Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight

A few years ago I found that I had to share with more people my belief in the one true God that I behold my steep Rock and fortress, source of insight. My life had to endure a lot of storms and I certainly was not spared a few times to be beaten against the breakwater.

Through trial and error we have to learn things. I sometimes had more than once tried to get something from the ground, something successful, others less, and still another with failure.

I wanted to bring together people, interested in the Bible. My attempt to create an association of Bible students or for those interested in Bible and history, now also appears nothing. Therefore I stop with that company to focus my energy more on the preaching work itself. For in this time and age it has even become more important that we can find people preaching the Gospel of the Good News. On the Association of Bible Scholars there are a few texts which I find interesting and worthwhile to get more views. These texts are an important part of our preaching, and it may be worth that some texts  of the Bijbelvorsers Webs website get preserved and are relocated to other websites, like this one and to the site of the Belgian Bible Students, the WordPress site of Bijbelvorsers (Biblescholars) and to the sites of the Brethren of Christ  and the Free Belgian Christadelphians ecclesia.

Location of xy province/ region/ community (se...

Location of province Vlaams-Brabant, Flemish Brabant) in Belgium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For readers of another tongue then Dutch or Flemish we apologized that most of our pages were in Dutch, because the association was founded in the Flemish part of Belgium (Vlaams-Brabant) and was intended to be an association for people in the region of the Low Countries. But we did hope the visitors (from other countries) could also be able to find some interesting English texts as well.

We also said that as Bible-researchers we know that it can take a lot of effort to remain on the narrow way!  (Matthew 7:13, 14) Only together we can be strong and shall we be able to support each other so that we, together, will be able to persevere.  Therefore it is important to follow suit, to go there forwards and to connect with serious Biblestudents.

The Word of God given to man

For those who are not sure how the world came to be and why they are here the Creator of all things has given His Words to give us knowledge and to guide us . Him we should trust and make Him to our rock, our fortress, our buckler and our deliverer. People should not fear as much the human beings but should fear that heavenly Creator. In Him should we trust and find our shield, the horn of our salvation.

The association of Bible Scholars wanted to make people aware of the importance of the Bible. Even for those who do not believe in a Creator God they wanted to show the value of those old books in which there can be found many wise words. The association also wanted to be a haven where Bible lovers could find each other to study the Word of God and to look at the historical and scientific facts. It also wanted to show it members that they could find a high tower, and refuge, and give them the assurance there was a saviour who was willing of save them from violence.

Together they wanted to call on the Most High, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah Who is worthy to be praised: so they’ll be saved from their enemies. Working together around the Holy Scriptures the association wanted to have like minded people finding each other to help each other our about text-material and questions. They hoped to have their people not put to confusion, but deliver them in God’s righteousness, Him inclining His ear unto them, and saving them.

It was in God they wanted to see their strong habitation, where-unto they could continually resort, in the knowledge that the One and Only One God has given commandment to save us.

We wanted to get more people dwelling in the secret place of the Most High, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty, proclaiming to others that their God Jehovah is their refuge and their fortress and that they will trust in Him.

The association was also set up to give those people who felt called by God, to give them several utilities or help for the preaching work. The association wanted to be there for when for the time we ought to be teachers. We have need that one looks at each other and teach each other, helping to reach the goal, continuing stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

The association also wanted to gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and the strangers that would come within our gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Most High Lord of heaven and earth, our God, and observe to do all the words of His Law, training up children in the way they should go, so that when they are old, will not depart from it.

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Below, the second article in the series, a translated overview of what formed the opening speech (our first reprint) at the publication of Bible scholars on Webs.
Het openingswoord van de Webs site van Bijbelvorsers, Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie, in juni 2010 - The opening speech of the Webs site of Bijbelvorsers, Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie or Bible scholars , Association for Bible study, in June 2010

Het openingswoord van de Webs site van Bijbelvorsers, Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie, in juni 2010 – The opening speech of the Webs site of Bijbelvorsers, Vereniging voor Bijbelstudie or Bible scholars , Association for Bible study, in June 2010

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Jehovah steep rock and fortress,
source of insight

Quotes from Gods Word


*

He said:

“Jehovah is my crag and my stronghold+ and the One who rescues me.+

 My God is my rock,+ in whom I take refuge,

My shield+ and my horn* of salvation,* my secure refuge*+

And my place to flee,+ my savior;+ you who save me from violence.

 I call on Jehovah, who is worthy of praise,

And I will be saved from my enemies.

(2 Samuel 22:2-4)

 Jehovah is my crag and my stronghold and the One who rescues me.+

My God is my rock,+ in whom I take refuge,

My shield and my horn* of salvation,* my secure refuge.*+

 I call on Jehovah, who is worthy of praise,

And I will be saved from my enemies.+

(Psalm 18:2-3)

1 In you, O Jehovah, I have taken refuge.

May I never be put to shame.+

 In your righteousness save me and rescue me.

Incline your ear* to me and save me.+

 Become for me a rock fortress

Where I can always enter.

Give the command to save me,

For you are my crag and my stronghold.+

(Psalm 71:1-3)

Anyone dwelling in the secret place of the Most High+

Will lodge under the shadow of the Almighty.+

 I will say to Jehovah: “You are my refuge and my stronghold,+

My God in whom I trust.”+

(Psalm 91:1-2)

11 We have much to say about him, and it is difficult to explain, because you have become dull in your hearing. 12 For although by now* you should be teachers, you again need someone to teach you from the beginning the elementary things+ of the sacred pronouncements of God, and you have gone back to needing milk, not solid food.

(Hebrews 5:11-12)

38 Peter said to them: “Repent,+ and let each one of you be baptized+ in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins,+ and you will receive the free gift of the holy spirit. 39 For the promise+ is to you and your children, and to all those who are far away, to all those whom Jehovah* our God may call to himself.”+ 40 And with many other words he gave a thorough witness and kept exhorting them, saying: “Get saved from this crooked generation.”+ 41 So those who gladly accepted his word were baptized,+ and on that day about 3,000 people* were added.+ 42 And they continued devoting themselves to the teaching of the apostles, to associating together,* to the taking of meals,+ and to prayers.+

(Acts of the Apostles 2:38-42)

“Listen, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.+ You must love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul*+ and all your strength.*+ These words that I am commanding you today must be on your heart, and you must inculcate them in* your sons+ and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up.+ Tie them as a reminder on your hand, and they must be like a headband on your forehead.*+ Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

(Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

12 Gather the people together,+ the men, the women, the children,* and your foreign resident who is within your cities,* in order that they may listen and learn about and fear Jehovah your God and take care to carry out all the words of this Law.

(Deuteronomy 31:12)

 Train a boy* in the way he should go;+

Even when he grows old he will not depart from it.+

(Proverbs 22:6)

 *

 

The way of Jehovah is a stronghold for the flawless, but the downfall is for practitioners of what is harmful. (Proverbs 10:29) Therefore, it is important that people know what it is to follow the right path. Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah has shown us the way. God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth, His Word to the people, put on the record of the Holy Scriptures, by holy men. To us it is to look at these 66 books that make up the Bible, wanting to take them in our hands to immerse ourselves in God’s Word. In the Holy Scriptures counsel is given not to be lazy with respect to the study of God’s purposes and to acquire a deeper understanding of it, and not with respect not to loosen interest to participation in the Christian ministry. Jesus followers took their tutor his words to heart and continued after his death, the study of the Torah and met regularly to do this in community together to break bread and drink the wine to commemorate the death of the Lord.

When Pentecost 33 G. T. 3000 people were baptised, they were added.

“They continued devoting themselves to the teaching of the apostles and share it with each other,”
Luke explains (Acts of the Apostles 2:41, 42).
In the New Testament, we noted in several places the study that the believers had to do with the Holy Scriptures. Yes, the early Christians gathered for Bible study and fellowship and were thus added to the Christian congregation. Early Christians attended regular meetings for spiritual education (Hebrews 10:25).
The apostle Paul admonished some Hebrew Christians who made no claims, saying to them:
because although you really had to be teachers in view of the time, you have again need someone who can learn from the beginning the elementary things of the sacred pronouncements of God; and you become wide as those of milk, not solid food, need. “(Hebrews 5:11, 12)
He also gave the admonition now having different gifts, according to the favour which was given to us , to use them accordingly:
if prophecy, according to the proportion of belief;  (7)  if serving, in the serving; or he who is teaching, in the teaching;  (8)  or he who encourages, in the encouragement; or he who is sharing, in sincerity; he who is leading, in diligence; he who shows compassion, joyously.  (9)  Let love be without hypocrisy. Shrink from what is wicked, cling to what is good.  (10)  In brotherly love, tenderly loving towards one another, in appreciation, giving preference to each other;  (11)  not idle in duty, ardent in spirit, serving the Master;  (12)  rejoicing in the expectancy, enduring under pressure, continuing steadfastly in prayer;  (13)  imparting to the needs of the set-apart ones, pursuing kindness towards strangers. (Romans 12:6-13)

Realizing that The Way of Jehovah is a stronghold for the impeccable, (Proverbs 10:29) Bible scholars on the attempt to unite and to explore together the Word, honouring God, together want to say to Jehovah:

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will rest in the shadow of Shaddai.  (2)  I will say of Jehovah, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.”  (3)  For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the deadly pestilence.  (4)  He will cover you with his feathers. Under his wings you will take refuge. His faithfulness is your shield and rampart.  (5)  You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day;
(Psalm 91:1-5 NHEBJE)

A steep rock to build on

A steep rock to build on

For the sake of God’s name the Supreme will lead and guide us, for He is willing to be our steep rock and our fortress.

We must do our utmost to strengthen the truths of God in our minds and in those of others through Bible study and by regularly attending Christian meetings with other believers. (Deuteronomy 6: 5-9; 31:12; Proverbs 22: 6).

Of any kind of denomination you are, the bottom line is that you have to make your own choices and choose to study the Word of God or to leave it as something you do not want to be interested in. God is the one who can call you for this and can lead and provide insight. People like us can only be a tool in the hand of God. In this modern world of materialism, there may not be many people who are still interested in the Word of God, but over all the earth there are many who choose to go on the narrow road that leads to life now but even more interesting to a much better life later. They try to follow right road and to terminate the race successfully in order to enter the Kingdom of God.

We as Bible scholars know that it can cost some effort but that it is really worth to stay on the narrow road! (Matthew 7:13, 14) Together we can be strong and support each other so that we will endure together. Therefore it is important to dare to follow suit, to go for it and join serious Bible students.In the fight that we can perform better, together, the apostle Paul showed in his heartfelt exhortation:

“Fight the fine fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life firmly to which you were called.”

We have to fight this battle to “grasp firmly the real life” (1 Timothy 6:12, 19).

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.  (7)  For we brought nothing into the world, so neither can we carry anything out.  (8)  But having food and clothing, we will be content with that.  (9)  But those who are determined to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful lusts, such as drown men in ruin and destruction.  (10)  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  (11)  But you, man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.  (12)  Fight the good fight of faith. Lay hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you confessed the good confession in the sight of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:6-12 NHEBJE )
That life is not the present life of pain and sorrow and suffering brought upon us by Adam’s sin. No, it’s the life in God’s new world, the paradise, which soon will become a reality when, after the removal of this system of things, Christ’s ransom sacrifice is used for the benefit of all who love Jehovah God and his Son. We all must choose life – “the real life” everlasting life in God’s glorious new world.
That we all dare proclaim together that there is only One True God to Whom we in close friendship as brothers and sisters in Christ we have taken refuge. Together united we should not have to be ashamed because we have chosen to incline our ear to the One Who saves us, because He too was willing to hear us and to be with us.
“In you, Jehovah, I take refuge. Never let me be disappointed.  (2)  Deliver me in your righteousness, and rescue me. Turn your ear to me, and save me.  (3)  Be to me a rock of refuge to which I may always go. Give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.” (Psalm 71:1-3 NHEBJE )
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A version on the same subject in Dutch / Een gelijkaardig artikel in het Nederlands: Jehovah steile rots en vesting, bron van inzicht
Articles by the closing down of the Biblescholars association:
In Dutch you also my find:

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Additional reading:

  1. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #1 Listening Sovereign Maker
  2. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  3. Creator and Blogger God 5 Things to tell
  4. It is not try but trust
  5. Look for your Refuge by God
  6. God is my refuge and my fortress in Him I will trust
  7. God my fence, my hope for the future
  8. Trust God to shelter, safety and security
  9. Gaining Christ, trusting Jehovah
  10. Courage for every day living
  11. Fear and protection
  12. Digging in words, theories and artefacts
  13. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  14. No good thing will he withhold
  15. Keep your heart on the right path
  16. Running the battle

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Autumn traditions for 2014 – 6 Bonfire night

After the gathering of witches and calling the spirits on the 31st of October, people loved to be busy with the dead on the following days, celebrating All Saints and All Souls people want to frighten the spirits away. This, according many cultures can be done with making as much noise as possible and bringing flashy nights. On the other hand many find it necessary to bring the ‘sacred days for the dead’ to a good end by bringing all the death material back to dust by fire. At the end of the Autumn holiday or All Saints holiday bonfires may lit in several places.

Anti Catholic sentiment

Portrait of Henry VIII, King of England

Portrait of Henry VIII, King of England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For many there is also an anti-Catholic sentiment which found its origins in the English and Irish Reformations under King Henry VIII and the Scottish Reformation led by John Knox. The Act of Supremacy 1534 declared the English crown to be ‘the only supreme head on earth of the Church in England‘ in place of the pope. Any act of allegiance to the latter was considered treasonous because the papacy claimed both spiritual and political power over its followers. The Scottish Reformation in 1560 abolished Catholic ecclesiastical structures and rendered Catholic practice illegal in Scotland.

Pius V and Elizabeth I

Pius V and Elizabeth I (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having Pope Pius V wanting to depose Queen Elizabeth with the papal bull Regnans in Excelsis, he declared her a heretic and the servant of crime. The pope released all of her subjects from any allegiance to her, and excommunicated any who obeyed her orders. By this bull the queen found herself forced to have the believers choosing for the pope or for her, becoming part of the ecclesia anglicana, or Anglican faith. The Elizabethan Religious Settlement was set out in two Acts of the Parliament of England. By the Act of Supremacy of 1558 the governement managed to get back the control over the churches in the reign. By re-establishing the Church of England‘s independence from Rome, with Parliament conferring on Elizabeth the title Supreme Governor of the Church of England, the Act of Uniformity of 1559 outlined what form the English Church should take, including the re-establishment of the Book of Common Prayer.

On the question of images, Elizabeth’s initial reaction was to allow crucifixes and candlesticks and the restoration of roods, but some of the new bishops whom she had elevated protested. The determination to prevent any further restoration of “popery” was evidenced by the more thoroughgoing destruction of roods, vestments, stone altars, dooms, statues and other ornaments.  Puritans delivered sermons regarding the perceived dangers of popery, while during increasingly raucous celebrations common folk burnt effigies of popular hate-figures, such as the pope.

A devout and militant Catholic

Guy Fawkes (a.k.a. Guido Fawkes), cropped detail from a contemporary engraving of the Gunpowder Plotters. The Dutch artist probably never actually saw or met any of the conspirators, but it has become a popular representation nonetheless. - National Portrait Gallery, London

Guy Fawkes (a.k.a. Guido Fawkes), cropped detail from a contemporary engraving of the Gunpowder Plotters. The Dutch artist probably never actually saw or met any of the conspirators, but it has become a popular representation nonetheless. – National Portrait Gallery, London

Travelling soldier—mercenary would be the wrong word, Guy Fawkes (1570–1606), a devout and militant Catholic, brought in on a plan to blow up Britain’s Houses of Parliament on November 5, 1605. The family Fawkes with father Edward Fawkes (sometimes spelled Faux), a judicial court official, was required, under the state Church of England religion (now known as Anglicanism, with the Episcopal Church as its American branch), to swear an oath pledging that they were Protestants. Fawkes’s mother, Edith, like many other Catholics, put up a Protestant facade, but her nephew became a Jesuit priest and some of her relatives were recusants — English Catholics who refused to attend Protestant church services. When Edward Fawkes died, when Guy was eight, his mother showed her true sympathies by marrying another recusant, Denis (or Dionysus) Bainbridge, described by an acquaintance (according to the Gunpowder Plot Society) as “more ornamental than useful.” The family moved to a home near the village of Scotton in North Yorkshire. From that point on, Fawkes likely began to come in contact with devout Catholics who were working through official channels and also by underground means to safeguard and advance the rights of Catholics under the country’s increasingly entrenched Anglican regime.

St. Peter’s School in the city of York though having a nominally Protestant headmaster, John Pulleine (or Pulleyn), was likely a hotbed of Catholic resistance. One local noblewoman, according to Gunpowder Plot historian Antonia Fraser, called the school “Little Rome.” Fawkes, according to one source, married Pulleine’s daughter Maria and had a son, named Thomas, in 1591. Other early accounts of Fawkes’s life make no mention of the marriage, which could suggest that it was very short (perhaps with mother and child dying in childbirth) or that it did not occur at all.

Spain wanting to control Flanders and to invade England

Working as a footman to the Catholic nobleman Lord Montague, he may have met Robert Catesby, the originator of the Gunpowder Plot, through family connections during this period. Around 1593, he left England for Flanders (a Dutch-speaking region now divided among northern Belgium, France, and the Netherlands), which was then under the control of Spain, Western Europe’s great Catholic power, and he enlisted in the Spanish army. A military associate (quoted by David Herber) described Fawkes as

“a man of great piety, of exemplary temperance, of mild and cheerful demeanor, an enemy of broils and disputes, a faithful friend, and remarkable for his punctual attendance upon religious observance.”

Spain’s feared Armada had tried unsuccessfully to launch an invasion of England in 1588 trying to expand its power in the willingness to conquer the whole of Europe. Serving under the command of the Archduke Albert of Austria, Spain’s ally, Guy Fawkes fought for the Spaniards in a battle at Calais, in western France, in 1595, and he may have been wounded at the Battle of Nieuwpoort in West Flanders in 1600. It was at the continent that his assignments brought him the experience for blowing up things, like a procession of military wagons. In both these campaigns he came to the attention not only of his Spanish and Austrian commanders but also of a group of English Catholic nobles sympathetic to the Catholic side. He was recognized not only for military valour but also for his virtue and general intelligence.

From protestantism to Catholicism

After the establishment of the Church of England under King Henry VIII and a temporary and gruesome return to Catholicism under Queen Mary (“Bloody Mary”), Protestantism had become well entrenched under Elizabeth, as even the Spaniards recognized. They gave Fawkes a polite reception, but they were moving in the direction of a permanent peace with England, and Fawkes’s mission went nowhere. Meanwhile King James, suspicious of the intentions of English Catholics, sharpened his anti-Papist invective and imposed new fines on recusants.

In Brussels after his Spanish mission, Fawkes was introduced by Sir William Stanley to Tom Wintour, a Catholic soldier. Wintour or Stanley informed Fawkes of a plot under consideration by English nobleman Robert (or Robin) Catesby, whose father had undergone long imprisonment for his Catholic affiliation, and whose own militancy had deepened as he fell on hard times. Fawkes seemed the perfect foot soldier for the plan’s execution. He knew guns and explosives well, and since he had been away from England for many years, his name and face were unknown to Sir Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury and the head of the English monarchy’s secret police.

Conspiracy

Conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot. Very similar to one in National Portrait Gallery by Crispijn van de Passe the Elder

Conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot. Very similar to one in National Portrait Gallery by Crispijn van de Passe the Elder

At an inn in London’s upscale Strand distric Fawkes, Catesby, Wintour, and two other conspirators met in May of 1604 to swore an oath for carrying out Catesby’s plan: to throw England into chaos by killing its king and lawmakers in a massive explosion, to install King James’s young daughter, Elizabeth, as Queen and arrange her marriage to a Catholic monarch from elsewhere in Europe, thus restoring a Catholic monarchy.  The Westminster district in London’s West End was a crowded warren of streets and businesses at the time, and Fawkes/Johnson attracted little notice as he was installed as caretaker of an empty cellar of an adjoining building. By early 1605 the plotters had begun to fill the cellar with barrels of gunpowder. To disguise it they covered it with iron bars and bundles of kindling, known in British English as faggots. They had to replace the powder as it “decayed” or went stale.

November the 5th

Finally a date for the explosion was set: November 5, 1605, when King James, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons would all be in attendance in the same chamber. The Powder Treason began to unravel on the night of October 26, with the delivery of an anonymous letter to a Catholic nobleman, Lord Monteagle, advising him to concoct an excuse to avoid the opening of the Parliament session on November 5. Monteagle informed Sir Robert Cecil of the letter’s contents, and Cecil informed the King. Continuing uncertainty over who wrote the letter, together with signs that pointed to its being a forgery, have given rise over the centuries to theories that the Gunpowder Plot was devised not by Catholic militants but by Cecil himself, with the intention of permanently crippling Britain’s Catholics in the ensuing uproar. In this version of events (promoted in recent times by Francis Edwards), Fawkes and Catesby were double agents. The preponderance of historical opinion holds that the Treason was a genuine terrorist plot, but the debate continues.

Anti-Irish propaganda from Punch magazine, published in December 1867.

Anti-Irish propaganda from Punch magazine, published in December 1867.

Whatever the case, the cellars beneath the Parliament buildings were searched on the night of November 4, and Fawkes was discovered, along with the gunpowder. Described as a very tall and desperate fellow, he gave his name as John Johnson. King James, according to Fraser, ordered that “the gentler Tortures are to be first used unto him et sic per gradus ad ima tenditur [and so by degrees proceeding to the worst],” although torture was illegal in England at the time, and had been since the signing of the Magna Carta, the 1215 document that restricted the power of the English kings. Fawkes was hung from a wall in manacles and probably placed on the rack, a notorious device that slowly stretched a prisoner’s body until he lost the use of his limbs. After two days, Fawkes gave up the names of his coconspirators, all but one of whom were tracked down and executed or killed. Prior to his execution by hanging in Westminster’s Old Palace Yard on January 31, 1606, Fawkes was barely able to sign his own name on a confession. After dying on the scaffold, he was drawn and quartered.

Restrictions harsher than any they had yet experienced were placed on English Catholics by King James, and November 5 became a national holiday in England, known as Firework Night, Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Day. In the colonial United States it was celebrated as Pope Day, featuring a ceremony in which the Pope was burned in effigy, but the holiday was gradually absorbed into the Halloween festivities that occurred a few days earlier. Guy Fawkes Day evolved away from its roots in Britain, where the targets of the fire might include contemporary figures despised by the public. As part of a group of anti-terrorist measures, the cellars of the Houses of Parliament are still searched by guards each year before the legislature opens in November.

The execution of Guy Fawkes' (Guy Fawkes), by Claes (Nicolaes) Jansz Visscher, given to the National Portrait Gallery, London in 1916.

The execution of Guy Fawkes’ (Guy Fawkes), by Claes (Nicolaes) Jansz Visscher, given to the National Portrait Gallery, London in 1916.

 

Remembrance night of terrorism acts or ‘bonefires’ as cleansing ritual

An effigy of Guy Fawkes, burnt on a Guy Fawkes Night bonfire

Celebrations are held throughout the United Kingdom (including non-Catholic communities in Northern Ireland), and in some other parts of the Commonwealth. In the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, 5 November is commemorated with bonfires and firework displays, and it is officially celebrated in South Africa.*

Non religious people love to have a remembrance of the fires in which bones were burned. The “banefire” was the place were the dead were brought together to be burned so that no deceases could spread. It is the sheol or hell spoken of in the Bible, which was at the Biblical times a place outside the cities were the fire was kept burning day and night so that in case of a serious infection the spreading of the decease could stopped soon enough to avoid further deaths. Also the ones (bane) had to undergo a fast decay, which could be done by a fire.

In the ancient and present druid religions, bonfires were and are still held between 31 October and 5 November to celebrate Samhain and to burn the bones of the slaughtered livestock they had stored for the winter months. People and their livestock would often walk between two bonfires as a cleansing ritual, and the bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames. In several pagan circles the tradition of the bonfire is till kept alive. Some modern day Druids and Pagans see bonfire night as a significant celebration to end the harvest festival. In Belgium and Ireland they are mostly lit on the 31st of October. In those countries they are seen as a reaction against those who are religious and believe in Christ and/or in One Creator. Christian symbols are burned to give a sign to abolish them and with it the faith in such symbols or in what it represents. The burning cross should give a clear visible sign  to every one of how they hate the figure of Jesus Christ and everything around it. Pernicious weeds, diseased material is put on the bonfire to show how man can conquer the bad things in nature and how he can be stronger than the natural things which surrounds him. Lots of people find it a nice way to show the gods of nature and the bad spirits that they can control the earth and can frighten any spirit which they do not want to have around them, because if they would come close , they (man) would be there to put them in the fire.

For sure Christians do neither have to celebrate terrorism acts nor papal celebrations, nor feasts for making souls afraid or for giving gods a sign. Participating in such festivities as a sign of anti-catoliscism or a as sign of anti-protestantism would not give a sign of openness to other believers or other Christians and of forgivingness for what had happened in the past.

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* In Northern Ireland, the term “Bonfire Night” can refer to the Eleventh Night celebrations of 11 July. Like 5 November, this Bonfire Night also has its roots in the sectarian struggle between Protestants and Catholics. It celebrates the Battle of the Boyne of 1690, in which the Protestant William of Orange defeated the Catholic James II. The 23 June Bonfire Night in Ireland has its origins in a religious celebration and originally featured prayers for bountiful crops. {“Bonfire repair bill revealed”. BBC News. 15 July 2003. Retrieved 27 May 2011.; Haggerty, Bridget. “St. John’s Eve in old Ireland”. Irish Culture and Customs.}

 

Preceding articles:

  1. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 1: Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet
  2. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 2 Summersend and mansend
  3. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 3 Black Mass, Horror spectacles and pure puritans
  4. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 4 Blasphemy and ridiculing faith in God
  5. All Saints’ Day
  6. All Souls’ Day
  7. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 5 People, souls and saints in the news

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  • This Day in History: October 30th- A King, His Wife, and The Act of Supremacy (todayifoundout.com)
    Pope Clement feared Queen Katherine’s powerful nephew The Holy Roman Emperor right up the road a lot more than the King of England across the ocean, so he put off dealing with the situation.
    +
    The Protestants in the realm who thought they won a major theological victory were sorely disappointed, because the King deviated very little from traditional Catholic doctrine or ritual. Henry just wanted to be the boss – and to have access to all of the Church’s vast riches in his kingdom, which he plundered with great gusto.
    +
    How the King James Bible Came About
  • 2000 years of Christianity : what happened? – Part IV – 1200AD – 1600AD (biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com)
    1549: Book of Common Prayer released – At the death of Henry VIII, the archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer, moved forward with the English reformation. Images were removed from churches, private confessions to priests were discontinued, and the clergy allowed to marry. But mass was still said in Latin. So Cranmer moved to create a liturgy that was pleasing to Protestants as well as Catholics. The book of common prayer was born.
    +
    1559: John Knox makes final return to Scotland – A Scottish clergyman and writer who was a leader of the Protestant Reformation, founded the Presbyterian denomination in Scotland, helping to write the new confession of faith and the ecclesiastical order for the newly created reformed church in Scotland called “the Kirk”.
    +
    With the sale of indulgences, the reformation would officially begin at the hand of Martin Luther and the likes of Ulrich Zwingli. Protestantism which spread quickly even with heavy opposition from the Catholic church, even leading to wars between the two groups, would also give birth to the Anglican Church in England, a separate entity from the church in Rome. While Calvin’s teachings were soaked in by Protestantism, a counter reformation was underway inside the catholic church which did not reform many of its earlier teachings. While the Jesuits traveled on missions programs with spain and portugal as they extended their land overseas, many reformers such as Ridley, Latimer and Cranmer were executed for their beliefs – but Protestantism could not be stamped out, and would become one of the largest sects in Christianity – distinctively different from Catholicism, although borrowing and having many of its roots in the teachings of Rome.
  • Repost for Today (supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com)
    The king had declared himself Head of the Church in England and had repudiated its spiritual allegiance to the Pope. The suppression and spoliation of the Religious Orders followed, but the Knights of St. John were not at first included in the general ruin. In 1539, two knights of the English Tongue, Blessed Adrian Fortescue and Ven. Thomas Dingley, a nephew of Sir William Weston, Grand Prior of England, were martyred on Tower Hill for denying the Royal Supremacy. By Letters Patent 7th July, 1539, Henry reminded the knights of the English Tongue that he was a Protector of the Order : and it was his will that in future every appointment must be confirmed by him, and that he was to receive the first year’s revenue of the office.
  • The Fallibility Of Papal Infallibility (psalm115three.com)
    if papal infallibility has only been exercised twice, how can Catholic apologists claim that the canon of scripture, Christ’s deity, the Trinity, etc. have also been infallibly declared? How can they claim that some rulings of Popes and councils are infallible, while others aren’t, without having a reasonable and consistent standard by which to make such a distinction? For example, if Pope Pius IX’s Immaculate Conception decree is infallible, why wouldn’t Pope Boniface VIII’s Unam Sanctam decree, which errs repeatedly, also be infallible? Both decrees were issued by Popes, both decrees define doctrine, and both decrees use authoritative language. Or when the Fourth Lateran Council dogmatizes transubstantiation, why is that accepted as infallible, while the same council’s offering of indulgences to those who participate in a Crusade and “exterminate heretics” isn’t accepted as infallible? Catholics are unreasonable and inconsistent in how they define papal infallibility.
    +
    The Dislike of Catholicism: Understanding the Holy in the Catholic Tradition – 5 – Psychological reasons
    Some Christians routinely advocate angry, hateful behavior. And if they see any vice among individual Catholics they arguably project their own anger – and other shortcomings – onto Catholicism as a whole. This type of Christian is self-perceived as genuine and true while Catholics are deemed invalid.
    +
    The self-righteous Christian may try to engage others in heated messaging wars over specific points of doctrine. With these individuals, the ideal of loving within the mystical body of Christ gets twisted into something more like negative attention seeking, stemming from an unresolved personal issue.
  • Douthat: Conservatives Will Take Their Ball and Go Home if Francis Changes “Their” Church (religiondispatches.org)
    If the church had been evolving doctrine in a more gradual, holistic manner over the past several decades, the changes being proposed now wouldn’t seem so dramatic. But a pair of popes—John Paul and his long-time doctrinal henchman Benedict—conspired to freeze the natural development of Catholic teaching. They took uber-conservative readings of key issues, like the ordination of women and the “intrinsically disordered” nature of gay Catholics, and then declared them virtually infallible, so that any future evolution was by its very nature heretical.To conservatives, Catholic doctrine has become like a game of capture the flag—if you can hold onto the flag long enough, you win, regardless of the advisability of the original teaching.
  • Biography : Robert Catesby (writedge.com)

    Robert Catesby is a well known figure in English History. He was born in 1673 and died in 1705 at the young age of 32. He was the son of Sir William Catesby of Lapworth and Anne Coughton. Catesby was directly related to the Richard III through his father. He was 6th in the line of succession.

    Catesby’s father was a staunch Catholic and a prime supporter of the Jesuit mission. His religious belief led to his arrest in 1580. Richard was only 8 years old at that time. His father was tried along side Lord Vaux and his brother-in-law Sir Thomas Tresham, for harboring of a Jesuit, Father Edmund Campion. This arrest and trial had a traumatic effect on Richard who grew up as a strong supporter of the Catholic mission.
    +

    Despite his religious inclinations Catesby was held in high esteem by both Catholics and Protestants and was part of the glamorous circle that surrounded the court. This affluence and popularity played a great part in protecting him from the rigors of recusancy.

    When Queen Elizabeth I fell ill in 1596, as a precautionary measure Catesby and some of his friends from his circle namely John Wright, his brother Christopher and Francis Tresham were arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London.

  • Death by Quill, the Parliamentary Act of Attainder (englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com)
    Thomas Cromwell simply did what Thomas Cromwell was highly regarded for. He drafted a law forbidding the foretelling of the monarch’s death, filing Acts of Attainder against the Holy Maid of Kent and her inner circle. How can one be convicted for violating a law before it actually became a law? Obviously, that mattered not. Parliament enacted sentence as judge and jury. Elizabeth Barton, Holy Maid of Kent and five men close to her subsequently condemned, they all were executed at Tyburn — problem solved.
  • Could We Please Have Better New York Times Columnists?: Historical Lack-of-Literacy Ediiton (delong.typepad.com)
    the sixteenth-century Catholic Church lost England not because Popes condemned Henry VIII Tudor’s marriage to Ann Boleyn as adulterous, but because Pope Pius V rejected the legality of the Third Succession Act:
    +
    Pope Pius V, in Regnans in Excelsis, rejected the legality of the Third Succession Act. He commanded Catholics on pain of excommunication to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I Tudor. Regnans in Excelsis declares that it is not the Crown-in-Parliament that decides upon the line of succession to the throne of England, but the Pope.

Autumn traditions for 2014 – 1: Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet

The sun did not yet go under for the Summer 2014 or Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas), Sancta Claus, the Santa, and all Winter presents were already to be found in the shops. In Flanders in May we had already a garden centre which presented a huge Christmas show, with all the new decoration gadgets for December 2014. That month there was also lots of protest having to be confronted as consumer with the Christmas period, whilst Summer had yet to start.

Intocht van Sinterklaas in Amsterdam

Sinterklaas and his servants in Amsterdam

In the Low countries we for centuries do have a children festival where on the night of 5 December presents are brought by a so called saint Nicolas and his servants who are called “zwarte pieten” “black guys” (often translated in English as Black Peters or “Black Pete“, thinking a Piet is the name of a Peter or Pete instead of the slang for a worker or guy, a toff, a bigwig or “Johnnie”). This labourer who helps to make, transport and delivers the presents by going through the chimneys, by which he becomes so black, has been the dispute already since 2012, but got in real high discussion last year. We thought we had seen it all, but this year many communities bear the consequences from the zwarte Piet” (“Black Pete”). They are afraid to have black persons standing next to Sinterklaas on the ship or on the road, on horses close to Sinterklaas risking to receive a fine or to be put in jail. Those against the colour of the ‘black petes’ have clearly forgotten that the white bishop had worked in Turkey and brought his helpers from there en from Spain, where he found Moors or Moroccan people who were willing to help him to bring goods to the poor and need, plus to the small children who could be made happy with a surprise.

Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan had to hear in July that the Amsterdam District Court found the character of Zwarte Piet a racist caricature.. He was advised to reconsider his licensing of the annual Sinterklaas parade where the Saint enters the city on a boat with several balck sevants on the deck. In August van der Laan got back to them and said that the character of Zwarte Piet would change over the next four years; the black paint, red lips and afro wigs would be ‘toned down’.

On television several shopkeepers declared even not willing to sell black greasepaint these months, because it could be associated with them liking a Black Pete, and as such being ‘discriminating black people’. What those people against the black Pete do not want to see is that the blackness of the person has nothing to do with discrimination or by preferring black slaves. Zwarte Piet or Black Pete is a helper and not a slave of Saint Nicholas. Either on the 5th of December (in Holland) or the 6th of December (Holland and Belgium -except some parts of Flanders, Holland, North France and German districts, where they have Sint Maarten on the 11th of November in) several children in the Low Countries look forward for  Saint Nicholas’ Day (6 December) where they can have a day where they can play freely with their presents of ‘the holy man’.

The whole situations seems to get out of hand when we do hear that even people are receiving death treats on both camps. In August the judicial advisor to the anti-Zwarte Piet movement, Frank King, removed himself from the judicial process around the issue after receiving several death threats, the Algemeen Dagblad reported. In an interview with the AD, King says that his heart is still in the case, and that he may get involved again some time.

“If the topic makes it to the European Human Rights Court, they can call me”,

King tells the AD.

Every one should have to have the right to have a defence layer or professional advisor, not having to mean that this adviser totally agrees with the person he talks for. from Leiden is done. Frank King believes that there is some kind of schism between what he thinks he is doing, and what others think he’s doing.

“I seem myself as lawyer of the counter-movement against Zwarte Piet. But the supporters see that differently. They now see me as the face of the counter-movement. And are directing their anger at me.”

Recently, the lawyer has received threats and abuse on all levels of communication. He receives the worst by mail. He is threatened, and he is abused because he has parents from Suriname.

“One mail said that I should have been put on a 17th century slave ship, just like my ancestors.”

King has had enough of the abuse, as well as the case, which is taxing in time. Though King does emphasize that he is proud of his involvement, and proud of the progress made.

Geert Wilders and his followers do have a problem with coloured people and made it that several Dutch people have become weary about the black coloured people and traditional black figures. In Belgium and Holland or the Netherlands we even do not know any more what we are allowed to say for a person with an other skin than the Caucasian race. There was a time we were not allowed to say ‘zwarte’ (‘black’) any more and had to say ‘neger’ (niger) but then this was not as seen as polite any more so ‘negro type’ and ‘negroïde’ were introduced. After a while this was not done any more and we had to use “immigrant” (“immigrant”) but soon this was considered to be a sobriquet and was to be replaced with “allochtoon” (foreign, alien, allochthonous), which is now also nearly becoming a nickname or giving a sign of ‘giving the other person the stigma’ of being a ‘profiteer’. This really indicates in our regions we are getting a real race problem.

Sinterklaas en ZwartePiet

Classic drawing of Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet (Saint Nicholas and Black Pete) every young person in the Low Countries formerly grew up with

For centuries at schools across the country, children sang songs referring to the skin tone and character of the black servant “…even if I’m black as coal I mean well…”, “Saint Nicholas, enter with your black servant”, etc,. Many object that in some old songs about Zwarte Piet, he is presented as not being a very clever boy, even  being a little bit stupid, a little bit clumsy, more akin to a child than an adult, the same generalisations previously applied to black people, but which can no longer be made explicitly.

Now nothing may be black any more or it would be associated with denigration. As a joke in 2012 already a funny video was introduced where a “zwarte piet” was presented as a worker you could hire or buy to do all the little and harder works in the household and at the office or could even be used as you masseur or “puppy” or “doll” in bed.

The whole situation became so ludicrous that several funny video’s turn up and even companies are making advertisement spots, like we could see one, last night for fund recruitment for cancer treatment, where we could see a “Zwarte Pieten” training school in Africa which had lost so much money because nobody wanted a black Pete any more, they nearly could continue working but a solution was found having new recruits with white bold children wanting to learn for ‘piet'[(Sorry no video available of this (yet)].

Concerning supermarkets not willing to present anything any more which refers to ‘Zwarte Piet’ a satirical video was already placed on Youtube. It was first presented on The PowNews of October 9, 2014: The Albert Heijn wants Zwarte Pietwegjorissen” (take them out of the picture), but the helpers are not pleased with it and do not want to give up their job, which they like very much. Therefore a boycott was set up before the Alber Heijn supermarkets by the helpers of Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) in Appie, Oostzaan.

  • Geert Wilders wants mandatory blackface at Dutch festival (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
    If Wilders wants to ban changing songs’ lyrics, then he will have very much work to do. Throughout history, old songs have been adapted with new lyrics. Protestant churches in the Netherlands and elsewhere have changed the lyrrics of their hymns and psalms frequently. Does Wilders want to jail the Protestant dignitaries responsible for that? He can’t jail all of them, as most are already dead. The Belgian national anthem’s lyrics have changed many times.
  • Santa’s helper is a racist caricature (newint.org)

    It’s been a month since Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan announced his decision to cancel Christmas. Or at least that’s how Anneka Hendriks laughingly describes it to me. Hendriks is one of the hundreds of people in Amsterdam who enjoy painting their faces black, donning afro wigs and gold hoop earrings, and celebrating the festive season by masquerading as Zwarte Piet (Dutch for ‘Black Pete’).

    ‘Hundreds’ is a conservative estimate; it’s probably more like thousands or tens of thousands when the rest of the Netherlands is taken into account.

  • The Netherlands plan a nationwide consultation on the controversial Black Pete tradition (independent.co.uk)

    The Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands has announced that he will be organising a consultation on the role that ‘Black Petes’ should play during the festive opening of the Sinterklaas season this year.

    Minister Lodewijk Asscher plans to bring relevant parties together to discuss possible changes to the controversial tradition ahead of the televised event on 15 November. The talks will include the national broadcaster and the council of Gouda, the host town.

    Asscher says: “Last year things were very polarised. Everyone should be able to enjoy the festivities again.”
    +
    The Dutch have indeed taken a clear stance in defence of their beloved Pete. The Prime Minister Mark Rutte reflected the feelings of the majority of the population when he responded to criticisms by saying: “Black Pete, that already says it, he’s black. We can’t change much about that”.

  • Dutch ‘Zwarte Piet’: Innocent Holiday Tradition or Inadvertent Racism? (ny.thedailydigest.org)
    When I was a little kid (“little” being ages 10 through 17), I lived in the Netherlands Antilles and in the Netherlands. That was back in the 50s.
    +
    I remember them (sometimes there were dozens of them) running and clowning around with their burlap sacks — scaring the daylights out of some little kids might be a better term — in parades, shopping centers and, as legend had it, coming down the chimney while you were sleeping.
  • Dutch ‘Zwarte Pieten’: Innocent Tradition or Inadvertent Racism? (themoderatevoice.com)
    going back 60 years, Zwarte Pieten were white adolescents with painted black faces (supposedly from the soot picked up scaling down all those chimneys), thick, painted-on, bright-red lips, lots of frizzy black hair, many other “ornaments” such as big gold hoop earrings…and beautiful Dutch blue or green eyes. (No colored contact lenses in those days).

    They were Sinterklaas’ knechten (servants) who would help Sinterklaas deliver sweets and gifts to those kids who had behaved throughout the year and would leave only a lump of coal for those children who had not been very nice. Legend and rumor also had it that they would stuff kids who had been naughty and bad into their burlap sacks and haul them back to Spain, or Morocco, or Turkey or wherever current folklore had it that the Zwarte Pieten came from.

  • The Dutch Christmas with Zwarte Pieten in Blackface (usslave.blogspot.com)
    From Forbes, “The Unbearable Whiteness of Piet-ing: Dutch Santa’s Blackface Elves,” by John Giuffo (Contributor), on 4 December 2012 — Christmastime in Amsterdam has a special kind of magic, and a unique kind of controversy.
     +
    White lights slide down buildings and arch across shopping streets, multiplying their twinkle in canal reflections. No garish multi-color, animatronic ego contests anywhere. You will hear Christmas music, but you’re not assaulted, and dreams of restraining orders against Bing Crosby never fill your head (unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said of his children). No one is trampled in shopping frenzies, no one gets arrested for assaulting line-cutters, and the gift giving comes in early December, separate from the more low-key holiday of the 25th. Family members write sardonic poems for each other. Poems! Glühwein – a sort of hot Christmas sangria – warms hands and bellies. And Sinterklaas arrives not on a reindeer-pulled sleigh laden with loot, but on a white horse, accompanied by a small cohort of his helpers, the Zwarte Pieten, or Black Petes – white revelers coated in blackface.
  • Virtual Advent Tour & Giveaway: The Dutch Celebration of Sinterklaas (leeswammes.wordpress.com)
    Sinterklaas has been a tradition in the Netherlands for hundreds of years. Originally, this bishop came to bring money to the poor, but these days it’s a children’s celebration.
    +
    Just like lots of children all over the world believe in Santa Claus, in the Netherlands it’s Sinterklaas they believe in and usually stop believing in around 7 or 8 years’ of age.
    +
    Zwarte Piet has sweets in his bag (although in the old days he would use his bag to transport naughty children back to Spain!), notably pepernoten, which are small, slightly spicy biscuits (cookies). Usually Zwarte Piet will throw these around and kids collect them from the floor (when outdoors they get a fistful in their hand).

    Pepernoten

  • Sinterklaas, A Historically Correct (But Politically Incorrect) Children’s Tradition (urbantimes.co)
    The Dutch picture the character of ‘Zwarte Piet’ (translated Black Pete) as helper with a controversial black African look: blackface, curly wig, red lips, sometimes Creole earrings. The outfit is colourful, topped of by a cap with feathers and a ruffle like a Renaissance page.
    +
    This year, the usual discussion has been overrun by the decision of the former Dutch colony Suriname to ban Sinterklaas completely. Up until now Sinterklaas had been celebrated in Suriname the same way as in Holland: with a white priest coming from Spain on a boat with his black helpers… Evidently, this custom doesn’t fit in a country where white people only account for 5% of the population.
  • be what you want to be (piadrent.blogspot.com)
    The helpers are called ‘Black Petes’ and they are funny and a bit stupid.

    This may have been fine half a century ago, but in today’s day we find that discriminative and offensive. So there is a restyling movement for Black Petes happening right now. First, we will be calling them Petes, and second, their skin tone is becoming more flexible.