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Posts Tagged ‘Alexander the Great’


Ezekiel 26: Prophecy Part I

Monday, October 7, 2019

Yesterday we took a look at Ezekiel 25; today and tomorrow we spend time with Chapter 26 as we examine our own views on prophecy . . .

James Tissot: The Prophet Ezekiel

Several hundred years before Alexander the Great destroyed the city of Tyre, Ezekiel writes a nearly perfect description of the siege.  And perhaps the princes of the coastlands trembled for a while at the wrath they witnessed . . . just as we do when we see a prophecy fulfilled.  But humans quickly forget the consequences of actions taken and promises kept in their own lives.  While it is not good to dwell upon failure and misery, neither is it good to repeat the mistakes in our own history; yet this is how we so often live: learning little while recycling our pain, scoffing at prophecies brought to us by our own holy ones.

I had a dream last night that was unusual in that first, I remembered it, and second, I was with people in my present life whom I mistrust deeply.  However, in this dream I was open and frank, honest and unafraid.  I awoke before I knew the outcome.  Had they changed?  Had I changed?  Was I correct in trusting them?  Was my trust in them repaid by more violence or by genuine friendship?  I spent a bit of time wondering if this dream might be a window into the future and, more importantly, I wondered if this were perhaps a portent of things to come, of bridges mended, friendships renewed and extended, trust restored.  Was this a prophecy?  What do I do if it is?

I sometimes wish I might be as innocent as people in ancient times who put so much faith in dreams and their portent.  I think that our scientific method and our modernism may have jaded us by requiring that we seek hard evidence for beliefs.  Faith, of course, springs from the heart rather than the microscope and yet . . .

I have read somewhere that Einstein grew in his belief in a higher power and in the presence of God in creation as his knowledge of math grew.  His famous E = mc2 brought him not only a belief that the power of tiny atoms might be unleashed . . . but that there was a purpose and a plan behind that power.

Prophecy . . . what to believe . . . what to discount . . . how to act . . . false and true prophets . . . magicians and tricks . . . deception . . . fidelity . . . interlopers . . . constant friends.  Concepts converge and unravel as we examine them closely.  Who do we believe . . . and how do we believe?


A re-post from September 16, 2012.

To see other Tissot images of prophets, click on the image r visit: https://www.artbible.info/art/large/223.html

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joyWednesday, November 26, 2014

1 Maccabees

Joy and Misery

The Books of Maccabees are fraught with violence, rebellion, abhorrence and fear. We may be surprised to find that joy threads its way through these stories. As we examine the tales of the Maccabees family, let us consider how our own families are caught up in global and local affairs . . . and how miserable circumstances may well be hiding glimmers of joy . . . if we might only look. If today’s story calls you to search for more surprises, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today we find joy in times of misery.

The opening verses of this story are simple and straightforward; yet they tell a complex story of warring tribes that fill a civil void to wreak havoc on the people.

Verses 1:1-9: This history begins when Alexander the Great, son of Philip of Macedonia, marched from Macedonia and attacked Darius, king of Persia and Media. Alexander enlarged the Greek Empire by defeating Darius and seizing his throne. He fought many battles, captured fortified cities, and put the kings of the region to death. As he advanced to the ends of the earth, he plundered many nations; and when he had conquered the world, he became proud and arrogant by building up a strong army, he dominated whole nations and their rulers, and forced everyone to pay him taxes. When Alexander had been emperor for twelve years, he fell ill and realized that he was about to die. He called together his generals, noblemen who had been brought up with him since his early childhood, and he divided his empire, giving a part to each of them. After his death, the generals took control, and each had himself crowned king of his own territory. The descendants of these kings ruled for many generations and brought a great deal of misery on the world.

This is a story that is as old as time; yet it is also fresh as it announces events we witness daily.

Reubens: The Triumph of Judas Maccabeus

Reubens: The Triumph of Judas Maccabeus

Verses 1:34-40: They brought in a group of traitorous Jews and installed them there. They also brought in arms and supplies and stored in the fort all the loot that they had taken in Jerusalem. This fort became a great threat to the city. The fort was a threat to the Temple, a constant, evil menace for Israel. Innocent people were murdered around the altar; the Holy Place was defiled by murderers. The people of Jerusalem fled in fear, and the city became a colony of foreigners. Jerusalem was foreign to its own people, who had been forced to abandon the city. Her Temple was as empty as a wilderness; her festivals were turned into days of mourning, her Sabbath joy into shame. Her honor became an object of ridicule. Her shame was as great as her former glory, and her pride was turned into deepest mourning.

This is a story that is as old as humanity; yet it is one that offers an opportunity to find joy even in the midst of violence and abuse.  This is a story that repeats itself too often; yet it is a tale that begs for change in stony hearts.

Let us pause to consider how we might break the cycle of violence and misery that seizes the world all too easily. And let us call one another to a new dedication of ourselves to God.

For more Noontime reflections about this tumultuous time, enter the word Maccabees into the blog search bar and explore.

Read more of this story and look for the times that joy finds a way to break through the chains of misery that enslave the people. Look especially at 3:7, 3:45, 4:56-59, 9:41, 13:52 and 14:11-21.

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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Saturday, March 23, 2013 – Jeremiah 4 – Jerusalem’s Story as Our Own

If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. Psalm 137:5

If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. Psalm 137:5

When people gathered in on a western hilltop above the Jordan River sometime between the years 4300 to 3300 B.C.E., the city of Jerusalem came into being; her early artisans were known for their stone and copper work. During the Middle Bronze Era (3300-2100 B.C.E.) the people fortified  the city then known as Jebus and her people in the surrounding hills, known as the Jebusites (1 Chronicles 11) began to form a confederation with other peoples in the area.  It was this tribe that fought against Joshua and the Israelites (Joshua 9).

In the Late Bronze and Iron Ages (1600-332 B.C.E.) Jerusalem’s people increased the city walls and size that changed only slightly and remained until the time of Nehemiah (about 445 B.C.E.)  The city was a 12 acre site just south of today’s Temple mount bordered by the Kidron and Tyropoeon Valleys when captured by David; King Solomon nearly tripled the city to an area of about 32 acres when the temple-palace complex was built over a converted threshing floor. Jerusalem’s city and Temple become a center of worship, trade, culture and power until she was taken by the Babylonians and many of her people sent into exile.  Re-built by Nehemiah she struggled to return to her former fame but was taken by Alexander the Great in 333 B.C.E. and later by the Romans.  She was again destroyed in the year 70 C.E.

Western history records the centuries of struggle between Christians and Muslims for control of Jerusalem until 1948 when the state of Israel is formed and the Jewish people are called “home,” but Jerusalem today still remains a city in conflict, divided and troubled yet also united and renowned.

During this coming Holy Week, we are invited to visit with Jerusalem for a short time each noon to explore her days of glory, her times of trial, her humiliations and her celebrations.  In so many ways her history might be ours.  Born out of a desire to flourish, nurtured by a hope for the eternal, and struggling through faith and doubt, Jerusalem offers us a tour of her life; she brings us her story full and open.  Last week we prayed as we went up to Jerusalem.  Now that we are within God’s holy precinct, let us offer our own lives back to the Creator.  Let us spend time with God as we examine the life of Jerusalem as our own life in macrocosm.   And let us return to God honestly, fully and openly . . . to examine the story of our own lives.

Each day this week The Noontimes will journey to a portion of the Jerusalem Story at: http://www.welcometohosanna.com/JERUSALEM_TOUR/Home.htm

For the National Geographic article “Jerusalem Strife Echoes Ancient History,” go to: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/10/1028_041028_jerusalem_conflict.html

For a Noontime reflection on Jeremiah 4, go to the March 9, 2012 post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2012/03/09/sincere-repentance-spiritual-courage/

“The Jebusites.” and “Jerusalem.” ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE (NIV). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005. Print.

For atlas references visit: http://bibleatlas.org/jerusalem.htm

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