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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading
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Psalm 140:13 "Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto Thy Name: the upright shall dwell in Thy Presence."
“In 1914, 90% of American’s elite colleges required history; in 1939 and 1964 more than 50% did; by 1996 only one of the 50 best schools offered a required history course.” -Saussy, Rulers of Evil: Useful Knowledge About Governing Bodies. Reno, NV: Ospray Bookmakers, 1999, p. 74.
Most of our encyclopedias and history textbooks do NOT tell us that the purpose of the attempted invasion of England in 1588 by the Spanish Armada was to land troops in England to be joined by local Roman Catholics in an effort to overthrow the government and bring England, by force, back under the authority of Papal Rome! The Roman Catholic King of Spain (Philip II) wanted financial “compensation” for launching this invasion. And so the Roman pontiff, Pope Sixtus V, promised King Philip II 200,000 crowns as soon as the Spanish Armada had set sail for England, and more cash to follow later. Thus the Papacy was helping to fund the planned invasion of England (all emphasis in original)!
For over 200 years, the goal [of the Jesuits] has been the complete destruction of the United States Constitution… In the religious arena, the goal of the Jesuits is to wipe out any trace of Protestantism and other religions, and to restore worldwide domination by the pope.
...the Papacy, despite its “ecumenical rhetoric”, has not changed a bit over the many centuries in the following categories:
It has been reported that the first Sabbath-keeper in America was Stephen Mumford who came as a missionary from London in 1664, and brought the opinion with him that the whole of the ten commandments, as they were delivered from Mount Sinai, were moral and immutable; and that it was the anti-Christian power which thought to change times and laws, that changed the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week (Andrews, pp. 498-499).
Already around the year 1530 Sabbatarians emerged in Bohemia Sabbatarians (Subbotniki), or Judaizers also arose soon thereafter in Silesia, Poland and Russia; in the latter, where they were frequently confused with the Jews in the second half of this century, remain until today. We meet similar sects around 1545 among the Quakers in England. Several leaders and preacher of the Puritans, imbued with the Old Testament spirit, likewise raised the issue of reinstating the day of rest from Sunday to Saturday (Kohn S. Translated by T. McElwain and B. Rook. Sabbatarians in Transylvania. Christian Churches of God, Wooden (Australia), 1998, p.10-11).
Strange as it may seem, in the early history of America there was an attempt at suppression of Christmas spirit. The stern Puritans at Plymouth, imbued with the rigorous fervor of the Old Testament, abhorred the celebration of the orthodox holidays. Their worship was on the Sabbath (Saturday), rather than Sunday, and Christmas in particular they considered a pagan celebration. Later immigrants attempted to observe Christmas as a time of joy, but were suppressed. Governor Bradford, Elder Brewster, Miles Standish and other leaders were firm against the yuletide spirit as we know it today (Sprague H. Letter from the editor. St. Joseph, Mo., Daily Gazette, December 1934 as cited in Dugger AN, Dodd CO. A History of True Religion, 3rd ed. Jerusalem, 1972 (Church of God, 7th Day). 1990 reprint, p. 265).
... Adopt the Puritan pace and mode of work, which meant long days of agricultural labor. Insisting upon the gendered division of labor favored by the English, the missionaries urged the Indian men to forsake hunting and fishing in favor of farming. The Indian women were supposed to withdraw ... had to rest and worship on the seventh day, the Sabbath. Praying towns did not appeal to those Indians who belonged to the largest and most autonomous bands, principally the Narragansett (Taylor A. American Colonies : The Settling of North America; The Penguin History of the United States, Volume1, Hist of the USA. (Paperback) Penguin, New York; Reprint edition, July 30, 2002).
“For as much as the feast of the nativity of Christ, Easter, and other festivals, commonly called holy days, have been here-to-fore superstitiously used and observed; be it ordained that the said feasts, and all other festivals, commonly called holy days, be no longer observed as festivals.”
“the Scriptures were the only infallible rule of faith and practice, and that no rite or ceremony ought to have a place in the public worship of Yahweh, which is not warranted in Scripture. Not only does the celebration of non-biblical holidays lack a scriptural foundation, but the scriptures positively discount it.” [Miller, pgs. 65, 74]
“We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or English; and secondly, because we find no scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and, consequently, it’s observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority.” [C. H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 1971, pg. 697]
“There was no recognition of either Christmas or Easter in any of the Protestant churches, except the Episcopal and Lutheran. For a full generation after the Civil War, the religious journals of the South mentioned Christmas only to observe that there was no reason to believe that Jesus was actually born on December 25th; it was not recognized as a day of any religious significance in the Presbyterian Church” [Ernest Trice Thompson, Presbyterians In the South, 1973, Vol. 2, pg. 434.] FSCG Note: Alabama was the USA State to recognize Christmas, and did not do so until 1836. [“Tidbits,” Cheyenne, Wy. 82007, Burchett Publishing, Issue #271]
Now it is remarkable that in the first great instance of capital legislation in this country, our Pilgrim Fathers went not to the laws of England for their guidance, but to those of Yahweh. On this point Dr. Bacon of New Haven has written admirably. “What system of legislation should the colonists take in founding a New World? They could not instantly frame a new system; it must be the work of time and experience. Should they take the laws of England? Those were the very laws from which they fled. Those laws would subject them at once to the king, to the parliament, and to the prelates, in their several jurisdictions. The adoption of the laws of England would have been fatal to the object of their emigration.”
They could not take the Roman civil law; but they had a code of laws in every man's hand in the Bible, laws given to a community emigrating, like themselves, from their native country, for the great purpose of maintaining in simplicity and purity the worship of the one true Creator Yahweh.
Like the Israelites of old, they were to be a people surrounded by the heathen, and intermingled among them, and needing the influence of laws framed with a special reference to such a corrupting neighborhood and intercourse. Like the Hebrews also they were a free republican people, and needed laws for a community where there was no absolute power, where there were no privileged classes; laws, whose aim should be that equal and exact justice which is the only freedom. …
“the greatest and boldest improvement which has been made in criminal jurisprudence by any one act since the dark ages, was that which was made by our fathers, when they determined that the judicial laws of Yahweh as they were delivered by Moses, should be accounted of moral equity, and generally bind all offenders, and be a rule to all the courts.”
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Leviticus 23:39-41 "Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a Feast unto Yahweh seven days: on the first day shall be a Sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a Sabbath.
And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before Yahweh your God seven days.
And ye shall keep it a feast unto Yahweh seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month."
On this day, the Hebrew people complete their annual cycle of Torah readings and start again from Bereshit (Genesis). Therefore Simchat Torah is considered by the Jews to be a time of “fulfillment” of the Torah. The circumcision of Yahshua at this time indicates how He had come to fulfill (fully keep) the Law (Torah) and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17-18).
A medieval collection of anti-Christian Jewish folklore titled The Story about Shim’on Kefa (Aggadta DeShim’on Kefa, אגדתא דשמען כיפא) preserves Jewish traditions about the early Jewish believers and early Christians.5 Aggadta DeShim’on Kefa is similar to other fictional, Jewish apologetic legends like Toldedot Yeshu which contain anti-Christian legends that originated in the early days of Jewish-Christian polemics.
In the story, the notable sages of the day are distressed by the number of Nazarenes among the Jewish people, and they are eager to find a way to easily distinguish between believers in Yahshua and other Jews. The story is set in the mid-apostolic era (circa 60 AD), but in reality, it better reflects second- and third-century interactions between Jewish believers and the larger Jewish community.
In the story, the sages use the influence of a sage named Shim’on Kefa to help push Jewish believers away from Torah observance. Their goal is to separate the believers from the rest of Judaism. The sages encourage the Jewish believers to abandon Sabbath observance and circumcision, and they prescribe a new liturgical calendar for the Jewish believers.
This story offers a glimpse of the sect of the Nazarenes from the perspective of mainstream Judaism. It attests to a collective, community memory of the Nazarene believers as Torah-keeping Jews who, at one time, were virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the Jewish community. The legend also tries to explain the evolution of Christianity as an anti-Jewish religion outside of Torah observance.
In the legend, the sages try to steer the believers away from keeping the three pilgrimage festivals: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles in the same manner as the rest of the Jewish community. They accomplish this by encouraging the believers to focus on the Messianic significance of each festival, distancing them from mainstream Judaism, but in an acceptable way, since it was connected with Yahshua of Nazareth. The sages proposed the following to the Torah-keeping, Messianic Jews:
You will not celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMatzot) but instead celebrate the day of his death (He died on Passover, so no date change here). And in the place of the festival of Shavuot, celebrate the forty days from His Execution until after His ascension to the firmament. And in the place of the festival of Sukkot, you will celebrate the day of His Birth (this suggests that they knew that Yahshua was born on Sukkot), and on the eighth day from His Birth, you will celebrate His Circumcision. (Aggadta DeShim’on Kefa)
The fictitious story attempts to credit the leadership of the Jewish community with the creation of Christianity, but what kind of Christianity is this? Church history tells us that second-century Christians (the so called Quartodecimans) did observe the day of the Master’s death on Passover (Abib 14)...
The story remembers a time when believers still kept the Biblical festivals but attached Messianic significance to their observance of the Jewish holy days. Since the believers in the story are Jewish, the legend may provide us a glimpse of the early Jewish believers celebrating the Master’s birth at the festival of Sukkot.