What is truth?
Emet, Hebrew for truth
‘I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this; I accosted the man.
“It is futile,” I said, “you can never…”
“You lie,” he cried, and ran on.’ -Stephen Crane
‘To each his own truth- you yours, I mine’. Is that a true statement? To me, it would seem, it is as if saying, ‘to each his own gravity.’ No, there is but one gravity for all on this Earth where we live, whether we believe it or not. The athletic high jumper may defy it for a brief moment, and the crippled not at all, but each, large or small, will fall from a roof at exactly the same rate. There is no point denying it.
“I have come to bear witness to the truth,” said Jesus to which Pilate replied, “What is truth?” Most certainly Pilate spoke this with a mocking, as Rome held not only their truth, but all the power, even to crucify this Jewish Messiah, and not much later to completely destroy Jerusalem. But it was the great Roman Empire that soon fell from the Earth, never to rise again, alive only in the tomb of its ruins. And that Messiah, weak in appearance, said, “I will rise again,” and the prophets of his people, the Jews, wrote that Jerusalem also will rise again.
But upon this dramatic stage of the world, Jerusalem, two thousand years later, did rise again, as can be seen, touched, smelled, heard and tasted today. It has been resurrected from the dead by the seed of those same people who had been cruelly scattered by the Romans to the ends of the Earth for those same two millennia and, once again by the word of the biblical Prophets, returned to rebuild Jerusalem to its current strength and beauty. And that ancient tongue of Hebrew, the tongue of the Prophets and Messiah, perished as a living language without a land and nation, rose once again to life in this resurrected nation of Israel, to be witnessed by all, undeniably true.
Many untruths have arisen upon the earth to have their brief day beneath the sun, and then collapse under their own weight. And some of those that have persisted to this day have been greatly angered by the restoration of the people of Jesus to their former estate which, according to their deeply held truths, was never to happen. The irrational fury and hatred of the Islamic world is evident to all, especially as those overwhelming numbers were many times certain that their truth would surely be shown to prevail by the destruction of the tiny Jewish state by the Islamic armies- which failed each time, unto this day.
Nietzsche, the great German philosopher who much impacted the world, said: “God is dead.” God, on the other hand, had the final word, “Nietzsche is dead.” Steven Hawking, the brilliant modern physicist, said in his last book prior to his passing: “There is no God.” God there also had the final word.
Jesus pronounced, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Such a bold statement is either the greatest lie ever spoken, or truth that should not be ignored, and will prevail in the end, having indeed the last word: ‘Truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the Truth, so help me God’.
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Elhanan ben-Avraham, born in 1945, is a professional artist, poet, writer and father of two, grandfather of four, living in Israel since 1979. He has served in the IDF, taught the Bible internationally, published two illustrated books of poetry, and painted two large Biblical murals in public buildings in Jerusalem, among many other works. He and his wife live in a quiet village in the Mountains of Judah.