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IF YOU’RE A ‘CHRISTIAN’ JUSTIFYING THE OBSERVATION OF PAGAN CHRISTMAS BY QUOTING ROMANS 14:5-6 . . . THIS ONE’S FOR YOU —

The scripture condemns such practices as Christmas. Jeremiah 10:2,3 tell us to “learn not the way of the heathen” and that “the customs of the people are vain.” In Matthew 15:9 Jesus explains that men worship Him in vain, “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” In Colossians 2:8 we are told to beware lest someone should spoil us “through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world.” I Timothy 1:4 instructs us to “neither give heed to fables … which minister questions.”

via IF YOU’RE A ‘CHRISTIAN’ JUSTIFYING THE OBSERVATION OF PAGAN CHRISTMAS BY QUOTING ROMANS 14:5-6 . . . THIS ONE’S FOR YOU  —

The Christmas season


Exodus 20:7

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not [d]leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

20:7 Or hold him guiltless


Massacre of the Innocents by François Joseph Navez

Massacre of the Innocents by François Joseph Navez

This Christian blog will remain a Christmas-free zone this year. The English name for this holiday – Christ Mass – speaks volumes about it. In addition to this, Christmas wasn’t instituted by the Lord. He commanded us to remember His death until His return, but never to celebrate His birth.

During this time the headers will be winter scenes or images, for example, depicting Herod’s Massacre of the Innocents. In the annual celebration of the Nativity this part of the account is often passed over except in churches that follow a liturgical calendar where at least it is given the place in Jesus’ life that it should have. I’m not recommending that Evangelical Christians follow the calendar. But remembering Herod’s wickedness puts the Lord’s birth into further perspective – the setting is the real world, where He came to die to save us.

Christmas is huge. Some people think that when you dismiss it that you’re dismissing the Incarnation – the glorious truth of Immanuel, God with us. It’s common to see the rejection of the celebration as cult-like. So please know that I confess that Jesus Christ is Lord – my Saviour and my God – the Eternal, the Prince of Peace, Almighty God – God in the flesh, the Second Person of the Trinity.


History brief – Tiberius Caesar’s view of the Lord Jesus Christ and His followers


Acts 24:24-25

24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.

Matthew 25:31-33

31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.


In studying history we come we come face-to-face with astonishing facts. Amazing connections appear, to say nothing of the wonders and glories of God’s Providence.

For example, Emperor Tiberius attempted to have the Roman Senate declare the Lord Jesus Christ a “god” and also attempted to defend Christians as followers of Christ. However, in later years, because of his many sins, this Tiberius was known as “the old goat.” Strangely, at that time he had retired to a villa on the Isle of Capri – translated “goat” – off the coast of Italy. How fitting! 

Beautiful verdant stunning Italy is surrounded by the sea, except to the north. As students of the Bible are often reminded, the sea is used as a symbol for the rebellious nations – the goyim – as here,

“Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names” (Revelation 13:1).

Through His servant John the Lord tells us that when He shall create the new heavens and new earth, there will be no more sea. 

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.” (Revelation 21:1)


Emperor Tiberius & the Resurrection of Jesus by Sandra Sweeny Silver

Source: Early Church History

Tertullian, A.D. 197:

“. . . there was an old decree that no god should be consecrated by a general without the approval of the Senate. . . among you (Romans) divinity is weighed out by human caprice. Unless a god shall have been acceptable to men, he shall not be a god. Man must now have mercy on a god! Accordingly Tiberius, in whose time the Christian name first made its appearance in the world, laid before the senate tidings from Palaestina which had revealed to him the truth of the divinity (of Jesus) there manifested and (Tiberius) had supported the motion by his own vote to begin with. The Senate rejected it because it had not itself given its approval. Caesar Tiberius held to his own opinion and threatened danger to the accusers of Christians.” Apology 5.1.2

Eusebius, A.D.

“. . . They say that Tiberius referred the matter to the Senate, but that they rejected it, ostensibly because they had not first examined into the matter, for an ancient law prevailed that no one should be made a god by the Romans except by a vote and decree of the Senate, but in reality because the saving teaching of the divine Gospel did not need the confirmation and recommendation of men.”


One of my finest encounters on the island of Capri, this beach is one of God's own personal creation. PavelChatterjee

“One of my finest encounters on the island of Capri, this beach is one of God’s own personal creation.” PavelChatterjee


 

Reading through Revelation – Chapter 8:7-13 and a great star called Wormwood


Welles Apocalypse - Royal 15 D II - First quarter of 14th century

Welles Apocalypse – Royal 15 D II – First quarter of 14th century


Revelation 8:7-13

NASB

The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, and a third of the creatures which were in the sea [f]and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.

10 The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters. 11 The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.

12 The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.

13 Then I looked, and I heard [g]an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!

[f] Lit the ones having – [g] Lit one eagle


Thoughts

With this post I’m continuing to offer insights from classic commentaries and other sources. I have to limit what is presented here, so in this post I’m offering materials on the third trumpet and “wormwood”.

It is my hope that you’ll think about this with me, 

In every age Christians interpret events of the past, present, and future in light of God’s prophetic Word.


Wormwood

Wormwood is a plant from which bitter-tasting medicines and alcoholic drinks are made. “The English rendering ‘wormwood’ refers to the dark green oil produced by the plant.” (Wiki) Wormwood has been used to eliminate parasitic worms and to make absinthe, a drink with a high alcohol content that has been banned at times in various places.

Artemisia Absinthum - photo H. Zell

Artemisia Absinthum – photo H. Zell

Wormwood’s botanical name should jump off the page for students of God’s Word – artemisia absinthium.

Artemisia comes from Ancient Greek ἀρτεμισία, from Ἄρτεμις (Artemis). In Hellenistic culture, Artemis was a goddess. . . Absinthum comes from the Ancient Greek ἀψίνθιον, meaning the same.  ~ Wiki

The alcoholic “spirit” absinthe has been said to be extremely addictive; to be an hallucinogenic; to cause convulsions and madness – though all of this is disputed and said to be disproved. 

I’m not suggesting that the blazing star that poisons one-third of the rivers and springs of water, causing the death of many, is figurative language for drinking absinthe. However, I am highlighting a strange connection. Another connection, I feel, can be made to the catastrophic nuclear accident in the Ukraine at the plant at “Chernobyl” (“wormwood”). Because of this event “radioactive material precipitated onto parts of the western USSR and Europe” ~ Wiki.


Wormwood on WebMD 

“Wormwood | Absinth, Absinthe, Absinthe Suisse, Absinthii Herba, Absinthites, Absinthium, Afsantin, Ajenjo… is used for various digestion problems such as loss of appetite, upset stomach, gall bladder disease, and intestinal spasms. Wormwood is also used to treat fever, liver disease, depression, muscle pain, memory loss and worm infections. . . for Crohn’s disease and a kidney disorder called IgA nephropathy. . . Some people apply wormwood directly to the skin for osteoarthritis (OA), and healing wounds and insect bites. Wormwood oil is used as a counter-irritant to reduce pain. . .

“Thujone is a potentially poisonous chemical found in wormwood. Distilling wormwood in alcohol increases the thujone concentration.”

Absinthe is illegal in the U.S. but wormwood can get high billing as a “parasite-fighting, cancer-fighting super herb.” (Dr. Axe)


 Wormwood in the Bible

Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Heb. la’anah, the Artemisia absinthium of botanists. It is noted for its intense bitterness (Deuteronomy 29:18Proverbs 5:4Jeremiah 9:15Amos 5:7). It is a type of [for] bitterness, affliction, remorse, punitive suffering. In Amos 6:12 this Hebrew word is rendered ‘hemlock’ (RSV, ‘wormwood’). In the symbolical language of the Apocalypse (Revelation 8:10Revelation 8:11) a star is represented as falling on the waters of the earth, causing the third part of the water to turn to wormwood.

“The name by which the Greeks designated it, absinthion, means ‘undrinkable.’ The absinthe of France is distilled from a species of this plant. The ‘southernwood’ or ‘old man,’ cultivated in cottage gardens on account of its fragrance, is another species of it.”


Related passages – Wormwood in the Old Testament

Jeremiah 23:15

15 “Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets,

‘Behold, I am going to feed them wormwood
And make them drink poisonous water,
For from the prophets of Jerusalem
Pollution has gone forth into all the land.’”

Deuteronomy 29:14-21

14 “Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath, 15 but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God and with those who are not with us here today 16 (for you know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed; 17 moreover, you have seen their abominations and their idols of wood, stone, silver, and gold, which they had with them); 18 so that there will not be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations; that there will not be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood. 19 It shall be when he hears the words of this curse, that he will [e]boast, saying, ‘I have peace though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart in order [f]to destroy the watered land with the dry.’ 20 The Lord shall never be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and His jealousy will [g]burn against that man, and every curse which is written in this book will [h]rest on him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven. 21 Then the Lord will single him out for [i]adversity from all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant which are written in this book of the law.

“The word wormwood appears several times in the Old Testament, translated from the Hebrew term לענה (la’anah, which means ‘curse’ in Hebrew).” ~ Wiki


A 17th – 18th Century Expositor

Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on The Revelation

Matthew Henry (1662 – 1714) was a nonconformist minister and author, born in Wales but spending much of his life in England. He is best known for the six-volume biblical commentary Exposition of the Old and New Testaments. ~ Wiki

The Biblical commentaries written by Matthew Henry, credit - Pete unseth, Wikimedia

Biblical commentaries written by Matthew Henry, credit – Pete unseth.

“Most expositors agree that the seven seals represent the interval between the apostle’s time and the reign of Constantine, but that the seven trumpets are designed to represent the rise of antichrist, some time after the empire became Christian. . .

“III. The third angel sounded, and the alarm had the like effects as before: There fell a great star from heaven, etc., v. 10. Some take this to be a political star, some eminent governor, and they apply it to Augustulus, who was forced to resign the empire to Odoacer, in the year 480. Others take it to be an ecclesiastical star, some eminent person in the church, compared to a burning lamp, and they fix it upon Pelagius, who proved about this time a falling star, and greatly corrupted the churches of Christ. Observe,

“1. Where this star fell: Upon a third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters.

“2. What effect it had upon them; it turned those springs and streams into wormwood, made them very bitter, that men were poisoned by them; either the laws, which are springs of civil liberty, and property, and safety, were poisoned by arbitrary power, or the doctrines of the gospel, the springs of spiritual life, refreshment, and vigour to the souls of men, were so corrupted and embittered by a mixture of dangerous errors that the souls of men found their ruin where they sought for their refreshment.


A 19th Century Historicist Explains the Third Trumpet

Horae Apocalypticae

Horae Apocalypticae on WordPress.com ©

E. B. Elliott (1793 – 1875)

Recently I shared that I’d bought a copy of Edward Bishop Elliott’s Horae Apocalypticae in a pdf file format for a reasonable price at Puritan Downloads. This week I found this work at WordPress as an ongoing project with Volume I completed (it’s under copyright). So take a look at an amazing 19th century interpretation of the third trumpet! Even if you cannot agree with Elliott, this is a really interesting. 

§

Elliott believed that in the first four trumpets the Apostle John was given a vision of the fall of the Western Roman Empire, that the trumpets describe its extinction. Like others he believed that the fall of this “christianized” empire happened because of its sins, including the idolatrous practice of petitioning saints and martyrs for protection. The fall began in this way,

It was in 395, as I said, after the pious Theodosius, just like King Josiah, had been taken away from the coming evil, that the empire was shaken, as by an earthquake, with this Gothic revolt.

Vesuvius From Portici by Joseph Wright of Derby -

Vesuvius From Portici by Joseph Wright of Derby

“3rd Trumpet. . . The Historical Fulfillment. . .

“. . . yet another plague was commissioned against the devoted empire; I mean ‘the scourge of God,’ the king of the Huns, Attila. Alone of conquerors, ancient or modern, he united at this time under his sway the two mighty kingdoms of Germany and Scythia. For the Huns had advanced their course and their conquests, since the time when the Goths fled before them some 70 years earlier, in the days of Valens, to the furthest limits, West and North, of Germany. The kings of the Ostrogoth and Gepidae were among Attila’s subject princes; and a crowd of vulgar kings watched his nod. Superstitious awe concerning him added to his power. He was deemed something greater than human.

The barbaric princes could not presume to gaze with steady eye on [what they deemed] his divine majesty.’[44] How much less his enemies! He was in their eyes like the baleful meteor that even then blazed in the heavens, boding ruin and war.[45] For the first eight years from his accession (which was in AD. 433) he had been occupied with other wars in Germany, Persia, Scythia. Then, descending on the Danube, he fixed the royal village near where it takes its great bend to the southward, not far from the modern Buda:[46] crossed it to attack the Eastern empire; and, after ravaging the provinces of Thrace and Maesia, and tracing the river course downwards in blood as far as the Euxine, retired not until the Eastern emperor (AD. 446) had purchased peace by surrendering to him a slip of territory south of the Danube, from Belgrade to Novae. ‘The Huns’ says Gibbon,[47] ‘were acknowledged masters (of this part of the lower half) of the great river.’— But it is specially the river frontier of the same Western third of the empire to which the other Trumpets refer, that I suppose to be chiefly intended in the present. Accordingly, about AD. 450, in fulfillment of a treaty with Genseric, he moved against the Western provinces along the Danube: reached and crossed the Rhine at Basle; and thence, tracing the same great frontier stream of the West down to Belgium, made its valley one scene of desolation and woe; burning the cities, (of which Strasburg, Spires, Worms, Mentz, Andernach, Treves, Tongres, and Maestricht, are specially particularized), massacring the inhabitants, and laying the country waste:— until, at length, having left that valley, which had been marked out as one destined scene of his ravaging, and advanced farther into the interior, his course was arrested, and he was repulsed in the tremendous battle of Chalons.— And whither then, when thus forced to retrace his steps, did he direct them? Whither but to fall on another destined scene of ravage, ‘the European fountains of waters,’ in the Alpine heights and Alpine valleys of Italy. Then Aquileia, Padua, Verona, Mantua, Milan, Pavia, and Turin, felt his vengeance.

“‘From the Alps to the Apennines,’ says Sigonius, ‘all was flight, depopulation, slaughter, slavery, burning, and despair.’ Many fled to the low and marshy islands at the mouth of the Adige, Po, and Brenta, as their only safe refuge. And he who has seen the fair Venice, may do well to remember that he has seen in it a memorial of the terrors and ravages of that scourge of God, the Hun Attila[48]— But what further of his course of devastation? Surely, with all Italy defenseless before him, one might have expected that, like his predecessor Alaric, he would have continued it on to Rome and the far coast of Bruttium. Instead of this, behold, an embassy from the Western emperor Valentinian, accompanied by the venerable Romish bishop Leo the First, was successful at this point in deprecating his wrath: and, having granted them peace, he passed the Alps, and retired; leaving bands only of Heruli and Ostrogoths in the Tyrolese country intermediate.— Wherefore a result, humanly speaking, so unlikely? The prediction had expressly marked the term of Attila’s desolating progress;—’the third of the rivers, and the fountains of waters.’ Already Attila had made bitter, besides the surplus age of more Eastern scenes,[49] the river line of the upper Danube and Rhine, and the Alpine fountains of waters. Many had died, and still continued to die, that drank of the waters, through famine, disease, and pestilence. This being done, his course was to end. ‘Thus far thou shalt go, and no further.’ Returned from Italy, he recrossed the Danube; reached the royal village between it and the Teiss; and there, the very next year, was suddenly cut off by apoplexy. This occurred AD. 453. So the meteor was extinct; the empire and power of the Huns broken. The woe of the third Trumpet had past away.”

View with Tisa River (Tisza) confluence with Danube - photo by Marek Ślusarczyk (Tupungato)

View with Tisa River (Tisza) confluence with Danube – photo by Marek Ślusarczyk (Tupungato)

 


A little Greek for some of you from a 19th/20th Century Teacher

Robertson’s Word Pictures

A.T. Robertson

A.T. Robertson from ccel.orgVerse 10 

“Burning as a torch (kaiomeno w lampa). See Zephaniah 4:5; Matthew 2:2, perhaps a meteor, striking at the fresh-water supply (rivers potamwn, springs phga) as in the first Egyptian plague also..

Verse 11

“Wormwood (o Apsinqo). Absinthe. Usually feminine (h), but masculine here probably because asthr is masculine. Only here in N.T. and not in LXX (pikria, bitterness, colh, gall, etc.) except by Aquila in Proverbs 5:4Jeremiah 9:15Jeremiah 23:15. There are several varieties of the plant in Palestine. Became wormwood (egeneto ei apsinqon). This use of ei in the predicate with ginomai is common in the LXX and the N.T. ( Jeremiah 16:19John 16:20Acts 5:36). Of the waters (ek twn udatwn). As a result of (ek) the use of the poisoned waters. Were made bitter (epikranqhsan). First aorist passive indicative of pikrainw. Old verb (from pikro, bitter), as in Acts 10:9. In a metaphorical sense to embitter in Colossians 3:19.”


A 20th Century Handbook

Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965, p. 716

“’Great Burning Star,’ Third Trumpet, fell upon the Rivers (8:10,11). Attila the Hun, from the depth of Central Asia, appeared (A.D. 440), on the banks of the Danube, at the head of 800,000 fighting men. Pushing westward, he met the Roman armies, and defeated them with awful slaughter, successively, on the River Marne, the River Rhone, and the River Po, so that these rivers actually ran with Blood. Loaded with spoil, he returned to the Danube. When he died, the River was turned aside, and his body buried beneath its bed. The waters still flow over his grave. He was indeed a scourge of the rivers.”

Attila “not only made the Huns the most effective fighting force of the time, but he also built a vast empire from virtually nothing in less than ten years. At its height, this empire stretched from central Asia across to modern-day France and down through the Danube Valley.” ~ Encyclopedia of Ancient History