American Paganism: The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886. The statue, a gift to the United States from the people of France, is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom and the embodiment of liberty, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States. a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad.

In 238 B.C., before the Second Punic War, having long been a Roman deity along with other personified virtues, Libertas assumed goddess status. Tiberius Gracchus ordered the construction of her first temple on Aventine Hill; census tables were stored inside the temple’s atrium. A subsequent temple was built (58-57 B.C.) on Palatine Hill, another of the Seven hills of Rome, by Publius Clodius Pulcher. By building and consecrating the temple on the former house of then-exiled Cicero, Clodius ensured that the land was legally uninhabitable. Upon his return, Cicero successfully argued that the consecration was invalid and thus managed to reclaim the land and destroy the temple. In 46 B.C., the Roman Senate voted to build and dedicate a shrine to Libertas in recognition of Julius Caesar, but no temple was built; instead, a small statue of the goddess stood in the Roman Forum.

Libertas, along with other Roman goddesses, has served as the inspiration for many modern-day symbols, including the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island in the United States of America. According to the National Park Service, the Statue’s Roman robe is the main feature that invokes Libertas and the symbol of Liberty from which the Statue derives its name.

In addition, money throughout history has born the name or image of Libertas. Libertas was pictured on Galba’s “Freedom of the People” coins during his short reign after the death of Nero. The University of North Carolina records two instances of private banks in its state depicting Libertas on their banknotes; Libertas is depicted on the 5, 10 and 20 Rappen denomination coins of Switzerland.

Denarius (42 BC) issued by Cassius Longinus and Lentulus Spinther, depicting the crowned head of Libertas, with a sacrificial jug and lituus on the reverse. Libertas is depicted on coins from several countries, such as the centime coins of the Swiss franc depicted below.

There are several plaques and dedicatory tablets on or near the Statue of Liberty. A plaque on the copper just under the figure in front declares that it is a colossal statue representing Liberty, designed by Bartholdi and built by the Paris firm of Gaget, Gauthier et Cie (Cie is the French abbreviation analogous to Co.). A presentation tablet, also bearing Bartholdi’s name, declares the statue to be a gift from the people of the Republic of France that honors “the Alliance of the two Nations in achieving the Independence of the United States of America and attests their abiding friendship.” There is a tablet placed by the New York committee that commemorates the fundraising done to build the pedestal. The cornerstone also bears a plaque placed by the Freemasons. Among the Romans the cap of felt was the emblem of liberty. When a slave obtained his freedom he had his head shaved, and wore instead of his hair an undyed pileus. Hence the phrase ‘servos ad pileum vocare’ is a summons to liberty, by which slaves were frequently called upon to take up arms with a promise of liberty. The figure of Liberty on some of the coins of Antoninus Pius, struck A.D. 145, holds this cap in the right hand.

Libertas was also recognized in ancient Rome by the rod (vindicta or festuca), used ceremonially in the act of ‘Manumissio Vindicta,’ Latin for “Freedom by the Rod”:

  • The master brought his slave before the magistratus, and stated the grounds (causa) of the intended manumission. The lictor of the magistratus laid a rod (festuca) on the head of the slave, accompanied with certain formal words, in which he declared that he was a free man ex Jure Quiritium, that is, “vindicavit in libertatem.” The master in the meantime held the slave, and after he had pronounced the words “hunc hominem liberum volo,” he turned him round (momento turbinis exit Marcus Dama, Persius, Sat. V.78) and let him go (emisit e manu, or misit manu, Plaut. Capt. II.3.48), whence the general name of the act of manumission. The magistratus then declared him to be free.

Columbia Pictures, named in 1924, uses a version of the personified Columbia as its logo.

The fictional characters Columbia of the United States of America and Marianne of France, the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor and many other characters and concepts of the modern age were created as, and are seen, as embodiments of Libertas.

The design, posture and dimensions of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor are based on what the Colossus was thought by engineers in the late 19th century to have looked like.

The Colossus of Rhodes depicted in 1880.

The Colossus of Rhodes was a statue of the Greek Titan Helios, erected in the city of Rhodes on the Greek island of Rhodes by Chares of Lindos between 292 and 280 B.C. It is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was constructed to celebrate Rhodes’ victory over the ruler of Cyprus, Antigonus I Monophthalmus, whose son unsuccessfully besieged Rhodes in 305 B.C. Before its destruction in 226 B.C.—due to an earthquake—the Colossus of Rhodes stood over 30 meters (107 ft) high, making it one of the tallest statues of the ancient world.

There is a famous reference to the Colossus in the sonnet “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus, written in 1883 and inscribed on a plaque located inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Emma Lazarus (July 22, 1849 – November 19, 1887) was an American poet born in New York City. She is best known for “The New Colossus“, a sonnet written in 1883; its lines appear on a bronze plaque in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty placed in 1903.

  • Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from and to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name other of Exiles. From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.”Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she with silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
    (The New Colossus)

The sonnet was written for and donated to an auction, conducted by the “Art Loan Fund Exhibition in Aid of the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund for the Statue of Liberty” to raise funds to build the pedestal. Lazarus’ close friend Rose Hawthorne Lathrop was inspired by “The New Colossus” to found the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne.

Mary Louise wrote: “Towering in Upper New York Bay, Liberty Enlightening the World or the Statue of Liberty, proudly raises the flaming “Torch of Enlightenment” or “Torch of Illuminism” over America. Many observers praise her as a universal symbol of liberty and unity, extending hope and freedom throughout the world with her torch of “freedom” shining brightly across the harbor, welcoming millions of immigrants into the land of opportunity. To others,she is a constant reminder of a Brotherhood symbol and the Masonic doctrines that has such a stranglehold on our nation and the world, their symbolism embedded and entrenched in every facet of society. Since she is one of the largest and most recognized statues in the world, it is important to be aware of the less familiar aspects of what she actually symbolizes and represents. Many Americans are living under a great delusion, forming beliefs and opinions based on premises stemming from occult lore, so it is worthwhile to revisit significant subjects from different perspectives.”

Marcy Heidish said, “The Statue of Liberty seems always to have belonged to the citizens of the United States. More intimately than any other symbol, she tells us who we are – and who we ought to be. In her face, we recognize our best traits: courage, compassion, wisdom, hope. In her stance, we recognize our best selves: kind, confident, unbiased, strong. Alone, surrounded by water, she personifies the ideal of individualism. Arm raised, aglow, she epitomizes the belief in progress for all who seek it. A lighthouse, she says what beacons have always said: safe journey, land ho, welcome home. Lady Liberty was inspired by Egyptian monuments and French paintings, by Roman goddesses and the Colossus of Rhodes. She is Minerva and Madonna, Mother Nature and Mother Earth. Like the people of the United States, she is an amalgam; like most of us, she came from somewhere else. Now she seems to rise not just for recent immigrants but for everyone who has ever come to the United States.”

Minerva was the name of a deity invoked during Aleister Crowley‘s occultic rituals. Minerva was the virgin goddess of poetrymedicinewisdomcommerceweavingcrafts, and magick. Mother Nature (Mother Earth) is referred to as Ishtar (Easter)” which is the name of the Babylonian “Mother of Harlots,” and her image stands as the sun-goddess “Lady Liberty” in New York Harbor.  This Colossus statue even has the “tower” headpiece, as seen worn by Artemis.  The Hebrew Tanakh (Old Testament) calls her Asherah (which is a pagan god with origins in Babylon and Egypt.

The Torah says “When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?–that I also may do the same.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it” (Deuteronomy 12:29-32 ESV).

Jeremiah the Prophet wrote, “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‘Thus says the LORD, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.'”
(Jeremiah 18:6-11 ESV)

King Solomon wrote, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV)

The Torah states that we are to , “These are the statutes and rules that you shall be careful to do in the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place. You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way.
(Deuteronomy 12:1-4 ESV)

Scripture commandments clearly tell us to destroy the places where pagans and curls worship. I think I will just sit here and read my Bible. Saint Timothy wrote, You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful– for he cannot deny himself. Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
(2 Timothy 2:1-26 ESV)

The largest and clearest prohibition cinverning statues was given by God (YHWH) in the Book of Deuteronimy when he said, “And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
(Exodus 20:1-6 ESV)

Our minds need to be centered on the blessed hope of Salvation and the Second Coming od Yeshua HaMashiach. Life is to short to quarrel with everyone for any reason. Shalom!

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Satan’s Ten Commandments

The Georgia Guidestones is a large granite monument in Elbert County, Georgia (USA). A message comprising ten guides is inscribed on the structure in eight modern languages, and a shorter message is inscribed at the top of the structure in four ancient languages’ scripts: Babylonian Cuneiform, Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Egyptian Hieroglyphs.

The structure is sometimes referred to as an “American Stonehenge.” The monument is made from six granite slabs weighing more than 240,000 pounds combined. One slab stands in the center, with four arranged around it. A capstone lies on top of the five slabs, which are astronomically aligned. An additional stone tablet, which is set in the ground a short distance to the west of the structure, provides some notes on the history and purpose of the Guidestones.

In June 1979, an unknown person or persons under the pseudonym R. C. Christian hired Elberton Granite Finishing Company to build the structure. R. C. Christian (Christian Rosenkreuz) is the semi-legendary, perhaps allegorical, founder of the Rosicrucian Order (Order of the Rose Cross), presented in the three Manifestos published in the early 17th century.

Rosicrucianism is a philosophical secret society, said to have been founded in late medieval Germany by Christian Rosenkreuz. It holds a doctrine or theology “built on esoteric truths of the ancient past”, which, “concealed from the average man, provide insight into nature, the physical universe and the spiritual realm.” Rosicrucianism is symbolized by the Rosy Cross.

The symbol of the Rosy Cross played a substantial role within the system of Thelema as developed by Aleister Crowley. In a cosmological context, the rose is Nuit, the infinitely expanded goddess of the night sky, and the cross is Hadit, the ultimately contracted atomic point. For Crowley, it was the job of the adept to identify with the appropriate symbol so to experience the mystical conjunction of opposites, which leads to attainment. It has several meanings, depending on the source. Some groups, such as the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis, from a non-sectarian or non-religious view, suggest that the rosy cross predates Christianity, where “the cross represents the human body and the rose represents the individual’s unfolding consciousness.”

A message consisting of a set of ten guidelines or principles is engraved on the Georgia Guidestones in eight different languages, one language on each face of the four large upright stones. Moving clockwise around the structure from due north, these languages are: English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. The inscriptions on the Guidestones are listed below.

  1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
  2. Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
  3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
  4. Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.
  5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
  6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
  7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
  8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
  9. Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
  10. Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.

The first guideline or principal would reduce the world population down to 500 Million people. What do they plan to do with the other 6.3 billion people? The world’s population (July 7, 2010) is around 6,854,837,564, and the United States’ population (July 8, 2010) is around 309,697,072. If the conspirators of this plan were to leave the population of the United States untouched, they would have to eliminate 6 billion people. That would leave less than 200 million people alive on the rest of the entire Earth.

Built to survive the apocalypse, the Georgia Guidestones are not merely instructions for the future, the massive granite slabs also function as a clock, calendar, and compass.

Whoever the anonymous architects of the Guidestones were, they knew what they were doing. The monument sits at the highest point in Elbert County. The monument is a highly engineered structure that flawlessly tracks the sun. The four outer stones are oriented to mark the limits of the 18.6 year lunar declination cycle. On an equinox or solstice, visitors who stand at the west side of the “mail slot” are positioned to see the sun rise on the horizon. The center column features a hole through which the North Star can be seen regardless of time, as well as a slot that is aligned with the Sun’s solstices and equinoxes. A 7/8″ aperture in the capstone allows a ray of sun to pass through at noon each day, shining a beam on the center stone indicating the day of the year.

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/magazine/17-05/ff_guidestones?currentPage=all

Many have praised the inscribed messages as “a stirring call to rational thinking,” while opponents have labeled them as the “Ten Commandments of the Antichrist.”

The Guidestones have become a subject of interest for conspiracy theorists. One of them demanded that the Guidestones “be smashed into a million pieces, and then the rubble used for a construction project,” claiming that the Guidestones are of “a deep Satanic origin,” and that R. C. Christian, belongs to “a Luciferian secret society” related to the New World Order. At the unveiling of the monument, a local minister proclaimed that he believed the monument was “for sun worshipers, for cult worship and for devil worship.”

Radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, in his 2008 documentary Endgame: Elite’s Blueprint For Global Enslavement, told the viewer that “the message of the mysterious Georgia Guidestones, purportedly built by representatives of a secret society called the Rosicrucian Order or Rosicrucians, which call for a global religion, world courts, and for population levels to be maintained at around 500 million, over a 6.5 billion reduction from current levels. The stones infer that humans are a cancer upon the earth and should be culled in order to maintain balance with nature.

Most people agree that the Guidestones are meant to instruct the survivors of some impending apocalypse as they attempt to reconstitute civilization. Not everyone is comfortable with this notion.

On the sixth day of the Creation narrative in the Book of Genesis it is written, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue [H3533] it: and have dominion [H7287] over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so” (Genesis 1:27-30 KJV).

To subdue and have dominion over the earth and all living things on the face of the earth is to rule, subjugate, dominate, bring into bondage, and make subservient. The earth and its flora and fauna were never intended to subdue and have dominion over mankind. God’s plan was for mankind to care for and rule the earth. In the misguided  thoughts of most environmentalists and global elitists, these roles have been reversed.

The Rosicrucian Order designed and financed the Georgia Guidestones monument. The secretive nature of Rosicrucianism is in direct contrast with Christianity, which seeks to shout the message of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) from the roof tops, as Yeshua said, “What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops” (Matthew 10:27 KJV).

The Rosicrucianism Order is syncretistic, meaning that it borrows ideas and beliefs from various other religions in an attempt to unify them under a central theme—wisdom about life after death has been preserved through the ages and is revealed only to the secret brotherhood (the Rosicrucians). There are strongly occultic teachings in Rosicrucianism, including ESP, clairvoyance, and spiritism. This goes right along with the secretive nature of Rosicrucianism because these activities are the playground of Satan and his demons, and Satan always shuns the light.

The nature of secret societies is completely contrary to Christian belief. The Bible is an open book inviting all who will, to come to a saving knowledge of Yeshua HaMashiach. The Apostle John wrote, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17 KJV). Anyone inquiring into membership in the Corpus Christianum can investigate, ask questions, read the inspired handbook (Holy Bible), and make a decision for Messiah Yeshua fully knowing what the cost and consequences of the action will be.

In stark contrast, a secret society welcomes only a restricted number into membership, into the secret oaths and ceremonies, and into the activities of the society. Members of secret orders often compare their organization with the fellowship of believers in a local church. But a secret society is quite different from a church in that it is elitist in nature rather than inclusive. Unlike a church it does not extend its fellowship to any and all persons desiring to identify with the organization, its principles and practices.

The Corpus Christianum discourages membership in secret orders. The reasons for discouraging the Corpus Christianum from belonging to to secret orders and for encouraging the Corpus Christianum to avoid involvement with such orders are summarized below.

  1. The activities of secret orders demand time and energy that divert the servant of the Lord from efforts to fulfill the Great Commission.
  2. The binding loyalty to fellow members of the secret society—many of whom are not fellow believers in Jesus Christ and His saving work—is an unworthy joining together of believers with unbelievers.
  3. The spirit, philosophy, and general influence of secret orders channel activities toward improving only the natural part of humankind instead of changing the heart of the spiritual being.
  4. Commitment to secret orders and their teachings leads one to a wrong emphasis on salvation through good works and improving society.

Secret societies are in conflict with the teachings of Holy Scripture. A Christian must never affiliate with any organization that yokes together believers with unbelievers in unholy alliances (2 Corinthians 6:14-18), requires a pledge to unscriptural oaths which are sealed by using the name of God improperly or in vain (Exodus 20:7, Leviticus 5:4-6, Matthew 5:34-37, James 5:12), represents itself as providing teaching in harmony with the Bible when in fact it does not (2 Peter 3:16), represents itself as being religious and offers a false hope of salvation through works, yet dishonors the only true God and our Savior Yeshua HaMashiach (John 17:3, 1 Timothy 2:3-6, Colossians 2:8-10, Ephesians 2:8-9).

In his epistle to the Romans the Apostle Paul wrote, “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men” (Romans 12:17 KJV). Secretively meeting behind closed doors where activities are carried on behind a cloak of secrecy, in favor of fellow members, usually for economic, social, or political advantage hardly describes doing what is right in the eyes of everybody. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18 KJV). This is God’s advice for Christians and is certainly applicable in regard to secret societies.

In God We Trust?

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
(Psalm 46:1-3 ESV)

“In God We Trust” was adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956. The phrase has appeared on U.S. coins since 1864 and on paper currency since 1957. Strict Separationists have questioned the legality of this motto because they state that it violates The United States Constitution which forbids the government from passing any law respecting the establishment of a religion. However, the United States Supreme Court has rejected the legal basis for this claim. Religious accomodationists, on the other hand, state that this entrenched practice has not historically presented any constitutional difficulty, is not coercive, and does not prefer one narrow sect over another. Outside of constitutional objections, President Theodore Roosevelt took issue with placing the motto on coinage as he considered it sacrilegious to put the name of God on money.

As we draw to the end of of another year and into the new year, it is a time for reflection. The media reviews the top news stories and events that occured during the past year. Many people plan New Year’s Resolutions to put into effect on New Year’s Day. A New Year’s Resolution is generally a goal someone sets out to accomplish in the coming year. Some examples include resolutions to donate to the poor more often, to become more assertive, or to become more environmentally responsible. A key element to a New Year’s Resolution that sets it apart from other resolutions is that it is made in anticipation of the New Year, and new beginnings. People committing themselves to a New Year’s Resolution plan to do so for the whole following year.

At watchnight services, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making these resolutions. There are other religious parallels to this tradition. During Judaism’s New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement), one is to reflect upon one’s wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness. People may act similarly during the Christian fasting period of Lent, though the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility. The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually.

Presently, the United States is suffering from financial and economic crises. Unemployment is high and jobs are virtually nonexistent in many places. Crime rates are increasing and religion and morality are under complete persecution both nationally and internationally.The last year brought the “Arab Spring” to the Middle East, many regional wars, several asteroids, comets and solar flares either passing within close proximity to the orbit of the earth or directly impacting the atmosphere or planet.

The great Tōhoku earthquake (it was the most powerful known earthquake ever to have hit Japan, and one of the five most powerful earthquakes in the world since record-keeping began) and a subsequent tsunami which left 15,844 people dead, 5,890 people injured, and 3,451 people missing. The tsunami resulted in the still ongoing level seven meltdowns at the Fukishima Nuclear Power Plants and worldwide fallout of nuclear isotopes. Hundreds of thousand of animals died with no apparent cause around the world. The United States saw severe weather outbreaks that produced record numbers of tornadoes decimating many areas through tornado prone areas. Haboobs on scales not seen before occurred in Arizona and the southwest. Medical professionals have been compelled to provide abortions against their will. Homosexuals are gaining the right to marry and clergy is being compelled to preside over their weddings under threat of criminal prosecution. We have seen many false prophets either proclaiming to be the Messiah or predicting the end of the world. This list could continue for pages, but you get the idea.

Yeshua was sitting on the Mount of Olives and His disciples came to him privately and asked Him, “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the world?” Yeshua answered them saying, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect (Matthew 24:4-14, 37-44).”

Obviously, many of the warning signs that Yeshua proclaimed would be a warning that the end was near are occurring  Many prophecies from the Tanakh have been fulfilled in the Middle East and the stage has been set for the fulfillment of many more of these prophecies in the very near future.

We undoubtedly have a problem. The question is, can we do anything about it? Can we convince God to delay His judgement or wrath on this wicked earth? It would appear so. Consider the story of Jonah the Prophet and the city Nineveh in the Tanakh.

Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
(Jonah 3:1-10 ESV)

Jonah named the place and the date of the judgement that was to come upon Nineveh. When the people heard it they repented of their sins. When God saw this he changed His mind and did not destroy Nineveh as He said He would. The key is repentance. What is repentance? Repentance is confession to God, ceasing sin against God, and resolving to live according to His laws (Torah). It typically includes an admission of guilt, a promise or resolve not to repeat the offense; an attempt to make restitution for the wrong, or in some way to reverse the harmful effects of the wrong where possible.

In Biblical Hebrew, the idea of repentance is represented by two verbs: “shuv” (to return) and “nicham” (to feel sorrow). In the New Testament, the word translated as “repentance” is the Greek word metanoia, “after/behind one’s mind”, which is a compound word of the preposition “meta” (after, with), and the verb “noeo” (to perceive, to think, the result of perceiving or observing). In this compound word the preposition combines the two meanings of time and change, which may be denoted by “after” and “different”; so that the whole compound means: “to think differently after”. Metanoia is therefore primarily an after-thought, different from the former thought; a change of mind accompanied by regret and change of conduct, “change of mind and heart”, or, “change of consciousness”. A description of repentance in the New Testament can be found in the Parable of the Prodigal Son found in the Gospel of Luke.

Immediately after King Solomon finished construction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, he consecrated (made sacred) and dedicated the Holy Temple to God. King Solomon and the Children of Israel sacrificed 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep to Hashem at this time. God accepted their sacrifice and told them exactly how to stay under His mercy and protection.

Then the LORD appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time. And as for you, if you will walk before me as David your father walked, doing according to all that I have commanded you and keeping my statutes and my rules, then I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to rule Israel.’ “But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And at this house, which was exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’ Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.'”
(2 Chronicles 7:12-22 ESV)

So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.
(Hebrews 6:17-18 ESV)

In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.
(Psalms 56:11 KJV)

Best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year.