Blog Entries
Parents who loved their Children

A few passages from the canonical Gospels depict parents pleading with Jesus to heal a child (Mark 5:21-43 par; 7:24-30 par; John 4:46-54).

Years ago I read somewhere (cf. Heb 4:4) that when we interpret passages like these we should be on guard against importing modern western values about parent-child relationships into our interpretations. The author claimed that in the ancient world there was not much of an emotional bond between children and parents. Instead, for most people, children were usually little more than providers of cheap labor and safety nets against the hardships of later life.

In recent years the closest thing I’ve been able to find along similar lines is this much more responsible quotation from G. Aldrete (Daily Life in the Roman City: 56): “It is difficult to discern from the primary sources the emotional bonds that existed within Roman families. In the idealized portraits presented in literature, the mother and father appear as rather stern and remote figures, but sometimes glimpses emerge of warmer, more intimate relationships...”

Aldrete may be right regarding literary sources, but archaeological artifacts from the Greco-Roman world frequently testify to the “warmer, more intimate relationships” between parents and children. This is especially true of tomb inscriptions. Here are some of my favorites:

RGM 496: “Heartless death carried you off, tender child, with sad funeral rites, and robbed you of the early joys of sweet life. Your fond parents were not allowed to delight in you for long. Our boy Lupassius lived three years.”

CIL 3.1899: An 11-year old boy, the “delight” of his father, was killed in a shipwreck. “How often an inscription bears a name and is responsible for bringing grief to a family.”

Martial 11, 91: “Canace, a little child of Aeolis, lies entombed here, whose seventh winter was her last. O crime! O wickedness! You who hasten to weep, O traveler, lament not here the shortness of life. Sadder than death itself is the form it takes: A fearful infection ravaged her face and settled on her slender mouth. Her very kisses were devoured by cruel illnesses, and her lips were not given to the black funeral pyre in their normal state. If the fates were going to come in such a rapid flight, they should have come another way! But death hastened to close the passage of her pleasant voice, lest her tongue dissuade the harsh goddesses.”

CIL 8.8567: “Fortune, which has bestowed happiness upon his parents, swiftly turned their hopes into sharp cries of lamentation. For their little boy was carried off from the very threshold of life. Ginga lies in this tomb, a wound to his father who did not deserve such a blow. Ah, sorrow and mourning and your parents’ hopes reduced to a mockery! But not to the shades of the departed but rather to the stars of heaven you are journeying.”

For a piece of funerary art, see the tomb painting in which the deceased person is depicting holding hands with a child, immortalizing their relationship as that which the deceased most cherished in life (E18913 and E40791 at

But my all-time favorite is one that I have lost track of. Back in the late 60's I was in the Classics library at Cambridge reading through a book about Anatolian inscriptions (for a book I was writing on Galatians), and I came across one tomb inscription that was profoundly moving. I’ve forgotten the precise wording of the inscription and cannot come close to doing it justice, but the gist was that the parents had lost their twelve-year old son (whose cheeks were only just beginning to develop peach-fuzz) and their emptied spirits could do nothing else than encircle his gravesite forever, like swans mourning.

Perhaps, then, parents pleaded that Jesus heal their children not simply because children were essential cheap labor and long-term insurance but, instead, because the parents loved their children

Sent from Israel
Shalom, !

Dr. Eli from Israel is here again with the next insight from Biblical Hebrew and Jewish History. Are you ready? I trust you are.

We all have heard of Bethlehem. Both King David and Jesus Christ were born there. However, what does the word “Bethlehem” mean in Hebrew and Aramaic? Why is what happened there in history? The famed city lies south of Jerusalem. It was often called Bethlehem of Judea, because there was also Bethlehem of Galilee. Rachel, one of Israel’s matriarchs, was laid to rest there. Ruth the Moabite (David’s grandmother) made her famous declaration about joining Israel there as well (Ruth 4:13, 22). Samuel, the prophet who anointed David to rule over Israel, was from Bethlehem (1 Sam.1). The water that three soldiers brought to David’s cave which sustained his life was also from Bethlehem (2 Sam.23:13-17). The prophet Micah declared that the ultimate King of Israel would also be born in this town (Micah 5:2). So clearly, this town was of enormous spiritual significance in Israelite history.

Ok, so that’s the history, but is there something in the original language that we cannot see in translation? There answer is a resounding YES!

The word Bethlehem is actually made up of two Hebrew words: Beit (House) and Lechem (Bread). The meaning emerges clearly. Bethlehem is nothing short of - that’s right - the House of Bread! It is interesting that in Aramaic (a parallel to Hebrew Semitic tongue) the word “Lechem” does not mean bread, but rather meat. This tells us that the idea behind the House of Bread is an idea of food, nourishment and life sustenance!

Isn’t it fascinating?! Please, pass this email to your friends! Let Jewish History and Biblical Hebrew continue to enlighten our study of these Ancient Scriptures.

Until next time,

Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg,
Research Professor of Jewish and Christian Studies

P.S. I invite you to enroll in one of our Biblical Hebrew classes. It is easy, affordable, excellent and flexible. Click here for more info

P.S.S. If this fits your spiritual orientation, you can read more about the importance of Jewish Studies for New Testament interpretation on my blog, “Jewish Studies for Christians”. Click here –
December 21, 2021

 I listened and listened and heard them say,

The end of the world was coming today.
California traffic made me miss the Malay.
So I thought of why I thought this way.
What was it that ended and what is still here?
Got home about four and my wife I could hear...
"The Mayan calendar said there is something to fear.
About the end of the world as we know it my dear..."
I replied nothing has changed as far as I know.
So I'll pay all the bills, taking care of what I owe.  
Get all prettied up and I'll tie your dress bow.
We'll go out to your favorite on restaurant row.
Why Hun, this certainly is a beautiful thing.
Taking me out on the town for a fling.
Yup. Honey Bun its like the song we used to sing.
"What a Wonder Day our Lord will Bring." 
Don't think of bad things and what might go wrong.
Since this day is passing let's sing our old song. 
It is full of love, God's grace and sins are all gone.
It's not the end.  It's continuing life in God's dear Son.
You ask me why I'm happy so I will tell you why...
I know, my sins are gone.
And when I meet the scoffers who ask me where they are. 
I just say, My sins are gone.
They're underneath the blood of the cross of Calvary
As far removed as darkness is from dawn.
In the sea of God's forgetfulness, that's good enough for me
I just say, My sins are gone.
Chaos Theory
Category: Dr Denis says

21 centuries of hate, war and horrific treatment of others; Humans created in the image of God... How is that working? Shouldn't we try something else?

Chaos Theory

Gentle Readers,

We have seen more hatred, killing, murders, violence and generally calamity than anyone should expect and while some scream out loud and shake their wee fist a a seeming uncaring God who does not hear. Others try to explain what is going on and why way Jesus the Christ called the “prince of peace”? No one is immune to this havoc that is visited on the human race, from the pundits who claim to be journalists and advocate hate and retribution on those who disagree with their position, to those who make no claims except to line their pockets and scream at our newest president “I hope he fails” To those leaders, so-called who desire to incite people to riot and kill in the name of a cause that they do not even understand! Hatred, destruction and evilness are all about us and what we here from God is a “silent heaven”

Not so gentle reader, What God is trying to teach us is that we are, regardless of race, color creed - Family and family ought to stand together under all types of circumstances . We should stand against evil, come to the aid of brothers and sister, children and the elderly for this reason alone we are all in this together. And this was the final word received by humanity from God.

TO COMPLETE THE WORD OF GOD { Colossians 1:25} There is a post-Acts dispensational ministry given through the Apostle Paul that completes and fills full The Word of God. This final ministry completes the whole canon of Scripture. This was done by an inspired apostle, not by an uninspired church council meeting centuries later. This many-faceted ministry of Paul (contained in Eph./Col.) brings forth and makes operational those hitherto secret purposes of God -- those that awaited the right and opportune time for their revelation.

The purpose of the ages past as well as the substance of the on-coming ages was now made known. It is the cap-stone-of the revealed will of God, and the most sublime of all God's revelations in respect to Himself, The Lord Jesus Christ, and of all that is related to and in Christ.

The secret of The Father's heart's desire is to head-up, sum-up, comprehend under one Head, and gather together in the perfect Christ all things in the heavens, and upon the earth, in Him (Eph. 1:9,10). An adjunct to the Dispensation of Grace to all people, Eph. 3:2, is The Mystery of Christ, a setting forth of the perfections of Christ's person in relationship to His Body, and that as a projection of what is in store for all. Christ's various modes of being are developed in the Colossians Letter with Christ filling full the Body of Christ with Himself, Col. 1:27; cf.Eph.1:23.

There is a revealing and a releasing of the intractable riches of Christ, this having been heretofore hidden away from all ages of time, and from all generations, Col.1:26.

This unprophecied and non- Jewish uncovenanted program is without temple, priestcraft, ritual, or ordinances. It exists within the frame-work of The Spirit's Unity in Eph.4, a oneness made by God -- and in which there is no excommunication, and in which all are made "complete in Christ," Col. 2:10. All are made "prepared" Col. 1:12, and are jointly-seated with Christ, Eph. 2:6.

The Mystery was God's original purpose, antedating Israel, Abraham, or the Old and New Covenants … it reaches back before the dawn of time and stretches forth into all the on-coming ages and their generations. No hint is given of its interruption, termination, or any other program taking priority over it as to time, place or rank. There is no intimation anywhere in The Word of God that this Mystery ministry of Paul's is, was, or ever will be a parenthesis within the frame-work of Israel's hope.

This grace, fullness, and Christ orientated dispensational program is not a substitute until something better is revealed. This is the very best that God has ever revealed. Can you understand God’s silence? Gentle reader, God is waiting for humanity to catch up! ,

 You are accepted, you are valued your are loved by God and by me!


chaos theory

The Hebrew Scriptures in Judaism and Christianity Tags: Harvard University course Prof. Shaye Cohen

The Hebrew Scriptures in Judaism and Christianity – Shaye Cohen, Harvard University

Course Description

In 70CE the Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. Second Temple Judaism, whose worship consisted of animal sacrifice permitted by biblical command only at the Temple, would have to reinvent itself as Rabbinic Judaism.  Contemporaneously, the authors of the New Testament Gospels were writing about the Jewish apocalyptic prophet whom they believed was the awaited messiah.  For both the rabbis and the gospel writers, for both ancient Jews and ancient Christians, the central authoritative text was the Torah and the other books we now call the Hebrew Scriptures.  This course surveys how the interpretation (and reinterpretation) of these books spawned two rival cultural systems, Judaism and Christianity.  The issues addressed are: 1) What are the truth claims of Judaism and Christianity?  2) In the first centuries of our era, how did Jewish biblical interpretation differ from Christian?  3) What differences resulted in “the parting of the ways” between Judaism and Christianity?  4) How does each culture deal with the biblical passages concerning: circumcision, the food laws, the Sabbath, Passover, the manifestations of the deity (e.g., Logos), the messiah, atonement/redemption, and the concept of Israel as the chosen of God?
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