Friday, November 16, 2012

Daily Bible Reading: Ezekiel 39 and Revelation 8

Ezekiel 39 – The prophet is again told to prophesy against Gog this time, the prince of kingdoms that have attacked the mountains of Israel – as an agent of God’s wrath against His people.

Now it is they who will be brought low. “I am going to see that my holy name is known among my people Israel, and I will no longer allow my holy name to be profaned; the nations shall learn that I am Yahweh, holy in Israel (39:7).

They shall be slain, and it will take the Israelites seven months of searching to find all the dead and cleanse the land of their corpses.

It sounds like irony to me when the prophet then says the Lord wants him to speak to the birds and beasts of the region and tell them that the Lord is preparing a blood sacrifice on the mountains of Israel for them. They will “eat the flesh of heroes [and] drink the blood of the princes of the world” (39:18).

The prophet concludes his rant against/in praise of Gog by a reassurance that all of this violence is simply part of the way God will make Himself know by “all the nations.” “[T]he nations will learn that the House of Israel was exiled for their sin in behaving so treacherously to me that I had to avert my face from them because they had rebelled against me, and to hand them over to their enemies; and they all perished by the sword. I treated them as their filthy sins deserved and hid my face from them . . . Now I am going to bring back the captives of Jacob, now I am going to take pity on the whole House of Israel and show myself jealous for my holy name. They will forget the disgrace of having so often betrayed me when they were living safely in their own land, . . . When I bring them home from the peoples, when I bring them back from the countries of their enemies, when I reveal my holiness in them for many nations to see, they will know that I am Yahweh their God” (39: 23-27).

All will be made to understand what it is the Lord expects of his people and what the ultimate goal is – to bring his people home and there reveal his holiness to all men. He promises at the end never again to “hide [his] face” from them but instead to “pour out [his] spirit on the House of Israel” (39:29).

Revelation 8 – The seventh seal is broken and there is silence in heaven for about half an hour – a silence that typically preceded prophetic revelation.

Seven angels with seven trumpets are ready to start the end time:
The first angel comes with hail, earthquake and fire. Incense from the altar is thrown down on the earth and brings thunder and lightning. One-third of the earth and the earth’s trees are burned along with all of its grass.

The second angel casts a mountain of fire into the sea, filling one-third the sea is filled with blood and killing one-third of the sea life and one-third of the ships on the sea.

The third angel is a star of fire called “Wormwood” that destroys one-third of the rivers and springs of the earth and fills the water with wormwood.

The fourth angel destroys one-third of the sun and moon and stars; an eagle comes crying out “Trouble, trouble, trouble” (8:12).

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