~ Endnotes ~

~ The Red Moon Revisited ~

      The 96-2 and 96-3 issues of Hebrew Roots carried information about the full eclipse of the moon that took place last spring on the First Day of Unleavened Bread and again at the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall. The spring eclipse was visible in Jerusalem but not in North America. The fall eclipse was visible in both Jerusalem and North America. Both of these eclipses were what is known as ‘Red Moons.’
      A ‘Red Moon’ appears during a total lunar eclipse and is caused by a faint red light that is refracted by the earth’s atmosphere which filters out the blue rays.
      Serendipity is a word that means; “The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.” It is when you are looking diligently for something else and you discover a treasure that was not even on your mind.
      In the course of my research in preparation for the Passover articles contained in this issue, I was perusing The Tosefta. This is a set of Jewish books that contain the “additions” to the Mishnah, the oral law of the Jews. The “additions” or Tosefta are those oral traditions that did not make it into the Mishnah yet were considered worthy to be written down in these additional volumes.
      While searching the Tosefta for information about Passover, I stumbled across the following information about the ‘Red Moon.’ This information can be found in the section of the Tosefta entitled Sukkah.
      2:6 A. “When the lights are in eclipse, it is a bad omen for the whole world.”
      B. “It is to be compared to a mortal king who built a palace and finished it and arranged a banquet, arid then brought in the guests. He got mad at them and said to the servant, ‘Take away the light from them,’ so all of them turned out to be sitting in the dark.”
      C. “When the lights of heaven are in eclipse, it is a bad omen for Israel, for they are used to blows.”
      E. “When the sun is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for the nations of the world.”
      F. “When the moon is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for Israel,”
      G. “since the gentiles reckon their calendar by the sun, and Israel by the moon.
      H. “When it is in eclipse in the east, it is a bad omen for those who live in the east.”
      I. “When it is in eclipse in the west, it is a bad omen for those who live in the west.”
      J. “When it is in eclipse in-between, it is a bad omen for the whole world.”
      K. “When it turns red, it is a sign that punishment by the sword is coming into the world.”
      L. “When it is like sack-cloth, it is a sign that punishment by pestilence and famine are coming into the world.”
      M. “If they are smitten at its entry [into sunset], the punishment will tarry. [When they are smitten] when they rise, the punishment is coming fast.”
      N. “And some say matters are reversed.”
      O. “You have no nation in the whole world which is smitten, the god of which is not smitten right along with it,”
      P. “as it is said, And against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments (Ex. 12:12).”
      Q. “When Israel is occupied with Torah, they do not have to worry about all these omens,”
      R. “as it is said, Thus says the Lord, Do not learn the way of the gentiles, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens, for the nations are dismayed at them (Jer. 10:2).”



~ A Book Review ~

Our Father Abraham
Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith
by Marvin R. Wilson
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing and the
Center for Judaic-Christian Studies
ISBN 0-8028-0423-3

      There are many books available on the topic of the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. So many, in fact, that one hardly knows where to begin. This volume is a good starting point, but like all books other than the Bible, it has both strong and weak points.
      The main strength of Our Father Abraham is it’s attention to the Hebrewness of the scriptures. We in the English speaking West live in a culture that is really descended from the Greek and Roman cultures that were extant during the time of Yeshua. The Hebrew culture is far different.
      It is Wilson’s contention that one cannot really know and understand the scriptures unless one is willing to become richly acquainted with the Hebrew mind and their method of communication.
      The major section tides of the book will give you a flavor of what it contains:
      I. A New People: Abraham’s Spiritual Children.
      II. Church and Synagogue in the Light of History.
      III. Understanding Hebrew Thought.
      IV. Jewish Heritage and the Church.
      V. Toward Restoring Jewish Roots.
      The problem with Wilson’s book is that after going to great lengths to establish the Jewishness of the Faith, he in essence says that it is nice to know all of this, but it does not need to change how we interact with God or our fellow Believers. I disagree.