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).
…top 10 or 20 most famous love stories in history and literature.
The above article says, “A Christian mob under Patriarch Theophilus razed pagan temples.” Talk about an oxymoron. A Christian would never build a pagan temple.
Anyone who believes the above statement would believe oxymoron, “Obama is an intelligent, honest and good president.”
Pope Francis says:
– Priests can forgive sin,
– It’s okay to be a homosexual,
– You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven, and
– If you follow him on Twitter you will do less time in Purgatory (that’s not a total lie because there is no Purgatory).
We’ve talked about many things, such as lost cities, great empires, paganism from the beginning of time, and how evil the world is becoming.
Most people have heard about the Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692, but we don’t hear much about witchcraft now days, and many thing it no longer exists, if it ever did.
Tomorrow we’re going to look at…
The Conversion of Zaccheus
1 And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.
2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.
4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.
5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house.
6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.
“Son of Abraham” – a true Jews – not only of the lineage of Abraham but one who also walks “in the steps” of Abraham’s faith (Rom 4:12). Jesus recognized he tax collector as such, though Jewish society excluded him.
10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
The key verse in Luke’s Gospel.
“To seek and to save” – an important summary of Jesus’ purpose – to bring salvation, meaning eternal life, and the kingdom of God.
11 And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
“Kingdom of God should immediately appear’ – they expected the Messiah to appear in power and glory and to set up His earthly kingdom, defeating all their political and military enemies.
12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
“To receive for himself a kingdom” – a rather usually procedure, but the Herods did just that when they went to Rome to be appointed rulers over the Jews. Similarly, Jesus was soon to depart and in the future is to return as King.
During his absence, His servants are entrusted with their Master’s affairs, that include all believers, not just then, but now too (for a similar parable see Matt 25:14-30).
13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
“Ten pounds” – each pound, or mina, was about three months’ wages. One talent equaled 60 minas and a mina equaled 100 drachmas, each drachma being worth about a day’s wages.
Thus the total amount was valued at between two and three years’ average wages, and a tenth would be about three months’ wages. This was small, however, compared with the amounts mentioned in the parable recorded in Matthew.
Here all ten are given the same amount, showing equal responsibility to use what they were given.
4 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
21 For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
22 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
“Thou knewest that I was an austere man…?” – the master did not admit to the statement of the servant, but repeated it in a question. If this was the opinion of the servant, he should have acted accordingly.
23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
25 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
26 For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
“Shall be given…shall be taken away” – see Matt 13:12. Those who seek spiritual gain in the gospel, for themselves and others, will become richer, and those who neglect or squander what is given them will become impoverished, losing even what they have.
27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
“Those mine enemies…slay them” – perhaps a reference to Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 A.D. the punishment of those who rebelled and actively opposed the king was much more severe than that of the negligent servant.
28 And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.
19:28-44 – the Triumphal Entry occurred on Sunday of Passion Week.
29 And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,
“Bethphage” – a village near the road going from Jericho to Jerusalem.
“Bethany” – another village about two miles southeast of Jerusalem and the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
“Mount called the mount of Olives” – a ridge a little more than a mile long, separated from Jerusalem by the Kidron Valley – to the east of the city.
30 Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither.
“Village” – probably Bethphage.
“Whereon yet never man sat” – one that had not been put to secular use.
31 And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.
32 And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them.
33 And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?
34 And they said, The Lord hath need of him.
35 And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.
36 And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.
37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
“All the mighty works” – the raising of Lazarus and the healing of blind Bartimeus were recent examples, but included also would be the works recorded in John on various occasions in Jerusalem, as well as the whole of His ministry in Galilee.
38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
“The time of the visitation” – God came to the Jews in the person of Jesus the Messiah, but they failed to recognize Him and rejected Him, and they are still rejecting Him.
45 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;
Mark 11:11-17 makes clear that this cleansing occurred the day after the Triumphal Entry, i.e.., on Monday of Passion Week.
46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
47 And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,
“Chief Priests” – they were part of the Sanhedrin, the ruling Jewish council, the ones that played the biggest part on Jesus’ crucifixion.
48 And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.
The Library of Alexandria
The library has become a legendary place, famed for being almost an order of magnitude larger than any other ancient library, while its destruction has become the archetype of cultural vandalism, described as ‘the day that history lost its memory’.
It was said to host more than 500,000 books, a vast collection built up by Ptolemaic edicts requiring every visitor to Alexandria to surrender any scrolls in their possession for copying, by the wholesale larceny of the library of Athens and by the annexation of the collection of the rival library at Pergamum (transferred to Alexandria as a gift to Cleopatra by her lover Mark Anthony).
In practice, however, the Great Library’s size has probably been exaggerated – a building that could hold this many books would have needed some 25 miles of shelving, but there is no hint in historical descriptions of Alexandria of a building colossal enough to host this, but then again, who knows but God.
Comparison with other ancient libraries, in conjunction with other clues, suggests a more realistic figure in the tens rather than hundreds of thousands.
An additional source of confusion is that the Great Library is something of a misnomer, for in addition to the Royal Library there was a ‘daughter’ library at the Serapeum and possibly others in the city.
The destruction of the library has also become shrouded in legend. Several culprits are blamed. Julius Caesar accidentally set fire to a large portion of the city when besieged by a mob in 47 B.C?
A Christian mob under Patriarch Theophilus razed pagan temples in 391 CE and Muslim forces that conquered Egypt in 640 CE supposedly burned the books to heat the city’s bathhouses, on the basis that any scrolls that contradicted the Koran were heretical and any that agreed with it were superfluous.
This last story is almost certainly a myth, but it is possible that the other two culprits do share some blame.
It is also the case that Alexandria suffered numerous other insults, with a number of Roman emperors visiting death and destruction on the city in response to rebellions or perceived slights.
Most likely there was not a single destructive event, but several, culminating in the ruin of the Serapeum.
Alexander the Great was definitely a great warrior and Alexandria a great city, but now both are nothing but words in a text book.
I’m sure someone has said something like, “We can learn from that,” and we can. Yet, I know we need to look at the big picture and not get to caught up on things here on earth, past of present. Because You said that You are going to destroy it and build a new one.
“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever”(1 Jn 2:17).
“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, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband”(Rev 21:1-2).
Therefore, even though it’s okay to learn from others, if we put anything man has done or is doing in front of Jesus then not only are we committing idolatry, but we learn nothing of any value.
I enjoy history that relates to Your Son, not matter how little. For example, the article I posted yesterday, about the railroad tracks, I don’t see anything connection between that and Jesus. Yet, it goes back to Rome and therefore I’m interested.
Things like World War I and II don’t interest me because I can’t find any correlation between that and Jesus.
Tomorrow we’re going to look at one more piece of the city of Alexandria, we’ll look at...
The Widow and the Judge
1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
“Neither regarded man” – unconcerned about the needs of others or what God wanted.
3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
“A widow” – particularly helpless and vulnerable because she had no family to uphold her cause. Only justice and her own persistence were in her favor.
4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
“Shall not God avenge his own elect…?” – if an unworthy judge who feels no constraint of right or wrong is compelled by persistence to deal justly with a helpless individual, how much more will God answer prayer!
“Bear long with them” – God will not delay His support of the chosen ones when they are right. He is not like the unjust judge, who had to be badgered until he wearied and gave in.
8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
“Shall he find faith on the earth?” – particularly faith that perseveres in prayer and loyalty (see Matt 24:12-13). Christ makes a second application that looks forward to the time of His second coming.
A period of spiritual decline and persecution is assumed – a time that will require perseverance such as the widow demonstrated.
9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
“Fast twice in the week” – fasting was not commanded in the Mosaic law except for the fast on the day of atonement. However, the Pharisees also fasted on Mondays and Thursdays.
“Tithes of all that I possess” – as a typical 1st century Pharisee, he tithed all that he acquired, not merely what he earned.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
“Be merciful to me” – the verb used here means “to be propitiated.” The tax collector does not plead his good works but the mercy of God in forgiving his sin.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
15 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
“As a little child” – with total dependence, full trust, frank openness and complete sincerity to God.
18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother.
21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?
27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
28 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.
29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake,
30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
“In this present time, and in the world to come” – the present age of sin and misery and the future age to be inaugurated by the return of the Messiah. The present age he’s talking about is not just then, but now too.
31 Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.
32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:
33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.
34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.
35 And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:
36 And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.
37 And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.
38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
39 And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him,
41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.
42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.
43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.
Lost Cities of Africa (4 of 5)
Location: Nile Delta, Egypt Date Of Construction: 331 B.C. Abandoned: Not Abandoned Built By: Alexander The Great; Ptolemaic Pharaohs Key Features: Lighthouse of Pharos; Museum and Royal Library; Serapeum; Soma (Tomb of Alexander and the Ptolemies); Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa
Known as the Pearl of the Mediterranean, Alexandria was one of the greatest and most remarkable cities in the world for a thousand years.
It was a place of contradictions – a city of great learning and fundamentalist bigotry; cosmopolitan in the extreme and intolerant in the extreme; the greatest Greek city in history, but Egyptian; home to a multitude of great buildings.
Alexandria included hundreds of palaces and temples and several Wonders of the World, the Lighthouse, the Great Library, Alexander’s Tomb and the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa.
Yet apparently barren of physical heritage; a huge, sprawling present-day metropolis, but a lost city in the truest sense.
City on the Edge
On Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, on a strip of land between Lake Mareotis and the sea, lies Egypt’s second city and its largest port, Alexandria.
The modern city bears few traces of the ancient metropolis that in its heyday was one of the largest cities in the world and arguably the greatest. It was founded by and named for Alexander the Great.
Having conquered Egypt and desirous of consolidating his power and reinforcing maritime and trade links between the Nile Valley and Greece and Asia, he chose one of the few suitable harbor sites on the Mediterranean coast, renowned enough for its natural advantages to be mentioned by Homer in the Odyssey.
Book Four records that, ‘Therein is a harbor with good anchorage, whence men launch the shapely ships into the sea…’ The island of Pharos just offshore shielded the coast, while it was far enough away from the mouths of the Nile to be free of silt.
A small Egyptian town called Rhakotis occupied part of the site, but in around 331 B.C. Alexander marked out the basic layout of a new city.
According to legend using grain when other materials were not available, such was his eagerness to get the project started , and employed the architect Dinocrates to elaborate.
The city was laid out in classical Greek style, with orthogonal streets (running at right angles to give a grid pattern) oriented to the shoreline and based around two main axes:
– the east-west Canopus Street, running from the Moon Gate in the east to the Sun Gate in the west and the north-south Soma Street,
– running from Lake Mareotis to the shore, at a point where a causeway called the Heptastadion was built to link Pharos to the mainland and create a harbor on each side.
Alexander did not stay to see his city built, setting off for fresh adventures and conquests and dying in Babylon in 323 B.C. Africa and the prize kingdom of Egypt were ultimately seized by his general, Ptolemy, thus founding the Ptolemaic Dynasty that was to shape Alexandria.
In the power struggle that followed the great king’s death his corpse was a potent counter/bargaining chip and Ptolemy hijacked the lavish funeral cortege on its way back to Macedon, bringing Alexander’s body to Egypt where it was initially interred at Memphis.
According to legend Ptolemy was also motivated by an oracle that the land where Alexander was buried would become the richest kingdom in the world.
Later Alexander’s body was brought to Alexandria and placed in a tomb at the intersection of the two main streets, a location known as the Soma or Sema (meaning ‘the body’ in ancient Greek).
It became one of the great tourist attractions of the ancient world, drawing famous visitors such as Julius Caesar, Augustus (who allegedly broke the preserved corpse’s nose when he leant over it) and a succession of other Roman emperors.
The location of the tomb remains a great unsolved mystery, although modern legend has it that it might be located beneath the Nebi Daniel Mosque; however, there is absolutely no real evidence for this idea.
As the capital of the Hellenistic rulers of Egypt, Alexandria had a unique character from the start.
It was Greek in design and many other aspects, with a mixed population of Greeks from across the Hellenistic world, Egyptians, Jews (probably the largest Jewish community in the world) and people of a hundred other nations, including, later in its history, Romans.
Its iconography, culture and religions were highly syncretic – for instance, statues in tombs are Egyptian in style but with Roman clothing and hair styles. There are many depictions of the Hellenistic Ptolemies in Egyptian idioms, such as sphinxes bearing their heads.
Ancient Egyptian statues, obelisks and other structures were brought to Alexandria from other sites, as with Tanis.
Yet for all this, Alexandria was emphatically not Egyptian. It was often described as Alexandria ad Aegyptum, meaning ‘Alexandria-adjoining-Egypt’, and in Roman times the local governor bore the title ‘Prefect of Alexandria and Egypt’.
Under Ptolemaic and later Roman patronage, Alexandria became the world’s greatest city. Its population swiftly grew to number in the hundreds of thousands (according to some estimates it later reached a million).
It was the epicenter of trade for the Mediterranean world, well situated to take advantages of the trade routes from the Red Sea and Arabia that linked the Greco-Roman world to the Persian, Indian and Chinese worlds.
It had the world’s largest library and academic faculty, and its institutions (see below) attracted many of the world’s great scholars, including Euclid (of geometry fame), Eratosthenes (who calculated the circumference of the Earth) and Aristarchus (who posited a heliocentric solar system).
It was in Alexandria that the Old Testament was first translated into Greek, helping to fix its form thereafter, and where cults like those of Isis and Serapis (see below) were established, to spread later across much of the Classical world.
Highlights of Ancient Alexandria
Perhaps the most famous building in Alexandria was the Lighthouse, built on the eastern tip of the island of Pharos (although deposition on either side of the Heptastadion means that Pharos is now part of the mainland).
The Lighthouse was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, a great tower over 328 feet tall, with a fire and a giant mirror at the top to help guide ships into port. The main port was the Great Harbor to the east, while to the west of the
Heptastadion was the Eunostos (‘safe return’) Harbor. The Great Harbor curved round in a semicircle; at its eastern lip a promontory called Cape Lochias was the location for the Ptolemaic palace complex, and around this the Bruchion, or Royal Quarter, where the Greek population was based, and which occupied the north eastern third of central Alexandria.
Here were the most magnificent buildings, including the Museum, a temple to the Muses, which was a sort of ancient academy, hosting a permanent staff of scholars and scribes and attracting the famous names mentioned above.
Next to, or possibly inside, the Museum was the Royal Library, also known as the Great Library of Alexandria.
To the east of the Royal Quarter was the large Jewish quarter, which ruled itself as a semi-autonomous enclave. In the center of the harbor were the Navalia, or docks, and behind them the Emporium, or Exchange and the Apostases, or Magazines.
Also in this area were two temples – the Timonium, built by Mark Anthony, and the Caesarium – and two obelisks, later known as Cleopatra’s Needles and removed to London and New York.
Among the numerous other temples the most notable were temples to Isis and Serapis. Isis was a traditional Egyptian goddess redefined to a much wider role as a sort of Greco-Roman super-goddess.
While Serapis was a Ptolemaic invention, a combination of the Egyptian gods Osiris and Apis (the sacred bull god) designed specifically to give Alexandria a patron deity and provide the disparate Greek and Egyptian inhabitants with a common religious focus.
The Serapeum, the main temple in Alexandria, was sited on a rocky outcrop in the south of the city, with 100 steps leading up to it. Among other functions, it also served as an auxiliary or ‘daughter’ library to the main, or Royal Library.
West of the Serapeum was located one of Alexandria’s many cemeteries, now known as the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, a remarkable confluence of Egyptian custom and style with Greek and Roman influences. This part of town was the Rhakotis Quarter, where the Egyptians lived.
Decline and Fall
Under the Romans Alexandria became the second city in the empire, but it also became increasingly fractious and violent.
Tensions between the city’s ethnic groups flared up regularly, with pogroms against the Jews, for instance, while Roman emperors such as Caracalla visited destruction and massacres on the city.
The ascendancy of Christianity, which made Alexandria into one of the leading centers of the early Church, simply added to the tensions, culminating in vicious anti-pagan rampages by the patriarch Theophilus in 391 C.E.
When Theophilus led a mob that razed the Serapeum, and his nephew Cyril, who was responsible for the death of the pagan mathematician and philosopher Hypatia in 412 CE.
Severe earthquakes also took their toll and the city was much diminished when conquered by the Arabs in 640 CE, although it was still magnificent enough for General Amr ibn al-As to report back to Caliph Omar that the city had ‘4,000 palaces, 4,000 baths and 400 theatres’.
Changes in trade routes and the establishment of a new capital by the Muslims caused Alexandria to dwindle still further, so that by the 18th century it was only a small town.
Earthquakes, subsidence and rising sea levels meant that most of the Royal Quarter had slipped beneath the waves and only since the mid-1990s has underwater archaeology started to rediscover its remains. For the Georgian sightseer on his Grand Tour, Alexandria was a tremendous disappointment.
James Bruce reported in 1768 that ‘now we can say of [Alexandria], as of Carthage, per/ere ruinae. Even its ruins have disappeared’.
Have you noticed that men don’t worry about how big their butt is? The reason for this is because they are or they aren’t. If they aren’t they know it and size doesn’t matter. If they are they are so pompous and arrogant they don’t realize it and nothing matters but themselves.
Now women, they’re the ones that worry about size, e.g., “Do these pants make my butt look big?” For the majority of women in politics (Clinton, Pelosi, Obama, etc.) and many wealthy women (Oprah, etc.) you can stop worrying and know that your butt is 4’8” wide.
Tomorrow we’re going to take a look at another Lost City, we’ll look at…
Faith and Forgiveness
1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
“Milestone” – a heavy stone for grinding grain?
“One of these little ones” – either young in the faith or young in age.
3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
“Seven times” – that is, forgiveness is to be unlimited, as God has given us unlimited forgiveness. No matter how many times we mess up, all we have to do is ask for His forgiveness and we get it. Yet, if we have not been forgiven when Jesus comes back you are out of luck, unless you somehow manage to make it through the tribulation.
5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.
“Increase our faith” – Jesus’ disciples felt incapable of measuring up to the standards set forth in vv. 1-4. They wanted greater faith to lay hold of the power to live up to Jesus’ standards. You can ask for more too and He’ll give it to you.
Remember, ask and you will receive (Matt 7:7)..
6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamore tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
“The kingdom of God is within you” – probably indicating that the kingdom is present in the person of its King, Jesus. “Within you” could mean that the kingdom is spiritual and internal (Matt 23:26), rather than physical and external (cf. Jn 18:36).
If this is the correct view, the pronoun “you” in the phrase “within you” is to be taken in a general sense rather than as referring to the unbelieving Pharisees personally. The kingdom certainly was not within them.
If “you” is specific rather than general, it argues for the “in your midst” interpretation.
22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.
“Desire to see” – in time of trouble, believers will desire to experience the day when Jesus returns in His glory and delivers His people from their distress.
23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.
“Go not after them, nor follow them” – do not leave your work in order to pursue predictions of Christ’s second advent. Many in history, and even in our own day, would be spared a lot of trouble by heeding this admonition.
24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.
“As the lightning” – His coming will be sudden, unexpected and public.
25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.
26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
“Son of man is revealed” – at Jesus’ second coming He will be plainly visible to all (1 Cor 1:7; 2 Thess 1:7; 1 Pet 1:7, 13, 4:13).
31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.
32 Remember Lot’s wife.
33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
“Taken” – could refer to being “taken to/from destruction” or “taken into the kingdom.” What is clear is that no matter how close two people may be in life, they have no guarantee of he same eternal destiny.
One may go to judgment and condemnation, the other to salvation, reward and blessing.
However, the reference here seems to be about judgment. The context talks about the people in the flood and in Sodom being swept away to destruction. Likewise, Christ’s return, a similar separation will occur.
It would be horrible if a loved one went to hell and you went to heaven, but don’t worry if that happens because won’t know it, see Is 65:17-18.
36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
“One shall be taken, and the other left” – this is probably not the rapture, but a taking away to judgment as the next verse seems to indicate.
37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
“Where…thither will the eagles be gathered together” – a proverb. Those taken away will become a feast for eagles and other birds of prey (see Rev 19:17-18).
Engineering that Endured:
Four Feet, Eight Inches Wide
The United States Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used?
Because that’s the way they built them in England, and English expatriates designed the U.S. Railroads.
Why did the English build them like that?
Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used.
Why did ‘they’ use that gauge then?
Because the people who built the tramways used the same jig and tools that they had used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.
Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?
Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that’s the spacing of the wheel ruts.
So, who built those old rutted roads?
Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (including England ) for their legions. Those roads have been used ever since. And the ruts in the roads?
Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels.
Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.
Therefore, the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot.
In other words, bureaucracies live forever. So the next time you are handed a specification, procedure, or process, and wonder, ‘What horse’s ass came up with this?’, you may be exactly right.
Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses.
Now, the twist to the story:
When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, you will notice that there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah.
The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit larger, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site.
The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses’ behinds.
So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world’s most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse’s ass.
And you thought being a horse’s ass wasn’t important!
Now you know, Horses’ Asses control almost everything and the most experienced are in Washington D.C. and Hollywood.
I just received a fascinating article from a friend. It has nothing to do with Jesus or the Bible, but it does relate back to Rome and I think everyone will find this interesting. God, you already know the story.
So tomorrow we’ll look at…
The Unrighteous Steward
1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.
“Steward” – a steward handled all the business affairs of the owner.
2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.
3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.
“What shall I do?” – this unjust steward had no scruples against using his position for his own benefit (like so many politicians and wealthy people), even if it meant cheating his master.
Knowing he would lose his job, the steward planned for his future by discounting the debts owed to his master in order to obligate the debtors to himself. That’s what Satan does.
Interpreters disagree as to whether his procedure of discounting was in itself dishonest. Was he giving away what really belonged to his master, or was he forgoing interest payments his master did not have a right to charge?
Originally the steward may have overcharged the debtors, a common way of circumventing the Mosaic law that prohibited taking interest from fellow Jews (and that is what the Jews have always done to everyone that isn’t a Jews, and to some that are Jews).
So, to reduce the debts, he may have returned the figures to their initial amounts, which would both satisfy the steward and gain the good favor of the debtors.
In any event, the point remains the same: He was shrewd enough to use the means at his disposal to plan for his future well-being. A sinner must take extraordinary measures also if he would plan for the future time when God will cast him out . He must obtain salvation.
God doesn’t have a problem with shrewdness, as long as you are shrewd honestly. Like Jacob had been with Laban after Laban ripped broke a contract/ripped him off (Gen 30).
4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
5 So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?
6 And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.
7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.
8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
“Make to yourselves friends” – by helping those in need, who in the future will show their gratitude when they welcome their benefactors into heaven (“everlasting habitation”). In this way worldly wealth may be wisely used to gain eternal benefit.
“The mammon of unrighteousness” – or “worldly wealth.” God’s people should be alert to make use of what God has given them.
10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
“Faithful also in much” – faithfulness is not determined by the amount entrusted but by the character of the person who uses it.
11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
“True riches” – these don’t exist in this world.
12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?
13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.
15 And he said unto them,Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
The ministry of Jesus (introducing the new covenant era) was a fulfillment of the law (defining the old covenant era) in the most minute detail.
18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.
“Putteth away his wife” – Jesus affirms the continuing authority of the law: For example, adultery was still adultery, still unlawful and still sinful. Matthew’s treatment is fuller in that:
1. It shows that the law was given because of man’s hardened heart in regard to divorce, and
2. it includes one exception as permissible ground for divorce – marital unfaithfulness.
That’s what Jesus said, but the word used in the KJV is “fornication.” I wonder if Jesus means just sexual unfaithfulness. What if a man doesn’t cheat on his wife, but he physically beats her or forces her to have sex with him?
I think that would be an act of fornication against the marriage. I don’t know though, those are just my thoughts because God does not want us to be unhappy.
If you are thinking about having a divorce, don’t quote me on the above because I don’t want God coming down on me. If you are thinking of having a divorce, Jesus is the man you need to discuss this with.
19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
“Lazarus” – not the Lazarus Jesus had raised from the dead.
21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
“Abraham’s bosom” – The Talmud (the Jewish Bible) mentions both paradise and Abraham’s bosom as the home of the righteous. Abraham’s bosom refers to the place of blessedness to which the righteous dead go to await future vindication.
Its bliss is the quality of blessedness reserved for people like Abraham. Simply put, it is being with Abraham.
The Talmud, like the Catholic Bible, twists things around to benefit them. The Talmud is more evil than the Satanic Bible because the Satanic Bible is at least honest with its evil ways. The Talmud alters God’s meanings, like the devil did with Even.
23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
“Hell” – the place to which the wicked dead go to await the final judgment. That torment begins in Hades is evident from the plight of the rich man. The location of Abraham’s bosom is not specified, but it is separated from Hades by an impassible chasm.
It could be the distance that separates heaven from hell. Hades includes the torment that characterizes hell (fire, Rev 20:10; agony, Rev 14:11; separation, Matt 8:12). Some understand Jesus’ description of Abraham’s side and Hades in a less literal way.
24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us that would come from thence.
27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:
28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
“Moses and the prophets’ – a way of designating the whole Old Testament. The rich man had failed to pay attention to Scripture and its teaching, and feared his brothers would do the same.
30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
“One went unto them from the dead” – the story may suggest that Lazarus was intended, but Luke’s account seems to imply that Jesus was speaking also of His own resurrection.
If a person’s mind is closed and Scripture is rejected, no evidence – not even a resurrection – will save him.
31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
The Creation of the World II
It all started when Chaos, Gaea (Earth) and Eros started to mix with each other leading to the gods. So in Greek mythology, the creation of the world starts with the creation of the different classes of gods.
In this case, gods refers to the characters that ruled the Earth (without necessarily possessing any divine attributes) until the “real” gods, the Olympians came.
So after this brief introduction, the next step to examine in the creation of the world is the creation of the gods (which really is the same thing, it’s just that when you are interested in the creation of the world, you look at the very beginning of the creation of the Gods, while, to examine the creation of the gods, you have to look a little deeper).
Hesiod’s Theogony is one of the best introductions we have on the mythical creation of the world. According to Hesiod, three major elements took part in the beginning of creation: Chaos, Gaea, and Eros.
It is said that Chaos gave birth to Erebos and Night while Ouranos and Okeanos sprang from Gaea. Each child had a specific role, and Ouranos duty was to protect Gaea. Later on, the two became a couple and were the first gods to rule the world.
They had twelve children who were known as the Titans. Three others known as the Cyclopes, and the three hundred handed Giants.
The situation from here on however wasn’t too good. Ouranos wasn’t too pleased with his off-springs because he saw them as a threat to his throne. After all, there would come a time when they would grow up, and perhaps challenge his command.
Ouranos eventually decided that his children belonged deep inside Gaea, hidden from himself and his kingdom. Gaea who wasn’t too pleased with this arrangement agreed at first, but, later on chose to give her solidarity to her children.
She devised a plan to rid her children from their tyrant father, and supplied her youngest child Cronus with a sickle. She then arranged a meeting for the two in which Cronus cut off his father’s genitals.
The seed of Ouranos which fell into the sea gave birth to Aphrodite, while from his blood were created the Fates, the Giants, and the Meliai nymphs.
Cronus succeeded his father in taking over the throne and married his sister Rhea. He also freed his siblings and shared his kingdom with them. Okeanos was given the responsibility to rule over the sea and rivers, while Hyperion guided the Sun and the stars.
As time went by, sooner than later, Kronos had his own children, and the very same fears that haunted his father came back to torment him as well. Kronos eventually decided that the best way to deal with this problem was to swallow all his children.
However, what goes around comes around, and once again the mother decided it was time to free her children. Rhea, Kronos’s wife, managed to save her youngest child, Zeus by tricking Kronos into swallowing a stone wrapped in clothes instead of Zeus himself.
The great Zeus was then brought up by the Nymphs in Mount Dikte in the island of Crete. In order to cover the sound of his crying, the Kouretes danced and clashed their shields.
As Zeus entered manhood, he had the strength few dare dream of. He dethroned his father, and freed his siblings from his father’s entrails. It was now Zeus’s turn to rule the world.
The Human Race
According to the myths, the immortal gods thought that it would be interesting to create beings like them, but that were mortal. They would allow these beings to inhabit the earth.
As soon as the mortals were created, Zeus, the leader of the gods, ordered the two sons of the Titan Iapetus, Prometheus and Epimetheus, to give these beings various gifts in the hope that the mortals would evolve into interesting beings, able to amuse the gods.
So the two brothers started to divide the gifts among themselves in order to give them to the earth’s inhabitants. Epimetheus asked his brother to give out the gifts first, and was granted his wish.
He gave the gift of beauty to some animals, agility on other animals, strength in others, and agility and speed to some. However, he left the human race defenseless, with no natural weapons in this new kingdom.
Prometheus, who liked the human race, upon realizing what had happened, promptly distributed his own gifts to mankind. He stole reason from Athena, and thus gave reason to man.
He then stole fire from the gates of Hephaestus, and gave mankind this new gift, which would keep them warm. Prometheus then became the protector of the human race, and shared with it all the knowledge he had.
This new situation angered Zeus, for fire until now had been a gift only reserved for the gods. Zeus did not want the human race to resemble the gods.
Zeus’s next step was to punish Prometheus. And a heavy punishment it was. Zeus chained Prometheus to a peak in the Caucasus which was believed to be at the end of the world.
He had an eagle eat his liver every single day for thirty years. At the end of each day, Prometheus’ liver would grow back again, so he would have to suffer all over again. After thirty years, Heracles (Hercules) released Prometheus from his nightmare.
The Olympians refers to the twelve gods of mount Olympus which is located in the northern central part of Greece. This mountain was believed to be sacred throughout ancient times, and, it was believed to be the highest point on earth.
These gods that ruled mount Olympus, also ruled the lives of all mankind. Each and every single god (or goddess) had their own character and domain.
Gods in mythology were very human like. They had the strengths and weaknesses of mortals (as we know them today). they were truly made to represent each and every side of human nature. They supported justice, as seen by their own point of view.
Gods even had children with mortals, which resulted in semi-gods like Hercules. The most amazing observation is how the gods expresses human nature in its complete form.
Strength, fear, unfaithfulness, love, admiration, beauty, hunting, farming, education, there was a god for every human activity and expression. These gods weren’t just ideal figures, they were beings with their own limitations.
They expressed anger, jealousy and joy, just like us. Each god rules his own realm. The only true omnipotent god was Zeus, who ruled all.
The two stories are much alike, but not quite. The main thing they have in common is that they are both WRONG!
The story below is quite the story and Father, I’m sorry to tell you, but it’s much more exciting than Your story about the creation of heaven and earth (Gen 1-23). Not meaning that all Your stories aren’t exciting and even though they may not all be exciting, they are educational and true.
Now, You tossing Satan out of heaven is pretty cool (Is 14:12-17; Eze 28:1-19). But the most stimulating, exhilarating, and breathtaking story in the Bible or anywhere is Your Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus is more than a story, He’s a legend, and He’s the Messiah, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He’s life, true absolute life:
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, buy by me” (Jn 14:6).
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing (Jn 15:5).
Here is what’s confusing, Ancient Man did things that we can’t do today, nor do we understand how they did it, e.g., the pyramids, (“The Mystery of Ancient Man)” but then they believe in the above cockamamie story.
And another thing, that story may not be correct, can you believe that? Therefore, tomorrow we’ll look at…
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
“The Parable of the Lost Son” (Lk 15:11-32), more-or-less explains God in a nutshell. When you read it realize that you are the prodigal and the father is God.
2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
“Murmured” – the people complained among themselves but not openly.
Same thing that’s happening here in America, people complain about something, like Obama Care or the fact that he was born in Kenya, but do nothing about it.
As Mark Twain said:
Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.
The Jews finally did do something about their complaint, or at least they thought they did. In the United States, all that will ever happen is people will continue to complain.
That isn’t because no one wants to do more, it’s because the majority of this country won’t respond to their own complaints.
The United States is no longer the home of the “free and the brave”, it’s more like the “fooled and the weak.”
3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
“Joy shall be in heaven” – God’s concern and joy at the sinner’s repentance are set in stark contrast to the attitude of the Pharisees and the scribes.
“Just person which need no repentance” – probably irony: those who think they are righteous (such as the Pharisees and the scribes) and feel no need to repent.
8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbors together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:
12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
“To feed swine” – the ultimate indignity for a Jew; not only was the work distasteful but pigs were “unclean” animals to the Jews.
16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my fathers have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.
26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him.
29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:
30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
“All that I have is thine” –the meaning of this is obvious, we are to be happy for people when their lives become better, not bitter because ours hasn’t changed or gotten better.
32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
Creation of the World
In the beginning there was only chaos. Then out of the void appeared Erebus, the unknowable place where death dwells, and Night. All else was empty, silent, endless, darkness. Then somehow Love was born bringing a start of order. From Love came Light and Day. Once there was Light and Day, Gaea, the earth appeared.
Then Erebus slept with Night, who gave birth to Ether, the heavenly light, and to Day the earthly light. Then Night alone produced Doom, Fate, Death, Sleep, Dreams, Nemesis, and others that come to man out of darkness.
Meanwhile Gaea alone gave birth to Uranus, the heavens. Uranus became Gaea’s mate covering her on all sides. Together they produced the three Cyclopes, the three Hecatoncheires, and twelve Titans.
However, Uranus was a bad father and husband. He hated the Hecatoncheires. He imprisoned them by pushing them into the hidden places of the earth, Gaea’s womb. This angered Gaea and she plotted against Uranus.
She made a flint sickle and tried to get her children to attack Uranus. All were too afraid except, the youngest Titan, Cronus.
Gaea and Cronus set up an ambush of Uranus as he lay with Gaea at night. Cronus grabbed his father and castrated him, with the stone sickle, throwing the severed genitals into the ocean. The fate of Uranus is not clear. He either died, withdrew from the earth, or exiled himself to Italy.
As he departed he promised that Cronus and the Titans would be punished. From his spilt blood came the Giants, the Ash Tree Nymphs, and the Erinnyes. From the sea foam where his genitals fell came Aphrodite.
Cronus became the next ruler. He imprisoned the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires in Tartarus. He married his sister Rhea; under his rule the Titans had many offspring. He ruled for many ages.
However, Gaea and Uranus both had prophesied that he would be overthrown by a son. To avoid this Cronus swallowed each of his children as they were born. Rhea was angry at the treatment of the children and plotted against Cronus.
When it came time to give birth to her sixth child, Rhea hid herself, and then she left the child to be raised by nymphs. To conceal her act she wrapped a stone in swaddling clothes and passed it off as the baby to Cronus, who swallowed it.
This child was Zeus. He grew into a handsome youth on Crete. He consulted Metis on how to defeat Cronus. She prepared a drink for Cronus design to make him vomit up the other children.
Rhea convinced Cronus to accept his son and Zeus was allowed to return to Mount Olympus as Cronus’s cupbearer. This gave Zeus the opportunity to slip Cronus the specially prepared drink. This worked as planned and the other five children were vomited up.
Being gods they were unharmed. They were thankful to Zeus and made him their leader.
Cronus was yet to be defeated. He and the Titans, except Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Oceanus, fought to retain their power. Atlas became their leader in battle and it looked for some time as though they would win and put the young gods down.
However, Zeus was cunning. He went down to Tartarus and freed the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires. Prometheus joined Zeus as well. He returned to battle with his new allies. The Cyclopes provided Zeus with lightning bolts for weapons.
The Hecatoncheires he set in ambush armed with boulders. With the time right, Zeus retreated, drawing the Titans into the Hecatoncheires’s ambush. The Hecatoncheires rained down hundreds of boulders with such a fury the Titans thought the mountains were falling on them. They broke and ran giving Zeus victory.
Zeus exiled the Titans who had fought against him into Tartarus. Except for Atlas, who was singled out for the special punishment of holding the world on his shoulders.
Another name was Adrasteia, meaning “the inescapable.” The Greeks personified vengeful fate as a remorseless goddess: the goddess of revenge. The name Nemesis is related to the Greek word νέμειν [némein], meaning “to give what is due.”However, even after this victory Zeus was not safe. Gaea angry that her children had been imprisoned gave birth to a last offspring, Typhoeus. Typhoeus was so fearsome that most of the gods fled.
However, Zeus faced the monster and flinging his lightning bolts was able to kill it. Typhoeus was buried under Mount Etna in Sicily.
Much later a final challenge to Zeus rule was made by the Giants. They went so far as to attempt to invade Mount Olympus, piling mountain upon mountain in an effort to reach the top. But, the gods had grown strong and with the help of Heracles the Giants were subdued or killed.