Wednesday, August 09, 2006:
How literal or metaphoric are Ezekiel 38 and 39 and all the rest of prophecy for that matter? Focusing on Ezekiel 38-39, we see that this is set in the "latter days." We see that literally, the armies involved are not technologically beyond horses and swords. A literal reading or interpretation also suggests that the weapons are made with much wood that will be burned for seven years, there being so much of it that there will be no need for any other fire wood for fuel. In addition, the time immediately before the conflagration is one of safety for Israel when there are not walls, bars, gates, etc. Of course, as I write this, there are numerous gates and other barriers and a huge wall. That wall though is not around Israel but the West Bank. There are numerous walls though around the settlements on the mountains, which runs exactly contrary to Ezekiel's described time (latter days).
If Ezekiel 38-39 are literal, how far are we from the latter days?
Now, if Ezekiel 38-39 may be taken metaphorically, how much give is there before one is diverted away so much as to lose the point?
Also, is the prophecy a choice? Jonah was a choice even though it was not offered as a choice. There was no "if." Jonah said, "forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown." (Jonah 3:4). Yet, the people turned and were spared. Therefore, may the people turn and be spared the prophecy in Ezekiel 38-39 and other aspects of the prophecy?
On the other hand, are the latter days of which Ezekiel is speaking days that come after the end of this current technological age? If the prophecy is to be taken literally, that would be the case.
Who can tell you other than the Holy Spirit? Can a selfish, conservative, Republican tell you?
But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them. (Deuteronomy 4:29-31).
You will note the word "if." Just because the word "if" does or doesn't appear doesn't lock God into a course construed by human beings. Only in the case of absolute faith will a course remain unchanged. Only the pure or purified in heart may have such faith. Jesus was such a person. Jesus was informed as to whether or not they would turn before the Roman Legions would destroy them. He was informed that they would not.
Are the "latter days" just one set of days, or are there many sets of latter days, meaning are all the prophets speaking of exactly the same events when they are speaking of the latter days? Their prophecies are different. They are not always referring to the same days. The latter days are the future.
Even so, we must interpret in light of the words of Jesus Christ who said the following:
For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. (Luke 21:22).
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (Luke 24:44).
The lesson, literal and metaphoric, is that nations suffer for their iniquities. Even the suffering of the innocent is due to the iniquities of nations for which those nations end up suffering. End all the iniquity, repent, and end all the suffering. It is the remission of sin.
The following should appear at the end of every post:
According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.
Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.
Political Campaign Intervention
Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.
Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
- Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
- Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
- Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
- Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
- Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office
Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)