The following article is by J.R. Church, the founder of Prophecy In The News. Israel belongs to the Jews and is the apple of God’s eye! This is historical fact and spiritual truth, going back 4,000 years to the loins of Abraham. The Islamic Ottoman Empire broke up 100 years ago, followed by the Balfour Declaration from England, promising Israel a nation with a generous portion of real estate, called Transjordan. Later negotiations with pro Muslim nations and their leaders totally dissed this wonderful plan. Adolf Hitler’s persecution of the Jews, started the Jews’ migration to the Holy Land, and they became a nation in 1948. The surrounding Arabic nations attempted to exterminate Israel at their inception in 1948, in the 1967 Six Day War, also in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and in every way possible since they became a nation. The most recent attempt is the so called “Two State Solution,” whereas nefarious Arabic persons have concocted and invented the “nation” of Palestine, solely for the purpose of exterminating Israel. Enjoy the following article that expounds on the nation of Israel. It is important for nations to bless Israel. Why? I am glad you asked. Because:
Genesis 12:1-3 King James Version (KJV)
12 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Blessings, Pastor Steve
It’s a Fact!…God Gave Israel to the Jews
December 29 2016
Written by: J.R. Church
First published in 2008 – President George W. Bush made his first “official state visit” to Israel on January 9-11, 2008, during his last year in office. For the last seven years, he stayed away, while travelling to several Arab countries. However, he finally decided to go – for the purpose of forcing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to actively seek an agreement that will lead to a Palestinian state. His plan is to carve the borders of “Palestine” out of the heartland of Israel, with Jerusalem as its capital.
On the eve of his arrival, at least six Israelis were arrested for hanging posters around the Old City. Also, Orthodox Jews prayed at the Western Wall wearing “sackcloth” in an effort to register their public protest to his visit. The Sanhedrin Court drafted a “Bush Scroll” calling him the “Chief Prince of Meshech and Tubal” and begging him not to betray Israel.
It was on November 2, 1917, that the British government issued the Balfour Declaration promising a homeland for the Jews. Thirty years later, on November 29, 1947, the British government placed the matter of Israel’s future before the United Nations, resulting in another historic declaration – the establishment of the state of Israel.
A few months later, on May 14, 1948, the nation was born.
The restoration of Israel is one of the most controversial political issues of the century. Palestinians have claimed that the land is theirs, that the Jews have no right to even one square foot of it, though the area had been under the control of the Turkish government for some 400 years – not JewsPalestinian control. Just who deserves the land? Do the Jews? Do the Palestinians? Do Jews have a right to control the land in the so-called “occupied West Bank” areas?
Though the United Nations established Israel in 1948, most of the world no longer supports the concept of Jewish sovereignty. They regret ever giving them any territory in the Middle East. The controversy rages today as much as it ever did. The children of Abraham are still fighting it out! If the fate of the Israeli government were placed in the hands of any human court, the verdict would probably be disastrous. Time and time again, the United Nations has taken the side of the Arabs against Israel. While dedicated Christians around the world are in favor of Israel’s existence, their governments are not. The only political ally on the side of Israel is the United States – and many in Washington are wavering. In light of these developments, let us appeal to the court of heaven for the final verdict in the case.
God Owns the Land
There is one verse of Scripture, which declares the absolute ownership of, not only the Middle East, but the entire world:
“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1).
Since God created the earth, the right to ownership is His. Whether man recognizes the existence of God or not is irrelevant, for in the final analysis God will lay claim to His earth. He not only owns the world, but also everybody in it. Among the continents, however, there is one special area to which God lays a unique claim. It is the land of Israel. There are several places in the Bible where God calls the land, “My land.” For instance, in Ezekiel 38:16 God condemns the mighty Gog and Magog for the invasion of His land:
“And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land” (Ezekiel 38:16).
Here, God emphatically calls the land of Israel His land. That claim is repeated in Joel 3:2:
“I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land” (Joel 3:2).
Both of these verses pronounce a judgment upon Gentile nations for their part in denying the Jews a right to live in God’s land. Notice that God calls Israel, “My People,” and He calls their land, “My land.” When Gentile nations challenge the integrity of the land and its people, God steps forward to proclaim His judgment upon them.
A Covenant With Abraham
God is the absolute Owner of the land, and as such, had every right to evict the Jewish people 20 centuries ago. But He also has the right to bring them back in this generation. God is Sovereign over the land. Let us review Genesis 17 – the days of Abraham – and determine God’s sovereign disposition over HIS land.
“And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.”
“And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:7-8).
There can be no doubt that such a covenant was declared and recorded 4,000 years ago. Ah, but the Arabs also claim to be descendants of Abraham. They are children of Ishmael.
Does not the land then also belong to them? You may recall, the Arabs are descendants of Ishmael, while the Jews are descendants of Abraham’s other son, Isaac.
The controversy was settled in Genesis 26:3-4. It is there that God narrows down the covenant to exclude the children of Ishmael. It was to Isaac that God said:
“Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;
“And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 26:3-4).
God not only promised the land to Isaac, but He gave what the Scripture declares to be “all these countries.” In fact, He used the term twice in His promise to Isaac.
However, Isaac had two sons – Jacob and Esau – and there is a good deal of evidence that the Palestinian people who live in the land today could be descendants of Esau. Do they not also have a claim to the land? God has decided that they do not have any claim on the Promised Land. He narrowed the inheritance of the land to Jacob and his descendants:
“And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy lions;
“And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land” (Genesis 35; 11,12).
The proclamation is clear. God has promised the land to Jacob and his descendants – namely the 12 tribes of Israel. When we consider these three covenants together, the line of descents to which the land is promised is evident. In each case, God narrowed His promise of the land – from Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, and then to his descendants after him.
In view of God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we must declare a verdict in favor of Jacob’s descendants. We have no choice. We stand without reservation on the side of Israel. We must conclude that the land of Israel has been given to the people of Israel – to the descendants of Jacob. However, we know that the people were evicted from their land almost 2,000 years ago. It is the prophetic Scripture to which we must look for the final disposition of the land – and the prophecies do not differ from the original covenant.
Had It Not Been For Israel
Humanly speaking, we owe our eternal destiny to Jacob’s descendants. If there had been no Israel, there would have been no patriarchs, no prophets, no apostles, no Bible, and no Savior.
In John 4:22 Jesus, Himself, summed up all of this in one simple statement. He said, “…for salvation is of the Jews.” Regardless of our nationality or background, we owe a spiritual debt to the Jewish people that can never be calculated.
The first 11 chapters of Genesis serve as an introduction to the main theme of the Bible. They fill in the background and set the stage for all that is to follow. From that point forward, the Bible is essentially the history of Abraham and the nation that descended from him through Isaac and Jacob. The Bible is basically the story of Israel embracing both the past and future. Geographically, the Bible is set in the land of Israel, and historically, its theme is the people of Israel. It is a Jewish Bible penned by Jewish men, giving both the history and the future of the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Even the New Testament is a Jewish book. The most important Person in the New Testament, Jesus Christ, was a Jew. Furthermore, He did not lose His Jewish identity after His death and resurrection. Sixty-three years after His crucifixion, Revelation 5:5 still referred to Jesus as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David.” He is still identified with the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is forever a Jew.
Furthermore, Jews penned all of the New Testament books. Contrary to the opinions of some, I am convinced that Luke was a Jew. The twelve Apostles were Jews. Paul, who became the Apostle to the Gentiles, was a Jew. Most of the co-workers of these great men were also Jews.
The writer of Hebrews tells us that the ultimate goal of all true believers is a “city which hath foundations whose Builder and Maker is God” (Heb. 11:10). In Revelation 21, the holy city New Jerusalem, is described as having gates and foundations. On its gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. On its foundations are the names of the twelve apostles of Jesus. Every name inscribed in the New Jerusalem is a Jewish name. I must say that no one with an anti-Semitic prejudice could ever feel comfortable in the New Jerusalem.
Written by: J.R. church/Article originally published in the February 2008 PITN magazine.
Locked Into Love
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 106:1
In June 2015, the city of Paris removed forty-five tons of padlocks from the railings of the Pont des Arts pedestrian bridge. As a romantic gesture, couples would etch their initials onto a lock, attach it to the railing, click it shut, and throw the key into the River Seine.
After this ritual was repeated thousands of times, the bridge could no longer bear the weight of so much “love.” Eventually the city, fearing for the integrity of the bridge, removed the “love locks.”
The locks were meant to symbolize everlasting love, but human love does not always last. The closest of friends may offend each other and never resolve their differences. Family members may argue and refuse to forgive. A husband and wife may drift so far apart that they can’t remember why they once decided to marry. Human love can be fickle.
But there is one constant and enduring love—the love of God. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever,” proclaims Psalm 106:1. The promises of the unfailing and everlasting nature of God’s love are found throughout Scripture. And the greatest proof of this love is the death of His Son so that those who put their faith in Him can live eternally. And nothing will ever separate us from His love (Rom. 8:38–39).
Fellow believers, we are locked into God’s love forever.
I’m grateful for Your unending love, Father. I’m locked into Your love by the Holy Spirit who is living in me.
Christ’s death and resurrection are the measure of God’s love for me.
INSIGHT:Christ’s work on the cross to secure our salvation has been completed. With a triumphant proclamation, Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Forty days after His resurrection, Jesus returned to the Father. Now seated at God’s right hand, the exalted Christ continues His redemptive and sanctifying work as our eternal High Priest (Heb. 4:14–16). He is our “Advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:1–2; 1 Tim. 2:5), always defending and interceding for us (Heb. 7:24–25; 9:24). Paul confidently writes, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). No one can successfully bring a charge of condemnation against those who are in Christ (vv. 33–34).
December 26 2016
Prime minister labels U.N. resolution on Jewish settlements a hindrance to peace
TEL AVIV—Israel’s prime minister on Saturday accused the Obama administration of a “shameful” act against his country after the U.S. helped pass a United Nations resolution that labels Jewish settlements illegal, saying it will only make it more difficult to negotiate peace with Palestinians.
The comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came a day after the White House broke from a longstanding tradition of defending Israel against censure by the U.N. Security Council. Palestinians, too, voiced skepticism that the resolution would advance a two-state solution to their decades-old conflict with Israel.
“The Obama administration made a shameful anti-Israel ploy in the U.N.,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “The decision not only doesn’t bring peace closer, it keeps it away.”
Mr. Netanyahu’s statements Saturday elaborated on the Israeli government’s comments after the resolution passed.
The Obama administration said the move to abstain was in line with decades of U.S. policy aimed at establishing a Palestinian state and condemning settlement construction.
The U.S. decision not to veto the resolution underscored the fractious relationship between President Barack Obama and Israel’s leader over the past eight years and again put the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the center of global diplomacy.
It was the first time in 36 years the Security Council was able to adopt a resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It was approved with 14 members in favor and the U.S. abstaining.
Both government and opposition lawmakers in Israel criticized the U.S. decision. Officials accused the Obama administration of working behind Israel’s back with the Palestinians to put forward the resolution, a charge the White House denied.
The Obama administration for months had been considering ways to revive Israeli-Palestinian talks after the last round of U.S.-brokered negotiations collapsed in 2014. Israel’s government became increasingly convinced Mr. Obama might take action after Donald Trump’s surprise election victory, describing the time before the president-elect’s Jan. 20 inauguration as the “kill zone” for a move.
The resolution labeled Jewish settlement illegal and called on U.N. member nations to distinguish “in their relevant dealings between the territory of the state of Israel and the [Palestinian] territories.”
The organization that represents Jewish settlers echoed Mr. Netanyahu’s assertion that the resolution will only make Palestinians less apt to compromise on any Middle East peace deal and will encourage violence against Israelis.
A few hours before the U.N. passed the resolution on Friday, a Palestinian assailant stabbed an Israeli settler in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, wounding the victim before fleeing, Israel’s military said.
A few miles away from Efrat in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, residents celebrating Christmas Eve were skeptical that the U.N. resolution would change Israel’s policies. A resolution condemning the settlements had become more urgent for Palestinians with Mr. Trump’s election as he supports moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
Palestinians oppose such a move, as they want part of Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Palestinians welcomed the U.N. vote as a step forward in nonviolent resistance against Israel.
Written by: Rory Jones/WSJ. Com
“For your sakes he became poor.” 2 Corinthians 8:9
The Lord Jesus Christ was eternally rich, glorious, and exalted; but “though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor.” As the rich saint cannot be true in his communion with his poor brethren unless of his substance he ministers to their necessities, so (the same rule holding with the head as between the members), it is impossible that our Divine Lord could have had fellowship with us unless He had imparted to us of His own abounding wealth, and had become poor to make us rich. Had He remained upon His throne of glory, and had we continued in the ruins of the fall without receiving His salvation, communion would have been impossible on both sides. Our position by the fall, apart from the covenant of grace, made it as impossible for fallen man to communicate with God as it is for Belial to be in concord with Christ. In order, therefore, that communion might be compassed, it was necessary that the rich kinsman should bestow his estate upon his poor relatives, that the righteous Saviour should give to His sinning brethren of His own perfection, and that we, the poor and guilty, should receive of His fulness grace for grace; that thus in giving and receiving, the One might descend from the heights, and the other ascend from the depths, and so be able to embrace each other in true and hearty fellowship. Poverty must be enriched by Him in whom are infinite treasures before it can venture to commune; and guilt must lose itself in imputed and imparted righteousness ere the soul can walk in fellowship with purity. Jesus must clothe His people in His own garments, or He cannot admit them into His palace of glory; and He must wash them in His own blood, or else they will be too defiled for the embrace of His fellowship.
O believer, herein is love! For your sake the Lord Jesus “became poor” that He might lift you up into communion with Himself.
“The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.” Isaiah 40:5
We anticipate the happy day when the whole world shall be converted to Christ; when the gods of the heathen shall be cast to the moles and the bats; when Romanism shall be exploded, and the crescent of Mohammed shall wane, never again to cast its baleful rays upon the nations; when kings shall bow down before the Prince of Peace, and all nations shall call their Redeemer blessed. Some despair of this. They look upon the world as a vessel breaking up and going to pieces, never to float again. We know that the world and all that is therein is one day to be burnt up, and afterwards we look for new heavens and for a new earth; but we cannot read our Bibles without the conviction that—
“Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run.”
We are not discouraged by the length of His delays; we are not disheartened by the long period which He allots to the church in which to struggle with little success and much defeat. We believe that God will never suffer this world, which has once seen Christ’s blood shed upon it, to be always the devil’s stronghold. Christ came hither to deliver this world from the detested sway of the powers of darkness. What a shout shall that be when men and angels shall unite to cry “Hallelujah, hallelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!” What a satisfaction will it be in that day to have had a share in the fight, to have helped to break the arrows of the bow, and to have aided in winning the victory for our Lord! Happy are they who trust themselves with this conquering Lord, and who fight side by side with Him, doing their little in His name and by His strength! How unhappy are those on the side of evil! It is a losing side, and it is a matter wherein to lose is to lose and to be lost for ever. On whose side are you?
—Morning and Evening
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 New King James Version (NKJV)
Glory Only in the Lord
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”[a]
We have all noted how Very Important Persons (VIPs) usually do not glue with spiritual truths. If you speak with people who are full of themselves, there remains little room to put anything else in their reservoir of knowledge. This includes most famous celebrities, Hollywood socialites, politicians and dignitaries. Paul was a rare exception. He was a trained rabbi and teacher who learned at the feet of Gamaliel, he was from the tribe of Benjamin, a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin, a student from the universities in Tarsus, and a Roman citizen. The Lord stripped Paul of all of his pride in order to use him.
Also consider the mathematical and scientific genius Albert Einstein and the following quotation:
In a 1929 Saturday Evening Post interview, Albert Einstein said, “As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene…. No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”
~ Very wise words from a very wise man.
The Story Behind the Christmas Carol… “Silent Night”
December 11 2016
Written by: Prophecy in the News
Joseph Mohr was the son of a poor single mother, Anna Schoiber of Salzburg, Austria. His father left the mother and his son early in the child’s life, forcing the two to make a way for themselves. They found themselves in extreme poverty, living with Joseph’s grandmother. At the cathedral where the young man attended church services, the choir master recognized the talents the young man possessed, especially his aptitude for music. The choir master, Johann Nepomuk Hiernle, was determined that Joseph would be able to pursue an education. Joseph attended grammar school at Kremsmunster, completing his work with honors, and continued his education at the archdiocesan seminary in Salzburg. In August of 1815, he was assigned to his first church, located in Mariapfarr in the Salzburg province. His grandfather lived nearby in the village of Stranach, about a thirty-minute walk to the south. It is during this time at Mariapfarr that Mohr wrote a poem, which has become the lyrics to the world’s greatest Christmas carol. In 1816, Mohr produced the poem “Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!” What exactly was his inspiration is not known. Perhaps he was instilled by the beautiful, show-clad landscape as he walked from Mariapfarr to Stranach on a visit to his grandfather…and perhaps not.
Mohr’s tenure at Mariafparr was interrupted by poor health that required him to be removed to Salzburg for hospitalization. After his recovery, he was sent to the Nicola-Kirche, St. Nicholas Church, in Oberndorf. St. Nicholas was a new church located on the banks of the Salzach River and Mohr was to serve in the position of assistant priest. As Christmas 1818 approach, the church’s organ ceased to function. Legend has it that mice had eaten through the bellows, but this is doubtful. Being a common malady of organs, most organists know how to troubleshoot this type of problem. A more reasonabot problem could have been caused by the church’s location near the river. Rust may have prohibited the organ to work properly. A contemporary of the time reported the organ as being in poor condition and out of pitch. Whatever the cause, it appeared that the church’s Christmas Mass would be minus musical accompaniment. Mohr met with the service’s organist, Franz Xavier Gruber, to work on an alternative.
Gruber, a school teacher and organist, was actually moonlighting from his organist position in Arnsdorf. For economic reasons, Gruber sent his stepson to Arnsdorf to play for the Midnight Mass. Mohr approached Gruber with a copy of his poem, “Stille Nacht, Heilig Nacht.” The six verses Mohr had written two years prior seemed perfect for the Christmas Eve Mass, but instrumentation was still questionable. Mohr suggested that Gruber use the guitar, which resulted in musical genius. The two men sang the verses as a duet accompanied by guitar. The choir repeated the last two phrases in four-part harmony. The performance was very well received and the new carol spread throughout the St. Nicholas parish.
Sometime later, the church’s organ repairman, Karl Mauracher, found a copy of the carol left behind on the organ. Given permission to keep the copy, he returned to his home in the Ziller Valley of the Tyrol region with the simple carol, unknowing that he was about to send it on a journey that would spread it across the world. Back at home, Muracher shared the carol with two of the traveling performing families of the Valley, the Strassers and the Rainers. At this time period, families with musical talent would travel together presenting performances much like the von Trapps, the family portrayed in the movie musical, The Sound of Music.
The carol did not have any notation of composer or lyricist, which resulted in its introduction as the “Tyrolean Carol” when it was first performed by the Strasser family in 1832. While touring in 1839, the Rainers were the first to perform the carol in the United States.
On Christmas Day, in front of Trinity Episcopal Church at Broadway and Wall Street in Manhattan, Americans were introduced to what would become their favorite carol.
In 1854, the government of Austria ordered an investigation into the origin of the carol. Due to lack of records concerning its origin, the song was considered to be an anonymous Tyrolean folk song. Some had credited the work to Johanna Michael Haydn, younger brother of the famous composer Franz Joseph Haydn. Unfortunately, Gruber had been generous in supplying requests for copies of the carol many times without notation of either his or Mohr’s names. The investigation was sparked by an inquiry sent by the royal chapel in Berlin to the Church of St. Peter in Salzburg. Gruber’s son sang in the choir at St. Peter’s and relayed the request to his father. Gruber then wrote a detailed history of the carol and credit was given to him and Mohr. Tragically. Mohr did not know of his poem’s fame and died in 1848 in Wagrain, penniless, having donated his earnings to eldercare and the education of the area’s children. In 1995, an original transcription of the poem with Mohr’s signature was found and authenticated, putting to rest any controversy surrounding the true source of the poem and its musical setting.
During the Civil War, Rev. John Freeman Young translated the lyrics into the words we are so familiar with today. Rev. Young took three of the original six verses and changed their order, placing the first, sixth, and second stanzas into the pattern that has become the standard even for Austrians. Young later became bishop of Florida where he is buried near Jacksonville. Floridians today continue their ties with “Silent Night” with the production of Adventsingen held each December in Volusia County. Based on the similar annual concert by the same name in Salzburg, the concert is attended by many and is highlighted with the singing of “Silent Night.”
“Silent Night” has become the world’s most loved carol as demonstrated in an incident during Christmas Eve of 1914. World War I had begun forcing servicemen from many countries to experience Christmas in muddy, cold trenches away from family and friends. On this particular Christmas Eve, German and British troops found themselves bunkered down in trenches just yards apart on the front line of the war. The weather took a sudden turn as a deep cold front crossed the lines. Water in the muddy trenches began to turn to icy slush as the me began to shudder from the cold. British outlooks began to report twinkling lights coming from the German lines. As their commanders observed the enemy through binoculars, they could see the German soldiers with small Christmas trees adorned with lighted candles. It appeared the German soldiers were extending a Christmas greeting to their foe. Suddenly there was a sound of singing, joined by others who added a harmony to the words “Stille Nacht, Heilig Nacht.” The British quickly recognized the carol and began to lay down their arms to venture out into the open, joining their enemy in singing “Silent Night.” An undeclared truce broke out and superiors refrained from stopping it. One British soldier put up a board that read “Merry Christmas,” and a German soldier did the same. Two soldiers from each side then walked toward each other and shook hands.
Some of the Germans spoke English, breaking the language barrier that possibly could have separated the two sides. Together the men sat around campfires exchanging stories and small gifts such as buttons and chocolate bars and comparing family photos. On Christmas Day, the two enemy forces found themselves playing games together on “No Man’s Land,” the area between the front line trenches. Then on December 26, at 8:30 a.m. the truce ended just as it began, peacefully. The British commander shot three rounds into the air with the German commander echoing back with two rounds, a signal that the war was back. This is only one of the truly remarkable incidences that reflect how “Silent Night” has reached the world.
Ernestine Schumann-Heink was an Austrian born opera singer who immigrated to the United States in 1908. She was known for her efforts to raise money for the Allied war effort although she had sons fighting on each side of the battle fronts. Her son, August Heink, was a merchant mariner who joined the German submarine service, and her stepson Walter Schumann and sons Henry Heink and George Washington Schumann were member of the United States Navy. In 1926, Ms. Schumann-Heink initiated the tradition of singing “Silent Night” over American radio each Christmas Eve. Singing in both languages of “Stille Nacht” and “Silent Night,” she continued her tradition until 1935.
The original St. Nicholas church in Oberndorf was abandoned in 1903 and the church was rebuilt on higher ground. The old church was torn down in 1906 because of the destruction to the foundation caused by flooding of the Salzach River.
In 1937, the Silent Night Memorial Chapel was dedicated on a landscaped mound over the site of the original church’s altar site. A replica of the chapel can be found in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Its builder, “Wally” Bronner had visited the chapel in Oberndorf and was inspired to erect this replica as a tribute of thankfulness to God. Bronner also collected translations of the carol and in 1993 presented the Oberndorf chapel 175 translations in honor of the 175th anniversary of the song. By 1999, his collection had grown to over 300 languages.
The construction of the carol has been evaluated by many. Its simple, folk-like and yet elegant and classic melody carries the picturesque description of the moment of the Savior’s birth. The compound meter of the piece provides a lullaby effect as the words describe the virgin mother and her child’s radiant face. The melody with its long notes and extended vocal range is musically challenging for most but the story within the carol’s lyrics is the vehicle that endears the carol to the heart of the singer. The melody was slightly altered from its original due to the oral passing of the tune during the early years.
The carol was originally written for duet and guitar, but is equally well received when presented by full choir and organ or solo instrument. This song has been arranged more than any other carol. Its plaintive, reflective mood induces the meditation of Christ’s moment of birth that many of us yearn for and seek during the sometimes hurried Christmas season. Inarguably, it is the world’s most beloved carol.
Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and Child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born!
Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love’s pure light;
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.
Silent night, holy night,
Wondrous star, lend thy light;
With the angels let us sing,
Alleluia to our King;
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born!
Source: “Songs of Christmas” and the stories behind them – by Tommy and Renee Pierce (Copyright 2008)
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On NOVEMBER 1, 1800, John Adams became the first U.S.
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has encouraged, allowed, and enhanced massive immigration of Muslims into Europe. She is responsible for the over one million recent Islamic immigrants, mostly from Syria. There is a You Tube on this blog site that went viral in Europe, highlighting the massive immigration of Syrians into Europe. Merkel is President Barack Obama’s bookend in reference to her desire to allow huge blocks of Muslims into western nations. She and Obama are political soul mates. She KNEW that 2% of these immigrants would be radical Islamic extremists, yet allowed them! Crunch the numbers. 2% of one million is 20,000 terrorists. Angela Merkel has blood on her hands. Whether you like Donald Trump or not, he is the only leader I have heard who could care less about political correctness. He just said that “Radical Islamic terrorists must be exterminated.” It sounds like the Orkin man going after cockroaches. I personally believe that terrorists are demon possessed. Their dogma is certainly a doctrine of demons.
*** In an unrelated series of political current events to the topic of this particular article, it has just been learned that the outcome of the December 19 Electoral College vote has once again backfired on the Democrats. Instead of gaining Electoral Votes in order to oust President Elect Donald Trump, Trump has gained four more votes who went from the Democrats to the Republican. To refresh your memory, the same thing happened in the vote recounts… Trump received more votes after the recounts. When we were children, we used to call these situations cheater’s proof. ***
Because of Him, Pastor Steve
BERLIN (AP) — Germany must assume a truck plowing through a crowded Christmas market in Berlin was a “terrorist attack,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday, while authorities expressed uncertainty over whether they had arrested the correct suspect.
Twelve people were killed and nearly 50 others injured when the truck drove into the popular Christmas market filled with tourists and locals outside the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church near Berlin’s Zoo station late Monday.
Police detained an asylum-seeker from Pakistan shortly afterward, but he denied involvement, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said. The man had entered Germany on Dec. 31 last year and arrived in Berlin in February.
Berlin police chief Klaus Kandt said Tuesday it wasn’t clear whether the man detained was really the driver.
“We haven’t been able to confirm it yet,” he told reporters.
Berlin police urged people to remain “particularly vigilant” and to report “suspicious movement” to a special hotline.
In a statement widely broadcast on German television, Merkel described herself as “shocked, shaken and deeply saddened.”
“There is still a lot that we don’t know about this act with sufficient certainty,” she said. “But we must, as things stand, assume it was a terrorist attack.”
Merkel, who has been criticized for allowing in large numbers of migrants, addressed head-on the possibility that an asylum-seeker was responsible.
“I know that it would be particularly hard for us all to bear if it were confirmed that a person committed this act who asked for protection and asylum in Germany,” Merkel said. “This would be particularly sickening for the many, many Germans who work to help refugees every day and for the many people who really need our help and are making an effort to integrate in our country.”
Authorities arrested a man about 2 kilometers (1½ miles) from the crash site on suspicion of having been at the wheel of the truck. Footage showed the suspect, his head covered in a white sheet, being pushed into a police car shortly after the attack. Berlin’s Tagesspiegel newspaper reported that the man was known to police for minor crimes.
A spokesman for Berlin’s office for refugee affairs said police conducted a large-scale search overnight at a large shelter for asylum-seekers at the city’s now-defunct Tempelhof airport. Four men in their late 20s were questioned but nobody was arrested, Sascha Langenbach told The Associated Press.
Among the dead was a man in the truck, who succumbed as paramedics treated him, Berlin police spokesman Winfried Wenzel said. Police said later that the man was a Polish national, but didn’t give further details of who he was or what happened to him.
The Polish owner of the truck said he feared it may have been hijacked. Ariel Zurawski said he last spoke with the driver, his cousin, around noon, and the driver told him he was in Berlin and scheduled to unload Tuesday morning. “They must have done something to my driver,” he told TVN24.
Germany has not so far experienced any mass-casualty attacks by Islamic extremists, but has been increasingly wary since two attacks by asylum-seekers in the summer that were claimed by the Islamic State group. Five people were wounded in an ax rampage on a train near Wuerzburg and 15 in a bombing outside a bar in Ansbach, both in the southern state of Bavaria. Both attackers were killed.
Those attacks, and two others unrelated to Islamic extremism in the same weeklong period, contributed to tensions in Germany over the arrival last year of 890,000 migrants.
De Maiziere said that as far as officials know, the Islamic State group has not claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack in Berlin.
Far-right groups and a nationalist party seized on it, blaming Merkel for what had happened.
“Under the cloak of helping people Merkel has completely surrendered our domestic security,” Frauke Petry, the co-chairwoman of the Alternative for Germany party, wrote.
Manfred Weber, a member of Merkel’s conservative bloc and leader of the European Parliament’s biggest political grouping, cautioned against sweeping verdicts but said it was important to ensure that extremists didn’t enter the country.
The German government said Merkel spoke Tuesday with President Barack Obama, who expressed his condolences. In Washington, White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the United States was ready to help in the investigation and response.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said Islamic extremists must be “eradicated from the face of the earth” and pledged to carry out that mission with all “freedom-loving partners.”
The attack came less than a month after the U.S. State Department warned that extremist groups including Islamic State and al-Qaida were focusing “on the upcoming holiday season and associated events” in Europe.
The Islamic State group and al-Qaida have both called on followers to use trucks in particular to attack crowds. On July 14, a truck plowed into Bastille Day revelers in the southern French city of Nice, killing 86 people. Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack, which was carried out by a Tunisian living in France.
Merkel said Monday’s attack would not cause Germany to live in fear.
“Even if it’s difficult at this hour we will find the strength to live life the way we want to live it in Germany. Free, together and openly,” she said.
Associated Press writers David Rising and Geir Moulson in Berlin and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.
What to Read Next
Open Windows A Guide For Personal Devotions ~ Lifeway ~ Monday, December 19
Matthew 1:21 King James Version (KJV)
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
The advent of the Christ was not idyllic. On the contrary, Jesus was born to be in the eye of the perfect storm. Amidst all the ceremony, it’s easy to forget the story. But you know it. It’s the one about an unwed, pregnant girl, whose fiance is not the Child’s father, giving birth to her Child in the company of mules and manure, visited by commoners, and later becoming refugees to Egypt to escape state-sanctioned terrorists who murdered babies.
Next time you look at the manger scene, remember that the grit of the story is not adequately represented by commercially-crafted figurines and cherubs, daintily lighting on the eave of a picturesque European-style, tiny-house stable.
Our world is a mess. Jesus was to be born in a mess. A mangled mess of taxes, terror, shame, gossip, poverty, insanity, and social misfits.
That’s good, good news for me and for you. It’s a reason to proclaim, “Glory to God!”
Father, thank You for sending Your Son to our messy world.