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eNews For The Week Of January 06, 2009

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Israeli President Tells Europe to Open Its Eyes

January 06, 2009

President Shimon Peres on Tuesday told a European Union delegation that the EU must deliver a clear message to Hamas not to use children as human shields. Many Palestinian children have been killed but very few Israeli children, Peres said. This was because Israel did not turn its children into human shields, he declared. "Your mission is not to win anything but peace," Peres told the EU delegation.

The Jerusalem Post

VIDEO: The End of Wall Street - How It Happened

January 06, 2009

Journal reporters explain how easy money led to the collapse of Wall Street's biggest firms.

The Wall Street Journal

Mom Sues School District Over 'Back to the Book' Classes

January 06, 2009

While a 1952 US Supreme Court ruling permits 'released time' religious instruction, the ACLU is alleging that since Huntington County's programs are housed in trailers on school property, they violate the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.


1,000 People Pray for Israel in Harlem

January 05, 2009

A church in the Manhattan neighborhood of Harlem included a special prayer for the people of Israel, the Israeli government and peace in its traditional Sunday prayer. About 1,000 people took part in a special prayer. The bishop, who visited Israel three times this year and was even in Sderot, invited Israel's Consul-General to New York Assi Shariv to attend the 10-minute prayer.

YNet News

News Media Shows Slanted Facts About Gaza War

January 02, 2009

The Israelis are not only opening the war zone to convoys of medical supplies, they are opening their own hospitals to Palestinians in need. Interesting, however, that a communication from the Israeli Embassy indicated that many of the Palestinian children treated in Israeli hospitals were victims of Palestinian fired missiles.

Koenig's International News


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Articles And Commentary

The Magi Cometh

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While Christmas is over for many Americans, one more remembrance of Christ's birth remains. Epiphany celebrates the presentation of Christ to the world, first in his visit from the Magi and, in Eastern Orthodox traditions, his baptism.

In Latin communities across the Americas, children jump out of bed on the morning of January 6 to see what the Wise Men left for them. Epiphany - or Three Kings Day - celebrates the arrival of the wise men who gave the Christ child their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. While millions of children leave cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer, Hispanic children leave grass and water under their beds for the Three Kings' camels.

Bakeries in Hispanic neighborhoods work overtime baking up Roscas de Reyes (King Cakes). Inside these cakes, decorated with fruit and icing, are hidden miniatures of the Baby Jesus. The person who finds the little statue is supposed to take it to church on February 2 and throw a party.

Most of what we associate with the "Magi" comes from early church traditions. People have assumed that there were three wise men since they brought three specific gifts. (The Biblical text doesn't number them.) The wise men are called "Magi," from the Latinized form of the Greek word magoi, transliterated from the Persian for a select sect of priests. (Our word "magic" comes from the same root.)

As the years passed, traditions became increasingly embellished. By the 3rd century, they were viewed as kings. By the 6th century they had names: Bithisarea, Melichior, and Gathaspa. Some even associated them with Shem, Ham and Japheth, the three sons of Noah, and thus with Asia, Africa, and Europe.

While the number of magi is in dispute, their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh were prophetic of Christ's purposes. Gold speaks of His kingship; frankincense was a spice used in the priestly duties; and myrrh was an embalming ointment signifying His death. In the millennium, He will also receive the gifts of gold and incense, but no myrrh (Isaiah 60:6). His death was once and for all.

Orthodox Christians celebrate Epiphany with another focus; Christ's baptism by John the Baptist. Epiphany, which means "to manifest" or "to show" in Greek, is often also called Theophany by the Eastern Church, because it is Christ's presentation to the world as the Son of God. As John the Baptist said:

"[H]e that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God." -John 1:33-34

All these traditions and celebrations point to a very important truth - that the Son of God came to Earth. The Wise Men and the meek of the earth recognized and worshiped Him. May we continue to worship and serve Him every day of this new year, and present to the world the reality of His Life through our own.

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Gideons International Celebrates a Century of Ministry

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It's a familiar sight that you can depend on. If you are traveling and stop at a hotel or motel, you can find a Gideon's Bible in that drawer next to your bed. For 100 years now, the businessmen of Gideons International have been distributing Bibles in hotels, and through the years have expanded to hospitals, prisons and military bases.   One hundred years, and the ministry continues strong to this day.

Gideons International is a group of businessmen from many Protestant and Evangelical denominations who long to reach the world for Jesus Christ. Those who join the Gideons must affirm certain foundational beliefs - that:

By making Bibles readily available in major venues like hotels and hospitals, the Gideons offer access to a Bible at least some point in most people's lives.

The Gideons do not make the news very often; its members do not make a big show of their offerings. However, since a few traveling salesmen started leaving Bibles in hotel rooms for the benefit of themselves and others in 1908, the Gideons have distributed almost 1.5 billion scriptures. In 2008, the Gideons handed out nearly 76.9 million scriptures in over 80 languages in 187 countries.

Hotels and hospitals are not the only places people can find a Gideon's Bible. Military bases, prisons, and schools are also major distribution points. The Gideons love to focus on the youth, and colleges account for nearly one-half of all Bibles handed out by the Gideons in the United States. They not only distribute New Testaments at universities and junior colleges, technical colleges and business schools, but also give New Testaments out at grade schools. For the most part, they must stand in public areas outside of school grounds, but they regularly hand out thousands of New Testament books to children 10-years-old and older.

Testimonies come in regularly. According to the Associated Press:

Elliott Osowitt, 59, pastor at Faith Fellowship in Jefferson, N.C., said when he used to work in the tourism industry, the life he led "involved loose living and immorality." His wife eventually kicked him out of the house on Christmas Eve in 1996.

His daughter had also been sent to prison during that time, and Osowitt felt he'd failed as a father and husband. He was going to shoot himself in his motel room that night, but before he did, he saw a Gideon Bible lying on a television, he said…

"It caused me to stop. It caused me to cry. When I read it was Jesus, I had a hard time with it," said Osowitt, who converted from Judaism to Christianity and became a Southern Baptist minister.

"It literally began a process of healing that eventually led to the reconciliation with my entire family. I just thank God for saving me and the Gideons for being so faithful."

Praise God for the 100 years of service from the Gideons and for their hard, silent work that brings the message of salvation to countless millions.

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Neanderthal Man and the King of Creation

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Since their discovery in a German cave in 1856, scientists have been trying to determine exactly what kind of creature the Neanderthals were. During the 20th century, the public was taught to view the Neanderthal as a great hulking fellow with a hairy, jutting jaw and drooping lips - the "cave" man, modern man's less-than-bright evolutionary cousin. Never mind that these ancient fellows owned skulls with brain cases (and therefore brains) larger than our own. For more than a century, they were misportrayed as brutish missing links between apes and humans, but each new advance in research presents the Neanderthal as fully human after all. The sequencing of the Neanderthal genome has shown that Neanderthal blood still flows in some of our veins. Additional DNA studies have continued to show that Neanderthals mated with modern-looking humans, and now a new set of Neanderthal cave paintings have been found in southern Spain demonstrating more of the reality of Neanderthal humanity.

A team at the University of Cordoba, Spain has been studying ancient paintings of seals found on a stalactite in the Caves of Nerja outside of Málaga on Spain’s southern coast. They appear to be the oldest cave paintings yet discovered, radiocarbon dated to about 43,000 years, and they are being credited to Neanderthals that lived in the area. The oldest previous cave paintings, France’s famous Chauvet Cave paintings of horses, cattle, reindeer and ice age animals, were dated to about 30,000 years ago.

Paul Pettitt at the University of Sheffield, UK has called the discovery, "potentially fascinating", although he cautions about the difficulties of properly dating cave art. "Even some sites we think we understand very well such as the Grotte Chauvet in France are very problematic in terms of how old they are," says Pettitt.

José Luis Sanchidrián at the University of Cordoba recognizes the tenuous nature of dating cave art, but still argues that Neanderthals fit the situation better than modern homo sapiens. The art is unlike other human Paleolithic art. He notes that Neanderthals ate seals, and they lived longer in the area than they did in the rest of Europe.

There is still the question of how the stalactite changed so little in all those thousands of years; the paintings were never covered over.
This is not the first bit of art credited to Neanderthals, however. In 2010, scallops and cockleshells were found at the Cueva Antón (Anton’s Cave) in southeastern Spain. They had been painted with an orange pigment mixed from yellow and red minerals that would have had to have been collected from iron oxide sites more than three miles away. In another cave, Cueva de los Aviones, quartz and flint tools were found along with thorny oyster shells holding the residues of hematite(red), charcoal(black), dolomite(white or pinkish), and pyrite (gold), indicating they were being used as paint cups. A pair of pierced dog-cockleshells were also found in the cave, still bearing traces of a red hematite pigment.

From Man To Brute And Back Again:
When the great pathologist Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902) considered the Neanderthal bones in 1872, he concluded that the Neanderthal first discovered in 1856 was a middle aged man with bad cases of arthritis and rickets (caused by a vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sunlight). After Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was published, the view that these bones came from an evolutionary ancestor distorted the objectivity of many scientists; the heavy-boned Neanderthal came to be thought of as a half-witted missing link between the apes and modern man.

Since the original discovery in the Neander Valley, more Neanderthal bones have been discovered across Europe and even in Israel. The Neanderthals possessed the hyoid bone, which is necessary for human speech. They have been found with tools and weapons, evidences of burial, and even a musical instrument. In fact, the finger holes of the Neanderthal flute found in Slovenia in 1995 were spaced according to the diatonic scale – do re me fa so la ti do – which argues that its maker possessed both intelligence and a musical ear. The Neanderthal image is having to be revamped as scientists realize that while they were thicker boned and more physically powerful than we are today, these humans were also intelligent, creative, and spiritually-aware people.

In fact, Dr. Jack Cuozzo, a New Jersey orthodontist who has studied several of the Neanderthal skulls firsthand, argues that based on his experience of studying bone growth, the Neanderthals may have simply lived extremely long lives - perhaps 400-500 years rather than our typical 80.
As progressively more is known about these ancient humans, paleoanthropologists have worked to discern exactly how Neanderthals did fit into human history. The team led by German researcher Svante Pääbo reconstructed the Neanderthal genome and compared it to a variety of living humans. The team found that most non-Africans have a tiny remnant of Neanderthal DNA in them. Neanderthals are also related to another set of ancient humans, the Denisovans, that lived in Siberia. The only living people still related to the Denisovans are the aborigines of Australasia.

A wide variety of human beings once lived on earth, from Homo erectus to the Denosovans to Neanderthal to the tiny three-foot-tall Homo floresiensis who lived and made tools to butcher animals on the island of Flores. They all died off except for the ancestors of modern man.

Genesis describes a massive Flood that destroyed every breathing creature on the earth except for eight humans and an assortment of animals tucked away on the Ark. According to the Bible, then, all human beings alive on earth today descended from Noah's three sons and their wives, and only the DNA in their blood was passed onto us. Since the DNA of all the other humans on earth was wiped out, it makes sense that a wider genetic variation of humans existed before the Flood, and those might have included these other humans, including the strange, big-boned people we call Neanderthals.

The King of Creation:
Ironically, the name Neander is a classical version of Neumann, which means "new man." Even more ironic is the way the "New Man" Valley received its name. In the mid 1600s, a young man named Joachin Neander settled in Dusseldorf, Germany as rector of the Latin school. While suspended from teaching during some disagreements with the Reformed church, he spent a great deal of time walking in the nearby river valley and writing hymns. Apparently, he spent so much time in that pleasant valley near Dusseldorf, it was later named for him. His hymns were published and some, like the following verse, are sung today.

Praise ye the Lord the Almighty, the King of Creation
Oh my soul praise him for he is thy health and salvation
All ye who hear, now to his temple draw near
Join me in glad adoration.

As scientists work to place the Neanderthals in their appropriate place in human history, the very name given these ancient humans brings to mind that other Neander Valley man who praised God as the Almighty – and perhaps the Neanderthal bones, even now, are bringing glory to the same King of Creation.

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The views and opinions expressed in these articles, enews and linked websites are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views held by Koinonia House. Koinonia House is providing this information as a resource to individuals who are interested in current news and events that may have an impact on Christian Life and Biblical trends. Koinonia House is not responsible for any information contained in these articles that may be inaccurate, or does not present an unbiased or complete perspective. Koinonia House disavows any obligation to correct or update the information contained in these articles.

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