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Showing posts from February 5, 2016

Mystery Religion of Cybele and Attis

Mystery Religion of Cybele and Attis A relief from an altar associated with the mystery religion of Cybele and Attis. The relief shows Cybele enthroned, with her hand resting on the shoulder of Attis.
These mystery cults were native to Greece and foundational to all other mystery religions. Eleusinian. The Eleusinian mysteries were among the oldest and most famous of the Greek mysteries. Initiates went to Eleusis, near Athens, to celebrate the fertility cult of Demeter (the Greek grain-goddess). Demeter was thought to provide abundant crops and a prosperous afterlife for her initiates. Andanian. Andania was in the southwestern Peloponnese, and its mysteries were dedicated to Demeter, Hermes, Apollo, and others. The Rule of the Andanian Mysteries is an inscription outlining some of the public features of the religion, which included oath taking, wearing special clothing, chanting, singing, sacrifices, a processional, and a sacred banquet. Cabiri. These deities were worship…

Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser II

Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser II ‎Second row of bas-relief enlarged. ‎From a Photograph.



According to the Talmud, there were three grades of excommunicationamong the Jews. The first was called niddin, and those on whom it waspronounced were not permitted for thirty days to have any communicationwith any person unless at a distance over four cubits (about 6 feet). They werenot prohibited from attending public worship, though they could not, duringthe thirty days, enter the temple by the ordinary gate. They were not allowed to shave during that time, and were required to wear garments of mourning.

The second was called cherem, and was pronounced on those who remained openly disobedient under the first. It was of greater severity than the other, and required the presence of at least ten members of the congregation to make it valid. The offender was formally cursed, was excluded from allintercourse with other people, and was prohibited from entering the temple or synagogue.

The third was shammatha, and was inflicted on those who persisted in their stubbor…

Mount Carmel: Goats Grazing

Mount Carmel: Goats Grazing ‎A Carmel scene. Black goats graze in clearings in the oak woods between the Muhraka at the southern peak of Mount Carmel and Daliat-al-Carmel, a Druze village founded at the beginning of the 18th century.

The Oppression in Jerusalem

The Oppression in Jerusalem ‎ The twenty-second chapter of Ezekiel compares with the first chapter of Isaiah, the “Great Arraignment.” Ezekiel sums up formally and finally the many charges he has been making throughout his book. He places upon record the entire list of Judah’s sins, that the justice of her punishment may be remembered and admitted by all. ‎It is a terrible roll call to which we listen. No sin seems omitted from the grim catalog. The city “sheddeth blood,” she “maketh idols,” she defiles herself. Family affection is forgotten; the people “set light by father and mother.” Fair dealing is rejected; the “stranger” entering the city is seized by force and “oppressed.” Cruelty tramples the most helpless; the rich have “vexed the fatherless and the widow.” False witness, bribery, usury, adultery, lewdness of every kind, all these are in the catalog. And at the close, recurring to this as the climax of treachery, “Yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.”


Ephesians 5:15


By and large NT wisdom (sophia) has the same intensely practical nature as in the OT. Seldom neutral (although cf. ‘the wisdom of the Egyptians’, Acts 7:22), it is either God-given or God-opposing. If divorced from God’s revelation it is impoverished and unproductive at best (1 Cor. 1:17; 2:4; 2 Cor. 1:12) and foolish or even devilish at worst (1 Cor. 1:19ff.; Jas. 3:15ff.). Worldly wisdom is based on intuition and experience without revelation, and thus has severe limitations. The failure to recognize these limitations brings biblical condemnation on all (especially the Greeks) who haughtily attempt to cope with spiritual issues by human wisdom.

Hubbard, D. A. “Wisdom.” Ed. D. R. W. Wood et al. New Bible dictionary 1996 : 1244. Print.



Of the various possible uses of light, Jesus obviously has in mind the bringing of illumination through the revelation of God’s will for his people. Since Jesus is the Light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5), so also his followers should reflect that light. Like lights from a city illuminating the dark countryside or a lamp inside a house providing light for all within it, Christians must let their good works shine before the rest of the world so that others may praise God. The good works are most naturally seen as the “fruits in keeping with repentance” of 3:8.

Blomberg, Craig. Matthew. Vol. 22. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992. Print. The New American Commentary.

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

February 5
  Ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord.… The Lord that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion
Ps. 134:1, 3
If I would know the love of my friend, I must see what it can do in the winter. So with the divine love. It is very easy for me to worship in the summer sunshine, when the melodies of life are in the air and the fruits of life are on the tree. But let the song of the bird cease, and the fruit of the tree fall; and will my heart still go on to sing? Will I stand in God’s house by night? Will I love Him in His own night? Will I watch Him even one hour in His Gethsemane? Will I help to bear His cross up the via dolorosa? My love has come to Him in His humiliation. My faith has found Him in His lowliness. My heart has recognized His majesty through His mean disguise, and I know at last that I desire not the gift, but the Giver. When I can stand in His house by night, I have accepted Him for Himself alone.

George Matheson

Hardman, Sam…

Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest

February 5th
Are you ready to be offered?

Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all. Phil. 2:17.

Are you willing to be offered for the work of the faithful—to pour out your life blood as a libation on the sacrifice of the faith of others? Or do you say—‘I am not going to be offered up just yet, I do not want God to choose my work. I want to choose the scenery of my own sacrifice; I want to have the right kind of people watching me and saying, “Well done.” ’
It is one thing to go on the lonely way with dignified heroism, but quite another thing if the line mapped out for you by God means being a door-mat under other people’s feet. Suppose God wants to teach you to say, “I know how to be abased”—are you ready to be offered up like that? Are you ready to be not so much as a drop in a bucket—to be so hopelessly insignificant that you are never thought of again in connection with the life you served? Are you willing to spend and …

Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening

Morning, February 5      Go To Evening Reading
 “The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” 
         — 1 John 4:14
It is a sweet thought that Jesus Christ did not come forth without his Father’s permission, authority, consent, and assistance. He was sent of the Father, that he might be the Saviour of men. We are too apt to forget that, while there are distinctions as to the persons in the Trinity, there are no distinctions of honour. We too frequently ascribe the honour of our salvation, or at least the depths of its benevolence, more to Jesus Christ than we do the Father. This is a very great mistake. What if Jesus came? Did not his Father send him? If he spake wondrously, did not his Father pour grace into his lips, that he might be an able minister of the new covenant? He who knoweth the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost as he should know them, never setteth one before another in his love; he sees them at Bethlehem, at Gethsemane, and on Calvary, all equally en…

Connect the Testaments

February 5: Why Does God Punish People?
Exodus 11–13; John 2:13–3:25; Song of Solomon 2:1–3

In regard to why a good God would punish people, I recently heard one homeless man wisely tell another, “You wouldn’t want to live in a world where God didn’t punish injustices and just freely forgave sin—without any request for someone to choose the salvation He offers back. Imagine a place where injustice was never punished and people never recognized their sin and need for salvation. That would be terrible and painful.”
We all want justice to reign. For a good God to be truly good, injustice must be punished. This is why it makes complete sense that Jesus had to die. There must be a payment for the evil we inflict on the world and one another. Jesus’ death epitomizes God’s mercy and justice—and it all happened in one act.
This also makes sense out of the Passover event (Exod 12:1–31). I usually hear this preached about as a saving act, which indeed it was, but it was also brutal: God kills fi…