Christianity 201

July 4, 2014

The Pattern of Nations

Ezekiel 7:1 NIV The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says to the land of Israel:

“‘The end! The end has come
    upon the four corners of the land!
The end is now upon you,
    and I will unleash my anger against you.
I will judge you according to your conduct
    and repay you for all your detestable practices.
I will not look on you with pity;
    I will not spare you.
I will surely repay you for your conduct
    and for the detestable practices among you.

At one of my other blogs, Thinking Out Loud, posts tend to be more topical. Not surprisingly for the 4th of July today, we looked at the question, Is America in Bible Prophecy.  Several of the responses we found online dealt with two recurring themes: Judgment, and what was called “the pattern of nations.”  You can read that post here.  For C201 readers, I want to look at one of the lists of scriptures dealing with judgment:

Jewish scholars and many good Christian theologians tend to think of prophecy in terms of biblical “pattern.” For instance, nations fall into patterns of behavior which results in God’s judgment again and again. These are clearly outlined in Scripture.  This is from the blog Remnant Report. A link to the full article follows.

Patterns of Behaviors

In terms of pattern there is no question that almost all nations including America fit into biblical prophecy. For example, Deuteronomy 28 & 29 lists the blessings of following God’s law and the consequences of disobeying it. Hosea 4 and Ezekiel 7 are two books which also list patterns of disobedience and God’s judgment. We might include Isaiah chapter 5 to feature consequences of disobedience, too. This one mentions large, beautiful houses sitting empty due to God’s judgment.

Ouch, America! …Empty houses, indeed!

A Case of Pattern – American Upheavals

In Ezekiel chapter 7 we find a clear example of pattern by God punishing a nation for its wickedness and pride. Does this sound like America today?

– The economy is destroyed. Citizens are warned not to rejoice over “bargains” or sellers to grieve over losses, because all will fail (v. 12-13).

Epidemics and diseases will kill and sicken many (v. 15).

– Citizens will be ashamed and mourn what has become of them (v. 18).

– The nation’s currency is destroyed and not even gold or silver will save them (v. 19).

– Citizens will become sick of its wealth and they will be robbed of all their valuables (v. 20-22).

Foreigners will swoop in to claim all the riches (v. 20-22).

– Ruthless immigrants will occupy citizen’s homes and homes will be lost, mansions empty (v. 24-25). (see also Isaiah 5:9)

– There will be terrorism, disaster after disaster, and calamity after calamity (v. 25-26).

– People will seek out religious leaders & advice, but there is no word from God (v. 26b-27).

– It’s payback time. What the evil citizens & rulers have done to others will be done to them (v. 27).
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In fact, I think you could make a good case for America suffering this kind of judgment at God’s Hands today. The pattern fits, doesn’t it?

[…read the entire article here…]

Go deeper: Here is another article on the same subject; be sure to also follow the links at the Thinking Out Loud piece.

July 1, 2010

Holiday Depression

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:37 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

July 1st is Canada Day and in the U.S., July 4th is… well, it’s better known simply as “The 4th of July.”  (Independence Day to be precise.)

Many times people feel very lonely and even severely depressed on holidays, especially when they (a) have no one to share the time with and (b) they don’t have the distractions of their job.

If you are single and you think marriage is the cure for this, think again.   My wife and I currently do not have any other couple that we, as the kids would say, hang with.   Holidays simply reinforce this current state of social affairs, and as I type this, we’re actually dealing with another byproduct of having no one we call on to help with a particular need.

The Psalmist understood this; Psalm 73: 25 says

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

Some might argue that the key to this verse is “in heaven;” that Asaph is comparing the God of Israel to other gods.   But I believe he is also contrasting “friends on earth” to having a “friend in heaven.”

A similar passage is in John 6:68, when Jesus has asked the disciples if they wish to leave

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

Cynics would say that Peter is simply saying he has no other options, almost implying that he might leave if something better came along.

But time will prove the prophetic nature of his statement.   Jesus remains faithful to Peter even when Peter doesn’t remain faithful to Jesus.  Peter messes up but Jesus restores him.   Truly, this is a friend who stays closer than a brother.

That’s the kind of companion you have in Christ, even on a holiday when waves of depression roll in.