Lessons from the Bible on clean and unclean meats | Holiday special 5

The Bible speaks rather intently about clean and unclean meats, which was mainly for the Jews to follow; however, following the guidelines is proven to boost health significantly and make our bodies better for God’s Work. We are doing this in time for the holidays to instruct you on the better ways to eat, especially if you want to avoid gaining excess weight or doing something unhealthy (like maybe over-snacking on candy LOL).

Notice: God gave His Laws to instruct us on what is right and wrong, not as a means to strictly enforce things in our life or have a complicated conscience. They are for our own protection. Now, we don’t practice as the Jews do when it comes to strict enforcement of laws; however, sin is never tolerated by God, and a good believer knows to repent before God when he or she has sinned.

For most of the laws, there are certain risks with consuming certain foods. For example, pork is extremely popular; however, the Israelites were informed by God that it is forbidden, because diseases they might catch if they consume it, such as Trichinosis (ref). God is the authority on our conduct, and He never changes. Things did not suddenly change for God’s Law to be followed once Christ Jesus liberated the Law, because that does not modify who God is. Christ Jesus fulfilled the Law, but He did not abolish it, which meant it was still to be followed to best of a person’s ability, but that the Christian should not feel so guilty, but still repent, to show God that they are interested in pleasing Him.

Nothing will stave off the consequences of breaking God’s Law. For example, adultery and sexual immorality can destroy marriages and family, stealing can land someone in jail, and numerous other calamities that people can suffer. As said before, the Law was given to help people understand what right and wrong is, so that they can avoid those consequences. Using “liberation” doctrine to give yourself a license to sin is obviously wrong, and the Bible does not teach this whatsoever. To teach that sin is acceptable is to blaspheme God (see Ezekiel 20:27; Romans 6:1-2; 1 John 3:6; Romans 6:15-23).

Man alone cannot please God, but with Christ, all things are possible including pleasing God. Life is all about relationships: with God, with others, with animals, with plants, with foods, with material things, etc. It’s how the human mind works. God’s Word is not just a legal book, it is a book about God’s Love being demonstrated in all facets of life to send to each of His People only the best that they deserve and to challenge them. Life is also about challenges, for they prepare us for Heaven!

As relationships develop, we learn what these relationships expect of us. For example, we learn about what God expects from us, and this is highest calling, one that we should never be reprobate to. His direction and instruction provide guidelines for developing this relationship with Him. It is awesome! Everything good and respectful to God in this life is worth it!

CLEAN ANIMALS

Animals that chew the cud and part of the hoof

  • Antelope
  • Bison (buffalo)
  • Caribou
  • Cattle (beef and veal)
  • Deer (venison)
  • Elk
  • Gazelle
  • Giraffe
  • Goat
  • Hart
  • Moose
  • Ox
  • Reindeer
  • Sheep (lamb and mutton)

Fish with fins and scales

  • Anchovy
  • Barracuda
  • Bass
  • Bluefish
  • Bluegill
  • Carp
  • Cod
  • Crappie
  • Flounder
  • Grouper
  • Haddock
  • Hake
  • Halibut
  • Hardhead
  • Herring
  • Kingfish
  • Mackerel
  • Mahimahi
  • Minnow
  • Mullet
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Pollack
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Shad
  • Snapper
  • Sole
  • Steelhead
  • Trout
  • Tuna
  • Whitefish

Birds

  • Chicken
  • Dove
  • Duck
  • Goose
  • Guinea Fowl
  • Partridge
  • Pheasant
  • Pigeon
  • Prairie chicken
  • Quail
  • Sparrow
  • Swan
  • Teal
  • Turkey

Insects

Locusts, crickets, grasshoppers.

UNCLEAN ANIMALS

  • Swine such as boars or pigs.
  • Canines such as coyotes, dogs, foxes, hyenas, jackals, or wolves.
  • Felines such as cats, cheetahs, leopards, lions, panthers, or tigers.
  • Equines such as donkeys, horses, mules, or zebras.
  • Others: Armadillos, badgers, bears, beavers, camels, elephants, gorillas, groundhogs, hares, hippopotamus, kangaroos, llamas, moles, monkeys, mice, muskrats, opossums, porcupines, rabbits, raccoons, rats, rhinoceroses, skunks, slugs, snails, squirrels, wallabies, weasels, wolverines, worms, and all insects except for locusts.

Fish without scales and fins

  • Fish such as bullhead, catfish, eels, marlins, paddlefish, sharks, swordfish, sturgeons, or squids.
  • Shellfish such as abalone, clams, crabs, crayfish, lobsters, mussels, prawns, oysters, scallops, or shrimp.
  • Soft body such as jellyfish, octopus, squid, or cuttlefish.
  • Sea mammals such as dolphins, otters, porpoises, seals, walruses, or whales.

Birds of prey, scavengers, etc.

  • Albatross
  • Bats
  • Buzzards
  • Cranes
  • Crows
  • Eagles
  • Flamingos
  • Gulls
  • Hawks
  • Osprey
  • Ostrich
  • Owls
  • Parrots
  • Pelicans
  • Penguins
  • Ravens
  • Roadrunners
  • Seagulls
  • Storks
  • Swallows
  • Vultures
  • Woodpeckers

Reptiles

  • Alligators
  • Crocodiles
  • Lizards
  • Snakes
  • Turtles

Amphibians

  • Frogs
  • Newts
  • Salamanders
  • Toads

7 Lessons we can draw from the Christmas Story | Holiday special 4

From what we have observed, Christmas is one of the best times in our lives that we celebrate. There are numerous reasons why we celebrate the Christmas story, knowing first and foremost Christmas is about Jesus Christ!

What we can glean from the Bible are important truths that help us take shape an even greater story. It is hoped that these guide you into this holiday season!

1. God’s Forgiveness is available to all

We see in Isaiah 11:1-2, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.”

We hear in the song, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” that “God and sinners reconciled.” This is the amazing truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He provides Salvation and eternal life, and this comes from the benefit of forgiveness of sins. We see the ministry of reconciliation that God came in the form of man, Jesus Christ, to “Save His People from sin.” What an awesome thing we have in Christ!

2. God is in control of leadership of the world

Romans 13:1 says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”

Our God, who has made the earth, stars, universe, heavens, and more is our commanding leader overall! Peace is within the Prince of Peace, and He alone provides rest for our souls. God regards our lowliness as well, and provides us forgiveness. He is our Great Shepherd (Psalm 23).

3. Christ Jesus is our Shepherd

Psalm 23 describes Our Lord is Our Shepherd. Ezekiel 34:15, “I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.”

Christ Jesus came to impute upon us peace, and lead and guide us through Life more abundantly. The hope of eternal life can be for all people, and we do hope we can spread it evermore to so many people.

He provides us our daily provisions, He gives us rest for our souls (as we noted above), He helps us by delivering us from evil and death, and gives us goodness and mercy forevermore.

4. God grants peace as we wait upon Him

Just as prophesied in Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Then, we see powerful truth in Romans 16:20, “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” Also note 2 Thessalonians 3:16, “Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.”

When we reflect upon God, we allow His Spirit to speak to us. We reflect on the wonder of God, our Creator, and all the beautiful things He has created! It’s truly amazing.

5. God can powerfully perform the impossible

Matthew 19:26 says, “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”

God really can do the impossible, for with Him, all things are possible. He can help in almost any situation, save us from trouble, and help improve our lives. This is something we must truly believe, for He can truly help us. Since He can help us, we know we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

6. God is our utmost provider

God provided the Passover lamb for us, who was born in to this world, the redeemer, Jesus Christ: “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together” (Genesis 22:8).

This is proven in Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

7. Heaven is going to be so awesome

Knowing we had this great and merciful Savior from Heaven come, we better believe so many great things are awaiting us for our eternal destiny in Heaven!

John 14:1-3 tells us the first magnificent truth, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told* you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 then tells us that we cannot imagine the awesomeness, but must know that it is so overwhelmingly awesome… “But as it is written*, Eye hath not seen, nor* ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”

Now, we discover one of the most awesome things in Revelation 21:3-4, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

We will have new bodies eventually… 1 Corinthians 15:40 says, “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.” Then also in 1 Corinthians 15:54, “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”

What will it look like (kind of)… Revelation 21:18-23, “And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”

Overall, Salvation, eternal life, Christ Jesus coming, and all great things that pertain to life and godliness – How Awesome!

Are presents, a tree, lights, tinsel, and more something the Bible teaches? | Holiday special 2

There are many discussions floating around the internet and YouTube about Christmas being a pagan holiday. However, this is found to be far from the truth. There are many components of Christmas that have been placed higher than Jesus Christ, which is sad, because we should be worshiping Christ at Christmas. It is all about Him!

What do presents, lights, a tree, tinsel, ribbon, etc. have to do with Christ then? Does the Bible actually support these things? We think it does. Let’s go through each segment of Christmas generally and review them according to the Bible.

Tree

So the old Douglas/Balsam/Fraser/Canaan/Grand/Noble/Concolor Fir, or the White/Scotch/Virginia Pine, how about the Blue/Norway/White Spruce, or how about the Arizona/Leyland Cypress, or even the Red Cedar? That’s about 16 types of Christmas trees. But what does the Bible say about them?

We learn about the Cedars of Lebanon, found in Isaiah 35:2; 60:13. It is a symbol of Lebanon. This is a good reference that means that the Bible acknowledges trees and loves them. It is a sign of life!

Lights

Very simply the Christmas lights mean the Light of the World that we acknowledge and love: Jesus Christ! (John 8:12). Any lights that are lit must remind us of Jesus being the Light of the World.

Tinsel

Jeremiah 10:3-4, “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.”

Although it says these customs are vanity, if someone feels better to do them, then do them as unto the Lord!

Ribbons, bows, and other decor

Incidentally, this is not found in the Bible. Therefore, it is up to the person to decide if they can glorify God with ribbons and bows.

Presents and gifts

Gift giving is encouraged in the Bible. Look in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

But God gifted the most perfect gift: Jesus Christ, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17; see also John 3:16).

Singing songs

This can be found in many Scriptures: the Psalms, Isaiah 44:23; 49:13; Acts 16:25.

Concluding

As you can see, many of these things point to Jesus Christ and we can feel glad that they do, for it is important to worship Jesus Christ at Christmas and enjoy the manifestation of His Presence at all times!

The Wise Men: More than Magi

The adoration of the Magi, after they followed that ‘star in the east’ to Jesus. Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P., CC BY-NC-ND

The Wise Men (not just three wise men and not just three gifts) came from “afar” between 40 days and 2 years after the birth of Christ to visit the holy child and bear gifts unto Him. Scripture gives us information that there were three gifts presented (which is because at the time the Scripture witness was there, he only saw three gifts presented most notable). These gifts stated in Scripture were gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Why were these three most notable? They carry extraordinary significance. Gold is a measurable money, frankincense is a perfume and healing agent, and myrrh is a burial spice and healing agent. God equipped His Son just as He now equips us for everything.

Why were they wise men? They were philosophers, priests, astronomers, medical practitioners/apothecaries, religious leaders, scribes, etc. Many of them dwelt in Persia or Arabia, and were held in high esteem. The Star they followed at night to guide them to the Newborn King was a significant one as the usual odd star appearances signified the birth or death of a very important figure (good or evil). In this case, it was very good! Someone remarkable just appeared and the Jews were sore amazed and avidly looking for the Messiah.

What does the Prophet Daniel speak in this moment? Daniel 9:25-27 says, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

Such prophecy meant the Jews would be anxious at such remarkable event, as I said, the appearing of a new star or comet meant an omen that some remarkable or notorious person was born or had died. For example, a comet appeared for seven days at the death of Julius Caesar. People knew this situation was no anecdote.

He was to be honored as King of the Jews, or the Coming King. What about Son of God? Many did not know this child to be as the Son of God. However, some were sent because they were to “spy” for Herod and report their findings. Herod had an evil plan in mind, which we will discuss in the next part of our series.

Let us read then in Matthew 2:1-11, “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”

Archaeologically speaking, we do not see enough reference points to reveal the data; however, there has been a significant surfacing research that there is a grotto beneath the Nativity Church that could have been the birthplace of Christ, and that the grotto was built over top of to protect it from any harm as it is a holy site.

Astronomers Michael Mornar and David Weintraub from Vanderbilt University attempt to investigate:

“The portent began on April 17 of 6 BC (with the heliacal rising of Jupiter that morning, followed, at noon, by its lunar occultation in the constellation Aries) and lasted until December 19 of 6 BC (when Jupiter stopped moving to the west, stood still briefly, and began moving to the east, as compared with the fixed background stars). By the earliest time the men could have arrived in Bethlehem, the baby Jesus would likely have been at least a toddler.”

Historical research shows that the Herodian Lineage was quite an evil lineage (which we will discuss in further depth next episode). Nonetheless, what we see overall is that The Temple was where Herod would conduct ruling business, and that is where several decisions were made to spy on Jesus, conduct investigations, and attempt an evil deed against Jesus.

North and west of The Temple was Herod’s Palace near the Upper City in Jerusalem, and then Herod also had his own outer defense wall built along with an aqueduct. This is significantly pagan in nature due to the entropic of closing the city tight near his palace to prevent any spying on his evil activities. Traditional scholars warrant a further investigation into his functions, which we will be getting to very soon.

We wish for more evidence to be brought into this situation; however, there is still limited evidence for the appearance of an odd star, many note as “Star of David” – nonetheless, we do have the assurance a King was born in the City of David and that the remarkable event staged an immediate action by King Herod. Such action would influence the very being of the course of the world, lest a Savior were to come. The Spirit of God is upon us, and we have to be aware of His Provision as He makes way in just the right moment.We will explore more next week as we Discover Research that Leverages Faith.