Friday, December 09, 2011
I am planning my research strategy. Currently we have about 9 pages of notes...give or take. The research is strong and interesting.
This afternoon I am researching many Jewish libraries that have some of their research materials available online. I have found at one library an online resource for the Encyclopedia Judaica. This is like the "Mother-Lode" of Jewish research! I don't have to lean on a lot of Christian quotes and comments to make my points.
Also planning to go to one of our local synagogues and using their library. I am setting this up with Deb who can go with me and help! Deb is an expert typist and can type at least 120 words a minute (with a high degree of accuracy).
After that, I may go to my old alma mater...Andrews University and park myself in their huge (new) library!! They have an excellent OLD TESTAMENT dep't and I may be able to sit down with Dr. Doukhan and get some of his input. THAT was will exciting...to say the least. Most of my old friends have retired and moved away. Some passed on. I was saddened to learn recently that one of my mentors passed away recently! I really loved that man...such a kind friend and a great mentor!
Will keep you informed as things move along! Hope to see YOU tomorrow!
Thursday, December 08, 2011
I have to step back a bit from Sparkpeople.
I have been putting in up to 9 hour days this week working on my book abou Prophecy and Meditation.
The research is really, really tedious! Tiresome, actually.
See you tomorrow (hopefully!!) :)
Sunday, December 04, 2011
In the most striking such case, we actually find that people were forced into a prophetic state against their will. David had escaped Kig Saul's wrath, and had escaped to Samuel's academy at Ramah. The Bible relates, "Saul sent messengers to take David, but when they saw the company of prophets prophesying with Samuel standing over them, they also prophesied themselves" (1 Samuel 19:20). Note that the verse states that Samuel's group was "prophesying" (Nava) in a direct sense, indicating that they were transmitting and focusing prophetic energy on Saul's mean. This in turn caused Saul's messengers to "prophesy themselves" (Mit-nave), in a reflexive sense, where tey were overwhelmed by an inward-directed prophetic experience.
The account continues to relate how Saul sent three groups of messengers, and how they were all captivated in this manner. Saul himself finally went to capture David, and he is also overcome by a spirit of prophecy in the same manner. Unless we say that the prophetic force could actually be projected and forced on another person, this entire account must be in interpreted in a manner that is very far from its literal meaning.
Kaplan, page 31.
Saturday, December 03, 2011
Although such philological analyisis is important, an even clear picture emerges when we look at the context of the word. Here too, we see that the word Nava, meaning "prophesy," actually denotes more than just speaking out in God's name.
The clearest example of this occurs with regardto Ezekiel, in his vision on the Valley of Dry Bones. Before these bones were resurrected, God told the prophet, "Prophesy to the spirit, prophesy, son of man, and say to the spirit: Thus says the Lord God, 'From the four winds, come O spirit, and blow into these corpses that they should live'" (Ezekiel 37:9). What God is telling Ezekiel to do is not to be a spokesman or to predict the future, but to channel spiritual force into these dead bodies. So potent was this spirit force that it literally had the power to bring the dead back to life (italics are mine).
Kaplan, page 28f.
In this account, Ezekiel is told to prophesy three times, and in each of these cases, it is evident that his prophecy is channeling and "bringing" of spiritual force (italics are mine). It is significant to note that in all three of these places, the word Nava, meaning to prophesy, is paralleled in the same verse by the root Boa, meaning to come or bring. The appearance in all three cases of these two words in the same verse is not conincidence, but a deliberate pray on words, indicating that the prophetc is one who brings spiritual forces to bear.
Kaplan, page 29.
This interpretation clears up several very obscure passages which speak og prophecy. The very first mention of a prophet in the Bible occurs after King Abimelech had attempted to take Sarah away from Abraham, and had been warned by God in a dream not to do so. God then tells Abimelech, "Now restore the man's wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you" (Genesis 20:7). There are many forced attempts that try to explain why this verse mentions that Abraham was a prophet, and what effect this would have on his prayer. But if we understand that the main power of a prophet is the ability to channel spiritual energy, the reason is obvious. Through his prayer, Abraham was able to channel such spiritual energy, and it was therefore likely that his prayer would be effective.
God tells Moses, "I have made you as a god to Pharaoh, and Aaron your borther will be your prophet (Exodus 7:1). As we have a;lready seen, it is from this verse in particular that a number of commentators derive the interpretation that a prophet is primarily a spokesman or interpreter. But actually, if one carefully looks at the account, one finds that it was Moses, and not Aaron, who spoke to Pharaoh, indicating that Aaron never acted as a spokesman in this respect. What we do find, however, is that Aaron was the one who brought about the first miracles. Aaron was therefore said to be Moses' prophet, since it was he who channeled the prophetic energy necessary to perform these miracles.
Kaplan, page 29f.
Of course, this channeling of spiritual energy could occasionally also result in a prophetic message. This, actually, is the main difference between a prophet and other mystics. While the experience of other mystics is indistinct and inarticulate, that of the prophet is clear and specific. One of the mystic's greatest difficulties is describing the mystical experience because of its indefinable, incommunicative nature, where even on the highest levels, it is nothing more than a general sensation of spiritual power. The true prophet, on the other hand, is able to channel this spiritual power, focusing it clearly enough to obtain an unambiduous message or vision.
The ability to focus spiritual energy was a task that took great discipline and many years of intensive training. The word that the Bible uses to describe the process of seeking prophecy is Hit-nave, the reflexive (hit-pael) sense of the verb Nave, to prophesy. This literally means that the individual is "prophesying himself." The meaning of this is that he is focusing spiritual energy into himself, trying to obtain a clear message while in a mystical state.
Another way in which a prophet can focus spiritual power is when he causes others to attain a prophetic experience. A clear case of this occurs with regard to the seventy elders, when God told Moses, "I will distill from the spirit that is on you, and I will place it on them" (Numbers 11:17). A similar idea is found in the case of King Saul's prophetic experience, where Samuel planned for a group of his disciples to focus prophetic energy on Saul. The scriptures relates, "He came down there to the plateau and saw a band of prophets coming toward him, and a spirit of God succeeded on him, and he prophesied among them" (ISamuel 10:10).
Friday, December 02, 2011
Chapter 1 SPIRITUAL POWER
Many people consider the prophets of the Bible to be nothing more than spokesmen and agitators, who spoke out against the wrongs of their people and governments. What is not generally known is the fact that these prophets were among the greatest mysdtics of all times, actively engaged in the loftiest meditative techniques. The great spiritual power of the prophets is attested to by the force of their message, which after almost three thousand years, still influences a larget segment of humanity.
Kaplan, page 27.
One reason why the prophets are not usually recognized as mystic is because, with the possible excption of Ezekiel, they record very little of their mystical experiences. Of their techniques, only the vaguest hints are recorded in the Bible, and we must rely totally on the teachings of the Kabbalists, who preserved some traditions from the prophets. It is only in their writings that we gain insight into the fascinating world of the prophets of the Bible.
Before we begin to discuss the prophets, it wqould be useful to study the exact meaning of the word Navie, the Hebrew word for "prophet."
Some early sources state that the word Navie comes from the same root as the word Niv, as in the verse, "He created the fruit (Niv) of the lips" (Isaiah 57:19). According to this, the main connotation of the word Navie is indeed that of a spokesman, especially one who speaks in God's name. There are however, other verses, where this word refers to a spokesman in general, as in the passage, "Aaron your brother shall be your navie" (Exodus 7:1).
Kaplan, page 28.
In this view, the word Nava meaning to prophesy, refers primarily to the verbal expression of the revelation. As such, it may be related to the word Navach, meaning to bark or cry out.
Others, however, dispute this opinion, and contend that the main connotation of the word Navie is that of a channel, through which spiritual forces can flow (My italics). . The eminent philologist Rabbi Solomon Pappenheim (1750-1814), states that it is related to the root Boa, meaning to "come" or "bring." According to this, the main ability of a prophet is to bring spiritual power, channeling it where it is needed. As we shall see, this opinion is also supported by a Biblical account of one of Ezekiel's experiences.
A similiar opinion is voiced by another major linguist and philosopher, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888). In his opinion, the word Navie is closely related to the root, Nava, meaning to "flow" or "gush forth," as in the case of a spring or fountain. This word also has the connotation of expression and communication. The prophet or Navie is then one who can "gush forth" with spirit, communicating with the Divine, and expressing the will of God.
Another closely related root is Byb or Navuv, both meaning "hollow", as in the verse, "A hollow (Navuv), both meaning "hollow" as in the verse, "A hollow (navuv) man will gain heart" (Job 11:12). In this context, a prophet would be one who totally hollows himself, emptying hiomself of all ego, so that, like an empty pipe (Byv), he makes himself a channel for the Divine Spirit. Such a person would then be on the level of King David, who said of himself, "My heart is hollow within me" (Psalms 109:22). This indicates that David had totally annihilated his ego, and the same must be true of the prophet before he can be a vessel for the Divine.
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