16 December 2010

Dec 16

Reference links:
Old Testament

Today we finish Micah. We learn that a ruler of Israel will come from Bethlehem. This verse is popular among Christians for the obvious reasons.

After that, I am not quite sure how the various declarations, but my guess is that the statements about being rescued from Assyria and the purification of the remaining Israelites apply to the time during which the new ruler is ruling. In this time, the restored Israel will be a powerful nation and wipe out their enemies. So it most certainly won't be a time of peace.

This description of the future is followed by the Lord's declaration of his case against Israel. Because the case still stands that however much prosperity will come to a restored Israel, they still need to be destroyed in the first place. The Lord lays out the good things he has done for Israel and then states that all he wants is for them to do what is good and right. But the people have not done this, and so they must be destroyed.

We then move back to what appears to be Micah's voice. He describes the despair that arises from everyone being evil. He declares the day of judgment is near and tells people not to trust anyone, not even friends or spouses.

Micah then reiterates the larger theme of the prophecy more personally and talks about how he will trust in the Lord, be punished for his sins, and then be restored.

The book ends with Micah asking the Lord to protect his people (using rather rural imagery), the Lord responding that he will, and Micah praising the Lord.

New Testament

To recap, yesterday, a lot of seals were unsealed. Today, four angels are waiting to destroy the earth and everything in it (these are, I believe, the disasters caused by the breaking of the sixth seal). Before they do so, the followers of God have a seal placed on their forehead. 12,000 people from each of the tribes of Israel are sealed. 12,000 people from 12 tribes is obviously symbolic, and the author probably didn't actually mean the twelve tribes given that this is an apocalypse of the New Testament. I am sure the details have some relevance, but I'll just take away the high level point that the author thinks the faithful will be somewhat shielded from the disasters.

After that, some people appear, and everyone starts praising God. The people who appeared are apparently those who died in tribulation. Revelation sure seems to imply that those who died in tribulation are better than those who didn't. It is those who die in tribulation that get to serve God and live a life death free from physical discomfort. But given that dying in tribulation is at least partially an accident of history, that seems rather arbitrary.

Psalms and Proverbs

Today's proverb declares that
Every word of God proves true
From that and the obviously factually false statements in the Bible, we can conclude, therefore, that either not all of the Bible is the word of God or factual truth is not what the author is getting at. Although I wonder how one can get away with calling something factually false that was presented as fact as true. (Presented as fact as opposed to symbol or story.)

I also wonder if the various redactors of the Bible paid attention to this one:
Do not add to his words,
or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar.