A lot of poor people buried their dead in the cave they were living in and that might have been because they didn’t have a back yard.
To me, funerals are ridiculous, when I die I don’t care if I’m buried in a cemetery, in the back yard, next to my cats, or cremated. When you die the body is no longer need. I haven’t found anything in the Bible that says anything for or against funerals or cremation.
I think when people die that person’s friends and family should have a bon voyage party and celebrate their good luck. I’ll tell you, when I die, if anyone has a funeral for me, I won’t be there.
When a you have a pair of clothes that you really like and it wears out you don’t continue to wash it, you throw it away. You may be unhappy that those clothes are gone, but you don’t mourn over it. So what do you do, you buy another pair and enjoy doing it.
This is the last chapter of the Book of Luke so tomorrow…
The Walk to Emmaus
‘Miriam Daughter of Yeshua Son of Caiaphas, Priest[s] of Ma’aziah from Beth ’Imri’ or, an alternative reading ‘Miriam, Daughter of Yeshua Bar Qayafa, Priest of (the course of) Ma’aziah of the House of ‘Omri’.1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
“First day of the week” – Sunday began by Jewish time at sundown on Saturday. Spices could then be bought and they were ready to set out early the next day. When the women started out, it was dark, and by the time they arrived at the tomb, it was still early dawn.
2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher.
“The stone rolled away” – a tomb’s entrance was ordinarily closed to keep vandals and animals from disturbing the bodies. This stone, however, had been sealed by Roman authority for a different reason (see Matt 27:62-66).
3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
“Two men” – they looked like men, but their clothes were remarkable (see 9:29; Acts 1:10, 10:30). Other reports referring to them call them angels.
5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
8 And they remembered his words,
9 And returned from the sepulcher, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.
“Unto the eleven, an d to all the rest” – “Eleven” is sometimes used to refer to the group of apostles (Acts 1:26, 2:14) after the betrayal by Judas. Judas was dead at the time the apostles first met the risen Christ, but the group was still called the twelve.
The “rest” included disciples who, for the most part, came from Galilee.
10 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.
“Mary Magdalene” – she is named first in most of the lists of women and was the first to see the risen Christ.
11 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.
12 Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulcher; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.
13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.
14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.
“Their eyes were holden” – by special divine intervention, they cannot recognize Jesus.
17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done.
22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulcher;
23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.
24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulcher, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.
25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.
29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.
30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,
34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.
35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.
36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.
41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?
42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.
43 And he took it, and did eat before them.
44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake 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.
“Law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms” – the three parts of the Hebrew Old Testament (Psalms was the first book of the third section, called the Writings), indicating that Christ (the Messiah) was foretold in the whole Old Testament.
45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
“Repentance and remission of sins” – see Acts 5:31, 10:43, 13:38, 26:18. The prediction of Christ’s death and resurrection is joined with the essence of man’s response (repentance) and the resulting benefit (forgiveness; cf. Is 49:6; Acts 13:47).
48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
“The promise of my Father” – the reference is to the coming power of the Spirit, fulfilled in Acts 2:4.
50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
“While he blessed them” – this book begins with a priest who has no blessing to impart (Zacharias) and ends with our great high priest giving a blessing as he is departing from them.
“Carried up into heaven” – different from His previous disappearances. They saw Him ascend into a cloud (Acts 1:9).
52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:
53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.
Jewish Burial Places
In the New Testament era, the death of a relative required immediate attention, along with a period of mourning after burial.
Because Jewish law prohibited dead bodies from remaining within the city walls of Jerusalem overnight, it was necessary to bury a corpse on the day of death. This tradition was practiced throughout Judea.
Corpses were immediately washed, anointed with perfumes or oils and wrapped in linen. The linen was typically in strips, though there is evidence that some bodies were wrapped in single garments.
The dead were carried to the place of burial on a bier (Lk 7:14), typically accompanied by a large procession. A eulogizer might have preceded the body, while dirge singers and pipers typically joined the mourners.
Depending upon the degree of wealth of the deceased, the body was either laid in an earthen grave to be covered with dirt and stones or placed within a tomb hewn from rock. Such tombs were often, but not always, sealed with rocks or millstones.
Interment often involved ossuaries, chests in which the bones of decayed corpses were collected and later reburied.
After burial, mourning continued for seven days (though it could last up to 30 days), as the family and community participated with dirge singing, weeping, the application of dust or ashes upon the head and/or fasting.
Within the context of such burial customs, Jesus’ words were radical; he insisted that pursuing and joining the advancing kingdom of God takes precedence even over family loyalty and social convention.
…we’ll start with the last Gospel, the Book of John, which is a bit different than the other three.
I’m sure a lot of people died due to the lack of medical knowledge that most of the doctors had. The mighty kings and the wealthy could purchase outlandish tombs.
Tomorrow we’re going to look at…
Jesus before Pontius Pilate
1 And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate.
“Pilate” – the Roman governor had his main headquarters in Caesarea, but he was in Jerusalem during passover to prevent trouble from the large number of Jews assembled for the occasion.
2 And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.
“Perverting the nation” – large crowds followed Jesus, but He was not misleading them or turning them against Rome.
“Saying that he himself is Christ a King” – Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, but not a political or military king, the kind Rome would be anxious to eliminate.
3 And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it.
4 Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man.
5 And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place.
“Throughout all Jewry” – may here refer to the whole of the land of the Jews (including Galilee) or to the southern section only, where the region of Judea proper was governed by Pilate.
6 When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean.
7 And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time.
“At Jerusalem” – Herod’s main headquarters was in Tiberias on the sea of Galilee; but, like Pilate, he had come to Jerusalem because of the crowds at passover.
8 And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.
“Was desirous to see him” – Herod was worried about Jesus’ identity, but there is no record that Jesus ever preached in Tiberias where Herod’s residence was located.
9 Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.
10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him.
11 And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.
12 And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.
13 And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people,
14 Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:
15 No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him.
16 I will therefore chastise him, and release him.
“I will therefore chastise him” – although Pilate found Jesus “not guilty” as charged, he was willing to have Him illegally beaten in order to satisfy the chief priests and the people and to warn against any possible trouble in the future.
Scourging, though not intended to kill, was sometimes fatal.
That’s politics for you. I believe that many, if not all, of the stupid and improper things that Bill Clinton had done were to satisfy Hilary. Bill has no more guts than Pilate.
Obama, the stupid and evil things he does is due to peer pressure, i.e., he needs to satisfy everyone because of his insecurities (definitely plural). We can’t call him narcissistic because he lacks the most important symptom, intelligence.
Old Man Bush has as much wit to run a country as a slug does to fly an airplane.
Baby Bush, he’s just flat out evil. Evil enough that would throw rocks in a glass house.
Hilary Clinton makes the Wicked Witch of the West look like a saint.
Nancy Pelosi could be Hilary’s ugly evil twin.
Michelle Obama, because her husband is president, thinks she has accomplished something. Who is the biggest racist in the world? It isn’t Al Sharpton.
Pope Francis isn’t intentionally evil, he’s just in love with himself, but he like all of those above will find himself in hell if he doesn’t leave them altar boys alone and get right with Jesus.
17 (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)
18 And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:
19 (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.)
20 Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them.
21 But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.
22 And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go.
23 And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.
24 And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.
25 And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will.
26 And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.
27 And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.
28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.
“Weep for yourselves, and for your children” – here Jesus is talking about the present and future. Present – because of the terrible suffering to befall Jerusalem some 40 years later when the Romans would besiege the city and utterly destroy the temple.
Future – the time prior to Jesus’ Second Coming, it’s going to get real ugly, but it will be much worse after the rapture.
“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhibiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Rev 12:12).
29 For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.
“Blessed are the barren” – it would be better not to have children than to have them experience such suffering.
30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.
“Fall on us” – people would seek escape through destruction in death rather than endure God’s judgment.
31 For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?
32 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.
33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
“Calvary” – the Latin word for skull is Calvaria.
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.
36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,
37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.
38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
“Veil of the Temple” – the curtain between the holy place and the most holy place. It’s tearing symbolized Christ’s opening the way directly to God.
46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.
48 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.
49 And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.
50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just:
51 (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.
52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulcher that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
54 And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on.
55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulcher, and how his body was laid.
56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment.
“Spices and ointments” – yard of cloth and large quantities of spices were used in preparing a body for burial. “About a hundred pounds” of myrrh and aloes were already used on that first evening. More was purchased for the return of the women after the Sabbath.
“According to the commandment” – it is clear by this phrase that the Sabbath in question was Saturday, the day the fourth commandment enjoins to be kept holy. That Christ died on Friday seems beyond question.
Disease and Medicine with Ancient Man
Ancient doctors were few in number, expensive, most lacking in knowledge of effective treatments and, although learned for their time, still quite ignorant and superstitious.
Temples to Asclepius, the Greco-Roman god of healing, were found all over the Mediterranean world. These temples were somewhat like the spas of today; therapy consisted more of rest, massage and a modified diet than of what we would call medicine.
Religion also played a major role. A common healing method was “incubation,” whereby the sick person would sleep in the confines of the temple of Asclepius in the hope of receiving a dream-revelation from the god.
Those who had been healed made special contributions to the temples, which often included plaster reproductions of whatever parts of their bodies had been healed. These were set on display as testimonies to healing power of the god.
The 2nd century orator and chronic invalid Aelius Aristides, in his Sacred Tales, gives us an insight into the need people had for healing and the methods employed to that end.
After falling ill on a journey to Rome and enduring brutal surgery at the hands of Roman doctors, Aristides became a devotee of Asclepius.
The cures prescribed for him in the dreams included bathing in a churning river during winter, pouring mud on himself before sitting in the courtyard of the temple, walking about without shoes all winter and blood-letting from various parts of his body.
It was in such a world that Jesus performed his ministry of healing. Unlike many doctors connected to temples, Jesus healed without charge or fanfare.
Also, He did not follow any specific ritual that might have been regarded as the key to tapping into magical healing power.
Sometimes He would touch a person; in other instances he might place a daub of mud on a blind man’s eyes or simply speak a word.
In short, Jesus’ healings pointed to the power of God that dwelled within him; they did not encourage people to seek out rituals for magical healing but were part of his proclamation of the kingdom.
Physical healing pointed always to the restoration of creation.
Most people in ancient time were poor and therefore they would starve if they couldn’t buy or find food. If they became sick, they couldn’t afford a doctor. Yet, even if they could afford a doctor it would depend on where they were if they could be helped.
Tomorrow we’re going to look at...
Luke 22 The Plot to Kill Jesus
1 Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.
“Feast of unleavened bread…Passover” – “Passover” was used in two different ways: (1) a specific meal begun at twilight on the 14th of Nisan and (2) the week following the passover meal, otherwise known as the feast of unleavened bread, a week in which no leaven was allowed.
By New Testament times the two names for the week-long festival were virtually interchangeable.
2 And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.
3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.
“Then entered Satan into Judas” – in the Gospels this expression is used on two separate occasions: (1) before Judas went to the chief priests and offered to betray Jesus (here), and (2) during the Last Super (Jn 13:27).
Thus the Gospel writers depict Satan’s control over Judas, who had never displayed a high motive of service or commitment to Jesus.
4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.
5 And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.
6 And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.
7 Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.
“Passover must be killed” – the passover lamb had to be sacrificed on the 14th of Nisan between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. in the court of the priests – Thursday of Passion Week.
8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.
9 And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare?
10 And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in.
11 And ye shall say unto the Goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guest chamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?
12 And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready.
13 And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.
14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.
15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:
16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
“Until it be fulfilled” – Jesus yearned to keep this passover with His disciples because it was the last occasion before He Himself was to be slain as the perfect passover lamb (1 Cor 5:7) and thus fulfill this sacrifice for all time.
Jesus would eat no more passover meals until the coming of the future kingdom. After this He will renew fellowship with those who through the ages have commemorated the Lord’s Supper.
Finally the fellowship will be consummated in the Great Messianic “marriage supper” to come (Rev 19:9).
17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:
18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
“New Testament” – promised through the prophet Jeremiah (31:31-34) – the fuller administration of God’s saving grace, founded on and sealed by the death of Jesus.
The new covenant is for the Jews, but the Christian enters into the salvation aspects of that covenant, because Jesus would shed his blood once and for all – for the Jews and for all people.
21 But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.
22 And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!
23 And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing.
24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.
25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
27 For weather is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.
29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;
30 That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
“Sift you” – the Greek for “you” is plural. Satan wanted to test the disciples, hoping to bring them to spiritual ruin.
32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.
34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
35 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, Nothing.
36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
“Purse…scrip” – until now they had been dependent on generous hospitality, but future opposition would require them to be prepared to pay their own way.
“Buy one” – an extreme figure of speech used to warn them of the perilous times about to come. They would need defense and protection, as Paul did when he appealed to Caesar (Acts 25:11) as the one who “beareth not the sword in vain” (Rom 13:4).
37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.
“Reckoned among the transgressors” – Jesus was soon to be arrested as a criminal, in fulfillment of prophetic Scripture, and His disciples would also be in danger for being His followers.
38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.
“Two swords…It is enough” – sensing that the disciples had taken Him too literally, Jesus ironically closes the discussion with a curt “That’s plenty!” Not long after this, Peter was rebuked for suing a sword (v. 50).
39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
“Drops of blood” – probably hematidrosis, the actual mingling of blood and sweat as in cases of extreme anguish, stain or sensitivity.
45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,
46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
47 And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.
48 But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?
49 When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?
50 And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.
“The servant of the high priest” – Malchus by name; Simon Peter struck the blow (Jn 18:10).
51 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.
52 Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves?
53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.
54 Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off.
55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.
56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him.
57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.
58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.
59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean.
60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
“Peter remembered” – that would be horrible, just imagine how Peter must have felt? The thing is, He sees EVERYTHING that we do too (Heb 4:13).
62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
63 And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him.
64 And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?
65 And many other things blasphemously spake they against him.
66 And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying,
67 Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe:
68 And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go.
69 Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.
70 Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am.
71 And they said, What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth.
“We ourselves have heard” – it was blasphemy to claim to be the Messiah and the Son of God – unless the claim was true.
Coins and Numismatics
Although silver and gold were highly valued in commercial exchange from very ancient times, throughout much of the Old Testament period precious metals were measured by weight and were not struck into coins.
Early money used by people is referred to as “Odd and Curious”, but the use of other goods in barter exchange is excluded, even where used as a circulating currency (e.g., cigarettes in prison).
The Kyrgyz people used horses as the principal currency unit and gave small change in lambskins; the lambskins may be suitable for numismatic study, but the horse is not. Many objects have been used for centuries, such as cowry shells, precious metals, and gems.The first coinage probably came from western Anatolia (Turkey) around the 7th century B.C. The practice may have been initiated by commercial traders rather than by governmental authorities, but most experts suggest that the Lydian kingdom was the first to coin silver and gold.
The use of coins gained widespread acceptance when the Persian Empire issued standardized coinage.
Kings and emperors soon realized that coins were an effective propaganda tool; the image of the king’s face was stamped onto them, after which they were disseminated throughout his territories and beyond. Coinage was especially useful for the Phoenicians, since their economy was based on trade.
Coins were introduced in Jerusalem by the 5th century B.C. Early Jewish coins of the Persian and Hellenistic periods often bear the inscription Yehud (“Judah”) and are called “Yehud coins.”
It is surprising to observe that some of them also bear an image of the head of Pallas Athena, the Greek goddess, on the obverse and that of an owl, the sacred bird of Athena, on the reverse side.
After the Maccabean revolt, the success of which allowed the Jews to throw off Greek rule in Jerusalem, the Jews developed a more native coinage that reflected their religious sensitivities.
There is debate as to whether Alexander Jannaeus (103-76 B.C.) or John Hyrcanus I (135-104 B.C.) was the first Hasmonean ruler to strike coins.
For the most part Jewish rulers from this period avoided stamping an image of the ruler’s face on coins since such coins were not well received by pious Jews.
Hasmonean rule ultimately gave way to Herodian governance. The coins of Herod the Great and his sons made use of a number of symbols (the pomegranate, grape cluster, ship’s prow, helmet or tripod) but usually respected Jewish custom in not exhibiting the images of their faces.
A number of different coins were in use in the Holy Land during the New Testament period. The shekel was indigenous to the area.
The mite, a copper coin of little value (“mite” is an Old English translation of the Greek lepton), may have been the copper prutah, a cheap coin minted during the Hasmonean period but still in use during Jesus ‘lifetime.
The silver denarius from Rome was circulated throughout the empire, due in large part to the universal presence of the Roman army. The coin given in tribute to Rome in Jesus’ day had the image of the emperor Tiberius Caesar on the obverse and of his mother Livia on the reverse side.
Therefore, when Jesus asked whose likeness was on the coin, the obvious answer was “Caesar’s” (Mt 22:20-21).
A single denarius was equal to a day’s wage; thus the loss of a single coin was significant (Lk 15:8).
Other coins, such as the copper shekel, dated from an earlier period but still may have been in circulation in Jesus’ time. Coins from the Hasmonean and earlier Herodian rulers also remained in circulation.
The variety of coins and the inconsistency of their weights made the money changer a practical necessity of economic life.
Numismatics, the scientific study of coins, is one of the archaeologist’s most useful tools, due to the particular advantages offered by coins as artifacts:
– Coins often bear the name and sometimes the likeness of the ruler of an area at the time of production. Therefore, they can be dated with a high degree of precision and can aid in the dating of surrounding structures.
– Coins tell much about the official propaganda of a particular period. By studying their portraiture and imagery, scholars gain insight into the persona a ruler attempted to create.
– Coins generally exist in large numbers, a fact that allows scholars to undertake highly accurate comparison and analysis of the numismatic evidence.
Still, scholars need to exercise caution, since some coins supposedly from the ancient world are actually modern forgeries.
Love has existed since the beginning of time, actually love was here before even the world because God is love
(1 Jn 4:8). It is through His love that we were even created and it is also His love that is saving us from spending eternity in hell.
Yet, the devil has managed to use love in an evil way, e.g., lust, sex, money, etc.
Speaking of money, in the beginning and for centuries there was no money, people bartered until certain material matters were used for payment, such as animals and crops. Until finally they started using metal coins So tomorrow we’ll look at…
1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.
“The treasury” – in the court of women 13 boxes, shaped like inverted megaphones, were positioned to receive the donations of the worshipers.
2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.
“Two mites” – Jewish coins worth very little.
3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:
4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.
5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,
“Temple…was adorned” – one stone at the southwest corner was some 36 feet long. “Whatever was not overlaid with god was purest white” (Josephus, Jewish Wars, 5.5.6).
Herod gave a golden vine for one of its decorations. Its grape clusters were as tall as a man. The full magnificence of the temple as elaborated and adorned by Herod has only recently come to light through archaeological investigations on the temple hill.
6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
7 And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?
8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.
9 But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.
“The end is not by and by” – refers to the end of the age. All the events listed in vv. 8-18 are characteristic of the entire present age, not just signs of the end of the age.
10 Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:
11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.
“Delivering you up to the synagogues” – synagogues were sued not only for worship and school, but also for community administration and confinement while awaiting trial.
13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony.
14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:
15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.
17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.
18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish.
Although persecution and death may come, God is in control and the ultimate outcome will be eternal victory, at least for God and believers.
“Shall not a hair of your head perish” – this doesn’t refer to physical safety, but to spiritual loss.
19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
“Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles” – except for brief revolts in 66-70 A.D. and 132 A.D, Jerusalem remained under Gentile rule until their city, signaling that God’s time clock with the Jews is now set in motion once again.
25 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;
26 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.
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
“This generation” – if the reference the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred about 40 years after Jesus spoke these words, “generation” is used in its ordinary sense of a normal life span. All these things were fulfilled in a preliminary sense in the 70 ad destruction of Jerusalem.
If the reference is to the second coming of Christ, “generation” might indicate the Jewish people as a nation, who were promised existence to the very end.
Or it might refer to the future generation alive at the beginning of these things. It doesn’t mean that Jesus had a mistaken notion He was going to return immediately.
33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
“The whole earth” – when Jesus returns the entire world will know it all at the same time.
36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
37 And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives.
38 And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.
Top 10 of 20 Famous Love Stories
in History and Literature
Do you believe in true love? Do you believe in love at first sight? Do you believe in love lasts forever? I’m not sure if love at first sight is true, meaning it may not be the person one falls in love with, but the moment or ideal.
But true love is true real and lasts forever because God is love (1 Jn 4:8) and He lasts forever. If you doubt maybe these love stories will renew or reinforce your faith in love.
The following are the most famous love stories in history and literature. Some of them are stories, but then again, is the story just an idea or imagination, or is it a fact with a different and place?
1. Romeo and Juliet
This is probably the most famous love story of all time. This couple has become a synonym for love itself. Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy by William Shakespeare.
Their love story is very tragic. The tale of two teenagers from two feuding families who fall in love at first sight and then marry, become true lovers and then risk it all for their love.
To take your own life for your husband or wife is definitely a sign of true love. Their “untimely deaths” ultimately unite their feuding households.
2. Cleopatra and Mark Antony
The true love story of Antony and Cleopatra is one of the most memorable, intriguing and moving of all times. The story of these two historical characters had later been dramatized by William Shakespeare and is still staged all over the world.
The relationship of Antony and Cleopatra is a true test of love. They fell in love at first sight. The relationship between these two powerful people put the country of Egypt in a powerful position.
But their love affair outraged the Romans who were wary of the growing powers of the Egyptians.
Despite all the threats, Anthony and Cleopatra got married. It is said that while fighting a battle against Romans, Antony got false news of Cleopatra’s death. Shattered, he fell on his sword.
When Cleopatra learned about Antony ‘s death, she was shocked. And she took her own life. Great love demands great sacrifices.
3. Lancelot and Guinevere
The tragic love story of Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere is probably one of the best-known stories of Arthurian Legend.
Lancelot fall in love with Queen Guinevere, King Arthur’s wife. Their love grew slowly, as Guinevere kept Lancelot away from her. Eventually, however, her love and passion overpowered her and the pair became lovers.
One night, Sir Agravain and Sir Modred, King Arthur’s nephew, led a band of 12 knights to Guinevere’s chamber where they burst in upon the lovers. Discovered, Sir Lancelot made a fighting escape, but poor Guinevere was not so lucky.
She was seized and condemned to burn to death for her adultery. Fear not. Sir Lancelot returned several days later to rescue his beloved Guinevere from the fire.
This whole sad affair divided the Knights of the Round Table and weakened Arthur’s kingdom. Poor Lancelot ended his days as a lowly hermit and Guinevere became a nun at Amesbury where she died.
4. Tristan and Isolde
The tragic love story of Tristan and Isolde has been told and retold through various stories and manuscripts.
It takes place during medieval times during the reign of King Arthur. Isolde of Ireland was the daughter of the King of Ireland. She was betrothed to King Mark of Cornwall. King Mark sent his nephew, Tristan, to Ireland to escort Isolde back to Cornwall.
During the voyage, Isolde and Tristan fell forever in love. Isolde did marry Mark of Cornwall, but could not help but love Tristan. The love affair continued after the marriage.
When King Mark finally learned of the affair, he forgave Isolde, but Tristan was banned from Cornwall. Tristan went to Brittany. There he met Iseult of Brittany. He was attracted to her because of the similarity of her name to his true love.
He married her, but did not consummate the marriage because of his love for the “true” Isolde.
After falling ill, he sent for Isolde in hopes that she would be able to cure him. If she agreed to come, the returning ship’s sails would be white, or the sails would be black if she did not agree.
Iseult, seeing the white sails, lied to Tristan and told him that the sails were black. He died of grief before Isolde could reach him. Isolde died soon after of a broken heart.
5. Paris and Helena
Recounted in Homer’s Iliad, the story of Helen of Troy and the Trojan War is a Greek heroic legend, combining fact and fiction.
Helen of Troy is considered one the most beautiful women in all literature. She was married to Menelaus, king of Sparta. Paris, son of King Priam of Troy, fell in love with Helen and abducted her, taking her back to Troy.
The Greeks assembled a great army, led by Menelaus’s brother, Agamemnon, to retrieve Helen. Troy was destroyed. Helen returned safely to Sparta, where she lived happily with Menelaus for the rest of her life.
6. Orpheus and Eurydice
The Orpheus and Eurydice story is an ancient Greek tale of desperate love.
Orpheus fell deeply in love with and married Eurydice, a beautiful nymph. They were very much in love and very happy together.
Aristaeus, a Greek god of the land and agriculture, became quite fond of Eurydice, and actively pursued her. While fleeing from Aristaeus, Eurydice ran into a nest of snakes which bit her fatally on her legs. Distraught, Orpheus played such sad songs and sang so mournfully that all the nymphs and gods wept.
On their advice, Orpheus traveled to the underworld and by his music softened the hearts of Hades and Persephone (he was the only person ever to do so), who agreed to allow Eurydice to return with him to earth on one condition: he should walk in front of her and not look back until they both had reached the upper world.
In his anxiety he forgot that both needed to be in the upper world, and he turned to look at her, and she vanished for the second time, but now forever.
7. Napoleon and Josephine
A marriage of convenience, at age 26 Napoleon took a fancy to Josephine. An older, prominent, and most importantly wealthy woman.
As time drew on, Napoleon fell deeply in love with Josephine, and she with him, but that didn’t deter the adultery on both sides – their mutual respect for one another kept them together, and their burning passion between them didn’t falter, and was genuine.
They eventually split, as Napoleon deeply required something Josephine could not give him, an heir. Sadly they parted ways, both bearing the love and passion in their hearts, for all eternity.
8. Odysseus and Penelope
Few couples understand sacrifice quite like this Greek pair. After being torn apart, they waited twenty long years to be reunited. War takes Odysseus away shortly after his marriage to Penelope. Although she has little hope of his return, she resists the 108 suitors who are anxious to replace her husband.
Odysseus is equally devoted, refusing a beautiful sorceress’s offer of everlasting love and eternal youth, so that he might return home to his wife and son.
When complication occur in a relationship, take a cue from Homer, and remember that true love is worth waiting for.
9. Paolo and Francesca
Paolo and Francesca are made famous by the Dante’s masterpiece “Divine Comedy”.
It is a true story: Francesca is married with Gianciotto Malatesta an awful person, but she has Gianciotto’s brother, Paolo, as lover.
The love between them grows when they read together a book (according to Dante) about Lancelot and Guinevere. When the two lovers are discovered they are killed by Gianciotto.
10. Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler
“Gone with the wind” can be identified as one of the immortal pieces of literary works in this world.
Margaret Mitchell’s famous work has chronicled the love and hate relationship between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. Proving that timing is everything, Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler never seem to be quite in synch.
Throughout the epic story, this tempestuous twosome experience passion but not permanence, and their stormy marriage reflects the surrounding Civil War battles.
The flirtatious, promiscuous, and perpetually pursued Scarlett can’t make up her mind between her many suitors. When she finally decides to settle on being happy with Rhett, her fickle nature has already driven him away.
Hope springs eternal in our devious heroine, however, and the novel ends with Scarlett proclaiming, “Tomorrow is another day.”
Not only is more than half the world not believe in You, but more and more people are doing things that You tell us not to do.
There’s a lot of hatred in the world, so tomorrow we’re going to look at…
Jesus’ Authority Challenged
1 And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders,
The events of 20:1-21:36 all occurred on Tuesday of Passion Week – a long day of controversy.
2 And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?
“Who…gave thee this authority?” – they had asked this of John the Baptist and of Jesus early in His ministry. Here the reference is to the cleansing of the temple, which not only defied the authority of the Jewish leaders but also hurt their monetary profits.
The leaders may also have been looking for a way to discredit Jesus in the eyes of the people or raise suspicion of Him as a threat to the authority of Rome.
3 And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me:
4 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?
5 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not?
6 But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.
7 And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was.
8 And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
9 Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.
10 And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty.
“He sent a servant” – this parable is reminiscent of Is 5:1-7. The slaves who were sent to the husbandmen represent the prophets God sent to former times who were rejected (see Neh 9:26; Jer 7:25-26; Matt 23:34; Acts 7:52; Heb 11:36-38).
11 And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty.
12 And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out.
13 Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.
14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.
15 So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?
16 He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.
17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?
18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
19 And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them.
20 And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.
21 And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly:
22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?
23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me?
24 Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar’s.
25 And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.
26 And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marveled at his answer, and held their peace.
27 Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him,
“Sadducees” – an aristocratic, politically minded group, willing to compromise with secular and pagan leaders (sound like Washington D.C.). They controlled the high priesthood at this time and held the majority of the seats in the Sanhedrin.
They did not believe in the resurrection or an afterlife, and they rejected the oral tradition taught by the Pharisees (Josephus, Antiquities, 13.10.6).
28 Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man’s brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
29 There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children.
30 And the second took her to wife, and he died childless.
31 And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died.
32 Last of all the woman died also.
33 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife.
34 And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage:
35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
“Equal unto the angels” – the resurrection order cannot be assumed to follow present earthly lines. In the new age there will be no marriage, no procreation and no death.
37 Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
“Moses shewed at the bush” – since Scripture chapters and verses were not used at the time of Christ, the passage was identified in this way, referring to Moses’ experience with the burning bush (Ex 3:2).
38 For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.
39 Then certain of the scribes answering said, Master, thou hast well said.
40 And after that they durst not ask him any question at all.
41 And he said unto them, How say they that Christ is David’s son?
42 And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
43 Till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
44 David therefore calleth him Lord, how is he then his son?
“David therefore calleth him Lord” – if the Messiah was a descendant of David, how could his honored king refer to his offspring as Lord? Unless Jesus’ opponents were ready to admit that the Messiah was also the divine Son of God, they could not answer His question.
45 Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples,
46 Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;
47 Which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.
“Devour widows’ houses” – they take advantage of this defenseless group by fraud and schemes for selfish gain.
“Receive greater damnation” – the higher the esteem of men, the more severe the demands of true justice; and the more hypocrisy, the greater the condemnation.
World of Witchcraft
by Oliver Williams
Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I [am] the LORD your God (Lev 19:31).
In 2009 the leader of The Gambia, the self-titled Sheikh Professor Dr. Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh—perhaps best known for being the inventor of an herbal HIV “cure”—launched a witch-hunting campaign.
Police, army, and national intelligence agents kidnapped up to 1,000 people at gunpoint. They were taken to secret detention centers and severely beaten, almost to the point of death.
They were forced to confess and to drink “potions.” At least two died from potion-induced kidney failure.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
“Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever [he be] of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth [any] of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.
And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.
And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not:
Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people” (Lev 20:1-5).
Self-appointed witch hunter and self-described “Lady Apostle” Helen Ukpabio recently launched a crusade she calls “Witches on the Run” in Nigeria.
The Observer reports that accused children in the country are “burnt, poisoned, slashed, chained to trees, buried alive or simply beaten and chased off into the bush.” Some have had nails driven into their heads. Ukpabio is helping to fuel this rampant child abuse.
In the Central African Republic an estimated 40 percent of court cases are witchcraft prosecutions.
Magical genital thievery is a common belief in certain parts of Africa. As a psychiatrist named Sunday Ilechukwu describes it:
Men could be seen in the streets of Lagos holding on to their genitalia either openly or discreetly with their hand in their pockets. Women were also seen holding on to their breasts.
“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Ex 22:18).
In Nigeria, Benin, and Ghana, suspected penis snatchers have been beaten to death by angry mobs. Journalist Frank Bures traveled to Lagos to investigate the issue:
In a typical incident, someone would suddenly yell: Thief! My genitals are gone! Then a culprit would be identified, apprehended, and, often, killed.
“And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through [the fire] to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I [am] the LORD”(Lev 18:21).
Republic of Congo
In 2008 police in the Democratic Republic of Congo arrested 13 people for using black magic to steal or shrink men’s penises.
A BBC reporter traveled to a church in Angola seeking child victims of witchcraft. Among those shackled to the walls and the floor he found an emaciated eight-year-old boy.
If the child dies, it means the child is evil.
The child died days later.
Central Africa Republic
In the Central African Republic an estimated 40 percent of court cases are witchcraft prosecutions. Graeme Wood of The Atlantic spoke to a judge in the country who admitted that “there is usually no evidence.”
There shall not be found among you [any one] that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, [or] that useth divination, [or] an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. (Deut 18:10).
Asked how one determined guilt he replied:
The judge will look at them and see if they act like witches….His principal advice to clients was to refrain from casting any spells in the courtroom.
“Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods” (Deut 12:31).
Apartheid South Africa’s Witchcraft Suppression Act of 1957 has been less than successful. In a lengthy review of a recent anthropological study (Witchcraft and a Life in the New South Africa by Isak Niehaus), Jeremy Harding describes the country’s occult situation:
…when a bunch of kids had chased a monkey from a café, it had ‘mysteriously’ disappeared into Doris’s yard. Obviously she was a witch and the monkey was one of her familiars. The comrades arrived at Doris’s house, dragged her into the courtyard and stoned her to death.
The anthropologist gives one of his subject’s money for medical treatment. Naturally the dying AIDS victim spends it on witch-diviners. For all medical symptoms the diagnosis is the same: Witches are responsible. Ear trouble?
wanted to recruit her as a zombie and had put an invisible worm into her ear to start the metamorphosis.
Boils on your legs?
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev 21:8).
A potion had been placed on her path and she’d absorbed it through the soles of her feet.
A terminally ill woman is taken to a witch-finder who…
went into a trance, lured the familiars into her own body and then sneezed them out.
Where people are undiscerning enough to believe that sorcerers can fly at night and transmogrify into animals, it is perhaps unsurprising to find that some have tried the juju for themselves. Things were so bad in Uganda the government had to set up an Anti-Human Sacrifice Taskforce.
“And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.
For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.
And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD said, In Jerusalem will I put my name.
And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.
And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke [him] to anger” (2 Kgs 21:2-6).
Since 2007, 45 albinos have been killed in Tanzania. Their limbs, hair, skin, and genitals were used to make potions. Their graves have to be fortified with metal bars and cement to stop the further harvesting of their organs.
From the vantage point of the West, this subject could be viewed with nothing more than morbid anthropological curiosity. Yet thanks to immigration these practices are now appearing in Western countries.
Two charities, the NSPCC and World Vision, released a joint statement about the problem.
Across Sub-Saharan Africa, World Vision encounters these cases all too frequently.…And these views can come over to the UK.
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:20-21).
The BBC reports that:
Hundreds of central African children living in the UK may have suffered abuse or even been killed after being accused of witchcraft, charities say.
“Lo, children [are] an heritage of the LORD: [and] the fruit of the womb [is his] reward” (Ps 127:3).
In 2002 the mutilated torso of a boy was found in the River Thames—a human sacrifice by a Nigerian tribe. The police uncovered a trafficking ring that smuggled African children to Britain for occult purposes.
British citizens have been taken to the Congo on “holiday” by their parents to undergo “deliverance ceremonies,” i.e., exorcism. These involve being:
cut with razors, stamped on, beaten, shouted at and forced to drink pigeons’ blood.
At a flat in east London a Congolese couple starved a 15-year-old boy whom they accused of being a sorcerer. According to the Guardian:
floor tiles were smashed over his head, his teeth were hit out with a hammer.
The child was drowned in a bath on Christmas Day in 2010. Thomas Bikebi, director of the Congolese Family Centre, said:
There are people within the community who will say that this pair did the right thing, they killed a witch.
“And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke [him] to anger” (2 Kgs 21:6).
Three members of the Angolan diaspora rubbed chili peppers in the eyes of an eight-year-old girl and attempted to “beat the devil out of her” in an East London flat. One of the assailants told Radio 5 Live:
In our community in the UK everyone believes in it.
In a separate case another eight-year-old girl, Victoria Climbié, was beaten, burned with cigarettes, and forced to sleep in a bin liner inside an empty bath. She died of hypothermia and malnutrition.
“Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they might enlarge their border” (Amos 1:13).
And it’s not just the UK. Latisha Lawson of Fort Wayne, Indiana, forced her three-year-old son to drink a mixture of olive oil and vinegar as part of a ritual to drive a demon called “Marzon” from her son’s body.
She held her hand over his mouth to stop him from vomiting. The child died. Lawson kept the child’s body in a plastic bag for more than a year after his death, thinking he would be resurrected. He stayed dead.
Michela Wrong has worked as an Africa correspondent for Reuters, the BBC, and the Financial Times. She has written in the New Statesman of her profession’s self-censorship:
…the two tacit no-nos of western reporting on the continent, the two ingredients white reporters avoid whenever possible, for fear of being accused of racism.
Unfortunately, they are two elements that hold the key to how Africans – even modern, urban, churchgoing Africans – see the world around them: witchcraft and tribalism.
If Michela Wrong is right about self-censorship in mainstream media, one can only wonder about the full scale of barbarity only glimpsed in the fragments collected here, as well as their implications for the demographic revolution currently underway in Western societies.
“Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; [it is] iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear [them].
And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Is 1:13-17).
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