Welcome! Jesus Christ is my LORD and Savior! Romans 10:9-10,13; John 3:16

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Thank you for coming.
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In the Year of our LORD Jesus Christ
2019
-- As of January 20, 2017
A Sigh Of Relief With The Inauguration Of Donald John Trump as President of the United States of America, And Hope For A Prosperous Future For All United States Citizens (we who are a nation called "the melting pot of the world"). We shall be great and exceptionally great again.

It is likely that the entries to this blog will be less frequent than in years past. I do intend to keep this blog active, and to offer insightful information and/or opinion (and sometimes humor and/or entertainment on occasion) when I do post.


Peace and Liberty. Semper Fidelis.










Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Importance of the Cross: a matter of perspective.

The Importance of the Cross should have been obvious

The Crucifixion of Jesus is the central theme of the New Testament, and of true Orthodox Christianity. Through the ages since A.D. 30, faith in ‘Jesus crucified' is an activity which, when properly placed, atones for all sins in the world, for all time. This trust, in effect, is in turn set upon the Foundation of the historical Resurrection of Jesus from the dead and His Ascension back to Heaven before many witnesses. This being the case, it should indeed be of great interest (to the believers of Christianity, and even its most ardent critics), for the location of the Crucifixion to be a known and affirmable site.

In truth, the site has been on the lips of Christians since the early 2nd Century A.D., with the citing of the Apostles Creed.1 The words from that Creed in the English "He descended to the dead" or "into hell", translates the Greek word "gehenna" for the words "dead" and "hell". In Jerusalem, “gehenna” is the transliteration of the Hebraic’s "ge-Hinom" -- or, “the valley of Hinom.” The Tradition of the Apostles certainly was accurately kept, but the meaning behind the like-sounding words of "ge-Hinom" and "gehenna" was lost through bloody persecutions in the centuries that followed them.

The early Church suffered throughout the centuries, in every place, but at differing times: via local rulers, governors, and even Roman Emperors. In the successive centuries, the ignorance of the nations to the Jewishness of their "Christian" faith was also manifest, for their trust was supposed to be into a Judean born, and Galilean reared heir to the Throne of Israel: the Messiah called Yeshua of Nazareth. Yet, as early as the Roman bishopric of Sixtus in the 120s A.D., we see a slipping away of this realization, until some restoration by St. Polycarp some 30 years later -- by whom, our observation of Communion was given.2

The Communion is a direct symbolism of the Crucifixion of Messiah in the “Egypt” of Jerusalem (i.e., the Kidron Valley), and in “Gehenna” (the Hinom Valley): a location where the two valleys join, south and east of the Temple Mount.

The Kidron was named after Egypt "spiritually" in Revelation 11:8 based on two premises. First, was that it was a flash flood channel, as seen in John 18:1 (and Jesus and the disciples would then have had to cross it on bridges). And secondly, the walls surrounding the Temple Mount were laid by hired Egyptian skilled stone cuters and enginers. Josephus tells us that if we were to dig (by inference), to the depth the walls were in Solomon's Day, the Southeast Temple corner and walls would go down to an imposing 400 cubit height / depth. He also states that most of this height was still exposed in his day. Josephus, Antiquities 8.2.9.; 8.3.9; 15.11.5.; and Clement, Stromata, 1.21 tells us that it was 80,000 Egyptians that aided Solomon with the walls. It appears that the depth of the wall to a level previous to the Roman seiges of 70 and 132 A.D. would need the removal of at least another 100-200 feet from the Southeast Corner and Eastern Temple perimeter. If that is the case, we must also assume a minimum of 30 feet of sediment to the Eastern valley slope of the Kidron, likely removed from the apex of Mout Olivets 4 peaks (and recalculated as well).

The partaking of the Eucharist is the Roman Church’s compromise to Polycarp’s command to observe the Jewish Passover: partaking its third cup of wine, and second Matzoh or afikoman. By keeping this teaching of Polycarp, which came from John, which came from Christ, the historical aspect of the tradition was kept through the ages for us to discern also.

The Greek of the New Testament tells us that when Jesus broke the Matzoh, He distinctly did it in such a way, as to break the ends of it off in a circle like fashion, as it the ends were leaves being plucked from a tree. And it was this difference that separates His breaking of bread from all other semikah (ordained by the laying on of hands) rabbis, before or since, who have ever celebrated either a Passover meal or a Communion borne from its Festival.

The Roman Church under the bishopric of Anicetus did keep this Communion, if for no other reason, than simply to honor of the wishes and tradition of this 115-year-old visiting bishop of Smyrna, who was also a 30 plus year disciple of John, the most beloved Apostle of Christ.3 After all, how one views Christ, be one a Gentile or Jew, more often than not, is just considered as a matter of perspective.


The Cross represents our dead man of self to GOD

The Cross, in Christianity, is both central and the extreme end in understanding GOD with any finality. In writing to the Corinthians, the Rebbe Paul declared,
“The preaching of THE CROSS is -- to them that perish --
foolishness; but unto us -- which are saved --
it is THE POWER OF GOD.”

(I Corinthians 1:18 - KJV, punctuation mine)

Why is it the power of GOD? Because it, the Cross, is the means by which we may have a relationship with our eternal source: YHVeH Messiah, -- whose very Name, YHVeH, comes from the sound of the breath of our nostrils:4

showing us that He is our Life. The difference between man and beast, is demonstrated by a comparison of Genesis 1:20, 24 (Hebrew singular, nefesh hayah) with Genesis 2:7 (Hebrew plural, nefesh hayyim). In these verses, the Bible shows that while GOD imparted a single or first soul into beasts and man by the power of the spoken word, -- as YHVeH He breathed the breath of lives (hayyim), i.e., a plural of two souls and a second life, into the nostrils of man. Through this second life, and second soul, comes reason and eternality. If we abrogate our responsibility to use this reason to seek out GOD, we are then liable to a Judgment for failing to do so (Hebrews 9:27). We find the pre-incarnate Christ, as YHVeH, to be the very “Being” who breathed this breath and eternal soul into our first ancestor (John 1:4,9; Lamentations 4:20). Therefore, if this same YHVeH died for our behalf upon the Cross, and rose again from the dead 3 days later -- then our eternal existence, and second soul or second life (beyond this present and temporary –or fleshly -- one) is either given or taken away, based on our response to that message.

The early Church Fathers, such as Justin Martyr, demonstrated that the Cross is part of our human existence, present in masts of ships, in shovels, in the carrying of banners, in mechanical engineering, and so forth (Justin Martyr, First Apology, .55). The essential wood in those instruments, of masts and shovels and the like, are Lebanese cedar, having a red tone and oak-like strength. Therefore, even as Adam means “the reddish one”, so too, might it be that the mast or vertical beam of the Cross, be made of the red-toned cedars of Lebanon. And this is appropriate, too, as that very wood is also used in direct reference to Jerusalem and those who dwell there as if they were as prosperous and strong as the cedar trees of Lebanon (Psalm 92:12-13, Song of Solomon 4:15-16, Isaiah 10:32-34, 29:17ff.). There again, we see a direct symbolism of the Cross with Jerusalem, which once had a house of Lebanese Cedar for the “ruler of Peace”(Isaiah 9:16) who like example was called “Solomon” (I Kings 7:1-12, 10:17, 10:21): the same Solomon, whose cedar house of Lebanon was once prominently displayed as the pride and joy of its king, in Jerusalem. As we shall see in “Chapter 9, Acacia”, I believe the horizontal beam of the Cross to have been made of Acacia. Thus giving the Cross a trinity of material origins and an allegory for Scriptural interpretation of John 10:16, of two distinct and differing woods, cut down and united by iron pins.

The Cross, says Justin Martyr, is metaphorically a man with hands extended; and just like the appendage of a nose to a face, so too, does the Cross have such an appendage apparent to it (by means of an iron bracket placed on the rear above the cross-beam). In Justin’s comparison, we see that even as breathing through the nose can lift and empower a man, and difficulty breathing through the nose can set him down, so too does “the rope and pulley lifted up and set down the Cross through that iron bracket.”5

Man becomes a type of the dead tree,6
the bracket represents his nose (as it were): Christ is crucified to man, (being the represented in the cross), as though both Christ and Adam were back to back. Christ, the Living Second Adam is nailed to the First Adam, who is dead in trespasses and sins, and represented by the dead wood of the Cross:
“…the Cross of our LORD Jesus Christ, by whom
the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world”

(Galatians 6:14, KJV)

By virtue of being his direct physical and spiritual descendants, we are already in the First Adam, who is as dead as the Cross in trespasses and sins. Our nature is already inclined and imbued with the fallacies of spiritual sin. We are spiritually flawed from our very conception, and this is manifest even at birth by the act of crying, rather than yawning one’s first breath. By the joining of the two Adams as One, Christ so makes it possible for him (the First Adam) -- and his descendants -- to transfer spirit and soul through the activity of trust into the Living Christ on the Cross. They are then given a completeness, in which the flaws of spirit and soul are filled in by GOD’s own Spirit and presence. Man, in the spiritual realm of his being, then becomes “baptized” or immersed into GOD, through Jesus Christ.

Thereby, we are crucified with Him, buried with Him, and Resurrected with Him by a Baptism of Trust into Him on the Cross (Romans 6:3-5; John 11:25-26). It is through the finished work of the Cross, and our faith and trust into He who finished that work, by which we are to come alive even as Christ is made alive again through the Resurrection (Romans 4:3,5,20-25; cf. I Corinthians 15:1-54). With death, we undergo a transformation and teleportation, receiving a body made without hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Corinthians 5:1-8,17); until we are added a recreated resurrected physical body, made from the atoms of “the self which makes up that you” which is now aiding you in the seeing, reading, or hearing of these words before you now.


The nose and the breath of GOD

The nose is the human appendage by which GOD breathed into Adam the breath of Life (Genesis 2:7), so that man became more than just a living creature, he became a living -- thinking and reasoning -- soul. It is through the Cross, that the appendage of the dead nose of the First Adam, represented by iron in the rear of the Cross, is made alive through a union with the Living GOD in Christ. Adam and Christ -- through the Cross -- are back to back. There is no sexual intercourse or union. There is no second breath through the nose, either. Adam faces backward, toward the origin of his sin, while Christ faces forward, toward eternity future. This confirms also the innocence of Messiah upon the Cross.

The old man, looking back (as if to the Garden of Eden, as if back upon the sin of his past), has no breath. Yet, Messiah -- while looking forward -- ceases breathing and dies. All sin, past and future, is thereby atoned for in the Cross - by YHVeH Messiah. The appendage of iron, (representing that soul which is dead), is upon the wood of the Cross (that tree which was once alive to GOD), is behind Christ, facing East. Contrariwise, Messiah Himself (being truly alive to the Father), while hanging upon the Cross, faces west. So that it is a trust-worthy saying that says, “As far as the East is from the West, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us”(Psalm 103:12 - KJV).

Messiah has taken out of the way all trespasses-- those by breath (that is all Spiritual Laws broken by man), and the handwriting of ordinances against us (that is all the Physical Laws broken by man), -- nailing them to the Cross (Colossians 2:13-14; cf. I Corinthians 6:9-10, 18). He, Christ Jesus, has become our only mediator (I Timothy 2:5; Isaiah 43:25-26; I Corinthians 11:23-26). It is only through YHVeH Messiah, Jesus Christ, that we may have a right relationship with GOD the Father. This relationship is through the unmerited grace that GOD (by His great loving-kindness) gives us. This coming perfect relationship and oneness with GOD, which is perfected through the Resurrection, is that of being His dear and beloved children. We are to partake of just a tiny foretaste of that perfection in the now, by faith into Jesus. This is accomplished by and through GOD the Holy Spirit, whom does so while giving glory and honor to the Son, Jesus Christ.7

This, being the case, the Cross, as GOD’s perfect plan of Salvation and Redemption of Mankind, ought then to be so much the more important and central to us, and to our very existence.8

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1 One variant of the early Apostles Creed could have been cited in this way at the confirmation Baptism of a new believer, before many witnesses. “I believe in GOD the father Almighty, maker of the heavens and the Earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only one-of-a-kind begotten Son, our YHVeH. He was conceived by the power of the Spirit Holy, born of a virgin -- Miriam. He was lifted up and crucified, died, and was entombed. He descended into Gehenna. On the third day, He resurrected from the dead. He ascended up by the clouds into Heaven, and sits on the Right Hand of the Power. From thence, He shall come again with clouds to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Spirit Holy, the Separation of the Saints of Communion, the Atonement of Sin, the Resurrection from the dead, and the ever-lasting life. (World without end.) Amen.”
The phrase, “the separation of the saints of communion”, is a reasonable assumption of the Syriac/Aramaic. This later was clarified to be: “the Universal (Catholic) Church” - meaning that men and angels are both called out as being dedicated to YHVeH Messiah, unto Christ. As to their separation, and love for one another - “the Communion of Saints”, they are as incorporate members, two sheepfolds that are part of the same flock, which is made possible through the Passion of Christ. That is, by His crucifixion process, death, burial, and resurrection; even the angels are part of the Church, the body of Christ.

2 Roberts, Alexander and James Donaldson, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1885, May 1989 reprint; Vol. 1, pp. 568-569. Fragments from the lost writings of Irenaeus, .III

3 Ibidem, p. 41,The Martyrdom of Polycarp, .9 Polycarp declared that he had been serving Christ for 86 years. By implication, to the proconsul, Polycarp could only have meant that he had been serving as a bishop for that length of time. Since a bishop assumes office at the same age as a rabbi, being no less than 30 years old, as a master, 86 more from age 30 makes age 116. Bear in mind, Polycarp still could have been a few years older still. For example: in circa 109 A.D., Simeon, the son of Cleopas, died as bishop in Jerusalem at the age of 120. Polycarp died a martyr on or about February 23, 156 A.D. This makes him appointed bishop in Smyrna by John six months to a year before the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and 28 years before John’s own death on or about Passover of 98 A.D. Polycarp, at the ripe old age of 115, made the arduous round trip sea voyage from Ephesus to Italy, in order to visit and instruct Anicetus in Rome. By celebrating the tradition of the Eucharist, we celebrate the core of the Passover festival, the Cross of YHVeH Messiah: this is the tradition of the Apostles; who in turn, are true sons of their forefathers, Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.

4 Lamentations 4:20; Genesis 2:7

5 cf. Ignatius, Letter to the Ephesians, .9 (shorter version). Roberts, Alexander and James Donaldson, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1885, May 1989 reprint; Vol. 1, p. 53.
The Cross is lifted up and set by a mobile contraption that uses a rope and pulley system. The Romans being experts in the art of war, always had a like number of artisans, carpenters, masons, etc., that accompanied them. Their service would have been as a form of enlistment, contractual in nature for 5 years; or they would have simply been slaves. Therefore, such a force of readily available artisans and engineers would have been present in Jerusalem, and daily put to work by the Romans. The size of the detachment would have been in proportion to the Roman presence. If the Romans had 600 soldiers plus officers, for example, these contract workers could have then numbered between 200-400. These artisans would have been considered a non-entity, and it would have been bad form for their mention by any of the Gospel writers and most historians of the era. Cf. Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 3.5.1-2.

6 That is, the dead tree -- being the Cross -- is an allegory for the “dead world”. Due to its intimation as Lebanese cedar, and red tone, more specifically, the Cross becomes the First Adam.

7 John 14:16-17, 26; 15:26; 16:13.

8 “And the points connected with the Passion of the LORD,
which were foretold, were realized in no other case:
For neither did it happen at the death of any man among the ancients
that the Sun set at mid-day, nor was the veil of the Temple rent,
nor did the Earth quake, nor were the rocks rent, nor did the dead rise up,
nor was any one of these men [beside Christ] raised up on the third day,
nor received into heaven, nor at his assumption were the heavens opened,
nor did the nations believe in the Name of any other;
nor did any from among them, having been dead and rising again,
lay open the New Covenant of Liberty. Therefore the prophets spoke not
of any one else but of the LORD, in whom all these aforesaid things
occurred.”
181-183 A.D. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 4.34.3)
Roberts, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p.512, 1989 reprint.

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