Friday, January 29, 2010

God certainly DOES judge nations, as well as individuals.

Here's a particularly venomous post from another site denouncing the very idea that God judges nations:
Militant radical Muslims arrogantly declare that the disemboweling and slaughtering of men, women, and children in the marketplace by a bomb blast is God’s will since they are the wrong kind of Muslim.

Overzealous fundamentalist Christian ministers and freelance evangelicals arrogantly declare God willed that hapless men, women, and children be killed, crippled, and made homeless in the hundreds of thousands in Haiti since they must be a misguided species of Christian.

As it does with al Qaeda, it gives God a bad name.

It is not what Jesus had in mind when he said, “Love your neighbor”---of that one can be certain.
The aggressive ignorance and confusion as well as blasphemy of such an assertion fairly takes the breath away. It is hardly worth answering the person who thinks this way, but if it sways believers at all that is very sad. Unfortunately there may be many Christians who reject the biblical witness of a God who judges sin, because of the tendency toward an "easy believism" sort of diluted gospel message over the last few decades. Easy believism makes God out to be a kindly old grandfather sort of God and encourages an aversion to the very idea of judgment and sin itself. This despite the fact that the whole gospel message is that God Himself came to die in our stead, to pay our sin debt for us because we are incapable of it, which should foster a sense of the dreadful offense of sin. Instead, the watered-down gospel we get these days tends to minimize sin, making God into a nice guy who indulges us in our "mistakes," rather than offering us a costly salvation for our heinous offenses against Him, and reducing our Lord's death on the cross to, well, to meaninglessness -- there was hardly any cause for His suffering so, if there is hardly any offense in our sins. ANY sort of judgment for sin, of individuals or nations both, is now oddly dismissed as some sort of invention by zealots, despite the testimony to it in scripture.

And strange confusions abound. Of course, a lot of it is calculated confusion, not genuine confusion at all, as in the above quotation. The mere statement that God Himself judges unrepentant sinners in horrific ways, which is given as a kind warning or a kind helping hand to repentance, is equated to the Muslim command for human beings to slaughter innocents -- innocents, not sinners. The fact that God commands us to be good to our enemies and to take care of those suffering from God's judgments is studiously ignored by those who want to tar Christians with whatever accusation the devil can invent. The fact that it is God dispensing judgment and not human beings is likewise studiously ignored, as is the fact that God is judging unrepentant sin and not innocent human beings. Clearly there is no point in answering such charges by anyone who so clearly wants to believe them. But there may be a point in trying to show believers just how twisted such reasoning is, and especially to try to instil a sense of the deep offense of sin in the place of the easygoing trivialization of it.

Here's another false assessment of the situation in Haiti:
Haiti is surely a Job among nations….Today, nearly all Haitians are Christians. About half also practice voodoo, an adaptation of their African ancestors’ native religion.
Obviously someone who has no clue what Christianity actually is. Sure, no problem, call yourself a Christian AND practice voodoo and that's all it takes and abracadabra you're a Christian and the whole benighted witchcraft-practicing nation of Haiti is "nearly all" Christian. And also, of course, anyone who suggests a biblical view of witchcraft is vilified. Whatever else you think of Pat Robertson, he's right about God's being behind the disaster in Haiti. But of course the anti-Christians are on his case.
In his narrow, malicious way, Robertson is making a First Commandment argument; when the God of Israel thunders from his mountaintop that “you shall have no other gods before me,” he means it. This God rains down disaster---floods and so forth---on those who disobey.

But Robertson’s is a fundamentalist view. It’s so unkind and self-righteous---and deaf, dumb, and blind to centuries of theological discourse on suffering by thinkers from Augustine to Elie Wiesel---that one might easily call it backward.
Call it "fundamentalist" and you're certain to engender nothing but scorn and derision like this, imputing to Robertson a "narrow" and "malicious" attitude. That really ought to tell Christians that he's on the right track, as Jesus makes clear in the New Testament that those who are following Him WILL be treated this way. Good for Pat Robertson and woe to those who disdain him. Of course it IS fundamentalist, that is, it is in keeping with the biblical revelation, it's what God Himself tells us in His word. If Augustine disagreed, too bad for Augustine -- he didn't always get it right despite many things he DID get right. And what does Elie Wiesel have to do with Christian revelation anyway?
Every Western religious tradition teaches that mortals have no way of counting or weighing another’s sin.
Um, we aren't talking about the sins of individuals, which are none of our business unless made our business, we're talking about the sins of nations here, and that is clearly shown us in the Old Testament. You don't have to be a prophet to understand what the Bible teaches about God's absolute sovereignty over all things (although it may help to be a Calvinist), it's revealed to us in scripture, and in the case of nations we can often infer many things about a particular act of God, just knowing something about that nation's history -- not everything, but the main issues. In the case of Haiti, voodoo fairly hits you in the face as the explanation for not only this particular disaster, but their hundreds of years of deterioration into poverty, their incompetent and exploitative government and the like.
“If that happened to the Haitians because they’re so sinful, then why hasn’t it happened to him?” retorts Bart Ehrman, a Bible scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Your time is no doubt coming. Why would anyone ask such a question?
[Some mortals who fancy themselves mind-0f-God readers cite “fullness of time” here, explaining that if your sinful homeland hasn’t been hit, it’s only because it hasn’t been hit yet; therefore, let us repent all together, in locksquat with prayer mats unrolled!]
It doesn't take the prophetic gift to understand God's mind THROUGH HIS OWN REVELATION TO US, merely a faithful adherence to that revelation, but of course those who hate God don't mind misconstruing it all in the service of their agenda.
“I think,” adds Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of Why Bad Things Happen to Good People, “that it’s supreme hubris to think you can read God’s mind.”
-- Lisa Miller, religion editor, Newsweek, January 25, 2010, p. 14
Well, the poor Jews, but they are unfortunately deluding themselves.

Again, it's not "reading God's mind" to infer God's doings from His own revelation in scripture. It's exactly what He gave us that revelation FOR, so we could understand His operations in this world and be warned.

So many have been disputing what Pat Robertson said about Haiti's "pact with the devil" I had to see if there's anything to it. It appears that there most likely is. It is at least the stuff of legend, and of Christian attempts to exorcise it as well, showing that it is generally believed to be historically true.

Here's one source: Government Of The Devil, By The Devil, And For The Devil By Tom Barrett (03/11/04) From that page:
It is a matter of well-documented historical fact that the nation of Haiti was dedicated to Satan 200 years ago. On August 14, 1791, a group of houngans (voodoo priests), led by a former slave houngan named Boukman, made a pact with the Devil at a place called Bois-Caiman. All present vowed to exterminate all of the white Frenchmen on the island. They sacrificed a black pig in a voodoo ritual at which hundreds of slaves drank the pig’s blood. In this ritual, Boukman asked Satan for his help in liberating Haiti from the French. In exchange, the voodoo priests offered to give the country to Satan for 200 years and swore to serve him. On January 1, 1804, the nation of Haiti was born and thus began a new demonic tyranny.
Many of the links on the above page are now defunct, most of them being pretty old (remember, this was written in 2004, well before the recent earthquake in Haiti). But there are still some live ones that back up the claim of such a pact, and show that it is recognized by Haitians themselves as a turning point in their history.

Some more references:

Reported in 1998, an effort was made by Christians to exorcise the evil influence of the pact at the site where it was originally made in 1791. It doesn't seem to have had much if any effect, as the practice of voodoo has continued just as strong as ever since then.

Here's a U.S. government document that treats this pact as historically recognized if nothing else, and reports on the efforts of the Christians to undo it: U.S. Department of State Annual Report on International Religious Freedom for 1999. From the report:
While society is generally tolerant of the variety of religious practices that flourish in the country, Christian attitudes towards voodoo vary. While many Christians accept voodoo as part of the country's cultural patrimony, others regard it as incompatible with Christianity, and this has led to isolated instances of conflict in the recent past.

In early August 1998, three evangelical pastors were arrested near Cap Haitien after they had proceeded with plans to hold a religious revival at Bois Caiman. Bois Caiman has a strong patriotic significance for Haitians, since it is the site of a legendary 1791 voodoo ceremony at which slaves swore to rise up against their masters and risk death rather than continue to live in bondage. The resulting slave rebellion was a precursor to the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804). The pastors, who had been prohibited by the authorities from holding the revival on the actual anniversary of the ceremony, proceeded instead with plans to hold the event several days before the anniversary, hoping to rid the area of malevolent influences. This offended much of the local populace and local authorities, who arrested pastors Joel Jeune, Jean Berthony Paul, and Gregor Joseph on August 4. They were released on the orders of a judge on August 6.
The story has some holes in it. It may in fact be the truth that they did this, but in 1998 the supposed pact with Satan would have expired anyway since it was made in 1791 for 200 years. Not that Satan honors his commitments of course, but since God is in charge of everything ultimately anyway, he may have to. In any case, the practice of voodoo has not stopped as a result either of the expiration of the pact or the efforts of the Christians, and until this practice is given up by a majority there is little reason to think Haitian society is going to improve any time soon.

There is this other factor that they are nominally "Christians." Well, in the US we are also considered a Christian society despite the fact that there can't really be a very high proportion of true believers in the country, certainly no where near as high as is often claimed. BUT I think we can safely claim to be a Christian SOCIETY in the sense that Haiti is not. I'm thinking of recent reports from Haiti about young men taking food away from women and children and the weak. Such action in most western societies would be denounced, because we ARE a Christian society in that sense. The protection of the weak by the strong is a strong tenet of our societies that has come down through centuries. We may of course be losing it now as we're overtaken by pagan values -- or really, subpagan values, animalistic values -- but we can still see it in operation now and then.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Analyzing the situation in Haiti

Voodoo faith 'could hinder Haiti's recovery from quake'
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
Haiti is facing a spiritual as well as a physical crisis with the collapse of many of its most potent religious symbols in the earthquake, according to a leading Labour peer and Methodist minister.

Even those who have retained their faith in the face of the overwhelming crisis will struggle to find somewhere to worship on Sunday, with so many churches including both the Catholic and Anglican cathedrals destroyed, and many others severely damaged.
Actually, that kind of sounds like judgment to me, but then I think those churches deserve to be judged.
Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach, superintendent minister of Wesley’s chapel in the City of London, who was ordained in Haiti and wrote a biography of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the country’s first democratically-elected President, said he feared the fatalism inspired by the voodoo religion would militate against recovery.
That's interesting. Attitude does make a big difference. One thing about the effect of faith in Christ in a person is that it inspires doing things to improve situations.
The death of the Catholic archbishop along with the destruction of the cathedrals will be seen as potent symbols of the failure of those religions to withstand an act of God, he warned.
Well, that's not a bad thing. Those religions don't bring people to a saving faith in the living Jesus Christ and He is the refuge they need.
Voodoo is fundamentally a home-based cult where each family has their own collection of household gods, many of them Catholic saints. In many households, it sits comfortably alongside a family’s Catholic observance.
No surprise there since Catholic prayers to Mary and saints and other superstitions are the same kind of pagan religion.
The Catholic church officially backs the right of families to practise voodoo.
Sure, what do they care HOW they go to hell, whether it's through their own rituals and superstitions or voodoo's.
Protestant missionaries have been less sympathetic, classifying family spirits as demons.
May their tribe increase and their faith and spiritual power spring up in the wake of this disaster to save many souls.
More than eight in ten Haitians are officially Catholic, with about one in ten Protestants. But an unknown number also practise some voodoo rituals as well.

The dictator François “Papa Doc” Duvalier exploited voodoo as a method of social control, using sorcery and superstition as covers for his corrupt destruction of the nation.
Easy to see how that could happen.
Lord Griffiths, who wrote a history of Protestantism in Haiti and has had a 40-year love affair with the country, including living and working there for ten years and setting up the Haiti support group in the UK, said: “The interesting thing for sociologists and anthropologists is the considerable overlap between voodoo and Catholicism.”
Not hard to grasp if you understand what's really at the core of Catholicism, which came out in Vatican II.
Voodoo grew out of the animist religions brought to the country by slaves, and was then overlaid by the Catholicism of the plantation owners. This led in many places to syncretism, or fusing, of the two belief systems.
Not hard between two such similar paganisms.
Lord Griffiths told The Times: “I would say that 90 per cent of the time, the voodoo is non-malign. It is not just sticking pins into dolls, although there is a bit of that.”
It may be non-malign in a worldly sense but it takes people to hell so it's pretty malign in a spiritual sense.
The tragic religious “fault line” which could now impact recovery from the earthquake was the “fatalism” of the voodoo belief system.

Lord Griffiths said: “The Haiti people have had so many batterings that when something terrible happens, they just say, “Bon dieu bon", or “God is good”, whatever happens. In other words, it is God’s will, we must accept it, there is nothing we can do about it.

“The task for Christian evangelism is not to make voodoo worshippers into Christians but to help deal with the fatalism that does not allow voodoo worshippers to see themselves as agents of their own improvement.
But this can't happen UNLESS they are made into Christians and come to understand the malignity of their false religion.
"The problem is the competition between these two mindsets, the fatalism that says they can do nothing and the right perception that they can do a lot. That is the spiritual struggle.”
Ah gee, optimism that flies in the face of reality is SO inspiring.
He said the Catholic Archbishop’s death would confirm in the minds of many Haitians that the Church could not withstand the raw force of nature and the loss of the Catholic cathedral was an even more potent symbol of the same thing.
Well, the Protestants, if there are any with a real grasp of the situation, should be pointing out that God was judging those superstitious religions and that they need to come to know the living God in Christ and give up their superstitions.
“It will certainly feed into the minds of some. But it is the cathedral that is the thing. It is knocked down, that great high place of religion.

"If an Archbishop goes under a pile of rubble, you can regret it. But if you see the ruin of the cathedral where all the Archbishops since 1860 have officiated, it is a more powerful image.

"They will see this every day for years to come. Haitians will say, this is the state-approved religion and look what has happened to it.”
Nothing could be better if there's hope for their recovery than to fully grasp that the state-approved religion was a big part of their calamity and that God has judged it. May God raise up preachers who know how to teach them the truth.
Tyler Cowen, a commentator in the US, said in his blog Marginal Revolution that religion might explain why Haiti is so poor. He cited the philosopher Hegel who argued that “voodoo, with its intransitive power relations among the gods, was prone to producing political intransitivity as well.”
Sounds likely.
Albert Mohler, a baptist in the US, wrote: “In truth, it is hard not to describe the earthquake as a disaster of biblical proportions. It certainly looks as if the wrath of God has fallen upon the Caribbean nation.

"Add to this the fact that Haiti is well known for its history of religious syncretism — mixing elements of various faiths, including occult practices. The nation is known for voodoo, sorcery, and a Catholic tradition that has been greatly influenced by the occult.”

Mr Mohler refuted the suggestion from Pat Robertson, the American preacher, that Haiti was cursed by the devil.

“Why did no earthquake shake Nazi Germany? Why did no tsunami swallow up the killing fields of Cambodia? Why did Hurricane Katrina destroy far more evangelical churches than casinos? Why do so many murderous dictators live to old age while many missionaries die young?”

I was strongly disappointed in what Dr. Mohler said as I usually very much appreciate his point of view. God couldn't have stopped the earthquake? God is that weak? Or God is that preoccupied He doesn't even pay attention to such things? What picture of God is being conveyed when people deny that He had anything to do with a disaster such as Haiti is suffering?

I'd answer the "whys" being asked above: There is such a thing as the "fullness of time" for God's wrath. Nazi Germany only existed for a few decades. Haiti has been around for centuries practicing its voodoo all that time. Perhaps the killing fields too have not ripened for judgment yet. As for churches, "judgment begins at the house of God" comes to mind, but we just don't have any information about those churches. It's more reasonable to focus on the larger New Orleans as the target rather than specific individuals and institutions, unless we happened to know something about them, and we don't. New Orleans as a whole has a reputation for sin that's hard to ignore though. Mardi Gras, voodoo etc. It's also an old city, not anywhere near as old as Haiti but still, much ripened toward the "fullness of time" when Katrina came along.
Amos 3:6 ... shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?
And besides, Nazi Germany certainly was ultimately punished after the war.

There are different ways God's wrath comes upon nations, there's not one method that applies to all. Political insanity is one method, for instance; it's not all tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes.

There is probably more truth to Pat Robertson's claim than is being acknowledged. Voodoo is certainly a satanic religion and apparently some sort of pact was once made, but its practice by a majority of the population is enough of a reason for God's judgment on the nation.

But this article is interesting in its pointing to a fatalistic attitude in voodoo as a source of the Haitian problems too.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sacred Name heresy -- Which are the true names? "God" "Jesus" "Yeshua" "Yahweh" etc. etc.

Scott Johnson's latest study is on a heresy that I only discovered last summer when I received the email I post below, through a mailing list I was on. This is the "Sacred Name" heresy, which is related to the Hebrew Roots movement. As you will see in the material below, the name "Jesus" is rejected as pagan! I didn't do a study on it myself, I was merely shocked and offended at the information I received and asked to be taken off the mailing list. Not only in English but in most other languages, "Jesus" is the name of our Lord. It comes from the Greek. I never had an objection to the Hebrew version "Yeshua" until now, simply accepting it as a valid preference in the Messianic churches. Having read only a bit of Johnson's PDF file and heard only his Part 4 so far, I already have concluded that there is no justification for using the Hebrew name at all.

I'm glad to have the opportunity now to devote a post to this and refer people to Johnson's study.

At first I had the impression from the first part of his PDF file that at least some of his study relies on a King-James-only source that I consider heretical in itself, because it treats Elizabethan English as a sacred language. Looking over the PDF again and now having heard his parts 1 and 2 as well as 4 I see that this isn't really a problem in the overall study. The emphasis is on the fact that English is now the universal language, and there's no idea of its being a sacred language in the same sense some Hebrew Roots people treat Hebrew as I first had thought.

Neither is a sacred language. Neither is Greek a sacred language. God did give the New Testament in Greek, and that is important, as that is the source of the name "Jesus" but Greek is also not a sacred language. It was the universal language in its day -- as English is in our day -- but that doesn't make it sacred, merely God's providentially prepared vehicle for His word.

Here is the email I received last summer:
"God” isn’t a Name

“I now baptize you in the name of the Father, the name of the son and of the Holy Ghost!”

How often did I hear those words in baptismal services during the first 35 years of my life? Did I ever consider what the name of the Father was? Actually, I don’t think I gave it much thought as it was customary to hear those words. My parents took me to church faithfully from my birth until I went away to school. Then I married someone who had the same habit of church obeisance and so the rituals and dogma continued, without question until I would one day have my eyes opened. Yet sometimes, I did contemplate what was really meant by this and other traditions of our church. Is this really tradition?

Of course! Because the actual name of the Father was never used. In fact in the church I attended, there was no specified name for the Father except a very rare uttering of the name Jehovah. “God” is all that was normally used. It was not until my son was baptized in a river in Mexico , when I worked as a self-supporting independent missionary that I began to contemplate these things. My brother-in-law who was a self taught preacher came down to visit and perform the baptism and accepted the challenge of baptizing “in the name.” He used the Hebrew names; Yahweh, Y’shua, and Ruach Ha Chodesh. Little did I know at the time that I would one day make a full turnabout to truly embrace the names for Elohim without pagan contamination!

But, some may ask, is it really all that important to call the Father and Son by their original biblical names? I hear enlightened religious people in many places occasionally tossing in the sacred names when they speak, like adding a little salt and pepper to the meal, but in their practice they continue to use the terms “God,” “Lord,” and “Jesus Christ” as names the majority of the time. It makes me wonder whether people, serve a half pagan, half divine Elohim. Why do we continue to use the old terms? I address this to myself as much as to anyone for I often settle for compromise when speaking to friends and family.

Some have reminded me that “we must do this” so the folks who have not yet opened their eyes to the truth will not be offended. So, what about offending Yahweh? Is that not MORE significant than the likely offense of someone who refuses to open their eyes to the truth?
Pretty clear where this is going, right? ALL churches and all Christians but those that accept this notion of the right names for God are "pagan," and not "enlightened" and haven't "opened their eyes to the truth" --although this of course includes ALL Christians back to the cross. That doesn't seem to bother them. THEY have it right and all those others were just wrong. Just like any cult. The Mormons believe the same, so do the Jehovah's Witnesses. THEY got it right after centuries of wrongness. At the very least we have a new cult here. I hope more become aware of it and can steer unwary Christians away from it.
I ask you, what could be the motive for merely using the set-apart (sacred) names once in a while? Could it be literary embellishment? Or to “show off” how much we know? Are we not serious in our approach to the injunction to not use pagan names for YHVH?
Let me guess what is concerning this writer. Some have halfway accepted this heresy of the supposed "sacred" name but only to the extent of considering it an alternative, as I've regarded the use of "Yeshua" in messianic congregations. Some are probably just being polite to the people who believe in the sacredness of the names. At the very least they haven't accepted the lie that the names used for two millennia are false.
I realize that some of my readers may take exception to this for various and sundry reasons. Let us look at what the Torah says:

Deu 12:3 And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.

That is pretty strict, isn’t it? Pretty radical! We are to destroy even the names of the pagan gods. (By doing this we would cease to use them, right?)

Exo 3:15 And Elohim said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, YHVH Elohim of your fathers, the El of Abraham, the El of Isaac, and the El of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: THIS IS MY NAME for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

Unfortunately the translations that have come down to us through the centuries do not even use the name in these verses. Look at what the KJV says of this same verse:
Exo 3:15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: THIS IS MY NAME for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

I ask you to tell me where the name was actually used in this verse? “LORD God” is not a name! No wonder we thought that the word LORD God was his name! What a mess the translators have made with this! I have learned why they did this--because of the Jewish reticence to the usage of the Holy Name of YHVH. Their claimed reason was that it not be taken in vain or used lightly, but in the Holy Word of Elohim, there is no reason to dilute it or hide it! Maybe in daily conversation, but surely not in the Word of Elohim!
Um, the Jews use "Adonai" which means "Lord" in order not to say the name YHVH. Whether continuing with that practice is right for Christians or not, I don't know, but that WAS the basis for it.
We are instructed not even to mention the name of other gods:

Exo 23:13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.

Deu 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.

When Elijah contended with the prophets of Baal, he made a distinction between the names of the gods of the heathen and his God.

1Ki 18:24 And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name YHVH: and the Elohim (god) that answereth by fire, let him be Elohim (god). And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.

Now before I get in too deep of water, let me assert that the word “god” is not a name. It is a generic term. It refers merely to a position or title. If you use the name “god” you must preface it with a descriptive phrase in order to distinguish it from the other gods. Elohim is the same thing. Elohim is the generic term for god. It is used for both pagan and divine and must be defined. I ask you, which god? Which Elohim?

My dear brothers and sisters--the name was stolen from us! We have been deprived of it for centuries, but it has been promised that in the end, YHVH’s people will know his name:
Stolen from us? We follow the NEW Testament. The names we are to use are given there.
Isa 52:6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.

Eze 39:7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel ; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the YHVH, the Holy One in Israel .

Rev 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my Elohim, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my Elohim, and the name of the city of my Elohim, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my Elohim: and I will write upon him my new name.
Throughout this list of Bible verses she's using some oddball translation which she doesn't identify, one that uses the names this cult believes are to be used, instead of the ones traditionally used in English Bibles.
Gone are the days of prefacing a prayer with “Dear God!” Wouldn’t it be awful if the wrong god should answer us? Of course--in the days of our ignorance the Almighty winks, right? At least until we have “seen the light.” Now perhaps we may specify which god, by saying “the God of Heaven” or “Creator God.”
True to the character of the devil, this is one devilishly subtle heresy. The "wrong god" can't answer us unless the true God allows it, and the true God hears our hearts and knows when we are addressing Him.
If we look again at Exodus 23:13:

“And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods (elohim), neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.”

What about the practice of using a name that for over 1700 years has referred to the Catholic Sun God, “Jesus Christ?”
And there you have it, in all its devilish lying blasphemy. My my, "what about" our use of the name given to us in the New Testament, which she labels as a pagan reference to the "Sun God" invented by Catholicism. Oh this devil is clever.
How can we allow this confusion to continue? The Torah is very clear that we are not to confuse the set apart things of YHVH with the paganized practices of the heathen all around us. Simply, why add to the confusion over who our God (Elohim) is, or who his Son is? If he has a Holy (Kadosh or set apart) name, then let us keep it set apart, distinct and separate from the confusion of paganism.

There are several arguments favoring the use of the name Y’shua ha Mashiach instead of Jesus Christ. One is the reason we just mentioned--that of keeping it distinct from the names used in Roman Catholicism who was behind the adulteration of nearly everything that was originally holy.
Well, I have to agree that the Roman Church is full of paganism, and this fact can give a veneer of plausibility to any claim that anything they ever did is probably pagan. But the name Jesus Christ comes from the Bible, not the Roman Church. (Let me guess, at some point this cult also attacks the Bible -- oh but she already has, simply by questioning the names as given there.)
Also to be considered is the fact that the name Jesus comes from the Greek “Iesous” (though he was not a Greek), and sounds similar to the name of the pagan deity Zeus, or the Latin Isis of the pagan sun worship trinity. Though many deny that it has either of these origins and that it was merely a bad transliteration through the Greek of the Hebrew name Y’shua, still it sounds similar, and this brings confusion!
Only to those looking to be confused I dare say.
Perhaps the best reason is that his name was never Jesus Christ. The name given to the son of the Highest by his mother Miriam (Mary) was Y’shua and Christ is not his surname, as it seems to indicate in the common usage. Messiah is what he is to us.
And here I think we begin to see the Bible coming under criticism as expected.
Y’shua is the only name that means “Saviour.” “Iesous” or “Jesus” has no such meaning, though the translations we have today say it does. Jesus has no meaning in Hebrew. It only has an applied meaning as it has come down to us today. If we are to be accurate in our details, we need to use the name that was given to our Redeemer by the angel that announced his birth. Remember, the name Jesus is a translation or transliteration, not a name.
Ah, such subtle plausibilities. The New Testament has the angel announcing His name as Jesus. The New Testament is our guide, God's word.
I lived in Mexico for several years and though many of the people will call a foreigner by a transliterated name such as “Hoostino,” for lack of the name Justin, it is clearly not the same name, and most gringos I have known do not take very kindly to having their name mispronounced. I have seen them spend a lot of time teaching the people just how to pronounce their name. Surely we can wrap our tongues around the simple name Yeshua or Yahshua! And even if it is difficult, is it not worth our efforts to do so?
Ah such hairsplitting niceties the devil is so good at. I don't know about "gringoes" but I suppose most people would rather keep their names as they sound in their original language, but as a matter of fact when people of one culture take up residence in another they do accommodate to the way the natives use their name. That IS a fact.
So, as we make straight paths for our feet, and choose to set apart our walk from the walk of paganism, let us not be discouraged. We may be criticized, we may be ridiculed, but that will help us to move out of the camp of Babylon and into the narrow path that is marked out ahead of us! There is no compromise in the camp of the righteous. Let us press on in sincerity in our work of gathering out the stones from the path as we build the highway of YHVH our Elohim!

Blessings in Messiah Yeshua,


For more information on the name, Jesus, please check out this website:
by Yahkov Hartley

In a recent Messianic magazine there appeared an article that purported to address the question,"Is the name "Jesus" pagan?" The article was clearly a defense of the use of the name "Jesus", in spite of that author's admission that this is not the "original" name (birth name) given to the Messiah (by his Jewish mother, Miryam). The article leaves the reader with the notion that Jesus is just as valid, if not more valid, than Y'shua1 when referring to the Messiah. And it arrives at this deduction by the most careless etymology and stunted logic, ignoring the weightier matters of the issue. The "issue" raised in this article is a prize-winning deception, designed to decoy the unwary from the real issue of the word "Jesus".

Early in the article, the author demonstrated the difficulty of transliterating from Hebrew to Greek and the ease of transliterating from Hebrew to English. A detailed letter-by-letter (from the Hebrew aleph-bet to the Greek alphabet) "transliteration" of the name, Y'shua to the Greek name, Iesous was brought forth as evidence. Because there are no equivalent sounds of many of the letters, this so called "transliteration" becomes in reality a translation. There is so little assonance between "Y'shua" and "Eeaysooce" that calling this a transliteration is an offense to even the most debased scholarship. There is no way to transliterate this name between these two languages! The best that can be done is to translate, which is what was done in the Septuagint by its Hebrew translators.

The name, Septuagint, is late-Latin (the ecclesiastical tongue of the Roman Corporate Church) from septem + ginta which hints at the 70 (approximately) translators who produced the Greek version of the Tanakh (the "Old" Testament). A study of the etymology of the word "Jesus", in even as mundane a source as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, reveals that this name does not come directly from the Greek "Iesous", but derives from the early-Latin "Iesu", the "I" pronounced initially as a "Y" producing Yay-soo. The "I" in the middle-ages was differentiated into the "I' and the "J" in our Latin alphabet used for the English language. Thus, in late-Latin, the Iesou (Yaysoo) became Jesu (Jaysoo) which became Jesus in the English tongue. This relationship in the etymology is omitted by the author in his "apologetics".

Regardless, the word Jesus has no direct ancestry from the Greek Iesous, as is implied by the author, but at best, it derives from the late-Latin Jesu , a fact completely missing in the cited article. However, all of this etymology, even with the missing link provided above, is a decoy to distract our attention from the real problem with this word "Jesus."

We have never used the argument that Jesus is somehow a compound of Gee-Zeus (Zeus being the chief "god" of the Greek Pantheon) although there is certainly an extreme degree of assonance (which is the core of the art of transliteration) with the "Jesus" word. We have never pursued that possibility to any extent, since it is totally irrelevant. The only relevant issue is: What was/is the Messiah's name given him by his mother, Miryam, in accordance with the angelic messenger's revelation to her?

Since the author of the subject article didn't have any problems with the name Y'shua being the Messiah's "original" name, why not look firstly at what is NOT the issue here? The issue is NOT, " whether the word Jesus is pagan!" The issue is NOT how to "transliterate" Y'shua into Greek! The issue is NOT how to "transliterate" Greek Iesous into Latin! The issue is NOT even how to "transliterate" the Latin Jesu into English! The issue IS how to transliterate the real name, Y'shua, from the Hebrew, into English. We certainly don't need to go through Greek into Latin and then from Latin into English. Why would anyone want to take such a circuitous route, unless he's trying to "prove" the validity of the erroneousness, "Jesus?"
This tedious excuse for scholarship makes me appreciate even more the reminder in Scott Johnson's PDF file that God chose the name Jesus by providentially arranging for Greek to be the universal language of the day.
To transliterate the Hebrew Y'shua to English, we merely go to Y'shua1. Thus his name is pronounced Y'shua both in Hebrew and in English - perfect transliteration. What could be simpler? Whether Jesus is a pagan name isn't what matters! What matters is the fact that Jesus was never the name of the Messiah of YHWH, whose story is recorded in the new testament!
Odd, then, that that IS the name given in that very same New Testament. (Oh and now I note that he doesn't capitalize New Testament. Yup, we're neck deep in a cult here).
Proper names are not translated from one language to another, if it is possible to transliterate. If that is impossible to accurately transliterate a proper name (as is the case in transliterating from Hebrew to Greek) then it is still possible to teach them how to correctly pronounce the name of the Messiah; similar to the way that English speaking people would learn how to correctly pronounce the Spanish word "Chihuahua" or the French word "resume"). They need someone who knows the correct pronunciation to teach them.

The change of the Messiah's name from Y'shua (Yahushua) to Jesus (a mistranslation) certainly serves the purpose of obscuring his Jewish identity and his Jewish ministry. The true ministry of Yahushua the Messiah is and was dedicated to finding the "lost sheep of the House of Israel." History, both religious and secular, is clear that the "Church" has expended a vast effort to distance itself from the true nature, origins, and purpose of this Jewish messiah!

The "scholarship" of the subject article is a paradigm (an example) of eisegesis pawned off as exegesis. If this represents the "best" understanding that these people have about such issues, then they are woefully inadequate to be the tool to accomplish the reunion of the Two Houses and restoration of the united kingdom of Yisrael. The "churches" and their teachings have not, do not, and will not ever cause the Tribes of Judah to become jealous!! Nor will they be able to bring the genuine Messiah to his people (see Romans chapter 11).

It is no surprise that the number of "religious" people who want to bring "Jesus" to the Jews, clearly do not have a grasp of many of the Ephraim/Judah issues that plague the unity of those two Houses. Churchianity has been in the sun way too long, and it is going to be a tough process for them to discard the pagan and/or error filled baggage they bring with them. Judah (the Jew) has considerable Talmudic baggage to discard as well. I am reminded of the declaration of the prophet Hosea 4:6, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..."

We are not interested in bringing "Jesus" errors to Judah; there are already enough groups doing that. We do support bringing Y'shuah Ha Mashiach (Yahushua the Messiah) to both Ephraim and Judah: and there is an immense historical difference between Jesus and Y'shua. People's eternal life depends on acceptance of the genuine and rejection of the false.

Our king is totally opposed to perpetuating the centuries of misinformation and disinformation promulgated by the church leaders who have used their pulpits to disseminate their apostasy. The prophet to Israel, Jeremiah 16:19, prophecies: "O YHWH, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, 'Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.'"

We need to examine the Scriptures from a Hebraic perspective (not always a Jewish perspective) in order to glean all the truth and nuances of the Hebrew writers of those books and arrive at the intended (by YHWH) understanding of the Hebrew words of YHWH to the people to whom He entrusted the oracles. Those people were NOT the "churches."

We take seriously the imperative in Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 58:1, "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." We know that we are citizens of the Kingdom of YHWH and have no allegiance to any denomination on earth nor any man. Our Kohen HaGadol (High Priest) is Y'shua Ha Mashiach (Yahushua the Messiah) and he ministers in the Great Temple of YHWH our Father on our behalf.

1 (Yeshua) is a contraction of (Yahushua)
A truly pernicious heresy, casting doubt on the Name of our Savior used by all English-speaking Christians and in fact most European Christians as well, and probably all Christians for that matter if we could appreciate how the Greek is translated into the various languages. As I say above, I never had an objection to the Hebrew version --"Yeshua" or one of its variations -- preferred in some messianic churches, but now I'm thinking there's no defense for it at all. I now also object to the use of "Yahweh" as really just another Hebraicism, for which there is no real justification. An important point made in Scott Johnson's PDF to his study is that God gave us the Name of Jesus in Greek, the universal language of the day, because there is now NEITHER JEW NOR GREEK BUT ALL ARE ONE IN CHRIST JESUS. To insist on the Hebrew name is to contradict God's plan. But mainly it's a form of Judaizing, which a great deal of the New Testament is devoted to condemning.

There are so many heresies these days it could wear a person out keeping track of them and Christians are falling into them right and left and need to be warned away from them. You'll find some seemingly solid churches nevertheless falling for "Yahweh" and in that case it's not because of cult influence but because it has some kind of scholarly history that goes back to the time of Westcott and Hort. There's an open door to heresy right there. But of course I think all the Bibles that make use of the Alexandrian Greek texts so favored by Westcott and Hort already are leading the churches into questionable doctrine and spiritual compromise.