19 August 2017

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America's Response to the Racist & Extremist Violence in Charlottesville

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America stands with all people of goodwill in condemning the hateful violence and lamenting the loss of life that resulted from the shameful efforts to promote racial bigotry and white supremacist ideology in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Orthodox Church emphatically declares that it does not promote, protect or sanction participation in such reprehensible acts of hatred, racism, and discrimination, and proclaims that such beliefs and behaviors have no place in any community based in respect for the law and faith in a loving God.
The essence of the Christian Gospel and the spirit of the Orthodox Tradition are entirely and self-evidently incompatible with ideologies that declare the superiority of any race over another. Our God shows no partiality or favoritism (Deuteronomy 10:17, Romans 2:11). Our Lord Jesus Christ broke down the dividing wall of hostility that had separated God from humans and humans from each other (Ephesians 2:14). In Christ Jesus, the Church proclaims, there can be neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or femalebut all are one (Galatians 3:28). Furthermore, we call on one another to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to expose them (Ephesians 5:11). And what is darkness if not hatred? The one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness (1 John 2:11)!
Furthermore, in 1872, Hierarchs from around the world assembled in Constantinople and denounced all forms of xenophobia and phyletism. They agreed that the promotion of racial or national supremacy and ethnic bias or dissension in the Church of Christ is to be censured as contrary to the sacred teachings of the Christian Gospel and the holy canons of the Church. It is formally condemned as heresy, the strongest category of false teaching.
Finally, such actions as we have witnessed in recent days, by self-proclaimed white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and various racists and fascists, betray the core human values of love and solidarity. In this, we pray wholeheartedly for the families of those who lost their lives or suffered in these tragic events. In like manner, we cannot condone any form of revenge or retaliation by any group or individual. Therefore, we fervently appeal to every person of good will, and especially the leaders of our great nation, to consider and adopt ways of reconciling differences in order to rise above any and all discrimination in our history, our present, and our future.

The bishops of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America includes:

  • Geron Archbishop Demetrios of America
  • Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta
  • Metropolitan Antony of the East
  • Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico
  • Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey
  • Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco
  • Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York
  • Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver
  • Metropolitan Joseph of North America
  • Metropolitan Joseph of the USA, Canada, and Australia
  • Metropolitan Methodios of Boston
  • Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit
  • Metropolitan Nikitas of Berkeley
  • Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh
  • Metropolitan Tikhon of America
  • Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco
  • Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America
  • Archbishop Mark of Philadelphia
  • Archbishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh
  • Archbishop Michael of New York and New Jersey
  • Archbishop Nathaniel of America
  • Archbishop Nicolae of the Americas
  • Archbishop Nikon of New England
  • Archbishop Peter of Chicago and Mid-America
  • Bishop Alexander of Dallas and the South
  • Bishop Alexander of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York
  • Bishop Anthony of Toledo and the Midwest
  • Bishop Antoun of Miami and the Southeast
  • Bishop Basil of Wichita and Mid-America
  • Bishop Daniel of the West
  • Bishop David of Alaska
  • Bishop Demetrios of Chicago
  • Bishop Irinej of Eastern America
  • Bishop John of Caracas and South Americaa
  • Bishop John of Worcester and New England
  • Bishop Longin of New Gracanica-Midwestern America
  • Bishop Maxim of Western America
  • Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn
  • Bishop Pankratij of Mexico
  • Bishop Paul of Chicago and the Midwest
  • Bishop Saba of North America
  • Bishop Thomas of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic



Here are some of the Bible verses in context from the Assembly's statement (Old Testament quotes are from The Orthodox Study Bible and New Testament quotes are from The Orthodox New Testament, Volume Two):
Deuteronomy 10:17-19: For the Lord your God is the God of gods, and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, and loves the resident alien, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the resident aliens, for you were resident aliens in the land of Egypt. 
Galatians 3:26-29: For all are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many as were baptized into Christ, ye put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male and female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. 
Ephesians 5:11-12: And cease having fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 
1 John 2:9-11: The one who saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in the darkness until now. The one loving his brother abideth in the light, and there is not an occasion of stumbling in him. But the one hating his brother is in darkness, and walketh in the darkness, and knoweth not where he goeth, because the darkness blinded his eyes.

09 June 2017

The Biblical Stand Against Nagging, Arguing, or Being Angry (Especially With Your Spouse)

Do you nag your spouse? If so, then stop! Why? The Bible (both Old and New Testaments alike) clearly tells us not to.

Psalm 36(37):8 Cease from anger, and leave rage; have no emulation to do evil.

Proverbs 14:1 A wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish will pull down with her hands that also which is built.

Proverbs 14:29 He that is patient, is governed with much wisdom: but he that is impatient, exalteth his folly.

Proverbs 19:11 The learning of a man is known by patience and his glory is to pass over wrongs.

Proverbs 19:13 A foolish son is the grief of his father: and a wrangling wife is like a roof continually dropping through.

Proverbs 21:9 It is better to sit in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling women, and in a common house.

Proverbs 21:19 It is better to dwell in a wilderness, than with a quarrelsome and passionate woman.

Proverbs 22:24-25 Be not a friend to an angry man, and do not walk with a furious man: Lest perhaps thou learn his ways, and take scandal to thy soul.

Proverbs 25:8 The things which thy eyes have seen, utter not hastily in a quarrel: lest afterward thou mayst not be able to make amends, when thou hast dishonoured thy friend.

Proverbs 25:24 It is better to sit in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman, and in a common house.

Proverbs 27:15 Roofs dropping through in a cold day, and a contentious woman are alike.

Proverbs 29:11 A fool uttereth all his mind: a wise man deferreth, and keepeth it till afterwards.

Ecclesiastes 7:8-10 Oppression troubleth the wise, and shall destroy the strength of his heart. Better is the end of a speech than the beginning. Better is the patient man than the presumptuous. Be not quickly angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of a fool.

Matthew 5:22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother without just cause shall be liable to the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca' shall be liable to the Sanhedrin, but whosoever shall say, 'Thou fool,' shall be liable to the fire of Gehenna.

Romans 12:14-18 Keep on blessing those who persecute you; keep on blessing, and not cursing. Be rejoicing with those who rejoice, and be weeping with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Mind not high things, but bring yourselves down to associate with the humble. Cease becoming wise in your own deceits. Render to no one evil for evil. Provide for yourselves right things before all men. If possible, as to that which depends on you, be at peace with all men.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 Love is long-suffering, is kind; love is not jealous; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up; doth not behave unseemly, seeking not its own, is not provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; covereth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things, Love never falleth away. But whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether tongues, they shall cease; whether knowledge, it shall be done away.

Ephesians 4:26-27  Be ye angry, and sin not. Let not the sun set upon your provocation. Cease giving place to the devil.

Ephesians 4:29-32 Let not any rotten speech proceed from your mouth, but if any, such that is good for building up, as the need may be, in order that it may give grace to those who hear. And cease grieving the Holy Spirit of God, in Whom ye were sealed until a day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and anger, and wrath, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice; and keep on becoming kind to one another, compassionate, graciously forgiving one another, even as God in Christ also graciously forgave you.

Ephesians 5:22-25 Wives, be subordinating yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also the Christ is head of the Church, and is Himself Saviour of the body. But even as the CHurch subordinates herself to the Christ, so also the wives to their husbands in everything. Husbands be loving your own wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself up for her.

Colossians 3:8 But now ye also put off from yourselves all these things: wrath, anger, malice, blasphemy, foul language out of your mouth.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Wherefore be comforting one another and building up one another, even as also ye do.

1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 Now we exhort you, brethren, be admonishing the disorderly, be consoling the faint-hearted, be supporting the weak, be longsuffering toward all. See ye that no one render evil for evil to anyone, but always be pursuing the good both toward one another and toward all.

1 Timothy 5:1-2 Do not rebuke an elder, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, elder women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.

Iakovos (James) 1:19-21 Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for man's wrath doth not work out God's righteousness. Wherefore lay aside all filthiness and surplus of wickedness, and receive in meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

Iakovos (James) 1:26 If anyone among you seem to be religious, while he bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, the religion of this one is vain.

Iakovos (James) 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, the world of injustice. So the tongue, the one which defileth the body, is being set in our members and setteth on fire the wheel of birth; and it is set on fire by Gehenna.

Iakovos (James) 4:11 Cease speaking against one another, brethren. He who speaketh against a brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh against the law, and judgeth the law. But if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. One is the Lawgiver and Judge, Who is able to save and destroy. But who art thou who judgest another?

1 Peter 3:10-12 For the one who doth wish to love life and to see good days, let him stop his tongue from evil and do good. Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are toward their entreaty; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

1 Peter 4:8-9 And before all things have fervent love among yourselves, for "love shall cover a multitude of sins." Be hospitable to one another, without murmurings.

Verses from the Books of the Old Covenant/Testament are from the Douay-Rheims Holy Bible, except for the Psalms, which are from The Orthodox Psalter: The Psalterion of the Prophet and King David According to the Seventy, with the Nine Odes and Commentary. Verses from the Books of the New Covenant/Testament are from the The Orthodox New Testament Volume 1: Evangelistarion - The Holy Gospels and The Orthodox New Testament: Volume 2: Praxapostolos - Acts, Epistles, and Revelation

12 May 2017

HOW-TO: Get Amazon Prime for FREE!

For a very limited time, Amazon is giving away 30 days of Amazon Prime for FREE at https://goo.gl/gJYYHK

Students can get 6 months of Amazon Prime for FREE, then HALF PRICE for the next 6 months if they continue by signing up at https://goo.gl/gJYYHK

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Why would you want to get Amazon Prime? Here's a few reasons:

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02 May 2017

HOW-TO: Find Orthodox Summer Camps for Summer and Winter in America

Every Summer, parents look for (spiritually, physically, and mentally) healthy, enlightening, and educational activities for their children. In order to help with that, I have done my best to find all the Orthodox Christian Camps available for Orthodox Youth in America. I have also added them to one of the side sections of my blog as well. I hope parents and grandparents find these useful. If I have missed any Orthodox Camps, please let me know in the comments below with their name, location, and website, so that I can add them to both lists!

ARIZONA
CALIFORNIA
COLORADO
CONNECTICUT
GEORGIA
IDAHO
ILLINOIS
INDIANA
IOWA
KANSAS
KENTUCKY
MARYLAND
MICHIGAN
MINNESOTA
NEW HAMPSHIRE
NEW JERSEY
NEW MEXICO
NEW YORK
OHIO
OKLAHOMA
OREGON
PENNSYLVANIA
SOUTH CAROLINA
TEXAS
WASHINGTON
WISCONSIN

01 May 2017

Other Interesting Blog Stats

While my blog's audience is definitely mostly American, here are the top 15 countries that my visitors are from:

  1. United States of America
  2. Russia
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Germany
  5. France
  6. Canada
  7. India
  8. Ukraine
  9. China
  10. Australia
  11. Romania
  12. Ireland
  13. Singapore
  14. South Korea
  15. Macedonia
Here are the top 7 browsers they use:
  1. Microsoft Internet Explorer
  2. Google Chrome
  3. Mozilla Firefox
  4. Apple Safari
  5. Opera
  6. Samsung Browser
  7. Lynx
Here are the top 7 Operating Systems used to access this blog:
  1. Microsoft Windows
  2. Apple Macintosh (Mac OS X)
  3. Apple iPhone (iOS)
  4. Google Android
  5. Linux
  6. Unix
  7. Blackberry
Here are the top referring sites to my blog: 

29 April 2017

Conservation of the God-Created Environment in the Holy Bible

We as Christians should be conservation minded, to take care of the environments on the world that we live on. We are called to be stewards of that which we are blessed with, including our planet, earth. But where can we find this in Sacred Scripture? Let's look at this in detail, in both the New and Old Covenants/Testaments of Holy Writ.

Verses from the Books of the Old Covenant/Testament are from the Douay-Rheims Holy Bible, except for the Psalms, which are from The Orthodox Psalter: The Psalterion of the Prophet and King David According to the Seventy, with the Nine Odes and Commentary. Also consulted were The Lives of the Holy Prophets: The Major and Minor Prophets of the Old Testament and Genesis, Creation, and Early Man. Verses from the Books of the New Covenant/Testament are from the The Orthodox New Testament Volume 1: Evangelistarion - The Holy Gospels and The Orthodox New Testament: Volume 2: Praxapostolos - Acts, Epistles, and Revelation

First let's look in the Old Covenant/Testament to see to whom all of creation belongs and how we should treat it. All 5 Books of the Mosaic Law speak to this, let's find out where.
Genesis 1:6-12, 21-25, 31 And God said: Let there be a firmament made amidst the waters: and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made a firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament, from those that were above the firmament, and it was so. And God called the firmament, Heaven; and the evening and morning were the second day. God also said: Let the waters that are under the heaven, be gathered together into one place: and let the dry land appear. And it was so done. And God called the dry land, Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.And he said: Let the earth bring forth the green herb, and such as may seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, which may have seed in itself upon the earth. And it was so done. And the earth brought forth the green herb, and such as yieldeth seed according to its kind, and the tree that beareth fruit, having seed each one according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. [...] And God created the great whales, and every living and moving creature, which the waters brought forth, according to their kinds, and every winged fowl according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And he blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the waters of the sea: and let the birds be multiplied upon the earth. And the evening and morning were the fifth day. And God said: Let the earth bring forth the living creature in its kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth, according to their kinds. And it was so done. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds, and cattle, and every thing that creepeth on the earth after its kind. And God saw that it was good. [...] And God saw all the things that he had made, and they were very good. And the evening and morning were the sixth day.
Genesis 2:15 And the Lord God took man, and put him into the paradise of pleasure, to dress it, and to keep it. 
Exodus 20:13-17 Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house: neither shalt thou desire his wife, nor his servant, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is his.

Exodus 23:10-11
Six years thou shalt sow thy ground, and shalt gather the corn thereof. But the seventh year thou shalt let it alone, and suffer it to rest, that the poor of thy people may eat, and whatsoever shall be left, let the beasts of the field eat it: so shalt thou do with thy vineyard and thy olive yard.

Leviticus 25:3-5 Six years thou shalt sow thy field and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and shalt gather the fruits thereof: But in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath to the land, of the resting of the Lord: thou shalt not sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. What the ground shall bring forth of itself, thou shalt not reap: neither shalt thou gather the grapes of the firstfruits as a vintage: for it is a year of rest to the land. 
Leviticus 25:23-24 The land also shall not be sold forever: because it is Mine, and you are strangers and sojourners with Me. For which cause all the country of your possession shall be under the condition of redemption. 
Numbers 35:33-34 Defile not the land of your habitation, which is stained with the blood of the innocent: neither can it otherwise be expiated, but by his blood that hath shed the blood of another. And thus shall your possession he cleansed, myself abiding with you. For I AM the Lord that dwell among the children of Israel. 
Deuteronomy 20:19 When thou hast besieged a city a long time, and hath compassed it with bulwarks to take it, thou shalt not cut down the trees that may be eaten of, neither shalt thou spoil the country round about with axes: for it is a tree, and not a man, neither can it increase the number of them that fight against thee.
Now let's look at 4 (of the 9 Books) of the Books of Wisdom from the Old Covenant/Testament which remind us of the above lessons, and that humans can learn about God from His creation, but also warns us not to fall into the error of worshipping the earth or her creatures, who were so beautifully created by God.
Psalm 23(24):1-2 The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the inhabited world and all those dwelling in her. He founded her upon the seas, and upon the rivers He prepared her. 
Psalm 94(95):3-5 For the Lord is a great God and a great King over all the earth. For in His hand are the ends of the earth, and the heights of the mountains are His. For the sea is His, and He made her; and the dry land did His hands fashion. 
Job 12:7-12 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee: and the birds of the air, and they shall tell thee. Speak to the earth, and it shall answer thee: and the fishes of the sea shall tell. Who is ignorant that the hand of the Lord hath made all these things? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the spirit of all flesh of man. Doth not the ear discern words, and the palate of him that eateth, the taste? In the ancient is wisdom, and in length of days prudence. 
Proverbs 12:10-11 The just regardeth the lives of his beasts: but the bowels of the wicked are cruel. He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that pursueth idleness is very foolish. He that is delighted in passing his time over wine, leaveth a reproach in his strong holds. 
Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15 For God made not death, neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living. For he created all things that they might be: and he made the nations of the earth for health: and there is no poison of destruction in them, nor kingdom of hades upon the earth. For justice is perpetual and immortal. 
Wisdom of Solomon 2:1, 6-9, 21-24 For they have said, reasoning with themselves, but not right: [...] The time of our life is short and tedious, and in the end of a man there is no remedy, and no man hath been known to have returned from hell: Come therefore, and let us enjoy the good things that are present, and let us speedily use the creatures as in youth. Let us fill ourselves with costly wine, and ointments: and let not the flower of the time pass by us. Let us crown ourselves with roses, before they be withered: let no meadow escape our riot. Let none of us go without his part in luxury: let us everywhere leave tokens of joy: for this is our portion, and this our lot. [...] These things they thought, and were deceived: for their own malice blinded them. And they knew not the secrets of God, nor hoped for the wages of justice, nor esteemed the honour of holy souls. For God created man incorruptible, and to the image of his own likeness he made him. But by the envy of the devil, death came into the world: And they follow him that are of his side. 
Wisdom of Solomon 13:1-7 But all men are vain, in whom there is not the knowledge of God: and who by these good things that are seen, could not understand him that is, neither by attending to the works have acknowledged who was the workman: But have imagined either the fire, or the wind, or the swift air, or the circle of the stars, or the great water, or the sun and moon, to be the gods that rule the world. With whose beauty, if they, being delighted, took them to be gods: let them know how much the Lord of them is more beautiful than they: for the first author of beauty made all those things. Or if they admired their power and their effects, let them understand by them, that he that made them, is mightier than they: For by the greatness of the beauty, and of the creature, the creator of them may be seen, so as to be known thereby. But yet as to these they are less to be blamed. For they perhaps err, seeking God, and desirous to find him. For being conversant among his works, they search: and they are persuaded that the things are good which are seen.
Next, we will look at the 19 Books of Prophecy, specifically 3 (of the 7 Books) of the Major Prophets of the Old Covenant/Testament who tell us not to harm the earth.
Isaias(Isaiah) 24:4-5 The earth mourned, and faded away, and is weakened: the world faded away, the height of the people of the earth is weakened. And the earth is infected by the inhabitants thereof: because they have transgressed the laws, they have changed the ordinance, they have broken the everlasting covenant. 
Jeremias(Jeremiah) 2:7, 9-10 And I brought you into a fruitful, plentiful land, to eat the fruit thereof, and the best things thereof: and when ye entered in, you defiled my land, and made my inheritance an abomination. [...] Therefore will I yet contend in judgement with you, saith the Lord, and I will plead with your children. Pass over to the isles of Cethim, and see: and send into Cedar, and consider diligently: and see if there hath been done anything like this. 
Ezekiel 34:18 Was it not enough for you to feed upon good pastures? But you must also tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures: and when you drank the clearest water, you troubled the rest with your feet.
Now we will move on to the New Covenant/Testament. First let us check 1 of the (4) Holy Gospels written by the Holy Evangelists which shows us how to be stewards of what we are given, including the earth from the Word of Our Lord and Saviour, God the Son, the Son of Man, and the Sun of Righteousness, Jesus Christ
The Gospel According to Saint Luke 19:11-26 And as they heard these things He added and spake a parable, because He was near Jerusalem and they thought that the kingdom of God was immediately about to be shown forth. He saith therefore, "A certain well-born man went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And having called his own ten slaves, he gave ten minas to them, and said to them, 'Transact business while I go and return.' But his citizens kept on hating him, and sent forth an embassy after him, saying 'We are unwilling for this man to reign over us.' And it came to pass, when he returned, having received the kingdom, that he commanded those slaves to be called to him, to whom he gave money, in order that he might find out what each gained by trading. And the first came up, saying, 'Lord, thy mina gained ten minas.' And he said to him, 'Well done, good slave! Because in a very little thou wast faithful, be thou having authority over ten cities.' And the second came, saying, 'Lord,thy mina made five minas.' And he said also to this one, 'Be thou also over five cities.' And another came saying, 'Lord, behold thy mina, which I was keeping laid up in a napkin. For I was afraid of thee, because thou art an austere man. Thou takest up what thou didst not lay down, and reapest what thou didst not sow, and gatherest together where thou didst not winnow. He saith to him, 'Out of thy mouth will I judge thee, O wicked slave. Thou knowest that I am an austere man, taking up what I did not lay down, and reaping what I did not sow, and gathering together where I did not winnow; and why didst thou not give my money to the bank, and indeed after I came I would have exacted payment from it with interest?' And to those standing by he said, 'Take away the mina from him, and give it to the one who hath the ten minas.' And they said to him, 'Lord he hath ten minas.' For I say to you that to everyone who hath shall be given; but from the one who hath not, even what he hath shall be taken away from him."
Now let's check from 1 of the (21) Epistles that the Holy Apostles wrote in the New Covenant/Testament, teaching the Word of Christ to the local individual churches of the Church.
The Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans 8:19-22 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly awaiteth the revelation of the sons of God. For creation was subjected to vanity, not willingly, but on account of Him Who subjected it in hope, that the creation itself shall be freed from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth together and travaileth together until now.
And finally we will check 1 of the Apocalyptic Books written by the Saints of the New Covenant/Testament that warn us about our future and the consequences of our actions.
The Revelation of Saint John the Theologian 11:18 And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath did come, and the time of the nations to be judged and to give the reward to Thy slaves the prophets and to the saints, to those fearing Thy name, to the small and to the great, and to destroy those destroying the earth.

28 April 2017

The Holy Prophet Ezekiel

The Holy Prophet Ezekiel lived in the sixth century before the birth of Christ. He was born in the city of Sarir, and descended from the tribe of Levi; he was a priest and the son of the priest Buzi. Ezekiel was led off to Babylon when he was twenty-five years old together with King Jeconiah II and many other Jews during the second invasion of Jerusalem by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar.

The Prophet Ezekiel lived in captivity by the River Chebar. When he was thirty years old, he had a vision of the future of the Hebrew nation and of all mankind. The prophet beheld a shining cloud, with fire flashing continually, and in the midst of the fire, gleaming bronze. He also saw four living creatures in the shape of men, but with four faces (Ez. 1:6). Each had the face of a man in front, the face of a lion on the right, the face of an ox on the left, and the face of an eagle at the back (Ez. 1:10). There was a wheel on the earth beside each creature, and the rim of each wheel was full of eyes.

Over the heads of the creatures there seemed to be a firmament, shining like crystal. Above the firmament was the likeness of a throne, like glittering sapphire in appearance. Above this throne was the likeness of a human form, and around Him was a rainbow (Ez. 1:4-28).

According to the explanation of the Fathers of the Church, the human likeness upon the sapphire throne prefigures the Incarnation of the Son of God from the Most Holy Virgin Mary, who is the living Throne of God. The four creatures are symbols of the four Evangelists: a man (Saint Matthew), a lion (Saint Mark), an ox (Saint Luke), and an eagle (Saint John); the wheel with the many eyes is meant to suggest the sharing of light with all the nations of the earth. During this vision the holy prophet fell down upon the ground out of fear, but the voice of God commanded him to get up. He was told that the Lord was sending him to preach to the nation of Israel. This was the beginning of Ezekiel’s prophetic service.

The Prophet Ezekiel announces to the people of Israel, held captive in Baylon, the tribulations it would face for not remaining faithful to God. The prophet also proclaimed a better time for his fellow-countrymen, and he predicted their return from Babylon, and the restoration of the Jerusalem Temple.

There are two significant elements in the vision of the prophet: the vision of the temple of the Lord, full of glory (Ez. 44:1-10); and the bones in the valley, to which the Spirit of God gave new life (Ez. 37:1-14). The vision of the temple was a mysterious prefiguring of the race of man freed from the working of the Enemy and the building up of the Church of Christ through the redemptive act of the Son of God, incarnate of the Most Holy Theotokos. Ezekiel’s description of the shut gate of the sanctuary, through which the Lord God would enter (Ez. 44: 2), is a prophecy of the Virgin giving birth to Christ, yet remaining a virgin. The vision of the dry bones prefigured the universal resurrection of the dead, and the new eternal life bestowed by the Lord Jesus Christ.

The holy Prophet Ezekiel received from the Lord the gift of wonderworking. He, like the Prophet Moses, divided the waters of the river Chebar, and the Hebrews crossed to the opposite shore, escaping the pursuing Chaldeans. During a time of famine the prophet asked God for an increase of food for the hungry.

Ezekiel was condemned to execution because he denounced a certain Hebrew prince for idolatry. Bound to wild horses, he was torn to pieces. Pious Hebrews gathered up the torn body of the prophet and buried it upon Maur Field, in the tomb of Sim and Arthaxad, forefathers of Abraham, not far from Baghdad. The prophecy of Ezekiel is found in the book named for him, and is included in the Old Testament.

St Demetrius of Rostov (October 28 and September 21) explains to believers the following concepts in the book of the Prophet Ezekiel: if a righteous man turns from righteousness to sin, he shall die for his sin, and his righteousness will not be remembered. If a sinner repents, and keeps God’s commandments, he will not die. His former sins will not be held against him, because now he follows the path of righteousness (Ez. 3:20; 18:21-24).

Apolytikion of Prophet Ezekiel

As we celebrate the memory of Thy Prophet Ezekiel, O Lord, through him we beseech Thee to save our souls.

Kontakion of Prophet Ezekiel

O divine Ezekiel, as God's true Prophet, thou foretoldest unto all the Incarnation of the Lord, the Lamb of God, the Artificer, the Son of God, the Eternal made manifest.
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