The Vatican’s Swiss Guard Just Added 40 New Members

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Pope Francis Delivers First 'Urbi Et Orbi' Blessing During Easter Mass In St. Peter's Square
Swiss guards perform ceremonial duties during Holy Easter Mass held by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s square on March 31, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. Franco Origlia—Getty Images

The Vatican’s Swiss Guard Just Added 40 New Members

2:55 PM ET

(VATICAN CITY) — The world’s oldest standing army has 40 new members after a Vatican Swiss Guard swearing-in ceremony.

Each man took a loyalty oath Saturday evening in a ritual-rich ceremony in the St. Damaso courtyard of the Apostolic Palace. The May 6 date commemorates the day in 1527 when 147 guardsmen died while protecting Pope Clement VII during the Sack of Rome.

Earlier Saturday, Pope Francis told the Guards they’re called to “another sacrifice no less arduous” — serving the power of faith.

The recruits, who enroll for at least two years, must be single, upstanding Swiss Catholic males younger than 30.

Wearing blue-and-gold uniforms and holding halberds — spear-like weapons — they are a tourist delight while standing guard at Vatican ceremonies. Their main duty is to protect the pope.

Understanding The Biblical Book Of Revelation

 

The Book Of Revelation

Just as the first Book of the Bible (Genesis) is the book of the beginning of all things, the Book of Revelation (the last Book of the Bible) is a book about the end of all things. A term I have personally used quite a bit when explaining Biblical things about this “End” of all things here in Revelation is that what is being described is “the end of this current system” that we all live in. What we are shown in the Book of Revelation is the ‘fulfillment’ of God’s plan for you and I, us humans. Throughout the Bible, Old Testament and the New, there are many Books with Prophecies written within them. For me personally my favorite books of Prophecies that I really  like are the Books of the Prophets Isaiah, Daniel and Samuel in the Old Testament and the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. In case you have wondered about it, the title Revelation means “the unveiling or disclosure.” This Book was written by the Apostle John, the last of Christ’s Apostles and the only one that was not murdered for his teachings about Jesus. When this Book was written John was on the eastern Mediterranean island of Patmos, a rocky little island that the Romans sent nonviolent prisoners to, basically exiling these people there. The reason that this old man had been exiled there was because he would not quit preaching about Jesus. The New Testament was written in the Greek language and in the Greek the title of this Book is Apokalypis, the English translation is Apocalypse.

Revelation centers around many visions and symbols of God’s resurrected ‘Christ.’ Among the issues that are being explained to us is that only Christ has the authority to judge those who have lived upon the Earth and no one else. We are also shown that only He, through His righteousness  has the authority to remake the Earth and to Rule it for ever more. In chapter number one it is made plain to both the Apostle John and to us that it is the Lord that is giving these signs and wonders and information to John for all of us. In Chapter one verse number one it is stated that this Book is the Revelation of Jesus Christ and this is fitting being this Book came from Him and centers on Him. The Book begins with a vision of His Wisdom, His Glory, and of His Power. In chapters 2 and 3 this Book, this Letter, to us shows us that He and He alone has authority over all of the Church. For those of you whom do not know this, “The Church” is “The Bride” of Christ that He will be coming back from Heaven to Claim. In chapter one Jesus “calls out”  the names of seven of the larger Churches in Asia minor which is in current day Turkey. They are listed in a clockwise order as it was customary for important letters to be sent from one Congregation to the next, to the next in such a clockwise pattern. In Chapters number 2 and 3 The Lord spells out His issues with each one of these Congregations, He points out things that they are doing wrong and that they need to correct or they will be destroyed. This circular message is to the Congregations of God then, and to all of us now. The Lord is spelling out flaws in the Congregations that must be stopped.

When we get to chapter #5 Jesus is shown as the Lamb of God that was slain and is now alive and is worthy to open the ‘Book of Judgement.’ In chapters 6-18 we are shown how The Lord will pour out His Wrath upon the whole Earth for the sins that have filled the Earth. Chapters 19-20 explains to us that Jesus The Christ will return to the Earth in His Power and His Glory to judge His enemies and that He will destroy and condemn them. In the last two chapters #21 & 22, The Lord spells it out that He will come down from Heaven and Reign forever from the “New Jerusalem” which will come down to Earth from Heaven. This “New Jerusalem” will be located where the current day Jerusalem sits. In case you are wondering, when this is done there will be no current day Jerusalem, as Jesus told His Apostles in the 22nd chapter of Matthew, “there will not be one stone here left upon another.” Remember the surface of the Earth is going to be cleansed “melted” with a fervent heat, all the works of man, will be no more.

In this Book it is very obvious that it was written with a flavor of the conflict between the first century Church and the Roman government power of the time. It is also obvious that in the bulk of the Book/Letter, in chapters 4 through 22, that it is a Holy Spirit Inspired look into the events that will come before the Second Advent of Christ. This “Tribulation Period” spoken of is two sets of 42 months, or 84 months total which equals to 7 years. I plan on writing an article on all 22 chapters individually, this is why I have not gotten into more details about the different information contained within each chapter. This article today is meant as an overview if you will of the things I intend to spell out in the upcoming letters to you. For now I am going to close with a quote from Chapter 21 verses 3 & 4. “And I heard a great voice out of Heaven saying, Behold the Tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them, and be their God”.—“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be anymore pain: for the former things are passed away.”

Do All 3 Abrahamic Religions Pray To The Same God? That Answer Is Simple: No!

 

Here in the U.S. I have heard people make the statement that all ‘these religions’ pray to the same God, they just call Him/Her by a different name, so why can’t they all just get along? This statement would be nice, if it were true, but it isn’t at all correct. Mostly the people I have heard say this nonsense have been the Hollywood types or talking heads from the NYC area. People who make this assumption tend to be people who have no knowledge of what the different religions teach and usually have no knowledge of even the teachings of one religion. I know that here in the U.S. that the majority of the population tend to say that they are Christians simply because they were brought up with their families who were or said they were. Here in the States there are a lot of different Christian religions. Religions where they say that Jesus Christ is whom they believe in, even if they have not stepped foot in any Church since they were children, or maybe even never. You hear the divisions of ‘Christ’s’ Church a lot here in the form of the questions like, are you a Christian or a Catholic? Or, Catholic or Protestant. As almost all of you know there are many divisions of Christian Churches like Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal and so on and on and on. Then there are the ‘Born Again’ Christians and groups like the Church of Christ, the Church of God and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, O, and let us not forget the Mormon Church. It is easy to see why people who have no religious upbringing or very little of it could think that all ‘Religions’ serve the same God. Even though the Catholic Church doesn’t teach exactly what I believe I honestly haven’t found a ‘Church group’ that does. Yet I am not going to stone any believers in Jesus Christ whether they are Protestant or Catholic. One of the many things I have never understood in life is how groups that believe that Jesus Christ is our Saviour and King can raise their weapons against another person who believes the same thing, in the name of Religion, in the name of Christ! This confusion isn’t just among Christian Churches, let God be the Judge, we are not qualified.

 

Now, let us go onto non-Christian Faiths for a moment. This article is about confusion and understanding, and hopefully, clarity. I know that this article is really going to upset some folks, that is not my intention. My intention is simply to speak the “Honestly Of God’s Truth” as I see it, understand it, and believe it, too you. The only real Truth is God’s Truth and His Truth is 100% pure Truth. Humans tend to dilute God’s Truth in an effort to make it fit what they want the Truth to be, that is why only God’s Truth is pure Truth, He doesn’t need to dilute anything.

 

I don’t know how much knowledge each person who is reading this has concerning Old Testament Scriptures so I will be as direct and short as I can in an effort to help people understand the connections. In the Old Testament (which was written as ‘The Law’ to the Hebrew/Jewish people) the first of the 3 ‘Founding Fathers’ of Israel was Abraham, then there was his son Isaac, and Isaac’s son Jacob. God would later change the name of Jacob to Israel. The 12 Tribes of Israel are named after Jacob’s/Israel’s 12 sons. Since the Book of Genesis but especially in the Books of Isaiah and Daniel the people of Israel are told of a Messiah/Christ/Redeemer/Saviour/Promised One, that will come and elevate Israel to the premier Nation on Earth and this Messiah/Christ will rule the Earth from a new Jerusalem that will come down from Heaven. It is believed that ‘The Christ’ will rule from His Throne upon The Temple Mount. I as a devout Christian believe this exact same thing. The big difference is that as a Christian I believe that the Hebrew/Jewish Messiah has already come in the form of Jesus (Yeshua) but the Jewish folks do not believe that Jesus was ‘The Christ’. You see, when Jesus came to the Earth in 4 B.C. to fulfill Scripture the Jewish people were looking for the ‘Messiah’ to come and remove the Roman Rulers from Israel and to set up His Kingdom then. When the people realised that Jesus was not here to do that many of the people turned on him. Jesus was simply here to fulfill what the Scriptures had to say about Him. Christians should not be at all mad at our Jewish brothers, sisters and friends for their ancestors killing Jesus as they did. First, God hardened their hearts so that they would do so and there is the reality that if Jesus had not done what He did and the people had not done what they did, none of us ‘Gentiles’ (anyone whom is not 100% of Hebrew blood) would have no chance of salvation at all. We would be no better than the dogs or pigs as far as salvation is concerned. (This is exactly what Islam does think of us Christians and Jews by the way.)

 

The Jewish faith and their beliefs are correct in that the Messiah will come from the skies and put an end to this corrupt and violent world that we all live in. Christians call this the ‘Second Advent of Christ’, in the Jewish faith they are looking for the Messiah to come for the first time. When Jesus comes for the Second time He will put an end to this sinful world and the ‘New Jerusalem’ will come down from Heaven and The Messiah will rule the whole World from the Temple Mount just as the Jewish people believe. The Jewish faith believes that all of us Christians are ‘lost’ and that we nor anyone else have any chance of salvation, only the Jewish people do. The Jewish faith does not believe that the ‘New Testament’ is the word of God. They believe in the Torah which are the first 5 books of the Old Testament that Moses authored and the rest of the Old Testament which is called the Books of the Prophets, some major Prophets, some minor.  The New Testament and the teachings of Jesus make it very plain that the ‘only way to the Father is through Him’ also that those who deny Him, deny the Father. As Christians we pray to The Father through Jesus and believe that this is the only way that our prayers have any chance of getting to the ears of The Father. Jewish folks do not believe in Jesus as the Messiah/Christ so they do not pray to Jesus and by New Testament teachings the Jewish people’s prayers have no chance of reaching The Father’s Ears. This would make the prayers of the non-believers of Christ worthless, just the same as someone who prays to Allah, Buddha or the Dali Lama, a dollar bill or as if a total atheist  prayed because they would have no faith in Jesus, nor do they believe in Him. Those statements are hard I know, but they are not meant to be hateful at all, they are just pointing out the honest differences. God has made it very plain that He will never ever abandon Israel nor His people. God is always looking out for the Nation of Israel and He always will. Salvation is to the Jew first, then to the Gentile. We as Christians as well as all other people of the Earth if they have any sense at all should always make sure to stand by Israel and Her people for they are sacred to God Himself.

 

The third of the Abrahamic Religions is the religion of Islam. As Abraham is the Father of the Jewish Nation and people he is also the Father of a boy called Ishmael through his Egyptian Servant woman Hagar. Abraham’s wife was barren until she was 100 years old so being Abraham had no heir his wife Sarah told him to lay with his Servant Hagar to obtain a son and heir. Not long after Ishmael was born God opened up the womb of Sarah and she had a son called Isaac. Sarah got jealous of Ishmael so she had Abraham chase him and his Mom away. Ishmael is the father of the Muslim people and he was of the loins of Abraham so yes, they are Abraham’s descendants. About 600 years after the death of Jesus in Jerusalem a man called Mohammad arose from the deserts of what is now Saudi Arabia and started a new religion in the cities of Medina and Mecca. Mohammad died in the city of Mecca in the year 632 A.D. but his teachings are the religion of Islam. The followers of Islam refer to God by the name of Allah. Do not be shocked that almost all religions other than Islam do not believe that the ‘Allah’ that they are praying to is actually ‘God’. Just as the Jewish believers believe that Christians are not praying to God when we pray to Jesus the Jewish people don’t believe that the Islamic people are praying to a ‘God’ when they are praying to Allah. Also, the Islamic believing people do not believe that the Christians or the Jews are praying to ‘God’ because they are not praying to Allah. Islam calls the Christian and Jewish people the ‘people of The Book’. In this they are correct, just as they know that Islam does not believe in the teachings of ‘The Book’ (The Bible). So folks, it is obvious that the people of the Islamic faith when they are praying to Allah that by the Christian and Jewish beliefs these people are just praying to the open air at best and at worst, they are praying to the Devil Himself. I am not trying to be hateful here in this article, I am just pointing out some very obvious truths between the three Abrahamic Religions where the issue is prayer.

Zimbabwe’s Powerful Dictator Mugabe: Running Out Of Money, Running Out Of Power

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

As Zimbabwe’s money runs out, so does Mugabe’s power

President Robert Mugabe addresses to his supporters during an election rally in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe June 26, 2008.REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File Photo
By Ed Cropley | HARARE

In Zimbabwe, where worthless $100 trillion notes serve as reminders of the perils of hyperinflation, President Robert Mugabe is printing a new currency that jeopardizes not just the economy but his own long grip on power.

Six months ago, the 92-year-old announced plans to address chronic cash shortages by supplementing the dwindling U.S. dollars in circulation over the past seven years with ‘bond notes’, a quasi-currency expected at the end of November.

According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the bond notes will be officially interchangeable 1:1 with the U.S. dollar and should ease the cash crunch. The central bank also promised to keep a tight lid on issuance.

After a 2008 multi-billion percent inflationary meltdown caused by rampant money-printing, many Zimbabweans are skeptical. The plan has already caused a run on the banks as Zimbabweans empty their accounts of hard currency.

Internal intelligence briefings seen by Reuters raise the possibility that the bond notes, if they crash, could spell the end of Mugabe’s 36 years in charge.

A Sept. 29 Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) report revealed the powerful army was as unhappy as the rest of the population with the new notes and had told Africa’s oldest leader to “wake up and smell the coffee”.

“Top security officers have told Mugabe not to blame them if Rome starts to burn,” the report said.

Reuters was unable to determine the author of the report. It is also unclear if Mugabe has seen the report, whose final audience is not specified. Mugabe’s spokesman did not respond to requests for comment, nor was the CIO available.

But the report offers a rare glimpse into the thinking of Mugabe’s security forces – the backbone of his power – and their concerns about the implosion of what used to be one of Africa’s most promising economies.

“Mugabe was openly told that the bond notes are going to cause his downfall,” the report said.

WAITING FOR THE DROP

The notes’ first test will come in the informal foreign exchange markets on the streets of Harare.

If they fall heavily in value, they are likely to unleash an inflationary spiral that could bleed the banking system of its last few dollars and wipe out Zimbabweans’ savings for the second time in less than a decade, economists say.

The same happened in 2008: powerful individuals with access to dollars at the official 1:1 rate were able to buy bond notes at a discount on the unofficial market and then convert them back to dollars at face value.

“You start with one dollar, then you’ve got 10, then you’ve got 100, then you’ve got 1,000 – and it’s not even lunchtime,” said John Robertson, one of Zimbabwe’s most respected private economists.

In Harare’s chaotic Road Port bus station, the main terminus for those heading to and from South Africa, Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner, some bus operators are fearing the worst.

Required to pay nearly all their expenses – fuel, road tolls and police bribes in Zimbabwe and South Africa – in hard currency cash, they are particularly exposed.

“It’s like being on death row. You don’t know when the hangman is going to open your cell door,” said ticket-seller Simba Muchenje, pulling a wad of worthless 2008 Zimbabwe dollars from his briefcase and tossing them onto the counter.

“It’s just taking us back to the bad old days.”

In interviews, none of eight money-changers trading South African rand and U.S. dollars said they would accept bond notes at their $1 face value because of fears of immediate depreciation. The rand and the U.S. dollar have become Zimbabwe’s currencies since the local dollar was scrapped in 2009

“The banks may say 1:1, but here we say 2:1. We can’t afford to pay the same as the banks. I’m running a business, not a bank,” said Patience, a 32-year-old money-changer.

REASSURING WORDS

Given Zimbabwe’s recent history of hyperinflation, the RBZ is keen to allay fears the printing presses are about to go into overdrive, and that the bond notes are a roundabout route to a new Zimbabwe dollar.

“The introduction of bond notes does not mark the return of the Zimbabwe dollar through the back door,” it said in a statement on its website.

Instead, the bank has presented the notes as a 5 percent “export incentive” – a top-up added by the central bank to the accounts of those receiving foreign exchange either from overseas remittances or via farming, manufacturing and mining exports.

They will also be backed by a $200 million “loan facility” from Afreximbank, a Cairo-based lender owned by the African Development Bank and dozens of African governments and central banks. Afreximbank declined to comment.

Given monthly exports of roughly $250 million, the 5 percent ‘top-up’ suggests a monthly liquidity injection of just $12.5 million, or $1 for every Zimbabwean.

In public statements, the RBZ has given assurances it will not exceed the $200 million issuance ceiling.

But it has not clarified how bond note balances will be recorded in U.S. dollar accounts, nor how ATMs will distinguish between greenbacks and bond notes when they issue cash.

“Upon withdrawal, banks have an option to pay in any one of the legal tenders,” the RBZ said.

RBZ Governor John Mangudya missed a scheduled interview with Reuters and did not respond to emailed questions.

NO DOLLARS, NO FUN

Few Zimbabweans interviewed believed the RBZ would stick to the issuance limits, especially while a large current account deficit continues to suck dollars out of the country.

After the bond notes’ announcement, #ThisFlag and #Tajamuka, social media campaigns targeting the new system, drew the biggest anti-Mugabe protests in a decade before being crushed by riot police and the CIO.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands across the country lined up through the night to empty their accounts the moment their pay or pensions arrive, exacerbating the liquidity crunch. Banks have responded with daily withdrawal limits: $100 one day, $50 another, none another. Customers have no idea until the banks open their doors at 8 a.m.

“Sometimes you get to the end of the line and there’s no money,” said industrial fitter Edmund Panganai, 40, outside a CABS building society branch in Harare. Every month, it takes him at least seven nights of queuing to get his hands on his pay.

In Harare, where most U.S. dollar bills are stained deep brown with grime, a crisp 2009-edition $100 note is now worth as much as $115.

Conversely, the plastic and mobile money introduced to ease physical cash shortages is depreciating, forcing vendors to charge a 10-15 percent premium.

One prostitute, who had been relying on e-wallet payment systems such as Ecocash, run by mobile firm Econet Wireless (ECO.ZI), said she and other sex workers were turning away customers without hard cash.

“Ecocash? No thank you. Dollars, dollars, dollars,” said Patience, a 22-year-old working a Harare street corner. “No dollars, no fun.”

ARMY RATIONED

Combined with unemployment at 90 percent and a government budget crunch that has seen delays in payment of state wages, the discontent is also pervading the army.

The Sept. 29 CIO report said soldiers had applauded the social media protests because they had led to an improvement in daily rations.

“Before the demonstrations government had stopped supplying them with breakfast. At lunch they were being fed with sadza (maize meal) and cabbage without cooking oil. Mugabe instructed for the army officers to be given descent [sic] meals so they will rally behind him,” the report said.

Other intelligence reports from late September and early October suggested Mugabe was having doubts about the bond notes. Reuters was unable to confirm this.

“The issue of the bond notes is giving Mugabe sleepless nights,” one said. “Mugabe is serious [sic] thinking of delaying the introduction of the bond until January next year.”

Another report said army officers were frustrated with pay delays and withdrawal limits.

“They are very angry as they are failing to access their money from the banks and do not want to be issued with bonds,” it said.

“These junior and middle-ranked officers reckon that Mugabe has failed, hence he needs to step down for new blood to replace him.”

VETERANS AT WAR

In July, veterans of the 1964-1979 liberation war that brought Mugabe to power broke ranks, accusing him of “dictatorial tendencies” and blaming him for the “serious plight” of the economy and discord in the ruling ZANU-PF party.

“We are dedicated to stop this rot,” they said in a statement.

As fears over the bond notes have grown and the battle to succeed Mugabe has intensified, they have continued to flex their muscle.

“Once you go wrong with us, you automatically go wrong with the whole state apparatus,” veterans leader Chris Mutsvangwa told Reuters.

The veterans enjoy warm ties with the army and security services, and want Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former security chief nicknamed “The Crocodile”, to take over from Mugabe, political analysts say. On the other side is a faction attached to Mugabe’s 51-year-old wife, Grace.

Mugabe responded to the growing pressure on Nov. 19 with an address in which he admitted fallibility and gave a rare hint at retirement.

“If I am making mistakes, you should tell me. I will go,” he said, before adding: “Change should come in a proper way. If I have to retire, let me retire properly.”

(Additional reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Janet McBride)

Horrifying History for Halloween – the first creepy clowns

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘FEED THE WEB’)

Horrifying History for Halloween – the first creepy clowns

first creepy clowns

Have clowns always had a dark side?

Clown-like characters have been around for thousands of years.

Pygmy clowns entertained Egyptian pharaohs in 2500 BC. In ancient imperial China, a court clown called Yu Sze or Twisty Pole famously saved thousands of lives by joking the emperor out of coating the Great Wall with lacquer.

Many Native American tribes had a tradition of clowns. Since laughter opens you up to the spirits, the clowns had to get everyone laughing before serious ceremonies. A visitor from another tribe might try to prevent the ceremony from taking place by refusing to laugh! The clowns also laid down the law. If somebody behaved inappropriately, for example getting drunk, they would perform a skit satirist that person’s behavior. The public ridicule was often enough.

One Ancient Roman clown was stupidus (hence our word stupid) which was Latin for mimic fool. He was usually bald-headed or wore a long pointed hat and a multi-colored outfit. He made fun of the more serious actor. He was famed for his innuendo and riddles and the ability to batter other performers in spoof fights in true slapstick fashion.

The court jesters of medieval Europe were a licensed way to let off steam and poke fun at powerful people. Andrew McConnell Stott, English professor at the University of Buffalo, SUNY says :

“The medieval fool was continually reminding us of our mortality, our animal nature, of how unreasonable and ridiculous and petty we can be.”

Dwarf jesters, in particular, were so popular that the practice of artificially stunting children became common to keep up with demand. According to documents from 1670, dwarfs could be artificially made by “anointing babies’ spines with the grease of bats, moles, and dormice.”

Well into the 18th and 19th century, the prevailing clown figure of Western Europe and Britain was the pantomime clown, who was a sort of bumbling buffoon.

first creepy clowns

So how did we get from mischievous clowns to scary murderous clowns?

Dark clowns go back centuries before Stephen King’s terrifying Pennywise or even the real-life “Killer Clown”, John Wayne Gacey.

As Benjamin Radford, author of the recent book “Bad Clowns,” points out:

“It’s misleading to ask when clowns turned bad, for they were never really good.”

While most clowns aren’t hiding anything(maybe a balloon animal or fake flowers), the first two modern clowns covered dark secrets with their face paint.

first creepy clowns – Grim All Day

grimaldi
Image source : Joseph ‘Joey’ Grimaldi by George Cruikshank

Joseph Grimaldi is the missing link between historic clowns and modern clowns. He overhauled the Clown’s appearance from the rustic oaf to the heavily made-up and colorful clowns that we’re familiar with. He’s also the reason why clowns are still sometimes called “Joeys”.

In his day, he was a superstar: It’s claimed that a full eighth of London’s population had seen Grimaldi on stage. Grimaldi’s real life was hardly LOL.

His father, Giuseppe, was a cruel and eccentric dancing master known as the “Signor.” His teaching methods were grueling, included locking children into stocks, or throwing them into a cage and hoisting it into the flytower to leave them dangling precariously over the stage. At home, the Signor was horribly morbid, living in perpetual fear of death, and especially of being buried alive. When he finally died in 1788, his will directed that his eldest daughter cut his head from his corpse just to be certain.

Tragically, Grimaldi’s first wife died of childbirth and his son drank himself to death by age 31. The king of clowns was only 45 when he gave his last regular performance. His health worsened with each passing season until he had to be carried to his dressing room and revived after each performance. The physical gyrations, the leaps and tumbles and violent slapstick that had made him famous, left him in constant pain and prematurely disabled.

No wonder that Grimaldi was prone to fits of depression. A famous anecdote dates from the 1820’s and involves a visit to the surgeon, John Abertheny. Grimaldi, hoping to find a cure for his depression, asks Abertheny for advice, and unaware of his client’s identity, the surgeon prescribes the diversions of “relaxation and amusement”:

“But where shall I find what you require?” said the patient. “In genial companionship,” was the reply; “perhaps sometimes at the theater; – go and see Grimaldi.” “Alas!” replied the patient, “that is of no avail to me; I am Grimaldi.”

As Grimaldi himself joked, “I am GRIM ALL DAY, but I make you laugh at night”.

After Grimaldi died penniless and an alcoholic in 1837 (the coroner’s wonderful verdict was : “Died by the visitation of God”), Charles Dickens edited Grimaldi’s memoirs.

According to Andrew Stott, Dickens invented the scary clown — by creating a figure who is literally destroying himself to make his audiences laugh.

first creepy clowns – The Sinister Clown

severin_as_pierrot_c-_1896
Image source : Séverin as Pierrot, c. 1896, in Séverin, L’Homme Blanc (Paris, 1929)

The major clown figure on the Continent was Jean-Gaspard Deburau’s Pierrot, a clown with white face paint underscored by red lips and black eyebrows whose mime delighted French audiences. Deburau was as well-known on the streets of Paris as Grimaldi was in London, recognized even without his make-up.

Where Grimaldi was tragic, Deburau was sinister. Rumored to indulge in laudanum and alcohol, he had a volatile temper. In 1836, Deburau killed a boy with a blow from his walking stick after the youth shouted insults on the street, calling him “dummy” and “scarecrow”.

As to why such a talented man should kill a child, Deburau’s biographer Tristan Rémy conjectured that his subject’s persona had something to do with it. “When he powdered his face, his nature, in fact, took the upper hand,” Rémy observed. “He stood then at the measure of his life — bitter, vindictive, unhappy.”

He was acquitted after a month in prison, when normally a trial would take a year. He’d a member of the National Guard and the officers and men of his company wrote of his unfailing good cheer. In fact, whatever he was on stage, he was moody and uncommunicative during the day. It was said of him that he only smiled at night.

Crowds thronged at the courthouse, if only to finally hear him speak. The composer Michel Chion coined the Deburau effect after this curiosity about a voice. The idea of a Deburau effect has been extended to any drawing of the listener’s attention to an inaudible sound—which, once heard, loses its interest.

After the trial, he refused to play the Pierrot in Cot d’Arlan’s Pantomime Chand d’habits because it contained a murder.

The Story Of The Great Battle Of Alesia By Julius Caesar Against The Gauls In 52 B.C.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF HISTORY AT GOOGLE +)

THE BATTLE OF ALESIA

 

JULIUS CAESAR

In 52 BC during the siege of Alesia, Roman legions under Julius Caesar would find themselves not only besieging Gallic forces of equal strength, but fighting a massive relief army sent to rescue their trapped comrades. Surrounded and out numbered by as much as 5 to 1, Julius Caesar would achieve one of the most remarkable military victories in history.

During the Roman Gallic campaign of 58-51 BC, Caesars brutal repression of the populace was severe and earned him many enemies among the tribes of Gaul. There had been many revolts and small-scale rebellions with which the Roman army dealt with easily. However, Caesar knew that if the Gallic tribes ever formed a solid alliance against him, the legions under his command would be hard pressed to maintain Roman rule.

One Gallic Prince, Vercingetorix, realized if Gaul ever wanted to become free of their Roman overlords, all the tribes within Gaul would have to put aside their differences and join forces. Vercingetorix called upon all the tribes not allied with Rome and informed them of his planned rebellion, all present agreed to support the uprising, it was time to expel their Roman masters once and for all.

Vercingetorix adopted a policy of engaging the Romans in a guerilla war, burning all crops and towns in the Romans path as to deprive them of food and shelter. After some initial successes, Vercingetorix made the fatal error of fighting the Romans in a pitched battle and suffered a terrible defeat at Gerovia in 52 BC. With the remainder of his Gallic army Vercingetorix withdrew to the fortified hill town of Alesia.

When Caesar arrived at Alesia with his 70,000 men he saw why Vercingetorix and his army of 80,000 had chosen this spot to make a stand. Alesia was an invulnerable hill, a natural fortress, Caesar could not attack such a defensive position without suffering immense casualties.

Caesar had but two options before him, retreat or lay siege. Caesar decided on the latter, knowing he could rely on his Legions who’s discipline and fighting ability as well as their fortification and engineering skills, were without equal.

Caesar set about spreading his soldiers into eight camps surrounding the hill. While the Romans were taking up their positions, Vercingetorix launched a surprise cavalry assault down the forward base of the hill, although caught by surprise the Romans managed to hold their positions suffering minimal casualties and the attack was repulsed.

To prevent any further cavalry attacks upon his men, Caesar ordered his troops to dig a deep trench between the two rivers on either side of the forward base of the hill. The Romans then began to construct a defensive corridor around Vercingetorix’s entire position and prepared themselves to defend its entire length.

Caesar also ordered the installation of deadly obstacles and booby traps containing rows of metal spikes, sharpened stakes and circular ditches designed to cripple and maim any attackers. The Romans also dug two more ditches, one of which was flooded. The earth from these ditches was used to construct a fifteen foot wall upon which the Romans built a ten foot fence which was dominated by conning towers.

 

Roman Forts Alesia

ROMAN FORTIFICATIONS

 

 

THE SIEGE

 

 

 

Vercingetorix did nothing to prevent the Romans from completing their siege fortifications, he was confident in the fact that he had sent for reinforcements before the Romans had arrived and knew he would soon be relieved. Caesar was aware that a Gallic army was approaching Alesia, and began building a second defensive trench system facing outward around the inner works already completed.

The Romans had just barely finished their outer defenses when the Gallic relief army slowly began to arrive, even tribes loyal to Rome abandoned their allegiance and sent troops to aid Vercingetorix’s besieged army.

The Gaul’s had assembled an immense army numbering 258,000 men. With Gallic forces camped outside his outer line and Vercingetorix’s 80,000 strong army still positioned atop Alesia, Caesar and his 70,000 men (12) Legions, now found themselves completely surrounded and heavily outnumbered.

At dawn the next day, the Gallic army outside the Roman lines launched a major cavalry attack, seeing this Vercingetorix ordered an infantry attack down the slope in the direction of the oncoming cavalry. As the Gallic cavalry advanced into the Roman defenses mayhem ensued, the Gallic horse were cut down and impaled against the metal spikes and sharpened stakes.

Of those horseman which did get past the wall of spikes, the Roman trench system easily swallowed up the remaining survivors. Vercingetorix’s infantry attack on the inner defenses fared no better as wave upon wave of Gallic infantry met their end attempting to navigate the Roman killing fields.

After suffering horrendous casualties the Gauls reached their objective and began their assault on the Roman wall. Vercingetorix’s hopes that his men could break through soon vanished, as Roman infantry hurled their javelins into the Gallic ranks stopping the assault dead in its tracks. The Roman archers stationed atop the conning towers now finished off any stragglers attempting to flee, by nightfall the Romans had forced the Gaul’s to fall back.

Losses on the first day of battle had been so severe, that the Gallic leadership decided to halt any further attacks all the next day in order to regroup. It had become very apparent to the Gaul’s, that any further daylight attacks against such a fortified position would result in the destruction of their army. The Gallic chiefs therefore decided on a night attack.

At midnight that evening, the Gaul’s launched a surprise attack on the Roman outer defenses. Vercingetorix once again ordered an assault in the same direction from atop Alesia towards Caesars inner defenses. The Romans now faced fierce onslaughts from their front and rear. Once again thousands of Gaul’s were impaled against the spikes or killed by javelins and arrows fired from the ramparts.

After much carnage, the weight of the Gallic attack had cleared the deadly obstacles and began their assault on the Roman walls. All night long the Gaul’s poured in seemingly endless reinforcements to break through the Roman fortifications.

 

Roman vs Gaul Alesia

 

The Romans now found themselves hard pressed to hold the enemy back from overwhelming their positions. The sheer weight of the Gallic attack now began to show signs of success, as it began to slowly breach the Roman defenses in some sectors. With the situation critical, Caesar himself rushed to the trouble spots along the Roman line to join in the hand to hand fighting alongside his exhausted troops.

Witnessing  Caesar riding up and down the lines with his purple cloak flowing in the breeze, letting his troops no that he was there and fighting along side them, gave the individual Roman soldier renewed vigor to throw the Gaul’s back. The fighting would continue in this manner all through the night, as dawn approached the exhausted Gaul’s once again began to fall back.

After two days of fighting, both Gallic armies had suffered horrendous casualties and were low on supplies. At another council of war the Gallic chiefs found themselves faced with the grim reality of surrender or continue on fighting. To surrender meant Gaul would be defeated and completely fall under Roman rule. After taking stock of their remaining forces they found they had enough troops for one more good assault and decided on the latter.

The Gallic army outside the lines decided to concentrate their attack on the Roman forces encamped on the northern side of Alesia. During the night 40,000 of their best troops slowly positioned themselves for the assault.

At dawn they launched a surprise early morning attack. At the same moment the remainder of the Gallic forces outside the lines launched their assault across the plains towards the  Roman outer defenses. Vercingetorix, then divided his entire army and hurled them against different points along the Roman inner lines to divide and weaken the Roman defenses, Caesar and his legion’s found themselves facing an all out assault.

The fighting now became more desperate and savage, the Gaul’s knew this was there last good chance of defeating the Romans and pressed home their final attack. Caesar noticed that his  defenses were weakening on his northern sector and gave the order that all Roman cavalry units should leave their positions and rush to that area and attack the Gaul’s from the rear.

Just as the Gallic attack on the Roman northern defenses began to push the Romans back, the Gauls were suddenly surprised to find Roman cavalry bearing down on them. Caught between enemy cavalry to their rear and infantry at their front the Gaul’s panicked and fled the field in all directions. The Roman cavalry continued their charge against the fleeing Gaul’s chasing down the survivors and cutting them down without mercy.

Witnessing their best troops being massacred, the Gaul’s attacking the Roman outer defensive lost heart and began to fall back. The withdrawal soon turned into a route as the Roman cavalry swung onto the plain and charged into these troops as well, what was left of the Gallic army began to disintegrate.

After three days of fighting the battle of Alesia was over, the Romans had won a crushing and decisive victory for the loss of 12,000 men, the Gauls had suffered 60,000 killed and 40,000 taken prisoner, destroying the powerful Gallic tribes and turning the nation of Gaul into a province of the Roman Empire.

Caesar, had successfully defended twenty-five miles of entrenchment and beaten two armies, which combined outnumbered him five to one. The next day Vercingetorix surrendered, he was chained and sent to Rome to be part of Caesars triumphant parade, where during the celebration, he was ritually strangled.

 

VERCINGETORIX SURRENDERS TO CAESAR

This Literary work © GreatMilitaryBattles.com

 

 

 

 

An Aussie Intern in Israel – Part One: The Personal Experience

 

An Aussie Intern in Israel – Part One: The Personal Experience

I once thought that I fell for a young man, a love completely against my will and every subjective, objective, emotional thought I had and yet there he was plaguing my mind despite me. The facts are that he certainly has a ridiculous personality, divided between his willful submission to societal norms caused by a desperate need for approval and his frustrated anxiety to be who he wants to be. In fact, he claims to be a determinate as a way to escape his own will and freedom due to the intensity of his self-doubt and yet plays deceitful games, lies and tricks the people around him to satisfy his ego and covert the misery he feels for being such a coward. His life is an image creation and though he despises such mediocrity, he tames the desire for freedom by creating fictional characters and stealing the experiences from others. This, and finding happiness in other peoples’ misery. I desired nothing more than to see him embrace his freedom as I could sense a purity or goodness within him beyond what I had ever seen before but time and time again, despite every comment made, every lesson thrown in his direction, he always withered back into his shell, hiding himself behind the shadows. In all the bad he did to me – all of which I knew as I knew what he was – I realized I fell in love with the belief in his potential to break out of this repetitive stupidity, to become honest to himself which is the only way to obtain what genuine morality provides; everlasting peace. But last Christmas, seeing him only worsen I realized to my immediate disappointment that his refusal to better himself was much stronger than I could impress and being profoundly saddened at his failure to a point of making myself seriously sick, to save myself from the heartache I decided to search elsewhere for what I had hoped to find in him.

And I think I found him. His name is Israel.

From the soundless alarm made from the gentle, orange sunrise piercing through the giant tree outside my bedroom window that form shapes on the wall to the random crazy man shouting for no apparent reason on the side of the street. The impolite service, the politics, history, feeling lost in the maze of an unknown language as I stand in shock as people ride hand-made motorized bicycles in the middle of a busy, disorganized road. The combination of young, perfectly tanned girls wearing short dresses that expose their tattoos to women dressed modestly in long skirts and shirts with a scarf over their heads. The dilapidated buildings and infrastructure that is nevertheless functional and the sudden silence during shabbat. On one end I see an overweight, bearded man wearing a payos and hat with a gun strapped around his thigh and on the other I see young, attractive men sipping beers in their board shorts. I am lost in the chaos, overwhelmed by the constant honking of the horns, the failure to understand where to go or what bus to catch. And I love every minute of it.

It goes against every rational, subjective, emotional understanding I have of a place to call home, living in Melbourne – the most livable city in the world – and having an attitude of refined simplicity and quality. Such is the appeal of this country, with the ridiculous personality divided between a strong, almost mad ego and a genuine goodness. There is so much to learn, so much to change for the better and I want to play my part, to flow in the chaotic tide of its beauty and terror even if multiple barriers causes him to reject me, trick me or hurt me. I have fallen in love with the endless possibilities that Israel has to offer.

 

Desert Queen

At the onset of my Masters degree in Human Rights Law, I was told that there would be opportunities to pursue international internships funded by Monash University and noticed several availabilities in Israel. Though I had yet to apply, something told me that I was going and I could only go if I was offered the funds to do so since financial constraints would prevent me from visiting independently. You could imagine how overwhelmed I felt the moment I received the ‘congratulations’ letter, but certainly not as accomplished and confident the moment I stood on the balcony at my Tel Aviv apartment knowing that throughout October I will be in the most complex, beautiful place in the world. Since completing my studies in Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies several years back at the Australian National University, I have always wanted to come and experience everything that I had learnt about the Arab/Israeli conflict and about Middle Eastern politics in general, of Islam and Judaism and the legal and social issues – something I shall write more about in Part Two: The Political Experience of this blog post. But my love of history and of biblical history in particular was the source of what really compelled me to this region.

Interestingly, however, I though it would be in Jerusalem that I would find a sense of belonging but – as I had experienced in Rome – it was certainly not what I had anticipated, on the contrary. I unwittingly found a love of the rustic and almost cruel Negev region and also in restricted and abandoned streets of Bethlehem. Perhaps it was simply just a string of bad luck, yet I was hoodwinked on several occasions in Jerusalem, losing a substantial amount of money to a taxi driver who intentionally dropped me off at the wrong place, from staying in a terrible apartment though the images showed it otherwise, to be given incorrect directions from a mini-market employee when all I needed to do was walk less than thirty seconds away from the location, I became confused and a little disgruntled. The attitude to Tel Aviv – where I am primarily based – is a liberal city, left-wing and youthful and yet here I have felt welcomed, the vibe being that of kind solicitation, a warmth and eagerness. When I was in Rome, a similar and overwhelming experience had occurred just the same and I felt a strong desire to leave the city and return back to Tuscany where I felt at home in the hills with its peaceful culture, music, art and the medieval architecture. Perhaps, as I said, it was just bad luck and I will endeavor to try Jerusalem once more in anticipation of a better experience.

It was nevertheless unexpected that traversing the Judean Desert, from the Dead Sea to Ein Gedi, from Eilat and even to Jordan where experiencing Wadi Rum since watching Laurence of Arabia would have been as appealing as it has to me. Like most adventurers, some find it appealing to climb mountains, others hiking forests or out at sea, for me it would seem that there is a desert appeal, the richness of archaeological and historical artifacts and stories, the cruelty and beauty.

Mar Saba Monestary
masada
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Staying in Israel until the end of October, I also find myself being a part of the most celebratory month of the year. Though I have rented an apartment near the beach and so locally there appears to be options to buy groceries or visit a cafe despite the public holiday, I still want to get myself involved and learn more about the customs and traditions. At the moment, the celebration of Rosh Hashanah is underway or the Jewish New Year and Jews all over the world traditionally eat apples dipped in honey to promote a sweet new year. I wish for nothing more than the sweetest New Year and being an avid – perhaps way too avid – fruit lover, I spent a portion of my funds on apples, pears, plums, honey and pomegranates for the two-day holiday. Oh, how I love fruit so I thank Rosh Hashanah for the excuse to eat it all! In the Book of Leviticus, Rosh Hashanah or the Feast of the Trumpets is traditionally a way of reflecting over the past year, to be penitent and to ask God for forgiveness for any wrongdoing made in addition to celebrating the beginning of the harvest. Challah bread – which is circular – is also traditionally served to symbolize the cycle of the year. Shanah tovah u’metukah

Following Rosh Hashanah will be the celebration of Yom Kippur, considered the holiest of holidays for the Jewish community all around the world. Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement require fasting and prayer over the day and night, asking for forgiveness and atoning for any sin or wrongdoing. This is followed by Sukkot or the Feast of the Tabernacles and is a celebration of the exodus through the wilderness as signified in the Book of Leviticus as well as marking the agricultural year from the Book of Exodus. It ends over a period of seven days on Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. To be a part of a country celebrating these festivities, I feel honored to be present during October.

A Personal Journey of Recovery

I went through the worst year of my life last year. I found myself being bullied and harassed, I lost all my savings and ultimately my dreams, I had a car accident, I was seriously threatened, physically injured and ill with rapid weight loss, amenorrhea and severe angina, twice hospitalized where I nearly died. All this while I was alone. It felt like the whole world hated me and all I really wanted was one person, a friend, to say that I was going to be okay, only it was the contrary. There were days that I spent hours in physical agony from the angina that I never left the house and to avoid the severity of the situation, I would utilize social networking sites as a way to pretend that I was not as incredibly vulnerable, confused or afraid as I was. It was only when the angina suddenly disappeared to the dismay of my doctor and myself that I was able to slowly stand from the distress and work my way out of the sense of emptiness and hurt. Though I permanently injured my left leg and without a car, despite the pain I forced myself to walk and get groceries, to catch two trains to my new job and back. Slowly but surely and now with an income and employment that gave me purpose, I moved into my own unit and took control of my life once more. I started a master’s degree and began writing my own blog, making a pact with myself that 2016 will be a New Year that will never repeat what I had experienced previously. Step by step, struggle-by-struggle, I gained the strength and did so with independence, hard work, a strong will and my faith in the loving-kindness of God.

In saying all that, the terrible experiences awakened a part of me that I had long kept hidden. I never realized how much my family had hurt me until the recent events because – being alone for so long – the severity of the experience made me realize that I did not want to be alone anymore, which made me question why I was. After a childhood spent being rejected from my parents and relentlessly told by my siblings that I was ugly and stupid, unawares, I believed it and pushed all men away as I kept myself hidden from the fear of being hurt just the same as I never had ambition professionally since I thought I was never good enough. Though no one would know of my inherent isolation, year after year was lost in the acceptance that I was less worthy than everyone else. All these experiences has in a cyclic fashion encapsulated everything that I have decidedly become. Though it was incredibly difficult for me, a photo in my swimsuit at Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea was an effort to express in symbolic format that I will no longer believe that I am ugly and that beauty is the confidence to have self-respect, to commit to a life of moral worthiness, to be genuinely kind and to love with all my heart and though I have not yet been in a relationship, I am no longer embarrassed or afraid neither do I nor will I ever believe in other people’ viciousness. I have conquered hate. My passion now lies in children and my philosophy will remain that every child deserves a childhood. My mother, being a victim of severe domestic violence, failed to adequately care and I know that a childhood can only develop correctly with a mother who is of right mind. Thus, by extension, women’s rights is fundamental to the rights of children. Though I myself can never have children, my fierce maternal instincts, genuine sense of love for all of humankind, honor in my person and respect for myself has led me to commit myself to this purpose. I am also learning to appreciate beauty both physically and subjectively.

Which is why my purpose was found on the day I decided to travel into Bethlehem, the West Bank. Encountering the Palestinian/Israeli conflict directly, it was quite overwhelming to hear stories of Palestinian children being shot dead, something that reaches deep into my soul as completely and unequivocally unacceptable. The restrictions particularly with movement and self-determination, the poverty and lack of opportunity will certainly impact on the well-being of mothers. To change the conditions of society, to prevent the growth or maturation of a negative culture, children need to experience love, happiness, freedom. It was in Bethlehem that I met the founder of the organisation Alrowwad For Culture and Arts, a wonderful organisation in the UNRWA managed refugee camp Aida that provides both women and children with hope through creativity and education.

BanksySpraying on the wall West Bank Wall Aida Camp GraffitiMe with Palestinian Children

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Aida Camp is managed by UNRWA and with more than 3000 inhabitants covering a mere 0.070 square kilometers, it is one of many camps in the region that is susceptible to violence being in a vulnerable location and overcrowded. Dr. Abdelfattah Abusrour gave me a plethora of information regarding the work of the organisation and I was so moved by its validity that I have decided to establish Australian Friends of Alrowwad when I get back home to Melbourne as a way of supporting the organisation and the children in the camp. I am apolitical and will ensure that it remains so, my only concern being the rights of women and children despite Israel and Palestine being divided withe a long and intricate history of violence and fear among other delicate issues. My personal experience with hardship and my current state of subjective peace was only possible when I stopped focusing on the evils of the past but took the necessary steps to develop change for the better. It is unfruitful and unproductive otherwise as all experiences should never be forgotten but it is essential to overcome.

I want to end with a quote that I believe stands at the heart of this personal post of mine.

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Mother Teresa To Be ‘Declared’ A Saint Tomorrow

(This article is courtesy of the BBC Europe news agency)

Mother Teresa: The humble sophisticate

  • 1 hour ago
  • From the sectionEurope
Mother TeresaImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Mother Teresa, who died in Kolkata, India, 19 years ago, will be formally declared a Saint of the Catholic Church by Pope Francis at a Vatican ceremony on Sunday. David Willey, who has reported from Rome for the BBC during five decades, tells how he once spent an hour sitting and talking informally with the new saint in an unlikely setting, the arrivals hall at Rome’s Fiumicino airport.

I immediately understood that the woman already known as the “Saint of the Slums” of Kolkata was at the same time a very humble and simple caring person and a sophisticated international traveller.

She constantly jetted around the world, visiting her Missionaries of Charity, the religious order she had founded in 1950, so I suppose it was appropriate that we should meet, not in her motherhouse near the Coliseum in Rome, or in one of her hospices for the dying in India, but amid the bustle of an airport.

We sat together in the arrivals section and she quickly had me laughing as she proudly showed off her Air India travel pass, which entitled her to a lifetime of free worldwide air travel – a gift of the Indian government.

Indian nuns from the Catholic Order of the Missionaries of CharityImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionToday there are 6,000 followers of Mother Teresa working in 139 countries

I had been trying to arrange an interview with her for months, but the nuns at her Rome headquarters kept putting me off. Finally they rang me to say she would be arriving on such-and-such a flight from India and departing an hour-and-a-half later to Canada and I could meet her for a brief talk at the airport.

She was a tiny figure and her face was already rather wizened. She was immediately recognizable as she emerged alone through the arrival doors clutching a small white cloth bag, dressed in the blue-trimmed white cotton Indian sari and veil which she had adopted as the uniform dress for members of her missionary order.

“Do you have to pick up your suitcase as you are in transit?” I asked, feeling slightly foolish for suggesting that a living saint might misplace her baggage tag.

“No,” she replied. “I carry around all my worldly possessions with me in this little bag. My personal needs are very simple!”

Before tackling more weighty metaphysical and theological matters and hearing how she devoted her life to the poorest of the poor, I decided to try to find out more about how a living saint organised her travels. I was intrigued by her Air India free travel pass.

“How do you plan ahead?” I asked, in the pre-mobile phone era.

Mother Teresa in KolkataImage copyright  IMAGES
Image caption Mother Teresa worked with the dying and destitute in Kolkata for nearly half a century

“Well I usually ring up, from a coin box at the airport, the head of state or the prime minister or Pope John Paul at the Vatican if I am in Rome – and they send a car to the airport to meet me,” she said.

By the time I met her in the late 1980’s, Mother Teresa’s sisters and affiliated brothers and fathers had already grown to become an international family of 1,800 nuns and many thousands of lay workers.

Today they number nearly 6,000 and are active in 139 countries. Her order knows practically no territorial boundaries and she was already setting up homes and hospices and recruiting in Eastern Europe long before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Union.

She opened two centers in Hong Kong as early as 1983, but China has so far resisted attempts by the order to minister to their poor.

As the minutes ticked by, Mother Teresa went on to explain to me her single-minded devotion to her work of ministering to the sick, the dying and the disabled.

Pope John Paul II with Mother TeresaImage copyrightEPA
Image captionMother Teresa was a close friend of Pope John Paul II

In her own words: “Our mission was to care for the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to society and are shunned by everyone.”

Pope John Paul II had visited Mother Teresa’s hospice for the dying in Kolkata during his pilgrimage to India in 1986 and the two became close friends.

Mother Teresa frequently appeared at Vatican ceremonies at the Pope’s side until her death. Later, in record time, in 2003 she was herself created a Blessed of the Roman Catholic Church, marking her final step towards full sainthood.

Her flight to Toronto was called and we walked together to the departures hall. She disappeared behind the automatic doors, still clutching her small cloth bag and passing unrecognized, it seemed to me, among the throngs of passengers crisscrossing the transit zone.

I knew I had met a living saint; she had touched my heart, transmitted her sense of joy for life, and she had also made me laugh.

Who Are The Two Prophets Of The Book Of Revelation?

 

In the last book of the Christian Bible, the book of Revelation in the 11 chapter in verses 3 through 12 we are told of two Prophets that God will send to the Earth during the first half of the “great tribulation”. This will be during the time between the sounding of the sixth and of the seven trumpets that will be sounded from Heaven. These two men will be here on Earth just outside of Jerusalem for 42 months and they will be hated by the people because of the torments they put upon the Earth. After the 42 months the Devil will kill them and their bodies will lay in the street for three and a half days and the people will rejoice because of their deaths. But after the three and a half days God will raise them up upon their feet in front of their enemies and call them back up to Heaven, shortly after there will be a great earthquake and ten percent of the city shall fall and thousands will die from it. Today I am going to speak with you about who these two Prophets are, and where they came from.

 

Throughout both the New and the Old Testaments all but two people died while here on the Earth. Most people can tell you about one of them, the Prophet Elijah, but do not know of the other. By the way, the name Elijah in Hebrew means “Yahweh is God”. The story of Elijah being called up to Heaven is found in the book of 2nd Kings verses 1-15, this would be in the 6th century BC., the actual verse is #11. In case a few of you are wondering, no Elijah wasn’t God. In a lot of nations and cultures people are given names that actually have a meaning, a definition, unlike white folks names here in America that have no meaning behind them.

 

The other man who did not die while he was upon the Earth was named Enoch, he was five generation from Adam. You can find the story of Enoch in Genesis, the first book of the Bible in the 5th chapter. Enoch lived for 65 years and then his wife gave birth to a son named Methuselah who lived longer than any recorded human, 969 years. After the birth of Methuselah Enoch lived another 300 years. In Genesis 5:24 the passage says “Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.) In the New Testament book of Luke 3:37 we are told that Methuselah was an ancestor to Christ so obviously Enoch was also. If you are wondering when in history theses events happened remember the 969 years that Methuselah lived? Noah was after his time on Earth was over. The terms used in Genesis 6:9 are like the words spoken about Enoch in 5:24,”… Noah was a just man and perfect in his generation, and Noah walked with God.” The difference here is that Noah was not taken by God, Noah continued to live and had three sons that went with him when he built the Ark. Enoch is easy to forget about because his life was so long ago and not all that much is written about him unlike the Prophet Elijah over 4000 years later.

 

Throughout all of recorded time of the human race all but these two people have died. Even Jesus Himself had to die while He was here in human form. Almost all of the recorded Prophets of the Old Testament were murdered as Jesus was yet even the few who did not get murdered, except for these two, they all still died, even Moses the “friend of God, died. In the New Testament all of the Apostles except for the Apostle John were murdered, yet even John did die. John wrote the book of Revelation while on the Roman prison island of Patmos in the years of 95-96 AD. This was apx 30 yrs after the Romans executed the Apostles Paul (AD 64) and Peter (AD 68) just outside of Rome. John, Moses, and all the other devout followers of God had to suffer death, except for these two Old Testament men, Enoch and Elijah. In Revelation chapter 11 verse’s 3 and 4 it reads, (God speaking) ” And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy (preach) a thousand two hundred and three score day, (3 1/2 yrs) clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the Earth”. They came from God and they will go back to God. Could I be wrong about these two men being Elijah and Enoch? Does the Bible anywhere spell it out in plain Greek or Hebrew that it is these two? No, it doesn’t. Could I possibly be wrong about it being these two, it’s possible, but from all the information given to us in the Bible there is nothing else that comes close to making any sense. The Lord has made it very plain that He does not want His followers to be ignorant or uninformed. We are told plainly that He wants us to study the Scriptures daily so that we will know what they say.

 

Before I put these posts in that I write I spend a lot of time in prayer, praying for His guidance through His Spirit which indwells His believers/followers. I have spent right at 50 years studying the Scriptures and I know that every time I read through them my eyes are opened to more knowledge from them. Did God Himself talk to me and tell me in a “voice” that these are the two Prophets of Revelation? No, but I have told you now what He has told me, and all of us, through His Scriptures. Will this one piece of information save anyone’s Soul? No, but if it will get anyone to dig into the Scriptures to try to prove me incorrect, then I have accomplished my goal. The goal of getting more folks to think and to open their Bible for the purpose of learning of God’s Word and of God’s love for us all.

 

 

Understanding Revelation Chapters 16,17 & 18 (Armageddon, Babylon And The Harlot)

 

Like all things that are writings about Scriptural Truths there will be people who are offended and upset about what is written. I am sure that this article today will be one of those events, but I am not here to please humans, I am here to help them to see and to understand. In this article today it will seem to many that I am picking on the Catholic Church, that is not my intention, truth is my intention. Many people do not read the Book of Revelation because they say that they just don’t understand it because the parables are beyond their understanding, unfortunately most of the Christian Religions also fall into this abyss. Unfortunately many Churches do not teach Revelation because what is written does not jive with their Church Doctrine. I am going to start this article at Revelation chapter 16, verse 14. When the end times of this system of things that we all live in today there are seven Vials in Heaven that will be poured upon the Earth by Angels of God. Where I am beginning is after the Sixth Vial has been poured. This is a time when all the Nations of the Earth gather their Armies together to fight against God/Jesus and His Angels at the Second Advent of Christ. This is when the world will see that they have been deceived by the three ‘would be’ Gods who are actually three Devils. The sad part is that these people will be the ones who have the Mark of the Beast/Devil (your government given number) in their foreheads or implanted in their forearm/wrist and it will be too late for them.

 

16:14 “For they are the Spirits of Devils working miracles who go forth to the Kings of the Earth and to the whole world to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” 16:16 “And He (the Devil) gathered them together to a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” 16:17 “And the seventh Angel poured out his vial into the air: and there came a great voice out of the Temple of Heaven, from the Throne, saying, It is done.” 18 “And there was thunder and voices and lightning; and there was a great earthquake such as has not been since men have been upon the Earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.” 19″And the great city (Jerusalem) was divided into three parts (Jewish, Islamic, Christian), and the cities of the Nations fell: and great Babylon (Rome/Vatican) came into remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.” 20 “And every island fled away (disappeared) and the mountains were not found (flattened).” 21 “And there fell upon men a great hail out of Heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent (7.5 lbs): and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.”

 

For the purpose of not making this article into a book itself I am going to hit the ‘high points’ of chapters 17 and 18. These high points are designed to help you understand these two chapters if you decide to read them for yourself which I sincerely hope you will.

 

In 17; it speaks of the ‘Great Whore’ that sits upon many waters: with whom the Kings of the Earth have committed fornication and the inhabitants of the Earth have been made drunk with the wine of Her fornication. (This Great Whore is the Catholic Church/the Vatican). You see when Christ returns He is coming for ‘His Bride, The Church’. The Catholic Church throughout its history has called itself ‘The Church’ and at one time it was but it started committing adultery with the kingdoms of the Earth, it did not keep itself clean/pure. The reach of the ‘spoiled Bride’ reaches to all the continents and all its Kingdoms. ‘The Church’ is not pure, it has committed mass adultery with the Kingdoms of the world of which Satan rules thus they have been in league with evil for at least 1600-1700 years, thus the Catholic Church is ‘the Great Whore’ spoken of here in Revelation. Starting in verse 3 the Apostle John speaks of the Woman (the Catholic Church/ the Vatican) sitting upon a scarlet colored Beast (Devil). “And upon her forehead was a name written, “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” “And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the Saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus:”

 

Chapter 18 starting with verse 2 the Apostle John speaks of another Angel that came down from Heaven who spoke with a mighty voice saying “Babylon the great is fallen and has become the habitation of Devils and the dwelling place of every foul Spirit,” 3: “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of Her fornication, and the Kings of the Earth have committed fornication with Her and the merchants of the Earth are become rich through the power of Her delicacies.” 8: “Therefore shall Her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning and famine; and She shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judges Her.”

 

I will end this article today with this last little bit from the last few verses of chapter 18 starting with verse 20. “Rejoice over Her, thou Heaven, and ye Holy Apostles and Prophets (preachers); for God has avenged you on Her.” “And a mighty Angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, This with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.” 23: “…; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.” Then lastly verse 24: “And in Her was found the blood of Prophets, and of Saints, and of all that were slain upon the Earth.”

I hope that this article helped to clarify a few things for you. I am not trying to be hateful or mean toward anyone, I am only trying to be totally truthful with you. My hope is that through this article some of you will take the time to read these passages and hopefully understand them a little more. I pray that God will bless each and every one of you, good night.