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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Another Prophetic rabbi and what he prophesied

Yitzhak Kaduri's revelation of the Messiah shocked the Israeli Haredi community when it was revealed. The paper on which it was written was photographed and published, then cast into the Dead Sea in disgust. But for seven more years, his prophecy awaited fulfillment.

This is a reprint of a cover story that first appeared in the April 30, 2007 issue of Israel Today Magazine. It was subsequently taken from the website, but not before it could be copied elsewhere. It was finally brought back online in 2013 after Carl Gallups wrote a book quoting the article.
A few months before he died, one of the nation’s most prominent rabbis, Yitzhak Kaduri, supposedly wrote the name of the Messiah on a small note which he requested would remain sealed until now. When the note was unsealed, it revealed what many have known for centuries: Yehoshua, or Yeshua (Jesus), is the Messiah.
With the biblical name of Jesus, the Rabbi and kabbalist described the Messiah using six words and hinting that the initial letters form the name of the Messiah. The secret note said:
Concerning the letter abbreviation of the Messiah’s name, He will lift the people and prove that his word and law are valid.
This I have signed in the month of mercy,
Yitzhak Kaduri
The Hebrew sentence (translated above in bold) with the hidden name of the Messiah reads:
Yarim Ha’Am Veyokhiakh Shedvaro Vetorato Omdim
ירים העם ויוכיח שדברו ותורתו עומדים
The initials spell the Hebrew name of Jesus יהושוע . Yehoshua and Yeshua are effectively the same name, derived from the same Hebrew root of the word “salvation” as documented in Zechariah 6:11 and Ezra 3:2. The same priest writes in Ezra, “Yeshua (ישוע) son of Yozadak” while writing in Zechariah “Yehoshua (יהושוע) son of Yohozadak.” The priest adds the holy abbreviation of God’s name, ho (הו), in the father’s name Yozadak and in the name Yeshua.
With one of Israel’s most prominent rabbis indicating the name of the Messiah is Yeshua, it is understandable why his last wish was to wait one year after his death before revealing what he wrote.
When the name of Yehoshua appeared in Kaduri’s message, ultra-Orthodox Jews from his Nahalat Yitzhak Yeshiva (seminary) in Jerusalem argued that their master did not leave the exact solution for decoding the Messiah’s name.
The revelation received scant coverage in the Israeli media. Only the Hebrew websites News First Class (Nfc) and mentioned the Messiah note, insisting it was authentic. The Hebrew daily Ma’ariv ran a story on the note but described it as a forgery.
Jewish readers responded on the websites’ forums with mixed feelings: “So this means Rabbi Kaduri was a Christian?” and “The Christians are dancing and celebrating,” were among the comments.
Israel Today spoke to two of Kaduri’s followers in Jerusalem who admitted that the note was authentic, but confusing for his followers as well. “We have no idea how the Rabbi got to this name of the Messiah,” one of them said.
Yet others completely deny any possibility that the note is authentic.
In an interview with Israel Today, Rabbi David Kaduri, 80, the son of the late Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri, denied that his father left a note with the name Yeshua just before he died. “It’s not his writing,” he said when we showed him a copy of the note. During a night-time meeting in the Nahalat Yitzhak Yeshiva in Jerusalem, books with Kaduri’s handwriting from 80 years ago were presented to us in an attempt to prove that the Messiah note was not authentic.
When we told Rabbi Kaduri that his father’s official website ( had mentioned the Messiah note, he was shocked. “Oh no! That’s blasphemy. The people could understand that my father pointed to him [the Messiah of the Christians].” David Kaduri confirmed, however, that in his last year his father had talked and dreamed almost exclusively about the Messiah and his coming. “My father has met the Messiah in a vision,” he said, “and told us that he would come soon.”
Kaduri’s Portrayal of the Messiah
A few months before Kaduri died at the age of 108, he surprised his followers when he told them that he met the Messiah. Kaduri gave a message in his synagogue on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, teaching how to recognize the Messiah. He also mentioned that the Messiah would appear to Israel after Ariel Sharon’s death. (The former prime minister is still in a coma after suffering a massive stroke more than a year ago.) Other rabbis predict the same, including Rabbi Haim Cohen, kabbalist Nir Ben Artzi and the wife of Rabbi Haim Kneiveskzy.
Kaduri’s grandson, Rabbi Yosef Kaduri, said his grandfather spoke many times during his last days about the coming of the Messiah and redemption through the Messiah. His spiritual portrayals of the Messiah—reminiscent of New Testament accounts—were published on the websites and Nfc:
“It is hard for many good people in the society to understand the person of the Messiah. The leadership and order of a Messiah of flesh and blood is hard to accept for many in the nation. As leader, the Messiah will not hold any office, but will be among the people and use the media to communicate. His reign will be pure and without personal or political desire. During his dominion, only righteousness and truth will reign.
“Will all believe in the Messiah right away? No, in the beginning some of us will believe in him and some not. It will be easier for non-religious people to follow the Messiah than for Orthodox people.
“The revelation of the Messiah will be fulfilled in two stages: First, he will actively confirm his position as Messiah without knowing himself that he is the Messiah. Then he will reveal himself to some Jews, not necessarily to wise Torah scholars. It can be even simple people. Only then he will reveal himself to the whole nation. The people will wonder and say: ‘What, that’s the Messiah?’ Many have known his name but have not believed that he is the Messiah.”
Farewell to a ‘Tsadik’
Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri was known for his photographic memory and his memorization of the Bible, the Talmud, Rashi and other Jewish writings. He knew Jewish sages and celebrities of the last century and rabbis who lived in the Holy Land and kept the faith alive before the State of Israel was born.
Kaduri was not only highly esteemed because of his age of 108. He was charismatic and wise, and chief rabbis looked up to him as a Tsadik, a righteous man or saint. He would give advice and blessings to everyone who asked. Thousands visited him to ask for counsel or healing. His followers speak of many miracles and his students say that he predicted many disasters.
When he died, more than 200,000 people joined the funeral procession on the streets of Jerusalem to pay their respects as he was taken to his final resting place.
“When he comes, the Messiah will rescue Jerusalem from foreign religions that want to rule the city,” Kaduri once said. “They will not succeed for they will fight against one another.”

Israel Today was given access to many of the rabbi's manuscripts, written in his own hand for the exclusive use of his students. Most striking were the cross-like symbols painted by Kaduri all over the pages. In the Jewish tradition, one does not use crosses. In fact, even the use of a plus sign is discouraged because it might be mistaken for a cross.
But there they were, scribbled in the rabbi's own hand. When we asked what those symbols meant, Rabbi David Kaduri said they were “signs of the angel." Pressed further about the meaning of the “signs of the angel," he said he had no idea. Rabbi David Kaduri went on to explain that only his father had had a spiritual relationship with God and had met the Messiah in his dreams.
Orthodox Jews around the Nahalat Yitzhak Yeshiva told Israel Today a few weeks later that the story about the secret note of Rabbi Kaduri should never have come out, and that it had damaged the name the revered old sage. 
Okay, the point to be made here is that Rab Kaduri, the most respected Kabalist in Israel, claimed to have met the Messiah, and the his name is Yehoshua. This does not guarantee that: a) Yitzhak Kaduri became a believer in Jesus; or b) Jesus appeared to him. The alternate explanation is that the Antichrist appeared to him, claiming the name Yehoshua. Either are possible, but one is definitely more likely than the other. When Ariel Sharon finally died after eight years in a coma, the question of him being the prophesied messiah could finally be put to rest. And it vindicated at least one aspect of the Rabbi's prophecy: that the messiah would not be revealed until Sharon had died.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Beer and the NIV

In an earlier post, I decried the TNIV for translating shekar as "other fermented drink" rather than "beer" in Numbers 6:3. In revisiting the issue today, I noticed that "beer" is actually found many places in the NNIV as a translation for shakar--just not, apparently, here. Well,  I give the CBT credit for a small improvement anyway.

Here is an article which addresses the necessary ingredients that would have been used for making beer in the Bible times.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Pelagia the Harlot, part two

Let's return to the description of Pelagia, the highly successful actress of the Antiochan stage:
The worldly crowd could not get enough of their beauty and attractiveness. As they passed by us the air was filled with the scent of musk and other most delicious perfumes, but when the bishops saw her passing by so immodestly, with her head bare, and the outlines of her body clearly visible, nothing over her shoulders as well as her head, and yet the object of such adulation, they all fell silent, groaned and sighed, and averted their eyes as if being forced to witness some grave sin.
Not what constituted grave immodesty in 4th century Antioch:
- Head uncovered
- Clinging outer clothing
- Bare shoulders

Now, for the second installment of the story.

Chapter V 
Next Sunday, after we had completed the prayers of the night, the holy bishop Nonnus said to me:
"I must tell you, brother deacon, I have had a dream which disturbs me greatly, for I don't understand what it means. Standing near me on the edge of the altar, I saw a black dove, absolutely covered in filth. It flew all around me and I could hardly bear the stink of its unpleasant filth. After the deacon proclaimed 'Depart'
[Catechumens had to depart after what we would call nowadays 'Ministry of the Word'. The offering and consecration of the sacred elements was for the faithful only]  to the catechumens, it was nowhere to be seen. But after the Mass of the Faithful and the completion of the offering and the dismissal of the church, as we went out the door of the house of God, there was that dove again, still covered in filth and flying around me as before. I reached out my hand and caught it, and plunged it into the pool in the courtyard in front of the holy church. All the dirt covering it was washed off in the water, and it flew up out of the water as white as snow. It was carried away in its flight high up out of the sight of my eyes."

Having told me his dream, the holy bishop of God, Nonnus, took me with him to the great church with the other bishops, where we greeted the bishop of the city.

Chapter VI 
As he went in he spoke a few words of encouragement to the people of the church as they sat in their seats, and after the canonical prayers and the reading of the holy Gospel, the bishop of the city offered the holy Gospel to the most blessed Nonnus and asked him to speak to the people. He opened his mouth and poured out the wisdom of God which dwelt within him. His words owed nothing to studied composition, nothing to philosophy, and yet there was nothing indiscreet about him. He was completely human, yet filled with the holy Spirit. He taught the people and warned them, speaking with sincerity about the judgement to come and the good things laid up for us in eternity. The people found the words he had spoken by the holy Spirit so moving that their tears flowed all over the floor.  

Chapter VII 
Now it so happened, by the guidance of the divine mercy, that there was present in the church that very harlot whom we have previously mentioned. The wonderful thing is that taking thought for her sins had never induced her to come to church as a catechumen before, but as Nonnus was instructing the people she was suddenly so overcome by the fear of God, that she fell into complete despair and burst into floods of tears, which she could in no way restrain. She gave instructions to two of her slaves that they should stay there until the holy bishop Nonnus left, follow him, find out where he was staying, and come back and tell her. They did as their mistress instructed, and followed him to the basilica of the most blessed martyr Julian, where we had our cell. They came back and reported to their mistress that he was staying in the basilica of the most blessed martyr Julian, whereupon she sent tablets to the bishop by these two slaves containing the following message:

"O holy servant of Christ, I am a sinful woman and servant of the devil. I have heard that your God, who upholds the arc of the heavens, came down to earth not for the sake of the righteous but to save sinners. He upon whom the Cherubim dare not gaze humbled himself to be a friend of publicans, and talked with sinners. Now, even though you, my lord, who display such holiness, have never set mortal eyes on this same Lord Jesus Christ who showed mercy on the Samaritan woman at the well, nevertheless you are a true worshipper of him, as I have heard Christians tell. So if you really are a true disciple of Christ do not turn your face away from me, for through you I long to see the Saviour, through you perhaps I may get a glimpse of his holy face."

The holy bishop Nonnus wrote back:
"Whoever you are, you are known of God, and he knows both what you have done and what you want. But I have to ask you not to put too big a strain on my humility, for I too am human, a servant of God who is a sinner. So if you truly have a desire for God for virtue and faith, and want to see me, come, and see me in the midst of all the other bishops who are with me, for I could not allow you to see me alone."

The woman was overjoyed to read what he had written, and went to the basilica of the blessed martyr Julian, where she made her presence known to us. The holy bishop Nonnus called on all the other bishops who were there and asked them to meet with him. The woman came before the gathered bishops, threw herself on the floor before the blessed bishop Nonnus, and grasped his feet.

"I am asking you, my lord," she said "to imitate the action of your master the Lord Jesus Christ, and show your good will towards me by making me a Christian.  For I, my lord, am an ocean of sins and a sink of iniquity. I ask to be baptised."

 Chapter VIII 
The holy bishop Nonnus bade her rise and stand in front of him.
"The priestly canons," he then said, "do not allow harlots to be baptised unless they can provide guarantors to see that they do not fall back into their former sins."

She threw herself down once more upon the floor and grasped the feet of holy Nonnus, washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair (
Luke 7.38).

"You will have to give an account to God for my soul," she said, "and I shall lay at your door all the iniquities of my misdeeds, if you put off baptising me, wicked and repulsive though I am. You will not be given your portion with the saints in the presence of God unless you now cut me off from all my evil doings. You would be denying God and worshipping idols if you do not today give me new birth as a bride of Christ and offer me to God."

All the bishops and clerics who were there were deeply moved at the sight of this woman speaking out in such a way because of her desire for God. Never had they witnessed such faith and desire for salvation as this harlot was demonstrating. And they sent me, a sinful deacon, straight away to the bishop of the city, to tell his blessedness everything that had happened and to ask that he send back one of the deaconesses with me.
[In the early church one of the duties of deaconesses was to clothe the female candidates in a white baptismal gown.]  His reaction was one of great joy, and he had this message for the holy Nonnus.

"Well done, reverend father. Carry on with what you are doing. I am aware that you are acting on my behalf."

And he immediately instructed the lady Romana, the chief deaconess, to come back with me. When she came in she found the woman still at the feet of the holy bishop Nonnus, who had great difficulty in persuading her to get up.

"You must get up, my daughter," he said, "and be exorcised. And first, confess all your sins."

"If I were to scrutinise everything I know to be in my heart, I would not be able to find any good deeds at all. But I know my sins are more numerous than the sands of the sea. The ocean is miniscule compared with the extent of my sins. But I trust in your God that he will relieve me of the burden of my sins and look kindly upon me."

"Tell me your name," said the holy bishop Nonnus.

"Pelagia was the name given to me by my parents, but the Antiochenes call me Margarita (
Pearl), because of the masses of jewellery I had earned through my sins. I used to be the devil's jewel, and reckoned to be part of his work force."

"But your proper name is Pelagia?"
"Yes, my lord."

Upon this the holy bishop Nonnus exorcised her, baptised her, signed her with the cross of the Lord, and gave her the body of Christ. The chief deaconess, the lady Romana, became her spiritual mother, and took her into the place reserved for the catechumens, where we also gathered together.

"I tell you, brother deacon," the holy bishop Nonnus then said to me, "today we are rejoicing in the presence of the Angels of God, so let us have oil today with our food, contrary to our usual custom, and drink a little wine to celebrate our spiritual joy at the salvation of this young woman."