Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kingdoms for an Hour

It so happens that from this day back to the fall of Slobodan Milosevic (September 2000), the areas that were once under the dominion of the Ottoman Empire have seen remarkable upheaval. The unrest in a large portion of the Arab world today is in keeping with such an observation (see the map below).

I was once asked whether or not the rise of the Antichrist would fit an Ottoman model better than the Seleucid (see map below) model I espouse. Geographically, it does seem a better fit for what the 10 Horns will cover. Although it did rule over the area where the empire of the Romans (Daniel's Fourth Kingdom) superimposed that of the Greeks (as would be expected), the Ottomon Empire traces its lineage to Central Asia, which I think is counterintuitive given the little horn descriptions in Daniel 7 and 8. That aside, there is the impassable hurdle that the Ottoman Empire does not meet the description given in the Apocalypse as "was, is not, and will come." It did not even exist prior to ~1300 CE (or ~1060 if one traces it back to the Seljuks), let alone 95 CE.

Recently, I was reminded by someone that back in 2008 I had stated from the pulpit that the kind of regime changing chaos we're seeing in the Arab Middle East today (and what we saw in the Balkans earlier) would be necessary if the Antichrist were to rise in our day. Long-entrenched autocrats (like Mubarak, Gaddafi, Hussein, Assad, or even Milosevic) that dominate the area that will be the 10 Horns would have to go, and within a relatively short time of one another--if we are living in that day. The Revelator tells us that 10 kings will receive their kingdoms for a short while, ostensibly to hand over the reigns of their kingdoms to the Antichrist. Could this be that day?

Of the list of possible candidates for the 10 Horns I've published, virtually all of them have gone through, or are going through regime change, and Greece is going broke. Syria now seems poised to join the rest. If this is the day, expect some kind of consolidation or federation of Syria, Iraq and Turkey to arise, led by a charismatic figure (at least to the Muslims) and growing talk in that region about some kind of reinvention of the Ottoman or Byzantine Empire or the Caliphate .

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Just Asking Some Questions

If God's love is of the sort that everyone will eventually be rectified before God and established in right relationship to him, why were Adam, Eve and the serpent cursed in the first place?

What has been the purpose of generations of suffering and death, if in the end it has no real impact or purpose?

In the face of the reality of suffering, death and violence, what enables one to extrapolate to the surreality of an hereafter where everything is copacetic?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Purpose in Relation to David & the Prophets

David is an iconic figure for a number of reasons. He was the prototypical "good" king of the chosen people. He and his life experience was typical (and therefore prophetic) in so many ways of the coming Messiah. He was a hero who put himself on the line for God's purpose, which makes his story fascinating! He was a prophet-king, a shepherd-king, and God himself testified that David was a man after his own heart.

We need a figure like David among us--an inspirational leader who protects us and leads us into the blessing of God. Someone who can show us passion for God and the obedience of faith. We need a shepherd, a good shepherd. As great a model as David may be, ultimately, he is not up to meeting all that need. It can be met only in a perfectly anointed One, the Son of God, for God alone is good and able.

The Baptist's declaration took that arrow of David and pointed it directly to Jesus of Nazareth. He who would be called the son of David, the Son of Man, and the Son of God brought those disparate streams that revealed something of God's purpose together into the focus of accomplishment. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and the Prophets were unveiling in part that which could only be met in whole by Jesus Christ.

Through Christ a people would be rescued and raised, reformed in righteousness and enabled to walk with God in the agreement of faith. In Christ, that people would, living stone by living stone, be built into a habitation of God. Becoming like Christ, that people would be embraced in the fullness of Christ, knowing Godbeing one. The splendor of God's purpose only grows in glory as one sees it through the timeless ages God has been bringing it to pass.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Purpose in Relation to Moses

There are things that the Pentateuch reveals about God and his purpose, and there are things that it does not. The Law is not God's picture of an ideal society--sin and failure are in inextricably embedded within it. It was, in fact, written for a specific lineage of unregenerated sinners for control and maintenance rather than any grand revelation of how God made people to live. That's a far cry from God's ideal society and not very reflective of his purpose in any profound way by any means.

Though the Law frequently speaks of defilements, abominations, and prohibitions, it is not even a trustworthy statement about how God is eternally-minded about some of those issues. If it was the Gentile church of the NT would not even exist. There was a purpose to such transitory statements, but it wasn't an eternal one: can you really perceive of cattle chutes in heaven? The law schoolmastered the purposed of God until they could step into the purpose of God.

What, then, does Moses tells us about the purpose of God? Well, that God is motivated to rescue a people from bondage to be his people, to live with them in harmony, and to bless them and share his goodness with them. That purpose cannot be achieved with broken Adamic humanity, because righteousness is essential to the purpose but impossible with them. Despite that, God's purpose remains fixed. Adamic humanity cannot enter into it, but people raised in Christ can.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Magic Words

Magic words. Words that in themselves carry efficacious power.

Magic words are discredited among empiricists. Words are the inventions of humans, what in them could be intrinsically powerful?

Don't be too quick to reject magic words, difficult as it may be to acknowledge such a thing--not that I'm superstitious or credulous.

I know this to be true: faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Apparently, there is magic in some words, and we can draw that magic out!

Then that magic draws us out of the grave and into Christ.