February 01, 2019 — Valentine’s Day
Did you know that in America more cards will be bought for Valentine’s Day, February the 14th, than for any other holiday except for Christmas? And, were you aware it began as a time to honor a religious figure? Well, it did.
History.com has quite a bit to say about how this day came to be. Mid-February was the time for a “raucous Roman fertility festival called Lupercalia.” It was dedicated to a Roman god as well as Rome’s founders, Romulus and Remus. And centuries later, the Roman Catholic Church moved “to Christianize the popular celebration”.
In 5 CE, the church’s head declared February 14th as a day to honor a man revered as Saint Valentine. It’s a bit murky as to who is this individual was; but, as the story goes, he is considered a religious martyr. The Time Magazine website commented,
“There are multiple legends of Saint Valentine, and different reliquaries in the Czech Republic, Ireland, Scotland, England and France all claim to have bones attributed to a Saint Valentine.”
By the 15th century, Valentine’s Day had openly become re-associated with romance ostensibly because the 14th of February was the day people thought was the beginning of a bird’s mating season.
It’s no secret that most major holidays celebrated today are traceable back to Roman, Greek, and Babylonian ways of worshiping. But then, does it really matter?
More than once in the Bible, God himself has plainly stated how he feels about that sort of thing. To learn what He has to say, see Cliff Veal’s message titled, “Christmas”.
Photo Credit: Cards photo by Stephalicious, License: C BY-NC 2.0.
January 11, 2019 — Brexit or Brake-it Part Two
UK’s Sky News TV and others see the nearly two-year-old Brexit as a matter that has deeply divided the United Kingdom. And after the latest events, the split between people in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales now is, if anything, worse.
The UK parliamentary vote expected on December 11th did not take place.
The media explained that the vote to ratify the deal reached between the EU and the UK was delayed because sure defeat had been predicted. Prime Minister Theresa May hoped an extension to mid-January would provide the time needed to induce more members of parliament to approve the deal.
Go or Stay?
Those who are in favor of leaving the European Union, called the Brexiteers, or the Leavers, predict horrible consequences if the EU-UK deal is not approved. At the same time, people who want to stay, the Remainders, predict dire things will happen but only if the UK leaves.
Remainders have been pushing hard for a second referendum vote on whether to exit the EU. As 2018 ended, some felt they were making real progress toward achieving that goal.
For Brexiteers, a big sticking point has been what to do about the border between Northern Ireland, a part of the UK, and Southern Ireland, a member of the EU. The possibility of a hard crash, meaning an unratified deal, and need for a “backstop” of some sort were increasingly considered as the mid-January vote neared.
BBC in a December 13, 2018 article titled, Q&A: The Irish border Brexit backstop, defined the term for people not familiar with it.
“The backstop is a position of last resort, to maintain an open border on the island of Ireland in the event that the UK leaves the EU without securing an all-encompassing deal.”
Another informative BBC article, written on December 17, 2018, is titled, Brexit: All you need to know about the UK leaving the EU.
Brexit or Brake-it Part One was published on November 29. 2018.
Parliament’s crucial vote has been scheduled for Tuesday January 15, 2019. If the deal is not ratified, new general elections or other rumored moves won’t be far behind. However, no matter what transpires in the weeks after the decision, it will not alter the overall reality of what’s ahead for the British Isles and for others.
The Bible foretold the British people’s rise and fall and the reason for it. Read Brian Orchard’s January 11, 2019 Blog to see how the present situation in the UK fits with biblical prophecies.
Photo Credits: Brexit Graphic, License: CC Zero; Brexiteers by David Holt, License: CC BY 2.0; Empire Map, License: CC Zero.
January 02, 2019 — Jerusalem Sacrificial Altar
On Monday December 10th, 2018 the Jerusalem Post reported that,
“On the last day of Hanukkah – which literally means “dedication” – a new altar … was unveiled and nominally dedicated for use in the yet-to-be built Third Temple …”
In 2018, this festival began the night of December 2nd and eight days later ended on December 10th at sunset.
Referenced in Jewish history and the Bible, in John 10:22, it’s a non-sacred time Jews worldwide still observe. This winter festival commemorates Judah’s rededication of the Second Temple and its sacrificial altar in Jerusalem. The historical event occurred after the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE.
The book of Daniel talks about daily sacrifices being halted in the future in conjunction with other prophecies. Clearly, to be halted they must have started. And, an altar for them is required.
Not for Real Yet
Even though the article indicated the portable altar was dedicated this year, a March 17, 2015 “Temple Institute Press Release” stated the altar was actually completed in 2014 and shown to the public during that year’s Hanukkah festival. The press release is posted on its Facebook page.
The altar had been used since then for “practice” re-enactments like the one in December that used a symbolic lamb part.
Professor Hillel Weiss spearheaded the altar initiative. The Jerusalem Post reported that Weiss said,
“he and the Temple activists and organizations would begin animal sacrifices immediately if the state allowed them to bring their altar to the requisite spot on the Temple Mount.”
The word “immediately” brings up a question. What about the ashes of a red heifer to be used in purifying the altar? Despite earlier news on the Temple Institute site about the birth of a potentially suitable red heifer on August 28, 2018, could the ashes referred to in Numbers 19 already be on hand?
It’s a matter of speculation because the Levitical priesthood would not consider any calf ready until it is two years old, at the earliest, and only if it still met all the other requirements as well.
The Where Controversy
The Jerusalem Post said the 2018 “dedication” took place “outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem”. It added,
“Although the Passover and daily sacrifices do not require a full temple, they must be done … at the appropriate spot on the Temple Mount, believed to be several meters east of the Islamic Dome of the Rock shrine.”
The conclusion about a completed Temple not being a prerequisite was based on what is found in Ezra 3.
To learn more about the red heifer and renewed animal sacrifices, read our article dated September 1, 2015. And, read our August 25, 2014 article. It also explains the difference in Jewish and Islamic views about the Messiah and the end of this age.
Photo credits: Hanukkah candles by Bart, License: CC BY-NC 2.0; Red Cattle by Matthew Gerrard, License: CC Zero