22 December 2010

Dec 22

Reference links:
Old Testament

Today, we continue the second of the 8 visions of Zechariah. I think. It's not completely clear yet whether the visions will be clearly demarcated.

Zechariah sees a man going to measure Jerusalem. This acts as a reason to reveal the fact that someday Jerusalem will grow populous enough that people will live outside the city walls. Then, the Lord will protect the city with a wall of fire.

This was probably a significant statement to people in a city that a disappointingly small number of exiles had returned to. This same sentiment probably motivated the next part of the vision where the Lord calls the exiles to return from Babylon. But someday, the Lord will live among the people of Jerusalem and many other nations will join the Israelites in worshiping their chosen god. A hopeful message.

Based on chapter breaks, we next start what may be the third vision. Or it may be part of the second still. In any case, this vision shows the high priest, Jeshua, standing accused by Satan. The Lord rejects Satan's accusations, but not, it seems, because they are wrong. Jeshua's dirty clothes and the comparison of Jeshua to a burning stick pulled from the fire imply that Jeshua is guilty as accused. However, in this vision God chooses to forgive that sin and purify Jeshua, promising that if Jeshua lives as he ought, he will gain authority over the Temple and its courtyards.

After that, God starts talking about how he is eventually going to bring his servant and remove all of the sins of the land in a single day. Of interest is that this promise is symbolized by a stone with seven facets. As we are seeing in Revelation, 7 is a very significant number, right up there with 12.

That's all for today!

New Testament

Remember from yesterday: a dragon (Satan) is attacking the people. Today the dragon gives his power to a beast from the sea with 7 heads and 10 horns and 10 crowns on the horns and on the heads were written names of those who blasphemed God.

The beast was wounded and then healed. This, apparently, was enough to get the world to pledge allegiance to it. The dragon and the beast were worshiped. The beast went on to blaspheme God and torture the faithful for 42 months. Those who worship the beast were those who were rejected by God.

Then another beast came from the earth. This beast required everyone to worship the first beast (weren't they doing so already?). The second beast impresses everyone with some miracles and then requires everyone to get a mark on their right hand or forehead. This became required to participate in commerce.

And that ends today's reading. A bit less coherent than yesterday's reading and, as such, not quite as entertaining.

Psalms and Proverbs

The author gives four random things he does not understand and then throws out a statement about adulterous women and their lack of guilt.
An adulterous woman consumes a man,
then wipes her mouth and says, “What’s wrong with that?”
Which leads to the obvious question: is consume meant canibalistically or euphemistically? The context implies the later, but our recent fantastical readings in Revelation bring the former to mind.