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Posts tagged ‘19° Century’

Different approach in organisation of services #1

Based in a Catholic country

The Belgian Bible Students and the Belgian Free Christadelphians both started a new year like the Catholic Church in Belgium and the schools, universities and clubs started a new year.

For the Catholic Church and for us there is the promise to the young girl Miriam (Mary/Maria) which let us look at the beginning of a new era, the time of salvation at hand. We, in contrast with our brethren and sisters from the Central Fellowship, like the CBM and CIL Christadelphians, start already now with reading about the Glad Tidings and the beginnings of the New Testament. The members of the Belgian Free Christadelphians in their ecclesiae follow the Bible Reading Plan by Robert Roberts and start only on the 1st of January with Genesis 1 & 2 plus Matthew 1 & 2.

Because there are so many Catholics in this country we like to show them from their readings, their religious year readings, what the Bible really says. Because every year they choose an other Gospel author as their main writer which they will follow, we also do take that writer his writings to put in the spotlight. It is a matter of coming closer to them and to have a better play on the ball with their readings and their traditions.

Different traditions

About those traditions, the Bible Students and several Amended Christadelphians may have a different feeling, because some Central Christadelphians join the pagan Christian festival and celebrate Christmas and Boxing Day. For us the real birth of Christ,on the 17th of October 4BCE is an other good reason to start in September/October with the new ‘church year’. But we do have to abstain from the pagan based holidays, like Christmas and the Catholic and some Protestants their Easter. The Easter we do have to celebrate and which the Free Christadelphians in Belgium also keep to is the remembrance day installed by Jesus Christ before he was going to die, on the 14th of Nisan.
Like the Belgian Catholics we may find that there is a time of advent in the Autumn, a preparation time to receive and celebrate the Good News of the one who brought us the Kingdom of God. Last year we looked at Luke and this year we shall therefore have a closer look to the Book of Matthew, the 1st book of the New Testament. There are more allusions to the Old Testament in this Gospel than in the others. It was clearly written for Jewish Christians, the purpose being to prove that Jesus was the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament and therefore it is also a very good book to introduce to those who do not know Jesus or to those who have a wrong view of this Nazarene man.

This year the Free Christadelphians in Belgium, like us, looked back at the awful year they had, and showed their good spirit to stand up again and to go forwards through the breakers which dash against our coast. The ecclesia Brussel-Leuven also found it wise to give an idea how the Christadelphian movement came into being and how it developed.

In the Gospel of Matthew is written how the Lord Jesus himself announced the work of Harvest of the Gospel Age.

“Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”” (Matthew 13:30 NIV)

Adolf Daens, Flemish Jesuit priest from Aalst who is especially known for his socio-political involvement after he joined the diocesan clergy. He created the Daensist movement from which originated in 1893 the Christene Volkspartij inspired by Leo XIII's encyclical Rerum Novarum.

Adolf Daens (1839–1907) Flemish priest from Aalst. Daens was a Jesuit from 1859 to 1871 but is especially known for his socio-political involvement after he joined the diocesan clergy. He created the Daensist movement from which originated in 1893 the Christene Volkspartij inspired by Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum. The Christene Volkspartij forced the radicalisation and democratisation of the Catholic party.

Sowing the seeds in the 19° century

Dr. John Thomas (1805–1871) founder of the Christadelphian movement, a Restorationist religion with doctrines similar in part to some 16th-century Antitrinitarian Rationalist Socinians and the 16th-century Swiss-German pacifist Anabaptists. - Dr. John Thomas (1805-1871) grondlegger van de Christadelphian beweging, een herstellers van religie groepering met doctrines vergelijkbaar voor een deel met een aantal 16e-eeuwse Antitrinitarische Rationalistische Socinianen en de 16e-eeuwse Duits-Zwitserse pacifistische wederdopers of Anabaptisten.

Dr. John Thomas (1805–1871) founder of the Christadelphian movement, a Restorationist religion with doctrines similar in part to some 16th-century Antitrinitarian Rationalist Socinians and the 16th-century Swiss-German pacifist Anabaptists.

Brother John Thomas in the 19° century tried to sow the seeds. He found many listening ears. One of them was Brother Charles Taze Russell who visited Antwerp and Brussels in 1891. Already at that time the fresh new country seemed to struggle with the Gospel Faith. The Roman Catholic Church was a very strong bastion with her hand in the political system and favouring the rich instead of helping the poor, priest Adolf and his brother Pieter Daens, or Pie Donsj for those from Aalst, an exception.

Brother Charles met there a Christendom that was ignorant of biblical truth. The fear of the clergy and of the fire of hell, doctrine that has no foundation in the Scripture, kept people away from opening the Bible.  But the Catholic Church had taken care that the people would not come to see the truth, by forbidding them to read the Bible. Mass was done in Latin and the readings as such, in that language, did not say so much to the people, who had not studied enough to get to know Latin and Greek.

The Bible translations in Dutch, French or German were forbidden and blacklisted.

Walloon grocery and mining

Because there was so much French spoken Russell did find it a good idea to have a modest Swiss forestry worker named Adolphe Weber to proclaim “the good news of great joy” in the French speaking countries of Europe. Adolphe Weber began the translation in French of books of the “present truth” and published in Swiss, French and Belgian daily newspapers advertisements referring to the first volume of the studies in the Scriptures and some booklets.

Location in the municipality of Charleroi

Jumet is a section of the Belgian town of Charleroi within the Walloon region in the province of Hainaut. It was a commune of its own before the merger of the communes in 1977. – Location in the municipality of Charleroi

In 1901, a grocer named Jean-Baptiste Tilmant (father) working in Jumet-Gohissart, city located near Charleroi, answered one of these advertisements and asked for some literature. As a result, a small group of bible students started meetings at his house in 1902 and used material from Russell.

Urged by his desire to know more about the truth, Jean-Baptiste Tilmant wrote to the Swiss brother asking to receive more information. As an answer to his demand, Brother Weber came to Charleroi during his missionary tour, to strengthen the faith of this small group.
In 1903, the periodical “lighthouse of Zion Tower” was published in French for the first time. The light of truth began to
shine so brightly in this mining area. Indeed, each Sunday morning, a small group of Biblestudentsastheywerecalledat the time, were going “in the fields” to sow the seeds of truth contained in this eight pages periodical; they waited for instance at the exit of churches. That is how the two first editions of “Zion’s Watch Tower” were largely distributed.

Borderareas

The Borinage is an area in the Walloon province of Hainaut in Belgium

The small group of Jumet Gohissart pushed away the limits of its territory to the south in the French part of the country. Some time later, the truth of God’s Kingdom also expended among the Flemish population.

In the month of august 1904, ten years before the First World War, these brave messengers of the Good News went to Denain in France, to offer booklets to people getting out from a Baptist temple. In Belgium and France the non-trinitarian Baptists mostly were not openly known, because of the fear of persecution.
The results of their activity was that two years later, a congregation started near Denain in Haveluy.
Jean Baptiste Tilmant and his friends continued to bravely preach the biblical truth and other groups appeared to face this big growth, a deposit of books was opened at brother’s Tilmant house in Jumet Gohisart and in 1906 a bible student community was founded in Denain.
The “Lighthouse” of August 1904, page 64, mentions for the first time the name and books from “Dawn”; (It has to be Volume I of the Studies in the Scriptures); subscriptions to the “Lighthouse” and request for free booklets and papers.
In 1906 the leaflets “Do you Know?” and the “Wage of sin” two other booklets and Volume 1 were to be published in Dutch and delivered in Brussels.
In 1908 Heinrich Brinkhoff published the first edition of The Watchtower in Dutch: De Wachttoren

Throwing pearls to pigs

Around 1910, François Caré who had known the truth in France went to Liège to a protestant friend named Edouard Verdière. He could not help it speaking with him about the truth. He wanted to help him leaving the false religion. His friend was so opposed to the message of brother Caré that at the end he finished by telling him
“ I don’t want to argue with you any longer , I don’t want to throw pearls to pigs “
After these words, he went to bed , these words bothered Mr Verdière all night long. The next morning, he asked brother Caré to tell him what he meant. He told him that he will no longer speak about the truth to him because he did not appreciate the “pearls” he was offering him. After this explanation, his friend became more conciliating so that after his return to France brother Caré started to send him regularly periodicals. He also dispatched a few volumes of Studies in the Scriptures. It did not last long before Edouard Verdière accepted the Truth and even began to speak in public. In another district of Belgium, light began to break through the darkness.

From Catholicism to Protestantism to coming in the Truth

The Rosary (from Latin rosarium, meaning “Crown of Roses” or “garland of roses” , in its most commonly known format as the Dominican rosary, is a form of prayer used especially in the Catholic Church or a string of prayer beads used to count the component prayers

In the coalmine where he worked, Edouard Verdière had a colleague named Léonard Smets searching the truth. He was a sincere catholic; he diligently attended religious services with his family. He used to pray with a rosary. This man from Flemish origin lived in Heure-le Romain near Vivegnis (Liège). In 1900, a protestant offered him a Bible saying, “I have the Book of God”. Another day, at the confessional, Léonard Smets confessed to the priest that he was reading the Holy Scriptures. The priest said that if he still wanted to receive absolution for his sins he had to give back his Bible. From that day on, Léonard did not attend the service any-more. He thought,

“If they are sincere, they will come to meet me, because they have to come and catch back the lost sheep”.
However, the priest never came to see him. Léonard Smets began to attend the protestant temple.
File:Collegiale-Thann-p1010106.jpg

A confessional is a small, enclosed booth used for the Sacrament of Penance, often called confession, or Reconciliation. It is the usual venue for the sacrament in the Roman Catholic Church. – Traditional confessional in Saint-Thiébaut Church, Thann, France

Even on his working place, in the coalmine, Smets was reading the New Testament. One day, Vedière noticed it. He was curious to know which his religion was; he began to sing a protestant hymn. “I was protestant”, answered brother Verdière “but I have something better for you.” He offered him a copy of the “watchtower of Zion” and witnessed with all his strength of the truth. It happened in 1912. Léonard Smets did not keep this truth for himself; he shared it with a Flemish colleague named Joseph Poelmans, father of seven children. He was disillusioned by the teachings of  Catholicism and chose Protestantism. However when he read the periodical that Smets gave him, he recognised the accent of truth.

Later, the three coalminers Verdière, Smets and Poelmans questioned the protestant minister of religion of Herstal (Liège) about the doctrine of immortality, trinity and Hell. Instead of helping them, the pastor was very angry and threw them out. They realised he was not better than the catholic priest, so they decided to meet and to study the Scripture with the help of the books they received from France.
In 1908 5000 “watch Towers” were distributed in Belgium.
In 1911 Brother Russell could only stop for a few minutes in Liège where dear brethren Pétré and some others were waiting to greet him on the train: sister Miss Peerkings (an English sister living in Liège where she learned about the Truth) served as an translator. With the same train, Brother Russell arrived in Charleroi where he took the road to arrive in Denain in the evening.
Joseph Franklin Rutherford (1869–1942), also known as "Judge" Rutherford, president of the incorporated Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, who played a primary role in the organization and doctrinal development of Jehovah's Witnesses. - Joseph Franklin Rutherford (1869-1942), ook wel bekend als "Rechter" Rutherford, voorzitter van het Wachttorengenootschap, die een primaire rol in de organisatie en leerstellige ontwikkeling van Jehovah's Getuigen had.

Joseph Franklin Rutherford (1869–1942), also known as “Judge” Rutherford, president of the incorporated Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, who played a primary role in the organization and doctrinal development of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

In 1912, there were seven municipalities: Haine-Saint-Paul, Flémalle-Haute, Engis, Amay, Ampsin, Liège and JumetGohissart. Each of these groups was organizing monthly meetings and was welcoming Brother Weber from the Swiss office for periodical visits.

At Pentecost on June 26th and 27th 1912 there was a a general meeting or their first general assembly in Jumet Gohissart.

Brother Rutherford was in Jumet on Monday 22nd September for a private meeting.

The group also grew strongly in the most northern part of France and in 1913 more than 1,000 people attended a lecture by Joseph Franklin Rutherford when he visited Denain. On August 31, 1913 70 Belgian supporters visited a conference in Paris where Russell was present.

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To be continued: Different approach in organisation of services #2

Dutch version / Nederlandse versie: Andere aanpak in de organisatie van de diensten # 1

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Please do find out more about the Christadelphians:

  1. Not all christians are followers of a Greco-Roman culture
  2. Two new encyclopaedic articles
  3. Who are the Christadelphians
  4. What are Brothers in Christ
  5. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  6. Christadelphian people
  7. Christadelphians or Messianic Christians or Messianic Jews
  8. About the Belgian Free Christadelphians
  9. What Christadelphians teach
  10. Small churches of the few Christadelphians
  11. Priority to form a loving brotherhood
  12. 19° Century London Christadelphians
  13. Breathing and growing with no heir
  14. Commitment to Christian unity
  15.  Parts of the body of Christ
  16. What part of the Body am I?
  17. The Church, Body of Christ and remnant Israel synonymous
  18. United people under Christ
  19. Fellowship
  20. The Ecclesia
  21. The Ecclesia in the churchsystem
  22. The ecclesia or Christadelphian church
  23. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  24. Our ecclesia or Christadelphian-church
  25. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  26. An ecclesia in your neighbourhood
  27. Communion and day of worship
  28. Christadelphians today
  29. Small churches of the few Christadelphians
  30. Who Celebrates Easter as Religious Holiday
  31. Eostre, Easter, White god, chocolate eggs, Easter bunnies and metaphorical resurrection
  32. Harvest in Belgium
  33. Biblestudents & T.C.Russell
  34. About the Belgian Biblestudents
  35. What the Belgian Biblestudents believe
  • 37 “Theses” Nailed to the Front Door of the First Baptist, Evangelical, Protestant Church (blackchristiannews.com)
    Some may think that it is prestigiousto be invited to meet with the Pope and to go and actually meet with the Pope. But it is not. In fact, it is foolishness and dangerous. And it flies in the face of what we have learned from church history about the thousands of people whose bloodwas shed because they opposed false Catholic teachings. We believe that this is a Satanic attempt to soften up the true church of Christ so that the Pope can, in the future, gain influence over Baptists, Evangelicals, and Protestants, and get them toparticipate in doing things that are contrary to Christ and the Bible.Many scholars believe that the “Great Whore” of Revelation is the Catholic Church situated in Vatican City in Rome. According to Christian apologist Dave Hunt, “There is only one city on the earth which, in both historical and contemporary perspectives, passes every test John gives, including its identification as Mystery Babylon. That city is Rome, and more specifically, Vatican City…The first thing we are told about the woman is that she is a ‘whore’… Against only one other city in history could a charge of fornication be leveled. That city is Rome, and more specifically Vatican City.”
  • Event Transcript: Religion in Latin America (pewforum.org)
    Latin America is home to more than 425 million Catholics – nearly 40% of the world’s total Catholic population – and the Roman Catholic Church now has a Latin American pope for the first time in its history. Yet identification with Catholicism has declined throughout the region, according to a major new Pew Research Center survey that examines religious affiliations, beliefs and practices in 18 Latin American countries and one U.S. territory (Puerto Rico).Historical data suggest that for most of the 20th century, from 1900 through the 1960s, at least 90% of Latin America’s population was Catholic. Today, the Pew Research survey shows, 69% of adults across the region identify as Catholic. In nearly every country surveyed, the Catholic Church has experienced net losses from religious switching, as many Latin Americans have joined evangelical Protestant churches or rejected organized religion altogether.
  • Vatican lifts ban on married priests for Eastern Catholic churches in U.S., Canada, Australia… (catholicculture.org)
    The Vatican has lifted a longstandingbanonthe ordination of married men to the priesthood in the Eastern Catholic churches.The tradition and discipline of the Eastern churches allowsforthe ordination of married men to the priesthood. (Bishopsmust be unmarried, however, and once ordained, a priest cannot marry.) The Vatican has repeatedly approved this tradition, while insistingonthe importance of priestly celibacy in the Latin rite.However, in the late 19th century, with the arrival of many Byzantine Catholic immigrants in Canada, Latin-rite prelates complained thatthe presence of married Catholic priests could create a “grave scandal.” The Vatican eventually ruled that the Eastern churches could not ordain married men in the countries where their communities forma minority of the Catholic population. The rule has historically applied primarily to Canada, the US, and Australia.With a decree approved by Pope Francis, and signed on June 14 by Cardinal Leonard Sandri, the Congregation for the Eastern Churches has now rescinded that ban. Catholic bishops of the Eastern churches serving in eparchies (dioceses) in the West are explicitly authorized to ordain married men.
  • Catholic ‘cannibalism’ (cruxnow.com)
    One evening a couple of years ago, I saw a bloodstained Eucharistic host.It was displayed in a home in Worcester, Massachusetts, about a five-minute drive down the street from my house. The host was the sixth Eucharistic phenomena associated with the late Audrey Santo — a young woman who was left mute and motionless after an accident in 1987.Up until her death in 2007, “Little Audrey,” as she was called, became the focal point for intense devotion as a “victim soul” who offered up her own sufferings for the salvation of others. Her case also attracted intense criticism, particularly given the claims about supernatural happenings in her presence.
  • Priests as Husbands and Fathers? (nytimes.com)
    This week, Pope Francis announced plans to visit the United States in 2015. The trip will be watched for signs of how U.S. bishops are adapting to the shift in tone coming from the Vatican. Not only has Pope Francis called for an open discussion on the Catholic Church’s views on gays and divorce, he’s also talked about priestly celibacy — a policy that a growing number of Catholics are pushing to change. If clerical marriage became more common, how would the Catholic Church change?
  • Victims of historic child sex abuse speak out, after Catholic Church refuses to accept “liability” for the crimes of their priests (secularnewsdaily.com)
    The Catholic Church is refusing to accept “liability” for long-term sex abuse that went on at the Mirfield Junior Seminary, despite paying out £120,000 to eleven victims of child sex abuse.
  • Cleric urges girls, women to shun abortion (dailypost.ng)
    Olanrewaju, who is also a former Parish Priest of Saints Joachim and Anne Catholic Church,Ijegun, Lagos, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).He spoke at the end of a rally on `’Walk for Life” organised by the churchtosensitise public on the dangers of abortion to human life.Olanrewaju said: “abortion, in any form, is an irreparable harm done to the innocent.“Any female, who procures a completed abortion, incurs excommunication by the commission of the offence as provided by Canon Law of the Catholic Church.

    “Human life must be respected and recognised by the civil society and the state from the moment of conception as an embryo until death, “ he told NAN.

    The cleric also urged relevant authorities to provide appropriate sanctions for “every deliberate termination of human life”.

  • Florida High School Implements ShoreTel Mobility on iPads (shoretel.com)
    Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy High is a Roman Catholic college preparatory school of the Archdiocese of Miami, Florida. Located in nearby Southwest Ranches, with a student enrollment over 1,500, the high school is among the top private schools in the U.S. On the cutting edge of technology, McCarthy High School has a one-to-one iPad program to enhance the student learning environment.  Within the school’s progressive tech-savvy learning environment has been the ability to quickly reach teachers, anywhere anytime. Classrooms were not equipped with desk phones and the estimates to install them and wire the buildings were cost prohibitive. Also, the existing phone system and infrastructure were due for upgrades.
  • The Third Way ~ curated by Tom Cutts (UTS’83) (utsalumni.org)

    The Third Way: Homosexuality and the Catholic Church. A 40-minute documentary film focusing on the Catholic Church’s teachings regarding Homosexuality.

    “Original Sin for all of us, for every human being on this planet, has disoriented our desires. We often find ourselves hungry for things that do not satisfy the ache.”

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:1-7 – A Firstborn’s Birth In Bethlehem

Luke 2:1-7 – A Firstborn’s Birth In Bethlehem

LK2:1 Now it occurred in those days[1] that a decree[2] was sent out from Caesar Augustus[3] to register[4] all the inhabitants of the land.[5] LK2:2 This was the first census during the time Quirinius[6] was governor of Syria. LK2:3 So everyone traveled to register in their individual towns. LK2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee and the village of Nazareth to Judea and David’s village called Bethlehem.[7] LK2:5 Because his family was of David’s genealogy he registered there with his pregnant fiancée[8] Mary. LK2:6 And it came about while they were there it became the time for her to give birth. LK2:7 She gave birth to a son – her firstborn[9] – and then she wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them at the inn.[10]


[1] In those days: About 10 AD.

[2] Decree: The Greek is DOGMA.

[3] Caesar Augustus: The Roman Emperor died in 15 AD.

[4] Register: Or, taxed, census, registration.

[5] All the inhabitants of the land: The word may refer only to Judea.

Vespasianus01 pushkin edit.png

Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus, 9th Emperor of the Roman Empire

[6] Quirinius: His full name is Publius Sulpicius Quirinius. Tacitus the Roman historian mentions him: “[Quirinius] sprang from the municipality of Lanuvium – had no connection; but as an intrepid soldier and an active servant he won a consulate under the deified Augustus, and, a little later, by capturing the Homonadensian strongholds beyond the Cilician frontier, earned the insignia of triumph,… adviser to Gaius Caesar during his command in Armenia.” [The Annals, III, XLVIII)] He died 21 AD. Josephus mentions him: “Quirinius, a Roman senator who had proceeded through all the magistracies to the consulship and a man who was extremely distinguished in other respects, arrived in Syria, dispatched by Caesar to be governor of the nation and to make an assessment of their property. Coponius, a man of equestrian rank, was sent along with him to rule over the Jews with full authority.” Josephus mentions that he ordered a taxation which may have caused the need for the census. This led to a Jewish revolt. [Jewish Antiquities, XVIII, 1, 2, 3, 4 [i, 1]] For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Acts 5:37. Another commentary states: “Quirinius stood in exactly the same relation to Varus, the governor of Syria, as at a later time Vespasian did to Mucianus. Vespasian conducted the war in Palestine while Mucianus was governor of Syria; and Vespasian was legatus Augusti, holding precisely the same title and technical rank as Mucianus.” [The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge 1957, Vol. IX, pp. 375, 376] This and other histories and archaeological discovers proves the existence of such a person.

[7] Bethlehem: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew 2:6. [Micah 5:2]

[8] Fiancée: Or, espoused wife, betrothed, engaged, having been given in marriage. The state of engagement made Mary his woman or wife. Though they were not married by the Jewish ritual of the wedding feast, there was no legal condemnation under the Law of Moses.

[9] Firstborn: Or, her first child. The Greek is PROTOTOKON, the first born of a woman. Thus, inferring she had other children. [Matthew 1:25]

[10] Inn: Or, lodging house. This may have been a guestroom, however it may have been a caravanary – a place where those on the trade routes stopped for over night rest. Surely it was primitive and one thing dominated the sense – the odour of animals.

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File:Daphni.jpg

A mosaic from Daphni Monastery in Greece (ca. 1100), showing the midwives bathing the new-born Christ. Originally uploaded to English Wikipedia by User:Ghirlandajo.

Additional notes:

About the birth of Christ there are different opinions, but all historians agree Jeshua son of Josef and Miriam (Joseph and Mary) was born before the beginning of the contemporary time calendar system. We take it he was born on October 17, 4BCE.
All has to be taken in account: cleaning of the stalls, having the sheep out in the fields, position of the stars and lunar circle with the amount of falling stars and special notated events in the air, plus the census and the people in charge at the time, as well as the killing of the babies.

Please do find additional reading:

  1. Astronomical and Historical Evidence for Dating the Nativity in 2 BC
    By Nollet, James A.
    Academic journal article from Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Vol. 64, No. 4
    Article details
    It is commonly accepted that Jesus Christ was born either before 4 BC (working from references in Matthew, Flavius Josephus) or after AD 6 (working from information in Luke). However, Flavius Josephus’s dates are unreliable and sometimes argue against themselves. Astronomically, the eclipse of March 13, 4 BC, is highly unlikely to have been the eclipse which Josephus states heralded the death of King Herod, who, therefore, did not die in 4 BC; neither did Herod die in 3 BC or 2 BC, since there were no lunar eclipses visible in Judea in those years. However, 1 BC had two eclipses; either of these, more likely the latter, was the eclipse which just preceded Herod’s death. Herod, therefore, died either in 1 BC or AD 1, and Jesus, therefore, was born either from 3 BC to 1 BC, or from 2 BC to AD 1. The Quirinius census of Luke’s gospel was not the Quirinius census of AD 6, but rather the Pater Patriae census in 2 BC. Jesus was probably born then in 2 BC. This date is consistent with the records of Matthew, Luke, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Eusebius.
    When I attended Catholic parochial schools, the nuns taught us that Jesus was born “in the Year 0.” (1) Today, it is generally taught that Jesus was born during or before 4 BC. But there is no actual record of this date. This supposition rests solely on Flavius Josephus’s passing remark that a lunar eclipse occurred shortly before King Herod died, and we know there was an eclipse visible in Jerusalem on March 13,4 BC. Since we know from the Gospel of Matthew that Jesus was up to two years old or younger when Herod died, this means Jesus could have been born as early as 6 BC. This date, however, seems to clash with the Nativity account in Luke, which says that the Nativity occurred during a census conducted by the Roman Governor of Syria Quirinius, who we know conducted a census of Judea in AD 6. This article proposes that the likeliest date of the Nativity was not 4 BC, but instead about 1 BC. This is also the year when Herod actually died, and it reconciles the apparent discrepancy of dates in the Nativity accounts of Matthew and Luke.
    There are actually many estimates for the year of the birth of Jesus. Some of the earliest include the placement of the birth of Jesus in the 44th year of the reign of Emperor Augustus, about 3-2 BC by Irenaeus in AD 180. (2) In AD 194, Clement of Alexandria estimated that Jesus was born 194 years before the death of the emperor Commodus who died on the last day of AD 192; therefore Jesus was born around 2 BC. (3) Early in the fourth century, Eusebius wrote that Jesus was born in the 42nd year of the reign of Augustus, and in the 28th year after the death of Cleopatra. (4) Leaving aside the issue of inclusive or exclusive counting, that places the birth of Jesus at around 2 BC. The Gospel of Luke states that there was a “universal census” of the entire Roman world shortly before Jesus was born, when P. Sulpicius Quirinius was governor of Syria. Quirinius was governor twice, in 3 BC and in AD 6. (5) However, we generally and popularly suppose that Luke was referring to the latter term, because that was the year in which a local census for taxation purposes occurred; this would mean that Luke exaggerated when he spoke about a census of the whole (Roman) world.
    According to Josephus, Augustus sent Quirinius to be governor of Syria at the same time that he sent Coponius to be the first procurator of Judea, (6) stating also that this census occurred in the 37th year “after Caesar’s victory over Antony at Actium” (31 BC) (7) which, counting inclusively, brings us to AD 6. However, we will see that Josephus was wrong on many of his dates. Therefore, as a working hypothesis, I regard it as possible that Josephus got his fact wrong about Coponius, confusing Quirinius’s first term as governor with his second term. If so, most of the discrepancy between the dates of the Nativity which exists between Luke and Matthew …
    Read the full-text article

    Eusebius of Caesarea.jpg

    Eusebius of Caesarea Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist

  2. The Historical Christ and the Jesus of Faith: The Incarnational Narrative as History
  3. Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity
  4. Nativity Allusions–Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary, 1986
  5. Christmas and Arbitrary choice for 25 December
    The choice of 25 December is considered arbitrary and not based on evidence provided in the New Testament, the Christian text dealing with the life of Christ. Many theories have been put forward for the choice of the 25 December as Christ’s Nativity, but that it fell during Roman Saturnalia is now largely dismissed. It appears to have been fixed in relation to Epiphany (6 January), counting backward twelve days (now the twelve days of Christmas) or thirteen nights by the lunar calendar. It also falls three days after the winter solstice, a date when a number of pagan gods underwent resurrection after the shortest day of the year. This includes Sol Invictus of the Roman state religion during pagan times, a cult associated with the deification of the emperor. Whatever the explanation, it is evident that the early Christian Fathers, in their struggle for political and psychological supremacy, turned the interpretatio romana (the process of romanizing foreign gods) on its ear by expropriating a number of pagan symbols and observances and providing them with new Christian meanings. For this reason, Christmas and especially the foods associated with it represent a fusion of diverse pagan strands varying widely in emphasis from one country to the next. The celebration of Yule in Scandinavia has become one of the most distinctive aspects of the holiday as observed in northern Europe. The tradition of St. Nicholas of Myra in the Netherlands and the Franciscan cult of the Bambino Gesu in Italy are examples of the many forms these fusions have taken. All are expressed symbolically in food.
  6. Christmas [Christ’s Mass], in the Christian calendar

    The observance probably does not date earlier than AD 200 and did not become widespread until the 4th cent. The date was undoubtedly chosen for its nearness to Epiphany, which, in the East, originally included a commemoration of the nativity. The date of Christmas coincides closely with the winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere, a time of rejoicing among many ancient cultures. Christmas, as the great popular festival of Western Europe, dates from the Middle Ages. In England after the Reformation the observance became a point of contention between Anglicans and other Protestants, and the celebration of Christmas was suppressed in Scotland and in much of New England until the 19th cent.

    In the mid 19th cent. Christmas began to acquire its associations with an increasingly secularized holiday of gift-giving and good cheer, a view that was popularized in works such as Clement Clarke Moore‘s poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (1823) and Charles Dickens’s story A Christmas Carol (1843). Christmas cards first appeared c.1846. The current concept of a jolly Santa Claus was first made popular in New York in the 19th cent. (see Nicholas, Saint).

    The Yule Log [Yule, from O.E.,=Christmas], the boar’s head, the goose (in America the turkey), decoration with holly, hawthorn, wreaths, mistletoe, and the singing of carols by waifs (Christmas serenaders) are all typically English (see carol). Gifts at Christmas are also English; elsewhere they are given at other times, e.g., at Epiphany in Spain. The Christmas tree was a tradition from the Middle Ages in Germany. The crib (crèche) with the scene at Bethlehem was popularized by the Franciscans. The midnight service on Christmas Eve is a popular religious observance in the Roman Catholic and some Protestant churches.

  7. Observance of Christmas in early British North America
    The observance of Christmas in early British North America derived from practices familiar in England, where 25 December was celebrated with a good deal of bawdy revelry. Due to this association, as well as the lack of any biblical sanction for that date, observance of Christmas was opposed by Puritans in England and was banned in the Massachusetts Bay Colony between 1659 and 1681.
    In the nineteenth century, Christmas became domesticated, with a shift toward a nuclear family experience of gift giving around a Christmas tree. The tree was popularized by immigrants from Germany, where it had become prominent earlier in the century. Christmas became the principal sales holiday of the year, presided over by Santa Claus, a figure compounded from myth, religious history, and the need for a congenial symbol for the new attitude toward the holiday. He was introduced and promoted by popular literature and illustration, from Clement Moore‘s “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas” (1823) to Thomas Nast’s cartoons of the portly character. Charles Dickens toured America in 1867 reading from his enormously popular “A Christmas Carol,” which further reinforced the notions that were crystallizing about how Christmas should be celebrated.

    Charles Dickens-A Christmas Carol-Title page-First edition 1843.jpg

    A Christmas Carol, a early Victorian era Britain novella by English author Charles Dickens, first published by Chapman & Hall on 19 December 1843. One of the greatest influences in rejuvenating the old Christmas traditions of England but, while it brings to the reader images of light, joy, warmth and life, it also brings strong and unforgettable images of darkness, despair, coldness, sadness and death.

  8. Christmas, Saturnalia and the birth of Jesus
  9. God’s Special Gift
  10. Birth of Christ – articles
  11. A season of gifts
  12. Thanksgivukkah and Advent
  13. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  14. Jesus begotten Son of God #1 Christmas and Christians
  15. Jesus begotten Son of God #2 Christmas and pagan rites
  16. Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia
  17. The nativity story
  18. Religious Practices around the world
  19. Idolatry or idol worship
  20. Focus on outward appearances
  21. Speedy Christmas!
  22. Christmas trees
  23. Merry Christmas with the King of Kings
  24. What do you want for Christmas
  25. Ember and light the ransomed of Jehovah
  26. Sancta Claus is not God
  27. Wishing lanterns and Christmas
  28. ‘Tis The Season To Be Cranky: Religious Right Gears Up New Round Of ‘War On Christmas’ Claims
  29. The atheist’s Thanksgiving dilemma  Whom to thank when there’s no recipient?
  30. Pagan Roots? 5 Surprising Facts About Christmas
  31. Nativity scene of the birth of the Bill of Rights
  32. Mocking, Agitation and Religious Persecution
  33. History of Christianity
  34. The imaginational war against Christmas
  35. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious

+++

 

  • Merry Christmas From Real Media (thisisrealmedia.com)
    So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
  • Have yourselve a Merry Christmas (prhayz.com)
    Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,  to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife who was with child.  So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 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.
  • Practical Details (loveunderstandserve.wordpress.com)
    Jesus was born at the time of a census called for throughout the Roman Empire. In order to expedite the data collection, the different Israelite tribes were require to assemble in their ancestral hometowns. For Joseph, this was the town of Bethlehem, where his great- (x24) grandfather David was born. This census was most probably being conducted in anticipation of a tax increase and for the purpose of enforcing military service.
  • Did a Census Really Bring Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem? (gospelbondservant.com)
    The census or enrollment, which, according to Luke 2:1, was the occasion of the journey of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem where Jesus was born, is connected with a decree of Augustus embracing the Greek-Roman world. This decree must have been carried out in Palestine by Herod and probably in accordance with the Jewish method–each going to his own city–rather than the Roman.

    While Josephus does not mention the Herodian census, Luke carefully distinguishes the census at the time of Jesus’ birth as “first,” (i.e. first in a series of enrollments connected either with Quirinius or with the imperial policy inaugurated by the decree of Augustus).

    The geographical work of [Herod] Agrippa, together with the interest of the emperor in the organization and finances of the empire and the attention which he gave to the provinces are indirectly corroborative of Luke’s statement. Augustus himself conducted a census in Italy in and in Gaul in 727/27* [see Roman dating system, ‘AUC‘] and had a census taken in other provinces. For Egypt there is evidence of a regular periodic census every 14 years extending back to 773/20 and it is not improbable that this procedure was introduced by Augustus.

    The time of the decree is stated only in general terms by Luke, and it may have been as early as 727/27 or later in 746-8, its execution in different provinces and subject kingdoms being carried out at different times. Luke dates the census in the kingdom of Herod specifically by connecting it with the administrative functions of Quirinius in Syria. But as P. Quintilius Varus was the legate of Syria just before and after the death of Herod from 748/6-750/4 and his predecessor was C. Sentius Saturninus from 745/9-748/6 there seems to be no place for Quirinius during the closing years of Herod’s reign.

    Tertullian indeed speaks of Saturninus as legate at the time of Jesus’ birth. It is possible that the connection of the census with Quirinius may be due to his having brought to completion what was begun by one of his predecessors; or Quirinius may have been commissioned especially by the emperor to conduct a census in Syria.

  • Nazareth to Bethlehem (toddthehiker.wordpress.com)
    More than 700 years before the birth of Christ the prophet Micah foretold the place of the Messiah’s birth, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”  (Micah 5:2)  The reason Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem in the first place was because of the decree from Caesar Augustus, someone who did not even acknowledge the God of the Israelites.  If not for his decree there would have been no reason for a poor carpenter from Nazareth and his pregnant betrothed to make the difficult trip to Bethlehem.  When you stop to consider the events that took place to ensure the fulfillment of this prophesy you realize just how incredible they are, and perhaps you can begin to understand the sovereignty of God.
  • The Nativity explained: The Census (christiantoday.com)
    A counting of peoples across the Roman Empire, requiring that all people return to the lands of their origin. In Joseph’s case, that was Bethlehem, the city of David.
    +
    it isn’t as though Rome only had one census that came round every so often. There were tax censuses, designed to give an idea of exactly how much money the government could bring in, but there were also allegiance censuses, where rather than merely counting everyone, people were gathered up and encouraged to swear a pledge of allegiance to Caesar in Rome.
  • The Star of Bethlehem explained? (must read) (religionstudent.wordpress.com)
    The Star of Bethlehem plays a significant role in the nativity story.  Most Christians accept this as part of tradition, while the phenomena is criticized by those who are less likely to buy in to the story.  However, could it be that the Star of Bethlehem isn’t just part of a story?  Could the famous star actually have existed at the time of Jesus? According to “Biblica The Bible Atlas: A Social and Historical Journey through the Lands of the Bible” it may have actually existed.

    First, to support Biblica’s claim, we must first look at the birth of Jesus.  By exploring the two accounts of the Birth of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of Matthew.  Matthew makes the claim that Jesus was born in the time of King Herod (the man who later plans to kill the newborn).  Luke does not only make mention of King Herod, but the author also makes mention of Jesus being born during the time of Augustus Caesar and Quirinius the governor of Syria.  Luke’s account, however, is controversial.  Augustus ruled from 27 BCE to 14 CE and Quirinius governed Syria from 6-7 CE.  The problem comes with Herod who ruled from 37-4 BCE.  This historical fact means that Luke’s mention of Quirinius is inaccurate and should be disregarded (although historical accuracy is not the focus of Luke’s Gospel).

  • Was There Really a Census at the Time? (nostopministries.wordpress.com)
    Luke’s precise language emphasizes a particular census, as if to contrast it with similar ones. In fact, another census did occur ten years later, which Luke refers to in Acts 5:37. The author’s additional information concerning Qurinius’s governorship (Luke 2:2), which is unnecessary for the narrative, reveals a familiarity with the recent past. Luke knew his audience would need clarification between similar events, so he gave them the details necessary to understand the date he meant.The emperor at the time of Jesus’s birth, Caesar Augustus, kept count of the population throughout his empire for taxation purposes. Israel would have been no exception. Even if we have no other accounts of the census taken during that time (which is no proof that the event didn’t happen given the sparse records available), the event seems likely from what we do know of the Roman Empire.

    Quirinius may, in fact, have governed Syria at the time and also ten years later. However, the original Greek suggests another possible reading. Luke’s statement may imply that King Herod performed a Jewish style census (counted according to the historic location of the tribes and clans) to keep the peace. Thus, the command of Caesar was notreally carried out in the Roman method (counted by where the person was born) until ten years later when Qurinius was governor and Herod had died.

  • The Nativity According to Luke | David’s Commonplace Book
    Linus quotes from the Gospel according to Luke. There are two accounts of Jesus’s birth in the New Testament, the account that Luke gives and the account that Matthew gives. Mark ignores the question of Jesus’s birth entirely, preferring to begin with Jesus’s public ministry while John actually begins his account before the nativity and moves from there to Jesus’ career.
  • What Luke Actually Wrote (str.typepad.com)
    The gist of the problem is that Luke claims that the first tax when Quirinius was governor of Syria was at the time of Jesus’ birth – around 4-2 B.C. The Jewish historian Josephus, however, records that the first tax under Quirinius’ administration was in 6 A.D., after Jesus’ birth. There’s no reconciling these reports, unless we actually look back at what Luke wrote and at some historical data.
  • Was Jesus really born? – Virendra Parekh (bharatabharati.wordpress.com)
    “Let me tell you at the outset that Jesus is no mythological mumbo-jumbo like your Rama and Krishna, and even Buddha. On the contrary, he was a solid historical figure whose miracles were witnessed and vouchsafed by many contemporary people,” said a Jesuit missionary to Sita Ram Goel. Let us have a closer look at this ‘solid historical figure’.

    Historicity of Jesus as described in Gospels has been one of the principal dogmas of all Christian denominations. Now, as Ram Swarup used to say, historicity by itself does not mean much. You and I are historical persons, but that fact by itself does not confer greatness or any other virtue on us. However, when historicity of the founder is touted as a point of superiority, we are inclined to examine it a little more closely.
    +
    Sita Ram Goel has pointed out that word “Christian” does not appear in the Christian literature itself before 140 AD. On the other hand, anti-Christian polemics which appears for the first time around 160 AD, starts by questioning the existence of a character called Jesus Christ.

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