25 December 2010

Dec 25

Reference links:
Old Testament

The thing about the one year Bible division is that the Christmas reading is not terribly Christmas like.

Today, Zechariah describes the benefits of the Lord's blessings coming once again to Jerusalem. The second, after the return of the Lord to Mount Zion, is that the streets of Jerusalem will once again be safe for old and young people. This emphasizes the danger that must have been always present for the returned exiles. It may also convey to us the fact that the returned exiles were, in many ways, settlers. They may well have consisted mostly of people in the prime of life, willing to take on the arduous task of restoring Jerusalem. Not until the community was well established could leisure and age diversity return.

Other benefits will be a return of the exiles, prosperity, and international respect of the wisdom and blessings of Israel.

In another message, Zechariah declares that the traditional fasts and times of mourning should become festivals of joy and celebration. In this time, people from around the world will visit Jerusalem to seek blessing.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of Zechariah has been its optimism and certainty that the time of restoration and blessing has come. It's a bittersweet read since we know that the return of the exiles did not result in lasting prosperity for Jerusalem and was, instead, only a prelude to a much longer and much more geographically dispersed exile of the Jews from the land of their origins.

New Testament

What a pity; I was wrong. We do have to read an angel by angel account of the pouring out of the plagues. As the angels pour their bowls, bad things inevitably happen. The details are not particularly interesting.

Before we get to the seventh angel, there is an interlude where "the kings of the east" march toward the west. Three evil spirits appear who gather the rulers of the world for a battle against God. Once everyone is gathered at Armageddon, the seventh angel pours from his bowl.

This causes a great earthquake which destroys Babylon. There were also giant hailstones.

And that ends today's craziness from Revelation.

Psalms and Proverbs

Four things strut about: the lion, the rooster, the male goat, and a king leading his army. Goody gum drops. What is the value of these proverbs?