What's In a Name?
Sometimes it is helpful to look at the origin of commonly used words and names in the Bible. This is certainly made easier with the availability of the internet. In our Bible reading, (and in common discourse) we encounter words and names, but the Bible doesn't always explain how they came about. Examples are Hebrew, Jews, anti-semitic, and Canaan. Here's a closer look.
Hebrew is a term used to describe a people and a language. The Old Testament is written in Hebrew. The name "Hebrew" comes from "Eber", an ancestor of Abraham and a descendant of Shem, a son of Noah. Eber's descendants were Peleg, Reu, Sereg, Nahor and Terah, the father of Abram. So it is evident that the Hebrews included others besides those of Abraham's line.
Semite or anti Semite as it is used to describe those opposed to the Jews also comes from the biblical Shem. Semite actually refers to a large number of people speaking similar languages. In the 19th century, a German journalist made a distinction between Semites and Germans and accused them of being liberals, a people without roots who had Judaized Germans beyond salvation. So we have the origin of "anti Semitism".
Jew is short for Judah, the fourth son of Jacob. During the Exodus, the name was given to the Tribe of Judah, descended from the patriarch, Judah. After the conquest and settlement of the land of Canaan, Judah also referred to the territory allocated to the tribe.
Canaan in the Bible is used to denote the land west of the Jordan River, including the sea faring Phonecians or Philistines. Abraham was promised the land of the Canaanites by God. Canaan is a grandson of Noah, son of Ham who was a brother of Shem.
Zion is a word often used as a symbol for Jerusalem. It commonly referred to a specific mountain near Jerusalem (Mount Zion), on which stood a Jebusite fortress of the same name that was conquered by David and subsequently named the City of David. Zionism refers to the movement to reestablish a state of Israel following the UN partition plan for Palestine in 1949.
From Pastor Sandra
In previous newsletters there has been an explanation of the two major periods in the Christian year: Advent-Christmas-Epiphany; then Lent-Easter-Pentecost. We are now in the period of time which is called Ordinary Time – the four to nine weeks, depending upon the variable date of Lent and Easter – which is not a special season.
Ordinary Time comprises two periods: the first period begins on Epiphany Day or the Baptism of the Lord Sunday and ends on the day before Ash Wednesday; the second period begins on the Monday after Pentecost, the conclusion of the Easter season and continues until the Saturday before the First Sunday in Advent. Both of these periods of time, combined, are the longest time in the liturgical year.
Baptism of the Lord Sunday was January 8th; The Transfiguration of the Lord will be Sunday, February 26 – the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, which begins the Lenten Season. In Scripture readings there is a detailed description of the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, performed by John the Baptist, followed immediately with God’s voice stating, This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.
The Transfiguration of the Lord is remembered as that day when Jesus Christ was transfigured, that is, his appearance was changed up on a mountain. This was a key event in our Lord’s life, and it marked a turning point in his ministry. Jesus takes three of his disciples, Peter, James and John up a high mountain. Suddenly, Jesus’ appearance changes; that is what "transfiguration" means. Jesus starts gleaming, glowing, gloriously bright. This is heavenly glory, the light of divine majesty and purity shining forth. God says to them: This is my beloved Son; listen to him. Transfiguration works as our bridge into the Lenten Season.
As Hebrews says, Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.
May God Bless You,