-6)’, which is set out in the seven Noahide laws consisting of ‘the prohibition of idolatry, blasphemy, murder, adultery and incest (counted as one), robbery, the need to establish a proper system of justice, and the prohibition of eating flesh torn from a living animal.’ [Jacobs: 366] In addition, despite Jews regarding Christians as having ‘usurped’ the concept of ‘messiah’ and wrongly ascribed it to Christ, many are able to echo Maimonides infamous remark ‘All these activities of Jesus the Christian ... are all for the purpose of paving the way for the true King Messiah, and preparing the entire world to worship God together.’ [Melamed] ‘Infamous’, because the remark only appears in uncensored manuscripts. [Goldberg 1989:279] So how does Christian theology deal with Judaism? In very broad terms, Christians have responded in four different ways: 1. To assert, there is no salvation apart from personal faith in Christ, and every person must declare a personal faith allegiance in Jesus the Messiah, with no exception for Jews. 2. God has two covenants with humankind in parallel operation, one for Jews and another for the Gentiles. Such views can range from: the idea that Jesus wasis the only Messiah, but Jews who don’t recognise the fact may still be redeemed by observance of the Abrahamic covenant, through to the view that there is one Messiah for the Jews, and another for Gentiles - Jesus. 3. There is only one covenant, but two expressions – Jewish and Christian, and ultimately Jesus will be seen by all to be the one Messiah of God. 4. Christianity has got its Christology wrong. Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah, and his later followers - especially Paul – wrongly bequeathed that title upon him posthumously. In rejecting 1, 2 and 4, my Christian framework is this: the Hebrew Scriptures distinguish between faithful and unfaithful people within the covenant community. The Christian conviction is that Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection, is the single agency for the salvation of all faithful people, and will present them as holy before God, and that this applies to all the departed of Israel before the advent of Jesus. Paul’s affirmation ‘All Israel will be saved’ applies to all faithful Jews in every age – those who in their lifetime believe that Jesus was their Messiah, as well as those who for the reasons outlined above, do not. This is not about two covenants in parallel operation, but rather one covenant with two expressions. To use Paul’s analogy, the Christian community is the branch grafted onto the tree of the Abrahamic covenant. It is no use Judaism and Christianity pretending to be what they are not for the sake of ‘good’ relations. It is more helpful when they state their disagreements honestly, yet show how their own faith desires to accommodate a positive understanding of the other. The two contrary Jewish and Christian frameworks, can be seen as ‘generous’ by those disposed to do so, because at least they acknowledge the genuine faith in the one true God. Such ‘generosity’ I believe allows for creative, productive and positive relations without fudging or denying the integrity of the other – as long as we recognise the inherent ‘patronising’ nature of such frameworks, as one side seeks to affirm the other in a framework the other can’t accept. Judaism and Christianity have two very important things in common. Both communities throughout their history, have not only brought much good and blessing to humankind, but also have had monumental failures, corruption and disobedience – which both should humbly acknowledge. Both await the coming of the Messiah – Jews for the first time, Christians for a second. Arguably, both have a shared vision of the nature and manner of human redemption when the Messiah comes. That said and done, while it is vitally necessary for faith communities to always have frameworks for understanding, the real question is: Who is doing the judging? We must avoid the danger of appropriating the sole prerogative of God: it is for Him to judge. Footnotes: 1 From a conversation on March 7th 2006 with David J. Goldberg OBE who is Rabbi Emeritus of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St. John’s Wood, London. Bibliography: Bosch, D. J. (1991) Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission New York: Orbis Books Cantor, N. (1995) The Sacred Chain: A History of the Jews London: Fontana Press. Cohn-Sherbock, D. (1987) On Earth as it is in Heaven: Jews, Christians and Liberation Theology Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books. Cohn-Sherbock, D. (1992a) Exodus: An Agenda for Jewish-Christian Dialogue London: Bellew Publishing. Cohn-Sherbock, D. (1992b) Israel: The History of an Idea London: SPCK. Cohn-Sherbock, D. and L. (2004) An Encyclopedia of Judaism and Christianity London: Darton, Longman & Todd. Cousar, C. B. (1996) The Letters of Paul Nashville: Abingdon Deibert, R. I. (2002) ‘The Justification of Covenantal Nomism: Reflections on Justification and Variegated Nomism, its Editorial Conclusions, and Pauline Theology’ (Cambridge NT PhD Seminar, 24/06/02)Available at: http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Tyndale/staff/Head/JVN Reflections for PDF.pdf Ellis, M. H. (1987) Towards a Jewish Theology of Liberation Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books. Ellis, M. H. (1989) Towards a Jewish Theology of Liberation: The Uprising and the Future Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books. Epstein, I. (Ed.), Freedman, H. & Schacter, J. (Trs.) Sanhedrin (Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin, Chapter XI, Folios 97-99), Available at: http://www.come-and-hear.com/sanhedrin France, R. T. (1980) ‘Messiah: In the New Testament’ in Douglas, J. D. et al, Eds. The Illustrated Bible Dictionary Part 2 Leicester: IVP; Wheaton: Tyndale House; Hodder & Stoughton: Sydney & Auckland. Gager, J. G. (2000) ‘Paul’s contradictions – Can they be resolved?’ Bible Review 14 p32-39, Biblical Archaeology Society. Available at: http://www.jcrelations.net/en/?item=747 Goldberg, D. J., & Rayner, J. D. (1989) The Jewish People: Their History and their Religion London: Penguin Books. Goldsmith, M. F. (1988) ‘Judaism and Christianity’ in Sinclair, B. F. and Wright, D. F. eds., New Dictionary of Theology Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press. Greene, C. J. D. (2003) Christology in Cultural Perspective: Marking out the horizons Carlisle: Paternoster Press. Jacobs, L. (1995) The Jewish Religion: A Companion Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kelly, J. G. (1995) ‘The Cross, the Church and the Jewish People’ in Goldingay, J. ed. Atonement TodayLondon: SPCK. Kendall, R. T. & Rosen, D. (2006) The Christian and the Pharisee: Two outspoken religious leaders debate the road to heaven London: Hodder & Stoughton. Kessler, E. (2002) ‘God Doesn’t Change His Choice’ Church Times 08/03/02, Available at: http://www.jcrelations.net/en/?item=940 de Lange, N. (1986) Judaism Oxford: Oxford University Press. Luz, U. (1995) The Theology of the Gospel of Matthew Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tim Dean is Director of the World Media Trust, and an Anglican priest working part-time in Godalming Parish. In a voluntary capacity Tim is Executive Secretary of First Step Forum (an international network of Members of Parliaments; former Prime Ministers, Foreign Affairs Ministers, and Ambassadors; and others engaged in private, independent diplomacy for religious freedom and human rights). He is also a senior associate of the Washington based Institute for Global Engagement– a ‘think-tank with legs’, created to develop sustainable environments for religious freedom worldwide. He was formerly a Commissioning Editor for the BBC World Service’s English network, and before that editor of Third Way.
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Steven Blonder
Jul 21, 2018
In Is This Real?
Another on-going criticism of the Oracle of the Phoenix is that for religionists the book is viewed as being a part of the occult - forbidden by their particular doctrine. The word occult actually means "hidden" which something is, until it is revealed. If this logic applied to church doctrine for instance - all of St. John's Revelation would be representative of the occult until the seals are removed in the text. Esoteric means reserved for the few - not the many. This is the reaction from the media when I've proposed some media projects around the story - "I'm sorry, this material is too esoteric". Luckily, there is serious scholarship going on this area led by a professor I met in 2008 at a Jewish Mysticism conference in Israel. Dr. Wouter Hanegraaff has been a leading authority in this area. He writes " Esotericism can be understood as a general label for all those traditions in Western culture that had been rejected by rationalist and scientific thinkers since the eighteenth century, the period of the Enlightenment, as well as by dominant forms of Protestant Christianity since the sixteenth century, the age of the Reformation (Hanegraaff 2012). It has often been assumed that everything that had ended up in this reservoir of “rejected knowledge” belongs to a single great spiritual tradition, imagined as a kind of traditional Western counterculture parallel to a similar tradition of Oriental esotericism. These Eastern and Western esoteric traditions are then supposed to be grounded ultimately in one and the same ancient and universal wisdom. However, such assumptions have much more to do with the personal perspectives and background agendas of modern and contemporary observers and practitioners than with the reality of how various currents, ideas, or practices nowadays labeled as “esoteric” have actually function(ed) in their own specific time and context. In other words, there is often an enormous difference between the “esotericism” of the popular imagination and the “esotericism” of the social and historical realities that are being studied under that label." I'm attaching a chapter from one of his books " Esotericism Theorized: Major Trends and Approaches to the Study of Esotericism" as well as his concluding remarks posted here as a snippet: "We have been looking at the five most important theoretical perspectives that are operative in the modern study of esotericism: religionism, sociology, the study of secrecy and concealment, discursive approaches, and historicism. Of course, such neat categorizations are always a simplification: in actual practice, we find that scholars often combine several approaches in their work, and it must be said that there is quite some confusion about the exact nature of these theoretical perspectives, their implications, and their relations to one another. Nevertheless, by being clear about the differences between these five approaches to what “esotericism” is all about, we can learn to perceive the theoretical agendas and background assumptions that are operative in the scholarly literature, and this will help us understand why different scholars make different choices. Against the background just sketched, the modern study of Western esotericism can be described as having gone through three stages (Hanegraaff 2013c). The first, from the 1970s to 1992, might be called “Esotericism 1.0” and was dominated by a religionist paradigm. Starting with a pioneering introductory textbook published in 1992 by the dominant scholar of this period, Antoine Faivre, the field moved to a second stage that might be called “Esotericism 2.0.” This stage was marked by a move away from religionism in favor of empirical, historical, and discursive approaches. In this period the study of esotericism established itself as a new field of academic research, as shown by the emergence of academic programs, scholarly societies, peer-reviewed journals, an explosion of books and collective volumes, and so on. Roughly since 2012, the field seems to be moving toward a third stage of development, “Esotericism 3.0,” marked by increasing interdisciplinary debate across the boundaries of the humanities and the social sciences, particularly about how the boundaries of “esotericism” should be drawn. For instance, how should one think about the relation between esotericism and neighboring fields, notably “gnosticism” and “mysticism”? How should one understand “Western” esotericism in view of its spread to Oriental cultures and other parts of the world, or in view of structural parallels in other cultural contexts? What happens to our understandings of “esotericism” when one crosses the boundary from religious studies to other disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences, or even such disciplines as cognitive science or evolutionary biology? And if the focus is on esoteric discourses in religion generally, then is it necessary to keep setting the field apart at all, or shouldn’t we rather allow it to dissolve into the general study of religion? Scholars have different opinions about each of these questions, and of course I have my own opinion as well (see e.g. Hanegraaff 2013b; 2015). The field referred to as “esotericism” can be constructed and understood in different ways by different scholars, according to each person’s theoretical assumptions and background agendas. Regardless of the perspective one chooses, esotericism research is certainly among the most exciting new developments in the study of religion and culture today. In less than two decades the field has overcome its previous status as a somewhat marginal pursuit surrounded by academic prejudice and has become a burgeoning and widely respected area of research that is not limited to religion alone but reaches across the boundaries between all disciplines of the humanities (Hanegraaff 2013d). Solid scholars in this field no longer need to be afraid of being ostracized by their colleagues; on the contrary, they will be welcomed for having something new and important to offer. Precisely because the source materials of esotericism have been neglected for so long, there are few other domains where so many discoveries can still be made, often with implications that challenge traditional opinions about what Western culture is all about. In sum, the study of esotericism is not for the timid-minded but for those who wish to boldly go where no one has gone before."
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Steven Blonder
Jul 20, 2018
In Is This Real?
The author of the forward to my book, Iona Miller, who I view as a mentor throughout this project and beyond, has often told me that her mentor has been Stanley Krippner. The following is an interview with Jeffrey Mishlove for his New Thinking Allowed program where they discuss Personal Myth.
Personal Mythology with Stanley Krippner content media
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Steven Blonder
Jul 19, 2018
In Is This Real?
Introduction In the Summer 2018 JEEP Journal I talked about the Phoenix Lights UFO sighting, my role in its initial discovery,in its promotion in the media, and then I revealed a new discovery of terra-formed images in the landscape beneath the sighting area ten years later while writing a book about the event. What I didn’t provide was backstory on my own psychospiritual experiences as they relate to this “revelation” and how my project might fall within a kind of pathology that conventionally-minded researchers or critics might ascribe to both image recognition issues (Pareidolia) as well as my “connect-the-dots” narrative (Apophenia). In addition, the blurring of identity between subject and object denotes a “primitive state of identity in mutual unconsciousness” called Participation Mystique by the ARAS (The Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism). Pareidolia? Ever since I produced my book, I've been met with a critique around the terra-formed images shown near the UFO sighting. Many have said that my experience/vision (see www.oracleofthephoenix.com) was/is symptomatic of Pareidolia (seeing faces in clouds or Jesus’ face in a potato chip for instance). Usually this diagnosis came from a skeptical person, likely in the academic field who shied away from anything that might give credence to areas of pseudoscience or magical thinking that undermines what many consider to be - a strict physicalism or reductionist viewpoint. I’ve gone beyond that judgement to probe more of a scientific explanation around the concept of cognitive dissonance: Perception itself is a match-mismatch process (Martindale, 1981). If there is a close match between perceptions and internal structures, both remain intact. Dissonance, however, brings about arousal, attention, thought and action aimed at removing the mismatch and replacing it by a better match. Internal schemes are either changed so they fit perceptual reality or perceptions are changed to match the schema. Thus, incongruent experiences may be assimilated through unconscious distortions that force them to conform to existing mythic structures, making them capable of accommodating the new input. In essence, when new information is not consistent with existing mythic structures, perceptions may be distorted in the service of maintaining consistency with the mythology – or the mythology may accommodate itself toward greater harmony with the experience. -Myth and Development What this says to me that being told that these images are terra-formed in a mountain – would automatically bring cognitive dissonance into the equation when seeking validation of their appearance from observers. I believe a scientific experiment could be constructed to test the ability to perceive the images in one group told about their actual context and another group told that it was an artwork created to test right brain recognition abilities. A control group would be told nothing – just report on what they see. I've tried to approach this head-on by seeking out authorities in this area of mystical perception, including neurologists and psychiatrists who have done research papers. One professional who did provide feedback was the recently deceased, J. Marvin Spiegelman, author and former director of studies of Jungian Analysts of Southern California who said “Your book finally arrived, thank you, and I have read it cover to cover. I am impressed with your devotion and commitment to both depth and detail in your project and I believe you have found your myth, in Jung's sense". Does it bother me that he characterizes my book as myth? Not in the least - intellectually, especially when associating my work with his teacher Carl Jung who produced his own mythological treatise his "Red Book". Emotionally, however, it left me feeling out in the cold in regards to my “revelations” being able to make any difference in the world. I was left with focusing on making sense of my own experiences to help heal my own challenges dealing with the mysteries I’ve been exposed to and what they may mean. Apophenia? In the fall of 2006, I decided to go on a vision quest to the Teotihuacan pyramids near Mexico City. My friend Dennis and I went to celebrate my 50th birthday and he decided to go because he had spent many years accumulating significant wealth, had sold his business and was trying to find a spiritualty that could work to balance out his life. We decided to join a group led by an apprentice of Don Miguel Ruiz who was well-known for his Toltec inspired novel – The Four Agreements. I was at the stage of my life where I was also trying to develop more of my spiritualty as I was exploring Kabbalah. The Avenue of the Gods was multi-leveled with a Toltec guide taking us through a journey of the four elements of most all spiritual disciplines, Fire, Air, Water, Earth. There were initiations we took through each of these stages and visited the structures associated with those elementals. We were introduced to Quetzalcoatl who many have interpreted as a Mesoamerican version of the Phoenix mythology found elsewhere. The feathered serpent appeared in Mayan myths with associations to the planet Venus – the morning star, alluding to Christ-like similarities. Quetzalcoatl was supposed to show up as the Mayan 5th Sun gave way to a new 6th Sun scheduled to happen at the end of the Mayan calendar which was supposed to occur at the end of 2012. The group went through meditations on the top of the pyramids culminating on the Pyramid of the Sun where the guide used a technique to cause the group to fall down into an unconscious state. I chalked this up to some kind of hypnotic suggestion given by someone they had vested authority into. I went along with the “charade” by laying down and faking my unconscious state but my friend Dennis felt he had a legitimate mind-altering experience where he felt in contact with angelic-like beings. Others had similar experiences – I felt nothing. I did have some other strange experiences during our time at other spots. At the Butterfly Palace, I walked across the courtyard and felt myself suddenly weightless and able to bounce from one area of the walkway to another – it was quite extraordinary but it seemed to me isolated to my consciousness only. Our trip to Teo ended and we returned home to our mundane lives where I had decided to delve deeper in Kabbalah – especially the areas dealing with the Shekinah – the feminine aspect of God, who according to tradition, had been exiled until the end-times when our earth would be filled with her presence. This notion of the sacred presence brought me back to a peak experience I had in Israel, 20 years earlier in 1977. I felt I was lacking a true sense of home at the young age of 20. I was touring with members of my kibbutz when we went to the Dead Sea where we “swam” but actually floated in the muck they call a sea but was so filled with salt that nothing could live in it. Afterwards we went to an oasis nearby with fresh water springs called Ein Gedi (recently found out that in Hebrew it means the”seeing springs”) where we cleaned-up and refreshed ourselves from just having floated in death. Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls had been found in this area as well as an ancient temple. As I was standing in the entrance area, I was overcome by a feeling of oneness and wholeness I had never felt before (non-drug induced). I had visions of visiting with families in homes where no one questioned their belonginess. Everything felt perfect, right – without consideration of past or future but just a very huge beautiful present – though I thought I must be in the future. I felt myself moving up in consciousness where I believed I would merge with others but at the expense of my own self or ego and then was brought down, back into my normative state, though the feelings had so impressed themselves upon me that I had continued to take them with me into the springs where we could drink the fresh water as it cascaded into the pools. This same feeling of having arrived to my inner spiritual home – I took back with me to Los Angeles where I soon entered a metaphysical “mystery school” where I was initiated into a small group of seekers at the Annie Besant Lodge in the Hollywood Hills. I had been drawn into this group by girlfriend who believed I needed to let go of my Jewish conditioning which she equated with victimhood. I went through the program to please her but ended up embracing many of the teachings, which years later, I found had correlated with Jewish Kabbalah. I had many similar experiences of altered states while going through these studies including some experiences with telekinesis and out-of-body experiences. Telepathy was also proved to me by attending lessons in my dream state with my teacher which we followed up with in our waking states. A large part of the program was to also resurrect the feminine sides of ourselves which we normally repressed and projected onto willing partners. If we were to achieve a sense of inner wholeness we needed to reclaim both sides of our being. Returning to the period just after our trip to Teotihuacan in 2006, I began writing what I thought was a book on Kabbalah bringing in all kinds of sacred geometry concepts that had been bubbling up inside me and had been teaching in a class I initiated at a Unity Church in my neighborhood. Why I took the leap to teaching a class with little subject matter experience still alludes me but it did force me to take an even deeper dive into the material. Along with that, I began to revisit my Ein Gedi peak experience from 20 years earlier. It seems like my unusual experiences followed a ten-year pattern. Ein Gedi in 1977, the death of a close childhood friend of AIDs in 1987 (which led my wife and I to become volunteers for AIDS Project Los Angeles (which forced me to deal with my repressed inner feminine), the Phoenix Lights sighting in 1997, writing Oracle of the Phoenix in 2007 and publishing these articles in 2017/2018 along with serious investigation into the psychological and neurological aspects of my journey. Just before I encountered the images in the mountains, I was visited by another vision or psychological break, depending on how one views it. As I was writing the book that had morphed into a Kabbalistic study of the UFO encounter, I decided to revisit Ein Gedi and what had happened to me there in 1977. I went online and came across information about the temple excavated on the site which at the time of my visit was not open to tourists until after renewed excavations in 1996. The whole interior of the synagogue and the pillars were covered with white plaster and painted decorations and a new, colored mosaic floor was laid. The central hall contained a mosaic carpet decorated with a pattern of four-petalled flowers; in the center is a circle with four birds and on the corners of the outer, square frame are pairs of peacocks. The floor included inscriptions. One inscription also includes a warning and a curse: Warnings to those who commit sins causing dissension in the community, passing malicious information to the gentiles, or revealing the secrets of the town. The one whose eyes roam over the entire earth and sees what is concealed will uproot this person and his seed from under the sun and all the people will say, Amen. Selah. The mosaic floor found in this research began to have a very unusual effect on me. I began to experience visions of a most unusual sort. The floor came alive with a spinning quality that began to show me historical images that seemed sourced to a vortex or portal underneath this floor. For me this was a Pareidolia experience on steroids though I didn’t see it that way at the time. Everything was animated as the floor took on images of faces of well-known figures who seemed pre-destined vis a vis energies created on a higher plane but manifesting in our normal day-to-day world. I sensed I was caught up in a multi-dimensional experience as I encountered mythical figures such as the gods of the Sumerian myths made famous by Zachariah Sitchin. I printed out the image of the mosaic floor and began to turn it with more images showing such as it being represented as the center of our reality as if pyramids of consciousness were resident underneath the floor and its expression went back and forth between dimensions. I could also envision this portal moving around Israel as new narratives emerged from this source of myth and manifested experience. This visionary experience lasted for three days. I was able to function in my everyday life knowing that I had to do what I could to turn off the visions and focus on my work. At the same time, I was still obsessed with making sense of this experience and was sure that others would be able to see the strangeness emanating from the floor. I had a friend make a silk screen imprint of the floor which I showed to my wife and some friends including Dennis from Teo. I sent an online photo to my cousin in L.A. who was also an animator and asked him to animate the image so we could see it spin like a mandala. No one was able to see what I was seeing or tap into the alternate realities I was experiencing. I attended a hockey game with Dennis where I shared the insights I was getting for pretty much the entire game. I saw how the birth of our existence occurred in a most disgusting manner. I knew I was seeing distorted images and that I was experiencing the realm of myth in a strange way. But I kept with the images until they eventually gave way to a heightened state without the psychic noise that had enveloped me and then the floor lost it magical powers as a portal to other planes and became just a picture - leaving me totally baffled concerning why this happened to me. What I later surmised was that this 3-day excursion into “God knows where” may have been a type of active imagination experience that drove Jung’s Red Book. If this was like that, perhaps the mosaic floor was trying to impress something important upon me. Perhaps – I was “connecting-the-dots” of my visions like putting the pieces of tile in the mosaic together to present a full picture of disparate myths and theology I eventually bound up in my narrative. Apophenia is defined as the spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated phenomena. I could go along with this “diagnosis” if the material I was linking up was entirely unrelated (even the Phoenix Lights appeared as shape-shifting dots in the sky) – but after 40 years of evolution along similar themes, I can only attribute this experience to my inner daemon as Hillman describes it. “Sooner or later something seems to call us onto a particular path. You may remember this “something” as a signal moment in childhood when an urge out of nowhere, a fascination, a peculiar turn of events struck like an annunciation: This is what I must do, this is what I’ve got to have. This is who I am.” -The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling, James Hillman Participation Mystique? I’d like to end this essay with a discussion of Participation Mystique. Following is an excerpt of Mark Winborn’s article from his book “Shared Realities Participation Mystique and Beyond”. “I’d like to close this section with an examination of Neumann’s concept of ‘unitary reality’ which I believe is one of the most unappreciated conceptual developments to emerge from Jung’s incorporation of participation mystique into the system of analytical psychology. Neumann indicates that a primary feeling experience of unitary reality is the sense that something is being unified, something previously split is coming together again and redeemed, or that something previously in exile or banishment is reclaimed. He also describes the experience of unitary reality as “the process whereby reality becomes transparent.” Neumann proposes that there are two types of consciousness: “conscious knowledge” and “perceiving knowledge” or “extraneous knowledge.” He associates “conscious knowledge” with the ego-complex which splits experience into polarized categories, and indicates that “perceiving” or “extraneous” consciousness is knowledge that is beyond the ability of the ego-complex to process. It is through this “extraneous knowledge dimension” that Neumann hypothesizes a meaningful order and connection with our environments is discernible. Neumann argues that when a personality is immersed in an archetypal field it means, “There is a reciprocal co-ordination between world and psyche…a co-ordination which is based on the archetypal structure which embraces both, or of which both are partial aspects…” which “leads to an emotionally toned unitary experience.” He underscores the essentially inter-dependent nature of the field of unitary reality and states that unitary fields encompass interactions between human beings, between human beings and animals, between human beings and things, and between animals and their environment. Neumann argues that through the excess focus on conscious knowledge we have renounced awareness of the world’s unity and continuity, as well as its aliveness and significance, which Neumann indicates is primarily experienced through feelings and intuition. Expanding on this idea, Neumann indicates, “We have lost our sense of unitary reality, our experience of identity and of the sympathy of all things, and as a result we have fallen into solitude and isolation of a dead and empty cosmic space.”” The notion of Participation Mystique, updated with Winborn’s “Shared Realities” adds a new dimension to my experience. What it suggests to me is that rather than a “vision” originating from higher levels of my own mind, perhaps I was tapping into a dialog between what I was seeing and how it was responding to me – as a living being – Gaia, which the Greeks thought of as the poetic nature of the earth symbolized by a pantheon of gods and goddesses. When I’m forced to give a soundbite of what the takeaway from Oracle of the Phoenix should be, I’m led to the conclusion that our earth is just as much alive as we are. While our species has been fragmented, and split into warring tribal forces, the unitary desire is moot for Gaia. We could be here and now realizing that the pursuit of heaven is pointless as the world soul (Anima Mundi) seeks our recognition and care. "Let us imagine the anima mundi neither above the world encircling it as a divine and remote emanation of spirit, a world of powers, archetypes, and principles transcendent to things, nor within the material world as its unifying panpsychic life-principle. Rather let us imagine the anima mundi as that particular soul-spark, the seminal image, which offers itself through each thing in its visible form. Then anima mundi indicates the animated possibilities presented by each event, as it is, its sensuous presentation as face bespeaking its interior image--in short, its availability to imagination, its presence as a psychic reality. Not only animals and plants ensouled as in the Romantic vision, but soul is given with each thing; God-given things of nature and man-made things of the street." ~James Hillman, “Anima Mundi,” Spring, 1982 Pareidolia, Apophenia, Participation Mystique are certainly possible ways of characterizing my experience. However, I’m afraid some things are destined to remain as mystery and operate as a myth that may or not be shared with others or become embraced as “truth”. All I can do is tell the story.
Apophenia, Pareidolia or Participation Mystique? content media
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Steven Blonder
Jul 17, 2018
Hopi Prophesy - PBS Show  content media
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Steven Blonder
Jul 17, 2018
In Kabbalah
In my book I set out the Gematria for the measurements of the ark which are 30 cubits by 50 cubits by 300 cubits. These measurements convert to the letters Lamed, Resh and Shin which make up the word Larosh which means the Holy Tongue or Word. Much is to be said from a Biblical commentary about this Word as can be demonstrated in this weekly Torah portion from Rabbi Mordecia Finley. "This week's Torah portion, Noah, has a verse that has become a foundation for the spiritual and mystical approach to prayer. In Genesis 6:16, we find God saying to Noah, "Make a tzohar (light) for the teivah(ark)." The Hebrew word "tzohar" has two basic interpretations in the Talmud: "radiant gemstone" and "skylight", but they both mean "a source of light." Here is where things get interesting. The Hebrew word for "ark" "teivah" has various meanings. Basically, "teivah" means "container". A "teivah" can mean a mailbox. A "teivah" is what Moses' mother put him in when she saved him from Pharaoh's decree to kill all the male children. Fascinatingly, this Hebrew word for container, "teivah", also means "word", in the sense of a written word - a written form that "contains" meaning. (There are three Hebrew words for the English word "word" - "davar" which means "a matter", "milah" which means a spoken word, and "tevah" which means a written word.) Jewish commentators have creatively mistranslated the word "teivah" in Genesis 6:16, that refers to Noah's "teivah" (ark), as "word", so that we can read this verse "put a light in the ark" as "make a light for the word.""
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Steven Blonder
Jul 16, 2018
In Ufology
https://www.newdawnmagazine.com/articles/what-are-ufos-terrestrial-extraterrestrial-metaterrestrial-theories " The UFO phenomenon appears to be multifaceted and there is no neat, simple answer to what it’s all about. In my judgment, the public and even many Ufologists are indiscriminately lumping together UFO sightings and incidents into a single phenomenon. But the evidence indicates that no single explanation can cover all the experiences and events brought together under the label “UFO experience.” It is a multilevelled phenomenon. And each level – terrestrial, extraterrestrial and metaterrestrial – is qualitatively different from the others. Each has its own unique forms of UFOs, and each form has to be distinguished from the others of that level."
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Steven Blonder
Jul 16, 2018
In Kabbalah
In the God Code chapter in Oracle of the Phoenix I discuss the enigmatic Sefer Yetzirah or Book of Creation said to have been written by Abraham himself. Within the book are the formulas for the creation of our world which is done with language, mathematics and stories. This is the Aryeh Kaplan translation which is a small portion of his book.
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Steven Blonder
Jul 16, 2018
In Kabbalah
PaRDeS is an acronym for the different levels of interpreting the Torah. Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok writes an essay on the legend of the four Rabbis who enter PaRDeS but only one makes it back successfully. This is typically given to students of Kabbalah as they prepare to approach the esoteric levels of Jewish Kabbalah. I read this essay many years ago and it has stuck with me ever since to help me stay grounded in my research and approach my findings with the wisdom gleaned from this teaching.
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Steven Blonder
Jul 16, 2018
In Spirituality
I recently came across this paper in academia.edu that Russ von Ohlhausen wrote a few years ago. It explains the precession of the ages in astrological terms and its relationship to the symbols and myths within the 2,160 year period it takes to move from one sign to another. The main example here is Jesus within the age of Pisces which many believe is the process of ending while the newer age of Aquarius is already upon us. I would argue that the symbols presented in the Oracle story are reflective of this change. Aquarius is an air sign where we've established that we have UFOs in the air, images in the landscape seen directly from satellites in the air, our own "arrival" into the scene via computers showing the images etc. Also there is an emphasis on psychology (the mind) vs. the emotions of Pisces. My sense is that the End of Days thinking is tied up with the concept of linear time - when the age ends, while cyclical time continues to turn endlessly.
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Steven Blonder
Jul 16, 2018
In Religion
In the Phoenix Lights category I've discussed how the images in the landscape lend themselves to descriptions of the Churubim - face of a boy, lion, eagle and ox. This article gets into some areas of detail around them in the Torah. "Tradition has a rich history of interpreting the mythical cherubs in numerous ways.  Nevertheless the extensive findings from the Ancient Near East make it clear that the Cherubs historically represented either frightening beasts used as guards, or the equivalent of flying horses drawing chariots; these images fit a number of biblical passages. . In the Mishkan, however,  they served either as God’s throne or as buffers surrounding the deity. Accordingly, the Ark of the Covenant was to be the footstool or podium of God.  King David says this explicitly in 1 Chronicles 28:2, “Hear me, my brothers, my people! I wanted to build a resting -place for the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, for the footstool of our God.”[20] Isaiah 66:1 begins: “ Thus said Yhwh: The heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool”[21]—the instructions for the construction of the Mishkan may offer a different understanding:  “The Cherubs guard My throne and the Ark is My footstool.”"
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Steven Blonder
Jul 16, 2018
In Spirituality
Thomas Berry's essay on balancing out too much religious redemption focus with the excessive scientific approach - http://thomasberry.org/assets/attachments/Thomas_Berry-The_New_Story.pdf
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Steven Blonder
Jul 15, 2018
In Religion
In my past discussions with Rabbinical authority, I've been faced with some challenging arguments concerning what the prescribed criteria is for the arrival of the Jewish Messiah. I contend that the only Messiah anointed by God directly is Cyrus which in Hebrew is Koresh. There have been other anointed ones but they have not been anointed directly as it is spelled out in the Tanakh. The criteria set for the coming Messiah is laid out in Maimonides' Thirteen Principles of Faith which has served as the Rabbinical authority on the matter. There have been divergent opinions concerning each of the opinions which is addressed in this essay by Marc B. Shapiro called Maimonides' Thirteen Principles: The Last Word in Jewish Theology? This is a very important paper to read as it has been used as the litmus test for all Messianic claims from a Jewish perspective as well as having its impact on fortifying the Christian case for Jesus. The main contention concerning Jesus is his corporality as well as the idolatry associated with Christianity itself in its representations of Jesus as God himself. There is a recognition that Jesus as Son of God is not as problematic - if we can all claim the same status or ability to attain said status. The issues for the Jews go beyond the criteria for the Messiah as that is only part of the 13 Principles of Faith. Yes - Jews are told that in order to participate in the World to Come - they need to believe in the Messianic principle. This principle from the Jewish perspective is captured in principles 12 and 13. We are talking here about Kingship and Resurrection. These of course are two key themes in the Christ story. The key phrase from Principle 12 that I'm quoting is from the translation by David R. Blumenthal. "The Twelfth Principle is [the belief in] the days of the Messiah; to wit, the belief in and the assertion of the truth of his coming. He shall not be a long time and "if he tarries, wait for him (for he shall surely come and he will not tarry) [HAB.2:3]. No time for his coming may be set nor may the verses of Scripture be interpreted to reveal the time of his coming, as our Sages have said "May the wits of those who calculate the date of the end [of the present period of time] be addled" [Sanhedrin", 99b]. One must believe in him by praising him, loving him and praying for his coming according to that which has been revealed by all the prophets from Moses to Malachi. He who doubts him or he who treats his command lightly, says that the Torah, which promised his coming specifically in the readings of "Balaam" and "Atem Nitsavim", is lying. One of the general ideas of the principle is that Israel will have no king except from David and that he will be descended especially from the seed of Solomon. Whoever disobeys the command of this dynasty denies G_D and the verses of the prophets." So what do we have here exactly? We are told to believe in the Messiah - we already have the Messiah named as Cyrus. We know that he is named by Isaiah - one of the prophets and the entire Tanakh concludes with a verse concerning Cyrus' role of peacemaker at the end of Chronicles II. Why would the entire canonized collection of Jewish writings end with a verse concerning Cyrus is this is not critically important? We have references to Balaam who basically speaks about the stumbling blocks set before Israel whereas the distractions of our material existence take precedence over our spiritual (ISRAEL) concerns. We are all Israel as the other verse references known as Atem Nitsavim. Here we all stand as part of the covenant - currently and in the future of those who believe in the other 13 principles that are laid which concerns the One and only God that is also of the many - the Universal and the Particular which are the Two Faces of Messianism I've posted and written about. The Hebrew word for One is Ehad which in Gematria equals 13. Aleph (1), Chai (8) and Dalet (4). 13 also is half of the Tetragrammaton which is God's name so the notion of male and female in Love is also connected with 13. Other meanings include Brightness, Gift or Present and To be high, lift up, to remove to escape. The Phoenix Lights which showed themselves in the pattern of the one set off from the many speaks to this notion of 13 that of course occurred on the 13th of March, 1997. The other story that features wonders like this is Fatima where the children met with the Virgin apparition on the 13th of the month for several months (see chapter 7 in Oracle of the Phoenix). 13 is the number of the Extraordinary. It is beyond our normal perception of time which is based on twelves. The mythology of the end of days in this time called out the date of 12/21/12 which brings in the same End of the Ordinary. As I present in the book - the End of "these days" that the 12th Principle speaks to, is the end of this Age. It is a shift from one state to another - not the end of the world or presence on earth as many have interpreted this. The Resurrection which is alluded to in Principle 13, I will address in a future post but basically I believe it's up to us to resurrect the Cyrus in the Mountain to see our Earth as being alive once again - sacred - holy as I have alluded to in my book when I open with the Kidushah - "Holy, Holy, Holy, The Lord of Hosts, The entire world is filled with His Glory. If we can accomplish this resurrection than we as collective Israel have then fulfilled the requirement that the descendant of wise King Solomon have entered as Kings to our New Jerusalem.
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