Posted by: biblestudyseattle | November 1, 2019

Three Sieges

Apparently Jerusalem was under siege three times by Nebuchadnezzar.  In 605 BC, 597 BC, and 587 BC.  It must have been a scary time.  70 years after the last siege, the temple was rebuilt and in operation.  Here is a decent article (although the 931 BC date for the dividing of Israel is wrong.  It should be 980 BC.)  https://www.preceptaustin.org/jehovah_shammah

 

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | October 21, 2019

Challenges of the early Christians

We sometimes overlook the challenges the early Christians had in convincing people that Jesus was the Messiah.  It is highly instructive for our time.  “As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ,”  Luke 3:15  I’ve never heard a sermon commenting on why the people were in expectation.  It was because of Daniels prophecy, “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.  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.   And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing.”  Daniel 9:24-26

The annointed one here is Jesus.  The decree to rebuild Jerusalem was in 455BC, or thereabouts, so 69 weeks of years is 483 years, which is 29AD.  (Technically 454.75BC to 28.75AD).  Even if we quibble that is was 458BC, it’s still around the time John was baptizing.

But Jesus died.  How are you going to convince anyone that the Messiah who was supposed to conquer the world for good apparently died?  Did he fail his mission?  This was (and is) the stumbling block for the Jews.  Everyone wants a STRONG messiah, not a weak one.  Even now this is the case.  Everyone supposes Jesus will come with thunderbolts and dash the bad guys to pieces.  But first he will come quietly.  As a thief.  “Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”  Revelation 16:15  Then, he will privately reveal himself to the Jews.  “Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, “Make everyone go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers.  And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it.  And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence.”  Genesis 45:1-3  So it will be in a century or so.  Then, and only later than that does Jesus come in mighty power.  “Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst.  For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.  Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle.  On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.  And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.”  Zechariah 14:1-7  This will most likely happen in the days of awe leading up to the great Day of Atonement several centuries from now.  

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | October 5, 2019

Dating Esther

Gerard Gertoux has some pretty neat papers on ancient chronology.  Here he dates Esther during the reign of Darius/Xerxes: https://www.academia.edu/8233800/Queen_Esther_wife_of_Xerxes_Chronological_Historical_and_Archaeological_Evidence

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | September 11, 2019

Beatitudes and Victors

Have you ever read the Beatitudes and thought that the meek get one gift, the peacemakers another, etc.?  Or are these describing different attributes of a saint and therefore all the rewards apply?  Similarly, if we take Revelation 2-3, we might see that different Christians through the Christian age get different benefits.  Or is it a composite of the overcomers that all the benefits apply?  To the church at Ephesus it says, “I will give the victor the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in God’s paradise.”  Revelation 2:7.  To the church at Smyrna it says, “The victor will never be harmed by the second death.”  Revelation 2:11.  To the church at Pergamum it says, “I will give the victor some of the hidden manna.  I will also give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name is inscribed that no one knows except the one who receives it.”  Revelation 2:17.  To the church at Thyatira it says, “The one who is victorious and keeps My works to the end: I will give him authority over the nations—and he will shepherd[t] them with an iron scepter; he will shatter them like potteryjust as I have received this from My Father.   I will also give him the morning star.”  Revelation 2:26-28.  To the church at Sardis it says, “In the same way, the victor will be dressed in white clothes, and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name before My Father and before His angels.”  Revelation 3:5.  To the church at Philadelphia it says, “The victor: I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God, and he will never go out again. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God—the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God—and My new name.”  Revelation 3:12.  To the church at Laodicea it says, “The victor: I will give him the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I also won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne.”  Revelation 3:21

These victory passages show that the overcomers have many rewards.  The first reward is eating from the tree of life.  This destroys the idea that Christians receive instant immortality at death.  Immortals do not need to eat.  The third reward is similar – the hidden manna, much like the manna that the Israelites ate while wandering about the wilderness with Moses – symbolic of the Millennial Reign.  The second reward speaks of escaping the second death, again in the Millennial Age.  The later rewards speak of reigning with Messiah and being a part of God’s temple.  This speaks of the Millennial Age and also the ages beyond.

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | September 9, 2019

Suffering

No matter who we are, we all experience suffering of one sort or another.  We all age and we all die.  No matter how saintly we are.  God wants us to experience this so that we will not choose death in Act 2 of our lives.  Once we’ve burnt our finger on the stove, we will be careful not to do that again!  In Act 2, God will grant us access to the trees of life if we repent and forgive.  “Then he showed me the river of living water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the broad street of the city. The tree of life was on both sides of the river, bearing 12 kinds of fruit, producing its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for healing the nations,”  Revelation 22:2

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.  Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.”  Revelation 22:14-15

Notice that only those that ‘wash their robes’ get to eat.  This means repenting and forgiving.  The evil ones will not be allowed to eat, leading to aging and eventually to second death.

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | August 19, 2019

Prophecy Everywhere

Some prophecy seems obvious, like Daniel or Revelation.  What is less appreciated is that large portions of the old testament are prophecy.  Some are of the opinion that all the stories are also prophecy.  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, the Exodus, Ruth, Samson, Esther, Saul, David, Solomon, etc.; all these stories and more are prophecies.  Esther has a couple references to the third day, which pictures restitution in the third day from Christ – 3,000 years.

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | August 19, 2019

The New Creation

Six days of work followed by a Sabbath day of rest is the pattern for the whole bible.  YHWH sets the example.  “So the heavens and the earth and everything in them were completed.  By the seventh day God completed His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done.   God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it He rested from His work of creation.”  Genesis 2:1-3  He has 7,000 years of rest before he starts creating anew, which is several centuries future to us.  In this regard, any christian restored to life in heaven now is not yet truly a new creation.  That must wait.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”  2 Corinthians 5:17-18

“Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.”  Galations 6:15

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed.  I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.

Then I heard a loud voice from the throne:

Look! God’s dwelling is with humanity,
and He will live with them.
They will be His people,
and God Himself will be with them
and be their God.”  Revelation 21:1-3

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | July 23, 2019

Storming Heaven

In the mid 1600s there was a schism in Russia over worship.  Reforms had been made which many did not like.  Disputes about instrumental music and making the sign of the cross with two or three fingers caused many to flee.  In fact, about 20,000 were burnt at the stake for keeping the old style of worship.  Did these people secure themselves a place in heaven?  Does God really care whether there’s instruments in worship or how many fingers one uses to make the sign of the cross?  No.  We cannot force God’s hand.  What really counts is the heart.  Paul says, “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”  1 Corinthians 13:3.  Conversely, look at David.  He was an adulterer and a murderer.  Yet God is going to set him over all Israel and the world!  “‘My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees.”  Ezekiel 37:24  Or look at Paul.  He was a murderer.  Yet he became perhaps the greatest Christian.  Both Paul and David repented.  Rank in heaven is not primarily about giving one’s life to the flames.

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | June 23, 2019

Joseph’s bones

 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”  And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.”  Genesis 50:24-25

Why did Joseph demand his bones be taken to Israel?  It’s probably prophetic of the resurrection where people’s bones will be returned to them.  Egypt is also symbolic of the worldly condition, and YHWH does not want us to stay there.

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | May 31, 2019

This Generation

Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”  Matthew 24:34

Much ink has been spilled on the meaning and timing of this verse.  Upon much consideration, it appears to us that the emphasis is not on the timing, with the exception of Jesus’ direct audience, who would experience the destruction of the temple in 70AD and the ensuing persecution.  We think the sense is: “Truly I tell you, this generation (humans) will not pass until…”

Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”  Matthew 24:37  The question is, what aspect of the days of Noah?  Race could be a major component.  As Noah’s flood was cleansing the earth from angelic/human hybrids, so in our day we see much genetic experimentation.  Perhaps in several generations humanity will be severely compromised??  We don’t know.

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