Tag Archives: Roman Catholic Church

What to do in the Face of Global Anti-semitism

Since a year or five we do notice that the ten years of the growing ‘right’ has not only brought an aversion against immigrants and/or refugees. More and more the Jewish community became target of bullying and hate actions.

The deathly attack on the Jewish museum in Brussels was something which should have awaken the politicians. In Belgium the Jewish schools and centres could receive extra security measures from the Belgian government. That is nice but should be something that would not be necessary.

All over the West-side of the European continent we do see a growing resistance or hate against the choice of living of the Jews in Europe. Several young Jews found it already better to take everything together and to leave this part of the world to go to live in Israel, even when that meant also to go in the army for two years.

Many of us really wonder what we should do today in the face of global anti-Semitism?

There are those who still caution a “better to hush it up and make believe it isn’t there” policy. Giving it publicity, they claim, will only stoke the fire. A shrill response is counterproductive. When we show that we hurt, the argument goes, we’re giving our enemies comfort.
But they are wrong. They are as wrong as those in the early stages of the Holocaust who pretended not to see, who claimed Hitler can’t really be considered a threat, who were sure that the evil of Jew hatred was so obviously uncivilized and barbaric that it had no chance of succeeding. Wait it out, said those who counselled against protests, those who didn’t want to identify themselves as Jews with profound interest in saving their fellow Jews. It can’t happen here, they claimed. But it did – and they were proven wrong six million times over.

There are all too many Hamans today. Anti-Semites require the spotlight of our attention and the public scorn of our protests and demonstrations.

Today we see the growing  hostility toward or prejudice against Jews or Judaism as well as against Muslims, because of fundamentalist Muslims (Jihadists) defiling the Muslim faith and calling for a hate against Jews and non-believing people. It looks like we are also getting a revival of the rising nationalism like the one of the 19th century. Today we also see how the Roman Catholic Church, which in the 19th century sometimes subscribed to the idea of Jewish racial identity and sometimes denied it, like then not only fails to condemn European anti-Semitism and anti-Islamism, now the Muslim communities stayed too long silent condemning those Islamist fundamentalists who have nothing to do with real Islam. Balkans. Political/Physical map: regional, elevation.A problem by the Catholics is that in the East of Europe there are still some very right-wing priests and we must remember that in the Balkan several priests in the past had worked together with the Germans to get rid of the Jews. For Rabbi Giuseppe Laras this can well be the reason why the Catholic Church does not react stronger against the growing anti-semitism. He sees in it a continuation of a contempt towards the Jewish people that found genocidal expression during World War II, when Catholic Priests ran half the concentration camps in Fascist Croatia. Though we also should remember that this loathing also extended to Orthodox Christian Serbs, real or non-trinitarian Christians, like the Jehovah Witnesses, and also other minorities like the Roma who were slaughtered in these same camps by the hundreds of thousands.

By the threats of the jihadist groups like Al Qaeda, Daesh or ISIS, and the big amount of refugees coming into Europe lots of poorer Europeans see their jobs threatened and are fearing they would loose out on them.

Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence

Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We need not only to shout out our pain, we should motivate others to open their eyes and to see what is going on. We have to call onto those who say they are lovers of God.

We need to assert our Jewish identity – not mask it – with increased passion and vigor. We need to make the elimination of anti-Semitism not simply a Jewish cause but the universal response to a heinous crime which for far too long has soiled the pages of history.

As we prepare to observe Purim this year, let us make the noise required to eradicate the genocidal ambitions of anti-Jewish hatred which still continue to plague us.

The US delegation for the 2004 OSCE Conference...

The US delegation for the 2004 OSCE Conference on Anti-Semitism, led by former New York Mayor Ed Koch and former US Secretary of States Colin Powell. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Preceding article

Seeds from the world creating division and separation from God

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Additional reading

  1. Religious Practices around the world
  2. Protest against Tzahal concert in Antwerp
  3. Migrants to the West #6
  4. 2014 European elections
  5. Hamas the modern Philistines
  6. January 27 – 70 years ago Not an end yet to genocide
  7. World remembers Auschwitz survivors
  8. 25 Orthodox rabbis issued a statement on Christianity
  9. French Muslims under attack
  10. At the closing hours of 2016 #1 Looking down at terror
  11. Jews the next scapegoat for Donald Trump
  12. The American clouds of Anti-Semitism
  13. Objective views and not closing eyes for certain sayings
  14. Donald Trump after declining numbers of people victimised for their religion managed to increase the numbers again

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Further reading

  1. Anti-Semitic threats towards Jewish Centers continue to rise in numbers
  2. anti-Semitism, the DNC, and Donald Trump
  3. Anti-Semitism row at Bristol University as lecturers rally round academic who claimed Jews should stop ‘privileging’ the Holocaust
  4. Jeffrey Goldberg on Mel Gibson: He is “Hollywood’s leading antisemite”
  5. This #Muslim interfaith activist knows more about #Zionism than most Jews
  6. France has passed the point of no return
  7. Far-right candidate sees a France sans kippas, headscarves — NZ Friends of Israel Association Inc
  8. Anti-Semites attack Philadelphia, USA Jewish cemetery
  9. Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia vandalized, more than 100 headstones toppled
  10. How has it come to this?
  11. Another day, another Muslim ban
  12. Meet ‘Based Stick Man,’ the Alt-Right’s LARP-y New Hero
  13. Mourning Oak Grove
  14. Israel: Boycotters are no longer welcome — Israel restricts visas — “If anyone insults us, we respond.”
  15. Israeli Apartheid Week in France — anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment has been high in France while Jews flee to the Israeli homeland — Under French law boycotting is illegal
  16. President Trump Vows to Give Up Denouncing Anti-Semitism for Lent
  17. In Israel, Lauding and Lamenting the Era of Trump
  18. American Liberal Jews: “staggeringly naive believing that marching at airports with signs that read “We love Muslims” will change those Muslims who hate Jews into Muslims who love Jews”
  19. Steve Cohen’s ‘That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Anti-Semitic’
  20. Rochester Area JCC Re-Opens After Morning Bomb Threat
  21. A Sixth Wave Of Bomb Threats On Jewish Centers Also Targeted The Anti-Defamation League
  22. “The sad phenomenon of Jews accusing other Jews of provoking antisemitism can be found throughout Jewish history”
  23. Seattle Fed Says Kadima Purim Event Violates Promo Policy
  24. Donald Trump Is Not the “Least Anti-Semitic Person” Ever
  25. Switzerland funds NGOs that call for Israel’s destruction
  26. Glimmers of Hope
  27. Entire U.S. Senate Demands Trump Act on Jewish Center Threats
  28. The anti-Semitic Martin Luther
  29. So Many Hamans- Anti Semitism Rears Its Ugly Head
  30. Tomb of Purim Heroes Esther and Mordechai Still Standing in Modern-Day Persia -Breaking Israel News | Latest News. Biblical Perspective.
  31. Why Is Purim Essential?
  32. Headlines — 3/08/17
  33. “If you talk privately to those who work in the Jewish organization world, many will confide that the greatest threat to the security of the American Jewish community is “changing demographics,” which is a euphemism for a growing population of Arab migrants to the United States”
  34. A Liberal Zionism for the Trump Era
  35. Cindy Jacobs Wants To “Harvest” The Jews
  36. Also in Media: “The View from Israel: The Inevitable Outcome of the Establishment of Palestine.”  March 7, 2017
  37. Anti-Semitism (by If we the people)
  38. Ilan Pappe asks “Am I an anti-Semite?”
  39. Four steps to reach mutual understanding
  40. In An Angry And Fearful Nation, An Outbreak Of Anti-Semitism (by K Street)
  41. Remembering Amalek’s oppression of us-and others
  42. Goucher’s Jewish community reacts to anti-Semitic attacks
  43. The Rise of Anti-Seminism
  44. In an Angry and Fearful Nation, an Outbreak of Anti-Semitism (Reprint)
  45. The Story of Esther is Now
  46. United against Freedom…
  47. Activist: ‘Let’s free England from Jewish control’
  48. “A key teaching of the Book of Esther is that once the plague of Jew-hatred gets in the air, almost any environment can nourish it”
  49. Auschwitz
  50. Alternative Reality #5: Friends Indeed: Hoteps and Neo-Nazis Unite
  51. Islamophobia and its apologists
  52. Temple De Hirsch Hosts BDS Rabbi
  53. PewDiePie, Nazi?
  54. Show your love
  55. ADL plans Silicon Valley center to fight cyberhate
  56. A Sign That Reads ‘Beware of Jews’ Appeared in London
  57. Beware of Jews
  58. The Restless Ghosts of Baiersdorf
  59. Front National: Back to Holocaust Denial
  60. YouTube Grows a Spine
  61. Labour selects anti-Semite as New Plymouth candidate
  62. The enemy inside
  63. US ‘Outraged’ by UN Report That Accuses Israel of Establishing ‘Apartheid Regime’ That ‘Dominates the Palestinian People’
  64. The Guardian: Why won’t YouTube and Google consider moderators to tackle online hate?
  65. What Type of Utopia Will Israel Be?
  66. Italian rabbis accuse biblical conference of fueling anti-Judaism
  67. 167 House members ask Trump to retain ambassador to combat anti-Semitism
  68. US Muslim vets vow to protect Jewish communities
  69. Jews Support Muslims against Trump’s border closure
  70. Organizations call for Sebastian Gorka resignation for ties to far-right group
  71. On anti-Semitism, anti-Islam and fictitious alliances in U.S.
  72. Money Sought To Protect Jewish Schools
  73. Praying for an anti- anti-Semitic Awakening
  74. Alliel – A Window Into Tribal Arrogance
  75. Jewish mentality: Charging Palestinians millions of dollars to have their homes demolished
  76. Culture Clashes Real and Imagined
  77. The Old Man and the Tortoise
  78. The Goy According To Hoenlein
  79. Lost Tribes of Israel, Blood and History
  80. Sanctuary: An Interfaith Movement
  81. Vienna – 1938
  82. Come in, Come in
  83. Not That Jewish
  84. Why Call it Judaism? The Case for Humanistic Judaism
  85. Legitimacy: the Struggle of Progressive Judaism
  86. Is Pope Francis ushering in a revival of Catholic anti-Semitism as it seeks to ally itself with Islam? Prominent Italian Rabbi Giuseppe Laras sounds the alarm
  87. Sermon: Anti-Semitism: Do We Have a Problem?

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Being and Feeling, Crimes & Atrocities, Headlines - News, Lifestyle, Political affairs, Religious affairs, Welfare matters, World affairs

Inquisition also bad for Jews

A Catholic bishop granting plenary indulgences for the public during times of calamity. Note the almsgiving in the background. Wall Fresco by Italian Artist Lorenzo Lotto, Suardi, Italy, circa 1524.

The Roman Catholic Pope in the 1200s was annoyed that there where people who called themselves Christians but did not want to worship Jesus as their god. Those true Christians said there was only One God, Who is one, and which was not the god of the Catholic Church but the God of Israel. This was a blow in the face of the Roman Catholic Church which also could see a lot of money not coming in their hands because those Christians who refused to worship the Trinity also said that people paid for their sins by their death and not by ecclesiastical indulgences.

The Pope not pleased with those lay preachers who could undermine his establishment got enough clergy interested to battle those who had other thoughts than they. He established the “Holy Inquisition Against Depraved Heresy” to deal with breakaway ‘Christian sects’. At first it was a judicial procedure set to be able to judge all sorts of people who did not want to go with the Roman Catholic Church. But later an institution was established by the papacy and, sometimes, by secular governments to combat heresy and to act like we now see Al Qaeda, ISIS/ISIL or Daesh, Boko Haram and other fundamentalist Islamic groups to press what they believe would be the only true faith everybody had to have.

First being relatively powerless, as secular rulers, suspicious of Papal meddling in their own internal affairs, did not allow it access to their countries, in a period of more than 200 years, very few heretics were burned at the stake. In 1481, at the peak of the Ottoman power, however, after extracting a promise from the Pope that the Inquisition would remain under the Crown’s control, thus ensuring that confiscated assets of heretics would revert to the throne, Ferdinand and Isabella established the Inquisition in Seville (Reconquista). While it is commonly assumed that the Inquisition was brought to Spain out of a concern that Jews were trying to influence conversos to leave the Christian fold, one prominent historian is of the opinion that by 1481 Jewish consciousness was virtually nonexistent among the conversos, and that Jews did not attempt any such outreach. Rather, he believes, the Inquisition was an outgrowth of the attitudes of Spain’s Old Christian population. In the words of one Spanish historian,

“The Inquisition was a genuine expression of the soul of the Spanish people.”

When we hear about the Inquisition we most often do not think of the Jews, with good reason, because most damage was done to sincere godly people who had taken Jesus as the son of God and their saviour and not as their god. Though the horrible action taken by the Roman Catholics, undertaken in the twelfth century and following centuries to find “Christian heretics” who would be punished or killed, had her eyes also set on the Jewish community. Eventually, Jews too were open to such charges of heresy, simply for being Jewish; and torture was routinely used to extract “confessions.”

These coming weeks we also remember how this coming up time to Pesach was a very dangerous time for Jews, because they could be caught cleaning their houses and linen and buying vegetables before Pesach, blessing children without making the sign of the cross, fasting on Yom Kippur, and refraining from work on the Sabbath.

Interestingly enough, Jews who never converted to Christianity were not under the jurisdiction of the Inquisition, and could practice their religion freely and openly. It was only conversos who were considered heretics for forsaking the Christian creed and practising Judaism. Worse for the Catholic Church was that some of those converts did not become a Catholic but accepted rabbi Jeshua as the Messiah, the son of God but not a god son, like the Roman Catholics did. Those having gone in the water to become a Baptist, became with that group a target for prosecution, according to the Roman Catholics being a dangerous ‘cult’ and with other protestants to be removed from this earth.

Marranos: Secret Seder in Spain during the times of inquisition, an 1892 painting by Moshe Maimon

Mainly because of persecution, Muslims and Jews in Spain at that time found it socially, politically, and economically expedient to convert to Catholicism, but where not really practising that faith and at home kept their ow practice of faith. In 1481 the Inquisition began to function in Spain to expose the secret Jews, known as the Anusim (who were forced to abandon Judaism against their will) or Marranos, who converted to the Christian faith to escape persecution but who continued to practice Judaism secretly, but over the years spread to many countries. The Spanish Inquisition was anti-Jewish more than in any previous countries. The first public sentencing and burning alive of six marrano men and one woman by the Spanish Inquisition was held on this date in Sevilla in Southern Spain.

All sorts of torture where good for the unsparing cruel fanatics, of which many also set their eyes on the Jews and certain Christian groups or monasteries their assets.

Differently with the present day inquisition groups of Islam the Roman Catholic Church did not want to spill blood, but only “save souls”. For not having their clergy to become accused for having blood on their hands they made use of civilians and secular authorities for the many executions, whereby they found it was best to use bloodless deaths, such as strangling and burning alive.

For ISIS the colour today is orange, but at that time the condemned people wore yellow sanbenitos, cloaks, with red crosses and the letter X painted on them. Those given the death penalty wore tunics with paintings of flames and devils. The procession marched through the town to the burning area where the judges sat. The cases involving lesser penalties were judged first, then those receiving strangulation before burning, and finally those condemned to be burned alive.

The first auto-de-fe was held in 1481, and the last in 1731, an old woman who was accused of

“being influenced by the Devil, after which she laid eggs with prophecies written on them.”

Torquemada.jpg

Tomás de Torquemada (Thomas of Torquemada) Castilian Dominican friar, and the first Grand Inquisitor in Spain’s movement to homogenize religious practices with those of the Catholic Church in the late 15th century, otherwise known as “The Spanish Inquisition.” (Wikipedia)

In 1483, Queen Isabella’s personal confessor, the Dominican priest Tomas de Torquemada, was appointed head of the Inquisition. Of converso origin, Torquemada was a fanatic Jew-hater who was wholly incorruptible. He was convinced that only the total expulsion of the Jews from Spain could end Jewish influence in the national life.

Torquemada did not cut the grass from under the Jews’ feet and quickly began taking steps to weaken the unconverted Jewish community and eventually expel it from Spain. In 1485, he forced all rabbis, under pain of death, to report conversos who were practising Judaism, and to pronounce a rabbinic curse on any Jew who failed to notify the Inquisition of such behaviour. This cruel edict badly split the Jews of Spain. Alarmed by the greatly increasing power of the Inquisition, that year a group of conversos plotted to kill the inquisitor of Saragossa, Pedro de Arbues, hoping to begin a popular uprising against the Inquisition. However, the assassination had the opposite effect. The townspeople were enraged, rampaging through the streets, killing many conversos. All the conspirators were caught and executed, and the Inquisition grew even stronger.

Purity of faith became the national policy of the Catholic sovereigns, and thus came about the final tragedy, the edict of expulsion of all the Jews from Spain on March 31, 1492. Portugal promulgated an edict of expulsion in 1497 and Navarre in 1498. It was under de Torquemada his guidance that the Inquisition became such a terrifying institution, amassing enormous assets confiscated from its victims, much of it used to finance the war to conquer the last Muslim stronghold of Granada.

In 1680, the most spectacular of all autos-de-fe was held to celebrate the wedding of King Carlos and his bride. At that time, the Inquisition spread to Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the New and Old Worlds, with victims burned in Havana, Cuba; Mexico City, Mexico; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Goa, India. After 350 years, the Inquisition was finally abolished in 1834, the year the Liberal Wars ended in Portugal and pro-republic uprising fails in Piedmont. In all, more than 400,000 people were accused of heresy, with 30,000 of those put to death.

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Please do read:

The Spanish Inquisition by Yosef Eisen

Books on Conversos a listing by Rabbi Juan Bejarano-Gutierrez the director of the B’nei Anusim Center for Education

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Additional reading

  1. Priest, scribes and others with authority
  2. A dialogue about the earth moving and spinning around the sun
  3. Anti-church movements and Humanism
  4. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #1 Christian Reform

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Further reading

  1. Individuality in the Age of Heresy
  2. Say it in Latin, Mortui Vivos Docent
  3. A Jolly Old Pope
  4. Moors in the Occitan
  5. Inquisitively Questioning Inquisition
  6. The Papacy: Inception to Inquisitions End
  7. Does torture work
  8. A Tribute to Galileo
  9. The Memoirs of Luis Carvajal
  10. Millions Executed During The Inquisition?
  11. The Spanish Inquisition According to Mel Brooks
  12. Silence (Scorsese; 2016)
  13. And of These Chains
  14. Anti Hindu Laws in the Christian State set up by the Portuguese in Goa
  15. Anne Brenon: Les Cathares
  16. Basque Country – Following The Converso Escape Route
  17. Secret Jews: The Complex Identity of Crypto-Jews and Crypto-Judaism
  18. Granada, Spain – The End of Sephardic Jewry
  19. Returning to Egypt: Conversos who Returned to Spain and Portugal
  20. Books on Conversos
  21. A Conversation between the Spice Trader’s Daughter and her Lover, a Fortnight after She Burned at the Stake
  22. When will the Catholic Church apologise for the Goa Inquisition? – Shefali Vaidya
  23. Vatican has never apologised for its crimes, and will not apologise for the Goa Inquisition – Aravindan Neelakandan
  24. Books on the Inquisition
  25. Another book about the Inquisition in France…imagine!
  26. Book Review: The Shadow of the Cross
  27. The Ancien Régime was Less Bloody than the Enlightened World
  28. Inquisition 2015
  29. Going Back in Time
  30. Inquisition: la torture
  31. Spare a prayer
  32. Inquisition 
  33. Plausible Deniability, the Jesuits and Citizen Cain – Missionaries of The Anti-Christ
  34. The 2nd Amendment and The Inquisition
  35. The Elder
  36. The world order inquisition
  37. Jihad in the cause of Allah – Maria Wirth
  38. Benjamin Netanyahu and his Sephardic Roots
  39. Feelings in a nutshell
  40. Who we are (Inq worldpeace)

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Filed under Crimes & Atrocities, History, Juridical matters, Religious affairs

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

In our series looking at “Faith and works” yesterday (January 28) we looked at the letter from Paul to the Romans, chapters 3 and  4. the 4th chapter often being referred to to support the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

Luther’s work

In our previous posting we saw how the German theologian and religious reformer who was the catalyst of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation Martin Luther gave enough food for the Antitrinitarians. He is one of the most to go against their idea we still have to do works to be able to enter the Kingdom of God.

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It is thanks to his marvellous work of translating of the Bible into the vernacular (instead of Latin) that so many more people could read and find out what was really written in the Holy Scriptures, which had a tremendous impact on the church and West European culture.

From 1510 to 1520, Luther lectured on the Psalms, the books of Hebrews, Romans, and Galatians. As he studied these portions of the Bible, he came to view the use of terms such as penance and righteousness by the Catholic Church in new ways. He became convinced that the church was corrupt in its ways and had lost sight of what he saw as several of the central truths of Christianity.

The most important for Luther was the doctrine of justification – God’s act of declaring a sinner righteous – by faith alone through God’s grace. He taught that salvation or redemption is a gift of God’s grace, attainable only through faith in Jesus as the Messiah.

Looking at Paul’s teachings

The blog “Washed, sanctified and justified” also looks at Paul’s teachings in the knowledge that lots of protestants refer to Romans 3:26-28 as their conclusion that a man is justified by faith. Some will say

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from works. {Analysis of St. Paul’s Teachings on Justification and Faith}

Many Christians forget to notice “of the law” which indicates something more and something different than just the “Blood of Christ” or “the Blood of the Lamb“.  The Jewish scholar knew very much the importance of “The Law” or the “Torah” in God’s Plan. And these words are very important to the idea that the apostle Paul is expressing. In the previous articles we have seen that the apostle is speaking of works of the law because that is what he was speaking of in the last chapter.

He didn’t suddenly change subjects. However, he has omitted the words of the law at this point. {Analysis of St. Paul’s Teachings on Justification and Faith}

Some Catholics may say the Jews did not have ‘Sacraments’, but they had a Covenant and arrangements (or sarcaments in the wider interpretation), also having their own religious signs or symbols and practices as forms of worship.

Paul was very well aware how men of God were justified in the past. Abram (Abraham), born way before God made the covenant with the Israelites, had come in the faith. When he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed, and he went out, not knowing whither he went. Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (Genesis 12:1-4; Hebrews 11:8; Romans 4:3) He also had not forgotten, like today many Christians do, that Abraham became the father of many, justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar. (James 2:20-22)

Covenants given to man

The Abrahamic Covnenant may have been interchanged with the Messianic or New Covenant this did not make done with The Law. Too many people forget the terms of the New Covenant.

De Maria in “Romans 4 and the Sacraments” looks further at the misunderstanding of Faith without works.

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We remember from it:

Romans 4 = a dissertation on justification by the Sacraments.

  1. Abraham = our father, according to the flesh
  2. if Abraham > justified by works = he hath whereof to glory > not before God.
  3. if Abraham justified himself = more power to him => it is not of God.
  4. Abraham believed God => counted unto him for righteousness.

=>  that means.

  1. him that works = reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt > obey God’s voice + keep His covenant => a peculiar treasure unto God above all people
  2. to him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly > faith is counted for righteousness.
  3. Abraham was => did not work for debt
  4. Abraham did work for faith

He also looks at David, one of the circumcised =>  covenant of reconciliation

  • No one can deny David did many works <= all he did was believe in God’s mercy

reconciliation not only offered to Israelites (Abraham not an Israelite + not even circumcised yet) ===> God saw his faith at work => reckoned in uncircumcision to receive sign of circumcision=  seal of the righteousness of the faith

=> = prophecy which showed that even gentiles would be justified by faith.

=> We, like Abraham, believe and are imputed righteousness, in the Sacraments of Jesus Christ.

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St. Paul contrasting Old Testament with New Testament.

  • Old Testament = the Law.
  • New Testament = the Faith.

no ministry of reconciliation in Old Testament. ~~~ David’s reconciliation exception = foreshadowing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

=> Just as it is imputed to the Catholic, who believing the promises of God, approaches the font of grace and submits to the Sacraments, calling on His name.

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Preceding articles

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

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CatholicBibleTalk

 Romans 4 is frequently used to support the doctrine of justification by faith alone. But it is actually a dissertation on justification by the Sacraments.  Let’s go through it.

King James Version (KJV)
1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?Abraham is our father, according to the flesh. The Apostle asks, “what has he found”?

2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

Now, he asks, “did Abraham justify himself?” If he did, then more power to him, but it is not of God.

3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Now, he quotes Gen 15:6Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

and he begins to explain what that means.

4 Now to him that…

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Filed under Lifestyle, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs

Solstice, Saturnalia and Christmas-stress

Today lots of people tend to treat things such as Christmas trees and holiday gift giving as if they’ve been with us forever. While these are old traditions, they were once far more localized. In this world of media everywhere, we tend to forget that customs were once far more specific to the area. Lots of people also have lost the connection of those festivals and have transposed it to their group of people, believers or non-believers in Jesus Christ or in God.

From the Saxon days there was Yule for mid-winter and in the regions of West Europe the autumn storm brought many ideas alive to think about gods who controlled everything in nature. The days becoming darker demanded for and still demand for some more light bringing into it. In the old times to honour the gods it was custom to put all sorts of things in the trees as an offering to the gods. On December the 25th it was the day of the goddess of light. Time was taken to celebrate her.

Traditional Christmas card with holly and mistletoe. Circa 1880s

Druids, Celts, and even the Romans used evergreen branches made into wreaths in winter solstice celebrations. Because so many things lost colour and seemed to have died people looked up for those elements in nature which could be so strong that they stayed green. Pagan symbols as holly and ivy remained green and were taken as a promise of life to return in dead of winter. Holly – prized for its ability to bear fruit in winter and its healing uses – were the blessings people hoped they could have in the house and share with each other. Healing elements were very important to get through Winter.

While the Romans were holding the feast for the god Saturn — which occurred about the time of the winter solstice — they decked the outsides of their houses with holly. At the same time the Christians were quietly celebrating the birth of Christ, and to avoid detection they outwardly followed the custom of their heathen neighbours and decked their houses with holly as well. In this way holly came to be connected with Christmas customs. The plant was also regarded as a symbol of the Resurrection.

The missionaries coming in these regions quickly understood how the pagan traditions were so strong and how people would not like to give them up. This we still see today happening. As Christians should come to know more about traditions and about usages all over the world, plus having the Holy Scriptures to find what they could or could not do, we see that those who call themselves Christian still do not like to give up those pagan traditions and pagan festivals.

The Roman Catholic Church had already given in to Constantine the Great allowing the false teaching of the trinity be part of the Catholic Faith, so it was a further small step to adapt the Western Celtic and Saxon traditions to the Roman Faith. In 336 CE, during the time of this so called  first Christian Roman Emperor for the first time on December 25th “Christmas” was being celebrated.

A very early Christian tradition said that March 25th was the day when Mary was told she’d give birth to Jesus (called the Annunciation). And nine months later, of course, would be December 25th. But the Bible doesn’t mention the exact days of that annunciation, nor of the birth of Jesus, though from all the secular writings we do know when the cencus took place, when the falling star appeared and that it was in October that Mary and Joseph went to fulfil their duties. We can take it was in 4BCE on October the 17th that rabbi Jeshua from the tribe of King David was born. For those who would love to celebrate his birthday it is strange that they than not do this around the period Jesus was rally born.

An image from the necropolis under the Vatican...

An image from the necropolis under the Vatican in which Jesus = Mithras (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is true that in many cultures we can find a festival of lights, also the Jews have such a festival of lights. Germans and Scandinavians had their yule festival. Celtic legends connected the solstice with Balder, the Scandinavian sun god or Norse god of light, son of the chief god Odin and his wife Frigg, who was struck down by a mistletoe arrow from the blind god Hödur (or Höd). At the pagan festival of Saturnalia, Romans feasted and gave gifts to the poor. Drinking was closely connected with these pagan feasts.

The Babylonian sun-god and god of agriculture and flocks, Tammuz, lover of Ishtar, born on the winter solstice according to legend was also celebrated on December the 25th and by the Roman Catholic Church his symbol was taken as the symbol for Jesus (the sign of Tammuz or the cross), placing Jesus as the bringer of light and god of light.

The leaders of the instituted organisation of clergy who accepted the trinity, agreed to adopted the saturnalia day of the ‘day of birth’ or ‘day of new life’ as a remembrance day of the new life Jesus has given to all mankind. For them it was easier to get more converts by keeping the folks from indulging in the old pagan festivals as part of the pagan culture, now transformed or redressed in a Roman Catholic dressing.

Branches that had thorns became to be the thorns Christ wore on the crucifix (sign of Tammuz) and the berries were stained red by his drops of blood. From the Norse and the Druids, the Mistletoe you may find growing here everywhere and at that time was considered special because of it found growing on the sacred oaks, was featured in several old myths and held to be sacred and associated with fertility, which led to kissing boughs.

Also today at the Christmas markets we can find the gangway where there is the kissing bough custom one holds that a woman who refuses the kiss shall have bad luck, and that those who kiss underneath it shall be having a blessed and fruitful year.

Not all the following years Christmas was part of Christian life. During Cromwell’s rule, Christmas was even banned. Charles II restored the holiday in England. However, the Parliament of Scotland officially abolished the observance of Christmas in 1640, to purge the church “of all superstitious observation of days”, and it was not restored as a public holiday in Scotland until 1958.

Julbocken, by John Bauer (1912)

From the 4th to the 19th century the tradition of the Northern people their celebration for their chief god and the father of Thor, (Thunor, or Thonar), Balder, and Tiw, Woden or Wotan became more and more also liked by the people from Holland and Belgium and the man with a long white beard who rode a horse through the heavens one evening each Autumn became their Sint Niklaas (Sinterklaas) or Sint Nicholas  (saint Nicholas) and in the Anglo Saxon countries Father Christmas or Santa Claus/Sancta Claus.

1881 illustration by Thomas Nast who, along with Clement Clarke Moore’s poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, helped to create the modern image of Santa Claus

From the 20th century onward that Father Christmas started gaining more popularity and the presents became more and more the focus of the people for that season were the darkness seemed to have darkened their Christian sight. Lots of Christians enjoyed decorating the ‘Christmas tree‘ and telling their children the Saint from Spain had brought presents for all those who had behaved well the previous year. Later in the month it was the Santa who once more brought presents in the house.

History illustrates the awesome outworking of initial events from when the Divine Creator has declared

Zephaniah 1:17-18 The Scriptures 1998+  (17)  “And I shall bring distress on men, and they shall walk like blind men – because they have sinned against יהוה  {Jehovah}, and their blood shall be poured out like dust and their flesh like dung.”  (18)  Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of יהוה  {Jehovah}. And by the fire of His jealousy all the earth shall be consumed, for He makes a sudden end of all those who dwell in the earth.

This comes from the Christadelphian bible reading for December 15 when we started reading this short and somewhat overlooked prophecy of Zephaniah. He would have been one of the prophets Peter referred to, as we read the final chapter of his second letter of the same day-reading, he told them they should remember

2 Peter 3:2 The Scriptures 1998+  (2)  the words previously spoken by the set-apart prophets, and of the command of the Master and Saviour, spoken by your emissaries,

Today we may find lots of people who have stress about the coming days when they have to present nice meals and many presents and have to fulfil many family visits and social obligations. Their eyes are closed for the real issue in life. Not a Santa shall bring salvation and he from the North has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ. When we look at the many Christmas markets we even do not see much what reminds us of the Saviour who was sent by God to this earth.

Ages ago holy prophets told about the eyes of people which would become blinded. Today we

“should remember their predictions

Folk tale depiction of Father Christmas riding...

Folk tale depiction of Father Christmas riding on a goat. Perhaps an evolved version of the Swedish Tomte. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We also should remember that they also warned for the time that scoffers were going to come and would lead people following their own sinful desires. About the promised one who was born, lived for a very short time here on earth, died, was resurrected from the dead and showed that he was not a spirit, but the one brought back alive by his heavenly Father, that master teacher is not remembered much these days and many do not think about his return or even do not believe in it.

Yes many laugh at us and say,

“Where is the promise of his coming?”

Many children have to promise their parents that they will be good next year. Then they also will get some present. But not many children learn about that man who died for our sins. Not many take time in this ‘Time of the year’ to read the Bible and to meditate on what God and his son Jesus had to say.

Today lots of people are concentrating on their self and do see all those refugees coming in our regions as a possible threat to what they can enjoy. Many are afraid they shall have to share with those poor people who travelled thousands of miles to find their luck in our Western world where money seems to flow like moulted butter.

Many people do not see what is really going on and how those set apart men of God had warned for certain situations we can see today. Also Jesus told about the signs of those days we have today. That time Jesus spoke about, may be much closer than many think. Many are blinded by the money this world is offering. Lots of people think everything can be said with presents and with the value of money. The real value for life they often do not see. Capitalism has put sand in their eyes.

The ways of godless thinking and living will be seen for all the foolishness they are; and we must never forget, there are only 2 ways: the broad way and the narrow way. Those on the narrow way are

2 Peter 3:12-15 The Scriptures 1998+  (12)  looking for and hastening the coming of the day of Elohim, through which the heavens shall be destroyed, being set on fire, and the elements melt with intense heat!  (13)  But according to His promise we wait for a renewed heavens and a renewed earth in which righteousness dwells.  (14)  So then, beloved ones, looking forward to this, do your utmost to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,  (15)  and reckon the patience of our Master as deliverance, as also our beloved brother Sha’ul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him,

“waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace” (verses 13,14).

Included in what they (we) are waiting for, is what Job perceived and that we read today. He declared,

I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!” (19:25-27).

He believed in resurrection!

That final comment is most thought provoking. Our hearts will be in danger of fainting within us for multiple reasons, when God “bring(s) distress” – the experience will be awesome for believers! But how imminent then will be the time when they will “see God” through seeing his Son, marvelling in anticipation of the ultimate time when

God himself will be with them as their God … for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3,4).

Let us anticipate in faith the things that “our eyes shall behold” to carry us through the coming time of “distress”.

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Additional reading

  1. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  2. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  3. Christmas, Saturnalia and the birth of Jesus
  4. Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia
  5. Focus on outward appearances
  6. Jesus begotten Son of God #1 Christmas and Christians
  7. Christmas in Ancient Rome (AKA Saturnalia)
  8. Christmas trees
  9. Actions to be a reflection of openness of heart
  10. With child and righteousness greater than the law
  11. Objects around the birth and death of Jesus
  12. Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit
  13. The imaginational war against Christmas
  14. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 1: Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet
  15. Manna from Sint Nicholas
  16. Traditionalists Vow to Fight Charges of Racism in Netherlands
  17. Ignorance of Today’s Youth (and Adults)
  18. Sancta Claus is not God
  19. Brits believe Santa present at Jesus’ birth, new poll reveals
  20. Wishing lanterns and Christmas

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Further reading

  1. Winter Solstice and Yule
  2. Yule is upon us!
  3. Dickens’ Christmas Story as an Intertexteme in Leskov’s Yule Short Story
  4. Winter Solstice 2015: Shortest Day Of The Year Celebrated As Pagan Yule
  5. Commercialmas
  6. Yule 2015 #15 performing magic
  7. Yule 2015#16
  8. A radiant vision of splendour
  9. Yule prep
  10. Yule Wreath and Garland
  11. 13 Trolls
  12. War Against Christmas?
  13. Holiday King of the Hill
  14. SGC Admin: From our inbox to you from: Patti Wigington: Paganism/Wicca Expert
  15. Yule – Wicca subject of the week
  16. Happy Yule 2015
  17. How to bring some real Christmas spirits into your Yule-tide
  18. 10 Ways to Celebrate Yule
  19. Santa Claus, Krampus,The Wild Hunt and Me.
  20. Vigil
  21. Use Yule Bells For Positive Energy
  22. Irish Christmas
  23. Christmas, the Weridest Holiday of the Year; Part one
  24. Holly Tree
  25. Holly, Plant of Saturn and Mars
  26. Symbol of Yule: Holly Mistletoe and Bayberry Candles
  27. Memories of Yuletide
  28. A Little history on the holly tree
  29. Let It Be Done Unto Me
  30. Annunciation
  31. Annunciation: a reflection for Advent
  32. This Annunciation
  33. The Annunciation, according to Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich
  34. Tuesday 15th December
  35. Wednesday Writings – Annunciation
  36. Mary’s Heart
  37. Angels & Advent: In His Shadow – a sermon podcast
  38. And the virgin’s name was Mary
  39. Angels of Advent: Encountering the Annunciation
  40. Somersaults /Wednesday, December 9, 2015
  41. Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin
  42. Mary and a “Yes” to God’s Request
  43. Joseph’s Pregnant Advent
  44. The Overshadowing of Mary –Pentecost
  45. Christmas
  46. Saturnalia
  47. From Sukkot to Saturnalia: The Attack on Christmas in Sixteenth-Century..
  48. Togas, Laurels, Chariots and Some Roast Lambs’ Testicles
  49. Countdown to Christmas 17: Saturnalia
  50. Saturnalia Is a Fleadh by Another Name. Just Don’t Tell Jerry Buttimer
  51. By Jove! It’s Christmas: Did the First Christian Roman Emperor Appropriate..
  52. War On Christmas Memes: Saturnalia
  53. War On Christmas Memes: The Yule Tree
  54. Christmas: it’s all about money, not messiahs.
  55. Geranium Lake Properties, Saturn and Sol
  56. Advent Calendar Day 15: Christmas: The Perfect Excuse For A Fight? by Lucy Brazier
  57. Pig Washing 1, “Christmas”
  58. Christmas is Pagan!
  59. Christmas — Who gives a rip HOW we came up with the date we use?!?
  60. Christmas is Tammuz’s Birthday?

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