Ezekiel prophesies against Jerusalem using the picture of charred and useless vine wood to illustrate the current state of the city. Jesus declares himself to be the true vine, telling us we need to abide in him.
Any number of megalomaniacs have dreamed about it. A few have managed to get pretty far – but not quite there. The rest have had to stick to board games. Anyone up for some Risk®? Someday it’s going to happen. And today we’re going to find out what that will be like.
I began reading the book of Revelation almost 40 years ago. We had a large, old, fancy Bible in the house and I began reading it, prompted by some music I was listening to that had a few biblical references. This book, more than any other, led me to the Lord, so it has a gigantic place in my personal story of faith.
Jean-Paul Sartre gives his own vision of hell in a play called No Exit. The “moral” of the play is the hopelessly amoral conclusion: “You are – your life, and nothing else.” There is no forgiveness and no redemption. No greater good, no higher purpose. You live, you laugh, you suffer and you die. And that’s it.
Does history have a direction or is it continually moving in cycles? Does God really have a plan and, if so, is it possible to even remotely understand it? A study of Bible prophecy provides satisfactory answers to those questions if we are willing to take the time to hear God out. We may not be able to know the future thoroghly, but today’s passage points us to one of the Bible’s primary prophetic themes.
As we approach the end of the Bible, eschatology or the study of end-times events will become more and more important. It will help us to begin getting a good grasp of the issues now, at this introductory stage. The material we cover today will be foundational to our understanding of all that the Bible says in this area.
Those interested in Bible prophecy might be intrigued by an article in the Jerusalem Post from Thursday, February 19, 2009. It points out a noticeable shift in political focus in Turkey, which has in the past been very western-leaning, but now has an Islamist-led government.
The connection with Bible prophecy is found in Ezekiel 38, where a coalition is formed to attack Israel led by “Rosh” (Russia), but including Persia (Iran) and Gomer (Turkey). This coalition is destined to fail.
For anyone wanting additional information or explanation about Ezekiel 38-39, I’m including a link to my own notes. These were written in July of 2005, when we were studying Ezekiel at Horizon Central.
Finally, there is also a link to a 2005 article from the Middle East Forum, expressing doubt as to whether Turkey can maintain its pro-western tilt.
Thanks to John Colón for pointing out the article in JPost.