Saturday, April 14, 2018

Yes, Let Me Say It -- Some are held to higher standards.

Understanding Why Priests Could Eat a Portion of Some Offerings, But Not Others

Leviticus 6:14-23:
14 ‘Now this is the law of the grain offering: the sons of Aaron shall present it before the Lord in front of the altar. 15 Then one of them shall lift up from it a handful of the fine flour of the grain offering, [a]with its oil and all the incense that is on the grain offering, and he shall offer it up in smoke on the altar, a soothing aroma, as its memorial offering to the Lord. 16 What is left of it Aaron and his sons are to eat. It shall be eaten as unleavened cakes in a holy place; they are to eat it in the court of the tent of meeting. 17 It shall not be baked with leaven. I have given it as their share from My offerings by fire; it is most holy, like the sin offering and the guilt offering. 18 Every male among the sons of Aaron may eat it; it is a permanent ordinance throughout your generations, from the offerings by fire to the Lord. Whoever touches them will become consecrated.’”
19 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 20 “This is the offering which Aaron and his sons are to present to the Lord on the day when he is anointed; the tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a [b]regular grain offering, half of it in the morning and half of it in the evening. 21 It shall be prepared with oil on a griddle. When it is well stirred, you shall bring it. You shall present the grain offering in baked pieces as a soothing aroma to the Lord. 22 The anointed priest who will be in his place [c]among his sons shall [d]offer it. By a permanent ordinance it shall be entirely offered up in smoke to the Lord. 23 So every grain offering of the priest shall be burned entirely. It shall not be eaten.”

Thoughts on the Passage
In this section, we first learn about the law of the grain offering. A portion of the grain belonged to the priests so that they and their family ate it as a holy gift. There was also a particular grain offering that was part of the anointing and the consecration ceremony for a priest and it was not to be eaten, but rather wholly burned before the Lord.
(Although referred to as a grain offering, the offering described here is also labeled a Meat Offering.)
Matthew Henry says, the priests got the greatest part of this offering as their compensation for all their work and efforts.
Again, the priests and their families were to eat unleavened – what was offered to God must have no leaven in it, and the priests must have it as the altar had it – to maintain sincerity and truth.
Verse 16 tells us it must be eaten in the court of the tabernacle (the holy place). Henry tells us it was a great crime to carry any of it out of the court.
The actual words of verse 18 are, “Every male among the sons of Aaron may eat it. . ..” But does that translate to no female members of the priest families may eat it as Henry suggests? Again, the answer must be ‘yes’ since it had to be eaten in the holy-place and if I remember correctly, that was only for the priests themselves.  And furthermore, those eating it became consecrated or holy (vs. 18).
In this section in verses 19-23, we read of the priestly “consecration meat-offering” offered for the priest themselves and of which no part of it was to be eaten and all of it was to be burnt. Henry tells us that the Jewish writers say “that by this law every priest, on the day he first entered upon his ministry, was bound to offer this meat-offering.” He goes on, “the high priest was bound to offer it every day of his life.”
What are we to take away from this section?  Perhaps it is the fact that God has advanced some to be above others in certain aspects of the work or in power.  But those so appointed are to understand that He expects more from them than from others – yes, let me say it – He holds them to higher standards.  Henry says “the meat-offering of the priest was to be baked as it were to be eaten, and yet it must be wholly burnt. Though the priest that ministered was to be paid for serving the people, yet there was no reason that he should be paid for serving the high priest.” Priests were to take pleasure in serving him “pro bono”.
Finally, there is some great significance in the fact that while the priests could eat a portion of the offerings made on behalf of the people, they could not eat any of those offerings made on behalf of the priests.  Why? Henry says because in the former case, the sins of the people were typically transferred to the priests (signified by their eating of their offerings). Likewise, the sins of the priests must be typically transferred to the altar, and it was the altar that had to ‘eat up’ all those offerings.  No one, priests and non-priests alike, could be comforted or have any hope of forgiveness if we were to bear our own iniquities.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2018

A Most Informative Book on Past, Present, & Future Medical Advances

Physician: How Science Transformed the Art of Medicine
Author: Rajeev Kurapati, MD
Publisher: River Grove Press, Austin, TX, 2018

                                                                     


A Most Informative Book on Past, Present, & Future Medical Advances
I have always been fascinated by the medical profession. Perhaps it was that my parents always considered “doctors” to be like gods, never to be challenged or disobeyed in any way. Or perhaps it was that had I done better in the pure sciences, I would have headed down that route. And thus, I came to review numerous books on Medicine, and most recently, Dr. Rajeev’s Kurapati’s Physician: How Science Transformed the Art of Medicine.
Usually I save my recommendations for the end of my review but in this case, I want to tell you up front: This book should be required reading for a) anyone training to be a professional that involves “medicine”, b) anyone already so involved, and c) anyone that goes to a doctor when they need to. Having said that, here’s the ‘why’ behind that.
The book is a most informative journey through the history of ‘medicine’ with the purpose of giving us a well-constructed, and to a certain extent, a most enlightening and even entertaining, chronicle of how we got to what the medical profession is today.  It then takes us beyond that to where we are most likely to be tomorrow and beyond.
The journey starts with how medicine was being practiced by the ‘ancients’ and the adventure begins. While Kurapati teaches us a lot about the evolution of the profession, he takes care to share with as much about the practitioners themselves, and to a certain extent, us, the people they practice on. He hints at what each one feels and thinks, why, and the impact those feelings and thoughts have on all of us.  I love the oh-so-honest paragraph on death that states,
The doctor, disregarding the true feeling of his or her patient, carries on the routine by prescribing more medications and offering more tests – despite being well aware of the inevitable. And the visitors insist on treating him as if he were merely sick instead of dying. The entire act of dying becomes a charade, each party delicately dancing around the truth at hand. The person who is sick can see through the act as visits start to feel more like obligations as opposed to support.
The author shares both the successes and the shortcomings of medicine and doctors (e.g. how often they disagree on a diagnosis). Early in the book he deals thoroughly with a doctor’s inability to answer the patient’s “Why is this happening to ME?” question. In an interesting interview with a very experienced hospital chaplain, we are introduced to the striking idea that healing can sometimes occur without a cure or even be found in death.  From there he takes us into the early practitioners – the “philosophers” and then “priest-physicians” and ultimately, how the two professions separated.
The book is filled with dozens of fascinating facts including how the Rx symbol ended up being used by doctors; the questioning of long-accepted theories (e.g. such as those of Galen); the most interesting ‘politically correct’ discovery of the stethoscope; the air purification of surgery rooms; the requirement of pre-testing of drugs; the average improvement of life expectancy per year over the last 200 years; and more.
One theme in the book is clearly the impact of religion on medicine (really how it slowed its progress) before mathematics and other sciences took over as the lead influencers. There’s also a great explanation of how doctors learn to stay calm (perhaps too much so) in the midst of a storm as well as be involved and detached at the same time. Accounts like the one of the evolution of CPR and defibrillation machines are fascinating.
The use of unique quotations in the book is worth the price you’ll pay and will give you lots to think about.  Here is a small sampling: “Life is. . . the totality of functions which resists death.” (Xavier Bichat); “Medicine, no doubt, has helped us a lot to cure so many diseases, but death still remains an incurable one!” (Mahek Bassi).
Kurapati shows us how our perception of death has changed, moving from a natural process to something preventable. But does a doctor’s role as a healer end the moment it is determined that there is no chance of a cure?
The author also gets into the impact that statistics, rising costs, and the involvement of third-party insurers play in the practice of medicine.
The book gave me a much greater appreciation of what my own physician has to consider each and every time someone like me walks into her office. (That could be up to 40 times each day she works.)  Also, the sections on EMR (electronic medical records) and “medical surgical robots” are eye-openers.
The book ends with a section for Kurapati’s fellow and future colleagues which provides us (the patients) with a heads up on what to expect and maybe, demand.
In summary, circle back to my ‘recommendation’ at the start of the review. Clearly, this is the most informative book on the history and future of medical advances I have come across.  Congratulations to Rajeev.


·      Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, April 3, 2017, www.accordconsulting.com

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A Reference Book For Apologists of All Levels

Jesus and Muhammad: Their Messages, Side by Side
Editor/Author: Louis St. Michael
Publisher: Rising Myrrh Press, www.risingmyrrhpress.com, 2018
                                                                     


A Reference Book For Apologists of All Levels
In the interest of full disclosure, you need to know that I agreed to review this work by Louis St. Michael because as a Christian, I really wanted to be sure of what Muhammad had said on certain issues that Jesus had spoken on. Was there really a difference and if so, what was it? Were there issues of importance that one of them was silent on? And can I verify what was said in the original texts of the Bible and the Qur’an? Author St. Michael helps us answer all these questions in the affirmative.
The book is incredibly well researched. It is even better organized, utilizing a table of contents that reads like an “everything you wanted to know about what these two famous individuals said on the most relevant issues they covered” directory.  Included are topics like Why I Came, Fighting and Warfare, Believers and Disbelievers, Marriage, Homosexuality, Satan and Spirits, Protect Your Soul, Forgive Others, Purity, Repentance, Heaven, End Times, and much more.  In fact, the volume is well over 500 pages in length. And there is also some great Appendices on how each of their respective religions development, their followers, their traditional teachings, and their doctrines.
In the words of the book’s foreword, “One can learn a great deal about a religion by going to the unfiltered source and reading the words of the founder. . . A book like this can help clear up misconceptions and lead to better understanding among people of different mind-sets.”  It takes each speaker’s “core messages” and matches them side-by-side, based on topic, for immediate comparison and evaluation.
There is also a lot of other helpful information like a listing of Christian and Muslim terms used in the various texts with the most accepted definitions or interpretations.  Comparative timelines with an explanation and study of the significant events are other key features of the work.  And in its final version, this scholarly volume with have a full index.
I would recommend Jesus and Muhammad: Their Messages, Side by Side for any serious student of religion, especially those involved with Christianity and/or Islam. Aside from providing us the opportunity to compare the words of Jesus and Muhammad, the book would be an asset to those that simply want a ready reference to what either of them said on so many topics.  I told one of my ministerial friends about it, and he can’t wait to get his hands on it.

Not much is known about the author himself. However, that may well fit with his intention to basically remain silent with respect to personal commentary of the words of his two protagonists. Louis St. Michael lets their words speak for themselves and thus each reader to come to his or her own conclusions about which one rings truer for them.

I personally found the section on Retaliation most interesting. Check out Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:38 and then check out Muhammad’s in The Food 5:45, The Pilgrimage 22:60, and The Counsel 42:40.

A highly recommended book that would make a great gift for anyone in ministry or studying for the ministry. I just wish somebody had put this valuable content together so nicely before now. But thankfully, Louis St. Michael has done it now.


·      Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, March 14, 2018, www.accordconsulting.com

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Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.