Apollo 8 Christmas Eve 1968

– NASA Press Release –

Christmas Eve, 1968.

As one of the most turbulent, tragic years in American history drew to a close, millions around the world were watching and listening as the Apollo 8 astronauts — Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders — became the first humans to orbit another world.

As their command module floated above the lunar surface, the astronauts beamed back images of the moon and Earth and took turns reading from the book of Genesis, closing with a wish for everyone “on the good Earth.”

The crew entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1968. That evening, the astronauts held a live broadcast, showing pictures of the Earth and moon as seen from their spacecraft.

“We were told that on Christmas Eve we would have the largest audience that had ever listened to a human voice,” recalled Borman during 40th anniversary celebrations in 2008. “And the only instructions that we got from NASA was to do something appropriate.”

The crew rocketed into orbit on December 21, and after circling the moon 10 times on Christmas Eve, it was time to come home. On Christmas morning, mission control waited anxiously for word that Apollo 8’s engine burn to leave lunar orbit had worked.

The crew splashed down in the Pacific on December 27. A lunar landing was still months away, but for the first time ever, humans from Earth had visited the moon and returned home safely.

-End-

America had come through a tumultuous year of social and political upheaval. Riots in the street, escalation of the war in Vietnam, and the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy had left the nation reeling. It seemed as if God had removed His hand of favor from the United States. It is said that when the Apollo 8 astronauts read from the Book of Genesis that you could hear a pin drop in every corner of the earth. In those brief moments the peace of God reigned in the hearts of people on every continent.

Copyright © 2017 Eternal Christ

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When Jesus was Read in the Synagogue

Pastor John MacArthur, in a recent sermon at Grace Church in Simi Valley, told the congregation that Ezekiel 16 is not read in synagogues. Why? According to the Mishna (Megillah 4:10), Rabbi Eleazar ordered that the chapter be excluded from the haftarah because it shamefully exposes the abominations of Jerusalem.

[Editor: The haftarah can be likened to the first and second readings of the Catholic liturgy. It features readings from the Torah and the prophets much like the liturgy which reads from both Old and New Testaments.]

This is not a study of Ezekiel 16, but it does paint a sordid picture of Jerusalem’s transgressions. In fact, the chapter should be rated “R” for its salacious descriptions of Israel’s harlotries.

… you spread your legs to every passer-by to multiply your harlotry (Ezekiel 16:25).

The LORD, speaking through the prophet, said that Jerusalem was worse than a harlot because she gave it away. Promiscuity was more abominable than prostitution. What does that say about our culture’s one-night stands, and bar hop hook-ups?

Ezekiel was in the first wave of captives exiled to Babylon, but his prophetic book was disputed even after the crucifixion of Yeshua. Rabbis simply did not like the prophet’s message which they deemed metaphysical and in opposition to the Law of Moses.

Well, the point of this article is to highlight the Christological passages of the Jewish scriptures which are not read in synagogues. According to Rabbi Singer, the Old Testament passages that Christians relate to the Mashiac are not read in the haftarah because they do not relate to anything found in the five books of Moses, or Pentateuch.

Whether the liturgy, or the haftarah, it is customary that the passages of scripture are relatable. Thus, we read Jesus in the B’rit Chadasha:

Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms (Luke 24:44).

Israel does not believe that Christ is the Mashiac so passages claimed by Christians are dismissed as irrelevant to the Law of Moses.

Rabbi Singer commented on Isaiah 53, arguably the most Christological chapter in the Jewish Bible:

It is easy to understand why Isaiah 53 is never read in the synagogue. Isaiah 53 bears no relationship to any of the chapters of the Pentateuch and is unrelated to any holiday or historical circumstance on the Jewish calendar.

Therefore this chapter was not included in any haftarah portion. This remarkable claim that the Jews expunged Isaiah 53 from the haftarah is probably the most anti-Semitic argument used by missionaries.

[Editor: Missionaries is a deprecatory term for the heretical sect of Judaism otherwise known as Christians.]

The Haaretz, a secular publication in Israel, dared to ask, What Happened to Jesus’ Haftarah?

The preface read:

The rabbis who instituted weekly readings from the Prophets as part of the Sabbath liturgy excluded all the biblical verses on which Christians based their principles of faith in the New Testament.

The author suggested that the exclusion was deliberate, and not due to the guidelines of the haftarah. He then cited a respectable list of Christological passages that are never read in synagogues.

(Click on the EMET tab where I have compiled a practical guide to messianic references found in the Old Testament.)

So, when was Jesus read in the synagogue? This was actually a teaser in reference to Christ’s return to Nazareth. Entering the synagogue on the Sabbath he took and read from the prophet Isaiah. I’ll leave you to study the full account in Luke 4:16-21.

I read somewhere that the rabbin closely follow the guidelines of the haftarah because they fear that their assembly might otherwise run out of the synagogue and be baptized!

Suffice it to say that Jesus’ haftarah is not read in synagogues today.

Copyright © 2017 Eternal Christ

Jesus is the Tree of Life

This Sunday’s sermon was a very simple message — Jesus is the tree of life. In the Garden the tree of life was a symbol of the Mashiac. The Jewish Bible reveals that wisdom is a tree of life by which the LORD founded the earth and established the heavens (Proverbs 3:18-19).

The psalmist gives glory to the LORD for all the works He has done in wisdom (Psalm 104:24); for by wisdom He made the heavens (Psalm 136:5).

You may ask, “But I thought the earth was created by the Word of God?” The LORD’s wisdom in the Old Testament is a reflection of His word in the New Testament. Why do I say that?

John revealed that Christ is the Word of God through whom all things were made (John 1:1-3); and Paul wrote that Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24).

In the Tanakh it was by the LORD’s wisdom that all things were made. In the B’rit Chadasha it is by His word which is Jesus Christ — the wisdom of God — that all things were created.

Wisdom is a tree of life and her fruit is length of days (Proverbs 3:16). God’s wisdom (or word) was made manifest in Yeshua HaMashiach. Whoever eats of Jesus Christ will have eternal life. This is a stumbling block for Israel (John 6:52).

In John’s vision the apostle saw the water of life as a river flowing from the throne of God through the tree of life (Revelation 22:1-2). Only those who endure, said Jesus, will be granted the right to eat the fruit of this tree (Revelation 2:7).

Imagine, Adam and Eve could have eaten from this tree (which John saw in the paradise of God), but they chose instead to eat from the tree of knowledge.

You have a choice. You can indulge in the temptations of the world …

— or —

… you can eat the flesh of Christ who is the bread of life and cup of salvation.

Let’s say you have a choice between a serving of your favorite dessert, or a wafer of unleavened bread. Well, Adam and Eve chose the dessert. We don’t know what kind of fruit blossomed on the tree of life, but the fruit on the tree of knowledge was attractive and tasty (Genesis 3:6).

Ironic … Eve believed the forbidden fruit would impart wisdom, but that can only be found in obedience to God. (So mind your mother when she tells you to stay out of the cookie jar, or something like that.)


As I listened to the sermon on the tree of life I couldn’t help but think about this song, Heart of the Wood, and its closing lyrics:

He said we can mark a tree to keep from getting lost
And it’ll always point our way home like that old rugged cross
A hundred years and it just grew and only heaven knew just what it’d be
And who’d hang on that tree
It held the Son of God like it should
But I know it broke the heart of the wood

Copyright © 2017 Eternal Christ