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Burial and Mourning Customs

From our archive: writings from a century ago

Burial and Mourning Customs

Professional mourners are still a feature of Palestine life; just as they were in the Lord’s day (2 Sam. i. 17-27; Joel ii. 12, 13; Luke viii. 52). But we cannot imagine Christ approving of such; rather can we hear him exclaiming:

“Why make ye this ado and weep?”

when he seeth

“the tumult and them that wept an dwailed greatly ” (Mark v. 38, 39).

If we follow Christ we shall shun all the empty paraphernalia and outward show associated with “costermonger” funerals.

Brethren and sisters of Christ will dispense with “pallbearers”, “minister walking in front”, “chief mourners”, “mutes”, “velvet palls”, “ostrich feathers”, “burial feasts”, and expensive black clothes. On our part, it has been an invariable experience that the money, and time, and mourning expended on the funeral has been in the inverse ratio of the appreciation of the deceased during life.

Christadelphian Funerals

Christadelphian Funerals are invariably distinguished for their simplicity and brevity.

The writer (who perhaps has conducted as many as any other one Christadelphian) usually adopts the following plan:

In the summer months, or even in the spring and autumn if the weather be fine and the followers be too numerous to be accommodated in the “Dissenters’ chapel”, requests the Undertaker to proceed direct to the grave.

After the reading of an appropriate chapter, such as John xi., or 1 Cor. xv., or 1 Thess. iv., he delivers a short address on the reason for the gathering, and then closes the service with prayer. A hymn or anthem has occasionally been included; but only when specially requested, as the immediate mourners are seldom in the mind for singing.

When the weather is inclement, then the service is conducted in the Chapel, and a prayer only is offered up at the graveside. On good authority, we know that many deaths occur through colds caught at the graveside, especially of the bereaved ones. On no account have we allowed the chaplain to assist.

A Christadelphian does all or nothing.

F. G. J.

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Sunday Observance

Today, though our Brotherhood is convinced we do not explicitly come together on Sunday to have a service or Breaking of bread, we still do offer such service in places where most people are free on Sunday. But we are convinced and also offer our services on other days and as such, the Belgian ecclesia Brussel-Leuven and Mons has sometimes a Breaking of Bread on Tuesday or on Saturday, whilst the Jeshuaist community has its service on the Sabbath, being on Friday evening and/or Saturday before the sun goes down. We also have our yearly Pesach meeting on 14 Nisan, which is every year on another day, and as such can also be a Monday, Wednesday or any other day.

All our members are at liberty to serve God the way they want and to use the day they want to bring honour to God.

Depending on the structure of a country and the way a community organises itself, people living at a certain place should find a way that as many people as possible would be able to come together for exhortation. That can best be done on a day when most people are free. In the East that shall be on a Friday or a Saturday. In Jewish areas on the Sabbath. In West Europe on Sunday. Though in Belgium the Sunday morning may be the preferable moment to have youth groups and football matches. And Sunday afternoon be the favourite occasion for outdoor sports, like cycling, pétanque, golf a.o., believers should make a choice either to take part in those relaxation activities or going to a meeting to praise God.

More than 100 years ago one of our brothers wrote:

Sunday Observance

The teaching of Scripture is that

“those who are in Christ are not under the Law, but under grace” (Rom.vi. 14, 15),

and consequently enjoy “liberty” in this matter.

Paul says:

“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike.
Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind ” (Rom.xiv. 5).

But whilst being “fully persuaded” in our own minds, let us not exercise our “liberty” in a manner damaging to the interests of the Truth.

Remember

“that all things (being lawful) are not expedient” (1Cor. x. 23).

Likewise

“abstain from all appearance of evil ” (1 Thess. v. 22).

The Apostolic counsel will safeguard us against allowing our “liberty” to be made the occasion for speaking evil against the Truth. As far as possible we should put aside secular duties and pleasures, and “regard the day unto the Lord”; gratefully recognising God’s overruling providence in the matter, whereby we are able to come together for exhortation, etc.

Let us consider the feelings of brethren and also of the devout stranger. Football, fishing, cycling, etc., although “lawful” on Sundays (if meetings be not thereby neglected) may be a legitimate cause of stumbling and of reproach.

Brethren in love with the Truth will avoid such “occasion to the adversary”.

W. J. White.

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Additional reading

  1. Reading to grow and to become wise concerning the most important thing in life 1 Times of reading
  2. Creation of the earth and man #4 Of the Sabbath day #2 Days 1,7,8 and 50
  3. Creation of the earth and man #6 Of the Sabbath day #4 Mosaic codes, Sabbaths and Sunday
  4. Creation of the earth and man #7 Of the Sabbath day #5 Respecting the day on which Christ Jesus rose from the dead
  5. Creation of the earth and man #8 Of the Sabbath day #6 If it be necessary to keep Sunday
  6. Hellenistic influences
  7. Why can’t Bible scholars agree on how to interpret the Bible?
  8. To find ways of Godly understanding
  9. Was Jesus Religious
  10. A new exodus and offering of a Lamb
  11. Were allowed to willfully break the Law of Moses
  12. Communion and day of worship
  13. Do we need to keep the Sabbath
  14. Holy Sabbath
  15. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #1 Before rain of food from heaven
  16. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #3 Days to be kept holy or set apart
  17. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #5 Not law binding
  18. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #6 Sunday or the Lord’s day
  19. Why we do not have our worship-services in a church building
  20. Old orthodox Dissenters and Unitarians in 19° Century London
  21. Only six of ten commandments of God still important to British Christians
  22. Need to Embrace People Where They Are
  23. Cleanliness and worrying or not about purity

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Related

  1. A special day every day
  2. Observe the rules of humans and celestials
  3. The Banquet of the Lord – CRC Sunday Sermon
  4. Service for 27th December 2020 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs
  5. The Great Blessing of Christian Gatherings
  6. Christians, COVID, and Sunday Gatherings
  7. Come, Let us . . .
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Unfermented Bread and Wine

In certain Christian denominations, people are seriously thinking they are eating God when they go to communion to receive the Eucharist. They do not only believe God incarnated some two thousend years ago, but think he still does it daily, by transforming Himself in bread and wine, so that believers can receive God literally in them. (?!?) Many of those Christians believing so, are eager to eat God, though they do not want to chew on Him, because that would not be proper and therefore they let Him melt on their tongue. Concerning the wine some believe that is only allowed to the priest and on special occasions to celebrate a certain covenant or arrangement, like by a marriage where the couple is also allowed to have a sip of the wine.

From the letters of the apostles, we learn that the disciples of Christ with the other followers of Christ came together, not only to read in the Torah or Scriptures, but also to gather around the table to eat bread and drink wine in remembrance of what Jesus did on the night of his ‘last supper” with his disciples.

In several religious groups there have through the years always have been lots of discussions what sort of bread one has to use for the Eucharist and what sort of wine or even grapefruit because some find that Christians may not use alcohol.

Unfermented Bread and Wine

If the Lord had desired the Memorial Feast was to be kept with unleavened bread and unfermented wine he would have said so; but he didn’t. In fact, it is very doubtful if there is such a thing as unfermented “wine”.  The only wine we read of in the Bible is that which when reasonably used “maketh glad the heart of man” (Psalm civ. 15); and which, when taken to excess, “is a mocker” (Prov. xx. 1).

Evidently that is what the early believers used, for Paul uses the word “drunken” in connection therewith (1Cor. xi. 21).

As to whether the bread be leavened or unleavened, it matters not either way. The leaven we have to avoid is that referred to by Paul:

“The leaven of malice and wickedness” (1 Cor. v. 8).

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Preceding

God’s forgotten Word 5 Lost Lawbook 4 The ‘Catholic’ church

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Additional reading

  1. Matthew 11:16-19 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 4 Impossibility of Pleasing Everyone
  2. A particular night to share unleavened bread and red wine
  3. Manifests for believers #4 Eucharist

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Related

  1. The Church Fathers on the Eucharist: Eating the REAL Body & Blood of Jesus – A Twitter Thread
  2. Taken blessed broken given
  3. 3 Steps to Build Eucharistic Devotion in the New Year
  4. Why The Church WILL Gather Again…
  5. The Incarnation, the Eucharist, and the Passion
  6. Oh the good ol’ days
  7. Butterflies, Cuddles, Wine!
  8. No holy water or wine: Catholics’ coronavirus bans
  9. Thoughts for January 27 from Fr Willie Doyle
  10. Thoughts for January 28 (St Thomas Aquinas) from Fr Willie Doyle
  11. Eucharist and the Virtue of Charity
  12. Refusing Communion during Covid. Don’t think Jesus doesn’t notice.
  13. Feasting on Crackers: (1) Recipes for Reflection
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Prayers for Rulers

From our 1st quarter of the 20th-century writings

The reason given by Paul for

“prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks”….”for kings and for all that are in authority” (1 Tim. ii. 1, 2)

is, that

“we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (verse 2).

Evidently, because the Brotherhood invariably enjoyed the latter, it was, and has been received as a right, and not a privilege; and so, supplications were deemed unnecessary.

When the Great War broke out, however, and conscription came in its wake, along with the merciless “Defence of the Realm Act“, then was realised, and appreciated, the counsel of Paul, and every Sunday, in every Ecclesia, Paul’s counsel was heeded, and its comfort felt.

Thus we can better sympathise with our first century brethren who were citizens of the Roman Empire, symbolised by God to Daniel as the great and terrible Fourth Beast.

F. G. J.

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Preceding

Posture in Prayer

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Additional reading

  1. Concerning some writers of our series on prophecy #2 Frank George Jannaway
  2. July 4, 1916 – Battle of the Somme greeted with ‘the greatest enthusiasm’
  3. Thought for the Christmas time: A sense of history

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Related

  1. #OTD in 1863 – Large numbers of Irish immigrants are involved in Draft Riots in New York City.
  2. #OTD in 1918 – Sinn Féin, the Irish Volunteers, Cumann na mBan and the Gaelic League were all proclaimed as illegal organisations by the Lord Lieutenant, Viscount French.
  3. BTS’ Success Sparks Renewed Debates About Mandatory Military ServiceThe Selective Service System
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Houding in gebed

Een eind 19de begin 20ste eeuwse kijk hoe God te aanbidden. Vandaag zijn wij er van overtuigd dat wij in de kerkdienst ook gezeten ons gebed waardig aan God kunnen opdragen.

God heeft geen vaste regel vastgelegd over welke houding we moeten aannemen als we Hem in gebed naderen.
Hij heeft het duidelijk omschreven als absoluut essentieel, dat degenen die Hem aanbidden, Hem moeten aanbidden in “Geest en in waarheid” (Johannes iv. 23). Maar of we dat staand of geknield doen, doet er niet toe.

Verschillende voorbeelden zijn opgetekend in het Woord: Knielend (2 Kron. Vi. 13; Psalm xcv. 6; Dan. Vi 10; Lucas xxii. 41). Staand (1 Koningen viii. 22; Lucas xviii.13). Prostratie (uitgestrekt neerliggend)(Deut. Ix. 18; Matt. Xxvi.39).

In de Ecclesial Meeting of kerkelijke bijeenkomsten lijkt staan ​​zeker het handigst, en knielen in onze persoonlijke devoties.

F.G.J.

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English original / Engels origineel: Posture in Prayer

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Aansluitende artikelen

  1. Worship – aanbidding
  2. God aanbidden
  3. Aanbidden, Aanbidding, Eredienst en Gebed
  4. Bijbelgezegden over God
  5. Aanbid enkel de Schepper van alles
  6. Schoonheid van heiligheid
  7. Vertrouwen, Geloof, Roepen en Toeschrijving aan Jehovah #3 Stem van God #5 Meditatie en transformatie
  8. Vertrouwen, Geloof, Roepen en Toeschrijving aan Jehovah #5 Gebed #3 Aanroepers van God
  9. Vertrouwen, Geloof, Roepen en Toeschrijving aan Jehovah #17 Soorten van gebed
  10. Aanbiddingsmuziek en opzweping in kerken
  11. CIP presenteert serie over gebedsgenezing
  12. “Laat Ons Aanbidden” evenment in Kampen in coronatijd
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Posture in Prayer

A late 19th, early 20th century look at how to worship God. Today we are convinced that while sitting in the church service, we also can dedicate our prayer worthily to God.

No hard and fast rule has been laid down by God as to what posture must be adopted when we approach Him in prayer.
He has distinctly laid it down as absolutely essential, that those who worship Him must worship Him in “Spirit and in truth” (John iv. 23). But as to whether we do so standing or kneeling, matters not.

Various examples are recorded in theWord: Kneeling (2 Chron. vi. 13; Psalm xcv. 6; Dan.vi. 10; Luke xxii. 41). Standing (1 Kings viii. 22; Luke xviii. 13). Prostration (Deut. ix. 18; Matt. xxvi.39).

In the Ecclesial Meetings, standing certainly seems the most convenient, and kneeling in our private devotions.

F. G. J.

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Nederlandse vertaling / Dutch translation: Houding in gebed

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Additional reading

  1. Worship – aanbidding
  2. Worshipping God
  3. Worship and fellowship
  4. Worship and worshipping
  5. Only worship the Creator of all things
  6. False opposite true worship which exalts the God of Israel
  7. How should we worship God? #2 Spiritual Worship
  8. How should we worship God? #5 Congregational Worship
  9. How should we worship God? #14 True worship
  10. Acknowledge the majesty of the Lord’s reputation!
  11. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  12. Sincerity not a test of truth
  13. Songs in the night Worship God only

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Related

  1. A History of Prayer Posture
  2. From the closet to the upper room
  3. Pondering & Praying Together
  4. Travailing, Prevailing Prayer
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Rechterhand van gemeenschap

Op het einde van de 19de eeuw en in het begin van de 20ste eeuw kon de broedergemeenschap makkelijk uitbreiden. Vandaag loopt dat wat minder vlot. Toch blijven wij nog steeds iedereen welkom heten die zich bij ons wil aansluiten en samen met ons deel wil uitmaken van de onder Christus in eenheid verbonden gelovigen.

Wanneer een nieuw lid door huwelijk of anderszins in een gezin wordt opgenomen, is het gebruikelijk, en naar gelang de zaken, dat het gezin een dergelijk nieuw lid verwelkomt. Evenzo, wat past er beter dan dat het huisgezin van Christus de rechterhand van gemeenschap naar een nieuwe broeder of zuster reikt?

In kleine Ecclesiae is het voor elk lid mogelijk om dit te doen; maar het is niet praktisch waar Ecclesia getallen scoort, om niet te zeggen honderden. Wat betreft wanneer en waar de collectieve rechterhand van gemeenschap moet worden gegeven, zal deze eerste verschijning aan de tafel van de Heer van hem of van haar zeker de meest geschikte tijd zijn, en zal dat dan ook door de presiderende broeder, op naam van het huishouden kunnen gebeuren.

“Laat alle dingen fatsoenlijk en in orde gebeuren” (1Cor. Xiv. 40).

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Engels origineel / English original: Right Hand of Fellowship

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Right Hand of Fellowship

When a new member is received into a family by marriage, or otherwise, it is usual, and in the fitness of things, for the family to welcome such new member. Similarly, what more becoming than for the Household of Christ to extend the right hand of fellowship to a new brother or sister?

In small Ecclesiae it is possible for each member to do so; but it is not practicable where Ecclesia numbers scores, not to say hundreds. As to when and where the collective right hand of fellowship should be given, surely his or her first appearance at the Table of the Lord is the most suitable time, and that, too, by the Presiding Brother, in the name of the Household.

“Let all things be done decently and in order” (1Cor. xiv. 40).

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Naar het Nederlands vertaalde versie / Dutch version: Rechterhand van gemeenschap

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Who Should Baptise?

Since the time of Jesus first appearance after his resurrection, Jesus’ followers advised people around them to come to Christ and to be baptised. For them not every baptism had the same value, neither could anybody have himself baptised, nor could each person baptise someone else.

Baptism was a sign that the person was willing to give himself or herself to Jesus and to be willing to be a child of God, whitewashed of sins to come into a good relationship with the Only One True God, Jehovah, the heavenly Father of Jesus.

Originally baptism was part of a ceremonial rite of healing and purification, but for the followers of Christ it became the sign of giving oneself to God and declaring to be prepared to avoid sinning. The baptism was by immersion under water unto repentance, symbolically being whitewashed, cleansed from all previous sins, by the shed blood of Christ Jesus. As such the baptism came also to symbolize “death, burial, and resurrection” of Christ and of the person being baptised; the person having his old life (his old I) buried and standing up with the hope of the resurrection by the salvation work of Christ by his ransom offering.

Who Should Baptise?

The unimportance of the detail as to who should perform the ordinance of baptism is evident by the fact that Paul said Jesus “sent me not to baptise” (1Cor. i. 17); in fact, it was a matter of so much indifference to Paul that he could only recall having baptised one or two (1 Cor. i. 16). Even Jesus left the mechanical duty to his companions (John iv. 2).

Of course, it is to be preferred that the baptiser shall himself be a believer; but, if such is not available, then recourse must be had to some obliging friend. All the latter need be requested to do is to immerse the believer, at the same time speaking the words:

“Upon a confession of your faith in the things concerning the Kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and Holy Spirit”.

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Preceding

A strange thing might happen when you come under Christ

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Additional reading

  1. Belief of the things that God has promised
  2. Being of good courage running the race
  3. An Agape In Action Spiritual Care Update: Baptisms
  4. Salvation, Baptism and Re-baptism
  5. Rebirth and belonging to a church
  6. Get Your Wonderful Disease-proof Human Body
  7. United people under Christ
  8. Beautiful feet of those who announce the good news
  9. From those preaching the Gospel and Baptism in Jesus name
  10. A Look at some Watchtower publications about baptism
  11. Uprooted Baptists their new idea of baptism
  12. Why baptism really matters – e-book

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Related

  1. Baptism
  2. Tertullian: On Baptism
  3. Baptism: Lifeline for a Lifetime
  4. The Covenant of Baptism
  5. Conversations with Baptists about Baptism
  6. A Question on Baptism in the Nicene Creed
  7. Biblical Baptism, Part 1: What It Is.
  8. Biblical Baptism, Part 2: The Errors of Baptismal Regeneration
  9. Biblical Baptism, Part 3: The Errors of Baptismal Regeneration, Continued.
  10. Guest Post: Church Life
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The Dead Sea

From an early 20th century view of the Dead Sea or Salt Sea, with the realisation that at the beginning of the 21st century the data below no longer correspond with the current reality.

The Dead Sea is never so called in the Bible; and was not so termed until the 2nd century A.D. It is called in the Old Testament “The Salt Sea” (Gen.xiv. 3), “The Sea of the Plain” (Deut. iii. 17), “The East Sea” (Ezek. xlvii. 18), and “The Sea” (Ezek.xlvii. 8).

It lies 16 miles east of Jerusalem, is 47 miles long, 10 miles wide, and is about 1,300 feet below the level of the Mediterranean. It is deepest at the north end, about 1,300 feet, and shallowest at the south end, about 10 feet.

It has no outlet, and although the Jordan continually flows into it, its level is maintained by evaporation.

The water contains about 26 per cent, of salt.

Nothing can exist in it.

F. G. J.

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Related articles

  1. Little Petra and the Dead Sea Highway
  2. Stunning Gem of the Israeli Desert – Nitzana Hillocks | White Rock Dunes
  3. Healing Waters
  4. Waterfalls in Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, Israel
  5. Enter the Flow
  6. Israel in Pictures (3) – Dead Sea Art Gallery Minus 430
  7. Masada: A fortress of myth
  8. 7 Incredible Things You Can’t miss on your trip to Eilat | Israel Travel
  9. Waterfalls in Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, Israel
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