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Religious Pron: The End Times, 4 of ?
General Boards - Religion & Philosophy
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Religious Pron: The End Times, 4 of ?

5

Apr 11, 2024, 12:36 PM
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We’re well on our way to the very, very colorful vision of the End of the World predicted in the Book of Revelation.








So far, we’ve looked at four earlier prophet’s visions, from 850BCE-630BCE.

Some things stayed the same, some things changed, and some things, like people worshiping their own gods, quietly fell away (sorry Micah, Yahweh works alone).











Here’s a recap of where we’ve been. If you were reading available scripture in 630 BCE, this is what you might have expected the End Time to look like. Think of it as the Final Four of End Times predictions. (Consolidated from 7 in the last post)


850 BCE Obadiah: 1) Everybody loves Jerusalem and Yahweh
740 BCE Amos: 2) Israel has a permanent home
700 BCE Micah: 3) The Temple becomes the center of world worship and the 10 Tribes return,
630 BCE Zephaniah: 4) The entire world is destroyed with fire by God, but a remnant remains



But there’s still no dragons, no serpents, and none of the really cool stuff we find later in Revelation. Yet.







This time we move ahead to the Book of Isaiah. Isaiah is a really big book and it includes a lot of famous expressions we still use to this day, including “no rest for the weary,” “like a lamb to the slaughter,” and “seeing eye-to-eye.” It was apparently very popular in Jesus’s time, and it contains a lot of important Christian interpretations like the mysterious Suffering Servant in chapter 53. Spoiler alert: Christians say it’s Jesus.








The Jews see things a bit differently, interpreting the Suffering Servant as the nation of Israel itself. We might take a look at that difference on another day, but we’re in Isaiah right now because of what it says about the end of the world.








Isaiah is so big it feels like 2 or even 3 books stitched together. So I’m gonna tackle it based on the history it covers, and call the pieces Isaiah I, II, and III:


I. Chapters 1-39: Griping up to Assyria
II. Chapters 40-55: Griping about Babylon and rejoicing about Persia
III. Chapters 5-66: The future of Israel



The divisions make sense because two of those sections are about the biggest events in ancient Israel’s history at the time. An analogy would be “Americans in 1866 seemed obsessed with the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. How could they write so much about just two topics?”














Sometimes folks just have a lot to say. If we look at our rough timeline of ancient Israel history, here’s where the prophets we’ve covered would fall:


Israel-isaiah





You can see that Isaiah talks about both Assyria and Babylon (and Persia); events that were separated by almost 200 years. So either Isaiah was one old MF’er, or, he else had a whole publishing house that all used his name.








Isaiah isn’t always completely explicit about what he’s talking about. But he’s not deliberately cryptic, either. He’s just speaking a lot of ‘inside baseball’ that people of his generation(s?), and maybe no one else, would get. Which is bad for history, because it creates a lot of confusion. And confusion leaves room for misinterpretation, in any form of communication.








For instance, suppose I decide to write The Book of Fordtunate Son, about a troubled time in American history. It goes like this:

“Woe to those across the sea.
The red flag will not prevail.
From the Gulf of Tonkin to the Delta we will persist!
The ghost of Ho cannot run. The ghost of Diem looks on.
The walls of Hanoi shall burn, the Triangle shall be cleared, and the trail stopped.
Westmoreland, son of Spartanburg, shall see us through!”





From just a few words, people of my generation know EXACTLY what I am talking about. But does someone from Gen Z know what I mean, or will someone 700 years from now? Idk.

It’s not that I’m being deliberately cryptic, I’m just not being overly explicit. That’s kind of what Isaiah is doing. But in his time, people got it, because they lived it.








What Isaiah is specifically talking about early in Chapters 1-39 is the Syro-Ephramite War. We know that because of a very helpful line from a very famous chapter.


Isaiah 7 - The Sign of Immanuel

1 “When Ahaz was king of Judah, [in 732 BCE]
King[s] Rezin of Aram and Pekah of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.”








That one sentence is solid gold, because it nails down that event in time for us. Thanks, Isaiah!

The Syro-Ephramite War was a crazy, backstabbing, wild and woolly event, and probably the source of some serious national guilt for a couple of millennia. Because the Assyrians didn’t just come down to haul off the 10 Tribes on their own initiative. They were invited to come down, by Israel’s own brothers over in Judah. Ouch.

It was Cain and Abel by countries, not individuals. Brother killing brother, at the national level.


pessimism





Just like Jesus references Isaiah before him, Isaiah references Micah before him. And so the written traditions of Israel were being passed on to generation after generation, book by book.

Here, Isaiah pulls directly from Obadiah’s ‘Day of the Lord’ way back in 850 BCE, and Micah’s vision of ‘The Mountain of the Lord’ from 700 BCE. Isaiah-I places them literally back-to-back in his Chapter 2:



Isaiah 2
The Mountain of the LORD

2 In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established…and all nations will stream to it.
[Promises #1, #2, & #3]



The Day of the LORD

12 The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty…they will be humbled.
[Promise #4]


The Mountain of the Lord, aka, Mount Zion, wedged between the Hinnom and Kidron Valleys. The Temple, now replaced by the Dome of the Rock, in the background







So to us, the language “Mountain of the Lord” may seem vague and enigmatic, but to them, it was precise and specific. And then Isaiah adds a new promise of his own. Jerusalem doesn’t quite get a full makeover into New Jerusalem yet, but it does get a roof. Straight outta Moses and the Exodus:


Isaiah 4:5 “Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over everything the glory will be a canopy. 6 It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.”


New Promise #5, God’s canopy of smoky clouds and fire over Jerusalem










And, Isaiah-I continues Amos’s vision that Israel will pay in the End, along with everyone else:

Isaiah 5:30 “In that day…there is only darkness and distress; even the sun will be darkened by clouds”


Compare with Amos 5:18, written hundreds of years earlier.

“Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light.”



So these guys are continuing the visions given by earlier prophets, all the way back to Moses himself, 500 years before. And sometimes they’re the same, and sometimes slightly different.








But those example are just Isaiah reiterating what prophets before him said. And that’s good corroboration. In Isaiah 6, however, we start to get to the really cool, ‘Revelation-y” stuff.

6:1 “In the year that King Uzziah died, [750ish BCE] I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.

2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.


Six-winged seraphim, from the Hagia Sophia, in Istanbul






Woah. Now that’s different, and new. I don’t think we’ve heard about God’s train, or his throne, before. And I know we haven’t heard about 6-winged seraphim.


Now compare that verse with Revelation 4:8, written over 700 years later:

“Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings.”


Pretty close, except for the all-seeing eyes. If you look closely, you can see the eyes on the wings. Just as described.







And look at this, from Isaiah 6:3, circa 700 BCE

“And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty…”



And this, from Revelation 4:8, circa 100 CE

“Day and night they never stop saying: “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty…”











So what in the world are these winged seraphim? Well, nobody really knows. And this is some of the real ‘inside baseball stuff’ of Judaism I was talking about. The word ‘seraphim’ means “fiery one,” and often, “fiery snake.” But that’s about all we know today. Most other detail is long-since gone.









Jewish commentary says the seraphim are middle-rank angelic servants of Yahweh. The reason they are covering their eyes is so they do not look directly on God; and that’s exactly what Isaiah fears he has done in Isaiah 6:5

“Woe to me!” I cried…my eyes have seen the King…”








And the last two wings cover their feet, because their feet are hooves. The hooves remind Israel of the shame of the golden calves, set up first by the priest Aaron at Mount Sinai, and the later by northern King Jeroboam at Bethel and Dan. That’s pretty obscure stuff. It meant a lot to an ancient Jew, but not much to anyone else; inside baseball.









So the Revelation vision of the seraphim is similar to Isaiah’s earlier vision, but there are some notable differences. Although they all say “Holy, holy, holy,” the angelic servants in Revelation are not described as 6-winged fiery snakes, but as four 6-winged creatures with different heads. We’ll come back to those guys once we get into Revelation itself.

But for now, the important thing is that we have added to our growing vision of the End Time by adding some rather strange creatures to it, and we are even building up a description of God’s Throne Room itself.








Just as a side, Isaiah has other far-reaching influences as well. Look what God tells Isaiah-I in 6:9


“Go and tell this people: ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’



And what Jesus tells his disciples in Mark 4:12


“…so that ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding”



It’s kind of cool to think that when you read Isaiah, you are reading the same text Jesus read, 2000 years ago.








And look what else God tells Isaiah in 6:13:


“But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”


That’s the same idea of the End Time Remnant that first appeared back in Zephaniah. Something, anything, has to survive when God drops his wrath. Whether it’s Noah, the Remnant, or even a lowly cawkroach.








So we’re continuing to build up the vision in Revelation brick-by-brick. This time we added some mythic-looking seraphim, a throne, a flowing train, and reinforced some earlier ideas like the remnant, Temple to the nations, and an upgraded, though not yet flying, Jerusalem. Let’s recap again:


850 BCE Obadiah: 1) Everybody loves Jerusalem and Yahweh
740 BCE Amos: 2) Israel has a permanent home
700 BCE Micah: 3) The Temple becomes the center of world worship and the 10 Tribes return,
630 BCE Zephaniah: 4) The entire world is destroyed with fire by God, but a remnant remains
600 BCE Isaiah-I: 5) 6-Winged Seraphim, God’s throne and train, and a protective canopy over Jerusalem











Next time we’ll add still more to our growing vision. Till then, more colorful ladies…










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That's your best one yet.

2

Apr 11, 2024, 9:23 PM
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That's farm out, totally out of state!

2024 orange level memberbadge-donor-10yr.jpgringofhonor-clemsontiger1988-110.jpg flag link military_tech thumb_downthumb_up

Re: Religious Pron: The End Times, 4 of ?

3

Apr 12, 2024, 8:55 AM
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First class I ever failed in my life was Hist 172- Western Civ with Golden as the prof. I've learned more in these 4 parts than that entire semester. I all fairness, I actually read your stuff.

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Re: Religious Pron: The End Times, 4 of ?

2

Apr 12, 2024, 10:53 AM
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Thanks for the reply Tigerhurst. I try to make some pretty dry history at least mildly entertaining.




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I've heard end of times prophesies called a lot of things but...

1

Apr 13, 2024, 6:00 AM
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dry isn't one of them. After digging through everything I could find for two decades I decided to let it alone. I'm not sure anyone has much of an accurate account for what will happen. I can see value in the many opinions on it.

The faithful know that when we take that last breath we will be with Christ. We don't know how that happens so some call it sleep. I know that Christ told the thief on the cross beside Him that 'This day shalt thou be with me in paradise.'

He wasn't talking about tomorrow cause He knew both He and they were going to die that day.

The significance of how the world ends diminishes as one grows closer to his last birthday.

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Re: I've heard end of times prophesies called a lot of things but...

1

Apr 13, 2024, 1:53 PM
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>dry isn't one of them.

Indeed. I was speaking more of the history behind the prophesies than the prophecies themselves.


>The significance of how the world ends diminishes as one grows closer to his last birthday.

It's kind of a strange concept, actually. That is, why must it end at all? In the Jews case, it's generally tied to revenge against their neighbors, but theologically it's not really necessary.

Heaven and Hell aren't created when the Earth ends...they exist before, after and independent of the earth for religions that have them. People die and go to one or the other. So what is added by the earth itself ending, except no more people being created?

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I think it ends because it's contaminated by sinful man.

1

Apr 19, 2024, 8:22 PM
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We are the turd in God's punch bowl.

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Re: I think it ends because it's contaminated by sinful man.

1

Apr 19, 2024, 9:06 PM
Reply

wow, so got shat us out huh.

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