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IX - TESTIMONY

May 1, 2017

The sacred place in a synagogue is the Aron Kodesh, literally Holy Ark, wherein is kept the Torah Scroll. This scroll contains the Law, the Word of God.

 

The sacred place in a Catholic church is the Tabernacle, wherein is kept a ciborium filled with consecrated hosts, the Holy Eucharist, the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, the Word of God.

 

The Ark of the Covenant was the handheld conveyance wherein were kept the two tablets of the Law given to Moses on Mount Sinai in Arabia. The second set, of course, Moses having broken the first set.

 

And after this he said: Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the former, and I will write upon them the words which were in the tables, which thou brokest. Be ready in the morning, that thou mayst forthwith go up into mount Sinai, and thou shalt stand with me upon the top of the mount. Let no man go up with thee: and let not any man be seen throughout all the mount: neither let the oxen nor the sheep feed over against it. Then he cut out two tables of stone, such as had been before: and rising very early he went up into the mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, carrying with him the tables. And when the Lord was come down in a cloud, Moses stood with him, calling upon the name of the Lord. [Exodus 34:1-5]

 

Deuteronomy clarifies what was written on the two tables:

 

At that time the Lord said to me: Hew thee two tables of stone like the former, and come up to me into the mount: and thou shalt make an ark of wood, And I will write on the tables the words that were in them, which thou brokest before, and thou shalt put them in the ark. And I made an ark of setim wood And when I had hewn two tables of stone like the former, I went up into the mount, having them in my hands. And he wrote in the tables, according as he had written before, the ten words, which the Lord spoke to you in the mount from the midst of the fire, when the people were assembled: and he gave them to me. And returning from the mount, I came down, and put the tables into the ark, that I had made, and they are there till this present, as the Lord commanded me. [Deuteronomy 10:1-5]

 

The ten “words” or as they are commonly referred to, the ten commandments, were written on the two tables or tablets of stone, and placed in the Ark of the Covenant.

 

When the Israelites would stop on their journey to make camp, they would construct the mobile Tabernacle, a kind of makeshift type of the Temple, and they would place the Ark in there. Tabernacle means tent or habitation. The purpose of both Ark & Tabernacle was to house the two tablets on which was inscribed the Law. So, it would seem, on some level, that there is a connection between the Torah Scroll in the synagogue, and the Holy Eucharist in the church.

 

 

Now Abraham was old; and advanced in age: and the Lord had blessed him in all things. And he said to the elder servant of his house, who was ruler over all he had: Put thy hand under my thigh, That I may make thee swear by the Lord the God of heaven and earth, that thou take not a wife for my son, of the daughters of the Chanaanites, among whom I dwell: But that thou go to my own country and kindred, and take a wife from thence for my son Isaac. The servant answered: If the woman will not come with me into this land, must I bring thy son back again to the place, from whence thou camest out? [Genesis 24:1-5]

 

The word thigh here is a euphemism, if you will, for either the penis (click here for reference) or the testicles. If the former, it refers to Abraham’s recent circumcision, which was the sign of his covenant with God. If the latter, it refers to the seed which is produced by the testicles, seed also referring to his son and the generations to come, who will inherit the land as part of that covenant. Actually, it most likely represents both, because that is the purpose and context of the entire story. The servant swore by that which represented his master’s bloodline, which was sanctified by God.

 

The word testimony comes from the same root as the word testicle. There is some dispute about this etymology, but I will just point out that in the 5 Books of Moses, the word testimony is used to refer to the two stone tablets.

 

And thou shalt put in the ark the testimony which I will give thee. [Exodus 25:16]

 

The Torah Scrolls that are found in Jewish synagogues are of course 2 wooden rollers with one very long sheet of parchment rolled around each one. The one very long sheet is composed of many sheets sewn together.

The following is from the Chabad website:

 

• A Torah Scroll is the holiest book within Judaism, made up of the five books of Moses.

 

• There are 304,805 letters in a Torah Scroll.

 

• Each page has 42 lines.

 

• The Torah Scroll must be written by a specially trained pious scribe called a sofer.

 

• A sofer must know more than 4,000 Judaic laws before he begins writing a Torah Scroll.

 

• It takes about a year to write an entire Torah Scroll.

 

• Even a single missing or misshapen letter invalidates the entire Sefer Torah.

 

• The Torah we use today in your synagogue is written exactly the same way the Torah was written the very first time by Moses 3,300 years ago.

 

• The Torah is made of many sheets of parchment that are sewn together to make one very long scroll.

 

• The entire Torah is written by hand, each letter is inscribed and individually formed with a quill and specially prepared ink.

 

• The Torah is read at least four times a week in synagogues around the world.

 

There are approximately 245 columns that are 7 inches wide, with extra columns at the beginning and end to allow for the unrolling. The total length is approximately 140 feet.

 

For a Torah scroll to be read, one side is rolled up as the other is unrolled, until the desired passage is reached. This is obviously done ahead of time for ceremonial readings. The same applies as the sofer makes his copy.

 

To repeat what was said on the Chabad website, “The Torah we use today in your synagogue is written exactly the same way the Torah was written the very first time by Moses 3,300 years ago.”

 

By Talmudic tradition, Moses wrote the very first scroll, except for the last eight verses which were inserted by Joshua to describe Moses’ death and burial. So, Moses is considered to have written the Torah, the Pentateuch or 5 Books. Authorship, however, to be exact, is attributed to God.

 

Bible scholars since at least the 17th century posited redaction, i.e., several sources of the text were combined, or redacted, over the centuries to produce the work known as the Pentateuch. Redaction is but one theory, known as the Documentary Hypothesis, while others are also posited. Two main difficulties presented to us by scholars to attributing single authorship, which would presumably be Moses, can be summarized as follows:

 

One, parallel accounts of what are presumed to be of the same incidents show inconsistencies, changes in style, changes in the name used for God (Yahweh or German Jehovah, the J document source theory; Elohim or E document source theory).

 

Two, it is claimed that the archaeology doesn’t hold up, and that comparative religious studies have shown that Israel borrowed from the religions she came into contact with, this latter being inconsistent with the pristine, single source (the True God) claimed by the religion.

 

Counterclaims can be made, and it is not the purpose of this blog to delve deeply into the topic. I point out the above difficulties because they exist, and the scholarship behind them is extensive. I could make a few general points. My first is admittedly ad hominem. Due to the prominence of the Bible in Western civilization, the sheer number of Bible scholars requires them to distinguish themselves through innovation. That is intuitive but admittedly unfair to those who feel they remain true to their scholarship. The second general point is that archaeology in Israel today often confirms Biblical accounts that were previously thought to have been proven spurious. As an example, a nearly 3000-year-old inscription was found where “Aram-Damascene king Hazael brags of having killed 70 kings, including of Israel and of the “House of David.” Even better evidence is the existence of the Dead Sea Scrolls, assumed to be from around the time of Jesus, with extensive Biblical references, including texts of all the books of the Bible.

 

The idea that Israel borrowed from surrounding religions is indicative of bias. There is huge difficulty in determining who came first, and who influenced whom, when the subjects are contemporaries.

 

As for the Documentary Hypothesis, the 4 sources, I don’t want to give a glib answer. Having read about it, I wasn’t convinced. I am not a philologist of ancient languages. Often the passages are presented as translations of German, which is of course translated from the original Hebrew. I am not qualified in this area, but that doesn’t mean I and many other people of faith are automatically wrong. What I am wanting to do is to at least acknowledge that I know of these issues. What I am hypothesizing is going to be hard enough to accept without my appearing to be so naïve about the origins of the Torah that I am dismissed out of hand.

 

So a sofer, a Torah scribe, writing out his copy of the sacred text of the scroll in front of him, unrolls the scroll. I have seen videos of the care with which the letters are inked, the ink is chosen, even the items used for holding the scroll open to the desired section. The scribe makes the copy. I believe he copies onto each sheet of parchment, to be sewn into place later. I don’t know that for a fact, perhaps it is stipulated that the entire scroll must be intact as he writes, but that presents such a difficulty if “Even a single missing or misshapen letter invalidates the entire Sefer Torah.” The parchment and ink are not cheap, and spending a year of hard work, only to invalidate an entire Sefer Torah by extending a yod to look too much like a vav would be a disaster. It would also yield to human temptation. A wrong letter in a passage not regularly read in synagogue ceremonies could easily be justified as acceptable by the sofer who is under pressure to get a new Torah Scroll to a new synagogue.

 

In any event, over the course of a year, the sofer eventually rolls and unrolls the entire 140 feet of the scroll, copying the letters individually with all the precision he can muster onto the new parchment. Once the work is complete, he allows himself a huge sigh of relief. Has any sofer ever given in to the temptation to unroll the entire scroll, to see what it looks like all rolled out? That would be unlikely, as the Torah Scroll has the name of God on it, and is not allowed to touch the ground. There are few 140 foot tables to unroll it on.

 

This is the advantage of the 2 rollers around which the scroll is rolled. The letters on the page are written on lines about 7 inches across, 42 lines to a column. This is another means of rolling that we don’t think of because we’re so used to it, but it is evident in all printed material. The single letters that make up words don’t obviously form a continuous line, they wrap around to the next line. From the end of the column, the text wraps to the top of the next column. If we go by analogy to DNA, and refer to each wrapping as coiling, then the letters on one line coil to the line below it, then those 42 lines are coiled into a column, all the columns sit side by side until they are coiled one final time into the 140 foot scroll.

 

Let's imagine that the letters of the text are all aligned on one line on one long scroll parchment. At 7 inches per column, not counting spaces between columns or the columns at the beginning and end of the scroll, 42 lines per column is 24.5 feet of parchment (if the text were all one line). 24.5 feet times 240 columns = 5880 feet. That’s over a mile. That’s a pretty long scroll.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that the proportion of height to length of a scroll written in this fashion would be proportionate to the microscopic width of DNA to it’s 6 foot length. It isn’t, because a Torah Scroll has 304,805 letters. Of course, now, there are 22 Hebrew letters in the AlephBet. There are only 4 nucleotides. Mathematically that’s a difference of base-4 and base-22. The amount of information that can be contained in base-22 is, well, 18 orders of magnitude more. But I’m not going to do the math on this. The letters of an alphabet and the nucleotides of DNA have different functions. Just trying to keep an oranges-to-oranges perspective.

 

Okay, scrolls did not initiate with Moses. Also, how does it prove anything that a scroll is like DNA? A scroll is just a book that's on a long parchment. So what?

 

Well, maybe it's not much to say a scroll is like DNA. But it is a lot to say that DNA is like a book. A book written by Whom? Or did an infinite number of monkeys typing on an infinite number of typewriters not only write War & Peace, but a War & Peace that types out copies of itself? I'll repeat this concept- the natural selection process, taken by itself and denying a Designer, is a completely blind, deaf & dumb process of molecular activity that can have no cohesion, no purpose, no will to create anything. The idea that this bd&d process is the mechanism behind all life, without a Prime Mover, is bd&d itself. 

 

 

 

A few years ago, a book was published titled The Bible Code. The concept is not unusual. Anyone who knows Hebrew, has read anything about gematria, or seen the movie π, knows that Hebrew letters also act as numbers. This can give rise to all kinds of possible codes. Somewhere in 304,805 letters, surely if you look for a spacing of 17 letters you will find some historical person’s name. The possibilities are endless, including the possibilities of false positives. Since Hebrew does not include vowels, finding the consonants you want to find is even that much easier. HLLRCLNTN paired with the Hebrew word for abortion is doubtless in there somewhere. But that wouldn’t tell us anything.

 

No, let's look again at what the DNA code is. If you need a refresher, please go back to blog post VII. The 4 nucleotides pair up, they’re copied off to RNA, they’re transferred outside the cell wall where they are picked up by a ribosome that decodes the 3-nucleotide codons to create a chain of amino acids (which also have a 3-nucleotide anticodon that gets matched) that then becomes a protein. An obvious case of completely blind, random action.

 

So we would have to find what Bible code could possibly be analogous. A really difficult undertaking, since where would we begin? Well, actually, we’ve got a clue.

 

MARY AS ARK

 

This has been done so much better than I could reword it. The concept is that Mary was the fulfillment of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Old Covenant carried the two tablets, the Word of God. Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant carried the Christ, the Word of God.

 

Here is an amazing video:

 

 

 

So, remember, we are suggesting a connection between the Law of Moses and DNA.

 

Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. [Matthew 5:17-18]

 

The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man. He received his human nature, His human body, which contains the human genome, from His earthly mother, the Virgin Mary. His Father is God, and Mary conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life. Jesus has been called the Word of God, a mysterious term at best. How does God create? By speaking into existence that which He wills. “Let there be light.” And there was light.

 

So, let’s start by biting off what we can chew. I can’t begin at the level of Hebrew letters or gematria.  But I can begin by looking at what the Torah is. It is, taken generally (and not limited to):

 

1. A history of humanity from Creation to the Patriarchs

2. A history of the itinerant Hebrews

3. A Law of morality

4. A Law of community

5. A Law of priestly ritual

 

This last is the most curious. The priesthood, of the tribe of Levi, were to perform the maintenance of the ritual. They officiated at the ceremonies. They would go on to perform the Temple sacrifices. For centuries, a steady stream of animals were sacrificed at the Temple for the propitiation of the wrath of Yahweh and the continual rebirth of the faith. There was a 70-year period when the First Temple was destroyed and the Israelites were exiled to Babylon. Just before the exile began, the prophet Jeremiah bought a field in Anathoth to symbolize the future return of the Israelites. He placed the Ark of the Covenant in the Abarim mountains, probably Mt. Nebo, east of the Jordan and near the Dead Sea. It is not heard of again in Scripture.

 

Following the return from Babylon, Ezra (Jeremiah's cousin) & Nehemiah oversaw the rebuilding of the Temple. The priesthood took over again, but the Books of the Maccabees make it clear they are hardly a faithful crew. (The Books of the Maccabees are still part of the Bible, seeing as how the Catholic Church did not recognize Martin Luther's authority in removing them from the canon. Who are the Bible-faithful Christians again?) By the time of the First Advent of the Christ, the priesthood is in dire straits. As stated in blog VI, the priesthood was to be handed over to the Roman Catholic Church. The Law was fulfilled, but it was not abrogated. It was not destroyed, it was not discontinued. It was taken by the Apostles, who with their successors the bishops, whom they ordained with oil and laying on of hands, converted the Roman Empire and bestowed upon the Church set up in the midst of her, the continuation of the spiritual rebirth of He Who fulfilled the Law. Through the ritual Liturgy of the Mass, the kernel of which was handed down by Christ to the Apostles during His 40 days remaining on earth following His Resurrection, He Who fulfilled the Law is reborn daily in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, being born at the altar at the hands of the priest, who is overshadowed by the Holy Spirit (Veni, sanctificator) as Mary was following the Annunciation. The consecrated Eucharistic hosts are the Real Presence of Christ. They are the cells in the Body of Christ, each fully Christ. We consume Christ, and follow His commandments, the Law He came to fulfill, which one jot or tittle shall not pass from, and become like unto Him.

 

This describes, by analogy, the DNA of the Body of Christ.

 

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