“Of whom would you like to inquire regarding your duty as to the Sabbath if given the privilege of choosing. Christ, of course, is the answer. To our joy, there is no dearth of material to find out His mind on this subject. Approximately one chapter in every eight of the Gospel record speaks of Christ’s attitude to the Sabbath.
Our Lord performed many miracles on the holy day and of these, seven are recorded – seven which are amazing in their scope. These miracles include blessings brought to those of varying age and sex and condition, and from each dominant sector of human life – the sacred (in church), the domestic (at home), and in public (along the way). Note the following:
Healing of the demoniac (man) in the synagogue (Mark 1:21-28)
Healing of Simon’s mother-in-law at home (Mark 1:29-31)….”
(this article is an excerpt from the April 1989 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)
Daniel 7:25 and the Sabbath (Part 1 of 2) By Kelly McDonald, Jr.
“He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.” (Daniel 7:25)
Daniel received a night vision of four beasts that arose from the sea. Each of these beasts represents kingdoms that arose from the earth (Daniel 7:17). In particular, the fourth beast prophetically connects us to the Sabbath!
There is an entity – called the little horn – that arises out of this fourth beast which was prophesied to change the “set times and the laws.” The Aramaic word translated as ‘set times’ is zeman and it corresponds to the Hebrew word mo’adim. It refers to the feasts of Leviticus chapter 23, the first of which is the Sabbath. The Aramaic word translated as ‘laws’ refers to the Law of God.
Who is this little horn? How did it try to change the mo’adim and the Law of God?
Let’s look deeper at this prophecy and dig into its meaning!
Daniel 7:7-8, 19, 23-25 7 “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. 8 While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully…”
“…19 Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left…He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.”
Who or What is this little horn? A major key to understanding Daniel chapter 7 is Daniel chapter 2. In that chapter, God showed Nebuchadnezzar a dream. The king saw a huge statue with a head made of gold, arms and chest of silver, thighs and belly of bronze, legs of iron, and feet partially with iron and partially made of clay. In the interpretation, God showed Daniel that the statue represented a succession of Kingdoms beginning with Nebuchadnezzar. They will end with the return of Christ.
These nations, in order of their appearance on the statue and in history are: Babylon (gold), Medes-Persia (silver), Greco-Macedonia (bronze), Rome (iron) and then the Revived Roman Empire (iron and clay).
In Daniel chapter 7, God gave Daniel a very similar dream to Daniel chapter 2. There are a few different details. In this dream, he is given the revelation of four beasts: a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a frightening and terrifying beast.
In the vision and interpretation, we learn that the fourth beast had iron teeth and bronze claws. This beast connects us to the Roman Empire (iron teeth) which retained Greek influence (bronze claws). Since ancient times, Greco-Roman culture, Greco-Roman thought, Greco-Roman architecture, Greco-Roman religion, etc. have existed in some form or fashion.
The fourth beast in Daniel chapter 7 had ten horns. Ten major Germanic tribes displaced the territory of the Western Roman Empire by 476 AD: Heruli, Ostrogoths, Lombards, Burgundians, Franks, Saxons, Visigoths, Vandals, Thuringians, and the Alemanni. These ten Germanic tribes represent the ten horns that grow out of the fourth beast.
They were kingdoms with independent rulers, but they sprang out of the Roman Empire. This means that they all in some way preserved Roman culture and government. In other words, the existence of the Roman Empire caused these Ten Kingdoms to rise to power (rise out of the fourth Beast). For some reason, these Germanic tribes had a desire to plant themselves on Roman-controlled soil and continue Roman ways. Many of them adopted codes of law in Latin that were patterned off Roman law.
In Daniel’s dream, another small horn appeared among these ten horns. Three of these horns were uprooted and this little horn replaced them. Of the ten tribes just referenced, three of them were uprooted from Italy: Heruli (493 AD), Ostrogoths (530s-550s), and Lombards (750s-770s).
During the time that these ten tribes gained prominence, the Roman Catholic Church gradually became a little kingdom among them. The pope gradually increased in influence and authority in Rome and Italy. In the 750s, the Lombards threatened to conquer Rome. The pope reached out to Pepin, king of the Franks, for help. He defeated the Lombards and gave some of their land to the pope for him to rule as both the spiritual and temporal leader.
In the midst of the third horn being uprooted, Pope Stephen (II) became the first “pope-king” in 755 AD (Catholic Encyclopedia: “Pope Stephen (II) III”). The Lombards attacked Rome one more time in the 770s, but Pepin’s son Charlemagne came to protect the papal kingdom.
Not long after this, the second council of Nicaea was held in 787. In it, idols and images were affirmed, which changed the commandments of God (that forbids idols and images). Also, the Sabbath and Holy Days were condemned (changing the Feasts of Leviticus 23).
Thus, all popes are the small horn of Daniel’s dream. It is a man ruling a different kind of kingdom – one that is chiefly religious in purpose.
In part two of this series, we will look at how this little horn grew out of the Roman Empire, how it became a kingdom, and how it started to change the times and the laws long before the 750s AD.
Catholic Encyclopedia 1911: (23) Anglo-Saxon Church, Bavaria, Bohemia, Burgundy, Canon Law, Flanders, The Franks, Lex, Lombardy, Mecklenburg, Ostrogoths, Pontiff, Pope Stephen II (some list him as the III), Pope Simplicitus, Romulus Augustulus, Roman Curia, Saxony, States of the Church, Switzerland, Theodoric the Great, Thuringia, Vandals, Visigoths
Encyclopedia Britannica 11th edition: (25) Angli, ALAMANNI, Alani, Bavaria, Europe, Helvetii, Heruli, Franks, Frisians, Goths, Jutes, Lombards, Marcomanni, Medieval and Modern History, Moravia, Netherlands, Odoacer, Pavia, Pontiff, Saxons, Slavs, Suebi, Teutonic Peoples, Vandals, Vaud.
Greetings again from a very beautiful day in the Northeast, U.S. Today I have some questions and thoughts to provoke some deeper thinking. I hope this is as life changing for you as it was for me. If you have already benefited from this perspective, that’s awesome! I am grateful to have changed my approach. Honestly, sometimes I need reminders of this. So, grab your favorite drink and get cozy. For me, I have my favorite Tangerine Tea, YUM!
How we interact with our families is often on my mind. Have you thought about how you behave towards and treat your families as offerings to them? I have made quite a few mistakes over the years. Unlearning bad habits and attitudes can be a long process. How are we doing with the offerings to our families?
The world has lied to us about how we should act towards our families and what behaviors are acceptable. I will share a woman’s perspective on this subject.
First, we are not a “mess” and forever stuck that way. God can transform our lives and understanding into that which pleases Him. We must allow Him to do so.
Secondly, our culture seems to think women should look down on men. I have never agreed with women pushing their husbands around and treating him like a child. I used to joke that my husband was one of my kids. Now whenever I hear that statement it makes me cringe. It is an utterly horrible mentality. It isn’t cute or funny, but disrespectful and demeaning. In marriage, we are living life together. Being bossy and treating husbands like they cannot handle life without us is awful.
Lastly, the world treats children as if they hold women back from their full potential. Our kids are not a burden, but a blessing. A stable home life does not hold us back, but it empowers us to experience the God-given blessing of being a wife and mother.
Everywhere in society, we see the message that wives know best in the home and with the kids. The message and attitude is as if the men are idiots who do not have a clue. Often, we see that what wives and moms want is treated as more important. When she does not get her way in the home or with their children she can get very angry, resentful and mean. Not all of us are like this, but it is out there more than a little bit. Everywhere we turn, whether entertainment, conversations or life in general three is a non-stop bombardment of this. It is not good to see this everywhere.
Yes, we all know there are men and women who hold onto poor ideology that do not value women. We know there is abuse out there. We know we can face hardships and a hard time. Real men do not abuse or mistreat women. A Godly man does not belittle, berate, or raise a hand to his wife. He would not be demanding or demeaning. A woman should be careful who she marries and thoroughly know a man before she marries him. Yes, I know, sometimes people change. These are some of the warning signs of a man who is not behaving in a Godly manner. We also must remember that women can do these things too. We must be able to recognize them for ourselves and teach all our children how to treat their spouses and family. While also equipping them to recognize and avoid the warning signs as well. We should never be doing any of them either. No one should be doing these things.
I daresay most if not almost all of us women struggle at some point when it comes to how we feel at home. Some struggle more than others in this area. It is easy to feel taken for granted or taken advantage of. There are overwhelming seasons, especially when we have small children or a chronic situation in our lives. Having special needs children or medically frail children can be so very taxing. Marital problems can be hard to cope with. Sin in the home can make it unbearable. We do get affected by those things. Much of life we cannot control. It matters, you matter, and I know that it can be quite hard at times. None of what follows invalidates legitimateproblems and struggles.
With that being said let’s put all that aside. Why don’t we look at what was a game changer for me and perhaps can be for you too.
None of this means we cannot take time for ourselves. Not at all. That is necessary and I have a three-part series that I have written about on that very topic on my blog under the “Wellness” category (http://www.torahwoman.org). Taking care of ourselves is important. It is also part of how we love and take care of our families as well.
After our relationship with God, the most important aspect of our lives are our families. So here are some things that changed for me some years ago. I never used to think about housework, cooking, training our kids, intimacy and other aspects of life being “offerings.” I did think of it as serving them but not offerings. Some years back my mindset changed when my husband and I were discussing who knows what, we talk about all kinds of things all the time. I do remember though, him asking me to think about it as an offering.
Consider the following questions: What am I offering my family? When I serve them, am Idoing it only out of duty? Am I doing it with an irritated attitude? Am I complaining thatall I do is serve others? Am I saying, here you go, now go away, be happy I cooked, cleanedor whatever else even though I did not want to right now? Not only in words but perhaps inmy attitude or body language as well?
Cain gave his offering, but his attitude was terrible. He got incredibly jealous, and it did not end well. He did the bare minimum and then took his bad attitude way too far. Going through the motions is not enough. Consider our “offerings” in our day-to-day interactions. When I am doing my domestic duties, raising my children, and serving them and my beloved, then what is my attitude? What am I offering them? Am I giving them my leftovers and tromping around accusing them of being ungrateful and taking me for granted? Am I showing them I love them? Am I doing my best, as realistically as possible with a cheerful heart and a smile on my face? Am I serving them and loving them like I would if our Messiah was standing right next to me? Am I treating them and my life in a manner that is consistent with how I should be giving my offerings to our Father? (I know there is a difference, but the principle is the same with attitude and etc.). Am I treating my family like the blessings they are? Am I putting effort into whatever I am doing?
How do we respond when our husbands want and need attention? Guess what? As manly as they are, they have emotions, desires, and wants just like we do even if they don’t say it. Do we engage them, or do we give them a hard time while listing off everything we must do or complain about all the things we want from them? We still want love, affection, and romance whether they are tired or not or have a ton of things they must do. It hurts when we don’t feel like a priority to them or are put last because they want to do other things first.
Engage with them! Play with them! Take that moment of quiet time they desire! That is far, far more important. The other stuff almost 100% of the time can wait. It really can. He will love that his wife wants his attention and that he is important enough to you for you to give him yours. When those times come that he must wait or does need to come last, he will be far more understanding and secure in your relationship and love.
When we are having quiet time or in middle of housework how do we react when our children want some interaction with us? Do we play that game or answer their question? Or do they get shooed away because mommy has things to do? Read them that book, dance with them when they ask you to. Be silly and make that fort with them and by all means – do not tell them you aretoo busy for them.
Once can easily turn into all the time and soon they will start parroting that you are too busy, or they don’t want to irritate you. In this example, it is awful when you hear your words come out of their mouth. Of course, there are times you really can’t because of things like heading out the door, a baby needs to be changed or fed, or your husband is coming home from work and you are going to meet him at the door with a kiss. You can ask for a rain check and then follow through. Your children will love you even more for that and have some pretty awesome memories. They will know they are a priority to you.
These are some of the different ways to live out loving our family in our day to day. Our actions, reactions and interactions are our offerings to our family. It matters how we approach it and can change the whole atmosphere in the home for good or bad. Why not work at making it good? We have so much influence. Things can wait at times and our family in turn will show their appreciation generally as well when they see and feel that you love them and show them as well. They will be secure in your love and will know that they are important to you and are not a burden.
I know what it feels like to be that child who is treated as a huge burden and that wife and mother who accidentally makes my family feel like they are to me. Yikes and ouch!
It is easy to get caught up in the “I have to do this, that and the other thing” mindset. Our lists can get so long. The season in life you are in dictates so much about how our days will go. Sometimes we must work harder than others to maintain a good attitude. It is unrealistic and fake to be like this every moment of every day. There is always room for improvement and as we change our mindsets and approach; life can feel wonderful. In turn getting easier to see the blessings everywhere. You can look at that mess and instead think “man, my kids had a great time, that was a lot of fun!”
My husband loves us enough to do that project or participate in that activity instead of “UGH NOW THAT MESS HAS TO BE CLEANED UP and I am sick of it!” How we approach those moments will be life changing. Whether it will go wonderfully or poorly can be influenced by us.
When they want our attention, we can engage them or be crabby. When things need to get done we can get frustrated at having more to do or we can try to have a better attitude. It needs to get done anyways, being miserable is no fun and is exhausting. We can be working on what we are able to control. In turn that will bless our families tremendously. We can do all thing through Messiah who strengthens us!
What do you think will reflect the kind of women that is represented in Proverbs 31 that is called blessed by her family? Our interactions are either building up or tearing down like it is described in Proverb 14:1. Who will we choose to be, however imperfectly, yet putting in the effort to strive to do better? Struggle with yelling or want to grow in patience? I have blog posts for improving both. With more topics like this to come in time. Working on things like this is a blessing to you and your family. These are wonderful offerings to them that might create a ripple effect of the behavior and attitudes you might like to see change in them.
When we fall short, we have the gifts of repentance and forgiveness, then apologizing as needed. Followed by getting up, dusting ourselves off and trying to do better the next time. Next times will come. How will we handle them? Doing our best with this is a gift to our children that they hopefully copy. They will be able to learn by living with it. Our examples are important.
As we are striving to bring God glory, we can find all the little areas in our life to live out Matthew 6:33. First above everything in our life we need to be seeking His Kingdom. Seek Him daily, pray to Him constantly, study His Word. The more we do this, the more we can become the daughters of the Most High we were designed to be! What are our offerings? It matters.
“After my series “The Sabbath from Adam to Moses” appeared in The Sabbath Sentinel (August-November 1979), a question has come up regarding the meaning of Nehemiah 9:13, 14, which says, in part: “Thou [God] camest down also upon Mount Sinai,…and madest known unto them thy holy sabbath.”
The question has been raised as to whether Nehemiah is not saying that God first made His Sabbath known when HE gave the Ten Commandments at Sinai. If this is true, it has a considerable effect upon the Sabbath’s existence prior to the Law.
In the first place, this one reference does not nullify all the Biblical and historical evidence that the Sabbath was known and observed from creation…”
(this article is an excerpt from the May 1980 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)
“It is often stated that the Ten Commandments are so negative, “Thou shalt not….” It seems such an infringement on the positive thinkers, who are turned off by such negativism. However, even positive thinkers have to realize that “thou shalt not” and “no” and “never” have an important part in the English language.
Children, for instance, need the concise instructions of a “no” or “do not.” When a parent wants to get across to a toddler not to put his hand on a stove it would do no good to tell him all the places where he could put his hand. When a parent wants to tell him not to go into the street, it does little good to tell him all the places he can go without mentioning not to go into the street.
God made the Ten Commandments very concise, and the best way of getting across the point…”
(this article is an excerpt from the March 1988 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God by Kelly McDonald, Jr.
“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God” (Mark 1:14).
Jesus’ ministry focused on the gospel of the Kingdom of God. But what does the term ‘gospel’ mean? Did you know that this word was used before Jesus’ ministry began?
The English word gospel comes from two old German words: god meaning good and spel meaning message. The underlying Greek word translated as gospel is euangelion (pronounced yoo-angelion). It comes from two root words – eu, meaning good, and angelos, meaning messenger (the English word angel derives from this Greek word).
To understand the history of the term gospel, we will look at some Roman history just before the time of Jesus.
In 48 BC, Julius Caesar was serving as Dictator of Rome. He gradually combined the political and religious systems of Rome into his control. He was very popular and was called “the god made manifest, offspring of Ares and Aphrodite, and common saviour of human life” (Deissmann, p 344). Just a few years later, he was assassinated. His death triggered a long civil war which would determine the future of Roman dominions.
In 30 BC, Caesar’s nephew Octavian became the victor of this war and sole ruler of what would be called the Roman Empire. He took the title Augustus and power was gradually centralized into his hands. Because he ended a time of strife and initiated a time of plenty, he was extolled by many contemporary writers.
The poet Horace called him: “Father, and guardian of our race…” (Odes, 1.12)
The writer Virgil wrote: “…Augustus Caesar, son of a god, who will again establish a golden age…he will advance his empire beyond Garamant (modern-day Libya) and India, to a land which lies beyond the stars…” (Aeneid, 6.791-793).
Octavian was called the ‘son of a god’ and later given the title ‘god of god’ (Deissmann, 344-345). An inscription was made during his reign at the ancient city of Pergamum. It reads: “The Emperor, Caesar, son of a god, the god Augustus, of every land and sea the overseer” (ibid, 347).
The idea of the Roman Empire meant the preservation of human life; peace and plenty were promised for all through this leader. Things improved so much from the years of civil war that the birth of Augustus was viewed as an ominous sign for the Roman world.
One archaeological find that illustrates the veneration shown to him is the Priene Calendar Inscription. It was written in Greek about 9 BC. We have a picture of part of it below and an excerpt translated into English.
“…Since Providence…has set in most perfect order by giving us Augustus…sending him as a saviour, both for us and for our descendants, that he might end war and arrange all things…the birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning of the good tidings for the world…” (Deissmann, p 366; Evans).
The underlying Greek word translated as ‘good tidings’ is euangelion. Augustus, like his great uncle, was also called savior. This revolutionizes the way that we read the New Testament!
When Jesus and the early disciples proclaimed the good news or euangelion of the Kingdom of God, it carried political implications! This Good News pointed people away from the Roman kingdom. Instead, the Kingdom of God was the way to bring true peace, prosperity, and order to the world. This message challenges humanity not to look not upon earthly kingdoms to meet our needs, but instead to look upward to God Almighty (Matthew 6:25-34).
As mentioned earlier, Augustus was given the title of lord. During the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero (54-68 AD), there was an increase in the number of references to the emperor as ‘lord’ or kyrios in Greek. This was especially true in the East. On one marble tablet from Greece, he was called “lord of the whole world…” (Deissmann, p 354-355). In Acts 25:26, Festus, the Roman proconsul of Judea, called Nero ‘lord’ or kyrio.
It was during Nero’s reign that the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome: “…If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9, NIV). Later Jude called Jesus “…our only Sovereign and Lord” (Jude 4, NIV).
Clashing Kingdoms The proclamation that the Roman Emperor was lord and the teaching that Jesus is Lord were ideas destined to clash. Already in the late 60s AD, Jewish people were put to death for refusing to confess the emperor as their lord (Josephus, Jewish Wars, 7.10.1).
To my knowledge, Polycarp is the earliest Christian to be persecuted in a similar manner. He was an early Christian leader who was ordained by the Apostle John as the bishop of Smyrna. He was martyred in about 157 AD because he refused to acknowledge Caesar as his lord and offer incense to his image. We have an excerpt from his martyrdom below:
“…there the chief of the police, Herod, and his father, Nicetas, met him and transferred him to their carriage, and tried to persuade him, as they sat beside him, saying, “What harm is there to say ‘Lord Caesar,’ and to offer incense…and to save yourself?”…
Polycarp said: “Eighty-six years I have served him, and he never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” (Martyrdom of Polycarp)
CLICK here to read an article Polycarp’s life and CLICK here to read a book about his life. There are other examples of this kind of test in the second century, such as the Scillitan Martyrs North Africa (180 AD). At times, people in the empire were forced to confess that Caesar was lord or suffer the consequences.
Finding Balance While we as Christians belong to a Kingdom that is not of this world, we still live in this world. Most of us are citizens of some country that carries duties and responsibilities. While the Apostle Paul described our citizenship as being in Heaven (Phil. 3:20), he also discussed our responsibility as ambassadors in this present world in 2 Cor. 5:20.
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (NIV).
We are ambassadors who represent the Kingdom of God on earth. That carries the weight of responsibility and a duty to share with others the True Gospel message. We show people the Kingdom of God with our lives and point people towards the reconciliation to God that comes through Jesus Christ.
Making the Stand As part of our balancing act, we must learn to hold to Kingdom principles despite the culture and country around us. There are times when certain subjects come into the public sphere that intersect with our beliefs in God. When this occurs, we are required to make a stand for our Kingdom. Such subjects that have recently arisen include the right to life for the unborn, the Biblical definition of marriage, and others. This requires us to make stands that are not popular. Consider how Daniel stood for God while in Babylon. This is the same kind of stand we must make – but remember that when we stand for God, we never stand alone (Romans 14:4).
How Does the Story End? The Roman government continued to proclaim itself as the good news for centuries after Augustus. They continued to proclaim themselves lords. In 238 AD, an Egyptian official wrote:
“Forasmuch as I have become aware of the good news (euangeliou) concerning the proclaiming of the Emperor Gaius Julius Verus Maximus Augustus, the son of our lord, most dear to the gods, the Emperor Caesar Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus…it is necessary, O most honorable that the goddesses be celebrated in festal procession” (Deissmann, p 367).
For the first three hundred years of Christian history, there were periodic persecutions in the Roman Empire. While most of these occurred on a local or regional level, some of them occurred on an empire-wide scale.
Countries and empires through the centuries, especially in Europe, have tried to imitate and revive the Roman kingdom from ancient times until now (which we will discuss in a future article). The influence of the good news of the Roman Empire has lasted into modern times through various means, including but not limited to: Roman law, architecture, the Latin language, Greco-Roman gods, and the Roman Catholic Church. Throughout the centuries, non-conformist Christians have been persecuted by these revivals of the Roman power.
The Roman Empire has viewed the Kingdom of God as competition. But make no mistake – there is no competition. God’s Kingdom will triumph over all other Kingdoms, including the remnants of the Roman Empire, at Christ’s return (Daniel 2:40-42).
Remember that Christ’s message about the Kingdom of God had political implications. It challenged the idea that a human government could provide for all our needs. He taught us to seek God’s Kingdom first and His righteousness. This will keep our focus on heavenly things so that we are not distracted by the agendas of earthly kingdoms, which are destined to fail. Christians belong to an unshakable kingdom (Hebrews 12:26-28).
When Jesus returns, He will end this current age and conclude previous ages (see Hebrews 9:26; Matthew chapter 24). He will rule the earth with righteousness and the glorified children of God will rule with Him (Rev. 20:4-6). He will initiate a new age where there will be true peace, prosperity, and plenty for all. This is the true Gospel message that no earthly kingdom could fulfill.
Horace, Odes, 1.12. Translated by William Hathorn Mills. Berkeley, California: Lederer Street & Zeus Company. 1924. p 21.
Josephus. Wars of the Jews, 7.10.1. Whiston’s Translation revised by Rev. A.R. Shilleto, Vol. 5, London: George Bell and Sons, York Street, 1889. pp 168-169.
The Martyrdom of Polycarp, 8-9. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1899. pp 39-44.
Virgil, Aeneid. Translated by H. Rushton Fairclough. vol. 1. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons. 1925. pp 561, 563.
“The Synoptic Gospels tell us that after he was baptized, Jesus fasted for forty days and nights in the Judean wilderness and that at that time Satan appeared to him and tried to tempt him (Matthew 4:1–11, Mark 1:12–13, Luke 4:1–13). The three temptations aimed at Christ (to turn stones to bread, to throw himself from the pinnacle of the temple, and to worship Satan) all have been interpreted in various ways.
The first temptation, that of turning stones to bread, is doubtless the easiest to understand. Anyone fasting for an extended period of time would have no difficulty comprehending the physical temptation to turn objects into food if they had such power. The second temptation (in the order given in Luke’s Gospel) is more difficult to understand. Many scholars note that there were plenty of high points in the Judean wilderness, but simply jumping from a high point would not be a real temptation. They feel that the temptation must be understood based on the fact that if Jesus had thrown himself from a pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem, worshippers in the temple courts would have witnessed his being safely let down by angels (according to the devil’s reasoning regarding Psalms 91:12) and would thus believe in him. The temptation occurred, of course, before the many legitimate signs Christ did give after his testing, but this temptation would be an appeal to his emotions and was perhaps offered to Christ as an alternative to the route of eventual crucifixion. The third temptation – to bow to Satan in order to gain power over the whole world, might then be seen as the psychological temptation to elevate the self by “going over to the other side.”
(this article is an excerpt from the January–February 2015edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)
Heroes of the Faith Inspiring Stories of Courage and Perseverance
In this short work, you will take a journey back in time to re-live seven stories of courage and perseverance from early Church history. Their lives and sacrifice are inspiring and timeless. They provide invaluable lessons for people throughout time.
“The Sabbath. The beneficent Creator, after the six days of Creation, rested on the seventh day and instituted the Sabbath for all people as a memorial of Creation. The fourth commandment of God’s unchangeable law requires the observance of this seventh-day Sabbath as the day of rest, worship, and ministry, in harmony with the teaching and practice of Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath.
The Sabbath is a day of delightful communion with God and one another. It is a symbol of our redemption in Christ, a sign of our sanctification, a token of our allegiance, and a foretaste of our eternal future in God’s kingdom. The Sabbath is God’s perpetual sign of His eternal covenant between Him and His people. Joyful observance of this holy time from evening to evening, sunset to sunset, is a celebration of God’s creative and redemptive acts (Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20:8-11; Luke 4:16; Isaiah 56:5-6, 58:13-14, Matthew 12:1-12; Ex. 31:13-17; Ez. 20:12, 20; Deut. 5:12-15; Heb. 4:1-11; Lev. 23:32; Mark 1:32).
My father used to change his clothes on Friday evening before Sabbath. Upon seeing him come down from the steep staircase from the bedroom – first the black shoes, then the striped trousers, the waistcoat, open jacket, white shirt, and dark tie – I recall asking, “Father are we going somewhere?”
“No,” he replied, “not tonight. But someone is coming”….”
(this article is an excerpt from the March 1990 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)
Temple Trumpets and the Sabbath By Kelly McDonald, Jr.
Did you know that in the first century AD, special trumpets were sounded as the Sabbath began?
In 1968, a stone was found in Jerusalem near where the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. On it contained an interesting Hebrew inscription. It read:
Hebrew transliteration: “LBYT HTQY‘H LH…[last part incomplete]”
English: “(Belonging) to the place (literally, house) of trumpeting…”
We have a picture of this inscription below (Hebrew is read right to left):
As you can tell from the picture, the end part of the inscription is missing because the stone fractured when it fell. Researcher Aaron Demsky has done an excellent job of analyzing possible ways to fill the missing text. He proposed that the missing text should read:
Hebrew transliteration: “LHB[DYL BYN QDS L’HWL]”
English: “To distinguish between the sacred and the profane [periods of time].”
The entire inscription would then read: “Belonging to the station of trumpeting to distinguish between the sacred and the profane.”
Demsky pointed out that the missing phrase he supplied is found in the Mishnah – in the context of blowing trumpets at the Temple. We have the quote below:
“And on Shabbat eve they would add six blasts sounded adjacent to the onset of Shabbat: Three to stop the people from their labor, as the blasts inform the people that Shabbat is approaching and they stop working, and three at the onset of Shabbat to demarcate between sacred and profane…” (Sukkah 5:5).
In this passage, we learn that the silver trumpets in the Temple were sounded six times: three times just before Sabbath began and three more right when the Sabbath started. Later, the Babylonian Talmud ascribed more specific meaning to the first three blasts and then explained that the last three trumpet sounds were the teqi‘ah, a teru‘ah and a teqi‘ah (see Shabbat 35b).
The silver trumpets were blown to separate the sacred and the profane. There is also a Jewish prayer said at the end of the Sabbath during a service called Havdalah which declares the separation between the sacred and the profane (Demsky points out that Havdalah comes from the Hebrew word l’havdil, which means to separate or distinguish).
His conclusion is also supported by at least two passages from Josephus, which I have included below:
“Moreover, Moses was the inventor of the form of their trumpet, which was made of silver. Its description is this…It was called in the Hebrew tongue Asosra…They also made use of these trumpets in their sacred ministrations, when they were bringing the victims to the altar, as well on the sabbaths as on all other [festival] days…” (Antiquities of the Jews, 3.12.6)
“And having the advantage of situation, they further erected four very large towers… where one of the priests usually stood and gave a signal beforehand in the evening with a trumpet at the beginning of every seventh day, as also in the evening when the sabbath day was finished, giving notice to the people when they were to leave off work, and when they were to go to work again…” (Wars of the Jews, 4.9.12).
In the first quote, Josephus discussed the silver trumpets from the Torah. In the second quote, he referred to the place in the Temple where the priests stood to blow these trumpets at the beginning of the Sabbath and other Holy Days.
In Numbers 10:1-10, God told Moses to make two silver trumpets that were to be used by the Aaronic priests in specific situations. One of them was during festive times.
“Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days (ū·ḇə·mō·w·‘ă·ḏê·ḵem), and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings…” (Num. 10:10, KJV)
The root Hebrew word translated as “solemn days” is moad’im, and it refers to the festivals of Leviticus 23. The first of these is the Sabbath. The Jewish people of the first century AD (and possibly before) understood Numbers 10:10 to mean that these silver Trumpets were to be blown to start and end the Sabbath.
The Sabbath Trumpet inscription reminds us of an important historical detail. During the time of Jesus, the silver trumpets were blown so that the people could cease their labor and prepare for the Sabbath. This was mechanism to help them honor and observe the Sabbath.