Christian Author Donna Fawcett/Dawson

Encouragement, education and entertainment in faith and in life.

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 Welcome to the erratic musings of a somewhat eccentric writer, Donna Fawcett / Dawson. Thanks for visiting my blog

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The Triune GOD

Posted by Donna Dawson on June 17, 2019 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

So, recently I had a discussion with a dear Jewish lady and came to realize that there is a very clear misunderstanding between how the Jews see the Christian faith.  She said to me, "We Jews are the only ones who worship one GOD.  Everyone else worships more than one."  It left me speechless which was too bad because I would have loved to clear up the misunderstanding.  I guess that's why I'm here, on this site.  I'm going to give a stab at it.  


The Jews believe in a Messiah.  They simply believe he hasn't come yet.  And they see him as a political leader.  There is a gap in their ability to see that we, too believe in a Messiah--the Messiah of their Bible.  We believe he has already come however.   But we don't see him as a political leader.  We see him as GOD come down to earth according to the Torah in the book of Isaiah chapter 9:6.  It states, "For unto us a child is born (which indicates a human being), unto us a son is given (that human would be male), and the government will be upon his shoulders. (Isaiah was speaking to the Jewish people so it's safe to assume the Jewish government of the day would oppress, reject and rebel against this son that is born).  And he will be called Wonderful Councellor (interesting that this is the name given to the Holy Spirit which is referred to as being a part of YHWH which carried out YHWH's intentions.  This part of GOD settled on people--Saul, Samuel, David--and permitted them to do miracles and divine truth), Mighty GOD (the Hebrew calls him El Gadol which directly translates as 'big GOD' and therefore declares that this Son who is a human born would be also, somehow, the Mighty GOD of Torah), Everlasting Father, (also a name reserved for the ONE GOD of the Old Testament) Prince of Peace (a moniker for the Messiah).  


So, we Christians recognize three attributes of the Old Testament or Torah GOD.  He is the everlasting Father who was born in the form of a human SON who would be the Messiah who brings power by the Spirit of GOD.  Complicated.  Yes.  But if GOD was easy to understand he wouldn't really be the all Powerful ONE would he?  


So Christianity is simply differing in the time table.  The Jews are expecting their Messiah to come.  We believe he will come again because  we believe he has already come ushering in the whole 'passover sacrifice' that was foreshadowed in the attempted sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham (interesting done on the same mountain where Y'shua died).  The question you need to ask is, "where's the proof?"  Who is right?  Does history prove the first advent?  Yes and I could give you a long list of proofs but it would serve you better to do your own homework.  The bottom line is this.  I serve one GOD.  He is YHWH who manifested himself in the form of Y'shua who made a way for the power of YHWH's spirit to dwell in us instead of simply resting on us.  I do hope I get the opportunity to clarify this dear woman's error about my belief.  We serve the same GOD.  We both love YHWH.  I just believe He made a way for us to be forgiven and set free.  She is still waiting for that to happen.

Training Ground

Posted by Donna Dawson on May 1, 2019 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (1)

I have struggled with what we call 'Life'.  I like living and I like what I do for a living but I don't like suffering--or didn't until a friend of mine said something very profound.  This friend, Howard, has battled cancer twice and is on round three.  He loves YHWH Y'shua and knows that heaven awaits him.  He is not afraid to die and looks forward to eternity with joy.  Yet he embraces the fight to live.  I have often wondered why someone with such a grasp on the amazing gift of heaven could be so tenacious in trying to stay alive just that much longer.  And then he said it.


"We get one shot to overcome.  When we get to heaven, we won't be able to see Y'shua overcome our pain and our suffering.  We won't have an opportunity to surrender that one more sin or one more flaw or one more emotion over to him.  It will all be finished and we will not be able to grow in faith and truth anymore.  Yes, we will have full perfection but we will not be able to receive new rewards for the victories won here in the body."  


It was an amazing statement that left me awed.  He's right.  We get one shot at this life.  We get one chance to share the truth with those we love.  We get one opportunity to surrender those dark recesses of our minds and watch in amazement as YHWH takes them and makes them clean.  We get 'now' only to store up treasures in eternity.  Why do we waste this precious time bemoaning the things that cause us to struggle?  Those are the very things that reveal Y'shua's victory!  I think I will follow Paul's advice.  "To live is Y'shua!  To die is gain."

What if I'm Wrong?

Posted by Donna Dawson on February 1, 2019 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (1)

I've been pondering my faith for some time now.  The question has come to my mind a few times--what if I'm wrong?  It isn't accompanied by the twinge of fear and the mind's grasping to go elsewhere so that I don't have to answer.  It has parked itself in the unemotional part of my grey matter and so I chose to follow that thread. 


I looked into the Buddhist faith and asked the question 'what do Buddhists believe about heaven?'  The answer didn't really surprise me.  They make their own heaven or hell.  I looked at that answer through the lens of my Biblical Christian faith combined with that haunting question.  What if I'm wrong and the Buddhist is right?  Well, I've lived a life actively serving others as much as I can out of a love for Jesus.  I strive to veer away from a path of sin though I've been known to fall too many times for comfort.  Would I qualify for the Buddhist heaven?  I think so.  So if my Christian belief is wrong and Buddhism is right, I've not really lost anything.  I'll die and enter whatever qualifies as a Buddhist heaven because my good deeds will have gotten me there--and I won't care that I was wrong.  


I then looked at the Atheist who doesn't believe there is a God or heaven or hell.  Well, again, I will have lived a good life--a life filled with hope and joy and love--a life surrounded by people who love me and pray for me.  I will come to the end of my days, die and...well...I won't care because I won't exist from that point on.  Again--I win.


I then looked at the Islamic faith.  They believe that worship of Allah and good deeds get them to their version of heaven.  Well, because of my good deeds, I half qualify.  I've had more people say that Allah is just the Muslim version of God anyway so if the Muslim faith were true and the Christian faith wasn't, I'd likely make it.  Another win.  


Next came the eastern religion and all its psudo-off-shoots.  They either believe we are all gods or they believe all religions lead to heaven.  Need I say more.  


So after looking down various roads with as objective a mind as I could muster, I came to realize that being a Christian would qualify me for heaven according to the standards of just about any one of the world's religions.  So then I looked at the other side of the question.  What if I'm right?


If I'm right (and I think I am) and faith in Y'shua (Jesus) is the only way to YHWH (God's REAL name) and eternal life in his kingdom, then again, I win because I do believe that Y'shua's life, death and resurrection are real historical events and that he is our only way to the Father.  But if I'm right, there's more to it.  As a Christian, I really don't lose in all those other faiths.  But those who reject Y'shua as the only way, the only truth and the only life (according to the Bible) don't get the privilege of heaven but will face an eternity apart from YHWH in a not very nice place.  I didn't write the rules.  I just research them and try to assertain which ones are true and which ones are a smoke screen from an enemy who doesn't want me to receive the love of the Creator of all life.  


It's something to consider.  No matter which way I twist it, the Christian faith has the most tangible evidence, has the best track record for authenticity and is the most logical choice when compared to the final destination of all other religions.  Oh...and there's a serious major difference between Christianity and all others.  Theirs is a religion--a belief system.  It only requires one way communication. True, Biblical Christianity, while sometimes misconstrued as a religion, is actually a relationship.  We have the privilege of not just praying to YHWH Y'shua but receiving answers from him as well.  We have the joy of seeing miracles take place that are more than superficial slight of hand tricks by con men and women who dress in the garb of Christianity but have no concept of the real depth of the relationship.  We have the hope of eternal life and the peace and comfort in the midst of the storms life.  We have forgiveness because, if we are honest, we know we all sin (aka mess up) and need someone who is perfect to forgive us.  Christianity isn't an elite religion.  It's a love relationship offered to all of humanity but the One who made humanity.  


As I meditate on this whole question issue, I am more and more assured that I am exactly where I need to be.  There's no real down side to being a Christian.  

The Corruption of the Cross

Posted by Donna Dawson on October 29, 2018 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (2)

The Corruption of the Cross

By Donna Fawcett


I recently heard a well written and well spoken sermon on the path of the cross. The presenter shared his teachings with passion and a clear awe and I came away blessed. But I also came away with a sense of incompletion. There is a portion of the cross that no one seems to want to address. I’d like to draw you to a passage of scripture in the Gospel of Matthew. In Matthew 27:27-28 it tells a sanitized account of Jesus being handed over to the Governor’s battalion where they stripped and beat him. So…being the person I am, I wanted to know what that meant.


In order to understand the ambiguity of this portion of scripture, we need to visit some historical archives and find out a bit about the way the Romans did warfare. According to a number of sources (and I don’t tend to visit unreliable ones) the soldiers were not supposed to engage in sexual activity when on duty (I’m sure there were many who disregarded that law but I digress). It was believed that such restraint gave them a stronger will to fight. There were a few exceptions to this unusual law. The first was in the conquering of a foe.


The Romans tended to lean toward firm diplomacy as a first measure. They wanted an empire not a graveyard so envoys were sent to extract surrender before any fighting took place. If the city refused to surrender, they would exert all their force upon it and then would systematically perform every sexual deviancy upon its citizens. This had a purpose. Word spread in spite of the lack of social media and many cities would surrender without so much as an arrow shot.


The second was to punish those who decided to rebel under Roman occupation. A prisoner would be taken to the courts and a trial would commence. If guilty, he was then handed over to a battalion. Again, these men were on duty so were to refrain from any sexual activity but when a prison was given to them, they knew they were to inflict a humiliation upon that person so they would never rebel again. They were not permitted to take the life of that prisoner in this stage of the punishment—only to emotionally break them. And so all those who saw or knew would think twice before raising a fist against Caesar.


So now we go to Matthew 27:27-28 and we focus on verse 28. It begins with ‘and they stripped him’. I’d like to stop there. In the historical accounts of Roman warfare, this term was used often. It was what I like to call an ‘inclusive term’. It included many details that weren’t actually written in most accounts but there are a few documents that did include the details of the stripping and all of those accounts describe the form of punishment intended to deter.


I say all that to say this; our LORD didn’t just die. He wasn’t just beaten and bruised and lashed and crucified. He was treated like a standard prisoner. He was handed over to the battalion of the Governor with the full intention of allowing them to do every unthinkable sexual act upon him. Why do I tell you this? Why mention such a horrific idea?


According to United States Government statistics, one in four women and one in six men will be sexually abused in their lifetime. That’s 25 percent of the US female population and 17 percent of the US male population. In other nations it is higher. Is it possible that Jesus picked a nation and a time period where it was common practice to keep harems of children for the purpose of sexual gratification on purpose? Is it possible that he chose a time in history which fostered such brutal practices more heinous than any other time in history for a reason? I believe so. I believe he embraced the Roman cross with a purpose we can’t begin to imagine because he needed to die for the most horrific of sins.


How can children torn and scarred by such a cruel act as sexual abuse possibly see love in a Saviour if that Saviour couldn’t understand their wounds? How can men and women of today surrender their pasts and their nightmares and their hang-ups to a God who claims to be their answer unless that God first comprehended the depth of despair they have endured?


Jesus didn’t just hang on a cross with a few little slap marks on him and a nice tidy loin cloth. He was unrecognizable. His beard had been pulled off his face. His scalp was lacerated and the 2 inch spines from the Jerusalem thorns were buried in the layers of his skin. His face was bruised and bleeding. His body was a rack of hanging flesh and gore. He was exposed fully and all shame was placed upon the outstretched shoulders—the shame that came from cruel words and unjust accusations—the shame that came from being stripped naked—and the shame that came from being enslaved to the sexual appetites of a battalion of corrupt and evil men trained to unleash all they could think of upon their helpless victim. And then he was nailed to a cross.


In the Museum in Israel, an exhibit shows the method of crucifixion. A heel bone was discovered during an archaeological dig. For centuries, we assumed that the nails couldn’t possibly go through the hands because the flesh between the fingers would tear and the feet were neatly stacked on top of a block and a single spike was driven through the top. Those who discovered the remains of crucifixion victims draw a grizzlier picture of the process.


The prisoner is tied by the wrists to the wood so they can’t, somehow, in the dark of night, be freed by working their hands and feet off the nails. It’s a horrible thought but possible. By tying the arms, they were fully secured—and then the nails were driven through the palms. It wasn’t a method of securing so much as a method of inflicting pain through the brutalizing of nerve bundles which culminate in the hands. The feet were placed on either side of a block of wood that was fastened to the main post. The foot spikes were driven in sideways through the heel bone. The prisoner didn’t stand on the block. Their full weight rested on their ankles above the spike. It was an excruciating way to die because as the prisoner needed air, he or she would push up on those spikes so they could take a breath. The process consisted of alternating from the weight on the ropes and the hand spikes to the weight on the ankles and the heel spikes. This, after the prisoner had been brutally sodomized. This, after he had been lashed and beaten and humiliated in every possible way.


Knowing this, we can all comprehend a bit more Isaiah 53: Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.


How can any of us go through a day without weeping in gratitude for the salvation we have been given?

The Corruption of the Cross

Posted by Donna Dawson on October 29, 2018 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

 

The Corruption of the Cross

By Donna Fawcett

 

I recently heard a well written and well spoken sermon on the path of the cross. The presenter shared his teachings with passion and a clear awe and I came away blessed. But I also came away with a sense of incompletion. There is a portion of the cross that no one seems to want to address. I’d like to draw you to a passage of scripture in the Gospel of Matthew. In Matthew 27:27-28 it tells a sanitized account of Jesus being handed over to the Governor’s battalion where they stripped and beat him. So…being the person I am, I wanted to know what that meant.

In order to understand the ambiguity of this portion of scripture, we need to visit some historical archives and find out a bit about the way the Romans did warfare. According to a number of sources (and I don’t tend to visit unreliable ones) the soldiers were not supposed to engage in sexual activity when on duty (I’m sure there were many who disregarded that law but I digress). It was believed that such restraint gave them a stronger will to fight. There were a few exceptions to this unusual law. The first was in the conquering of a foe.

The Romans tended to lean toward firm diplomacy as a first measure. They wanted an empire not a graveyard so envoys were sent to extract surrender before any fighting took place. If the city refused to surrender, they would exert all their force upon it and then would systematically perform every sexual deviancy upon its citizens. This had a purpose. Word spread in spite of the lack of social media and many cities would surrender without so much as an arrow shot.

The second was to punish those who decided to rebel under Roman occupation. A prisoner would be taken to the courts and a trial would commence. If guilty, he was then handed over to a battalion. Again, these men were on duty so were to refrain from any sexual activity but when a prison was given to them, they knew they were to inflict a humiliation upon that person so they would never rebel again. They were not permitted to take the life of that prisoner in this stage of the punishment—only to emotionally break them. And so all those who saw or knew would think twice before raising a fist against Caesar.

So now we go to Matthew 27:27-28 and we focus on verse 28. It begins with ‘and they stripped him’. I’d like to stop there. In the historical accounts of Roman warfare, this term was used often. It was what I like to call an ‘inclusive term’. It included many details that weren’t actually written in most accounts but there are a few documents that did include the details of the stripping and all of those accounts describe the form of punishment intended to deter.

I say all that to say this; our LORD didn’t just die. He wasn’t just beaten and bruised and lashed and crucified. He was treated like a standard prisoner. He was handed over to the battalion of the Governor with the full intention of allowing them to do every unthinkable sexual act upon him. Why do I tell you this? Why mention such a horrific idea?

According to https://endsexualviolencect.org/resources/get-the-facts/national-stats/ one in four women and one in six men will be sexually abused in their lifetime. That’s 25 percent of the US female population and 17 percent of the US male population. In other nations it is higher. Is it possible that Jesus picked a nation and a time period where it was common practice to keep harems of children for the purpose of sexual gratification on purpose? Is it possible that he chose a time in history which fostered such brutal practices more heinous than any other time in history for a reason? I believe so. I believe he embraced the Roman cross with a purpose we can’t begin to imagine because he needed to die for the most horrific of sins.

How can children torn and scarred by such a cruel act as sexual abuse possibly see love in a Saviour if that Saviour couldn’t understand their wounds? How can men and women of today surrender their pasts and their nightmares and their hang-ups to a God who claims to be their answer unless that God first comprehended the depth of despair they have endured?

Jesus didn’t just hang on a cross with a few little slap marks on him and a nice tidy loin cloth. He was unrecognizable. His beard had been pulled off his face. His scalp was lacerated and the 2 inch spines from the Jerusalem thorns were buried in the layers of his skin. His face was bruised and bleeding. His body was a rack of hanging flesh and gore. He was exposed fully and all shame was placed upon the outstretched shoulders—the shame that came from cruel words and unjust accusations—the shame that came from being stripped naked—and the shame that came from being enslaved to the sexual appetites of a battalion of corrupt and evil men trained to unleash all they could think of upon their helpless victim. And then he was nailed to a cross.

In the Museum in Israel, an exhibit shows the method of crucifixion. A heel bone was discovered during an archaeological dig. For centuries, we assumed that the nails couldn’t possibly go through the hands because the flesh between the fingers would tear and the feet were neatly stacked on top of a block and a single spike was driven through the top. Those who discovered the remains of crucifixion victims draw a grizzlier picture of the process.

The prisoner is tied by the wrists to the wood so they can’t, somehow, in the dark of night, be freed by working their hands and feet off the nails. It’s a horrible thought but possible. By tying the arms, they were fully secured—and then the nails were driven through the palms. It wasn’t a method of securing so much as a method of inflicting pain through the brutalizing of nerve bundles which culminate in the hands. The feet were placed on either side of a block of wood that was fastened to the main post. The foot spikes were driven in sideways through the heel bone. The prisoner didn’t stand on the block. Their full weight rested on their ankles above the spike. It was an excruciating way to die because as the prisoner needed air, he or she would push up on those spikes so they could take a breath. The process consisted of alternating from the weight on the ropes and the hand spikes to the weight on the ankles and the heel spikes. This, after the prisoner had been brutally sodomized. This, after he had been lashed and beaten and humiliated in every possible way.

Knowing this, we can all comprehend a bit more Isaiah 53: Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

How can any of us go through a day without weeping in gratitude for the salvation we have been given?

 


Can We Know When Jesus Was Born?

Posted by Donna Dawson on March 27, 2018 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (0)

December 25th.  It's the date that North America has deemed as Jesus' birthday.  But then again, North Americans tend to think Jesus had fair skin, blond hair and blue eyes too.  In the same way that we don't get to tell the Middle Eastern world what they should look like, so we shouldn't get to designate Jesus' birthday to a date that's convenient for us.  So a little history lesson.


December 25th has been a pagan holiday for thousands of years.  From Saturnus to Janus, a variety of gods have been petitioned on that day to bring back the sun needed to grow crops.  And it has been celebrated in a variety of ways--from...um...enthusiastic frolicking before statues made in the god's image to...sigh...the sacrificing of children in the most brutal ways possible.  So how did such a vile day become part of the Christian calendar?  Well, it's like anything in the church.  Someone starts asking the question:  Is it really so bad?  I mean, we don't do that stuff anymore.  Maybe we could confiscate the day for our faith and that would somehow make it right.  Except that it doesn't usually work out that way.  Christmas is no different. 


In 336 Constantine, as a Christian, celebrated Christ's birth on December 25th in an effort to stop the pagan worship that took place.  Well meaning but short sighted--you can't change a society until you change their hearts.  It wasn't until Pope Julius I declared the date as Jesus' official birth date shortly after Constantine's celebration that it became official.  Over the course of time society waffled back and forth between recognizing it as a legitimate declaration and declaring it heresy because it sat squarely on one of the most violent holidays on the pagan calendar.  So how could two men be so sure they were right--and what if they weren't?   


Enter the Old Testament documents.  In the book of Daniel chapter 9 we read about the prophecy of the Messiah's coming.  The word goes out that from the declaration of the rebuilding of the temple there would be seven weeks and 62 weeks.  Based on how the Jewish calendar marked years we can deduce that the weeks here are markings for groups of seven years each.  Scripture backs the thinking.  We just have to read about the Jubilee years and recognize they marked them as seven weeks or seven groups of seven years.  They declared a Sabbath week at the end of every seven 'weeks' and to this day the Shemitahs are still observed.  So...69 weeks were actually 69 groups of seven years.  What is really important here is that Messiah would show up for the 70th 'week' and half way through would be cut off (think crucifixion).  As in the 69 'weeks' this final 70th 'week' also represents years.  In Luke it states that Jesus was 30 years old when he began his ministry.  That 30th year marked the begin of his 'week' or seven years. According to the Mishnah Avot 5:21 the stages of a Jewish man are laid out and the age of authority is from 30 years old on.  So we know that Jesus had turned 30 when he began preaching.  He might have even been just approaching his 30th birthday when Mary approached him at the wedding in Cana.  It would explain his statement to Mary that his time had not yet come since he knew that he needed to be 30 for his authority to be recognized before the Jewish nation.  Prior to his 30th year, no one would take his authority seriously so...it is safe to assume his birthday marks the beginning of the seven years.


Jesus travels through the early ministry and does all he set out to do.  And then Messiah (Y'shua--Jesus) is crucified.  Both through studying the lunar calendar of the past 2000 years and through astonomical process of elimination it is determine that his death took place on April 3, A.D. 33 (see http://www.tyndalehouse.com/tynbul/library/tynbull_1992_43_2_06_humphreys_datechristscrucifixion.pdf ;)So...Jesus was 33 when he died on April 3, 33 but he wasn't really 33 was he?  He was 33 1/2.  How do I know?  Daniel said that he would be cut off from his ministry 3 1/2 years into it.  If he died in April and he was 33 1/2 at the time, when was his birthday?  Again, assuming he had just turned or was close to turning 30 at the time of the wedding, and again, knowing he had to fulfill Daniel's 3 1/2 years, it is safe to assume that Jesus was born sometime around October 3rd.  This follows Biblical timing.  I've been to Israel.  In October, the weather is still warm.  The sheep are out in the fields.  The evenings are beautiful.  Even pushing it into November the weather can become fickle.  Rain, cold and wind can crash down upon the nation quickly.  Most certainly, December would not see sheep in the fields nor shepherds sleeping there.  (Think about the big snow storm in Jerusalem in 2013).  I say all this to ask the question:  Why is the Christian community still celebrating the birth of our Saviour on a violent pagan holiday when it is most likely that he was born in October?  Perhaps the Canadian thanksgiving holiday is more appropriate?  Or the fall Jewish feasts?  Interestingly, the Feast of Trumpets is one of the fall feasts--a feast to celebrate the coming of the King of Israel.  Hm.  Just a thought.

Can We Know When Jesus Was Born?

Posted by Donna Dawson on March 27, 2018 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (0)

December 25th.  It's the date that North America has deemed as Jesus' birthday.  But then again, North Americans tend to think Jesus had fair skin, blond hair and blue eyes too.  In the same way that we don't get to tell the Middle Eastern world what they should look like, so we shouldn't get to designate Jesus' birthday to a date that's convenient for us.  So a little history lesson.


December 25th has been a pagan holiday for thousands of years.  From Saturnus to Janus, a variety of gods have been petitioned on that day to bring back the sun needed to grow crops.  And it has been celebrated in a variety of ways--from...um...enthusiastic frolicking before statues made in the god's image to...sigh...the sacrificing of children in the most brutal ways possible.  So how did such a vile day become part of the Christian calendar?  Well, it's like anything in the church.  Someone starts asking the question:  Is it really so bad?  I mean, we don't do that stuff anymore.  Maybe we could confiscate the day for our faith and that would somehow make it right.  Except that it doesn't usually work out that way.  Christmas is no different. 


In 336 Constantine, as a Christian, celebrated Christ's birth on December 25th in an effort to stop the pagan worship that took place.  Well meaning but short sighted--you can't change a society until you change their hearts.  It wasn't until Pope Julius I declared the date as Jesus' official birth date shortly after Constantine's celebration that it became official.  Over the course of time society waffled back and forth between recognizing it as a legitimate declaration and declaring it heresy because it sat squarely on one of the most violent holidays on the pagan calendar.  So how could two men be so sure they were right--and what if they weren't?   


Enter the Old Testament documents.  In the book of Daniel chapter 9 we read about the prophecy of the Messiah's coming.  The word goes out that from the declaration of the rebuilding of the temple there would be seven weeks and 62 weeks.  Based on how the Jewish calendar marked years we can deduce that the weeks here are markings for groups of seven years each.  Scripture backs the thinking.  We just have to read about the Jubilee years and recognize they marked them as seven weeks or seven groups of seven years.  They declared a Sabbath week at the end of every seven 'weeks' and to this day the Shemitahs are still observed.  So...69 weeks were actually 69 groups of seven years.  What is really important here is that Messiah would show up for the 70th 'week' and half way through would be cut off (think crucifixion).  As in the 69 'weeks' this final 70th 'week' also represents years.  In Luke it states that Jesus was 30 years old when he began his ministry.  That 30th year marked the begin of his 'week' or seven years. According to the Mishnah Avot 5:21 the stages of a Jewish man are laid out and the age of authority is from 30 years old on.  So we know that Jesus had turned 30 when he began preaching.  He might have even been just approaching his 30th birthday when Mary approached him at the wedding in Cana.  It would explain his statement to Mary that his time had not yet come since he knew that he needed to be 30 for his authority to be recognized before the Jewish nation.  Prior to his 30th year, no one would take his authority seriously so...it is safe to assume his birthday marks the beginning of the seven years.


Jesus travels through the early ministry and does all he set out to do.  And then Messiah (Y'shua--Jesus) is crucified.  Both through studying the lunar calendar of the past 2000 years and through astonomical process of elimination it is determine that his death took place on April 3, A.D. 33 (see http://www.tyndalehouse.com/tynbul/library/tynbull_1992_43_2_06_humphreys_datechristscrucifixion.pdf )So...Jesus was 33 when he died on April 3, 33 but he wasn't really 33 was he?  He was 33 1/2.  How do I know?  Daniel said that he would be cut off from his ministry 3 1/2 years into it.  If he died in April and he was 33 1/2 at the time, when was his birthday?  Again, assuming he had just turned or was close to turning 30 at the time of the wedding, and again, knowing he had to fulfill Daniel's 3 1/2 years, it is safe to assume that Jesus was born sometime around October 3rd.  This follows Biblical timing.  I've been to Israel.  In October, the weather is still warm.  The sheep are out in the fields.  The evenings are beautiful.  Even pushing it into November the weather can become fickle.  Rain, cold and wind can crash down upon the nation quickly.  Most certainly, December would not see sheep in the fields nor shepherds sleeping there.  (Think about the big snow storm in Jerusalem in 2013).  I say all this to ask the question:  Why is the Christian community still celebrating the birth of our Saviour on a violent pagan holiday when it is most likely that he was born in October?  Perhaps the Canadian thanksgiving holiday is more appropriate?  Or the fall Jewish feasts?  Interestingly, the Feast of Trumpets is one of the fall feasts--a feast to celebrate the coming of the King of Israel.  Hm.  Just a thought.

Why Swaddling Clothes

Posted by Donna Dawson on March 1, 2018 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Many of us have heard the Christmas story.  Year after year we listen as the account of the shepherds is read or acted out.  And every year we hear how the baby Jesus would be found lying in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes.  All my life, I wondered what the big deal was about swaddling clothes.  After all, isn't every baby wrapped in swaddling clothes?  Then I went to Israel and I learned the significance of swaddling clothes.


Apparently, in the good old days of Caesar Augustus, travellers did most travelling via sandal express.  They walked.  And on that long walk to wherever they journeyed, there was always the possibility of a death among the travelling company.  So what does one do with the body when they can't get it to the morgue post haste?  Well...they wrap them in swaddling clothes and lay them in a quickly dug grave.  


A swaddling cloth is a long, wide strip of linen or homespun that every person would have carried with them when they travelled.  It was considered poor taste to bury a body without washing and binding it first and a dead body had to be buried before sundown so as not to draw any undesirable critters.  


So...now we step into the manger scene.  Joseph and Mary clearly didn't expect to deliver a baby on the road otherwise they would have packed something to wrap the child in.  But God had other plans.  You see, He wanted to make a statement.  He wanted to verify that the shepherds had indeed found the right child but He also declared in that discovery the purpose of that special child.  Jesus didn't come to be a political ruler like they were hoping.  He was born to die.  And so, he was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a prophetic statement in anticipation of most amazing event in history.  And here we all thought it was just a baby blanket.

How is God good when there is Evil in the World

Posted by Donna Dawson on March 17, 2017 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

I hear often the questions “why does God allow evil? Why should I serve someone who has the power to end suffering and does nothing?” They are good questions and I have pondered the answers for some time.

It comes down to a choice between two realities—between choosing the one who created evil and the One who permits evil. The one who created evil holds absolutely no regard for human life or for anything of beauty. We see that lived out day-to-day in the abuses and murders and destructions that sweep the planet. The One who permits evil does so because He desires to give the masses more time to turn to Him. The one hates humanity. The other loves humanity deeply.

Those who blame God for allowing evil in the world have completely overlooked the true villain. The devil—satan—desires that all people perish in their sins. He laughs at our groaning and suffering and he heaps evil upon us like an extra helping of gravy at a feast. But God—He feels each wound and He weeps and He calls to us and He puts things and people and events in our paths hoping that we will reach out to Him. He endures the wickedness for a time so that we can have one more day to seek Him while the enemy does his best to snuff us out before we can make that choice.

To think that ignoring God is not a choice is to make a grave and naive mistake. By rejecting God, we embrace His enemy. By turning away from the hand that can comfort us in the midst of the wickedness we cling to the author of wickedness. So the very one we should revile becomes our god. Too many make that blind choice. So God waits. He perseveres. He watches each day tick by and hopes—leans into the hope—that we will see the real villain and cast him aside. That is why God allows evil.

 

Faith to move mountains

Posted by Donna Dawson on August 31, 2016 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (1)

"Do you know of any of the faith giants who actually moved mountains?"  

The question jolted me as my husband and I discussed with a friend the passage in Matthew 17 where Jesus talked about having faith to move mountains. 

I had just read a rabbinical website where the rabbi teaching talked about different Rabbis 'casting their mountains'.  It had astounded me because he went on to explain that each Rabbi studies the Tenach and then determines his theology based on it.  That theology is referred to as his 'mountain' and he casts it at other Rabbis so they can debate.  We were excited to realize that Jesus wasn't just speaking literally but he was also speaking as a Rabbi.  So we began to chew on the scriptures.  At first glance, it does seem that Jesus is telling his disciples that they can actually pick up a physical mountain and throw it into the sea but as my husband quipped, do we know of anyone who has done it?  Clearly, no.  

When we apply the Rabbinical meaning however, it all comes together.  In chapter 16, the Rabbis were asking for signs.  Never mind the fact that Jesus had already performed enough signs to validate his ministry ten times over.  The deeper issue was faith.  They had spent so much time studying the scriptures and refining their 'mountains' so they could cast them at each other that they had become blind to the miracle of faith.  Along comes Jesus and tells his disciples, who are unable to cast a demon out of a boy, to stop looking at the theological mountains and simply have faith that the power that comes through the name of Jesus, from God, manifested by the Holy Spirit, is enough to do the job.  The Pharisees didn't need a sign.  They, and the disciples, needed to cast their mountains into the sea of forgetfulness and pick up the tiny grain of faith.  And Jesus emphasized that only by picking up that faith could they have the ability to cast off those lofty and burdensome mountains.  

Wow!


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