Friday, November 22, 2013

The Most Ancient Blessing--by Linden Malki

God's heartfelt desire is to bless His people!  We are coming up to our celebration of Thanksgiving,  which echoes the ancient fall harvest festival of Sukkoth, the Feast of Booths or Feast of Tabernacles.  God created a world that blesses us each year with harvests of food for our bodies and celebrations of worship for our souls.

 As Moses was preparing to dedicate God's Tabernacle, the very first house of worship,   "The LORD said to Moses, Tell Aaron and his sons,this is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:  Yahweh bless you and keep you; Yahweh make his face shine upon you , and be gracious to you;  Yahweh lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:22-26; YHWH is the Name told in Exodus 3:14)

Ketef Hinnom is a series of rock-hewn burial chambers based on natural caverns, SW of the Old City of Jerusalem, adjacent to St Andrews Church.  It was thought to be previously emptied of artifacts, but in excavations in 1979, a  13-year old assistant to University of Tel Aviv archeology professor Gabriel Barkay dug out a collapsed ceiling and found over a thousand objects from the time of the end of the First Temple period, about 650BC. Among these objects were two small rolled silver scrolls,  amulets probably worn on a chain.  It took three years to unroll them, and they were found to be inscribed with ancient Hebrew lettering.  In 2004, a team of researchers at USC using  advanced photographic and computer enhancement techniques has confirmed the 600BC dating and translation.  What they found is the oldest known quotation of a Bible passage:
..May be blessed by YHWH the warrior/helper and the rebuker of evil : May bless you
YHWH keep you. Make shine YHWH his face [upon] you and grant you peace.

As we thank God for the world He created, and prepare to celebrate the coming of His Son for our salvation,  let us open our hearts to receive and accept His Blessing!

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