Exploration-Isaiah 1

February 23, 2012

The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

Kings from the late 8th to early 7th century BC.

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth!
For the Lord has spoken:
“I have nourished and brought up children,
And they have rebelled against Me;
3 The ox knows its owner
And the donkey its master’s crib;
But Israel does not know,
My people do not consider.”

The most repeated theme in the Old Testament:  God’s chosen people fail to consistently honor Him through good times or bad.  There is a constant ebb and flow of fellowship with and worship of God accompanied by punishment when they stray and blessings when they seek to return…

They have forsaken the Lord,
They have provoked to anger
The Holy One of Israel,
They have turned away backward.

Today’s world, even many self-described faithful people, do not like to hear the idea that God punishes.  They don’t just focus on the love of God – the deny He punishes.  To believe this way, you must wipe away much of the Biblical text that is the foundation of Judaism and Christianity…

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Social Programming–Escaping “Their” Values

February 20, 2012

I can understand why black people were angry in the 1980s – and why a movie like Hollywood Shuffle made sense…

Then there is social programming like Population 436.

All White
Rural
Family Values
American Flag
Religious (Judeo-Christian)
=
Creepy
Repressed
Oppressive
Evil

Basically, if the cast is all white (with no one gay), the audience by now has learned — you should hate most all of them…

Or look at a movie like Pleasantville.

Director Gary Ross states, "This movie is about the fact that personal repression gives rise to larger political oppression…That when we’re afraid of certain things in ourselves or we’re afraid of change, we project those fears on to other things, and a lot of very ugly social situations can develop".

Of course, repression here means – not thinking the way you should…

If you don’t have the same ideas as Hollywood (or academia) about key social issues, you must be repressing…

They really don’t mean change.  They mean change to our way of thinking…

As long as you are changing toward what Hollywood wants you to think about sex, marriage, reproduction, sexuality, religion forgive me — I meant “spirituality” – then it’s wonderful…

…You’re so enlightened.  And so acceptable…

But, if you go all Neanderthal — If you change away from what any right correct thinking person would have to say about key common sense social issues, then you’re repressing again – and if you tell others why you’re moving away from their way of thinking – you’re being oppressive…

Next thing you know, you’re a Nazi…

Matthew 2-An Exploration

January 16, 2012

1NOW WHEN Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men [astrologers] from the east came to Jerusalem, asking,

2Where is He Who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east [a]at its rising and have come to worship Him.

My favorite preacher, J. Vernon McGee, said there were prophecies in Eastern religions about a coming Messiah.  I haven’t checked that out yet…A quick google didn’t reveal anything significant…

4So he called together all the chief priests and learned men (scribes) of the people and [b]anxiously asked them where the Christ was to be born.  5They replied to him, In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet

6And you Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you are not in any way least or insignificant among the [c]chief cities of Judah; for from you shall come a Ruler ([d]Leader) Who will govern and [e]shepherd My people Israel.

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Matthew 1-An Exploration

January 14, 2012

1THE BOOK of the ancestry (genealogy) of Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), the son (descendant) of David, the son (descendant) of Abraham.

In the line of King David – a descendant of of Jacob – an Israeli.

Jacob the father of Judah

In the kingly line.

3Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar

Tamar was part of one of the most curious stories in Genesis:  She was married to 2 of Judah’s sons – both of whom died at the hands of God – which scared Judah about giving her his third son (per the custom of the day).  Tamar then tricked Judah into having sex with him – making her pregnant.  She was disgraced within the family and was due to be burned.  She escaped by revealing to Judah the unborn child was his own.   As the verse in Matthew shows, she gave birth to twins – in similar fashion to the birth of Jacob and Esau.

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Being a Great Christian–Walking on Water

January 14, 2012

28And Peter answered Him, Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.

29He said, Come! So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and he came toward Jesus.

30But when he perceived and felt the strong wind, he was frightened, and as he began to sink, he cried out, Lord, save me [from death]!

31Instantly Jesus reached out His hand and caught and held him, saying to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt?

32And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

33And those in the boat knelt and worshiped Him, saying, Truly You are the Son of God!  (Matthew 14)

Reading this again, I was struck by how well it describes the life of a person of strong faith:

Peter had the strength to take a step out on the water.  The eleven others in the boat did not.  They were overwhelmed by the current conditions of the world around them. 

Peter concentrated on Christ.  Despite the ravages of the storm, his desire to be with Jesus was his central focus, and he begged to join.  And Jesus called him closer.

And Peter did walk on water.  He stepped out of the boat onto the tossing waves.  He was successful.

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Revelation 9-An Exploration

January 11, 2012

1THEN THE fifth angel blew [his] trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth; and to the angel was given the key [a]of the shaft of the Abyss (the bottomless pit).

2He opened the [b]long shaft of the Abyss (the bottomless pit), and smoke like the smoke of a huge furnace puffed out of the [c]long shaft, so that the sun and the atmosphere were darkened by the smoke from the long shaft.

3Then out of the smoke locusts came forth on the earth, and such power was granted them as the power the earth’s scorpions have.

These trumpets are part of the revelation that comes with the blowing of the 7th trumpet beginning Chapter 8.

The timing of this can not be doubted:  We have the release of Satan from the bottmless pit.  Clearly defined in Revelation 20 as coming at the end of the Kingdom and start of the real final war between God and evil.

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Revelation 6 & 7-An Exploration

January 11, 2012

2And I looked, and saw there a white horse whose rider carried a bow. And a crown was given him, and he rode forth conquering and to conquer.

The Muslim Madhi is described this way.

9When the Lamb broke open the fifth seal, I saw at the foot of the altar the souls of those whose lives had been sacrificed for [adhering to] the Word of God and for the testimony they had borne.

10They cried in a loud voice, O [Sovereign] Lord, holy and true, how long now before You will sit in judgment and avenge our blood upon those who dwell on the earth?

11Then they were each given a [b]long and flowing and festive white robe and told to rest and wait patiently a little while longer, until the number should be complete of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

The final judgment is the Great White Throne Judgment described in Revelation 20.

12When He [the Lamb] broke open the sixth seal, I looked, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun grew black as sackcloth of hair, [the full disc of] the moon became like blood.

14And the [c]sky rolled up like a scroll and vanished, and every mountain and island was dislodged from its place.

17For the great day of His wrath (vengeance, retribution, indignation) has come, and who is able to stand before it?

I am guessing most of the commentaries will link this to Armageddon during the Tribulation before the Kingdom – rather than the real final battle between God and evil at the END of the Kingdom – briefly mentioned in Revelation 20.

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Zechariah 1 – An Exploration

January 9, 2012

Zechariah 1

1IN THE eighth month, in the second year [of the reign] of Darius, came the word of the Lord to Zechariah son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying…’

Darius – Reign 522 BC – 486 BC – So this would be 520.

Return to Me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you; it is the utterance of the Lord of hosts.

8I saw in the night [vision] and behold, a [a]Man riding upon a red horse, and He stood among the myrtle trees that were in a low valley or bottom, and behind Him there were horses, red, bay or flame-colored, and white.

11And the men on the horses answered [c]the Angel of the Lord Who stood among the myrtle trees and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth [patrolling it] and behold, all the earth sits at rest [in peaceful security].

12Then the Angel of the Lord said, O Lord of hosts, how long will You not have mercy and loving kindness for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, against which You have had indignation these seventy years [of the Babylonian captivity]?

So, this vision comes when the 2nd Temple is about to begin again after the 70 year captivity that began in Babylon.  The Messiah (Jesus) comes riding a red horse to deliver the Word.

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Zechariah 12-14 – Exploration Review

January 9, 2012

You can read how I first went through this prophecy here, here, and here.  Below, I’m going to give my initial reflection of the prophecy as a whole after taking some time to consider it and re-reading it without much pause.

I will stray away from the traditional interpretations of it.  I don’t see the horrors of Antiochus in it.  Nor do I see the horrors of the Roman destruction of 70 AD.  If they were present, they must have been passed over quickly, because early in the prophecy we see the direct, personal intervention by the Messiah fighting against Jerusalem’s enemies.

I do think most of the prophecy concerns the war of Armageddon and the establishment of the Messiah’s Kingdom on Earth.  But, I diverge again, I think, from other interpretations in believing that the greatest war and changes described in the prophecy concern the final war against evil that will come at the end of the Kingdom period as described in Revelation 20 – in which Satan and his forces will be released from the bottomless pit to join with others in the Kingdom for a final rebellion against God before the last judgment and establishment of a new Earth.

I will need to look at this some more, and read some other commentary more closely, but I think this does hold up…

(I quote more verses and look into them in the three earlier explorations linked at the start of this post.  Below, I try to summarize the outline I see in the prophecy but also give enough key quotes to support it.)

Chapter 12

Prophecy on Israel

Verses 1-9

Burdensome stone to neighbors

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Zechariah 14 – An Exploration

January 9, 2012

This is a continuation of a reading of a prophecy on what will happen for Israel that began in chapter 12.  Here is my reading of  chapter 12, and chapter 13.

1BEHOLD, A day of the Lord is coming when the spoil [taken from you] shall be divided [among the victors] in the midst of you.

2For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses rifled and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

3Then shall the Lord go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle.

This is curious — From the start of chapter 12, it has seemed clear to me that we are reading a time-oriented prophecy: that the further you go in the verses, the further in time you are moving.  Remember as well that these chapter divisions were not in the original text but were added later.  At the end of chapter 13 we had:

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