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Sunday, December 23 2012

The Pilgrims

The English word "pilgrim" originated from the Latin word peregrinus, which meant traveler, or one who has come from far away. The term most-particularly was applied to someone who made a long journey to a "holy place," although others now use it for other sorts of a journey e.g. while some of the English "pilgrims" left to escape religious persecution in Europe, there was nothing "holy" to their religious beliefs about their destination in the wilderness; they in fact had very little knowledge and understanding of what awaited them in the "new world" (see also Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy).

The world in general has, from ancient times, held an across-the-board interpretation of "pilgrim" and "pilgrimage," as it has been applied to many religions. For example, from the Wikipedia article on "Pilgrim" on December 22 2012:


"Pilgrims and the making of pilgrimages are common in many religions, including the faiths in ancient Egypt, Persia in the Mithraic period, India, China, and Japan. The Greek and Roman customs of consulting the gods at local oracles, such as those at Dodona or Delphi, both in Greece, are widely known. In Greece, pilgrimages could either be personal or state-sponsored.

In the early period of Hebrew history, pilgrims traveled to Shiloh, Dan, Bethel, and eventually Jerusalem, for the Three Pilgrimage Festivals, a practice followed by other Abrahamic religions. While many religious pilgrims travel toward a specific destination, a physical location is not a necessity. One group of pilgrims in early Celtic Christianity were the Peregrinari Pro Christ, (Pilgrims for Christ), or "white martyrs". They left their homes to wander in the world. This sort of pilgrimage was an ascetic religious practice, as the pilgrim left the security of home and the clan for an unknown destination, in complete trust of Divine Providence. These travels often resulted in the founding of new abbeys and spreading Christianity among the pagan population in Britain as well as in continental Europe."

The King James Version uses "pilgrimage" to translate the Hebrew word, pronounced maw-goor, which meant a temporary place of habitation. That definition is plain wherever it's used in the Scriptures:

"47:9 And Jacob [see A Biography Of Jacob: When Jacob Became Israel] said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage." (Genesis 47:9 KJV)

"6:2 And God spake unto Moses [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Moses], and said unto him, I am the LORD: 6:3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah [see Who Is The LORD? for an explanation of "Jehovah"] was I not known to them. 6:4 And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers." (Exodus 6:2-4 KJV)

"119:54 Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage [see Where Is Your Tabernacle?]. 119:55 I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law [see Christ Died For Repentant Sinners]." (Psalm 119:54-55 KJV)

"They were strangers and pilgrims on the earth"

Most of present-day Israel's tourism industry is based upon people, of all three of the major "Abrahamic religions" (see the Fact Finder question below), making a "pilgrimage" to the "holy land" or to Jerusalem. The people of the LORD also had such a "pilgrimage," in the greater sense.

Abraham's Journey

"11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house [see How Did The Flood Happen?]; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went [see A Biography Of Abraham: From Ur To Canaan]. 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

11:11 Through faith also Sara [see A Biography Of Abraham: Sarah] herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 11:12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

11:13 These all died in faith [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?], not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 11:14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 11:15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 11:16 But now they desire a better country [see The Kingdom Of The LORD God], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city." (Hebrews 11:7-16 KJV)

The are also Holy Day pilgrimages recorded in Bible history. The incident in which the Messiah remained in Jerusalem after the family made a pilgrimage from Galilee to Jerusalem for Passover ("His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover") is one of the most famous.

"2:41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Passover].

2:42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast [see The Two Sabbaths Of Passover Week]. 2:43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. 2:44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.

2:45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. 2:46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple [see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Temple], sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 2:47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

2:48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father [see Joseph Of Nazareth] and I have sought thee sorrowing.

2:49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? 2:50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.

2:51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." (Luke 2:41-52 KJV)

Centuries earlier, after the division of Israel (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel and Judah) into "Israel" (the northern ten tribes whose lands consisted of Samaria and Galilee; see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Lost Ten Tribes) and "Judah" (whose lands consisted of Judea, with the city of Jerusalem; see Israel In History and Prophecy: Kingdom Of Judah and A History Of Jerusalem: The Capital Of Judah), Jeroboam, the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel (see Kings of Israel and Judah), feared that the people of his kingdom of Israel would continue to make a journey to Jerusalem for the Holy Days, so he concocted his own set of pseudo "holy days" to deter the pilgrimage - that also resulted in the Levites leaving the northern kingdom.

The Western Wall

"12:25 Then Jeroboam [see Jeroboam Of Israel] built Shechem in mount Ephraim [see Mount Ephraim], and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.

12:26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: 12:27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah [see Rehoboam Of Israel And Judah], and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.

12:28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold [see The Return Of The Golden Calves], and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 12:29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. 12:30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.

12:31 And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi [see No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?]. 12:32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. 12:33 So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense." (1 Kings 12:25-33 KJV)

The apostle Peter included a warning against Jeroboam's perversion ("not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God") while the people of the LORD remain as "strangers and pilgrims" in the world that is awaiting the Kingdom of God (see The Kingdom Of The LORD God).

"2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 2:10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God [see The Children Of The Two Kingdoms]: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works [see Works Means Obedience], which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

2:13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the LORD sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 2:14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 2:15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 2:16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 2:17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king [see The Kingdom Of The LORD God]." (2 Peter 2:9-17 KJV)

Fact Finder: What are the "Abrahamic Religions"?
See A Biography Of Abraham: Abrahamic Religions

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This Day In History, December 23

484: Huneric, king of the Vandals, died. The Vandals were a Germanic tribe; their practice of destroying and looting is the origin of the term "vandalism." He was succeeded by his nephew Gunthamund.

962: During the Byzantine-Arab Wars, Byzantine troops under the command of the future Emperor Nicephorus Phocas captured the city of Aleppo.

1569: Philip of Moscow was martyred by Ivan the Terrible.

1672: Giovanni Cassini discovered Rhea, a moon of Saturn.

1688: During the "Glorious Revolution," King James II fled England to Paris after being deposed by his nephew, William of Orange and his daughter Mary.

1690: John Flamsteed observed Uranus without realizing that the 7th planet was not yet officially discovered.

1823: A Visit from St. Nicholas, also known as The Night Before Christmas, was published (see Could Santa Claus Have Become The Pope?).

1861: The Danubian Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia were formally united as Romania.

1909: King Leopold II of Belgium died.

1919: Britain instituted a new constitution for India.

1920: Ireland was divided.

1933: Marinus van der Lubbe was found guilty and sentenced to death for setting fire to the Reichstag (the German Parliament Building) earlier in the year. The Reichstag fire was Germany's "9-11" that was used by Adolf Hitler as the excuse to turn Germany into a lawless police state (see Law-Abiding Criminals) i.e. the infamous Gestapo were the state police in charge of "security of the fatherland" (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).

1937: The British government warned the Vatican to stop the anti-British propaganda in "Palestine" (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate).

1947: The transistor was invented by Bardeen, Brattain and Shockley at Bell Labs.

1948: Hideki Tojo, Japanese soldier, Prime Minister when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, was executed as a war criminal along with 6 others. Among the court-specified war crimes, for which they were ordered hung by U.S. judges, was the waterboarding torture of prisoners.

1964: Over 2,000 people were killed by a cyclone in Ceylon (known today as Sri Lanka).

1972: A massive earthquake struck Managua, Nicaragua, causing the deaths of approximately 7,000 people.

1973: 6 Persian Gulf nations doubled their oil prices.

1979: Soviet forces occupied the capital city of Kabul after the communist USSR invaded Afghanistan. The Taliban defense forces (U.S. President Ronald Reagan called them "freedom fighters" and "the moral equivalent of America's founding fathers" when he welcomed some of their leaders in the Oval Office) were trained and armed primarily by the U.S. The same Taliban are today fighting the U.S. after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

1997: A U.S. jury found Terry Nichols guilty of involvement with Timothy McVeigh in the terrorist bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City - up to that time the worst act of terrorism in the U.S.


Copyright © Wayne Blank