Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 268

The scriptures read are Ezekiel 1-2, Psalm 70 and 2 Peter 3.

Ezekiel 1. Part of the first wave of Jewish exiles to Babylon, Ezekiel, unlike Jeremiah, was not in Jerusalem when it fell 7 years later. Part of his ministry was to make his fellow exiles face the fact that they weren't returning to Jerusalem, and certainly not an intact city, anytime soon. And he did it largely through enacted parables. Also freaky visions.

First freaky vision: in a dust cloud, something like ball lightning and within it, 4 creatures, each with 4 faces and wings. Plus wheels within wheels. Like a gyroscope? That's Peterson's translation and as good as any. It's very hard to picture these angelic creatures, but they are carrying a clear dome and above that is God's throne. So perhaps they are some form of cherubim. I tried to find an artist's rendition on the Internet but all the images are bizarre in the extreme as are the websites that feature them. It's safe to say that what Ezekiel saw defies description. When he saw it , he fell to the ground. As would anyone, I think.

Ezekiel 2. God speaks to Ezekiel, calling him, "son of man," or human. God tells him he is to speak to his rebellious people. He gives Ezekiel a scroll to eat. On both sides of the scroll are words of gloom and doom.

Psalm 70. Striking pictures accompany this straightforward contemporary take on the psalm.

2 Peter 3. Apparently people were beginning to doubt Jesus' return because it hadn't come already. But we are to view this as God giving everyone plenty of time to repent and turn to him. The correct attitude is to realize this life, this world could end anytime. But the important thing is how you live, not to dwell on the details of the end. Rather think of it as the beginning of the new creation.

A reference to Paul and an admission that he isn't always easy to understand. But don't let folks twist his writings or any scriptures. Keep your feet on the ground and grow in grace and understanding of Jesus Christ.

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