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.