Chatting with a Dispy – 5

mount-olives-split-2A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website.  I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction,  lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”  We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.

I’m sorry, I’m the one who owes you an apology.  I did not see, I was blind, I did not see that you noted that passage DID mention the “trump of God”, but that your position had nuances that I did not detect right away.  More often than not, I get people who claim the text does not contain the words it does contain, and the debate is rather simple, yet they will still refuse to admit error.

I can see this discussion may be very good.  Now I will admit confusion further, as to the nature of how you reason and argue.

Repeatedly, you are saying to me to not “build doctrine on silence”, yet, when the text of 1 Thess is silent on the issue of whether the trumpet is sounding, you build upon that, and use that silence as somehow enough proof to discern a difference of significance.

Well, when do you apply your standard, and is your standard Biblical, because it does not seem to me that you are consistent here in applying it.  In other words, you appear to be grasping at gnats, but swallowing a camel.

Since you make a big issue over the “different” trump reference in 1 Thess 4 vs. 1 Cor 15, but the entire lack of a trumpet in Zech 14 and Rev 19 seems to not bother you at all, as if you are willing to “swallow” the idea that there is a trumpet in passages that do not mention it, and yet, claim that there is enough of a difference in the trumpet in 1 Thess 4, that it’s somehow significant of something?

Brother

I am glad that we can continue with our discussion.  I do hope that in the midst of our discussion you may see more than just comments on the Text, but a desire to edify and build each other up in the faith.

Now I will admit confusion further, as to the nature of how you reason and argue.  Repeatedly, you are saying to me to not “build doctrine on silence”,

Agreed

yet, when the text of 1 Thess is silent on the issue of whether the trumpet is sounding, you build upon that,

My intent is to point out that your comment “Both chapters also teach the resurrection and of the trumpet blast” is not accurate.  The second passage – (1 Thess) does not mention any noise from the trumpet.  Just that the Lord is “coming with… the trump of God”

and use that silence as somehow enough proof to discern a difference of significance.

The significance is minor, but I only sought to draw to your attention a point you may want to edit on your site.

Well, when do you apply your standard,

As to a standard to apply, I assume you are referring to my understanding passages within the Word.  I seek to be as literal as possible unless the context demands I consider a symbolic/poetic/spiritual interpretation.  You see, I was a very good dispensationalist for much of my Christian life.  One of the items I believed was that every prophecy of the first coming of the Lord Jesus in the OT was fulfilled literally in the NT.  I believed that passionately for many years.  I was so convinced that I assumed it was unassailable.  Then I began a study a few years back on how the apostles interpreted the OT showing the messianic fulfillment in Jesus.  This study began my reconsidering of my literalistic interpretive methods.


Please visit next time as we continue to discuss issues that arise between my dispensational friend and myself.

Thanks for visiting and as always, I love getting comments from those who read this blog.


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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

 

Chatting with a Dispy – 4

mount-olives-split-2A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website.  I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction,  lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”  We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.

I’m open to discussion to the extent that the Bible commands; I’m to try to be able to give a ready answer to all who ask for the reasons for my faith; and yet also, given the limited amount of time in life, I’m also directed to not waste time with people who are unworthy, or who are blind, or people who simply are not yet able to bear truth.

1 Corinthians 3:2  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

That being said, to discern what kind of person you are, I have one basic question; why did you write the following:

RE: Disagree

1 Corinthians teaches that “the trumpet shall sound” and 1 Thessalonians that the Lord descends “with…the trump of God.”  Only 1 Cor specifically teaches the sounding of the trumpet.

Can you read the following, and why didn’t you see it, or do you have an explanation, or apology?  Or, how do you react when proven wrong?

1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

See, it’s one thing to be ignorant, it’s another to be willfully ignorant.  In the first case, people just don’t know where in the Bible it teaches about the rapture.  In the second case, like yours, you have known for 30 years, and you specifically claim that the Bible does not say what it so clearly does.  What can explain that kind of willful blindness?  I’m very curious.

Sincerely, Brother

Brother – I am a little confused – the text in 1 Thessalonians is merely stating that the Lord is descending with the trump of God.  (He may be blowing it, but 1 Thessalonians doesn’t specifically say that! – As a matter of fact, 1 Corinthians doesn’t say that the Lord will be blowing the trump, just that the trump sounds …”at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound”….)

I am a little confused about who I owe an apology to?  I asked you some questions because a brother informed me that you were open to discussion and debate.  (I find it very profitable to engage with believers in discussion to sharpen my own understanding.)  When I am proven wrong I would like to think I accept it.  (Admittedly, I sometimes become quiet, but eventually realize that truth is more important than my ego or traditions.)  If I have offended you or caused you any conflict, I will not continue this discussion.  If you would like to continue, please do so, understanding that my concern is – “What does the text say!”

In any case, may God bless you and draw you into His love.

Carl


Please visit next time as we continue to discuss issues that arise between my dispensational friend and myself.

Thanks for visiting and as always, I love getting comments from those who read this blog.


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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

 

Chatting with a Dispy – 3

mount-olives-split-2A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website.  I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction,  lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”  We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.

Revelation 19

Of the many methods of interpreting Revelation, you have opted for the “futuristic” method. 

What is going on in Revelation 6:1-2? Could this be a picture of the Christ going out to conquer?

What about Revelation 7:15 – 17? I bring this passage into the discussion only due to the reference to the living waters, which I believe you may associate with the millennial kingdom, after the return of Christ.

What is Revelation 11:15-19 describing? Could this be a picture of the return of Christ? How can you place the return of Christ in chapter 19, when it also seems to be taking place in Revelation 11

What about Revelation 14:14-16? It seems that if I were to take this passage literally, the earth will have been reaped by the end of this passage. This is usually associated with the second coming(?)

Although chapter 19 is commonly thought of as being a picture of the return of Christ (and I think it is, for whatever it is worth), these other passages also have some merit to them.

My point is this – Revelation is a book of the revelation of Christ, and is apocalyptic in nature, which demands that we look at each passage carefully, considering each argument. With so many (valid) interpretive methods for the book of Revelation, it seems unwise to depend on a debatable passage to build a highly detailed doctrine.(ie. the return of Christ after the tribulation. (There is no absolute time line given in Revelation, nor should we expect one, since it is written in a highly symbolic form.)

Carl


Please visit next time as we continue to discuss issues that arise between my dispensational friend and myself.

Thanks for visiting and as always, I love getting comments from those who read this blog.


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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

 

Chatting with a Dispy – 2

mount-olives-split-2

A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website. I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred. I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction, lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”

There is no debate that Revelation 19 and Zechariah 14 teach on the physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ in power after the tribulation.

Disagree

There is much debate that both Revelation 19 and Zechariah 14 teach on the physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ in power after the Tribulation

Let’s discuss Zechariah 14 first. Zechariah is considered an apocalyptic book, with the last chapters containing visions that are difficult to understand, and is very similar, in some aspects as the book of Revelation. For Zechariah to mention that “His feet shall stand on the mount of Olives” and considering the highly symbolic nature of the vision (see below for considerations on the symbolic nature of the vision), it is difficult for me to take this completely literally.

It is important to compare scripture with scripture, so with that in mind, consider some of the OT prophets who spoke of similar circumstances – ie His feet on mountains….

Amos 4:13 – God “treads on the high places of the earth”

Does God literally walk on the mountains?

Micah 1:3-4 – states “the LORD cometh forth out of his place” and that He will “tread upon the high places of the earth” causing the mountains to be “molten under him” and the valleys “shall be cleft, as wax before the fire…”.(v4)

Will God literally come down out of heaven and walk on the high places causing the mountains to melt?

It seems Zechariah, along with many of the prophets, are describing future times of judgment (for at least the prophets current generation) in pictures that communicate to the Hebrew mind. (Remember that we live in a scientific, analytical age, that might not be as conducive to understanding the prophets as it is to understanding physics or mathematical concepts.)

Symbology of Zechariah

A few question to address if we take Zechariah in a literal manner

Zechariah 14:8 – the “fountain of living waters,” Could this phrase represent a spiritual truth? Zechariah 13:1 states “a fountain will be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity”

If we understand the fountain literally, the natural conclusion would be that the waters cleanse from sin.

Zechariah 14:10 – All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses.

I assume that if the Mount of Olives will be literally split, the same interpretive stance would be used to understand verse 10. If so, all of Jerusalem will be lifted up. Comparing scripture with scripture, I see Micah making some similar comments about Jerusalem (house of the Lord) in Micah 4:1

Micah 4:1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.

Taken literally, the house of the Lord will be close to 6 miles above sea level (Mt Everest, at 29,000′ above sea level is 5.5 miles above sea level) How people will flow into this is hard to understand, with winds up to 177 mph, and temps dropping to -76^. (I hope the living water has antifreeze in it!)

I hope you understand that I am being a bit facetious, and I hope it is taken in with a “grain of salt”. (You see, even nowadays, we understand each other using phrases that are particular to our culture – ie a grain of salt.)

I find it to be a great challenge to try to understand the mindset of the OT prophet, and it takes time and patience to fit it all together.

One example is that when a prophet mentions “mountains” in a vision, he can sometimes mean a “kingdom. Check it out – it is a quick study that helped me in a somewhat better understanding of the Old Testament prophets.


Please visit next time as we continue to discuss issues that arise between my dispensational friend and myself.

Thanks for visiting and as always, I love getting comments from those who read this blog.


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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Chatting with a Dispy – 1

mount-olives-split-2

A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website. I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.. I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction, lets chat with a “Dispy.”

Brother

A friend directed me to your page and mentioned that you are open to discussion. If you don’t mind, I would like to challenge you on some of your teaching. I hope I do not come off as offensive or argumentative, but I do want to know what the Bible, and only the Bible says.

I have been a believer for many years and have spent much of my Christian life in the dispensational camp. Although many of your points are familiar, I do not want to assume too many things. I have spent the last 3-4 years considering alternate approaches to understanding the Word of God and have slowly pulled away from a literalistic approach for some passages.

What I intend to do is to copy some teaching from your website and comment within the text. (my comments are indented & italicized)

Rapture in: 1 Thessalonians 4, 1 Corinthians 15:

There is no debate that 1 Thessalonians 4, and 1 Corinthians 15 teach on the rapture.

Agree

Both chapters also teach the resurrection and of the trumpet blast.

Disagree
Actually 1 Corinthians teaches that “the trumpet shall sound” and 1 Thessalonians that the Lord descends “with…the trump of God” Only 1 Corinthians specifically teaches the sounding of the trumpet.

Neither chapter mentions anything about having to endure the tribulation before the rapture comes.

1 Corinthians was written in response to heretical teaching about the resurrection, 1 Thessalonians was written due to “their ignorance” (verse 13).

I do hope you are not going to build doctrine out of silence. It is true that neither chapter mentions anything about having to endure the tribulation, but it also doesn’t teach on the indwelling of the saints with the Holy Spirit. The apostle was addressing a specific issue, and his silence on other issues neither proves or disproves anything!


Please visit next time as we continue to discuss issues that arise between my dispensational friend and myself.

Thanks for visiting and as always, I love getting comments from those who read this blog.


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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Chatting with a Dispy – Introduction

mount-olives-split-2

As many who follow this blog may know, I used to be a single minded, zealous dispensationalist.

My passion for “the truth” was unassailable, and I would keep myself from any teaching that might weaken my biblically pure understanding of “the truth”.

To be anything other than a “dispy” was a sign of theological weakness and compromise with the world.

Looking back at my attitudes and actions, I was an offensive blow hard that built walls around people, and tore down bridges of discussion.

I lived in this condition for decades and only by the grace of God, did I allow myself to consider other biblically based opinions.

Currently I consider myself a post dispensational Christian.

A more important lesson learned was not simply a theological understanding, but the manner of discussion when chatting with fellow believers of a different stance. The Word is clear, and provides a challenge for this writer!

Gracious words

Colossians 4:6

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person

With Gentleness and Respect

1 Peter 3:15

…in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

After this shift in my eschatological thinking and manner of discussion, a brother in the Lord asked if I would visit with a brother who held to the dispensational doctrines. The discussion was to center around Zechariah 14.

I gladly accepted the invitation.

This and following posts will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred. I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake

With that introduction, lets meet together at our next post to begin chattin’ with a “Dispy.”

Thanks for visiting and as always, I love getting comments from those who read this blog.

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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Sun Moon & Stars – Matthew 24:29

A brother asked me about Matthew 24, you know, about the sun, moon and stars falling from heaven.

The passage goes like this…

Matthew 24:29

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

meteor showerWell, I told him what I thought and he seemed to consider my answer with some suspicion, almost as if I had my head on backwards. Don’t get me wrong – I appreciate the challenge, if only for my own learning and research. So off we go to the Word to consider passages that use the same terminology. Scripture interprets Scripture and we have to remember that the Master came to earth to fill the three offices of Prophet, Priest and King. As the preeminent Prophet, He was anchored in Old Testament thought and speech, communicating to an audience steeped in the Sacred Writings.

With that said, I have done a quick search for the three words “sun”, “moon”, and “stars” in the Old Testament, hoping to find a clue to base my understanding of the Lord’s message.

The full passages, from the Old Testament prophets, are found in the end notes of this post since they are somewhat lengthy, and I want to get to the meat of the matter.

The verses I found are

  • Isaiah 13:10

  • Ezekiel 32:7

  • Joel 2: 10

  • Joel 3:15

As an aside, as a young Christian, I believed that the New Testament was the “be all and end all” of everything I needed to be concerned about. The Old Testament was important, but we have more important information in the New Testament. I think that is like saying the roof of a house is more important than the walls of a house. How can I say that? Without the Old Testament, the New Testament would be completely hollowed out.

Consider

If all the Old Testament quotations and allusions were obliterated from the New Testament, the books would have no coherent message. Some single verses in Matthew 24, for example, refer to THREE Old Testament passages. Three passages crammed into one verse!!!*

Without the Old Testament, the Jewish nation (if you could argue that a Jewish nation would exist?) would have no history, culture or religious life that the Messiah could communicate within. The Old Testament set the context of the Master’s teaching and prophecies.

So with all that said, lets look at each of these passages.

stars_falling_from_the_skyFirst off, as a younger believer, (hey – I’m still young Jerry!) when I saw these type of Old Testament verses, I would consider them to all be referring to one event, and that event was the same event that Jesus prophesied of – the end of the world. I really didn’t consider the context of the passages because it just seemed so obvious. Maybe I was wrong. (Hint – Yup, I was wrong!)

Passage #1 Isaiah 13:10

Isaiah 13:10

For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

Lets see if Isaiah is directing this to anyone specific.

Isaiah 13

1 The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.

Chapter 13 is the beginning of a section in Isaiah directed to the nations. The first nation to be dealt with is the nation of Babylon.

But how is the Lord going to bring about this judgement?

Isaiah 13

4 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle.

The Lord musters the kingdoms of the nations. He even names them for us! Interesting side note that the Lord defines the force He is mustering as multiple nations. This is precisely what occurred when the nations of the Medes and the Persians, joined together to defeat Babylon. (The Medes became the dominant people group within this cooperative effort.)

Isaiah 13

17 Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.

The Medes and the Persians are the nations that the Lord used to obliterate the Babylonian empire, in one night!

So, in the midst of a passage where the Lord is speaking to a specific nation (Babylon) about other nation(s) (the Medes and Persians), He refers to the sun, moon and stars being darkened.

What gives?

Option 1 – Literal Darkening of the Sun Moon and Stars

During the siege, the smoke would be so heavy that all light would be obliterated from sight. Considering the poetic nature of so much of the Old Testament, this option doesn’t hold much weight in my mind. Especially since the takeover of Babylon was so dramatic and quick. In one night the nation fell and the Babylonian governing authorities were eliminated.

Not much to see here folks – Lets move along!!

Option 2 – Literal Dissolution of the Sun Moon and Stars

Obviously, the sun moon and stars were not darkened permanently or even temporarily. I have never found any record of the sun, moon, and stars being darkened during the siege of Babylon.

The stars did not literally cease to exist. I am thankful for the sun hanging around. I just can’t imagine being cold all the time! I left Canada for the warmth of Texas. I love da sun!

Option 3 – Symbolic Representation of Authorities

Story time!

A long time ago in a world far far away, before the Jewish nation was formed, a young boy had a dream. In this dream he referred to the sun moon and stars.

Genesis 37

9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.

10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?

When Israel (Jacob) heard this dream, he was shocked. As head of the family, Jacob was the authority over the entire clan. It was obvious that Joseph was stating that he would be the authority in the future. Jacob bowing to his Son? What arrogance! What pride! What accuracy!!

This dream greatly influenced the Jewish nation and the prophets took this phrase (sun moon and stars) and used it to describe earthly authorities of their time.

If so, and since Jesus was the greatest prophet ever, he may have been leaning on these passages when He spoke of the sun moon and stars being darkened in Matthew 24. (Hint – Isaiah 13 is accepted by most scholars as the passage Jesus was referring to in Matthew 24:29)

With that, I will leave you with the remaining 3 passages. (I’m not gonna do all the work for you!)

Check it out (and consider!) to see if there is consistency in the interpretation I am suggesting.


*An example of three Old Testament verses referred to in one New Testament verse can be found in Matthew 24:15. That verse alludes to Daniel 8:13, Daniel 11:31 and Daniel 12:11.

By the way, this isn’t all that rare in the New Testament! Don’t even get me thinking about Revelation – That is nuts!!!


Full Passages

Isaiah 13

1 The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.

2 Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles.

3 I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness.

4 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle.

5 They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.

6 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.

7 Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt:

8 And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.

9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.

12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.

13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.

14 And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land.

15 Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword.

16 Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.

17 Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.

18 Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.

19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

20 It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.

21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.

22 And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.

Ezekiel 32

1 And it came to pass in the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, in the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

2 Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say unto him, Thou art like a young lion of the nations, and thou art as a whale in the seas: and thou camest forth with thy rivers, and troubledst the waters with thy feet, and fouledst their rivers.

3 Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will therefore spread out my net over thee with a company of many people; and they shall bring thee up in my net.

4 Then will I leave thee upon the land, I will cast thee forth upon the open field, and will cause all the fowls of the heaven to remain upon thee, and I will fill the beasts of the whole earth with thee.

5 And I will lay thy flesh upon the mountains, and fill the valleys with thy height.

6 I will also water with thy blood the land wherein thou swimmest, even to the mountains; and the rivers shall be full of thee.

7 And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.

8 All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord GOD.

9 I will also vex the hearts of many people, when I shall bring thy destruction among the nations, into the countries which thou hast not known.

10 Yea, I will make many people amazed at thee, and their kings shall be horribly afraid for thee, when I shall brandish my sword before them; and they shall tremble at every moment, every man for his own life, in the day of thy fall.

11 For thus saith the Lord GOD; The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon thee.

12 By the swords of the mighty will I cause thy multitude to fall, the terrible of the nations, all of them: and they shall spoil the pomp of Egypt, and all the multitude thereof shall be destroyed.

13 I will destroy also all the beasts thereof from beside the great waters; neither shall the foot of man trouble them any more, nor the hoofs of beasts trouble them.

14 Then will I make their waters deep, and cause their rivers to run like oil, saith the Lord GOD.

15 When I shall make the land of Egypt desolate, and the country shall be destitute of that whereof it was full, when I shall smite all them that dwell therein, then shall they know that I am the LORD.

16 This is the lamentation wherewith they shall lament her: the daughters of the nations shall lament her: they shall lament for her, even for Egypt, and for all her multitude, saith the Lord GOD.

Joel 2

1 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;

2 A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.

3 A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.

4 The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run.

5 Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.

6 Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.

7 They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks:

8 Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.

9 They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.

10 The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:

11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?

12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:

13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?

Joel 3

1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,

2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.

3 And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.

4 Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head;

5 Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things:

6 The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border.

7 Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompence upon your own head:

8 And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for the LORD hath spoken it.

9 Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up:

10 Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.

11 Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD.

12 Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.

13 Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.

14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.

15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.

16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

17 So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.

18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.

19 Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.

20 But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.

21 For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion.


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Purpose of Prophecy – Mark 15:43-46

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Biblical prophecy has a purpose. Am I sure I get it?

A few days back I was listening to Mark 15 and a few verses grabbed my attention.

Mar 15:43-46

Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.

In that passage, Joseph of Arimathea took the body of Jesus, wrapped it in fine linen and placed it in a tomb.

OK – so did he perform this action out of obedience to the Word?

Did he see an Old Testament passage and decide to take action to fulfill the prophecy? The text says that Joseph “took courage”, but does not define the motivation of the action. Was it simply to bring some honor to his Rabbi, or was it due to his seeking to obey Isaiah 53:9.

Isaiah 53:9

And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

In this instance, the text seems to teach that the fulfillment of the prophecy was not Joseph’s objective.

If so, this particular prophecy in Isaiah was not given to inform prior to its fulfillment, but after its fulfillment.

Well – if that is generally true of prophecy, do we in the modern church look at Biblical prophecy correctly?

Do we try to find out the future for our own purposes? Granted, some information – the Olivet discourse comes to mind – was given to the apostles prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, that they might escape the judgement of God through the Roman armies on the nation of Israel.

Even considering the Olivet discourse though, might the higher purpose of that prophecy be somewhat different from merely saving the disciples lives? After all, most of the apostles were going to be martyred, and persecution was going to fall on the church shortly after the fall of Jerusalem.

I suppose the general thought of trying to figger out the future is very popular among western Christians of a certain stripe. I admit I used to delve heavily into future forecasting, but am now considering the wisdom of that attitude.

A year or so back, a particular passage in John got me thinking. Actually, when I read it carefully, it created more questions than answers! Jesus is talking to His disciples, telling them of a particular future event and actually lets them know WHY He tells them.

 John 13:19

I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.

Did you catch it? “…that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.”

The purpose was to direct the disciples faith to the person of Christ after the fulfillment of the prediction, not to instruct them on how to save their own bacon. Not for some temporal reason, but to direct the attention to the Messiah.

Could this be the highest purpose of prophecy?

Should we consider this to be the primary focus of prophetic interpretation?

When we come to a particular prophecy in the Word, would this concept Lightning help us to know the heart of God better?

Would it help us to rest in Him instead of hurrying about protecting ourselves from what we think may happen?

Lets consider Biblical prophecy to be a gift, not to primarily inform us of future events, but direct our attention to the One who is faithful!

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