Jewish religion, culture and dietary laws very definitely eliminates any form of insect. Authors should research and know this before broadcasting misinformation. There are a few who still tell the world that John ate the insect “Locust.”
Leviticus and Deuteronomy clearly explain what is and is not permitted in Jewish dietary laws.
This article was inspired by an article written in Jehovah’s Witness literature in year 2019 insisting that John the Baptist ate locusts. Matthew 3:4 says that John the Baptizer ate “locusts and wild honey.”
Locusts were considered a delicacy by such ancient peoples as the Assyrians and the Ethiopians and are still eaten today by certain Bedouins and Yemenite Jews. In Israel, locusts were considered a food of the poor. After the head, legs, and abdomen were removed, the thorax was eaten raw or roasted or after being dried in the sun. Sometimes the locusts were salted or soaked in vinegar or honey. Historian Henri Daniel-Rops says that they taste somewhat like shrimp.
Since John preached in the wilderness, locusts would likely have been accessible to him, but considering he was a cousin of Jesus and his mother came from the same monastic group of Nasserines as Jesus did, I seriously doubt he or any of that religious order ever ate insects. It’s really a stretch to assert that they or he did!
Here these people are pounding the Bible, insisting they exclusively have the answers, and they don’t know this? What would you think if your new neighbors wanted to be friendly and you discovered they eat raw monkey brains? (Some Koreans do.) The Jewish people around any preacher telling them to live righteous lives would shun any man eating bugs! Of course John never ate bugs!
Locust bugs are grasshoppers that change their behavior and size during particular weather conditions. They are not always Locusts and thus it would have been impossible for John to live exclusively on them.
Why the Bible story even mentions this is questionable, though I have seen a mention that the eating of milk and honey will bring wisdom, so perhaps it was intended to express that he was wise. John certainly did not live exclusively on the Honey Locust pod for his food source. The Locust Bean contains a high protein source. It might be the mention in the story was to point out that John was a vegetarian.
Christian students should realize they will never fully understand their theology without digging to understand the language, the culture, customs and the religious views of the times held by the population amongst whom Jesus walked and preached. This is but one of a great many examples illustrating why “taking the Bible literally” is impossible. Dig deeper to know the truth of your belief system.
Honey locust, sweet bean, sweet locust, three thorn acacia, thornless honey locust [English]; épine du Christ, carouge à miel, févier d’Amérique, piquant amourette, févier épineux, févier à trois épines [French]; espinheiro-da-Virgínia [Portuguese]; acacia negra, acacias de tres espinas, algarrobo de miel, gledichia, gleditsia de tres espinas, robinia de la miel [Spanish]; Amerikaanse driedoring, soetpeulboom [Afrikaans]; valse christusdoorn [Dutch]; Amerikanische Gleditschie, Lederhülsenbaum, Falscher Christusdorn [German]; spino di Giuda [Italian]; Naaztání [Navajo]; غلاديشية ثلاثية الأشواك [Arabic]; 美国皂荚 [Chinese]; Гледи́чия трёхколю́чковая, Гледичия обыкнове́нная [Russian]; Bồ kết ba gai [Vietnamese]
Gleditsia inermis L.
The honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos L.) is a legume tree up to 25-45 m high. It is deciduous with a long leaf retention period. It has a deep taproot growing down 3-6 m deep and few lateral roots that make it suitable for agroforestry systems (Postma, 2005). In young plants, stems bear very large, flat thorns and the young trees form very dense thorny thickets (FAO, 2012). The older tree has an erect, short trunk, 50-90 cm in diameter, which is many branched and forms a large open and spreading crown (Seiler et al., 2011; Orwa et al., 2009). The branches are covered with clusters of large and flat thorns (Orwa et al., 2009; Ong, 2001). The leaves are sparse, alternate, 15-20 cm long, pinnately compound, bearing bright green leaflets that are oblong, small (25-40 mm long x 15 mm broad) and sparse (Seiler et al., 2011; Orwa et al., 2009; Postma, 2005). The inflorescence is a fragrant, pending raceme, up to 7 cm long (Seiler et al., 2011). The small and greenish-white flowers can be male (preponderant), female or hermaphrodite and are generally found on different branches of the same tree (Seiler et al., 2011; Orwa et al., 2009). Fruits are flat, curved, many seeded pods, 15-40 cm long, dark shining brown and leathery, that become twisted as they mature. The pods contain 0.5-1.5 cm long, smooth beanlike seeds embedded in a pulpy tissue (Seiler et al., 2011; Ong, 2001). Pods mature during late summer and early autumn and are shed from the tree during winter without opening (FAO, 2012).
The honey locust tree has many uses. The sweet pulp has always attracted animals and people alike, when better sweets are not available. The pods are readily eaten by many wild and domesticated animal species, including cattle, goats, deer, squirrel, rabbits, quail and starlings (Duke, 1983). The pods are edible and can be used as a vegetable. The pod pulp is fermented to produce alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage (Ecocrop, 2012). Roasted seeds are used as a coffee substitute (Orwa et al., 2009). Pods and foliage are a valuable fodder for all classes of livestock and the honey locust tree is particularly suited as a fodder tree in drier areas. The flowers are a source of nectar for bees, which gives the tree its vernacular name. The hard timber is used for firewood, construction and various crafts (Ecocrop, 2012; Orwa et al., 2009). The trunk, pods and bark are used in ethno-medicine. The honey locust tree is used for environmental purposes (see Environmental impact), as an agroforestry species and as an ornamental species in gardens, parks and along highways (Orwa et al., 2009).
Gleditsia triacanthos originated from the Eastern USA and is widely naturalized in the Mediterranean area, in the Middle-East, in Asia and Northern Australia (Ong, 2001). It is a fast-growing tree that may begin fruiting 3 years after planting. Its adaptability is outstanding: this hardy species can withstand heavy frosts (it is found on the Russian steppes) and a six-month dry period (it is found in the South-African veld and the Australian outback) (NRC, 1979). Gleditsia triacanthos occurs naturally within 28-40°N, in areas where annual rainfall ranges from 510 to 1520 mm. In tropical and subtropical regions, it can be found from sea level up to an altitude of 760 m but it can be planted up to 1500-2200 m, and in some circumstances above 2500 m (Ecocrop, 2012). The honey locust grows well in most soils, even poor ones provided they are well-drained (Postma, 2005). However it prefers the moist, deep and alluvial soils of floodplains or irrigated areas (FAO, 2012; Orwa et al., 2009). Gleditsia triacanthos has some tolerance to salt, which may be useful in irrigated areas. It does not withstand shaded conditions and may suffer from high winds and fire (Ecocrop, 2012; Orwa et al., 2009). It is not suited for maritime areas (Postma, 2005).
Pods and seeds intended for feeding cattle, horses or pigs should be ground as the seeds are not easily digested (Wilson, 2006; Gold, 1997). However, for sheep, whole pods should be preferred provided that they are sugar-rich. Grinding is not only expensive, but ground pods have a short transit time, resulting in reduced degradability (Papanastasis et al., 1999).
Gleditsia triacanthos is mainly grown for its pods, but young seedlings and coppice regrowths may be valuable fodder. It begins bearing pods 3 years after planting and it can produce 20-75 kg pods/tree within 8 years. Pod yield is in the 2-2.5 t DM range (Orwa et al., 2009; Dupraz et al., 1993). In Greece and in the USA, the honey locust did not compare favourably with Robinia pseudoacacia as it had a much lower DM yield (Ainalis et al., 1998; Burner et al., 2005). In the USA, flowering occurs in late spring: the trees shed their pods from mid-September through the winter, thus providing feed during a period of scarcity (Orwa et al., 2009). Once the pods have been eaten by ruminants, the undigested seeds are broadcast through dung. The seedlings have a high biomass production potential (up to 7 t DM/ha) and coppice regrowth has a high protein content combined with low lignin levels (Baertsche et al., 1986). The young seedlings and the regrowth have soft thorns that can be grazed by livestock. Twigs and leaves can be lopped and used in cut-and-carry feeding systems, or browsed directly by cattle (Wilson, 2006).
Soil erosion and wind control
Gleditsia triacanthos has a deep tap-root and is thus helpful for soil erosion control. In agroforestry systems, it may be planted with living mulch (such as clover) and this association provides reliable cover to the soil (FAO, 2012). In Central Asia, the honey locust and Robinia pseudoacacia are both used to improve degraded agricultural land so that dairy production can be introduced, based on foliage trees (Djumaeva et al., 2009). Honey locust trees are often used as windbreaks (FAO, 2012; Orwa et al., 2009).
Though Gleditsia are leguminous species, they have long been considered to be non N-fixing since their roots do not develop nodules (Orwa et al., 2009). However, N-fixing ability without nodule formation has now been demonstrated in Gleditsia spp. (Bryan et al., 1996).
The honey locust has a good potential for silvopastoral systems. It provides light shade and its deep tap-root does not compete with the shallower roots of grasses or legumes used for pastures (Orwa et al., 2009). Gleditsia triacanthos planted at medium density had a positive effect on forage yield and quality (especially on crude protein content) (Buergler et al., 2006).
Gleditsia triancanthos is considered as an invasive species in numerous parts of the world, for instance in Australia and South Africa. It can out-compete and replace native vegetation: it destroys pastures by smothering desirable grass species, forms dense thickets that block stock access to waterways and reduce stream flow, and creates dense monocultures that provide a haven for pests. Its sharp spines can inflict serious injuries and infections to humans and livestock, even after the plant is dead (Australian Governement, 2018; SAGIC, 2018).
Honey locust pods are known for their sweetness, which is due to their high sugar content. However, the amount of soluble carbohydrates is extremely variable and depends on many factors, including variety and stage of maturity. Values range from 10 to 18% DM for water-soluble carbohydrates (Kamalak et al., 2012) and from 10 to 38% for total sugars (Le Houérou, 1985). Much lower as well as much higher values have also been reported (Bruno-Soares et al., 2003). As a result, using honey locust pods for their sugar content should be considered only after having analysed them. The pods are relatively poor in protein (7-13% DM) and moderately rich in fibre (crude fibre 13-22% DM; NDF 22-44% DM) (Bruno-Soares et al., 2003; Kamalak et al., 2012; Pereira, 2000; Feedipedia, 2013). The lignin content is high (7-18% DM) (Feedipedia, 2013).
Honey locust seeds are richer in protein (20-30% DM) than the pods but contain lower or similar amounts of cell wall constituents (ADF 13-15% DM) and much less lignin (less than 2% DM) (Papanastasis et al., 1999).
FINAL NOTE: There are some who will insist John ate bugs. Of course he didn’t. If he ate locust bugs he would have starved three-quarters of the year and God would have had rejected him. God never lies. The gift of God is eternal life! Teaching lies is teaching DEATH and that is what Satan, The Father of Lies does. Don’t preach death and don’t listen to those preaching death! Now you know the truth. Please, pass it on!
A Story About A Cult
I’d better define “Cult” first: from: https://www.christianitytoday.com/iyf/advice/faithqa/what-is-cult.html
Q. What is a cult? And how does someone know if the faith they are following is harmful?
A. The word cult has three definitions. First of all, it can simply be a group that loves something. When people refer to an “Elvis cult” or “The O.C. cult,” they mean really devoted fans.
The second definition is that of a religion whose beliefs differ from the majority around them. In the Roman Empire, Christians were sometimes considered a cult because they worshiped Jesus rather than the Roman gods.
The third, and most commonly used definition, refers to a religious group that is:
1) Exclusive. They may say, “We’re the only ones with the truth; everyone else is wrong; and if you leave our group your salvation is in danger.”
2) Secretive. Certain teachings are not available to outsiders or they’re presented only to certain members, sometimes after taking vows of confidentiality.
3) Authoritarian. A human leader expects total loyalty and unquestioned obedience.
For the most part, this third definition of cult is being used less and less today. Experts who watch for dangerous or harmful religious groups now use the term new religious movements. The word cult can hurt people because it carries so much negative meaning. My sister was accused of being in a cult just because she preferred hanging out with Christian friends rather than going out drinking with other friends. She might have been in with a group of people that was unlike the norm (because they devotedly followed Christ), but she certainly wasn’t following a harmful faith.
My friend Jason, however, fell in love with a girl who was part of a church that was exclusive, secretive, and authoritarian. At first he was happy to tell me about what he was learning. But as he got further into that religious group, he told me less and less. When the leaders of that church told him that he had to quit our church to keep dating the girl, I got very suspicious. When he got married and his parents couldn’t even attend the wedding because they weren’t members of Jason’s new religion, it was clear that this was harmful.
Unlike that, Christians accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Still, they recognize that he has followers in many different Christian denominations and nondenominational churches who accept Christ. We don’t believe that the truth is available only to a select few—instead, salvation through Jesus is open to everyone. We also believe that God is above any human leader.
Marshall, a former pastor, is editor of Leadership Journal, a magazine for pastors.
I have a story behind this too.
Across the street from my place and to the left a half block is a big white building set back from the street. It has a parking lot at its front and is surrounded by chain link fence and a gate. I didn’t know what it was. There are no signs out front. A block away in the other direction is a dirt road. It takes one up to the Memorial Park – a burial ground for those with money enough for that service. It’s a good place to go for a run without traffic. I can walk through the park and onto grassy vacant land, run up a hill and across the hill and down a path through the grassy field, and then down to the park and walk my way out of it onto the dirt road and home again.
One day walking on that dirt road past a little church a man came out of a house beside that church and I thought he must be the pastor and living in the church rectory so I greeted him, “Good Afternoon, Pastor” and he and I had a discussion that turned to theology. He invited me to that white building with the chain link fence. It’s a Jehovah’s witness kingdom hall.
The sound system is bad and my ears are worse. I don’t hear 80% of what they say over the microphones. Yes, I know they’re a cult but how strict are they about their coltishness? In the US in Florida some people invited me. Well, they were at my door every weekend so finally I went to see them.
When they realized I have a mind I put into use occasionally they decided they didn’t want to speak to me. They politely waited for me to leave and I got the impression I was not welcomed back.
So I’m here listening to them talking about the Kingdom of God (which is right I believe) but, as Rabbi Jonathan Cahn says, “They don’t talk about The King.” For them God is one. Jesus is another god (lower case g) so for most of us they are poly-theists. They believe there are three gods. They speak of Jehovah God and then Jesus as a god and the Holy Spirit as a god.
I helped someone at that church with a neck problem and word got around that I am a skilled Chiropractor. Lately I got a phone call from a man’s wife. “Sam” has terrible arthritis and is in a wheel chair. The arthritis has caused a loss of his strong use of arms, elbows, and knees. After some time the muscles in the back of his legs became tense and now he is virtually in a sitting position all the time. His wife said he had neck pain and please come to visit. They have a neighbor with a “chappy” (motorcycle tricycle) and they hired him to come collect me.
Sam is American and can afford to pay for a nice house they had built. The family is for this area of the world, exceptionally comfortable.
The neighbor give me a ride back with Mrs. and their daughter. I met Sam again. There are two children. Sam is a step-father. The real father is Greek. Sam’s wife made this her 2nd marriage. Her first husband was Greek, living on Crete. I guess she started working for him as a domestic helper and ended up his wife. I don’t know for sure. The man died. Eventually his wife, flirted with Sam on line and they met and somehow married and returned to The Philippines with their kids.
There is much good to be said. The kids speak Basaya and very good English and probably Tagalog and Greek too! Their denomination believes in working diligently and being clean and following most of the Bible.
On the other hand, if you read the history of this cult the leader had his contrary views and insisted that anyone who doesn’t follow his views was not going to be saved. Heaven and God’s Kingdom on Earth is going to be sparsely populated according to them. — Or, if we ARE saved we cannot be one of the 144,000 top elders. THEY won’t be Jewish prophets and so on. Oh no. They will all be Jehovah’s Witnesses. This sounds like a form of “Replacement Theology” to me.
It’s the same for another church group near by, the Iglesia ni Cristo church https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iglesia_ni_Cristo are sure they also will be the only ones saved. These groups have God stuffed into a little white box wrapped in a little ribbon. Stay there God. We created you and now you stay put!
I discussed doctrinal differences. I did not tell them to change. I said all churches have their differences. That’s why there are so many denominations. The JW group has their own Bible Translation and scholars have attempted to point out that their grammar is wrong. John 1:1 is a particular point. “In the beginning was the word and the word was A god.” That’s what theirs says. Yours says “…and the word was God.”
So lately the daughter “friended” me on FB and asked me if I am “a brother” and I answered and mentioned an example being an article written in their literature. It states that John the Baptist ate Locusts. NO, he did not. Jews never eat bugs. I don’t know why that comment is inserted into the story. It seems out of place. He ate the seed pod of the locust tree which is often called St. John’s Bread. It is sometimes sold in US “health food” stores and it’s a bit chewy like chewing gum and tastes similar to cocoa or unsweetened chocolate.
These authors are in New York City. It’s nothing for them to pick up the phone and call any of the local Jewish community centers or Chabad the orthodox synagogue/schools and ask about this. But that was too much trouble for the author and the editor apparently. So they accept the poor translation on face value, and teach this misunderstanding to thousands of readers. This is evidence of poor scholarship, to put it mildly.
The daughter was asking me questions. To one of her questions I finally wrote back “My big point in all of this is, the subject is too broad. We have at least 600-years and thousands of scholars who could read and speak several Middle East languages and Greek and Latin and they knew the cultures of those days and the idioms and expressions. We cannot compete with their knowledge. By comparison, the Witnesses have a small group of men in a New York City office and write as if they are the sole authority about Christian thought. I can’t accept that.” I think that did it. I was going to be marked and shunned hereafter.
Lately I sent the man’s wife information about Malungay tea for arthritis. Malungay grows here in the wild and it’s easy to find. She simply ignores me or does not answer.
I sent a note about a video – an interesting teaching given by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn and the girl says “ok thanks” but I know she isn’t going to read the article I offered her (this one) or see the video by Rabbi Cahn discussing his book “The Harbinger.”
I have been reading more about “the rules” of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and I see that they should avoid inter-doctrinal discussions. You might say I think I am being avoided because I argue for a different doctrinal viewpoint and they don’t allow their people to read, listen to, or speak to anyone discussing anything other than their doctrine and their Bible translation. At least they are warned against it. They’re polite. The girl wrote back, “okay Stephen” but that’s all she’s going to say to me. And it’s probably the last time any of them will request my help for back pain, even though I was VERY successful helping Tim when I visited his home.
(If you’re a Chiropractor: I keep my patient’s dressed and use Swedish massage though their clothing and then adjust the spine as I go alone. Once you understand these techniques it’s incredibly effective. I think it trumps all the many other techniques I studied. It takes longer and it’s worth more money but nearly 95% of all patients get greater improvement than with any other technique I have studied.)
It’s not that I need to be in practice. I don’t and do not want to return to giving back pain care. I have other interests.
This group’s thinking style shows me a very closed minded group believing after a false doctrine and yet another Christ.
It’s a pity. They’re good people and their kids are always dressed well and speak and read English well. They obviously want their children to be well educated and successful. They treat all family members respectfully as The Bible says to do.
Some people will not accept any other view about Christian thought. Too bad for them. I believe they’ll be saved, but also corrected as we all will be.
If you want to know more about the Witnesses just search Google. There’s a ton of material there.
These two links below are free PDF articles. Just click to download immediately.
jw_and_the_watchtower A booklet written from a Catholic scholar’s perspective; a Longer piece, very interesting. Just click the link to download as a PDF.
left_the_faith This young woman explains why she left the Witnesses and found her own way. She remained Christian, and did not go into a wild worldly life as their preachers predicted. She found a freedom she had felt had been denied to her. Click the link. It should download to you as a PDF file immediately.
I shall add: I doubt seriously any Witness members will read any of this. I don’t mean to offend anyone. But, some of these young people should be aware they offend others. They presume that everyone will stand quietly and listen to them and get the grand revelation that they’ve never seen, as if we have never studied anything of Christian thought in our lives! I’ve been studying The Holy Scriptures since I was a young boy and more seriously after age 19. Suddenly a 20-year-old girl is telling me, “Read your Bible Stephen.” I’m quoting scriptures to her and she is telling me I don’t know anything because it is not the scripture she reads from her Bible translation.
These are not trained sales people. They don’t know how to ask questions and based upon that information make a presentation that makes sense for that listener. They preach the coming Kingdom of God. That’s fine and it’s true. So ask them, “Who is the King and what can you tell me about Him?” and they have no answer so they leave. Obviously they are fish out of water making themselves and others uncomfortable.
I refer you here for further interest. If you want to help these people “see the light” take them here: http://www.mmoutreachinc.com/jehovahs_witnesses/65%20Questions.html