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Thursday, December 22, 2011

(53) Christmas Gifts

Before you read this lessons take a look at this thought first; http://ideasoftimreligion.blogspot.com/2011/12/lxxi-gifts-that-never-keep-on-giving.html

Why do we give gifts during this time of the year?  Well, we do give gifts for birthdays but we usually give it to the one having the birthday.  So even though this may be part of it it is not the full reason.  If we look at the story of Christmas, we read that Jesus was given three gifts by the three Magi.  This is probably the reason why we have Christmas gifts today.

It is not the gift but the thought that counts.  That may be a lie.  Gifts should not be given just because you feel the need to give something.  They should not be given because someone gave you something first.  They should not be given to outdo other people's gifts.  They should be given with a purpose and meaning.  What were the gifts given to Jesus?  The Magi presented Jesus with gold, frankincense and myrrh. These gifts had a purpose.  They tell the story of who Jesus was.  They were prophetic.  They showed Jesus was going to be King.  They showed that He was going to be the High Priest.  And they showed He was going to be Savior of the world.

GOLD:  A precious metal, meant for decoration.This carries obvious significance. It's precious and worthy across all cultures and times. It's a gift fit for royalty. It says to the Christ child, You will be a King.
FRANKINCENSE: The name for this resin likely comes from incense of Franks since it was reintroduced to Europe by Frankish Crusaders. Although it is better known as frankincense" to westerners the resin is also known as olibanum, which is derived from the Arabic al-lub ("the milk") a reference to the milky sap tapped from the Boswellia tree. Frankincense has been touted for its medicinal and soothing properties. Herbalists say it is calming, restorative, gently clarifying, and meditative. Frankincense oil is thought to have stimulating, toning, and warming properties. The ancient world used it for treating depression. We recognize the word incense in its name. Ancient people burned frankincense, believing it to carry their prayers to heaven. Its use as incense illustrates His role as our Priest.
MYRRH: This is perhaps the most mysterious of the Gifts. It is a resin produced by a small, tough, scraggly tree that grows in semi-desert regions of North Africa and the Red Sea. Myrrh is an Arabic word for bitter, and it is considered a wound healer because of its strong antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Calling it mo yao, the Chinese used it for centuries to treat wounds, bruises and bleeding and to relieve painful swelling.  The Egyptians made it famous in Biblical times, having acquired myrrh about the fifteenth century B.C. from Africa where cammiphora trees were abundant. It was used in incense, perfumes and holy ointments and also medicinally as recorded in the Ebers Papyrus. But its most notable use to them was that of an embalming material, used in Egyptian mummies. As an embalming ointment it signified that He was born to Die for the world.  In fact, Myrrh was one of the burial spices of Jesus (John 19:39).

Point being.  Don't just give gifts because of the time of the year.  Don't just buy things that are electronic because that is what the rich are doing and you want to keep up.  Don't just buy brand names so you look better in someone else's eyes.  Buy the gifts that have meaning, that show who the person is and what they mean to you.  Make Christmas real again.

Monday, December 19, 2011

(52) The Cain Dilemma

One of the biggest obstacles for people to believe that evolution is not real or that Creation was done in six days is the Cain issue.  The Bible says Cain had a wife when he was dispersed into the world and that there were other people in the world.  This causes confusion for the weak minded.  Genesis 4:14-17
  • 14  Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.
  • 15  But the LORD said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.
  • 16  So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
  • 17  Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.
Where did Cain get his wife if he went and found her in another land?  Who were these other people?  These are easily answered but one can not think with a 2011 mindset.  Well, first of all he never found her in a different land.  Cain's wife was from the family of Adam and Eve.  No one knows exactly when this episode took place.  All the Bible tells is that Seth replaced Cain as a son for Adam and Eve.  But that was 130 years after Creation.  Cain could have been 129 years old by this time or he may have been only 18.  His wife could have been 18 (hopefully at least).  Adam and Eve could have had hundreds of children who in turn could have had hundreds of children.  Cain could have taken his third cousin thrice removed as his wife.  This was not necessarily his own sister.  But even if it was so what? 

The law for incest was not passed down until another 2000 years with the time of the Exodus.  There was no law because it was not needed.  Scientifically speaking if Adam and Eve were perfect in genetics, i.e., no physical flaws or deformities yet, then their offspring had the greatest of chances of keeping "good" genes.  This is why people could live for hundreds of years.  Eventually, those recessive and flawed genes would find their way into the human genome.  Then it would start causing defects and things like we know today.  It's like making a copy of a copy of a copy.  But the original copy can still do well.  This also answers the other dilemma for these individuals who can not see past their own mind.  The "other people" Cain is talking about is generations of offspring who will hear of his action.  Some of them are already in the world since Adam and Eve perhaps had many children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and so forth. 

But if they had many children how come Seth is only the third male?  It is only the third male we read about.  Seth may have been number 162 for all we know.  The problem is when people read this passage they read as though all of this took place right away just because it is only four chapters into Genesis.  That is not necessarily true.  We are not told one way or another.

Once one really looks at and understands these passages the dilemma of Cain no longer remains a dilemma, except for the stubborn.

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