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For Practicing Catholic Christians & Deserving Descendants Of Jacob

For Practising Catholic Christians And Deserving Descendants Of Jacob.

Isaiah Aleck Sanyangore Sibindi.

 

25. ‘At that time Jesus said, ‘Father, Lord of heaven and earth! I thank you because you have shown to the unlearned what you have hidden from the wise and learned. 26 Yes, Father, this was how you wanted it to happen. 27. My Father has given me all things. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28. “Come to me, all of you who are tired of carrying heavy loads and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. 30. ‘For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.’ Matthew Chapter 12.

 

19. ‘So Jesus answered them and said, ‘I am telling you the truth: the Son can do nothing on his own; he does only what he sees his Father doing. What the Father does, the Son also does. 25. ‘I am telling you the truth: the time is coming – the time has already come – when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear it will come to life. 26. Just, as the Father is himself the source of life in the same way he has made his Son to be the source of life. 27 And, he has given the Son the right to judge, because he is the Son of Man. 28. Do not be surprised at this; the time is coming when all the dead will hear his voice 29 and come out of their graves: those who have done good will rise and live, and those who have done evil will rise and be condemned.’

 

37 ‘And the Father who sent me also testifies on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his face, 38 and you do not keep his message in your hearts, for you do not believe in the one whom he sent. 39 You study the Scriptures because you think that in them you will find eternal life. And these very Scriptures speak about me! 40 Yet you are not willing to come to me in order to have life.’ John Chapter 5.

 

When Jesus approached Jerusalem He wept over it saying: 42 ‘If you only knew today what is needed for peace! But now you cannot see it! 43 Time will come when your enemies will surround you with barricades, blockade you, and close in on you from every side. They will completely destroy you and the people within your walls; not a single stone will they leave on its place, because you did not recognise the time when God came to save you!’ Luke Chapter 19.

 

14. ‘And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness; even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15. That: whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ John Chapter 3.

 

 

Isaiah Aleck Sanyangore Sibindi.

 

 

 

 

 

Contents Page

 

Title Chapter

Acknowledgements -

Disclaimer -

The Author’s word -

Who is a Christian? I

Who is a Catholic? II The way Catholics Worship III

Observing Easter IV

The Law of God V

The Kingdom of God VI

Daniel’s Prophecy VII

Who is Jesus Christ? VIII

Nature of God’s Mercy IX

Show unwavering trust for the Lord Jesus Christ. X

Jesus is My Saviour for Today and Tomorrow. XI

The Lord saves me once and twice more XII

Streams of Water Flowing From the Temple XIII

Life and Death XIV

Other Books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgements:

 

I want to thank so dearly all the following people for making this dream come true: my maternal granny Fazo Emma Nleya and her mom Nyekile Nhliziyo for introducing me to Christianity and exposing me to a Christian life in my early childhood.

 

My mom Anna Annie Sibindi for providing my first contact with the Jewish Race through the Jewish family that she worked for and also for introducing me to Catholicism in the late 1980s.

 

As from 1963 the year that my mom was expectant of me she worked for a Jewish family up to the year 1979. Her employers and their three children were very friendly to her, my two sisters and I and especially to me particularly because I had been born while she was already working for them. I was later to learn that they were Jews and my love for them and all other Jews in general was to increase when I learnt that Christ had been born into a Jewish family – and that it was originally for the Jews that He had come to the world. Since then I have loved to learn more about the history, culture and Religion of the Jews.

 

By God’s plan when I came to South Africa from Zimbabwe for the first time I was accommodated in a Jewish house for more than a month and God has given me the opportunity to work for a Jewish family, which I count as a blessing and also a fulfilment of God’s purpose. I feel that through God’s will I have been brought nearer to God’s first chosen people so that through them I may understand their religion and similarly through me they may also get to understand Christianity which also is supposed to be their religion.

 

Back then in 1963 still in her pregnancy stages, my mom was taken on vacation with her employers from what was then Rhodesia and present day Zimbabwe, to Cape Town. There she had an opportunity to swim in the sea waters by the beach. On her return to her home country her friends had told her to terminate the pregnancy as rumours were rife that, ‘any expectant woman who swims in sea water will have a still birth.’

 

She decided not to influence my death through abortion but to wait for fate to come on its own. She may still be waiting for my death to come as a result of her swimming at sea almost half a century later. Thanks mom for taking a wise decision, may your soul rest in eternal peace.

 

I am grateful to my teachers at Siganda Primary School for teaching me how to read and write and also for the Scripture lessons. Even if some of you may be dead by now I owe it to you. God bless and preserve your souls.

 

Thank you to Our Lady Queen of Peace Entumbane Parish for the Catechism lessons and my baptism in the early 1990s. I pay tribute to St Peter and Paul in Hwange for my confirmation in 2001. I am equally grateful to all the Parishes through which I have gone and all the Christian brothers and sisters for helping me to grow in faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Your reward awaits you all from your Father who is in heaven. Let me not spoil it by thanking you.

 

For this work I want to thank the following: The Publishers of the Good News Bible Today’s English Version with Deutero-Canonical Books and also the publishers of the Polyglot Bible Ancient English Version. Both these Bibles have been heavily quoted in this book and are the main source of most of the material in it. I also thank the publishers of any other material quoted in this book.

 

Special thanks go to all the people whose names I have used in this book. I have however altered the names of the people whose consent to publish them I was not able to get. Only the names of my close relatives and the people who granted me permission to publish their names appear unaltered in the book.

 

My thanks also go to the most generous doctor Dr Clive Evian and his equally generous wife Sara. Besides being an inspiration through his involvement in book writing Dr Evian encouraged me to read extensively and also together with his wife Sara supplied me with a lot of reading material. This Jewish couple also gave me access to their computer especially for printing the manuscripts. Dr Evian also provided professional assistance as a renowned author himself.

 

I would be ungenerous if I failed to acknowledge Dr Evian’s mom the late Mrs Sonia Evian. I knew her only for a month but my short lived experience with her taught me a lot of things about the love for everyone regardless of race, colour or creed.

 

She was the kind of lady who would make a stranger feel most welcome and wanted. Her radiant love would make me feel as if I was one of her sons. When she passed on her son Dr Clive gave me some of her personal possessions, one of which turned out to be the ‘Polyglot Christian Bible,’ which I have used extensively in the preparation and presentation of this work.

 

Even if Mrs Evian was not openly a Christian, something tells me that she believed in Christ and was looking forward to His coming in Great Glory.

 

Dr Evian’s father in law Mr A. I. Yachad, affectionately known to the Jewish Community both local and abroad as ‘Uncle Mitzi,’ happens to be my employer. Mr Yachad Sir. My zeida Sir, thank you for allowing me to steal your time during working hours in order to do The Lord’s work. Your encouragement and that of your daughters and grand children made this work possible to complete.

 

I pray that the light of your Holy God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and that of His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ always grace you, your descendants and the Jewish Race.

 

Nadine Slotow Meyerowitz my friend and sister through Hashem, your interest in this book and your quest in having it published gave me all the momentum to see it to its logical conclusion. I wish enjoy reading it.

 

Special thanks to my friend Mr Jules Chipata a Congolese national. May the Lord Jesus Christ bless and protect you, your family and your country for the work you have done for Him. You are a tool in His hand. Thank you for providing the computer which typed the manuscripts and also for teaching me how to operate it. You came right at the time when the Lord wanted His work done.

 

To Amandalyn Sibanda from Zimbabwe my sister in Christ who taught me some valuable tricks in computer handling, I say God bless you.

 

Grace Thokozani Msipha my dear friend. You know that from beginning to end God used you for His purpose which is the assembling and production of this book. He will duly reward you for doing all that you had to do.

 

Abraham Sikhanyiso Sibindi my son, I promised that your name would be in the acknowledgements page. You typed the first couple of pages of the book during the April May holidays. God has a purpose for you. EGodonga.

 

Special thanks also go to my friend and brother in Christ Mr Mirino Roberto. I had intended to have the book published by the end of the Soccer World Cup 2010 but that was not to be because the computer which I had originally used was out dated. I could neither print nor transfer the manuscripts into modern computers.

 

Having met Mirino in the Perpetual Adoration Chapel where we always exchanged duty at 7 am every Sunday between 2009 and 2010 we became friends and I told him of my problem. He willingly offered to help and within a short time managed to open the manuscripts and convert them into Microsoft Word.

 

Last but not least I want to pay tribute to my two elder sisters Mrs Molly Gwasunda and Janet Sibindi who have been great inspirations in my life, and also to Nomsa Shamie Gwasunda my lovely niece who is my publications manager.

 

The publishers and distributors of this book namely Shakespir Inc also receive my special thanks.

 

I love you all.

 

Isaiah Aleck Sanyangore Sibindi 15 January 2011.

 

Disclaimer

 

The views and opinions expressed in this book although based on the teachings of the Church and the writings in the Bible are of the writer’s personal understanding. The Church of God may not be held responsible or accountable for whatever views may be taken as offensive to some individuals or groupings. The publishers of this book and of any other material quoted within may not be held responsible either. All blame rests on the writer of the book herein named as Isaiah Aleck Sanyangore Sibindi.

 

The author’s word:

 

For: my father, mother, brothers, sisters as well as my sons and daughters. For, anyone who believes in Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour and does the will of God the Father is my father, mother, sister, as well as my son and daughter.

 

While it is my general wish for this book to be easily available to all peoples of the world i.e. followers of Christ and followers of all other religions alike at minimal or no cost at all, my greatest wish is for it not to be missed by the Jewish Community throughout the world. That includes the Chief Rabbis, Rabbis, elders in Synagogues, adults and young Jewish children.

 

I think the Jewish community might find something of interest in the book especially regarding Jesus Christ whom Christians regard as God’s chosen Messiah, whilst on the other hand the Jews do not necessarily think so.

 

May everyone enjoy reading the book and find no offence in it but the peace and love that God Almighty extends through His Son Jesus Christ. In this book I never seek to portray myself as a holy man or one who does the will of God. If anything I am the worst of all sinners who only wishes that by the Grace of God will one day become a doer of God’s will.

 

I have only been blessed by the same grace and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ who has revealed to me who He is and what His followers need to do in order to have eternal life. I have lived a sinful life but for all the bad things I have done I thank God because He has never adequately punished me for them. But as a loving Father He has allowed me to live on through His tenderly love and has always caused me to look back at my past mistakes with regret.

 

As a practising catholic I have always drawn comfort in confessing my sins and those of my fellow humans to God in private. Realising that as an individual I am a sinner and also taking account of the sins that we as humans are collectively guilty of, I always pray to God to forgive us all for the sins. I have also drawn farther comfort in confessing my sins to God through His servants the Priests.

 

I dislike having to fall into the same sin and also having to confess over and over again. I only hope that it will come to pass that when I am truly sorry for my sins I confess and never have to commit the same again.

 

Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ always tells us that ‘our sins are forgiven’ and urges us never to sin again. In the same token when we fall into sin and confess God forgives us. But we are never ashamed or afraid of confessing the same sin if we fall into it once more.

 

Christ advises us to forgive our brothers and sisters seventy times seven times. That’s if they trespass against us and ask for our forgiveness. God will forgive us in more times than that because He is our Father, and when we confess these sins we do it from deep within our hearts and are really sorry for having committed them.

 

Personally I regret all the sins that I have committed right from my childhood up to my adulthood. When I take stock of them I come up with the conclusion that I do not deserve the long life that I have lived. I also conclude that I live because of Jesus Christ’s mercy, His suffering, crucifixion, death and resurrection, all for my sake and for all humanity.

 

Growing up in the rural areas in the late sixties and throughout the seventies I was exposed to so many dangerous situations through which I can never explain how I survived, besides the only explanation that it was through the power of God Almighty and His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

In the nineteen eighties up to the nineteen nineties I had similar other incidents which include being hit by a car in Bulawayo’s 15th Avenue in 1979 and taking a poisoned sweet bought outside the school gates at Sobukhazi Secondary School also in the same year. I also drank poisoned tea served by my parents’ tenant in 1980 at Entumbane a suburb in Bulawayo.

 

In 1983 I ate poisoned food in a meal I shared with colleagues at Tobwe Primary School in Binga district where I started teaching.

 

In 1988 I survived yet another poisoning. My beer was laced with poison at a Shebeen also at Entumbane Suburb. My friend Andreas and I had gone out on a drinking spree in celebration of college graduation. We had started off drinking at Exchange Bar in the city centre round about 11 am. Exchange Bar was a favourite drinking spot for teachers and it ended up being nick named, ‘The Staff Room.’

 

Later on that day after sunset we decided to go and drink closer home. We then went to a Shebeen where my friend was well known. I was not known at that particular Shebeen because I did not like drinking at those spots. My friend and I were dressed in blue jeans and black leather jackets a typical C I D dress code for Zimbabwe those days.

 

As I had already taken too much alcohol I might have wanted to be mistaken for a C I D or a C I O operative and to aid that aspiration I had started addressing the Shebeen Queen in Shona, unaware that I was possibly endangering my life.

 

We were quickly served with full glasses of beer which we had not even ordered. The glasses had been filled in one of the rooms and brought to us ready for drinking, with one particularly aimed at me. We had seen neither how the beer bottles had been opened nor what other ingredients had been added particularly to my glass.

 

In a feat of greed I was quick in taking a fast sip of the cold beer but as soon as I put down the still three quarter full glass I felt like vomiting. I hastily signalled my friend out and we left without bidding farewell. Andreas had still not taken a sip from his glass.

 

Once outside I told him that I had nearly died at the Shebeen. He seemed to be aware of what had transpired but had not been able to forewarn me before I drank. He thanked me for hastily moving out. When I got home I vomited terribly and was sick for almost a week.

 

All the incidents were not reported or documented in any way but they were only known to my parents and close family members. They are only being made public for the first time now.

 

The only other food poisoning that almost got documented was in the year 2004. I will not disclose all details but only hint that I did go to consult a doctor for it. I consulted Dr Sururu at 12th Avenue in Bulawayo. I got some medication for it but again the hand of God saved me.

 

On 15 June 1995 a bus in which I was travelling overturned and fell into Gweru River at Nesikwe in Nkayi District. Although this was a fatal accident I got out of the bus with no injury although I had a crude knock at the back of my head. The knock was so bad that it rendered me unconscious until the splash of water in the river revived me when the bus had violently landed on its side.

 

I am surprised that almost fifteen years later today, as I write about the incident its memory makes me feel the effect of the knock for the first time in years.

 

I came out of the bus wreck and rendered first aid to a few people including a ten year old girl from Tsheli or Gwelutshena up there. The girl had taken a deep cut on the right cheekbone, stopped breathing and turned pale. Her grandmother and a few other women had gathered around her and started mourning uncontrollably. I rebuked them, took the girl and laid her in a recovery position under the bridge.

 

Having felt for her heartbeat and found none I tried to pump up her heart by pressing my open palms rhythmically against her left side of the chest, simultaneously calling her name. I did all this without any slight idea of first aid. I had asked for her name and her granny had quickly given it to me. I called the name in no more than three times and she woke up and opened her eyes. I opened the deep cut on her cheekbone to examine it. It ran so deep, showing white flesh but with no single drop of blood. I closed it up in horror and swore that had I seen its depth before rendering the first aid I would never have had the courage to assist.

 

Helping the girl up I handed her over to her granny who said to me, ‘Hah! Mntanami. Ngiyakwesaba.’

 

This translated into English means, ‘Oh, my son. I fear you!’

Of course I had the courage to answer her, ‘Yesaba uMlimu gogo,’ meaning, ‘You should fear God instead grandma.’

 

I had become an active first aider despite never having attended a first aid course in my life. I was later to learn from this accident that it had been through neither my power, wit, nor my wisdom that I had come out unscathed from an accident that had claimed three lives (all from one family). I had also learnt that God had chosen me to save the life of one little girl though ignorance of health procedures and that through unconsciously having faith in Jesus Christ, I and the girl’s granny had actually saved a life.

 

When I did not turn up for work that day as earlier on expected and for five other following days, people started spreading rumour that I had died in the accident. Some purported eyewitnesses told my colleagues that they had seen my dead body pulled out of the bus wreck and loaded into a police van for onward transmission to the mortuary in Bulawayo.

 

On my return to school the next weekend my colleagues at Jabulisa Primary School were surprised to see me alive. However, the deputy head came with another rumour emanating from Tsheli. It was reported that the girl’s parents had pledged a beast for my heroic act in saving her life.

 

I did not take kind to that suggestion and quickly made it known that I did not deserve any praise for what had transpired at that accident scene. I said that I had only been a victim in as far as I had also been saved from certain death that day, by some invisible Saviour at the accident scene Jesus Christ.

 

Three years later at Chiuzya Primary School in Binga district I had yet another incident, this time with a cobra. I had unconsciously placed my right foot on it as I walked. Fortunately not on its tail as that may have proved disastrous.

 

It was evening time and I had just been seeing off an accomplice who had come to visit me at the school. Remembering my night blindness I had told the man that I would not take him as far as the school gates, preferring to turn just before getting to the classrooms.

 

Taking my first step back, my right foot had landed flatly on the snake probably on its neck. My mind had clearly told me that I had stepped onto a snake. My next instinctive move was to leap and run three to four steps down the footpath in great panic.

 

Having taken the several steps I turned to face the direction from which I had approached, instinctively looking down at the footpath which now seemed to be glowing white in the sandy soils of Binga. At that very moment I saw the viper swiftly zigzagging towards me in the whitish sandy path.

 

I ran once again, this time crossing it on the way while it raced on the opposite direction along the path towards the cottages and I towards the classrooms. I was not been bitten. My visitor was stunned. He said nothing and went home, inwardly convinced that I had been bitten and perhaps expecting some bad news before daybreak.

 

My sons Terrence and Emmanuel aged thirteen and ten respectively at that time were shell shocked. They had to escort me to fetch the slippers which I had abandoned as I ran to escape the snake. The right foot slipper by which I had stepped on the viper smelled strongly of the snake. It smelled so much that we had to leave it outside the overnight.

 

Early in the morning at sunrise the other teachers, my sons and I toured the spot at which I had nearly been bitten the previous night. Still visible on the footpath was the marked evidence of where my right foot had stepped onto the snake, my bare footmarks as I ran along the path with the spoor of the snake treading onto the footmarks in pursuit. My verbal testimony was strengthened by the silent but clearly visible and eloquent marks which witnessed on my behalf.

 

In this incident there had been three chances at which I could have possibly been bitten but they were all rendered impractical. Firstly, at first contact with the viper, had I stepped onto its tail I could have been bitten before I could react. Secondly after running the three steps, if I had continued walking without looking back on the ground the snake could have caught up with me and plunged its fangs deep into my heel. Thirdly, when I crossed the snake fleeing in the opposite direction, by chance I could have run head on onto it and again I could have been bitten.

 

In such a situation at night and in my semi blindness, can I really praise myself for averting a snake bite? No, not at all, I praise my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for protecting me from the snake.

 

I can however put it on record that I once was bitten by a snake on my right heel in my childhood at Siganda Communal Lands in 1976. But just like in the other life threatening incidents in my life, the bite was rendered harmless by Jesus Christ the Lord and I never went to hospital or to any traditional healer for treatment.

 

Later on in my adulthood, the poisoning incidents and the two snake incidents drew me to the attention of the Scriptures in Mark Chapter 16 verses 14 – 18: ‘Last of all, Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating…………” He said unto them, ‘Go throughout the whole world and preach the gospel to the whole human race. 16 Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 Believers will be given the power to perform miracles; they will speak in strange tongues; 18 if they pick up snakes or drink any poison, they will not be harmed; they will place their hands on the sick people, who will get well.’

Good News Bible Today’s English Version.

 

I have a handful of more other stories of my contact with the Lord Jesus Christ that may need another book in order to be clearly narrated. However, for the theme of this book I will leave them out and concentrate on the more important issues.

 

I have seen friends, brothers, sisters, uncles and cousins from my childhood up to my manhood, some older than I and others relatively younger. I have watched most of them die. Not that they were more sinful than I am. Of course I could have been more sinful than most if not all. But God has allowed me to live up to this age not because of the good things I have done but because He has loved me.

 

What hurts me more than the actual deaths of these people is that some of them died before they found Christ. I have therefore put myself in their position and asked myself what could have happened had I died before finding Christ or before He found me?

I have therefore resolved to thank the Lord Jesus Christ by offering Him a sacrifice. This sacrifice is not a burnt offering or an amount of money but is the gratitude from deep within my heart. The urge to thank God the Father, Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour His Son and The Holy Spirit, and to offer this book to Him. I would be happy to write and complete this book and send it for publication before I die.

 

Those who do not believe in Jesus Christ and continue to do so even when persuaded should have good reason to fear death because they have no hope of rising from it without His help. If however they do rise, they should pray that He serves them from the fires of hell.

 

Isaiah Aleck Sibindi Sanyangore 24 March 2010.

 

CHAPTER I

 

Who Is A Christian?

 

Among all possible definitions I will simply define a Christian as one who follows and believes in Jesus Christ.

 

For one to follow and believe in Jesus Christ they have to understand who Jesus Christ is and what He teaches. Understanding the things that Jesus Christ teaches and putting those teachings into practice makes one a Christian.

 

A Christian is also one who believes in God. God, The Father, Creator of heaven earth and the universe and all that is in them. A Christian has to understand the inseparable nature between God, The Father and Jesus Christ His only begotten Son and also The Holy Spirit.

 

A Christian understands that God is one yet He is one God in three persons consisting, The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. We refer to this Union as The Holy Trinity One God. It is also necessary and essential for all individuals to confess through their mouths voluntarily and faithfully that Jesus Christ is the Only Lord and Saviour, The Son of God and the Messiah.

 

For over almost two thousand years people have resisted this fact and they continue through their ignorance and hard heartedness to do so. Some other people who believe in God do not necessarily believe in Jesus Christ as God or as equal to God. Those people therefore do not qualify to be called Christians. From a Christian point of view these people miss the point and may not possibly go to heaven because people do not go to heaven solely because they are good but they go to God only through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.

 

This has been so since the Suffering, Crucifixion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ about 1976 years ago. Before then, people used to go to heaven through belief in some religions, mainly Judaism and some other unpublicised religions through which various tribes and races worshipped God.

 

There is a possibility and archaeological evidence that before Abraham or even before the Flood, some races may have existed for approximately 300 000 years. [The Great Civilisations of the Middle East]

 

I have singled out Judaism because it is the only Religion through which the True God was made known to all the peoples of the world, otherwise the current race and all its forgone generations from the time of Abraham.

 

Christianity which seems to be the biggest, most popular and most credible Religion of the present Day has its roots in Judaism. Christianity is no doubt the ‘Kingdom of God.’

 

The Christian Bible which is a translation of the Hebrew and Greek earlier publications has the Old Testament which is basically the main source of Judaism. The Bible consists also of the New Testament which is made up of the four Gospels that chronicle the birth, Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ who is the Messiah. It also has the Acts of the Apostles, the letters of St. Paul and other letters by the other Apostles of the Lord. These talk of the early Church and perhaps what the ideals of Christians or God’s children need be.

 

True Christians need to study, understand and put into practice both the teachings of the Old and New Testaments, with of course a bias towards the New Testament as it is a refined Covenant through which God Himself came down in human form to teach and save His people.

 

Jesus Christ does not suddenly appear in the New Testament. The Prophets in the Old Testament talk about Him. Prophets like Isaiah, Daniel, Jeremiah, and King David, just to name a few talk about Him in the Old Testament.

 

Talking to a few Jewish people that I have had the privilege to know, share life with and work for I have found out that some of the Jews do not accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah. I have also learnt that they do not believe in Christ because He supposedly changed the Sabbath Law and the food rites. They do not believe again that He is their Messiah. They still expect their Messiah to come. (Note that Christians expect the second coming of The Messiah Jesus Christ and believe that His first coming has already been.)

 

I was also made to understand that the Jews study only the five books of Moses. Otherwise they know only up to the death of Moses. Anything after the death of Moses they do not study. I cannot really confirm this information to be absolutely true because it was not sourced from authoritative sources in the Jewish Religion. It was only sourced from people who are practicing Jews but are neither Rabbis nor descendants of the tribe of Levy.

 

I however respect my sources because they are old people. Older than me and some are learned people with degrees in various fields. I also understand that the New Testament is not part of Judaism or of the Jewish Faith.

 

Some of my findings about the Jews are confirmed by the Gospels and other parts of the Old Testament. About Spiritual Books and their choice the Deutero-Canonical Books speak of a period when the Prophet Ezra was given the Law for forty days and forty nights just like Moses had earlier on been. Of the ninety-four books that he wrote Ezra was told to make only twenty-four public and reserve seventy for the wise.

 

The Particular Scriptures go: 45 At the end of the forty days God Most High said to me, ‘You are now to make public twenty-four books that you wrote, so that everyone, whether they are worthy or not, may read them. 46 But the last seventy books that you wrote are to be held back and to be given only to those who are wise among your people, 47 because these books contain a flood of understanding, a fountain of wisdom, and a river of knowledge.’ 48 Then I did as I was told.’

2 Ezdras 12: 45 – 48.

 

I do not know how many of Ezra’s books the Jewish People read but I am certain that some Christians read some of them. However, I do not attempt to criticise or condemn the Jewish Faith in any way. The Jews are a God loving people. They believe in Him and they serve and worship Him in the best way they can.

 

I am also happy to note that while the general perception may be that Jews do not want to hear anything about Jesus Christ, there is evidence to suggest on the contrary. For example in most recent years as late as 2008-9 a Synagogue to the north of Johannesburg produced a booklet with more than 69 pages. The booklet had among others, the topic:

SALVATION

 

‘Moshiach-Moshiah’

 

The Christian Bible is heavily quoted in that booklet from both the Old and New Testaments. The most eye catching quotation in the booklet comes from St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews where Chapter 10 is quoted from verses 10 to 18.

 

The writer makes a special emphasis of the verses by writing some of the verses in capital letters. I am tempted to quote the booklet word for word verbatim:

 

Hebrews 10:10-18.

 

{10} by this we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

{11}Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;

{12} but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,

{13} waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET

{14}For one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

{15}And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,

{16} ‘THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTERTHOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,’ He then says,

{17} ‘AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.’

{18}Now there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

 

Quoted from the Booklet Produced by a Jewish Synagogue in Johannesburg North 2008.

 

The above quotation removes doubt that Jesus Christ is not being taught in Jewish Synagogues. One can only pray that our brothers and sisters in the Jewish Faith would follow the example of this one Synagogue and also that the said Synagogue keep up the good work and share it with the other Synagogues.

 

Our Jewish brothers and sisters have to be reminded that Jesus Christ was a Rabbi in the Jewish Synagogues. He never taught in any Christian Church in His human nature. He only teaches there through His Spirit and Presence in the Eucharist. So He belongs more to the Jews than to the modern Christians. The ancient Jews acknowledged Him as their Rabbi and some even called Him the ‘Good Teacher.’

 

They need to be reminded once again that the Lord Jesus Christ and His Father in heaven love the Jews more than any other race. This is especially supported by the words of the Gospel of St. Matthew 10: 1; 5 – 8: ‘Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and every sickness. 5 These twelve men were sent out by Jesus with the following instruction: ‘Do not go out to any Gentile territory or any Samaritan towns. Instead, you are to go to the lost sheep of the people of Israel. 7 Go and preach, ‘The Kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, bring the dead back to life, heal those who suffer from dreaded skin-diseases, and drive out demons. You have received without paying, so give without being paid.

One of the beliefs that a Christian has to cherish is that Jesus Christ is God and is one with God. That He was with God when the heavens and earth were first made.

 

For one to be a Christian they have to believe that Jesus came from God and had to take the human form for the sake of man. They have to believe that Jesus Christ came to earth and lived amongst humans and that by the will of God He suffered and was crucified for the sins of all humanity.

 

They have to believe that three days from His death He arose from the dead and forty days later He went back to heaven. In heaven Christ sits at the right hand of God Almighty and He will come again from there to judge the living and the dead.

 

Before becoming one, a Christian has to turn away from all evil repent of his or her sins and get baptised in the name of The Father, and of The Son, and of The Holy Spirit.

 

A Christian has to believe in the teachings of the Lord which include all the above and the following: -that Jesus Christ came from God and only through Him can we go to God, -that Christ died for us and He rose from death and that He is alive today, -that there is forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ, -that there is the rising of all people from the dead, otherwise life after death, -that there will be never ending torment for those who do not believe in Jesus Christ, -that the torment is the fires of hell after Judgement Day, -that there is need for forgiving our brothers and sisters when they trespass against us, -that we need to worship only God and Only Him alone, This includes Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit because they are in God and God is in them and; -that, we should desist from committing sin.

 

Committing sin is defying all the above and breaking the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament. Jesus Christ is the one who taught us all the aforesaid. The people of the age in which He lived on earth never believed in Him. For these teachings they persecuted Him, executed Him through nailing Him on the cross and they even tried to conceal His Resurrection by denying it through persecuting and even murdering the early believers.

 

The summary of the Ten Commandments

i. Worship no god but me, the God who freed you from slavery in Egypt.

ii. Do not make for yourselves images of anything on earth or in heaven. Do not bow down to idols, do not worship them.

iii. Do not use my name for evil purposes.

iv. Observe the Sabbath and keep it Holy.

v. Respect your father and your mother.

vi. Do not commit murder.

vii. Do not commit adultery.

viii. Do not steal.

ix. Do not accuse anyone falsely.

x. Do not desire another man’s house, his wife or his other property.

 

The Ten Commandments were first made for the Jews. The Jews are the ones whom God freed from slavery in Egypt.

 

Note that having set them free from Egypt God was dissatisfied with some of the early Jews. They defied Him by breaking the second Commandment. They made a golden calf from their jewellery and worshipped it as their god. They then rebelled against God and Moses in the wilderness, demanding that Moses sends them back to Egypt where they had been slaves.

 

They used God’s name for evil purposes because they criticised the food that God had provided for them in the wilderness. In His anger God swore that they would never enter into the land where He would have given them rest. This solemn vow by God meant a lot of things. First of all, God had taken the Jews out of Egypt intending to settle them in Canaan the land which He had promised to give them through their ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God had intended that He would make them live permanently on that land.

 

Having made this vow, God made sure that anyone who was twenty years and older at the time of leaving Egypt never arrived in Canaan. They all died in the desert during the forty years of wandering. Only two people who were above twenty at the time arrived and these are Joshua and Caleb.

 

The rest including Moses died before getting to the land of promise. So besides Joshua and Caleb only people who were younger than twenty at the time of leaving Egypt and those born outside Egypt arrived at the Promised Land.

 

The vow by God that they would ‘never enter into the land where He would have given them rest’ meant that although they arrived, they would not settle in that land permanently and in peace.

 

In the Promised Land they continued to defy God by worshipping foreign gods which their ancestors never knew. Killing the Prophets sent by God and building alters for foreign gods – and even killing each other.

 

In that period they never lived in peace. They were always at war with their neighbours. God continued to fight on their side and wining battles on their behalf in order to win their loyalty. But all that was in vain.

 

God punished them once again by making them slaves in Babylonia and also destroying Jerusalem His City and His Temple built by King Solomon.

 

The Sabbath as a day of worship was also compromised as God had declared: ‘They will never enter into the land in which I would have given them rest.’

 

God Almighty had to designate another day which is called ‘Today’ as a day of rest. This day was to be kept a secret to them and it remains so up to present day. But it is in their law, The Law of Moses.

 

Psalm 95 verses 7-8: 7 ‘He is our God, ‘we are the people he cares for, the flock for which he provides. Listen today as he says. 8 ‘Do not be stubborn as your ancestors were that day in the desert at Massa.’ Good News Bible Today’s English Version.

 

These are the words of King David inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul in Hebrews Chapters 3 and 4 verses 6-7says: ‘Those who first heard the Good News did not receive that rest, because they did not believe. There are then others who are allowed to receive it. 7 This is shown by the fact that God sets another day, which is called ‘Today.’ Many years, later he spoke of it through David in the scripture already quoted; ‘If you hear God’s voice today, do not be stubborn.’

 

Christians are the ones called upon by God to receive His rest on this Day. This day is the day on which Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour rises from the dead. It is once again the Day on which He transforms the life of His Apostles by sending them the Holy Spirit on Pentecostal Day.

 

Some Christian denominations rebuke the worship of God on Sunday. They say that Sunday is a pagan day of worship. They say that the Romans put this Day as a rebellion to the true God who said we should worship on a Sabbath or Saturday.

 

Both, the ‘Sabbath’ or Saturday and the ‘Day after the ‘Sabbath,’ Sunday are days of worship for both Jews and Christians. Moses was instructed by God Almighty to tell the Israelites that when they get to the Promised Land they shall bring Him new offerings on the, ‘Day after the Sabbath.’ They also, should do no servile work on that Day and declare it as a Day of Worship.

 

God further advised the Israelites that from that Day on which they bring a new offering; the ‘Day after the Sabbath,’ they should count seven full Sabbaths up to the ‘Day after the seventh Sabbath,’ – a total of fifty days. God said on that very same Day – the ‘Day after the seventh Sabbath,’ or the fiftieth Day – the Jews should offer a new sacrifice and declare the Day a Day of Worship and that the practice is to be forever.

 

This Day is to be observed as a Day of Worship where no servile work is to be done by all Israelites and all their descendants in all countries of the world where they live. The Israelites who observe this Day are the Christians from all races, tribes and languages who have become the descendants of the Jews through Jesus Christ.

 

The myth of the ‘sun god,’ who was worshipped by Romans and honoured by them by reserving Sunday for him as a day of worship is farfetched. For the Christians who are privileged to read both the Old and New Testaments in full and to obey the Law of God without doubt, the Scriptures clearly talk about Sunday as a Day of Worship.

 

Leviticus 23: 9; 11; 15 – 16; 21: ‘…… the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 11 speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, when ye be come into the land which I give unto you , and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the first fruit unto the priest; And ye shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you; on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. 15 ‘And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete; 16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord.’

 

‘21 And ye shall proclaim on the self-same day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you; ye shall do no servile work therein; it shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.’ Polyglot Bible, English Version.

 

Christians need not only read and know the teachings of the Bible but to also believe and practise. Knowing is not enough because even demons also claim to know Jesus Christ but they are not of His Kingdom. Christians need to have a deeper understanding of the teachings.

 

The Ten Commandments as summarised above mean more than they seem to mean at face value. The commandments are very pragmatic statements. They mean many more things than they appear to mean. For example, when Jesus was asked by the Jewish religious leaders which the greatest commandment of them all was? He answered: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart all your mind and all your soul. This is the most important of the laws. The next one is, ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself. There is no other law which is as important as these.

 

When the Scribes and Pharisees heard this they marvelled and told Jesus that He had answered well.

 

Note that if one refers to Exodus 20 one cannot find these two Laws as clearly defined as by Christ. They are rather an expansion of the first and the tenth Commandments. Jesus’ answer shows His deeper understanding of the Law.

 

The way in which He answers indicates that He understands the Law because He is God and author of the Law. He gave the Law to Moses. When one looks at the Ten Commandments at face value, they do not include these two Laws which seem to be new as they are taught by the Lord Jesus Christ. There is also the new Law that the Lord gave to His disciples shortly before His Crucifixion. But for a deeper discussion of the Ten Commandments I have written a separate Chapter from this one.

 

The mere study and knowledge of the Bible does not make one a true and complete Christian. We need not be philosophical about God because the more we try to be learned, the more we stray from God’s truth. So we need more.

 

We need belief. We need faith. We need hope and we need to put into practice what we learn and know. In other words, for one to become a true and complete Christian they need the Grace of Jesus Christ. He is the only one who has the authority to enter the names of the saved into the Book of Life.

 

In our Christian life therefore, we need not be selective as regards the Law. We need to try and appease God by doing His will.

 

CHAPTER II

 

Who Is A Catholic?

 

It may seem difficult to draw a line between a Christian and a Catholic.

 

Catholics are Christians but some Christians are not Catholics. Some Christian denominations do not believe in some of the teachings of the Catholic Church.

 

The Catholic Church has some beliefs and teachings which are unique to it. These teachings are the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Most of what Christ taught before His Crucifixion was not readily acceptable or believed by people at that time. Surprisingly almost two thousand years after His Death and Resurrection both Jews and some Christians still do not believe in the teachings.

 

The Catholic Church is a Christian Church. The word Catholic does not define any religion. The Religion is Christianity. Catholic means ‘universal’ – the ‘Universal’ Church – the Church for all languages, tribes and nations of the world. The word Catholic only serves to define and distinguish the Church from other Christian denominations that have their own different characteristics.

 

The Catholic Church is said to be the original Church established by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Before Christ established the Christian Church there was no other Church besides the Jewish Synagogue. All other Christian denominations otherwise known as the Protestant Churches or Pentecostal Churches did not exist.

 

How then do we get the proof that the Catholic Church is the one established by Jesus Christ? There is Biblical and historical evidence in that regard. When the Lord met Simon Peter for the first time He said to him, ‘Your name is Simon son of John, but you will be called, ‘Cephas.’ {This is the same as Peter and means, ‘a rock.’} John 2: 42.

 

Later on when Simon Peter had become the Lord’s disciple, the Lord asked the rest of His disciples who the people thought that He was? They are said to have told Him that some people thought that He was Elijah or John the Baptist arisen, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.

 

At this the Lord is said to have asked who the disciples thought that He was? And only Simon Peter is said to have answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’

 

The Bible tells us that at this answer Jesus addressed Simon Peter as follows: 17 ‘And Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘blessed, art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven…. 18 ‘And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it…..19 ‘And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever shalt thou loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.’

Matthew Chapter 16 verses 17 – 19

 

Polyglot Bible English Version

 

Simon Peter was to be transformed at Pentecost with the other ten disciples. That was after the rising of Christ from the dead and His ultimate ascension into heaven. He became the leader of the followers of Christ and amidst persecution inside Israel and the need to preach the Gospel of the Lord throughout the world. Simon Peter found himself and others in Rome. In Rome Simon Peter and others including the Apostle Paul established the Christian Church. The Catholic Church got its head-quarters there.

 

In the past the Catholic Church has been known as the Roman Catholic Church. Of late it has been identified to any other country for example ZCC which is Zimbabwe Catholic Church. Identifying the Church according to the countries has not been popular and currently people just call it the Catholic Church.

 

While the Catholic Church has millions of followers around the world it also has millions of people who hate it. It has been called names. Some Christian denominations view it as the Anti Christ. They say that the mark of the beast 666 in Revelation stands for the leader of the Catholic Church namely the Pope. This should not deter Catholics but give them the urge to continue serving Christ. This should also serve as a sign that this is the true Church of Christ.

 

At times Catholics are called Osathane baseRoma the Satan of Rome meaning the Roman devils.

 

To a true servant of Christ in the Catholic Church this should be taken as a compliment. Christ Himself was called Beelzebub the leader of demons. He tells His followers that the people of the world shall, ‘Hate you because you are not of the world. They hated me because I am not of this world. They called me Beelzebub.’

 

He gives the following encouragement to Catholics: ‘A servant is not greater than his master, but it is enough for a servant to be like his master. A student is not greater than his teacher, but it is enough for him to be like his teacher. If they called the owner of the house Beelzebub; the other family members will be called worse off names.

 

A Catholic needs to be baptised in the Catholic Church. Catholics are first baptised in the Church. They receive Holy Communion which is the body and blood of Christ. They have to regularly go to Mass and regularly receive Holy Communion.

 

Catholics need to regularly confess their sins. It is sinful to receive Holy Communion in knowledge of un-confessed sin. Baptism into Christianity is the most important of all the Seven Sacraments of the Church. No one can be Catholic without first receiving this Sacrament.

 

The Sacrament of Baptism is said to be even more important than that of Priesthood. They say that one who receives the Sacrament of Baptism is ordained to preach the Gospel of the Lord just as ordained Priests do.

 

Another Sacrament is the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Sacrament is usually administered to the baptised Christian Catholics by the Bishop after they undergo a lengthy period of teachings in the Catholic doctrine. The confirmed Catholic is a strengthened Catholic who may not waver from the Christian faith.

 

These are the two basic Sacraments which the majority of Catholics receive. There are two more other Sacraments meant for all Catholics. These are the Sacraments of Confession also known as the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

 

Catholics receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation when they confess their sins. The Sacrament of Holy Communion is received by all Catholics at Mass or at a Service. There are three other Sacraments which may not necessarily be received by the majority of Catholics. For example the Sacrament of Priesthood is received only by those who go to Seminary to train as Priests or those who are in Religious Life, while that of marriage will only be received by those who are wedded in the Catholic Faith.

 

The Anointment of the sick is a special Sacrament administered only for the sick, usually at their deathbed. This Sacrament has been known to have miraculous healing powers. My mother who battled high blood pressure between 1976 and 1996 was duly diagnosed to be diabetic in 1990. At that time her health had deteriorated to knife edge. But each time the Catholic Priests, both in Bulawayo and Harare went to give her this Sacrament she miraculously recovered from bouts which we had feared would have normally claimed her life. She received the Sacrament in numerous occasions between 1990 and 1996 the year by which she eventually passed on.

 

Like the other two sacraments that of Priesthood and Marriage, not all Catholics receive the Sacrament of the sick also known as The Anointment of the sick.

 

The Seven Holy Sacraments:

 

-The Sacrament of Baptism.

-The Sacrament of Confession or Reconciliation.

-The Sacrament of Holy-Communion.

-The Sacrament of Confirmation.

-The Sacrament of Priest-hood.

-The Sacrament of Marriage/Holy-Matrimony.

-The Anointment of the sick.

 

{Compliments of Fr. Peter Holiday – now Bishop Peter Holiday 2010-03-27}

 

Whom Do The Catholics Believe In?

 

As earlier on referred to, Catholics believe in Jesus Christ and in all His teachings.

 

Jesus Christ is the Son of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is also the Eternal High-Priest of the order of Melchizedek. There is no separation between God the Son, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Christ Himself says: ‘I am in the Father and the Father is in the Son and so is the Holy Spirit in the Father and also in the Son.’

 

The Catholic Faith is summed up in the Apostle’s Creed. The Apostle’s Creed is a summary of the Bible and also a summary of the teachings of the Church. The Creed summarises the main teachings of Jesus Christ especially those that were disputed by the Jewish authorities and eventually lead to His Crucifixion.

 

The Summarised Version of the Apostle’s Creed

 

I believe in God, The Father Almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth, And in Jesus Christ,

His only Son, our Lord

 

Who was conceived by, The Holy Spirit;

Born of the Virgin Mary,

He suffered under Pontius Pilate.

Was crucified, died and was buried.

He descended to the dead.

 

On the third day, He arose again.

And ascended into heaven,

He sits at the right hand of God,

The Father Almighty

From thence He shall come;

To judge the living and the dead

 

I believe in The Holy Spirit,

The Holy Catholic Church;

The Communion of Saints,

The forgiveness of sins

The resurrection of the body,

And Life Everlasting!

 

Amen.

 

The Nicene Creed

 

I believe in one God, The Father Almighty.

Maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible,

And invisible

 

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,

The Only Begotten Son of God

Born of The Father before all ages

God from God, Light from Light,

True God from, from True God,

 

Begotten not made. Consubstantial with the Father,

Through Him all things were made.

For us men and for our Salvation,

He came down from heaven.

(At the italicized words that follow all bow)

And by the Holy Spirit, was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

And became man

 

For our sake He was crucified, under Pontius Pilate;

He suffered death and was buried,

And rose again on the third day,

In accordance with the Scriptures,

He ascended into heaven. And is seated;

At the right hand of The Father, Almighty

He will come again in Glory,

To judge the living and the dead;

And His Kingdom will have no end.

 

I believe in the Holy Spirit, The Lord,

The Giver of Life Who proceeds from;

The Father and the Son,

Who with the Father, And the Son Is,

Adored and Glorified.

Who has spoken through, the Prophets

 

I believe in one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

I profess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins,

And I look forward to the resurrection of the dead,

And of the life of the world to come

 

Amen.

 

(Source Our Lady of the Wayside Mary-vale Parish Office Johannesburg 2010/10/11)

 

The Apostle’s Creed sums up all that makes up the Catholic Faith. The main teaching of the Catholic Church is centred on the Creed.

 

Catholics celebrate Mass everyday especially where there is a Resident Priest at the Church. The readings for Mass are selected usually from the Old Testament, the Letters of the Apostles and from the Gospels. The main Mass that is usually celebrated on Sunday has three readings. The first reading selected from the Old Testament, the second reading from the New Testament and finally the Gospel from any of the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

 

On weekdays it’s usually one reading followed by the Gospel. The readings in all Masses of the Catholic Church are universally similar. These are prepared by the Bishops at the Bishop’s Conferences. They are compiled into yearly booklets usually arranged in three Cycles of Year A, Year B and Year C.

 

Being a Catholic Christian is not a gateway to being rich, popular, powerful, or being completely immune to temptation and sin. On the contrary, Christians are targeted mostly by the devil. The devil is not happy with the followers of Christ so if he brings Christians into sin he delights. Catholic Christians need therefore be always alert and aware of the devil’s tricks.

 

You have heard of political leaders who boast of being Catholic, while they cause the murder of thousands of their subjects and the suffering of millions more. Such are examples of the painful fact that by merely being in the Catholic Church it does not necessarily mean that one is holy, and that one will inherit the Kingdom of God. Amongst the twelve disciples of the Lord there was a thief and traitor.

 

Such leaders are Catholic Christians by name or they are real impostors, who inwardly serve another master who is not Jesus Christ. Their master is a hidden master whose voice and command is more audible in their hearts than the voice of Jesus Christ.

 

In Catholicism there is neither seniority nor inferiority. All are equal. Once a person is baptised and accepted into the Church they all become equal. Equality applies also for un-baptised followers of Christ in the Church. Nobody is looked at as a worse-off sinner than others. Actually we view ourselves as equal sinners for there is no one who is not a sinner except Jesus Christ.

 

It is Christ’s duty to judge who a sinner is and who not a sinner is. From deep within our hearts we judge ourselves. The Spirit of God helps us to judge ourselves by our consciences. Priests always say that one is with God when they feel guilty and sorry for one’s sins and when one feels the urge to repent of their sins and confess. But when one feels justified and has no conscience no feeling the guilt for the bad things they have done; then they have lost their soul.

 

It is always wise and just to see our own wrongs instead of seeing the wrongs of others. On this subject our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ gives us the example of us being able to see the speck on our fellow brother’s eye when we fail to see the log in our own eye. So it is better to judge ourselves than to judge others.

 

A newly converted Catholic is no worse than one who was converted long ago. They all receive the same prize – the forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. No one receives more or less than the others. So there is no question of who was converted first or who last. No one is too early or too late. It is like the Judgement Day. Those who were created first will not be too early and those who are yet to be created will not be too late.

 

Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ taught about equality in the parable of a farmer. In that parable the farmer finds idle people at the first hour and employs them to work in his fields for an agreed amount for the duration of the day.

 

At the third hour he finds another group of idle people and asks them why they stand idle doing no work. Again, he employs them and sends them to join the others in the field. Finally at the eleventh hour he finds some more people and employs them to join the others in the same field. But when the day comes to an end the unusual happens, the farmer asks the chief servant to pay out the workers their wages, starting with the ones who came last.

 

The instruction to the chief servant is that: ‘To those who came last and worked for an hour pay one dollar. To those who came at the third hour and worked for nine hours pay one dollar and to those who came in the first hour pay the same.’

 

When the earlier workers find out that they get the same with those who came last they complain. They expect to be paid more than the others. But the master says, ‘As per our agreement you receive a dollar for the duration of the day. Accept it and go. It is my will that I pay a dollar to the last people because I own the money. Will my holiness make you become evil?’

 

As Christians we need to accept all the children of God as equal and deserving of love, appreciation and recognition. We don’t have to see others as less important. This also teaches us of the people who were the first to be called God’s children while the rest were known to be the children of someone else other than God. When Christ came and made it possible that the original truth be known, that people of all races, tribes and languages who were scattered all over the world are in fact all children of God, those who were first known to be the only children of God rebelled. They refused to accept that fact from God Himself and declared that Jesus Christ was neither their shepherd, King nor God.

 

Who Are The Catholic Priests And What Role Do They Play?

 

These are the shepherds of the flock of Christ. The Chief Shepherd is the Pope and the Master Shepherd is Jesus Christ the Son of God.

 

How Do The Priests Become Shepherds?

 

They are commissioned by Christ in the same way that He commissioned Simon Peter. Some Christian denominations do not believe that Simon Peter was commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ. Their belief is that Simon Peter is not fit to be a representative of Christ because he denied Christ, ‘thrice before the cock crowed.’

 

They believe that they have Biblical support for this view. But their Biblical reading and interpretation is selective. Are they aware that it was the will of God that Simon Peter denied Christ? Are they aware that Simon Peter had willed to, ‘die and kill,’ for Christ? (If one could talk in today’s political language.)

 

Are they aware that it was Simon Peter who drew a sword and cut off the High-Priest’s servant’s ear in the garden of Gethsemane? Yet when Jesus had rebuked Peter and ordered him to put down his sword Peter obliged and understood that God’s will had to be done.

 

Yet Peter had not completely abandoned the Lord. He had taken the courage to follow Him and see what would happen to his Lord, at least not from a safe distance but from close proximity where they could maintain eye contact.

 

Perhaps our brothers and sisters do have a lot more to learn about Simon Peter. Do they know that after the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Simon Peter thrice re-affirmed his love and allegiance to Him? This was to nullify his three denials of the Lord before the Crucifixion.

 

John Chapter 21 verses 14 – 19, tells us that the Lord Jesus appeared for the third time to His disciples after He was raised from death. After they had eaten, the following happened between the Lord and Simon: 15 ‘Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he answered, ‘you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Take care of my lambs,’ 16 A second time Jesus said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ ‘Yes,’ he answered, ‘you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Take care of my sheep,’ 17 a third time Jesus said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was sad; because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me,’ so he said to Him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Take care of my sheep.18 I am telling you the truth; when you were young, you used to get ready and go where you wanted to; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will bind you and take you where you don’t want to go.’ 19 in saying this, Jesus was indicating the way in which Peter would die and bring glory to God, Then Jesus told him, ‘Follow me.’ Good News Bible, Today’s English Version with Deutero-Canonical Books.

 

Readers note the mutual conversation between the Lord and Simon Peter. When the Lord asks if Simon loves Him, Simon answers, ‘Yes Lord, you know that I love you.’ Simon does not answer, ‘Yes Lord, I love you,’ but he also adds without doubt that the

Lord knows that he loves Him and is only asking what is obvious to Him. Simon Peter is convinced that the Lord knows that he loves Him, but is only asking for the benefit of man.

 

Christ had to ask the question thrice in order to let all humanity know that He and Simon Peter are one. Simon Peter was indeed the first leader of the followers of Jesus Christ as earlier on indicated by the Lord: ‘And, I say unto thee: That: thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church.’

 

The Lord God who is one with the Lord Jesus Christ promised this through the Prophet Isaiah. He promised that He would bring back some of the Israelites who were scattered all over the world and would make some of them Priests and Levites. In this case the said Israelites are all people created by God regardless of whether they are Jews or Gentiles.

 

Isaiah 66: 17 – 21: 7 ‘ The Lord says, ‘The end is near for those who purify themselves for pagan worship, who, go in procession to sacred gardens, and who eat pork and mice and other disgusting foods. 18 I know their thoughts and their deeds. I am coming to gather the people of all the nations. When they come together, they will see what my power can do 19 and will know that I am one who punishes them. But I will spare some of them and send them to the nations of the distant lands that have not heard of my fame or seen my greatness and power: to Spain, Libya, and Lydia, with its skilled archers, and to Tabul and Greece. Among these nations they will proclaim my greatness. 20 They will bring back all your fellow-Israelites from the nations as a gift tome. They will bring them to my sacred hill in Jerusalem on horses, mules and camels and in chariots and wagons, just as Israelites bring grain offerings to the Temple un-ritually clean containers. 21 I will make some of them priests and Levites.’ Good News Bible TEV.

 

The Lord God has fulfilled both promises made in verses 18 and 21above: ‘I am coming to gather all the people of all the nations. I will make some of them priests and Levites.

 

When the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ came to the world through mother Mary He was coming to gather all the people of all the nations including Jews. When He went back to Heaven He made some of them priests and Levites starting with Jews who were His first disciples.

 

Simon Peter was later to be crucified like his Lord in Rome. This happened after he had established the Church. Peter is said to have requested his executors to crucify him upside down, and not as the Lord had been earlier on crucified. Simon Peter lies buried at St. Peter’s Basilica where the Pope of our times Pope John Paul II was buried when he died around the year 2005.

 

The servants of Christ mostly die violent deaths like their Master, our Lord Jesus Christ. These include Simon Peter, the Apostle Paul, Steven and many martyrs who died violent deaths. In our times we also know of Priests like John Bradburn, who was murdered in the Zimbabwean liberation war, and Arch Bishop Janani Luwim of Uganda. Priests who have been killed in politically motivated murders, Priests who have died in car accidents. Some hijacked in their cars and later murdered. We have also witnessed some Priests being killed in armed robberies within their own homes.

 

This also applies to some parishioners. There are some members of the Church who do not hold any prominent positions in the Church but are very devout Christians who also die violent deaths. There are some who are known to have died in violent deaths but for legal reasons I cannot name them.

 

However, I can hint at one such. In Hwange Zimbabwe at Kambani Village around 2003 an old lady, a devout Catholic died in an inferno that gutted a very big house. The fire had been started off by a candle when kids had been playing with it. The kids had to run out leaving behind the old lady who couldn’t walk, to die in the blaze.

 

Catholic Christians need to be aware that Christianity is not just a bed of red roses. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ does not promise us that once converted into Christianity we will live trouble free lives on earth instead He tells us that if we love Him ‘we should carry our own crosses and follow Him.’ Those of us who have participated in the Stations of the Cross know what carrying the cross means.

 

During the Holy Week from the evening at the garden up to Calvary, our Lord and Saviour suffered. If one pictures the suffering of our Lord and Saviour at that time and sees it as the carrying of the cross, then one knows what, to carry your cross and follow Christ means. Christ promises us good living at His Father’s home in heaven.

 

For Christians to have good living they should be prepared to suffer on earth. Suffering can come in various forms, physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, social, poor health, persecutions, incarceration, being refugees and asylum seekers in foreign lands and in many other ways.

 

When we find ourselves suffering we should thank the Lord and not blame ourselves or anybody else. We should at that stage pray to the Lord to give us endurance. Pray to Him to give us victory in all those situations because He emerged victorious in all His suffering and from the grave.

 

For every situation where we find ourselves insecure, humiliated, hated, unwanted, persecuted, without jobs, food, love, shelter and dignity, we should thank God for one thing, – the gift of life. Life is more important than all the above. We get to realise these things because we have life. We should see each challenge as another way to get us into happiness.

 

When we trust only the Lord to move us out of these situations and have faith in Him alone and not in man then He comes to our rescue and we start to realise another brighter side of our suffering. There is never a person without sin. Instead, our coming to Church shows that we are aware of our sins and we run to the Lord to seek refuge.

 

Catholic Priests all over the world are connected to Christ through the Church which Christ Himself established and instructed Simon Peter to lead.

 

CHAPTER III

 

The Way Catholics Worship

 

Catholics worship God at Mass. While Sunday is generally regarded as the Day of Worship all the other week days are days of worship for Catholics.

 

Catholics worship through celebrating Mass. Mass is celebrated daily in many Parishes especially in cities and urban centres. At times Mass is celebrated twice or thrice per day.

 

Most Catholics attend Mass on Sundays because they do not work on Sundays and they are free from servile work. For those Catholics who have free time during the week or at least those who can attend Morning Mass or Evening Mass before or after work, worship is possible daily.

 

There are some similarities as well as differences between our Jewish brothers and sisters and Catholics in the way of worship. The similarities are mainly that we all believe in one God, The Creator of heaven and earth, The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

 

In days of worship both the Jews and the Catholics worship every week day especially morning and evening for week days. The differences are that while everyone worships the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob only the Catholics acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Messiah, God and True Son of God.

 

While in the Catholic Faith everyone is free to attend and participate, women included, in the Jewish Faith it’s usually the man and boys who attend on weekdays while women and girls are free to attend on the Sabbath. The involvement of women in prominent positions at Mass, for example as Holy Communion Givers (Ministers of the Eucharist) in the Catholic Church is another major difference.

 

The Jewish believers maintain the Sabbath as the main Day of Worship while Catholics observe, ‘the Day after the Sabbath,’ – Sunday.

 

Mass is the assembly by God’s people where a Priest presides. Mass involves prayers, readings from the Bible and proclamation of the Gospel. Hymns are sung at Mass but the main part of Mass is the consecration of the bread and wine, which then turn into the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and is received by the Catholics as Holy Communion.

 

This practice dates back to the Day that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ got betrayed. As he had the last meal with His twelve disciples the Bible tells us that He commissioned Holy Communion and instructed His followers to practise it in His memory until He comes back. After telling His disciples that He would be betrayed by one of them that very same night, the Lord is said to have done the following: Luke 22 verses 17 – 20: ‘And He took the cup and gave thanks, and said, ‘Take this and divide it among your-selves. For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.’ And he took bread and gave thanks and brake it, and gave unto them saying, ‘this is my body, which is given up for you; this – do in remembrance of me.’ Likewise also the cup after supper, saying: This cup is the new testament in my blood which is shed for you.’

Polyglot Bible, English Version.

 

Other Gospels say that Jesus said, ‘I shall not eat of this bread or drink of this cup anymore until I eat and drink from it anew with you after the Kingdom of God comes.’

 

If the, Kingdom of God referred to above means Christianity, then Christ was saying that what He had just done should continue being in the Christian Faith. Catholics believe in the Presence of Christ at Mass and in the Holy Communion. Therefore when He said, until I eat and drink of it with you in the Kingdom of God, He meant that He will be spiritually present at Mass throughout the age.

 

Holy Communion and its daily Consecration at Mass is the only other main distinguishing factor between the Catholic Faith and the other Christian denominations.

 

While it may seem that Mass is very short as compared to other Christian Sermons – and that the time allocated to preaching is even shorter, it should be noted that every step in Mass takes the form of preaching. The hymns, the prayers, the readings, the proclamation and the responses, the Consecration and even the receiving of Holy Communion, – all of these are part of preaching.

 

Mass is usually one hour long, two hours at-most. This draws much criticism from other Christian denominations. Catholics do have Bibles but they are mostly said to be not keen in doing in depth study of the Bible. While they are commended for going through daily readings as prescribed in the liturgical guides and weekly publications called the link, Catholics are encouraged to further do Bible Study at home as families or in their small communities as neighbours.

 

There is so much more that God may teach Catholics through individual Bible Study instead of being content with only the prescribed readings for the Mass. I can give an example of a scholar who reads only what he or she is instructed to read by the teacher at school daily and never does home-work or other in depth reading. When examinations come, such a student may not have a distinction even though they may pass satisfactorily.

 

Catholics should make an effort to own personal Bibles or at least a family Bible. When we read the Bible, it is advisable to pray before we read. We pray and ask God to give us the ability to understand the Word. The Bible is quite a complex text to understand. People can read the Bible without understanding the message.

 

When we pray and let God accept that we are only human we read the Bible in order to get insight and wisdom from Him, God opens our spiritual eyes, our spiritual minds and hearts and we begin to see and understand Biblical mysteries which were originally impossible for us to see and understand.

 

We should pray to God, that He removes our spiritual blindness and give us spiritual sightedness. When we are spiritually blind we are able to read the Bible correctly in all languages but never understanding the hidden message. We can literally have the Bible and read it for thousands of years but still never understand. Spiritual blindness is like when we fail to see the obvious yet claiming that we have eyes to see. And when a physically blind person manages to see what we cannot see while we claim that the other person is blind.

 

An example is when a blind-man realised and confessed through his mouth that Jesus Christ was from God when the teachers of the Law remained oblivious of the fact and still remain so up to present day.

 

Catholics have other publications to help them understand the Bible, for example the Catechism booklet. While people generally assume that there is no Bible study in the Catholic Faith the following ideas may serve to dispute that assumption.

 

In Catechism lessons where converts are prepared for Baptism the Bible is studied and referred to. The same happens in confirmation lessons. There are small groupings and communities within the Church which assemble regularly in certain days and not during Mass, where there is reading of the Bible and sharing, preaching, praising and praying.

 

I am happy to name some of the groups which I can recall. In my home country there are women’s groups called St. Anna, [of which my mother was a member.] In some Parishes there is St. Anna Sunday Group’ and St. Anna Thursday Group; and the Sodality Group. All these women’s groups are involved in Bible study, preaching and sometimes charity work. I have also known some males to be part of these women’s groups.

 

There are male groups like the St. Joseph’s Association and the Catholics Male Society. There are also other groups that consist of both genders. These include the Charismatic group, the Prayer group and many others. In some areas the Charismatic and Prayer group is one, but in others the groups are different. All these groups are involved in Bible Study, preaching and sharing.

 

In some Parishes there is a Perpetual Adoration Chapel. In the Chapel the Catholics take turns in adoration at hourly intervals round the clock. This is another way of Catholic Worship. The worshippers adore the body of Christ which is in the Holy Communion. They do this in prayer, Bible reading or reciting the Holy Rosary.

 

Perpetual Adoration is aimed at praying for the full revelation of the Kingdom of God. In other words Catholics are praying that the full Glory of God and His Son be unveiled in the not too distant future. In some areas Perpetual Adoration is observed for twenty-four hours. In my current Parish Our Lady of The Wayside Mary-vale it is observed for twelve hours running from six o’clock in the morning to six o’clock evening. Our Chapel was opened in 2009.

 

As earlier on stated adoration is another form of Catholic worship. At adoration Catholics are admiring the Visible Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Adoration also involves spiritual meditation. Besides Perpetual Adoration, another form of adoration is done periodically in the Main Church at the Sanctuary.

 

PRAYERS

 

The Catholic Church observes the Lord’s Prayer as the main prayer. This is the main and mother of all prayers. The Lord’s Prayer is one taught to the Disciples by our Lord Himself.

 

The prayer goes:

Our Father who art in heaven,

Hallowed be Thy name.

Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done,

On Earth as it is in Heaven.

 

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive those who,

Trespass against us.

 

Lead us not into Temptation

But deliver us from evil.

Amen.

 

In some cases the Lord’s Prayer may end with the words:

‘For The Kingdom,

The Power and The Glory are yours,

Now and forever,

Amen.

 

(Matthew 6: 9-13. Luke 11: 1-5.)

 

When Catholics say their prayers, they always start and end with the Sign of the Cross. Individuals perform the sign of the cross by uttering the words: ‘In the name of The Father,

And of The Son,

And of The Holy Spirit

Amen.

 

When uttering the words they use their cupped right hands and touch with their mid finger – their forehead when they say, ‘The Father,’ – their breast bone when they say, ‘The Son,’ – their left shoulder when they say, ‘The Holy,’ and their right shoulder at the pronunciation of, ‘Spirit, Amen.’

 

The sign of the cross is also used by the Priest and the parishioners at the beginning of Holy Mass and at the final blessing when the

Mass ends.

 

Another prayer for the Catholics is: ‘Glory Be.’

 

Glory be to The Father,

And to The Son,

And to The Holy Spirit

 

As it was In the Beginning,

Is now, and ever shall be,

World without end

Amen.

 

This prayer is sometimes said with the cupped right-hand performing as is done with the Sign of the Cross.

 

4…. Hail Mary.

 

Hail Mary is another Catholic prayer. This prayer is used in many situations by Catholics but mainly when reciting the Holy Rosary.

 

Hail Mary, full of Grace;

The Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women,

And blessed is the Fruit;

Of Thy womb Jesus

 

Holy Mary, Mother of God;

Pray for us sinners,

Now and, at the hour of our death

Amen.

 

The words in the prayer are drawn from the Gospels in the parts where the Arch Angel Gabriel went to Mary to announce the Good News about the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some of the words are drawn from the conversation between mother Mary and mother Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.

 

When Mary visited Elizabeth and greeted her on arrival, the baby John in Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy and both women were filled by the Holy Spirit prompting them to say part of the words that are now used in the prayer.

 

5….Hail Holy Queen.

 

This is another prayer dedicated to mother Mary by the Catholics.

 

Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy.

Our life, our sweetness, and our Hope

To Thee do we lift up, our eyes.

Poor Banished children of Eve

 

To Thee do we, send up our sighs

Mourning and weeping.

In this vale of tears

 

Turn then;

Most Gracious Advocate

Your eyes of mercy towards us;

And after this our exile,

Show unto us, the blessed fruit of thy womb,

Jesus.

 

Oh Clement,

Oh Loving,

Oh Sweet

Virgin Mary

 

Pray for us,

Mother of God

That we may be made worthy of,

The promises of Christ

Amen.

 

6. Oh My Jesus.

 

Oh my Jesus.

Forgive us our sins.

Save us from

The fires of hell

 

Lead all souls to heaven,

Especially those with the most,

Need for your Mercy,

Amen.

 

7. Prayer for the Departed Souls.

 

Eternal rest give unto them,

Oh Lord. And let never ending,

Light shine upon them.

 

May the souls of all the,

Faithful Departed

Rest in peace

AMEN.

 

8. Oh God Whose Only Begotten Son.

 

Oh God, Whose only begotten Son,

Our Lord Jesus Christ,

By His life, Death and Resurrection,

Has purchased for us, The Rewards of eternal life

 

Grant we beseech Thee, That in meditating,

In the mysteries, of the Most Holy Rosary,

Of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 

We may imitate what they contain,

And obtain what they promise,

Through the same,

Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

There are many other prayers in the Catholic Church. Some will not be discussed at length in this book but are readily available in some Catholic Publications. These include The Benediction, The Litany of Our Lady and many more.

 

9. The Holy Rosary of Our Lady.

 

This is one of the most important prayers for Catholics. For some Catholics it is impossible to start or end the day without reciting the Rosary. Some recite it even in travel. In some countries like Zimbabwe, October is the month of the Holy Rosary. The Rosary also features prominently at the Lenten Period. That is the period of forty days of fast observed by Catholics every year before Good Friday.

 

The Holy Rosary is recited as follows: There are mysteries celebrated or meditated on when reciting the Rosary. Depending on the period or circumstances, the mysteries may vary according to days.

 

A. The Joyful Mysteries:

Monday and Wednesday

 

1. The Annunciation: The Archangel Gabriel Visits Mary.

2. The Visitation: Mother Mary Visits Mother Elizabeth.

3. The Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

4. The Presentation of Baby Christ in the Temple.

5. The Finding of Boy Jesus in the Temple (Age Thirteen).

 

B. The Sorrowful Mysteries:

Tuesday and Friday

1. Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (The Betrayal).

2. Flogging before Pilate.

3. Crowning with Thorns.

4. Carrying of the Cross.

5. Crucifixion, And Death of Christ.

 

C. The Mysteries of Light:

Thursday

1. The Baptism of Our Lord.

2. The Turning of Water into Wine.

3. The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ.

4. The Word of Christ Which Is Holy Preaching.

5. The Body of Christ Which Is Holy Communion.

 

D. The Glorious Mysteries:

Saturdays and Sundays

1. The Resurrection of Our Lord.

2. The Ascension of Our Lord into Heaven.

3. The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

4. The Assumption of Mother Mary into Heaven.

5. The Coronation of Mother Mary as Queen of the Universe.

 

The Rosary is circular although that is not in the literal sense. It can be worn around the neck with the cross of the crucifix hanging onto the chest. Basically when one holds the Rosary in the hand, they start with the cross.

 

With the hand on the cross, one starts by the Sign of the Cross. While still holding the cross, The Apostle’s Creed follows. The hand then progresses to the first bead, where Our Father is said.

 

Next to the first bead are three others which closely follow each other. The hand progresses to the first and the person declares:

 

My God I believe in You;

And in all that Your Church teaches,

Because Your Word is true

And you have said it

 

‘Hail Mary ……..’

 

On the next bead:

 

My God, I hope in You,

For Grace and for Glory,

Because of Your Promises,

Your mercy and Your Power

 

‘Hail Mary…..’

 

Onto the third bead:

 

‘My God,

Because You are so good,

I love You with all my heart,

And for Your Sake;

I love my neighbour as myself.’

 

‘Hail Mary……..’

 

At the fourth bead we pray:

‘Oh my Jesus, forgive us….’

And ‘Glory be’

 

Where the circle starts we declare the mysteries of the Day, for example:

 

(‘Let us remember the Mysteries of Light. The Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ’)

 

After the declaration of the mysteries we say the Lord’s prayer, and if praying individually one may make a short prayer of confession before proceeding to the next ten beads known as the decades, where bead by bead we repeat, ‘Hail Mary…….’

 

After each decade there is a bead where we say, ‘Oh my Jesus …,’ followed by ‘Glory be’

 

The next four decades are followed through, declaring each mystery that comes next for each decade closely followed by ‘Our Father…,’ as explained in the first decade.

 

For each decade after ‘Our Father’ has been said an optional short prayer or petition may follow in the second, third and fourth decades and finally thanking and praising God in the fifth.

 

After the fifth decade we say the ‘Hail Holy Queen…,’ followed by, ‘Oh God whose, only Begotten Son….’ and then, ‘Glory bet to the Father…’

 

To some people the Rosary is hard to recite or pray but for those who have tasted its rewards, it is the simplest but most rewarding of all the prayers. I personally take up to twenty-five minutes to recite the Rosary.

 

There is a misconception that Catholics are not allowed to say any other prayers. That is untrue. Catholics can say any other prayer to God through Jesus Christ as long as it is not meant for evil intentions.

 

In fact there are as many prayers which can be said as there are people, trees and animals. When we say our prayers we need not doubt that God will grant us what we pray for. When we pray we should be convinced that we have already received what we pray for. We should also pray that the period of waiting be shortened.

 

10. The Communion Rite.

 

This is another prayer which most people do not recognise as actually being a prayer.

 

Shortly before Holy Communion is received at Mass, the Presiding Priest declares: ‘Behold the Lamb of God. Behold Him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those who are called to the Feast of The Lord.’

 

The Priest makes this declaration whilst holding high The Holy Communion which is the Body of Christ. Parishioners look at the Eucharist and respond together with the Priest, the Deacons and other Communion Givers, ‘Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.’

 

The words are taken from Matthew 8 v 8. To a Christian they mean, ‘Lord Jesus, I am not worthy that I should eat your Body but give me eternal life by your word.’

 

11. Prayer of the Apostles of the Merciful Love and of the Divine Face.

 

Merciful Jesus, we believe in Thee,

And we trust in Thee.

Come to the aid of our weakness,

And our incapacity

 

Grant that we may be able to make,

Thee known, And loved by all men.

And, that confident in the immensity of

Thy love, we may be able to combat the evil,

-which is in us and in all world,

For Thy Glory and our Salvation

Amen.

 

12. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy: (for private recitation on ordinary rosary beads)

 

Begin with: Our Father … Hail Mary …The Apostle’s Creed.

 

On the five large beads:

 

‘Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood,

Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son

Our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement for our sins

And those of the whole world

Amen

 

On the ten small beads:

 

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion,

Have mercy on us and unto the whole world.

Amen

 

Conclude with:

 

Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, Holy Merciful One.

Have mercy on us and on the whole world.’

(Three times)

 

  1. Consecration:

 

‘Oh Jesus, Good Jesus,

Whose infinite love,

Has created and redeemed the world,

And wishes to save it

 

Accept me among the number of those,

Who wish to work for the Triumph of

Your Reign of Love on earth.

 

For this end, receive the complete offering of

Myself which I place at your service

I will distribute the picture of Your Divine Face,

Begging You to revive in all souls,

The image of

Your Divine Face

 

Oh Jesus, work miracles of conversion,

And call the apostles of the new era,

The apostles to undertake this great work

 

Spread over the whole world,

Your Merciful Love,

Which buries and destroys evil,

Renew the earth,

And may all hearts

Filled, with charity led by the Light of the Son,

Put into practice the Gospel.’

 

14. Self Consecration:

 

(To be said once daily)

 

‘I consecrate myself and my family to the mercy of God.’

 

Prayers 11 – 14 taken from pamphlet from Divine Mercy Parish Walkerville2009/ 70000 [GPS]

 

15. The Litany of the Most Blessed Heart of Jesus

 

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ hear us

Christ, graciously hear us.

 

God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,

Have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit,

Have mercy on us,

Holy Trinity, One God,

Have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father,

(Have mercy on us.)

Heart of Jesus formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb

of the Virgin Mother.

(Have mercy on us.)

Heart of Jesus substantially united to The Word of God, (etc.)

Heart of Jesus, of Infinite Majesty,

Heart of Jesus, holy Temple of God,

Heart of Jesus, Tabernacle of the Most High,

Heart of Jesus, House of God and

Gate of Heaven,

Heart of Jesus, burning Furnace of Charity,

Heart of Jesus, Vessel of Justice and Love,

Heart of Jesus, full of Goodness and Love,

Heart of Jesus Abyss of all Virtues, Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all Praise,

Heart of Jesus, King and centre of all Hearts,

Heart of Jesus, in Whom are all the Treasures of

Wisdom and Knowledge,

Heart of Jesus, in Whom Dwelleth all

The fullness of the Divinity,

Heart of Jesus, in Whom The Father is well Pleased,

Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all Received,

Heart of Jesus, desire of the Everlasting Hills,

Heart of Jesus, patient and abounding in Mercy,

Heart of Jesus, rich unto all who call upon Thee,

Heart of Jesus, Fountain of life and Holiness,

Heart of Jesus, Propitiation for our Sins,

Heart of Jesus, filled with Reproaches,

Heart of Jesus, bruised for our Offences,

Heart of Jesus, obedient unto Death,

Heart of Jesus, pierced with a Lance,

Heart of Jesus, Source of all Consolation,

Heart of Jesus, our Life and Resurrection,

Heart of Jesus, our Peace and Reconciliation,

Heart of Jesus, Victim for our Sins,

Heart of Jesus, Salvation of those who hope in Thee,

Heart of Jesus, Hope of those who die in Thee,

Heart of Jesus, Delight of all the Saints,

 

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the World,

Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the World,

Graciously, hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the World,

Have mercy on us.

V. Jesus meek and humble of heart,

R. Make our hearts like unto Thine.

 

Let us pray

Almighty and eternal God, consider the Heart of Your

Well-Beloved Son and the praises and satisfaction;

He offers You in the name of sinners,

Appeased by worthy homage,

Pardon those who implore Your Mercy,

In the Name of the same Jesus Christ Your Son,

Who lives and Reigns with You

World without end

Amen.

 

16. The Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

 

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.

Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven,

Have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,

Have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit,

Have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, One God,

Have mercy on us.

 

Holy Mary Pray for us

Holy Mother of God Pray for us

Holy Virgin of Virgins Pray for us

Mother of Christ Pray for us

Mother of Divine Grace Pray for us

Mother most Pure Pray for us

Mother most Chaste Pray for us

Mother Inviolate Pray for us

Mother Undefiled Pray for us

Mother most Amiable Pray for us

Mother of good Counsel Pray for us

Mother of our Creator Pray for us

Mother of our Saviour Pray for us

Mother of the Church Pray for us

Virgin most Prudent Pray for us

Virgin most Venerable Pray for us

Virgin most Renowned Pray for us

Virgin most Powerful Pray for us

Virgin most Merciful Pray for us

Virgin most Faithful Pray for us

Mirror of Justice Pray for us.

Seat of Wisdom Pray for us

Cause of our Joy Pray for us

Spiritual Vessel Pray for us

Vessel of Honour Pray for us

Singular Vessel of Devotion Pray for us

Mystical Rose Pray for us

Tower of David Pray for us

Tower of Ivory Pray for us

House of Gold Pray for us

Ark of the Covenant Pray for us

Gate of Heaven Pray for us

Morning Star Pray for us

Health of the Sick Pray for us

Refuge of Sinners Pray for us

Comforter of the afflicted Pray for us

Help of Christians Pray for us

Queen of Angels Pray for us

Queen of Patriarchs Pray for us

Queen of Prophets Pray for us

Queen of Apostles Pray for us

Queen of Martyrs Pray for us

Queen of Confessors Pray for us

Queen of Virgins Pray for us

Queen of all Saints Pray for us

Queen conceived without original sin Pray for us

Queen assumed into Heaven Pray for us

Queen of the most Holy Rosary Pray for us

Queen of Peace Pray for us

 

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,

Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world;

Graciously, hear us O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world.

Have mercy on us.

 

V. Pray for us, O Mother of God.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

The Litany of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and The Litany of The Blessed Virgin Mary were sourced from An Hour with Jesus: Queen-ship Publishing Company 1994.

 

These are some of the prayers of the Catholic Faith.

 

CHAPTER IV

 

Observing Easter

 

While all Christian denominations observe Easter, it is mostly Catholics who take the passion of going through it all.

 

Catholics start preparing for Easter on Ash Wednesday. That is approximately six weeks before Good Friday. It is forty days before Good Friday. This period is observed by the Catholics as a period to bemoan the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. The forty days are for fasting, abstinence, alms giving and prayer. At this period Catholics stop engaging in any festivities. Ideally they are supposed to have one light meal per day. They engage in prayers and do charitable work. Individuals are encouraged to help the less privileged.

 

This is a period that also allows Catholics to, carry their own crosses and follow Jesus. The Catholics try to emulate the Lord Jesus Christ especially on the forty days and nights that He spent in the wilderness with neither food nor drink.

 

It should be noted that the Lord Jesus Christ literally went through the forty days and nights without eating and drinking. While we may think that it is impossible for a human being to do that, to Christ it was possible, not only because He was God, but also because He had a vision. He knew what He wanted.

When Christ fasted, He was in human form and the Bible tells us that at one stage He got hungry. He survived and prevailed because He prayed to His Father in heaven and had faith. It is possible for Catholics to pray and go for forty days without food. But because people have little faith, they need one meal per day. For some of us with lesser faith we need even more meals. Whatever happens, we should try to keep focused so that we do not defeat the aim of the fast.

 

If we pray with faith, we can do the impossible. When I was a young man in the late 1970s we used to hear over the radio about a man called Bobby Sense. The man was fighting for his country’s liberation and went on hunger-strike. I believe that he survived more than eighty-eight days of the hunger strike. Hunger strike is different from fast. With fast God is closer because people are praying to Him asking for His mercy. Not all Catholics are incapable of going through the forty days of fasting and prayer. The majority of them are capable. Christ advises His followers not to announce publicly when they go on fast. He says they should wash their bodies, dress smartly and never pull their faces to indicate their hunger and misery. And when they perform acts of charity, they should not blow a horn before the crowds in order for the public to notice.

 

‘This,’ says Christ; ‘is what hypocrites do.’

 

When fasting and giving alms, ‘Do it in secret,’ says Christ. ‘Your Father who sees in secret will see you from heaven and reward you. But if you make a show of it when doing good for the poor; the world will see you and you will be rewarded from the world.’ That will defeat all your good intentions to the Lord.

 

The sorrow escalates on Holy Week when the focus is turned onto the betrayal, trial, persecution, crucifixion and death of our Lord. On Palm Sunday Catholics celebrate the triumphant entry of the Lord into Jerusalem. This entry had been foretold by the Prophet Zechariah round about 518 BC. The Prophet had advised:

‘Rejoice greatly, Oh daughter of Zion; shout, oh daughter of Jerusalem; behold; thy King cometh to thee, he is just and having salvation, lowly and riding upon an ass; and upon a colt the foal of an ass.’

Zechariah 9: 9.

 

On that actual day on 33 AD our Lord Jesus Christ arrived in Jerusalem riding on the foal of a donkey. The multitudes rejoiced and rolled mats before Him, waving palm and olive branches and singing:

‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!

 

When the Jewish Authorities saw this spectacle, they said to the Lord,

‘Teacher, tell your followers to keep quiet.

 

Christ is said to have answered,

‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, if these keep quiet; then, these stones will start singing.’

 

Such was the triumphant entry of our Lord and Saviour into Jerusalem. It was a triumphant entry but He was going there only to be crucified five days later. The Catholics view the Holy-Week as the climax of the period of lent. The arrest and flogging of the Lord on Holy-Thursday is observed and commemorated.

 

Good Friday brings the peak of the sorrow with the Lord being crucified. Saturday is a day of expectation and finally, Sunday of Easter is the Resurrection. Catholics celebrate the Rising of our Lord from the dead, and the Day marks the official end of fast.

 

When one looks deeply into the Old Testament, one finds out that this is the same, ‘Morro after the Sabbath,’ whereby the Jews are supposed to bring sheaves for the ‘wave offering.’ This is the same Day from which they were supposed to count, ‘seven full Sabbaths,’ and up to the ‘Morro’ after the ‘seventh Sabbath.’ Then, that would have been Pentecost Day; the Day when God through the Risen Christ sent the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and transformed their lives in order that a new form of Worship would be established.

 

Some Christian denominations do not observe or celebrate Easter with the zeal by which Catholics do. They only observe it because it falls as a Public Holiday in their respective countries. Some prominent Pastors in these denominations have been heard to criticise Catholics for observing Good Friday and Easter. They argue that Easter started off as a ‘pagan’ holiday. The word ‘pagan’ is just being used by these denominations as a smoke screen.

They say pagans observed ‘Passover’ and therefore Easter started off as Passover.

 

Passover is not a pagan holiday. It is a Jewish Holiday otherwise known as ‘Pesach.’ Passover is still celebrated today and rightfully so. It falls just about the same week as Good Friday and Easter. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ did observe Passover. It was for the Passover Festival that He went to Jerusalem riding on the foal of a donkey.

 

Yet on that day He had to celebrate the Passover in new meaning. He was to commission Good Friday and Easter. Some of the Jews stopped observing Passover in the old way and began observing it in the new way; meaning passing over from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant.

 

When our brothers and sisters in the Jewish faith celebrate Passover they celebrate their freedom from Egypt, the land in-which they lived as human slaves. When we Christians celebrate Easter, we celebrate Passover or freedom from a new Egypt, the land where we lived as slaves to sin and death. At Easter Christ defeated sin and death.

 

He did this not for His own sake but for the sake of all humanity, Jews and Gentiles, believers and non-believers, all descendants of Adam and Eve, descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob from all ages, even those who are yet to be born. Christ freed us from sin which is perpetual slavery. If we are not set free from sin we cannot have eternal life.

 

Now that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sake and now that He is risen and we know that He is alive in heaven, we have confidence that when we die, He will give us back our lives in the same way as He was raised from death by God.

 

Jesus Christ came to earth firstly for the Jews. He came especially for them to remove them from the land of sin and death. It was for them that the prophecy in Zechariah 9: 9 was made. While in exile in Babylonia, Daniel prayed to God Almighty. He confessed his sins and of his fellow people, the Jews. He asked God to forgive them their sins and remove them from bondage in Babylonia.

God answered Daniel by telling him that at a specific period the sins of his people would be forgiven. He also said that the Temple would be ‘Rededicated.’ He pointed out that at the end of that time, the ‘Messiah,’ would be unjustly killed. The prophecy came to Daniel around 539 BC.

 

The Israelites were first enslaved in Egypt. The mighty hand of God removed them from slavery in Egypt. God performed many miracles, miracles which are not adequately described by the term ‘miracle.’ They can only be described in human terms as horrors or disasters. The Israelites saw these signs with their own eyes but shortly afterwards defied God.

 

God wanted to destroy them in the wilderness and make a new race but Moses prayed to Him for them. Moses pointed out that if indeed God had destroyed the people; then, other nations would say that He had only removed them from Egypt only to kill them in the wilderness. Because of His Holiness He spared them and allowed them to exist. However as earlier on referred to, all those who were twenty years old and above when they left Egypt never got to Canaan. This was because of their sinfulness. They died in the wilderness. Those who made it to the Promised Land could not live permanently there. Some returned to Egypt against God’s advice through the Prophets. Back in Egypt they met their death. Those who survived escaped back to Canaan.

 

Around 608 BC the Israelites became slaves in another land, Babylonia. This was when Daniel was also taken there to be a slave. Seventy years later, Daniel received the promise that the people would receive God’s Mercy and a new King who would bring peace to the Jews would be born.

 

When Christ came, some Israelites could not, and they did not recognise Him. The Bible tells us that many of the Jews believed in Him. The problem was with the Jewish Religious leaders. They were jealous of Christ’s Miraculous Powers.

 

They thought that if He was allowed to live He would take away all their followers. Not all the Religious leaders felt the same about Christ. Some of them believed in Him and some even prophesied through the Holy Spirit that,

‘It would have been better that one man Christ should die for all the people.’

John 18: 14.

 

Caiaphas was the Jewish High-Priest the year that the Lord Jesus was crucified. He is the one who made the prophecy. The Holy-Spirit inspired him to prophesy about the Lord. Some other Jewish Religious leaders who believed in Christ and were His secret disciples are Nicodemus; the Pharisee who went to Jesus by night and asked how he could be saved, Joseph of Arimathea, the one who asked permission from Pilate to remove the Lord’s body from the cross. It was both Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus who carried Jesus’ body for burial.

 

The Jews cannot be held responsible for the Lord’s Crucifixion because the Crucifixion was God’s will for the benefit of us all. Neither can they be held responsible for initially disowning the Lord. If anything; they should be commended for first disowning Him because by so doing they provided us with an opportunity to be accepted into God’s Kingdom.

 

However, the continued denial and disowning of Christ almost two thousand years after His Death and Resurrection, by the Jews is highly irresponsible, especially considering the fact that it is them losing out and not Christ. The Jews could be surprised at a later stage to find out that their ancestors: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and even Moses are in heaven with Christ, and that it may be impossible for them to join their fore-fathers there.

 

While it is equally irresponsible for anyone calling themselves followers of Christ to hate the Jews for allegedly Crucifying Him, it should be let known to such Christians that God tolerates no vengeance.

 

‘Pesach’ and ‘Easter’ are observed exactly in the same week of the same month and by the children of the same God. The theme of celebrating the two Religious events is however different. The Jews commemorate their freedom from slavery in Egypt and their march to the Promised Land. Jews of the present day were never in Egypt as slaves. None of them were ever slaves in Egypt. Some Jews are born in Africa the mother continent of Egypt. They live in Africa and some of them live inside Egypt. What then are they celebrating in the twenty-first century?

When they moved out of Egypt the Lord willed that they be brought to Canaan where they would have lived permanently. But that did not happen because when God Himself came down to grant them peace; the Jews would neither recognise nor honour Him. This fact is recorded in the Scriptures when the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ approached Jerusalem and wept for the city saying the following:

42 ‘If you only knew today what is needed for peace! But now you cannot see it! 43 The time will come when your enemies will surround you with barricades, blockade you, and close in on you from every side. They will completely destroy you and the people within your walls; not a single stone will they leave in its place, because you did not recognize the time when God came to save you!’

Luke Chapter 19.

 

Almost thirty years later in the year 66 AD these words came to pass and Jerusalem, together with the Temple were completely destroyed. The children of God did not remember or take heed of the Lord’s words. They still moan the destruction of the Temple up to today, but they never say anything about what the Lord said thirty- three years before the destruction.

 

Today Israel is still being disputed and millions of Jews feel safer and at home outside Israel. Why is that so? It is probably because of Jesus Christ who died for the Jews and all humanity; that they do not want to acknowledge Him as God or at least as the Son of God.

 

The Lord Jesus Christ as a Jew is respected by all nations of the world. They honour Him as their Lord, Saviour and King. They also honour Him as a Jew. It is of Him that the saying goes:

‘In future ten foreigners will go to one Jew and say, ‘Come let us go to your God and worship Him, we have heard of His wonderful love.’

 

The actual Scripture is taken from Zechariah 8: 20-23:

‘The Lord Almighty says, ‘The time is coming when people from many cities will come to Jerusalem. Those from one city will say to those from another, “We are going to worship the Lord Almighty and pray for his blessing. Come with us!” Many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord Almighty and pray for his blessing. In those days, ten foreigners will come to one Jew and say, ‘We want to share in your destiny, because we have heard that God is with you’

 

There is no other Jew besides the Lord Jesus Christ who will be universally acclaimed as a true servant of God. For the sake of Jesus Christ, Jews all over the world both outside and inside Israel now live in safety. Other nations respect and love the Jews because they share ancestry with Jesus Christ the King.

 

The Jews are branches of the true vine. The true vine is our Lord Jesus Christ. But a branch that has been severed from the main vine does not bear fruit, it also withers and dies. The Jews without Jesus are like branches cut off from a tree. They do not survive long.

 

Those of us who are not direct descendants of any of the twelve tribes of Israel but boast of being Christians are just like branches cut off from thorn bushes and joined onto the true vine. When joined to the true vine, we produce rich fruit from the vine and also live long because of our attachment to the true vine.

 

However, if the original branches of the vine, in this case the Jews; were to be re-joined to the vine, they would bear even richer fruit. I pray that the Jews of this day turn back to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ because that is God’s will. I am convinced that if the Jews of this day turned back to Christ there would still be room for everyone in heaven.

 

Do I Really Think That The Jews Cannot Go To Heaven?

 

Through believing in all the teachings of Christ I am bound to believe all that God says through His Christ and also through His servants the Prophets.

 

Long before our Lord Jesus Christ came to earth, a Prophet by the name Ezra had a vision. He was shown that very few of the Jews would be saved and accepted into heaven. He was also shown a multitude of countless people from all races, tribes and languages who would go to heaven through Jesus Christ. These did not exclude the Jews who would have believed in the Lord Jesus and confessed with their mouths that Christ is the Messiah.

 

Later on after the Crucifixion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord, one of the disciples of the Lord by the name John also had a vision. John was being persecuted for serving Christ; and after being rendered blind by those who hated Christ, and being forced onto the Island of Patmos, he saw this vision.

 

The vision was also of a specific number of Jews who would go into heaven and also another countless number from all tribes, languages and races who would go to heaven through Jesus Christ.

 

The prophecies of both Ezra and John are basically the same. But these two lived almost six hundred years apart. Ezra was in the Jewish faith while John was first in the Jewish faith then finally in Christianity. If the prophecy had come to a Prophet who represents only one of the Faiths we would say that it were biased and therefore not credible. For instance, if the prophecy had only been made by the Apostle John, we could say that it was biased against the Jews.

 

Now that the prophecy is also given to a Prophet from the Jewish faith we can only say that Ezra’s prophecy is credible, more-so that it is given credence by the Apostle John’s.

 

Ezra in the Book of 2 Esdras 2 describes how he got a revelation from one of the Seven Archangels of God, the Archangel Uriel.

Perhaps before we talk about Ezra’s prophecy it would be beneficial to highlight who Ezra was or is. Ezra is one of the greatest Jewish Prophets who lived during the days of slavery in Babylonia and shortly afterwards. He was respected by the Jews both those who were in exile in Babylonia and those who had remained in Canaan or Israel.

 

Accordingly, Ezra has the same clout as Moses because he also went for forty days and forty nights on the mount where he received the Law from God just like Moses had done before. Take note that humans do not recognise Ezra as being equal to Moses in the present day, but view him as less important or as not significant at all. This is not surprising because even the Lord Jesus Christ is seen as inferior to Moses or as insignificant at all.

 

Listen to Ezra’s prophecy.2 Esdras 2: 33-41: 33

‘I, Ezra, was on Mount Sinai when the Lord ordered me to go to the people of Israel. But when I went to them, they rejected me and refused to listen to what the Lord commanded. 34 That is why I am speaking to you Gentiles. You are ready to listen and understand: ‘Wait for your shepherd who is coming very soon, at the end of the age to give you eternal rest. 35 Be ready to receive the blessings of the Kingdom, for eternal light will shine on you forever. 36 Flee from the darkness of this present age and accept the joyful splendour prepared for you. I testify publicly for my Saviour. 37 The Lord has appointed him, so accept him and; be happy. Give thanks to God, who has called you into his heavenly Kingdom. 38 Stand up and see the number of those who have received the Lord’s mark and who share in his banquet. 39 They have left the darkness of this age and have received shining white robes from the Lord. 40 So, now, Jerusalem, welcome those people who have kept the law of the Lord, and this will complete the list of those whom God has assigned to you. 41 The children you longed for have returned; their number is now complete. So pray that the Lord’s Kingdom may come and that your people, whom God chose before he created the world, may become holy.’

Good News Bible TEV with Deutero-Canonical Books.

 

The prophet Ezra testifies about the Lord Jesus Christ almost five hundred years before His birth. The Spirit also lets him see that Gentiles will readily receive Jesus Christ and acclaim Him as their Lord and Saviour.

 

Much of what is said in the Scripture above is well repeated in 1 Peter 2, where the worship of earlier times is viewed as, ‘The age of darkness,’ while Christianity is viewed as the, ‘Age of light.’

 

Ezra’s prophecy goes on in 2 Esdras 2: 42-48

‘I, Ezra, saw an enormous crowd on Mount Zion, too many people to count. They were all singing and praising the Lord.43 Standing in the middle of this crowd was a very tall young man, taller than any of the others. He was placing a crown on the head of each person, but he towered above them all. I was spell bound by the sight, 44 and I asked the angel, ‘Who are these people, sir?’ He replied, ‘These are people who have taken off their mortal robes and have put on immortal ones. They have confessed their faith in God and now they are being given crowns and palm branches as symbols of their victory.’ 46 Then I asked the angel, ‘Who is the young man who is putting the crowns on their heads and giving them palms?’ 47 ‘He is the Son of God,’ the angel replied, ‘and all these people confessed their faith in him while they lived on earth.’ Then I began to praise those who had stood for the Lord so bravely. 48 And the angel said to me, ‘Go and tell my people what you have seen, the many marvellous wonders of the Lord.’

Good News Bible T.E.V.

 

While the prophecy was made specifically for the Jews of that time and the Gentiles of the future which is the present, the prophecy is still valid for the Jews of the present age and also for the Gentiles of the present.

 

Almost six or seven hundred years after Ezra made this prophecy, John an Apostle of the Lord Jesus had the following prophecy. Note that while Ezra’s prophecy may seem to lack detail, John’s is similar to that of Ezra in many points and is more detailed and specific.

 

John’s prophecy is in the Apocalypse or the Revelation. Revelation 7: 1 – 8:

‘After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds so that no wind should blow on the earth or the sea or against any tree.2 And I saw another angel, coming up from the east with the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels to whom God had given the power to damage the earth and the sea. 3 The angel said, ‘Do not harm the earth, the sea or the trees, until we mark the servants of our God with a seal on their foreheads.’ 4 And I was told that the number of those who were marked with God’s seal on their foreheads was 144 000. They were from the twelve tribes of Israel, 5-8 twelve thousand from each tribe of: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin.’

Good News T.E.V.

 

The 144 000 of the people marked with the seal of God are undoubtedly the Jews. It specifically shows that they are from the twelve tribes of Israel which no other race can claim descent from. This is probably the number that will go to heaven through Judaism. If that is the case, how then are the millions and billions of other Jews who are not in the 144 000 accounted for? The number also most probably refers to those Jews who will be saved right from the time of Moses up to the Crucifixion and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and no further.

 

Note that the number 144 000 is not the total number of the people who will go to heaven but only a fraction. Ezra sees a number of people assigned to Jerusalem. He first sees an incomplete number of those people then later on a number that completes the fore-assigned or pre-determined number.

 

In the Scripture and prophecy earlier on quoted Ezra says,

‘So now, Jerusalem, welcome these people who have kept the law of the Lord, and this will complete the list of those whom God has assigned to you. The children you longed for have returned; their number is now complete.’

2 Esdras 2: 40 – 41.

 

Ezra saw that there was a specific number of people who would be saved through Judaism and also that there was yet another number, a larger one, to be saved through Jesus Christ. This number from all races, tribes and languages of the earth does not exclude the Jews. It includes them but only if they confess their faith in Christ Jesus, otherwise if they turn to Christianity.

 

The prophecy of John continues between verses 9 and 17:

9 ‘After this I looked, and there was an enormous crowd – no one could count all the people! They were from every race, tribe, nation and language and they stood in front of the throne and of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.10 They called out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation comes from our God, who sits on the throne, and from the Lamb!’13One of the elders asked me, “Who are these people dressed in white robes, and where do they come from?” 14 “I don’t know sir, you do.” I answered. He said to me, “These are the people who have come safely through the terrible persecution. They have washed their robes and made them white with the blood of the Lamb…… 16 Never again will they hunger and thirst; neither sun nor any scotching heat will burn them, 17 because the Lamb, who is the centre of the throne, will be their shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of life giving water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’

 

The similarity of the messages brought by the two prophesies almost six hundred years apart; cannot be over emphasised. The ‘Lamb’ who is Jesus Christ is the one who has cleansed people through His blood which was shed on the cross. Only the people who submit themselves to Him can be cleansed from their sinful mortal robes, but those who unwittingly distance themselves from Him will find themselves in the fires of hell.

 

Some people may look for a physical seal of God on the fore-heads and expect that it will be something visible. God’s seal on people’s ‘fore-heads’ may actually mean God’s Law that is taught to the people. The fore-head being representative of the brain, the thinking and the mind-set of God’s people.

 

Marking the people with God’s seal on their foreheads may mean the preaching and the acceptance of the Gospel of God through Jesus Christ. At baptism and confirmation, Catholics are marked with chrismal – with a cross on their foreheads. On Ash Wednesday they receive the same mark but this time with ash. The marking with the ash reminds them of Christ’s and their own death.

 

Easter therefore is the new, ‘Pesach’ or Passover. We all celebrate the freedom from the new Egypt, which is not a country but a system; to the New Canaan, which also is not a country but a spiritual zone.

 

In this case the new Egypt stands for the world, the land of perpetual slavery to sin and death. The New Canaan stands for heaven, the land of freedom from sin and death where we will have eternal life. Our Moses in this case is Christ Jesus who tested death for our sake but was resurrected and is alive today.

 

Soon after Easter this year, the year of the Lord 2010, I was inspired to send the following message to my friends and relatives. As I typed the message tears rolled out of my eyes and I felt the pain of neglecting one who has laid down His life for you and me stabbing into my heart:

‘When Christmas comes, the followers of Christ express their joy for the first coming of their Lord and Saviour. Everything seems to over-shadow all other events of the year. Yet the coming of Easter brings back great feelings of happiness and gratitude to God from all Christians.

 

‘It was for Easter that the Son of God came to earth through Mary. The preceding events bring profound grief and sorrow to those who feel indebted to God and His chosen servant Christ. Taking stock of the suffering of Christ from Gethsemane and His endurance of human callousness up to His Crucifixion and death – all on account of our sins; awakens the consciousness of our guilt for our short-comings, past, present and future. However, His Resurrection re-assures us of never-ending life in sinless state with Him in Paradise.

 

‘May the Risen Christ declare all your indebtedness paid up, all your worries, troubles and anxieties, illnesses and failures; invalidated. May He extend your fixed number of days in healthy life on earth, and grant you eternal life.

 

Amen.’

 

I pray that all who read this book now get the same from the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Observing and Celebrating Of Christmas

 

Christmas is celebrated or observed throughout the world on 25 December every year. Like Easter, Christmas is observed by many people regardless of their faith and religion. Even non-Christians or non-believers observe it.

 

There is the general belief that 25 December marks Christ’s Birth Day. This is not entirely true. This has had the effect of some Christian denominations criticising the celebration and observance of Christmas claiming that the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was not born on 25 December.

 

It is true that the Lord was not born on 25 December and the Church is well aware of that. The birth of the Lord on earth is actually traced to 13 October. However if the month of Kislev is the same month as December, then we can assume that the ancient Jews once celebrated the re-dedication of their Temple Alter on the 25th day of December in the year 164 B.C.

 

The Day was actually the anniversary of the desecration of the Alter by Gentiles. The Jews under the leadership of Judas Maccabees had bravely fought the Gentiles gaining control of the Temple and re-dedicating it. 1 Maccabees 4: 36 – 55.

 

No doubt then that the early Jews could have celebrated the event on that date for many centuries leading to the early Christians – who were themselves Jews, deciding to celebrate their Lord on the same date. The real truth is that Christ’s correct age and real beginning can never be known or estimated by man. Christ existed before all creation, as is clearly narrated in the Gospel of St. John and elsewhere in the Scriptures.

 

The Catholic Church as the oldest known Christian Church chose 25 December to be set aside as a day of celebrating the first coming of the Lord to earth through the Virgin Mary. This was not necessarily to mark or celebrate the exact date of the Lord’s birth on earth.

 

There is agreement that owing to the persecution of the early Church, it was not possible to set aside a day for the celebration of the Lord’s first coming for centuries. This is possibly why it was not an issue not to choose His exact date of birth. The real issue is to make it a tradition that the day is observed and celebrated in order to keep the current and future generations enlightened about the first coming of the Son of God to earth.

 

Christmas can be best defined as Christ’s Mass or the Mass of celebrating the first coming of Christ. Mass as earlier on discussed, is the gathering of the children of God who believe in God, His Son and the Holy Spirit; where the Body and Blood of Christ is consecrated and shared.

 

Most people, including some Christians, abuse Christmas. Instead of dedicating the day for worship they make it a day of getting drunk and getting merry. Some even want to commit crime on the day. Christians need to be warned so that they act as good examples on Christmas.

 

CHAPTER V

 

The Law of God

 

In the beginning when God created the heavens and earth and eventually the Garden of Eden there was only one Law. God made this Law for Adam and His companion Eve.

 

The Law was one and very simple,

‘Thou shalt not eat of the tree of knowledge. The day that you will eat of it, you will surely die.’

Exodus 2 verses 16 – 17.

 

The tree of knowledge was not the only fruit tree in the garden. There were many more other trees. Man could not grow hungry because there was this variety of fruit. However, the evil impulse in him made him to be unable to obey the only Law.

 

He ate of the tree and punishment was meted. Death came as one of the most severe parts of the punishment. Man continued to live and to be in contact with God. There were righteous men as well as wicked ones. The man Adam was not a Jew but he was God’s child. Adam and his off-spring were children of God but they were not Jews. They interacted with God but through neither Judaism nor Christianity. Man continued to sin and die individually for their sins. They were now doing unnatural acts which were sinful before the eyes of God.

 

Amongst these sins could have been murder, stealing, adultery, witchcraft, idolatry, corruption, incest and many more. We see the first record of people dying communally (not individually), in the flood. The Bible does not specify the sin that forced God to kill the people of the whole world by one flood, but names wickedness.

 

Note that while the story of Noah’s flood is recorded in the Bible there is other non-biblical but historical records of the flood. The flood is however referred to as the universal flood and does not talk of Noah and the Almighty God of Israel but other gods. The source of this information points out that before the flood there had been civilisations dating back up to about 280 000 years.

 

We also learn of people dying communally for sin in the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah, where entire cities were destroyed for the wickedness of man. At this stage wickedness is also fingered out as the cause of the mass execution. But sodomy is specifically pointed out. Sodomy is the unnatural act of people of the same sex engaging in sexual activity.

 

In the past sodomy was viewed as an act of a man having sex with another man. This was mainly because the past has always been a patriarch society. In the present day there are some women who engage in sexual activity with other women and that also may qualify to be called sodomy.

 

Sodomy is a sin which God Himself could not tolerate and for it destroyed two cities and everything in them. God is God and does not change like man does. If he could not tolerate sodomy during Lot’s time He will not tolerate it now, today during our time. Some may wonder why God is not destroying entire countries since some countries have Laws allowing same sex marriages. The answer is simple -Christ died for all sins of humanity. But that does not mean that we are now free to sin because He has pre-paid for our sins.

 

He has paid so that we may have a chance of listening to His word and doing right before we are condemned to death. This also does not mean that we will not be judged. Judgement is surely coming and everyone will witness it. So God has reserved a day for judgement and until that day, He gives all of us a chance of choosing to disown our wickedness and turn back to Him and His only Son Jesus Christ.

 

The people of Sodom and Gomorrah possibly thought that they had rights just like we think we have now. That is possibly the reason why they even wanted to sodomise the angels which God had sent to destroy the cities. Their evil impulse had blinded them so much that they couldn’t even recognise the angels.

 

Remember, they demanded that Lot should give to them, (what seemed to them to be strange men and prospective sex partners.) They wanted to sleep with these strange men. It did not even occur to their minds that the strange men they so dearly lusted for could have been angels of God even when Lot had tried to restrain them. Though promising them his two virgin daughters, the men had remained defiant and blind to the un-forbidden fruit that was being offered; but very conscious and lustful of the, ‘forbidden,’ tree of knowledge. This just happened as had happened in the Garden of Eden.

 

The next morning the two cities were destroyed with fire and brimstone, with all the inhabitants including the animals and trees and also women who were not guilty of sodomy. God did not like the wickedness of man and decided to make a new race without destroying the current completely. So it was that the fires were confined to Sodom and Gomorrah only, unlike the flood that had covered the whole earth.

 

Later on in time, God decided to make the Jews as the descendants of Abraham. I do not think that the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were Jews, even though they are the ancestors of the Jews. Biblically we learn that the sons of Jacob went to Egypt as a family. That was after they had hated their brother Joseph for his strange dreams and also for the fact that he was their father’s favourite son. This had led them to plot evil against him, initially plotting to kill him by throwing him into a deep well, and finally agreeing to sell him to traders who were going to Egypt.

 

They had not known however, that the hand of God was with Joseph and that in future he would be like a King to them. When they eventually had discovered their brother Joseph, (now Governor in Egypt) through being forced there by famine, they had migrated to Egypt taking with them; their father and possibly their servants. When they eventually left Egypt centuries later, they were no longer a family, extended family or clan but a nation consisting of twelve tribes (all named after the twelve sons of Jacob who was also known as Israel).

 

Joseph was the second practical sign of what God intended to do for the world through His Son Jesus Christ. The first sign was his grandfather Isaac. When we compare Joseph’s story to that of Christ we find that, like Christ Joseph is hated by his fellow men, is sent to the place of the dead by the brothers (being thrown into a deep well that resembles a grave) and being counted amongst the dead because the brothers informed their father that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. Jacob had endured this lie and deception for about nineteen years, until the rediscovery of Joseph as Governor in Egypt.

 

Like Christ Joseph is sold by those close to him but his selling price is ten silver pieces less than that of the Lord. In Joseph’s case it is his brother Judah who suggests that they sell him. In the Lord’s case it is Judas who plots to betray the Lord and receives thirty silver pieces for the betrayal.

We will note once again that after being known to be dead, Joseph becomes a ruler just like Christ’s Kingship comes after His Death and Resurrection. There is also a prophetic saying by Joseph to his brothers that seems to be what Christ might be saying to the Jews today. The saying is a quotation from Genesis 50 verse 20:

‘You plotted evil against me, but God turned it into good, in order to preserve the lives of many people who are alive today because of what happened. You have nothing to fear. I will take care of you and your children.

 

As earlier on stated, the Jews became a nation inside Egypt. When they left Canaan as sons of Jacob they were a family and not a Jewish nation. They multiplied in Egypt and when they eventually left the country they had assumed the identity of Jews. If the Jews are defined by their religion and culture, then their current religion and culture dates back to the time when Moses saw the burning bush, up to the wandering in the wilderness. The Jews are also identified to their roots i.e. the twelve sons of Israel: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin. These names eventually became the twelve tribes of Israel. These Israelites or Jews are the ones to whom the Ten Commandments were given at Mount Sinai in Exodus Chapter 20.

 

Perhaps when God gave out the Ten Commandments He did not want His new people to repeat the sins of the earlier race which was destroyed during the flood and also at Sodom and Gomorrah. Therefore the Lord would have summed up the wickedness of the earlier generations for the benefit of the future ones.

 

The Ten Commandments

 

i. Worship no god but Me.

ii. Do not make for yourselves images of anything on earth or in Heaven. Do not bow down to idols, do not worship them.

iii. Do not use my name for evil purposes.

iv. Observe the Sabbath and keep it Holy.

v. Respect your father and your mother.

vi. Do not commit murder.

vii. Do not commit adultery.

viii. Do not steal.

ix. Do not accuse anyone falsely.

x. Do not desire another man’s house, his wife or his other property.

 

When the Ten Commandments were given to the Israelites, God told them that they had to live by the Commandments. Not a single one of them had to be broken. Break one you have broken them all.

 

By nature of mankind it is difficult to go for a period even as short as twelve hours without breaking one of the Commandments. A good example is the law about falsehood. It is quite difficult for a lie not to slip from an averagely descent human being’s mouth in our daily lives. A lie however small breaks the ninth Commandment.

 

The first people to receive the Law were the first to break it. In that case no-one among them was fit to receive eternal life because they couldn’t live without breaking the Law. How about the present generation? If that first generation was not able to uphold the Law given first hand to it; would the present generation be able to uphold it? The answer is obviously, ‘No.’

 

The Law therefore became unfit to bring about Salvation to anyone, whether Jew or Gentile. That however does not mean we are free to disobey the Law. Obey the law even if it does not bring Salvation. Obey it because that is the will of God. When the Law is kept, followed and put into practice it makes life easier for all of us.

 

 

The people’s failure to understand the Law

 

i .Worship no god but Me, The God who freed you from slavery in Egypt.

 

The early Israelites saw God in a Pillar of Fire at night and in a Cloud during the day. They did not completely know who He was. To Moses He said, ‘I Am Who I Am. The God of: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’

Exodus 3: 14-15.

 

A lot about Who God really was remained unknown and unexplained. For example, the fact that God consists of The Father,

The Son and The Holy-Spirit remained unknown until it was explained by The Lord Jesus Christ at a later stage.

 

This caused confusion amongst the children of God. Again in the present day some people still do not know who God is and at-least some of those who have the knowledge given to them still choose to ignore or disbelieve it. To the Jews who were the first amongst all the followers of Christ, Jesus Christ the Messiah said,

‘But the scripture must come true that says, ‘the man who shared my food turned against me.’ I tell you now, before it happens so that when it does happen, you will believe that, ‘I Am Who I am.’

John 13: 18 – 19.

 

Those who believe in Christ as The Son of God believed after His death and Resurrection that He is, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ But who really is ‘I AM WHO I AM?’ ‘I Am Who I AM,’ is The God of Moses, The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He describes Himself as such to Moses in Exodus 3: 14 -15. He also describes Himself to the Apostles in John 13: 18 -19.

 

Therefore The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and The God of the twelve tribes of Israel is The same God Jesus, Who is also The God of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ.

 

So when He said, ‘Worship no god, but Me.’ He was referring to Himself inclusive of Jesus Christ. When He came to earth we should not have condemned Him to death on charges of blasphemy. When He said that He was The Son of God, we should have listened to Him or at-least tried to persuade Him to explain further.

 

Supposing it was His Will that He is condemned to death as it surely was, after His Resurrection and Ascension we should have acknowledged Him as our God.

 

This first Commandment carries our judgement. In John 12 Jesus speaks: ‘Whoever believes in Me believes not only in Me. But also in Him Who sent Me. Whoever sees Me sees also Him Who sent Me. I have come into the world as Light so that everyone who believes should not remain in the darkness. If anyone hears my message and does not obey it, I will not judge him. I come not to judge the world, but to save it. Those who reject me and do not accept my message have one who will judge them. The words I have spoken will be their judge on the last day! This is true because I have not spoken on my own authority, but The Father: Who sent Me has commanded Me what I must say and speak. And I know His Command brings eternal life. What I say, then, is what The Father has told Me to say.’

John 12: 44 – 50.

 

We crucified Jesus Christ because we did not understand the first Commandment. If we knew that Christ is God we could not have crucified Him. When we thought we were doing service to God by killing one who said that He was God, we broke another Law: ‘Thou shall not kill.’ So by breaking one Law we broke all of them.

 

ii. Do not make for yourselves images of anything on earth or in Heaven. Do not bow down to idols, do not worship them.

 

In most cases we accuse others of making idols and worshipping them. We think that idols are only the golden calf. In our age there are so many idols. Idols come in many forms: money, wealth, fashion, addictions, beauty, fame, sex and heroes. All these are idols. Once we give too much attention to them at the expense of giving God the attention He deserves, we are worshiping idols.

 

An example is when colonised countries gain political independence. They never see the true source of power and independence which is God. They all attribute it to political leaders, mere mortals who are just tools in the hand of the worker. They sing praise to them as if they were gods. They never thank God for both the independence and the leaders. That is idol worship in its truest sense.

 

There are also some other religious sects which exalt man to the position of God. These church leaders possess some miraculous powers and when people see these miracles they tend to worship the messenger rather than the one who sends him. Remember the words of Christ, ‘Many false messiahs will come.’ They will come with miraculous powers to destruct the chosen people of God.

 

We should pray to God to show us the true Messiah worthy of Worship; The One Jesus Christ and His Father.

iii. Do not use my name for evil purposes.

In our daily lives we often use God’s or even Jesus’ name for evil purposes. I have seen some people who do not accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, but each time they get angry they find Jesus’ name convenient for swearing.

 

One day I called one to order by calmly reminding him when he swore in anger, ‘Jesus Christ!’

 

‘Sir,’ I said to him, ‘Jesus Christ is our Lord and Saviour. You always want to use His name when you swear in anger. That is not right.’

 

I was surprised when he answered me politely, ‘I am sorry.’

 

Sometimes we are given the power of prayer and healing. This, God gives us for free and He wants us to heal His suffering children without charge. But what do we do? We charge for it and enrich ourselves. Whoever heard of Christ charging money for Spiritual Healing? Even the Apostles never did that.

 

We use the name of God for evil purposes if we use His Spirit for healing and later on charge money for it.

 

iv. Observe the Sabbath and keep it Holy.

 

Before the children of Israel went out of Egypt there is no Biblical evidence or otherwise, which shows that from the time of Adam onwards people ever had a day set aside for worship. The Sabbath was therefore God’s will to call His people for worship.

The ‘Day after the Sabbath,’ is also one other day which God has set aside as a day of worship and so are the other days of the week where God’s people choose to assemble and worship Him.

 

Note once again that it was also for the misunderstanding of this Law that Christ was crucified. They claimed that He healed and worked on Sabbaths, so He deserved to die. The Law, ‘Do not kill,’ applied universally and had no special circumstances where it could be wavered. It does not say, ‘Do not kill unless………’

 

For any accusation about the Sabbath, Christ always had ready answers. Some of the answers were as follows: 5 ‘or have you not read in the Law of Moses that every Sabbath the priests in the Temple actually break the Sabbath Law, yet they are not guilty? 6 I tell you that there is something here greater than the Temple. 7 The Scriptures say, ‘It is kindness that I want, not animal sacrifices.’ If you really you knew what this means, you would not condemn people who are not guilty; 8 for The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.’

Matthew 12: 5 – 8.

 

This answer explains that even the Jewish Religious leaders themselves by performing their Religious duties in the Temple on the Sabbath are breaking the Sabbath Law, yet they are not aware of it (or are protected because they are in the Temple.) However, He Himself is not breaking any Law because He is greater than the Temple.

 

He goes on to explain through the Scriptures that the sacrifices they offer to God, they are also offering to Him-self and that it is only kindness towards Him that He wants, (not animal sacrifices.) He also cautions them in parables that if they understand the Scriptures, they would not falsely condemn Him to death in the near future.

 

The other answer which the Lord Jesus gave to the Jewish Authorities is found in John 5: 16-17: ‘So they began to persecute Jesus, because he had done this healing on a Sabbath. 17 Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is always working, and I too must work.

 

Elsewhere in Luke 6 we hear that one Sabbath when Jesus was preaching there was a man whose hand was paralysed or withered. The teachers of the Law and some Pharisees are said to have closely watched Him to see whether He would heal on a Sabbath because they wanted something by which to accuse Him of wrong doing.

 

Knowing their thoughts the Lord is said to have called the man to the centre and asked the leaders: 9 ‘I ask you: ‘What does our Law allow us to do on the Sabbath; to help or to harm? To save someone’s life or destroy it?

 

He is said to have looked around at all of them and ordered the man to stretch out his hand, thereby being healed. The leaders are said to have been filled with rage. They started plotting what they could do to the Lord.

 

v. Respect your father and your mother.

 

We have our fathers and mothers on earth. In most cases we do not respect them. It would be better if we disobeyed them where they teach us to disobey God. But on issues where they teach us to be obedient to God and themselves we need to be respectful.

 

God is also our parent represented by both our father and mother. How can we respect Him if we do not respect the parents that we are always seeing? At-least because He is not physically visible it would be less practical for us to obey Him when we fail to obey the physically visible parents that we have on earth. Charity begins at home they say. So we need to start respecting the earthly parents before graduating to the Heavenly Parent.

 

This Law does not apply only to our biological fathers and mothers but also to any elderly person of any race who may be the same age as our parents or in a position of authority. Jesus Christ is also our Father but how many of us really respect and believe in Him? It is not enough only to know God and Jesus Christ. We need to respect them more than we respect our earthly parents. We need also to do their will.

 

Almost everybody on earth knows Jesus Christ but almost half or more than half of them do not believe in Him even if they know Him. Even demons claim that they know Jesus Christ, but they do not worship Him although they fear Him and know that He is the Son of the Most High God. Should we not be more intelligent than the demons?

 

vi. Do not commit murder.

 

I have always thought and believed that this Law was put by God to prepare the earlier Jews to make good judgement when Christ came. But that was not to be. If the early Jews had understood this Law they would not have crucified Christ. However, it is not only the Jews who are capable of breaking this Law. We are all capable.

In anger over small misunderstandings; we commit murders. In artificial birth controls we murder. In legal and illegal abortions we murder. In international disputes we murder. In tribal and racial disputes, we murder. In armed robberies, we murder. In court judgements termed, ‘death sentences,’ we commit murder.

 

People think that murder is not murder if it is disguised under a certain name. God is not happy with the blood which humans shed every day. The world needs to listen to God and let death come only through natural means.

 

vii. Do not commit adultery.

 

All forms of sex offences or sex sins are summed up in this Law. Our Lord Jesus Christ talks of lust as a sin. He observes that if anyone looks at a woman lustfully, ‘he has already committed adultery with her.’

 

The sin of sex before marriage or sex outside marriage, extra marital affairs, rape, sodomy, bestiality and incest – all fall under this Law. These are sins for which we will face judgement on the last day. We usually deceive ourselves by thinking that if we are Christians we are free to commit these sins because Christ does not judge. This is a mistake. We should endeavour to stop these bodily passions and try to live in Spirit.

 

viii. Do not steal.

 

Theft is in many forms. We do not steal physical objects only. Sometimes we may steal time from our place of work, or even steal God’s time by not going to Church for worship. That also is stealing. What about commercial crimes where people commit fraud? This also is another form of stealing. Are we prepared to accumulate stealing cases until Judgement Day when we will be shocked to see how much we have unconsciously stolen?

 

ix. Do not accuse anyone falsely.

 

We failed to follow and obey this Law when we falsely accused our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and led Him to crucifixion. This Law was instituted by God especially for Christ. God knew that at one stage in time we would falsely accuse His Son and bring Him before the rulers of the world on false charges. As political leaders and political parties we always find some excuses to falsely accuse others. This also happens in different denominations. We trade false accusations against each other. As children of God we need to listen to the Spirit. It is the Spirit of God that guides us to act justly. We need not listen to all the spirits. Some spirits are from the devil and when they argue we easily fall into believing them.

 

x. Do not desire another man’s house, his wife and his other property.

 

It is good to appreciate and try to work hard to achieve the good things that others have. But it is bad to be jealous as to scheme even to hurt others for their possessions.

 

These are basically the Ten Commandments given to the children of God. They were meant to give us happiness and Salvation but they failed. We need to practise them for the whole of our lives, even though we clearly know that Salvation is no longer dependent on them; but rather on Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.

 

There are other Laws given to Moses and the Israelites. These are so many that it has been impossible for both Jews and Gentiles to put into perfect practice. Some of these Laws are said to be Laws of man and not Laws of God. These include the types of Laws that are taught and practised by man; when those taught by Christ, who talks on behalf of God are neglected.

 

People falsely accuse our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ of changing Moses’ Law. Christ did not come to the world to change or do away with the Law. If anything – Christ Himself says that He came here to strengthen the Law.

 

In Matthew 7 verses 17 – 20 He makes the following comments:

17 [_ ‘Do not think that I have come to do away with the Law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets. I have not come to do away with them, but to make their teaching come true.18 Remember that as long as heaven and earth last, not the least point nor the smallest detail of the Law will be done away with -not until the end of all things.19 So then, whoever disobeys even the least important commandments and teaches others to do the same, will be least in the Kingdom of Heaven. I tell you, then, that you will be able to enter the Kingdom of heaven only if you are more faithful than the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees in doing what God requires.’ _]

Good News Bible T.E.V.

 

Christ further illustrates His desire to strengthen the Law by adding to the existing Laws. For example, about murder he says, ‘You have heard that it was said anyone who kills another human being shall be liable to the fires of hell but I say unto you today that; anyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to the fires of hell.

 

About adultery He says: ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ but I say unto you today that if anyone looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her and therefore shall be liable to the fires of hell.’

 

The New Law:

 

We have seen the summary of the Ten Commandments as presented in the Old Testament or Covenant. In the New Testament our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ gives us the same Laws anew.

 

In the earlier chapters I pointed out that when He was asked by the Pharisees which the greatest Law was; the Lord answered by expanding two commandments. As He said them out, it was as if they were new commandments. He said, ‘Listen, Israel! The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul with all, your mind and with all your strength. The second most important commandment is this, ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself. There is no other commandment more important than these two.’

Mark 12: 21 – 31.

 

I need not point out once again that when Christ talks about, ‘The One and Only Lord,’ He does not exclude Himself. In fact He talks of God, The Father God, The Son and God The Holy Spirit who are all in one God.

 

The Law about the Lord is the first commandment. As children of the new age we need to know that the, ‘One Lord God,’ is the same as the Lord Jesus Christ. So when we love and worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob we should not leave out Jesus Christ His only Son, because He is in God and with God.

The Law about the neighbour is the tenth commandment which talks about, ‘another man,’ his house, his wife, and his other possessions.’ A neighbour in this case may be one who is not one of us. He is not one who stays next to our house. He is actually one who may not be of our kind. Think of anyone who is not our family member; one who is not of our tribe, one who is not of our own race or even one who is not of our own Religion. One who does not have anything, in-common with our group is our neighbour and needs to be loved and cared for, as we would love and care for our own.

 

The Lord taught about this in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. In the parable the Lord tells us of a man, probably a Jew, who travelled between Jerusalem and Jericho but was waylaid, beaten, robbed and left for dead. Two of his kinsmen, a Priest and a Levite passed by on separate occasions and saw the injured man. They did not offer him any help but continued going on their way.

 

By chance a Samaritan who may have been a stranger possibly an enemy of the Jews (only because of his tribe) came along. The Samaritan gave first-aid to the man, carried him to the nearest hotel and there paid for the man’s lodgings until he recovers.

 

Christ then asked the teacher of the Law who had tried to trick Him by the question, ‘But who is my neighbour?’ ‘According to your opinion, who among the three acted like a good neighbour?’

 

The teacher of the Law answered that the one who had shown kindness to the injured man was the neighbour.

 

So according to God our Father and Christ His Son, our neighbour is any human being regardless of race, tribe, creed or colour who may need our sympathy or mercy.

 

Just before His betrayal, the Lord gave His disciples a new Law. The Law is similar to the two discussed above but clearly pertains to us. We get the new Commandment from John 13: 31 – 35.

31 ‘After Judas had left, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man’s glory is revealed; now God’s glory is revealed through Him.32 And if God’s glory is revealed through Him, then God will reveal the glory of the Son of Man in Himself, and He will do so at once.33 My children I shall not be with you very much longer. You will look for me; but I tell you now; what I told the Jewish authorities, ‘You cannot go where I am going.’ Now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.’

Good News Bible T.E.V.

 

Before giving out the new commandment the Lord speaks of His glory and God’s glory being revealed. How was Christ’s glory and also God’s going to be revealed? It was going to be revealed through defeating death. Note that, right until the Crucifixion of the Lord there is no man who was known to have died and buried, only to rise again; except of course for Lazarus. Even Lazarus had not risen from the grave on his own power, but through that of God and His Son Jesus Christ.

 

When Christ recalled Lazarus from the grave He first looked up to Heaven and asked His Father to raise Lazarus for the benefit of man. He said: 41 ‘I thank you, Father, that you listen to me, I know that you always listen to me, but I say this for the sake of the people here, so that they will believe that you sent me.’ 43 ‘After, He had said this, he called out in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’

John 11.

 

Lazarus had been buried for almost four days. The next person to be known to have risen from the grave after three days is the Lord Himself. No other person besides Lazarus and the Lord has been known to have performed this feat Biblically and otherwise. It is now almost two thousand years after the Resurrection of the Lord but no other messiah, priest, or magician has risen like Christ. We do not look forward to any other rising until Judgement Day.

 

The New Commandment, ‘Love one another,’ seems to be an extension of ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’

 

People think that this Commandment is only for Christians or only for the original disciples of Jesus Christ the Lord and Saviour. This is a wrong supposition because the Commandment was given to Christians though meant for all the children of God.

 

Christians need to set the tone as they are the custodians of the Commandment. They need to set an example of coming together and loving one another. They need not love each other only, but also love Non Christians.

 

The world must come to a stage where it is united. Race, tribe, gender, language and Religion should no longer be dividing factors. In the beginning people had one language. In Babylon they tried to build the tower of Babel. God confused them and gave them different languages. He scattered them all over the earth. Genesis11. That is where all the differences we have emanated from.

 

Later on at Pentecost, The Lord removed the confusion brought up by different languages. Through one language of the Nazarenes, The Lord made it possible that people from all languages of the world understand (in their own language) the Gospel of the Lord. Acts Chapter 2.

 

So Christ and The Holy Spirit are the uniting force for all human beings. Discrimination, segregation, hate, greed and jealousy should be done away with by all the people of the world.

 

CHAPTER VI

 

The Kingdom of God

 

It is difficult to define the Kingdom of God without talking about Jesus Christ who is the centre of the Kingdom and also without talking about His Mass Movement which is Christianity.

 

Many people think that the Kingdom of God is yet to arrive. They think the Kingdom will come after Judgement Day. The Kingdom of God is viewed as a Kingdom that cannot be experienced on earth. In earthly definitions a kingdom can be defined this way:

It comprises a king, his subjects and also an area of the king’s jurisdiction probably the area is marked by boundaries. A kingdom has a government whose purpose is to set rules and laws, and also make sure that the rules and Laws are learnt (and above all put into practice). It also provides security, safety and the well being of its subjects.

 

The earthly kingdoms always begin with the birth of the King and mature when the king is anointed as King. Then they often crumble when the King dies or is overthrown by another more powerful one. Earthly kingdoms do not last long.

 

There have been strong kingdoms which have sometimes lasted for centuries or decades and sometimes becoming dynasties. But none of these kingdoms and dynasties can outlive the kingdom of God. They always die out.

 

The Kingdom of God lasts forever and unlike the earthly one, it begins with the death of the King and His ultimate rising from death. It has no geographical boundary and is like an invisible city or an invisible country. It has a Powerful King and has subjects who are chosen (and not forced to become subjects under it). Citizenship of the Kingdom is open to all and voluntary. People choose individually to become citizens of the Kingdom or to stay away.

 

Like the earthly kingdom, the Kingdom of God does have the opposition (meaning that there are some people who may live within its boundaries but still refuse to recognise the Kingdom as legitimate). The Kingdom is highly democratic because it allows even those who oppose it to coexist, even if it wields the power to put them to extinction.

 

What Does The Bible Say About The Kingdom Of God?

 

In 2 Samuel 7 the Lord God through the Prophet Nathan promises King David that one of his sons will be king forever: 12 ‘When you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will make one of your sons king and will keep his kingdom strong.13 He will be the one to build a temple for me, and I will make sure that his dynasty continues forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong I will punish him as a father punishes his son.14. But I will not withdraw my support from him as I did from Saul, whom I removed so that you could be king. You will always have descendants, and I will make your kingdom last forever. Your dynasty will never end.

 

About King David the Psalms also say: 29 ‘His dynasty will be as permanent as the sky; a descendant of his will always be king.’

Psalm: 89.

 

When King David died Solomon his son became king. King Solomon was anointed king even before his father David had died. Solomon became a great king and his kingdom was blessed by God. Solomon was indeed the one who built a Temple out of cedar for the Lord.

 

The Great Temple built by King Solomon is known all over the world. But it was not of King Solomon that the Psalms says,

‘A descendant of David will always be king.’

 

Solomon’s kingdom lasted forty years and when he died he was succeeded by his son Rehoboam. So Solomon was not always king. The Temple which King Solomon built lasted for many years but it was destroyed by the attacking and violent enemies of Israel. It was later rebuilt on several occasions.

 

In the time that the Israelites were captive in Babylonia the Archangel Gabriel told Daniel that when the Messiah comes, ‘The Temple will be rededicated.’

 

This rededication may not have meant the rebuilding or the re-purification of the physical Temple. It may have actually meant the transfer of glory from one Temple to the other.

 

When challenged by the Scribes and Pharisees about why He was driving out the money changers from the Temple our Lord Jesus Christ said, ‘Destroy this Temple and after three days I shall rebuild it.’

 

At that time nobody knew what Christ meant by the, ‘Temple,’ and also what He meant about, ‘building it,’ after three days.’

 

We were later to learn after His Resurrection (three days after His Crucifixion), that by, ‘The Temple,’ He meant His body and by, ‘Rebuilding it after three days,’ He meant that He would arise from death in three days.

 

Christ’s body is the Spiritual Temple. The Christian Church is His Spiritual Temple. Individual members of the Christian Church are spiritual stones or bricks which make up the Body of Christ.

The following quotation from 1 Peter 2 paints a clear picture of what I am saying: 4 ‘Come to the Lord, the living stone rejected by people as worthless but chosen by God as valuable. 5 Come as living stones and let yourselves be used in building the spiritual temple, where you will serve as holy priests to offer spiritual and acceptable sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ.

 

The transfer of glory from one temple to another is referred to, elsewhere in the Bible. 2 Esdras 2: 10 – 11. 13 – 14:

10 ‘The Lord says to Ezra: Announce to my new people that I will give them the kingdom of Jerusalem, which I had planned to give Israel. 11. I will take the dazzling light of my presence away from Israel and give to my new people the eternal Temple that I had prepared for Israel…..13 Ask and you will receive. Pray that the number of the days you have to wait will be reduced. Even now the kingdom has been prepared for you, so stay alert. 14 Call heaven and earth to witness that I, the living God, have abolished evil and created good.

 

When we are called upon to stay alert, it is in preparation for us to recognise the Kingdom when it arrives. The Kingdom is here with us and it arrived almost two thousand years ago. Christianity is the Kingdom of God, and is also referred to as the new age.

 

It is surprising how God could shift the blessing, the power and the glory from one of His Temples to the other. This is just like the blessings which were given to Jacob instead of Esau who was the first born son of Isaac. The two were sons of the same father and also twins. Today God Almighty is known as The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Esau is not mentioned.

 

There is also another Biblical explanation to the mystery. The Archangel Uriel was talking to Ezra when the later asked about the length of time between the ages.

 

2 Esdras 6: 7 – 10.

7 ‘Then I asked, ‘How long, a period of time will divide the ages? When will the first age end and the next age begin?’ 8 He answered. ‘The interval will be no longer than that between Abraham and Abraham. He was the grandfather of both Jacob and Esau, and when they were born, Jacob was holding Esau’s heel. 9 Esau represents the end of this age and Jacob represents the beginning of the new age.10 So, if Jacob’s hand is the beginning and Esau’s heel is the end, do not try to find a space in between.

Supposing that the two ages which are being discussed between the Prophet Ezra and the Archangel Uriel were Religions, then, we could correctly assume that they were Judaism and Christianity.

 

At the time that Ezra lived the only Religion then was Judaism.

The Archangel Uriel describes that time as, ‘This age,’ in the sentence, ‘Esau represents the end of ‘this age,’ and Jacob represents the beginning of the new age. The symbolism of Abraham signifies the fact that the two Religions are from the same source (or from one God). It further shows that the Religions co-exist from the beginning to the end.

 

The mystery about the two brothers Esau and Jacob shows that the two Religions are from the same God, as the brothers are from the same father. They appear almost at the same time but one appears sooner than the other.

 

Just like Esau and Jacob exchanged blessings and temporarily became enemies, Judaism and Christianity were once enemies. Soon after Jacob received the blessings from their father Isaac the elder brother Esau hated the younger, forcing him to escape and live with their uncle Laban in a foreign land.

 

Similarly soon after the inception of Christianity, the Jewish authorities persecuted all the followers of the New Religion and made life unbearable for them. This is why we see leaders like Peter, Paul and others escaping from Palestine to foreign lands like Rome.

 

It was only after many years that the brothers were to be reconciled but never to live together. Their reconciliation was made possible only by God. After that period of reconciliation Jacob’s name had to grow through his descendants who later became the Jewish nation (or the twelve tribes of Israel). From that period the descendants of Esau and Esau’s name started to diminish and get lesser and lesser known.

 

The two brothers Esau and Jacob lived at the same time. They may probably have died almost at the same time or a few years apart. However, the popularity of Jacob overshadowed that of Esau. Thereby making things look as though Esau’s life had prematurely ended.

The two Religions Judaism and Christianity follow almost the same pattern. They will co-exist until final judgement. The ‘end of the age,’ does not mean that one of the Religions will be extinct. We only realise that Christianity is more and more followed than Judaism because it takes all races, tribes and languages; including some from the Jewish race.

 

Judaism still remains largely confined to the descendants of Jacob and has fewer converts from other races than Christianity has. This probably explains Christ’s parable of talents. (That anyone who uses his master’s talents to earn more will be given more, while one who does not use the talents will be deprived of them). Perhaps if Judaism had been as open to other races as Christianity is, (welcoming everyone as a child of God) God might not have made another Covenant.

 

In 2 Esdras 1 there is talk about the replacement of Israel:

28 ‘Lord Almighty says: ‘I have pleaded with you as a father pleads with his sons, as a mother pleads with her daughters, or as a nurse-aid pleads with her children. I begged you to be my people so that I could be your God, to be my children so that I could be your father. 30 I gathered you together; as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But now what can I do with you? I will banish you from my sight; 31 and even when you offer sacrifices to me, I will turn away from you. Your religious festivals, your New Moon Celebrations, or your circumcision ceremonies mean nothing to me.

 

This part of the scriptures point particularly to the Lord Jesus Christ appealing to the Jews and Israelites to honour Him as their God. In the New Testament the Lord Jesus repeats the same words as said by the prophet Ezra. Matthew 23: 37 – 38: ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets and stone the messengers God has sent you! How many times have I wanted to put my arms round all your people, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not let me! 38 And so your Temple will be abandoned and empty.

 

The Scripture from Matthew Chapter 23 agrees with that from 2 Esdras 1 where the Lord continues: 32 ‘I sent you my servants: the prophets but you killed them and mutilated their corpses. I will make you pay for murdering them. 33 The Lord Almighty says: Your Temple is abandoned. I will scatter you like straw, blown away by the wind. 34 Your children will have no descendants because they rejected my commandments and did what I hated, just as you did.

 

The Lord continues in the verses that follow telling the Israelites that He will give their home to His new people who are about to appear. The Lord points out that: these new people will believe Him even if they have not heard of Him and that they will do what He commands even though He has never performed miracles for them. The Lord says that His new people have not seen the prophets but they will live by their old teachings. His promise is that He will bless those people and their little children will laugh and shout for joy. He says that those people have never seen Him but deep within them they will believe Him.

 

Finally, the Lord addresses Ezra in the same book of 2 Esdras 1, saying: 38 ‘Now, Father Ezra, look with pride at the people you see; coming from the East. 39. Look at the leaders I have given them: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

 

In the New Testament times the Lord Jesus Himself reiterates the promise that God made to the Israelites through the prophets. He tells the Jewish authorities a parable about the tenants in the vineyard. After which He asks them what they think the landlord will do to the people who killed his messengers and his son? And they answer: 41 ‘He will certainly kill those evil men and let the vineyard out to other tenants, who will give him his share of the harvest at the right time.’

Matthew 21.

 

When He got this kind of answer from them He continued to ask and give them another teaching: 42 ‘Haven’t you ever read what the Scriptures say? ‘The stone which the builders rejected as worthless turned out to be the most important of all? This was done by the Lord; what a wonderful sight it is?’ 43 ‘And so I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce the right fruits.’

Matt. 21

 

Christianity has all the above named Patriarchs as its leaders and ironically they are all Jews and ancestors of the Jews. It derives all the blessings from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and from Jesus Christ His only begotten Son. All its teachings are based on the teachings of the above named Prophets. We will not look for another group of people but Christians.

 

Learning The Definition Of The Kingdom Of God From The Parables Of The Lord.

 

The Parable of the Mustard Seed Matt. 13: 31 – 32.

‘Jesus told them another parable: ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like this. A man takes a mustard seed and sows it in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grows up, it is the biggest of all plants. It becomes a tree, so that birds come and make their nests in its branches.

 

When this parable was told to the people of that time it was not understood. In our time most of us still do not understand it. Christ is the mustard seed that was sown through His burial. But when He rose from death, His body which is Christianity became like a tree. All of us who were dead in sin took shelter from the tree just like the, ‘Birds built their nests in its branches.

 

There are two other short parables in Matthew 13. They both explain the Kingdom of heaven. These parables are the parable of the hidden treasure and the parable of the pearl.

 

In the parable of the hidden treasure the Lord teaches about a man who finds hidden treasure in a field. After covering up the treasure the man is happy to sell all his possessions only to come back and buy the field where the treasure is buried. In the parable of the pearl the Lord gives us the picture of a man who is looking for fine pearls. When he finds one which is unusually fine he goes back and sells all his earlier collections and comes to buy the extra ordinarily fine pearl.

Matt. 13: 44 – 46.

 

The two parables talk about Religion. We all have our traditional religions. We strongly believe in them and cannot possibly be swayed away from them. In our hearts these religions take the part of all treasures and possessions we may have. When we are introduced to Christianity, which is the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of heaven, we find our possessions less valuable than our new find. Christ encourages us to leave behind our past beliefs and follow Him.

 

In that case it is like we sell our possessions and buy this new find. This is the same as abandoning all our earlier beliefs, traditions, cultures, and religions and turning to Christianity.

 

The Coming of the Kingdom

 

We always try and visualise the coming of the Kingdom of God but hardly understand what the coming means. As already pointed out earlier that we are already in the Kingdom, the following scriptures will help us to understand the coming of the Kingdom:

Luke 17: 20.

‘Some Pharisees asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come. His answer was, ‘The Kingdom of God does not come in such a way as to be seen. 21 No one will say, ‘Look, here it is! ‘Or: ‘There it is!’ Because the Kingdom of: God is within you.

 

In some Scripture the Lord is said to have turned and addressed His disciples, telling them that in future they would wish to see one of the days of the Son of Man. He urged them never to go out looking, each time people pointed out here and there saying, ‘Look over there! Look over here!’

 

The Lord said about the coming of the Kingdom:

Luke 17: 24 – 25:

‘As the lightning, flashes across the sky and lights it up from one side to the other, so shall the Son of Man be in his day. 26 But first he must suffer much and be rejected by the people of this day.

 

If we are intelligent enough in this age we will not look around for the Kingdom of God flashing around the sky, lighting it up from one end to the other. We will only see Christianity moving from Jerusalem to the ends of the world with the brightness of lightning. This has happened. The Kingdom of God has flashed like lightning giving light to the sky and the earth from one end to the other.

 

Those who have not seen it could be the stubborn hearted and the spiritually blind. People see things with their eyes and decide to disbelieve. It is the same with those who (up to today have not received teaching about Jesus Christ).

 

Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ explained more about the coming of the Kingdom:

Luke 17: 34 – 37: 34. ‘On that night, I tell you, there will be two people sleeping in the same bed: one will be taken away, the other will be left behind. 35 Two women will be grinding corn together: one will be taken away, the other will be left behind.’ 37 The disciples asked him, ‘Where Lord?’ Jesus answered, ‘Wherever there is a dead body, the vultures will gather.

 

People are being taken to where there is a dead body. Vultures feed on dead bodies (usually of animals and people in the case where the latter are left unburied). In this case we see all the followers of Christ as the ‘vultures,’ which feed on Christ’s body. ‘Wherever there is a dead body the vultures will gather.’

 

Christ told us before it all happened. He said that He is the bread of life and those who eat His flesh will have eternal life. He also told the Jews that those who eat His body would never die but have eternal life.

 

The Kingdom of God is here with us. What remains is the full revelation of the Kingdom. People should live in prayer and in Spirit. All the things we ask for from the Almighty God should be in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We should not expect to see the coming of the Kingdom of God at the end of the age.

 

There are other parables which talk about the harvest time:

Matt. 13: 47 – 50. 47 ‘Also, the Kingdom of heaven is like this. Some fishermen throw their net out in the lake and catch all kinds of fish. 48 When the net is full, they pull it to shore and sit down to divide the fish: the good ones go into their buckets, the worthless ones are thrown away. It will be like this at the end of the age: the angels will go out and gather up the evil people from among the good, 50 and will throw them into the fiery furnace, where they will cry and grind their teeth.

 

We are living within the Kingdom of heaven, all of us good and bad. It then remains for us to turn away from all evil in the best way we can, so that when the time for the separation of the good from the evil comes, we are not amongst those to be thrown into the furnace.

 

Matt. 24: 29 – 31: ‘Soon after the trouble of those days, the sun will grow dark, the moon will no longer shine, the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers in space will be driven from their courses. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the in the sky; and all the peoples of the earth will weep as they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with power and great glory. 31 The great trumpet will sound, and he will send out his angels to the four corners of the earth, and they will gather his chosen people from one end of the world to other.

 

All humanity needs to cherish the honour of seeing the Lord come with glory from heaven by being among the chosen. We should guard against refusing to grab the opportunity to be counted among the chosen when God presents it to us.

 

Chapter VII

 

Daniel’s Prophecy

 

The Catholic Church is usually portrayed by other Christian denominations in bad light. The denominations claim that Daniel’s prophecy is about the Catholic Church, which they claim that: at a given time will start persecuting the Church of God, i.e. the Christian denominations which are not Catholic.

 

These denominations interpret Daniel’s vision as meaning that the Catholic Church will stop sacrifices and also try to force all other Christian denominations and religions to worship the way Catholics do. This goes along their argument that in the near future, the Catholic Church will force everyone to worship on Sundays.

 

The denominations call this, ‘The Awful Horror.’ The Awful Horror is referred to in the book of Daniel Chapter 8 and also in 1 Maccabees. The Lord Jesus Christ also refers to the coming of the Kingdom of God shortly after the awful horror appears.

In the past God talked to his people through the prophets. The people always found it difficult to understand God’s message which He brought through the prophets. The same prophets, who warned God’s people in the past, still warn us today in the same way as they did in the past. The only difference today is that they now only talk to us through the Bible.

 

As already stated, it was difficult for our ancestors to understand

God’s message it is still equally difficult to understand today. It is only the Holy Spirit that may give us the wisdom to understand prophecies.

 

Prophecies are just like dreams and visions. Some people may have clear dreams but never understand their hidden meanings. Not all the people can interpret dreams today. In fact a vast majority of people cannot. It was the same during Daniel’s time. Even at his time, only Daniel amongst all the Jews and the gentiles was given the wisdom to interpret other people’s dreams.

 

Joseph one of the twelve sons of Jacob (also nicknamed), ‘the dreamer,’ by his brothers was also given that power. That was hundreds of years before Daniel.

 

Today it is equally difficult for anyone to claim that by reading the Bible they can interpret visions. It was not simple even for the prophet Daniel, to whom God later sent an angel to interpret the dreams. The particular visions in Daniel Chapter 8 were interpreted to Daniel by the Archangel Gabriel. Even when we read the Archangel’s interpretation of the dreams, it still remains a mystery to most of us what the visions really mean.

 

As already stated above that some Christian denominations think and preach that Daniel’s visions in the said Chapter point at the persecutions that will come from the Catholic Church, the denominations think that Daniel’s prophecy still has to come to pass. However, a close study of the Bible shows that the visions may have already come to pass.

 

The fears that it may be the Catholic Church persecuting other Christian Churches as well as other religions must be allayed. Every Christian denomination or Church can never bring persecution and suffering to other Christian Churches or to other human beings for that matter. The Lord Jesus Himself teaches tolerance, humility, kindness and sympathy. The Kingdom of God is one and not divided.

Whoever is not against us is with us.

 

Mark 9 verses 38 to 40, teaches Christians as well as other children of God about oneness: 38 ‘John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw a man who was driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he doesn’t belong to our group.’ 39 ‘Do not try to stop him,’ Jesus told them, ‘because no-one who performs a miracle in my name will be able soon afterwards to say evil things about me. For whoever is not against us is for us.’

Good News Bible TEV.

 

Some of our Christian brothers do not ask God to show them the truth but only go on to claim that God has shown them some hidden prophecy about others. The vision in Daniel Chapter 8 is about a ram and a goat. The Archangel Gabriel explains to Daniel in the same Chapter, clearly stating that the ram represents the kingdoms of Media and Persia and the goat represents the kingdom of Greece. These are earthly kingdoms or political governments.

 

It would be worth-while to be specific and to point out the actual dates when these things were to happen. Daniel had the vision in the third year that Belshazzar was king of Babylon. This king was the son of King Nebuchadnezzar. This is about the year 539 BC or some years earlier. Belshazzar is the king who used Temple utensils when he hosted a banquet for his officials. He is the one who saw something like a hand, writing on the wall and later asked Daniel to explain the meaning of the writing. Daniel’s explanation came to pass and instantly, Belshazzar’s kingdom was divided between the Medes and Persians. Darius the Mede became the king.

 

It was this Darius who was later defeated by Alexander the Great. When Alexander the Great had ruled for twelve years as Emperor he fell ill and divided his empire amongst his generals. (1 Maccabees 1: 1-9)

 

King Antiochus Epiphanes of Syria who ruled in the year ‘137a’, around year 175 BC: 1 Macc. 1: 1-10 is the one whom the prophecy identifies as the, ‘Stubborn, vicious and deceitful king.’ Daniel 8: 23. This king comes towards the end of four kingdoms that feature in the vision as the four horns that appear when the goat’s first horn is broken.

King Antiochus Epiphanes is also described to Daniel by the Archangel Gabriel in Daniel 10: 27 as, ‘The ruler who will have a firm agreement with many people for seven years, and when half of his time is past; he will put an end to sacrifices and offerings. The Awful Horror will be placed on the highest point of the Temple and will remain there until the one who put it there meets the end which God has prepared for him.’

 

Note that the, ‘Seven years,’ spoken about in the quote above corresponds with the, ‘2 300 evenings and mornings,’ during which sacrifices will not be offered:

Daniel 8: 14.

 

In the Bible, the Book of Maccabees describes how King Antiochus Epiphanes the fourth, who ruled between BC 175 and BC 163 persecuted God s’ people i.e. the Jews. He had an agreement with some traitorous Jews. He wanted to kill all the Jews who kept God’s Law. He also stopped sacrifices and built pagan alters on the Holy-Alter in The Temple of Jerusalem. That alter was called the, ‘Awful Horror,’ by the Jews.

 

From 175 BC to 163 BC it’s a stretch of a twelve year rule, and half of it is around 169 BC; the time marked for the stopping of sacrifices. At this time the king tried to defile the Temple. The years: 169 BC to 164 BC, when counted in full, amount to five full years. However, when one looks at it the other way and counts from 170 BC, the year when the king started persecuting the Jews, to 163 BC, the year that he died one counts seven full years.

 

From Daniel 8: 13-14 the Bible records: ‘Then I heard one angel ask another, ‘How long will these things that were seen in the vision continue? How long will an awful sin replace the daily sacrifices? For how long will the army of heaven and the Temple be trampled on?’ 14 ‘I heard the other angel answer, ‘It will continue for 2 300 evenings and mornings during which sacrifices will not be offered. Then the Temple will be restored.

 

This prophecy is still about the Awful Horror and king Antiochus Epiphanes the fourth. From the year 169 BC to 164 BC; the year when the Temple was rededicated by the local Jews, under the leadership of the hero Judas Maccabees, we see a time stretch of six years. The six years correspond with the, ‘2 300 evenings and mornings.’ Mathematically, dividing 2 300 days by 365 (the number of days in an ordinary year), produces six years. Six years would amount to 2 190 days then there would be a remainder of 110 days which is a third of a year.

 

So, undoubtedly Daniel’s vision about the ram and the goat has already come to pass. When Daniel had this vision, it was about the year 539 BC or a few years earlier. For the vision to come true, almost three hundred and seventy years passed. Daniel had also been advised by the Archangel Gabriel that it would be a very long time before the actual things happened.

 

King Antiochus Epiphanes the fourth’s death came just as the Archangel Gabriel had advised Daniel in Daniel 9: 27 b:

‘The Awful Horror will be placed on the highest point of the Temple and will remain there until the one who put it there meets the end which God has prepared for him.’

 

As an arrogant man, Antiochus Epiphanes had tried to put an end to the devote Jews. He also wanted to capture and loot the golden objects from the Temple at the slightest opportunity. He built strong armies but despite the inferiority of the Jewish army in numbers, under the leadership of Judas Maccabees his efforts still failed. God fought on the side of the Jews.

 

When he heard that his army had been defeated by the Jews in Judea and the Temple rededicated, Antiochus was shocked. That was soon after failing to attack and loot a Persian city named Elymais. From that shock, he never recovered. He realised that he was about to die after being ill for a long time.

 

What is very astounding is the fact that the wicked king realised his mistake and confessed to his friends. The following are the words of the wicked king soon before he died and they are sourced from 1 Maccabees 6: 10-14: ‘He called together all those to whom he had given the name, ‘Friends of the King,’ and said to them, ‘I cannot sleep, and my heart is broken with grief and worry. 11 at first I asked myself why these great waves of trouble were sweeping over me, since I have been kind and well liked during my reign. 12 But then I remembered the wrongs I did in Jerusalem when I took all the silver and gold objects from the Temple and I tried without any good reason to destroy the inhabitants of Judea. 13 I know this is why all these terrible things have happened to me and I am about to die in deep despair here in this foreign land.

 

My brothers and sisters, here is a wicked king whose kingdom was an earthly kingdom, who tried to fight against God’s kingdom (Judaism), but was brought down by God. Just as he is about to die, the wicked man realises his sins and confesses.

 

Let us not therefore expect God’s Kingdom to fight itself by assuming that the Catholic Church will persecute other Christian Churches. If the Church is to be persecuted anytime in future, it will not be persecuted by any religious group but possibly a political one.

 

Elsewhere in the Gospels, Christ talks of the, ‘Awful Horror,’ that should be expected soon before the arrival of the Kingdom of God. This mainly referred to the persecution of Christians soon after the Resurrection, when anyone who openly declared that he or she believed in Jesus Christ would be stoned.

 

Figuratively, trying to stop anyone believing in God through Jesus Christ is the same as trying to stop anyone offering sacrifices to God on the Holy Alter of the Temple and constructing a pagan alter in the place of God’s Alter.

 

Another of Daniel’s Visions Comes True.

 

In the year 539 BC Daniel had another vision. He describes how he was reading the Holy Books and thinking about the seventy years of exile which God had talked about through the prophet Jeremiah.

 

In Daniel Chapter 9 he speaks of how he prayed to the Sovereign Lord confessing his sins and those of all his people the Israelites, including their ancestors. He speaks of himself praying to the Lord asking for the forgiveness of the Israelites’ sins and the restoration of the Temple. He also speaks about seeing the Archangel Gabriel flying down to him at the time of the evening sacrifice.

 

At that stage the Archangel comforts and re-assures him that God loves him (Daniel). The archangel tells Daniel that he has come to explain to him the meaning of the vision. He goes on to tell Daniel that when he started praying and pleading with God, God answered and so the Archangel has come to deliver the answer to him. He pleads with Daniel to pay attention while the vision is being explained.

 

The Archangel thus explains in Daniel 9: 24: ‘Seven times seventy years is the length of time God has set for freeing your people and your holy city from sin and evil. Sin will be forgiven and eternal justice established….

 

At the time of the vision some of the Israelites were in bondage in Babylon. Daniel prayed for the forgiveness of sins because he realised that his people had been driven to foreign lands because of their sins. God’s answer to Daniel is relevant to his request and promises that sins will be forgiven and eternal justice established.

Note that this is not a promise that the people will be freed from foreign domination but rather that they will be freed from sin and evil.

 

First, the Lord tells the prophet Jeremiah that the Israelites will be in bondage in Babylon for seventy years (Jeremiah: 25: 11). But at this time God talks of seven times seventy years. Clearly, He is not talking about the freedom of the Israelites from Babylon but rather, freedom from their sins, which they may have carried as a burden since leaving Egypt.

 

The Archangel continues explaining:

Daniel 9: 24 b – 25 a: ‘…so that the vision and the prophecy will come true, and the Holy Temple will be rededicated, 25 Note this and understand it; From the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem, until God’s chosen leader comes, seven times seven years will pass.

 

We are given two periods which stand for one vision and one explanation. We first hear of seven times seventy years and secondly of seven times seven years. The Arch Angel talks of two events – the freedom from sins and evil and the establishment of eternal justice and also of the coming of God’s chosen leader. The two events seem different when read from the Bible but they occur at the same time. These events as explained by the Arch Angel Gabriel point to the coming of Christ. When the periods and events are viewed as one, they become easy to understand.

 

A period of seven times seventy years amounts to four hundred and ninety years and when one adds seven times seven years, (which amounts to forty-nine years) to the four hundred and ninety years, one gets five hundred and thirty-nine years.

 

Note that the year the vision was seen by Daniel is 539 BC. The year the command was given to rebuild Jerusalem or the Temple is also 539 BC. Refer to 1 Esdras 2: 1 or Ezra 1: 1.

 

Significantly the year 539 BC was set by God as a countdown to the year of the Lord – the year by which the beginning of the end would come. As the Arch Angel Gabriel pointed out that, ‘Sins would be forgiven and The Temple rededicated.’ We note that the forgiveness of sins came with Christ.

 

In the days when Judaism was dominant in Israel and before Christianity the forgiveness of sins and resurrection were either not known or not understood in the same way they are understood today. So, between the first year of the Lord and AD 34 the forgiveness of sins and resurrection were first introduced to the religion and indeed to the world.

 

Daniel 9: 25b – 26 continues with the Archangel’s explanation of the vision: ‘Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defences, and will stand for seven times sixty-two years, but this will be a time of troubles. 26 And at the end of that time God’s chosen leader will be killed unjustly.

 

As explained above – the prophecy also clearly shows that not only the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is foretold but also his death. The rebuilding of the Temple and that of the walls of Jerusalem did not come at the same time. The outline chart of the Bible History records the restoration of the walls of Jerusalem as having happened between 445 and 443 BC.

Good News Bible Today’s English Version p.361.

 

Note the quotation above:

‘Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defences, and will stand for seven times sixty-two years, but this will be a time of troubles. And at the end of that time God’s chosen leader will be killed unjustly.

 

From the prophecy we take a calculation that seven times sixty-two years amounts to four hundred and thirty-four years. In that case, the restoration of Jerusalem would be placed around 400 or 399 BC. The other 34 years would then explain that, ‘Gods chosen leader,’ in this case Jesus Christ was born four hundred years after the restoration of the walls, lived for thirty-three years and was crucified unjustly at the end of the said four hundred and thirty four years.

 

CHAPTER VIII

 

Who Is Jesus Christ?

 

The Son Of God The Son of Man

The Alpha and the Omega The Beginning and the End

The Messiah The Source of Life

The True Word of God The Word of Life

The Only Lord The God with Us.

The Good Shepherd The Servant of God

The Living Waters The Bread of Life

The Living Sacrifice The Living Temple

The Lamb of God The Eternal Priest

The True Vine The Branch

The Rock of All Ages The Stone That the Builders Rejected

The Light of the World The Invisible Temple

The Son of David The Lord and Saviour

The King of Kings The Lion of the Tribe of Judah

 

The story of the creation of earth as taken from the New Testament talks of the Word of God, Which was with God and was God. The Word is said to have been with God in the beginning when all things were made. Everything which came to being; physical, spiritual, visible and invisible; is said to have been made from the Word, (and not a thing that came into existence), was not made from the Word.

 

The Word is said to have come into the world; become flesh and lived among humans as a human being. This Word is Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour. John, one of the twelve disciples of The Lord writes the following about the Word:

John Chapter 1: 1 ‘In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 From the very beginning the Word was with God. 3 Through him God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him. 4 The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to humanity. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out……. 10 The Word was in the world, and though God made the world through him, yet the world did not recognise him. 14 The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father’s only Son. 15 John spoke about him. He cried out, ‘This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘He comes after me, but he is greater than I am, because he existed before I was born.’

 

The John who writes this account is not the same John who spoke about the Word earlier. John the Baptist who witnessed for the Lord Jesus was born to the Priest Zechariah and Elizabeth before Christ was born to Joseph and Mary yet he proclaims, ‘He is greater than I am, because he existed before I was born.

In the opening paragraphs we see our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as the Word of God Who existed before everything else was made. John the Baptist is the first to proclaim the Pre-Existence of the Lord, yet when the Lord Himself says that He existed before the world very few people amongst the Jews and the Gentiles believe.

 

In Genesis the Book that talks about creation, God speaks in verse 26 of the first Chapter: ‘Then God said, ‘and now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us….’

 

As God speaks, it is clear that He is not alone. God is speaking with someone. He may not be speaking to the angels because certainly the angels are not like God and humans are not like the angels. The only explanation therefore is that God is speaking with His only begotten Son Jesus Christ; and together they are creating the world and human beings.

 

The Pre-Existence of The Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ before the creation of the heavens, earth and man is also hinted at in the Gospels where The Lord talks with the Scribes and Pharisees about Abraham on one hand and King David on the other.

 

John 8: 49 – 51: ‘I have no demon,’ Jesus answered. ‘I honour my Father, but you dishonour me. I am not seeking honour for myself. But there is one who is seeking it and who judges in my favour. I am telling you the truth: whoever obeys my teaching will never die.

 

At this the Jewish authorities told the Lord that they were certain that He had a demon in Him, saying: 52…. ‘Abraham died, and the prophets died, yet you say that whoever obeys your teaching will never die. 53 Our father Abraham died; you do not claim to be greater than Abraham, do you?

 

The lack of faith in the people and their inability to believe blinded them. They could not understand what the Lord was saying and also who He was. The Lord told them that He was from God and that He knew God. He also explained that: ‘Their father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see the coming of the Messiah and that he saw it and was glad.

 

Still not believing they said to Him: 57. ‘You are not even fifty years old – and you have seen Abraham?

 

His answer to them was: 58. ‘I am telling you the truth; before Abraham was born, I am.

 

When Christ said this they wanted to stone Him because they could not understand. Their belief was that Abraham had died and was no longer in existence. It was also their belief that Abraham had existed way before the Lord had. We now know and understand that their thinking was wrong.

 

On the other hand Christ knew everything about Abraham and even those of Abraham’s mysteries that have not been revealed to anyone up to present day. Christ also knew for sure that even if Abraham had died on earth, he was alive elsewhere. This point is explained by Christ’s earlier encounter with the Jewish authorities concerning the rising from the dead. Here the Jewish authorities had tried to prove Christ wrong about His teaching about resurrection (by asking Him a tricky question about a woman who had married seven brothers one after another).

 

Their question had been: ‘If resurrection had been possible – who would be the owner of this woman amongst the brothers?

 

The Lord’s answer was that people were not resurrected for marriage but that when resurrected, they became like the angels and there would be no need for marriages and birth. He further explained that God is God of the living and not the God of the dead. He said to them: ‘Now, as for the dead rising to life; haven’t you read what God has told you? He said, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ He is the God of the living, not the dead.’

Matt 22: 31

Good News Bible T.E.V.

 

By this, The Lord meant that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are alive. This is of course difficult to believe to most of us, even in the present day. Anything is possible to God. We know at least that shortly before Christ’s Crucifixion, Elijah and Moses appeared on the Mount in person and talked to Him. This was during the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ in the presence of Simon Peter, James and John. How then can we fail to understand and believe in the Power of God?

 

At one stage the Lord once asked the Jewish authorities about the Messiah. The Gospel according to Matthew Chapter 22 says that He said: 42 ‘What do you think about the Messiah? Whose descendant is he?’ ‘He is David’s descendant,’ they answered.43 ‘Why then did the Spirit inspire David to call him ‘Lord’? David said, ‘The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit here on my right until I put your enemies under your feet.’ 44 ‘If then David called him, ‘Lord,’ how can the Messiah be David’s descendant?

 

King David believed in The Messiah. By the Power of the Holy Spirit he saw that Christ was God and that He existed before all things came into existence.

 

He was also given the power to see into the future, when our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ would rise from death and ascend to sit at the right hand of God.

 

What about the Patriarch Abraham, how did he come to, ‘Rejoice that he would see the time of the coming of Christ? And how did he see it and become glad of it?

Well, we all believe that by the time that Christ came to earth Abraham was already dead and he would not have seen it happening. However the Lord says in John 8: 56:

‘Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see the time of my coming; he saw it and was glad.

 

One wonders how, Abraham could be happy with the coming of Christ while most of his descendants are not happy with Him? The Jewish race as direct descendants of Abraham should not be denying that Jesus Christ is Lord. Instead they should be trying to convince us non-Jews that He is Lord and True Son of God.

 

It certainly should not be the other way round, where we Gentiles try to persuade the Jewish people with no success at all to believe that The Messiah they reject is the True Son of God.

 

Unlike most of his descendants, Abraham had faith and that is why

God called him His friend. Abraham was able to see the time of the coming of Christ at the time he went to offer Isaac as sacrifice.

 

In Genesis 22 we learn that God asked Abraham to go and offer his son Isaac as sacrifice. Abraham agreed and without letting his son know of God’s plan took him to the place where he would offer the sacrifice.

 

On the way Isaac is said to have asked: 7‘Isaac said, ‘Father!’ He answered, ‘Yes, my son?’ Isaac answered, ‘I see that you have the coals and the wood, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?’ 8 Abraham answered, ‘God Himself will provide one.’ And the two of them walked on together.

 

What many Christians know about this Scripture is that Abraham proceeded to build an Alter and in the process of lifting his knife to slaughter his son Isaac, an angel of God called out from heaven instructing him not to (and to look behind, where he would see a lamb prepared for the sacrifice).

 

Christians believe that Abraham correctly predicted that God Himself would provide the lamb. While that is truly so, it is not the only message that the Scripture teaches. The Scripture also shows us that through the Holy Spirit, Abraham was able to see far into the future (that God would offer His only Son as sacrifice for the sins of man). The lamb that Abraham predicted God would provide is Jesus Christ Who is also called the, ‘Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.

 

This is the time that Abraham rejoiced that he would see the time of the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We are however not qualified to comment how Abraham saw Christ’s coming being fulfilled. Only on the teachings of Christ can we confidently say that as a faithful and Holy Father, Abraham was present in heaven when Christ came to fulfil God’s promise on earth. The only reason why he would be happy with the coming of Christ is that Christ would provide the forgiveness of sins to his direct descendants that include the descendants of Ishmael, Isaac, Esau and Jacob as well as his descendants by faith (the Gentiles).

 

Witness About The First Coming Of The Lord Jesus Christ.

 

In the year 539 B. C, when the Jews were slaves in Babylonia the Prophet Daniel prayed to God and saw a vision about the coming of Jesus Christ. The Angel Gabriel, who later appeared to Mary the mother of The Lord Jesus appeared to Daniel and said the following:

 

Daniel 9: 22 – 25a:‘He explained, ‘Daniel, I have come here to make you understand the prophecy. When you began pleading with God, he answered you, and so I have come to tell you the answer. Now pay attention while I explain the vision. ‘Seven times seventy years is the length of time God has set for freeing your people and your holy city from sin and evil. Sin will be forgiven and eternal justice established, so that the vision and the prophecy will come true, and the holy Temple will be rededicated. Note this and understand it: From the time the commandment is given to rebuild Jerusalem, until God’s chosen leader comes, seven times seven years will pass….

 

The vision and prophesy points out to the time of Jesus Christ’s birth and the establishment of Christianity. It also farther predicts times of tribulation and the destruction of the Temple which came to pass.

 

When one critically looks at the Angel Gabriel’s explanation:

‘The seven times seventy years added to seven times seven years, amounts to five hundred and thirty-nine years. This number corresponds with the total number of years from the year that Daniel saw the vision to the year that the Lord Jesus Christ was born (539 B.C. to 0 A.D.) The Lord Jesus Christ was born exactly 539 years after Daniel had the vision.

 

Note that the Angel Gabriel calls Christ, ‘God’s chosen leader.

 

Earlier on around the year 736 B.C, the Prophet Isaiah prophesied about the coming of Immanuel. The Lord Jesus Christ is also called Immanuel and the name means, ‘God is with us.’ Christ is the only God Who has been known to have come down to earth to live with us.

 

Isaiah 7: 10 – 14.

‘The LORD sent another message to Ahaz: ‘Ask the LORD your God to give you a sign. It can be deep in the world of the dead or from high up in heaven.’ Ahaz answered, I will not ask for a sign. I refuse to put the LORD to the test.’ To that Isaiah replied, ‘Listen, now, descendants of King David. It’s bad enough for you to wear out the patience of people – must you wear out God’s patience too? Well then, the LORD himself will give you a sign: a young woman who is pregnant will have a son and will name him Immanuel.

 

The Archangel Gabriel who first appeared to Daniel re-appeared to Mary almost 538 years later. The Gospel of St. Luke in the first Chapter gives the following narration: 26 ‘In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy God sent the angel Gabriel to a town in Galilee named Nazareth. 27 He had a message to a young woman promised in marriage to a man named Joseph, who was a descendant of King David. Her name was Mary. 28 The angel came to her and said, ‘Peace be with you! The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you!’ 29 Mary was deeply troubled by the angel’s message and she wondered what his words meant. 30 The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, God has been gracious to you. 31 You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the: Most High God. The Lord God will make him a king, as his ancestor David was, and he will be the king of the descendants of Jacob for ever; his kingdom will never end!’

Good News Bible T.E.V.

 

The angel also appeared to Joseph who was to get married to Mary and instructed him not to be troubled that Mary was pregnant. He told Joseph that the pregnancy had been by the Holy Spirit and that Joseph should not break the relationship but go ahead to take Mary in marriage.

 

Later, Mary had to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was six months pregnant. Elizabeth was the wife of the Priest Zechariah and was expectant of her son John the Baptist. The same Gospel records Mary’s visit to Elizabeth as follows: 39 ‘Soon afterwards Mary got ready and hurried off to a town in the hill country of Judea. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby moved within her. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and said in a loud voice, ‘You are the most blessed of all women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 Why should this great thing happen to me, that my Lord’s mother comes to visit me? For as soon as I heard your greeting, the baby within me jumped with gladness. 45 How happy you are to believe that the Lord’s message to you will come true.

 

Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit. She called Jesus Christ ‘her Lord.’ She is known only as the Priest Zechariah’s wife and not, as anyone prominent in the Synagogue, although she also trusted the Lord. Perhaps this was the beginning of the era where women’s rights and their equality to men would be recognised. The society then regarded women as insignificant in matters of religion. We see Mother Elizabeth prophesying that Jesus Christ is Lord.

 

The Priest Zechariah who was John the Baptist’s father had earlier on seen the Angel Gabriel in the Temple. The angel had come to announce the good news that Zechariah’s prayers had been answered and that his wife Elizabeth would bear him a son. The Priest Zechariah had been apprehensive about the Angel’s message and had asked how he would know this was so (as he and Elizabeth had become so old).

 

The angel had assured him that the good news would come to pass but because the Priest had not believed, he would be unable to speak until the son was born to Elizabeth. So for the duration of Elizabeth’s pregnancy up to the day that the son was born, the Priest Zechariah could not speak. Only when he wrote the sentence ‘His name is John,’ (as the Angel had instructed the son to be named) did he manage to speak again. His first speech was the prophecy recorded in Luke 1: 68 -79:

68 ‘Let us praise the Lord, the God of Israel. He has come to the help of his people and has set them free. 69 He has provided for us a mighty Saviour, a descendant of his servant David. 70 He promised through his holy prophets long ago that he would save us from our enemies, from the power of all who hate us. 72 He said he would show mercy to our ancestors and remember his sacred covenant. 73-74 with a solemn oath to our ancestor Abraham he promised to rescue us from our enemies and allow us to serve him with fear, 76 ‘you, my child, will be called a prophet of the: Most High God. You will go ahead of the Lord to prepare his road for him, 77 to tell his people that they will be saved by having their sins forgiven. 78 Our God is merciful and tender. He will cause the bright dawn of salvation to rise on us and to shine from heaven on all those who live in the dark shadow of death, to guide our steps into the path of peace.

 

The prophecy was not about John the Baptist but mainly about the Son of God, The Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. There are many more incidences in which the prophets and angels were sent to announce and bear witness to the coming of The Lord Jesus Christ. The stars of heaven also participated in this great process. One widely preached about event in the Christian Faith is that of the three Shepherds from the East, who are said to have heard a Choir of Angels sing about Christ’s birth. These three shepherds; also called the ‘wise-men from the East,’ or the, ‘wise kings,’ saw a ‘Bright New Star,’ which led them all through Herod’s country up to Bethlehem where it hovered above the place where The Lord Jesus Christ had been born.

 

There is yet another account which has not been equally preached about. This is about the Presentation of the Baby Jesus in the Temple eight days after His birth. We are told of a holy man named Simeon and also a holy lady called Anna. These two had been led by the Holy Spirit to the Temple in order to receive the baby Jesus Christ who was King.

 

Simeon had been promised by God through the Holy Spirit that he would see the Christ with his own eyes. Luke Chapter 2 records that the Lord’s parents took the baby to the Temple for the ceremony of purification (as commanded by the Law of Moses). The Law stipulates: ‘Every first-born male is to be dedicated to the Lord.’ They are also reported to have brought up with them, a ‘pair of doves or two pigeons,’ as required by the Law of the Lord. The Gospel observes: 25 ‘At that time, there was a man named Simeon living in Jerusalem. He was a good, God-fearing man and was waiting for Israel to be saved. The Holy Spirit was with him 26 and had assured him that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s promised Messiah. 27 Led by the Spirit, Simeon went into the Temple…..28 Simeon took the child in his arms and gave thanks to God: ‘Now, Lord, you have kept your promise, and you may let your servant go in peace. 30 with my own eyes I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples: 32 a light to reveal your will to the Gentiles and bring glory to your people Israel.’ 34 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, ‘This child is chosen by God for the destruction and the salvation of many in Israel. He will be a sign from God which many people will speak against 35 and so reveal their secret thoughts. And sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart.

 

Simeon was promised by The Holy Spirit that he would see the Messiah. He waited and when the day came for the Baby Messiah to be presented in the Temple, Simeon was led to the Temple by the Holy Spirit. When he saw the Messiah he thanked God and said to Him, that since God had fulfilled His promise He should let him (Simeon) die in peace, for there was no longer any need for him to wait. What he had been waiting for had come to pass.

 

On the same day, the Bible records the appearance in the Temple of an eighty-four year old prophetess Anna. Anna had been married only for seven years and widowed. She is said to have worshipped in the Temple day and night, fasting and praying. She is said to have arrived at the same hour as Simeon, thanked God and talked about the child Jesus.

 

Note that according to the Religion of that time, the baby Jesus had to be brought to the Temple for circumcision and other rituals. The day could have just passed without anything special, (that’s if God had left everything to the Levite on duty that day). However, God brought in someone from outside the Temple (in this case Simeon) who is not even indicated to have been one of the priests and opened up his eyes to the Messiah. God did not even reveal His Son to the priest who was supposed to be presiding over the Presentation.

 

For today’s Christian this Scripture saves to strengthen our faith and the belief (that Jesus is the Messiah) while for the Jews it may teach the importance of circumcision and nothing more (giving the importance of circumcision precedence over the importance of Christ).

 

The Spoken Testimony of God’s Word about Jesus Christ

 

The witness about Jesus Christ as given by the stars, the angels and the prophets of God could not be easily believed by the people of the world. So, God (who once spoke to Moses and to all the Jews on Mount Sinai) spoke on three other occasions to remove doubt that Christ was indeed His Son.

 

Of the four Gospels three record the Baptism of the Lord by John the Baptist. They record that soon after the Baptism the heavens opened and The Holy Spirit in the form of a dove alighted onto Jesus. The Gospels also record the voice of God testifying that Jesus is God’s Son with whom God is pleased.

 

Matthew 3: 16 – 17:

‘As soon as Jesus was baptised, he came up out of the water. Then heaven was opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down to him like a dove and alighting on him. 17 Then a voice said from heaven, ‘This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased.

 

Mark 1: 9 – 11:

‘Not long afterwards Jesus came from Nazareth in the province of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 As soon as Jesus came up out of the water, he saw heaven opening and the Spirit coming down on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my own dear Son. I am pleased with you.

 

Luke 3: 21 – 22:

21. ‘After all the people had been baptised, Jesus also was baptised. While he was praying, heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit came down upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my own dear Son. I am pleased with you.’

Good News Bible TEV with Deutero-Canonical Books.

 

This voice from God in heaven is recorded as the first where God spoke openly about Jesus Christ as His Son. The Gospels also record another time in Jesus’ Ministry where God spoke again testifying about Jesus.

 

Matthew 17: 1 – 5:

‘Six days later Jesus took with him Peter and the brothers James and John and led them up a high mountain where they were alone. 2 as they looked on, a change came over Jesus: his face was shining like the sun, and his clothes were dazzling white. 3 Then the three disciples saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus. 4 So Peter spoke up and said to Jesus, ‘Lord, how good it is that we are here! If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ While he was talking, a shining cloud came over them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased – listen to him.

 

Luke 9: 28 – 35:

28. ‘About a week after he said these things, Jesus took Peter, John and James with him and up a hill to pray. 29 While he was praying, his face changed its appearance, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly two men were talking with him. They were Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in heavenly glory and talked with Jesus about the way in which he would soon fulfil God’s purpose by dying in Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were sound asleep, but they woke up and saw Jesus’ glory and the two men who were standing with him. 32 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, ‘Master, how good it is that we are here! We will make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ 34 While he was still speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them with its shadow; and the disciples were afraid as the cloud came over them.35. A voice said, from the cloud, ‘This is my Son, whom I have chosen – listen to him!

 

Mark 9: 2 – 8:

2 ‘Six days later Jesus took with him Peter, James and John, and led them up a high mountain, where they were alone. As they looked on, a change came over Jesus, 3 and his clothes became shining white – whiter than anyone in the world could wash them. 4 Then the three disciples saw Elijah and Moses talking with Jesus. 5 Peter spoke up and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, how good it is that we are here! We will make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ 6 He and others were so frightened that he did not know what to say. 7 Then a cloud appeared and covered them with its shadow, and a voice came from the cloud and said, ‘This is my own dear Son – listen to him.

 

The three Gospels talk about God saying in an audible voice that Jesus Christ is His Son and we should listen to Him. God’s voice is also recorded elsewhere in the Scriptures where Christ prays to Him and God answers audibly. Here the voice shows the link between God and his Son Jesus.

 

John 12:

20 ‘Some Greeks were among those who had gone: to Jerusalem to worship during the festival. 21 They went to Philip (he was from Bethsaida in Galilee) and said, ‘Sir, we want to see Jesus.’ Phillip went and told Andrew – and the two of them went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, 23. ‘The hour has now come for the Son of Man to receive great glory. I am telling you the truth: a grain of wheat remains no more than a single grain unless it is dropped into the ground and dies. If it does die, then it produces many grains……26.Who-ever wants to serve me must follow me, so that my servant will be with me where I am. And my Father will honour anyone who serves me. 27 And now my heart is troubled and what shall I say, ‘Father, do not let this hour come upon me?’ But that is why I came – so that I might go through this suffering. 28 ‘Father, bring glory to your name!’ Then a voice spoke from heaven, ‘I have brought glory to it, and I will do so again.’ 29 The crowd standing there heard the voice and some of them said it was thunder while others said, ‘An angel of God spoke to him!’ 30 But Jesus said to them, ‘It was not for my sake that this voice spoke but for yours. 31 Now is the time for this world to be judged; now the ruler of this world will be overthrown. 52 When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to me.

 

God Himself testified that Jesus Christ is His Son. How then can we mortals refute the truth that God Himself tells us? If we truly believe in one God: The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and in His Law and His other teachings, how can we justify our denial of His Son’s teachings? We claim that we are children of God, that we are holy and that we are superior to demons and evil spirits but our lack of faith proves otherwise. The demons also prove us wrong and show that they are more intelligent because they know more than us and they do not deny the obvious.

 

The demons themselves testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. They know Him and when they think of Judgement Day and what is to become of them, they panic and shiver. We all hate, despise and fear demons. We also claim that we are worth more than them. Otherwise as human beings, we are closer to God than those demoniac spirits. However if the demons are there to testify that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour, Son of God and Ultimate Judge (while we, humans deny that fact or even doubt it) where then is our holiness?

 

The Bible records in the Gospels and al so in the Acts of the Apostles records instances where evil spirits talked to the Lord and testified who He was. In Luke 4; 33 -34 and also in Mark 1: 23 - 24 respectively we hear of the following:

33 ‘In the Synagogue was a man who had the spirit of an evil demon in him; he screamed out in a loud voice, 34‘Ah! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Are you here to destroy us? I know who you are; you are God’s holy messenger!’’

Luke 4.

 

[_23 ‘ Just then a man with an evil spirit in him came into the synagogue and screamed, 24 ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Are you here to destroy us? I know who you are -you are God’s holy messenger!’’ _]

Mark 1

 

It boggles the mind to hear such testimony from a man possessed by an evil spirit yet when one turns to people who claim to know and worship God they deny that Jesus is from God.

 

The same Gospels by St. Luke and St. Mark record yet another conversation between The Lord Jesus Christ and a man possessed by evil spirits.

 

Luke 8: 27 – 28.

27. ‘As Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a man from the town who had demons in him…. 28 when he saw Jesus he gave a loud cry, threw himself at his feet, and shouted, ‘Jesus, Son of The Highest God! What do you want with me? I beg you, don’t punish me!’’

 

Mark 5: 6 – 7:

6 ‘He was some distance away when he saw Jesus; so he ran, fell on his knees before, 7 and screamed in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Son of The Most High God! What do you want with me? For God’s sake, I beg you, don’t punish me!’’

 

The Gospel of St. Matthew Chapter 8 talks of the Lord Jesus Christ healing two men with demons:

2. ‘When Jesus came to the territory of Gadara on the other side of the lake, he was met by two men who came out of the burial caves there. The men had demons in them and were so fierce that no one dared travel on that road. 29 At once they screamed, ‘What do you want with us, you Son of God? Have you come to punish us before the right time?’’

 

The demons are not only aware that Jesus Christ is the Son of God but they are also aware that at a certain time He will punish them.

 

Later when the Lord had ascended into heaven and had ultimately converted Saul from Judaism to Christianity, some impostors wanted to mimic Saul (now Paul). These were the sons of Sceva (a Jewish High Priest). They went about driving out demons, ‘In the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches.

 

Acts 19: 11 – 15:

‘God was performing unusual miracles through Paul. 12 Even handkerchiefs and aprons he had used were taken to those who were ill, and their diseases were driven away, and the evil spirits would go out of them. 13 Some Jews who travelled round and drove out evil spirits also tried to use the name of the Lord to do this. They said to the evil spirits, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches.’ 15 But the evil spirit said to them, ‘I know Jesus, and I know Paul; but you – who are you?’’

 

The Chapter has attempted to remove all doubts that the reader may have about Jesus Christ as the Son of God, Lord and Saviour. An attempt has been made to use various Scriptures from both The Old and The New Testaments to persuade all the children of God to accept the truth.

 

If the reader still finds it difficult to believe in Jesus Christ after reading this Chapter, then the Scripture that says, ‘If they do not believe in Moses and the prophets, then they will not believe even if someone had to rise from the dead,’ is fulfilled to the individual reader today.

 

CHAPTER IX

 

The Nature of The Lord’s Mercy

 

The Lord Jesus Christ is a Merciful God. He does not pass a guilty verdict on those judged by the world. The Lord is merciful and He pardons all those who ask Him for pardon.

Elsewhere in this book He says, ‘I come not to judge the world but to save it.’

 

People wrongfully think that the Lord is willing to punish the sinners but He testifies to the contrary. As He walked the face of the earth He was seen amongst the ‘sinners and the outcasts,’ and was blamed quite often (by the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law) for that.

 

He always answered that, ‘It was for the sinners that He came to the world; and not for the righteous.

 

To farther illustrate this point, The Lord even used parables to explain. At one stage He was accused by the religious people of the time of associating with ‘outcasts.’ From the Gospel of St. Luke Chapter 15 verses 1 to 7 we get the following narration:

‘One day when many tax collectors and outcasts came to listen to Jesus, 2 the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law started grumbling, ‘this man welcomes outcasts and even eats with them!’ 3 So Jesus told them this parable: 4 ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them – what do you do? You leave the other ninety-nine sheep in the pasture and go looking for the one that got lost until you find it. 5 When you find it you are so happy that you put it on the shoulders 6 and carry it back home. Then you call your friends and neighbours together, and say to them, ‘I am so happy I found my lost sheep. Let us celebrate! 7 In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine respectable people who do not need to repent.’’

 

The Lord talks of all people as sheep and sinners as lost sheep. He is the good Shepherd and He shows that by associating with sinners. He is only trying to draw them back to life, (like a shepherd goes out to the wilderness to search for his lost sheep).

 

In another example the Lord uses the picture of the sick and a physician. He says,

‘It is the sick: who need a physician: therefore, it is fitting that a physician attends to the sick for – the healthy do not need the services of a physician.’

 

People of all walks of life received and continue to receive The Lord Jesus Christ’s Mercy. Some asked for His Mercy and He gave it out to them. Some did not even ask but He freely gave it out to them also. I speak in the past tense for those who benefited physically from the Lord when He was physically on earth and to those who lived before us or those who have passed on.

 

I speak in the present tense for those of us who live now. All of the good things which Christ did for individuals and communities in the past are still beneficial to us today and are being repeated over and over again like something orbiting.

 

The list of those who benefited from The Lord’s Mercy as He was on earth and those who still benefit now is endless. This list includes the lepers, the deaf, the mute, the dumb, the crippled, those with evil-spirits, the evil-spirits themselves, the hungry, the drunks, the soldiers, the children, the foreigners, the bereaved, the dead, the mutineers, the adulterers, the tax-collectors, the fishermen and even the prostitutes. All of us (regardless of religion social class, race and status in life) fall into one or several groups of the individuals listed above.

 

The Lord’s Mercy is amazing. It all starts with Him laying His life for all sinners and for everyone regardless of race gender, tribe age or spirituality. When people asked for mercy He never turned them down. His answer was always positive. It is the same as today. Our Lord Jesus Christ does not disappoint anyone who asks for any favour in His name.

 

In our times He has appeared to some devout Christians as recently as in the 1930s when He appeared to Sister Faustina, a Saint who died in 1938. The Catholic Pamphlet of Divine Mercy Week ending 19 & 20 June 2010 with all excerpts taken from, ‘Divine Mercy of My Soul,’ diary observes:

 

‘Our Lord Jesus said, ‘I save the whole family, if one person in that family honours my mercy.’ To obtain this promise say once a day,

‘I consecrate myself and my family to the mercy of God.’

Jesus made this promise and many more to a modern day Saint who died in 1938. Jesus called this Saint,

‘His Apostle of Mercy’

 

This Saint, Sister Faustina was a diminutive, uneducated Sister who was very ill with consumption.

 

The Image of Divine Mercy

 

47 Sister Faustina writing in her diary tells us: One evening when I was in my cell, I saw the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in the gesture of blessing: the other was touching the garment at the breast. From beneath the garment, slightly drawn aside at the breast, there were emanating two large rays, one red, and the other: pale. I kept my gaze fixed on the Lord; my soul was struck with awe, but also with great joy. After a while, Jesus said to me, ‘Paint an image according to what you see, with the signature, Jesus I trust in you. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, & then throughout the world.

 

48 I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over its enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I myself will defend it as my own glory.’

 

49 When I told this to my confessor, I received this as a reply: That refers to your soul. He told me. Certainly paint, God’s image in your soul. When I came out of the confessional, I again heard words such as these: ‘My Image is in your soul. I desire that there be a Feast of Mercy. I want this image, which you will paint with a brush, to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy.’ 50 ‘I desire the priests proclaim this great mercy of: Mine towards souls of sinners. Let the sinner not be afraid to approach me. The flames of mercy are burning me – clamouring to be spent; I want to pour them out upon these souls.’

 

‘Jesus complained to me in these words, ‘Distrust on the part of souls is tearing my sides. The distrust of a chosen soul causes Me even greater pain; despite my inexhaustible love for them they do not trust Me. Even my death is not enough for them. Woe to the soul that abuses these gifts.’

 

‘When on one occasion my confessor told me to ask the Lord Jesus the meaning of the two rays in the image, I answered, very well, I will ask the Lord. During prayer time I heard these words within me:

‘The two rays denote Blood & Water. The pale rays stands for the water which makes souls righteous. The red stands for the Blood which is the life of the souls…

 

These two rays issued forth from the very depths of my tender mercy when my agonised Heart was opened by a lance on the cross. These rays shield souls from the wrath of My Father. Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him. I desire that the first Sunday after Easter be the Feast of Mercy.’

 

‘Our Lord now asks you, ‘Will you help me?’

‘Do whatever is in your power to spread devotion to My Mercy.’

‘I will make up for what you lack….’

‘Tell aching Mankind to come closer to My Merciful Heart, & I will fill them with peace,’

‘I am giving mankind the final hope.’

 

JESUS I TRUST IN YOU

 

The above text from the diary of Saint Faustina is quoted from a pamphlet distributed by Our Lady of The Wayside Maryvale Parish Johannesburg. The pamphlet came in handy to assist me in explaining to a deeper extent, the nature of The Lord’s Mercy.

 

Mercy for Foreigners – Gentiles

 

Perhaps people may argue that in one occasion The Lord refused to help a foreign woman. The fact is that The Lord never refused. He only delayed answering the woman for a purpose. He wanted to use the woman to teach the rest of us about faith.

 

The Scripture that tells us the whole story explains in the following way:

24. ‘Then Jesus left and went away to the territory near the city of Tyre. He went into a house and did not want anyone to know he was there, but he could not stay hidden. 25 A woman, whose daughter had an evil spirit in her, heard about Jesus and came to him and fell at his feet, 26 the woman was a Gentile, born in the region of Phoenicia in Syria. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. 27 But Jesus answered, ‘Let us first feed the children. It isn’t right to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ ‘Sir,’ she answered, ‘even the dogs under the table eat the children’s leftovers!’ 29 So Jesus said to her, because of that answer, ‘Go back home, where you will find that the demon has gone out of your daughter.’

 

Perhaps the Lord’s first answer to the woman was aimed at teaching us about faith. Faith can be found in any human being especially where it is least expected. You will find more faith in those people who are generally assumed to be the least faithful or the worthless of society.

 

The stories of the lepers, the deaf, the blind, the mute, the crippled and those possessed with evil-spirits are told in detail in the four Gospels. In some cases the affected people asked the Lord Jesus for mercy and He healed them. In others, it was the Lord Himself who offered to assist without first being asked to.

 

In either of the cases, The Lord’s Mercy was put into application. The works of glory which was from the Father through His beloved Son testified, that Jesus Christ was indeed the Son of God. No magician, prophet or healer had earlier on been known to have cleansed lepers, brought sight to the blind or commanded that demons leave a person only by word or touch; except for Elisha the prophet who healed Naaman.

 

Mercy for the blind

 

At times when the affected heard that The Lord Jesus was passing by they would shout at the top of their voices, ‘Son of David: have mercy for us!’ This would be despite other people trying to restrain them.

 

Luke Chapter 17 talks of one such Blind Beggar who heard noise when The Lord was passing. When he asked what that was, he was told that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. He cried out:

38. ‘He cried out, ‘Jesus! Son of David: take pity on me!’ The people in front scolded him and told him to be quiet. But he shouted even more loudly, ‘Son of David! Take pity on me! 40 So Jesus stopped and ordered the blind man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Sir, I want to see again.’ 42 Jesus said to him, ‘Then see! Your faith has made you well,’ 43 At once he was able to see, and he followed Jesus, giving thanks to God.’

 

The story above quoted from the Gospel of St. Luke shows clearly that The Lord is always willing to help those who implore Him for help. The people of the world always try to block those who deserve, from benefiting from Christ’s Mercy. Look how much people scolded the Blind Beggar when he called out to the Lord for help. But all their efforts were in vain because the Lord’s Mercy reached out to the Blind Beggar.

 

What can we presently learn from the blind man’s determination? He realised an opportunity to be saved at the moment that The Lord was passing by and he did not want to lose it. He knew that there would be no second chance for him to meet The Lord and that The Lord was the only source of his healing. In our own lives do we see the opportunity to be saved by the Lord by turning to Him (in the same way that the blind man called out and was not determined to lose out)? The only chance of being saved is now (when we still live). If we turn to Christ and believe in Him then we are saved. We are assured of eternal life. However if we are arrogant and remain defiant up to our death, then we are surely buying ourselves a ticket to the fires of hell.

 

Mercy for the dwarfs, Tax Collectors and Rich Sinners

 

Sometimes the nature of our physical built gives us disadvantages in many instances in life. However these disadvantages when put into good use, (may turn out to be a blessing in disguise).

 

There was once a dwarf like me, who desperately wanted to see The Lord. But because of his inferior height most people towered above him and he could not see Him. So he ran and climbed up a tree in order to see the Lord.

 

Luke 19: 1 – 10:

19 ‘Jesus went on into Jericho and was passing through. 2 There was a chief tax collector there named Zacchaeus, who was rich 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but he was a little man and could not see Jesus because of the crowd. 4 He ran ahead of the crowd and climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus who was going to pass that way. 5 When Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to Zacchaeus, ‘Hurry down, Zacchaeus, because I must stay in your house today.’ Zacchaeus hurried down and welcomed him with great joy. All the people who saw it started grumbling, “This man has gone as a guest to the home of a sinner!” Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Listen, sir! I will give half of my belongings to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will pay back four times as much.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Salvation has come to this house today, for this man, also is a descendant of Abraham. 10 The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.’’

 

Zacchaeus’ story is interesting in many aspects. He is a chief tax collector and a rich man. Tax collectors of that time, (even of nowadays) were known to be people who live dishonest lives.

 

Zacchaeus is probably aware that he is a sinner but that does not deter him from wanting to see The Lord. He is only worried about his height, (that he will not be able to see The Lord). He thinks of climbing up a high tree only for the purpose of catching a glimpse of The Lord. He probably never thought that The Lord would stop and invite him down, and further suggest that He would go with him to his house.

 

But look how much Zacchaeus’ effort rewards him at the end! He receives The Lord’s Mercy in full measure. The Lord not only allows Zacchaeus to catch sight of Him but also allows him a conversation, a visit, a chance to make a confession and also gives him Salvation direct from The Saviour. How then were the feelings of those who had earlier on judged Zacchaeus as a sinner?

 

Zacchaeus is not the only tax collector to have received The Lord’s Mercy. There are some Temple Tax Collectors probably authorities in the Synagogue. These wanted the Lord Jesus to pay the Temple tax. This was despite Him being God and not being eligible to pay tax. They asked Simon Peter, 24 ‘Does your teacher pay the Temple-tax?’

 

Simon Peter is said to have answered that He did pay. Once Peter was inside the house The Lord Jesus is said to have asked him:

25 (a) ‘Simon what is your opinion? Who pays duties or taxes to the kings of this world the citizens of the country or the foreigners?’ 26 ‘The foreigners,’ answered Peter. ‘Well, then,’ replied Jesus, ‘that means that the citizens don’t have to pay.’

 

By foreigners, The Lord meant ordinary people who do not belong while citizens meant the Royals or the children of the Kingdom. Therefore what He meant is that as the Son of God, He and Peter were not supposed to pay the Temple-tax. But unlike corrupt man He was willing to pay and demonstrate His divine nature. So He went on and said:

27 ‘But we don’t want to offend these people. So go to the lake and drop in a line. Pull up the first fish you hook, and in its mouth you will find a coin worth enough for my Temple-tax and yours. Take it and pay our taxes.’

Matt. 17

 

So the Lord was also merciful to the Temple tax collectors who were obviously happy to receive tax from God.

 

Mercy for lepers

 

Throughout the history of mankind people who suffer from leprosy or any skin disease have been known to live miserable lives. They have been segregated, stigmatised and inhumanly treated by the society. They have not been given the sympathy they deserve.

 

Perhaps those who lived during The Lord’s time on earth always wished that they would meet the Lord and get cleansed. The Gospel of St. Luke gives various accounts about lepers. The fifth Chapter talks of a man with a terrible skin disease:

12 ‘Once Jesus was in a town where there was a man who was suffering from a dreaded skin-disease. When he saw Jesus, he threw himself down and begged him, ‘Sir, if you want to, you can make me clean!’ 13 Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘I do want to,’ he answered. ‘Be clean!’ At once the disease left the man.’

 

The faith of the man referred to above is marvellous. When he approaches The Lord, he has no doubt that The Lord has the Power to heal him. This is the kind of faith that the people of this day need for them to ask for anything in the name of The Lord and achieve it. See, the man does not ask to be healed. He only declares, ‘Lord’ if you want to, you can make me clean!’

 

This shows that the man knows that The Lord has the Power to heal him, and also that should He not heal him, it will not be as a result of The Lord’s inability but that The Lord would not be willing.

 

There is yet another account in the same Gospel about ten lepers healed at the same time. It is not clear how the ten could have been moving together at the same time, more so because one of them was a Gentile while the other nine were Jews. Perhaps nobody else befriended them because of their condition.

 

Luke 17: 11 – 19:

11 ‘As Jesus made his way to Jerusalem he went along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 He was going into a village when he was met by ten men suffering from a dreaded skin-disease. They stood at a distance 13 and shouted, ‘Jesus! Master! Take pity on us!’ 14 Jesus saw them and said to them, ‘Go and let priests examine you.’ On the way they were made clean. 15 When one of them saw that he was healed, he came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself to the ground at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus said, ‘There were ten men who were healed; where are the other nine? 18 Why is this foreigner the only one who came back to give thanks to God?’ 19 And Jesus said to him, ‘Get up and go; your faith has made you well.’’

 

The story of the ten lepers teaches us a lot about faith. We see nine Jews receiving the mercy of the Lord and only one Gentile, a Samaritan receiving the same. Of the nine Jews, not even one seems to recognise what Jesus Christ a fellow Jew has done for them. Is it because it was a must that the Lord should do well for the Jews no-matter what? The only Gentile to be cleansed recognises and goes back to Jesus to thank God.

 

Perhaps the nine Jews continued to look for the priests as The Lord had instructed (that they go and be examined by the priests). And perhaps the Gentile was afraid to approach the priests at the Synagogue where they were supposed to examine him.

 

Either way, only the one Gentile was able to realise that there was someone here ‘Greater than the priests and the Temple,’ that deserved thanks much more. The nine Jews may have been blind or obscured of this ‘Great Individual,’ and only thought of the priests.

 

The Bible however does not prove that the nine Jews went to the priests. If they did, then Christ would have known and would not have asked why they had not come back.

 

Mercy for the bereaved

 

Mankind has always shown sympathy and pity for the bereaved since time immemorial. This has been shown by gathering with the bereaved to comfort them by singing, praising and praying at funeral wakes as well as assisting the bereaved in the burial of the dead.

 

Human morals call on everyone to extend kindness, empathy, and pity to the bereaved no-matter whether they are bad neighbours, enemies or not. Christianity has made it tradition that believers assemble where there is bereavement (to offer support). This trend is also evident in the Judaism Faith even as far back as pre Biblical times when Christ was still physically on earth before Christianity was known.

 

In recent times in the Christian societies Christians have been seen to attend funeral wakes for both Christians, non-Christians and even non-believers. There they offer comfort and support in the form of prayer, song and preaching. At times the sympathy for the bereaved overwhelms them and they end up being tempted to pray for the dead to come back to life. Whether or not they succeed the truth is that death is inevitable. We all die. We cannot imagine how the world would look like if people as old as Adam still lived here on earth.

 

When The Lord commands, no-one can reverse the command. We can sometimes postpone death but we cannot stop it. Before The Lord Jesus Christ came to earth we hear that there are some prophets who prayed for the people to come back to life. This was only possible before anyone had been buried.

 

When Christ came we hear that he felt pity for the bereaved, thereby calling back to life their loved ones who had not yet been buried. We hear also from the famous Lazarus who had been in the tomb for about four days but was called out of the tomb by the Lord Jesus Christ. All this happened because Christ pitied and had Mercy for the bereaved. Not only that, but also because He wanted to demonstrate the Glory and Power of God, The Father. In a town called Nain he felt pity for a widow whose son had died, (and called him back to life).

 

Luke 7: 11 – 16:

11 ‘Soon afterwards, Jesus went to a town called Nain, accompanied by his disciples and a large crowd.12 Just as he arrived at the gate of the town, a funeral procession was coming out. The dead man was the only son of a woman who was also a widow, and a large crowd from the town was with her.13When the Lord saw her, his heart was filled with pity for her and he said to her, ‘Don’t cry.’ 14 Then he walked over and touched the coffin; and the men carrying the coffin stopped. Jesus said, ‘Youngman! Get up, I tell you!’ The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. 16 They were all filled with fear and praised God. ‘A great prophet has come among us!’ they said, ‘God has come to save his people!’’

 

It surprises the average person that the early Jews made this observation and realised that Jesus Christ was, ‘God come to save His people,’ while their descendants have other thoughts.

 

In another instance the Lord Jesus called back to life a girl who was a Synagogue official’s daughter. The Synagogue official was named Jairus. The Gospels tell us that Jairus approached The Lord and begged Him to come to his house because his twelve year old daughter was dying. The Lord could not quickly get there because the people were crowding from every side. Later on Jairus received a message that he should not bother The Lord because the daughter had already died.

 

The Lord is said to have calmed Jairus, urging him not to be afraid as the girl would be alright.

 

Mark 5: 21 – 25; 35 – 42:

21 Jesus went back across to the other side of the lake. There at the lake side a large crowd gathered round him. 22 Jairus, an official of the local Synagogue, arrived, and when he saw Jesus, he threw himself down at his feet and begged him earnestly, ‘My little daughter is very ill. Please come and place your hands on her, so that she will get well and live!’ Then Jesus started off with him. So many people were going along with Jesus that they were crowding him from every side.’

 

35 While Jesus was saying this, some messengers came from Jairus’ house and told him: ‘Your daughter has died, why bother The Teacher any longer?’ Jesus paid no attention to what they said but told him, ‘Don’t be afraid. Only believe.’ 37 Then he did not let anyone else go with him except Peter, James and his brother John. 38 They arrived at Jairus’ house, where Jesus saw the confusion and heard all the loud crying and wailing. He went in and said to them, ‘Why all this confusion? Why are you crying? The child is not dead – she is only sleeping.’ 40 They laughed at him, so he put them all out, took the child’s father and mother and his three disciples, and went into the room where the child was lying. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talithakoum,’ which means ‘Little girl, I tell you get up!’ She got up at once and started walking around.’

 

This is how The Lord’s Mercy touched the bereaved as well as their dead. This was only to show what God is capable of.

Everyone will surely rise from death on the last day. The Lord Jesus Christ will command everyone to rise from death (both those who believe and those who deny Him). It will be sad for those who do not believe because their unbelief will send them to eternal condemnation.

 

After His Resurrection and Ascension into heaven His disciples also called people from death. Simon Peter is reported to have called Tabitha or Dorcas back to life. Dorcas has been immortalised by some Christian denominations especially the Seventh Day Adventists. They believe that she is more blessed than all women and more prominent than Mary the Mother of The Lord. Tabitha was just an ordinary believer who did a lot of things for the poor and the widows. When she died the bereaved widows sought Simon Peter (the first leader of the Catholic Church) and he prayed for her and brought her back to life. The Acts of the Apostles Chapter 9 tells us:

36 ‘In Joppa, there was a woman named Tabitha – who was a believer. (Her name in Greek is Dorcas; meaning a deer.’) She spent her time doing good and helping the poor. 37 At that time she became ill and died…. 38 Joppa was not very far from Lydda, they sent two men to him with a message, ‘Please hurry and come to us.’ 39 So Peter got ready and went with them. When he arrived, he was taken to a room upstairs, where all the widows crowded round him and, crying and showing him all the shirts and coats that Dorcas had made while she was still alive. 40 Peter put them all out of the room and knelt down and prayed; then he turned to the body and said, ‘Tabitha, get up!’ She opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 Peter reached over and helped her get up. Then he called all the believers, including the widows, and presented her alive to them.

 

So The Lord’s Mercy for the bereaved did not end at His death. He continued to show His Mercy through His Apostles by calling back the dead to life for the benefit of the bereaved.

 

Mercy for the children

 

Most of The Lord’s teachings are centred on children. He openly expresses His love for children. At one time he asked His disciples not to restrain children from coming to Him because the Kingdom of God was for them.

 

Many Christian denominations criticise the baptism of small children especially babies. They say it is useless to baptise the young children who do not know anything. However, that argument amounts to restraining the children from going to their Lord. Christ says that:

‘Unless one is born again through water and spirit in baptism; they cannot enter the Kingdom of heaven.

 

Suppose a child was left un-baptized and died in early childhood, what would happen to that child? I hate to think that the child would not go to heaven because of the parents’ mistake. Baptism is also a sign (like circumcision is for the Jews) that someone has accepted Christ and become God’s child (regardless of age).

 

Responsible parents will make a decision for their off-spring to become children of God as soon as they are born (just like the Jews circumcise their sons eight days after birth).

 

There are also some sections of society who are highly religious but do not want their children to be taught anything good about The Lord Jesus Christ. This is another attempt to restrain the children from getting to Jesus Christ, who is Himself, eternal-life. It is an attempt to poison the children’s innocent minds so that even when they grow up to become parents they in turn teach their own children negatively against The Lord.

 

Would it not be good if those parents who hate Jesus Christ left their children to learn and talk openly about Him, thereby letting the children make own choice without reprisals?

 

The story of the children will be taken from the Gospel of St. Mark 10: 13-15:

13 ‘Some people brought children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples scolded the people. 14 When Jesus noticed this, he was angry and said to his disciples, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 I assure you that whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.’ Then he took them in his arms placed his hands on each of them, and blessed them.

 

Well, one can only say about The Lord’s final comments, ‘Well said, Lord! It is hard to convert adults to Christianity especially if they have been subjected to other religions at early childhood.’

 

But certainly these children grew up to be parents, grand and great-grand parents. Is it possible that today, their descendants deny that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

 

Mercy for the despised (would be prostitutes) and adulteresses

 

Humanity has the illness of unfairly judging others as the worst sinners, while remaining blind to own sins. In the past and also in the present, women who have had multiple male-partners have been viewed as the worst sinners.

 

Their punishment has ranged from public humiliation, stigmatisation, arbitrary arrests and sometimes stoning and being murdered. Those with whom the women have held the relationships (the men have been left to go scot-free and at times have been themselves the accusers, prosecutors and executors of these unfortunate women). Nobody has tried to find out from these women why they have engaged in such activity (or even tried to offer assistance in an effort to rehabilitate the women) so that they do not commit the same offences.

 

In the case of adultery (as stated above) only the women have been accused as the culprits, while their male accomplices in sin have not been accused. One wonders why society right from the days of old, has been so biased against women. Although prostitution and adultery are sinful, the women offenders do not deserve the harsh treatment that society has always subjected them to.

 

Two stories from the Gospels show us how The Lord once showed His Mercy to a would-be prostitute and a woman accused of adultery.

Luke 7: 37 – 48:

37. ‘In that town was a woman who lived a sinful life. She heard that Jesus was eating in the Pharisee’s house, so she bought an alabaster jar full of perfume 38 and stood behind Jesus, by his feet crying and wetting his feet with her tears. Then dried his feet with her hair, kissed them, and poured the perfume on them.39 When the Pharisee saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man really were a prophet, he would know who this woman is who is touching him; he would know what kind of sinful life she lives!’ 40 Jesus spoke up and said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to tell you.’ ‘Yes, Teacher,’ he said, ‘Tell me.’ 41. ‘There were two men, who owed money to a money-lender,’ Jesus began. ‘One owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other owed him fifty. 42 Neither of them could pay back. So he cancelled the debts of both. Which one, then, will love him more?’ 43‘I suppose,’ answered Simon, ‘that it would be the one who was forgiven more.’ ‘You are right,’ said Jesus. Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I came into your home, and you gave me no water for my feet, but she has washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. 45 You did not welcome me with a kiss, but she has not stopped kissing my feet since I came. 46 You provided no olive-oil for my head, but she has covered my feet with perfume. 47 I tell you, then, the great love she has shown proves that her many sins have been forgiven. But whoever is forgiven little shows only a little love.’ 48 Then Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you, go in peace.

 

Note that there is no inference in the Bible that this woman could have been a prostitute but the worst sin to be associated with women those days was prostitution and adultery.

 

The Gospel of St. John Chapter 8: 1-11 tells us a story about a woman who was caught in adultery. Why it was only the woman accused of the offence (when it takes two to commit adultery) is not clear. The story goes:

1 ‘Then everyone went home, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early the next morning he went back to the Temple. All the people gathered round him, and he sat down and began to teach them. 3 The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees brought in a woman who had been caught committing adultery, and they made her stand before them all. 4 ‘Teacher,’ they said to Jesus, ‘this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. In our Law Moses commanded that such a woman must be stoned to death. Now, what do you say?’ They said this to trap Jesus, so that they would accuse him. But he bent over and wrote on the ground with a finger. 7 As they stood there asking him questions he straightened himself up and said to them, ‘Which ever one of you has committed no sin may throw the first stone at her.’ 9 When they heard this, they all left one by one, the older ones first. Jesus was left alone with the woman still standing there. 10 He straightened himself up and said to her, ‘Where are they? Is there no one left to condemn you?’ 11 ‘No one sir,’ she answered. ‘Well, then,’ Jesus said, ‘I do not condemn you either. Go, but do not sin again.’

 

In this particular case the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law wanted the Lord to break the Law: ‘Thou shalt not commit murder.

 

In fact two Laws were tested one against the other. ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery,’ against, ‘Thou shalt not commit murder.’ The Lord demonstrated that one cannot break one Law by trying to enforce the other. He showed that while breaking both Laws would lead to sin, none of the two Laws out-weighed the other. In another way He was letting the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees know (that it was time for abolishing the death penalty). Stoning anyone for committing one sin or another is undesirable. After all, which is the greater sin adultery or murder? We are also taught by this story that The Lord Jesus does not judge sinners the way humans do (at least for now).

 

It was the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who were accusing the woman and not the Lord. Listen to this:

‘Where are they? Is there no one left to [_ condemn you?’ ‘No- one, sir.’ _]

 

‘Well then, I do not condemn you either.

 

If it had been the Lord accusing the woman the accusation might have stood.

 

Mercy for the hungry, revellers or drunks

 

The Lord showed mercy and gave it to all sections of society during His life on earth. He still does, up to today (that is why everyone – virtually everyone) should subject themselves to Him and give thanks openly to Him every day of their lives. The hungry and the revellers were not to be left out of the Lord’s Mercy.

 

The Gospels which are the source of all the stories being discussed in this Chapter record two separate occasions where the Lord had mercy for hungry multitudes and fed them from a few loaves of bread and a handful of fishes.

 

One of the stories is taken from St. John Chapter 6: 5, 7 – 13:

5 ‘Jesus looked around and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, so he asked Philip; ‘Where can we buy enough food to feed all these people?’ 7 ‘Philip answered, ‘For everyone to have even a little, it would take more than two hundred silver coins to buy enough bread.’ Another of his disciples, Andrew, who was Simon Peter’s brother said, 9 ‘There is a boy here who has five loaves of barley bread and two fish. But they will certainly not be enough for all these people.’ 10 ‘Make the people sit down,’ Jesus told them. So all the people sat down; there were about five thousand men. 11 Jesus took the bread, gave thanks to God, and distributed it to the people who were sitting there. He did the same with the fish, and they all had as much as they wanted. 12 When they were all full, he said to the disciples, ‘Gather the pieces left over; let us not waste any,’ 13. So, they gathered them all up and filled twelve baskets with the pieces left over from the five barley loaves which the people had eaten.’

 

The other story is taken from St. Matthew 15: 32 – 38:

[_32 ‘ Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I feel sorry for these people, because they have been with me for three days and now have nothing to eat. I don’t want to send them away without feeding them - they might faint on their way home.’ The disciples asked him, ‘Where will we find enough food in the desert to feed this crowd?’ 34 ‘How much bread, have you?’ Jesus asked. ‘Seven loaves,’- they answered, ‘and a few small fish.’ So Jesus ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave them to the disciples; and the disciples gave them to the people. 37 They all ate and had enough. Then the disciples took up seven baskets full of pieces left over. 38 The number of men who ate was four thousand, not counting the women and children. _]’

 

The following is the story recorded to be the first miracle that The Lord performed when He started His Ministry on earth, ‘turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana in Galilee.’

 

People think that drinking wine, beer or any alcoholic beverages is a sin but the following story may prove on the contrary. St. John 2: 1 – 4, 7 – 10:

1 Two days later there was a wedding in the town of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine had given out, Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘They have no wine left.’ 4 ‘You must not tell me what to do,’ Jesus replied, ‘My time has not yet come,’ 7 Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill these jars with water.’ They filled them to the brim, 8 and then he told them, ‘Now draw some water out and take it to the man in charge of the feast.’ They took him the water, 9 which had now turned into wine, and he tasted it. He did not know where it had come from; so he called the bride groom 10 and said to him, ‘Everyone else serves the best wine first, and after the guests have had plenty to drink he serves the ordinary wine. But you have kept the best wine until now!’’

 

Some modern Christians say that the Lord gave the people alcohol free wine. They say that it was sweet wine and not the wine that can get one drunk. Suppose it was so, but there are some people who are created not to drink and others also who are created to. It’s only what people do when they get drunk that makes them sin – not the drinking on its own. The Lord Himself did drink but John the Baptist did not.

 

In the Gospel of St. John Chapter 11, The Lord speaks of John the Baptist saying that John is the greatest of all the people who have lived. But the least in heaven is greater than him. He also says the following of John and of Himself:

16 ‘Now, to what shall I compare the people of this day? They are like children sitting in the market place. One group shouts to the other, ‘We played wedding music for you, but you wouldn’t dance! We sang funeral songs, but you wouldn’t cry!’ 18 When John came, he fasted and drank no wine, and everyone said, ‘He has a demon in him!’’ 19 When the Son of Man came, he ate and drank, and everyone said, ‘Look at this man! He is a glutton and a wine drinker, a friend of tax collectors and other outcasts!’ God’s wisdom, however, is shown to be true by its results.

 

Mercy for the evil-spirits themselves

 

This argument is based on the fact that The Lord Jesus will not turn down the request of anyone who acknowledges that He is Lord, and humbly requests Him for any favour. The argument should not be misconstrued to mean that The Lord sponsors evil-spirits or allows them to do whatever they like on people.

 

It is based on the incident where the evil-spirits requested the Lord to do them a favour and He agreed, even if He could have chosen to decline. This particular incident is narrated in the Gospel of St. Matthew 8: 29 – 32:

29 ‘At once they screamed: “What do you want with us, you Son of God? Have you come to punish us before the right time?’ 30 Not far away there was a large herd of pigs feeding. 31 So the demons begged Jesus, ‘If you are going to drive us out, send us into that herd of pigs.’ ‘Go,’ Jesus told them; so they left and went into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the side of the cliff into the lake and was drowned.’

 

Mercy for the mutineers and murderers

 

There are many stories in the Gospels where The Lord showed His Mercy for different individuals. The last story from this Chapter will come from the last moments of The Lord on the on the cross where He extended His Mercy to a convicted murderer:

St. Luke 23: 32 – 33; 39 – 43:

32 Two other men, both criminals, were lead out to be put to death with Jesus. 33 When they came to the place called ‘The Skull,’ they crucified Jesus there, and the two criminals, one on His right and the other on His left. 39 One of the criminals hanging there hurled insults at Him, ‘Aren’t you The Messiah? Save yourself, and us!’ 40 The other one, however, rebuked him, saying, ‘Don’t you fear God? You received the same sentence He did. 41 Ours: however is only right, because we are getting what we deserve for what we did; but He has done no wrong.’ 42 And he said to Jesus, ‘Remember me, Jesus, when you come as King!’ 43 Jesus said to him, ‘I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me.”

 

Some people are just lucky to be saved at the hour of their death but there will not be many who will have that luck. So mortals should not wait to be saved at death. It depends on an individual’s willingness to repent and ask The Lord for forgiveness.

 

The arrogant criminal knew that Jesus was The Messiah but he did not want to repent. He probably wanted Jesus to save him so that he would continue with his criminal life. The other knew also that Jesus was The Messiah. He was sorry for his sins but agreed with the sentence he had been given. He wanted to give up his earthly life and receive eternal life.

 

This incident made two of The Lord’s sayings come true:

‘If anyone wants to preserve his life, he will lose it; and if someone wants to lose his life for my sake, he will preserve it!’

 

The other saying is:

‘There will be two people working together, one will be taken away and the other one will be left.’

 

If we continue to run away from Christ or deny that He is the Son of God we are like the criminal who rebuked Him on the cross and lost his life forever. No-body on earth does not know that Jesus Christ is The Messiah (but only arrogance makes them to resort to denial).

 

CHAPTER X

 

Show unwavering trust in the Lord Jesus Christ

 

In the opening Chapter of this book I describe some of my early personal experiences with The Lord. These date as far back as my early childhood. By then I was not sure what was happening to my life. However, my later experiences with the Lord Jesus Christ confirmed spiritually to me what really was happening.

 

The later experiences confirmed that the earlier ones had not been by coincidence but that they were a reality or by design. Some Supernatural Power had been at work and He would be none-other than The Lord and Saviour Himself, Jesus Christ. I started to enjoy a personal relationship with Him. The kind of relationship which I think was at its best in the year 2000.

 

In the year 1999 I transferred from Chiuzya Primary School in remote Binga District to teach at Sir Humphrey Gibbs Primary School in Hwange, a mining town.

 

I had originally been moved on promotion for deputy-headship at St. Marys’ School, (a Catholic school outside Hwange). However, my previous headmaster had not been happy with the news of my promotion and had initiated a misconduct charge against me on hearing that I was due for promotion in a couple of weeks.

 

When instructed to tell me to go to St. Marys’ by the District Offices, he had chosen to be away from school for three weeks without relaying the message. He had also gone to the Catholic Authorities at St. Marys’ and convinced them not to accept me as one of their staff. So when I eventually reported at the Hwange Education Offices three weeks later I was advised by the Education Officer that the Catholic Authorities did not want to see me.

 

All this had been despite all the good recommendations by the headmaster and by my Parish Priest at Our Lady Queen of Peace Entumbane, on my application for the appointment a few months earlier, and also the fact that the Catholic Authorities had earlier on agreed to my appointment at the school prior to the promotion (and the change of heart by my supremo).

 

The Education Officer had advised me that I could laterally transfer to Sir Humphrey Gibbs Primary School if I wanted to, or (to put it in his words) ‘Take it or leave it.’ I had actually taught there as a student teacher in the ZINTEC programme fifteen years before. So when the E.O. had suggested that I go there I had known where I would be going so I gladly accepted. My response had been, ‘I won’t leave it, but will take it.’

 

Some popular reggae singer the late Bob Marley once sang:

‘In this life we are coming in from the cold…When one door is closed don’t you know; another one is open?’

 

My adventure with my previous headmaster and St. Mary’s School authorities turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I remember one of the teachers at Wankie Secondary School who knew Chiuzya very well saying to me, ‘So you moved from the centre of no-where in Chiuzya to the centre of everything here in Hwange?’

 

I only responded by saying, ‘I give praise to the Lord who arranges every step in our lives.’

 

When I got to Sir Humphrey Gibbs Primary School in Madumabisa, I was allocated a house at K Section in Lusumbami Township. That was where I would meet one of the greatest challenges of my life and probably regret ever accepting the vacancy to teach inside Hwange.

 

The house in which I was accommodated had been vacant for some months. When I occupied it I first stayed alone and in a month’s time was joined by my two sons Terrence and Emmanuel from Binga District. From the first day that I slept in the house I felt some strange sounds at night. It felt as if there was someone moving within the house. I should admit at this time that it was the first time in my life as an adult that I would be afraid to sleep alone in a house at an urban set-up.

 

I however left everything to prayer and each rising sun brought me some relief. In the first half of the year 2000 my elder son Terrence James was attending Hwange Government Secondary School and the younger Emmanuel Christian went to the same school where I worked. We were later to be joined by my cousin Lindani who was a school leaver.

 

A few hundred metres to the East of the house was a Catholic Church St. Monica and next to the school grounds was another Catholic Church’ St. Peter and Paul. The Priest in charge of both Parishes was the late Father Maximus. The vicinity of both Churches one next to my house and the other next to my work place was one of the good things that came with my lateral transfer to Sir Humphrey Gibbs School. I was very happy to attend Mass at any of the Parishes at any convenient time.

 

Previously in Chiuzya I would have to wait for a month to attend Mass which was presided over by a Priest from either Kariangwe or Dete. At Lusumbami the boys were always spending most of their spare time at St. Monica Church with Father Maximus and other youths. Even when they wanted to sneak away from the house they would find it convenient to say that they were going to Church.

 

One Wednesday in the cold winter days of May my cousin Lindani reported to me about an incident which had earlier on happened at the house during the day. He reported that in broad daylight they had found human waste in the veranda of our house. When I asked what had happened to it he had answered that my son Terrence James had cleaned up the mess and flashed it in the house toilet. I was heartbroken and rebuked my son for the level of irresponsibility he had displayed at the age of fifteen.

 

How could he have collected human waste from outside and brought it into the house? That was the judgement which human fathers always make on their sons but the fact still remains, (that my son had acted very responsibly as he had always done). But because (to me the circumstances were abnormal) I immediately knew that the worst was to come even if I did not know when and what sort of trials and tribulations would follow.

 

Three days later on a Friday evening the beginning of a month long saga was to follow. When I arrived home from work around 5 pm I found neither the boys nor their uncle Lindani. I stayed home for at least an hour with neither of them arriving. The first to come was the younger son Emmanuel. He said that he had been at the Church but did not know where his brother was.

 

An hour later his brother arrived. Although it was cold he only had a tea-shirt on and it was wet around the neck. He sat down on the sofa and immediately started crying.

 

‘Where are you coming from?’ I demanded to know.

[* ‘Fro-om th- the Ch-urch,’ he answered still sobbing. *]

 

‘So why are you crying?’ The interrogation continued.

 

[* ‘Hi, Hi- hi-- It’s Father, I saw him beat another b-o--y.’ That was in reference to the Parish Priest. *]

 

‘Well, did he beat you as well? And why did he have to beat him anywhere?’ I asked. Now confused because I could not understand how a fifteen year old could sob like that only because a Priest had spanked some other boy (possibly for misbehaving).

 

‘No. No, he didn’t beat me. He beat him on the head. He said that they were making noise.

 

‘Hi, Hi- hi- hi---- ,’ my son continued to cry.

 

‘Are you sure you are from the Church and did you see Emmanuel there?’ I continued to ask because Emmanuel had earlier on claimed that he himself had been at the Church and had not seen his brother there.

 

Terrence re-affirmed that he was indeed from the Church and also that he had not seen Emmanuel there either. I found it difficult to believe that the two boys could have been in one Church for over two hours but still fail to see each other there.

 

Thinking of the challenges of the youth I immediately suspected that the elder brother had been lying about everything, (with the possibility that he had taken strong drugs with other community boys). I then searched his pockets and examined his fingers drawing them close to my nostrils to detect any smell of smoke but

I found nothing.

 

I then asked Emmanuel to run and call one of my work-mates who also happened to be a fellow parishioner. This was in the hope that he would easily detect anything that I couldn’t. In some minutes he was there and was also confused by what was happening. Mr Shavano repeated the tests which I had earlier on conducted.

 

‘Mr Shavano,’ I said. ‘What is this? Isn’t this dagga or something?’

My questions were now prejudiced by the fact that I had already told myself that the boy had indulged.

 

‘I first thought so,’ my colleague answered calmly. ‘But now I doubt it could be. Hasn’t this boy suffered from malaria of late?’

 

I quickly recalled that over the past two weeks the boy had suffered from headaches and completed a course for malaria on each of the two weeks without major change. We then agreed to take him to Lusumbami Clinic where a kind Sister Lubimbi attended to him. Her preliminary diagnosis had been ‘cerebral-malaria.’ That was after I had narrated to her the events of the past two weeks.

 

Her suggestion had been to call an ambulance to take us to Wankie General Hospital immediately but seeing that it was already night I had requested her not to. She then gave him a strong injection and ordered that I quickly take him home and give him enough food before the injection overpowered him.

 

We walked home quickly and before I managed to have him finish his supper he fell asleep. I put him in their bedroom and went to sleep in mine an hour or so later.

 

Early in the morning at about 4 am I was awakened by a scream:

‘Baa-aba..!’

 

It was him and within seconds he had bang opened my bedroom door and stood there in total panic.

 

‘Hey! Daddy! There is someone in the room. There is someone in the room. He has sores all over.

 

‘He was trying to force me to eat something and I refused! He tried to force Emmanuel also but I told Emmanuel not to eat!’ He said all these things before I could say anything to him.

 

I flicked on the lights and tried to calm him down by saying, ‘Listen son. There is nobody here.’

 

‘There is daddy!’ He objected. ‘There is! I saw him. He’s got sores all over the body. No… Oh!’

 

My son could not be convinced that it was only a dream. The only thing that assured him of safety was the suggestion which I made, ‘Let us pray and we will be safe.’

 

‘Yes daddy! Yes! Let us pray!’ He consented kneeling down.

 

I prayed,

‘In the name of The Father, and of The Son, and of The Holy Spirit,

Amen. Heavenly Father, I thank you because you are present here with us. You know all that is happening and you are in control. Please protect us in this hour of need. Protect Terrence and heal him, oh Lord and give him sleep. All this I ask in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.’

 

I persuaded him to sleep with me on my bed because he would not agree to go back to his bedroom. He immediately went to sleep and up to 8 am that morning he slept soundly.

 

When he woke up he did not show any signs of the previous evening and of the early hours of the dawn. He seemed normal up to the time that I invited him to put on the shoes (so we could go to the clinic). He went into the spare bedroom to fetch his shoes, was there for some moments and came out without the shoes.

 

He sat on the sofa and I just looked at him and sat for some minutes watching him. I got convinced that he was only present physical and miles away mentally.

 

‘Terrence my son I said fetch your shoes from the spare bedroom. We have to go to the clinic.’ I calmly reminded him.

 

He went there, and for the second time came out without the shoes now crying just like in the previous evening.

 

‘Daddy you know.’ He said. ‘You know I’m putting you into so much trouble.’

 

This time he was sitting on the sofa again, seemingly unaware that he had to put on his shoes and come with me to the clinic.

 

‘No sonny,’ I comforted him. ‘You are not troubling me at all. What sort of trouble are you talking about?’ I went on still trying to calm him down as I went into his room for the shoes.

 

At the clinic Sister Lubimbi was still on duty. She gave us a referral letter to Wankie General Hospital. At the general hospital they demanded some thousands of dollars as admission fees (or the production of a medical-aid card). I did not have both the money and the card because Terrence was the only child who was at that time not on my medical-aid.

 

The nurses then suggested that we go to St. Patricks Catholic Hospital on the hill at Mpumalanga. We went there and arrived around 4 p.m. He was duly admitted and I paid a nominal fee which I could afford.

 

A white doctor was there in attendance and the kind staff that consisted of the doctor herself, some black Zimbabwean sisters and nurses assisted us. The lady-doctor explained patiently and sympathetically to me that she suspected cerebral malaria. She said that in the meantime she would put him on quinine-drip and have blood samples collected for laboratory tests. She was certain that quinine would make him more confused and requested that I should not panic because that was how the drug worked.

 

The trouble was to come when the boy was to be actually admitted at the ward and when it was time for him to have supper. He begged me never to leave him at the hospital as he feared that he would totally lose it and never recover from what he called, ‘madness.’

 

Again, just like earlier that morning it took me persuasion and prayer to guarantee him safety in the hospital. I prayed with him in full view of other patients, nurses and other visitors (and it was only after the prayer that he agreed to staying behind at the hospital).

 

When hospital food was served he refused to eat. He said the food would drive him completely mad and that he would never recover. I convinced him that I would pray for the food through the Name of Jesus Christ The Lord, (there-by making it safe for him and the other patients to eat). I prayed once again and that is when he would eat.

 

The following day I went to the hospital as early as possible and the boy’s condition though no worse than what it had been the previous day, was equally not better. However, the doctor was already suspecting something else other than cerebral-malaria. She told me that her thoughts were that the boy had brain tumour or no malaria at all but outright madness.

 

She was already considering two options: one of sending him to Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo (for brain-scan regarding the brain tumour theory) and to Ingutsheni Psychiatric Institute (to be examined for mental illness). She would also have to him put on psychiatric drugs immediately.

 

All this was despite the fact that in less than twenty-four hours she had put him on quinine which she had earlier on claimed would, (confuse him even more), drawn some blood samples to diagnose the illness and also that the results were not yet out.

 

I strongly advised her against giving my son the tablets for the mentally challenged. That was after I had persuaded her in vain to be patient enough to see both the effect of quinine-drip and the results of the blood tests. She would not take my strong advice either. Her answer was, ‘Listen to me Mr Sibindi. I will have to do what I think is professionally best for your son. I will put him on those tables now while we arrange for transporting him for the brain scan. I have not seen anything of this sort before.’

 

That was as far as our discussion would go and that evening I dragged myself back home without actually wanting to guess what next would happen. I could not understand how my son could suddenly live on mental drugs when all along he had been normal. I had little faith in the doctor although I inwardly knew that both the theories of brain tumour and mental dysfunction were neither here nor there.

 

When I tried to find out from the nursing sisters about transportation to Bulawayo I was told that I needed to hire a private car (as there was no ambulance available).The least I could pay for the three hundred and fifty kilometre single trip was twenty thousand Zimbabwe dollars.

At that time my net salary as a teacher was less than four thousand dollars. So the fee was way beyond my reach and to make matters worse I had no savings as the economy would not allow.

 

A few months earlier, one of the lady teachers at my new school had hired out a car to Bulawayo for five thousand dollars. She had been battling with cancer. What was most disturbing however is that soon after arrival in Bulawayo she had died. That huge amount of money had just gone in vain (in the process leaving her family without money).

 

So for me this was the beginning of four more weeks of personal trials and tribulations and a test of faith on my person. At home I met the challenge of my youthful cousin who would never be home to provide much needed support for the younger son. He would not be in hospital with me either (to support both me and his sick nephew). He would only turn up late in the night.

 

I had a beautiful yard with a thriving vegetable garden which we all took turns to look after. Within the yard was a variety of fruit trees which we had found already growing and bearing fruit. These included guava, paw-paw, lemon and the giant mangoes of the Low Veld. When we watered the fruit trees they produced good fruit.

 

There was also a smart evergreen lawn in front of the house which was a few metres from a beautiful veranda whose floor was painted dark brown. The human waste deposits around the yard started to be more and more frequent on the lawn and in the garden, (but no one knew who the depositors were even if this was happening in broad day-light).

 

Once all of us went out, on return we would find these faeces deposited conveniently where our eyes could see them but there were no foot-prints. We wondered how in an urban set-up such things could happen especially during the day (with no one witnessing).

 

One day my cousin Lindani told me that his other cousin (a former bakery manager and prophet in the Apostolic Faith Church) had advised that we collect a sample of the faeces and bring it to their Church. I first agreed and promised that I would make sure that this happened. I was longing to see the devil and his angels punished for tormenting my son. It was my hope that this Spiritual Church would bring about the vengeance on the perpetrators.

 

On working days I made it routine that I attend the morning session at work and after lunch at one o’clock I would then go to the hospital. I would then remain at the hospital for the duration of the afternoon so that I could at least see him by the evening’s visiting hour (and also make sure that I am among the last to leave). I could not afford to commute twice between Lusumbami and Mpumalanga. Transport was particularly bad between Lusumbami and Lwendulu and also between Lwendulu and Mpumalanga. So for a single journey from Lusumbami to Mpumalanga I needed to commute twice and also twice back. Each one way trip ranged between twenty and twenty-four kilometres. At times I could find myself walking between Lwendulu and Mpumalanga in an effort to save on transport and that became more often.

 

The third day after my son’s admission to the hospital (which was the day following my last encounter with the lady doctor) I arrived before the visiting hour had started.

 

I was just seated outside waiting for everybody else to be admitted when I heard a very loud chilling scream which filled the whole of the hospital complex. First I could not tell that it was a human scream let alone my son’s. I thought that it might have been an animal (a mule perhaps.)

 

The scream made the rounds shortly afterwards and I realised that it was from within the ward where my son was. We were seated just behind the walls of the ward with the windows just a few metres away. I got even more surprised and at that moment my eyes caught those of one of the ladies who were waiting for the visitors’ hour to start. It turned out that she already knew me, (even if I did not recognise her).

 

‘That’s your son screaming,’ she said. ‘Go straight in. You need not wait. His granny is already inside.’

 

I hastily went to the reception and introduced myself as, ‘Terrence’s father,’ and they let me straight in. From that day onwards the rule of visiting hour never applied to me again for at least as long as the boy remained in the hospital. At any time I arrived the security, doctors and nurses would let me in without question. This shows how delicate my son’s condition had been.

 

When I got into the ward his grandmother was seated on the floor crying and his aunt trying to feed him without much success. His face had been completely transformed, deformed or disfigured rather. No longer like that of my son but just like the face of any other psychiatric hospital inmate. I knew without doubt that this had been a result of the medication administered amidst my protest.

 

His neck had stiffened, with arteries showing boldly on both its sides. His arms were equally stiff, eyes wide open but showing no sign of perceiving anything within. He would at short intervals repeat the scream which was disturbing all, patients, nurses and of course the other staff and visitors.

 

I had brought with me some toast sandwiches coated with fried eggs. This I had personally prepared as a special treat for him. I sat next to him on the hospital bed close enough for a father and a dear son who is in great pain. I wanted to feed him myself as I was convinced that I could do it better.

 

When he caught sight of me and what I had brought for him he grabbed the sandwiches with both hands and forced them down his throat without much of a chew. When he finished he seemed for a moment to realise me and everything else around the ward. Then he grabbed the big bunch of keys that I carried in my hands, and held the keys one by one asking, ‘Daddy! Le yikhiye yani? Leyi ke daddy? Leyi ke?’

 

He was asking in exactly the same way as a three year old would normally ask. He was saying, ‘Daddy! What’s this key for? What about this one daddy, and that one?’

 

He did not know what he was saying but I patiently and fatherly answered his questions one after the other, ‘Ngeyendlini. Ngeye wodrobhu. Ngeyewofisini…..’ meaning, ‘It’s for our house door. It’s for the wardrobe and it’s for the office.’

 

The effect of the wrongfully prescribed medication was taking toll on him and it would continue for three to four more weeks. When I went back home I was much more devastated than in any of the previous days. I blamed no one in particular for the events (not even the doctor for the supposedly wrong diagnosis). I now understand that her decision might have been influenced by external forces way beyond her control.

 

I continued praying and reciting The Holy Rosary almost every morning, afternoon and evening. I cannot talk about nights because that is when prayer was needed most. Surprisingly even deep within my sleep my heart would make prayers for me.

 

However, for an unknown reason I shifted all my sympathies away from my sick son to The Son of God who had suffered and been crucified for the sins of all human beings. When I prayed I asked for mercy for my son but I emphatically said that The Lord Jesus Christ had suffered and had been crucified unjustly for our sins. I do not know even up to today why I had to say that, why also my sympathy had turned away from my son who had been currently ill to The Lord who had suffered almost two thousand years before.

 

Whatever the reason might have been I do not regret having done that and I do not question The Lord for having let it happen that way. All I can say is that it was for my own good and the good of my son (and also for the sake of witnessing on this day) about the Mercy of God and His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

In the mean time my encounters with the mysterious faeces depositors were increasing by day. At night I was now having regular visitors in the form of wailing cats. The cats would assemble at the veranda around mid night up to four in the morning. They would be wailing the way human beings do at a funeral wake. Sometimes my cousin would be out sleeping elsewhere with friends.

 

At that time I was so spiritual and prayerful that even deep in my sleep my heart would be praying for me. How I wish today that The Lord would return that blessing to me! It would be in the middle of the night that I would hear the wailing cats deep within my sleep. Sometimes I would instantly wake up and spend the following three to four hours panic stricken and only daybreak would bring me the much needed relief, forcing me into a deep slumber for between 4 and 6 am.

 

In most of the days The Spirit would be with me and when I managed to wake up in faith and say a powerful prayer amidst the screams and wailings. The cats would scurry away even if the prayer had been said silently. They would then return hours later while I would be sound asleep (to restart their mourning sessions). In such instances my heart would come in handy and pray in my sleep and the cats would run away once again.

 

One Saturday I went to see the boy early in the morning. I was back at home before ten o’clock because I intended to return to the hospital by lunch time. Beneath one of the mango trees, just next to the perimeter hedge in the garden was a freshly deposited mound of human waste. Nobody had seen what time it had been deposited but it looked quite recent. I just looked at it and never said anything to anyone.

 

My cousin Lindani who was home that day came to me and said, ‘Bhudi. Phela kulekaka laphana engadini.’

 

This translated to English means, ‘Brother, tell you what! There is excreta by the garden.’

 

I told him to leave it as it had been. He then insisted that we take it to his other cousin the prophet from the Apostolic Faith Church. He said that they would pray for the faeces and perform some rituals then the perpetrators would face the dire consequences.

 

‘Mnawami,’ I told him. ‘INkosi ilwa ngakuhlangothi lwami. Nxa ngizadela yona ngiqale ukuthemba abantu izangitshiya, njalo ngingeke nginqobe.’

 

‘My little brother,’ I said. ‘The Lord is fighting on my side. If I leave Him now and shift my faith to humans He will surely abandon me and I will not win.’

 

We then agreed that we would leave it like that and never retaliate physically or otherwise in response to these evil attacks. Around noon I was off to hospital once again with prepared lunch for the boy. That was the second week after his admission.

 

When I returned home later in the day at about 3:30 pm the mess had been cleaned up. I went as close as possible to the spot to satisfy myself that it had indeed been removed. Although I couldn’t see any foot prints I saw that something like a spade or a shovel had been used to clean it up.

 

Both of the boys were not in (Emmanuel and his uncle Lindani). I just went into the house and recited The Holy Rosary never suspecting that either of the boys had cleaned up the mess, as I knew that it all happened while everyone was away and especially that none of them ever wanted to end up in hospital, like Terrence who had earlier on interfered with unknown excreta.

 

While I knelt and prayed in the living room with my back to the corridor leading to the bedrooms and the kitchen I saw with my spiritual eye, a tall dirty man. He was standing in the corridor facing my back towards the living room. He was not anything holy but an evil spirit.

 

As I write today I am not sure whether or not he might have been the same man whom my son claimed to have seen the last night he had slept home. I prayed even harder rose and went towards the corridor without any fear but I could not see anything else, not even the man I had earlier on seen in spirit.

 

That day my cousin brother came home quite early before sunset. His first task was to check on the spot where we had earlier on seen the faeces. He came straight to me in disbelief while I was standing in the garden and pretending not to mind him.

 

‘Bhudi, bhudi. Phel’ikaka leyana ayisekho!’

 

He was saying to me, ‘Brother, brother. Tell you what? The excreta is been removed!’

 

I asked without even looking either at him or at the spot, ‘Are you sure?’

 

‘I ’m sure brother! I’m sure. It’s no longer there,’ he said boastfully.

 

‘That’s the works of The Lord,’ I told him.

 

Earlier on in the week my mother in-law had requested me to allow her to remove the boy from the hospital and have some ‘Chewa’ healers take over. I had answered her in a way that I would later on repeat to one of the Sisters In-Charge at St. Patricks Hospital Sr Siamupha.

 

Sister Siamupha had been so kind to the boy and me, so much that her kindness had exceeded that of any other sister or nurse. This is not to say that the other nurses and sisters never cared. I was later to learn from some casual chart with her that she felt sorry for my son particularly because she was childless and for that reason, her marriage had been in distress. She was praying that my son should be healed because she would not have liked to see me lose him as that would have also emotionally affected her. It was I who had started sharing or pouring out my tribulations to her.

 

‘Sister,’ I had said. ‘You know what Sr Siamupha? My mother in-law wants me to take this boy out of the hospital and send him to some traditional healers.’

 

She just looked at me without displaying any emotions and said, ‘So what do you think of it yourself?’

 

I answered, ‘You know what Sister I only trust in the Lord. This boy was never my son. He was given to me by God. If He decides to take him today He will. But, He will have to do that from this hospital and not from anywhere else. This is what I told my mother in-law and I stand by it.’

 

Sister Siamupha suddenly showed the greatest emotional display of happiness and said, ‘I also believe in The Lord and I am happy for you. I was only afraid that maybe you could be a non-believer and that it would be difficult for me to convince you to trust The Lord.’

 

Well, ‘Trust in The Lord,’ as she did, I was also happy for her some years later when I met her in town, heavy in pregnancy. It turned out that her prayers for my son to recover had actually turned out to be her own prayers to conceive of a baby or two. I was also happy that when I told my mother in-law about my trust in The Lord she had decided not to take her argument farther.

 

About the cats and the human excreta, anyone who stayed at Lusumbami anytime before June 2000 can witness that both were a common feature. Early in the morning when one walked from Lusumbami to Madumabisa they would be confronted with fresh human faeces on the tarmac.

 

This is an urban set-up where there are toilets within the houses and communal toilets at strategic points. There was no need for anyone to irresponsibly dispose of human waste on the tarmac or in someone else’s garden or veranda for that matter.

 

I was later to learn that this was synonymous with a place where Satanism is rife. Travelling between Madumabisa and Lusumbami any time after dark was scary, not only for the young but also for the old and mature. There was a wilderness between the two townships also known as Number 2 and Number 5 respectively. This wilderness was the home of wild cats which could only be seen roaming about the thickets or within the township after dark and never during daylight.

 

The cats would follow people along from the conveyor belt up to the tarmac road that goes to the open-cast straight from the Bulawayo to Victoria Falls Road. From Lusumbami to Madumabisa in the northwest the cats would trail one from the edge of the township up to the same road which almost divides the wilderness half way in between.

 

Those were the cats which terrorised the Lusumbami dwellers from all the units of K, L, M, F, G, E, T, and O sections. They were often accompanied by hooting and screeching owls.

 

CHAPTER XI

 

Jesus Is My Saviour For Today And Tomorrow.

 

Sometime in the third week of my son’s admission to hospital a boy from the neighbourhood was admitted to the hospital in the same ward. He was also suffering from malaria.

 

According to my assessment the boy, who was older than my son was better off than my son had been at the time of both their admissions. He was calm could talk and was not confused. The only problem was that he could not dress or undress on his own without assistance.

My son knew the boy and also his parents. I knew neither because I was relatively new in the town. My son had earlier on stayed with his granny in Hwange. He was also very mobile around the township playing with the local boys from all the sections. That is why he knew a lot of people both at Lusumbami and Madumabisa and had knowledge of the local languages.

 

When the boy was admitted late one evening my son greeted him and was happy to see him. I thought my boy was confused and rebuked him for greeting a stranger. The boy’s mother greeted my son by name and explained that the boys were playmates in the township. She had heard about my son’s condition and had been sorry. She also said that even if her son had been ill his condition had been far much better than that of my son’s.

 

On admission the boy had to change from his clothes to hospital garments. He could not do it on his own without assistance so his mother tried to assist him. When she tried to undress him he furiously resisted. It was I who came to the rescue and assisted him to change.

 

I saw both boys the following morning. I spent some hours with both. But on the third day when I went to see them early in the morning I found his hospital bed vacant. Before attending to my son my eyes quickly ran to meet the Sister on duty’s, whose eyes also seemed to have been searching for mine.

 

‘That boy who was on that bed last night,’ I said gesturing towards the empty bed. ‘Did you move him somewhere?’ I had just asked without the usual greeting, ‘Good morning Sister,’ which always preceded all talk.

 

‘I ‘m sorry sir, he passed away last night,’ she calmly explained.

 

‘What! Oh my God. Did you phone his parents?’ I asked all the more confused and feeling the greatest pain.

 

The boy had not survived three days in hospital. My son who had looked much worse had been in the hospital for up to the third week. I was so overwhelmed by the boy’s death so much that it seemed as though he was my own son.

 

In the same ward was an old man who was now resident in the hospital for a long time. The nurses in the ward told me that old Mawanza had had a terrible bout of cerebral-malaria and even though they had managed to put it under control he had not fully recovered. His speech and all his behaviour had turned to be like that of a three year old or younger. He had remained in the hospital without being discharged because no one could care for him outside and also he could not be referred to a psychiatric hospital. I was overwhelmed by the kind of love and care that all the staff in the ward was giving to old Mawanza.

 

The third week was a week full of events both sorrowful and glorious. The sorrowful events included the passing away of my son’s friend and his ultimate burial in rural Hwange.

 

On one of the days that I went to see my son early in the morning he gave me quite a fright. He claimed that the Pope had visited him from the Vatican the previous night. He described him as a white man who had come and talked to him at night and that he had come especially to visit him.

 

I first thought that one of the Catholic Priests had come to the ward on routine hospital visits but when he insisted that it had been night time I had two fears, that he was now completely mad and that, now that he was seeing strange things which no one else could see, he was about to die.

 

In the same week I was kept busy day and night thinking of how I could raise the money to hire a car to take him to Bulawayo. I wanted him to go as the doctor had advised but money was the problem.

 

To raise the twenty thousand dollars I needed five months net salary. In the meantime the illness and the rampant inflation would not have waited for so long without complicating things and making them even worse. The idea was not feasible because the doctor was now pressuring me to quickly provide transport for the boy. The brain scan and everything else that could save the boy was urgent and needed to be treated as such.

 

I had another idea just cropping out of my mind which seemed to be the most appropriate. The idea was that I hire a car just to move the boy from the hospital and pretend that it was going straight to Bulawayo. The car would take the boy and the nurse to Lwendulu Bus Terminal where they would get the next Kukura Kurerwa Volvo bus to Bulawayo.

 

Once in Bulawayo the nurse would hire another car to Mpilo Central Hospital. I could easily have provided financially for that. That was what my mind misinformed me at the time. I discussed the idea with one of the Sisters In-charge who was on duty that day.

 

She only asked me one question, ‘And if he gets an attack in the bus what do you do? You need a private car in which you can control the boy without inconveniencing the public.’

 

All my hopes were shuttered by that question and explanation and I had to resort back to Spiritual Guidance. I knew that all that had been said by the Nursing Sister was true. I just needed to go to my best friend and ask for money, a loan if possible and get my son to Bulawayo. But no friend could have so much money those days. Everybody needed money, even a smaller amount than that. So even if anyone could have had such kind of money it would be crazy to just flash it around in the name of friendship. Besides, no bank would loan such kind of money to a civil servant only because he had a son who urgently needed to be transferred to Bulawayo for brain scan.

 

One night in the same week an army of between six and nine cats invaded my house. I was awakened by what seemed to be human voices. They screamed and wailed the way mourners do at a funeral. I woke up and went to the corridor where I switched on the backlight.

 

When the cats saw the backlight they ran away. By the time I got to the window to peep and see what was happening at the veranda I could not see anything. I did not switch on the veranda light but left the backlight on. Within a few minutes the cats were back and they were wailing and screaming again. I tried to pray but prayer would send them away for a few minutes.

 

At one stage I left the bedroom door open so that it would not make noise when I needed to move within the house. It was one and a half hours after midnight. I went out of bed and walked stealthily to the bedroom window which faced north-west, the direction from which one could easily see everything happening at the veranda.

 

I quietly drew the curtain and saw about nine cats, all crouching like humans with their backs to the front door. They seemed to be singing as a choir or crying, ‘He-e-e. Mai. We-e-eh!’

 

I took some kitchen grainy stuff and went towards the living room from where I could open the front door directly to the veranda where the cats were. I switched on the veranda lights and opened the door.

 

When I opened the cats had run away but as I went into the veranda my hair was twisting, curling and rising. I just scattered the stuff onto the floor, the lawn and the garden and hurried back into the house locking the door behind me and switching off the external lights.

 

That night I could not sleep. The cats were not to be scared by any form of action, the scattering the salt, switching on and off the lights or even prayer. They would run away briefly then regroup, each time coming with more vigour and louder screams.

 

When I got to work that morning I was so tired that I felt like sleeping on duty. The good thing was that I had no class to attend. As a non-teaching deputy head I was mainly involved in administration.

 

Checking my diary for the day I noted that I had an appointment at Wankie General Hospital for sputum tests. It had to be in the morning. Owing to the lump that was always blocking my throat I suspected that I could be having TB. I then booked myself out for hospital at 11 am but did not tell the receptionist which hospital I was going to.

 

On my way to Wankie Hospital my worries were about how I could raise the money for the car-hire. I was also worried what if the doctor’s fears turned out to true? That my son had brain tumour or even mental illness? As I walked the one kilometre stretch from Lwendulu Bus Terminal to Wankie General Hospital I was virtually talking alone. Probably the people who met me thought that I had gone mad. I spoke and gestured on my own as if I was speaking to someone. I was indeed speaking to someone although He was invisible and not answering aloud.

 

I can still remember that when I went past the famous Wankie Stadium, ‘The home of Chipangano,’ the Hwange Colliery Football Team, I was addressing the Lord Jesus Christ in prayer saying, ‘My Lord Jesus Christ, this boy was never mine, Oh Lord. He has always been yours. You decided to give him to me and at any time you may decide to take him away. My Lord and my God, I have to hire a car for twenty thousand dollars! Where will I get that kind of money? Lord, you are capable. You can only say the word and transport will be available. If you will, you can say the word and my son can be healed, and there won’t be need for him to go to Bulawayo for the brain scan and the skull operation. Lord may your will be done in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ Amen!’

 

When I said this prayer it was around 11: 30 am and I got to the hospital soon afterwards. Samples were taken and I soon travelled back to school. That day I told myself that I would not go to see my son at St. Patricks Hospital. I just had this Spiritual assurance that he would be safe. Possibly the exhaustion from the previous night dissuaded me from having to travel all the way to Mpumalanga.

 

When I got to school at around 12:30 pm the receptionist told me that some lady had been phoning from the hospital asking for me. PJ the receptionist was a soft spoken and lovely young lady. She said to me, ‘Mr Sibindi there is a lady who has been phoning from hospital asking for you.’

 

‘She phoned from which hospital PJ?’ I asked without thinking seriously on what might be at hand.

 

I was not expecting any call from any hospital. At least that is what I was telling myself at that moment. I had forgotten that my son was critical at St. Patricks Hospital and that any developments could happen anytime both positive and negative.

 

‘I don’t know,’ answered PJ, ‘To which hospital did you go?’

 

‘Wankie General,’ I answered.

 

It was then that I thought maybe Josephine the Wankie Hospital Clerk wanted to verify something in my files. I had seen her earlier on when I had gone for the tests. I actually knew her from as far back as sixteen year when I had been a student teacher at Sir Humphrey Gibbs Primary School. She had had a strong relationship with one of my fellow student teachers then. Thinking about her I was convinced that she could have been the only lady in one of the hospitals who could phone me.

 

Just then the colliery line rang and I picked the receiver. Pressing the ear-piece against my right ear I spoke into the mouth-piece, ‘Sir Humphrey Gibbs. Good afternoon.’

 

‘Good afternoon. Ah… This is St. Patricks Hospital. Could that be Mr Sibindi?’ The voice from the hospital said.

 

‘Sibindi, speaking.’ As I said that I was suddenly gripped by fear. I thought that something bad might have happened because in all the three weeks that my son had been in hospital nobody from there had ever phoned me.

 

‘Mr Sibindi. It’s Sister Bhebhe. Could you please come to the hospital immediately?’ She just said that without explaining any farther.

 

I had my fears suddenly growing inside me that my son had died.

 

‘Sister… Sister Bhebhe. Is everything alright? Is there something that has gone wrong?’ I stammered.

 

‘Everything is fine sir. We just got an ambulance an hour ago. We want you to come and sign indemnity forms so that we can send the boy to Mpilo Central Hospital. Just bring him some warm clothes.’ Those were the comforting words from Sister Bhebhe at the hospital.

 

I was relieved to hear the good news and when I recalled the, ‘One hour ago,’ which Sister Bhebhe had talked about indicating the time at which the ambulance had been made available, I was sure that it coincided with the time I said the prayer on my way to Wankie General Hospital or slightly later.

 

Mrs Silanda my son Emmanuel’s class-teacher offered me a lift in her Mazda B 2200 pickup. We got to the hospital and the Sister on duty explained that I should sign indemnity forms so that if there would be need for an operation my son would not have to wait. She also explained that I needed not come with the ambulance to Bulawayo.

 

Mrs Silanda took me back to Lusumbami and never charged me anything for the ride. Here was one God fearing lady who did not get acknowledgement for the good work she did. I pray that The Lord blesses her and family where ever she is up there in United Kingdom.

 

I was later to phone my cousin Sukoluhle Maplanka in Bulawayo asking her to take care of her nephew. It took her some days to search for and him because I had not given her the details of what ward he would be admitted at Mpilo Central Hospital.

 

Later in the afternoon I recited The Holy Rosary. I had to thank The Lord for instantly answering my prayers earlier that day. My cousin Lindani and my son Emmanuel joined me in praise, song, Bible sharing and prayer. At that time I preached to the two boys about The Lord Jesus Christ who was unjustly crucified and I sobbed out in memory of how He had suffered for no fault of His own but for the rest of us. In the meantime the sorrow about my critical son had disappeared, instantly replaced by that for my Lord Jesus Christ.

 

It was during these prayers when the three of us prayed for The Lord’s Mercy indoors at about 4:30 pm that The Spirit told me how to deal with the evil menace of the cats. I had earlier on been worried that the cats would come with more vigour that night than they had in the previous one. I was at least relieved that my sick son was now safely travelling away from Hwange to peaceful Bulawayo. I however feared for the three of us who still remained in Hwange where the evil cats were baying for human blood.

 

The Spirit told me how to pray. I had to pray for all the souls of the wicked, especially those which were involved in sorcery, that they should not perish but get out of darkness into perpetual light. I was shown that there were plenty of them within the town and were actually human. I was also instructed to pray for the abused animals which were being used for witchcraft, that they lose their power and die.

 

I was also shown what grains to pray for. Each grain was to represent the soul of each sorcerer and also that of each abused animal. The grains were so many that if indeed they had to represent each soul of human beings living within the town everyone would be represented.

 

My faith in The Lord Jesus Christ had been farther strengthened by that morning’s prayer which had been answered instantly, by having The Lord prove free transport for my son. I was also confident that The Lord would answer my prayers about the menacing cats. I however remained uneasy when I saw that the night was fast approaching. Soon after sunset when it grew dark I carried out the last instruction which The Spirit had given me.

 

The first half of the night was relatively peaceful. I slept soundly until I was awakened by something that seemed to have said, ‘Wake up and listen.’

 

I woke up and listened as I had been instructed to and for some seconds there was deafening silence. Then suddenly a very frail mew of a cat broke the silence. It went, ‘Mew e-e-w…,’ and fell dead silent for the rest of the night.

 

That was the last sound the vampire-cats of Lusumbami were to make for as long as I lived in Hwange. That was also the last day that the evil cats would have to be seen by anyone anywhere around Lusumbami.

 

Sometime later when I discussed the matter with my work mate Mr Shavano the teacher who was the first to suggest that my son had cerebral malaria he confirmed that the menacing from Lusumbami had indeed mysteriously disappeared.

 

‘Hawu! Kanti vele bona omangoye beNumber 5 sebaya ngaphi?’

He had asked in our local Ndebele language.

 

This was to say, ‘Hey! But really what happened to those menacing cats from Number 5 Village?’

 

Lusumbami was also popularly known as ‘Village Number 5.’

 

That week was to mark the beginning of sweet victories to come. However, the greatest victory was to be reserved for the week that was to follow.

 

It is Wednesday morning 3:30 am, the fifth Wednesday from the eventful Wednesday when my son flashed unknown human excreta in our house toilet.

 

I am fast asleep and dreaming. I am standing in front of the Administration Block at Sir Humphrey Gibbs Primary School. Farther afield to the north-west is Madumabisa Soccer Pitch and farther on is the Cork Works Plant.

 

The Plant consists of extremely hot industrial furnaces where coal is converted to cork and in the process producing many bi-products of coal. There are several towers within the complex. There is one conical one which towers above the rest. It can be seen from forty kilometres away from the mining town when one approaches from the south-east on the Bulawayo to Victoria-Falls road. It can also be seen from almost half that distance when one approaches from the north-west still on the same road but now Victoria-Falls to Bulawayo.

 

There is mayhem as I stand within the school grounds. Some war veterans approach me with some explosives wrapped in a 20kg maize-meal bag. They hurl the explosives at me in an effort to have them explode but the explosives do not detonate.

 

I then rise from the ground where I had previously stood. I rise in slow motion feet together and up I go. First I see myself still lower than the conical-tower at Cork-Works. I rise until I am at par with it then I rise higher till I see its top way below, as if it was a dust bin lid lying flat on the ground. I am so high that I feel terribly afraid of the heights.

 

Then a voice says to me in my mother tongue, ‘Lamuhla uyinqobile iHwange!’

 

‘Today you have conquered Hwange!’

 

Almost simultaneously I hear a huge sound just like that made by a whirl-wind. At the same time I see a tree whose trunk stems from way below in the ground. One of the tree’s branches is grabbing me from the waist as if it is a human arm but I see clearly that it is not a human hand but a branch of the tree as I can also clearly see its green leaves.

 

The sound is coming from the powerful force of the tree which seems to be growing up towards the clouds, with me being transported upwards by one of its branches. Then I suddenly I raise my right-arm, with the palm open and I sing a new song:

 

‘Jesus Is My Saviour! For Today and Tomorrow!

Jesus Is My Saviour, Oh Lord, I Praise You;

Oh Lord, I Praise You!’ x 3

 

‘Oh Lord, I Praise You. Oh Lord I Praise You!’ x 3

 

Just as I am about to penetrate the clouds I feel faint and nearly lose my breath. Then I wake up. I get out of bed and start praying. My prayer is weak. I return to bed and say the prayer from the blankets. I do not know what happens later but I see myself kneeling on the floor facing east, with both hands raised up in prayer.

 

The words of the prayer are just flowing out of my mouth but they seem not to be mine. When everything is over I walk to the other rooms. I wake Lindani and Emmanuel up and immediately tell them, ‘Terrence James has received instant healing.’

 

I also tell them that, ‘By mid morning there will be a phone call from Bulawayo confirming what I just said.’

 

The two boys do not understand and they ask why I am talking like that. I just tell them, ‘I received The Holy Spirit a few minutes ago and what I am telling you is true. Terrence is healed.’

 

This was around 4:00 am and we slept for two more hours, only to wake up to prepare for the day. Before going to school I met my immediate neighbour to the right for the first time in four weeks. She was standing outside her house as if waiting for me. She said, ‘Livukile! Unjani uTerrence?’

 

‘Good, morning! How is Terrence?’

 

The reader will note that I am not being judgmental but in Ndebele we usually do not say, ‘Livukile,’ to anyone we have not talked to in two days let alone four weeks. Readers also note that my neighbour had always been there for the duration of the four weeks but never bothered to pay a visit or shout through the window to ask about my sick son.

 

Seeing her that morning had been a great surprise for me. Hearing her ask about the condition of my son after such a long silence had even been a greater surprise. So it should not surprise the reader when I say that my answer to my kind neighbour had been, ‘Ah. He is alright.’

 

By nine o’clock in the morning my cousin Sukoluhle had phoned me through the school phone to convey the good news that my son had been discharged and that he was no longer showing any signs of illness.

 

According to Terrence himself, at Mpilo Central Hospital he was not sent to any of the scanning machines. Neither was he given any medication. But on Wednesday he was sent to Ingutsheni Mental Institute for examination.

 

There at Ingutsheni his examiners just said, ‘Ah! This boy is not mad. Just stop giving him those tablets.’

 

And that is how he was discharged and never got confused again. It turns out that the boy was actually healed on the same day that he was sent to Bulawayo. In my prayer next to Wankie Colliery Stadium I had asked The Lord for two things, to have my son healed and to have transport for him to Bulawayo. The Lord had decided to grant me both requests so as to make it clear that He cares. He did it in His way so that I am able today to write about what happened.

 

Later on some neighbours who were friends with my cousin started telling him stories about our house. They said that some time past a boy of my son’s age who used to stay in the house had mysteriously run mad and could not be treated until the parents transferred him elsewhere far from the town. They also told us that the man who used to occupy the house before me had died.

 

I was grateful that they had not told us all those scary stories during our trials and tribulations. I was delighted that the song which I had sung in my dream was not erased from my memory. I was able to sing it for PJ at the office the same morning, much to her delight.

 

I then dictated it to her and with the electronic type-writer she produced nice copies for it. I still have some of the copies back home in my house in Bulawayo ten years later. The song has been part of my personal prayers and has featured prominently when I pray with friends and family.

 

CHAPTER XII

 

The Lord Saves Me Once And Twice More.

 

In the year 2003 I was working at Makwika Primary School. I was then resident near the school at Kambani Village North-West of Hwange mining town.

 

I was now a parishioner at St. Joseph Parish in Kambani. The Church was just next to the school. I participated in the Charismatic Group and also in the St. Joseph Association. My involvement in Church activities was however not providing me with immunity from the devil’s attacks. If anything the devil had decided to attack me from all angles. He would attack my sons my wife and me personally. His purpose was to hurt me through my family members.

 

At times he would cause discord in the family and also at work. I was heavily depressed by the above factors so much that I became hypertensive. I had terrible headache and very high stress levels, both of which would not respond to any medication or pain killers.

 

I paid frequent visits to the well equipped local clinic where the friendly staff would do their best in diagnosis and prescription for the treatment drugs.

 

All the drugs could not bring forth the desired effects. A few weeks later I decided to swap the Colliery Clinic for the Premier Medical Aid Surgery at Mpumalanga. I made the decision because the surgery boasted of being run by one of the best doctors in the town Dr Mangilazi.

 

This doctor had earlier on been working for Wankie Colliery Hospital and when the Premier Medical Aid Society decided to open a surgery for its members in the town it had short-listed him for a permanent and more paid job.

 

I had also decided to go to the surgery because I was assured of the best service mainly because I was a member of the Medical Aid Scheme. The surgery had newly been opened and also well equipped. Just like a new broom that is said to sweep cleanest I had thought that it would best sweep away my illness.

 

Describing all my feelings, signs and symptoms to the doctor, and after he had examined me he had diagnosed me to be suffering from severe high blood pressure. He had immediately put me on BP treatment drugs, giving me two types and also booking me for review in three days time.

 

My mother had suffered from high blood pressure for twenty years and had died from its complications seven years earlier in 1996. Taking this into consideration I had accepted the condition and hoped that the drugs would work and control it.

 

I was not much worried by the fact that I had not known of any of my father’s medical back ground as he had died twenty-seven years earlier from a car accident. I only thought that it had been enough to know that at least one of my parents had the condition that I was now having.

 

When I returned to the surgery three days later and when the doctor had measured my blood pressure, he failed to disguise his surprise as is usually the normal conduct of doctors. Seeing the readings rising even higher than they had been three days earlier he had wondered aloud and asked in our mother language, ‘Hawu! Baba Sibindi! Kanti vele uyathatha amaphilisi eBP?’

 

‘Hey! Mr Sibindi. Do you have a long history of BP?’

 

When I gave him a negative answer he had even expressed more surprise and added another kind of drug, but not before trying to find out if I had anything personal troubling me at work or in my marriage.

 

Having been booked for another three days I had returned home with the hope that the added drugs would bring about change. The headache, the abnormal heart beat and exhaustion had not improved from the time the illness had started up to present day.

 

When I had returned to the surgery over and over again at three day intervals with only the blood pressure going higher and higher, I had lost all hope and got convinced that I would not be able to see the end of a few weeks that would follow.

 

Speculation had been rife as it might still well be today that once someone starts using high blood pressure drugs it would be fatal to suddenly stop using them without the doctor’s recommendation. In the meantime I could not tell whether the BP medication had been helping my situation or making it worse.

 

One morning I collected all the three types of drugs and held them in my hands. I sat on my bed without even kneeling and said the following prayer, loud enough to be heard by anyone within the room, ‘My Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Son of The Most High God. You are my Saviour today and tomorrow. Here are the BP drugs. I have surrendered on them and I make this vow that I will never use them again in my life time, whether or not this will lead to my death. I put all my trust in You. Amen.’

 

That morning, and for the whole day and all the days up to today, I never had any type of BP drug go down my throat. To my surprise an hour after I had made the prayer the illness that had haunted me for almost a month had left me.

 

One week later when I was attending a cluster meeting at Lusumbami Primary School. I paid a courtesy call on the Priest in Charge at St. Monica Father Maximus. Father Maximus had been friendly to me and had been the Presiding Priest at my wedding some years earlier. During the visit I had told him about my encounter with high-blood pressure and also how I had decided to abandon the medication. I had told him everything in detail including the words of my prayer and how I had miraculously been healed.

 

Fr Maximus who had also been a BP patient for a long time appreciated what I had told him but he seemed to be scared of losing one of his parishioners through negligence.

 

He just looked at me long and said, ‘That condition is very dangerous. BP is a very dangerous illness. Sometimes it will just be silent and you do not feel anything and when it suddenly attacks, it’s too late to look for help. That is a silent killer!’

 

He did not verbally express his disapproval for my decision to swap the drugs for The Lord’s Mercy in any more words than those but I could tell that he thought I had made a grave mistake. A few years later when I had transferred to Bulawayo I heard that the priest had succumbed to what seemed to have been the same illness, may his departed soul rest in peace.

 

Towards the end of the year 2003 the devil made another surprise attack. I had by then been relieved from many challenges and had been thinking that peace was finally home with us. My wife Twogirl and I had been in Hwange while the children including the youngest were now in Bulawayo.

 

Twogirl was teaching at Gebuza High School at Ngumija suburb about twenty-six kilometres away. She was commuting there every day leaving home around 5 am and returning sometimes as late as 7 pm. Transport was a real problem between the townships and she had to commute twice in a single journey.

 

Between Kambani and Hwange town centre she would use the Colliery buses and between the town centre and Ngumija she would use the ZESA buses. She always came home exhausted and went back to work in the same state. I always pitied her but had virtually no power to help her in any way.

 

On the eve of the closing day for the December to January holidays she brought home a lot of work. She had to prepare a mark schedule and work out the position of each student in her class. The mark schedule had to be ready for submission first thing the next morning. By 8 pm she was already exhausted and needed to sleep. But she had not gone even quarter way through the work load.

I offered to help her and tried all the tricks I had learnt as a teacher in the past twenty years of my teaching experience. By 11 pm a perfect schedule had been ready to be put in her hands. While I worked on the schedule she was sound asleep and I could not disturb her sleep up to 4 am the following morning.

 

When I got to bed after 11 pm although I felt tired and ready to sleep I could not fall asleep until she got out of bed around 4 am to ready herself for that day’s work. This had been the first time in my adulthood that I had failed to fall asleep all night for no special reason. I only dosed off between 5 am and 6 am when she had already gone.

 

When I got out of bed at 6 to ready myself for work I said a prayer because my soul was troubled. I prayed, ‘Lord God of heaven and earth, through your Beloved Son, my Lord and Saviour Jesus; May you protect Twogirl today as she travels to Bulawayo after work. Protect me also as I have to remain in Hwange. If however, I may travel also to Bulawayo today My Lord, I request that you protect me also throughout the long journey. I do not leave out the children that you gave us. Lord, do this in the greatest name of Your Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord! Amen.’

 

That prayer was to save a life about eleven hours later.

 

Owing to the poor performance of the country’s economy that year and a few years prior we had agreed that it be Twogirl who goes to look after the children in Bulawayo as schools closed that day. The two of us would not have afforded bus fares from Hwange to Bulawayo as a couple. We were virtually living from hand to mouth just like the majority of fellow Zimbabweans were.

 

In our agreement we had planned that I would have to follow her a few weeks later probably after pay. There had currently been urgent need for me to go to Bulawayo that same week but because of the bus fares it had not been possible.

 

Miraculously when I got to work that morning I got the travel money from a most unlikely source, a goodhearted man who was a general hand at the school Mr. Freedom Maqandelwa. He offered me a couple of thousands Zimbabwe dollars in bearer cheque form because ultimately that was the only form of money in circulation those days. That amount was barely enough to cover a single trip to Bulawayo.

 

I would have in turn to buy several cases of freeze-it from Bulawayo and send them to Freedom for resale, (that is as soon as I would get there). I do not remember living up to that agreement but perhaps paying back the hard cash earlier the following year.

 

I was the first to get the lift to Bulawayo way before my wife dismissed from work. I got her on cellular phone and told her that I was already on my way. A few hours later when I was around Gwayi River Hotel she sent me a short message telling me that she had also got a lift.

 

When I was about 120km away from Bulawayo she sent me another message saying that she was around Gwayi River Hotel. That could have easily been the last message I would ever have to receive from her had the Mighty hand of God not intervened an hour or so later.

 

Soon after receiving the message my phone battery went flat and we lost contact for at least fourteen more ensuing hours. I would not be able to recharge my phone soon after arrival because I had forgotten the charger in Hwange. It would only be in the next morning around 8:30 am that I would be able to get a charger from my neighbour and get the phone to work some hour later.

 

As soon as I arrived in Bulawayo I headed straight to eGogodini Taxi Rank and once I boarded the Kombi sleep overcame me. I dosed off for a few seconds when the Toyota Hiace was pulling out of the bays. When it was pulling out of the main gate to hit the tarmac towards Emganwini I was wide awake, terrified by the dream which had lasted those few seconds adding up to no more than quarter a minute.

 

In the dream I had seen myself travelling in a car and the car overturning. My head had split open on impact. It was at this impact that I had woken up scared out of my skin. I was so scared and the dream had troubled me so much that I would not understand what was happening.

 

However, I was later to learn that at exactly the same time that I had the dream round about 4:30 pm, the car in which Twogirl had been travelling was overturning about 120 km outside Bulawayo. She had been the only most hurt passenger of the four vehicle occupants. She had indeed suffered a thud on the head but fortunately not as bad as to cause it to split.

 

A couple of weeks that followed the incident were spent nursing her injuries and sending her to the physiotherapist. We were grateful that she did not suffer open injuries and above all that she had been spared from death.

 

CHAPTER XIII

 

The Streams of Water Flowing From the Temple

 

In the preceding chapters of this book I refer to The Lord Jesus Christ as ‘The Living Waters.’ The Gospel of St. John in the fourth chapter talks of The Lord Jesus Christ Himself speaking to a Samaritan woman next to Jacob’s well also about the life giving waters.

 

He asks the Samaritan woman to serve Him with water and out of ignorance the woman asks Him, how He can, ‘as a Jew ask for water from a Samaritan woman, ‘as Jews will not drink from Samaritan vessels?’

 

The Lord tells her that if she had known what God gives, she would ask and He would give her, ‘life giving water.’

 

The conversation between The Lord and the Samaritan woman continues as she tries to argue that she drinks from a well given to ‘them by their ancestor Jacob’ and that The Lord may not be greater than Jacob.

 

But The Lord’s answer is simple: 13 ‘All those who drink this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks this water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring which will provide him with life giving water and give him eternal life.’

 

Surprisingly the Gentile Samaritan woman believes what The Lord says. After The Lord challenges her to go and call her husband so that He may give her the life giving water.

 

Note that the woman was in doubt of all that The Lord was saying; first she confesses to Him that she does not have a husband. The Lord in turn tells her that she has told the truth as she has been married to five men and that the man she is currently living with is not really her husband.

 

She believes that Jesus Christ is the Messiah by first making the confession: 25‘I know that the Messiah will come, and when he comes, he will tell us everything.’ Then, also when Christ Himself confirms to her, ‘I am he, I who am talking to you.

 

On that day not only the Samaritan woman received the life giving waters but also many other Samaritans. She went in to the village and asked everyone to come and see the man who had told her everything she ever did. She wanted them to also prove for themselves whether or not the man could be the, ‘Messiah.’

 

The same Gospel of St. John tells us that many Samaritans believed in Jesus Christ not only because of what the woman had told them about Him, but also because of His message. They are reported in the Gospel to have said to the woman: 42 ‘We believe now, not because of what you said, but because we ourselves have heard him, and we know that he really is the Saviour of the world.

 

Believing in The Lord as they did the Samaritans of that day received the life giving water which also instantly gave them eternal life.

 

We hear of the same kind of water in the Old Testament back in the days before The Lord came down to earth. The prophet Ezekiel talks of the water that comes from the Temple but the further it goes from the Temple the more it increases in volume and depth.

 

This increase in volume and depth, (the further the water gets from the Temple), is symbolic of several main features. The first being that out of the Temple of God in Israel or Jerusalem shall come, a new Religion that gives eternal life.) Secondly, (that although the religion originates from the Temple), its Great Power will not be acknowledged and felt from the geographical surroundings from which it originates but rather from far off. This is the same as saying that the original builders of the Temple will not benefit from the Power that emanates from the Temple they have built and worshipped God in.

 

Originally the Jews are the builders and owners of Solomon’s Temple, (in as far as they are the builders and owners of Christianity and the Christian Church). But, the majority of them will not benefit from the fruits of Christianity, while the Gentiles or foreigners will. This is not because God does not want them to, but because they do not want to embrace Christianity or, (that they teach each other not to).

 

The Gospel of St. Matthew Chapter 10: 23 – 33 has the following words of advice from The Lord Jesus Christ; which I wish all the Jews past, present and future would take heed of: 32‘whosoever, therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 but whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.’ The Polyglot Bible

 

There is no other time in this short life, for confessing Christ before men, than during our life time. Confessing Christ before men is teaching each other about Him, following and practising His teachings. Following a parallel religion that does not allow its followers to discuss and teach Christ is by itself denying Him before men.

 

The Lord Jesus Christ also teaches about the Kingdom of God in the same vein, through the parable of two houses, (one built on sand and the other built on a rock). The houses have nothing to do with the two men who built them, but have everything to do with our own lives and the religions that we choose to follow. It will be enough for Jesus to be taught within the Jewish Synagogues, (without the Jews having to move to Christian built Churches.) Nobody can actually want to see all of the Jews abandoning Judaism and the synagogues, only to attend Christian Churches.

 

Some from the Jews will, and have certainly done so but the majority cannot. So, for those who cannot leave father, mother, ancestor, Temple and Synagogue in preference for Christ, would it not be beneficial to teach Christ from within Judaism and the Synagogues? Christ would certainly pour His Holy Spirit in abundance onto any Synagogue where His name is preached.

 

On this very same subject, Christ teaches us in a parable in Luke 6: 46 – 49: 46. ‘Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord?’ and yet don’t do what I tell you? 47. Anyone who comes to me and listens to my words and obeys them I will show you what he is like.48 He is like a man who, in building his house, dug deep and laid the foundation on rock. The river overflowed and hit that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But anyone who hears my words and does not obey them is like a man who built his house without laying a foundation; when the flood hit that house it fell at once – and what a terrible crash that was!

 

The parable is clearly warning any religion which is not based on Jesus Christ, (that it is not built on the rock and will fall). The flood is still coming. It is not here yet but near.

 

The Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ also calls upon the Jewish Authorities to join Christianity. Calling upon the Jewish Religious leaders to join Christianity is more than calling the general follower-ship of Judaism to do the same. You call the head of family to join, (then the family members easily follow the head).

 

He says the following about the Jewish teachers of the Law when He teaches in parables of the hidden treasure, the Pearl and the one immediately narrated above.

 

Matthew 13:51 – 52: 51. ‘Do you understand these things?’ Jesus asked them ‘Yes,’ they answered. 52 So he replied, ‘This means, then, that every teacher of the Law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of heaven is like the owner of the house who takes new and old things out of his storeroom.

 

This in simple terms means that any Jewish Religious leader who becomes a Christian convert, benefits from both his old and new Religion.

 

The prophet Ezekiel is the one who talks of the streams of water from the Temple. We can hear what he says as from Ezekiel: 47: 1-6 a: ‘The man led me to the back to the entrance of the Temple. Water was coming out from under the entrance and flowing east, the direction the Temple faced It was flowing down from under the south side of the Alter. 2. The man took me out to the Temple area by the way to the north gate and led me round to the gate that faces east. A small stream of water was flowing out of the south gate. 3 With his measuring-rod the man measured five hundred metres downstream to the east and told me to wade through the stream there. The water came only to my ankles. 4 Then he measured another five hundred metres, and the water came to my knees. Another five hundred metres further down, the water was up to my waist. 5 He measured five hundred metres more and the stream was so deep I could not wade through it. It was too deep to cross except by swimming.6 He said to me, ‘Mortal man, note all this carefully.’

 

Note that the distance expressed in terms of metres along the stream, may actually be symbolic of both distance and time variations. In that case it may mean the stages of the growth of Christianity measured in five hundred year intervals adding up to two thousand years.

 

The first five hundred metres at which the water measures up to the ankle, shows the infancy of the Religion after five hundred years of its inception, where it would have grown quarter way through. The next five hundred metres, where the water measures up to the knees would symbolise the considerable growth of Christianity half way full by the first one thousand years. The third measure of five hundred metres, where the water is by the waist, would significantly point out at the one thousand five hundredth year, where Christianity would have grown three quarter way through.

 

The last lap of measure that accounts to two thousand metres may point to both, the fullness of time or the full growth of Christianity, where it reaches all the corners of the world. This would be almost two thousand years after the inception of Christianity, (not necessarily the year 2000) but say around 2033 – 4.

 

This is not in any way to suggest that The Lord is coming in the year 2033. That would be too deceptive for any believer.

 

The prophet Ezekiel continues: 47: 8 – 11 a: 8 ‘He said to me, ‘this water flows through the land to the east and down into the Jordan Valley and to the Dead Sea. When it flows into the Dead Sea, it replaces the salt water of the sea with fresh water. 9 Wherever the stream floors, there will be all kinds of animals and fish. The stream will make the water of the Dead Sea fresh, and wherever it flows, it will bring life.10 From the springs of Engedi all the way to the springs of Eneglaim, there will be fisherman on the shore of the sea, and they will spread their nets there to dry. There will be as many different kinds of fish there as there are in the Mediterranean Sea.11But the water in the mashes and ponds along the shore will not be made fresh.’

 

When we analyse the quotation above as it has been said, we may come up to what may be very close to the meaning. The stream flows to the east through the land up to the Dead Sea, replacing the salt water with fresh water that gives life.

 

In modern day thinking, if one travels due east, they will end up going round the world and ending up where they started off. The same is true with the stream from The Temple. This therefore means that the stream will move from The Temple and cover the whole world, probably ending up back at The Temple.

 

If I may say; we have seen Christianity do just that. The Dead Sea as mentioned in Ezekiel stands for the world. Originally the whole world, (anywhere outside Israel was without God’s Religion). Of course the world had its own different Religions, but these have been proven not to have been connected to The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, – (Who is also The God of the twelve tribes of Israel, and The God of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ.

 

In that light any of the religions which lack connection with the above mentioned God is a dead religion. So the world without this God was dead. Christianity, which is symbolised as the stream of water that flows into the Dead Sea, replacing the salt water with fresh one, replaces all the religions which do not worship God through Jesus Christ and also gives those who believe eternal life.

 

Eternal life does not mean that people will not die. They certainly will, but through Jesus Christ they will be resurrected and given new life.

 

The fish, the animals and the fishermen talked of by the angel in Ezekiel’s vision symbolise the Christian convents, priests and other pastoral workers, and possibly the angels, who will gather both the wicked and the righteous at the end of time. This is consistent with the parable told by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in St. Matthew 13: 47 – 50: 47. ‘Also, the Kingdom of heaven is like this. Some fishermen cast their net out in the lake and catch all kinds of fish. 48 When the net is full, they pull it to shore and sit down to divide the fish: the good ones go into their buckets, the worthless ones are thrown away.49 It will be like that at the end of the age: the angels will go out and gather up the evil people from among the good.50 and will throw them into the fiery furnace, where they will cry and grind their teeth.

 

In Christianity it is always wise to cross check the current events with both, the teachings of the Old and the New Testaments, drawing the similar inferences from them.

 

The vision of the prophet Ezekiel also states that the water, ‘in the marshes and ponds on the shore will not be made fresh.’ Anyone will agree that this is representative of all the religions which will not agree to Christian values. They will not be absorbed into Christianity. They will remain as they are, probably as a source of opposing views to all that is taught by Christianity.

 

The closing verse in the prophet Ezekiel’s vision goes like this: 12 ‘On each bank of the stream all kinds of trees will grow to provide food. Their leaves will never wither, and they will never stop bearing fruit. They will have fresh fruit every month, because they are watered by the stream that flows from the Temple. The trees will provide food, and their leaves will be used for healing people.

 

The trees stand for all Christian denominations now called Churches. The Church is one and it is the Body of Christ but Christian denominations are many. They all teach about Christ and in essence they are one although they are many. Their role of preaching and converting many to Christianity is symbolised as, ‘leaves,’ which do not wither. The source of preaching and also the benefits of Christianity will not dry up because it comes from Christ who is The Stream that comes from The Temple.

 

Another prophet from the Old Testament, Zechariah, talks of the streams of life giving waters but he goes a step further by pointing out that, at the time of the stream, The Lord will be king over all earth and people will worship Him as God and know Him by that name.

 

Zechariah 13: 1-7: ‘When time comes,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘A fountain will be opened to purify the descendants of David and the people of Jerusalem from their sin and idolatry…’ 7 The Lord Almighty says, ‘Wake up sword, and attack the shepherd who works for me! Kill him and the sheep will be scattered.

 

The Scripture quoted above talks about our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as a fountain for purifying all mortals from sin and idolatry. It also points out that He will be killed and His followers scattered.

 

The prophet continues to talk more about fresh water in Chapter 14: 6-9: 6. ‘When that time comes there will no longer be cold or frost and not any darkness. There will always be daylight, even at night time. When this will happen is known only to the Lord. 8 When that day comes, fresh water will flow from Jerusalem, half of it to the Dead Sea and the other half to the Mediterranean. It will flow all the year round, in the dry season as well as the wet. 9 Then the Lord will be king over all the earth; everyone will worship him as God and know him by the same name.’

 

About the perpetual daylight for both day and night, the prophet Isaiah adds: ‘No longer will the sun be your light by day. Or the moon; be your light by night I, the LORD, will be your eternal light. The light of my glory will shine on you.’ Isaiah 60:19

 

The Scriptures are the same as those discussed earlier in the Chapter, where streams of life giving waters are discussed. The Lord referred to all round the Bible and the Scriptures is one and He is Jesus Christ. That is why the Prophet says: ‘The Lord will be king over all the earth and everyone will worship him as God and know him by that name.

 

The Apostle Paul, who was a teacher of the Law in Judaism but later converted to a Christian Apostle, describes Jesus Christ as, ‘The rock from which water gushed in the wilderness, The rock from which the ancient Israelites drank at Massah and Meribah.’

 

In the Gospel of St. John 7: 37 – 38, The Lord Jesus Christ says of the streams of the life giving waters: 37 ‘On the last and most important day of the festival Jesus stood up and said in a loud voice, ‘Whoever is thirsty should come to me, and whoever believes in me should drink. As the scripture says, ‘Streams of life giving water will pour out from his side.

 

We are lucky to have the prophet Ezekiel tell us about the Stream that flows from The Temple, long before it starts flowing and also to have The Lord Himself telling us that He is the Stream. If we deny this fact will we not then, be like the proverbial fools who, ‘In the abundance of water they are thirsty?’

 

CHAPTER XIV

 

Life and Death

 

The topic of life and death is very wide and most difficult to understand. People ask various questions which sometimes include the following:

 

What is life; what is death? What is to be alive and what is to be dead? Is there life after death? Is there such phenomenon as dead-living and living-dead?

 

Generally people define life as the physical human existence and death as the end of it. Otherwise when an individual exists in physical human form they are alive and when they cease to exist in the physical human form they are dead.

 

Another dimension which is added to the physical human form for life to be present is spirit. People believe that the combination of the spirit and physical human existence makes one to be alive and the separation thereof makes one to be dead.

 

There are others also who think that the spirit is life and without it, the physical form can never make life. That is why at creation when God created man from clay, He breathed His life giving Spirit into him and so man became alive.

 

When an individual exists in physical and spiritual form, walks about, talks and eats, are they alive? Is it possible that they may be dead? In the Gospels we learn of The Lord’s encounter with a man whom He asked to come with Him. The man is said to have said to The Lord, ‘Let me first go and bury my father,’ and The Lord responded: ‘Let the dead bury their own dead.’

 

What did The Lord mean about this statement: The, ‘dead,’ bury, ‘their own dead’?

 

Certainly He did not mean that the dead would rise from the tombs, prepare a tomb for their fellow dead and bury them. He meant some of the living, that they would go and bury the dead man, but He still called the living, ‘Dead.’

 

Are these then, the dead-living? According to The Lord, anyone who has no faith is dead no matter they physically exist in human form. It is not just faith but faith in Him, (Jesus Christ) and His Father in heaven.

 

The Apostle Paul in his third letter to the Galatians writes: 6 ‘Consider the experience of Abraham; as the scripture says, ‘He believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous.’ 7 You should realise then, that the real descendants of Abraham are the people who have faith.

 

These people who have no faith in Jesus Christ will not have eternal life, because they have failed to live a full life on earth. Their physical existence lacked the life giving component, which is faith in Jesus Christ, and they are as good as dead. When their time of physical existence comes to an end, they would have lost a chance of graduating to eternal life. However, this does not end there. It opens them up to another life, the life of eternal condemnation.

 

A person therefore needs faith in The Lord Jesus Christ in order to be completely alive. There should be in him or her, the human physical existence, spiritual existence and also faith in The Lord Jesus Christ.

 

The dead-living are those people who are physically perceived to be alive while they are dead, because of their lack of faith in Jesus Christ, The Son of God and in God Himself, The Father.

 

There is then the question of the living-dead. Who are they? Are there some people who really died but are alive today? When we grew up in the countryside we had many encounters with ghosts or spooks, (especially at night). These ghosts or spooks, which are popularly called the spirits of the dead, sometimes talk.

 

I was once stopped by a lady who was asking for a lift. That was in the year 2004 around 1: 30am at a particular spot in Bulawayo.

 

After I had driven off I was convinced that I had had a conversation with a dead person, and so were the other people with whom I was travelling, my wife and a male friend of mine.

 

I was later to learn, when I described the lady to some people, that the lady in question was indeed a spook and had stopped many other motorists to ask for a lift, which always turned out she wanted one to Nkulumane 12.

 

There are some other spirits which are not ghosts or spooks. These are spirits like ancestral spirits or spirit mediums. These may possess a living person and talk through them. At times they can discuss that they once lived as human beings and died at a particular time which they may also describe.

 

Are both these spirits representative of the living-dead? Are they what we should look forward to when we say we are going to have eternal life? That we will live in spirit form, and not in the physical human existence or a combination of both?

 

Such spirits are described by the Apostle Paul as, ‘The ruling spirits of the universe.’ They are far from representing life after death. They may just be the wandering rogue spiritual elements. They pretend to wield power, glory and wisdom but in reality they do not. In his letter to the Colossians Chapter 2 verses 8 – 10, the Apostle Paul writes: 8 ‘See to it, then, that no one enslaves you by means of worthless deceit of human wisdom, handed down by human beings and from the ruling spirits of the universe, and not from Christ. 9 for the full content of divine nature lives in Christ, in his humanity, and you have been given full life in union with him. He is supreme over every spiritual ruler or authority.

 

He continues to advise believers in verse 18 – 19: ‘Do not allow yourselves to be condemned by anyone who claims to be superior because of special visions and who insists on false humanity and the worship of angels. For no reason at all, such people are all puffed up by their human way of thinking 19 and have stopped holding onto Christ, who is the head of the body. Under Christ’s control the whole body is nourished and held together by its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God wants it to grow.

 

The living-dead are those people who are perceived to have died or, rather to be dead, when they actually live in heaven. There is a general perception by the majority of Christians that nobody lives in heaven and that all the dead are asleep and they know nothing. This belief extends to the fact that we shall all go to heaven at once after Judgement Day. But we know that Christ rose from the dead and that He ascended to Heaven and with Him, He took there, the souls of the righteous dead.

 

At least according to Him in the Scriptures earlier on quoted in this book, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, are the living and not the dead. Where then are they living if they are not dead? Of course they are in heaven. Or take the following picture:

 

The Bible tells us of people who went to heaven without first having to die. These are Enoch and Elijah. Moses is said to have died and God Himself buried him, although no one knows his burial site: Deuteronomy 34: 6. But in The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ, both Elijah and Moses are reported to have been seen in glory speaking with The Lord Jesus Christ.

 

How did Moses come back to life? This then, confirms that there is life after death and there are righteous people out there who died and were given back their lives by God. They are now living with God in heaven. These are the living-dead and Moses is one of them.

 

If then, Moses, the founder and teacher of Judaism is in heaven with God and His Son Jesus Christ this is reason enough for all the followers of Judaism to embrace Jesus Christ as Moses did, so that they like Moses their leader will be in heaven with Christ Jesus and God His Father.

 

What happens when a person dies?

 

There is a general assumption that when a person dies, the body separates from the spirit which is the soul. The spirit then goes to the owner, who is God while the body, which is flesh, returns to dust where it came from. The assumption is that we are created in God’s image not in our physical form, which may vary from individual to individual, gender to gender or race to race and may not resemble God in any way but in spiritual form.

 

People think, then, that the spirit goes directly back to God, if the person has been living a righteous life while it will descend to hell, a place of torment, if the person has been wicked. Other people think that both the spirit of the righteous and the wicked lie dormant either within the grave or at a certain place, where they will be in waiting until Judgement Day.

 

According to The Angel Uriel, who revealed a lot of things about death to the prophet Ezra, when the spirit of any person separates from the body it goes through seven stages.

 

2 Esdras 7: 75 – 76a; 78b – 87: 75‘Then I said, ‘Sir, may I ask you, please explain to me what happens when we die; when we must each give back our soul? Will we be kept at rest until the time when you begin to make a new creation, or will our torment begin immediately?’ ‘I will answer that question also,’ he replied….78 b ‘When God Most High has pronounced the final decree that a person shall die, the soul leaves the body to return to the one who gave it. Immediately it praises the glory of God Most High 79 Let me explain first about people who had no use for the ways of God Most High and hated those who worshipped him. 80 There is no place where their souls can go for rest; they must wander about forever in torment, grief and sorrow. Their torment will progress in seven stages. 81 First, they ignore the Law of God Most High. 82 Secondly, they can no-longer make a sincere repentance and obtain life. 83 Thirdly, they see the reward stored up for those who put their faith in the covenants of God Most High.84 Fourthly, they think about the torment that has been stored up for them in the last days.85 Fifthly, they see angels guarding the homes of other souls in complete silence. Sixthly they recognise that they must soon be tormented. 87 Seventhly, and worst of all, when they see the glory of God Most High, they are sick with remorse and shame. They cringe with fear because while they were living they sinned against him. And now they are about to come before him to be judged on the last day.

 

This is about the people who despise God and all His teachings. This was revealed to the Prophet Ezra by The Arch-Angel Uriel, one of the seven angels of God, who waits upon The Lord. This has also been revealed to us therefore, through the angel and the prophet Ezra.

 

The Angel Uriel also describes the seven stages which the souls of the righteous go through soon after death: 88 ‘Now let me explain about those who followed the ways of God Most High… 89 While they lived on earth, through constant difficulty and danger, they served God Most High and carefully kept the Law given by the Law Giver.91 They will rejoice when they see the great glory of God. He will receive them and they will enter their rest in seven stages of joy.92 The first joy is to have struggled hard and won the victory over the evil impulse which was formed in them, but which did not succeed in leading them from life into death.93 The second is to see the endless wandering of the souls of the wicked and the punishment that is waiting for them.94 The third is to know what a good report their Maker has given about them, that during their lifetime they kept the Law that: was entrusted to them. 95 The fourth is to appreciate the rest that they are to enjoy in the places where they have been brought together, guarded by angels, in complete silence, and with the glory that is waiting for them at the last day. 96 The fifth is to rejoice that they have now escaped the corrupt world and will receive the future life as their possession. They can see both the narrow, troubled world from which they have been freed and the spacious world they will receive and enjoy forever. 97 The sixth is to be shown how their faces will shine like the sun and the stars that never die. 98 The seventh joy, and best of all, is when they rush to meet God face to face, with perfect trust and happiness, without any fear or shame They served him during their lifetime and now they will receive from him their reward in glory.

 

Note that the angel speaks of, ‘The Law Giver,’ and also of, ‘Their Maker,’ who will present a good report about them. In the past we have recognised Moses as the Law Giver. But Moses was not the Law Giver. The Law was given to the Israelites by God through Moses. Again at a later stage we see the Law being given to Ezra in almost the same way as it had been given to Moses. Finally, Christ Himself comes down to give the Law to the people of God.

 

In the earlier Chapters we discussed the fact that Jesus Christ is The Maker of everything that came to existence because, (through Him) God made everything.

 

The prophet Ezra wanted to understand more about death and he asked in: 2 Esdras 7: 100 – 101: ‘Then I asked, ‘When the souls of the righteous are separated from their bodies, will they be given time to see what you have told me about?’ 101 ‘They will be free for seven days,’ he answered, ‘and during that time they will be able to see the things I have told you about. After that they will be brought together with the other souls in their homes.’

 

The end of this book discusses the end of all creation as foretold in the book of 2 Esdras 7: 26 – 38:

 

The Messianic Kingdom and Final Judgement

 

26 ‘The time is coming when these signs will take place. The invisible city will appear, and the land that is now hidden will be seen. 27 Everyone who survives these calamities I have predicted will also see the wonderful things I will do. 28 My son the Messiah will be revealed, together with those who come with him. He will bring four hundred years of happiness to all these survivors.29At the end of that time, my son the Messiah and all human beings will die. 30 Then the world will return to its original silence, and for seven days it will be like it was at the beginning. No one will be left alive. 31 After seven days this corrupt age will pass out of existence and a new age will be awakened. 32 The ground will give up the dead who sleep there in silence, and the souls of the dead will be released from the places where they have been kept.33 God Most High will appear on his judgement seat. Mercy and patience will vanish completely 34 and be replaced by judgement. Truth and faithfulness will once again stand firm.35 The good and bad that people have done will be fully revealed and reward and punishment will follow immediately.36 The pit of torment, the fires of hell, will appear, and opposite them, the Paradise of joy and rest.37 Then God Most High will say to the nations that have been raised from the dead, ‘Look! I am the one whom you have denied and refused to serve; it is my commands that you have rejected.38. Look around you there is joy and peace in one direction, fire and torment in the other.’ This is what he will say to them on Judgement Day.’

Do the Scriptures quoted above tell us anything about the interval between the Crucifixion, Death and Resurrection of The Lord Jesus Christ and the Judgement Day? Is the said four hundred years supposed to be actually viewed as four thousand years instead? Have we gone half way between The Lord’s Resurrection and Judgement Day?

 

Perhaps the answer could be, ‘Yes,’ perhaps not but whatever the case, Turn away from all evil impulses and look forward to the reward that awaits the righteous, in the hope that you are one of them, through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

 

Post Script:

 

During the week of the first ever print of this book’s manuscript on paper, at Dr Clive Evian’s house, a strange miracle happened. The first print was made on 2011-01-19 at about 15:40 hrs. A few days later I realised a cross that had been mysteriously printed on the Evian s’ kitchen table. The following day I asked Zeida Mitsi if he recognised what imprint it had been and he answered, ‘It’s a cross.’

 

I then asked Cooper, a co-worker how the imprint had come about and he also didn’t know. Strangely the owners of the house had not recognised the cross on their table for several days until I had drawn it to their attention. We tried to erase it but it did not rub out. Sara did not know how the cross had ended up on the table. I took photos of the cross from different angles. It remained there for some time but on my next visit to the house some weeks later the cross had been cleaned out. It still remains a mystery how it got there and how possibly it was removed. I had no hand in printing it on the Evians’ table.

 

Isaiah Aleck Sanyangore Sibindi 2011-03-08

 

Other Books:

 

Egxob’ Udaka Inathile ISBN9781370533299

Izinganekwane ZaMaNdebele KaMthwakazi ISBN9781370555253

Ngafa NgoThando ISBN9781370755134

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For Practicing Catholic Christians & Deserving Descendants Of Jacob

  • ISBN: 9781370985555
  • Author: Aleck Jason Sibindi Sanyangore
  • Published: 2017-02-04 21:05:18
  • Words: 69184
For Practicing Catholic Christians & Deserving Descendants Of Jacob For Practicing Catholic Christians & Deserving Descendants Of Jacob