The Russian Federation Bans Jehovah’s Witnesses Because Of Several Violations Of The Law and Refusal To Correct Them


On Thursday, Russia’s Supreme Court ruled that Jehovah’s Witnesses was an “extremist” organization after the justice ministry applied for an order to shut down the group’s national headquarters near St Petersburg, Russian TASS news agency reported. Russian authorities had put several of the group’s publications on a list of banned extremist literature, and prosecutors have long cast it as an organization that destroys families, fosters hatred and threatens lives, a description the organization says is false.

In its lawsuit the Justice Ministry mentioned various violations, exposed by a snap check of the organization’s activities, including those of the federal law on resistance to extremist activities. The Justice Ministry wanted the organization and its 395 local chapters to be declared as extremist and outlawed and its properties to be confiscated.

The Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses told TASS it found this affair very worrisome, because a future decision would concern 175,000 practicing believers. ACJW spokesman Ivan Bilenko said the organization was prepared to seek protection of its rights in courts of any instance.

A court in Moscow on October 12, 2016 warned Jehovah’s Witnesses over what it ruled was extremist activities. Under Russian legislation the religious organization in question is to be closed down if it fails to eliminate the exposed violations within the required deadline or if new evidence of its extremist activities come to light. The Moscow City Court on January 16, 2017 upheld the warning over extremism handed to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Concluding Words:

Every country has its own laws and if law requires any religion should change their organization rules if government asks for or basically warning if you guys don’t change rules and behavior then you going to be banned.

That was at least in two court cases Russian authorities warned Jehovah’s Witnesses to correct violations however Watchtower organization acts like superior over any human beings and refuse to do anything or nothing about it.

When you loose Court cases and refuse correct anything then you going to be punished and imprisoned for it!Such a implementation of laws works in any country.I hope this is going to be be lesson for Jehovah’s Witnesses or again they will refuse correct anything and that will be happening to them again in different countries in this world.Shalom.

This Week’s Torah Portion | April 16 – April 22, 2017 – 20 Nissan – 26 Nissan, 5777

Shmini (On the Eighth Day) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion
SH’MINI TORAH :

LEVITICUS 9:1-11:47| 

PROPHETS : 2 SAM. 6:1-7:17| 

GOSPEL : MARK 9:1-13

From ancient times there has been a weekly portion (Parashah) from the first five books of Moses (The Torah) and an ending (Haftarah) from the Prophets read on the Sabbath in synagogues around the world. This portion is given a Hebrew name drawn from the opening words of the Torah passage. An illustration of this practice appears to have been recorded in Luke 4:16 where Yeshua (Jesus) arrived in the synagogue in Nazareth and was asked to read the portion (Isaiah 61) from the Prophets. 

We have found that in perusing these weekly readings, not only are we provided opportunity to identify in the context of God’s Word with millions of Jewish people around the world, but very often the Holy Spirit will illumine specific passages pertinent that week in our intercession for the Land and people of Israel. The Haftarah, unless otherwise noted, will be that read in Ashkenazy synagogues around the world. The references for all texts are those found in English translations of the Scriptures.

The readings for this week April 18-22, 2017 are called Shemini—“Eighth Day”:

TORAH: Leviticus 9:1—11`:47

HAFTARAH: II Samuel 6:1—7:17

*Leviticus 9:4, 6, 23b-24. “…for today, the LORD will appear to you.” “…and the glory of the LORD will appear to you.” “Then the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people, and fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.”

It had been the LORD’s desire to dwell in the midst of His people, and, as we saw in Exodus 40:34, after they had done their part in preparing the way, the Glory of His presence came into and filled the mishkan (dwelling place, tabernacle). But it was also His desire that his people be able to minister to Him personally through bringing their offerings, which would then be presented before Him by the priests—and that the glory of His presence and acceptance of these gifts and sacrifices be witnessed and experienced by all the congregation.

Here it finally takes place—and as the holy Fire appears and consumes the sacrifices, the people can only respond with a shout and with falling down under the weight of His Glory (Interestingly, the root for this Hebrew word “glory” kavod is also the root for the word “weight”). And it is intriguing that the word for the “shout” the people release is quite often in Scripture (Job 38:7, Prov. 29:6; Isa. 35:6, I Chron 16:33…) translated “song”. When God’s glory falls on His people, they often can no longer remain standing—and sometimes its coming is accompanied by release of the Song of the Lord!

HOLINESS

This week’s readings center upon the Holiness of Israel’s LORD—including the consequences to his children, especially those who minister on His behalf before the people, of not honoring that holiness:

*Leviticus 10:3b. “By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honoured.” 

*Leviticus 11:44-45: “For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean…For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Aaron’s two eldest sons Nadav and Avihu had been granted a high and exalted “positioning” of ministry before the LORD, second only to Moses and to their father the High Priest. For them there was clothing and anointing (8:13, 24, 30) providing them special protection to minister in ways not granted to the other Levites. However, they were not commanded nor were they clothed and anointed to draw near to God in that specific ministry assigned to their father Aaron the High Priest.

Yet, discontent with the appointed “place” God had chosen for them, they presumed to operate in the ministry of their father’s office rather than being faithful to that of their own—they offered “strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.” In doing so, they dishonored God in the eyes of the people who looked up to and depended upon them. They also stepped into a place where the unique protection provided for their assignment of ministry was no longer effective, and the very fire from God’s presence which showed his favor in devouring the sacrifices in 9:24, devours in judgment these two sons who had abandoned their appointed places.

There is no reason to see in this passage a portrayal of severe judgment upon those who are novices and have accidentally slipped and made a mistake while attempting something new. James 3:16 and 1:13-15 shows how “where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is confusion and every evil thing”, and how “each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed, Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” At this crucial time of testing, the darkness which had been growing in Nadav and Avihu was manifest and they were betrayed.

In the Haftarah (II Samuel 6:1—7:17) it appears not to have been a “growing darkness” in King David’s character which is manifest, but rather what had become a “blind spot” in his discernment after presuming to rate certain of God’s words as worthy of more respect than others. He deeply loved the Torah (instruction) of the LORD, declaring it perfect, capable of “converting the soul” (Psalm 19:7). Yet when it came time to bring the ark of God into Jerusalem (the incredible holiness of such an endeavor is emphasized in the text, “the ark of God, whose name is called by the Name—YHVH of Hosts, who dwells between the cherubim” (II Sam. 6:2)), he evidently allowed his logic to preempt the LORD’s repeated instructions in the Torah that it was to be transferred by the use of poles on the shoulders of the priests (Exodus 25:12-15, and other places).

After all, that was almost 500 years ago; a cart with wheels was more modern and took fewer men (even the Philistines had realized that), and it was a “new” cart. His negligence in treating God’s whole Word as holy resulted in disaster, in this case to others. Whether or not Uza volunteered for guiding the cart, he was not protected as the priests would have been—he had been placed in a role which was not God’s “positioning,” and when he spontaneously touched the ark to keep it from falling, like Nadav and Avihu, he was slain.

Today our Lord has provided a way for us also to come into His presence safely, through the finished work of Yeshua. But we are to do so in reverence, not in presumption or disobedience. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29).  

Malachi 3:2-3 says that the coming LORD “is like a refiner’s fire” and will “purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver that they may offer to the LORD an offering in righteousness.” 

PLEASE PRAY: for a sense of the ‘holy’ in the Body of Messiah in Israel—that we will not be presumptuous in our worship and will not covet positions which God has granted to others, but be humbly thankful for the special responsibilities He chooses for us. Pray that we will at the same time yield ourselves to the refining purifying fire of God’s Spirit; and that the offerings which we offer up will be done in righteousness, in spirit and in truth.

*Leviticus 10:8-12. “Then the LORD spoke to Aaron, saying: ‘Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean, and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD has spoken to them by the hand of Moses.” 

Perhaps intoxication was also a factor in the presumptuous sin of Nadav and Avihu. Although the Bible makes clear that God sanctions the drinking of wine or strong drink by His children (“before the LORD your God”— Deut. 14:22-26), Isaiah 28:7 just as clearly condemns its misuse, which can spoil our ministry, resulting in “erring in vision and stumbling in judgment”, not only in ourselves, but also in those who are looking up to us in seeking to follow His ways.

*Leviticus 10:10. “…that you may distinguish between holy and unholy.” 

An even better translation would be “distinguish between the holy and the common.” The opposite of “holiness” is not necessarily “sinful.” That which is holy is first of all that which is “set-apart from the ordinary.” So for the priests, certain things (such as drinking wine) which might be acceptable under ordinary circumstances were not allowed when they went into the Tent of Meeting to perform their duties there before the Lord.

Chapter Eleven lists ways in which the Hebrews were to be “holy” or “set apart” from other peoples by their diet.

*Leviticus 11:4, 46-47. “Nevertheless, these you shall not eat among those that chew the cud or that have cloven hooves… This is the law of the animals and the birds and every living creature that moves in the waters, and of every creature that creeps on the earth, to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, and between the animal that may be eaten and the animal that may not be eaten.” 

The Israelites were forbidden to eat these animals, not from “touching” them. As with Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:3), there would be those who might add such restrictions, but the LORD’s restrictions regarding touch were related to the carcasses of dead animals (11:8).

These were dietary guidelines for Israel—for the Hebrew race, which God chose to set apart in this way. There is nothing in Scripture to imply that God desires or requires all people to follow these guidelines. Following the Flood, when Noah and his family came forth from the Ark, God released a special blessing, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs” (Genesis 9:3; Emphasis ours.). All humankind were (and still are, Genesis 9:4; Acts 15:29) forbidden to eat blood. But Biblical restrictions regarding particular creatures applied only to the Hebrews.

The Torah and Haftarah portions for next week, April 23-29, are a “double reading”: 

I. Thazria –-“Quicken with Seed”, “Conceive”: TORAH: Leviticus 12:1—13:59 

II. Metsora—“Skin disease, leprosy”: TORAH: Leviticus 14:1—15:33

HAFTARAH: II Kings 7:3-20

In A Nutshell

The portion, Shmini (On the Eighth Day), deals with the events of the eighth day after the seven days of filling.[1] This is the inauguration day of the tabernacle. Aaron and his sons offer special sacrifices on this day. Moses and Aaron go to bless the people, and finally, the Creator appears to the people of Israel.

Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu sin with offering on a foreign fire, and the fire consumes them. Aaron and the remaining sons receive special instructions how to conduct themselves in the situation, and among others orders, they are forbidden to mourn.

The portion tells of another misunderstanding between Moses and Aaron and his sons concerning eating the sin offering. The portion ends with the rules concerning forbidden food, detailing the animals, beasts, poultry, and fish that are forbidden to eat. Rules of Tuma’a (impurity) and Taharah (purity) are also briefly explained.

Commentary

The portion mentions many details concerning the tabernacle and offering sacrifices, what is forbidden and what is permitted. How should we understand it internally?

We need to examine which of our 613 desires we need to correct, and how. It was said about man, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice,”[2] so we may correct our evil inclination—the egoistic desires—in which we think only of ourselves and cannot perform a single act of giving and love of others.

It is written, “love your neighbor as yourself.”[3] This is a special force, and the Torah was given for the sole purpose of obtaining it. If we study the internality of the Torah properly—namely Kabbalah, the wisdom of light, we draw the light that reforms, which corrects us.

The desires in us are called the “evil inclination.” Initially, they are egoistic because “the inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis, 8:21). Our goal is to correct it through the study and turn it to the intention to bestow upon others, to the aim to connect and love. By correcting ourselves we obtain the quality of bestowal, equivalence with the Creator and Dvekut (adhesion) with Him in order to be like Him. This is the purpose of man’s creation—to be like the Creator.
To correct our desires, our inclination, we must follow a certain order from easy to hard. To properly correct our nature we are required to conduct ourselves according to our development. Like an infant that grows into being a small child, then a youth, and finally an adult, each stage in the development requires more actions and greater complexity. At each stage we draw the light that reforms. It sorts for us by order of difficulty the desires whose time for correction has come. This is why the Torah is called Horaa (instruction), as through it we advance and climb the ladder of degrees through the end of correction of all our desires.

In the portion, Shmini, we scrutinize which desires we can correct, how we can correct them, and which desires we cannot correct. Within us are desires that cannot be corrected. They are called the “stony heart.” These desires are the basis of our nature. They are so intense that we cannot even ask for their correction.

By correcting what we must, and by regretting not being able to correct the stony heart, as well as by distinguishing what is correctable and what is beyond our ability to correct, we gain a clear perception of the difference between them. By regretting that we cannot correct, yet doing all we can in regard to these desires, they become corrected.

This is why the laws of Kedusha (holiness) and Tahara (purity) are called “laws of Kashrut (the noun of the adjective, Kosher).” We scrutinize these laws—what is kosher and what is not—in the still, vegetative, animate, and human, how we should perform them and at what level.

The word Kashrut refers to the word Kosher (“permitted,” “proper,” “lawful”), to the readiness for bestowal. A kosher person has corrected him or herself in all the desires to bestowal and love of others, at least on a certain level.

The measure of the desire is the sum of all the desires in us at the levels of still, vegetative, and animate. The more the desire mingles with emotion, reason, understanding, connection with people, and with the upper force, the more we correct it. The laws of Kashrut tell us how to sanctity, how to bring each desire to correction and use it to bestow. The Torah tells us through examples from our world, like using the desire for food, which actually refers to man’s correction.

We are bound to fail. It is like a child who cannot understand how a new toy works until he breaks it. He does not even understand that he broke it, or how, if at all, is it possible to fix it. As long as the child does not fully comprehend the making of the toy—how it was made, and what is the role of each part and wheel—the child will not become attached to it.

Similarly, we must comprehend the foundations of creation, touch our most basic, egoistic desires, as it is written, “There is not a righteous man on earth who does good and did not sin” (Ecclesiastes, 7:20). We must experience all the sins, fail, and correct them. There is no other way.
We must recognize all the evil in us, as the Creator says, “I have created the evil inclination.” Man is the one who must discover where our evil inclination resides. When we discover it, we are considered “wicked,” “transgressors.” We recognize the evil and we regret it.

However, we do not regret the recognition of the evil within us because this is how we were made. Rather, we regret that our inclination is not to bestow, but to receive for ourselves. We demand the correcting force, and receive from the above the light that reforms, thus shifting from using each desire egoistically, looking for self-gratification, to the seeking the benefit of others. This is how we correct ourselves.

The general recognition of the evil inclination occurs by the breaking of the vessels in the upper worlds. This is our root, from which this world was created. It was prepared in the upper roots, the upper system. It is embedded in the foundation of the nation, in the acts of Nadav and Avihu, as mentioned in this portion. We have to discover it in us in this world.

Nadav and Avihu had to go through this process, and by so doing they did a great thing. It may seem to us as transgression or ruin, but in it we discover the foundation of “I have created the evil inclination” and correct it.

Nadav and Avihu wanted to reach the end of correction instantaneously. When a person does so, he or she discovers the will to receive in order to receive, the evil inclination, Sitra Achra, Klipa (shell/peel), in its true, and worst form. This is what they did; they drew such a powerful light on themselves that they could not resist it and receive in order to bestow, so they received it in order to receive and therefore died.

A person who advances on the degrees does so, too. In us, too, are forces called Nadav and Avihu, in addition to the forces of Aaron and Moses. “Man is a small world,”[4] and all that is told in the Torah exists in each and every one of us. We make the same transgressions and correct them after some time. This is how we become aware of the real evil inclination, the stony heart, which cannot be touched. This is how we learn to correct the desires that can be corrected, and the right order of correction.

The laws of Kashrut at the end of the portion stem from all those scrutinies we make. They explain to us how we can correct, and in which way we can bring the incense. That is, how to bring the desires that are properly mingled—the forces of bestowal and reception within us—so they correct one another.

This is what the portion, Shmini (On the Eighth Day) deals with. It is called so because Malchut that ascends to Yesod is the eighth Malchut, and we must know how to correct it. It is called “Eighth” after the basic correction, to distinguish between the parts of Malchut that cannot be corrected and those that can be, and to know how we can draw the forces that will correct. We scrutinize all that on our spiritual path, in a correction called Shmini.

The number 7 appears many times in this portion. Is there a special meaning to it?

It is written that there are six days of work and the seventh is the Sabbath.[5] The six days are Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, and Yesod. Days are degrees by which we can correct our desires. The seventh day is Malchut that is corrected by itself by what we have done during the six degrees, and by drawing the lights. In fact, all corrections are made on the seventh day.
The Sabbath is actually not a day of rest. It is a state where it is no longer possible to scrutinize and arrange anything. Instead, “One who labored on the Sabbath Eve shall eat on the Sabbath.”[6] Only what we do during the six days enters Malchut and is corrected in Malchut, in our Yesod (also “foundation”), in our substance, our meaning desires.

The eighth is the reception of the quality of Aaron, quality of Bina, as it is written, “Sons of Bina, eight days.”[7] Malchut connects to Bina, from whom we draw the correcting force on the eighth day.

The upper system is called Zeir Anpin, or HaKadosh Baruch Hu (The Holy One Blessed Be He). It is the system that corrects us, the clothing Malchut, which ties to the upper system. In other words, our soul connects to the Creator.

The soul is also called the “Assembly of Israel” because it assembles all the souls that desire correction. This is how we come to the eighth. Here we must be careful when we encounter situations such as with Nadav and Avihu, but we will still have to experience them.

As was already mentioned, “There is not a righteous man on earth who does good and did not sin” (Ecclesiastes, 7:20). This means that we will encounter many more scrutinies on our way, following our roots, and following what had happened to our forefathers. After all the corrections and exiles we have been through, we arrive at the disclosure and know how to continue. Additionally, we will have good instructions from the wisdom of Kabbalah, so when we face demanding scrutinies we will go through them quickly and continue.

Regarding the example of Nadav and Avihu, we always want our children not to make mistakes, but this shows us that mistakes are mandatory?
Without being aware of it we constantly lead our children to mistakes. And not only children; even university students about to become PhDs learn by being presented with problems. The learning process itself actually involves solving problems. We present the children with problems and want them to play and resolve it. Alternatively, we give them something to assemble or give them exercises in math, physics, or chemistry. We constantly challenge them with problems.

When our children grow and become youths or young adults, we still worry that they might make mistakes. How do we raise children that will not act on their intense desires, as did Nadav and Avihu, who were burned for it?

Children learn what to do, how to do it—and if they should do it at all—only by trial and error. Similarly, we have to try and err. We have to discover the shattering, the crisis, our nature, or we will not know how to correct it. This is why we were given the Torah, whose light shines for us and clarifies matters.

There is light for the scrutiny of the Kelim (vessels), and there is light for the correction of the Kelim. If we know how to use our Kelim (desires) correctly, we will go through the corrections quickly and pleasantly. If each time we encounter a corruption we will also know that we can fix it, and specifically this way discover another portion of the spiritual world, our eternity, perfection, there is no doubt we will be happy by the appearance of that corruption.

In relation to education, when we see our children make mistakes and correct themselves, should we view it as something good?

Yes. There are customs where we act joyfully (even on the Day of Atonement [Yom Kippur]), as opposed to the sadness in other customs. The differences stem from misunderstanding what we are discovering. In truth, there is something to each of the expressions of the customs. In each revelation of evil there must be joy, too, since we have the means to correct it and achieve contentment. It is impossible to feel good without discovering and correcting the bad.

It is written that everyone will know the difference between the rules of Tuma’a (impurity) and Tahara (purity), and that at the time of the First Temple, every child from six years old knew those laws. What does it mean?

This does not refer to children in the physical sense of the word, although that was the prevailing type of education then and children did grow with understanding, sensation, and perception of the upper force. They received upbringing that brought them to bestowal and opening of the eyes. Besides this world, which they saw through their five physical senses, they were assisted in developing a sixth sense, called Neshama (soul). With that sense they experienced the upper force and therefore knew what was good and what was bad. They could distinguish between them and thus grow.

Everything depends on the environment. The environment educated children toward corrections, and each child whose ego (will to receive) grew received the appropriate education. Education is a system of correction through the environment, of explanation and support, as our desires grow. Education means teaching children that their desires are constantly growing and should be used in order to bestow, for love.

Can such education be established today, as well?

It will happen anyway because nature is obliging us to do it. We are heading toward a state where we will have to instill this type of education throughout the world, not just for us, but for the entire nation and the entire world. We need to be “a light for the nations” (Isaiah, 42:6), and pass on the method, “for My house shall be called ‘a house of prayer’ for all the nations” (Isaiah, 56:7) so they will all be as one bundle.

Today we are in the last exile, preceding the complete redemption. Therefore, we must first bring this education to the people of Israel, and subsequently to the rest of the world. We are in advanced stages on this path. The crisis we are experiencing, the helplessness in education, and the collapse of the family institution were all intended to open our eyes to big changes.

Does that mean that the crisis was meant to make us ask for a solution on a higher level?

Yes. The solution already exists, and it is simple. We must understand that there is no other choice, that we have an easy and effective means to obtain bounty and happiness, especially with our children. Otherwise, what kind of world are we leaving for our children?

We know that days and occasions mentioned in the Torah symbolize internal stages; what is the day of the inauguration of the tabernacle?

Once a person has sorted all of one’s Kelim in mind and heart, meaning in one’s desires, thoughts, and intentions, that person can work with these Kelim in full power. This is called the “inauguration of the tabernacle.” One brings them as offerings when they are scrutinized.

The offerings are all the desires that a person can turn from aiming to receive, from egoistic (evil inclination), to aiming to bestow, to the form of bestowal and love. This is the correction. By correcting more and more of one’s desires to bestowal and love, we draw closer to the Creator. The word Korban (sacrifice/offering) comes from the word Karov (near/close), and Makriv (bringing near/offering/sacrificing). This is man’s primary work. So the inauguration of the tabernacle means that one has prepared the Kelim with which one can begin to work.

Does being in the light, in the day, refer to a state that is opposite from the night?

It is written (Psalms, 36:10), “By Your light we shall see light.” Once we have corrected ourselves in the degree of desiring mercy—bestowing in order to bestow, the degree of Aaron—we correct our desires that are not in reception in order to bestow. We move from constantly wanting to receive for ourselves in all our desires to a state where what is happening is clear to us and we neutralize those desires into a point where we do not want to use them for our own sake, since that would literally destroy and “burn” our soul. Preparing ourselves, this is the tabernacle. Henceforth we begin to correct these desires in order to bestow.

[1] “You shall not go outside the doorway of the tent of meeting for seven days, until the day that the period of your ordination is fulfilled; for he will ordain you through seven days” (Leviticus, 8:33).

[2] Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, 30b.

[3] Jerusalem Talmud, Seder Nashim, Masechet Nedarim, Chapter 9, p 30b.

[4] Midrash Tanchuma, Pekudei, item 3.

[5] “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings” (Leviticus, 23:3).

[6] Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Avodah Zarah, p 3a.

[7] As sung in the Hanukah song, Maoz Tzur.

The Russian Supreme Court Case To Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses (Day 6)


April 20, 2017 –Today’s proceedings is in the format of a debate. The Ministry of Justice presents their reasons for banning Jehovah’s Witnesses and liquidating all of their assets, namely the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in St. Petersburg and the 395 LROs scattered throughout the country.

13:15 The courtroom of the Supreme Court gradually filled with spectators. There was a feelings of nervousness and restrained excitement. The parties were preparing their speeches to deliberate in the debate.

13:50 Most of the seats were filled by this time.

14:09 The hearings begin. Omelchenko made a quick petition to attach a statement from the European Union on the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia to the case materials. In it, the European Union said that “the statement of March 15, filed by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation in the Supreme Court, is the last severe measure taken in its fight against Jehovah’s Witnesses and these prosecutions they are subjected to in Russia is a further increase in violations of their rights which contradicts international standards in the field of freedom of religion or belief.” The court asked how this statement could affect the outcome of the day’s proceedings. Omelchenko said that this is evidence of a violation of Article 18 of the European Convention. Although the European Union is not a body of the Council of Europe, it was made at a meeting of the Council of Europe. The court refuses to attach the document.

14:15 The court started the debate. The Ministry of Justice representative made her case.

14:16 The Ministry of Justice drew attention to the fact that Russia adheres to the principle of the rule of law. The law on freedom of conscience provides a framework. The Ministry of Justice drew attention to the fact that the very name of the Center, the “Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia,” indicates that the centralized organization exercises control over the LROs. The Ministry of Justice drew attention to the leading role of the Administrative Center in its interactions with the LROs. The Administrative Center agrees on the issues related to the appointment of the chairmen of the LROs, etc. Organizations of Jehovah’s Witnesses are a holistic organism. They are characterized by organizational unity. References to the canonical connection by the Ministry of Justice are inconclusive.

14:25 According to the Ministry of Justice representative, the face that the defendant continues to claim that there was planting of extremist materials indicates that the Administrative Center does not repent of its extremist activities.

14:28 The Ministry of Justice representative continued: Although many religions express some sort of relationship with secular authorities, the texts of Jehovah’s Witnesses contain prohibitively insulting ways of expressing the truth of their beliefs. Extremists do not recognize quotes from the bible, but rather their interpretation of what is written in the bible.

14:35 The Ministry of Justice believed that the numerous court decisions made in connection with what materials they recognized as extremist should have given the Administrative Center enough of an opportunity to determine what literature not to import into the country.

14:35 The fact is, according to the Ministry of Justice, over the last 25 years, the Administrative Center had imported materials that were later recognized as extremist.

14:38 The Ministry of Justice believes that because “extremist” (as applied to Jehovah’s Witnesses’ literature) is placed within quotation marks in the literature of Jehovah’s Witnesses, they are being cynical of the matter – despite the fact that the courts’ decisions to recognize extremist literature had entered into legal force.

14:40 Summing up, the Ministry of Justice representative, as before, asks to liquidate the Administrative Center, all the LROs and confiscate all of their property – without waiting for the court’s decision to put it into legal force.

14:42 Omelchenko, on behalf of the defendant, the Administrative Center, began his speech in the debate.

14:45 Omelchenko analyzed the non-legal nature of the Ministry of Justice’s generalization that the various organizations of Jehovah’s Witnesses are supposed to be a single organization “with structural units”.

14:50 Omelchenko cited the norms of legislation on countering extremism. The law does not provide for such extremist actions as “an act in the form of inaction”, “an act committed inadvertently, by imprudence”. The Supreme Court of Russia has repeatedly pointed out that extremism can only be active actions aimed at violent change of the foundations of the constitutional system.

15:02 According to Omelchenko, the plaintiff’s representative gave their own interpretation of what extremism is in the debate. However, the defendant recalled that the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation give legal interpretation. And these courts ruled that “inciting hatred and propaganda of social, racial, national, religious superiority, whose existence should be determined taking into account all the significant circumstances of each particular case, namely the form and content of activities or information, their addressees and the target audience , Socio-political context, the existence of a real threat, including calls for unlawful attacks on constitutionally protected values, or justification of their commission.”

“Restriction through the anti-extremist legislation of freedom of conscience and religion, freedom of speech and the right to disseminate information should not take place in relation to any activity or information on the sole ground that they do not fit into generally accepted notions or are not consistent with established traditional views and opinions, come into conflict with moral or religious preferences. Anything else would mean a deviation from the constitutional requirement of necessity, proportionality and justice by restricting the rights and freedoms of man and citizen.”

15:13 Omelchenko: The actions of the Ministry of Justice do not pursue a legitimate aim, they bear all signs of political repression. “I ask that the plaintiff’s complaints not be met but be refused completely.”

15:16 Lawyer Chenkov spoke in the debate. He began with his personal impression of the last few days. He found himself in one of Moscow’s parks and saw that dozens of Jehovah’s Witnesses came to this park. They did not have any posters and they did not come out to protest the lawsuit that began in the Supreme Court on April 5, 2017. They went out to clean up the garbage that had accumulated over the winter. So who are these people? Extremists or good Christians?

15:20 The Ministry of Justice has demanded to take all the buildings of worship of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, built by believers at their own expense. This happened only once in Russia, namely, a hundred years ago, in 1918. At that time, the Council of the People’s Commissars decreed that all property be taken away, including the religious buildings of the Russian Orthodox Church.

15:27 Zhenkov: The Ministry of Justice suggested that Jehovah’s Witnesses, through despair, said that the cases against them were falsified. However, believers do not despair, notes Chenkov. They believe the words of the Bible that there is nothing secret that would not become obvious. And everyone will bear responsibility before God for their deeds. Just the other day, on April 17, 2017, the President of the Russian Federation approved an amendment to Article 303 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, now provides for criminal liability for falsifying evidence in administrative cases However, the problem of falsifications should concern not only the President, but all of the executive bodies, such as the Ministry of Justice (Justice in Latin means justice).

15:35 In this case there are dozens of certificates: gratitude, not only for the improvement of the country, but for an active life position, for helping those affected by natural disasters, for helping Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) from the territory of Ukraine, for helping orphanages, for improving the leisure center for children with disabilities, for participation in the marathon “Help the child”, etc. “Is it so that the organization is both useful and dangerous?” Chenkov is perplexed.

15:40 Chenkov analyzed the testimony of witnesses, both from the plaintiff’s side and from the defendant’s side.

15:45 The lawyer drew attention to expert opinions on the literature of Jehovah’s Witnesses. “Why do I stop at literature again? Because literature, recognized as extremist, is the only complaint against Jehovah’s Witnesses in carrying out extremist activities.”

15:46 Chenkov: “In this room, there was a man who was born in prison. Because his mother was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment when she was 5 months pregnant as an enemy of the state just because she was a Jehovah’s Witness. She gave birth in prison, and he spent two years in a prison orphanage. His father could not take him, because he was exiled to Siberia. In 1991, the state recognized the mother as a victim of political repression, apologized to her, and provided her with a pension. And here in court this person, who was born in prison, approached me and asked: “Does the Ministry of Justice wish to repeat this terrible story?”. And I did not know what to say. I still do not know what moves the representatives of the Ministry of Justice and those who direct this process.

15:50 Chenkov: “What will happen if the court satisfies the request of the Ministry of Justice? Respected court, if this is the will of the state, then the country successfully acquires 170 thousand prisoners of conscience and a corresponding reputation. If the state’s will is to comply with the law, then the court’s decision can be only one thing – to refuse the Ministry of Justice’s complaint against the Administrative Center. ”

15:52 Toporov spoke in the debate. “Blaming Jehovah’s Witnesses for extremism is like blaming an infant of extremism. Only an infant is not able to commit extremist activity because of his age, nor are Jehovah’s Witnesses due to their religious worldview. For them, calls for any kind of violence against people, violent actions, enmity and hatred towards people by any indication are serious sins against God.”

16:02 Speaking about the independence of the LRO, Toporov refers to the Charter of the Administrative Center. LROs are endowed with the absolute right, without taking into account the will of the Administrative Center, to determine the term of their presence in the said structure, to resolve issues of liquidation, transfer to other centralized religious organizations, etc. “The Administrative Center does not have the right to liquidate the LRO, as it is not their founder … What is this structural unit?” – asks Toporov.

16:12 Concluding his speech, Toporov cited the statement of human rights activist L. Alekseeva in its entirety. In the end, he says: “You, the respected court, it is you, here and today, can eliminate injustice and dishonesty towards hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens, restore their good name, strengthen confidence in the law on countering extremism, clearly showing the difference between these extremists and Extremists drawn on paper. We hope that the court will have the courage to do this and make a fair and impartial decision, guided by the law and the gift from God – a human conscience. ”

16:13 Novakov was next to speak in the debate. He drew attention to the fact that due to the suspension of activities, believers throughout the country were subjected to massive violations of rights: law enforcement officers invaded the services and copied personal data of citizens who had not committed any offense. The police officers carried out illegal detentions by bringing them into custody, personal searches, videotaping of persons. Administrative cases are raised, warnings are made about the possibility of criminal prosecution under Article 282 of the Criminal Code.

16:16 Referring to the increase in violations of rights, Novakov said: “Moreover, if the Court makes a decision on liquidation, this will produce even more tragic consequences throughout the country. Any Jehovah’s Witness may be considered an extremist with all the ensuing consequences: widespread religious violence against Witnesses: from destruction and damage to property and attacks, to causing serious harm to health and killing peaceful religious citizens on the grounds of religious hatred. At an international level, blame for the condoning of violence and prosecution for far-fetched circumstances will be assigned to state authorities in Russia. ”

16:32 Novakov recalled that the Ministry of Justice representative accused Jehovah’s Witnesses of cynicism in her debate. “I’ll tell you what cynicism is,” Novakov said. “When the Ministry of Justice in the first trial of the LRO says that the rights af the Administrative Center are not affected, but then makes those court decisions as the basis for the elimination of the Administrative Center. Or when the Ministry of Justice perceives much more harsh statements against Jehovah’s Witnesses as “ordinary criticism”, while calling “extremism” those statements that are far from extremism. When, contrary to the available data, the Ministry of Justice dismisses reports of falsification, it does not dare to cite cases when falsification is clearly fixed on the video. “That’s what cynicism is!” Novakov concluded.

16:40 Cherepanove next spoke in the debate. He believed that if the court left Jehovah’s Witnesses to exist legally, Russia will not only not suffer damage, but on the contrary will improve its reputation both inside the country and in the international arena. Decisions against Jehovah’s Witnesses have been appealed to the ECHR and the UN Human Rights Committee.

16:45 “We have had good cooperation with the Justice Ministry for decades,” said Cherepanov. “I think the Justice Ministry should feel in a sense our defender, he registered us!” Addressing to the representatives of the Ministry of Justice, Cherepanov said: “Let’s be friends! Do not become a punitive body. We do not want to sue you, we ask that you help us, and do not look for a reason to close us. ”

16:47 Cherepanov spoke about the problem of denigrating the good name of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the media. Various crimes had been attributed towards them, for example, “weaning apartments.” Proving the falsity of this myth, Cherepanov recallsedthe biblical commandment “Do not covet someone else’s wife”.

16:50 “The strength of a powerful state is precisely to protect the interests of the minority, because the majority will stand for itself.”

16:55 Kalin spoke next: “The Ministry of Justice not only humiliates itself and its functions, but humiliates the entire state in the eyes of the international community. If a respected representative of the Ministry of Justice has personal convictions that Jehovah’s Witnesses are extremists, I’m very sorry. If the representative of the Ministry of Justice was a victim of the circumstances in which he fell into, and is forced to perform just the role of accuser, I am also sorry. But in either case you will have to answer before your own conscience. ”

16:56 Kalin recalled one’s responsibility before God and said: “I take this opportunity to issue a warning to the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Ministry of Justice. Please, come to your senses! Please, come to your senses! ”

17:00 Both sides exchanged remarks.

17:01 The Ministry of Justice representative recalled that the essence of the complaint is to liquidate a legal entity; the Justice Ministry does not make complaints against individuals. The Justice Ministry reminded the court of the testimony of one of the witnesses of the plaintiff who was expelled from the religious community. The Ministry of Justice considered this a violation of the rights of citizens. In response, Chenkov recalled that at one time the Russian Orthodox Church excommunicated the writer L. Tolstoy. In our time, the ROC refused to cancel the decision on excommunication, despite the petitions for this. This is an internal matter of the church. Chenkov asked whether the Ministry of Justice intended to present any demands to the ROC.

17:09 The court retires to the advisory room.

17:18 The courtroom is filled with television journalists.

18:25 The court is still in the advisory room. The courtroom awaits the announcement of the judgment.

18:50 The Supreme Court decided to liquidate the centralized religious organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, as well as all 395 local religious organizations of this religion.

Believers have already begun to prepare a complaint to the appellate court (a panel consisting of three judges of the Supreme Court), which should be considered within a month.

The Russian Supreme Court Case To Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses (Day 5)


In the morning’s proceedings, there were some interesting subjects discussed.

Jehovah’s Witnesses were suspected of ulterior motives for helping out cities in Russia. Representatives of the Administrative Center didn’t outright deny such claims but instead said that “it cannot be so”. Former Jehovah’s Witnesses know only too well that Jehovah’s Witnesses’ primary goal is to make their organization look appealing to potential converts. There is always ulterior motives to Jehovah’s Witnesses’ actions.

A quote from the Watchtower publication “Mankind’s Search for God” is read out to the court. The exact quote is found on page 8, paragraph 11 of the book. What is interesting about this quote is that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not tolerate former Jehovah’s Witnesses who have “a different view point”. They are labelled as “apostate”, disfellowshipped, shunned and treated as if they were “children of the devil”.

For former members who have serious issues with the blood policy, they will find Watchtower’s frustration with the court’s inquiries into this matter quite interesting.

The court was also interested in who owns jw-russia.org.

In the afternoon’s proceedings, there were further subjects of interest.

The format of the meeting minutes for the various LROs seemed to be almost identical, as if there was formal guidance on the approach.

The videos relating to the planting of extremist materials were discussed but were not viewed by the court.

Documents from various domestic and international organisations who condemn the possible banning of Jehovah’s Witnesses was discussed.

Documents relating to blood transfusion cases were not admitted into case materials.

Jehovah’s Witness representatives admitted that a letter found on a Russian media website alleged to be issued by the Administrative Center was authentic.

The properties alleged to be owned by the Administrative Center and the LROs were examined. The Jehovah’s Witnesses claimed that such properties were no longer theirs. This claim might be true based on recent attempts to legally transfer ownership to individual members rather than the administrative entities per the above letter.

9:00 More people than ever had formed a crowd at the front of the Supreme Court. The line started to form at night time. Many from different cities throughout Russia, came especially for the occasion. As the weather in Moscow was cold, most were dressed in winter gear. At times, some came with coffee and cakes for those standing in line. Police officers worked professionally and in harmony to ensure the safety of those who are there to attend the court hearing.

10:05 Chenkov made a motion to admit new documents. Referring to the ongoing process, he reported that in March/April 2017, law enforcement agencies throughout Russia invaded their religious buildings, demanded that they stop, questioned believers, and rewrote their passport data. Prosecutors issued warnings of criminal liability relating to extremism because of holding meetings to study the Bible. The Ministry of Justice objected to the motion. The court determined that such documents should be attached to the case materials.

10:15 The Ministry of Justice representative requested that copies of the decisions of the Administrative Center’s Steering Committee on the appointment of the LRO committees be attached to the case materials. According to the Ministry of Justice, these documents testify to the leading role of the Center. Representatives of the Administrative Center are left to the discretion of the court. In their opinion, this is untenable evidence. Watchtower’s attorney’s direct attention to the fact that some documents are dated 1998 and earlier (that is, before registration of the Administrative Center under the new law). In addition, the contents of the certificates fully comply with the Charter of the Administrative Center. Certificates were issued based on the fact that the Charter of the LROs was changing, so the certificates were issued to confirm that the persons indicated in them were still members of the LRO committees. The court determined that such documents should be attached to the case materials, with the exception of those that applied prior to the re-registration of the Administrative Center.

10:25 The court proceeded to examine the case materials. The first document was the statement of claim from the Ministry of Justice. The court consulted with the Ministry of Justice representative to clarify on what grounds the department had asked to liquidate all LROs together with the Administrative Center. He asked whether the Ministry of Justice intended to clarify the complaint. The Ministry of Justice did not intend to. Watchtower’s lawyers drew attention to the property listed in the complaint and stated that it did not belong to the Administrative Center.

10:35 The court examined the document, “The Fundamentals of the Doctrine and the Practices of the Jehovah’s Witnesses”. Lawyer’s drew attention to the provisions of love for neighbor and tolerance (which directly contradicts the notion of extremism). They were also asked to read out the provisions where it said that Jehovah’s Witnesses were trying to give their children a good education.

10:40 The Charter of the Administrative Center is investigated. The court is interested in the question of whether the religious groups are part of the structure of the LROs. They wanted to know how many groups were unregistered. The lawyers explained that unregistered groups are part of the Administrative Center’s structure: The concept of “structure” in the “Law on Freedom of Conscience” is associated with the separation of religion from the state. Religions exist in accordance with their internal hierarchical institutional structure, to which the state does not delve. In this regard, the lawyers believe that the Administrative Center does not have to maintain legal documentation related to the activities of unregistered groups, and therefore cannot provide the court with official information.

10:47 The court announces a 10-minute technical break.

11:00 The study of documents continued. The court listed various court decisions. When the decision of the Rostov Regional Court of 2009 (regarding the Taganrog LRO) was investigated, Watchtower’s representative, Omelchenko, drew attention to the fact that such a decision was made prior to the decision of the Assembly of the Supreme Court, which determined what was and was not extremism. For example, by this decision, the Taganrog community of Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well as their publications, were recognized for “undermining respect for other religions”, “refusing to use blood for medical purposes”, and “refusing to fulfill civil obligations”. Also, a number of publications were considered extremist when they had absolutely nothing to do with extremism. For example, the brochure, “Jehovah’s Witnesses – Who are they? What do they believe?” was deemed extremist for mentioning that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not take up arms. There were other examples.

11:10 Representatives of the Administrative Center drew attention to the fact that the collection of judicial acts were issued without the involvement of the Administrative Center. Therefore, they believed that they could not be served as evidence in this suit.

11:15 The Administrative Center representative, Novakov, drew attention to the fact that at least one court decision, although attached to the case materials by the Ministry of Justice, was quashed by a higher court.

11:20 The Ministry of Justice’s Inspection Report is being discussed. The Administrative Center’s lawyers drew attention to what they believe is the unreliability of the Ministry of Justice’s conclusion that the Administrative Center hides information about imported literature. In fact, having provided more than 70’000 sheets of documents for examination by the Ministry of Justice, the Administrative Center refused to provide information that the Ministry of Justice had requested from the customs authorities in the framework of inter-agency cooperation.

11:30 The Ministry of Justice representative drew attention to the fact that, according to one of the documents, more than 2000 unregistered groups operated under the supervision of the Administrative Center. The Administrative Center’s lawyers explained that this was an internal spiritual structure.

The court asks the Ministry of Justice why the turnover and balance sheets were attached to the case materials. The Ministry of Justice representative explained that the statements may indicate that “money was sent to finance extremist activities.” The court asked for evidence that money was spent on extremist activity and not on ordinary statutory goals. The Ministry of Justice did not have exact data. Administrative Center representative, Toporov, drew attention to the fact that, as part of an audit by the Ministry of Justice, the Administrative Center provided all their donation contracts with the primary purpose of understanding their financial transfers. Toporov’s question was “Why didn’t the Ministry of Justice submit these documents to the court?”

11:40 Administrative Center representative, Omelchenko, asked the Ministry of Justice representative: “Can you specify the amount spent, when it was spent, by whom and for what type of extremist activity it was used for?” The Ministry of Justice had no information.

11:45 The documents that proved the prosecutor’s office collected information about the property of believers was examined. The Administrative Center’s representatives were interested in the Ministry of Justice representative’s response to what purpose this information was collected. Answer: for the purpose of confiscating property in the event that the court adopts an appropriate decision.

11:50 Letters of gratitude for help in the improvement of cities issued by Russian authorities to the Administrative Center and the LROs were reviewed. The Ministry of Justice representative believed that Jehovah’s Witnesses were doing this for the purpose of missionary activity. Chenkov, referring to the Ministry of Justice representative: “Svetlana Konstantinova, when it came to financing the LROs, you suspected extremist goals. When believers participated in helping the city, you again assumed some kind of dirty trick. It cannot be so!”

11:55 Chenkov drew attention to the State Religious Expert Examination of the Ministry of Justice, the basis upon which the Administrative Center was registered in 1999. Conclusions of this expertise were still in effect. Zhenkov believed that an attempt to revise the conclusions of the competent expertise in the court session was unacceptable.

12:00 Court business went on to review expert conclusions of which 70 testified to the absence of extremism in Jehovah’s Witnesses’ publications. Many such studies were conducted in academic institutions on behalf of the Ministry of Justice. For example, Chenkov, referring to the conclusions of the state academic institution, quotes from the book, “Mankind’s Search for God” (included in the Federal List of Extremist Materials (FLEM)). The book says [on page 8, para 11], “To study different religions need not imply infidelity to one’s own faith, but rather it may be enlarged by seeing how other people have sought for reality and have been enriched by their search. Knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to tolerance of people with a different view point.” Experts found no signs of extremism in the book, but rather the opposite. Nevertheless, the book is included in the FLEM.

12:05 The Ministry of Justice believed that these examinations were carried out on the request of the Administrative Center’s laywers, which means that they contain expert’s biased opinions. Omelchenko explained that this was not true: a significant part of the examinations were carried out at the request of the courts, law enforcement agencies and custom authorities.

12:15 Court decisions and sentences that came into force were being investigated which prove the absence of extremism in the publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Believers were prosecuted and some were held up in the courts for up to five years before being acquitted. Now they are again threatened with sanctions in the event that the complaints of the Ministry of Justice are satisfied.

12:17 Representative Novakov: The planting of extremist materials into Jehovah’s Witnesses’ places of worship is at epidemic proportions in Russia. Novakov described the events of September 20, 2016 in Artse Nezlobnaya (Stavropol region), when law enforcement offices ripped down the doors and planted extremist materials right under the surveillance cameras.

12:19 Omelchenko: The Ministry of Justice did nothing to ensure that the expert conclusions made on the literature of Jehovah’s Witnesses did not differ between those examinations made in the North and the South of the country. As a party to the court cases, the Ministry of Justice didn’t review the court decisions that had come into effect on the recognition of the materials of Jehovah’s Witnesses as extremist.

12:25 The decisions of the European Court of human Rights (ECHR) were reviewed. Despite the fact that the ECHR gave legal interpretion to the denial of transfusion of blood by believers, the court again developed a discussion with regard to the transfusion of blood. The Ministry of Justice representative referred to a case where a child of Jehovah’s Witnesses died after a terrible accident, and also referred to a case involving the death of a child born with multiple deformities. The court asked the Ministry of Justice representative whethere there was a causal relationship between the non-use of donor blood and the deaths that took place. The Administrative Center’s lawyers inform the court about information the Ministry of Justice representative is leaving out: in both cases, criminal proceedings were initiated against the parents, extensive expert evaluations were carried out to establish the absence of such a causal link. The parents were acquitted due to lack of evidence of a crime.

12:40 Materials proving that believers applied to the appropriate competent authorities with regard to the falsification of facts (planting of evidence) was examined.

12:45 Court decisions on the recognition of literature as extremist materials. It could be seen that neither the Administrative Center or representatives of the publishing corporation (Watchtower), were involved in the cases. Administrative Center representatives talked about double standards of state bodies. When it was necessary to recognize literature as extremist, the Administrative Center was not allowed to take part in the cases, but when there was a move to liquidate the Administrative Center, it was based on the facts that literature had been recognized as extremist.

13:00 In the case materials, there were DVDs with video-recordings. Novakov said that such materials would help understand whether the Administrative Center had brought prohibited materials into their places of worship, or whether any other related person had done so. The discs would allow the court to see the reaction of the believers themselves – how they reacted indignantly at the appearance of prohibited materials in their places of worship.

13:05 The court asked from what time the videos belonged. Novakov: The events in the village of Nezlobnoya date back to September 2016. It was only because of the video recordings that law enforcement officers refused to press charges against the LROs. Novakov described falsifications caught on camera in other Russian cities.

13:10 The court asked the Administrative Center’s representatives whether all these facts were appealed in the established order. And if so, were there any results. The representatives confirmed that they had appealed and are continually appealing, but so far they have been unsuccessful. The court proceeded to examine other evidence without viewing the video recording.

13:20 In total there are at least 43 volumes of evidence in the case materials. So far, the court has examined 24 volumes.

13:25 The court read out the Administrative Center’s public statement that they have nothing to do with extremism. The application was originally posted on the website, jw-russia.org. In this case, the court finds out who is the copyright owner of this site. The representatives of the Administrative Center report that the website belongs to the foreign entity, “Watchtower Society”. The administrative center does not have a website, so the application was posted on the website of another organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

13:30 Several of the volumes of evidence in the case materials consist of LRO inspections by the justice authorities, but no violations of the law have been identified. The Ministry of Justice requests that copies of various warnings and warnings issued to the Administrative Center be attached to the case materials.

13:43 The court announces a break until 14:30.

14:40 The hearing continued. Volume 39, which contains LRO’s meeting minutes from various cities is reviewed. The minutes recorded in detail the events associated with the planting of extremist literature, as well as measures that had been taken against the emergence of extremist literature in the religious buildings.

14:45 The court draws attention to the fact that the form used for the meeting minutes of the various LROs were similar to each other. The court is interested in whether there is an approved form used for these meeting minutes. Omelchenko explains that there is no approved form. The reason for their similarity is explained by the face that believers communicate closely with each other.

14:50 The court again asks the Administrative Center’s representatives whether they intend to challenge the court’s decisions that formed the basis of the complaint. Omelchenko makes it clear that the current court proceedings were not a review of those decisions. In this proceeding, like any other evidence in a case, the court must evaluate the degree of their relevance.

15:02 Color photographs were viewed. They were freeze frames of video materials that prove the planting of extremist materials in religious buildings. Novakov drew attention to a single scheme that was carried out across the country and that was of planting materials.

15:07 Another characteristic of the false planting was that of false witnesses. One example was the notarized certificate of friendship between one of the witnesses and a FSB officer on a social network.

15:08 In the village of Kurdzhinovo (Karachaevo-Cherkessia), there believers were fined on the basis of statements made by false witnesses. Subsequently, these witnesses admitted that they knowingly gave false testimony under pressure from law enforcement. Novakov pointed out that such admissions were available in the case materials.

15:13 Omelchenko drew attention to the court decisions handed down in Voronezh. The court correctly assessed that material found stuck under a carpet on the floor were clearly planted. As the Voronezh court noted in its decision, the fact that the witnesses profess the same religion could be given as grounds to doubt the authenticity of their testimony.

15:16 Omelchenko returns to the question raised earlier at 14:45. He showed the court a number of forms from different LROs. These forms vary greatly. The court asked the Ministry of Justice representative whether her department had doubts that there were forms that differ in design. She didn’t have doubts. Neither did the court have doubts.

15:20 Toporov drew attention to the fact that the decision to liquidate the Birobidzhan LRO was made in a trial involving the same Ministry of Justice representative, S. Borisova. The Administrative Center was not involved in the case, as its rights were not affected. Therefore, Toporov was surprised that in this case, the Ministry of Justice has changed its position and has applied the Briobidzhan’s LRO decision on to the Administrative Center.

15:25 Documents signed by various international and domestic bodies and organizations that expressed concern about the application of anti-extremism legislation to the Jehovah’s Witnesses was examined. Omelchenko read out typical excerpts from those documents, including appeals that were made to the Russian Federation to stop the political persecution of believers.

15:42 The court returns to petitions previously referred to that were deferred. The Ministry of Justice representative asked to attach 12 judgements that gave doctors the right to use donor blood for the treatment of minors to the case materials. The Administrative Center’s representatives did not believe that these decisions were relevant to the case.

Firstly, the rejection of a blood transfusion is not related to the concept of extremism (the Ministry of Justice has not cited anything else in their suit to ban Jehovah’s Witnesses, other than the grounds of extremist activity).

Secondly, the Administrative Center was not party to those cases and is not even mentioned in any of those decisions.

Thirdly, the introduction of these decisions affects medical confidentiality. For them to assess the judgments as well as their medical records, the court would need to seek the consent of the patients. In all decisions, without exception, parents would treat their children and treat them in hospitals. With regard to refusal of treatment, it was not a lie.

Chenkov drew attention to that fact that the ECHR ruling, which gives legal interpretation of the refusal of blood transfustions, gave examples of prohibitions in Islam and Orthodoxy that may be potentially hazardous to health. “However, the Ministry of Justice does not come out with a lawsuit to liquidate the centralized organisation of these religions,” noted Chenkov.

15:59 The court refused to include court decisions related to blood transfusion procedures.

16:10 The court decides on whether to attach copies of 28 actions by the prosecutor’s office, namely warnings issued against various LROs. These actions were carried out over many years, not just the last 3 years.

16:20 The court asks why the Ministry of Justice didn’t apply to local courts on these actions. The Ministry of Justice explained that the violations were minor or eliminated. Representatives of the Administrative Center noted that these actions were not connected with extremist activity. The court refused to attach these actions to the case materials.

16:22 The court returned to the question on whether to attached a copy of an internal document of Jehovah’s Witnesses received by the Ministry of Justice from open sources (from NTV‘s website) to the case. The Administrative Center’s representatives confirmed the authenticity of the text. They explain the contents of the letter to the court, which detailed the procedure relating to believer’s voluntary donations. They explain to the court what the “body of elders” are and who are the “district overseers”. Taking into account detailed explanations, the court decides to attach this document to the case materials.

16:35 In response to a statement by the Ministry of Justice representative that the LRO chairmen are appointed upon the decision of the Administrative Center is mandatory, Toporov drew attention to the wording, “recommends as chairman of the LRO”.

16:36 The Ministry of Justice representatives asks that an updated list of property owned by the Administrative Center and LROs extracted from the state register be attached to the case materials. The court gives the defendants 10 minutes to become acquainted with the extract.

16:38 A small technical break is announced.

17:11 The hearing resumed. The representatives of the defendant, having read the extract from the register, comment that the extract is not relevant information because it was property that was once owned by the Administrative Center or the LROs but is no longer. The Ministry of Justice explains that the data contained in this form was provided by Rosreestr (Federal Service for State Registration, Boundaries and Cartography). The court decides to attach.

17:16 The court is interested in the link between the LRO and the Administrative Center in regards to how the LRO’s charter is forumlated. To this end, the judge asks the parties if they have an example of a LRO charter. The Ministry of Justice does not. Omelchenko presents to the court a sample of the Charter of the LROs of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The text of the charter states that the LRO is included in the “canonical structure” of the Administrative Center, belongs to the “religious confession of Jehovah’s Witnesses”. There is no wording relating to “structural unit” (a term applied to political parties), of which the plaintiff insists there is.
17:29 The court refused the previously filed motion to watch a video of the planting of extremist materials.

17:30 As there are no more requests, the court announces the continuation of the hearings on Thursday, April 20 2017 at 2pm (Russian time)

What Are Reasons By Historians And Scolars Jesus Was Literally Crusified 


Jesus Christ, one of the most influential figures in all of human history, met His end at the hands of the Romans, whom crucified Him. His crime was calling Himself the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One, and He paid dearly for it. Indeed, this is a record of history written by Christians, Jews and pagans alike, and is has been established in the frame of history beyond a reasonable doubt. Indeed, it is a fact, and so I decided to put together exactly why it is universally recognized as one of the most well-established historical facts in all of ancient history, by every single expert on the planet. Indeed, the great historian E.P. Sanders says this;
I shall first offer a list of statements about Jesus that meet two standards: they are almost beyond dispute; and they belong to the framework of his life, and especially of his public career… Jesus was born c 4 BCE near the time of the death of Herod the Great; he spent his childhood and early adult years in Nazareth, a Galilean village; he was baptised by John the Baptist; he called disciples; he taught in the towns, villages and countryside of Galilee (apparently not the cities); he preached ‘the kingdom of God’; about the year 30 he went to Jerusalem for Passover; he created a disturbance in the Temple area; he had a final meal with the disciples; he was arrested and interrogated by Jewish authorities, specifically the high priest; he was executed on the orders of the Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate.

E.P. Sanders correctly notes that the crucifixion of Jesus at the hands of Pontius Pilate is virtually beyond dispute, and indeed, this fact is affirmed by all credible historians in the entire field. Therefore, it is important to know why scholars hold this opinion. Here, we will be reviewing the overwhelming historical data and evidences to affirm the veracity of the crucifixion narrative.

The first thing to look at is the gospel narratives, however, we will not yet look at what they say about the historicity of the crucifixion. First, we will examine their reliability.

Indeed, it is now understood in scholarly circles that the four gospels are generally pretty reliable historical sources, and the data that has brought historians to this conclusion is nothing less than overwhelming. The genre that the gospels were written in is ancient biography. Craig Keener, professor of the New Testament thus remarks;

Through most of history, readers understood the Gospels as biographies, but after 1915 scholars tried to find some other classification for them, mainly because these scholars confused ancient and modern biography and noticed that the Gospels differed from the latter. The current trend, however, is again to recognize the Gospels as ancient biographies.

Likewise, Richard Burrige, professor of Biblical Interpretations also remarks;

In recent years, many genres have been proposed for the Gospels, but increasingly they have been again seen as biography. The work of Charles Talbert and David Aune has contributed greatly to this development, while my own work has attempted to give a detailed argument combining literary theory and classical studies with Gospel scholarship

So, why exactly have historians come to this conclusion? This conclusion is based off of a wealth of resources, to say the least, and one especially is the overwhelming historical confirmation of the gospel narratives. Countless figures of the New Testament, especially important ones like Peter, John, and Paul are well attested in historical records, and sometimes themselves wrote. For example, Paul is credited with at least seven epistles bearing his name, including Romans, Galatians, Philemon, Phillipians, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, and 1 Thessalonians (and he wrote as many as thirteen). So for example, the historicity of Paul is well beyond dispute, as we have his very writings. Clement of Rome (70-96 AD) tells us about the martyrdom of both Paul and Peter. He says;

Through envy and jealousy, the greatest and most righteous pillars [of the Church] have been persecuted and put to death. Let us set before our eyes the illustrious apostles. Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labours and when he had at length suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. Owing to envy, Paul also obtained the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity, compelled to flee, and stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects. -1 Clement, V

The apostle John is even mentioned as a known baptizer by Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews 18.5.2! Countless other of the early disciples, if not every single one of them, are all historical and well known. The gospels record not only the historical figures of the gospels, but countless other historical figures, including the Roman emperor of the time Tiberius Caesar (Luke 3:1), Lysanius, the tetrarch of the time of Jesus (Luke 3:1), the high priest of the time of Jesus Caiaphas (John 11:49), and countless others. Other cities recorded in the New Testament, such as Bethlehem, Nazareth, Capernaum, etc, have all been found confirmed in and before the time of Jesus, despite being small cities. The gospel narratives record that an earthquake erupted during the crucifixion of Jesus (Matthew 27:54). In 2012, a scientific report published to the International Geology Review titled An early first-century earthquake in the Dead Sea confirmed that a major, 6.3 magnitude earthquake took place sometime between 26-36 AD, the exact time of the crucifixion of Jesus. The gospel narratives are overwhelmingly substantiated by countless historical facts, and are simply embedded into historical narratives.

In fact, the author of the Gospel of Luke has even been confirmed to have been a historian! Sir William Ramsay, one of the foremost scholars of his time said “Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy… [he] should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.” To know why historians acknowledge this, one will need to try to look into the overwhelming compilation of historical details confirmed from the smallest aspects of the Gospel of Luke and Book of Acts (both written by the same author) available, and perhaps they can start by reading about 84 confirmed historical details in the last 16 chapters of Acts alone by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek. The Gospel of John, which is traditionally dated to the 90’s AD is so familiar and well versed in the archaeology of Jerusalem before 70 AD, that renowned scholars including James H. Charlesworth have come to the belief that the Gospel of John was originally written before 70 AD, but enlarged into its current form later in the 90’s AD.

This brings us to the first reason why we can consider the crucifixion a historical fact, beyond potential dispute. The story of the crucifixion of Jesus simply emerges from historical reality, it is filled, detail by detail, with confirmed facts and simply woven into historical reality, especially that of the 30’s AD. Let’s see exactly how it does so. The beginning of the crucifixion narrative begins when he is first tried before the authorities of his time, the high priest Caiaphas and Pontius Pilate.

Mark 26:57-58: Those who had arrested Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had convened. Meanwhile, Peter was following Him at a distance right to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and was sitting with the temple police to see the outcome.

As previously noted, Caiaphas has already been historically confirmed to have been a high priest during the time of Jesus, and he was specifically so in the 30’s AD, not a period later on. Secondly;

Mark 15:2: So Pilate asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “You have said it.”

According to the gospels, Jesus was tried before the procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate. Pontius Pilate has also become a historically established figure, and is known to have reigned over Judea between 26-36 AD. As we’re seeing so far, the crucifixion narrative is immersed in the historical reality of the 30’s AD. Later on, we are told exactly where Jesus was crucified:

Mark 15:22: And they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means Skull Place).

According to the crucifixion narrative of the Gospels, Jesus was crucified in a place called Golgotha. Golgotha has been found in the site where the biblical requirements of its location have been called for, and it was an ancient site of crucifixion. The gospels tell us that Jesus carried His own cross (John 19:17), but it becomes apparent that because of the extreme torture he had undergone before, he was no longer able to carry it, and thus a man named Simon from Cyrene had to carry the cross of Jesus for Him. Nevertheless, we are told by the gospel narratives that Jesus was initially carry His own cross, and it’s a well known Roman method during crucifixion to force the victim to carry his own cross before he is actually crucified. In Plutarch’s Moralia, section 554, he writes “every criminal who goes to execution must carry his own cross on his back” — confirming this practice mentioned in the gospels. The crucifixion narratives write that after the crucifixion, a Jew, likely an admirer of Jesus (Joseph of Arimathea) requested permission from Pontius Pilate to bury the body of Jesus. That Jews were concerned with burying their fellow Jews after their death, even their enemies, is confirmed by the first century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who recounts “We must furnish fire, water, food to all who ask for them, point out the road, not leave a corpse unburied, show consideration even to declared enemies” (Against Apion II.29). To recount as well, we’ve also previously seen that the gospels record an earthquake during the time of the crucifixion, one that has been confirmed.

In other words, as we can see, the crucifixion narratives document an account that is filled to the brim with historicity, especially history known from the time of the crucifixion of Jesus (c. 30-33 AD). This is important for two reasons. One, ancient fictions do not contain significant historical details, especially when they are talking about events that happened decades earlier — when historical accounts try to create fictions of events that have transpired decades ago, they usually get those details wrong. However, the gospel writers, even though they write decades later, all easily get the right emperor, procurator and high priest of the time. Secondly, if the gospel authors were inventing a fiction, they do not embed historical detail and historical customs into them, especially at a significant scale. However, the complete contrary is to do with the gospel accounts when they speak of the narrative of the crucifixion, they clearly outline the practices of crucifixion that occurred to Jesus, a region where crucifixion actually happened, and Jewish practice that was applied to Jesus after His crucifixion.

The reality is that, because almost every single thing about the crucifixion narrative of Jesus is historical for a fact, the evidence speaks that it is most certainly true that the crucifixion itself was not invented, rather the authors of the gospels were doing nothing more then writing the history as it happened. As we’ve seen earlier, the gospel accounts contain significant historical accuracy, and thus there is not the slightest reason for us to belief that Jesus crucifixion, which is immersed in historical data, was some kind of fiction all of a sudden popping out.

Jesus’ crucifixion is recorded by countless figures. For one, all four gospel narratives record it, and as we’ve seen, the gospels are historically reliable accounts (and again, Luke’s account was written by a historian, because the Gospel of Luke was written by a historian). Matthew and Luke likely have some dependency on Mark, but John is correctly recognized as a completely independent account, therefore we have at least two independent sources from the gospel narratives both confirming the same thing: Jesus was crucified. Secondly, Jesus’ crucifixion was recorded by an even earlier source, Paul. In the Book of Galatians, Chapter 3, Paul records “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?” Paul’s writings were first written in the 50’s AD, and are also independent of the gospel narratives as well, as well as being a very early, and reliable source about the crucifixion of Jesus, especially by a man who lived contemporaneously with Jesus Christ.

The crucifixion of Jesus is also noted in the writings of the historian Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews XVIII.3.3). Although it is popular on the internet to try to claim that historians believe this is a forgery, actual historians have, contrary to these internet myths, concluded that it passage contains nothing more than a partial interpolation, whereas the account of crucifixion is well enough recorded in the original. Secondly, the crucifixion of Jesus is also recorded in the ancient Roman works, especially that of the historian Cornelius Tacitus. In Annals 15.44, Tacitus tells us about a group of people called Christians, whom were persecuted under the Roman emperor Tiberius. Tacitus then tells us that this group originated from a man known as Chrestus (a variant spelling of Christus, or Christ, in the time of Tacitus) had been executed and crucified in the reign of Tiberius, by the procurator Pontius Pilate. Tacitus information came almost certainly, directly from the Roman records themselves, as Tacitus almost certainly had access to them and most of his documented information came from such sources, or similarly reliable sources. Indeed, Tacitus always tells his readers whether or not the information he is recording comes from an unreliable resource, and in the case of Jesus, Tacitus makes no such disclaimer at all.

The execution of Jesus at the least, without precise notion to the crucifying part of this execution, is perhaps also noted by Mara Bar Serapion, who says “What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as a judgment for their crime. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burning Pythagoras? In a moment their land was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King?” Mara Bar Serapion is generally thought to have written about 74 AD by scholars, and here, the Jews executing their ‘wise king’ (a well-known mockery title of Jesus by the Romans) most-likely means Jesus Christ Himself.

In other words, we have considerable attestation to the crucifixion of Jesus from sources throughout the New Testament, even ranging to many sources outside of it, be they Jewish (Josephus), Roman (Tacitus), or pagan (Mara Bar Serapion). It seems to have been a universally recognized historical fact from its inception, a detail only possessed by events that happened in the reality of history. Most events we know of ancient history are usually based on one account, but historians are usually very happy when they have two ancient accounts of an event. But of course, most are based on one. However, the accounts we have for the crucifixion of Jesus exceed much, much more than just two. Therefore, this is indeed one of the reasons why historians consider it one of the indisputable facts of history, right up there with events such as the Bar Kokhba Revolt, the reign of emperor Constantine and the expansion of the Egyptian empire that was undergone during the reign of the king of Egypt, Rameses II. In other words, as E.P. Sanders notes, indisputable.

We are not done, though. Another major reason for why we know that the crucifixion of Jesus happened was recounted by Bart Ehrman in his debate with the insane mythicist Robert Price, where Price was understandably demolished and most of the time hadn’t a clue what he was talking about. Ehrman revealed an overwhelming fact: That the crucifixion of Jesus would never have been invented, had it not happened in reality. For decades, centuries after the crucifixion of Jesus, many Jews mocked the Christians for believing in a man that had been crucified. The writer Lucian of Samosta, who wrote somewhere between 165-175 AD was a well-known mocker of the Christians, calling Jesus a “crucified sage”. That Jesus, whom was thought to be quite literally God to the Christians, was crucified couldn’t even have comprehensibly have been made up. Indeed, a truly mythical account would have claimed that, rather than being killed, Jesus was actually caught up into heaven and escaped death by the Romans (such as the Islamic account of the life of Jesus). Indeed, the Christians believed Jesus was the Messiah of the Old Testament, and according to contemporary Jewish thought of the 1st century AD, the Messiah would have come as a king on Earth who was going to destroy the Roman allegiance, and establish an eternal Jewish kingdom based in Jerusalem. This never happened with Jesus, Jesus was instead crucified. No Jew would have possibly made this up about their own Messiah. It was humiliating, and that was the way it was meant to be: Crucifixion was invented to humiliate the person being killed. Jesus was crucified. And that is the humble fact of Christianity.

The Mystic Christianity-True Story and Message Of Jesus 


THE true story of the life of Jesus of Nazareth has never been unfolded to the world, either in the accepted Gospels or in the Apocrypha, although a few stray hints may be found in some of the commentaries written by the ante-Nicene Fathers. The facts concerning His identity and mission are among the priceless mysteries preserved to this day in the secret vaults beneath the “Houses of the Brethren.” To a few of the Knights Templar, who were initiated into the arcana of the Druses, Nazarenes, Essenes, Johannites, and other sects still inhabiting the remote and inaccessible fastnesses of the Holy Land, part of the strange story was told. The knowledge of the Templars concerning the early history of Christianity was undoubtedly one of the main reasons for their persecution and final annihilation. The discrepancies in the writings of the early Church Fathers not only are irreconcilable, but demonstrate beyond question that even during the first five centuries after Christ these learned men had for the basis of their writings little more substantial than folklore and hearsay. To the easy believer everything is possible and there are no problems. The unemotional person in search of facts, however, is confronted by a host of problems with uncertain factors, of which the following are typical:According to popular conception, Jesus was crucified during the thirty-third year of His life and in the third year of His ministry following His baptism. About A.D. 180, St. Irenæus, Bishop of Lyons, one of the most eminent of the ante-Nicene theologians, wrote Against Heresies, an attack on the doctrines of the Gnostics. In this work Irenæus declared upon the authority of the Apostles themselves that Jesus lived to old age. To quote: “They, however, that they may establish their false opinion regarding that which is written, ‘to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,’ maintain that He preached for one year only, and then suffered in the twelfth month. [In speaking thus], they are forgetful of their own disadvantage, destroying His whole work, and robbing Him of that age which is both more necessary and more honorable than any other; that more advanced age, I mean, during which also as a teacher He excelled all others. For how could He have had His disciples, if He did not teach? And how could He have taught, unless He had reached the age of a Master? For when He came to be baptized, He had not yet completed His thirtieth year, but was beginning to be about thirty years of age; and He preached only one year reckoning from His baptism. On completing His thirtieth year He suffered, being in fact still a young man, and who had by no means attained to advanced age. Now, that the first stage of early life embraces thirty years, and that this extends onward to the fortieth year, every one will admit; but from the fortieth and fiftieth year a man begins to decline towards old age, which Our Lord possessed while He still fulfilled the office of a Teacher, even as the Gospel and all the elders testify; those who were conversant in Asia with John, the disciple of the Lord, that John conveyed to them that information. And he remained among them up to the time of Trajan. Some of them, moreover, saw not only John, but the other apostles also, and heard the very same account from them, and bear testimony as to the statement. Whom then should we rather believe? Whether such men as these, or Ptolemæus, who never saw the apostles, and who never even in his dreams attained to the slightest trace of an apostle?”

Commenting on the foregoing passage, Godfrey Higgins remarks that it has fortunately escaped the hands of those destroyers who have attempted to render the Gospel narratives consistent by deleting all such statements. He also notes that the doctrine of the crucifixion was a vexata questio among Christians even during the second century. “The evidence of Irenæus,” he says, “cannot be touched. On every principle of sound criticism, and of the doctrine of probabilities, it is unimpeachable.”

It should further be noted that Irenæus prepared this statement to contradict another apparently current in his time to the effect that the ministry of Jesus lasted but one year. Of all the early Fathers, Irenæus, writing within eighty years after the death of St. John the Evangelist, should have had reasonably accurate information. If the disciples themselves related that Jesus lived to advanced age in the body, why has the mysterious number 33 been arbitrarily chosen to symbolize the duration of His life? Were the incidents in the life of Jesus purposely altered so that His actions would fit more closely into the pattern established by the numerous Savior-Gods who preceded Him? That these analogies were recognized and used as a leverage in converting the Greeks and Romans is evident from a perusal of the writings of Justin Martyr, another second-century authority. In his Apology, Justin addresses the pagans thus:

“And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, Our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter. And if we assert that the Word of God was born of God in a peculiar manner, different from ordinary generation, let this, as said above, be no extraordinary thing to you, who say that Mercury is the angelic word of God. But if any one objects that He was crucified, in this also He is on a par with those reputed sons of Jupiter of yours, who suffered as we have now enumerated.”

From this it is evident that the first missionaries of the Christian Church were far more willing to admit the similarities between their faith and the faiths of the pagans than were their successors in later centuries.

In an effort to solve some of the problems arising from any attempt to chronicle accurately the life of Jesus, it has been suggested that there may have lived in Syria at that time two or more religious teachers bearing the name Jesus, Jehoshua or Joshua, and that the lives of these men may have been confused in the Gospel stories. In his Secret Sects of Syria and the Lebanon, Bernard H. Springett, a Masonic author, quotes from an early book, the name of which he was not at liberty to disclose because of its connection with the ritual of a sect. The last part of his quotation is germane to the subject at hand:

“But Jehovah prospered the seed of the Essenians, in holiness and love, for many generations. Then came the chief of the angels, according to the commandment of GOD, to raise up an heir to the Voice of Jehovah. And, in four generations more, an heir was born, and named Joshua, and he was the child of Joseph and Mara, devout worshippers of Jehovah, who stood aloof from all other people save the Essenians. And this Joshua, in Nazareth, reestablished Jehovah, and restored many of the lost rites and ceremonies. In the thirty-sixth year of his age he was stoned to death in Jerusalem”.

Within the last century several books have been published to supplement the meager descriptions in the Gospels of Jesus and His ministry. In some instances these narratives claim to be founded upon early manuscripts recently discovered; in others, upon direct spiritual revelation. Some of these writings are highly plausible, while others are incredible. There are persistent rumors that Jesus visited and studied in both Greece and India, and that a coin struck in His honor in India during the first century has been discovered. Early Christian records are known to exist in Tibet, and the monks of a Buddhist monastery in Ceylon still preserve a record which indicates that Jesus sojourned with them and became conversant with their philosophy.

Although early Christianity shows every evidence of Oriental influence, this is a subject the modern church declines to discuss. If it is ever established beyond question that Jesus was an initiate of the pagan Greek or Asiatic Mysteries, the effect upon the more conservative members of the Christian faith is likely to be cataclysmic. If Jesus was God incarnate, as the solemn councils of the church discovered, why is He referred to in the New Testament as “called of God an high prim after the order of Melchizedek”? The words “after the order” make Jesus one of a line or order of which there must have been others of equal or even superior dignity. If the “Melchizedeks” were the divine or priestly rulers of the nations of the earth before the inauguration of the system of temporal rulers, then the statements attributed to St. Paul would indicate that Jesus either was one of these “philosophic elect” or was attempting to reestablish their system of government. It will be remembered that Melchizedek also performed the same ceremony of the drinking of wine and the breaking of bread as did Jesus at the Last Supper.

George Faber declares the original name of Jesus was Jescua Hammassiah. Godfrey Higgins has discovered two references, one in the Midrashjoholeth and the other in the Abodazara, to the effect that the surname of Joseph’s family was Panther, for in both of these works it is stated that a man was healed “in the name of Jesus ben Panther.” The name Panther establishes a direct connection between Jesus and Bacchus–who was nursed by panthers and is sometimes depicted riding either on one of these animals or in a chariot drawn by them. The skin of the panther was also sacred in certain of the Egyptian initiatory ceremonials. The monogram IHS, now interpreted to mean Iesus Hominum Salvator, is another direct link between the Christian and the Bacchic rites. IHS is derived from the Greek ΥΗΣ, which, as its numerical value signifies, is emblematic of the sun and constituted the sacred and concealed name of Bacchus. The question arises, Was early Roman Christianity confused with the worship of Bacchus because of the numerous parallelisms in the two faiths? If the affirmative can be proved, many hitherto incomprehensible enigmas of the New Testament will be solved.

It is by no means improbable that Jesus Himself originally propounded as allegories the cosmic activities which were later confused with His own life. That the Christos, represents the solar power reverenced by every nation of antiquity cannot be denied. If Jesus revealed the nature and purpose of this solar power under the name and personality of Christos, thereby giving to this abstract power the attributes of a god-man, He but followed a precedent set by all previous World-Teachers. This god-man, thus endowed with all the qualities of Deity, signifies the latent divinity in every man. Mortal man achieves deification only through at-one-ment with this divine Self. Union with the immortal Self constitutes immortality, and he who finds his true Self is therefore “saved.” This Christos, or divine man in man, is man’s real hope of salvation–the living Mediator between abstract Deity and mortal humankind. As Atys, Adonis, Bacchus, and Orpheus in all likelihood were originally illumined men who later were confused with the symbolic personages whom they created as personifications of this divine power, so Jesus has been confused with the Christos, or god-man, whose wonders He preached. Since the Christos was the god-man imprisoned in every creature, it was the first duty of the initiate to liberate, or “resurrect, ” this Eternal One within himself. He who attained reunion with his Christos was consequently termed a Christian, or Christened, man.

One of the most profound doctrines of the pagan philosophers concerned the Universal Savior-God who lifted the souls of regenerated men to heaven through His own nature. This concept was unquestionably the inspiration for the words attributed to Jesus: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” In an effort to make a single person out of Jesus and His Christos, Christian writers have patched together a doctrine which must be resolved back into its original constituents if the true meaning of Christianity is to be rediscovered. In the Gospel narratives the Christos represents the perfect man who, having passed through the various stages of the “World Mystery” symbolized by the thirty-three years, ascends to the heaven sphere where he is reunited with his Eternal Father. The story of Jesus as now preserved is–like the Masonic story of Hiram Abiff–part of a secret initiatory ritualism belonging to the early Christian and pagan Mysteries.

During the centuries just prior to the Christian Era, the secrets of the pagan Mysteries had gradually fallen into the hands of the profane. To the student of comparative religion it is evident that these secrets, gathered by a small group of faithful philosophers and mystics, were reclothed in new symbolical garments and thus preserved for several centuries under the name of Mystic Christianity. It is generally supposed that the Essenes were the custodians of this knowledge and also the initiators and educators of Jesus. If so, Jesus was undoubtedly initiated in the same temple of Melchizedek where Pythagoras had studied six centuries before.

The Essenes–the most prominent of the early Syrian sects–were an order of pious men and women who lived lives of asceticism, spending their days in simple labor and their evenings in prayer. Josephus, the great Jewish historian, speaks of them in the highest terms. “They teach the immortality of the soul,” he says, “and esteem that the rewards of righteousness are to be earnestly striven for.” In another place he adds, “Yet is their course of life better than that of other men and they entirely addict themselves to husbandry. ” The name Essenes is supposed to be derived from an ancient Syrian word meaning “physician,” and these kindly folk are believed to have held as their purpose of existence the healing of the sick in mind, soul, and body. According to Edouard Schuré, they had two principal communities, or centers, one in Egypt on the banks of Lake Maoris, the other in Palestine at Engaddi, near the Dead Sea. Some authorities trace the Essenes back to the schools of Samuel the Prophet, but most agree on either an Egyptian or Oriental origin. Their methods of prayer, meditation, and fasting were not unlike those of the holy men of the Far East. Membership in the Essene Order was possible only after a year of probation. This Mystery school, like so many others, had three degrees, and only a few candidates passed successfully through all. The Essenes were divided into two distinct communities, one consisting of celibates and the other of members who were married.

The Essenes never became merchants or entered into the commercial life of cities, but maintained themselves by agriculture and the raising of sheep for wool; also by such crafts as pottery and carpentry. In the Gospels and Apocrypha, Joseph, the father of Jesus, is referred to as both a carpenter and a potter. In the Apocryphal Gospel of Thomas and also that of Pseudo-Matthew, the child Jesus is described as making sparrows out of clay which came to life and flew away when he clapped his hands. The Essenes were regarded as among the better educated class of Jews and there are accounts of their having been chosen as tutors for the children of Roman officers stationed in Syria. The fact that so many artificers were listed among their number is responsible for the order’s being considered as a progenitor of modern Freemasonry. The symbols of the Essenes include a number of builders’ tools, and they were secretly engaged in the erection of a spiritual and philosophical temple to serve as a dwelling place for the living God.

Like the Gnostics, the Essenes were emanationists. One of their chief objects was the reinterpretation of the Mosaic Law according to certain secret spiritual keys preserved by them from the time of the founding of their order. It would thus follow that the Essenes were Qabbalists and, like several other contemporary sects flourishing in Syria, were awaiting the advent of the Messiah promised in the early Biblical writings. Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus, are believed to have been members of the Essene Order. Joseph was many years the senior of Mary. According to The Protevangelium, he was a widower with grown sons, and in the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew he refers to Mary as a little child less in age than his own grandchildren. In her infancy Mary was dedicated to the Lord, and the Apocryphal writings contain many accounts of miracles associated with her early childhood. When she was twelve years old, the priests held counsel as to the future of this child who had dedicated herself to the Lord, and the Jewish high priest, bearing the breastplate, entered into the Holy of Holies, where an angel appeared to him, saying, “Zacharias, go forth and summon the widowers of the people and let them take a rod apiece and she shall be the wife of him to whom the Lord shall show a sign.” Going forth to meet the priests at the head of the widowers, Joseph collected the rods of all the other men and gave them into the keeping of the priests. Now Joseph’s rod was but half as long as the others, and the priests on returning the rods to the widowers paid no attention to Joseph’s but left it behind in the Holy of Holies. When all the other widowers had received back their wands, the priests awaited a sign from heaven, but none came. Joseph, because of his advanced age, did not: ask for the return of his rod, for to him it was inconceivable that he should be chosen. But an angel appeared to the high priest, ordering him to give back the short rod which lay unnoticed in the Holy of Holies. As the high priest handed the rod to Joseph, a white dove flew from the end of it and rested upon the head of the aged carpenter, and to him was given the child.

The editor of The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East calls attention to the peculiar spirit with which the childhood of Jesus is treated in most of the Apocryphal books of the New Testament, particularly in one work attributed to the doubting Thomas, the earliest known Greek version of which dates from about A.D. 200: “The child Christ is represented almost as an imp, cursing and destroying those who annoy him.” This Apocryphal work, calculated to inspire its readers with fear and trembling, was popular during the Middle Ages because it was in full accord with the cruel and persecuting spirit of medieval Christianity. Like many other early sacred books, the book of Thomas was fabricated for two closely allied purposes: first, to outshine the pagans in miracle working; second, to inspire all unbelievers with the “fear of the Lord.” Apocryphal writings of this sort have no possible basis in fact. At one time an asset, the “miracles” of Christianity have become its greatest liability. Supernatural phenomena, in a credulous age interpolated to impress the ignorant, in this century have only achieved the alienation of the intelligent.

In The Greek Gospel of Nicodemus it is declared that when Jesus was brought into the presence of Pilate the standards borne by the Roman guards bowed their tops in homage to him in spite of every effort made by the soldiers to prevent it. In The Letters of Pilate the statement also appears that Caesar, being wroth at Pilate for executing a just man, ordered him to be decapitated. Praying for forgiveness, Pilate was visited by an angel of the Lord, who reassured the Roman governor by promising him that all Christendom should remember his name and that when Christ came the second time to judge His people he should come before Him as His witness.

Stories like the foregoing represent the incrustations that have attached themselves to the body of Christianity during the centuries. The popular mind itself has been the self-appointed guardian and perpetuator of these legends, bitterly opposing every effort to divest the faith of these questionable accumulations. While popular tradition often contains certain basic elements of truth, these elements are usually distorted out of all proportion. Thus, while the generalities of the story may be fundamentally true, the details are hopelessly erroneous. Of truth as of beauty it may be said that it is most adorned when unadorned. Through the mist of fantastic accounts which obscure the true foundation of the Christian faith is faintly visible to the discerning few a great and noble doctrine communicated to the world by a great and noble soul. Joseph and Mary, two devout and holy-minded souls, consecrated to the service of God and dreaming of the coming of a Messiah to serve Israel, obeyed the injunctions of the high priest of the Essenes to prepare a body for the coming of a great soul. Thus of an immaculate conception Jesus was born. By immaculate is meant clean, rather than supernatural.

Jesus was reared and educated by the Essenes and later initiated into the most profound of their Mysteries. Like all great initiates, He must travel in an easterly direction, and the silent years of His life no doubt were spent in familiarizing Himself with that secret teaching later to be communicated by Him to the world. Having consummated the ascetic practices of His order, He attained to the Christening. Having thus reunited Himself with His own spiritual source, He then went forth in the name of the One who has been crucified since before the worlds were and, gathering about Him disciples and apostles, He instructed them in that secret teaching which had been lost–in part, at least–from the doctrines of Israel. His fate is unknown, but in all probability He suffered that persecution which is the lot of those who seek to reconstruct the ethical, philosophical, or religious systems of their day.

To the multitudes Jesus spoke in parables; to His disciples He also spoke in parables, though of a more exalted and philosophic nature. Voltaire said that Plato should have been canonized by the Christian Church, for, being the first proponent of the Christos mystery, he contributed more to its fundamental doctrines than any other single individual. Jesus disclosed to His disciples that the lower world is under the control of a great spiritual being which had fashioned it according to the will of the Eternal Father. The mind of this great angel was both the mind of the world and also the worldly mind. So that men should not die of worldliness the Eternal Father sent unto creation the eldest and most exalted of His powers–the Divine Mind. This Divine Mind offered Itself as a living sacrifice and was broken up and eaten by the world. Having given Its spirit and Its body at a secret and sacred supper to the twelve manners of rational creatures, this Divine Mind became a part of every living thing. Man was thereby enabled to use this power as a bridge across which he might pass and attain immortality. He who lifted up his soul to this Divine Mind and served It was righteous and, having attained righteousness, liberated this Divine Mind, which thereupon returned again in glory to Its own divine source. And because He had brought to them this knowledge, the disciples said one to another: “Lo, He is Himself this Mind personified!”

THE ARTHURIAN CYCLE AND LEGEND OF THE HOLY GRAIL

According to legend, the body of the Christos was given into the keeping of two men, of whom the Gospels make but brief mention. These were Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, both devout men who, though not listed among the disciples or apostles of the Christos, were of all men chosen to be custodians of His sacred remains. Joseph of Arimathea was one of the initiated brethren and is called by A. E. Waite, in his A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, “the first bishop of Christendom.” just as the temporal power of the Holy See was established by St. Peter, so the spiritual body of the faith was entrusted to the “Secret Church of the Holy Grail” through apostolic succession from Joseph of Arimathea, into whose keeping had been given the perpetual symbols of the covenant–the ever-flowing cup and the bleeding spear.

Presumably obeying instructions of St. Philip, Joseph of Arimathea, carrying the sacred relics, reached Britain after passing through many and varied hardships. Here a site was allotted to him for the erection of a church, and in this manner Glastonbury Abbey was founded. Joseph planted his staff in the earth and it took root, becoming a miraculous thorn bush which blossomed twice a year and which is now called the Glastonbury thorn. The end of the life of Joseph of Arimathea is unknown. By some it is believed that, like Enoch, he was translated; by others, that he was buried in Glastonbury Abbey. Repeated attempts have been made to find the Holy Grail, which many believe to have been hidden in a crypt beneath the ancient abbey. The Glastonbury chalice recently discovered and by the devout supposed to be the original Sang real can scarcely be accepted as genuine by the critical investigator. Beyond its inherent interest as a relic, like the famous Antioch chalice it actually proves nothing when it is realized that practically little more was known about the Christian Mysteries eighteen centuries ago than can be discovered today.

The origin of the Grail myth, as of nearly every other element in the great drama, is curiously elusive. Sufficient foundation for it may be found in the folklore of the British Isles, which contains many accounts of magic cauldrons, kettles, cups, and drinking horns. The earliest Grail legends describe the cup as a veritable horn of plenty. Its contents were inexhaustible and those who served it never hungered or thirsted. One account states that no matter how desperately ill a person might be he could not die within eight days of beholding the cup. Some authorities believe the Holy Grail to be the perpetuation of the holy cup used in the rites of Adonis and Atys. A communion cup or chalice was used in several of the ancient Mysteries, and the god Bacchus is frequently symbolized in the form of a vase, cup, or urn. In Nature worship the ever-flowing Grail signifies the bounty of the harvest by which the life of man is sustained; like Mercury’s bottomless pitcher, it is the inexhaustible fountain of natural re source. From the evidence at hand it would indeed be erroneous to ascribe a purely Christian origin to the Grail symbolism.

In the Arthurian Cycle appears a strange and mysterious figure–Merlin, the magician. In one of the legends concerning him it is declared that when Jesus was sent to liberate the world from the bondage of evil, the Adversary determined to send an Antichrist to undo His labors. The Devil therefore in the form of a horrible dragon overshadowed a young woman who had taken refuge in sanctuary to escape the evil which had destroyed her family. When Merlin, her child, was born he partook of the characteristics of his human mother and demon father. Merlin, however, did not serve the powers of darkness but, being converted to the true light, retained only two of the supernatural powers inherited from his father: prophecy and miracle working. The story of Merlin’s infernal father must really be considered as an allegorical allusion to the fact that he was a “philosophical son” of the serpent or dragon, a title applied to all initiates of the Mysteries, who thus acknowledge Nature as their mortal mother and wisdom in the form of the serpent or dragon as their immortal Father. Confusion of the dragon and serpent with the powers of evil has resulted as an inevitable consequence from misinterpretation of the early chapters of Genesis.

Arthur while an infant was given into the keeping of Merlin, the Mage, and in his youth instructed by him in the secret doctrine and probably initiated into the deepest secrets of natural magic. With Merlin’s assistance, Arthur became the leading general of Britain, a degree of dignity which has been confused with kingship. After Arthur had drawn the sword of Branstock from the anvil and thus established his divine right to leadership, Merlin further assisted him to secure from the Lady of the Lake the sacred sword Excalibur. After the establishment of the Round Table, having fulfilled his duty, Merlin disappeared, according to one account vanishing into the air, where he still exists as a shadow communicating at will with mortals; according to another, retiring of his own accord into a great stone vault which he sealed from within.

It is reasonably certain that many legends regarding Charlemagne were later associated with Arthur, who is most famous for establishing the Order of the Round Table at Winchester. Reliable information is not to be had concerning the ceremonies and initiatory rituals of the “Table Round.” In one story the Table was endowed with the powers of expansion and contraction so that fifteen or fifteen hundred could be seated around it, according to whatever need might arise. The most common accounts fix the number of knights who could be seated at one time at the Round Table at either twelve or twenty-four. The twelve signified the signs of the zodiac and also the apostles of Jesus. The knights’ names and also their heraldic arms were emblazoned upon their chairs. When twenty-four are shown seated at the Table, each of the twelve signs of the zodiac is divided into two parts–a light and a dark half–to signify the nocturnal and diurnal phases of each sign. As each sign of the zodiac is ascending for two hours every day, so the twenty-four knights represent the hours, the twenty-four elders before the throne in Revelation, and twenty-four Persian deities who represent the spirits of the divisions of the day. In the center of the Table was the symbolic rose of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the symbol of resurrection in that He “rose” from the dead. There was also a mysterious empty seat called the Siege Perilous in which none might sit except he who was successful in his quest for the Holy Grad.

In the personality of Arthur is to be found a new form of the ever-recurrent cosmic myth. The prince of Britain is the sun, his knights are the zodiac, and his flashing sword may be the sun’s ray with which he fights and vanquishes the dragons of darkness or it may represent the earth’s axis. Arthur’s Round Table is the universe; the Siege Perilous the throne of the perfect man. In its terrestrial sense, Arthur was the Grand Master of a secret Christian-Masonic brotherhood of philosophic mystics who termed themselves Knights. Arthur received the exalted position of Grand Master of these Knights because he had faithfully accomplished the withdrawal of the sword from the anvil of the base metals. As invariably happens, the historical Arthur soon was confused with the allegories and myths of his order until now the two are inseparable. After Arthur’s death on the field of Kamblan his Mysteries ceased, and esoterically he was borne away on a black barge, as is so beautifully described by Tennyson in his Morte d’Arthur. The great sword Excalibur was also cast back into the waters of eternity–all of which is a vivid portrayal of the descent of cosmic night at the end of the Day of Universal Manifestation. The body of the historical Arthur was probably interred at Glastonbury Abbey, a building closely identified with the mystic rites of both the Grail and the Arthurian Cycle.

The medieval Rosicrucians were undoubtedly in possession of the true secret of the Arthurian Cycle and the Grail legend, much of their symbolism having been incorporated into that order. Though the most obvious of all keys to the Christos mystery, the Grail legend has received the least consideration.

An Ancient Texts Reveal Jesus Christ Was NOT Divine


According to reports, letters which have emerged apparently written by the ‘Family of Jesus Christ’ and those who were closest to Him in the years after Christ’s death reveal Jesus being a mortal man. The ancient texts clearly portray Jesus Christ as a human and recommend people to follow not Christ, but his teachings instead.
The notion that Jesus Christ had several younger siblings has become widely accepted in recent years.

According to James Tabor, a professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina (USA), a series of letters written by Jesus’ brothers shortly after his death would prove that the Christian messiah was not divine as history tells us.

Tabor explains his particular interpretation of the life of Jesus Christ in the documentary “The Secret Family of Jesus.”

The scholar bases his hypothesis on the letters allegedly written by James (James) and Judas (not that one), TWO of Christ’s VARIOUS BIOLOGICAL BROTHERS, in the first century AD, describing the Nazarene as a spiritual master, but making no reference whatsoever to His DIVINITY. Neither does the ancient texts mention Jesus’ death on the cross, which is considered the fundamental pillar of the Christian faith.

Furthermore, the historian claims that Jesus Christ himself was concerned about the religious nature of his preaching.

A letter from his brother Judas shows how his disciples were tired of a divine origin being assigned a to the teacher.

“I think Judas really says do not listen to all those new things and fight hard for the original faith that was given to them,” explains the professor.

He said: “The thing about the Book of James, it’s the teachings of Jesus, not the teachings about Jesus. James passes on what he got from his brother – you could say it has no theology.

“Doesn’t mention the cross of Christ, doesn’t mention the blood of Jesus, and doesn’t mention forgiving sins through believing in the Lord – nothing like that.”

Furthermore, one of the earliest Christian books ever written –the Didache or the Teachings of the Twelve Apostles— believed to have been composed when Christ’s surviving family was alive during the first century AD, also portrays Jesus Christ as a human, and recommends people to follow not Christ, but his teachings instead.

Interestingly, the Didache does not make reference to the Virgin giving Birth, the resurrection, and most significantly perhaps, Jesus as God, rather as his servant.

In addition, the ancient text also details early Communion where there is NOT detail whatsoever of bread and wine being the blood and body of Christ.

It is firmly believed that the early Christian church hid these books for centuries in order to push a different story of Christ.

However they apparently they missed one. In the Bible, a letter from Jude –one of Christ’s brothers— suggest that people who knew Jesus personally were growing tired of the followers who had jumped onto Christianity and were pushing the divine agenda.

The text written by Judas reads:

“These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires. They are loud mouth boasters flattering people to gain advantage.”

Mr. Tabor concluded: “[Jude is] getting very worried and he’s telling the little group that will still listen to him – I think in effect he’s saying ‘don’t listen to all these new things that are coming along. You fight hard for that original faith that was delivered to us’.”

More than two millennia after His passage through history, the truth behind Jesus Christ and his life, continues to generate controversy among the specialists.

COUPLE WORDS IN CONCLUSION:

If those texts written by Jesus brothers James and Judas are undeniably written by them then writings and claims by Paul-Shaul of Tarsus that Jesus was carnate and mortal man I am able to accept NOW!

I already accepted through my research in ancient text that Church fathers changed many things in original teachings of Jesus to boast or gain personal profit over people they followed them.Same things we see in today’s Christian churches,movements and sects indeed.

It is indeed very interesting to see that New and new details coming up about Our Lord Jesus which He is Son of God not God Almighty as many people try to push to much overboard what is written.Shalom.