Archive

Historical Background


There are a lot Marys in the Bible and it is easy to get confused about what Mary does what? Here is a true or false questionnaire based on what the Bible says (and only what the Bible says) about the various Marys. Take this quiz and see how good your knowledge of the Marys of the Bible really is.

Will you live forever with the one who died to save you?

Which Mary is this?

 

  1. T or F Mary Magdalene was a Prostitute-

FALSE According the Bible, Mary had seven devils, but nowhere does the Bible say that she was a prostitute.

  1. T or F Jesus Mother Mary was a virgin.

TRUE-the Bible says that Mary asked the angel how it was possible for her to have a child since she had never known a man.

  1. T or F The name translated into Greek in the New Testament-Mary- is the name Miriam or the Latin name Marie

TRUE-Mary, Jesus mother was Miriam while the other Marys were Marie.

  1. T or F Mary of Caesaria was sister to Lazarus and Martha.

FALSE- Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha was from Bethany.

  1. T or F After Lazarus died, Mary went on the road to meet Jesus while Martha stayed behind.

FALSE– It was Martha who met Jesus on the road. Mary did not see Jesus until he arrived at the house.

  1. T or F Mary Magdalene washed Jesus feet with her hair and a Spikenard ointment

FALSE Mary of Bethany, Lazarus and Martha’s sister was the Mary who washed Jesus feet with her hair and Spikenard.

  1. T or F If Moses’ sister Miriam would have been in the New Testament rather than the Old Testament, she would have been called Mary.

TRUE-As stated in question 3, Miriam was translated Mary in the New Testament. Jesus Mother Mary was Hebrew so her name was actually Miriam.

  1. T or F Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus alive after the Resurrection. She was the woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons. The name Magdalene indicates that she came from Magdala, a city on the southwest coast of the Sea of Galilee. After Jesus cast seven demons from her, she became one of His followers. Luke 7:37, Luke 8:23, Luke 87:36-50

TRUE-She saw him early in the morning. She didn’t recognize him at first. She thought he was the gardener.

  1. T or F-Mary Magdalene had seven devils cast out of her.

TRUE-

  1. T or F Mary Magdalene was a Prostitute-

FALSE According the Bible, Mary had seven devils, but nowhere does the Bible say that she was a prostitute.

  1. T or F Jesus Mother Mary was a virgin.

TRUE-the Bible says that Mary asked the angel how it was possible for her to have a child since she had never known a man.

  1. T or F The name translated into Greek in the New Testament-Mary- is the name Miriam or the Latin name Marie

TRUE-Mary, Jesus mother was Miriam while the other Marys were Marie.

  1. T or F Mary of Caesaria was sister to Lazarus and Martha.

FALSE– Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha was from Bethany.

  1. T or F After Lazarus died, Mary went on the road to meet Jesus while Martha stayed behind.

FALSE– It was Martha who met Jesus on the road. Mary did not see Jesus until he arrived at the house.

  1. T or F Mary Magdalene washed Jesus feet with her hair and a Spikenard ointment

FALSE Mary of Bethany, Lazarus and Martha’s sister was the Mary who washed Jesus feet with her hair and Spikenard.

  1. T or F If Moses’ sister Miriam would have been in the New Testament rather than the Old Testament, she would have been called Mary.

TRUE-As stated in question 3, Miriam was translated Mary in the New Testament. Jesus Mother Mary was Hebrew so her name was actually Miriam.

  1. T or F Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus alive after the Resurrection. She was the woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons. The name Magdalene indicates that she came from Magdala, a city on the southwest coast of the Sea of Galilee. After Jesus cast seven demons from her, she became one of His followers. Luke 7:37, Luke 8:23, Luke 87:36-50

TRUE-She saw him early in the morning. She didn’t recognize him at first. She thought he was the gardener.

  1. T or F-Mary Magdalene had seven devils cast out of her.

TRUE-

  1. T or F-Three Marys stood at the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified. Mary, the Wife of Clopas, Mary Magdalene, and Mary Jesus’ mother.

TRUE– In John’s gospel we read that “there were standing by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25)

  1. John Mark’s Mother was also named Mary. She was the sister of Barnabas.

TRUE-(Colosians 4:10)

  1. Mary was a very common name at that time in that culture.

TRUE-The Bible mentions nine Marys in the New Testament and Miriam in the old (which is the same name in Hebrew). This gives us a total of ten Marys mentioned in the Bible.

  1. T or F-Three Marys stood at the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified. Mary, the Wife of Clopas, Mary Magdalene, and Mary Jesus’ mother.

TRUE– In John’s gospel we read that “there were standing by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25)

  1. John Mark’s Mother was also named Mary. She was the sister of Barnabas.

TRUE-(Colosians 4:10)

  1. Mary was a very common name at that time in that culture.

TRUE-The Bible mentions nine Marys in the New Testament and Miriam in the old (which is the same name in Hebrew). This gives us a total of ten Marys mentioned in the Bible.

 

Any comments? Disagreements? I would love to hear what you have to say about this little pop quiz.

To get a little more green into your life, (saving money and healthy plants) read my free e-book Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, it is available through Smashwords in e-pub (Nook), mobi (kindle) or pdf formats. and to keep up with all my writing and events that I will be attending sign up for my free newsletter at http://eepurl.com/bPpzXX

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


Crucifixion_Icon_Sinai_13th_century

Last week I talked about how we share in God’s sorrow, but we are able to share in his sorrow because we share in his love. In I Corinthians, chapter 13, in the King James it speaks of charity, but in the Greek the word is agape which means unselfish love that is higher than any other type of love. I think the best illustration of this love, of what agape love is, can be found in the writings of the Apostle John.

In The Gospel of John

, Chapter 17 Jesus prayed to the father. He said that he wanted all of his followers (including future ones) to look to him not just for direction, but for guidance in the same way that he takes His guidance from His Father. He wants us to be one as he and his father are one. He says that if we are one (in his love), then the world will believe.
How sad it is that Christians around the world and especially in the US are more concerned with maintaining the divisions (denominations) than they are at seeing what each sect has in common with one another. Our determination of whether we are Christian or not is: whether or not Christ is Lord of our lives. If we choose not to do what Christ wants for us as believers, then perhaps we should reconsider whether or not we should call ourselves followers of Christ.

The Book of First John

In the book of I John, this same writer tells us that we need to love one another. He says that if we do not love our brother whom we can see, then we cannot love God either. We are lying to ourselves if we say otherwise.
This book also says that God is Love. If God is in us, then we will love one another.

II John

In this book John has a prayer. He prays that the people that he is talking with prosper and be in good health. I pray that for everyone, including those who do not know Christ as I know Christ. To prosper to me includes prospering in knowing Christ, and I wish that for everyone.
My daughter and many of her generation believe that everyone has a right to believe what they want. It’s the philosophy of tolerance. And although we have the right to believe, we do have to face the consequences of what we believe. I can believe that a hurricane coming will not harm me, but if I do not seek shelter, I will get hurt and probably die.
If I am in a canoe on a river and someone warns me that there is a waterfall and that if I don’t get out of the water, I will certainly fall to my death, I shouldn’t want to stay in that water. If I want to survive, then I need to get out.
All of us from the day that we are born are on the river of sin. John 3:16&17 says that Jesus came to draw us out of that river of sin. Each of us has a hurricane headed toward us that if we don’t get out of the way, it will destroy us. Accept the hand that Jesus is offering. Believe that he is and that he rewards those who diligently seek him.

The Revelation

In Revelation 3:7-13 John had a vision and in it Jesus tells him about the Church at Philadelphia, the righteous church that is not under persecution.
This church should be the example in which all Christians should want to be included. The first thing that we must realize is that the name Philadelphia means brotherly love. This church has a little strength and it has kept Christ’s Word, and it has not denied his authority over their lives. To those of this church, to those who overcome the pull of division and Satan, he will make a pillar in God’s Temple. Jesus said that he would write the name of God on him and the name of the city which is New Jerusalem and will write on him Christ’s own new name.

My Thoughts On Aging

Today’s my birthday. Some people get hung up on the fact that they are getting older (It beats the alternative, I always say.) I really don’t worry about getting older even though the calendar says that I am a year older than I was yesterday, I am in fact just a day older than I was yesterday. I do know however that my life here on earth is limited, but when this life here on earth ends, I am assured that I have another, better life waiting for me when I get there. My life here is temporary, but my life there is eternal and age won’t matter anymore. I just hope that I make the most of the time that I have left here and that I will bring a few others with me into His Glory.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. Click here for more information about Cygnet Brown and her books.


In Matthew 3:7-12 John the Baptist sees a group of religious leaders–Pharisees and Sadducees  among the group of people who came to see him. John the Baptist called them out and told them how much he despised what they represented. He called them fruitless. He called them echidna (King James translates viper). Echidna were poisonous asps or adders.The common ones were about 4 inches in length, and no thicker than a power cord. they lurked under stones, in the desert sands, and in cracks in walls. they were very aggressive and deadly.  He said that they needed the evidence (fruit) that they had repented. (To know what repented means in this passage refer to previous post).

He told them that being born of Abraham physically wasn’t enough. God could raise rocks up to be the children of God if that was what he wanted. (He may also have been using a metaphor in saying that they were stubborn like rocks in that they were unyielding to God.) He told them the time had come to cut down trees that gave no fruit. Because he had called them fruitless just a few sentences earlier, he was warning them that if they did not repent, they were coming down along with the religious system that they represented.

Who were the Pharisees, and who were the Sadducees and why did John the Baptist find them so poisonous? Historically, all we knew about them came from the works of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus; the early rabbinical writings (200 CE and later); and the New Testament. However, recently discovered in the  Dead Sea Scrolls references are found regarding these two groups

It has been widely believed that the Sadducees were named after Zadok, a priest in the time of King David and King Solomon. Another less accepted theory claims their name came from a later Zadok who lived in the 2nd century BCE. Still others believe the name “Sadducee” comes from the Hebrew tsadiq, which means “righteous.” Prior to the rise of King Herod the Great, the Sadducees were the priests in control of the temple because the high priests came through them. However, King Herod, because he knew that as a half-Jew he could not be both king and priest set up the system whereby King Herod elected the High Priest. This broke the custom of the high priesthood being attached to a particular family or that the high priest would hold the position for life. this very much reduced the power of the Sadducees at the time of Christ. This group was  a rationalistic sect who denied the supernatural (angels, demons, and resurrections). They were like many people today who try to apply logic to the spiritual. They believed that if you can’t see it, touch it, hear it, smell it, or taste it, with your physical senses, it didn’t exist. What people like this fail to realize is that the spiritual transcends the physical, not the other way around.

The name Pharisee either comes from the Hebrew word perusim, meaning “separated ones or from the Hebrew parosim, meaning “specifier,” since they sought to specify the correct meaning of God’s law to the people. They held to the letter of their own interpretation of the law and to their own traditions, regardless to whether they nullified the Word of God or not.. To provide an education separate from the Greek influence set up by their Roman dictators, the Pharisees set up local Jewish schools so that all Jewish boys could read the Torah. They were a dominant religious group in the affairs of the Temple as early as the Maccabean period. Because they came from the middle class, the Pharisees emerged as a significant force in Jewish affairs because of their influence with the common people. The Pharisees however were not just laymen because many held lower level seats in the Sanhedrin. Recent evidence found in the Dead Sea Scrolls indicates that the Pharisees dominated the Jewish Temple at the time of Christ. To John the Baptist, they represented a system that offered only bondage a political human system to be manipulated so that they could stay in power.

We see much of the same problems with our religious system today. Religious organizations are trying to jockey for position and power within the political system that is in place, rather than learning that they must transcend that political system. Through veiled political sermons, (they can’t come out and tell us directly that they are for a certain political party because if they did, they would lose their government tax exempt status), they poison us by lobbying us to believe that one political party is better than the other. The sermons they give us are not to help lead us to Christ, but to help them secure their own lives and positions.

Like the Pharisees and Sadducees of John the Baptist’s day, there is an ax to the tree. Already the religious system that dominates is falling.

According to the US Religious Landscape Survey put out by Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life:

More than one-quarter of American adults (28%) have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion – or no religion at all. If change in affiliation from one type of Protestantism to another is included, 44% of adults have either switched religious affiliation, moved from being unaffiliated with any religion to being affiliated with a particular faith, or dropped any connection to a specific religious tradition altogether.

Just as John the Baptist called for repentance of the religious leaders of his day, so am I now calling for repentance of the religious leaders of today. We must all recognize our sin and despise that sin with every fiber of our being. Like John the Baptist we need to be looking for that something more, something that transcends our physical lives and gives real meaning to our faith. That something comes in the baptism of the name of Jesus Christ.


jesus mary joseph lighted with a candle Stock Photo - 11408014        Have you ever examined your own genealogy? If you notice, you have two distinct lines. One comes from your father and the other from your mother. Jesus also had a mother and a father. We discovered in our study of Christ’s genealogy in Matthew chapter 1 that even though Jesus was biologically the son of God, Joseph had adopted him as his son and therefore Jesus had a legal claim to the throne of David through his son Solomon. Click this link to read part one: Christ’s Legal Lineage.

Today we will look at Jesus Christ’s lineage through Mary. We find this lineage in Luke 3:23-38. In viewing this lineage, we need to first recognize that Luke’s perspective was different from Matthew’s. While Matthew’s viewpoint was to prove that Jesus Christ was the Messiah of the Jews, Luke’s viewpoint was to prove that Jesus Christ was “the son of man.” or was a descendant of Adam.

Even though Mary’s name is not mentioned in this passage, this must be her genealogy. Since Jesus was not the biological son of Joseph, he had to have some sort of biological connection to humans so that he could be qualified to become the Savior of mankind. This had to come through Mary. Therefore, this genealogy gives proof that Jesus was indeed a human being because he was descended from Adam.

As you’ll notice as you read this genealogy, you will notice that King Solomon was not in this genealogy. The genealogy instead of coming through him, goes through another son of David–Nathan. The reason for this occurred when God cursed Solomon’s royal descendent–Jechoniah– in that his  line would not give birth to the Messiah.

Another significance of this genealogy, besides the fact that it comes through Mary, is that the genealogy does not stop at Abraham as Joseph’s genealogy in Matthew did, but it goes all the way back to Adam. Adam was the only other man who God created directly. All others were born of men. Though it is true that God spoke of forming Jeremiah, it should be understood that in the case of Jesus, he used both the physical reproduction through Mary along with the direct creation through God. Both attributes were required if Jesus were to become the salvation of humankind.

As you compare the genealogies in Matthew and Luke closely, you will however discover another amazing discovery. In Luke 3:27 we discover that Solomon and Nathan unite in Zurubbabel by the marriage of  Salathial to the Neri’s daughter in Nathan’s line. Neri no doubt died without a male heir and the two branches of David were united under Zerubbabel. Jesus Christ therefore became heir to the blood rights and privileges of the whole house of David.

These often overlooked genealogies indeed contained some very valuable information about our Lord.


King Herod’s Temple was one of Herod’s crowning achievements.

In Matthew Chapter 2, the scenes center around King Herod. This King Herod, the first of several King Herods mentioned int the New Testament was  the pro-Roman king of the small Jewish state in the last decades before the common era. He started his career as a general, but the Roman statesman Mark Antony recognized him as the Jewish national leader.To secure is throne and the throne for his posterity, he married Hyrcanus’ nephew Antigonus’ daughter.  Although Herod had a  father who worshiped the Jewish God, Herod did not have a Jewish father so most Jews of the region did not consider Herod a true Jew and despised the man.

During a major overthrow attempt Herod escaped to Rome and persuaded Octavian and the Senate to order Mark Antony to restore him. He then became sole ruler of Judea. As long as he pleased Rome, he could do anything he wanted. Herod rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.. Coins were minted in his own name.

During the unrest between Mark Antony and Octavian, Herod manipulated his position so that he backed Octavian. When Octavian became the sole Roman leader and changed his name to Augustus, Herod was rewarded with the addition of Jericho and Gaza as his territories to rule.

Though Herod had the blessings of the new Emperor, his subjects did not share in this love of this Roman puppet king. As an attempt to receive the Jews’ approval, when an earthquake destroyed many homes and killed thousands of people, Herod built a new market, an amphitheater, a theater, a new building where the Sanhedrin could convene, a new royal palace, and he rebuilt the Temple He had new buildings built in Jericho and Samaria. He built new fortresses Herodion, Machaereus and Masada. He also built the new port city Caesarea in honor of the emperor.

Many of his building projects were Greek in design and the orthodox Jews as well as the Sadducees hated the king. He terminated the rule of the old royal house to which many of them were related; their own influence in the Sanhedrin was curtailed. The Pharisees despised any ruler who despised the Law. In addition, these building projects and Herod’s lavish lifestyle required required extreme taxation of the Jews. It was not unusual for Herod to revert to violence, employing mercenaries and a secret police to enforce order.

Jewish scholars discovered that seventy-six generations had passed since the Creation, and a well-known prophecy said the Messiah was to deliver Israel from its foreign rulers in the seventy-seventh generation. The slaughter of male infants of Bethlehem in the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew is not known from other sources, but it would have been totally in character for the later Herod to commit such treachery.

The Journey of the Magi by Bernardo Gozzoli, 1459

I could imagine that when the wise men came to Herod and asked about the “one born king of the Jews”, and Herod discovered that the king they described was not him nor his posterity, he would have done whatever was necessary to make sure that anyone fitting that description no longer existed. Fortunately for us, God knew of Herod’s plans and thwarted them. God told Joseph in a dream to take his family to Egypt and out from under Herod’s rule.

This year I will be focusing this blog on the four gospels. Today we have covered Matthew chapter 2. Also under my pseudonym Author Cygnet Brown I have written two Christian Historical Novels in The Locket Saga–When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry. I am currently working on the third book in the series: A Coward’s Solace.

%d bloggers like this: