Showing posts with label Prophecy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prophecy. Show all posts

Sunday, May 05, 2024

Between 14 and 15

The Lord Jesus had just left the temple, prophesying its complete destruction. He sat down on the Mount of Olives, allowing the disciples to come to him privately and ask, “When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Three questions, and it’s not entirely apparent that the Lord answered them in the order they were asked. Over the ensuing centuries, much debate has resulted as Christians tried on various interpretations of his answer, comparing scripture with scripture.

Thursday, May 02, 2024

Fake News

The biggest news today is “fake news”.

What is “fake news”? Nobody seems to know. It could be the panicky blandishments of the liberal media. It could be the paranoid pronouncements of the extreme Right. But it could also be the confused babblings of the moderate centre. Nobody really seems to know. The only thing upon which all sides agree seems to be that there’s a lot of it out there somewhere.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Quote of the Day (45)

As we have worked our way through the Minor Prophets in our Saturday studies, we have noted repeatedly the problem of communication that the Holy Spirit had to resolve when speaking through Hebrew seers two to three thousand years ago about events still to take place. I mention the Holy Spirit particularly, because the prophets themselves may not always have understood the communication barriers involved, though the Spirit of God was well aware of what was going on as he carried them along.

After all, in many cases the prophets had no idea when God would bring about the fulfillment of the events they described, let alone all the things that would happen to the nations and peoples they mentioned in the interval.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

One and Done

Little is known about the writer of Psalm 89, but it’s still a great deal more than we know about the writers of some other psalms.

Ethan the Ezrahite was a Levite musician, poet and prophet who came to prominence as a young man during David’s reign, continuing his ministry into the reign of Solomon and perhaps even that of his ill-fated son Rehoboam, which lasted from 931-913 BC.

Evidence for that last statement to come …

Monday, October 24, 2022

Anonymous Asks (220)

“Are people who claim God talks to them insane?”

In the pages of scripture, God talks to men all the time. The closer we go back to the beginning of human history, the more it happened. He conversed with Adam and Eve in the garden. He even had multiple conversations with Cain, who became our world’s first murderer. He spoke to Abraham audibly at least seven times.

Of course, we have to remember that was over a thirty year period, and Abraham lived to be 175. God was speaking less and less as time went by, even to men he considered friends.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Praying for the Lion

Almost seven chapters of 1 Kings are devoted to Ahab’s reign over Israel. A further ten chapters of 2 Kings make repeated references to him, and to the consequences of his life and choices for both Israel and Judah.

The Holy Spirit has seen fit to tell us substantially more about this wicked man than about any other king of the northern kingdom, and more than many Judean kings, notwithstanding the fact that he did more to provoke the Lord to anger than all the kings of Israel who preceded him.

Moreover, the expression “as the house of Ahab” became the standard by which the writers of Chronicles, as well as the prophet Micah, assessed the wickedness of Israel’s later kings.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Mining the Minors: Hosea (32)

Why are the prophets so obscure at times?

Peter tells us they did not always understand how and when the the words they received from God would be realized. And if the men who spoke these words had to labor to put the pieces together, we should not be surprised if we have to do the same with prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled today. That’s one reason.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Population and Prophetic Fulfillment

In Deuteronomy 30, Moses is coming to the conclusion of his address to a new generation of Israelites on the brink of conquering Canaan.

On the one hand, his message is a prophecy of total failure. The curse will come upon Israel. God’s people will be driven out of their land to dwell among the nations of the world for generations. On the other hand, it is also a prophecy of guaranteed success. Repentance will bring restoration and prosperity the like of which Israel has never seen throughout its entire history.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

The Heiser Bolt of Lightning

A couple of weeks ago I promised to devote an entire blog post to the bolt of lightning that hit my synapses when I read a single, throwaway paragraph in Michael S. Heiser’s The Unseen Realm. It was a delightful experience to find that the scriptures account for the cognitive dissonance I and other Bible students experience when we compare many prophecies in their original Old Testament contexts to their fulfillments as described by the writers of the New Testament.

A familiar example of such a “Whuzzat?” moment: Matthew’s use of the words “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Sunday, September 19, 2021

The Dating Scene

It’s the eighth shortest book in the Bible and the second shortest in the Old Testament — only 1,131 words in English in two brief chapters.

But Haggai is full of dates. Almost a quarter of its 38 verses are given over to specifying times right to the very day. The book’s five prophecies to four different individuals or groups are each arranged around these dates.

Even readers unconvinced of the inspiration of scripture are unlikely to see such an obvious pattern as accidental or merely a writing tic. They will generally concede the author must be trying to make a point.

It might be worth a few hundred words to try to work out what the point may be.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Too Hot to Handle: ‘Apostles’ and ‘Prophets’

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Everybody’s looking for greater certainty these days it seems, even Christians. Our own Immanuel Can has written at length about how the resurgence of Calvinism is evidence of it, and I’ve recently done some reflecting on how Christians often speak about the “call of God” to bolster their confidence in what in most cases are just their own decisions.

Tom: This, though, might take the cake, IC. A new and rapidly-growing charismatic movement mostly off the radar of other Protestants. Independent Network Charismatics (or “INC Christians”) find their certainty in alleged “prophetic” voices and the pronouncements of “super-apostles”.

It’s big-bucks too. Christianity Today notes that the Asuza Now conference in the LA Coliseum drew 50,000 people in the rain, and almost nobody knew about it outside the INC movement.

How’d you like to have the apostles and prophets back, IC?

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

After the Fact

The Latin term vaticinium ex eventu is used by liberal scholars and critics of the Bible to describe a prophecy they believe was made “from the event”, or literally after the fact. For example, German scholar Ferdinand Hitzig objected to prophecies about the king of Egypt made in Jeremiah 44:29-30, calling them vaticinium ex eventu. The argument of men like Hitzig is that later writers forged one or more prophecies in Jeremiah’s name based on events which had already occurred, and grafted them into the existing text of Jeremiah, presumably in order to make his writings appear more credible.

Hitzig died in 1875, by the way, so obviously this is not a new issue. And he’s far from the only expert to make such claims.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Mining the Minors: Amos (10)

God doesn’t enjoy punishing people, even when they are unusually wicked. He takes no pleasure in the death of anyone, preferring that they change their ways and prosper rather than get what is coming to them. This is a well-established principle of scripture; both prophets and apostles testify to the fact that our God lets us off the hook every single time he can possibly justify it.

As the psalmist put it, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Escapism in a Time of Trouble

Christians are sometimes accused of escapism, primarily with respect to the doctrine of the “rapture” (or parousia) taught in the New Testament.

After all, why should a bunch of Gentile believers expect to get a free pass on the judgment of the world? Doesn’t that seem just a little unfair?

Not all those who dislike the idea of Jesus Christ making a special trip to this planet specifically to carry away his people to be forever with him object to the notion for exactly the same reasons. Some feel believing in a parousia is elitist. Others see it as baseless and wishful. Still others, like Kurt Willems, are troubled by the idea that Christians with a psychological safety net like the “rapture” will give up trying to make society a better place — or worse, will mislead others about what Willems believes are God’s plans for this world. He says, “Our world’s future is hopeful. Let’s tell that story and not the escapist narratives that many of us grew up with.”

Nice idea. Tough to see where he gets that “hopeful” bit from these days though.

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Ezekiel and the Future of Palestine

To whom does Palestine really belong?

The student of history encounters arguments for both sides, most of which transparently serve the agendas of their writers and pass themselves off as factual while trading largely on sentiment. But any careful reader of scripture understands that the Jewish claim to the land of Palestine goes back a whole lot further than May 15, 1948.

Having been unilaterally gifted the land then called Canaan via God’s covenant with their forefather Abraham around 2000 BC, Israel has spent more time in exile from the land of promise than actually living there.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Why Your View of Prophecy Matters

Does is really make much difference how you view Bible prophecy?

Most Christians would affirm that all scripture is God-breathed and profitable; that’s fairly fundamental. It follows that the study of prophecy is also profitable, though whether its details are easily deciphered or have immediate application to the lives of all readers is another question altogether.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Fake News

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

It Ain’t All About You Either

Continuing an overview of the Song of Songs that is more about what the book is not rather than what it is. I’m looking for ways to interpret a rather unusual portion of scripture that do not result in an excess of speculation. Such esoterica finds its way into public teaching more than it ought to.

Wednesday’s post looked at four more-or-less traditional interpretations of the book. Today’s explores a fifth.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

From One End of Heaven

“He will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

There are various schools of thought about what the Lord Jesus meant with this rather difficult statement. The phrase “from one end of heaven to the other” is admittedly an unusual one. A literal reading may lead us to think of people being plucked out of the skies all over the world and gathered to one place. For what reason, we wonder? And who exactly is this “elect” of which the Lord is speaking?

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Immanentizing the Eschaton

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: when you hear that someone is trying to “immanentize the eschaton”, it’s simply educated jargon. It’s a more confusing way of claiming they are trying to bring on the end times. I expect it’s intended to leave us midwits scratching our heads in perplexity, but who knows? The accusation has been leveled against utopian secularists and evangelical Christians alike.

Most recently I found it in Infogalactic’s entry on Postmillennialism, which I was discussing in this space just the other day: “It [postmillennialism, especially reconstructionist postmillennialism] has been criticized by 20th century religious conservatives as an attempt to immanentize the eschaton.”

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Don’t Stop Now, You’re Almost There

The devil may be in the details, but far-reaching doctrinal errors are all in the broad strokes and almost never in the minutia. I’m becoming convinced of it.

My test case at the moment is the expanded edition of Kim Riddlebarger’s A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times (2013), in the event you’re wondering. But I have found the same thing with several books I’ve read recently: they advance a fundamentally flawed major premise. Once you’ve done that, you can pile up the proof texts to highest heaven without successfully proving anything. Your original, glaring defect of thought makes them all irrelevant to the greater argument.

Monday, June 03, 2019

Anonymous Asks (43)

“Does God know what we will do?”

More than a few Christians have a strong aversion to neo-Calvinist determinism. They don’t agree with the teaching that God micromanages the universe, controlling and pre-arranging everything that happens within it, including the choices made by all created beings.

I don’t blame them. I don’t like that idea much either, and I don’t think it’s an accurate representation of what the Bible teaches about either God’s sovereignty or human choice. Giving us a Bible full of commands seems an unlikely thing for God to have done if our responses to him are all predetermined.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Reflections at 4 a.m.

“Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry ‘Peace’ when they have something to eat, but declare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths.”

In the middle of a long night shift, one often craves better coffee than may be had reheated from the canteen in the office kitchen.

By “better” I don’t mean half an inch of George Clooney-level Nespresso® or a fresh cappuccino from Starbucks (assuming, in the case of the latter, you can still manage to justify shoveling hard-earned dollars into the coffers of Planned Parenthood via their favorite corporate proxy). No, at 4 a.m. McDonalds will do, and do wondrously.

Yeah, First World problems, I know.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Skepticism and Renown

Director David Lynch says this about U.S. President Donald Trump:

“He could go down as one of the greatest presidents in history because he has disrupted the thing so much. No one is able to counter this guy in an intelligent way.”

Lynch is not necessarily expressing approval here; note that his metric for presidential greatness is the ability to disrupt. That would not be everyone’s measure of a man, let alone a U.S. president.

What Lynch’s comment does point out, though, is that it is not the least bit outrageous for a man to mull over how a contemporary stacks up against the all-timers in his field, whether or not his verdict is a favorable one. This sort of comparison is made all the time, even when only a year or two have passed.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Burden of the Lord

In the years leading up to the Babylonian captivity, God spoke many times through his prophets to the people of Judah and their religious leaders. However, the message he sent them was not to their taste. The leadership, especially the false prophets and priests, were disinclined to accept any correction of their way of life, but were understandably reluctant to be seen to defy God in any obvious way.

Then they discovered a rather ingenious solution. Instead of prefacing their own declarations with “Thus says the Lord” or some other claim to God’s final authority over the message they brought to the people, they began instead to speak of something they called the “burden of the Lord”. This “burden”, they claimed, came to them in dreams, sufficiently foggy and amorphous that it was necessary for them to explain it in their own words rather than God’s.

This approach enabled them to claim sufficient heavenly authority to maintain their prestige and position without obliging them to say anything difficult or truthful that might offend their audience. It was the perfect compromise.

Monday, July 23, 2018

A Little Prophetic Pigskin

Isaiah prophesied for many years under many different circumstances about many nations and about many different things on the mind of God.

When he began his prophetic ministry, Assyria was at the forefront of world affairs. During Isaiah’s lifetime, Samaria fell to the Assyrians and Jerusalem was besieged by them. Even Israel’s neighbors had their own ill-fated run-ins with Sennacherib’s “unstoppable war machine”. So naturally much of the earlier chapters of Isaiah is concerned with current events. He would say things like, “Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be shattered from being a people,” and then he lived long enough to see that very thing happen.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Deals and Deal-Breakers

Modern critics divide the book of Isaiah into three sections: (1) chapters 1-39, (2) chapters 40-55, and (3) chapters 56-66.

The claim is made that the latter two sections, which contain very specific prophecies concerning events that took place hundreds of years after Isaiah died, were actually written by disciples of Isaiah living during those later periods of Judah’s history and carrying on his mission under his name.

Naturally, conservative scholars disagree.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Who’s Got the Microphone?

One natural follow-up question from Saturday’s post on the subject of roles is this: “Did women ever prophesy in New Testament church meetings?”

I ask it largely out of curiosity: even a crystal-clear scriptural example of a prophetess addressing both men and women in a congregation (assuming we could find one, and we can’t) would not really help us toward working out our own roles in a day in which we are no longer able to prophesy in the specific sense in which Paul uses the word.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Details, Details …

Hebrews says that God spoke by the prophets (and presumably to the prophets) “at many times and in many ways”. Among these methods were visions, dreams and riddles.

The apostle Peter had one such experience on the housetop of Simon the tanner while waiting for a bite to eat and praying. Luke says, “He fell into a trance.” Peter heard a voice uttering actual words (as opposed to merely receiving an impression) and saw an accompanying vision, but the end result was perplexity, not sudden clarity.

Peter had indeed witnessed something spiritually meaningful, but had yet to find the appropriate context in which to apply the instruction he had received.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Looking Past the Millennium

The so-called “Lord’s Prayer”, prayed by millions over centuries, includes the request that “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

That line is taken as mere aspiration by many and blithely ignored by many more. Lately it doesn’t get recited much in public at all. But the kingdom is coming, and it’s coming here. One wonders exactly how that will go over.

The millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ is a “must”, as G.B. Fyfe puts it.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Legitimate Usage

Here and there in my daily browsings I stumble across atheists in the process of diligently constructing monuments to unbelief. These often take the form of websites attempting to debunk Bible prophecy.

Two totally unscientific observations: (1) the preferred strategy of many atheists is to throw every conceivable objection at the proverbial wall in hope that one or two will stick; and (2) most such objections arise from unfamiliarity with the text.

But not all.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Misappropriating Scripture: The Practical Consequences

Reams have been written on the subject of Bible prophecy and how it is to be interpreted. Even within Protestantism, the number of distinct views of what scripture teaches concerning the end times is mind-boggling and often daunting to the new Christian, so much so that many are inclined to throw up their hands and declare that the answers cannot possibly really matter.

But they do. And they matter practically as well as intellectually.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Visions of Their Own Minds

Saturday’s post ended with my contention that while teachers need to study scripture to be accurate, a prophet doesn’t (or rather, real, biblical prophets didn’t). A true prophet — good or bad, wise or foolish, ignorant or prudent — simply repeated what God had told him.

Interestingly, the commentary I’m reading on Daniel this morning addresses this very issue:

“We read of [Daniel] how each vision was connected with the deepest soul exercise, with fasting and prayer as well as the reading of those portions of the Word of God he possessed.”
— Arno C. Gaebelein

Now, Gaebelein’s not wrong about Daniel’s study habits.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Fake News

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Seven Reasons I Don’t Believe You’re a Prophet

Compared to the supernatural, real life can be pretty tedious.

I still recall vividly my childish frustration with the bits of C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia books that take place in WWII-era England. I wanted the Pevensies to hurry up and get through the magic wardrobe, or climb up on the picture frame in Eustace Scrubb’s bedroom, or for Eustace and Jill Pole to open the mysterious door in the stone wall behind the gym at their boarding school, or just go ahead and use whatever method they were going to use to travel to the land of talking beasts, dwarves, witches, giants and who-knows-what; the place where all the truly exciting things were happening. England was drab, grey and uninteresting by comparison.

I think some people feel pretty much the same way about the Christian life. They keep hoping for something a little zippier to come along.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: ‘Apostles’ and ‘Prophets’

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Unmuddling the Muddle

I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that Christian teaching about prophecy is a chaotic muddle.

Within Christendom, in the broadest and most general terms, we find Preterists, Historicists, Futurists and Idealists. When we get into specific features of the prophetic calendar such as the Millennium, we fragment further into Pre-, Post- and Amillennialists, and the Premillennialists subdivide yet further into Pre-Tribulationists, Mid-Tribulationists and Post-Tribulationists. If I’ve left your view out, forgive me.

You will be unsurprised to find that I have no particular interest in trying to straighten all that out, and no patience for it even if I had the skill.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

That’s MY Mail You’re Reading

I came across a very cool website.

RationalWiki is basically a repository of unbelief designed to show people how and where the Bible is (in their view) untrue. Somebody has gone to a lot of effort to attempt to debunk scripture and compile evidence of its alleged irrationality.

Possibly the coolest section of all is the page on ‘failed’ prophecy, which begins this way:

“Some Christians claim that fulfilled prophecies prove the Bible’s inerrancy … mainstream Christians will actually claim that, for example, the Gospels are historical evidence of Isaiah being accurate prophecy (rather than works written with a copy of Isaiah to hand to claim fulfilment of prophecy), therefore the Bible is accurate and Jesus is Lord.”

You know, I think they’re probably correct about Christians claiming such things, though they don’t provide specific examples. But they have a bigger problem: they’re reading my mail. Small wonder they’re a bit confused.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Out of the Closet and Out of the Sea

Globalism is out of the closet. Finally.

For years now, politicians from countries all over the world enraptured with the Ideology That Dared Not Speak Its Name have pursued their dream of global government. Until the end of last year, they were savvy enough to do it behind the scenes, giving the occasional barely-perceptible nod to national interests in order to avoid raising the hackles of the rank and file that their policies had impoverished and unemployed by the millions. Attentive observers of Washington and the Eurozone noticed something was a bit off, but recognized that being overly vocal with their suspicions would tend to nuke their credibility with the audience that pays the bills.

Hey, even political commentators have to eat, right?

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Show’s Over

It’s the devil’s show I’m talking about, not God’s. I mean this present world.

The fact that it is the devil — Satan, Lucifer, Abaddon, Beelzebub, the Serpent of Old — who is running the show here on earth is not well understood in or outside religious circles, possibly because so many have difficulty with the notion of personal evil. Social evil, sure. Patriarchal evil, definitely. We’ll even maybe sorta kinda acknowledge that once in a while there comes on the scene a man or woman so virulently depraved that even a bad upbringing, lack of education, racism or poor social conditions do not fully account for it. Who would blame Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother, after all?

But an invisible supernatural being pulling the strings behind the scenes? A bit of a stretch. For the source of all the bad news in this world, let’s look elsewhere.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Quote of the Day (26)

I have great appreciation for people who stick to the sola scriptura principle; people who are willing to go to the wall for what they believe the Bible teaches. It shows sincerity and courage, qualities that are most admirable.

But what do you do when, year after year after year, the facts on the ground stubbornly refuse to conform to your theological schema, a system of thought you are convinced is entirely scriptural?

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Not A Tame Lion

“Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”
(Psalm 2:11-12)

“ ‘Safe?’ said Mr Beaver; ‘don’t you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.’ ”
— C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

It’s an odd combination, isn’t it: rejoicing and trembling at the presence of the Son of God. The quote from the Psalms is directed to “kings” and “rulers of the earth” and looks forward to the millennial reign of Christ on earth.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Not Enough Fingers

When everything is falling apart around me, when things are going south in a big hurry, I find it helpful to ask myself “What is MY role here? Is there something I should be DOING rather than just standing around looking concerned? Should I pray, act, consult others or wait (or some combination thereof)?”

Sometimes that question gets asked very quickly, or skimmed right over: if there’s water shooting out of a leaky pipe and accumulating on the kitchen floor, going away to pray and meditate about my next move is probably not the most useful response. On the other hand, if the issue is the ongoing decline of my local church and its increasing disobedience to its Head, the question of what I should do about it deserves some serious consideration in the presence of God.

Ideally, my stored knowledge of scripture or that of others is what provides the answer to that question when it is needed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The David Connection

It occurred to me while reading through the Gospel of Mark that the significance of many little things perfectly obvious to Bible students or people with a Christian upbringing is probably quite lost on first time readers, especially those whose background is not Jewish.

Little things like the words of the blind beggar Bartimaeus, who cried out to Jesus, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” That “Son of David” thing must have been important: after all, the blind guy kept repeating it despite everybody around him trying to hush him up.

He wasn’t the only one. That title was something Jesus heard regularly.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Hope of Glory

Why can’t we all just get along?
I’ve been reading a fair bit of commentary by frustrated alt-right postmillennialist believers lately, folks for whom the reestablishment of Western Christianized patriarchy has become awfully close to an article of faith.

Their agitation is actually quite understandable, really. If your view of prophecy is that you are currently experiencing the thousand-year reign of Christ (or that the spread of the gospel should shortly serve to bring it about), at some point the evidence of your eyes has got to churn up some serious cognitive dissonance.

Right now, Satan doesn’t look all that “bound” to me.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The 1830 Principle

“Sorry, you’re just not old enough ...”
I’ve read this statement or something quite like it maybe ten times in the last year:

“Rapture doctrine did not exist before John Darby invented it in 1830 AD. Before it ‘popped into John Darby’s head’ no one had ever heard of a secret rapture doctrine.”

It’s even been picked up by Wikipedia, which I guess makes it a “thing”. They won’t go quite so far as to say Darby invented it, but they concede that he certainly popularized the teaching.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Quote of the Day (10)

From David Cambell’s Illustrations of Prophecy, 1839
Students of prophecy make reference to a future geopolitical entity described in detail in both Daniel and Revelation. In scripture it is called the “fourth kingdom”. Some Bible students also refer to it as the “revived Roman empire” because it will be the spiritual and political reanimation of ancient Rome.

Neo-Rome is consistently depicted as being comprised of ten divisions or kingdoms. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image in Daniel 2 has ten toes. The fourth beast of Daniel 7 has ten horns, as does the seven-headed monstrosity energized by Satan’s power that John saw in Revelation 13, and the beast on which the great prostitute rides in Revelation 17.

This ten nation confederacy is said to “devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces”. So, you know, fairly significant stuff, at least to those of us who believe these things are still to take place in our world.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Cage Match: Zechariah 14 vs Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry’s commentary on the Bible has gained a reputation as the “best and most widely used work of its kind”. I have its three bulky volumes on my own bookshelf and have found it surprisingly useful at times given its age and the limited number of translations and study tools available when it was written in the early decades of the 18th century. Philip Doddridge said, “Henry is, perhaps, the only commentator … that deserves to be entirely and attentively read through”. Evangelist George Whitfield is said to have read Henry’s commentary daily with his devotions.

So this is not me having another “Rachel Held Evans” moment. Critiquing the opinions of a social justice wannabe looking to amp up pageviews, book sales and personal appearance invitations is not in the same league as tackling a respected and serious writer whose work has been influential for almost three centuries.

That said, there here is no better way to highlight the absurdities inherent in some methods of interpretation — even well accepted and venerable methods — than to simply lay a commentary side-by-side with the word of God.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Dating Scene

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Those Ten Lost Tribes (Or Is It Twelve?)

There are few prophetic subjects more hotly contested than the Ten “Lost” Tribes. Maybe the doctrine of the Rapture. Maybe the Pre-/ Post-/ Amillennial divide.

But the folks who get agitated about those issues can’t possibly compete with Alex Christopher. Alex asks “Who Are the Real Israelites?” His answer? Almost every white person on the planet EXCEPT the ones currently living in Israel.

How important is the issue to Alex? “IT IS TIME FOR THE COMMON AMERICAN TO GET UPSET AND INVOLVED,” he shouts [the caps are his, not mine]. Fair warning: Alex actually employs the word “dastardly” to describe the quasi-Jewish conspiracy he is convinced exists, so … you know … judge for yourselves and all that.