Shamar

Clearing up misconceptions about the Christian faith and defending it.


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The Son of Man by Rabindranath Tagore

From His eternal seat Christ comes down to this earth, where, ages ago, in the bitter cup of death He poured his deathless life for those who came to the call and those who remained away.

He looks about Him, and sees the weapons of evil that wounded His own age.

The arrogant spikes and spears, the slim, sly knives, the scimitar in diplomatic sheath, crooked and cruel, are hissing and raining sparks as they are sharpened on monster wheels.

But the most fearful of them all, at the hands of the slaughterers, are those on which has been engraved His own name, that are fashioned from the texts of His own words fused in the fire of hatred and hammered by hypocritical greed.

He presses His hand upon His heart; He feels that the age-long moment of His death has not yet ended, that new nails, turned out in countless numbers by those who are learned in cunning craftsmanship, pierce Him in every joint.

They had hurt Him once, standing at the shadow of their temple; they are born anew in crowds.

From before their sacred altar they shout to the soldiers, ‘Strike!’

And the Son of Man in agony cries, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’

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Rabindranath Tagore composed this poem on Christmas Day in 1939. He was hinting at the war-mongers of Europe.

And in it lies a simple truth. Every time Christians hurt the testimony of Christ through their lifestyles and actions, they cause Him the same pain and shame that He suffered at crucifixion at the hands of those He called His own. 

It applies to all false TV evangelists who speak proud and loud in the name of the Lord, but whose personal lives are messy with money fraud, false doctrines, heresy, false prophecies and immoral behavior.

It applies to church elders who are interested in wielding power through position, who do not regularly examine their own lives in humility,  and who prefer to pander to man-made traditions than accept the truth in the Word.

It applies to Word-Faith and Prosperity teachers who lay stress on giving money to receive blessings, thus downplaying the importance of obedience, repentance, loyalty and consecration in pleasing Yahowah and receiving His blessings.

It applies to the church, whose past has been mired in shameful things like Inquests, Crusades and greed.

It applies to missionaries, evangelists and Christian powers who use coercion and monetary inducements as a means to winning souls.

And it also applies to us, when we live lives that are a poor witness for our wonderful God.

As Hebrews 6: 6: says: If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

All of these things give outsiders an opportunity to point fingers and say: Look at all these Christians and their behaviour! Is this what their religion teaches them?

There’s not a lot we can do about many of the above things apart from not following and not emulating their poor examples. But we can let the world see Christ’s goodness, righteousness and gentleness through us–our actions, words, decisions and attitudes. I am saying this to myself as much as to everyone else, because I am far from perfect. 

Shalome.

 


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What is Easter anyways?

Easter is around the corner. After a period of fasting during Lent, pious Christians look forward to celebrating Easter with bunnies, eggs and other delicious confectionery treats. Churches plan and organize Easter services and programs, preparing for weeks in advance for everything to go well. It is, after all, a celebration of the resurrection of Christ, His victory over death.

Unfortunately, no matter how good Christian intentions are, Easter is not Christian. The Christian celebration of Easter errs on two points.

1) The festival Easter has nothing to do with the resurrection of Christ.
2) The day the Church celebrates Easter is wrong.

Let us examine the two points a little more in detail.

1) That Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ is wrong.

Many Christians are gradually becoming aware that Easter has ancient non-Christian origins. It was the feast of goddess Ashtoreth/Ishtar/Oestre–a celebration of fertility, a spring festival that celebrated the return of life to earth after a long winter period, perhaps even the return to life of Tammuz, the Babylonian deity. If you want to know more, you can find it here:

http://rcg.org/books/ttooe.html”>http://rcg.org/books/ttooe.html

It is easy to see how this can allegorically get linked with Resurrection, as it is the event of Christ coming back to life after three days in the grave. The plain truth, however, is that the festival Easter has nothing to do with Christ, pre-dates Him and is pagan at its core.

2) The day the Church celebrates Easter is wrong.

According to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Christ was crucified on the Preparation Day of the Passover, that is the day before Passover. He rose back to life on the third day from then. As given in the Old Testament, Passover is celebrated on the 14th day of the first Jewish month Nissan, which falls in March or April. This year, Passover will be on the evening of 03 April, 2015.

Interestingly, the early Christians celebrated resurrection during the Passover week. Since the precise date changed every year, it led to confusion. The Council at Nicea decided to standardize one date to avoid all confusion. Here is an article to explain that in detail.

http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/determining-easter-date.html

There is nothing ordinary about the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. He died as the Passover Lamb, fulfilling the important requirement of shedding blood to save lives. He was also our Lamb of Atonement fulfilling the requirement of shedding blood to forgive sins. His blood shed on the cross does both: it cleanses our sins and gives us eternal life. It was not an ordinary day and had taken place fulfilling many requirements and prophecies.

As for resurrection, Christ used Jonah to explain the three-day principle: Matthew Chapter 12: 40 (NKJV): For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. If He said three days and three nights, He meant three days and three nights. Period.

We tend to brush aside inconsistencies in the Bible as “must be something.” For years, I have known that the difference between a Friday and Sunday morning does not constitute 3 days. Rather than find out more or put in a query, I chose to hide under the “must be something” blanket. But God does not ask for blind faith and is open to your queries. He does not get angry when you do so, because He has nothing to be afraid of or hide. If anything, He wants you to understand. So seek and ask, only then will you find and receive.

The dates of crucifixion and resurrection have now become clearer as more Christians read and research various Jewish customs. Also, there is a growing number of Messianic Jews–Jews who accept Christ as their Saviour. They bring with them knowledge of Jewish customs and calculations, without which we found it difficult to understand a lot of things. Christ and his disciples were Jewish and wrote their accounts based on the Jewish ways of doing things.

I will put a post sometime about the specific references in the Gospels that explain the crucifixion and, hence, resurrection days. I will also share links that try to explain the whole matter in depth for those who are interested. There is still a lot to be learned, verified and understood before we have complete clarity, but at least we will not be blindly following something that was a man-made tradition.

3) Is this all such a big deal?

A lot of people may not consider this to be such a big deal. And maybe it isn’t for some. Then there is the matter of accuracy, and if we were to be accurate, then we should try to follow the right time of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. The most important reason, however, is the underlying significance of the days and the events–why things were done the way they were done and when they were done.

It’s not a simple matter so take your time and think about it.

Shalome

PS: I had said I would provide more information about the Passover-Crucifixion connection in terms of dates. You can read what I found here.