By Bill Byrnes

Matthew: 5:13  You are the salt of the earth…

Whenever we hear this quote we think about Jesus comforting the average, day-to-day worker and that’s a good thing! But I’m certain there’s more to it than that. Salt does have a unique place in history. It’s been a significant factor in the development of civilization. It was used to flavor, preserve and purify, and, was also used as medicine.

Some interesting facts about salt:

* Neolithic settlements were discovered near salt springs;

* In ancient Greece salt was exchanged for slaves– giving rise to the phrase-“not worth their salt …”;

* Hippocrates, father of modern medicine, encouraged all healers to use salt water for healing various ailments;

* the earliest treatise on pharmacology, composed in China in approximately  2,700 B.C. discussed over 40 kinds of salt;

* Early Mideast traders found the value of salt EQUAL to the value of gold–ounce per ounce;

*the book of Leviticus called for salt to be added to all burnt animal sacrifices(2:13).

The history of salt  offers many more interesting facts. But, with this expanded view of salt’s value- we can see much deeper meaning in this quote from the book of Matthew.

It sounds like Jesus was telling his disciples( & all Christians) how valuable they really were!   Also, it’s easy to see the metaphor of being the “preservative” for mankind, protecting it from “rotting away” from all forms of sinful behavior. Follow this into the application of the “purification” of society–the striving for total absence of sin; unattainable, yes,(Romans:3:23) but why not set the bar high? Finally, salt gives a fulfilling, satisfying flavor to food. When we strive to become more Christ-like, thru our love of God, our life takes on an indescribable flavor–a flavor generated by love, and giving to others. We experience that feeling generated by the tranquility and security of knowing that our “father” is there for us now and–FOREVER!

But, there is also a warning. Let’s look at the rest of this quote: Matthew:5:13 :You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its salty taste, it cannot be made salty again. It is good for nothing, except to be thrown out and walked on.

What is Jesus saying?—When you talk the talk you HAD BETTER walk the walk! How many times have you observed very “pious”, holy, people caught up in scandalous behavior? We can all think of some names here, but, that’s not necessary. What’s important is that the respectability & influence of these people is gone. They have lost their “salt”–and will never recover it!

When we’re caught contradicting ourselves–flip-flopping–we lose credibility. We lose the “flavor” thru which we gained respectability for both us & our viewpoints!        As all of us move forward throughout 2016, something we have to remember as we try to advance our causes is to remain CONSISTENT. We cannot fall into the trap of compromising what we believe in for any gains, whether temporary or perceived. Let’s hope our  Congressman grasp this and stand “strong” against the dilutions of compromises that will take the “flavor” out of any legislation that furthers the quality of life for the 99%.Jesus experienced the extreme measure of not compromising thru crucifixion. But, in a metaphoric sense, us and our causes will verbally be crucified if we give in & start “flip-flopping”.

This next election year is certainly among the most critical one in our history! We must stand true to our beliefs –  political and biblical! Remember this: however tough it gets ,and, above all–DON’T LOSE YOUR SALT!






***Another “Modern Day Reporter” account***

By Bill Byrnes

For what shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what should a man give in exchange for his own soul?” Mark:8:36-37.


Jericho, Judea, 3 A.D. (4 B.C.)

Reporter: Bill Byrnes

Despite, recent,  last-minute attempts by King Herod the Great to find cures at the springs at Callirrhoe, at the North end of the Dead Sea, it was learned that he succumbed to his long standing illnesses, yesterday. He was sixty-nine.


King Herod

Part of this attempt was moving him on a stretcher from his winter home in Jericho to this hot-springs area. His body will be returned to Jericho for final preparations. Sources close to Herod’s survivors say that from there, his funeral procession will proceed to the Herodium, outside, Nazareth, where he’ll be buried.

During his thirty-seven year reign, Herod’s tremendous military and civic achievements were surpassed only by his brutality. Whereas ruthlessness is a common trait of rulers in this era, Herod brought it to new levels. His many victims included his favorite wife, Mariamne and her mother! Anyone even rumored to have “designs” on the throne was “fair-game”. This included three of his own sons and his young brother-in-law, Aristobulous. In fact, Herod died only five days after ordering the death of another son, Antipater. It’s no wonder that Caesar Augustus once commented: “I would rather be Herod’s pig than one of his sons!”


Caesar Augustus:”I’d rather be Herod’s pig...”

These are but a few of a long list of Herod’s victims, however, he’ll certainly be immortalized for his “slaughter of the innocents” in Bethlehem. This occurred three years ago. At that time, Herod gave audience to three travelers– Magi– seeking the birthplace of the Messiah, the long awaited King of the Jews. After the Magi ignored his request that they return thru Jerusalem, to inform him of the whereabouts of the new king, he went “crazy” with rage. He ordered members of his army to proceed to the small village and kill every male child two years old and younger. There was never any official count taken–no one wanted that task! However based on the usual population of Bethlehem, this amounted to approximately 20 newborn males. Despite this extreme action, no reports have ever been heard of any “Messiah”, either escaping or perishing. In fact, nothing has been heard of  since.


“Kill all the first-born”

          Sources within the Temple say that despite the fact that Herod’s illness started just before the slaughter, its increasing intensity must be God’s punishment for the horrible slayings he perpetrated. These illnesses started with light fever, followed by inflammation wherever he was touched. Soon, came “heavy”  itching requiring constant scratching.  Herod  developed extremely painful ulceration of his bowels and intestinal area. During the final stages of his illness, he developed dropsy, as the liver became enlarged and his abdominal area filled with fluid. His scrotum became enormously distended and his entire pubic-area developed gangrene with subsequent infestation by maggots. His physicians agreed that the last three to five years of Herod’s life were incredibly painful.

It is rumored that surviving sons Archelaus, Antipas and Phillip will each rule over parts of the kingdom to be designated by Roman authority. After their father’s funeral, they’ll proceed to Rome for dispensation of an agreement. This is despite the fact that Herod named Archelaus as sole surviving king just before his death.


Reporter’s note: See next article–”The Homecoming”



Reporter:  Bill Byrnes

                    Death of King Herod ends Judean family exile!

Somewhere in Northeastern Eqypt–3A.D.–

It was more than overcast skies that made this day different from the others. The young father knew that because of the dreams he had over the last couple of days. These dreams were identical to ones he had a few years ago. Just after the birth of his young son an “angel” in the dream told him to quickly leave Bethlehem and go to Egypt. Now, the same angel told him it was safe to return to their “homeland”.

His wife finished getting their 3-yr old son ready while he finished packing their mule. After helping her onto her mount, Joseph  held his young son. As he cuddled the boy, amidst the subsequent giggling, he said, “Son,  today your journey begins–and as all of us know–it’s a journey that the entire world will watch. Let us return home–it’s safe there for you now!”


“It’s safe there now.”

Matthew: 2:21:  “And he arose, took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.”