Sunday, January 27, 2013

Jesus would surely have known the Church would abandon the Sabbath three hundred years after his death

Puzzling, Jesus would surely have known the Church would abandon the Sabbath three hundred years after his death?

Mat 24:20  But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 

See The Constantine Creed

365 AD, the Council of Laodicea wrote, in one of their canons:
Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day. Rather, honoring the Lord’s Day. But if any shall be found to be Judaizers, let them be anathema (against) from Christ”.

Concerning Antiochus Epiphanes…
He set up an image of Zeus in the Temple which was the Abomination of Desolation spoken of in Daniel 11. For 3 years, he continued to desecrate the Temple.
By 167 the enforced Hellenization of the Jews reached its peak; the Jews were compelled, under penalty of death "to depart from the laws of their fathers, and to cease living by the laws of God.

These were the new laws that Antiochus set up:

Thou shall profane the Sabbath
Thou shall change the set times (festivals) and laws
Thou shall set up idols
Thou shall eat unclean animals
Thou shall not circumcise
Thou shall forget Torah
3 years and 2 months later, the Temple was taken back and rededicated. This is known as the Feast of Dedication, or Festival of Lights, or Hanukkah. [1]

Daniel’s Prophecy of Antiochus Epiphanes

ANTIOCHUS IV EPIPHANES, son of Antiochus III, ruled from the death of his brother *Seleucus IV in 175 B.C.E. until his death in 164. His reign marks a turning point in Jewish history. Striving vigorously to restore the strength of the Seleucid Empire, Antiochus founded more new Greek cities than all his predecessors. He became the champion of an intense Hellenization, more as a result of personal tendencies than as a means of reunifying the divided kingdom. To this end Antiochus paid particular attention to the Jews of Palestine. *Onias III, the high priest, was replaced in 173 by *Jason who had strong leanings toward the Hellenistic party in Jerusalem. In time the character of the Jewish capital itself was altered, with Jason undertaking "to register the Jerusalemites as citizens of Antioch" (II Macc. 4:9; on the legal status of Jerusalem under the government of the Hellenizers see V. Tcherikover, Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews (1959), 161 ff.). Jason was eventually outbid for the office of high priest by Menelaus, who proved even more servile and prepared to carry out the most extreme Hellenization of Judea. In 168 Antiochus set out on his second expedition to Egypt. Wishful thinking probably promoted the spread of false rumors regarding the king's death, and as a result, Jason, who had fled to Transjordan, returned to Jerusalem and tried to reestablish his rule. On returning from Egypt, Antiochus, convinced that a rebellion had broken out against him, stormed the city, killed thousands of Jews, and sold thousands more into slavery. In their place, and especially in the citadel of Jerusalem (*Acra) which was erected on the instructions of Antiochus, a Greek community was set up, thus outwardly transforming the city into a foreign polis (city-state). 

By 167 the enforced Hellenization of the Jews reached its peak; the Jews were compelled, under penalty of death "to depart from the laws of their fathers, and to cease living by the laws of God. Further, the sanctuary in Jerusalem was to be polluted and called after Zeus Olympius" (II Macc. 6:1, 2). The nature of these decrees has puzzled most scholars and students of the Hellenistic period. Ancient polytheism for the most part was tolerant, and this particular brand of Hellenization was not applied by Antiochus to any segment of the non-Jewish population under his rule. It would seem, therefore, that religious oppression appeared to Antiochus to be the only means of achieving political stability in Palestine, since it was that country's religion, if anything, that was out of place in a predominantly Hellenized empire. It would be wrong, however, completely to disregard the nature of the king himself. His strange behavior, causing contemporaries to refer to him as Epimanes ("madman") instead of Epiphanes, obviously played a major part in the formation of such violent policies. In any case, Antiochus did not personally oversee the implementation of these policies. He died in the city of Tabae (Isfahan). He was succeeded by his nine-year-old son Antiochus V Eupator (Polybius 26:10; 31:3–4; Livius 41:19, 20; Diodorus 29:32; 31:16; for a summation of modern literature on Antiochus IV see Tcherikover, op. cit., 175–203). [2]

Daniel’s Prophecy of Antiochus Epiphanes


“The Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will” (Dan. 5:21, ESV). Belshazzar knew this, but he disregarded the hard-learned lesson of Nebuchadnezzar (v. 22). He was, therefore, weighed in the balances. Likewise, all who live with a disregard for the Most High God are found wanting (v. 27).
Babylonian Captivity furnished the context for this great message. Daniel, the prophet — in that way Jesus Christ referred to him (Matt. 24:15) — recorded selective events to demonstrate the truth that God is in control.
In the first six chapters of the book, Daniel and friends appeared healthier than the other chosen youths, though they subsisted on a meager diet, refusing to compromise their convictions (Dan. 1). By divine direction, Daniel told and interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, which was a testimony of what God would do in history (Dan. 2).
The Lord intervened to save the three Hebrew youths, although the most powerful man in the world had ordered their execution (Dan. 3). The proud tyrant did Jehovah make “to lie down in green pastures.” After which, Nebuchadnezzer confessed, “… those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (Dan. 4:37).
The demise of Babylon and Belshazzar were the Lord’s doing (Dan. 5). And Daniel’s harmless night in the lions’ den convinced Darius that the God of Daniel, “… he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end” (Dan. 6:26).
From the beginning to the end of captivity in Babylon, these special events showed that God rules the kingdom of mankind.
In the latter half of the book, Daniel reports a series of visions. Daniel, through divine inspiration, sees and records events yet-to-be. The mere fact that God reveals the future proves his power and sovereignty (cf. Is. 44:24—45:13). These predicted events were exactly fulfilled, demonstrating yet again — the Most High God rules, even as evil men work out unwittingly God’s providential desires.

Skeptics have alleged that such events were certainly recorded after the fact — the work of a historian and not a prophet. Peter C. Craigie notes the importance of the interpretation of Daniel, as he says, “in the minds of some”:
“The dreams of Daniel, if taken as sixth century productions, clearly and accurately predict the course of Near Eastern history down to the middle of the second century B.C. (at least), and are a testimony to the accuracy of God’s special revelation to Daniel. On the other hand, it is precisely the concurrence between the substance of the visions and the actual history of the Near East which compels other interpreters to claim that the visions must have been written after the events they describe” (The Old Testament: Its Background, Growth and Content, Nashville: Abingdon, 1986, p. 246).

The thought of predictive prophecy is more than the humanistic mind can bear, so many have become dedicated to convincing themselves — and others — that the book of Daniel must be the work of a second century unknown mystery writer. Robert D. Wilson, in his mammoth work, Studies in the book of Daniel, concludes:
“Now, in the works already published and elsewhere in this volume, we have endeavoured to show, that the objections against Daniel based upon the alleged inaccuracy of its statements about the age of Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus are unfounded, that the argument from silence as illustrated in Ecclesiasticus and other cases is fallacious, that the argument from Daniel’s place in the present Hebrew Bible has no basis to rest on, and that the origin and influence of its ideas and its background including its language are in harmony with its claims to have been written in the sixth century B.C. in a Babylonian environment” (Vol. 2, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1972, p. 271).
If the book of Daniel is the product of Daniel the prophet, then the point is proven and undeniable: God rules. This theological conclusion will forever be unacceptable to some, in that same way that some saw Lazarus raised from the dead and still refused to believe that Jesus was the Christ. In spite of indisputable evidence, the prophet will remain under attack, which assault inadvertently reminds us of the apologetic potency of the book of Daniel.
In the sixth century B.C., Daniel wrote,
“Behold, three more kings shall arise in Persia, and a fourth shall be far richer than all of them. And when he has become strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the kingdom of Greece” (Dan. 11:2).
The prediction of Greece as a succeeding world power to the Persian empire is itself amazing; the fall of Persia and the rise of Alexander’s Empire were two hundred years in the future at the time of Daniel’s vision.
Yet, Daniel’s predictions become even more detailed. Concerning the rise of Alexander the Great, he says,
“Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion and do as he wills” (Dan. 11:3).
The premature death of Alexander is rehearsed in many sixth grade text books, and the division of his kingdom into four parts, assumed by four military leaders, is also well-known. Daniel foresaw these events:
“And as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not to his posterity, nor according to the authority with which he ruled, for his kingdom shall be plucked up and go to others besides these” (Dan. 11:4).
Two of these divisions of Alexander’s empire are prominent in the subsequent part of Daniel’s vision — the kings of the North and South (Dan. 11:5-20). We know them as the Seleucid and Ptolemy dynasties. The facts of the campaigns and conflicts between these powers are easily reviewed with a good encyclopedia, and the careful reader will observe the “concurrence between the substance of the visions and the actual history of the Near East” (Craigie, p. 246).
In Daniel 11:21-35, the prophet reveals the rise and rule of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Seleucid king who reigned from 175-164 B.C. Daniel’s prediction involves the rise of Antiochus to power, the conflicts of Antiochus with Egypt (i.e., the king of the South), and his hostilities towards Israel.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica 2003 Deluxe Edition states:
“Antiochus was the third son of Antiochus III the Great. After his father’s defeat by the Romans in 190—189, he served as hostage for his father in Rome from 189 to 175, where he learned to admire Roman institutions and policies. His brother, King Seleucus IV, exchanged him for Demetrius, the son of Seleucus; and after Seleucus was murdered by Heliodorus, a usurper, Antiochus in turn ousted him” (“Antiochus IV Epiphanes,” Britannica Corp, 2003.).
The demise of Seleucus IV preceded Antiochus’ rise to power, and Daniel prophesies the untimely end of Seleucus (Dan. 11:20-21).
“Then shall arise in his [Antiochus III] place one [Seleucus IV] who shall send an exactor of tribute for the glory of the kingdom. But, within a few days he shall be broken, neither in anger nor in battle” (v. 20).
Seleucus IV, brother of Antiochus, succeeded his father Antiocus III the Great. Apparently, Seleucus sent Heliodorus to plunder the temple in Jerusalem, but he returned empty-handed. Gleason Archer observes,
“No other details are given in this verse of the twelve-year reign of this rather ineffectual king, except that he did not die in battle or in a mob action as had his father, Antiochus. Yet Seleucus IV met an untimely end through poison administered by Heliodorus” (Expositor Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985, p. 134).
And Daniel foresaw,
“In his [Seleucus IV] place shall arise a contemptible person to whom royal majesty has not been given. He shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom by flatteries” (Dan. 11:21).
Although Demetrius, the son of Seleucus IV, was the rightful successor, Antiochus determined to seize control.
Antiochus’ rise to power corresponded to the following predictions by Daniel, the prophet of the Most High God:
  1. Antiochus would come to power after the untimely death of his predecessor.
  2. He was a contemptible person, thus he was called by many Antiochus Epimanes (i.e., the madman) instead of his preferred appellation Epiphanes (i.e., God Manifest).
  3. He was not an heir to the throne, indeed to him “royal majesty has not been given.”
  4. Antiochus did not lead a bloody coup, but he obtained “the kingdom by flatteries.” Edward J. Young writes, “By flattery he won over the kings of Pergamus to his cause, and the Syrians gave in peaceably” (The Prophecy of Daniel, Grand Rapids: Eerdmands, 1977, p. 241).
These specific details, prophesied about 350 years before they transpired, were fulfilled in Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The time and manner of his rise to power were foretold in the book of Daniel — the Most High rules the kingdom of men.
The conflicts of Antiochus IV with Egypt are predicted in Daniel 11:22-30, which details are amazing. The relevance to the biblical scheme is that these campaigns bring him into direct contact with Israel, since Palestine is between Syria and Egypt. Note the prophetic specifics concerning the hostilities of Antiochus against Israel:
“At the time appointed he shall return and come into the south, but it shall not be this time as it was before. For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw, and shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay attention to those who forsake the holy covenant. Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery, and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time” (Dan. 11:29-35).
  1. The hostilities of Antiochus IV against Israel would happen during more than one Egyptian conflict (Dan. 11:29-30).
  2. Antiochus would take military control of Jerusalem, and especially the temple: “Forces from him shall appear …” (v. 31a).
  3. He would cause the sacrifices to cease: “Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering” (v. 31).
  4. He would “set up the abomination that makes desolate” (v. 31b).
  5. Antiochus would prefer and protect those who “violate the covenant” (v. 32a).
  6. Antiochus would meet resistance (vv. 32b-33).
  7. The righteous would suffer intense persecution (vv. 33-34a).
  8. There would be imposters among the righteous (v. 34b).
  9. These events would result in a purification of the people of God (v. 35).
In view of these verses, consider the following excerpt:
“Antiochus’ hellenizing policies brought him into conflict with the prosperous Oriental temple organizations, and particularly with the Jews. Since Antiochus III’s reign the Jews had enjoyed extensive autonomy under their high priest. They were divided into two parties, the orthodox Hasideans (Pious Ones) and a reform party that favoured Hellenism. For financial reasons Antiochus supported the reform party and, in return for a considerable sum, permitted the high priest, Jason, to build a gymnasium in Jerusalem and to introduce the Greek mode of educating young people. In 172, for an even bigger tribute, he appointed Menelaus in place of Jason. In 169, however, while Antiochus was campaigning in Egypt, Jason conquered Jerusalem—with the exception of the citadel—and murdered many adherents of his rival Menelaus. When Antiochus returned from Egypt in 167 he took Jerusalem by storm and enforced its Hellenization. The city forfeited its privileges and was permanently garrisoned by Syrian soldiers.” (“Antiochus IV Epiphanes,” The Encyclopaedia Britannica 2003 Deluxe Edition, Britannica Corp, 2003).
Skeptics allege that these events were recorded after the fact — that is, they were the work of an historian and not a prophet. They reject the possibility of predictive prophecy, therefore any other explanation will do.
The following quotation summarizes the power and importance of Daniel’s predictions, and it is a fitting conclusion to the thoughts we have entertained. Robert D. Wilson remarks:
“Of course, those who do not believe in God, nor in a revelation from God to man, nor in any superhuman prediction of future events, will reject alike the predictions of Daniel, Jesus, Paul, and John. But for those who call themselves Christians to deny the resurrection, the judgment, the second coming, and other predicted events, is absurd enough to make all the logicians in Hades laugh and all the angels weep … Woe to the so-called Christian who under the pretence of a science falsely so-called denies the reality of revelation. Like Esau, he has sold his birthright of the hope of eternal glory for a mess of pottage, the beggarly elements of worldly wisdom and pride” (Studies in the Book of Daniel, Vol. 2, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1972, p. 270). [3]



Tuesday, January 15, 2013



Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them: Ye shall be holy; for I the LORD your God am holy. 


This commandment is given to the entire community.

God only commands something that we are capable of fulfilling. Failure comes in because we underestimate our abilities.

You do not have to separate yourself from society and go meditate in a forest to become holy. These mitzvot are not for angels. They are mainly interpersonal commandments, such as honoring parents, feeding the poor, not slandering, and not hating in our heart. Being a contributing part of society is a personal obligation. Everyone should aspire to elevate himself, and at the same time aspires to elevate the community. That's why the command to be holy, kedoshim t'hiyu – is written in the plural.

This commandment is given to the entire community. If your being holy enhances your connection to the community, then you are behaving correctly. But if it causes a separation between you and those around you, that is incorrect. Our actions  should always be gauged by what will bring the biggest Kiddush Hashem, sanctification of God’s Holy Name.

Performing altruistic acts without the expectation of reciprocity is one of the greatest godly-attributes. Most religions of the East and West are bogged down by the pre-occupation with what God is or isn’t. For certain, the more we attempt to paint a picture or imagine what He looks like, the more elusive will become the effort to find Him. Emphasizing deed over creed will prove more productive.

The doctrine of the imitation of God is related to the biblical account of the creation of man in the image of God, which acknowledges a resemblance between man and his Creator. Yet man is to imitate God, not impersonate Him (see Gen. 3:5). The main biblical sources for the injunction to imitate God are found in the command to be holy as God is holy and to walk in God's way (Lev. 19:2; Deut. 10:12, 11:22, 26:17).

Man is to be God-like in his actions, but he cannot aspire to be God. This distinguishes the biblical notion from the pagan attempts to achieve apotheosis or absorption in the deity. 
Man is to imitate God in loving the stranger (Deut. 10:18–19); in resting on the Sabbath (Ex. 20:10–11); and in other ethical actions.

"Be like Him. Just as He is gracious and merciful, so be thou also gracious and merciful" 
What is meant is that man ought to walk after [imitate] the attributes of God. Just as the Lord clothes the naked, so you shall clothe the naked. Just as He visits the sick, so you shall visit the sick. Just as the Lord comforted the bereaved, so you shall also comfort the bereaved; just as He buried the dead, so you shall bury the dead"
A person should not adhere to a standard of holiness that could have a negative effect on the community.  source:


1) The essence of the holiness which every person must strive for is to observe the Covenant in purity. The way to achieve this is by sanctifying the way you speak. You must speak only words of holiness and keep yourself from any lapse into language which is not holy. Then whatever you say will be in `the Holy Tongue,' and through this you will achieve the holiness of the Covenant (19).

2) You must sanctify your mouth, your nose, your eyes and your ears. You must guard your mouth against words of falsehood and anything else which falls short of holiness. You must develop your fear of Heaven in order to sanctify your nostrils. Your ears will be holy when you believe in the Sages and listen to their words. And you must close your eyes and shut out anything which is not good for you to see. The sanctity you attain will bring you perfect understanding, and you will have wisdom, which is God's blessing, and ruach hakodesh, the holy spirit. Another way of sanctifying your nostrils, is if you are humble and patient and do not burst out in anger if someone insults you (The Hebrew expression for anger is a `burning in the nostrils'). The way to sanctify your ears is to be one who is `faithful in spirit and concealeth a matter' (Proverbs 11:13) he is careful not to reveal a secret which there is no need to reveal (21).

3) One who is prepared to sacrifice himself for the sake of sanctifying God's Name will attain peace, and through this the ability to speak holy words of Torah and prayer and to bind the thoughts in the mind to the words which the mouth is speaking. In order to pray with devotion, have in mind that you are willing to sacrifice yourself entirely in order to sanctify God's Name. To achieve perfect prayer, you must pray with a spirit of total self sacrifice (80).

4) It has been proved many times that even the most worthless of Jews, even the sinners of Israel are prepared to sacrifice themselves for the sanctification of God's Name if someone tries to force them to violate the Torah. Each day you should remind yourself that you would be ready to give your life to sanctify God's Name. This is the essence of Israel's holiness. You will then attain peace and be able to pray with true devotion (Ibid.).

5) When you recite the Shema you should say the words in a spirit of total self-sacrifice for the sake of God's Name. Picture in your mind the four death penalties imposed by the Beth Din stoning, strangulation, burning and the sword. You should imagine every detail so vividly that you can literally feel the pain of dying. Thought has a very great power. By imagining yourself dying you can literally come to feel the pangs of death. But be careful not to dwell on these thoughts for too long, because otherwise your soul could literally leave you, God forbid, causing premature death (195).

6) Self-sacrifice for the sake of God brings unity to the worlds above (260).
7) There are certain Tzaddikim who have a very great name and who are known very widely. Yet people hold them in contempt and talk against them. They suffer mercilessly because of this, but it is something they take on themselves in order to sanctify God's Name, and because of it they can save thousands of Jewish souls from slaughter and death, God forbid (Ibid.).

8) Each person has something in his life which is more of a barrier for him than anything else. This is precisely the barrier he has to break in order to serve God. This is his task in life. It is his own way of sacrificing himself. Someone who is very afraid of dying must be more ready than anyone to give up his life to sanctify God's Name (Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom 57).


Friday, January 11, 2013

Breslov Repair Kit: True Love: "All you need is love."

Breslov Repair Kit: True Love

…the Rebbe said, “Even when I am not worthy of serving G-d, I am satisfied to let another serve Him. This is a very important thing to grasp.
I heard this from the Rebbe’s own lips and it seems obvious to me. Even though I may not be worthy, I still long for everyone to be truly righteous. I would like nothing better than for all my friends to be great Tzadikim. This would be my greatest expression of love and friendship.
This is how you must love your fellow man. You should want him to attain his true goal in life as ordained by G-d’s goodness. This is true Jewish love.—Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom, BRI
All you need is love.—John Lennon, The Beatles
Is Love A Feeling?
The Shma, an essential Jewish prayer which affirms our personal (and our people’s) connection to Hashem, affirms the fact that He is all, everything, one. It also commands us to love G-d with all our soul, heart, and might.
Those who grew up ingrained with non-Jewish beliefs might find this odd or counterintuitive. Isn’t love a feeling? How can you command someone to feel something?
But in Judaism love is far more than a feeling. Love means that you must wrestle with, subdue, transform, or rise above the part of you which pulls you away from G-dliness. This part is called the “yetzer hara” or evil inclination.
Whether your negative impulses take the form of actions, speech, thoughts, or feelings, Judaism tells us that we actually are able to de-emphasize the less positive, darker part of ourselves, and infuse ourselves with light and joy and love.
In Judaism, love must lead to action. In Judaism love does mean having to say you’re sorry (at least sometimes).  With practice, positivity snowballs and we’re able to banish painful feelings and impulses.
Most psychologists would disagree.
The Age of Feelings
In the secular world, especially since the 1960s, all feelings, including anger, hatred, jealousy, and so on, are considered normal and healthy. We should experience all these feelings, so they say, because they are authentic. Authenticity is very important in the age of feelings.
Not only are hatred, anger, and so on considered authentic and normal, but some psychologists encourage people to explore these painful feelings.  In some cases, therapists encourage people to re-experience these feelings over and again, via talk-therapy (and talk-shows.)
Now, of course suppression (burying or ignoring) all painful feelings is not healthy. There are times when each of us must talk about what is bothering us. In some cases, emotional injury is so great that processing (by talking about) the pain is very healing.
But, there seems to be a dangerous phenomenon in modern psychotherapy which is supported by the media.  This phenomenon encourages people to repeatedly focus intently on what’s paining them, so much so that they actually increase their negative feelings instead of relieving them.
By surrendering to negative feelings, by venting over and over again, you may be allowing these feelings to spiral out of control.  Then, the feelings control you.
This, of course, is not healthy for body, mind or soul.
True Love
It’s interesting that the negative feelings we have about others (and sometimes ourselves), such as anger, hatred, and jealousy are all the opposite of one feeling: love.
(Not the popular version of love, which is really romantic love. That kind of love is really desire, not love.)
We’re talking about true love.
True Jewish love, according to Rebbe Nachman, isn’t about satisfying your own desires by having someone else fulfill them. True Jewish love is about having the desire to see someone else fulfilled.
For Rebbe Nachman, praying for someone else to grow spiritually, even if our own spiritual achievements pale in comparison, is the essence of love.
The Rebbe teaches us that Jews don’t fall in love, we rise in love.
Love is something to be lived up to, and there is simply no secular counterpart.
To the Rebbe, the highest, truest, love is love that cannot coexist with overt or hidden hatred, resentment, anger, or especially envy and jealousy.
Envy is the desire to possess something someone else has. Jealousy is the fear that someone else might take something away from you. Both display a lack of emunah, faith.
Hashem gives each person exactly what he or she needs in order to complete their mission here on earth and if you wish you had what someone else has, or wish that they didn’t have it at all, that means emunah is lacking.
Do I Want Everyone To Be A Tzaddik?
But, we’re human. We have twinges of envy and jealousy and sometimes mixtures of the two. She’s more popular, he’s richer. They’ve got straight-A children; that couple seems happier than us.  His products sell more (maybe there won’t be enough customers for mine!); my students look up to her more than me (this makes me inferior), and so on.
The Rebbe tells us that we are not only capable of conquering these feelings, we are capable of much, much more.
But what about spiritual envy or jealousy? Can we have enough strength of character to not be jealous, to even rejoice when someone else achieves a level of spiritual success beyond our own?
In order for us to truly have the kind of love the Rebbe talks about, we have to the love which desires that other people, even everyone we know, will become spiritually great. Even if we’re not! That is a deep, true love indeed. And that’s the love the Rebbe calls true Jewish love.
It’s also the ultimate love, the love that feels no pangs at all even if we’re the only one left on earth who isn’t a tzaddik!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What Happens After We Die?

What Happens After We Die?

One of the fundamental beliefs of Judaism is that life does not begin with birth, nor does it end with death. This is articulated in the verse in Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), “And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to G‑d, who gave it.”1

The Lubavitcher Rebbe would often point out that a basic law of physics (known as the First Law of Thermodynamics) is that no energy is ever “lost” or destroyed; it only assumes another form. If such is the case with physical energy, how much more so a spiritual entity such as the soul, whose existence is not limited by time, space, or any of the other delineators of the physical state. Certainly, the spiritual energy that in the human being is the source of sight and hearing, emotion and intellect, will and consciousness does not cease to exist merely because the physical body has ceased to function; rather, it passes from one form of existence (physical life as expressed and acted via the body) to a higher, exclusively spiritual form of existence.

While there are numerous stations in a soul’s journey, these can generally be grouped into four general phases:

the wholly spiritual existence of the soul before it enters the body;
physical life;
post-physical life in Gan Eden (the “Garden of Eden,” also called “Heaven” and “Paradise”);
the “world to come” (olam haba) that follows the resurrection of the dead.
What are these four phases, and why are all four necessary?

To See or Not to See: The Free Choice Paradox

As discussed at length in chassidic teaching,2 the ultimate purpose of the soul is fulfilled during the time it spends in this physical world making this world “a dwelling-place for G‑d” by finding and expressing G‑dliness in everyday life through its fulfillment of the mitzvot.

But for our actions in this world to have true significance, they must be the product of our free choice. If we were to experience the power and beauty of the divine presence we bring into the world with our mitzvot, we would always choose what is right, and thereby lose our autonomy. The obvious becomes robotic. Our accomplishments would not be ours, any more than it is an “accomplishment” that we eat three meals a day and avoid jumping into fire.

Hence, this crucial stage of our lives is enacted under the conditions of almost total spiritual blackout: in a world in which the divine reality is hidden, in which our purpose in life is not obvious; a world in which “all its affairs are severe and evil, and wicked men prevail.”3 In such a world, our positive and G‑dly actions are truly our own choice and achievement.

On the other hand, however, how would it be possible at all to discover, and act upon, goodness and truth under such conditions? If the soul is plunged into such a G‑dless world, and cut off from all knowledge of the divine, by what means could it ever discover the path of truth?

This is why the soul exists in a purely spiritual state before it descends in to this world. In its pre-physical existence, the soul is fortified with the divine wisdom, knowledge and vision that will empower it in its struggles to transcend and transform the physical reality.

In the words of the Talmud: “The fetus in its mother’s womb is taught the entire Torah . . . When its time comes to emerge into the atmosphere of the world, an angel comes and slaps it on its mouth, making it forget everything.”4

An obvious question: If we’re made to forget it all, why teach it to us in the first place? But herein lies the entire paradox of knowledge and choice: we can’t see the truth, we can’t even manifestly know it, but at the same time we do know it, deep inside us. Deep enough that we can choose to ignore it, but also deep enough that wherever we are and whatever we become, we can always choose to unearth it. This, in the final analysis, is choice: our choice to pursue the knowledge implanted in our soul, or to suppress it.

The Mutual Exclusivity of Achievement and Reward

Thus the stage is set for phase 2: the tests, trials and tribulations of physical life. The characteristics of the physical—its finiteness, its opaqueness, its self-centeredness, its tendency to conceal what lies behind it—form a heavy veil that obscures virtually all knowledge and memory of our divine source. And yet, deep down we know right from wrong. Somehow we know that life is meaningful, that we are here to fulfill a divine purpose; somehow, when confronted with a choice between a G‑dly action and an unG‑dly one, we know the difference. The knowledge is faint—a dim, subconscious memory from a prior, spiritual state. We can silence it, or amplify it—the choice is ours.

Everything physical is, by definition, finite; indeed, that is what makes it a concealment of the infinitude of the divine. Intrinsic to physical life is that it is finite in time: it ends. Once it ends—once our soul is freed from its physical embodiment—we can no longer achieve and accomplish. But now, finally, we can behold and derive satisfaction from what we have accomplished.

The two are mutually exclusive: achievement precludes satisfaction; satisfaction precludes achievement. Achievement can take place only in the spiritual blindness of the physical world; satisfaction can take place only in the choice-less environment of the spiritual reality.

The Talmud quotes the verse: “You shall keep the mitzvah, the decrees and the laws which I command you today to do them.”5 “Today to do them,” explains the Talmud, “but not to do them tomorrow. Today to do them, and tomorrow to receive their reward.”6 The Ethics expresses it thus: “A single moment of repentance and good deeds in this world is greater than all of the world to come. And a single moment of bliss in the world to come is greater than all of this world.”7

It’s as if we spent a hundred years watching an orchestra performing a symphony on television—with the sound turned off. We watched the hand movements of the conductor and the musicians. Sometimes we asked: why are the people on the screen making all these strange motions to no purpose? Sometimes we understood that a great piece of music was being played, but didn’t hear a single note. After a hundred years of watching in silence, we watch it again—this time with the sound turned on.

The orchestra is ourselves, and the music—played well or poorly—is the deeds of our lives.

What is Heaven and Hell?

Heaven and hell are where the soul receives its reward and punishment after death. Yes, Judaism believes in, and Jewish traditional sources extensively discuss, punishment and reward in the afterlife (indeed, it is one of the “Thirteen Principles” of Judaism enumerated by Maimonides). But these are a very different “heaven” and “hell” than what one finds described in medieval Christian texts or New Yorker cartoons. Heaven is not a place of halos and harps, nor is hell populated by those red creatures with pitchforks depicted on the label of non-kosher canned meat.

After death, the soul returns to its divine Source, together with all the G‑dliness it has “extracted” from the physical world by using it for meaningful purposes. The soul now relives its experiences on another plane, and experiences the good it accomplished during its physical lifetime as incredible happiness and pleasure, and the negative as incredibly painful.

This pleasure and pain are not reward and punishment in the conventional sense—in the sense that we might punish a criminal by sending him to jail, or reward a dedicated employee with a raise. It is rather that we experience our own life in its reality—a reality from which we were sheltered during our physical lifetimes. We experience the true import and effect of our actions. Turning up the volume on that TV set with that symphony orchestra can be intensely pleasurable, or intensely painful8—depending on how we played the music of our lives.

When the soul departs from the body, it stands before the heavenly court to give a “judgment and accounting” of its earthly life.9 But the heavenly court does only the “accounting” part; the “judgment” part—that, only the soul itself can do.10 Only the soul can pass judgment on itself; only it can know and sense the true extent of what it accomplished, or neglected to accomplish, in the course of its physical life. Freed from the limitations and concealments of the physical state, it can now see G‑dliness; it can now look back at its own life and experience what it truly was. The soul’s experience of the G‑dliness it brought into the world with its mitzvot and positive actions is the exquisite pleasure of Gan Eden (the “Garden of Eden”—Paradise); its experience of the destructiveness it wrought through its lapses and transgressions is the excruciating pain of Gehinnom (“Gehenna” or “Purgatory”).

The truth hurts. The truth also cleanses and heals. The spiritual pain of Gehinnom—the soul’s pain in facing the truth of its life—cleanses and heals the soul of the spiritual stains and blemishes that its failings and misdeeds have attached to it. Freed of this husk of negativity, the soul is now able to fully enjoy the immeasurable good that its life engendered, and “bask in the divine radiance” emitted by the G‑dliness it brought into the world.

For a G‑dly soul spawns far more good in its lifetime than evil. The core of the soul is unadulterated goodness; the good we accomplish is infinite, the evil but shallow and superficial. So even the most wicked of souls, say our sages, experiences at most twelve months of Gehinnom, followed by an eternity of heaven. Furthermore, a soul’s experience of Gehinnom can be mitigated by the action of his or her children and loved ones, here on earth. Reciting kaddish and engaging in other good deeds “in merit of” and “for the elevation of” the departed soul means that the soul, in effect, is continuing to act positively upon the physical world, thereby adding to the goodness of its physical lifetime.11

The soul, for its part, remains involved in the lives of those it leaves behind when it departs physical life. The soul of a parent continues to watch over the lives of his or her children and grandchildren, to derive pride (or pain) from their deeds and accomplishments, and to intercede on their behalf before the heavenly throne; the same applies to those to whom a soul was connected with bonds of love, friendship and community. In fact, because the soul is no longer constricted by the limitations of the physical state, its relationship with its loved ones is, in many ways, even deeper and more meaningful than before.

However, while the departed soul is aware and cognizant of all that transpires in the lives of its loved ones, the souls remaining in the physical world are limited to what they can perceive via the five senses as facilitated by their physical bodies. We can impact the soul of a departed loved one through our positive actions, but we cannot communicate with it through the conventional means (speech, sight, physical contact, etc.) that, prior to its passing, defined the way that we related to each other. (Indeed, the Torah expressly forbids the idolatrous practices of necromancy, mediumism and similar attempts to “make contact” with the world of the dead.) Hence, the occurrence of death, while signifying an elevation for the soul of the departed, is experienced as a tragic loss for those it leaves behind.

Reincarnation: A Second Go

Each individual soul is dispatched to the physical world with its own individualized mission to accomplish. As Jews, we all have the same Torah with the same 613 mitzvot; but each of us has his or her own set of challenges, distinct talents and capabilities, and particular mitzvot which form the crux of his or her mission in life.

At times, a soul may not conclude its mission in a single lifetime. In such cases, it returns to earth for a “second go” to complete the job. This is the concept of gilgul neshamot—commonly referred to as “reincarnation”—extensively discussed in the teachings of Kabbalah.12 This is why we often find ourselves powerfully drawn to a particular mitzvah or cause and make it the focus of our lives, dedicating to it a seemingly disproportionate part of our time and energy: it is our soul gravitating to the “missing pieces” of its divinely ordained purpose.13

The World to Come

Just as the individual soul passes through three stages—preparation for its mission, the mission itself, and the subsequent phase of satisfaction and reward—so, too, does creation as a whole. A chain of spiritual “worlds” precedes the physical reality, to serve it as a source of divine vitality and empowerment. Then comes the era of olam hazeh (“this world”), in which the divine purpose of creation is played out. Finally, once humanity as a whole has completed its mission of making the physical world a “dwelling-place for G‑d,” comes the era of universal reward—the “world to come” (olam haba).

There is a major difference between a soul’s individual “world of reward” in Gan Eden, and the universal reward of the world to come. Gan Eden is a spiritual world, inhabited by souls without physical bodies; the world to come is a physical world, inhabited by souls with physical bodies14 (though the very nature of the physical will undergo a fundamental transformation).

In the world to come, the physical reality will so perfectly “house” and reflect the divine reality that it will transcend the finitude and temporality which define it today. Thus, while in today’s imperfect world the soul can experience “reward” only after it departs from the body and physical life, in the world to come the soul and body will be reunited and will together enjoy the fruits of their labor. Thus, the prophets of Israel spoke of a time when all who died will be restored to life: their bodies will be regenerated15 and their souls restored to their bodies. “Death will be eradicated forever,”16 and “the world will be filled with the knowledge of G‑d as the water covers the seabed.”17

This, of course, will spell the end of the “Era of Achievement.”18 The veil of physicality, rarefied to complete transparency, will no longer conceal the truth of G‑d, but will rather express it and reveal it in an even more profound way than the most lofty spiritual reality. Goodness and G‑dliness will cease to be something we do and achieve, for it will be what we are. Our experience of goodness will be absolute. Body and soul both, reunited as they were before they were separated by death, will inhabit all the good that we accomplished with our freely chosen actions in the challenges and concealments of physical life.

1. Ecclesiastes 12:7.
2. See Body: The Physical World According to Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, and our articles on The Purpose of Creation and A Dwelling for G‑d in the Physical World.
3. Tanya, chapter 6.
4. Talmud, Niddah 30b.
5. Deuteronomy 7:11.
6. Talmud, Eruvin 22a.
7. Ethics of the Fathers 4:17.
8. Thus the sages speak about a “Gehenna of fire,” in which we experience the full destructive “heat” of our illicit desires, anger and hatreds; and a “Gehenna of snow,” in which we are exposed to the “coldness” of our moments of indifference to G‑d and to our fellows.
9. Ethics of the Fathers 3:1, et al.
10. Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov.
11. This is why there is a greater emphasis on the recitation of kaddish and other actions for the elevation of a departed soul during the first year after death.
12. Indeed, the Kabbalists say that these days—after nearly six thousand years of human history—a “new” soul is a rarity; the overwhelming majority of us are reincarnated souls, returned to earth to fill the gaps of a previous lifetime.
13. For more on the subject, see our articles on reincarnation.
14. This is actually a matter of contention between two great Jewish thinkers and Torah authorities, Maimonides and Nachmanides; the teachings of Kabbalah and Chassidism follow the approach of Nachmanides, who sees the ultimate reward as occurring in a world of embodied souls. For more on this, see The Resurrection of the Dead.
15. Interestingly, long before the discovery of genetics and DNA, the Talmud talks about a tiny, indestructible bone in the body called luz, from which the entire body will be “rebuilt” after it returned to dust.
16. Isaiah 25:8.
17. Ibid. 11:9.
18. The Talmud goes so far as to quote the verse (Ecclesiastes 12:1), “There will come years of which you will say: I have no desire in them,” and declare: “This refers to the days of the messianic era, in which there is neither merit nor obligation” (Talmud, Shabbat 151b).


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Magic Hair Doctrine - Enough of this Hair-esy!

Enough of this Hair-esy!

This blog is authored by Todd Weber, minister.  You can find his original post here

This doctrine declares that a woman's uncut hair has mystical power to call down angels, and force God to answer prayer requests. The uncut hair is protection from demonic forces in a woman's house, but only if it is completely uncut.

Power Before the Throne, by Ruth Rieder-Harvey
Lee Stoneking states, "This book is a must for every woman of God who wishes to make her calling and election sure in His great kingdom." Ruth Rieder fearlessly raises her voice regarding God's purpose for women. She gives strong biblical reasons for women to have long, uncut hair. 

Holy Magic Hair

As an introduction, we encourage you to listen to the following videos of a June 29, 2008 sermon by an evangelist named, Lee Stoneking, who teaches a Holy Magic Hair Doctrine.

June 22nd Update

Updated June 22, 2013. Mr Stonekings Magic Hair video's been deleted? (Below)

  • Power of angels?
  • God compelled to pour out his gift of the Holy Spirit because of uncut hair?
  • Receiving the Baptism of the Holy Ghost through the laying of hair?
  • A distinct anointing?
  • No results in prayer?  Losing authority in prayer?
  • The devil knows we carry the glory of God in our hair?
  • A woman can gain power with God by having her hair grow long?

    Cutting hair is a salvational matter?

Enough of this Hair-esy!

It seems clear now that leaders of the UPCI, and therefore the organization itself, is taking a stand in favor of the damnable heresy known by its opponents as Magic Hair Doctrine, which has flourished in our ranks for many years. In spite of apparently increasing numbers of opponents and the rising din of voices against it, the doctrine continues to advance unchecked by those in leadership.

My ire was raised when reading the first article (after the predictably alarmist editorial) in the July 2009 issue of the Pentecostal Herald titled “Memorials,” authored by none other than the foremost contemporary champion of MH doctrine, Ruth (formerly Rieder) Harvey (p.7). Following four paragraphs describing some of our nation’s hallowed war memorials and the value of remembering the costly sacrifices of our forebears, she stated the importance of “revisiting the landmarks erected by our spiritual forefathers” which “stand in mute testimony to their consecrated lives.” She noted that there has been a “changing of the guard. Our elders are passing the torch to this generation and entrusting us with their memorials.” She then quoted Proverbs 22:28 and 23:10 which warn against removing “the ancient landmark.”

Given the fact that Harvey is known far and wide for tireless and fervent advocacy of MH doctrine, including authorship of numerous books and speaking at countless conferences on the subject, only the most naïve observer would deny that such prominent placement of this article within the official organ of the UPCI amounts to tacit approval of MH doctrine at the highest levels.

Having personally opposed this heresy to the General Superintendent some years ago with a plea for corrective action, I am deeply disappointed that no repudiation has come forth. Meanwhile, this devilish teaching continues to flourish unabated, ensnaring many sincere believers and turning their faith and hope away from the only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Furthermore, embarrassing and repugnant cultish expressions and behaviors continue to abound across the fellowship bringing reproach upon Christ and the gospel before the world, with many adherents going so far as to quote the writings of witches and pagans to justify their biblically insupportable dogma.

It is long past time for the UPCI to take a clear and unequivocal official stand against MH doctrine, regardless of who may be embarrassed or offended. Frankly, as a member of the generation receiving the aforementioned torch, I refuse to honor and champion any doctrine built on so tenuous a foundation and producing such bizarre and questionable acts as have been witnessed and documented among its adherents. If there is no more serious regard for truth and biblical accuracy among the leaders of the UPCI, then I don’t think I can take their torch without being burned.

Power Before the Throne, by Ruth Rieder-Harvey
A Book Review by Todd K. Weber   

I appreciate and respect Ruth Rieder-Harvey’s love for God and zeal for holiness.  There is no doubt that living in holiness is an essential element of a right relationship with God.  We live in a fallen world that is horribly corrupted by sin.  Jesus Christ has provided humanity a way of escape from sin, and when a person is saved by the new birth experience, their life should be transformed into a holy instrument of godliness, free from the controlling power of sin, for this is the will of God and the work of His grace.  

The main focus of this review is to address subject matter in the book which is both unbiblical and potentially harmful.  I am surprised and disappointed that such a spurious and harmful doctrine is earnestly propagated in books, articles and conferences.  I have waited patiently for some respected voice to speak up on this, but to my knowledge none have.           
Guardians of the Glory? 

The real trouble begins on page 55, with the chapter heading: “Guardians of the Glory.”  I quote:            
 “The cherubim, one of the angelic orders, seem to be particularly assigned the responsibility of guarding the glory of God. The verses that place them beside the throne of God and ever on guard are Psalm 80:1, Psalm 99:1, and Isaiah 37:16. Thus, Lucifer, as the anointed cherub, was set forth as the chief guardian of the glory of God.”   
Since when does God need anyone or anything to guard His glory?  None of the verses cited state, either explicitly or implicitly, that cherubim – or anything else – guard the glory of God.  For one thing, who or what would they be guarding against?  And, is God not able to defend Himself?  Consider the following: 
 “The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works.”  (Psalm 104:31)
 “For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.”  (Isaiah 48:11)  
When Lucifer rebelled, was it the angels who cast him out of heaven?  Of course not.  While the angels have served to guard various things, God’s glory is not, nor ever has been, their charge. By itself, this point may not be worth debating.  However, it is used here as a basis for further distortions and misrepresentations; therefore, it is central to the issue and must be discussed.  The idea that God’s glory is so fragile and assailable as to require both angelic and human (namely, female) protection is ridiculous.  Even a cursory review of scriptures relating to the glory of God reveals that it is entirely God’s domain, and that He alone is the protector and preserver of it.  In fact, since God’s glory is intrinsic to His very nature; that is, you cannot separate God from His glory, nor His glory from Himself; it is impossible to tamper with the glory of God in any way, shape or form.  To corrupt God’s glory would be to corrupt God Himself, and since this can never be done, the point is erroneous. This seemingly innocuous misrepresentation of scripture becomes the foundation for the doctrinal house-of-cards erected throughout the remainder of the book.  From page 65 comes this disturbing section, following a quotation of Ezekiel 28:14, 16:  
Lucifer’s main responsibility was as the covering cherub that guarded the glory of God.  When he was cast out, he lost his covering. God in His amazing and poetic nature delegated Lucifer’s lost estate to the woman. “For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. But if a woman have long hair, it is a GLORY to her: for her hair is given her for a COVERING (1 Corinthians 11:10 and 15).  This issue of the hair is of major proportions. The enemy tempts women over and over to tamper with the covering because it symbolizes to him everything that he lost. When he sees a saint of God who is a guardian of the glory, he gnashes his teeth in frustration and anger…Women are now the “Guardians of the Glory.” As the aforementioned Scripture declares, it is a glory to the woman. The glory is not hers but is the glory of God residing upon her and in her life.” (Emphasis is Rieder‘s.) 

There are several points in this paragraph which need to be addressed as follows. 
1) Ezekiel 28 is addressed to the king (“prince,“ KJV) of the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre or Tyrus, on the Mediterranean coast.  This chapter is part of a series in which God declares His judgment against several heathen kings.  The King James syntax has led some to conclude this is a reference to Lucifer’s fall, but this is tenuous at best, and certainly not grounds upon which to build a doctrine. 
2) As previously stated, Lucifer was not responsible for guarding the glory of God.   

3) If Ezekiel 28 were a reference to Lucifer, then, when cast out of heaven he would not have lost his covering, but his position as the “covering cherub.”   

4) The Bible never in any place states or implies that God has “delegated Lucifer’s lost estate to the woman.”  That is utter nonsense. While the statement “because of the angels” is a point on which there is disagreement among Biblical scholars, there is certainly no basis for the author’s incredible assertions.    
5) The word “for” in 1 Corinthians 11:15 means “instead of,“ or “in place of;” thus, the woman’s hair is given to her “instead of a covering.“  (Strong’s Concordance #473: “‘anti,’ Meaning:  1) over against, opposite to, before 2) for, instead of, in place of (something) 2a) instead of 2b) for 2c) for that, because 2d) wherefore, for this cause“.)  This in itself turns Rieder-Harvey’s ideas on their head, so to speak.  

6) Saints of God, male or female, are not “guardians of the glory.”   

7) The author’s interpretation of “glory” is likewise faulty. Again, Strong’s Concordance, #1391: “‘doxa,’ Meaning:  1) opinion, judgment, view 2) opinion, estimate, whether good or bad concerning someone 2a) in the NT always a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honour, and glory…” (The full meaning and use of the word is much more broad than this, but this definition is relevant to the context.)  The phrase, “It is a glory to her” means that it speaks well of her as a woman who is devoted to God.  Her hair is simply a symbol of her faith relationship – nothing more.  
The author continues to draw out her erroneous points in later paragraphs, and then makes this unfounded claim on page 67:            
The woman’s hair is a type and shadow of the covering that Jesus provided for his church.”   
What is the basis for such a preposterous claim, other than her own imagination?  There is no such thing stated or implied anywhere in the Bible.  

Superstition and Magic 
On page 68, we find this statement:            
When a woman cuts her hair, she actually severs the glory of God from her life. The angels will lift and depart, for they are committed to the glory.”     
This conclusion is based on her faulty interpretation of 1 Corinthians 11:10, 15, as previously addressed. 

First, a woman’s hair is not the “glory of God.”  Second, her hair is given her instead of a covering, which covering Rieder incorrectly associates with God’s glory. Third, our faith and attention should be directed to Jesus Christ, not angels.  While the Bible certainly reveals that angels are “ministering spirits,” our hope, confidence and security should be wholly in Christ alone.
Also on page 68, the author claims that since the “armor of God” (presumably from Ephesians 6:11, although not stated) does not include protection for the back, God has provided such protection in a woman’s hair, based on Isaiah 58:8 (“…the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.”).  If this were true, then what about a man’s back?  Did God leave men vulnerable to attack from behind, but made women more secure?  Of course not.  Then she ties this idea to Titus 2:5 (“To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”) to make the point that women are “to be a guard that will beware of any evil that would try to come into your homes” (p. 69), followed by the statement, “Your uncut hair brings protection to your entire family” (p. 69).  In order to prove her point, the author relates a story involving a young married couple who were Bible school students.  Apparently, the husband committed adultery, and “their lives were shattered, and their ministry was completely ruined.”  This is alleged to have occurred as a result of the wife’s prior indiscretion of cutting her hair: “the spirit of vanity had caused her to become more concerned about the appearance of her split ends than about her obedience to God” (p. 69).    
This is irresponsible, manipulative and misleading.  It is one of several anecdotes which the author uses to give credence to her fallacious claims, which amount to nothing more than superstition, making female hair a sort of magic talisman to keep at bay the lurking evil spirits which would otherwise invade and take over the home and family, and against which men are otherwise powerless.  But wait, there’s more: 
Can our husband’s hearts safely trust in us to guard the glory and to insure divine protection for our family so that no wicked spirit can enter in to spoil us?” (p. 70) 
Can the Lord depend on you to guard the glory faithfully and diligently?” (p. 70)
Husbands are put there as a safeguard for the woman as she carries out this wondrously important duty that God has entrusted to her hands…guarding the glory and insuring divine protection for your family.” (p. 72, 73)   
This appears to be a new brand of feminism.  The author is promoting a pseudo-spiritual role-reversal under the pretense of preserving God-given roles outlined in the eleventh chapter of First Corinthians.  

The contradiction is obvious.
I am very disturbed by the author’s views noted above, and by the eager acceptance of them by many sincere believers.  Such doctrines turn our attention away from the efficacy and sufficiency of the blood and the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and salvation by grace through faith, and instead move us toward superstition and cultic fanaticism.   

I wonder if such ideas stem from a sense of inferiority and/or inadequacy.  It seems to be an effort to elevate Christian women to a higher station than some may presently realize for themselves.  If Christian women lack a sense of meaning, purpose or privilege, it is not because the word of God denies it them.  It may, however, be the result of erroneous teaching and practice by spiritual leaders who manipulate God’s word to suit their own predisposition.  Clearly, God has given women a high and honorable role in the family, the church and the world, and equal claim to the divine gifts and calling as their male counterparts.  It is therefore not necessary, nor beneficial, to concoct erroneous theories and dogma in order to give Christian women a sense of empowerment.
The great salvation received by way of sound Biblical doctrine is a wonderful thing which ought to be shouted from the rooftops all over the world, regardless of what others may think or say.  But, such error as found in Power Before The Throne hurts the cause of the gospel, and casts a shadow of careless Biblical exegesis and cultism upon many believers and churches.  Promoting such non-Biblical doctrines and misinterpretations erodes peoples’ confidence in both the truth and relevance of the Bible and in our ability to communicate it with integrity.  Any doctrine which cannot be solidly supported by scripture must be laid aside, lest we be found to add to or take away from God’s holy word.
I do not doubt that Ruth Rieder-Harvey’s intentions are noble.  Nor do I question her sincere devotion to Jesus Christ.  However, it is disappointing and regretable that she feels it necessary to create such elaborate and fantastic interpretations of the scriptures in order to promote holiness and consecration to God among women.  I have not read the sequels to Power Before the Throne, but if they build on the ideas presented in this book, they will serve only to propagate the errors contained therein, and to turn the hope and confidence of many Christians away from the Lord Jesus Christ, and add to the ammunition of critics of the faith.  God forbid. [sic] 

"Any doctrine which cannot be solidly supported by scripture must be laid aside, lest we be found to add to or take away from God’s holy word."?   

The Bible’s Teaching about Hair Length:
Culture or Command?

Presented by David K. Bernard

The New Testament contains teaching about the respective hair lengths of men and women. Most denominational churches consider it to be merely a cultural teaching that does not apply today. Some interpret the passage in question to mean that women must pray with a type of cloth on their heads. Most conservative churches at one time taught women to have long hair, and some continue to do so today.
All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God** (II Timothy 3:16). We should not ignore any passage of Scripture, for each is precious and important. [Note: The only Scripture Sha'ul (Paul) is referring is the TaNaCH, the Old Testament. There was not a NT written, these letters were compiled much later.]  We should especially heed instructions to the New Testament church, for we are part of that church. Let us analyze this passage of Scripture in that light.

Bear in mind, the Jewish Scriptures were written in Hebrew, not in seventeenth century King James English. What has made Christian believers so vulnerable to Bible tampering is that almost none of them can read or understand the Hebrew Bible in its original language. Virtually no Christian child in the world is taught the Hebrew language as part of a formal Christian education. As he and countless other Christians earnestly study the Authorized Version of the Bible, there is a blinding yet prevailing assumption that what you are reading is Heaven-breathedTragically, virtually every Christian in the world reads the translation of men rather than the Word of God. On the other hand, every Jewish child in the world who is enrolled in a Jewish school is taught to read and write Hebrew long before he or she even heard the name of Luther.
One of many examples of Scripture Tampering.

Unbeknownst to Mr. Bernard and parishioners worldwide, the King James Version and numerous other Christian Bible translations were meticulously shaped and painstakingly retrofitted in order to produce a message that would sustain and advance Church theology and exegesis. This aggressive rewriting of biblical texts has had a devastating impact on Christians throughout the world who unhesitatingly embrace these corrupt translations. As a result, Christians earnestly wonder why the Jews, who are the bearers and protectors of the divine oracles of God, have not willingly accepted Jesus as their messiah. [1]

**Please Note:
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

2Pe 3:16  Indeed, he [Paul] speaks about these things in all his letters. They contain some things that are hard to understand, things which the uninstructed and unstable distort, to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 

Act 17:11  Now the people here were of nobler character than the ones in Thessalonica; they eagerly welcomed the message, checking the Tanakh every day to see if the things Sha'ul was saying were true. CJB

Shaul preached for three Sabbaths in the synagogue in Thessalonica. He preached from Scriptures (Old Testament, including Torah). It’s important to understand synagogue worship a bit. The synagogue read from the Torah, and the Writings, and the Prophets on every Shabbat. Shaul was preaching from JEWISH scrolls kept only at the synagogue, as they were too expensive for most to have personal copies of them.

The synagogue was the place where the scriptures were kept and studied DAILY (Acts 17:11) , and especially on Shabbat. The message of Jacob in chapter 15, therefore, is that MOSES would continue to be declared on the Sabbath, and the new Gentile converts would have plenty of time to learn to live their new life in Messiah.

Verse 11 shows Paul in another synagogue. Verse 17 shows him in yet another in Athens.
Acts 18:1

Next, he’s in Corinth, reasoning with Jews and gentiles in the synagogue on EVERY SHABBAT. Reasoning over what?

What scriptures did he expound? What was he teaching them? He was teaching from the OLD TESTAMENT. At this point, the gospels we know had not even been written! The gospel was preached from the Torah! [the Tanakh ] 

"Although the belief in the unity of God is taught and declared on virtually every page of the Jewish Scriptures, the doctrine of the Trinity is never mentioned anywhere throughout the entire corpus of the Hebrew Bible. Moreover, this doctrine is not to be found anywhere in the New Testament either because primitive Christianity, in its earliest stages, was still monotheistic. The authors of the New Testament were completely unaware that the Church they had fashioned would eventually embrace a pagan deification of a triune deity. Although the worship of a three-part godhead was well known and fervently venerated throughout the Roman Empire and beyond in religious systems such as Hinduism and Mithraism, it was quite distant from the Judaism from which Christianity emerged. However, when the Greek and Roman mind began to dominate the Church, it created a theological disaster from which Christendom has never recovered. By the end of the fourth century, the doctrine of the Trinity was firmly in place as a central tenet of the Church, and strict monotheism was formally rejected by Vatican councils in Nicea and Constantinople.2

When Christendom adopted a triune godhead from neighboring triune religious systems, it spawned a serious conundrum for post-Nicene Christian apologists. How would they harmonize this new veneration of Jesus as a being who is of the same substance as the Father with a New Testament that portrays Jesus as a separate entity, subordinate to the Father, and created by God? How would they now integrate the teaching of the Trinity with a New Testament that recognized the Father alone as God? In essence, how would Christian apologists merge a first century Christian Bible, which was monotheistic, with a fourth century Church which was not?"  -Rabbi Tovia Singer 

Chaya, a kabbalistic feminist, explains why married Jewish women cover their hair! Don’t miss this explanation about what it really means to be a feminist – all put to rhyme and rhythm. Just keep in mind that “female power is found within.” So – watch out Miley Cyrus!