Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Very Brief History Lesson

We left off, before the festivals, in Genesis with Abraham’s, Isaac’s, and Jacob’s descendants in Egypt. Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy cover the 40 years of wandering and giving of the laws. After over 400 years from Abraham and as slaves in Egypt, and the 40 years in the wilderness, Israel entered into the promised land. In the book of Joshua we read of the battles that were fought to get that land. It is in this time period and up to David and Goliath, that we see that the giants again roamed the earth. There were either again fallen angels who again came and had sexual intercourse with humans to produce giants or somehow the nephilim escaped the Flood by leaving the earth (they did have the technological intelligence), or the bloodline came across the Flood through one of Noah's sons (probably Ham). No matter how it occurred, it occurred.  The spies that Moses sent out to scout out the land said that they were so large that the Israelites seemed like grasshoppers by comparison. I have no doubt this is not an exaggeration. Goliath at 9 feet was the runt of the litter. We know from the Bible that there was one at least 13 feet tall and probably some were more than this as these were not first generation giants, but a few generations down the road, which means that the more human blood they had, the shorter they would become, so the older generation ones would be much bigger. Lev. 13:33 After conquering the land and each tribe getting its section, we have Israel being ruled by judges. (Book of Judges) This is the time of Samson and Delilah. The people didn’t like the way God would have them ruled and clamored for a king, as like little children they were whining, “everybody else has one”. So God gave them a king, Saul. He fell away from the Lord and was tormented by a demon. David was anointed to take his place. David made Jerusalem the capital and started gathering the materials to build a temple, but as he was a soldier, God wouldn’t let him build the temple. So it fell to his son Solomon to build it. Upon Solomon’s death, the ten northern tribes split away from the two southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin. (The books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles) The ten became known as Ephraim as that was the dominant tribe, and the two became known as Judah, from whence comes the name Jew. So Jews today are only from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (and some Levites as they were dispersed among the twelve tribes). (This needs to be remembered for future reference). They both went through a series of kings. Back during the time of the judges, the tribe of Dan had lapsed into idolatry and led the other tribes astray. The tribe of Dan was held responsible for corrupting the entire northern tribe of Israel. As a result, during the time of the kings, God allowed Israel to be conquered by Assyria around 721 B.C. Unlike Judah, which retained its identity even during captivity, the ten tribes were assimilated into the culture and have come to be known as the ten “lost” tribes of Israel, although historians have found records that show where some of these tribes settled. Dan has been traced through Europe - Danube, Dnieper, Denmark (which means Dan's mark), just to name a very few, up into Ireland. In Jacob's blessing to Ephraim, he had predicted that Ephraim would become a multitude of nations. He was supposed to have gone north into Europe/Britain also. About 100 years later, the Babylonians conquered Assyria assimilating them, and then they went on to conquer Judah in 586 B.C. The reason God allowed their captivity was that they had not been observing the Sabbath seventh year of rest for the land. God had warned them after giving the laws that they would be blessed or cursed according to their obedience. He said that he would reclaim those years where they didn’t observe the seventh year Sabbath, by sending them into captivity until the land had its rest. Lev. 26:33-35. Given the supposed dates (and we know that even historians can’t be totally accurate on dates, given the changes in calendars, etc.) they had not observed this law for long, if ever, as they were in captivity for 70 years, Dan. 9:2. One year for every year of Sabbath they had not observed. The Babylonians were then conquered by the Persians and King Cyrus made a decree allowing the exiles to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. That was in 536 B.C. Ezra (that’s what that book of the Bible is about) led them back and rebuilt the temple. Following him, Nehemiah (that‘s what his book is about) goes back to Jerusalem and rebuilds the walls of the city. That is 445 B.C. (Understand that all of these dates are approximate). Persia rules from this time until 330 B.C. when Alexander the Great conquers the Medo-Persian Empire. After his death seven years later, his generals divide his empire into four parts. The Seleucids become the rulers over Judah and forbid the practice of Judaism. This leads to the Maccabean revolt (which we already covered). Judah became an independent state from 145 to 63 B.C. At that time Roman troops invaded Judah and it became part of the Roman Empire, which it remained through Christ’s lifetime and up to 70 A.D., at which time Jerusalem was sacked, the temple burned, and the Jews fled into an exile called the diaspora. Thus ended the nation of Israel until 1948 A.D.

I will just mention a couple of passages in the book of Job that are interesting. Chapter 1:6-12. The sons of God (these are angels, the same term used in Genesis to talk about the fallen angels cohabiting with the daughters of men) come before the Lord and Satan is among them. When the Lord asks where he has been, his reply is that he comes from walking up and down the earth. Many people get the impression that Satan is in hell. Not so. It is necessary to point out here that he is allowed access to heaven and can enter it whenever he wants (to accuse us). This needs to be noted, as at some point in the future, he will finally be once and for all cast out of heaven. This passage also points out that Satan and his minions cannot touch us without God’s permission. He can do what he wants with others, but he has to get permission to give us trials. That should make us stop and think. Every trial is allowed by God for some reason. Are we sinning? I know I certainly am guilty of that. Is it merely to show our faith to Satan such as Job did? Is it for someone else’s benefit? No matter what the reason, we are to understand that God is allowing it for our or someone’s good and has things totally in control. We just need to keep the faith.

The next set of passages in Job relate to Genesis in the area of creation science and actually there is something there about the end times also. Chapters 38-41 have God telling Job all about creation. In 38: 22-23 God mentions his treasures of snow and hail. If one studies creation science further, after the Flood, there was a short ice age. What’s interesting is what this snow and hail has been reserved for - “against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war.” Whenever the phrase “time of trouble” is used, it is in reference to what is known as “Jacob’s trouble” which as we will see refers to the tribulation of the end times. We will see in Revelation that hail is part of the wrath of God, so this store of ice and snow is partially for that eventuality. That the constellations are of some significance (we had discussed there being a possible “gospel in the stars” scenario) is seen in that God mentions them by name, and that He is in control of them. Some people say that the Bible doesn’t talk about dinosaurs, so they are a problem. Nonsense. Job 40:15-24 describes a dinosaur perfectly. The interesting thing is - God expects Job to know exactly the animal about which He is speaking. That means that they weren’t extinct then. Even today there have been reports that in the deep, dark jungles of Africa, some tribal people have seen dinosaurs. Chapter 41 is even more exciting. It describes a sea creature that is actually a fire-breathing dragon. Yes, folks you heard me correctly. Fire-breathing dragons are not myths. So now, we must consider all those old legends of King Arthur and his knights battling fire-breathing dragons. Maybe not so far-fetched after all. As I keep saying, all myths have some basis in reality. What exactly are Champ and Nessie?

The Book of Psalms has many psalms that refer to the end, but we can go back and refer to them as needed rather than going over each one separately. As to the prophets, they are all about the end times. Some people think the Old Testament is irrelevant and that it is over and done. They believe that all the prophetic books were fulfilled. It is true, they did have an initial near fulfillment, but they all have a larger more dramatic far fulfillment in our future. In fact most of the Bible is all about the Second Coming of the Lord. Why people don’t realize this is easy to understand. They don’t pick up their Bibles and study them. They “read” the Bible, but just as you can listen but not hear, look but not see, you can read and not comprehend. The pastors never preach on the Second Coming, so they never hear any of this from the pulpit. It is no wonder people are so ignorant of what the Bible says.

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