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Introductory Post

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Christian Community Devotional

A Daily Devotional for the Evangelical Congregational Church Fellowship Style

The Evangelical Congregational Church model of Christian Fellowship

Presenting equality in the individual Christian believers (royal) priesthood. The individual righteousness and holiness maturity in the current Kingdom Church Age of Jesus Christ and in His Millennial Age reign to come and of the present Age of individual Christian responsibilities.

Note: Evangelical is a reference to the loving, goodness and kindness of God and in mankind’s friendship relationship with God as opposed to an i.e. Calvinism that references an unkind god and an antagonist relationship with a supposedly reprobate mankind.

God bless everyone,
David Anson Brown

Located at 3C-Christianity.com and at Common-Christian-Concern.com

Downloads BasicChristian_Essentials.zip or Common-Christian-Concern.zip

* The Christian Community Devotional is being published in the HTML 5 and CSS format.

~ Most of the Bible verses are from the ÜKJV 2014 Bible PDF

January - Beginnings

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The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God vs The Kingdom of Heaven

When first reading and studying the Bible especially the New Testament one of the first topics that is going to be encountered is the topic of the Kingdom of God. In The Gospel of Matthew it is referenced as both the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven. When I first started studying the New Testament I mistakenly concluded that Matthew was using both Heaven and God interchangeably and later realizing that there is a slight difference that The Gospel of Matthew is conveying in relating to The Kingdom of Heaven and also The Kingdom of God.

The Apostle Matthew in writing his Gospel of Matthew is conveying to us as disciples that apart from the kingdoms of this world there is also the more important eternal Kingdom of God, but that the Kingdom of God is temporarily separated into the two segments of The Kingdom of Heaven and The Kingdom of God.

Kingdom of Heaven is the presence of God
When Jesus was on earth the Kingdom of Heaven was among us as people.

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent all of you: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. ~ Matthew 3:1-2

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. ~ Matthew 4:17

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. ~ Matthew 5:3

Not everyone that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in Heaven. ~ Matthew 7:21

Kingdom of God is the domain of God
Even though Jesus is not physically, visibly present among us as people His eternal Kingdom remains something we can enter into [via the Holy Spirit] even at this very moment.

But seek all of you first the Kingdom of God, and His Righteousness; and all these [necessary - worldly] things shall be added unto you. ~ Matthew 6:33

But if I (Jesus) cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come unto you. ~ Matthew 12:28

And again I (Jesus) say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man [without the Holy Spirit] to enter into the Kingdom of God. ~ Matthew 19:24

Therefore say I unto you, The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. ~ Matthew 21:43

Both Kingdom Segments Reconciled
Eventually the two segments of Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom of God on earth will be reconciled into the one eternal Kingdom of God in Heaven.

Father, I (Jesus) will that they [Christians - Kingdom of God] also, whom you have given Me, be with Me [in Heaven] where I Am [Kingdom of Heaven]; that they may behold My Glory, which You have given Me: for you loved Me before the foundation of the world. ~ John 17:24

Know all of you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? ~ 1 Corinthians 6:9

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood [physical] cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; neither does corruption [sin] inherit incorruption [holiness]. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:50

For it pleased the Father that in Him (Jesus) should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth [Kingdom of God], or things in Heaven [Kingdom of Heaven]. ~ Colossians 1:19-20

Note: Though this is an introduction to the Biblical principal of The Kingdom of God and obviously we will need to look at more scriptures and involve more material to further develop the common principal of the Kingdom of God. We do need to consider the importance of reading the Bible as the document it is including the various complexities it has in making sure that our own readings present the Biblical precepts and concepts of the Bible in a reliable and accurate way.

January 2

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You shall call His Name Jesus

The Current Church Age and The Millennial Age to Come

Jesus: Je=Jehovah God is sus=Salvation

During the present Christian Church Age [redemption-salvation as Children of God] we as Christians [Children of God] call upon God and our Father in the Name of the Savior Jesus Christ (lit. God of our Salvation and Savior).

For unto us a [infant] Child [Jesus Christ] is born, unto us a Son [from God] is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the Throne of [King] David, and upon His Kingdom [Millennial Kingdom Reign], to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever [eternal]. The zeal [joy] of the LORD of Hosts will perform this. ~ Isaiah 9:6-7

But while he (Joseph) thought on these things [Mary's pregnancy], behold, the Angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph [from King David via the line of King Solomon], you son of David, fear not to take unto you Mary [a daughter of King David from the line of Nathan - Nathan an older brother of Solomon - 1 Chronicles 3:5] your wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a Son, and you shall call His Name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet [Isaiah 7:13-14], saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel (God with and among us), which being interpreted is, God with us. ~ Matthew 1:20-23

During the 1st Coming and present Church Age the emphasis for individuals is our Redemption-Salvation through our faith and the forgiveness of our sins, resulting in our becoming a Child of God.

It is important to point out and understand the difference between our current relationship in God as being only Children of God and not confusing [as the word of faith heresy often does - in making claims that are not currently available to us] our future status [i.e. responsibilities and rewards] as Sons and Daughters in the future visible presence of Jesus.

Jehovah-Tsidkenu: The LORD (Yahweh-Jehovah) is our Righteousness

In the future Millennial Reign [Kingdom Age - our individual maturity as Sons and Daughters of God] on earth Jesus Christ will primarily be referred to by His new title of Jehovah-Tsidkenu [The LORD our Righteousness].

Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will raise unto [King] David a Righteous Branch, and a King [Jesus Christ] shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days [Millennial Reign] Judah [already redeemed - Deuteronomy 7:8-9] shall be saved [salvation, healing - Romans 11:26], and Israel shall dwell safely [a fruit of salvation]: and this is His Name whereby he shall be called, [Jehovah-Tsidkenu] THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. ~ Jeremiah 23:5-6

So [Jesus] Christ was once offered [cross] to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time [2nd coming] without [regarding] sin [but] unto [regarding] salvation [maturity]. ~ Hebrews 9:28

During the 2nd Coming Millennial Kingdom Age the emphasis for us individuals will no longer be redemption from sin and our uncertain life of faith as Children of God but instead in the presence of Jesus we will have become Sons of God and as Sons and Daughters of God, we will no longer be as uncertain children but as knowing, growing, maturing Sons and Daughters of God.

Conclusion: we as Christians currently live by our faith in the unseen [but not unexperienced] God. Living as Children of God by faith means just that in that for the most part we are helpless infant children in a biblical sense and therefore we shouldn't expect too much from others or even from ourselves at this current time. Knowing that much of our maturity, rewards and responsibilities will yet come in the future Millennial Kingdom Reign of Jesus Christ.

January 3

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Our Responsibility as Christians

It is our individual responsibility to be in fellowship with God

Despite the current misleading teachings of the day it is and always will be for our part that our responsibility is to respond to God and to have a personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ. Just as Abraham in his day pressed in and had fellowship with God it is our individual Christian responsibility to likewise press in and have our own individual fellowship with God our Father.

The Common Christian Community Devotional
Accentuating the Congregational Church model of Christian fellowship equality in being Children of God, the individual believers (royal) priesthood, individual righteousness and holiness maturity in the current Kingdom of Jesus Christ while still focusing on and seeking His future Millennial Kingdom Reign to come on earth.

Jesus answered, If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing: it is My Father that honors Me; of whom all of you [hypocrites] say, that He is your God: Yet all of you [hypocrites] have not known Him; but I know Him: and if I should say, I know Him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know Him, and keep His saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see [Me] My day: and he saw it, and was glad. ~ John 8:54-56

And the LORD appeared unto him (Abraham) in the plains of Mamre: and he (Abraham) sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men [the Lord and two Angels] stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, My LORD, if now I have found favour in your sight, pass not away, I pray you, from your servant: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort all of you your hearts; after that all of you shall pass on: for [to be refreshed] therefore are all of you come to your servant. And they said, So do, as you have said. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth ... Genesis 18:1-6

Therefore it [righteousness - being right with God] is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that [Old Testamnet Saints] only which is of the law, but to that [New Testament Saints] also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the [spiritual] father of us all, As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations, before Him whom he believed, even God, who replenishes life to the dead, and calls those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall your seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences [sins], and was raised again for our justification. ~ Romans 4:16-25

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest [Heaven] by the blood of Jesus, By a new and [Holy Spirit] living way, which He (Jesus) has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; And having an High Priest over the House [Church] of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for He is faithful that promised; And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as all of you see the day [2nd Coming] approaching. ~ Hebrews 10:19-25

Unto me (Apostle Paul), who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him. Wherefore I desire that all of you faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner [soul] man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that all of you, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that all of you might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the [Holy Spirit] power that works in us, Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all Ages [Dispensations], world without end. Amen. ~ Ephesians 3:8-21

Conclusion: The Common Christian Community Year Devotional is going to maintain its entire year long devotional study focus in the pursuit of the biblical concepts of fellowship that have been previously presented.

January 4

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The Church Predicted in the Old Testament

The New Testament Congregation of Called Out Ones

Church lit. Ekklesia (G-1577) 'Ek' out of; 'Kaleo' called: the congregation of the called out ones, called out of this world and into God's heavenly gathering.

In the Old Testament the redeemed Children of God were called out of Egypt [the world] and led by Moses [a type of Jesus] they were to fellowship with God on their journey all the way, through the desert and into the Promise Land [Heaven].

And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh [of Egypt], Thus says the LORD God of Israel, Let My people go, that they may hold a Feast [worship] unto Me in the wilderness. ~ Exodus 5:1

And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the Children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt. ~ Exodus 16:1

The New Testament Church (Ekklesia) the redeemed and saved (salvation) Children of God as Christians we are still gathered outside of the present world system and into the Heavenly Congregation led by the Alpha (Beginning) and Omega (Ending) of Jesus Christ [Revelation 1:8].

Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the [city] gate. Let us go forth therefore unto Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here have we no continuing city [in Egypt - earthly], but we seek one [Heavenly] to come. ~ Hebrews 13:12-14

For we are the [New Testament] circumcision, which worship God in the [Holy] Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no [ultimate trust] confidence in the flesh [physical realm]. ~ Philippians 3:3

January 5

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The Start of the New Testament Christian Church

Resurrection [Passover-Easter] Sunday - The Start of the Christian Church

The Christian Church meets every Sunday in Commemoration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the Start of His Christian Church.

And upon the first day [Sunday] of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the next day; and continued his speech until midnight. ~ Acts 20:7

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do all of you. Upon the first day [Sunday] of the week let everyone of you lay by him in store, as God has prospered him, that there be no [financial collection] gatherings when I come. ~ 1 Corinthians 16:1-2

The Christian Church began with Jesus, the leader and founder, giving (breathing) His Spirit life into each of His disciples on the day of His Resurrection Sunday and continues as Jesus continues to breath His Spirit into His followers. The Church will continue until Jesus Himself returns and Receives His Christian Church up into Heaven where He is currently seated in Glory, Majesty, Power and Authority.

And as they [disciples] thus spoke [about the Resurrection of Jesus], Jesus Himself [on Resurrection Sunday] stood in the midst of them, and says unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And He said unto them, Why are all of you troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as all of you see Me have. And when He had thus spoken, He showed them His hands and His feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, He said unto them, Have all of you here any food? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And He took it, and did eat before them. And He said unto them, These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all [Biblical] things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me. Then opened He their understanding [breathed on them - baptism], that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it was essential for Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His Name among all Nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And all of you are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send [the Holy Spirit] the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry (wait) all of you in the city of Jerusalem, until [Pentecost] all of you be imbued (permeated-saturated with inspiration) with power from on high. ~ Luke 24:36-49

Then the same day [Resurrection Sunday] at evening, being [Sunday] the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews [authorities], came Jesus and stood in the midst, and says unto them, Peace be unto you. And when He had so said, He showed unto them His [pierced] hands and His [wounded] side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father has sent Me, even so send I you. And when He [Jesus] had said this, He breathed [baptized - sealing] on them, and says unto them, Receive all of you the Holy Spirit [become Born Again Christians]: Whomsoever sins [as Christians] all of you [through discernment] disregard, they are disregarded unto them [being a saved Christians]; and whomsoever sins all of you [through discernment] retain, they are retained [i.e. the possibility of unsaved non-Christians]. ~ John 20:19-23

January 6

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The Beginning of Creation

These are the Generations [realms-dimensions] of the Heavens (sky) and of the Earth

The First Creation

The first creation of the earth by God was spanned out over a 7 day period [six days of work and then the seventh a day of rest] as information and instruction for us.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day [Saturday] God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested (Sabbath) from all His work which God created and made. ~ Genesis 2:1-3

These are the generations [realms-dimensions] of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, ~ Genesis 2:4

The 8 Realms of all Existence - Encompassing all Physical and Spiritual Life

1. Length [Day one creation - light separated [Judgment] (length) from darkness]

2. Height [Day two creation - divided the waters above from the waters below]

3. Width [Day three creation - dry land and plants]

4. Time [Day four creation - sun, moon, stars for times and seasons]

5. Demonic [Nephilm spirits] -- demons [Day five creation - fish from the waters below, birds from the waters above]

6. Angelic - Holy Angels and also Satan with all of his fallen angels [Day six creation - land animals and humans (pre-fall) humans the highest part of creation created separate and above the animals and equal to the angels but with sin mankind fell from the 6th dimension to the 4th dimension, in fact with the sin of mankind all of creation also fell from its original creation status]

7. Human Salvation redeemed by the blood, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ [Day seven creation - Rest]

8. Unrestricted [outside of creation] - The only Unrestricted, Eternal, Wise, -- Infinite -- Almighty God consisting of God the Father, the Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

For in six days the LORD made heaven (sky) and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested (Sabbath) the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed [made holy - separated] it. ~ Exodus 20:11

The Second Creation

The second creation of the new heaven (sky) and new earth will probably be accomplished instantaneously as God miraculously brings forth in an extraordinary way His new creation.

Looking for and hasting unto the coming [final - eternal Dispensation] of the Day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens (sky) and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness. ~ 2 Peter 3:12-13

January 7

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The 1st and 2nd Coming

The Lamb of God - The Lion of God

The Lamb of God

The 1st Coming Jesus came to mankind as an example for us in how to live our lives peaceably among one another and with God.

Mankind rejected Jesus and crucified Him on a wooden cross.

Behold My Servant (Jesus Christ), whom I uphold; Mine elect [purpose], in whom My soul delights; I have put My Spirit upon Him [in the incarnation]: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry [anarchy], nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. [Being compassionate] A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto Truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth: and the isles [far away places] shall wait for His Law [Royal Law i.e. Romans 13:8, Galatians 6:2, James 2:8, 1 Peter 2:9]. Thus says God the LORD, He that created the heavens, and stretched them out; He that spread forth the earth, and that which comes out of it; He that gives breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the LORD have called you in righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will keep you, and give you for a covenant [New Covenant] of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison [Satan's bondage], and them that sit in darkness [sin] out of the prison house. I am the LORD: that is My Name: and My Glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images. Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them. ~ Isaiah 42:1-9

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD has spoken, I have nourished and brought up children [mankind], and they have rebelled against Me. ~ Isaiah 1:2

The Lion of God

The 2nd Coming of Jesus will be His Triumphal return - reigning and ruling as King.

And I saw Heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He (Jesus) that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He does judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns [Kingdom authority]; and He had a Name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His Name is called The Word of God [John 1:1]. And the armies which were in Heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the Nations: and He shall rule [Millennial Reign] them with a rod of iron [authority]: and He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His vesture and on His thigh a Name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. ~ Revelation 19:11-16

Now thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the savour (aroma) of His knowledge by us in every place. ~ 2 Corinthians 2:14

For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:11

January 8

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The Beatitudes (Blessings) of Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ Welcoming Mankind into Fellowship and Heaven

Blessings from God to mankind are found throughout the entire Bible.

The Blessings are God's message and His way of welcoming mankind into fellowship with Him and into Heaven.

So God created man in His own [spirit] image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them ... ~ Genesis 1:27-28

And seeing the multitudes, He (Jesus) went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him: And He opened His mouth, and taught them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the Sons of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are all of you, when men shall censure you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in Heaven: for so persecuted they the Prophets which were before you. ~ Matthew 5:1-12

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us [Born] Again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an [eternal] inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in Heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time [Dispensation]. 1 Peter 1:3-5

Here is the patience of the saints [Tribulation Saints]: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from Heaven saying unto me (Apostle John),
Write,
Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yes, says the [Holy] Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them [into Heaven]. ~ Revelation 14:12-13

January 9

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The New Testament Dispensations

The Four Dispensations of The Bible's New Testament - Book of Acts

The Four Dispensations of The Bible's New Testament

In the Apostle Paul's trip to Rome [recorded in the Bible's Book of Acts by the early Church Historian Luke] are some of the most codded and cryptic passages of the Bible's New Testament. Was Luke aided by the Apostle Paul, putting forth the future of the Church Era and an End Time scenario that Christians could glean from to understand events both current and future?

Summary: The Apostle Paul's Journey to Rome - The Four Dispensations of the Times since the 1st Coming of Jesus Christ seem to have been mapped out and enacted throughout Paul's Journey to Rome.
1. The Apostles Dispensation (Acts 27:1-5)
2. The Common Christian Church Age (Acts 27:6-44)
3. The Martyred Saints of Revelation Tribulation (Acts 28:1-15)
4. The 1,000 year Millennial Kingdom Reign of Jesus Christ on earth (Acts 28:16-31)

1. The Apostles Dispensation (Acts 27:1-5):

Paul and the other Apostles [eyewitnesses] of Jesus Christ go into the world preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ. "Acts 27:3-5 And [representing the Apostolic Missionary Journey Age] the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave *him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself. And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the **winds were contrary. And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia." {Note: Luke and the Apostle Paul seem to be recording two primary things. 1. Looking back on all of Paul's Missionary Journeys that Paul felt that they had gone well and that on the whole the Gospel was being well received "him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself" that Paul had made a lot of friends on his Missionary Trips and was refreshed by the fellowship he had with the Gentile Christians. 2. Also noting that "the [spiritual] winds were contrary" seeming to imply that there was a great deal of spiritual (demonic) opposition to the Gospel Message going forward.}

And great fear came upon all the Church [witnessing the signs of the Apostles], and upon as many as heard these things. And by the hands of the Apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; and they [Church - Apostles and common Christians] were all with one accord in Solomon's porch [outside the Temple]. And of the rest [non-apostles the common Christians] durst no man join himself to them [Apostles]: but the people magnified them [the Christians of the Church separated themselves from the Apostles]. ~ Acts 5:11-13

2. The Common Christian Church Age (Acts 27:6-44):

"Acts 27:6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein." {Note: The ship of the Apostolic Age has ended and the ship of the Common Christian Church Age has launched - carrying the nourishing wheat (Bible) and the four anchors (4 Gospels). The [Christian] ship spends a great deal of time in the port of "Fair Havens" and then departs into adversity to the extent that the storms of life strand and tear the ship apart. Noteworthy, the Church [ship] has the four anchors [4 Gospels] and correctly uses them to stabilize the ship in dangerous waters however also note how the cargo of wheat [Bible] is considered too big of a burden and is cast overboard (Acts 27:38) away from the Church.

Beloved, when I (Jude) gave all diligence to write unto you [common (generic) Christian Church] of the common salvation, it was necessary for me to write unto you, and exhort you that all of you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. ~ Jude 1:3

3. The Martyred Saints of Revelation Tribulation (Acts 28:1-15):

After the Christian Church Age has come to an end the Revelation Tribulation Age begins. {Note: The Saints of Revelation are washed ashore into a strange society and economy where they are refuges; destitute and in peril. Though working hard and trying to get along they are Bitten by the Beast and transported to fellowship with their fellow Martyrs.

And when He (Jesus) had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: ~ Revelation 5:9

4. The 1,000 year Millennial Kingdom Reign of Jesus Christ on earth (Acts 28:16-31):

Having finally arrived in Rome the Throne of the King the Millennial Rein of Jesus Christ is now being depicted. {Note: As a type of a citizen of the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ, Paul is sent not to jail but to his own house to live [for two years]. Once in his Millennial House the Apostle Paul immediately begins to fellowship with the Jews of the Millennial Age.} - Paul's Journey to Rome and the book of Acts concludes "Acts 28:30-31 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, **Preaching the Kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him."

And I (Apostle John) saw thrones, and They sat upon them, and judgment was given unto Them: and I saw the souls of them [Martyred Saints of Revelation] that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast [Antichrist], neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they [also] lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years [Millennial Reign]. ~ Revelation 20:4

Note: the 5th Dispensation would be the Eternal State.

And I saw a new heaven (sky) and a new earth: for the first heaven (sky) and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I [Apostle] John saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of Heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle [dwelling] of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are True and Faithful. And He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. ~ Revelation 21:1-6

Source: blog History Study by David Anson Brown at BasicChristian.org

January 10

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Realms of Heaven and Earth

The Realms - Heaven of God and Earth of Man

Heaven the realm of the One; Holy, True, Eternal, Self-Sustaining God.

The Realm of Heaven

Thus says the LORD, The Heaven is My Throne, and the earth is My footstool [i.e. rest of soul]: where is the House that all of you build unto Me? and where is the place [large enough] of My rest? For all those [earthly] things has Mine hand made, and all those things have been [already exist], says the LORD: but to this man [the saints] will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at My Word. ~ Isaiah 66:1-2

O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is your Name in all the earth! Who have set Your Glory above the (sky) heavens. ~ Psalms 8:1

Earth the realm of the needy; fragile, perishable mankind.

The Realm of Earth

For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withers the grass, and the flower thereof falls, and the grace [individuality] of the fashion [design - attire] of it [plants] perishes: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. ~ James 1:11

Then Jesus called His [twelve] disciples unto Him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude [people], because they continue with Me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting [hungry], lest they faint in the way. ~ Matthew 15:32

January 11

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Realms of Angels and Humans

The Realms - Spiritual Angels and Physical Mankind

Spiritual the Realm of Angels

And [in Heaven] before the Throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the Throne, and round about the Throne, were four beasts [lit. spirit beings - Angels] full of eyes [observant] before and behind. And the first beast (Angel) was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. ~ Revelation 4:6-8

And I (Apostle John) fell at his feet to worship him (Angel). And he (Angel) said unto me (human), See you do it not: I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren that have the Testimony of Jesus [Matthew 16:15-19]: [instead] worship God: for the Testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. ~ Revelation 19:10

Take heed that all of you despise [harm] not one of these little ones [children]; for I say unto you, That in Heaven their Angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in Heaven. ~ Matthew 18:10

And of the Angels He says, [He] Who makes His Angels spirits, and His ministers [Angelic ministry] a flame of fire. ... Are they not all [Holy Angels] ministering spirits, sent forth [to earth] to minister for them [humans] who shall be heirs [inheritors] of salvation? ~ Hebrews 1:7-14

Physical the Realm of Humans

Let no man beguile [take from] you of your reward in a voluntary [false show of] humility and [wrongly] worshipping of Angels, intruding into those [spiritual realm] things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly [imagination] mind ... ~ Colossians 2:18

I (Apostle Paul) charge you before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect [appointed with a purpose] Angels, that you observe these [Biblical] things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. ~ 1 Timothy 5:21

For I (Apostle Paul) think that God has set forth us the Apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to Angels, and to men. ~ 1 Corinthians 4:9

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained Angels unexpectedly [unknowingly]. ~ Hebrews 13:2

Note: the Apostles somewhat knowingly interacted with Angels [i.e. Acts 12:7-12] but it is not given for Common Christians to directly (knowingly) interact with any Holy Angels.

Also Note: Apparently the only Angels seeking to directly interact with humans, during this present Christian Church Age Dispensation, are the disobedient Angels of the unholy and demonic realm.

January 12

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Realms of the Human Living and Dead

The Realms of the Human Living and the Human Deceased

Death - Separation

The realms between living humans and deceased humans are permanently separated.

But Jesus said unto him, Follow Me; and let the dead bury their dead. ~ Matthew 8:22

And beside all this [the realms are fixed], between us [living] and you [deceased] there is a great gulf [G5490 Chasm, divide] fixed [permanent]: so that they [those dead in hell] which would pass from [hell] behind to you [into heaven] cannot; neither can they [deceased] pass to us [on earth], that would come from thence [the afterworld]. ~ Luke 16:26

Note: Biblically the deceased are still alive and in fact are probably very much more aware than we currently are as they would no longer be hindered with the previous physical form.

Also Note: Though the deceased are more alive (aware) now than before they are also very much more separated from us than ever before – at least until we depart and join them. The will of God and the implemented spiritual divide (chasm) is making it impossible for the two realms of living and deceased to interact with each other. Meaning that any present interaction (necromancy – interacting with the deceased) is of a completely suspect (sorcery) nature and being Biblically forbidden [Luke 16:26, Acts 8:9, Galatians 5:19-21] it would have to be considered to be spiritually fraudulent in any existing occurrence or form.

January 13

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Realms of Death and Hell

The Realms of Death and Hell

Death - Hell

Hell in the form of the abyss has existed since before the original creation. The existing lake of fire was later created though not intended for mankind but as a destination for the unholy Angels.

In the beginning God created the heaven (sky) and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep [lit. G12 abuso (abyss), bottomless pit (Revelation 9:1) - Greek Septuagint]. Genesis 1:1-2

Then shall He (God) say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, all of you cursed [unloving], into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: ~ Matthew 25:41

Hell is not a place where humans are intended to go, and there is no reason to go there, so don't go there.

January 14

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The Eternal Realm of Heaven

The Eternal Realm of Heaven - God's Realm

The realm of Heaven is outside the realm of mankind. Yet, the Redemption Plan of God calls for mankind to vanquish our earthly realm and to be eternally united by Jesus Christ with God in His eternal realm of Heaven.

For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen, O God, beside You, what He has prepared for him that waits for Him. ~ Isaiah 64:4

But as it is written [Isaiah 64:4], Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. ~ 1 Corinthians 2:9

January 15

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The Holy Spirit

Our Interaction with God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is our personal Spiritual contact

Our only legitimate personal interaction within the Spiritual realm for us is our personal interaction with the Holy Spirit.

For through Him (Jesus) we (Christians) both have access by one [Holy] Spirit unto the Father. ~ Ephesians 2:18

Then [the Apostle] Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized [identified with Jesus] everyone of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and all of you shall receive the [free] gift of the Holy Spirit. ~ Acts 2:38

And when they [early Church Christians] had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. ~ Acts 4:31

And we [Christians] are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to them that obey Him. ~ Acts 5:32

Then remembered I [Apostle Peter] the word of the Lord (Jesus), how that He said, John [the Baptist] indeed baptized with water; but all of you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit. ~ Acts 11:16

And the disciples [even after rejection and persecution] were filled with joy, and with the Holy Spirit. ~ Acts 13:52

Take heed [caution] therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock [congregation], over the which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He (Jesus) has purchased with His own blood. ~ Acts 20:28

Note: as was previously noted we as Christians do not knowingly interact with the Angelic realm nor do we at any time attempt [besides its being impossible] to interact with the realm of the deceased. Our unique and conventional interaction [i.e. as modeled in Genesis 24:2-67] with the Spiritual realm at this time, in the present Dispensation, is with God the Holy Spirit our "Servant-Comforter" and God [Father, Son Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit] alone.

January 16

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Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare - The Battle Belongs to God

Spiritual warfare is the warfare of the Spirit, Soul, Mind and Body. The victory in the warfare is in overcoming the fallen nature of the world and ourselves, setting aside our setbacks and disappointments and entering into that restful, peaceful fellowship with God, with ourselves and with one another.

Due to the nature of Spiritual warfare it is something that we really don't engage in ourselves but defer [through prayer and supplication] in every opportunity to God who is our Strong defender and our ever present Comforter.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not lack. He makes me to lie down in green pastures: He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake. Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever. ~ Psalms 23:1-6

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of [spiritual] strong holds; Casting down [our] imaginations, and every [selfish pride] high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; ~ 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that all of you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood [humans], but against principalities [fallen Angelic entities], against powers [Demonic spirits], against the rulers [spiritual hierarchy] of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that all of you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith all of you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me (Apostle Paul), that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. ~ Ephesians 6:10-20

Also Note: The nature of Spiritual warfare is that it is primarily an annoyance to our desired Christian Walk and any time that we are able to divert from the norm of Spiritual warfare and into the Biblical rest, fellowship and good works then we have achieved the great victory that we so often seek to obtain.

January 17

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Judgment - Great White Throne

The Great White Throne Judgment - Unbelievers Banishment

The Great White Throne Judgment is the final judgment of God where the unbelievers are eternally removed from the presence of God.

And He (God) commanded us (Christians) to preach unto the people, and to Testify that it is He (Jesus) which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick (living) and dead. To Him give all the [O.T.] Prophets witness, that through His Name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins. ~ Acts 10:42-43

And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven (sky) fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. ~ Revelation 20:11-15

January 18

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Judgment - Bema Seat Rewards

Judgment - Bema Seat the Believers Rewards

The bema seat (rewards platform) judgment of God is the judgment of God where the believers are acknowledged and rewarded for their good and acceptable works.

For we (Christians) must all appear before the judgment seat [bema - rewards platform] of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good [then eternal rewards] or bad [the works of the flesh disappearing in judgment fire]. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:10

And whatsoever all of you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord all of you shall receive the reward of the [eternal] inheritance: for all of you serve the Lord Christ. But he that does wrong shall receive for the wrong which he has done: and [with God] there is no respect of persons. ~ Colossians 3:23-25

For he that in these things serves Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. ~ Romans 14:18-19

For if we would judge [examine] ourselves, we should not be judged [by others]. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:31-32

January 19

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Our Eternal Inheritance

The Eternal Life Inheritance as Sons and Daughters in Heaven

Our Inheritance as Sons and Daughters

Inheritance is a part of the birthright. First a person is born into a family and then as a family member that person is eligible to receive an inheritance.

In the family of God, a person is spiritually Born Again into the sinless likeness of God the Father and into the family of God. When a person is "Born Again" Spiritually into the family of God, that person becomes a Child of God. A child is a member of the family bearing the resemblance of the father and if the child is promised an inheritance that child becomes a Son and in the future will receive Sonship/Daughtership in the inheritance that it accompanies.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again [Born Again] unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that [eternal] fades not away, reserved in Heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein all of you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, all of you are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, all of you love; in whom, though now all of you see Him not, yet believing, all of you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. ~ 1 Peter 1:3-9

That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He (God) might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in Heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him [in His Kingdom]: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated [the appointed outcome of all believers after becoming a Christian] according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will: That we should be to the praise of His Glory, [God] Who first trusted in Christ [to redeem and save us]. In whom all of you also trusted, after that all of you heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that all of you believed, all of you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest (downpayment) of our [eternal] inheritance until the redemption [our acceptable entrance into Heaven - Sonship/Daughtership] of the purchased [on the cross] possession, unto the Praise of His [cross and resurrection] Glory. ~ Ephesians 1:10-14

Note: If a person is not a family member they would be receiving a gift and not an inheritance.

January 20

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Living Physical Sacrifice

Our Living Physical Sacrifice

Our continual day to day living sacrifice to God is a routine part of our daily Christian Walk with God.

I plead to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that all of you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be all of you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that all of you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and everyone members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teaches, on teaching; Or he that exhorts, on exhortation: he that gives, let him do it with simplicity; he that rules [leadership], with diligence; he that shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without subterfuge [an ulterior motive]. Detest that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord. Therefore if your enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. ~ Romans 12:1-21

If so be that all of you have heard Him [God], and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: That all of you put off concerning the former conversation the old man [physical], which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind [soul]; And that all of you put on the new man [spiritual], which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. ~ Ephesians 4:21-24

January 21

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Living Blood Sacrifice

The Living Blood Sacrifice

Jesus willingly shed and sacrificed His sinless blood for our atonement and though like Stephen we might be called upon by God to give our life as an acceptable blood martyr offering to God it is not the same atonement sacrifice that Jesus has already completed for us.

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the [life] blood that [gives life] makes an atonement for the soul. ~ Leviticus 17:11

But he [Stephen], being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into Heaven, and saw the Glory of God, Jesus standing [doing His High Priest duty - the King sits in office, the High Priest stands in office] on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul [Paul - Apostle Paul]. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. ~ Acts 7:55-60

All of you [Christians] have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. ~ Hebrews 12:4

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be Glory forever and ever. Amen. ~ Hebrews 13:20-21

January 22

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Living Soul Sacrifice

A Living Soul Sacrifice

The presenting of our bodies as a living sacrifice and the martyrs sacrifice are both well known and understood by the Christian Church while the Christian sacrifice of offering our soul to God on a continual basis is less understood though it is still an important and valuable sacrifice.

Where the presenting of our bodies as a living sacrifice and the martyrs sacrifice can be in the realm of our just going through the motions the sacrifice of the soul is the occurrence of our awareness and understanding, or more accurately the occurrence of our awareness and our not understanding as we struggle with our circumstances and with our ability to comprehend God's plan for our lives.

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward [physical] man perish, yet the inward [soul] man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the [physical] things which are seen, but at the [spiritual] things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal [temporary]; but the [spiritual] things which are not seen are eternal. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him [on the cross - Jesus Christ]; He has put Him to grief: when you shall make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed [remnant], He shall prolong His days [resurrection], and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My Righteous Servant (Jesus Christ) justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities. ~ Isaiah 53:10-11

January 23

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Levitical Priesthood

The Levitical Instructional Priesthood

The Apostle Paul explains that the important purpose of the Levitical Law was to provide information, instruction and examples to the people until the Messiah/Christ would come and officiate the actual offerings and sacrifices with real efficacy [tangible results].

Then assembled together the [Levitical] Chief Priests (Annas and Caiaphas Luke 3:2) [G749 - High Priest], and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the High Priest [G749 - High Priest], who was called Caiaphas, ~ Matthew 26:3

For the [Levitical] law having [only instructions] a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image [or substance] of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect [complete]. For then [if perfect] would they [Levitical offerings] not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged [cleansed] should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those [instructional] sacrifices there is a remembrance [instruction] again made of sins every year. ~ Hebrews 10:1-3

Wherefore [what is the purpose] then [that] serves the [Levitical] law? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed [Messiah/Christ] should come to whom [us] the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels [messengers - prophets] in the hand of a mediator. ... But before faith [Messiah/Christ] came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed [in Jesus Christ]. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [instruction] to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith has come, we are no longer under a [Levitical Law] schoolmaster. ~ Galatians 3:19-25

Note: with the arrival of the Christ (Jesus Christ) the Levitical Priesthood has gloriously completed its assigned task and is no longer a viable Priesthood.

January 24

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Vagabond Priesthood

The Vagabond Bogus Priesthood

The Vagabond priesthood is a rouge, usually financially motivated scheme enacted by some people in an often very successful attempt to gain prominence and wealth from among other people.

Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the LORD Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom [the Apostle] Paul preaches. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief [G749 - high priest] of the [vagabond] priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are all of you? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the Name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts [witchcraft] brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed. ~ Acts 19:13-20

Note: The Vagabond priesthood itself is done in a way that only mimics True Christianity and is actually without God and is outside of God's eternal Kingdom.

January 25

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Royal Priesthood

The Royal Christian Priesthood

With the [Aaronic] Levitical Priesthood having been completed and removed and the [self-serving] Vagabond priesthood not being a legitimate Priesthood the only and desired Priesthood for the Christian community is the Royal eternal [Melchizedek] Priesthood of the Messiah Jesus Christ.

Seeing then that we (Christians) have a great High Priest [G749 - High Priest], that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an High Priest [G749 - High Priest] which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. ~ Hebrews 4:14-16

But all of you (Christians) are a chosen generation, a Royal Priesthood, an Holy Nation, an exclusive people; that all of you should show forth the praises of Him [God] who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; Which in time past (Gentiles) were not a [godly] people, but are now (Christians) the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now [New Covenant] have obtained mercy. ~ 1 Peter 2:9-10

... Unto Him (Jesus Christ) that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, And has made us kings and priests [Royal Priesthood] unto God and His Father; to Him be Glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. ~ Revelation 1:5-6

And they [the redeemed in Heaven] sang a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for You were slain [cross], and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every kindred [ethnicity], and tongue [language], and people, and nation; And have made us unto our God kings and priests [Royal Priesthood]: and we shall reign on the earth. ~ Revelation 5:9-10

January 26

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Individual Prayer

Individual Christian Prayer

Prayer is our personal way of communicating with God

With any personal relationship communication is critical. Prayer isn't the only thing that Christians have; but it is the best thing we have and while God desires to do many things for us He will not do some of them unless we specifically ask Him in prayer.

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

But we [Church leaders] will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of [preaching] the Word. ~ Acts 6:4

And Cornelius [a Roman centurion] said [to the Apostle Peter], Four days ago I was fasting until this [noon] hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man [Angel] stood before me [in a vision] in bright clothing, And said, Cornelius, your prayer is heard, and your alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. ~ Acts 10:31

Wherefore I (Apostle Paul) also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that all of you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, Which He wrought (accomplished) in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the Heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And has put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the Church, Which is His body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all. ~ Ephesians 1:15-23

January 27

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Individual Bible Study

Individual Christian Bible Study

The Holy Bible is our only recorded message [word - logos] from God, having been delivered through the Prophets and Apostles of old it is our primary means to actually determine what God has intended for our lives.

In the beginning was the Word [G3056 - Logos: a spoken logic, reason, understanding, etc.], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ~ John 1:1

All [Holy] scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be complete, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17

These [Berean Church] were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word [sermons] with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, [to determine] whether those things [spoken messages] were so. ~ Acts 17:11

January 28

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Fellowship of Individuals - Koinonia

The Fellowship of Christian Individuals

Fellowship involves a somewhat selfless gathering where people are gathered together to encourage, support and in some ways assist one another all with the intended results of furthering Christian morale.

The [communion] cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion [G2842 - koinonia] of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion [G2842 - koinonia] of the body of Christ? ~ 1 Corinthians 10:16

And they [common Christians] continued stedfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship [G2842 - koinonia], and in breaking of bread [communion], and in prayers. ~ Acts 2:42

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship [G2842 - koinonia] one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. ~ 1 John 1:7

For it has pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution [G2842 - koinonia] for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. ~ Romans 15:26

That the communication [G2842 - koinonia] of your faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. ~ Philemon 1:6

January 29

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Individual Acts of Service

Our Christian Individual Acts of Service

Our Christian service is ultimately directed towards God and it is God that ultimately acknowledges and rewards our faithful efforts.

He that receives you [disciples of Jesus] receives Me, and he that receives Me receives Him [God the Father] that sent Me. He that receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, assuredly I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. ~ Matthew 10:40-42

But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for He that comes to God must believe that He is [exists], and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. ~ Hebrews 11:6

Yes, and if I [Apostle Paul] be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do all of you joy, and rejoice with me. ~ Philippians 2:17-18

January 30

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Christian Baptism

Christian Baptism - New Testament

The Christian Baptism consists of three elements: Spirit (Jesus Christ - Holy Spirit), Water, and Refining Fire.

Christian Baptism - Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit

Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as My Father has sent Me, even so send I you. And when He [Jesus] had said this, He breathed [baptized - sealing] on them, and says unto them, Receive all of you the Holy Spirit [become Born Again - be a Christian]: ~ John 20:21-22

Then opened He their understanding [breathed on them - baptism], that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it was essential for Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His Name among all Nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And all of you are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send [the Holy Spirit] the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry (wait) all of you in the city of Jerusalem, until [Pentecost] all of you be imbued (permeated-saturated with inspiration) with power from on high. ~ Luke 24:36-49

And they [those with faith in the resurrection - Born Again Christians] were all filled [baptized - empowered] with the Holy Spirit, and [as empowered] began to speak with other tongues, as the [Holy] Spirit gave them utterance. ~ Acts 2:4

Christian Baptism - Water

Criteria for Christian Water Baptism

  1. The person being baptized confesses a personal individual faith in Jesus Christ [the Apostles' Creed, a Psalm or a Bible verse can be read or recited]. Acknowledging the sinless Divine life, sacrificial atoning death on the cross and three days later the resurrection [eternal life] of Jesus Christ.
  2. The person administering the baptism is to baptize in the Name of God the Father, the Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit [not in the name of any individual, group or denomination] i.e. (Matthew 28:18-20) "I baptize you in the Name of God the Father, the beloved Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit."
  3. The water baptism event [submerging into water] signifies our (dying) death and burial to this world (sin and death) while then [emerging from the water] signifies our own personal resurrection with eternal life in Jesus Christ entering into a new life in the eternal Kingdom of God.

And Jesus came and spake unto them [Disciples], saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach [Disciple] all Nations, *baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son [Jesus], and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I Am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. ~ Matthew 28:18-20 KJV

Note: The water baptism [and accompanying confession of faith] is the Biblical public confession of faith for each individual Christian and is not to be confused with an alter call that although being a public stand it is not in its entirety the Biblical confession of faith.

Christian Baptism - Fire

And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like of fire, and it sat upon each of them. ~ Acts 2:3

Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. ~ 1 Corinthians 3:13-15

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, all of you love; in whom, though now all of you see him not, yet believing, all of you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. ~ 1 Peter 1:7-9

January 31

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Christian Communion

Christian Communion - The New Testament

The Communion Bread (body) represents both the physical and the resurrection body of Jesus Christ and the Cup of Wine (Blood) represents both the physical blood and the Spiritual eternal life blood of Jesus Christ.

Criteria for Christian Communion

  1. First the 'body' (of Jesus Christ) bread [wafer] is to be unleavened (sinless), unsweetened (reality), salt (preserved), holes (pierced) and browned (bruised).
  2. Second the 'blood' (of Jesus Christ) cup [grape juice, wine] is to be mingled (combined) 1/3 water with 2/3 grape [fruit of the vine]. Use three separate glasses or containers, 1 with water, 1 with grape, 1 empty. Then pour [mingle] at the same time both the grape and the water into the empty cup creating the cup of 2/3 grape mingled with 1/3 water.
  3. Reading a Bible verse or passage provides the 3rd element of Communion the element of the Word of God being the Spirit of God.

Note: When the Communion bread is lifted up blessed, exalted and broken it represents the physical body of Jesus Christ on the cross then when the bread is eaten (consumed, eternalized) it represents the Spiritual [resurrection] body of Jesus Christ. Likewise when the Communion blood is mingled [grape, water] it represents the physical blood and water of Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross [after His death - by the spear wound (John 19:34-35)] for the remission of our sins and then when the blood is drink (consumed, eternalized) it represents the resurrection eternal life Spiritual blood of Jesus Christ. Both [the one body] the physical (earthly) body of Jesus Christ and His eternal Spiritual Resurrection [bodily resurrection] of Jesus Christ [along with our new everlasting spiritual body in Jesus Christ] are represented in the one Communion of bread and wine (grape).

Note: The 'cup' is in reference to both the physical life-blood and the Spiritual life-blood of Jesus. The Communion of Jesus Christ represents both the body on the cross and the resurrection life body of Jesus. The New Testament - The Communion of Jesus Christ represents both the Redemption (cross) and Salvation (resurrection) body of Jesus Christ. - Also Note: Jesus being without sin in His body (Matthew 17:2), bodily resurrected in His same body. We having sin our own physical body we vacate our physical body and it returns to dust [Genesis 3:19] then we each receive a new spiritual body - not a new physical body [not a reincarnation of a physical body] but a new eternal spiritual body for the purposes of our [continuing] eternal spiritual life.

And Melchizedek King {of} Salem brought forth [Communion] bread and wine: and He was the Priest of the Most High God. And He blessed him (Abraham), and said, Blessed be Abram (Abraham) of The Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be The Most High God, which has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he gave Him tithes of all. ~ Genesis 14:18-20 -- Note: the word "of" is not in the OT Septuagint bible version.

And as they were eating, Jesus took [Communion] bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the [Communion] cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink all of you all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day [in Heaven] when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. ~ Matthew 26:26-29

For I [Apostle Paul] have received of the Lord [Jesus] that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is *My body [representing both the physical body and resurrection (spiritual) body of Jesus], which [physical body] is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the New Testament in My blood [both physical blood and resurrection Spirit-life blood]: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me. *For as often as ye eat *this [unleavened] bread, and drink this [grape and water mingled] cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily [thinking they are not a sinner], shall be guilty of the [sacrifice for our sins] body and blood of the Lord. **But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, **not discerning the Lord's body [that the physical body of Jesus was given physically for our sin on the cross (redemption) and that the Spiritual body of Jesus is given to us from His eternal life resurrection (Salvation)]. For this cause [not knowing that the same body of Jesus from the cross is the same body that resurrected and is for our eternal, resurrection life, salvation] many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep [are unaware of the power and of the pending resurrection in our own life]. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened (Hebrews 12:6) of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 KJV

Note: The Communion represents and is a part of the Levitical Feats of "The Lord's Passover" Jesus was betrayed on the night of the Passover Feast [14th of Nisan - Leviticus 23:5]. The very next day, the day of the crucifixion (cross) of Jesus is the Levitical Feast the "Feast of Unleavened Bread" [15th of Nisan - Leviticus 23:6] then that first day of the week [Sunday] is the Feast of Firstfruits [Leviticus 23:7] - Jesus Resurrected on Sunday the Feast of Firstfruits and began (John 20:22) to give individually to each one of His disciples the Firstfruits of His Holy, eternal resurrection life - Romans 8:23 And not only they [all of creation groans for redemption], but ourselves also, which have *the Firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption [from Children of God to Sons of God], to wit, the redemption of our body.

February - The Romance of Redemption and Salvation

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Espoused to Christ

The Church the Bride of Jesus Christ

The faithful marriage union between one man and one woman is a representation of the ultimate intimate Spiritual union relationship between God and His people.

For I [Apostle Paul] am jealous over you [True Church] with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to One Husband [Jesus Christ], that I may present you as a chaste virgin [faithful] to Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 11:2

And while they [Vagabond Church] went to buy, the Bridegroom [Jesus Christ] came [2nd Coming]; and they [True Church] that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut. ~ Matthew 25:10

The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of Hosts: for the LORD is good; for His mercy endures for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the House of the LORD ... Jeremiah 33:11

He (Jesus) that has the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend [John the Baptist] of the bridegroom, which stands and hears Him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. ~ John 3:29

Note: John the Baptist was not a Christian, he did not survive to become a member of the Christian Church that began on Resurrection [Easter] Sunday. John the Baptist was the last of the Old Testament Prophets (Matthew 11:13).

February 2

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The Excellent Way!

Christian Love and Charity - A More Excellent Way

A More Excellent Way!

But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you A More Excellent Way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of Angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the Truth; Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part [our limited understanding], and we prophesy in part. But when that [Jesus Christ] which is perfect has come [2nd Coming], then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass [the spirit realm], darkly [vaguely]; but then [later] face to face [with God]: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:31-3:13

February 3

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Biblical Redemption

Biblical Redemption - A Return to the Presence of God

Redemption is to purchase back something that once belonged to you, but is not currently in your possession. When Adam and the Woman [later named Eve, living] sinned, mankind was sold into sin. To be in sin is to be separated from the possession of God. On the cross, Jesus redeemed (purchased) back from sin, as His possession, all those who would choose to be reunited with God.

Old Testament Redemption

Redemption is expressed in the Old Testament as the blood covering of the Passover Feast that Israel celebrated in Egypt. The Passover in Egypt is an enactment of God redeeming (purchasing) with His blood His people back into His possession, from the possession of the world and slavery. Death has passed over the Jews and the Church, the redeemed have escaped death and have passed over into life with God.

And they [Congregation] shall take of the [Passover - redemption] blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it [Passover meal]. ~ Exodus 12:7

And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he has spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the House of Bondage, to thrust you out of the way which the LORD your God commanded you to Walk in. ~ Deuteronomy 13:5

Moses' Song of Redemption and Salvation - after the Red Sea crossing.

You (God) in your mercy have led forth the people which you have redeemed: You have guided them in your strength unto your Holy Habitation [Mt. Sinai]. ~ Exodus 15:13

New Testament Redemption

The New Testament redemption promise occurred on the night of the New Testament Passover (Last Supper) and the actual blood of Jesus was shed on the cross of Jesus - where Jesus, the Firstborn of God, gave His life and died, clearing the way for us to be freed from the sin and slavery of the world and to be redeemed [united] to God as His possession.

Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation [full payment of all sins] through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance [forgiveness] of God; ~ Romans 3:24-25

In [Jesus] Whom we [Christians] have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; ~ Ephesians 1:7

But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out [atonement] blood and water. And he [Disciple John] that saw it bare record, and his record is True: and he knows that he says True, that all of you might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken. And again another scripture says, They shall look on Him whom they pierced. ~ John 19:33-37

Note: the atoning [life] blood of the New Testament is the blood of Jesus shed [poured out] after His death (full and final payment of sin) on the cross.

February 4

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Biblical Salvation

Biblical Salvation - Healing and Wellbeing in the Presence of God

Salvation means to be taken out of harm's way, "saved " from harm or danger, included in being saved is healing, emotional spiritual healing. Where there is danger there is suffering and injury; where there is salvation there is healing.

Our salvation does not stop with us being saved from perishing in the fires of hell. We as Christians commonly ask others "are you saved?" as though salvation is a one time finished work in our lives. Often what we are really asking is if the person has a personal relationship with God. A relationship with God First involves redemption (renewed relationship) with God, then through our new Spiritual relationship (sanctification) with God we are continually being saved (healed).

Old Testament Salvation

I have waited for Your salvation, O LORD. ~ Genesis 49:18

Moses' Song of Redemption and Salvation - after the Red Sea crossing.

The LORD is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation [safety - deliverance from Egypt]: He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt Him. ~ Exodus 15:2

New Testament Salvation

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. ~ Romans 1:16

Who [Christians] are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. ~ 1 Peter 1:5

Beloved, when I (Jude) gave all diligence to write unto you of the Common Salvation, it was necessary for me to write unto you, and exhort you that all of you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. ~ Jude 1:3

But we [Jewish Christians] believe that through the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ we [Redeemed Jews] shall be saved [Salvation], even as they [previously unredeemed Gentiles]. ~ Acts 15:11

Note: the Jews are the Redeemed of God [Isaiah 43:1-2, Romans 9:4-5] though their eternal salvation in the Messiah Jesus Christ has been postponed [Romans 11:25] until they are individually in Heaven. The Christian Church and only the Christian Church experiences eternal salvation [John 5:24] while still on earth.

Also Note: the Jewish, Old Testament salvation involved safety from an immediate danger i.e. deliverance from Egypt. Only the New Testament salvation in Jesus Christ provides eternal life salvation from sin.

February 5

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Eve

Eve the faithful and only wife of Adam

The Fall of Mankind

The loss of earthly redemption-salvation and the beginning of the journey to eternal Heavenly Redemption-Salvation.

Adam and Eve were of course involved in one of the most interesting and intriguing events of the Bible - the fall of mankind.

And the man [Adam] said, The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that you have done? And the woman said, The Serpent [Satan] misled me, and I did eat. ~ Genesis 3:12-13

Note: In some of the first events recorded in the Bible regarding mankind God talks first to Adam about eating the forbidden fruit and not to the woman because had God talked to Eve first about what went wrong then probably Eve would have only blamed herself and not Satan as was appropriate for the events that had happened. In the events as they unfolded God purposely spoke first to Adam and then Adam blamed the woman and once blamed the woman then rightfully blamed Satan for the fall of mankind.

Had the woman taken the full responsibility for disobeying God, as Satan had planned, it's possible that Redemption-Salvation might not have been offed to mankind and that Adam, the woman and any descendants would have remained dead in sin and separated from God.

Also Note: Something that everyone needs to know about the human existence is that there is a propensity for us humans to do the wrong thing [sin] and for some even to do an evil thing and then to shift the blame for the wrong behavior over to someone or something else. Satan did this blame-shifting in the Garden of Eden when Satan tempted Eve (the woman) to disobey God and then Satan tried to shift the blame and convince Eve that she had disobeyed God by her own choice.

After the tempting by Satan and the fall of mankind in Adam and Eve, Adam then in faith named the woman (Eve - the mother of all living) signifying that both Adam and Eve through faith in God are both in Heaven.

And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. ~ Genesis 3:20

The Romance of Redemption and Salvation - Explained in the New Testament

Nevertheless death reigned [before, during and after the Levitical Law] from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the embodiment of Adam's transgression, [Adam] who [then knowingly sacrificed himself for his wife] is the figure [type] of Him (Jesus Christ) that was to come. ~ Romans 5:14

For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. ~ 1 Timothy 2:13-14

The Bible teaches that Adam knowingly understood that in disobeying God it would facilitate his fall yet Adam purposely and knowingly fell in order to join his wife's predicament in the fall. Likewise Jesus purposely took on a body of flesh and blood knowing that He would be rejected and crucified but like Adam also knowing that it was the only way to rescue [Redemption-Salvation] His Bride the Church.

February 6

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Emzara

Emzara by some Jewish traditions was the wife of Noah

Noah and his wife had three sons

And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah brings forth Shem, Ham, and Japheth. ~ Genesis 5:32

And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. ~ Genesis 7:5

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples [buildings] made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, seeing He gives to all life, and breath, and all things; And has made of one blood [the sinful blood of Adam] all Nations of men [descended] for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times [of birth] before appointed, and the [location] bounds of their habitation [living]; That they should seek the Lord, if lest by any means they might feel [seek] after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us: For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own [Greek] poets have [already] said, For we are also His offspring [created beings]. ~ Acts 17:24-28

Note: all of mankind is physically related in Adam and Eve and then again in Noah and his wife.

February 7

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Sarah

Sarah the first and favored wife of Abraham

Abraham and Sarah are both descendants of Noah's oldest son Shem.

And Abram and [his brother] Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram's wife was Sarai; ... But Sarai was barren; she had no child. And Terah [Abraham's father] took Abram his son, and Lot [his grandson] the son of Haran [Abraham's other brother] his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees [modern - Northern Iraq], to go into the land of Canaan [ancient Judea - modern Israel]; and they came [at first only] unto Haran [in northern Syria], and dwelt there [Acts 7:4]. ~ Genesis 11:29-31

Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for a father of many Nations have I made you. ~ Genesis 17:5

And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. ~ Genesis 17:15

Note: signifying [Revelation 2:17 and Revelation 3:12] their covenant, New Life [Born Again] relationship with God, He changed Abram's name to Abraham and Sarai's name to Sarah by adding the "h" breath of life to each name.

February 8

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Rebecca

Rebecca (Rebekah) the wife of Isaac

Rebecca is the granddaughter of Abraham's brother Nahor, her father is Bethuel a son of Nahor.

But you [Eliezer of Damascus, Syria - Abraham's trusted servant] shall go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. ~ Genesis 24:4

And it came to pass, before he [Eliezer] had [was] done speaking [praying to God], that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah [his mother], the wife of Nahor [his father], Abraham's brother [note: the family moved from Ur of the Chaldees to Haran and Padan Aram in northern Syria] ... ~ Genesis 24:15

And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well. ~ Genesis 24:29

And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Will you go with this man? And she said, I will go. ~ Genesis 24:58

And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death. ~ Genesis 24:67

And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son: Abraham brings forth Isaac: And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan-aram, the sister to Laban the Syrian. ~ Genesis 25:19-20

And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padan-aram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother. ~ Genesis 28:5

Isaac and Rebecca are the parents of Esau and Jacob

February 9

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Rachel and Leah

Rachael the first love of Jacob and second wife while Leah was the first wife of Jacob

Jacob later renamed Israel [Genesis 35:10] is the Father of the 12 Tribes (Patriarchs - families) that comprise the Nation of Israel

And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padan-aram; ~ Genesis 28:7

And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba [in Canaan - later Judea], and went toward Haran [Genesis 11:31]. ~ Genesis 28:10

Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east. ... And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be all of you? And they said, Of Haran are we. And he said unto them, Know all of you Laban the son [grandson] of Nahor? And they said, We know him. And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter comes with the sheep. ~ Genesis 29:1-6

And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favored. And Jacob loved Rachel ... Genesis 29:16-18

... Now the sons of Jacob were twelve [and at least one daughter, Dinah]: The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah [the line of Jesus Christ], and Issachar, and Zebulun: The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin: And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid [servant]; Dan, and Naphtali: And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid [servant]: Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padan-aram. ~ Genesis 35:22-26

Now Israel [Jacob] loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of [Rachel and of] his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors. And when his [eleven] brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. ~ Genesis 37:3-4

New Testament - Rachel and Jacob

Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy (Jeremiah) the Prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. ~ Matthew 2:17-18

Then comes He [Jesus] to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar (Shechem), near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with His journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. ~ John 4:5-6

February 10

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Tamar, Rahab and Ruth

Tamar the daughter-in-law and accidental mistress of Judah, Rahab and Ruth

Early Gentile wives of the Tribe of Judah; Tamar, Rahab and Ruth.

Tamar a Canaanite, Rahab a Canaanite prostitute from the city of Jericho and Ruth a widow from the country of Moab.

And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar. ~ Genesis 38:6

Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, [after the death of his son Er] Remain a widow at your father's house, till Shelah my [other] son be grown: for he said, Lest possibly he die also, as his brethren [older brother Er] did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father's house. And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah's wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his [friends the] sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold your father in law goes up to Timnath to shear his sheep. And she put her widow's garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife. When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face. And he turned unto her by the way [the way of prostitution], and said, Go to, I pray you, let me come in unto you; for he knew not that she was his daughter in law. ... ~ Genesis 38:11-16

And Judah acknowledged them [his payments for her prostitution], and said, She has been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he had sexual contact with her again no more. And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins [sons - Pharez and Zarah] were in her womb. ~ Genesis 38:26-27

And the sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Pharez, and Zarah: but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. And the sons of Pharez were Hezron and Hamul. ~ Genesis 46:12

And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father's household, and all that she had; and she [married Salmon and] dwells in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. ~ Joshua 6:25

And Salmon brings forth Boaz of Rahab; and Boaz brings forth Obed of Ruth; and Obed brings forth Jesse; And Jesse brings forth David the King; and David the King brings forth Solomon of her [Bathsheba] that had been the wife of Urias; ~ Matthew 1:5-6

Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the [previous] wife of [the deceased] Mahlon, have I [Boaz a descendant of Judah via Pharez] purchased [redeemed] to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate [city gate of Bethlehem] of his place: all of you are witnesses this day. And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that has come into your house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the House of Israel: and do you worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem: And let your House be like the House of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give you of this young woman. ~ Ruth 4:10-12

So Boaz [of the Tribe of Judah] took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son. And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which has not left you this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto you a restorer of your life, and a nourisher of your old age: for your daughter in law, which loves you, which is better to you than seven sons, has born him. And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of [King] David. ~ Ruth 4:13-17

Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez brings forth Hezron, And Hezron brings forth Ram, and Ram brings forth Amminadab, And Amminadab brings forth Nahshon, and Nahshon brings forth Salmon, And Salmon brings forth Boaz, and Boaz brings forth Obed, And Obed brings forth Jesse, and Jesse brings forth [King] David. ~ Ruth 4:18-22

February 11

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Asenath

Asenath the Egyptian wife of Joseph

Joseph married Asenath and they had the two children Ephraim and Manasseh whose descendants received an Inheritance from Israel-Jacob in Judea the Promise Land of Israel

Note: Pharaoh Akhenaten who was very possibly the Egyptian Pharaoh of Joseph's time was known to be a very religious Pharaoh and Joseph was known to be a very religious person so it is interesting that the Pharaoh of the Bible in picking the best wife he could for Joseph chose a religious woman in the daughter of an Egyptian priest.

And Pharaoh [probably Pharaoh Akhenaten] called Joseph's name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the [Egyptian] daughter of Potipherah priest of On [possibly Ra the Egyptian sun-God]. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt. ~ Genesis 41:45

And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh [Tribe of Manasseh]: For God, said he, has made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim [Tribe of Ephraim]: For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. ~ Genesis 41:50-52

And now [Joseph] your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto you in the land of Egypt before I [Israel-Jacob] came unto you into Egypt, are mine [for an inheritance]; as Reuben and Simeon [they will receive land in Judea], they shall be mine. And your issue [any later children], which you brought forth after them, shall be yours [not inheriting land in Judea], and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance [note: Joseph didn't have any more children other than Ephraim and Manasseh]. ~ Genesis 48:5-6

And Moses gave [had given an] inheritance unto the half tribe of Manasseh: and this was the possession of the half tribe of the Children of Manasseh by their families. ~ Joshua 13:29

For the children of Joseph were two Tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim: therefore they gave no part unto the Levites [Tribe of Levi] in the land, save [except in the] cities to dwell in, with their suburbs for their cattle and for their substance. As the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did, and they divided the land. ~ Joshua 14:4-5

So the children [Tribe] of Joseph; Manasseh and Ephraim, took their inheritance. ~ Joshua 16:4

February 12

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Zipporah

Zipporah the first wife of Moses of the Tribe of Levi

Zipporah's father Jethro was a Middianite a descendant of Midian who was a son from Abraham's third family with a companion named Keturah. Jethro and his family lived in the ancient land of Midian today encompassed by modern Saudi Arabia.

Then again Abraham took a wife (companion) [after his wife Sarah and the Egyptian servant Hagar], and her name was Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. And Jokshan brings forth Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim. And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abidah, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah. And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines (companions) [Hagar and Keturah], which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his [only] son [inheritor], while he yet lived, eastward, unto [i.e. Arabia] the east country. ~ Genesis 25:1-6

And Moses was content to dwell with the man [Jethro]: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter. And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom [and later Eliezer]: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land. ~ Exodus 2:21-22

Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the Mountain of God, even to Horeb [Mt. Sinai]. And the Angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And He said, Draw not nigh here: put off your shoes from off your feet, for the place whereon you stand is holy ground. Moreover He said, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. ~ Exodus 3:1-6

And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray you, and return unto my brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace. And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought your life. And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand. And the LORD said unto Moses, When you go to return into Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in your hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. And you shall say unto Pharaoh, Thus says the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto you, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if you refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay your son, even your firstborn. And it came to pass by the way in the inn [the sleeping tent], that the LORD met him [Moses], and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband are you to me. So He let him go: then she said, A bloody husband you are, because of the circumcision. ~ Exodus 4:18-26

When Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father in law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, and that the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt; Then Jethro, Moses' father in law, took Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her back, And her two sons; of which the name of the one was Gershom; for he said, I have been an foreigner in a strange land: And the name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father, said he, was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh: And Jethro, Moses' father in law, came with his sons and his wife unto Moses into the wilderness, where he encamped at the Mount of God [Mt. Sinai]: And he said unto Moses, I your father in law Jethro am come unto you, and your wife, and her two sons with her. And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did reverence, and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tent. ~ Exodus 18:1-7

Note: During the difficult time of slavery in Egypt the Children of Israel had stopped observing the covenant of circumcision that God had established with Abraham. Moses was sent by God to go back to Egypt to get the Children of God back in order with God and to get them out of the land of Egypt. Though Moses was on his way to set right the Children of God he had not yet set his own house right with God and it caused Moses to have an almost deadly encounter with God along the way. Apparently in jeopardy with God and quickly needing to perform the circumcisions Moses' wife Zipporah stepped in and circumcised one of their two sons while Moses circumcised the other. Sometime after the event Moses sent Zipporah and their two sons back to her father Jethro. Later after the Children of God were safely out of Egypt and at Mt. Sinai then Jethro hearing the news brought Zipporah and the two sons back to be reconciled with Moses.

Now concerning Moses the man of God, his sons were named of the tribe of Levi. The sons of Moses were, Gershom, and Eliezer. Of the sons of Gershom, Shebuel was the chief. And the sons of Eliezer were, Rehabiah the chief. And Eliezer had no other sons; but the sons of Rehabiah were very many. ~ 1 Chronicles 23:14-17

And Shebuel the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, was ruler of the Treasures. And his brethren by Eliezer; Rehabiah his son, and Jeshaiah his son, and Joram his son, and Zichri his son, and Shelomith his son. Which Shelomith and his brethren were over all the Treasures of the dedicated things, which David the King, and the chief fathers, the captains over thousands and hundreds, and the captains of the host, had dedicated [to the Levitical Priesthood]. Out of the spoils won in battles did they dedicate to maintain the House of the LORD. ~ 1 Chronicles 26:24-27

February 13

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Ahinoam

Ahinoam the wife of King Saul

King Saul (lit. asked for) was the first of the three human Kings over an undivided Israel.

And the name of Saul's wife was Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahimaaz: and the name of the captain of his host was Abner, the son of Ner, Saul's uncle. ~ 1 Samuel 14:50

Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, No; but we will have a King over us; That we also may be like all the [Gentile] Nations; and that our King may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. ~ 1 Samuel 8:19-20

And Samuel said unto all Israel, Behold, I have hearkened unto your voice in all that all of you said unto me, and have made a King over you. ~ 1 Samuel 12:1

King Saul [a type of Satan] orders the Killing of all the Levitical Priests at Nob and then the destruction of the city of Nob.

And the King said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the LORD: because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not show it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of the LORD. And the king said to Doeg, Turn you, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod. And Nob, the city of the priests, stroke he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and infants, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword. And one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David. And Abiathar showed David that Saul had slain the LORD's priests. ~ 1 Samuel 22:17-21

Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa. And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchishua, Saul's sons. And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers. Then said Saul unto his armour bearer, Draw your sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armour bearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. And when his armour bearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armour bearer, and all his men, that same day together. ~ 1 Samuel 31:1-6

Note: King Saul due to his actions and abilities is presented in the Bible as a type of Satan ruling over the people. It's interesting that the people rejected the leadership and rule of God over their country and in asking for a worldly leader to serve them they unknowingly received Satan as their ruler.

February 14

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Bathsheba

Bathsheba the last of King David's eight wives

King David was the second of the three human Kings over an undivided Israel.

King David (lit. beloved) is a type of the Messiah Jesus Christ.

The Eight Wives of King David

Merab - not a wife - Kings Saul's oldest daughter offered to David but then deceitfully given as a wife to Adriel (1 Samuel 18:17).
Michal - a daughter of King Saul - later divorced - no children with King David (1 Samuel 18:27).
Ahinoam - from Jezreel a Jezreelitess (2 Samuel 3:2).
Abigail - a type of the Christian Church (1 Samuel 25:23-35) - from Carmel a Carmelitess (2 Samuel 3:3).
Maacah - a political marriage - a daughter of Talmai, King of Geshur (2 Samuel 3:3).
Haggith - (2 Samuel 3:4).
Abital - (1 Chronicles 3:3).
Eglah - (2 Samuel 3:5).
Bathsheba - the mother of Nathan [line of Jesus via Mary] and King Solomon (1 Chronicles 3:5).

And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when Kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel [to war]; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried [stayed] still at Jerusalem. And it came to pass in an evening-time, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the King's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child. ~ 2 Samuel 11:1-5

The first child of David and Bathsheba dies in infancy.

And David said unto Nathan [the Prophet], I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto you shall surely die. ~ 2 Samuel 12:14

And these were born unto him [King David] in Jerusalem; Shimea (Shammua), and Shobab, and Nathan [line of Jesus Christ via Mary - Luke 3:31], and [King] Solomon [line of Joseph the husband of Mary - Matthew 1:6], four, of Bathshua (Bathsheba) the daughter of Ammiel: ~ 1 Chronicles 3:5

Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of [King] David, ~ Luke 3:31

And Jesse brings forth David the King; and David the King brings forth [King] Solomon of her [Bathsheba] that had been the wife of Urias; ~ Matthew 1:6

Note: it is King David's Throne [through the line of Nathan up until Mary] that the Messiah (Jesus Christ) will restore and reign from during the Millennial Reign of Christ.

And after they [1st Church Council of Jerusalem] had held their peace, James [who later wrote the Book of James] answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon [Apostle Peter] has declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His Name. And to this agree the Words of the [O.T.] Prophets; as it is written, After this [Christian Church Age] I [Jesus Christ] will return [2nd Coming], and will build again the Tabernacle [Throne] of [King] David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: ~ Acts 15:13-16

February 15

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Pharaoh's Daughter

King Solomon's first wife a daughter of Pharaoh

King Solomon was the third and final of the three human Kings over an undivided Israel.

King Solomon (lit. peaceable - i.e. a false peace) is a type of the coming Antichrist.

King Solomon brings Egypt back into Israel

And [King] Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh King of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the City of David [Jerusalem], until he had made an end of building his own house [first], and the House of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about. Only the people [wrongly] sacrificed in high places, because there was no House [Temple] built unto the Name of the LORD, until those days. ~ 1 King 3:1-2

The Building of Solomon's Temple

... So was he seven years in building it [Solomon's Temple]. .. But Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house. ~ 1 Kings 6:38-7:1

King Solomon's Antichrist Wealth and Antichrist Fame

Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore (60) and six talents [666] of gold, Beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the trade of the spice merchants, and of all the Kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country. ~ 1 Kings 10:14-15

Moreover the King [Solomon] made a great Throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold. The Throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays. And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom. ~ 1 Kings 10:18-20

And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. ~ 1 Kings 4:30

King Solomon Deceives Hiram the King of Tyre

And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the two houses, the House of the LORD [Solomon's Temple], and the King's [palace] house, Now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all his desire, that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. And Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him; and they pleased him not. ~ 1 Kings 9:10-12

The Death and Aftermath of King Solomon

And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David [Jerusalem] his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his position. ~ 1 Kings 11:42-43

And [at the start of king Rehoboam's reign, the Kingdom of Israel split into two parts a Northern Kingdom (Israel - Samaria) and a Southern Kingdom (Judah - Jerusalem)] Rehoboam [a son of King Solomon and Naamah] slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the City of David [Jerusalem]. And his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And Abijam his son reigned [as King of Judah, Southern Israel] in his position. ~ 1 Kings 14:31

Jesus Christ Responds to the Worldly Kingdom of Solomon

And yet I (Jesus Christ) say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these [lilies of the field - i.e. the resurrection body - 1 Corinthians 15:38-42]. ~ Matthew 6:29

February 16

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Salvation and Redemption

The Hope of Salvation and Final Eternal Redemption

Salvation in the Presence of God

As it is written [Isaiah 40:3] in the book of the words of Isaiah the Prophet, saying, The voice of one [John the Baptist] crying in the wilderness, Prepare all of you the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see [Jesus Christ] the Salvation of God. ~ Luke 3:4-6

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. ~ Acts 4:12

Final Eternal Redemption

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your [End Time - Tribulation Saints] redemption draws nigh. ~ Luke 21:25-28

And not only they [creation], but ourselves also, which have the [Born Again] first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting (lit. attentively and patiently) for the adoption, to know, the redemption of our body. ~ Romans 8:23

February 17

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Zacharias

Zacharias a Levitical Priest and the Father of John the Baptist

The days of the Roman King Herod in Israel

There was in the days of [the Roman King] Herod, the King of Judaea, a certain [Levitical] Priest named Zacharias, of the course [scheduled family] of Abia [probably the OT Hashabiah - Nehemiah 10:11]: and his wife [Elisabeth] was of the [Tribe of Levi] daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth [seemingly a cousin of Mary's Mother - i.e. Mary's Mother's Aunt had left the Tribe of Judah in marriage to a Levitical Priest]. ~ Luke 1:5

The list of the Sealed Levitical Priests of the Jewish Exiles who returned from Babylon.

And because of all this [even though all the sins of Israel] we make a sure covenant [acknowledging that Messiah (Jesus Christ) would still come to Israel], and write it; and our princes [Kings], Levites [Priests], and priests [i.e. Prophets], seal unto it. Now those that sealed were, Nehemiah, the Tirshatha, the son of Hachaliah, and Zidkijah, Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, Pashur, Amariah, Malchijah, Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch, Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah, Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch, Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, Maaziah, Bilgai, Shemaiah: these were the Priests. And the Levites: both Jeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, Kadmiel; And their brethren, Shebaniah, Hodijah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan, Micha, Rehob, Hashabiah, ... And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims [Temple assistants], and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, everyone having knowledge, and having understanding; They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and His judgments and His statutes; ~ Nehemiah 9:38-10:29

Zechariah's Prophecy - The Benedictus

And his [John the Baptist's] father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He has visited and redeemed His people, And has raised up an horn of Salvation for us in the House [Tribe] of His servant [King] David; As He spoke by the mouth of His holy Prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember His Holy Covenant; The oath which He swore to our father Abraham, That He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life. And you, child [John the Baptist], shall be called the Prophet of the Highest: for you shall go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the Dayspring from on High has visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. -- And the child grew, and grew strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing [Priestly baptism (washing with water) - at 30 years of age] unto Israel. ~ Luke 1:67-80

February 18

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Simeon

Simeon a Temple Prophet in Jerusalem

Simeon - Promised to see the Lord's Christ

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation [comfort] of Israel: and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Spirit, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. ~ Luke 2:25-26

Simeon's Testimony and Prophecy

And he [Simeon] came by the Spirit into the Temple: and when the parents [Mary and Joseph] brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him after the custom of the [Levitical] Law, Then took he Him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now let you your servant depart in peace, according to your word: For mine eyes have seen Your Salvation, Which You have prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the Glory of your [Jewish] people Israel. And Joseph and His mother [Mary] marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary His mother, Behold, this Child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; Yes, a sword shall pierce [at the cross] through your own soul also, that [judgment through] the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. ~ Luke 2:27-35

February 19

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Anna

Anna a Temple Prophetess in Jerusalem

Anna a prophetess from the Jewish Tribe of Asher

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the Tribe of Aser (Asher - Genesis 35:26): she was of a great age, and had lived [married] with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years [64 years], which departed not from the Temple [in Jerusalem], but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. ~ Luke 2:36-37

Anna's Testimony of the Messiah

And she coming [to the Temple area] in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spoke of Him [Jesus] to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. And when they [Joseph and Mary] had performed all things according to the [Levitical] Law of the Lord, they returned [after being in Egypt] into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the Child grew, and grew strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him. ~ Luke 2:38-40

February 20

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Mary

Mary the Mother of Jesus

The Genealogies of Joseph and Mary

... And Jacob brings forth Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom [Mary] was born Jesus, Who is called Christ. ~ Matthew 1:16

And Jesus Himself began to be about thirty years of age [when He began His earthly (Melchizedek Priesthood) Ministry], being as was supposed [though by the people to be] the son of Joseph, which [Jesus] was [via Mary] the son [Grandson] of Heli, ... which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of [King] David, ~ Luke 3:23

Mary's Song of Praise to God - The Magnificat

And Mary said, My soul does magnify the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty has done to me great things; and Holy is His Name. And His mercy is on them that fear Him from generation to generation. He has showed strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He has sent empty away. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy; As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed forever. ~ Luke 1:46-55

Mary at the Cross of Jesus Christ

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother [Mary], and his mother's sister [unnamed], Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. ~ John 19:25

Mary in the Upper Room with the Apostles

These [Apostles] all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. ~ Acts 1:14

February 21

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Christian Church

The Christian Church the Bride of Jesus Christ

The Christian Church in allegory, example only of a close personal relationship, is the Bride of Jesus Christ but not physically or literally.

... Holy Father, keep through your own Name those [Christians] whom You have given Me (Jesus Christ), that they [Christians] may be one, as We [Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit] are. ~ John 17:11

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same [Holy] Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord [Jesus Christ]. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God [Father God] which works all in all. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

And when all things shall be subdued unto Him [Jesus], then shall the Son [Jesus Christ] also Himself be subject unto Him [Father God] that put all things under Him, that God may be [a unified Kingdom] all in all. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:28

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord [Loves] the Church: ~ Ephesians 5:28-29

Wherefore, my brethren, all of you [Christians] also are become dead to the [Levitical] Law by the body [death - cross] of Christ; that all of you should be married [no longer to the Law] to another [Jesus Christ], even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. ~ Romans 7:4

No man can come to Me [Jesus Christ], except the Father which has sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. ~ John 5:44

Note: notice that it is Father God and the Holy Spirit during the Christian Church Age that are gathering the Bride [Church - Congregation] for Jesus Christ.

February 22

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Jewish Church

The Jewish Church is the Bride of God the Father

The Jewish Church in allegory, example only of a close personal relationship, is the Bride of God the Father but not physically or literally.

For your Maker is your husband; the LORD of Hosts is His Name; and your Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall He be called. For the LORD has called you as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when you were refused, says your God. For a small moment have I forsaken you; but with great mercies will I gather you. In a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on you, says the LORD your Redeemer. ~ Isaiah 54:5-8

Turn, O backsliding children, says the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion [cross and resurrection]: And I will give you pastors according to Mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. And it shall come to pass, when all of you be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, says the LORD, they shall say no more, The Ark of the Covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that [Levitical] be done any more. At that time [Millennial Reign] they shall call Jerusalem the Throne of the LORD; and all the Nations shall be gathered unto it, to the Name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. In those days the House of Judah shall walk with the House of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers. ~ Jeremiah 3:14-18

And the LORD [pre-incarnate Jesus Christ] went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way [to the Promise Land]; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people. ~ Exodus 13:21-22

Moreover, brethren, I [Apostle Paul] would not that all of you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the [Red] Sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the Sea; And did all eat the same spiritual food [Manna]; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that Spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was [Jesus] Christ. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:1-4

Note: notice that it is the pre-incarnate Jesus [and your Redeemer] and the early work of the Holy Spirit during the Jewish Church Age Who are gathering the Bride [Church - Congregation] for God the Father.

February 23

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Church of The Martyred Saints of Revelation

The Church of The Martyred Saints of Revelation is the Bride of the Holy Spirit

The Martyred Saints of Revelation Church in allegory, example only of a close personal relationship, is the Bride of God the Holy Spirit but not physically or literally.

And it shall come to pass in the Last Days, saith God, I will pour out of My [Holy] Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And [after the Christian Church Age] I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: The sun [during the Great Tribulation] shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass [through it all], that whosoever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved. ~ Acts 2:17-21

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from Heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yes, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them. ~ Revelation 14:12-13

And I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, [in allegory] prepared as a bride adorned for her Husband. And I heard a great voice out of Heaven saying, Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them [all dispensations - i.e. The Christian Church, The Jewish Church, The Church of The Martyred Saints of Revelation, 1440,00, etc.], and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And He that sat upon the Throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: for these Words are True and Faithful. ~ Revelation 21:1-5

And one of the elders says unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the Tribe of Juda [Judah], the Root of David, has prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. ~ Revelation 5:5

And when He [Jesus] had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them [The Martyred Saints of Revelation] that were slain for the Word of God, and for the Testimony [of Jesus Christ] which they held: ~ Revelation 6:9

Note: notice that it is Jesus Christ during the Tribulation and Great Tribulation that is opening the seals and gathering the Bride [Church - Congregation] for the Holy Spirit.

February 24

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Claudia, Drusilla and Bernice

The Roman women; Claudia and the sisters Drusilla and Bernice of the Herodian Dynasty

Pontius Pilate and Claudia

Saint Claudia - also spelled Proculla or Procla

Therefore when they were gathered together, [Pontius] Pilate said unto them, Whom will all of you that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered Him. When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife [Claudia - according to Church tradition] sent unto him, saying, Have you nothing to do with that Just Man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of Him. ~ Matthew 27:17-19

 

Antonius Felix and Drusilla

Drusilla (born 38 AD - died 25 August 79 AD) was a daughter of Herod Agrippa I [Matthew 2:1] and sister to Berenice, Mariamne and [King] Herod (Marcus Julius) Agrippa II [Acts 25:13]. - wiki.com

So the Chief Captain [of the Roman Guard in Jerusalem - Claudius Lysias] then let the young man [the Apostle Paul's nephew] depart, and charged him, See you tell no man that you have showed these [the planned assassination attempt on Paul's life] things to me. And he called unto him two [Roman] Centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night; And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul [the Apostle] on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor. And he wrote a letter after this manner: Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent Governor Felix sends greeting. ... ~ Acts 23:22-26

Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them [by the Chief Captain Claudius Lysias], took [the Apostle] Paul, and brought him by night to [the city of] Antipatris. On the next day they [the 200 infantry soldiers] left the horsemen [cavalry] to go with him, and [the 200 infantry soldiers] returned to the castle [in Jerusalem]: Who, when they [the horsemen - cavalry] came to Caesarea and delivered the epistle [letter from Claudius Lysias] to the Governor [Felix], presented Paul also before him. And when the Governor had read the letter, he asked of what province he was [from]. And when he understood that he [Paul] was of Cilicia [the city of Tarsus in Cilicia]; I will hear you, said he, when your accusers are also come [from Jerusalem]. And he commanded him to be kept in Herod's judgment hall. ~ Acts 23:31-35

And when Felix [Governor Marcus Antonius Felix a Roman and a Pagan] heard these things, having [desiring a] more complete [perception] knowledge of That Way [Christianity], he deferred [delayed] them, and said, When Lysias the Chief Captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter. And he commanded a Centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him. ~ Acts 24:22-23

And after certain days, when Felix came [back] with his [Jewish] wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he [Apostle Paul] reasoned of righteousness, wilful restrain, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go your way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for you. He [Felix] hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him. But after two years [Procurator] Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to show the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound. ~ Acts 24:24-27

Note: Felix's cruelty and licentiousness, coupled with his accessibility to bribes (see Book of Acts 24:26), led to a great increase of crime in Judaea. The period of his rule was marked by internal feuds and disturbances, which he put down with severity. - wiki.com

 

King Herod Agrippa II and his sister Bernice (Berenice)

Governor Felix is replaced by Governor Festus about two years after Paul's arrival

And after certain days King Agrippa [Herod Marcus Julius Agrippa II] and Bernice [his sister] came unto Caesarea to salute Festus. ~ Acts 25:13

Note: Berenice of Cilicia (28 AD – ?), also known as Julia Berenice and sometimes spelled Bernice, was a Jewish client queen of the Roman Empire during the second half of the 1st century [Acts 25:13]. - wiki.com

Also Note: [King Herod Agrippa II] had a great [friendship] with the [Jewish] historian Josephus, having supplied him with information for his history, Antiquities of the Jews. Josephus preserved two of the letters he received from him. - wiki.com

And after certain days King Agrippa and [his sister] Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus. And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul's cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix: About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him. To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have license to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him. Therefore, when they were come here, without any delay on the next day I sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought forth. Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed: But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters. But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of [Caesar Nero] Augustus [Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus], I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar [Nero]. Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. Tomorrow, said he, you shall hear him. And on the next day, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus' commandment Paul was brought forth. And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, all of you see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer. But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself has appealed to [Caesar Nero] Augustus, I have determined to send him. ~ Acts 25:13-25

And when he [Apostle Paul] had thus spoken, the King [Agrippa] rose up, and the Governor [Festus], and Bernice, and they that sat with them: And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man does nothing worthy of death or of bonds. Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar. ~ Acts 26:30-32

Note: the Caesar the Apostle Paul appealed to was Caesar Nero (Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus) who was the sixth and last of the Roman Caesars he reigned from October 13, 54 AD to June 9, 68 AD.

Also Note: The six Roman Caesars (Julius Caesar, Augustus [Luke 2:1], Tiberius [Luke 3:1, John 6:1], Caligula, Claudius [Acts 11:28] and Nero [Acts 25:21]) were followed later by the many Revised-Rome, Roman Emperors i.e. Emperor Constantine who reigned on and off from 312 AD to 337 AD.

February 25

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The Wives of Peter, John and Paul

The Wives of the Apostles; Peter, John and Paul

Apostle Peter

And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them. ~ Matthew 8:14-15

Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed You. And He [Jesus] said unto them, Assuredly I say unto you, There is no man that has left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the Kingdom of God's sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting. ~ Luke 18:28-30

Note: those who remain with their spouses and obligations are going to get the greater reward.

Also Note: there are some later Church Traditions regarding the wife of the Apostle Peter but they seem to be unsubstantiated.

Apostle John

The Apostle John became a Disciple of Jesus at a very young age and is considered by Church History to never have married.

Again the next day after John [the Baptist] stood, and two of his disciples [the Disciples John and Andrew]; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he says, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. ~ John 1:35-37

Apostle Paul

I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. ~ 1 Corinthians 7:8

February 26

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Unnamed Helpers

Wives and Helpers Unnamed in the Bible

We noticed that Noah's wife, Mary's sister and the Apostle Peter's wife are all unnamed in the Scriptures of the Bible.

The Holy Spirit - The Unnamed Helper and Comforter

And I [Jesus] will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter [the Holy Spirit], that He may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not, neither knows Him: but all of you [Christians] know Him [but not by Name]; for He dwells with you, and shall be [after the Resurrection of Jesus] in you. ~ John 14:16-17

Temporarily being unnamed in the Bible - all receive a new name in Heaven, can be a compliment in fact the unnamed people of the Bible often represent a type of the Holy Spirit. Noah's wife, Mary's sister and the Apostle Peter's wife must have all been a great source of strength, comfort and rest for them as they each dealt with and endured the tremendous burdens brought on by their ministries.

February 27

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Christianity the Sibling of Judaism

Christianity is The Younger Sibling of Judaism

The Marriage of God the Father to the Nation of Israel has in a sense brought forth the Christian Church as The younger sibling Bride in the marriage to Jesus Christ.

All of you [us Gentiles] worship all of you know not what: we [Jews] know what we Worship: for Salvation is of the Jews. ~ John 4:22

Note: in that Christianity was birthed through Judaism, we Christians do owe a debt of gratitude to Judaism. Christianity “The Way” has always been a subset of Judaism and for the most part will always be a “Sect” of Judaism.

February 28

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The Spirit and the Bride

Both the Spirit and the Bride offer the same Invitation

The Bride has an eternal part in the eternal Kingdom of God.

And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come [enter into Heaven]. And let him [disciple] that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of [eternal] life freely. ~ Revelation 22:17

March - The Christian Walk

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Out of Egypt

Out of Egypt I have called My Son

A relationship with God is found outside of the present worldly system, outside of Egypt. The Sons and Daughters of God are called to be outside of Egypt in order to be in eternal fellowship with God our Father.

And [the family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus] was there [Egypt] until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the Prophet [Hosea], saying, Out of Egypt have I called My Son. ~ Matthew 2:15

When Israel was a child, then I [God] loved him, and called My son [the family of Jacob] out of Egypt [to be the Nation of Israel]. As they [Moses and Aaron] called them, so they went [departed] from them [Egypt]: they sacrificed [in the desert - golden calf] unto [the false god of] Baalim, and burned incense to graven images. I taught [the Tribe of] Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them. I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke [bridle] on their jaws, and I laid food [the manna] unto them. He [Israel] shall not return into the land of Egypt [in captivity], and the Assyrian [a type of strong military strength] shall be his king [the Northern Kingdom was conquered by Assyria], because they refused to return. And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels. And My people are bent to backsliding from Me: though they [Prophets, Priests, Kings] called them [Nation of Israel] to the Most High, none at all would exalt Him [in a proper Biblical Spiritual resurrection life way]. How shall I give you up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver you, Israel? how shall I make you as Admah [strangers]? how shall I set you as Zeboim [foreigners]? Mine heart is turned within Me, My repentings are kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of Mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of you (the Redemption of Israel): and I will not enter into the city [Jerusalem is forsaken for a time]. They shall walk after the LORD: He shall roar like a Lion: when He shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west. They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, says the LORD. Ephraim compasses Me about with lies, and the House of Israel with deceit: but Judah (lit. Praise) [the Southern Kingdom of Israel] yet rules with God, and is faithful with the saints. ~ Hosea 11:1-12

The false and compromised [emergent - worldly] churches of today are content in not leaving Egypt behind, content and desirous to still be in Egypt and of Egypt [i.e. edited Egyptian NT bible texts (codex Alexandrinus, codex Sinaiticus) and Saint Catherine's Monastery at Mt. Sinai, Egypt - modern man's artificial version of the biblical Exodus]. Even though Mt. Sinai in Egypt [not the real Mt. Sinai of Arabia (Galatians 4:25)] is in a distant and deserted corner of Egypt and though it has a slight appearance of a godly religion it's still Egypt, it's still the world and it is still going to perish.

Yes, we as Christians are still in the world and yes, we as Christians are to have a positive Christian effect on the world as we Christians contribute positively to the world but in our Christian reality we are not of this world.

March 2

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Mephibosheth

Mephibosheth's Lame Walk

Mephibosheth is granted by King David the right to sit at his table as a son.

And Jonathan, [King] Saul's son, had a son [a grandson to King Saul] that was lame of his feet. He was five years old when the tidings [news of death] came of Saul and Jonathan out of Jezreel, and his nurse took him up, and fled: and it came to pass, as she made haste to flee, that he [Mephibosheth] fell, and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth. ~ 2 Samuel 4:4

Mephibosheth was not only unable to walk he was also unable to receive of the goodness that King David had bestowed upon him. King David had granted that Mephibosheth be as a son among the Royal family yet Mephibosheth rejected King David's edict for his life and instead appropriated unto himself the self-designated title of worthless servant.

Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of [King] Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold your servant! And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father's sake, and will restore you all the land of Saul your father; and you shall eat bread at my table continually. And he bowed himself, and said, What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I am? Then the King [David] called to Ziba, Saul's servant, and said unto him, I have given unto your master's son [Mephibosheth the grandson of Saul] all that pertained to Saul and to all his house. You therefore, and your sons, and your servants, shall till the land for him, and you shall bring in the fruits, that your master's son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth your master's son shall eat bread always at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. Then said Ziba unto the King, According to all that my lord the King has commanded his servant, so shall your servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the King, he shall eat at my table, as one of the King's sons. And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Micha. And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth. So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the King's table; and was lame [unable to walk] on both his feet. ~ 2 Samuel 9:6-13

The unfaithful servant Ziba betrays Mephibosheth.

And when [King] David was a little past the top of the hill [while fleeing Jerusalem from his son Absalom's rebellion], behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of asses saddled, and upon them two hundred loaves of bread, and an hundred bunches of raisins, and a hundred of summer fruits, and a bottle of wine. And the King said unto Ziba, What mean you by these? And Ziba said, The asses be for the King's household to ride on; and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat; and the wine, that such as be faint in the wilderness may drink. And the King said, And where is [Mephibosheth] your master's son? And Ziba [falsely] said unto the King, Behold, he abides at Jerusalem: for he said, Today shall the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father [King Saul]. Then said the King [David] to Ziba, Behold, your are [now the owner of] all that pertained unto Mephibosheth. And Ziba said, I humbly plead to you that I may find grace in your sight, my lord, O King. ~ 2 Samuel 16:1-4

All of Mephibosheth's grandiose acts of self-degradation and self-sacrifice in the end come to nothing.

And Mephibosheth the son [grandson] of [King] Saul came down [at the return of King David to Jerusalem] to meet the King [David], and [Mephibosheth] had neither dressed [washed] his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the King departed [Jerusalem] until the day he came again in peace. And it came to pass, when he was come to Jerusalem to meet the King, that the King said unto him, Wherefore went not you with me, Mephibosheth? And he answered, My lord, O King, my servant [Ziba] deceived me: for your servant [Mephibosheth] said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride thereon, and go to the King; because your servant is lame. And he [Ziba] has slandered your servant [Mephibosheth] unto my lord the King; but my lord the King is as an angel of God: do therefore what is good in your eyes. For all of my father's house were but dead men before my lord the King: yet did you set your servant among them that did eat at your own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the King [Mephibosheth had every right to be heard by the King]? And the King [David] said unto him, Why speak you any more of your [self-abasement] matters? I have said, You and Ziba divide the land. And Mephibosheth [a person who never understood the goodness of the Kingdom of David and could never bring himself to receive any unmerited kindness] said unto the King, Yes, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the King has come again in peace unto his own house. ~ 2 Samuel 19:24-30

Everything that Mephibosheth did at the time seemed to be admirable, humble, righteous, gracious and even religious yet nothing that Mephibosheth did was at any time appropriate or even helpful for any of the moments or any of the many opportunities that existed. In the end Mephibosheth, just as Esau before him had done, gave away the very substance of his own birthright.

Conclusion: we are going to look a little bit more into the life, events and decisions of Mephiboshet just to see what we can learn and discern in our own Christian Walk.

March 3

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Ittai and Barzillai

Ittai the Gittite and Barzillai the Gileadite

In contrast to Mephibosheth several Gentiles including Ittai and Barzillai did overstep their boundaries and surpassed their roles in life by aiding and assisting King David during a very perilous time for the King.

Ittai joins King David in exile.

And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom. And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword. And the King's servants said unto the King, Behold, your servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the King shall appoint. And the King went forth, and all his household after him. And the King left ten women, which were concubines, to keep the house. And the King went forth, and all the people after him, and tarried in a place that was far off. And all his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from Gath, passed on before the King. Then said the King to Ittai the [Gentile] Gittite, Wherefore go you also with us? return to your place, and abide with the [Gentile] King: for you are a stranger, and also an exile. Whereas you came but yesterday, should I this day make you go up and down with us? seeing I go where I may, return you, and take back your brethren: mercy and truth be with you. And Ittai answered the King, and said, As the LORD lives, and as my lord the King lives, surely in what place my lord the King shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will your servant be. And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. And Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones that were with him. And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the King also himself passed over the brook Kidron (John 18:1), and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness. ~ 2 Samuel 15:13-23

When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the brook Kidron (Cedron), where was a garden [the Garden of Gethsemane], into the which He entered, and His disciples. ~ John 18:1

Note: Ittai is a type of Christian in that he is himself an exile and a stranger.

Barzillai and other Gentiles give supplies to King David.

And it came to pass, when David was come to Mahanaim, that [several Gentiles] Shobi the son of Nahash of Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and Machir the son of Ammiel of Lodebar, and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim, Brought beds, and basons, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and flour, and parched corn, and beans, and lentils, and parched vegetables, And honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of cattle, for [King] David, and for the people that were with him, to eat: for they said, The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness. ~ 2 Samuel 17:27-29

King David blesses Barzillai at their departure.

And Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim, and went over Jordan [river] with the King [David], to conduct [help] him [King David] over Jordan [and back into Israel]. Now Barzillai was a very aged man, even fourscore years old: and he had provided the King of sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim; for he was a very great man. And the King said unto Barzillai, Come you over with me, and I will feed you with me in Jerusalem. And Barzillai said unto the King, How long have I to live, that I should go up with the King unto Jerusalem? I am this day fourscore [80] years old: and can I discern between good and evil? can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? wherefore then should your servant be yet a burden unto my lord the King? Your servant will go a little way over Jordan with the King: and why should the King recompense it me with such a reward? Let your servant, I pray you, turn back again, that I may die in mine own city, and be buried by the grave of my father and of my mother. But behold your servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the King; and do to him what shall seem good unto you. And the King answered, Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which shall seem good unto you: and whatsoever you shall require of me, that will I do for you. And all the people went over Jordan. And when the King was come over, the King kissed Barzillai, and blessed him; and he returned unto his own place. ~ 2 Samuel 19:31-39

March 4

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Mephibosheth's Errors

Mephibosheth's Errors are the Same Errors that we Christians Repeat Today

Unfamiliar with the Bible

Mephibosheth sat at the table of King David who was known as The Sweet Psalmist of Israel, King David going back to his days as a boy shepherd wrote almost the entirety of the Book of Psalms. Yet, Mephibosheth though he sat at King David’s table he didn’t seem to be familiar with any of King David’s written words. Mephibosheth was a stranger and an exile to the written Words of God, the Bible.

A Lack of a Healthy Prayer Life

Mephibosheth didn’t have a healthy prayer life or possibly any prayer life. A good prayer life reveals that we are more than just worthless servants to God, we are in fact cherished Sons and Daughters of God.

The Missing Fellowship

It is recorded in the Bible that Mephibosheth ate regularly at the table of the King but it isn’t recorded that there was actually any fellowship between Mephibosheth and King David, in fact the two men seemed to be complete strangers, totally unknown to each other.

A lack of Servant Service

Mephibosheth had designated himself to be a servant yet he was a servant that seldom if ever served.

A lack of a Proclamation - Evangelism

Mephibosheth maintained such an impartial stance that in the end King David really didn’t know what Kingdom Mephibosheth stood for or was a part of whether it was Saul’s Kingdom or David’s Kingdom.

A lack of Discernment - Spiritual Warfare

Mephibosheth was being misrepresented and taken advantage of by his deceitful servant Ziba yet Mephibosheth was so lacking in discernment and spiritual warfare abilities that in the end he was completely taken advantage of by Ziba.

March 5

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The Sweet Psalmist of Israel

King David - The Sweet Psalmist of Israel

The first area of the Christian Walk that we are going look at is the area of Bible knowledge and study.

Now these be the last words of [King] David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and The Sweet Psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, and His Word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock [Jesus] of Israel spoke to me, He that rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the [resurrection] light of the morning, when the sun rises, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. Although my house be not so [not in a good order] with God; yet He has made with me an Everlasting Covenant [the Messiah would be a descendant - the Messiah would rule from his Throne], ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow [it wouldn't happen in the lifetime of King David]. But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands: But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place. ~ 2 Samuel 23:1-7

Mephibosheth was in a unique position in that he lived and associated with some of the very people who wrote parts of the Bible. Mephibosheth didn’t have any of the textual criticism or authentication problems that some people have today. Yet, the ability to read the Psalms from the pen of King David or more likely to hear the Psalms spoken from the lips of King David didn’t inspire Mephibosheth to become Biblically informed. Today some people claim that Oh if we just had the original texts from the hands of Moses, Samuel, King David, King Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, etc. then how easy it would be to read the Bible but history has proven that isn’t the case and in actuality people are being saved without the Bible and people with the Bible are perishing.

Mephibosheth lived in the presence and sat at the table with King David. Mephibosheth is also mentioned in the Bible and so are many of his family members, his father Jonathan and his Grandfather King Saul yet Mephibosheth was mostly unfamiliar with the national context of the Nation of Israel and the role that he and his family had in the Divine ordination of Israel.

Conclusion: because of the importance and significance of the Bible in the Christian Walk we are going to take an extended look at the history of the Bible and how the Bible that we have and trust today came into being. In examining the history of the Bible it is our intention that we will be able to recognize the Divine ordination of the Bible scriptures and to discern our part in God’s ordained plan for all of mankind.

March 6

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Masoretic Text

Masoretic Text - Old Testament

The Masoretic Text (MT) is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and accentuation known as the Masorah.

The MT is widely used as the basis for translations of the Old Testament in Protestant Bibles, and in recent years (since 1943) also for some Catholic Bibles, although the Eastern Orthodox churches continue to use the Septuagint, as they hold it to be divinely inspired. In modern times the Dead Sea Scrolls have shown the MT to be nearly identical to some texts of the Tanakh [Jewish Bible - Christian Old Testament] dating from 200 BC but different from others.

The MT was primarily copied, edited and distributed by a group of Jews known as the Masoretes between the 7th and 10th centuries AD. Though the consonants differ little from the text generally accepted in the early 2nd century (and also differ little from some Qumran texts that are even older), it has numerous differences of both greater and lesser significance when compared to (extant 4th century BC) manuscripts of the Septuagint, a Greek translation (made in the 3rd to 2nd centuries BC) of the Hebrew Scriptures that was in popular use in Egypt and Israel (and that is [allegedly] often quoted in the New Testament, especially by the Apostle Paul).

The Hebrew word mesorah reffers to the transmission of a tradition. In a very broad sense it can refer to the entire chain of Jewish tradition (see Oral law), but in reference to the Masoretic Text the word mesorah has a very specific meaning: the diacritic markings of the text of the Hebrew Bible and concise marginal notes in manuscripts (and later printings) of the Hebrew Bible which note textual details, usually about the precise spelling of words.

The oldest extant manuscripts of the Masoretic Text date from approximately the 9th century CE, and the Aleppo Codex (once the oldest complete copy of the Masoretic Text, but now missing its Torah section) dates from the 10th century.

The Talmud (and also Karaite mss.) states that a standard copy of the Hebrew Bible was kept in the court of the Temple in Jerusalem for the benefit of copyists; there were paid correctors of Biblical books among the officers of the Temple (Talmud, tractate Ketubot 106a). This copy is mentioned in the Aristeas Letter (§ 30; comp. Blau, Studien zum Althebr. Buchwesen, p. 100); in the statements of Philo (preamble to his "Analysis of the Political Constitution of the Jews") and in Josephus (Contra Ap. i. 8).

Source: wiki.com

March 7

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Septuagint LXX Text

Septuagint LXX Text - Old Testament

The Septuagint, from the Latin word septuaginta (meaning seventy), is a translation of the Hebrew Bible and some related texts into Koine Greek. The title and its Roman numeral acronym "LXX" refer to the legendary seventy Jewish scholars who completed the translation as early as the late 2nd century BC. As the primary Greek translation of the Old Testament, it is also called the "Greek Old Testament". This translation is quoted in the New Testament, particularly in the writings of Paul the Apostle, and also by the Apostolic Fathers and later Greek Church Fathers.

The traditional story is that Ptolemy II sponsored the translation for use by the many Alexandrian Jews who were not fluent in Hebrew but fluent in Koine Greek, which was the lingua franca of Alexandria, Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC until the development of Byzantine Greek around 600 AD.

The Septuagint should not be confused with the seven or more other Greek versions of the Old Testament, most of which did not survive except as fragments (some parts of these being known from Origen's Hexapla, a comparison of six translations in adjacent columns, now almost wholly lost). Of these, the most important are "the three:" those by Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion.

When Jerome [347 AD – September 30, 420 AD] undertook the revision of the Old Latin translations of the Septuagint, he checked the Septuagint against the Hebrew texts that were then available. He broke with church tradition and translated most of the Old Testament of his [Latin] Vulgate from Hebrew rather than Greek. His choice was severely criticized by Augustine, his contemporary; a flood of still less moderate criticism came from those who regarded Jerome as a forger. While on the one hand he argued for the superiority of the Hebrew texts in correcting the Septuagint on both philological and theological grounds, on the other, in the context of accusations of heresy against him, Jerome would acknowledge the Septuagint texts as well. With the passage of time, acceptance of Jerome's version gradually increased until it displaced the Old Latin translations of the Septuagint.

The Eastern Orthodox Church still prefers to use the LXX as the basis for translating the Old Testament into other languages.

Source: wiki.com

March 8

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Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone - Egypt - Ancient Archeology

Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic script [a regional trade language], and Ancient Greek.

The Rosetta Stone is an ancient Egyptian granodiorite stele inscribed with a decree issued at Memphis [Egypt] in 196 BC on behalf of [Greek King] King Ptolemy V. The decree appears in three scripts: the upper text is Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the middle portion Demotic script, and the lowest Ancient Greek. Because it presents essentially the same text in all three scripts (with some minor differences among them), it provided the key to the modern understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs.

On Napoleon's 1798 campaign in Egypt, the expeditionary army was accompanied by the Commission des Sciences et des Arts, a corps of 167 technical experts (savants). On July 15, 1799, as French soldiers under the command of Colonel d'Hautpoul were strengthening the defences of Fort Julien, a couple of miles north-east of the Egyptian port city of Rosetta (Modern day Rashid), Lieutenant Pierre-François Bouchard spotted a slab with inscriptions on one side that the soldiers had uncovered. He and d'Hautpoul saw at once that it might be important and informed general Jacques-François Menou, who happened to be at Rosetta. The find was announced to Napoleon's newly founded scientific association in Cairo, the Institut d'Égypte, in a report by Commission member Michel Ange Lancret noting that it contained three inscriptions, the first in hieroglyphs and the third in Greek, and rightly suggesting that the three inscriptions would be versions of the same text. Lancret's report, dated July 19, 1799, was read to a meeting of the Institute soon after July 25. Bouchard, meanwhile, transported the stone to Cairo for examination by scholars. Napoleon himself inspected what had already begun to be called la Pierre de Rosette, the Rosetta Stone, shortly before his return to France in August 1799.

After Napoleon's departure, French troops held off British and Ottoman attacks for a further 18 months. In March 1801, the British landed at Aboukir Bay. General Jacques-François Menou, who had been one of the first to see the stone in 1799, was now in command of the French expedition. His troops, including the Commission, marched north towards the Mediterranean coast to meet the enemy, transporting the stone along with other antiquities of all kinds. Defeated in battle, Menou and the remnant of his army retreated to Alexandria [Egypt] where they were surrounded and besieged, the stone now inside the city. He admitted defeat and surrendered on August 30, 1801 AD.

Source: wiki.com

Note: it is important to note that the Aramaic language often touted as being important, influential and widely used in ancient Mesopotamia is not even included on the Rosetta Stone (196 BC) instead the ancient trade language of Demotic script is considered to be regionally more important and is used as the second language on the Rosetta Stone.

March 9

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Dead Sea Scrolls

Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts discovered between 1946 AD and 1956 AD at Khirbet Qumran in the West Bank [of ancient Israel]. They were found in caves about a mile inland from the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name. The texts are of great historical, religious, and linguistic significance because they include the earliest known surviving manuscripts of works later included in the Hebrew [Old Testament] Bible canon, along with extra-biblical manuscripts which preserve evidence of the diversity of religious thought in late Second Temple Judaism.

The Dead Sea Scrolls include entire books of the Old Testament including the famous Isaiah scroll and it has fragments from every book of the Old Testament except from the Book of Esther.

Due to the poor condition of some of the Scrolls, not all of them have been identified. Those that have been identified can be divided into three general groups: (1) some 40% of them are copies of texts from the Hebrew Bible, (2) approximately another 30% of them are texts from the Second Temple Period [Herod's Temple] and which ultimately were not canonized in the Hebrew Bible, like the Book of Enoch, Jubilees, the Book of Tobit, the Wisdom of Sirach, Psalms 152–155, etc., and (3) the remaining roughly 30% of them are sectarian manuscripts of previously unknown documents that shed light on the rules and beliefs of a particular [cult] group or groups within greater Judaism, like the Community Rule, the War Scroll, the Pesher on Habakkuk and The Rule of the Blessing.

There has been much debate about the origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The dominant theory remains that the scrolls were the product of a sect of Jews living at nearby Qumran called the Essenes, but this theory has come to be challenged by several modern scholars.

Qumran–Essene Theory

The view among scholars, almost universally held until the 1990s, is the "Qumran–Essene" hypothesis originally posited by Roland Guérin de Vaux and Józef Tadeusz Milik, though independently both Eliezer Sukenik and Butrus Sowmy of St Mark's Monastery connected scrolls with the Essenes well before any excavations at Qumran. The Qumran–Essene theory holds that the scrolls were written by the Essenes, or by another Jewish sectarian group, residing at Khirbet Qumran. They composed the scrolls and ultimately hid them in the nearby caves during the Jewish Revolt sometime between 66 and 68 AD. The site of Qumran was destroyed and the scrolls never recovered.

A number of arguments are used to support this theory.

There are striking similarities between the description of an initiation ceremony of new members in the Community Rule and descriptions of the Essene initiation ceremony mentioned in the works of Flavius Josephus – a Jewish–Roman historian of the Second Temple Period.

Josephus mentions the Essenes as sharing property among the members of the community, as does the Community Rule.

During the excavation of Khirbet Qumran, two inkwells and plastered elements thought to be tables were found, offering evidence that some form of writing was done there. More inkwells were discovered nearby.

De Vaux called this area the "scriptorium" based upon this discovery.

Several Jewish ritual baths (Hebrew: miqvah) were discovered at Qumran, which offers evidence of an observant Jewish presence at the site.

Pliny the Elder (a geographer writing after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD) describes a group of Essenes living in a desert community on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea near the ruined town of 'Ein Gedi.

The Qumran–Essene theory has been the dominant theory since its initial proposal by Roland de Vaux and J.T. Milik. Recently, however, several other scholars have proposed alternative origins of the scrolls.

Source: wiki.com

March 10

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Christian New Testament Bible

The Christian New Testament Bible Scriptures

The Christian New Testament Bible as we have it today comes essentially from two text manuscript families.

The Textus Receptus (TR) Text Family - KJV

The Textus Receptus is from the Byzantine Empire previously called Galatia.

The Egyptian Text Family - Modern Versions

Codex Alexandrinus – translated into the Latin Vulgate by Jerome
Alexandria, Egypt

Codex Sinaiticus – a close match to the Codex Vaticanus
St. Catherine's Monastery in Mount Sinai, Egypt

Note: even though the Christian Church since the Middle Ages has had the two primary Manuscript families both manuscript families up until the Douay–Rheims Bible translation of 1899 AD, in both the Greek and English version manuscripts were nearly identical matching in about 98.9% of the entire texts. Since 1899 AD with the numerous revisions particularly in the English editions the newer translations only match the previous Greek and English editions somewhere in the neighborhood of 80% to 60% depending on whether considering just the words or also adding the verses as a whole that are effected by the revisions.

March 11

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The Textus Receptus

The Textus Receptus (TR) Byzantine Text Family

The Textus Receptus is the text that has been used for 2,000 years by Christians. This is also the text that agrees with more than 95% of the Bible Manuscripts in Koine (common) Greek. It is known by other names, such as the Traditional Text, Majority Text, Byzantine Text, or Syrian Text.

In his essay Texual Criticism, Dr. Thomas Cassidy writes: "The Traditional text of the New Testament has existed from the time of Christ right down to the present. It has had many different names down through the years, such as Byzantine Text, Eastern Text, Received Text, Textus Receptus, Majority Text, and others. Although no complete Bible manuscripts have survived which would allow us to date the Traditional text to the first century, there is a strong witness to the early existence and use of the Traditional text by the early church in its lectionaries."

In his excellent book, Truth Triumphant: The Church in the Wilderness, Benjamin Wilkinson writes, "The Protestant denominations are built upon that manuscript of the Greek New Testament sometimes called Textus Receptus, or the Received Text. It is that Greek New Testament from which the writings of the Apostles in Greek have been translated into English, German, Dutch and other languages. During the dark ages the Received Text was practically unknown outside the Greek Church. It was restored to Christendom by the labours of that great scholar Erasmus. It is altogether too little known that the real editor of the Received Text was Lucian. None of Lucian's enemies fails to credit him with this work. Neither Lucian nor Erasmus, but rather the Apostles, wrote the Greek New Testament. However, Lucian's day was an age of apostasy when a flood of depravations was systematically attempting to devastate both the Bible manuscripts and Bible theology. Origen, of the Alexandrian college, made his editions and commentaries of the Bible a secure retreat for all errors, and deformed them with philosophical speculations introducing casuistry and lying. Lucian's unrivalled success in verifying, safeguarding, and transmitting those divine writings left a heritage for which all generations should be thankful."

Source: 1611kingjamesbible.com

Textus Receptus (Latin: "Received Text") is the name subsequently given to the succession of printed Greek texts of the New Testament which constituted the translation base for the original German Luther Bible, the translation of the New Testament into English by William Tyndale [Tyndale Bible], the King James Version [KJV-AV 1611], and most other Reformation-era New Testament translations throughout Western and Central Europe. The series originated with the first printed Greek New Testament, published in 1516—a work undertaken in Basel by the Dutch Catholic scholar and humanist (i.e. professionalism) Desiderius Erasmus. Detractors criticize it for being based on only some six manuscripts, containing between them not quite the whole of the New Testament. The missing text [the last six verses of Revelation chapter 22] was back-translated from the [Latin] Vulgate. Although based mainly on late manuscripts of the Byzantine text-type, Erasmus' edition differed markedly from the classic form of that text, and included some missing parts back translated from the Latin Vulgate.

Source: wiki.com

March 12

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The Egyptian Texts

The Egyptian Text Family

Codex Alexandrinus

The Codex Alexandrinus (London, British Library) is a 5th-century manuscript of the Greek Bible, containing the majority of the Septuagint and the New Testament. It is one of the four Great uncial codices [using only capital letters - i.e. modern forgeries]. Along with the Codex Sinaiticus and the Vaticanus, it is [claimed by modern scholars to be] one of the earliest and most complete manuscripts of the Bible. Wettstein designated it in 1751 AD by [the] letter A, and it was the first manuscript to receive thus a large letter as its designation.

It derives its name from Alexandria [Egypt] where it resided for a number of years before it was brought by the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch Cyril Lucaris from Alexandria to Constantinople. Then it was given to Charles I of England in the 17th century. Until the later purchase of the Codex Sinaiticus, it was the best manuscript of the Greek Bible deposited in Britain. Today, it rests along with Codex Sinaiticus in one of the showcases in the Ritblat Gallery of the British Library. A full photographic reproduction of the New Testament volume (Royal MS 1 D. viii) is available on the British Library's website.

As the text came from several different traditions, different parts of the codex are not of equal textual value. The text has been edited several times since the 18th century.

Source: wiki.com

Codex Sinaiticus

Codex Sinaiticus (London, Brit. Library) or "Sinai Bible" is one of the four great uncial codices, an ancient, handwritten copy of the Greek Bible. The codex is a celebrated historical treasure.

The codex is an Alexandrian text-type manuscript written in the 4th century in uncial letters on parchment. Current scholarship considers the Codex Sinaiticus to be one of the best Greek texts of the New Testament, along with that of the Codex Vaticanus. Until the discovery by Tischendorf [Lobegott Friedrich Constantin (von) Tischendorf (January 18, 1815 – December 7, 1874)] of the Sinaiticus text, the Codex Vaticanus was unrivaled.

The Codex Sinaiticus came to the attention of scholars in the 19th century at the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Mount Sinai, with further material discovered in the 20th and 21st centuries. Although parts of the Codex are scattered across four libraries around the world, most of the manuscript today resides within the British Library. Since its discovery, study of the Codex Sinaiticus has proven to be extremely useful to scholars for critical studies of biblical text.

Originally, the Codex contained the whole of both Testaments. Approximately half of the Greek Old Testament (or Septuagint) survived, along with a complete New Testament, plus the Epistle of Barnabas, and portions of The Shepherd of Hermas.

Source: wiki.com

March 13

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Shepherd of Hermas

The Hoax Letter - The Shepherd of Hermas (Satan)

Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria [Egypt], addressed this problem on Jan. 7, 367 AD, when he wrote his annual Easter letter to his churches. It was a landmark letter because it contained the same list of 27 books of the New Testament that are found in our Bibles today. So far as we know, Athanasius was the first Christian leader to compile a list of New Testament books exactly as we know them today. -- [Origen (Origen Adamantius 182-254 AD) actually collected and codified the 27 book NT we have today and he preceded Athanasius by over a century.]

Here are portions of Athanasius’ letter, in which he lists the books of the Old and New Testaments that he considered authoritative. ...

Source: gci.org

Pope Gelasius I condemned the book The Shepherd of Hermas around 500 A.D.

When one examines the statements made by some of the earliest [fringe] Church fathers it is clear that many were of the opinion that The Shepherd was an authoritative work. For example, both Irenaeus (bishop of Lyons in 177 A.D.) and Clement of Alexandria (born 150 A.D.) cite The Shepherd as Scripture. Likewise, Cyprian, born to pagan parents early in the third century but converted to Christianity about 246 A.D., and eventually rose to the position of bishop of Carthage, cites The Shepherd as divine Scripture. Hippolytus of Rome (170-235 A.D.), whom Bruce calls considers as the greatest scholar of his age in the west, quotes The Shepherd in his writings and also The Didache and The Letter of Barnabas. Bruce also observes that Origen (185-254 A.D.) felt that The Shepherd of Hermas, along with The Didache and The Letter of Barnabas, should be considered as Scripture. Nevertheless, it appears that despite Origin's [Origen] initial acceptance of these works as authoritative writings, after he moved to Caesarea and discovered that these books were not accepted as authoritative writings, he apparently exercised greater reserve towards them. With specific regard to Origin's comments on The Shepherd, Schaff explains that he recognised that there were others in the Church who judged the book less favourably than himself.

Even though The Shepherd [supposedly] enjoyed widespread acceptance as an inspired writing by many in the early Church there were some who not only viewed the book as being 'less favourable' than Origin [Origen] but went as far as being in hostile opposition to it. Unquestionably, the most vocal opponent of The Shepherd in the early Church was Tertullian (160-220 A.D.). On account of his extreme moral convictions, in later life, Tertullian became involved with the strict sect of the Montanists. Consequently, he came to believe the teaching that serious sins after baptism were unforgivable. This belief therefore led Tertullian to charge The Shepherd with being too lax in its approach to repentance and even goes as far as referring to it as the "Shepherd of the adulterers". He designates the book as apocryphal, and rejects it with contempt, as favouring anti- Montanistic opinions. Nevertheless, Crombie observes that in his words of criticism Tertullian unknowingly reveals that it was regarded by many in the Church as Scripture.

By the fourth century it appears that The Shepherd, along with many other books that had been disputed, was gradually beginning to be separated from the books that would form the New Testament canon. Church historian, Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea from 314 to his death in 339, lists three categories by which to distinguish the various writings in existence in the early Church. These are as follows: Those that are universally acknowledged and without dispute; those that are disputed; and the spurious. For Eusebius, The Shepherd falls without any hesitation into the third category as a work that should be included among other spurious works as The Acts of Paul, The Apocalypse of Peter, The Epistle of Barnabus, and The Teachings of the Apostles. Nevertheless, Eusebius also recognised that while some excluded The Shepherd from the accepted books others still regarded it as quite an important and significant writing especially for those who were in need of instruction in the rudimentary elements of the faith. Furthermore, he also recognises that some of the most ancient of writers refer to it and that it was often publicly read in churches.

Even though Eusebius placed The Shepherd among the spurious writings it is evident that during his day the book was still enjoying widespread popularity and was still considered by some as having equal, or at the least near equal authority with other New Testament writings. This is illustrated in the Codex Sinaiticus, dated at around the middle of the fourth century, and contains The Shepherd of Hermas and The Epistle of Barnabas at the end of a complete New Testament. Kenyon observes how both books enjoyed almost equal authority with the New Testament for a long period of time (clearly apparent from their inclusion in the Codex Sinaiticus) but were nevertheless eventually excluded from the canon.

In the year 367 AD, in his Easter Letter, Athanasius writes of the books that the church have accepted as having divine canonical status out of a concern to distinguish them from the many apocryphal and non-canonical books that were in circulation. With this concern in mind Athanasius specifically lists the 27 books of the New Testament as alone being authoritative writings which he solemnly warns that no man should add to or take away from. In his letter Athanasius also addresses other popular books that he recognises as writings that the early leaders in the Church encouraged new converts to read for instruction but which should be identified as not belonging to the canon. The Shepherd is mentioned as belonging to this category of books along with other non-canonical writings. Even though in his Easter Letter Athanasius clearly designated The Shepherd as outside the inspired canon he freely quotes from it throughout his writings and letters and even calls it a "...most edifying book..."

It would seem that Athanasius' words carried considerable significance because by the end of the fourth century and throughout the fifth century The Shepherd loses much of its popularity and respect within the Church. Jerome (about 345- 420 A.D.) categorises The Shepherd, along with other books, as not belonging to the canon; and Schaff observes that Ambrose (339-397 A.D.) and Augustine (354-430 A.D.) simply seem to ignore it. However, it was with the decree of Pope Gelasius I (about 500 A.D.) which condemned the book as apocryphal that The Shepherd apparently fell into entire neglect. This is illustrated by the fact that after its condemnation the Greek text even disappeared for a number of centuries. It was only in the middle of the nineteenth century, when the Greek text of The Shepherd re-emerged unexpectedly that a renewed interest in it was awakened among scholars of early Christianity. Today The Shepherd is no longer given the high esteem with which some of the early Christians considered it but instead it is regarded as a work of antiquarian interest in a similar way to the pictures and sculptures of the catacombs.

Reasons for the Eventual Exclusion of The Shepherd from the New Testament Canon. Kelly observes that while the broad outline of the New Testament canon was settled by the end of the second century, different localities continued to maintain their different traditions, and some places, such as Alexandria in Origen's time, appear to have been less partial to a set canon than others. It appears that a process gradually came into operation in the early Church whereby such popular books as The Shepherd were eventually separated from the writings that the Church recognised as being truly inspired. Kelly explains this by identifying the main features that eventually came to prevail in distinguishing between the authoritative books and books, such as The Shepherd, that were in due time excluded. It appears that unless a book could be shown to have been written by an apostle, or at least have the authority of an apostle behind it, it was rejected, regardless of how edifying or popular it may have been. Kelly mentions The Shepherd as being among the books that "hovered for a long time on the fringe of the canon, but in the end failed to secure admission" because it lacked the indispensable stamp of apostolic authorship. Some of the books which were later included (Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 Johns, Jude, Revelation) had to wait a considerable time before achieving universal recognition. However, by gradual stages, the Church in both East and West arrived at a common mind as to what writings were truly inspired and those that should be excluded.

In agreement with the conclusions of Kelly, exclusion from the accepted and inspired books of the New Testament on the grounds that a writing could not be presented as an apostolic work is also seen as recorded in the Muratorian Fragment. Dated at about the end of the second century, the Muratorian Fragment specifically mentions The Shepherd as being a book that was excluded because "it was written very recently, in our times by Hermas while his brother Pius was sitting in the chair [i.e. was bishop] of the city of Rome." Smith observes that by the criteria of The Shepherd being outside the time period of the apostles a very popular an exceptional work was excluded from the canon. Even though the book failed the test of apostolic authorship, it was still not totally discarded at this time for the Fragment further describes that the book was "...worthy to be read [in the Church] but not to be included in the number of prophetic or apostolic writings."

In summery and conclusion it can be said that The Shepherd of Hermas is a book that gives interesting insight into the life of early Christianity in the second century. Although the contents of The Shepherd is certainly not without its theological difficulties this present writer believes, in fairness to the book, that this could be partly due to the fact that Hermas, along with other early Christians were still grappling with many of the finer points of their belief structure, some of which (such as the doctrine of Christ) the Church was still in the process of working out in the fourth century. As to the popularity of The Shepherd there can be no doubt that it was widely accepted among the early Christian congregations, many of whom regarded it as Scripture. Even for those who did not elevate the book to such an esteemed position it was still often referred to throughout their writings and publicly read in the Church. Despite the overall early popularity of the book, by the end of the fourth century, with Athanasius' Easter Letter containing a list of the twenty seven inspired books of the New Testament, and the exclusion of such books as The Shepherd, it appears that the book lost considerable respect. It was not, however, until Pope Gelasius I condemned the book around 500 A.D. that it seemed to fall into entire neglect. It appears that the reason why The Shepherd eventually fell from its celebrated position to one of entire neglect was primarily because it failed the criteria of apostolic authorship.

Source: spotlightministries.org.uk

March 14

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Origen

Origen Adamantius - Collected and Compiled the various Christian Epistles resulting in the Established Christian New Testament

Origen, or Origen Adamantius (Born: 182 AD, Alexandria, Egypt - Died: 254 AD, Tyre, Lebanon), was a scholar and early Christian theologian who was born and spent the first half of his career in Alexandria, Egypt.

Early Years

Origen was born in Alexandria to Christian parents. He was educated by his father, Leonides of Alexandria, who gave him a standard Hellenistic education, but also had him study the Christian Scriptures. The name of his mother is unknown.

In 202 AD, Origen's father was martyred in the outbreak of the persecution during the reign of Septimius Severus. A story reported by Eusebius has it that Origen wished to follow him in martyrdom, but was prevented only by his mother hiding his clothes. The death of Leonides left the family of nine impoverished when their property was confiscated. Origen, however, was taken under the protection of a woman of wealth and standing; but as her household already included a heretic named Paul, the strictly orthodox Origen seems to have remained with her only a short time.

Origen allegedly studied under Clement of Alexandria and was influenced by his thought.

Eusebius, our chief witness to Origen's life, says that in 203 AD Origen revived the Catechetical School of Alexandria where Clement of Alexandria had once taught but had apparently been driven out during the persecution under Severus. Many modern scholars, however, doubt that Clement's school had been an official ecclesiastical institution as Origen's was and thus deny continuity between the two. But the persecution still raged, and the young teacher visited imprisoned Christians, attended the courts, and comforted the condemned, himself preserved from persecution because the persecution was probably limited only to converts to Christianity. His fame and the number of his pupils increased rapidly, so that Bishop Demetrius of Alexandria, made him restrict himself to instruction in Christian doctrine alone.

Conflict with Demetrius and removal to Caesarea, Israel

Demetrius, the bishop of Alexandria, at first supported Origen but later opposed him, disputing his ordination in another diocese (Caesarea Maritima in Palestine). This ecclesiastical turmoil eventually caused Origen to relocate to Caesarea, a move which he characterized as divine deliverance from Egypt akin to that the ancient Hebrews received. About 230, Origen entered on the fateful journey which was to compel him to give up his work at Alexandria and embittered the next years of his life. Sent to Greece on some ecclesiastical mission, he paid a visit to Caesarea, where he was heartily welcomed and was ordained a priest, that no further cause for criticism might be given Demetrius, who had strongly disapproved his preaching before ordination while at Caesarea. But Demetrius, taking this well-meant act as an infringement of his rights, was furious, for not only was Origen under his jurisdiction as bishop of Alexandria, but, if Eastern sources may be believed, Demetrius had been the first to introduce episcopal ordination in Egypt. The metropolitan accordingly convened a synod of bishops and presbyters which banished Origen from Alexandria, while a second synod declared his ordination invalid.

Origen accordingly fled from Alexandria in 231–2 AD, and made his permanent home in Caesarea in Palestine, where his friend Theoctistus was bishop. A series of attacks on him seems to have emanated from Alexandria, whether for his self-castration (a capital crime in Roman law) or for alleged heterodoxy is unknown; but at all events these fulminations were heeded only at Rome, while Palestine, Phoenicia, Arabia, and Achaia paid no attention to them. At Alexandria, Heraclas became head of Origen's school, and shortly afterward, on the death of Demetrius, was consecrated bishop. ...

Later Years

After the death of Maximinus, Origen resumed his life in Caesarea of Palestine. Little is known of the last twenty years of Origen's life. He founded a school where Gregory Thaumaturgus, later bishop of Pontus, was one of the pupils. He preached regularly on Wednesdays and Fridays, and later daily. He taught dialectics, physics, ethics, and metaphysics. He evidently, however, developed an extraordinary literary productivity, broken by occasional journeys; one of which, to Athens during some unknown year, was of sufficient length to allow him time for research.

After his return from Athens, he succeeded in converting Beryllus, bishop of Bostra, from his adoptionistic (i.e., belief that Jesus was born human and only became divine after his baptism) views to the orthodox faith; yet in these very years (about 240) probably occurred the attacks on Origen's own orthodoxy which compelled him to defend himself in writing to Pope Fabian and many bishops. Neither the source nor the object of these attacks is known, though the latter may have been connected with Novatianism (a strict refusal to accept Christians who had denied their faith under persecution).

After his conversion of Beryllus, however, his aid was frequently invoked against heresies. Thus, when the doctrine was promulgated in Arabia that the soul died and decayed with the body, being restored to life only at the resurrection (see soul sleep), appeal was made to Origen, who journeyed to Arabia, and successfully battled this doctrine.

There was second outbreak of the Antonine Plague, which at its height in 251 AD to 266 AD took the lives of 5,000 a day in Rome. This time it was called the Plague of Cyprian. Emperor Decius, believing the plague to be a product of magic, caused by the failure of Christians to recognize him as Divine, began Christian persecutions. This time Origen did not escape the Decian persecution. Eusebius recounted how Origen suffered "bodily tortures and torments under the iron collar and in the dungeon; and how for many days with his feet stretched four spaces in the stocks" Though he did not die while being tortured, he died three years later due to injuries sustained at the age of 69. A later legend, recounted by Jerome and numerous itineraries, places his death and burial at Tyre, but to this little value can be attached.

Source: wiki.com

Note: the extensive writings and documents that comprised Origen’s vast and unique library were donated to a local Church at the passing of Origen. Later Ambrose (337-397 AD) the Bishop of Milan, Italy apparently received a large portion of what remained of Origen’s personal library.

March 15

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Eusebius

Eusebius of Caesarea, Israel

Eusebius (about 260 – 339/340 AD) was a Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist. He became the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine about the year 314 AD. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon [following in the footsteps of Origen in locating, collecting and categorizing various NT Church epistles] and is regarded as an extremely well learned Christian of his time. He wrote Demonstrations of the Gospel, Preparations for the Gospel, and On Discrepancies between the Gospels, studies of the Biblical text. As "Father of Church History" he produced the Ecclesiastical History, On the Life of Pamphilus, the Chronicle and On the Martyrs.

The First Church History - After the Book of Acts

In his Church History or Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius wrote the first surviving history of the Christian Church as a chronologically-ordered account, based on earlier sources complete from the period of the Apostles to his own epoch. The time scheme correlated the history with the reigns of the Roman Emperors, and the scope was broad. Included were the bishops and other teachers of the Church, Christian relations with the Jews and those deemed heretical, and the Christian martyrs through 324 A.D. Although its accuracy and biases have been questioned, it remains an important source on the early church due to Eusebius's access to materials now lost.

Biblical Textual Criticism

[Origen,] Pamphilus and Eusebius occupied themselves with the textual criticism of the Septuagint text of the Old Testament and especially [collected epistles] of the New Testament. An edition of the Septuagint seems to have been already prepared by Origen, which, according to Jerome, was revised and circulated by Eusebius and Pamphilus. For an easier survey of the material of the four Evangelists, Eusebius divided his edition of the New Testament into paragraphs and provided it with a synoptical table so that it might be easier to find the pericopes that belong together. These canon tables or "Eusebian canons" remained in use throughout the Middle Ages, and illuminated [colored artwork] manuscript versions are important for the study of early medieval art, as they are the most elaborately decorated pages of many Gospel books. Eusebius detailed in Epistula ad Carpianum how to use his canons [books].

Death

Much like his birth, the exact date of Eusebius’ death is unknown. However, there is primary text evidence from a council held in Antioch that by the year 341 AD, his successor Acacius had already filled the seat as Bishop. Socrates and Sozomen write about Eusebius’ death, and place it just before Constantine’s son (Constantine II or Constantine the Younger) died, which was in early 340 AD. They also say that it was after the second banishment of Athanasius, which began in mid 339 AD. This means that his death occurred sometime between the second half of 339 AD and early 340 AD.

Source: wiki.com

March 16

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Marcion

Marcion of Sinope

Marcion of Sinope (85 – 160 AD) was a [heretical] bishop in early Christianity. His theology completely rejected the existence of the deity described in the Jewish Scriptures and in distinction affirmed the Father of Christ to be the true God. He was denounced by the Church Fathers and he chose to separate himself from the Imperial Church. He is often considered to have held [A STRONG OPPIONION - and not] a pivotal role in the development of the New Testament canon.

Marcionism - similar to Gnosticism

Marcionism, similar to Gnosticism, depicted the Hebrew God of the Old Testament as a tyrant or demiurge (see also God as the Devil). Marcion was labeled as gnostic by Eusebius.

Marcion's canon [compiled between 130 AD and 140 AD] consisted of [only] eleven [NT] books: A gospel consisting of ten sections from the Gospel of Luke edited by Marcion; and ten of Paul's epistles. All other epistles and gospels of the 27 book New Testament canon were rejected. Paul's epistles enjoy a prominent position in the Marcionite canon, since Paul is credited with correctly transmitting the universality of Jesus' message. Other authors' epistles [Notably: Peter, James, Jude, Matthew and John] were rejected since they seemed to suggest that Jesus had simply come to found a new sect within broader Judaism. Religious tribalism of this sort seemed to echo Yahwism, and was thus regarded as a corruption of the "Heavenly Father"'s teaching.

Marcionism was denounced by its opponents as heresy, and written against, notably by Tertullian, in a five-book treatise Adversus Marcionem, written about 208 A.D. Marcion's writings are lost, though they were widely read and numerous manuscripts must have existed. Even so, many scholars (including Henry Wace) claim it is possible to reconstruct and deduce a large part of ancient Marcionism through what later critics, especially Tertullian, said concerning Marcion.

Source: wiki.com

Note: Marcion's short list of acceptable NT books was a list derived by Marcion and was counter to the already accepted (about 27) NT books of the day. It wasn't a list of what was generally accepted by the early Church as NT cannon it was a list of only what Marcion wanted to be accepted as official NT cannon.

March 17

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Ambrose

Ambrose - Archbishop of Milan - Father of Modern Christianity

Aurelius Ambrosius, better known in English as Saint Ambrose (340 AD – 4 April 397 AD), was an Archbishop of Milan, Italy who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He was consular prefect of Liguria and Emilia, headquartered in Milan, before being made Bishop of Milan by popular acclamation in 374 AD. Ambrose was a [Trinitarian in doctrine and] staunch opponent of Arianism.

Ambrose was one of the four original doctors of the [Roman Catholic] Church, and is the patron saint of Milan. He is notable for [baptizing St. Augustine and] his influence on St. Augustine.

Ambrose ranks with Augustine, Jerome, and Gregory the Great [Pope Gregory I], as one of the Latin Doctors of the [Roman Catholic] Church. Theologians compare him with Hilary [Pope from 461-468 AD], who they claim fell short of Ambrose's administrative excellence but demonstrated greater theological ability. He succeeded as a theologian despite his juridical training and his comparatively late handling of Biblical and doctrinal subjects. His spiritual successor, St. Augustine, whose conversion was helped by Ambrose's sermons, owes more to him than to any writer except Paul.

Ambrose's intense episcopal consciousness furthered the growing doctrine of the Church and its sacerdotal ministry, while the prevalent asceticism of the day, continuing the Stoic and Ciceronian training of his youth, enabled him to promulgate a lofty standard of Christian ethics. Thus we have the De officiis ministrorum, De viduis, De virginitate and De paenitentia.

Soon after acquiring the undisputed possession of the Roman empire, Theodosius [Roman Emperor Theodosius I] died at Milan in 395 AD, and two years later (April 4, 397 AD) Ambrose also died. He was succeeded as Bishop of Milan by ["old but good"] Simplician (320-401 AD). Ambrose's body may still be viewed in the Church of S. Ambrogio in Milan, where it has been continuously venerated.

Source: wiki.com

Note: during the lifetime of Ambrose, Augustine and Jerome the greater Christian Church transitioned from Greek as the common language to Latin as the common written and spoken language.

March 18

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Jerome

Jerome - Translated the Greek Codex Alexandrinus into the Latin Vulgate

Jerome (347 – September 30, 420 AD) was a Latin Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, who also became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia. He is best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin, the Vulgate, and his commentaries on the Gospel of the Hebrews. His list of writings is extensive.

Jerome is the second most voluminous writer (after St. Augustine) in ancient Latin Christianity. In the Roman Catholic Church, he is recognized as the patron saint of translators, librarians and encyclopedists.

He acquired a knowledge of Hebrew by studying with a Jew who converted to Christianity, and took the unusual position (for that time) that the Hebrew, and not the Septuagint, was the inspired text of the Old Testament. The traditional view is that he used this knowledge to translate what became known as the Vulgate, and his translation was slowly but eventually accepted in the Catholic Church. The later resurgence of Hebrew studies within Christianity owes much to him.

Jerome was a scholar at a time when that statement implied a fluency in Greek. He knew some Hebrew when he started his translation project, but moved to Jerusalem to strengthen his grip on Jewish scripture commentary. A wealthy Roman aristocrat, Paula, funded his stay in a monastery in Bethlehem and he completed his translation there.

He began in 382 AD by correcting the existing Latin language version of the New Testament, commonly referred to as the Vetus Latina. By 390 AD he turned to translating the Hebrew Bible from the original Hebrew, having previously translated portions from the Septuagint which came from Alexandria.

He believed that the Council of Jamnia, or mainstream rabbinical Judaism, had rejected the Septuagint as valid Jewish scriptural texts because of what were ascertained as mistranslations along with its Hellenistic heretical elements. He completed this work by 405 AD.

Prior to Jerome's Vulgate, all Latin translations of the Old Testament were based on the Septuagint not the Hebrew. Jerome's decision to use a Hebrew text instead of the previous translated Septuagint went against the advice of most other Christians, including St. Augustine, who thought the Septuagint inspired. Modern scholarship, however, has cast doubts on the actual quality of Jerome's Hebrew knowledge. Many modern scholars believe that the Greek Hexapla is the main source for Jerome's "iuxta Hebraeos" translation of the Old Testament.

For the next 15 years, until he died, Jerome produced a number of commentaries on Scripture, often explaining his translation choices in using the original Hebrew rather than suspect translations. His patristic commentaries align closely with Jewish tradition, and he indulges in allegorical and mystical subtleties after the manner of Philo and the Alexandrian school.

Source: wiki.com

Note: the Septuagint is a somewhat problematic translation [i.e. missing sections] especially when compared to the Hebrew Masoretic Text.

March 19

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The Alexandrian school

The Alexandrian Schools of Pagan, Secular, Occult, Gnosticism and Philosophy

The Alexandrian school is a collective designation for certain tendencies in literature, philosophy, medicine, and the sciences that developed in the [Greek] Hellenistic cultural center of Alexandria, Egypt during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

Alexandria was a remarkable center of learning due to the blending of Greek and Oriental influences, its favorable situation and commercial resources, and the enlightened energy of some of the Macedonian Dynasty of the Ptolemies ruling over Egypt, in the final centuries BC. Much scholarly work was collected in the great Library of Alexandria during this time. A lot of epic poetry, as well as works on geography, history, mathematics, astronomy and medicine were composed during this period.

The name of Alexandrian school is also used to describe the religious and philosophical developments in Alexandria after the 1st century. The mix of Jewish theology and Greek philosophy led to a syncretic mix and much mystical speculation. The Neoplatonists devoted themselves to examining the nature of the soul, and sought communion with God. The two great schools of biblical interpretation in the early Christian church incorporated Neoplatonism and philosophical beliefs from Plato's teachings into Christianity, and interpreted much of the Bible allegorically. The founders of the Alexandrian school of Christian theology were Clement of Alexandria and Origen.

History

Alexandria, Egypt founded [as a Greek city in Egypt] by [the Greek] Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) about the time when Greece, in losing her national independence [to Rome], lost also her intellectual supremacy, and was well adapted for becoming the new centre of the world's activity and thought.

Its situation brought it into commercial relations with all the nations lying around the Mediterranean, and at the same time it was the one communicating link with the wealth and civilization of the East. The natural advantages it enjoyed were increased to an enormous extent by the care of the sovereigns of Egypt. Ptolemy Soter (reigned 323–285 BC), to whom Egypt had fallen after the death of Alexander, began to draw around him from Greece a circle of men eminent in literature and philosophy. To these he gave aid for them to carry out their work. Under the inspiration of his friend Demetrius of Phalerum, the Athenian orator, statesman and philosopher, Ptolemy laid the foundations of the great Library of Alexandria and began the search for all written works, which resulted in such a collection as the world has seldom seen. He also built the Museum, in which, maintained by the state, the scholars resided, studied and taught.

Note: Ptolemy II sponsored the translation of the Greek Septuagint (about 275 BC). -- Ptolemy V. commissioned [in Memphis, Egypt] the carving of what became known as the Rosetta Stone (196 BC). -- Cleopatra the daughter of Ptolemy XII was the last Ptolemy to rule in Egypt. Cleopatra died with the Roman Mark Antony at her palace in Alexandria, Egypt in 30 BC.

The Museum, or academy of science, was in many respects not unlike a modern university. The work begun by Ptolemy Soter was carried on by his descendants, in particular by his two immediate successors, Ptolemy Philadelphus and Ptolemy Euergetes. Philadelphus (285–247), whose librarian was the celebrated Callimachus, bought up all Aristotle's collection of books, and also introduced a number of Jewish and Egyptian works. Among these appears to have been a portion of the Septuagint. Euergetes (247–222) increased the library by seizing on the original editions of the dramatists from the Athenian archives, and by compelling all travellers who arrived in Alexandria to leave a copy of any work they possessed.

This intellectual movement extended over a long period of years and can be split into two periods. The first period extends from about 306 to 30 BC, the time from the foundation of the Ptolemaic dynasty to the conquest by the Romans; the second extends from 30 BC to the destruction of the Alexandria Library somethime before or upon the capture of Alexandria by 'Amr ibn al-'As in 641 AD. The clear differences between these two periods explains the variety and vagueness of meaning attaching to the term "Alexandrian School."

In the first period the intellectual activity was of a literary and scientific nature. It was an attempt to continue and develop, under new conditions, the old Hellenic culture. This effort was particularly noticeable under the early Ptolemies. As we approach the 1st century BC, the Alexandrian school began to break up and to lose its individuality. This was due partly to the state of government under the later Ptolemies, partly to the formation of new scholarly circles in Rhodes, Syria and elsewhere. This gradual dissolution was much increased when Alexandria fell under Roman sway.

As the influence of the school was extended over the whole Graeco-Roman world, scholars began to concentrate at Rome rather than at Alexandria. In Alexandria, however, there were new forces in operation which. produced a second great outburst of intellectual life. The new movement, which was influenced by Judaism and Christianity, resulted in the speculative philosophy of the Neoplatonists and the religious philosophy of the Gnostics and early church fathers.

Note: a possible explanation of what happened to the Bible during the Early Christian Church era is that after the passing of the original Apostles the writings were collected, notably by Origen, and brought to Alexandria, Egypt where there was already a considerable interest and history of translating and editing the Jewish Old Testament. Upon the arrival of the NT epistles in Alexandria a few edits were made notably 1st John 5:7 was removed, the removal and replacement of NT Hebrew with Aramaic i.e. Mark 15:33 and the removal of NT "Masoretic Text" quotes were replaced with quotes from the Septuagint (LXX) text. -- When Origen departed Alexandria, Egypt for his new home in Caesarea, Israel he took with him his library of edited NT epistles. Due to the availability of the "Egyptian Texts" and the constant persecution of the "Galatian-Byzantine Texts" the slightly modified "Egyptian Texts" became the normal Biblical texts that we have today.

March 20

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1st John 5:7

1st John 5:7 - Possibly the Most Disputed Verse in the Bible

For there are Three that bear (witness) record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these Three are One. ~ 1 John 5:7

Among the most controversial verses of the Bible is what some consider an explicit reference that supports the doctrine of the Trinity, 1 John 5:7–8. Although verse 7 does [supposedly] not appear in any version of the Greek text prior to the ninth century [but this does not take into account the Greek Manuscripts prior to any Alexandrian edits], it (1 John 5:7) appears in most of the Latin manuscripts, especially in the Vetus Itala [Vetus Latina], Old Latin predating Jerome. -- [Note: Jerome used the edited Codex Alexandrinus for his NT translation.]

Tertullian

Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian (160 – 225 AD), was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and a polemicist against heresy. Tertullian has been called "the father of Latin Christianity" and "the founder of Western theology."

Though conservative, he did originate and advance new theology to the early Church. He is perhaps most famous for being the oldest extant Latin writer to use the term Trinity (Latin, trinitas), and giving the oldest extant formal exposition of a Trinitarian theology. Other Latin formulations that first appear in his work are "three Persons, one Substance" as the Latin "tres Personae, una Substantia" (itself from the Koine Greek "treis Hypostases, Homoousios"). He wrote his trinitarian formula after becoming a Montanist. However, unlike many Church fathers, he was never canonized by the Catholic Church, as several of his later teachings directly contradicted the actions and teachings of the apostles.

Source: wiki.com

Tertullian quoted the often disputed verse 1 John 5:7 [from texts predating the Alexandrian edits] in about 200 A.D. in his Apology, Against Praxeas.

Source: chick.com

March 21

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Carthage

Carthage, North Africa

Cyprian

Cyprian (200 AD – September 14, 258 AD) was Bishop of Carthage and an important Early Christian writer, many of whose Latin works are extant [remain currently in existence]. He was born around the beginning of the 3rd century in North Africa, perhaps at Carthage, where he received a classical education. After converting to Christianity, he became a bishop in 249 and eventually died a martyr at Carthage.

Not long after his baptism he was ordained deacon, and soon afterward presbyter; and sometime between July 248 and April 249 he was chosen bishop of Carthage, a popular choice among the poor who remembered his patronage as demonstrating good equestrian style, while a portion of the presbytery opposed it, for all Cyprian's wealth and learning and diplomacy and literary talents. Moreover, the opposition within the church community at Carthage did not dissolve during his episcopacy.

Soon, however, the entire community was put to an unwanted test. Christians in North Africa had not suffered persecution for many years; the church was assured and lax. Early in 250 the "Decian persecution" began. Measures were first taken demanding that the bishops and officers of the church sacrifice to the emperor. The proconsul on circuit, and five commissioners for each town, administered the edict; but, when the proconsul reached Carthage, Cyprian had fled.

It is quite evident in the writings of the church fathers from various dioceses that the Christian community was divided on this occasion, among those who stood firm in civil disobedience, and those who buckled, submitting in word or in deed to the order of sacrifice and receiving a ticket or receipt called a "libellus." Cyprian's secret departure from Carthage was interpreted by his enemies as cowardice and infidelity, and they hastened to accuse him at Rome. The Roman clergy wrote to Cyprian in terms of disapproval. Cyprian rejoined that he fled in accordance with visions and the divine command. From his place of refuge he ruled his flock with earnestness and zeal, using a faithful deacon as his intermediary.

Cyprian's works were edited in volumes 3 and 4 of the Patrologia Latina. Besides a number of epistles, which are partly collected with the answers of those to whom they were written, Cyprian wrote a number of treatises, some of which have also the character of pastoral letters.

**His most important work is his "De unitate ecclesiae." In it, he states: "He can no longer have God for his Father who has not the Church for his mother; . . . he who gathereth elsewhere than in the Church scatters the Church of Christ" (vi.); "nor is there any other home to believers but the one Church" (ix.).

The Plague of Cyprian is named after him due to his description of it.

Source: wiki.com

I will now move on to his arguments concerning whether or not Cyprian quoted “a version” of 1 John 5:7. ...

Since Cyprian wrote the disputed passage [1 John 5:7] in Latin I feel it necessary to list Cyprian’s words in Latin. Cyprian wrote, “Dicit dominus, Ego et pater unum sumus (John x. 30), et iterum de Patre, et Filio, et Spiritu Sancto scriptum est, Et tres unum sunt.” (The Lord says, "I and the Father are One," and again, of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost it is written: "And the three are One."). This Latin reading is important when you compare it to the Old Latin [Vetus Latina] reading of 1 John 5:7; “Quoniam tres sunt, gui testimonium dant in coelo: Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus sanctus: et hi tres unum sunt.” Cyprian clearly says that it is written of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost--”And the three are One.” His Latin matches the Old Latin reading identically with the exception of ‘hi’. Again, it is important to note that Cyprian said “it is written” when making his remarks. He never indicates, that he is putting some sort of “theological spin” on 1 John 5:7 or 8. There is no other verse that expressly states that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are ‘three in one’ outside of 1 John 5:7. If Cyprian was not quoting 1 John 5:7 the question must be asked and answered: What was he quoting?

The matter becomes even more devastating when we take into account another of Cyprian’s many statements. When considering issues such as this one before us it is necessary to lay on the table as much of the evidence as one can. Often many of the facts are purposely kept silent due to their damaging testimony. Cyprian writes in another place, “et sanctificatus est, et templum Dei factus ets, quaero cujus Dei? Si Creatoris, non potuit, qui in eum non credidit; si Christi, nec hujus fieri potuit templum, qui negat Deum Christum; si Spiritus Sancti, cum tres unum sunt, quomodo Spiritus Sanctus placatus esse ei potest, qui aut Patris aut Fillii inimicus est?” If he [a person confessing to be a Christian but denying the Tri-Unity of God] was sanctified, he also was made the temple of God. I ask, of what God? If of the Creator; he could not be, because he has not believed in Him. If of Christ; he could not become His temple, since he denies that Christ is God. If of the Holy Spirit; SINCE THE THREE ARE ONE, how can the Holy Spirit be at peace with him who is the enemy either of the Son or of the Father? Here again we see Cyprian stating that “the three are One” (i.e. the Father, Son and Holy Spirit). This I feel is important because it gives us another reference in Cyprian’s writings testifying to the fact that he was not merely putting a “theological spin” on 1 John 5:7/8. The fact is 1 John 5:7 was found in Cyprian’s [Bible] copies.

And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecute you Me (Jesus)? And he said, Who [Father, Son or Holy Spirit] are thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you persecute ... ~ Acts 9:4-5

Admittedly, the second quote is not near as ‘strong’ as the first but when the evidence it presented, without all the conjecture, only one seeking to hide something can ignore the fact that Cyprian knew full well the wording of 1 John 5:7 as found in our Authorized [KJV] Version. This is so evident that even Frederick Scrivener, who adamantly opposed the Comma, was compelled to say, “If these two passages be taken together (the first is manifestly much the stronger), it is surely safer and more candid to admit that Cyprian read ver. 7 in his copies, than to resort to the explanation of Facundus, that the holy Bishop was merely putting on ver. 8 a spiritual meaning (Plain Introduction, p. 405).” I couldn’t agree more with the words of Dr. Scrivener! The question then becomes, why do [scholars] continue to espouse this “spiritual meaning/theological spin” hypothesis when this allegation has been refuted for centuries? One can only wonder if the reason behind this charade is not to further conceal the actual evidence and to further mislead the unsuspecting saints.

Source: avdefense.webs.com

March 22

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Wycliffe Bible

The John Wycliffe English Bible from about 1382 AD to 1395 AD

John Wycliffe (1320 AD – December 1384 AD) called "The Morning Star of the Reformation".

Wycliffe was also an early advocate for translation of the Bible into the common language. He completed his translation directly from the Vulgate into vernacular English in the year 1382, now known as Wycliffe's Bible. It is probable that he personally translated the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; and it is possible he translated the entire New Testament, while his associates translated the Old Testament. Wycliffe's Bible appears to have been completed by 1384, with additional updated versions being done by Wycliffe's assistant John Purvey and others in 1388 AD and 1395 AD.

Translated into English from Jerome's Latin Vulgate

Wycliffe's Bible is the name now given to a group of Bible translations into Middle English that were made under the direction of, or at the instigation of, John Wycliffe. They appeared over a period from approximately 1382 AD to 1395 AD. These Bible translations were the chief inspiration and chief cause of the Lollard movement, a pre-Reformation movement that rejected many of the distinctive teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. In the early Middle Ages, most Western Christian people encountered the Bible only in the form of oral versions of scriptures, verses and homilies in Latin (other sources were mystery plays, usually conducted in the vernacular, and popular iconography). Though relatively few people could read at this time, Wycliffe’s idea was to translate the Bible into the vernacular, saying "it helpeth Christian men to study the Gospel in that tongue in which they know best Christ’s sentence".

Long thought to be the work of Wycliffe himself, the Wycliffite translations are now generally believed to be the work of several hands. Nicholas of Hereford is known to have translated a part of the text; John Purvey and perhaps John Trevisa are names that have been mentioned as possible authors. The translators worked from the Vulgate, the Latin Bible that was the standard Biblical text of Western Christianity, and the text conforms fully with Catholic teaching. They included in the testaments those works which would later be called deuterocanonical [extra biblical - Apocryphal books] by most Protestants, along with 3 Esdras which is now called 2 Esdras and Paul's epistle to the Laodiceans.

Wycliffe became deeply disillusioned both with Scholastic theology of his day and also with the state of the church, at least as represented by the clergy. In the final phase of his life in the years before his death in 1384 he increasingly argued for Scriptures as the authoritative centre of Christianity, that the claims of the papacy were unhistorical, that monasticism was irredeemably corrupt, and that the moral unworthiness of priests invalidated their office and sacraments.

Although unauthorized, the work was popular. Wycliffe Bible texts are the most common manuscript literature in Middle English. More than 250 manuscripts of the Wycliffe Bible survive.

Although Wycliffe's Bible circulated widely in the later Middle Ages, it had very little influence on the first English biblical translations of the reformation era such as those of William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale, as it had been translated from the Latin Vulgate rather than the original Greek and Hebrew; and consequently it was generally ignored in later English Protestant biblical scholarship. The earliest printed edition, of the New Testament only, was by John Lewis in 1731. However, due to the common of surviving manuscripts of Wycliffe's Bible as works of an unknown Catholic translator, this version continued to circulate among 16th-century English Catholics, and many of its renderings of the Vulgate into English were adopted by the translators of the Rheims New Testament. Since the Rheims version was itself to be consulted by the translators working for King James [KJV] a number of readings from Wycliffe's Bible did find their way into the Authorized King James Version of the Bible at second hand.

Source: wiki.com

Note: the only available Bible at that time was Jerome's Latin Vulgate - the Byzantine Textus Receptus (TR) would not come to Europe until after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD.

Also Note: at that time the differences between the Bibles, the old Vetus Latina, Jerome's Latin Vulgate and the soon to be westernized (Byzantine) Textus Receptus was very minimal with only about a 2% discrepancy in the totality of the Bible. -- With the Bible versions being so closely matched some of the work of John Wycliffe carried directly into the later work of William Tyndale and much of Tyndale's work went directly into the KJV translation as 98% of the Bible was undisputed the KJV translators were mainly working to standardize the Bible and correct a few disputed verses of the Bible.

March 23

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The Fall of Constantinople

The Fall of Roman Constantinople to Turkish Muslims in 1453 AD

The Fall of Constantinople (Turkish: Conquest of Istanbul) was the capture of Constantinople (Istanbul), the capital of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, which occurred after a siege by the invading [Muslims of the] Ottoman Empire, under the command of 21-year-old Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos. The siege lasted from Friday, 6 April 1453 AD until Tuesday, 29 May 1453 AD according to the Julian calendar, when the city fell and was finally conquered by the [Turkish] Ottomans.

The capture of Constantinople (and two other Byzantine splinter territories soon thereafter) marked the end of the Roman Empire, an imperial state which had lasted for nearly 1,500 years. The Ottoman conquest of Constantinople also dealt a massive blow to Christendom, as the Ottoman armies thereafter were free to advance into Europe without an adversary to their rear. After the conquest, Sultan Mehmed transferred the capital of the Ottoman Empire from Adrianople to Istanbul (Constantinople). Several Greek and non-Greek intellectuals fled the city before and after the siege, with the majority of them migrating particularly to Italy, which helped fuel the Renaissance.

The conquest of the city of Constantinople and the end of the Byzantine Empire marks, for some historians, the end of the Middle Ages.

Source: wiki.com

After this I [Daniel] saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast [Rome], dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and [Rome] it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and [Revised Rome - i.e. starting with Emperor Constantine the Great, he reigned about 306-337 AD - 7th Kingdom] it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn [Antichrist], before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. I beheld till the Thrones [Kingdoms] were cast down, and the Ancient of Days [God] did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool: His Throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels [movement] as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands [i.e. millions of Saints] ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand [i.e. billions] stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the [Antichrist] horn spake: I beheld even till the beast [Antichrist] was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame (Revelation 19:20). As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. ~ Daniel 7:7-12

Note: the Fall of Constantinople was less an “end of the Roman Empire” and more a downsizing and modernizing of the emergent Holy Roman Empire.

March 24

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Johannes Gutenberg

Johannes Gutenberg invented the Mechanical Movable Type Printing Press in 1445 AD

In Renaissance Europe, the arrival of mechanical movable type printing introduced the era of mass communication which permanently altered the structure of society

Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (1395 – February 3, 1468 AD) was a German blacksmith, goldsmith, printer, and publisher who introduced printing to Europe. His invention of mechanical movable type printing started the Printing Revolution and is widely regarded as the most important event of the modern period. It played a key role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, and the Scientific Revolution and laid the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses.

Gutenberg was the first European to use movable type printing, in around 1439. Among his many contributions to printing are: the invention of a process for mass-producing movable type; the use of oil-based ink; and the use of a wooden printing press similar to the agricultural screw presses of the period. His truly epochal invention was the combination of these elements into a practical system which allowed the mass production of printed books and was economically viable for printers and readers alike. Gutenberg's method for making type is traditionally considered to have included a type metal alloy and a hand mold for casting type.

In Renaissance Europe, the arrival of mechanical movable type printing introduced the era of mass communication which permanently altered the structure of society. The relatively unrestricted circulation of information — including revolutionary ideas — transcended borders, captured the masses in the Reformation and threatened the power of political and religious authorities; the sharp increase in literacy broke the monopoly of the literate elite on education and learning and bolstered the emerging middle class. Across Europe, the increasing cultural self-awareness of its people led to the rise of proto-nationalism, accelerated by the flowering of the European vernacular languages to the detriment of Latin's status as lingua franca. In the 19th century, the replacement of the hand-operated Gutenberg-style press by steam-powered rotary presses allowed printing on an industrial scale, while Western-style printing was adopted all over the world, becoming practically the sole medium for modern bulk printing.

The use of movable type was a marked improvement on the handwritten manuscript, which was the existing method of book production in Europe, and upon woodblock printing, and revolutionized European book-making. Gutenberg's printing technology spread rapidly throughout Europe and later the world.

The Gutenberg Bible 1454 AD

His major work, the Gutenberg Bible [the first Bible printed by machine], has been acclaimed for its high aesthetic and technical quality. -- Written in Latin, the Gutenberg Bible is an edition of the Vulgate.

March 25

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Desiderius Erasmus

Desiderius Erasmus in 1516 AD, published the Greek (Textus Receptus) New Testament

Desiderius Erasmus in 1516, published his (Textus Receptus) Greek New Testament - [Note: the (Textus Receptus) was a coalition of various existing Greek Texts aligned to the newly received more ancient Greek texts from the recently fallen region of Constantinople hence the name "Textus Receptus" or simply Texts Received.

Desiderius Erasmus

Over the years, Erasmus became intimately acquainted with biblical manuscripts available throughout Europe, particularly of the New Test-ament. Because the Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, it is evident as Erasmus began to search the Scriptures, they had a profound effect upon his life. By the time of his death, the theology of Erasmus had shifted closer to that of the Ana-baptists than that of Rome. This will shortly be documented.

As noted above, in 1516, Erasmus published from Basel, Switzer-land, his Greek New Testament which he called the Novum Instru-mentum. In English that means the "New Instrument. Contrary to popular misconception, Erasmus had more than a handful of manu-scripts at his disposal. Preserved Smith, the noted expert on the life of Erasmus, comments, "For the first edition Erasmus had before him ten manuscripts, four of which he found in England, and five at Basle. . . . The last codex was lent him by John Reuchlin . . . [and] appeared to Erasmus so old that it might have come from the Apostolic Age." He was aware of Vaticanus in the Vatican Library and had a friend by the name of Bombasius research that for him (165). He, however, rejected the characteristic variants of Codex Vaticanus which distinguishes itself from the Received Text (RT).

Source: av1611.com

Desiderius Erasmus (27 October 1466 AD – 12 July 1536 AD), known as Erasmus of Rotterdam, or simply Erasmus, was a Dutch Renaissance humanist (i.e. professionalism), Catholic priest, social critic, teacher, and theologian.

Erasmus was a classical scholar who wrote in a pure Latin style. He was a proponent of religious toleration, and enjoyed the sobriquet "Prince of the Humanists"; he has been called "the crowning glory of the Christian humanists". Using humanist techniques for working on texts, he prepared important new Latin and Greek editions of the New Testament. These raised questions that would be influential in the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation. He also wrote On Free Will, The Praise of Folly, Handbook of a Christian Knight, On Civility in Children, Copia: Foundations of the Abundant Style, Julius Exclusus, and many other works.

Erasmus lived against the backdrop of the growing European religious Reformation; but while he was critical of the abuses within the Church and called for reform, he kept his distance from Luther and Melanchthon and continued to recognise the authority of the pope. Erasmus emphasized a middle way, with a deep respect for traditional faith, piety and grace, and rejected Luther's emphasis on faith alone. Erasmus therefore remained a member of the Catholic Church all his life. Erasmus remained committed to reforming the Church and its clerics' abuses from within. He also held to Catholic doctrines such as that of free will, which some Reformers rejected in favor of the doctrine of predestination. His middle road approach disappointed and even angered scholars in both camps.

Erasmus died suddenly in Basel in 1536 while preparing to return to Brabant, and was buried in the Basel Minster, the former cathedral of the city. A bronze statue of him was erected in his city of birth in 1622, replacing an earlier work in stone.

Source: wiki.com

Note: though Erasmus had about a dozen Greek NT text Manuscripts available to him after comparing the various Manuscripts and confirming their uniformity he only heavily used a couple of them to complete his Greek NT Edition the Textus Receptus – not many repetitive Texts are needed if they all say the same thing because they are supposed to say the same thing. Only a couple of reliable Manuscripts were needed in order to combine them into the Greek Textus Receptus that we have today.

March 26

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William Tyndale

William Tyndale translated the first English Bible from the Ancient Greek

William Tyndale translated the first English Bible from Greek notably using in part the Greek Textus Receptus of Desiderius Erasmus.

William Tyndale (1494–1536 AD) was an English scholar who became a leading figure in Protestant reform in the years leading up to his execution. He is well known for his translation of the Bible into English. He was influenced by the work of Desiderius Erasmus, who made the Greek New Testament available in Europe, and by Martin Luther. While a number of partial and incomplete translations had been made from the seventh century onward, the grass-roots spread of Wycliffe's Bible resulted in a death sentence for any unlicensed possession of Scripture in English—even though translations in all other major European languages had been accomplished and made available. Tyndale's translation was the first English Bible to draw directly from Hebrew and Greek texts, the first English one to take advantage of the printing press, and first of the new English Bibles of the Reformation. It was taken to be a direct challenge to the hegemony of both the Roman Catholic Church and English Laws to maintain church rulings. In 1530 AD, Tyndale also wrote The Practyse of Prelates, opposing Henry VIII's divorce on the grounds that it contravened Scripture.

Tyndale had to learn Hebrew in Germany due to England's active Edict of Expulsion against the Jews. He worked in an age where Greek was available to the European scholarly community for the first time in centuries. Erasmus compiled and edited Greek Scriptures into the Textus Receptus — ironically, to improve upon the Latin Vulgate—following the Renaissance-fueling Fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the dispersion of Greek-speaking intellectuals and texts into a Europe which previously had access to none. Sharing Erasmus' translation ideals, Tyndale took the ill-regarded, unpopular and awkward Middle-English "vulgar" tongue, improved upon it using Greek and Hebrew syntaxes and idioms, and formed an Early Modern English basis that Shakespeare and others would later follow and build upon as Tyndale-inspired vernacular forms took over. When a copy of The Obedience of a Christian Man fell into the hands of Henry VIII, the king found the rationale to break the Church in England from the Roman Catholic Church in 1534.

In 1535 AD, Tyndale was arrested and jailed in the castle of Vilvoorde (Filford) outside Brussels for over a year. In 1536 he was convicted of heresy and executed by strangulation, after which his body was burnt at the stake. His dying request that the King of England's eyes would be opened seemed to find its fulfillment just two years later with Henry's authorization of The Great Bible for the Church of England—which was largely Tyndale's own work. Hence, the Tyndale Bible, as it was known, continued to play a key role in spreading Reformation ideas across the English-speaking world and eventually, on the global British Empire.

Notably, in 1611, the 54 independent scholars who created the King James Version, drew significantly from Tyndale, as well as translations that descended from his. One estimate suggests the New Testament in the King James Version is 83% Tyndale's, and the Old Testament 76%. With his translation of the Bible the first ever to be printed in English, and a model for subsequent English translations, in 2002, Tyndale was placed at number 26 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.

March 27

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King James Version

The King James Version 1611

The King James Version (KJV), commonly known as the Authorized Version (AV) or King James Bible (KJB), is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England begun in 1604 AD and completed in 1611 AD. First printed by the King's Printer Robert Barker, this was the third translation into English to be approved by the English Church authorities. The first was the Great Bible commissioned in the reign of King Henry VIII (1535 AD), and the second was the Bishops' Bible of 1568 AD. In January 1604 AD, King James VI and I convened the Hampton Court Conference where a new English version was conceived in response to the perceived problems of the earlier translations as detected by the Puritans, a faction within the Church of England.

King James gave the translators instructions intended to guarantee that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology and reflect the episcopal structure of the Church of England and its belief in an ordained clergy. The translation was done by 47 scholars, all of whom were members of the Church of England. In common with most other translations of the period, the New Testament was translated from Greek, the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew text, while the Apocrypha were translated from the Greek and Latin. In the Book of Common Prayer (1662 AD), the text of the Authorized Version replaced the text of the Great Bible – for Epistle and Gospel readings – and as such was authorized by Act of Parliament. By the first half of the 18th century, the Authorized Version was effectively unchallenged as the English translation used in Anglican and Protestant churches. Over the course of the 18th century, the Authorized Version supplanted the Latin Vulgate as the standard version of scripture for English speaking scholars. Today, the most used edition of the King James Bible, and often identified as plainly the King James Version [and even KJV 1611], especially in the United States, closely follows the standard text of 1769 AD, edited by Benjamin Blayney at Oxford.

Source: wiki.com

Dedication by the Translators to King James

TO THE MOST HIGH AND MIGHTY PRINCE JAMES, BY THE GRACE OF GOD,
KING OF GREAT BRITAIN, FRANCE, AND IRELAND, DEFENDER OF THE FAITH, ETC.
THE TRANSLATORS OF THE BIBLE WISH GRACE, MERCY, AND PEACE, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD

Great and manifold were the blessings, most dread Sovereign, which Almighty God, the Father of all mercies, bestowed upon us the people of England, when first he sent Your Majesty's Royal Person to rule and reign over us. For whereas it was the expectation of many, who wished not well unto our Sion, that, upon the setting of that bright Occindental Star, Queen Elizabeth, of most happy memory, some thick and palpable clouds of darkness would so have overshadowed this land, that men should have been in doubt which way they were to walk, and that it should hardly be known who was to direct the unsettled State; the appearance of Your Majesty, as of the Sun in his strength, instantly dispelled those supposed and surmised mists, and gave unto all that were well affected exceeding cause of comfort; especially when we beheld the Government established in Your Highness, and Your hopeful Seed, by an undoubted Title; and this also accompanied with peace and tranquillity at home and abroad.

But among all of our joys, there was no one that more filled our hearts than the blessed continuance of the preaching of God's sacred Word among us, which is that inestimable treasure which excelleth all the riches of the earth; because the fruit thereof extendeth itself, not only to the time spent in this transitory world, but directeth and disposeth men unto that eternal happiness which is above in heaven.

Then not to suffer this fall to the ground, but rather to take it up, and to continue it in that state wherein the famous Predecessor of Your Highness did leave it; nay, to go forward with the confidence and resolution of a man, in maintaining the truth of Christ, and propagating it far and near is that which hath so bound and firmly knit the hearts of all Your Majesty's loyal and religious people unto You, that Your very name is precious among them: their eye doth behold You with comfort, and they bless You in their hearts, as that sanctified Person, who, under God, is the immediate author of their true happiness. And this their contentment doth not diminish or decay, but every day increaseth and taketh strength, when they observe that the zeal of Your Majesty toward the house of God doth not slack or go backward, but is more and more kindled, manifesting itself abroad in the farthest parts of Christendom, by writing in defence of the truth, which hath given such a blow unto that Man of Sin as will not be healed, and every day at home, by religious and learned discourse, by frequenting the house of God, by hearing the Word preached, by cherishing the teachers thereof, by caring for the Church, as a most tender and loving nursing father.

There are infinite arguments of this right Christian and religious affection in Your Majesty; but none is more forcible to declare it to others than the vehement and perpetuated desire of accomplishing and publishing of this work, which now, with all humility, we present unto Your Majesty. For when Your Highness had once, out of deep judgement, apprehended how convenient it was, that, out of the Original sacred Tongues, together with comparing of the labours, both in our own and other foreign languages, of many worthy men who went before us, there should be one more exact translation of the Holy Scriptures into the English tongue; Your Majesty did never desist to urge and to excite those to whom it was commended, that the Work might be hastened, and that the business might be expedited in so decent a manner, as a matter of such importance might justly require.

And now at last, by the mercy of God, and the continuance of our labours, it being brought unto such a conclusion, as that we have great hopes that the Church of England shall reap good fruit thereby, we hold it our duty to offer it to Your Majesty, not only as to our King and Sovereign, but as to the principal mover and author of the Work; humbly craving of your most Sacred Majesty, that, since things of this quality have ever been subject to the censures of ill-meaning and discontented persons, it may receive approbation and patronage from so learned and judicious a Prince as Your Highness is; whose allowance and acceptance of our labours shall more honour and encourage us, than all the calumniations and hard interpretations of other men shall dismay us. So that if, on the one side, we shall be traduced by Popish persons at home or abroad, who therefore will malign us, because we are poor instruments to make God's holy truth to be yet more and more known unto the people, whom they desire still to keep in ignorance and darkness; or if, on the other side, we shall be maligned by self-conceited brethren, who run their own ways, and give liking unto nothing but what is framed by themselves, and hammered on their anvil, we may rest secure, supported within by the truth and innocency of a good conscience, having walked the ways of simplicity and integrity, as before the Lord, and sustained without by the powerful protection of Your Majesty's grace and favour, which will ever give countenance to honest and Christian endeavours against bitter censures and uncharitable imputations.

The Lord of heaven and earth bless Your Majesty with many and happy days, that, as his heavenly hand hath enriched Your Highness with many singular and extraordinary graces, so You may be the wonder of the world in this latter age for happiness and true felicity, to the honour of that great God, and the good of his Church, through Jesus Christ our Lord and only Saviour.

March 28

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Stephanus NT Bible 1550

The Stephanus Greek Textus Receptus 1550 AD Bible

Robert Estienne, known as Stephanus (1503–1559 AD), a printer from Paris, edited the Greek (Textus Receptus) New Testament four times, in 1546, 1549, 1550 and 1551, the last in Geneva.

In 1532, he published the remarkable Thesaurus linguae latinae, and twice he published the entire Hebrew Bible — "one with the Commentary of Kimchi on the minor prophets, in 13 vols. 4to (quarto) (Paris, 1539-43), another in 10 vols. 16mo (sextodecimo) (ibid. 1544-46)." Both of these editions are rare.

Of more importance are his four editions of the Greek New Testament, 1546, 1549, 1550, and 1551, the last in Geneva. The first two are among the neatest Greek texts known, and are called O mirificam; the third is a splendid masterpiece of typographical skill, and is known as the Editio Regia; the edition of 1551 contains the Latin translation of Erasmus and the Vulgate, is not nearly as fine as the other three, and is exceedingly rare. It was in this edition that the division of the New Testament into verses was for the first time introduced.

A number of editions of the Vulgate also appeared from his presses, of which the principal are those of 1528, 1532, 1540 (one of the ornaments of his press), and 1546. The text of the Vulgate was in a wretched condition, and his editions, especially that of 1546, containing a new translation at the side of the Vulgate, was the subject of sharp and acrimonious criticism from the clergy.

On his arrival at Geneva, he published a defense against the attacks of the Sorbonne. He issued the French Bible in 1553, and many of John Calvin's writings; the finest edition of the Institutio being that of 1553. His fine edition of the Latin Bible with glosses (1556) contained the translation of the Old Testament by Santes Pagninus, and the first edition of Theodore Beza's Latin edition of the New Testament. He died in Geneva.

Source: wiki.com

Note: the 1611 AD King James (New Testament) Bible was translated into English primarily from the existing Textus Receptus family of Greek manuscripts. The 1550 AD Stephanus (Greek New Testament) a NT Bible edited by Robert Estienne using the existing Greek Textus Receptus of Desiderius Erasmus and in making his few changes and additions provides a closely matching KJV Greek NT manuscript.

March 29

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Tischendorf bible Hoax

Constantin von Tischendorf's 1859 AD Codex Sinaiticus, bible Discovery Hoax

Lobegott Friedrich Constantin (von) Tischendorf (January 18, 1815 – December 7, 1874) was a noted German Biblical scholar. He deciphered [the code] the Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, a 5th-century Greek manuscript of the New Testament, in the 1840s, and rediscovered the Codex Sinaiticus, a 4th-century New Testament manuscript, in 1859 AD.

Constantin von Tischendorf just a few scant years after the dazzling vision, all three versions of the same vision of Joseph Smith Jr., Tischendorf discovered the remarkable Codex Sinaiticus possibly the oldest and rarest NT Manuscript on the face of the earth - if you can believe it, any of the three versions articulated by Tischendorf.

LDS First Vision by LDS Prophet and Founder Joseph Smith, Jr. 1832 AD

The First Vision, also called the grove experience, refers to a vision that Joseph Smith, Jr. said he received in the spring of 1820, in a wooded area in Manchester, New York, which his followers call the Sacred Grove. Smith described it as a personal theophany in which he received instruction from God. Smith's followers believe the vision reinforces his authority as the founder and prophet of the Latter Day Saint [LDS] movement. According to an account Smith told in 1838, he went to the woods to pray about which church to join but fell into the grip of an evil power that nearly overcame him. At the last moment, he was rescued by two shining "personages" (implied to be Jesus and God the Father) who hovered above him. One of the beings told Smith not to join any existing churches because all taught incorrect doctrines.

Smith wrote several accounts of the vision beginning in 1832, but none of the accounts was published until the 1840s. Though Smith had described other visions, the First Vision was essentially unknown to early Latter Day Saints; Smith's experience did not become important in the Latter Day Saint movement until the early-20th century, when it became the embodiment of the Latter Day Saint restoration. The First Vision also corroborated distinctive Mormon doctrines such as the bodily nature of God the Father and the uniqueness of Mormonism as the only true path to salvation.

Piltdown Man Hoax 1912 AD

The Piltdown hoax is perhaps the most famous paleoanthropological hoax ever to have been perpetrated. It is prominent for two reasons: the attention [it] paid to the issue of human evolution, and the length of time, more than 40 years, that elapsed from its discovery to its full exposure [in 1953] as a forgery.

Sources: wiki.com

March 30

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Douay–Rheims Bible

The Douay–Rheims Bible a translation of the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into English

The Douay–Rheims Bible is a translation of the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into English made by members of the English College, Douai, in the service of the Catholic Church. The New Testament portion was published in Reims, France, in 1582, in one volume with extensive commentary and notes. The Old Testament portion was published in two volumes thirty years later by the University of Douai. The first volume, covering Genesis through Job, was published in 1609; the second, covering Psalms to 2 Machabees plus the apocrypha of the Clementine Vulgate was published in 1610. Marginal notes took up the bulk of the volumes and had a strong polemical and patristic character. They offered insights on issues of translation, and on the Hebrew and Greek source texts of the Vulgate. The purpose of the version, both the text and notes, was to uphold Catholic tradition in the face of the Protestant Reformation which up till then had overwhelmingly dominated Elizabethan religion and academic debate. As such it was an impressive effort by English Catholics to support the Counter-Reformation. The New Testament was reprinted in 1600, 1621 and 1633. The Old Testament volumes were reprinted in 1635 but neither thereafter for another hundred years.

The Rheims New Testament had an influence on the translators of the King James Version. Afterwards it ceased to be of interest in the [English] Anglican church. The city is now spelled Douai, but the Bible continues to be published as the Douay–Rheims Bible and has formed the basis of some later Catholic Bibles in English.

Sources: wiki.com

Early Bible Unity

King James Version (1611) — Revelation 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

Douay-Rheims (1899) — Revelation 5:10 And hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.

Modern Bible Variances

Modern Catholic Bible – Revelation 5:10 You made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they will reign on earth.

New International Version (NIV) — Revelation 5:10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.

English Standard Version (ESV) — Revelation 5:10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.

March 31

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Pressing On

Pressing on in Our High Calling in Jesus Christ

Let's leave Mephibosheth and his unhelpful practices in the pages of history while we ourselves move forward and press on in our High Calling in Jesus Christ.

Blessed are the undefiled in The Way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep His Testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in His ways. You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all Your commandments. I will praise you with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned Your righteous judgments. I will keep Your statutes: O forsake me not utterly. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Your word. With my whole heart have I sought You: O let me not wander from Your commandments. Your word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O LORD: teach me Your statutes. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in The Way of your testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in Your precepts, and have respect unto Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes: I will not forget your word. Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live, and keep Your Word. Open You mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law. I am a stranger in the earth: hide not Your commandments from me. My soul breaks for the longing that it has unto Your judgments at all times. ~ Psalms 119:1-20

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 3:12-14

April - Behold The Lamb of God

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Behold The Lamb of God

Behold Jesus the Lamb of God has Come

Jesus Christ the Lamb of God has come from Heaven to provide eternal salvation for mankind.

Therefore thus will I do unto you, O Israel: and because I will do this unto you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel. ~ Amos 4:12

The next day John [the Baptist] sees Jesus coming unto him, and says, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world. ~ John 1:29

Go through, go through the gates; prepare all of you The Way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. Behold, the LORD has proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say all of you to the Daughter of Zion, Behold, your salvation comes; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and you shall be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken. ~ Isaiah 62:10-12

In this month of devotions we are going to look at who Jesus is and what His Ministry came to accomplish.

April 2

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1st Coming Prophesies

The Old Testament Office of Prophet

The 1st Coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ was foretold many times in advance by the Old Testament Prophets. In fact a Prophet is someone who explained in advance who Jesus was and what were the signs of His coming and what is the purpose of His Ministry.

And the LORD God said unto the serpent (Satan), Because you have done this [deceived mankind], you are cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life: And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed (Antichrist) and her Seed (Messiah - Christ); It shall bruise your head [on the cross (Colossians 2:14-15)], and you shall bruise His heel [on the cross (John 19:17-18)]. ~ Genesis 3:14-15

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He [Messiah - Christ] shall stand at the latter day upon the earth and though after [death] my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my [resurrection] flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins [determination - plans] be consumed within me. ~ Job 19"25-27

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the [Eternal] Government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His Government and peace there shall be no end, upon the Throne of [King] David, and upon His Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will perform this. ~ Isaiah 9:6-7

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a New Covenant [New Testament] with the House of Israel, and with the House of Judah: Not according to the [Moses - Mt. Sinai - Old] Covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they brake, although I was an Husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the Covenant that I will make with the House of Israel [Governed by God]; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put My [Royal - Spiritual] Law in their inward parts [soul], and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. ~ Jeremiah 31:31-33

For thus says the LORD of Hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all Nations, and The Desire of all Nations [Messiah - Christ] shall come: and I will fill this House [rebuilt Temple - 2nd Temple] with Glory, says the LORD of Hosts. The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, says the LORD of Hosts. The Glory of this latter House [New Covenant] shall be greater than of the former [Old Covenant], says the LORD of Hosts: and in this place will I give peace, says the LORD of Hosts. ~ Haggai 2:6-9

Note: we don’t have Prophets 'per se' today because the Messiah Jesus Christ has already come and has been revealed to mankind. Also we have instruction in the Bible explaining that no one will know the day or the hour of the return - the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ so currently there isn’t anything to prophecy about regarding the 2nd Coming of the Messiah.

Watch therefore, for all of you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man comes. ~ Matthew 25:13

Also Note: there is still a biblical type of prophecy (Romans 12:6) and that involves in some cases a clear and concise teaching of who Jesus is and what His Ministry involves but it does not provide any extra biblical knowledge or information. The Spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:10-11) of discernment, gift of knowledge and gift of wisdom, etc. do more in the present Church Age to provide insight into current and future events and predicaments and also provide the wisdom in how to handle them, more than any current teaching gift of prophecy does.

April 3

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The Levitical Priesthood

The Ministry of The Levitical Priesthood

The Levitical Instructional Priesthood

The Apostle Paul explains that the important purpose of the Levitical Law was to provide information, instructing and examples to the people until the Messiah/Christ would come and officiate the actual offerings and sacrifices with real efficacy [tangible results].

We also noted that with the arrival of the Christ (Jesus Christ) the Levitical Priesthood has gloriously completed its assigned task and is no longer a viable Priesthood.

Wherefore [what is the purpose] then [that] serves the [Levitical] law? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed [Messiah/Christ] should come to whom [us] the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels [messengers - prophets] in the hand of a mediator. ... But before faith [Messiah/Christ] came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed [in Jesus Christ]. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [instruction] to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith has come, we are no longer under a [Levitical Law] schoolmaster. ~ Galatians 3:19-25

The Ministry of Jesus Christ

When Jesus came to earth to perform His Ministry it is the Melchizedek Ministry that Jesus is at all times and in all circumstances participating in and fulfilling.

In other words the sacrificial offering of Jesus on the cross is that of the Melchizedek Priesthood and not directly a traditional Levitical offering. It is of note that Jesus was born of the Tribe of Judah and not being from the Tribe of Levi He would not have any Levitical office to perform.

But now we are delivered [by Jesus] from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in Newness of Spirit, and not in the oldness of the [Levitical] letter. ~ Romans 7:6

Note: the two Priesthoods the earthly Levitical instructional Priesthood and the Heavenly Divine Eternal Melchizedek Priesthood are two separate, unique and distinct Priesthoods the one replaced the other.

Also Note: because the two Priesthoods are completely separate and distinct there is no concept that one Priesthood [Levitical] is fulfilled in order to then enter into the next Priesthood [Melchizedek]. – Jesus fulfilled the Levitical Law only in that the Levitical Law prophesied of Jesus' arrival. Jesus did not obey the Levitical Law in the sense of obeying a lesser law just because it was there to be obeyed but instead Jesus lived, moved and breathed in His Melchizedek Law (James 2:8) as His Melchizedek Priesthood preceded (Genesis 14:18), superseded (Psalm 110:4) and completely replaced (Revelation 1:6) any vestige or any form of instructional Levitical Law that ever existed.

April 4

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The Melchizedek Priesthood

The Ministry of The Melchizedek Priesthood

The Ministry of Jesus Christ continued ...

At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath Day through the corn [grain field]; and His disciples were hungry [but not hungry enough to ask Jesus for a miracle], and began to pluck the ears of corn [grain] and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto Him, Behold, Your Disciples do that which is not [Levitically] lawful to do upon the Sabbath Day. ~ Matthew 12:1-2

But He (Jesus) said unto them, Have all of you not read what [King] David did, when he was hungry, and they that were with him; How he entered into the [Tabernacle] House of God, and did eat the showbread, which was not [Levitically] lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have all of you not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath Days the [Levitical] Priests in the Temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is One Greater than the [Levitical] Temple. But if all of you had known what this [the Melchizedek Priesthood] means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, all of you [Pharisees] would not have condemned the guiltless [the Disciples observing the mercy of the Melchizedek Priesthood]. For the Son of Man is Lord [Master - owner] even of the Sabbath Day. ~ Matthew 12:3-8

Note: the Disciples clearly and intentionally broke the Levitical Law, Jesus didn’t, but the Disciples according to the Bible did so and at a time and in a place where it could only cause a confrontation with the Pharisees. This is one of the clear instances of the Bible where the Disciples really began to get it and walked not in the ways of man and the Levitical Law but demonstrated their willingness to leave what had previously been established in order to live in Jesus’ Melchizedek Priesthood Kingdom.

April 5

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Old Testament Redemption

Old Testament Redemption of the Levitical Priesthood

The Incompleteness of Redemption

The Old Testament Levitical Law provided a type of redemption in that God redeemed Israel from among the Gentile Nations. The real and permanent Redemption of the Nation of Israel is in the Promises and Ministry of God and not in the Levitical Priesthood of man.

Redemption means to be back in the possession of the rightful owner.

My little children [redemption], of whom I [Apostle Paul] travail in birth again until [salvation] Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you. ~ Galatians 4:19-20

It is important to note that Redemption and Salvation can be completely different terms with completely different outcomes. All people will eventually be redeemed in that all people will face God and every knee will bow before God but not everyone will remain in God’s presence and receive salvation (healing) from sin. Technically speaking being removed into the lake of fire is a type of redemption in that once in God's presence God has determined to do His will.

For example if someone lost something like a hat or a golf club or any valued item and a time later the lost item was returned to the rightful owner, the owner would have redeemed their possession, yet a human owner might not want the item any longer and could just throw it away. Now God is not going to just throw us away because God created us and God is not like us but it is an example that Redemption in itself is incomplete (possibly very incomplete) and that it is Salvation that is our ultimate desire.

For I [Apostle Paul] was alive [redeemed] without the law once: but when the commandment came [with knowledge of sin], sin revived, and I died [became aware of the need of God’s Salvation]. ~ Romans 7:9

But we believe that through the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ we [Redeemed Jews] shall be saved [Salvation], even as they [previously unredeemed Gentiles]. ~ Acts 15:11

I charge you therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge [all people] the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; ~ 2 Timothy 4:1

Behold, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all families of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen. ~ Revelation 1:7

April 6

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New Testament Salvation

New Testament Salvation of the Melchizedek Priesthood

The Completeness of Salvation

Back to our previous example and more like the God of the Bible, God receives back [Redemption] His damaged possessions and [Salvation] repairs and renews what is in His presence as His possession.

But we believe that through the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ we [Redeemed Jews] shall be saved [Salvation], even as they [previously unredeemed Gentiles]. ~ Acts 15:11

In [Jesus] whom all of you also trusted, after that all of you heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation: in whom also after that all of you believed, all of you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory. ~ Ephesians 1:13-14

Wherefore, my beloved, as all of you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation [healing] with fear and trembling. For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. ~ Philippians 2:12-13

For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and [continue to] edify one another, even as also all of you [already] do. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11

Therefore I endure all things for the elect's [Christians with an office (job) in the Church body] sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. ~ 2 Timothy 2:10

April 7

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Living Body and Blood Communion

Eternal Life Living Body and Blood Communion

Jesus willingly shed and sacrificed His sinless blood for our eternal atonement.

The concept of both the Levitical and Melchizedek blood (life) sacrifice offering is that 1st sin is atoned for in that the penalty of sin is death – bodily death of the sacrifice is first and then 2nd the new life is provided by the blood offering.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. ~ Romans 6:23

The blood offering provides the new life i.e. in the Old Testament the blood was poured into the ground reversing the curse of Genesis.

And unto Adam He [God] said, Because you have hearkened unto the voice of your [deceived] wife, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it: cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you; and you shall eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return unto the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are, and unto dust shall you return. ~ Genesis 3:17-19

And you [Levitical High Priest] shall take of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with your finger, and pour all the blood [life] beside the bottom of the altar. ~ Exodus 29:12

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the [life] blood that [gives life] makes an atonement for the soul. ~ Leviticus 17:11

Only be sure that you eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and you may not eat the life with the flesh. ~ Deuteronomy 12:23

In the New Testament we have the eternal body and blood of Jesus Christ and it is both Spirit and physical therefore we consider both His physical 1st coming and His Spiritual eternal life and 2nd Coming when we receive or take communion.

And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in Heaven. ~ Colossians 1:20

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? ~ 1 Corinthians 10:16

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be Glory forever and ever. Amen. ~ Hebrews 13:20-21

Conclusion: with the promises of God and the Priesthoods [Melchizedek and the completed Levitical] of God it was still necessary to shed actual physical blood in order to provide actual physical life. In other words our physical life needed a physical atonement. We as mankind did receive the free gift of eternal life atonement from God but though it was free to us it was costly to God. The promises of God, instituted in the Communion bread and Wine, are both spiritual and physical the eternal spiritual realm and our physical realm combined. When and where the Spiritual of God met the physical of mankind is in the events of Holy Week.

April 8

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The Evangelical Holy Week - Reality and Faith United

Common Christian Evangelical Holy Week - Reality and Faith United

Jesus Walk proving the Leadership of Jesus Christ in that during the many Passion and Holy Week events the events didn't just happen to Jesus but in actuality Jesus happened to the events.

Jesus Walk is a Timeline, a Devotional and a Biblical explanation of the events of the original ten days of Holy Week. The Jesus Walk timeline was written in the spring-summer of 2000 by David Anson Brown then the first Jesus Walk 10 day Holy Week with a partial devotional was held during Holy Week in 2001, later for Holy Week 2003 the current group focused devotional "Becoming United in Jesus Christ" was completed. A second individually focused devotion "All the Way, Walking the Long Road" is still currently being written.

The next day John [the Baptist] sees Jesus coming unto him, and says, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world. ~ John 1:29

I (Jesus) am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a Baptism [Cross and Resurrection] to be Baptized with; and how am I straitened [determined] until it be accomplished! ~ Luke 12:49-50

Source: Jesus Walk (PDF)

Note: the Basic Christian Ministry follows and instructs in the Historical Biblical Christian pattern [i.e. the literal, grammatical, historical method of Biblical interpretation]. In following the actual Divine and human events that Christianity is a direct product of i.e. creation, original sin, Heaven, hell, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, the earthly Ministry of Jesus, the Holy Week events and the Ministry of Jesus Christ including imputed righteousness, the eternal resurrection, the historic Apostolic Church age, the current Common Christian Church Age, the Millennial Age to come, and the many other human and Divine events that have already happened or are yet to unfold among mankind.

April 9

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Holy Week - Friday

Anointing - Preparation Friday

Jesus and His disciples in the village of Bethany - 9th of Nisan

Then Jesus six days before the Passover [Holy Week] came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom He raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with Him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. ~ John 12:1-3

And when they [Jesus and His Twelve Disciples] came near to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and **Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sends forth two of His disciples, And says unto them, Go your way into the village [Bethphage] opposite to you: and as soon as all of you be entered into it, all of you shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. And if any man say unto you, Why do all of you this? say all of you that the Lord (Owner) has need of him; and immediately he will send him here. ~ Mark 11:1-3

Personal Reflection #1 - Anointing Oil

Mary Anointed Jesus with very costly and very precious oil. Biblically oil is a symbol of acceptance. To anoint someone is to accept them, to accept them for who and for what they are. Judas on the other hand did not want to bother with anointing Jesus. He didn't even want to be bothered with other people anointing Him. Mary was accepting Jesus. She had accepted that He had come to die for her in her place and was anointing Jesus for His coming burial. The cross of Jesus was something that even the disciples had not yet been able to come to grips with yet Mary had and Mary acknowledged and accepted Jesus for it. Having accepted the gift from Jesus that He was to die in her place for her sins she had now entered into a place of rest and comfort. Rest in that she did not have to work to amend for her own sins and comfort in that all things would be taken care of for her through God who is also King, her King Jesus.

As we begin our walk with Jesus let's pause and reflect (Selah) about acceptance ... are there people in our own lives who we need to anoint and to accept even though we don't understand them? How much could our fellowships gain by this one simple act of anointing one another in the simple affection of acceptance. Anointing others with the precious oil of acceptance can only come from our own rest and security through the knowledge of what Jesus Himself has done and will do for us in our lives.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life [eternal] for evermore. ~ Psalms 133:1-3

Are we anointing and accepting of ourselves? Biblically people are allowed to anoint - refresh themselves with oil (Matthew 6:17). In fact it is crucial that we accept ourselves. God has already accepted us. He created us and He is for us. How is it that we can reject what God has already accepted?

Are we anointing and accepting of Jesus? Even today we can anoint Jesus with His precious costly oil of acceptance by accepting His accomplishments in His sacrificial death and eternal resurrection life for us and by trusting in His authority and Kingly rule over and in our lives.

We would like to be bold enough to take the steps to walk where Jesus walks, but it is now evident even on this day, day one, that Jesus does not walk as a human walks but that He walks as God walks. For us to walk with Jesus we are going to have to be bold and remove our focus from others and place it on God.

Old & New Testament Holy Week Prophecies

Therefore thus will I do unto you, O Israel: and because I will do this unto you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel. ~ Amos 4:12

We have also a more sure Word of Prophecy; unto which all of you do well that all of you take heed, as unto a Light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the Day Star [TriUne God - Holy Spirit] arise in your hearts: 20 ~ 2 Peter 1:19

April 10

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Evangelical Holy Week - Saturday

Triumphal Entry - Jesus is King Saturday

Triumphal Entry - Selection of the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12:3) - 10th of Nisan

Palm Saturday the Triumphal Entry of King Jesus into Jerusalem, the Feast of Sabbath is fulfilled.

And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and He sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and scattered them in The Way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that comes in the Name of the Lord: Blessed be the Kingdom of our father David, that comes in the Name of the Lord: Hosanna in the Highest. And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the Temple [only to look around - as the Passover Lamb of God in the House (Temple) of God "a lamb for an house" Exodus 12:3]: and when He had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide [lit. close of this Saturday Sabbath day] was come, He went out unto Bethany with the Twelve. ~ Mark 11:7-11

Personal Reflection #2 - Jesus our Savior, our King, our Friend, our Rest

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork. ~ Psalms 19:1

We too would like to join in with the rocks of Jerusalem and indeed all of creation and declare the glory of our God and King in Christ Jesus and as we do declare the Deity and Honor of Jesus we declare that we to can now rest in His rule and in His Authority.

We rest in Jesus, resting physically, emotionally and spiritually. It is a wonderful accomplishment to be able to cease from worry, fear and anxiety. Few are they that enter into it but blessed are those who do as rest is something to be entered into, it is an achievement, an accomplishment.

Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. ~ Hebrews 4:11

Old & New Testament Holy Week Prophecies

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion; shout, O Daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your King comes unto you: He is Just, and having Salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of a donkey. ~ Zechariah 9:9

All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophet, saying, Tell all of you the Daughter of Zion, Behold, your King comes unto you, meek, and sitting upon an ass (donkey), and a colt the foal of an donkey. ~ Matthew 21:4-5

This is the Day [Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem] which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Save [Salvation] now, I plead to you, O LORD: O LORD, I plead to you, send now prosperity. Blessed be He that comes in the Name of the LORD: we have blessed You out of the House of the LORD. ~ Psalm 118:24-26

And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord; Hosanna in the Highest. ~ Matthew 21:9

April 11

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Evangelical Holy Week - Sunday

Cleansing - Holiness Sunday

Jesus Cleanses the Temple - 11th of Nisan

And on the next day, when they were come from Bethany, He was hungry: And seeing a fig tree far off having leaves, He came, if lest by any means he might find anything thereon: and when He came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of you hereafter forever. And His Disciples heard it. And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the Temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the Temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the Temple. And He taught, saying unto them, Is it not written (1 Kings 8:38-39), My House shall be called of all Nations the House of Prayer? but all of you have made it a den of thieves. ~ Mark 11:12-17

Personal Reflection #3 - Unfruitfulness in Our Own Life

Jesus recognized unfruitfulness and He took action to remove it. Every one of us (unlike Jesus) has an unfruitful aspect in our own life. We too can be bold like Jesus, in that when we see unfruitfulness we can declare it as unacceptable to God and recognize it as a cursed item, not a blessing. In cursing it, curse it at its root so that it will immediately wither and dry up no longer sustaining an appearance of being potentially fruitful but being what it truly is, something that does not give pleasure to God.

And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. ~ Matthew 3:10

Old & New Testament Holy Week Prophecies

... and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. ~ Genesis 3:7

And when He saw a fig tree in the way, He came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on you henceforward forever. And presently the fig tree withered away. ~ Matthew 21:19

Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. ~ Genesis 3:21

And he bought fine linen, and took Him down [from the cross], and wrapped Him in the linen, and laid Him in a tomb which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the tomb. ~ Mark 15:46

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the Marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife (Church) has made herself ready. And to Her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. ~ Revelation 19:7-8

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified. ~ Isaiah 61:3

For all of you are all the Sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on [become clothed in] Christ. ~ Galatians 3:26-27

April 12

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Evangelical Holy Week - Monday

Teaching Monday

The Pharisees Dispute the Authority of Jesus - 12th of Nisan - The Mt. Olivet Discourse

And in the morning [the next day], as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance says unto Him, Master, behold, the fig tree which You cursed is withered away. And Jesus answering says unto them, Have faith in God [Jesus]. ~ Mark 11:20-22

And as He went out of the Temple, one of His Disciples says unto Him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! And Jesus answering said unto him, See you these great [Temple] buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as He sat upon the Mount of Olives opposite to the Temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked Him privately, Tell us, when shall these [Kingdom] things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled? ~ Mark 13:1-4

Personal Reflection #4 - Our Ministry of Reconciliation

What is our part in Reconciliation? Jesus came to Reconcile. The very Ministry of Jesus is Reconciliation, reconciling man back into a relationship with God and also reconciling us humans into a relationship with one another.

And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us (Christians) the Ministry of reconciliation; To know, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has committed unto us the Word of reconciliation. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

*The word reconciliation is called the Gospel, the "Good News" of our Life in Jesus as opposed to the sour fact of our death in this earthly world.

The ministry of Jesus is the embodiment of the Cross that Jesus would be crucified on as on the cross Jesus is lifted up - suspended, between Heaven (the dwelling of God) and Earth (the dwelling of man). The vertical post of the cross represents reconciliation between God and Man while at the same time the outstretched - reaching out arms of Jesus and the horizontal beam of the cross represent the reconciliation of one to another. Reconciliation is accomplished only in and by Jesus. There is no other hope for mankind but in Jesus, His Cross and His Resurrection.

April 13

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Evangelical Holy Week - Tuesday

Betrayal Tuesday

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus - 13th of Nisan

As we awake Tuesday morning we will not go to Jerusalem and the Temple as Jesus had departed the Temple for the last time on Monday. Instead, today we will go with Jesus to Bethany and enter the house of Simon, a leper whom Jesus has previously cured. A woman will anoint Jesus with more oil. Judas will depart to meet with the Jewish leaders to betray Jesus. Judas will receive the promise of thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:2, Matthew 26:15) for promising to deliver Jesus into the hands of the Jewish leaders.

Then one of the Twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the Chief Priests [Annas and Caiaphas], And said unto them, What will all of you give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him. ~ Matthew 26:14-16

Satanic Signatures in Judas' Betrayal

There are indications and 'Satanic Signatures' i.e. betraying Jesus on the 13th of Nisan that indicate that Judas Iscariot was never a Disciple and that he had purposely infiltrated the Disciples of Jesus with the sole intention of betraying Jesus.

Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you Twelve (Disciples - Apostle), and one of you is a devil? He spoke of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray Him, being one of the Twelve. ~ John 6:70

... and Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor. ~ Luke 6:16

Then says one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray Him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare [carried the money] what was put therein. ~ John 12:4-6

Personal Reflection #5 - Fellowship with the one who Has cleansed Us

Jesus has returned to spend time with Simon a Leper whom Jesus had previously cleansed. How is it that Jesus would want to visit someone that was previously Unclean? How is it that Simon would trust Jesus? Usually when someone has knowledge of the unclean areas of our life we want to get away from them because we are vulnerable and do not want to be exposed by them for what we were or for what we truly are. Yet Simon welcomed Jesus into his own home and prepared for Him a meal. All throughout the Bible we read how hurting and longing and suffering people have turned to God and have found compassion and healing and like Simon, we too have the privilege of hosting Jesus, the one who has healed us.

Come unto Me (Jesus), all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and all of you shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. ~ Matthew 11:28-30

Old & New Testament Holy Week Prophecies

And I said unto them, If all of you think good, give me My price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for My price thirty pieces of silver And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was appraised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the House of the LORD. ~ Zechariah 11:12-14

Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the Prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him that was valued, whom they of the sons of Israel did value; And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed Me. ~ Matthew 27:9-10

April 14

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Evangelical Holy Week - Wednesday

New Covenant Wednesday

The New Covenant - Feast of Passover (Leviticus 23:5) - 14th of Nisan

The New Covenant of Jesus Christ, God agrees to die for our sins; therefore death has "Passed us Over" the Feast of the Lord's Passover is fulfilled.

Now the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread [Passover] the Disciples came to Jesus, saying unto Him, Where will You that we prepare for You to eat the Passover? And He said, Go into the city [Jerusalem] to such a man, and say unto him, The Master says, My Time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples. And the Disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the Passover. Now when the evening was come, He sat down with the Twelve. ~ Matthew 26:17-20

Personal Reflection #6 - New Covenant Reflection

The New Covenant - God has agreed to take on the appearance of a Human, to come for us and to die in our place for our sins so that we can Live anew in a new Spiritual relationship with God. God in His Love for us has taken our penalty of death so that we can live in His life of love. With the New Covenant and our New Spiritual Life "All things have become New".

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, All things are become New. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

Are we allowing ourselves to live in our newfound Relationship with God and are we allowing ourselves the New Freedom that this relationship has to offer? When Jesus took His Communion cup and offered it to His followers Jesus gave with it the instruction and the invitation to "Drink all of it". Amen - and drink all of it we will.

Old & New Testament Holy Week Prophecies

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a New Covenant with the House of Israel, and with the House of Judah: Not according to the [Moses - Mt. Sinai] covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My [Old] Covenant they brake, although I was an Husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the Covenant that I will make with the House of Israel [Governed by God]; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put My [Royal - Spiritual] law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, know the LORD: for they shall all Know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, says the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. ~ Jeremiah 31:31-34

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the Disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is My body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink all of you all of it; For this is My blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. ~ Matthew 26:26-28

As for you also, by the blood of your covenant I have sent forth your prisoners out of the pit (hell) wherein is no water. ~ Zechariah 9:11

April 15

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Evangelical Holy Week - Thursday

Crucifixion Agony - Redemption Thursday

Cross of Jesus - Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6) - 15th of Nisan

Crucifixion and death of Jesus on the cross, providing removal of our sins, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is fulfilled.

When the morning was come, all the Chief Priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put Him to death: And when they had bound Him, they led him away, and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the Governor. ~ Matthew 27:1-2

Personal Reflection #7 - The Cross - A Place of No Compromise

Jesus reached out to us - all the way and without compromise. He didn't compromise as He took on the appearance of a human and entered into our physical realm so that He could interact with us on our level. He entered into our physical level because we are separated from the Holy God on His Spiritual level. We are separated from Him by our sins and it is impossible for God to bring us and the sin that accompanies us into His direct presence, so God in Jesus, came to us in our existence.

In reaching out to us Jesus didn't compromise. He reached out with both arms open and fully extended all the way, even to the cross. Mankind in return didn't compromise as mankind rejected God. Mankind then reaching back with a hammer, nailed both of His open and extended arms onto a wooden cross.

Today it is still our opportunity and our turn to reach out and touch Jesus even though we do not see Him as He is in the Spirit realm like we see one another in the physical realm. We can still come to that place of no compromise and touch Jesus in that no compromising place called faith.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. ~ Hebrews 11:6

Old & New Testament Holy Week Prophecies

And I will put enmity between you (Satan) and the woman, and between your seed (Antichrist) and her Seed (Jesus); it (Jesus Christ) shall bruise your head [lit. skull], and you shall bruise His heel. ~ Genesis 3:15

Note: This was literally fulfilled as Jesus had His heel bruised as He supported His weight on His heel suspended on the cross in order to heal us.

And He bearing His cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: ~ John 19:17

Note: skull is Golgotha in Hebrew, in Latin a skull is called Calvary (Calvaria), in Old English a skull is called a Cranium. The Cross of Jesus is the Victory of Jesus over the head [skull] of Satan, Sin and Death. Since the cross of Jesus in His victory now Satan, Sin and Death no longer have any authority [headship - skull] over humans who choose to acknowledge the victory of Jesus and enter into in a relationship with Jesus.

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; ~ Colossians 2:14

And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in Heaven. ~ Colossians 1:20

Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the Spirit. And, behold, the veil [partition] of the Temple was rent [opened] in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; ~ Matthew 27:50-51

And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest [Heaven] by the blood of Jesus, By a New and Living Way, which He has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; ~ Hebrews 10:17-20

And after threescore and two weeks (Jewish 7 year decades) [434 years] shall Messiah (Christ) be cut off (Executed - destroyed, 3772) but, not for Himself [for our sins]: and the people of the [Roman] prince that shall come shall destroy the city [Jerusalem] and the sanctuary [Temple - in 70 AD]; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. ~ Daniel 9:26

And it was the preparation of the Passover [Feast of Unleavened Bread], and about the sixth hour: and he [Pilate] says unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him. Pilate says unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The Chief Priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led Him away. ~ John 19:14-16

Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua (lit. Jesus) the son of Josedech, the High Priest; And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of Hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH [lit. Living Branch (Nazareth) i.e. the Christ - Matthew 2:23]; and He shall grow up out of His place (village of Nazareth), and He shall build the [Royal Priesthood] Temple of the LORD: ~ Zechariah 6:11-12

Note: Joshua is the Old Testament, Hebrew name of the same New Testament, Greek name Jesus.

Then came Jesus forth, wearing the Crown of Thorns [the Genesis curse of mankind], and the purple [Royal] robe. And Pilate says unto them, Behold the Man! ~ John 19:5

Wherefore say unto the Children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: ~ Exodus 6:6

For they shall hear of your great Name, and of your strong hand, and of your stretched out arm; when he [anyone] shall come and pray toward this House (Solomon's Temple); ~ 1 Kings 8:42

But the LORD, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, Him shall all of you fear, and Him shall all of you Worship, and to Him shall all of you do sacrifice. ~ 2 Kings 17:36

Ah Lord GOD! behold, You have made the heaven (sky) and the earth by Your great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for You: ~ Jeremiah 32:17

And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him [He stretched out both His arms], and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. ~ Luke 23:33

For dogs have compassed Me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed Me: they pierced My hands and My feet. I may tell all My bones: they look and stare upon Me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon My vesture. ~ Psalms 22:16-18

And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara (bitter): for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full and the LORD has brought me home again empty: why then call all of you me Naomi, seeing the LORD has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me? So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to [town of] Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest [about the time of Pentecost]. ~ Ruth 1:20-22

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother (Mary - bitter), and His mother's [unnamed] sister, Mary (bitter) the wife of Cleophas, and Mary (bitter) Magdalene. ~ John 19:25

And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which has not left you this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto you a restorer of your life, and a nourisher of your old age: for your daughter in law [Ruth], which loves you, which is better to you than seven sons, has born him [Obed]. And Naomi took the child [Obed], and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of [King] David. ~ Ruth 4:14-17

Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the [King] Son of God. And many women were there beholding far off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto Him: The burial of Jesus Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedees sons. ~ Matthew 27:54-56

But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him: That the saying of Isaiah the Prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, Lord, who has believed our report? and to whom has the Arm [strenght] of the Lord been revealed? ~ John 12:37-38

He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off [lit. executed] out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was He stricken. ~ Isaiah 53:8

And it shall come to pass in that day, says the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day: ~ Amos 8:9

And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. ~ Luke 23:44

April 16

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Evangelical Holy Week - Friday

Sealed Tomb Friday

The Tomb of Jesus is Sealed by the Romans - 16th of Nisan

The tomb of Jesus is sealed by the Romans, spices and ointments are purchased and prepared and to further anoint the body of Jesus.

Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation [for the Feast of Unleavened Bread], the Chief Priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the tomb be made sure until the third day, lest His Disciples come by night, and steal Him away, and say unto the people, He has risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, All of you have a watch [guards]: go your way, make it as sure [secure] as all of you can. So they went, and made the tomb sure [inventory of the tomb contents], sealing the stone, and setting a watch. ~ Matthew 27:62-66

Personal Reflection #8 - Man Puts his Seal of Approval on God's Death

So they went, and made the tomb sure [inventory of the tomb contents], sealing the stone, and setting a watch. ~ Matthew 27:62-66

With the death of Jesus comes the Seal of Approval from mankind. You can be certain that Jesus died on the cross and you can be just as certain that the dead body of Jesus was in the tomb on this the next day when the tomb was closed and the seal was placed on it. Certain because mankind would have it no other way than that God, would be declared dead, null, and void.

Oh, they sealed the right tomb of death alright but they sealed the wrong object. What they should have placed their seal on is on the death of sin, the sin that has separated mankind from the Holy God for all of these years as God knows and as the Christian knows it is sin that has been declared dead, null, and void and not God.

As we reflect on the death of sin, that the penalty for sin has been removed from us by Jesus, do we really understand that the worst that can possibly happen to us is death from sin? But that Jesus died for us so the worst thing that can happen to us has happened to Jesus as He took our penalty for us. Now with the worst behind us thanks to Jesus, we now have the best and a new opportunity as a new relationship with God is now before us.

Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the Throne of God. ~ Hebrews 12:2

Old & New Testament Holy Week Prophecies

And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spoke unto the sons of Heth, saying, I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight. And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him, Hear us, my lord: you are a mighty Prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchers bury your dead; none of us shall withhold from you his tomb, but that you may bury your dead. And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth. And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and implore for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he has, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace among you. ~ Genesis 23:3-9

And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying, No, my lord, hear me: the field give I you, and the cave that is therein, I give it you; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it you: bury your dead. And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. And he spoke unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if you will give it, I pray you, hear me: I will give you money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there. And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him, My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver [a first barter price - very high]; what is that between me and you? bury therefore your dead. And Abraham hearkened [agreed - didn't barter] unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant. ~ Genesis 23:10-16

And the field of Ephron which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city. And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan. And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth. ~ Genesis 23:17-20

Note: Abraham understood the high cost of death and Abraham also understood that death can't be bargained with. Abraham, like Jesus Christ paid the price of death, the full undisputed price.

April 17

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Evangelical Holy Week - Saturday

3 Day & 3 Night Prophecy Fulfillment Saturday

The Tomb of Jesus Remains Sealed - Sabbath Day - 17th of Nisan

[Thursday][Crucifixion day] This man, Joseph of Arimathaea, went to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down [from the cross] and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulcher (tomb) that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation [preparation for the evening Sabbath of Unleavened Bread], and the Sabbath [Unleavened Bread, evening Sabbath curfew] drew on. And the women also, which came with Him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld (observed) the sepulcher, and how His body was laid. And they returned (home) and [Friday] [normal Day] prepared (worked & labored) spices and ointments; and **rested the [Saturday] Sabbath Day according to the commandment [the 4th of the 10 commandments, the weekly Saturday Sabbath]. Now upon the first day of the week [Sunday][Resurrection Day], very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. ~ Luke 23:52-24:1

Personal Reflection #9 - Getting Through the Darkness

It's dark in there; it's a dark and lonely place in those deep dark tombs. Death is dark, and it's dark when we look death in the face. Will the light shine? Will there be life? Will life live and conquer the darkness; the loneliness, the despair, the finality of death? We as humans have to know. We have to know if there is any hope, any permanent existence, any purpose, any reason to life and our existence or if our brief existence here on earth is only a byproduct of some random collision of molecules. Only God - Jesus can answer this question for us and it can only be answered in the Resurrection Life of Jesus as only life can hold the answers to the problems that face mankind.

God has given to us, a long time ago, the answer and His promise in each new day.

In the beginning of creation God created the Physical Light. He created light as a representation for us to see that indeed His true Spirit light of life shines and it does indeed remove the darkness of death. Every time life gets dark just remember the New Day the Sunrise the Resurrection Sunshine from on high as the Sun represents to us the True Son Light, Jesus. God made it that way! The Sun is our daily and momentary reminder of God, of His Son Jesus, of His light, His warmth, His promises, His Life, His Love and His Eternal Resurrection Life for us.

This I recall in my mind, therefore I have hope. It is the Lord's Mercies that we are not consumed, because His Compassions fail not. They are new every morning: Great is Thy Faithfulness. ~ Lamentations 3:21-23

Old & New Testament Holy Week Prophecies

Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. ~ Jonah 1:17

For as [the Prophet] Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. ~ Matthew 12:40

April 18

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Evangelical Holy Week - Resurrection Sunday (Easter)

Jesus' Glorious Resurrection Life Sunday

The Resurrection of Jesus - The Feast of First Fruits (Leviticus 23:11) - 18th of Nisan

The Resurrection of Jesus, the Feast of First Fruits is fulfilled as Jesus gives the First Fruits of the Holy Spirit to His disciples.

In the end of the [Saturday] Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward [Sunday] the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary [wife of Cleophas] to see the tomb. ~ Matthew 28:1

Personal Reflection #10 - Resurrection Day "The Re-birth of Life"

Jesus demonstrates His Authority of Life over death.

Life, our meaning and purpose in it have now been answered once and for all in this the very Resurrection Life of Jesus. We now know that there is a God, that He has power to remove sins and to then give life over death, that He Loves us and that we are made alive to be friends with Him forever in His Eternal Resurrection Kingdom of Heaven.

How can we ever comprehend this joyous event, Life in Jesus, but comprehend it we must as it is the only way to eternal Life.

And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: ~ Romans 1:4

Light shines! And with it Life! Jesus is the True Light! Jesus is the Life! God is not dead, God is Alive! Now we too are alive when Jesus breaths His Resurrection Spirit Life into us. Alive and united with the Holy God inside of us, that is Eternal Life!

All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended [lit. understood] it not. ~ John 1:3-4

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:6

Old & New Testament Holy Week Prophecies

And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, All of you have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; The great temptations which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles: Yet the LORD has not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. ~ Deuteronomy 29:2-4

And He (Jesus) said unto them (Disciples), These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me. Then opened He their understanding [they became Born Again Christians], that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it was essential for Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His Name among all Nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And all of you are witnesses of these things. ~ Luke 24:44-48

And make one cherub (angel) on the one end, and the other cherub (angel) on the other end: even of the mercy seat (upon the Ark of the Covenant) shall all of you make the cherubims (angels) on the two ends thereof. ~ Exodus 25:19

But Mary [Magdalene] stood outside at the tomb weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the tomb, And sees two angels (cherubs) in white sitting, the one (cherub) at the head, and the other (cherub) at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. ~ John 20:11-12

John 20:27 Then saith He (Jesus) to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing.

But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him: That the saying of Isaiah the Prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, Lord, who has believed our report? and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? ~ John 12:37-3

And I will give them one heart, and I will put a New Spirit [Holy Spirit] within you; and I will take the stony [unrepentant] heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: ~ Ezekiel 11:19

And when He (Jesus) had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost (Spirit). ~ John 20:22

And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scripture ... After that He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:4-6

April 19

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Lessons in Leadership 1

The Passion of Leadership

iExalt.com Church Leadership Article #1 April 4, 2004

The Passion of Leadership (part 1 of 5)
by David Anson Brown

I (Jesus) am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! ~ Luke 12:49-50

Jesus has a Passion for leadership and for His leaders. The Old Testament foretold of God's zeal concerning the fulfillment of His plan for mankind.

Of the increase of His Government and Peace there shall be no end, upon the Throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with Judgment and with Justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will perform this. ~ Isaiah 9:7

The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this ...

As we all know it is not enough to just have Passion for leadership. Caiaphas, Pontius Pilate, Herod and Judas each had a Passion for leadership but as they went on to demonstrate, Passion without knowledge can easily be misdirected and when misapplied to the leadership role the results can be disastrous.

What then is our safety net for the much needed Passions of leadership?

Jesus is the anchor of the leadership soul. Jesus has to be the Passion for our leadership for it is only Jesus who has the knowledge and the understanding of mankind and He knows the fullness of His own plan for salvation, therefore Jesus is the only safety net to the Passions of leadership.

Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon Him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? ~ John 18:4

Whom seek we? ...

Whom does our Passion dictate that we should seek after? Unless our Passion dictates that we seek Jesus than like Herod or like Judas we are setting ourselves up for disaster.

Leadership by definition involves moving people along through one event and circumstance and into another. Good leadership is going to substantiate good results of growth, maturity and endurance encompassing all of the individuals throughout all of the events and circumstances involved.

Because of the rapid succession of the Passion events of Jesus during the Holy week the question could be asked did Jesus get swept up and caught up in a series of events that were bigger than He is or did Jesus in His role of leadership use the series of events to instruct and guide each of us along through our own betrayals, trials and circumstances to bring us into His everlasting resurrection life.

With so much written in each of the Bible's four Gospels about the Passion events of Holy Week the events themselves clearly come into focus as a chain, a series of meaningful connected links connected to establish and fulfill the meaningful events foretold by the Holy Prophets of old. Events that would forever alter the face of history and the destiny of mankind. Clearly these are not just a series of random circumstances but the deliberate and ordained plan of God Himself.

The Passion is a study in the leadership of Jesus Christ as He and the disciples go through one event after another and in the case of the disciples sometimes it is triumph and sometimes it is not a triumph but a momentary failure and regardless of victory or defeat each event is a learning experience for the disciples.

In our own Passion to follow Jesus and to learn from Him, as disciples of Jesus, let's go back with Jesus and the original disciples to revisit and re-live the last week that Jesus spent on earth. This week is also referred to as "Holy Week." The 10 days will be Friday through the next Sunday. To examine the last week we will have to piece together many items and statements from throughout the Bible. As we go back to the original Holy Week, we will travel like students and detectives, searching the scriptures for events and clues that took place nearly 2,000 years ago. We will in actuality be students and detectives of Jesus, searching out Who He is and what His ministry came to accomplish here on earth.

The Jesus Walk 2004 Holy Week Timeline Devotion is a unique invitation and opportunity to join in and to do just that, to walk with Jesus. I sincerely hope that each of you will take this opportunity to take part in the Jesus Walk 2004 devotion.

Next week: Lessons in Leadership from the Fig Tree part 2 of 5 from The Passion of Leadership.

April 20

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Lessons in Leadership 2

Lessons in Leadership from the Fig Tree

iExalt.com Church Leadership Article #2 April 11, 2004

Lessons from the Fig Tree

Leadership requires the Passion to get to the root of the matter ...

In our journey with Jesus and the rest of the disciples during the Bible's original Holy Week - Passion events we find that on the very next day after the Triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem that Jesus and the disciples encounter a fig tree that is not capable of producing fruit for God. Finding no fruit, Jesus will then curse the fig tree.

Now in the morning as He (Jesus) returned into the city, He hungered. And when He saw a fig tree in the way, He came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward forever. And presently the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! ~ Matthew 21:18-20

Jesus' leadership at the fig tree reveals that leadership is not just a surface matter, but in regarding problems Jesus is depicting for us that the correct action is not to merely prune a few branches and then let the problem still exist or to try to make it easier to look at and more appealing, but that leadership involves getting down into the root of the problem and then cutting it off at the root for a total removal of the problem.

Good leadership knows that with a total removal of the burden comes the total freedom of relief from the problem. Good leadership knows that to totally remove the burden, it is the root of the problem that has to be discovered and cut off. But, what not even our good leadership knows is the depths of the root of the problem.

How deep are the roots of the problem? ...

... and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. ~ Genesis 3:7-8

Only Jesus knows the depths of the root of the actual problem.

Jesus, with full knowledge is able to fully access the depth of the root of the problem. In the case of the fig tree, the root of the problem of man seeking to hide himself from our loving God extends all the way back to the original sin of mankind and continues on to this day.

During our journey with Jesus we stand by looking at the fruitless fig tree in amazement as we realize that this Jesus is the same God that Adam and Eve sinned against in the Garden of Eden. They then used the fig leaves in an attempt to cover up the shame of their own sins instead of acknowledging their sin & looking and turning to God, their loving Father to provide the answers to their problems.

Jesus with His cross in view and within days of it is now saying that there are no more self-made, man-made coverings for sin. The covering of sin is to be the blood of Jesus from the cross and not of contraptions derived and stitched together by man.

In fact the system of fig tree religion is now cursed by God. Cursed because fig tree religion never did produce fruit for God and certainly fig tree religion never did lead to eternity.

Jesus as the leader recognized unfruitfulness and He took action to remove it. Everyone one of us (unlike Jesus) has an unfruitful aspect in our own life. Can we be bold like Jesus, and when we see unfruitfulness declare it as unacceptable to God? Can we recognize it as a cursed item and not a blessing? And in cursing it to curse it at its root so that it will immediately wither and dry up, no longer sustaining an appearance of being potentially fruitful but being what it truly is, something that does not give pleasure to God.

... And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! ~ Matthew 21:20

During our own individual companionship with Jesus as He reveals problem areas to us in our life and we begin to remove them at the root we too like the disciples will rejoice and say, “How soon is the fig tree withered away!”

The Jesus Walk 2004 Holy Week Timeline Devotion is a unique invitation and opportunity to join in and to do just that, to walk with Jesus. I sincerely hope that each of you will take this opportunity to take part in the Jesus Walk 2004 devotion.

Next week Lessons in Leadership from the Gardens of God; Eden, Gethsemane, and the Garden Tomb in part 3 of 5 from The Passion of Leadership.

April 21

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Lessons in Leadership 3

The Gardens of God; Eden, Gethsemane, and the Garden Tomb

iExalt.com Church Leadership Article #3 April 18, 2004

The Gardens of God; Eden, Gethsemane, and the Garden Tomb

During the Passion events of Jesus at the completion of the Last Supper - "The Lord's Passover Feast" and with Jesus now on His way to the infamous Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus begins His Priestly Prayer of intercession for us to the Father. Jesus then commits to His crucifixion and crosses over the brook of Cedron as He proceeds to the Garden of Gethsemane, the Garden of destiny and betrayal.

Leadership is the ability to recognize and to correlate events into a meaningful pattern; a pattern that can display the lessons that the leadership desires to be taught, the valuable lessons are learned and can then be passed on and distributed to others.

The Garden is the ideal place to reveal that God is in control, it was so many years ago that Adam and Eve lost mankind's relationship with God, through their own sin of disobedience, in the original Garden, the Garden of Eden, the Garden of creation.

Had Jesus been arrested anywhere but in a garden, say for instance, in the streets or in the upper-room it would be difficult to correlate the events of the Last Supper to the events of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. But since God made certain to go to the Garden we can only correlate these two Garden events and the coming event of the resurrection of Jesus from His Garden Tomb. This again reveals the detailed plan of God as He has set it out for us in His Prophetic word, the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

On this Passion night as we journey with Jesus we now know why God has not made the Lord's Passover to be a "Rest - Sabbath Feast" like all of the other Holy Feasts prescribed by God to Moses and written down in Leviticus chapter 23 of the Holy Bible. Had the "Lord's Passover Feast" been a rest feast then Jesus and the disciples would have had to remain at home or inside after the feast and could not have legally walked to the Garden of Gethsemane, this Garden of destiny. Had this been a "Sabbath - Rest Feast" it is also very unlikely that the Temple guards would have broken the Sabbath Law themselves to journey to the Garden to arrest Jesus, who after all was only peacefully praying to the Father. This is another powerful demonstration that these events are orchestrated and allowed to happen by God Himself and are not solely the whims of man but instead are completions to the events that were foreseen in the prophetic writings by the prophets of the Old Testament.

It was God that walked during the cool of the evening with Adam and Eve so long ago in the original Garden, the Garden of Eden and now it is God that is stepping into another Garden, the Garden of Gethsemane. This time through His desire and obedience Jesus will continue to restore back the lost relationship between mankind and God, and this time forever.

We follow and see that Jesus is separated from His disciples and engaged in prayer to the Father. Jesus asks for the third time for the Father to remove "this cup" Matthew 26:42 but there is no other "cup" of redemption available to mankind. Either Jesus gives His life for us, or mankind will never be reunited to God.

Angels come and minister to Jesus. He arises. Judas can now be seen leading a group of Temple soldiers intent on arresting Jesus. Judas then betrays Jesus with a kiss, Matthew 26:49. Jesus in turn calls Judas "friend" Matthew 26:50. Jesus is arrested, bound with ropes and led off meanwhile all of the disciples abandon Him and flee.

Two Gardens revealing the destiny of all mankind, the Garden of creation, fellowship and beauty, and the Garden of agony, suffering and betrayal. Yet there is a third Garden of God, a third appointment with destiny, the Garden Tomb where Jesus would physically resurrect from death and begin to establish His new Garden Paradise in those His followers the Christian Church.

The Gardens of God are an invitation a call from God to mankind to walk with God among His Gardens. To walk among the original Creation Garden of Eden and sometimes journeying into the Garden of agony, rejection and betrayal, but always onward and into the glorious Garden of Resurrection and of Eternal Paradise life.

Walking with God does indeed require us to walk along on His path and among the Gardens that He Himself has walked in.

The Jesus Walk 2004 Holy Week Timeline Devotion is a unique invitation and opportunity to join in and to do just that, to walk with Jesus. I sincerely hope that each of you will take this opportunity to take part in the Jesus Walk 2004 devotion.

Next week The Holy - Passion Week Holy Feasts of God part 4 of 5 from The Passion of Leadership.

April 22

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Lessons in Leadership 4

The Holy - Passion Week Holy Feasts of God

iExalt.com Church Leadership Article #4 April 25, 2004

The Passion of Leadership: Holy Week Feasts of God

And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the Feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be Holy convocations, even these are my Feasts. ~ Leviticus 23:1-2

As we already know Leadership requires both Passion and knowledge the passion to do the job and also the knowledge to accomplish the job correctly. In the case of Christian leadership it is required to have some knowledge of the plan and events of God. Fortunately God has carefully spelled out His plan for us in the Bible.

With the Passion events of Jesus being the very definition of Leadership, let's take a look at just what some of the events are that Jesus was fulfilling in His deliberate plan of leadership. We can find a list of the plans of God in the Old Testament in Leviticus chapter 23. This is a list of eight Feast or Holy-Event days given directly from God to Moses and prescribed for the followers of God to follow for all eternity.

Since the Holy Week - Passion events occur on four of the eight Holy Feasts Days and they directly relate to the other four Feasts let's take a look at the Feasts of Holy Week and their fulfillment as Jesus in His leadership role is fulfilling His desired plan for mankind.

A look at the plan of God given in His Holy Feasts ...

These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. ~ Leviticus 23:4

These four Holy Feasts are observed in the First Month of the Jewish religious calendar, occurred during the Holy Week - Passion events and correspond to the First Coming of Jesus.

Feast #1 Sabbath

Sabbath means a complete Rest including one's spirit, soul and body. This is the kind of rest that can only come from having security and trust in God. This rest can only come from having God as our ultimate leader. This feast day is observed and fulfilled in Jesus as He entered into Jerusalem [Palm Sunday] presenting Himself to the world as the rightful ruler and King of the World.

Blessed be the Kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. ~ Mark 11:10

      *Note: In the Greek writing of the Bible it is evident that the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem was accomplished on a Saturday the Sabbath feast day even though today the day is traditionally celebrated on a Sunday (Palm Sunday).

The next two feasts are both celebrated as the one long eight day feast of Passover. The Lord's Passover (1 day) + Unleavened Bread (7 days) = Passover (8 days).

Feast #2 The Lord's Passover

The Lord's Passover is the covenant feast of God whereby God agreed to step into man's predicament of condemnation and death whereby God would take upon Himself the sins of the world and suffer death in order to bring about death to sin. This feast day was observed and fulfilled as Jesus offers His eternal body and His eternal blood to His followers in His New Covenant of Eternal Life given during the Passover Feast. In fulfillment of this feast death has now "passed over" all of those who have entered into this New Covenant relationship with God.

And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the New Testament (Covenant), which is shed for many for the remission of sins. ~ Matthew 26:27-28

Feast #3 Unleavened Bread

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is the removal of sin. Leaven (yeast) is a type of a symbol of sin and to remove the leaven is to remove the sin. This feast was observed and fulfilled on the day that Jesus was crucified and died on the cross.

Your glorying {about sin} is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. ~ 1 Corinthians 5:6-8

Feast #4 First Fruits

The Feast of First Fruits according to Leviticus Chapter 23 was to be observed on the first Sunday after the Feasts of The Lord's Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread had been observed and yes, you guessed it! This is the very exciting day that Jesus rose from death (Easter day). This feast has begun to be fulfilled as Jesus breaths the First Fruits of the Holy Spirit - Resurrection Life into each of His new followers.

Then the same day (Easter Sunday) at evening, .. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive you the Holy Spirit. ~ John 20:19

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. ~ Romans 8:23

Feast #5 Pentecost (Fifty)

Later the Feast of Pentecost would begin as the disciples would again receive of the Holy Spirit this time it will be an actual experiencing of the Holy Spirit as the disciples will individually speak in tongues and observe the flames of fire upon the heads of the other disciples.

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, ... ~ Acts 2:1-4

For a more in depth look at all eight of the feast days please refer to the Jesus Walk 2004 Timeline Devotion.

The Jesus Walk 2004 Holy Week Timeline Devotion is a unique invitation and opportunity to join in and to do just that, to walk with Jesus. I sincerely hope that each of you will take this opportunity to take part in the Jesus Walk 2004 devotion.

Next week Lessons in Leadership from the Communion Cup part 5 of 5 from The Passion of Leadership.

April 23

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Lessons in Leadership 5

The Passion of Leadership: The Communion Cup of Jesus Christ

iExalt.com Church Leadership Article #5 May 1, 2004

The Passion of Leadership: The Communion Cup of Jesus Christ

And He (Jesus) took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them (disciples), saying, Drink ye all of it; ~ Matthew 26:27

For this is My blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. ~ Matthew 26:28

As we have seen in the Leadership of Jesus during the Passion - Holy Week events, the many events didn't just happen to Jesus but in actuality Jesus happened to the events.

In the final analysis Leadership has to have Passion and substance and it has to be a part of reality in order to have meaning. Without meaning nothing is being accomplished except for an opinion, an idea or a philosophy that is simply being taught and not the meaningful life forming substance of reality.

The substance, meaning and reality of Jesus' Passion Leadership is embodied in His Communion Cup the cup, that contains the mercy of God within His eternal blood providing the forgiveness of our sins and the reconciliation of sinful mankind into a relationship with the Holy God.

Jesus taking the cup of redemption, Mark 14:23 and like the bread, giving thanks. Jesus then passed the cup to the disciples and said "take, drink all of it", " this cup is the New Testament in My blood: this do, that as often as you drink of it, do it in remembrance of Me" (Jesus) Matthew 26:27.

The disciples are fully aware that Jesus is speaking of a better blood than man has. He is speaking of His Spiritual life blood. They gladly take the cup of wine and gladly drink all of it. We marvel that Jesus wants us to "Drink all" that He has for us, all of His life, love, healing, compassion, mercy and grace.

Through the New Covenant; God agreed to take on the appearance of a human and to come for us and to die in our place for our sins so that we can Live anew in a new Spiritual relationship with God. God in His Love for us has taken our penalty of death so that we can live in His life of love. With the New Covenant and our New Spiritual Life "All things have become New."

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold All things are become New. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

Christianity is substance and as substance it is to be taken part in. The offer is to take-receive and to drink-absorb it, to internalize what God has for us and to then live out all that God has for us, all of His comfort, security, holiness, boldness and convictions.

While embracing the substance of Jesus' cup of wine, we Christians are to become connoisseurs of the fine wine contained within the cup. We are to savor every drop and to delight in the infinite eternal pleasures to be derived from the exceedingly fine wine all the while discerning even the tiniest hint of man's imperfections that might have been added to the meaningful substance of the communion cup of Jesus.

Christian Leadership knows that the reality of freedom cannot be obtained without actually being free. Therefore, Christian leadership leads us to the eternal blood of Jesus Christ. The blood that He provides, provides our freedom as it is only the eternal blood of Jesus Christ than can provide the resurrection life, liberty and opportunity that comes with a new life in the resurrection relationship with God.

But will we drink of the cup of eternal blood that Jesus is offering to us? ...

Yes, we will drink of it if we see our need for it as the gift of eternal life that God has given to us in His unselfish sacrifice on the cross. Like Jesus our Leader we are to give thanks for the Cup and for the opportunity that is contained within it. It is only through acknowledging our need for it, by recognizing its significance of the eternal life provided by it and by being thankful for what we have received from God, that we will use it and appropriate it into our lives.

Ultimately the leadership of Passion is to give thanks to God by accepting from His hand His cup that He is offering to us and to drink from His cup of Christianity. To take part in Christianity is to partake in God's culture of life, freedom and joy. It truly is God's gift of life, freely given for us and it is from acceptance of this gift that all of our Passion for Leadership then does emerge.

Are we allowing ourselves to live in our new found Relationship with God and are we allowing ourselves the New Freedom that this relationship has to offer? When Jesus took His Communion cup and offered it to His followers, Jesus gave with it the instruction and the invitation to "Drink all of it" Amen! and drink all of it we will.

The Jesus Walk 2004 Holy Week Timeline Devotion is a unique invitation and opportunity to join in and to do just that, to walk with Jesus. I sincerely hope that each of you will take this opportunity to take part in the Jesus Walk 2004 devotion.

Thank you for taking part and being a part of The Passion of Leadership series.

God Bless you,
David Anson Brown

April 24

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Baptism - Priesthood Sanctification

The Believers Baptism - Melchizedek Priesthood Sanctification

The Believers Water Baptism - amounts to a totality of Christian events.

The Believers Baptism is a public confession of faith and as modeled from the baptism of Moses besides being a witness it is a protection.

The baptism of Moses by the Children of Israel passing through the Red Sea saved and protected Israel from the impending attack. It is considered that our Christian baptism does also save us from many impending attacks directed at us from the fallen spiritual realm.

Moreover, brethren, I would not that all of you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual food; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that Spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:1- 4

Then sang Moses and the Children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spoke, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for He has Triumphed Gloriously: the [attacking] horse and his rider has He thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt Him. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is His Name. Pharaoh's chariots and his host has he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. Your right hand, O LORD, is become Glorious in Power: your right hand, O LORD, has dashed in pieces the enemy. And in the greatness of Your excellency You have overthrown them that rose up against You: You sent forth Your wrath, which consumed them as stubble. ~ Exodus 15:1-7

Priesthood Water Baptism

Besides the safety benefit of the Sanctification of water baptism there is also the Priesthood factor in the Melchizedek Priesthood water baptism. Being identified with Jesus Christ in our baptism is also to be identified with Jesus Christ in His eternal Melchizedek Priesthood.

Know all of you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like Christ was raised up from the dead by the Glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. ~ Romans 6:3-4

For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. ~ Galatians 3:27

And Aaron and his [Levitical Priest] sons you shall bring unto the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and shall wash (baptize) them with water. ~ Exodus 29:4

But all of you are a chosen generation, a Royal priesthood, an Holy Nation, an exclusive people; that all of you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; ~ 1 Peter 2:9

The like figure [Noah] unto which even baptism [identity with Jesus] does also now save us not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: ~ 1 Peter 3:21

April 25

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2nd Coming Prophesies

The Blessed Hope

Looking for that Blessed Hope, and the Glorious Appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; ~ Titus 2:13

Prophesies of the 2nd Coming

And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the Heaven must receive until the Times of Restitution [Revelation] of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. ~ Acts 3:20-21

And I will pour upon the House of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. ~ Zechariah 12:10

For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the Living and True God; And to wait for His Son from Heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10

And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh [returns] with ten thousands of His saints (Revelation 19:14), ~ Jude 1:14

Note: the prophesy that Jude records as attributed from Enoch of the seventh generation since Adam it would make Enoch's prophecy the second oldest prophecy in the Bible. The first and oldest prophesy in the Bible (Genesis 3:15) is about the 1st Coming of the Messiah. The second prophesy in the Bible as credited to Enoch is about the 2nd Coming return of the Messiah.

April 26

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Martyred Saints of Revelation

Epoch of The Martyred Saints of Revelation

The Lamb of God of John the Baptist's day and the Blessed Hope of our day are just a few facets of the expansive Kingdom of God.

Before the final restoration [eternal state] there are a few more dispensations or epochs of time on earth and it's probable that they don't even involve the current Christian Church on earth.

The Martyred Saints of Revelation

After the end of the current Christian Church Age there is the Age of The Martyred Saints of Revelation.

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar [in Heaven] the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the Testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice [a song of their experiences], saying, How long, O Lord, Holy and True, do you not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. ~ Revelation 6:9-11

April 27

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144,000 Saints of Revelation

Epoch of the 144,000 Saints of Revelation

Combined with the coming epoch of The Martyred Saints of Revelation is the coming dispensation of the Jewish first-fruits commonly called the 144,000 of Revelation.

For reference the current Christian Church sings among other songs this song, about the Christian experience, while in Heaven.

And they [Christian Church in Heaven] sung a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; ~ Revelation 5:9

The 144,000

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand [144,000], having His Father's name written in their foreheads. ~ Revelation 14:1

And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a New Song [i.e. about their experience] before the Throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. ~ Revelation 14:2-3

These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb anywhere He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the Throne of God. ~ Revelation 14:4-5

The reference to virgins is thought to be symbolic and the 'first-fruits' mention is that these are the first Jewish Christians on earth who remain Jewish apart from joining the Church as the Church is relocated and in Heaven during this coming epoch or dispensation on earth.

April 28

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Millennial Reign

The Millennial Reign

The well-known promised future Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ on earth.

Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. ~ Revelation 20:6

Note: this is just a brief reminder that there are a few future Biblical events yet to unfold and while some like the coming Millennial Reign on earth do directly involve the Church there are other eras that don't as much directly involve the current Christian Church.

April 29

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Millennial Reign Priesthood

The Millennial Reign Priesthood

The coming 1,000 year Millennial Kingdom Reign of Jesus Christ will still require an earthly Priesthood and apparently it will be what is referred to as the Zadok Priesthood.

And you shall give to the Priests the Levites that be of the seed of Zadok, which approach unto Me, to minister unto Me, says the Lord GOD, a young bullock for a sin offering. ~ Ezekiel 43:19

Note: this is just another reminder that not everything Biblical is about the Church - yes, everything Biblical involves God but as far as the Church, the Gentile Church didn't always exist at least for example not in the Old Testament so we should be aware that there are conditions and changes throughout the Kingdom of God.

April 30

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The Ages to Come

The Ages, Epochs and Dispensations to Come

But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, by grace all of you are saved; And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. ~ Ephesians 2:4-7

Note: when the various epochs and dispensations have been completed and combined it creates the Total Kingdom of God. Again, try to be aware that because there are conditions and changes throughout the various eras of the Kingdom of God that we do have a brief and unique opportunity and it is an opportunity that by all means we should enter into and be a part of to the best of our own ability.

May - The Christian Church, Planting

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Alpha and Omega

Jesus Christ the Alpha (Beginning) and Omega (Ending) of the Christian Church Age

The Christian Church Age began [Resurrection Day] and ends [at a future date i.e. the Church Rapture] with Jesus Christ.

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. ~ Revelation 1:8

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set [seated] down [in Heaven] at the right hand of the Throne of God. ~ Hebrews 12:2

When they [Jesus and the Apostles] therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the Kingdom [Millennial Age] to Israel? And He said unto them, It is not for you to know the times [Dispensations] or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own power. ~ Acts 1:6-7

May 2

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B.C. and A.D.

Before Christ BC or B.C. and Anno Domini AD or A.D.

Anno Domini (AD or A.D.) and Before Christ (BC or B.C.) are designations used to label or number years used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The term Anno Domini is Medieval Latin, translated as In the year of the Lord, and as in the year of Our Lord. It is sometimes specified more fully as Anno Domini Nostri Iesu (Jesu) Christi ("In the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ"). This calendar era is based on the traditionally reckoned year of the conception or birth of Jesus of Nazareth, with AD counting years from the start of this epoch, and BC denoting years before the start of the era. There is no year zero in this scheme, so the year AD 1 immediately follows the year 1 BC. This dating system was devised in 525, but was not widely used until after 800 AD.

The Gregorian calendar is the most widely used calendar in the world today. For decades, it has been the unofficial global standard, adopted for pragmatic interests of international communication, transportation, commercial integration and recognized by international institutions such as the United Nations and the Universal Postal Union.

Terminology that is viewed by some as being more neutral and inclusive of non-Christian peoples is to call this the Christian, Current, or Common Era (abbreviated as CE or C.E.), with the preceding years referred to as Before the Common, Christian, or Current Era (BCE or B.C.E.).

Source: wiki.com

And he (Antichrist) shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the Saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time [3 1/2 years]. ~ Daniel 7:25

May 3

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Dionysius Exiguus

Dionysius Exiguus - Started the Anno Domini (AD) Calendar in 525 AD

The Anno Domini [A.D.] dating system was devised in 525 AD by Dionysius Exiguus to enumerate the years in his Easter (Christian Passover) table. His system was to replace the Diocletian era that had been used in an old Easter table because he did not wish to continue the memory of a tyrant who persecuted Christians. The last year of the old table, Diocletian 247, was immediately followed by the first year of his table, AD 532. When he devised his table, Julian calendar years were identified by naming the consuls who held office that year—he himself stated that the "present year" was "the consulship of Probus Junior", which was [considered to be] 525 years "since the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ". Thus Dionysius [by counting back a guestimated number of Jewish Passover years until the original Holy Week and then adding 33 1/2 years for the lifetime of Jesus] implied that Jesus' Incarnation [birth] occurred 525 years earlier, without stating the specific year during which his birth or conception occurred.

When the reckoning from Jesus' incarnation started replacing the previous dating systems in western Europe, different people chose different Christian feast days to begin the year: Christmas, Annunciation [Luke 1:26-39 - celebrated on March 25th], or Easter. Thus, depending on the time and place, year number changed on different days, which created slightly different styles in chronology.

With these various styles, the same day could, in some cases, be dated in 1099, 1100 or 1101. The Annunciation style also caused a major problem: in some years, there was no Easter, and in other years, that feast was celebrated twice; for example, Easter occurred on 23 March 1504 (i.e. in 1505 for us) and on 12 April 1506, but not in 1505.

It has also been speculated by Georges Declercq that Dionysius' desire to replace Diocletian years with a calendar based on the incarnation of Christ was to prevent people from believing the imminent end of the world.

At the time it was believed that the Resurrection and end of the world would occur 500 years after the birth of Jesus. The old Anno Mundi calendar theoretically commenced with the creation of the world based on information in the Old Testament. It was believed that based on the Anno Mundi calendar Jesus was born in the year 5500 (or 5500 years after the world was created) with the year 6000 of the Anno Mundi calendar marking the end of the world. Anno Mundi 6000 (approximately AD 500) was thus equated with the resurrection of Christ and the end of the world but this date had already passed in the time of Dionysius. Dionysius therefore searched for a new end of the world at a later date. He was heavily influenced by ancient cosmology, in particular the doctrine of the Great Year that places a strong emphasis on planetary conjunctions. Dionysius decided that when all the planets were in conjunction this cosmic event would mark the end of the world. Dionysius accurately calculated that this conjunction would occur in May AD 2000, about 1500 years after the life of Dionysius. Dionysius then applied another cosmological timing mechanism based on precession of the equinoxes (that had only been discovered about six centuries earlier). Though incorrect, many people at the time believed that the processional cycle was 24,000 years which included twelve astrological ages of 2,000 years each. Dionysius believed that if the planetary alignment of May 2000 marked the end of an age, then the birth of Jesus Christ marked the beginning of the age 2,000 years earlier on the 23rd March (the date of the Northern Hemisphere Spring Equinox and beginning of many yearly calendars from ancient times). He therefore deducted 2,000 years from the May 2000 conjunction to produce AD 1 for the incarnation of Christ even though modern scholars and the Roman Catholic Church acknowledge that the birth of Jesus was [possibly] a few years earlier than AD 1 [i.e. about 2 to 4 BC].

Source: wiki.com

May 4

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Birth Date of Jesus Christ

The Historical Birth Date of Jesus Christ

According to Doggett, "Although scholars generally believe that Christ was born some years before AD 1, the historical evidence is too sketchy to allow a definitive dating". According to Matthew 2:1 King Herod the Great was alive when Jesus was born, and Matthew 2:16, says Herod ordered the Massacre of the Innocents in response to Jesus' birth. Blackburn and Holford-Strevens fix King Herod's death shortly before Passover in 4 BC.

The Gospel of Luke also states that Jesus was "about thirty years old" [Luke 3:23] during the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar [Luke 3:1]. Tiberius began his reign as Caesar in September of AD 14. The 15th year of his reign would then be AD 28 or 29. If Jesus was born in 5 or 4 BC, that would put the start of Jesus' ministry around age 32 to 34. Most scholars do not see this as a contradiction of Luke's claim that Jesus was "about thirty years old."

The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus was conceived during the reign of Herod the Great [Luke 1:5-38] (i.e., before 4 BC) while also stating that Jesus was born when Cyrenius (or Quirinius) was the governor of Syria and carried out the census of the Roman provinces of Syria and Iudaea.[Luke 2:1-3] The Jewish historian Josephus, in his Antiquities of the Jews (93 AD), indicates that Cyrenius/Quirinius' governorship of Syria began in AD 6, and that the census occurred sometime between AD 6–7, which is incompatible with a conception prior to 4 BC. On this point, Blackburn and Holford-Strevens state that "St. Luke raises greater difficulty ... Most critics therefore discard Luke" [while most Christians consider Josephus to be only slightly accurate].

Source: wiki.com

May 5

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Year Zero

The Year Zero is Not Used in Calendars

Neither the Julian or the Gregorian calendars provide for the Year Zero.

In the AD year numbering system, whether applied to the Julian or Gregorian calendars, AD 1 is preceded by 1 BC. There is no year "0" between them. Because of this, most experts agree that a new century begins in a year with the last digits being "01" (1801, 1901, 2001); new millennia likewise began in 1001 and 2001. A common misconception is that centuries and millennia begin when the trailing digits are zeroes (1800, 1900, 2000, etc.); moreover, this convention was widely used to celebrate the new millennium in the year 2000. For computational reasons astronomical year numbering and the ISO 8601 standard designate years so that AD 1 = year 1, 1 BC = year 0, 2 BC = year -1, etc. In common use, ancient dates are expressed in the Julian calendar, but ISO 8601 uses the Gregorian calendar and astronomers may use a variety of time scales depending on the application. Thus dates using the year 0 or negative years may require further investigation before being converted to BC or AD.

Source: wiki.com

Note: generally what our imprecise [solar or lunar] calendars do is to give us just enough information. We have just enough chronological information to reasonably know the Times and the Seasons but we don’t [i.e. considering Leap Years] have enough precise information to correctly set exact dates regarding either historical prophesies or the expected 2nd Coming.

May 6

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John the Baptist

John the Baptist was the Last of the Old Testament Prophets

John the Baptist as the last of the Old Testament Prophets was not a member of the Christian Church. The Christian Church began later (on Resurrection Sunday, Easter) about three years after the death of John the Baptist.

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent all of you: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. ~ Matthew 3:1-2

For all the Prophets and the [Levitical] law prophesied until John [the Baptist]. And if all of you will receive it, this is Elijah (lit. "My God is Jehovah/Yahweh"), which was in order to come. ~ Matthew 11:13-14

As it is written [Isaiah 40:3] in the book of the words of Isaiah the Prophet, saying, The voice of one [John the Baptist] crying in the wilderness, Prepare all of you the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see [Jesus Christ] the Salvation of God. ~ Luke 3:4-6

He (Jesus) that has the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend [John the Baptist] of the bridegroom, which stands and hears Him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. ~ John 3:29

May 7

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The Jewish Apostles

The 12 Jewish Apostles of Jesus Christ

Just as John the Baptist had lived during the Old Testament Times so did the original Apostles who first came to Jesus as Jewish Disciples and Apostles and later after the Resurrection of Jesus each of the Jewish Apostles [except Judas] converted to Christianity and became Christian Apostles.

And when He (Jesus) had called unto Him His Twelve Disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. ~ Matthew 10:1-4

These twelve Jesus sent forth [G649 - lit. Apostle], and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter all of you not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as all of you go, preach, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely all of you have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor pouch for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his food. ~ Matthew 10:5-10

And into whatsoever city or town all of you shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till all of you go thence. And when all of you come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when all of you depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Assuredly I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. ~ Matthew 10:11-15

May 8

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The Christian Apostles

The 12 Christian Apostles of Jesus Christ

Each of the Jewish Apostles except for Judas, and many of the Jewish Disciples i.e. Mary Magdalen each recognized the resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins and in doing so became Christians.

But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe. And after eight days [the next Sunday Evening] again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then says He to Thomas, Reach here your finger, and behold My hands; and reach here your hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My LORD and my God. ~ John 20:24-28

And, being assembled together [Jesus] with them [Disciples], commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise [John 16:7 - comfort and repentance Works from the Holy Spirit] of the Father, which, saith He, you have heard of Me. For John [the Baptist] truly baptized with water; but all of you (Christians) shall be baptized [empowered] with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. ~ Acts 1:4-5

Then returned they [Christian Apostles] unto Jerusalem from the Mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a Sabbath Day's journey. The Upper Room And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. ~ Acts 1:12-14

But all of you [Born Again Christians] shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and all of you shall be witnesses (lit. maryters) unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up [The Ascension]; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. ~ Acts 1:8-9

May 9

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Judas Iscariot

The betrayer Judas Iscariot

Every indication in scripture is that Judas infiltrated the ministry of Jesus Christ with the expressed intention of betraying Jesus, yet, Judas as a Jewish Apostle an infiltrating one still received all of the abilities, rights and ministry as the other of the 12 Apostles did and in the end Jesus embraced Judas and called him friend.

And as all [12 Jewish Apostles including Judas Iscariot] of you go, preach, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely all of you have received, freely give. ~ Matthew 10:7-8

And while He (Jesus) yet spoke, lo, Judas, one of the Twelve (Jewish Apostles), came, and with him a great multitude [of Temple soldiers] with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed Him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He [the Messiah]: hold Him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed Him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore are you come? Then came they [the soldiers], and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. ~ Matthew 26:47-50

Then Judas, which had betrayed Him (Jesus), when he saw that He was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see you to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the Temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. ~ Matthew 27:3-5

Note: the Apostle Peter sought forgiveness from Jesus there is no indication that Judas went to Jesus seeking forgiveness.

The Apostle Paul eventually fills the Office (Bishop) of Judas Iscariot.

Men and brethren, this scripture must essentially have been fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit by the mouth of [King] David spoke before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he (Judas) was numbered with us (Jewish Apostles), and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong [while he hanged himself], he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the Book of Psalms [Psalms 41:9], Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick [position as a Bishop] let another take. ~ Acts 1:16-20

-- Recap --

Satanic Signatures in Judas' Betrayal

There are indications and 'Satanic Signatures' i.e. betraying Jesus on the 13th of Nisan that indicate that Judas Iscariot was never a Disciple and that he had purposely infiltrated the Disciples of Jesus with the sole intention of betraying Jesus.

Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you Twelve (Disciples - Apostle), and one of you is a devil? He spoke of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray Him, being one of the Twelve. ~ John 6:70

... and Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor. ~ Luke 6:16

Then says one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray Him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare [carried the money] what was put therein. ~ John 12:4-6

Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went [on the 13th of Nisan] unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will all of you give me, and I will deliver Him (Jesus) unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him. ~ Matthew 26:14-16

May 10

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The Apostle Paul

The Apostle Paul the 12th Christian Apostle

The Apostle Peter in the book of Acts was attempting to replace Judas with another Jewish Apostle "of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us" while God was going outside the box and providing a Christian Apostle.

Technically speaking Matthias replaced Judas as the 12th Jewish Apostle while it was the Apostle Paul that became the 12th Christian Apostle.

Wherefore of these men [Jewish Disciples] which have companied with us [Apostles] all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John [the Baptist], unto that same day [Ascension] that He was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, You, Lord, which know the hearts of all men, show whether of these two you have chosen, That he may take part of this Ministry and Apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven Apostles. ~ Acts 1:21-26

God Appointed Paul an Apostle

But the Lord said unto him [Ananias at Damascus], Go your way: for he [Apostle Paul] is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My Name before the Gentiles, and Kings, and the [Jewish] Sons of Israel: ~ Acts 9:15

May 11

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Stephen

Stephen the First Christian Martyr

Stephen a Church Deacon (Elder) and the first Christian martyr.

And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the Apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. ~ Acts 6:5-7

And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians [Alexandria, Egypt], and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. ~ Acts 6:8-10

And [Stephen] said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man [Jesus Christ] standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul [later the Apostle Paul]. ~ Acts 7:56-58

Note: Stephen is the first Christian Church martyr if the Christian Church had existed in the Old Testament then John the Baptist would have been the first Christian martyr instead John the Baptist was the last martyred Prophet.

May 12

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Ananias and Sapphira

Early Church Christians Ananias and Sapphira

Ananias and Sapphira were early Church Christians who misused their Priesthood office of Melchizedek Priests just as the sons of Aaron had misused their Levitical Priesthood office so many years ago and like the sons of Aaron (Leviticus 10:1) they paid for their mistake with their life. Ananias and Sapphira though cutting short their lives they remained Christians and still take part in the Glorious first resurrection.

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. ~ Acts 5:1-2

But [Apostle] Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land? While it remained, was it not your own? and after it was sold, was it not in your own power? why have you conceived this thing in your heart? you have not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the spirit: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether all of you sold the land for so much? And she said, Yes, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that all of you have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried your husband are at the door, and shall carry you out. Then fell she down immediately at his feet, and yielded up the spirit: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. ~ Acts 5:3-10

And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spoke, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh Me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace. ~ Leviticus 10:1-3

May 13

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Simon the Sorcerer

Simon the Sorcerer from Samaria

Simon the Sorcerer much like Judas before him attempted to infiltrate the Christian Church and use the preaching and ministry for his own gain.

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spoke, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city. But there was a certain man, called Simon, which in time past in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the Kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. ~ Acts 8:5-13

Now when the Apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit: For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were [water] baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he [Simon] offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit. But Peter said unto him, Your money perish with you, because you have thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. You have neither part nor lot in this matter: for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I perceive that you are in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray all of you to the LORD for me, that none of these things which all of you have spoken come upon me. ~ Acts 8:14-24

Note: Simon the Sorcerer again like Judas declined to seek his forgiveness from Jesus Christ and instead went to others to intercede for him and though it has the appearance of religion it is not Christianity.

May 14

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The House of Cornelius

The House of Cornelius, the first Gentile Christians

The first Gentile Christians are added to the Jewish Christian Church, about 14 years after Holy Week and Pentecost.

There was a certain man [a Roman] in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band [Army], A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always. ~ Acts 10:1-2

Then [Apostle] Peter opened his mouth, and said, Truthfully I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every Nation he that fears Him, and works righteousness, is accepted with Him. The word which God sent unto the Sons of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: He is Lord of all: That word, I say, all of you know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John [the Baptist] preached; How God anointed [in the Melchizedek Priesthood] Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised [Resurrected] up the third day, and shewed Him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses [Apostles] chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to Testify that it is He (Jesus) which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick (living) and dead. To Him give all the [O.T.] Prophets witness, that through His Name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins. ~ Acts 10:34-43

While Peter yet spoke these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision [Jews] which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Spirit as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the Name of the Lord. Then prayed [asked] they him [Apostle Peter] to stay certain days. ~ Acts 10:44-48

May 15

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1st Missionary Trip

The 1st Missionary Trip included the Apostle Paul (Saul), Joses Barnabas and John Mark

The First Missionary Journey

The author [Luke] of the Acts arranges Paul's travels into three separate journeys. The first journey, [Acts 13-14] led initially by Barnabas, takes Paul from Antioch to Cyprus then southern Asia Minor (Anatolia), and back to Antioch. In Cyprus, Paul rebukes and blinds Elymas the magician [Acts 13:8-12] who was criticizing their teachings. From this point on, Paul is described as the leader of the group.

They sail to Perga in Pamphylia. John Mark leaves them and returns to Jerusalem. Paul and Barnabas go on to Pisidian Antioch. On Sabbath they go to the synagogue. The leaders invite them to speak. Paul reviews Israelite history from life in Egypt to King David. He introduces Jesus as a descendant of David brought to Israel by God. He said that his team came to town to bring the message of salvation. He recounts the story of Jesus' death and resurrection. He quotes from the Septuagint to assert that Jesus was the promised Christos who brought them forgiveness for their sins. Both the Jews and the 'God-fearing' Gentiles invited them to talk more next Sabbath. At that time almost the whole city gathered. This upset some influential Jews who spoke against them. Paul used the occasion to announce a change in his mission which from then on would be to the Gentiles [Acts 13:13-48].

Antioch served as a major Christian center for Paul's evangelizing.

Source: wiki.com

As they [Church in Antioch, Syria] ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul [Apostle Paul] for the [missionary] work unto which I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. And when they were at Salamis, they preached the Word of God in the Synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John [Mark - Gospel of Mark] to their minister. ~ Acts 13:2-5

May 16

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1st Church Council

1st Church Council in Jerusalem about 49-50 A.D.

The early Church recognized that God was active in calling Gentiles into His Christian Church and they also recognized that the Gentiles would have to conduct their new life in a manner consistent with Biblical Christianity and finally they concluded that it is important for Christians not to openly offend those that have remained Jewish.

The Jerusalem Creed

The 1st Church Council of about 49-50 A.D. in Jerusalem has 4 Cornerstones.

But that we [Apostles] write unto them Gentile Christians,
(1.) that they abstain from [occult] pollutions of idols,
(2.) and from [immorality] fornication,
(3.) and from things [cruelty] strangled,
(4.) and from [Levitical] blood. "For Moses of old time hath [traditional Jews] in every city them that preach him (Moses), being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day"

And the Apostles and Elders came together in order to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing [arguing], [Apostle] Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, all of you know how that a good while ago [Cornelius and his household at Caesarea] God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knows the hearts, bare them witness, *giving them the Holy Spirit, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt all of you God, to put a yoke [law of Moses] upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the Grace of the LORD Jesus Christ we [Redeemed Jews] shall be saved [Salvation], even as they [previously unredeemed Gentiles]. Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. And after they had held their peace, James [who later wrote the Book of James] answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon [Apostle Peter] has declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the [O.T.] prophets; as it is written, After this [Christian Church Age] I [Jesus Christ] will return [2nd Coming], and will build again the tabernacle [Throne] of [King] David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom My Name [Christian] is called, says the Lord, who does all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. Wherefore my sentence [James speaking] is, that we [Jewish Christians] trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols [occult practices], and from fornication [immorality], and from things strangled [cruelty], and from [Levitical] blood [so not to offend the Levitical Jews]. For Moses of old time has in every city them [Levitical Jews] that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath Day. Then pleased it the Apostles and Elders with the whole Church [in Jerusalem], to send chosen men of their own company to [the Church in] Antioch [Syria] with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren: ~ Acts 15:6-22

Note: the fourth 'Cornerstone' is not to offend the traditional Jews. Since one of the Cornerstones of the 1st Church Council is to support Jews and Traditional Judaism it is an original and longstanding tenant that true Christianity acknowledges its debt and emergence from (God ordained) Mosaic Judaism.

Also Note: All food including blood is now clean because the eternal blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed the world. Eating animal blood and probably human blood if it were obtained in a legal manner does not make a person unclean. Satan has devised a scheme that the world is unclean however it is not. It is unprofitable to do questionable things and germs and disease might be involved but if someone for example drank pig blood thinking it is an evil act the act itself is not but the intentions of their heart might be. - Some cultures eat blood foods and if the Jews are simply notified that it is a custom and not a slight on Moses then they are free to eat their blood food of course not offering any of it to a devout Jewish person because that would be terribly offensive. The 1st Church council was saying to the Gentiles to have our Christian Gentile liberties but also to be mindful and respectful of the [Redeemed] Jews who do still follow the laws of Moses.

May 17

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Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem the Jewish Capital City of Israel and the Birthplace of Christianity

Jerusalem was the original birthplace and center of Christianity however as Christianity spread to the Gentiles the center of Christianity moved, first north to Antioch, Syria and then later west to Rome.

Jerusalem has always been a Jewish city and is to be retained as the center of Judaism. Though very important to Christianity the city of Jerusalem is biblically not intended to be the center of Christianity.

Nevertheless I (Jesus Christ) must walk today, and tomorrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a Prophet perish outside [the jurisdiction] of Jerusalem. ~ Luke 13:33

And, [Jesus] being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise [John 16:7 - comfort and repentance Works from the Holy Spirit] of the Father, which, saith He, you have heard of Me. ~ Acts 1:4

There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed everyone. ~ Acts 5:16

May 18

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Antioch, Syria

Antioch the 1st Relocated Center of Christianity

The Disciples are now called Christians in Antioch.

Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. ~ Acts 11:19

And the hand of the Lord was with them [Jewish Christians scattered about]: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord. Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the Church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch [in Syria]. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. ~ Acts 11:21-24

Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, in order to seek Saul: And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the Church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. ~ Acts 11:25-26

May 19

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2nd Missionary Trip

The 2nd Missionary Trip included the Apostle Paul, Silas a Church Elder from Jerusalem and later Titus (Gentile), Timothy (1/2 Jewish) and Luke

Second Missionary Journey

Paul left for his second missionary journey [after] Jerusalem, in late Autumn 49 AD, after the meeting of the Council of Jerusalem where the circumcision question was debated. On their trip around the Mediterranean Sea, Paul and his companion Barnabas [and Judas and Silas] stopped in Antioch [to deliver the letter of the 1st Church Council] where [later] they had a sharp argument about taking John Mark with them on their trips. The book of Acts said that John Mark had left them in a previous trip and gone home. Unable to resolve the dispute, Paul and Barnabas decided to separate; Barnabas took John Mark with him, while Silas joined Paul.

Paul and Silas initially visited Tarsus (Paul's birthplace), Derbe and Lystra. In Lystra, they met Timothy, a disciple who was spoken well of, and decided to take him with them. The Church kept growing, adding believers, and strengthening in faith daily [Acts 16:5].

In Philippi, Paul cast a spirit of divination out of a servant girl, whose masters were then unhappy about the loss of income her soothsaying provided. (Acts 16:16–24) They turned the city against the missionaries, and Paul and Silas were put in jail. After a miraculous earthquake, the gates of the prison fell apart and Paul and Silas could have escaped but remained; this event led to the conversion of the jailor.(Acts 16:25–40) They continued traveling, going by Berea and then to Athens where Paul preached to the Jews and God-fearing Greeks in the synagogue and to the Greek intellectuals in the Areopagus.

Around 50–52 AD, Paul spent 18 months in Corinth. The reference in Acts to Proconsul Gallio helps ascertain this date (cf. Gallio inscription). In Corinth, Paul met Priscilla and Aquila who became faithful believers and helped Paul through his other missionary journeys. The couple followed Paul and his companions to Ephesus, and stayed there to start one of the strongest and most faithful churches at that time. In 52 AD, the missionaries sailed to Caesarea to greet the Church there and then traveled north to Antioch where they stayed for about a year before leaving again on their third missionary journey.

Source: wiki.com

Silas helps deliver the letter from the 1st Church Council in Jerusalem.

Then pleased it the Apostles and Elders with the whole Church [in Jerusalem], to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch [in Syria] with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas, chief men [Elders] among the brethren: And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia. ~ Acts 15:22-23

And Judas and Silas, being prophets [able to proficiently preach about Jesus] also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them. ~ Acts 15:32

Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there [in Antioch] still. Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the LORD, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder [split] one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed [back] unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches. ~ Acts 15:34-41

May 20

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3rd Missionary Trip

The 3rd Missionary Trip of the Apostle Paul at various times included Silas, Timothy, Luke, Titus, Erastus and some others

Third Missionary Journey

Paul began his third missionary journey by traveling all around the region of Galatia and Phrygia to strengthen, teach and rebuke the believers. Paul then traveled to Ephesus, an important center of early Christianity, and stayed there for almost three years. He performed numerous miracles, healing people and casting out demons, and he apparently organized missionary activity in other regions. Paul left Ephesus after an attack from a local silversmith resulted in a pro-Artemis riot involving most of the city. During his stay in Ephesus, Paul wrote four letters to the church in Corinth admonishing them for their pagan behavior.

Paul went through Macedonia into Achaea and made ready to continue on to Syria, but he changed his plans and traveled back through Macedonia because of Jews who had made a plot against him. At this time (56–57), it is likely that Paul visited Corinth for three months. In Romans 15:19 Paul wrote that he visited Illyricum, but he may have meant what would now be called Illyria Graeca, which lay in the northern part of modern Albania, but was at that time a division of the Roman province of Macedonia.

Paul and his companions visited other cities on their way back to Jerusalem such as Philippi, Troas, Miletus, Rhodes, and Tyre. Paul finished his trip with a stop in Caesarea where he and his companions stayed with Philip the Evangelist before finally arriving at Jerusalem.

Source: wiki.com

The Apostle Paul's 3rd Missionary Journey

And after he [Apostle Paul] had spent some time there [back in Antioch], he departed [3rd missionary trip], and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples. ~ Acts 18:23

May 21

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Pastor Titus

Pastor Titus the First Notable Gentile Christian Pastor about 60 AD

Titus was a much appreciated Minister traveling with the Apostle Paul. Titus was with the group that accompanied the Apostle Paul on his last visit to Jerusalem.

Furthermore, when I [Apostle Paul] came to Troas [during the 2nd Missionary Journey] to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia. ~ 2 Corinthians 2:12-13

Nevertheless God, that comforts those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; ~ 2 Corinthians 7:6

Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yes, and exceedingly more rejoice did we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all. ~ 2 Corinthians 7:13

But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you [Church at Corinth]. For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you [Corinth]. And we have sent with him the brother [Luke], whose praise is in the gospel [Gospel of Luke] throughout all the churches; And not that only, but who [Luke] was also chosen of the Churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind: ~ 2 Corinthians 8:16-19

Then fourteen years after [Paul's conversion and a short first visit to Peter in Jerusalem (Galatians 1:18)] I went up again to Jerusalem [for the last time] with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. ~ Galatians 2:1

Note: Titus was a popular Roman name in the Roman Empire during the early 1st Century.

May 22

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Emperor Titus Vespasian

Titus Vespasian Roman General and Emperor - Destruction of Jerusalem and the Jerusalem Temple in 70 AD

Roman Emperor Titus Vespasian - Reiged from June 24, 79 AD – September 13, 81 AD.

Titus (Latin: Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus) was Roman Emperor from 79 to 81 AD. A member of the Flavian dynasty [replacing the Caesar Dynasty that had ended in 68 AD with Caesar Nero], Titus succeeded his father Vespasian upon his death, *thus becoming the first Roman Emperor to come to the throne after his own biological father [most of the Caesar Dynasty were adopted usually stepsons].

Emporer Vespasian 69-79 AD - Father of Titus Vespasian

Vespasian was Roman Emperor from AD 69 AD to 79 AD, Vespasian founded the Flavian dynasty that ruled the Empire for a quarter century.

While Roman General Vespasian besieged Jerusalem during the Jewish rebellion that started in 66 AD, emperor [Caesar] Nero committed suicide and plunged Rome into a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors. ... leaving his son Titus Vespasian to command the besieging forces at Jerusalem. ... in 70 AD, Roman legions under Titus Vespasian retook and subsequently destroyed much of the city of Jerusalem including the Second Temple [Herod's Temple].

The Destruction of Jerusalem 70 AD

In 66 AD the Jews of the Judaea Province revolted against the Roman Empire. Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, was defeated at the battle of Beth-Horon and forced to retreat from Jerusalem. The pro- Roman king Agrippa II and his sister Berenice fled the city to Galilee where they later gave themselves up to the Romans.

Nero appointed Vespasian to put down the rebellion, who was dispatched to the region at once with the Fifth Legion and Tenth Legion. He was later joined at Ptolemais by Titus with the Fifteenth Legion. With a strength of 60,000 professional soldiers, the Romans prepared to sweep across Galilee and march on Jerusalem.

Titus surrounded the city, with three legions (Vth, XIIth and XVth) on the western side and one (Xth) on the Mount of Olives to the east. He put pressure on the food and water supplies of the inhabitants by allowing pilgrims to enter the city to celebrate Passover, and then refusing them egress. Jewish raids continuously harassed the Roman army, one of which nearly resulted in Titus being captured.

After attempts by Josephus to negotiate a surrender had failed, the Romans resumed hostilities and quickly breached the first and second walls of the city. To intimidate the resistance, Titus ordered deserters from the Jewish side to be crucified around the city wall. By this time the Jews had been exhausted by famine, and when the weak third wall was breached, bitter street fighting ensued.

The Romans finally captured the Antonia Fortress and began a frontal assault on the gates of the Temple. According to Josephus, Titus had ordered that the Temple should not be destroyed, but while the fighting around the gates continued, a soldier hurled a torch inside one of the windows, which quickly set the entire building ablaze. The later Christian chronicler Sulpicius Severus, possibly drawing on a lost portion of Tacitus' Histories, claims that Titus favored destruction of the Temple. The Temple was completely demolished, after which Titus's soldiers proclaimed him imperator [Commander of the Army] in honor of the victory.

Surviving a group suicide, Josephus surrendered to Vespasian and became a prisoner. He later wrote that he provided the Romans with intelligence on the ongoing revolt. By 68 AD, the entire coast and the north of Judaea were subjugated by the Roman army, with decisive victories won at Taricheae and Gamala, where Titus distinguished himself as a skilled general.

Source: wiki.com

May 23

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Mars Hill

Mars Hill - The Areopagus in Athens, Greece

Then [Apostle] Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, All of you men of Athens [Greece], I perceive that in all things all of you are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore all of you ignorantly worship, Him [the known True God] declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of Heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, seeing He gives to all life, and breath, and all things; And has made of one blood [the sinful blood of Adam] all Nations of men [descended] for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times [of birth] before appointed, and the [location] bounds of their habitation [living]; That they should seek the Lord, if lest by any means they might (joyfully) feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us: For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets {i.e. Greek poet: Aratus (about 315 BC - 240 BC)} have said, For we are also His offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring [creation] of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead [Father, Son, Holy Spirit] is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by artistry and man's device. And the times of this [Gentile] ignorance [of the Law (i.e. Romans 13:8)] God winked at; but now Commandeth [through the Holy Spirit (John 16:8)] all men everywhere to repent: Because He has appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in Righteousness by that Man [Jesus Christ] whom He has ordained; whereof He has given assurance unto all men, in that He has raised Him [Jesus Christ] from the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear you again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them. Nevertheless certain men stayed unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them. ~ Acts 17:22-34

The Areopagus (a composite form of the Greek name Areios Pagos, translated "Ares Rock" - "Ares" god of war) - Romanized to "Mars' Hill". It is north-west of the Acropolis in Athens. In classical times, it functioned as the high Court of Appeal for criminal and civil cases.

The origin of its name is not clear. In Greek, pagos means big piece of rock. Areios could have come from Ares (war) or from the Erinyes, as on its foot was erected a temple dedicated to the Erinyes where murderers used to find shelter so as not to face the consequences of their actions. Later, the Romans referred to the rocky hill as "Mars Hill", after Mars, the Roman God of War. Near the Areopagus was also constructed the basilica of Dionysius Areopagites.

In pre-classical times (before the 5th century BC), the Areopagus was the council of elders of the city, similar to the Roman Senate. Like the Senate, its membership was restricted to those who had held high public office, in this case that of Archon. In 594 BC, the Areopagus agreed to hand over its functions to Solon for reform. He instituted democratic reforms, reconstituted its membership and returned control to the organization.

In 462 BC, Ephialtes put through reforms which deprived the Areopagus of almost all its functions.

In an unusual development, the Areopagus acquired a new function in the 4th century BC, investigating corruption, although conviction powers remained with the Ecclesia.

The Areopagus, like most city-state institutions, continued to function in Roman times, and it was from this location, drawing from the potential significance of the Athenian altar to the Unknown God, that the Apostle Paul is said to have delivered the famous speech, "Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands" (Acts 17:24).

The term "Areopagus" also refers to the judicial body of aristocratic origin that subsequently formed the higher court of modern Greece.

Source: wiki.com

May 24

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Fox's Book of Martyrs

Acts (Actes) and Monuments known as Foxe's Book of Martyrs by John Foxe, Latin edition 1554 AD., English Edition 1563 AD.

The Actes (Acts) and Monuments, popularly known as Foxe's Book of Martyrs, is a work of Protestant history and martyrology by John Foxe, first published in English in 1563 by John Day. It includes a polemical account of the sufferings of Protestants under the Catholic Church, with particular emphasis on England and Scotland. The book was highly influential in those countries, and helped shape lasting popular notions of Catholicism there. The book went through four editions in Foxe's lifetime and a number of later editions and abridgements, including some that specifically reduced the text to a Book of Martyrs.

Foxe based his accounts of martyrs before the early modern period on previous writers, including Eusebius, Bede, Matthew Paris, and many others. He compiled an English martyrology from the period of the Lollards through to the persecution of Protestants by Mary I. Here Foxe had primary sources to draw on: episcopal registers, reports of trials, and the testimony of eyewitnesses. In the work of collection Foxe had Henry Bull as collaborator. The account of the Marian years is based on Robert Crowley's 1559 extension of a 1549 chronicle history by Thomas Cooper, itself an extension of a work begun by Thomas Lanuet. Cooper (who became a Church of England Bishop) strongly objected to Crowley's version of his history and soon issued two new "correct" editions. John Bale set Foxe onto martyrological writings and contributed to a substantial part of Foxe's ideas as well as printed material.

Latin versions

Foxe began his work in 1552 AD, during the reign of Edward VI. Over the next thirty years, it developed from small beginnings (in Latin) to a substantial compilation, in English, filling two large folio volumes. In 1554, in exile, Foxe published in Latin at Strasbourg a foreshadowing of his major work, emphasising the persecution of the English Lollards during the fifteenth century; and he began to collect materials to continue his story to his own day. Foxe published the version in Latin at Basel in August 1559, lacking sources, with the segment dealing with the Marian martyrs as "no more than a fragment." Of course, it was difficult to write contemporary English history while living (as he later said) "in the far parts of Germany, where few friends, no conference, [and] small information could be had." He made a reputation through his Latin works. Both these versions were intended as the first volume of a two-volume work, the second volume to have a broader, European scope. Foxe did not publish these works; but a second volume to the Basel version was written by Henry Pantaleon (1563).

First Edition

In March 1563, Foxe published the first English edition of The Actes and Monuments from the press of John Day. Day's epitaph reads: "He set a Foxe to write how martyrs run/By death to life. Foxe ventured pains and health/To give them light: Daye spent in print his wealth,/And God with gain restored his wealth again,/ And gave to him as he gave to the poor." It was a "gigantic folio volume" of about 1800 pages, about three times the length of the 1559 Latin book. As is typical for the period, the full title was a paragraph long and is abbreviated by scholars as Acts and Monuments. Publication of the book made Foxe famous; the book sold for more than ten shillings, three weeks' pay for a skilled craftsman, but with no royalty to the author.

Second Edition

The second edition appeared in 1570, much expanded. New material was available, including personal testimonies, and publications such as the 1564 edition of Jean Crespin's Geneva martyrology. John Field assisted with research for this edition.

Acts and Monuments was immediately attacked by Catholics, including Thomas Harding, Thomas Stapleton, and Nicholas Harpsfield. In the next generation, Robert Parsons, an English Jesuit, also struck at Foxe in A Treatise of Three Conversions of England (1603–04). Harding, in the spirit of the age, called Acts and Monuments ' "that huge dunghill of your stinking martyrs," full of a thousand lies'. In the second edition, where the charges of his critics had been reasonably accurate, Foxe removed the offending passages. Where he could rebut the charges, "he mounted a vigorous counter-attack, seeking to crush his opponent under piles of documents." Even with deletions, the second edition was nearly double the size of the first, "two gigantic folio volumes, with 2300 very large pages" of double-columned text.

The edition was well received by the English church, and the upper house of the convocation of Canterbury meeting in 1571, ordered that a copy of the Bishop's Bible and "that full history entitled Monuments of Martyrs" be installed in every cathedral church and that church officials place copies in their houses for the use of servants and visitors. The decision repaid the financial risks taken by Day.

Third and Fourth Editions

Foxe published a third edition in 1576 AD, but it was virtually a reprint of the second, although printed on inferior paper and in smaller type. The fourth edition, published in 1583, the last in Foxe's lifetime, had larger type and better paper and consisted of "two volumes of about two thousand folio pages in double columns." Nearly four times the length of the Bible, the fourth edition was "the most physically imposing, complicated, and technically demanding English book of its era. It seems safe to say that it is the largest and most complicated book to appear during the first two or three centuries of English printing history." At this point Foxe began to compose his interpretation of the Apocalypse [book of Revelation]; he wrote more in Eicasmi (1587), left unfinished at his death.

The 1583 title page included the poignant request that the author "desireth thee, good reader, to help him with thy prayer."

Source: wiki.com

May 25

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Paul's Return to Jerusalem

The Apostle Paul's Return and Controversial Last Visit to Jerusalem

The Apostle Paul's controversial journey to Jerusalem.

And it came to pass, that after we were got from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara: And finding a ship sailing over unto Phenicia, we went aboard, and set forth. Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unload her burden. And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem. And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed. ~ Acts 21:1-5

And as we tarried there [in Caesarea] many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus (Acts 11:28). And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle [belt], and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus says the Holy Spirit, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owns this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. ~ Acts 21:10-11

The Apostle Paul's arrival in Jerusalem.

And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us [Luke is included] gladly. And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present. And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. ~ Acts 21:17-19

After Paul's arrival in Jerusalem at the end of his third missionary journey, he became involved in a serious conflict with some "Asian Jews" (most likely from Roman Asia). The conflict eventually led to Paul's arrest and imprisonment in Caesarea for two years. Finally, Paul and his companions sailed for Rome where Paul was to stand trial for his alleged crimes. Acts states that Paul preached in Rome for two years from his rented home while awaiting trial. It does not state what happened after this time, but some sources state that Paul was freed by Nero and continued to preach in Rome, even though that seems unlikely based on Nero's historical cruelty to Early Christians. It is possible that Paul also traveled to other countries like Spain and Britain. See His final days spent in Rome section below.

Journey to Rome and Beyond

Among the writings of the early Christians, Clement of Rome said that Paul was "Herald (of the Gospel of Christ) in the West", and that "he had gone to the extremity of the west". Chrysostom indicated that Paul preached in Spain: "For after he had been in Rome, he returned to Spain, but whether he came thence again into these parts, we know not". Cyril of Jerusalem said that Paul, "fully preached the Gospel, and instructed even imperial Rome, and carried the earnestness of his preaching as far as Spain, undergoing conflicts innumerable, and performing Signs and wonders". The Muratorian fragment mentions "the departure of Paul from the city (of Rome) when he journeyed to Spain".

Source: wiki.com

May 26

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The New Testament Dispensations

Recap -- The Four Dispensations of The Bible's New Testament - Book of Acts

The Four Dispensations of The Bible's New Testament

In the Apostle Paul's trip to Rome [recorded in the Bible's Book of Acts by the early Church Historian Luke] are some of the most codded and cryptic passages of the Bible's New Testament. Was Luke aided by the Apostle Paul, putting forth the future of the Church Era and an End Time scenario that Christians could glean from to understand events both current and future?

Summary: The Apostle Paul's Journey to Rome - The Four Dispensations of the Times since the 1st Coming of Jesus Christ seem to have been mapped out and enacted throughout Paul's Journey to Rome.
1. The Apostles Dispensation (Acts 27:1-5)
2. The Common Christian Church Age (Acts 27:6-44)
3. The Martyred Saints of Revelation Tribulation (Acts 28:1-15)
4. The 1,000 year Millennial Kingdom Reign of Jesus Christ on earth (Acts 28:16-31)

1. The Apostles Dispensation (Acts 27:1-5):

Paul and the other Apostles [eyewitnesses] of Jesus Christ go into the world preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ. "Acts 27:3-5 And [representing the Apostolic Missionary Journey Age] the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave *him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself. And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the **winds were contrary. And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia." {Note: Luke and the Apostle Paul seem to be recording two primary things. 1. Looking back on all of Paul's Missionary Journeys that Paul felt that they had gone well and that on the whole the Gospel was being well received "him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself" that Paul had made a lot of friends on his Missionary Trips and was refreshed by the fellowship he had with the Gentile Christians. 2. Also noting that "the [spiritual] winds were contrary" seeming to imply that there was a great deal of spiritual (demonic) opposition to the Gospel Message going forward.}

And great fear came upon all the Church [witnessing the signs of the Apostles], and upon as many as heard these things. And by the hands of the Apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; and they [Church - Apostles and common Christians] were all with one accord in Solomon's porch [outside the Temple]. And of the rest [non-apostles the common Christians] durst no man join himself to them [Apostles]: but the people magnified them [the Christians of the Church separated themselves from the Apostles]. ~ Acts 5:11-13

2. The Common Christian Church Age (Acts 27:6-44):

"Acts 27:6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein." {Note: The ship of the Apostolic Age has ended and the ship of the Common Christian Church Age has launched - carrying the nourishing wheat (Bible) and the four anchors (4 Gospels). The [Christian] ship spends a great deal of time in the port of "Fair Havens" and then departs into adversity to the extent that the storms of life strand and tear the ship apart. Noteworthy, the Church [ship] has the four anchors [4 Gospels] and correctly uses them to stabilize the ship in dangerous waters however also note how the cargo of wheat [Bible] is considered too big of a burden and is cast overboard (Acts 27:38) away from the Church.

Beloved, when I (Jude) gave all diligence to write unto you [common (generic) Christian Church] of the common salvation, it was necessary for me to write unto you, and exhort you that all of you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. ~ Jude 1:3

3. The Martyred Saints of Revelation Tribulation (Acts 28:1-15):

After the Christian Church Age has come to an end the Revelation Tribulation Age begins. {Note: The Saints of Revelation are washed ashore into a strange society and economy where they are refuges; destitute and in peril. Though working hard and trying to get along they are Bitten by the Beast and transported to fellowship with their fellow Martyrs.

And when He (Jesus) had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: ~ Revelation 5:9

4. The 1,000 year Millennial Kingdom Reign of Jesus Christ on earth (Acts 28:16-31):

Having finally arrived in Rome the Throne of the King the Millennial Rein of Jesus Christ is now being depicted. {Note: As a type of a citizen of the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ, Paul is sent not to jail but to his own house to live [for two years]. Once in his Millennial House the Apostle Paul immediately begins to fellowship with the Jews of the Millennial Age.} - Paul's Journey to Rome and the book of Acts concludes "Acts 28:30-31 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, **Preaching the Kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him."

And I (Apostle John) saw thrones, and They sat upon them, and judgment was given unto Them: and I saw the souls of them [Martyred Saints of Revelation] that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast [Antichrist], neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they [also] lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years [Millennial Reign]. ~ Revelation 20:4

Note: the 5th Dispensation would be the Eternal State.

And I saw a new heaven (sky) and a new earth: for the first heaven (sky) and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I [Apostle] John saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of Heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle [dwelling] of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are True and Faithful. And He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. ~ Revelation 21:1-6

Source: blog History Study by David Anson Brown at BasicChristian.org

May 27

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Publius of Malta

Publius the first Bishop of Malta and later the Bishop of Athens, Greece

In the same quarters [on Malta] were possessions of the chief man [ruler] of the island, whose name was Publius [a Roman name but was not a Roman citizen]; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously. And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a dysentery: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed: Who also honored us with many honors; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary. ~ Acts 28:7-10

Saint Publius (Maltese: San Publju) is a Roman Saint. He is venerated as the first Bishop of Malta. Publius' conversion led to Malta being the first Christian nation in the West, and one of the first in the world.

It was the same Publius who received the Apostle Paul during his shipwreck on the island as recounted in the Acts of the Apostles. According to the Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul cured Publius' dysentery - afflicted father.

In fact apart from being the particular patron saint of the town of Floriana, Saint Publius is also one of the patron saints of Malta.

He was martyred in 125 AD. during the persecution of Emperor Hadrian (Roman Emperor from 117 - 138 AD).

... according to an epistle of Saint Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, he is placed as the successor of Saint Narcissus of Athens ...

Narcissus of Athens [by tradition only] is numbered among the Seventy Disciples (Luke 10:1). Along with the Apostles Urban of Macedonia, Stachys, Ampliatus, Apelles of Heraklion and Aristobulus of Britannia he assisted Saint Andrew [Andrew the Apostle]. The Apostle Philip (Matthew 10:3, Acts 1:13) ordained St. Narcissus bishop of Athens. His feast day is October 31. -- wiki.com

Source: wiki.com

Note: Publius would have been a young adult when he encountered the Apostle Paul on the island of Malta.

May 28

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Clement of Rome

Saint Clement of Rome an Apostolic Father (student of an Apostle) of the Early Christian Church

Pope Clement I (Latin: Clemens Romanus), also known as Saint Clement of Rome, is listed as Bishop of Rome from an early date, holding office from 92 AD to his death in 99 AD. He is considered the first Apostolic Father of the Church.

Few details are known about Clement's life. According to Tertullian, Clement was consecrated by Saint Peter, and he is known to have been a leading member of the church in Rome in the late 1st century. Early church lists place him as the second or third bishop of Rome after Saint Peter. The Liber Pontificalis presents a list that makes Pope Linus the second in the line of bishops of Rome, with Peter as first; but at the same time it states that Peter ordained two bishops, Linus and Pope Cletus, for the priestly service of the community, devoting himself instead to prayer and preaching, and that it was to Clement that he entrusted the Church as a whole, appointing him as his successor.

Tertullian considered Clement to be the immediate successor of Peter. In one of his works, Jerome listed Clement as "the fourth bishop of Rome after Peter" (not in the sense of fourth successor of Peter, but fourth in a series that included Peter), and added that "most of the Latins think that Clement was second after the Apostle". Clement is put after Linus and Cletus/Anacletus in the earliest (c. 180) account, that of Irenaeus, who is followed by Eusebius of Caesarea.

Clement's only genuine extant writing is his letter to the church at Corinth (1 Clement) in response to a dispute in which certain presbyters of the Corinthian church had been deposed. He asserted the authority of the presbyters as rulers of the church on the ground that the Apostles had appointed such. His letter, which is one of the oldest extant Christian documents outside of the New Testament, was read in church, along with other epistles, some of which later became part of the Christian canon. These works were the first to affirm the Apostolic authority of the clergy.

A second epistle, 2 Clement, was attributed to Clement, although recent scholarship suggests it to be a homily by another author. In the legendary Clementine Literature, Clement is the intermediary through whom the Apostles teach the church. According to tradition, Clement was imprisoned under the Emperor Trajan; during this time he is recorded to have led a ministry among fellow prisoners. Thereafter he was executed by being tied to an anchor and thrown into the sea.

Clement is recognized as a saint in many Christian churches. He is commemorated on 23 November in the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, and the Lutheran Church. In Eastern Orthodox Christianity his feast is kept on 24 or 25 November.

Source: wiki.com

May 29

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Ignatius of Antioch

The third Bishop of Antioch, 98 AD to 117 AD

Ignatius of Antioch (Ancient Greek: Theophorus "God-bearer") was born in 35 or 50 AD and was martyred in 117 AD.

Bishop of Antioch from 98 AD to 117 AD, he was among the Apostolic Fathers, was the third Bishop of Antioch, and was a student of John the Apostle [Gospel of John - Revelation].

En route to Rome, where according to Christian tradition he met his martyrdom by being fed to wild beasts, he wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology.

Important topics addressed in these letters include ecclesiology, the sacraments, and the role of bishops.

By the 5th century, this authentic collection had been enlarged by spurious letters, and some of the original letters had been changed with interpolations, created to posthumously enlist Ignatius as an unwitting witness in theological disputes of that age, while the purported eye-witness account of his martyrdom is also thought to be a forgery from around the same time. A detailed but spurious account of Ignatius' arrest and his travails and martyrdom is the material of the Martyrium Ignatii which is presented as being an eyewitness account for the church of Antioch, and attributed to Ignatius' companions, Philo of Cilicia, deacon at Tarsus, and Rheus Agathopus, a Syrian.

Although James Ussher regarded it as genuine, if there is any genuine nucleus of the Martyrium, it has been so greatly expanded with interpolations that no part of it is without questions. Its most reliable manuscript is the 10th-century Codex Colbertinus (Paris), in which the Martyrium closes the collection. The Martyrium presents the confrontation of the bishop Ignatius with Trajan at Antioch, a familiar trope of Acta of the martyrs, and many details of the long, partly overland voyage to Rome. The Synaxarium of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria says that he was thrown to the wild beasts that devoured him and rent him to pieces.

Ignatius's letters proved to be important testimony to the development of Christian theology, since the number of extant writings from this period of Church history is very small. They bear signs of being written in great haste and without a proper plan, such as run-on sentences and an unsystematic succession of thought. Ignatius is the earliest known Christian writer to emphasize loyalty to a single bishop in each city (or diocese) who is assisted by both presbyters (possibly elders) and deacons. Earlier writings only mention either bishops or presbyters, and give the impression that there was usually more than one bishop per congregation.

Source: wiki.com

May 30

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Polycarp of Smyrna

Polycarp the Famous Martyred Bishop of Smyrna - Revelation 1:10

And unto the Angel [messenger i.e. Bishop] of the Church in Smyrna write; These things says [Jesus Christ] the First and the Last, which was Dead, and is Alive; I know your works, and tribulation, and poverty, but you are rich and I know the blasphemy of them [Gentiles] which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which you shall suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that all of you may be tried; and all of you shall have tribulation ten days: be you faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death. ~ Revelation 2:8-11

Polycarp (AD 69–155 AD) was a 2nd-century Christian bishop of Smyrna. According to the [well known and very famous] Martyrdom of Polycarp he died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake, then stabbed when the fire failed to touch him. Polycarp is regarded as a saint in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches.

It is recorded by Irenaeus, who heard Polycarp speak in his youth, and by Tertullian, that he [Polycarp] had been a disciple of John the Apostle. Saint Jerome wrote that Polycarp was a disciple of John and that John had ordained him bishop of Smyrna.

The early tradition that expanded upon the Martyrdom to link Polycarp in competition and contrast with John the Apostle who, though many people had tried to kill him, was not martyred but died of old age after being exiled to the island of Patmos, is embodied in the Coptic language fragmentary papyri (the "Harris fragments") dating to the 3rd to 6th centuries. Frederick Weidmann, their editor, interprets the "Harris fragments" as Smyrnan hagiography addressing Smyrna-Ephesus church rivalries, which "develops the association of Polycarp and John to a degree unwitnessed, so far as we know, either before or since". The fragments echo the Martyrology, and diverge from it.

With Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp is regarded as one of three chief Apostolic Fathers. The sole surviving work attributed to his authorship is his Letter to the Philippians; it is first recorded by Irenaeus of Lyons.

Surviving Writings and Early Accounts

The sole surviving work attributed to him is Polycarp's letter to the Philippians, a mosaic of references to the Greek Scriptures, preserved in Irenaeus' account of Polycarp's life. It, and an account of The Martyrdom of Polycarp that takes the form of a circular letter from the church of Smyrna to the churches of Pontus, form part of the collection of writings Roman Catholics term "The Apostolic Fathers" to emphasize their particular closeness to the apostles in Church traditions. Outside of the Book of Acts which contains the death of Saint Stephen, the Martyrdom is considered one of the earliest genuine accounts of a Christian martyrdom, and is one of the very few genuine accounts from the actual age of the persecutions.

Papias of Hierapolis 70-155 AD

According to Irenaeus, Polycarp was a companion of Papias, another "hearer of John" as Irenaeus interprets Papias' testimony, and a correspondent of Ignatius of Antioch. Ignatius addressed a letter to him, and mentions him in his letters to the Ephesians and to the Magnesians.

Irenaeus regarded the memory of Polycarp as a link to the apostolic past. He relates how and when he became a Christian, and in his letter to Florinus stated that he saw and heard Polycarp personally in lower Asia. In particular, he heard the account of Polycarp's discussion with John and with others who had seen Jesus. Irenaeus also reports that Polycarp was converted to Christianity by apostles, was consecrated a bishop, and communicated with many who had seen Jesus. He repeatedly emphasizes the very great age of Polycarp.

The Legacy of Polycarp

Polycarp occupies an important place in the history of the early Christian Church.

He is among the earliest Christians whose writings survive. Saint Jerome wrote that Polycarp was a "disciple of the apostle John and by him ordained bishop of Smyrna". He was an elder of an important congregation which was a large contributor to the founding of the Christian Church. He is from an era whose orthodoxy is widely accepted by Eastern Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodox Churches, Church of God groups, Sabbatarian groups, mainstream Protestants and Catholics alike. According to David Trobisch, Polycarp may have been the one who compiled, edited, and published the New Testament. All of this makes his writings of great interest.

Irenaeus, who had heard him preach in his youth, said of him: "a man who was of much greater weight, and a more steadfast witness of truth, than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics". Polycarp lived in an age after the deaths of the apostles, when a variety of interpretations of the sayings of Jesus were being preached. His role was to authenticate orthodox teachings through his reputed connection with the apostle John: "a high value was attached to the witness Polycarp could give as to the genuine tradition of old apostolic doctrine", Wace commented, "his testimony condemning as offensive novelties the figments of the heretical teachers". Irenaeus states (iii. 3) that on Polycarp's visit to Rome, his testimony converted many disciples of [the heretics] Marcion [Dualism - good and evil universes, a type Gnosticism - wiki.com] and Valentinus [one of the major gnostic movements, attempted to align Christianity with [Greek philosophy] Platonism (Plato 423–348 BC) - wiki.com].

Source: wiki.com

May 31

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Rome, Italy

Rome the Capital City of the Ancient Roman World and the All-Embracing Center of Modern Christianity

Rome the Ancient Roman World Empire, the 6th Gentile Global Kingdom Empire and the coming 7th Revised Gentile Kingdom Empire.

The Roman Empire

Because of the Empire's vast extent and long endurance, the institutions and culture of Rome had a profound and lasting influence on the development of language, religion, architecture, philosophy, law, and forms of government in the territory it governed, particularly Europe, and by means of European expansionism throughout the modern world.

The Roman Empire (Latin: Imperium Romanum) was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The 500-year-old Roman Republic, which preceded it, had been destabilized through a series of civil wars. Several events marked the transition from Republic to Empire, including Julius Caesar's appointment as perpetual dictator (44 BC); the Battle of Actium (2 September 31 BC); and the granting of the honorific Augustus to Octavian [Caesar Augustus (Luke 2:1)] by the Roman Senate (16 January 27 BC).

The first two centuries of the Empire were a period of unprecedented stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana ("Roman Peace"). It reached its greatest expanse during the reign of Trajan (98–117 AD). In the 3rd century, the Empire underwent a crisis that threatened its existence, but was reunified and stabilized under the emperors Aurelian and Diocletian. Christians rose to power in the 4th century [about 320 AD], during which time a system of dual rule was developed in the Latin West [Rome] and Greek East [Constantinople]. After the collapse of central government in the West in the 5th century, the eastern half of the Roman Empire continued as what would later be known as the Byzantine Empire.

Julius Caesar's Great Nephew Caesar Augustus (Octavius)

At the time Caesar was killed [assassinated] on the Ides of March (15 March) 44 BC, Octavius was studying and undergoing military training in Apollonia, Illyria. Rejecting the advice of some army officers to take refuge with the troops in Macedonia, he sailed to Italia to ascertain whether he had any potential political fortunes or security. After landing at Lupiae near Brundisium, he learned the contents of Caesar's will, and only then did he decide to become Caesar's political heir as well as heir to two-thirds of his estate.

Having no living legitimate children, Caesar had adopted his great-nephew Octavius as his son and main heir. Upon his adoption, Octavius assumed his great-uncle's name, Gaius Julius Caesar. Although Romans who had been adopted into a new family usually retained their old nomen in cognomen form (e.g. Octavianus for one who had been an Octavius, Aemilianus for one who had been an Aemilius, etc.) there is no evidence that he ever bore the name Octavianus, as it would have made his modest origins too obvious.

Despite the fact that he never officially bore the name Octavianus, however, to save confusing the dead dictator [Julius Caesar] with his heir [Caesar Augustus], historians often refer to the new Caesar — between his adoption and his assumption [enthroned], in 27 BC, of the name Augustus as Octavian.

Source: wiki.com

Note: Caesar Augustus (born Gaius Octavius) inherited his office (Throne) from his great-uncle "Dictator" Julius Caesar. Though Julius Caesar created the Roman Empire he was not allowed by Roman law to be a King. Democratic [Republican] Rome was not permitted to have a King. Julius Caesar took to himself dictatorial powers while privately and semi-publically declaring himself to be the King of Rome. It was Julius Caesar's declarations and ambitions to become King of Rome that on March 15, 44 BC got him assassinated on the floor of the Roman Senate.

June - The Christian Church, Watering

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Late Antiquity and Middle Ages

Late Antiquity Through the Middle Ages of the Christian Church Era

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If all of you have heard of the dispensation (stewardship) of the Grace of God which is given me toward you: How that by revelation He made known unto me the Mystery; as I wrote before in few words, Whereby, when all of you read, all of you may understand my knowledge in the Mystery of Christ Which in other Ages was not made known unto the Sons of Men, as it is now revealed unto His holy Apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel: Whereof I [Apostle Paul] was made a Minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power. ~ Ephesians 3:1-7

Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, in both mainland Europe and the Mediterranean world. Precise boundaries for the period are a matter of debate, but historian Peter Brown proposed a period between the 2nd and 8th centuries. Generally, it can be thought of as from the end of the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century (235 – 284 AD) to the re-organization of the Eastern Roman Empire under Heraclius (610 - 641 AD).

Source: wiki.com

Continuing with the Middle Ages until the Protestant Reformation of 1517 AD.

June 2

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2nd Church Council - Antioch 264-269 AD

The Church Council of Antioch - Christological (is Jesus really God) Controversies

The Church Council of Antioch resolving the ongoing Christological (is Jesus really God) controversies 264-269 AD.

Beginning with three synods convened between 264 AD and 269 AD in the matter of Paul of Samosata, more than thirty councils were held in Antioch in ancient times. Most of these dealt with phases of the Arian and of the Christological controversies. For example, the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Paul of Samosata states: It must be regarded as certain that the council which condemned Paul rejected the term homoousios; but naturally only in a false sense used by Paul; not, it seems because he meant by it a unity of Hypostasis in the Trinity (so St. Hilary), but because he intended by it a common substance out of which both Father and Son proceeded, or which it divided between them, — so St. Basil and St. Athanasius; but the question is not clear. The objectors to the Nicene doctrine in the fourth century made copious use of this disapproval of the Nicene word by a famous council.

The most celebrated took place in the summer of 341 AD at the dedication of the golden Basilica, and is therefore called in encaeniis, in dedicatione. Nearly a hundred bishops were present, all from the Orient, but the bishop of Rome was not represented. The emperor Constantius attended in person.

The council approved three creeds. Whether or not the so-called "fourth formula" is to be ascribed to a continuation of this synod or to a subsequent but distinct assembly of the same year, its aim is like that of the first three; while repudiating certain Arian formulas it avoids the orthodox term "homoousios," fiercely advocated by Athanasius and accepted by the First Council of Nicaea. The somewhat colorless compromise doubtless proceeded from the party of Eusebius of Nicomedia, and proved not unacceptable to the more nearly orthodox members of the synod.

The twenty-five canons adopted regulate the so-called metropolitan constitution of the church. Ecclesiastical power is vested chiefly in the metropolitan (later called archbishop), and the semi-annual provincial synod (cf. Nicaea, canon 5), which he summons and over which he presides. Consequently the powers of country bishops (chorepiscopi) are curtailed, and direct recourse to the emperor is forbidden. The sentence of one judicatory is to be respected by other judicatories of equal rank; re-trial may take place only before that authority to whom appeal regularly lies. Without due invitation, a bishop may not ordain, or in any other way interfere with affairs lying outside his proper territory; nor may he appoint his own successor. Penalties are set on the refusal to celebrate Easter in accordance with the Nicene decree, as well as on leaving a church before the service of the Eucharist is completed.

The numerous objections made by eminent scholars in past centuries to the ascription of these twenty-five canons to the synod in encaeniis have been elaborately stated and probably refuted by Hefele. The canons formed part of the Codex canonum used at Chalcedon in 451 AD and passed over into the later collections of East and West.

Source: wiki.com

Note: the enormous success of the Church Council in Antioch so completely educated the Church Clergy and common Church laity that the heretic fringe [i.e. Desert Monks, hermits] rather than dispute with the clergy and laity chose instead the option of fleeing into the desert in order to preserve their heretical teachings while waiting for assistance from Rome to provide them the legal protection that they would need in order to further infiltrate the Christian Church. The legal protection came in 313 AD (Edict of Milan) from Emperor Constantine and with it the heretical desert Monks then proceeded back into society to infiltrate the Church. At first achieving only minimal success in infiltrating the Church with their strange and heretical doctrines forcing the Desert Monks to seek more success in infiltrating the ecclesiastical educational system. Later with the wide acceptance of the writings and teachings of the Dominican Monk Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274 AD) the Christian Church would become almost completely infiltrated with heretical [Emergent; Gnostic, worldly and occult] philosophies and doctrines.

June 3

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Desert Fathers

Anthony the Great launches the Desert Monk Monastic Movement in about 270 AD

Paul of Thebes is often credited with being the first hermit monk to go to the desert, but it was Anthony the Great who launched the movement that became the Desert Fathers. Sometime around 270 AD, Anthony heard a Sunday sermon stating that perfection could be achieved by selling all of one's possessions, giving the proceeds to the poor, and following Christ.(Matt. 19.21) He followed the advice and made the further step of moving deep into the desert to seek complete solitude.

The Desert Fathers (there were also Desert Mothers) were Christian hermits, ascetics, and monks who lived mainly in the Scetes desert of Egypt beginning around the third century AD. The Apophthegmata Patrum is a collection of the wisdom of some of the early desert monks and nuns, still in print as Sayings of the Desert Fathers. The most well known was Anthony the Great, who moved to the desert in 270–271 and became known as both the father and founder of desert monasticism. By the time Anthony died in 356, thousands of monks and nuns had been drawn to living in the desert following Anthony's example — his biographer, Athanasius of Alexandria, wrote that "the desert had become a city." The Desert Fathers had a major influence on the development of Christianity.

The desert monastic communities that grew out of the informal gathering of hermit monks became the model for Christian monasticism. The eastern monastic tradition at Mt. Athos and the western Rule of St. Benedict both were strongly influenced by the traditions that began in the desert. All of the monastic revivals of the Middle Ages looked to the desert for inspiration and guidance. Much of Eastern Christian spirituality, including the Hesychast movement, had its roots in the practices of the Desert Fathers. Even religious renewals such as the German evangelicals and Pietists in Pennsylvania, the Devotio Moderna movement, and the Methodist Revival in England are seen by modern scholars as being influenced by the Desert Fathers.

Source: wiki.com

June 4

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Desert Monks of Sinai, Egypt

The Ancient Desert Monks of Sinai, Egypt

The small communities forming around the Desert Fathers were the beginning of Christian monasticism. Initially Anthony and others lived as hermits, sometimes forming groups of two or three. Small informal communities began developing, until the monk Pachomius, seeing the need for a more formal structure, established a monastery with rules and organization. His regulations included discipline, obedience, manual labor, silence, fasting, and long periods of prayer — some historians view the rules as being inspired by Pachomius' experiences as a Roman soldier.

The first fully organized monastery under Pachomius included men and women living in separate quarters, up to three in a room. They supported themselves by weaving cloth and baskets, along with other tasks. Each new monk or nun had a three year probationary period, concluding with admittance in full standing to the monastery. All property was held communally, meals were eaten together and in silence, twice a week they fasted, and they wore simple peasant clothing with a hood. Several times a day they came together for prayer and readings, and each person was expected to spend time alone meditating on the scriptures. Programs were created for educating those who came to the monastery unable to read.

Pachomius also formalized the establishment of an abba (father) or amma (mother) in charge of the spiritual welfare of their monks and nuns, with the implication that those joining the monastery were also joining a new family. Members also formed smaller groups, with different tasks in the community and the responsibility of looking after each other's welfare. The new approach grew to the point that there were tens of thousands of monks and nuns in these organized communities within decades of Pachomius' death. One of the early pilgrims to the desert was Basil of Caesarea, who took the Rule of Pachomius into the eastern church. Basil expanded the idea of community by integrating the monks and nuns into the wider public community, with the monks and nuns under the authority of a bishop and serving the poor and needy.

As more pilgrims began visiting the monks in the desert, the early literature coming from the monastic communities began spreading. Latin versions of the original Greek stories and sayings of the Desert Fathers, along with the earliest monastic rules coming out of the desert, guided the early monastic development in the Byzantine world and eventually in the western Christian world. The Rule of Saint Benedict was strongly influenced by the Desert Fathers, with Saint Benedict urging his monks to read the writings of John Cassian on the Desert Fathers. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers was also widely read in the early Benedictine monasteries.

Heretical, Non-Theological Teachings of the Desert Monks

"A hermit said, 'Take care to be silent. Empty your mind [spiritually dangerous]. Attend to your meditation in the fear of God, whether you are resting or at work. If you do this, you will not fear the attacks of the demons."

Abba (father) Moses, "Sit in thy cell and thy cell will teach thee all."

"Somebody asked Anthony, 'What shall I do in order to please God?' He replied, 'Do what I tell you, which is this: wherever you go, keep God in mind; whatever you do, follow the example of Holy Scripture; wherever you are, stay there and do not move away in a hurry. If you keep to these guide-lines, you will be saved.'"

"He (Evagrius) also said, 'A monk was told that his father had died. He said to the messenger, 'Do not blaspheme. My Father cannot die.'"

Abbot Pastor, "If someone does evil to you, you should do good to him, so that by your good work you may drive out his malice."

An Elder, "A man who keeps death before his eyes will at all times overcome his cowardliness."

Blessed Macarius said, "This is the truth, if a monk regards contempt as praise, poverty as riches, and hunger as a feast, he will never die."

"It happened that as Abba Arsenius was sitting in his cell that he was harassed by demons. His servants, on their return, stood outside his cell and heard him praying to God in these words, 'O God, do not leave me. I have done nothing good in your sight, but according to your goodness, let me now make a beginning of good.'"

When one desert father told another of his plans to “ shut himself into his cell and refuse the face of men, that he might perfect himself,” the second monk replied, “Unless thou first amend thy life going to and fro amongst men, thou shall not avail to amend it dwelling alone.”

Source: wiki.com

Note: it should be noted that the ancient desert hermits and monks, possibly knowingly, sought their "Desert" experience in the wrong desert. The hermits in error went into the desert of Egypt instead of the desert of Arabia where the actual Biblical Exodus and Desert wandering regarding the Children of Israel took place.

June 5

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Cyprian Bishop of Carthage 248-258 AD

Moving from the Early Apostolic Church to the Modern Institutional Church

Recap -- Cyprian was Bishop of Carthage during the development of a lot of the Early Church doctrines and pseudo doctrines and particularly church customs, i.e. church and salvation are found in a building.

His most important work is his "De unitate ecclesiae." In it, he states: "He can no longer have God for his Father who has not the Church for his mother; . . . he who gathereth elsewhere than in the Church scatters the Church of Christ" (vi.); "nor is there any other home to believers but the one Church" (ix.).

Cyprian Bishop of Carthage

Cyprian was born sometime in the early third century. He was a leading member of legal fraternity in Carthage, He was well into middle age when he was converted to Christianity and baptised. The site of his eventual martyrdom was his own villa. Before becoming a Christian, he was an orator, "pleader in the courts", and a teacher of rhetoric. The date of his conversion is unknown, but after his baptism about 245–248 he gave away a portion of his wealth to the poor of Carthage, as befitted a man of his status.

His original name was Thascius; he took the additional name Caecilius in memory of the presbyter to whom he owed his conversion. In the early days of his conversion he wrote an Epistola ad Donatum de gratia Dei and the Testimoniorum Libri III that adhere closely to the models of Tertullian, who influenced his style and thinking.

Cyprian (200 AD – September 14, 258 AD) was Bishop of Carthage and an important Early Christian writer, many of whose Latin works are extant [remain currently in existence]. He was born around the beginning of the 3rd century in North Africa, perhaps at Carthage, where he received a classical education. After converting to Christianity, he became a bishop in 249 AD and eventually died a martyr at Carthage.

Not long after his baptism he was ordained deacon, and soon afterward presbyter; and sometime between July 248 and April 249 AD he was chosen bishop of Carthage, a popular choice among the poor who remembered his patronage as demonstrating good equestrian style, while a portion of the presbytery opposed it, for all Cyprian's wealth and learning and diplomacy and literary talents. Moreover, the opposition within the church community at Carthage did not dissolve during his episcopacy.

Soon, however, the entire community was put to an unwanted test. Christians in North Africa had not suffered persecution for many years; the church was assured and lax. Early in 250 AD the "Decian persecution" began. Measures were first taken demanding that the bishops and officers of the church sacrifice to the emperor. The proconsul on circuit, and five commissioners for each town, administered the edict; but, when the proconsul reached Carthage, Cyprian had fled.

It is quite evident in the writings of the church fathers from various dioceses that the Christian community was divided on this occasion, among those who stood firm in civil disobedience, and those who buckled, submitting in word or in deed to the order of sacrifice and receiving a ticket or receipt called a "libellus." Cyprian's secret departure from Carthage was interpreted by his enemies as cowardice and infidelity, and they hastened to accuse him at Rome. The Roman clergy wrote to Cyprian in terms of disapproval. Cyprian rejoined that he fled in accordance with visions and the divine command. From his place of refuge he ruled his flock with earnestness and zeal, using a faithful deacon as his intermediary.

Cyprian's works were edited in volumes 3 and 4 of the Patrologia Latina. Besides a number of epistles, which are partly collected with the answers of those to whom they were written, Cyprian wrote a number of treatises, some of which have also the character of pastoral letters.

The Plague of Cyprian is named after him due to his description of it.

Source: wiki.com

June 6

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The Original NT Pentecost

The Original NT Acts 2 Pentecost

With our example of the original Holy Week Resurrection Day (Easter, Feast of First-fruits) on Sunday April 18th, then continuing in our example the original NT Pentecost (Acts chapter 2) would be on Sunday June 6th, a full 50 days [7 weeks plus 1 day] after the "Passover" Saturday Sabbath observed in conjunction with the Sunday "Passover" Holy Week, Feast of First-fruits. -- Note: the Jewish month of Nisan and the month of April doesn’t exactly sync up with each other.

And all of you shall count unto you from the next day after the Sabbath, from the day that all of you brought the sheaf of the [First-fruits] wave offering [on Sunday]; seven Sabbaths [49 days] shall be complete: Even unto the next day [Sunday] after the seventh Sabbath shall all of you number fifty days; and all of you shall offer a new food [Pentecost] offering unto the LORD. All of you shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves {of leavened bread: one representing Jewish Israel and the other representing the Christian Church} of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven; they are the First-fruits unto the LORD. ~ Leviticus 23:15-17

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come [after sunrise on Sunday], they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they [the faith in the resurrection - Born Again Christians] were all filled [baptized - empowered] with the Holy Spirit, and [as empowered] began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. ~ Acts 2:1-4

Note: the future, yet to be fulfilled [2nd Coming] Fall Feasts of Israel are now posted in December somewhat later than when the Fall Feasts are usually scheduled to be observed.

Also Note: the Christian Church and the Jewish religion calculate the Feast Days differently so Holy Week and Pentecost are usually on slightly different days than the Jewish Feast Days of Passover (Holy Week) and Shavuot (Pentecost). The Fall Feasts [Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot)] having not yet been completely prophetically fulfilled by Jesus Christ are not yet observed by the Christian Church.

June 7

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Emperor Constantine - Church

Emperor Constantine's Christian Ambitions

Constantine the Pseudo Christian Emperor

When Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (reigned 306–337 AD) ruled Rome, Christianity became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. Historians remain uncertain about Constantine's reasons for favoring Christianity, and theologians and historians have argued about which form of Christianity he subscribed to. Although Constantine had been exposed to Christianity by his mother Helena, there is no consensus among scholars as to whether he adopted his mother's Christianity in his youth, or gradually over the course of his life, and he did not receive baptism until shortly before his death.

Constantine's conversion was a turning point for Early Christianity, sometimes referred to as the Triumph of the Church, the Peace of the Church or the Constantinian shift. In 313 AD, Constantine and Licinius issued the Edict of Milan legalizing [all religions including] Christian worship. The emperor became a great patron of the Church and set a precedent for the position of the Christian emperor within the Church and the notion of orthodoxy, Christendom, ecumenical councils and the state church of the Roman Empire declared by edict in 380. He is revered as a saint and isapostolos in the Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodox Church for his example as a "Christian monarch."

Constantine is perhaps best known for being the first Christian Roman emperor.

In February 313 AD, Constantine met with Licinius in Milan, where they developed the Edict of Milan. The edict stated that Christians should be allowed to follow the faith without oppression. This removed penalties for professing Christianity, under which many had been martyred previously, and returned confiscated Church property. The edict protected from religious persecution not only Christians but all religions, allowing anyone to worship whichever deity they chose. A similar edict had been issued in 311 by Galerius, then senior emperor of the Tetrarchy; Galerius' edict granted Christians the right to practice their religion but did not restore any property to them. The Edict of Milan included several clauses which stated that all confiscated churches would be returned as well as other provisions for previously persecuted Christians.

Source: wiki.com

Note: in this portion of the devotional we will continue to consider the events more in their order of magnitude and not strictly in historical order. Also this is not a conclusive list of Early Church Fathers or events.

June 8

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Emperor Constantine - State

Emperor Constantine's State Ambitions - The 7th Gentile Kingdom, Revised Rome Begins (Daniel 7:7-8)

In the East - Later Called Byzantium

Constantine received a formal education at Diocletian's court, where he learned Latin literature, Greek, and philosophy. The cultural environment in Nicomedia was open, fluid and socially mobile, and Constantine could mix with intellectuals both pagan and Christian. He may have attended the lectures of Lactantius, a Christian scholar of Latin in the city. Because Diocletian did not completely trust Constantius—none of the Tetrarchs fully trusted their colleagues—Constantine was held as something of a hostage, a tool to ensure Constantius' best behavior. Constantine was nonetheless a prominent member of the court: he fought for Diocletian and Galerius in Asia, and served in a variety of tribunates; he campaigned against barbarians on the Danube in 296, and fought the Persians under Diocletian in Syria (297) and under Galerius in Mesopotamia (298–99). By late 305, he had become a tribune of the first order, a tribunus ordinis primi.

Constantine had returned to Nicomedia from the eastern front by the spring of 303, in time to witness the beginnings of Diocletian's "Great Persecution", the most severe persecution of Christians in Roman history. In late 302, Diocletian and Galerius sent a messenger to the oracle of Apollo at Didyma with an inquiry about Christians. Constantine could recall his presence at the palace when the messenger returned, when Diocletian accepted his court's demands for universal persecution. On 23 February 303, Diocletian ordered the destruction of Nicomedia's new church, condemned its scriptures to the flames, and had its treasures seized. In the months that followed, churches and scriptures were destroyed, Christians were deprived of official ranks, and priests were imprisoned.

It is unlikely that Constantine played any role in the persecution. In his later writings he would attempt to present himself as an opponent of Diocletian's "sanguinary edicts" against the "worshippers of God", but nothing indicates that he opposed it effectively at the time. Although no contemporary Christian challenged Constantine for his inaction during the persecutions, it remained a political liability throughout his life.

On 1 May 305, Diocletian, as a result of a debilitating sickness taken in the winter of 304–5, announced his resignation. In a parallel ceremony in Milan [Italy], Maximian did the same. Lactantius states that Galerius manipulated the weakened Diocletian into resigning, and forced him to accept Galerius' allies in the imperial succession. According to Lactantius, the crowd listening to Diocletian's resignation speech believed, until the very last moment, that Diocletian would choose Constantine and Maxentius (Maximian's son) as his successors. It was not to be: Constantius and Galerius were promoted to Augusti, while Severus and Maximin were appointed their Caesars respectively. Constantine and Maxentius were ignored.

Some of the ancient sources detail plots that Galerius made on Constantine's life in the months following Diocletian's abdication. They assert that Galerius assigned Constantine to lead an advance unit in a cavalry charge through a swamp on the middle Danube, made him enter into single combat with a lion, and attempted to kill him in hunts and wars. Constantine always emerged victorious: the lion emerged from the contest in a poorer condition than Constantine; Constantine returned to Nicomedia from the Danube with a Sarmatian captive to drop at Galerius' feet. It is uncertain how much these tales can be trusted.

In the West - Europe

Constantine recognized the implicit danger in remaining at Galerius' court, where he was held as a virtual hostage. His career depended on being rescued by his father in the west. Constantius was quick to intervene. In the late spring or early summer of 305, Constantius requested leave for his son to help him campaign in Britain. After a long evening of drinking, Galerius granted the request. Constantine's later propaganda describes how he fled the court in the night, before Galerius could change his mind. He rode from post-house to post-house at high speed, hamstringing every horse in his wake. By the time Galerius awoke the following morning, Constantine had fled too far to be caught. Constantine joined his father in Gaul [France], at Bononia (Boulogne) before the summer of 305.

Early rule

Constantine's share of the Empire consisted of Britain, Gaul, and Spain [mostly previously conquered by Julius Caesar]. He therefore commanded one of the largest Roman armies, stationed along the important Rhine frontier. After his promotion to emperor, Constantine remained in Britain, and secured his control in the northwestern dioceses. He completed the reconstruction of military bases begun under his father's rule, and ordered the repair of the region's roadways. He soon left for Augusta Treverorum (Trier) in Gaul, the Tetrarchic capital of the northwestern Roman Empire. The Franks, after learning of Constantine's acclamation, invaded Gaul across the lower Rhine over the winter of 306–7. Constantine drove them back beyond the Rhine and captured two of their kings, Ascaric and Merogaisus. The kings and their soldiers were fed to the beasts of Trier's amphitheater in the adventus (arrival) celebrations that followed.

In Rome

Constantine entered Rome on 29 October. He staged a grand adventus in the city, and was met with popular jubilation. Maxentius' body was fished out of the Tiber and decapitated. His head was paraded through the streets for all to see. After the ceremonies, Maxentius' disembodied head was sent to Carthage; at this Carthage would offer no further resistance. Unlike his predecessors, Constantine neglected to make the trip to the Capitoline Hill and perform customary sacrifices at the Temple of Jupiter. He did, however, choose to honor the Senatorial Curia with a visit, where he promised to restore its ancestral privileges and give it a secure role in his reformed government: there would be no revenge against Maxentius' supporters. In response, the Senate decreed him "title of the first name", which meant his name would be listed first in all official documents, and acclaimed him as "the greatest Augustus". He issued decrees returning property lost under Maxentius, recalling political exiles, and releasing Maxentius' imprisoned opponents.

Source: wiki.com

June 9

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Emperor Constantine - Personal

Emperor Constantine's Personal Ambitions

Constantine the Great (Latin: Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus; February 27, 272 – May 22, 337 AD), also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Constantine was the son of Flavius Valerius Constantius, a Roman army officer, and his consort Helena. His father became Caesar, the deputy emperor in the west in 293. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under the emperors Diocletian and Galerius. In 305, Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus, senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia. Acclaimed as emperor by the army after his father's death in 306, Constantine emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against the emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both west and east by 324 AD.

As emperor, Constantine enacted many administrative, financial, social, and military reforms to strengthen the empire. The government was restructured and civil and military authority separated. A new gold coin, the solidus, was introduced to combat inflation. It would become the standard for Byzantine and European currencies for more than a thousand years. The first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity,Constantine played an influential role in the proclamation of the Edict of Milan, which decreed religious tolerance throughout the empire. He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325, at which the Nicene Creed was professed by Christians. In military matters, the Roman army was reorganised to consist of mobile field units and garrison soldiers capable of countering internal threats and barbarian invasions. Constantine pursued successful campaigns against the tribes on the Roman frontiers—the Franks, the Alamanni, the Goths, and the Sarmatians — even resettling territories abandoned by his predecessors during the turmoil of the previous century.

The age of Constantine marked a distinct epoch in the history of the Roman Empire. He built a new imperial residence at Byzantium and named it New Rome. However, in Constantine's honor, the Romans called it Constantinople, which would later be the capital of what is now known as the Byzantine Empire for over one thousand years. Because of this, he is thought of as the founder of the Byzantine Empire. His more immediate political legacy was that, in leaving the empire to his sons, he replaced Diocletian's tetrarchy with the principle of dynastic succession. His reputation flourished during the lifetime of his children and centuries after his reign. The medieval church upheld him as a paragon of virtue while secular rulers invoked him as a prototype, a point of reference, and the symbol of imperial legitimacy and identity. Beginning with the renaissance, there were more critical appraisals of his reign due to the rediscovery of anti-Constantinian sources. Critics portrayed him as a despotic tyrant. Trends in modern and recent scholarship attempted to balance the extremes of previous scholarship.

Constantine - as the first Christian emperor - is a significant figure in the history of Christianity. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on his orders at the purported site of Jesus' tomb in Jerusalem, became the holiest place in Christendom. The Papacy claimed temporal power through Constantine. He is venerated as a saint by Orthodox Christians, Byzantine Catholics, and Anglicans. The Eastern churches hold his memory in particular esteem, regarding Constantine as isapostolos or equal-to-apostles.

Constantine died May 22, 337 AD at Nicomedia (the modern city of Beirut, Lebanon), shortly after his baptism by the Arian bishop, his friend Eusebius of Beirut (Nicomedia).

Source: wiki.com

June 10

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Constantius Chlorus

Constantine's Father (March 31, 250 – July 25, 306 AD)

Constantius I, commonly known as Constantius Chlorus, was Roman Emperor from 293 to 306 AD. He was the father of Constantine the Great and founder of the Constantinian dynasty. As Caesar he defeated the usurper Allectus in Britain and campaigned extensively along the Rhine frontier, defeating the Alamanni and Franks. Upon becoming Augustus in 305, Constantius launched a successful punitive campaign against the Picts beyond the Antonine Wall. However, Constantius died suddenly in Eburacum (York) the following year. His death sparked the collapse of the tetrarchic system of government inaugurated by the Emperor Diocletian.

In 305 AD Constantius crossed over into Britain, travelled to the far north of the island and launched a military expedition against the Picts, claiming a victory against them and the title Britannicus Maximus II by 7 January 306. After retiring to Eboracum (York) for the winter, Constantius had planned to continue the campaign, but on 25 July 306, Constantius died. As he was dying, Constantius recommended his son to the army as his successor; consequently Constantine was declared emperor by the legions at York.

As the father of Constantine, a number of Christian legends have grown up around Constantius. Eusebius's Life of Constantine claims that Constantius was himself a Christian, although he pretended to be a pagan [more likely he was a Pagan pretending to be a Christian], and while Caesar under Diocletian, took no part in the Emperor's persecutions.

Believing that water baptism cleansed one from all sins [if you sin again you would eventually have to be baptized again] Constantius died shortly after his appointed water baptism by an Arian [heretical] bishop.

Source: wiki.com

June 11

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Saint Helena

Constantine's Mother

Saint Helena or Saint Helen (250 – 330 AD) was the consort of the Roman emperor Constantius Chlorus and the mother of the emperor Constantine the Great, an important figure in the history of Christianity. She is traditionally credited with a pilgrimage to Syria Palaestina, during which she discovered the True Cross of Jesus's crucifixion. She is revered as a saint by the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, the Roman Catholic, the Lutheran, and the Anglican churches.

Constantius was either married to, or was in concubinage with, Helena, who was probably from Nicomedia in Asia Minor. They had one son, Constantine. In 289 AD political developments forced him to divorce Helena. He married Theodora, Maximian's daughter, they had six children.

Helena, claimed during her visit to Jerusalem to have found the True Cross of Jesus Christ.

Scholars debate whether Constantine adopted his mother St. Helena's Christianity in his youth, or whether he adopted it gradually over the course of his life. Constantine would retain the title of pontifex maximus until his death, a title emperors bore as heads of the pagan priesthood, as would his Christian successors on to Gratian (r. 375–83). According to Christian writers, Constantine was over 40 when he finally declared himself a Christian, writing to Christians to make clear that he believed he owed his successes to the protection of the Christian High God alone. Throughout his rule, Constantine supported the Church financially, built basilicas, granted privileges to clergy (e.g. exemption from certain taxes), promoted Christians to high office, and returned property confiscated during the Diocletianic persecution. His most famous building projects include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Old Saint Peter's Basilica.

Saint Catherine's Monastery - Mt. Sinai, Egypt

Constantine appointed his mother Helena as Augusta Imperatrix, and gave her unlimited access to the imperial treasury in order to locate the relics of Judeo-Christian tradition. In 326-28 AD Helena undertook a trip to the Holy Places in Palestine [Israel]. According to Eusebius of Caesarea she was responsible for the construction or beautification of two churches, the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, and the Church on the Mount of Olives, sites of Christ's birth and ascension. Local founding legend attributes to Helena's orders the construction of a church in Egypt to identify the Burning Bush of Sinai. The chapel at Saint Catherine's Monastery - often referred to as the Chapel of Saint Helen - is dated to the year 330 AD.

Jerusalem was still being rebuilt following the destruction caused by Emperor Hadrian. He had built a temple over the site of Jesus's tomb near Calvary, and renamed the city Aelia Capitolina. Accounts differ concerning whether the Temple was dedicated to Venus or Jupiter According to tradition, Helena ordered the temple torn down and, according to the legend that arose at the end of the 4th century, chose a site to begin excavating, which led to the recovery of three different crosses. The legend is recounted in Ambrose, On the Death of Theodosius (died 395) and at length in Rufinus' chapters appended to his translation into Latin of Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, the main body of which does not mention the event. Then, Rufinus relates, the empress refused to be swayed by anything short of solid proof and performed a test. Possibly through Bishop Macarius of Jerusalem, she had a woman who was near death brought from the city. When the woman touched the first and second crosses, her condition did not change, but when she touched the third and final cross she suddenly recovered, and Helena declared the cross with which the woman had been touched to be the True Cross. On the site of discovery, Constantine ordered the building of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; churches were also built on other sites detected by Helena. Sozomen and Theodoret claim that Helena also found the nails of the crucifixion. To use their miraculous power to aid her son, Helena allegedly had one placed in Constantine's helmet, and another in the bridle of his horse.

Helena left Jerusalem and the eastern provinces in 327 to return to Rome, bringing with her large parts of the True Cross and other relics, which were then stored in her palace's private chapel, where they can be still seen today. Her palace was later converted into the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. This has been maintained by Cistercian monks in the monastery which has been attached to the church for centuries.

Tradition says that the site of the Vatican Gardens was spread with earth brought from Golgotha by Helena to symbolically unite the blood of Christ with that shed by thousands of early Christians, who died in the persecutions of Nero.

According to one tradition, Helena acquired the Holy Tunic on her trip to Jerusalem and sent it to Trier.

According to Byzantine tradition, Helena is responsible for the large population of cats in Cyprus. Local tradition holds that she imported hundreds of cats from Egypt or Palestine in the fourth century AD to rid a monastery of snakes. The monastery is today known as "St. Nicholas of the Cats" and is located near Limassol.

Several relics purportedly discovered by Saint Helena are now in Cyprus, where she spent some time. Among them are items believed to be part of Jesus Christ's tunic, pieces of the holy cross, and pieces of the rope with which Jesus was tied on the Cross. The rope, considered to be the only relic of its kind, has been held at the Stavrovouni Monastery, which was also founded by Saint Helena.

Helena's search for Christian relics and the official establishment of these icons are viewed by some scholars to be the introduction of idolatry into the Church. Some centuries later, Emperor Leo III sought to remove such images from Christian worship, but Pope Gregory II (and later Gregory III) and a majority of the clergy protested against the emperor's iconoclastic edicts. The issue for the Catholic church was settled at the Second Council of Nicaea.

Source: wiki.com

June 12

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In This Sign (X-P) Conquer

Conquer what? The Christian Church is mostly what Constantine conquered

War against Maxentius - The Roman Emperor from 306 to 312 AD

By the middle of 310 AD, Galerius had become too ill to involve himself in imperial politics. His final act survives: a letter to the provincials posted in Nicomedia on 30 April 311, proclaiming an end to the persecutions, and the resumption of religious toleration. He died soon after the edict's proclamation, destroying what little remained of the tetrarchy. Maximin mobilized against Licinius, and seized Asia Minor. A hasty peace was signed on a boat in the middle of the Bosphorus. While Constantine toured Britain and Gaul, Maxentius prepared for war. He fortified northern Italy, and strengthened his support in the Christian community by allowing it to elect a new Bishop of Rome, Eusebius.

Constantine's advisers and generals cautioned against preemptive attack on Maxentius; even his soothsayers recommended against it, stating that the sacrifices had produced unfavorable omens. Constantine, with a spirit that left a deep impression on his followers, inspiring some to believe that he had some form of supernatural guidance, ignored all these cautions. Early in the spring of 312 AD, Constantine crossed the Cottian Alps with a quarter of his army, a force numbering about 40,000. The first town his army encountered was Segusium (Susa, Italy), a heavily fortified town that shut its gates to him. Constantine ordered his men to set fire to its gates and scale its walls. He took the town quickly. Constantine ordered his troops not to loot the town, and advanced with them into northern Italy.

Constantine's army adopts the Constantinian, Chi [Greek] (X "Ch") traversed by Rho [Greek] (P "R") cross

The Battle of the Milvian Bridge by Giulio Romano

Maxentius organized his forces—still twice the size of Constantine's—in long lines facing the battle plain, with their backs to the river. Constantine's army arrived at the field bearing unfamiliar symbols on either its standards or its soldiers' shields. According to Lactantius, Constantine was visited by a dream the night before the battle, wherein he was advised "to mark the heavenly sign of God on the shields of his soldiers ... by means of a slanted letter X with the top of its head bent round, he marked Christ on their shields." Eusebius describes another version, where, while marching at midday, "he saw with his own eyes in the heavens a trophy of the cross arising from the light of the sun, carrying the message, In Hoc Signo Vinces or "with this sign, you will conquer"; in Eusebius's account, Constantine had a dream the following night, in which Christ appeared with the same heavenly sign, and told him to make a standard, the labarum, for his army in that form. Eusebius is vague about when and where these events took place, but it enters his narrative before the war against Maxentius begins. Eusebius describes the sign as Chi (X) traversed by Rho (P):, a symbol representing the first two letters of the Greek spelling of the word Christos or Christ. The Eusebian description of the vision has been explained as a type of solar halo called a "sun dog", a meteorological phenomenon which can produce similar effects. In 315 AD a medallion was issued at Ticinum showing Constantine wearing a helmet emblazoned with the Chi Rho, and coins issued at Siscia in 317/18 repeat the image. The figure was otherwise rare, however, and is uncommon in imperial iconography and propaganda before the 320s

Source: wiki.com

Note: Constantine adopted a Chi-Rho (Christ) symbol as his new cross yet, there are two Christs there is Jesus Christ of the Cross and Fish [ichthus] symbols and there is also the coming Antichrist. What Christ was Constantine really serving?

June 13

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Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas, Synthetized Aristotelian (Plato) Philosophy with Christianity

Thomas Aquinas, (1225 AD – March 7, 1274 AD), was an Italian Dominican friar and priest and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, within which he is also known as the "Doctor Angelicus", "Doctor Communis", and "Doctor Universalis". "Aquinas" is from the county of Aquino, an area his family held land in until 1137 AD. He was born in Roccasecca, Italy.

He was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology, and the father of Thomism. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy was conceived in development or refutation of his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory. Unlike many currents in the Church of the time, Thomas embraced several ideas put forward by Aristotle [a star pupil of Plato] — whom he referred to as "the Philosopher" — and attempted to synthetize Aristotelian philosophy [via the ancient schools of Alexandria, Egypt] with the principles of Christianity. The works for which he is best known are the Summa Theologica and the Summa contra Gentiles. His commentaries on Sacred Scripture and on Aristotle are an important part of his body of work. Furthermore, Thomas is distinguished for his eucharistic hymns which form a part of the Church's liturgy.

Thomas is honored as a saint by the Catholic Church and is held to be the model teacher for those studying for the priesthood, and indeed the highest expression of both natural reason and speculative theology. In modern times, under papal directives, the study of his works was long used as a core of the required program of study for those seeking ordination as priests or deacons, as well as for those in religious formation and for other students of the sacred disciplines (Catholic philosophy, theology, history, liturgy, and canon law).

Also honored as a Doctor of the Church, Thomas is considered the Church's greatest theologian and philosopher. Pope Benedict XV declared: "This (Dominican) Order ... acquired new luster when the Church declared the teaching of Thomas to be her own and that Doctor, honored with the special praises of the Pontiffs, the master and patron of Catholic schools."

Source: wiki.com

Note: the misplaced doctrines, teaching and unchecked corruption that Thomas Aquinas introduced and facilitated within the Christian Church would lead directly to the 1517 AD Protestant Reformation.

Also Note: the heretic Valentinus is considered to be possibly the most dangerous heretic in Church History for attempting in part to introduce the philosophy of Plato into the Christian Church. Thomas Aquinas introduces the philosophy of Plato's student Aristotle into the Christian Church and is considered by some to be a great theologian, preacher and teacher. Where is the needed and valued consistency among modern Church scholars?

June 14

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Reformation Bibles

Reformation Bibles i.e. The Geneva Bible and The KJV 1611 Bible

The Geneva Bible

The Geneva Bible is one of the most historically significant translations of the Bible into English, preceding the King James translation by 51 years. It was the primary Bible of 16th century Protestantism and was the Bible used by William Shakespeare, Oliver Cromwell, John Knox, John Donne, and John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress. It was one of the Bibles taken to America on the Mayflower, it was used by many English Dissenters, and it was still respected by Oliver Cromwell's soldiers at the time of the English Civil War in the booklet Cromwell's Soldiers' Pocket Bible.

This version of the Holy Bible is significant because, for the very first time, a mechanically printed, mass-produced Bible was made available directly to the general public which came with a variety of scriptural study guides and aids (collectively called an apparatus), which included verse citations which allow the reader to cross-reference one verse with numerous relevant verses in the rest of the Bible, introductions to each book of the Bible which acted to summarize all of the material that each book would cover, maps, tables, woodcut illustrations, indexes, as well as other included features — all of which would eventually lead to the reputation of the Geneva Bible as history's very first study Bible.

Because the language of the Geneva Bible was more forceful and vigorous, most readers preferred this version strongly over the Great Bible. In the words of Cleland Boyd McAfee, "it drove the Great Bible off the field by sheer power of excellence".

Like most English translations of the time, the Geneva Bible was translated from scholarly editions of the Greek New Testament and the Hebrew Scriptures that comprise the Christian Old Testament. The English rendering was substantially based on the earlier translations by William Tyndale and Myles Coverdale (more than 80 percent of the language in the Geneva Bible is from Tyndale). However, the Geneva Bible was the first English version in which all of the Old Testament was translated directly from the Hebrew.

The KJV (AV) 1611 Bible

The King James Version (KJV), commonly known as the Authorized Version (AV) or King James Bible (KJB), is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England begun in 1604 and completed in 1611 AD. First printed by the King's Printer Robert Barker, this was the third translation into English to be approved by the English Church authorities. The first was the Great Bible commissioned in the reign of King Henry VIII (1535), and the second was the Bishops' Bible of 1568. In January 1604, King James VI and I convened the Hampton Court Conference where a new English version was conceived in response to the perceived problems of the earlier translations as detected by the Puritans, a faction within the Church of England.

The Authorized Version (AV) was meant to replace the Bishops' Bible as the official version for readings in the Church of England. No record of its authorization exists; it was probably effected by an order of the Privy Council but the records for the years 1600 to 1613 were destroyed by fire in January 1618/19 and it is commonly known as the Authorized Version in the United Kingdom. The King's Printer issued no further editions of the Bishops' Bible, so necessarily the Authorized Version replaced it as the standard lectern Bible in parish church use in England.

In the 1662 Book Of Common Prayer, the text of the Authorized Version finally supplanted that of the Great Bible in the Epistle and Gospel readings – though the Prayer Book Psalter nevertheless continues in the Great Bible version.

The case was different in Scotland, where the Geneva Bible had long been the standard church bible. It was not until 1633 that a Scottish edition of the Authorized Version was printed – in conjunction with the Scots coronation in that year of Charles I. The inclusion of illustrations in the edition raised accusations of Popery from opponents of the religious policies of Charles and William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury. However, official policy favored the Authorized Version, and this favor returned during the Commonwealth – as London printers succeeded in re-asserting their monopoly of Bible printing with support from Oliver Cromwell – and the "New Translation" was the only edition on the market. F.F. Bruce reports that the last recorded instance of a Scots parish continuing to use the "Old Translation" (i.e. Geneva) as being in 1674.

Source: wiki.com

Note: the continuous infiltration of corrupt and heretical material i.e. Valentinus, Constantine, Saint Helen, Thomas Aquinas, Gnostic Gospels, etc. into the Christian Church continued to have an effect on the Christian Church at large until the resulting Protestant Reformation.

Also Note: the excellent Protestant Bibles of the Reformation era have been the primary remedy to the bad doctrine of the heavily infiltrated Church. But, note also that today with the newer corrupt bible versions (NIV, ESV) and the abundant heretical doctrines of the Modern Protestant Church [and Reformed "Calvinism"] the Protestant Church is well on its way to being every bit as corrupt, abusive and uninformed as the previous Medieval Church (Dark Ages) era that the Reformation so diligently sought to eradicate.

June 15

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Edict of Toleration

Edict of Toleration by Galerius in 311 AD

The Edict of Toleration was issued in 311 AD in Nicomedia by the Roman Tetrarchy [power-sharing] of Galerius, Constantine and Licinius, officially ending the Diocletian persecution of Christianity.

Galerius, who had been one of the leading figures in the persecutions, admitted that the policy of trying to eradicate Christianity had failed, saying: "wherefore, for this our indulgence, they ought to pray to their God for our safety, for that of the republic, and for their own, that the republic may continue uninjured on every side, and that they may be able to live securely in their homes."

Christianity [and all religions were] officially legalized in the Roman Empire two years later in 313 AD by Constantine in his Edict of Milan.

Source: wiki.com

June 16

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Edict of Milan

The Edict of Milan by Emperor Constantine in 313 AD

The Edict of Milan

The document known as the Edict of Milan (Edictum Mediolanense) is found in Lactantius' De Mortibus Persecutorum and Eusebius of Caesarea's History of the Church with marked divergences between the two.

In February 313 AD, Emperor Constantine I, who controlled the western part of the Roman Empire, and Licinius, who controlled the Balkans, met in Milan and, among other things, agreed to treat the Christians benevolently.

Whether or not there was a formal 'Edict of Milan' is debatable. The version found in Lactantius is not in the form of an edict; it is a letter from Licinius to the governors of the provinces in the Eastern Empire he had just conquered by defeating Maximin later in the same year and issued in Nicomedia.

The Edict was in effect directed against Maximinus Daia, the Caesar in the East who was at that time styling himself as Augustus. Having received the emperor Galerius' instruction to repeal the persecution in 311 AD, Maximinus had instructed his subordinates to desist, but had not released Christians from prisons or virtual death-sentences in the mines, as Constantine and Licinius had both done in the West. Following Galerius' death, Maximin was no longer constrained; he enthusiastically took up renewed persecutions in the eastern territories under his control, encouraging petitions against Christians, one of which, addressed to him and to Constantine and Licinius, is preserved in a stone inscription at Arycanda in Lycia, "to request that the Christians, who have long been disloyal and still persist in the same mischievous intent, should at last be put down and not be suffered by any absurd novelty to offend against the honour due to the gods."

The Edict is popularly thought to concern only Christianity, and even to make Christianity the official religion of the Empire (which recognition did not actually occur until 380 AD under Theodosius I). Indeed the Edict expressly grants religious liberty to Christians, who had been the object of special persecution, but it goes even further and grants [Roman political] liberty to all religions:

Source: wiki.com

June 17

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Emperor Julian

Emperor Julian the Apostate

Emperor Constantine's Death - Died on Pentecost (May 22) 337 AD

Following Constantine's death, his body was transferred to Constantinople and buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles there. He was succeeded by his three sons born of Fausta, Constantine II, Constantius II and Constans. A number of relatives were killed by followers of Constantius, notably Constantine's nephews Dalmatius (who held the rank of Caesar) and Hannibalianus, presumably to eliminate possible contenders to an already complicated succession. He also had two daughters, Constantina and Helena, wife of [later] Emperor Julian.

Constantius II was the last of the three sons of Constantine to remain in power, he was repalced by his cousin Julian.

Emperor Julian - last non-Christian ruler of the Roman Empire - 361 to 363 AD

Julian (Latin: Flavius Claudius Julianus Augustus, 331/332 AD – June 26, 363 AD), also known as Julian the Apostate, as well as Julian the Philosopher, was Roman Emperor from 361 AD to 363 AD and a noted philosopher and Greek writer.

A member of the Constantinian dynasty, Julian became Caesar over the western provinces by order of Constantius II in 355 and in this role campaigned successfully against the Alamanni and Franks. Most notable was his crushing victory over the Alamanni in 357 at the Battle of Argentoratum despite being outnumbered. In 360 in Lutetia (Paris) he was acclaimed Augustus by his soldiers, sparking a civil war between Julian and Constantius. Before the two could face each other in battle, however, Constantius died, after naming Julian as his rightful successor. In 363, Julian embarked on an ambitious campaign against the Sassanid Empire. Though initially successful, Julian was mortally wounded in battle and died shortly thereafter.

Julian was a man of unusually complex character: he was "the military commander, the theosophist, the social reformer, and the man of letters". He was the last non-Christian ruler of the Roman Empire, and it was his desire to bring the Empire back to its ancient Roman [Pagan] values in order to save it from dissolution. He purged the top-heavy state bureaucracy and attempted to revive traditional Roman religious practices at the cost of Christianity. His rejection of Christianity in favour of Neoplatonic paganism caused him to be called Julian the Apostate ("Transgressor") by the church. He was the last emperor of the Constantinian dynasty, the empire's first Christian dynasty.

Source: wiki.com

June 18

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Emperor Theodosius I

Emperor Theodosius I (Theodosius the Great) issued decrees that effectively made Nicene Christianity the official state church of the Roman Empire

Theodosius I (Latin: Flavius Theodosius Augustus; January 11, 347 – January 17, 395 AD), also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. His social transformation was a pivotal, if under-recognized, milestone in European history; it parted with Roman religious tolerance and political strength and may be seen in retrospect as the inauguration of a feudal society. On accepting his elevation, he campaigned against Goths and other barbarians who had invaded the Empire; he failed to kill, expel, or entirely subjugate them, and after the Gothic War they established a homeland south of the Danube, in Illyricum, within the empire's borders. He fought two destructive civil wars, in which he defeated the usurpers Magnus Maximus and Eugenius at great cost to the power of the Empire.

He also issued decrees that effectively made Nicene Christianity the official state church of the Roman Empire. and he neither prevented nor punished the destruction of prominent Hellenistic temples of classical antiquity, including the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, the Serapeum in Alexandria. He dissolved the order of the Vestal Virgins in Rome. In 393, he banned the pagan rituals of the Olympics in Ancient Greece. It was not until the end of the 19th century, in 1896, that Olympics were held again. After his death, Theodosius' incapable sons Arcadius and Honorius inherited the East and West halves respectively, and the Roman Empire was never again re-united.

Source: wiki.com

June 19

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3rd Church Council - Nicene Council

Nicene Council the 3rd Historical Church Council was held in 325 AD

The Council of Nicaea (Turkish: Iznik) was a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325 AD. This first [Reviesd-Rome, 7th Kingdom] ecumenical council was the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom.

Constantine had invited all 1800 bishops of the Christian church (about 1000 in the east and 800 in the west), but a smaller and unknown number attended. Eusebius of Caesarea counted 250 Attendees, Athanasius of Alexandria counted 318 Attendees, and Eustathius of Antioch estimated "about 270" Attendees (all three were present at the council). Later, Socrates Scholasticus recorded more than 300 Attendees, and Evagrius, Hilary of Poitiers, Jerome Dionysius Exiguus, and Rufinus recorded 318 Attendees.

The First Council of Nicaea was the first ecumenical council of the Church. Most significantly, it resulted in the first, uniform Christian doctrine, called the Creed of Nicaea. With the creation of the creed, a precedent was established for subsequent local and regional councils of Bishops (Synods) to create statements of belief and canons of doctrinal orthodoxy—the intent being to define unity of beliefs for the whole of Christendom.

The council settled, to some degree, the debate within the Early Christian communities regarding the divinity of Christ. This idea of the divinity of Christ, along with the idea of Christ as a messenger from God (The Father), had long existed in various parts of the Roman empire. The divinity of Christ had also been widely endorsed by the Christian community in the otherwise pagan city of Rome. The council affirmed and defined what it believed to be the teachings of the Apostles regarding who Christ is: that Christ is the one true God in deity with the Father.

Source: wiki.com

Note: Emperor Constantine was trying to influence and infiltrate Arian heresy into the Christian Church. The Church didn’t need a council [that’s why so few Bishops actually showed up] in order to proclaim the already established Church’s Triune doctrine of God. It was Emperor Constantine who needed the council in order to attempt to legitimize his heresy. Thankfully the council stood strong in the faith and neglected to provide Emperor Constantine with the heretical endorsement that he sought and continued to pursue throughout the rest of his life.

June 20

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Athanasius of Alexandria

Athanasius the Great "Father of Orthodoxy"

Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (about 296 AD - May 2, 373 AD), also called Athanasius the Great, Athanasius the Confessor or, primarily in the Coptic Orthodox Church, Athanasius the Apostolic, was the twentieth bishop of Alexandria (as Athanasius I). His episcopate lasted 45 years (c. 8 June 328 – 2 May 373), of which over 17 were spent in five exiles ordered by four different Roman emperors. He is considered to be a renowned Christian theologian, a Church Father, the chief defender of Trinitarianism against Arianism, and a noted Egyptian leader of the fourth century.

He is remembered for his role in the conflict with Arius and Arianism. In 325, at the age of 27, Athanasius had a leading role against the Arians in the First Council of Nicaea. At the time, he was a deacon and personal secretary of the 19th Bishop of Alexandria, Alexander. Nicaea was convoked by Constantine I in May–August 325 to address the Arian position that the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, is of a distinct substance from the Father.

In June 328 AD, at the age of 30, three years after Nicea and upon the repose of Bishop Alexander, he became archbishop of Alexandria. He continued to lead the conflict against the Arians for the rest of his life and was engaged in theological and political struggles against the Emperors Constantine the Great and Constantius II and powerful and influential Arian churchmen, led by Eusebius of Nicomedia and others. He was known as "Athanasius Contra Mundum". Within a few years of his departure, St. Gregory of Nazianzus called him the "Pillar of the Church". His writings were well regarded by all Church fathers who followed, in both the West and the East. His writings show a rich devotion to the Word-become-man, great pastoral concern, and profound interest in monasticism.

Athanasius is counted as one of the four great Eastern Doctors of the Church in the Roman Catholic Church and in Eastern Orthodoxy, he is labeled the "Father of Orthodoxy". He is also celebrated by many Protestants, who label him "Father of The Canon". Athanasius is venerated as a Christian saint, whose feast day is 2 May in Western Christianity, 15 May in the Coptic Orthodox Church, and 18 January in the other Eastern Orthodox Churches. He is venerated by the Roman Catholic Church, Oriental and Eastern Orthodox churches, the Lutherans, and the Anglican Communion.

Athanasius' Five Exiles

St Athanasius' long episcopate lasted 45 years (June 8, 328 – May 2, 373 AD) of which over 17 years were spent in five exiles ordered by four different Roman Emperors, not counting approximately six more incidents in which he had to flee Alexandria for his own safety to escape people seeking to take his life.

First exile: under Emperor Constantine, for 2.5 years [11 Jul 335 – 22 Nov 337]; in Trier (Germany)
Second exile: under Emperor Constantius, for 7.5 years [16 Apr 339 – 21 Oct 346]; lived at Rome
Third exile: under Emperor Constantius, for 6 years [9 Feb 356 – 21 Feb 362]; in the Egyptian desert
Fourth exile: under Apostate Emperor Julian, 10 months [24 Oct 362 – 5 Sep 363]; in the Egyptian desert
Fifth exile: under Emperor Valens, 4 months [5 Oct 365 – 31 Jan 366]; in his father's tomb

Source: wiki.com

June 21

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Ambrose

Ambrose - Archbishop of Milan - Father of Modern Christianity

Aurelius Ambrosius, better known in English as Saint Ambrose (340 AD – 4 April 397 AD), was an Archbishop of Milan, Italy who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He was consular prefect of Liguria and Emilia, headquartered in Milan, before being made Bishop of Milan by popular acclamation in 374 AD. Ambrose was a [Trinitarian in doctrine and] staunch opponent of Arianism.

Ambrose was one of the four original doctors of the [Roman Catholic] Church, and is the patron saint of Milan. He is notable for [baptizing St. Augustine and] his influence on St. Augustine.

Ambrose ranks with Augustine, Jerome, and Gregory the Great [Pope Gregory I], as one of the Latin Doctors of the [Roman Catholic] Church. Theologians compare him with Hilary [Pope from 461-468 AD], who they claim fell short of Ambrose's administrative excellence but demonstrated greater theological ability. He succeeded as a theologian despite his juridical training and his comparatively late handling of Biblical and doctrinal subjects. His spiritual successor, St. Augustine, whose conversion was helped by Ambrose's sermons, owes more to him than to any writer except Paul.

Ambrose's intense episcopal consciousness furthered the growing doctrine of the Church and its sacerdotal ministry, while the prevalent asceticism of the day, continuing the Stoic and Ciceronian training of his youth, enabled him to promulgate a lofty standard of Christian ethics. Thus we have the De officiis ministrorum, De viduis, De virginitate and De paenitentia.

Soon after acquiring the undisputed possession of the Roman empire, Theodosius [Roman Emperor Theodosius I] died at Milan in 395 AD, and two years later (April 4, 397 AD) Ambrose also died. He was succeeded as Bishop of Milan by ["old but good"] Simplician (320-401 AD). Ambrose's body may still be viewed in the Church of S. Ambrogio in Milan, where it has been continuously venerated.

Source: wiki.com

June 22

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Augustine

Saint Augustine of Hippo (Annaba, Algeria)

Augustine of Hippo (Latin: Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis; November 13, 354 – August 28, 430), also known as Saint Augustine or Saint Austin, was an early Christian theologian whose writings were very influential in the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He was bishop of Hippo Regius (present-day Annaba, Algeria) located in the Roman province of Africa. Writing during the Patristic Era, he is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers. Among his most important works are City of God and Confessions, which continue to be read widely today.

According to his contemporary, Jerome, Augustine "established anew the ancient Faith." In his early years, he was heavily influenced by Manichaeism and afterward by the Neo-Platonism of Plotinus. After his conversion to Christianity and his baptism in 387, Augustine developed his own approach to philosophy and theology, accommodating a variety of methods and different perspectives. Believing that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom, he helped to formulate the doctrine of original sin and made seminal contributions to the development of just war theory.

When the Western Roman Empire began to disintegrate, Augustine developed the concept of the Catholic Church as a spiritual City of God (in a book of the same name), distinct from the material Earthly City. His thoughts profoundly influenced the medieval worldview. Augustine's City of God was closely identified with the segment of the Church that adhered to the concept of the Trinity as defined by the Council of Nicaea and the Council of Constantinople.

In the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, he is a saint, a pre-eminent Doctor of the Church, and the patron of the Augustinians. His memorial is celebrated on 28 August, the day of his death. He is the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, the alleviation of sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses. Many Protestants, especially Calvinists, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of the Protestant Reformation due to his teachings on salvation and divine grace.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, many of his teachings are not accepted. This is the same in the Oriental Orthodox communion. The most important doctrinal controversy surrounding his name is the filioque. Other doctrines that are sometimes unacceptable to the Eastern Orthodox Church are his view of original sin, the doctrine of grace, and predestination. Nonetheless, though considered to be mistaken on some points, he is still considered a saint, and his feast day is celebrated on 15 June. He carries the additional title of Blessed among the Orthodox, either as "Blessed Augustine" or "St. Augustine the Blessed."

Source: wiki.com

June 23

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Jerome

Saint Jerome translated a version of the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate) using the unstable Alexandrian Greek Text

Saint Jerome (Latin: Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus) lived 347 AD – September 30, 420 AD. Was a Latin Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, who also became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia. He is best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate), and his commentaries on the Gospel of the Hebrews. His list of writings is extensive.

He is recognised as a saint by the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Lutheran Church, and the Church of England (Anglican Communion). Jerome is commemorated on 30 September with a memorial.

At the Catechetical School of Alexandria, Jerome listened to the catechist Didymus the Blind expounding the prophet Hosea and telling his reminiscences of Anthony the Great, who had died 30 years before; he spent some time in Nitria, admiring the disciplined community life of the numerous inhabitants of that "city of the Lord," but detecting even there "concealed serpents," i.e., the influence of Origen of Alexandria. Late in the summer of 388 he was back in Israel, and spent the remainder of his life in a hermit's cell near Bethlehem, surrounded by a few friends, both men and women (including Paula and Eustochium), to whom he acted as priestly guide and teacher.

For the next 15 years, until he died, Jerome produced a number of commentaries on Scripture, often explaining his translation choices in using the original Hebrew rather than suspect translations. His patristic commentaries align closely with Jewish tradition, and he indulges in allegorical and mystical subtleties after the manner of Philo and the Alexandrian school. Unlike his contemporaries, he emphasizes the difference between the Hebrew Bible "apocrypha" and the Hebraica veritas of the protocanonical books. Evidence of this can be found in his introductions to the Solomonic writings, the Book of Tobit, and the Book of Judith. Most notable, however, is the statement from his introduction to the Books of Samuel:

Jerome is the second most voluminous writer (after St. Augustine) in ancient Latin Christianity. In the Roman Catholic Church, he is recognized as the patron saint of translators, librarians and encyclopedists.

Source: wiki.com

June 24

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Ancient Library of Alexandria

The Ancient Library of Alexandria, Egypt

Ancient Library of Alexandria, in Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. It flourished under the patronage of the Ptolemaic dynasty and functioned as a major center of scholarship from its construction in the 3rd century BC until the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC. With collections of works, lecture halls, meeting rooms, and gardens, the library was part of a larger research institution called the Musaeum of Alexandria, where many of the most famous thinkers of the ancient world studied.

The library was conceived and opened either during the reign of Ptolemy I Soter (323–283 BC) or during the reign of his son Ptolemy II (283–246 BC). As a symbol of the wealth and power of Egypt, it employed many scribes to borrow books from around the known world, copy them, and return them. Most of the books were kept as papyrus scrolls, and though it is unknown how many such scrolls were housed at any given time, their combined value was incalculable.

The library is famous for having been burned, resulting in the loss of many scrolls and books, and has become a symbol of the destruction of cultural knowledge.

Ancient sources differ widely on who is responsible for the destruction and when it occurred

Although there is a mythology of the burning of the Library at Alexandria, the library may have suffered several fires or acts of destruction over many years. Possible occasions for the partial or complete destruction of the Library of Alexandria include a fire set by Julius Caesar in 48 BC, an attack by Roman Emperor Aurelian in the 270s AD [the most probable timeframe of destruction - though probably later from anarchy or natural causes - Aurelian did not write or mention any knowledge of the library burning during his time there], the decree of Coptic Pope Theophilus in 391 AD, and the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 642 AD.

After the main library was fully destroyed, ancient scholars used a "daughter library" in a temple known as the Serapeum, located in another part of the city. According to Socrates of Constantinople, Coptic Pope Theophilus destroyed the Serapeum in 391 AD.

Rumored Destructions of the Library of Alexandria

The Burning of the Library at Alexandria in 391 AD, an illustration from 'Hutchinsons History of the Nations', 1910 AD.

The famous burning of the Library of Alexandria, including the incalculable loss of ancient works, has become a symbol of the irretrievable loss of public knowledge. Although there is a mythology of "the burning of the Library at Alexandria", the library may have suffered several fires or acts of destruction of varying degrees over many years. Ancient and modern sources identify several possible occasions for the partial or complete destruction of the Library of Alexandria.

During Caesar's Civil War, Julius Caesar was besieged at Alexandria in 48 BC. Many ancient sources describe Caesar setting fire to his own ships and state that this fire spread to the library, destroying it.

When the enemy endeavored to cut off his communication by sea, he was forced to divert that danger by setting fire to his own ships, which, after burning the docks, thence spread on and destroyed the great library. — Plutarch, Life of Caesar

Bolstering this claim, in the 4th century both the pagan historian Ammianus and the Christian historian Orosius wrote that the Bibliotheca Alexandrina had been destroyed by Caesar's fire. However, Florus and Lucan claim that the flames Caesar set only burned the fleet and some "houses near the sea". Years after Caesar's campaign in Alexandria, the Greek geographer Strabo claimed to have worked in the Alexandrian Library.

The library seems to have continued in existence to some degree until its contents were largely lost during the taking of the city by the Emperor Aurelian (270–275 AD), who was suppressing a revolt by Queen Zenobia of Palmyra. During the course of the fighting, the areas of the city in which the main library was located were damaged. Some sources claim that the smaller library located at the Serapeum survived, though Ammianus Marcellinus wrote of the library in the Serapeum temple as a thing of the past, destroyed when Caesar sacked Alexandria.

Paganism was made illegal by an edict of the Emperor Theodosius I in 391 AD. The temples of Alexandria were closed by Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria in AD 391. The historian Socrates of Constantinople describes that all pagan temples in Alexandria were destroyed, including the Serapeum. Since the Serapeum housed a part of the Great Library, some scholars believe that the remains of the Library of Alexandria were destroyed at this time. However, it is not known how many, if any, books were contained in it at the time of destruction, and contemporary scholars do not mention the library directly.

In 642 AD, Alexandria was captured by the Muslim army of Amr ibn al `Aas. Several later Arabic sources describe the library's destruction by the order of Caliph Omar. Bar-Hebraeus, writing in the 13th century, quotes Omar as saying "If those books are in agreement with the Quran, we have no need of them; and if these are opposed to the Quran, destroy them." Later scholars are skeptical of these stories, given the range of time that had passed before they were written down and the political motivations of the various writers.

Legacy

Although the various component parts of the physical library were destroyed, in fact the centers of academic excellence had already moved to various capital cities. Furthermore, it is possible that most of the material from the Library of Alexandria actually survived, by way of the Imperial Library of Constantinople, the Academy of Gondishapur, and the House of Wisdom. This material may then have been preserved by the Reconquista, which led to the formation of European Universities and the recompilation of ancient texts from formerly scattered fragments.

Modern Day

In 2002, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina was inaugurated near the site of the ancient library, intended as a commemoration and emulation of the Royal Library of Alexandria.

Source: wiki.com

June 25

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The Apostles Creed

The Apostles Creed about 180 AD

The Apostles' Creed, sometimes titled Symbol [a group contribution] of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief, a creed or "symbol".

It is widely used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical Churches of Western tradition, including the Roman Church, Lutheranism, Anglicanism, and Western Orthodoxy. It is also used by Presbyterians, Methodists, and Congregationalists.

The Apostles' Creed was based on Christian theological understanding of the Canonical gospels, the letters of the New Testament and to a lesser extent the Old Testament. Its basis appears to be the old Roman Creed. Because of the early origin of its original form, it does not address some Christological issues defined in the Nicene and other Christian Creeds. It thus says nothing explicitly about the divinity of either Jesus or of the Holy Spirit. This makes it acceptable to many Arians and Unitarians. Nor does it address many other theological questions that became objects of dispute centuries later.

The first mention of the expression "Apostles' Creed" occurs in a letter of 390 AD from a synod in Milan, Italy and may have been associated with the belief, widely accepted in the 4th century, that, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, each of the Twelve Apostles contributed an article of a creed.

The Apostles Creed about 180 AD

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth;

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

Amen.

Source: wiki.com

June 26

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The Nicene Creed 325 AD

The Nicene Creed 381 AD - Modified 325 AD Creed

The Nicene Creed (381 AD) is the "profession of faith" or creed that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It forms the mainstream definition of Christianity for most Christians.

The Nicene Creed 381 AD (Nicene Creed 325 AD slightly modified)

We believe in one God the Father, the Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father (and the Son). With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

Source: wiki.com

June 27

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Athanasian Creed

Athanasian Creed about 480 AD

Origins of the Athanasian Creed

In fact, it was not originally called a creed at all, nor was Athanasius' name originally attached to it. Athanasius' name seems to have become attached to the creed as a sign of its strong declaration of Trinitarian faith. The reasoning for rejecting Athanasius as the author usually relies on a combination of the following:

The creed originally was most likely written in Latin, while Athanasius composed in Greek
Neither Athanasius nor his contemporaries ever mention the Creed
It is not mentioned in any records of the ecumenical councils
It appears to address theological concerns that developed after Athanasius died (including the filioque)
It was most widely circulated among Western Christians

Athanasian Creed about 480 AD

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the catholic religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation; that he also believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess; that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the Essence of the Father; begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Essence of his Mother, born in the world. Perfect God; and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood. Who although he is God and Man; yet he is not two, but one Christ. One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh; but by assumption of the Manhood by God. One altogether; not by confusion of Essence; but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man; so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell; rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of the God the Father Almighty, from whence he will come to judge the living and the dead. At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies; And shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire. This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved.

Source: wiki.com

June 28

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Pope Leo I

Pope Leo I first modern Pope, first to have been called "the Great"

Pope Leo I (400 – November 10, 461 AD), also known as Saint Leo the Great, was Pope from September 29, 440 AD to his death in 461 AD.

He was an Italian aristocrat, and was the first pope to have been called "the Great". He is perhaps best known for having met Attila the Hun in 452 and persuading him to turn back from his invasion of Italy. He is also a Doctor of the Church, most remembered theologically for issuing the Tome of Leo, a document which was foundational to the debates of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon. The Council of Chalcedon, the fourth ecumenical council, dealt primarily with Christology, and elucidated the orthodox definition of Christ's being as the hypostatic union of two natures—divine and human—united in one person, "with neither confusion nor division". It was followed by a major schism associated with Monophysitism, Miaphysitism and Dyophysitism.

Teachings on Christ

Leo's writings (both the sermons and the letters) are mostly concerned with theological questions concerning the person of Jesus Christ (Christology) and his role as mediator and savior (Soteriology). This is partially connected to the Council of Chalcedon in which Roman legates participated in Leo's name. Subsequently, through numerous letters addressed to bishops and members of the imperial family, Leo incessantly worked for the propagation and universal reception of the faith in Christ as defined by Chalcedon, also in the Eastern part of the Roman empire. Leo defends the true divinity and the true humanity of the one Christ against heretical one-sidedness. He takes up this topic also in many of his sermons, and over the years he further develops his own original concepts. A central idea around which Leo deepens and explains his theology is Christ's presence in the Church, more specifically in the teaching and preaching of the faith (Scripture, Tradition and their interpretation), in the liturgy (sacraments and celebrations), in the life of the individual believer and of the organized Church, especially in a council.

The Apostle Peter and his Heir

Leo contributes to the development of the doctrine on papal primacy, based on his personal devotion to St Peter and on the veneration for the Apostle and his tomb in Rome. Besides recourse to biblical language, Leo also describes his own special relationship with St Peter in terms derived from Roman law. He calls himself the (unworthy) heir and deputy (vicarius) of Peter, having received his apostolic authority and being obliged to follow his example. On the one hand, Peter stands before him with a claim on how Leo is to exercise his office; on the other hand, Leo, as the Roman bishop, represents the Apostle, whose authority he holds. Christ, however, always comes out as the source of all grace and authority, and Leo is responsible to him for how he fulfills his duties (cf. sermon 1). Peter is indeed the example for Leo's relationship to Christ. Thus, the office of the Roman bishop, with its universal significance, is grounded on the special relationship between Christ and St Peter, a relationship that per se cannot be repeated; therefore, Leo depends on St Peter's mediation, his assistance and his example in order to be able to adequately fulfill his role and exercise his authority as the Bishop of Rome, both in the city and beyond.

Dispute with Dioscorus of Alexandria

In 445 AD, Leo disputed with Patriarch Dioscorus, St. Cyril's successor as Patriarch of Alexandria, insisting that the ecclesiastical practice of his see should follow that of Rome on the basis that Mark the Evangelist, the disciple of Saint Peter and founder of the Alexandrian Church, could have had no other tradition than that of the Prince of the Apostles [St. Peter]. This, of course, was not the position of the Copts [Egyptian Christians], who saw the ancient patriarchates as equals.

Source: wiki.com

June 29

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King Charlemagne

King Charlemagne (Charles I) - The Father of Modern Europe

Charlemagne (about 742 – January 28, 814 AD), also known as Charles the Great or Charles I, was the King of the Franks from 768 AD, the King of Italy from 774 AD, and from 800 AD the first emperor in western Europe since the collapse of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state he founded is called the Carolingian Empire.

The oldest son of Pepin the Short and Bertrada of Laon, Charlemagne became king in 768 following the death of his father. He was initially co-ruler with his brother Carloman I. Carloman's sudden death in 771 under unexplained circumstances left Charlemagne as the undisputed ruler of the Frankish Kingdom. Charlemagne continued his father's policy towards the papacy and became its protector, removing the Lombards from power in northern Italy, and leading an incursion into Muslim Spain. He also campaigned against the peoples to his east, Christianizing them upon penalty of death, at times leading to events such as the Massacre of Verden. Charlemagne reached the height of his power in 800 when he was crowned "emperor" by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day at Old St. Peter's Basilica.

Called the "Father of Europe" (pater Europae), Charlemagne united most of Western Europe for the first time since the Roman Empire. His rule spurred the Carolingian Renaissance, a period of cultural and intellectual activity within the Catholic Church. Both the French and German monarchies considered their kingdoms to be descendants of Charlemagne's empire.

Charlemagne died in 814 AD, having ruled as emperor for just over thirteen years. He was laid to rest in his imperial capital of Aachen in today's Germany. His son Louis the Pious succeeded him.

Source: wiki.com

June 30

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The Domesday Book

The Domesday Book of 1086 AD

Domesday Book is a [taxation] manuscript that records the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 AD. The survey was executed for William I of England (William the Conqueror): "While spending the Christmas time of 1085 AD in Gloucester, William had deep speech with his counsellors and sent men all over England to each shire to find out what or how much each landholder had in land and livestock, and what it was worth" - Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

One of the main purposes of the survey was to determine who held what and what taxes had been liable under Edward the Confessor; the judgment of the Domesday assessors was final—whatever the book said about who held the material wealth or what it was worth was the law, and there was no appeal. It was written in Latin, although there were some vernacular words inserted for native terms with no previous Latin equivalent, and the text was highly abbreviated. Richard FitzNigel, writing around the year 1179 AD, stated that the book was known by the English as "Domesday", that is the Day of judgment:

for as the sentence of that strict and terrible last account cannot be evaded by any skilful subterfuge, so when this book is appealed to ... its sentence cannot be put quashed or set aside with impunity. That is why we have called the book 'the Book of judgment' ... because its decisions, like those of the Last judgment, are unalterable.

Source: wiki.com

After this I [Daniel] saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it [Rome] was diverse [different] from all the beasts [World Governments] that were before it; and [Revised Rome - 7th Kingdom] it had ten horns. ~ Daniel 7:7

Note: this is a dramatic change in the dynamics of the modern Nation State. Previous to the era of the Domesday Book governments were generally friendly and supportive of their citizens. After the time of the Domesday Book, a document compiled in order to facilitate the pillage of its own citizens, the relationship between government and those governed has become more adversarial.

July - The Christian Church, Growth

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John Wycliffe - The Morning Star of the Reformation

John Wycliffe (1320 – December 1384 AD) "The Morning Star of the Reformation"

John Wycliffe was an English Scholastic philosopher, theologian, lay preacher, translator, reformer and university teacher at Oxford in England, who was known as an early dissident in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. His followers were known as Lollards, a somewhat rebellious movement, which preached anticlerical and biblically-centred reforms. The Lollard movement was a precursor to the Protestant Reformation (for this reason, Wycliffe is sometimes called "The Morning Star of the Reformation"). He was one of the earliest opponents of papal authority influencing secular power.

Wycliffe was also an early advocate for translation of the Bible into the common language. He completed his translation directly from the Vulgate into vernacular English in the year 1382, now known as Wycliffe's Bible. It is probable that he personally translated the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; and it is possible he translated the entire New Testament, while his associates translated the Old Testament. Wycliffe's Bible appears to have been completed by 1384, with additional updated versions being done by Wycliffe's assistant John Purvey and others in 1388 and 1395.

Conflict with the Church

Theologically, his preaching expressed a strong belief in predestination that enabled him to declare an "invisible church of the elect", made up of those predestined to be saved, rather than in the "visible" Catholic Church.

The sharper the strife became, the more Wycliffe had recourse to his translation of Scripture as the basis of all Christian doctrinal opinion, and expressly tried to prove this to be the only norm for Christian faith. To refute his opponents, he wrote the book in which he endeavored to show that Holy Scripture contains all truth and, being from God, is the only authority. He referred to the conditions under which the condemnation of his 18 theses was brought about; and the same may be said of his books dealing with the Church, the office of king, and the power of the pope – all completed within the space of two years (1378–79 AD). To Wycliffe, the Church is the totality of those who are predestined to blessedness. It includes the Church triumphant in heaven, those in purgatory, and the Church militant or men on earth. No one who is eternally lost has part in it. There is one universal Church, and outside of it there is no salvation. Its head is Christ. No pope may say that he is the head, for he cannot say that he is elect or even a member of the Church.

It would be a mistake to assume that Wycliffe's doctrine of the Church – which made so great an impression upon famous priest Jan Hus – was occasioned by the western schism (1378–1417). The principles of the doctrine were already embodied in his De civili dominio. The contents of the book dealing with the Church are closely connected with the decision respecting the 18 theses. The attacks on Pope Gregory XI grow ever more extreme. Wycliffe's stand with respect to the ideal of poverty became continually firmer, as well as his position with regard to the temporal rule of the clergy. Closely related to this attitude was his book De officio regis, the content of which was foreshadowed in his 33 conclusions: One should be instructed with reference to the obligations in regard to the kingdom — to see how the two powers, royal [state] and ecclesiastical [church], may support each other in harmony in the body corporate of the Church. The royal power, Wycliffe taught, is consecrated through the testimony of Holy Scripture and the Fathers. Christ and the apostles rendered tribute to the emperor. It is a sin to oppose the power of the king, which is derived immediately from God. Subjects, above all the clergy, should pay him dutiful tribute. The honors which attach to temporal power hark back to the king; those which belong to precedence in the priestly office, to the priest. The king must apply his power with wisdom, his laws are to be in unison with those of God. From God laws derive their authority, including those which royalty has over the clergy. If one of the clergy neglects his office, he is a traitor to the king who calls him to answer for it. It follows from this that the king has an "evangelical" control. Those in the service of the Church must have regard for the laws of the State. In confirmation of this fundamental principle the archbishops in England make sworn submission to the king and receive their temporalities. The king is to protect his vassals against damage to their possessions; in case the clergy through their misuse of the temporalities cause injury, the king must offer protection. When the king turns over temporalities to the clergy, he places them under his jurisdiction, from which later pronouncements of the popes cannot release them. If the clergy relies on papal pronouncements, it must be subjected to obedience to the king.

At Oxford

Wycliffe was Master of Balliol College, Oxford in 1361. In this same year, he was presented by the college with the parish of Fylingham in Lincolnshire. For this he had to give up the leadership of Balliol College, though he could continue to live at Oxford. He is said to have had rooms in the buildings of The Queen's College, Oxford. As baccalaureate at the university, he busied himself with natural science and mathematics, and as master he had the right to read in philosophy. Obtaining a bachelor's degree in theology, Wycliffe pursued an avid interest in Biblical studies. His performance led Simon Islip, Archbishop of Canterbury, to place him at the head of Canterbury Hall in 1365, where twelve young men were preparing for the priesthood. Islip had designed the foundation for secular clergy; but when he died in 1366, Islip's successor, Simon Langham, a man of monastic training, turned the leadership of the college over to a monk. Though Wycliffe appealed to Rome, the outcome was unfavourable to him.

Between 1372 and 1384, he became a Doctor of Divinity, making use of his right to lecture upon systematic divinity, but these lectures were not the origin of his Summa. In 1376, Wycliffe received a letter from his parents suggesting he join a different university; he declined to take their advice. In 1368 (chronology), he gave up his living at Fylingham and took over the rectory of Ludgershall, Buckinghamshire, not far from Oxford, which enabled him to retain his connection with the university. Six years later, in 1374, he received the crown living of Lutterworth in Leicestershire, which he retained until his death. He had already resigned as prebendary of Aust in Westbury-on-Trym.

Source: wiki.com

July 2

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Reformation Review

A Review of the Protestanstant Reformation

The Need for Reformation a Reforming of the Church

Throughout the existence of the Christian Church the original and true Church doctrines have at times been estranged, isolated and even removed from within the confines of Church practices and traditions.

The new replacement doctrines consisting of Greek philosophy, Gnostic heresy, cultural traditions, political pressures and even occultic practices have had such a diluting effect on the actual Christian Church that a reformation a splitting away became the only viable option.

Reformation and Counter Reformation Bibles

King James Version (1611) — Revelation 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

Douay-Rheims (1899) — Revelation 5:10 And hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.

Modern Bibles

Modern Catholic Bible – Revelation 5:10 You made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they will reign on earth.

New International Version (NIV) — Revelation 5:10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.

English Standard Version (ESV) — Revelation 5:10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.

Note: where Christianity seeks to make us "Children of God" a Kingdom of Priest and Prophets to God. The philosophy, secularism and Gnosticism of ancient religions, as revealed in the new modern bible translations of today, seek to make "them" a kingdom and priests unto an unknown god. The difference in religions is very distinct and very real.

July 3

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The 3 Solas by Martin Luther

Theological Issues of the Reformation "The 3 Solas" by Martin Luther

The theology of the Reformers departed from the Roman Catholic Church primarily on the basis of three great principles:

• Sole authority of Scripture -- God revealed (John 12:38, Romans 1:17, Ephesians 3:5)

• Justification by faith alone -- man revealed (Deuteronomy 29:29, Luke 2:35)

• Priesthood of the believer -- interaction between the two (Hebrews 4:14, Hebrews 6:19, Hebrews 10:19-22)

By Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura)

Sola Scriptura (by Scripture alone) was one of the watchwords of the Reformation. This doctrine maintains that Scripture, as contained in the Bible, is the only authority for the Christian in matters of faith, life and conduct. The teachings and traditions of the church are to be completely subordinate to the Scriptures. Roman Catholicism, on the other hand, holds Scripture and Tradition to be of the same inspired Deposit of Faith.

By Faith Alone (Sola Fide)

Sola Fide (by faith alone) was the other watchword of the Reformation. This doctrine maintains that we are justified before God (and thus saved) by faith alone, not by anything we do, not by anything the church does for us, and not by faith plus anything else. It was also recognized by the early Reformers that Sola Fide is not rightly understood until it is seen as anchored in the broader principle of Sola Gratia, by grace alone. Hence the Reformers were calling the church back to the basic teaching of Scripture where the apostle Paul states that we are "saved by grace through faith and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God," Eph. 2:8.

Priesthood of All Believers - 'one priesthood of believers' (Sola Sacerdos)

The third great principle of the Reformation was the priesthood of all believers. The Scriptures teach that believers are a "holy priesthood," 1 Pet. 2:5. All believers are priests before God through our great high priest Jesus Christ. "There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus," 1 Tim. 2:5. As believers, we all have direct access to God through Christ, there is no necessity for an earthly mediator. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox concept of the priesthood was seen as having no warrant in Scripture, viewed as a perversion and mis-application of the Old Testament Aaronic or Levitical priesthood [the O.T. having been successfully accomplished, completed and fulfilled in the bringing in and establishing of the Messiah, Jesus Christ and His N.T.] which was clearly fulfilled in Christ and done away with by the New Testament.

Source: Theopedia.com

Note: The original 3 Solas are comprised of the three necessary and distinct categories; God Revealed (One Scripture), Man Revealed (One Faith), and the interaction between the two (One Priesthood).

July 4

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The Believer's Priesthood

The Believer's Priesthood "The Royal Priesthood"

The Believer's Priesthood

All of you (Redeemed) also, as lively stones (Members of the Eternal Temple), are built up a Spiritual House (Eternal Temple), an Holy [Melchizedek] Priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. ~ 1 Peter 2:5

The main difference between the Levitical Priesthood of the Old Testament and the Royal Priesthood of the New Testament is that the Levitical Priesthood is physical in nature while the Royal Priesthood is Spiritual in nature otherwise the two priesthoods are nearly identical in that the physical sacrifices the Levitical Priests offered up to God are actually models and types of the Spiritual sacrifices that we now offer up to God.

For if He (Jesus) were on earth, He should not be a Priest, seeing that there are priests (Levitical) that offer gifts according to the law: Who (Levitical Priests) serve unto the example and Shadow of Heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the Tabernacle: for, See, says He (God), that you make all things according to the pattern showed to you in the mount. But now has He (Jesus) obtained a more excellent [than the Levitical] Ministry, by how much also He is the mediator of a better [New] Covenant, which was established upon better [blood of Jesus and the Resurrection of Jesus] promises. ~ Hebrews 8:4-6

Jesus instructed that the entire teaching of the Old Testament Law and of the Prophets is not physical but is Spiritual to direct mankind into a relationship of loving God and of loving our fellow neighbor.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. ~ Matthew 22:36-40

This is now fulfilled in the Royal Law of the New Testament's Royal Priesthood.

If all of you fulfil the Royal [Melchizedek] Law according to the scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, all of you do well: ~ James 2:8

But all of you are a chosen generation, a Royal Priesthood, an Holy Nation, an exclusive people; that all of you should show forth the praises of Him (God) who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; ~ 1 Peter 2:9

Both Priesthoods require a High Priest and for the Royal Priesthood it is Jesus that is the High Priest as Jesus occupies All three offices of King, Priest and Prophet and therefore His Priesthood derives the name of "Royal" Kingly Priesthood.

But [Jesus] Christ being come [incarnate] an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect [Heavenly] Tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the Holy Place (Heaven), having obtained eternal redemption for us. ~ Hebrews 9:11-12

Conclusion: The Royal Priesthood

I plead to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that all of you present your bodies a living [Melchizedek] sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. ~ Romans 12:1

Source: BasicChristian.org

July 5

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House of Medici

The Occult - House of Medici

The House of Medici [Occult Family] was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici in the Republic of Florence during the late 14th century. The family originated in the Mugello region of the Tuscan countryside, gradually rising until they were able to fund the Medici Bank. The bank was the largest in Europe during the 15th century, seeing the Medici gain political power in Florence — though officially they remained citizens rather than monarchs.

The Four Medici Popes

The Medici produced four Popes of the Catholic Church — Pope Leo X (1513–1521) [the Pope Martin Luther opposed], Pope Clement VII (1523–1534) [presided during the sacking of Rome (1527)], Pope Pius IV (1559–1565), and Pope Leo XI (1605); two regent queens of France—Catherine de' Medici (1547–1559) and Marie de' Medici (1600–1610); and, in 1531, the family became hereditary Dukes of Florence. In 1569, the duchy was elevated to a grand duchy after territorial expansion. They ruled the Grand Duchy of Tuscany from its inception until 1737 AD, with the death of Gian Gastone de' Medici. The grand duchy witnessed degrees of economic growth under the earlier grand dukes, but by the time of Cosimo III de' Medici, Tuscany was fiscally bankrupt.

Their wealth and influence initially derived from the textile trade guided by the guild of the Arte della Lana. Like other signore families they dominated their city's government, they were able to bring Florence under their family's power, allowing for an environment where art and humanism could flourish. They fostered and inspired the birth of the Italian Renaissance along with other families of Italy, such as the Visconti and Sforza of Milan, the Este of Ferrara, and the Gonzaga of Mantua.

The Medici Bank was one of the most prosperous and most respected institutions in Europe. There are some estimates that the Medici family were the wealthiest family in Europe for a period of time. From this base, they acquired political power initially in Florence and later in wider Italy and Europe. A notable contribution to the profession of accounting was the improvement of the general ledger system through the development of the double-entry bookkeeping system for tracking credits and debits. The Medici family were among the earliest businesses to use the system.

Source: wiki.com

July 6

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Lorenzo de' Medici

Lorenzo de' Medici the de facto ruler of the Florentine Republic during the Italian Renaissance

Lorenzo de' Medici (1 January 1449 – 9 April 1492) was an Italian statesman and de facto ruler of the Florentine Republic during the Italian Renaissance. Known as Lorenzo the Magnificent (Lorenzo il Magnifico) by contemporary Florentines, he was a diplomat, politician and patron of scholars, artists, and poets. He is perhaps best known for his contribution to the art world, giving large amounts of money to artists so they could create master works of art. His life coincided with the high point of the mature phase Italian Renaissance and his death coincided with the end of the Golden Age of Florence. The fragile peace he helped maintain between the various Italian states collapsed with his death. Lorenzo de' Medici is buried in the Medici Chapel in Florence.

Lorenzo's court included artists such as Piero and Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Andrea del Verrocchio, Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and Michelangelo Buonarroti who were involved in the 15th-century Renaissance. Although he did not commission many works himself, he helped them secure commissions from other patrons. Michelangelo lived with Lorenzo and his family for five years, dining at the family table and participating in the discussions led by Marsilio Ficino.

Lorenzo was an artist himself, writing poetry in his native Tuscan. In his poetry he celebrates life even while—particularly in his later works—acknowledging with melancholy the fragility and instability of the human condition. Love, feasts and light dominate his verse.

Cosimo de' Medici had started the collection of books which became the Medici Library (also called the Laurentian Library) and Lorenzo expanded it. Lorenzo's agents retrieved from the East large numbers of classical works, and he employed a large workshop to copy his books and disseminate their content across Europe. He supported the development of humanism through his circle of scholarly friends including the philosophers Marsilio Ficino, Poliziano and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. They studied Greek philosophers, [published the Occult Kabbalah], and attempted to merge the ideas of Plato with Christianity.

Apart from a personal interest Lorenzo also used the Florentine scene of fine arts for his diplomatic efforts. An example includes the commission of Ghirlandaio, Botticelli, Pietro Perugino and Cosimo Rosselli to Rome in order to paint murals in the Sistine Chapel — a move that has been interpreted as sealing the alliance between Lorenzo and Pope Sixtus IV.

In 1471 Lorenzo calculated that since 1434, his family had spent some 663,000 florins (approx. 460 million USD today) for charity, buildings and taxes.

Source: wiki.com

July 7

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Kabbalah

Kabbalah - Jewish Occultism

Kabbalah (literally "receiving/tradition" also transliterated Cabala, Qabbala); different transliterations now tend to denote alternative traditions it is an esoteric [secret knowledge] method, discipline, and school of thought that originated in Judaism [by tradition with King Solomon]. A traditional Kabbalist in Judaism is called a Mekubal.

Kabbalah's definition varies according to the tradition and aims of those following it, from its religious origin as an integral part of [occult] Judaism, to its later Christian, New Age, and Occultist syncretic [one world religion] adaptations. Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between an unchanging, eternal, and mysterious Ein Sof (no end) and the mortal and finite universe (God's creation). While it is heavily used by some denominations, it is not a religious denomination in itself. It forms the foundations of mystical religious interpretation. Kabbalah seeks to define the nature of the universe and the human being, the nature and purpose of existence, and various other ontological questions. It also presents methods to aid understanding of these concepts and thereby attain spiritual realisation.

Kabbalah originally developed entirely within the realm of Jewish thought, and kabbalists often use classical Jewish sources to explain and demonstrate its esoteric teachings. These teachings are held by followers in Judaism to define the inner meaning of both the Hebrew Bible and traditional Rabbinic literature and their formerly concealed transmitted dimension, as well as to explain the significance of Jewish religious observances.

Traditional practitioners believe its earliest origins pre-date world religions, forming the primordial blueprint for Creation's philosophies, religions, sciences, arts, and political systems. Historically, Kabbalah emerged, after earlier forms of Jewish mysticism, in 12th- to 13th-century Southern France and Spain, becoming reinterpreted in the Jewish mystical renaissance of 16th-century Ottoman Palestine. It was popularised in the form of Hasidic Judaism from the 18th century onwards. 20th-century interest in Kabbalah has inspired cross-denominational Jewish renewal and contributed to wider non-Jewish contemporary spirituality, as well as engaging its flourishing emergence and historical re-emphasis through newly established academic investigation.

Source: wiki.com

July 8

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Michelangelo and the Medici

Michelangelo the Great Artist and Painter of the Famous Fresco in the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo's father sent him to study grammar with the Humanist Francesco da Urbino in Florence as a young boy. The young artist, however, showed no interest in his schooling, preferring to copy paintings from churches and seek the company of painters. At thirteen, Michelangelo was apprenticed to the painter Domenico Ghirlandaio. When Michelangelo was only fourteen, his father persuaded Ghirlandaio to pay his apprentice as an artist, which was highly unusual at the time. When in 1489 Lorenzo de' Medici, de facto ruler of Florence, asked Ghirlandaio for his two best pupils, Ghirlandaio sent Michelangelo and Francesco Granacci. Lorenzo had taken notice of Michelangelo’s unusual talent and, wishing to encourage him, proposed for Michelangelo to move into the palace and live there as his son to be educated along with the Medici children. Lorenzo even offered Michelangelo’s father Lodovico a respectable position in the palace. Michelangelo was thrown into the midst of the Medici circle where he was involved with poetry, science, philosophy, and art. It was then that Michelangelo first began writing down his deepest thoughts in poetry which he continued to do for the rest of his life.

From 1490 to 1492, Michelangelo attended the Humanist academy which the Medici had founded along Neo Platonic lines. He absorbed Platonist and Neo-Platonist philosophies through his direct contact with some of the great Humanist philosophers of the Medici Court. Consequently, both Michelangelo's outlook and his art were subject to the influence of many of the most prominent philosophers and writers of the day including Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola and Angelo Poliziano. Michelangelo studied sculpture under Bertoldo di Giovanni. At this time Michelangelo sculpted the reliefs Madonna of the Steps (1490–1492) and Battle of the Centaurs (1491–1492). The latter was based on a theme suggested by Poliziano and was commissioned by Lorenzo de' Medici.

Lorenzo de' Medici's death on April 8, 1492, brought a reversal of Michelangelo's circumstances. Michelangelo left the security of the Medici court and returned to his father's house. In the following months he carved a wooden crucifix (1493), as a gift to the prior of the Florentine church of Santo Spirito, who had permitted him some studies of anatomy on the corpses of the church's hospital. Between 1493 and 1494 he bought a block of marble for a larger than life statue of Hercules, which was sent to France and subsequently disappeared sometime around the 18th century. On January 20, 1494, after heavy snowfalls, Lorenzo's heir, Piero de Medici commissioned a snow statue, and Michelangelo again entered the court of the Medici. The Medici sixty year reign came to an end under the reign of Piero Medici. In the same year, the Medici were expelled from Florence as the result of the rise of Girolamo Savonarola. Michelangelo left the city before the end of the political upheaval, moving to Venice and then to Bologna, where he stayed for more than a year.

Towards the end of 1494, the political situation in Florence was calmer. Upon his return to Florence, he found that things in the city had greatly changed. The city, previously under threat from the French, was no longer in danger as Charles VIII had suffered defeats. Michelangelo returned to Florence but received no commissions from the new city government under Savonarola. He returned to the employment of the Medici. During the half year he spent in Florence he worked on two small statues, a child St. John the Baptist and a sleeping Cupid.

In 1527, the Florentine citizens, encouraged by the sack of Rome, threw out the Medici and restored the republic. A siege of the city ensued, and Michelangelo went to the aid of his beloved Florence by working on the city's fortifications from 1528 to 1529. The city fell in 1530, and the Medici were restored to power. Completely out of sympathy with the repressive reign of the ducal [Dukedom] Medici, Michelangelo left Florence for good in the mid-1530s, leaving assistants to complete the Medici chapel. Michelangelo left Florence for the last time at the age of sixty, leaving the Medici chapel unfinished. Michelangelo decided to settle in Rome, where he had hoped to finish Pope Julius II's tomb but was unable to do so, due to a new project that had been assigned to him by Pope Paul III. Thus Michelangelo set the tomb aside to paint a fresco in the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo was commissioned to do the tombs of Urbino, Lorenzo de' Medici’s grandson, Giuliano, duke of Nemours and Lorenzo’s third son, and popes Leo X and Clement VII, both Medici; also Lorenzo the Great. Only two were completed: Giuliano’s and Lorenzo’s.

Although the construction of the monument of Pope Julius did not go according to plan, it was officially unveiled in February 1545. The original design had been cut down to something small and manageable with only three sculptured done by Michelangelo. Michelangelo, at seventy years old, had set a high standard for the following artists to come. People were already attempting to sum up his accomplishments and considering his place in history. From this time on, he was known as the ‘Divine Michelangelo’, a living legend, the master of Renaissance. Yet old though he was, in 1547, Pope Paul III appointed him chief architect of St. Peter's Basilica, which he would work on for the rest of his life. Michelangelo died of old age, leaving the project unfinished. Though he devoted the last seventeen years of his life to this task, Michelangelo refused to accept anything. He said he did it for the good of his soul. Years later his body was brought back from Rome for interment at the Basilica di Santa Croce, fulfilling the maestro's last request to be buried in his beloved Tuscany.

Source: wiki.com

Note: there are indications that Michelangelo rejected his occult upbringing and converted to a mild form of [works based] Christianity. Before his death Michelangelo requested and later received a Christian burial along with receiving his 'last rites' sacrament from a priest.

July 9

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Pope Leo X - Occult Pope

Occult Pope - Pope Leo X granted fraudulent financial indulgences for sins and was opposed by Martin Luther's 95 Theses

Pope Leo X (11 December 1475 – 1 December 1521), born Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici, was Pope from 9 March 1513 to his death in 1521. The second son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, ruler of the Florentine Republic, he was elevated to the cardinalate in 1489; subsequently progressing to the rank of cardinal-deacon.

Following the death of Pope Julius II, Giovanni was elected pope after securing the backing of the younger members of the Sacred College. Early on in his reign he oversaw the closing sessions of the Fifth Council of the Lateran, but failed sufficiently to implement the reforms agreed. In 1517 he led a costly war that succeeded in securing his nephew as duke of Urbino, but which damaged the papal finances. He later only narrowly escaped a plot by some cardinals to poison him.

He is probably best remembered for granting indulgences for those who donated to reconstruct St. Peter's Basilica, which practice was challenged by Martin Luther's 95 Theses. He seems not to have taken seriously the array of demands for church reform that would quickly grow into the Protestant Reformation. His Papal Bull of 1520, Exsurge Domine, simply condemned Luther on a number of areas and made ongoing engagement difficult. He did, however, grant establishment to the Oratory of Divine Love.

He borrowed and spent heavily. A significant patron of the arts, upon election Leo is alleged to have said, "Since God has given us the papacy, let us enjoy it". Under his reign, progress was made on the rebuilding of Saint Peter's Basilica and artists such as Raphael decorated the Vatican rooms. Leo also reorganised the Roman University, and promoted the study of literature, poetry and antiquities. His personal arrangements attracted contemporary comment on his possible homosexuality. He died in 1521 and is buried in Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome.

Source: wiki.com

July 10

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Martin Luther

Martin Luther's posting of his "Ninety-Five Theses" on October 31, 1517 AD is considered the date of the Protestant Reformation

Martin Luther OSA [Order of Saint Augustine] (10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German monk, former Catholic priest, professor of theology and seminal figure of a reform movement in 16th century Christianity, subsequently known as the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with monetary values. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel, a Dominican friar, with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517. His refusal to retract all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 resulted in his excommunication by the Pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the Emperor.

Luther taught that salvation and subsequently eternity in heaven is not earned by good deeds but is received only as a free gift of God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ as redeemer from sin and subsequently eternity in Hell. His theology challenged the authority of the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge from God and opposed sacerdotalism by considering all baptized Christians to be a holy priesthood. Those who identify with these, and all of Luther's wider teachings, are called Lutherans even though Luther insisted on Christian as the only acceptable name for individuals who professed Christ.

His translation of the Bible into the vernacular (instead of Latin) made it more accessible, which had a tremendous impact on the church and on German culture. It fostered the development of a standard version of the German language, added several principles to the art of translation, and influenced the writing of an English translation, the King James Bible. His hymns influenced the development of singing in churches. His marriage to Katharina von Bora set a model for the practice of clerical marriage, allowing Protestant priests to marry.

In his later years, in deteriorating health, Luther became increasingly antagonistic toward Jews, writing that Jewish synagogues and homes should be destroyed, their money confiscated, and liberty curtailed. These statements and their influence on antisemitism have contributed to his controversial status. Martin Luther died unrecanted of his beliefs in 1546, while his decree of excommunication by Pope Leo X has never been rescinded.

Monastic and Academic Life

Luther dedicated himself to monastic life, devoting himself to fasting, long hours in prayer, pilgrimage, and frequent confession. He would later remark, "If anyone could have gained heaven as a monk, then I would certainly have done so." Luther described this period of his life as one of deep spiritual despair. He said, "I lost touch with Christ the Savior and Comforter, and made of him the jailer and hangman of my poor soul." Johann von Staupitz, his superior, pointed Luther’s mind away from continual reflection upon his sins toward the merits of Christ. He taught that true repentance does not involve self-inflicted penances and punishments but rather a change of heart.

In 1507, he was ordained to the priesthood, and in 1508 von Staupitz, first dean of the newly founded University of Wittenberg, sent for Luther, to teach theology. He received a Bachelor's degree in Biblical studies on 9 March 1508, and another Bachelor's degree in the Sentences by Peter Lombard in 1509. On 19 October 1512, he was awarded his Doctor of Theology and, on 21 October 1512, was received into the senate of the theological faculty of the University of Wittenberg, having been called to the position of Doctor in Bible. He spent the rest of his career in this position at the University of Wittenberg.

Later Life

Luther wrote about the Jews throughout his career, though only a few of his works dealt with them directly. Luther rarely encountered Jews during his life, but his attitudes reflected a theological and cultural tradition which saw Jews as a rejected people guilty of the murder of Christ, and he lived within a local community that had expelled Jews some ninety years earlier. He considered the Jews blasphemers and liars because they rejected the divinity of Jesus, whereas Christians believed Jesus was the Messiah. But Luther believed that all human beings who set themselves against God were equally guilty. As early as 1516, he wrote that many people "are proud with marvelous stupidity when they call the Jews dogs, evildoers, or whatever they like, while they too, and equally, do not realize who or what they are in the sight of God". In 1523, Luther advised kindness toward the Jews in That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew, but only with the aim of converting them to Christianity. When his efforts at conversion failed, he grew increasingly bitter toward them.

Luther had been suffering from ill health for years, including Ménière's disease, vertigo, fainting, tinnitus, and a cataract in one eye. From 1531 to 1546, his health deteriorated further. The years of struggle with Rome, the antagonisms with and among his fellow reformers, and the scandal which ensued from the bigamy of the Philip of Hesse incident, in which Luther had played a leading role, all may have contributed. In 1536, he began to suffer from kidney and bladder stones, and arthritis, and an ear infection ruptured an ear drum. In December 1544, he began to feel the effects of angina.

His poor physical health made him short-tempered and even harsher in his writings and comments. His wife Katharina was overheard saying, "Dear husband, you are too rude," and he responded, "They are teaching me to be rude." In 1545 and 1546 Luther preached three times in the Market Church in Halle, staying with his friend Justus Jonas during Christmas.

His last sermon was delivered at Eisleben, his place of birth, on 15 February 1546, three days before his death. It was "entirely devoted to the obdurate Jews, whom it was a matter of great urgency to expel from all German territory," according to Léon Poliakov. James Mackinnon writes that it concluded with a "fiery summons to drive the Jews bag and baggage from their midst, unless they desisted from their calumny and their usury and became Christians." Luther said, "we want to practice Christian love toward them and pray that they convert," but also that they are "our public enemies ... and if they could kill us all, they would gladly do so. And so often they do." {Complete lies of unfounded, disoriented, misinformation.}

An apoplectic stroke deprived him of his speech, and he died shortly afterwards at 2:45 a.m. on 18 February 1546, aged 62, in Eisleben, the city of his birth. He was buried in the Castle Church in Wittenberg, beneath the pulpit. The funeral was held by his friends Johannes Bugenhagen and Philipp Melanchthon. A year later, troops of Luther's adversary Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor entered the town, but were ordered by Charles not to disturb the grave.

A piece of paper was later found on which Luther had written his last statement. The statement was in Latin, apart from "We are beggars," which was in German.

1. No one can understand Virgil's Bucolics unless he has been a shepherd for five years. No one can understand Virgil's Georgics, unless he has been a farmer for five years.

2. No one can understand Cicero's Letters (or so I teach), unless he has busied himself in the affairs of some prominent state for twenty years.

3. Know that no one can have indulged in the Holy Writers sufficiently, unless he has governed churches for a hundred years with the prophets, such as Elijah and Elisha, John the Baptist, Christ and the Apostles. -- {Possibly a later addition} (Do not assail this divine Aeneid [Greek gods]; nay, rather prostrate revere the ground that it treads.) We are beggars: this is true.

Source: wiki.com

July 11

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Pope Clement VII - Occult Pope

Pope Clement VII - The Sacke of Rome 1527 AD

Pope Clement VII (26 May 1478 – 25 September 1534), born Giulio di Giuliano de' Medici, was Pope from 19 November 1523 to his death in 1534.

Sack of Rome 1527 AD

The Pope's wavering politics also caused the rise of the Imperial party inside the Curia: Cardinal Pompeo Colonna's soldiers pillaged Vatican Hill and gained control of the whole of Rome in his name. The humiliated Pope promised therefore to bring the Papal States to the Imperial side again. But soon after, Colonna left the siege and went to Naples, not keeping his promises and dismissing the Cardinal from his charge. From this point on, Clement VII could do nothing but follow the fate of the French party to the end.

Soon he found himself alone in Italy too, as Alfonso d'Este, duke of Ferrara, had sided with the Imperial army, allowing the horde of Landsknechts led by Charles III, Duke of Bourbon and Georg von Frundsberg to reach Rome without harm.

Charles of Bourbon died while mounting a ladder during the short siege and his starving troops, unpaid and left without a guide, felt free to ravage Rome from 6 May 1527. The many incidents of murder, rape, and vandalism that followed ended the splendours of Renaissance Rome forever. Clement VII, who had displayed no more resolution in his military than in his political conduct, was shortly afterwards (6 June) obliged to surrender himself together with the Castel Sant'Angelo, where he had taken refuge. He agreed to pay a ransom of 400,000 ducati in exchange for his life; conditions included the cession of Parma, Piacenza, Civitavecchia, and Modena to the Holy Roman Empire. (Only the last could be occupied in fact.) At the same time, Venice took advantage of his situation to capture Cervia and Ravenna while Sigismondo Malatesta returned in Rimini.

Clement was kept as a prisoner in Castel Sant'Angelo for six months. After having bought off some Imperial officers, he escaped disguised as a peddler and took shelter in Orvieto and then in Viterbo. He came back to a depopulated and devastated Rome only in October 1528.

During his half-year imprisonment in 1527, Clement VII grew a full beard as a sign of mourning for the sack of Rome. This was a violation of Catholic canon law, which required priests to be clean-shaven; however, it had the precedent of the beard which Pope Julius II had worn for nine months in 1511–12 as a similar sign of mourning for the loss of the papal city of Bologna.

Unlike Julius II, however, Clement VII kept his beard until his death in 1534. His example in wearing a beard was followed by his successor, Paul III, and indeed by twenty-four Popes who followed him, down to Innocent XII, who died in 1700. Clement VII was thus the unintentional originator of a fashion that lasted well over a century.

Meanwhile, in Florence, Republican enemies of the Medici took advantage of the chaos to again expel the Pope's family from the city.

In June of the next year the warring parties signed the Peace of Barcelona. The Papal States regained some cities, and Charles V agreed to restore the Medici to power in Florence. In 1530, after an eleven-month siege, the Tuscan city capitulated, and Clement VII installed his illegitimate son Alessandro as duke. Subsequently the Pope followed a policy of subservience to the emperor, endeavouring on the one hand to induce him to act with severity against the Lutherans in Germany and on the other to avoid his demands for a general council.

The English Reformation

Clement's dependence on Charles V led indirectly to the break between the Kingdom of England and the Catholic Church. By the late 1520s, King Henry VIII wanted to have his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled. The royal couple had not produced a male heir who survived into adulthood, and Henry wanted a son to secure the Tudor dynasty. Henry claimed that this lack of a male heir was because his marriage was "blighted in the eyes of God". Catherine had been his brother's widow, and it was therefore against Biblical teachings for Henry to have married her. Indeed, a special dispensation from Pope Julius II had been needed to allow the wedding in the first place. Henry argued that this had been wrong and that his marriage had never been valid. In 1527 Henry asked Pope Clement to annul the marriage, but the Pope refused. According to canon law, the Pope cannot annul a marriage on the basis of a canonical impediment previously dispensed. Clement also feared the wrath of Catherine's nephew, Charles V, whose own troops were responsible for the episode earlier that year that included the sack of Rome. In the matter of the annulment, no progress seemed possible: the Pope seemed more afraid of Emperor Charles V than of Henry. Many people close to Henry VIII wished simply to ignore the Pope; but in October 1530 a meeting of clergy and lawyers advised that the English Parliament could not empower the Archbishop of Canterbury to act against the Pope's prohibition. In Parliament, Bishop John Fisher was the Pope's champion.

Henry was married to Anne Boleyn at some debated point between the end of 1532 and the beginning of 1533. One 16th century chronicler put the wedding service on the feast of Saint Erkenwald in Dover Castle, around 14 November, whilst others have suggested a second or perhaps sole Nuptial Mass at the Palace of Whitehall in Westminster on 25 January 1533. The name of the celebrant is unknown, although various sources suggest it was Father Rowland Lee, future Bishop of Lichfield, or Prior George Browne, future Archbishop of Dublin. The marriage was made easier by the death of Archbishop William Warham, a stalwart friend of the Pope, after which Henry persuaded Clement to appoint Father Thomas Cranmer, a friend of the Boleyn family, as his successor as Archbishop of Canterbury. The Pope granted the papal bulls necessary for Cranmer’s promotion to Canterbury, as Henry had personally financed them. Cranmer was prepared to grant the annulment of the marriage to Catherine as Henry required. Anne gave birth to a daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth I, three months after her public coronation as queen in Westminster Abbey. The Pope responded to the marriage by excommunicating both Henry and Cranmer from the Catholic Church. For some time, the news was kept from the new queen, for fear it would bring about a miscarriage.

Consequently in England, in the same year, the Act of First Fruits and Tenths transferred the taxes on ecclesiastical income from the Pope to the English Crown. The Peter's Pence Act outlawed the annual payment by landowners of one penny to the Pope. This act also reiterated that England had "no superior under God, but only your Grace" and that Henry's "imperial crown" had been diminished by "the unreasonable and uncharitable usurpations and exactions" of the Pope. Ultimately Henry led the English Parliament to pass the Act of Supremacy (1534) that established the independent Church of England and breaking from the Catholic Church.

Source: wiki.com

July 12

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John Calvin

John Calvin the Father of the dubious Modern Reformed Theology

John Calvin (French: Jean Calvin, born Jehan Cauvin: 10 July 1509 – 27 May 1564) was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist (i.e. professionalism) lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530. After religious tensions provoked a violent uprising against Protestants in France, Calvin fled to Basel, Switzerland, where he published the first edition of his seminal work Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1536.

In that year, Calvin was recruited by William Farel to help reform the church in Geneva. The city council resisted the implementation of Calvin's and Farel's ideas, and both men were expelled. At the invitation of Martin Bucer, Calvin proceeded to Strasbourg, where he became the minister of a church of French refugees. He continued to support the reform movement in Geneva, and was eventually invited back to lead its church.

Following his return, Calvin introduced new forms of church government and liturgy, despite the opposition of several powerful families in the city who tried to curb his authority. During this period, Michael Servetus, a Spaniard known for his heretical views, arrived in Geneva. He was denounced by Calvin and executed by the city council. Following an influx of supportive refugees and new elections to the city council, Calvin's opponents were forced out. Calvin spent his final years promoting the Reformation both in Geneva and throughout Europe.

Calvin was a tireless polemic and apologetic writer who generated much controversy. He also exchanged cordial and supportive letters with many reformers, including Philipp Melanchthon and Heinrich Bullinger. In addition to the Institutes, he wrote commentaries on most books of the Bible, as well as theological treatises and confessional documents. He regularly preached sermons throughout the week in Geneva. Calvin was influenced by the Augustinian tradition, which led him to expound the doctrine of predestination and the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation of the human soul from death and eternal damnation.

Calvin's writing and preachings provided the seeds for the branch of theology that bears his name. The Reformed, Congregational, and Presbyterian churches, which look to Calvin as the chief expositor of their beliefs, have spread throughout the world.

Opposition

Calvin encountered bitter opposition to his work in Geneva. Around 1546, the uncoordinated forces coalesced into an identifiable group whom he referred to as the libertines, but who preferred to be called either Spirituels or Patriots. According to Calvin, these were people who felt that after being liberated through grace, they were exempted from both ecclesiastical and civil law. The group consisted of wealthy, politically powerful, and interrelated families of Geneva. At the end of January 1546, Pierre Ameaux, a maker of playing cards who had already been in conflict with the Consistory, attacked Calvin by calling him a "Picard", an epithet denoting anti-French sentiment, and accused him of false doctrine. Ameaux was punished by the council and forced to make expiation by parading through the city and begging God for forgiveness. A few months later Ami Perrin, the man who had brought Calvin to Geneva, moved into open opposition. Perrin had married Françoise Favre, daughter of François Favre, a well-established Genevan merchant. Both Perrin's wife and father-in-law had previous conflicts with the Consistory. The court noted that many of Geneva's notables, including Perrin, had breached a law against dancing. Initially, Perrin ignored the court when he was summoned, but after receiving a letter from Calvin, he appeared before the Consistory.

By 1547, opposition to Calvin and other French refugee ministers had grown to constitute the majority of the syndics, the civil magistrates of Geneva. On 27 June an unsigned threatening letter in Genevan dialect was found at the pulpit of St. Pierre Cathedral where Calvin preached. Suspecting a plot against both the church and the state, the council appointed a commission to investigate. Jacques Gruet, a Genevan member of Favre's group, was arrested and incriminating evidence was found when his house was searched. Under torture, he confessed to several crimes including writing the letter left in the pulpit which threatened the church leaders. A civil court condemned Gruet to death and he was beheaded on 26 July. Calvin was not opposed to the civil court's decision.

The Spirituels and Patriots continued organizing opposition, insulting the appointed ministers, and challenging the authority of the Consistory. The council straddled both sides of the conflict, alternately admonishing and upholding Calvin. When Perrin was elected first syndic in February 1552, Calvin's authority appeared to be at its lowest point. After some losses before the council, Calvin believed he was defeated; on 24 July 1553 he asked the council to allow him to resign. Although the libertines controlled the council, his request was refused. The opposition realised that they could curb Calvin's authority, but they did not have enough power to banish him.

Source: wiki.com

July 13

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TULIP

T-U-L-I-P - The Five Points of Calvinism

Calvinism, also called the Reformed tradition or the Reformed faith, is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice of John Calvin and other Reformation-era theologians. Calvinists broke with the Roman Catholic Church but differed with Lutherans on the real presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper, theories of worship, and the use of God's law for believers, among other things.

Calvinism can be a misleading term because the religious tradition it denotes is and has always been diverse, with a wide range of influences rather than a single founder. The movement was first called "Calvinism" by Lutherans who opposed it, and many within the tradition would prefer to use the word Reformed. Since the Arminian controversy, the Reformed (as a branch of Protestantism distinguished from Lutheranism) are divided into Arminians and Calvinists, however it is now rare to call Arminians Reformed, as many see these two schools of thought as opposed, making the terms Calvinist and Reformed synonymous.

While the Reformed theological tradition addresses all of the traditional topics of Christian theology, the word Calvinism is sometimes used to refer to particular Calvinist views on soteriology and predestination, which are summarized in part by the five points of Calvinism. Some have also argued that Calvinism as a whole stresses the sovereignty or rule of God in all things – in salvation but also in all of life.

Early influential Reformed theologians include John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger, Peter Martyr Vermigli, Theodore Beza, and John Knox. In the twentieth century, Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck, B. B. Warfield, Karl Barth, and Cornelius Van Til were influential, while contemporary Reformed theologians [hoaxers and agents of disinformation] include J. I. Packer, R. C. Sproul {epicenter of disinformation – inventor of the modern 5 Solas hoax}, N. T. Wright [Occultist], Timothy J. Keller [Occultist], Alister McGrath, and Michael Horton.

The biggest Reformed association is the World Communion of Reformed Churches with more than 80 million members in 211 member denominations around the World. There are more conservative Reformed federations like the World Reformed Fellowship and the International Conference of Reformed Churches.

Most objections to and attacks on Calvinism focus on the "five points of Calvinism," also called the doctrines of grace, and remembered by the mnemonic "TULIP." The five points are popularly said to summarize the Canons of Dort, however there is no historical relationship between them, and some scholars argue that their language distorts the meaning of the Canons, Calvin's theology, and the theology of 17th-century Calvinistic orthodoxy, particularly in the language of total depravity and limited atonement. The five points were popularized in the 1963 booklet The Five Points of Calvinism Defined, Defended, Documented by David N. Steele and Curtis C. Thomas. The origin of the five points and the acronym is uncertain, but it was used by Cleland Boyd McAfee as early as circa 1905. An early printed appearance of the T-U-L-I-P acronym is in Loraine Boettner's 1932 book, “The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination”. The acronym was very cautiously if ever used by Calvinist apologists and theologians before the booklet by Steele and Thomas.

Source: wiki.com

The Five Points of Calvinism --- {TULIP Refuted}

Total depravity --- {Acts 10:1-4, 1 Corinthians 6:11, 1 Timothy 6:17-19}
Unconditional election --- {Romans 2:10-11, Colossians 3:23-25, 1 Peter 1:16-17}
Limited atonement --- {John 3:16, Romans 5:18, 1 Timothy 2:6, Titus 2:11}
Irresistible grace --- {1 Timothy 2:3-4, 2 Timothy 2:12, Titus 3:4-7}
Perseverance of the saints --- {John 15:6, Jude 1:12-13, Hebrews 10:39-39, 2 Peter 2:20-21}

July 14

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Huldrych (Ulrich) Zwingli

Huldrych Zwingli - Early Reformer

Huldrych (Ulrich) Zwingli (1 January 1484 – 11 October 1531) was a leader of the Reformation in Switzerland. Born during a time of emerging Swiss patriotism and increasing criticism of the Swiss mercenary system, he attended the University of Vienna and the University of Basel, a scholarly centre of humanism. He continued his studies while he served as a pastor in Glarus and later in Einsiedeln, where he was influenced by the writings of Desiderius Erasmus.

In 1518, Zwingli became the pastor of the Grossmünster in Zurich where he began to preach ideas on reforming the Catholic Church. In his first public controversy in 1522, he attacked the custom of fasting during Lent. In his publications, he noted corruption in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, promoted clerical marriage, and attacked the use of images in places of worship. In 1525, Zwingli introduced a new communion liturgy to replace the Mass. Zwingli also clashed with the Anabaptists, which resulted in their persecution.

The Reformation spread to other parts of the Swiss Confederation, but several cantons resisted, preferring to remain Catholic. Zwingli formed an alliance of Reformed cantons which divided the Confederation along religious lines. In 1529, a war between the two sides was averted at the last moment. Meanwhile, Zwingli's ideas came to the attention of Martin Luther and other reformers. They met at the Marburg Colloquy and although they agreed on many points of doctrine, they could not reach an accord on the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. In 1531 Zwingli's alliance applied an unsuccessful food blockade on the Catholic cantons. The cantons responded with an attack at a moment when Zurich was ill prepared. Zwingli was killed in battle at the age of 47. His legacy lives on in the confessions, liturgy, and church orders of the Reformed churches of today.

Source: wiki.com

July 15

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William Tyndale

William Tyndale translated the first English Bible from the Ancient Greek

William Tyndale translated the first English Bible from Greek notably using in part the Greek Textus Receptus of Desiderius Erasmus.

William Tyndale (1494–1536 AD) was an English scholar who became a leading figure in Protestant reform in the years leading up to his execution. He is well known for his translation of the Bible into English. He was influenced by the work of Desiderius Erasmus, who made the Greek New Testament available in Europe, and by Martin Luther. While a number of partial and incomplete translations had been made from the seventh century onward, the grass-roots spread of Wycliffe's Bible resulted in a death sentence for any unlicensed possession of Scripture in English—even though translations in all other major European languages had been accomplished and made available. Tyndale's translation was the first English Bible to draw directly from Hebrew and Greek texts, the first English one to take advantage of the printing press, and first of the new English Bibles of the Reformation. It was taken to be a direct challenge to the hegemony of both the Roman Catholic Church and English Laws to maintain church rulings. In 1530 AD, Tyndale also wrote The Practyse of Prelates, opposing Henry VIII's divorce on the grounds that it contravened Scripture.

Tyndale had to learn Hebrew in Germany due to England's active Edict of Expulsion against the Jews. He worked in an age where Greek was available to the European scholarly community for the first time in centuries. Erasmus compiled and edited Greek Scriptures into the Textus Receptus — ironically, to improve upon the Latin Vulgate—following the Renaissance-fueling Fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the dispersion of Greek-speaking intellectuals and texts into a Europe which previously had access to none. Sharing Erasmus' translation ideals, Tyndale took the ill-regarded, unpopular and awkward Middle-English "vulgar" tongue, improved upon it using Greek and Hebrew syntaxes and idioms, and formed an Early Modern English basis that Shakespeare and others would later follow and build upon as Tyndale-inspired vernacular forms took over. When a copy of The Obedience of a Christian Man fell into the hands of Henry VIII, the king found the rationale to break the Church in England from the Roman Catholic Church in 1534.

In 1535 AD, Tyndale was arrested and jailed in the castle of Vilvoorde (Filford) outside Brussels for over a year. In 1536 he was convicted of heresy and executed by strangulation, after which his body was burnt at the stake. His dying request that the King of England's eyes would be opened seemed to find its fulfillment just two years later with Henry's authorization of The Great Bible for the Church of England—which was largely Tyndale's own work. Hence, the Tyndale Bible, as it was known, continued to play a key role in spreading Reformation ideas across the English-speaking world and eventually, on the global British Empire.

Notably, in 1611, the 54 independent scholars who created the King James Version, drew significantly from Tyndale, as well as translations that descended from his. One estimate suggests the New Testament in the King James Version is 83% Tyndale's, and the Old Testament 76%. With his translation of the Bible the first ever to be printed in English, and a model for subsequent English translations, in 2002, Tyndale was placed at number 26 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.

July 16

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Desiderius Erasmus

Desiderius Erasmus in 1516 AD, published the Greek (Textus Receptus) New Testament

Desiderius Erasmus in 1516, published his (Textus Receptus) Greek New Testament - Note: the (Textus Receptus) was a coalition of various existing Greek Texts aligned to the newly received more ancient Greek texts from the recently fallen region of Constantinople hence the name "Textus Receptus" or simply Texts Received.

Desiderius Erasmus

Over the years, Erasmus became intimately acquainted with biblical manuscripts available throughout Europe, particularly of the New Testament. Because the Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, it is evident as Erasmus began to search the Scriptures, they had a profound effect upon his life. By the time of his death, the theology of Erasmus had shifted closer to that of the Anabaptists than that of Rome. This will shortly be documented.

As noted above, in 1516, Erasmus published from Basel, Switzerland, his Greek New Testament which he called the Novum Instrumentum. In English that means the "New Instrument. Contrary to popular misconception, Erasmus had more than a handful of manuscripts at his disposal. Preserved Smith, the noted expert on the life of Erasmus, comments, "For the first edition Erasmus had before him ten manuscripts, four of which he found in England, and five at Basle. . . . The last codex was lent him by John Reuchlin . . . [and] appeared to Erasmus so old that it might have come from the Apostolic Age." He was aware of Vaticanus in the Vatican Library and had a friend by the name of Bombasius research that for him (165). He, however, rejected the characteristic variants of Codex Vaticanus which distinguishes itself from the Received Text (RT).

Source: av1611.com

Desiderius Erasmus (27 October 1466 AD – 12 July 1536 AD), known as Erasmus of Rotterdam, or simply Erasmus, was a Dutch Renaissance humanist (i.e. professionalism), Catholic priest, social critic, teacher, and theologian.

Erasmus was a classical scholar who wrote in a pure Latin style. He was a proponent of religious toleration, and enjoyed the sobriquet "Prince of the Humanists"; he has been called "the crowning glory of the Christian humanists". Using humanist techniques for working on texts, he prepared important new Latin and Greek editions of the New Testament. These raised questions that would be influential in the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation. He also wrote On Free Will, The Praise of Folly, Handbook of a Christian Knight, On Civility in Children, Copia: Foundations of the Abundant Style, Julius Exclusus, and many other works.

Erasmus lived against the backdrop of the growing European religious Reformation; but while he was critical of the abuses within the Church and called for reform, he kept his distance from Luther and Melanchthon and continued to recognise the authority of the pope. Erasmus emphasized a middle way, with a deep respect for traditional faith, piety and grace, and rejected Luther's emphasis on faith alone. Erasmus therefore remained a member of the Catholic Church all his life. Erasmus remained committed to reforming the Church and its clerics' abuses from within. He also held to Catholic doctrines such as that of free will, which some Reformers rejected in favor of the doctrine of predestination. His middle road approach disappointed and even angered scholars in both camps.

Erasmus died suddenly in Basel in 1536 while preparing to return to Brabant, and was buried in the Basel Minster, the former cathedral of the city. A bronze statue of him was erected in his city of birth in 1622, replacing an earlier work in stone.

Source: wiki.com

Note: though Erasmus had about a dozen Greek NT text Manuscripts available to him after comparing the various Manuscripts and confirming their uniformity he only heavily used a couple of them to complete his Greek NT Edition the Textus Receptus – not many repetitive Texts are needed if they all say the same thing because they are supposed to say the same thing. Only a couple of reliable Manuscripts were needed in order to combine them into the Greek Textus Receptus that we have today.

July 17

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King James Version

The King James Version 1611

The King James Version (KJV), commonly known as the Authorized Version (AV) or King James Bible (KJB), is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England begun in 1604 AD and completed in 1611 AD. First printed by the King's Printer Robert Barker, this was the third translation into English to be approved by the English Church authorities. The first was the Great Bible commissioned in the reign of King Henry VIII (1535 AD), and the second was the Bishops' Bible of 1568 AD. In January 1604 AD, King James VI and I convened the Hampton Court Conference where a new English version was conceived in response to the perceived problems of the earlier translations as detected by the Puritans, a faction within the Church of England.

King James gave the translators instructions intended to guarantee that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology and reflect the episcopal structure of the Church of England and its belief in an ordained clergy. The translation was done by 47 scholars, all of whom were members of the Church of England. In common with most other translations of the period, the New Testament was translated from Greek, the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew text, while the Apocrypha were translated from the Greek and Latin. In the Book of Common Prayer (1662 AD), the text of the Authorized Version replaced the text of the Great Bible – for Epistle and Gospel readings – and as such was authorized by Act of Parliament. By the first half of the 18th century, the Authorized Version was effectively unchallenged as the English translation used in Anglican and Protestant churches. Over the course of the 18th century, the Authorized Version supplanted the Latin Vulgate as the standard version of scripture for English speaking scholars. Today, the most used edition of the King James Bible, and often identified as plainly the King James Version [and even KJV 1611], especially in the United States, closely follows the standard text of 1769 AD, edited by Benjamin Blayney at Oxford.

Source: wiki.com

July 18

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Myles Coverdale

Myles Coverdale - Coverdale Bible, the first complete English Bible 1535 AD

Myles Coverdale (1488 – January 20, 1569 AD) was a 16th-century Bible translator who produced the first complete [OT and NT] printed translation of the Bible into English.

According to a plaque on the wall of York Minster he was believed to have been born in York in or about 1488. He studied at Cambridge (bachelor of canon law 1513), became priest at Norwich in 1514 and entered the convent of Austin friars at Cambridge, where Robert Barnes was Prior [Monastic superior] in 1523 and probably influenced him in favour of Reform. When Barnes was tried for heresy in 1526, Coverdale assisted in his defence and shortly afterward left the Augustinian house and fled to the Continent. Under the influence of Anglo-Italian senior clerks, Barnes would ultimately be burned at the stake in 1540 after the official passage of the Six Articles.

Legacy

His legacy was far-reaching and broad, including his English Bible of 1535. It may be an understatement to say that Erasmus, Tyndale, Coverdale, Roy and others laid the foundation for a Reformed Church of England. Further, he was involved with gentle revisions in the Great Bible, retaining much of Tyndale's original work: the entire Tyndalian New Testament, Pentateuch and historical works were essentially retained; he reworked his original work in the poets and prophets. He left his translation of the Psalter alone. His translation of the Psalter is used in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, and is the most familiar translation of the psalms for many Anglicans all over the world until revisions occurred in the 1960s. The Coverdale Psalter, however, if often used in the Collegiate and Cathedral Churches. As a consequence, many musical settings of the psalms make use of the Coverdale translation. His translation of the Roman Canon is still used in some Anglican and Anglican Use Roman Catholic churches.

Coverdale is honoured, together with William Tyndale, with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA) on 6 October. His extensive contacts with English and Continental Reformers was integral to the Edwardean English Reformation: Robert Barnes, John Frith, Martin Luther, Philip Melancthon, Heinrich Bullinger, John Calvin, Peter Martyr, Thomas Cranmer, and Hugh Latimer, to mention a few. Erasmus' Greek New Testament fostered proliferating vernacular Bibles on the Continent and William Tyndale, George Roy and others--at great sacrifice to themselves--joined in that revolutionary stream of activity. Miles Coverdale joined in the translation activity and that stream of Reformers that took England into the modern period with "millions of English Bibles"--a number that probably cannot be calculated. He is remembered by Christians in October.

Source: wiki.com

July 19

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Oxford Martyrs

The Oxford Martyrs of 1555 AD

The Oxford Martyrs were tried [during the reign of "Bloody Mary" the Catholic Mary I of England] for heresy [Protestantism] in 1555 AD and burnt at the stake in Oxford, England, for their religious beliefs and teachings. The three martyrs were the Anglican bishops Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley and Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The three were tried at University Church of St Mary the Virgin, the official church of Oxford University on the High Street. The martyrs were imprisoned at the former Bocardo Prison near the still extant St Michael at the Northgate church (at the north gate of the city walls) in Cornmarket Street. The door of their cell is on display in the tower of the church.

The martyrs were burnt at the stake just outside the city walls to the north, where Broad Street is now located. Latimer and Ridley were burnt on 16 October 1555. Cranmer was burnt five months later on 21 March 1556.

A small area cobbled with stones forming a cross in the centre of the road outside the front of Balliol College marks the site. The Victorian spire-like Martyrs' Memorial, at the south end of St Giles' nearby, commemorates the events. It is claimed that the scorch marks from the flames can still be seen on the doors of Balliol College (now rehung between the Front Quadrangle and Garden Quadrangle).

Source: wiki.com

July 20

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Thomas Cranmer

Thomas Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury, Oxford Martyr, compiled the first two editions of the Book of Common Prayer

Thomas Cranmer (2 July 1489 – 21 March 1556) was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and, for a short time, Mary I. He helped build the case for the annulment of Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, which was one of the causes of the separation of the English Church from union with the Holy See. Along with Thomas Cromwell, he supported the principle of Royal Supremacy, in which the king was considered sovereign over the Church within his realm. During Cranmer's tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury, he was responsible for establishing the first doctrinal and liturgical structures of the reformed Church of England. Under Henry's rule, Cranmer did not make many radical changes in the Church, due to power struggles between religious conservatives and reformers. However, he succeeded in publishing the first officially authorised vernacular service, the Exhortation and Litany. When Edward came to the throne, Cranmer was able to promote major reforms. He wrote and compiled the first two editions of the Book of Common Prayer, a complete liturgy for the English Church. With the assistance of several Continental reformers to whom he gave refuge, he developed new doctrinal standards in areas such as the Eucharist, clerical celibacy, the role of images in places of worship, and the veneration of saints. Cranmer promulgated the new doctrines through the Prayer Book, the Homilies and other publications. After the accession of the Roman Catholic Mary I, Cranmer was put on trial for treason and heresy. Imprisoned for over two years and under pressure from Church authorities, he made several recantations and apparently reconciled himself with the Roman Catholic Church. However, on the day of his execution, he withdrew his recantations, to die a heretic to Roman Catholics and a martyr for the principles of the English Reformation. Cranmer's death was immortalised in John Foxe's Book of Martyrs and his legacy lives on within the Church of England through the Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty-Nine Articles, an Anglican statement of faith derived from his work.

While Cranmer was following Charles through Italy, he received a royal letter dated 1 October 1532 informing him that he had been appointed the new Archbishop of Canterbury, following the death of archbishop William Warham. Cranmer was ordered to return to England. The appointment had been secured by the family of Anne Boleyn, who was being courted by Henry. When Cranmer's promotion became known in London, it caused great surprise as Cranmer had previously held only minor positions in the Church. Cranmer left Mantua on 19 November and arrived in England at the beginning of January. Henry personally financed the papal bulls necessary for Cranmer’s promotion to Canterbury. The bulls were easily acquired because the papal nuncio was under orders from Rome to please the English in an effort to prevent a final breach. The bulls arrived around 26 March 1533 and Cranmer was consecrated as archbishop on 30 March in St Stephen's Chapel. Even while they were waiting for the bulls, Cranmer continued to work on the annulment proceedings, which required greater urgency after Anne announced her pregnancy. Henry and Anne were secretly married on 24 or 25 January 1533 in the presence of a handful of witnesses. Cranmer did not learn of the marriage until a fortnight later.

It is difficult to assess how Cranmer’s theological views had evolved since his Cambridge days. There is evidence that he continued to support humanism; he renewed Erasmus' pension that had previously been granted by Archbishop Warham. In June 1533, he was confronted with the difficult task of not only disciplining a reformer, but also seeing him burnt at the stake. John Frith was condemned to death for his views on the eucharist: he denied the real presence. Cranmer personally tried to persuade him to change his views without success. Although he rejected Frith’s radicalism, by 1534 he clearly signalled that he had broken with Rome and that he had set a new theological course. He supported the cause of reform by gradually replacing the old guard in his ecclesiastical province with men who followed the new thinking such as Hugh Latimer. He intervened in religious disputes, supporting reformers to the disappointment of religious conservatives who desired to maintain the link with Rome

Source: wiki.com

July 21

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Book of Common Prayer

Book of Common Prayer 1549 AD - A major revision was published in 1662 AD and Later Modernized

The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion [Church of England], as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 (Church of England 1957), in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English Reformation following the break with Rome. Prayer books, unlike books of prayers, contain the words of structured (or liturgical) services of worship. The work of 1549 was the first prayer book to include the complete forms of service for daily and Sunday worship in English. It contained Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, the Litany, and Holy Communion and also the occasional services in full: the orders for Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, 'prayers to be said with the sick' and a Funeral service. It also set out in full the "propers" (that is the parts of the service which varied week by week or, at times, daily throughout the Church's Year): the collects and the epistle and gospel readings for the Sunday Communion Service. Old Testament and New Testament readings for daily prayer were specified in tabular format as were the Psalms; and canticles, mostly biblical, that were provided to be said or sung between the readings (Careless 2003, p. 26).

The 1549 book was soon succeeded by a more reformed revision in 1552 under the same editorial hand, that of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury. It was used only for a few months, as after Edward VI's death in 1553, his half-sister Mary I restored Roman Catholic worship. She herself died in 1558, and in 1559 Elizabeth I reintroduced the 1552 book with a few modifications to make it acceptable to more traditionally minded worshippers, notably the inclusion of the words of administration from the 1549 Communion Service alongside those of 1552 AD.

In 1604 James I ordered some further changes, the most significant of these being the addition to the Catechism of a section on the Sacraments. Following the tumultuous events leading to and including the English Civil War, another major revision was published in 1662 (Church of England 1662). That edition has remained the official prayer book of the Church of England, although in the 21st century, an alternative book called Common Worship has largely displaced the Book of Common Prayer at the main Sunday worship service of most English parish churches.

A Book of Common Prayer with local variations is used in churches inside and outside the Anglican Communion in over 50 different countries and in over 150 different languages (Careless 2003, p. 23). In many parts of the world, other books have replaced it in regular weekly worship.

Traditional English Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian prayer books have borrowed from the Book of Common Prayer and the marriage and burial rites have found their way into those of other denominations and into the English language. Like the Authorized King James Bible and the works of Shakespeare, many words and phrases from the Book of Common Prayer have entered common parlance.

Source: wiki.com

July 22

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Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell - 1st Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland

Oliver Cromwell (25 April 1599 – 3 September 1658) was an English military and political leader and later Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.

Born into the middle gentry, Cromwell was relatively obscure for the first 40 years of his life. After undergoing a religious conversion in the 1630s, he became an independent puritan, taking a generally (but not completely) tolerant view towards the many Protestant sects of his period. An intensely religious man—a self-styled Puritan Moses—he fervently believed that God was guiding his victories. He was elected Member of Parliament for Huntingdon in 1628 and for Cambridge in the Short (1640) and Long (1640–49) Parliaments. He entered the English Civil War on the side of the "Roundheads" or Parliamentarians. Nicknamed "Old Ironsides", he was quickly promoted from leading a single cavalry troop to become one of the principal commanders of the New Model Army, playing an important role in the defeat of the royalist forces.

Cromwell was one of the signatories of King Charles I's death warrant in 1649, and, as a member of the Rump Parliament (1649–53), he dominated the short-lived Commonwealth of England. He was selected to take command of the English campaign in Ireland in 1649–50. Cromwell's forces defeated the Confederate and Royalist coalition in Ireland and occupied the country – bringing to an end the Irish Confederate Wars. During this period a series of Penal Laws were passed against Roman Catholics (a significant minority in England and Scotland but the vast majority in Ireland), and a substantial amount of their land was confiscated. Cromwell also led a campaign against the Scottish army between 1650 and 1651.

On 20 April 1653 he dismissed the Rump Parliament by force, setting up a short-lived nominated assembly known as the Barebones Parliament, before being invited by his fellow leaders to rule as Lord Protector of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland from 16 December 1653. As a ruler he executed an aggressive and effective foreign policy. After his death from natural causes in 1658 he was buried in Westminster Abbey, but after the Royalists returned to power in 1660 they had his corpse dug up, hung in chains, and beheaded.

Cromwell is one of the most controversial figures in the history of the British Isles, considered a regicidal dictator by historians such as David Hume, a military dictator by Winston Churchill, but a hero of liberty by Thomas Carlyle and Samuel Rawson Gardiner. In a 2002 BBC poll in Britain, Cromwell was selected as one of the ten greatest Britons of all time.

English Civil War (1642–1651)

Failure to resolve the issues before the Long Parliament led to armed conflict between Parliament and Charles I in late 1642, the beginning of the English Civil War. Before joining Parliament's forces Cromwell's only military experience was in the trained bands, the local county militia. He recruited a cavalry troop in Cambridgeshire after blocking a valuable shipment of silver plate from Cambridge colleges that was meant for the king. Cromwell and his troop then rode to, but arrived too late to take part in the indecisive Battle of Edgehill on 23 October 1642. The troop was recruited to be a full regiment in the winter of 1642 and 1643, making up part of the Eastern Association under the Earl of Manchester. Cromwell gained experience in a number of successful actions in East Anglia in 1643, notably at the Battle of Gainsborough on 28 July. He was subsequently appointed governor of Ely and a colonel in the Eastern Association.

By the time of the Battle of Marston Moor in July 1644, Cromwell had risen to the rank of Lieutenant General of horse in Manchester's army. The success of his cavalry in breaking the ranks of the Royalist cavalry and then attacking their infantry from the rear at Marston Moor was a major factor in the Parliamentarian victory. Cromwell fought at the head of his troops in the battle and was slightly wounded in the neck, stepping away briefly to receive treatment during the battle but returning to help force the victory. After Cromwell's nephew was killed at Marston Moor he wrote a famous letter to his brother-in-law. Marston Moor secured the north of England for the Parliamentarians, but failed to end Royalist resistance. The indecisive outcome of the Second Battle of Newbury in October meant that by the end of 1644 the war still showed no signs of ending.

At the critical Battle of Naseby in June 1645, the New Model Army smashed the King's major army. Cromwell led his wing with great success at Naseby, again routing the Royalist cavalry. At the Battle of Langport on 10 July, Cromwell participated in the defeat of the last sizeable Royalist field army. Naseby and Langport effectively ended the King's hopes of victory, and the subsequent Parliamentarian campaigns involved taking the remaining fortified Royalist positions in the west of England. In October 1645, Cromwell besieged and took the wealthy and formidable Catholic fortress Basing House, later to be accused of killing 100 of its 300-man Royalist garrison after its surrender. Cromwell also took part in successful sieges at Bridgwater, Sherborne, Bristol, Devizes, and Winchester, then spent the first half of 1646 mopping up resistance in Devon and Cornwall. Charles I surrendered to the Scots on 5 May 1646, effectively ending the First English Civil War. Cromwell and Fairfax took the formal surrender of the Royalists at Oxford in June.

Second Civil War

The failure to conclude a political agreement with the king led eventually to the outbreak of the Second English Civil War in 1648, when the King tried to regain power by force of arms. Cromwell first put down a Royalist uprising in south Wales led by Rowland Laugharne, winning back Chepstow Castle on 25 May and six days later forcing the surrender of Tenby. The castle at Carmarthen was destroyed by burning. The much stronger castle at Pembroke, however, fell only after a siege of eight weeks. Cromwell dealt leniently with the ex-royalist soldiers, but less so with those who had previously been members of the parliamentary army, John Poyer eventually being executed in London after the drawing of lots.

Cromwell then marched north to deal with a pro-Royalist Scottish army (the Engagers) who had invaded England. At Preston, Cromwell, in sole command for the first time and with an army of 9,000, won a brilliant victory against an army twice as large.

During 1648, Cromwell's letters and speeches started to become heavily based on biblical imagery, many of them meditations on the meaning of particular passages. For example, after the battle of Preston, study of Psalms 17 and 105 led him to tell Parliament that "they that are implacable and will not leave troubling the land may be speedily destroyed out of the land". A letter to Oliver St John in September 1648 urged him to read Isaiah 8, in which the kingdom falls and only the godly survive. This letter suggests that it was Cromwell's faith, rather than a commitment to radical politics, coupled with Parliament's decision to engage in negotiations with the king at the Treaty of Newport, that convinced him that God had spoken against both the king and Parliament as lawful authorities. For Cromwell, the army was now God's chosen instrument. The episode shows Cromwell’s firm belief in "Providentialism"—that God was actively directing the affairs of the world, through the actions of "chosen people" (whom God had "provided" for such purposes). Cromwell believed, during the Civil Wars, that he was one of these people, and he interpreted victories as indications of God's approval of his actions, and defeats as signs that God was directing him in another direction.

Death and Posthumous Execution

Cromwell is thought to have suffered from malaria and from "stone", a common term for urinary/kidney infections. In 1658 he was struck by a sudden bout of malarial fever, followed directly by illness symptomatic of a urinary or kidney complaint. A Venetian physician tracked Cromwell's final illness, saying Cromwell's personal physicians were mismanaging his health, leading to a rapid decline and death. The decline may also have been hastened by the death of one of his daughters, Elizabeth Claypole, in August. He died aged 59 at Whitehall on Friday 3 September 1658, the anniversary of his great victories at Dunbar and Worcester. The most likely cause of Cromwell's death was septicaemia following his urinary infection. He was buried with great ceremony, with an elaborate funeral based on that of James I, at Westminster Abbey, his daughter Elizabeth also being buried there.

On 30 January 1661, (the 12th anniversary of the execution of Charles I), Cromwell's body was exhumed from Westminster Abbey, and was subjected to the ritual of a posthumous execution, as were the remains of Robert Blake, John Bradshaw and Henry Ireton. (The body of Cromwell's daughter was allowed to remain buried in the Abbey.) His disinterred body was hanged in chains at Tyburn, and then thrown into a pit, while his severed head was displayed on a pole outside Westminster Hall until 1685.

In Westminster Abbey, the site of Cromwell’s burial was marked during the 19th century by a floor stone in what is now the Air Force Chapel, reading, "THE BURIAL PLACE OF OLIVER CROMWELL 1658–1661".

Source: wiki.com

July 23

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Westminster Confession of Faith

The Westminster Confession of Faith authored in 1646 and a longer printed version in 1647 AD

The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith. Drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards to be a confession of the Church of England, it became and remains the 'subordinate standard' of doctrine in the Church of Scotland, and has been influential within Presbyterian churches worldwide.

In 1643, the English Parliament called upon "learned, godly and judicious Divines", to meet at Westminster Abbey in order to provide advice on issues of worship, doctrine, government and discipline of the Church of England. Their meetings, over a period of five years, produced the confession of faith, as well as a Larger Catechism and a Shorter Catechism. For more than three centuries, various churches around the world have adopted the confession and the catechisms as their standards of doctrine, subordinate to the Bible.

The Westminster Confession of Faith was modified and adopted by Congregationalists in England in the form of the Savoy Declaration (1658). Likewise, the Baptists of England modified the Savoy Declaration to produce the Second London Baptist Confession (1689). English Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Baptists would together (with others) come to be known as Nonconformists, because they did not conform to the Act of Uniformity (1662) establishing the Church of England as the only legally approved church, though they were in many ways united by their common confessions, built on the Westminster Confession.

Contents

The confession is a systematic exposition of Calvinist orthodoxy (which neo-orthodox scholars refer to as "scholastic Calvinism"), influenced by Puritan and covenant theology.

It includes doctrines common to most of Christendom such as the Trinity and Jesus' sacrificial death and resurrection, and it contains doctrines specific to Protestantism such as sola scriptura and sola fide. Its more controversial features include double predestination (held alongside freedom of choice), the covenant of works with Adam, the Puritan doctrine that assurance of salvation is not a necessary consequence of faith, a minimalist conception of worship, and a strict sabbatarianism.

Even more controversially, it states that the Pope is the Antichrist, that the Roman Catholic mass is a form of idolatry, that the civil magistrates have divine authority to punish heresy, and rules out marriage with non-Christians. These formulations were repudiated by several bodies which adopted the confession (for instance, the Church of Scotland, though its ministers are still free to adhere to the full confession and some do), but the confession remains part of the official doctrine of some other Presbyterian churches. For example, the Presbyterian Church of Australia holds to the Westminster Confession of Faith as its standard, subordinate to the Word of God, and read in the light of a declaratory statement.

American Presbyterian Adoption with Revisions

The first American Presbyterian ministers were New England Congregationalists, whose congregations originated with the migration from England to the Dutch colony in America as early as the 1640s, and Presbyterian immigrants from Scotland, Ireland and Wales. The first American presbytery, uniting some of these independent congregations and those of the British immigrants, was formed in 1706. This body grew large enough to form the first synod in Philadelphia in 1716. Prior to 1729, some presbyteries required candidates for the ministry to profess adherence to the Westminster Confession.

When the Synod of Philadelphia met in 1729 to adopt the Westminster Confession as the doctrinal standard, it required all ministers to declare their approval of the Westminster Confession of Faith and catechisms. At the same time, the Adopting Act allowed candidates and ministers to scruple articles within the Confession. Whether or not the article scrupled was essential or nonessential was judged by the presbytery with jurisdiction over the candidate's examination. This allowance implied a difference, within the standards themselves, between things that are essential and necessary to the Christian faith, and things that are not. This compromise left a permanent legacy to following generations of Presbyterians in America, to decide what is meant by "essential and necessary", resulting in permanent controversies over the manner in which a minister is bound to accept the document; and it has left the American versions of the Westminster Confession more amenable to the will of the church to amend it.

Source: wiki.com

July 24

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Counter-Reformation

The Catholic Counter-Reformation initiated in response to the Protestant Reformation

The Counter-Reformation (also the Catholic Revival or Catholic Reformation) was the period of Catholic revival beginning with the Council of Trent (1545–1563) and ending at the close of the Thirty Years' War (1648), and was initiated in response to [undo] the Protestant Reformation.

The Counter-Reformation was a comprehensive effort composed of four major elements:

Ecclesiastical or structural reconfiguration
Religious orders
Spiritual movements
Political dimensions

Such reforms included the foundation of seminaries for the proper training of priests in the spiritual life and the theological traditions of the Church, the reform of religious life by returning orders to their spiritual foundations, and new spiritual movements focusing on the devotional life and a personal relationship with Christ, including the Spanish mystics and the French school of spirituality. It also involved political activities that included the Roman Inquisition.

Policies

The Catholic Reformation was not only a political and Church policy oriented movement, but it also included major figures such as Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Ávila, John of the Cross, Francis de Sales, and Philip Neri, who added to the spirituality of the Catholic Church. Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross were Spanish mystics and reformers of the Carmelite Order, whose ministry focused on interior conversion to Christ, the deepening of prayer, and commitment to God's will. Teresa was given the task of developing and writing about the way to perfection in her love and unity with Christ. Her publications, especially her autobiography The Life of Theresa of Jesus, had multiple effects. It's to be placed besides the Confessions of Augustine.

Thomas Merton called John of the Cross the greatest of all mystical theologians. An important clarification about the word "mystical" is necessary here. When one considers its definition or the nature of "mysticism," a common misunderstanding exists that if one is to become a mystic they are required to seclude themselves physically from the outside world to have this kind of experience. Although such seclusion can, indeed, be the only apostalate (vocation) to which some are called to a life of prayer, there are others who have dual apostalates. In fact, John of the Cross himself served as both confessor/spiritual director within the confines of the cloistered communities that he and Teresa of Ávila worked vigorously to establish, but he also literally helped to build a number of those convents and monasteries. It is true that Ignatius of Loyola and Francis de Sales were called to a more active spirituality or apostalate, but their vocations were not "the opposite" of Teresa of Jesus and John of the Cross as this article previously indicated. Returning to Ignatius of Loyola, "to see God in all things" was a typical expression of Ignatius and a main theme of his Spiritual Exercises. The spirituality of Filippo Neri, who lived in Rome at the same time as Ignatius, was practically oriented, too, but totally opposed to the Jesuit approach. Said Filippo, "If I have a real problem, I contemplate what Ignatius would do ... and then I do the exact opposite". As a recognition of their joint contribution to the spiritual renewal within the Catholic reformation, Ignatius of Loyola, Filippo Neri, and Teresa of Ávila were canonized on the same day, March 12, 1622.

The Virgin Mary played an increasingly central role in Catholic devotions. The victory at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 was accredited to the Virgin Mary and signified the beginning of a strong resurgence of Marian devotions. During and after the Catholic Reformation, Marian piety experienced unforeseen growth with over 500 pages of mariological writings during the 17th century alone. The Jesuit Francisco Suárez was the first theologian to use the Thomist method on Marian theology. Other well-known contributors to Marian spirituality are Lawrence of Brindisi, Robert Bellarmine, and Francis of Sales.

The sacrament of penance was transformed from a social to a personal experience; that is, from a public community act to a private confession. It now took place in private in a confessional. It was a change from reconciliation with the Church to reconciliation directly with God and from emphasis on social sins of hostility to private sins called "the secret sins of the heart."

Source: wiki.com

July 25

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Guy Fawkes - The Gunpowder Plot

Guy Fawkes - The Gunpowder Plot against King James I of England (sponsorer of the KJV (AV) translation of the Bible that was named after him)

Guy Fawkes (April 13, 1570 – January 31, 1606 AD), also known as Guido Fawkes, the name he adopted while fighting for the Spanish in the Low Countries, was a member of a group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 AD, in earlier centuries often called the Gunpowder Treason Plot or the Jesuit Treason, was a failed assassination attempt against King James I of England and VI of Scotland by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Catesby.

Gunpowder Plot

In 1604 Fawkes became involved with a small group of English Catholics, led by Robert Catesby, who planned to assassinate the Protestant King James and replace him with his daughter, third in the line of succession, Princess Elizabeth. Fawkes was described by the Jesuit priest and former school friend Oswald Tesimond as "pleasant of approach and cheerful of manner, opposed to quarrels and strife ... loyal to his friends". Tesimond also claimed Fawkes was "a man highly skilled in matters of war", and that it was this mixture of piety and professionalism which endeared him to his fellow conspirators. The author Antonia Fraser describes Fawkes as "a tall, powerfully built man, with thick reddish-brown hair, a flowing moustache in the tradition of the time, and a bushy reddish-brown beard", and that he was "a man of action ... capable of intelligent argument as well as physical endurance, somewhat to the surprise of his enemies."

The first meeting of the five central conspirators took place on Sunday 20 May 1604, at an inn called the Duck and Drake, in the fashionable Strand district of London. Catesby had already proposed at an earlier meeting with Thomas Wintour and John Wright to kill the King and his government by blowing up "the Parliament House with gunpowder". Wintour, who at first objected to the plan, was convinced by Catesby to travel to the continent to seek help. Wintour met with the Constable of Castile, the exiled Welsh spy Hugh Owen, and Sir William Stanley, who said that Catesby would receive no support from Spain. Owen did, however, introduce Wintour to Fawkes, who had by then been away from England for many years, and thus was largely unknown in the country. Wintour and Fawkes were contemporaries; each was militant, and had first-hand experience of the unwillingness of the Spaniards to help. Wintour told Fawkes of their plan to "doe some whatt in Ingland if the pece with Spaine healped us nott", and thus in April 1604 the two men returned to England. Wintour's news did not surprise Catesby; despite positive noises from the Spanish authorities, he feared that "the deeds would nott answere".

One of the conspirators, Thomas Percy, was promoted in June 1604, gaining access to a house in London that belonged to John Whynniard, Keeper of the King's Wardrobe. Fawkes was installed as a caretaker and began using the pseudonym John Johnson, servant to Percy. The contemporaneous account of the prosecution (taken from Thomas Wintour's confession) claimed that the conspirators attempted to dig a tunnel from beneath Whynniard's house to Parliament, although this story may have been a government fabrication; no evidence for the existence of a tunnel was presented by the prosecution, and no trace of one has ever been found; Fawkes himself did not admit the existence of such a scheme until his fifth interrogation, but even then he could not locate the tunnel. If the story is true, however, by December 1604 the conspirators were busy tunnelling from their rented house to the House of Lords. They ceased their efforts when, during tunnelling, they heard a noise from above. Fawkes was sent out to investigate, and returned with the news that the tenant's widow was clearing out a nearby undercroft, directly beneath the House of Lords.

The plotters purchased the lease to the room, which also belonged to John Whynniard. Unused and filthy, it was considered an ideal hiding place for the gunpowder the plotters planned to store. According to Fawkes, 20 barrels of gunpowder were brought in at first, followed by 16 more on 20 July. On 28 July however, the ever-present threat of the plague delayed the opening of Parliament until Tuesday, 5 November.

Overseas

In an attempt to gain foreign support, in May 1605 Fawkes travelled overseas and informed Hugh Owen of the plotters' plan. At some point during this trip his name made its way into the files of Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, who employed a network of spies across Europe. One of these spies, Captain William Turner, may have been responsible. Although the information he provided to Salisbury usually amounted to no more than a vague pattern of invasion reports, and included nothing which regarded the Gunpowder Plot, on 21 April he told how Fawkes was to be brought by Tesimond to England. Fawkes was a well-known Flemish mercenary, and would be introduced to "Mr Catesby" and "honourable friends of the nobility and others who would have arms and horses in readiness". Turner's report did not, however, mention Fawkes's pseudonym in England, John Johnson, and did not reach Cecil until late in November, well after the plot had been discovered.

It is uncertain when Fawkes returned to England, but he was back in London by late August 1605, when he and Wintour discovered that the gunpowder stored in the undercroft had decayed. More gunpowder was brought into the room, along with firewood to conceal it. Fawkes's final role in the plot was settled during a series of meetings in October. He was to light the fuse and then escape across the Thames. Simultaneously, a revolt in the Midlands would help to ensure the capture of Princess Elizabeth. Acts of regicide were frowned upon, and Fawkes would therefore head to the continent, where he would explain to the Catholic powers his holy duty to kill the King and his retinue.

Discovery

A few of the conspirators were concerned about fellow Catholics who would be present at Parliament during the opening. On the evening of 26 October, Lord Monteagle received an anonymous letter warning him to stay away, and to "retyre youre self into yowre contee whence yow maye expect the event in safti for ... they shall receyve a terrible blowe this parleament". Despite quickly becoming aware of the letter – informed by one of Monteagle's servants – the conspirators resolved to continue with their plans, as it appeared that it "was clearly thought to be a hoax". Fawkes checked the undercroft on 30 October, and reported that nothing had been disturbed. Monteagle's suspicions had been aroused, however, and the letter was shown to King James. The King ordered Sir Thomas Knyvet to conduct a search of the cellars underneath Parliament, which he did in the early hours of 5 November. Fawkes had taken up his station late on the previous night, armed with a slow match and a watch given to him by Percy "becaus he should knowe howe the time went away". He was found leaving the cellar, shortly after midnight, and arrested. Inside, the barrels of gunpowder were discovered hidden under piles of firewood and coal.

Trial and Execution

The trial of eight of the plotters began on Monday 27 January 1606. Fawkes shared the barge from the Tower to Westminster Hall with seven of his co-conspirators. They were kept in the Star Chamber before being taken to Westminster Hall, where they were displayed on a purpose-built scaffold. The King and his close family, watching in secret, were among the spectators as the Lords Commissioners read out the list of charges. Fawkes was identified as Guido Fawkes, "otherwise called Guido Johnson". He pleaded not guilty, despite his apparent acceptance of guilt from the moment he was captured.

The outcome was never in doubt. The jury found all of the defendants guilty, and the Lord Chief Justice Sir John Popham proclaimed them guilty of high treason. The Attorney General Sir Edward Coke told the court that each of the condemned would be drawn backwards to his death, by a horse, his head near the ground. They were to be "put to death halfway between heaven and earth as unworthy of both". Their genitals would be cut off and burnt before their eyes, and their bowels and hearts removed. They would then be decapitated, and the dismembered parts of their bodies displayed so that they might become "prey for the fowls of the air". Fawkes's and Tresham's testimony regarding the Spanish treason was read aloud, as well as confessions related specifically to the Gunpowder Plot. The last piece of evidence offered was a conversation between Fawkes and Wintour, who had been kept in adjacent cells. The two men apparently thought they had been speaking in private, but their conversation was intercepted by a government spy. When the prisoners were allowed to speak, Fawkes explained his not guilty plea as ignorance of certain aspects of the indictment.

On 31 January 1606, Fawkes and three others – Thomas Wintour, Ambrose Rookwood, and Robert Keyes – were dragged (i.e. drawn) from the Tower on wattled hurdles to the Old Palace Yard at Westminster, opposite the building they had attempted to destroy. His fellow plotters were then hanged and quartered. Fawkes was the last to stand on the scaffold. He asked for forgiveness of the King and state, while keeping up his "crosses and idle ceremonies". Weakened by torture and aided by the hangman, Fawkes began to climb the ladder to the noose, but either through jumping to his death or climbing too high so the rope was incorrectly set, he managed to avoid the agony of the latter part of his execution by breaking his neck. His lifeless body was nevertheless quartered and, as was the custom, his body parts were then distributed to "the four corners of the kingdom", to be displayed as a warning to other would-be traitors

Source: wiki.com

July 26

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Ignatius of Loyola - Agent of Rome

Ignatius of Loyola a Catholic agent who founded the militant Jesuits Order (Agency) - a Secret Service/CIA version for the Roman Catholic Church

Ignatius of Loyola (October 27, 1491 – July 31, 1556) was a Spanish knight from a local Basque noble family, hermit, priest since 1537, and theologian, who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and, on 19 April 1541, became its first Superior General. Ignatius emerged as a religious leader during the Counter-Reformation. Loyola's devotion to the Catholic Church was characterized by absolute obedience to the Pope.

Ignatius was chosen as the first Superior General of his religious order, invested with the title of Father General by the Jesuits. He sent his companions as missionaries around Europe to create schools, colleges, and seminaries. Juan de Vega, the ambassador of Charles V at Rome had met Ignatius there. Esteeming him and the Jesuits, when Vega was appointed Viceroy of Sicily he brought Jesuits with him. A Jesuit college was opened at Messina; success was marked, and its rules and methods were afterwards copied in other colleges. In 1548 Spiritual Exercises was finally printed, and he was briefly brought before the Roman Inquisition, but was released.

Ignatius wrote the Jesuit Constitutions, adopted in 1554, which created a monarchical organization and stressed absolute self-abnegation and obedience to Pope and Superiors (perinde ac [si] cadaver [essent], "[well-disciplined] like a corpse" as Ignatius put it). His main principle became the Jesuit motto: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam ("for the greater glory of God"). The Jesuits were a major factor in the Counter-Reformation. During 1553–1555, Ignatius dictated his life's story to his secretary, Father Gonçalves da Câmara. This autobiography is a valuable key for the understanding of his Spiritual Exercises. It was kept in the archives for about 150 years, until the Bollandists published the text in Acta Sanctorum. He died in Rome on July 31, 1556, as a result of the Roman Fever, a severe case of malaria that recurred in Rome, Italy, at different points in history.

Source: wiki.com

July 27

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Jesuits - Pope Francis the Occult "Black" Pope

The Jesuits Agency for "whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God"

The Society of Jesus (SJ) is a Christian male religious congregation of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits. The society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations on six continents. Jesuits work in education (founding schools, colleges, universities and seminaries), intellectual research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes and promote social justice and ecumenical dialogue.

Ignatius of Loyola founded the society after being wounded in battle and experiencing a religious conversion. He composed the Spiritual Exercises to help others follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 1534, Ignatius and six other young men, including Francis Xavier and Peter Faber, gathered and professed vows of poverty, chastity, and later obedience, including a special vow of obedience to the Pope. Rule 13 of Ignatius's Rules for Thinking with the Church said: "That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity ... if [the Church] shall have defined anything to be black which to our eyes appears to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black." Ignatius's plan of the order's organization was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540 by the bull containing the "Formula of the Institute".

Because of the military background of Ignatius and the members' willingness to accept orders anywhere in the world and to live in extreme conditions where required, the opening lines of this founding document would declare that the Society of Jesus was founded for "whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God" (Spanish: "todo el que quiera militar para Dios"), "to strive especially for the defense and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine." Therefore Jesuits are sometimes referred to colloquially as "God's Soldiers" or "God's Marines". The Society participated in the Counter-Reformation and later in the implementation of the Second Vatican Council in the Catholic Church.

The Society of Jesus is consecrated under the patronage of Madonna Della Strada, a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it is led by a Superior General, currently Adolfo Nicolás.

The headquarters of the society, its General Curia, is in Rome. The historic curia of St. Ignatius is now part of the Collegio del Gesù attached to the Church of the Gesù, the Jesuit Mother Church.

Pope Francis - The Jesuit Pope aka The Black [Occult] Pope

Francis (Latin: Franciscus; Italian: Francesco; born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 17 December 1936) is the 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church, having been elected Bishop of Rome and absolute Sovereign of the Vatican City State.

Popular mainstream media frequently portray Pope Francis either as a progressive papal reformer or with seemingly liberal, moderate values. Western news outlets often seek to portray his message with a less-doctrinal tone of papacy in hopes of extrapolating his words to convey a more merciful and tolerant message. In addition, various media outlets persist with notions that the Pontiff would officially change Catholic doctrine as part of the reform on the Roman Curia. In the news media, both faithful and non-believers often refer to a "honeymoon" phase in which the Pope has seemingly changed the tone on Catholic doctrines and initiated ecclesiastical reform in the Vatican, a position often publicly disputed and negated by Catholic priests and apologists.

Source: wiki.com

July 28

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Separatists - Pilgrims

Separatists also commonly called Pilgrims

Separatists commonly called Pilgrims established the Colony of Plymouth, Massachusetts in North America

Pilgrims (US), or Pilgrim Fathers (UK), is a name commonly applied to early settlers of the Plymouth Colony in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States.

Their leadership came from the religious congregations of Brownist English Dissenters who had fled the volatile political environment in England for the relative calm and tolerance of 16th–17th century Holland in the Netherlands.

Concerned with losing their cultural identity, the group later arranged with English investors to establish a new colony in North America. The colony, established in 1620, became the second successful English settlement (after the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607) and later the oldest continuously inhabited English settlement in what was to become the United States of America.

The Pilgrims' story of seeking religious freedom has become a central theme of the history and culture of the United States.

By this time, non-English European colonization of the Americas was also underway in New Netherland, New France, Essequibo, Colonial Brazil, Barbados, the Viceroyalty of Peru, and New Spain.

Separatists

The core of the group that would come to be known as the Pilgrims were brought together by a common belief in the ideas promoted by Richard Clyfton, a Brownist parson at All Saints' Parish Church in Babworth, near East Retford, Nottinghamshire, between 1586 and 1605. This congregation held Separatist beliefs comparable to nonconforming movements (i.e., groups not in communion with the Church of England) led by Robert Browne, John Greenwood and Henry Barrowe.

Unlike the Puritan group who maintained their membership in and allegiance to the Church of England, Separatists held that their differences with the Church of England were irreconcilable and that their worship should be organized independently of the trappings, traditions and organization of a central church. William Brewster, a former diplomatic assistant to the Netherlands, was living in the Scrooby manor house, serving as postmaster for the village and bailiff to the Archbishop of York. Having been favorably impressed by Clyfton's services, he had begun participating in Separatist services led by John Smyth in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire.

The Separatists had long been controversial. Under the 1559 Act of Uniformity, it was illegal not to attend official Church of England services, with a fine of one shilling (£0.05; about £16 today) for each missed Sunday and holy day. The penalties for conducting unofficial services included imprisonment and larger fines. Under the policy of this time, Barrowe and Greenwood were executed for sedition in 1593.

Mayflower Compact

With the charter for the Plymouth Council for New England incomplete by the time the colonists departed England (it would be granted while they were in transit, on November 3/November 13), they arrived without a patent; the older Wincob patent was from their abandoned dealings with the London Company. Some of the passengers, aware of the situation, suggested that without a patent in place, they were free to do as they chose upon landing and ignore the contract with the investors.

To address this issue, a brief contract, later to be known as the Mayflower Compact, was drafted promising cooperation among the settlers "for the general good of the Colony unto which we promise all due submission and obedience." It organized them into what was called a "civil Body Politick," in which issues would be decided by that key ingredient of democracy, voting. It was ratified by majority rule, with 41 adult male passengers signing for the 102 passengers, seventy-three males and twenty-nine females. There were included in the company nineteen male servants and three female servants, along with some sailors and craftsmen hired for short-term service to the colony. At this time, John Carver was chosen as the colony's first governor. It was Carver who had chartered the Mayflower, and being the most respected and affluent member of the group, his is the first signature on the Mayflower Compact. The Mayflower Compact was the seed of American democracy and has been called the world's first written constitution.

Source: wiki.com

July 29

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The Puritans

The Puritans, English Protestants who desired further reforms after the Reformation

The Puritans were a significant group of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries, including, but not limited to, English Calvinists. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England.

In modern times, the word 'puritan' is often used to mean 'against pleasure'. Historically, the word was used pejoratively to characterise the Protestant group as extremists, similar to the Cathars of France and, according to Thomas Fuller in his Church History, dated back to 1564. Archbishop Matthew Parker of that time used it and "precisian" with the sense of the modern "stickler".

Puritans were blocked from changing the established church from within, and severely restricted in England by laws controlling the practice of religion. Their views, however, were transported by the emigration of congregations to the Netherlands (and later New England), and by evangelical clergy to Ireland (and later into Wales), and were spread into lay society and parts of the educational system, particularly certain colleges of the University of Cambridge. They took on distinctive views on clerical dress and in opposition to the episcopal system, particularly after the 1619 conclusions of the Synod of Dort were resisted by the English bishops. They largely adopted Sabbatarian views in the 17th century, and were influenced by millennialism.

In alliance with the growing commercial world, the parliamentary opposition to the royal prerogative, and in the late 1630s with the Scottish Presbyterians with whom they had much in common, the Puritans became a major political force in England and came to power as a result of the First English Civil War (1642–46). After the Restoration of 1660 and the 1662 Uniformity Act, almost all Puritan clergy left the Church of England, some becoming nonconformist ministers. The nature of the movement in England changed radically, although it retained its character for a much longer period in New England.

Puritans, by definition, were dissatisfied with the limited extent of the English Reformation, and the Church of England's tolerance of practices which they associated with the Catholic Church. They formed, and identified with, various religious groups advocating greater "purity" of worship and doctrine, as well as personal and group piety. Puritans adopted a Reformed theology and, in that sense, were Calvinists (as were many of their earlier opponents), but they also took note of radical views critical of Zwingli in Zurich and Calvin in Geneva. In church polity, some advocated for separation from all other Christians, in favour of autonomous gathered churches. These separatist and independent strands of Puritanism became prominent in the 1640s, when the supporters of a Presbyterian polity in the Westminster Assembly were unable to forge a new English national church.

Puritans and Separatists

Puritans who were not satisfied with the Reformation of the Church of England, but who remained within the Church of England advocating further reforms, are known as "non-separating Puritans". This group disagreed among themselves about how much further Reformation was necessary. Those who thought that the Church of England was so corrupt that true Christians should separate from it altogether are known as "separating Puritans" or simply "Separatists". "Puritan," in the wider sense, includes both groups.

Separatists were a group who advocated complete separation from the Church of England, but had no particular Church title. Many of the Mayflower Pilgrims were referred to only as Separatists.

John Winthrop and the other main leaders of emigration to New England in 1629 were non-separating Puritans. However, John Robinson and William Brewster, the Pilgrim leaders, were separatists. There is no current consensus among historians whether Separatists can properly be counted as Puritans.

Especially after the English Restoration of 1660, separating Puritans were called "Dissenters". The 1662 Uniformity Act caused almost all Puritan clergy to leave the Church of England. Some became nonconformist ministers. The movement in England changed radically at this time, though this change was not as immediate for Puritans in New England.

Source: wiki.com

July 30

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The Quakers

Quakers are a family of religious movements collectively known as the Religious Society of Friends

During and after the English Civil War (1642-1651) many dissenting Christian groups emerged, including the Seekers and others. A young man named George Fox was dissatisfied by the teachings of the Church of England and non-conformists. He had a revelation that there is one, even, Christ Jesus, who can speak to thy condition, and became convinced that it was possible to have a direct experience of Christ without the aid of an ordained clergy. He had a vision on Pendle Hill in Lancashire, England, in which he believed that "the Lord let me see in what places he had a great people to be gathered". Following this he travelled around England, the Netherlands, and Barbados preaching and teaching them with the aim of converting them to his faith. The central theme of his Gospel message was that Christ has come to teach his people himself. His followers considered themselves to be the restoration of the true Christian church, after centuries of apostasy in the churches in England.

In 1650, George Fox was brought before magistrates, Gervase Bennet and Nathaniel Barton, on a charge of religious blasphemy. According to George Fox's autobiography, Bennet "was the first person that called us Quakers, because I bade them tremble at the word of the Lord". It is thought that George Fox was referring to Isaiah 66:2 or Ezra 9:4. Thus, the name Quaker began as a way of ridiculing George Fox's admonition, but became widely accepted and is used by some Quakers. Quakers also described themselves using terms such as true Christianity, Saints, Children of the Light, and Friends of the Truth, reflecting terms used in the New Testament by members of the early Christian church.

Quakerism gained a considerable following in England and Wales, and the numbers increased to a peak of 60,000 in England and Wales by 1680 (1.15% of the population of England and Wales). However the dominant discourse of Protestantism viewed the Quakers as a blasphemous challenge to social and political order, leading to official persecution in England and Wales under the Quaker Act 1662 and the Conventicle Act 1664. This was relaxed after the Declaration of Indulgence (1687–1688) and stopped under the Act of Toleration 1689.

One modern view of Quakerism at this time was that the relationship with Christ was encouraged through spiritualization of human relations, and “the redefinition of the Quakers as a holy tribe, “the family and household of God”. Together with Margaret Fell, the wife of Thomas Fell, who was the vice-chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and a pre-eminent judge, Fox developed new conceptions of family and community that emphasized “holy conversation”: speech and behavior that reflected piety, faith, and love. With the restructuring of the family and household came new roles for women; Fox and Fell viewed the Quaker mother as essential to developing “holy conversation” in her children and husband. Quaker women were also responsible for the spirituality of the larger community, coming together in “meetings” which regulated marriage and domestic behavior.

Quakers (or Friends, as they refer to themselves) are members of a family of religious movements collectively known as the Religious Society of Friends. The central unifying doctrine of these movements is the priesthood of all believers, a doctrine derived from a verse in the New Testament, 1 Peter 2:9. Most (but not all) Friends view themselves as members of a Christian denomination. They include those with evangelical, holiness, liberal, and traditional conservative Quaker understandings of Christianity.

The first Quakers, known as the Valiant Sixty, lived in mid-17th century England. The movement arose from the Legatine-Arians and other dissenting Protestant groups, breaking away from the established Church of England. These Quakers attempted to convert others to their understanding of Christianity, traveling both throughout Great Britain and overseas, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some of the early Quaker ministers were women. They based their message on the religious belief that "Christ has come to teach his people himself," stressing the importance of a direct relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and a direct religious belief in the universal priesthood of all believers. They emphasized a personal and direct religious experience of Christ, acquired through both direct religious experience and the reading and studying of the Bible. Quakers focused their private life on developing behavior and speech reflecting emotional purity and the light of God.

Immigration to America

In search of economic opportunities and a more tolerant environment in which to build communities of “holy conversation,” some Friends emigrated to the Northeastern region of the United States in the early 1680s.

While in some areas like New England they continued to experience persecution, they were able to establish thriving communities in the Delaware Valley. The only two colonies that tolerated Quakers in this time period were Rhode Island and Pennsylvania, where Quakers established themselves politically. In Rhode Island, 36 governors in the first 100 years were Quakers. Pennsylvania was established by affluent Quaker William Penn in 1682, and as an American state run under Quaker principles.

Today, around 89% of Friends worldwide practice programmed worship — that is, worship with singing and a prepared message from the Bible, often coordinated by a pastor. Around 11% of Friends practice waiting worship (also known as unprogrammed worship) — that is worship where the order of service is not planned in advance, which is predominantly silent, and which may include unprepared vocal ministry from anyone present, so long as it is credible to those assembled that the speaker is moved to speak by God. Some meetings of both styles have Recorded Ministers [i.e. satellite churches] in their meetings — these are Friends who have been recognised for their gift of vocal ministry.

Source: wiki.com

July 31

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The Mennonites

The Mennonites are Church Communities formed from Anabaptist Denominations

The Mennonites are a Christian group based around the church communities of Anabaptist denominations named after Menno Simons (1496–1561) of Friesland (at that time, a part of the Holy Roman Empire). Through his writings, Simons articulated and formalized the teachings of earlier Swiss founders. The teachings of the Mennonites were founded on their belief in both the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ, which they held to with great conviction despite persecution by the various Roman Catholic and Protestant states. Rather than fight, the majority survived by fleeing to neighboring states where ruling families were tolerant of their radical belief in believer's baptism. Over the years, Mennonites have become known as one of the historic peace churches because of their commitment to pacifism.

In contemporary society, Mennonites either are described only as a religious denomination with members of different ethnic origins or as both an ethnic group and a religious denomination. There is controversy among Mennonites about this issue, with some insisting that they are simply a religious group while others argue that they form a distinct ethnic group. Some historians and sociologists treat Mennonites as an ethno-religious group, while other historians challenge that perception.

There are about 1.7 million Mennonites worldwide as of 2012. Mennonite congregations worldwide embody the full scope of Mennonite practice from "plain people" to those who are indistinguishable in dress and appearance from the general population. The largest populations of Mennonites are in India, Ethiopia, Canada, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the United States, but Mennonites can also be found in tight-knit communities in at least 82 countries on six continents or scattered amongst the populace of those countries. There are German Mennonite colonies in Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, and Paraguay, who are mostly descendants of Mennonites from eastern Europe. A small Mennonite congregation continues in the Netherlands where Simons was born.

The Mennonite Disaster Service, based in North America, provides both immediate and long-term responses to hurricanes, floods, and other disasters. The Mennonite Central Committee provides disaster relief around the world alongside their long-term international development programs. Other programs offer a variety of relief efforts and services throughout the world.

Since the latter part of the 20th century, some Mennonite groups have become more actively involved with peace and social justice issues, helping to found Christian Peacemaker Teams and Mennonite Conciliation Service.

Fragmentation and Variation

During the 16th century, the Mennonites and other Anabaptists were relentlessly persecuted. This period of persecution has had a significant impact on Mennonite identity. Martyrs Mirror, published in 1660, documents much of the persecution of Anabaptists and their predecessors. Today, the book is still the most important book besides the Bible for many Mennonites and Amish, in particular for the Swiss–South German branch of the Mennonites. Persecution was still going on until 1710 in various parts of Switzerland.

Disagreements within the church over the years led to other splits; sometimes the reasons were theological, sometimes practical, sometimes geographical. For instance, near the beginning of the 20th century, some members in the Amish church wanted to begin having Sunday Schools and participate in progressive Protestant-style para-church evangelism. Unable to persuade the rest of the Amish, they separated and formed a number of separate groups including the Conservative Mennonite Conference. Mennonites in Canada and other countries typically have independent denominations because of the practical considerations of distance and, in some cases, language. Many times these divisions took place along family lines, with each extended family supporting their own branch.

The first recorded account of this group is in a written order by Countess Anne, who ruled a small province in central Europe. The presence of some small groups of violent Anabaptists was causing political and religious turmoil in her state, so she decreed that all Anabaptists were to be driven out. The order made an exception for the non-violent branch known at that time as the Menists.

Political rulers often admitted the Menists or Mennonites into their states because they were honest, hardworking and peaceful. When their practices upset the powerful state churches, princes would renege on exemptions for military service, or a new monarch would take power, and the Mennonites would be forced to flee again, usually leaving everything but their families behind. Often, another monarch in another state would grant them welcome, at least for a while.

While Mennonites in Colonial America were enjoying considerable religious freedom, their counterparts in Europe continued to struggle with persecution and temporary refuge under certain ruling monarchs. They were sometimes invited to settle in areas of poor soil that no one else could farm. By contrast, in The Netherlands the Mennonites (nl: Doopsgezinden) enjoyed a relatively high degree of tolerance. The Mennonites often farmed and reclaimed land in exchange for exemption from mandatory military service. However, once the land was arable again, this arrangement would often change, and the persecution would begin again. Because the land still needed to be tended, the ruler would not drive out the Mennonites but would pass laws to force them to stay, while at the same time severely limiting their freedom. Mennonites had to build their churches facing onto back streets or alleys, and they were forbidden from announcing the beginning of services with the sound of a bell.

In addition, high taxes were enacted in exchange for both continuing the military service exemption, and to keep the states' best farmers from leaving. In some cases, the entire congregation would give up their belongings to pay the tax to be allowed to leave. If a member or family could not afford the tax, it was often paid by others in the group.

A strong emphasis on "community" was developed under these circumstances. It continues to be typical of Mennonite churches. As a result of frequently being required to give up possessions in order to retain individual freedoms, Mennonites learned to live very simply. This was reflected both in the home and at church, where their dress and their buildings were plain. The music at church, usually simple German chorales, was performed a cappella. This style of music serves as a reminder to many Mennonites of their simple lives, as well as their history as a persecuted people. Some branches of Mennonites have retained this "plain" lifestyle into modern times.

Source: wiki.com

August - The Christian Church, Modern History

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Jamestown Colony

Jamestown, Virginia the First Permanent English Settlement in America 1607 AD

Jamestown was a settlement in the Colony of Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. Established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 24, 1607 (O.S., May 14, 1607 N.S.), and considered permanent after brief abandonment in 1610, it followed several earlier failed attempts, including the Lost [occult] Colony of Roanoke. Jamestown served as the capital of the colony for 83 years, from 1616 until 1699.

The settlement was located within the territory of a political entity known as Tsenacommacah, the state of the Powhatan Confederacy, with around 14,000 native inhabitants, and specifically was in part of the subdivision known as the Paspahegh tribe. The natives initially welcomed the colonists with dancing, feasting and tobacco ceremonies, and they provided crucial provisions and support for the survival of the colonists, who were not agriculturally inclined. Relations with the newcomers soured fairly early on, leading to the total annihilation of the Paspahegh in warfare within 3 years.

Within a year of Jamestown's founding, the Virginia Company brought Polish and Dutch colonists to help improve the settlement. In 1619, the first documented Africans were brought to Jamestown, though the modern conception of slavery in the future United States did not begin in Virginia until 1660. When the colony was subdivided into the original eight shires of Virginia in 1634, the town became located in the eponymous James City Shire.

The London Company's second settlement, Bermuda, claims to be the site of the oldest town in the English New World, as St. George's, Bermuda was officially established (as New London) in 1612, whereas James Fort, in Virginia, was not to be converted into James towne until 1619, and further did not survive into the present day. In 1699, the capital was relocated from Jamestown to what is today Williamsburg, after which Jamestown ceased to exist as a settlement, existing today only as an archaeological site.

Today, Jamestown is one of three locations comprising the Historic Triangle of Colonial Virginia, along with Williamsburg and Yorktown, with two primary heritage sites. Historic Jamestowne, the archaeological site on Jamestown Island, is a cooperative effort by Jamestown National Historic Site (part of Colonial National Historical Park), and Preservation Virginia. The Jamestown Settlement, a living history interpretive site, is operated by the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation in conjunction with the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Source: wiki.com

August 2

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George Whitefield

George Whitefield famous English Anglican Preacher

George Whitefield (December 27 [O.S. December 16] 1714 – September 30, 1770), also known as George Whitfield, was an English Anglican preacher who helped spread the Great Awakening in Britain, and especially in the American colonies. He was one of the founders of Methodism and of the evangelical movement generally. He became perhaps the best-known preacher in Britain and America during the 18th century, and because he traveled through all of the American colonies and drew great crowds and media coverage, he was one of the most widely recognized public figures in colonial America.

Evangelism - Calvinism

Whitefield preached his first sermon at St Mary de Crypt Church in his home town of Gloucester a week after his ordination. He had earlier become the leader of the Holy Club at Oxford when the Wesley brothers departed for Georgia. He adopted the practice of Howell Harris of preaching in the open-air at Hanham Mount, near Kingswood, Bristol. In 1738 he went to Savannah, Georgia, in the American colonies, as parish priest. While there he decided that one of the great needs of the area was an orphan house. He decided this would be his life's work. He returned to England to raise funds, as well as to receive priest's orders. While preparing for his return he preached to large congregations. At the suggestion of friends he preached to the miners of Kingswood, outside Bristol, in the open air. Because he was returning to Georgia he invited John Wesley to take over his Bristol congregations, and to preach in the open-air for the first time at Kingswood and then Blackheath, London.

Whitefield accepted the Church of England's doctrine of predestination but disagreed with the Wesley brothers' views on the doctrine of the Atonement, Arminianism. As a result Whitefield did what his friends hoped he would not do—hand over the entire ministry to John Wesley. Whitefield formed and was the president of the first Methodist conference. But he soon relinquished the position to concentrate on evangelical work.

Three churches were established in England in his name: Bristol, and two churches in London: "Moorfields Tabernacle"; and "Tottenham Court Road Chapel". The society meeting at the second Kingswood School at Kingswood, a town on the eastern edge of Bristol, was eventually also named Whitefield's Tabernacle. Whitefield acted as chaplain to Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, and some of his followers joined the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, whose chapels were built by Selina, where a form of Calvinistic Methodism similar to Whitefield's was taught. Many of Selina's chapels were built in the English and Welsh counties, and one was erected in London—Spa Fields Chapel.

In 1739, Whitefield returned to England to raise funds to establish the Bethesda Orphanage, which is the oldest extant charity in North America. On returning to North America in 1740, he preached a series of revivals that came to be known as the Great Awakening of 1740. In 1740 he engaged Moravian Brethren from Georgia to build an orphanage for Negro children on land he had bought in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. Following a theological disagreement, he dismissed them but was unable to complete the building, which the Moravians subsequently bought and completed. This now is the Whitefield House in the center of the Moravian settlement of Nazareth. He preached nearly every day for months to large crowds of sometimes several thousand people as he traveled throughout the colonies, especially New England. His journey on horseback from New York City to Charleston was the longest then undertaken in North America by a white man.

Like his contemporary and acquaintance, Jonathan Edwards, Whitefield preached staunchly Calvinist theology that was in line with the "moderate Calvinism" of the Thirty-nine Articles. While explicitly affirming God's sole agency in salvation, Whitefield freely offered the Gospel, saying at the end of his sermons: "Come poor, lost, undone sinner, come just as you are to Christ."

Benjamin Franklin and Whitefield

Benjamin Franklin attended a revival meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was greatly impressed with Whitefield's ability to deliver a message to such a large group. Franklin had previously dismissed, as an exaggeration, reports of Whitefield preaching to crowds of the order of tens of thousands in England. When listening to Whitefield preaching from the Philadelphia court house, Franklin walked away towards his shop in Market Street until he could no longer hear Whitefield distinctly. He then estimated his distance from Whitefield and calculated the area of a semicircle centered on Whitefield. Allowing two square feet per person he computed that Whitefield could be heard by over thirty thousand people in the open air.

Franklin admired Whitefield as a fellow intellectual but thought Whitefield's plan to run an orphanage in Georgia would lose money. He published several of Whitefield's tracts and was impressed by Whitefield's ability to preach and speak with clarity and enthusiasm to crowds. Franklin was an ecumenist and approved of Whitefield's appeal to members of many denominations, but it is unknown if Franklin was converted. While Franklin did not publicly express conversion, his belief in a personal God is evident in his famous speech at the Constitutional Convention where he recited the verse that not a single sparrow falls to the ground without God's notice; how then could the Constitution convention hope to succeed without God's careful oversight?

Source: wiki.com

August 3

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Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards the first great American Preacher

Jonathan Edwards (October 5, 1703 – March 22, 1758) was a Christian preacher, philosopher, and theologian. Edwards "is widely acknowledged to be America's most important and original philosophical theologian," and one of America's greatest intellectuals. Edwards's theological work is broad in scope, but he was rooted in Reformed theology, the metaphysics of theological determinism, and the Puritan heritage. Recent studies have emphasized how thoroughly Edwards grounded his life's work on conceptions of beauty, harmony, and ethical fittingness, and how central The Enlightenment was to his mindset. Edwards played a critical role in shaping the First Great Awakening, and oversaw some of the first revivals in 1733–35 at his church in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Edwards delivered the sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", a classic of early American literature, during another revival in 1741, following George Whitefield's tour of the Thirteen Colonies. Edwards is well known for his many books, The End For Which God Created the World, The Life of David Brainerd, which served to inspire thousands of missionaries throughout the 19th century, and Religious Affections, which many Reformed Evangelicals still read today. Edwards died from a smallpox inoculation shortly after beginning the presidency at the College of New Jersey (Princeton). He was the grandfather of Aaron Burr [who dueled with Alexander Hamilton], third Vice President of the United States.

The Great Awakening

On July 7, 1732, Edwards preached in Boston the "Public Lecture" afterwards published under the title "God Glorified — in Man's Dependence," which was his first public attack on Arminianism. The emphasis of the lecture was on God's absolute sovereignty in the work of salvation: that while it behooved God to create man pure and without sin, it was of his "good pleasure" and "mere and arbitrary grace" for him to grant any person the faith necessary to incline him or her toward holiness, and that God might deny this grace without any disparagement to any of his character. In 1733, a Christian revival began in Northampton and reached an intensity in the winter of 1734 and the following spring, that it threatened the business of the town. In six months, nearly 300 were admitted to the church.

The revival gave Edwards an opportunity for studying the process of conversion in all its phases and varieties, and he recorded his observations with psychological minuteness and discrimination in A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God in the Conversion of Many Hundred Souls in Northampton (1737). A year later, he published Discourses on Various Important Subjects, the five sermons which had proved most effective in the revival, and of these, none was so immediately effective as that on the Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners, from the text, "That every mouth may be stopped." Another sermon, published in 1734, A Divine and Supernatural Light, Immediately Imparted to the Soul by the Spirit of God, set forth what he regarded as the inner, moving principle of the revival, the doctrine of a special grace in the immediate, and supernatural divine illumination of the soul.

By 1735, the revival had spread and popped up independently across the Connecticut River Valley, and perhaps as far as New Jersey. However, criticism of the revival began, and many New Englanders feared that Edwards had led his flock into fanaticism. Over the summer of 1735, religious fervor took a dark turn. A number of New Englanders were shaken by the revivals but not converted, and became convinced of their inexorable damnation. Edwards wrote that "multitudes" felt urged—presumably by Satan—to take their own lives. At least two people committed suicide in the depths of their spiritual distress, one from Edwards's own congregation—his uncle Joseph Hawley II. It is not known if any others took their own lives, but the "suicide craze" effectively ended the first wave of revival, except in some parts of Connecticut.

However, despite these setbacks and the cooling of religious fervor, word of the Northampton revival and Edwards's leadership role had spread as far as England and Scotland. It was at this time that Edwards was acquainted with George Whitefield, who was traveling the Thirteen Colonies on a revival tour in 1739–40. The two men may not have seen eye to eye on every detail. Whitefield was far more comfortable with the strongly emotional elements of revival than Edwards was, but they were both passionate about preaching the Gospel. They worked together to orchestrate Whitefield's trip, first through Boston and then to Northampton. When Whitefield preached at Edwards's church in Northampton, he reminded them of the revival they had experienced just a few years before. This deeply touched Edwards, who wept throughout the entire service, and much of the congregation too was moved.

Revival began to spring up again, and Edwards preached his most famous sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", in Enfield, Connecticut in 1741. Though this sermon has been widely reprinted as an example of "fire and brimstone" preaching in the colonial revivals, this is not in keeping with Edward's actual preaching style. Edwards did not shout or speak loudly, but talked in a quiet, emotive voice. He moved his audience slowly from point to point, towards an inexorable conclusion: they were lost without the grace of God. While most 21st-century readers notice the damnation looming in such a sermon text, historian George Marsden reminds us that Edwards' was not preaching anything new or surprising: "Edwards could take for granted... that a New England audience knew well the Gospel remedy. The problem was getting them to seek it."

The movement met with opposition from conservative Congregationalist ministers. In 1741, Edwards published in its defense The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God, dealing particularly with the phenomena most criticized: the swoonings, outcries and convulsions. These "bodily effects," he insisted, were not distinguishing marks of the work of the Spirit of God one way or another; but so bitter was the feeling against the revival in the more strictly Puritan churches, that in 1742, he was forced to write a second apology, Thoughts on the Revival in New England. His main argument being the great moral improvement of the country. In the same pamphlet, he defends an appeal to the emotions, and advocates preaching terror when necessary, even to children, who in God's sight "are young vipers... if not Christ's."

He considers "bodily effects" incidental to the real work of God, but his own mystic devotion and the experiences of his wife during the Awakening (which he gives in detail) make him think that the divine visitation usually overpowers the body, a view in support of which he quotes Scripture. In reply to Edwards, Charles Chauncy wrote Seasonable Thoughts on the State of Religion in New England in 1743 and anonymously penned The Late Religious Commotions in New England Considered in the same year. In these works he urged conduct as the sole test of conversion; and the general convention of Congregational ministers in the Province of Massachusetts Bay protested "against disorders in practice which have of late obtained in various parts of the land." In spite of Edwards's able pamphlet, the impression had become widespread that "bodily effects" were recognized by the promoters of the Great Awakening as the true tests of conversion.

To offset this feeling, Edwards preached at Northampton, during the years 1742 and 1743, a series of sermons published under the title of Religious Affections (1746), a restatement in a more philosophical and general tone of his ideas as to "distinguishing marks." In 1747, he joined the movement started in Scotland called the "concert in prayer," and in the same year published An Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of God's People in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ's Kingdom on Earth. In 1749, he published a memoir of David Brainerd who had lived with his family for several months and had died at Northampton in 1747. Brainerd had been constantly attended by Edwards's daughter Jerusha, to whom he was rumored to have been engaged to be married, though there is no surviving evidence of this. In the course of elaborating his theories of conversion, Edwards used Brainerd and his ministry as a case study, making extensive notes of his conversions and confessions.

Legacy

The followers of Jonathan Edwards and his disciples came to be known as the New Light Calvinist ministers, as opposed to the traditional Old Light Calvinist ministers. Prominent disciples included the New Divinity school's Samuel Hopkins, Joseph Bellamy and Jonathan Edwards's son Jonathan Edwards Jr., and Gideon Hawley. Through a practice of apprentice ministers living in the homes of older ministers, they eventually filled a large number of pastorates in the New England area. Many of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards's descendants became prominent citizens in the United States, including the Vice President Aaron Burr and the College Presidents Timothy Dwight, Jonathan Edwards Jr. and Merrill Edwards Gates. Jonathan and Sarah Edwards were also ancestors of the First Lady Edith Roosevelt, the writer O. Henry, the publisher Frank Nelson Doubleday and the writer Robert Lowell.

Edwards's writings and beliefs continue to influence individuals and groups to this day. Early American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions missionaries were influenced by Edwards's writings, as is evidenced in reports in the ABCFM's journal "The Missionary Herald," and beginning with Perry Miller's seminal work, Edwards enjoyed a renaissance among scholars after the end of the Second World War. The Banner of Truth Trust and other publishers continue to reprint Edwards's works, and most of his major works are now available through the series published by Yale University Press, which has spanned three decades and supplies critical introductions by the editor of each volume. Yale has also established the Jonathan Edwards Project online. Author and teacher, Elisabeth Woodbridge Morris, memorialized him, her paternal ancestor (3rd great grandfather) in two books, The Jonathan Papers (1912), and More Jonathan Papers (1915). In 1933, he became the namesake of Jonathan Edwards College, the first of the 12 residential colleges of Yale, and The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University was founded to provide scholarly information about Edwards' writings. Edwards is remembered today as a teacher and missionary by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on March 22.

Source: wiki.com

August 4

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John Wesley

John Wesley a noted British Evangelist who inspired a Methodist, Holiness 'Piety' Movement

John Wesley (June 28, 1703 – March 2, 1791) was an Anglican cleric and Christian theologian. Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, as founding the Methodist movement which began when he took to open-air preaching in a similar manner to George Whitefield. In contrast to Whitefield's Calvinism, Wesley embraced the Arminian doctrines that were dominant in the 18th-century Church of England. Methodism in both forms became a highly successful evangelical movement in Britain and later in the United States. His work also helped lead to the development of the Holiness movement and Pentecostalism.

Wesley helped to organize and form societies of Christians throughout Great Britain, North America and Ireland as small groups that developed intensive, personal accountability, discipleship and religious instruction among members. His great contribution was to appoint itinerant, unordained preachers who travelled widely to evangelize and care for people in the societies. Under Wesley's direction, Methodists became leaders in many social issues of the day, including the prison reform and abolitionism movements.

Although he was not a systematic theologian, Wesley argued in favor of 'Christian perfection' and opposed Calvinism, notably the doctrine of predestination. He held that, in this life, Christians could come to a state in which the love of God "reigned supreme in their hearts", allowing them to attain a state of outward holiness. His evangelical theology was firmly grounded in sacramental theology and he continually insisted on means of grace as the manner by which God sanctifies and transforms the believer, encouraging people to experience Jesus Christ personally.

Throughout his life Wesley remained within the Established Church and insisted that his movement was well within the bounds of the Anglican tradition. His maverick use of church policy put him at odds with many within the Church of England, though toward the end of his life he was widely respected and referred to as "the best loved man in England."

Persecutions and Lay (Amateur) Preaching

From 1739 onward, Wesley and the Methodists were persecuted by clergy and magistrates for various reasons. Though Wesley had been ordained an Anglican priest, many other Methodist leaders had not received ordination. And for his own part, Wesley flouted many regulations of the Church of England concerning parish boundaries and who had authority to preach. This was seen as a social threat that disregarded institutions. Clergy attacked them in sermons and in print, and at times mobs attacked them. Wesley and his followers continued to work among the neglected and needy. They were denounced as promulgators of strange doctrines, fomenters of religious disturbances; as blind fanatics, leading people astray, claiming miraculous gifts, attacking the clergy of the Church of England, and trying to re-establish Catholicism.

Wesley felt that the church failed to call sinners to repentance, that many of the clergy were corrupt, and that people were perishing in their sins. He believed he was commissioned by God to bring about revival in the church, and no opposition, persecution, or obstacles could prevail against the divine urgency and authority of this commission. The prejudices of his High-Church training, his strict notions of the methods and proprieties of public worship, his views of the apostolic succession and the prerogatives of the priest, even his most cherished convictions, were not allowed to stand in the way.

Unwilling that people should perish in their sins and unable to reach them from church pulpits, following the example set by George Whitefield, Wesley began field preaching. Seeing that he and the few clergy co-operating with him could not do the work that needed to be done, he was led, as early as 1739, to approve local preachers. He evaluated and approved men who were not ordained by the Anglican Church to preach and do pastoral work. This expansion of lay preachers was one of the keys of the growth of Methodism.

Ordination of Ministers

As the societies multiplied, they adopted the elements of an ecclesiastical system. The divide between Wesley and the Church of England widened. The question of division from the Church of England was urged by some of his preachers and societies, but most strenuously opposed by his brother Charles. Wesley refused to leave the Church of England, believing that Anglicanism was "with all her blemishes, ... nearer the Scriptural plans than any other in Europe". In 1745 Wesley wrote that he would make any concession which his conscience permitted, in order to live in peace with the clergy. He could not give up the doctrine of an inward and present salvation by faith itself. He would not stop preaching, nor dissolve the societies, nor end preaching by lay members. As a cleric of the established church he had no plans to go further.

When in 1746 Wesley read Lord King on the primitive church, he became convinced that the concept of apostolic succession in Anglicanism was a "fable". He wrote that he was "a scriptural episkopos as much as many men in England."

Many years later Edward Stillingfleet's Irenicon led him to decide that ordination could be valid when performed by a presbyter rather than a bishop. Nevertheless, many believe that Wesley was consecrated a bishop in 1763 by Erasmus of Arcadia, and that Wesley could not openly announce his episcopal consecration without incurring the penalty of the Praemunire Act.

In 1784, he believed he could no longer wait for the Bishop of London to ordain someone for the American Methodists, who were without the sacraments after the American War of Independence. The Church of England had been disestablished in the United States, where it had been the state church in most of the southern colonies. The Church of England had not yet appointed a United States bishop to what would become the Protestant Episcopal Church in America. Wesley ordained Thomas Coke by the laying on of hands although Coke was already a priest in the Church of England. Wesley appointed him to be superintendent of Methodists in the United States. He also ordained Richard Whatcoat and Thomas Vasey as presbyters. Whatcoat and Vasey sailed to America with Coke. Wesley intended that Coke and Asbury (whom Coke ordained) should ordain others in the newly founded Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States.

His brother Charles grew alarmed and begged Wesley to stop before he had "quite broken down the bridge" and not embitter his [Charles'] last moments on earth, nor "leave an indelible blot on our memory." Wesley replied that he had not separated from the Church, nor did he intend to, but he must and would save as many souls as he could while alive, "without being careful about what may possibly be when I die." Although Wesley rejoiced that the Methodists in America were free, he advised his English followers to remain in the established church, and he himself died within it.

Source: wiki.com

August 5

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Holiness Movement

The Holiness Movement a further and continuing Holy Spirit work

The Holiness Movement refers to a set of beliefs and practices emerging from 19th-century Methodism, and to a number of Evangelical Christian denominations who emphasize those beliefs as a central doctrine. The movement is distinguished by its emphasis on John Wesley's "Christian perfection" teaching—the belief that it is possible to live free of voluntary sin, and particularly by the belief that this may be accomplished instantaneously through a second work of grace. {More accurately a person can live a biblical, acceptable, pleasing, harmonious life (not a sinless or perfect life) here and now in the current Kingdom of God on earth and in the Ages-Dispensations to come.}

The Key Beliefs of the Holiness Movement

(1) regeneration by grace through faith, with the assurance of salvation by the witness of the Holy Spirit [salvation from the 1st work of 'Holy Week' the Cross and eternal life Resurrection of Jesus Christ].

(2) entire sanctification as a second definite work of grace [the 2nd work from 'Pentecost' and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit], received by faith, through grace, and accomplished by the baptism and power of the Holy Spirit, by which one is enabled to live a holy [in pleasing fellowship with God] life.

In the context of the holiness movement, the first work of grace is salvation from sin. Adherents believe that without it, no amount of human effort can achieve holiness. The movement's teaching on salvation is conventionally Protestant - God's people are saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ who made atonement for human sins.

Holiness adherents believe that the "second work of grace" refers to a personal experience subsequent to regeneration, in which the believer is cleansed of the tendency to commit sin. This experience of sanctification enables the believer to live a holy life, and ideally, to live entirely without wilful sin, though it is generally accepted that a sanctified individual is still capable of committing sin.

Holiness groups believe the moral aspects of the law of God are pertinent for today, and so expect their adherents to obey behavioral rules - for example prohibiting the consumption of alcohol, participation in any form of gambling, and entertainments such as dancing and movie-going. This position does attract opposition from some evangelicals, who charge that such an attitude refutes or slights Reformation (particularly Calvinist) teachings that believers are justified by grace through faith and not through any efforts or states of mind on their part, that the effects of original sin remain even in the most faithful of souls.

Relation and Reaction to Pentecostalism

The traditional holiness movement is distinct from the Pentecostal movement, which believes that the baptism in the Holy Spirit involves supernatural manifestations such as speaking in unknown tongues. Many of the early Pentecostals were from the holiness movement, and to this day many "classical Pentecostals" maintain much of holiness doctrine and many of its devotional practices. Additionally, the terms Pentecostal and apostolic, now used by adherents to Pentecostal and charismatic doctrine, were once widely used by holiness churches in connection with the consecrated lifestyle described in the New Testament. However, Pentecostals add and emphasize that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is evidenced specifically by supernatural manifestations, a position which Churches in the traditional Holiness Movement do not accept {instead of supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit the Holiness Movement is looking for a Holy Spirit, biblically, altered individual life}.

During Azusa Street revival (often considered the advent of Pentecostalism), the practice of speaking in tongues was strongly rejected by leaders of the traditional holiness movement. Alma White, the leader of the Pillar of Fire Church, a holiness denomination, wrote a book against the Pentecostal movement that was published in 1936; the work, entitled Demons and Tongues, represented early rejection of the new Pentecostal movement. White called speaking in tongues "satanic gibberish" and Pentecostal services "the climax of demon worship".

However, most contemporary Holiness Churches believe in speaking in unknown tongues, some even agree with Pentecostalism in that speaking in unknown tongues is evidence of reception of the Holy Ghost.

The Holiness Pentecostal movement is a denomination that holds to the belief in supernatural manifestations of the Holy Ghost speaking in unknown tongues.

The Roots of the Holiness Movement

• The Reformation itself, with its emphasis on salvation by grace through faith alone.

• Puritanism in 17th century England and its transplantation to America with its emphasis on adherence to the Bible and the right to dissent from the established church.

• Pietism in 17th century Germany, led by Philipp Jakob Spener and the Moravians, which emphasized the spiritual life of the individual, coupled with a responsibility to live an upright life.

• Quietism, as taught by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), with its emphasis on the individual’s ability to experience God and understand God’s will for himself.

• The 1730s Evangelical Revival in England, led by Methodists John Wesley and his brother Charles Wesley, which brought Wesley's distinct take on the Eastern Orthodox concept of Theosis and the teachings of German Pietism to England and eventually to the United States.

• The First Great Awakening in the 18th and early 19th centuries in the United States, propagated by George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, and others, with its emphasis on the initial conversion experience of Christians.

• The Second Great Awakening in the 19th century in the United States, propagated by Francis Asbury, Charles Finney, Lyman Beecher, and others, which also emphasized the need for personal holiness and is characterized by the rise of evangelistic revival meetings.

Source: wiki.com

August 6

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Charles Finney

Charles Grandison Finney a Holiness and Free Will Evangelist

Charles Grandison Finney (August 29, 1792 – August 16, 1875) was an American Presbyterian minister and leader in the Second Great Awakening in the United States. He has been called The Father of Modern Revivalism. Finney was best known as an innovative revivalist during the period 1825-1835 in upstate New York and Manhattan, an opponent of Old School Presbyterian theology, an advocate of Christian perfectionism, and a religious writer.

Together with several other evangelical leaders, his religious views led him to promote social reforms, such as abolition of slavery and equal education for women and African Americans. From 1835 he taught at Oberlin College of Ohio, which accepted both genders and all races. He served as its second president from 1851 to 1866, during which its faculty and students were activists for abolition, the Underground Railroad, and universal education.

Theology

As a young man Finney was a third-degree Master Mason, but after his conversion, he dropped the group as antithetical to Christianity. He was active in Anti-Masonic movements.

Finney was a primary influence on the "revival" style of theology which emerged in the 19th century. Though coming from a Calvinistic background, Finney rejected tenets of "Old Divinity" Calvinism, which he felt were unbiblical and counter to evangelism and Christian mission.

Finney's theology is difficult to classify. In his masterwork, Religious Revivals, he emphasizes the involvement of a person's will in salvation. He did not make clear whether he believed the will was free to repent or not repent, or whether he viewed God as inclining the will irresistibly. (The latter is part of Calvinist doctrine, in which the will of an elect individual is changed by God so that he or she desires to repent, thus repenting with his or her will and not against it, but the individual is not free in whether to choose repentance as the choice must be what the will is inclined toward.) Finney, like most Protestants, affirmed salvation by grace through faith alone, not by works or by obedience. Finney affirmed that works were the evidence of faith. Acts of unrepentant sin were signs that a person had not received salvation.

In his Systematic Theology, Finney remarks, "I have felt greater hesitancy in forming and expressing my views upon this Perseverance of the saints, than upon almost any other question in theology." At the same time, he considered the presence of unrepented sin in the life of a professing Christian as evidence that the person must immediately repent or be lost. Finney draws support for this position from Peter's treatment of the baptized Simon (see Acts 8) and Paul's instruction of discipline to the Corinthian church (see 1 Corinthians 5). Finney's writings emphasized this strong emphasis on personal holiness.

Finney's understanding of the atonement was that it satisfied "public justice" and that it opened the way for God to pardon people of their sins. This was part of the theology of the so-called New Divinity, which was popular at that time period. In this view, Christ's death satisfied public justice rather than retributive justice. As Finney wrote, it was not a "commercial transaction." This view of the atonement is typically known as the governmental view or government view.

Albert Baldwin Dod, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, reviewed Finney's 1835 book Lectures on Revivals of Religion. He rejected it as theologically unsound. Dod was a defender of Old School Calvinist orthodoxy (see Princeton theologians) and was especially critical of Finney's [Arminist] view of the [Calvinist] doctrine of total depravity.

Source: wiki.com

August 7

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Second Great Awakening

The Second Great Awakening enrolled millions of new members in existing Evangelical denominations and led to the formation of new denominations

The Second Great Awakening was a Protestant revival movement during the early 19th century in the United States. The movement began around 1790, gained momentum by 1800, and after 1820 membership rose rapidly among Baptist and Methodist congregations whose preachers led the movement. It was past its peak by the 1840s. It has been described as a reaction against skepticism, deism, and rationalism, although why those forces became pressing enough at the time to spark revivals is not fully understood.

It enrolled millions of new members in existing evangelical denominations and led to the formation of new denominations. Many converts believed that the Awakening heralded a new millennial age. The Second Great Awakening stimulated the establishment of many reform movements designed to remedy the evils of society before the anticipated Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

People at the time talked about the Awakening; historians named the Second Great Awakening in the context of the First Great Awakening of the 1730s and '40s and of the Third Great Awakening of the late 1850s to early 1900s.

Background

The second Great Awakening occurred in several episodes and over different denominations, however the revivals were very similar. As the most effective form of evangelizing during this period revival meetings cut across geographical boundaries, and the movement quickly spread throughout Kentucky, Tennessee and southern Ohio. Each denomination had assets that allowed it to thrive on the frontier. The Methodists had an efficient organization that depended on itinerant ministers, known as circuit riders, who sought out people in remote frontier locations. The circuit riders came from among the common people, which helped them establish rapport with the frontier families they hoped to convert.

The Methodist circuit riders and local Baptist preachers made enormous gains; to a lesser extent the Presbyterians gained members, particularly with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in sparsely settled areas. As a result, the numerical strength of the Baptists and Methodists rose relative to that of the denominations dominant in the colonial period—the Anglicans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists. Among the new denominations that grew from the religious ferment of the Second Great Awakening are the Churches of Christ, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed the Mormons), the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the Evangelical Christian Church in Canada. The converts during the Second Great Awakening were predominantly female. A 1932 source estimated at least three female converts to every two male converts between 1798 to 1826. Young people (those under 25) also converted in greater numbers, and were the first to convert.

Political implications

Revivals and perfectionist hopes of improving individuals and society continued to increase from 1840 to 1865 across all major denominations, especially in urban areas. Evangelists often directly addressed issues such as slavery, greed, and poverty, laying the groundwork for later reform movements. The influence of the Awakening continued in the form of more secular movements. In the midst of shifts in theology and church polity, American Christians began progressive movements to reform society during this period. Known commonly as antebellum reform, this phenomenon included reforms in temperance, women's rights, abolitionism, and a multitude of other questions faced by society.

The religious enthusiasm of the Second Great Awakening was echoed by the new political enthusiasm of the Second Party System. More active participation in politics by more segments of the population brought religious and moral issues into the political sphere. The spirit of evangelical humanitarian reforms was carried on in the antebellum Whig party.

Historians stress the understanding common among participants of reform as being a part of God's plan. As a result, local churches saw their roles in society in purifying the world through the individuals to whom they could bring salvation, and through changes in the law and the creation of institutions. Interest in transforming the world was applied to mainstream political action, as temperance activists, antislavery advocates, and proponents of other variations of reform sought to implement their beliefs into national politics. While Protestant religion had previously played an important role on the American political scene, the Second Great Awakening strengthened the role it would play.

Source: wiki.com

August 8

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Mennonite Confession of Faith

Note: provided as an informative, typical modern Protestant Evangelical Denomination Confessional

Statements of what Mennonites "Evangelicals" believe have been among us from earliest beginnings. A group of Anabaptists, forerunners of Mennonites, wrote the Schleitheim Articles in 1527. Since then, Mennonite groups have produced numerous statements of faith. This Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective takes its place in this rich confessional history. The historic creeds of the early Christian church, which were assumed as foundational for Mennonite confessions from the beginning, are basic to this confession as well. ... This confession guides the faith and life of the Mennonite Church and the General Conference Mennonite Church. Further, the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective is commended to all Christian churches and to those of other faiths or no faith, that they may seriously consider the claims of the Gospel of Jesus Christ from this perspective. May these articles of faith encourage us to hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for the One who has promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). Praise and thanksgiving be to our God!

This confession is the work of two Mennonite groups in North America, the Mennonite Church (MC) and the General Conference Mennonite Church (GC).

Confession of Faith - Article Summary Statement

1. We believe that God exists and is pleased with all who draw near by faith. We worship the one holy and loving God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit eternally. God has created all things visible and invisible, has brought salvation and new life to humanity through Jesus Christ, and continues to sustain the church and all things until the end of the age.

2. We believe in Jesus Christ, the Word of God become flesh. He is the Savior of the world, who has delivered us from the dominion of sin and reconciled us to God by his death on a cross. He was declared to be Son of God by his resurrection from the dead. He is the head of the church, the exalted Lord, the Lamb who was slain, coming again to reign with God in glory.

3. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the eternal Spirit of God, who dwelled in Jesus Christ, who empowers the church, who is the source of our life in Christ, and who is poured out on those who believe as the guarantee of redemption.

4. We believe that all Scripture is inspired by God through the Holy Spirit for instruction in salvation and training in righteousness. We accept the Scriptures as the Word of God and as the fully reliable and trustworthy standard for Christian faith and life. Led by the Holy Spirit in the church, we interpret Scripture in harmony with Jesus Christ.

5. We believe that God has created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, and that God preserves and renews what has been made. All creation has its source outside itself and belongs to the Creator. The world has been created good because God is good and provides all that is needed for life.

6. We believe that God has created human beings in the divine image. God formed them from the dust of the earth and gave them a special dignity among all the works of creation. Human beings have been made for relationship with God, to live in peace with each other, and to take care of the rest of creation.

7. We confess that, beginning with Adam and Eve, humanity has disobeyed God, given way to the tempter, and chosen to sin. All have fallen short of the Creator's intent, marred the image of God in which they were created, disrupted order in the world, and limited their love for others. Because of sin, humanity has been given over to the enslaving powers of evil and death.

8. We believe that, through Jesus Christ, God offers salvation from sin and a new way of life. We receive God's salvation when we repent and accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. In Christ, we are reconciled with God and brought into the reconciling community. We place our faith in God that, by the same power that raised Christ from the dead, we may be saved from sin to follow Christ and to know the fullness of salvation.

9. We believe that the church is the assembly of those who have accepted God's offer of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the new community of disciples sent into the world to proclaim the reign of God and to provide a foretaste of the church's glorious hope. It is the new society established and sustained by the Holy Spirit.

10. We believe that the mission of the church is to proclaim and to be a sign of the kingdom of God. Christ has commissioned the church to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to observe all things he has commanded.

11. We believe that the baptism of believers with water is a sign of their cleansing from sin. Baptism is also a pledge before the church of their covenant with God to walk in the way of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Believers are baptized into Christ and his body by the Spirit, water, and blood.

12. We believe that the Lord's Supper is a sign by which the Church thankfully remembers the New Covenant [promises of God] which Jesus established by His death [and by His Resurrection of Eternal Life]. In this Communion [togetherness - fellowship] meal, the Church renews its Covenant with God and with each other and participates in the life and death of Jesus Christ, until He comes.

13. We believe that in washing the feet of his disciples, Jesus calls us to serve one another in love as he did. Thus we acknowledge our frequent need of cleansing, renew our willingness to let go of pride and worldly power, and offer our lives in humble service and sacrificial love.

14. We practice discipline in the church as a sign of God's offer of transforming grace. Discipline is intended to liberate erring brothers and sisters from sin, and to restore them to a right relationship with God and to fellowship in the church. The practice of discipline gives integrity to the church's witness in the world.

15. We believe that ministry is a continuation of the work of Christ, who gives gifts through the Holy Spirit to all believers and empowers them for service in the church and in the world. We also believe that God calls particular persons in the church to specific leadership ministries and offices. All who minister are accountable to God and to the community of faith.

16. We believe that the church of Jesus Christ is one body with many members, ordered in such a way that, through the one Spirit, believers may be built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

17. We believe that Jesus Christ calls us to discipleship, to take up our cross and follow him. Through the gift of God's saving grace, we are empowered to be disciples of Jesus, filled with his Spirit, following his teachings and his path through suffering to new life. As we are faithful to his way, we become conformed to Christ and separated from the evil in the world.

18. We believe that to be a disciple of Jesus is to know life in the Spirit. As the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ takes shape in us, we grow in the image of Christ and in our relationship with God. The Holy Spirit is active in individual and in communal worship, leading us deeper into the experience of God.

19. We believe that God intends human life to begin in families and to be blessed through families. Even more, God desires all people to become part of the church, God's family. As single and married members of the church family give and receive nurture and healing, families can grow toward the wholeness that God intends. We are called to chastity and to loving faithfulness in marriage.

20. We commit ourselves to tell the truth, to give a simple yes or no, and to avoid the swearing of oaths [i.e. signing of church covenants].

21. We believe that everything belongs to God, who calls the church to live in faithful stewardship of all that God has entrusted to us, and to participate now in the rest and justice which God has promised.

22. We believe that peace is the will of God. God created the world in peace, and God's peace is most fully revealed in Jesus Christ, who is our peace and the peace of the whole world. Led by the Holy Spirit, we follow Christ in the way of peace, doing justice, bringing reconciliation, and practicing nonresistance, even in the face of violence and warfare.

23. We believe that the church is God's holy nation, called to give full allegiance to Christ its head and to witness to every nation, government, and society about God's saving love.

24. We place our hope in the reign of God and its fulfillment in the day when Christ will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. He will gather his church, which is already living under the reign of God. We await God's final victory, the end of this present age of struggle, the resurrection [reconciliation] of the dead [and living], and a new heaven and a new earth. There the people of God will reign with Christ in justice, righteousness, and peace for ever and ever.

[25.] We support God's Covenant Jewish people and the Zionist Nation of Israel and the coming 1,000 year Millennial Reign on earth of the Messiah in Jerusalem our King and Savior the Lord Jesus Christ.

Copyright © 1995 by Herald Press Scottdale PA 15683. Published by arrangement with the General Boards of the General Conference Mennonite Church and the Mennonite Church. All rights reserved.

Source: mennonitechurch.ca

August 9

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George Müller

George Müller director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England, cared for 10,024 orphans in his life

George Müller (27 September 1805 – 10 March 1898), a Christian evangelist and Director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England, cared for 10,024 orphans in his life. He was well known for providing an education to the children under his care, to the point where he was accused of raising the poor above their natural station in life. He also established 117 schools which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children, many of them being orphans.

The theology that guided George Müller's work is not widely known, but was shaped by an experience in his mid twenties when he "came to prize the Bible alone as his standard of judgement".

He records in his Narratives that "That the word of God alone is our standard of judgment in spiritual things; that it can be explained only by the Holy Spirit; and that in our day, as well as in former times, he is the teacher of his people. The office of the Holy Spirit I had not experimentally understood before that time. Indeed, of the office of each of the blessed persons, in what is commonly called the Trinity, I had no experimental apprehension. I had not before seen from the Scriptures that the Father chose us before the foundation of the world; that in him that wonderful plan of our redemption originated, and that he also appointed all the means by which it was to be brought about. Further, that the Son, to save us, had fulfilled the law, to satisfy its demands, and with it also the holiness of God; that he had borne the punishment due to our sins, and had thus satisfied the justice of God. And, further, that the Holy Spirit alone can teach us about our state by nature, show us the need of a Saviour, enable us to believe in Christ, explain to us the Scriptures, help us in preaching, etc. It was my beginning to understand this latter point in particular which had a great effect on me; for the Lord enabled me to put it to the test of experience, by laying aside commentaries, and almost every other book, and simply reading the word of God and studying it. The result of this was, that the first evening that I shut myself into my room, to give myself to prayer and meditation over the Scriptures, I learned more in a few hours than I had done during a period of several months previously. But the particular difference was, that I received real strength for my soul in doing so. I now began to try by the test of the Scriptures the things which I had learned and seen, and found that only those principles which stood the test were really of value."

Müller also wrote of how he came to believe in the doctrines of election, particular redemption, and final persevering grace while staying in Teignmouth, Devon in 1829. George Müller was a founding member of the Plymouth Brethren movement. Doctrinal differences arose in the 1840s and Müller was determined to determine the truth by the "infallible standard of the Holy Spirit". At the time, he and Craik were pastors of the Bethesda and Gideon fellowships in Bristol. Membership at Gideon was open to all believers, while only believers who had been baptised could claim full membership of Bethesda, although all believers were welcome at Communion. Müller consulted Robert C Chapman on the issue of accepting unbaptised believers, and Chapman stated that distinction should be made between unbaptised believers who "walked disorderly" and those who lived according to the Bible. Müller and Craik independently contemplated the issue and decided that unbaptised believers, who otherwise lived according to Scriptural principles, should not be denied membership.

Dissension arose at Gideon regarding the presence of unbelievers at Communion and the view held by some that pews were private property, and eventually Müller and Craik withdrew from this fellowship on 19 April 1840, concentrating thereafter on the Bethesda Chapel.

John Nelson Darby and Benjamin Wills Newton became opposed concerning certain matters or doctrine and a discussion was held in Plymouth on 5 December 1845. A document entitled The Principles of Open Brethren stated: "Certain tracts issued by Mr Newton were judged to contain error regarding the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the question arose whether it was sufficient to exclude from fellowship those who held the erroneous teaching, or whether all who belonged to a gathering where the error was tolerated were to be put outside the pale, even if they themselves had not embraced it. One party, led by Mr Darby, took the latter view. Others, in particular the Bethesda Church, in which Messrs Müller and Craik ministered, refused to admit any who were convicted of holding the evil doctrine themselves, but did not exclude those who came from Mr Newton's meeting. The exclusive party thereupon declined to have any further fellowship with members of the Bethesda Church or others like-minded. The latter soon came to receive the title of 'Open Brethren'." The more exclusive side of the brethren movement became known as the Exclusive Brethren and was led by Darby. Darby called on Müller in July 1849 to discuss the split, but Müller had many prior engagements and could only receive Darby for 10 minutes. It was impossible to fully discuss the problem in such a short time, and the two men never met again.

Though the pre-tribulational rapture doctrine gained momentum as a result of the literature of the Brethren movement, Müller's church was wary of such teachings. George Müller held to a Post Tribulation Rapture doctrine along with others such as Benjamin Wills Newton and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, and said that "scripture declares plainly that the Lord Jesus will not come until the Apostasy shall have taken place, and the man of sin shall have been revealed..."

Müller wrote frequently about the stewardship of money and the non-reliance on earthly riches, and how God would bless the man who kept to these principles, and felt that laying his own experiences bare would prove the truth of his claims. His personal income, from unsolicited gifts (he refused any kind of salary) rose from £151 in 1831 to more than £2,000 in 1870. However, he retained only around £300 a year for himself and his family, the rest he gave away.

William Henry Harding said, 'The world, dull of understanding, has even yet not really grasped the mighty principle upon which he (Müller) acted, but is inclined to think of him merely as a nice old gentleman who loved children, a sort of glorified guardian of the poor, who with the passing of the years may safely be spoken of, in the language of newspaper headlines, as a "prophet of philanthropy." To describe him thus, however, is to degrade his memory, is to miss the high spiritual aim and the wonderful spiritual lesson of his life. It is because the carnal mind is incapable of apprehending spiritual truth that the world regards the orphan Houses only with the languid interest of mere humanitarianism, and remains oblivious of their extraordinary witness to the faithfulness of God.

Source: wiki.com

Note: much of George Müller's orphanage ministry, and the necessity for it was in response to various outbreaks of cholera, typhus and other widespread epidemics of the time. George Müller consistently put himself, his staff and occasionally others at risk in unhealthy circumstances this is in part what garnered some opposition to his ministry and methods. George Müller is somewhat controversial in his doctrines, policies and practices but the amount of mercy and the vital ministry that he helped provide during a perilous time in human history cannot be understated or overvalued.

August 10

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Hudson Taylor

Hudson Taylor a Missionary to China

James Hudson Taylor (21 May 1832 – 3 June 1905), was a British Protestant Christian missionary to China, and founder of the China Inland Mission (CIM) now OMF International. Taylor spent 51 years in China. The society that he began was responsible for bringing over 800 missionaries to the country who began 125 schools and directly resulted in 18,000 Christian conversions, as well as the establishment of more than 300 stations of work with more than 500 local helpers in all eighteen provinces.

Taylor was known for his sensitivity to Chinese culture and zeal for evangelism. He adopted wearing native Chinese clothing even though this was rare among missionaries of that time. Under his leadership, the CIM was singularly non-denominational in practice and accepted members from all Protestant groups, including individuals from the working class and single women as well as multinational recruits. Primarily because of the CIM's campaign against the Opium trade, Taylor has been referred to as one of the most significant Europeans to visit China in the 19th Century. Historian Ruth Tucker summarizes the theme of his life: "No other missionary in the nineteen centuries since the Apostle Paul has had a wider vision and has carried out a more systematized plan of evangelizing a broad geographical area than Hudson Taylor."

Taylor was able to preach in several varieties of Chinese, including Mandarin, Chaozhou, and the Wu dialects of Shanghai and Ningbo. The last of these he knew well enough to help prepare a colloquial edition of the New Testament written in it.

First visit to China

Taylor left England on 19 September 1853 before completing his medical studies, arriving in Shanghai, China, on 1 March 1854. The nearly disastrous voyage aboard the clipper Dumfries through an Easterly passage near Buru Island lasted about five months. In China, he was immediately faced with civil war, throwing his first year there into turmoil.

Taylor made 18 preaching tours in the vicinity of Shanghai starting in 1855, and was often poorly received by the people, even though he brought with him medical supplies and skills. He made a decision to adopt the native Chinese clothes and queue (pigtail) with shaven forehead, however, and was then able to gain an audience without creating a disturbance. Previous to this, Taylor realised that wherever he went he was being referred to as a "black devil" because of the overcoat he wore. He distributed thousands of Chinese Gospel tracts and portions of Scripture in and around Shanghai. During his stay in Shanghai, he also adopted and cared for a Chinese boy named Hanban.

Scottish evangelist, William Chalmers Burns, of the English Presbyterian Mission began work in Shantou, and for a period Taylor joined him there. After leaving he later found that all of his medical supplies, being stored in Shanghai, had been destroyed by a fire. Then in October 1856, while travelling across China he was robbed of nearly everything he owned.

Relocated in Ningbo by 1857, Taylor received a letter from a supportive George Müller which led to Taylor and his co-worker John Jones deciding to resign from the problematic mission board which had sent them, and instead work independently in what came to be called the "Ningpo Mission". Four Chinese men joined them in their work: Ni Yongfa, Feng Ninggui, Wang Laijun, and Qiu Guogui.

In 1858, Taylor married Maria Jane Dyer, the orphaned daughter of the Rev. Samuel Dyer of the London Missionary Society, who had been a pioneer missionary to the Chinese in Penang, Malaysia. Hudson met Maria in Ningbo where she lived and worked at a school for girls which was run by one of the first female missionaries to the Chinese, Mary Ann Aldersey.

As a married couple the Taylors took care of an adopted boy named Tianxi while living in Ningbo. They had a baby of their own that died late in 1858. Their first surviving child, Grace, was born in 1859. Shortly after she was born, the Taylors took over all of the operations at the hospital in Ningbo that had been run by William Parker. In a letter to his sister Amelia Hudson Taylor he wrote on 14 February 1860,“ "If I had a thousand pounds China should have it—if I had a thousand lives, China should have them. No! Not China, but Christ. Can we do too much for Him? Can we do enough for such a precious Saviour?”

Later Years

Because of health problems, in 1860 Taylor decided to return to England for a furlough with his family. The Taylors sailed back to England aboard the tea clipper Jubilee along with their daughter, Grace and a young man, Wang Laijun, from the Bridge Street church in Ningbo, who would help with the Bible translation work that would continue in England.

Due to health issues, Taylor remained in Switzerland, semi-retired with his wife. In 1900, Dixon Edward Hoste was appointed the Acting General Director of the CIM, and in 1902, Taylor formally resigned. His wife, Jennie, died of cancer in 1904 in Les Chevalleyres, Switzerland, and in 1905, Taylor returned to China for the eleventh and final time. There he visited Yangzhou and Zhenjiang and other cities, before dying suddenly while reading at home in Changsha. He was buried next to his first wife, Maria in Zhenjiang in the small English Cemetery near the Yangtze River.

Taylor was raised in the Methodist tradition but in the course of his life he was a member of the Baptist Westbourne Grove Church pastored by William Garrett Lewis, and he also kept strong ties to the "Open Brethren" such as George Müller. His theology and his practice were non-sectarian.

Source: wiki.com

August 11

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American Bible Society

The American Bible Society

American Bible Society (ABS) is an interconfessional, non-denominational, nonprofit organization, founded on May 11 in 1816 in New York City, which publishes, distributes and translates the Bible and provides study aids and other tools to help people engage with the Bible.

Structure

The government of the Society is entrusted to a board of managers, consisting of 36 laymen, one-fourth of whom retire from office each year, but are eligible for reelection. Laymen who were constituted directors for life before 1 June 1877, and ministers who are life members are authorized to attend the meetings of the board, with power to speak and vote.

19th Century

American Bible Society was founded in 1816 by people who were committed to the word of God and to the end of slavery. The first President was Elias Boudinot, who was also President of the Continental Congress from 1782 to 1783 and later Director of the U.S. Mint.

John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was named President in 1821 and a number of illustrious individuals like Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen, Johns Hopkins University President Daniel Coit Gilman and Edwin Francis Hyde, a former president of the Philharmonic Society of New York, headed up the organization over the years. Francis Scott Key, the writer of the United States' National Anthem, was a Vice President of the organization from 1817 until his death in 1843.

American Bible Society provided the first Bibles in hotels and the first pocket Bibles for soldiers (during the American Civil War). The first translation by the Bible Society was in 1818 into Lenape of Delaware, a Native American language.

In 1852 the Bible House was built, occupying the whole of the ground bounded by Third and Fourth Avenues, Astor Place and Ninth Street in New York City. By 1920, it was one of the oldest office buildings in the city.

One goal of the Bible Society is to reach the destitute of all classes and conditions. During the 19th century, four canvasses of the United States for this purpose were undertaken. These canvasses were begun in 1829, 1856, 1866 and in 1882. During the fourth canvass, begun in 1882, more than 6,300,000 families were visited, and 473,806 families were supplied with Bibles; in addition nearly 300,000 individuals received Bibles.

American Bible Society sold 437,000 Scriptures and portions in 1898 in China.

20th Century

By 1912, the Society issued Bibles for use in the United States in 83 languages besides English. Foreign circulation was rising steadily, increasing from 250,000 copies in 1876 to over 2,000,000 copies in 1915.

American Bible Society celebrated a century of service to China in 1934. Vice President John R. Mott recalled that in 1833 the Society sent $3,000 to Dr. Elijah Coleman Bridgman, first U. S. Protestant missionary to China, to print scriptures in Chinese. As of 1934 the Society had spent $2,897,383 distributing nearly 70,000,000 volumes of Scripture in China.

A major supporter of the society was the philanthropist, oilman, and rancher Joseph Sterling Bridwell of Wichita Falls, Texas.

In 1999, ABS launched its first major internet ministry, a free church webbuilder. Since then, it has released many different ministry sites which allows users to share stories of how the Bible has changed their life.

Decline

American Bible Society is probably best known for its [paraphrased] Good News Translation of the Bible, with its contemporary vernacular and unique line drawings of Bible events with a snippet of text interspersed throughout the book. The line drawings were done by Annie Vallotton, a Swiss religious artist. They also publish the Contemporary English Version.

The stated mission of American Bible Society is to make the Bible available to every person in a language and format each can understand and afford, so all people may experience its life-changing message.

ABS is headquartered in New York City. Its headquarters building at 1865 Broadway houses an extensive museum of religious art and a 45,000 volume collection of Scriptures, making it the largest Bible museum in the western hemisphere and second largest in the world behind the Vatican.

Source: wiki.com

August 12

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Third Great Awakening

Third Great Awakening 1850's to 1900's

The Third Great Awakening was a period of religious activism in American history from the late 1850s to the early 20th century. It affected pietistic Protestant denominations and had a strong element of social activism.

Overview

The Protestant mainline churches were growing rapidly in numbers, wealth and educational levels, throwing off their frontier beginnings and becoming centered in towns and cities. Intellectuals and writers such as Josiah Strong advocated a muscular Christianity with systematic outreach to the unchurched in America and around the globe. Others built colleges and universities to train the next generation. Each denomination supported active missionary societies, and made the role of missionary one of high prestige.

The great majority of pietistic mainline Protestants (in the North) supported the Republican Party, and urged it to endorse prohibition and social reforms.

The awakening in numerous cities in 1858 was interrupted by the American Civil War. In the South, on the other hand, the Civil War stimulated revivals, especially the Confederate States Army revival in General Robert E. Lee's army.

After the war, Dwight L. Moody made revivalism the centerpiece of his activities in Chicago by founding the Moody Bible Institute. The hymns of Ira Sankey were especially influential.

Across the nation drys crusaded in the name of religion for the prohibition of alcohol. The Woman's Christian Temperance Union mobilized Protestant women for social crusades against liquor, pornography and prostitution, and sparked the demand for woman suffrage.

The Gilded Age plutocracy came under sharp attack from the Social Gospel preachers and with reformers in the Progressive Era. Historian Robert Fogel identifies numerous reforms, especially the battles involving child labor, compulsory elementary education and the protection of women from exploitation in factories.

All the major denominations sponsored growing missionary activities inside the United States and around the world.

Colleges associated with churches rapidly expanded in number, size and quality of curriculum. The promotion of "muscular Christianity" became popular among young men on campus and in urban YMCA's, as well as such denominational youth groups such as the Epworth League for Methodists and the Walther League for Lutherans.

The Holiness and Pentecostal Movements

The goal of the Holiness movement in the Methodist Church was to move beyond the one-time conversion experience that the revivals produce, and reach entire sanctification. The Pentecostals went one step further, seeking what they called a "baptism in the spirit" or "baptism of the Holy Ghost" that enabled those with this special gift to heal the sick, perform miracles, prophesy, and speak in tongues.

Source: wiki.com

August 13

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Postmodern - Emergent church

The Emergent Deconstructional Metaphorical church

The emerging church was a Christian movement of the late 20th and early 21st centuries that crossed a number of theological boundaries: participants were described as Protestant, post-Protestant, evangelical, post-evangelical, liberal, post-liberal, conservative, post-conservative, anabaptist, adventist, reformed, charismatic, neocharismatic, and post-charismatic. Emerging churches can be found throughout the globe, predominantly in North America, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa. Some attend local independent churches or house churches while others worship in traditional Christian denominations. Proponents believe the movement transcends such "modernist" labels of "conservative" and "liberal," calling the movement a "conversation" to emphasize its developing and decentralized nature, its vast range of standpoints, and its commitment to dialogue. Participants seek to live their faith in what they believe to be a "postmodern" society. What those involved in the conversation mostly agree on is their disillusionment with the organized and institutional church and their support for the deconstruction of modern Christian worship, modern evangelism, and the nature of modern Christian community.

Emerging churches are fluid, hard to define, and varied; they contrast themselves with what has gone before by using the term "inherited church." Key themes of the emerging church are couched in the language of reform, Praxis-oriented lifestyles, Post-evangelical thought, and incorporation or acknowledgment of political and Postmodern elements. Terminological confusion has occurred because of the use of words with similar etymology. When used as descriptors "emerging" and "emergent" can be interchangeable. However, when used as names, they are different. In this case "Emerging" refers to the whole informal, church-based, global movement, whilst "Emergent" to a formal, organisational subset [of] the "Emergent stream."

According to Mobsby the term "emerging church" was first used in 1970, when Larson and Osborne predicted a movement characterised by: contextual and experimental mission; new forms of church; the removal of barriers and division; a blend of evangelism and social action; attention to both experience and tradition; the breakdown of clergy/laity distinctions. The term emergent church was also used in 1981 by Catholic political theologian, Johann Baptist Metz for use in a different context. Marcus Borg says "The emerging paradigm has been visible for well over a hundred years. In the last twenty to thirty years, it has become a major grassroots movement among both laity and clergy in "mainline" or "old mainline" Protestant denominations." He describes it as: "a way of seeing the Bible and the Christian tradition as a whole as historical, metaphorical, and sacramental, and a way of seeing the Christian life as relational and transformational.

There has been a strong bias in the US to ignore a history to the emerging church that preceded the US Emergent organization. This began with Mike Riddell and Mark Pierson in New Zealand from 1989, and with a number of practitioners in the UK including Jonny Baker, Ian Mobsby, Kevin, Ana and Brian Draper, and Sue Wallace amongst others, from around 1992. The influence of the Nine O'Clock Service has been ignored also, owing to its notoriety, yet much that was practised there was influential on early proponents of alternative worship.

What is common to the identity of many of these emerging church projects that began in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, is that they developed with very little central planning on behalf of the established denominations. They occurred as the initiative of particular groups wanting to start new contextual church experiments, and are therefore very 'bottom up'. Murray says that these churches began in a spontaneous way, with informal relationships formed between otherwise independent groups and that many became churches as a development from their initial more modest beginnings.

The emerging church is a response to the perceived influence of modernism in Western Christianity. As some sociologists commented on a cultural shift that they believed to correspond to postmodern ways of perceiving reality in the late 20th century, some Christians began to advocate changes within the church in response. These Christians saw the contemporary church as being culturally bound to modernism. They changed their practices to relate to the new cultural situation. Emerging Christians began to challenge the modern church on issues such as: institutional structures, systematic theology, propositional teaching methods, a perceived preoccupation with buildings, an attractional understanding of mission, professional clergy, and a perceived preoccupation with the political process and unhelpful jargon "Christian-ese".

As a result, some in the emerging church believe it is necessary to deconstruct modern Christian dogma. One way this happens is by engaging in dialogue, rather than proclaiming a predigested message, believing that this leads people to Jesus through the Holy Spirit on their own terms. Many in the movement embrace the missiology that drives the movement in an effort to be like Christ and make disciples by being a good example. The emerging church movement contains a great diversity in beliefs and practices, although some have adopted a preoccupation with sacred rituals, good works, and political and social activism. Much of the Emerging Church movement has also adopted the approach to evangelism which stressed peer-to-peer dialogue rather than dogmatic proclamation and proselytizing.

A plurality of Scriptural interpretations is acknowledged in the emerging church movement. Participants in the movement exhibit a particular concern for the effect of the modern reader's cultural context on the act of interpretation echoing the ideas of postmodern thinkers such as Jacques Derrida and Stanley Fish. Therefore a narrative approach to Scripture, and history are emphasized in some emerging churches over exegetical and dogmatic approaches (such as that found in systematic theology and systematic exegesis), which are often viewed as reductionist. Others embrace a multiplicity of approaches.

Under this movement, traditional Christians' emphasis on either individual salvation, end-times theology or the prosperity gospel have been challenged. Many people in the movement express concern for what they consider to be the practical manifestation of God's kingdom on earth, by which they mean social justice. This concern manifests itself in a variety of ways depending on the local community and in ways they believe transcend "modernist" labels of "conservative" and "liberal." This concern for justice is expressed in such things as feeding the poor, visiting the sick and prisoners, stopping contemporary slavery, critiquing systemic and coercive power structures with "postcolonial hermeneutics," and working for environmental causes.

Source: wiki.com

August 14

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Aimee Semple McPherson

Sister Aimee a Canadian-American Los Angeles based evangelist and media celebrity in the 1920s and 1930s

Aimee Semple McPherson (October 9, 1890 – September 27, 1944), also known as Sister Aimee, was a Canadian-American Los Angeles–based evangelist and media celebrity in the 1920s and 1930s. She founded the Foursquare Church. McPherson has been noted as a pioneer in the use of modern media, especially radio, and was the second woman to be granted a broadcast license. She used radio to draw on the growing appeal of popular entertainment in North America and incorporated other forms into her weekly sermons at Angelus Temple.

In her time she was the most publicized Christian evangelist, surpassing Billy Sunday and her other predecessors. She conducted public faith-healing demonstrations before large crowds, allegedly healing tens of thousands of people. McPherson's articulation of the United States as a nation founded and sustained by divine inspiration continues to be echoed by many pastors in churches today. Her media image, which sensationalized difficulties with her mother and daughter, as well as a mysterious five-week disappearance, shrouded her extensive charity work and significant contributions to the revitalization of American Christianity in the 20th century.

McPherson [scammed people by] preach[ing] a [fake] conservative gospel but used progressive methods, taking advantage of radio, movies, and stage acts. Advocacy for women's rights was on the rise, including women's suffrage through the 19th Amendment. She attracted some women associated with modernism, but others were put off by the contrast between her different theories. By accepting and using such new media outlets, McPherson helped integrate them into people’s daily lives.

Career

In 1913 Aimee Semple McPherson embarked upon a preaching career. Touring Canada and the United States, she began evangelizing and holding tent revivals in June 1915. At first she struggled to gain an audience. Standing on a chair in some public place, she would gaze into the sky as if intently observing something there, perhaps reaching upwards as if to gesture for help or supplication. An audience, curious as to what the woman was doing or looking at, would gather around her. Then after 20 minutes to an hour, she would jump off the chair, declare something to the effect "I have a secret to share with you, follow me...," go to a nearby meeting room she had earlier rented out. Once inside, the doors were shut behind them and McPherson would begin her sermon.

The female Pentecostal preacher was greeted with some trepidation by pastors of local churches she solicited for building space to hold her revival meetings. Pentecostals were at the edge of Christian religious society, sometimes seen as strange with their loud, raucous unorganized meetings and were often located in the poorer sections of town. McPherson, however, perhaps because of her Methodist upbringing, kept an order to her meetings that came to be much appreciated. She wanted to create the enthusiasm a Pentecostal meeting could provide, with its "Amen Corner" and "Halleluiah Chorus" but also to avoid its unbridled chaos as participants started shouting, trembling on the floor and speaking in tongues; all at once. Because of the negative connotation of the word "pentecostal' and though McPherson practiced speaking in tongues, she rarely emphasized it. McPherson organized her meetings with the general public in mind and yet did not wish to quench any who suddenly came into "the Spirit." To this end she set up a "tarry tent or room" away from the general area for any who suddenly started speaking in tongues or display any other Holy Ghost behavior the larger audience might be put off by. McPherson wrote: "A woman preacher was a novelty. At the time I began my ministry, women were well in the background.... Orthodox ministers, many of whom disapproved even of men evangelists such as Moody, Spurgeon, Tunda and the rest chiefly because they used novel evangelistic methods, disapproved all the more of a woman minister. especially was this true when my meetings departed from the funeral, sepulchrelike ritual of appointed Sundays...."

After her first successful visits, she had little difficulty with acceptance or attendance. Eager converts filled the pews of local churches which turned many recalcitrant ministers into her enthusiastic supporters. Frequently, she would start a revival meeting in a hall or church and then have to move to a larger building to accommodate the growing crowds. When there were no suitable buildings, she set up a tent, which was often filled past capacity.

McPherson was a strong woman, hefting a maul to hammer in tent stakes and involved herself in all the physical labor a revival setup required. She could fix her car, move boulders and drag fallen timber out of the roadway as she traveled to her destinations. McPherson was also known as a successful faith healer as there were extensive claims of physical healing occurring during her meetings. Such claims became less important as her fame increased.

In 1916, McPherson embarked on a tour of the Southern United States in her "Gospel Car", first with her husband Harold and later, in 1918, with her mother, Mildred Kennedy. She was an important addition to McPherson's ministry and managed everything, including the money, which gave them an unprecedented degree of financial security. Their vehicle was a 1912 Packard touring car emblazoned with religious slogans. Standing on the back seat of the convertible, McPherson preached sermons over a megaphone. On the road between sermons, she would sit in the back seat typing sermons and other religious materials. She first traveled up and down the eastern United States, then went to other parts of the country.

By 1917 she had started her own magazine, The Bridal Call, for which she wrote many articles about women’s roles in religion; she portrayed the link between Christians and Jesus as a marriage bond. By taking seriously the religious role of women, the magazine contributed to the rising women’s movement.

Azusa Street Revivals starting in 1906 were noted for their racial diversity as blacks, Hispanics, whites and other minorities openly worshiped together, led by William J. Seymour, an African American preacher. As the participants of the Azusa Street Revivals, dispersed, local Pentecostals were looking for leadership for a new revival and in late 1918, McPherson came to Los Angeles. Minnie Kennedy, her mother, rented the largest hall they could find, the 3,500 seat Philharmonic Auditorium (known then as Temple Auditorium). People waited for hours to get in and McPherson could hardly reach the pulpit without stepping on someone. Afterwards, grateful attendees of her Los Angeles meetings built her a home for her family which included everything from the cellar to a canary bird.

While Aimee Semple McPherson had traveled extensively in her evangelical work prior to arriving in Baltimore, she was first “discovered” by the newspapers while sitting with her mother in the red plush parlor of the Belvedere Hotel on December 5, 1919, a day after conducting evangelistic services at the Lyric Opera House. In December 1919, she went to Baltimore’s Lyric Opera House to conduct seventeen days of meetings. The Baltimore Sun ran a thousand-word interview with her in the December 6, 1919, issue. Her mother Mildred Kennedy had booked the 2,500 seating capacity Lyric Opera House at US $3,100, a huge sum compared to earlier engagements. Considering her daughter's success elsewhere, Kennedy thought the risk well worth taking

Death

On September 26, 1944, McPherson went to Oakland, California, for a series of revivals, planning to preach her popular "Story of My Life" sermon. When McPherson's son went to her hotel room at 10:00 the next morning, he found her unconscious with pills and a half-empty bottle of capsules nearby. She was dead by 11:15. It was later discovered she previously called her doctor that morning to complain about feeling ill from the medicine, but he was in surgery and could not be disturbed. She then phoned another doctor who referred her to yet another physician; however, McPherson apparently lost consciousness before the third could be contacted.

The autopsy did not conclusively determine the cause of McPherson's death. She had been taking sleeping pills following numerous health problems – including "tropical fever". Among the pills found in the hotel room was the barbiturate Seconal, a strong sedative which had not been prescribed for her. It was unknown how she obtained them.

The coroner said she most likely died of an accidental overdose compounded by kidney failure. The cause of death is officially listed as unknown. Given the circumstances, there was speculation about suicide, but most sources generally agree the overdose was accidental, as stated in the coroner's report.

Source: wiki.com

August 15

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Kathryn Kuhlman

Kathryn Johanna Kuhlman an Aimee Semple McPherson devotee, faith healer and evangelist

Kathryn Johanna Kuhlman (May 9, 1907 – February 20, 1976) was born in Concordia, Missouri, to German-American parents. She was "born-again" at the age of 14 in the Methodist Church of Concordia, and began preaching in the West at the age of sixteen in primarily Baptist Churches.

In 1935, Kathryn met Burroughs Waltrip, a Texas evangelist who was eight years her senior. Shortly after his visit to Denver, Waltrip divorced his wife, left his family and moved to Mason City, Iowa, where he began a revival center called Radio Chapel. Kathryn and her friend and pianist Helen Gulliford came into town to help him raise funds for his ministry. It was shortly after their arrival that the romance between Burroughs and Kathryn became publicly known.

Burroughs and Kathryn decided to wed. While discussing the matter with some friends, Kathryn had said that she could not “find the will of God in the matter.” These and other friends encouraged her not to go through with the marriage, but Kathryn justified it to herself and others by believing that Waltrip’s wife had left him, not the other way around. On October 18, 1938, Kathryn secretly married “Mister,” as she liked to call Waltrip, in Mason City. The wedding did not give her new peace about their union, however. After they checked into their hotel that night, Kathryn left and drove over to the hotel where Helen was staying with another friend. She sat with them weeping and admitted that the marriage was a mistake. No one seems to know exactly when the separation took place. In a 1952 interview with the Denver Post she (Kathryn) said, "He charged—correctly—that I refused to live with him. And I haven't seen him in eight years." That would put the separation in 1944—which is probably accurate. This means they lived together for the better part of six years." She was divorced by Burroughs Waltrip in 1948.

Kuhlman traveled extensively around the United States and in many other countries holding "healing crusades" between the 1940s and 1970s. She had a weekly TV program in the 1960s and 1970s called I Believe In Miracles that was aired nationally. The foundation was established in 1954, and its Canadian branch in 1970.

Following a 1967 fellowship in Philadelphia, Dr. William A. Nolen conducted a case study of 23 people who claimed to have been cured during her services. Nolen's long term follow-ups concluded that there were no cures in those cases. One woman who was said to have been cured of spinal cancer threw away her brace and ran across the stage at Kuhlman's command; her spine collapsed the next day, according to Nolen, and she died four months later.

By 1970 she moved to Los Angeles conducting faith healing for thousands of people each day as an heir to Aimee Semple McPherson. She became well-known despite, as she told reporters, having no theological training.

In 1975, Kuhlman was sued by Paul Bartholomew, her personal administrator, who claimed that she kept $1 million in jewelry and $1 million in fine art hidden away and sued her for $430,500 for breach of contract. Two former associates accused her in the lawsuit of diverting funds and of illegally removing records, which she denied and said the records were not private. According to Kuhlman, the lawsuit was settled prior to trial.

Death and legacy

In July 1975 her doctor diagnosed her with a minor heart flareup and she had a relapse in November while in Los Angeles. As a result, she had open heart surgery in Tulsa, Oklahoma from which she died in February 1976. Kathryn Kuhlman is interred [near Aimee Semple McPherson] in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. A plaque in her honor is located in the main city park in Concordia, Missouri, a town located in central Missouri on Interstate Highway 70.

After she died, her will led to controversy. She left $267,500, the bulk of her estate, to three family members and twenty employees. Smaller bequests were given to 19 other employees. According to the Independent Press-Telegram, her employees were disappointed that "she did not leave most of her estate to the foundation as she had done under a previous 1974 will." The Kathryn Kuhlman Foundation has continued, but in 1982 it terminated its nationwide radio broadcasting.

She influenced faith healers Benny Hinn and Billy Burke. Hinn has adopted some of her techniques and wrote a book about her.

In 1981 David Byrne and Brian Eno sampled one of Kuhlman's sermons in their album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. The track was entitled "The Spirit Womb," a mis-hearing of Kuhlman's actual utterance "the spirit world." When Kuhlman's estate refused to license the use of her voice, the track was re-recorded as "The Jezebel Spirit" with an unidentified exorcist's vocal replacing Kuhlman's. The original Kuhlman-vocal has been released on a bootleg but not officially.

Source: wiki.com

August 16

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Chuck Smith Sr.

Church Smith Sr. the problematic and controversial Pastor who led the embellished Calvary Chapel Movement

Charles Ward "Chuck" Smith (June 25, 1927 – October 3, 2013) was an American pastor who founded the Calvary Chapel movement. Beginning with the 25-person Costa Mesa congregation in 1965, Smith's influence now extends to thousands of congregations worldwide, some of which are among the largest churches in the United States. He has been called "one of the most influential figures in modern American Christianity."

Smith was born in Ventura, California in 1927 to Charles and Maude Smith.

Smith graduated from LIFE Bible College and was ordained as a pastor for the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. In the late 1950s, Smith was the campaign manager and worship director for healing evangelist Paul Cain. After being a pastor for a different denomination, he left his denomination to pastor a non-denominational church plant in Corona, California, and eventually moved to a small pre-existing church called Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California in December 1965.

Life Pacific College was founded in Echo Park, Los Angeles, California, in 1923 as Echo Park Evangelistic and Missionary Training Institute by Aimee Semple McPherson. Its name was changed to LIFE Bible College, LIFE standing for "Lighthouse of International Foursquare Evangelism".

In his 1978 book End Times, Smith predicted the generation of 1948 would be the last generation, and that the world would end by 1981 at the latest. Smith supported his convictions again in his 1980 manuscript "Future Survival," postulating that from his "understanding of biblical prophecies... "I am convinced that the Lord will come for His Church before the end of 1981." He identified that he "could be wrong" but continued in the same sentence that "it’s a deep conviction in my heart, and all my plans are predicated upon that belief." Calvary Chapel held a New Year's Eve service in 1981 for their followers to wait for the end to occur in accordance with Smith's prediction. When the world failed to end, many disillusioned followers left the Calvary Chapel movement.

Chuck Smith announced during the New Years Day 2012 service that he had lung cancer. In June 2013, Smith's doctors found that his lung cancer had morphed from stage three to stage four. Smith died in his sleep from a heart attack around 3:00am on October 3, 2013.

Source: wiki.com

August 17

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Operation Rescue

Suspicious Group - Operation Rescue a Fundamentalist Christian Conservative Pro-Life Organization

The history of Operation Rescue involves a split between the original American anti-abortion group and a branch of the original group. The original Operation Rescue group is now known as Operation Save America, while the branch, once known as Operation Rescue West is now known as Operation Rescue.

Operation Save America (formerly Operation Rescue National) is a fundamentalist Christian conservative organization based in Dallas, Texas, that opposes human induced abortion and its legality, non-Christian religions, and homosexuality. In 1994, Flip Benham became the director of the organization, then called Operation Rescue National. Benham replaced Keith Tucci, who had replaced Randall Terry.

Operation Rescue was founded by Randall Terry in 1986. The slogan of Operation Rescue was "If you believe abortion is murder, act like it's murder." Randall Terry stepped down as director of Operation Rescue in early 1990, appointing Keith Tucci as his successor to lead the national organization, then called Operation Rescue National (ORN).

Operation Rescue's initial tactics involved peaceful sit-in demonstrations to block the doors at abortion clinics in Cherry Hill, NJ and select boroughs of Metropolitan NY, inspired by decades-earlier civil rights demonstrations led by Dr. Martin Luther King in the 1960s. Operation Rescue sprang to infamy during the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, where over 1200 rescuers were arrested in July and August, capturing national attention. Independent OR-style organizations cropped up around the country during these early years, the most successful being the California organization, Operation Rescue West (ORW), founded by OR’s National Tactical Director, Jeff White. More than 40,000 people were arrested during OR's demonstrations over the first four years.

The N.O.W. and abortion clinics filed lawsuits against OR beginning in 1988. The suits alleged violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), adding Randall Terry and Operation Rescue into the National Organization for Women v. Scheidler cases which were rejected twice over a 20-year period by the Supreme Court of the United States in favor of Scheidler.

Activities

Operation Save America conducts mass protests at abortion clinics to promote pro-life cause. Operation Save America has mobilized its members for other causes common to the Christian right ...

In August 2006, after Wal-Mart publicly announced its corporate partnership with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), Operation Save America began a nationwide campaign to protest the alliance. Headlining the campaign was the slogan, "Corporate America is Being BLACKMAILED by the Radical Homosexual Agenda". Wal-Mart did not renew their membership with the NGLCC the following year.

On July 12, 2007, three members of the organization (Ante and Kathy Pavkovic, and their daughter Christan Sugar) were arrested after they tried to shout down a Hindu clergyman as he offered the traditional morning prayer on the US Senate floor. The protest was denounced by Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Operation Save America states that it is dedicated to non-violence and asks those that participate sign a disclosure of non-violence.

Source: wiki.com

August 18

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The Dove Foundation

Suspicious Group - The Dove Foundation is an organization that endorses unbiblical content (i.e. occult, LDS, sexual innuendo and spiritual necromancy) while presenting itself as a family-safe reliable watchdog group

The Dove Foundation is US organization based in Grand Rapids, Michigan that issues film reviews, ratings and endorsements of movies that it considers suitable for family audiences.

At one time, the organization was identified for its partnership with a for-profit entity that engaged in telemarketing activities that were alleged to be in violation of the Missouri Do-Not-Call Implementation Act.

Despite their similar logos, the Dove Foundation is not connected to Unilever, manufacturer of Dove soap.

Description

The organization was founded in 1991 as a not-for-profit organization. According to the organization's website, its stated mission is "to encourage and promote the creation, production, distribution and consumption of wholesome family entertainment". Although its programs are diversified, it is perhaps best known for reviewing movies for suitability for family viewing, and endorsing acceptable ones with the Dove "Family-Approved" Seal. The organization has also commissioned independent studies completed by the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University to analyze the comparative profitability and return on investment of MPAA-rated films in 1999 and 2005. Those studies have reinforced its efforts to advocate for the production of more values based films and have been relied upon by some in the industry seeking support for their projects. Additionally, Dove has sponsored its Family Film Festival in partnership with local theaters featuring films with its Family-Approved Seal and pioneered a pilot project, "The Dove Movie Channel," to bring free movies to hospitalized children.

Dove's web site states that review standards and criteria are based on Judeo-Christian values gauging the amount of sex, coarse language, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, nudity and behavior deemed unchristian by the site. The website states that Dove's fund-raising strategy of not soliciting contributions from the film industry for its operations eliminates commercial pressure as a factor in its reviews. However, The Dove Foundation has partnered with commercial enterprises. In one instance, its former association with Feature Films for Families, an on-line retailer of home entertainment, led to questions regarding the nature of the partnership.

Telemarketing

The organization previously conducted a telephone opinion poll regarding movie content. As of July 31, 2007, the telephone survey had been concluded. The poll's results and motivation were questioned: The methodology was cited by one source as having a sampling bias in which respondents were screened for participation that might suggest they generally agreed with The Foundation's mission. The surveyor requested to speak with "The lady of the house…" while disqualifying households without children as part of the study for not meeting the requirements of the sample population. The Dove Foundation has noted that screening questions are commonly used by market research firms for validating respondents. Additionally, Dove and its partner were accused by the state of Missouri of violating its "Do Not Call Implementation Act" (Missouri No Call suit nets $70,000 settlement. St. Louis Business Journal. August 22, 2006.) by using the opinion poll as a means of circumventing the Act to allow Feature Films For Families to market its products. The US opinion poll was also criticized for using a set of pre-recorded scripts which were played in different sequences according to the responses received and as chosen by an operator listening to the calls. Response choices were presented in a yes-or-no format together with several multiple-choice questions. Respondents' continuation was limited by a finite number of scripts based on responses to qualifying questions. The use of a single operator monitoring four calls simultaneously was also seen as a methodological weakness. In addition, the pollster asked for permission for a follow-up call. In the follow-up call, respondents were solicited to buy films by the for-profit partner, Feature Films for Families. Although the foundation did not directly sell films, DVDs or videos, it was closely associated with the for-profit partner which paid for call center expenses.

Over four and one half million participated in the survey, and there were complaints on blogs and bulletin boards. Some of those telephoned by Feature Films for Families were annoyed by the way the call was conducted, at any hour of the day and regardless of whether or not the family was on the United States National Do Not Call Registry. Complaints cited the bluntness of the telemarketers and their aggressive interviewing techniques. The Missouri Attorney General's office received approximately 300 complaints.

The Attorney General of Missouri alleged that the mode of operation was a means to bypass the FCC do-not-call list restriction and imposed a restraining order on these activities in Missouri in March 2006.

As a result of the Missouri Attorney General's action, Feature Films for Families Inc. of Murray, Utah, and the Dove Foundation reached a settlement agreement in the amount of US$70,000 in August 2006 for the alleged violation of state "No Call" laws.

During this period, The Dove Foundation's call center was listed by whocalled.us as their most-reported telephone number.

The Dove Foundation currently has no active relationship with Feature Films For Families.

Source: wiki.com

August 19

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AFA

Suspicious Group - American [Un]Family Association AFA founded in 1977 by Donald Wildmon - A secretive; private, mostly family, group with multiple hidden motives and secret agendas

The American Family Association (AFA) is a United States non-profit organization that promotes fundamentalist Christian values. It opposes same-sex marriage, pornography, and abortion. It also takes a position on a variety of other public policy goals and has lobbied against the Employee Free Choice Act. It was founded in 1977 by Donald Wildmon as the National Federation for Decency and is headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi.

The AFA defined itself as "a Christian organization promoting the biblical ethic of decency in American society with primary emphasis on television and other media," later switching their stated emphasis to "moral issues that impact the family." It engages in activism efforts, including boycotts, buycotts, action alert emails, publications on the AFA's web sites or in the AFA Journal, broadcasts on American Family Radio, and lobbying. The organization is accredited by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) and posted a 2011 budget of over US$16 million. AFA owns 200 American Family Radio stations in 33 states, seven affiliate stations in seven states, and one affiliate TV station KAZQ TV) in New Mexico.

AFA has been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as of November 2010 for the "propagation of known falsehoods" and the use of "demonizing propaganda" against LGBT people.

Operations

Reverend Donald Wildmon served as chairman of AFA until he announced his retirement on March 3, 2010. His son, Tim, is president of AFA. AFA is governed by an independent Board of Directors. AFA Journal is a monthly publication with a circulation of 180,000 containing news, features, columns, and interviews. In addition to the publication, AFA Journal articles are made available online. The journal reviews the content of prime-time television shows, categorizing them based on profanity, sex, violence, homosexuality, substance abuse, "anti-Christian" content, or "political correctness". The categorization is accompanied by short descriptions of the content of the episode under review. The review also lists the advertisers of each show and invites readers to contact the advertisers or television networks to express concern over program content.

American Family Radio (AFR) is a network of approximately 200 AFA-owned radio stations broadcasting Christian-oriented programming.

OneNewsNow (formerly AgapePress), the AFA news division, provides online audio newscasts and a daily digest of news articles, Associated Press stories, and opinion columns.

The AFA Foundation is a planned giving program that allows participants the ability to set up bequests, charitable gift annuities, trusts and wills, that will provide income with tax advantages while supporting charity. In July 2011 the Charity Navigator gave the foundation a four star rating for sound fiscal management.

Center for Law and Policy, the legal and political arm of the AFA, was shut down in 2007. It specialized in First Amendment cases. The Center for Law and Policy lobbied legislative bodies, drafted legislation, and filed religious-discrimination lawsuits on behalf of individuals. Chief among its efforts were the recognition of Christmas in seasonal print advertisements; the criminalization of homosexuality; lobbying against same-sex marriage, and in opposition of equal-rights and hate-crime legislation that would include sexual orientation and gender identity under categories already protected and advocating censorship of print and electronic media.

The AFA has a history of activism by organizing its members in boycotts and letter-writing campaigns aimed at promoting socially conservative values in the United States. The AFA has promoted boycotts of a number of television shows, movies, and businesses that the group considers to have promoted indecency, obscenity, or homosexuality. In addition to promoting activism via mail to AFA members, 3.4 million subscribers receive AFA "Action Alerts" via email.

Source: wiki.com

August 20

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ECFA

Suspicious Group - ECFA the Evangelical Council for Financial [Un]Accountability - The secretive ECFA will not even open its own records to the public

The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) is an accreditation agency to promote fiscal integrity and sound financial practices among member organizations. Founded in 1979, it comprises nearly 1,800 evangelical Christian organizations which qualify for tax-exempt, nonprofit status and receive tax-deductible contributions. As of 2006, the total income of ECFA member organizations is reported to be approximately $15 billion. The organization has, since its inception, been based in the Washington, DC area with offices presently in Winchester, Virginia.

History

In 1977, Senator Mark Hatfield, who was since 1973 a member of the board of World Vision, told evangelicals that they needed to formalize some means for financial accountability or government legislation would be required. At the same time, Texas Congressman Charles Wilson had drafted a bill that would have required ministries to disclose "at the point of solicitation." A group of representatives from more than thirty evangelical groups met in December of that year to formulate a plan. At that meeting, Hatfield's chief legislative assistant told them that "a voluntary disclosure program" would "preclude the necessity of federal intervention into the philanthropic and religious sector." The call for more regulation was also a reaction to public pressure caused by several media reports about scandals related to misuse of funds in charities.

Two years later, in 1979, the ECFA was founded by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the US branch of World Vision (World Vision International is not member of ECFA). World Vision's president Stan Mooneyham stated, "There is no denying that this threat of government action was one of the stimuli" for the founding of the ECFA.

ECFA was founded with the establishment of seven standards of accountability that covered board governance, the requirement for audited financial statements, the requirement for public disclosure of the audited financial statements, the avoidance of conflicts of interest, and standards regarding fundraising activities. It was believed that the proposed standards of accountability generally exceeded the requirements of law. Charities that met those standards and paid the membership fee were granted a seal of approval. Membership fees were based on donated income. Evangelical charities could apply for accreditation and were required to submit information that would be reviewed and evaluated against those standards. Those meeting the standards would be accredited and granted a seal of approval.

Mission

The mission of ECFA was to assist religious charitable organizations to gain and maintain the public respect and confidence in the operations of the respective charity through the compliance with the Standards, and to protect the donor public from possible unethical conduct in the management of the affairs of the charities. There was a religious witness component to the mission statement that served as a motivation for member compliance with the Standards.

The mission statement adopted by the ECFA is as follows: "ECFA is committed to helping Christ-centered organizations earn the public's trust through developing and maintaining standards of accountability that convey God-honoring ethical practices." Commentary on the mission statement can be found on the ECFA Website.

Membership

The ECFA members are organized charities in the US, typically 501(c)3 Evangelical nonprofits and churches. Members range "from evangelism in foreign jungles to race car driver evangelism, from ministry to the elderly, children, the impaired, to those in the military, those on the streets, and to many in between. All members are fulfilling a calling to reach a lost world for Christ. ECFA members are located across the U.S. and U.S. territories and range from the very large national ministries to smaller local ministries and churches."

Members are required to submit annually a renewal document which includes the recent copy of the audited financial statement and answers to a number of questions related to the membership standards. Field reviews are conducted on a regular basis by ECFA employees and representatives typically on location.

Integrity Standards

As an accrediting organization, ECFA attempts to protect the integrity of its seal. ECFA has taken action against member organizations who are unable or unwilling to comply with the Standards for Responsible Stewardship. Typically, members are allowed to resign but in some cases are suspended for a period of time that the ECFA determines is sufficient to put "affairs" back in order. The ECFA learns of Standards violations both through results of field audits which are conducted on a regular basis by ECFA employees as well as complaints received directly from the public.

Source: wiki.com

August 21

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Focus on the Family

Suspicious Group - Focus on the Family, a lightning rod for rallying liberal issues, causes and finances while virtually ineffective in furthering Conservative causes

Focus on the Family (FOTF) is a non-profit organization founded in 1977 by psychologist James Dobson, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is active in promoting an interdenominational effort toward its socially conservative views on public policy. Focus on the Family is one of a number of evangelical parachurch organizations that rose to prominence in the 1980s.

Focus on the Family's stated mission is "nurturing and defending the God-ordained institution of the family and promoting biblical truths worldwide." It promotes abstinence-only sexual education; adoption by married, opposite-sex parents; creationism; school prayer; and traditional gender roles. It opposes abortion; divorce; gambling; LGBT rights, particularly LGBT adoption and same-sex marriage; pornography; pre-marital sex; and substance abuse. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and social scientists have criticized Focus on the Family for misrepresenting their research to bolster FOTF's political agenda and ideology.

The core promotional activities of the organization include a daily radio broadcast by its president, Jim Daly, and his colleagues, providing free resources according to Focus on the Family views, and publishing magazines, videos, and audio recordings. The organization also produces programs for targeted audiences, such as Adventures in Odyssey for children, dramas, and Family Minute.

History and Organization

From 1977 to 2003, James Dobson served as the sole leader of the organization. In 2003, Donald P. Hodel became president and chief executive officer, tasked with the day-to-day operations. This left Dobson as chairman of the Board of Directors, with chiefly creative and speaking duties.

In March 2005, Hodel retired and Jim Daly, formerly the Vice President in charge of Focus on the Family's International Division, assumed the role of president and chief executive officer.

In November 2008, the organization announced that it was eliminating 202 jobs, representing 18 percent of its workforce. The organization also cut its budget from $160 million in fiscal 2008 to $138 million for fiscal 2009.

In February 2009, Dobson resigned his chairmanship, and by early 2010 he was no longer the public face of Focus on the Family, nor hosting the daily radio program.

Marriage and family

Focus on the Family sees its primary ministry as the strengthening of what it considers traditional marriages and families, based on an evangelical view of Biblical teachings

Source: wiki.com

August 22

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Westboro Baptist Church

Suspicious Group - The Westboro Baptist (agent agitators and disinformation) - The WBC is not affiliated with any Baptist denomination

The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) is an American unaffiliated Baptist church known for its extreme ideologies, especially those against gay people. The church is widely described as a hate group and is monitored as such by the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center. It is headed by Fred Phelps [November 13, 1929 - March 19, 2014 - a self-professed CIA agent - note: this devotional was written prior to the passing of Fred Phelps] and consists primarily of members of his large family; in 2011, the church stated that it had about 40 members. The church is headquartered in a residential neighborhood on the west side of Topeka about three miles (5 km) west of the Kansas State Capitol. Its first public service was held on the afternoon of November 27, 1955.

The church has been involved in actions against gay people since at least 1991, when it sought a crackdown on homosexual activity at Gage Park six blocks northwest of the church. In addition to conducting anti-gay protests at military funerals, the organization pickets other celebrity funerals and public events that are likely to get it media attention. Protests have also been held against Jews and some protests have included WBC members stomping on the American flag.

The WBC is not affiliated with any Baptist denomination. The Baptist World Alliance and the Southern Baptist Convention the two largest Baptist denominations have each denounced the WBC over the years. The church describes itself as following Primitive Baptist and Calvinist principles.

On May 8, 2009, members of the church protested at three Jewish sites in Washington, D.C., including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) offices, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the city's largest synagogue. Margie Phelps, daughter of Pastor Fred Phelps, led the protest, holding signs stating that "God Hates Israel", "Jews Killed Jesus", "America Is Doomed", "Israel Is Doomed", and "ADL Jew Bullies". The protest was apparently part of a series of upcoming protests which the church has planned at Jewish institutions in Omaha, St. Louis, South Florida and Providence. The group reportedly posted a list of the upcoming protests' locations and dates, along with the statement "Jews Killed the Lord Jesus."

In an interview, Margie Phelps said that her church was targeting the American Jewish community because church members had "testified" to Gentiles for 19 years that "America is doomed" and that "Now it's too late. We're done with them." She also claimed that Jews were "one of the loudest voices" in favor of homosexuality and abortion, and that "Jews claim to be God's chosen people. Do you think that God is going to wink at that forever?" Phelps concluded by stating, in an apparent reference to the Book of Revelation, that all the nations of the world would soon march on Israel, and that they would be led by President Barack Obama, whom she called the "Antichrist".

History

The Westboro Baptist Church originated as a branch of the East Side Baptist Church in Topeka, established in 1931. In 1954, East Side hired Phelps as an associate pastor, and then promoted him to be the pastor of their new church, Westboro Baptist, which opened in 1955. Soon after Westboro was established, Phelps broke all ties with East Side Baptist.

Protest activities begin

Westboro Baptist began picketing Gage Park, Topeka in 1991, alleging it was a den of anonymous homosexual activity. Soon their protests had spread throughout the city, and within three years the church was traveling across the country. Phelps explained in 1994 that he considered the negative reaction to the picketing to be proof of his righteousness.

In 2011 the BBC's Louis Theroux reported that Westboro was in a state of "crisis" and documented the departure of several young members. Since then, two more prominent members have left the church.

Source: wiki.com

August 23

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American Tract Society

Suspicious Group - American Tract Society (ATS)

The American Tract Society (ATS) is a nonprofit, nonsectarian but evangelical organization founded on May 11, 1825 in New York City for the purpose of publishing and disseminating Christian literature. On September 1, 2012, American Tract Society [was absorbed] into a joint publishing agreement with Good News Publishing [Crossway is a not-for-profit Christian ministry -- Contact: Crossway, 1300 Crescent Street, Wheaton, IL 60187 USA], which is a division of Crossway. ATS traces its lineage back through the New York Tract Society (1812) and the New England Tract Society (1814) to the Religious Tract Society of London, begun in 1799. Over the years, ATS has produced and distributed many millions of pieces of literature. There is a printed pamphlet titled "Constitution of the American Tract Society, instituted in Boston 1814" referencing the distribution of 'Religious Tracts' by Christians in Europe and America during the previous twenty years. The purpose of which was to combine the energy & activities of various groups & individuals across New England.

ATS is theologically conservative. It receives funding through a combination of private donations and tract sales. ATS accepts donations to fund tract and evangelistic resource distribution including start-up funding for foreign tract distribution in countries including Africa, Asia, India, South and Latin America, Canada, Australia, and Europe. Churches and other evangelistic groups in the United States can purchase ATS literature at nominal cost for use in their own evangelistic ministries.

ATS is board-governed and benefits from the visibility of its Council of Reference, an advisory board of evangelical notables from business, ministry, and other walks of life. ATS is currently headquartered in Garland, Texas. Contributions to ATS are fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. It is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).

American Tract Society in the News

In 2010, MainStreet.com and the Dallas Morning News reported American Tract Society as the least efficient charity in America citing a rating from Charity Navigator based on 2007 financial data. Using data from ATS’s 2007 federal income tax return, Charity Navigator reported that administrative and management expenses comprised 68% of total expenses and assigned ATS their lowest efficiency rating.

While MainStreet.com recognized that ATS receives income from other sources than contributions (i.e. tract sales), their analysis counted the production cost of the tracts as "administrative and management" expenses. Tract sales are ATS’ primary source of revenue and including these production costs in the calculation of total expenses improves ATS’s organization efficiency as measured by Charity Navigator and more closely aligns ATS with other charities performing similar types of work.

While ATS’ ratio of Management and Administrative expenses to Total Expenses was unusually high in 2007, it should be noted that 2007 was a year in which ATS incurred unusual management expenses related to reorganization. ATS emerged from the reorganization a much leaner and more effective operation as evidenced by the 2008 and 2009 financial data presented in the Organizational Efficiency Table included below.

In December 2010, The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) announced their accreditation of ATS based on the ECFA Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™, including financial accountability, transparency, sound board governance and ethical fund raising.

Vision of American Tract Society

Every Christian effectively sharing the life-changing gospel in their world.

Source: wiki.com

August 24

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Revised Version (RV) bible 1881 AD

The Westcott and Hort 1881 (Egyptian) 'Sinaiticus Text' (RV) edition was fraudulently substituted as a Revision of the KJV (AV) Byzantine 'Textus Receptus'

The Revised Version (RV) or English Revised Version of the Bible is a late 19th-century British revision of the King James Version of 1611. It was the first and remains the only officially authorized and recognized revision of the King James Bible. The work was entrusted to over 50 scholars from various denominations in Britain. American scholars were invited to cooperate, by correspondence. The New Testament was published in 1881, the Old Testament in 1885, and the Apocrypha in 1894. The best known of the translation committee members were Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort; their fiercest critic of that period was John William Burgon.

The New Testament revision company was commissioned in 1870 by the convocation of Canterbury. Their stated aim was "to adapt King James' version to the present state of the English language without changing the idiom and vocabulary," and "to adapt it to the present [corrupt] standard of Biblical scholarship." Further, it was to be "the best version possible in the nineteenth century, as King James' version was the best which could be made in the seventeenth century." To those ends, the Greek text [Sinaiticus] that was used to translate the New Testament was believed by some to be of higher reliability than the [Byzantine] Textus Receptus used for the KJV. The readings used were compiled from a different text of the Greek Testament by Edwin Palmer.

While the text of the translation itself is widely regarded as excessively literal and flat, the Revised Version is significant in the history of English Bible translation for many reasons. At the time of the RV's publication, the nearly 300-year old King James Version was still the only viable English Bible in Victorian England. The RV, therefore, is regarded as the forerunner of the entire modern translation tradition. And it was considered [by bias scholars] more accurate than the King James Version in a number of verses.

Source: wiki.com

Note: all of the modern English bible translations are from the uncertain Revised Version (RV) text.

 

INTERNAL EVIDENCE FOR INCLUSION of 1 John 5:7

In the seventeenth century the framers of the Westminster Confession of Faith accepted the inclusion of 1 John 5.7–8 and used it to defend the doctrine of the Trinity. Others, believing the passage to be Scripture, have given internal evidence for the inclusion of the passage. This evidence, which comes from the passage itself, has been cited throughout the centuries in defence of the passage and of the Trinity which it supports. ...

The Nineteenth Century: Robert Lewis Dabney

In addition, 1 John 5.7–8 is not without witnesses in the nineteenth century. Well known among these is Robert Lewis Dabney. Dabney "was the most conspicuous figure and the leading theological guide of the [American] Southern Presbyterian Church, the most prolific theological writer that Church has as yet produced… As a preacher, as a teacher and as a writer equally he achieved greatness… [He helped] reorganize the historical faith of the Reformed Churches in the face of the theological ferment which marked the earlier years of the Nineteenth Century."

Of the Johannine Comma Dabney says, "The often-contested text in 1 John v. 7 also furnishes us a good instance of the value of that internal evidence which the recent critics profess to discard." "The internal evidence against this excision, then, is in the following strong points:

First, if it be made, the masculine article, numeral, and particle are made to agree directly with three neuters—an insuperable and very bald grammatical difficulty. But if the disputed words are allowed to stand, they agree directly with two masculines and one neuter noun…where, according to a well known rule of syntax, the masculines among the group control the gender over a neuter connected with them…

Second, if the excision is made, the eighth verse coming next to the sixth, gives us a very bald and awkward, and apparently meaningless, repetition of the Spirit’s witness twice in immediate succession.

Third, if the excision is made, then the proposition at the end of the eighth verse [and these three agree in one], contains an unintelligible reference… "And these three agree to that (aforesaid) One"… What is that aforesaid unity to which these three agree? If the seventh verse is exscinded, there is none… Let the seventh verse stand, and all is clear: the three earthly witnesses testify to that aforementioned unity which the Father, Word, and Spirit constitute."

"There is a coherency in the whole which presents a very, strong internal evidence for the genuineness of the (AV) received text."

Dabney then reminds his readers of the circumstances under which the apostle John wrote his first epistle. "The purpose of his writing was to warn [the recipients] against seducers (ii.26), whose heresy, long predicted, was now developed, and was characterized by a denial of the proper sonship (ii.26) and incarnation (iv.2) of Jesus Christ." In response to these heresies, in 5.7 the apostle declares "the unity of the Father, Word, and Spirit, and with the strictest accuracy". He declares "the proper humanity of Jesus, and the actual shedding and application by the Spirit of that water and blood of whose effusion he was himself eye-witness, and to which he testifies in his gospel so emphatically, in chapter xix. 34,35… Now, when we hear the apostle tell his ‘children,’ in the chapter above cited from his own Epistle, that the two heresies against whose seductions he designed by this writing to guard them were these, the denial of Christ’s sonship to God and the denial of his incarnation, and…we see him in his closing testimony exclude precisely these two errors." "Is it not hard to believe that he should, under the circumstances, write anything but what the received text ascribes to him? If we let the seventh verse stand, then the whole passage is framed, with apostolic wisdom, to exclude at once both heresies."

Dabney freely admits that, according to strict Greek manuscript tradition, there is not strong manuscript support for the inclusion of 1 John 5.7. But here "the Latin Church stands opposed to the Greek" church. "There are strong probable grounds to conclude, that the text of the Scriptures current in the East received a mischievous modification at the hands of the famous Origen." "Those who are best acquainted with the history of Christian opinion know best, that Origen was the great corrupter, and the source, or at least earliest channel, of nearly all the speculative errors which plagued the church in after ages… He disbelieved the full inspiration and infallibility of the Scriptures, holding that the inspired men apprehended and stated many things obscurely… He expressly denied the consubstantial unity of the Persons and the proper incarnation of the Godhead—the very propositions most clearly asserted in the doctrinal various readings we have under review."

Let the candid reader choose…in the light of these facts. We think that he will conclude with us that the weight of probability is greatly in favor of this theory, viz., that the Anti-trinitarians, finding certain codices in which these doctrinal readings had been already lost through the licentious criticism of Origen and his school, industriously diffused them, while they also did what they dared to add to the omissions of similar readings.

Source: scionofzion.com/why_1_john_5_7_8.htm

August 25

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ASV bible 1901 AD

American Standard Version (ASV)

The Revised Version, Standard American Edition of the Bible, more commonly known as the American Standard Version (ASV), is a version of the Bible that was first released in 1900. It was originally best known by its full name, but soon came to have other names, such as the American Revised Version, the American Standard Revision, the American Standard Revised Bible, and the American Standard Edition. By the time its copyright was renewed in 1929, it had come to be known by its present name, the American Standard Version. Because of its prominence in seminaries, it was in America sometimes simply called the "Standard Bible".

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King James Version (1611) — Genesis 1:4-5 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Douay-Rheims (1899) — Genesis 1:4-5 And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness. And he called the light Day, and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning [evolution affirming] one day.

American Standard Version (1901) — Genesis 1:4-5 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, [evolution affirming] one day.

ESV (2011 - Good News Publishers - Crossway) — Genesis 1:4-5 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

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King James Version (1611) — Revelation 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

Douay-Rheims (1899) — Revelation 5:10 And hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.

American Standard Version (1901) — Revelation 5:10 and madest them to be unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign upon the earth.

ESV (2011 - Good News Publishers - Crossway) — Revelation 5:10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.

The American Standard Version is rooted in the work that was done with the Revised Version (RV). In 1870, an invitation was extended to American religious leaders for scholars to work on the RV project. A year later, 30 scholars were chosen by Philip Schaff. The denominations represented were the Baptist, Congregationalist, Dutch Reformed, Friends, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Protestant Episcopal, and Unitarian. These scholars began work in 1872.

Source: wiki.com

Note: a deliberate philosophical (non-scholarly) editing of the modern bibles becomes more apparent with each translation examined.

August 26

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N by NW part 1

Introduction - The 1959 Movie North by Northwest is a Conspiracy Movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock

A partial decoding of the movie North by Northwest (1959) directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

North by Northwest (N by NW) besides being a direction on a map it is also a way of telling time. When the little hand of a clock is pointing North (12) and the minute hand is almost 12 (NW) the time is almost Midnight [or almost High Noon]. Alfred Hitchcock has directed a film about a complex modern day international conspiracy and has declared that the time of its setting is almost Midnight or almost High Noon, except that High Noon would imply a chance where Midnight implies little or no chance at all.

North by Northwest is a 1959 American spy thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason. The screenplay was written by Ernest Lehman, who wanted to write "the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures". North by Northwest is a tale of mistaken identity, with an innocent man pursued across the United States by agents of a mysterious organization who want to stop his interference in their plans to smuggle out microfilm containing government secrets. This is one of several Hitchcock films with a music score by Bernard Herrmann and features a memorable opening title sequence by graphic designer Saul Bass. This film is generally cited as the first to feature extended use of kinetic typography in its opening credits. -- wiki.com

Also: in decoding the movie North by Northwest we are going to bring back Mephibosheth, can you find Mephibosheth in the movie North by Northwest? Mephibosheth makes at least two appearances in the movie and since we are going to do only a partial decoding we won't really be looking for any more appearances by Mephibosheth. Then we are going to use the decoded content from North by Northwest to consider the usefulness of the modern ESV bible translation in particular and modern Calvinism in general in determining if they are helpful and sophisticated enough in our complex times to be embraced or avoided by well-meaning Christians.

Source: decoded movies at Basic Christian: Decoded Movies (3C-Christianity.com)

August 27

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N by NW part 2

Mephibosheth is a biblical person who was constantly out of his element and therefore unable to assist those around him in a meaningful, helpful manner

1st Appearance of Mephibosheth - North by Northwest (YouTube)

In the 1959 Movie North by Northwest directed by Alfred Hitchcock there are several scenes that mirror each other. The scenes we are going to look at involve the first and second 'Mirror' appearances of our character Mephibosheth. The first is when the main character Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) is diverted to a desolate road where he is very much in danger of losing his life. The Mephibosheth character a local man arrives on the scene having emerged essentially from a forest of corn. The first time the audience glimpses the unhelpful Mephibosheth character he is in a car that emerges from behind what amounts to a field or forest of corn.

The interchange between the city stranger Roger O. Thornhill and the unnamed country local is awkward, unsettling and unnecessary. In one of the great scenes of the movie Alfred Hitchcock has the two men staring at each other and facing each other from opposite sides of the road as if they are about to have a (High Noon) gunfight. Roger O. Thornhill was desperate he had been accidently placed in a dangerous predicament that was not of his making yet he was finding no way out of it. Seemingly the first person or a person who could begin to help the desperate Roger O. Thornhill had just arrived unfortunately the recently arrived stranger was in the person of Mephibosheth and Roger O. Thornhill's dilemma would continue.

2nd Appearance of Mephibosheth

The 2nd appearance of Mephibosheth is a different person in a different scene but is just as unhelpful in a desperate situation.

The second appearance of the Mephibosheth character would this time be Roger O. Thornhill himself as in the mirror scene to the deserted road this time it isn't near a forest of corn but is in a forest of trees as Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) is in grave danger and even Roger O. Thornhill the sophisticated city person is out of his league and unable to comprehend the situation and assist Eve Kendall in a meaningful and helpful way mirroring the helplessness displayed earlier by the unnamed rural Mephibosheth character.

August 28

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N by NW part 3

Conclusion: is it a real conspiracy or is it just imaginary lines on paper?

During the opening sequence of the opening credits in the 1959 movie North by Northwest directed by Alfred Hitchcock there are a series of lines being drawn. The lines start out as simple meaningless trajectories. Then the meaningless lines connect together and being to be joined together to form a drawing that then becomes a slight work of art. The work of art is a clever drawing that depicts a building. Then the drawing dissolves into an actual real building mirroring the real life images on the street below. Is the movie lines on a paper and just doodling or does it resolve into a real conspiracy, that is are the fictitious events that are being portrayed in the movie North by Northwest a fiction or is there a real N by NW (NWO) conspiracy?

Note: director Alfred Hitchcock is extremely careful not to directly reveal the conspiracy. Is it communism? Is it Fascism (Nazism)? Is it Luciferianism, once in the house of the conspirators all the symbols are Luciferian, the prominent clock on the stone wall is a "morningstar" occult Luciferian symbol and later the female servant holding the gun says "god (Lucifer) bless you" to Phillip Vandamm (James Mason) the lead conspirator character. Or is the conspiracy a mixture of all three elements and a few more?

August 29

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Joshua part 1

Introduction - Joshua 2002 a (Gnostic) Christian Film

A partial decoding of the Christian movie Joshua (2002) staring Tony Goldwyn, F. Murray Abraham and Kurt Fuller as Father Pat Hayes.

Joshua is a 2002 film based on the novel of the same name by Joseph F. Girzone (JOSEPH GIRZONE retired from the Catholic Priesthood in 1981 - he entered the Carmelite Order in 1948 and was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1955). The movie was produced by Crusader Entertainment LLC and directed by Joseph Purdy.

The movie is about a mysterious man named Joshua (Tony Goldwyn) who appears in a small town named Auburn and begins changing the lives of everyone he meets, simply by being around them.

He takes up residence in a barn that he rents from Joan Casey to use as his home and woodcarving shop. To the surprise of a local priest, the roof does not leak after Joshua moves in, despite the many holes in it.

The more time he spends in town, the more attention he draws to himself simply by doing what he does. He begins by rebuilding the Baptist Church which was destroyed during a storm the year before. He gets the attention of many locals by carrying a huge log of ash through town and out to his barn, some estimates range that it weighs at least 500 pounds.

Later, Father Tordone (F. Murray Abraham) of the local Catholic Church hires him to carve a statue of the Apostle Peter, to which Joshua responds that it should be made of Ash and that he "knows Peter."

He spends his next few weeks helping out anyone he meets, who in return help him rebuild the Baptist Church. Joshua intervenes in a Tent Revival, where a con artist is tricking people into believing that he is healing people through the power of God. Joshua tells him, "You don't have to do it this way," and proceeds to restore sight to a blind woman sitting in the audience.

Father Tordone becomes very suspicious of Joshua's behavior and motives, and tries to convince the Roman Catholic Church to step in and stop him before he gains more followers and creates his own cult. It isn't until Joshua resurrects a man (Theo) from the dead that the Vatican takes interest in him and invites him to Rome.

Source: wiki.com

The movie Joshua - Partially Decoded

The movie Joshua (2002) portrays a Gnostic, hidden meaning Christianity.

In the opening credits of the movie scrambled letters are unscrambled (decoded) and the name Joshua [Hebrew for Jesus] soon appears on screen.

Continuing in the opening credits a vehicle 'Gnosticism' [Dualism - two lights the brighter true light of Lucifer and the lesser light of Christianity] with two headlights is bearing down the road coming directly at the viewer. The brighter light is the 'left-hand' light [Luciferianism] of the driver.

Out of the vehicle steps the Gnostic Jesus "Joshua" played by (Tony Goldwyn).

August 30

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Joshua part 2

Conclusion: four religions are presented as friendly and thriving in a united Gnostic neighborhood

1. Roman Catholicism
2. Protestantism - Baptist
3. Judaism
4. Luciferianism

Roman Catholicism - the true mover and shaker church in the community.

Protestantism - good intentions but only at their best when charring burgers and hot dogs on a grill.

Judaism - well-meaning and forever aiding and abiding near the Cahtolic Church.

Luciferianism - leadership, entertaining and an intrigal part of any inner circle.

Roman Catholicism - in one of the more interesting scenes in the movie the Catholic Father Pat is brought, after the bar scene, to an outreach concert. Joshua instructs a questioning Father Pat that "one man's rock concert is another man's church service" Father Pat then without saying anything looks away apparently in disbelief and slightly in disgust because only the Catholic church has a real church service.

Protestantism - the helpless Protestants can't even build their own small church building.

Judaism - always likeable and pleasant to be around.

Luciferianism - at the concert outreach Luciferian Kevin Zumbar (Matt Zeigler) is introduced to the audience by the perennial hipster youth leader. Kevin who was lost but is now found [by who is the question] he then gives what has an appearance of a person testimony but really isn't "all I did was open my heart to god" then flashing a Luciferian hand gesture over the audience he raises his Luciferian hand signal over his head and dedicates his new-found performance to the audience and to "him" god.

In the movie in a bar scene Joshua and Father Pat are playing a game of pool, concluding outside with a surprising amount of profanity. While inside the bar Joshua suddenly gives a lesson in what faith is all about although he completely confuses confidence with faith and actually gives a meaningless demonstration of personal confidence and personal ability that completely misrepresents the true biblical Resurrection faith in Jesus Christ.

The movie is surprising laden with Antichrist types of miracles, signs and wonders but of course because the movie presents another Jesus.

August 31

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Problematic Bibles

Problematic Bibles the KJV and the ESV

The KJV 1611 Bible was commissioned by the English Government Monarchy

With the KJV being commissioned by the English Government Monarchy the KJV 1611 has a decided tendency to translate verses in order to assure that the Church and citizens are in submission to the higher authorities i.e. the government.

KJV - Romans 13:1-7 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the [world] powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

The ESV bible also has an Agenda

Where the KJV Bible had the certain agenda that the Crown-Government would preside as a final authority over both Church and State the modern ESV retains the secular authority of the KJV and goes a step further in denying the individual rights and freedoms offered by the KJV and instead frequently presents the reader in the position of servant i.e. slave.

ESV the Enhanced Slavery Version

ESV - Matthew 20:27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,

ESV - Mark 10:44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.

The Greek word (G 1401 - doulos) can be translated as servant or slave, usually slave in the OT and servant in the NT. The ESV translators chose in the NT to use the term slave where the KJV translators chose to translate the same word as servant.

ESV - Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

KJV - Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the Throne of God.

Slaves are not yet finished working and must continue to strive on in a 'found' [worldly] prescribed (Churchianity) 'perfection' while Christians are Sons of God already resting in the Finished works of Jesus Christ.

Note: each of these Bibles and all modern bibles have a bias and as the reader we should be aware that the Bibles were translated with varying degrees of agendas and biases.

 

The Wrath of God Satisfied

Not all agree with the propitiation proponents, and one who did not agree was C.F.D. Moule. Recently Robert Morgan and Patrick Moule, nephew to that great NT scholar, Charlie (C.F.D.) Moule, published some previously unpublished writings of Professor Moule and the title is Christ Alive and At Large. ...

4. If the acted upon is sin, then the term does not mean "propitiate" but "expiate."

Thus, Moule: "If, then, God is the subject or originator, not the object or recipient, of hilas-procedures, it is manifestly inappropriate to translate them as propitiatory [Old Testament concept]; one is driven to use a word such as 'expiatory' [New Testament reality], which has as its object not propitiating a wrathful God but removing a barrier (114)."

The theme of NT atonement then is 2 Cor 5:19: God was reconciling the world to Himself. God doesn't need to be propitiated [as in OT], Moule observes; God is the one doing [NT - expiate] the reconciling. - Jun 22, 2012 @ 0:04 by Scot McKnight

Source: patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2012/06/22/the-wrath-of-god-satisfied/

 

Is Calvinism Spiritual Racism? (i.e. bigotry – intolerant of other views)

In this brief article I will contend that Hinduism, Racism, and Calvinism have many things in common; too many for Christians not to be alarmed. Such disturbing common denominators should give pause to all Calvinists and any who are entertaining thoughts of embracing the doctrines espoused by Calvinism and Reformed theology.

... God has demonstrated his love for all people many times over. He did so by promising to make Abraham, a.k.a. Abram, from Ur of the Chaldeans (Gen. 11:31), a blessing to all the families of the earth (Gen. 12:1-3). Abraham, placed faith in the biblical God, obeyed God, and became the spiritual father of faith (Heb. 11:8-19), blazing the trail for others to follow as he demonstrated what it truly means to place faith in God and live out that faith.

Source: sbctoday.com/is-calvinism-spiritual-racism/

Note: Calvinism is literally the visage of a medieval exploitation system [the ancient Manorial system of serfs (bondage) and peasants]. In order for Calvinism [itself a man-centered (John Calvin) Think-Tank religion] to exist it attempts to inforce Old Testament Theocracy [the church is the state (government)]. In doing so Calvinism misrepresents both God and NT Christianity. Calvinism has wrongly concluded that NT Christianity is the mirror image of the OT with an angry God and a people unable to please God. In short Calvinist are still going to the now empty Mt. Sinai (Hebrews 12:18-21) while New Testament Christians (Hebrews 12:22-29) are directed to go meet God in the Resurrection Garden of Mt. Zion. Keep in mind that no one in this current physical life is approved of by God (Hebrews 9:27) and that conversely Calvinism doesn’t speak for God [only the Bible speaks for God] and in fact modern Calvinism greatly misrepresents the Goodness of the One True, Loving, Living God. ~ David Anson Brown

September - Theology part 1

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Theology

Basic Christian: Theology

Studying Theology

Theology is like piecing together a puzzle. Individual Theology pieces fit together and the picture begins to emerge. The picture Theology displays is the image of Jesus Christ!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him (Jesus Christ); and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. ~ John 1:1-4

Source: BasicChristian.org

September 2

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Adoption

Adoption - See also Born Again, Inheritance, & Predestination

Huiothesia (G5206) Huios - sons; Tithemi - to place, appoint, commit; to place as sons

Verses - Genesis 48:5-6, Romans 8:15-23, 9:4; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5

First Use: Genesis 48:5-6 And now thy (Joseph's) two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I (Jacob) came unto thee into Egypt, are mine (adoption); as Reuben and Simeon (existing sons), they shall be mine. And the children, which thou begettest after them, shall be yours and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance.

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits ['Born Again'] of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to know, the redemption of our body. ~ Romans 8:23

Who are Israelites; to whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; ~ Romans 9:4

To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the Adoption of Sons. ~ Galatians 4:5

Having predestinated us unto the Adoption of Children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, ~ Ephesians 1:5

Adoption Biblically is slightly different than what we think of as adoption. For instance a stranger is not adopted into the family of God, like the concept we have of adoption where a non-family member becomes a family member through adoption. The Biblical concept of adoption is confirmation of adulthood of an existing family member and with adulthood comes privileges and inheritance. In the Bible Jacob actually adopted his two grandchildren Ephraim and Manasseh. Jacob did not need to adopt them to make them family but he did need to adopt them to give them an inheritance in the promise land. Indeed Ephraim and Manasseh did receive inheritances in the promise land just like their uncles did, because they were adopted as sons and received the same inheritance as their uncles the sons of Jacob.

We are born into the family of God, through faith in the resurrection of Jesus in the new covenant. Jesus spoke to Nicodemus and told him that he must be "Born Again" in order to see the kingdom of God, [in Jesus the kingdom of God is now available] the First step to becoming a member in the family of God is to be born into the family as a child of God and that is done by the person accepting the covenant of God that we are His creation separated by our sin and that He loves us and died for our sins on the cross and then He resurrected from death to reconcile us to Him in His resurrection life. When we accept the "New Covenant" we are now in a correct relationship with God, we acknowledge that God exists and that we desire to have a relationship with Him. We have asked for forgiveness of our sins, we are now cleansed from our sin, we are now clean and God in Spirit has come inside of us giving us a new life in Him, our new birth into His family as a child of God.

Once we are a "born again" child of God we are then predestined (appointed outcome) to the adoption. The actual adoption takes place later, when we physically die and our spirit and soul enter the visible presence of God where we are then adopted as sons of God and being sons of God we then receive an inheritance in heaven (visible presence of God).

September 3

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Angels

Angels, Spirit beings: See also Mankind

Aggelos (G32) messenger, to bring tidings, the intermediary between the sender and the receiver of a message

Verses - Exodus 3:2; Psalms 148:5; Colossians 2:18; Hebrews 1:6 12:22 13:2; 1 Peter 1:12; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6; Revelation 1:1 22:16

First Use: First Use: Genesis 6:2 That the sons of God [angels] saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

Angel means messenger, Angels are God's messengers, His assistants. Angels do not deliver their own message but they speak and assist when they are directed First from God. Angels are spirit beings, who are created by God for companionship with God. The spirit realm is the permanent realm and angels as spirit beings have an everlasting existence. Angels are "sons of God" this means three things; First they are each a unique creation of God. Angels do not marry and have babies like humans do. God individually creates each angel. Second, being sons [family members] they are in the visible presence of God. Third, being sons they have received an inheritance with God.

Holy Angels: Note: Only holy (God's) people have holy (God's) Angels. The Holy Angels are God's messengers sent to help and assist believing humans.

Are they (Holy Angels) not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them (people) who shall be heirs (inheritors) of salvation. ~ Hebrews 1:14

The fact that there are Angels is another way to prove that God exists. Angels are the messengers, having a messenger requires a sender and a receiver of the message. God is the sender of the messenger and we are the receiver of God's message.

A lot of people in today's society will acknowledge the presence of angels and they are correct, angels do exist as the Bible tells us that they do; to acknowledge angels requires us to acknowledge the sender of the angel, God. True there are also plenty of unholy angels around, so it is very important to test every single message and make certain that it comes from holy angels and matches the Holy Bible. Some people may indeed have an angel communicating with them but it is in no means a holy angel of God if the message communicated does not match the Bible.

Revelation 19:10 And I (disciple John) fell at his feet (Holy Angel) to worship him. And he said to me, See you do it not: I am thy fellow servant and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Fallen Angels: unholy angels

For verily He (Jesus) took not on Him the nature of Angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham {became a human, not an angel}.. to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. ~ Hebrews 2:16-17

Fallen angels are not eligible for redemption like fallen humans are. The reason is that because of the status of angels from which they chose to rebel. It was in the presence of God, in their inherited body and from their inheritance that some angels chose to rebel from and became fallen angels. There is not another inheritance or body for the fallen angels; nor can they remain forever in the visible presence of God because of their sin.

Then shall He (God) say to them (unbelievers) on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels: ~ Matthew 25:41

And the angels which kept not their First estate, but left their own habitation (God given spiritual body), He hath reserved in everlasting chains {the more wicked fallen angels are chained} under darkness (out of the visible presence of God) unto the judgment of the great day. ~ Jude ver. 6

And having made peace through the blood of His (Jesus) cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, by Him, I say, whether they be things {humans} in earth or things {holy angels} in heaven. ~ Colossians 1:20

Angels in the past have rebelled against God. This verse indicates that since the cross of Jesus there will be no more new additional angels rebelling against God. But the angels that have rebelled against God will continue to rebel against God.

September 4

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Atonement

Atonement an ordained High Priest offering given for mankind and accepted by God

Katallage (G2643) restoration, reconciliation, mend, repair
Hebrew: Kaphar (H3722) cleanse, disannul, forgive, merciful, pardon, purge, reconcile

Verses - Leviticus 4:20; Numbers 28:22; Nehemiah 10:33; Romans 5:11

First Use: Exodus 29:33 And they shall eat those things wherewith atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them: but a stranger shall not eat thereof, because they are holy.

Atonement is an offering given by the offending party to the offended party. Offences separate and sever relationships. When the relationship is severed it requires a mending in order to repair and re-establish the broken relationship. The means to mend the broken relationship is called the atonement. Man has offended God. After all, all God did was to create us, give us life, bring us into existence and love us. All man does is to disobey and turn our backs and walk away from God. With this behavior it is necessary that the broken relationship between God and man be mended. In this case man is so separated from the knowledge of who God is that mankind is not even aware that we have so offended God and that the relationship is broken and needs to be repaired.

When two parties are no longer communicating there is need for a third party to intercede. This third party is called the "mediator." In this case, it is man that is not talking to or seeking after God, so God sent Jesus as a mediator to get the attention of mankind and to tell mankind that we have broken the relationship with God {it is not uncommon for the offending party to be so clueless that they are completely unaware of their offending behavior}. Jesus has done much of this mediation by speaking to prophets and having the Bible written. The relationship is so broken that many people even deny the existence of God. The most shattered a relationship can become is to deny the existence of the other person. Jesus is mediating/talking to us on behalf of God, because Jesus is God and therefore He is capable of talking for God and representing God.

When the broken relationship is identified as broken, it is then possible to determine a remedy (atonement). It is up to the offended party to declare what is suitable to repair the relationship and it is up to the offending party to desire to remedy the relationship otherwise the relationship will remain broken.

God being the offended one has declared that a relationship in the current sinful physical state of man is not acceptable. God has determined that to repair the relationship it will be necessary to have a new birth, a new Spiritual "Born Again" birth. Now it would normally be up to the offending party to meet the needs of the offended one therefore restoring the relationship. In this case, man is not able to repair the breach, the brokenness is too broken for us to repair. In this case God, has sent Himself to repair (atone) the separation on man's behalf.

The atonement is what the offending party is offering to the offended party. God has a special category of people that make offerings to Him. This group of people are called priests. A priest offers to God on behalf of man, where a prophet receives from God and offers it to man. Because God is not upset with Himself and God is not in a broken relationship with Himself, God has no need to make atonement with Himself. For this reason God had to become a man. God had to become a man and serve as a Priest (High Priest) to offer atonement (repair) for the broken relationship between man and God.

And he (Priest) shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering {an earthly priest First had to sacrifice for their own sin then they could offer atonement}, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make Atonement for them (people) and it shall be forgiven them. ~ Leviticus 4:20

For such a High Priest (Jesus) became us {we have}, Who is Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily as those (earthly) high priests, to offer up sacrifice, First for their own sins and then for the people's: for this (offered for man's sins) He did once when He offered up Himself. ~ Hebrews 7:26-27

Jesus is unique in that He is both the Priest (man offering to God) and the offering.

After the offending party offers the repair (atonement) it is up to the offended party to determine if the offering is acceptable and if acceptable, therefore repairing and restoring the relationship. We know beyond any doubt that Jesus and what Jesus did as a Priest in offering atonement to God is acceptable to God and has repaired the relationship between man and God. The reason that we know this is that God resurrected Jesus from death and gave Him a new Spiritual body.

Concerning His (Father's) Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. ~ Romans 1:3

It is the resurrection of Jesus that shows us that Jesus is the Son of God.

And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement (repair). ~ Romans 5:11

The atonement between man and God is complete and completed; there is no current or future work of atonement. We have received the work that Jesus as our High Priest did for us on the cross. The relationship between man and God is open and available. The atonement is a sacrifice that is offered from a priest to God. We do not receive atonement from God. God is not offering to us because He has not offended us. Now that the relationship between God and man has been atoned (repaired) it is now the responsibility of each individual person to take advantage of the repaired relationship and to have fellowship with God.

September 5

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Awake

Awake see also Sleep

First Use: Genesis 28:16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.

Egeiro (G1453) - collect one's faculties;
Eknepho (G1594) to arouse oneself out of stupor

Verses - Psalms 57:8 139:18; Zechariah 13:7; Romans 13:11; 1 Corinthians 15:34; Ephesians 5:14

Awake is a word in the Bible that has two meanings. The physical meaning to awake from physical sleep and also awareness - awake. Awake is to be aware, aware of God and His plan for mankind; aware of man's sinful predicament and aware of what God is doing in our lives and the lives of others to fulfill His plans.

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. ~ Romans 13:11

Awake to righteousness and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:34

Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light. ~ Ephesians 5:14

One note of caution: Becoming aware or awakening especially to problems, sin and end time predicaments, unfortunately does not mean that we can do much about them. Sin is an interesting situation in that while we are in sin and in danger of the death that will result from it, we are in denial and unaware of sin, so sin is not a problem to us even though it is our biggest problem. Once we have our conversion and awake to our sin and the sin of others, we now become aware of sin and instead of treating sin like the non-event it is to a Christian, now we sometimes obsess with sin, our sin and the sin of others.

God is patient and God is longsuffering. God has allowed mankind much freedom to come to the knowledge of Him. God has an end time plan that does involve the antichrist, it is God's perfect plan and God is going to allow it to unfold and take place. Yes we are to be awake. Yes we are to pray and to be salt and light in a dark world but we are not to worry and take things on ourselves that we have no control over. So be awake but more importantly be at rest in the Lord Jesus and let Him take care of His world.

September 6

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Blessing

Blessing a good Word from God

Eulogeo (G2127) "Eulogy" Eu - good, well; Logos - word; speak well, bless, happy, praise, commendation

Verses - Genesis 5:2 9:1; John 20:29; Romans 4:7-8; Ephesians 1:3; James 1:12; Revelation 1:3 14:3 20:6

First Use: Genesis 1:22 And God blessed them (His created creatures), saying, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas and let fowl multiply in the earth.

Unto you First God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him (Jesus) to Bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. ~ Acts 3:26

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all Spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: ~ Ephesians 1:3

Blessing is a good word from God. Blessing means happy. It is a blessing to do the good things that God has prescribed for us. We often think of a blessing as a worldly gift like money, or opportunity. A blessing is a word from God; a blessing is more knowledge of God. Blessings can come from both bad and good sources. We can be blessed, good word from God, in any circumstance that we are in. Someone [hopefully a non-Christian] can come up to us and cause all kinds of problems for us and this can be a blessing. It can be a blessing because God can still use bad circumstances to reveal Himself to us. Anytime God reveals Himself to us in a personal relationship, it is a blessing. These are often trying blessings but they are still blessings. Theses are blessings out of difficulties.

Another kind of blessing is a good blessing. Someone [hopefully a Christian] can come up to us and have terrific interaction with us. They can speak to us and give us hope and joy directly from God, they might even give us a gift to solve a need that we have. This is also a blessing and God uses good blessings to reveal Himself to us as well. This is the kind of blessing that the Christian wants to be. We want to be a blessing to others in blessing them.

And I (God) will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and though shalt be a blessing. ~ Genesis 12:2

Blessings are a cornerstone to the ministry of Jesus as Jesus taught blessings.

And seeing the multitudes, He (Jesus) went up into a mountain: and when He was set,
His disciples came unto Him: and He opened His mouth and taught them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. ~ Matthew 5:1-12

Blessings, good words of God's instruction, are given by God throughout the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them ... ~ Genesis 1:27-28

Blessed are they that do His [Royal Law] commandments, that they may have the right to the Tree of Life and may enter in through the gates into the (heavenly) city. ~ Revelation 22:14

September 7

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Body - Physical

Body, Flesh see also Spirit and Soul

Soma (G4983) body, visible expression, functioning unit

Verses - Matthew 26:26; John 2:21; Romans 8:10-13; 1 Corinthians 6:13; 2 Corinthians 4:10; Ephesians 3:6; Colossians 1:24

First Use: Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man (body) of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (spirit); and man became a living soul (soul).

I [Apostle Paul] plead to you therefore, brethren [Christians], by the mercies of God, that all of you present your bodies a living [Melchizedek] sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable [fellowship with God] service. And be not conformed to this world: but be all of you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that all of you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. ~ Romans 12:1-2

Wherefore when He [Messiah - Christ] comes into the world, He says, [Levitical] Sacrifice and offering You [Father God] would not [desire], but a [human - relationship] body have You [Holy Spirit] prepared Me [Jesus Christ]: ~ Hebrews 10:5

Body is one of the three components that make up, the human being. The other two components are a soul (awareness) and a spirit (everlasting life). The physical body is the abode/dwelling for our spirit and soul. The physical body has the important job of visible interaction in our physical world. We might be very happy and pleased with someone, but they would never know it unless we bodily vocalized our vocal chords and spoke, or gestured in an understood pleasing way. If we wrote a note or smiled, hugged and greeted someone warmly, they would presume that we are conveying to them our emotions of joy toward them.

Without the physical bodily ability to express our soul we would not have interaction with other people. Our body exits to function in a physical world and to express our soul. If we damage our body and physically it can no longer represent our soul we then suffer death and the spirit and soul separate from the body and go into the presence of God. God and only God has complete control over our spirit. Our spirit and soul remain in our body at the direction of God and according to God's knowledge and in God's time we suffer physical death. Only Jesus on the cross was able to direct His Spirit into the presence of God. God commands our spirit to remain in our body; at God's direction our spirit and soul separate from our body and at Gods direction the spirit and soul either remain in heaven or are imprisoned in hell. According to the Bible there is absolutely no such thing as human ghosts. The ghosts that we deal with are demon spirits masquerading as human ghosts. But there are absolutely no human spirits wandering the earth.

Part of what the earthly physical body has to represent is sin and the fallen nature of man. So our bodies carry in them the penalty of sin. We suffer pain, sickness and eventually death. One of the surest ways to know that mankind is suffering from sin is to look at our physical bodies and to realize that our existence in this body is temporary. Nothing on the earth is more temporary t