Here's wishing you, and yours, good Health, great Success, and Happiness throughout the New Year. May God bless you in your endeavors, and show His love for you every day.
Happy New Year!
In 1675, hostilities broke out in the town of Swansea, and the war spread as far north as New Hampshire, and as far southwest as Connecticut. Not all Native People, however, sided with Philip. Most Natives who had converted to Christianity fought with the English or remained neutral. The English, however, did not always trust these converts and interned many of them in camps on outlying islands. Also, some Native communities on Cape Cod and the Islands did not participate in the war. Native soldiers fighting on the side of the colonists helped turn the tide of the war, which ended in 1676 when Philip was killed by a Wampanoag fighting with Captain Benjamin Church.
Bacon gathered his supporters, marched on Jamestown, and coerced Berkeley into granting him a commission to continue his campaigns against Native Americans. A circumspect assembly then passed several reform measures. The governor, having failed to raise a force against Bacon, fled to the Eastern Shore. He gathered enough strength to return to Jamestown, where he proclaimed Bacon and his men rebels and traitors. After a sharp skirmish Bacon recaptured the capital (Berkeley again took flight) but, fearing that he could not hold it against attack, set fire to the town. Bacon now controlled the colony, but he died suddenly (Oct., 1676), and without his leadership the rebellion collapsed. After a few months Berkeley returned to wreak a bloody vengeance before he was forced to return to England. Berkeley's removal and the end of attacks by Native Americans were the only benefits the yeomen had won in the rebellion, and the tidewater aristocracy long maintained its power.
"They planted by your care! No, your oppressions planted them in America. They fled from your tyranny to a then uncultivated, inhospitable country, where they exposed themselves to almost all the hardships to which human nature is liable, and among others to the cruelties of a savage foe and actuated by principles of true English liberties, they met all hardships with pleasure compared with those they suffered in their own country from the hands of those who should be their friends.Barré knew and respected Americans. He had lost an eye in the War, fighting alongside American militia. His speech made no difference to Parliament or the British government. But his words struck a spark in the colonies.
"They nourished up by your indulgence? they grew by your neglect of them: ---as soon as you began to care about them, that Care was Exercised in sending persons to rule over them, in one Department and another, who were perhaps the Deputies of Deputies to some Member of this house---sent to Spy out their Liberty, to misrepresent their Actions & to prey upon them; men whose behaviour on many Occasions has caused the Blood of those Sons of Liberty to recoil within them; men promoted to the highest Seats of Justice, some, who to my knowledge were glad by going to a foreign Country to Escape being brought to the Bar of a Court of Justice in their own.
"They protected by your Arms? They have nobly taken up Arms in your defence, have Exerted a Valour amidst their constant & Laborious industry for the defence of a Country, whose frontier, while drench'd in blood, its interior Parts have yielded all its little Savings to your Emolument. And believe me, remember I this Day told you so, that same Spirit of freedom which actuated that people at first, will accompany them still.---But prudence forbids me to explain myself further. God knows I do not at this Time speak from motives of party Heat, what I deliver are the genuine Sentiments of my heart; however superiour to me in general knowledge and Experience the reputable body of this house may be, yet I claim to know more of America than most of you, having seen and been conversant in that Country. The People I believe are as truly Loyal as any Subjects the King has, but a people Jealous of their Liberties and who will vindicate them, if ever they should be violated---but the Subject is too delicate & I will say no more."
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"In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea…" (Matthew 2:1)
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." (Micah 5:2)Pretty straightforward, isn't it? But is it? You see the word 'clans' in the prophecy? Not towns or places, or villages. Clans. All that prophecy means is that the smallest of the clans among the descendants of Judah would produce the Messiah. As James Tabor said: "Everyone thinks 'Bethlehem' is a place, and indeed there were towns named 'House of Bread' in Judea and in Galilee, but...the term Bethlehem-Ephrath/Ephratah is the name of a clan of Judah--children of Caleb through Hur, who was the firstborn of an extraordinary woman named Ephrathah..." (This is found in 1 Chronicles in the Old Testament)
"In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over the flock by night." (Luke 2:8)
There are various theories about Jesus' birth. Many believed that Jesus was born on January 6 (the birthday of the God Osiris). The rationale for this date was the belief that Jesus was exactly 30 years old when he died and that he died on April 6. Counting backwards from April 6 exactly 29 years and 3 months gave a birth date of January 6 (Craveri, 1967). This date was adopted by the Eastern Church and called "Epiphany" or "The Appearance."
The African Tertullian (c 160 -220 A.D.) and the Roman Hippolytus (c 170-235 A.D.) believed the date to be March 25th, the spring equinox under the ancient Roman calendar. Clement of Alexandria (c 150-215 A.D.) believed that Jesus was born on May 20, the 25 day of the Egyptian month of Pachon. None of these theories had any real facts associated with them, but they were popular nonetheless.
A 3rd Century Christian named Sextus Julius Africanus believed that March 25 was Jesus' conception and the day of Earth's creation as well. Using March 25 as the day of conception, he skipped ahead 9 months to December 25 as the birth date.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.But the earliest text doesn't actually say 'inn' at all. From Christian Answers:
The text of Luke 2 notes there was no room for Mary and Joseph in the "inn." Unfortunately, the Greek term translated inn (kataluma) had multiple meanings, among them inn or caravansary. Used only one other time in the New Testament (Luke 22:11 and the parallel passage, Mark 14:14), it was the place where Jesus observed the Last Supper with His disciples. Here, Dr. Luke gave additional information about the kataluma. He said it was a furnished large upper story room within a private Jerusalem house. The kataluma of the last night of Jesus' earthly ministry was the "upper room."So Joseph took Mary out to the barn, right? Nooo ... not in a poor village.
We suggest the kataluma of Jesus' first night was a similar room in Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph came into town with Mary ready to deliver. Arriving at Joseph's ancestral home, they found it already full of other family members who had arrived earlier. While the exact reason space was not made for a pregnant woman is unknown, it probably indicates the house was full of elder members of Joseph's family, who had priority.
So that is when Mary and Joseph went to the barn, right? Not exactly. The Biblical account mentions neither barn nor cave—it is assumed because of the manger [and because of modern perceptions - European perceptions, mostly, that would never understand keeping livestock inside a home.]. Mangers are animal feeding troughs, and barns are where one would expect to find them. But in the ancient world, as well as in primitive modern cultures, mangers are also found within the house itself. Animals are regularly kept in homes at night.
A small number of flock animals were housed, not in attached exterior sheds, but inside the house in one of the ground floor rooms. Here, animals, tools and agricultural produce were stored. Here, too, food was prepared and possibly consumed. Family sleeping quarters were on the second floor (an upper room). By being inside, the animals were protected from the elements and theft. In addition, their presence provided body heat for cool nights, access to for the daily meal and dung as a critical fuel source.
Excavations in Israel have uncovered numerous installations within domestic structures which probably represent ancient mangers. Some are carved, but most are stone built. Wooden mangers, of course, have not survived in the archaeological record.
Consequently, Mary and Joseph did not find space in the living quarters of the ancestral family home. Instead, they stayed downstairs in the domestic stable, still within the ancestral home, where a manger or two was located. Here they were visited by the shepherds, and maybe the wise men some time later.
At the death of Alexander the Great, his Empire was divided
between three of his Generals. Israel, during this Second
Temple Period, found itself under the rule of the Seleucid
Dynasty of Greek rulers, based in Syria. At the beginning
of the Seleucid reign, the Jewish people were rarely treated
harshly, although they were, in fact, a subject people.
But they were allowed to worship God in their own way.
Over the years quite a few Jews embraced the Hellenist
lifestyle, and saw little loss in the extinction of
the Judaic way of life.
Antiochus IV came to the throne and embarked on a campaign
of assimilation. Jews would live as the Greeks did,
worship as the Greeks did, or they would die. The Temple
was looted of it's treasures, and desecrated
( even a statue of Zeus was apparently placed on the holy altar).
Jewish religious observances were forbidden.
Antiochus proclaimed himself a god: Antiochus Epiphanies.
He ordered altars and statues honoring the Gods and
Goddesses placed in all the cities and towns,
and had the Jewish people rounded up.
They were ordered to worship the Pagan Gods,
and perform acts considered immoral by Jews.
Indignities were heaped upon the Jewish people.
A Hellenist Jew "High Priest", Jason, gaining his
post through bribery, was outfoxed
by another Hellenist Jew "High Priest" of the
Temple, Menelaus, who outbribed him for the exalted post.
Angered, Jason raised a large army
and began a Civil War against Menelaus and his supporters,
attacking the Temple killing many innocent people.
This was the perfect excuse for Antiochus to move.
He poured his troops into the Country, looting the Temple
once again, and slaughtering thousands of Jews.
Little did Antiochus realize . . .
A fuse had been lit under the Jewish people. It would take
the right person to begin the fight against Antiochus.
A priest in a small town would be the one!
A little east of the City of Jerusalem was a small town
called Modin. Mattityahu, the patriarch of the Hasmonean Clan - a
Priestly Clan - decided to make a stand. He and his 5 sons attacked
the Greek soldiers there, and slew them.
Then the family destroyed the idols they'd been ordered to worship.
With a circle of brave followers, Mattityahu took to the hills - a
time honored tradition of embattled Jews in the Holy Land - and
began gathering forces around him.
The time had come to destroy the Pagan over-rulers.
Now Mattityahu turned over the small army to his son Yehuda Maccabee,
and the army grew. Legend says they took the motto:
"Who is like You among the mighty ones, O God!"
and wrote it on their shields. Using the darkness of night,
the Maccabean forces would storm out of the Judean hills onto
unsuspecting Syrian troops, and having slain and
scattered the enemy, retire to their strongholds again.
A force of 47,000 syrians were defeated by a Jewish force of
6,000 in one encounter alone!
Antiochus, enraged at this, sent a larger force still to destroy the rebel Jews.
The two forces met at Bet Tzur.
In a miraculous battle, the badly outnumbered Jewish rebels
defeated the huge Syrian Army. Victorious, Yehuda Maccabee led his forces
to Jerusalem, and liberated the City.
The first order of business was to clear the Temple, and especially the
Sanctuary, of the idols of the Greeks, and rebuild the Altar.
Then they would be able to re-dedicate the Temple for Divine Services.
Among the legends concerning Hannukah, is one regarding
the Holy Fire. It seems that from the time of Moses,
Holy Fire burned on the Altar. Even during the Exile in
Babylon, the Holy Fire is said to have been kept
miraculously burning, hidden in a secret place.
But when Judah Maccabee and his men had placed wood on the
rebuilt altar, and readied an animal for
the sacrifice, the Holy Fire was gone.
It was unlawful to kindle the flames
with what was called "strange fire".
So Judah and his men prayed to God.
Miraculously, Holy Fire came forth from the altar!
The altar was dedicated on the 25th of the Jewish month
of Kislev. And so Jews today celebrate the 25th of Kislev
as the first night of Hannukah.
Perhaps the best-known of the miracles related to Hannukah -
better known than the miracle of the Holy Fire,
and better-known even than the miraculous Victories of the
badly outnumbered Jewish Rebels - is the Miracle of the Oil.
Within the Temple stood a seven-branched candelabrum,
known to Jews as the Menorah. It burned day and night fueled
by olive oil of the highest purity.
The purity was guarded throughout the entire process of
production, and was kept in special containers that bore the
seal of the High Priest.
But when the Maccabees entered the Temple, everything had
been desecrated and defiled it seemed. Except for one, small flagon of pure oil.
In it there was enough oil to keep the Menorah
lit for a single day. Perhaps some pure oil could be found
in the City, but a search turned up not a drop.
It would take a week to make more of the pure oil.
What to do?
Depend on God, of course.
The Menorah was lit, and the priests began to work on
making more of the pure oil.
At the end of that first day, the Menorah in the Temple
didn't flicker and go out.
It burned as if it had all the pure olive oil in the world.
By the time the new oil was ready, eight days had passed!
And still the Temple Menorah continued to burn!
The following year a feast of Praise
and Thanksgiving was proclaimed.
It would last for the eight days of the Miracle.
And more than 2000 years later, Jews around the
world light menorahs,
praise God, and remember.
From one Gentile, to my Jewish friends everywhere,
Mark 10:14 : But when Jesus saw [it], he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
John 1:14: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
God [is] not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do [it]? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.