Classical Music from the Bible – Bach, Verdi and Handel for New Year’s Day

For More Christmas or Bible themed classical music click on the following playlist videos.

Messiah (HWV 56)[1] is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.[n 1]

Handel’s reputation in England, where he had lived since 1713, had been established through his compositions of Italian opera. He turned to English oratorio in the 1730s, in response to changes in public taste; Messiah was his sixth work in this genre. Although its structure resembles that of conventional opera, it is not in dramatic form; there are no impersonations of characters and very little direct speech. Instead, Jennens’s text is an extended reflection on Jesus Christ as Messiah, moving from the prophetic phrases of Isaiah and others, through the Incarnation, Passion and Resurrection of Christ to his ultimate glorification in heaven.

Handel wrote Messiah for modest vocal and instrumental forces, with optional settings for many of the individual numbers. In the years after his death the work was adapted for performance on a much larger scale, with giant orchestras and choirs. In other efforts to update it, its orchestration was revised and amplified by (among others) Mozart. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries the trend has been towards authenticity; most contemporary performances show a greater fidelity towards Handel’s original intentions, although „big Messiah” productions continue to be mounted. Since a near-complete version was issued on 78 rpm discs in 1928, the work has been recorded many times.

From www.ChristianityToday.com – „He [Handel] would frequently declare the pleasure he felt in setting the Scriptures to music, and how contemplating the many sublime passages in the Psalms had contributed to his edification.”
—Sir John Hawkins

By 1741 George Frideric Handel was a failure. Bankrupted, in great physical pain, and the victim of plots to sabotage his career, the once-great opera composer scheduled a „farewell” appearance in London in April. To the London elite, it looked like this „German nincompoop,” as he was once called, was through. That summer, however, he composed Messiah, which not only brought him back into the spotlight, but is still deemed by some to be „an epitome of Christian faith.”

Winchester Cathedral Carols

VIDEO Playlist by cantorisdecani

Giuseppe Verdi’s Nabucco

Nabucco (short for Nabucodonosor, English Nebuchadnezzar) is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi, based on the Biblical story and the 1836 play by Auguste Anicet-Bourgeois and Francis Cornue. It is Verdi’s third opera and the one which is considered to have permanently established his reputation as a composer.Nabucco follows the plight of the Jews as they are assaulted, conquered, and subsequently exiled from their homeland by the Babylonian King Nabucco (in English, Nebuchadnezzar). The historical events are used as background for a romantic and political plot. (source Wikipedia)

VIDEO by prom opera (2+ hours)

J S Bach – Psalm 51 (BWV 1083)

J S Bach – Psalm 51 (BWV 1083) Documentary and performance. Skip forward to just before 17 minutes for the start of the (marvellous) performance. The documentary is in Italian with French subtitles.

„At a reverent performance of music, God is always at hand with his gracious presence.”

When he was 48, Johann Sebastian Bach acquired a copy of Luther’s three-volume translation of the Bible. He pored over it as if it were a long-lost treasure. He underlined passages, corrected errors in the text and commentary, inserted missing words, and made notes in the margins. Near 1 Chronicles 25 (a listing of Davidic musicians) he wrote, „This chapter is the true foundation of all God-pleasing music.” At 2 Chronicles 5:13 (which speaks of temple musicians praising God), he noted, „At a reverent performance of music, God is always at hand with his gracious presence.” (source www.ChristianityToday.com)

J S Bach – Psalm 51 (BWV 1083) Documentary and performance. Skip forward to just before 17 minutes for the start of the (marvellous) performance. The documentary is in Italian with French subtitles. If you don’t have Italian but can read French at secondary (high school) level then I think you’ll find the documentary very manageable and very interesting. Enjoy 🙂

markfromireland VIDEO by markfromireland PERFORMANCE starts at 17th min.

JS Bach Psalm 51 BWV 1083

Cantatas BWV 170,198,106,136,53 (2 hours)

VIDEO by Gravi Cembalo

♫ Händel: Samson, sacred oratorio in three acts

Handel began its composition immediately after completing Messiah on 14 September 1741. It uses a libretto by Newburgh Hamilton, who based it on Milton’s Samson Agonistes, which in turn was based on the figure Samson in Chapter 16 of the Book of Judges. Handel completed the first act on 20 September 1741, the second act on 11 October that year and the whole work on 29 October. Shortly after that he travelled to Dublin to put on the premiere of Messiah, returning to London at the end of August 1742 and thoroughly revising Samson.The premiere was given at Covent Garden in London on 18 February 1743, with the incidental organ music probably the recently-completed concerto in A major (HWV 307).)

• Susan Gritton: Dalila
• Iestyn Davies: Micah
• Mark Padmore: Samson
• Neal Davies: Manoa
• Christopher Purves: Harapha
• Lucy Crowe: Israelite woman / Philsitine woman / Virgin
• Ben Johnson: Israelite man / Philistine man / Messenger

The English Concert & The New Company
Conducted by Harry Bicket

Royal Albert Hall © Broadcast by BBC, Proms 2009

Handel 1739 Israel in Egypt at Pharoah’s Islands

Oratorio Jerusalem Symphony

A special performance on the shores of the Red Sea

VIDEO by La Casa di Davide

Reclame

Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem fulfills a 700 year old prophecy

Photo credit www.wtv-zone.com –

Where the Messiah would be born.

But as for you Bethlehem, Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from You one will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from everlasting. (Micah 5:1 in the Hebrew Scriptures; in most English translations it is Micah 5:2)

Photo credit www.flickr.com Map of the journey of Mary and Joseph
from Nazareth to Bethlehem is about 90 miles as the crow flies
but walking it is more like 90 miles
through winding mountain trails and probably took about a week.

This passage, written around 700 B.C., has been recognized by traditional Jewish sources to indicate that the Messiah would be from Bethlehem.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. 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 room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7) Bethlehem Photo below – credit www.polmontold.org.uk

Critics have said that Mary and Joseph arranged to have Jesus born there to fulfill the prophecy, but the historical events of that day refute that. Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth but had to return to Bethlehem to meet the requirements of the census. Joseph (as well as Mary) was from the lineage of King David (Matthew 1:1-17) and that place of family origin is where the count needed to be taken. Interestingly, a petition for tax relief from the Jewish people to Caesar postponed the taking of the census for a period of time, which „allowed” Mary to come to full term and give birth to Jesus while still in Bethlehem. These were not circumstances she could have planned herself.

You can read the entire article here at Jews for Jesus –  A look at one of the predictions of the Messiah’s coming in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus

Photo credit Wikipedia

1. The Decree of Augustus Caesar and the Birth of Christ
(Luke 2:1-7)

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should beregistered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem,because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

2. The First Visitors – Shepherds (Luke 2:8-20)

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Photo credit ruthiedean.com)

3. The Second Visitors – Magi (Mat 2:1-12)

2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been bornking of the Jews? For we saw his star when it roseand have come to worship him.”3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. (Photo credit www.asiantribune.com)

Bethlehem: City Location

Modern Bethlehem is an agricultural market and trade center closely linked to nearby Jerusalem. It lies at a distance of 10 kms (6 miles) to the south of the Old City of Jerusalem. It is situated on a mountainous site, 777 meters (2600 feet) above the level of the Mediterranean Sea and overlooks its surroundings. Its surface resembles the shape of a semi circle.  From the west, the town of Bethlehem is bounded by the town of Beit Jala and from the east by the town of Beit Sahour. From the north it is bordered by Jerusalem and the village of Sur Bahir and from the south by Solomon’s Pools and the villages of al-Khader and Artas. Forty thousand people live in the administrative limits of the municipality of Bethlehem and five thousand people in the old center of the town. As a symbol of the increased intermingling of the region’s people, beside Arabic, the native language, English is widely spoken. French, German and Spanish are spoken too. (Source)

The city of Bethlehem (or House of Bread) lies within the territory assigned to the tribe of Judah. It lies in the midst of what was a fertile country, about six miles south by west from Jerusalem. The ancient city was beautifully situated on a commanding ridge, 2700 feet above the level of the sea. The hills around it were terraced, and clothed with vines, fig trees, and almonds, and the surrounding valleys yielded luxuriant harvests of grain. Jacob buried Rachel near its gate, and it was the home of Ruth and the birthplace of David, and ” David’s greater son ” the Lord Jesus Christ. Its population was small in the days of the Saviour, but at present is about 3000, nearly all the inhabitants being Christians. It is said to be one of the cleanest and neatest towns in Israel. St. Jerome lived there for more than thirty years, and there made his famous translation of the Bible into the Latin language. – Ancient Geography (PHOTO credit Photobucket.com)

Bethlehem in Easton’s Bible Dictionary house of bread. (1.) A city in the „hill country” of Judah. It was originally called Ephrath (Gen. 35:16, 19; 48:7; Ruth 4:11). It was also called Beth-lehem Ephratah (Micah 5:2), Beth-lehem-judah (1 Sam. 17:12), and „the city of David” (Luke 2:4). It is first noticed in Scripture as the place where Rachel died and was buried „by the wayside,” directly to the north of the city (Gen. 48:7). The valley to the east was the scene of the story of Ruth the Moabitess. There are the fields in which she gleaned, and the path by which she and Naomi returned to the town. Here was David’s birth-place, and here also, in after years, he was anointed as king by Samuel (1 Sam. 16:4-13); and it was from the well of Bethlehem that three of his heroes brought water for him at the risk of their lives when he was in the cave of Adullam (2 Sam. 23:13-17). But it was distinguished above every other city as the birth-place of „Him whose goings forth have been of old” (Matt. 2:6; comp. Micah 5:2). Afterwards Herod, „when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men,” sent and slew „all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under” (Matt. 2:16, 18; Jer. 31:15).

Bethlehem bears the modern name of Beit-Lahm, i.e., „house of flesh.” It is about 5 miles south of Jerusalem, standing at an elevation of about 2,550 feet above the sea, thus 100 feet higher than Jerusalem. There is a church still existing, built by Constantine the Great (A.D. 330), called the „Church of the Nativity,” over a grotto or cave called the „holy crypt,” and said to be the „stable” in which Jesus was born. This is perhaps the oldest existing Christian church in the world. Close to it is another grotto, where Jerome the Latin father is said to have spent thirty years of his life in translating the Scriptures into Latin. (See VERSION ¯T0003768.) (2.) A city of Zebulun, mentioned only in Josh. 19:15. Now Beit-Lahm, a ruined village about 6 miles west- north-west of Nazareth.
http://www.bible-history.com/eastons/B/Bethlehem/

Photo credit http://news.bbc.co.uk

Bethlehem in the Bible Encyclopedia – ISBE beth’-le-hem (bethlechem; Baithleem, or Bethleem, „house of David,” or possibly „the house of Lakhmu,” an Assyrian deity): I. Bethlehem Judah: Bethlehem Judah, or EPHRATH or EPHRATHAH (which see) is now Beit Lahm (Arabic = „house of meat”), a town of upward of 10,000 inhabitants, 5 miles South of Jerusalem and 2,350 ft. above sea level. It occupies an outstanding position upon a spur running East from the watershed with deep valleys to the Northeast and South It is just off the main road to Hebron and the south, but upon the highroad to Tekoa and En- gedi. The position is one of natural strength; it was occupied by a garrison of the Philistines in the days of David (2 Sam 23:14; 1 Ch 11:16) and was fortified by Rehoboam (2 Ch 11:6).

The surrounding country is fertile, cornfields, fig and olive yards and vineyards abound. Bethlehem is not naturally well supplied with water, the nearest spring is 800 yds. to the Southeast, but for many centuries the „low level aqueduct” from „Solomon’s Pools” in the ArTas valley, which has here been tunneled through the hill, has been tapped by the inhabitants; there are also many rock-cut cisterns. 1. Early History: In 1 Ch 2:51 Salma, the son of Caleb, is described as the „father of Bethlehem.” In Gen 35:19; 48:7 it is recorded that Rachel „was buried in the way to Ephrath (the same is Beth-lehem).” Tradition points out the site of Rachel’s tomb near where the road to Bethlehem leaves the main road. The Levites of the events of Jdg 17; 19 were Bethlehemites. In the list of the towns of Judah the name Bethlehem occurs, in the Septuagint version only in Josh 15:57. 2.

David the Bethlehemite: Ruth, famous chiefly as the ancestress of David, and of the Messiah, settled in Bethlehem with her second husband Boaz, and it is noticeable that from her new home she could view the mountains of Moab, her native land. David himself „was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem-judah, whose name was Jesse” (1 Sam 17:12). To Bethlehem came Samuel to anoint a successor to unworthy Saul (1 Sam 16:4): „David went to and fro from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem” (1 Sam 17:15). David’s „three mighty men” „brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Beth-lehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David” (2 Sam 23:14,16). Tradition still points out the well. From this town came those famous „sons of Zeruiah,” David’s nephews, whose loyalty and whose ruthless cruelty became at once a protection and a menace to their royal relative: in 2 Sam 2:32 it is mentioned that one of them, Asahel, was buried „in the sepulchre of his father, which was in Bethlehem.” 3. Later Bible History: After the time of David, Bethlehem would appear to have sunk into insignificance. But its future fame is pointed at by Micah (5:2): „But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth …  http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/B/BETHLEHEM/

Photo credit scripture-for-today.blogspot.com

Bethlehem in Scripture 

1 Chronicles 11:18 Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and took it and brought it to David. But David would not drink it. He poured it out to the Lord.

1 Chronicles 2:51 Salma the father of Bethlehem, Hareph the father of Bethgader.

1 Chronicles 4:4 and Penuel fathered Gedor, and Ezer fathered Hushah. These were the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephrathah, the father of Bethlehem.

Luke 2:15   When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

Luke 2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,

Matthew 2:16  Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.

Matthew 2:6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Micah 5:2 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.

Ruth 1:22  So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

Ruth 4:11  Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem.

~~~~~~~~~~

Bethlehem (Ephrath) (in Judah): Belt Lahm. associated with Rachel, Gen. 35. 19 (cf. Matt. 2. 18); in Judah, Judg. 17.7; home of Ruth, Ruth 1. 1 &c.; of David, 1 Sam. 17. 2; 2. Sam. 23. 15; Mic. 5. 2; Ezr. 2. 21; Neh. 7. 26; birth-place of Jesus, Matt. 2. lff.; Luke 2. 4 (cf. John 7. 42)

  • Genesis 35:19 – So Rachel died, and she was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem),
  • Matthew 2:18 – “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”
  • Judges 17:7 – Now there was a young man of Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.
  • Ruth 1:1 – In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man ofBethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.
  • 1 Samuel 17:2 – And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in line of battle against the Philistines.
  • 2 Samuel 23:15 – And David said longingly, “Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” 
  • Micah 5:2 – 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.
  • Ezra 2:21 – The sons of Bethlehem, 123.
  • Nehemiah 7:26 – The men of Bethlehem and Netophah, 188.
  • Matthew 2:1 – Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem.
  • Luke 2:4 – And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
  • John 7:42 – Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?”

SOURCE: http://www.bible-history.com/

orasul betleem

Photo credit www.homeofourfathers.com

 History of Bethlehem

Three thousand years before the birth of Christ, Bethlehem was already known as a Canaanite settlement. Canaanite tribes who settled in Palestine, built small cities surrounded by walls for protection against the attacks of raiders. One of these cities was Beit Lahama known today as Bethlehem. So, the word Bethlehem is derived from Lahmo the Chaldean god of fertility, which was adopted by the Canaanites as Lahama. In accordance with the Canaanite practice of building temples to their gods, they built a temple for Lahama on the present mount of the Nativity which overlooks the fertile valleys of the region. Walls, ramparts and other structures in different sites in Bethlehem clearly establish its Canaanite origin 3000 years before the birth of Jesus.

Bethlehem was mentioned around 1350 BC in the Tell al-Amarna letters, from the Egyptian governor of Palestine to the Pharaoh Amenhotep III. It was depicted as an important staging and rest stop for travelers from Syria and Palestine going to Egypt. The letters also signify that it was a border city of mid-Palestine and an outpost looking out towards the desert. The Philistines had a garrison stationed in Bethlehem because it was a strong strategic point. They entered the land of the Canaanites, mingled with its people and settled in the southern coasts between Jaffa and Gaza. The Philistines had achieved military supremacy over the greater part of the country around 1200 BC, and called it Palestine.

The narrative of the Old Testament mentions Bethlehem in the first book of the Bible when Jacob, son of Abraham, and his family were journeying to the city of Hebron passing by Bethlehem (Ephrata) (Genesis 35: 16-19). There, his wife Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin, and he buried her by the side of the Bethlehem Road where her tomb has been a shrine to this day: „And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.” In that time, Bethlehem was a small, walled town erected on a hill in the northern part of the present town of Bethlehem. The name of Bethlehem (Ephrata) „the fruitful” itself suggests a pastoral and agricultural life. The tale of Ruth, the Moabite, and Boaz suggests an atmosphere of idyllic rusticity that is still obvious today (Ruth 2-4). Ruth’s grandson was King David of whose lineage Christ was born.

A decree of Caesar Augustus, ordering the taking of a census in all the provinces of the Roman Empire, brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Micah, spoken 750 years before: „And thou, Bethlehem Ephrata, art a little one among the thousands of Juda: out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be the ruler of his people”(Mikha 5:2). When Jesus was born in Bethlehem,  Herod the Great was a vassal of Rome and in 6 AD Palestine was incorporated in the imperial province of Syria.  Emperor Hadrian in 135 AD profaned the sanctity of the Grotto of the Nativity and turned it into a pagan shrine.

From Hadrian’s time until the reign of Constantine, the population worshipped Adonis in the cave where the infant Jesus was born. Palestine, consequently, was officially pagan as was the whole Roman empire until 313 when Constantine proclaimed Christianity as the religion of the state. In the year 325 the Bishop of Jerusalem, St. Maccarius, took the opportunity of acquainting the Emperor Constantine with the neglected condition of the Holy Places in his diocese. Thus, the Emperor ordered the construction, at public expense, of monumental churches to commemorate the three principal events of Jesus’ life: Nativity, Crucifixion and Resurrection. One of these was a church enshrining the scene of the Nativity. Christian traditions were so clear and deeply rooted that there was no problem in locating the correct place. Among the trees, not far from the village, was a cave which the local people and their parents had known for generations to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ. The cave was made the center of a scheme for the church and work began the following year (326 AD)

Toward the end of the 4th century, Bethlehem became a very important center of monastic life. In 384 AD St. Jerome arrived from Rome with a group of pilgrims. He came to Bethlehem to continue his work in the atmosphere of monastic life. He devoted himself to the tremendous task with which Pope St. Damasus had entrusted him, namely to review all old Latin translations of the Bible and produce a new version, the Vulgate, based on original Hebrew and Greek texts. Two Roman ladies of noble origin, St. Paula and her daughter Eustochium moved to Bethlehem in 386 to lead an ascetic life along with St. Jerome. They founded the earliest monastic community in Bethlehem which has lasted, with some interruption, to this day. Paula used her riches to build a hospice for pilgrims and two monasteries, one for St. Jerome and his followers, and the other for herself and the nuns.

When the Roman empire was divided in 395 into two empires, eastern and western, Palestine was attached to Byzantium, the eastern part. In the following years the life of the Latin-speaking communities of Bethlehem faded from view, eclipsed by the growth and more spectacular austerities of an eastern monasticism. As a result, the town of Bethlehem prospered and its population increased with the spread of churches, monasteries, and convents in Bethlehem itself, and the surrounding areas.  In AD 527 Justinian became Emperor in Constantinople. Under his reign Palestine witnessed a time of prosperity and expansion for its churches and for monasticism. Afterwards, in 529, the Samaritans rebelled against the Byzantine state and overran the country, plundering and destroying as they went. Churches and monasteries, towns and villages were all pillaged or gutted by fire. The walls of Bethlehem and its main church were destroyed. The revolt was soon quelled. At the same time the church was rebuilt in a grand style. The town wall and the defenses of the monasteries were repaired.

A few years later (614) the country was invaded by the Persians. According to an oral tradition, they did not cause any damage to the Church of the Nativity because they saw the pictures of the three Magi dressed as Persians, carrying gifts to Christ at his birth. Outside and above the roof of the narthex, the gable end overlooking the atrium was decorated with a mosaic scene of the birth of Christ with his mother holding the Child to her breast. In 637, soon after his entry into Jerusalem, the Muslim Caliph ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab visited Bethlehem. The relations between ‘Umar and the ecclesiastical authorities were friendly and a written agreement was granted to the Patriarch Sofronious. The tolerant policy was maintained by Umar’s successors till 1009. In that year a fanatic Caliph, al-Hakim, the one who had destroyed the Holy Sepulcher, declared a real persecution against Christians. However, Bethlehem was once more spared because al-Hakim wished to continue receiving the tribute Christians had been paying since Umar’s day.

The conquest of Palestine by the Crusaders in the year 1099 began a new chapter in the history of Bethlehem. Within a short time the Franks took over from the local clergy and installed a community of Augustinian canons under a prior who conducted services in the Latin language. The Crusaders reconstructed the town and made it a fortified outpost. They remained for about two centuries during which the town of Bethlehem prospered. Some of them intermarried with the local people and settled down. The 12th century opened Bethlehem to European social and ecclesiastical influences to an unprecedented extent. From every country, pilgrims could now visit the Holy Places bringing with them offerings to the church and prosperity to the merchants whose shops were built in front of it. In 1100, the Crusader King Baldwin succeeded in having Pope Pascal II establish a bishopric in Bethlehem.

In 1187, Saladin the Ayyubite captured Bethlehem. Although the Church of the Nativity was unharmed, the relations with the West were abruptly cut off, and the Latin Bishop and Canons were forced to leave. The life of the local people was seriously affected by the expulsion of the Latin community and the temporary interruption of the stream of western pilgrims on which the Bethlehemites primarily depended. However, because of two treaties, one signed by emperor Frederick II and Malek el-Kamel, sultan of Egypt, and the second by the king of Navarre and the Sultan of Damascus, Bethlehem was in Christian hands from 1229 to 1244. The Canons of St. Augustine could return to their convent and the Basilica was once more opened to the Christian world.

In 1250, the Ayyubid Dynasty was replaced in Egypt by Circassian Mamlukes, and the accession of the fanatical Sultan Rukn ed-Din Beibars brought an end to the tradition of tolerance that helped safeguard the Holy places. In 1263, Beibars ordered the dismantling of the towers and walls of Bethlehem. The church itself was not damaged, which gave rise to a legend that a serpent bit the marbles and cracked them, so that the Sultan could not take them to Cairo, as he wished. However, the Christians were banished from Bethlehem.

In the following century, western influences were reinforced; monks from the order of the Franciscan Friars Minor were established in Bethlehem in the old Augustinian priory, where they still reside.  The Franciscan Fathers had acquired possession of the grotto in 1347 and also, the right to administer the Basilica and to care for its maintenance. The Franciscan Custos, Giovanni, obtained from the Sultan Qaita Bey consent to renovate the roof of the Church of the Nativity. A few years later European influences at Bethlehem were set back by the expulsion of the Catholic Latin clergy for the second time.

With the Turkish occupation in 1517, the period of conflict between the Franciscans and the Greeks for the possession of the Sanctuaries began. Consequently, the Basilica passed from the Franciscans to the Greeks according to the favor enjoyed at the Sublime Porte (Ottoman Caliph) by the nation which supported the communities (Catholics or Orthodox). Under the Turkish regime the question of ownership and rights in the Holy Places took on an increasingly political and even international dimension. The first question in the dispute between France and Russia was concerned with the possession of the key to the main doors of the Basilica. The second was concerned with the mysterious removal, one night in the year 1847, of a silver star bearing a Latin inscription, which was put into a slab of marble beneath the altar of the Nativity. However, between the 17th and 18th centuries Bethlehem was on the verge of modern times. Long and continuous contact by the local people with travelers from Western Christendom had familiarized them with the manners and tastes of Western countries, and improved their economic condition.

Palestine was under Egyptian rule for ten years beginning in 1831. However, during this period, robbery and violence were too common, and the murder of a favorite of Ibrahim Pasha in 1834, resulted in the destruction of the Moslem quarter of the town and the disarming of the whole population. By 1841 Bethlehem was again under Turkish rule. The result was unemployment, oppression, compulsory military service and heavy taxes imposed on the inhabitants. This oppressive situation forced the people of Bethlehem to emigrate abroad, especially to the Americas, to earn a living and improve their life-style. By the end of the 19th century, several European missionaries came to Bethlehem and built schools.

The Turkish rule ended in 1917, and Palestine was placed under the British Mandate. At that time, the inhabitants of Bethlehem numbered about 8000. When the British withdrew from Palestine in 1948 the population of Bethlehem was 11,696. Wars between Arabs and Jews continued and the latter occupied most of Palestine and declared their state ‘Israel’. The town of Bethlehem remained unoccupied and towards the end of 1948, the union of the eastern part of Palestine and Trans-Jordan was declared under the name of the Hashemite  Kingdom of Jordan. A second war between the Arabs and Israelis broke out in 1967, and the latter occupied the remainder of Palestine including Bethlehem. Bethlehem remained under the Israeli occupation until December 22, 1995 when the Palestinian Authority took over in compliance with the Oslo Accord of 1993.

In September 1993 Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accord. Among its provisions, the accord called for a five-year interim period of Palestinian Autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza at the end of which the final status of the occupied territories will be decided. However, the implementation of the accord met setbacks resulting from the intransigence of the Israeli extremists.

 

Händel for Christmas !

If you have never listened to the entire Messiah oratorio, here are 4 selections to sample. If you would like to listen to the entire oratorio (in 3 parts) and see the lyrics, which are entirely taken from Scripture click here – Handel’s entire oratorio with lyrics (in 3 separate video)It includes the Hallelujah song. Also click here if you want just the Hallelujah song – Handel’s ‘Hallelujah’ and Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria in Excelsis Deo’. Majestic music for a majestic God!

The 4 selections from Handel’s Messiah oratorio

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government
shall be upon His shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful,
Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9:6)

Händel: For unto us a child is born

Uploaded on Nov 26, 2008 Sir Colin Davis conducts the London Symphony Orchestra, Susan Gritton, Sara Mingardo, Mark Padmore, Alastair Miles and the Tenebrae choir performing Handel’s Messiah. Recorded in December 2006. PART II No. 39  Uploaded by Lso

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 40:5)

Uploaded by

Händel: And the glory of the Lord

Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (I
Corinthians 15:21-22)

Uploaded by

Händel: Since by man came death

The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and
we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption and
this mortal must put on immortality. (I Corinthians 15:52-53)

Händel: The trumpet shall sound

Uploaded on Apr 22, 2008 The Trumpet Shall Sound from Handel’s Messiah performed live by Nathaniel Mayfield on baroque trumpet in December, 2007. Uploaded by Nathaniel Mayfield

‘S-a Nascut Vaca Rosie’, care ar putea fii folosita pentru curatire in cel de-al treilea Templu care urmeaza sa fie construit

Vezi si

S-a nascut vaca rosie, si acum se asteapta pentru construirea celui de-al treilea Templu in Ierusalim

Photo credit

Photo credit  prophetictimes7.com

Numeri 19:2: ,,Iata ce porunceste legea pe care a dat-o Domnul, zicand: ,,Vorbeste copiilor lui Israel sa-ti aduca o vaca rosie, fara pata, fara vreun cusur trupesc, si care sa nu fi fost pusa in jug.”

Traducere Blogul Agnus Dei:

Cel mai mare expert evreu, un rabin care studiaza in limba engleza, si care se ocupa cu identificarea vacii rosii despre care se vorbeste in Cartea Numerilor, a confirmat ca vaca rosie s-a nascut.  Vaca rosie s-a nascut la o ferma din Statele Unite, si este crescuta conform instructiunilor poruncite de Dumnezeu prin Legea, data poporului Israel. Acest expert spera ca aceasta vaca rosie  va fi prezentata poporului Israel pentru curatire, in cladirea celui de-al treilea Templu. Aceasta vaca rosie este secretul curatirii, secretul de a restaura un anumit nivel de puritate poporului Israel.

Motivul pentru ca aceasta este de o importanta semnificativa, este ca nu au existat prea multe vaci rosii atat de perfecte de-a lungul istoriei. Acesti oameni buni, care au fost binecuvantati cu o astfel de vaca, locuiesc in Statele Unite, intr-un loc care nu vrem sa-l specificam, din motive de securitate, dar ei sunt foarte entuziasmati suporteri ai Israelului, si ei spera ca aceasta vaca rosie sa fie folosita pentru curatire in cel de-al treilea Templu care urmeaza sa fie construit.

Aceasta juninca rosie are cinci luni de cand s-a nascut, adica in luna Ianuarie anul acesta, este o incrucisare a rasei Gambia, si tatal ei un bivol rosu. Blana este de culoare rosie, consistenta. Muti oameni cand privesc la ea spun ca este de culoare maroatica, dar ea este de culoarea ‘adoma’ in limba ebraica care este rosu. Ea nu are pe nici o parte din piele nici o alta culoare, avand peste intreaga piele o culoare consistenta rosie. Vacile impreuna cu alti vitei care sunt crescuti impreuna nu sunt despartite, ele stau impreuna cu mama lor pana ce implinesc sase luni de la nastere, dar cei care le ingrijesc sunt foarte atenti ca sa se respecte Legea poruncita de Dumnezeu cu privire la aceasta vaca rosie, pentru ca ea sa poata fi folosita. In caz ca aceste reguli nu se respecta ea atunci trebuie sa fie descalificata, si nu mai poate fi folosita pentru curatirea poporului. Ea este hranita numai cu iarba si fan, si tot ce se face aici, este facut cu o sensibilitate extrema si respect, in concordanta cu Numeri 19:2.

De fiecare data cand suntem anuntati ca o alta juninca rosie s-a nascut, noi verificam aceasta, si deja un anumit numar de  vaci rosii care s-au nascut au fost descalificate. pentru un motiv sau altul, dar aceasta juninca rosie este una pe care o privim cu mare atentie si interes.

Cu voia lui Dumnezeu speram ca vom vedea in curand construirea noului Templu. (SURSA – Video mai jos)

Breaking News: Red Heifer Born

Emblematic of the rapid unfolding of events in these crucial times of redemption, a red heifer was recently born. The owners of the red heifer contacted the Temple Institute to share the news and receive instructions concerning the proper care of the red heifer. The Temple Institute contacted a professional documentary film producer who provided this exclusive footage of the red heifer.

The ashes of the red heifer are necessary for the final preparation of the sacred vessels to be used in the Holy Temple, and for the purification of the kohanim (Temple priests) who will serve in the Holy Temple.

To learn more about the red heifer: https://www.templeinstitute.org/red_h…

VIDEO by The Temple Institute

VEZI SI –

Totul este gata pentru construirea Noului Templu la Ierusalim

ORATORIUL MESSIAH HÄNDEL la București – Handel’s Messiah in Bucharest (80 minute)

Handel's Messiah in Bucharest 2011

Concertul vocal simfonic Oratoriul „Messiah” de G.F. Händel, Partea II și III la Catedrala Sf. Iosif București (duminică 29 mai 2011) inventivstudio

Filmare video & videomontaj: Kif Studio & Inventiv Studio Bucureşti

Dirijor:
KENNETH TUCKER
Corul „CON SPIRITO” CLUJ
Corul „IN EXCELSIS” BUCUREŞTI
ORCHESTRA SIMFONICĂ A PROIECTULUI „MESSIAH”

Solişti:
ANA CEBOTARI – sopran
ANTONELA BÂRNAT – mezzo-sopran
NICOLAE SIMONOV – tenor
VEACESLAV VULPE – bas

Ca sa vezi versetele biblice din care este compus oratoriul Messiah fa click aici – Scriptures from Handel’s Messiah – Textele Biblice de la Handel’s Messiah (odata pe pagina, in partea dreapta sus, sub globul cu steaguri, fa click pe „ROMANIAN” si va traduce intreaga pagina in Limba Romana)

Georg Friedrich Händel

Georg Friedrich Haendel — portret de Balthasar Denner (1733), National Portrait Gallery, Londra

Georg Friedrich Händel (scris uneori și Haendel, iar în engl. George Frideric Handel, n. 23 februarie 1685, Halle/Saale – d. 14 aprilie1759, Londra) a fost un compozitor germano-englez. A trăit cea mai mare parte a vieții în Anglia. Împreună cu contemporanul săuJohann Sebastian Bach, este unul din cei mai importanți reprezentanți în muzică ai stilului baroc din perioada târzie.

Importanța muzicii lui Haendel

Opera lui Georg Friedric Haendel reprezintă, împreună cu creațiile lui Johann Sebastian Bach, punctele culminante ale muzicii baroce. Stilul operistic al lui Haendel s-a dezvoltat de la folosirea modelelor convenționale la tratarea dramatică a recitativelor, ariilor și părților corale. Marile sale opere se caracterizează printr-o magistrală îmbinare a patosului, scenelor dramatice și interludiilor orchestrale, prin folosirea modulațiilor armonice, instrumentalizării colorate, ritmului pregnant și intervenției soliștilor instrumentali sau vocali. El a influențat generațiile următoare de compozitori, ca Joseph HaydnLudwig van Beethoven sau Felix Mendelsohn Bartoldy.

Oratoriile și muzica instrumentală

Haendel se orientează spre compoziția de oratorii pe teme laice și spre muzica instrumentală, în tradiția muzicii engleze a lui Henry Purcell. Astfel dă la iveală oratoriile„Athalia” (1733) și „Saul” (1739) și compune concerte pentru orgă și orchestră (1736), precum și cele 12 Concerti grossi opus 6 (1739). În 1742 realizează celebrul oratoriu„Messiah”, executat în premieră la Dublin, rămas exemplar în acest gen până astăzi (Halleluja din acest oratoriu este una din cele mai cunoscute și mai des executate bucăți muzicale). Alte oratorii din această perioadă sunt: „Israel în Egipt” (1739), „Samson” (1743), „Iuda Maccabeul” (1747) și „Solomon” (1749). Cu ocazia încheierii tratatului de pace din Aachen în 1748, Haendel compune bucata „Foc de artificii” care, împreună cu „Muzica apelor” compusă mai înainte (1717) cu ocazia urcării pe tron a regelui George I, a căpătat o mare popularitate. În timp ce lucra la compoziția oratoriului „Jephta” (1751), Haendel își pierde vederea. Moare la Londra pe 14 aprilie 1759, fiind înmormântat cu deosebite onoruri în „Colțul Poeților” din Westminster Abbey.

Vezi si

Händel for Christmas !

If you have never listened to the entire Messiah oratorio, here are 4 selections to sample. If you would like to listen to the entire oratorio (in 3 parts) and see the lyrics, which are entirely taken from Scripture click here – Handel’s entire oratorio with lyrics (in 3 separate video)It includes the Hallelujah song. Also click here if you want just the Hallelujah song – Handel’s ‘Hallelujah’ and Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria in Excelsis Deo’. Majestic music for a majestic God!

The 4 selections from Handel’s Messiah oratorio

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government
shall be upon His shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful,
Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9:6)

Händel: For unto us a child is born

Uploaded on Nov 26, 2008 Sir Colin Davis conducts the London Symphony Orchestra, Susan Gritton, Sara Mingardo, Mark Padmore, Alastair Miles and the Tenebrae choir performing Handel’s Messiah. Recorded in December 2006. PART II No. 39  Uploaded by Lso

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 40:5)

Uploaded by

Händel: And the glory of the Lord

Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (I
Corinthians 15:21-22)

Uploaded by

Händel: Since by man came death

The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and
we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption and
this mortal must put on immortality. (I Corinthians 15:52-53)

Händel: The trumpet shall sound

Uploaded on Apr 22, 2008 The Trumpet Shall Sound from Handel’s Messiah performed live by Nathaniel Mayfield on baroque trumpet in December, 2007. Uploaded by Nathaniel Mayfield

Jesus Is Worthy – David Platt

Photo credit kingdomnewtestament.wordpress.com

„You see Jesus saying to four fishermen, ‘Follow me.’ We need to feel the weight and the wonder of the One who’s speaking here—this is Jesus. The Savior and Messiah. The One promised to come in the kingly line of David and Abraham Father of God’s people in Israel. Fully human and fully divine. The One who wise men of the nations bow. The One who’s birth ushers in the consummation of generations and generations of prophecy and expectation. He is the Savior King, the Righteous Judge of the World perfectly filled with God the Spirit, completely loved by God the Father. The only man who’s conquered sin. The True Son that Israel could never be. The Light of the World and the Hope for all Nations. Do we realize who this is? For when we do we come to one conclusion…

This Jesus is clearly absolutely worthy of more than nominal adherence and church association. Church leaders, we must not reduce this Jesus to a poor, puny savior who is just begging for people to accept him into their hearts as if Jesus needed to be accepted by us. He doesn’t need your acceptance. He doesn’t need my acceptance. He doesn’t need any of our acceptance. He’s infinitely worthy of all glory in all the universe and He doesn’t need us at all. We need Him! We desperately need Him…Jesus is worthy of total abandonment and supreme adoration.” This is no game here. We’re talking about the Savior King of the universe and the Righteous Judge of the nations. God in the flesh, saying, „Follow Me”. (2nd Photo credit www.day4ministries.com)

VIDEO by VergeNetwork

Paul Washer – A Warning not to Stray from the Gospel

1 Timothy 4:1 – Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons

washer

Now, let’s look at the first phrase: Now, the Spirit exlicitly says,” this is very unusual language. We don’t find this in any other place in the New Testament. A great emphasis is being given, which means ‘this is very, very important’, which means: „You should listen!” I mean, you should listen to all the words of God, and all the words of Christ, but once in a while, reading through the New Testament, we hear Jesus say, „Verily, verily…”, „truly, truly…I say unto you”. It doesn’t mean that it’s more true. It means that He’s putting emphasis on this. Listen, if you’re going to listen, this is what you need to listen to.  This is the way Paul is dealing with this, but the Spirit explicitly says that something’s gonna happen in the latter times.

Now we need to define latter times cause there’s a lot of confusion about that. Some people look back to the year 1948 and the reestablishment of Israel as the latter times. Other people of a charismatic persuasion look back to certain revivals to say the latter days have now begun. Well, all of that is wrong. According to the Scriptures, the latter days, the latter times began 2000 years ago. This is very clear, from Peter quoting Joel in Acts 2:17, when the Spirit of God is poured out and Peter said, „“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. The latter days began with the first coming of the Messiah, His death, resurrection, and ascension. These are the days of the Messiah, these are the latter days, which I don’t have time to get into, but it’s also time of trouble.

It was always believed that when the Messiah came there would be a time of trouble, a time of transition, a time of already and not yet, which is what we can see today in a macrocosm. We can see God’s kingdom advancing in the world, but, it hasn’t fully advanced. And, we can also see it in a microcosm, we can see it in you. There’s a time of trouble, in that Messiah has come into your heart. He has made great changes, but it is still a time of trouble in your own soul. You’re still not completely sanctified. It’s what we call in theology, ‘the already, but not yet’. The kingdom has come, the kingdom is coming, the kingdom has not yet come in its fullness.

So we’ve been in the latter days. Paul is going to describe something that is going to be a battle within the entire age of the church. It’s something that he had to write about here, when he was writing to Timothy. It’s something that you and I need to hear 2000 years later.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith. Now, this is very important. You say, „Well yeah, we live in that time.” Now, we live in a time, in the West, where there are not many believers, but people who are out and out saying they are atheists, they are agnostics, they are some other religion, but they are not Christian. This is talking about something that is going to go on within the context of what is known as the public or open church. It’s saying that within Christianity itself there are going to be people who will fall away.  (From the first 5 minutes with 44 min, remaining)

VIDEO by GoodTreeMinistries.com

God gives Mathematical Proof for Christianity

photo via www.wikihow.com

AN AWESOME  ARTICLE! by Dan Delzell, pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska writes this article in The Christian Post.

It is impossible that Christianity is not God’s revelation of truth to man. Simply impossible. The math proves it beyond question. It doesn’t take faith to believe that one plus one equals two, and it doesn’t take faith to identify the religion which has mathematical certainty in its corner.

God didn’t have to give us mathematical proof of His existence, but He did it anyway. God didn’t have to give us proof of Christianity, but He chose to do so. And God didn’t have to give us proof of His love for us, but that is exactly what He did. The proof is irrefutable.

I live in Nebraska where I serve as a pastor. Imagine someone covering this entire state in silver dollars 6 feet deep. Then mark one coin and bury it anywhere across the state. Next, blindfold a man and have him choose one coin. The odds that he would choose the marked coin are the same odds of getting 8 prophecies all fulfilled in one man. God gave us about 300 fulfilled prophecies in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Here are 8 of those 300 prophecies:

(1) The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-6)
(2) The Messiah will be a descendant of Jacob. (Numbers 24:17; Matthew 1:2)
(3) The Messiah will enter Jerusalem as a king riding on a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9; Mark 11:4-11)
(4) The Messiah will be betrayed by a friend. (Psalm 41:9; Luke 22:47,48)
(5) The Messiah’s betrayal money will be used to purchase a potter’s field. (Zechariah 11:13; Matthew 27:9,10)
(6) The Messiah will be spat upon and struck. (Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 26:67)
(7) The Messiah’s hands and feet will be pierced. (Psalm 22:16; John 20:25-27)
(8) Soldiers will gamble for the Messiah’s garments. (Psalm 22:18; Luke 23:34)

There is no way one man could have fulfilled all 8 of these prophecies unless God was making it happen. Who else controls history? Who else could give us such irrefutable proof for Christianity? The odds are one in one hundred quadrillion, or 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.

This mathematical proof was calculated by Professor Peter Stoner. He was chairman of the mathematics and astronomy departments at Pasadena City College until 1953. He then went to Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, where he served as chairman of the science division.

You don’t have to be a mathematics professor to see that this evidence is irrefutable. No one would pick the marked coin under those conditions. No one but God could have given us these biblical prophecies, and then brought them to fulfillment right before our eyes. It is impossible that Christianity is false. The math proves it, and the Man behind the math rose from the dead, just as it had been foretold.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/the-mathematical-proof-for-christianity-is-irrefutable-96295/#0GUltOdZo5CzMs21.99

Handel’s Messiah performed in Bucharest – ORATORIUL MESSIAH HÄNDEL la București (80 minute)

Handel's Messiah in Bucharest 2011

Concertul vocal simfonic Oratoriul „Messiah” de G.F. Händel, Partea II și III la Catedrala Sf. Iosif București (duminică 29 mai 2011) inventivstudio

Filmare video & videomontaj: Kif Studio & Inventiv Studio Bucureşti

Dirijor:
KENNETH TUCKER
Corul „CON SPIRITO” CLUJ
Corul „IN EXCELSIS” BUCUREŞTI
ORCHESTRA SIMFONICĂ A PROIECTULUI „MESSIAH”

Solişti:
ANA CEBOTARI – sopran
ANTONELA BÂRNAT – mezzo-sopran
NICOLAE SIMONOV – tenor
VEACESLAV VULPE – bas

Ca sa vezi versetele biblice din care este compus oratoriul Messiah fa click aici – Scriptures from Handel’s Messiah – Textele Biblice de la Handel’s Messiah (odata pe pagina, in partea dreapta sus, sub globul cu steaguri, fa click pe „ROMANIAN” si va traduce intreaga pagina in Limba Romana)

Georg Friedrich Händel

Georg Friedrich Haendel — portret de Balthasar Denner (1733), National Portrait Gallery, Londra

Georg Friedrich Händel (scris uneori și Haendel, iar în engl. George Frideric Handel, n. 23 februarie 1685, Halle/Saale – d. 14 aprilie1759, Londra) a fost un compozitor germano-englez. A trăit cea mai mare parte a vieții în Anglia. Împreună cu contemporanul săuJohann Sebastian Bach, este unul din cei mai importanți reprezentanți în muzică ai stilului baroc din perioada târzie.

Importanța muzicii lui Haendel

Opera lui Georg Friedric Haendel reprezintă, împreună cu creațiile lui Johann Sebastian Bach, punctele culminante ale muzicii baroce. Stilul operistic al lui Haendel s-a dezvoltat de la folosirea modelelor convenționale la tratarea dramatică a recitativelor, ariilor și părților corale. Marile sale opere se caracterizează printr-o magistrală îmbinare a patosului, scenelor dramatice și interludiilor orchestrale, prin folosirea modulațiilor armonice, instrumentalizării colorate, ritmului pregnant și intervenției soliștilor instrumentali sau vocali. El a influențat generațiile următoare de compozitori, ca Joseph HaydnLudwig van Beethoven sau Felix Mendelsohn Bartoldy.

Oratoriile și muzica instrumentală

Haendel se orientează spre compoziția de oratorii pe teme laice și spre muzica instrumentală, în tradiția muzicii engleze a lui Henry Purcell. Astfel dă la iveală oratoriile„Athalia” (1733) și „Saul” (1739) și compune concerte pentru orgă și orchestră (1736), precum și cele 12 Concerti grossi opus 6 (1739). În 1742 realizează celebrul oratoriu„Messiah”, executat în premieră la Dublin, rămas exemplar în acest gen până astăzi (Halleluja din acest oratoriu este una din cele mai cunoscute și mai des executate bucăți muzicale). Alte oratorii din această perioadă sunt: „Israel în Egipt” (1739), „Samson” (1743), „Iuda Maccabeul” (1747) și „Solomon” (1749). Cu ocazia încheierii tratatului de pace din Aachen în 1748, Haendel compune bucata „Foc de artificii” care, împreună cu „Muzica apelor” compusă mai înainte (1717) cu ocazia urcării pe tron a regelui George I, a căpătat o mare popularitate. În timp ce lucra la compoziția oratoriului „Jephta” (1751), Haendel își pierde vederea. Moare la Londra pe 14 aprilie 1759, fiind înmormântat cu deosebite onoruri în „Colțul Poeților” din Westminster Abbey.

Vezi si

The Prophecy of the Coming Messiah

this entire post is from http://www.angelfire.com

Isaiah 9:6-7

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

„For to us a child is born” – This refers to the virgin birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. The word birth signifies „humanity.” The promised Messiah had to be true humanity in order to bear the sins of the world. Therefore, the word „birth” refers to the perfect humanity of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 1:16; „…..Mary, of whom was BORN Jesus, who is called the Christ (the Greek word for Jewish Messiah).

Matthew 1:18; „This is how the BIRTH of Jesus came about.”

Matthew 2:1; „After Jesus was BORN in Bethlehem in Judea.”

Matthew 2:2; „Where is the one who has been BORN king of the Jews?”

Matthew 2:4; „….where the Christ was to be BORN.”

Luke 1:14; „…..many shall rejoice at his BIRTH.” They are still doing that today. Every Christmas the world seems to go through a sort of metamorphosis. Through the music and the story of the Jewish Messiah, everyone seems to enjoy and appreciate this time of year, whether they are believers or unbelievers. We even use the phrase, „I have the Christmas spirit.” So when the Bible tells us that „many shall rejoice at His birth,” it’s not just talking about the land of Israel in 4-6 BC. It is referring to all generations of mankind.

Luke 1:35; „…the holy one to be BORN will be called the Son of God.”

Luke 2:11; „Today in the city of David a Savior has been BORN to you.”

John 3:16; „For God so loved the world that He gave His uniquely BORN Son.”

John 18:37; „Jesus answered, ‘You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was BORN.”

Therefore, the words „born” or „birth” refers to the humanity of Jesus Christ.

birth Christ JesusGod, not willing that any should perish (II Peter 3:9), had promised a sign to identify this perfect righteous One when He appeared on the stage of human history. That sign is recorded in Isaiah 7:14; „Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign (a miracle, a supernatural occurrence), a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (meaning, God with us).”

The Hebrew word for „virgin” in Isaiah 7:14 is ALMAH. This Hebrew word is used for a virgin and a young woman. Skeptics of the Bible always refer to this word in an attempt to prove that there was no virgin birth, but that the concept of the virgin birth was invented by the Christian religion. But God never leaves His people in the dark about important issues. He always gives them the answers when they need them. In Matthew 1:22-23 it says, „Now all of this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, (Matthew now quotes Isaiah 7:14). „Behold, a VIRGIN shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

The Greek word for virgin is PARTHENOS, and means „a virgin, and nothing but a virgin.” The Greek word for young woman is NEOS in the femenine gender. So even though the Hebrew can be interpreted to be a „young woman,” God clarified this issue to the skeptics when He had the New Testment written in Greek. A language that is far superior than the Hebrew when it comes to clarifying issues. We should also note that when the Jewish scholars translated the Old Testament Hebrew into Greek about 200 years before the birth of Jesus (the Greek Old Testament is known as the Septuagint) they used the Greek word PARTHENOS to translate the Hebrew word ALMAH. This tells us that the ancient Jewish scholars knew and understood that the Messiah would be virgin born.

Therefore, since this individual experienced birth, and since He came from the womb of a woman, it could truly be said that „a child was born.” However, since no man was involved in the conception process, the sin nature was not passed down to Jesus at His birth. This was a very unique conception. It was the result of an obedient Jewish maiden by the name of Miriam (her proper name), and the Holy Spirit, who, in the words of doctor Luke, „Would come upon her, and the power of the Highest would overshadow her.” (Luke 1:35). The result of the holy conception was a holy and perfect child. Here was perfect humanity in every sense of the word. But Jesus was much more than just perfect humanity.

„To us a son is given” – This phrase refers to undiminished deity. The first phrase in this verse „a child is born” tells us that Jesus experienced physical birth, just as any normal human being. And the second phrase „a son is given” tells us that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He existed before His physical birth. He was the preexistent Son of God. Concerning this latter statement, the prophet Micah said in Micah 5:2; „But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the clans of Judah, yet out of you shall he (Jesus) come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel, WHOSE GOINGS FORTH HAVE BEEN FROM OF OLD, FROM EVERLASTING.” Jesus Himself, in response to questions by the Jewish leadership, declared in John 8:58;„….Before Abraham was, I am.” This also acknowledges His preexistence.

Jesus was not only perfect humanity as the virgin born Son of Adam’s race, but He was also undiminished deity as the eternal Son of God given to redeem man from the fall. Theologians call this perfect merger of God and man the „Hypostatic Union.” Jesus is one hundred percent undiminished deity and one hundred percent perfect humanity. Isaiah the prophet wrote of this unique union with these words in Isaiah 7:14; „…the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son (humanity), and shall call his name Immanuel (meaning God with us) (deity).” The baby Jesus was also the One who spoke the universe into existence; the baby Jesus was the One who fashioned man from the dust of the ground; the baby Jesus was the One who breathed into man the breath of life, and the baby Jesus not only spoke the universe into existence, but even while He was in the manger in Bethlehem, He was sustaining everything that He created.

„For unto us a child is born (true humanity), to us a son is given (true deity).” These two phrases deal with His first advent. Beginning with the next phrase and going through verse seven deals with His second advent and the Millennial Kingdom.

„And the government shall be upon his shoulders” – This refers to inherent royalty. „The Government shall be upon his shoulders” is a quaint way of saying „HE IS GOING TO RULE.” Jesus Christ will rule when the world government rests upon His shoulders during His 1000 year reign. Again I want to remind you that within the framework of this one verse of Scripture the first and second comings of the Lord Jesus Christ are clearly outlined. „A child is born, and a son is given” occurred at His first coming more than nineteen hundred years ago. „And the government shall be upon his shoulders” awaits His second coming to the rebuilt Temple when He takes over the throne of David at Jerusalem.

„And his name shall be called” – This tells us of a unique identity. Biblical names were given to underscore a major characteristic or achievement of the individual who bore the name. The Son of God came to be a Savior, that was to be the major achievement at His first coming. So the angelic messenger commanded Joseph „to call his name Jesus, because he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). At the Lord’s second coming His major achievement will be to reign and bring human history to its divinely intended ending. A series of names are given to the Son of God to reveal attributes which He possesses and the character of His reign after His second coming. These names set Him apart from and infinitely higher than all other beings. Since He alone possesses these qualities to a perfect degree, none other can properly appropriate these names.

It is generally thought that five names are given in Isaiah 9:6 to describe the Lord’s character and reign. These five names are: „Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” But actually there are only four names, not five. The word „Wonderful” is not a name. It is simply modifying the word „Counselor.” So it should read„Wonderful Counselor.”

„And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor” – This refers to His faultless discernability. This should not suggest the imagery of a clergyman, or a lawyer, or a psychologist, or another professional in an office conferring counsel on someone. Rather, it is speaking of one of the Lord’s characteristics while governing during the Kingdom Age. Isaiah amplifies this concept in Isaiah 11:2-3; „And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, and the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of COUNSEL and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord…….and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.” Men judge empirically, they see, they hear, and they evaluate and make decisions, and many times they are wrong. But because of the omniscient spirit resting upon Jesus, He will intuitively know right from wrong in everyone. He will not judge by what He sees or hears, but He will judge by what He knows about each individual. He will be „The Wonderful Counselor.” And as a result of this, „….righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his waist” (Isaiah 11:5).

„And his name shall be called The Mighty God” – This refers to absolute authority. One of the problems with the Old Testament Theocracy (God ruling through chosen men) was that they had limited strength. A man might ascend to the throne of Israel. He might be well-intentioned, but he did not possess absolute power. He was not omnipotent. His good intentions were not enough. They did not give him sufficient power to carry out all he had planned. Rebellion within the nation and opposition from without often frustrated the best intentions of a good king.

But when the government rests upon the shoulder’s of Jesus, „…..with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and shall reprove the lowly of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked” (Isaiah 11:4). He alone possesses absolute authority and power because He is what the Hebrew says, EL GIBBOR,„The Mighty God.”

„And his name shall be called The Everlasting Father” – This refers to endless longevity.

On occasion a good king would come to the throne of Israel. Men like David, Solomon, or Josiah. For a time they brought a degree of freedom, prosperity, stability, blessings and peace. But invariably, the inevitable occurred. They died. They were succeeded by another king. Many times he was not a good king, and his policies did not follow that of his predecessor. So the government was subject to ebb and flow, as leaders came and went.

But when the government rests upon the shoulders of Jesus Christ, „Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever….” (Isaiah 9:7). Jesus Christ is„The Everlasting Father.” Or better, „The Father of Eternity.” He will not die, and there will be no ebb and flow in His government, only continuity of perfect rule.

„And his name shall be called The Prince of Peace” – This refers to enduring tranquility. Peace comes in two dimensions. There is a vertical peace between God and man, and there is a horizontal peace between man and man. Peace between men is impossible until there is peace with God. In other words, horizontal peace between members of the human race is impossible without peace with God. And the peace with God is impossible without the acceptance of Jesus Christ as personal Savior. And because the majority of the people of the earth reject the salvation provided by Jesus Christ, mankind is doomed to the conflict of racial hatred, intolerance, inflexibility, crime, violence, and war. Mankind can never have true peace apart from God and His plan. And because mankind will not make peace with God, that means that there can be no peace between men on the earth. War and violence will continue all the way to the second advent of Jesus Christ.

peace with GodI should add at this point that the world will achieve a false or pseudo peace just before the return of Jesus Christ. This false or pseudo peace will reach its culmination under the dictator of Rome known as the antichrist. Paul refers to this in I Thessalonians 5:3; „For when they shall say, ‘Peace and safety, then sudden destruction comes upon them….” Everything you see transpiring in the world today to bring about world peace, will bring about the greatest war the world has ever seen. The war of Armageddon.

Jesus alone can and will bring peace to this unruly planet. And when He does, „The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling will feed together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child will put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain (a name for the government of God) because the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:6-9).

Because Jesus is „The Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father,” He is also what the Hebrew calls, SAR SHALOM, „The Prince of Peace.” Men talk about peace constantly, but never achieve it and never will. But Jesus Christ, at His second coming, will make it a reality.

During this Christmas season, look back to the virgin born child, and thank God that He became humanity; then look at the cross, and thank God for the Son He gave who provided our „So great salvation.” All of that was involved in the first advent of Jesus Christ. „For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.” But don’t stop there like so many do this time of year. We should also look ahead toward His second coming. Look ahead to what Jesus Christ is still going to accomplish when „the government will be on His shoulders.”

During this Christmas season, may the reality of His return give you as much peace as the celebration of His birth.

… and Jesus wept… Ofra Haza – Yerushalaim (Jerusalem of Gold)

And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it.

He wept over it – Showing his compassion for the guilty city, and his strong sense of the evils that were about to come upon it. See the notes at Matthew 23:37-39. As he entered the city he passed over the Mount of Olives. From that mountain there was a full and magnificent view of the city.  The view of the splendid capital – the knowledge of its crimes – the remembrance of the mercies of God toward it – the certainty that it might have been spared if it had received the prophets and himself – the knowledge that it was about to put “him,” their long-expected Messiah, to death, and “for” that to be given up to utter desolation – affected his heart, and the triumphant King and Lord of Zion wept!

Amid all “his” prosperity, and all the acclamations of the multitude, the heart of the Redeemer of the world was turned from the tokens of rejoicing to the miseries about to come on a guilty people. Yet they “might” have been saved. If thou hadst known, says he, even thou, with all thy guilt, the things that make for thy peace; if thou hadst repented, had been righteous, and had received the Messiah; if thou hadst not stained thy hands with the blood of the prophets, and shouldst not with that of the Son of God, then these terrible calamities would not come upon thee. But it is too late. The national wickedness is too great; the cup is full: mercy is exhausted; and Jerusalem, with all her pride and splendor, the glory of her temple, and the pomp of her service, “must perish!” (Barnes’ notes)

A W Pink – Christian Fools – Preached in Sydney, Australia 1927

“Then He said unto them, O fools and slow of heart
to believe all that the prophets have spoken.”
Luke 24:25

Those of you who read the religious announcements in the newspapers of yesterday would see the subject for my sermon this evening is “Christian Fools.” Possibly some of you thought there was a printer’s error and that what I really meant to announce was “Professing Christian fools.” The paper gave it quite correctly. My subject tonight is “Christian Fools.” Probably some of you think that this is a most unsuitable title for a servant of God to give to his sermon, and yet I make no apology whatever for it. It fits exactly my subject for tonight: it expresses accurately what I am going to speak about: and—“what is far more to the point—it epitomizes our text: “Then He said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.”

Those words were spoken by Christ on the day of His resurrection: spoken not to worldlings but to Christians. That which occasioned them was this. The disciples to whom He was speaking were lopsided in their theology: they believed a certain part of God’s truth and they refused to believe another part of the truth that did not suit them; they believed some Scriptures but they did not believe all that the prophets had spoken, and the reason they did not was because they were unable to harmonize the two different parts of God’s truth. They were like some people today: when it comes to their theology; they walk by reason and by logic rather than by faith.

In the Old Testament there were many prophecies concerning the coming Messiah that spoke of His glory. If there was one thing the Old Testament prediction made plain, it was that the Messiah of Israel should be glorious. It spoke of His power, His honor, His majesty, His dominion, His triumphs. But on the other hand, there were many prophecies in the Old Testament that spoke of a suffering Messiah, that portrayed His humiliation, His degradation, His rejection, His death at the hands of wicked men. And these disciples of Christ believed the former set of prophecies, but they would not believe in the second: they could not see how it was possible to harmonize the two. If the coming Messiah was to be a glorious Messiah, possessing power and majesty and dominion: if He would be triumphant, then how could He, at the same time, be a suffering Messiah, despised, humiliated, rejected of men? And because the disciples could not fit the two together, because they were unable to harmonize them, they refused to believe both, and Christ told them to their faces that they were fools. He says, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.”

I suppose some of us have wondered how it was possible for these disciples, these followers of Christ, who had been privileged to be with Him during His public ministry and those who had been so intimate with Him, had been instructed by Him, had witnessed His wonderful miracles; how it was possible for such men to err so grievously and to act so foolishly. And yet we need not be surprised; the same thing is happening all around us today. Christendom tonight is full of men and women who believe portions of God’s truth, but who do not believe all that the prophets have spoken. In other words, my friends, Christendom tonight is full of men and women that the Son of God says are “fools” because of their slowness of heart to believe.

Now very likely, the sermon tonight will make some of my hearers angry: probably they are the ones who most need the rebuke of the text. When a servant of God wields the sword of the Spirit, if he does his work faithfully and effectively, then some of his hearers are bound to get cut and wounded: and, my friends, that is always God’s way. God always wounds before He heals.  And I want to remind you at the outset that this text is no invention of mine.  These are the words of One who never wounded unnecessarily, but they are also the words of the True and Faithful Witness who never hesitated to preach the whole truth of God, whether men would receive it or whether they would reject it. I know it is not a pleasant thing to be called a fool, especially if we have a high regard for ourselves and rate our own wisdom and orthodoxy very highly—it wounds our pride. But we need to be wounded, all of us. We need to be humbled; we need to be rebuked; we need to have that word from the lips of Christ which is as a two-edged sword.

the Gospel of Matthew

Now  notice, dear friends, that Christ did not upbraid these disciples because they did not understand, but because of their lack of faith. The trouble with them was they reasoned too much. Very likely they prided themselves on their logical minds and said, Well, surely we are not asked to believe impossibilities and absurdities: both of these cannot be true; one is true and the other cannot be. Either the Messiah of Israel is going to be a glorious and a triumphant Messiah, or else He is going to be a rejected and a humiliated one: they cannot both be true. That is why Christ said to them—not because of their failure to understand, but because of their lack of faith—“O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.”

I am afraid that today there are many who only believe what they can understand, and if there is something else that they cannot understand, they do not believe it. If they have devised to themselves a systematized theology (or more probably they have adopted someone else’s system of theology), and they hear a sermon (no matter how much Scripture there may be in it) which they cannot fit into their little system of theology, they won’t have it. They place a higher value on consistency than they do on fidelity. That is just what was the matter with these disciples: they could not see the consistency of the two things and therefore they were only prepared to believe the one.

The same thing, my friends, is true today with many preachers. There are multitudes of preachers in Australia tonight whose theology is narrower than the teaching of this Book. Then away to the winds with theology! —I mean human systems of theology which are narrower than Scripture. For example, there are men today who read God’s Word, and they see that the gospel is to be preached to every creature, and that God commands all who hear that gospel to believe in Christ; then they come across some texts on election, predestination:—“Many are called but few are chosen,” and they say, Well, I cannot harmonize this, I cannot see how it is possible to preach, unhampered, a gospel to every creature, and yet for election to be true. And because they cannot harmonize the two things, they neither believe the two nor will they preach both. They cannot harmonize election with a gospel that is to be preached to every creature, and so the Arminians preach the gospel but they leave out election.

Yes, but there are many Calvinists who equally come under the rebuke of our text. They believe in the sovereignty of God, but they refuse to believe in the responsibility of man. I read a book by a hyper-Calvinist only a few weeks ago, by a man whose shoe-latchet the present speaker in many things is not fit to stoop down and unloose—a man of God, a faithful servant of His, one from whom I have learned not a little—and yet he had the effrontery to say, that responsibility is the most awful word in the English language, and then went on to tirade against human responsibility. They cannot understand how that it is possible for God to fix the smallest and the greatest events, and yet not to infringe upon man’s accountability—men themselves choosing the evil and rejecting the good—and therefore because they cannot see both they will only believe in one.

Listen! If man were nothing more than clay in the hands of the Potter there would be no difficulty. Scripture affirms in Romans 9 that man is clay in the hands of the Potter, but that only gives you one aspect of the truth. That emphasizes the absoluteness of God’s control over all the works and creatures of His hands; but from other Scriptures we learn that man is something more than lifeless clay. Man has been endowed with understanding; man has been given a will. Yes, I freely admit that his understanding is darkened; I fully allow that his will is in bondage; but they are still there; they have not been destroyed. If man was nothing more than a block of wood or a block of stone, it would be easy to understand how that God could fix the place that he was to occupy and the purpose that he was to fulfil; but, my friends, it is very far from easy to understand how that God can shape and direct all history and yet leave man fully responsible and not infringe upon his accountability.

Now there are some who have devised a very simple but a most unsatisfactory method of getting rid of the difficulty, and that is to deny its existence.  There are Arminians who have presented the “free-will” of man in such a way as to virtually dethrone God, and I have no sympathy whatever with their system.  On the other hand, there have been some Calvinists who have presented a kind of fatalism (I know not what else to term it) reducing man to nothing more than a block of wood, exonerating him of all blame and excusing him for his unbelief. But they are both equally wrong, and I scarcely know which is the more mischievous of the two. When the Calvinist says, All things happen according to the predestination of God. I heartily say Amen, and I am willing to be called a Calvinist; but if the Arminian says that when a man sins the sin is his own, and that if he continues sinning he will surely perish, and that if he perishes his blood is on his own head, then I believe the Arminian speaks according to God’s truth; though I am not willing to be called an Arminian. The trouble is when we tie ourselves down to a theological system.

Now listen a little more closely still. When the Calvinist says that faith is the gift of God and that no sinner ever does or can believe until God gives him that faith, I heartily say Amen; but when the Arminian says that the gospel commands all who hear it to believe, and that it is the duty of every sinner to believe, I also say Amen. What? you say, You are going to stand up and preach faith-duty-duty-faith? I know that is jolting to some of you. Now bear with me patiently for a moment and I will try and not shock you too badly. Whose is the gospel? It is God’s. Whose voice is it that is heard speaking in the gospel? It is God’s. To whom has God commanded the gospel to be preached? To every creature. What does the gospel say to every creature? It says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” It says, “Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” It says, “The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” God commands, not invites. God commands every man, woman and child that hears that gospel to believe it, for the gospel is true; therefore it is the duty of every man to believe what God has said. Let me give you the alternative. If it is not the duty of every sinner to believe the gospel, then it is his duty not to believe it—one or the other. Do you mean to tell me it is the duty of an unconverted sinner to reject the gospel? I am not talking now about his ability to believe it.

Some of you say, Well how can it be his duty to believe it, when he cannot do so? Is it his duty to do an impossibility? Well, listen! Is my duty, is my responsibility measured by my ability, by my power to perform? Here is a man who has ordered a hundred pounds’ worth of furniture; he receives it, and he is given thirty days’ credit in which to pay for it; but during the next thirty days he squanders his money, and at the end of the month he is practically bankrupt. When the firm presents their bill to him, he says, “I am sorry but I am unable to pay you.” He is speaking the truth. “I am unable, it does not lie within my power to pay you.” Would the head of that business house say, “All right, that ends the matter then: sorry to hear that you do not have the power, but evidently we cannot do anything.” No, my friend, ability does not measure our responsibility. Man is responsible to do many things that he is not able to do. You that are Christians are responsible to live a sinless life, for God says to you, “Awake to righteousness and sin not,” and in the first Epistle of John we read, “These things write I unto you, that ye sin not.” God sets before you and me a standard of holy perfection. There is not one of us that is capable of measuring up to it, but that is our responsibility, and that is what we are going to be measured by when we stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.

Now then there are many Arminian preachers who are afraid to preach sermons on certain texts of the Bible. They would be afraid to stand up and preach from John 6:44—“No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him.” They would be afraid to stand up and preach from Romans 9:18—“Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.” Yes, and it is also true that there are many Calvinist preachers who are equally afraid to preach from certain texts of the Scriptures lest their orthodoxy be challenged and lest they be called Freewillers. They are afraid to stand up and preach, for example, on the words of the Lord Jesus: —“How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” Or on such a verse as this: —“The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force;” or “Strive (agonize) to enter in at the Strait Gate.” And to show you that I am not imagining things, I am just going to read you three lines. Listen! “At the meeting at. . . [I will leave out the name] on January 15th last, the question was asked to the effect: Had not some of our ministers for the sake of orthodoxy abstained from preaching from certain texts, and the answer was in the affirmative.” I am reading now from a Strict Baptist magazine! That was a meeting of Strict Baptist preachers and they were honest enough to admit, themselves, that because they were afraid of their orthodoxy being challenged, they were silent on certain texts of Scripture. O may God remove from all of us the fear of man.

Some of you perhaps are thinking right now in your own minds, Well, Brother Pink, I do not see how you are consistent with yourself. My friends, that does not trouble me one iota, and it won’t cause one hair in my head to go gray if I am inconsistent with any Calvinistic creed: the only thing that concerns me is to be consistent with the Holy Spirit, and to teach as the Holy Spirit shall enable, the whole counsel of God; to leave out nothing, to withhold nothing, and to give a proportionate presentation of God’s truth. Do you know, I believe that most of the theological errors of the past have grown out of, not so much a denial of God’s truth, as a disproportionate emphasis of it. Let me give you a simple illustration. The most comely countenance with the most beautiful features would soon become ugly if one feature were to grow while the others remained undeveloped. You can take the most beautiful baby there is in the world tonight and if that baby’s nose were to grow while its eyes and its cheeks and its mouth and its ears remained undeveloped, it would soon become unsightly. The same is true with every other member of its face.

Beauty is mainly a matter of proportion and this is true of God’s Word. It is only as truth is presented in its proper proportions that the beauty and blessedness to it are maintained in the hearts and lives of God’s people. The sad thing is that almost everywhere today there is just one feature of truth being disproportionately emphasized.

And listen again! If God’s truth is to be presented proportionately and effectively then each truth of God’s Word must be presented separately. If I am speaking upon the humanity of Christ, if I am seeking to emphasize the reality of His manhood, how that He was made like unto His brethren in all things, how that He was tempted in all points as they were—sin excepted—I would not bring into my sermon a reference to His Godhood; and if you were to hear me preach the next twelve Sunday nights on the manhood of Christ and never refer to His Deity in those sermons, I hope none of you brethren would be so foolish as to draw the conclusion, Oh dear me, Brother Pink no longer believes in the Godhood of our Savior.

Again, if I am preaching on the wrath of God, the holy hatred of God for sin and His vengeance upon it, I would be weakening my sermon to bring in at the close a reference to His tenderness, mercy and love, for in my judgment that would be to blunt the point of the special truth I was seeking to press on the unconverted. And, in the same way, if I am pressing on the unconverted their need, their duty and importance of seeking the Lord, calling upon, coming to and believing on Him for themselves, I would not bring in or explain the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion.

Each truth needs to be presented separately that it may have its clear outline presented to the heart and to the mind. And after all, my friends, we are not saved by believing in the Spirit, we are saved by believing in Christ. We are not saved by believing in the work of the Spirit within us (no man was ever saved by believing that); we are saved by trusting in the work of Christ outside of us. O may God help us to maintain the balance of truth. There is something more in this Book, brethren and sisters, beside election, particular redemption and the new birth. They are there, and I would not say one word to weaken or to repudiate them, but that is not all that is in this Book. There is a human side. There is man’s responsibility. There is the sinner’s repentance. There is the sinner’s believing in Christ. There is the pressing of the gospel upon the unsaved; and I want to tell you frankly that is a church does not evangelize it will fossilize: and, if I am not much mistaken, that is what happened to some of the Strict Baptist Churches in Australia.  Numbers of them that once had a healthy existence are now no more; and some others are already dead but they are not yet buried; and I believe one of the main reasons for that is this—they failed at the vital point of evangelism. If a church does not evangelize it will fossilize. That is God’s method of perpetuating His work and of maintaining His churches. God uses means, and the means that the Holy Spirit uses in His work is the preaching of the gospel to the unconverted, to every creature. True, the preaching will avail nothing without the Spirit’s blessing and application. True, no sinner will or can believe until God has quickened him. Yet he ought to, and is commanded to.

Now I meant, if time had allowed me, to come back again to the text and give you a few striking examples of where many have failed in holding the balance of God’s truth. Take for example the Unitarians. I have met numbers of Unitarians who believe this Book is God’s word, and believe that they can prove their creed from this Book. They appeal to such Scriptures as Deuteronomy 6:4—“The Lord our God is one Lord.” Their creed is the unity of God and they argue that if there be three divine persons there must be three Gods; they cannot harmonize them, they cannot reconcile three persons with one God; so what do they do? Well, they hold fast to the one and they let go the other. They say the two won’t mix—either God is one or else He is three; He cannot be both.  When they come to the Person of Christ they emphasize such passages as—“He grew in wisdom.” Well, they say, if He was a divine person, how could He grow in wisdom? They emphasize such passages as “He prayed,” and they say it is an absurdity to think of God praying to God. They say, He died—how could God die?  No, He cannot be divine: He is a good man; He is a holy man; He is a perfect man; and because they cannot reconcile the two classes of Scriptures they believe the one and reject the other. And Christ says to them, Ye are fools because ye are slow of heart to believe all.

Take the Universalists. I have met numbers of Universalists—several here in Sydney. I was going to say that I have less suspicion of the reality of their own salvation than I have of some of yours. At any rate they seem to give such evidence in their daily walk that they commune with Christ that it really makes one wonder where they are. Well now, the Universalists are staggered by the doctrine of eternal punishment. They say “God is love.” “The mercy of God endureth forever.” God is good: how can a merciful, loving God send any to eternal suffering? The Universalist say they cannot both be true: if there is such a thing as eternal punishment, then God can’t be love: if God is love, there cannot be such a thing as eternal punishment. You see what they are doing? They are reasoning: they are walking by logic: they have drawn up their own scheme and system of theology and that which they cannot fit exactly into that scheme, somewhere, well, away with it!

But the Unitarians and the Universalists and the Arminians are not the only ones who are guilty of that. I am sorry to say that it is equally true, in some respects, of many Calvinists. They are unsound when it comes to the gospel. They are all at sea when it comes to the matter of believing. I am not going to keep you very much longer, but listen closely now. There are many Calvinists who say, Believing is an evidence of our salvation, but it is not a condition or the cause of salvation. But, my friends, I make so bold as to say that those who so teach take issue with this Book. Now I want you to turn with me to four passages in the New Testament. I am not asking you to take my word for anything. You turn with me now to four passages in God’s own word. First of all Romans l:16-17—“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation.” The power of God unto salvation to whom? —“the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” Now I have no hesitation whatever in saying to every grown-up person in this room tonight, if you had read that verse just now for the first time in your life, and had never read a page of either Calvinistic or Arminian literature; if you read that verse without any bias one way or the other, it would only mean one thing to you.

Now turn to Romans 13:11—“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” The salvation that is spoken of there is the salvation of the body, the glorification of the believer, the final consummation of our redemption: but what I want you to notice is where the Holy Spirit Himself puts the starting point. “Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” THAT is when it begins, so far as our actual experience is concerned.

Now turn to Hebrews 10:39, and you have one there that is plainer still—that is outside the realm of debate—that has no ambiguity about it: “But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” You cannot get around that if you live to be a thousand years old.  “Them that believe to the saving of the soul.” The sinner’s believing does have something to do with his salvation: God says so! If you deny it you are taking issue with God. “Believe to the saving of the soul.”

Now turn to Luke 7:50—“And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee.” He did not say thy faith is an evidence that you have been saved. “Thy faith hath saved thee.” Now in the light of those last two verses I make this assertion, that believing in Christ is the cause of the sinner’s salvation.  But listen closely to this qualification. It is neither the meritorious cause nor is it the effectual cause! You must put these three things together to get the complete thing. The blood of Christ is the meritorious cause of salvation; the regenerating work of the Spirit is the effective cause of salvation; but the sinner’s own believing is the instrumental cause of his salvation. We believe to the saving of the soul. I repeat that. The blood of Christ is the meritorious cause: without that all the believing in the world could not save a soul. The regenerating work of the Spirit is the effectual cause: without this, no sinner would come or will believe with the heart. But the believing of the sinner in Christ is the instrumental cause—that which extends the empty hand to receive the gift that the gospel presents to him—and where there is no personal trust in Christ there is no salvation—“I did not say “quickening.”

Now I want to make this very plain and I am going to weigh my words. If instead of you trusting in the sacrificial blood of Christ, you are trusting in something that you believe the Spirit has done in you, you are building your house upon the sand, which in time of testing will fall to the ground.

“On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand.”

If you are building your hope for eternity on what you think or feel that the Spirit of God has done in you, instead of putting your trust in what Christ did for sinners, you are building your house on the sand. And that may apply to some church-members here tonight. O my friends, the gospel of God does not invite you to look inside and pin your faith to what you think the Holy Spirit has done in you; the gospel of God commands you to look outside of yourself, away from all your feelings and frames, to what the Lord Jesus Christ did on the cross for sinners as sinners.

Now my last word tonight is directed to the unconverted, for my text also applies directly to them. Last Sunday evening I said a good deal about the necessity of being quiet, of standing still, of waiting upon God; but I want to supplement those remarks in concluding tonight by saying that those are all admonitions that are given to the converted, and that the Holy Scriptures speak in very different terms to those of you who are unconverted. The Bible does not bid you to sit still, to wait and be quiet; the Bible commands you to flee from the wrath to come. It bids you to strive to enter in at the strait gate. I am quoting Scripture now. It bids you seek the Lord. It bids you come unto Him. It bids you believe in Him, and if you do not you will be damned, whoever you are.

I am very much afraid that there are some here tonight who entertain the notion that all they have to do is just to sit still and wait until God comes and saves you. My friends, I do not know of a single promise of God that He will do so. I do not know of a single line in this Book that encourages you to continue in your sinful inactivity. I am going to speak very plainly now. The devil will tell you there is no cause for you to be concerned: there is not a bit of need for you to worry: if your name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life you will be saved, whether you believe or no. That is the devil’s lie! It is not God’s truth. The devil will tell you that if you have been elected to salvation there is not a bit of need for you to be alarmed, disturbed or exercised; no need at all for you to seek and search after the Lord; that when God’s good time comes He is going to do it all for you: not a bit of good for you to read the Bible and cry out to Him: and if He has not elected you, well, there is no need for sure, for it’s useless.

Yes, the devil will speak in those tones and terms and he will come quoting Scripture to you. But there is no salvation for the sinner apart from his believing in Christ. I close with this quotation—2 Thessalonians 2:13, “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through—Through what?  “Sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” That is how God saves.  That is how God carries out His purpose—by the sanctification of the Spirit and by your belief of the truth.

And my friends, I have not limited God. God could, if He so chose, make the fields to grow crops without the farmer plowing them and sowing the seed, but that is not His way; that is not the method He selects. God could keep us in health and strength without our taking any food at all or wasting time in sleeping if He so chose, but that is not His way. And God could save every sinner on earth tonight without them believing if He wanted to, but it is not His way! I am not limiting God, I am describing to you the plan and method that God Himself has set forth in His Word, and if you would be saved, sinner, you have got to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for yourself. I say it reverently: the Holy Spirit won’t believe for you. The Holy Spirit may put it into your heart and give you the desire to believe. If you have the desire it is because He has put it there, but He won’t believe for you: believing is a human act. It is the sinner himself, in all his wretchedness and need, coming to Christ, as a drowning man clutches a straw, and as the old hymn says—“Just as I am without one plea, But that thy blood was shed for me.”

O sinner, Christ is saying to you tonight, “O fools and slow of heart to believe all.” You do believe much as you sit there. There are some of you who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. There are some of you who believe that He is the only Savior who can save any sinner. You believe that, then why not believe all? Why not believe in Him for yourself? Why not trust His precious blood for yourself; and why not tonight? God is ready to save you now if you believe on Him. The blood has been shed, the sacrifice has been offered, the atonement has been made, the feast has been spread. The call goes out to you tonight, “Come, for all things are now ready.” And I say again, the devil will tell you as you are sitting there, “There is no need for me to come tonight; I will just wait till God gets ready to come and save me.” How do you know that while you are waiting death may not come and smite you down. “Boast not thyself of tomorrow for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” The Holy Spirit saith, “Today if ye will hear His voice harden not your hearts.” Yes, man can “harden” his heart: God says so; and God calls to you: “Harden not your heart.” That is something you do yourself—not the devil—you do it. God is speaking to you through His Word tonight. O may His grace forbid that He shall say our text to any of you after you have left this room—O God forbid that you should be among those “fools” who believe not all. You do believe that Christ is God’s appointed Savior for sinners, why not your Savior? O may the Spirit draw you by the cords of love to that One who has said, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.”

Preached by Arthur W. Pink in Sydney, Australia—1927.

via pbministries.org

Jesus Equal with God – John Piper (essential sermon)

from DesiringGod.org. You can read the entire notes manuscript here.

John Piper preaches about – at least three main things going on in John 5:1-24 and that

„None of the physical miracles of Jesus was an end in itself. They all point to something more about him and about the kingdom of God and about the spiritual and moral transformations that he is working.”

Then he preaches about the 2 implications stemming from the Sonbeing in step with the Father ad vice versa:

I said that there were two implications for us from the fact that the Son stays in perfect step with the Father, and the Father acts in perfect step with the Son. One of them we just saw. In the twenty-first century world of teeming pluralism, with religions and worldviews and cultures and lifestyles competing for our allegiance, verse 23 lands like a bombshell: “Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”

In other words, if you want to know if someone in another religion, or no religion, honors God (has a true worshipful relationship with God), the test that you use to know this is: Do they honor Jesus for who he really is—as the divine Son of God, the Messiah, the crucified and risen Savior of the world, the Lord of the universe and Judge of all human beings? If they don’t, then they don’t honor God. That’s the first implication.

The second is in verse 24: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” If we hear the message of Jesus in the Gospel of John taken in its totality—not just some distorted part of it—and, if through that message and that person, we come to trust God as the one who sent him for our salvation, two amazing things happen.

1) We not only will have eternal life, but we already have it, and 2) we not only will not come into the judgment of condemnation, but have already passed through judgment and are safe on the other side. Jesus has become that judgment for us. When we are united to him by faith, his death becomes our death, and his crucifixion our crucifixion, and his curse on the cross our curse on the cross, and his resurrection our resurrection. We have already “passed from death to life”! This is glorious news beyond all words. Exult in this. Know this about yourself as a believer. Be made radically courageous by this.

So the first main issue in this text is the man’s healing and its purpose to lead the man to holiness. And the second main issue in this text is the way the Father and the Son are equal so that when one is acting the other is acting—with the two implications that if we don’t honor the Son, we don’t honor the Father, and if we believe on the Father through the word of Jesus, we have already passed from death to life and are on the other side of condemnation.

and lastly he talks about the issue of healing on the Sabbath:

What’s he saying? I think something like this. My Father and I created a perfect world, a paradise, and then we rested, not that we were tired, but stepped back as it were and enjoy the perfect display of our own glory revealed in our creative handiwork. That’s what Sabbath is for—the restful, focused, enjoyment of God.

But then sin entered the world, and through sin came sickness and calamity and death. And from that moment, my Father and I have been working again. We have been working—in many ways that you don’t understand—to restore a Sabbath paradise to the universe. We have been working to overcome sin and sickness and death.

Even your own law, which contains the Sabbath command, was part of our working to conquer sin and hold back the miseries of unrighteousness and point you forward to a Messiah, a Savior, who would come and perform the decisive acts of restoration and transformation toward the new heavens and the new earth.

When I heal a man, and intentionally do it on the Sabbath, I am showing you something about myself. What was happening at the pool of Bethesda was that my Father and I were revealing the world that is coming. It is a world in which there will be no sickness and a world in which there will be no sin. “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.

1st collector for Jesus Equal with God – John Piper
Follow my videos on vodpod

Blogosfera Evanghelică

Vizite unicate din Martie 6,2011

free counters

Va multumim ca ne-ati vizitat azi!


România – LIVE webcams de la orase mari