Christmas on December 25th?!!

July 6, 2010

Maybe some of you out there would wonder what is the relevance of this topic. Well, let’s just say this is a preparation for a Yuletide observance. Why this early? So that you may still have time to think and analyze things. So what about the topic? I’m sure majority of our population believe in the old Catholic doctrine that Christ was born on December 25 and the popular “proof” that some of our “Catholic authorities” give is the event of Zechariah’s  service in the temple of God. Zechariah is a priest from the priestly division of Abijah.

One of those people who strongly believed in this is Mr. Cenon Bibe Jr., a columnist of a local tabloid Tumbok which deals and defends Catholic doctrines. We had a discussion regarding this topic but sad to say, he was not able to firmly established his cause. In fairness to him, I will write down part of his writings. He also has a blog posting this topic: http://tumbukin-natin.blogspot.com

He said that:

1. Zechariah went inside the Holy of Hollies or sanctuary to burn incense.

First of all, Zechariah is a priest and not a high priest. There is a difference between the two. In Heb. 9:7 according to Paul, the priests go into the outer tabernacle which is the Holy Place repeatedly while the high priest alone goes inside the Holy of Hollies once a year NOT without blood to offer for the sins of the people. There is no priest among the sons of Aaron who went inside the Holy of Hollies during their regular service in the temple. So it also follows that Zechariah, being a priest did not go inside the Holy of Hollies to burn incense. We must closely note that this was a regular service in the temple, otherwise Luke would have mentioned  of a certain occasion. My point here is the burning of incense was done INSIDE the Holy Place daily in the tradition mentioned in Exo. 30:6-8 and not inside Holy of Hollies as Mr. Bibe is mentioning. In fact, according to Exo. 30:6 and Exo. 40:26 the altar of incense was located inside the Holy Place just before the veil-NOT inside the Holy of Hollies. Now, maybe some of the interested parties may ask, “In Heb. 9:4 it says that the altar of incense is located inside the Holy of Hollies based on Paul’s description”. Paul was right. Why? He described the setting of the Holy of Hollies DURING the Day of Atonement. That is evident in paragraph 6 when he said “With these arrangements in worship…”. He is talking of the arrangements during the Day of Atonement wherein, the altar of incense is lifted from the Holy Place going to the Holy of Hollies (Lev. 16:12-13). And why am I so sure that Paul is talking about the Day of Atonement? Because that will be his topic on the next verses pertaining to the blood of Christ as sacrifice for the salvation of mankind (Heb. 9:11-14).

2. It is Day of Atonement when Zechariah entered the temple.

One very obvious thing that we can see here is that there was absolutely NO mentioned of Zechariah bringing in with him the blood for sacrifice but only burning of incense. So that alone negates the theory that that day is Day of Atonement. One more thing, Luke mentioned early in his gospel in Luke 1:1-4 that he is writing the events in an orderly sequence after he investigated everything accurately. Day of Atonement is so important to the Israelites that Luke would never ever forgot to mention if it is really Day of Atonement but the fact that he did not, only proves that it was only a regular temple service.

3. It is 10th of the month of Tishri when Zechariah entered the temple.

Actually, this will only be irrelevant to discuss considering that we already proved in no. 2 that it is not the Day of Atonement when Zechariah served the temple but for the sake of argument…ok, ok.

Mr. Bibe is just adamant in his belief regarding that Day of Atonement but if we are to summarize the first two numbers, we shall get these points:

a. Zechariah is not a high priest therefore he is not performing his duties inside the Holy of Hollies. Mr. Bibe had to try to give me a priest who had served REGULARLY inside the Holy of Hollies-it was Zadok whom he mentioned. He was wrong again. Okay Zadok was one of Aaron’s descendants and had served the temple regularly but only in the Holy Place. Why? Because he is not a high priest. But in Ezek. 44:15-16 it says there that God is allowing Zadokites to perform services inside the Holy of Hollies. That was a special case and not a regular one as Zechariah is doing. Why special? Because only Zadokites stayed with God when the Israelites went astray from God so He allowed the Zadokites to  perform atonement  before God.

b. Luke did not mention in his gospel that Zechariah is bringing in with him blood for sacrifice which is really the essence of atonement that time considering the fact that Luke is particular with the details and accuracy of the events. That only meant it is NOT Day of Atonement when Zechariah entered the temple.

If that will be the case, it is only tantamount to saying that it is not the 10th of Tishri when Zechariah entered the temple. And we can prove this furthermore. Zechariah belongs to the eight division. The service in the temple starts at the first week of the first month which is Nisan (1Chro. 27:2). After a week, another group will serve and so on. But according to Deut. 16:16, there will be three major feasts to be celebrated and each of every major feast, every male shall appear before God. The first two feasts occur during the third week of the year so the third
course alone shall serve on the fourth week, the fourth course on the
fifth…the eight course (which Zechariah belonged) on the ninth week and all
courses again on the 10th week which is the Feast of Booths. This will also
mean that Zechariah’s service will fall on 27th of Iyar to 12th of Sivan or June
3 to 17 on our calendar. This is the part that Mr. Bibe did not mention but I
told him of these information. He just ignored this. I don’t know why. These
will be the actual order of events so there is no concrete evidence that
Zechariah served at the temple on Tishri 10 or Day of Atonement.

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November 10, 2009

Apostle Peter, the Rock foundation of the Church?!!

 

Okay, here I am again somewhat discussing yet another basic Catholic doctrine or should I say dogma? This has been a topic of some religious debates for a long time and sad to say only a few ended up believing the correct side. So bear with me as I lay ALL the evidences in the Bible (I am using the New American Bible, a Catholic bible to make things sweeter) to once and for all, negate all the wrong doctrines that they are inculcating in the minds of so many people worldwide.

The Catholics are of course claiming that it was Peter who is the “rock” that Jesus was referring to in Mat. 16:18, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” In Attic Greek, Peter means Petros or “stone” while the “rock” that Jesus was referring to is translated as petra which means “rock”. In Aramaic, the word “kephas” is used for stone or rock. That’s why Peter’s name was called Cephas in the Bible. Now the problem lies here. The NT was written in Koine Greek where petra and petros simply meant “rock”. Catholics are saying that the word “petros” was only used to denote the masculine gender of Peter since it is unsuitable to use “petra”, a feminine name on Peter, a male one. For them, there is absolutely no other rock that is being pointed to other than Peter. Now, can this be true in the real sense of the Bible? Let us see.

To properly understand the Bible today, we should consult the original manuscripts to know the exact intention of usage of the words, as per the intention of the writer but since they are Word of God, it is inevitable to consider also the spiritual context of it so I must discuss this topic from two point of views: technical and spiritual. They must jive together and yield same result.

Technical point of view:

If in the Koine Greek the word petros and Petra simply meant “rock”, then it will be much easier to realize the truth. Please take note the use of petros and Petra. Why did Matthew mention two different terms? If Christ was referring to Peter for the whole of Mat. 16:18, He should have never mentioned the term that corresponds to the word “Petra”. Interesting to note is that Christ was speaking Aramaic which has kephas for both “rock” and “stone”. So why on earth that when the Aramaic was translated into Koine Greek, all of a sudden there came the word Petra? The answer is simply biting. This is to differentiate the person of Peter from the character of that “Rock” Christ was referring to. So what or who is that “Rock” or “Petra” that Christ was referring to? Catholics claim that since Peter is the nearest noun from the word rock, he should be the one whose being referred to as “rock” and petros should be used to designate Peter. WRONG. These are Bible scriptures not essays. You see the Bible tells us the answers in clever ways. As I’ve said earlier, we must know what is the exact intention of the writer. In Mat. 16:18, the “rock” there which the church will be built should have a large mass, stable and suitable as foundation. Of course, only foolish people will build their church (or house) on sand. That is the literal projection of that “rock”. That is why when it was translated, they used the word “petra”. And how about petros? While it’s true that “Petros” is associated with the Aramaic “Cephas” in John 1:42 it is not used to name a rock or stone in context but to a proper name, “Cephas” which is associated in turn to rock or stone. However, please bear in mind that the association of “Cephas” to rock or stone from USAGE is not found in the Greek NT but outside of it, that is, in Aramaic literature such as the Pes-hitta Bible. Also note that Cephas (Petros in Greek) was already Peter’s name before his confession at Mat. 16:18 so the translators had to use the word petros. We must also notice that in the NT, petra and petros are being used differently from each other. Petra is being used to denote a literal rock (e.g. (Mat. 7:24-25, Mat. 27:60, Rom. 9:33), a large mass of rock while petros is exclusively used for Peter, of course.

So, to sum it up, I must say that the the character of “petra” is entirely different from the character being depicted by “petros”. Although the two terms share the same English meaning “rock” in Koine Greek, the difference between the two shall be evidently seen in the next discussion–the Spiritual point of view.

Spiritual point of view:

This is the other half of studying the Bible verses. Why? Because here lies the very essence of every verse. Okay, I will start by asking, “Who is speaking in the verse. Mat. 16:18?” Is this relevant to know? Yes of course. Was it really Christ Himself? The answer is NO. It is the Father speaking. Proof? In Deut. 18:18, it says there that God will raise a prophet like Moses from among their kinsmen and will put His words into that prophet’s mouth. This is being authenticated in Jn. 6:14 and 7:40; Acts 3:22 and by Christ Himself in Jn. 12:49-50 . That prophet is Jesus Christ Himself. Now, the building of His church is one of His words (Amos 9:11-12, Acts 15:16). So when Christ had spoken to Matthew, it was the Father who actually speaks. Christ is just saying them as the Father told Him (Jn. 12:50, Heb. 1:1-2). It has no difference from Jn. 2:19 wherein Christ was telling the Jews to destroy THIS temple and in three days He will raise it up. You see The Jews knew that Christ was the One talking but it was the Father who actually speaks and He was speaking about the temple of His Son’s body Jn. 12:21, not Solomon’s temple. And to make it consistent, I will go back to Deut. 18:18 wherein God said that His words will be put into the prophet’s mouth which in turn happened to be Jesus Christ. What’s the relevance? The death of Christ is also included in the Father’s words (Is. 53:3-5, 11-12 ) that is why Christ is also telling those! Now we can see clearly that in Mat. 16:18 that the Father is pointing to a certain “Petra” or “Rock” on which He will build His church. The question is, “What or Who is this Petra that shall become the foundation of the church?” This is getting interesting. In 1Pet. 2:4-8 and Eph. 2:20, it is clear there that Christ is the cornerstone of the church. We have no question for that. The problem is the Catholics believe that the foundation of the church is different from the cornerstone of the church. They believe that Peter is the foundation and Christ is the cornerstone. Perhaps they don’t realize the true meaning of verses. In Is. 28:16, we can see clearly that the cornerstone that God laid is also a sure foundation! Christ the cornerstone is also the foundation of church! This is also being attested by Apostle Paul in 1Cor. 3:11 wherein he said that there is no other foundation can be laid other than what is already laid, Jesus Christ. To further support this, in Eph. 2:19-20 it says,

19 So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God,

20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.

 

Clearly matches with Is. 28:16. The church, including the apostles are built upon the foundation of the apostles (including Apostle Peter) and prophets and NOT on Peter. The Catholics (including Mr. Cenon Bibe Jr.) are twisting this verse. They want to show that the apostles are the foundation of the church which is you know, very dangerous. Take note, I am using a Catholic Bible, New American Bible on this verse and even if you’ll be the one to read the verse there is no way that the apostles there are the foundation of the church. The apostles and prophets and the other brethren have a foundation, a foundation already laid, and this is the “rock” or “petra” that is being mentioned in Mat. 16:18-Jesus Christ. In fact, if we have to take another verse with similarity we can read Mat. 7:24-27,

24″Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.

25The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock

26And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand.

27The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

 

If we are wise enough, we can see that Christ is using literal-spiritual wordings here. Listening to Him and putting them into action is like building your house on a rock! See, Christ is likening Himself into a rock foundation! That’s the very essence if Christ is your foundation. He, being the source of all wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3), being a rock that will make evil fall (1Pet. 2:8), being the one who gave His life for the church (Eph. 5:25, 1Tim. 2:6, 1Jn. 3:16) should be the one to listen to, and base our faith and deeds.

My friends, Catholics and non-Catholics, I hope this post will help you to decide and stand firm for what is correct. If anyone is still not convinced, you may send me your message. I will answer back. With this, I leave you the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.