Previous month:
November 2021
Next month:
January 2022

December 2021

HEADLINES & STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD: Week-52 2021

1.theplaintruth.jpg
HEADLINES & STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD: Week-52
Dec 27- Jan 1, 2021-2
New Year's
 
News Stories from Across The World:
Friday and New Year's
 The Death of a Legend!~ We wished she made her 100th!!! The Plain Truth

Betty White lived her last few years in LA home - despite wanting to stay in Carmel home

Betty White lived her last few years in her five-bedroom, six-bathroom Brentwood home in West Los Angeles, but would have preferred to stay

in her Carmel, California home she built with her late husband, Allen Ludden, back in 1978. White's agent and longtime friend Jeff Witjas told

the Associated Press she had been staying at the LA home during the pandemic out of caution, as it could afford her at-home care.

But sources say she would have been more comfortable at the Carmel, California home.

She and Ludden bought the waterfront property for just $170,000 back in 1978, but it is now worth an estimated $2 million.

 
 
Thursday: 
Amazon Alexa’s Deadly Electrocution ‘Challenge’ Suggestion to 10-Year-Old Has Origins in TikTok Trend
 
Wednesday:

Continue reading "HEADLINES & STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD: Week-52 2021" »


Yes, New Year's Day is Pagan too....

In the earliest days of the Church (the first and second centuries after Christ) there were no such celebrations as Christmas and New Year’s Day. 

The New Catholic Encyclopedia states:  “According to the hypothesis … accepted by most scholars today, the birth of Christ was assigned the date of the winter solstice (December 25 in the Julian [Roman] Calendar, January 6 in the Egyptian), because on this day, as the sun began to return to northern skies, the pagan devotees of Mithra celebrated dies natalis Solis Invicti (birthday of the invincible sun)” (1967, Vol. 3, p. 656).

Those customs carried over in the observance of Christmas (with its many traditions and practices steeped in paganism), and the “birth” of the “new year” of the sun. This is why the Roman calendar in use today designates Jan. 1 as the beginning of the new year as opposed to God’s designation of the spring month of Abib or Nisan on the Hebrew calendar as the beginning of the year (Exodus 12:1-2).

Much of the symbolism associated with New Year’s celebrations today has very definite pagan origins. Kissing at the moment of transition to the next year is rooted in pagan sexual practice and superstition. And evergreen wreaths associated with Christmas were originally part of the pagan Calend celebration of Jan. 1.

Because we live in this secular society and most of the world operates according to the commonly used Roman calendar, it’s common to think of a new calendar year as beginning Jan. 1. Yet involvement in the celebration of that is not appropriate.   Read the Rest


Let's Face It- Trump had the best economy EVER in our lifettime!

Bob Barney
I am a Ronald Reagan fan. I still believe Reagan was the greatest president of my lifetime - that being said, 
I can not ignore that no president in modern history turned the economy around as fast as Trump did (started the day after his election) and in four years had the greatest economy ever in my lifetime.  Every small business owner I know, will say the same thing.  Our paint company TAMCO grew nearly 600% in the first 2 years of Trump's economy. Today, our sales are 15 times greater than they were in 2014!   I credit God as well for our turnaround.  In fact, answered prayer by God, trumps TRUMP!  I believe God gave us the Trump victory, and Americans allowed their best president to be illegally booted from office through fraud.
 

Hong Kong Updates

Continue reading "Hong Kong Updates" »


The Dead Are Dead Until the Resurrection

The article uses "Rapture," But keep in mind, the Bible Plainly says when we die we are dead until Christ Return's at the last trumpet (1 Corinthian 15)

image from www.truthortradition.comWhen a person dies, he is dead, that is, totally without life. A Christian has body, soul, and holy spirit, so we will look at what happens to each of these components if he dies. The body cannot live without the animating life force of the soul, so when the soul is gone, the body is dead. We have all seen lifeless bodies—the body is there but the soul, the life force, is gone.

Just as the body is not alive without the soul, so the soul cannot live on its own without a body. The soul is not a ghost that lives on after the body dies. Rather, it is the animating force that makes the body alive. God created the soul, the life force, for both animals and man, and it is passed down from one generation to the next. There was no “soul ghost” that God put into us when the sperm of our father and egg of our mother came together.

Every living part of a human or animal has “soul,” that is, life. Every cell of our body has soul in it, which is what makes it alive. A dead cell is a cell without soul—the soul is gone. As with every cell, the egg from my mother and the sperm from my father that became “me” each had their own cell-body and soul, and that soul was passed down to “me” when the sperm fertilized the egg. If the egg were “dead,” the lifeless egg-body would be there, but it could not be fertilized, and if the sperm were dead, it could not fertilize the egg.

When a human cell dies, the life in that cell does not go to be with God, it is just gone. Similarly, the soul that makes the egg and sperm alive does not live on in the presence of God if the sperm or egg dies. Men have millions of living sperm, sperm with soul, that die, and women have hundreds of thousands of living eggs, eggs with soul, which are never fertilized, and die. The soul in all those sperms and eggs does not “go” anywhere if the sperm or egg dies, and certainly not to be with God, rejoicing in His presence. As with the life in any cell, it just dies and is gone. On the other hand, if the sperm fertilizes an egg, then the life in them is passed on and becomes the life of the new baby.

The Bible says that God created the same life force, called “soul,” for both animals and man.   Read The Rest


The Last Great Empire on Earth

By Bob Barney 

Beast4 Daniel, a prophet of God, lived over 2,500 years ago. He was a Jewish captive, living in Babylon, and during the time of King Nebuchadnezzar, he was given the meaning of a dream, by God, laying out before him the last four great empires that would rule the earth. One night during the second year of the king's reign, Nebuchadnezzar had some disturbing dreams that neither he nor his “wise-men” could decipher the meaning. He was told about the man named Daniel, and of his God, the God of the universe, who had the ability to interpret anyone's dreams.

 

Upon meeting the king, Daniel said: {NLT version Daniel 2:29} “While Your Majesty was sleeping, you dreamed about coming events. He who reveals secrets has shown you what is going to happen.

30. And it is not because I am wiser than anyone else that I know the secret of your dream, but because God wants you to understand what was in your heart.

31 “In your vision, Your Majesty, you saw standing before you a huge, shining statue of a man. It was a frightening sight.

32 The head of the statue was made of fine gold. Its chest and arms were silver, its belly and thighs were bronze,

33 its legs were iron, and its feet were a combination of iron and baked clay.

34 As you watched, a rock was cut from a mountain, but not by human hands. It struck the feet of iron and clay, smashing them to bits.

35 The whole statue was crushed into small pieces of iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold. Then the wind blew them away without a trace, like chaff on a threshing floor. But the rock that knocked the statue down became a great mountain that covered the whole earth.

36 “That was the dream. Now we will tell the king what it means.

Neb_dream_IMG 37 Your Majesty, you are the greatest of kings. The God of heaven has given you sovereignty, power, strength, and honor.

38 He has made you the ruler over all the inhabited world and has put even the wild animals and birds under your control. You are the head of gold.

39 “But after your kingdom comes to an end, another kingdom, inferior to yours, will rise to take your place. After that kingdom has fallen, yet a third kingdom, represented by bronze, will rise to rule the world.

40 Following that kingdom, there will be a fourth one, as strong as iron. That kingdom will smash and crush all previous empires, just as iron smashes and crushes everything it strikes.

41 The feet and toes you saw were a combination of iron and baked clay, showing that this kingdom will be divided. Like iron mixed with clay, it will have some of the strength of iron.

42 But while some parts of it will be as strong as iron, other parts will be as weak as clay.

  43 This mixture of iron and clay also shows that these kingdoms will try to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other through intermarriage. But they will not hold together, just as iron and clay do not mix

 44 “During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a ki ngdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever.

45 That is the meaning of the rock cut from the mountain, though not by human hands, that crushed to pRock toesieces the statue of iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold. The great God was showing the king what will h appen in the future. The dream is true, and its meaning is certain.”

This is one of the most important warnings in all human history, hardly understood by anyone! Before getting into world history, you must ask yourself two basic questions. #1 Is the God of the Bible real, and #2, do you believe that God can predict the future? These two questions are really the most important questions you will ever ask yourself; your very life depends on the knowledge that God Almighty has revealed what is going to happen in the world. The statue made in four parts represents the last four empires that would rule the earth. God says so right here: “During the reigns of those kings (the last and 4th empire), the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever. We know, from these few scriptures that the fourth great kingdom after Daniel would be the one that Jesus Himself destroys, and then sets up His own millennial kingdom.

Continue reading "The Last Great Empire on Earth" »


'Breathtaking' Bible secret hidden in every breath you take- Joe Kovacs New Book Explains all

(Image by SERGIU JALBA from Pixabay)

It can be called breathtaking, because it's exactly that on all levels.

Every breath you take is packing an astonishing secret for your life not only at the present moment, but also for your glorious future, according to the best-selling author of a brand-new, inspiring book probing countless mysteries, including many from the Bible.

"We may not realize it, but every single breath we take should be filling us with amazement and hope because it's not merely a physical action, it's actually broadcasting a secret and impressive message from the Bible that few people ever consider," says Joe Kovacs, author of "REACHING GOD SPEED: Unlocking the Secret Broadcast Revealing the Mystery of Everything."

"To unlock the mystery, we have to use the divine keys that are provided in the Bible itself."

 

"Here are some of the simple keys that will help unlock not only the hidden message in every breath we take, but in countless other areas of life we experience on a daily basis," says Kovacs.

"The first is Romans 1:20, which explains God's invisible attributes, eternal power and divine nature 'have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made.' So we know just by examining anything in our created world, we can understand more about God and His Master Plan.

"Another is Isaiah 46:10, which tells us that God declares 'the end from the beginning.' What this indicates is that God is telling us the end of the story, the conclusion of all things, right from the start. So as we study not only the Bible, but everything we deal with in life, we can see an obvious pattern of the final outcome of events being revealed from the beginning.

"Yet another key is Matthew 13:34: 'Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables, and he did not tell them anything without a parable.' Millions already know that Jesus employed the parable teaching method, using stories and symbols to hide His message from the general populace of the world, but to reveal it to His true disciples with eyes to see and ears to hear. But what is often missed is that Jesus 'did not tell them anything without a parable.' In other words, everything is a parable. Not only is there a human, physical meaning to everything, there is an additional meaning on the spirit level of God speed."

Once these dots are connected, the author says, it becomes fairly simple to decode virtually anything, including the hidden message inside our human breathing.

"We already know inhaling fresh air into our lungs is what keeps us alive from moment to moment," says Kovacs. "If our breathing completely stops, we physically die rather quickly. So breathing is a natural form of life support. Why is this? Because breath itself comes from God (it's actually a representation of God), and He's loaning it to us on a temporary basis in our current bodies made of dust."

"To understand this, let's go back to the beginning to be reminded of our ancient past: 'And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being' (Genesis 2:7 NKJV).

"The Book of Job also notes: 'The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life' (Job 33:4 CSB).

"Thus, breath represents the Spirit, the very presence of God, providing us life not only in the present, but the future as well. It's easy to understand how breath sustains us now in our physical bodies. But if we read Genesis 2:7 again, keeping in mind how God declares the end from the beginning, we're actually being told the conclusion of our story."

This breathtaking understanding is just one of hundreds of mysteries unlocked in "Reaching God Speed," which features a myriad of stunning revelations, as the book:

  • Easily explains how God embeds hidden messages forecasting the future in the physical, historical events recorded in Scripture
    • Solves with clarity three of the greatest mysteries in Scripture, unveiling the surprisingly simple meaning of "the beast," "the number of the beast" and "the mark of the beast"
    • Examines the miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding, revealing why this famous event took place "on the third day," why water was poured into six large containers, and why its instant transformation into the most perfect wine has a sublime meaning that goes far beyond what anyone has ever discussed
    • Unwraps the secret messages concerning the human birth of God, including the spirit significance of Jesus in a manger, the real reason the shepherds "returned," and the never-trumpeted, majestic picture the entire story depicts for your own glorious future
    • Unmasks the miracle of the blind man healed by washing mud off his eyes. Clue: There's something intriguing about the mud that becomes obvious when we connect the dots in Scripture

      "Reaching God Speed" will be officially released on Jan. 25, but is available for pre-order now, with much more information available at ReachingGodSpeed.com.

      Those wishing to interview Joe Kovacs can email him here.

      Reveals the incredible reason the Bible constantly mentions "three days" in both the Old and New Testaments. It goes far beyond the time Jesus spent in the heart of the earth.

Those keys, says Kovacs, are verses broadcasting concepts that, once linked together, allow people to make the jump from the human speed of understanding to what he calls "God speed," another way of referring to the spirit level of divine wisdom.


Visit: The Rock IN the house

Rock in the house: The Wisconsin home with a 55-ton boulder wedged into its rear

The 55-ton boulder was originally part of a bluff 500ft above the Fountain City house, but became dislodged on April 24, 1995. Amazingly, the owners escaped unscathed. An eyewitness told local newspapers that he heard a 'train-like roar' before the boulder hit the house. One TripAdvisor reviewer recently wrote: 'The rock is truly something to see in person.'


How the Puritans Banned Christmas In 1659 the Puritans banned Christmas in Massachusetts. But why?

• December 21, 2020 •

"The Puritan Governor interrupting the Christmas Sports," by Howard Pyle c. 1883

“The Puritan Governor interrupting the Christmas Sports,” by Howard Pyle c. 1883

The Puritans followed the Bible, and hence the area which gave us Thanksgiving, banned Christmas and Easter!

A short, easily-overlooked paragraph from an early law book of the Massachusetts Bay Colony reads as follows:

“For preventing disorders arising in several places within this jurisdiction, by reason of some still observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other countries, to the great dishonor of God and offence of others, it is therefore ordered by this Court and the authority thereof, that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way, upon such accountants as aforesaid, every person so offending shall pay of every such offence five shillings, as a fine to the county.”

Yes, you read that right. In 1659 the Puritan government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony actually banned Christmas. So how did one of the largest Christian holidays come to be  persecuted in the earliest days of New England?

Christmas in  17th century England actually wasn’t so different from the holiday we celebrate today. It was one of the largest religious observances, full of traditions, feast days, revelry and cultural significance. But the Puritans, a pious religious minority (who, after all, fled the persecution of the Anglican majority), felt that such celebrations were unnecessary and, more importantly, distracted from religious discipline. They also felt that due to the holiday’s loose pagan origins, celebrating it would constitute idolatry. A common sentiment among the leaders of the time was that such feast days detracted from their core beliefs: “They for whom all days are holy can have no holiday.”

This meant that Christmas wasn’t the only holiday on the chopping block. Easter and Whitsunday, other important historical celebrations, were also forbidden. Bans like these would continue through the 18th and 19th centuries (the US House of Representatives even convened on Christmas in 1802). As Puritanism started to fall out of favor, however, Christmas was almost universally accepted throughout the US by 1840, and was eventually declared a National Holiday in 1870.


BOB BARNEY: How I came to believe what I do

By Bob Barney

I have had several people over the years ask me how I came to what I believe.  I wrote this too a young lady that emailed me questioning God.     This was written in 2009.

IMG_7470

That family God gave me some 38 years later (now 40)

Thanks for your interest in The Plain Truth and what brought me to believe in God. Cathy like you there was a time in my life when I thought I had proven scientifically that God did not exists. I started out as a child believing in God, but years of schooling and my science classes taught me that God was a myth and that science was what was real. This happened at an early age for me, so by the time I was 12, I did not think God was real. When I was 7, I was a strong believer and prayed every night to a God I later realized never seemed to hear my prayers.

Evolution made the most sense to me, and it was something I could see with my own eyes – or so I thought for quite a few years.

I started college in 1973. I went thru high school as an atheist and a strong believer in modern science. In my second year at college I took a biology course taught by a professor that I became close friends with. It was 1975. That also happened to be the year I first heard a broadcast from Garner Ted Armstrong. Ted was unlike any person I have ever heard before, and if you haven't watched any of the videos I have posted of him, you will not understand my description. He was bright, informed, educated and knew science as good as anyone. I listened to him for a week before I even knew he was an evangelist! Really! When I realized he was, I turned him off. Like a modern day liberal, or scientists (they are the same) I didn't want to hear from any “religious” nut. A week went by, and I began to listen to him again. I was intrigued, because he made so much sense.

He did a show called, “A theory for the birds” (it is also a booklet's title) in which he stated, “Did the miracle of flight come from frayed. loosely hanging fish scales? Did the myriads of birds evolve from ungainly, hulking caymans and crocodiles? Evolutionists say they did. Reason, logic, common sense, true science and the Great Creator God say they didn't! Here's the proof presented from the kingdom of our fine feathered friends.” 

He went on: “Did God use green slime, or brown scum, or algae, or amoeba, or viruses and bacteria, or polka-dotted air bubbles in the sea, or cracks in rocks, or extreme heat, or extreme cold, or a chance strike of lightning in a primordial soup of methane and ammonia to create life on earth? The answer is no, and you can prove it scientifically!”

I thought to myself, “scientifically?” I needed to hear more.... I came up with these 7 problems with evolution. 

  1. Lack of a viable mechanism for producing high levels of complex and specified information. Related to this are problems with the Darwinian mechanism producing irreducibly complex features, and the problems of non-functional or deleterious intermediate stages. (For details see: “The NCSE, Judge Jones, and Bluffs About the Origin of New Functional Genetic Information,” “Do Car Engines Run on Lugnuts? A Response to Ken Miller & Judge Jones’s Straw Tests of Irreducible Complexity for the Bacterial Flagellum,” “Opening Darwin’s Black Box,” or “Can Random Mutations Create New Complex Features? A Response to TalkOrigins“)

  1. The failure of the fossil record to provide support for Darwinian evolution. And the failure of molecular biology to provide evidence for a grand “tree of life.”  

  1. Evolutionary scientists date the earth at approximately 4.5 to 5 billion years old. Most folks are not aware that there is really no incontrovertible scientific proof to establish these fantastic dates. They are grounded in a series of assumptions that are based upon evolutionary premises. In other words, the “clock” is rigged to provide the “long ages” of earth’s history. Why is this the case? Because, as everyone concedes, time is an absolutely essential ingredient in the Darwinian scheme. Dr. George Wald of Harvard called it the “hero of the plot.” Evolutionists need vast amounts of time for the millions of evolutionary changes to occur which would produce the amoebae-to-man phenomenon.

It has been demonstrated many times, however, that the “evolutionary clocks” are terribly flawed (see Jackson 2003). Here is a somewhat recent example.

  1. Law on entropy:There is a universal tendency for all systems to go from order to disorder, as stated in the Second Law, and this tendency can only be arrested and reversed under very special circumstances. We have already seen, in Chapter I, that disorder can never produce order through any kind of random process. There must be present some form of code or program, to direct the ordering process, and this code must contain at least as much "information" as is needed to provide this direction.  Furthermore, there must be present some kind of mechanism for converting the environmental energy into the energy required to produce the higher organization of the system involved. ...   Thus, any system that experiences even a temporary growth in order and complexity must not only be "open" to the sun's energy but must also contain a "program" to direct the growth and a "mechanism" to energize the growth. 

  1. The failure of chemistry to explain the origin of the genetic code. (For details, see “The origin of life remains a mystery” or “Problems with the Natural Chemical ‘Origin of Life’“);

  1. Where did the hydrogen atom come from? 

    The last one, number six is my idea. After listening and reading up on the flaws of evolution, I went to my great friend and professor of biology and asked him how I could discredited this information. To my surprise, he just got angry, like an Obama liberal does today when you question details about socialism. 

I was stunned by his reaction. I assumed he had the answers, but he did not! He called it all BS and walked away from me. I was his friend, so I cornered him the next day and asked again. He replied, “If you want to believe in fairy tales, go ahead, but leave me out of it! Where did your God come from Bob? Everything has to have a beginning!”

I replied, “They say he has always existed.”

Exactly,” he replied. “Are you going to believe that nonsense?”

I replied, “if everything was started by a hydrogen atom exploding, where did that atom come from? Who, what or why was it made?” 

His answer? “IT HAS ALWAYS EXISTED!”

I was dumbfounded... “So,” I replied, “you don't want to believe a God always existed, but the hydrogen atom did?” He walked away, mad at me, and we never were friends again.

Cathy, I did not become a believer over night. For the next three years I tried to disprove God, and especially the God of the Bible, and each time I did, all I did was disprove a religion! Man's god, not the true God!

By 1978 I knew not only God existed, but that God was the one found in the Bible. Not the Catholic or Protestant churches, but the one found in the pages of the Bible. The God I DID NOT WANT TO FOLLOW! I did not want to ditch Christmas. I did not want to do a Saturday for Sunday thing, and I did not want to admit their were laws I needed to obey- but I knew I had too. God was real.

For the next few years, after going to God one night telling Him to leave me alone, I surrendered. Like Jacob of the Bible, I fought with God for my first 20 years. 

1979 I did my first Passover. With very little help, and by myself, after years of struggling whether if Good really existed, I came to know God was real, calling me and I made sure I would do whatever I could as best as I could.

Nobody in my family did any holidays, except Christmas and Easter. Mom had stopped going to church by 1973, and I had no place really to do my first Passover. So I asked Grandma Brandt in doing it up there, and she agreed. I bought Riunite and Matzo’s- and had my first Passover by myself there. Honestly, I don’t remember if I did Matzos or just plain old Italian Bread-with the yeast! I was new to everything and I really had nobody to help me. It was an education by trial and error, and hopefully forgiveness from God.

I went thru some hard times at first, but God also quickly answered prayers in those days for me. The more you believe, the slower the answers. It's a test. I remember Ted telling me once, “If you think God is calling you, expect nothing but trouble! GOD IS HARDEST ON THOSE HE CALLS and LOVES!” I found this to be true.

All I can say is pray to God, read the Bible without preconceived notions in what you will find, and read the words on the page! Test God and make God prove to you that GOD IS REAL. Also test science, as I did. Don't believe someone because you think they are smarter than you. Most likely they are not- just more snowballed.

God is not looking for vegetables! He gave us a mind to think, reason and to understand the truth of life! Most religions want you to be zombies. God does not. 

Remember these words:

Ephesians 6:10-18 New International Version (NIV)

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 

Give God a chance to Prove all things, and I think you will find eventually God will!   I know one thing, when you are resurrected from the dead (either the 1st or second) you will know for sure!

God Bless 

 


When Christmas was illegal in America

Christmas in the post-War United StatesChristmas in the post-War United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Religion Today is contributed biweekly by the University of Wyoming's Religious Studies Program to examine and to promote discussion of religious issues.

Who Was Against Christmas?

By Paul V.M. Flesher


Picture the following scenario. Crowds of Americans rioting in the streets. Two opposing groups shout loudly, vying to have their messages heard and heeded. The groups meet. Confrontation ensues. Fistfights break out. Church windows are smashed. What are these rioters fighting about? Christmas. One group favors celebrating Christmas, the other opposes all Christmas observances. This isn't an imaginary event, it is history. It happened in Boston on Christmas day in 1706.

In America's increasing love-affair with Christmas (both the Christian and commercial versions), we have forgotten that there was a time when much of European and American Christianity thought that Christmas should not be celebrated. In the riot described previously, the anti-Christmas group consisted largely of Congregationalists (Puritan descendants), Baptists, and Presbyterians, while the pro-Christmas group comprised mostly Anglicans (Episcopalians). The notion that Christians of any stripe should not want to celebrate Christmas is so foreign to our present concept of the holiday, that we need to review some history to understand it.

Prior to the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s, Roman Catholicism celebrated the "Christ Mass." It was one of many special masses and feasts of the Catholic Church celebrating key events in Jesus' life or the birthdays of saints. The three main Protestant movements that ultimately came to America had three different reactions to this situation.

First, although the Anglican Church developed a Protestant theology, it kept much of Catholic liturgy, including festivals celebrating aspects of Christ's life and the feast days of many saints. It gave special emphasis to the celebration of Christmas.

Second, after Martin Luther nailed his "95 Theses" to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral in 1517, special liturgical observances began to be frowned upon. The Lutherans thought that the celebrations of saints' days were too much and so cancelled them. But they still emphasized observing events in Jesus' life, and so continued with joyous Christmas festivities.

Third, the Calvinists in Switzerland banned all Christian holy days not mentioned in Scripture. That approach meant that the Sabbath was acceptable, but nothing else. Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and other celebrations were to be treated as normal days with nothing special about them.

The Calvinist position came to be quite influential in Great Britain, even though it never altered the position of the Anglican Church. John Knox brought Calvinism to Scotland as Presbyterianism where Christmas was banned in 1583, while the Puritans brought Calvinism into England, where it became influential in circles both within and outside of the Anglican Church. During the Civil War in 1647, Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan followers outlawed Christmas observance. It was brought back in 1660 at the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II.

From England, both sides brought their Christmas beliefs to America. The Puritans (later becoming the Congregationalists) were joined by Presbyterians, Quakers, Methodists (despite their founders' pro-Christmas predilections), and Baptists on the anti-Christmas side, while the Anglicans dominated the pro-Christmas side, and were later joined by the Lutherans and the Dutch Reformed.

In Boston, the Puritans outlawed Christmas in 1659. Although the ban was lifted in 1681 when the British government took control of the colony, an armed guard had to protect the governor on his way to church on Christmas of 1686. When the colony reverted to local control in 1689, Christmas again fell out of favor.

The objection to Christmas by Americans was two-fold. First, for Calvinist theology, it reflected the pagan character of Catholic worship. Christmas was not a biblical holiday and had not even become a Christian festival before the late 300s; it was a creation of the church, not of Christ. Second, the holiday was accompanied by extensive reveling. Celebrations were not primarily worshipful, but involved feasting, game playing, heavy drinking, shooting, and gambling. For the over-indulgers, it brought out the worst of their excesses. Since the holiday celebrated the Savior's birth, such immoral behavior was seen as sacrilegious.

During the 18th century, Christmas observance began to be more accepted. Church-goers turned their attention to purifying the holiday of its excesses, rather than rejecting it altogether. By the 1750s, even New England hymn books contained Christmas carols. By the early 1800s, Christmas was observed with an emphasis on family and children.

In 1836, Alabama became the first state to make Christmas a legal holiday. Other states followed suit; even Massachusetts legalized Christmas in 1856, almost 200 years after its ban. But the last state, Oklahoma, did not join in until 1907. So next Christmas, 2007, will be the centenary of Christmas being the first religious holiday whose celebration across the United States is sanctioned by law.

Flesher is director of UW's Religious Studies Program. Past columns and more information about the program can be found on the Web at www.uwyo.edu/relstds. To comment on this column, visit http://religion-today.blogspot.com.

Excerpts from Fox News John Gibson's Book "The War on Christmas...."

As a matter of American history, however, some of the strongest complaints about the public celebration of Christmas have been lodged from within the Christian tradition—by devout Christians who had little use for the holiday. For a surprising number of American believers, the chief concern wasn't putting Christ back into Christmas. It was taking Christmas out of Christianity.

Liberal plots notwithstanding, the Americans who succeeded in banning the holiday were the Puritans of 17th-century Massachusetts. Between 1659 and 1681, Christmas celebrations were outlawed in the colony, and the law declared that anyone caught "observing, by abstinence from labor, feasting or any other way any such days as Christmas day, shall pay for every such offense five shillings." Finding no biblical authority for celebrating Jesus' birth on Dec. 25, the theocrats who ran Massachusetts regarded the holiday as a mere human invention, a remnant of a heathen past. They also disapproved of the rowdy celebrations that went along with it. "How few there are comparatively that spend those holidays … after an holy manner," the Rev. Increase Mather lamented in 1687. "But they are consumed in Compotations, in Interludes, in playing at Cards, in Revellings, in excess of Wine, in Mad Mirth."

After the English Restoration government reclaimed control of Massachusetts from the Puritans in the 1680s, one of the first acts of the newly appointed royal governor of the colony was to sponsor and attend Christmas religious services. Perhaps fearing a militant Puritan backlash, for the 1686 services he was flanked by redcoats. The Puritan disdain for the holiday endured: As late as 1869, public-school kids in Boston could be expelled for skipping class on Christmas Day.

The Puritans are the most cited example of anti-Christmas spirit, but not the only one. Quakers, too, took a pass, reasoning that, in the words of 17th-century Quaker apologist Robert Barclay, "All days are alike holy in the sight of God." The Quakers never translated their dismissal of Christmas into legislation in their stronghold in Colonial Pennsylvania. But local meetings, as the Quakers call their assemblies, urged their members to disdain Christmas and to be "zealous in their testimony against the holding up of such days." As late as 1810, the Philadelphia Democratic Press reported that few Pennsylvanians celebrated the holiday.

Observance of Christmas, or the lack thereof, was one way to differentiate among the Christian sects of Colonial and 19th-century America. Anglicans, Moravians, Dutch Reformed, and Lutherans, to name just a few, did; Quakers, Puritans, Separatists, Baptists, and some Presbyterians did not. An 1855 New York Times report on Christmas services in the city noted that Baptist and Methodist churches were closed because they "do not accept the day as a holy one," while Episcopal and Catholic churches were open and "decked with evergreens." New England Congregationalist preacher Henry Ward Beecher remembered decorative greenery as an exotic touch that one could see only in Episcopal churches, "a Romish institution kept up by the Romish church."

Naturally, some celebrants of the holiday complained about the abstainers. In 1867, Reformed Church minister Henry Harbaugh protested that Presbyterians in his Pennsylvania neighborhood "spend the day working as on any other day. Their children grow up knowing nothing of brightly lit Christmas trees, nor Christmas presents. God have mercy on these Presbyterians, these pagans." You can hear the echo of that sentiment today, in the criticism of the megachurches that have announced that they will be closed on Christmas, because their leaders think congregations and church staff would rather remain home with their families. "Our culture does not need any encouragement to be more self-centered or narcissistic, or to stay at home on Sunday," Bible scholar Ben Witherington III wrote on Beliefnet last week. "Shame on you, megachurches."

Gibson briefly refers to the Puritan ban on the holiday but otherwise avoids any mention of division within the Christian tradition over how to celebrate it. His "war on Christmas" is purely a clash between secularists and believers. It's worth remembering, however, that in past American battles over Christmas, the combatants on both sides were Christian soldiers.


Statue of Molech, pagan god of burning kids to death, now on display

This is where The Yule log and Santa Claus comes from!  Look it up!

The statue on display at the Roman Colosseum is similar to this depiction of the pagan deity Moloch from the National Cinema Museum in Turin, Italy. | Wikimedia Commons/Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
The statue on display at the Roman Colosseum is similar to this depiction of the pagan deity Moloch from the National Cinema Museum in Turin, Italy. | Wikimedia Commons/Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

ANALYSIS

Call it an odd juxtaposition, or a paean to the bloody pagan practices of two warring cities, ancient Rome and its ancient Mediterranean rival, Carthage.  From now through March 2020, as part of an exhibit celebrating the city of Carthage, a giant statue of Molech, the god of the ancient Canaanites and Carthaginians, will greet visitors at the entrance to the Roman Colosseum.  

Molech is the pagan god who required his devotees to toss their children into his fiery belly as an act of worship. The location of the display is particularly worth noting since the Roman Colosseum is where many early Christians were slaughtered at the hands of lunatic dictators fearful of a faith they could not stop.  

Previously, the Catholic Church had made the Colosseum a sacred site to honor these first Christians martyred for their faith, even placing Stations of the Cross there for the faithful to contemplate their sacrifice. Now it's guarded by the pagan god Molech, whose demand for child sacrifice has been compared to the modern epidemic of abortion, and the faithful are greeted with a statue honoring a pagan deity whose murderous spirit still seeks to kill children.

MORE


Christmas' pagan origins

Christmas tree

Jeremiah 10: 1-5

10 Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:

2 Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

Yes, those words are in every Bible printed, even your copy! Be honest with yourself when you read the following Plain Truth Article about Christmas!

Christmas is celebrated on December 25 and is both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. For two millennia, people around the world have been observing it with traditions and practices that are both religious and secular in nature. Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, a spiritual leader whose teachings form the basis of their religion. Popular customs include exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church, sharing meals with family and friends and, of course, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive. December 25–Christmas Day–has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1870.

How Did Christmas Start?

The middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the arrival of the man called Jesus, early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Many peoples rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them and they could look forward to longer days and extended hours of sunlight.

In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, the winter solstice, through January. In recognition of the return of the sun, fathers and sons would bring home large logs, which they would set on fire. The people would feast until the log burned out, which could take as many as 12 days. The Norse believed that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year.


Enhanced by Zemanta

HEADLINES & STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD: Week-51 2021

1.theplaintruth.jpg
HEADLINES & STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD: Week-51
Dec 24-26, 2021
Christmas (XMAS)
 
News Stories from Across The World:

Joe Kovacs: Unveiled: Incredible secrets of the birth of Jesus come to life

While millions of people are very familiar with the Bible account of the birth of Jesus, many may not know the story is actually written on more than one level, broadcasting additional, secret messages beyond the historical event for those who "have an ear to hear," according to a best-selling author a brand-new book probing the hidden content of Scripture.

The Man Who Invented Christmas

When Christmas was illegal in America

Christmas in the post-War United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Religion Today is contributed biweekly by the University of Wyoming's Religious Studies Program to examine and to promote discussion of religious issues. Who Was Against...

Christmas' pagan origins

Christmas tree

Jeremiah 10: 1-5 10 Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: 2 Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. 3 F...
 

An American Christmas

What are some Christmas traditions in the U.S.? There are so many Christmas traditions in the US! Where did they all come from? America is often called a “melting pot” and its Christmas traditions can be seen the same way! It is a count...
 

Christmas history in America

Nederlands: Sinterklaas tijdens het Het Feest van Sinterklaas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Christmas history in America : see also Santa Claus in America In the early 17th century, a wave of religious reform changed the way Chr...
 

How the Puritans Banned Christmas In 1659 the Puritans banned Christmas in Massachusetts. But why?

 

Kissing Under the Mistletoe - Celtic Mythology and the cult of sex

USMistletoe37e_thm.gif

We are all familiar with at least a portion of the mysterious mistletoe's story: namely, that a lot of kissing under the mistletoe has been going on for ages. Few, however, realize that mistletoe's botanical story earns it the classif...
 

 


Christmas history in America

Nederlands: Sinterklaas tijdens het Het Feest ...Nederlands: Sinterklaas tijdens het Het Feest van Sinterklaas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Christmas history in America : see also Santa Claus in America

 

In the early 17th century, a wave of religious reform changed the way Christmas was celebrated in Europe. When Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they vowed to rid England of decadence and, as part of their effort, cancelled Christmas. By popular demand, Charles II was restored to the throne and, with him, came the return of the popular holiday. 

The pilgrims, English separatists that came to America in 1620, were even more orthodox in their Puritan beliefs than Cromwell. As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early America. From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings. By contrast, in the Jamestown settlement, Captain John Smith reported that Christmas was enjoyed by all and passed without incident.

After the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. In fact, Congress was in session on December 25, 1789, the first Christmas under America’s new constitution. Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870.

Washington Irving reinvents Christmas

 

 

Continue reading "Christmas history in America " »


Kissing Under the Mistletoe - Celtic Mythology and the cult of sex

USMistletoe37e_thm.gif We are all familiar with at least a portion of the mysterious mistletoe's story: namely, that a lot of kissing under the mistletoe has been going on for ages. Few, however, realize that mistletoe's botanical story earns it the classification of "parasite." Fewer still are privy to the convoluted history behind the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe. And its literary history is a forgotten footnote for all but the most scholarly.

Here were kept up the old games of hoodman blind, shoe the wild mare, hot cockles, steal the white loaf, bob apple, and snap dragon; the Yule-clog and Christmas candle were regularly burnt, and the mistletoe with its white berries hung up, to the imminent peril of all the pretty housemaids.

So Washington Irving, in "Christmas Eve," relates the typical festivities surrounding the Twelve Days of Christmas, including kissing under the mistletoe (Washington Irving, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent). Irving continues his Christmas passage with a footnote:

"The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens at Christmas, and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked the privilege ceases."

We moderns have conveniently forgotten the part about plucking the berries (which, incidentally, are poisonous), and then desisting from kissing under the mistletoe when the berries run out!

 

Continue reading "Kissing Under the Mistletoe - Celtic Mythology and the cult of sex" »


Joe Kovacs: Unveiled: Incredible secrets of the birth of Jesus come to life

While millions of people are very familiar with the Bible account of the birth of Jesus, many may not know the story is actually written on more than one level, broadcasting additional, secret messages beyond the historical event for those who "have an ear to hear," according to a best-selling author a brand-new book probing the hidden content of Scripture.

"The entire story is actually broadcasting our own miraculous future," says Joe Kovacs, author of "REACHING GOD SPEED: Unlocking the Secret Broadcast Revealing the Mystery of Everything."

"Yes, the birth of Jesus is a real event that took place more than 2,000 years ago, but God is using the birth of His Son to 'declare the end from the beginning,' as He says in Isaiah 46:10. He's using it to teach us our glorious future."

"For instance," Kovacs says, "the Bible makes a very big deal out of Jesus initially being placed in a manger."

"A manger is simply a feeding box for animals. It's where the food is," Kovacs says. "Even in basic French class, one of the first verbs we all learn is 'manger,' which means 'to eat.'

"And why is this significant? Because when we connect the dots from other parts of Scripture, we realize that this child lying in a feeding box in Bethlehem (which means the 'house of bread' or 'house of food') is more than just a typical baby. He is our true food, the real bread from heaven, as is stated numerous times in the Gospel of John. We don't get eternal life unless we feed on and follow His teachings."

MORE

 

also:

Is it possible we've all been missing something extraordinary in life? Can we really discover and understand the secret to EVERYTHING? This inspiring new book unlocks hundreds of mysteries from the Bible and your personal life!


HEADLINES & STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD: Week-50 2021

1.theplaintruth.jpg
HEADLINES & STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD: Week-50
Dec 19-23, 2021
 

Continue reading "HEADLINES & STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD: Week-50 2021" »


The Man Who Invented Christmas

On the evening of Oct. 5, 1843, things were looking bleak for 31-year-old Charles Dickens. Even though he was the superstar author of the wildly popular “The Pickwick Papers” and “The Adventures of Oliver Twist” – and that evening’s keynote speaker at an important charitable event – inside the man was in turmoil.

Xmas As young celebrities often do, Dickens (the father of five) had overspent. After a string of successful books, the great writer suddenly seemed to lose his way. He produced a couple of duds – and then slipped into debt.

Debt was a particularly horrifying prospect for Dickens. As a boy he watched his father go to jail for unpaid bills, a searing experience of which he would write, “I never afterwards forgot, I shall never forget, I never can forget.”

By 1843, Dickens was mired in woes. “[H]is marriage was troubled, his career tottering, his finances ready to collapse,” writes Les Standiford. The fabled author was even asking himself if he should give up fiction writing.

What happened next seems a kind of Victorian-era Christmas miracle.

After making his speech, Dickens wandered disconsolately through the dark streets of Manchester. But as he walked, an idea for a story suddenly came to him. If he could quickly turn that story into a book – a Christmas story in time for the season – perhaps he could earn £1,000. Such a sum, he reckoned, might extricate him from debt.

So, as Standiford recounts in The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits, in just six weeks Dickens sat down and wrote a classic of Western literature.

 

 

Continue reading "The Man Who Invented Christmas" »


The Titanic: The Story Behind the Curtains

Vaghinak Byurat was one of the brightest representatives among the very educated people of Constantinople at that time and was planning a business trip to America, where he had to take a large batch of books. It’s thought that he bought his tickets for the Titanic and that he was one of its passengers. And he survived.

Shahen Khachtryan knew Vaghinak, and interviewed him in person. He later wrote about the story of what happened on the ship. Byurat lived a long life and often talked about the sinking of the Titanic. The most interesting thing was that he never mentioned an iceberg. Instead Byurat would always talk about an explosion that led to the sinking of the ship.

He would probably have been blown off if other survivors hadn’t also stepped up and talked about explosions too.


Report: Inflation costs families around $3,500 this year

FILE - Denver Shopping

In this May 10, 2020, file photo, a shopper pushes his cart past a display of packaged meat in a grocery store in southeast Denver.

(The Center Square) – A new report estimated the annual cost of elevated inflation this year will be around $3,500 per household.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the nation’s leading business schools, released the report, which estimated much higher costs for American families because of inflation that has risen this year at the fastest rate in decades. MORE