New birth

Miscellaneous Messages from Dr. Samuels

Chanukah, Christmas, Epiphany, the second observance, December 17 and 18; December 24 and 25; January 6.

August, 1963.

Received by Dr Samuels.

Washington D.C.

 

The Feast of the Dedication of the Temple, from the 12th to the 19th of December, comes very close to Christmas, celebrated annually December 25th, and I should like to include and combine both into a single festival. The Hebrew Feast was kept every year on the 25th day of Kislev (November-December) to commemorate the purification of the Temple of Jerusalem from idolatrous worship of the Seleucid King, Antiochus (surnamed Epiphanes, son of Antiochus IV) and its rededication by Judas Maccabeus in 165 B.C. (I Maccabees, Chapter 4, versus 56-59, and II Maccabees, Chapter 10, verses 1-8). On this Feast Day and on the following seven days the houses in Jerusalem and other places were illuminated and Josephus Flavius called the celebration the Feast of Lights. (John, Chapter 10, verses 22-39 and Antiquities of the Jews, Book 12, Chapter 7, verse 7.)

Unlike the great Hebrew annual feasts, it could be celebrated not only in the Temple at Jerusalem but in the Synagogues of all places. It was observed with manifestations of joy, such as accompanied the feast of Tabernacles during the celebration of which the dedication of the First Temple had taken place. Mourning and fasting were not permitted to begin. The Jews assembled in the Temple and Synagogues bearing branches of trees and palms and singing psalms; the Hallel, Psalms CXIII through CXVIII, being sung every day. The joyful character of the feast was also manifested by illumination, which may have been suggested by the “lighting of the lamps of the candlestick” when the Temple Service was restored (I Maccabees, Chapter 4, verses 50-51), or, according to very early Midrashim, by the miraculous burning throughout the celebration of the feast of a vial of oil found in the Temple.

The Minorah, or candlesticks, is found in Jewish homes. And each night one branch is lighted, so that on the last day all seven branches plus the Shammash, or largest, shed their glow. In some cases, this process is reversed, the celebration commencing with the full number and diminishing by one each night thereafter. The feast is now held on December 12th, but in my day it was movable. At the morning services a different portion of Numbers, Chapter VII, is read in the Synagogue.

In Numbers, Chapter VII, there is an account of the gifts which the twelve tribes of Israel presented to God’s Dwelling which Moses had erected, just as in the festival of Christmas, these are the twelve nights ending with Three Kings day, January 6th, and the bearing of gifts.

The Psalms called the Hallel begin with the word Hallelujah, and the first of these is a description of the good man, who reverences God, finds joy in His Commands, is generous, acts fairly and who, as a result, always possesses good fortune. Psalm 114 rejoices that God took Judah for His own, and made Israel His Domain. The next, which contains 20 verses, denounces futile idols of the pagans, whereas Israel trusts in the Eternal, its shield and help. Psalm 116, with 19 verses, is a song of thanksgiving that the Eternal has saved the worshipper from spiritual death. It goes on to declare (verses 15-16)

“Precious in the sight o f the Lord, is the death o f His devoted. Eternal One, I am indeed Thy servant; Thy retainer; Thou hast delivered me.”

Psalm 117 has two verses; the second praising God:

“For His Kind Love to us is vast, His loyalty will ever last.”

Greater rejoicing than in this festival of the Chanukah, wherein, for the Jew, the Shekinah, or the Presence of God, returned to dwell on earth in the purified Holy Temple in Jerusalem, can only be found among the Hebrew-Christian Feasts in Christmas, for this is the day in which the Church of the New Birth, especially, may rejoice in the knowledge that the Spiritual Temple of God, in the soul of the infant Jeshua ben Joseph (pronounced Yey-seph) came to earth not only with the righteousness of the Lord Himself, but already possessor of the Father”s Grace to bring the salvation of Eternal Life to mankind.

It need not matter here that the churches mistake the Holy Spirit to be the means of this salvation, instead of the Divine Love which filled, and still fills, the soul of the Messiah, and permeates every human soul who seeks this Love in earnest prayer. Every human soul that seeks the righteousness of the Father becomes as a Temple of God in purity, but every soul that seeks His Love becomes as a Temple filled with the Essence of God Himself. The Christian Holiday, therefore, in the rejoicing that the Savior was born, generates a tremendous atmosphere of praise to God, of peace on earth and good will towards man; an outpouring of love that for a brief time opens up the vista of a new horizon in man’s relationship to man in a spirit of brotherly love that gives a glimpse of future happiness for the soul of man in the higher realms of the Spirit World.

This is the Christmas Spirit, a flash of reality that springs from the deep, unconscious longing of the human soul for God’s Love, for the Peace and Happiness that man trusts will come to earth when His Will is done on earth as it is done in the Celestial Heavens, a reality made possible with the coming of the Christ, a reality, brief and ephemeral, at Yuletide, but which can be achieved by man on earth for all time by prayer to the Father for His Love, which I as the Christ made available with my coming.

Christmas was not always celebrated on December 25th nor was it one of the early festivals of the church. The early writers assigned the birth of the Savior to most any month of the year. Gradually the day became fixed at January 6th, 13 days after the winter solstice, but in some places like Cappadocia, the feast was observed on the 25th of December. In the West, Pope Julius, due to discussions with Cyril of Jerusalem, proclaimed the festival as the 25th of December. The reason for this winter period as being thought to represent the birth of the Messiah is found in the New Testament and is based on deduction. Here, in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 1, is the account of Zachariah, who as the high priest, entered the Temple on the Day of Atonement. Since, in this story, he received the announcement of John the Baptist’s conception (September), six months before the Messiah was conceived, it was deduced that John was born late in June and I six months later, in December. If, however, we know that Zachariah served the week of October 2-8 that year, as the eighth class of high priest, then my birth falls about the end of the first week of January, and this is usually when the Eastern churches celebrate Christmas. In the West, however, the church was very much influenced by the Roman Solar Feast called the Natalis Invictus, or the birth of the unconquerable sun, celebrated the 25th of December, and as the date of the holiday, which celebrates the returning power of the sun, was close to the December date of the church calculations, this was the date adopted by the church. Christmas did not originate with the celebration of the Messiah’s birth, this observance being marked only in Antioch, but emphasis was placed rather upon the Mass, called the Christ’s Mass, in some locations three masses being celebrated during that day. But when the Christmas date was set as December 25th, the “birth of the sun” festival was, I repeat, the deciding factor in causing the Christian feast to commemorate the birth of the Messiah. As for the date of the holiday in the Church of the New Birth, I see little valid reason for any change.

The festival of the Epiphany (Appearance) had its origin in the Eastern Churches, observed in some places the 11th and 15th of Tybi, in the Syrian calendar, or the 6th and the 10th of January. Epiphaneous declared that January 6th was the birth of Jesus, and in Jerusalem, on that day, a procession began the night before to Bethlehem, returning in the morning. This was repeated nightly for 8 days. This holiday came into being before the fixing of the date in the West and was introduced to the West afterwards. The Eastern Church has always felt, and rightly so, that the pagans of Rome who lit torches and candles to celebrate the sun festival on December 25th, prevailed upon the Western Church to fix Christmas on that date and to give to the later the holiday of the Epiphany or January 6th. This put emphasis on the appearance of the Magi, the 3 Kings, rather than upon the appearance of the Messiah, and the bringing of the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, as related in Matthew, Chapter II. In Catholic countries, in Europe and Latin America, children receive the holiday gifts on Three Kings Day, Jan. 6th, and not on Christmas Day, December 25th, as is customary in Protestant countries, where other influences and traditions of a Nordic character have merged with the festival and have remolded its character.

In reviewing these three holidays, which take place in your December and continue until January 6th of the following civil year, I should like to retain all for religious observance in the Church of the New Birth. I know that Gentiles cannot have the same feeling as do Jews for the Re-dedication of the Temple of God at Jerusalem, and its significance of purity and righteousness for the worshipper, but the singing of the Hallel, which I enjoyed very much while on earth, is a form of festivity which gladdens the heart of all believers in God, and these songs are familiar to Christians as Psalms, which are a favorite with Christians of all sects. They are significant, in that they show deliverance of the human personality after the physical death, as well as trust and conviction in God’s Love-we know this in our Church of the New Birth as the Divine Love and I quoted purposely from these Psalms with the view to making you aware of these convictions as I was, when I sang them. It may be possible to obtain the melodies of these Psalms from Hebrew Synagogues, but the words should be those of the vernacular. I should like to establish observance of the Chanukah, one week before Christmas, or the evening of the 17th and the 18th, just as there exists today the Christmas Eve commencement of the holiday. I should like to see a church gathering or service for these holidays, as well as the Epiphany, which more nearly corresponds to my actual birth date than does the traditional Christmas Day.

Jesus of the Bible and Master of the Celestial Heavens.

 

Editors Note. The influence of the medium is obvious on these messages, and this has been confirmed in this message.