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Wednesday, March 22 2017
Righteous Alms For The Truly Needy
"We hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies ... When thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do"
The English-language word "alms" originated from an Anglo-Saxon word, almes, that itself originated from a Latin word, that itself originated from a Greek word, pronounced el-eh-ay-mos-oo-nay, that meant helping the poor. It was that Greek word that is used in the Holy Bible.
It's important to keep in mind that Biblical alms-giving is about helping innocent people who are in need due to circumstances, not merely giving to someone who "needs" help to maintain an idle life. While the Word of God commands alms-giving, it also commands that able-bodied, working-age people with the opportunity to do so are to work. By the LORD's own example (see A Biography Of Jesus Christ: The LORD God Of Creation), the two-part Fourth Commandment is to work six days so as to have something to rest from on the Sabbath.
"20:8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
The apostle Paul's famous "if any would not work, neither should he eat" was speaking about those who had the ability and the opportunity to work, but refused, "For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies."
"3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
While the needy are not to abuse the alms-givers, the alms-givers are not to abuse the needy either. Helping those in need is not just a cynical means of a "tax break" from the government, or a show of self-righteousness before other people. The Messiah compared righteous alms-giving to righteous prayer.
"6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Fact Finder: What is the lesson, and the warning, of the "Lazarus and the rich man" parable?
This Day In History, March 22
1349: The Jews of Fulda, Germany, were massacred by the townspeople who blamed them for the plague known as the "Black Death." Not only were the Jews not the source of the plague, they were much healthier than most of the other townspeople because they observed the LORD's Biblical rules of health and hygiene (see Leviticus 13: Bacteria and Leviticus 15: Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness; also Leviticus 18: Sexual Abominations and Leviticus 11: What Makes Creatures Clean or Unclean?).
1638: Anne Hutchinson, a mother of 15 children, was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for "religious dissent" - her home Bible-study group was attracting too many people away from the "established church of the colony."
1752: Canada's first newspaper, the Halifax Gazette, was established.
1765: The democratically-elected British Parliament passed the Stamp Act - a tax to be levied directly on its New England colonies to help pay for their own defense against the powerful and threatening "New France" French Empire in North America. Ironically, the defense tax was used as one of the major manipulated excuses for the rebellion of the colonies against their founders. Fortunately for the survival of the colonies, France didn't attack them after they rejected British protection because Napoleon Bonaparte (the former Corporal, then self-proclaimed revolutionary General, who reigned as Emperor of the French from 1769 to 1821) consumed the bulk of his massive forces in the Napoleonic Wars across Europe - from which he suffered his famous defeat at Waterloo (Belgium) by the British Army.
Most of the British Army and Navy were never involved in the New England rebellion of 1776 or the War of 1812 (1812-1814), but were, through all of those years, engaged in the massive "world war" against Napoleon all across Europe and into Russia - the wars in the New England colonies were a minor, but related to the French threat, conflict.
1848: The Venetian Republic declared independence from Austria.
1895: In Paris, Auguste and Louis Lumiere first demonstrated motion pictures using celluloid film.
1903: A drought caused Niagara Falls to temporarily stop flowing.
1917: Ironically, in view of subsequent history, the U.S. became the first country to recognize the communist government of Russia, following the overthrow of the czar. The apparent logic was that the U.S. and Russian were both "we the people revolutions," and both involved the founding of a republic after the overthrow of a king (see also When Do Liberals Become Conservatives? and Why Are Politicians Called Left Or Right?; also What Did A Father Of Democracy Predict About It?).
1919: The first international airline service was inaugurated on a weekly schedule between Paris, France and Brussels, Belgium.
1945: The Arab League, a loose confederation of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Transjordan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, was formed in Cairo for the purpose of securing Arab unity. Others joined later: Libya, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Kuwait, Algeria, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (see also What Does The Bible Say About Arabs?).
1946: Britain recognized the independence of the protectorate of Transjordan, known today as the Kingdom of Jordan (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate; also Jordan's West Bank Invasion and Where Is Palestine?).
1947: Viscount Louis Mountbatten and his wife Edwina arrived in Delhi; the last viceroy in India, Mountbatten's mission was to bring about independence for India.
1979: The Israeli Parliament approved the peace treaty with Egypt (see Israel's Wars In The Twentieth Century).
1993: Intel began marketing the first "Pentium" (80586) computer processors.
1995: Russian Cosmonaut Valeriy Polyakov returned to earth after a record 438 days in orbit.
2004: Ahmed Yassin, a leader of Hamas (a Palestinian Sunni Islamist group; see also Where Is Palestine?) was assassinated (the elderly, blind quadriplegic was in his wheelchair, being taken out of morning prayers, when killed) in the Gaza Strip by Israeli helicopter-fired missiles; nine nearby civilians ("collateral damage") were also killed.