Category: Holidays


HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!

"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another." –Gal 5:13

"Those who profess to favor freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." — Frederick Douglass

"The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt." — John Philpot Curran:

"It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error." — U.S. Supreme Court in American Communications Association v. Douds

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." — Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania (1759)

"Freedom is never an achieved state; like electricity, we’ve got to keep generating it or the lights go out." — Wayne LaPierre

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom." –Albert Einstein

"Do we really think that a government-dominated education is going to produce citizens capable of dominating their government, as the education of a truly vigilant self-governing people requires?" — Alan Keyes

"If we become a people who are willing to give up our money and our freedom in exchange for rhetoric and promises, then nothing can save us." — Thomas Sowell

"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid." — Dwight D. Eisenhower, First Inaugural Address, Jan. 20, 1953

"I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedoms of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." — James Madison

"The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave." — Patrick Henry

"Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not so costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance for survival. There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no chance of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves." — Winston Churchill

"The truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought." — Samuel Adams

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat." — Theodore Roosevelt

"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first."– Thomas Jefferson

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." — Martin Luther King, Jr.

"To the American people I bid a fond farewell. Guard your liberties. It is the trust of each generation to pass a free republic to the next. And if I know you right, you will rouse yourself from slumber to ensure exactly that." — Ambrose Evans-Pritchard 

"Liberty is the right to choose. Freedom is the result of the right choice." –Anon 

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."– Eph 6:12-13

The Fast of Tammuz

The Fast of Tammuz www.khouse.org
 
In 2010, June 29th on the Hebrew calendar is Shiva Asar B’Tammuz – the 17th of Tammuz, the beginning of the Three Weeks of mourning leading up to Tisha B’Av (9th of Av) on July 20th. 
 
The 9th of Av is a familiar date for Jewish grief. On both occasions when foreigners destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem, they did it on the 9th of Av. Many other tragedies befell Israel on this date throughout history. The 9th of Av is not alone, however. Another date, the 17th of Tammuz, has also been filled with suffering. On June 29th, many observant Jews will fast to commemorate five tragedies that befell Israel on 17 Tammuz throughout history.
 
On 17 Tammuz:
 
•Moses broke the tablets of the Law after seeing the people dancing around the golden calf they had made while he was on Mt. Sinai. (Exodus 32:19). The LORD later replaced the tablets (Exodus 34);
 
•The daily sacrifice ended during Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem for lack of sheep and other sacrificial animals;
 
•The Romans broke through the walls of Jerusalem shortly before the 2nd Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70;
 
•Years prior to the Great Revolt, the Roman general Apostumus burned a scroll of the Torah;
 
•An idol was erected in the Temple.
 
The three week period between the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av is called Bein Hametzarim – "between the troubles". On the Sabbath during the Three Weeks, passages on the Temple’s destruction and the exile of the Jewish people are read from Isaiah and Jeremiah. During this period of time, Orthodox and other observant Jews refrain from the following:
 
•wearing new clothes
•listening to music
•bathing for pleasure
•shaving or hair cutting
•weddings
•drinking wine or eating meat
•long journeys
 
While the Fasts of Tammuz and Av (the 4th and 5th months) are a time of mourning, many Jews believe that after the future redemption of Israel, these days of mourning will be turned into days of feasts and rejoicing. As the LORD told the prophet Zechariah:
 
The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace." (Zech 8:19).

Pentecost And The Rapture Of The Church

Pentecost And The Rapture Of The Church – This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley – www.gracethrufaith.com
 
Pentecost comes in the early summer (May-June).   It’s the only Levitical Feast Day between the 3 Spring Feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits) and the 3 in the fall (Rosh Hashanna, Yom Kippur, and Tabernacles). The Hebrew name for this Day is Shavuot, which means weeks, so in Israel it’s called the Feast of Weeks.
 
This is because it’s supposed to occur 7 weeks after the Feast of First Fruits (Lev. 23:15-16). Deut. 16:9 confirms this. “Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain.” The first cutting of the grain harvest took place on the Feast of First Fruits.   Since First Fruits is the first Sunday after Passover, Shavuot should always be on a Sunday, too. But somewhere along the way the Jews began counting from Passover itself, so now Shavuot can come any day of the week, depending on what day Passover is. This year (2010) it began at sundown May 18 on our calendar.
 
Christians call this day by its Greek name, Pentecost, from a Greek word that means “50 days”. There were 50 days from the Sabbath that followed Passover to the Feast of Weeks, and that’s where the Greek name comes from. But whether you count seven weeks (49 days) from First Fruits to the day the Jews call the Feast of Weeks or count 50 days from the first Sabbath after Passover to the day Christians call Pentecost, you will arrive at the same day and it will be a Sunday.
 
But like the Jews we’ve also changed things although we’ve retained the Sunday part. Christians now start counting on the day we call Easter Sunday, which is officially the first Sunday after the first full moon that follows the Spring Equinox. We include Easter Sunday as day one, so Pentecost is always seven weeks from Easter.   Because of differences between the Western Solar calendar and the Jewish Lunar one, Easter does not always come on the first Sunday after Passover, so we don’t always celebrate Pentecost on the correct date either. But this year Easter came on April 4, which was the first Sunday after Passover, the Feast of First Fruits.   That means May 23, called Pentecost Sunday in 2010, is the correct date for the Feast of Weeks, according to Lev. 23:15-16 and Deut. 16:9. It’s the 7th Sunday after April 4.
 
What’s a Pentecost?
 
Jews celebrate Pentecost (I’ll just use its Greek name to avoid any more confusion than necessary) as the day Moses received the Law on Mt. Sinai and the nation Israel was born. (Exodus 19-20) Christians celebrate it as the day the Holy Spirit fell on the Disciples in Jerusalem and the Church was born (Acts 2). If you agree with my view that the parables of Matthew 13 describe the church on Earth and that the parable of the yeast predicts there will be sin in the church, you’ll be interested in the fact that unlike all the other Jewish Feasts that call for unleavened bread (no yeast), Pentecost requires bread baked with yeast (Lev. 23:17). In the Bible leaven, or yeast, is a model of sin because it causes the dough to begin spoiling.
 
The Jewish Pentecost ceremonies reveal a subtle link to the coming church. In synagogues, the Book of Ruth is read on Pentecost. The story of Ruth has been called “The Romance of Redemption”.   It’s about Naomi, a Jewish woman from Bethlehem who lost her land and position and was forced into exile in a foreign country (Moab). Shortly thereafter her husband passed away leaving her penniless and alone. She returns to Bethlehem accompanied by Ruth, a gentile woman who has sworn never to leave her. Ruth was a Moabite who had married one of Naomi’s sons (who also died) making her Naomi’s daughter-in-law and a destitute widow as well. Once back in Bethlehem Naomi’s close relative, a prominent Jewish man named Boaz falls in love with Ruth and marries her while in the process of redeeming Naomi’s land. Both these events were accomplished according to the Law. For Naomi it was the law of redemption (Lev 25:25), and for Ruth it was the law of leverite marriage (Deut. 25:5-6).
 
The modeling here is dramatic, with Naomi in the role of Israel, destitute and alone; Ruth as the Church, the gentile bride; Boaz as the Kinsman Redeemer (Messiah) and the story a prediction of the relationship between them. In the process of redeeming Israel, the Messiah takes a gentile bride. In doing so, He saves both from destitution and redeems Israel’s land. The identification of the Church with Pentecost began in the prophecies of Ruth. To learn more about these incredible prophecies, and enjoy one of the world’s classic love stories, read Ruth’s Story.
 
By the way, Boaz was the son of Rahab, the harlot from the Book of Joshua (read “The Gospel in Joshua … The Story of Rahab” ), and 3 generations later his great-grandson David became King of Israel. Rahab and Ruth both show up in the Genealogy of the Lord Jesus (Matt. 1:5), and King Solomon named one of the pillars at the entrance to the Temple after Boaz.
 
When’s Your Birthday?
 
By tradition Enoch, one of the patriarchs from Genesis 5, was born on the day later to be known as Pentecost. Enoch’s name means “teaching”, a primary function of the Church (Matt. 28:19-20) For this reason many scholars see him as a “type” of the church as well. Genesis 5:21-23 indicates that Enoch was very close to God and was actually taken live (raptured) into Heaven before the Great Flood. Pre-Trib scholars see this event as one of several Old Testament hints that the Church will disappear from Earth before the Great Tribulation.
 
These same traditions also hold that Enoch was taken on his birthday. So here’s a model in Genesis 5 of a man identified with the church being born and raptured on the day that would become Pentecost, the day the church was also born. Will the Church be raptured on our birthday too? Personally I don’t believe the Rapture of the Church will be the prophetic fulfillment of any of Israel’s Holy Days. But if I’m wrong and the Rapture does fulfill a Jewish Feast, Pentecost is by far the most obvious candidate.
 
As you probably know, I believe the reason no one on Earth can accurately predict the day of the Rapture is because it’s a number specific event, not a date specific one. In Romans 11:25 Paul implied the church has a “full number”, when its ranks will be considered complete. When that number is reached the Church will “come in” which means it will arrive at its scheduled destination, like when a ship “comes in.” Jesus said the destination of the Church is His Father’s house (John 14:2). Put it together and I believe it means we’ll be raptured as soon as the pre-determined number of Christians has been born again, no matter what day of the week it is.
 
Soon And Very Soon
 
One day soon now, all who are in Christ, having heard and believed the Word of Truth, the Gospel of our salvation (thereby receiving the mark of the promised Holy Spirit) will suddenly disappear from the face of the Earth along with all children and those mentally incapable of making informed choices. In one instant we will have been going about our daily routines on Earth and in the next we’ll be standing in the presence of our Redeemer, our sins forgiven and forgotten, and all our imperfections gone. Among us will be all the faithful dead of the Church Age, reunited with perfected bodies and restored to eternal physical life. Together we will begin the most incredible journey of exploration and realization ever dreamed of.
 
Neither we, nor the unbelieving world, will have received any advance warning of the timing for this event; it will have come totally by surprise. Maybe it will happen on Pentecost, maybe not. But one thing is certain, when it does happen, none of us will care one whit whether we had predicted it’s timing accurately. We will only express in unimaginable joy our gratitude for being there. For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephe. 2:8-9) As it is written: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him – but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. (1 Cor. 2:9-10). You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.
 

The God Without … Thanksgiving Message

The God Without … Thanksgiving Message – by Jack Kelley – www.gracethrufaith.com
 
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
 
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.   For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100)
 
 
On Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving in the US. It’s a holiday begun by the early settlers to express their gratitude to God for a bountiful harvest, and it’s patterned after the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles.
 
Each fall in ancient Israel Jews from all over the country would gather in Jerusalem for a week long celebration. This was to commemorate the time God had spent with them in the wilderness and to give thanks for another good harvest. All year they saved up their tithes, the first born of their flocks and herds, the first sheaves of grain, the first grapes, figs, olives and other fruit and vegetables and brought it all to Jerusalem where they cooked and ate it all in a national celebration of praise.
 
After surviving a very difficult year in the new world, the Pilgrims of New England instituted a similar, though much smaller, thanksgiving feast again with the intent of praising God. It took a couple of centuries but this event finally became an official national holiday in the US.
 
I remember one of my early adult culture shocks, when on a family trip to New Zealand we arrived on Thanksgiving Day only to realize that it wasn’t a holiday there. Even while serving in the Navy, Thanksgiving was always celebrated no matter where the ship I was on happened to be. It wasn’t that I didn’t know it’s an American Holiday; it’s just that it felt funny missing its observance.
 
(We felt the same way upon arriving in Mexico, so now the American missionaries here help us serve a traditional Thanksgiving dinner to everyone in our church after the first Sunday service following Thanksgiving. This year we’ll cook dinner for nearly 250 of our Mexican brothers and sisters as a way of thanking the Lord for His blessings.)
 
Growing up, our family always remembered that it was the Lord Who had provided for us so generously and so Thanksgiving was almost a religious observance in our house. Prayers were offered and each family member gave thanks for all the nice things the Lord had done for us.
 
We believed, as the Bible tells us, that even though my parents worked hard all year, it was the Lord who had given them their strength and ability and created opportunities for them. (Deut. 8:17-18) After all lots of people work hard all their lives and never seem to get anywhere. It’s not that we were so well off, but that we knew where our blessings had come from.
 
As an adult I got involved in the self-development field and began hearing about the “god within”, an internal force I could tap into and use to “maximize my potential.” This appealed to my ego and made me seem like the master of my own fate. I forgot all about the Lord’s admonition to remember Him. When I was born again at age 40 I finally saw that this “god within” was really the “God without” Who had been blessing me all along even though I was taking all the credit. Once, as I was praying about this, the phrase “God Without” kept repeating itself in my mind. Was the Lord trying to tell me something?
 
The word “without” applies to lots of things where the Lord is concerned, and as I continued to pray several of them came to mind. If you’re looking for things to give thanks for (even if you live in a country where Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated) try some of these “withouts”. I’ll bet the Lord will bring more to your mind.
 
Love Without Limits … For God so loved the world that He gave His only Beloved Son, that whoever believed in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
 
Forgiveness Without Question … Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matt 7:7) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
 
Performance Without Exception … All that the Father gives me will come to me and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. And this is the will of Him Who sent me, that that I shall lose none of all that He has given me, but raise them up on the last day. (John 6:37, 39)
 
Promise Without Equivocation … I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times what is still to come. I say, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please … what I have said, that will I bring about and what I have planned, that will I do.” (Isaiah 46:10-11)
 
Blessings Without Number … You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country (wherever you are). The fruit of your womb will be blessed (your children), and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock-the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks (your work). Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed (you’ll have plenty of food). You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out (when you come home at night and when you leave in the morning). (Deut 28:3-6)
 
Mercy Without Measure …. It is because of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
 
Faithfulness Without Failing … Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. (Deut. 7:9)
 
Redemption Without Retraction … In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1:5-8)
 
Salvation Without Merit … But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:4-7).
 
Grace Without Guilt … Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)
 
So in a time when mankind has all but forgotten that the Lord is the Giver of every good and perfect gift, the Author of all our victories, who arranges every opportunity and fashions every blessing, these “withouts” might serve as good reminders to give thanks where thanks is due.
 
And now may “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
 

Leave Jerusalem Alone

Leave Jerusalem Alone – This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley – www.gracethrufaith.com
 
250 Israeli Rabbis Sign Letter to Obama: “Hands off Jerusalem”
 
In a reference to the upcoming “nine days” which culminate in Tisha B’Av, the rabbis tell US Pres. Obama that “during these days, in which the Jewish people mourn the destruction of Jerusalem and mark the disgraceful memory of its destroyers, we are certain that you, Mr. Barack Obama, do not want to enter that disreputable list of those who raise their hand to strike Jerusalem and those who live in it.”
 
The rabbinical letter ends with a clear request: “If you, Mr. Obama, wish to leave any chance at all for peace and quiet in the Middle East, take your hands off the Holy City of Jerusalem right now!”
 
 
Two hundred and fifty rabbis have signed the appeal, and efforts are being made to collect the signatures of every rabbi in Israel before the letter is sent to Washington. (Source: A7News)
 
Tisha B’Av is a particularly sad day for Jews. Both the first and Second Temples were destroyed on that day, and down through history a number of other religious and national catastrophes have occurred on the 9th of Av as well.   The nine days mentioned above refer to the first nine days of Av, a time of national mourning for these events that culminates on the 9th, Tisha B’Av. This year Tisha B’Av falls on July 30 so the nine days of mourning began on July 22.
 
The chain of events that resulted in this letter began in 1948 when Jordan attacked the newly created state of Israel and captured the Eastern part of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount. All of the city had been given to Israel by the UN. 19 years later Israel got it back in the 6 Day War and annexed it, reuniting the city. Since then several hundred thousand Jews have made Eastern Jerusalem and its suburbs their home. But the international community has never accepted the legality of the annexation. It calls the neighborhoods they live in “settlements” and the so-called Road Map agreement forbids additional settlement construction until Jerusalem’s final status has been negotiated. Will it remain undivided as Israel’s capitol, or will it be divided again with the Eastern part becoming the capitol of a future Palestinian state?
 
Israelis are united in their view that all of Jerusalem is legally theirs and it must never be divided again. That’s why PM Netanyahu has flatly rejected the world’s demand that he deny permission for an empty building in East Jerusalem already under Jewish ownership to be converted into apartments. This construction project, financed by Miami Beach philanthropist Irving Moskowitz, is located mere yards from Israel’s national police headquarters and other government ministries, and only a few blocks from the country’s prestigious Hebrew University.
 
Here’s How It All Began
 
The Jewish claim to Jerusalem is over 3,000 years old. While the Jews were still in the wilderness, God told them he was going to name a place for them to worship Him after they entered the Promised Land. (Deut. 12:5) But it wasn’t until David was King, several hundred years later, that God chose Jerusalem to be that place.
 
“Since the day I brought my people out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city in any tribe of Israel to have a temple built for my Name to be there, nor have I chosen anyone to be the leader over my people Israel. But now I have chosen Jerusalem for my Name to be there, and I have chosen David to rule my people Israel.” (2 chronicles 6:5-6)
 
Once God had selected a location, Satan wanted it as well. He had already duped Adam and Eve into forfeiting their dominion over earth to him. But unless he has possession of Jerusalem, he doesn’t really have possession of Earth. Three times the Lord Himself called Satan the prince of this world (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11). And Paul said he’s the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4). Satan needs Jerusalem to perfect his claim to planet Earth. This is why the final battle for control of Earth will be fought over Jerusalem.
 
Jerusalem has no natural harbor. It isn’t situated astride any major trade route. Nor is it a gateway city. It’s not a banking or industrial or commercial or medical or hi-tech center. It has no natural resources. While it’s too hilly for an airport it doesn’t command any strategic high ground. It has nothing at all to commend it except for the fact the God chose it for Himself. And to Satan that makes it the most desirable piece of real estate on the planet.
 
Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians as part of God’s judgment against them for their idolatry, but even as He was sending them away He promised He’d bring them back.
 
This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:10-11)
 
He fulfilled this promise in what came to be known as the first regathering of Israel. But even before the first one, God had Isaiah promise there would also be a second regathering, because once more Israel would be scattered and again Jerusalem would be destroyed. The second destruction began in 69-70 AD when Jerusalem was burned to the ground and by 135AD the nation had ceased to exist altogether.
 
This time there was no predetermined date known to man when Israel would rise again and as the centuries passed most Gentiles assumed that God had abandoned His people and transferred His blessings to the Church, even though the prophets had said otherwise. But at the end of the 19th Century the hearts of Jews around the world were stirred and the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy began to look like a real possibility after all.
 
In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. (Isaiah 11:11-12)
 
Even though the Zionist movement began on the eve of the 20th Century, and the Balfor Declaration laid the ground work for a Jewish homeland in 1917, this second regathering officially began in 1948 and continues to this day. Immediately Satan called his troops to battle and before the ink was dry on the UN declaration that made Israel a nation again, they were at war. By the time it was over, half the Holy City had been captured. 19 years later in June of 1967 Israel reunited Jerusalem in the Six Day War.
 
Who’s Behind This?
 
As you can see, the fight for Jerusalem isn’t really between Arab and Israeli, or even between Molsem and Jew. Satan has simply stirred Israel’s enemies up for his own purposes, and as the Jews inch closer and closer to renewing their covenant with God and making Jerusalem the one place on Earth to worship Him again, Satan will make Israel’s enemies become more and more determined to stop them. He won’t give up until he has the whole world united against Jerusalem. But as we’ll see, it’s a losing strategy.
 
“I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.” (Zechariah 12:2-3)
 
Zechariah saw Israel’s victory over its neighbors happening in 2 stages. First, the nations surrounding Jerusalem will rise up against it, but they’ll be sent reeling. This will be accomplished in two fierce battles, one foretold in Psalm 83 and the other in Ezekiel 38-39. God will deliver a supernatural victory in Ezekiel’s battle to open Israel’s eyes and draw them back to Him and the land He gave them.
 
Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. (Ezekiel 39:28)
 
Then at the very end of the age, the anti-Christ will mobilize all the nations of Earth and gather them against Jerusalem for one final push. It too will end in failure.
 
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
 
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
 
Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh. (Rev. 19:11-16,19-21)
 
But In The Mean Time
 
The world is already pushing against Israel in a way never seen before. The US has demanded that this building in East Jerusalem not be renovated. The EU has condemned all “settlement” construction. Javier Solana wants the UN to set a date for unilaterally imposing the two state solution, dividing Jerusalem again. All the world powers have united against Israel in this matter. And this is just the beginning. But here’s the Lord’s response.
 
Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing. (Isaiah 40:15-17)
 
The LORD foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations. (Psalm 33:10-11)
 
This is what the LORD says: I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain. (Zechariah 8:3)
 
No other city has been so clearly and so decisively claimed by God as His own, so this isn’t about religion and it isn’t about politics. It’s about whether we’re on God’s side or on Satan’s. Those who set about to divide the only city on Earth God has claimed for Himself are taking a stand against Him personally (Psalm 2:2). and aligning themselves with Satan. And it’s not like there’s the slightest chance of succeeding. These men with their great armies who think they can push God and His people around haven’t got a clue as to how outmatched they are.
 
The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.” (Psalm 2:4-6)
 
From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth – He who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. (Psalm 33:13-16)
 
Nor is there any chance that God will change His mind or forget His promise to His people,
 
This is what the LORD says, He who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the LORD Almighty is his name: “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the LORD, “will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me.” (Jeremiah 31:35-36)
 
or give up and go away.
 
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. (Isaiah 62:1-2)
 
“And the name of the city from that time on will be: The LORD is There .” (Jehovah Shammah) (Ezekiel 48:35)
 
From all this it seems pretty clear that Jerusalem belongs to God forever, and there’s no chance that anyone trying to say otherwise will prevail. Current indications are that the US may moderate its position where Israel is concerned, and may adopt the Bush Administration position that trying to forbid construction that only accommodates natural growth is not practical.
 
Some are saying that Mr. Obama is beginning to realize that his grand appeal to the Moslem world hasn’t changed anything, so he’s decided “to avoid a situation where he gets nothing from Arab leaders and yet is at odds with the Jews.” Time will tell, but if true, this is good news for America.   After all, aren’t we in enough trouble with God already?

That magnificent, triple coincidence

That magnificent, triple coincidence – Jon B Cain – www.worldnetdaily.com
 
As the Fourth of July, 1826, approached, Thomas Jefferson lay wasting away in his bed at Monticello. His physical being was not cooperating with his brilliant mind, and he knew his time was short. Our beloved Founding Father had tried with all his might, and to the last ounce of his being, to remain alive until this sacred day.
 
His last earthly triumph was to survive until the 50th anniversary of the day he and his fellow revolutionaries announced our independence from the economic tyranny and the oppressive government of England. He was a patriot to the bone, and he loved this country to the death. All those around him feared he would not make it to that blessed day and that he would not fulfill his wish, for his body was failing and he was very weak.
 
It was nearly 1 o’clock on that summer afternoon, July 4, 1826, one of the greatest men ever to walk the Earth, had expired. Surrounded by many friends and family, Jefferson clutched a Bible, several books of Greek tragedy, manuscripts of Socrates, remnants of other great thinkers of history, and accounts of other successful civilizations that had risen to greatness, then collapsed in failure. He had learned much from their history. Jefferson vowed not to make the same mistakes of Rome or Greece, his brilliant, written architecture and verbal designs would see to that indeed. Jefferson was not an extremely pious man, but he knew the importance of God and felt the role He played in the forging of any successful republic. He relied on Him at this hour, as he did during other tribulations before this day.
 
All our founders’ inspiring, biblical quotes in one place – a must-have for your library: "America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations"
 
About 600 miles north at Quincy, Mass., John Adams lay in his deathbed as well, awaiting his faithful departure from Earth. Two days prior, Mr. Adams showed no signs of the fate to befall him. Surrounded by family and friends, and other notables, John Adams died only a few hours the latter of Mr. Jefferson, and also on the Fourth of July, 1826.
 
The last words uttered out of his struggling lips were: "Thomas Jefferson still survives," and then Mr. Adams fell silent forever.
 
Jefferson and his fellow founders forged a new document, a blueprint to design a better, stronger, more perfect union that would stand the temptations of men and their relentless quests for power. However, even the founders may not have foreseen what was to come, or could have conceived such maniacal stresses to our country’s foundations. These present tests to the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution have not yet succumbed her to the ravages of man’s greed, thus far. Jefferson and Adams, perhaps from beyond the grave, hold out hope that their magnificent design will not fail its intended purpose and our framers’ foundations will remain intact.
 
These great men helped found this nation and suffered greatly for it. But they knew the cause was just and the mission noble, for they understood that without freedom of the individual, tyranny and misery would forever rule men’s souls. Even the most ardent atheist could not ignore this magnificent, triple coincidence, and what I believe to be one of Divine providence. Two men, entwined in history and destiny, to both pass on that fateful day, within hours of one another, and for Adams to know Jefferson’s fate so immediately, was incredible indeed.
 
Long live the United States of America, not as our contemporaries may try and transform her into, but long live the America our Founding Fathers entrusted all of us to protect and preserve at all costs. This country was not created for man’s pleasure to bastardize or change into his own vision, or to have the audacity to believe it needs to be corrected in any manner whatever. This country is the greatest gift to mankind and the best hope for the world to prosper in peace and the preservation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
 

Freedom Ain’t Free

Freedom Ain’t Free www.khouse.org
 
We Americans have been taught from childhood about our rights, and we enjoy a glorious freedom and self-rule that we can easily take for granted. We don’t have to hold our Bible studies in secret for fear of the government. We don’t have to worry about being imprisoned for months or years without facing charges. We accept our freedoms as a normal way of life, easily forgetting that millions of people in other parts of the world do not enjoy the independence that we do.
 
As we approach and celebrate Independence Day in America, it is appropriate that we spend some time reflecting on our freedoms.
 
Throughout world history, the power-hungry have constantly fought to overpower and dominate others, whether overtly or through sneaky politicking. Freedom – whether political, religious, or spiritual – is wonderful to enjoy, but at the cost of great sacrifice and vigilant protection.   In America, we are the heirs of great sacrifices made to give us a heritage of freedom. Let us guard and protect this inheritance, and not squander it like ungrateful children. To keep our freedoms, we need to appreciate the cost. We need to be willing to understand the sacrifice ourselves, so that we have the same legacy to hand our children:
 
On Freedom:
 
"Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will." – Frederick Douglass
 
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." – Thomas Paine
 
"A right is not what someone gives you; it’s what no one can take from you." – Ramsey Clark
 
"You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man’s freedom. You can only be free if I am free." – Clarence Darrow [That is, even if you don’t like what your neighbor believes in, it’s still vital to protect his freedom.]
 
"So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men." – Voltaire
 
"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." – Wendell Phillips
 
"Freedom is never an achieved state; like electricity, we’ve got to keep generating it or the lights go out." – Wayne LaPierre
 
"If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too." – Somerset Maugham
 
"The land of the free will cease to be when it’s no longer the home of the brave."- Rick Gaber
 
"A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned — this is the sum of good government." – Thomas Jefferson
 
"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." – Samuel Adams
 
"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value." – Thomas Paine
 
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." – Galatians 5:1
 
"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." – John 8:36
 
When something is rare, it has more value, which is why gold and diamonds are valued more than sand. Freedom is growing rarer again – but it must be sought after, dug up, and cherished like the treasure it is. We have readers from around the world – many of which value freedom way beyond those of us who have an abundance of it.
 
Remember – "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required" – Luke 12:48

Jews and Greeks

 

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?" (Matthew 5:13 NKJV)

The United States has become a place of great religious diversity. Practically every religion is represented in this great land, and they all seem to be thriving. Americans are showing an increased interest in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Paganism. There’s even an assortment of Pagan sects for people to choose from. You can become a member of Wicca, you can be a devout Druid, or if you’re still having a hard time settling on one, you can join the Eclectic Pagan Society. The religious landscape is getting increasingly crowded, and the cross of Christ is becoming harder and harder to find.

It hasn’t always been this way. There was a time when American society was synonymous with the Christian faith. Just read what some of our founding fathers went on record as saying:

The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were . . . the general principles of Christianity . . . I will avow that I then believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God. -John Adams in a letter written on the day the Declaration of Independence was approved by Congress

We recognize no Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus !-Rev. Jonas Clarke or one in his company on April 18, 1775, on the eve of the Revolutionary War, after a British major ordered John Adams, John Hancock, and those with them to disperse in "the name of George the Sovereign King of England."

It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Patrick Henry in a speech to the House of Burgesses in May 1765

The list goes on, and it shows how far our nation has drifted in her attitude toward the Christian gospel. Now our children aren’t permitted to pray publicly in school, and the Ten Commandments can’t be displayed in our halls of justice.

Jesus declared that we’re the salt of the earth. I pray we would take our call seriously and act with a sense of urgency before we see all semblance of the gospel vanish from our society.

SHAVU’OT

SHAVU’OT

OR THE DAY OF

PENTECOST

Shavua is week in Hebrew, and Shavu’ot means 7 weeks, on the eve of the last day would be the beginning to the 50th day, from the second day of Passover “Pessah”. The second day of the Feast of Pessah was the Feast of First Fruits, on the Jewish calendar called “Omer”. The day our Messiah rose from the grave, it was the day of the Resurrection. It is also worth noting that the number fifty is the number for the Holy Spirit. So Yeshua said He would send the Holy Spirit, and He did it on the 50th day after His resurrection.

 

It is the second of the three Pilgrim festivals and it happen in Israel on the 6th of Sivan, (Jewish Calendar) this year on May 29th and everywhere but Israel for two days 29th and 30th.  It has other names in Hebrew such as Hag Ha-Katzir meaning Harvest Festival. It was when the ingathering of barley crop ended and the season of wheat harvest began. But Yom Ha-Kikkurim (Day of First Fruits or Shavu’ot in the Jewish World, and Pentecost in the Christian World)

 

According the Rabbis, this festival also commemorates the events at Sinai which traditionally occurred on the 6th of Sivan and have long overshadowed the original (agricultural) aspect of Shavu’ot. Therefore it is also called the giving of the Law (Torah)

 

Dairy products are generally eaten, and favorite dishes are cheesecakes and cheese pancakes. (Yiddish blintzes, pancakes) Here in Israel it is a state holiday, and a time for pilgrimage to Jerusalem. There is lots of dancing and folklore. Generally a very nice time to be in Israel.

 

Just thought you’d appreciate a little run down on this Biblical event in the Jewish world and should be part of the Christian world as well. In fact, there is much to learn about your Jewish roots http://www.thegoldenreport.com/jewishinformation.asp .

 

Shalom, jerry golden

A Physician’s View of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ

A Physician’s View of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ – By Dr. C. Truman Davis – www.cbn.com
 
About a decade ago, reading Jim Bishop’s The Day Christ Died, I realized that I had for years taken the Crucifixion more or less for granted — that I had grown callous to its horror by a too easy familiarity with the grim details and a too distant friendship with our Lord. It finally occurred to me that, though a physician, I didn’t even know the actual immediate cause of death. The Gospel writers don’t help us much on this point, because crucifixion and scourging were so common during their lifetime that they apparently considered a detailed description unnecessary.
 
So we have only the concise words of the Evangelists: “Pilate, having scourged Jesus, delivered Him to them to be crucified — and they crucified Him.” I have no competence to discuss the infinite psychic and spiritual suffering of the Incarnate God atoning for the sins of fallen man. But it seemed to me that as a physician I might pursue the physiological and anatomical aspects of our Lord’s passion in some detail.
 
What did the body of Jesus of Nazareth actually endure during those hours of torture? 
 
This led me first to a study of the practice of crucifixion itself; that is, torture and execution by fixation to a cross. I am indebted to many who have studied this subject in the past, and especially to a contemporary colleague, Dr. Pierre Barbet, a French surgeon who has done exhaustive historical and experimental research and has written extensively on the subject.
 
Apparently, the first known practice of crucifixion was by the Persians. Alexander and his generals brought it back to the Mediterranean world — to Egypt and to Carthage. The Romans apparently learned the practice from the Carthaginians and (as with almost everything the Romans did) rapidly developed a very high degree of efficiency and skill at it. A number of Roman authors (Livy, Cicer, Tacitus) comment on crucifixion, and several innovations, modifications, and variations are described in the ancient literature. For instance, the upright portion of the cross (or stipes) could have the cross-arm (or patibulum) attached two or three feet below its top in what we commonly think of as the Latin cross. The most common form used in our Lord’s day, however, was the Tau cross, shaped like our T.
 
In this cross, the patibulum was placed in a notch at the top of the stipes. There is archeological evidence that it was on this type of cross that Jesus was crucified. Without any historical or biblical proof, Medieval and Renaissance painters have given us our picture of Christ carrying the entire cross. But the upright post, or stipes, was generally fixed permanently in the ground at the site of execution and the condemned man was forced to carry the patibulum, weighing about 110 pounds, from the prison to the place of execution. 
 
Many of the painters and most of the sculptors of crucifixion, also show the nails through the palms. Historical Roman accounts and experimental work have established that the nails were driven between the small bones of the wrists (radial and ulna) and not through the palms. Nails driven through the palms will strip out between the fingers when made to support the weight of the human body. The misconception may have come about through a misunderstanding of Jesus’ words to Thomas, “Observe my hands.” Anatomists, both modern and ancient, have always considered the wrist as part of the hand. 
 
A titulus, or small sign, stating the victim’s crime was usually placed on a staff, carried at the front of the procession from the prison, and later nailed to the cross so that it extended above the head. This sign with its staff nailed to the top of the cross would have given it somewhat the characteristic form of the Latin cross.
 
But, of course, the physical passion of the Christ began in Gethsemane. Of the many aspects of this initial suffering, the one of greatest physiological interest is the bloody sweat. It is interesting that St. Luke, the physician, is the only one to mention this. He says, “And being in agony, He prayed the longer. And His sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.” Every ruse (trick) imaginable has been used by modern scholars to explain away this description, apparently under the mistaken impression that this just doesn’t happen. A great deal of effort could have been saved had the doubters consulted the medical literature. Though very rare, the phenomenon of Hematidrosis, or bloody sweat, is well documented. Under great emotional stress of the kind our Lord suffered, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat. This process might well have produced marked weakness and possible shock. 
 
After the arrest in the middle of the night, Jesus was next brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiphus, the High Priest; it is here that the first physical trauma was inflicted. A soldier struck Jesus across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiphus. The palace guards then blind-folded Him and mockingly taunted Him to identify them as they each passed by, spat upon Him, and struck Him in the face. 
 
In the early morning, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted from a sleepless night, Jesus is taken across the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia, the seat of government of the Procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate. You are, of course, familiar with Pilate’s action in attempting to pass responsibility to Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Judea. Jesus apparently suffered no physical mistreatment at the hands of Herod and was returned to Pilate.
 
It was then, in response to the cries of the mob, that Pilate ordered Bar-Abbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion. There is much disagreement among authorities about the unusual scourging as a prelude to crucifixion. Most Roman writers from this period do not associate the two. Many scholars believe that Pilate originally ordered Jesus scourged as his full punishment and that the death sentence by crucifixion came only in response to the taunt by the mob that the Procurator was not properly defending Caesar against this pretender who allegedly claimed to be the King of the Jews. Preparations for the scourging were carried out when the Prisoner was stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head. It is doubtful the Romans would have made any attempt to follow the Jewish law in this matter, but the Jews had an ancient law prohibiting more than forty lashes. The Roman legionnaire steps forward with the flagrum (or flagellum) in his hand. This is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the ends of each. The heavy whip is brought down with full force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back, and legs.
 
At first the thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles. The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broken open by subsequent blows. Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is finally stopped. The half-fainting Jesus is then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with His own blood.
 
The Roman soldiers see a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be king. They throw a robe across His shoulders and place a stick in His hand for a scepter. They still need a crown to make their travesty complete. Flexible branches covered with long thorns (commonly used in bundles for firewood) are plaited into the shape of a crown and this is pressed into His scalp. Again there is copious bleeding, the scalp being one of the most vascular areas of the body.
 
After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers take the stick from His hand and strike Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp. Finally, they tire of their sadistic sport and the robe is torn from His back. Already having adhered to the clots of blood and serum in the wounds, its removal causes excruciating pain just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, and almost as though He were again being whipped the wounds once more begin to bleed. In deference to Jewish custom, the Romans return His garments. The heavy patibulum of the cross is tied across His shoulders, and the procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves, and the execution detail of Roman soldiers headed by a centurion begins its slow journey along the Via Dolorosa.
 
In spite of His efforts to walk erect, the weight of the heavy wooden beam, together with the shock produced by copious blood loss, is too much. He stumbles and falls. The rough wood of the beam gouges into the lacerated skin and muscles of the shoulders. He tries to rise, but human muscles have been pushed beyond their endurance. The centurion, anxious to get on with the crucifixion, selects a stalwart North African onlooker, Simon of Cyrene, to carry the cross. Jesus follows, still bleeding and sweating the cold, clammy sweat of shock, until the 650 yard journey from the fortress Antonia to Golgotha is finally completed. Jesus is offered wine mixed with myrrh, a mild analgesic mixture. He refuses to drink. Simon is ordered to place the patibulum on the ground and Jesus quickly thrown backward with His shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square, wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms to tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The patibulum is then lifted in place at the top of the stipes and the titulus reading, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews,” is nailed in place.
 
The left foot is now pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed. The Victim is now crucified. As He slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain — the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves.
 
As He pushes Himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet. At this point, as the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by his arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, he is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen.
 
It was undoubtedly during these periods that He uttered the seven short sentences recorded:
 
The first, looking down at the Roman soldiers throwing dice for His seamless garment, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
 
The second, to the penitent thief, “Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise.”
 
The third, looking down at the terrified, grief-stricken adolescent John — the beloved Apostle — he said, “Behold thy mother.” Then, looking to His mother Mary, “Woman behold thy son.”
 
The fourth cry is from the beginning of the 22nd Psalm, “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?” 
 
Jesus experienced hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain where tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins — a terrible crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. One remembers again the 22nd Psalm, the 14th verse: “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.” 
 
It is now almost over. The loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level; the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissue; the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain. Jesus gasps His fifth cry, “I thirst.” One remembers another verse from the prophetic 22nd Psalm: “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou has brought me into the dust of death.” A sponge soaked in posca, the cheap, sour wine which is the staple drink of the Roman legionaries, is lifted to His lips. He apparently doesn’t take any of the liquid.
 
The body of Jesus is now in extremes, and He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. This realization brings out His sixth words, possibly little more than a tortured whisper, “It is finished.” His mission of atonement has completed. Finally He can allow his body to die.
 
With one last surge of strength, he once again presses His torn feet against the nail, straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His seventh and last cry, “Father! Into thy hands I commit my spirit.” 
 
The rest you know. In order that the Sabbath not be profaned, the Jews asked that the condemned men be dispatched and removed from the crosses. The common method of ending a crucifixion was by crurifracture, the breaking of the bones of the legs. This prevented the victim from pushing himself upward; thus the tension could not be relieved from the muscles of the chest and rapid suffocation occurred. The legs of the two thieves were broken, but when the soldiers came to Jesus they saw that this was unnecessary. 
 
Apparently, to make doubly sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance through the fifth interspace between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. The 34th verse of the 19th chapter of the Gospel according to St. John reports: “And immediately there came out blood and water.” That is, there was an escape of water fluid from the sac surrounding the heart, giving postmortem evidence that Our Lord died not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure (a broken heart) due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium. 
 
Thus we have had our glimpse — including the medical evidence — of that epitome of evil which man has exhibited toward Man and toward God. It has been a terrible sight, and more than enough to leave us despondent and depressed. How grateful we can be that we have the great sequel in the infinite mercy of God toward man — at once the miracle of the atonement (at one ment) and the expectation of the triumphant Easter morning.
 
Are you moved by what Jesus did for you on the cross? Do you want to receive the salvation Jesus purchased for you at Calvary with His own blood? Pray this prayer with me:
 
Dear Lord Jesus,
 
I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins and rose from the grave to give me life. I know You are the only way to God so now I want to quit disobeying You and start living for You. Please forgive me, change my life and show me how to know You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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