For "Scripture Sunday":
Beyond Today -- When Was Jesus Born?
Watch this video: http://youtu.be/XiVgLInIRJ4
or read the transcript and request the Bible study aid "Jesus Christ: The Real Story" at: http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today-program/jesus-christ/when-was-jesus-born
Who Started It?
"Who started Yuletide worship of sun, mother and child?
Source: Scott Brady
"She was beautiful, powerful, and devious – a perfect foil for the ancient serpent’s deceptions. Her husband Nimrod had made himself king over the migrants who came into the new land of Sumeria, a very rich alluvial plain in which things grew quickly, but wild beasts also multiplied and became a constant menace. The people had no weapons and they needed protection. Nimrod invited them to live together in one place and built a wall all around it to protect them. (The points expressed about the background to Nimrod and Semiramis are found in Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews.)
He became their king, a warrior king who built an army and taught men to make and use weapons, and he led them on profitable hunts to provide meat. Business was good, so he built other cities as populations increased, but he had a problem.
People still worshipped the One true God and looked to Shem, the son of Noah, as the man of God and leader of their faith. Faith was a powerful thing and Nimrod wanted that power, but how would he turn the people’s faith toward himself? His beautiful, scheming wife Semiramis provided the answer. She began to laud her husband Nimrod as their great provider and protector. We don't know exact details, but there are abundant examples in history from which we can draw such conclusions. (Bible verses about Semiramis; Bible Tools.org)
The Devil, that most subtle of deceivers (Genesis:3:1) and god of this world (2 Corinthians:4:4, Ephesians:6:10-12) is most likely the ancient source that inspired them (many people are tempted of themselves (James:1:14). This gave Satan an in and he cunningly inspired them to worship him as the Sun god, the source of knowledge and of life for all things on Earth. He backed up this idea by performing signs and wonders as people were converted to this new faith. It effectively turned people’s hearts to pleasure and to worshipping their god as they pleased. It was heady stuff and men and women of all kinds responded in droves.
It all made Shem very anxious for the people. He was very angry with the man who had brought about this growing apostasy and he acted at once to execute the self-proclaimed king and high priest of the Sun god. Ultimately, he had Nimrod's body cut in pieces to be distributed to the various civic centers as a dire warning of what would happen to others who had been deceived into forsaking the Creator by worshipping idols and demon spirits. (See Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews ).
Semiramis knew better than to openly defy Shem, but developed a mystery religion with herself as high priestess. Her followers used secret signs and symbols so as not to let on. She led them in worship of the god of love and fertility and took many lovers in her conquest of men. She then became pregnant and when she gave birth to Tammuz (meaning ‘son of life’). Semiramis daringly presented him at the Winter solstice as the son of Baal, the long expected Seed of the woman forecast in the Garden of Eden. Most likely everyone on Earth at that time knew the prophecy given to Adam, Eve and the Serpent before they were cast out of Paradise, because Noah and his family spread the gospel after the Flood. Satan used this knowledge to help thwart the coming truth that was to come.
Semiramis also had caused Nimrod to be venerated as a god after his death. She said he was made one with the "Sun in Heaven". She said that her son Tammuz had been supernaturally conceived in her womb by him, thus claiming to be "that" woman. Her child then represented new birth and the possibility of resurrection for all who believed. As the sun regained strength and rose up after the Winter solstice, so would mankind experience rebirth after death. After Tammuz died by being nailed or bound to an evergreen tree, she wailed for him until he was restored to her. Women of many nations thereafter wept for Tammuz, even in Israel. (Ezekiel:8:14) So began the worship of mother and child.
Meanwhile, the men of Babel were busy building a huge tower to reach high into the sky and make them famous and their city the foremost in the world. They planned to stay there in that place and not spread out and replenish and fill the whole earth as God had commanded. The Lord came down to see for Himself what they were up to and saw that they were of one evil mind and working together they would invent and create things far too quickly. People had corrupted themselves before and managed to pollute everything in the old world. They shared only one language, so God miraculously confused their ability to communicate, which forced them to move out in groups, each group bound by a different language and so they went about establishing separate lands of their own.
The small families scattered from Babel and became fully fledged nations, but unfortunately took with them the pagan worship of mother and child as they had learned from Semiramis. Thus began many counterfeit faiths spread around the world and even today cause so much confusion.
Whatever else we might say about the devil, he is industrious and clever in his opposition to God and the only church founded by Jesus Christ. This article simply illustrates some of the basic truths of Revelation 17, especially with regard to mother and child and the whole pantheon of gods and false worship.
Semiramis appears to be the source that started it all in human history, inspired by the devil who backed her up with visions and mirages. It all began more than 2000 years before Jesus Christ was born of Mary and it is no wonder that there are so many pagan parallels with modern Christianity. The counterfeit religion is that of the great deceiver and god of this world who actively blinds mankind to the truth, (2 Corinthians:4:4) but we are not ignorant of his designs (2 Corinthians:2:11). Satan has convinced so many that they are righteous in their false code of beliefs as they worship God.
History says Nimrod was the first mighty one ‘deified’ after the Flood. He was represented by a winged bull and called the ‘father of the gods’. His wife Semiramis became the ‘mother of the gods’ and Queen of heaven. The characteristics of that initial Chaldean mystery religion which she founded were: rejection of our Creator God, denial of His commandments, refusal to acknowledge Him as the source of all life, and a paranoid desire for self-exaltation – the making of God in man’s image! ‘You shall be as gods’ the Serpent told Eve, but in effect he became their god, the one whom they obeyed. (Romans:6:16). Little have men in all history realized that the devil could deceive them into worshipping him and his counterfeit churches.
For more information on what God truly wants us to celebrate, request the free study aids, Holidays or Holy Days: Does it Matter What We Observe? and God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise for all Mankind .
From: http://www.ucg.org/doctrinal-beliefs/who-started-it/ article by George Carter
Last week's propane saga didn't end by going back to the propane place where I had bought the new pigtail, as they were closed two days in a row, and no one even answered their phone.
Our local hardware store tested the pigtail for me, and it was good. But they said that sometimes the gaskets in the gas bottles go bad, so that is probably why mine was leaking. I took an empty gas bottle to Krogers and exchanged it, as I knew it would have had it's gasket checked. It costs more to get an exchange bottle because you don't get as much propane as getting one filled, so that is why I don't usually do it. Jay and I hooked it up, doused it with soapy water, saw no bubbles, so I am using it. I'll have to get the other bottle's gasket looked at.
During any slack moments, Ray has been refurbishing a chrome RV two-burner propane gas cooktop. It had been stored for many years and had rusted. It took quite a bit of sanding to get it smooth again. The top is now white, and the underneath is done in Rustoleum's Hammered Silver spray paint. He had repainted the house's propane cook top with white High Heat Engine spray paint, he does that every few years to freshen it up, so he used up the rest of the white engine paint on the two-burner one.
While he was at it, he sanded and repainted an RV vent-a-hood that I have for sale. It was just done with white spray paint, high heat paint is not needed for that.
The weather has been wonderful. No heater or AC needed. Windows and doors open most of the time, and just a smattering of rain now and then.
We did a bit more to the greenhouse extension on the storeroom, and when we went shopping on Wednesday, we bought some 2x6's for the ceiling joists.
As my house is going to be for sale, I wanted to install the concertina sides onto the bedroom window air conditioner, to make it look neater. That means someone, Jay, has to be on the outside to hold it up, while Ray and I installed the concertina sides. Then Jay cut some foam board and white paneling and put them on the outside. Now it looks a lot better inside and out. ( I do NOT like central AC)
On Friday, which we call Preparation Day, (preparing for the Sabbath, the day of rest) I made a ground buffalo and veggie pie with a pastry top for the church potluck. I didn't want any pastry on the bottom as that usually just turns into a soggy mess. Also, I took some roasted zucchini.
Roger and I went to church, our favorite one on FM 1097. Jay didn't go as he said he hadn't slept all night, and didn't want to fall asleep in church. The readings were Psalm 115, 118, Gen.37:1 - 40:23 and Amos 2:6 - 3:8.
The teaching was "When The Time's Right". How everything is done in God's due time, because he knows best how to make us appreciative for what we get. He delays some things to let our faith grow. Undergoing tough times strengthens us. Such as when Abram (before he was Abraham) had to wait a long time for his promised son Isaac to be born to aged Sarai (before she was Sarah), and even took matters into his own hands and begat Ishmael through Hagar, his wife's Egyptian servant. Gen. 16, and 17. Abram should have waited for God's timetable.
The potluck was great, as usual, and my dishes were quickly eaten up, even though there were several meat dishes. There are always lots of veggies, and I 'OD' on them, especially the Brussel Sprouts.
It is so mild for December that it has been a 'tank top and shorts' day.