Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry XMas, Take 2

My last post was only partly finished when I released it; which means that some of you may have missed my subsequent updates. So I am reposting under a "Take 2" heading.
"She will bear a son, and you shall call his name xxxxxx, for he will save his people from their sins." 
Happy Hannukah from the slopes of Boyne Mountain in northern Michigan. 
On what day should we celebrate the birth of the Messiah? The traditional Roman Catholic celebration of Christ’s Mass is the 25th day of the 12th month. Interestingly enough, Hannukah begins on the 25th day of the 12th month (according to the Jewish calendar). The Eastern branch of Orthodox Christianity has it in January. Perhaps because Protestants have forgotten that the first part of their name is "Protest", they have not provided a better alternative. 
In a previous post (link provided below) I introduced the intriguing theory of author Ernest Martin (The Star That Astonished the World) that the clue to the true date is hidden in Revelation 12:1 "Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars." Here is an excerpt from that post: “The interpretation of the ‘woman clothed with the sun’ is that it describes the astrological sign of Virgo the Virgin and how she relates to the ecliptic motion of the sun and the position of the moon in the heavens. In his book, Martin proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the year of Yeshua’s birth was 3 BC.  The key is to find out when an observer living in Israel would be able to see that Virgo had the sun crossing her midsection while the moon was under her feet. It turns out that there was only one day that year when this was true: the evening of September 11th; which “just happened” to be Yom Teruah, or the Feast of Trumpets. The reference to the sun and moon allows us to pinpoint within an hour or two when the birth occurred. The Creator of the Universe (Yeshua/Jesus) arranged His birth to coincide exactly with the movement of the heavens and the timing of the Feast of Trumpets; this is a spectacular confirmation of the festivals. From His conception and birth to His death and resurrection, the Messiah coordinated all of His key events to the festivals.” Please click the link below to read more on this.
What name and title do you use to refer to the Son of God? Jesus Christ?, Yeshua the Messiah?, or Jesus the Messiah? “Ye” is a shortened version of the tetragrammaton YHVH/YHWH (Yehovah) and “Shua” means salvation (i.e., God's salvation). Mashiach/Messiah means "the anointed one," and refers to the ancient practice of anointing kings with oil when they took the throne. The etymology of “ Yeshua the Messiah” tells the story in a way that “Jesus” and “Christ” cannot. "...and you shall call his name xxxxxx," assumes that the name will tell the story: (for he will save his people from their sins. When translated into Greek, Mashiach became Christos and into Latin became Christus. By the time it made it into English (as Christ), the connection with the Hebrew was forgotten. The side trip through Greek and Latin was just extra baggage.
Here is a challenge. During the next week, whenever you see/read or are tempted to say “Christ”, say “Messiah.” Remembering that it is a title, you may have to add the article “the”, as in Jesus the Messiah. If you want to be totally authentic, then go with Yeshua Ha Mashiach, but at least use Jesus the Messiah. After doing this for a week, see if this has changed the way you think about the Son of God. 

Timing and semantics aside, the truth of the incarnation is still an awesome testimony to  the Gospel plan. It is good news and whenever the world stops to give it some time in their secular schedule, the Biblical basis gets through a little.

One of my artistic goals is to do a painting of Bethlehem in the shadow of Herodium. I’ll never forget in my 1999 trip to Israel, the excitement I felt when I could see Herodium on the horizon to the east of Bethlehem. The cone shaped hill is all that is left of the fortress that Herod had built there. The reality of history still visible in today's world brings the Bible up close. It’s amazing that it was only a few years ago that Herod’s burial vault was found on the side of that hill. If I can capture the image as my mind sees it, I may reproduce it as a (yes, I’ll use the term) Christmas card. Christian singer Jill Philips has a poignant song where she sings it was not a silent night when Jesus was born. Indeed it was not a peaceful scene either, with the specter of Rome looming on the horizon.
Merry XMas to you.

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