Saturday, December 31, 2016


Nehemiah Led by Example.
And so it was that from the time Nehemiah was appointed to be the governor of the people in the land of Judah, that is to say from the twentieth year to the thirty second year of Artaxerxes, that is over a period of twelve years, neither Nehemiah nor his men ate the bread of the governor; but the former governors that were before him were chargeable unto the people and had taken of them bread and wine in adding to forty shekels of silver; and even their servants held sway over the people But Nehemiah did not so because he feared God. Neither did he or his servants bought any land; but confined themselves to the work on hand, namely the work of building the wall. And Nehemiah’s allowance for each day was one ox and six choice sheep also fowls were prepared for him. And in addition, every ten days a mixture of wines; but other than that he did not require any food for the governor; for he recognized that the burden on the backs of the people was very heavy.

Friday, December 30, 2016


Nehemiah Rebuked The Nobles and Rulers.
Upon hearing the complaint of the people, Nehemiah was very incensed and he addressed the Nobles and the Rulers and told them, that they were guilty of usury against their brothers, and he rebuked them in the presence of the whole assembly; and he said to them, that after their ability they had redeemed their brothers the Jews who were sold unto the heathen; and so asked them if they would then turn around and sell their own brethren, or should they be sold to them?  And they remained speechless. And Nehemiah continued to tell them that it was good to walk in the fear of God and incur not the reproach of the heathens their enemies. And he urged them not to continue to practice the usury of exacting money and corn from the people. Then he ordered them to restore to the people their lands, their vineyards and their houses and the hundredth part of the money, the corn, the wine, and the oil that had been extracted. And the Nobles and Rulers promised Nehemiah that they would restore all. And the people said “Amen.”

Thursday, December 29, 2016



The Rise of Unbrotherly Greed
At that time a great cry of the people and their wives rang out against the Jews. Their complaint was that they and their sons and their daughters were many and we are taking up corn for them; while others claimed that they had to mortgage their lands, vineyard and houses, in order to buy corn for the Jews; and time was hard. And some complained that they had to borrow money in order to meet the king’s tribute. There was also the general outcry that they were of the same flesh and their children their sons and daughters were likewise of the same flesh as the sons and daughters and children of the Jews. Yet they protested, their sons and daughters are used as slaves and given into bondage; and they had no money to redeem them, since other men had their lands and vineyards. And when Nehemiah heard these accusation, he became very angry.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


The Builders continued with swords by their sides.
And so the building continued, the builders having one hand on the job and the other on his weapon so tense was the situation. So Nehemiah instructed the Nobles the rulers and the rest of the people that because they were often apart from each other as the work progressed, that if at any time they should hear the sound of the trumpet, they should all gather around him at a fixed place. So thus situated they worked every day from the rising of the sun until late at night. As a further precaution, Jeremiah suggested that everyone should remain and sleep inside Jerusalem at nights where there would be watches and armed guards all night during which whole period the people did not take off their clothes except for washing.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


Reliance on Faith in the midst of Discouragement.

At long last, Judah declared that the strength of the bearers of burdens was diminished; and that since there was so much rubbish, they were not able to continue to build the wall. And when the adversaries heard it they repeated their threat to inveigle themselves them among them, so that they would slay them undetected, and so frustrate the building of the wall. So the builders, knowing of the plot set men behind the walls with swords and spears and bows to keep watch. So Nehemiah addressed the nobles the rulers and the rest of the people and told them not to be afraid; for the Lord who is great and terrible who has in the past fought for their brothers and their sons and daughters, would also fight for them. So when the enemy heard that their plans were known to the builders and that God had brought their plans to naught, that they drew back and the builders returned to the work of building. But thereafter, the builders divided themselves in two sections, one half proceeding with the building works, while the other half kept watch with swords and spears and shields and arrows and habergeons; but it also helped that the rulers were behind the workers.

Monday, December 26, 2016


Opposition to the Will of God.

There are lots of Christians who think and sometimes say, that the Old Testament is just that, Old Law, or Old Will, and has no bearing on the souls of New Testament men and women. Some even go as far as to think and say that the Old Law has been abolished and replaced by the New Law of Grace. This latter point of view is however, based on a completely erroneous view of the inter-relationship between Law and Grace, as by one is perfect knowledge of the other. As for example the interplay between English Law and Equity. Be that as it may I find great fascination and instruction in righteousness in reading and studying the Old Testament, if for no other reason it helps us better to understand and appreciate our standing and struggles with the law of the New Testament. In the book under review, the Book of Nehemiah, as indeed it was with the book of Ezra, we see a great and central theme to wit, that wherever and whenever God’s people set out to do the will of God, the enemy invariably intervene and try to oppose and obstruct. So it has always been and so it always will be, until the Lord shall close the book on the world. God allows the enemy to interfere so that we may see that the result in the end, that God is the Omnipotent one. That He will always have His way. So He could say to Satan, “Consider my servant Job.” So we may know if we resist Satan he will flee from us. And we see that though David was a man of God’s own heart, yet he sinned; but we also see as in Psalm 51, how David confessed and was restored. So while Ezra built the House of the Lord which the Lord wanted to be built and which building he directed, the opposition was ever present trying to prevent its building; but in the end, the house was completed.  And so later when Nehemiah and his brethren tried to repair the walls of the city of Jerusalem, the Sanballats of the world rose up against the work. The lesson for us therefore, is that we learn that through perseverance, whatever the obstacles, whoever, whatever the opposition, God’s will be done, no matter who says or does what to the contrary.

Sunday, December 25, 2016


Nehemiah Prayed
In response to the taunts of Sanballat and Tobiah, Nehemiah prayed and said, “Hear O our God for we are despised; so turn their reproach upon their own head and give them for a prey in the land of captivity, and cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee. For they have provoked thee to anger before the builders.” So they continued to build the wall and all the sections were joined together; for the people had a mind to build. But it came to pass that when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabians and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were progressing and that breaches were being stopped, their anger mounted. And they conspired among themselves to wage war against Jerusalem, and to stop the building works. But in the meantime Nehemiah and his companions continued to petition the Lord, and set a watch over the works day and night. So the adversaries devised a plan to mingle among them and kill them by subtlety and so frustrate the work.

Saturday, December 24, 2016


Opposition By Ridicule.

So on and on Nehemiah gave account of all those who took part in the building and restoration of the ruined walls of Jerusalem. The two great points he made were to name each group that took part and also the fact that each group took responsibility for and completed the work to be done, which highlights the point that doing the Lord’s work does not always call for duplicity, but continuity in community, that is to say, all working together to do what each has the capacity and the call to do. But as the work continued to progress there were the opposition. So that when Sanballat heard that the wall was being built he was angry and took great indignation and mocked the Jews. And he spoke out in the presence of the builders and of the army of Samaria and said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they fortifying themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish in a day? Will they recover the stones out of the pile of rubbish that we burned?” And Tobiah, Sanballat’s companion sneered, “Even that which they put up, if a fox go up it, it will break it down.”

Friday, December 23, 2016


stament stories are not fables but real authentic history. [to be continued.]

The Building works continues

And besides, Melatiah the Gibeonite and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and of Mizpah repaired up to the governor’s throne on the side of the river. And next unto them repaired Uzziel the son of Harhaiah of the goldsmiths. And next unto them also Hananiah the son of one of apothecaries; and they fortified Jerusalem unto the broad wall. And next unto them repaired Raphaiah the son of Hur the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem. And next unto them repaired Jedaiah the son of Harumaph even over above the house. And next unto him repaired Hattush the son of Hashabniah. And Malchijah the son of Harim and Hashub the son of Pahathmoab repaired the other piece, and the tower of the furnaces. And next unto him repaired Shallum the son of Halohesh the ruler along with his daughters of the other half of Jerusalem. And the valley gate repaired Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah They built it and set the doors the locks and a thousand cubits on the wall towards the dung gate. But the dung gate was repaired by Malchiah the son of Rechab the ruler of the Beth-haccerem and the doors and locks thereof. [ to be continued]

Thursday, December 22, 2016


The Building of the Walls of Jerusalem

After Nehemiah’s address to his brethren, Eliashib the priest rose up with his brethren the priests and built; and they built the sheep-gate and they sanctified it, set and set doors on it up to the towers of Meah and Hananeel which they also sanctified. The sheep for the sacrifice were brought into the city via the sheep gate, with the two towers Meah and Hananeel on either side of it. In the meantime the building work continued, the men of Jericho built next to Eliashib and next to them both Zaccur the son of Imri. But the fish gate was built by the sons of Hassenaah. They built not only the gate but the beam bars locks and doors. Also engaged in the work were, Meremoth the son of Urijah the son of Koz and Meshullam the grandson of Mehezabeel, and Zadox the son of Baana and next unto them Tekoites; but their nobles were not zealous towards the work of the Lord. Nehemiah took careful notes of all those who participated in this wonderful work and so this writer deems it important to mention these names and these relationships. These chronicles are but further proof that the Old Testament stories are not fables but real authentic history. [to be continued.]

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Nehemiah Called the people to Build

It is often said that, “discretion is the better part of valour.” Nehemiah clearly believed this. For although he had letters of authority from the King, he did not go about his task obtrusively or abrasively, but according to him, “The rulers knew not whither I went or what I did neither had I as yet told it to the Jews nor to the priests nor to the nobles, nor to any others.” Hence he did is exploratory inspection of the ruins quietly in the night. And after he had, and then and only  then, after he had fully assessed the state of affairs, he said to the people, “Come ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste and the gates thereof are burnt with fire; let us build up the walls of Jerusalem that we may be no more a reproach. Then I told them of the hand of my god which was good upon me, as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me.” And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hand for the good work, but when Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem heard, they laughed them to scorn and despised them and asked, “What is this thing they do; will they rebel against the king?” Then Nehemiah answered and said to them “The God of heaven He will prosper us. Therefore we His servants will arise and build but; you have no portion, nor right, nor memorial in Jerusalem.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016



The Rebuilding of the Walls of Jerusalem
Then Nehemiah accompanied by the captains and horsemen of the kings army, appeared unto the governors and presented them with the king’s letter. And it happened that when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, an Ammonite heard of the king’s letter it grieved them that such a man would come to look after the welfare of the children of Israel. And after three days in Jerusalem Nehemiah and his companions rose up in the night not having told anyone what in his heart to do; and carrying no beast with him except that on which he rode, went out in the night by way of the gate to the valley and viewed the walls of Jerusalem which had been broken down and burnt with fire. He then went up still riding the beast to the gate of the fountain, and to the king’s pool but there was no way for him to pass. So he went up still in the night, and viewed the walls and turned back, and returned via the gate of the valley. All this was done under cover of darkness and concerning his movements or intentions he told no one not even the Jews.  

Monday, December 19, 2016


Nehemiah’s Prayer Answered.

Nehemiah who was Artaxerxes cupbearer besought the Lord that he may find favor with the king. And the Lord answered his prayer. For it came to pass that in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes’ reign that Nehemiah appeared before the king with a heavy heart an d a sad countenance. And the king, seeing his sad countenance asked him something was the matter, since that he was not ill. And Nehemiah said, “Let the king live forever. If it pleases the king and if thy servant has found favor in thy sight, to send me unto Judah, unto Jerusalem the city of my fathers that I may build it.” And the king acceded to his request and the king in the presence of the queen who was sitting beside him, permission to stay away as long as it was necessary to complete the work before he would return, and the king gave him permission to go. Nehemiah then asked the king to give him letters of introduction to the governor beyond the river that he may give him safe conveyance to the other side, and also letters to Asap the keeper of the keeper of the forest to take timber from the forest to assist in the building work; and the king granted him all his requests.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


Nehemiah’s Prayer

Nehemiah’s reaction on hearing the state of ruin to the walls of Jerusalem was to pray.  For he says “When I heard these words, that I sat and wept and mourned certain days, and fasted and prayed before the Lord of heaven and I said,” “I beseech thee O Lord God of heaven the great and terrible God that keepeth covenants and mercy, for them that love Him and observe His commandments, Let thine ear now be attentive and thy eyes open that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant which I pray before you now day and night for the children of Israel Thy servants confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against thee, both I and my father’s house have sinned. We have dealt very corruptly against thee not having kept thy commandment, nor thy statutes, and the judgments which thou commanded thy servant Moses, remember I beseech thee the word that thou commanded thy servant Moses saying, If ye transgress I will scatter you abroad among the nations. But if ye turn unto me and keep my commandments and do them, though they were of you cast out to the uttermost part of heaven yet will I suffer them from hence and I will bring them back to the place that I have chosen to set their name there. Now these are thy servants thy people whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power and thy strong hand.  

Saturday, December 17, 2016


Nehemiah told the walls of Jerusalem was in ruins

If you were following and even you were not, we point out that the blogs, BRAGADAYJAH, for the last 30 days, beginning with BRAGDAYJAH 1142 up to yesterday, were all taken from Ezra’s account found in the historical book under his name; and starting today the main synopses are taken from the book of Nehemiah. In many ways a contemporary of Ezra’s. Nehemiah will be seen to record the last historical events of the Old Testament and extending the period to just about 430 B.C. and very close to the prophesy of Malachi the last book in the Old Testament. Since both Nehemiah and Malachi were written in the 5th century B.C. According to Ezra, the House of the Lord had been built and refurnished; but the walls of the city were still in ruins and it is to this end that Nehemiah draws us. He begins by saying the word of the Lord came to him. In the month Chisleu during the twelfth year of Artaxerxes while he was at Shushan at the palace. While there he recounts, certain men Hanani and other men of Judah came to him and he enquired of them concerning the Jews that had escaped out of the captivity and also concerning Jerusalem; and they told him that the remnant had left the province there in great affliction and reproach; and that the walls of Jerusalem also had been broken down and its gates burnt with fire.

Friday, December 16, 2016


Reconciliation to God through Confession and Separation.
And so it came to pass that when Ezra was finished praying, and after he had confessed with weeping and casting himself down, before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel, a very great congregation of men and women and children for the people wept very sorely. And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel one of the sons of Elam answered and told Ezra, that they had trespassed against God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land but that there was yet hope in Israel. Therefore, he continued, “Let us now make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives and such as are born of them according to the counsel of my lord and or those that tremble at the commandments of our God. And let it be done according to the law. Arise tell us what to do and be it good or bad we will do it. And the upshot of all this was that all the men of Israel and Judah appeared before the Tribunal headed by Ezra for the purpose; and having confessed to their transgression covenanted to put away their strange wives that the anger of God may be abated.  

A Christmas Message 2016

        Jesus – Son of Mary.
December 21, 2015: Re-issued December 2016 

 truly wonder if there is one person in this whole world who does not know or does not believe in the historicity of Jesus, the one called Christ. For surely without a doubt sometime during the reign of Caesar Augustus the records show clearly that such a person was born.
Needless to say, Jesus is not the only man, not the first man, nor indeed the last man of history. There have been many men of old among the millions that were before and also after Him.  To document just those of note would fill many volumes; but to make the point just a handful will be named here.
Before Jesus, there were many men, beginning with Adam. Men such as Isaac, the father of Jacob, whose name God changed to Israel, and who was the father of twelve sons representing the twelve tribes of Israel, the people know in history as the Jews.
Then there was Moses, about whom much has been written and said, and is perhaps more than any other, a household name for all times, in all languages, and among all peoples. The records show he lived for some 120 years, between 1391-1271.
King David is another well-known name. We know he reigned over Israel 40 years, actually thirty three years over Jerusalem and seven years in Hebron, during the period just over a thousand years before the birth of Jesus.

David’s son Solomon who succeeded him, reigned from around B.C. 970-931
In between those men of renown were two women equally well known and spoken of.-
The Queen of Sheba, known to history as an Ethiopian Queen by the name of Makeda, around the period of King Solomon’s reign in the 10th century B.C. 
And although much later in history we see the name Cleopatra, the Queen of the Nile, the Pearl of Egypt during the period B.C.69-30. Apart from her apparently exquisite beauty and charm, she may be best remembered for her affair with Julius Caesar and being bitten to death by her asp.

Tarquinius was the last King of ancient Rome (534-509 B.C), and in the last days of the Republic, names such as Augustine, Justinian, (the prolific law maker), Gaius, Pompey and Brutus, Julius Caesar.

Julius Caesar was born just about 100 years before Christ. He was a great military leader, who extended the Roman Empire abroad, and in so doing made enemies for himself at home. Among his exploits were his invasion of Britain in 44, at which time he uttered the famous words vini, vidi, vici, words which some say the Brits interpreted as weeny, weedy, weaky, and led to their early capitulation. But he also fought and won another battle in his romance with the beautiful Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, until his assassination during the ides of March.
Apart from Kings and Queens and military leaders and rulers, there were the men of literature and learning, philosophers and poets.  Men such as Publius Virgilius Marco, born 70 B.C and known to us as the poet Virgil, and a couple of decades later, Ovid, whose interest was law and politics, but best known for his poetry.  He was born around 43 B.C. and both he and Virgil would have been still living in Rome at the time of the birth of Christ. And speaking of literature, we must not forget or fail to mention the great library built at Nineveh by the great Assyrian leader Cennacherib circa B.C 705 years before that built by Alexander the Great at Alexandria, remnants of which still stands today, while fragments of the Nineveh library may still be found at the British museum and elsewhere.
Cennacherib as well as his grandson Ashurbanipal are well known within the Bible and also in extraneous records for their successful campaigns against Babylon and Judah.
Pythagoras.  When in the mathematics classroom we learn that in a right angle triangle the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides, we are not just talking mathematics; we are remembering a great mathematician whose name was Pythagoras.  He was born over 500 years before the birth of Christ and is another indication that there were great scholars and thinkers on earth before and at the time Jesus was born. Men who could think and write, calculate and articulate; men who could not be easily fooled.
Archimedes was another great thinker.  He was born in Syracuse, in Sicily, B.C 287-212, and educated in Egypt.  He was the one responsible for what is known to us today as Archimedes principle a theory which helped the king prove he was being jilted by his goldsmith, by showing how much gold was displaced and stolen. 
Getting even closer to Jesus’ day was a well-known name, an Emperor of Rome whose name is Caesar Augustus.  He was born Gaius Octavius in B.C 30 and ruled Rome as Emperor until his death on August 19, 14 A.D. It is evident then, that Jesus was born during Augustus’ rule.
Caesar Augustus was succeeded by Tiberius in 14 A.D. and ruled until 37 A.D. that is to say throughout the life of Jesus.
When Jesus was born, therefore, it would have been during the reign of Caesar Augustus and when he was arrested and tried, it would have been during the reign of Tiberius.
First things First
Is the Bible not a true record and a liable repository of the history of mankind apart from being God’s Word?  We have seen that Caesar Augustus was the ruler at the time and remained ruler until A.D. 14.  So now here is Luke, not a disciple of Jesus, but one, a clinical physician, who became fascinated by the exploits of the man Jesus after His death and resurrection; a physician by profession, but later became a follower and friend of Paul.  Dr. Luke writes.
                “And it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed, or enrolled,” (Luke 2:1), So the decree went forth, and it is a fact of Bible as well as secular history.
Next Thing Next
Before continuing on, the next thing we need to know is this. In Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth, he made reference to a king Herod, to whom the wise men had come and made inquiry concerning the new birth; who after feeling he was tricked gave order to destroy all the new born 2 years and under.
“Behold when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the King, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and we have come to worship Him.”  (Mt. 2:1-2)
Of course it was not part of God’s plan to allow Herod to kill his son at that time; so He caused the wise men not to return to Herod, which made him even more angry; and so he gave an order to kill every child around 2 years and under.
Who was this King Herod, and why he was so frighteningly jealous? Some critics may even ask, How come he is mentioned as King and Augustus Caesar Emperor? This Herod is known to historians as Herod the Great, the wicked King who out of pure wicked jealousy gave order to destroy all the babes within his kingdom. He saw Jesus as not only a rival but a serious threat. After all he Herod was king of the Jews; so when the wise men told him they had come to worship a newborn king  of the Jews that was enough to drive him over the edge.
Herod had ruled over the Jews in Jerusalem for some time. His father was a Jew and his mother Arabic. He had received the favor of Caesar Augustus who had appointed him King of the area and he schemed and connived his way further into Caesar’s favor by his building and other programs. And in particular during a period of unrest he was able to restore peace thus remaining in the Emperor’s good book. The point is, his kingship was limited to that of the Jews.
The next thing is Luke’s reference to Tiberius. He writes, “And in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea and Herod being Tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Phillip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.” (Luke 3:1-2)
The import of all this is to show how succinctly the Biblical record fits into the Roman history.  John the Baptist’s preaching ministry, then would have begun around A.D. 29-30, six months to a year before Jesus’ own short ministry.
Flavius Josephus
One name that cannot be omitted is that of Flavius Josephus. He was born in 37 A.D. just 3-4 years after Jesus’ death on the cross. Josephus is a celebrated Roman/Jewish historian and scholar. He would not have known Jesus personally. But his parents, aunts and uncles, cousins and other grown-ups around would have known a great deal about the life and times of the man Jesus. His words, His miracles, His life, His death, and what was claimed by His disciples regarding His resurrection.  And surely many of Jesus’ disciples were still alive when Josephus himself came to age. He could have spoken to them.  After all that is what historians do, as well as examining official records.
Josephus never became a disciple or friend of Jesus.  Neither did he show by his biographies and other writings, any indication of having accepted Christianity.  Indeed he used language which shows that to him Jesus was little more than a curiosity piece.  But the things he did say proves that Jesus’ existence was never a question of doubt in his mind. For example, he said things like, “There was this fellow called Jesus, who went around trying to convince others that all men were brothers.” He wrote about James, the brother of Jesus, and about John the Baptist, and about Jesus’ execution and resurrection. It is alleged that the Jews in some parts redacted, suppressed and destroyed much of Josephus’ references to Jesus; but sufficient evidence remains to show that to him, Jesus’ existence is in no doubt. Josephus lived into the end of the first century during the time when all of the Gospels and Epistles were being written.

And what about a name such as Confucius the well-known Philosopher, born Kong Qui in China c. A.D. 551, and commonly called Confucius, in China 551A.D; and Muhammad the Prophet of Islam, born around 570 and died around 632 and proclaimed as a god to his followers; and Haile Selassie the Rastafarian Messiah. The interesting thing about these three proclaimed by their followers as gods, their mortal remains, like that of John Brown’s body, lie a moldering in their graves.

Charlemagne or Charles the first also called Charles the Great was born A.D 747 died in January 814. He was king of Austrasia, now Germany, king of the Franks, king of the Lombards, and from 800 to 814 Holy Roman Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

William the Conqueror
Every English school boy and most other schoolboys, would have read about the man called William the Conqueror, and would know that in the year 1066 he defeated the Anglo-Saxon king Harold Godwinson on 14th October 1066 at the Battle of Hastings and so began the Norman conquest of Britain.

After William, many great men appeared on the scene. Men such as Johannes Gensfleisch Zur Laden zum Gutenberg who lived between AD 1398 -1468. A blacksmith, goldsmith, printer and publisher who introduced printing to Europe and started a printing revolution, and was an important catalyst leading the way to the Renaissance, and the age of science and enlightenment, including the printing of the first Bible.  

Martin Luther, the German Lawyer, Friar, priest, professor of Theology and a key figure in the Protestant Reformation movement, and probably best known for his rejection of several teachings of the Catholic Church. Martin Luther was born 10 November 1483 and died 18 February 1546. Luther, apart from being the founder of the Lutheran movement, is also remembered for his ninety Five Theses, condemning the authority, efficacy and use of indulgencies by the Roman Catholic Church. A subsequent and well-documented follower of Luther was John Calvin, famous in his own right.

Whenever I think of martyrs, the first name that comes to my mind, apart from Stephen the first Christian martyr, is that of William Tyndale, (1494 to 5 October 1536). A man who choose rather to be strangled and burnt at the stake than abandon his primary stated ambition to translate the whole Bible into English. Whereas the New Testament had been translated into Latin, there was no English translation extant. Tyndale wanted to ensure, “that even he that drives the plough could read the word of God for himself in English.”  For printing and circulating his Bible in English in England, the Tyndale Bible, he was strangled and burnt at the stake in the year 1536.

Catherine the Great
Her Russian name was Yekaterina Alexeyevna. She was the best known and the longest ruling Monarch of Russia. Born 2 May 1729, she became Empress of all Russia in 1762 and reigned until her death 17 November 1796

Frederick the Great, 1740 to 1786, was another great man of history. It is said he came to the throne hoping nothing, believing nothing and fearing nothing. He was a dictator; but a benevolent one showing concern for the development of the Country and caring for the needs of the poorest. No one who was willing or able to work was left out. Dictator or not he was a good and brave Ruler.

Another man other than Hitler who caused a great deal of trouble in the world was Napoleon Bonaparte who plunged the world into conflict, and would have defeated the world and set himself up as king if the hand of God did not stop him, using the same elements He used to frustrate the Egyptian army in pursuit of the children of Israel, namely, fire and cloud. God used the cloud element on both occasions in dealing with Napoleon and later Hitler; cloud over the English Channel by day and night. Napoleon was born 15 August 1769 and died in banishment on the island of St. Helena 5 May 1821.

Queen Victoria
The final great personage I would like to mention is the Great Queen Victoria. Born 24 May, 1819 in Kensington Palace, London, she lived until 22 January 1901 at Osborne House, East Cowes.  Victoria was Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1837 to her death.  She also took the title Empress of India from 1 May 1876. Until the Present Queen Elizabeth II who may overtake her shortly, Queen Victoria was and still is Britain’s longest serving Monarch. She was exclaimed by one and all as a great Queen, a Queen never-the-less who proclaimed that her greatest honor would be to see with her eyes the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory when according to her, she would, “Cast all of her crowns at His feet.” 
It was intended indeed to end with Queen Victoria, but it might be instructive to mention her great grand- daughter the reigning Queen Elizabeth II.  One reason is I was speaking to an atheist some time ago, who when cornered on the fact of people of history, said there was no proof that any of the names mentioned ever existed.  “How about the President of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush?”
Her reply was forthright if astonishing. “You have no proof of him either.”  Am afraid at that stage I rested my case. It is true, “If you convert an unbeliever against his will he remains an unbeliever still.”
So anyhow, Queen Elizabeth everyone in the world would have seen at some time or the other. She was named Elizabeth Alexandra Mary at birth, 21 April 1926. She acceded to the British throne in 1952 and is still the reigning Queen. Elizabeth is the Great, Great Granddaughter of Queen Victoria and is included to make a point later. Elizabeth is Queen of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales; but also Queen of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts, Nevis Anguilla and remaining Colonies and Protectorates such as Montserrat, Tortola and Gibraltar. Someone could just as easily make the point that she does not exist either.
So there we have all these men of history. Kings and Queens, soldiers, philosophers, statesmen, writers and poets. The question is are there any among us who do not believe that these men and women existed? Is there any who would say, none existed, or all existed except one, the man Jesus called Christ. And if any would say that, what possible sane reason could he or she give for such exclusion?
The man Jesus has not existed, does not exist in a vacuum.  Like all other men, He was born of father and mother, at a certain time in a certain place.  The men of his day who lived in his part of the world knew Him; the children he grew up with knew him as children growing up; others came from afar to see Him.  When he spoke men heard His words; some were uplifted by them; some were offended.  Some men loved him, some men hated him; some men cherished him others despised him.  When he healed the sick, He did it openly, when he caused the deaf to hear, the lame to walk, the blind to see, He did all of those things openly; and when he brought back to life he that was stinking in the grave, even His worst detractors were there. None could deny his presence.
As a matter of fact, it is recorded that when some about Him saw the miracles and heard the power of his words they asked, “Whence has this man this wisdom and these mighty works?  Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And His brethren James and Joses, and Simon and Judas?  And His sisters are they not right here with us? The question is, they asked, where does he get his wisdom from?”
Before Jesus was born many men and women of note lived; and after he departed this world there were many men and woman after Him. It was as if Jesus was just planted there in the middle of them all, as it were, joining the old with the new. And consider this outstanding fact. Before Jesus was born, there were many Calendars, the last of which was the Julian Calendar which began in 45 B C. The significant thing is, all those Calendars reckoned time backwards.  Imagine the Julian Calendar like all others started 44, 43, 42, and so on, counting down to what or better still to whom?  However after Jesus birth, although the same Calendar remained in use, time was counted in another direction upwards, as in one two three, and although the Gregorian calendar took over from the Julian time continued to be counted up until now we are at 2015. Is that not a curious fact at least? Could it be that mankind from the very dawn of recorded history was unwittingly counting down time in anticipation of some great event, like the count down at a shuttle launch? Like counting down to the birth of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Jesus the Saviour’s birth?  Even the most skeptical would be forced to admit it’s an interesting question.
In any event Jesus is there indelibly embedded in human history.  For one reason or other, a lot of people would wish it were not so.  Just as when he rose from the dead, Satan was furious at the thought; and so were the Jews! They conspired with the soldiers who saw the stone rolled away to lie and pretend it did not happen. They bribed them, they paid them money to cover up the plot and then published abroad a Passover plot involving the disciples.
This brings us to the question why the high priests and the Jewish rulers wanted to dispose of Jesus.  As we have seen, King Herod held the Roman appointed office of King of the Jews.  It was not only a prestigious office, it was profitable to him.  The high priest Annas and his son-in-law Caiaphas were his appointees and the Sanhedrin consisted mostly of the hand-picked men of the high priests.  So to be sure there was a great deal of nepotism, cronyism and simony. So when the shepherds told Herod that there was born a King of the Jews, he was understandably furious. He felt threatened; and when they told him they wanted to worship this new born king, one could understand his anger.
The problem for many people with Jesus is, he was not just a man; he was also God, He is God. Jesus said he was the son of God, who had come down from heaven. So when Philip asked Him to reveal the Father Jesus said, “if you have seen me you have seen the father.”  In addition, he was called God.  So when doubting Thomas hailed Him as “My Lord and my God,” Jesus responded and said, “Because you have seen me you believe; but blessed are they who have not seen and yet believe.” In addition, Jesus seemed to be God, and His very detractors bore this out, for when he told the paralyzed man, “Be of good cheer thy sins are forgiven thee,” the Jews cried, “Blasphemy, for only God can forgive sin!” So that they saw in Jesus God-like qualities, but would not bring themselves to acknowledge Him as God.
And this is part of the problem even today.  Many people have a problem with admitting the truth about Jesus because if they do, it cut from beneath their feet the very ground on which they stand, in so far as they make bold to say there is no God. For Jesus proves that God exists.  Just as some people reject the Bible because if they accept it they would also have to accept that there is God.
Even now, as we approach another end of year, we come to a time when we celebrate the birth of the Christ.  But many begrudge Him even that, refusing to use the word Christmas unless they have merchandise they are trying to sell in which case Christmas is alright. 
In conclusion, therefore, we say this.
1      That Jesus is as much a man of history as all the other men and women, those mentioned here, and the millions not mentioned. Jesus lived on earth over two thousand years ago.  Obviously, none of us living today can physically point him out and say, “There goes Jesus,” no more than we can point out our great, great grandparent, as few of us ever get to know in the flesh any of our numerous ancestors, beyond, say, a great grand. There was a man in history that I loved and admired very much. He lived and died during my lifetime; but I never met him.  But even now, I hear his voice in his music. I know he existed.  Similarly, those who love Jesus, hear His voice in the words which He spoke in Holy Writ.
2      As has been said earlier those who deny God has to deny both Jesus and the Bible, because they speak of God. And in the words of a well-known song, “You can’t have one without the other.” As Jesus told Philip, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father also;” and He adds, “I and my Father are one. I am in the Father and the Father in me.” Of course there are those who opine that Jesus is not coeternal and consubstantial with God, and is therefore not God. They insist that Jesus was and is God’s son, as indeed he says, “I am the Son of God the Father.” While not accepting that narrow theological construct, it also bolsters the point for the existence of God; for if Jesus is God’s son, then that proves that Jesus’ Father is God.
3      Who then can deny the existence of God?  It is averred that those who do so fall exclusively into three main categories, namely: (a) those who are mentally unstable, (b) those whom God has given over to a reprobate mind. (c) those who have no knowledge of, or who are ignorant of the history of mankind.
(a)   The mentally unstable.  God’s word says, that the fool says in his heart there is no God. Properly understood, this refers to a person who lacks mental capacity, for example, the criminally insane. That is what God says and, therefore, it must be so.
(b)   The Reprobate.   The Bible also refers to those whom God has given over to a reprobate mind. Here again it is submitted that the person with the reprobate mind is a person who is in a state where he is unable to differentiate between right and wrong, much like the person who is mentally unstable. Here God has given such a person over; that person God has decided, has no moral worth and cannot be saved.
(c)   Apart from the above two categories of atheists it is postulated that a person may be so ignorant of history or so lacking in general knowledge, or common sense that he might never have had the mental capacity to see Jesus as a man of history, and not just some mysterious or mythological personage found in the area of folklore or fairy tale. In terms of today’s world, such a person would have to have lived a very sheltered and darkened life.      

Finally Jesus Himself gives us an explanation of the unbeliever which may apply to all of the three categories outlined above, and it is this. “That Light (Jesus) is come into the world and men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.”

In addition, I would say this if you have been seriously seeking and failing to find God, it may be that you have not yet come to the place where you know, that God is. That is the first hurdle and every man has a natural, inborn capacity to know God. For it has been well said, “Knowledge of God is by rational intuition.”  In other words once you possess mental capacity you have the ability to know God. And once you know God you would automatically be led to learn more about him.  “For he that comes to God must first believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

As we enter into the Christmas season in the year of our Lord 2016, may the Light of Christ shine in every heart and lightens every shadow of darkness. A very blessed and Happy Christmas to all.

Rev Dr. John S. Weekes


Thursday, December 15, 2016


Ezra’s Petition [Continued]

Continuing Ezra pleaded: “And now our God what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken thy commandments which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets saying, The land unto which ye go in to possess it is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people who before you inhabited it; therefore give not your daughters unto their sons; not take their daughters for your sons; nor seek their peace or their wealth forever; that you may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it as an inheritance for your children forever. And after all that have come upon us because of our evil deeds, and for our great trespass and has not punished us as severely as we deserve, and has given us deliverance, why should we again break Thy commandment and join in affinity with these abominable people? Should you not, O Lord be angry with us, even consume us so that we are no more? O Lord God of Israel thou art righteous; for we remain yet escaped as of this day. Behold we are before thee in our trespass for we cannot stand before thee because of our trespass.” 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


Ezra’s Prayer of Confession. [Part 1}
After Ezra’s heaviness which lasted all day, at evening his clothes and his mantle torn as a sign of his great grief for the sins of the priests and Levites and people, Ezra fell on his face and spread his hands before the Lord and said, “O Lord God, I am ashamed and I blush to lift up my face to Thee, my God for our iniquity are increased over our head, and our trespasses are given up to the heavens. Since the days of our fathers, have we been in a great trespass even unto this day. And for our iniquities have we been delivered into the hands of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face as it is today. And now for a little space grace has been shown from our Lord God to leave us a remnant to escape. And to give us a nail, ( a spot), in the holy place that God may lighten our eyes and give us a little reviving in our bondage. For we were bondsmen; yet our God has not forsaken us in our bondage, but has extended mercy unto us in the sight of the king of Persia, to give us a reviving to set up the house of our God and to repair the desolations thereof and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem. [ to be continued]

Tuesday, December 13, 2016



God’s People did not Separate Themselves
Now it was brought to Ezra’s attention by the princes that the people together with the priests and Levites, had not separated themselves from the people of the land in which they were carried captives and were doing according to the abominations of those people: the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians and the Amorites. They had taken unto themselves wives from among those nations and was giving their  daughters to those people in marriage, so that the holy seed was being mingles with the seeds of the people of those lands. And when Ezra heard of these things he tore his clothes and his mantle and pulled out his hair and sat down astonished. Then Ezra called unto him all such as trembled at the mention of the word of the God of Israel. And sat all the rest of the day amazed and motionless at the hearing of the transgressions which were committed not only by the people, but by the very priests and Levites he had requested to teach the people.  

Monday, December 12, 2016


Ezra tells of their Arrival into Jerusalem.
Ezra recounted how they departed from the river of Ahava, (place on the other side of the river; but the name Ahava itself means water, or river.) on the twelfth day of the first month to go up to Jerusalem and the hand of God was upon them protected and delivered, from the enemy who laid in wait for them along the way; for indeed they were carrying a fortune in gold and silver and precious holy things. But at last they arrived in Jerusalem and rested there for three days. Then on the fourth day they weighed the silver and the gold and the vessels which were to be placed in the house of God. And the weight of all the treasure was listed and recorded at that time. And the children of those that had been carried away and who came out of the captivity, offered burnt offering unto the God of Israel: twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety six rams, seventy seven lambs, twelve he-goats for a burnt offering; all of which were offered unto the Lord. And they delivered the king’s commission unto the king’s lieutenants and to the governor and the people were taught how to worship in the house of God.