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Why I Love Christmas and Christians: A Jewish Appreciation
Chron Watch ^ | 13 December 2004 | Jack Englehard

Posted on 12/13/2004 8:27:28 AM PST by Lando Lincoln

Up and down the street where I live, half the homes are lit up with Christmas trees, the other half with menorahs. The days are good and the nights are silent. Most of the time we can’t tell the difference between Christians and Jews. We’re too busy being just plain old Americans.

You have Christmas. We have Chanukah. You have Easter. We have Passover. Does this separate us? No, this unites us, for together, this land is our land.

If this sounds corny, well it is.

I am offended, however. Across this nation, in cities, towns, villages and school districts, Christians are being told that they cannot celebrate Christmas openly. Here, there and everywhere, Christians are being sent into hiding if they want to sing carols, display nativity scenes, herald the Ten Commandments, or praise Jesus. Even Santa is not kosher.

I am Jewish, and Jesus is not my God…so why am I so offended at what I take to be an agenda of persecution against Christians?

This is not a scholarly approach, so let me simply say that American Christianity is a marvel, a near miracle of tolerance and, better yet, loving-kindness. American Christians do love their neighbors as themselves. I know this from the pavements I walk, the streets I drive, the sandlots where I root for the home team. I am free to visit your church, and you would be most welcome in my synagogue.

How this happened is a mystery. But the difference between European Christianity and American Christianity is as vast as an ocean.

Let others provide the history and the details. For me it is enough to remember that Europe plunged its Christianity into the Nuremberg Laws and a Holocaust that has existed in one form or another for some two thousand years, and continues to this day. Europe finally produced Hitler.

AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY produced Jefferson, Lincoln, and a document that opens with these words: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility… and secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do order and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Sound familiar? It should if you know the Hebrew Bible, as this from Leviticus: “Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

Here, in this land, more often than not, those words have been turned into deeds.

Yes, we are a Judeo/Christian nation, and if it gets any better than that, I don’t know where.

Only Israel itself compares, the Israel of before, and the Israel of today. Israel is where our American heritage begins.

As Jews, we do not pray to Jesus, but we stand in admiration that true Christians adhere to His message of love, taken from our Scriptures. We respect your devotion as you respect ours. We honor your faith as you honor ours, even as we pray separately but live equally, in friendship.

From “The Hebrew Impact on Western Civilization,” we get this: “How closely the Puritans identified themselves with the Israelites is hard to over-emphasize…They actually thought of themselves as a new Israel…If Israel had its Pharaoh, so did the Puritans in King James 1. The Atlantic Ocean was to them the Red Sea. America was the new Canaan…The first book printed in America was the Bay Psalm Book.”

Of course we have our self-haters, bigots and anti-Semites. Openly or in secret, they pray in favor of America’s enemies and promote any cause that would harm or even destroy Israel. But they do not define this country. Let their curses turn into blessings.

Give me, instead, those Christian Evangelicals, all 70 million of them, or those 60 million Gentiles who turn Christian but once a week or twice and year.

Away with the restrictions and laws that deny Christians their Christianity.

Let me watch them praise their Lord with Christmas trees and jingle bells, for these are a reminder to me, a Jew, that I live in this land, this land of mostly Christians that have kept the promise of my ancestor, the prophet Micah, that this house be blessed by the shade of that vine and fig tree, and none shall make us afraid.

About the Writer: Jack Engelhard is the author of the bestseller "Indecent Proposal," the award-winning "Escape from Mount Moriah," and the novel "The Days of the Bitter End," which is being prepared for movie production. Jack receives e-mail at viewopinion@aol.com.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: chanukah; christmas; israel; judeochristian
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Lando

1 posted on 12/13/2004 8:27:29 AM PST by Lando Lincoln
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To: 1bigdictator; 1st-P-In-The-Pod; 2sheep; 7.62 x 51mm; A Jovial Cad; A_Conservative_in_Cambridge; ...
FRmail me to be added or removed from this Judaic/pro-Israel ping list.

WARNING: This is a high volume ping list

2 posted on 12/13/2004 8:29:49 AM PST by Alouette ("Who is for the LORD, come with me!" -- Mattisyahu ben Yohanon, father of Judah Maccabee)
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To: Alouette

Merry Christmas and Shalom

Pray for W and Merry Christmas to Our Troops


3 posted on 12/13/2004 8:33:44 AM PST by bray (Keep Christ in the Manger!)
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To: Lando Lincoln

Good post. Thanks. I can relate to the Authors idea of Israel being where Americas roots were. It truely is a pioneer Nation.


4 posted on 12/13/2004 8:35:45 AM PST by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
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To: Lando Lincoln

We live in a great country. Can we keep it?


5 posted on 12/13/2004 8:46:43 AM PST by RAY (They that do right are all heroes!)
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To: Alouette; agrace; bassoonmoo; radish42

Thank you for the ping dear Alouette. A great article. And I love the menorah flag!

Happy Hannukah to you!


6 posted on 12/13/2004 8:52:58 AM PST by lupie
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To: Lando Lincoln; Alouette; American in Israel; IAF ThunderPilot; yonif; SJackson; Salem

"Israel is where our American heritage begins. ... As Jews, we do not pray to Jesus, but we stand in admiration that true Christians adhere to His message of love, taken from our Scriptures. We respect your devotion as you respect ours. We honor your faith as you honor ours, even as we pray separately but live equally, in friendship. ... Of course we have our self-haters, bigots and anti-Semites. Openly or in secret, they pray in favor of America’s enemies and promote any cause that would harm or even destroy Israel. But they do not define this country. Let their curses turn into blessings. Give me, instead, those Christian Evangelicals, all 70 million of them, or those 60 million Gentiles who turn Christian but once a week or twice and year. Away with the restrictions and laws that deny Christians their Christianity. ... for these are a reminder to me, a Jew, that I live in this land, this land of mostly Christians that have kept the promise of my ancestor, the prophet Micah, that this house be blessed by the shade of that vine and fig tree, and none shall make us afraid."

WOW! I'm Catholic, not Evangelical Protestant, and I cheer and applaud Mr. Englehard's sentiments!! Big Time! All I can do is echo them and say to my Jewish and Israeli friends an old Southern US saying: God bless y'all real good!

And give me those Jews dedicated to the nation of Israel and especially those in the IDF that valiantly stand in harm's way over a carpetbagger like Noam Chomsky (please pardon the mention of that name) any day of the week.


7 posted on 12/13/2004 8:53:09 AM PST by Convert from ECUSA (tired of shucking and jiving)
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To: Lando Lincoln; ThomasMore

Nice post.

Ping


8 posted on 12/13/2004 8:53:53 AM PST by no more apples (God Bless our troops)
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To: Convert from ECUSA
Away with the restrictions and laws that deny Christians their Christianity. ... for these are a reminder to me, a Jew, that I live in this land, this land of mostly Christians that have kept the promise of my ancestor, the prophet Micah, that this house be blessed by the shade of that vine and fig tree, and none shall make us afraid."

Very worth a ping, Merry Christmas ... Shalom

9 posted on 12/13/2004 8:56:18 AM PST by KC_for_Freedom (Sailing the highways of America, and loving it.)
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To: Lando Lincoln; All

I have been already for several years with the opinion that Israel is very much like the USA.

-Relative to population, Israel is the largest immigrant absorbing nation on earth. These immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom or expression, economic opportunity, and quality of life.

(Note: Israel is a Jewish state, and those who search for religious freedom are Jews who cant do that in other countries due to anti-simitism).

-Israel is based on democracy and justice.

-Israel has similar enemies.

-Israel is a pluralistic demoracy.

-Israeli culture is much more American than Europian.

-Similar industry:
Israel has the highest number of start-up companies in absolute terms, after the USA.
Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies outside of Silicon Valley.
Israel is ranked 2 in the world for venture capital funds, behind the USA.

And more and more and more.








10 posted on 12/13/2004 8:56:59 AM PST by IAF ThunderPilot (Israel Defence Forces - The IDF are the poeple and the poeple are the IDF)
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To: Convert from ECUSA

:)
May God bless you back with duble amount!


11 posted on 12/13/2004 8:58:56 AM PST by IAF ThunderPilot (Israel Defence Forces - The IDF are the poeple and the poeple are the IDF)
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To: Lando Lincoln

Great article by the way! Thanks


12 posted on 12/13/2004 9:00:39 AM PST by IAF ThunderPilot (Israel Defence Forces - The IDF are the poeple and the poeple are the IDF)
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To: Lando Lincoln

BTTT


13 posted on 12/13/2004 9:08:09 AM PST by Fiddlstix (This Tagline for sale. (Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: terabyte

Ping. G_d bless our Jewish brothers and sisters.


14 posted on 12/13/2004 9:11:20 AM PST by Terabitten (Live as a bastion of freedom and democracy in the midst of the heart of darkness.)
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To: Lando Lincoln

bump


15 posted on 12/13/2004 9:12:18 AM PST by Tribune7 (USA USA USA USA USA USA)
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To: IAF ThunderPilot

AMEN.


16 posted on 12/13/2004 9:14:59 AM PST by ReformedTreeHugger
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To: Tragically Single

Truly. A wonderful article.


17 posted on 12/13/2004 9:16:29 AM PST by terabyte
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To: Lando Lincoln
Christians are being sent into hiding if they want to sing carols

A a capella singing group was told by the National Park Service to remove religion from the Xmas performance that they were doing on the Mall in DC.

18 posted on 12/13/2004 9:23:48 AM PST by staytrue
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To: Convert from ECUSA; Lando Lincoln
WOW! I'm Catholic, not Evangelical Protestant, and I cheer and applaud Mr. Englehard's sentiments!! Big Time! All I can do is echo them and say to my Jewish and Israeli friends an old Southern US saying: God bless y'all real good!

I third the (e)motion!

19 posted on 12/13/2004 9:24:16 AM PST by iconoclast (Conservative, not partisan.)
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To: terabyte

More proof of what I first realized overseas... America is the Promised Land to the rest of the world. We're truly blessed to live here.


20 posted on 12/13/2004 9:34:23 AM PST by Terabitten (Live as a bastion of freedom and democracy in the midst of the heart of darkness.)
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To: Alouette

I am sending this thread to my rabbi. Merry Christmas!


21 posted on 12/13/2004 9:39:59 AM PST by tkas (Conservative mom)
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To: Tragically Single

No offence, but for us, for the Jews, the promised land was and will continue to be Israel.


22 posted on 12/13/2004 9:41:19 AM PST by IAF ThunderPilot (Israel Defence Forces - The IDF are the poeple and the poeple are the IDF)
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To: Lando Lincoln

American Judeo-Christian alliance, bump!


23 posted on 12/13/2004 9:43:03 AM PST by onedoug
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To: IAF ThunderPilot

Well for most of us :)


24 posted on 12/13/2004 9:44:35 AM PST by IAF ThunderPilot (Israel Defence Forces - The IDF are the poeple and the poeple are the IDF)
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To: IAF ThunderPilot

Sorry, should have clarified... I didn't mean it literally. I meant it in terms of the way the Israelites saw the Promised Land as the land of their deliverance in the Old Testament is the way much of the rest of the world sees the United States today.

Again, my apologies. I should have been clearer. I'd never try to claim Israel's position as G-d's literal, actual Promised Land for America.


25 posted on 12/13/2004 9:45:41 AM PST by Terabitten (Live as a bastion of freedom and democracy in the midst of the heart of darkness.)
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To: RAY
We live in a great country.

Graded on the curve.

Can we keep it?

Regain it, is the question.

26 posted on 12/13/2004 9:49:30 AM PST by Protagoras (Christmas is not a secular holiday)
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To: Tragically Single

Oh I guess then that I didnt understand your post, therefore no apology is needed! My fault sorry.


27 posted on 12/13/2004 9:52:45 AM PST by IAF ThunderPilot (Israel Defence Forces - The IDF are the poeple and the poeple are the IDF)
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To: tkas

May this thread bring joy and blessings to your rabbi!


28 posted on 12/13/2004 9:56:32 AM PST by Convert from ECUSA (tired of shucking and jiving)
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To: IAF ThunderPilot
However, unlike the USA, most of the prominent Zionists were socialists, and that socialist heritage injured and continues to injure Israeli society and the Israeli economy greatly.

Two of the biggest internal problems in Israel are the animus between religious and nonreligious Israelis and the inability of the Jewish population to match the Arab population demographically.

If the state of Israel had less of a socialist heritage and more of a religion and family-friendly one, this wouldn't be such a problem.

29 posted on 12/13/2004 10:06:23 AM PST by wideawake (God bless our brave soldiers and their Commander in Chief)
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To: Alouette

" if you know the Hebrew Bible, as this from Leviticus: “Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” "



Carved into the "Liberty Bell"! Guess they will have to melt it down, because of the "separation of church and state"....


Thanks for the ping.


30 posted on 12/13/2004 10:26:04 AM PST by tuckrdout (To belittle is to be little)
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To: Lando Lincoln

Great Post.

Here is related articel written by Dennis Prager last year.

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/dennisprager/dp20030916.shtml


31 posted on 12/13/2004 10:27:54 AM PST by wkdaysoff (68.3% of all Statistics are made up.)
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To: IAF ThunderPilot

in my church there is a jewish gentleman that attends every week with his methodist wife. he actively involves himself with our church and invites anyone to be a guest at his synogogue and home. to me its a reminder that we are all in this together and we need someone to watch our backs for us.


32 posted on 12/13/2004 10:40:07 AM PST by Docbarleypop (Navy Doc)
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To: Lando Lincoln

I highly recommend Barbara Tuchman's history, "The Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour"

The Christian British Isles had a strong affinity to the Old Testament and saw themselves as one of the lost tribes of Israel.

British pilgrims were traveling to the Holy Land and writing travelogues as early as 800 A. D.

The Puritans studied the Old Testament and saw themselves as the Israelites in Canaan.

The principles of the Old Testament: man's direct relationship to God and God's promise of justice to the individual shaped the British psyche.

The British brought this sense of individuality, decency, respect for the rule of law and a sense of fairness, along with a firm conviction of being a chosen people to North America. It is this set of principles that formed the base of principles we consider solidly American.

British common law is unconsciously modeled on Torah.


33 posted on 12/13/2004 10:43:31 AM PST by Naomi4
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To: Protagoras
("We live in a great country.

Graded on the curve.

Can we keep it?

Regain it, is the question.")

Everything is relative! (?)

34 posted on 12/13/2004 10:45:41 AM PST by RAY (They that do right are all heroes!)
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To: RAY
Everything is relative

Everything can be compared to other things, which I don't think is the same thing.

But if you are comparing, it's not a great country compared to what it was when it was more free.

35 posted on 12/13/2004 10:52:38 AM PST by Protagoras (Christmas is not a secular holiday)
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To: Protagoras
What particular freedoms have you lost? What are you not free to do?

I know there are many things we can't do that those before could. An example being our ancestors could shoot all the ducks they wanted - we are regulated by game laws --- is this bad? There are many such cases and some may be a real burden; however, "relative" to other cuntries we enjoy much freedom.

What specifically would you change relative to your freedoms (examples)?

36 posted on 12/13/2004 11:08:20 AM PST by RAY (They that do right are all heroes!)
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To: Lando Lincoln; Alouette

Nice article. This guy reminds me of Dennis Prager and Michael Medved. :)


37 posted on 12/13/2004 11:17:38 AM PST by EveningStar
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To: RAY
What particular freedoms have you lost? What are you not free to do?

Here are a few, they are general catagories, if you get into specific cases the list would eat the bandwidth.

Start a business without permission.
Repair our own homes in our own way.
Choose our own retirement plan.
Choose not to have a retirement plan.
Educate our children in our own way.
Make our own business arrangements.
Choose our own medications.
Choose our own transportation.
Choose to opt out of giving information to government about our business.
Choose to keep our financial affairs confidential.
Choose to support our candidates without limitations.

38 posted on 12/13/2004 11:19:51 AM PST by Protagoras (Christmas is not a secular holiday)
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To: Lando Lincoln

Beautiful sentiments. Thanks for the post.


39 posted on 12/13/2004 11:22:10 AM PST by mseltzer
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To: Lando Lincoln

A local talk show host in Arizona is Jewish. He has been purposely playing Christmas music.


40 posted on 12/13/2004 11:23:33 AM PST by HungarianGypsy (We are the pirates who don't do anything....)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Yehuda; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; ...
If you'd like to be on this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.
41 posted on 12/13/2004 11:23:37 AM PST by SJackson ( Bush is as free as a bird, He is only accountable to history and God, Ra'anan Gissin)
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To: Alouette

Yes, I want to be on your ping list. Thanks!


42 posted on 12/13/2004 12:28:55 PM PST by rotundusmaximus (1Kgs:19:18: Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal)
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To: Lando Lincoln

Wow, thank you for posting this article!


43 posted on 12/13/2004 12:29:36 PM PST by rotundusmaximus (1Kgs:19:18: Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal)
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To: Lando Lincoln; trussell

Ping


44 posted on 12/13/2004 12:32:21 PM PST by rotundusmaximus (1Kgs:19:18: Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal)
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To: RAY

""What particular freedoms have you lost? What are you not free to do?
Here are a few, they are general catagories, if you get into specific cases the list would eat the bandwidth.

Start a business without permission.
Repair our own homes in our own way.
Choose our own retirement plan.
Choose not to have a retirement plan.
Educate our children in our own way.
Make our own business arrangements.
Choose our own medications.
Choose our own transportation.
Choose to opt out of giving information to government about our business.
Choose to keep our financial affairs confidential.
Choose to support our candidates without limitations.""

**Also what about -The affirmative-action laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Employee hirings and building codes. How about if a guy wants to smoke a cigarette nowadays - in public?


45 posted on 12/13/2004 12:38:06 PM PST by wkdaysoff (68.3% of all Statistics are made up.)
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To: malakhi

Ping.


46 posted on 12/13/2004 12:41:02 PM PST by DaughterOfAnIwoJimaVet (Wannabe Princess)
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To: IAF ThunderPilot; Jeremiah Jr; concretebob; Lijahsbubbe
Only Israel itself compares, the Israel of before, and the Israel of today. Israel is where our American heritage begins. <<<

I have been already for several years with the opinion that Israel is very much like the USA.

-Relative to population, Israel is the largest immigrant absorbing nation on earth. These immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom or expression, economic opportunity, and quality of life.

America = House of Joseph, a coat of many colors (multi-striped), gathered out of the nations.

Joseph is yet alive.

Jeremiah 31:7-10

7 For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.
8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither
. 9 They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.
10 Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.

When sons are blessed "God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh", one should consider that there is a real live modern-day fulfilment of Biblical proportions going on here.

Jeremiah 23:7-8 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; 8 But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.

Note the "annointed" crown (where the oil is) at the top of the head, separate from his brethren.

47 posted on 12/13/2004 1:00:30 PM PST by Thinkin' Gal
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To: Protagoras

I HEAR YOU! However, God has a plan. May we all live to see its fruition:

NLT Version for Mal 4:2
"But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. *** And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.
___________________________________________________________

'... From “The Hebrew Impact on Western Civilization,” we get this: “How closely the Puritans identified themselves with the Israelites is hard to over-emphasize…They actually thought of themselves as a new Israel…If Israel had its Pharaoh, so did the Puritans in King James 1. The Atlantic Ocean was to them the Red Sea. America was the new Canaan… [ See http://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/Eze/Eze020.html#35 and http://www.blueletterbible.org/tsk_b/Eze/20/35.html - EA]...The first book printed in America was the Bay Psalm Book.” ....'

Wow! Then I'm NOT crazy! I've come to the same conclusion myself, right down to the allegory of the Red Sea. However, King James was just the first of our Pharaohs. We've been living under 'Pharaoh' since our founding. [See The US is still a British Colony.] See also Psalm 2; we've been living under a long procession of 'kings'.

http://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/Psa/Psa002.html#2
http://www.blueletterbible.org/tsk_b/Gen/15/13.html
http://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/Gal/Gal003.html#16
http://www.blueletterbible.org/tsk_b/Gal/3/29.html

I don't expect most here will agree with me, not yet, anyway.

Good post. Jack Englehard is welcome in my neck of the woods anytime.

p.s. George Washington and
Micah's Vine & Fig Tree Vision
http://members.aol.com/VFTINC/history/Washington.htm

Parable of the TWO STICKS:
http://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/Eze/Eze037.html#16

Isa 14:1 — For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob. *** http://www.blueletterbible.org/tsk_b/Isa/14/1.html

The Old Jerusalem is Not the New JerUSAlem
By Pastor Sheldon Emry
http://www.historicist.com/ojnj/index.htm


48 posted on 12/13/2004 1:25:39 PM PST by Ethan_Allen (Gen. 32:24-32 'man'=Jesus http://www.preteristarchive.com/Jesus_is_Israel/index.html)
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To: Lando Lincoln

“Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”


Engraved on the Liberty Bell.


49 posted on 12/13/2004 1:28:28 PM PST by ZULU (Fear the government which fears your guns. God, guts, and guns made America great.)
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To: Thinkin' Gal

You beat me to it! I think it's been a while since you and I agreed on anything. But I agree wholeheartedly with what you posted today.

Merry CHRISTmas to you!


50 posted on 12/13/2004 1:29:06 PM PST by Ethan_Allen (Gen. 32:24-32 'man'=Jesus http://www.preteristarchive.com/Jesus_is_Israel/index.html)
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