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Bible Lens—Thanksgiving 2017

Subject: Thanksgiving

From the November 20, 2017 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

First appeared as a Web Original on September 25, 2017

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We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come.

Revelation 11:17

Exploring Bible Verses

An exploration of Bible citations from the Christian Science Quarterly® Bible Lessons

“. . . a lesson on which the prosperity of Christian Science largely depends."—Mary Baker Eddy

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from the Golden Text

Revelation 11:17

We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

The promise of the coming of the Lord appears several times in the book of Revelation (see also 1:4, 1:8, and 4:8). In most ancient manuscripts, the phrase “and art to come” is not included in this verse. Some commentators see this omission as emphasizing the presence of God’s reign now.

from the Responsive Reading

Isaiah 25:1, 4

O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.… For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. 

The book of Isaiah is filled with divine promises and warnings from God to the people, as well as pleas to God for help. The outpouring of praise to Him in verses 1–4 is reminiscent of many psalms (see 118:28, for example) and is apparently impelled by God’s destruction of an unnamed city (see verse 2). 

The “terrible ones” is variously translated as brutal enemies, ruthless or cruel people, and the violent. Many scholars have understood this term to refer to human evildoers. Others expand the interpretation to include the devices of impersonal evil.

I Chronicles 29:11 

Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. 

These words are part of David’s farewell address to his subjects at the end of his reign. Preceding verses detail the impressive preparations for the building of the Temple made by him and the people, but David’s heartfelt praise gives God the entire glory. His final words are, “Now bless the Lord your God” (verse 20).

from Section 1

4 | Psalms 92:1 

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High.

​In Jewish worship, thanksgiving to God was inseparable from glorifying and honoring Him. In fact, no independent word for thanks exists in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word often translated thanks or thanksgiving (yadah) actually means to praise, laud, and revere.

One source says, “The expression of thanks to God is included in praise; it is a way of praising.” Another writes, “Thanksgiving follows praise, for when one declares God’s attributes and works, he cannot help but be thankful. Praise leads regularly to thanksgiving.”

from Section 2

10 | Matthew 6:31–33

Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? … for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 

God’s all-knowing nature is shown here to be the basis for His supplying of human needs—His omniscience is the source of divine provision. To seek the righteousness of God is to embrace the very essence of His kingdom; to seek it first is to place it above everything else, not as much in chronology as in esteem and priority.

from Section 4

15 | Ephesians 1:6 

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 

“The beloved” refers to Christ, rendering the meaning of this final phrase “accepted in Christ.” Kharitō, the Greek word translated “made us accepted,” occurs just one other place in the Bible—in Luke 1:28, in the angel’s greeting to Jesus’ mother, Mary: “Hail, thou that art highly favored [kharitō].”

  

From the writings of Mary Baker Eddy

New England’s last Thanksgiving Day of this century [the 19th century] signifies to the minds of men the Bible better understood and Truth and Love made more practical; the First Commandment of the Decalogue more imperative, and “Love thy neighbor as thyself” more possible and pleasurable.

It signifies that love, unselfed, knocks more loudly than ever before at the heart of humanity and that it finds admittance; that revelation, spiritual voice and vision, are less subordinate to material sight and sound and more apparent to reason; that evil flourishes less, invests less in trusts, loses capital, and is bought at par value; that the Christ-spirit will cleanse the earth of human gore; that civilization, peace between nations, and the brotherhood of man should be established, and justice plead not vainly in behalf of the sacred rights of individuals, peoples, and nations.

It signifies that the Science of Christianity has dawned upon human thought to appear full-orbed in millennial glory; that scientific religion and scientific therapeutics are improving the morals and increasing the longevity of mankind, are mitigating and destroying sin, disease, and death; that religion and materia medica should be no longer tyrannical and proscriptive; that divine Love, impartial and universal, as understood in divine Science, forms the coincidence of the human and divine, which fulfils the saying of our great Master, “The kingdom of God is within you;” … For these signs of the times we thank our Father-Mother God. 

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, pp. 264–265

To learn more about the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lessons, go to biblelesson.com.

Resources quoted in this issue

Cit. 4: Harris, R. Laird, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody, 1980; Westermann, Claus. The Praise of God in the Psalms. Richmond: John Knox Press, 1965

Related Healing Ideas


The hour of prayer

Now Peter, at the hour of prayer
(Disciple John is likewise there),
Draws near the temple gate, aware
Of many gathered. For an alm
This pleading manner, outstretched palm,
Beggars of golden coin as balm!
One, lame from birth, gives instant heed
When Peter clearly reads his need.
“Rise up and walk,” he says. Indeed,
The man arises; all can see
He leaps and walks, is joyous, free;
He praises God continually.
It is not silver Peter gives,
But Truth, the Christ that heals, forgives—
The perfect gift, whereby man lives.

God knows each need. When hearts prepare
To seek Him, He is waiting there
With healing, at the hour of prayer.

By Mary Baker Thompson
From the March 1946 issue of The Christian Science Journal

‘Leaping, and praising God’

Acts 3:1–8

Peter took the lame man by the hand and lifted him.
No slow process of accustoming his joints,
no period of leaning on his fellows,
but immediately
he showed his praise of God by leaping,
with holy strength complete
in harmony of joyful ease.

Dear Father,
may I too praise by upward leaping!
When thoughtless sin or stupid false belief
would fashion bonds to hold me down,
with Thy loving, strong, right hand of truth
lift up my thought to holiness,
that I, with joyous shouts,
may leap in praise to Thee.
By Anthony John Cobham

From the January 10, 1976, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

Mary Baker Eddy’s thanks

I just want to say, I thank you, my dear students, who are at work conscientiously and assiduously, for the good you are doing. I am grateful to you for giving to the sick relief from pain; for giving joy to the suffering and hope to the disconsolate; for lifting the fallen and strengthening the weak, and encouraging the heart grown faint with hope deferred. We are made glad by the divine Love which looseth the chains of sickness and sin, opening the prison doors to such as are bound; ….

Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 262


© 2017 The Christian Science Publishing Society. The design of the Cross and Crown is a trademark owned by the Christian Science Board of Directors and is used by permission. Bible Lens and Christian Science Quarterly are trademarks owned by The Christian Science Publishing Society. Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptural quotations are taken from the King James Version on the Holy Bible.


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