Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 296

The scriptures read are Daniel 1-2, Psalm 92 and Revelation 16.

BTW, you have now finished 52 books of the Bible. That's 52/66 or 78.7% of the books. You have just 14 to go and because most of a lot shorter than the major prophets we've just completed, they will go by dizzyingly in the 70 days we have left.

Daniel 1. If you detected that Revelation borrows a bit from Isaiah and more from Ezekiel, get ready for the mother lode. Yet Daniel is not just an apocalyptic book. The first part is made up of stories about Daniel and his colleagues trying to stay true to God while living in the presence of a pagan king.

The first of 6 stories from Daniel's life revolves around Daniel and his friends trying not to violate the kosher laws while eating at the king's table. Actually Daniel's opting for a vegan diet does just that. In some prisons, they offer, as an alternative to expensive Kosher or Halal diets, something called Common Fare meals. They have no flesh in them or in their seasonings and components. And what most religions reject as unclean is either certain kinds of flesh (for Jews, blood, pork, shellfish, meat and milk together, etc; for Muslims, blood, pork) or all flesh (Hindus, Buddhists, some Seventh Day Adventists). Eliminating all flesh from your diet avoids most religious dietary restrictions. And provided you get all your amino acids (eating corn and beans together, or peanuts) it can be very healthy. Anyway, Daniel and his friends flourish.

Daniel 2. Nebuchadnezzar is a real believer in carrots and sticks as motivators! And he gives his counselors was seems to be an impossible task: first, tell him what dream he had and then interpret it. Daniel and his friends pray for the answer and God gives it to Daniel in a dream. He saw a statue that had a golden head, silver chest and arms, bronze lower abdomen and hips and feet of iron and clay. A big rock smashes the lower part of statue (which is where we get the expression "feet of clay.") The rock grows into a mountain. The statue represents four kingdoms, each less splendid that the one before (or above) it. The rock is the kingdom of God. Daniel gets promoted. (The interpretation of the 4 kingdoms varies. See a commentary for the alternatives.)

Psalm 92. Here is a solo and chorus composition with a video featuring the university in the Philippines which is presumably the home of the choir.

Revelation 16. The seven bowls are poured out. In many cases, they parallel the plagues that hit Egypt at the time of the Exodus. (Boils were the 6th plague, water turning to blood was the 1st, darkness the 9th, thunder and hail the 7th). The frogs that come out of the mouths of the evil trinity recall the 2nd plague. Remember too that the 5th trumpet called from locusts that stung, combining the 3rd and 8th plagues.

Steve Gregg tells us that the bowls represents: (H) the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, and their negative effects on the papacy (P) judgments on either Rome or Jerusalem, (F) the first in literal world-wide judgments, or (S) God's judgments on evil governments and societies.

Armageddon is an actual place, literally "the mountain of Megiddo," the site of a Biblical city in the north of Israel which over looked a valley where major route between Egypt and Assyria passed and thus the site of various battles (Judges 5:19; 2 Kings 9:27; 2 Chronicles 35:20-25.) Some interpreters see this as the literal place where the kingdoms of the earth gather for a last battle, some see it as symbolic. The earthquake that comes from the 7th bowl is either symbolic of the fall of "Babylon," a real earthquake, or a nuclear explosion.

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