my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have
told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a
place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that
where I am, there ye may be also.”
I Will Come Again
Greetings! Once again this week we are going to present a passage by Rob Bell from his book “Sex God” based on the above scriptures. We hope you will find this an inspiration.
That’s the center of Jesus’ message.
To trust that it’s true,
to trust that it’s real,
to trust that God is actually going to make all things new.
In the first century, generally a young woman would be married in her early
teens, often at thirteen or fourteen. It would become known that she was now
“of age” and her father would entertain offers from the fathers of young men
who were interested in marrying her. If the fathers agreed on the terms of the
marriage, there would be a celebration to honor the couple and announce their
engagement. At this celebration, the groom would offer the young girl a cup of
wine to drink.
But she doesn’t have to drink it.
She can reject the cup. She can say no to his offer of marriage. Even though
everything has already been arranged, she can still say no. It’s up to her.
Can you imagine the pressure on the young fella?
Here is everybody you love the most, friends and parents and relatives, gathered
in a room, watching to see if she will accept the cup.
If she says yes, the groom gives a sort of prepared speech about their future
Because if she takes the cup and drinks from it, that only means that they are
engaged. They aren’t married yet. Something still has to happen.
Or to be more precise, something has to be built.
If she says yes, then the groom goes home and begins building an addition
onto his family’s home. This is where he and his bride will start their new family
together. And so he works and works and works, building a place that they can
call home. And here’s the interesting part: he doesn’t know when he’s going to
finish. Because he doesn’t have the final say on whether it’s ready. That’s his
father’s decision. And so his father periodically inspects his work, looking to
see if the quality of what the son is building properly honors his future bride.
The father has considerations as well. If he has many sons, and they’ve all built
additions, then his house is getting quite large. There are many rooms in it.
This was called an insula, a large multifamily dwelling. If the father had built his
addition onto his father’s house, then by now, several generations later, this is a
large dwelling with rooms for a lot of people.
Back to the story.
The future bride is at home, learning how to run a household. She also doesn’t
know when the work will be done, so she’s preparing herself for a date that’s
coming, she just doesn’t know when.
And then the day comes. The father inspects and tells the son that it’s time. So
the son gets his friends, and they set out for her house to get her. But how will
he know what room is hers?
He’ll know because she has filled her lamp with oil each night and set it in the
window, so that when he comes, he’ll know which room is hers.
And so he goes to get her, and they gather their friends and family, and there’s
a giant procession back to his house, where the party starts.
And so when she takes the glass of wine at their engagement party and drinks
from it, the groom says to her: “My father’s house has plenty of room; if that
were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for
you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be
with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where
I am going.”
Does his speech sound familiar? This is what Jesus says to his disciples in John
14:2–4. “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
When Jesus wants to assure his followers that they’re going to be okay, that
their future is secure, that they shouldn’t let their hearts be troubled, he uses
the wedding metaphor.
They would have known exactly what he was talking about. They would have
heard the groom’s speech growing up, the ones who were married would have
given it to their brides, and they all would have taken part in numerous wedding
To describe heaven, Jesus uses an event they had all experienced and basically
says, “It’s like that.”
That is like this?”
The Biggest Financial Scam In World History
Thursday, July 5, 2012
There have been numerous big banking scandals recently.
But the Libor scandal is the biggest financial scam in world history.
The former CEO of Barclays said today that banks across the world were fixing interest rates in the run-up to the financial crisis .
Professor of economics and law Bill Black notes:
It is the largest rigging of prices in the history of the world by many orders of magnitude.
Indeed, the scandal effects an $800 trillion dollar market - 10 times the size of the real world economy.
Matt Taibbi explains that this is the "mega scandal of all mega scandals", because Libor is the "sun at the center of the financial universe", and manipulating Libor means that "the whole Earth is built on quicksand."
Homeowners, credit card holders, students, local governments, small businesses, small investors and virtually everyone else in the entire world has been impacted by the manipulation.
Indeed, the scandal is so big that it will further destroy trust in our financial system and drive many people from investing in the capital markets altogether.
Barclays scandal: How big will this get?
July 3, 2012:
By Larry Doyle, contributor
The earthquake that rocked Wall Street and the global financial markets in 2008 continues to reverberate today. Just ask Bob Diamond, CEO of Barclays (BCS)... or I should say, the former CEO of Barclays.
Diamond, the once high-flying American banker, was dethroned overnight as the chief executive of the UK-based bank as public pressure and outrage grows over the Libor price-fixing scandal. Do not think for a second that the CEOs of other large global banks are not sufficiently concerned of their own standing this morning. As well they should be.
I have written at length of the destruction of public trust due to the incestuous nature of the relationship between financial titans, their political partners, and compliant financial self-regulators. Major financial media have shied away from fully addressing this reality. In what I would define as a tipping point, I am surprised yet heartened to to read Bloomberg acknowledge what many have known for far too long, There's Something Rotten in Banking:
We don't countenance bank bashing. Nor have we ever called on regulators to bust up big banks. But it's difficult to defend an industry that defrauds the market with fake interest rate figures, thereby stealing from other banks and customers.
Sadly, the Libor case reveals something rotten in today's banking culture. We hope the investigations expose the bad actors, lead to jail terms for those who knowingly manipulated the market, and force out the senior managers and board directors who participated in, or overlooked, such conduct.
Bloomberg hits Wall Street and The City hard. Deservedly so. The call for jail time echoes my sentiments expressed yesterday.
Why so exercised? In the Barclays settlement documents, regulators released smoking-gun e-mails that reveal the extent of the dirty dealing between bank traders (looking to protect profits and bonuses) and senior officials in bank treasury units (hoping to convince markets that their banks weren't in financial difficulty). The two aren't supposed to collude, but it's obvious that the Chinese walls between them come with ladders.
As this story continues to unfold and the public outrage mounts, I would bet executives at the banks in the crosshairs of this scandal might have already called senior officials within the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury looking for cover. Public outrage and accompanying demands for total transparency here in the States are required to expose the truth of this entire scandal.
Barclays was certainly not an island in the tsunami that overwhelmed all banks and the global economy in 2008. How many other institutions are currently sweating profusely wondering what may be revealed in a review of internal communications? Despite what banking executives might say, the e-mail expose emanating from Barclays is explosive and indicative of culture not only at that organization but the industry as a whole.
Who knows what the future might hold for the individuals who wrote the following. Will they be indicted for market manipulation? They should certainly be indicted for stupidity. Under the heading of "you cannot make this stuff up," Bloomberg reveals,
Here's an e-mail about the three- month rate from a senior Barclays trader in New York to the London banker who submitted the rates: "Hi Guys, We got a big position in 3m libor for the next 3 days. Can we please keep the lib or fixing at 5.39 for the next few days. It would really help. We do not want it to fix any higher than that. Tks a lot."
Bankers submitting rates responded to such requests as if they were routine: "For you, anything," and "done ... for you big boy," according to the e-mails. Not that the efforts went unappreciated: "Dude. I owe you big time!" one trader wrote to a Libor submitter. "Come over one day after work and I'm opening a bottle of Bollinger."
Barclays traders also coordinated with counterparts from other banks. In an instant message, one Barclays trader wrote to a trader at another bank: "If you know how to keep a secret I'll bring you in on it, we're going to push the cash downwards. ... I know my treasury's firepower ... please keep it to yourself otherwise it won't work."
If the best defense is a good offense, other banks likely to be dragged into this scandal are already hard at work. How so? Late yesterday afternoon, the WSJ reported Banks Seek Dismissal of Libor Suit. Not so fast, gentlemen. Let's see the e-mail exchanges first.
I have long maintained, that the banking industry shouldn't be trusted to regulate itself. Will this scandal bring about the necessary change on that front?
(CNN) -- Scientists said Wednesday that they had discovered a new particle whose characteristics match those of the Higgs boson, the most sought-after particle in physics, which could help unlock some of the universe's deepest secrets.
"We have reached a milestone in our understanding of nature," said Rolf Heuer, the director general of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which has been carrying out experiments in search of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest particle accelerator.
"The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle's properties, and is likely to shed light on other mysteries of our universe," Heuer said.
The particle has been so difficult to pin down that the physicist Leon Lederman reportedly wanted to call his book "The Goddamn Particle." But he truncated that epithet to "The God Particle," which may have helped elevate the particle's allure in popular culture.
Announcements by scientists about their analysis of data generated by trillions of particle collisions in the LHC, which is located beneath the Alps, drew avid applause at an eagerly awaited seminar in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday.
Finding the Higgs boson would help explain the origin of mass, one of the open questions in physicists' current understanding of the way the universe works.
The researchers stressed the preliminary nature of the results they were announcing Wednesday.
"A more complete picture of today's observations will emerge later this year after the LHC provides the experiments with more data," the nuclear research organization, known as CERN, said in its statement.
But despite the words of caution, the scientists' mood and many of their comments were brimming with enthusiasm about the potential scope of what they had discovered.
"It's hard not to get excited by these results," said Sergio Bertolucci, the research director at CERN.
The announcements by the CERN researchers come two days after scientists in Illinois said they had crept closer to proving the existence of the Higgs boson but had been unable to reach a definitive conclusion.
The U.S.-based scientists outlined their final analysis based on more than 10 years of research and 500 trillion particle collisions using the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermilab Tevatron collider near Batavia, Illinois, whose budgetary woes shut it down last year.
Fabiola Gianotta: The woman at the leading edge of physics
They passed the baton onto their counterparts using the LHC, which is much more powerful than the Tevatron.
Located 328 feet underneath the border of France and Switzerland, the LHC cost $10 billion and has been sending particles smashing together in 17-mile tunnel for the past 18 months.
High speed proton collisions generate a range of even smaller particles that scientists have been sifting through in search of a signal in the data suggesting the existence of the Higgs boson.
The elusive particle is part of a theory first proposed by physicist Peter Higgs and others in the 1960s to explain how particles obtain mass.
The theory proposes that a so-called Higgs energy field exists everywhere in the universe. As particles zoom around in this field, they interact with and attract Higgs bosons, which cluster around the particles in varying numbers.
Imagine the universe like a party. Relatively unknown guests at the party can pass quickly through the room unnoticed; more popular guests will attract groups of people (the Higgs bosons) who will then slow their movement through the room.
The speed of particles moving through the Higgs field works much in the same way. Certain particles will attract larger clusters of Higgs bosons -- and the more Higgs bosons a particle attracts, the greater its mass will be.
While finding the Higgs boson won't tell us everything we need to know about how the universe works, it will fill in a huge hole in the Standard Model that has existed for more than 50 years, according to experts.
"The Higgs boson is the last missing piece of our current understanding of the most fundamental nature of the universe," Martin Archer, a physicist at Imperial College in London, told CNN.
Blackout looming: Thousands to lose Internet access as FBI shuts down servers
July 5, 2012
On July 9, thousands of Internet users worldwide could lose access after the FBI shuts down temporary DNS servers that replaced fraudulent servers operated by hackers.
Major companies and US government agencies are amongst those that could be blocked out, according to the Internet security firm IID.
The blackout will affect systems infected with the DNSChanger Trojan, a malware program that altered user searches and redirected them to pages offering fraudulent and, in some cases, dangerous products.
Last November the FBI arrested and charged six Estonian men behind the malware as part of Operation Ghost Click. These hackers were able to make a fortune off their project, raking in millions for ads placed on their fraudulent websites.
On the eve of the arrests, the FBI hired Paul Vixie, chairman of the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) to install two temporary Internet servers that would prevent infected users from losing access to the Internet once the DNSChanger botnet was shut down. These users were advised to take steps to get rid of the malware on their computers, and the DNSChanger Working Group was set up by the computer industry and law enforcement to come up with a plan to phase out the surrogate servers.
The FBI was initially planning to shut down their provisional servers in March, but a US district court ruled the provisional servers were to remain operation until July 9.
Running the temporary servers for eight months has cost the FBI $87,000.
With the looming deadline approaching, estimates suggest up to 360,000 unique Internet addresses are still using the rogue servers, with most of them based in the US, according to federal authorities. Other countries with over 20,000 each include Italy, Canada, India, the United Kingdom and Germany. This is down from the over half a million addresses registered when the six hackers were arrested, but still enough to paralyze the functioning of important websites. At its peak several years ago, up to six million systems worldwide were infected with the malware.
The DNS system is a network of servers that translates a web address into a numerical IP address used by computers. Computers affected by the DNSChanger worm were reprogrammed to access rogue DNS servers that redirected them to fraudulent websites.
Whatever happened to our green and pleasant land? Dark, satanic mills of Industrial Revolution take centre stage at Olympics opening ceremony with smoke stacks and pitheads
Aerial shot shows towering factory chimney as centrepiece of scene showing off Britain's coal-powered past
Spectacular ceremony is expected to be viewed by a global TV audience of more than a billion
Other props include a coalmine, a water wheel, a cauldron, a cotton loom and an 80ft tall figure
By ROB COOPER
PUBLISHED: 25 June 2012
The £27million Olympics opening ceremony will feature smoke stacks, pits and steam power as it showcases Britain's industrial past, new aerial photographs suggest.
Danny Boyle is expected present a grim picture of Britain's satanic mills with a towering factory chimney the centrepiece of a scene showing off the country's coal-powered past.
The organisers have already revealed how they will show off cricket on the village green, dancing happily around the maypoles and singing for joy in the background. But they are expected to show a darker side to our past in the second scene.
Industrial heritage: A new aerial photograph of the Olympic Stadium as preparations for the opening ceremony continue shows a selection of props including cauldrons, chimney stacks and cotton looms
This dramatic image of what the opening ceremony is expected to look like was caught by a cameraman in an airship which passed near the Olympic Stadium in East London.
The river snaking through the centre of London seems to resemble the aerial image of London in the EastEnders credits. But sprouting from the landscape are a selection of iconic images from the industrial past.
There appears to be a coalmine in the image, as well as a water wheel, a cauldron and a cotton loom in the ceremony.
Preview: Among the giant props on display were (Left) a huge 80ft figure which appears to be holding a wand while (right) a towering chimney stack
A giant figure is positioned in the middle of the field which was still covered in tarpaulin when the picture was taken. The 80ft structure appears to be holding a staff or wand.
In front of the figure is the enormous factory chimney while behind it is is a huge metal cog, upon which are laid wooden sleepers, perhaps a reference to the steam age.
The ceremony, which is expected to be viewed by a global TV audience of more than a billion, will use more than 13,000 props while a million-watt amplifier will provide the sound.
Among the more unusual items on show are three enormous iron-framed beds, one of which has a pirate's hat and a hook lying on it which might indicate the use of the Captain Hook character from JM Barrie's Peter Pan. Among the 10,000 volunteers involved in the performance are a group of NHS nurses.
'A picture of ourselves': (Left) A huge metal cog and railway sleepers might be a reference to Britain's steam-powered past and (right) what appears to be a giant cauldron or smelter
Props: (Left) A massive metal bedframe upon which can be seen a pirate's hat and a hook -which might indicate the use of the Captain Hook character from JM Barrie's Peter Pan and right - a nodding donkey water pump
There will be three final rehearsals for the opening ceremony in the Olympic stadium the week before the Games, featuring up to 60,000 people, including 900 schoolchildren.
The volunteer performers are not being paid but will receive travel and food costs, and officials have sent out letters warning those taking part not to divulge any information about what they are doing.
Boyle, who directed the multi-Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, said the aim of the ceremony was to create 'a picture of ourselves as a nation' and to ensure it is authentic there will even be giant fake clouds which will pour with rain.
Contrast: Danny Boyle poses with a model of one of the sets which portrays Britain's green and pleasant land complete with cricket match and fields of sheep
'Britain's Atlantis' found at bottom of North sea - a huge undersea world swallowed by the sea in 6500BC
Divers have found traces of ancient land swallowed by waves 8500 years ago
Doggerland once stretched from Scotland to Denmark
Rivers seen underwater by seismic scans
Britain was not an island - and area under North Sea was roamed by mammoths and other giant animals
Described as the 'real heartland' of Europe
Had population of tens of thousands - but devastated by sea level rises
By ROB WAUGH
PUBLISHED: 2 July 2012
'Britain's Atlantis' - a hidden underwater world swallowed by the North Sea - has been discovered by divers working with science teams from the University of St Andrews.
Doggerland, a huge area of dry land that stretched from Scotland to Denmark was slowly submerged by water between 18,000 BC and 5,500 BC.
Divers from oil companies have found remains of a 'drowned world' with a population of tens of thousands - which might once have been the 'real heartland' of Europe.
A team of climatologists, archaeologists and geophysicists has now mapped the area using new data from oil companies - and revealed the full extent of a 'lost land' once roamed by mammoths.
Divers from St Andrews University, find remains of Doggerland, the underwater country dubbed 'Britain's Atlantis'
A Greater Britain: How the North Sea grew and the land-mass shrunk
Drowned world: Scans show a mound discovered under the water near Orkney, which has been explored by divers
The research suggests that the populations of these drowned lands could have been tens of thousands, living in an area that stretched from Northern Scotland across to Denmark and down the English Channel as far as the Channel Islands.
The area was once the 'real heartland' of Europe and was hit by 'a devastating tsunami', the researchers claim.
The wave was part of a larger process that submerged the low-lying area over the course of thousands of years.
'The name was coined for Dogger Bank, but it applies to any of several periods when the North Sea was land,' says Richard Bates of the University of St Andrews. 'Around 20,000 years ago, there was a 'maximum' - although part of this area would have been covered with ice. When the ice melted, more land was revealed - but the sea level also rose.
'Through a lot of new data from oil and gas companies, we're able to give form to the landscape - and make sense of the mammoths found out there, and the reindeer. We're able to understand the types of people who were there.
'People seem to think rising sea levels are a new thing - but it's a cycle of Earth history that has happened many many times.'
Organised by Dr Richard Bates of the Department of Earth Sciences at St Andrews, the Drowned Landscapes exhibit reveals the human story behind Doggerland, a now submerged area of the North Sea that was once larger than many modern European countries.
Dr Bates, a geophysicist, said: 'Doggerland was the real heartland of Europe until sea levels rose to give us the UK coastline of today.
Seismic scans reveal a submerged river at Dogger Bank
Life in 'Doggerland' - the ancient kingdom once stretched from Scotland to Denmark and has been described as the 'real heart of Europe'
'We have speculated for years on the lost land's existence from bones dredged by fishermen all over the North Sea, but it's only since working with oil companies in the last few years that we have been able to re-create what this lost land looked like.
'When the data was first being processed, I thought it unlikely to give us any useful information, however as more area was covered it revealed a vast and complex landscape.
'We have now been able to model its flora and fauna, build up a picture of the ancient people that lived there and begin to understand some of the dramatic events that subsequently changed the land, including the sea rising and a devastating tsunami.'
The research project is a collaboration between St Andrews and the Universities of Aberdeen, Birmingham, Dundee and Wales Trinity St David.
Rediscovering the land through pioneering scientific research, the research reveals a story of a dramatic past that featured massive climate change. The public exhibit brings back to life the Mesolithic populations of Doggerland through artefacts discovered deep within the sea bed.
The research, a result of a painstaking 15 years of fieldwork around the murky waters of the UK, is one of the highlights of the London event.
The interactive display examines the lost landscape of Doggerland and includes artefacts from various times represented by the exhibit - from pieces of flint used by humans as tools to the animals that also inhabited these lands.
Using a combination of geophysical modelling of data obtained from oil and gas companies and direct evidence from material recovered from the seafloor, the research team was able to build up a reconstruction of the lost land.
The findings suggest a picture of a land with hills and valleys, large swamps and lakes with major rivers dissecting a convoluted coastline.
As the sea rose the hills would have become an isolated archipelago of low islands. By examining the fossil record - such as pollen grains, microfauna and macrofauna - the researchers can tell what kind of vegetation grew in Doggerland and what animals roamed there.
Using this information, they were able to build up a model of the 'carrying capacity' of the land and work out roughly how many humans could have lived there.
The research team is currently investigating more evidence of human behaviour, including possible human burial sites, intriguing standing stones and a mass mammoth grave.
Dr Bates added: 'We haven't found an 'x marks the spot' or 'Joe created this', but we have found many artefacts and submerged features that are very difficult to explain by natural causes, such as mounds surrounded by ditches and fossilised tree stumps on the seafloor.
'There is actually very little evidence left because much of it has eroded underwater; it's like trying to find just part of a needle within a haystack. What we have found though is a remarkable amount of evidence and we are now able to pinpoint the best places to find preserved signs of life.'
MORE EERIE 'GHOST CITIES' POPPING UP
Shocking photographs reveal towns completely devoid of people
Published: July 4, 2012
by CHELSEA SCHILLING - - - -
Why is China constructing large, well-designed "ghost cities" that are completely devoid of people?
Now, the BBC reports a giant new Chinese-built city has been spotted in Africa in the outskirts of Angola's capital Luanda.
The city, Nova Cidade de Kilamba, was designed to hold up to a half million people and features 750 eight-story apartment buildings, 12 schools and more than 100 retail units, according to the report.
State-owned China International Trust and Investment Corporation reportedly took less than three years to build the city at a cost of $3.5 billion. It covers 12,355 acres.
BBC former Angola correspondent Louise Redvers reported that the discovered that the city's buildings are completely empty.
The empty cities aren't only in Africa.
WND and Jerome Corsi's Red Alert reported just last year that Google Earth photographs of China depict city after city of vast complexes consisting of office skyscrapers, government buildings, apartment buildings, residential towers and homes, all connected by networks of empty roads - with some of the cities located in China's truly most inhospitable locations.
Google image of China's empty roads
Images of these "ghost cities" - after countless billions of dollars have been spent on the towns' design and construction - reveal nobody lives in them.
Block after block of empty houses and apartment buildings, glamorous public buildings, magnificent public parks and sports complexes, even art museums, remain entirely empty.
"The photographs look like giant movie sets prepared to film apocalyptic motion pictures in which some sort of a neutron war or bizarre natural disaster has eliminated people from the face of the earth while leaving the skyscrapers, sports stadiums, parks and roads perfectly intact," Corsi noted. "One of China's ghost cities is actually built in the middle of a desert in Inner Mongolia."
Business Insider ran a series of photos of these Chinese ghost cities. One showed no cars in the city except for approximately 100 parked in largely empty lots clustered around a government building, and another showed a beautiful wetland park with people added using Photoshop.
At the time, China had an estimated inventory of 64 million vacant homes and was building up to 20 new ghost cities a year on the country's "vast swathes of free land."
Empty roads in Zhengzhou, China
Business Insider speculated that the Chinese need to put their money somewhere, so developers have decided to build, as a place to store the wealth, even if the Chinese building these cities do not intend to live in them and there is no prospect they can find renters.
ScallyWagAndVagabond.com quoted Patrick Chovanec, a business teacher at Tsinghua University in Beijing, who explained, "Who wants to be the mayor who reports that he didn't get 8 percent GDP growth this year? Nobody wants to come forward with that. So the incentives in the system are to build. And if that's the easiest way to achieve growth, then you build."
The following are some photos posted on Facebook of the Chinese "ghost city," Nova Cidade de Kilamba, in Africa:
Mosaic in Israel shows biblical Samson
By Joe Sterling
July 4, 2012
Mosaics found in an ancient synagogue include images of women, as well as the biblical figure Samson.
(CNN) -- Archaeologists are reveling in the discovery of an ancient synagogue in northern Israel, a "monumental" structure with a mosaic floor depicting the biblical figure of Samson and a Hebrew inscription.
The synagogue -- dating to the fourth and fifth centuries in both the Talmudic and late Roman periods -- is in Huqoq, an ancient Jewish village in the country's Galilee region, the Israeli Antiquities Authority said.
Jodi Magness, a professor of early Judaism in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said the building was found in a recent excavation.
She called the find "exciting" and described the "very high quality of the artwork" in the mosaic, crafted with "tiny colored stone cubes." Only a few late Roman period synagogues contained mosaics with biblical scenes, said Magness, one of the leaders of a U.S., Israeli and Canadian team engaged in the digs.
"This discovery is significant," she said, calling the site "extraordinary" and "stunning."
Samson was known for enormous physical strength and his fighting prowess against the Philistines, the enemy of the Israelites.
His story, recounted in the Bible's Book of Judges, mentions Delilah, a Philistine woman who worked to undermine Samson. She cut his hair after she persuaded Samson to reveal that his long hair was the secret to this strength.
Magness said the mosaic scene shows Samson putting torches between the tails of foxes. That image, from a vignette in the Book of Judges, is a reference to Samson exacting revenge on the Philistines by sending out flame-laden foxes to burn their lands.
She said the only other images of Samson in synagogues are at one nearby place in the Galilee known as Wadi Hamam, where Samson is seen "smiting" the Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. Another is in what is now modern Turkey, depicting scenes from Samson's life.
Samson is also depicted in early Christian art, she said.
Why is Samson portrayed and apparently revered in two synagogues close to each other? Magness said she plans to find out.
The other image contains two apparently female faces flanking a circular medallion. It has a Hebrew inscription referring to rewards for carrying out good deeds.
"Our mosaics are also important because of their high artistic quality and the tiny size of the mosaic cubes. This, together with the monumental size of the stones used to construct the synagogue's walls, suggest a high level of prosperity in this village, as the building clearly was very costly," the authority said in its statement, citing Magness.
A former police officer and FBI official who retired due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder claims she saw angels when she first responded to the Pennsylvania crash of hijacked Flight 93 during the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
"The angels started appearing on the perimeter of the crash site," Lillie Leonardi said in an interview with Pittsburgh television station WTAE.
"They were dressed as if they were in warrior garb like a Roman centurion, and there were so many of them, you couldn't see their faces."
Leonardi has just published a book about her account, titled, "In the Shadow of a Badge: A Spiritual Memoir."
In a video on her own website, she gives more details of what she saw at the crash site, explaining, "All of a sudden, I kept seeing this flicker of light. You saw all these angels manifest. One in particular, in front, that I knew, it was Michael. He knew I was there to do something. I just didn't know what it was at that moment. He's the conduit to God as far as I'm concerned. I'm then the conduit for other people to listen to what has to be said. And then it's their choice to decide what to do."
At the time of the disaster, Leonardi was the community-affairs coordinator for the FBI in its Pittsburgh division.
When she initially arrived at the crash site, she told the Associated Press that "the biggest thing for me is that that there were no bodies."
"I'm used to crime scenes but this one blew me out of the water. It just looked like the ground had swallowed up" the plane, she noted.
"That's when I started seeing like shimmery lights ... and it was kind of misty and that's when I first saw, like, the angels there," Leonardi said. "And I didn't say anything to the guys because you can imagine if I would have said, 'I just saw angels on the crash site,' they'd have called the office and they'd have said, 'She lost her mind and tell her to go home.'"
Leonardi kept what she saw to herself for nearly two years, but as emotional and physical ailments surfaced that she would later learn were PTSD-related, she told others, including her former FBI supervisor Kenneth McCabe.
"I believe her. I read the whole book," McCabe told AP. "I know she believes 100 percent that's what she saw. I know she's a sane person so I'm not going to discount what she says she saw."
Lillie Leonardi believes she saw Michael the archangel at the Pennsylvania crash site of Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001.
Rev. Ron Lengwin, of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, is a personal friend of Leonardi, and he interviewed her on his weekly radio show, Amplify.
"I have no reason to believe that she did not see angels," Lengwin told AP. "I think it's not surprising to me that God could choose to say that he was present there to give comfort to people, and to give comfort to the people who were there to give comfort to other people."
Until next week...keep on believing and lets all make sure we are at the wedding feast by receiving the invitation, Jesus!
John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of
heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”