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From the Desk's Religion -and- Mystery Series...

Pray for Revival in the Land

©23 The Media Desk

Objections to, and Questions about, the "Sunday School Questions"

With October '23 Update to "soul sleeping"!

Quick Reference Guide: "Who are you...", "That was a load of *#@%! Catholics don't...." , speaking in tongues "as Spirit gives utterance", "Jesus couldn't have appeared...", more about "Cain's wife", "You're not supposed to talk about such things.", Adam and Eve's wardrobe change, Did the Essenes 'write the Bible'?, "...dancing is a sin...", "The Bible says 'Christians become angels'" , "absent from body present with Lord", "Jonah's book", "How old is the world then?", "Love me - Father in me", A late question about Baphomet., links to references, Parts One and Two of this article.

      The original article has only been posted for a few weeks, and the Desk has received several objections and questions about it, including a few that were quite serious .... although some of both have been, shall we say, 'less than serious'. And there have been other remarks and questions.

      So let's go through them and give each the attention it deserves. Or perhaps, like the first one, attention that it doesn't deserve, but it is a good warm up for the more serious responses. And, as always, we're going to document everything we can with whatever is available.

"Who are you to post this?"
      This was addressed in the article. This writer is nothing more than a "half-crippled, half-drunken, ex-sportswriter" who has spent a great deal of time studying metaphysics, researching alchemy, and doing in-depth, long-term, studies of various topics, Biblical and otherwise. All of that, even watching NCAA Division III playoffs in the rain comes into play when you do this sort of work. Yes it does. You learn something about human nature in those conditions. All it takes is one group up in the seats to decide that they'd rather be warm and dry instead of supporting their team, and before long the grandstand is empty, but the players are still on the field, and you can tell they're disappointed.
      The same thing happens in religious organizations. There are those "fair weather fans" that bail when it's cold and damp, and then there are those that "follow the crowd", and the players who are still in the game may be disappointed, but they're still in it.

      And so there you have it. This writer is still out there in the mud, or in some ancient Aramaic text, working as best it can, while many others have simply given up and went to the pub. In any case, we'll post this quote by a man much wiser than the Desk, and then stumble along as best we can through the rest of the Objections.

"Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto"
"I am human, and I think nothing human is alien to me."
- Terence / Publius Terentius Afer (195 - 159 BC) Roman playwrite

      Some of the other objections were also addressed in the article, but apparently some readers missed it. so we'll go through some of them again here as we work through the list.
This one was the most serious objection of the early batch that came in.....

"That was a load of crap, Catholics do not pray to saints and worship Mary."
      Well, sorry. Did you read the attached documents from the Holy See as well as various local parishes? We also included links to those sources, and historical documentation as well.
      As was stated in the article, this writer doesn't care one way or the other about what is said in a press release, but instead, looks at what is actually said and done by the people in the pew....
Like the people in these pews:

"OLA Mission Statement
Through our devotion to Mary, Our Lady of the
Assumption, we strive to carry out the Mission
of Jesus Christ to:
† Know God through Scripture and Prayer
† Encounter God through the Eucharist
† Love God through Service"
Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Strafford, PA, USA (link below)
      And in a significant majority of Roman Catholic, Eastern, and other denominations, what is done is a totally unscriptural devotion to the Virgin Mary, and the repetition of prayers to individual saints, such as those included as examples below and in the original article.
      We could list other examples from elsewhere in the Catholic world, going back well into the Middle Ages, so we shall. Let's look at a collection of over 400 poems, which were originally set to music to be sung, every one of which mentions the Virgin Mary. The collection, known as "Cantigas de Santa Maria" (Canticles of Saint (Holy) Mary) was written in an old form of Portuguese during the reign of King Alfonso X from around 1250 to just after 1300. There are links below to more about this amazing illuminated manuscript.

      But of course there are other examples of both which we could have cited, including the naming of modern buildings after the Virgin, see link below to examples in Florida and Maryland, and prayers to another saint, one of which is this to the Patron Saint of Gardeners:

"O St. Fiacre, holy and miraculous servant of God, I ask for your help and guidance in my life. Grant me the wisdom and strength to fulfill my responsibilities to the best of my ability, and to use my gifts and talents for the good of others. Protect me from harm and keep me safe on my journeys, and help me to be a source of hope and comfort to those in need. I offer you my prayers and thanksgiving, and ask that you continue to watch over me and guide me on my earthly journey. Amen."
- (link below)
      There's a note in the references below about Saint Fiacre and his own devotion to the Virgin.

      So while an individual Catholic believer may not pray to a Saint, there are plenty that do. And to some degree the teachings of the church encourage it while the official catechism states that: "There is no other way of Christian prayer than Christ", see paragraph 2664, and goes on to say that prayer only has access to The Father if it is in the name of Jesus. See link below to the Catechism posted in its entirety from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. And yet in paragraph 2692 of the document we're coming to shortly, the ask for the intercession of saints like our gardening friend.

      We'll just go ahead and point out that when you dedicate a school or hospital to "Notre Dame" (Our Lady), it isn't named after Christ. When you pray the first part of the "Salve Regina" (Hail, Holy Queen) on the rosary, you are praying TO a human woman, and incidentally, the words to that prayer violate what paragraph 2664 of the Catechism says (see that link below). One more, when the leader of your church says that if you do not swallow the entire doctrine they came up with about her, which must include paragraph 2673 and 2676 in the Catechism, then you are not member of the church.... (see the "MUNIFICENTISSIMUS DEUS" from Pope Pius 12 quoted and linked below)
            .... then we've got a problem.

      Whether or not the reader with the above "load of crap" statement would agree with Pius the Twelfth is unknown.

      This objection had a Scriptural reference to it....

"When speaking in tongues, what about the verse that says 'to speak as the Spirit gives utterance?' as is done in our services?"

      Well, OK, that reference from the KJV and is actually from two different verses, and very different contexts, which is where we'll start.
      The first time it is seen is at Pentecost, and references EXACTLY what we mentioned in the original article with the "utterance", in this case being the Greek word 'apophtheggomai' is the ability to, and act of, speaking a foreign language. We'll quote Acts 2 from the 1611 King James:
"4 And they were all filled with the holy Ghost, and began to speake with other tongues, as the spirit gaue them vtterance. 5 And there were dwelling at Hierusalem Iewes, deuout men, out of euery nation vnder heauen."

      The fact that the text specifies that the Spirit, implying the Holy Spirit of GOD was giving them the words to speak is the very definition of "Inspiration", and, to underline the point, verse six states that "every man heard them speak in his own language".
      This is also why, when it happens honestly as as prescribed by Scripture, which includes an interpreter to benefit that church, we must not say that it is anything else. When it happens as described in the original article, including on the radio, we CAN say that it is most likely a bit of dramatic acting to impress those listening, and, as per Christ, "they have their reward".

      The second reference to the Spirit speaking for us is this, also from the 1611, which is something of a mistranslation in the KJV, see link below.

"Likewise the spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what wee should pray for as wee ought: but the spirit it selfe maketh intercession for vs with groanings, which cannot bee vttered. And he that searcheth the hearts, knoweth what is the minde of the spirit, because he maketh intercession for the Saints, according to the will of God."
- Romans 8 : 26 and 27, 1611 King James Bible (linked below)

      The key phrase in the Greek is that the Spirit "huperentugchano" (makes intercession / petition 'for us') "stenagmos alaletos" ((literally) with groanings without words). This is the only place in the NT where that last word is used.

      In this case, the Spirit isn't "giving utterance" to address a crowd of people, but is instead praying to the Father. There isn't even any indication that these non-words are spoken out loud, but instead are in the heart and mind of the believer because they are groanings which "can not be uttered".

      What it comes down to is that speaking in an "unknown language" in a church service WITHOUT an interpreter for the edification of the other believers cannot be justified as per either the letter or spirit of the text, whether that be in a public address from the pulpit or a prayer from the pew.

Let's change the subject to something which is also based on a close reading of the King James:

"Jesus couldn't have appeared in the OT because His Nativity was as the Father's "Only Begotten Son"."

      The most famous example of that phrase is arguably also the best. John 3 : 16 in this case from the more familiar version of the Authorized King James based on the update and reprinting from around 1770:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

      The confusion arises from the use of the obsolete word "begotten". We might best understand the term when we think of it, not in terms of maternity, but instead, paternity, the lineage of the male parent, not the mother. Which is why in the OT it says that "he begot sons and daughters". So The Messiah was the only physical offspring sired by GOD, if you wish to think of that, which makes no statement about the mother. Instead, all statements about Mary indicate that Christ was her First Born Son, not "only child".
      But that is perhaps a tangent for another time. For now, we'll cite that verse in the New Living and include the next one as well to complete the thought:

"16 For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him."
John 3, New Living Translation: see link below.
      This question was, of course, in reference to supposed appearances of The Son in the Old Testament, including in the "fiery furnace" in Daniel 3.
      There is no contradiction. If Christ appeared with the party on the road outside Father Abram's tent to relay the news about the expansion of Abram's family, see Genesis 18, or in the king's fireplace in Babylon, He appeared as an adult, not as a newborn baby. As the full and complete essence of the GODHEAD, Jesus could assume corporeal form if He so desired, and when the time came to fulfill the Promise, He arrived as an infant.
      For us to say "no He couldn't" is perhaps the height of hubris as yet another example of humans telling GOD what to do.

      Those last two subjects prove one thing beyond the shadow of a doubt, that people still read the King James Bible. Which is a subject we've dealt with elsewhere, so we'll just move on.

"Cain's wife had to be his sister."
      (maybe even from before 'the fall')

      OK. Back to Genesis 3 and 4. And look at what the text actually says. As for what this writer thinks actually happened, that is covered in some depth elsewhere, so we'll leave that alone here.
      There is no record of any "human spawning activity" in the Garden, only that 'male and female' were created. As to what the original cast looked like, we'll come back to that in a moment as it is relevant to this part.
      There are those that maintain that the statement by God in Verse 16 of chapter 3, during the Fall, indicates that Eve had had a brood of kids before she sampled the forbidden fruit. If so, wouldn't there have been record of them by name somewhere else in the following chapters as is seen with Seth and even Cain? There is no record of Adam and Eve doing "Adam and Eve" things before the next chapter, and no record of any other offspring before Seth, chapter 5, only then does it mention that Adam had other sons and daughters, without further reference to Eve.

      Before we get way out into a swamp, let's pause and discuss whether or not the most ancient sections of Genesis are to be taken word for word literally. This writer has always maintained 'no', that this is a retelling of orally preserved stories written down, literally: God Only Knows how long, after the events. Does that change the truth of what is said in them? No, not in the least.
      In the Apocryphal Book of Jubilees, namely chapter 4, it specifically says that Cain took his sister 'Awan to be his wife. Jubilees is known to be a collection of oral stories that wasn't written down until perhaps 300 to 200 BC. So its authority on anything is suspect. Keep that in mind because we will come back to it.

      Now.... onward.

Related side discussion which goes way on down the Metaphysical Road:
"What if, at the Fall, God clothed an originally non-corporeal Adam and Eve in SKIN, instead of with animal skins?"

      (it's a good thing we've spent the last twenty years writing science 'possible' as well as science fiction or that question might have stumped us, see links at bottom of page)

      The answer here is that we really can't answer based on the text. No. We can't. And we'll explain that, but it is going to take some digging around in the dust (literally!), a few obscure references, and maybe a bit of poetic license with the dueling oral traditions in Genesis, a glance at 1 Enoch, and the events as represented in the ancient Book of Jubilees, which we will also review and provide a link to. And Then, we'll see what the Hebrew actually says.

      The first creation story in Genesis 1 uses the terms "na'aseh adam besalmenu" (us make man/humanity 'in our' image/likeness) in verse 26, and repeats the primary term in 27. Then in 28 is the command to "be fruitful and multiply", but there is no evidence of their 'doing it' until later.
      Also, there is no direct record of when Eve was made. According to the second creation account in Genesis 2, 'the rib story', it was after Adam had named all the animals. So just how long was that sixth day if you're sticking to that literal reading of the first chapter?
      The second creation story, and it is so labeled in the text in chapter 2, see verse 4 and consider exactly what it is saying. This is also where we're introduced to the "dust of the ground" in verse 7, and the expression could well be a reminder of the fate of the human body, as mentioned in Genesis 3 : 19, restated by Abraham in 18 : 27, and emphasized in Job 34 : 15 and then confirmed in 1 Corinthians 15 beginning in verse 45 in the NT. But perhaps the best expression of this Biblical theme is from a Psalm of David:

"As a father has compassion on his children,
      so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
      he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
      they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
      and its place remembers it no more."
- Psalm 103 : 13 - 16 (NIV)
      But drop back to Genesis 2 verse 5 and 6 and check the weather. Then read 8 where it is implied that significant time passes between the creation of the plants and the creation of man. And if you consider that this part of the drama was on God's time and not man's, then it could have been, by our reckoning, eons before humans as we know them show up.

      Turn to Job, we're in the speech in chapter 4. Eliphaz, one of Job's so-called friends, says this after he sees an interesting apparition in verse 15, that's worth a look, but now his statement in 17 to 19 (NKJV):
"Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker? If He puts no trust in His servants, If He charges His angels with error, How much more those who dwell in houses of clay, Whose foundation is in the dust, Who are crushed before a moth?"

      The idea here is that the 'house 'made' of clay', isn't the actual Person, that which IS, yes that was full capital letters, ... the 'house of clay' the Corpse, is not, the Individual. Something that 'grew out of the Earth' as it says in the nineteenth verse of Job 8. Let's take a moment and look at that.
      Could it be that what was "created in the image of God" was the spirit of the individual, and not the body of dust?
      That what was created in the first Creation Story in Genesis One was NOT the physical "worldly flesh" that caused Job's woes, and as was discussed by Paul as what needed to "put on ...." stuff, in 1 Corinthians 15 : 53 and following. How can Eliphaz's 'body made of clay' put on Paul's 'incorruption and immortality' like one puts on an 'apron'?

      No, really, we see the idea in Plato.
      Deep in Plato's philosophy is the idea of the astral nature of the human "spirit body". Don't roll your eyes just yet, go way into Second Corinthians, specifically, chapter 12. If Paul isn't talking about a "spirit body", what is he talking about? See links below to both Plato and Paul.

"Now when the Creator had framed the soul according to his will, he formed within her the corporeal universe, and brought the two together, and united them centre to centre."
- Timaeus, by Plato, link to full text, with another relevant quote, below.

      This is also seen in various Eastern philosophic schools, and goes way back into general mythology to Sumeria and other ancient realms where the gods existed as the stars in the sky until they decided to come down here for a visit. Which is pretty much how things are depicted in the OT and NT, right?
      Let's stay in India for a moment and take a look around and see if we see the light.
      Well, in this context, the supreme god of the Hindu pantheon, Brahma, IS light (and shares a great deal of similarity with the GOD of the Judaeo-Christian tradition), and when a person's mortal body ceases to exist, they can ascend as a much smaller light to merge with the higher and purer light. An overview of this idea is linked below.
      A similar concept is found in other ancient religions. The Creator God is light, darkness is seen as undesirable, and the 'soul' by whatever name it is called, will eventually be reclaimed by God. As to what happens to that soul from there, in most cases, was determined by the spirit that was the living individual person in the physical body that has recently been composted.

      But now we have to say this: Any of this is pure speculation. The adherents to whatever religion are accepting it on FAITH. Which is best defined by that line...

"Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality - faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]."
Hebrews 11 : 1 (Amplified Bible, see Biblegateway link below)
      And now let's skin this beast.... Well.... that was almost a pun. Onward.

      We're at the very end of Genesis 2. We'll skip the matter with the beginning of marriage in 24 and look at 25. The Hebrew word of interest is 'arummim', it means "naked / bare" as in Ecclesiastes 5 : 15 to describe how one is born and how they will also return, not taking anything they've labored for with them, which brings us to the other meaning. Forms of the word are also used in several other references to indicate that the person has nothing and is vulnerable, almost helpless, and exposed to the outside world.
      In the context we're looking at while Adam and Eve were in the garden, they may have been 'exposed', but they were safe as they were directly under God's care. That is, until they weren't.
      Turn the page. Never mind the talkative snake. We're going down to where they made fig leaf loin cloths....
End Tangent

      .... what if instead of an 'apron' they were trying to fashion more of a jumpsuit to contain their essence instead of just covering their 'naughty bits'?
      The Hebrew word used, "chagowr" is often translated as 'belt, apron, girdle', but in 2 Kings 3 : 21, a form is translated as 'armor', and another is rendered out as a belt from which one hangs a sword. Not exactly the apron a housewife wears while baking cookies.

      Now as for what GOD did for their wardrobe we go down to chapter 3 verse 21.
      Remember the Sunday School story about how God killed innocent animals to make 'caveman style' coverings for them? How that was "The First Sacrifice"? And on about how this is a sign for us today about the shame of being human when facing God? You may even remember a poster of an angel driving Adam and Eve out of the Garden with a flaming sword, pointing down the road and them walking away with their heads down wearing a wardrobe lifted from "The Flintstones". Well, forget all of that, let's look at the text.

"The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them."
- Genesis 3 : 21 (NIV)

      That is exactly what the Hebrew says. GOD "asah" (made) for them "kethoneth" (garment / tunic) of "or" (skin), and "labash" (clothed / covered 'them').
      It does not say that GOD used doe skins or anything else. It simply says "skin" and that He covered them.

      So was that the moment when their body was formed from the dust and clay out of the Earth and the skin that covered them is what we now call the dermis with its several layers, only one of which we usually see.
      It isn't beyond the realm of possibility, although it may be beyond the realm of consideration for many of the people in the pew.

      Ancient Jewish legends and mythology about creation that were written into the Book of Jubilees, which is sometimes called "little Genesis". The first Genesis creation story is retold in Jubilees chapter 2, but it isn't as much about the Creation as it is about the beginning of the Sabbath:
"He created heaven and earth and everything that He created in six days, and God made the seventh day holy, for all His works;"
- Book of Jubilees 2 : 41

      The entire rest of that chapter, some fourteen more verses, are about the Sabbath.
      The next chapter is a retelling of the second Creation of Man account from Genesis including the same term "'ezer" (helper), and the rib story of the formation of Eve. But then Jubilees takes a left turn and spends considerable ink talking about how a woman that gives birth to a male is only unclean for seven days and then be purified for a month, but for a female child, she is unclean for two weeks and then is to purify herself for sixty days. See Jubilees 3 : 14 and following. Link below. And then it says that Eve wasn't brought into the Garden and presented to Adam until some EIGHTY days after she was made from his rib. Which isn't the impression you get from Genesis.
      and.... Which isn't a lot of help to our present work.
      Chapter three of Jubilees only says ....
"And to Adam alone did He give (the wherewithal) to cover his shame, of all the beasts and cattle. On this account, it is prescribed on the heavenly tables as touching all those who know the judgment of the law, that they should cover their shame, and should not uncover themselves as the Gentiles uncover themselves."
- Jubilees 3 : 44 and 45

      Also not a lot of help on the subject is the sections of the Book of Enoch that appear to reach back that far, dealing more with the Watchers, also mentioned in Jubilees, and how nobody really came out ahead when some rogue angels got together with human women.

      So we'll say it again, with feeling this time, .... We Don't Know. It is possible, but that is all it is. It is also possible, and in fact, even likely, that the story of the Fall has been so massaged and altered during its retelling for however many years before it was written down that if they sat and read it, Adam and Eve wouldn't recognize it. But the gist of the story, the Meaning of the story, is still there, which is what counts, right? Humans had a cushy gig, and then screwed it up because they couldn't do what they were told. Sounds familiar enough to be true.
      OK, that's enough of that.

Yes, another objection from over there on the right....
"You're not supposed to talk about such things. It's not right."
      Where in the Bible does it encourage ignorance? We can point to several verses that state the exact opposite. We'll run a few of them out and you can find the rest during your own Bible Study.

      Of course the best are in Proverbs:
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction."
- Proverbs 1:7
"An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge."
- Proverbs 18:15

And then we come to
"As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams."
- Daniel 1:17

      Now we'll go into the New Testament:
"For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."
- Romans 15:4

      And finally:

"Prescribe and teach these things. Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching."
- 1 Timothy 4 : 11 - 13 (NAS)

      A bit of commentary.
      Look at the line from Daniel. The 'youths' were given skills in all literature.
      Paul's statement in Romans implies that he is talking about the Hebrew scriptures, but he carefully avoids saying that in the first half, instead stating the writings of the "former days", then he mentions the Scriptures in the second half of his thought. Paul would have known about, and most likely had read Jubilees when he was in his training as a Pharisee because, as we pointed out above, much of the teaching in that book is right down their alley, even though most Jewish sects do not consider it canon. And he may have well been aware of the basic texts that later became 1 Enoch, as that book seems to have been a collection of unrelated stories from the Exile that were later complied into the book we have today.
      In short, we can learn from many outside sources, and then gauge the value of that information against the Word.
      As was stated by an interesting character who considered himself a 'Progressive'....

"No educated man can afford to be ignorant of the Bible."
- Theodore Roosevelt (1858 - 1919)

And now comes....
"I saw a 'social media' post that said that the Old Testament was written during the Roman Occupation by the Essenes in about 100 BC and the New Testament was written in 325 by the Council of Nicaea".

      Go back and read what their summation of the post said. And to be fair, there have been posts like that all over the various social media platforms, and bulletin board services, and pulp magazines and tabloid newspapers before them. And basically have been since, well, either 100 BC or 325 AD.
      OK, did you go back and read it? Now hear this, if you substitute the Council of Rome in 382 for Nicaea, it's not all that far off base for a general discussion of the Book. Historically, the Council of Nicaea, convened by the emperor Constantine had other subjects under discussion, which we needn't go into here, but did NOT go through and argue about which books were in and which books were out of the New Testament.
      But neither group mentioned actually "Wrote" anything, however, the Rome council and the Qumran community DID have something to do with the Bible that we currently have.
      As far that goes, the majority of the 27 books we now recognize as the NT were in place well before either council, and are mentioned by other ancient authors, Irenaeus for instance, who is known to have died in 202 AD cites over twenty of the books in his own writings. See link below to a collection of his works which are downloadable for free.
      So while the order is sometimes shuffled, there is very little dispute as to which books are in the New Testament and which are not. Yes, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Bible contains extra books in the NT, of which we looked at some of them before. Most were written in Coptic just down the river from Ethiopia, and were of Gnostic origin. There are links below to a scholarly look at the Ethiopian canon. However, we could not find a reliable, free, downloadable, English version of their Bible. If one turns up, it will be added to this article.

      We cited Martin Luther's objections to including Hebrews and Revelation in his German translation elsewhere, however, he was later convinced to include those in the canon of scripture. As we saw in the first article of this set other works that were either rejected, or perhaps even unknown to the early church fathers but turned up later, such as the Gospel of Thomas and the Infancy Gospel of James, were written much later, and with a specific mission in mind elsewhere. The Didache, which is also ancient, was never intended to be Scripture, and in and of itself says it is a 'teaching tool', see link below to a printable version.

      The story is similar for the Old Testament, including the various Catholic editions and the aforementioned Ethiopian version. However, the core of the OT is, essentially, the Jewish Bible, and there is little dispute over the majority of what is included.
      The vast majority of those books were preserved by the Qumran community in the cache we now know as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The only one totally missing is the Book of Esther. Which could simply be that it was found by certain locals that were known to sell manuscripts that they found before the archaeologists, or that it did not survive the 2000 years that it spent in the cave, perhaps one hasn't been found yet in another cave, or perhaps the community's scribes just didn't copy it for storage. We don't know. Other books that are canon in other denominations were not copied because of political ideas, which includes 1 Maccabees, yes, it was politics. The Essenes had serious disagreements with just about everybody who was anybody in Jerusalem, especially the High Priest and the Pharisees, and especially the Romans (and before them the Greeks), and so they moved out into the desert and set up their own place, where they could disagree with each other all they wanted.
      The 'caves' they hid their archive in turned out to be nearly perfect for the long term storage of the manuscripts. Barely more than a series of cracks in the bedrock, most of the fissures were exceptionally dry, the temperature reasonably consistent, and there were few insects and rodents to chew on them. Some of the caves show evidence of having been modified or even enlarged for storage, and a couple even had passages that have been found to have been sealed off to keep the casual visitor out, so new passages, and indeed, other caves, are being found in the area even today. So when the Essenes put their precious copies of these documents in there, everything from a complete copy of Deuteronomy and Isaiah to a record of the community's rules, which are interesting in their own right, they did it for the long term. And it worked! See a link below for a somewhat offbeat look at them and the scrolls.

      Now that we've visited those caves in the cliffs along the Dead Sea, we'll discuss what the scrolls found in them mean to our current discussion.
      It is known that the Jews copied their ancient manuscripts with manic obsessive attention to detail, to the point that an entire class of religious professionals developed and is mentioned several times in the New Testament: the scribes. This fanaticism is mentioned by Christ in Matthew 5 : 18.
      Other manuscripts existed before that ancient stash of documents were discovered in the 1940s, and those were the basis of the existing Jewish Bible. It is interesting to look at comparisons between the Hebrew in that book and the scrolls that were found that had been copied no later than about 100 AD. They are all but identical. The existing Old Testament is true to the originals that the Essenes took out to the desert when they first left town about 200 BC.
      Which means the religious hermits out in the desert didn't originate anything other than their lists of who sold some sheep or had access to which well.
      So, no, the books preserved in the Dead Sea Caves were copies, not original local works, except the sheep reciept.

Oh, yes. And then there was this double barreled objection. (well, it was two different statements combined into one)...
"Our church, and my grandmother, always say that dancing, and being naked unless you're taking a bath, is a sin."
      OK, let's look at that topic again for a second. The famous example in the original is a bit of burlesque theater as seen in 2 Samuel 6 which is discussed at length in the original article.
      King David is called "a man after God's own heart", see both 1 Samuel 13 : 14, as quoted in Acts 13, and it is the throne of David that Christ claims as the Messiah.
      What part of the text says that what David did, in front of the Ark as it made its way to Jerusalem, in front of GOD, in front of all the people... and the daughter of Saul... was a sin? If anything, his answer to his disagreeable wife should end all of that discussion.
      Now, Of Course, David's lapse with Bathsheba and all that was related to that incident was, in fact, several sins, for which he repented just as mightily as he danced, but that's a different discussion.

      In short, dancing isn't a sin, and neither is being unclothed.
      Now there will be those that say that dancing and nudity come in under the "avoiding all appearance of evil" statement from 1 Thessalonians 5. To which this writer always replies with another question: 'does that apply to cheesecake?'
      No, really. That's the response. And you can swap out sodapop, ice cream, a candy bar, or other junk food of your choice.
      You do not need cheesecake to live, sweet desserts are favored by gluttons and hedonists, and they contribute massively to obesity which is a major risk factor for everything from cancer to diabetes. It also involves taking the money needed to buy the cheesecake, or the ingredients to make it, from other work which should include giving to the poor or sending to missions. By that standards of measure, your eating a slice of cheesecake makes you no better than the Pharisees. And we all know how that one ends.

      And then there is a curious passage in 1 Samuel 19:24, and a similar occurrence in Isaiah 20. We wonder what "grandma" would do with those? Seems a lot of people spent a lot of time in the 'altogether' in Old Testament days.
      But then we have to also consider that such "inappropriate behavior" is also fodder for the gossip mill which in spite of all efforts to eliminate is still running full steam in most places. No, it may not be under the general banner of "properly and orderly", but in the vast majority of cases, nude dancing isn't usually part of the corporate worship service of the church. But to those that value appearance over substance, it doesn't take much to set their tongues a wagging. Or, today, fire off some messages on a social site.

      Time to put away that soap box and move on.

This question came in after the original article was posted, so we'll answer it here:

"Where in the Bible does it say that Christians become angels....
        ... and get a harp, and a halo."

      The short answer is: "It doesn't." We'll come back to the long answer after a quick turn through Acts.

      This incident is sometimes cited as proof that Christians do become angels.
      When the other believers said the girl saw 'Peter's angel' in Acts 12, and the word in Greek is "angelos" which means 'supernatural' messenger and is usually translated as 'angel'. Well, there are two other explanations in play, besides the obvious one that the excited young woman simply imagined it.
      According to some, an individual's guardian angel will take on the appearance of the person. There's two links below to discussions of how Jews view that particular class of angel.
      Another more relevant possibility is a known parapsychological phenomenon known as a Crisis Apparition. What happens is that what seems to be an astral projection of the person who is suffering some sort of trauma up to and including sudden or unexpected death, appears to a loved one who may be some significant distance away. The vision is usually fleeting, but sometimes is at least partially interactive, or may deliver a brief message. However, the crisis that instigates the vision is always catastrophic, and usually, but not always, fatal. Below you'll find an article which includes the famous story about singer Billie Holiday's witnessing of the spirit of her mother who had died unexpectedly. In this case, you would have expected the vision of Peter to have appeared to the other Apostles to give them the message that he was on his way 'home', not to some random servant girl (which is the term used to describe her in the text) who is never seen before or ever again. In any case, even if that is what the others meant, it did not happen because Peter was still in his body and was outside beating on the door.
      This is the one and only reference to a human being becoming an 'angel', and nothing difinitive can be inferred from the text and the use of the word "angelos" in it.

      Now, what does the text actually say about believers who go on "to be with the Lord"?
      Well, actually, surprisingly little, except exactly that.
      There are examples in Revelation, but because of the apocalyptic and figurative style of the writing we are better off taking them as more "show" than "tell" in that John was making other points and there was a larger picture he was relating than telling us what our own individual future was.
      Let's hit a couple of specifics from Revelation, then look back and see what else we can find in the few other passages that mention the subject.
      Let's jump into the middle of Revelation 6 and look at the souls under the Altar when the Fifth Seal is opened.
      That's all that John says about them. They are the souls of those killed for the faith. Now, how did he know that's what they were? Did his angelic tour guide whisper it in his ear? Was there a sign on the side of the Altar that said "martyred souls waiting for justice"? Did he have some Apostolic insight into what a martyred soul looked like? We don't know, and the text does not say.
      Let's look at the specially blessed who reign with Christ for a thousand years while everybody else is still dead. That is in Revelation 20 : 4 and 5. Those are the very martyrs that were under the altar waiting for vengeance. They got it. Those that 'died in their sleep' have to wait a little longer......

Hang on, there's an objection, yes, you, go ahead.
"Doesn't that contradict 2 Corinthians 5 : 8, 'to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord'?"

      No, why would it? Is there a time frame explicitly stated in Paul's statement in Corinthians? No. To you, when you assume room temperature- You will be here one minute, then with the Lord in the next minute, by your reckoning of the passage of time. Does it matter if that to the outside world a couple of thousand yeas have passed, as it states in Revelation 20, when to you it is all but instantaneous?
      And we are not going into "soul sleeping" or any of that. To be honest, this writer isn't even certain what that means. When you are asleep, you are somewhat aware of the passage of time. The terms used in Revelation 20 indicates that these people are "nekron" (lifeless). Their body is on its way back to being dust, while the soul, and spirit, are outside the passage of time.
      Then in 21 we see the reward for those whose names were written in His Book. From the text, that reward doesn't necessarily include halos and stringed instruments.

      Let's go back and listen to Jesus talk about livestock.
      Matthew 25 beginning in verse 25 Jesus is describing the people who had done things for others as sheep, and those who looked out for themselves and their own as goats. And things don't go well for the goats.
      But we're interested in what is said to those whom The King approves of. They are invited in, to the Kingdom, and later it is said that that is Life Eternal. Again, no wings, halos, or harps are on the list.

      In art, halos began to be used around the heads of the Apostles and then other saints, such as Francis of Assisi, to indicate which figure in what may be a large crowd was special. Everybody else was just a peasant, or maybe the pizza delivery guy, while the one with the ring of light around his head... which comes from the description of Moses after he's been in the presence of GOD, cover your face and go check out Exodus 34 for the source of the idea.... was something special.
      Again, in art, wings were put on angels to indicate the power of flight. As was mentioned in the first article, we did an extended look at Angels during the Revelation study. A link is below to it:

      In the example story told by Jesus of the rich man and Lazarus, they were fully aware of their surroundings, however, the only indication of time mentioned is how long it would take an angel to fly Lazarus to his final destination. It might have been immediate, or it might have been 'in God's time', or it might have not been the focus of the morality story Jesus was telling.
      We'll go with the latter.

Sidenote to update:
    One thing The Desk has always done was either retract an essay or article when warranted, or to amend a section or rewrite parts of other articles as required by late arriving information, or in answer to a question for clarity, or whatever. Some of these have been labeled on their page as updated, and some haven't. There is no rhyme or reason to what is done (and sometimes no reasoning).
    We'll begin with the bit of forgotten Scripture:

John 5 : 25 - 29 (New American Standard Bible, available at BibleGateway link below)
"Truly, truly, I say to you, a time is coming and even now has arrived, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.
"Do not be amazed at this; for a time is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come out: those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the bad deeds to a resurrection of judgment."
    First a bit of context for the passage.
    Christ has just healed the lame man by the pool on the Sabbath. The religious hierarchy has some serious heartburn over the entire incident, including His claim about being on "a Mission from GOD".
    This statement about who hears His Voice isn't part of a parable. It isn't introduced by the words "and the coming time is like...." No, this is a clear and direct statement about something that is going to happen as declared by Somebody that would know.
    We see the first instance on a small scale a few chapters later in John when He calls Lazarus out of his tomb. There is no question there that the dead man was simply laying in his resting place when Jesus told him to get up and come out, and it didn't matter if ol' Laz had been room temperature for four days or four centuries.
    Why would it be any different with the rest of us?
End Update

"Explain why you think Jonah didn't write his own book."
      As was stated in the Minor Prophets study, this story appears to be a Morality Play they had been an oral tradition for some time, probably related in the Hebrew schools of the time, about how Almighty God can use anybody for His purposes, even those who do not want to do so, and who have serious personality issues to boot.

      Let's look at that last statement first.
      In the story, Jonah does everything except fulfill the job description of a Prophet of God.
      He goes west instead of east, he lies to his shipmates, he argues with God, he becomes suicidal, all the time refusing to accept the consequences of his own actions except when he's on the boat and being confronted by it. But GOD uses him anyway.
      There is in the Archaeological record that at least one king of Nineveh had a change of heart and instead of robbing and killing everybody he could find to kill and rob, he took a break to build temples and do things to make his kingdom better for his people. This may have been Sennacherib, or perhaps one of his sons, but the glory of the city was short lived because by about 400 BC when the Greek writer Xenophon took a tour of the place, he described it as an empty shell, although later on it was resettled and used as a base for others, including the Parthians who needed an armed outpost to keep Rome at bay in the area.

      And now the text of the book itself. Jonah's statements to those on the boat indicate a self delusion that is almost comedic. He says he worships God, but what did he do instead of what he was told?
      Look at the end of Chapter 1. The guys on the boat see the ocean calm down, so they do the right thing. How would Jonah know this? We see from his own statement early in chapter two that if you rated swimming ability with a ten being somebody who is on the Olympic team and a one being a sandbag, Jonah's down in the very small numbers. That is, until his fishy friend came by.
      Now pay attention to his prayer. He blames God for the mess he's in, but he does make a promise to preach a specific message. Remember that, we'll come back to it.

      In chapter three we have the shortest revival message in history. In Hebrew, it was five words, in English, it's a bit longer. But we have the people's and the king's reaction and decree in great detail.
      Of course it is very possible that Jonah either heard the town crier reading it, or picked up a copy that was in the afternoon paper and then relayed it in his book. However, as self centered as Jonah was, that doesn't seem likely. Would he have shared space with the king in his book?
      Oh, and what about that message that he promised he'd preach?
      Which brings up another point, how would Jonah, who was on his way out of town to the campsite he'd reserved on the hill, know the king was sitting in sackcloth and ashes, in the dust, so it was probably out in some back alley or corner of the farmer's market next to the goats.

      And then, in chapter four, Jonah has the total mental breakdown we mentioned earlier. But at least in the end he had the good sense not to answer God's final question. Which means we have to.

      Of course, given the nature of Divine Inspiration, all of that becomes moot and we can say Jonah wrote his book in spite of himself. When in truth, we'll never know, and it doesn't matter. The message is there.
      The Message is there.
      No matter how big of a loser you think you are, GOD can use you.

If the world wasn't created in 4004 BC then how old is it?
      The planet itself was part of the initial act of CREATION as described in Genesis 1 : 1.
      We don't know when that was.
      It may have been 13 billion years ago when The CREATOR initiated The Big Bang.
      The Creation Week in Genesis isn't "Shark Week" on TV where everything happens on a set schedule and if it's Wednesday at 7 there's a special on hammerheads along the East Coast. The 'days' are entirely stylistic in nature and are set up to show the importance of the Sabbath, as is so highlighted in their retelling in Jubilees.
      Side question: Is there any record of Adam observing the Sabbath? And yet it was instituted on 'the day after' Adam came into being. How about Able or even Cain? Seth? Noah? It isn't until Exodus that the Sabbath observance is codified, and it is later mentioned in one of the early prophets, Amos, who talks about it in chapter 8 as an established practice.
      Back to creation and the point of that bit about the Sabbath.
      If you listen to hardcore Creationists, they will stand and pose and say things that are not supported by a close reading of the original Hebrew text. Yes, Bishop Ussher did some serious arithmetic to come up with his date, it probably kept him busy for awhile. And it has given everybody since either something to talk about, or a good laugh, or in the Desk's case, both, so the Bishop didn't waste his time. But there is no way that anybody who isn't up to their ears in literal-ism and orthodox dogma can say that creation happened on the evening of 23 October 4004 BC, or any other firm date for that matter, INCLUDING 13.78 billion years ago (give or take 20 million or so). See link below to an in depth discussion of that.
      To the Jewish mystics, it was more important to work in their devotion to the Sabbath as a Divine Order even before the Law came down from the Mount. Could the ALMIGHTY Creator have created everything from light to vultures from absolutely nothing in one throw? Basically say "Let it be"....

"And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow
Let it be..."
- Let it be, lyrics by Paul McCartney, Apple records, 1969 (see link below)
      Unlike the song that was the last single to be recorded before the Beatles broke up, our "let it be" above could have been God's words to bring everything that ever was and ever will be into existence in one fell swoop. Why then is the story taken in stages except for our benefit? And the retelling makes the obvious point of including the Seventh Day as special instead of that being a "because I said so" from GOD to Moses.

      One last note on the song. This is the Beatle's song that includes the line "mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be". There has been claims that Sir Paul was talking about the Virgin, or about their tour manager, and then there is McCartney's own claim that he wrote it about his own mother who had died some time before. You can see more at the link below.

"Explain the phrase from John "'love me - father in me'"
      This from one of the statements that Christ made as the Messiah, and the Son of the Almighty. But the idea from the question is a condensation of the message that occupies almost all of John 14. The word "love" doesn't occur until verse 15. The phrase in the question is something like verse 24.
      The passage is tough to understand even in a modern translation like the New King James or the English Standard Version. Both are available at the link below.
      The statements made by Christ in this passage simply underline everything He had said, and more importantly Done, during His public ministry as He says in verse 11:
"Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves."
- ESV see Biblegateway link below.

      So what this passage is simply saying is that the man known as Christ Jesus was also wholly and completely the Creator God, who was here on a mission, and you'd best pay attention and try to understand what He's telling you.

This question came in as we were converting the article into HTML, so it is dead last. Which seems to be appropriate since if you asked your Sunday School teacher this one, they most likely either could not answer, or would throw you out of the class. So we're good with ending on it.

"Tell me the truth now, who (or what) is (was) Baphomet?...
      ....I've seen a lot of stuff online about that, but I don't know what to believe."

      This is one that we had to go dig through that big stack of old books that have scary covers, some of which are over a hundred years old.
      The reason for that is simple. There are some topics where you can not trust most of the more recent information. Which goes for many more outlets than just the 'free online encyclopedia'. Some pages of what is supposed to be reliable objective sources turn out to have been edited, and re-edited with various political agendas in play. Some have even been altered for personal reasons. If a page that has been so altered is clearly labeled, that's fine, but all too often they are not. And unless you are otherwise familiar the topic, you may not recognize where the discussion on the page goes around the bend.
      .... and that's not even talking about pages that are straight up propaganda.
      So to lay some groundwork to discuss the 'individual' mentioned in the question, we're going to go dust off some of the old dust covers and see what we can find in stuff that was printed before the Internet was a gleam in the eye of St. Isidore of Seville, see link below.

      But first, a quick discussion and description of what is usually thought of as Baphomet today.
      There is no record that the name being used before the 1300's for the sort of being using it now. And then it was used by outsiders as the name of the demon the Knights Templar worshiped in secret. There is no mention of such a figure or practice in Templar literature, while they did have some odd initiation rites, this was not part of it that we know of. The word itself may or may not have been lifted from any of several terms from various Middle Eastern languages, including, as per one rumor, a corruption of the name of Prophet Muhammad from Islam, or it may have simply been invented by those who were making the accusations against the Templars. There's more about them at the link below.
      It is worth mentioning that EXACTLY the same charge has been made against the various Masonic orders in recent years using some of the same accusations by some who fly the Christian flag in their building and publish pamphlets that are handed out for free. While a lot of things can be said about the Masons, and be at least partially true, demon-worship isn't one of them. See link below for example. One thing the tract publisher neglects to mention is that Masonry is older than the image they use of the figure.
      The figure as depicted since the 1850's was an andromorphic character with the head and hind quarters of a goat, and the midsection of a human with pronounced female breasts and human arms and hands. From the head protruded two enormous horns (go see 'greater kudu' for a reference) at about the ten o'clock and two o'clock positions with typical goat ears below. Then on top of its head rose a burning torch. There were also black wings which appeared to come from its shoulder blades, bending back down toward the ground at about the level of its ears to end in an array of dark feathers. Most classic depictions also had a rod with two serpents entwining it, similar to the Caduceus of Hermes, emerging from its lap. Other symbols, such as a star, crescent moon, water, and so on may appear around it.
      As is the way of things, some artistic license was taken with things like the size of its horns (some have shorter and pointer ones), or sometimes the flame of enlightenment would appear between its horns above its head without the torch handle, or it would be wearing a robe or even slacks to cover its legs, leaving only the cloven goat's feet visible below, and so on. But the breasts for the nurturing of its believers were always there.
      Until they weren't. When the Satanic Temple and certain others commissioned their statue to have displayed in places that would offend Christians, it was intentionally made without the noticeable mammary glands seen on depictions for the last hundred and fifty years. They stated at one point that they didn't want people being distracted by its breasts. Evidently the presence of the 'great horned god' was a distraction enough. We won't discuss the statue, as seen in the NPR story linked below, that has two children staring up at it with open adoration. No, we'll skip that.

      There is no indication that the figure that several groups have installed next to presentations of the Ten Commandments in various places is anything other than a more or less modern invention. In fact, as the goat-man so sculpted has had a double mastectomy, it isn't even an accurate portrayal of the figure as painted and drawn from its inception in the mid 1800's until quite recently, which makes you wonder how devoted they are to it.

      OK, that's what it is. Let's discuss what it ISN'T.
      There is no lack of online sources going on at lengths about the "ancient symbolism" associated with the figure. Such as the Staff of Hermes Treismegistus appearing from the loins of the creature. Or the Flame. Or the wings with which it can fly, like the common representations of angels. Not to mention the goat itself. And on and on.
      Well. OK, those are ancient symbols. No problem. We'll look at its wings. The 'winged disc' indicating something that can fly is seen in Sumer, you can't get much more ancient than that and still be talking about modern humans. And as far as "Thrice Greatest Hermes" and his staff, we'll point to the Desk's article about Alchemy, linked below, and move on.
      Since we're in Egypt checking in with our good friend Herm, we'll stop by a couple of ancient temples and see if we see a 'goat headed' god. And the answer is, "well, sort of". At Dendera and Esna the male god Khnum is depicted with a ram's head. Except the ram as so carved into the stone looks more like a North American Bighorn Sheep instead of the usual depiction of the 'guy' we're talking about.
      We'll move east a bit and look up Naigamesha of the Hindu pantheon. While this figure could have the head of a goat, it could also be just about any animal with horns, including something like an antelope, but not the Greater Kudu. Also, neither Naigamesha nor Khnum had wings, breasts, or fire on top of their head.
      We can't talk about the image of the creature without discussing Eliphas Levi (1810 - 1875). His Dogma and Rituals of High Magic from the 1850s included a pentagram on the goat head of the figure. This association later became common, and the pentagram was drawn around the head of a goat with the beast's chin, ears, and horns at the points of the inverted star was used everywhere. There were also similarities between Levi's figure and the Devil as depicted in books about witchcraft from the Middle Ages, including in the Malleus Maleficarum ("the Hammer of the Witches"), printed in 1486, link to text below. However, it is said the witch would ride to their gathering on a goat, usually seated backwards, and while the goat was supposedly the Devil, it looked like a goat, at least according to the classic artist Albrecht Durer. Although in the text where it talks about the witch transportation system being the work of the devil, see Part 2 Chapter III, it never mentions goats. See link below for a copy of both works which you may sort out at your leisure.

      OK, we're all quite breathless now, and there are a few that are creeped out by the very concept, but it's time to take a step back, get a suitably high octane adult beverage, and then come to some sort of conclusion about what's on display next to the Ten Commandments.
      The image being touted by those of such a mind as an answer for any Christian symbol, commonly referred to as Baphomet, is a modern hodgepodge of ancient symbolism, put together under a name of suspect origin, and presented as something it isn't to upset those that go to Sunday School and might ask questions.
      While the idea of the "great horned god" goes way back into the mists of history and is known as the Celtic Cernunno (spellings vary) and as we've seen there's various Egyptian dieties and further east into India.... This thing isn't any of them. And when you come right down to it, it looks more like Pan than anybody else. So give Baphomet a flute and see if he can play!
      What it comes down to is that Baphomet is a relative late-comer to the scene of pagan worship. And since 'it' is more man's idea than entity, any old line servant of the 'old gods' would be right in suing those that claim this is their deity for everything they're worth.
      But, it would seem that Baphomet, whatever it is, had a good publicist. Which is worth something, we guess.

      So, there you have it. And, we're done with this sort of effort for the time being. We'll collect any further objections, and new questions (if there are any more), and perhaps, run another edition of this then. For now, somewhere out there, there is a cold beer singing "if you've got the time..." ... and it is not singing it in Latin!

All Links were working as of date of original posting. Links will open in new tab/window. No endorsement is to be inferred.

Parts One and Two of this article.

The 1611 KJV

Various translations available, including the Amplified Bible."
and the New Living Translation

A printable PDF of the Didache: The Lord's Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations.

"The Book of Jubilees is an apocryphal retelling of events from the Books of Genesis and Exodus, presented as an angel s revelation to Moses as Moses ascends Mount Sinai. Composed in the 2nd century BCE..."

Encyclopedia article about Terence A page about T.R. including when he said this:
"No man has had a happier life than I have led; a happier life in every way."

"Mary, Queen of the Universe - Basilica and National Shrine"

"Our Lady of the Highways -Why a Shrine to Mary beside the highway?"

"Cantigas de Santa Maria" exibit from the Library of Congress.

More: "Canticles of Holy Mary"

The Dead Sea Caves and Scrolls: Qumran: the complete guide

The source for the St Fiacre prayer above.

Fiacre "made himself a cell with a garden, built an oratory in honor of the Blessed Virgin, and made a hospice for travelers which developed into the village..." (an oratory is a dedicated prayer chapel)

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Catechism of the Catholic Church Chapter Two, Article Two: The Way Of Prayer

Also available at:

Hail, holy Queen "Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary."
Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN)

Welcome to Our Parish: Our Lady of the Assumption Church

November 1, 1950
45. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.
47. It is forbidden to any man to change this, our declaration, pronouncement, and definition or, by rash attempt, to oppose and counter it. If any man should presume to make such an attempt, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.
48. Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, in the year of the great Jubilee, 1950, on the first day of the month of November, on the Feast of All Saints, in the twelfth year of our pontificate.

From the Vatican Archive:

And then we have:

"When the father creator saw the creature which he had made moving
    and living, the created image of the eternal gods, he rejoiced, and in
    his joy determined to make the copy still more like the original;
    and as this was eternal, he sought to make the universe eternal, so
    far as might be. Now the nature of the ideal being was everlasting,
    but to bestow this attribute in its fullness upon a creature was
TIMAEUS - by Plato, 360 BC
Other works by Plato available.

The Christian Classics Ethereal Library is a digital library of hundreds of classic Christian books selected for edification and education. The online server reaches several million different users each year.:
The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus

The Biblical Canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church

"Brahman is 'self-shining', 'self-luminous', and 'shines by his own brightness'. As He shines 'does everything else shine after'."
The Rig Veda texts

Library of Congress page on the Dead Sea Scrolls:

"Like the general concept of angels, "guardian angels" seems to have been a religious concept common to the entire Semitic world..."
and "no, but well, maybe":

"A 'crisis apparition,' as first defined by 19th-century paranormal researchers, is the vision or sense of a loved one around their time of death."

The Mysterious Origins of the Sabbath

Surprise: the Big Bang isn t the beginning of the universe anymore We used to think the Big Bang meant the universe began from a singularity. Nearly 100 years later, we're not so sure."

"The heartbreaking true story behind The Beatles' song 'Let It Be'"

One of several such events:
"Satanic Temple Protests Ten Commandments Monument With Goat-Headed Statue"

Chick Publications: "That's Baphomet?"

Pope St. John Paul II named St. Isidore of Seville the patron on the internet:,a%20model%20for%20early%20universities.

"The Knights Templar was a large organization of devout Christians during the medieval era who carried out an important mission: to protect European travelers visiting sites in the Holy Land while also carrying out military operations. A wealthy, powerful and mysterious order that has fascinated historians and the public for centuries..."
About the Greater Kudu:

A print of a witch with her accessories riding a flying goat Albrecht Durer.

Malleus Maleficarum (1486)

Revelation: Angel study study.htm content mentioned above:
"Was there really a person who parked his car in the spot marked "Thrice Greatest Hermes", and spent his days at the office writing those books?" Alchemy

Proof that the Desk has been writing various sorts of fiction for a Long Time:
From Last Year:

"I never thought things like this could happen in real life. In My Life.
      It was legend. Mythology. Folklore.
      And yet, here I was, and here they were, standing in front of me, talking about Merlin the Magician.
            And King Arthur.
      And I believed them"
Arthur's Pack
From all not that long ago:

From 2006: The Secret War in Oliphant Furnace, A story in three times.

from 1999 SUBSIDENCE

Part One and Two of this article.

Pray for Revival in the Land

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      The Desk is solely responsible for the analysis and conclusions and opinions hereby presented. And are not to be blamed on anybody or anything else EXCEPT the Desk. If the reader has any issues with anything in the article they may contact the Desk through the usual channels.
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