Elements – Stoicheia

 Lightning

Elements in the New Testament

My Ignorance

I remember in Sunday School teaching through the book of Colossians and coming up against this word “elements” (gk stoicheia), in Col. 2:8, 20-22.  Simply stumped as to what it meant.
I just skimmed over the word (shame on me!) and went on to something that was familiar.

Safe.  Easy.  Smart?

Since then, a lot of water has passed under the bridge, if you know what I mean.  Due to my willingness to be proven wrong (although sometimes kicking and screaming), I have come to the realization that I do not know it all. 

All you that are surprised by this admission, please raise your hands.

Eschatological “Elements“

Anyway, I was reading a passage on eschatology and the author addressed the new heavens and new earth in 2 Peter.  He showed that Peter used the word “stoicheia” when referring to the elements that would melt with fervent heat.

His suggestion floored me as to what the elements were and I promised myself I would research it some more.

What I found was the following essay addressing this very word, and the very concern I had.   

It has challenged me on many fronts.

Take a read and let me know whatchathink!


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Daniel 9:24-27 – 10

Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching.

As I have studied this topic over the years, a particular teaching has garnered favor among believers. I followed that teaching faithfully for most of my pilgrimage.

I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint for a fellow believer to consider.

When I first encountered this viewpoint, I struggled with it. I refused it, then ignored it, then argued with it. But I also believe as Christians, we need to wrestle with the Word.

Sure, we may come away limping, like old Isaac, but as always, encountering the Word produces fruit.

So with that thought let’s continue and read the verse under consideration first.

OK – now we enter into the deep stuff

Rescue me as you see me drowning….

Daniel 9:27

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Daniel refers to one week, and something pertaining to the midst of the week.

It is critical that this verse allows for a indeterminate time to be inserted into this time dependent prophecy, for the dispensationalist interpretation to withstand any muster.

The divergent interpretations of the verse hangs on the allowance of a break in the chronology.

Is the 490 year period 490 continuous years?

It would seem that the answer is obvious, and that the weight of proof would fall on disproving continuity.

  • If the 70th week immediately follows the 69th week we have a possible solution.
    • We will look at it shortly.
  • If not, this allows for the insertion of any amount of time between the 69th and 70th week. I can not find anything in the text that warrants this insertion of time.
    • Can you?

First off, lets discuss the covenant spoken of in the verse.

What covenant is he speaking of?

If it is the Messiah, based on New Testament verses it seems obvious that the covenant is the New Covenant, promised by Jeremiah, and confirmed by the Messiah.

Jeremiah formerly announced the covenant, promising its establishment. The Messiah’s mission was to confirm the covenant for His people, and His Holy City.

Jeremiah 31: 31 – 34

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more..

Hebrews 12:22

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,

Confirm the covenant

Mathew 26:28

For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Hebrew 8:6

But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises

Malachi 3:1

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

Hebrews 12:24

And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

Hebrews 9:14,15

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease

Hebrews 10:18

Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

Hebrews 10:26

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

For the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation.

This same judgement was performed in the days of Ezekiel when the Babylonians came into Israel. Habakkuk struggled with this concept of God allowing/using a heathen nation to discipline the chosen nation. Should we be surprised that the judgement on the city and people be any less harsh, due to the leaderships decision to murder the Messiah?

70th week

Now, concerning the 70th week, and its chronological completion – You thought I would have avoided this by forgetting about it, right? Well no so fast, bucko.

Although the following is possible, and allows for the completion of this time dependent prophecy to be fulfilled chronologically, I need to research this more. But I am under a bit of a time crunch, so here goes.

1. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week

a. This period of time, that is one week, or the accepted 7 years that all consider Daniel to be speaking of, would extend from His baptism to the release of the gospel to the Gentiles.

b. Although admittedly I cannot find exact dates for the stoning of Stephen it was early in the life of the church and may have happened 3 ½ years after the crucifixion and resurrection of the Messiah. If this is true, the covenant was confirmed to the house of Israel for 7 years, giving the generation that called for His crucifixion another chance to repent. Sadly the nation did not.

c. The gentiles poured in!!! (The prophecy did not state exclusivity with the physical nation of Israel – And the holy people of God began to include all nations, just as He wanted all along.)

2. In the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.

a. If the Messiah’s baptism was the beginning of the 70th week, the crucifixion would have occurred in the midst of that week – 3 ½ years after His baptism, He was murdered.

b. This act of mercy was the fulfillment of every day of atonement the Israel nation celebrated, and in heaven, before the throne of God, the final sacrifice was performed and supplied.

c. He caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease. Of course sinful man wants to maintain religion, so in rebellion the sacrifices continued for a few decades.

One thing that overwhelms me in this passage, is the tremendous plan of grace the Lord has in place for all – even beyond “the many” that were in the old covenant.

The new covenant far exceeded any of the apostles wildest dreams, and continues to grow as we experience His grace in our lives and pass it on to others.

This post concludes my venture into this difficult passage. Thanks again for considering my thoughts. As always, if you see items of concern that the Scriptures can correct me on, please supply.

I hope you will join me again as we continue Considering the Bible.


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Daniel 9:24-27 – 9

Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching. 

As I have studied this topic over the years, a particular teaching has garnered favor among believers.  I followed that teaching faithfully for most of my pilgrimage.

I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint for a fellow believer to consider.

When I first encountered this viewpoint, I struggled with it.  I refused it, then ignored it, then argued with it.  But I also believe as Christians, we need to wrestle with the Word.

Sure, we may come away limping, like old Isaac, but as always, encountering the Word produces fruit.

So with that thought let’s continue and read the verse under consideration first.

Daniel 9:25

25 Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.

There is debate about which decree is considered the start of the seventy weeks.

  • The Decree of Cyrus – An order to rebuild the Temple – see Ezr 4:11-13, 23-24
  • The Decree of Darius  – Temple building resumed and completed – see  Ezr 5:17, 6:1-2, 7, 15
  • The Decree of Artaxerses – Rebuilding of City Wall and Jerusalem – see Ezr 7:1,6,8, 7:11-13,21, 9:9

It is interesting (not another rabbit trail?) that during the completion of the wall in the days of Nehemiah, the remnant Israelites were experiencing some troublesome times.

Neh 1:2-3

That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.

Does anybody else hear an echo of Dan 9:25???

History tells us that Artzxerxes gave his decree in the seventh year of his reign, having begun his kingdom about 465 BC.  That would place the decree at about 455 – 457 BC.  If the Messiah began his ministry in 26 – 28 AD, this would fit with the beginning of the 483rd year of Daniels prophecy.

Since the baptism/anointing was the formal declaration of the Messiah’s commencement of His ministry, He arrived as expected.

Let us continue onto verse 26

Daniel 9:26

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

Notice that it is after the 69 weeks that Messiah is cut off.  Not at 69 weeks.  As described above, there is a good argument that the 69th week may have begun at the Messiahs baptism/ beginning of His ministry.

People of the prince (not the prince) that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary – note that the time indicator in this verse defines the action as being AFTER threescore and two weeks (and the 7 previous weeks).

Unto the end of the war desolations are determined.  Josephus says that the Roman army then “brought their ensigns to the temple and set them over against its eastern gate; and there did they offer sacrifices to them, and there did they make Titus imperator with the greatest acclamations of joy.”

Josephus The Wars of the Jews 6.6.1.

Notice also the concept of a flood (” end thereof shall be with a flood”) in describing judgement on Jerusalem / Israel, in various other Old Testament passages.

Isa 8:7

Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks:

Isa 17:12

Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!

Jeremiah 46: 7,8

Who is this that cometh up as a flood, whose waters are moved as the rivers?
Egypt riseth up like a flood, and his waters are moved like the rivers; and he saith, I will go up, and will cover the earth; I will destroy the city and the inhabitants thereof.

Dan 11:40

And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.

OK – now we enter into the deep stuff – Rescue me as you see me drowning…. oh wait – this may be a good place to stop for this post and begin in the next post with “the deeep stuff.

Give me a break Carl – haha!

I hope you will join me again as we continue Considering the Bible.


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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.

Daniel 9:24-27 – 8

Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching.

As I have studied this topic over the years, a particular teaching has garnered favor among believers. I followed that teaching faithfully for most of my pilgrimage.

I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint for a fellow believer to consider.

When I first encountered this viewpoint, I struggled with it. I refused it, then ignored it, then argued with it. But I also believe as Christians, we need to wrestle with the Word.

Sure, we may come away limping, like old Isaac, but as always, encountering the Word produces fruit.

So with that thought let’s continue and read the verse under consideration first.

Daniel 9:24

“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

In this post we will finish up with the last phrase in the 3rd couplet, that portion of Daniels prophecy that is defining what actually will happen within the time frame determined for this people and the holy city. It is the heart of the passage, and we checked out the first two couplets in previous posts.

COUPLET 3 – Second Thought

To Anoint the Most Holy

It is true that the passage in Daniel speaks of the most holy and some Bible believing Christians teach that it may refer to a future temple.

The Most Holy

But consider – Did not the Master describe Himself as a temple, that could be destroyed and would be raised up again?

John 2:19-21

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.

Do not the apostles often speak of the church as a temple of God on earth (– there is no temple in heaven don’t ya know…)

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

1 Corinthians 6:19

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

2 Corinthians 6:16
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Ephesians 2:21

In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

It is such a great thing that the temple concept, begun in the Messiah, is continuing both through individual believers and groups of believers.

The Anointing

Was not the Messiah anointed? Messiah literally means “the anointed One”

The passage in Daniel is speaking of the anointing of the Messiah, of His empowerment to perform the saving work of our souls.

Luke 4:18

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

Almost exclusively, the Messiah would refer to Himself as the Son of Man, and Daniel 7:13-14 is the primary link that all consider to be Jesus’ link in the NT.

Acts 7:56 (compare with Daniel 7:13,14 Son of Man reference)

And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

Daniel 7:13,14

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Right after the stoning of Stephen, the gospel goes out to the Samaritans and Gentiles.

Acts 8:5

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.

Before we move onto the next verse it may be important to remember that these 6 goals were to be performed on “Thy People” and upon “Thy Holy City”

Warning – Rabbit Trail Ahead

This may be a good time to remind my readers that throughout the OT, God had a remnant, a people that were truly Gods, and a city, even Thy Holy City. The obvious passage that comes to mind is 1 Kings 19:18 where God reminds the prophet of his remnant.

1 Kings 19:18

Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel,
all the knees that have not bowed to Baal,
and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

Isaiah also speaks of the faithful remnant in 46:3

3 “Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been borne by me from before your birth,
carried from the womb;

Micah also speaks of the remnant, even in a verse that speaks of all of Jacob

Micah 1:12

12 I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob;
I will gather the remnant of Israel;
I will set them together
like sheep in a fold,
like a flock in its pasture,
a noisy multitude of men.

Zephaniah mixes his message with the following

Zephaniah 1:18

18 Neither their silver nor their gold
shall be able to deliver them
on the day of the wrath of the Lord.
In the fire of his jealousy,
all the earth shall be consumed;
for a full and sudden end
he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.

Even though Zephaniah prophesied of a “full and sudden end… of all the inhabitants of the earth”, just a few short verses later he claims in chapter 2.

7 The seacoast shall become the possession
of the remnant of the house of Judah,
on which they shall graze,
and in the houses of Ashkelon
they shall lie down at evening.
For the Lord their God will be mindful of them
and restore their fortunes.

Zechariah expands on the blessing on the remnant in Zechariah 8:11-13

Zechariah 8:11-13

11 But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as in the former days, declares the Lord of hosts.

12 For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew. And I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.

13 And as you have been a byword of cursing among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing. Fear not, but let your hands be strong.”

Finally, James and Paul seem to echo some of these thoughts.

James links to the Zechariah passage, using the phrase “sowing in peace”, associating it with the New Testament body of believers.

James 3:18

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Paul follows up on the remnant idea clearly when he writes…

Romans 9:6

Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

Two chapters later, Paul speaks of all Israel’s being saved in the famous Romans 11 passage.

Romans 11:26

And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

As an aside, (Whoa Carl – Is this a rabbit trail within a rabbit trail?) it is interesting in my mind that the little word “so” in 11:26 could be translated “in this manner, likewise, on this fashion, so in like manner. The method of God, that is of supplying blindness in part to Israel, supplies the gentiles entrance into the kingdom. This method has the result of all Israel being saved. This makes perfect sense if Israel being referred to in 11:26 is the faithful remnant, i.e. all those who have faith as Abraham, not just the blood line.

Let’s proceed in our next post – I think I sometimes do dah rabbit trail too much (?), but when I find something of interest, I tend to wander – My apologies!!!

I hope you will join me again as we continue to “Consider the Bible”.


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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.

Daniel 9:24-27 – 7

Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching.

As I have studied this topic over the years, a particular teaching has garnered favor among believers. I followed that teaching faithfully for most of my pilgrimage.

I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint for a fellow believer to consider.

When I first encountered this viewpoint, I struggled with it. I refused it, then ignored it, then argued with it. But I also believe as Christians, we need to wrestle with the Word.

Sure, we may come away limping, like old Isaac, but as always, encountering the Word produces fruit.

So with that thought let’s continue and read the verse under consideration first.

Daniel 9:24

“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

Thanks for sticking with me in this journey through the hottest passage in Daniel. I taught this study in a Sunday School class that had never heard of this approach, and I appreciated the gracious (but firm) discussion during some of the previous couplets.

These next two posts we will finish up with those infamous six, that portion of Daniels prophecy that is defining what actually will happen within the time frame determined for this people and the holy city. It is the heart of the passage, and we checked out the first two couplets in previous posts.

This post we will take a look at the third couplet

COUPLET 3 – First Thought

To Seal Up the Vision and Prophecy

Vision – in the OT, this term only has the concept of a vision, whether ecstatic or as a prophecy.

Since it is coupled with the idea of prophecy, it may best be understood to be regarding visions, such as Daniel experienced.

Prophecy – in the OT, this term is translated as prophet 312 times, and as prophecy 1x. Our passage is the only time in the OT that this term is translated as prophecy.

Could Daniel be speaking of prophets being sealed up?

General Questions I Got

How does this relate to the resurgence of the apostolic ministry presently?

If Daniel 9:24-27 is time dependent, as he states in the beginning, does this verse teach that prophets were sealed up in the first century?

And how does this compare with the visions some have had in centuries past? Does this invalidate those visions?

Remember, as discussed in previous posts in this series, that to seal something does not imply permanence (Check out my 2 part study on Sealing, beginning with Sealing – Old Testament Basis).

OK, so how does that relate to the NT canon. Is it completed?

I would suggest that the apostles and prophets that spoke on the authority of the Christ have supplied all we need to live godly in this present world. Visions and prophets that speak the same message may be sent to wake the church up, but any message that crosses the scripture must be ignored or opposed.

Regarding the completion of sealing up prophets and visions, the NT seems to clearly address this.

Lets get Specific

To be a bit more specific, is Daniel speaking of THE vision and prophecy, that is, the very prophecy he is giving forth?

It is interesting that in Daniels vision/prophecy we are studying, he is told that the prophecy and vision were to be sealed up until the end of the 70 weeks.

Remember the concept of sealing. It is important to note that to seal something does not necessarily mean the object sealed will be sealed permanently!

One example of this very concept can be seen when John makes mention of sealing in Rev 22:10

Rev 22:10

And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

What is even more interesting to my thinking is that time is a factor in this verse also.
With that connection made, it would seem obvious that the topic of all prophecy has the Messiah smack dab in the middle of it. When He came, prophecy was being fulfilled. A few (of many) verses to support this follows.

Acts 3:18

But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.

John 5:39

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Matthew 11:13

All the prophets and the law prophesied until John

As has become evident, I consider the first advent to be the core of the prophecy Daniel experienced.

Is He not the focus and sum of all Scripture? Is He not the One to whom all attention, focus, love and honor is to be given? Consider the intent of the Scripture as you consider your interpretation of this difficult passage.

I hope you will join me again as we will again be Considering the Bible


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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.

Daniel 9:24-27 – 6

Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching.

As I have studied this topic over the years, a particular teaching has garnered favor among believers. I followed that teaching faithfully for most of my pilgrimage.

I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint for a fellow believer to consider.

When I first encountered this viewpoint, I struggled with it. I refused it, then ignored it, then argued with it. But I also believe as Christians, we need to wrestle with the Word.

Sure, we may come away limping, like old Isaac, but as always, encountering the Word produces fruit.

So with that thought let’s continue and read the verse under consideration first.

Daniel 9:24

“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

This post we will continue to look at the second couplet

COUPLET 2 – Second Thought

To Bring in Everlasting Righteousness

Everlasting righteousness. Is there anything in this terminology that does not allow for the presence of sin alongside of the everlasting righteousness.

Everlasting is the Hebrew word `owlam, and is also, very very interesting. See A Study of Eternal/Everlasting if you want to be shocked. (I was)

Olam can mean for ever or everlasting, but is also a term that could mean a long duration. I personally believe Daniel is speaking of everlasting here, but the prophecy is so difficult to cipher, this issue may need to be revisited or reconsidered at a later date.

Anywho, I don’t understand this righteousness (that is everlasting) as speaking of filling/controlling/infecting all people on the earth. Daniels point is time dependent (either a long time or eternal), not the spread of righteousness within every person on earth.

With that refinement of thought, consider what the apostles wrote concerning the righteousness of Christ in the believer’s life.

1 Corinthians 1:30

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

Rom. 3:21-26

Even the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God…through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood to declare his RIGHTEOUSNESS for the remission of sins”

Rom. 5:17-21

By the righteousness of one…shall many be made righteous… unto eternal life by Jesus Christ

2 Cor. 5:21

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God in him”

1 Peter 2:24

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto RIGHTEOUSNESS”

1 John 2:29

Everyone that doeth RIGHTEOUSNESS is born of him

Righteousness in the believers life is a New Testament teaching that directly relates to Daniels prophecy, if you will allow it.

The concept of righteousness needs further consideration – I looked into this as a study when I was just a youngin (as a Christian), and found it to be kinda surprising. If I find my notes I will post.

This completes our second couplet, and next time we get together, we shall enter into the third and final couplet.

I hope you will join me again as we “Consider the Bible”.


Daniel 9:24-27 – 5

Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching.

As I have studied this topic over the years, a particular teaching has garnered favor among believers. I followed that teaching faithfully for most of my pilgrimage.

I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint for a fellow believer to consider.

When I first encountered this viewpoint, I struggled with it. I refused it, then ignored it, then argued with it. But I also believe as Christians, we need to wrestle with the Word.

Sure, we may come away limping, like old Isaac, but as always, encountering the Word produces fruit.

So with that thought let’s continue and read the verse under consideration first.

Daniel 9:24

“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

In this post we will start looking at the second couplet.

COUPLET 2 – First Thought

To Atone for Iniquity

The term atone has some wonderful synonyms in the Old Testament. To reconcile or to cover over is the principle thought.

Reconciliation is a great thought, but it takes two. Two parties need to agree with one another, (or better, with the truth) in order for true reconciliation to occur. In the New Testament, the thought of reconciliation is best understood by having two people with their backs together.

The reconciliation that was performed on the cross is one person, that is God, turning around to face the sinner. But the sinner, to complete reconciliation, must turn also for reconciliation to be realized.

Remember the purpose of the seventy weeks is to supply these six goals we are trying to understand.

For this post, I will simply refer you to a few New Testament passages. For me, this process (or act) of reconciliation is addressed clearly in the New Testament. I simply ask the reader to consider each New Testament truth in relation to the phrase we are looking at.

Hebrew 2:17

Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

2 Corinthians 5:19

To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Colossians 1:20 – 22

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Ephesians 2:16
And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

I have a difficult time seeing how this phrase could be more fully fulfilled (is that good grammar?) than through the work of Jesus the Messiah, and His death on the cross.

God provided the sacrifice of His Son to reconcile us to Himself, and as a byproduct, to reconcile each of us to each other. What other action could take precedence over that great work, making it insignificant compared to some future action that some may think Daniel is prophesying?

Is this understanding of Daniel 9:24 a viable interpretation that honors Jesus Christ and His work on the cross?

I will leave that to the reader, but it is good to remember that He is the sum and focus of all Scripture!


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Daniel 9:24-27 – 4

Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching. 

As I have studied this topic over the years, a particular teaching has garnered favor among believers.  I followed that teaching faithfully for most of my pilgrimage.

I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint for a fellow believer to consider.

When I first encountered this viewpoint, I struggled with it.  I refused it, then ignored it, then argued with it.  But I also believe as Christians, we need to wrestle with the Word.

Sure, we may come away limping, like old Isaac, but as always, encountering the Word produces fruit.

So with that thought let’s continue and read the verse under consideration first.

Daniel 9:24

“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

COUPLET 1 – Second Thought

To Make an End of Sins

Golly – just when I made a point of Daniel not speaking of “finishing”, the very next phrase includes two Hebrew words, with the first one having finishing as a definition – Good Grief!

tä·mam’, – to be finished, to be completed (wholly), consumed, destroyed, cease doing, leave off doing, to seal up
&
khä·tham’ – to seal, seal up, affix a seal, to lock up, to be stopped

This last word is also used in this verse in relation to “sealing up the vision and prophecy”

Therefore – “To make an end” is referring to completely and wholly sealing up the object of the phrase, that is “sins”

First thought that fell out of my head was the locking up of Satan into the bottomless pit, but this can’t be speaking of that since the seal was placed on Satan, and he was shut up in the pit.

Also, this verse is referring to a concept (sins) and not a person.

Rev 20:3

And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

It is important to note that to seal something does not necessarily mean the object sealed will be sealed permanently!  (See my two part study – Sealed – Old Testament Basis and Sealed – New Testament Teaching.)

It is preferred to consider this phrase to be a strengthened thought of the previous phrase where Daniel mentions restricting transgression.  Even so, the New Testament gives multitudinous references to the Messiah’s work on the cross and the effect of this act on sin.

Matthew 1:21

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

John 1:29

…the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world

Acts 5:31

…forgiveness of sins..

Rom 3:25

….remission of sins.

Rom 8:3-4

..condemned sin in the flesh

Heb 1:3

.. by Himself purged our sins

Heb 9:26

…put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself

Heb 10:12

…one sacrifice for sins forever

1 Corinthians 15:3

…Christ died for our sins

1 Peter 2:24

…bare our sins in his own body on the tree

1 Peter 3:18

…hath once suffered for sins

1 John 3:5-6

… He was manifested to take away our sins.  Whoso abideth in Him sinneth not, whoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him.

So, let me ask you a fair question.  Did He put an end to sin?  How you understand that question may color your understanding of this passage.

Of course we see sin every day in our world.  Sin sin sin.  Every where sin.  It seems to be getting worse with every passing day.  But the question is “Did He put an end to it?”

His sacrifice for our sin definitely paid the price for the our sin, provided power over sin (although we do not avail ourselves of this power too frequently), and has given us hope to be removed from sin in the near future.

For those who can discern the intent of the passage – ie sin has been dealt with on the cross and sin has no future, no enduring penalty, power or presence over the believer.

For the unbeliever, sin has also an end – but sadly without any victory!

Is this understanding of Daniel 9:24 a viable interpretation that honors Jesus Christ and His work on the cross?

I will leave that to the reader, but it is good to remember that He is the sum and focus of all Scripture!

I hope you will join me again in “Considering the Bible”.


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Daniel 9:24-27 – 3

Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching.

As I have studied this topic over the years, a particular teaching has garnered favor among believers. I followed that teaching faithfully for most of my pilgrimage.

I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint for a fellow believer to consider.

When I first encountered this viewpoint, I struggled with it. I refused it, then ignored it, then argued with it. But I also believe as Christians, we need to wrestle with the Word.

Sure, we may come away limping, like old Isaac, but as always, encountering the Word produces fruit.

So with that thought let’s begin Considering the Bible.
I’m glad you came back. A little surprised since so few, at least in my experience, are willing to consider alternate viewpoints to Bible passages.

I admit, it is comforting to be settled in a belief system, and yet, when my faith was challenged and I couldn’t avoid the conflict, I found great peace in releasing my hold on deeply held opinions. It is good to fear the Lord.

Lets read the verse under consideration first.

Daniel 9:24

“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

So let us proceed into the first thought in Daniel 9:24. My plan is to look at each of these lines within the couplets and see if the New Testament can shed some light on this prophecy

COUPLET 1 – First Thought

To Finish the Transgression

Dang – Right away I got a problem.

What in tarnation is Daniel trying to say. At first glance I thought the New Testament would be able to give me direct associations of the transgression with the rejection and murder of the Messiah.

During the Lord’s condemnation of the Sadducces in Matthew 23, we hear Him speaking of the fathers filling up their “guilt jar”.

Mat 23:29 – 32

29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,

30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.

31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.

32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.

That last verse is sometimes translated as “Go ahead, and finish what your ancestors started” (NLT) or “Go on, then, and finish up what your ancestors started” (GNT)

In the Old KJV, the measure is commonly referring to a vessel. One good example is in Genesis 15:16, where the passage describes a vessel, being filled up with the sin of the Amorites.

In Matthew 23:32, the Lord is referring to the sin contained in the vessel of wrath that rejecting the Son of Man would accomplish.

That rejection would fill that vessel up to overflowing!

A few verses later (vs 36), the Master, after convicting the Pharisees of thier identification with thier fathers, states that all these things (described in verses earlier) shall come upon this generation.

It is very provocative that Jesus referred to the generation He was speaking to at that time.

Remember this passage is time dependent, just like Daniels…

The same thought is brought out when Paul speaks of the churches persecution under the Jews.

1 Thessalonians 2:14 – 16

14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:

15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:

16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

The CSB translates the phrase “As a result, they are constantly filling up thier sins to the limit.

The apostle Paul, whose heart broke for his people, the Israelites, realized that the Jews actions were condemning them, that they had abandoned the favor of God, and wrath was to come upon them..

But I wasn’t quite satisfied. Could there be more to this phrase “to finish the transgression”?

The next approach was to consider the couplet refrain of the Hebrew poetry that we mentioned earlier in the blog. The main thought in the first couplet seems to be Gods dealing with sin.

Again the New Testament gives us some good news.

Hebrew 9:26

26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

“To put away” is the greek word athetesis, and it can be translated abolition, disanulling, and rejection. The thought of abolition of sin and finishing a transgression seems to have some parallels.

Heb. 10:4-11

It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins… But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever…hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified…And their sins… remember no more”

“Hath perfected” is the greek word teleioo, and means to make perfect, to finish, to complete, to bring to a close, to bring to an end (goal). It is of the same root word that is translated “It is finished” in John 19:30. The verb “hath perfected” (or to finish) is describing the saint in the Hebrews passage.

Being perfected by the sacrifice of the Master certainly finishes transgression in the believer.

I am not trying to defend sinless perfection – I know myself too well. But the scriptures do give support to sin being done with in the believers life – See Rom 8:1-4, I John 3-4-6.

I think I am considering a concept (finishing the transgression), that isn’t spoken of in Daniels text.

So……

I went a bit further in my study and found that the verb “finish” is from the Hebrew word kala (H3607) and is usually translated as restrict, restrain, withhold, shut up, keep back, refrain, forbid.

Only once did the translators decide to use the word finish when translating this hebrew word.

So how does this effect the interpretation? “To finish” has the connotation of completion, of a conclusion, culmination, consummation. To be restrained is not necessarily so. To restrain, or to restrict requires the existence of the item being restrained, therefore this may allow, even require for the existence of sin to be present, in order to be restrained.

This twist in my understanding of the passage is quite exciting.

Did not the Messiah’s death and resurrection bring a lively motive in every believers heart and mind to say no to sin (restrain, resist, keep back, forbid sin!) and yes to righteousness?

I’m glad I dug a bit. I encourage all y’all to dig with me as we are “Considering the Bible”.

Thanks for visiting. May God the Father bless you today.


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Daniel 9:24-27 – 2

Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching. 

As I have studied this topic over the years, a particular teaching has garnered favor among believers.  I followed that teaching faithfully for most of my pilgrimage.

I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint for a fellow believer to consider.

When I first encountered this viewpoint, I struggled with it.  I refused it, then ignored it, then argued with it.  But I also believe as Christians, we need to wrestle with the Word.

Sure, we may come away limping, like old Isaac, but as always, encountering the Word produces fruit.

So with that thought let’s begin Considering the Bible.

Lets begin with a rabbit trail.  As you follow this blog, you will begin to realize I love to chase rabbits.  Some you may find interesting, some you may find irritating.  All of them I find worthwhile.  But I will warn you when I start chasing, and this is one of those times!

A RABBIT TRAIL

When looking at the six actions to be accomplished in  this prophecy, it seemed to follow a common pattern of Hebrew poetry.  You see, in Hebrew poetry, it is common for the prophet to declare a truth using two descriptions.  This is evident throughout the OT, and is especially noticed in the book of Proverbs. (Dang – the whole book seems to be full of thought couplets!)

This form of poetry has a structure of synonymous (or opposing) thoughts every two lines.  Consider

Ps 15:1-3

Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?

He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous.

who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue.

who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellow man.

or consider Daniel’s prophetic brother Amos.

Amos 5:24

Justice must flow like torrents of water,
righteous actions like a stream that never dries up.

Given this form of communication, it seems obvious that Daniel 9:24 has a similar poetic structure, defining 3 big ideas.

Couplet 1

to finish the transgression,
and to make an end of sins,

Couplet 2

and to make reconciliation for iniquity,
and to bring in everlasting righteousness,

Couplet 3

and to seal up the vision and prophecy,
and to anoint the most Holy.

When I first started looking at these couplets, I had hoped to breeze through all six in one blog post.

So funny Carl.

Lets try to tackle one thought of Daniels at a time.  Our next blog will cover the first  couplet.

To Finish the Transgression

I hope you will join me again in  “Considering the Bible”.


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Daniel 9:24-27 – 1

Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching. 

As I have studied this topic over the years, a particular teaching has garnered favor among believers.  I followed that teaching faithfully for most of my pilgrimage.

I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint for a fellow believer to consider.

When I first encountered this viewpoint, I struggled with it.  I refused it, then ignored it, then argued with it.  But I also believe as Christians, we need to wrestle with the Word.

Sure, we may come away limping, like old Isaac, but as always, encountering the Word produces fruit.

So with that thought let’s begin Considering the Bible.

Daniel 9:24 – 27

24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

So, lets take our time and consider the text.

Daniel 9:24

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

Daniel introduces this prophecy by defining three specific subjects that are central to the prophecy.  The subjects of this prophecy are as follows.

A SPECIFIC TIME – Seventy weeks

The first thing I notice is that a specific time is determined.

The English word determined is interesting.   Determined = חָתַךְ châthak, khaw-thak’; a primitive root; properly, to cut off, i.e. (figuratively) to decree, to be determined, be decreed, be settled, be marked out —determine.

The implication is that the time frame of this prophecy is settled in the mind of God, that it is established, decreed, “set in stone”.  However the time period is set up by God, it will be played out based on that time line.  It is sure.

A SPECIFIC PEOPLE – Thy People

The second thing I notice is that this time is determined upon a specific people

Upon thy people
– this phrase is used 7 times in OT and not always referring to the Jewish nation – notably through the book of Exodus (4 times) where it is referring to the Egyptians.

Therefore this phrase is context sensitive and needs to be understood by the intent of the prophet.  It is obvious that the Jewish prophet Daniel was directing this prophecy to his Jewish brethren.  With that said, we must realize that prophecy is not meant primarily for unbelievers, but for those who have faith in the God of Israel, and trust in His message.

A SPECIFIC PLACE – Thy Holy City

The third thing I notice is that this time is determined upon a specific place.

Upon thy holy city
holy  = קֹדֶשׁ qôdesh, ko’-desh; from H6942; a sacred place or thing; rarely abstract, sanctity:—consecrated (thing), dedicated (thing), hallowed (thing), holiness, (× most) holy (× day, portion, thing), saint, sanctuary.

The place is specific – that is it is the holy city and for the men and women this was written to, obviously meant Jerusalem, the city of the Great King.

Next post, we will consider the form of communication Daniel used, in order to help us understand his message.

I hope you will join me again in “Considering the Bible”.


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Daniel 9:24-27 – Introduction

Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching.

As I have studied this topic over the years, a teaching has garnered favor among believers. I followed that teaching faithfully for most of my pilgrimage.

I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint for a fellow believer to consider.

When I first encountered this viewpoint, I struggled with it. I refused it, then ignored it, then argued with it. But I also believe as Christians, we need to wrestle with the Word.

Sure, we may come away limping, like ol’ Isaac, but as always, encountering the Word produces fruit.

Enough – my next post will venture into “forbidden” territory!!!

Thanks for “Considering the Bible” with me. I hope these posts will challenge you to consider viewpoints that were hidden from me for decades in my Christian journey.


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Return of the LORD as Lightning?

 Lightning

We were at a Bible study a while back, chatting about Matthew 24 and the Lords soon return.

I had just been studying this passage and some of the words contained in the passage that may have been understood differently by the Lord’s audience than by us. Let’s consider the verse first..

Lightning out of the East

Matthew 24:27

For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

One of these words is astrape. (Strong’s definition and verse list can be found at end of post.)

By the time we got to verse 27, I had to speak up, since what I found out earlier seemed to apply.

There is a teaching nowadays that implies that the Lord’s appearance will be like a local lightning strike – quick, bright and destructive. This may be true based on many passages, such as

2 Thessalonians 2:8

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

But this passage in Matthew may not be reinforcing this teaching.

Lightning from a Candle?

Consider Luke 11:36 below. The same word (astrape) is used, but if translated as “lightning” would read as..

 Lightning from a Candle

Luke 11:36

If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lightning with its rays gives you light.”

Now that don’t make no sense, now does it? So whats the point?

This word (astrape) may be understood to describe a shining, such as a sunrise or such. If so, this may be the better understanding of Matthew 24:27. This makes a bit more sense, since the Lord’s statement refers to the “astrape” coming out of the east and shining even to the west.

Literal Lightning (as an aside)

Literally speaking, lightning comes from the the sky and touches the ground, that is, it travels vertically, not horizontally! (By the way, if I wanted to be scientifically accurate, lightning travels from the cloud to the ground and then from the ground to the cloud again, but I don’t think Jesus was trying to be that literal.)

On the other hand, the sun does rise in the east and illuminates the west.

The point is that when the audience of Jesus’ day heard this reference, the idea may possibly be that of a sunrise. The sun rises in the east, and travels/shines to the west. If so, the Lord is describing His coming in a number of ways.

  1. It will be relatively slow (that is, if compared to a lightning strike!)

  2. It will be evident to all.

  3. It will be welcomed.

  4. It will expel darkness.

Lightning or a Sunrise

 Sunrise

The imagery of the Lord’s coming as a sunrise is used again in 2 Peter 1:19. Notice that 2 Peter 1:16, setting the topic of the passage, is describing the power and the coming of the Lord.

2 Peter 1:16-19

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,”
we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,

His Coming

His “coming” is not necessarily as simple as I first thought.

His “comings” referred to in the 2nd and 3rd chapters of the book of Revelation are past events. (Only one of the churches mentioned remain to this day.) The candlesticks have been removed!

His coming described in James 5:7-9 may be referring to a past event. Compare the James passage with Jesus words on His coming in judgement to the Jewish nation. The judge is standing at the door! (gates in this translation!)

Matthew 24:33

So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.

Mark 13:29

So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.

James 5:7-9

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.
You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

His coming will surprise many. (Most likely myself!)

I think this little study has helped me see one thing. The how and when of His coming is so unimportant issue when it comes down to it.

The issue is to daily be ready.

I am ashamed of being so often distracted from focusing on that day when I shall be with the Lord.

Peace be unto you


Strong’s definition and verse list

G796 ἀστραπή astrape (as-trap-ay’) n.
1. lightning
2. (by analogy) glare
[from G797]
KJV: lightning, bright shining
Root(s): G797

Verse list

Matthew 24:27

For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Matthew 28:3

His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.

Luke 10:18

And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

Luke 11:36

If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”

Luke 17:24

For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.

Revelation 4:5

From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings[fn] and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God,

Revelation 8:5

Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings,[fn] flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.

Revelation 11:19

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

Revelation 16:18

And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake.

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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Popular Prophecy

Biblical prophecy sure is popular!

End of the World 2A few days back I was browsing the internet, that great stealer of time and thought, and came across a list of known “End of the World” prophecies that have hounded the church since the very earliest days of the church.

I will attach the list below only after I bring to your attention that the end of the world for both you and me is definitely within our lifetime! I can absolutely guarantee that once you lifetime is complete, the effect of the end of the world will be accomplished. This is what we need get ready for.

Prepare to meet your God!

End of the World 1The end of the world may be centuries away. I can guaran-dog-tee you are gonna meet God in the next few decades (or less!) Don’t let the sensational fear mongers grab your attention. Daily be in touch with Jesus, seek to obey His will, walk humbly with Him and grow in the knowledge of His ways. Note that if you are not growing in the knowledge of His ways, you can be certain you are regressing and falling away.

According to the list below, we have missed many of the the “ends of the world” it is embarrassing!!

Predictions of the Second Coming-page-001Predictions of the Second Coming-page-002Predictions of the Second Coming-page-003Predictions of the Second Coming-page-004Predictions of the Second Coming-page-005Predictions of the Second Coming-page-006Predictions of the Second Coming-page-007Predictions of the Second Coming-page-008