Kingdoms and Dominions To Come

I’ve written about King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s interpretation. Later Daniel himself had an awe-inspiring dream that made him tremble. In Chapter 7: 1-8 he tells of seeing four beasts rise up out of the sea, corresponding to the four kingdoms Nebuchadnezzar had seen in his dream, but Daniel was given more details about the last kingdom upon the earth, which was again represented by iron.
…the fourth beast…was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet.” — Dan 7:19

As in the king’s dream, Daniel saw how this kingdom would be subdued by the coming of the Messiah and the kingdom of God would be established.
“And the kingdom and dominion…shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” — Dan 7:10

Zechariah also saw the King’s arrival and the kingdom established:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee; he is just and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
…and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.
— Zechariah 9: 9-10.

When Jesus made his entry into Jerusalem, riding on an ass’s colt, people remembered this prophecy.

Isaiah’s prediction is similar:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” — Isaiah 9: 6-7

It seems clear from these and other prophecies that when Jesus came, his kingdom would be established. He would sit on the throne of David. Literally or figuratively; that is the question that’s fueled so much debate.

However, while we’ve all been waiting for Jesus’ return, various theories and divisions have arisen as to what the prophecies mean. Will he come back once? Twice? Once secretly, and then again openly, as some claim? Or even three times? When, and where, shall his Kingdom be established. When does “Forever” start?

Back in the day when we really got into prophecies, we noted three things as we read and studied the matter:
1. Each teacher tells you it’s fairly easy to understand from the Bible how the future will play out.
2. It’s hard to find two teachers who totally agree on how the prophecies will be fulfilled, and how future events will play out.
3. Many books have been written and events predicted, but they have been proven wrong. Things just haven’t happened that way, so various prophets have had to rethink and rewrite.

I plan to get into these differences in later posts, but Christians are all agreed on one thing: Jesus will return someday.

One thing that is clear from various scriptures is that when Jesus returns, everyone will know it.
“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” — Revelation 1:7

And that someday time for this earth will be over. The great Judgment day that Daniel foresaw will begin.
“And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer.” — Rev 10: 5-6:

So the Apostle Peter counsels all believers to be prepared:

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of person ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the element shall melt with fervent heat?

Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. — 2 Peter 3: 10-13

The Kingdom of Jesus Christ

For the most part I like to keep my writing brief and easy to read, but now I feel the urge to do a few posts on a subject thoroughly hashed over by Christians for ages:
What is – and where is – the Kingdom of Jesus Christ?

This topic may not interest a lot of my readers, but I’ll tag these posts Prophecy so you can follow them if you’re interested in what I have to say on this subject. I want to look at some of the prophesies and the theological potpourri we’ve waded through in our day, hoping to shed some light and not spark too much heat. But before I start, I’ll give you some of our background so you’ll know…

Where I’m Coming From

Outside of weddings and funerals, my family rarely darkened a church door. Mom F was a believer and packed me and my siblings off to Baptist summer camp for a week every year, so I went through the “getting saved” bit and leaned some things. I recall Mom going to church a time or two, but earning the daily bread was demanding for her. My Dad F had no use for religion.

One I hit my teen years, as a nominal Christian, I started asking the same questions many others were asking. Like:
Why does God allow evil to win? Why didn’t Hitler and Stalin die young from cancer or a heart attack, when so many good people do?

— Seeing the news from Northern Ireland, I asked, “How can people who both claim to be Christians kill each other?”

— Abortion was a hot topic in the late ’60s. Reading US news, I wondered, “How can Christians who say it’s wrong to kill unborn babies threaten people’s lives and even bomb an abortion clinic, targeting doctors and nurses?”

— And later, “How can Christians insist the State should have no part in the affairs of the Church, then turn around and lobby the government for laws outlawing moral issues like divorce and same-sex marriage?”

We asked these questions mainly because cynical was cool. It showed intelligence and open-mindedness to contest traditional beliefs. We said we were seeking for truth, but really, we liked our questions; we weren’t necessarily interested in hearing any convincing answers. Nevertheless, these questions are valid. People who sincerely seek for truth deserve a more in-depth answer than, “Because we’re right and they’re wrong.”

My husband’s parents were both raised in religious homes and joined the Anglican (the Church of England in Canada) when he was eleven; he was confirmed at the same time. But over time he, too, started to question, and had all but abandoned religion by the time we met. Still, he had a longing to know the truth, which led him to read the Bible with an open mind. Its truth convicted him. After a personal crisis he gave his life over to God about a month before we were married.

Some months after we were married we decided to start attending some church and picked one where other folks we knew also attended. Four years and several different churches after we were married, I began to realize I was following rules, but not Jesus. I had a serious debate with God one evening and he won. I totally committed my life to him at that point.

Evangelicals and Prophecy

Needless to say, being quite untaught in Evangelical thinking, we had a lot to work through. One thing we gathered fairly quickly: theories on “The Kingdom of Jesus Christ” and how it appears – or will someday appear – on earth, have bemused a lot of religious people. In the past two centuries especially, oodles of prognosticators have explained how it’s all going to play out – and it hasn’t.

David Wilkerson’s The Vision: A Terrifying Prophecy of Doomsday that is Starting to Happen Now! (1974) and Hal Lindsay’s The Late Great Planet Earth (1970), were popular when we first became Christians, but my studious husband read a number of books on prophecy, hoping to get a handle on the coming kingdom we were hearing about. I feel for anyone who’s mired in an eschatological slough, studying book after book on prophecy, because we’ve been there ourselves.

There are so many different ideas about what, when, and where the Kingdom can be found. I think this confusion affects believers today, just as it affected us in our “new-born” days. Christians’ concepts of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, right and wrong, have even motivated political decisions in the past and likely will in the future — especially in America. Douglas Frank, in his book, Less Than Conquerors, does an accurate analysis of shifting evangelical doctrines and political views in the late 1800’s.

Which leads to the question: If Christians are citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom, what is our role in the country where we live physically? How do we handle our “Permanent Resident Alien” status?

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. — Colossians 3:1-2

Saturday Chat

Yesterday morning, standing in front of our south picture window letting the sun warm me, I had to think, “How the worm has turned!” Just last week all the drapes were drawn and we were trying hard to stay cool, the temp outside being 35̊ C. But yesterday morning the house was actually chilly.

After a few cooler days, I understand the worm is turning back again. I’m writing this at 2pm Saturday and it’s quite warm outside. Thursday afternoon we had a wild storm with 3/10″ of rain; in spite of that two hummers have decided to stick with us – our generous feeder, that is – for awhile longer. There’s one I think of as “old mother hummer” because she looks like one. When it comes to feeder-rights she’s obviously at the top of the pecking order; she sits on it like she owns it. I’m thinking this is the same hummer that stayed into Sept last year.

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word today is GLITCH. Which reminds me, how are you all making out with the new Block–Ed. Still encountering glitches when you try to post? I still miss the one-shot Block & Justify feature. Doing it paragraph by paragraph is tedious, but it works. Now, if only I could see that is has worked, but that doesn’t show up in the draft. On the other hand, I really like the way I can shuffle paragraphs around with a click, click on the little arrow.

For me this week had a unique glitch in it when I discovered a lump appearing where it shouldn’t and we had to go to the hospital Wednesday morning. Thankfully it was never painful, just out of place, as hernias are. I was thinking this may require a quick minor surgery and went prepared, but the doctor was able to re-place it without too much distress to me. Now I need to do some exercises to strengthen the muscle that should be holding it in place. Fellow couch potatoes, be warned!

One good thing came of it, though. Sitting several hours in Emergency waiting to see a Dr, I finished the e-book I was reading. And when I got home, in the course of taking things easy, I finished a couple more. I’m a bad one for having several books on the go at a time. OCD? Just read another Jeeves and Wooster tale, Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen, trying not to laugh too hard.

Covid-19 cases continue to decline here after the last round of fresh ones. To date Saskatchewan has had 1,165 cases, with1,548 recovered and 24 deaths. Out of a population of 1.182 million, so thankfully for us Covid-19 hasn’t been the “grim reaper” some folks were predicting. Most everyone’s wearing a mask now and some stores like Walmart & Costco insist. With my hearing problems, I’ll be so glad when a vaccine is found and we can talk face-to-face again. I can’t imagine how deaf people are making out!

The fields not combined are all golden, but a lot of fields are just stubble now as harvest continues, seemingly unhampered by Thursday’s storm. The crops have looked really lush this summer; now fat round bales are appearing in fields all around us.

And that’s about all the news from our small corner. Take care, everyone, and I hope you all have a great weekend.

The SQUISH Heard Round the World

“Online Outrage”

That’s the phrase that jumped out at me as I read an article online this morning. An American couple made a family decision, posted the fact on social media, and now face a storm of outrage from all over the world.
Then I read something else online and my muse immediately started to spin and weave the two stories together, finally giving me the odd title for this post.

Fellow blogger Judy-Dykstra Brown posted this morning about the hornworms that live on her Virginia creeper vine, hornworms being the larva of the hummingbird moth. We had a hummingbird moth visit our flowers one summer and I thought it was cute. Judy decided to move them elsewhere rather than leaving them to eat her vine or squishing them. I trust she won’t get a lot of online outrage from objectors. People’s reactions are unpredictable.

I Decide to SQUISH

Let’s say I decide to plant a garden and post the story of my efforts, essentially inviting the whole world to oversee my my project. Some people think I should put my garden in the east corner of my yard, near the trees to gain the benefit of their shade; some think I should put it in the other corner where there are no trees to rob the plants of moisture.

People in Timbuktu may have their ideas about what kind of fertilizer I should use. Gnu dung works best, or maybe antelope. People in Australia think I should lay in pipes for irrigation while Ontario gardeners tell me I should put in lots of drainage because in Ontario it rains so much a garden would be flooded unless it’s well drained. (Well, not quite, but you get my point. This isn’t Timbuktu, Australia or Ontario.)

So I grow my garden, posting online pictures of the resulting lush veggies. One day I find this caterpillar and do a video of it climbing on my pepper plant. Then I SQUISH it. Will I be subjected to online outrage by environmentalists? Will save-the-planet types vilify me on Facebook? Prairie bloggers may give me the thumbs-up and say, “Good for you. I hate those things!”

Because I’ve involved them, people in far-flung lands who know zilch about prairie pests or our ecology will still feel they have an investment in my decision. My followers in Timbuktu, Ontario, Brazil and Australia may denounce me online because I squished a worm. After all, am I not guilty of decimating the number of creatures on the planet and depriving some bird of its rightful diet? Facebook pages may decry my foolish decision.

Yes, this is a silly comparison, but when we invite people all over the globe to peek into our lives, we face consequences. People all over the world have two things in common: they have opinions and they like to give advice. It’s universal.

Social Media as International Opinion Poll

When we put our lives “out there” on television, Facebook, You-tube, and invite the whole world interact, it’s like inviting the global community to be our parents and older siblings. If they spend time following us, they will want to help us along. If we have difficult decisions to make, some of our followers will understand and support our choice, while others will disapprove – maybe even be insulted that we didn’t ask their advice. Get enough people involved and you may get a storm of online outrage.

The article I read tells how, through a foreign adoption agency, a couple adopted a toddler. Three years later, after dealing with various health and behavioral issues that have overwhelmed them and their other children, they’ve made the painful decision to surrender their child over to foster care. And a lot of readers think that’s terrible. “If it were me, I would never do that.”

While this isn’t an unheard of situation and other adoptive parents have faced the same dilemma – I heard of one case here in our province where the baby’s health issues proved more than the new parents could cope with – since this couple put their whole story on YouTube, they now have thousands of people criticizing their motives and their decision.

But my heart does go out to the couple, especially when I read that they’ve actually received death threats, even vicious threats to harm their other children, because of this decision. Seeing that, I had to shake my head. How can people get so involved in the life of complete strangers that they’ll go so far as the threaten the lives of people they’ve never met?

Peace of Mind Versus Media-Generated Outrage

Years back when Nicholas Sarkozy, Prime Minister of France, married Carla Bruni, an Italian singer and former supermodel, my French penpal wrote, “I hate him. I hate both of them.” I asked her, “Have you ever met them? “No, but I hate them.” Her feelings were 100% fueled by the media.

I understand how the media works and why. Competing with an audience steep in television dramas, they need sensational news. They need to – and want to – provoke strong emotions. Getting people emotionally involved in a story is what sells news and channels public opinion in the direction they want it to go. From what I can tell, the emotion the media does best is outrage. Journalists and reporters have proven very able to orchestrate news that will stir up public outrage.

But if I allow the media – or anyone else — to influence me to hate someone, I’d better not criticize the Germans who allowed Hitler to inflame them against the Jews. We all hate the havoc this one man wreaked, but cool common sense has to guide our feelings and actions, or we’ll be ripe for another type of Hitler to come along and use our hatred as his tool.

For myself, I don’t want to hate anybody. Not Trump…or Trudeau…or whoever. I may guess, but I can’t possibly know how they think, feel, react, or what their motives are. Also my own peace of mind is precious to me. Hate and outrage are draining. I like to know what’s going on in the world, but refuse to let my peace be shattered and emotions shredded by the actions of politicians. I may be concerned about different things our Prime Minister says and does, but I don’t hate him.

I’m saddened that a couple with initial good intentions have had to go through this devastating experience, but I can offer neither support nor censure, seeing I haven’t walked a mile in their shoes.

Currently Reading…

WHY JESUS by Ravi Zacharias

I’m finding this book an intriguing commentary on the mixed bag of truths being offered to seekers in our day. In the first part of the book the author discusses the electronic media, its effect on society, how it’s altered society’s acceptance of truth. The media we view in our own homes has subtly exchanged the “old values” for a new truth — one that we want to believe. None of us can escape the effect of this change, he points out, because even if we aren’t viewers ourselves, we’re surrounded by others who are.

Then he examines the illusive nature of New Age Spirituality circulating in North America today. The West, because of the basic principles of freedom we subscribe to, is so willing to cast of the old and accept new religions. He notes that, in the countries where these religions have been established for centuries, nothing new or different is tolerated. New Age gurus may attack the Judo-Christian foundation of North America and people will hear them gladly, but go to one of those countries and you risk reputation or even life for even suggesting a different religion — as many Christian missionaries have discovered.

Peeking at the coming chapters, I see that he predictably concludes with “the message of Jesus Christ…both timely and timeless.” A message he himself embraced as a young intellectual, recovering in the hospital after attempting suicide. Though he knew very little of Christianity, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, if you are who you claim to be, reveal yourself to me and take me out of my desperate situation and I will leave not stone unturned in my pursuit of truth.”

The Moment Has Come!

My destiny is forever altared — Whoops! I mean altered. (My destiny was altar-ed 50 years ago, but I’ve already posted about that. 🙂 )

No, this is all about an e-mail I received this morning from Word Press informing me that the new Block editor is now the default on my blog. This is your notice that you’re about to be inundated with posts from me as I practice this new system. (Oh, where is that “Justify” now?)

New and Improved… Easy to Use
I see it everywhere!
For me these words are welcome as
a bees’ nest in my hair.
I used to turn dials ON or OFF;
now I fiddle and fiddle
to start and stop appliances —
and timers are a riddle.
To keep Word Press-ers “on the edge”
and blogging round the clock
with utmost versatility,
we fogies must now BLOCK!