Monthly Archives: October, 2012

The Babylonian Talmud warns: ‘Beware of the Snake Mother!’

The Babylonian Talmud warns: 'Beward of the Snake Mother!'

The Serpent breeds and casts her young upon the inhabitants of the town.

– The Babylonian Talmud, Kethuboth 49b

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Two ‘gods’ Who Know Nothing about the Judeo/Christian Tradition

Some Jewish and Christian philosophers hold that due to these differences, it may well be that Jews and Christians don’t believe in the same god at all.

– Judaism and Christianity, Comparisons, Similarities, Important.ca

The Very Origin of the German Word for ‘Judeo-Christian’ is filled with Hate!

English –>German (bible, religion)
– Jewish-Christian {adj} judenchristlich         
– Judaeo-Christian {adj} [Jewish Christian] judenchristlich [jüdisch geprägtes Christentum]         
– Judeo-Christian {adj} [Jewish Christian] judenchristlich [jüdisch geprägtes Christentum]     
 
– Judeo-Christian, English-German Online Dictionary, Paul Hemetsberger, Dict.cc
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>— Friedrich Nietzsche, the Founding Father of the Anti-Judeo/Christian Tradition —<
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Early German use of the term judenchristlich (“Jewish-Christian”), in a decidedly negative sense, can be found in the late writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, who emphasized what he saw as neglected aspects of continuity between the Jewish world view and that of Christianity. The expression appears in The Antichrist, published in 1895 and written several years earlier; a fuller development of Nietzsche’s argument can be found in a prior work, On the Genealogy of Morality.

– Judeo-Christian, Wikipedia

 

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Nietzsche is forthrightly blaming the Judeo-Christian moral tradition for the rise of the slave morality. For Nietzsche, there are no essential differences between Judaism and Christianity-Jesus was a Jew who wanted to reform Judaism, and the ensuing split between Judaism and Christianity is a matter of two variations on the same theme. Both Judaism and Christianity share the same roots and the same general approach to morality. Nietzsche traces the origin of that morality back to a decisive set of events early in Jewish history, before the time of Moses. That event was the enslavement of the Jews in Egypt. If we recall our Biblical history, the Jews were for a long time a slave people under powerful Egyptian masters.

– The Origin of Slave Morality, by Stephen Hicks, Stephenhicks.org

While it often seems as if Nietzsche praises the morality of ancient aristocratic cultures and condemns Judeo-Christian “slave” morality, he does not simply advocate a return to the older “master” morality. Although its net effect has been detrimental, slave morality has brought a number of benefits. While ancient conquerors had clearer consciences, they were also shallow. We have become deep and cunning and have acquired the characteristics that distinguish us from animals, as a result of the slave’s turning inward. Those who cannot successfully project their will to power outward and dominate those around them project it inward instead and gain fearsome power over themselves. The dominance of Judeo-Christian morality in the modern age is evidence of how the slave’s inner strength is much more powerful than the conqueror’s outer strength. Nietzsche’s concern with slave morality is not that it has turned us inward but that we are in danger of losing our inner struggle. Inner struggle is painful and difficult, and Nietzsche sees in the asceticism of religion, science, and philosophy a desire to give up the struggle or to minimize the hardship. Nietzsche insists that we must not see humanity as an end to be settled for but rather as a bridge to be crossed between animals and what he memorably terms the overman. Properly directed against the life-denying forces within us, the inner strength brought about by slave morality can be our greatest blessing.

– On the Genealogy of Morals Summary, Spark Notes, Sparknotes.com

Nietzsche has been one of the most influential critics of Christianity. Like Feuerbach and other philosophers of the Hegelian Left, he was not content with merely rejecting Christianity. Instead, he developed a kind of “genetic criticism.” In other words, he claimed that his critique of religion demonstrated the reasons why human beings become religious and the mechanisms by which they comprehend the religious realm. For some time Nietzsche, the son of a Lutheran minister, was an active Christian himself. He was familiar with Christian practice, with the Bible, and with Christian doctrine.

– The Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche, Nietzsche and the Judaeo-Christian tradition, Jórg Salaquarda

How the LORD God Speaks…

How the LORD God Speaks...

The Voice of God has always been Thunder according to the Judeo/Christian Tradition.

Anti-Judeo/Christian Quotables

The Judeo-Christian tradition is in fact a humanist construct without a single volume’s worth of primary source documentation. There is a reason for this ‘gap on the book shelf’, a gap in history.

– The Judeo-Christian tradition: A Guide for the Perplexed, by Gary North (1990)

The Judeo/Christian Tradition’s Parrots of Paganism

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The Archangels of the Four Corners
1) Michael in the South
2) Raphael in the East
3) Gabriel in the West
4) Uriel in the North

Roman, Greek, British, and Egyptian Paganism
1) Helios, Apollo, Gwydion, Anubis
2) Jupiter, Zeus, Lugh, Osiris
3) Diana, Artemis, Arianrhod, Isis
4) Hecate, Persephone, Rhiannon, Nephtys

Top Five Online Definitions of the Controversial Phrase Known as ‘Judeo/Christian’

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The Online Dictionary Definitions of ‘Judeo/Christian’ in Brief
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/ — The religious writings, beliefs, values, or traditions held in common by Judaism and Christianity. (Dictionary.com)
/ — Pertaining to Judaism and Christianity.(English Wiktionary)
/ —  Having historical roots in both Judaism and Christianity.(Mirriam Webster Dictionary)
/ — Having origins in both Judaism and Christianity…or pertaining to Christianity…as in the Judeo-Christian tradition. (Webster’s Dictionary 1913)
/ — Being historically related to both Judaism and Christianity- ‘the Judeo-Christian tradition’ (WordNet 3.0 Dictionary)

 

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The quotes from various online Dictionaries, seen both above and below this text, are all official definitions of the specific term ‘Judeo-Christian’, which is quite often used as part of a more formal set of terms commonly known as the ‘Judeo-Christian Tradition’ (or Judeo-Christian values, ethics, morality, culture, folklore, etc.). As one can clearly see while reading these references, there appears to be several totally different and independent reference publishing companies which have entries that obviously use the same source text as other rival providers of word definitons and meanings.  Even so, at least five distinctly different definitions can be be found quite easily online and they include the following:

The Five Basic Online Definitions of ‘Judeo/Christian’
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I. Of or pertaining to the religious writings, beliefs, values, or traditions held in common by Judaism and Christianity.
II. Of or pertaining to Judaism and Christianity.
III. Having historical roots in both Judaism and Christianity.
IV. Having origins in both Judaism and Christianity, of or pertaining to Christianity- as, the Judeo-Christian tradition.
V. Being historically related to both Judaism and Christianity, ‘the Judeo-Christian tradition’
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Three of the five definitions for ‘Judeo-Christian’ are original and unique dictionary entries not found anywhere else, either on or off the Web. This includes the writings found at Dictionary.com, English Wiktionary, and Mirriam Webster Dictionary, all of whom run their own for-profit websites, independent of each other. The last two definitions are mutually shared sets of text. The first, labeled ‘Definition #4’ in the list seen below, originates from a much older Dictionary called Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary dating from 1913, while the other originates from WordNet 3.0 Dictionary (an affiliate of Princeton University) which apparently shares its data with a number of other Dictionary/reference companies including both the Free Dictionary online and WordIQ.com. This overlap and duplication in definitions can be seen below:

JUDEO/CHRISTIAN DEFINITION #1) Of or pertaining to the religious writings, beliefs, values, or traditions held in common by Judaism and Christianity. (Dictionary.com)
JUDEO/CHRISTIAN DEFINITION #2) Of or pertaining to Judaism and Christianity. (English Wiktionary)
JUDEO/CHRISTIAN DEFINITION #3) Having historical roots in both Judaism and Christianity (Mirriam Webster Dictionary)
JUDEO/CHRISTIAN DEFINITION #4) Having origins in both Judaism and Christianity; of or pertaining to Christianity; as, the Judeo-Christian tradition. (Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, also found in the GNU Collaborative International Dictionary of English)
JUDEO/CHRISTIAN DEFINITION #5) Being historically related to both Judaism and Christianity; “the Judeo-Christian tradition” – synonym: Judeo-Christian (WordNet 3.0 Dictionary, also found in the Free Dictionary’s Thesaurus and WordIQ.com)

A short, preliminary amount of background research reveals that, when it comes to the duplicated definitions found in Definitions #4 and  #5, it appears that both online reference sites were using a third-party source secured through the appropriate copyright permissions and payments between publishing companies. In conclusion, one can clearly see a general, yet tightly defined, understanding of ‘Judeo/Christian’ as that which MUST include both Jewish and Christian perspectives as being either the exact same. or very similar, in nature to truly be described with this fairly unique and mostly modern concept.

NOTE: Even though this particular term which appears in this post mainly as ‘Judeo/Christian’ (or Judeo-Christian), there are even more ways to spell and/or write this same phrase, such as Judaeo-Christian, Judeo Christian, Judeochristian, or even JudeoChristian. The fairly new and uncommon method of using ‘Judeo/Christian’ has a significant meaning behind in that the slash ‘/’ is meant to symbolically represent the historical fact that both Judaism and Christianity believe in the exact same Archangels of the Four Corners commonly known as Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel. The slash ‘/’ being drawn at a perfect ‘Angle’ (/) is meant to evoke the concept of ‘Angel’ as well. In the end, it seems appropriate than the more confrontation and polarizing appearance of the horizontal dash ‘-‘ as in Judeo-Christian.

 

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Judeo/Christian Quotables

Some Jewish and Christian philosophers hold that due to these differences, it may well be that Jews and Christians don’t believe in the same god at all.

– Judaism and Christianity, Comparisons, Similarities

Earth, Water, Air, and Fire: The Four Elements, Four Directions, Four Seasons, and the Archangels of the Four Corners

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Understanding the Differences between the Star of David and the Seal of Solomon

In Medieval Jewish, Islamic and Christian legends, the Seal of Solomon was a magical signet ring said to have…the symbol now called the Star of David (hexagram), often within a circle, usually with the two triangles interlaced (hence chiral) rather than intersecting.

– Seal of Solomon, Opentopia, Encycl.opentopia.com

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When one looks closely enough at the picture above, the differences between the Star of David (on the Left) and the Seal of Solomon (on the Right) should become readily apparent. By tradition, the Star of David has only 2-Dimensional OVERLAPPING (or intersecting) triangles, while the Seal of Solomon always has 3-Dimensional INTERWOVEN (or interlaced) triangles. Because of this, the Seal of Solomon may also sometimes be called the Star of David, although this remains technically incorrect. On the other hand, the Seal of Solomon, by definition, MUST appear to have interwoven triangles, otherwise it is, by definition, just another Star of David.According to legend, King Solomon supposedly took the rather simple, two-dimensional Star of David he inherited from his Royal father and managed to improve upon it by having the two opposite triangles appear as if they were interwoven with one another. Thus, the Star of David then became the Seal of Solomon and the rest, as they say, is history. A rather interesting take on the very real differences between the Star of David and the Seal of Solomon reads as follows:
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Uniting the Water Triangle [facing downwards] with the Fire Triangle [facing upwards], the Hexagram is formed. It forms a six pointed star also known as the Seal of Solomon. This symbol is a [different type of] Star of David, the national symbol of Israel (God’s chosen nation). The difference between the Star of David and the seal [of Solomon] is the triangles which make up the seal [Solomon] interlock and the two triangles of the Star of David lie flat against each other.

– Hexagram, TheForbiddenKnowledge.com
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The traditional understanding that the Star of David and the Seal of Solomon have fundamental differences in both their origins and visual appearances, seems to have been nearly lost in modern times. What’s most frustrating is that more a few modern dictionaries have gotten the essential differences between these two distinct types of hexagrams completely wrong, thus misleading everybody. The biggest visual clue is the way that the Seal of Solomon’s triangular lines look like they are either above or beneath one another without ever truly intersecting. Apparently, this was never the case with the Star of David. To be specific, King David used the symbol as a short form of his written signature and as a battle insignia painted on the shields of his fellow Israelite soldiers. In both cases, the iconographic complexity seen in the Seal of Solomon was never really needed and therefore never developed. In contrast, the Seal of Solomon was thought to have been an actual Royal Seal used throughout King Solomon’s reign, a hand-held device which stamped an image upon either a puddle of wax, or clay, or even a form of paper made with animal skins. These Seals were usually custom-made by professional artists and were thus far more complex in appearance than any written signature or hand-drawn war emblem. In truth, one could say that both symbols were simply different versions of the Star of David. However, the Seal of Solomon has always been depicted with three-dimensional, interwoven (or interlaced) triangles. It is most unfortunate that literally no one these days really knows, or even cares, about what a Seal of Solomon actually is anyway. However, for the sake of precision, one should define the Star of David as being comprised of OVERLAPPING triangles, just as the Seal of Solomon (Solomon’s Seal)should always have the appearance of INTERLACED (or INTERWOVEN) triangles instead. The actual, and factually correct, dictionary definitions of these two emblems are listed below:
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(Star of David) n. – A symbol consisting of two OVERLAPPED equilateral triangles forming a star with six points, used as a symbol of Judaism. It is also called Magen David, Mogen David, and Shield of David, and is shaped identically to the hexagram and Solomon’s seal. It is used on the flag of the modern state of Israel.

– Collaborative International Dictionary of English, Dictionary.net

(Solomon’s Seal) n. – A mystic symbol consisting of two INTERLACED triangles forming a star with six points, often with one triangle dark and one light, symbolic of the union of soul and body. It is shaped identically to the hexagram and Star of David, distinguished only in its usage.

– Collaborative International Dictionary of English, Dictionary.net
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A Jewish Seal of Solomon with interwoven triangles carved upon a building stone recovered from a Jewish Synagogue which dates anywhere from 200 to 400 A.D.

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Among the various myths and legends concerning this age-old Biblical symbol, two of them stand out in particular. The first one concerns the reasons behind why the hexagram was ever called a star (or shield), while the second story explains the intricate three-dimensional pattern seen on the Seal of Solomon, but usually never with the Star of David. Now as to why the hexagram was ever called a Star, the main reason should be quite obvious to most observers. As nearly everybody would agree, the six-pointed shape itself bear a striking visual resemblance to the twinkling effect one experiences when looking directly at either a star, or the sun, through a somewhat hazy atmosphere.

Twinkle (Upward Triangle), Twinkle (Downward Triangle) little star, how I wonder what you are (Star of David). Up above the world so high (Upward Triangle), like a diamond in the sky (Downward Triangle)…

– An interpretation of the song ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’

There is also a Biblical reason why the hexagram has been called a star and it concerns a certain, obscure prophecy found in the Book of Numbers. Keeping in mind that this was written long before King David was ever born, the relevant verse talks about an unknown future leader of Israel who will rise to power and go on to defeat the traditional enemies of the Israelites- the Moabites for example. This future hero is metaphorically described as ‘a Star’ which ‘shall come forth from Jacob’, obviously meaning a yet-to-born descendant from the one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Because of the importance of the Davidic Kingdom, quite a few scholars claim this passage from Numbers should be seen as a direct reference to the later military success and subsequent rule of King David. Indeed, David official founding of the Kingdom of Israel in Jerusalem was the first event of extreme significance which had occurred in Israel since the time period recorded in the Book of Numbers. Yet the question remains as to why the hexagram, rather than David himself, is the ‘Star’ mentioned in Scriptures. The best, and probably only correct answer to this is that the original Star of David served as his personalized signature- comprised of two triangular Hebrew letters written on top of each other with one of them turned upside down. In short, the hexagram was simply a uniquely clever way David wrote the first and last initials to his own name. Therefore, the claim that the six-pointed hexagram used for David’s name was also a perfect symbolic representation of the Biblically prophesied ‘Star’ of ‘Jacob’ happens to be fairly logical, at least in a metaphorical sense. Also, because the Bible just so happens to be filled to the brim with metaphors, this legendary explanation may indeed be the real truth behind the origins of the six-pointed Star.
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STAR OF DAVID: I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A STAR shall come forth from Jacob. A scepter shall rise from Israel and shall crush the corners of Moab, and destroy all the sons of Sheth.

– Numbers 24:17

SEAL OF SOLOMON: Place me like a SEAL upon your heart, like a SEAL on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.

– Song of Solomon 8:6

A Christian Seal of Solomon with interwoven triangles etched in marble from a Byzantine Christian Church (400-630 A.D.) uncovered at Khirbet Sufa, located in the northern Negev Desert of modern Israel.

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Turning to the Judeo/Christian legends surrounding the Seal of Solomon and the reason behind the change in name from Father (Star of David) to Son (Seal of Solomon), one finds the same basic underlying storyline, regardless of whether or not the specific Star of David folklore comes from Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. First, as previously mentioned, the more complex looking six-pointed star with interwoven triangles simply Solomon’s way of improving upon his father David’s original design for their family coat-of-arms. This three-dimensional hexagram was also a far more appropriate insignia for a King of Israel and his Royal family to have as their personal seal. Even so, there was also a deeper, more profound reason behind the interwoven appearance of the Seal of Solomon’s two interlaced triangles. Apparently, this specific design served as a visual talisman providing spiritual protection and control against the forces of evil. Not only was the Seal thought to ward against, or scare off, demons and other evil spirits, it also helped to trap, contain, and control them- thus rendering them harmless to mere mortals. To truly understand how and why this worked, notice how the Seal’s interlaced lines have an eerie, maze-like appearance to them, going back and forth, above and behind each other, in a ceaseless, never-ending pattern. This infinite sense of complexity was said to cause disorientation and utter confusion in any demon who dared to look directly at the symbol. More than two thousand years later, the Medieval Christians (as well as Jews) also put their trust in the Seal of Solomon, believing it provided ample protection from the forces of darkness. Three different online sources confirm the ‘magical’ history of this symbol:
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The hexagram, as the Seal of Solomon, is generally…believed to have protective powers and magical properties…[It] has a long history of providing protection from demons and evil spirits. In some magical practices, it is associated with exorcisms.

– Who Knew Two Triangles Could Do So Much?: The Hexagram, by Rebecca, themagicalbuffet.com

The Seal of Solomon dates back to the Bronze Ages and is a powerful symbol with many mystical and magickal qualities…the Seal of Solomon is believed to offer protection against both enemies and the evil eye, control spirits, and bring good luck in all aspects of life.

– Seal of Solomon, Amulet Power, Angelfire.com

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Turning to the Judeo/Christian legends surrounding the Seal of Solomon and the reason behind the change in name from Father (Star of David) to Son (Seal of Solomon), one finds the same basic underlying storyline, regardless of whether or not the specific Star of David folklore comes from Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. First, as previously mentioned, the more complex looking six-pointed star with interwoven triangles simply Solomon’s way of improving upon his father David’s original design for their family coat-of-arms. This three-dimensional hexagram was also a far more appropriate insignia for a King of Israel and his Royal family to have as their personal seal. Even so, there was also a deeper, more profound reason behind the interwoven appearance of the Seal of Solomon’s two interlaced triangles. Apparently, this specific design served as a visual talisman providing spiritual protection and control against the forces of evil. Not only was the Seal thought to ward against, or scare off, demons and other evil spirits, it also helped to trap, contain, and control them- thus rendering them harmless to mere mortals. To truly understand how and why this worked, notice how the Seal’s interlaced lines have an eerie, maze-like appearance to them, going back and forth, above and behind each other, in a ceaseless, never-ending pattern. This infinite sense of complexity was said to cause disorientation and utter confusion in any demon who dared to look directly at the symbol. More than two thousand years later, the Medieval Christians (as well as Jews) also put their trust in the Seal of Solomon, believing it provided ample protection from the forces of darkness. Three different online sources confirm the ‘magical’ history of this symbol:
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The hexagram, as the Seal of Solomon, is generally…believed to have protective powers and magical properties…[It] has a long history of providing protection from demons and evil spirits. In some magical practices, it is associated with exorcisms.

– Who Knew Two Triangles Could Do So Much?: The Hexagram, by Rebecca, themagicalbuffet.com

The Seal of Solomon dates back to the Bronze Ages and is a powerful symbol with many mystical and magickal qualities…the Seal of Solomon is believed to offer protection against both enemies and the evil eye, control spirits, and bring good luck in all aspects of life.

– Seal of Solomon, Amulet Power, Angelfire.com

In the middle Ages it was common to find amulets and talismans which reproduced the Seal of Solomon…It was believed that these magic drawings protected the wearer from the influence of demons and evil spirits, or just bad luck. It was also common to record the seal on a frame or lintel of the entrance door to homes…with the same protective character against the spirits or to potential fires.

– The Hexagram, Star of David or Seal of Solomon, Looking4thetruth77.blogspot.com
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One might apt to conclude that both the form and function of the Seal of Solomon were in perfectly alignment, thus explaining the legendary spiritual powers this symbol was believed to possess. These days, Christians (and Jews) are free to choose to believe or disbelieve in its significance, yet even today, in the 21st century, the Seal’s actual power over the minds of men (and women) has yet to disappear completely. Indeed, look at the dozens and dozens, perhaps even hundreds, if not thousands, of modern, educated adults who still use this symbol to practice magic and/or witchcraft. Even if one doesn’t believe in any magic whatsoever, there still has to be a reason why so many fellow humans have such an on-going obsession with this one particular geometric shape. as if by its very appearance the supernatural will then become possible. A more balanced view concerning the power of the Star of David/Seal of Solomon can be found in the Catholic Church of today. Mentioning the Star of David by name, the official Catechism of the Catholic Church reads as follows:
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The magi’s coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the STAR OF DAVID, the one who will be king of the nations. Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Savior of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament.

– Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church

AT TOP LEFT: A close-up picture of Pope Benedict XVI’s Papal hat known as a mitre. The six-pointed hexagram located in the front of the head-piece appears to be a Seal of Solomon, rather than a Star of David.
AT TOP RIGHT: The yellow star of David on the left side has the German word Jude (Jew in English) written in the center. The blue Star of David (Magen David in Hebrew) on the right side is found upon the official, national flag of Israel.
AT BOTTOM LEFT: These two black hexagrams in a all-white background are basic representations of a Star of David, seen on the left side, and a Seal of Solomon, seen on the right.
AT BOTTOM RIGHT: A six-pointed hexagram carved upon one of the walls of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, the official capital of the Roman Catholic Church.

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In conclusion, the specific place that the hexagram actually holds in terms of the Judeo/Christian ‘big picture’ shows a long and extensive history of Christian use dating back centuries to the Middle Ages. Hopefully, Christian respect and admiration for this particular emblem will extend itself into an open friendliness, rather than hostility, towards those who still practice and believe in Judaism, This seems to be the general attitude of today’s Catholic Church and the specific and deliberate reference to the Star of David in the most recent edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (just cited above) is even further proof that times have changed for the better.
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Blue Water + Red Fire = The Star of David in Black and White

The Element of Water lies in the West whose traditional color is blue. The Element of Fire resides in the South and is colored red.

Both triangles put together creates a Star of David, which is also known as the Seal of Solomon, Star of Creation, Star of Mary, and Hexagram. The very shape and form of both rriangles provides an authentic visual representation of God’s creation as it has always appeared to mankind, a world of Valleys and Mountains, the pyramidal structure of the flames in a Fire (Upward pointing Triangle) and the constant directional flow of the Water supply (Downward pointing Triangle), the ground ‘Down Below’ made up of Earth (Downward Triangle) and the skies ‘Up Above’ filled with Air (Upward Triangle).

 

 

What an Authentic 17th Century Deal with the Devil may well have Looked like…

Shown below is what has been alleged to be a genuine authentic contract with the Devil between a Priest named Father Urbain Grandier and several evil spirits straight from the depths of Hell, signed and countersigned in 1634. To be more specific, the signatures at the bottom of the page are thought to be those of ‘Lucifer, Beelzebub, Satan, Elmi, Leviathan, Asteroth and Baalbarith’. The least that can be said about the document is that even if it is a forgery, no ordinary, or sane, mind could have ever come up with such a clearly other-worldly design. Most artists today would die to be so talented (or perhaps sell their own soul to the Devil for fame, fortune, and glory).

This actual representation come from a 1971 book called Devils, Demons, and Witchcraft, by Ernst and Johanna Lehner. Nevertheless, it a perfect representation of the original truly looked like in 1634. Notice the eerie resemblance to these diabolical signatures and some of the better, more artistic graffiti drawn by young members in most American cities today. They have a playful, youth-oriented, hip-hop style to them which all the more terrifying considering the fact that this document really is 1634- nearly 400 years ago! The only dispute now is whether it happens to be a genuine legal contract with actual spiritual entities from Hell. Yet to prove that would be to prove that the Devil exists and proof of the Devil would, in turn, be irrefutable proof in the existence of God- which would change the world forevermore…

Cursed be the Devil, blessed be the LORD. Cursed be the Devil, may St. Peter strike him with a sword.

Beware of the Unsaddled Elephant! – A Warning from the Babylonian Talmud

The Elephants are of good omen if saddled, or bad omen if not saddled.

– The Babylonian Talmud, Berakoth 57a

 

Elephant with Saddle

All kinds of beasts are a good sign in a dream, except the Elephant, the Monkey and Ape. But a has not the Master said: ‘If one sees an Elephant in a dream, a miracle will happen for him’? There is no contradiction in this, for if the Elephant is saddled, it is a good omen, and a bad omen if it is not saddled.

– The Babylonian Talmud, Berakoth 57b

The Enduring Mystery of the Judeo/Christian Seven Heavens

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the Third Heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.

– 2 Corinthians 12:2

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The Seven Heavens are described in numerous Judeo/Christian Apocryphal books including: 3 Baruch, 2 and 3 Enoch, the Testament of Levi, the Revelation of Moses, the Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah, the Apocalypse of St. Paul, and the Apocryphon of John. They are also found in numerous official texts of Judaism too numerous to count. According to Jewish teachings, mainly from the Talmud, the celestial realm is composed of seven heavens called Shamayim. These, along with their literal meanings in English, can be listed as follows:

I. Vilon (וילון) = veil, curtain
II. Raki’a (רקיע) = expanse, canopy
III. Shehaqim (שחקים) = clouds
IV. Zebul (זבול) = habitation
V. Ma’on (מעון) = refuge
VI. Machon (מכון) = city, established place
VII. Araboth (ערבות) = deserts

The names and meanings listed above are considered the standard Jewish (and even Christian) summary of the Seven Heavens of the Biblical God. Throughout the pertinent literature, a certain core tradition emerges from both the official Jewish documents of antiquity and the Judeo/Christian Apocrypha. This can be summarized in fairly simple manner:

I. Vilon is called a veil, or curtain, because it serves as a physical barrier to the upper six realms rendering them invisible.
II. Rakia is called an expanse, or canopy, because that’s ‘where the sun, moon, and stars are fixed’ into place.
III. Shekim is called clouds because upon them lies Paradise, the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life
IV. Zebul is called habitation because this is where the Heavenly Jerusalem is located
V. Ma’on is called refuge because it is here where most of the Angelic host reside
VI. Makon is called city, or established place, because this where the Angelic University, the City of Angels, has been established
VII. Araboth is called desert because it is very dry and without any air housing the Throne of God and the Seven Archangels

Some theologians and mystics have elaborated far more Heavens than just the standard seven. One scenario admits to only Seven Heavens, but then goes on to include 196 different provinces as well. The Jewish mystical text, the Zohar speaks of ’390 Heavens and 70,000 worlds,’ just as the gnostic thinker Basilides speculated upon ’365 Heavens.’ A figure named Jellenek in the Jewish document called Beth Ha-Midrasch recounts a legends which describes 955 Heavens. One source sums it up in a fairly typical way:

Seven levels of heaven are part of the 196 providences of heaven. The first level of heaven is closest to the Earth. Second level is thought to house sinners awaiting judgment. The third level is where the food of the angels is produced, manna. The fourth level is where the Great Winds are. The fifth level has Samael as the ruling prince. The sixth level of heaven has the Angels of Time, Seas, Rivers, and Crops. The seventh level is the home of ineffable light and is the closest to God.

– Seven Levels of Heavens, Reference.com

According to the Legends of the Jews, by Louis Ginzberg, Eden alone contains 310 separate worlds along with ‘seven compartments for seven different classes of the pious’. In some later versions of the 2nd Book of Enoch, ten levels are mentioned instead of the traditional Seven Heavens. This is due, however, to later additions to the original document which only described Seven celestial realms. One researcher makes note of these more recent changes from seven to ten as follows:

In Enoch 2 the Heavens number 10. Here the 8th Heaven is called Muzaloth. The 9th Heaven, home of the 12 signs of the zodiac, is called Kukhavim. The 10th, where Enoch saw the “vision of the face of the Lord”, is called Aravoth (Hebrew term for the 12 signs of the Zodiac). The confusion of the Heavens is clear here from the fact that the signs of the zodiac do not lodge in the Heavens named after them.

As already discussed, the age-old idea of God’s abode consisting of ‘Seven Heavens appears in The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs and other Jewish apocrypha’. At the same time, these Seven Heavens were also a familiar concept ‘to the ancient Persians and Babylonians.’ In particular, the Persians saw their greatest Deity ‘in the highest of the 7 Heavens, seated on a great white throne, surrounded by winged cherubim.’ A possible reason for this happens that they may well have gotten this idea from the Jews themselves, considering the fact that their greatest prophet Zoroaster was thought to be a heretic Jew who was exiled from ancient Judea before founding a new religion in Persia. Basically, there are two dual opposing theories concerning the Jewish concept of Seven Heavens. One side argues it is all a later Pagan (non-Jewish) influence. An example of their unconvincing claims reads as follows:

The pagan concept of the seven layer of Heaven crept into Judaism and the number seven can be found in Judaism more than anywhere else. Why? Because Midrash teaches, there are seven layers of Heaven, obviously an influence of Paganism in Judaism.

– 7 Layers of Heaven, by Bjorn EnFiddle

First of all, it is not at all obvious that the Bible’s repeated and significant use of the number Seven is connected at all to any Pagan influence of Hebrew mythology. Who is to say that the Hebrews and their ancient story of 7-days of Creation and Seven Heavens didn’t affect the Pagans who may well have borrowed from them? A more reasonable side of the debate deliberately notes the following factors about the Persian use of the number Seven as it relates to Judaism:

The number 7 was of special importance in the Zoroastrian religion, where there were 7 creations, 7 regions of the world, 7 Amesha Spenta (who became the 7 archangels of Judaism), and so on. This would have a great influence on the evolution of numerology in Judaism. However, the number 7 was already significant in Judaic numerology, indicating some earlier influence.

– Answers.com, What is the significance of the number Seven in the Bible?

Indeed, this ‘earlier influence’ may well have been Moses, the original author of the Bible, writing in or near Egypt and unaffected by either Persian or any other Pagan influences. It is more than possible that he mentions and institutes a sacred and holy tradition utilizing the number Seven due to both Divine inspiration and ancient, pre-existing Hebrew legends about the number.

The theological doctrine of the Seven Heavens has been a standard aspect of Christian mysticism for several centuries at least. Not only that, it continues to play a large role in Judaism, most especially in the more traditional Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox religious communities. Indeed, one must concede that the expression, ‘Seventh Heaven’ is, in fact, a fairly popular catch phrase much like the term ‘Cloud Nine’. Most everyone knows that it means something like Nirvana or Paradise and can be used to describe an extremely good feeling, outlook, or situation. As the Dictionary defines it:

 

 

Seventh Heaven – n
1. the final state of eternal bliss, especially according to Talmudic and Muslim eschatology
2. a state of supreme happiness [so named from the belief that there are seven levels of heaven, the seventh and most exalted being the abode of God and the angels.]

– World English Dictionary

Considering the fact that most Christians today tend to believe in only one Heaven, it remains quite puzzling as to where this English expression originates. Some may contend it comes from some vague Western awareness of the traditional Seven Heavens found in the Muslim religion. Given the fact most Westerners remain woefully ignorant about their own Christian heritage, let alone Islamic cosmology, it seems far more likely that the early Christian belief in Seven Heavens has never really been erased from memory. Indeed, the general theory of Heaven consisting of Seven different realms can be found not just in the Jewish Apocrypha, but also in several texts usually considered Christian in origin.

Seven Heavens is a part of religious cosmology found in many major religions such as Islam, Judaism and Hinduism and in some minor [Christian-based] religions such as Hermeticism and Gnosticism. The Divine Throne is said to be in or above the seventh heaven in most Abrahamic religions.

– Seven Heavens, Wikipedia

One Jewish writer appears to object to those who would label the theological concept of Seven Heavens as a Muslim doctrine, unique to the Islamic faith. As he states correctly, the whole ‘concept’ of the Seven Heavens is very old. In fact, it had become quite popular many centuries before the ‘rise of Islam, and has deep roots in Jewish tradition.’ Here is a brief summary of these Jewish origins:

Some of the Rabbis of the Talmud had very precise ideas about the structure of the upper regions. They were presumably influenced by the fact that the Hebrew word for “heavens” or “sky” appears only in a plural form: shamayim, implying a multiplicity of heavens. Given the special role of the number seven in the Bible, it was natural that this number should also determine the arrangement of the heavens. The Jewish sages had no trouble finding distinct functions for each of the seven levels. The heavens, mysterious as they are, affect us in many aspects of our daily life, as well as having important religious associations. Thus, according to one quaint itemization, one heaven is required simply to screen off the light at night-time, another to store the rain and snow, and still another to house the planets. Others have more religious uses, accommodating the souls of the righteous and the unborn, as well as various levels of angels, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and the throne of God.

– “In Seventh Heaven”, The Jewish Star, by Eliezer Segal

On a recent Canadian radio broadcast, a caller inquired ‘about the origins of the English expression “seventh heaven.”‘ Unfortunately, he was mistakenly told that this phrase came from Islam and their own religious ‘conception of Paradise, which is divided into several celestial levels, awarded according to the degree of righteousness achieved during one’s mortal lifetime.’ The reality is that Christian theologians throughout the ages have known far more about the originally Jewish legend concerning the Biblical God’s Seven Heavens and this has been reflected with the popular English turn of phrase ‘Seventh Heaven’. Different levels of Heaven (and Hell) has actually been a standard aspect of literary Christianity, mainly due to Dante and his masterpiece, the Divine Comedy. Nonetheless, the Seven Heavens tradition is still predominantly Jewish and firmly rooted in Judaism and ancient Hebrew tradition. One of those traditions concerns the Shechinah which is supposed to be a huge, shimmering celestial aura denoting the actual presence of God. Some Jews believe this ‘aura’ could be seen at the Temple of Jerusalem during its most holy times. One of the more traditional myths about this Shechinah can be described as follows:

When Adam sinned, the Shechinah departed to the First Heaven. The sin of Kayin forced it to the Second Heaven; the Generation of Enosh to the Third; the generation of the Flood to the Fourth; The generation of the Dispersion to the Fifth; Sodomites, to the Sixth; Egypt of Avraham’s day, to the Seventh.

– Bereishis Rabbah 19:7

Another popular story involves the time when the ancient Israelites gathered at the foot of Mount Sinai to meet with God. Legend has it, they were all ‘treated to a glimpse of all seven heavens opened up above them.’ Another slightly amusing story is written in the Talmud. Apparently, a group of scholarly Rabbis debated and discussed the prophet ‘Ezekiel’s mysterious vision of the heavenly chariot’ so eloquently, that a voice from Heaven suddenly proclaimed to them that ‘a place is prepared to you, and a table is set for you–you and your students are admitted to the third level.’

May the LORD God bless you in the name of St. Judas Maccabaeus.

Pigging out on Jewish Midrash…

Left foot forward, says the swine.

_______________________

When the Pig pauses from his gluttony and lies down to rest he stretches out his foot to show his cloven hoof, and pretends that he belongs to the clean kind of animals. – Jewish Midrash, Genesis Rabba 65

A Talmudic Proverb about a Dog, a Cat, and a Mouse

Rabbi Eleazar was asked by his disciples: ‘Why does a Dog know its owner while a Cat does not?’ He answered them: ‘If he who eats something of that from which a Mouse has eaten loses his memory, how much more so the animal which eats the Mouse itself!’

– The Babylonian Talmud, Horayoth 13a

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