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Thursday, March 1 2012

The Widows Of The Messiah

The English word "widow" originated from an Anglo-Saxon word, widuwe, which originated from a Latin word, vidua, that meant deprived (the English word void, meaning emptied, originated from the same word as widow). "Widow" is used to translate the Hebrew word of the Holy Scriptures, pronounced al-maw-naw, which although is used to refer to a widow, literally means an empty house. All of the literal meanings of widow starkly convey the physical void that is left in the life of someone who loses a spouse (even when the spouse is still alive, but just as much departed). As is made very plain in the Word of God however, no widow is ever left alone, if she is someone who looks to God (she isn't left alone if she looks to Satan either - see Do You Want A Servant Or A Serpent?). The LORD cannot be lost by those who seek Him, and it is by the power of the LORD that all who have died will have the means to live again. It's just a matter of time (see the Fact Finder question below).

Caring for widows and the fatherless is a matter of righteousness.

The Holy Scriptures

"1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world" (James 1:27 KJV)

"68:5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation" (Psalm 68:5 KJV)

As with everything else however, some people abuse righteous principles. Notice that widows were to live a righteous life as a widow, no more or less than everyone else; they were not merely to claim their "rights" as a widow from the righteous.

"5:3 Honour widows that are widows indeed. 5:4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to show piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. 5:5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. 5:6 But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. 5:7 And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless. 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

5:9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, 5:10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.

5:11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; 5:12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. 5:13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not." (1 Timothy 5:3-13 KJV)

The Messiah encountered numerous widows during His Ministry - and even long before it began. Anna (or "Hannah") was a righteous widow (she "departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day") who was among the very few at the Temple who recognized the Messiah, only a few days after He was born.


"2:22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem [see A History Of Jerusalem: The Coming Of The Messiah], to present him to the Lord; 2:23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) 2:24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 2:26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the LORD Christ. 2:27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 2:28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

2:29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 2:30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 2:31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 2:32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

2:33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. 2:34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; 2:35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

2:36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; 2:37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 2:38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

2:39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth [see Why Bethlehem, Egypt, Nazareth And Capernaum?]. 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him." (Luke 2:22-40 KJV)

Unlike Anna, most people in Judah not only did not recognize Him, they fiercely opposed Him - just as the people of Israel had rejected the prophet Elijah long before, except up in Sidon, "a woman that was a widow" (a journey that the Messiah also made, for the same reason as Elijah; see Into The Coasts Of Tyre And Sidon).

The Widow's Son At Nain

"4:24 And he said, Verily, I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. 4:25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; 4:26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. 4:27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.

4:28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 4:29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong." (Luke 4:24-29 KJV)

The restoring to life of a widow's son at Nain is one of the most-famous miracles of the Messiah. It was done because "when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her" and as a sign that the Messiah had arrived.

"7:11 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. 7:12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 7:13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.

7:14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. 7:15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.

7:16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. 7:17 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.

7:18 And the disciples of John [see John's Congregation] showed him of all these things. 7:19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?

7:20 When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?

7:21 And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. 7:22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. 7:23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me." (Luke 7:11-23 KJV)

It's no surprise that those who most-hated the Messiah were those who also had contempt for widows; they didn't pray for widows, they preyed upon widows.

The Widow's Mite

"23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer [see How To Pray]: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." (Matthew 23:13-15 KJV)

The lesson of the tithing widow was a rebuke to the religious predators and hypocrites of that time - and of today.

"12:38 And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, 12:39 And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: 12:40 Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.

12:41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

12:42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

12:43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

12:44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living." (Mark 12:38-44 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why will there be no marriage in the Kingdom of God?
See From Husbands and Wives To Brothers and Sisters

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This Day In History, March 1

752 BC: Romulus, the legendary and semi-mythical first king of Rome, was victorious over the Caeninenses.

509 BC: Publius Valerius Publicola, Roman consul, won the first triumph of the Roman Republic after his victory over the deposed king Lucius Tarquinius Superbus at the Battle of Silva Arsia (see The Politics Of Rome; also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).

1498: Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama arrived at what is today Mozambique, on his voyage to India.

1562: Roman Catholic troops massacred over 1,000 Huguenots as they prayed at Vassy, France, starting the First War of Religion. The 40 years of conflict ended when Henry IV of Navarre seized the French throne and granted the Protestants partial freedom.

1565: The city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was founded.

1632: Samuel de Champlain was appointed the first governor of "New France" (northeastern North America).

1815: Napoleon landed in France after returning from Elba, where he had been after being forced to abdicate in April 1814 (Britain put only a small fraction of its military forces into the War of 1812-14 against the U.S.; the bulk of the British army and navy was involved in fighting Napoleon's French Empire in Europe and Africa e.g. British Admiral Horatio Nelson's victory over the French fleet at Trafalgar and Wellington's victory at the Battle of Waterloo).

1871: German troops entered Paris during the Franco-Prussian War.

1896: The Battle of Adowa in Ethiopia between the Ethiopian army of King Menelik II and Italian forces. The Italians, outnumbered 80,000 to 20,000 were routed. The decisive Ethiopian victory checked Italy's attempt to build an empire in Africa comparable to that of the French or British.

1917: During the First World War, the "Zimmermann Telegram" was published; the message from the German foreign ministry to Mexicans encouraged them to go to war against the U.S. to recover their lost territories in alliance with Germany.

1932: The infant son of aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh was kidnapped. The child was found dead on May 12.

1941: Bulgaria joined the Axis Powers and allowed German forces to enter the country.

1960: Approximately 20,000 people were killed at the Atlantic seaport city of Agadir, Morocco. The city was destroyed by 2 earthquakes, a tidal wave and fire.

1966: The Soviet Venus III landed on Venus. It was the first spacecraft to land on another planet.

1985: The Pentagon accepted the theory that a nuclear war would block the sun, causing a "nuclear winter" i.e. there would be no "winner" in a nuclear war.

1992: Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia.


Copyright © Wayne Blank