Category Archives: Judaism

Bill Lockwood: The Name of God

by Bill Lockwood

Alfred Edersheim, the Jewish commentator who became a Christian, explains why Matthew’s gospel (3:2) will use the phraseology ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ while ‘Kingdom of God,’ appears elsewhere (e.g. Mark 1:4).

According to the Rabbinic views of the time, the terms ‘Kingdom of heaven,’ and ‘Kingdom of God’ … were equivalent. In fact, the word ‘heaven’ was very often used instead of ‘God,’ so as to avoid unduly familiarizing the ear with the Sacred Name. This probably accounts for the exclusive use of the expression ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ in the Gospel by Matthew.

I was raised by a godly Christian mother who explained to me when very young that the Jews took such care when even writing the name of God in copies of the Scriptures that they washed their hands before putting pen to parchment to write it. I never heard her speak of God except in sober tones.

Kimberly Burnham, in the website ReformJudaism.org, posted an article entitled “Writing the Torah and Honoring the Name of God.” In it she interviewed Rabbi Kevin Hale who “talked about going to the river near his house to wash himself in a mikveh (ritual bath) before writing the name of God in the Torah scroll he worked on.

The reason there are very few errors is the intentionality that goes into the writing of the name of God …‘Every letter is sung out as you write, and there is an acute awareness of begin in the presence of something great,’ Hale said, noting that the name of God is written with a unique quill using special ink, a 2,000-year-old recipe.

The third commandment of the Decalogue forbids “taking the name of the Lord in vain.” Vain means empty, nothing, worthless. Writer Kevin DeYoung, senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina, and assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, asks this pointed question: “How did ‘watch your mouth’ make the top ten?” The answer is simple: God wants us to revere His name.

That being said, how has it come to pass that Christians, who ought of all people, to honor the name of God, have allowed a hedonistic godless blasphemous culture to influence our manner of speaking and thinking in that “O my G_____ ”, or equivalent expressions have become the norm?

DeYoung reflects on light-hearted “nicknames” that people use to refer to one another. Then he comments,

“But funny nicknames given to us is one thing; irreverent use of God’s name is another. Everywhere in Scripture the name of the Lord is exalted in the highest possible terms. ‘O Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!’ (Psa. 8:1). ‘Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name’ (Psa. 29:2). The first petition of the Lord’s prayer is ‘Hallowed be your name’ (Matt. 6:9). The apostles proclaim that ‘there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved’ (Acts 4:12). Paul assured the Romans that ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’ (Rom. 10:13). And the culminating event in all of creation is when, ‘at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of god the Father’ (Phil. 2:10-11). The Bible does not want us to forget the holy importance of the divine name.

Nothing marks the godlessness of a culture as much as dishonoring the name of God.

Alex Newman: Harvard Diversity Speaker: Christians & Jews Should Be “Locked Up”

by Alex Newman

Activist Tim Wise spoke at Harvard University’s annual “diversity” conference despite having said that Christians and Jews who believe the Bible “deserve to be locked up” due to an alleged “utter inability to deal with reality.” He later claimed to be “sorta kidding but not by much.” People of faith also should be “politically destroyed” and “deserve to be mocked viciously and run out of the public square,” he said.

The anti-Christian, anti-Semitic bigot, who styles himself an “antiracist essayist,” was the keynote speaker on April 25 at an annual “diversity” conference at Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Dubbed “A Decade of Dialogue,” the event, ironically, was supposed to provide “a retrospective look at diversity and inclusion, a discussion of current issues, and practical guidance on how we can move toward greater inclusion and belonging at Harvard.”

Presumably that “inclusion” does not apply to Christians, Jews, or even Muslims. Indeed, Wise — a straight white male, as The College Fix observed — has a long history of publicly expressing vitriolic hatred against people of faith. Harvard, however, described him as “a prominent anti-racism writer, educator, and activist.”

Consider some comments he made in 2015. “This is America…people basing their beliefs on the fable of Noah and Ark, or their interpretation of Sodom and Gomorrah…rather than science or logic…If you are basing your morality on a fairy tale written thousands of years ago, you deserve to be locked up…detained for your utter inability to deal with reality,” he said, with the ellipses all included in the original post.

“NO, we are not obligated to indulge your irrationality in the name of your religious freedom,” Wise continued. “But we will provide you a very comfortable room, against which walls you may hurl yourself hourly if your choose. Knock yourself out….seriously, knock yourself out, completely, for weeks at a time.”

After spewing his venom, he added, “I’m sorta kidding but not by much.” Then he proceeded to disgorge even more hatred. “I do think they have to be politically destroyed, utterly rendered helpless to the cause of pluralism and democracy,” he said. “They have no right to impose their bullshit on others. They can either change, or shut the hell up, or practice their special brand of crazy in their homes…or go away.”

He also made clear that he hates Muslims and other people of faith, too. “And this argument applies to any fundamentalist religionist of any faith who thinks they have a right to impose their beliefs on a secular, pluralistic society,” he said. “Go away.” It was not immediately clear why he felt entitled to impose his moral beliefs on society, or what his source of moral beliefs actually is.

Keep in mind that this anti-Christian extremist, who regularly and viciously demonizes Christians with terms such as “extremist Jeezoids,” spoke at a university that was literally founded to help spread the Gospel of Christ. Harvard’s original mission statement put it well: “Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3), and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.”

The Takeaway

The hatred against Christians and biblical morality is getting progressively more extreme, and most of it is due to the so-called “education” system. That Harvard would invite a violently hateful individual like Wise to give a keynote address is merely a sign of the times. And it is getting worse. If the government-sponsored anti-Christian indoctrination continues, the unhinged hate will increasingly move from rhetoric to action. Christians must be prepared.


Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. He can be reached at anewman@thenewamerican.com. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU or on Facebook