Food: Eight tasty nights of Hanukkah

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SONOMA INDEX-TRIBUNE)

 

Food: Eight tasty nights of Hanukkah

The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah is a delicious, festive holiday celebrating the miracle of a drop of lamp oil that burned brightly for eight days. Let’s put Hanukkah in a modern context. It’s the first night of an eight-night holiday. Your phone charge is down to 10 percent and you don’t have access to a charger for the next week. Miraculously, the charge lasts for all eight days. That’s Hanukkah.

This year the first night of Hanukkah is Sunday, Dec. 22. The word Hanukkah means re-dedication.

It commemorates a miraculous victory to preserve the ancient temple in which a brave family called the Maccabees prevailed over a much stronger opponent. In rededicating the temple they found only one day’s holy oil, yet the holy lamp miraculously burned for eight days.

To recall this miracle each year, Jews celebrate for eight nights by gathering together to light candles on an eight branch Menorah and indulge in rich and fried foods.

This decidedly decadent tradition of eating rich and fried foods makes the holiday special. Traditional Hanukkah foods are jelly donuts, potato pancakes and rich puddings called kugels. In celebration, children play a gambling game with a top called a dreidel. Winning spins are rewarded with “gelt,” delicious gold-foil-wrapped chocolate coins. Modest gifts may be exchanged each night.

My family delights in this ultra-rich and easy to prepare Noodle Kugel. It can be easily scaled up or down, may be made ahead and freezes well. Just don’t substitute lower-fat ingredients. After all, it’s Hanukkah.

Ultra-Rich & Creamy Noodle Kugel

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter

8 ounce package cream cheese

4 eggs

½ cup sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 ounce package wide egg noodles cook according to package directions

Topping:

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Prepare the filling: In a food processor blend the melted butter, cream cheese and eggs. Add sugar, milk and vanilla and blend well. Gently stir in sour cream to keep the body of the sour cream so it doesn’t get liquefied. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the cooked noodles. Stir gently to combine. Pour into a greased 9-by-13 inch glass or ceramic baking dish.

3. Prepare the topping: Stir the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter together and mix well. Sprinkle over the uncooked kugel. Don’t worry if it seems to sink a bit, it should rise to the top as it bakes.

4. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until set. If the top browns too soon cover with foil.

Mara Kahn is a local real estate agent, co-owner of Jacob’s Kitchen, the Eighth Street East culinary outlet. Mara throws a great party.

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A guide to celebrating Hanukkah for the non-Jewish

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SPECTRUM, A DIVISION OF USA TODAY)

 

A guide to celebrating Hanukkah for the non-Jewish

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Amidst the sounds, sights and smells of Christmas, some Utah residents are preparing for another holiday: the Jewish tradition of Hanukkah.

And it’s not, contrary to what some may think, the “Jewish Christmas,” said Rabbi Helene Ainbinder of Beit Chaverim Jewish Community of Greater Zion.

“I don’t compare it to Christmas at all,” she said. “There’s no such thing as a ‘Hanukkah bush’ or a ‘Hanukkah tree.’”

Ainbinder said Hanukkah is celebrated during the Hebrew month of Kislev and commemorates the Jewish people’s battle for religious freedom against Greek and Syrian armies more than 2,000 years ago. When the Greeks destroyed the holy temple in Jerusalem, a small army that became known as the Maccabees used guerrilla warfare tactics to fight back.

Eventually, the Maccabees won the war. While cleaning the temple, they found only one small jar of pure oil for kindling the menorah, but it miraculously burned for eight days instead of one. That’s why Jewish people light candles for eight days during Hanukkah, a Hebrew word that means “dedication.”

“The holiday enhances our connection (with our faith) and we realize how lucky we are that we have religious freedom and that we survived all these atrocities against us over the centuries,” Ainbinder said. “If we didn’t fight for our freedom to practice our faith, we’d all be Greeks.”

She also said it’s a smaller holiday than other Jewish holidays like Yom Kippur, but it tends to be more well-known because it’s a holiday that the whole family enjoys, with games, gifts and singing.

And while other Jewish holidays focus on the inner spirit and being guided by God, during Hanukkah, “we’re just rejoicing that we survived again,” she said.

You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy the traditions of this holiday. Here are some ways non-Jewish people can celebrate Hanukkah, which falls this year from Dec. 22 through Dec. 29.

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Play with dreidels

Ainbinder said during the Greek occupation of Judea, Jews were killed if they were caught practicing their faith. That’s why they used a game of dreidels (tops) to pretend they were gambling in order to fool the soldiers. The Hebrew letters on the dreidel represent the phrase “A Great Miracle Happened Over There.”

“It was really how we preserved our heritage through these images and symbols,” Ainbinder said.

According to the website My Jewish Learning, any number of people can take part. Each player begins with an equal number of game pieces such as pennies, nuts or chocolate chips.

At the beginning of each round, every participant puts one game piece into the center “pot.” In addition, every time the pot is empty or has only one game piece left, every player should put one in the pot.

Every time it’s your turn, spin the dreidel once. Depending on the side it lands on, you give or get game pieces from the pot.

  • Nun means “nisht” or “nothing.” The player does nothing.
  • Gimel means “gantz” or “everything.” The player gets everything in the pot.
  • Hey means “halb” or “half.” The player gets half of the pot. (If there is an odd number of pieces in the pot, the player takes half of the total plus one).
  • Shin (outside of Israel) means “shtel” or “put in.” Peh (in Israel) also means “put in.” The player adds a game piece to the pot.

If you find that you have no game pieces left, you are either “out” or may ask a fellow player for a “loan.” The game ends when one person has won everything.

Give chocolate gelt

Hanukkah gelt is money given as a gift or as a coin-shaped piece of chocolate, according to website Learn Religions. Gelt can be given every night of Hanukkah or only once, and chocolate gelt pieces can be used in the dreidel game.

Ainbinder said this tradition stems from the Jewish people minting their own coins when they became a free nation.

Chocolate coins are available from multiple online retailers, including Amazon, Just Candy and See’s Candies.

Attend a menorah lighting

Rabbi Mendy Cohen of Chabad of Southern Utah said that during a menorah lighting, candles are put in right to left, but lit left to right so that the newest candle is lit first.

Ainbinder added that the candles burn themselves down each night.

“The warmth of a candle brings that much more warmth to our spirit,” she said.

She also said a menorah, which means “light,” has places for nine candles; the ninth candle, shamash, is the “helper” candle that lights the others and has to be separated higher or away from the other candles.

Menorahs should be seen by the outside world, she said, which is why they’re put in windows.

During the first night of Hanukkah, Ainbinder said an extra prayer is offered to thank God that they’ve reached that moment in time. The next two prayers praise and thank God, and are repeated during every subsequent night of Hanukkah while lighting the candles.

If you’re interested in seeing a menorah lighting, Chabad of Southern Utah is holding a menorah celebration at Town Square Park (50 S. Main St.) on the first night of Hanukkah, Dec. 22, at 5 p.m. Admission is free, and Cohen said people of all backgrounds are welcome to attend.

“The message (of Hanukkah) applies to everybody,” he said. “Light over darkness. Just one small little flame, a match in a big dark room, can dispel a lot of darkness.”

In addition to lighting the first candle, the celebration will include music, dreidels, chocolate gelt, latkes and jelly doughnuts.

A new candle will be lit for the rest of Hanukkah at 8:30 p.m., Cohen said, except for Friday night because that is the start of the Jewish sabbath.

Additionally, he said a menorah is currently on display at the Red Cliffs Mall (1770 Red Cliffs Dr.).

Eat fried foods

Cohen said traditional Hanukkah foods include latkas (potato patties) and doughnuts, which are both fried in oil to remind people of the miracle of the oil.

A latka recipe in The New York Times calls for:

  • Two large Russet potatoes (about one pound), scrubbed and cut lengthwise into quarters
  • One large onion (eight ounces), peeled and cut into quarters
  • Two large eggs
  • Half cup all-purpose flour
  • Two teaspoons coarse kosher salt (or one teaspoon fine sea salt), plus more for sprinkling
  • One teaspoon baking powder
  • Half teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Safflower or other oil, for frying

Grate the potatoes and onion with a food processor. Transfer the mixture to a clean dishtowel and squeeze and wring out as much of the liquid as possible.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the eggs, flour, salt, baking powder and pepper, and mix until the flour is absorbed.

In a medium heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, pour in about a quarter inch of the oil.

When the oil is hot, use a heaping tablespoon to drop the batter into the hot pan, cooking in batches. Use a spatula to flatten and shape the drops into discs. Flip when the edges of the latkes are brown and crispy. Cook until the second side is deeply browned. Transfer the latkes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and sprinkle with salt while still warm.

A sufganiyot (Hanukkah jelly doughnuts) recipe from website My Jewish Learning calls for:

  • Apricot, red-currant or raspberry jam
  • Oil for deep frying
  • One and two-third cups flour, plus a little more if necessary
  • Two or three drops of vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
  • One whole egg
  • Three tablespoons sour cream or vegetable oil
  • Two tablespoons sugar
  • One egg yolk
  • Confectioners’ sugar to sprinkle on
  • Quarter cup lukewarm milk or water
  • One teaspoon dried yeast

Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk or water with one teaspoon of sugar and leave for 10 minutes, until it froths.

Beat the rest of the sugar with the egg and the yolk. Add the sour cream or oil, the salt, vanilla, and yeast mixture, and beat very well. Fold in the flour gradually, and continue beating until you have a soft, smooth, and elastic dough, adding more flour if necessary. Then knead for five minutes, sprinkling with a little flour if it is too sticky. Coat the dough with oil by pouring a drop in the bowl and turning the dough in it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to rise for about two hours, or until doubled in bulk.

Knead the dough again for a few minutes, then roll out on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin to quarter-inch thickness. With a pastry cutter, cut into two-inch rounds. Put a teaspoon of jam in the center of a round of dough, brush the rim with a little water to make it sticky, and cover with another round. Press the edges together to seal. Continue with the rest of the rounds and arrange them on a floured tray. Leave them to rise for about 30 minutes.

Heat one and a half inches of oil in a saucepan to medium hot. Drop in the doughnuts, a few at a time. Fry in medium-hot oil for three to four minutes with the lid on until brown, then turn and fry the other side for one minute more. Drain on paper towels. Serve sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.

Kaitlyn Bancroft reports on faith, health, education and under-served communities for The Spectrum & Daily News, a USA TODAY Network newsroom in St. George, Utah. She’s a graduate of Brigham Young University’s journalism program, and has previously written for The Denver Post, The Daily Universe, Deseret News and the Davis Clipper. You can reach her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @katbancroft.

Hindus, Jews celebrate joint festival of lights At Chicago Synagog

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Two holidays, one theme: Hindus, Jews celebrate joint festival of lights

Bringing together two diverse communities and highlighting strong Israel-India relations, over 400 people gather in Chicago to simultaneously honor Diwali and Hanukkah

  • Candle lighting with Rabbi Sidney Helbraun & Acharya Rohit Joshi at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    Candle lighting with Rabbi Sidney Helbraun & Acharya Rohit Joshi at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
  • The crowd enjoying the program at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    The crowd enjoying the program at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
  • Learning how to do a Hindu dance at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    Learning how to do a Hindu dance at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
  • Standup comedian Samson 'Mahatma Moses; Koletar performs at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    Standup comedian Samson ‘Mahatma Moses; Koletar performs at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
  • The crowd enjoying the program at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    The crowd enjoying the program at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
  • Jewish dance lessons at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    Jewish dance lessons at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
  • A Diwali diya and Hanukkah menorah shine side by side at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)
    A Diwali diya and Hanukkah menorah shine side by side at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)

CHICAGO — A joint Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights drew over 400 people to a suburban Chicago synagogue on Sunday, as together they honored the similarly-themed holidays of Hanukkah and Diwali.

The evening, which featured speakers, candle lighting, food from both cultures, dance lessons, and the world’s only Indian-Jewish stand up comedian, was hosted by Temple Beth-El in the Chicago suburb of Northbrook, Illinois.

The Chicago event has inspired similar gatherings nationwide — from a December 8 celebration in San Francisco, to events being planned in New York, Atlanta and Florida. The Chicago organizers also look forward to organizing a collective celebration of Purim and Holi, the Hindu spring festival, in 2019.

“I think we connect over a shared sense of pain and overcoming adversities,” Sunil Krishnan told The Times of Israel as people mingled before the program. Krishnan, who is Hindu, made the nearly two-hour drive from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to attend the event.

“I don’t know much about the Hindu religion, but I’m fascinated by it,” said Margaret Geber, a Jewish woman who came with two friends. “I love the feeling of hope and the energy of the room as people are getting to know each other.”

The crowd enjoying the program at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)

Highlights from Sunday’s program included speeches by human rights activist Dr. Richard Benkin; Indian Consul Head of Chancery D.B. Bhati; and Aviv Ezra, the Consul General of Israel to the Midwest.

Bhati drew parallels between Diwali’s festival of lights and the lights of Hanukkah, while Ezra highlighted the 26 years of diplomacy between Israel and India. That relationship has “grown in even more profound ways” since India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited each other’s respective countries last year, Ezra said.

Candle lighting with Rabbi Sidney Helbraun & Acharya Rohit Joshi at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)

The idea for the joint festival began five years ago when Peggy Shapiro, Midwest executive director of StandWithUs, invited leaders of the Indian community to her house for dinner to celebrate the 65th anniversaries of Indian and Israeli independence.

“The problem is, what food do you serve?” joked Shapiro.

“When we got together that night at my dining room table, we found such commonalities in our communities,” Shapiro said.

“I learned a bit more about India and the Jewish community there — India is one of the only places in the world that has never had anti-Semitism,” she said (presumably attributing the horrific 2008 attacks on the Mumbai Chabad House to Islamic terrorism, rather than specific hatred against Jews).

Snacks are served at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)

Prasad Yalamanchi of the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation also spoke about India’s support for Israel and stressed the shared experiences between Hindus and Jews, including the staggering losses that both communities faced due to persecution.

“We need to get together, Hindus and Jews, to protect our heritage and civilization for future of generations,” he said to roaring applause.

Shapiro then introduced “someone that nobody has ever heard of, but appeals to everybody — the world’s only Indian-Jewish stand-up comedian, Samson Koletar, aka Mahatma Moses.”

Koletar poked fun at Jewish and Indian stereotypes to the delight of a mixed crowd that apparently had a common appreciation for self-deprecating humor. And like any good comedian, Koletar didn’t spare himself, laughing about people’s confused reactions to his mixed Indian-Jewish heritage.

Standup comedian Samson ‘Mahatma Moses; Koletar performs at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)

Rounding out the speeches, Dr. Souptik Mukherjee — a researcher who has long been an advocate for Hindu-Jewish relations, and who has contributed to Israeli media — spoke about the 2,500 year history of Hindu-Jewish relationships.

“[Our] two communities today unite to celebrate values dear to us all, of coexistence, tolerance, gender equality, mutual respect and respect for each other’s culture and faith,” Mukherjee said.

The festival concluded with traditional Hanukkah and Diwali desserts, followed by dance lessons from each culture.

Dr. Souptik Mukherjee speaks at the Hindu-Jewish Festival of Lights at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook, Illinois, Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Ronit Bezalel/ Times of Israel)

“It’s really wonderful to have this event in our synagogue, and see new faces in here,” noted Mandy Herlich, the director of lifelong learning at Temple Beth-El.

Chicago’s Festival of Lights was sponsored by the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation, Param Shakti Peeth of America, Sewa Interational, Shir Hadash, StandwithUs, Temple Beth-El, TV Asia, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America.

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Celebrating Hanukkah In The Holy Land

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY NEWSPAPER)

 

JERUSALEM (RNS) – Yael Horovitz, who immigrated to Israel from Australia, always loved the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, but the emphasis there on Christmas made her feel a little left out.

“In Australia, for two months out of the year I couldn’t escape Christmas carols,” said Horovitz, who is Jewish. “Being forced to listen to them in supermarkets, shopping centers, on the radio and TV bothered me.”

Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish festival of lights that commemorates the Maccabees’ victory over their Greek-Syrian oppressors in 167 B.C., as well as the re-dedication of the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, was barely acknowledged by most Australians, Horovitz said.

But Hanukkah, which begins at sundown Tuesday, is an altogether different experience for her now.

Ten years ago Horovitz moved to Israel, where Jews comprise roughly 75% of the population. Here, the holiday season “feels so right,” she said. “This is my religion, these are my songs, my decorations, my kids being educated to love their heritage, and being embraced by it from all sides.”

Hanukkah in the Holy Land gives Horovitz and other Jews who have immigrated to Israel from Western countries a sense of belonging they don’t feel anywhere else. In Israel, though Hanukkah is not a national holiday, most of the nation celebrates it.

That’s a big contrast to the way many American Jews feel at Christmastime, said Jonathan Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University.

“Christmas is the one day of the year when many American Jews experience a sense that they are outsiders in America” because Christmas, a religious holiday, is also a national holiday, Sarna said.

Although Hanukkah is a minor festival on the Jewish calendar, Sarna said, more than a century ago American Jews elevated the holiday “as a way to ensure that they were not left out of the holiday spirit.”

Their goal, Sarna said, was to ensure that Jewish children would be happy and proud of their own winter holiday and not want to celebrate the holiday of another religion.

Even so, if you live in the U.S., “it is impossible to avoid Santa and Christmas music and holiday lights. It’s the time of year when the differences between Jews and their neighbors seem most stark.”

That’s not the case in Israel, Sarna said, where Hanukkah and not Christmas is the dominant December holiday. Just 2.1 percent of Israelis are Christian; 17 percent are Muslim; 1.7 percent are Druze. The remaining 4 percent belong to other religious minorities or have no religion.

Although Hanukkah in Israel remains far less commercialized than it is in the U.S., with shopping malls hanging nary a holiday decoration, it has more recently taken on some of its American trappings.

This week, Osher Ad, a large Jerusalem supermarket, had two aisles’ worth of Hanukkah-related products, from elaborate faux-silver menorahs to imported paper Hanukkah plates and napkins and dreidel-shaped containers filled with chocolate candies.

And rather than sell only simple jelly doughnuts, a traditional Hanukkah treat, now bakeries around the country create fancy and expensive Western-style doughnuts.

Jewish children are on school break the week of Hanukkah, so movie theaters time their new releases to the vacation. Festigal, a live music and dance show for children, is an annual tradition.

Compared with the holiday season in the U.S., however, Hanukkah in Israel is low-key. Families gather to light the menorah – some have a separate one for each child – and eat doughnuts or potato pancakes fried in oil. (Oily foods are eaten on Hanukkah to commemorate the “miracle” of the holiday, when enough oil to light a lamp for just one night lasted for eight.)

Some parents give their children presents – though almost never more than a couple — or Hanukkah “gelt” – both money and chocolate coins.

Orthodox families like to light their menorahs outside, in glass containers, so everyone who passes can soak up their light.

Tsipi Amiri, whose family lived in the U.S. until she was 10, said she doesn’t miss the “commercialization” of the holiday season or the pressure to celebrate Hanukkah with lots of fanfare and gifts.

“There was this competition within the American Jewish community about who got what,” Amiri said. “Thankfully, I don’t see that here.”

More: When is Hanukkah and what does it celebrate?

Netanya Carmi said the first thing she noticed during her first Israeli Hanukkah 20 years ago was that many stores close early every night and evening classes at universities are canceled so all can go home and light candles with their families.

“Here in Israel, Hanukkah is all about tradition and family,” Carmi said.

Revelation Chapter #4

 

Revelation Chapter #4

Chapter #4 only has 11 verses in it. These 11 verses break down into three different sections, or categories. Verses one through three is about the Throne of God in Heaven. Verses four and five are about the 24 Elders that are around the Throne of God. Then verses six through eleven are about the four Creatures that are at the Throne of God. Remember, the person that is writing this material to us is the Apostle John the things he is being shown are via an Angel of God. I have been debating whether to type out these eleven verses or to just explain their meanings to folks but I have decided to type them out for you because I realize that there are some people who may be reading this who do not have access to a Bible, I realize that there are some places here on this planet where it is actually dangerous to be in possession of a Bible so for these reasons I will take the time to type these 11 verses out.

Starting with 4:1 “After this I looked and beheld a door opened in Heaven. And the first voice which I heard was as if it were a trumpet talking with me, which said, come up here and I will show you things which will be in the future.” “Then immediately I was in the Spirit and beheld a Throne which was set in Heaven and one sat on the Throne.” “He that sat on the Throne was like looking upon a jasper and a sardine stone. And there was a rainbow round about the Throne, the color was like looking onto and emerald.”

“Round about the Throne were four and twenty seats. Upon the seats I saw 24 Elders sitting. They were clothed in white raiment and upon their heads were crowns of gold.”

“Then out of the Throne proceeded lightning and thundering and voices. There were seven lamps of fire burning before the Throne, which are the Seven Spirits of God.”

“Before the Throne there was a sea of glass which was like unto crystal. In the midst of the Throne and round about the Throne were four Beasts full of eyes in front and behind.”

“The first Beast was like a Lion, the second Beast was like a Calf, the third Beast had the face of a Man, the fourth Beast was like a flying Eagle.”

“Each of the four Beasts had six wings about him, each of them were full of eyes within and they did not rest day of night. And they were saying Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, which is, and is to come.”

“And then the Beasts gave glory and honor and thanks to Him that sat on the Throne, who lives for ever and ever and ever.”

“And then the 24 Elders fell down before Him that sat on the Throne and worshiped Him that lives forever and ever, and they cast down their crowns before the Throne, saying thou art worthy O Lord to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and for Your pleasure they are and were created.”

Well folks, that is the 11 verses, now I will do my best to explain a few things within those verses to hopefully make them easier for some folks to understand. What John was shown was an actual open door into Heaven unlike with Jacob when he witnessed a stairway to Heaven (Bethel). Now Jacob did not go up to Heaven yet John was called up to Heaven. But notice, John was called up ‘in the Spirit’, the reason is simple, there is no flesh in Heaven, God, His Angels and all who are in Heaven are Spirits, flesh is unclean and will never be allowed in Heaven.

The Book of Revelation was written in the Greek language, in verse number one it starts off with the words ‘after this’, in the Greek it is written “meta tauta” this is written at the beginning of the verse and at the end of this verse. The meta tauta that John was speaking of was ‘after the Rapture’. The Rapture is the event where Christ comes back to Earth with His Angels. At that time the dead in Christ will rise first then those who are still alive that are and have remained faithful to Him will depart this Earth in the twinkling (blink) of the eye to be with Jesus. In the English Bible you will not find the word ‘rapture’, but then again, the Bible was not written in the English language 1,900 or so odd years ago, it was written in the Greek language. Disclaimer here, the New Testament was written in Greek, the Old Testament was written in Hebrew. Now back to the Greek, instead of the word rapture the Greek word was Harpazo which defines as  “caught up, raptured, or snatched up.” Well folks, I hope that this chapter was easy enough for everyone to understand, if you have any questions, go ahead and ask them. I will always do my best to answer them as simplistically as possible. I hope that everyone was able to have a good and a safe Christmas and for our Jewish friends I hope you had a great Hanukkah, good night, God bless.

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