A Catholic Jew Pontificates

I love opinionated non-PC people. This blog is to vent my opinions on life, the universe and everything. Which is 42 which in gematria is "My Heart" (LBY) according to Rabbi Abulafia. The Divine Heart is the centre of everything.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The First Trumpet and Jacob's Trouble: 2018 or 2019? A Hebrew Catholic Speculation

In recent months there have been so many fires burning around the world and other weather disasters that some people may be wondering if  this Jewish year of 5778 (2017-2018) has been the first year of the tribulation that is associated with a third of the earth being destroyed in fires. Rosh ha Shanah 5779 begins on September 9th 2018. Is this the time of the Second Trumpet that ushers in the second year of Jacob's Trouble or is the start of the first year with the First Trumpet and we will see the fires continue over the next 12 months? While it is tempting to see 5778 as the first year I think that it is probably 5779 which will be the time of the First Trumpet and the first year of the Tribulation known as Jacob's Trouble.

As well as a more literal reading of a third of the earth burnt up with fires, it may also mean that a third of the earth will be on fire with revolutionary political and social fires. The mention of blood and fire would lead to an understanding of the fires connected with bloody or violent civil fires or unrest. Some older Catholic commentators have associated the Rider of the White Horse with the rise or coming of a Great Monarch as well as the Angel or Messenger of Apocalypse 10. Could 2019 be the year this young Duke has a conversion to he Catholic Faith through the intercession of Our Lady and St Joseph? 

The "Scroll of the Secret" alludes to this Great Monarch entering into the mystical marriage with Our Lady Shekhinah in a year connected to the number 12 (11 + 1= 12). Rebbe Nachman refers to this in the "Scroll of Secrets" to reveal that it is in the Jewish year 5779 that is 2018-2019. 2+0+1+8=11 and 2+0+1+9=12 and thus the year 11 refers to 2018 and the year 12 refers to 2019. Year 13 is 2020 as 1+3=4 and 2+0+2+0=4. The Scroll starts the rise of this Great Monarch or Messiah in the year 10 which was 2017 (5777) as 2+0+1+7=10 so his fourth year is 2020. 2020 also is associated with the Jewish year 5780 which is 5+7+8+0=20. It will be in his eighth year 2024 (2+0+2+4=8) that the Great Monarch may start to fight the third Antichrist (the Assyrian) in the year he turns 40 and thus finally defeat him in 2025 (2+0+2+5=9) in his 9th year. 

In the Year 6 (2022) on June 6 the Third Antichrist may receive full Satanic Power and begin his open reign. He may begin his hidden reign in December 2018-January 2019. His reign may end in December 2025 with the three days of darkness. Of course this is just my personal speculation in trying to read the signs of the times in accord with the request of Blessed Pope Paul VI.

Of course the seven trumpets may not correspond to the seven years of Jacob's Trouble. It would seem that it is also possible to interpret it as the final seven years of Jacob's Trouble only begins after the sixth Trumpet is blown and that this ushers in the first 3 and a half years and then with the seventh Trumpet the second 3 and a half years. If each Trumpet represents a three and a half year period then it is possible that the first Trumpet or Shofar was blown around Rosh ha Shanah of 2016 (5777). Is Donald Trump the Rider on the White Horse of this period? The second Trumpet may be blown on Passover of 2020 (5780). Is this the period when the Rider on the Red Horse is the Russian leader or the rise of Communism in Europe? Will we see the bloody revolutions break out in Europe and the assassination of the English King and the royal family going into Exile? The third trumpet may be blown on Rosh ha Shanah in 2023 (5783). Will this be the time of the rise of the Muslim Mahdi as the Rider of the Black Horse and a huge Economic collapse? Will we see the Russian Ruler and the Muslim Mahdi attack Europe in this period and be defeated by the Great Monarch who will be a Duke then? The fourth trumpet may be blown on Passover 2027 (5787). Is the Rider of the Pale Horse the forerunner of the Antichrist? The fifth trumpet may be blown on the Rosh ha Shanah of 2030 (5791). This may be a time of severe persecution of Christians in much of the world. Thus the sixth trumpet and the first three and a half years of Jacob's Trouble may begin on Passover of 2034 (5794) in which the Antichrist is reigning in a Hidden manner. A great Earthquake may occur in this period and the sealing of the Israelite evangelists. The seventh trumpet may then be blown on Rosh ha Shanah of 2037 (5798) and may usher in the open three and a half years of the reign of Antichrist until Passover of 2041 (5801). The Third Antichrist may have been conceived in 1998 and born on Tisha B'Av in 1999. this is of course just another possibility of how the prophesied events will play out and there are many other scenarios.If this scenario is correct then the time of literal and metaphorical fires, blood and hail includes the last two years and will conclude in about another year and a half around Passover of 2020.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Bulgakov and the Jews

Bulgakov was the leading Russian Orthodox theologian of the 20th century.

"When Bulgakov talks of a revived Judeo-Christianity which will be the new heart of an eschatological Christianity, what does he have in mind? ... The question which arises then is the following: if Jews accept Christ, should they abandon their Jewishness? Bulgakov’s answer to this is clearly: no. For, as we have just seen, he yearns to see a Judeo-Christianity “as it existed in the apostolic church, because this latter was just that,” a type of Christianity which would resemble the early Jerusalem church, whose disappearance he mourns. But has Bulgakov thought about what this would mean? After all, the members of the Jerusalem church visited the Temple, were circumcised, and observed the Law.That is, like Christ, they were Torah-observant members of the Jewish people.

Of course, this is an old chestnut. Two thousand years later, is it appropriate for Jewish converts to observe the Torah in the way the Jamesian church did? Entering into the question is an interpretation of Paul: was he polemically arguing against Law-observance only for gentiles, while leaving it open for Jewish Christians to be Torah-observant, or was he in principle against Torah-observance by Jewish Christians too? Leaving those complex questions aside, if we focus simply on the spirit of Bulgakov’s approach we sense a new contribution to the debate. If we take him more seriously than he took his own suggestions about Judeo-Christianity, we should read what he writes very closely: “Israel even in its backsliding has not ceased to be the Chosen People, the relation of Christ and his Most Pure Mother, and this blood relation is not interrupted and does not stop even after the birth of Christ....this is a fact which one needs to ponder and grasp with all one’s strength, in its dogmatic meaning as it applies to the fate of Israel.” ..." ("Holy Russia, Sacred Israel: Jewish-Christian Encounters in Russian Religious Thought" Dominic Rubin p.134-136)

"...We have thus come to the end of our examination of Bulgakov’s “Judeology.”Though only a fraction of his output was devoted to exclusively Jewish questions, these writings mirror much in Bulgakov’s evolution from a young Solovievan philosopher of neo-Christianity to a mature theologian of Sophia, whose work continues to inspire many. While, of course, one of the great undecided questions in the study of Bulgakov is the place of Sophia in Orthodox theology, from the narrower perspective of this chapter, another controversial issue which Bulgakov left to his spiritual heirs was the – for him – closely related question of how Christianity should relate to a crying absence in her very heart. For if the divine-human Church should embrace all of humanity, where is that foundation-stone of humanity, Jewry? Bulgakov’s proposal that there must be a new Judeo-Christianity was, of course, not entirely novel – Soloviev had wrestled with the same question in his essay on Rabinowich, and Alexander I founded a society for Israelite Christians that he thought would be the kernel of a mass influx of Jews into the Church. Nonetheless, Bulgakov’s own grappling with this issue is profounder than Soloviev’s, even though it is enmeshed in contradictions, some of them inherent in the issue itself, which goes to the very heart of the mystery of Christ – as Bulgakov makes clear..." ("Holy Russia, Sacred Israel: Jewish-Christian Encounters in Russian Religious Thought" Dominic Rubin p.147-148).

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Mosaic Covenant in the Light of the New Covenant

The story of Moses is packed with encounters with the Divine Presence - the burning bush, the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire and the Divine Glory descending on the Tent of Meeting. The whole Torah is a means to purify the people of Israel so that they can enter into a deep relationship with the Divine Presence. The Torah and its sacrificial system are centred and rooted in the understanding that encounter with the Divine Presence is the reason for living.

Moses in the Wilderness pitched his Tent of Meeting in which he placed the holy Ark of the Covenant over which the Divine Presence dwelt. Exodus 33 reveals that Moses would commune with the Divine Glory as with a friend. Joshua ben Nun however remained in the Tent in Perpetual Adoration when Moses went back to the camp. This Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting was a chapel of Adoration of the Shekhinah.

Later we see in the time of Samuel that Samuel and Eli also practiced all night adoration of the Shekhinah lying prostrate before the Ark of the Covenant. The Israelite mystics, prophets and adorers lay prostrate before the Divine Presence. In the Temple there were rooms set aside near the Holy of Holies for this intense adoration of the Divine Presence manifesting above the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant. Jeremiah (see 2 Maccabees 2) later hid the Tent of Meeting and the Ark of the Covenant on the mountain where God saw God’s inheritance (Mt Sinai) in a cave. Jeremiah prophesied that in the future when the Jews would receive God's mercy then a divine manifestation would occur on this mountain and the Tent and the Ark would be rediscovered. St Thomas Aquinas along with other Catholics speak of the Catholic tradition that Elijah and Enoch will appear and take the Ark of the Covenant from its hiding place and place Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament on the Mercy Seat and proclaim to the Jews that Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the Messiah and the Divine Presence of God.

The manifestations of the Shekhinah in the Old Testament times were awe inspiring events and Moses (Exodus 3:6),Elijah (1 Kings 19:13) and even the Seraphim (Isaiah 6:2) cover their faces in His Divine Presence. In the New Covenant the Shekhinah takes on flesh, and at the Last Supper He humbles himself and hides both His humanity and Divinity under the form of bread and wine. In the Eucharistic Presence one can gaze on the Divinity with unveiled face and approach Jesus without fear of death or disaster.

Joshua as mentioned above spent time in adoration of the Shekinah and the Torah states that he was full of the Spirit and thus selected by God to be Moses' successor. Joshua was given the name Joshua as a sign of the coming of God's salvation (Yeshuah). Joshua's original name was Hosea. Due to his many hours of adoration he is now named for God's Salvation (Yehoshuah) as a sign of the coming Messiah who is Salvation (Yeshuah) incarnate. Joshua a son (descendant) of Joseph of the tribe of Ephraim is the son of Nun - Joshua ben Nun. Nun is a fish or fishhook so Joshua is called the son of a fish or fishhook. Joshua enters the earthly Tent or Tabernacle and intercedes for Israel. The High Priest Yeshua (Jesus or Joshua) in the Book of Zechariah enters the Heavenly Tabernacle in a mystic vision. Both Joshua ben Nun and the High Priest Yeshua are signs of Yeshua ha Mashiach (Jesus Christ) who is the great High Priest of our Faith who enters the Heavenly Tabernacle to intercede for all mankind as recorded in the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Joshua's name of fishhook is connected with the letter 'vav' of the Hebrew Alphabet which is also called fishhook. The 'vav' in the Jewish mystical tradition is the third letter of the Divine name YHVH. The 'vav' represents the manifestation of the Divine Presence in the spiritual realm (Yetzirah) called there Ben (Son) or Zer Anpin. In this Jewish mystical tradition the name Y-H-V-H is especially associated with the Divine Presence as Ben (Son). This is the Divine Son of Man mentioned by Daniel and also found in the Books of Enoch.

The concept of the fish and fishhook also leads us to Jesus' comments about His followers (talmidim) becoming fishers of men and the sign of Jesus was to be the sign of the Fish in the Early Church. In the 'Zohar' the Holy Child is associated with the sign of the Fish as a son of Joseph. The descendants (sons) of Joseph of Arimathea are also called the Fisher Kings. The concept of Fisher Kings can also be found in the writings of the Ancient Sumerians - which speak of Shepherd and Fisher Kings in the time before the Flood. The Patriarch Enoch was one of these Fisher Kings who was later deified by the Sumerians as the God Anu. Stories of magical fish are told in regards to King David's son King Solomon as well as in regards to David and Solomon's descendants the Fisher Kings of the Holy Grail.

In early Christian art fish, bread (loaves) and grapes are used as Eucharistic symbols. The multiplication miracle of the loaves and the fish are seen as a sign of the Eucharist (see John 6). Moses who is to be the Shepherd of Israel is fished out of the waters of the Nile by Pharaoh's daughter in his small reed ark. There is a deep Eucharistic connection between the three arks mentioned in the Torah. The ark of Noah, the ark of the baby Moses and the Ark of the Covenant.

In the New Covenant these three arks are all seen as signs of Mary the New Ark of the New Covenant. Mary is the Heavenly Ark of the Covenant revealed in Apocalypse 11-12 and in Luke 1 which describes the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. Her maternal womb was the ark that contained her baby son Yeshua (Jesus) and her Immaculate Heart is the ark of refuge in the times of peril in the New Covenant. Jewish traditions further reveal that as babies both Noah and Moses shone with a supernatural light and later the adult Moses, after his encounters with the Divine Presence, shone so brightly that he had to veil his face. This light is the light of the Messiah who is the Divine Presence that was reflected by Noah and Moses and the other Adorers of the Shekhinah. 

Our Lady's Immaculate and burning heart manifests out of eternity as the fire of the Burning Bush from which the voice of her Son the God of Israel speaks to Moses. This fire of the Mother's Heart is also present at the Giving of the Torah and is the pillar of fire that leads Israel by Night for she is the one the walks in beauty in the night. She is Night and Dark Light as the Black Madonna and the Bride of the Song of Songs for she has no light except that of her Son who is the Divine Sun of the Will of God.

In popular imagination the knights of King Arthur and the Knights of the Grail are seen as wearing brilliant shining armour. In reality the Knights of the Grail shine with the Eucharistic Glory and their shining armour are the Divine Attributes of God that they become cloaked in as a fruit of their hours of Eucharistic Adoration.

Moses was chosen by God because he was the most humble man on the face of the earth in his day. It is only the humble (anavim) that can comprehend the hidden mysteries of the Divine Presence through lowering themselves in adoration before the Divine King. These are the Anavim of Y-H-V-H we meet in the New Testament. The Messiah Himself was to be the Aniv (humble one) riding on a donkey. The whole sacrificial system of offerings of flesh, wheaten cakes (i.e. bread), oil and wine in the connection with the shedding of blood into silver chalices, is rich in Eucharistic allusions and signs. The 12 loaves of shewbread on the Altar, the incorrupt portion of Manna preserved in the Ark of the Covenant and the Passover Seder meal with the Passover lamb are all deeply significant for an understanding of the Eucharist and Eucharistic Adoration. To fully draw out the Eucharistic significances in the Mosaic Covenant would take a library of books. 

The whole cult of the New Covenant priesthood and Sacrifice of the Divine Liturgy is not a novelty but a renewal at the deepest levels of the Sacrificial cult given to Israel in First Testament times. As Pope Benedict XVI taught that "the New Covenant as ratified at the Last Supper... was a prolongation of the Covenant of Sinai, which was not abrogated but renewed".

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The History of the Bnei Miriam Havurah: A New Blog

This is the first post on a new blog called Bnei Miriam Havurah: Tasmania (click)

Brother Gilbert Joseph with Rabbi Yochanan Gordon of Tasmania
Athol Bloomer, a long term and committed Australian member of the Association of Hebrew Catholics, joined the Melbourne Havurah (later named the Mount Tabor Havurah), led by Holocaust survivor and co-founder of the Association of Hebrew Catholics, in 1987 when he became a Catholic. In 2008 Athol had the idea of founding an adult learning programme on the Jewish roots of the Catholic faith called the Bnei Miriam Kollel (adult learning institute). Bnei Miriam is Hebrew for Sons or Children of Mary. This Bnei Miriam Kollel then began in the USA with Athol and his distant relative Jeff Ryan who he met in Jerusalem in 2007. They were supported in this idea by David Moss the President of the Association of Hebrew Catholics and they gave some talks at the Hebrew Catholic Center in St Louis Missouri. However Athol Bloomer returned to Western Australia and became a consecrated Brother as Brother Gilbert Joseph and he then adapted his idea to form the Bnei Miriam Havurah (Jewish roots study group) at his parish St Bernadette's in the Archdiocese of Perth in 2011. The idea of a Havurah in Perth had also been discussed earlier with Athol and another Hebrew Catholic living in Perth, Eliott Levitt, after Athol returned to Perth from Jerusalem in 2003. And they had some meetings together at the Presbytery at St Bernadette's Church.

In some ways our Bnei Miriam Havurah is unique in having been transferred 3,000 kilometres from Perth the capital city in Western Australia to Hobart the capital city of Tasmania in 2014 and then to the Huon Valley of Tasmania in 2015. In Perth we had mid weekly study meetings led by Brother Gilbert Joseph that connected Judaism and Catholicism on topics of spiritual interest and we began our yearly traditionally Jewish Passover Seders and our Friday night traditional Sabbath meals at the Presbytery at St Bernadette's parish in Glendalough. When Brother Gilbert Joseph and Brother John Joseph (who also was a Catholic of Jewish ancestry) moved to Tasmania they didn’t expect to meet many Hebrew Catholics but decided to maintain the traditional Friday night Sabbaths and they decided to hold a Passover Seder. Through needing to get Passover supplies the Brothers had to order them through the Chabad House and the only Rabbi in Tasmania. Thus began a relationship with the orthodox Jewish community that is still ongoing today.

Bnei Miriam Havurah Passover in Taroona in Hobart at St Joseph's Villa in 2014

 It turned out that in our parish in Hobart there were two families of Jewish ancestry led by two Hebrew Catholic matriarch’s Ariella (an Italian whose mother was Jewish) and Christina (an Australian whose maternal ancestors were Dutch and Bulgarian Jews). We became good friends with both these large families as well as another lady in our parish Dinah Moshe who is also a Hebrew Catholic. Christina and her husband John (of Polish Jewish ancestry) and their grown up daughter Rebecca attend our first Passover in Tasmania with about 20 or more other people including our parish priest Father Michael Tate (a former Australian Senator and law Professor) who is now the Vicar General of our Archdiocese and an order of Catholic nuns the Sisters of the Immaculata who also moved to our parish in the Huon Valley. Brother Gilbert believed he would be sacrificing his Hebrew Catholic ministry by moving to Tasmania but God surprised him.

Bnei Miriam Havurah Passover in 2014 with Thomas haggling with Br Gilbert for the Afikomen

 Next God called the Brothers and with them the Bnei Miriam Havurah to move south and go rural. Here the Brothers have continued with their weekly Sabbath meals and the yearly Passover for the last four years.  The first year (2015) when they lived in Huonville they had only the three brothers and David and Joyce who had helped them host the big Seder in Hobart the year before. In the second year (2016) at their new home in Dover they just had one guest for Passover their Hebrew Catholic friend Dinah from their parish Taroona in Hobart. However the Brothers had met another large family of Jewish ancestry in their parish and in 2017 they had a successful Passover Seder with 14 or 15 people. However this year our Passover almost doubled and we had over 30 guests. We had a lot more people that would have loved to attend but had to limit the numbers. Our connection with the orthodox Rabbi and orthodox Jewish community in Hobart continues and the Brothers attended Shavuot services and the Dairy Buffet organized by the Rabbi’s wife Rochel after in which the Brothers met new people and another Rabbi who was visiting from Melbourne. 

Bnei Miriam Havurah Passover Seder in 2017 in Dover

We continue to celebrate our Friday Night Sabbath meals. At the moment four members of our Bnei Miriam Havurah a young married couple Ryan and Amy Kay with baby Elizabeth and Ryan’s brother Daniel Kay have moved to Townsville in Queensland. However the Brothers celebrated Brother Gilbert’s birthday with their parents Tania and Des Kay. Tania and her sister Maria are of Jewish ancestry and members of our Havurah and descend from the man who built the Synagogue in Hobart which is the oldest synagogue in Australia. The rabbi and his wife have invited us and some other of our Hebrew Catholics to his daughters third birthday which is a very important Birthday in Judaism. We are involved with the Orthodox Jewish community in order to support and help that community in its outreach to the lost Jews hidden in the population of Tasmania. We had no agenda to try and proselytize Jewish people. So down here in the far south of the world God has placed a Hebrew Catholic Havurah and he opens the doors. If we can do it then anyone can do it. You just need two people to start a Havurah and then you need to pray that God will send the right people in his time. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in Jerusalem in 2002

In 2002  I sent a series of emails to the Association of Hebrew Catholics when I was in Israel doing Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration at the 4th station of the Cross at the Armenian Catholic Church. They were published in one of the Hebrew Catholic magazines that year. Unfortunately there are powerful forces for evil in the Catholic Church who set out to destroy this mission of Perpetual Adoration and we were forced to cease our Adoration under manipulation and deception which was revealed to us after I wrote these emails and I never wrote to the AHC what we discovered.

First Email.
I have arrived safely in Jerusalem. Everyone has been lovely so far but I lost one suitcase on the way. We are starting Perpetual Adoration here on August 15. Please pray for us...

[In a strange way losing the suitcase was a relief as it was my first time in Israel and I had to find my way to the Damascus Gate and then try and find the Armenian monastery and Church. I was wondering how I could lug my old fashioned suitcase and another bag. Instead I just had my carry bag which took some of the pressure off. When I finally found the place the front gate was locked and no one answered my knocking so I had to sit at the Arab pizza shop opposite for a couple of hours until someone came out. It was all a bit overwhelming at first and I was happy to finally get settled into my room and to meet my fellow adorers - one was an older American from New Jersey who was to be ordained as a deacon and then priest in Rome before we left the Holy Land and he traveled with me to Perth and later went to Central America and became a chaplain at a Catholic University, one a younger American from Texas who had been a male fashion model and an Argentinian teacher who was also to become a deacon and priest at this time when we were in Israel and he went to South America where he has been able to open numerous chapels of Perpetual Adoration. We were joined when adoration began on August 15 by a Nigerian nun who did six hours a day with us. I ran into the nun again in 2008 when I was living in Jerusalem (in Nachlaot) and she was going to Bethlehem where some nuns had begun to do Adoration at the Milk Cave Grotto.]

Second Email 

I went to the Hebrew Mass today and it was celebrated by a Hebrew Catholic Jesuit priest. It was a lovely experience. We also had Vespers. This morning we also visited the Sisters of Sion and then met another one at the Hebrew Mass. Not far away from the Mass someone blew themselves up. We are living in the Old City so it is a strange experience. It is stinking hot at the moment here.

[In regards to this bombing I had been told by a friend to go and eat at a certain felafel or kebab shop. I was about to do so when I decided I would go to the Mass first. While I was at Mass someone walked into the shop and blew themselves up and a man came rushing in at the end of Mass to tell us what happened. At this time there were bombings in Jerusalem every few days however when the PEA began on August 15 there were no more bombings for the next four months in the whole of Israel. Even the media was commenting on how unusual it was. Even some Lutherans we met at the Ulpan told us to keep doing the Adoration as they thought it must have something to do with it.]

Third Email
Thanks everyone for your best wishes. I live in the Moslem quarter of the Old City at the Armenian Catholic Church on the Via Dolorosa between the third and fourth stations of the Cross. The Egyptian and Ethiopian monks had a big fight the other day at the Holy Sepulchre and 11 of them were taken off to hospital. [The fight was] all over a monk moving his chair out of the sun into the shade. I am off to the English Mass tonight at the Holy Sepulchre in the Chapel of the Sorrowful Mother so I will lift you all up in the Mass. 

[When I had arrived I had been quickly stamped and had no problems (except my missing suitcase) even though I had arrived via Amman in Jordan. The immigration lady had asked me one friendly question and that was it. When we later went to Immigration to get a year visa through the Latin Patriarchy, the others were in the computer but there was no record of me which surprised the Israeli immigration lady who was very nice to us. And in no time we had our visas. However when I left Israel with Father Robert we were questioned and searched in a very annoying and tedious process.]

Fourth Email
Thanks for your prayers. My suitcase did turn up after a few days so I am very happy. I just came from giving a lecture on the descent of the European Royal Families from the Babylonian Exilarchs to an all-Orthodox Jewish group, with me the lone Catholic as the guest speaker. There is some celebration todayin the Ben Yehuda Mall with heaps of people wearing Rally for Israel tee shirts. Security is everywhere.Thanks 

[Through my connections with this orthodox Jewish group I was to meet a Rabbi who employed me to teach English to Haredi Jewish youths who had been in trouble with the law. He also suggested I do the Discovery Course and then to go and study at a Jewish Yeshiva near the Kotel (Wailing Wall). This I did and did some wonderful Jewish classes taught by Haredi and Chasidic Rabbis. I also was studying Hebrew at the Milah Ulpan with one of our Adoration team. My Hebrew teacher was the wife of a Rabbi and her father was a member of the Rothschild's family.  I would also study in the Yeshiva in 2007 and in 2008 as well as do another Ulpan at Beit Am with my house mate Brian a Messianic Jew from America who had made Aliya to Israel.]

Fifth Email
I am going to start praying to Father Herman Cohen everyday. We have had all day and all night adoration here at the 3rd and 4th stations at the Armenian Catholic Church for the last month here in Jerusalem. We are doing it with 5 people so please pray for us as this city needs all the adoration and we come under intense spiritual attack. We are also doing a Divine Mercy Novena for the intention of starting Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in Bethlehem. Please pray for us...

[We were regularly joined in the programme with three Protestant girls from Switzerland who lived in the Armenian apartments behind the Church. They asked us what we were doing as it was changing all the people around them, after they joined us they said their ministry to the Muslim women and children had taken off and was much more fruitful. When the public Adoration was closed down after 4 months in which all the bombs stopped in Israel they joined us for the next 4 months in private Perpetual Adoration without exposition until such pressure was put on the Bishop that we decided to offer to leave. He was sad but relieved. The Armenian parishioners were also sad to see us leave and were a great support to us at this time.]

Sixth Email 
Please pray for me and my community...as we have had shock news that the Armenian Catholic Patriarch in Lebanon has ordered the Armenian Bishop here to get rid of us and our mission of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration even though we had paid a year ahead. The Bishop is really upset as we get on very well. No reason was given,but I think we all know as Pope Paul VI said that the smoke of Satan has entered in to the very heart of the Church. However we have to move out by November 1st. So pray we can find somewhere to Adore Jesus perpetually. We are the only ones doing this in Israel and the Churches and communities here have no room for our Eucharistic Lord to be adored perpetually just as there was no room for him in Jerusalem. Of course Satan is behind this so please pray pray pray that Jesus may be adored perpetually here in Israel.The Eucharistic Lord has been rejected and we with him...

 [We also went everywhere trying to find a chapel or church in order to re-establish public Perpetual Adoration but were blocked at every turn. Our priests also tried to get permission to go into Iraq to start chapels of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration but they were refused and shortly after we had the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the devastation that was to cause leading to the present horrors in the Middle East. We later found out that the Armenian Patriarch was sent a letter from Rome claiming to come from Cardinal Sodano pressuring the Patriarch- by God's designs the leader of our group happened to be with the Patriarch in Lebanon with a French priest when the letter arrived and the Patriarch was so upset he showed it to them. The Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem denied there was a letter and the Armenian Bishop at first believed that there was no letter but later told us the Patriarch had told him that we were correct there was a letter. They seemed terrified that we knew about the letter and the Apostolic delegate (who was a master of the charming romanita) flew into a rage at the mention of the letter and he revealed his true colours to us after I had sensed the evil spirits surrounding him and interiorly bound them. At first he had pretended to be very supportive and suggesting we go and ask around about doing the Adoration somewhere else. However after he heard about us knowing about the letter he revealed he was actually the one working against us and had already warned all the other Bishops in Israel to not accept our mission. He also revealed his attack on us was because of our Bishop protector in another country. This Bishop was speaking out about Freemasons in the Church to the people and actually introducing his people to authentic spirituality. They later so persecuted the Bishop that he retired early and was then slandered by the clergy in his country. The Armenian Bishop they removed from Jerusalem. For some reason our little group of nobodies who just wanted to adore Jesus were seen as an enemy to be destroyed at all costs.]

Seventh Email
Thanks for your response to my message and thank you for your prayers. They are much appreciated. We are trusting that Yeshuah will open the right door for us...I won't even try to tell you about the churches here but will just say I pray for unity and a transformation in the Spirit. It is no wonder that the statues of Mary are weeping all over the world. It seems that the Mystery of the Eucharist is not even comprehended by most Catholics. The Apostasy of the Gentiles is very great and I long for the time of the ingrafting and the Eucharistic Reign of Yeshuah. Father Elias really was a prophet in many ways. I am praying to him as well as to Herman Cohen and the Ratisbonne brothers. We are joining our sufferings here with the Popes in this very dark hour in the Church’s history which will lead to a great time of Light. We are adoring with Miriam (Bitter Sea) at the 4th station as she weeps
with Yeshuah for the Church and the World. I will offer you both up in my holy hours today for a blessing for your generosity of heart towards Our Eucharistic Lord who is so rejected and abandoned in all the locked Churches throughout the world. 

[The good news was that when I returned in 2007 there was day time Adoration in the Church and I was able to help out with the adoration. In 2008 I ran into the Apostolic Delegate in Washington DC at a conference and he was now the Nuncio of the United States. I pray for this man's soul as I knew he and his masters in Rome were Freemasons in the Church and he suddenly died while in office. It was common knowledge among the Armenian Catholics that many of the higher clergy in Jerusalem were Freemasons and many of them had stopped attending Church regularly as a result. In our time many Armenians started to come back to Church and a Armenian youth group was even started. We ended up not moving out in the November but stayed another four months as the Bishop took my hand and begged us not to go as he was so lonely there and he allowed us to continue with private adoration in the Church without exposition. He was a good pastor and a kind man. Our Lady in many Catholic apparitions and locutions has warned us about Freemasonry in the Church but it is one thing to read about it and another to experience it. Of course the number of actual Freemasons is a lot less than the useful fellow travelers that do their bidding. At this time we also studied in a Hebrew language Ulpan with a rather rich and powerful secular French Freemason who was open about it. One day he gave us a bottle of wine and when we went to drink it, it had turned bitter like vinegar and we spat it out. I wondered if God was giving us a sign that the gifts of Masons are in reality bitter wine.]

Friday, June 22, 2018

Review of Six Pauline Studies Articles

Ian J. Elmer. “Pillars, Hypocrites and False Apostles. Paul’s Polemic against Jerusalem in Galatians”. In Polemik in der fr├╝hchrislichen Literatur. Tecte und Kontexte (2011), 123-154.

The article “Pillars, Hypocrites and False Apostles. Paul’s Polemic against Jerusalem in Galatians” by Ian Elmer proposes that the letter to the Galatians reveals the conflict in the early Church between Paul as the champion of a law-free Church and the Torah observant Jewish Christian community of Jerusalem. Elmer states that there are three hermeneutical keys or themes to understanding this perceived conflict between Pauline Christianity and Jewish Christianity to be found in Galatians. The first key or theme is Paul’s claim to a unique and divine apostleship, the second to Paul’s emphasis on the paternity of God and third theme that Paul’s gospel focuses on the efficacy of Christ’s death and perceives his opponents as following another gospel that’s focus is on Jewish law observance. Elmer links this conflict in Galatia with the events of conflict between the “Pillars” with Paul in Jerusalem and Antioch. Elmer’s approach and insights, which also make use of the higher critical school of theology, are a development of a traditional (especially Lutheran) understanding of the interchange between law and gospel or works of righteousness and faith. Elmer takes the insights of this so called older perspective on Paul to a more radical conclusion of an almost dialectical conflict or struggle between Peter, James and John and the Jewish Christians on one side and Paul and his new law-free Gentile faith on the other. [1]

Andrew Das, “‘Praise the Lord, All you Gentiles’: The Encoded Audience of Romans 15.7-13.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 34, no.1 (2011): 90-110, accessed May 28, 2018, doi: 10.1177/0142064X11415327

“‘Praise the Lord, All you Gentiles’: The Encoded Audience of Romans 15.7-13”by Andrew Das proposes that the encoded audience of Romans 15: 7-13 are Gentiles. He writes from the position of accepting the scholarship that proposes that Romans was written to an all-Gentile audience rather than to an audience of Jews and Gentiles. Criticism has been made that Stanley Stowers and Richard Hays pass over this section of Romans with little supporting evidence. Das with his article seeks to remedy this perceived lack. Through this discussion he then perceives chapter 14’s references to the weak and the strong as referring to a purely Gentile paradigm rather than one in which the weak are equated with Jews and the strong with Gentile Christians. This article strengthens the position of those scholars who perceive Paul as a Torah observant Jew after his Damascus Road experience. It weakens the position of those who would hold that Paul had a negative attitude to Jewish specific Torah observance by Jewish believers in the Gospel. The obvious erudite use and knowledge of the original Biblical Greek text in demonstrating his position is also a strength of this article.[2]

Frank J. Matera. “Christ in the Theologies of Paul and John: A Study in the Diverse Unity of New Testament Theology.” Theological Studies 67, no. 2 (2006): 237-256, accessed May 28, 2018, doi: 10.1177/004056390606700201

The article “Christ in the Theologies of Paul and John: A Study in the Diverse Unity of New Testament Theology” by Frank J. Matera proposes to discuss the differences in Christology between the letters of Paul and the Gospel of John. Matera perceives that Paul’s approach to Christology is focused on the redemptive aspects of the death, resurrection and parousia of the Messiah whereas John’s approach is focused on an incarnational insight of the Word becoming flesh. For Matera Paul’s understanding of the Messiah as the eschatological Adam is central. Matera links Paul’s redemptive focused missionary style with his dramatic experience of the risen Christ. Whereas John’s foundational experience is in the life of the Messiah as one sent by the Father. The importance of this sending by the Father in John is stressed by Matera. Matera sees these different approaches as providing insights into the mystery of Christ that allows for a multifaceted understanding of Christ. Others have written about these differences in a redemptive focus and an incarnational focus in regard to the differences between Dominican and Franciscan theology and Eastern and Western theologies. Matera provides an important insight that these two approaches go right back to the days of the early Church and that reflection on these two diverse ways of doing Christology leads to an enriched unity.[3]

Paula Fredriksen, "Why Should a" Law-Free" Mission Mean a" Law-Free" Apostle?" Journal of Biblical Literature 134, no. 3 (2015): 637-650, accessed May 29, 2018. doi: 10.15699/jbl.1343.2015.2974

Paula Fredriksen in “Why Should a “Law-Free” Mission Mean a “Law-Free” Apostle?” uses the term law-free with caution. Fredriksen does not believe that Paul proposed a law-free position for pagan converts but in fact Paul and the other Jewish Christian leaders imposed more Jewish aspects than the Synagogue did for God-fearers. In the article Fredriksen discusses the attitude of the Synagogue to pagan participation in its life. Fredriksen perceives Paul and the early Church’s position as based on an eschatological motivation. She stresses that Paul’s so-called law –free approach to Gentiles says absolutely nothing at all about whether Paul himself is Torah observant or not. However Fredriksen does believe that the New Testament demonstrates that Paul was Jewishly Torah observant. This article gives an important insight into the status of pagans in the Temple and Synagogue of the first century. The discussion of just how law-free or Jewish-free that Paul’s proposal for Gentiles in the Church was, is also another fascinating aspect of this article. This article demonstrates that Paul the Apostle is not necessarily also Paul the Apostate.[4]

Michael Benjamin Cover, "Paulus als Yischmaelit?: The Personification of Scripture as Interpretive Authority in Paul and the School of Rabbi Ishmael." Journal of Biblical Literature 135, no. 3 (2016): 617-637, accessed May 29, 2018. doi: 10.15699/jbl.1353.2016.3094

Michael Benjamin Cover asks the question in "Paulus als Yischmaelit?: The Personification of Scripture as Interpretive Authority in Paul and the School of Rabbi Ishmael” about what school of the Pharisees did St Paul belong to before his embrace of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. Cover agrees with Joachim Jeremias that Paul was originally a Hillelite rather than a Shammaite as proposed by N.T Wright. Cover proposes that Paul’s approach to hermeneutics was similar to that of the Ishmaelite school within Hillelite Pharisaism as opposed to the Akiban school of interpretation. This approach is that of the personification of Scripture as a self interpreting authority. Cover discusses the importance of hearing Scripture in both Paul and Ishmael’s approaches as well as a lack of references to halakhic authorities outside Scripture itself.  Cover also mentions two collaborating features of Pauline and Ishmaelian thought in regard to universalism and mystical ascent. Cover however does caution that Paul is not always proto- Ishmaelian in his approach and he gives some examples of how Paul can be proto-Akiban. This article is very important as it helps one to get a clearer understanding of the Jewish and Pharisaic background of Paul before his “conversion” and how this background manifests in his letters after his transforming experience of the risen Messiah.[5]

Mark Nanos, “Paul’s relationship to Torah in the Light of His Strategy to become Everything to Everyone (1 Corinthians 9:1-9),” accessed May 30, 2018, http://www.marknanos.com/1Cor9-Leuven-9-4-09.pdf

The article “ Paul’s relationship to Torah in the Light of His Strategy to become Everything to Everyone (1 Corinthians 9:1-9)” by Mark Nanos examines the common interpretation of this section of Corinthians, by those who think Paul abandoned his belief in Torah and mitzvoth. They understand this to mean that Paul changes how he behaves when he is with different groups of people. Nanos points out the rather dishonest, deceptive and hypocritical nature of such behaviour. Nanos holds to the position that Paul is still a committed and observant Jew after his transformative experience of the risen Messiah. Nanos proposes that Paul is thus proposing a rhetorical adaptability rather than a lifestyle adaptability. Nanos considers this as a discursive strategy for winning others to the Messiah. He also perceives this as a more productive approach which relieves Paul of the accusations of being a liar and deceiver which will help in Jewish Christian relations. Nanos’s insights coming from a scholar who is a non-Christian Jew is a strength of this article and of his other articles. In fact he is becoming a voice for this position which some call “Paul within Judaism” which is a theological child or sibling of the so-called “New Perspective on Paul”.[6]

[1] Ian J. Elmer. “Pillars, Hypocrites and False Apostles. Paul’s Polemic against Jerusalem in Galatians”. In Polemik in der fr├╝hchrislichen Literatur. Tecte und Kontexte (2011), 123-154.
[2] Andrew Das, “‘Praise the Lord, All you Gentiles’: The Encoded Audience of Romans 15.7-13.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 34, no.1 (2011): 90-110, accessed May 28, 2018, doi: 10.1177/0142064X11415327
[3] Frank J. Matera. “Christ in the Theologies of Paul and John: A Study in the Diverse Unity of New Testament Theology.” Theological Studies 67, no. 2 (2006): 237-256, accessed May 28, 2018, doi: 10.1177/004056390606700201
[4] Paula Fredriksen, "Why Should a" Law-Free" Mission Mean a" Law-Free" Apostle?" Journal of Biblical Literature 134, no. 3 (2015): 637-650, accessed May 29, 2018. doi: 10.15699/jbl.1343.2015.2974
[5] Michael Benjamin Cover, "Paulus als Yischmaelit?: The Personification of Scripture as Interpretive Authority in Paul and the School of Rabbi Ishmael." Journal of Biblical Literature 135, no. 3 (2016): 617-637, accessed May 29, 2018. doi: 10.15699/jbl.1353.2016.3094
[6] Mark Nanos, “Paul’s relationship to Torah in the Light of His Strategy to become Everything to Everyone (1 Corinthians 9:1-9),” accessed May 30, 2018, http://www.marknanos.com/1Cor9-Leuven-9-4-09.pdf