Monday, April 30, 2018

Why we are called Abarim Publications

Abarim is the name of a mountain or mountain range in the vicinity of the Plain of Moab, just east of Israel. This mountain is so very special because Moses was given a birds-eye view of the promised land of Israel (Numbers 27:12, Deuteronomy 32:48-52). After he had seen it he was 'gathered to his people,' and he was never to enter what he had seen and towards which he had led the people for forty years of suffering and wars. The reason that Moses could not enter was that he had struck the water-giving rock at Meribah with his rod (as he was told to do before — Exodus 17:6), while he was this time told to speak to it, while holding on to his rod.

The water-giving rock is an open allusion to the Messiah (and the name of Moses' successor Joshua is the Hebrew form of the Greek name Jesus) and striking it comes very close to the way Jesus was treated before his crucifixion. The task of Moses was to verbally surrender the Law of God to humanity, and any show of physical force in this regard is both severely tempting and highly corruptive. Still, Moses, the friend of God and the embodiment of the Torah, was kept in God's ultimate esteem. When he died God Himself buried him in the valley in the land of Moab (Deuteronomy 34:6), close to Mount Abarim. Moses' body was even such a prize that none less than Michael the arch-angel and the Devil entered into a dispute over it (Jude 1:9).

We have chosen the name Abarim Publications (after Jeremiah 22:20) because we understand that neither our work, nor what we have seen, nor that we have seen, is salvific. What we do belongs to the wilderness years; no one has ever been reasoned into either the Promised Land, heaven or the New Creation.

But the Law of God is of extreme importance, and the study of it essential, even if it brings us no further than Abarim.

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Friday, April 27, 2018

How memories relate to tombs

The verb μναομαι (mnaomai) means to remember, to recollect or to be mindful (hence our English adjective "mnemonic"). It's used in the New Testament with pretty much the same nuances and applications as our English verb, from abruptly recalling something out of one's own memory (Matthew 5:23, 26:75, John 2:22), to reviewing one's memory in a controlled way (Acts 11:16, 2 Timothy 1:4, 2 Peter 3:2), to keeping continuously in one's conscious mind (1 Corinthians 11:2, Luke 24:6).

A first century tomb: not exactly a memorial but still known as one -- why?

The derived noun μνημα (mnema) denotes a memorial or monument. In the New Testament this word is used 8 times, see full concordance, and solely to describe a tomb. Since Jewish tradition didn't really sport tomb stones, this word seems to demonstrate that a slowly decaying body in a tomb was seen as something closely similar to a fixed memory in one's mind (how the English language acquired its phrase "skeleton in the closet" is not clear but it's doubtlessly a Jewish contribution; also see Ezekiel 37:1-14).

Note that the demoniac called Legion lived among these "items of remembrance" according to the Lucan evangelist (Luke 8:27), and this may indicate that this man was not only suffering from a demonic infestation, he was also living among the memories of a painful past and doubtlessly burdened by severe psychological trauma. Also note that a similar double meaning exists in the verb κατατιθημι (katatithemi), which means both to inter and to be remembered (favorably).

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018


Everybody knows that Jesus is the "monogenes" Son of God but what few people realize is that there are many "sons of God" mentioned in the Bible, and that the word "monogenes" is applied to three other men in the Bile and even one girl!

Read our article on this mysterious and much misunderstood word:

Saturday, April 21, 2018

How left and right became good and bad

The adjective δεξιος (dexios) means right (the opposite of left) and is used 54 times in the New Testament; see full concordance. Particularly compared to the "left," the "right" has a decidedly positive connotation. In English we use the word "right" for things that are proper and just, whereas our word "left" hails from an ancient word that means "foolish." "Left" is also the homograph of the past tense and participle of the verb to leave, which is why it's not right to be left.

The Latins called the left sinister (hence our negative English word "sinister") and the right they called dexter (hence our positive word "dexterity," and of course the name Dexter). The Hebrews associated the right both with the south and with strength and alliance (hence the name Benjamin, or Son of the Right Hand), and thus the left with the north and weakness and hostility. The word for "right" in French is the same as our English word "adroit," meaning resourceful, whereas the French word for left also means clumsy or awkward. In English a clumsy person has two left hands.

But while the curious distinction between right and left can not be denied, it's hardly a simple matter of good versus bad. In fact, the modern folkloristic distinction between right and left is rather clearly rooted in a very sensible ancient one. And it's that venerable ancient usage that is reflected in the Bible.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The gospel code

Contrary to popular inflection, the gospel of Jesus Christ is not simply just another theology, and Paul's many admonitions to obey the rules of the state (Romans 13:1-7, Titus 3:1) had nothing to do with the state's desired perpetuation but rather with a most efficiently placing of agents of the state's ultimate demise. As Socrates had explained many centuries earlier: since every governmental system has facilities to deal with foreign threats, a system can only be overthrown from within its own apparatus, and by its own members. Or in other words: a ship's rudder has to be a part of the ship (James 3:4).

The most fundamental operating principles of the gospel and those of the Roman Empire were mutually exclusive, and when Constantine "converted" the Roman state to Christianity, he merely grafted Christian terminology upon the Roman machine. After Constantine, the emperor had new clothes but he had no new heart and certainly no new way of doing things.

  • The Roman Empire was based on the idea that one man could be divine, and was to impose his rule upon the rest of humanity in order to save humanity from its own darkness and violence. The penalties were severe and everybody was scared witless. A Roman citizen was to fully obey and even worship the state and its emperor — and note that a mere 25% of Roman people were citizens; the rest were slaves. The state became a web of rules and hierarchies, committees and counsels, and it was virtually impossible for any citizen to find and dispute the source of the rules that ran this person's life (Ephesians 6:12).
  • The gospel of Jesus Christ declares every person — that's 100% of humanity — an anointed king and high priest, with no earthly superiors (Exodus 19:6, 1 Peter 2:9, Revelation 1:6). That means that every human being has a direct link to the Creator of heaven and earth, who in turn places the laws of nature (and thus of a perfect, natural human society) in every person's own heart (Romans 2:15, Hebrews 10:16). The most common command in the Bible is to have no fear (1 John 4:18). Every human being is both as free and as integrated into the biosphere as any of God's creatures (Romans 8:19-22), and wholly responsible for the purposes and effects of his or her own life.
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After Constantine, the emperor had new clothes but he had no new heart and certainly no new way of doing things.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The noun φοβος (phobos) means fear

The noun φοβος (phobos) means fear (hence our English word phobia). It comes from the verb φεβομαι (phebomai), meaning to flee in terror or be put to flight. This verb isn't used in the New Testament, and in turn stems from the Proto-Indo-European root bhegw-, meaning to run.

The issue of fear in the Bible is curious. The prohibition (fear not) is the most repeated command in the Bible, yet fear also describes man's proper and prescribed attitude toward the deity (Deuteronomy 6:13). In our article on the Hebrew equivalent of our Greek noun, namely ירא (yara'), we propose that fear is a natural reaction to the unknown and uncontrollable. Man was commanded to rule the beasts (Genesis 1:26) and God instilled the fear of man in them (Genesis 9:2), which means that if man feared beast, the natural order was reversed.

Mankind was endowed with the gift of convention (and not intelligence, as the myth dictates), which allowed him to agree with others to the point in which he could devise speech and script and other technology that would help him understand creation and be safe in it. Knowledge allowed very little to be beyond man's control and man's natural reaction to the unknown and unexpected became humor and laughter (on a physical level, laughing and screaming with fear are pretty much the same thing). This is possibly why the "son of the promise" was called Isaac, which means He Will Laugh.

Here at Abarim Publications we suspect that the term "the fear of the Lord" is a trick-phrase like "the love of money"; it consists of two mutually exclusive elements, and that's how the issue is explained. The love of money — which in addition to all confusion, is often misinterpreted as the love for money, but no, it's the love of money — is a force that works between people just like love, which causes them to exchange goods and services, just like love. But money-love is entropy based and will always seek balance without creating anything new. Real love gives without wanting anything in return and thus propels the very realm it exist in onto a whole new existence.

To a human who is fully aware and in control of the whole of creation, the only thing that remains unknown is God. By that time, man's reaction to the unknown will have evolved from a basic fight or flight reaction to a super-collective sense of adoration and great joy (Jude 1:24).

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Feet and erotica in the Bible

It's been overly reported that in Hebrew "feet" may be a euphemism for the male genitals, but that's jumping the gun a bit. Men would wear long tunics and any kind of laborious activity would require hoisting up the tunic to free one's feet (that's where the "girding of the loins" comes from; 1 Kings 18:46). The colloquial expression "covering one's feet" is the opposite of that, and describes a pose of rest. All this is on a par with keeping one's ears and eyes open during periods of activity and alertness, and covering ears and eyes during periods of slumber.

The expression "covering one's feet" is in English almost perfectly reflected in the expression "taking a load off," which also describes a pose of rest after performing labor. When judge Ehud had murdered fat king Eglon of Moab, Eglon's servants didn't dare to go into the room he lay bleeding and spilling his refuse because they figured he was "covering his feet," which in this case strongly implies that they thought he was taking a load off by taking a dump (Judges 3:24). Likewise, during one of Saul's campaigns to apprehend David, Saul went into a cave to "cover his feet," which only means that he went in there to take a load off (1 Samuel 24:3). In this case it is implied that Saul was taking a nap.

When at the end of a working day or long journey, a man came into a home — his own or someone else's — the "covering of his feet" would be preceded by the washing of them (Genesis 18:4, 1 Samuel 25:41). One would obviously not recline to dine and certainly not slide into bed with one's wife with unwashed feet, and that ties the washing of feet with taking a rest after a period of work, having diner and sleeping with one's wife. When David sent Uriah home to "wash his feet" (2 Samuel 11:8) he didn't express his concerns for Uriah's smelly feet but literally told him to go home and take a load off, implying that he would subsequently sleep with his wife Bathsheba. When Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, He also implied that He had brought them into a period of domestic rest (John 13:5), but when Mary anointed Jesus' feet with fragrant oil, she unmistakably prepared Jesus for His wedding night (John 12:3, see for more on this our article on the name Nicodemus).

Commentators usually miss the sexual connotation of Mary anointing Jesus' feet, but erroneously ascribe a sexual connotation to Ruth's dealings with Boaz (Ruth 3:1-18). Naomi told Ruth to go into Boaz' quarters after he had dined and gone to sleep (for which he had washed and covered his feet), and uncover his feet and lay herself at his feet. When Boaz woke up in the middle of the night he noticed that his feet were uncovered and a lady was sleeping at his feet.

Boaz was obviously a man of honor who not only wanted to honor the levirate law but also wanted to allow a closer relative to marry Ruth (Ruth 3:12-13). What women back in those days still knew was that no woman can catch an honorable man by putting out on the first date. If Ruth had uncovered Boaz' privates that night, he would doubtlessly have kicked her out of his tent. Now that she had uncovered his feet and lay herself at his feet, she indicated that she placed herself at Boaz' service and also respectfully asked Boaz to go to work for her. Boaz got the message, did the honorable thing and even protected her from the walk of shame (3:14). Boaz contacted Ruth's close relative and offered him his rights to Ruth (4:1), but the relative declined and demonstrated as much by removing his sandal, which is also a symbol of the foot-genre (4:7). Someone who puts a sandal on his foot indicates he's fixing for action (Exodus 12:11, Isaiah 5:27); someone who removes a sandal indicates his standing down (Exodus 3:5). When John the Baptist said he was unworthy to untie Jesus' sandal, he also indicated that he could not possibly take over Jesus' work and give Him a break (Luke 3:16).

Another much quoted reference to feet possibly euphemizing genitals is Isaiah 7:20, where Isaiah states that YHWH will use the king of Assyria as a razor with which He will shave Judah's head and "hair of the feet," which is then explained to denote pubic hair. Here at Abarim Publications we have no objection to pubic hair but see no reason to let hair of the feet denote pubic hair. It simply reads that the Lord will shave Judah head to toe, from top to bottom.

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Monday, April 9, 2018

Lucifer, pleased to meet you

Doubtlessly much to the chagrin of fans, Lucifer is not a personal name and it certainly is not the personal name of the devil.

Pleased to meet you -- hope you know my name!

The word lucifer is a common Latin word and occurs in the Old Testament in Job 11:17 (= the dawn) and Job 38:32 (= some constellation), Psalm 110:3 (= the dawn), Isaiah 14:12 (see below), and once in the New Testament, in 2 Peter 1:19 (= φωσφορος, phosphoros, the Morning Star or Venus, see below).

Of all English, German and Dutch translations of the Bible, only the King James Version and the Darby Translation mention Lucifer and that only in Isaiah 14:12. All other occurrences of the word lucifer are translated as "morning star," "shining one" or "day star" or something to that extent in all European translations over the last four centuries.

Revelation 2:28 and 22:16 also speak of the morning star, but the Latin Vulgate uses stella matutina; literally star of the morning.

The only time that Lucifer could possibly be perceived as a personal name is in Isaiah 14:12, where the Lord makes the observation: "How you have fallen from heaven, lucifer, son of the dawn!". This observation is part of a larger statement addressed to the king of Babylon (14:4), in which Babylon's fall from grace is discussed. Babylon's prior rise to grace isn't mentioned in this chapter, but is part of the general rule that everything belongs to God and whatever grows, grows because the Lord makes it grow (see for instance Isaiah 45:1-7). Hence Babylon could not have risen to prominence without the blessing of YHWH, and its fall is due to Babylon's desire for wealth and power.

A similar sentiment is recorded in the Book of Ezekiel, where the prophet speaks of the king of Tyre, "You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty; you were in Eden, the garden of God" (Ezekiel 28:12-13). The Tyrians and the Phoenicians in general had built a highly successful empire on the basis of respect and free trade, and had achieved such great levels of skills and wisdom that Solomon had asked them to build the Temple of YHWH in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 2). Sadly, even the Phoenicians became corrupt and were wiped out by the Romans (read our article on the name Hannibal for more details).

Because the archangel Michael kicked satan out of heaven (Revelation 12:9), and satan was present in Eden (Genesis 3), there is some similarity between satan and the kings of Babylon and Tyre in the words of Isaiah and Ezekiel, but similarity is not the same as equality, and they are really three different entities.

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Friday, April 6, 2018

Is the Bible infallible?

The answer to the age old question whether the Bible is infallible depends entirely on the standard you use or the stage upon which you unfold your arguments.

Take the number pi for instance. Ask any mathematician if pi is always 3.1415... and most will say yes! But a mathematician with a slightly broader scope will calmly inform you that the value of pi will be lower than 3.1415 on a spherical surface and even continuously change on a hyperbolic surface. The value or even the constancy of pi can not be addressed if the geometry is not declared. Same with the Bible.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Cosmos, the Antichrist and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

The noun κοσμος (kosmos) means order. It probably stems from the verb κομεω (komeo), meaning to take care of or to tend, but apparently mostly in the sense of guiding young or untrained things to a properly behaving adult state. On rare occasions, the form κομεω (komeo) shows up as variant of the verb κοσμαω (kosmao), which means "to let hair grow long." In the classics this verb occurs much more frequently than one would expect in texts that don't necessarily tell of a tribe of hairstylists, which is because this verb also carries many a metaphor — to stick a feather in one's hair, to let one's hair down, to flaunt one's wicked do — or tells of plants and trees that wave in the breeze or grow into fruit-bearing maturity.

When we westerners hear the word "cosmos" we think of space, but that's because Pythagoras and later philosophers used our word to describe the universe as an orderly affair rather than a messy joint ran by whimsical deities. This was of course highly advanced, but what is not often recognized is that Pythagoras' choice of word implies that he imaged an evolving universe rather than a stead state one.

The Greek word kosmos means order and speaks of the Logos versus polytheism

In the universe entropy must always increase, which is why straight lines never stay straight for long and every neat pile of whatever will inevitably turn into a floating cloud of chaotic dust. The Creator created hyper-complex rainforests, vast systems of unpredictable stormy weather and the Second Law of Thermodynamics and deemed that good (Genesis 1:4, 1:10, 1:12, 1:18, 1:21, 1:25) and some of it even very good (1:31). Mankind came along and for some bizarre reason began to favor static straight lines and flat surfaces over the dynamic world of eternal change that God had taken such a shine to.

Rich people discovered that they could get richer by enslaving people who didn't think so. And that's how modern governments were invented. They set themselves in palaces and surrounded themselves with police and military, and proceeded to extract all natural energy from society and transmute that into things like infinity pools and Maseratis. That went a whole lot better if they knew where everybody was, which led to censuses (απογραφη, apograph), last names, addresses, postal codes — in short, societies that were organized like legions: people forced to stand still in rows and tiers whilst taking their instructions from a single boss, who is boss not because he is better at anything but because he was made boss by a bigger boss.

This idea of order is wonderful for the happy few who sit atop the heap, but not so for he heap. In the past it was often thought that natural evolution requires nothing but fortunate typo's and lots of time to progress, but today we know that diversity is the key. The more diverse a set is, the wider the span between the elements, and thus the more varied the combined result, which leads to a more diverse set of next generation sets. In order for humanity to go anywhere, all human individuals need to be free to do whatever they want — and 'all' means 'all'; your freedom can't limit someone else's freedom.

The order that's ordained by God (Isaiah 28:10) is one in which every human being is a christos or anointed king; sovereign, autonomous, wholly free and thus wholly responsible for their own actions. Any sort of tyranny that limits the freedom of people is precisely the opposite: antichristos, which is doomed to be ended by the very laws upon which the entire universe operates (Revelation 20:10).

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