Dec 15, 2012

Why Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh?

As with many things in the scriptures, the three gifts brought to Mary and Joseph for Jesus as mentioned in Matthew 2 have a symbolic meaning as well as being literal gifts.  Below are some brief explanations revealing part of that symbolism.

By Alfred Edersheim

When taken as gifts for a newborn king, the items that the Magi brought appear inappropriate, especially the frankincense and myrrh. Gold fits the idea of kingly wealth, but perfumes would not have met the same standard.

We must, instead, imagine the gifts as offerings of foreign dignitaries. Just as diplomats from other countries often bring gifts representing their cultures, these magi brought the products specific to theirs. They honored the King of the Jews in a way that fit their nationality. In this way, in fact, they stood in as representatives of all the non-Jewish nations. Their acknowledgement presaged the offer of grace to all peoples of the earth, and their gifts hinted at the coming of Gentiles to offer themselves to Christ.

The ancient church also understood the gifts to symbolize aspects of Christ's life and ministry, the work He would do. The gold, as mentioned before, suggested His royalty as King of the Jews and Lord of lords. In the frankincense, they saw His divinity. The myrrh represented His humanity—and that to the fullest extent because myrrh suggests death and burial. Thus, the gifts came to show Jesus as King, God, and Man.

Adapted from The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim (Book II, Chapter VIII).

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Matthew 2 tells us that the magi, or wise men, travelled from the East in search of the Christ child. They inquired of King Herod where they might find Him, saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him" (Matthew 2:2). Upon finding the baby Jesus, “they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh” (Matthew 2:11).

Gold is a precious metal and as such was a very valuable commodity. Its value could very well have financed Joseph and Mary’s trip to Egypt. The Bible does not tell us any other significance to these three gifts; however, tradition has it that there is a deeper meaning for each of the three. Gold is a symbol of divinity and is mentioned throughout the Bible. Pagan idols were often made from gold and the Ark of the Covenant was overlaid with gold (Exodus 25:10-17). The gift of gold to the Christ child was symbolic of His divinity—God in flesh.

Frankincense is a white resin or gum. It is obtained from a tree by making incisions in the bark and allowing the gum to flow out. It is highly fragrant when burned and was therefore used in worship, where it was burned as a pleasant offering to God (Exodus 30:34). Frankincense is a symbol of holiness and righteousness. The gift of frankincense to the Christ child was symbolic of His willingness to become a sacrifice, wholly giving Himself up, analogous to a burnt offering.

Myrrh was also a product of Arabia, and was obtained from a tree in the same manner as frankincense. It was a spice and was used in embalming. It was also sometimes mingled with wine to form an article of drink. Such a drink was given to our Savior when He was about to be crucified, as a stupefying potion (Mark 15:23). Matthew 27:34 refers to it as “gall.” Myrrh symbolizes bitterness, suffering, and affliction. The baby Jesus would grow to suffer greatly as a man and would pay the ultimate price when He gave His life on the cross for all who would believe in Him.
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Transhumanism: How the Elite Plan to Live Forever

Susanne Posel
Occupy Corporatism

The eugenicists at The Royal Society, in conjunction with Academy of Medical Sciences, British Academy and Royal Academy of Engineering came together this month to discuss the potentials, opportunities and challenges of the melding of man with machine (i.e. transhumanism) under the guise of augmentation technologies.

At the Human Enhancement and the Future of Work conference, and further expanded upon in their published report, explains how science and ethics are coming into conflict as technology promises to replace the faulty human body with an eternal, mechanical replacement.

These transhumanists define human enhancement as everything that “encompasses a range of approaches that may be used to improve aspects of human function (e.g. memory, hearing, mobility). This may either be for the purpose of restoring an impaired function to previous or average levels, or to raise function to a level considered to be ‘beyond the norm’ for humans.”

Rebuilding the human body is being researched in institutions such as Stanford University in California has recently devised a mathematical algorithm, called ReFIT that can decipher neurological signals in the brain that convey movement, speed and accuracy. The public justification for this study is to improve “prosthetic system performance and robustness in paralyzed people”, yet the implications could serve to create super humans and super soldiers.


The Food and Drug Administration has approved ReFIT for human clinical trials as the researchers endeavor to create neuroprosthetics where mind – controlled robotic limbs will become a viable future.

One working prototype is the Bebionic3 myoelectric hand, formed from aluminum with alloy knuckles that mimic real human hand movements. This neuroprosthetic sends electro-signals to the human brain and helps the mind operate and control the function of the prosthetic.

The replacement of bio-mechanical creations in “the nature of work” for the future is expected to improve society by:

• Using autonomous robots in the workplace
• Altering the global temperament of work and business
• Transition robotic workforce to provide goods and services
• Structure organizations that influence international understanding of robotic advancements
• Utilize robotics in medical care to advert disease, change illnesses and add to the progress of medicine
• Promote a new sense of physical well-being

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has a $2 billion yearly budget for research into creating a super solider as well as developing a synthetic police force. Working with the human genome, DARPA hopes to manipulate certain gene expressions. In experimentation, DARPA and the military industrial pharmaceutical complex are using natural abilities that are enhanced through genetic engineering.

Some of the medical feats DARPA would like to enhance are the ability of military soldiers to regrow limbs destroyed in battle.

By eliminating empathy, the Department of Defense (DoD) hopes to “enhance” a soldier’s ability to “kill without care or remorse, shows no fear, can fight battle after battle without fatigue and generally behave more like a machine than a man.”

Scientists are researching the construction of soldiers that feel no pain, terror and do not suffer from fatigue as tests on the wiring of the human brain are furthered by Jonathan Moreno, professor of bioethics at Pennsylvania State University. Moreno is working with the DoD in understanding neuroscience. The Pentagon allocated $400 million to this research.

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Obama Administration's War on Religion

Written by
Obama Administration's War on Religion
When David Green started his family-owned business 40 years ago, it was an enterprise housed in a garage, financed by a $600 bank loan. The first retail store, he recalled in a recent article for USA Today, “wasn’t much bigger than most people’s living rooms, but we had faith that we would succeed if we lived and worked according to God’s word.” Forty years later, it appears that the faith and the work have been abundantly rewarded. The company, Hobby Lobby, is now one of the nation’s largest arts and crafts retailers, with more than 500 stores in 41 states.

But the faith of Green and his family stands to be penalized, not rewarded, by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate that requires coverage of contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs, with no deductibles or co-pay, in the health insurance employers provide for their workers. Green, a devout Baptist, says his Christian faith and conscience will not permit him to comply with that mandate, issued in pursuance of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).

“Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions,” Green wrote. “Which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one.”

Since the penalty for noncompliance is $100 per employee per day, Green, with thousands of employees nationwide, says the cost to him would be an estimated $1.3 million a day, forcing the company in short order to close its doors and go out of business. Like the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and an array of religiously affiliated schools, hospitals, and other non-profits, Hobby Lobby in September filed suit in U.S. District Court to overturn the HHS mandate. That, in turn, has inspired a backlash against the company by those who believe employees have a right to have their sex lives subsidized. A “Boycott Hobby Lobby” page soon appeared on Facebook, and the page administrator claimed it was having the desired effect.

“I’ve been to two Hobby Lobby parking lots today and they were fairly empty,” read one posting. “I used to have trouble finding a parking spot! I think the boycott is catching on!” If so, then the Green family is already paying a price for adhering to the principles of their conservative Christian faith.

The penalty will be more severe, even fatal, to the company if and when the fines are levied. “They’re being told they have two choices,” attorney Lori Windham of the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty told Fox News in September, “Either follow their faith and pay the government half a billion dollars or give up their beliefs.” That is “a choice no one should have to make,” said Windham, representing the company in its lawsuit.

In November, U.S. District Court Judge Joe Heaton rejected Hobby Lobby’s petition for an injunction against enforcement of the mandate, citing a lack of legal precedent to establish that secular for-profit companies “have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion.” An attorney for the company said it would appeal the decision. Three other companies with similar petitions — Hercules Industries of Denver, Colorado; Weizgartz Supply Company of Cedar Springs, Michigan; and Tyndale House Publishers of Carol Stream, Illinois — have won preliminary injunctions to halt enforcement in a controversy that will likely go all the way to the Supreme Court.

While Roman Catholic bishops and various Catholic institutions have been in the forefront of the legal and public-relations battle against the mandate, the Hobby Lobby suit is a reminder that the issue is not exclusively a Catholic controversy. The company’s CEO is one Baptist businessman who is unwilling to have the limits of his Christian faith defined for him by the federal government.

“Our government threatens to fine job creators in a bad economy,” he wrote. “Our government threatens to fine a company that’s raised wages four years running. Our government threatens to fine a family for running its business according to its beliefs. It’s not right.”

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Dec 14, 2012

Violent pair of earthquakes strike off coast of California


Baja CaliforniaDecember 14, 2012CALIFORNIATwo violent earthquakes hit the southern cost of California this Friday morning at approximately 2:30 a.m. The first to hit was a 6.3 magnitude quake 262km SSW of Avalon, California the second quake was a 6.1 magnitude reading with an epicenter 142km SW of Avalon, California. The second earthquake was later downgraded to a 4.7 by the USGS.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Mag: 6.3 – Depth: 10 km – off the west coast Of Baja California – and the 4.7 magnitude earthquake. 175 km from Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, United States. Witnesses in Anaheim say they felt a slow smooth whirlpool rolling shake. Another witness in Ocean Beach, San Diego, was quoted as saying “Been through many, this was the longest feeling one, my 2nd story 100 year old apt, the floor swayed and twisted. In Hillcrest they’re saying they felt a strong seemingly long quake. Inglewood says “It was crazy it didn’t wake me up but the dog did. Pico Rivera, say they felt a subtle sway and shake. Lamp and windows shook.
Coronado witnesses say nothing fell off walls but certainly the house shook. here in San Diego, just felt my couch shaking from that quake a little while ago… very eerie! Folks in La Jolla say they felt a gentle shake. Spring Valley witness says it woke her up. An Anaheim witness told us she was awake for odd reason then started feeling the earthquake. She says it frightened. In her words: “I hope the world doesn’t really end.
There were many more disturbed by these two quakes. Earthquake shaking in the eastern United States can travel much farther and cause damage over larger areas than previously thought, but these quakes were south west of that part of the U.S. U.S. Geological Survey scientists found that last year’s magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia triggered landslides at distances four times farther—and over an area 20 times larger—than previous research has shown. There are no reports of damage or lost of life. While we were yet compiling this report another 5.1 quake hit the southern coast of California. –Guardian Express

Mystery Booms Continue in Georgia

Columbia County residents are stumped over the origin of a mysterious series of loud, wall-rattling booms that have been shaking their eardrums -and homes- several times over the last few weeks.

Mayan apocalypse: Serbia's mystic mountain targeted by believers

Hotels at the base of a supposedly mystical mountain in Serbia are being inundated with booking requests from people who are convinced that the end of a Mayan calendar heralds the destruction of the world on Dec 21.

The 5,100ft-high mountain, part of the Carpathian range.
The 5,100ft-high mountain, part of the Carpathian range.

O Little Town of Bethlehem

O Little Town of Bethlehem

"O Little Town of Bethlehem" was written in 1867 by Phillips Brooks, an Episcopal pastor from Philadelphia. He had been in Israel two years earlier and had celebrated Christmas in Bethlehem. This song describes the city not so much as it was when Brooks observed it, but as he thought it might have appeared on the night of Jesus' birth.

(I really like this, you can hear the crackle of the lp)

The first verse reads,

    O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
    Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
    Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light;
    The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

The streets of our own cities are quiet on Christmas day; stores are closed and most people are at home. It is possible that Bethlehem was quiet on the night that Jesus was born, but we know that the place was full of people from out-of-town, and chances are that there were even more people on the streets than usual. But this song does not say as much about the level of activity in Bethlehem as it does about the fact that very few people even noticed the Baby who was born. One line from the second verse reads, "While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love"--a situation that is true even today. The world goes on about its business, working, eating, sleeping, and playing, utterly oblivious to the spiritual realities around it. As Brooks wrote in the third verse of the song,

    How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given!
    So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven.
    No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
    Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

When Christ came into this world, He came quietly. The angelic announcement to the shepherds was the only publicity that accompanied Him. He was born in a stable and laid in a feeding trough; He did not arrive with the pomp that one would expect of a King. For the most part, He still does not. When people today place their faith in Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us that He comes to live inside them through the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 14:16-23; Rom. 8:9-11). There is not a lot of flash associated with an entrance like that, and some of your friends might not even notice the difference at first, but when you trust in Jesus Christ an incredibly significant event takes place. Your sins are forgiven and you are made a new person (John 5:24; 2 Cor. 5:17).

Jesus' coming means that Christmas does not have to be the lonely time that it is for so many people. We can experience His salvation and enjoy His presence as individuals, even though the world around us does not understand what is really going on. As the last verse of the song reads,

    O holy Child of Bethlehem! Descend to us we pray,
    Cast out our sin, and enter in; be born in us today.
    We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
    O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel.

Feds and Media Cover for Attempted Terrorist Attack in Phoenix

Alleged terrorist helped US in uprising against Saddam Hussein

By Paul Joseph Watson

Apart from local media outlets in Phoenix, the mainstream press has virtually ignored what would normally be considered a major story in light of constant fearmongering about terror threats – the bombing of a Social Security Administration building in Casa Grande just two weeks ago.
Imagine if a conservative Tea Party member had bombed a federal building – the hysteria would be off the charts for weeks on end.
Government mouthpieces and their leftist cheerleaders would be all over the media heralding the incident as the ultimate proof that “right-wingers” were violent extremists whose rhetoric leads to terrorism and needs to be silenced.
The reason why the story has received such scant coverage is most likely the fact that the alleged terrorist blamed for carrying out the attack – Abdullatif Aldosary – is an Iraqi refugee who helped the United States in the uprising against Saddam Hussein in 1991.
“No one was injured in the explosion, but the feds allege Aldosary, a convicted felon, detonated the device outside the Casa Grande Social Security Administration office on November 30, and drove off. Debris landed more than 100 feet away from the spot of the detonation, and Aldosary even lit his own car on fire in the blast, and drove off with his car ablaze, according to the federal complaint,” reports the Phoenix New Times.
Aldosary was arrested and indicted for the bombing after a search warrant turned up recipes and materials for explosive devices at his home.
Somewhat bizarrely, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force quickly declared that the attack was not an act of terrorism, despite the fact that the target was a federal government building and Aldosary had “engaged in terrorism activity” in the past.
After the bombing, Republican Congressman Paul Gosar demanded answers on why a “known terrorist” had been allowed to live in his district. “Aldosary’s “terrorism activity” was his involvement in a 1991 uprising against the regime of Saddam Hussein, which was egged on by the U.S. government under President George H.W. Bush,” writes Matthew Hendley.
Is Aldosary yet another of the numerous double agents brought into the United States under Bush and Clinton that were later identified as the culprits behind domestic terrorist attacks? And is this one of the reasons for the corporate media’s complete disinterest in this story?

Sri Lankan Military on Alert for UFO's

Strange lights in the sky seem to be the order of the week.  The strange video from Sweden yesterday created huge internet buzz, and now the Sri Lankan government says they are taking the strange lights seen in their country seriously enough to have their air force, what there is of it, on alert.

Dec 13, 2012

Feeling Down? Try Wassailing

No doubt this cheered folks up in the dead of winter, especially once the ale started flowing. The first version is likely the closest to what it was actually like, but from the lyrics this was a song that was sung from house to house looking for food, gifts, etc. In other words a true carol. Notice how the men are painted in black and covered in colorful cloths. A typical ancient impersonation of forest spirits.  No doubt this was pagan in origin, and then incorporated into the Christian Christmas celebrations. Interesting stuff.

What follows is one (of many) versions of the origin of wassailing.


A Wassail Bowl
Wassailing is a very ancient custom that is rarely done today. The word 'wassail' comes from the Anglo-Saxon phrase 'waes hael', which means 'good health'.

Originally, the wassail was a drink made of mulled ale, curdled cream, roasted apples, eggs, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and sugar. It was served from huge bowls, often made of silver or pewter. Jesus College, in Oxford University, has a Wassail bowl, that is covered with silver. It can hold 10 gallons of drink! Wassailing was traditionally done on New Year's Eve and Twelfth Night, but some rich people drank Wassail on all the 12 days of Christmas! The Wassail drink mixture was sometimes called 'Lamb's Wool', because of the pulp of the roasted apples looked all frothy and a bit like Lambs Wool! Here is a recipe for wassail.

One legend about how Wassailing was created, says that a beautiful Saxon maiden named Rowena presented Prince Vortigen with a bowl of wine while toasting him with the words 'waes hael'. Over the centuries, a great deal of ceremony developed around the custom of drinking wassail. The bowl was carried into a room with a great fanfare, a traditional carol about the drink was sung, and finally, the steaming hot beverage was served.

From this it developed into a another way of saying Merry Christmas to each other!
One of the most popular Wassailing Carols went like this:

Here we come a-wassailing
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a-wassailing,
So fair to be seen:
Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too,
And God bless you and send you,
A happy New Year,
And God send you,
A happy new year.

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This is the version most common now, but not quite as upbeat as we might like.


Mumming is also an ancient pagan custom that was an excuse for people to have a party at Christmas! It means 'making diversion in disguise'. The tradition was that men and women would swap clothes, put on masks and go visiting their neighbors, singing, dancing or putting on a play with a silly plot. The leader or narrator of the mummers was dressed as Father Christmas.

The custom of Mumming might go back to Roman times, when people used to dress up for parties at New Year. It is thought that, in the UK, it was first done on St. Thomas's day or the shortest day of the year.

Different types of entertainments were done in different parts of the UK In parts of Durham, Yorkshire and Devon a special sword dance was performed. There were also different names for mumming around the UK too. In Scotland it was known as 'Gusards' in Somerset, 'Mumping', in Warwickshire or 'Thomasing' and 'Corning' in Kent.

In Medieval times, it had turned into an excuse for people to go begging round the houses and committing crimes. It became so bad that Henry VIII, made a law saying that anyone that caught mumming wearing a mask would be put in prison for 3 months!

One poem that people said when mumming was:

Christmas is coming, the beef is getting fat,

Please drop a penny in the old mans hat.

Over the years, this was changed into a very similar poem that is said by some carol singers today:

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat,

Please put a penny in the old mans hat.

The early settlers from the UK took the custom of Mumming to Canada. It is known as Murmuring in Canada, but is banned in most places because people used it as an excuse for begging.

Mumming is still done in parts of the UK, USA and Canada.


Eternity and the Son of Man (The Incarnation)


by Lambert Dolphin

Elsewhere in what I have written concerning the created universe, I took note of the fact that time as we know it and experience it on earth is one of the created dimensions of the physical universe. (See for instance The History of Hyperspace) Describing the material realm mathematically requires at least four dimensions (length, width, height, and time), but up to 26 dimensions have been postulated to simplify atomic physics.

When God created the universe He also created an invisible, spiritual realm where the flow of time is apparently multidimensional and events move at a different rate compared to earth-time. (1) The physical realm is linked with and interacts with the spiritual realm, so events taking place in heaven "now" can influence our past, our present and our future. Events that are viewed as completed in the spiritual realm can still be working themselves out in human history.

For example, the overthrow of Satan and the "reconciling of all things to Himself" took place when Christ died on the cross 2000 years ago, but we are still waiting for the final outworkings of this finished work in our time frame:

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. (Hebrews 2:14-15) 

He has (already) delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities --all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:13-20)

God Himself stands outside His creation--that is, He is a "transcendent" Being--separate from, and independent of, either the physical or the spiritual realms of the created universe.

"For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: 'I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.'" (Isaiah 57:15)

Yet God is neither detached from and uninvolved in the management of all the details of our world. God is also "immanent" and omnipresent:

"...he is not far from each one of us, for `In him we live and move and have our being'" (Acts 17:27, 28).

The fact that God is outside time is implied by the name Yahweh, derived from the Hebrew word "to be," which translates "I am who I am" or equally well "I was who I was" and "I will be who I will be." In simpler language the writer to the Hebrews says, "Jesus Christ is the yesterday, and today, and forever."

A number of Bible commentators have pointed out the for God our entire past, present, and future is eternally before His eyes as "now." Faced with a sudden, impending car crash, for instance, we may have only a split second to call to God for help, but God has all eternity to consider His answer to our call for help and to respond!

From Biblical revelation we learn that God--though One--nevertheless exists eternally as three separate Persons. He is immutable and can not change, yet each of the Persons of the Godhead thinks, creates, makes decisions, and acts both in time and in eternity as well. God is involved in our world every day at all levels, and nothing escapes his notice.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31)

Yet our choices and decisions do affect Him. Love between persons requires give and take, action and reaction, initiative and response. This giving of loving and response to love exists outside of our time frame between the Persons of the Godhead as well as being part of our ordinary human experience--because God has made us very much like Himself. God walks with us through life when we allow Him to do so, and as such He responds in real time to all we do and say because He is a living Person.

The Bible speaks of the Persons of the Godhead "counseling together" in eternity making decisions that affect the past present and the future. Because of these "eternal councils," believers are said to have been "chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world." The creation of man, and then of woman involved all three Persons of the Trinity working together (Gen. 1, 2). Statements such as Christ having being "the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8) make sense only when we realize that all possible dimensions of time are inherent within the Person of our Creator.

The plurality of persons with the God head is also implied by the Hebrew name for God, Elohim, a plural noun (3 or more), a noun which usually takes singular verbs. Yet, it is not until the New Testament that God disclosed Himself as three Persons--at the baptism of Jesus (Matthew ). The Person of the Godhead who makes the invisible God visible is the Son of God, (John 1:18, Col. 1:15-19).

There is great mystery connected with God's decision to send the Second Person of the godhead into world as a man. How could the Son of God become also a Son of Man and member of Adam's race? All three Persons were involved in this decision as can be inferred from Paul's description of this event in Philippians 2:5-10.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

In all likelihood the actual birth of Jesus took place in September, probably at the Feast of Tabernacles, in 2 BC. This would mean that His conception could well have occurred at the previous Hanukkah, or Festival of Lights. (2) The gospels give us a panoramic description of the entrance of the Son of God into our world as a baby born in Bethlehem: angels sing and the heavens are open, shepherds visit the manger, wise men come from afar following a unique Star which guides them to the spot.

Representative of Shem, Ham and Japheth, the three branches, of Noah's family, come to pay homage. (3) In other words, the incarnation was a point in time of earth-history in which eternity broke through and forever changed not only the future of mankind but also sent ripples into the past.

"But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me (the Father) one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days (from eternity)." (Micah 2:4)

That Jesus was born of a virgin is attested to carefully by the Holy Spirit in the record of Scripture. For instance in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew (giving us the kingly lineage of Joseph), says, "...and Jacob [was] the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ." (Matthew 1:16). The "of whom" in this passage is feminine singular in Greek. Only Mary, and not Joseph was a biological parent of Jesus.

There is great mystery connected with the Son of God becoming the Son of Man through Mary so that genes and chromosomes of Mary and her ancestors David and Abraham were imparted to the child--but not Adam's sin. (4)

There is great mystery also in the new birth, the process by which we become children of God,

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, `You must be born anew.' The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit." (John 4:5-8)

Receiving Christ into our lives links us each outside of time back to the First Advent of the Son of Man into our world at Bethlehem. This same Christ Jesus is born in our hearts when we become God's children.

Eternal life is not merely something we experience when we die, it begins with the new birth, the regeneration of our spirits. Eternity begins to be part of our daily experience at the new birth, and we are invited to enjoy the fellowship of Jesus our Lord at all stages of His life, from His birth through His death, burial and resurrection and His now exalted place in heaven as our great high priest. The Son of Man lives in both time and eternity at the same time and it is He who comes to make His home in our hearts. Because of the coming of God's only-begotten Son into our world, the true history of our lives can be forever changed. Indeed God actually rewrites the whole story of our lives: past, present and future!

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;

From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.

Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;

Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,

Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.

By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;

By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

--Charles Wesley (1707-1788)


1. Greek: ouranos, the "heavenlies" or "heavenly places" translates the Hebrew shemayim which is the plural Hebrew word for "the heavens."

2. For more on the time of year Jesus was born see Uri Marcus, "Merry Messiahmas" (

3. Arthur C. Custance, "Noah's Three Sons," (http;//

4. On the virgin birth see Arthur C. Custance, "The Seed of the Woman," (

Mysterious NASA Video Released, Early: Why The World Didn’t End Yesterday

NASA continues to behave strangely when it comes to media releases.  Here they decided to get their "Why The World Didn't End Yesterday" video, scheduled for 12/21 out on 12/12.  This on the heels of the major announcement from Mars which turned into no announcement at all. 

One note on the video.  Should a large object be headed toward the Earth (like Wormwood, Rev. 8:11) the video claims it would be visible to the whole world right now.  NASA knows that isn't true, as they have sunk billions into special telescopes that can only see dark, cold objects that are not giving off any light (IRIS, WISE, LUCIFER and more wonderfully named liquid nitrogen cooled telescopes).  The truth is that such an object would not necessarily be visible until it was quite close to the Earth.  If it approached from a polar angle, it would be visible to very few people, if at all.  That's why these near approach asteroids are so interesting.  Most of them we don't see at all without telescopes and co-ordinates.

NASA is so sure the world won’t come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012, that they have already released a video for the day after. Early.

Why has NASA decided to release “Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday” today, 10 days prior to the Mayan calendar ‘end date’?

Meanwhile, across the world, meteorites are crashing through the sky, leaving sonic booms and crashing into the ocean all around us. A man who might be a prophet has released a prophetic story of Atlantic Ocean meteorite doom while the countdown to a date highly significant to an ancient civilization continues towards who knows really what yet. Please watch the video below and share your feelings below. What’s this all about? Why early?

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Anxieties rise as surge of tremors makes Navidad the shakiest town in Chile


December 13, 2012NAVIDAD, ChileOne jolt hit in the middle of the night. Another caught fishermen at a nearby beach. Then the ground shook at supper. And then again, and again: More than 170 tremors were felt in Navidad in just five weeks. The strongest struck during a funeral, and sent panicked mourners fleeing into the street. Navidad, a coastal farming town of 5,500 people, has become one of the shakiest spots in one of the world’s shakiest countries. And seismologists can’t say whether these were aftershocks from Chile’s devastating quake two years ago, or warnings of another huge disaster to come.
Navidenos, though, have learned to take quakes in stride. In this town whose name means Christmas, some decorate Christmas trees with quakes in mind, wiring ornaments to the branches or taking extra efforts to secure the base. Restaurant owners nail wood railings panels to their shelves to keep glasses and liquor from crashing down. Some now use canned beer, shunning bottles as too risky. Children at public schools practice drills every day and everyone seems to have a quake bag with flashlights and food ready. “We were born, grew up and were raised with earthquakes,” acting Mayor Rodrigo Soto said. “It seems like the world for the first time has discovered Navidad. Everyone asks us if we’re scared and all we can say is that we need to be prepared.”
Still, no amount of preparation can avoid that panicky feeling when the ground really rumbles. There’s no way to know at that moment whether the shaking will pass quickly, or become frighteningly worse. While the ground shook under the pews at the funeral, the faces of the mourners turned pale like the dead. Despite appeals for calm, the church swayed so much that people panicked and ran outside. “People were terrorized,” Carolina Jeria, recalling that 5.9-magnitude quake on Nov. 21. “In a moment like that, you lose control. We’re very worried about the quakes because the big one in 2010 caught us unprepared.” Soto says the town still has an inadequate tsunami alert system — a siren that sounds like a car alarm and lacks the volume needed to reach all the townspeople. But after so many tremors, he says Navidenos know in their bones when to run. They know they’ll barely feel a magnitude-2, but a magnitude-7 will knock them off their feet and that’s a sign to scramble for high ground in case there’s a tsunami. Aside from the quakes, life is slow in Navidad. Many farmers still use oxen to plow their land, while others cater to tourists who come for the Pacific beaches from Chile’s capital of Santiago, 170 kilometers (100 miles) northeast of town. Yet people are often on edge. –AP/WP

Are You Ready For Hellads In Your Skies?

So much advanced tech is being made public, it's hard to keep up, but I couldn't pass up posting this one.  It's not enough to have Reaper drones watching our cities, now they will be armed with HELLADS, (and presumably guided by the lads who will deliver Hell) solid-state laser systems that can fire repeatedly.  Watch the video clip below, and keep in mind that the video is real, not an outtake from Starship Troopers.  The future is here, ready or not.


High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS)

Enemy surface-to-air threats to manned and unmanned aircraft have become increasingly sophisticated, creating a need for rapid and effective response to this growing category of threats. High power lasers can provide a solution to this challenge, as they harness the speed and power of light to counter multiple threats. Laser weapon systems provide additional capability for offensive missions as well—adding precise targeting with low probability of collateral damage. For consideration as a weapon system on today’s air assets though, these laser weapon systems must be lighter and more compact than the state-of-the-art has produced.

The goal of the HELLADS program is to develop a 150 kilowatt (kW) laser weapon system that is ten times smaller and lighter than current lasers of similar power, enabling integration onto tactical aircraft to defend against and defeat ground threats. With a weight goal of less than five kilograms per kilowatt, and volume of three cubic meters for the laser system, HELLADS seeks to enable high-energy lasers to be integrated onto tactical aircraft, significantly increasing engagement ranges compared to ground-based systems.

The program has completed laboratory testing of a fundamental building block for HELLADS, a single laser module that successfully demonstrated the ability to achieve high power and beam quality from a significantly lighter and smaller laser. The program is now in the final development phase where a second laser module will be built and combined with the first module to generate 150 kW of power.

Following the final development phase, the plan is for the laser to be transported to White Sands Missile Range for ground testing against rockets, mortars, surface-to-air missiles and to conduct simulated air-to-ground offensive missions.

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The Incarnation of Jesus Christ


by David W. Lehigh A Bible Helps Booklet -- No. 289
To understand the Incarnation, we must first know something about the divine Trinity. The Old Testament does not present the teaching of the Trinity in detail, for the revelation of God in the Bible is progressive. As man was able to receive it, God gave increased information. It was necessary in Old Testament times to make clear the UNITY of God as opposed to the multiplicity of gods that Israel's neighbors worshipped. Yet the doctrine of the Trinity is implied in the very first chapter of Genesis. In verse 26 we read, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." To whom was God talking? It had to be someone with creative power, for He said, "Let US MAKE." He didn't say, "Watch what I am going to make." It had to be someone with the same image and likeness as the one who spoke, for He said, "Let us make man IN OUR IMAGE," not "in our images," thus showing the unity of the speaker and the one spoken to.

The New Testament more clearly reveals the doctrine of the Trinity. In Hebrews 1:1-2 we read, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, BY WHOM ALSO HE MADE THE WORLDS." So we see that it was the Son to whom God was speaking in Genesis 1:26. And in Psalm 104:30 we read, "Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created," showing that the Holy Spirit was also a partner in the creation. In Matthew 3:16-17 we read, "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." This passage shows us the three persons of the Trinity in their separate personalities; the Father is in Heaven, and it is His voice that says, "This is my beloved Son;" the Son is on the earth, coming out of the water; and the Spirit of God, usually called the Holy Spirit, comes down from Heaven to earth in the form of a dove. Space does not permit us to go more deeply into the nature of the Trinity, but anyone wanting to learn more should read the Bible Helps Booklet No. 273, "The Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," by Harold S. Martin, which is available from Bible Helps.

1. The Meaning and Importance of the Incarnation

The word "Incarnation" does not occur in the Bible. It is a word which has been coined to help describe the doctrine of which we are speaking. It comes from the Latin words "in," which has the same meaning as our English word "in," and "carnis," which means "flesh." Flesh is the solid part of our being, the part that we can see and touch, in contrast to our mind, soul, and spirit.

We have pointed out that the Son of God is one of the three persons of the three-fold Godhead. Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well, "God is a Spirit" (John 4:24). What Jesus means is that God's essential nature is "spirit," just as the essential nature of a table usually is wood. We can't see or touch "spirit" with our natural senses. Jesus, in talking to Nicodemus, compared "spirit" to the wind; you can't see it, but you can feel it and see the effects of it (see John 3). But the plan of salvation, as it was arranged, made it necessary for the Son of God to be revealed to humankind in ways that they could see and touch, and so the Incarnation was a part of the plan-- placing the eternal, immortal, invisible Son of God in a body of flesh.

We want to look for a moment at this divine Person. The ancient creeds rightly say that the three persons of the Trinity are one, although they are also three. When our son was conceived, I imparted some of my own nature into his being, and my wife did the same. But when he was born, he was born a unique individual, not a part of me or of my wife any longer, but with his own humanity. We had a part in forming his character and fixing his habits, but we cannot control him. In many ways he is like me and like his mother, but in other ways he is very different. This is the way it is with every human being.  But with the Son of God it is different, for He was never born or brought into existence at a certain point of time. He existed from eternity with the Father. We are not told exactly how the Father and Son are related to each other, and probably could not understand it even if the Bible did try to explain. There is no earthly relationship to compare with it, but in some way the Father constantly imparts His life and nature to the Son, without interruption, just as a brook that is fed by a spring constantly sends its water out and thus keeps it flowing. In this way, although the Son is a distinct and separate person from the Father, they still are one, as Jesus frequently said (see John 10:30). We need to keep this in mind as we speak further about the Incarnation.

For many years the writer taught Bible classes at a children's camp, and I often tried to explain the Incarnation by asking a boy who had a well-loved dog if he would be willing, in order to save the life of his pet, to enter the body of a dog and live for awhile. I would point out that the caretakers of dogs sometimes forget to feed them or give them water; they may leave them tied in the hot sun and otherwise cause them discomfort, and the dogs have no way to tell their masters about it. I never found a boy who said he would agree to lead a dog's life for the sake of his pets. Yet the Son of God took on a kind of life much below His normal life, so that it was something like a dog's life would be for a man. Let's look at the life of Jesus Christ before He came to earth.

2. What the Incarnation Meant to the Son of God

In the first place, the Son of God was normally "spirit." "Spirit" isn't bound to one place as a body of flesh is. He had the entire universe for His workshop and playground. Men have built jet planes that can cross the Atlantic Ocean in six hours, but the Son of God could travel to the remotest place in seconds.

He was the BELOVED Son, as the Father announced at His baptism, and again at the transfiguration. He was the ONLY begotten Son, as John 3:16 tells us, and the writer of Hebrews says that the angels are commanded to worship Him. He was a partner in the creation of the world. He had helped to create angels whose only duty was to worship and serve Him, and the only thing that He still wanted was the companionship of creatures like Himself, and this He secured by helping to create human beings in His own image.
 This is what He gave up to come down to earth as one of us. John says, "And the Word became flesh, and encamped among us" (literal translation of John 1:14). Here is the critical part of the Christian doctrine that we need to believe in order to be saved. John writes in his first epistle, "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist" (1 John 4:2,3).

The Bible teaches, and we need to believe, that the man known in history as Jesus of Nazareth was actually the divine Son of God. Paul tells Timothy, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory" (1 Timothy 3:16).  Earlier I said that the plan of salvation required that the Son of God should take a form that human eyes could see and human hands could touch, and this is what the Incarnation is about. Many people today, including many ministers, believe that the Jesus of history was an ordinary man, born like any other man, probably the son of Joseph, and that the early church invented the story of the Virgin Birth to cover up the shame of his illegitimacy. John tells us that such a teaching is from the spirit of antichrist.

The doctrine of the Virgin Birth has been recognized by the church of all ages as critically important; it has been attacked in every period of history, and has always been vigorously defended.  What was the purpose of the Incarnation? The primary purpose (and we do not have space to deal adequately with it) was that the Son of God might justly offer Himself as our substitute and pay the penalty for our sins so that we might be free from the penalty of eternal death. But a secondary purpose was that He might, by sharing our experiences, be a merciful and understanding advocate. A young man once told me, "I can't believe that Jesus was really tempted as men are today in this age of immodest dress, and not have a sinful thought. He couldn't have had our nature and never sinned." But the writer of Hebrews says, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in ALL POINTS tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). That includes the temptation to unholy thinking and unlawful sex. The Bible says it, so I believe it, but my illustration of the boy going into the body of a dog helps to make it easier to understand for me.

When the Son of God took on human nature, He did not give up his divine nature. Paul says in Philippians 2 (putting it in my own words), that Jesus was in the form of god, and did not think it improper to regard Himself as equal with God, but He emptied Himself--this is what the original language actually says--and took on the form of a servant. Jesus retained His divine powers and attributes, but He did not use them for His own benefit. He knew the thoughts of those who were criticizing His actions, and He knew from the beginning that Judas would betray Him. He didn't use His creative power to turn stones into bread when He was hungry, but He did create food on several occasions for other hungry people. He freely used His divine power to heal the sick and to drive out evil spirits.

He told Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane that He could have called for twelve legions of angels to rescue Him, but He didn't. He endured the scorn and contempt of those who regarded Him as a fanatic and deceiver, taking comfort only in the loving faith of a handful of devoted followers. He never ceased to be the divine Son of God, but He took on a full and complete human nature in addition, including all our temptations.  Now let's go back to my illustration of a boy in a dog's body, only this time I will pretend to go into the body of a wolf. If I were to put on a wolf skin, I might frighten a sheep, but it wouldn't change my nature. But if I could take on the entire nature of a wolf, as Jesus took on human nature, then I would really know how a hungry wolf feels when he finds a sheep. I would be tempted to kill it and eat it, but because I would still be David Lehigh and not "Bobo the Wolf," I would be able to resist the temptation. The Son of God took on not only a human body, but a human soul and spirit, in order that He might fully understand the feelings and temptations of humankind. But because he was still the divine Son of God, he was able to resist the temptations that seem to be too strong for us.
 Earlier we said that the primary purpose of the Incarnation was that the Son of God might suffer the penalty for the sins of mankind. But I have often wondered how a loving Father could permit His Son to endure such suffering. I do not pretend to know the answer, but I have thought about a two-sided answer that satisfies me. On the one side is my belief that since the Father and Son are so closely joined that they can be called one, the Father actually shared the suffering. God the Father not only felt sympathy, as we humans do, but He actually felt the same pain of the driven nails and other tortures as the Son did. I couldn't picture the loving Father allowing the Son to suffer as He did on any other basis. And in some way that we do not understand, suffering is good for us. The writer of Hebrews says that the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering (see Hebrews 2:10).  The other side of the picture is that it was done for love. I believe that every red-blooded young man who loves a girl can agree that if he had to suffer in order to save her from suffering, he would gladly do it. And Jesus was bearing the suffering of the cross in order that His beloved bride, those who believed on Him and accepted His plan, might escape the suffering of eternal Hell.

3. What the Incarnation Means to Us

Let us now look at what the Incarnation has meant to us in the present age. What would our life be like if Jesus had never left Heaven and come down to earth in the likeness of men?

First, there would be no clear knowledge of God. There are still areas where the true God is not known, and from history and literature we know what the gods are like which men have invented for themselves. The gods of the Greeks and Romans were cruel and revengeful. They quarreled among themselves and tried to defeat each other's plans. They had to be appeased with offerings. They were often untruthful and unfaithful. Only with the coming of Jesus was the true nature of the Father revealed as loving and caring, and doing everything possible to reconcile rebellious humankind to himself.
 Second, there would have been no New Testament. The Old Testament ends with the words, "Lest I come and smite the earth with a curse" (Malachi 4:6). If it had not been for the coming of Jesus in the Incarnation, we would not have the Sermon on the Mount with its Beatitudes; we wouldn't have the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son; we wouldn't have the fourteenth chapter of John or the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians; we wouldn't have Paul's marvelous descriptions of the plan of salvation, or the descriptions of Heaven in the Book of Revelation. We would still be sacrificing lambs, bulls, and goats whose blood could never take away sin, for only Jesus Himself could offer the perfect sacrifice that can make an enduring atonement.

Third, there would be no churches, no homes for the aged, no orphanages for homeless children, for all such works of Christian charity are done in the Name of Jesus. There are no such institutions in pagan countries. A missionary who had returned from China about 1920 explained that when crops failed, the aged grandparents were driven from those homes that could not afford to care for them, and they were left to starve, unless they could get to a mission station, where they would be cared for as best the missionaries were able to provide care.

I read an account of a pilot on an aircraft carrier in World War II who boasted about his contempt for religion. But one day on a bombing mission in the South Pacific his plane got lost from the carrier. They were low on fuel, and knew that they would have to land on one of the islands that dotted the ocean, many of which were inhabited by cannibals. The pilot looked for a place to land, and as they neared the island the navigator called out, "We're all right, there's a church down there. I see a cross on the steeple!" Later, when the pilot remembered how relieved he was at seeing the church building, be became a Christian believer.

Fourth, if it had not been for the Incarnation, there would be no assurance of eternal life. The hope of meeting our loved ones again is one of the strongest desires of mankind. The poet Whittier wrote, after describing his family in the poem "Snowbound," of whom only he and one other brother were left: "Yet love will dream, and hope will trust, Since He who knows our needs is just, That somewhere, somehow, meet we must." Jesus told His disciples, "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" (John 14:2-3).  One more concluding thought: The Incarnation did not stop when Jesus went back to Heaven. Although Jesus was in His glorified body, John knew Him on the Island of Patmos. He is still one of us, and today He is our advocate in Heaven.

Some years ago a young man got into difficulty with the law, and he employed a lawyer who persuaded the judge to give him a suspended sentence. Later this lawyer was elected judge, and the same man who had earlier committed a crime, now older but not wiser, repeated the offense again. When he was brought to court, he felt that the judge might be lenient with him again, but the judge said, "Then I was your advocate, now I am your judge." Jesus offers to be our advocate during this present age, but if we refuse to accept Him, He will someday be our judge. If you have not already done so, accept Him as your advocate today, or He will be your judge sometime in the future.

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Flesh-eating fungal infection following natural disasters

After a natural disaster, doctors should be on the lookout for outbreaks of a rare but deadly "flesh-eating" fungal infection, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday.

That's the lesson, the agency said, from 13 cases of mucormycosis skin infections that struck victims of the Joplin, Mo., tornado last year.

The May 2011 tornado was one of the deadliest in U.S. history, killing almost 160 people and injuring more than 1,000. In the aftermath, doctors found that some victims with serious injuries were developing severe infections that ate away at the skin and underlying soft tissue.

It turned out to be mucormycosis, a fungal infection caused by a group of molds found in soil and decaying matter, such as fallen leaves and rotting wood. The fungus can attack various parts of the body, but skin infections occur when the fungus contaminates a wound.

The cluster of 13 cases in Joplin was a very large one, the CDC reported in the Dec. 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"A typical hospital might normally see one case in a year," said senior researcher Dr. Benjamin Park, a medical officer at the CDC's mycotic diseases branch.

All 13 victims, five of whom died, had been in the most severely storm-damaged areas of Joplin. They'd suffered multiple wounds -- including penetrating wounds in five people -- and most had bone fractures.

Those injuries were also often contaminated with debris from the storm, including gravel, wood and soil.

"Particulate matter was basically blown into them by the tornado," Park explained.

All of the patients had surgery to remove the infected, dead tissue, along with antifungal drugs -- though six initially got drugs that are not active against mucormycosis-causing fungi. It's not clear, the CDC team said, whether that made a difference in their outcomes.

"In real time, it's hard to know what you're treating," Park said. So doctors might preemptively start a patient on antibiotics (which fight bacteria) or antifungal drugs before test results are in.

The Missouri outbreak underscores the importance of early testing to get patients the right treatment, Park said.

"We want to raise awareness of this [infection] as a possibility after natural disasters," he added.

Even though mucormycosis-causing fungi are ubiquitous, they rarely cause problems for people, said Dr. Thomas Patterson, chief of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Most often, the infection strikes people whose immune systems are compromised, from cancer or drugs used after an organ transplant, for example. And those are typically respiratory infections from inhaled mold spores.

Still, the risk of mucormycosis in healthy people with traumatic injuries has been recognized, noted Patterson, who also is a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. And he agreed on the importance of early recognition.

"These infections are very difficult to treat," Patterson said.

But he also noted that for most people injured in a natural disaster, any infections will be bacterial -- though those, of course, also can become serious.

"It's important to remember that in these [Joplin] cases, we're talking about people who had extensive injuries," Patterson said.

And because of that, preventing severe injuries during natural disasters should help prevent mucormycosis cases, according to the CDC.

The public can take some steps of its own, Park said. If you live in a tornado-prone area, for example, you can make sure you have a "safe room" or some type of emergency shelter you can get to quickly. You should also be tuned in to your local area's tornado warning system.


Benjamin Park, M.D., medical officer, mycotic diseases branch, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Thomas Patterson, M.D., chief, division of infectious diseases, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; Dec. 6, 2012, New England Journal of Medicine
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Fireball lights up sky, falls (perhaps) into the Black Sea off northern Turkish coast

The region where the camera is is about 5 kilometers away from the actual event came to an end on the Black Sea. During the incident, which occurred around 22:00 hours on the 11th Dec 2012, a man working as a security guard, Hakan Cesur, said that he felt a little jolt out of the face of the sky at the time.

"It was a ball of fire coming down from heaven into the sea, I was just staring at the TV to see if there was anything going on in Turkey, he said."

A slight vibration was felt in the district as a result of a falling meteor, which was recorded by security cameras.

The meteorite fell into the sea during the night. A flash of light and an explosion were heard. Some citizens panicked.                    
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Dec 12, 2012

Large Glowing Ball Crashes in Sweden

Interesting stuff out of Sweden. In a time when meteorites and fireballs have increased, this is of much interest, but the video does not look like a fireball at all.

Mysterious "Ball of Light" Puzzles Swedish province of Värmland

"The whole house shook"
December 11, 2012 Aftonbladet

What is it that has struck in Värmland County? SOS, police and the air rescue center has received calls from concerned Värmland citizens after a ball of light is said to have exploded in the evening.

It lit up the sky and flew over us, then we heard an explosion, says Jessica Berg. Jessica Berg was out walking with a friend when they were surprised by the strong lights.

Calls have come from Stöllet, Ekshärad, Karlstad and Forshaga. All have seen a mysterious ball of light which then struck down - followed by an explosion. They say they have seen a sharp blue glow, then a sharp orange ball strike, says Leif Svensson, duty officer at the Värmland police. Surprised by the strong light The sky was completely silent when it flew over us. Then it hit ground near Klarälven river somewhere. Then we were struck by the sound, like an echo after an explosion, she says to Aftonbladet news paper and continues: It was mysterious.

Nasty mysterious.

Several readers have contacted the Aftonbladet news paper about the event.

I heard a bang and the whole house shook, said a witness in Vansbro. 24-year-old Sandra was sitting in her apartment in Karlstad city looking out the window when she saw something plunge from the sky. At first I thought it was fireworks, but much to large for that and it just never went off, I thought maybe it was a comet, for it looked a bit like a ball. It had a red and yellow light around and after it, she says, adding that she had seen shooting stars before, and this is not at all like that. This was really different and much larger. It looked as if something falling from space in a film like Armageddon or something.

I do not know how to describe it I have never seen such a thing before, says Sandra. No airplane accidents has been reported. Police have received several calls about the phenomenon and also SOS has been dialed.

We do not know, but it may have been part of the meteor shower, says Leif Svensson, duty officer at the Värmland police to TT. We can not do much other than direct incoming calls to the Air Force.

Also, the Naval and air rescue center has been alerted about a light phenomenon in the sky from the Värmland county region. There are two people who have dialed in observations and it should have been seen from the air traffic control tower at Karlstad Airport. One woman spoke of a really big explosion, says Jonas Sundin, deputy incident commander. But there are no airplane accidents. It's probably some kind of meteorite.

At 1:00 on Wednesday morning readers from Sodertalje, Stenungsund Kungalv, Karlstad, Vansbro and other surrounding areas had contacted Aftonbladet news paper with eyewitness accounts. And we have also heard that people on the West Coast and even in Finland have made observations, says Leif Svensson to TT. Translated from

Another account of the same event from Sweden -

Mystery orb crash: 'It was like Armageddon'

Published: 12 Dec 12 08:28 CET | Double click on a word to get a translation
Frightened residents in western Sweden reported seeing a bright, blue light racing across the night sky on Tuesday before an orange-coloured orb smashed into the ground in a mysterious phenomenon that has yet to be explained.

Adoration - Newsboys

Nicely made video of a little modern Christmas music.

Jesus and the Festival of Lights

Hanukkah – the Festival of Lights

Hanukkah is a happy, festive, joyous eight-day Jewish celebration that starts on Kislev 25 on the Hebrew calendar (same as November-December on the Gregorian calendar). It is also called the Festival of Lights. The word Hanukkah means “dedication.”

Hanukkah is an important feast for the Jewish people, for it reminds them of how God miraculously delivered their ancestors when they were persecuted.

On the first day, the shammash, the prominent branch of the Hanukkah Menorah, the nine-branched lamp is lighted. The shammash, which means “servant,” is usually in the center and is the tallest of the branches of the menorah. From it each of the other branches is lighted on subsequent days, until all are lighted.

The Historical Events of Hanukkah

The Hanukkah celebrates freedom from oppression. It commemorates the Jewish victory over the Hellenist Syrians.

Hanukkah originated with the rededication of the Jewish temple in B.C. 164, after the Syrian ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes had desecrated it. Antiochus reigned from B.C. 175 to 164, and had a burning desire to Hellenize everyone under his rule. The Syrian-Greeks offered art, poetry and literature to the lives of the Judeans, attempting to create in this way a new mind-set of customs, traditions and pagan faith. Antiochus loved the Greek customs, culture, philosophy, and religions and wanted every one of his subjects to accept it. They attempted to impose their own religious values, dogma and fanaticism upon the people. Some of the Jews welcomed the new ways, but most rejected it.

In B.C. 170 Antiochus attacked Jerusalem and 80,000 Jews perished, and that many more were sold into slavery. The Jewish Temple was robbed. He tore down its wall, desecrated its temple by abolishing its sacrifices and carrying away its furniture, banning Jewish religion, massacring many, prohibiting the rite of circumcision, destroying copies of the Law, and establishing the worship of Jupiter (Olympian Zeus) in the temple. During the time of Antiochus it was a capital offence to possess a copy of the law, to circumcise a child. Parents who disobeyed the law and circumcised their boys were crucified with the son hanging around their necks.
In December B.C. 168, Antiochus brought matters to a climax in Jerusalem. He sent his general, Apollonius, with twenty thousand troops under orders to seize Jerusalem on a Sabbath. There he erected an idol of Zeus and desecrated the altar by offering swine on it. This idol became known to the Jews as "the abomination of desolation." He profaned the Temple and turned its chambers into brothels for his soldiers. The ultimate abomination was offering swine's flesh to the pagan gods on the Jewish altar.
The revolt against Antiochus began when Mattathias, an old priest in the village of Modin, killed a royal commissioner of Antiochus along with an apostate Jew who entered the town to offer heathen sacrifices. Mattathias and his five sons then fled to the hills. In the next few months he and two of his sons died, but the remaining three sons (Judas, Jonathan, and Simon) led the insurrection. Judas was named the "Maccabee" (the hammer), and under his leadership the Jews won major victories in B.C. 165 and 164. In December of B.C. 164, Judas reclaimed the temple, cleansed it of its Syrian pollution, and had it rededicated to God with the festival known today as Hanukkah. The temple was rededicated on Kislev 25, B.C. 164, exactly three years after Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the temple (1 Mac. 4:52-29; 2 Mac. 10:6-8).

Judas Maccabaeus admonished the Jewish people: “The days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year, by the space of eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month of Chislev, with gladness and joy” (1 Maccabees 4:59).

One of the traditions in Judaism says one of the priests at the dedication of the Temple in B.C. 164 found a small flask of unpolluted oil sufficient for only one day. With menorah miraculously replenished for eight days. This gave the Maccabees enough time to obtain new oil to keep the menorah lit.

The Jewish people celebrated this great eight-day festival of Hanukkah, sometimes calling it the “Festival of the Dedication of the Altar,” “the Memorial of the Purification of the Temple,” and the “Festival of the Lights.”

It is not uncommon to see lights in the windows of Jewish homes. There are two traditions among the Jewish people. Eight lights were set in the window according to Shammai. One was removed each day until on the last day only one was left burning. Hillel tradition begins with one light on the first day and each day one is added until on the eighth day eight are burning.

This Festival of Lights celebrates the freedom that had returned to Israel. For the next 100 years the people enjoyed this newfound freedom, until the Romans conquered Judah in B.C. 64.

Josephus called this celebration "the festival of Lights" because of the lighting of lamps in Jewish homes, "giving this name to it, I think, from the fact that the right to worship appeared to us at a time when we hardly dared hope for it." In ancient times it was also called "the dedication of the altar" (1 Macc. 4:59).

In the Hanukkah celebration Jews play games, exchange gifts, have family dinners, attend plays and concerts at synagogues and schools, and light a candle on each of the eight evenings. In the center of the candles is a more predominant ninth one, the "shammash," used to light the other candles.

The First Century Hanukkah Celebration

The Hanukkah celebration is not mentioned in the Old Testament because the historical event occurred during the 400-year period between the two Testaments.

The Hanukkah is mentioned in John 10:22. "At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem" (John 10:22, NASB 1995). Here it is called the “Feast of Dedication” probably because the word Hanukkah in Hebrew means “dedication.”

The apostle John tells us, "it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, ‘How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly’" (John 10:23-24).

Jesus, the Messiah, brought about an even greater deliverance than Judas Maccabaeus could ever give. He delivers not only for time, but also for eternity.

Jesus is also the “prophet” of whom Moses spoke (Deut. 18:15-19; Acts 7:37). He is also the Anointed of the LORD (John 4:25-26), and the Son of God (John 10:29-30).

The True Light

A couple of months earlier Jesus had declared, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Soon thereafter Jesus gave light to the man born with a congenital disease (John 9:1-41). The "light" given to the man born blind (John 9) testifies to a greater symbolism of Hanukkah, namely, the light of the Lord shining on those who are spiritually blind.

The Hebrew prophet Isaiah spoke of the coming of the true Light. "Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth And deep darkness the peoples; But the Lord will rise upon you And His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising" (Isaiah 60:1-3).

Christ is the true Light that gives light to all who believe on Him. He is the Light of life. He is the “light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel” (Luke 2:32). He alone can “light men into the knowledge and presence of God.”

Jesus is the effulgence of the glory of God. "And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3).

For John, the "light" refers specifically to eternal life which is available to all through Jesus Christ. Christ is “the light of the world” (8:12; 9:5). He is come “a light into the world” (12:46). Indeed, the man who follows Him “shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (8:12). Men can be urged to believe in the light (12:36) just as they are urged to believe in Him. For the Jews in Jesus' day the lights of Hanukkah related to the temple and its dedication, but they would also have had lights in front of their homes during this feast. The Mishnah--the collection of oral laws compiled by Rabbi Judah the Prince (born in the year 135 of the Christian era)--states that outside the entrance of each house the Hanukkah lamp was positioned to affirm publicly the Hanukkah miracle. The lamps, inserted into glass lanterns to prevent the wind from extinguishing them, were placed on pedestals. Archaeological excavations show that these were common in antiquity. These pedestal lamps may be referred to in Luke 11:33, "No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar, nor under a peck-measure, but on the lampstand, in order that those who enter may see the light." At the Feast of Tabernacles two golden candelabra were lit in the court of the women in the temple. But why was this done? Nothing in the Old Testament stipulates such an action. Alfred Edersheim answers this question by showing the connection between the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of Hanukkah.

There is also a tragic consequence for all who reject the Light. "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God" (John 3:19-21).

The Eternal City of Light

All believers in the Messiah Jesus, both Jewish and Gentiles, will dwell forever with Him in the city of eternal light. This is what it will be like: "And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed" (Revelation 21:23-25).

We will be in the presence of the bright and morning star. "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star" (Revelation 22:16).

God wrought a great deliverance through the Maccabees over 2100 years ago, but He performed an even greater deliverance when Jesus, the Light of the world, defeated the power of darkness.

One completed Hebrew stated it this way:

“I see that Jesus is our Messiah, the Son of God. He must be, for He came the very time our Moses said He would come (Genesis 49:10), and He came of the very tribe that Moses foretold (Genesis 49:8, 9). He came the very way our great Isaiah said He would come, by way of the virgin’s womb (Isaiah 7:14), and He was born in the very city our Micah predicted, Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Yes, and now I see He is the One of whom our Isaiah wrote in his fifty-third chapter.”

Yes, this is true of all who come to the Light and believe in Yeshua, and find all their darkness dispelled and sins forgiven. Jesus is the Light of the world.

Hanukkah and Christmas have some similar features, such as the time of year, lights, and the exchanging of gifts. However, the two celebrations have no direct relationship to each other. Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ approximately 160 years after the events that led to the establishment of Hanukkah. Christmas, like Hanukkah, is not directly established in Scripture. Yet, it can be used as an opportunity to declare who Jesus Christ is. It can be celebrated because it testifies of Him. Similarly Jesus used Hanukkah as an opportunity to proclaim who He is. "The Jews therefore gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, 'How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.' Jesus answered them, 'I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these bear witness of Me'" (John 10:24-25).