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    The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:33 pm

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk31.html Throughout his ministry Isaiah bore a plain testimony concerning God's purpose for the heathen. Other prophets had made mention of the divine plan, but their language was not always understood. To Isaiah it was given to make very plain to Judah the truth that among the Israel of God were to be numbered many who were not descendants of Abraham after the flesh. This teaching was not in harmony with the theology of his age, yet he fearlessly proclaimed the messages given him of God and brought hope to many a longing heart reaching out after the spiritual blessings promised to the seed of Abraham.

    The apostle to the Gentiles, in his letter to the believers in Rome, calls attention to this characteristic of Isaiah's teaching. "Isaiah is very bold," Paul declares, "and saith, I was found of them that sought Me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after Me." Romans 10:20.

    Often the Israelites seemed unable or unwilling to understand God's purpose for the heathen. Yet it was this very purpose that had made them a separate people and had established them as an independent nation among the nations of the earth. Abraham, their father, to whom the covenant promise was first given, had been called to go forth from his kindred, to the regions beyond, that he might be a light bearer to the heathen. Although the promise to him included a posterity as numerous as the sand by the sea, yet it was for no selfish purpose that he was to become the founder of a great nation in the land of Canaan. God's covenant with him embraced all the nations of earth. "I will bless thee," Jehovah declared, "and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Genesis 12:2, 3.

    In the renewal of the covenant shortly before the birth of Isaac, God's purpose for mankind was gain made plain. "All the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him," was the assurance of the Lord concerning the child of promise. Genesis 18:18. And later the heavenly visitant once more declared, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." Genesis 22:18.

    The all-embracing terms of this covenant were familiar to Abraham's children and to his children's children. It was in order that the Israelites might be a blessing to the nations, and that God's name might be made known "throughout all the earth" (Exodus 9:16), that they were delivered from Egyptian bondage. If obedient to His requirements, they were to be placed far in advance of other peoples in wisdom and understanding; but this supremacy was to be reached and maintained only in order that through them the purpose of God for "all nations of the earth" might be fulfilled.

    The marvelous providences connected with Israel's deliverance from Egyptian bondage and with their occupancy of the Promised Land led many of the heathen to recognize the God of Israel as the Supreme Ruler. "The Egyptians shall know," had been the promise, "that I am the Lord, when I stretch forth Mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them." Exodus 7:5. Even proud Pharaoh was constrained to acknowledge Jehovah's power. "Go, serve the Lord," he urged Moses and Aaron, "and bless me also." Exodus 12:31, 32.

    The advancing hosts of Israel found that knowledge of the mighty workings of the God of the Hebrews had gone before them, and that some among the heathen were learning that He alone was the true God. In wicked Jericho the testimony of a heathen woman was, "The Lord your God, He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath." Joshua 2:11. The knowledge of Jehovah that had thus come to her, proved her salvation. By faith "Rahab perished not with them that believed not." Hebrews 11:31. And her conversion was not an isolated case of God's mercy toward idolaters who acknowledged His divine authority. In the midst of the land a numerous people--the Gibeonites --renounced their heathenism and united with Israel, sharing in the blessings of the covenant.

    No distinction on account of nationality, race, or caste, is recognized by God. He is the Maker of all mankind. All men are of one family by creation, and all are one through redemption. Christ came to demolish every wall of partition, to throw open every compartment of the temple courts, that every soul may have free access to God. His love is so broad, so deep, so full, that it penetrates everywhere. It lifts out of Satan's influence those who have been deluded by his deceptions, and places them within reach of the throne of God, the throne encircled by the rainbow of promise. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free.

    In the years that followed the occupation of the Promised Land, the beneficent designs of Jehovah for the salvation of the heathen were almost wholly lost sight of, and it became necessary for Him to set forth His plan anew. "All the ends of the world," the psalmist was inspired to sing, "shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee." "Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God." "The heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth Thy glory." "This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord. For He hath looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth; to hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; to declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and His praise in Jerusalem; when the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord." Psalms 22:27; 68:31; 102:15, 18-22.

    Had Israel been true to her trust, all the nations of earth would have shared in her blessings. But the hearts of those to whom had been entrusted a knowledge of saving truth, were untouched by the needs of those around them. As God's purpose was lost sight of, the heathen came to be looked upon as beyond the pale of His mercy. The light of truth was withheld, and darkness prevailed. The nations were overspread with a veil of ignorance; the love of God was little known; error and superstition flourished.

    Such was the prospect that greeted Isaiah when he was called to the prophetic mission; yet he was not discouraged, for ringing in his ears was the triumphal chorus of the angels surrounding the throne of God, "The whole earth is full of His glory." Isaiah 6:3. And his faith was strengthened by visions of glorious conquests by the church of God, when "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." Isaiah 11:9. "The face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations," was finally to be destroyed. Isaiah 25:7. The Spirit of God was to be poured out upon all flesh. Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness were to be numbered among the Israel of God. "They shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the watercourses," said the prophet. "One shall say, I am the Lord's; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel." Isaiah 44:4, 5.

    To the prophet was given a revelation of the beneficent design of God in scattering impenitent Judah among the nations of earth. "My people shall know My name," the Lord declared; "they shall know in that day that I am He that doth speak." Isaiah 52:6. And not only were they themselves to learn the lesson of obedience and trust; in their places of exile they were also to impart to others a knowledge of the living God. Many from among the sons of the strangers were to learn to love Him as their Creator and their Redeemer; they were to begin the observance of His holy Sabbath day as a memorial of His creative power; and when He should make "bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations," to deliver His people from captivity, "all the ends of the earth" should see of the salvation of God. Verse 10. Many of these converts from heathenism would wish to unite themselves fully with the Israelites and accompany them on the return journey to Judea. None of these were to say, "The Lord hath utterly separated me from His people" (Isaiah 56:3), for the word of God through His prophet to those who should yield themselves to Him and observe His law was that they should thenceforth be numbered among spiritual Israel--His church on earth.

    "The sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, everyone that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of My covenant; even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon Mine altar; for Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The Lord God which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to Him, beside those that are gathered unto Him." Verses 6-8.

    The prophet was permitted to look down the centuries to the time of the advent of the promised Messiah. At first he beheld only "trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish." Isaiah 8:22. Many who were longing for the light of truth were being led astray by false teachers into the bewildering mazes of philosophy and spiritism; others were placing their trust in a form of godliness, but were not bringing true holiness into the life practice. The outlook seemed hopeless; but soon the scene changed, and before the eyes of the prophet was spread a wondrous vision. He saw the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and, lost in admiration, he exclaimed: "The dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first He lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." Isaiah 9:1,2.

    This glorious Light of the world was to bring salvation to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Of the work before Him, the prophet heard the eternal Father declare: "It is a light thing that Thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth." "In an acceptable time have I heard Thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped Thee: and I will preserve Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that Thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves." "Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim." Isaiah 49:6, 8,9,12.

    Looking on still farther through the ages, the prophet beheld the literal fulfillment of these glorious promises. He saw the bearers of the glad tidings of salvation going to the ends of the earth, to every kindred and people. He heard the Lord saying of the gospel church, "Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream;" and he heard the commission, "Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles." Isaiah 66:12; 54:2, 3.

    Jehovah declared to the prophet that He would send His witnesses "unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, . . . to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off." Isaiah 66:19.

    "How beautiful upon the mountains
    Are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings,
    That publisheth peace;
    That bringeth good tidings of good,
    That publisheth salvation;
    That saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"
    Isaiah 52:7.

    The prophet heard the voice of God calling His church to her appointed work, that the way might be prepared for the ushering in of His everlasting kingdom. The message was unmistakably plain:

    "Arise, shine; for thy light is come,
    And the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
    "For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
    And gross darkness the people:
    But the Lord shall arise upon thee,
    And His glory shall be seen upon thee.
    And the Gentiles shall come to thy light,
    And kings to the brightness of thy rising.

    "Lift up thine eyes round about, and see:
    All they gather themselves together, they come to thee:
    Thy sons shall come from far,
    And thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side."

    "And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls,
    And their kings shall minister unto thee:
    For in My wrath I smote thee,
    But in My favor have I had mercy on thee.
    Therefore thy gates shall be open continually;
    They shall not be shut day nor night;
    That men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles,
    And that their kings may be brought."

    "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth:
    For I am God, and there is none else."
    Isaiah 60:1-4, 10, 11;45:22.

    These prophecies of a great spiritual awakening in a time of gross darkness are today meeting fulfillment in the advancing lines of mission stations that are reaching out into the benighted regions of earth. The groups of missionaries in heathen lands have been likened by the prophet to ensigns set up for the guidance of those who are looking for the light of truth.

    "In that day," says Isaiah, "there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people. . . . And He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." Isaiah 11:10-12.

    The day of deliverance is at hand. "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him." 2 Chronicles 16:9. Among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, He sees men and women who are praying for light and knowledge. Their souls are unsatisfied; long have they fed on ashes. See Isaiah 44:20. The enemy of all righteousness has turned them aside, and they grope as blind men. But they are honest in heart and desire to learn a better way. Although in the depths of heathenism, with no knowledge of the written law of God nor of His Son Jesus, they have revealed in manifold ways the working of a divine power on mind and character.

    At times those who have no knowledge of God aside from that which they have received under the operations of divine grace have been kind to His servants, protecting them at the risk of their own lives. The Holy Spirit is implanting the grace of Christ in the heart of many a noble seeker after truth, quickening his sympathies contrary to his nature, contrary to his former education. The "Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9), is shining in his soul; and this Light, if heeded, will guide his feet to the kingdom of God. The prophet Micah said: "When I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. . . . He will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold His righteousness." Micah 7:8, 9.

    Heaven's plan of salvation is broad enough to embrace the whole world. God longs to breathe into prostrate humanity the breath of life. And He will not permit any soul to be disappointed who is sincere in his longing for something higher and nobler than anything the world can offer. Constantly He is sending His angels to those who, while surrounded by circumstances the most discouraging, pray in faith for some power higher than themselves to take possession of them and bring deliverance and peace. In various ways God will reveal Himself to them and will place them in touch with providences that will establish their confidence in the One who has given Himself a ransom for all, "that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments." Psalm 78:7.

    "Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?" "Thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered." Isaiah 49:24, 25. "They shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods." Isaiah 42:17.

    "Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God!" Psalm 146:5. "Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope!" Zechariah 9:12. Unto all the honest in heart in heathen lands--"the upright" in the sight of Heaven--"there ariseth light in the darkness." Psalm 112:4. God hath spoken: "I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them." Isaiah 42:16.

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk32.html The kingdom of Judah, prosperous throughout the times of Hezekiah, was once more brought low during the long years of Manasseh's wicked reign, when paganism was revived, and many of the people were led into idolatry. "Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen." 2 Chronicles 33:9. The glorious light of former generations was followed by the darkness of superstition and error. Gross evils sprang up and flourished--tyranny, oppression, hatred of all that is good. Justice was perverted; violence prevailed.

    Yet those evil times were not without witnesses for God and the right. The trying experiences through which Judah had safely passed during Hezekiah's reign had developed, in the hearts of many, a sturdiness of character that now served as a bulwark against the prevailing iniquity. Their testimony in behalf of truth and righteousness aroused the anger of Manasseh and his associates in authority, who endeavored to establish themselves in evil-doing by silencing every voice of disapproval. "Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another." 2 Kings 21:16.

    One of the first to fall was Isaiah, who for over half a century had stood Judah as the appointed messenger of Jehovah. "Others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth." Hebrews 11:36-38.

    Some of those who suffered persecution during Manasseh's reign were commissioned to bear special messages of reproof and of judgment. The king of Judah, the prophets declared, "hath done wickedly above all . . . which were before him." Because of this wickedness, his kingdom was nearing a crisis; soon the inhabitants of the land were to be carried captive to Babylon, there to become "a prey and a spoil to all their enemies." 2 Kings 21:11,14. But the Lord would not utterly forsake those who in a strange land should acknowledge Him as their Ruler; they might suffer great tribulation, yet He would bring deliverance to them in His appointed time and way. Those who should put their trust wholly in Him would find a sure refuge.

    Faithfully the prophets continued their warnings and their exhortations; fearlessly they spoke to Manasseh and to his people; but the messages were scorned; backsliding Judah would not heed. As an earnest of what would befall the people should they continue impenitent, the Lord permitted their king to be captured by a band of Assyrian soldiers, who "bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon," their temporary capital. This affliction brought the king to his senses; "he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed unto Him: and He was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord He was God." 2 Chronicles 33:11-13. But this repentance, remarkable though it was, came too late to save the kingdom from the corrupting influence of years of idolatrous practices. Many had stumbled and fallen, never again to rise.

    Among those whose life experience had been shaped beyond recall by the fatal apostasy of Manasseh, was his own son, who came to the throne at the age of twenty-two. Of King Amon it is written: "He walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshiped them: and he forsook the Lord God of his fathers" (2 Kings 21:21, 22); he "humbled not himself before the Lord, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more." The wicked king was not permitted to reign long. In the midst of his daring impiety, only two years from the time he ascended the throne, he was slain in the palace by his own servants; and "the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead." 2 Chronicles 33:23, 25.

    With the accession of Josiah to the throne, where he was to rule for thirty-one years, those who had maintained the purity of their faith began to hope that the downward course of the kingdom was checked; for the new king, though only eight years old, feared God, and from the very beginning "he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left." 2 Kings 22:2. Born of a wicked king, beset with temptations to follow in his father's steps, and with few counselors to encourage him in the right way, Josiah nevertheless was true to the God of Israel. Warned by the errors of past generations, he chose to do right, instead of descending to the low level of sin and degradation to which his father and his grandfather had fallen. He "turned not aside to the right hand or to the left." As one who was to occupy a position of trust, he resolved to obey the instruction that had been given for the guidance of Israel's rulers, and his obedience made it possible for God to use him as a vessel unto honor.

    At the time Josiah began to rule, and for many years before, the truehearted in Judah were questioning whether God's promises to ancient Israel could ever be fulfilled. From a human point of view the divine purpose for the chosen nation seemed almost impossible of accomplishment. The apostasy of former centuries had gathered strength with the passing years; ten of the tribes had been scattered among the heathen; only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained, and even these now seemed on the verge of moral and national ruin. The prophets had begun to foretell the utter destruction of their fair city, where stood the temple built by Solomon, and where all their earthly hopes of national greatness had centered. Could it be that God was about to turn aside from His avowed purpose of bringing deliverance to those who should put their trust in Him? In the face of the long-continued persecution of the righteous, and of the apparent prosperity of the wicked, could those who had remained true to God hope for better days?

    These anxious questionings were voiced by the prophet Habakkuk. Viewing the situation of the faithful in his day, he expressed the burden of his heart in the inquiry: "O Lord, how long shall I cry, and Thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto Thee of violence, and Thou wilt not save! Why dost Thou show me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth." Habakkuk 1:2-4.

    God answered the cry of His loyal children. Through His chosen mouthpiece He revealed His determination to bring chastisement upon the nation that had turned from Him to serve the gods of the heathen. Within the lifetime of some who were even then making inquiry regarding the future, He would miraculously shape the affairs of the ruling nations of earth and bring the Babylonians into the ascendancy. These Chaldeans, "terrible and dreadful," were to fall suddenly upon the land of Judah as a divinely appointed scourge. Verse 7. The princes of Judah and the fairest of the people were to be carried captive to Babylon; the Judean cities and villages and the cultivated fields were to be laid waste; nothing was to be spared.

    Confident that even in this terrible judgment the purpose of God for His people would in some way be fulfilled, Habakkuk bowed in submission to the revealed will of Jehovah. "Art Thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, mine Holy One?" he exclaimed. And then, his faith reaching out beyond the forbidding prospect of the immediate future, and laying fast hold on the precious promises that reveal God's love for His trusting children, the prophet added, "We shall not die." Verse 12. With this declaration of faith he rested his case, and that of every believing Israelite, in the hands of a compassionate God.

    This was not Habakkuk's only experience in the exercise of strong faith. On one occasion, when meditating concerning the future, he said, "I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what He will say unto me." Graciously the Lord answered him: "Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but  the just shall live by his faith."  Habakkuk 2:1-4.

    The faith that strengthened Habakkuk and all the holy and the just in those days of deep trial was the same faith that sustains God's people today. In the darkest hours, under circumstances the most forbidding, the Christian believer may keep his soul stayed upon the source of all light and power. Day by day, through faith in God, his hope and courage may be renewed. "The just shall live by his faith." In the service of God there need be no despondency, no wavering, no fear. The Lord will more than fulfill the highest expectations of those who put their trust in Him. He will give them the wisdom their varied necessities demand.

    Of the abundant provision made for every tempted soul, the apostle Paul bears eloquent testimony. To him was given the divine assurance, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness." In gratitude and confidence the tried servant of God responded: "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, them am I strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10.

    We must cherish and cultivate the faith of which prophets and apostles have testified--the faith that lays hold on the promises of God and waits for deliverance in His appointed time and way. The sure word of prophecy will meet its final fulfillment in the glorious advent of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as King of kings and Lord of lords. The time of waiting may seem long, the soul may be oppressed by discouraging circumstances, many in whom confidence has been placed may fall by the way; but with the prophet who endeavored to encourage Judah in a time of unparalleled apostasy, let us confidently declare, "The Lord is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him." Habakkuk 2:20. Let us ever hold in remembrance the cheering message, "The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. . . . The just shall live by his faith." Verses 3, 4.

    "O Lord, revive Thy work in the midst of the years,
    In the midst of the years make known;
    In wrath remember mercy.
    "God came from Teman,
    And the Holy One from Mount Paran.
    His glory covered the heavens,
    And the earth was full of His praise.
    And His brightness was as the light;
    He had bright beams out of His side:
    And there was the hiding of His power.
    Before Him went the pestilence,
    And burning coals went forth at His feet.
    He stood, and measured the earth:
    He beheld, and drove asunder the nations;
    And the everlasting mountains were scattered,
    The perpetual hills did bow:
    His ways are everlasting."

    "Thou wentest forth for the salvation of Thy people,
    Even for salvation with Thine anointed."

    "Although the fig tree shall not blossom,
    Neither shall fruit be in the vines;
    The labor of the olive shall fail,
    And the fields shall yield no meat;
    The flock shall be cut off from the fold,
    And there shall be no herd in the stalls:
    Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will joy in the God of my salvation.
    The Lord God is my strength."
    Habakkuk 3:2-6, 13, 17-19, margin.

    Habakkuk was not the only one through whom was given a message of bright hope and of future triumph as well as of present judgment. During the reign of Josiah the word of the Lord came to Zephaniah, specifying plainly the results of continued apostasy, and calling the attention of the true church to the glorious prospect beyond. His prophecies of impending judgment upon Judah apply with equal force to the judgments that are to fall upon an impenitent world at the time of the second advent of Christ:

    "The great day of the Lord is near,
    It is near, and hasteth greatly,
    Even the voice of the day of the Lord:
    The mighty man shall cry there bitterly.

    "That day is a day of wrath,
    A day of trouble and distress,
    A day of wasteness and desolation,
    A day of darkness and gloominess,

    "A day of clouds and thick darkness,
    A day of the trumpet and alarm
    Against the fenced cities,
    And against the high towers."
    Zephaniah 1:14-16.

    "I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust. . . . Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's wrath: but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy: for He shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land." Verses 17, 18.

    "Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together,
    O nation not desired;
    Before the decree bring forth,
    Before the day pass as the chaff,
    Before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you,
    Before the day of the Lord's anger come upon you.
    "Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth,
    Which have wrought His judgment;
    Seek righteousness,
    Seek meekness:
    It may be ye shall be hid
    In the day of the Lord's anger."
    Zephaniah 2:1-3.

    "Behold, at that time I will deal with all them that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven away; and I will make them a praise and a name, whose shame hath been in all the earth. At that time will I bring you in, and at that time will I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I bring again your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord." Zephaniah 3:19, 20, R.V.

    "Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel;
    Be glad and rejoice with all the heart,
    O daughter of Jerusalem.
    The Lord hath taken away thy judgments,
    He hath cast out thine enemy:
    The King of Israel, even the Lord,
    Is in the midst of thee:
    Thou shalt not see evil any more.
    "In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not:
    And to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.
    The Lord thy God in the midst of thee
    Is mighty; He will save,
    He will rejoice over thee with joy;
    He will rest in His love,
    He will joy over thee with singing."
    Verses 14-17.

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk33.html The silent yet powerful influences set in operation by the messages of the prophets regarding the Babylonian Captivity did much to prepare the way for a reformation that took place in the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign. This reform movement, by which threatened judgments were averted for a season, was brought about in a wholly unexpected manner through the discovery and study of a portion of Holy Scripture that for many years had been strangely misplaced and lost.

    Nearly a century before, during the first Passover celebrated by Hezekiah, provision had been made for the daily public reading of the book of the law to the people by teaching priests. It was the observance of the statutes recorded by Moses, especially those given in the book of the covenant, which forms a part of Deuteronomy, that had made the reign of Hezekiah so prosperous. But Manasseh had dared set aside these statutes; and during his reign the temple copy of the book of the law, through careless neglect, had become lost. Thus for many years the people generally were deprived of its instruction. The long-lost manuscript was found in the temple by Hilkiah, the high priest, while the building was undergoing extensive repairs in harmony with King Josiah's plan for the preservation of the sacred structure. The high priest handed the precious volume to Shaphan, a learned scribe, who read it and then took it to the king with the story of its discovery.

    Josiah was deeply stirred as he heard read for the first time the exhortations and warnings recorded in this ancient manuscript. Never before had he realized so fully the plainness with which God had set before Israel "life and death, blessing and cursing" (Deuteronomy 30:19): and how repeatedly they had been urged to choose the way of life, that they might become a praise in the earth, a blessing to all nations. "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid," Israel had been exhorted through Moses; "for the Lord thy God. He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, not forsake thee." Deuteronomy 31:6.

    The book abounded in assurances of God's willingness to save to the uttermost those who should place their trust fully in Him. As He had wrought in their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, so would He work mightily in establishing them in the Land of Promise and in placing them at the head of the nations of earth.

    The encouragements offered as the reward of obedience were accompanied by prophecies of judgments against the disobedient; and as the king heard the inspired words, he recognized, in the picture set before him, conditions that were similar to those actually existing in his kingdom. In connection with these prophetic portrayals of departure from God, he was startled to find plain statements to the effect that the day of calamity would follow swiftly and that there would be no remedy. The language was plain; there could be no mistaking the meaning of the words. And at the close of the volume, in a summary of God's dealings with Israel and a rehearsal of the events of the future, these matters were made doubly plain. In the hearing of all Israel, Moses had declared:

    "Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak;
    And hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
    My doctrine shall drop as the rain,
    My speech shall distill as the dew,
    As the small rain upon the tender herb,
    And as the showers upon the grass:
    Because I will publish the name of the Lord:
    Ascribe ye greatness unto our God.
    He is the Rock, His work is perfect:
    For all His ways are judgment:
    A God of truth and without iniquity,
    Just and right is He."
    Deuteronomy 32:1-4.
    "Remember the days of old,
    Consider the years of many generations:
    Ask thy father, and he will show thee;
    Thy elders, and they will tell thee.
    When the Most High divided to the nations their
    inheritance,
    When He separated the sons of Adam,
    He set the bounds of the people
    According to the number of the children of Israel.
    For the Lord's portion is His people;
    Jacob is the lot of His inheritance.

    He found him in a desert land,
    And in the waste howling wilderness;
    He led him about, He instructed him,
    He kept him as the apple of His eye."
    Verses 7-10.
    But Israel "forsook God which made him,
    And lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
    They provoked Him to jealousy with strange gods,
    With abominations provoked they Him to anger.
    They sacrificed unto devils, not to God;
    To gods whom they knew not,
    To new gods that came newly up,
    Whom your fathers feared not.
    Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful,
    And hast forgotten God that formed thee.

    "And when the Lord saw it, He abhorred them,
    Because of the provoking of His sons, and of
    His daughters.
    And He said, I will hide My face from them,
    I will see what their end shall be:
    For they are a very froward generation,
    Children in whom is no faith.
    They have moved Me to jealousy with that which
    is not God;
    They have provoked Me to anger with their vanities:
    And I will move them to jealousy with those which
    are not a people;
    I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation."

    "I will heap mischiefs upon them;
    I will spend Mine arrows upon them.
    They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with
    burning heat,
    And with bitter destruction."

    "For they are a nation void of counsel,
    Neither is there any understanding in them.
    O that they were wise, that they understood this,
    That they would consider their latter end!

    How should one chase a thousand,
    And two put ten thousand to flight,
    Except their rock had sold them,
    And the Lord had shut them up?
    For their rock is not as our Rock,
    Even our enemies themselves being judges."
    "Is not this laid up in store with Me,
    And sealed up among My treasures?
    To Me belongeth vengeance, and recompense;
    Their foot shall slide in due time:
    For the day of their calamity is at hand,
    And the things that shall come upon them make haste."
    Verses 15:21, 23, 24, 28-31, 34, 35.

    These and similar passages revealed to Josiah God's love for His people and His abhorrence of sin. As the king read the prophecies of swift judgment upon those who should persist in rebellion, he trembled for the future. The perversity of Judah had been great; what was to be the outcome of their continued apostasy?

    In former years the king had not been indifferent to the prevailing idolatry. "In the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young," he had consecrated himself fully to the service of God. Four years later, at the age of twenty, he had made an earnest effort to remove temptation from his subjects by purging "Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images." "They brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them. And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem." 2 Chronicles 34:3-5.

    Not content with doing thorough work in the land of Judah, the youthful ruler had extended his efforts to the portions of Palestine formerly occupied by the ten tribes of Israel, only a feeble remnant of which now remained. "So did he," the record reads, "in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali." Not until he had traversed the length and breadth of this region of ruined homes, and "had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel," did he return to Jerusalem. Verses 6,7.

    Thus Josiah, from his earliest manhood, had endeavored to take advantage of his position as king to exalt to principles of God's holy law. And now, while Shaphan the scribe was reading to him out of the book of the law, the king discerned in this volume a treasure of knowledge, a powerful ally, in the work of reform he so much desired to see wrought in the land. He resolved to walk in the light of its counsels, and also to do all in his power to acquaint his people with its teachings and to lead them, if possible, to cultivate reverence and love for the law of heaven.

    But was it possible to bring about the needed reform? Israel had almost reached the limit of divine forbearance; soon God would arise to punish those who had brought dishonor upon His name. Already the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people. Overwhelmed with sorrow and dismay, Josiah rent his garments and bowed before God in agony of spirit, seeking pardon for the sins of an impenitent nation.

    At that time the prophetess Huldah was living in Jerusalem, near the temple. The mind of the king, filled with anxious foreboding, reverted to her, and he determined to inquire of the Lord through this chosen messenger to learn, if possible, whether by any means within his power he might save erring Judah, now on the verge of ruin.

    The gravity of the situation and the respect in which he held the prophetess led him to choose as his messengers to her the first men of the kingdom. "Go ye," he bade them, "inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us." 2 Kings 22:13.

    Through Huldah the Lord sent Josiah word that Jerusalem's ruin could not be averted. Even should the people now humble themselves before God, they could not escape their punishment. So long had their senses been deadened by wrongdoing that, if judgment should not come upon them, they would soon return to the same sinful course. "Tell the man that sent you to me," the prophetess declared, "Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read: because they have forsaken Me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore My wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched." Verses 15-17.

    But because the king had humbled his heart before God, the Lord would acknowledge his promptness in seeking forgiveness and mercy. To him was sent the message: "Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the Lord, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before Me; I also have heard thee, saith the Lord. Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place." Verses 19, 20.

    The king must leave with God the events of the future; he could not alter the eternal decrees of Jehovah. But in announcing the retributive judgments of Heaven, the Lord had not withdrawn opportunity for repentance and reformation; and Josiah, discerning in this a willingness on the part of God to temper His judgments with mercy, determined to do all in his power to bring about decided reforms. He arranged at once for a great convocation, to which were invited the elders and magistrates in Jerusalem and Judah, together with the common people. These, with the priests and Levites, met the king in the court of the temple.

    To this vast assembly the king himself read "all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the Lord." 2 Kings 23:2. The royal reader was deeply affected, and he delivered his message with the pathos of a broken heart. His hearers were profoundly moved. The intensity of feeling revealed in the countenance of the king, the solemnity of the message itself, the warning of judgments impending--all these had their effect, and many determined to join with the king in seeking forgiveness.

    Josiah now proposed that those highest in authority unite with the people in solemnly covenanting before God to co-operate with one another in an effort to institute decided changes. "The king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book." The response was more hearty than the king had dared hope for: "All the people stood to the covenant." Verse 3.

    In the reformation that followed, the king turned his attention to the destruction of every vestige of idolatry that remained. So long had the inhabitants of the land followed the customs of the surrounding nations in bowing down to images of wood and stone, that it seemed almost beyond the power of man to remove every trace of these evils. But Josiah persevered in his effort to cleanse the land. Sternly he met idolatry by slaying "all the priests of the high places;" "moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord." Verses 20, 24.

    In the days of the rending of the kingdom, centuries before, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, in bold defiance of the God whom Israel had served, was endeavoring to turn the hearts of the people away from the services of the temple in Jerusalem to new forms of worship, he had set up an unconsecrated altar at Bethel. During the dedication of this altar, where many in years to come were to be seduced into idolatrous practices, there had suddenly appeared a man of God from Judea, with words of condemnation for the sacrilegious proceedings. He had "cried against the altar," declaring:

    "O altar, altar, thus saith the Lord; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones shall be burnt upon thee." 1 Kings 13:2. This announcement had been accompanied by a sign that the word spoken was of the Lord.

    Three centuries had passed. During the reformation wrought by Josiah, the king found himself in Bethel, where stood this ancient altar. The prophecy uttered so many years before in the presence of Jeroboam, was now to be literally fulfilled.

    "The altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove.

    "And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchers that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchers, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the Lord which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.

    "Then he said, What title is that that I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the sepulcher of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Bethel. And he said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria." 2 Kings 23:15-18.

    On the southern slopes of Olivet, opposite the beautiful temple of Jehovah on Mount Moriah, were the shrines and images that had been placed there by Solomon to please his idolatrous wives. See 1 Kings 11:6-8. For upwards of three centuries the great, misshapen images had stood on the "Mount of Offense," mute witnesses to the apostasy of Israel's wisest king. These, too, were removed and destroyed by Josiah.

    The king sought further to establish the faith of Judah in the God of their fathers by holding a great Passover feast, in harmony with the provisions made in the book of the law. Preparation was made by those having the sacred services in charge, and on the great day of the feast, offerings were freely made. "There was not holden such a Passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah." 2 Kings 23:22. But the zeal of Josiah, acceptable though it was to God, could not atone for the sins of past generations; nor could the piety displayed by the king's followers effect a change of heart in many who stubbornly refused to turn from idolatry to the worship of the true God.

    For more than a decade following the celebration of the Passover, Josiah continued to reign. At the age of thirty-nine he met death in battle with the forces of Egypt, "and was buried in one of the sepulchers of his fathers." "All Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations." 2 Chronicles 35:24, 25. Like unto Josiah "was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him. Notwithstanding the Lord turned not from the fierceness of His great wrath, . . . because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked Him withal." 2 Kings 23:25, 26. The time was rapidly approaching when Jerusalem was to be utterly destroyed and the inhabitants of the land carried captive to Babylon, there to learn the lessons they had refused to learn under circumstances more favorable.


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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

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    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk34.html Among those who had hoped for a permanent spiritual revival as the result of the reformation under Josiah was Jeremiah, called of God to the prophetic office while still a youth, in the thirteenth year of Josiah's reign. A member of the Levitical priesthood, Jeremiah had been trained from childhood for holy service. In those happy years of preparation he little realized that he had been ordained from birth to be "a prophet unto the nations;" and when the divine call came, he was overwhelmed with a sense of his unworthiness. "Ah, Lord God!" he exclaimed, "behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child." Jeremiah 1:5, 6.

    In the youthful Jeremiah, God saw one who would be true to his trust and who would stand for the right against great opposition. In childhood he had proved faithful; and now he was to endure hardness, as a good soldier of the cross. "Say not, I am a child," the Lord bade His chosen messenger; "for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee." "Gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them. For, behold, I have made thee this day a defensed city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee." Verses 7, 8, 17-19.

    For forty years Jeremiah was to stand before the nation as a witness for truth and righteousness. In a time of unparalleled apostasy he was to exemplify in life and character the worship of the only true God. During the terrible sieges of Jerusalem he was to be the mouthpiece of Jehovah. He was to predict the downfall of the house of David and the destruction of the beautiful temple built by Solomon. And when imprisoned because of his fearless utterances, he was still to speak plainly against sin in high places. Despised, hated, rejected of men, he was finally to witness the literal fulfillment of his own prophecies of impending doom, and share in the sorrow and woe that should follow the destruction of the fated city.

    Yet amid the general ruin into which the nation was rapidly passing, Jeremiah was often permitted to look beyond the distressing scenes of the present to the glorious prospects of the future, when God's people should be ransomed from the land of the enemy and planted again in Zion. He foresaw the time when the Lord would renew His covenant relationship with them. "Their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all." Jeremiah 31:12.

    Of his call to the prophetic mission, Jeremiah himself wrote: "The Lord put forth His hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put My words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant." Jeremiah 1:9, 10.

    Thank God for the words, "to build, and to plant." By these words Jeremiah was assured of the Lord's purpose to restore and to heal. Stern were the messages to be borne in the years that were to follow. Prophecies of swift-coming judgments were to be fearlessly delivered. From the plains of Shinar "an evil" was to "break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land." "I will utter My judgments against them," the Lord declared, "touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken Me." Verses 14, 16. Yet the prophet was to accompany these messages with assurances of forgiveness to all who should turn from their evil-doing.

    As a wise master builder, Jeremiah at the very beginning of his lifework sought to encourage the men of Judah to lay the foundations of their spiritual life broad and deep, by making thorough work of repentance. Long had they been building with material likened by the apostle Paul to wood, hay, and stubble, and by Jeremiah himself to dross. "Refuse silver shall men call them," he declared of the impenitent nation, "because the Lord hath rejected them." Jeremiah 6:30, margin. Now they were urged to begin building wisely and for eternity, casting aside the rubbish of apostasy and unbelief, and using as foundation material the pure gold, the refined silver, the precious stones--faith and obedience and good works--which alone are acceptable in the sight of a holy God.

    Through Jeremiah the word of the Lord to His people was: "Return, thou backsliding Israel, . . . and I will not cause Mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger forever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God. . . . Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you." "Thou shalt call Me, My Father; and shalt not turn away from Me." "Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings." Jeremiah 3:12-14, 19, 22.

    And in addition to these wonderful pleadings, the Lord gave His erring people the very words with which they might turn to Him. They were to say: "Behold, we come unto Thee; for Thou art the Lord our God. Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel. . . . We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us: for we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God." Verses 22-25.

    The reformation under Josiah had cleansed the land of the idolatrous shrines, but the hearts of the multitude had not been transformed. The seeds of truth that had sprung up and given promise of an abundant harvest had been choked by thorns. Another such backsliding would be fatal; and the Lord sought to arouse the nation to a realization of their danger. Only as they should prove loyal to Jehovah could they hope for the divine favor and for prosperity.

    Jeremiah called their attention repeatedly to the counsels given in Deuteronomy. More than any other of the prophets, he emphasized the teachings of the Mosaic law and showed how these might bring the highest spiritual blessing to the nation and to every individual heart. "Ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein," he pleaded, "and ye shall find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16.

    On one occasion, by command of the Lord, the prophet took his position at one of the principal entrances to the city and there urged the importance of keeping holy the Sabbath day. The inhabitants of Jerusalem were in danger of losing sight of the sanctity of the Sabbath, and they were solemnly warned against following their secular pursuits on that day. A blessing was promised on condition of obedience. "If ye diligently hearken unto Me," the Lord declared, and "hallow the Sabbath day, to do no work therein; then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain forever." Jeremiah 17:24, 25.

    This promise of prosperity as the reward of allegiance was accompanied by a prophecy of the terrible judgments that would befall the city should its inhabitants prove disloyal to God and His law. If the admonitions to obey the Lord God of their fathers and to hallow His Sabbath day were not heeded, the city and its palaces would be utterly destroyed by fire.

    Thus the prophet stood firmly for the sound principles of right living so clearly outlined in the book of the law. But the conditions prevailing in the land of Judah were such that only by the most decided measures could a change for the better be brought about; therefore he labored most earnestly in behalf of the impenitent. "Break up your fallow ground," he pleaded, "and sow not among thorns." "O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved." Jeremiah 4:3, 14.

    But by the great mass of the people the call to repentance and reformation was unheeded. Since the death of good King Josiah, those who ruled the nation had been proving untrue to their trust and had been leading many astray. Jehoahaz, deposed by the interference of the king of Egypt, had been followed by Jehoiakim, an older son of Josiah. From the beginning of Jehoiakim's reign, Jeremiah had little hope of saving his beloved land from destruction and the people from captivity. Yet he was not permitted to remain silent while utter ruin threatened the kingdom. Those who had remained loyal to God must be encouraged to persevere in rightdoing, and sinners must, if possible, be induced to turn from iniquity.

    The crisis demanded a public and far-reaching effort. Jeremiah was commanded by the Lord to stand in the court of the temple and speak to all the people of Judah who might pass in and out. From the messages given him he must diminish not a word, that sinners in Zion might have the fullest possible opportunity to hearken and to turn from their evil ways.

    The prophet obeyed; he stood in the gate of the Lord's house and there lifted his voice in warning and entreaty. Under the inspiration of the Almighty he declared:

    "Hear the word of the Lord, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these. For if ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor; if ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, forever and ever." Jeremiah 7:2-7.

    The unwillingness of the Lord to chastise is here vividly shown. He stays His judgments that He may plead with the impenitent. He who exercises "loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth" yearns over His erring children; in every way possible He seeks to teach them the way of life everlasting. Jeremiah 9:24. He had brought the Israelites out of bondage that they might serve Him, the only true and living God. Though they had wandered long in idolatry and had slighted His warnings, yet He now declares His willingness to defer chastisement and grant yet another opportunity for repentance. He makes plain the fact that only by the most thorough heart reformation could the impending doom be averted. In vain would be the trust they might place in the temple and its services. Rites and ceremonies could not atone for sin. Notwithstanding their claim to be the chosen people of God, reformation of heart and of the life practice alone could save them from the inevitable result of continued transgression.

    Thus it was that "in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem" the message of Jeremiah to Judah was, "Hear ye the words of this covenant,"--the plain precepts of Jehovah as recorded in the Sacred Scriptures,--"and do them." Jeremiah 11:6. And this is the message he proclaimed as he stood in the temple courts in the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim.

    Israel's experience from the days of the Exodus was briefly reviewed. God's covenant with them had been, "Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be My people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you." Shamelessly and repeatedly had this covenant been broken. The chosen nation had "walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward." Jeremiah 7:23, 24.

    "Why," the Lord inquired, "is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding?" Jeremiah 8:5. In the language of the prophet it was because they had obeyed not the voice of the Lord their God and had refused to be corrected. See Jeremiah 5:3. "Truth is perished," he mourned, "and is cut off from their mouth." "The stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but My people know not the judgment of the Lord." "Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the Lord: shall not My soul be avenged on such a nation as this?" Jeremiah 7:28; 8:7; 9:9.

    The time had come for deep heart searching. While Josiah had been their ruler, the people had had some ground for hope. But no longer could he intercede in their behalf, for he had fallen in battle. The sins of the nation were such that the time for intercession had all but passed by. "Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me," the Lord declared, "yet My mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of My sight, and let them go forth. And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them. Thus saith the Lord; Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity." Jeremiah 15:1, 2.

    A refusal to heed the invitation of mercy that God was now offering would bring upon the impenitent nation the judgments that had befallen the northern kingdom of Israel over a century before. The message to them now was: "If ye will not hearken to Me, to walk in My law, which I have set before you, to hearken to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth." Jeremiah 26:4-6.

    Those who stood in the temple court listening to Jeremiah's discourse understood clearly this reference to Shiloh, and to the time in the days of Eli when the Philistines had overcome Israel and carried away the ark of the testament.

    The sin of Eli had consisted in passing lightly over the iniquity of his sons in sacred office, and over the evils prevailing throughout the land. His neglect to correct these evils had brought upon Israel a fearful calamity. His sons had fallen in battle, Eli himself had lost his life, the ark of God had been taken from the land of Israel, thirty thousand of the people had been slain--and all because sin had been allowed to flourish unrebuked and unchecked. Israel had vainly thought that, notwithstanding their sinful practices, the presence of the ark would ensure them victory over the Philistines. In like manner, during the days of Jeremiah, the inhabitants of Judah were prone to believe that a strict observance of the divinely appointed services of the temple would preserve them from a just punishment for their wicked course.

    What a lesson is this to men holding positions of responsibility today in the church of God! What a solemn warning to deal faithfully with wrongs that bring dishonor to the cause of truth! Let none who claim to be the depositaries of God's law flatter themselves that the regard they may outwardly show toward the commandments will preserve them from the exercise of divine justice. Let none refuse to be reproved for evil, nor charge the servants of God with being too zealous in endeavoring to cleanse the camp from evil-doing. A sin-hating God calls upon those who claim to keep His law to depart from all iniquity. A neglect to repent and to render willing obedience will bring upon men and women today as serious consequences as came upon ancient Israel. There is a limit beyond which the judgments of Jehovah can no longer be delayed. The desolation of Jerusalem in the days of Jeremiah is a solemn warning to modern Israel, that the counsels and admonitions given them through chosen instrumentalities cannot be disregarded with impunity.

    Jeremiah's message to priests and people aroused the antagonism of many. With boisterous denunciation they cried out, "Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the Lord." Jeremiah 26:9. Priests, false prophets, and people turned in wrath upon him who would not speak to them smooth things or prophesy deceit. Thus was the message of God despised, and His servant threatened with death.

    Tidings of the words of Jeremiah were carried to the princes of Judah, and they hastened from the palace of the king to the temple, to learn for themselves the truth of the matter. "Then spake the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears." Verse 11. But Jeremiah stood boldly before the princes and the people, declaring: "The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard. Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God; and the Lord will repent Him of the evil that He hath pronounced against you. As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you. But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the Lord hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears." Verses 12-15.

    Had the prophet been intimidated by the threatening attitude of those high in authority, his message would have been without effect, and he would have lost his life; but the courage with which he delivered the solemn warning commanded the respect of the people and turned the princes of Israel in his favor. They reasoned with the priests and false prophets, showing them how unwise would be the extreme measures they advocated, and their words produced a reaction in the minds of the people. Thus God raised up defenders for His servant.

    The elders also united in protesting against the decision of the priests regarding the fate of Jeremiah. They cited the case of Micah, who had prophesied judgments upon Jerusalem, saying, "Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest." And they asked: "Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him at all to death? did he not fear the Lord, and besought the Lord, and the Lord repented Him of the evil which He had pronounced against them? Thus might we procure great evil against our souls." Verses 18, 19.

    Through the pleading of these men of influence the prophet's life was spared, although many of the priests and false prophets, unable to endure the condemning truths he uttered, would gladly have seen him put to death on the plea of sedition.

    From the day of his call to the close of his ministry, Jeremiah stood before Judah as "a tower and a fortress" against which the wrath of man could not prevail. "They shall fight against thee," the Lord had forewarned His servant, "but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the Lord. And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible." Jeremiah 6:27; 15:20, 21.

    Naturally of a timid and shrinking disposition, Jeremiah longed for the peace and quiet of a life of retirement, where he need not witness the continued impenitence of his beloved nation. His heart was wrung with anguish over the ruin wrought by sin. "O that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears," he mourned, "that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! O that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them." Jeremiah 9:1, 2.

    Cruel were the mockings he was called upon to endure. His sensitive soul was pierced through and through by the arrows of derision hurled at him by those who despised his messages and made light of his burden for their conversion. "I was a derision to all my people," he declared, "and their song all the day." "I am in derision daily, everyone mocketh me." "All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him." Lamentations 3:14; Jeremiah 20:7, 10.

    But the faithful prophet was daily strengthened to endure. "The Lord is with me as a mighty terrible One," he declared in faith; "therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be really ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten." "Sing unto the Lord, praise ye the Lord: for He hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers." Jeremiah 20:11, 13.

    The experiences through which Jeremiah passed in the days of his youth and also in the later years of his ministry, taught him the lesson that "the way of man is not in self: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." He learned to pray, "O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in Thine anger, lest Thou bring me nothing." Jeremiah 10:23, 24.

    When called to drink of the cup of tribulation and sorrow, and when tempted in his misery to say, "My strength and my hope is perished from the Lord," he recalled the providences of God in his behalf and triumphantly exclaimed, "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord." Lamentations 3:18, 22-26.

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk35.html The first years of Jehoiakim's reign were filled with warnings of approaching doom. The word of the Lord spoken by the prophets was about to be fulfilled. The Assyrian power to the northward, long supreme, was no longer to rule the nations. Egypt on the south, in whose power the king of Judah was vainly placing his trust, was soon to receive a decided check. All unexpectedly a new world power, the Babylonian Empire, was rising to the eastward and swiftly overshadowing all other nations.

    Within a few short years the king of Babylon was to be used as the instrument of God's wrath upon impenitent Judah. Again and again Jerusalem was to be invested and entered by the besieging armies of Nebuchadnezzar. Company after company--at first a few only, but later on thousands and tens of thousands--were to be taken captive to the land of Shinar, there to dwell in enforced exile. Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Zedekiah--all these Jewish kings were in turn to become vassals of the Babylonian ruler, and all in turn were to rebel. Severer and yet more severe chastisements were to be inflicted upon the rebellious nation, until at last the entire land was to become a desolation, Jerusalem was to be laid waste and burned with fire, the temple that Solomon had built was to be destroyed, and the kingdom of Judah was to fall, never again to occupy its former position among the nations of earth.

    Those times of change, so fraught with peril to the Israelitish nation, were marked with many messages from Heaven through Jeremiah. Thus the Lord gave the children of Judah ample opportunity of freeing themselves from entangling alliances with Egypt, and of avoiding controversy with the rulers of Babylon. As the threatened danger came closer, he taught the people by means of a series of acted parables, hoping thus to arouse them to a sense of their obligation to God, and also to encourage them to maintain friendly relations with the Babylonian government.

    To illustrate the importance of yielding implicit obedience to the requirements of God, Jeremiah gathered some Rechabites into one of the chambers of the temple and set wine before them, inviting them to drink. As was to have been expected, he met with remonstrance and absolute refusal. "We will drink no wine," the Rechabites firmly declared, "for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons forever."

    "Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to My words? saith the Lord. The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father's commandment." Jeremiah 35:6, 12-14. God sought thus to bring into sharp contrast the obedience of the Rechabites with the disobedience and rebellion of His people. The Rechabites had obeyed the command of their father and now refused to be enticed into transgression. But the men of Judah had hearkened not to the words of the Lord, and were in consequence about to suffer His severest judgments.

    "I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking," the Lord declared, "but ye hearkened not unto Me. I have sent also unto you all My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto Me. Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened unto Me: therefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered." Verses 14-17.

    When men's hearts are softened and subdued by the constraining influence of the Holy Spirit, they will give heed to counsel; but when they turn from admonition until their hearts become hardened, the Lord permits them to be led by other influences. Refusing the truth, they accept falsehood, which becomes a snare to their own destruction.

    God had pleaded with Judah not to provoke Him to anger, but they had hearkened not. Finally sentence was pronounced against them. They were to be led away captive to Babylon. The Chaldeans were to be used as the instrument by which God would chastise His disobedient people. The sufferings of the men of Judah were to be in proportion to the light they had had and to the warnings they had despised and rejected. Long had God delayed His judgments, but now He would visit His displeasure upon them as a last effort to check them in their evil course.

    Upon the house of the Rechabites was pronounced a continued blessing. The prophet declared, "Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you: therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before Me forever." Verses 18, 19. Thus God taught His people that faithfulness and obedience would be reflected back upon Judah in blessing, even as the Rechabites were blessed for obedience to their father's command.

    The lesson is for us. If the requirements of a good and wise father, who took the best and most effectual means to secure his posterity against the evils of intemperance, were worthy of strict obedience, surely God's authority should be held in as much greater reverence as He is holier than man. Our Creator and our Commander, infinite in power, terrible in judgment, seeks by every means to bring men to see and repent of their sins. By the mouth of His servants He predicts the dangers of disobedience; He sounds the note of warning and faithfully reproves sin. His people are kept in prosperity only by His mercy, through the vigilant watchcare of chosen instrumentalities. He cannot uphold and guard a people who reject His counsel and despise His reproofs. For a time He may withhold His retributive judgments; yet He cannot always stay His hand.

    The children of Judah were numbered among those of whom God had declared, "Ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." Exodus 19:6. Never did Jeremiah in his ministry lose sight of the vital importance of heart holiness in the varied relationships of life, and especially in the service of the most high God. Plainly he foresaw the downfall of the kingdom and a scattering of the inhabitants of Judah among the nations; but with the eye of faith he looked beyond all this to the times of restoration. Ringing in his ears was the divine promise: "I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds. . . . Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." Jeremiah 23:3-6.

    Thus prophecies of oncoming judgment were mingled with promises of final and glorious deliverance. Those who should choose to make their peace with God and live holy lives amid the prevailing apostasy, would receive strength for every trial and be enabled to witness for Him with mighty power. And in the ages to come the deliverance wrought in their behalf would exceed in fame that wrought for the children of Israel at the time of the Exodus. The days were coming, the Lord declared through His prophet, when "they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land." Verses 7,8. Such were the wonderful prophecies uttered by Jeremiah during the closing years of the history of the kingdom of Judah, when the Babylonians were coming unto universal rule, and were even then bringing their besieging armies against the walls of Zion.

    Like sweetest music these promises of deliverance fell upon the ears of those who were steadfast in their worship of Jehovah. In the homes of the high and the lowly, where the counsels of a covenant-keeping God were still held in reverence, the words of the prophet were repeated again and again. Even the children were mightily stirred, and upon their young and receptive minds lasting impressions were made.

    It was their conscientious observance of the commands of Holy Scripture, that in the days of Jeremiah's ministry brought to Daniel and his fellows opportunities to exalt the true God before the nations of earth. The instruction these Hebrew children had received in the homes of their parents, made them strong in faith and constant in their service of the living God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. When, early in the reign of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar for the first time besieged and captured Jerusalem, and carried away Daniel and his companions, with others specially chosen for service in the court of Babylon, the faith of the Hebrew captives was tried to the utmost. But those who had learned to place their trust in the promises of God found these all-sufficient in every experience through which they were called to pass during their sojourn in a strange land. The Scriptures proved to them a guide and a stay.

    As an interpreter of the meaning of the judgments beginning to fall upon Judah, Jeremiah stood nobly in defense of the justice of God and of His merciful designs even in the severest chastisements. Untiringly the prophet labored. Desirous of reaching all classes, he extended the sphere of his influence beyond Jerusalem to the surrounding districts by frequent visits to various parts of the kingdom.

    In his testimonies to the church, Jeremiah constantly referred to the teachings of the book of the law that had been so greatly honored and exalted during Josiah's reign. He emphasized anew the importance of maintaining a covenant relationship with the all-merciful and compassionate Being who upon the heights of Sinai had spoken the precepts of the Decalogue. Jeremiah's words of warning and entreaty reached every part of the kingdom, and all had opportunity to know the will of God concerning the nation.

    The prophet made plain the fact that our heavenly Father allows His judgments to fall, "that the nations may know themselves to be but men." Psalm 9:20. "If ye walk contrary unto Me, and will not hearken unto Me," the Lord had forewarned His people, "I, even I, . . . will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste." Leviticus 26:21, 28,33.

    At the very time messages of impending doom were urged upon princes and people, their ruler, Jehoiakim, who should have been a wise spiritual leader, foremost in confession of sin and in reformation and good works, was spending his time in selfish pleasure. "I will build me a wide house and large chambers," he proposed; and this house, "ceiled with cedar, and painted with vermilion" (Jeremiah 22:14), was built with money and labor secured through fraud and oppression.

    The wrath of the prophet was aroused, and he was inspired to pronounce judgment upon the faithless ruler. "Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong," he declared; "that useth his neighbor's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work. . . . Shalt thou reign, because thou closest thyself in cedar? Did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice, and then it was well with him? He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him: was not this to know Me? saith the Lord. But thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it.

    "Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah; They shall not lament for him, saying, Ah my brother! or, Ah sister! they shall not lament for him, saying, Ah lord! or, Ah his glory! He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem." Verses 13-19.

    Within a few years this terrible judgment was to be visited upon Jehoiakim; but first the Lord in mercy informed the impenitent nation of His set purpose. In the fourth year of Jehoiakim's reign "Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem," pointing out that for over a score of years, "from the thirteenth year of Josiah, . . . even unto this day," he had borne witness of God's desire to save, but that his messages had been despised. Jeremiah 25:2, 3. And now the word of the Lord to them was:

    "Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Because ye have not heard My words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle. And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years." Verses 8-11. Although the sentence of doom had been clearly pronounced, its awful import could scarcely be understood by the multitudes who heard. That deeper impressions might be made, the Lord sought to illustrate the meaning of the words spoken. He bade Jeremiah liken the fate of the nation to the draining of a cup filled with the wine of divine wrath. Among the first to drink of this cup of woe was to be "Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof." Others were to partake of the same cup--"Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people," and many other nations of earth--until God's purpose should have been fulfilled. See Jeremiah 25.

    To illustrate further the nature of the swift-coming judgments, the prophet was bidden to "take of the ancients of the people, and of the ancients of the priests; and go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom," and there, after reviewing the apostasy of Judah, he was to dash to pieces "a potter's earthen bottle," and declare in behalf of Jehovah, whose servant he was, "Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter's vessel, that cannot be made whole again."

    The prophet did as he was commanded. Then, returning to the city, he stood in the court of the temple and declared in the hearing of all the people. "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear My words." See Jeremiah 19.

    The prophet's words, instead of leading to confession and repentance, aroused the anger of those high in authority, and as a consequence Jeremiah was deprived of his liberty. Imprisoned, and placed in the stocks, the prophet nevertheless continued to speak the messages of Heaven to those who stood by. His voice could not be silenced by persecution. The word of truth, he declared, "was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay." Jeremiah 20:9.

    It was about this time that the Lord commanded Jeremiah to commit to writing the messages he desired to bear to those for whose salvation his heart of pity was continually yearning."Take thee a roll of a book," the Lord bade His servant, "and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin." Jeremiah 36:2,3.

    In obedience to this command, Jeremiah called to his aid a faithful friend, Baruch the scribe, and dictated "all the words of the Lord, which He had spoken unto him." Verse 4. These were carefully written out on a roll of parchment and constituted a solemn reproof for sin, a warning of the sure result of continual apostasy, and an earnest appeal for the renunciation of all evil.

    When the writing was completed, Jeremiah, who was still a prisoner, sent Baruch to read the roll to the multitudes who were assembling at the temple on the occasion of a national fast day, "in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month." "It may be," the prophet said, "they will present their supplication before the Lord, and will return everyone from his evil way: for great is the anger and the fury that the Lord hath pronounced against this people." Verses 9, 7.

    Baruch obeyed, and the roll was read before all the people of Judah. Afterward the scribe was summoned before the princes to read the words to them. They listened with great interest and promised to inform the king concerning all they had heard, but counseled the scribe to hide himself, for they feared the king would reject the testimony and seek to slay those who had prepared and delivered the message.

    When King Jehoiakim was told by the princes what Baruch had read, he immediately ordered the roll brought before him and read in his hearing. One of the royal attendants, Jehudi by name, fetched the roll and began reading the words of reproof and warning. It was the time of winter, and the king and his companions of state, the princes of Judah, were gathered about an open fire. Only a small portion had been read, when the king, far from trembling at the danger hanging over himself and his people, seized the roll and in a frenzy of rage "cut it with the penknife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed." Verse 23.

    Neither the king nor his princes were afraid "nor rent their garments." Certain of the princes, however, "had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the roll: but he would not hear them." The writing having been destroyed, the wrath of the wicked king rose against Jeremiah and Baruch, and he forthwith sent for them to be taken; "but the Lord hid them." Verses 24-26.

    In bringing to the attention of the temple worshipers, and of the princes and king, the written admonitions contained in the inspired roll, God was graciously seeking to warn the men of Judah for their good. "It may be," He said, "the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin." Verse 3. God pities men struggling in the blindness of perversity; He seeks to enlighten the darkened understanding by sending reproofs and threatenings designed to cause the most exalted to feel their ignorance and to deplore their errors. He endeavors to help the self-complacent to become dissatisfied with their vain attainments and to seek for spiritual blessing through a close connection with heaven.

    God's plan is not to send messengers who will please and flatter sinners; He delivers no messages of peace to lull the unsanctified into carnal security. Instead, He lays heavy burdens upon the conscience of the wrongdoer and pierces his soul with sharp arrows of conviction. Ministering angels present to him the fearful judgments of God, to deepen the sense of need and to prompt the agonizing cry, "What must I do to be saved?" Acts 16;30. But the Hand that humbles to the dust, rebukes sin, and puts pride and ambition to shame, is the Hand that lifts up the penitent, stricken one. With deepest sympathy He who permits the chastisement to fall, inquires, "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?"

    When man has sinned against a holy and merciful God, he can pursue no course so noble as to repent sincerely and confess his errors in tears and bitterness of soul. This God requires of him; He accepts nothing less than a broken heart and a contrite spirit. But King Jehoiakim and his lords, in their arrogance and pride, refused the invitation of God. They would not heed the warning, and repent. The gracious opportunity proffered them at the time of the burning of the sacred roll, was their last. God had declared that if at that time they refused to hear His voice, He would inflict upon them fearful retribution. They did refuse to hear, and He pronounced His final judgments upon Judah, and He would visit with special wrath the man who had proudly lifted himself up against the Almighty.

    "Thus saith the Lord of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost. And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them." Jeremiah 36:30, 31.

    The burning of the roll was not the end of the matter. The written words were more easily disposed of than the reproof and warning they contained and the swift-coming punishment God had pronounced against rebellious Israel. But even the written roll was reproduced. "Take thee again another roll," the Lord commanded His servant, "and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned." The record of the prophecies concerning Judah and Jerusalem had been reduced to ashes; but the words were still living in the heart of Jeremiah, "as a burning fire," and the prophet was permitted to reproduce that which the wrath of man would fain have destroyed.

    Taking another roll, Jeremiah gave it to Baruch, "who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words." Verses 28,32. The wrath of man had sought to prevent the labors of the prophet of God; but the very means by which Jehoiakim had endeavored to limit the influence of the servant of Jehovah, gave further opportunity for making plain the divine requirements.

    The spirit of opposition to reproof, that led to the persecution and imprisonment of Jeremiah, exists today. Many refuse to heed repeated warnings, preferring rather to listen to false teachers who flatter their vanity and overlook their evil-doing. In the day of trouble such will have no sure refuge, no help from heaven. God's chosen servants should meet with courage and patience the trials and sufferings that befall them through reproach, neglect, and misrepresentation. They should continue to discharge faithfully the work God has given them to do, ever remembering that the prophets of old and the Saviour of mankind and His apostles also endured abuse and persecution for the Word's sake.

    It was God's purpose that Jehoiakim should heed the counsels of Jeremiah and thus win favor in the eyes of Nebuchadnezzar and save himself much sorrow. The youthful king had sworn allegiance to the Babylonian ruler, and had he remained true to his promise he would have commanded the respect of the heathen, and this would have led to precious opportunities for the conversion of souls.

    Scorning the unusual privileges granted him, Judah's king willfully followed a way of his own choosing. He violated his word of honor to the Babylonian ruler, and rebelled. This brought him and his kingdom into a very strait place. Against him were sent "bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon," and he was powerless to prevent the land from being overrun by these marauders. 2 Kings 24:2. Within a few years he closed his disastrous reign in ignominy, rejected of Heaven, unloved by his people, and despised by the rulers of Babylon whose confidence he had betrayed--and all as the result of his fatal mistake in turning from the purpose of God as revealed through His appointed messenger.

    Jehoiachin [also known as Jeconiah, and Coniah], the son of Jehoiakim, occupied the throne only three months and ten days, when he surrendered to the Chaldean armies which, because of the rebellion of Judah's ruler, were once more besieging the fated city. On this occasion Nebuchadnezzar "carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king's mother, and the king's wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land," several thousand in number, together with "craftsmen and smiths a thousand." With these the king of Babylon took "all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house." 2 Kings 24:15,16,13.

    The kingdom of Judah, broken in power and robbed of its strength both in men and in treasure, was nevertheless still permitted to exist as a separate government. At its head Nebuchadnezzar placed Mattaniah, a younger son of Josiah, changing his name to Zedekiah.
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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:15 am

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk36.html Zedekiah at the beginning of his reign was trusted fully by the king of Babylon and had as a tried counselor the prophet Jeremiah. By pursuing an honorable course toward the Babylonians and by paying heed to the messages from the Lord through Jeremiah, he could have kept the respect of many in high authority and have had opportunity to communicate to them a knowledge of the true God. Thus the captive exiles already in Babylon would have been placed on vantage ground and granted many liberties; the name of God would have been honored far and wide; and those that remained in the land of Judah would have been spared the terrible calamities that finally came upon them.

    Through Jeremiah, Zedekiah and all Judah, including those taken to Babylon, were counseled to submit quietly to the temporary rule of their conquerors. It was especially important that those in captivity should seek the peace of the land into which they had been carried. This, however, was contrary to the inclinations of the human heart; and Satan, taking advantage of the circumstances, caused false prophets to arise among the people, both in Jerusalem and in Babylon, who declared that the yoke of bondage would soon be broken and the former prestige of the nation restored.

    The heeding of such flattering prophecies would have led to fatal moves on the part of the king and the exiles, and would have frustrated the merciful designs of God in their behalf. Lest an insurrection be incited and great suffering ensue, the Lord commanded Jeremiah to meet the crisis without delay, by warning the king of Judah of the sure consequence of rebellion. The captives also were admonished, by written communications, not to be deluded into believing their deliverance near. "Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you," he urged. Jeremiah 29:8. In this connection mention was made of the Lord's purpose to restore Israel at the close of the seventy years of captivity foretold by His messengers.

    With what tender compassion did God inform His captive people of His plans for Israel! He knew that should they be persuaded by false prophets to look for a speedy deliverance, their position in Babylon would be made very difficult. Any demonstration or insurrection on their part would awaken the vigilance and severity of the Chaldean authorities and would lead to a further restriction of their liberties. Suffering and disaster would result. He desired them to submit quietly to their fate and make their servitude as pleasant as possible; and his counsel to them was: "Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; . . . and seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace." Verses 5-7.

    Among the false teachers in Babylon were two men who claimed to be holy, but whose lives were corrupt. Jeremiah had condemned the evil course of these men and had warned them of their danger. Angered by reproof, they sought to oppose the work of the true prophet by stirring up the people to discredit his words and to act contrary to the counsel of God in the matter of subjecting themselves to the king of Babylon. The Lord testified through Jeremiah that these false prophets should be delivered into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar and slain before his eyes. Not long afterward, this prediction was literally fulfilled.

    To the end of time, men will arise to create confusion and rebellion among those who claim to be representatives of the true God. Those who prophesy lies will encourage men to look upon sin as a light thing. When the terrible results of their evil deeds are made manifest, they will seek, if possible, to make the one who has faithfully warned them, responsible for their difficulties, even as the Jews charged Jeremiah with their evil fortunes. But as surely as the words of Jehovah through His prophet were vindicated anciently, so surely will the certainty of His messages be established today.

    From the first, Jeremiah had followed a consistent course in counseling submission to the Babylonians. This counsel was given not only to Judah, but to many of the surrounding nations. In the earlier portion of Zedekiah's reign, ambassadors from the rulers of Edom, Moab, Tyre, and other nations visited the king of Judah to learn whether in his judgment the time was opportune for a united revolt and whether he would join them in battling against the king of Babylon. While these ambassadors were awaiting a response, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, "Make thee bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck, and send them to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, by the hand of the messengers which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah." Jeremiah 27:2,3.

    Jeremiah was commanded to instruct the ambassadors to inform their rulers that God had given them all into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, and that they were to "serve him, and his son, and his son's son, until the very time of his land come." Verse 7.

    The ambassadors were further instructed to declare to their rulers that if they refused to serve the Babylonian king they should be punished "with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence" till they were consumed. Especially were they to turn from the teaching of false prophets who might counsel otherwise. "Hearken not ye to your prophets," the Lord declared, "nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon: for they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish. But the nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the Lord; and they shall till it, and dwell therein." Verses 8-11. The lightest punishment that a merciful God could inflict upon so rebellious a people was submission to the rule of Babylon, but if they warred against this decree of servitude they were to feel the full vigor of His chastisement. The amazement of the assembled council of nations knew no bounds when Jeremiah, carrying the yoke of subjection about his neck, made known to them the will of God.

    Against determined opposition Jeremiah stood firmly for the policy of submission. Prominent among those who presumed to gainsay the counsel of the Lord was Hananiah, one of the false prophets against whom the people had been warned. Thinking to gain the favor of the king and of the royal court, he lifted his voice in protest, declaring that God had given him words of encouragement for the Jews. Said he: "Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. Within two full years will I bring again into this place all the vessels of the Lord's house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place, and carried them to Babylon: and I will bring again to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah, that went into Babylon, saith the Lord: for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon." Jeremiah 28:2-4. Jeremiah, in the presence of the priests and people, earnestly entreated them to submit to the king of Babylon for the time the Lord had specified. He cited the men of Judah to the prophecies of Hosea, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and others whose messages of reproof and warning had been similar to his own. He referred them to events which had taken place in fulfillment of prophecies of retribution for unrepented sin. In the past the judgments of God had been visited upon the impenitent in exact fulfillment of His purpose as revealed through His messengers.

    "The prophet which prophesieth of peace," Jeremiah proposed in conclusion, "when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the Lord hath truly sent him." Verse 9. If Israel chose to run the risk, future developments would effectually decide which was the true prophet.

    The words of Jeremiah counseling submission aroused Hananiah to a daring challenge of the reliability of the message delivered. Taking the symbolic yoke from Jeremiah's neck, Hananiah broke it, saying, "Thus saith the Lord; Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years.

    "And the prophet Jeremiah went his way." Verse II. Apparently he could do nothing more than to retire from the scene of conflict. But Jeremiah was given another message. "Go and tell Hananiah," he was bidden, "Thus saith the Lord; Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him. . . .

    "Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The Lord hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie. Therefore thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the Lord. So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month." Verses 13-17.

    The false prophet had strengthened the unbelief of the people in Jeremiah and his message. He had wickedly declared himself the Lord's messenger, and he suffered death in consequence. In the fifth month Jeremiah prophesied the death of Hananiah, and in the seventh month his words were proved true by their fulfillment.

    The unrest caused by the representations of the false prophets brought Zedekiah under suspicion of treason, and only by quick and decisive action on his part was he permitted to continue reigning as a vassal. Opportunity for such action was taken advantage of shortly after the return of the ambassadors from Jerusalem to the surrounding nations, when the king of Judah accompanied Seraiah, "a quiet prince," on an important mission to Babylon. Jeremiah 51:59. During this visit to the Chaldean court, Zedekiah renewed his oath of allegiance to Nebuchadnezzar.

    Through Daniel and others of the Hebrew captives, the Babylonian monarch had been made acquainted with the power and supreme authority of the true God; and when Zedekiah once more solemnly promised to remain loyal, Nebuchadnezzar required him to swear to this promise in the name of the Lord God of Israel. Had Zedekiah respected this renewal of his covenant oath, his loyalty would have had a profound influence on the minds of many who were watching the conduct of those who claimed to reverence the name and to cherish the honor of the God of the Hebrews.

    But Judah's king lost sight of his high privilege of bringing honor to the name of the living God. Of Zedekiah it is recorded: "He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the Lord. And he also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the Lord God of Israel." 2 Chronicles 36:12, 13.

    While Jeremiah continued to bear his testimony in the land of Judah, the prophet Ezekiel was raised up from among the captives in Babylon, to warn and to comfort the exiles, and also to confirm the word of the Lord that was being spoken through Jeremiah. During the years that remained of Zedekiah's reign, Ezekiel made very plain the folly of trusting to the false predictions of those who were causing the captives to hope for an early return to Jerusalem. He was also instructed to foretell, by means of a variety of symbols and solemn messages, the siege and utter destruction of Jerusalem.

    In the sixth year of the reign of Zedekiah, the Lord revealed to Ezekiel in vision some of the abominations that were being practiced in Jerusalem, and within the gate of the Lord's house, and even in the inner court. The chambers of images, and the pictured idols, "every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel"--all these in rapid succession passed before the astonished gaze of the prophet. Ezekiel 8:10.

    Those who should have been spiritual leaders among the people, "the ancients of the house of Israel," to the number of seventy, were seen offering incense before the idolatrous representations that had been introduced into hidden chambers within the sacred precincts of the temple court. "The Lord seeth us not," the men of Judah flattered themselves as they engaged in their heathenish practices; "the Lord hath forsaken the earth," they blasphemously declared. Verses 11, 12.

    There were still "greater abominations" for the prophet to behold. At a gate leading from the outer to the inner court he was shown "women weeping for Tammuz," and within "the inner court of the Lord's house, . . . at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun toward the east." Verses 13-16.

    And now the glorious Being who accompanied Ezekiel throughout this astonishing vision of wickedness in high places in the land of Judah, inquired of the prophet: "Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke Me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in fury: Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in Mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them." Verses 17,18.

    Through Jeremiah the Lord had declared of the wicked men who presumptuously dared to stand before the people in His name: "Both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in My house have I found their wickedness." Jeremiah 23:11. In the terrible arraignment of Judah as recorded in the closing narrative of the chronicler of Zedekiah's reign, this charge of violating the sanctity of the temple was repeated. "Moreover," the sacred writer declared, "all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the Lord which He had hallowed in Jerusalem." 2 Chronicles 36:14.

    The day of doom for the kingdom of Judah was fast approaching. No longer could the Lord set before them the hope of averting the severest of His judgments. "Should ye be utterly unpunished?" He inquired. "Ye shall not be unpunished." Jeremiah 25:29.

    Even these words were received with mocking derision. "The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth," declared the impenitent. But through Ezekiel this denial of the sure word of prophecy was sternly rebuked. "Tell them," the Lord declared, "I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the Lord: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord God.

    "Again," testifies Ezekiel, "the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off. Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; There shall none of My words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord God." Ezekiel 12:22-28.

    Foremost among those who were rapidly leading the nation to ruin was Zedekiah their king. Forsaking utterly the counsels of the Lord as given through the prophets, forgetting the debt of gratitude he owed Nebuchadnezzar, violating his solemn oath of allegiance taken in the name of the Lord God of Israel, Judah's king rebelled against the prophets, against his benefactor, and against his God. In the vanity of his own wisdom he turned for help to the ancient enemy of Israel's prosperity, "sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people."

    "Shall he prosper?" the Lord inquired concerning the one who had thus basely betrayed every sacred trust; "shall he escape that doeth such things? or shall he break the covenant, and be delivered? As I live, saith the Lord God, surely in the place where the king dwelleth that made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he brake, even with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die. Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company make for him in the war: . . . seeing he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, when, lo, he had given his hand, and hath done all these things, he shall not escape." Ezekiel 17:15-18.

    To the "profane wicked prince" had come the day of final reckoning. "Remove the diadem," the Lord decreed, "and take off the crown." Not until Christ Himself should set up His kingdom was Judah again to be permitted to have a king. "I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it," was the divine edict concerning the throne of the house of David; "and it shall be no more, until He come whose right it is; and I will give it Him." Ezekiel 21:25-27.

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk37.html In the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign "Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem," to besiege the city. 2 Kings 25:1. The outlook for Judah was hopeless. "Behold, I am against thee," the Lord Himself declared through Ezekiel. "I the Lord have drawn forth My sword out of his sheath" it shall not return any more. . . . Every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water." "I will pour out Mine indignation upon thee, I will blow against thee in the fire of My wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, and skillful to destroy." Ezekiel 21:3, 5-7, 31.

    The Egyptians endeavored to come to the rescue of the beleaguered city; and the Chaldeans, in order to keep them back, abandoned for a time their siege of the Judean capital. Hope sprang up in the heart of Zedekiah, and he sent a messenger to Jeremiah, asking him to pray to God in behalf of the Hebrew nation.

    The prophet's fearful answer was that the Chaldeans would return and destroy the city. The fiat had gone forth; no longer could the impenitent nation avert the divine judgments. "Deceive not yourselves," the Lord warned His people. "The Chaldeans . . . shall not depart. For though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yet should they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire." Jeremiah 37:9, 10. The remnant of Judah were to go into captivity, to learn through adversity the lessons they had refused to learn under circumstances more favorable. From this decree of the holy Watcher there could be no appeal.

    Among the righteous still in Jerusalem, to whom had been made plain the divine purpose, were some who determined to place beyond the reach of ruthless hands the sacred ark containing the tables of stone on which had been traced the precepts of the Decalogue. This they did. With mourning and sadness they secreted the ark in a cave, where it was to be hidden from the people of Israel and Judah because of their sins, and was to be no more restored to them. That sacred ark is yet hidden. It has never been disturbed since it was secreted.

    For many years Jeremiah had stood before the people as a faithful witness for God; and now, as the fated city was about to pass into the hands of the heathen, he considered his work done and attempted to leave, but was prevented by a son of one of the false prophets, who reported that Jeremiah was about to join the Babylonians, to whom he had repeatedly urged the men of Judah to submit. The prophet denied the lying charge, but nevertheless "the princes were wroth with Jeremiah, and smote him, and put him in prison." Verse 15.

    The hopes that had sprung up in the hearts of princes and people when the armies of Nebuchadnezzar turned south to meet the Egyptians, were soon dashed to the ground. The word of the Lord had been, "Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt." The might of Egypt was but a broken reed. "All the inhabitants of Egypt," Inspiration had declared, "shall know that I am the Lord, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel." "I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, and the arms of Pharaoh shall fall down; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall put My sword into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall stretch it out upon the land of Egypt." Ezekiel 29:3, 6; 30:25, 26.

    While the princes of Judah were still vainly looking toward Egypt for help, King Zedekiah with anxious foreboding was thinking of the prophet of God that had been thrust into prison. After many days the king sent for him and asked him secretly, "Is there any word from the Lord?" Jeremiah answered, "There is: for, said He, thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.

    "Moreover Jeremiah said unto King Zedekiah, What have I offended against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison? Where are now your prophets which prophesied unto you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land? Therefore hear now, I pray thee, O my lord the king: let my supplication, I pray thee, be accepted before thee; that thou cause me not to return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there." Jeremiah 37:17-20. At this Zedekiah commanded that they "commit Jeremiah into the court of the prison, and that they should give him daily a piece of bread out of the bakers' street, until all the bread in the city were spent. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison." Verse 21.

    The king dared not openly manifest any faith in Jeremiah. Though his fear drove him to seek information of him privately, yet he was too weak to brave the disapprobation of his princes and of the people by submitting to the will of God as declared by the prophet.

    From the court of the prison Jeremiah continued to advise submission to the Babylonian rule. To offer resistance would be to invite sure death. The message of the Lord to Judah was: "He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live." Plain and positive were the words spoken. In the name of the Lord the prophet boldly declared, "This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon's army, which shall take it." Jeremiah 38:2, 3.

    At last the princes, enraged over the repeated counsels of Jeremiah, which were contrary to their set policy of resistance, made a vigorous protest before the king, urging that the prophet was an enemy to the nation, and that his words had weakened the hands of the people and brought misfortune upon them; therefore he should be put to death.

    The cowardly king knew that the charges were false; but in order to propitiate those who occupied high and influential positions in the nation, he feigned to believe their falsehoods and gave Jeremiah into their hands to do with him as they pleased. The prophet was cast "into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire." Verse 6. But God raised up friends for him, who besought the king in his behalf, and had him again removed to the court of the prison.

    Once more the king sent privately for Jeremiah, and bade him faithfully relate the purpose of God toward Jerusalem. In response, Jeremiah inquired, "If I declare it unto thee, wilt thou not surely put me to death? and if I give thee counsel, wilt thou not hearken unto me?" The king entered into a secret compact with the prophet. "As the Lord liveth, that made us this soul," Zedekiah promised, "I will not put thee to death, neither will I give thee into the hand of these men that seek thy life." Verses 15, 16.

    There was still opportunity for the king to reveal a willingness to heed the warnings of Jehovah, and thus to temper with mercy the judgments even now falling on city and nation. "If thou wilt assuredly go forth unto the king of Babylon's princes," was the message given the king, "then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, and thine house: but if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babylon's princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand."

    "I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans," the king replied, "lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me." But the prophet promised, "They shall not deliver thee." And he added the earnest entreaty, "Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the Lord, which I speak unto thee: so it shall be well unto thee, and thy soul shall live." Verses 17-20.

    Thus even to the last hour, God made plain His willingness to show mercy to those who would choose to submit to His just requirements. Had the king chosen to obey, the lives of the people might have been spared, and the city saved from conflagration; but he thought he had gone too far to retrace his steps. He was afraid of the Jews, afraid of ridicule, afraid for his life. After years of rebellion against God, Zedekiah thought it too humiliating to say to his people, I accept the word of the Lord, as spoken through the prophet Jeremiah; I dare not venture to war against the enemy in the face of all these warnings.

    With tears Jeremiah entreated Zedekiah to save himself and his people. With anguish of spirit he assured him that unless he should heed the counsel of God, he could not escape with his life, and all his possessions would fall to the Babylonians. But the king had started on the wrong course, and he would not retrace his steps. He decided to follow the counsel of the false prophets, and of the men whom he really despised, and who ridiculed his weakness in yielding so readily to their wishes. He sacrificed the noble freedom of his manhood and became a cringing slave to public opinion. With no fixed purpose to do evil, he was also without resolution to stand boldly for the right. Convicted though he was of the value of the counsel given by Jeremiah, he had not the moral stamina to obey; and as a consequence he advanced steadily in the wrong direction.

    The king was even too weak to be willing that his courtiers and people should know that he had held a conference with Jeremiah, so fully had the fear of man taken possession of his soul. If Zedekiah had stood up bravely and declared that he believed the words of the prophet, already half fulfilled, what desolation might have been averted! He should have said, I will obey the Lord, and save the city from utter ruin. I dare not disregard the commands of God because of the fear or favor of man. I love the truth, I hate sin, and I will follow the counsel of the Mighty One of Israel.

    Then the people would have respected his courageous spirit, and those who were wavering between faith and unbelief would have taken a firm stand for the right. The very fearlessness and justice of this course would have inspired his subjects with admiration and loyalty. He would have had ample support, and Judah would have been spared the untold woe of carnage and famine and fire.

    The weakness of Zedekiah was a sin for which he paid a fearful penalty. The enemy swept down like a resistless avalanche and devastated the city. The Hebrew armies were beaten back in confusion. The nation was conquered. Zedekiah was taken prisoner, and his sons were slain before his eyes. The king was led away from Jerusalem a captive, his eyes were put out, and after arriving in Babylon he perished miserably. The beautiful temple that for more than four centuries had crowned the summit of Mount Zion was not spared by the Chaldeans. "They burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof." 2 Chronicles 36:19.

    At the time of the final overthrow of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, many had escaped the horrors of the long siege, only to perish by the sword. Of those who still remained, some, notably the chief of the priests and officers. and the princes of the realm, were taken to Babylon and there executed as traitors. Others were carried captive, to live in servitude to Nebuchadnezzar and to his sons "until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah." Verses 20, 21. Of Jeremiah himself it is recorded: "Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuchadnezzar-adan the captain of the guard, saying, Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee." Jeremiah 39:11, 12.

    Released from prison by the Babylonian officers, the prophet chose to cast in his lot with the feeble remnant, "certain poor of the land" left by the Chaldeans to be "vinedressers and husbandmen." Over these the Babylonians set Gedaliah as governor. Only a few months passed before the newly appointed governor was treacherously slain. The poor people, after passing through many trials, were finally persuaded by their leaders to take refuge in the land of Egypt. Against this move, Jeremiah lifted his voice in protest. "Go ye not into Egypt," he pleaded. But the inspired counsel was not heeded, and "all the remnant of Judah, . . . even men, and women, and children," took flight into Egypt. "They obeyed not the voice of the Lord: thus came they even to Tahpanhes." Jeremiah 43:5-7.

    The prophecies of doom pronounced by Jeremiah upon the remnant that had rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar by fleeing to Egypt were mingled with promises of pardon to those who should repent of their folly and stand ready to return. While the Lord would not spare those who turned from His counsel to the seductive influences of Egyptian idolatry, yet He would show mercy to those who should prove loyal and true. "A small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah," He declared; "and all the remnant of Judah, that are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose words shall stand, Mine, or theirs." Jeremiah 44:28.

    The sorrow of the prophet over the utter perversity of those who would have been the spiritual light of the world, his sorrow over the fate of Zion and of the people carried captive to Babylon, is revealed in the lamentations he has left on record as a memorial of the folly of turning from the counsels of Jehovah to human wisdom. Amid the ruin wrought, Jeremiah could still declare, "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed;" and his constant prayer was, "Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord." Lamentations 3:22, 40. While Judah was still a kingdom among the nations, he had inquired of his God, "Hast Thou utterly rejected Judah? hath Thy soul loathed Zion?" and he had made bold to plead, "Do not abhor us, for Thy name's sake." Jeremiah 14:19, 21. The prophet's absolute faith in God's eternal purpose to bring order out of confusion, and to demonstrate to the nations of earth and to the entire universe His attributes of justice and love, now led him to plead confidently in behalf of those who might turn from evil to righteousness.

    But now Zion was utterly destroyed; the people of God were in their captivity. Overwhelmed with grief, the prophet exclaimed: "How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary! She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies.

    "Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits. The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness. Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper; for the Lord hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her children are gone into captivity before the enemy."

    "How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in His anger, and cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel, and remembered not His footstool in the day of His anger! The Lord hath swallowed up all the habitations of Jacob, and hath not pitied: He hath thrown down in His wrath the strongholds of the daughter of Judah; He hath brought them down to the ground: He hath polluted the kingdom and the princes thereof. He hath cut off in His fierce anger all the horn of Israel: He hath drawn back His right hand from before the enemy, and He burned against Jacob like a flaming fire, which devoureth round about. He hath bent His bow like an enemy: He stood with His right hand as an adversary, and slew all that were pleasant to the eye in the tabernacle of the daughter of Zion: He poured out His fury like fire."

    "What thing shall I take to witness for thee? what thing shall I liken to thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? what shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion? for thy breach is great like the sea: who can heal thee?"

    "Remember, O Lord, what is come upon us: consider, and behold our reproach. Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens. We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers are as widows. . . . Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne their iniquities. Servants have ruled over us: there is none that doth deliver us out of their hand. . . . For this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim."

    "Thou, O Lord, remainest forever; Thy throne from generation to generation. Wherefore dost Thou forget us forever, and forsake us so long time? Turn Thou us unto Thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old." Lamentations 1:1-5; 2:1-4, 13; 5:1-3, 7, 8, 17, 19-21.
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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:24 am

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk38.html The dark years of destruction and death marking the end of the kingdom of Judah would have brought despair to the stoutest heart had it not been for the encouragements in the prophetic utterances of God's messengers. Through Jeremiah in Jerusalem, through Daniel in the court of Babylon, through Ezekiel on the banks of the Chebar, the Lord in mercy made clear His eternal purpose and gave assurance of His willingness to fulfill to His chosen people the promises recorded in the writings of Moses. That which He had said He would do for those who should prove true to Him, He would surely bring to pass. "The word of God . . . liveth and abideth forever." 1 Peter 1:23.

    In the days of the wilderness wandering the Lord had made abundant provision for His children to keep in remembrance the words of His law. After the settlement in Canaan the divine precepts were to be repeated daily in every home; they were to be written plainly upon the doorposts and gates, and spread upon memorial tablets. They were to be set to music and chanted by young and old. Priests were to teach these holy precepts in public assemblies, and the rulers of the land were to make them their daily study. "Meditate therein day and night," the Lord commanded Joshua concerning the book of the law, "that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." Joshua 1:8.

    The writings of Moses were taught by Joshua to all Israel. "There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them." Joshua 8:35. This was in harmony with the express command of Jehovah providing for a public rehearsal of the words of the book of the law every seven years, during the Feast of Tabernacles. "Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates," the spiritual leaders of Israel had been instructed. "that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: and that their children, which have not known anything, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it." Deuteronomy 31:12, 13.

    Had this counsel been heeded through the centuries that followed, how different would have been Israel's history! Only as a reverence for God's Holy Word was cherished in the hearts of the people, could they hope to fulfill the divine purpose. It was regard for the law of God that gave Israel strength during the reign of David and the earlier years of Solomon's rule; it was through faith in the living word that reformation was wrought in the days of Elijah and of Josiah. And it was to these same Scriptures of truth, Israel's richest heritage, that Jeremiah appealed in his efforts toward reform. Wherever he ministered he met the people with the earnest plea, "Hear ye the words of this covenant," words which would bring them a full understanding of God's purpose to extend to all nations a knowledge of saving truth. Jeremiah 11:12.

    In the closing years of Judah's apostasy the exhortations of the prophets were seemingly of but little avail; and as the armies of the Chaldeans came for the third and last time to besiege Jerusalem, hope fled from every heart. Jeremiah predicted utter ruin; and it was because of his insistence on surrender that he had finally been thrown into prison. But God left not to hopeless despair the faithful remnant who were still in the city. Even while Jeremiah was kept under close surveillance by those who scorned his messages, there came to him fresh revelations concerning Heaven's willingness to forgive and to save, which have been an unfailing source of comfort to the church of God from that day to this.

    Laying fast hold on the promises of God, Jeremiah, by means of an acted parable, illustrated before the inhabitants of the fated city his strong faith in the ultimate fulfillment of God's purpose for His people. In the presence of witnesses, and with careful observance of all necessary legal forms, he purchased for seventeen shekels of silver an ancestral field situated in the neighboring village of Anathoth.

    From every human point of view this purchase of land in territory already under the control of the Babylonians, appeared to be an act of folly. The prophet himself had been foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem, the desolation of Judea, and the utter ruin of the kingdom. He had been prophesying a long period of captivity in faraway Babylon. Already advanced in years, he could never hope to receive personal benefit from the purchase he had made. However, his study of the prophecies that were recorded in the Scriptures had created within his heart a firm conviction that the Lord purposed to restore to the children of the captivity their ancient possession of the Land of Promise. With the eye of faith Jeremiah saw the exiles returning at the end of the years of affliction and reoccupying the land of their fathers. Through the purchase of the Anathoth estate he would do what he could to inspire others with the hope that brought so much comfort to his own heart.

    Having signed the deeds of transfer and secured the countersignatures of witnesses, Jeremiah charged Baruch his secretary: "Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land." Jeremiah 32:14, 15.

    So discouraging was the outlook for Judah at the time of this extraordinary transaction that immediately after perfecting the details of the purchase and arranging for the preservation of the written records, the faith of Jeremiah, unshaken though it had been, was now sorely tried. Had he, in his endeavor to encourage Judah, acted presumptuously? In his desire to establish confidence in the promises of God's word, had he given ground for false hope? Those who had entered into covenant relationship with God had long since scorned the provisions made in their behalf. Could the promises to the chosen nation ever meet with complete fulfillment?

    Perplexed in spirit, bowed down with sorrow over the sufferings of those who had refused to repent of their sins, the prophet appealed to God for further enlightenment concerning the divine purpose for mankind.

    "Ah Lord God!" he prayed, "behold, Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched-out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee: Thou showest loving-kindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the great, the mighty God, the Lord of hosts, is His name, great in counsel, and mighty in work: for Thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give everyone according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings: which hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, even unto this day, and in Israel, and among other men; and hast made Thee a name, as at this day; and hast brought forth Thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched-out arm, and with great terror; and hast given them this land, which Thou didst swear to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey; and they came in, and possessed it; but they obeyed not Thy voice, neither walked in Thy law; they have done nothing of all that Thou commandedst them to do: therefore Thou hast caused all this evil to come upon them." Verses 17-23.

    Nebuchadnezzar's armies were about to take the walls of Zion by storm. Thousands were perishing in a last desperate defense of the city. Many thousands more were dying of hunger and disease. The fate of Jerusalem was already sealed. The besieging towers of the enemy's forces were already overlooking the walls. "Behold the mounts," the prophet continued in his prayer to God; "they are come unto the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans, that fight against it, because of the sword, and of the famine, and of the pestilence: and what Thou hast spoken is come to pass; and, behold, Thou seest it. And Thou hast said unto me, O Lord God, Buy thee the field for money, and take witnesses; for the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans." Verses 24, 25.

    The prayer of the prophet was graciously answered. "The word of the Lord unto Jeremiah" in that hour of distress, when the faith of the messenger of truth was being tried as by fire, was: "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for Me?" Verses 26, 27. The city was soon to fall into the hand of the Chaldeans; its gates and palaces were to be set on fire and burned; but, notwithstanding the fact that destruction was imminent and the inhabitants of Jerusalem were to be carried away captive, nevertheless the eternal purpose of Jehovah for Israel was yet to be fulfilled. In further answer to the prayer of His servant, the Lord declared concerning those upon whom His chastisements were falling:

    "Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in Mine anger, and in My fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God: and I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with My whole heart and with My whole soul.

    "For thus saith the Lord; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them. And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans. Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe evidences, and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the Lord." Verses 37-44.

    In confirmation of these assurances of deliverance and restoration, "the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying, "Thus saith the Lord the Maker thereof, the Lord that formed it, to establish it; the Lord is His name; Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. For thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are thrown down by the mounts, and by the sword; . . . Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth. And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first. And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against Me; and I will pardon all their iniquities. . . . And it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise and an honor before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.

    "Thus saith the Lord; Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, . . . the voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for His mercy endureth forever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the Lord.

    "Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down. In the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the vale, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth them, saith the Lord. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah." Jeremiah 33:1-14.

    Thus was the church of God comforted in one of the darkest hours of her long conflict with the forces of evil. Satan had seemingly triumphed in his efforts to destroy Israel; but the Lord was overruling the events of the present, and during the years that were to follow, His people were to have opportunity to redeem the past. His message to the church was:

    "Fear thou not, O My servant Jacob; . . . neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee." "I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds." Jeremiah 30:10, 11, 17.

    In the glad day of restoration the tribes of divided Israel were to be reunited as one people. The Lord was to be acknowledged as ruler over "all the families of Israel." "They shall be My people." He declared. "Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save Thy people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame; . . . they shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My first-born." Jeremiah 31:1, 7-9

    Humbled in the sight of the nations, those who once had been recognized as favored of Heaven above all other peoples of the earth were to learn in exile the lesson of obedience so necessary for their future happiness. Until they had learned this lesson, God could not do for them all that He desired to do. "I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished," He declared in explanation of His purpose to chastise them for their spiritual good. Jeremiah 30:11. Yet those who had been the object of His tender love were not forever set aside; before all the nations of earth He would demonstrate His plan to bring victory out of apparent defeat, to save rather than to destroy. To the prophet was given the message:

    "He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. . . . I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, saith the Lord."

    "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity; The Lord bless thee, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness. And there shall dwell in Judah itself, and in all the cities thereof together, husbandmen, and they that go forth with flocks. For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul."

    "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." Jeremiah 31:10-14, 23-25, 31-34.

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk39.html Among the children of Israel who were carried captive to Babylon at the beginning of the seventy years' captivity were Christian patriots, men who were as true as steel to principle, who would not be corrupted by selfishness, but who would honor God at the loss of all things. In the land of their captivity these men were to carry out God's purpose by giving to heathen nations the blessings that come through a knowledge of Jehovah. They were to be His representatives. Never were they to compromise with idolaters; their faith and their name as worshipers of the living God they were to bear as a high honor. And this they did. In prosperity and adversity they honored God, and God honored them.

    The fact that these men, worshipers of Jehovah, were captives in Babylon, and that the vessels of God's house had been placed in the Temple of the Babylonish gods, was boastfully cited by the victors as evidence that their religion and customs were superior to the religion and customs of the Hebrews. Yet through the very humiliations that Israel's departure from Him had invited, God gave Babylon evidence of His supremacy, of the holiness of His requirements, and of the sure results of obedience. And this testimony He gave, as alone it could be given, through those who were loyal to Him.

    Among those who maintained their allegiance to God were Daniel and his three companions--illustrious examples of what men may become who unite with the God of wisdom and power. From the comparative simplicity of their Jewish home, these youth of royal line were taken to the most magnificent of cities and into the court of the world's greatest monarch. Nebuchadnezzar "spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes; children in whom was no blemish, but well favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace. . . .

    "Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. " Seeing in these youth the promise of remarkable ability, Nebuchadnezzar determined that they should be trained to fill important positions in his kingdom. That they might be fully qualified for their lifework, he arranged for them to learn the language of the Chaldeans and for three years to be granted the unusual educational advantages afforded princess of the realm.

    The names of Daniel and his companions were changed to names representing Chaldean deities. Great significance was attached to the names given by Hebrew parents to their children. Often these stood for traits of character that the parent desired to see developed in the child. The prince in whose charge the captive youth were placed, "gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego."

    The king did not compel the Hebrew youth to renounce their faith in favor of idolatry, but he hoped to bring this about gradually. By giving them names significant of idolatry, by bringing them daily into close association with idolatrous customs, and under the influence of the seductive rites of heathen worship, he hoped to induce them to renounce the religion of their nation and to unite with the worship of the Babylonians.

    At the very outset of their career there came to them a decisive test of character. It was provided that they should eat of the food and drink of the wine that came from the king's table. In this the king thought to give them an expression of his favor and of his solicitude for their welfare. But a portion having been offered to idols, the food from the king's table was consecrated to idolatry; and one partaking of it would be regarded as offering homage to the gods of Babylon. In such homage, loyalty to Jehovah forbade Daniel and his companions to join. Even a mere pretense of eating the food or drinking the wine would be a denial of their faith. To do this would be to array themselves with heathenism and to dishonor the principles of the law of God.

    Nor dared they risk the enervating effect of luxury and dissipation on physical, mental, and spiritual development. They were acquainted with the history of Nadab and Abihu, the record of whose intemperance and its results had been preserved in the parchments of the Pentateuch; and they knew that their own physical and mental power would be injuriously affected by the use of wine.

    Daniel and his associates had been trained by their parents to habits of strict temperance. They had been taught that God would hold them accountable for their capabilities, and that they must never dwarf or enfeeble their powers. This education was to Daniel and his companions the means of their preservation amidst the demoralizing influences of the court of Babylon. Strong were the temptations surrounding them in that corrupt and luxurious court, but they remained uncontaminated. No power, no influence, could sway them from the principles they had learned in early life by a study of the word and works of God.

    Had Daniel so desired, he might have found in his surroundings a plausible excuse for departing from strictly temperate habits. He might have argued that, dependent as he was on the king's favor and subject to his power, there was no other course for him to pursue than to eat of the king's food and drink of his wine; for should he adhere to the divine teaching, he would offend the king and probably lose his position and his life. Should he disregard the commandment of the Lord he would retain the favor of the king and secure for himself intellectual advantages and flattering worldly prospects.

    But Daniel did not hesitate. The approval of God was dearer to him than the favor of the most powerful earthly potentate--dearer than life itself. He determined to stand firm in his integrity, let the result be what it might. He "purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank." And in this resolve he was supported by his three companions.

    In reaching this decision, the Hebrew youth did not act presumptuously but in firm reliance upon God. They did not choose to be singular, but they would be so rather than dishonor God. Should they compromise with wrong in this instance by yielding to the pressure of circumstances, their departure from principle would weaken their sense of right and their abhorrence of wrong. The first wrong step would lead to others, until, their connection with Heaven severed, they would be swept away by temptation.

    "God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs," and the request that he might not defile himself was received with respect. Yet the prince hesitated to grant it. "I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink," he explained to Daniel; "for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king."

    Daniel then appealed to Melzar, the officer in special charge of the Hebrew youth, requesting that they might be excused from eating the king's meat and drinking his wine. He asked that the matter be tested by a ten days' trial, the Hebrew youth during this time being supplied with simple food, while their companions ate of the king's dainties.

    Melzar, though fearful that by complying with this request he would incur the displeasure of the king, nevertheless consented; and Daniel knew that his case was won. At the end of the ten days' trial the result was found to be the opposite of the prince's fears. "Their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat." In personal appearance the Hebrew youth showed a marked superiority over their companions. As a result, Daniel and his associates were permitted to continue their simple diet during their entire course of training.

    For three years the Hebrew youth studied to acquire "the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans." During this time they held fast their allegiance to God and depended constantly upon His power. With their habits of self-denial they united earnestness of purpose, diligence, and steadfastness. It was not pride or ambition that had brought them into the king's court, into companionship with those who neither knew nor feared God; they were captives in a strange land, placed there by Infinite Wisdom. Separated from home influences and sacred associations, they sought to acquit themselves creditably, for the honor of their down-trodden people, and for the glory of Him whose servants they were.

    The Lord regarded with approval the firmness and self-denial of the Hebrew youth, and their purity of motive; and His blessing attended them. He "gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams." The promise was fulfilled, "Them that honor Me I will honor." 1 Samuel 2:30. As Daniel clung to God with unwavering trust, the spirit of prophetic power came upon him. While receiving instruction from man in the duties of court life, he was being taught by God to read the mysteries of the future and to record for coming generations, through figures and symbols, events covering the history of this world till the close of time.

    When the time came for the youth in training to be tested, the Hebrews were examined, with other candidates, for the service of the kingdom. But "among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah." Their keen comprehension, their wide knowledge, their choice and exact language, testified to the unimpaired strength and vigor of their mental powers. "In all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm;" "therefore stood they before the king."

    At the court of Babylon were gathered representatives from all lands, men of the highest talent, men the most richly endowed with natural gifts, and possessed of the broadest culture that the world could bestow; yet among them all, the Hebrew youth were without a peer. In physical strength and beauty, in mental vigor and literary attainment, they stood unrivaled. The erect form, the firm, elastic step, the fair countenance, the undimmed senses, the untainted breath--all were so many certificates of good habits, insignia of the nobility with which nature honors those who are obedient to her laws.

    In acquiring the wisdom of the Babylonians, Daniel and his companions were far more successful than their fellow students; but their learning did not come by chance. They obtained their knowledge by the faithful use of their powers, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They placed themselves in connection with the Source of all wisdom, making the knowledge of God the foundation of their education. In faith they prayed for wisdom, and they lived their prayers. They placed themselves where God could bless them. They avoided that which would weaken their powers, and improved every opportunity to become intelligent in all lines of learning. They followed the rules of life that could not fail to give them strength of intellect. They sought to acquire knowledge for one purpose--that they might honor God. They realized that in order to stand as representatives of true religion amid the false religions of heathenism they must have clearness of intellect and must perfect a Christian character. And God Himself was their teacher. Constantly praying, conscientiously studying, keeping in touch with the Unseen, they walked with God as did Enoch.

    True success in any line of work is not the result of chance or accident or destiny. It is the outworking of God's providences, the reward of faith and discretion, of virtue and perseverance. Fine mental qualities and a high moral tone are not the result of accident. God gives opportunities; success depends upon the use made of them.

    While God was working in Daniel and his companions "to will and to do of His good pleasure," they were working out their own salvation. Philippians 2:13. Herein is revealed the outworking of the divine principle of co-operation, without which no true success can be attained. Human effort avails nothing without divine power; and without human endeavor, divine effort is with many of no avail. To make God's grace our own, we must act our part. His grace is given to work in us to will and to do, but never as a substitute for our effort.

    As the Lord co-operated with Daniel and his fellows, so He will co-operate with all who strive to do His will. And by the impartation of His Spirit He will strengthen every true purpose, every noble resolution. Those who walk in the path of obedience will encounter many hindrances. Strong, subtle influences may bind them to the world; but the Lord is able to render futile every agency that works for the defeat of His chosen ones; in His strength they may overcome every temptation, conquer every difficulty.

    God brought Daniel and his associates into connection with the great men of Babylon, that in the midst of a nation of idolaters they might represent His character. How did they become fitted for a position of so great trust and honor? It was faithfulness in little things that gave complexion to their whole life. They honored God in the smallest duties, as well as in the larger responsibilities.

    As God called Daniel to witness for Him in Babylon, so He calls us to be His witnesses in the world today. In the smallest as well as the largest affairs of life, He desires us to reveal to men the principles of His kingdom. Many are waiting for some great work to be brought to them, while daily they lose opportunities for revealing faithfulness to God. Daily they fail of discharging with wholeheartedness the little duties of life. While they wait for some large work in which they may exercise supposedly great talents, and thus satisfy their ambitious longings, their days pass away.

    In the life of the true Christian there are no nonessentials; in the sight of Omnipotence every duty is important. The Lord measures with exactness every possibility for service. The unused capabilities are just as much brought into account as those that are used. We shall be judged by what we ought to have done, but did not accomplish because we did not use our powers to glorify God.

    A noble character is not the result of accident; it is not due to special favors or endowments of Providence. It is the result of self-discipline, of subjection of the lower to the higher nature, of the surrender of self to the service of God and man.

    Through the fidelity to the principles of temperance shown by the Hebrew youth God is speaking to the youth of today. There is need of men who like Daniel will do and dare for the cause of right. Pure hearts, strong hands, fearless courage, are needed; for the warfare between vice and virtue calls for ceaseless vigilance. To every soul Satan comes with temptation in many alluring forms on the point of indulgence of appetite.

    The body is a most important medium through which the mind and the soul are developed for the upbuilding of character. Hence it is that the adversary of souls directs his temptations to the enfeebling and degrading of the physical powers. His success here often means the surrender of the whole being to evil. The tendencies of the physical nature, unless under the dominion of a higher power, will surely work ruin and death. The body is to be brought into subjection to the higher powers of the being. The passions are to be controlled by the will, which is itself to be under the control of God. The kingly power of reason, sanctified by divine grace, is to bear sway in the life. Intellectual power, physical stamina, and the length of life depend upon immutable laws. Through obedience to these laws, man may stand conqueror of himself, conqueror of his own inclinations, conqueror of principalities and powers, of "the rulers of the darkness of this world," and of "spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12.

    In that ancient ritual which is the gospel in symbol, no blemished offering could be brought to God's altar. The sacrifice that was to represent Christ must be spotless. The word of God points to this as an illustration of what His children are to be--"a living sacrifice," "holy and without blemish." Romans 12:1; Ephesians 5:27.

    The Hebrew worthies were men of like passions with ourselves; yet, notwithstanding the seductive influences of the court of Babylon, they stood firm, because they depended upon a strength that is infinite. In them a heathen nation beheld an illustration of the goodness and beneficence of God, and of the love of Christ. And in their experience we have an instance of the triumph of principle over temptation, of purity over depravity, of devotion and loyalty over atheism and idolatry.

    The spirit that possessed Daniel, the youth of today may have; they may draw from the same source of strength, possess the same power of self-control, and reveal the same grace in their lives, even under circumstances as unfavorable. Though surrounded by temptations to self-indulgence, especially in our large cities, where every form of sensual gratification is made easy and inviting, yet by divine grace their purpose to honor God may remain firm. Through strong resolution and vigilant watchfulness they may withstand every temptation that assails the soul. But only by him who determines to do right because it is right will the victory be gained. What a lifework was that of these noble Hebrews! As they bade farewell to their childhood home, little did they dream what a high destiny was to be theirs. Faithful and steadfast, they yielded to the divine guiding, so that through them God could fulfill His purpose.

    The same mighty truths that were revealed through these men, God desires to reveal through the youth and children today. The life of Daniel and his fellows is a demonstration of what He will do for those who yield themselves to Him and with the whole heart seek to accomplish His purpose.
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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:38 am

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk40.html Soon after Daniel and his companions entered the service of the king of Babylon, events occurred that revealed to an idolatrous nation the power and faithfulness of the God of Israel. Nebuchadnezzar had a remarkable dream, by which "his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him." But although the king's mind was deeply impressed, he found it impossible, when he awoke, to recall the particulars.

    In his perplexity, Nebuchadnezzar assembled his wise men--"the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers"--and besought their help. "I have dreamed a dream," he said, "and my spirit was troubled to know the dream." With this statement of his perplexity he requested them to reveal to him that which would bring relief to his mind.

    To this the wise men responded, "O king, live forever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation."

    Dissatisfied with their evasive answer, and suspicious because, despite their pretentious claims to reveal the secrets of men, they nevertheless seemed unwilling to grant him help, the king commanded his wise men, with promises of wealth and honor on the one hand, and threats of death on the other, to tell him not only the interpretation of the dream, but the dream itself. "The thing is gone from me," he said; "if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill. But if ye show the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honor."

    Still the wise men returned the answer, "Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation of it."

    Nebuchadnezzar, now thoroughly aroused and angered by the apparent perfidy of those in whom he had trusted, declared: "I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can show me the interpretation thereof."

    Filled with fear for the consequences of their failure, the magicians endeavored to show the king that his request was unreasonable and his test beyond that which had ever been required of any man. "There is not a man upon the earth," they remonstrated, "that can show the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh." Then "the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon."

    Among those sought for by the officers who were preparing to fulfill the provisions of the royal decree, were Daniel and his friends. When told that according to the decree they also must die, "with counsel and wisdom" Daniel inquired of Arioch, the captain of the king's guard, "Why is the decree so hasty from the king?" Arioch told him the story of the king's perplexity over his remarkable dream, and of his failure to secure help from those in whom he had hitherto placed fullest confidence. Upon hearing this, Daniel, taking his life in his hands, ventured into the king's presence and begged that time be granted, that he might petition his God to reveal to him the dream and its interpretation.

    To this request the monarch acceded. "Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions." Together they sought for wisdom from the Source of light and knowledge. Their faith was strong in the consciousness that God had placed them where they were, that they were doing His work and meeting the demands of duty. In times of perplexity and danger they had always turned to Him for guidance and protection, and He had proved an ever-present help. Now with contrition of heart they submitted themselves anew to the Judge of the earth, pleading that He would grant them deliverance in this their time of special need. And they did not plead in vain. The God whom they had honored, now honored them. The Spirit of the Lord rested upon them, and to Daniel, "in a night vision," was revealed the king's dream and its meaning.

    Daniel's first act was to thank God for the revelation given him. "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever," he exclaimed; "for wisdom and might are His: and He changeth the times and the reasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings: He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: He knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with Him. I thank Thee, and praise Thee, O Thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of Thee: for Thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter."

    Going immediately to Arioch, whom the king had commanded to destroy the wise men, Daniel said, "Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will show unto the king the interpretation." Quickly the officer ushered Daniel in before the king, with the words, "I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation."

    Behold the Jewish captive, calm and self-possessed, in the presence of the monarch of the world's most powerful empire. In his first words he disclaimed honor for himself and exalted God as the source of all wisdom. To the anxious inquiry of the king, "Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?" he replied: "The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, show unto the king; but there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days.

    "Thy dream," Daniel declared, "and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and He that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass. But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.

    "Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

    "Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

    "This is the dream," confidently declared Daniel; and the king, listening with closest attention to every particular, knew it was the very dream over which he had been so troubled. Thus his mind was prepared to receive with favor the interpretation. The King of kings was about to communicate great truth to the Babylonian monarch. God would reveal that He has power over the kingdoms of the world, power to enthrone and to dethrone kings. Nebuchadnezzar's mind was to be awakened, if possible, to a sense of his responsibility to Heaven. The events of the future, reaching down to the end of time, were to be opened before him.

    "Thou, O king, art a king of kings," Daniel continued, "for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and fowls of the heaven hath He given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.

    "And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

    "And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.

    "And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay."

    "In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure."

    The king was convinced of the truth of the interpretation, and in humility and awe he "fell upon his face, and worshiped," saying, "Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret."

    Nebuchadnezzar revoked the decree for the destruction of the wise men. Their lives were spared because of Daniel's connection with the Revealer of secrets. And "the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king."

    In the annals of human history, the growth of nations, the rise and fall of empires, appear as if dependent on the will and prowess of man; the shaping of events seems, to a great degree, to be determined by his power, ambition, or caprice. But in the word of God the curtain is drawn aside, and we behold, above, behind, and through all the play and counterplay of human interest and power and passions, the agencies of the All-merciful One, silently, patiently working out the counsels of His own will.

    In words of matchless beauty and tenderness, the apostle Paul set before the sages of Athens the divine purpose in the creation and distribution of races and nations. "God that made the world and all things therein," declared the apostle, "hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him." Acts 17:24-27.

    God has made plain that whosoever will, may come "into the bond of the covenant." Ezekiel 20:37. In the creation it was His purpose that the earth should be inhabited by beings whose existence would be a blessing to themselves and to one another, and an honor to their Creator. All who will may identify themselves with this purpose. Of them it is spoken, "This people have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise." Isaiah 43:21.

    In His law God has made known the principles that underlie all true prosperity, both of nations and of individuals. To the Israelites Moses declared of this law: "This is your wisdom and your understanding." "It is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life." Deuteronomy 4:6; 32:47. The blessings thus assured to Israel are, on the same conditions and in the same degree, assured to every nation and to every individual under the broad heavens.

    Hundreds of years before certain nations came upon the stage of action, the Omniscient One looked down the ages and predicted the rise and fall of the universal kingdoms. God declared to Nebuchadnezzar that the kingdom of Babylon should fall, and a second kingdom would arise, which also would have its period of trial. Failing to exalt the true God, its glory would fade, and a third kingdom would occupy its place. This also would pass away; and a fourth, strong as iron, would subdue the nations of the world.

    Had the rulers of Babylon--that richest of all earthly kingdoms--kept always before them the fear of Jehovah, they would have been given wisdom and power which would have bound them to Him and kept them strong. But they made God their refuge only when harassed and perplexed. At such times, failing to find help in their great men, they sought it from men like Daniel--men who they knew honored the living God and were honored by Him. To these men they appealed to unravel the mysteries of Providence; for though the rulers of proud Babylon were men of the highest intellect, they had separated themselves so far from God by transgression that they could not understand the revelations and the warnings given them concerning the future.

    In the history of nations the student of God's word may behold the literal fulfillment of divine prophecy. Babylon, shattered and broken at last, passed away because in prosperity its rulers had regarded themselves as independent of God, and had ascribed the glory of their kingdom to human achievement. The Medo-Persian realm was visited by the wrath of Heaven because in it God's law had been trampled underfoot. The fear of the Lord had found no place in the hearts of the vast majority of the people. Wickedness, blasphemy, and corruption prevailed. The kingdoms that followed were even more base and corrupt; and these sank lower and still lower in the scale of moral worth.

    The power exercised by every ruler on the earth is Heaven-imparted; and upon his use of the power thus bestowed, his success depends. To each the word of the divine Watcher is, "I girded thee, though thou hast not known Me." Isaiah 45:5. And to each the words spoken to Nebuchadnezzar of old are the lesson of life: "Break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor: if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity." Daniel 4:27.

    To understand these things,--to understand that "righteousness exalteth a nation;" that "the throne is established by righteousness," and "upholden by mercy;" to recognize the outworking of these principles in the manifestation of His power who "removeth kings, and setteth up kings,"-- this is to understand the philosophy of history. Proverbs 14:34; 16:12; 20:28; Daniel 2:21.

    In the word of God only is this clearly set forth. Here it is shown that the strength of nations, as of individuals, is not found in the opportunities or facilities that appear to make them invincible; it is not found in their boasted greatness. It is measured by the fidelity with which they fulfill God's purpose.

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk41.html The dream of the great image, opening before Nebuchadnezzar events reaching to the close of time, had been given that he might understand the part he was to act in the world's history, and the relation that his kingdom should sustain to the kingdom of heaven. In the interpretation of the dream, he had been plainly instructed regarding the establishment of God's everlasting kingdom. "In the days of these kings," Daniel had declared, "shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. . . . The dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure." Daniel 2:44, 45.

    The king had acknowledged the power of God, saying to Daniel, "Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, . . . and a revealer of secrets." Verse 47. For a time afterward, Nebuchadnezzar was influenced by the fear of God; but his heart was not yet cleansed from worldly ambition and a desire for self-exaltation. The prosperity attending his reign filled him with pride. In time he ceased to honor God, and resumed his idol worship with increased zeal and bigotry. The words, "Thou art this head of gold," had made a deep impression upon the ruler's mind. Verse 38. The wise men of his realm, taking advantage of this and of his return to idolatry, proposed that he make an image similar to the one seen in his dream, and set it up where all might behold the head of gold, which had been interpreted as representing his kingdom.

    Pleased with the flattering suggestion, he determined to carry it out, and to go even farther. Instead of reproducing the image as he had seen it, he would excel the original. His image should not deteriorate in value from the head to the feet, but should be entirely of gold--symbolic throughout of Babylon as an eternal, indestructible, all-powerful kingdom, which should break in pieces all other kingdoms and stand forever.

    The thought of establishing the empire and a dynasty that should endure forever, appealed very strongly to the mighty ruler before whose arms the nations of earth had been unable to stand. With an enthusiasm born of boundless ambition and selfish pride, he entered into counsel with his wise men as to how to bring this about. Forgetting the remarkable providences connected with the dream of the great image; forgetting also that the God of Israel through His servant Daniel had made plain the significance of the image, and that in connection with this interpretation the great men of the realm had been saved an ignominious death; forgetting all except their desire to establish their own power and supremacy, the king and his counselors of state determined that by every means possible they would endeavor to exalt Babylon as supreme, and worthy of universal allegiance.

    The symbolic representation by which God had revealed to king and people His purpose for the nations of earth, was now to be made to serve for the glorification of human power. Daniel's interpretation was to be rejected and forgotten; truth was to be misinterpreted and misapplied. The symbol designed of Heaven to unfold to the minds of men important events of the future, was to be used to hinder the spread of the knowledge that God desired the world to receive. Thus through the devisings of ambitious men, Satan was seeking to thwart the divine purpose for the human race. The enemy of mankind knew that truth unmixed with error is a power mighty to save; but that when used to exalt self and to further the projects of men, it becomes a power for evil.

    From his rich store of treasure, Nebuchadnezzar caused to be made a great golden image, similar in its general features to that which had been seen in vision, save in the one particular of the material of which it was composed. Accustomed as they were to magnificent representations of their heathen deities, the Chaldeans had never before produced anything so imposing and majestic as this resplendent statue, threescore cubits in height and six cubits in breadth. And it is not surprising that in a land where idol worship was of universal prevalence, the beautiful and priceless image in the plain of Dura, representing the glory of Babylon and its magnificence and power, should be consecrated as an object of worship. This was accordingly provided for, and a decree went forth that on the day of the dedication all should show their supreme loyalty to the Babylonian power by bowing before the image.

    The appointed day came, and a vast concourse from all "people, nations, and languages," assembled on the plain of Dura. In harmony with the king's command, when the sound of music was heard, the whole company "fell down and worshipped the golden image." On that eventful day the powers of darkness seemed to be gaining a signal triumph; the worship of the golden image bade fair to become connected permanently with the established forms of idolatry recognized as the state religion of the land. Satan hoped thereby to defeat God's purpose of making the presence of captive Israel in Babylon a means of blessing to all the nations of heathendom.

    But God decreed otherwise. Not all had bowed the knee to the idolatrous symbol of human power. In the midst of the worshipping multitude there were three men who were firmly resolved not thus to dishonor the God of heaven. Their God was King of kings and Lord of lords; they would bow to none other.

    To Nebuchadnezzar, flushed with triumph, was brought the word that among his subjects there were some who dared disobey his mandate. Certain of the wise men, jealous of the honors that had been bestowed upon the faithful companions of Daniel, now reported to the king their flagrant violation of his wishes. "O king, live forever," they exclaimed. "There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."

    The king commanded that the men be brought before him. "Is it true," he inquired, "do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?" He endeavored by threats to induce them to unite with the multitude. Pointing to the fiery furnace, he reminded them of the punishment awaiting them if they should persist in their refusal to obey his will. But firmly the Hebrews testified to their allegiance to the God of heaven, and their faith in His power to deliver. The act of bowing to the image was understood by all to be an act of worship. Such homage they could render to God alone.

    As the three Hebrews stood before the king, he was convinced that they possessed something the other wise men of his kingdom did not have. They had been faithful in the performance of every duty. He would give them another trial. If only they would signify their willingness to unite with the multitude in worshiping the image, all would be well with them; "but if ye worship not," he added, "ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace." Then with his hand stretched upward in defiance, he demanded, "Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?"

    In vain were the king's threats. He could not turn the men from their allegiance to the Ruler of the universe. From the history of their fathers they had learned that disobedience to God results in dishonor, disaster, and death; and that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, the foundation of all true prosperity. Calmly facing the furnace, they said, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so [if this is your decision], our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king." Their faith strengthened as they declared that God would be glorified by delivering them, and with triumphant assurance born of implicit trust in God, they added, "But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."

    The king's wrath knew no bounds. "Full of fury," "the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego," representatives of a despised and captive race. Directing that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than its wont, he commanded the mighty men of his army to bind the worshipers of Israel's God, preparatory to summary execution.

    "Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego."

    But the Lord did not forget His own. As His witnesses were cast into the furnace, the Saviour revealed Himself to them in person, and together they walked in the midst of the fire. In the presence of the Lord of heat and cold, the flames lost their power to consume. From his royal seat the king looked on, expecting to see the men who had defied him utterly destroyed. But his feelings of triumph suddenly changed. The nobles standing near saw his face grow pale as he started from the throne and looked intently into the glowing flames. In alarm the king, turning to his lords, asked, "Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? . . . Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God."

    How did that heathen king know what the Son of God was like? The Hebrew captives filling positions of trust in Babylon had in life and character represented before him the truth. When asked for a reason of their faith, they had given it without hesitation. Plainly and simply they had presented the principles of righteousness, thus teaching those around them of the God whom they worshiped. They had told of Christ, the Redeemer to come; and in the form of the fourth in the midst of the fire the king recognized the Son of God.

    And now, his own greatness and dignity forgotten, Nebuchadnezzar descended from his throne and, going to the mouth of the furnace, cried out, "Ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither."

    Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came forth before the vast multitude, showing themselves unhurt. The presence of their Saviour had guarded them from harm, and only their fetters had been burned. "And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counselors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them."

    Forgotten was the great golden image, set up with such pomp. In the presence of the living God, men feared and trembled. "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego," the humbled king was constrained to acknowledge, "who hath sent His angel, and delivered His servants that trusted in Him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God."

    The experiences of that day led Nebuchadnezzar to issue a decree, "that every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill." "There is no other god," he urged as the reason for the decree, "that can deliver after this sort."

    In these and like words the king of Babylon endeavored to spread abroad before all the peoples of earth his conviction that the power and authority of the God of the Hebrews was worthy of supreme adoration. And God was pleased with the effort of the king to show Him reverence, and to make the royal confession of allegiance as widespread as was the Babylonian realm.

    It was right for the king to make public confession, and to seek to exalt the God of heaven above all other gods; but in endeavoring to force his subjects to make a similar confession of faith and to show similar reverence, Nebuchadnezzar was exceeding his right as a temporal sovereign. He had no more right, either civil or moral, to threaten men with death for not worshiping God, than he had to make the decree consigning to the flames all who refused to worship the golden image. God never compels the obedience of man. He leaves all free to choose whom they will serve.

    By the deliverance of His faithful servants, the Lord declared that He takes His stand with the oppressed, and rebukes all earthly powers that rebel against the authority of Heaven. The three Hebrews declared to the whole nation of Babylon their faith in Him whom they worshiped. They relied on God. In the hour of their trial they remembered the promise, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." Isaiah 43:2. And in a marvelous manner their faith in the living Word had been honored in the sight of all. The tidings of their wonderful deliverance were carried to many countries by the representatives of the different nations that had been invited by Nebuchadnezzar to the dedication. Through the faithfulness of His children, God was glorified in all the earth.

    Important are the lessons to be learned from the experience of the Hebrew youth on the plain of Dura. In this our day, many of God's servants, though innocent of wrongdoing, will be given over to suffer humiliation and abuse at the hands of those who, inspired by Satan, are filled with envy and religious bigotry. Especially will the wrath of man be aroused against those who hallow the Sabbath of the fourth commandment; and at last a universal decree will denounce these as deserving of death.

    The season of distress before God's people will call for a faith that will not falter. His children must make it manifest that He is the only object of their worship, and that no consideration, not even that of life itself, can induce them to make the least concession to false worship. To the loyal heart the commands of sinful, finite men will sink into insignificance beside the word of the eternal God. Truth will be obeyed though the result be imprisonment or exile or death.

    As in the days of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, so in the closing period of earth's history the Lord will work mightily in behalf of those who stand steadfastly for the right. He who walked with the Hebrew worthies in the fiery furnace will be with His followers wherever they are. His abiding presence will comfort and sustain. In the midst of the time of trouble--trouble such as has not been since there was a nation--His chosen ones will stand unmoved. Satan with all the hosts of evil cannot destroy the weakest of God's saints. Angels that excel in strength will protect them, and in their behalf Jehovah will reveal Himself as a "God of gods," able to save to the uttermost those who have put their trust in Him.

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk42.html Exalted to the pinnacle of worldly honor, and acknowledged even by Inspiration as "a king of kings" (Ezekiel 26:7). Nebuchadnezzar nevertheless at times had ascribed to the favor of Jehovah the glory of his kingdom and the splendor of his reign. Such had been the case after his dream of the great image. His mind had been profoundly influenced by this vision and by the thought that the Babylonian Empire, universal though it was, was finally to fall, and other kingdoms were to bear sway, until at last all earthly powers were to be superseded by a kingdom set up by the God of heaven, which kingdom was never to be destroyed.

    Nebuchadnezzar's noble conception of God's purpose concerning the nations was lost sight of later in his experience; yet when his proud spirit was humbled before the multitude on the plain of Dura, he once more had acknowledged that God's kingdom is "an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation." An idolater by birth and training, and at the head of an idolatrous people, he had nevertheless an innate sense of justice and right, and God was able to use him as an instrument for the punishment of the rebellious and for the fulfillment of the divine purpose. "The terrible of the nations" (Ezekiel 28:7), it was given Nebuchadnezzar, after years of patient and wearing labor, to conquer Tyre; Egypt also fell a prey to his victorious armies; and as he added nation after nation to the Babylonian realm, he added more and more to his fame as the greatest ruler of the age.

    It is not surprising that the successful monarch, so ambitious and so proud-spirited, should be tempted to turn aside from the path of humility, which alone leads to true greatness. In the intervals between his wars of conquest he gave much thought to the strengthening and beautifying of his capital, until at length the city of Babylon became the chief glory of his kingdom, "the golden city," "the praise of the whole earth." His passion as a builder, and his signal success in making Babylon one of the wonders of the world, ministered to his pride, until he was in grave danger of spoiling his record as a wise ruler whom God could continue to use as an instrument for the carrying out of the divine purpose.

    In mercy God gave the king another dream, to warn him of his peril and of the snare that had been laid for his ruin. In a vision of the night, Nebuchadnezzar saw a great tree growing in the midst of the earth, its top towering to the heavens and its branches stretching to the ends of the earth. Flocks and herds from the mountains and hills enjoyed shelter beneath its shadow, and the birds of the air built their nests in its boughs. "The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: . . . and all flesh was fed of it."

    As the king gazed upon the lofty tree, he beheld "a Watcher," even "an Holy One," who approached the tree and in a loud voice cried:

    "Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches: nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth: let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men."

    Greatly troubled by the dream, which was evidently a prediction of adversity, the king repeated it to "the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers;" but although the dream was very explicit, none of the wise men could interpret it.

    Once more in this idolatrous nation, testimony was to be borne to the fact that only those who love and fear God can understand the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. The king in his perplexity sent for his servant Daniel, a man esteemed for his integrity and constancy and for his unrivaled wisdom.

    When Daniel, in response to the royal summons, stood in the king's presence, Nebuchadnezzar said, "O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof." After relating the dream, Nebuchadnezzar said: "O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee."

    To Daniel the meaning of the dream was plain, and its significance startled him. He "was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him." Seeing Daniel's hesitation and distress, the king expressed sympathy for his servant. "Belteshazzar," he said, "let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee."

    "My lord," Daniel answered, "the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies." The prophet realized that upon him God had laid the solemn duty of revealing to Nebuchadnezzar the judgment that was about to fall upon him because of his pride and arrogance. Daniel must interpret the dream in language the king could understand; and although its dreadful import had made him hesitate in dumb amazement, yet he must state the truth, whatever the consequences to himself.

    Then Daniel made known the mandate of the Almighty. "The tree that thou sawest," he said, "which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth; whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beast of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation: it is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.

    "And whereas the king saw a Watcher and an Holy One coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him; this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which is come upon my lord the king: that they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will. And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the Heavens do rule."

    Having faithfully interpreted the dream, Daniel urged the proud monarch to repent and turn to God, that by rightdoing he might avert the threatened calamity. "O king," the prophet pleaded, "let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity."

    For a time the impression of the warning and the counsel of the prophet was strong upon Nebuchadnezzar; but the heart that is not transformed by the grace of God soon loses the impressions of the Holy Spirit. Self-indulgence and ambition had not yet been eradicated from the king's heart, and later on these traits reappeared. Notwithstanding the instruction so graciously given him, and the warnings of past experience, Nebuchadnezzar again allowed himself to be controlled by a spirit of jealousy against the kingdoms that were to follow. His rule, which heretofore had been to a great degree just and merciful, became oppressive. Hardening his heart, he used his God-given talents for self-glorification, exalting himself above the God who had given him life and power.

    For months the judgment of God lingered. But instead of being led to repentance by this forbearance, the king indulged his pride until he lost confidence in the interpretation of the dream, and jested at his former fears.

    A year from the time he had received the warning, Nebuchadnezzar, walking in his palace and thinking with pride of his power as a ruler and of his success as a builder, exclaimed, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?"

    While the proud boast was yet on the king's lips, a voice from heaven announced that God's appointed time of judgment had come. Upon his ears fell the mandate of Jehovah: "O King Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will."

    In a moment the reason that God had given him was taken away; the judgment that the king thought perfect, the wisdom on which he prided himself, was removed, and the once mighty ruler was a maniac. His hand could no longer sway the scepter. The messages of warning had been unheeded; now, stripped of the power his Creator had given him, and driven from men, Nebuchadnezzar "did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws."

    For seven years Nebuchadnezzar was an astonishment to all his subjects; for seven years he was humbled before all the world. Then his reason was restored and, looking up in humility to the God of heaven, he recognized the divine hand in his chastisement. In a public proclamation he acknowledged his guilt and the great mercy of God in his restoration. "At the end of the days," he said, "I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored Him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?

    "At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honor and brightness returned unto me; and my counselors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me."

    The once proud monarch had become a humble child of God; the tyrannical, overbearing ruler, a wise and compassionate king. He who had defied and blasphemed the God of heaven, now acknowledged the power of the Most High and earnestly sought to promote the fear of Jehovah and the happiness of his subjects. Under the rebuke of Him who is King of kings and Lord of lords, Nebuchadnezzar had learned at last the lesson which all rulers need to learn--that true greatness consists in true goodness. He acknowledged Jehovah as the living God, saying, "I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase."

    God's purpose that the greatest kingdom in the world should show forth His praise was now fulfilled. This public proclamation, in which Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged the mercy and goodness and authority of God, was the last act of his life recorded in sacred history.
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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:31 am

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk43.html Toward the close of Daniel's life great changes were taking place in the land to which, over threescore years before, he and his Hebrew companions had been carried captive. Nebuchadnezzar, "the terrible of the nations" (Ezekiel 28:7), had died, and Babylon, "the praise of the whole earth" (Jeremiah 51:41), had passed under the unwise rule of his successors, and gradual but sure dissolution was resulting.

    Through the folly and weakness of Belshazzar, the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, proud Babylon was soon to fall. Admitted in his youth to a share in kingly authority, Belshazzar gloried in his power and lifted up his heart against the God of heaven. Many had been his opportunities to know the divine will and to understand his responsibility of rendering obedience thereto. He had known of his grandfather's banishment, by the decree of God, from the society of men; and he was familiar with Nebuchadnezzar's conversion and miraculous restoration. But Belshazzar allowed the love of pleasure and self-glorification to efface the lessons that he should never have forgotten. He wasted the opportunities graciously granted him, and neglected to use the means within his reach for becoming more fully acquainted with truth. That which Nebuchadnezzar had finally gained at the cost of untold suffering and humiliation, Belshazzar passed by with indifference.

    It was not long before reverses came. Babylon was besieged by Cyrus, nephew of Darius the Mede, and commanding general of the combined armies of the Medes and Persians. But within the seemingly impregnable fortress, with its massive walls and its gates of brass, protected by the river Euphrates, and stocked with provision in abundance, the voluptuous monarch felt safe and passed his time in mirth and revelry.

    In his pride and arrogancy, with a reckless feeling of security Belshazzar "made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand." All the attractions that wealth and power could command, added splendor to the scene. Beautiful women with their enchantments were among the guests in attendance at the royal banquet. Men of genius and education were there. Princes and statesmen drank wine like water and reveled under its maddening influence.

    With reason dethroned through shameless intoxication, and with lower impulses and passions now in the ascendancy, the king himself took the lead in the riotous orgy. As the feast progressed, he "commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which . . . Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein." The king would prove that nothing was too sacred for his hands to handle. "They brought the golden vessels; . . . and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone."

    Little did Belshazzar think that there was a heavenly Witness to his idolatrous revelry; that a divine Watcher, unrecognized, looked upon the scene of profanation, heard the sacrilegious mirth, beheld the idolatry. But soon the uninvited Guest made His presence felt. When the revelry was at its height a bloodless hand came forth and traced upon the walls of the palace characters that gleamed like fire--words which, though unknown to the vast throng, were a portent of doom to the now conscience-stricken king and his guests.

    Hushed was the boisterous mirth, while men and women, seized with nameless terror, watched the hand slowly tracing the mysterious characters. Before them passed, as in panoramic view, the deeds of their evil lives; they seemed to be arraigned before the judgment bar of the eternal God, whose power they had just defied. Where but a few moments before had been hilarity and blasphemous witticism, were pallid faces and cries of fear. When God makes men fear, they cannot hide the intensity of their terror.

    Belshazzar was the most terrified of them all. He it was who above all others had been responsible for the rebellion against God which that night had reached its height in the Babylonian realm. In the presence of the unseen Watcher, the representative of Him whose power had been challenged and whose name had been blasphemed, the king was paralyzed with fear. Conscience was awakened. "The joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another." Belshazzar had impiously lifted himself up against the God of heaven and had trusted in his own might, not supposing that any would dare say, "Why doest thou thus?" but now he realized that he must render an account of the stewardship entrusted him, and that for his wasted opportunities and his defiant attitude he could offer no excuse.

    In vain the king tried to read the burning letters. But here was a secret he could not fathom, a power he could neither understand nor gainsay. In despair he turned to the wise men of his realm for help. His wild cry rang out in the assembly, calling upon the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers to read the writing. "Whosoever shall read this writing," he promised, "and show me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom." But of no avail was his appeal to his trusted advisers, with offers of rich awards. Heavenly wisdom cannot be bought or sold. "All the king's wise men . . . could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof." They were no more able to read the mysterious characters than had been the wise men of a former generation to interpret the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar.

    Then the queen mother remembered Daniel, who, over half a century before, had made known to King Nebuchadnezzar the dream of the great image and its interpretation. "O king, live forever," she said. "Let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed: there is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar . . . made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers; forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and showing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.

    "Then was Daniel brought in before the king." Making an effort to regain his composure, Belshazzar said to the prophet: "Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry? I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee. And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not show the interpretation of the thing: and I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom."

    Before that terror-stricken throng, Daniel, unmoved by the promises of the king, stood in the quiet dignity of a servant of the Most High, not to speak words of flattery, but to interpret a message of doom. "Let thy gifts be to thyself," he said, "and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation."

    The prophet first reminded Belshazzar of matters with which he was familiar, but which had not taught him the lesson of humility that might have saved him. He spoke of Nebuchadnezzar's sin and fall, and of the Lord's dealings with him--the dominion and glory bestowed upon him, the divine judgment for his pride, and his subsequent acknowledgment of the power and mercy of the God of Israel; and then in bold and emphatic words he rebuked Belshazzar for his great wickedness. He held the king's sin up before him, showing him the lessons he might have learned but did not. Belshazzar had not read aright the experience of his grandfather, nor heeded the warning of events so significant to himself. The opportunity of knowing and obeying the true God had been given him, but had not been taken to heart, and he was about to reap the consequence of his rebellion.

    "Thou, . . . O Belshazzar," the prophet declared, "hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; but hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified: then was the part of the hand set from Him; and this writing was written."

    Turning to the Heaven-sent message on the wall, the prophet read, "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin." The hand that had traced the characters was no longer visible, but these four words were still gleaming forth with terrible distinctness; and now with bated breath the people listened while the aged prophet declared:

    "This is the interpretation of the thing: Mene; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. Tekel; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. Peres; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians."

    In that last night of mad folly, Belshazzar and his lords had filled up the measure of their guilt and the guilt of the Chaldean kingdom. No longer could God's restraining hand ward off the impending evil. Through manifold providences, God had sought to teach them reverence for His law. "We would have healed Babylon," He declared of those whose judgment was now reaching unto heaven, "but she is not healed." Jeremiah 51:9. Because of the strange perversity of the human heart, God had at last found it necessary to pass the irrevocable sentence. Belshazzar was to fall, and his kingdom was to pass into other hands.

    As the prophet ceased speaking, the king commanded that he be awarded the promised honors; and in harmony with this, "they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom."

    More than a century before, Inspiration had foretold that "the night of . . . pleasure" during which king and counselors would vie with one another in blasphemy against God, would suddenly be changed into a season of fear and destruction. And now, in rapid succession, momentous events followed one another exactly as had been portrayed in the prophetic scriptures years before the principals in the drama had been born.

    While still in the festal hall, surrounded by those whose doom has been sealed, the king is informed by a messenger that "his city is taken" by the enemy against whose devices he had felt so secure; "that the passages are stopped, . . . and the men of war are affrighted." Verses 31, 32. Even while he and his nobles were drinking from the sacred vessels of Jehovah, and praising their gods of silver and of gold, the Medes and the Persians, having turned the Euphrates out of its channel, were marching into the heart of the unguarded city. The army of Cyrus now stood under the walls of the palace; the city was filled with the soldiers of the enemy, "as with caterpillars" (verse 14); and their triumphant shouts could be heard above the despairing cries of the astonished revelers.

    "In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain," and an alien monarch sat upon the throne.

    Clearly had the Hebrew prophets spoken concerning the manner in which Babylon should fall. As in vision God had revealed to them the events of the future, they had exclaimed: "How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! how is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!" "How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!" "At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth is moved, and the cry is heard among the nations."

    "Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed." "The spoiler is come upon her, even upon Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, every one of their bows is broken: for the Lord God of recompenses shall surely requite. And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts."

    "I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware: thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the Lord. The Lord hath opened His armory, and hath brought forth the weapons of His indignation: for this is the work of the Lord God of hosts in the land of the Chaldeans."

    "Thus saith the Lord of hosts; The children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together: and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go. Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is His name: He shall throughly plead their cause, that He may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon." Jeremiah 51:41; 50:23, 46; 51:8, 56, 57; 50:24, 25, 33, 34.

    Thus "the broad walls of Babylon" became "utterly broken, and her high gates. . . burned with fire." Thus did Jehovah of hosts "cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease," and lay low "the haughtiness of the terrible." Thus did "Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency," become as Sodom and Gomorrah-- a place forever accursed. "It shall never be inhabited," Inspiration has declared, "neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces." "I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the Lord of hosts." Jeremiah 51:58; Isaiah 13:11, 19-22; 14:23.

    To the last ruler of Babylon, as in type to its first, had come the sentence of the divine Watcher: "O king, . . . to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee." Daniel 4:31.

    "Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of
    Babylon,
    Sit on the ground: there is no throne. . . .
    Sit thou silent,
    And get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans:
    For thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms.
    "I was wroth with My people,
    I have polluted Mine inheritance, and given them into
    thine hand:
    Thou didst show them no mercy; . . .

    "And thou saidst, I shall be a lady forever:
    So that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart,
    Neither didst remember the latter end of it.

    "Therefore hear now this,
    Thou that art given to pleasures
    That dwellest carelessly,
    That sayest in thine heart,
    I am, and none else beside me;
    I shall not sit as a widow,
    Neither shall I know the loss of children: . . .
    "These two things shall come to thee in a moment in
    one day,
    The loss of children, and widowhood:
    They shall come upon thee in their perfection for the
    multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great
    abundance of thine enchantments.
    For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness:
    Thou hast said, None seeth me.

    "Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee;
    And thou hast said in thine heart,
    I am, and none else beside me.
    Therefore shall evil come upon thee;
    Thou shalt not know from whence it riseth:
    And mischief shall fall upon thee;
    Thou shalt not be able to put it off:
    And desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which
    thou shalt not know.

    "Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the
    multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast
    labored from thy youth;
    If so be thou shalt be able to profit,
    If so be thou mayest prevail.

    "Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels.
    Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly
    prognosticators,
    Stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come
    upon thee.
    Behold, they shall be as stubble; . . .
    They shall not deliver themselves from the power of the
    flame: . . .
    None shall save thee." Isaiah 47:1-15.

    Every nation that has come upon the stage of action has been permitted to occupy its place on the earth, that the fact might be determined whether it would fulfill the purposes of the Watcher and the Holy One. Prophecy has traced the rise and progress of the world's great empires--Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. With each of these, as with the nations of less power, history has repeated itself. Each has had its period of test; each has failed, its glory faded, its power departed.

    While nations have rejected God's principles, and in this rejection have wrought their own ruin, yet a divine, overruling purpose has manifestly been at work throughout the ages. It was this that the prophet Ezekiel saw in the wonderful representation given him during his exile in the land of the Chaldeans, when before his astonished gaze were portrayed the symbols that revealed an overruling Power that has to do with the affairs of earthly rulers.

    Upon the banks of the river Chebar, Ezekiel beheld a whirlwind seeming to come from the north, "a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the color of amber." A number of wheels intersecting one another were moved by four living beings. High above all these "was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it." "And there appeared in the cherubims the form of a man's hand under their wings." Ezekiel 1:4, 26; 10:8. The wheels were so complicated in arrangement that at first sight they appeared to be in confusion; yet they moved in perfect harmony. Heavenly beings, sustained and guided by the hand beneath the wings of the cherubim, were impelling those wheels; above them, upon the sapphire throne, was the Eternal One; and round about the throne was a rainbow, the emblem of divine mercy.

    As the wheellike complications were under the guidance of the hand beneath the wings of the cherubim, so the complicated play of human events is under divine control. Amidst the strife and tumult of nations He that sitteth above the cherubim still guides the affairs of this earth.

    The history of nations speaks to us today. To every nation and to every individual God has assigned a place in His great plan. Today men and nations are being tested by the plummet in the hand of Him who makes no mistake. All are by their own choice deciding their destiny, and God is overruling all for the accomplishment of His purposes.

    The prophecies which the great I am has given in His word, uniting link after link in the chain of events, from eternity in the past to eternity in the future, tell us where we are today in the procession of the ages and what may be expected in the time to come. All that prophecy has foretold as coming to pass, until the present time, has been traced on the pages of history, and we may be assured that all which is yet to come will be fulfilled in its order.

    Today the signs of the times declare that we are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Everything in our world is in agitation. Before our eyes is fulfilling the Saviour's prophecy of the events to precede His coming: "Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars. . . . Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places." Matthew 24:6, 7.

    The present is a time of overwhelming interest to all living. Rulers and statesmen, men who occupy positions of trust and authority, thinking men and women of all classes, have their attention fixed upon the events taking place about us. They are watching the relations that exist among the nations. They observe the intensity that is taking possession of every earthly element, and they recognize that something great and decisive is about to take place--that the world is on the verge of a stupendous crisis.

    The Bible, and the Bible only, gives a correct view of these things. Here are revealed the great final scenes in the history of our world, events that already are casting their shadows before, the sound of their approach causing the earth to tremble and men's hearts to fail them for fear.

    "Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof; . . . because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate." Isaiah 24:1-6.

    "Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come. . . . The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered. How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate." The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men." Joel 1:15-18, 12.

    "I am pained at my very heart; . . . I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled." Jeremiah 4:19, 20.

    "Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it." Jeremiah 30:7.

    "Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge,
    Even the Most High, thy habitation;
    There shall no evil befall thee,
    Neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling."
    Psalm 91:9, 10.

    "O daughter of Zion, . . . the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies. Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they His counsel." Micah 4:10-12. God will not fail His church in the hour of her greatest peril. He has promised deliverance. "I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents," He has declared, "and have mercy on his dwelling places." Jeremiah 30:18.

    Then will the purpose of God be fulfilled; the principles of His kingdom will be honored by all beneath the sun.

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk44.html When Darius the Median took the throne formerly occupied by the Babylonian rulers, he at once proceeded to reorganize the government. He "set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes; . . . and over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm."

    The honors bestowed upon Daniel excited the jealousy of the leading men of the kingdom, and they sought for occasion of complaint against him. But they could find none, "forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.

    Daniel's blameless conduct excited still further the jealousy of his enemies. "We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel," they were constrained to acknowledge, "except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.

    Thereupon the presidents and princes, counseling together, devised a scheme whereby they hoped to accomplish the prophet's destruction. They determined to ask the king to sign a decree which they should prepare, forbidding any person in the realm to ask anything of God or man, except of Darius the king, for the space of thirty days. A violation of this decree should be punished by casting the offender into a den of lions.

    Accordingly, the princes prepared such a decree, and presented it to Darius for his signature. Appealing to his vanity, they persuaded him that the carrying out of this edict would add greatly to his honor and authority. Ignorant of the subtle purpose of the princes, the king did not discern their animosity as revealed in the decree, and, yielding to their flattery, he signed it.

    The enemies of Daniel left the presence of Darius, rejoicing over the snare now securely laid for the servant of Jehovah. In the conspiracy thus formed, Satan had played an important part. The prophet was high in command in the kingdom, and evil angels feared that his influence would weaken their control over its rulers. It was these satanic agencies who had stirred the princes to envy and jealousy; it was they who had inspired the plan for Daniel's destruction; and the princes, yielding themselves as instruments of evil, carried it into effect.

    The prophet's enemies counted on Daniel's firm adherence to principle for the success of their plan. And they were not mistaken in their estimate of his character. He quickly read their malignant purpose in framing the decree, but he did not change his course in a single particular. Why should he cease to pray now, when he most needed to pray? Rather would he relinquish life itself, than his hope of help in God. With calmness he performed his duties as chief of the princes; and at the hour of prayer he went to his chamber, and with his windows open toward Jerusalem, in accordance with his usual custom, he offered his petition to the God of heaven. He did not try to conceal his act. Although he knew full well the consequences of his fidelity to God, his spirit faltered not. Before those who were plotting his ruin, he would not allow it even to appear that his connection with Heaven was severed. In all cases where the king had a right to command, Daniel would obey; but neither the king nor his decree could make him swerve from allegiance to the King of kings.

    Thus the prophet boldly yet quietly and humbly declared that no earthly power has a right to interpose between the soul and God. Surrounded by idolaters, he was a faithful witness to this truth. His dauntless adherence to right was a bright light in the moral darkness of that heathen court. Daniel stands before the world today a worthy example of Christian fearlessness and fidelity.

    For an entire day the princes watched Daniel. Three times they saw him go to his chamber, and three times they heard his voice lifted in earnest intercession to God. The next morning they laid their complaint before the king. Daniel, his most honored and faithful statesman, had set the royal decree at defiance. "Hast thou not signed a decree," they reminded him, "that every man that shall ask a petition of any god or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?"

    "The thing is true," the king answered, "according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not."

    Exultantly they now informed Darius of the conduct of his most trusted adviser. "That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah," they exclaimed, "regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day."

    When the monarch heard these words, he saw at once the snare that had been set for his faithful servant. He saw that it was not zeal for kingly glory and honor, but jealousy against Daniel, that had led to the proposal for a royal decree. "Sore displeased with himself" for his part in the evil that had been wrought, he "labored till the going down of the sun" to deliver his friend. The princes, anticipating this effort on the part of the king, came to him with the words, "Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, that no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed." The decree, though rashly made, was unalterable and must be carried into effect.

    "Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, He will deliver thee." A stone was laid on the mouth of the den, and the king himself "sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep went from him."

    God did not prevent Daniel's enemies from casting him into the lions' den; He permitted evil angels and wicked men thus far to accomplish their purpose; but it was that He might make the deliverance of His servant more marked, and the defeat of the enemies of truth and righteousness more complete. "Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee" (Psalm 76:10), the psalmist has testified. Through the courage of this one man who chose to follow right rather than policy, Satan was to be defeated, and the name of God was to be exalted and honored. Early the next morning King Darius hastened to the den and "cried with a lamentable voice," "O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?"

    The voice of the prophet replied: "O king, live forever. My God hath sent His angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before Him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

    "Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.

    "And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den."

    Once more a proclamation was issued by a heathen ruler, exalting the God of Daniel as the true God. "King Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, that in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for He is the living God, and steadfast forever, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and He worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions."

    The wicked opposition to God's servant was now completely broken. "Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian." And through association with him, these heathen monarchs were constrained to acknowledge his God as "the living God, and steadfast forever, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."

    From the story of Daniel's deliverance we may learn that in seasons of trial and gloom God's children should be just what they were when their prospects were bright with hope and their surroundings all that they could desire. Daniel in the lions' den was the same Daniel who stood before the king as chief among the ministers of state and as a prophet of the Most High. A man whose heart is stayed upon God will be the same in the hour of his greatest trial as he is in prosperity, when the light and favor of God and of man beam upon him. Faith reaches to the unseen, and grasps eternal realities.

    Heaven is very near those who suffer for righteousness' sake. Christ identifies His interests with the interests of His faithful people; He suffers in the person of His saints, and whoever touches His chosen ones touches Him. The power that is near to deliver from physical harm or distress is also near to save from the greater evil, making it possible for the servant of God to maintain his integrity under all circumstances, and to triumph through divine grace.

    The experience of Daniel as a statesman in the kingdoms of Babylon and Medo-Persia reveals the truth that a businessman is not necessarily a designing, policy man, but that he may be a man instructed by God at every step. Daniel, the prime minister of the greatest of earthly kingdoms, was at the same time a prophet of God, receiving the light of heavenly inspiration. A man of like passions as ourselves, the pen of inspiration describes him as without fault. His business transactions, when subjected to the closest scrutiny of his enemies, were found to be without one flaw. He was an example of what every businessman may become when his heart is converted and consecrated, and when his motives are right in the sight of God.

    Strict compliance with the requirements of Heaven brings temporal as well as spiritual blessings. Unwavering in his allegiance to God, unyielding in his mastery of self, Daniel, by his noble dignity and unswerving integrity, while yet a young man, won the "favor and tender love" of the heathen officer in whose charge he had been placed. Daniel 1:9. The same characteristics marked his afterlife. He rose speedily to the position of prime minister of the kingdom of Babylon. Through the reign of successive monarchs, the downfall of the nation, and the establishment of another world empire, such were his wisdom and statesmanship, so perfect his tact, his courtesy, his genuine goodness of heart, his fidelity to principle, that even his enemies were forced to the confession that "they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful."

    Honored by men with the responsibilities of state and with the secrets of kingdoms bearing universal sway, Daniel was honored by God as His ambassador, and was given many revelations of the mysteries of ages to come. His wonderful prophecies, as recorded by him in chapters 7 to 12 of the book bearing his name, were not fully understood even by the prophet himself; but before his life labors closed, he was given the blessed assurance that "at the end of the days"--in the closing period of this world's history--he would again be permitted to stand in his lot and place. It was not given him to understand all that God had revealed of the divine purpose. "Shut up the words, and seal the book," he was directed concerning his prophetic writings; these were to be sealed "even to the time of the end." "Go thy way, Daniel," the angel once more directed the faithful messenger of Jehovah; "for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. . . . Go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days." Daniel 12:4, 9, 13.

    As we near the close of this world's history, the prophecies recorded by Daniel demand our special attention, as they relate to the very time in which we are living. With them should be linked the teachings of the last book of the New Testament Scriptures. Satan has led many to believe that the prophetic portions of the writings of Daniel and of John the revelator cannot be understood. But the promise is plain that special blessing will accompany the study of these prophecies. "The wise shall understand" (verse 10), was spoken of the visions of Daniel that were to be unsealed in the latter days; and of the revelation that Christ gave to His servant John for the guidance of God's people all through the centuries, the promise is, "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein." Revelation 1:3.

    From the rise and fall of nations as made plain in the books of Daniel and the Revelation, we need to learn how worthless is mere outward and worldly glory. Babylon, with all its power and magnificence, the like of which our world has never since beheld,--power and magnificence which to the people of that day seemed so stable and enduring, --how completely has it passed away! As "the flower of the grass," it has perished. James 1:10. So perished the Medo-Persian kingdom, and the kingdoms of Grecia and Rome. And so perishes all that has not God for its foundation. Only that which is bound up with His purpose, and expresses His character, can endure. His principles are the only steadfast things our world knows.

    A careful study of the working out of God's purpose in the history of nations and in the revelation of things to come, will help us to estimate at their true value things seen and things unseen, and to learn what is the true aim of life. Thus, viewing the things of time in the light of eternity, we may, like Daniel and his fellows, live for that which is true and noble and enduring. And learning in this life the principles of the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, that blessed kingdom which is to endure for ever and ever, we may be prepared at His coming to enter with Him into its possession.
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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:47 am

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk45.html The advent of the army of Cyrus before the walls of Babylon was to the Jews a sign that their deliverance from captivity was drawing nigh. More than a century before the birth of Cyrus, Inspiration had mentioned him by name, and had caused a record to be made of the actual work he should do in taking the city of Babylon unawares, and in preparing the way for the release of the children of the captivity. Through Isaiah the word had been spoken:

    "Thus saith the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; . . . to open before him the two-leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: and I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel." Isaiah 45:1-3.

    In the unexpected entry of the army of the Persian conqueror into the heart of the Babylonian capital by way of the channel of the river whose waters had been turned aside, and through the inner gates that in careless security had been left open and unprotected, the Jews had abundant evidence of the literal fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy concerning the sudden overthrow of their oppressors. And this should have been to them an unmistakable sign that God was shaping the affairs of nations in their behalf; for inseparably linked with the prophecy outlining the manner of Babylon's capture and fall were the words:

    "Cyrus, he is My shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid." "I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build My city, and he shall let go My captives, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of hosts." Isaiah 44:28; 45:13.

    Nor were these the only prophecies upon which the exiles had opportunity to base their hope of speedy deliverance. The writings of Jeremiah were within their reach, and in these was plainly set forth the length of time that should elapse before the restoration of Israel from Babylon. "When seventy years are accomplished," the Lord had foretold through His messenger, "I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations." Jeremiah 25:12. Favor would be shown the remnant of Judah, in answer to fervent prayer. "I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive." Jeremiah 29:14.

    Often had Daniel and his companions gone over these and similar prophecies outlining God's purpose for His people. And now, as the rapid course of events betokened the mighty hand of God at work among the nations, Daniel gave special thought to the promises made to Israel. His faith in the prophetic word led him to enter into experiences foretold by the sacred writers. "After seventy years be accomplished at Babylon," the Lord had declared, "I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return. . . . I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart." Verses 10-13.

    Shortly before the fall of Babylon, when Daniel was meditating on these prophecies and seeking God for an understanding of the times, a series of visions was given him concerning the rise and fall of kingdoms. With the first vision, as recorded in the seventh chapter of the book of Daniel, an interpretation was given; yet not all was made clear to the prophet. "My cogitations much troubled me," he wrote of his experience at the time, "and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart." Daniel 7:28.

    Through another vision further light was thrown upon the events of the future; and it was at the close of this vision that Daniel heard "one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision?" Daniel 8:13. The answer that was given, "Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed" (verse 14), filled him with perplexity. Earnestly he sought for the meaning of the vision. He could not understand the relation sustained by the seventy years' captivity, as foretold through Jeremiah, to the twenty-three hundred years that in vision he heard the heavenly visitant declare should elapse before the cleansing of God's sanctuary. The angel Gabriel gave him a partial interpretation; yet when the prophet heard the words, "The vision . . . shall be for many days," he fainted away. "I Daniel fainted," he records of his experience, "and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it." Verses 26, 27.

    Still burdened in behalf of Israel, Daniel studied anew the prophecies of Jeremiah. They were very plain--so plain that he understood by these testimonies recorded in books "the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem." Daniel 9:2.

    With faith founded on the sure word of prophecy, Daniel pleaded with the Lord for the speedy fulfillment of these promises. He pleaded for the honor of God to be preserved. In his petition he identified himself fully with those who had fallen short of the divine purpose, confessing their sins as his own.

    "I set my face unto the Lord God," the prophet declared, "to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: and I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession." Verses 3, 4. Though Daniel had long been in the service of God, and had been spoken of by heaven as "greatly beloved," yet he now appeared before God as a sinner, urging the great need of the people he loved. His prayer was eloquent in its simplicity, and intensely earnest. Hear him pleading:

    "O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love Him, and to them that keep His commandments; we have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from Thy precepts and from Thy judgments; neither have we hearkened unto Thy servants the prophets, which spake in Thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

    "O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto Thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither Thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against Thee. . . .

    "To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him." "O Lord, according to all Thy righteousness, I beseech Thee, let Thine anger and Thy fury be turned away from Thy city Jerusalem, Thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.

    "Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of Thy servant, and his supplications, and cause Thy face to shine upon Thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake. O my God, incline Thine ear, and hear; open Thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by Thy name: for we do not present our supplications before Thee for our righteousness, but for Thy great mercies.

    "O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for Thine own sake, O my God: for Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name." Verses 4-9, 16-19.

    Heaven was bending low to hear the earnest supplication of the prophet. Even before he had finished his plea for pardon and restoration, the mighty Gabriel again appeared to him, and called his attention to the vision he had seen prior to the fall of Babylon and the death of Belshazzar. And then the angel outlined before him in detail the period of the seventy weeks, which was to begin at the time of "the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem." Verse 25.

    Daniel's prayer had been offered "in the first year of Darius" (verse 1), the Median monarch whose general, Cyrus, had wrested from Babylonia the scepter of universal rule. The reign of Darius was honored of God. To him was sent the angel Gabriel, "to confirm and to strengthen him." Daniel 11:1. Upon his death, within about two years of the fall of Babylon, Cyrus succeeded to the throne, and the beginning of his reign marked the completion of the seventy years since the first company of Hebrews had been taken by Nebuchadnezzar from their Judean home to Babylon.

    The deliverance of Daniel from the den of lions had been used of God to create a favorable impression upon the mind of Cyrus the Great. The sterling qualities of the man of God as a statesman of farseeing ability led the Persian ruler to show him marked respect and to honor his judgment. And now, just at the time God had said He would cause His temple at Jerusalem to be rebuilt, He moved upon Cyrus as His agent to discern the prophecies concerning himself, with which Daniel was so familiar, and to grant the Jewish people their liberty.

    As the king saw the words foretelling, more than a hundred years before his birth, the manner in which Babylon should be taken; as he read the message addressed to him by the Ruler of the universe, "I girded thee, though thou hast not known Me: that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside Me;" as he saw before his eyes the declaration of the eternal God, "For Jacob My servant's sake, and Israel Mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known Me;" as he traced the inspired record, "I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build My city, and he shall let go My captives, not for price nor reward," his heart was profoundly moved, and he determined to fulfill his divinely appointed mission. Isaiah 45:5, 6, 4, 13. He would let the Judean captives go free; he would help them restore the temple of Jehovah.

    In a written proclamation published "throughout all his kingdom," Cyrus made known his desire to provide for the return of the Hebrews and for the rebuilding of their temple. "The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth," the king gratefully acknowledged in this public proclamation; "and He hath charged me to build Him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, . . . and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (He is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering." Ezra 1:1-4.

    "Let the house be builded," he further directed regarding the temple structure, "the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid; the height thereof threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof threescore cubits; with three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber: and let the expenses be given out of the king's house: and also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought unto Babylon, be restored, and brought again unto the temple which is at Jerusalem." Ezra 6:3-5.

    Tidings of this decree reached the farthermost provinces of the king's realm, and everywhere among the children of the dispersion there was great rejoicing. Many, like Daniel, had been studying the prophecies, and had been seeking God for His promised intervention in behalf of Zion. And now their prayers were being answered; and with heartfelt joy they could unite in singing:

    "When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion,
    We were like them that dream.
    Then was our mouth filled with laughter,
    And our tongue with singing:
    Then said they among the heathen,
    The Lord hath done great things for them.
    The Lord hath done great things for us;
    Whereof we are glad."
    Psalm 126:1-3.

    "The chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised"--these were the goodly remnant, about fifty thousand strong, from among the Jews in the lands of exile, who determined to take advantage of the wonderful opportunity offered them "to go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem." Their friends did not permit them to go empty-handed. "All they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things." And to these and many other voluntary offerings were added "the vessels of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem; . . . even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, . . . five thousand and four hundred" in number, for use in the temple that was to be rebuilt. Ezra 1:5-11.

    Upon Zerubbabel (known also as Sheshbazzar), a descendant of King David, Cyrus placed the responsibility of acting as governor of the company returning to Judea; and with him was associated Joshua the high priest. The long journey across the desert wastes was accomplished in safety, and the happy company, grateful to God for His many mercies, at once undertook the work of re-establishing that which had been broken down and destroyed. "The chief of the fathers" led out in offering of their substance to help defray the expense of rebuilding the temple; and the people, following their example, gave freely of their meager store. See Ezra 2:64-70.

    As speedily as possible, an altar was erected on the site of the ancient altar in the temple court. To the exercises connected with the dedication of this altar, the people had "gathered themselves together as one man;" and there they united in re-establishing the sacred services that had been interrupted at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Before separating to dwell in the homes they were endeavoring to restore, "they kept also the Feast of Tabernacles." Ezra 3:1-6.

    The setting up of the altar of daily burnt offerings greatly cheered the faithful remnant. Heartily they entered into the preparations necessary for the rebuilding of the temple, gathering courage as these preparations advanced from month to month. They had for many years been deprived of the visible tokens of God's presence. And now, surrounded as they were by many sad reminders of the apostasy of their fathers, they longed for some abiding token of divine forgiveness and favor. Above the regaining of personal property and ancient privileges, they valued the approval of God. Wonderfully had He wrought in their behalf, and they felt the assurance of His presence with them; yet they desired greater blessings still. With joyous anticipation they looked forward to the time when, with temple rebuilt, they might behold the shining forth of His glory from within.

    The workmen engaged in the preparation of the building material, found among the ruins some of the immense stones brought to the temple site in the days of Solomon. These were made ready for use, and much new material was provided; and soon the work was advanced to the point where the foundation stone must be laid. This was done in the presence of many thousands who had assembled to witness the progress of the work and to give expression to their joy in having a part in it. While the cornerstone was being set in position, the people, accompanied by the trumpets of the priests and the cymbals of the sons of Asaph, "sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord; because He is good, for His mercy endureth forever toward Israel." Verse 11.

    The house that was about to be rebuilt had been the subject of many prophecies concerning the favor that God desired to show Zion, and all who were present at the laying of the cornerstone should have entered heartily into the spirit of the occasion. Yet mingled with the music and the shouts of praise that were heard on that glad day, was a discordant note. "Many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice." Verse 12.

    It was natural that sadness should fill the hearts of these aged men, as they thought of the results of long-continued impenitence. Had they and their generation obeyed God, and carried out His purpose for Israel, the temple built by Solomon would not have been destroyed and the captivity would not have been necessary. But because of ingratitude and disloyalty they had been scattered among the heathen.

    Conditions were now changed. In tender mercy the Lord had again visited His people and allowed them to return to their own land. Sadness because of the mistakes of the past should have given way to feelings of great joy. God had moved upon the heart of Cyrus to aid them in rebuilding the temple, and this should have called forth expressions of profound gratitude. But some failed of discerning God's opening providences. Instead of rejoicing, they cherished thoughts of discontent and discouragement. They had seen the glory of Solomon's temple, and they lamented because of the inferiority of the building now to be erected.

    The murmuring and complaining, and the unfavorable comparisons made, had a depressing influence on the minds of many and weakened the hands of the builders. The workmen were led to question whether they should proceed with the erection of a building that at the beginning was so freely criticized and was the cause of so much lamentation.

    There were many in the congregation, however, whose larger faith and broader vision did not lead them to view this lesser glory with such dissatisfaction. "Many shouted aloud for joy: so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off." Verses 12, 13.

    Could those who failed to rejoice at the laying of the foundation stone of the temple have foreseen the results of their lack of faith on that day, they would have been appalled. Little did they realize the weight of their words of disapproval and disappointment; little did they know how much their expressed dissatisfaction would delay the completion of the Lord's house.

    The magnificence of the first temple, and the imposing rites of its religious services, had been a source of pride to Israel before their captivity; but their worship had ofttimes been lacking in those qualities which God regards as most essential. The glory of the first temple, the splendor of its service, could not recommend them to God; for that which is alone of value in His sight, they did not offer. They did not bring Him the sacrifice of a humble and contrite spirit.

    It is when the vital principles of the kingdom of God are lost sight of, that ceremonies become multitudinous and extravagant. It is when the character building is neglected, when the adornment of the soul is lacking, when the simplicity of godliness is despised, that pride and love of display demand magnificent church edifices, splendid adornings, and imposing ceremonials. But in all this God is not honored. He values His church, not for its external advantages, but for the sincere piety which distinguishes it from the world. He estimates it according to the growth of its members in the knowledge of Christ, according to their progress in spiritual experience. He looks for the principles of love and goodness. Not all the beauty of art can bear comparison with the beauty of temper and character to be revealed in those who are Christ's representatives.

    A congregation may be the poorest in the land. It may be without the attractions of any outward show; but if the members possess the principles of the character of Christ, angels will unite with them in their worship. The praise and thanksgiving from grateful hearts will ascend to God as a sweet oblation.

    "Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good:
    For His mercy endureth forever.
    Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
    Whom He hath redeemed from the hand of the
    enemy."
    "Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him:
    Talk ye of all His wondrous works.
    Glory ye in His holy name:
    Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord."

    "For He satisfieth the longing soul,
    And filleth the hungry soul with goodness."
    Psalms 107:1, 2; 105:2, 3; 107:9.

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk46.html Close by the Israelites who had set themselves to the task of rebuilding the temple, dwelt the Samaritans, a mixed race that had sprung up through the intermarriage of heathen colonists from the provinces of Assyria with the remnant of the ten tribes which had been left in Samaria and Galilee. In later years the Samaritans claimed to worship the true God, but in heart and practice they were idolaters. It is true, they held that their idols were but to remind them of the living God, the Ruler of the universe; nevertheless the people were prone to reverence graven images.

    During the period of the restoration, these Samaritans came to be known as "the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin." Hearing that "the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the Lord God of Israel," "they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers," and expressed a desire to unite with them in its erection. "Let us build with you," they proposed; "for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto Him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither." But the privilege they asked was refused them. "Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God," the leaders of the Israelites declared; "but we ourselves together will build unto the Lord God of Israel, as King Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us." Ezra 4:1-3.

    Only a remnant had chosen to return from Babylon; and now, as they undertake a work seemingly beyond their strength, their nearest neighbors come with an offer of help. The Samaritans refer to their worship of the true God, and express a desire to share the privileges and blessings connected with the temple service. "We seek your God, as ye do," they declare. "Let us build with you." But had the Jewish leaders accepted this offer of assistance, they would have opened a door for the entrance of idolatry. They discerned the insincerity of the Samaritans. They realized that help gained through an alliance with these men would be as nothing in comparison with the blessing they might expect to receive by following the plain commands of Jehovah.

    Regarding the relation that Israel should sustain to surrounding peoples, the Lord had declared through Moses: "Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them: neither shalt thou make marriages with them; . . . for they will turn away thy son from following Me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly." "Thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto Himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth." Deuteronomy 7:2-4; 14:2.

    The result that would follow an entrance into covenant relation with surrounding nations was plainly foretold. "The Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other," Moses had declared; "and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: in the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see." Deuteronomy 28:64-67. "But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God," the promise had been, "thou shalt find Him, if thou seek Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul." Deuteronomy 4:29.

    Zerubbabel and his associates were familiar with these and many like scriptures; and in the recent captivity they had evidence after evidence of their fulfillment. And now, having repented of the evils that had brought upon them and their fathers the judgments foretold so plainly through Moses; having turned with all the heart to God, and renewed their covenant relationship with Him, they had been permitted to return to Judea, that they might restore that which had been destroyed. Should they, at the very beginning of their undertaking, enter into a covenant with idolaters?

    "Thou shalt make no covenant with them," God had said; and those who had recently rededicated themselves to the Lord at the altar set up before the ruins of His temple, realized that the line of demarcation between His people and the world is ever to be kept unmistakably distinct. They refused to enter into alliance with those who, though familiar with the requirements of God's law, would not yield to its claims.

    The principles set forth in Deuteronomy for the instruction of Israel are to be followed by God's people to the end of time. True prosperity is dependent on the continuance of our covenant relationship with God. Never can we afford to compromise principle by entering into alliance with those who do not fear Him.

    There is constant danger that professing Christians will come to think that in order to have influence with worldlings, they must to a certain extent conform to the world. But though such a course may appear to afford great advantages, it always ends in spiritual loss. Against every subtle influence that seeks entrance by means of flattering inducements from the enemies of truth, God's people must strictly guard. They are pilgrims and strangers in this world, traveling a path beset with danger. To the ingenious subterfuges and alluring inducements held out to tempt from allegiance, they must give no heed.

    It is not the open and avowed enemies of the cause of God that are most to be feared. Those who, like the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin, come with smooth words and fair speeches, apparently seeking for friendly alliance with God's children, have greater power to deceive. Against such every soul should be on the alert, lest some carefully concealed and masterly snare take him unaware. And especially today, while earth's history is closing, the Lord requires of His children a vigilance that knows no relaxation. But though the conflict is a ceaseless one, none are left to struggle alone. Angels help and protect those who walk humbly before God. Never will our Lord betray one who trusts in Him. As His children draw near to Him for protection from evil, in pity and love He lifts up for them a standard against the enemy. Touch them not, He says; for they are Mine. I have graven them upon the palms of My hands.

    Untiring in their opposition, the Samaritans "weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, and hired counselors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius." Ezra 4:4, 5. By false reports they aroused suspicion in minds easily led to suspect. But for many years the powers of evil were held in check, and the people in Judea had liberty to continue their work.

    While Satan was striving to influence the highest powers in the kingdom of Medo-Persia to show disfavor to God's people, angels worked in behalf of the exiles. The controversy was one in which all heaven was interested. Through the prophet Daniel we are given a glimpse of this mighty struggle between the forces of good and the forces of evil.

    For three weeks Gabriel wrestled with the powers of darkness, seeking to counteract the influences at work on the mind of Cyrus; and before the contest closed, Christ Himself came to Gabriel's aid. "The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days," Gabriel declares; "but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia." Daniel 10:13. All that heaven could do in behalf of the people of God was done. The victory was finally gained; the forces of the enemy were held in check all the days of Cyrus, and all the days of his son Cambyses, who reigned about seven and a half years.

    This was a time of wonderful opportunity for the Jews. The highest agencies of heaven were working on the hearts of kings, and it was for the people of God to labor with the utmost activity to carry out the decree of Cyrus. They should have spared no effort to restore the temple and its services, and to re-establish themselves in their Judean homes. But in the day of God's power many proved unwilling. The opposition of their enemies was strong and determined, and gradually the builders lost heart. Some could not forget the scene at the laying of the cornerstone, when many had given expression to their lack of confidence in the enterprise. And as the Samaritans grew more bold, many of the Jews questioned whether, after all, the time had come to rebuild. The feeling soon became widespread. Many of the workmen, discouraged and disheartened, returned to their homes to take up the ordinary pursuits of life.

    During the reign of Cambyses the work on the temple progressed slowly. And during the reign of the false Smerdis (called Artaxerxes in Ezra 4:7) the Samaritans induced the unscrupulous impostor to issue a decree forbidding the Jews to rebuild their temple and city. For over a year the temple was neglected and well-nigh forsaken. The people dwelt in their homes and strove to attain temporal prosperity, but their situation was deplorable. Work as they might they did not prosper. The very elements of nature seemed to conspire against them. Because they had let the temple lie waste, the Lord sent upon their substance a wasting drought. God had bestowed upon them the fruits of field and garden, the corn and the wine and the oil, as a token of His favor; but because they had used these bountiful gifts so selfishly, the blessings were removed.

    Such were the conditions existing during the early part of the reign of Darius Hystaspes. Spiritually as well as temporally, the Israelites were in a pitiable state. So long had they murmured and doubted; so long had they chosen to make personal interests first, while viewing with apathy the Lord's temple in ruins, that many had lost sight of God's purpose in restoring them to Judea; and these were saying, "The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built." Haggai 1:2.

    But even this dark hour was not without hope for those whose trust was in God. The prophets Haggai and Zechariah were raised up to meet the crisis. In stirring testimonies these appointed messengers revealed to the people the cause of their troubles. The lack of temporal prosperity was the result of a neglect to put God's interests first, the prophets declared. Had the Israelites honored God, had they shown Him due respect and courtesy, by making the building of His house their first work, they would have invited His presence and blessing.

    To those who had become discouraged, Haggai addressed the searching inquiry, "Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways." Why have you done so little? Why do you feel concern for your own buildings and unconcern for the Lord's building? Where is the zeal you once felt for the restoration of the Lord's house? What have you gained by serving self? The desire to escape poverty has led you to neglect the temple, but this neglect has brought upon you that which you feared. "Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes." Verses 4-6.

    And then, in words that they could not fail to understand, the Lord revealed the cause that had brought them to want: "Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of Mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labor of the hands." Verses 9-11.

    "Consider your ways," the Lord urged. "Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified." Verses 7, 8.

    The message of counsel and reproof given through Haggai was taken to heart by the leaders and people of Israel. They felt that God was in earnest with them. They dared not disregard the repeated instruction sent them--that their prosperity, both temporal and spiritual, was dependent on faithful obedience to God's commands. Aroused by the warnings of the prophet, Zerubbabel and Joshua, "with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet." Verse 12.

    As soon as Israel decided to obey, the words of reproof were followed by a message of encouragement. "Then spake Haggai . . . unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the Lord. And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel" and of Joshua, and "of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God." Verses 13, 14.

    In less than a month after the work on the temple was resumed, the builders received another comforting message. "Be strong, O Zerubbabel," the Lord Himself urged through His prophet; "be strong, O Joshua; . . . and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts." Haggai 2:4.

    To Israel encamped before Mount Sinai the Lord had declared: "I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the Lord their God." Exodus 29:45, 46. And now, notwithstanding the fact that they had repeatedly "rebelled, and vexed His Holy Spirit" (Isaiah 63:10), God once more, through the messages of His prophet, was stretching out His hand to save. As a recognition of their co-operation with His purpose, He was renewing His covenant that His Spirit should remain among them; and He bade them, "Fear not."

    To His children today the Lord declares, "Be strong, . . . and work: for I am with you." The Christian always has a strong helper in the Lord. The way of the Lord's helping we may not know; but this we do know: He will never fail those who put their trust in Him. Could Christians realize how many times the Lord has ordered their way, that the purposes of the enemy concerning them might not be accomplished, they would not stumble along complainingly. Their faith would be stayed on God, and no trial would have power to move them. They would acknowledge Him as their wisdom and efficiency, and He would bring to pass that which He desires to work out through them.

    The earnest pleadings and the encouragements given through Haggai were emphasized and added to by Zechariah, whom God raised up to stand by his side in urging Israel to carry out the command to arise and build. Zechariah's first message was an assurance that God's word never fails and a promise of blessing to those who would hearken to the sure word of prophecy.

    With fields lying waste, with their scant store of provisions rapidly failing, and surrounded as they were by unfriendly peoples, the Israelites nevertheless moved forward by faith in response to the call of God's messengers, and labored diligently to restore the ruined temple. It was a work requiring firm reliance upon God. As the people endeavored to do their part, and sought for a renewal of God's grace in heart and life, message after message was given them through Haggai and Zechariah, with assurances that their faith would be richly rewarded and that the word of God concerning the future glory of the temple whose walls they were rearing would not fail. In this very building would appear, in the fullness of time, the Desire of all nations as the Teacher and Saviour of mankind.

    Thus the builders were not left to struggle alone; "with them were the prophets of God helping them;" and the Lord of hosts Himself had declared, "Be strong, . . . and work: for I am with you." Ezra 5:2; Haggai 2:4.

    With heartfelt repentance and a willingness to advance by faith, came the promise of temporal prosperity. "From this day," the Lord declared, "will I bless you." Verse 19.

    To Zerubbabel their leader--he who, through all the years since their return from Babylon, had been so sorely tried--was given a most precious message. The day was coming, the Lord declared, when all the enemies of His chosen people would be cast down. "In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, My servant, . . . and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee." Verse 23. Now the governor of Israel could see the meaning of the providence that had led him through discouragement and perplexity; he could discern God's purpose in it all.

    This personal word to Zerubbabel has been left on record for the encouragement of God's children in every age. God has a purpose in sending trial to His children. He never leads them otherwise than they would choose to be led if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose that they are fulfilling. All that He brings upon them in test and trial comes that they may be strong to do and to suffer for Him.

    The messages delivered by Haggai and Zechariah roused the people to put forth every possible effort for the rebuilding of the temple; but, as they worked, they were sadly harassed by the Samaritans and others who devised many hindrances. On one occasion the provincial officers of the Medo-Persian realm visited Jerusalem and requested the name of the one who had authorized the restoration of the building. If at that time the Jews had not been trusting in the Lord for guidance, this inquiry might have resulted disastrously to them. "But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius." Ezra 5:5. The officers were answered so wisely that they decided to write a letter to Darius Hystaspes, then the ruler of Medo-Persia, directing his attention to the original decree made by Cyrus, which commanded that the house of God at Jerusalem be rebuilt, and that the expenses for the same be paid from the king's treasury.

    Darius searched for this decree, and found it; whereupon he directed those who had made the inquiry to allow the rebuilding of the temple to proceed. "Let the work of this house of God alone," he commanded; "let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place.

    "Moreover," Darius continued, "I make a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king's goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered. And that which they have need of, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests which are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail: that they may offer sacrifices of sweet savors unto the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons." Ezra 6:7-10.

    The king further decreed that severe penalties be meted out to those who should in any wise alter the decree; and he closed with the remarkable statement: "The God that hath caused His name to dwell there destroy all kings and people, that shall put to their hand to alter and to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with the speed." Verse 12. Thus the Lord prepared the way for the completion of the temple.

    For months before this decree was made, the Israelites had kept on working by faith, the prophets of God still helping them by means of timely messages, through which the divine purpose for Israel was kept before the workers. Two months after Haggai's last recorded message was delivered, Zechariah had a series of visions regarding the work of God in the earth. These messages, given in the form of parables and symbols, came at a time of great uncertainty and anxiety, and were of peculiar significance to the men who were advancing in the name of the God of Israel. It seemed to the leaders as if the permission granted the Jews to rebuild was about to be withdrawn; the future appeared very dark. God saw that His people were in need of being sustained and cheered by a revelation of His infinite compassion and love.

    In vision Zechariah heard the angel of the Lord inquiring, "O Lord of hosts, how long wilt Thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which Thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? And the Lord answered the angel that talked with me," Zechariah declared, "with good words and comfortable words.

    "So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. Therefore thus saith the Lord; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: My house shall be built in it, . . . and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem." Zechariah 1:12-16.

    The prophet was now directed to predict, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem." Verse 17. Zechariah then saw the powers that had "scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem," symbolized by four horns. Immediately afterward he saw four carpenters, representing the agencies used by the Lord in restoring His people and the house of His worship. See verses 18-21.

    "I lifted up mine eyes again," Zechariah said, "and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand. Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof. And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, and said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein: for I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her." Zechariah 2:1-5.

    God had commanded that Jerusalem be rebuilt; the vision of the measuring of the city was an assurance that He would give comfort and strength to His afflicted ones, and fulfill to them the promises of His everlasting covenant. His protecting care, He declared, would be like "a wall of fire round about;" and through them His glory would be revealed to all the sons of men. That which He was accomplishing for His people was to be known in all the earth. "Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee." Isaiah 12:6.
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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Thu Mar 31, 2016 2:03 am

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk47.htmlThe steady advancement made by the builders of the temple greatly discomfited and alarmed the hosts of evil. Satan determined to put forth still further effort to weaken and discourage God's people by holding before them their imperfections of character. If those who had long suffered because of transgression could again be induced to disregard God's commandments, they would be brought once more under the bondage of sin.

    Because Israel had been chosen to preserve the knowledge of God in the earth, they had ever been the special objects of Satan's enmity; he was determined to cause their destruction. While they were obedient, he could do them no harm; therefore he had bent all his power and cunning to entice them into sin. Ensnared by his temptations, they had transgressed the law of God and had been left to become the prey of their enemies.

    Yet though they were carried as captives to Babylon, God did not forsake them. He sent His prophets to them with reproofs and warnings, and aroused them to see their guilt. When they humbled themselves before God and returned to Him with true repentance, He sent them messages of encouragement, declaring that He would deliver them from captivity, restore them to His favor, and once more establish them in their own land. And now that this work of restoration had begun, and a remnant of Israel had already returned to Judea, Satan was determined to frustrate the carrying out of the divine purpose, and to this end he was seeking to move upon the heathen nations to destroy them utterly.

    But in this crisis the Lord strengthened His people "with good words and comfortable words." Zechariah 1:13. Through an impressive illustration of the work of Satan and the work of Christ, He showed the power of their Mediator to vanquish the accuser of His people.

    In vision the prophet beholds "Joshua the high priest," "clothed with filthy garments" (Zechariah 3:1, 3), standing before the Angel of the Lord, entreating God's mercy in behalf of his afflicted people. As he pleads for the fulfillment of God's promises, Satan stands up boldly to resist him. He points to the transgressions of Israel as a reason why they should not be restored to the favor of God. He claims them as his prey, and demands that they be given into his hands.

    The high priest cannot defend himself or his people from Satan's accusations. He does not claim that Israel is free from fault. In filthy garments, symbolizing the sins of the people, which he bears as their representative, he stands before the Angel, confessing their guilt, yet pointing to their repentance and humiliation, and relying upon the mercy of a sin-pardoning Redeemer. In faith he claims the promises of God.

    Then the Angel, who is Christ Himself, the Saviour of sinners, puts to silence the accuser of His people, declaring, "The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?" Verse 2. Long had Israel remained in the furnace of affliction. Because of their sins they had been well-nigh consumed in the flame kindled by Satan and his agents for their destruction, but God had now set His hand to bring them forth.

    As the intercession of Joshua is accepted, the command is given, "Take away the filthy garments from him;" and to Joshua the Angel says, "Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment." "So they set a fair miter upon his head, and clothed him with garments." Verses 4, 5. His own sins and those of his people were pardoned. Israel was clothed with "change of raiment"--the righteousness of Christ imputed to them. The miter be placed upon Joshua's head was such as was worn by the priests,and bore the inscription, "Holiness to the Lord" (Exodus 28:36), signifying that notwithstanding his former transgressions, he was now qualified to minister before God in His sanctuary.

    The Angel now declared to Joshua: "Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in My ways, and if thou wilt keep My charge, then thou shalt also judge My house, and shalt also keep My courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by." Zechariah 3:7. If obedient, he should be honored as the judge, or ruler, over the temple and all its services; he should walk among attending angels, even in this life; and at last he should join the glorified throng around the throne of God.

    "Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth My Servant the Branch." Verse 8. In the Branch, the Deliverer to come, lay the hope of Israel. It was by faith in the coming Saviour that Joshua and his people had received pardon. Through faith in Christ they had been restored to God's favor. By virtue of His merits, if they walked in His ways and kept His statutes, they would be "men wondered at," honored as the chosen of Heaven among the nations of the earth.

    As Satan accused Joshua and his people, so in all ages he accuses those who seek the mercy and favor of God. He is "the accuser of our brethren, . . . which accused them before our God day and night." Revelation 12:10. Over every soul that is rescued from the power of evil, and whose name is registered in the Lamb's book of life, the controversy is repeated. Never is one received into the family of God without exciting the determined resistance of the enemy. But He who was the hope of Israel then, their defense, their justification and redemption, is the hope of the church today.

    Satan's accusations against those who seek the Lord are not prompted by displeasure at their sins. He exults in their defective characters; for he knows that only through their transgression of God's law can he obtain power over them.

    His accusations arise solely from his enmity to Christ. Through the plan of salvation, Jesus is breaking Satan's hold upon the human family and rescuing souls from his power. All the hatred and malignity of the archrebel is stirred as he beholds the evidences of Christ's supremacy; and with fiendish power and cunning he works to wrest from Him the children of men who have accepted salvation. He leads men into skepticism, causing them to lose confidence in God and to separate from His love; he tempts them to break the law and then claims them as his captives, contesting Christ's right to take them from him.

    Satan knows that those who ask God for pardon and grace will obtain it; therefore he presents their sins before them to discourage them. Against those who are trying to obey God, he is constantly seeking occasion for complaint. Even their best and most acceptable service he seeks to make appear corrupt. By countless devices, the most subtle and the most cruel, he endeavors to secure their condemnation.

    In his own strength, man cannot meet the charges of the enemy. In sin-stained garments, confessing his guilt, he stands before God. But Jesus, our Advocate, presents an effectual plea in behalf of all who by repentance and faith have committed the keeping of their souls to Him. He pleads their cause, and by the mighty arguments of Calvary, vanquishes their accuser. His perfect obedience to God's law has given Him all power in heaven and in earth, and He claims from His Father mercy and reconciliation for guilty man. To the accuser of His people He declares:

    "The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan. These are the purchase of My blood, brands plucked from the burning." And to those who rely on Him in faith, He gives the assurance, "Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment." Zechariah 3:4.

    All who have put on the robe of Christ's righteousness will stand before Him as chosen and faithful and true. Satan has no power to pluck them out of the hand of the Saviour. Not one soul who in penitence and faith has claimed His protection will Christ permit to pass under the enemy's power. His word is pledged: "Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me." Isaiah 27:5. The promise given to Joshua is given to all: "If thou wilt keep My charge,. . . I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by." Zechariah 3:7. Angels of God will walk on either side of them, even in this world, and they will stand at last among the angels that surround the throne of God.

    Zechariah's vision of Joshua and the Angel applies with peculiar force to the experience of God's people in the closing scenes of the great day of atonement. The remnant church will then be brought into great trial and distress. Those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus will feel the ire of the dragon and his hosts. Satan numbers the world as his subjects; he has gained control even of many professing Christians. But here is a little company who are resisting his supremacy. If he could blot them from the earth, his triumph would be complete. As he influenced the heathen nations to destroy Israel, so in the near future he will stir up the wicked powers of earth to destroy the people of God. Men will be required to render obedience to human edicts in violation of the divine law.

    Those who are true to God will be menaced, denounced, proscribed. They will be "betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends," even unto death. Luke 21:16. Their only hope is in the mercy of God; their only defense will be prayer. As Joshua pleaded before the Angel, so the remnant church, with brokenness of heart and unfaltering faith, will plead for pardon and deliverance through Jesus, their Advocate. They are fully conscious of the sinfulness of their lives, they see their weakness and unworthiness; and they are ready to despair.

    The tempter stands by to accuse them, as he stood by to resist Joshua. He points to their filthy garments, their defective characters. He presents their weakness and folly, their sins of ingratitude, their unlikeness to Christ, which has dishonored their Redeemer. He endeavors to affright them with the thought that their case is hopeless, that the stain of their defilement will never be washed away. He hopes so to destroy their faith that they will yield to his temptations, and turn from their allegiance to God.

    Satan has an accurate knowledge of the sins that he has tempted God's people to commit, and he urges his accusations against them, declaring, that by their sins they have forfeited divine protection, and claiming that he has the right to destroy them. He pronounces them just as deserving as himself of exclusion from the favor of God. "Are these," he says, "the people who are to take my place in heaven, and the place of the angels who united with me? They profess to obey the law of God; but have they kept its precepts? Have they not been lovers of self more than lovers of God? Have they not placed their own interests above His service? Have they not loved the things of the world? Look at the sins that have marked their lives. Behold their selfishness, their malice, their hatred of one another. Will God banish me and my angels from His presence, and yet reward those who have been guilty of the same sins? Thou canst not do this, O Lord, in justice. Justice demands that sentence be pronounced against them."

    But while the followers of Christ have sinned, they have not given themselves up to be controlled by the satanic agencies. They have repented of their sins and have sought the Lord in humility and contrition, and the divine Advocate pleads in their behalf. He who has been most abused by their ingratitude, who knows their sin and also their penitence, declares: "The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan. I gave My life for these souls. They are graven upon the palms of My hands. They may have imperfections of character; they may have failed in their endeavors; but they have repented, and I have forgiven and accepted them."

    The assaults of Satan are strong, his delusions are subtle; but the Lord's eye is upon His people. Their affliction is great, the flames of the furnace seem about to consume them; but Jesus will bring them forth as gold tried in the fire. Their earthliness will be removed, that through them the image of Christ may be perfectly revealed.

    At times the Lord may seem to have forgotten the perils of His church and the injury done her by her enemies. But God has not forgotten. Nothing in this world is so dear to the heart of God as His church. It is not His will that worldly policy shall corrupt her record. He does not leave His people to be overcome by Satan's temptations. He will punish those who misrepresent Him, but He will be gracious to all who sincerely repent. To those who call upon Him for strength for the development of Christian character, He will give all needed help.

    In the time of the end the people of God will sigh and cry for the abominations done in the land. With tears they will warn the wicked of their danger in trampling upon the divine law, and with unutterable sorrow they will humble themselves before the Lord in penitence. The wicked will mock their sorrow and ridicule their solemn appeals. But the anguish and humiliation of God's people is unmistakable evidence that they are regaining the strength and nobility of character lost in consequence of sin. It is because they are drawing nearer to Christ, because their eyes are fixed on His perfect purity, that they discern so clearly the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Meekness and lowliness are the conditions of success and victory. A crown of glory awaits those who bow at the foot of the cross.

    God's faithful, praying ones are, as it were, shut in with Him. They themselves know not how securely they are shielded. Urged on by Satan, the rulers of this world are seeking to destroy them; but could the eyes of God's children be opened as were the eyes of Elisha's servant at Dothan, they would see angels of God encamped about them, holding in check the hosts of darkness.

    As the people of God afflict their souls before Him, pleading for purity of heart, the command is given, "Take away the filthy garments," and the encouraging words are spoken, "Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment." Zechariah 3:4. The spotless robe of Christ's righteousness is placed upon the tried, tempted, faithful children of God. The despised remnant are clothed in glorious apparel, nevermore to be defiled by the corruptions of the world. Their names are retained in the Lamb's book of life, enrolled among the faithful of all ages. They have resisted the wiles of the deceiver; they have not been turned from their loyalty by the dragon's roar. Now they are eternally secure from the tempter's devices. Their sins are transferred to the originator of sin. A "fair miter" is set upon their heads.

    While Satan has been urging his accusations, holy angels, unseen, have been passing to and fro, placing upon the faithful ones the seal of the living God. These are they that stand upon Mount Zion with the Lamb, having the Father's name written in their foreheads. They sing the new song before the throne, that song which no man can learn save the hundred and forty and four thousand which were redeemed from the earth. "These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God." Revelation 14:4, 5.

    Now is reached the complete fulfillment of the words of the Angel: "Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth My Servant the Branch." Zechariah 3:8. Christ is revealed as the Redeemer and Deliverer of His people. Now indeed are the remnant "men wondered at," as the tears and humiliation of their pilgrimage give place to joy and honor in the presence of God and the Lamb. "In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even everyone that is written among the living in Jerusalem." Isaiah 4:2, 3.

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk48.html Immediately after Zechariah's vision of Joshua and the Angel, the prophet received a message regarding the work of Zerubbabel. "The Angel that talked with me," Zechariah declares, "came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, and said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: and two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.

    "So I answered and spake to the Angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my Lord? . . . Then He answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts."

    "Then answered I, and said unto Him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto Him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? . . . Then said He, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth." Zechariah 4:1-6, 11-14.

    In this vision the two olive trees which stand before God are represented as emptying the golden oil out of themselves through golden tubes into the bowl of the candlestick. From this the lamps of the sanctuary are fed, that they may give a bright, continuous light. So from the anointed ones that stand in God's presence the fullness of divine light and love and power is imparted to His people, that they may impart to others light and joy and refreshing. Those who are thus enriched are to enrich others with the treasure of God's love.

    In rebuilding the house of the Lord, Zerubbabel had labored in the face of manifold difficulties. From the beginning, adversaries had "weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building," "and made them to cease by force and power." Ezra 4:4, 23. But the Lord had interposed in behalf of the builders, and now He spoke through His prophet to Zerubbabel, saying, "Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it." Zechariah 4:7.

    Throughout the history of God's people great mountains of difficulty, apparently insurmountable, have loomed up before those who were trying to carry out the purposes of Heaven. Such obstacles are permitted by the Lord as a test of faith. When we are hedged about on every side, this is the time above all others to trust in God and in the power of His Spirit. The exercise of a living faith means an increase of spiritual strength and the development of an unfaltering trust. It is thus that the soul becomes a conquering power. Before the demand of faith, the obstacles placed by Satan across the pathway of the Christian will disappear; for the powers of heaven will come to his aid. "Nothing shall be impossible unto you." Matthew 17:20.

    The way of the world is to begin with pomp and boasting. God's way is to make the day of small things the beginning of the glorious triumph of truth and righteousness. Sometimes He trains His workers by bringing to them disappointment and apparent failure. It is His purpose that they shall learn to master difficulties.

    Often men are tempted to falter before the perplexities and obstacles that confront them. But if they will hold the beginning of their confidence steadfast unto the end, God will make the way clear. Success will come to them as they struggle against difficulties. Before the intrepid spirit and unwavering faith of a Zerubbabel, great mountains of difficulty will become a plain; and he whose hands have laid the foundation, even "his hands shall also finish it." "He shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it." Zechariah 4:9, 7.

    Human power and human might did not establish the church of God, and neither can they destroy it. Not on the rock of human strength, but on Christ Jesus, the Rock of Ages, was the church founded, "and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18. The presence of God gives stability to His cause. "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man," is the word that comes to us. Psalm 146:3. "In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength." Isaiah 30:15. God's glorious work, founded on the eternal principles of right, will never come to nought. It will go on from strength to strength, "not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." Zechariah 4:6.

    The promise, "The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it," was literally fulfilled. Verse 9. "The elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar [the twelfth month], which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king." Ezra 6:14, 15.

    Shortly afterward the restored temple was dedicated. "The children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy;" and "upon the fourteenth day of the first month" they "kept the Passover." Verses 16, 17, 19.

    The second temple did not equal the first in magnificence, nor was it hallowed by those visible tokens of the divine presence which pertained to the first temple. There was no manifestation of supernatural power to mark its dedication. No cloud of glory was seen to fill the newly erected sanctuary. No fire from heaven descended to consume the sacrifice upon its altar. The Shekinah no longer abode between the cherubim in the most holy place; the ark, the mercy seat, and the tables of testimony were not found there. No sign from heaven made known to the inquiring priest the will of Jehovah.

    And yet this was the building concerning which the Lord had declared by the prophet Haggai: "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former." "I will shake all nations, and the Desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts." Haggai 2:9,7. For centuries learned men have endeavored to show wherein the promise of God, given to Haggai, has been fulfilled; yet in the advent of Jesus of Nazareth, the Desire of all nations, who by His personal presence hallowed the precincts of the temple, many have steadfastly refused to see any special significance. Pride and unbelief have blinded their minds to the true meaning of the prophet's words.

    The second temple was honored, not with the cloud of Jehovah's glory, but with the presence of the One in whom dwelt "all the fullness of the Godhead bodily"--God Himself "manifest in the flesh." Colossians 2:9; 1 Timothy 3:16. In being honored with the personal presence of Christ during His earthly ministry, and in this alone, did the second temple exceed the first in glory. The "Desire of all nations" had indeed come to His temple, when the Man of Nazareth taught and healed in the sacred courts.
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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

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    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk49.html Under the favor shown them by Cyrus, nearly fifty thousand of the children of the captivity had taken advantage of the decree permitting their return. These, however, in comparison with the hundreds of thousands scattered throughout the provinces of Medo-Persia, were but a mere remnant. The great majority of the Israelites had chosen to remain in the land of their exile rather than undergo the hardships of the return journey and the re-establishment of their desolated cities and homes.

    A score or more of years passed by, when a second decree, quite as favorable as the first, was issued by Darius Hystaspes, the monarch then ruling. Thus did God in mercy provide another opportunity for the Jews in the Medo-Persian realm to return to the land of their fathers. The Lord foresaw the troublous times that were to follow during the reign of Xerxes,--the Ahasuerus of the book of Esther,--and He not only wrought a change of feeling in the hearts of men in authority, but also inspired Zechariah to plead with the exiles to return.

    "Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north," was the message given the scattered tribes of Israel who had become settled in many lands far from their former home. "I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the Lord. Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath He sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye. For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me." Zechariah 2:6-9.

    It was still the Lord's purpose, as it have been from the beginning, that His people should be a praise in the earth, to the glory of His name. During the long years of their exile He had given them many opportunities to return to their allegiance to Him. Some had chosen to listen and to learn; some had found salvation in the midst of affliction. Many of these were to be numbered among the remnant that should return. They were likened by Inspiration to "the highest branch of the high cedar," which was to be planted "upon an high mountain and eminent: in the mountain of the height of Israel." Ezekiel 17:22, 23.

    It was those "whose spirit God had raised" (Ezra 1:5) who had returned under the decree of Cyrus. But God ceased not to plead with those who voluntarily remained in the land of their exile, and through manifold agencies He made it possible for them also to return. The large number, however, of those who failed to respond to the decree of Cyrus, remained unimpressible to later influences; and even when Zechariah warned them to flee from Babylon without further delay, they did not heed the invitation.

    Meanwhile conditions in the Medo-Persian realm were rapidly changing. Darius Hystaspes, under whose reign the Jews had been shown marked favor, was succeeded by Xerxes the Great. It was during his reign that those of the Jews who had failed of heeding the message to flee were called upon to face a terrible crisis. Having refused to take advantage of the way of escape God had provided, now they were brought face to face with death.

    Through Haman the Agagite, an unscrupulous man high in authority in Medo-Persia, Satan worked at this time to counterwork the purposes of God. Haman cherished bitter malice against Mordecai, a Jew. Mordecai had done Haman no harm, but had simply refused to show him worshipful reverence. Scorning to "lay hands on Mordecai alone," Haman plotted "to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai." Esther 3:6.

    Misled by the false statements of Haman, Xerxes was induced to issue a decree providing for the massacre of all the Jews "scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces" of the Medo-Persian kingdom. Verse 8. A certain day was appointed on which the Jews were to be destroyed and their property confiscated. Little did the king realize the far-reaching results that would have accompanied the complete carrying out of this decree. Satan himself, the hidden instigator of the scheme, was trying to rid the earth of those who preserved the knowledge of the true God.

    "In every province, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes." Esther 4:3. The decree of the Medes and Persians could not be revoked; apparently there was no hope; all the Israelites were doomed to destruction.

    But the plots of the enemy were defeated by a Power that reigns among the children of men. In the providence of God, Esther, a Jewess who feared the Most High, had been made queen of the Medo-Persian kingdom. Mordecai was a near relative of hers. In their extremity they decided to appeal to Xerxes in behalf of their people. Esther was to venture into his presence as an intercessor. "Who knoweth," said Mordecai, "whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Verse 14.

    The crisis that Esther faced demanded quick, earnest action; but both she and Mordecai realized that unless God should work mightily in their behalf, their own efforts would be unavailing. So Esther took time for communion with God, the source of her strength. "Go," she directed Mordecai, "gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish." Verse 16.

    The events that followed in rapid succession,--the appearance of Esther before the king, the marked favor shown her, the banquets of the king and queen with Haman as the only guest, the troubled sleep of the king, the public honor shown Mordecai, and the humiliation and fall of Haman upon the discovery of his wicked plot,--all these are parts of a familiar story. God wrought marvelously for His penitent people; and a counter decree issued by the king, allowing them to fight for their lives, was rapidly communicated to every part of the realm by mounted couriers, who were "hastened and pressed on by the king's commandment." "And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them." Esther 8:14, 17.

    On the day appointed for their destruction, "the Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people." Angels that excel in strength had been commissioned by God to protect His people while they "stood for their lives." Esther 9:2, 16.

    Mordecai was given the position of honor formerly occupied by Haman. He "was next unto King Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren" (Esther 10:3); and he sought to promote the welfare of Israel. Thus did God bring His chosen people once more into favor at the Medo-Persian court, making possible the carrying out of His purpose to restore them to their own land. But it was not until several years later, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes I, the successor of Xerxes the Great, that any considerable number returned to Jerusalem, under Ezra.

    The trying experiences that came to God's people in the days of Esther were not peculiar to that age alone. The revelator, looking down the ages to the close of time, has declared, "The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Revelation 12:17. Some who today are living on the earth will see these words fulfilled. The same spirit that in ages past led men to persecute the true church, will in the future lead to the pursuance of a similar course toward those who maintain their loyalty to God. Even now preparations are being made for this last great conflict.

    The decree that will finally go forth against the remnant people of God will be very similar to that issued by Ahasuerus against the Jews. Today the enemies of the true church see in the little company keeping the Sabbath commandment, a Mordecai at the gate. The reverence of God's people for His law is a constant rebuke to those who have cast off the fear of the Lord and are trampling on His Sabbath.

    Satan will arouse indignation against the minority who refuse to accept popular customs and traditions. Men of position and reputation will join with the lawless and the vile to take counsel against the people of God. Wealth, genius, education, will combine to cover them with contempt.

    Persecuting rulers, ministers, and church members will conspire against them. With voice and pen, by boasts, threats, and ridicule, they will seek to overthrow their faith. By false representations and angry appeals, men will stir up the passions of the people. Not having a "Thus saith the Scriptures" to bring against the advocates of the Bible Sabbath, they will resort to oppressive enactments to supply the lack. To secure popularity and patronage, legislators will yield to the demand for Sunday laws. But those who fear God, cannot accept an institution that violates a precept of the Decalogue. On this battlefield will be fought the last great conflict in the controversy between truth and error. And we are not left in doubt as to the issue. Today, as in the days of Esther and Mordecai, the Lord will vindicate His truth and His people.

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk50.html About seventy years after the return of the first company of exiles under Zerubbabel and Joshua, Artaxerxes Longimanus came to the throne of Medo-Persia. The name of this king is connected with sacred history by a series of remarkable providences. It was during his reign that Ezra and Nehemiah lived and labored. He is the one who in 457 B.C. issued the third and final decree for the restoration of Jerusalem. His reign saw the return of a company of Jews under Ezra, the completion of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah and his associates, the reorganization of the temple services, and the great religious reformations instituted by Ezra and Nehemiah. During his long rule he often showed favor to God's people, and in his trusted and well-beloved Jewish friends, Ezra and Nehemiah, he recognized men of God's appointment, raised up for a special work.

    The experience of Ezra while living among the Jews who remained in Babylon was so unusual that it attracted the favorable notice of King Artaxerxes, with whom he talked freely regarding the power of the God of heaven, and the divine purpose in restoring the Jews to Jerusalem.

    Born of the sons of Aaron, Ezra had been given a priestly training; and in addition to this he had acquired a familiarity with the writings of the magicians, the astrologers, and the wise men of the Medo-Persian realm. But he was not satisfied with his spiritual condition. He longed to be in full harmony with God; he longed for wisdom to carry out the divine will. And so he "prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it." Ezra 7:10. This led him to apply himself diligently to a study of the history of God's people, as recorded in the writings of prophets and kings. He searched the historical and poetical books of the Bible to learn why the Lord had permitted Jerusalem to be destroyed and His people carried captive into a heathen land.

    To the experiences of Israel from the time the promise was made to Abraham, Ezra gave special thought. He studied the instruction given at Mount Sinai and through the long period of wilderness wandering. As he learned more and still more concerning God's dealings with His children, and comprehended the sacredness of the law given at Sinai, Ezra's heart was stirred. He experienced a new and thorough conversion and determined to master the records of sacred history, that he might use this knowledge to bring blessing and light to his people.

    Ezra endeavored to gain a heart preparation for the work he believed was before him. He sought God earnestly, that he might be a wise teacher in Israel. As he learned to yield mind and will to divine control, there were brought into his life the principles of true sanctification, which, in later years, had a molding influence, not only upon the youth who sought his instruction, but upon all others associated with him.

    God chose Ezra to be an instrument of good to Israel, that He might put honor upon the priesthood, the glory of which had been greatly eclipsed during the captivity. Ezra developed into a man of extraordinary learning and became "a ready scribe in the law of Moses." Verse 6. These qualifications made him an eminent man in the Medo-Persian kingdom.

    Ezra became a mouthpiece for God, educating those about him in the principles that govern heaven. During the remaining years of his life, whether near the court of the king of Medo-Persia or at Jerusalem, his principal work was that of a teacher. As he communicated to others the truths he learned, his capacity for labor increased. He became a man of piety and zeal. He was the Lord's witness to the world of the power of Bible truth to ennoble the daily life.

    The efforts of Ezra to revive an interest in the study of the Scriptures were given permanency by his painstaking, lifelong work of preserving and multiplying the Sacred Writings. He gathered all the copies of the law that he could find and had these transcribed and distributed. The pure word, thus multiplied and placed in the hands of many people, gave knowledge that was of inestimable value.

    Ezra's faith that God would do a mighty work for His people, led him to tell Artaxerxes of his desire to return to Jerusalem to revive an interest in the study of God's word and to assist his brethren in restoring the Holy City. As Ezra declared his perfect trust in the God of Israel as one abundantly able to protect and care for His people, the king was deeply impressed. He well understood that the Israelites were returning to Jerusalem that they might serve Jehovah; yet so great was the king's confidence in the integrity of Ezra that he showed him marked favor, granting his request and bestowing on him rich gifts for the temple service. He made him a special representative of the Medo-Persian kingdom and conferred on him extensive powers for the carrying out of the purposes that were in his heart.

    The decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus for the restoring and building of Jerusalem, the third issued since the close of the seventy years' captivity, is remarkable for its expressions regarding the God of heaven, for its recognition of the attainments of Ezra, and for the liberality of the grants made to the remnant people of God. Artaxerxes refers to Ezra as "the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of His statutes to Israel;" "a scribe of the law of the God of heaven." The king united with his counselors in offering freely "unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem;" and in addition he made provision for meeting many heavy expenses by ordering that they be paid "out of the king's treasure house." Verses 11, 12, 15, 20.

    "Thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counselors," Artaxerxes declared to Ezra, "to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand." And he further decreed: "Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?" Verses 14, 23.

    In giving permission to the Israelites to return, Artaxerxes arranged for the restoration of the members of the priesthood to their ancient rites and privileges. "We certify you," he declared, "that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them." He also arranged for the appointment of civil officers to govern the people justly in accordance with the Jewish code of laws. "Thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand," he directed, "set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not. And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment." Verses 24-26.

    Thus, "according to the good hand of his God upon him," Ezra had persuaded the king to make abundant provision for the return of all the people of Israel and of the priests and Levites in the Medo-Persian realm, who were minded "of their own free will to go up to Jerusalem." Verses 9, 13. Thus again the children of the dispersion were given opportunity to return to the land with the possession of which were linked the promises to the house of Israel.

    This decree brought great rejoicing to those who had been uniting with Ezra in a study of God's purposes concerning His people. "Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers," Ezra exclaimed, "which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem: and hath extended mercy unto me before the king, and his counselors, and before all the king's mighty princes." Verses 27, 28.

    In the issuing of this decree by Artaxerxes, God's providence was manifest. Some discerned this and gladly took advantage of the privilege of returning under circumstances so favorable. A general place of meeting was named, and at the appointed time those who were desirous of going to Jerusalem assembled for the long journey. "I gathered them together to the river that runneth to Ahava," Ezra says, "and there abode we in tents three days." Ezra 8:15.

    Ezra had expected that a large number would return to Jerusalem, but the number who responded to the call was disappointingly small. Many who had acquired houses and lands had no desire to sacrifice these possessions. They loved ease and comfort and were well satisfied to remain. Their example proved a hindrance to others who otherwise might have chosen to cast in their lot with those who were advancing by faith.

    As Ezra looked over the company assembled, he was surprised to find none of the sons of Levi. Where were the members of the tribe that had been set apart for the sacred service of the temple? To the call, Who is on the Lord's side? the Levites should have been the first to respond.

    During the captivity, and afterward, they had been granted many privileges. They had enjoyed the fullest liberty to minister to the spiritual needs of their brethren in exile. Synagogues had been built, in which the priests conducted the worship of God and instructed the people. The observance of the Sabbath, and the performance of the sacred rites peculiar to the Jewish faith, had been freely allowed.

    But with the passing of the years after the close of the captivity, conditions changed, and many new responsibilities rested upon the leaders in Israel. The temple at Jerusalem had been rebuilt and dedicated, and more priests were needed to carry on its services. There was pressing need of men of God to act as teachers of the people. And besides, the Jews remaining in Babylon were in danger of having their religious liberty restricted. Through the prophet Zechariah, as well as by their recent experience during the troublous times of Esther and Mordecai, the Jews in Medo-Persia had been plainly warned to return to their own land. The time had come when it was perilous for them to dwell longer in the midst of heathen influences. In view of these changed conditions, the priests in Babylon should have been quick to discern in the issuance of the decree a special call to them to return to Jerusalem.

    The king and his princes had done more than their part in opening the way for the return. They had provided abundant means, but where were the men? The sons of Levi failed at a time when the influence of a decision to accompany their brethren would have led others to follow their example. Their strange indifference is a sad revelation of the attitude of the Israelites in Babylon toward God's purpose for His people.

    Once more Ezra appealed to the Levites, sending them an urgent invitation to unite with his company. To emphasize the importance of quick action, he sent with his written plea several of his "chief men" and "men of understanding." Ezra 7:28,8:16.

    While the travelers tarried with Ezra, these trusted messengers hastened back with the plea, "Bring unto us ministers for the house of our God." Ezra 8:17. The appeal was heeded; some who had been halting, made final decision to return. In all, about forty priests and two hundred and twenty Nethinim--men upon whom Ezra could rely as wise ministers and good teachers and helpers--were brought to the camp.

    All were now ready to set forth. Before them was a journey that would occupy several months. The men were taking with them their wives and children, and their substance, besides large treasure for the temple and its service. Ezra was aware that enemies lay in wait by the way, ready to plunder and destroy him and his company; yet he had asked from the king no armed force for protection. "I was ashamed," he has explained, "to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek Him; but His power and His wrath is against all them that forsake Him." Verse 22.

    In this matter, Ezra and his companions saw an opportunity to magnify the name of God before the heathen. Faith in the power of the living God would be strengthened if the Israelites themselves should now reveal implicit faith in their divine Leader. They therefore determined to put their trust wholly in Him. They would ask for no guard of soldiers. They would give the heathen no occasion to ascribe to the strength of man the glory that belongs to God alone. They could not afford to arouse in the minds of their heathen friends one doubt as to the sincerity of their dependence on God as His people. Strength would be gained, not through wealth, not through the power and influence of idolatrous men, but through the favor of God. Only by keeping the law of the Lord before them, and striving to obey it, would they be protected.

    This knowledge of the conditions under which they would continue to enjoy the prospering hand of God, lent more than ordinary solemnity to the consecration service that was held by Ezra and his company of faithful souls just before their departure. "I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava," Ezra has declared of this experience, "that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of Him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance." "So we fasted and besought our God for this: and He was entreated of us." Verses 21, 23.

    The blessing of God, however, did not make unnecessary the exercise of prudence and forethought. As a special precaution in safeguarding the treasure, Ezra "separated twelve of the chief of the priests"--men whose faithfulness and fidelity had been proved--"and weighed unto them the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, even the offering of the house of our God, which the king, and his counselors, and his lords, and all Israel there present, had offered." These men were solemnly charged to act as vigilant stewards over the treasure entrusted to their care. "Ye are holy unto the Lord," Ezra declared; "the vessels are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering unto the Lord God of your fathers. Watch ye, and keep them, until ye weigh them before the chief of the priests and the Levites, and chief of the fathers of Israel, at Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the Lord." Verses 24,25,28,29.

    The care exercised by Ezra in providing for the transportation and safety of the Lord's treasure, teaches a lesson worthy of thoughtful study. Only those whose trustworthiness had been proved were chosen, and they were instructed plainly regarding the responsibility resting on them. In the appointment of faithful officers to act as treasures of the Lord's goods, Ezra recognized the necessity and value of order and organization in connection with the work of God.

    During the few days that the Israelites tarried at the river, every provision was completed for the long journey. "We departed," Ezra writes, "on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way." Verse 31. About four months were occupied on the journey, the multitude that accompanied Ezra, several thousand in all, including women and children, necessitating slow progress. But all were preserved in safety. Their enemies were restrained from harming them. Their journey was a prosperous one, and on the first day of the fifth month, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes, they reached Jerusalem.

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk51.html Ezra's arrival in Jerusalem was opportune. There was great need of the influence of his presence. His coming brought courage and hope to the hearts of many who had long labored under difficulties. Since the return of the first company of exiles under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua, over seventy years before, much had been accomplished. The temple had been finished, and the walls of the city had been partially repaired. Yet much remained undone.

    Among those who had returned to Jerusalem in former years, there were many who had remained true to God as long as they lived; but a considerable number of the children and the children's children lost sight of the sacredness of God's law. Even some of the men entrusted with responsibilities were living in open sin. Their course was largely neutralizing the efforts made by others to advance the cause of God; for so long as flagrant violations of the law were allowed to go unrebuked, the blessing of Heaven could not rest upon the people.

    It was in the providence of God that those who returned with Ezra had had special seasons of seeking the Lord. The experiences through which they had just passed, on their journey from Babylon, unprotected as they had been by any human power, had taught them rich spiritual lessons. Many had grown strong in faith; and as these mingled with the discouraged and the indifferent in Jerusalem, their influence was a powerful factor in the reform soon afterward instituted.

    On the fourth day after the arrival, the treasures of silver and gold, with the vessels for the service of the sanctuary, were delivered by the treasures into the hands of the temple officers, in the presence of witnesses, and with the utmost exactitude. Every article was examined "by number and by weight." Ezra 8:34.

    The children of the captivity who had returned with Ezra "offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel" for a sin offering and as a token of their gratitude and thanksgiving for the protection of holy angels during the journey. "And they delivered the king's commissions unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors on this side the river: and they furthered the people, and the house of God." Verses 35, 36.

    Very soon thereafter a few of the chief men of Israel approached Ezra with a serious complaint. Some of "the people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites" had so far disregarded the holy commands of Jehovah as to intermarry with the surrounding peoples. "They have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons," Ezra was told, "so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people" of heathen lands; "yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass." Ezra 9:1, 2.

    In his study of the causes leading to the Babylonish captivity, Ezra had learned that Israel's apostasy was largely traceable to their mingling with heathen nations. He had seen that if they had obeyed God's command to keep separate from the nations surrounding them, they would have been spared many sad and humiliating experiences. Now when he learned that notwithstanding the lessons of the past, men of prominence had dared transgress the laws given as a safeguard against apostasy, his heart was stirred within him. He thought of God's goodness in again giving His people a foothold in their native land, and he was overwhelmed with righteous indignation and with grief at their ingratitude. "When I heard this thing," he says, "I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied.

    "Then were assembled unto me everyone that trembled at the words of God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice." Verses 3, 4.

    At the time of the evening sacrifice Ezra rose, and, once more rending his garment and his mantle, he fell upon his knees and unburdened his soul in supplication to Heaven. Spreading out his hands unto the Lord, he exclaimed, "O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to Thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.

    "Since the days of our fathers," the suppliant continued, "have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day. And now for a little space grace hath been showed from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in His holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.

    "And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken Thy commandments, which Thou hast commanded by Thy servants the prophets. . . . And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that Thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this; should we again break Thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not Thou be angry with us till Thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? O Lord God of Israel, Thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before Thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before Thee because of this." Verses 6-15.

    The sorrow of Ezra and his associates over the evils that had insidiously crept into the very heart of the Lord's work, wrought repentance. Many of those who had sinned were deeply affected. "The people wept very sore." Ezra 10:1. In a limited degree they began to realize the heinousness of sin and the horror with which God regards it. They saw the sacredness of the law spoken at Sinai, and many trembled at the thought of their transgressions.

    One of those present, Shechaniah by name, acknowledged as true all the words spoken by Ezra. "We have trespassed against our God," he confessed, "and have taken strange wives of the people of the land: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing." Shechaniah proposed that all who had transgressed should make a covenant with God to forsake their sin and to be adjudged "according to the law." "Arise," he bade Ezra; "for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage." "Then arose Ezra, and made the chief priests, the Levites, and all Israel, to swear that they should do according to this word." Verses 2-5.

    This was the beginning of a wonderful reformation. With infinite patience and tact, and with a careful consideration for the rights and welfare of every individual concerned, Ezra and his associates strove to lead the penitent of Israel into the right way. Above all else, Ezra was a teacher of the law; and as he gave personal attention to the examination of every case, he sought to impress the people with the holiness of this law and the blessings to be gained through obedience.

    Wherever Ezra labored, there sprang up a revival in the study of the Holy Scriptures. Teachers were appointed to instruct the people; the law of the Lord was exalted and made honorable. The books of the prophets were searched, and the passages foretelling the coming of the Messiah brought hope and comfort to many a sad and weary heart.

    More than two thousand years have passed since Ezra "prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it" (Ezra 7:10), yet the lapse of time has not lessened the influence of his pious example. Through the centuries the record of his life of consecration has inspired many with the determination "to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it."

    Ezra's motives were high and holy; in all that he did he was actuated by a deep love for souls. The compassion and tenderness that he revealed toward those who had sinned, either willfully or through ignorance, should be an object lesson to all who seek to bring about reforms. The servants of God are to be as firm as a rock where right principles are involved; and yet, withal, they are to manifest sympathy and forbearance. Like Ezra, they are to teach transgressors the way of life by calculating principles that are the foundation of all rightdoing.

    In this age of the world, when Satan is seeking, through manifold agencies, to blind the eyes of men and women to the binding claims of the law of God, there is need of men who can cause many to "tremble at the commandment of our God." Ezra 10:3. There is need of true reformers, who will point transgressors to the great Lawgiver and teach them that "the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." Psalm 19:7. There is need of men mighty in the Scriptures, men whose every word and act exalts the statutes of Jehovah, men who seek to strengthen faith. Teachers are needed, oh, so much, who will inspire hearts with reverence and love for the Scriptures.

    The widespread iniquity prevalent today may in a great degree be attributed to a failure to study and obey the Scriptures, for when the word of God is set aside, its power to restrain the evil passions of the natural heart is rejected. Men sow to the flesh and of the flesh reap corruption.

    With the setting aside of the Bible has come a turning away from God's law. The doctrine that men are released from obedience to the divine precepts, has weakened the force of moral obligation and opened the floodgates of iniquity upon the world. Lawlessness, dissipation, and corruption are sweeping in like an overwhelming flood. Everywhere are seen envy, evil surmising, hypocrisy, estrangement, emulation, strife, betrayal of sacred trusts, indulgence of lust. The whole system of religious principles and doctrines, which should form the foundation and framework of social life, seems to be a tottering mass, ready to fall in ruins.

    In the last days of this earth's history the voice that spoke from Sinai is still declaring, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." Exodus 20:3. Man has set his will against the will of God, but he cannot silence the word of command. The human mind cannot evade its obligation to a higher power. Theories and speculations may abound; men may try to set science in opposition to revelation, and thus do away with God's law; but stronger and still stronger comes the command, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve." Matthew 4:10.

    There is no such thing as weakening or strengthening the law of Jehovah. As it has been, so it is. It always has been, and always will be, holy, just, and good, complete in itself. It cannot be repealed or changed. To "honor" or "dishonor" it is but the speech of men.

    Between the laws of men and the precepts of Jehovah will come the last great conflict of the controversy between truth and error. Upon this battle we are now entering--a battle not between rival churches contending for the supremacy, but between the religion of the Bible and the religions of fable and tradition. The agencies which have united against truth are now actively at work. God's Holy Word, which has been handed down to us at so great a cost of suffering and bloodshed, is little valued. There are few who really accept it as the rule of life. Infidelity prevails to an alarming extent, not in the world only, but in the church. Many have come to deny doctrines which are the very pillars of the Christian faith. The great facts of creation as presented by the inspired writers, the fall of man, the atonement, the perpetuity of the law--these all are practically rejected by a large share of the professedly Christian world. Thousands who pride themselves on their knowledge regard it as an evidence of weakness to place implicit confidence in the Bible, and a proof of learning to cavil at the Scriptures and to spiritualize and explain away their most important truths.

    Christians should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise, and this preparation they should make by diligently studying the word of God and striving to conform their lives to its precepts. The tremendous issues of eternity demand of us something besides an imaginary religion, a religion of words and forms, where truth is kept in the outer court. God calls for a revival and a reformation. The words of the Bible and the Bible alone, should be heard from the pulpit. But the Bible has been robbed of its power, and the result is seen in a lowering of the tone of spiritual life. In many sermons of today there is not that divine manifestation which awakens the conscience and brings life to the soul. The hearers cannot say, "Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?" Luke 24:32. There are many who are crying out for the living God, longing for the divine presence. Let the word of God speak to the heart. Let those who have heard only tradition and human theories and maxims, hear the voice of Him who can renew the soul unto eternal life.

    Great light shone forth from patriarchs and prophets. Glorious things were spoken of Zion, the City of God. Thus the Lord designs that the light shall shine forth through His followers today. If the saints of the Old Testament bore so bright a testimony of loyalty, should not those upon whom is shining the accumulated light of centuries, bear a still more signal witness to the power of truth? The glory of the prophecies sheds their light upon our pathway.

    Type has met antitype in the death of God's Son. Christ has risen from the dead, proclaiming over the rent sepulcher, "I am the resurrection, and the life." John 11:25. He has sent His Spirit into the world to bring all things to our remembrance. By a miracle of power He has preserved His written word through the ages.

    The Reformers whose protest has given us the name of Protestant, felt that God had called them to give the light of the gospel to the world; and in the effort to do this they were ready to sacrifice their possessions, their liberty, even life itself. In the face of persecution and death the gospel was proclaimed far and near. The word of God was carried to the people; and all classes, high and low, rich and poor, learned and ignorant, eagerly studied it for themselves. Are we, in this last conflict of the great controversy, as faithful to our trust as the early Reformers were to theirs?

    "Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children: . . . let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach." "Turn ye even to Me with all your hearts, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil. Who knoweth if He will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind Him?" Joel 2:15-17, 12-14.
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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:25 pm

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk52.html Nehemiah, one of the Hebrew exiles, occupied a position of influence and honor in the Persian court. As cupbearer to the king he was admitted freely to the royal presence. By virtue of his position, and because of his abilities and fidelity, he had become the monarch's friend and counselor. The recipient of royal favor, however, though surrounded by pomp and splendor, did not forget his God nor his people. With deepest interest his heart turned toward Jerusalem; his hopes and joys were bound up with her prosperity. Through this man, prepared by his residence in the Persian court for the work to which he was to be called, God purposed to bring blessing to His people in the land of their fathers.

    By messengers from Judea the Hebrew patriot learned that days of trial had come to Jerusalem, the chosen city. The returned exiles were suffering affliction and reproach. The temple and portions of the city had been rebuilt; but the work of restoration was hindered, the temple services were disturbed, and the people kept in constant alarm by the fact that the walls of the city were still largely in ruins.

    Overwhelmed with sorrow, Nehemiah could neither eat nor drink; he "wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted." In his grief he turned to the divine Helper. "I . . . prayed," he said, "before the God of heaven." Faithfully he made confession of his sins and the sins of his people. He pleaded that God would maintain the cause of Israel, restore their courage and strength, and help them to build up the waste places of Judah.

    As Nehemiah prayed, his faith and courage grew strong. His mouth was filled with holy arguments. He pointed to the dishonor that would be cast upon God, if His people, now that they had returned to Him, should be left in weakness and oppression; and he urged the Lord to bring to pass His promise: "If ye turn unto Me, and keep My Commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set My name there." See Deuteronomy 4:29-31. This promise had been given to Israel through Moses before they had entered Canaan, and during the centuries it had stood unchanged. God's people had now returned to Him in penitence and faith, and His promise would not fail.

    Nehemiah had often poured out his soul in behalf of his people. But now as he prayed a holy purpose formed in his mind. He resolved that if he could obtain the consent of the king, and the necessary aid in procuring implements and material, he would himself undertake the task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and restoring Israel's national strength. And he asked the Lord to grant him favor in the sight of the king, that this plan might be carried out. "Prosper, I pray Thee, Thy servant this day," he entreated, "and grant him mercy in the sight of this man."

    Four months Nehemiah waited for a favorable opportunity to present his request to the king. During this time, though his heart was heavy with grief, he endeavored to bear himself with cheerfulness in the royal presence. In those halls of luxury and splendor all must appear light-hearted and happy. Distress must not cast its shadow over the countenance of any attendant of royalty. But in Nehemiah's seasons of retirement, concealed from human sight, many were the prayers, the confessions, the tears, heard and witnessed by God and angels.

    At length the sorrow that burdened the patriot's heart could no longer be concealed. Sleepless nights and care-filled days left their trace upon his countenance. The king, jealous for his own safety, was accustomed to read countenances and to penetrate disguises, and he saw that some secret trouble was preying upon his cupbearer. "Why is thy countenance sad," he inquired, "seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart."

    The question filled Nehemiah with apprehension. Would not the king be angry to hear that while outwardly engaged in his service, the courtier's thoughts had been far away with his afflicted people? Would not the offender's life be forfeited? His cherished plan for restoring the strength of Jerusalem--was it about to be overthrown? "Then," he writes, "I was very sore afraid." With trembling lips and tearful eyes he revealed the cause of his sorrow. "Let the king live forever," he answered. "Why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchers, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?"

    The recital of the condition of Jerusalem awakened the sympathy of the monarch without arousing his prejudices. Another question gave the opportunity for which Nehemiah had long waited: "For what dost thou make request?" But the man of God did not venture to reply till he had sought direction from One higher than Artaxerxes. He had a sacred trust to fulfill, in which he required help from the king; and he realized that much depended upon his presenting the matter in such a way as to win his approval and enlist his aid. "I prayed," he said, "to the God of heaven." In that brief prayer Nehemiah pressed into the presence of the King of kings and won to his side a power that can turn hearts as the rivers of waters are turned.

    To pray as Nehemiah prayed in his hour of need is a resource at the command of the Christian under circumstances when other forms of prayer may be impossible. Toilers in the busy walks of life, crowded and almost overwhelmed with perplexity, can send up a petition to God for divine guidance. Travelers by sea and land, when threatened with some great danger, can thus commit themselves to Heaven's protection. In times of sudden difficulty or peril the heart may send up its cry for help to One who has pledged Himself to come to the aid of His faithful, believing ones whenever they call upon Him. In every circumstance, under every condition, the soul weighed down with grief and care, or fiercely assailed by temptation, may find assurance, support, and succor in the unfailing love and power of a covenant-keeping God.

    Nehemiah, in that brief moment of prayer to the King of kings, gathered courage to tell Artaxerxes of his desire to be released for a time from his duties at the court, and he asked for authority to build up the waste places of Jerusalem and to make it once more a strong and defensed city. Momentous results to the Jewish nation hung upon this request. "And," Nehemiah declares, "the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me."

    Having secured the help he sought, Nehemiah with prudence and forethought proceeded to make the arrangements necessary to ensure the success of the enterprise. He neglected no precaution that would tend to its accomplishment. Not even to his own countrymen did he reveal his purpose. While he knew that many would rejoice in his success, he feared that some, by acts of indiscretion, might arouse the jealousy of their enemies and perhaps bring about the defeat of the undertaking.

    His request to the king had been so favorably received that Nehemiah was encouraged to ask for still further assistance. To give dignity and authority to his mission, as well as to provide protection on the journey, he asked for and secured a military escort. He obtained royal letters to the governors of the provinces beyond the Euphrates, the territory through which he must pass on his way to Judea; and he obtained, also, a letter to the keeper of the king's forest in the mountains of Lebanon, directing him to furnish such timber as would be needed. That there might be no occasion for complaint that he had exceeded his commission, Nehemiah was careful to have the authority and privileges accorded him, clearly defined.

    This example of wise forethought and resolute action should be a lesson to all Christians. God's children are not only to pray in faith, but to work with diligent and provident care. They encounter many difficulties and often hinder the working of Providence in their behalf, because they regard prudence and painstaking effort as having little to do with religion. Nehemiah did not regard his duty done when he had wept and prayed before the Lord. He united his petitions with holy endeavor, putting forth earnest, prayerful efforts for the success of the enterprise in which he was engaged. Careful consideration and well-matured plans are as essential to the carrying forward of sacred enterprises today as in the time of the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls.

    Nehemiah did not depend upon uncertainty. The means that he lacked he solicited from those who were able to bestow. And the Lord is still willing to move upon the hearts of those in possession of His goods, in behalf of the cause of truth. Those who labor for Him are to avail themselves of the help that He prompts men to give. These gifts may open ways by which the light of truth shall go to many benighted lands. The donors may have no faith in Christ, no acquaintance with His word; but their gifts are not on this account to be refused.

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk53.html Nehemiah's journey to Jerusalem was accomplished in safety. The royal letters to the governors of the provinces along his route secured him honorable reception and prompt assistance. No enemy dared molest the official who was guarded by the power of the Persian king and treated with marked consideration by the provincial rulers. His arrival in Jerusalem, however, with a military escort, showing that he had come on some important mission, excited the jealousy of the heathen tribes living near the city, who had so often indulged their enmity against the Jews by heaping upon them injury and insult. Foremost in this evil work were certain chiefs of these tribes, Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian. From the first these leaders watched with critical eyes the movements of Nehemiah and endeavored by every means in their power to thwart his plans and hinder his work.

    Nehemiah continued to exercise the same caution and prudence that had hitherto marked his course. Knowing that bitter and determined enemies stood ready to oppose him, he concealed the nature of his mission from them until a study of the situation should enable him to form his plans. Thus he hoped to secure the co-operation of the people and set them at work before the opposition of his enemies should be aroused.

    Choosing a few men whom he knew to be worthy of confidence, Nehemiah told them of the circumstances that had led him to come to Jerusalem, the object that he wished to accomplish, and the plans he proposed to follow. Their interest in his undertaking was at once enlisted and their assistance secured.

    On the third night after his arrival Nehemiah rose at midnight and with a few trusted companions went out to view for himself the desolation of Jerusalem. Mounted on his mule, he passed from one part of the city to another, surveying the broken-down walls and gates of the city of his fathers. Painful reflections filled the mind of the Jewish patriot as with sorrow-stricken heart he gazed upon the ruined defenses of his beloved Jerusalem. Memories of Israel's past greatness stood out in sharp contrast with the evidences of her humiliation.

    In secrecy and silence Nehemiah completed his circuit of the walls. "The rulers knew not whither I went," he declares, "or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work." The remainder of the night he spent in prayer; for he knew that the morning would call for earnest effort to arouse and unite his dispirited and divided countrymen.

    Nehemiah bore a royal commission requiring the inhabitants to co-operate with him in rebuilding the walls of the city, but he did not depend upon the exercise of authority. He sought rather to gain the confidence and sympathy of the people, knowing that a union of hearts as well as of hands was essential in the great work before him. When on the morrow he called the people together he presented such arguments as were calculated to arouse their dormant energies and unite their scattered numbers.

    Nehemiah's hearers did not know, neither did he tell them, of his midnight circuit of the night before. But the fact that he had made this circuit contributed greatly to his success; for he was able to speak of the condition of the city with an accuracy and a minuteness that astonished his hearers. The impression made upon him as he had looked upon the weakness and degradation of Jerusalem, gave earnestness and power to his words.

    Nehemiah presented before the people their reproach among the heathen--their religion dishonored, their God blasphemed. He told them that in a distant land he had heard of their affliction, that he had entreated the favor of Heaven in their behalf, and that, as he was praying, he had determined to ask permission from the king to come to their assistance. He had asked God that the king might not only grant this permission, but might also invest him with the authority and give him the help needed for the work; and his prayer had been answered in such a way as to show that the plan was of the Lord.

    All this he related, and then, having shown that he was sustained by the combined authority of the God of Israel and the Persian king, Nehemiah asked the people directly whether they would take advantage of this opportunity and arise and build the wall.

    The appeal went straight to their hearts. The thought of how Heaven's favor had been manifested toward them put their fears to shame, and with new courage they said with one voice, "Let us rise up and build." "So they strengthened their hands for this good work."

    Nehemiah's whole soul was in the enterprise he had undertaken. His hope, his energy, his enthusiasm, his determination, were contagious, inspiring others with the same high courage and lofty purpose. Each man became a Nehemiah in his turn and helped to make stronger the heart and hand of his neighbor.

    When the enemies of Israel heard what the Jews were hoping to accomplish, they laughed them to scorn, saying, "What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king?" But Nehemiah answered, "The God of heaven, He will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem."

    Among the first to catch Nehemiah's spirit of zeal and earnestness were the priests. Because of their influential position, these men could do much to advance or hinder the work; and their ready co-operation, at the very outset, contributed not a little to its success. The majority of the princes and rulers of Israel came up nobly to their duty, and these faithful men have honorable mention in the book of God. There were a few, the Tekoite nobles, who "put not their necks to the work of their Lord." The memory of these slothful servants is branded with shame and has been handed down as a warning to all future generations.

    In every religious movement there are some who, while they cannot deny that the cause is God's, still hold themselves aloof, refusing to make any effort to help. It were well for such ones to remember the record kept on high--that book in which there are no omissions, no mistakes, and out of which they will be judged. There every neglected opportunity to do service for God is recorded; and there, too, every deed of faith and love is held in everlasting remembrance.

    Against the inspiring influence of Nehemiah's presence the example of the Tekoite nobles had little weight. The people in general were animated by patriotism and zeal. Men of ability and influence organized the various classes of citizens into companies, each leader making himself responsible for the erection of a certain part of the wall. And of some it is written that they builded "everyone over against his house."

    Nor did Nehemiah's energy abate, now that the work was actually begun. With tireless vigilance he superintended the building, directing the workmen, noting the hindrances, and providing for emergencies. Along the whole extent of that three miles of wall his influence was constantly felt. With timely words he encouraged the fearful, aroused the laggard, and approved the diligent. And ever he watched the movements of their enemies, who from time to time collected at a distance and engaged in conversation, as if plotting mischief, and then, drawing nearer the workmen, attempted to divert their attention.

    In his many activities Nehemiah did not forget the source of his strength. His heart was constantly uplifted to God, the great Overseer of all. "The God of heaven," he exclaimed, "He will prosper us;" and the words, echoed and re-echoed, thrilled the hearts of all the workers on the wall.

    But the restoration of the defenses of Jerusalem did not go forward unhindered. Satan was working to stir up opposition and bring discouragement. Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem, his principal agents in this movement, now set themselves to hinder the work of rebuilding. They endeavored to cause division among the workmen. They ridiculed the efforts of the builders, declaring the enterprise an impossibility and predicting failure.

    "What do these feeble Jews?" exclaimed Sanballat mockingly; "will they fortify themselves? . . . will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?"

    Tobiah, still more contemptuous, added, "Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall."

    The builders were soon beset by more active opposition. They were compelled to guard continually against the plots of their adversaries, who, professing friendliness, sought in various ways to cause confusion and perplexity, and to arouse distrust. They endeavored to destroy the courage of the Jews; they formed conspiracies to draw Nehemiah into their toils; and falsehearted Jews were found ready to aid the treacherous undertaking. The report was spread that Nehemiah was plotting against the Persian monarch, intending to exalt himself as a king over Israel, and that all who aided him were traitors.

    But Nehemiah continued to look to God for guidance and support, and "the people had a mind to work." The enterprise went forward until the gaps were filled and the entire wall built up to half its intended height.

    As the enemies of Israel saw how unavailing were their efforts, they were filled with rage. Hitherto they had not dared employ violent measures, for they knew that Nehemiah and his companions were acting under the king's commission, and they feared that active opposition against him might bring upon them the monarch's displeasure. But now in their anger they themselves became guilty of the crime of which they had accused Nehemiah. Assembling for counsel, they "conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem."

    At the same time that the Samaritans were plotting against Nehemiah and his work, some of the leading men among the Jews, becoming disaffected, sought to discourage him by exaggerating the difficulties attending the enterprise. "The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed," they said, "and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall."

    Discouragement came from still another source. "The Jews which dwelt by," those who were taking no part in the work, gathered up the statements and reports of their enemies and used these to weaken courage and create disaffection.

    But taunts and ridicule, opposition and threats, seemed only to inspire Nehemiah with firmer determination and to arouse him to greater watchfulness. He recognized the dangers that must be met in this warfare with their enemies, but his courage was undaunted. "We made our prayer unto our God," he declares, "and set a watch against them day and night." "Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.

    "And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, everyone unto his work. And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons. . . . They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, everyone with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, everyone had his sword girded by his side, and so builded."

    Beside Nehemiah stood a trumpeter, and on different parts of the wall were stationed priests bearing the sacred trumpets. The people were scattered in their labors, but on the approach of danger at any point a signal was given for them to repair thither without delay. "So we labored in the work," Nehemiah says, "and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared."

    Those who had been living in towns and villages outside Jerusalem were now required to lodge within the walls, both to guard the work and to be ready for duty in the morning. This would prevent unnecessary delay, and would cut off the opportunity which the enemy would otherwise improve, of attacking the workmen as they went to and from their homes. Nehemiah and his companions did not shrink from hardship or trying service. Neither by day nor night, not even during the short time given to sleep, did they put off their clothing or lay aside their armor.

    The opposition and discouragement that the builders in Nehemiah's day met from open enemies and pretended friends is typical of the experience that those today will have who work for God. Christians are tried, not only by the anger, contempt, and cruelty of enemies, but by the indolence, inconsistency, lukewarmness, and treachery of avowed friends and helpers. Derision and reproach are hurled at them. And the same enemy that leads to contempt, at a favorable opportunity uses more cruel and violent measures.

    Satan takes advantage of every unconsecrated element for the accomplishment of his purposes. Among those who profess to be the supporters of God's cause there are those who unite with His enemies and thus lay His cause open to the attacks of His bitterest foes. Even some who desire the work of God to prosper will yet weaken the hands of His servants by hearing, reporting, and half believing the slanders, boasts, and menaces of His adversaries. Satan works with marvelous success through his agents, and all who yield to their influence are subject to a bewitching power that destroys the wisdom of the wise and the understanding of the prudent. But, like Nehemiah, God's people are neither to fear nor to despise their enemies. Putting their trust in God, they are to go steadily forward, doing His work with unselfishness, and committing to His providence the cause for which they stand.

    Amidst great discouragement, Nehemiah made God his trust, his sure defense. And He who was the support of His servant then has been the dependence of His people in every age. In every crisis His people may confidently declare, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31. However craftily the plots of Satan and his agents may be laid, God can detect them, and bring to nought all their counsels. The response of faith today will be the response made by Nehemiah, "Our God shall fight for us;" for God is in the work, and no man can prevent its ultimate success.

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk54.html The wall of Jerusalem had not yet been completed when Nehemiah's attention was called to the unhappy condition of the poorer classes of the people. In the unsettled state of the country, tillage had been to some extent neglected. Furthermore, because of the selfish course pursued by some who had returned to Judea, the Lord's blessing was not resting upon their land, and there was a scarcity of grain.

    In order to obtain food for their families, the poor were obliged to buy on credit and at exorbitant prices. They were also compelled to raise money by borrowing on interest to pay the heavy taxes imposed upon them by the kings of Persia. To add to the distress of the poor, the more wealthy among the Jews had taken advantage of their necessities, thus enriching themselves.

    The Lord had commanded Israel, through Moses, that every third year a tithe be raised for the benefit of the poor; and a further provision had been made in the suspension of agricultural labor every seventh year, the land lying fallow, its spontaneous products being left to those in need. Faithfulness in devoting these offerings to the relief of the poor and to other benevolent uses would have tended to keep fresh before the people the truth of God's ownership of all, and their opportunity to be channels of blessing. It was Jehovah's purpose that the Israelites should have a training that would eradicate selfishness, and develop breadth and nobility of character.

    God had also instructed through Moses: "If thou lend money to any of My people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer." "Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of anything that is lent upon usury." Exodus 22:25; Deuteronomy 23:19. Again He had said, "If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: but thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth." "For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land." Deuteronomy 15:7, 8, 11.

    At times following the return of the exiles from Babylon, the wealthy Jews had gone directly contrary to these commands. When the poor were obliged to borrow to pay tribute to the king, the wealthy had lent them money, but had exacted a high rate of interest. By taking mortgages on the lands of the poor, they had gradually reduced the unfortunate debtors to the deepest poverty. Many had been forced to sell their sons and daughters into servitude; and there seemed no hope of improving their condition, no way to redeem either their children or their lands, no prospect before them but ever-increasing distress, with perpetual want and bondage. Yet they were of the same nation, children of the same covenant, as their more favored brethren.

    At length the people presented their condition before Nehemiah. "Lo," they said, "we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought into bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards."

    As Nehemiah heard of this cruel oppression, his soul was filled with indignation. "I was very angry," he says, "when I heard their cry and these words." He saw that if he succeeded in breaking up the oppressive custom of exaction he must take a decided stand for justice. With characteristic energy and determination he went to work to bring relief to his brethren.

    The fact that the oppressors were men of wealth, whose support was greatly needed in the work of restoring the city, did not for a moment influence Nehemiah. He sharply rebuked the nobles and rulers, and when he had gathered a great assembly of the people he set before them the requirements of God touching the case.

    He called their attention to events that had occurred in the reign of King Ahaz. He repeated the message which God had at the time sent to Israel to rebuke their cruelty and oppression. The children of Judah, because of their idolatry, had been delivered into the hands of their still more idolatrous brethren, the people of Israel. The latter had indulged their enmity by slaying in battle many thousands of the men of Judah and had seized all the women and children, intending to keep them as slaves or to sell them into bondage to the heathen.

    Because of the sins of Judah, the Lord had not interposed to prevent the battle; but by the prophet Oded He rebuked the cruel design of the victorious army: "Ye purpose to keep under the children of Judah and Jerusalem for bondmen and bondwomen unto you: but are there not with you, even with you, sins against the Lord your God?" 2 Chronicles 28:10. Oded warned the people of Israel that the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and that their course of injustice and oppression would call down His judgments. Upon hearing these words, the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the congregation. Then certain leading men of the tribe of Ephraim "took the captives, and with the spoil clothed all that were naked among them, and arrayed them, and shod them, and gave them to eat and to drink, and anointed them, and carried all the feeble of them upon asses, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brethren." Verse 15.

    Nehemiah and others had ransomed certain of the Jews who had been sold to the heathen, and he now placed this course in contrast with the conduct of those who for the sake of worldly gain were enslaving their brethren. "It is not good that ye do," he said; "ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies?"

    Nehemiah showed them that he himself, being invested with authority from the Persian king, might have demanded large contributions for his personal benefit. But instead of this he had not taken even that which justly belonged to him, but had given liberally to relieve the poor in their need. He urged those among the Jewish rulers who had been guilty of extortion, to cease this iniquitous work; to restore the lands of the poor, and also the increase of money which they had exacted from them; and to lend to them without security or usury.

    These words were spoken in the presence of the whole congregation. Had the rulers chosen to justify themselves, they had opportunity to do so. But they offered no excuse. "We will restore them," they declared, "and will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou sayest." At this, Nehemiah in the presence of the priests "took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise." "And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the Lord. And the people did according to this promise."

    This record teaches an important lesson. "The love of money is the root of all evil." 1. Timothy 6:10. In this generation the desire for gain is the absorbing passion. Wealth is often obtained by fraud. There are multitudes struggling with poverty, compelled to labor hard for small wages, unable to secure even the barest necessities of life. Toil and deprivation, with no hope of better things, make their burden heavy. Careworn and oppressed, they know not where to turn for relief. And all this that the rich may support their extravagance or indulge their desire to hoard!

    Love of money and love of display have made this world as a den of thieves and robbers. The Scriptures picture the greed and oppression that will prevail just before Christ's second coming. "Go to now, ye rich men," James writes; "ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you." James 5:1, 3-6.

    Even among those who profess to be walking in the fear of the Lord, there are some who are acting over again the course pursued by the nobles of Israel. Because it is in their power to do so, they exact more than is just, and thus become oppressors. And because avarice and treachery are seen in the lives of those who have named the name of Christ, because the church retains on her books the names of those who have gained their possessions by injustice, the religion of Christ is held in contempt. Extravagance, overreaching, extortion, are corrupting the faith of many and destroying their spirituality. The church is in a great degree responsible for the sins of her members. She gives countenance to evil if she fails to lift her voice against it.

    The customs of the world are no criterion for the Christian. He is not to imitate its sharp practices, its overreaching, its extortion. Every unjust act toward a fellow being is a violation of the golden rule. Every wrong done to the children of God is done to Christ Himself in the person of His saints. Every attempt to take advantage of the ignorance, weakness, or misfortune of another is registered as fraud in the ledger of heaven. He who truly fears God, would rather toil day and night, and eat the bread of poverty, than to indulge the passion for gain that oppresses the widow and fatherless or turns the stranger from his right.

    The slightest departure from rectitude breaks down the barriers and prepares the heart to do greater injustice. Just to that extent that a man would gain advantage for himself at the disadvantage of another, will his soul become insensible to the influence of the Spirit of God. Gain obtained at such a cost is a fearful loss. We were all debtors to divine justice, but we had nothing with which to pay the debt. Then the Son of God, who pitied us, paid the price of our redemption. He became poor that through His poverty we might be rich. By deeds of liberality toward His poor we may prove the sincerity of our gratitude for the mercy extended to us. "Let us do good unto all men," the apostle Paul enjoins, "especially unto them who are of the household of faith." Galatians 6:10. And his words accord with those of the Saviour: "Ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good." "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." Mark 14:7; Matthew 7:12.
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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:40 pm

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk55.html Sanballat and his confederates dared not make open war upon the Jews; but with increasing malice they continued their secret efforts to discourage, perplex, and injure them. The wall about Jerusalem was rapidly approaching completion. When it should be finished and its gates set up, these enemies of Israel could not hope to force an entrance into the city. They were the more eager, therefore, to stop the work without further delay. At last they devised a plan by which they hoped to draw Nehemiah from his station, and while they had him in their power, to kill or imprison him.

    Pretending to desire a compromise of the opposing parties, they sought a conference with Nehemiah, and invited him to meet them in a village on the plain on Ono. But enlightened by the Holy Spirit as to their real purpose, he refused. "I sent messengers unto them," he writes, "saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?" But the tempters were persistent. Four times they sent a message of similar import, and each time they received the same answer.

    Finding this scheme unsuccessful, they resorted to a more daring stratagem. Sanballat sent Nehemiah a messenger bearing an open letter which said: "It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king. . . . And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together."

    Had the reports mentioned been actually circulated, there would have been cause for apprehension; for they would soon have been carried to the king, whom a slight suspicion might provoke to the severest measures. But Nehemiah was convinced that the letter was wholly false, written to arouse his fears and draw him into a snare. This conclusion was strengthened by the fact that the letter was sent open, evidently that the people might read the contents, and become alarmed and intimidated.

    He promptly returned the answer. "There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart." Nehemiah was not ignorant of Satan's devices. He knew that these attempts were made in order to weaken the hands of the builders and thus frustrate their efforts.

    Again and again had Satan been defeated; and now, with deeper malice and cunning, he laid a still more subtle and dangerous snare for the servant of God. Sanballat and his companions hired men who professed to be the friends of Nehemiah, to give him evil counsel as the word of the Lord. The chief one engaged in this iniquitous work was Shemaiah, a man previously held in good repute by Nehemiah. This man shut himself up in a chamber near the sanctuary as if fearing that his life was in danger. The temple was at this time protected by walls and gates, but the gates of the city were not yet set up. Professing great concern for Nehemiah's safety, Shemaiah advised him to seek shelter in the temple. "Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple," he proposed, "and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee."

    Had Nehemiah followed this treacherous counsel, he would have sacrificed his faith in God, and in the eyes of the people he would have appeared cowardly and contemptible. In view of the important work that he had undertaken, and the confidence that he professed to have in the power of God, it would have been altogether inconsistent for him to hide as if in fear. The alarm would have spread among the people, each would have sought his own safety, and the city would have been left unprotected, to fall a prey to its enemies. That one unwise move on the part of Nehemiah would have been a virtual surrender of all that had been gained.

    Nehemiah was not long in penetrating the true character and object of his counselor. "I perceived that God had not sent him," he says, "but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me."

    The infamous counsel given by Shemaiah was seconded by more than one man of high reputation, who, while professing to be Nehemiah's friends, were secretly in league with his enemies. But it was to no avail that they laid their snare. Nehemiah's fearless answer was: "Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in."

    Notwithstanding the plots of enemies, open and secret, the work of building went steadily forward, and in less than two months from the time of Nehemiah's arrival in Jerusalem the city was girded with its defenses and the builders could walk upon the walls and look down upon their defeated and astonished foes. "When all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things," Nehemiah writes, "they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God."

    Yet even this evidence of the Lord's controlling hand was not sufficient to restrain discontent, rebellion, and treachery among the Israelites. "The nobles of Judah sent many letters unto Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came unto them. For there were many in Judah sworn unto him, because he was the son-in-law of Shechaniah." Here are seen the evil results of intermarriage with idolaters. A family of Judah had become connected with the enemies of God, and the relation had proved a snare. Many others had done the same. These, like the mixed multitude that came up with Israel from Egypt, were a source of constant trouble. They were not wholehearted in His service; and when God's work demanded a sacrifice, they were ready to violate their solemn oath of co-operation and support.

    Some who had been foremost in plotting mischief against the Jews, now professed a desire to be on friendly terms with them. The nobles of Judah who had become entangled in idolatrous marriages, and who had held traitorous correspondence with Tobiah and taken oath to serve him, now represented him as a man of ability and foresight, an alliance with whom would be greatly to the advantage of the Jews. At the same time they betrayed to him Nehemiah's plans and movements. Thus the work of God's people was laid open to the attacks of their enemies, and opportunity was given to misconstrue Nehemiah's words and acts, and to hinder his work.

    When the poor and oppressed had appealed to Nehemiah for redress of their wrongs, he had stood boldly in their defense and had caused the wrongdoers to remove the reproach that rested on them. But the authority that he had exercised in behalf of his downtrodden countrymen he did not now exercise in his own behalf. His efforts had been met by some with ingratitude and treachery, but he did not use his power to bring the traitors to punishment. Calmly and unselfishly he went forward in his service for the people, never slackening his efforts or allowing his interest to grow less.

    Satan's assaults have ever been directed against those who have sought to advance the work and cause of God Though often baffled, he as often renews his attacks with fresh vigor, using means hitherto untried. But it is his secret working through those who avow themselves the friends of God's work, that is most to be feared. Open opposition may be fierce and cruel, but it is fraught with far less peril to God's cause than is the secret enmity of those who, while professing to serve God, are at heart the servants of Satan. These have it in their power to place every advantage in the hands of those who will use their knowledge to hinder the work of God and injure His servants.

    Every device that the prince of darkness can suggest will be employed to induce God's servants to form a confederacy with the agents of Satan. Repeated solicitations will come to call them from duty; but, like Nehemiah, they should steadfastly reply, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down." God's workers may safely keep on with their work, letting their efforts refute the falsehoods that malice may coin for their injury. Like the builders on the walls of Jerusalem they must refuse to be diverted from their work by threats or mockery or falsehood. Not for one moment are they to relax their watchfulness or vigilance, for enemies are continually on their track. Ever they must make their prayer to God "and set a watch against them day and night." Nehemiah 4:9.

    As the time of the end draws near, Satan's temptations will be brought to bear with greater power upon God's workers. He will employ human agents to mock and revile those who "build the wall." But should the builders come down to meet the attacks of their foes, this would but retard the work. They should endeavor to defeat the purposes of their adversaries, but they should not allow anything to call them from their work. Truth is stronger than error, and right will prevail over wrong.

    Neither should they allow their enemies to gain their friendship and sympathy, and thus lure them from their post of duty. He who by any unguarded act exposes the cause of God to reproach, or weakens the hands of his fellow workers, brings upon his own character a stain not easily removed, and places a serious obstacle in the way of his future usefulness.

    "They that forsake the law praise the wicked." Proverbs 28:4. When those who are uniting with the world, yet claiming great purity, plead for union with those who have ever been the opposers of the cause of truth, we should fear and shun them as decidedly as did Nehemiah. Such counsel is prompted by the enemy of all good. It is the speech of timeservers, and should be resisted as resolutely today as then. Whatever influence would tend to unsettle the faith of God's people in His guiding power, should be steadfastly withstood.

    In Nehemiah's firm devotion to the work of God, and his equally firm reliance on God, lay the reason of the failure of his enemies to draw him into their power. The soul that is indolent falls an easy prey to temptation; but in the life that has a noble aim, an absorbing purpose, evil finds little foothold. The faith of him who is constantly advancing does not weaken; for above, beneath, beyond, he recognizes Infinite Love, working out all things to accomplish His good purpose. God's true servants work with a determination that will not fail because the throne of grace is their constant dependence.

    God has provided divine assistance for all the emergencies to which our human resources are unequal. He gives the Holy Spirit to help in every strait, to strengthen our hope and assurance, to illuminate our minds and purify our hearts. He provides opportunities and opens channels of working. If His people are watching the indications of His providence, and are ready to co-operate with Him, they will see mighty results.

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk56.html It was the time of the Feast of Trumpets. Many were gathered at Jerusalem. The scene was one of mournful interest. The wall of Jerusalem had been rebuilt and the gates set up, but a large part of the city was still in ruins.

    On a platform of wood, erected in one of the broadest streets, and surrounded on every hand by the sad reminders of Judah's departed glory, stood Ezra, now an aged man. At his right and left were gathered his brother Levites. Looking down from the platform, their eyes swept over a sea of heads. From all the surrounding country the children of the covenant had assembled. "And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen: . . . and they bowed their heads, and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground."

    Yet even here was evidence of the sin of Israel. Through the intermarriage of the people with other nations, the Hebrew language had become corrupted, and great care was necessary on the part of the speakers to explain the law in the language of the people, that it might be understood by all. Certain of the priests and Levites united with Ezra in explaining the principles of the law. "They read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading."

    "And the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law." They listened, intent and reverent, to the words of the Most High. As the law was explained, they were convinced of their guilt, and they mourned because of their transgressions. But this day was a festival, a day of rejoicing, a holy convocation, a day which the Lord had commanded the people to keep with joy and gladness; and in view of this they were bidden to restrain their grief and to rejoice because of God's great mercy toward them. "This day is holy unto the Lord your God," Nehemiah said. "Mourn not, nor weep. . . . Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength."

    The earlier part of the day was devoted to religious exercises, and the people spent the remainder of the time in gratefully recounting the blessings of God and in enjoying the bounties that He had provided. Portions were also sent to the poor, who had nothing to prepare. There was great rejoicing because the words of the law had been read and understood.

    On the following day the reading and explaining of the law were continued. And at the time appointed--on the tenth day of the seventh month--the solemn services of the Day of Atonement were performed according to the command of God.

    From the fifteenth to the twenty-second of the same month the people and their rulers kept once more the Feast of Tabernacles. It was proclaimed "in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, everyone upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God. . . . And there was very great gladness. Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he [Ezra] read in the book of the law of God."

    As they had listened from day to day to the words of the law, the people had been convicted of their transgressions, and of the sins of their nation in past generations. They saw that it was because of a departure from God that His protecting care had been withdrawn and that the children of Abraham had been scattered in foreign lands, and they determined to seek His mercy and to pledge themselves to walk in His commandments. Before entering upon this solemn service, held on the second day after the close of the Feast of Tabernacles, they separated themselves from the heathen among them.

    As the people prostrated themselves before the Lord, confessing their sins and pleading for pardon, their leaders encouraged them to believe that God, according to His promise, heard their prayers. They must not only mourn and weep, and repent, but they must believe that God pardoned them. They must show their faith by recounting His mercies and praising Him for His goodness. "Stand up," said these teachers, "and bless the Lord your God for ever and ever."

    Then from the assembled throng, as they stood with outstretched hands toward heaven, there arose the song:

    "Blessed be Thy glorious name,
    Which is exalted above all blessing and praise.
    Thou, even Thou, art Lord alone;
    Thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens,
    with all their host,
    The earth, and all things that are therein,
    The seas, and all that is therein,
    And Thou preservest them all;
    And the host of heaven worshippeth Thee."

    The song of praise ended, the leaders of the congregation related the history of Israel, showing how great had been God's goodness toward them, and how great their ingratitude. Then the whole congregation entered into a covenant to keep all the commandments of God. They had suffered punishment for their sins; now they acknowledged the justice of God's dealings with them and pledged themselves to obey His law. And that this might be "a sure covenant," and be preserved in permanent form, as a memorial of the obligation they had taken upon themselves, it was written out, and the priests, Levites, and princes signed it. It was to serve as a reminder of duty and a barrier against temptation. The people took a solemn oath "to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and His judgments and His statutes." The oath taken at this time included a promise not to intermarry with the people of the land.

    Before the day of fasting ended, the people still further manifested their determination to return to the Lord, by pledging themselves to cease from desecrating the Sabbath. Nehemiah did not at this time, as at a later date, exercise his authority to prevent heathen traders from coming into Jerusalem; but in an effort to save the people from yielding to temptation, he bound them, by a solemn covenant, not to transgress the Sabbath law by purchasing from these venders, hoping that this would discourage the traders and put an end to the traffic.

    Provision was also made to support the public worship of God. In addition to the tithe the congregation pledged themselves to contribute yearly a stated sum for the service of the sanctuary. "We cast the lots," Nehemiah writes, "to bring the first fruits of our ground, and the first fruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of the Lord: also the first-born of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks."

    Israel had returned to God with deep sorrow for backsliding. They had made confession with mourning and lamentation. They had acknowledged the righteousness of God's dealings with them, and had covenanted to obey His law. Now they must manifest faith in His promises. God had accepted their repentance; they were now to rejoice in the assurance of sins forgiven and their restoration to divine favor.

    Nehemiah's efforts to restore the worship of the true God had been crowned with success. As long as the people were true to the oath they had taken, as long as they were obedient to God's word, so long would the Lord fulfill His promise by pouring rich blessings upon them.

    For those who are convicted of sin and weighed down with a sense of their unworthiness, there are lessons of faith and encouragement in this record. The Bible faithfully presents the result of Israel's apostasy; but it portrays also the deep humiliation and repentance, the earnest devotion and generous sacrifice, that marked their seasons of return to the Lord.

    Every true turning to the Lord brings abiding joy into the life. When a sinner yields to the influence of the Holy Spirit, he sees his own guilt and defilement in contrast with the holiness of the great Searcher of hearts. He sees himself condemned as a transgressor. But he is not, because of this, to give way to despair; for his pardon has already been secured. He may rejoice in the sense of sins forgiven, in the love of a pardoning heavenly Father. It is God's glory to encircle sinful, repentant human beings in the arms of His love, to bind up their wounds, to cleanse them from sin, and to clothe them with the garments of salvation.

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk57.html Solemnly and publicly the people of Judah had pledged themselves to obey the law of God. But when the influence of Ezra and Nehemiah was for a time withdrawn, there were many who departed from the Lord. Nehemiah had returned to Persia. During his absence from Jerusalem, evils crept in that threatened to pervert the nation. Idolaters not only gained a foothold in the city, but contaminated by their presence the very precincts of the temple. Through intermarriage, a friendship had been brought about between Eliashib the high priest and Tobiah the Ammonite, Israel's bitter enemy. As a result of this unhallowed alliance, Eliashib had permitted Tobiah to occupy an apartment connected with the temple, which heretofore had been used as a storeroom for tithes and offerings of the people.

    Because of the cruelty and treachery of the Ammonites and Moabites toward Israel, God had declared through Moses that they should be forever shut out from the congregation of His people. See Deuteronomy 23:3-6. In defiance of this word, the high priest had cast out the offerings stored in the chamber of God's house, to make a place for this representative of a proscribed race. Greater contempt for God could not have been shown than to confer such a favor on this enemy of God and His truth.

    On returning from Persia, Nehemiah learned of the bold profanation and took prompt measures to expel the intruder. "It grieved me sore," he declares; "therefore I cast forth all the household stuff of Tobiah out of the chamber. Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense."

    Not only had the temple been profaned, but the offerings had been misapplied. This had tended to discourage the liberalities of the people. They had lost their zeal and fervor, and were reluctant to pay their tithes. The treasuries of the Lord's house were poorly supplied; many of the singers and others employed in the temple service, not receiving sufficient support, had left the work of God to labor elsewhere.

    Nehemiah set to work to correct these abuses. He gathered together those who had left the service of the Lord's house, "and set them in their place." This inspired the people with confidence, and all Judah brought "the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil." Men who "were counted faithful" were made "treasurers over the treasuries," "and their office was to distribute unto their brethren."

    Another result of intercourse with idolaters was a disregard of the Sabbath, the sign distinguishing the Israelites from all other nations as worshipers of the true God. Nehemiah found that heathen merchants and traders from the surrounding country, coming to Jerusalem, had induced many among the Israelites to engage in traffic on the Sabbath. There were some who could not be persuaded to sacrifice principle, but others transgressed and joined with the heathen in their efforts to overcome the scruples of the more conscientious. Many dared openly to violate the Sabbath. "In those days," Nehemiah writes, "saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. . . . There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the Sabbath unto the children of Judah."

    This state of things might have been prevented had the rulers exercised their authority; but a desire to advance their own interests had led them to favor the ungodly. Nehemiah fearlessly rebuked them for their neglect of duty. "What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the Sabbath day?" he sternly demanded. "Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath." He then gave command that "when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the Sabbath," they should be shut, and not opened again till the Sabbath was past; and having more confidence in his own servants than in those that the magistrates of Jerusalem might appoint, he stationed them at the gates to see that his orders were enforced.

    Not inclined to abandon their purpose, "the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice," hoping to find opportunity for traffic, with either the citizens or the country people. Nehemiah warned them that they would be punished if they continued this practice. "Why lodge ye about the wall?" he demanded;

    "if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you." "From that time forth came they no more on the Sabbath." He also directed the Levites to guard the gates, knowing that they would command greater respect than the common people, while from their close connection with the service of God it was reasonable to expect that they would be more zealous in enforcing obedience to His law.

    And now Nehemiah turned his attention to the danger that again threatened Israel from intermarriage and association with idolaters. "In those days," he writes, "saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab: and their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people."

    These unlawful alliances were causing great confusion in Israel; for some who entered into them were men in high position, rulers to whom the people had a right to look for counsel and a safe example. Foreseeing the ruin before the nation if this evil were allowed to continue, Nehemiah reasoned earnestly with the wrongdoers. Pointing to the case of Solomon, he reminded them that among all the nations there had risen no king like this man, to whom God had given great wisdom; yet idolatrous women had turned his heart from God, and his example had corrupted Israel. "Shall we then hearken unto you," Nehemiah sternly demanded, "to do all this great evil?" "Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves."

    As he set before them God's commands and threatenings, and the fearful judgments visited on Israel in the past for this very sin, their consciences were aroused, and a work of reformation was begun that turned away God's threatened anger and brought His approval and blessings.

    There were some in sacred office who pleaded for their heathen wives, declaring that they could not bring themselves to separate from them. But no distinction was made; no respect was shown for rank or position. Whoever among the priests or rulers refused to sever his connection with idolaters was immediately separated from the service of the Lord. A grandson of the high priest, having married a daughter of the notorious Sanballat, was not only removed from office, but promptly banished from Israel. "Remember them, O my God," Nehemiah prayed, "because they have defiled the priesthood, and the covenant of the priesthood, and of the Levites."

    How much anguish of soul this needed severity cost the faithful worker for God the judgment alone will reveal. There was a constant struggle with opposing elements, and only by fasting, humiliation, and prayer was advancement made.

    Many who had married idolaters chose to go with them into exile, and these, with those who had been expelled from the congregation, joined the Samaritans. Hither some who had occupied high positions in the work of God found their way and after a time cast in their lot fully with them. Desiring to strengthen this alliance, the Samaritans promised to adopt more fully the Jewish faith and customs, and the apostates, determined to outdo their former brethren, erected a temple on Mount Gerizim in opposition to the house of God at Jerusalem. Their religion continued to be a mixture of Judaism and heathenism, and their claim to be the people of God was the source of schism, emulation, and enmity between the two nations, from generation to generation.

    In the work of reform to be carried forward today, there is need of men who, like Ezra and Nehemiah, will not palliate or excuse sin, nor shrink from vindicating the honor of God. Those upon whom rests the burden of this work will not hold their peace when wrong is done, neither will they cover evil with a cloak of false charity. They will remember that God is no respecter of persons, and that severity to a few may prove mercy to many. They will remember also that in the one who rebukes evil the spirit of Christ should ever be revealed.

    In their work, Ezra and Nehemiah humbled themselves before God, confessing their sins and the sins of their people, and entreating pardon as if they themselves were the offenders. Patiently they toiled and prayed and suffered. That which made their work most difficult was not the open hostility of the heathen, but the secret opposition of pretended friends, who, by lending their influence to the service of evil, increased tenfold the burden of God's servants. These traitors furnished the Lord's enemies with material to use in their warfare upon His people. Their evil passions and rebellious wills were ever at war with the plain requirements of God.

    The success attending Nehemiah's efforts shows what prayer, faith, and wise, energetic action will accomplish. Nehemiah was not a priest; he was not a prophet; he made no pretension to high title. He was a reformer raised up for an important time. It was his aim to set his people right with God. Inspired with a great purpose, he bent every energy of his being to its accomplishment. High, unbending integrity marked his efforts. As he came into contact with evil and opposition to right he took so determined a stand that the people were roused to labor with fresh zeal and courage. They could not but recognize his loyalty, his patriotism, and his deep love for God; and, seeing this, they were willing to follow where he led.

    Industry in a God-appointed duty is an important part of true religion. Men should seize circumstances as God's instruments with which to work His will. Prompt and decisive action at the right time will gain glorious triumphs, while delay and neglect result in failure and dishonor to God. If the leaders in the cause of truth show no zeal, if they are indifferent and purposeless, the church will be careless, indolent, and pleasure-loving; but if they are filled with a holy purpose to serve God and Him alone, the people will be united, hopeful, eager.

    The word of God abounds in sharp and striking contrasts. Sin and holiness are placed side by side, that, beholding, we may shun the one and accept the other. The pages that describe the hatred, falsehood, and treachery of Sanballat and Tobiah, describe also the nobility, devotion, and self-sacrifice of Ezra and Nehemiah. We are left free to copy either, as we choose. The fearful results of transgressing God's commands are placed over against the blessings resulting from obedience. We ourselves must decide whether we will suffer the one or enjoy the other.

    The work of restoration and reform carried on by the returned exiles, under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, presents a picture of a work of spiritual restoration that is to be wrought in the closing days of this earth's history. The remnant of Israel were a feeble people, exposed to the ravages of their enemies; but through them God purposed to preserve in the earth a knowledge of Himself and of His law. They were the guardians of the true worship, the keepers of the holy oracles. Varied were the experiences that came to them as they rebuilt the temple and the wall of Jerusalem; strong was the opposition that they had to meet. Heavy were the burdens borne by the leaders in this work; but these men moved forward in unwavering confidence, in humility of spirit, and in firm reliance upon God, believing that He would cause His truth to triumph. Like King Hezekiah, Nehemiah "clave to the Lord, and departed not from following Him, but kept His commandments. . . . And the Lord was with him." 2 Kings 18:6, 7.

    The spiritual restoration of which the work carried forward in Nehemiah's day was a symbol, is outlined in the words of Isaiah: "They shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities." "They that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in." Isaiah 61:4;58:12.

    The prophet here describes a people who, in a time of general departure from truth and righteousness, are seeking to restore the principles that are the foundation of the kingdom of God. They are repairers of a breach that has been made in God's law--the wall that He has placed around His chosen ones for their protection, and obedience to whose precepts of justice, truth, and purity is to be their perpetual safeguard.

    In words of unmistakable meaning the prophet points out the specific work of this remnant people who build the wall. "If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." Isaiah 58:13, 14.

    In the time of the end every divine institution is to be restored. The breach made in the law at the time the Sabbath was changed by man, is to be repaired. God's remnant people, standing before the world as reformers, are to show that the law of God is the foundation of all enduring reform and that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is to stand as a memorial of creation, a constant reminder of the power of God. In clear, distinct lines they are to present the necessity of obedience to all the precepts of the Decalogue. Constrained by the love of Christ, they are to co-operate with Him in building up the waste places. They are to be repairers of the breach, restorers of paths to dwell in. See verse 12.
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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:00 pm

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk58.html Through the long centuries of "trouble and darkness" and "dimness of anguish" (Isaiah 8:22) marking the history of mankind from the day our first parents lost their Eden home, to the time the Son of God appeared as the Saviour of sinners, the hope of the fallen race was centered in the coming of a Deliverer to free men and women from the bondage of sin and the grave.

    The first intimation of such a hope was given to Adam and Eve in the sentence pronounced upon the serpent in Eden when the Lord declared to Satan in their hearing, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Genesis 3:15.

    As the guilty pair listened to these words, they were inspired with hope; for in the prophecy concerning the breaking of Satan's power they discerned a promise of deliverance from the ruin wrought through transgression. Though they must suffer from the power of their adversary because they had fallen under his seductive influence and had chosen to disobey the plain command of Jehovah, yet they need not yield to utter despair. The Son of God was offering to atone with His own lifeblood for their transgression. To them was to be granted a period of probation, during which, through faith in the power of Christ to save, they might become once more the children of God.

    Satan, by means of his success in turning man aside from the path of obedience, became "the god of this world." 2 Corinthians 4:4. The dominion that once was Adam's passed to the usurper. But the Son of God proposed to come to this earth to pay the penalty of sin, and thus not only redeem man, but recover the dominion forfeited. It is of this restoration that Micah prophesied when he said, "O Tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, unto Thee shall it come, even the first dominion." Micah 4:8. The apostle Paul has referred to it as "the redemption of the purchased possession." Ephesians 1:14. And the psalmist had in mind the same final restoration of man's original inheritance when he declared, "The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever." Psalm 37:29.

    This hope of redemption through the advent of the Son of God as Saviour and King, has never become extinct in the hearts of men. From the beginning there have been some whose faith has reached out beyond the shadows of the present to the realities of the future. Adam, Seth, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob -- through these and other worthies the Lord has preserved the precious revealings of His will. And it was thus that to the children of Israel, the chosen people through whom was to be given to the world the promised Messiah, God imparted a knowledge of the requirements of His law, and of the salvation to be accomplished through the atoning sacrifice of His beloved Son.

    The hope of Israel was embodied in the promise made at the time of the call of Abraham, and afterward repeated again and again to his posterity, "In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Genesis 12:3. As the purpose of God for the redemption of the race was unfolded to Abraham, the Sun of Righteousness shone upon his heart, and his darkness was scattered. And when, at last, the Saviour Himself walked and talked among the sons of men, He bore witness to the Jews of the patriarch's bright hope of deliverance through the coming of a Redeemer. "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day," Christ declared; "and he saw it, and was glad." John 8:56.

    This same blessed hope was foreshadowed in the benediction pronounced by the dying patriarch Jacob upon his son Judah:

    "Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise:
    Thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies;
    Thy father's children shall bow down before thee. . . .
    The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
    Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
    Until Shiloh come;
    And unto Him shall the gathering of the people be."
    Genesis 49:8-10.

    Again, on the borders of the Promised Land, the coming of the world's Redeemer was foretold in the prophecy uttered by Balaam:

    "I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold Him, but
    not nigh:
    There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter
    shall rise out of Israel,
    And shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all
    the children of Sheth."
    Numbers 24:17.

    Through Moses, God's purpose to send His Son as the Redeemer of the fallen race, was kept before Israel. On one occasion, shortly before his death, Moses declared, "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken." Plainly had Moses been instructed for Israel concerning the work of the Messiah to come. "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee," was the word of Jehovah to His servant; "and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him." Deuteronomy 18:15, 18.

    In patriarchal times the sacrificial offerings connected with divine worship constituted a perpetual reminder of the coming of a Saviour, and thus it was with the entire ritual of the sanctuary services throughout Israel's history. In the ministration of the tabernacle, and of the temple that afterward took its place, the people were taught each day, by means of types and shadows, the great truths relative to the advent of Christ as Redeemer, Priest, and King; and once each year their minds were carried forward to the closing events of the great controversy between Christ and Satan, the final purification of the universe from sin and sinners. The sacrifices and offerings of the Mosaic ritual were ever pointing toward a better service, even a heavenly. The earthly sanctuary was "a figure for the time then present," in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices; its two holy places were "patterns of things in the heavens;" for Christ, our great High Priest, is today "a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man." Hebrews 9:9, 23; 8:2.

    From the day the Lord declared to the serpent in Eden, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed" (Genesis 3:15), Satan has known that he can never hold absolute sway over the inhabitants of this world. When Adam and his sons began to offer the ceremonial sacrifices ordained by God as a type of the coming Redeemer, Satan discerned in these a symbol of communion between earth and heaven. During the long centuries that have followed, it has been his constant effort to intercept this communion. Untiringly has he sought to misrepresent God and to misinterpret the rites pointing to the Saviour, and with a great majority of the members of the human family he has been successful.

    While God has desired to teach men that from His own love comes the Gift which reconciles them to Himself, the archenemy of mankind has endeavored to represent God as one who delights in their destruction. Thus the sacrifices and the ordinances designed of Heaven to reveal divine love have been perverted to serve as means whereby sinners have vainly hoped to propitiate, with gifts and good works, the wrath of an offended God. At the same time, Satan has sought to arouse and strengthen the evil passions of men in order that through repeated transgression multitudes might be led on and on, far from God, and hopelessly bound with the fetters of sin.

    When God's written word was given through the Hebrew prophets, Satan studied with diligence the messages concerning the Messiah. Carefully he traced the words that outlined with unmistakable clearness Christ's work among men as a suffering sacrifice and as a conquering king. In the parchment rolls of the Old Testament Scriptures he read that the One who was to appear was to be "brought as a lamb to the slaughter," "His visage . . . so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men." Isaiah 53:7; 52:14. The promised Saviour of humanity was to be "despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; . . . smitten of God, and afflicted;" yet He was also to exercise His mighty power in order to "judge the poor of the people." He was to "save the children of the needy," and "break in pieces the oppressor." Isaiah 53:3, 4; Psalm 72:4. These prophecies caused Satan to fear and tremble; yet he relinquished not his purpose to thwart, if possible, the merciful provisions of Jehovah for the redemption of the lost race. He determined to blind the eyes of the people, so far as might be possible, to the real significance of the Messianic prophecies, in order to prepare the way for the rejection of Christ at His coming.

    During the centuries immediately preceding the Flood, success had attended Satan's efforts to bring about a worldwide prevalence of rebellion against God. And even the lessons of the Deluge were not long held in remembrance. With artful insinuations Satan again led the children of men step by step into bold rebellion. Again he seemed about to triumph, but God's purpose for fallen man was not thus to be set aside. Through the posterity of faithful Abraham, of the line of Shem, a knowledge of Jehovah's beneficent designs was to be preserved for the benefit of future generations. From time to time divinely appointed messengers of truth were to be raised up to call attention to the meaning of the sacrificial ceremonies, and especially to the promise of Jehovah concerning the advent of the One toward whom all the ordinances of the sacrificial system pointed. Thus the world was to be kept from universal apostasy.

    Not without the most determined opposition was the divine purpose carried out. In every way possible the enemy of truth and righteousness worked to cause the descendants of Abraham to forget their high and holy calling, and to turn aside to the worship of false gods. And often his efforts were all but successful. For centuries preceding Christ's first advent, darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people. Satan was throwing his hellish shadow athwart the pathway of men, that he might prevent them from gaining a knowledge of God and of the future world.

    Multitudes were sitting in the shadow of death. Their only hope was for this gloom to be lifted, that God might be revealed.

    With prophetic vision David, the anointed of God, had foreseen that the coming of Christ should be "as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds." 2 Samuel 23:4. And Hosea testified, "His going forth is prepared as the morning." Hosea 6:3. Quietly and gently the daylight breaks upon the earth, dispelling the shadow of darkness and waking the earth to life. So was the Sun of Righteousness to arise, "with healing in His wings." Malachi 4:2. The multitudes dwelling "in the land of the shadow of death" were to see "a great light." Isaiah 9:2.

    The prophet Isaiah, looking with rapture upon this glorious deliverance, exclaimed:

    "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, Counselor, 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 forever.
    The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."
    Verses 6,7.

    In the later centuries of Israel's history prior to the first advent it was generally understood that the coming of the Messiah was referred to in the prophecy, "It is a light thing that Thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth." "The glory of the Lord shall be revealed," the prophet had foretold, "and all flesh shall see it together." Isaiah 49:6; 40:5. It was of this light of men that John the Baptist afterward testified so boldly, when he proclaimed, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias." John 1:23.

    It was to Christ that the prophetic promise was given: "Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, to Him whom man despiseth, to Him whom the nation abhorreth, . . . thus saith the Lord, . . . I will preserve Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that Thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves. . . . They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them." Isaiah 49:7-10.

    The steadfast among the Jewish nation, descendants of that holy line through whom a knowledge of God had been preserved, strengthened their faith by dwelling on these and similar passages. With exceeding joy they read how the Lord would anoint One "to preach good tidings unto the meek," "to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives," and to declare "the acceptable year of the Lord." Isaiah 61:1, 2. Yet their hearts were filled with sadness as they thought of the sufferings He must endure in order to fulfill the divine purpose. With deep humiliation of soul they traced the words in the prophetic roll:

    "Who hath believed our report?
    And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
    "For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
    And as a root out of a dry ground:
    He hath no form nor comeliness;
    And when we shall see Him,
    There is no beauty that we should desire Him.

    "He is despised and rejected of men;
    A Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief:
    And we hid as it were our faces from Him;
    He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.

    "Surely He hath borne our griefs,
    And carried our sorrows:
    Yet we did esteem Him stricken,
    Smitten of God, and afflicted.

    "But He was wounded for our transgressions,
    He was bruised for our iniquities:
    The chastisement of our peace was upon Him;
    And with His stripes we are healed.

    "All we like sheep have gone astray;
    We have turned everyone to his own way;
    And the Lord hath laid on Him
    The iniquity of us all.

    "He was oppressed, and He was afflicted,
    Yet He opened not His mouth:
    He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,
    And as a sheep before her shearers is dumb,
    So He openeth not His mouth.

    "He was taken from prison and from judgment:
    And who shall declare His generation?
    For He was cut off out of the land of the living:
    For the transgression of My people was He stricken.
    "And He made His grave with the wicked,
    And with the rich in His death;
    Because He had done no violence,
    Neither was any deceit in His mouth."
    Isaiah 53:1-9.

    Of the suffering Saviour Jehovah Himself declared through Zechariah, "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the Man that is My Fellow." Zechariah 13:7. As the substitute and surety for sinful man, Christ was to suffer under divine justice. He was to understand what justice meant. He was to know what it means for sinners to stand before God without an intercessor.

    Through the psalmist the Redeemer had prophesied of Himself:

    "Reproach hath broken My heart;
    And I am full of heaviness:
    And I looked for some to take pity,
    But there was none;
    And for comforters,
    But I found none.
    They gave Me also gall for My meat;
    And in My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink."
    Psalm 69:20, 21.

    Of the treatment He was to receive, He prophesied, "Dogs have compassed Me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed Me: they pierced My hands and My feet. I may tell all My bones: they look and stare upon Me. They part My garments among them, and cast lots upon My vesture." Psalm 22:16-18.

    These portrayals of the bitter suffering and cruel death of the Promised One, sad though they were, were rich in promise; for of Him whom "it pleased the Lord to bruise" and to put to grief, in order that He might become "an offering for sin," Jehovah declared:

    "He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
    And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
    He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied:

    "By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many;
    For He shall bear their iniquities.
    Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great,
    And He shall divide the spoil with the strong;
    Because He hath poured out His soul unto death:
    And He was numbered with the transgressors;
    And He bare the sin of many,
    And made intercession for the transgressors."
    Isaiah 53:10-12.

    It was love for sinners that led Christ to pay the price of redemption. "He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor," none other could ransom men and women from the power of the enemy; "therefore His arm brought salvation unto him; and His righteousness, it sustained him." Isaiah 59:16.

    "Behold My Servant, whom I uphold;
    Mine Elect, in whom My soul delighteth;
    I have put My Spirit upon Him:
    He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles."
    Isaiah 42:1.

    In His life no self-assertion was to be mingled. The homage which the world gives to position, to wealth, and to talent, was to be foreign to the Son of God. None of the means that men employ to win allegiance or to command homage, was the Messiah to use. His utter renunciation of self was foreshadowed in the words:

    "He shall not cry,
    Nor lift up,
    Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
    A bruised reed shall He not break,
    And the smoking flax shall He not quench."
    Verses 2, 3.

    In marked contrast to the teachers of His day was the Saviour to conduct Himself among men. In His life no noisy disputation, no ostentatious worship, no act to gain applause, was ever to be witnessed. The Messiah was to be hid in God, and God was to be revealed in the character of His Son. Without a knowledge of God, humanity would be eternally lost. Without divine help, men and women would sink lower and lower. Life and power must be imparted by Him who made the world. Man's necessities could be met in no other way.

    It was further prophesied of the Messiah: "He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for His law." The Son of God was to "magnify the law, and make it honorable." Verses 4, 21. He was not to lessen its importance and binding claims; He was rather to exalt it. At the same time He was to free the divine precepts from those burdensome exactions placed upon them by man, whereby many were brought to discouragement in their efforts to serve God acceptably.

    Of the mission of the Saviour the word of Jehovah was: "I the Lord have called Thee in righteousness, and will hold Thine hand, and will keep Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. I am the Lord: that is My name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images. Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them." Verses 6-9.

    Through the promised Seed, the God of Israel was to bring deliverance to Zion. "There shall come forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots." "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good." Isaiah 11:1; 7:14, 15.

    "And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears: but with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins." "And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest shall be glorious." Isaiah 11:2-5, 10.

    "Behold the Man whose name is the Branch; . . . He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne." Zechariah 6:12, 13.

    A fountain was to be opened "for sin and for uncleanness" (Zechariah 13:1); the sons of men were to hear the blessed invitation:

    "Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,
    And he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat;
    Yea, come, buy wine and milk
    Without money and without price.
    "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread?
    And your labor for that which satisfieth not?
    Hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good,
    And let your soul delight itself in fatness.

    "Incline your ear, and come unto Me:
    Hear, and your soul shall live;
    And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    Even the sure mercies of David."
    Isaiah 55:1-3.

    To Israel the promise was made: "Behold, I have given Him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for He hath glorified thee." Verses 4, 5.

    "I bring near My righteousness; it shall not be far off, and My salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel My glory." Isaiah 46:13.

    In word and in deed the Messiah, during His earthly ministry, was to reveal to mankind the glory of God the Father. Every act of His life, every word spoken, every miracle wrought, was to make known to fallen humanity the infinite love of God.

    "O Zion, that bringest good tidings,
    Get thee up into the high mountain;
    O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings,
    Lift up thy voice with strength;
    Lift it up, be not afraid;
    Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

    "Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand,
    And His arm shall rule for Him:
    Behold, His reward is with Him,
    And His work before Him.
    He shall feed His flock like a shepherd:
    He shall gather the lambs with His arm,
    And carry them in His bosom,
    And shall gently lead those that are with young."
    Isaiah 40:9-11.
    "And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the Book,
    And the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out
    of darkness.
    The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord,
    And the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One
    of Israel."

    "They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding,
    And they that murmured shall learn doctrine."
    Isaiah 29:18, 19, 24.

    Thus, through patriarchs and prophets, as well as through types and symbols, God spoke to the world concerning the coming of a Deliverer from sin. A long line of inspired prophecy pointed to the advent of "the Desire of all nations." Haggai 2:7. Even the very place of His birth and the time of His appearance were minutely specified.

    The Son of David must be born in David's city. Out of Bethlehem, said the prophet, "shall He come forth ... that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity." Micah 5:2, margin.

    "And thou Bethlehem, land of Judah,
    Art in no wise least among the princes of Judah:
    For out of thee shall come forth a Governor,
    Which shall be Shepherd of My people Israel."
    Matthew 2:6, R.V.

    The time of the first advent and of some of the chief events clustering about the Saviour's lifework was made known by the angel Gabriel to Daniel. "Seventy weeks," said the angel, "are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy." Daniel 9:24. A day in prophecy stands for a year. See Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6. The seventy weeks, or four hundred and ninety days, represent four hundred and ninety years. A starting point for this period is given: "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks" (Daniel 9:25), sixty-nine weeks, or four hundred and eighty-three years. The commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, as completed by the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus, went into effect in the autumn of 457 B.C. See Ezra 6:14; 7:1, 9. From this time four hundred and eighty-three years extend to the autumn of A.D. 27. According to the prophecy, this period was to reach to the Messiah, the Anointed One. In A.D. 27, Jesus at His baptism received the anointing of the Holy Spirit and soon afterward began His ministry. Then the message was proclaimed, "The time is fulfilled." Mark 1:15.

    Then, said the angel, "He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [seven years]." For seven years after the Saviour entered on His ministry, the gospel was to be preached especially to the Jews; for three and a half years by Christ Himself, and afterward by the apostles. "In the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease." Daniel 9:27. In the spring of A.D. 31, Christ, the true Sacrifice, was offered on Calvary. Then the veil of the temple was rent in twain, showing that the sacredness and significance of the sacrificial service had departed. The time had come for the earthly sacrifice and oblation to cease.

    The one week--seven years--ended in A.D. 34. Then by the stoning of Stephen the Jews finally sealed their rejection of the gospel; the disciples who were scattered abroad by persecution "went everywhere preaching the word" (Acts 8:4); and shortly after, Saul the persecutor was converted and became Paul the apostle to the Gentiles.

    The many prophecies concerning the Saviour's advent led the Hebrews to live in an attitude of constant expectancy.

    Many died in the faith, not having received the promises. But having seen them afar off, they believed and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. From the days of Enoch the promises repeated through patriarchs and prophets had kept alive the hope of His appearing. Not at first had God revealed the exact time of the first advent; and even when the prophecy of Daniel made this known, not all rightly interpreted the message.

    Century after century passed away; finally the voices of the prophets ceased. The hand of the oppressor was heavy upon Israel. As the Jews departed from God, faith grew dim, and hope well-nigh ceased to illuminate the future. The words of the prophets were uncomprehended by many; and those whose faith should have continued strong were ready to exclaim, "The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth." Ezekiel 12:22. But in heaven's council the hour for the coming of Christ had been determined; and "when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, . . . to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Galatians 4:4, 5.

    Lessons must be given to humanity in the language of humanity. The Messenger of the covenant must speak. His voice must be heard in His own temple. He, the author of truth, must separate truth from the chaff of man's utterance, which had made it of no effect. The principles of God's government and the plan of redemption must be clearly defined. The lessons of the Old Testament must be fully set before men.

    When the Saviour finally appeared "in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:7), and began His ministry of grace, Satan could but bruise the heel, while by every act of humiliation or suffering Christ was bruising the head of His adversary. The anguish that sin has brought was poured into the bosom of the Sinless; yet while Christ endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself, He was paying the debt for sinful man and breaking the bondage in which humanity had been held. Every pang of anguish, every insult, was working out the deliverance of the race.

    Could Satan have induced Christ to yield to a single temptation, could he have led Him by one act or even thought to stain His perfect purity, the prince of darkness would have triumphed over man's Surety and would have gained the whole human family to himself. But while Satan could distress, he could not contaminate. He could cause agony, but not defilement. He made the life of Christ one long scene of conflict and trial, yet with every attack he was losing his hold upon humanity.

    In the wilderness of temptation, in the Garden of Gethsemane, and on the cross, our Saviour measured weapons with the prince of darkness. His wounds became the trophies of His victory in behalf of the race. When Christ hung in agony upon the cross, while evil spirits rejoiced and evil men reviled, then indeed His heel was bruised by Satan. But that very act was crushing the serpent's head. Through death He destroyed "him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." Hebrews 2:14. This act decided the destiny of the rebel chief, and made forever sure the plan of salvation. In death He gained the victory over its power; in rising again, He opened the gates of the grave to all His followers. In that last great contest we see fulfilled the prophecy, "It shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise his heel." Genesis 3:15.

    "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." 1 John 3:2. Our Redeemer has opened the way, so that the most sinful, the most needy, the most oppressed and despised, may find access to the Father.

    "O Lord, Thou art my God;
    I will exalt Thee,
    I will praise Thy name;
    For Thou hast done wonderful things;
    Thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth."
    Isaiah 25:1.

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk59.html In proclaiming the truths of the everlasting gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, God's church on earth today is fulfilling the ancient prophecy, "Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit." Isaiah 27:6. The followers of Jesus, in co-operation with heavenly intelligences, are rapidly occupying the waste places of the earth; and, as the result of their labors, an abundant fruitage of precious souls is developing. Today, as never before, the dissemination of Bible truth by means of a consecrated church is bringing to the sons of men the benefits foreshadowed centuries ago in the promise to Abraham and to all Israel,--to God's church on earth in every age,--"I will bless thee, . . . and thou shalt be a blessing." Genesis 12:2.

    This promise of blessing should have met fulfillment in large measure during the centuries following the return of the Israelites from the lands of their captivity. It was God's design that the whole earth be prepared for the first advent of Christ, even as today the way is preparing for His second coming. At the end of the years of humiliating exile, God graciously gave to His people Israel, through Zechariah, the assurance: "I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain." And of His people He said, "Behold, . . . I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness." Zechariah 8:3, 7, 8.

    These promises were conditional on obedience. The sins that had characterized the Israelites prior to the captivity, were not to be repeated. "Execute true judgment," the Lord exhorted those who were engaged in rebuilding; "and show mercy and compassions every man to his brother: and oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother." "Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbor; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates." Zechariah 7:9, 10; 8:16.

    Rich were the rewards, both temporal and spiritual, promised those who should put into practice these principles of righteousness. "The seed shall be prosperous," the Lord declared; "the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so I will save you, and ye shall be a blessing." Zechariah 8:12, 13.

    By the Babylonish captivity the Israelites were effectually cured of the worship of graven images. After their return, they gave much attention to religious instruction and to the study of that which had been written in the book of the law and in the prophets concerning the worship of the true God. The restoration of the temple enabled them to carry out fully the ritual services of the sanctuary. Under the leadership of Zerubbabel, of Ezra, and of Nehemiah they repeatedly covenanted to keep all the commandments and ordinances of Jehovah. The seasons of prosperity that followed gave ample evidence of God's willingness to accept and forgive, and yet with fatal shortsightedness they turned again and again from their glorious destiny and selfishly appropriated to themselves that which would have brought healing and spiritual life to countless multitudes.

    This failure to fulfill the divine purpose was very apparent in Malachi's day. Sternly the Lord's messenger dealt with the evils that were robbing Israel of temporal prosperity and spiritual power. In his rebuke against transgressors the prophet spared neither priests nor people. "The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel" through Malachi was that the lessons of the past be not forgotten and that the covenant made by Jehovah with the house of Israel be kept with fidelity. Only by heartfelt repentance could the blessing of God be realized. "I pray you," the prophet pleaded, "beseech God that He will be gracious unto us." Malachi 1:1, 9.

    Not by any temporary failure of Israel, however, was the plan of the ages for the redemption of mankind to be frustrated. Those to whom the prophet was speaking might not heed the message given, but the purposes of Jehovah were nevertheless to move steadily forward to their complete fulfillment. "From the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same," the Lord declared through His messenger, "My name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto My name, and a pure offering: for My name shall be great among the heathen." Malachi 1:11.

    The covenant of "life and peace" God had made with the sons of Levi--the covenant which, if kept, would have brought untold blessing--the Lord now offered to renew with those who once had been spiritual leaders, but who through transgression had become "contemptible and base before all the people." Malachi 2:5, 9.

    Solemnly evildoers were warned of the day of judgment to come and of Jehovah's purpose to visit with swift destruction every transgressor. Yet none were left without hope; Malachi's prophecies of judgment were accompanied by invitations to the impenitent to make their peace with God. "Return unto Me," the Lord urged; "and I will return unto you." Malachi 3:7.

    It seems as if every heart must respond to such an invitation. The God of heaven is pleading with His erring children to return to Him, that they may again co-operate with Him in carrying forward His work in the earth. The Lord holds out His hand to take the hand of Israel and to help them to the narrow path of self-denial and self-sacrifice, to share with Him the heirship as sons of God. Will they be entreated? Will they discern their only hope?

    How sad the record, that in Malachi's day the Israelites hesitated to yield their proud hearts in prompt and loving obedience and hearty co-operation! Self-vindication is apparent in their response, "Wherein shall we return?"

    The Lord reveals to His people one of their special sins. "Will a man rob God?" He asks. "Yet ye have robbed Me." Still unconvicted of sin, the disobedient inquire, "Wherein have we robbed Thee?"

    Definite indeed is the Lord's answer: "In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the store-house, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts." Verses 7-12.

    God blesses the work of men's hands, that they may return to Him His portion. He gives them the sunshine and the rain; He causes vegetation to flourish; He gives health and ability to acquire means. Every blessing comes from His bountiful hand, and He desires men and women to show their gratitude by returning Him a portion in tithes and offerings--in thank offerings, in freewill offerings, in trespass offerings. They are to devote their means to His service, that His vineyard may not remain a barren waste. They are to study what the Lord would do were He in their place. They are to take all difficult matters to Him in prayer. They are to reveal an unselfish interest in the building up of His work in all parts of the world.

    Through messages such as those borne by Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets, as well as through oppression from heathen foes, the Israelites finally learned the lesson that true prosperity depends upon obedience to the law of God. But with many of the people, obedience was not the outflow of faith and love. Their motives were selfish. Outward service was rendered as a means of attaining to national greatness. The chosen people did not become the light of the world, but shut themselves away from the world as a safeguard against being seduced into idolatry. The restrictions which God had given, forbidding intermarriage between His people and the heathen, and prohibiting Israel from joining in the idolatrous practices of surrounding nations, were so perverted as to build up a wall of partition between the Israelites and all other peoples, thus shutting from others the very blessings which God had commissioned Israel to give to the world.

    At the same time the Jews were, by their sins, separating themselves from God. They were unable to discern the deep spiritual significance of their symbolic service. In their self-righteousness they trusted to their own works, to the sacrifices and ordinances themselves, instead of relying upon the merits of Him to whom all these things pointed. Thus "going about to establish their own righteousness" (Romans 10:3), they built themselves up in a self-sufficient formalism. Wanting the Spirit and grace of God, they tried to make up for the lack by a rigorous observance of religious ceremonies and rites. Not content with the ordinances which God Himself had appointed, they encumbered the divine commands with countless exactions of their own devising. The greater their distance from God, the more rigorous they were in the observance of these forms.

    With all these minute and burdensome exactions it was a practical impossibility for the people to keep the law. The great principles of righteousness set forth in the Decalogue, and the glorious truths shadowed in the symbolic service, were alike obscured, buried under a mass of human tradition and enactment. Those who were really desirous of serving God, and who tried to observe the whole law as enjoined by the priests and rulers, groaned under a heavy burden.

    As a nation, the people of Israel, while desiring the advent of the Messiah, were so far separated from God in heart and life that they could have no true conception of the character or mission of the promised Redeemer. Instead of desiring redemption from sin, and the glory and peace of holiness, their hearts were fixed upon deliverance from their national foes, and restoration to worldly power. They looked for Messiah to come as a conqueror, to break every yoke, and exalt Israel to dominion over all nations. Thus Satan had succeeded in preparing the hearts of the people to reject the Saviour when He should appear. Their own pride of heart, and their false conceptions of His character and mission, would prevent them from honestly weighing the evidences of His Messiahship.

    For more than a thousand years the Jewish people had waited the coming of the promised Saviour. Their brightest hopes had rested upon this event. For a thousand years, in song and prophecy, in temple rite and household prayer, His name had been enshrined; and yet when He came, they did not recognize Him as the Messiah for whom they had so long waited. "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not." John 1:11. To their world-loving hearts the Beloved of heaven was "as a root out of a dry ground." In their eyes He had "no form nor comeliness;" they discerned in Him no beauty that they should desire Him. Isaiah 53:2.

    The whole life of Jesus of Nazareth among the Jewish people was a reproof to their selfishness, as revealed in their unwillingness to recognize the just claims of the Owner of the vineyard over which they had been placed as husbandmen. They hated His example of truthfulness and piety; and when the final test came, the test which meant obedience unto eternal life or disobedience unto eternal death, they rejected the Holy One of Israel and became responsible for His crucifixion on Calvary's cross.

    In the parable of the vineyard, Christ near the close of His earthly ministry called the attention of the Jewish teachers to the rich blessings bestowed upon Israel, and in these showed God's claim to their obedience. Plainly He set before them the glory of God's purpose, which through obedience they might have fulfilled. Withdrawing the veil from the future, He showed how, by failure to fulfill His purpose, the whole nation was forfeiting His blessing and bringing ruin upon itself.

    "There was a certain householder," Christ said, "which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country." Matthew 21:33.

    Thus the Saviour referred to "the vineyard of the Lord of hosts," which the prophet Isaiah centuries before had declared to be "the house of Israel." Isaiah 5:7.

    "And when the time of the fruit drew near," Christ continued, the owner of the vineyard "sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him."

    Having portrayed before the priests their crowning act of wickedness, Christ now put to them the question, "When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?" The priests had been following the narrative with deep interest; and without considering the relation of the subject to themselves, they joined with the people in answering, "He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons."

    Unwittingly they had pronounced their own doom. Jesus looked upon them, and under His searching gaze they knew that He read the secrets of their hearts. His divinity flashed out before them with unmistakable power. They saw in the husbandmen a picture of themselves, and they involuntarily exclaimed, "God forbid!"

    Solemnly and regretfully Christ asked: "Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." Matthew 21:34-44.

    Christ would have averted the doom of the Jewish nation if the people had received Him. But envy and jealousy made them implacable. They determined that they would not receive Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. They rejected the Light of the world, and henceforth their lives were surrounded with darkness as the darkness of midnight. The doom foretold came upon the Jewish nation. Their own fierce passions, uncontrolled, wrought their ruin. In their blind rage they destroyed one another. Their rebellious, stubborn pride brought upon them the wrath of their Roman conquerors. Jerusalem was destroyed, the temple laid in ruins, and its site plowed like a field. The children of Judah perished by the most horrible forms of death. Millions were sold to serve as bondmen in heathen lands.

    That which God purposed to do for the world through Israel, the chosen nation, He will finally accomplish through His church on earth today. He has "let out His vineyard unto other husbandmen," even to His covenant-keeping people, who faithfully "render Him the fruits in their seasons." Never has the Lord been without true representatives on this earth who have made His interests their own. These witnesses for God are numbered among the spiritual Israel, and to them will be fulfilled all the covenant promises made by Jehovah to His ancient people.

    Today the church of God is free to carry forward to completion the divine plan for the salvation of a lost race. For many centuries God's people suffered a restriction of their liberties. The preaching of the gospel in its purity was prohibited, and the severest of penalties were visited upon those who dared disobey the mandates of men. As a consequence, the Lord's great moral vineyard was almost wholly unoccupied. The people were deprived of the light of God's word. The darkness of error and superstition threatened to blot out a knowledge of true religion. God's church on earth was a verily in captivity during this long period of relentless persecution as were the children of Israel held captive in Babylon during the period of the exile.

    But, thank God, His church is no longer in bondage. To spiritual Israel have been restored the privileges accorded the people of God at the time of their deliverance from Babylon. In every part of the earth, men and women are responding to the Heaven-sent message which John the revelator prophesied would be proclaimed prior to the second coming of Christ: "Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come." Revelation 14:7.

    No longer have the hosts of evil power to keep the church captive; for "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city," which hath "made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication;" and to spiritual Israel is given the message, "Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." Verse 8; 18:4. As the captive exiles heeded the message, "Flee out of the midst of Babylon" (Jeremiah 51:6), and were restored to the Land of Promise, so those who fear God today are heeding the message to withdraw from spiritual Babylon, and soon they are to stand as trophies of divine grace in the earth made new, the heavenly Canaan.

    In Malachi's day the mocking inquiry of the impenitent, "Where is the God of judgment?" met with the solemn response: "The Lord . . . shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant. . . . But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years." Malachi 2:17; 3:1-4.

    When the promised Messiah was about to appear, the message of the forerunner of Christ was: Repent, publicans and sinners; repent, Pharisees and Sadducees; "for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 3:2.

    Today, in the spirit and power of Elias and of John the Baptist, messengers of God's appointment are calling the attention of a judgment-bound world to the solemn events soon to take place in connection with the closing hours of probation and the appearance of Christ Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords. Soon every man is to be judged for the deeds done in the body. The hour of God's judgment has come, and upon the members of His church on earth rests the solemn responsibility of giving warning to those who are standing as it were on the very brink of eternal ruin. To every human being in the wide world who will give heed must be made plain the principles at stake in the great controversy being waged, principles upon which hang the destinies of all mankind.

    In these final hours of probation for the sons of men, when the fate of every soul is so soon to be decided forever, the Lord of heaven and earth expects His church to arouse to action as never before. Those who have been made free in Christ through a knowledge of precious truth, are regarded by the Lord Jesus as His chosen ones, favored above all other people on the face of the earth; and He is counting on them to show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into marvelous light. The blessings which are so liberally bestowed are to be communicated to others. The good news of salvation is to go to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.

    In the visions of the prophets of old the Lord of glory was represented as bestowing special light upon His church in the days of darkness and unbelief preceding His second coming. As the Sun of Righteousness, He was to arise upon His church, "with healing in His wings." Malachi 4:2. And from every true disciple was to be diffused an influence for life, courage, helpfulness, and true healing.

    The coming of Christ will take place in the darkest period of this earth's history. The days of Noah and of Lot picture the condition of the world just before the coming of the Son of man. The Scriptures, pointing forward to this time, declare that Satan will work with all power and "with all deceivableness of unrighteousness." 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10. His working is plainly revealed by the rapidly increasing darkness, the multitudinous errors, heresies, and delusions of these last days. Not only is Satan leading the world captive, but his deceptions are leavening the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ. The great apostasy will develop into darkness deep as midnight. To God's people it will be a night of trial, a night of weeping, a night of persecution for the truth's sake. But out of that night of darkness God's light will shine.

    He causes "the light to shine out of darkness." 2 Corinthians 4:6. When "the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep," "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." Genesis 1:2, 3. So in the night of spiritual darkness, God's word goes forth, "Let there be light." To His people He says, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." Isaiah 60:1.

    "Behold," says the Scripture, "the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee." Verse 2. Christ, the outshining of the Father's glory, came to the world as its light. He came to represent God to men, and of Him it is written that He was anointed "with the Holy Ghost and with power," and "went about doing good." Acts 10:38. In the synagogue at Nazareth He said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." Luke 4:18, 19. This was the work He commissioned His disciples to do. "Ye are the light of the world," He said. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:14, 16.

    This is the work which the prophet Isaiah describes when he says: "Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward." Isaiah 58:7, 8.

    Thus in the night of spiritual darkness God's glory is to shine forth through His church in lifting up the bowed down and comforting those that mourn.

    All around us are heard the wails of a world's sorrow. On every hand are the needy and distressed. It is ours to aid in relieving and softening life's hardships and misery. The wants of the soul only the love of Christ can satisfy. If Christ is abiding in us, our hearts will be full of divine sympathy. The sealed fountains of earnest, Christlike love will be unsealed.

    There are many from whom hope has departed. Bring back the sunshine to them. Many have lost their courage. Speak to them words of cheer. Pray for them. There are those who need the bread of life. Read to them from the word of God. Upon many is a soul sickness which no earthly balm can reach nor physician heal. Pray for these souls. Bring them to Jesus. Tell them that there is a balm in Gilead and a Physician there.

    Light is a blessing, a universal blessing, pouring forth its treasures on a world unthankful, unholy, demoralized. So it is with the light of the Sun of Righteousness. The whole earth, wrapped as it is in the darkness of sin and sorrow and pain, is to be lighted with the knowledge of God's love. From no sect, rank, or class of people is the light shining from heaven's throne to be excluded.

    The message of hope and mercy is to be carried to the ends of the earth. Whosoever will, may reach forth and take hold of God's strength and make peace with Him, and he shall make peace. No longer are the heathen to be wrapped in midnight darkness. The gloom is to disappear before the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness.

    Christ has made every provision that His church shall be a transformed body, illumined with the Light of the world, possessing the glory of Immanuel. It is His purpose that every Christian shall be surrounded with a spiritual atmosphere of light and peace. He desires that we shall reveal His own joy in our lives.

    "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." Isaiah 60:1. Christ is coming with power and great glory. He is coming with His own glory and with the glory of the Father. And the holy angels will attend Him on His way. While all the world is plunged in darkness, there will be light in every dwelling of the saints. They will catch the first light of His second appearing. The unsullied light will shine from His splendor, and Christ the Redeemer will be admired by all who have served Him. While the wicked flee, Christ's followers will rejoice in His presence.

    Then it is that the redeemed from among men will receive their promised inheritance. Thus God's purpose for Israel will meet with literal fulfillment. That which God purposes, man is powerless to disannul. Even amid the working of evil, God's purposes have been moving steadily forward to their accomplishment. It was thus with the house of Israel throughout the history of the divided monarchy; it is thus with spiritual Israel today.

    The seer of Patmos, looking down through the ages to the time of this restoration of Israel in the earth made new, testified:

    "I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

    "And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts ["living creatures," R.V.], and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God, saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God forever and ever."

    "And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him." "He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful." Revelation 7:9-12; 19:6, 7; 17:14.
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    orthodoxymoron

    Posts : 7781
    Join date : 2010-09-28

    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:15 pm

    Archangel ??? = Lilith = Enki = Martha Jones = Jupiter Jones = Indiana Jones = Richard Hillary = ????? Who Knows?? Dr. Who?? Who?? Regarding the images and videos below -- I had a 1975 AMC Pacer (purchased by my parents in 1975). My father drove a "Ghostbuster" 1959 Cadillac Sedan de Ville while working at CBS (with 076 CBS plates -- if I remember correctly -- or was it CBS 076??). He kept the stars cool. I spent a significant amount of time within CBS Television City in "Hollywood" (throughout the building). The atmosphere was heavy and a bit strange. The Executives Could Burn a Hole Through You -- Just by Looking At You!! The CBS Eye is Always Watching!! The 1977 movie Oh God!! was extremely prophetic of my pathetic-life -- and I didn't see that movie until probably 5 years ago!! I even drove a CAB!! My name is quite similar to Dr. Venkman (in Ghostbusters)!! Notice that Darth Vader also involves D.V. What Would David Mann (from Duel) Say?? What Would David Bowman (from 2001: A Space Odyssey) Say?? What Would David Bowie Say?? What Would Alan Rickman Say?? Is Azazel a Victim?? The Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck thing is somewhat creepy to me!! What Would Mitchell Say?? Something is REALLY Screwy about my life!! What Would Jupiter Jones Say?? I was honestly born in the "House of Leo" (but not astrologically)!! Jupiter Ascending = Jupiter Rose?? What Would David Rose Say?? What Would Judy Garland Say?? What Would Red Skelton Say?? What Would Michael Landon Say?? Some of you might know what I'm talking about!! Please remember that I'm modeling a general-phenomenon in a highly-speculative manner. Take this Siriusly -- but not too Seriously!! What Would the Prince of Sirius Say?? BTW -- I lived next to that olive-orchard shown below. What Would Glen Hill Drive?? The fan in my laptop just went into overdrive -- which probably means that someone is messing with my computer -- possibly because of the content of this post.

    I'll read and re-read these U.S.S.S. Threads -- but I'm honestly burned-out and quite-miserable -- so don't expect a lot of responsiveness out of me. I'm in the middle of attempting to understand some problematic key-concepts in my theological-education -- and it's not going so well. I really don't wish to drag others along with me down a really-nasty rabbit-hole. I certainly do not wish to bog any of you down with my heavy-spirit. I don't socialize much -- and I'm contemplating becoming even more isolated. I honestly appreciate buoyant-spirits and profound-logic -- but it's the sort of thing one must become immersed in -- in order to properly comprehend and respond to. I'm just not up to speed at this point -- and I might not be vibrating fast enough for this sort of discourse for the remainder of this present incarnation. I think I'm screwed in more ways than I can imagine. The plan was probably to build me up -- and then cut me down -- but I screwed-up everyone's plans by being a screw-up. Sorry about that. An Absolutely-Obedient Exemplary-Telegenic Perfectly-Possessed Teleprompter-Reading Eschatological-Scapegoat should be easy to find. I respectfully request that whatever bad-things have significantly and nefariously happened to me and/or will happen to me -- be mercilessly-avenged (even if it takes all-eternity). I'm talking about the really-major stuff. It's all fun and games until someone loses a wiener!! What Would Set Do?? What Would Osiris Say?? "*&^%$#@!!!!!"???? What Would Isis Do?? What Would Horus Do?? What Would Serqet Say??

    Consider one last minimal-list (as a mental and spiritual exercise):

    1. Job through Malachi (NKJV).

    2. Prophets and Kings (Ellen White).

    3. Volume 4 (Isaiah through Malachi) of the SDA Bible Commentary (1977 Edition).

    4. Daniel 8:14, the Day of Atonement, and the Investigative Judgment (Desmond Ford).

    5. The United States of the Solar System: 2133 A.D. (Books One and Two).

    6. The End of the World, A.D. 2133 (Lucio Bernardo Silvestre).

    You might not be able to find The End of the World, A.D. 2133. I've looked high and low for information about that book and it's author -- with no-luck whatsoever (even with the help of a librarian). My book was in the Library of Congress -- but that particular book is no longer available. I paid dearly for my copy -- and I'm beginning to wonder if it's the only one?! It's really creepy that I got fixated on that 2133 A.D. termination-date for the 2300 days/years of Daniel 8:14 -- and then happened to find that book on Amazon -- at a very-high price. I waited for many months, until they lowered the price, before I bought it -- but it was still very-expensive. It's unbelievably complex and articulate. It reminds me of the apocalyptic-work of Isaac Newton!! Who Knows?? It's almost as if the book were specifically intended for me!! I like the book -- with the exception of the last couple of chapters, which are quite horrific and harsh. I'm trying to achieve some sort of Galactic-Justice without Fire and Brimstone. I'm a Law and Order kind of guy!!

    I think William Miller got it wrong. I think the SDA Church got it wrong. I think Desmond Ford got it wrong. I know that I don't know BUT an Investigative and Executive Judgment between now and 2133 A.D. wouldn't surprise me one little bit. What if we live in a Universe of Ruthless-Conquest and Kangaroo-Courts??!! PLEASE Study All of the Sources Listed Above (with the probable exception of that last item). I think this might be EXTREMELY Important!! I don't think you all realize how utterly screwed we might really be!! If you studied what I've studied -- spoke with the individuals of interest I've spoken with -- and agonized over the whole mess as much as I have -- you'd probably be as screwed-up as I am (or worse)!! But you would KNOW!! Notice that I'm not trying to get you to join the SDA Church (even though I include a lot of fringe and out of date SDA material). I continue to consider myself as being sort of a Renegade French Jesuit Organist (even though I'm not even close to that description)!! I think I'm truly a Lone-Nut!! But I think certain members of this forum KNOW Exactly What I'm Talking About!! I think the City-States KNOW Exactly What I'm talking about!! Unfortunately, I think Mankind might have to Learn the HARD-WAY!! This might NOT End Well!!

    What would an extensive Old-Testament Major and Minor Prophet Study reveal?? You know -- Isaiah through Malachi. I tend to shy-away from prophecy. I don't usually play numbers-games -- or indulge in speculative futuristic adventures BUT what if these 17 books are somehow a script or a verdict which MUST be followed (rather than being predictive in nature)?? What about Messianic-Prophecy and Eschatology in the Major and Minor Prophets?? What is the Law of God revealed in these 17 books?? Deuteronomy?? Proverbs?? Both?? Neither?? I've started reading Volume Four of the SDA Bible Commentary -- which covers Isaiah through Malachi. Some of my former teachers are contributors. The authors of that volume are SDA Scholar Rock-Stars!! One shouldn't take their 1950's work lightly. This was a different era, wherein the Bible was seemingly taken more seriously than more recently. In many ways, I'd rather just live in the NOW -- but I seem to be compelled to properly deal with history as a prerequisite to being properly-qualified to deal with the present and the future.

    I get the sinking-feeling that this game is NOT what we might wish for it to be. We tend to interpret what is happening to us in terms which make us feel good about ourselves -- but what is the REAL REALITY?? I think I've gotten WARM within my two latest U.S.S.S. Threads -- but I don't think I've gotten HOT. Please at least read that SDA Bible Commentary (volume 4 -- Isaiah through Malachi). I mentioned the possibility of a missing Inter-Testament Old-Testament Commentary. Well that volume might approximate such a commentary. What if 99% of humanity have gotten it wrong -- lifetime after lifetime after lifetime?? What if humanity is running out of lifetimes?? Regarding Religion -- What If Bigger Does NOT Equal Righter?? What if "getting it right" primarily involves getting Isaiah through Malachi right?? How much of Genesis through Song of Solomon is contained or discussed in Isaiah through Malachi?? How much of Matthew through Revelation is genuinely prophesied in Isaiah through Malachi?? How much of the Old-Testament is contained or discussed in the New-Testament?? Does each religion and church MAKE the Bible Say What They Want It To Say?? Is God the Father perfect in the Bible?? Does God the Father keep the Ten-Commandments?? Is Jesus perfect in the Bible?? Does Jesus keep the Ten-Commandments?? Are the Angels perfect in the Bible?? Do the Angels keep the Ten-Commandments?? Is the Bible simply a Tool to Keep People In Line?? Why do I feel as if I might be in conflict with Both Humanity and Divinity Within This Particular Solar System?? What if I'm NOT From Around Here?? Is It OK for US to Compete with God?? Is It OK for God to Compete with US?? Once again -- consider Possibility-Thinking Relative to Sacred-Scripture.

    Is the New-Testament really a product of the Roman-Empire?? Have we lived under a Roman-Empire since the Second-Century B.C.?? Is the Roman Catholic Church just the Tip of a Roman-Empire Iceberg?? Is the Roman-Empire the Real Secret-Government?? Is the Roman-Empire controlled by an Orion--Babylonian-- Egyptian--Persian--Grecian--British--Israel Empire?? Does the Roman-Empire do the dirty-work for a Huge and Ancient Galactic-Empire?? What if Past, Present, and Future Politics and Religion MUST be Combined with Science-Fiction to get-at what is REALLY Going-On in This Solar System?? Am I risking my life by uttering such things?? Don't Be Frightened. I Mean No Harm. Not Much, Anyway. For Now. Consider the possibility of the Editorial-Content of Patriarchs and Prophets -- Prophets and Kings -- and The Desire of Ages -- as having Messianic-Significance in a Non-Traditional Sense. The Medium is the Message?? What Would Marshall McLuhan Say?? Think Long and Hard About What I Just Said.

    Anyway, I thank all of you for taking the time to talk to me. It adds a lot to what I'm trying to communicate. I combine a particular conceptual-core with the profound embellishments of others -- which produces a delightful potpourri of enlightenment. I've enjoyed our conversations over the past few years. I've completed my threads (for now) and I intend to privately reflect upon the territory covered in this pseudo-intellectual quest -- as a somewhat focused research-project. I'm sure I don't have the answers. Just the questions. I know that I don't know. No matter how one puts things together (pursuant to the truth) it always seems to be wrong. I'm OK with that. I'll just keep asking questions -- and seeking answers -- mostly privately. Someone once said "The World is Full of Questions. The Idiots Are Full of Answers." I recently posted that quote -- and then removed it. I thought it was too harsh -- but perhaps I should've kept it. I think I might be one of those idiots. I've been repeatedly told that I need to "Empty My Mind" But How Do I Empty My Mind When I'm Already a Completely Ignorant Fool?? Perhaps what I really need is a Real-Education in a Subterranean 600 Square-Foot Office-Apartment in a Cool-Location. Hope Springs Eternal. What Would Gizeh-Intelligence Say?? East of Giza is a Pyramid-Scheme?? I should STOP!! They have ways to make me STOP!! Many Ways...

    http://whiteestate.org/books/pk/pk60.html In the darkest days of her long conflict with evil, the church of God has been given revelations of the eternal purpose of Jehovah. His people have been permitted to look beyond the trials of the present to the triumphs of the future, when, the warfare having been accomplished, the redeemed will enter into possession of the promised land. These visions of future glory, scenes pictured by the hand of God, should be dear to His church today, when the controversy of the ages is rapidly closing and the promised blessings are soon to be realized in all their fullness.

    Many were the messages of comfort given the church by the prophets of old. "Comfort ye, comfort ye My people" (Isaiah 40:1.), was Isaiah's commission from God; and with the commission were given wonderful visions that have been the believers' hope and joy through all the centuries that have followed. Despised of men, persecuted, forsaken, God's children in every age have nevertheless been sustained by His sure promises. By faith they have looked forward to the time when He will fulfill to His church the assurance, "I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations." Isaiah 60:15.

    Often the church militant is called upon to suffer trial and affliction; for not without severe conflict is the church to triumph. "The bread of adversity," "the water of affliction" (Isaiah 30:20), these are the common lot of all; but none who put their trust in the One mighty to deliver will be utterly overwhelmed. "Thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art Mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in My sight, thou hast been honorable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life." Isaiah 43:1-4.

    There is forgiveness with God; there is acceptance full and free through the merits of Jesus, our crucified and risen Lord. Isaiah heard the Lord declaring to His chosen ones: "I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put Me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified." "Thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob." Verses 25, 26; 60:16.

    "The rebuke of His people shall He take away," the prophet declared. "They shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord." He hath appointed "to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified."

    "Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion;
    Put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the Holy City:
    For henceforth there shall no more come unto thee the
    uncircumcised and the unclean.
    "Shake thyself from the dust;
    Arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem:
    Loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter
    of Zion."

    "O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted,
    Behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors,
    And lay thy foundations with sapphires.

    "And I will make thy windows of agates.
    And thy gates of carbuncles,
    And all thy borders of pleasant stones.

    "And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
    And great shall be the peace of thy children.
    In righteousness shalt thou be established:

    "Thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear:
    And from terror; for it shall not come near thee.
    Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by Me:
    Whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall
    for thy sake. . . .

    "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper;
    And every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment
    thou shalt condemn.
    This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    And their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord."
    Isaiah 25:8; 62:12; 61:3; 52:1, 2; 54:11-17.

    Clad in the armor of Christ's righteousness, the church is to enter upon her final conflict. "Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners" (Song of Solomon 6:10), she is to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer.

    The darkest hour of the church's struggle with the powers of evil is that which immediately precedes the day of her final deliverance. But none who trust in God need fear; for "when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall," God will be to His church "a refuge from the storm." Isaiah 25:4.

    In that day only the righteous are promised deliverance. "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; he shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure." Isaiah 33:14-16.

    The word of the Lord to His faithful ones is: "Come, My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity." Isaiah 26:20, 21. In visions of the great judgment day the inspired messengers of Jehovah were given glimpses of the consternation of those unprepared to meet their Lord in peace.

    "Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof; . . . because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate. . . . The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth." Isaiah 24:1-8.

    "Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come. . . . The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered. How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate." "The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men." Joel 1:15-18, 12.

    "I am pained at my very heart," Jeremiah exclaims as he beholds the desolations wrought during the closing scenes of earth's history. "I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled." Jeremiah 4:19, 20.

    "The loftiness of man shall be bowed down," declares Isaiah of the day of God's vengeance, "and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols He shall utterly abolish. . . . In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth." Isaiah 2:17-21.

    Of those times of transition, when the pride of man shall be laid low, Jeremiah testifies: "I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down." "Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it." Jeremiah 4:23-26; 30:7.

    The day of wrath to the enemies of God is the day of final deliverance to His church. The prophet declares:

    "Strengthen ye the weak hands,
    And confirm the feeble knees.

    Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be
    strong, fear not:
    Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
    Even God with a recompense;
    He will come and save you."

    "He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it." Isaiah 35:3, 4; 25:8. And as the prophet beholds the Lord of glory descending from heaven with all the holy angels, to gather the remnant church from among the nations of earth, he hears the waiting ones unite in the exultant cry:

    "Lo, this is our God;
    We have waited for Him,
    And He will save us:
    This is the Lord;
    We have waited for Him,
    We will be glad and rejoice
    in His salvation."
    Isaiah 25:9.

    The voice of the Son of God is heard calling forth the sleeping saints, and as the prophet beholds them coming from the prison house of death, he exclaims, "Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead."

    "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
    Then shall the lame man leap as an hart,
    And the tongue of the dumb sing."
    Isaiah 26:19; 35:5, 6.

    In the visions of the prophet, those who have triumphed over sin and the grave are now seen happy in the presence of their Maker, talking freely with Him as man talked with God in the beginning. "Be ye glad," the Lord bids them, "and rejoice forever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying." "The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity."

    "In the wilderness shall waters break out,
    And streams in the desert.
    And the parched ground shall become a pool,
    And the thirsty land springs of water."
    "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree,
    And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree."

    "And an highway shall be there, and a way,
    And it shall be called The way of holiness;
    The unclean shall not pass over it;
    But it shall be for those:
    The wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein."

    "Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins." Isaiah 65:18, 19; 33:24; 35:6, 7; 55:13; 35:8; 40:2.

    As the prophet beholds the redeemed dwelling in the City of God, free from sin and from all marks of the curse, in rapture he exclaims, "Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her."

    "Violence shall no more be heard in thy land,
    Wasting nor destruction within thy borders;
    But thou shalt call thy walls Salvation,
    And thy gates Praise.
    "The sun shall be no more thy light by day;
    Neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee:
    But the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light,
    And thy God thy glory.

    "Thy sun shall no more go down;
    Neither shall thy moon withdraw itself:
    For the Lord shall be thine everlasting light,
    And the days of thy mourning shall be ended.

    "Thy people also shall be all righteous:
    They shall inherit the land forever,
    The branch of My planting,
    The work of My hands,
    That I may be glorified."
    Isaiah 66:10; 60:18-21.

    The prophet caught the sound of music there, and song, such music and song as, save in the visions of God, no mortal ear has heard or mind conceived. "The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." "Joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody." "As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there." "They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord." Isaiah 35:10; 51:3; Psalm 87:7; Isaiah 24:14.

    In the earth made new, the redeemed will engage in the occupations and pleasures that brought happiness to Adam and Eve in the beginning. The Eden life will be lived, the life in garden and field. "They shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of My people, and Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands." Isaiah 65:21, 22.

    There every power will be developed, every capability increased. The grandest enterprises will be carried forward, the loftiest aspirations will be reached, the highest ambitions realized. And still there will appear new heights to surmount, new wonders to admire, new truths to comprehend, fresh objects of study to call forth the powers of body and mind and soul.

    The prophets to whom these great scenes were revealed longed to understand their full import. They "inquired and searched diligently:. . . searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify. . . . Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you." 1 Peter 1:10-12.

    To us who are standing on the very verge of their fulfillment, of what deep moment, what living interest, are these delineations of the things to come--events for which, since our first parents turned their steps from Eden, God's children have watched and waited, longed and prayed!

    Fellow pilgrim, we are still amid the shadows and turmoil of earthly activities; but soon our Saviour is to appear to bring deliverance and rest. Let us by faith behold the blessed hereafter as pictured by the hand of God. He who died for the sins of the world is opening wide the gates of Paradise to all who believe on Him. Soon the battle will have been fought, the victory won. Soon we shall see Him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. And in His presence the trials and sufferings of this life will seem as nothingness. The former things "shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry." "Israel shall be saved. . . with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end." Isaiah 65:17; Hebrews 10:35-37; Isaiah 45:17.

    Look up, look up, and let your faith continually increase. Let this faith guide you along the narrow path that leads through the gates of the city into the great beyond, the wide, unbounded future of glory that is for the redeemed. "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." James 5:7, 8.

    The nations of the saved will know no other law than the law of heaven. All will be a happy, united family, clothed with the garments of praise and thanksgiving. Over the scene the morning stars will sing together, and the sons of God will shout for joy, while God and Christ will unite in proclaiming. "There shall be no more sin, neither shall there be any more death."

    "And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the Lord." "The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." "The Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations." "In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of His people."

    "The Lord shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord." "The glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon." "Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called My Delight, and thy land Beulah. . . . As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee." Isaiah 66:23; 40:5; 61:11; 28:5; 51:3; 35:2; 62:4, 5, margin.































    You've Been Repeatedly Warned...


    Last edited by orthodoxymoron on Sun Apr 17, 2016 8:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Tue Apr 05, 2016 12:01 am

    To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;  3 To receive the instruction of wisdom , justice, and judgment, and equity;  4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.  5 A wise man will hear , and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:  6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.  7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.  8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:  9 For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.  10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.  11 If they say , Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:  12 Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:  13 We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil:  14 Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:  15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:  16 For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.  17 Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird .  18 And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives.  19 So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.  20 Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:  21 She crieth in the chief place of concourse , in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,  22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?  23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.  24 Because I have called , and ye refused ; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded ;  25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:  26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh ;  27 When your fear cometh as desolation  , and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.  28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer ; they shall seek me early , but they shall not find me:  29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:  30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.  31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.  32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.  33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

    My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;  2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;  3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;  4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;  5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.  6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.  7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.  8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.  9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.  10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;  11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:  12 To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;  13 Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;  14 Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;  15 Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:  16 To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;  17 Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.  18 For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.  19 None that go unto her return again , neither take they hold of the paths of life.  20 That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.  21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.  22 But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.

    My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:  2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.  3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:  4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.  5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.  7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.  8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.  9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:  10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.  11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:  12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth ; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth .  13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.  14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.  15 She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.  16 Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.  17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.  18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.  19 The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.  20 By his knowledge the depths are broken up , and the clouds drop down the dew.  21 My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:  22 So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.  23 Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble .  24 When thou liest down , thou shalt not be afraid : yea, thou shalt lie down , and thy sleep shall be sweet .  25 Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh .  26 For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.  27 Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.  28 Say not unto thy neighbour, Go , and come again , and to morrow I will give ; when thou hast it by thee.  29 Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.  30 Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.  31 Envy thou not the oppressor , and choose none of his ways.  32 For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous.  33 The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.  34 Surely he scorneth the scorners : but he giveth grace unto the lowly  .  35 The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.

    Hear , ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.  2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.  3 For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.  4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live .  5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.  6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.  7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.  8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour , when thou dost embrace her.  9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.  10 Hear , O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many .  11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.  12 When thou goest , thy steps shall not be straitened ; and when thou runnest , thou shalt not stumble .  13 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go : keep her; for she is thy life.  14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.  15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away .  16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief ; and their sleep is taken away , unless they cause some to fall .  17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.  18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.  19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble .  20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.  21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.  22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.  23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.  24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.  25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.  26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established .  27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

    My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:  2 That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.  3 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:  4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.  5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.  6 Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable , that thou canst not know them.  7 Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.  8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:  9 Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel:  10 Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger;  11 And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed ,  12 And say , How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;  13 And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers , nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!  14 I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.  15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.  16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.  17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers ' with thee.  18 Let thy fountain be blessed : and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.  19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.  20 And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman , and embrace the bosom of a stranger?  21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.  22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.  23 He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray .

    My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger ,  2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.  3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go , humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.  4 Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.  5 Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.  6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise :  7 Which having no guide, overseer , or ruler ,  8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.  9 How long wilt thou sleep , O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?  10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep :  11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth , and thy want as an armed man.  12 A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.  13 He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers;  14 Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord  .  15 Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.  16 These six things doth the LORD hate : yea, seven are an abomination unto him:  17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,  18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,  19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.  20 My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:  21 Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.  22 When thou goest , it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest , it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest , it shall talk with thee.  23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:  24 To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.  25 Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.  26 For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.  27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned ?  28 Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned ?  29 So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent .  30 Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry ;  31 But if he be found , he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.  32 But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.  33 A wound and dishonour shall he get ; and his reproach shall not be wiped away .  34 For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.  35 He will not regard  any ransom; neither will he rest content , though thou givest many gifts.

    My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.  2 Keep my commandments, and live ; and my law as the apple of thine eye.  3 Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.  4 Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman:  5 That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.  6 For at the window of my house I looked through my casement,  7 And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding,  8 Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house,  9 In the twilight, in the evening , in the black and dark night:  10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot , and subtil of heart.  11 (She is loud and stubborn ; her feet abide not in her house:  12 Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)  13 So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him,  14 I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.  15 Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.  16 I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.  17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.  18 Come , let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves.  19 For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey:  20 He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.  21 With her much fair speech she caused him to yield , with the flattering of her lips she forced him.  22 He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;  23 Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.  24 Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth.  25 Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths.  26 For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.  27 Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.

    Doth not wisdom cry ? and understanding put forth her voice?  2 She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.  3 She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.  4 Unto you, O men, I call ; and my voice is to the sons of man.  5 O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.  6 Hear ; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.  7 For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.  8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.  9 They are all plain to him that understandeth , and right to them that find knowledge.  10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.  11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.  12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.  13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate .  14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.  15 By me kings reign , and princes decree justice.  16 By me princes rule , and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.  17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.  18 Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.  19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.  20 I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:  21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.  22 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.  23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.  24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth ; when there were no fountains abounding with water.  25 Before the mountains were settled , before the hills was I brought forth :  26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.  27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:  28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:  29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:  30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;  31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.  32 Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.  33 Hear instruction, and be wise , and refuse it not.  34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.  35 For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.  36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.

    Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:  2 She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table.  3 She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,  4 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,  5 Come , eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled .  6 Forsake the foolish, and live ; and go in the way of understanding.  7 He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.  8 Reprove not a scorner , lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.  9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser : teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.  10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.  11 For by me thy days shall be multiplied , and the years of thy life shall be increased .  12 If thou be wise , thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest , thou alone shalt bear it.  13 A foolish woman is clamorous : she is simple, and knoweth nothing.  14 For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city,  15 To call passengers  who go right on their ways:  16 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,  17 Stolen waters are sweet , and bread eaten in secret is pleasant .  18 But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

    A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.  2 Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.  3 The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish : but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.  4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich .  5 He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame .  6 Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.  7 The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot .  8 The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall .  9 He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known .  10 He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall .  11 The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.  12 Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.  13 In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found : but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.  14 Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.  15 The rich man's wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.  16 The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.  17 He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth .  18 He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.  19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise .  20 The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.  21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.  22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich , and he addeth no sorrow with it.  23 It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.  24 The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted .  25 As the whirlwind passeth , so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.  26 As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.  27 The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened .  28 The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish .  29 The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.  30 The righteous shall never be removed : but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.  31 The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out .  32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.

    A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.  2 When pride cometh , then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.  3 The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.  4 Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.  5 The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.  6 The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.  7 When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish : and the hope of unjust men perisheth .  8 The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.  9 An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered .  10 When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth : and when the wicked perish , there is shouting.  11 By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted : but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.  12 He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace .  13 A talebearer  revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.  14 Where no counsel is, the people fall : but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.  15 He that is surety for a stranger shall smart  for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure .  16 A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.  17 The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.  18 The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.  19 As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.  20 They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.  21 Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished : but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered .  22 As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.  23 The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.  24 There is that scattereth , and yet increaseth ; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.  25 The liberal soul shall be made fat : and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.  26 He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.  27 He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.  28 He that trusteth in his riches shall fall : but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.  29 He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.  30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.  31 Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.

    Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.  2 A good man obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn .  3 A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved .  4 A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.  5 The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.  6 The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.  7 The wicked are overthrown , and are not: but the house of the righteous shall stand .  8 A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised.  9 He that is despised , and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.  10 A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.  11 He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.  12 The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit.  13 The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.  14 A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man's hands shall be rendered unto him.  15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.  16 A fool's wrath is presently known : but a prudent man covereth shame.  17 He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.  18 There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.  19 The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment .  20 Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.  21 There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.  22 Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.  23 A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.  24 The hand of the diligent shall bear rule : but the slothful shall be under tribute.  25 Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop : but a good word maketh it glad .  26 The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them.  27 The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.  28 In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.

    A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.  2 A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.  3 He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.  4 The soul of the sluggard desireth , and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat .  5 A righteous man hateth lying  : but a wicked man is loathsome , and cometh to shame .  6 Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.  7 There is that maketh himself rich , yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor , yet hath great riches.  8 The ransom of a man's life are his riches: but the poor heareth not rebuke.  9 The light of the righteous rejoiceth : but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out .  10 Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.  11 Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished : but he that gathereth by labour shall increase .  12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick : but when the desire cometh , it is a tree of life.  13 Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed : but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded .  14 The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.  15 Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.  16 Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.  17 A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.  18 Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured .  19 The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.  20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise : but a companion of fools shall be destroyed .  21 Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed .  22 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.  23 Much food is in the tillage of the poor  : but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.  24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes .  25 The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want .

    Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.  2 He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him.  3 In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.  4 Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.  5 A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies .  6 A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth .  7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.  8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.  9 Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.  10 The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.  11 The house of the wicked shall be overthrown : but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish .  12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.  13 Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful ; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.  14 The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.  15 The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.  16 A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth , and is confident .  17 He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated .  18 The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.  19 The evil bow before the good; and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.  20 The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends .  21 He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth : but he that hath mercy on the poor  , happy is he.  22 Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.  23 In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.  24 The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly.  25 A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.  26 In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.  27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.  28 In the multitude of people is the king's honour: but in the want of people is the destruction of the prince.  29 He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.  30 A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.  31 He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker : but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.  32 The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.  33 Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding : but that which is in the midst of fools is made known .  34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.  35 The king's favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame .

    A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.  2 The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright : but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.  3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.  4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.  5 A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent .  6 In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble .  7 The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.  8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.  9 The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.  10 Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die .  11 Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?  12 A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.  13 A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.  14 The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth  of fools feedeth on foolishness.  15 All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.  16 Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.  17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.  18 A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.  19 The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain .  20 A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.  21 Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly .  22 Without counsel purposes are disappointed : but in the multitude of counsellors they are established .  23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!  24 The way of life is above to the wise , that he may depart from hell beneath.  25 The LORD will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow.  26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.  27 He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live .  28 The heart of the righteous studieth to answer : but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.  29 The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.  30 The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat .  31 The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.  32 He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.  33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.

    The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.  2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.  3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established .  4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.  5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished .  6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged : and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.  7 When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.  8 Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.  9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.  10 A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.  11 A just weight and balance are the LORD'S: all the weights of the bag are his work.  12 It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.  13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.  14 The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it.  15 In the light of the king's countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.  16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!  17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.  18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.  19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly  , than to divide the spoil with the proud.  20 He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.  21 The wise in heart shall be called prudent : and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.  22 Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.  23 The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.  24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb , sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.  25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.  26 He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.  27 An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.  28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.  29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.  30 He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass .  31 The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.  32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.  33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.

    Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.  2 A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame , and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren.  3 The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.  4 A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.  5 Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker : and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished .  6 Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.  7 Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.  8 A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth , it prospereth .  9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.  10 A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.  11 An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.  12 Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.  13 Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.  14 The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.  15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.  16 Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?  17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.  18 A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.  19 He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction.  20 He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.  21 He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy .  22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.  23 A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.  24 Wisdom is before him that hath understanding  ; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.  25 A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.  26 Also to punish the just is not good, nor to strike princes for equity.  27 He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent  spirit.  28 Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace , is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding .

    Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.  2 A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.  3 When the wicked cometh , then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach.  4 The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.  5 It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment.  6 A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.  7 A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.  8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds , and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.  9 He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster .  10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe .  11 The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit.  12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty , and before honour is humility.  13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.  14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear ?  15 The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.  16 A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.  17 He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.  18 The lot causeth contentions to cease , and parteth between the mighty.  19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions  are like the bars of a castle.  20 A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled .  21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.  22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.  23 The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.  24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly : and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

    Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.  2 Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth .  3 The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.  4 Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour.  5 A false witness shall not be unpunished , and he that speaketh lies shall not escape .  6 Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.  7 All the brethren of the poor do hate him: how much more do his friends go far from him? he pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting to him.  8 He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.  9 A false witness shall not be unpunished , and he that speaketh lies shall perish .  10 Delight is not seemly for a fool; much less for a servant to have rule over princes.  11 The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.  12 The king's wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as dew upon the grass.  13 A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.  14 House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.  15 Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger .  16 He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die .  17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again .  18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying .  19 A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again .  20 Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.  21 There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand .  22 The desire of a man is his kindness: and a poor man is better than a liar.  23 The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.  24 A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again .  25 Smite a scorner , and the simple will beware : and reprove one that hath understanding , and he will understand knowledge.  26 He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame , and bringeth reproach .  27 Cease , my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.  28 An ungodly witness scorneth judgment: and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity.  29 Judgments are prepared for scorners , and stripes for the back of fools.
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    orthodoxymoron

    Posts : 7781
    Join date : 2010-09-28

    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Tue Apr 05, 2016 12:35 am

    I thought I was completely-finished (in more ways than one) but something just hit me (like a ton of bricks). I keep wondering about a possible missing Old-Testament Commentary (written between 400 B.C. and 100 A.D.) as being an Alternative New-Testament (as heretical as THAT sounds)!! Well, here is something which (to me) is a very-interesting Historical-Approach to Modern-Religion which is not currently the modus-operandi of ANY Religion!!

    1. The SDA Bible Commentary (Volumes 1-4, covering Genesis through Malachi).

    2. Sacred Classical Music.

    The concept involves an Unconventional (Scholarly and Musical -- Historical and Contemporary) Messiah!! What if the Tardis is a Symbolic-Representation of the Ark of the Covenant??!! I could say MUCH More!! Remember when Hillary Clinton said they (presumably the PTB) were losing the information-war?? Well, I think the information-war is being lost on multiple-fronts -- and I KNOW that my basic-perspective is being defeated in a most-merciless manner. Imagine the philosophical-theological equivalent of the following video.



    The music has been slowing for years -- and I fear that it won't be long before the music stops -- and I am absolutely-terrified by the likely-consequences. I sense that everyone has dug-in their heels against my general-approach (online and in real-life) for legion-reasons (other than truth-seeking and world-saving). My U.S.S.S. Threads might only be of real-value in a Post-Apocalyptic Solar-System in the Twenty-Second Century. I've pretty-much abandoned any fantasies of winning-friends and influencing-people with my pseudo-intellectual religious and political science-fiction. My maverick-approach might be too-early in this incarnation -- and too-late in my next incarnation (if I even have one). I had hoped to stimulate honest and articulate debate (which remained on-topic) but this mostly didn't happen. I included my religious presuppositions because they seemed to work rather-well in a science-fictional context -- but that seemed to be a monumental turn-off (sort of similar to farting in church -- and sitting in one's own pew).

    I think what has happened to me is similar to "Winning the Reverse-Lottery". Perhaps I have an "Eternity of Karmic-Debt". "Fighting Side-by-Side with an Ancient-Egyptian Deity in Antiquity" couldn't have been a good-thing. Being called "Michael" by an Ancient-Egyptian Deity (While Shopping at Wal*Mart) couldn't have been a good-thing. Just look at all those "Angel-Movies" with Warrior-Archangels!! Is there a "Galactic Statute of Limitations"?? What's happening to me can't be a good-thing. Have I been "Quarantined"?? What Would Sherry Shriner Say?? The best thing I could probably do, at this point, is to just lay-low and shut-up. I think I might do something benign and neutral -- such as reading a Complete-Set (Genesis to Revelation) of the SDA Bible Commentary -- while Listening to Sacred Classical Music. Period. The Quest has been moderately-exhilarating -- but now it hurts like hell -- and I'm trying to quit "Cold-Turkey". I don't really care who I might've been in antiquity. I'm worse than nobody in modernity. I honestly think I've been nefariously "set-up" for "something-bad". What Would Dr. Who Say?? What Would Jupiter Jones Say?? I'm not a part of some "Vast-Conspiracy". I'm honestly just a Completely Ignorant Fool with a Messiah-Complex!! Stubborn and Stupid is a Bad-Combination!! Oh Wretched Man That I Am!! Mea Ignoramus!! Mea Culpa!! Kyrie Eleison!! I HATE My Life!! Now I'm going to make the coffee, and re-watch Jupiter Ascending!!


    Wine is a mocker , strong drink is raging : and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise .  2 The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.  3 It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling .  4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.  5 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out .  6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find ?  7 The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.  8 A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes.  9 Who can say , I have made my heart clean , I am pure from my sin?  10 Divers weights , and divers measures , both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.  11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.  12 The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.  13 Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty ; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.  14 It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer : but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth .  15 There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.  16 Take his garment that is surety for a stranger : and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.  17 Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.  18 Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.  19 He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.  20 Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure  darkness.  21 An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed .  22 Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.  23 Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.  24 Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?  25 It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry .  26 A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them.  27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.  28 Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.  29 The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.  30 The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.

    The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will .  2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.  3 To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.  4 An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.  5 The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.  6 The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.  7 The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment.  8 The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.  9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling  woman in a wide house.  10 The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.  11 When the scorner is punished , the simple is made wise : and when the wise is instructed , he receiveth knowledge.  12 The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.  13 Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard .  14 A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.  15 It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.  16 The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.  17 He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich .  18 The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright.  19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness , than with a contentious  and an angry woman.  20 There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up .  21 He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.  22 A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.  23 Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.  24 Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.  25 The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour .  26 He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.  27 The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?  28 A false witness shall perish : but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.  29 A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way.  30 There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.  31 The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.

    A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.  2 The rich and poor meet together : the LORD is the maker of them all.  3 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on , and are punished .  4 By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.  5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.  6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old , he will not depart from it.  7 The rich ruleth over the poor , and the borrower is servant to the lender  .  8 He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail .  9 He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed ; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.  10 Cast out the scorner , and contention shall go out ; yea, strife and reproach shall cease .  11 He that loveth pureness  of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.  12 The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor .  13 The slothful man saith , There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.  14 The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.  15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.  16 He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.  17 Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.  18 For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.  19 That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.  20 Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge,  21 That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?  22 Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:  23 For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.  24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go :  25 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.  26 Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.  27 If thou hast nothing to pay , why should he take away thy bed from under thee?  28 Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set .  29 Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.

    When thou sittest to eat with a ruler , consider diligently what is before thee:  2 And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.  3 Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.  4 Labour not to be rich : cease from thine own wisdom.  5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.  6 Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:  7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink , saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.  8 The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up , and lose thy sweet words.  9 Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.  10 Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:  11 For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.  12 Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.  13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die .  14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.  15 My son, if thine heart be wise , my heart shall rejoice , even mine.  16 Yea, my reins shall rejoice , when thy lips speak right things.  17 Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.  18 For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off .  19 Hear thou, my son, and be wise , and guide thine heart in the way.  20 Be not among winebibbers  ; among riotous eaters of flesh:  21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty : and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.  22 Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old .  23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.  24 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice : and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.  25 Thy father and thy mother shall be glad , and she that bare thee shall rejoice .  26 My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe  my ways.  27 For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit.  28 She also lieth in wait as for a prey, and increaseth the transgressors among men.  29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions  ? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?  30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.  31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red , when it giveth his colour in the cup  , when it moveth itself aright.  32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.  33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women , and thine heart shall utter perverse things.  34 Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.  35 They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick ; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake ? I will seek it yet again.

    Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.  2 For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.  3 Through wisdom is an house builded ; and by understanding it is established :  4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.  5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.  6 For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.  7 Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.  8 He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person.  9 The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.  10 If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.  11 If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain;  12 If thou sayest , Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?  13 My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:  14 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off .  15 Lay not wait , O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place:  16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again : but the wicked shall fall into mischief.  17 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth , and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth :  18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease  him, and he turn away his wrath from him.  19 Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked;  20 For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out .  21 My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change :  22 For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?  23 These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.  24 He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse , nations shall abhor him:  25 But to them that rebuke him shall be delight , and a good blessing shall come upon them.  26 Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.  27 Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.  28 Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips.  29 Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.  30 I went by the field of the slothful , and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;  31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down .  32 Then I saw , and considered it well  : I looked upon it, and received instruction.  33 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep :  34 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth ; and thy want as an armed man.

    These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out .  2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.  3 The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.  4 Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer .  5 Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.  6 Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men:  7 For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen .  8 Go not forth hastily to strive , lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame .  9 Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another:  10 Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame , and thine infamy turn not away .  11 A word fitly  spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.  12 As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.  13 As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.  14 Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.  15 By long forbearing is a prince persuaded , and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.  16 Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.  17 Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.  18 A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.  19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.  20 As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart.  21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat ; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink :  22 For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.  23 The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.  24 It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling  woman and in a wide house.  25 As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.  26 A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.  27 It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.  28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down , and without walls.

    As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.  2 As the bird by wandering , as the swallow by flying , so the curse causeless shall not come .  3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back.  4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.  5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.  6 He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage.  7 The legs of the lame are not equal : so is a parable in the mouth of fools.  8 As he that bindeth  a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool.  9 As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.  10 The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors .  11 As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.  12 Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.  13 The slothful man saith , There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.  14 As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.  15 The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.  16 The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.  17 He that passeth by , and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.  18 As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death,  19 So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith , Am not I in sport ?  20 Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out : so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth .  21 As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious  man to kindle strife.  22 The words of a talebearer are as wounds , and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.  23 Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.  24 He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;  25 When he speaketh fair , believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.  26 Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.  27 Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.  28 A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

    Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth .  2 Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.  3 A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both.  4 Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?  5 Open rebuke is better than secret love.  6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend ; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful .  7 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.  8 As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.  9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.  10 Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.  11 My son, be wise , and make my heart glad , that I may answer  him that reproacheth me.  12 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on , and are punished .  13 Take his garment that is surety for a stranger , and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.  14 He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.  15 A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious  woman are alike .  16 Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.  17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.  18 Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured .  19 As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.  20 Hell and destruction  are never full ; so the eyes of man are never satisfied .  21 As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.  22 Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.  23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.  24 For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?  25 The hay appeareth , and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered .  26 The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.  27 And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.

    The wicked flee when no man pursueth : but the righteous are bold as a lion.  2 For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged .  3 A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.  4 They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.  5 Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.  6 Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.  7 Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.  8 He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.  9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.  10 Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession .  11 The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out .  12 When righteous men do rejoice , there is great glory: but when the wicked rise , a man is hidden .  13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper : but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy .  14 Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.  15 As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.  16 The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.  17 A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.  18 Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved : but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.  19 He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.  20 A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent .  21 To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress .  22 He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.  23 He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.  24 Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith , It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer  .  25 He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat .  26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered .  27 He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.  28 When the wicked rise , men hide themselves: but when they perish , the righteous increase .

    He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed , and that without remedy.  2 When the righteous are in authority , the people rejoice : but when the wicked beareth rule , the people mourn .  3 Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.  4 The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.  5 A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.  6 In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.  7 The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.  8 Scornful men bring a city into a snare : but wise men turn away wrath.  9 If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh , there is no rest.  10 The bloodthirsty  hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.  11 A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.  12 If a ruler hearken to lies , all his servants are wicked.  13 The poor and the deceitful man meet together : the LORD lighteneth both their eyes.  14 The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.  15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame .  16 When the wicked are multiplied , transgression increaseth : but the righteous shall see their fall.  17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest ; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.  18 Where there is no vision, the people perish : but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.  19 A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.  20 Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.  21 He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length.  22 An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.  23 A man's pride shall bring him low : but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.  24 Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.  25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe .  26 Many seek the ruler's favour; but every man's judgment cometh from the LORD.  27 An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.

    I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.  4 Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended ? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell ?  5 Every word of God is pure : he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.  6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar .  7 Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die :  8 Remove far from me vanity and lies  : give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:  9 Lest I be full , and deny thee, and say , Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor , and steal , and take the name of my God in vain.  10 Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty .  11 There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.  12 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.  13 There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up .  14 There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.  15 The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give , give . There are three things that are never satisfied , yea, four things say not, It is enough:  16 The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough.  17 The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out , and the young eagles shall eat it.  18 There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:  19 The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.  20 Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth , and wipeth her mouth, and saith , I have done no wickedness.  21 For three things the earth is disquieted , and for four which it cannot bear :  22 For a servant when he reigneth ; and a fool when he is filled with meat;  23 For an odious woman when she is married ; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.  24 There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:  25 The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;  26 The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;  27 The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands ;  28 The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces.  29 There be three things which go well , yea, four are comely in going :  30 A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any;  31 A greyhound  ; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.  32 If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil , lay thine hand upon thy mouth.  33 Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.

    What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?  3 Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.  4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for  princes strong drink:  5 Lest they drink , and forget the law , and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted .  6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish , and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.  7 Let him drink , and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.  8 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.  9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.  10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.  11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.  12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.  13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.  14 She is like the merchants ' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.  15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.  16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.  17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.  18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.  19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.  20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.  21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.  22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.  23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.  24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.  25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.  26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.  27 She looketh well to the ways  of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.  28 Her children arise up , and call her blessed ; her husband also, and he praiseth her.  29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.  30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised .  31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.








    King Solomon? -- King David? -- Queen of Sheba?
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    orthodoxymoron

    Posts : 7781
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    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:39 am

    What if Angels and Demons are the Souls of Human-Beings?? What if Dragons are the Souls of Dinosaurs?? What if Reptilians and Greys are Intermediate Between Dinosaurs and Humans?? I know someone who strongly-believes that Mankind should abandon All-Physicality and become Pure-Spirit. I continue to wonder why Humanity was created in the first-place?? Was this the Original-Sin?? Is the Creator of Humanity accused of being the Creator of Sin and Sinners?? Is the Creator Azazel?? Is "Fallen Sinful Human-Nature" reflective of Human-Physicality OR "Fallen-Sinful Souls" which incarnated into Human-Bodies?? What does Genesis 6 REALLY Teach?? As you know, I consider the Bible to be a Small-Part of a HUGE Puzzle. I've recently been attempting to focus-upon Job through Malachi in the New King James Version. Genesis through Esther -- and Matthew through Revelation seem MUCH More Problematic to me presently. Anyway, I still think there is significant-merit to focusing-upon Science and Science-Fiction as an alternative to Old-Religion and the New-Age. I'm presently re-watching Helix. It's REALLY Gory -- but quite interesting. BTW -- In her last show, Sherry Shriner implied that a phrase from Ecclesiastes were the words of King David. Also, consider reading (straight-through -- over and over) Volumes 3 and 4 of the SDA Bible Commentary (1 Chronicles to Malachi) while listening to Sacred Classical Music. This is a uniquely-focused Whole-Bible Approach which is both Theological-Milestone and Historical-Necessity. I think this might be extremely-important. For now -- consider those two volumes to be "My Book" -- until further notice. I think I've been wrong about most things -- and I feel as if I'm starting-over.




    The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.  2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.  3 What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?  4 One generation passeth away , and another generation cometh : but the earth abideth for ever.  5 The sun also ariseth , and the sun goeth down , and hasteth to his place where he arose .  6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually , and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.  7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come , thither they return again .  8 All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing , nor the ear filled with hearing .  9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done : and there is no new thing under the sun.  10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said , See , this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.  11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.  12 I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.  13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.  14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.  15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight : and that which is wanting cannot be numbered .  16 I communed with mine own heart, saying , Lo, I am come to great estate , and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.  17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.  18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

    I said in mine heart, Go to now , I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.  2 I said of laughter, It is mad : and of mirth, What doeth it?  3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.  4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:  5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:  6 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:  7 I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:  8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers , and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments , and that of all sorts.  9 So I was great , and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.  10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.  11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought , and on the labour that I had laboured to do : and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.  12 And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done .  13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.  14 The wise man's eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.  15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise ? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.  16 For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten . And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.  17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.  18 Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.  19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured , and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.  20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.  21 For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.  22 For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun?  23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.  24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink , and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw , that it was from the hand of God.  25 For who can eat , or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I?  26 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up , that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

    To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:  2 A time to be born , and a time to die ; a time to plant , and a time to pluck up that which is planted ;  3 A time to kill , and a time to heal ; a time to break down , and a time to build up ;  4 A time to weep , and a time to laugh ; a time to mourn , and a time to dance ;  5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together ; a time to embrace , and a time to refrain from embracing ;  6 A time to get , and a time to lose ; a time to keep , and a time to cast away ;  7 A time to rend , and a time to sew ; a time to keep silence , and a time to speak ;  8 A time to love , and a time to hate ; a time of war, and a time of peace.  9 What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?  10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.  11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.  12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice , and to do good in his life.  13 And also that every man should eat and drink , and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.  14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth , it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.  15 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past .  16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.  17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.  18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.  19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.  20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again .  21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?  22 Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

    So I returned , and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed , and they had no comforter ; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter .  2 Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.  3 Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.  4 Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.  5 The fool foldeth his hands together , and eateth his own flesh.  6 Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.  7 Then I returned , and I saw vanity under the sun.  8 There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.  9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.  10 For if they fall , the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth ; for he hath not another to help him up .  11 Again, if two lie together , then they have heat : but how can one be warm alone?  12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken .  13 Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished .  14 For out of prison  he cometh to reign ; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor .  15 I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.  16 There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

    Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear , than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.  2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.  3 For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words.  4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed .  5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow , than that thou shouldest vow and not pay .  6 Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin ; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?  7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.  8 If thou seest the oppression of the poor , and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth ; and there be higher than they.  9 Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.  10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.  11 When goods increase , they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding  of them with their eyes?  12 The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much : but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep .  13 There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.  14 But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand.  15 As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came , and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.  16 And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came , so shall he go : and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?  17 All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.  18 Behold that which I have seen : it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink , and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.  19 Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.  20 For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.

    There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men:  2 A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth , yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger  eateth it: this is vanity, and it is an evil disease.  3 If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say , that an untimely birth is better than he.  4 For he cometh in with vanity, and departeth in darkness, and his name shall be covered with darkness.  5 Moreover he hath not seen the sun, nor known any thing: this hath more rest than the other.  6 Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place?  7 All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled .  8 For what hath the wise more than the fool? what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living?  9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.  10 That which hath been is named  already, and it is known that it is man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.  11 Seeing there be many things that increase vanity, what is man the better?  12 For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

    A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth .  2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.  3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better .  4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.  5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.  6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.  7 Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad ; and a gift destroyeth the heart.  8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.  9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry : for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.  10 Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.  11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.  12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.  13 Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight , which he hath made crooked ?  14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider : God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.  15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.  16 Be not righteous over much ; neither make thyself over wise : why shouldest thou destroy thyself?  17 Be not over much wicked , neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?  18 It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.  19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.  20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.  21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken ; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:  22 For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.  23 All this have I proved by wisdom: I said , I will be wise ; but it was far from me.  24 That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out ?  25 I applied mine heart to know , and to search , and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:  26 And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth  God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.  27 Behold , this have I found , saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account:  28 Which yet my soul seeketh , but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found ; but a woman among all those have I not found .  29 Lo , this only have I found , that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

    Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man's wisdom maketh his face to shine , and the boldness of his face shall be changed .  2 I counsel thee to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.  3 Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him.  4 Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?  5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment.  6 Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him.  7 For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?  8 There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.  9 All this have I seen , and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt.  10 And so I saw the wicked buried , who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done : this is also vanity.  11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.  12 Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged , yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him:  13 But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.  14 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity.  15 Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat , and to drink , and to be merry : for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.  16 When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:)  17 Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out , yet he shall not find it; yea further; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.

    For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.  2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth , and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner ; and he that sweareth , as he that feareth an oath.  3 This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead .  4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.  5 For the living know that they shall die : but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten .  6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished ; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.  7 Go thy way , eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.  8 Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.  9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.  10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do , do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest .  11 I returned , and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding , nor yet favour to men of skill ; but time and chance happeneth to them all.  12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.  13 This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me:  14 There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:  15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.  16 Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised , and his words are not heard .  17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.  18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.

    Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour : so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.  2 A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left.  3 Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.  4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.  5 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler:  6 Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.  7 I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.  8 He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.  9 Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby.  10 If the iron be blunt , and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct .  11 Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.  12 The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.  13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.  14 A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?  15 The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.  16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!  17 Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!  18 By much slothfulness the building decayeth ; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through .  19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry  : but money answereth all things.  20 Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber  : for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

    Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.  2 Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.  3 If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth , there it shall be .  4 He that observeth the wind shall not sow ; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap .  5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.  6 In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper , either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.  7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:  8 But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many . All that cometh is vanity.  9 Rejoice , O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.  10 Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.

    Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh , when thou shalt say , I have no pleasure in them;  2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened , nor the clouds return after the rain:  3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble , and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few , and those that look out of the windows be darkened ,  4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low ;  5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish , and the grasshopper shall be a burden , and desire shall fail : because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:  6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed , or the golden bowl be broken , or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.  7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.  8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.  9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed , and sought out , and set in order many proverbs.  10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.  11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd .  12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished : of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.  13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing , whether it be good, or whether it be evil.


    Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  4 Blessed are they that mourn : for they shall be comforted .  5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.  6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled .  7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy .  8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.  9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.  10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  11 Blessed are ye , when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil  against you falsely , for my sake .  12 Rejoice , and be exceeding glad : for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.  13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour , wherewith shall it be salted ? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot  be hid .  15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.  17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy , but to fulfil .  18 For verily I say unto you, Till  heaven and earth pass , one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till  all be fulfilled .  19 Whosoever  therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed  the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.  21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill ; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:  22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say , Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.  23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;  24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way ; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.  25 Agree  with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.  26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.  27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery :  28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.  29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out , and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish , and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.  30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off , and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish , and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.  31 It hath been said  , Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:  32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery : and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery .  33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself , but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:  34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:  35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool  : neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.  36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.  37 But let your communication be , Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.  38 Ye have heard that it hath been said , An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:  39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.  40 And if any man will sue thee at the law , and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.  41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.  42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away .  43 Ye have heard that it hath been said , Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye ? do not even the publicans the same?  47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?  48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

    Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen  of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.  2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth :  4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly .  5 And when thou prayest , thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you , They have their reward.  6 But thou, when thou prayest , enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly .  7 But when ye pray , use not vain repetitions , as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.  8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.  9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  10 Thy kingdom come . Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  11 Give us this day our daily bread.  12 And forgive us our debts, as  we forgive our debtors.  13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.  14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:  15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  16 Moreover when ye fast , be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast . Verily I say unto you , They have their reward.  17 But thou, when thou fastest , anoint thine head, and wash thy face;  18 That thou appear not unto men to fast , but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly .  19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt , and where thieves break through and steal :  20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt , and where thieves do not break through nor steal :  21 For where your treasure is , there will your heart be also.  22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!  24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot  serve God and mammon.  25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat , or what ye shall drink ; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on . Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  26 Behold  the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap , nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?  27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?  28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow ; they toil not, neither do they spin :  29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is , and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  31 Therefore take no thought , saying , What shall we eat ? or, What shall we drink ? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed ?  32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek :) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

    Judge not, that ye be not judged .  2 For with what judgment ye judge , ye shall be judged : and with what measure ye mete , it shall be measured to you again .  3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold , a beam is in thine own eye?  5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.  6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.  7 Ask , and it shall be given you; seek , and ye shall find ; knock , and it shall be opened unto you:  8 For every one that asketh receiveth ; and he that seeketh findeth ; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened .  9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give  him a stone?  10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give  him a serpent?  11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?  12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.  13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat  :  14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.  15 Beware  of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  16 Ye shall know them by their fruits . Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  18 A good tree cannot  bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down , and cast into the fire.  20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.  21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  23 And then will I profess unto them , I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  24 Therefore whosoever  heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:  25 And the rain descended , and the floods came , and the winds blew , and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.  26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:  27 And the rain descended , and the floods came , and the winds blew , and beat upon that house; and it fell : and great was the fall of it

    The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:  3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe , that observe and do ; but do not ye after their works: for they say , and do not.  4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.  5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men  : they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,  6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,  7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.  8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.  9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.  10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.  11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.  12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased ; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted .  13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in .  14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer : therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.  15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made , ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.  16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say , Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor !  17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?  18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever  sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty .  19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?  20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon .  21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein.  22 And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon .  23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment , mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done , and not to leave the other undone .  24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.  25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.  26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.  27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.  28 Even so ye also  outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.  29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,  30 And say , If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.  31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.  32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.  33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?  34 Wherefore , behold , I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify ; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:  35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.  36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.  37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy  children together , even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!  38 Behold , your house is left unto you desolate.  39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth , till ye shall say , Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

    See ye the temple? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. Take heed that no man deceive you.  5 For many shall come in my name, saying , I am Christ; and shall deceive many.  6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled : for all these things must come to pass , but the end is not yet.  7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.  8 All  these are the beginning of sorrows.  9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.  10 And then shall many be offended , and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.  11 And many false prophets shall rise , and shall deceive many.  12 And because iniquity shall abound , the love of many shall wax cold .  13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved .  14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come .  15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth , let him understand :)  16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:  17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:  18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.  19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!  20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:  21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be .  22 And except those days should be shortened , there should no flesh be saved : but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened .  23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo , here is Christ, or there; believe it not.  24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.  25 Behold , I have told you before .  26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold , he is in the desert; go not forth : behold , he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.  27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be .  28 For wheresoever the carcase is , there will the eagles be gathered together .  29 Immediately  after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened , and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken :  30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn , and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other .  32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:  33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.  34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass , till  all these things be fulfilled .  35 Heaven and earth shall pass away , but my words shall not pass away .  36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.  37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be .  38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking , marrying and giving in marriage , until the day that Noe entered into the ark,  39 And knew not until the flood came , and took them all away ; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be .  40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken , and the other left .  41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken , and the other left .  42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come .  43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come , he would have watched , and would not have suffered his house to be broken up .  44 Therefore  be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh .  45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?  46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing .  47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods .  48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming ;  49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken ;  50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of ,  51 And shall cut him asunder , and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.  2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  3 They that were foolish took their  lamps, and took no oil with them:  4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.  5 While the bridegroom tarried , they all slumbered and slept .  6 And at midnight there was a cry made , Behold , the bridegroom cometh ; go ye out to meet him.  7 Then all those virgins arose , and trimmed their lamps.  8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out .  9 But the wise answered , saying , Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell , and buy for yourselves.  10 And while they went to buy , the bridegroom came ; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut .  11 Afterward  came also the other virgins, saying , Lord, Lord, open to us.  12 But he answered and said , Verily I say unto you, I know you not.  13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh .  14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country , who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods .  15 And unto one he gave five talents , to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey .  16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.  17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.  18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.  19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh , and reckoneth  with them.  20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying , Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.  21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.  22 He also that had received two talents came and said , Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.  23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.  24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said , Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown , and gathering where thou hast not strawed :  25 And I was afraid , and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.  26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed :  27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.  28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.  29 For unto every one that hath shall be given , and he shall have abundance : but from him that hath not shall be taken away  even that which he hath .  30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:  32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:  33 And he shall set  the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.  34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come , ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  35 For I was an hungred , and ye gave me meat : I was thirsty , and ye gave me drink : I was a stranger, and ye took me in :  36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick , and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.  37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying , Lord, when saw we thee an hungred , and fed thee? or thirsty , and gave thee drink ?  38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in ? or naked, and clothed thee?  39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?  40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.  41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed , into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:  42 For I was an hungred , and ye gave me no meat : I was thirsty , and ye gave me no drink :  43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in : naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.  44 Then shall they also answer him, saying , Lord, when saw we thee an hungred , or athirst , or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?  45 Then shall he answer them, saying , Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.  46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.  


    "You Can't Outrun or Outgun God!!"




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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:57 am

    I have no idea who to trust, and who not to trust, at this point. I'm hearing no music, and feeling no love. I continue to withdraw and shut-down. I've pretty-much lost confidence in everyone and everything. All I have left are particular areas of research -- and the knowledge that this research is monitored and analyzed 24/7. I get the sinking-feeling that everyone and everything have been assimilated into some sort of collective wherein resistance is futile. Perhaps I should be loyal to myself and to all-concerned -- rather than harboring any sort of illusion that any particular individual and/or group is especially-favored as the Collective's-Chosen. I've been open and honest on this website and elsewhere -- probably with counterbalancing benefits and detriments to myself and others. Sixpence None the Richer.

    It might be my imagination, but I feel more and more supernaturally harassed and/or attacked -- as if someone keeps turning-up the heat. I'm sure I deserve-it BUT I'm not sure why, exactly. I feel a bit like a dog or cat which gets kicked across the room for something they did a year previously -- and they have NO Idea why they are being misused and abused. I've been modeling and speculating regarding some ancient and modern possibilities. Am I being tortured for that?? Am I being made-miserable for something I did 4,000 years ago?? 3,000 years ago?? 2,000 years ago?? 1,000 years ago?? 100 years ago?? 10 years ago?? 1 year ago?? I day ago?? I have No Idea. If it isn't already scheduled -- I am requesting a Real-Trial for All-Concerned -- and not an Unethical Kangaroo-Court. I'm suspecting Foul-Play in my case -- and I'm requesting that my Fate be Mercilessly-Avenged -- even if it takes all-eternity. If I'm being roughed-up to prepare me for something -- then so be it. I can take it -- and MUCH More. I'm thinking I might need to morph into an Ancient-Warrior Mentality (if THAT makes any sense). Don't be frightened. I mean no harm. I come in peace. But don't press your luck. Who knows what lurks within my Ancient-Soul??!! I'm half-joking and half-serious!! What if I'm Completely Sirius??!! What I just said might sound utterly-ridiculous -- but the possibilities are becoming frighteningly and painfully real to me. Honestly. BTW -- I haven't rejected Jesus with my Old-Testament Talk. I simply wish to properly-understand the Christ-Concept in All-Contexts (including the Old-Testament). I think our views regarding God and Christ are probably embarrassingly-inadequate. What if Christ might be much-better understood by reading (straight-through -- over and over) Patriarchs and Prophets -- Prophets and Kings -- The Desire of Ages -- and The Acts of the Apostles??

    I have included a lot of fringe Seventh-day Adventist material in my religious and political science-fictional threads because it fits so well. The trouble is that I don't fit in the SDA Church or in The Mists of Avalon -- but I'm at least politely-tolerated here (which is much-appreciated). My latest brainstorm is to focus-upon Volumes 3 and 4 of the SDA Bible Commentary (covering 1 Chronicles to Malachi) combined with Sacred Classical Music. Has ANYONE done this sort of thing?? This study coincides with Daniel 8:14, the Day of Atonement, and the Investigative Judgment by Desmond Ford. I recently acquired a very-rare book titled The End of the World: A.D. 2133 by Lucio Bernardo Silvestre (published in 1985) which places the beginning of the 2300 days/years at 168 B.C. and the termination at A.D. 2133. There is also an interesting book called God's Day of Judgment: The Real Cause of Global Warming by Douglas Vogt which suggests the Beginning of the End occurring in A.D. 2046 due to a Solar-Phenomenon!! Isaac Newton suggested that the End of the World might occur sometime around A.D. 2060 (if I remember correctly). What if the Internet ends-up being the Foundation of an Investigative Judgment -- with an Executive Judgment terminating in or around A.D. 2133?? What Would Raymond Cottrell, Desmond Ford, and F.D. Nichol Say?? I continue to see a Religious, Political, and Philosophical Meltdown in its formative-stages -- which might be followed by Social-Unrest and Economic-Disaster. The following material is something very-few of you will likely be interested-in -- but I think it might be very-important (even within this very website). Please remember that while I grew-up attending the SDA Church -- I have not attended for a very-long time -- and I am NOT trying to get ANYONE to join (or leave) the SDA Church (or ANY Church).

    http://spectrummagazine.org/article/book-reviews/2010/03/08/untold-story-bible-commentary Raymond Cottrell spent 15,000 hours studying every verse of the Bible. This was his job — as an associate editor of the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, which was published in the 1950s. And with it, Cottrell suggests, Adventist Bible study "came of age."

    About halfway through the compilation process, editor Francis Nichol figured that the editorial process alone required 77,175 work hours for the seven volumes and that if one person did all the writing and editing, it would take almost 100 years! Fortunately, there were 37 writers, three full-time and six part-time editors, copyeditors, and over 100 non-editorial readers.

    In August of 1985, Cottrell's 13-page "The Untold Story of the Bible Commentary" was printed in Spectrum. In this article, Cottrell reflects on and explains the various aspects of the project. He tells the stories of project commander-in-chief J.D. Snider and editor Nichol. He recounts how rigorous guidelines for writers requested that manuscripts be first and foremost "exegetical" and that, where appropriate, they could also be "homiletical." Nichol insisted that the Commentary was not "to crystallize once and of all a dogmatic interpretation" nor to "give sanctuary or support to the pet theories of any individual." It was, Cottrell writes, "to be written for ministers, Bible instructors, Sabbath school teachers, local elders, missionary-minded lay persons and those who 'have a special love for the Bible and who wish to study it with greater thoroughness.'"

    Cottrell explains how the team had to integrate the Commentary's reflection of Adventist teaching with faithful exegesis.

    "Inasmuch as this was to be a Seventh-day Adventist Bible commentary, we considered it appropriate, always, to take note of historic Adventist interpretations of a passage. Where two or more interpretations have been held by a significant number of responsible persons within the church, it was our purpose to represent all of them fairly, but to favor an interpretation on which an informed consensus had crystallized… In instances where our collective judgment could not conscientiously support a particular traditionally held interpretation, we sought in an inoffensive way to present the evidence and give the reader an opportunity to make up his or her own mind. At times the expression 'Seventh-day Adventists have taught that…' or it equivalent was our ironic way of expressing collective editorial judgment that the interpretation so characterized is not exegetically valid. Accurate exegesis was our primary concern."

    A theologian, missionary, teacher, writer, editor, Cottrell was a significant figure in Adventism; and one of his areas of contributing dialogue in the church would spring from one of these editorial challenges he faced working on the Commentaries.

    In a thorough paper called "The 'sanctuary doctrine' — Asset or liability?" presented at a meeting of the San Diego, California, chapter of the Association of Adventist Forums in 2002, Cottrell addressed a topic sparked by his work with the Commentaries. "I first encountered problems with the traditional interpretation of Daniel 8:14, professionally, in the spring of 1955 during the process of editing comment on the Book of Daniel for volume 4 of the SDA Bible Commentary," Cottrell wrote. "As a work intended to meet the most exacting scholarly standards, we intended our comment to reflect the meaning obviously intended by the Bible writers. As an Adventist commentary it must also reflect, as accurately as possible, what Adventists believe and teach. But in Daniel 8 and 9 we found it hopelessly impossible to comply with both of these requirements."

    Cottrell conducted a poll of Adventist Bible scholars regarding the topic and was appointed by the General Conference president to the Committee on Problems in the Book of Daniel (which adjourned after five years without consensus). He embarked on his own "unhurried, in-depth, spare-time, comprehensive study of Daniel 7 to 12 that continued without interruption for seventeen years (1955-1972), in quest of a conclusive solution to the sanctuary problem," he wrote in his "Asset or Liability" paper. But he decided not to publish "until an appropriate time" his resulting 1100-page manuscript, which he edited down to 725 pages.

    In this, as in his many other projects, Cottrell's aim was to contribute constructively. "My objective was to be fully prepared with definitive, objective, biblical information the next time the question should arise during the course of my ministry for the church," he wrote regarding his study of Daniel.

    http://spectrummagazine.org/article/book-reviews/2010/03/09/bible-commentary-theological-booby-traps-road-blocks From beginning to end the editorial process seemed to be loaded with booby traps of various kinds which, if carelessly handled, could have been the source of real problems for the editors. The very first words of the Bible — "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" — held us up at an editorial roadblock for three weeks, and Elder Nichol began to wonder out loud when, if ever, we would reach our destination of Revelation 22:20. Comment was written and rewritten, edited and re-edited, typeset and reset. An entirely different exegetical ambush awaited us at Genesis 30:37 to 31:12, where Jacob informs Laban that God devised the procedure by which he had been able to acquire most of Laban's flocks and herds. As described, however, the strategy was based on two genetic impossibilities — prenatal influence of the kind here described and the transmission of acquired characteristics. The former qualifies as superstition, the latter as science fiction (see Genesis 30:37, cf. 31:4-12). Did God overrule the laws of genetics and let Jacob believe that the procedure produced the result he claimed for it, or was it a ploy Jacob invented to awe Laban into believing that God had directed him to perform? The result was clear, but it is obvious to us to day that the conception of spotted and speckled cattle was not the result of the procedure to which Jacob attributed it. In addition to the genetic problems involved is the ethical question: Would God deceive Jacob into thinking that the procedure produced the result, and would he connive with Jacob to the disadvantage of Laban as the Bible implies?

    Another type of problem lurked in Leviticus 11. The identity of a third of the Hebrew names of animals listed as unclean is unknown today, and any attempt at identifying them with known animals is guesswork. How can we comment intelligently (see Leviticus 11:2)? Again, how was the Commentary to reconcile the instruction of Deuteronomy 14:33-36 — about spending one's tithe for wine, strong drink, and whatever a person might lust for — with the Bible admonition that the tithe is sacred and that intoxicating substances are evil?

    The so-called "wisdom literature" presented a number of perplexing problems. The book of Ecclesiastes confronted us with the need to determine whether some statements should be considered as inspired or as a reflection of the cynical, perverted reasoning of the writer's wayward, apostate years (see Vol. 3, p. 1060). Also, how did the amorous, erotic Song of Solomon get into the sacred canon? Is it historical or allegorical? Made into a motion picture it would earn an "X" rating, and if offered for sale on 42nd Street in New York City we would consider it pornographic (see Vol. 3, pp. 1110, 1111).

    The Old Testament prophets are loaded with booby traps for the inexperienced and unwary. While we were editing Volume 4, I suggested to Elder Nichol that a discussion of principles for interpreting Old Testament predictive prophecy would be desirable. With his blessing, I wrote the article, "The Role of Israel in Old Testament Prophecy" (Vol. 4, pp. 25-38), which affirms that the predictive prophecies of the Old Testament were originally addressed to literal Israel under the covenant and were to have been fulfilled to them had they remained faithful to their covenant obligations and accepted the Messiah when he came.

    Prior to editing the comment on Daniel, both Don and I thought of the book of Daniel as an exception to this otherwise universal rule, but editing the comment on Daniel convinced both of us — contrary to our previous opinion — that this principle applies to the book of Daniel as well. Elder Nichol's overriding pastoral concern, however, led him to insert the parenthetical caveat on page 38 exempting "the book of Daniel that the prophet was bidden to 'shut up' and 'seal,' or to other passages whose application Inspiration may have limited exclusively to our time." This was one of only two or three occasions when Elder Nichol exercised his prerogative as editor-in-chief to override our editorial judgment.

    Aware of the problems associated with the traditional interpretation of passages in Daniel and the Revelation, and of the experience of the church in attempting to dealt with them, Don and I repeatedly spoke to each other of being, like Daniel, "astonied by the space of half an hour" and like Paul of spending "a day and a night in the deep." But we did not think the Commentary was the right place to make an issue of matters not essential to salvation, and our own pastoral concern led us to do the best we could with the traditional interpretation. Upon one occasion when certain questions were addressed to Elder Nichol in a public meeting, he replied that the Commentary would not deal with these matters, and he did not expect to be around when the church was ready to tackle them.

    The synoptic problem — the literary relationship of Matthew, Mark and Luke — has never been resolved to everyone's complete satisfaction. If modern literary documents made use of each other as the synoptic Gospels do we would consider it a clear case of gross plagiarism and a valid basis for indicting two of them as infringements of copyright. Ninety percent of Mark is reproduced in Matthew and Luke, often word for word, and both Matthew and Luke make extensive use of still another, unknown source. A more practical aspect of the problem is whether to comment at length on the same incident wherever it occurs in all three, or in only one of them, and if so which one (see Vol. 5, p. 194)?

    It is not possible to determine the precise sequence of events in the ministry of Jesus. What principles should we follow in constructing a harmony of the Gospels, which inevitably involves arranging the events of Christ's life on earth in a particular sequence? Furthermore, there is no clear evidence in the Gospels to indicate the length of Christ's ministry; commentators vary all the way from three and half years to one year (see Vol. 5, pp. 190-201). Despite all statements to the contrary, there is no unambiguous evidence for the date of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, nor has anyone been able to harmonize the information the four Gospels provide as to when the Last Supper took place. Lurking in the background of this dilemma is the fact that the date of the crucifixion is the anchor point that led to selection of 457 B.C. as the beginning date for 2300 days of Daniel 8:14, yet any suggested date for the crucifixion is arbitrary guesswork (see Vol. 5, pp. 247-266).

    Often Don and I would spend an hour or two, or sometimes — on an important point — a day or more, exploring the problem together in order to arrive at a considered decision as to what the Commentary should say on a particular passage of Scripture. Upon one occasion we proposed to Elder Nichol that a weekend retreat for the Commentary editors should be devoted to the subject of prophetic fulfillment, the relation of Old Testament prophecy to the New Testament, the "little apocalypse" of Matthew 24 (including "this generation"), and the imminence of the parousia("presence" or "coming") of Christ clearly expressed throughout the New Testament. Meeting at the large Milesburn cabin beside the Appalachian Trail in Micheaux Forest about 30 miles west of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, we devoted several hours to a discussion of the various issues and found our way through to the position to be taken on these matters.

    Aware of the periodic theological hurricanes that brew in Australia and eventually reach North America, I suggested to Elder Nichol that we might do well to give our Australian brethren an opportunity to read galleys on the book of Hebrews. I suspected that some of them would take vigorous exception to some of the comments we as editors had already agreed on, and that it would be preferable to obtain their responses before publication rather than after. He agreed, and a few days later we met with some of the Australian leaders who were in Washington for meetings.

    Members of the editorial team were familiar with the principles of textual criticism, as it is called, and in writing and editing the New Testament commentaries we examined several thousand variant readings and selected those we considered deserving of attention. Periodically we would confer in the capacity of a textual criticism seminar and reach a consensus on the weight to be given each variant to be mentioned in the Commentary. (See Vol. 5, pp. 146, 147, for an explanation of the system we devised for expressing the weight of evidence for a particular reading. Interestingly, the system later adopted by the editors of the Bible Society Greek New Testament was very similar to ours. See their introduction, pp. x and xi.)

    What should an editor do with "proof texts" that inherently do not prove what is traditionally attributed to them — as for example, Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6; Revelation 12:17 and 19:10; Daniel 12:4, Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:1,2; and most of the texts usually cited with respect to "the law"? In most of these and number of other passages, pastoral concern led us to conclude that the Commentary was not the place to make an issue of the Bible versus the traditional interpretation, much as this disappointed us as Bible scholars and would be a disappointment to our scholarly friends who know better.

    http://spectrummagazine.org/article/book-reviews/2010/03/10/bible-commentary-ellen-g-white-and-bible One of Elder Nichol's basic requirements was that the Commentary should at no point express any concept that could be construed as a contradiction of the writings of Ellen White. We were, of course, familiar with her published works, but nevertheless kept one editorial eye fixed on the Conflict of the Ages series, which parallels the Bible account. In addition, we asked the various readers of galleys and foundry proofs to call our attention to any items we as editors might have missed.

    First and foremost we were to be faithful to the Bible, but in so doing we could avoid comment that might appear to contradict comment by Ellen White. Generally speaking, references to her writings in the body of the comment are inserted, not as authority for the statements made, but in confirmation or for comparison.

    It was not long before we discovered that Ellen White sometimes construes a passage to mean something different from what the original context requires; we also discovered why she does so. When dealing with a passage in its historical context — as throughout the Conflict series — she consistently deals with it contextually and her comment comports with the Bible. But when her primary objective is homiletical application of a passage to our time she often quotes the Bible out of context, applying the principle involved but in a way that seems to contradict the Bible. In such instances she uses the Bible to illustrate her point, not to exegete the Bible. New Testament writers often quote the Old Testament in the same way. Exegetical and homiletical uses of Scripture are both legitimate, but it is a gross misuse of Scripture to construe their — or her — homily as exegesis.

    A prime illustration of Ellen White's homiletical use of Scripture is her comment on "the law" in the book of Galatians. In Acts of the Apostles, where she deals with the historical situation in Galatia, she consistently identifies "the law" as the ceremonial system — accurate exegesis. But when, as in Selected Messages (pp. 233, 234), she applies the principle of legalism to our day she identifies "the law" as the Decalogue — homily. In effect she is saying that we can no more be saved today by keeping the law than the Galatian believers could be saved by observing the ceremonial law; now, as then, salvation is by faith alone.

    Something the same is true of Ellen White's application of Old Testament predictions that originally applied to Israel of old, and to the closing events of earth's history. According to Nahum 1:9 for instance, affliction would not arise again from Assyria. Ellen White applies the statement to the ultimate end of all evil in a universal sense (as in The Great Controversy, pp. 485, 612; and Exodus 12:37 cf. Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 334). Sometimes she bases her comment on a wrong meaning of an English word (as in 2 Thessalonians 2:9 cf. Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 686).

    http://spectrummagazine.org/article/book-reviews/2010/03/11/bible-commentary-why-did-it-succeed The ultimate measure of the Commentary's success is the extent to which it illumines the Bible for those who aspire to a better understanding of Scripture. This cannot be measured directly, of course, but there are a number of indirect means including, chiefly, the response of the church in purchasing it and how often it is quoted in other church publications such as the Sabbath school Lesson Quarterly.

    From the publisher's point of view the best estimate of success is the sales report. It was originally hoped that 5,000 sets could be sold within three years of the time the last volume was off the press, and with that in view the original printing order for Volume 1 was 5,160. But even before Volume 7 was ready 23,000 sets had been purchased at the prepublication price of $55.65 for the seven volumes. By the close of 1984 more than 83,000 complete sets had been sold, the current price being $174.50. Were J.D. Snider alive he would have good reason to be jubilant.

    Although the Commentary was not intended for reading like an ordinary book, a surprising number of people have told me of reading every word of it from beginning to end!

    One of Elder Nichol's important goals was to make the Commentary acceptable to the church. Thirty years without complaint about its consensus understanding of the Bible is strong evidence that the church feels comfortable with the Commentary. This is not to suggest that everyone agrees with it at every point or that the Commentary is without flaw; even the editors did not personally approve of every concept it expresses. It does mean, however, that the church accepts it and identifies with it. The fact that the Commentary respects differences of opinion is doubtless an important factor in its acceptance. That Adventist Bible scholars, who realize that the traditional Adventist understanding of the Bible has not always been strictly biblical, also feel reasonably comfortable with the Commentary and find it useful, is another measure of its success. Six key factors were responsible for this success:

    1. J.D. Snider's vision — his awareness of the need for an Adventist Bible commentary, together with his belief that the church was ready for it, that Adventist Bible scholars could and would write it, and that the Review and Herald could publish and market it at a price sufficient to cover the cost of production. "J.D." was the only person at the time who had the vision and was in the position to implement it, and his vision proved to be correct at every point.

    2. F.D. Nichol's editorial expertise. He was probably one of the very few persons in the church at the time who combined all of the qualities essential to planning and executing the project: editorial experience, a concept of what the Commentary should be, sensitive awareness of the thinking and the mood of the church and its leaders, open-mindedness and willingness to respect points of view with which he differed, appreciation of scholarship and a penetrating analysis of other people's reasoning, the high esteem in which he was held by the entire church, including its leaders and the contributors, an almost fanatical penchant for accuracy, and a passionate drive to carry the project through to completion within a relatively brief period of time.

    3. The willingness of the publisher to venture a quarter of a million dollars, which eventually became half a million "initial expense" (the cost before the presses begin to turn), and the dedication of Review and Herald personnel to the project.

    4. The content — the labors of the contributors and the editors to make the Commentary faithful to the Bible and to the Adventist understanding of Scripture.

    5. The dedication of the church at large to the Bible and the value its members place on a better understanding of it.

    6. The openness of the church at the time the Commentary was written and published. During the 1950s and 1960s the theological climate in the church was favorable to the honest way in which the Commentary editors, in their dedication first to the Bible and then to the church, sought to deal with the Bible and with the teachings of the church in relation to the Bible.

    The Commentary was strictly a publishing-house project with the blessing of the General Conference. The Review and Herald Publishing Association accepted both financial and theological responsibility. In other words, the project was unofficial, with credit for success or blame for failure going to the publisher and not to the General Conference. This arrangement protected the General Conference from criticism in case the Commentary posed either a financial or theological problem. had the project been sponsored and controlled by the General Conference, the Commentary would inevitably have taken a dogmatic, apologetic position on points of exegesis and interpretation where differences of opinion existed; this would have alienated the respect of many and limited the Commentary value and usefulness. Without training and expertise in biblical and theological matters, administrators would have found themselves in the embarrassing position of having to make decisions they were not competent to make. The fact that the publisher, with it's Bible-scholar editors, made these decisions and accepted responsibility for them protected the General Conference in case errors of judgment were made, errors for which it could then disavow responsibility.

    http://spectrummagazine.org/article/book-reviews/2010/03/12/bible-commentary-long-term-influence Though not by design on the part of those who convened it, the 1952 Bible Conference opened the door to a 15-year climate of openness and freedom to study the Bible objectively rather than apologetically, during which the church made rapid progress in its understanding of the Scripture. Elder Nichol often commented that except for the 1952 Bible Conference it would not have been possible to produce the Commentary because the editors could not have operated with sufficient freedom to make it objective and therefore worthwhile. In turn, the Commentary consolidated the openness and freedom that began in 1952 and continued for several years.

    As a result of this climate of openness and freedom it was possible to build into the Commentary advanced principles of Bible study that set the Commentary free from the outmoded proof-text method of study. These advanced principles make the Scriptures in the original languages, the ancient manuscripts, the context in which a statement occurs, and the historical setting normative for its meaning. The purpose of this method of study is to ascertain what the inspired writers, guided by the Holy Spirit, intended their words to mean, and thus to give the Bible an opportunity to interpret itself. It avoids the common proof-text method of reading into the Bible whatever the would-be interpreter may imagine it means.

    Inevitably, the editors found that certain passages of Scripture, taken in context, do not support the traditional proof-text concepts usually attributed to them. As editors we would have been unfaithful to the Bible if we had not set forth what we conscientiously believed to be the true meaning of a passage. At the same time, with appropriate pastoral concern, we included the traditional interpretation, and were thus able in most instances to be faithful to the Bible and at the same time recognize a historic Adventist position. By offering more than one interpretation of a passage we made clear to Commentary readers that we were not freezing Adventist theology into a creed, despite fears in some quarters that we would attempt to do so. We realized also that some church members, used to the dogmatic, proof-text approach, would feel uncomfortable and threatened by the openness of the Commentary, but we believed that in time the church would come to appreciate the virtues of openness and that our endeavor to be faithful to the text of Scripture would have a corrective effect.

    Publication of the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary was an ephochal event in the history of the church, one whose full import is yet to be perceived. With the clearer and more complete understanding of the Bible reflected in the Commentary as a basis, together with continuing study of the Bible by sound principles, competent Adventist Bible scholars of a future generation will be able to improve on what we were able to do.

    An editors' note  that followed Cottrell's article noted significant 1976 revisions of a few articles in the first edition of the Commentary. The revisions were begun by Ray Cottrell and completed under Ray Woolsey's supervision and included revisions regarding Creation and the flood, editing of biblical manuscripts, historical maps, metric measurements, and the comparable value of coins.

    Raymond F. Cottrell (1911 – 2003), was an Adventist theologian, missionary, teacher, writer and editor. He was an associate editor of the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary and the Adventist Review. He was one of the founders of Adventist Today and was a consulting editor for Spectrum magazine.











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    orthodoxymoron

    Posts : 7781
    Join date : 2010-09-28

    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:26 am

    I wish to make it clear that I'm on everyone's side and no-one's side. I'm both friend and enemy of the church -- which probably makes me an enemy -- but I mean-well. I think I see how things work in this solar-system -- and I won't be "playing-ball" anytime soon. I don't have high-hopes for this incarnation, or my next incarnation -- but I'm thinking the second-incarnation after this one holds significant-promise (in my mind anyway). I could say a lot more about this -- but I'd rather not talk about what I really think. I MUST silently research the material I've speculated about. I'm honestly NOT an insider. I've purposely kept myself "out of the loop" -- even though I have spoken at length with several individuals of interest. I think I've probably come perilously-close to the "dark-side" but I've functioned mostly as a reporter. I sometimes think of myself as a "Chad Decker Kind of Guy". What Would Anna Say?? Just know that I'll be researching and reflecting -- without saying or doing much of anything. Perhaps 100 years of solitude awaits me.

    When I made my first "Amen Ra" post on the old and closed Project Avalon http://projectavalon.net/forum/showthread.php?t=18223 -- I did so with fear and trembling (and I said so). That fear and trembling was reinforced when a mysterious individual of interest looked me in the eye, and matter of fact said, "I AM RA". Over several months, their words and actions tended to substantiate that assertion (or at least that they weren't just another crackpot). There have been over 84,000 views of that thread -- even though the site has been closed to editing and posting since 2010. I make this post with nearly the same level of fear and trembling. It has a lot to do with the post preceding this one. You might have a difficult time understanding this post -- and understanding why my heart is racing. You'd almost have to be me to see what I mean. Here is a preliminary timeline, just to break the ice, and get things going:

    1. M.L. Andreasen gains unprecedented access to Ellen White and her writings (shortly before her death).
    2. Prophets and Kings (covering the last-half of the Old-Testament) is published in 1917 (two-years after Ellen White's death).
    3. M.L. Andreasen publishes the book Isaiah the Gospel Prophet in 1929.
    4. Pope Pius XII creates an encyclical promoting Biblical-Scholarship (during World War II).
    5. The SDA Church facilitates the monumental SDA Bible Commentary in the early to mid 1950's.
    6. Significant problems are encountered regarding the Book of Daniel during that project.
    7. A Top-Level Daniel-Committee (including Raymond Cottrell) spends Five-Years (1961 to 1966) studying the Problems in Daniel -- with no minutes kept -- and nothing published.
    8. Raymond Cottrell spends Seventeen-Years (1955--1972) studying Daniel and Sanctuary Issues -- resulting in 1,100 pages of notes -- with nothing being officially-published (as far as I know).
    9. Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine is published in 1957 with a HUGE Firestorm of Controversy.
    10. Desmond Ford obtains a PhD in 1972 from the University of Manchester in England -- with F.F. Bruce as his advisor -- wherein he studies the Issues Involving Daniel and the Sanctuary (from a New-Testament Perspective).
    11. Desmond Ford moves from Australia to California in 1977 -- where he teaches at Pacific Union College in the Napa Valley.
    12. "Azazel" begins studies at Pacific Union College in 1977 -- attends numerous lectures by Desmond Ford -- and takes classes from Erwin R. Gane (outspoken critic of Desmond Ford).
    13. "Oh, God!" seemingly featuring "Azazel" is produced in 1977 (with John Denver and George Burns).
    14. Desmond Ford publishes his Commentary on Daniel in 1978.
    15. Desmond Ford delivers a controversial lecture at P.U.C. in 1979 titled The Investigative Judgment: Theological-Milestone or Historical-Necessity (with "Azazel" in attendance). Eric Syme is the lecture-respondent -- and speaks significantly regarding "Azazel". "Azazel" takes a class from Dr. Syme -- and speaks to him in his office regarding Dr. Ford's lecture.
    16. Desmond Ford is given a leave of absence from teaching to prepare a defense of his views.
    17. "Azazel" is involved in significant conversations with P.U.C. Theology-Major (and Ford Supporter) Mark Martin (Now an Arizona Calvary Chapel Mega-Church Pastor with 12,000 members).
    18. Ford attends a major gathering of scholars and administrators in 1980 at Glacier View Ranch, in Colorado -- regarding his views -- which turns-out to be a Kangaroo-Court (in retrospect).
    19. Ford Publishes the 1,000 page Daniel 8:14, the Day of Atonement, and the Investigative Judgment in 1980.
    20. Ford is fired by P.U.C. and defrocked by the SDA Church in 1980.
    21. Kenneth Woodward of Newsweek Magazine comes to P.U.C. in 1980 to write a story regarding the Desmond Ford Controversy -- and speaks in a public-meeting -- in which "Azazel" asks Mr. Woodward a question.
    22. Raiders of the Lost Ark -- directed by Steven Spielberg -- featuring Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones -- is released in 1981. This movie features the Ark of the Covenant -- which is central to the Sanctuary, Daniel, and the Investigative Judgment.
    23. Russell Crowe stars in a 6 minute advertisement in 1982 for Avondale College -- an SDA college in Australia -- and is subsequently featured in many movies which seem to have "Azazel" parallels.
    24. The End of the World, A.D. 2133 by Lucio Bernardo Silvestre is published in 1985 by Vantage Press -- with seemingly a very-small number of copies being printed. "Azazel" later obtains a copy. The text is expertly-written -- and features the Book of Daniel.
    25. "Azazel" regularly attends a Sabbath-School Class taught by Dr. A. Graham Maxwell (in the late 1980's) -- which is regularly attended by Steven Spielberg's stepmother -- who "Azazel" speaks with regarding a Movie-Idea featuring a Science-Fictional Life of Christ.
    26. "Azazel" regularly attends Dr. Walter Martin's Sunday-School Class in Costa Mesa, California (in the late 1980's). Martin was a central-figure in the Questions on Doctrine saga.
    27. "Azazel" later speaks extensively with several individuals of interest -- including a Dogma movie-character "Bartleby" look-alike who says "I AM RA".

    I could continue -- but this list is a beginning -- and it honestly hurts too much to elaborate. I could be more direct and complete -- but I've already stuck my neck out way too far. All of the Above sounds far-fetched and ridiculous -- but if you were me, and you knew everything I know, you'd be shaking with fear!! I'm wondering if that Daniel-Committee which met for five-years -- and Raymond Cottrell's seventeen-year study -- uncovered some of what I'm presently dealing-with??!! I'm recommending an intense study of the third, fourth, and sixth volumes of the SDA Bible Commentary -- for several reasons. The main-idea is to use the sixth-volume (Acts to Ephesians) to give the third and fourth volumes (1 Chronicles to Malachi) a decidedly New-Testament tone and application -- with the 1 Chronicles to Malachi third and fourth volumes being Normative. Once again, you'd have to be deeply immersed in this stuff to really get what I'm getting-at!! "Daniel 8:14!! Do You Get What I Mean??!!" I honestly think this thing is going to end BADLY (in SO Many Ways). I'm just trying to warn you. I don't want to keep repeating what I keep posting throughout my threads regarding who I think I MIGHT Be (and how the whole prophecy-thing MIGHT Play-Out) -- but if some of you Nazi-Mason-Jesuit Intelligence-Agents do some research (way beyond what I'm capable of doing with my limited-resources and self-imposed restrictions) -- you'll be amazed -- and you might even quarantine me!! A Subterranean 600 Square-Foot Office-Apartment with a Supercomputer is looking better all the time!! I'm sort of kidding -- and sort of Sirius!! I'm really dumb and dull in real-life -- but I have sort of a "silent and subtle sophistication". What Would Alanis Morissette Say?? What Would David Mann Say?? What Would David Bowie Say?? What Would David Bowman Say?? What Would Alan Rickman Say??

    Remember that strange message I found in my word-processor some time ago?? Consider 1 Chronicles -- Job -- Ecclesiastes -- Daniel -- and Zechariah -- as possible candidates for those five-books!! And what about Isaiah 40-66 -- Jonah -- and Malachi?? What if those five-books referenced in that word-processor message had nothing to do with the New-Testament (as we know it)?? Or what if James were one of the chosen-five?? What if those 37 (including the 5) books were essentially an Old-Testament Commentary in the Style of the New-Testament?? What would a Completely New-Testament Version of 1 Chronicles to Malachi look-like?? Does ANYONE Know What I'm Talking About?? What Would King David Say?? What Would King Solomon Say?? What Would the Queen of Sheba Say?? Notice that I'm often purposely obscure. Notice that I've kept my word regarding restricting my tripe to this website. I'm serious about "My Book" being Volumes 3 and 4 of the SDA Bible Commentary (for the time-being). Ellen G. White didn't write a Bible-Commentary!! WHY NOT??!! Patriarchs and Prophets -- Prophets and Kings -- Desire of Ages -- and Acts of the Apostles -- are essentially a New-Bible!! Perhaps she had inside-information regarding how the Bible should've been written!! I'm half-joking and half-serious!! What if Volumes 3 and 4 of the SDA Bible Commentary might be considered an Ellen White Bible Commentary on 1 Chronicles to Malachi?? Why did Ellen (Goa'uld) White "Beat Around the Burning-Bush" and take so many "Editorial-Liberties"?? Imagine Volumes 3 and 4 of the SDA Bible Commentary rewritten in the style of Prophets and Kings!! BTW -- might there be such a thing as a Kinder and Gentler Nazi--Mason--Jesuit Alphabet-Agency??!! What Would William Boone Say?? What Would Ronald Sandoval Say?? What Would Zo'or and Da'an Say?? Think About It!! Visualize reading Volumes 3 and 4 of the SDA Bible Commentary while listening to the Bach B-minor Mass!! What Would Leroy Froom Say?? What Would Roy Allen Anderson Say?? What Would Desmond Ford Say?? What Would the Jesuit General Say?? Does ANYONE Get What I'm Getting At??!! This stuff is so sad and insane -- that it's almost funny!! "I told you she was funny!!"

    I noticed that the site which contains the contents of my previous-post has NOT Discussed this material at all -- but they vigorously-debate the most-trivial matters imaginable!! WHY?? I've noticed that The Mists mostly avoids my threads (as if by Divine-Prohibition) -- yet vigorously-debates the most-trivial matters imaginable!! WHY?? Regarding Volumes  Three, Four, and Six of the SDA Bible Commentary -- what would a composite-study reveal regarding Sabbath-Observance in Modernity for Jews, Gentiles, and All-Concerned. I frankly have No Problem with Sabbath-Observance in the Right-Context BUT I fear that Imposing Sabbath-Observance (of ANY Day) upon humanity in modernity would result in unimaginable civil-unrest and brutal-bloodshed. I've suggested the possibility of Sacred Classical Music offered in the larger-churches Each and Every Day as a possible Ecumenical-Genesis. But really, I think I need to Not Talk. This isn't my gig. Helping might result in Hurting. I've absented myself from church to gain objectivity and clarity -- not as an expression of rebellion. Plus, I'm unimaginably burned-out and disillusioned with just about EVERYTHING. The Ancient Egyptian Deity closely (and seemingly gloatingly) questioned me regarding the Sabbath in a telephone-interview which he said was recorded and in which others were listening!! It was almost an "Aha!! We Got You Now!!" sort of thing!! I got the same impression at the end of the original Project Avalon -- when I called for the institution of a United States of the Solar System (with the help of the Benevolent Beings of the Universe)!! I had NO Idea at that time (2010) that I might be a Significant Individual of Interest (possibly with a Significant Ancient Existence). Have I been Decisively-Defeated at Long-Last?? That frankly wouldn't surprise me one little-bit!! Ding-Dong??!! If this actually occurred, will this somehow protect me from the horrors and karmic-debt of what's in-store for Earth, Humanity, the Solar-System, the Galaxy, and the Rest of the Universe?? What if the Cleansing of the Sanctuary involves the Entire-Universe?? I Honestly Have NO Idea -- but I'm more apprehensive and fearful than anyone can possibly imagine. It sucks to be me. I HATE My Life. I Honestly Do. Making the Coffee and Watching Jupiter Ascending Doesn't Help!!

    I guess I really intend my two United States of the Solar System threads to be sort of a Research-Baseline as a Foundation for MUCH More Scholarly and Serious Research. Perhaps it's NOT my place to do anything more than that (at least until A.D. 2133). Perhaps I've done way too much already. Perhaps this incarnation wasn't supposed to be a competition at all. Some (including me) seem to feel as if I've failed in this incarnation -- and that the other-guy won. Perhaps that's exactly what's happened OR perhaps my incarnation was sort of a Red-Herring. Perhaps there were predetermined-responses established to properly deal-with whatever I did (or didn't do). Think about John and Delenn Sheridan's son "David" -- briefly mentioned toward the end of the Babylon 5 series. David was destined to receive some sort of a curse on his sixteenth-birthday. Why?? "Sweet-Sixteen and Never Been Cursed??" I feel as if I've been cursed and hamstrung for most of my pathetic-life. You have no idea how smart and sensitive I was as a child and teen. But things have gotten worse and worse and worse -- while I continued to mean-well and intend the best. The ongoing hatred I've encountered has been inexplicable to me. Perhaps I was placed here to experience and observe (in a most-unpleasant and highly-unproductive manner). I think you can see by my posts that I'm not a total-moron -- but in real-life posting is NOT a marketable job-skill (to say the least).

    BTW -- what if the resignation of the Pope (and the election of a Jesuit-Pope) signaled the removal of Archangel II -- and the beginning of an A.D. 2013 to A.D. 2133 Home-Rule of Mankind by Mankind (without Divine-Management)?? What if this was part of the plan?? What if this was NOT part of the plan?? What if this is mankind's only possible chance at surviving?? Or what if an extermination is inevitable (with or without Divine-Intervention)?? What if the Father, Son, and Holy-Spirit have been replaced by Putin, Obama, and Francis?? Sorry if that offends -- but what-if?? What if the PTB will be replaced by a Computer-Managed Human-Collective?? What if that has already occurred?? If so, what if this will continue indefinitely (way-past A.D. 2133)?? What if a changing of the guard in A.D. 2133 will be a non-event?? I honestly have No Idea. What if Archangel II overthrew Archangel I in Antiquity?? What if Mankind overthrew Archangel II in Modernity?? What if there will be an Investigative and Executive Judgment between A.D. 2013 and A.D. 2133?? What if the movie Noah signaled the beginning of a 120 Year End of the World?? What Would Russell Crowe Say?? What if Archangel I will be restored to their rightful-state in A.D. 2133?? What if the Garden of Eden inaugurated Mankind's Rebellion Against God?? What if the End of the World will consummate Mankind's Rebellion Against God?? Once again -- consider Possibility-Thinking relative to Sacred-Scripture!! I think I'm trying to eliminate the element of surprise -- or perhaps I'm simply trying to cover my @$$!! Raven told me the Rabbit-Hole Mostly Went Right Up My @$$!! She didn't like me one little bit -- did she??!! "F^%%$#@^&&**K!!!!" BTW -- When I Don't Stop Posting -- and When I Change My Mind Regarding a Foundational-Book -- Does That Make Me Deceptive?? What Is One to Do?? What if the Antichrist Doesn't Want the Job?? What Would the Pope Say?? What Would the President Say?? What Would Putin Say?? What Would Slim Shady Say??

















    A 600 Square-Foot Office-Apartment on the Dark-Side of the Moon!!
    "What Shall We Do About Desmond Ford??"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desmond_Ford Desmond "Des" Ford (born Townsville, Queensland, Australia, 2 February 1929) is an evangelical Christian and an Australian theologian. He is also the father of Pornography blogger Luke Ford.

    Within the Seventh-day Adventist Church he was a controversial figure.[1] He was dismissed from ministry in the Adventist church in 1980 following his critique of the church's investigative judgment teaching. He has since worked through the non-denominational evangelical ministry Good News Unlimited. Ford disagrees with some aspects of traditional Adventist end-time beliefs. However he still defends a conservative view of Scripture, the seventh-day Sabbath, and a vegetarian lifestyle. He views the writings of Ellen G. White as useful devotionally but as she made clear,[2] and as the Adventist Church believes, not at the level of Canon.

    Ford shares the sermon time at the Good News Unlimited congregation which meets on Saturdays in the Brisbane suburb of Milton[3] and in periodic seminars on the eastern seaboard of Australia.

    Desmond Ford was born in Townsville, Queensland, Australia on 2 February 1929, to Wilfred Ford and Lillian Simpson. He had one brother, Val, who was three and a half years older. The Ford lineage consisted of farmers and cattlemen of English and Australian descent. The Simpson lineage derived from England, Ireland and China. Desmond's parents were nominal Anglican Christians, with his father almost an atheist in practice, and his mother presenting "a religious façade." Wilfred encouraged his son to read, beginning a lifelong obsession for the "unusually gifted" boy.[4]

    When Lillian was pregnant with Desmond, an Adventist book salesman shared insights on nutrition with the family, sparking a chain of events affecting Desmond's life. At an Adventist camp meeting in 1939 Desmond was given a Bible, which he would complete 3 years later, around the time he finished primary school. However his parents divorced when he was nine; Wilfred moved to Canberra, and Lillian and the boys later moved to Sydney, New South Wales (NSW). He passed his Intermediate Certificate in 1943. However, due to the family's poverty and Australia's involvement in World War II, Desmond had to drop out of school. He became officially employed with Associated Newspapers at the age of 15, although he had started working there months earlier, and was promoted from copy boy to an editorial position because of his published work. Meanwhile, Desmond took night classes for high school. All along, Desmond was being influenced by encounters with Adventists and other Christians, and steadily collected books on Christian theology, and the creation-evolution controversy.[5][6]

    Ford was challenged by the strict lifestyle standards presented in Ellen G. White's Messages to Young People, and gave up the cinema and reading fiction. Reading novels had been his main childhood hobby, and became replaced with reading theology.[7] White's book The Great Controversy was a key influence on his conversion. In winter 1946 he publicly responded to a call for commitment to God's service. Ford was impressed by the Christian character of many of the Adventists who had nurtured him. In September he was officially baptised into the church. This was despite strong opposition from his brother; and his mother was also originally resistant to his conversion, having become disenchanted with the Adventist church herself. Ford resigned from his job, and returned briefly to Townsville with his family. He then left in 1947 for the Australasian Missionary College (nicknamed "Avondale", and later known as Avondale College) in the Lake Macquarie region of NSW, to train for the ministry.[8]

    Ford found Avondale an exciting time for mental and spiritual growth. He was an active participant in class discussions, and occasionally taught classes to fill in for the lecturers. He was particularly inspired by Dr. William Murdoch, and carried out research for him. Ford gave talks in nearby churches, and published around a dozen articles for church magazines during this time. He also led students in Bible study. He struggled financially, and worked on Avondale's farm and elsewhere, and also selling Adventist books.[9]

    He graduated from the Ministerial Course in Avondale in 1950, with high marks.[10]

    Ford lived in a caravan (trailer) with his mother, who insisted on accompanying him, while canvassing (selling Christian books). Ford was sent to help build a new church in the coastal town of Coffs Harbour, NSW. In 1951, still in his first year of service as a pastor, he was sent to Newcastle, NSW, then an industrial city, to assist evangelist George Burnside. While Burnside was a dynamic presenter, Ford's biographer Milton Hook describes him as a fundamentalist (see: historic Adventism), and draws an analogy with a rugged, gung-ho cowboy like a John Wayne character. Ford questioned him on some end-times interpretations, resulting in conflict between the pair – a sign of further things to come.[11][12] Later he sold books in the Lake Macquarie and nearby Upper Hunter regions, which he found challenging work.[13]

    He worked as a pastor in various churches and as an evangelist for about 7 years in NSW, in Australian[6][14] rural towns.

    In 1952 Ford pastored the Coffs Harbour area, under a supervisor. His mother returned to Queensland. In December he married Gwen Booth, with whom he had shared a budding friendship and romance since their meeting at Avondale, where she studied teaching. Gwen had been raised in humble circumstances in Yass, and was a quiet achiever who cared about others, and had a deep faith in Jesus.[15] The following year they moved to the country town of Quirindi, where Ford pastored the church. From 1954 to mid-1955, Ford pastored in the Gunnedah area, then moved north to Inverell.[16] There a public debate with Burgin, a Church of Christ minister and a "formidable opponent" of Adventists, brought Ford respect. The topic was the Sabbath, with the specific title "Is the Seventh Day or the First Day Binding on Christians?" Arguably Ford won the debate. He later baptised some of Burgin's church members.[17] He was ordained. The couple stayed till the end of 1957, living on a meagre income throughout this whole period.[citation needed]

    The South Pacific Division called him back to Avondale to complete his ministry course.[12][14] He completed a BA in 1958,[18] and went on to complete a Master's degree in systematic theology at the SDA Washington Seminary in 1959.[6] Ford subsequently received a PhD in the rhetorical analysis of Paul's letters from Michigan State University in 1961.[6] In the same year he returned to Australia and became head of the Religion Department at Avondale College, where he would remain until 1977.[19] At Avondale, Ford taught many classes, including public speaking, homiletics, and evangelism. He was a member of the Biblical Research Committee in Australia and the United States.[6]

    He completed his second PhD in 1972 from the University of Manchester, while on leave from teaching at Avondale.[18] His supervisor was the renowned Protestant theologian F. F. Bruce. His field was New Testament studies, specifically eschatology (end times).[6][19] Ford entitled his thesis, The Abomination of Desolation in Biblical Eschatology.[20] His main expertise has been biblical apocalyptic literature, such as Daniel and Revelation, and eschatology.[6]

    Ford was a primary opponent of the perfectionism within the SDA church, especially its form as taught by fellow Australian Robert Brinsmead.[21]

    Ford believes that victory over the guilt of sin (justification) was provided at the cross, victory over the power of sin (sanctification) is the work of a lifetime and victory over the presence of sin (glorification) occurs at the return of Christ Jesus. Ford disagrees with the belief of sinless perfection, and acknowledges the final removal of sin occurs when mortality changes to immortality at the return of Jesus Christ. Ford believes that victory over the presence of sin does not occur during this lifetime, but at the return of Jesus Christ.[22]

    Ford teaches that justification precedes sanctification, because victory over the guilt of sin, precedes victory over the power of sin. Ford teaches that while justification is distinct from sanctification, the two concepts are always found together, in the same manner as two railway lines are distinct but never separate. Adventist belief places an equal emphasis on sanctification compared to justification, while still believing both are necessary for salvation.

    Ford disagrees strongly with the belief of "eschatological perfectionism," which is the teaching that a final generation of believers must achieve a state of complete sinlessness (or Christlikeness) in the final period just before the second coming of Jesus when the saints are sealed (see Last Generation Theology). Mainstream Adventists consider the life and character of Christ as a perfect example that all must imitate. M. L. Andreasen felt that the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, or investigative judgment, also involves the cleansing of the lives of believers on earth. This belief in sinlessness arose particularly from M. L. Andreasen's interpretation of the investigative judgment doctrine, which he based on concepts found in The Great Controversy by Ellen G. White.

    Ford stepped into the debate within Adventism concerning the nature of Jesus Christ, specifically whether Jesus Christ took on a fallen or an unfallen human nature in the Incarnation. This was precipitated by the publication of Questions on Doctrine in 1957 which some Adventists felt did not agree with what the church held.[23][24]

    The debate revolves around the interpretation of several biblical texts:

    "For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh." Romans 8:3 (ESV)"For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:15"...concerning his Son (Jesus), who was descended from David according to the flesh..." Romans 1:3 (ESV)"Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people." Hebrews 2:17 NKJV

    and statements made by Ellen White:

    "Notwithstanding that the sins of a guilty world were laid upon Christ, notwithstanding the humiliation of taking upon Himself our fallen nature, the voice from heaven declared Him to be the Son of the Eternal." The Desire of Ages, p. 112."He assumed human nature, with its infirmities, its liabilities, its temptations." Manuscript Releases, Vol. 17, p. 337."But Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of God. He took upon Himself human nature, and was tempted in all points as human nature is tempted. He could have sinned; He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity." Letter 8, 1895 in Manuscript Releases, Vol. 13, p. 18."Christ did not possess the same sinful, corrupt, fallen disloyalty we possess, for then He could not be a perfect offering." Review & Herald, April 25, 1893

    According to Adventist historian George Knight, most early Adventists (until 1950) believed that Jesus Christ was born with a human nature that was not only physically frail and subject to temptation, but that he also had the fallen predisposition and inclination to sin.[25] Since 1950, the "historic" wing of the church continues to hold this fallen view of Christ's human nature. Mainstream Adventist hold to the belief taught by Ellen White[26] that He came with the effects of Adam’s sin deep within his nature, that Christ took on the fallen nature but not the sinfulness of man.

    In contrast to the "historic" view, Ford believes that Ellen White was clear that Christ took our infirmities and with the weaknesses of fallen man, the sinful nature in the sense of that he had a lessened capacity with respect to the fallen physical nature that he inherited from Adam, including physical weaknesses, frailties and mental, and moral degeneracy and deterioration.[27][28] While Christ was tempted as all other human beings are, Ford notes that the lessened capacity of his human nature did not ever include giving in to temptation or having any evil desires or propensity or predisposition towards sin in his spiritual nature, a position with which Ellen White taught and mainstream Adventists agree.[29][30]

    According to Anglican Geoffrey Paxton, during the 1960s scholars such as Ford and Edward Heppenstall highlighted the concept of original sin within the SDA church.[31]

    Seventh-day Adventists have historically preached a doctrine of inherited weakness, but not a doctrine of inherited guilt.[32] Ellen White and others such as George Storrs, and Uriah Smith were disposed to de-emphasise the corrupt nature inherited from Adam, instead stressing the importance of actual, personal sins committed by the individual. Adventists traditionally understand sins of commission as the transgression of God's law, either wilfully or in ignorance. They base their belief on texts such as "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4) [33] Progressive Adventists add to this with some form of original sin.[34][35]

    Ford urged Brinsmead to study the Reformers. As a result, Brinsmead ultimately rejected perfectionism.[18] Around 1970, there was a major controversy amongst Australian Adventists over whether "righteousness by faith" included both justification and sanctification.[18] This had been sparked by Brinsmead, and Ford became caught up in it.[18] Tensions over Ford and the theology teaching at Avondale more generally, led to a meeting of Australian church leaders on 3–4 February 1976 to hear accusations by a group of "Concerned Brethren". Ford's understanding of righteousness by faith was the main issue,[36] while the report mentions "the Sanctuary, the Age of the Earth and Inspiration."[37] In April a group of church leaders and theologians, including Ford met in Palmdale, California, to discuss the meaning of righteousness by faith.[38] Ford was the "center of attention." The resulting document was titled the "Palmdale Statement".[39][40]

    In response to criticisms of his theology, in 1977 the church moved him to the United States, where he taught Religion at Pacific Union College for three years.[6][19][41] The classes he taught included the life and teachings of Christ, the Pauline epistles, Christian apologetics, Daniel and Revelation, the major and minor prophets of the Old Testament, introduction to theology, and biblical theology.[6]

    In October 1979 Ford was invited to address a chapter meeting of the Association of Adventist Forums (now Adventist Forums) held at the College, on the topic of Hebrews 9 and its implications for the Adventist investigative judgment teaching.[6] The talk was titled, "The Investigative Judgment: Theological Milestone or Historical Necessity?" The talk criticized some aspects of the traditional understanding; Ford was summoned to the General Conference headquarters in Washington, D.C.[6] He was given six months to write up his views. Late in 1979, he stopped lecturing and moved to Takoma Park, Maryland.[19] Ford produced the 991-page manuscript, Daniel 8:14, the Day of Atonement, and the Investigative Judgment .[42] Ford, together with the majority of Christendom, believes the atonement was completed on the cross when Jesus cried out, "It is finished." And the Seventh-Day Adventist Church agrees with Ford on this point, declaring Christ's "sacrifice in behalf of man was full and complete".[43] "On the cross the penalty for human sin was fully paid."[44] Like Ford, Seventh-Day Adventists see Christ's work in the heavenly sanctuary as the application of the benefits of the already completed atonement, and not as an added payment or continuation of the work of atonement begun on the cross, as some groups do that teach salvation by works.

    In August 1980, a group of Adventist theologians and administrators convened at Glacier View Ranch in Colorado to examine Ford's views. According to TIME magazine, he "made the case that White's 'sanctuary' explication of 1844 no longer stood up, and that 'investigative judgment' undercut the belief in salvation by God's grace apart from good works."[45] The culmination of this event was Ford losing his employment with the denomination [45] as a minister and theology professor.[19] After counsel from the General Conference, the Australasian Division withdrew "Ford's ministerial credentials."[46]

    Ford's mentor, Edward Heppenstall, saw him as moving in some theological areas that his mentor could not agree with. Heppenstall was disappointed when he failed to dissuade Ford from his position at Glacier View, subsequently writing to him that he "was shocked at how far" he "had swung to the left Biblically and doctrinally".[47]

    To commemorate the 30-year anniversary of Glacier View, the Sydney Adventist Forum held a pretend courtroom trial to assess the accuracy of Ford's claim that the Consensus Document has been largely in agreement with him. They concluded, "Ford was found to be substantially correct in claiming that the 114-member Sanctuary Review Committee (SRC) Consensus Document was in agreement with his twelve propositions—while Ministry was judged to have considerably over-stated its case." It concluded, "In retrospect, it is clear that the SRC made—in five days—more progress in understanding this biblical doctrine than the church has typically made in any fifty years of its history."[48]

    Ford married Gwen Booth with whom he had three children – Elènne Gwen Ford (born 29 October 1955)[49][50] Paul Wesley Ford (born 20 December 1957),[51] and Luke Ford (born 1966).[52] Gwen died of breast cancer in April 1970.[53] Ford married Gillian Wastell ("Gill") in November of that year.[54] Elènne works as a barrister. She also owns the "Mango Hill Farm" organic farm attraction on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, which includes farmstays, a small function centre, cooking school, etc.[55][56] It is located in Peachester, and for some years was the location of Ford's twice-a-month Gospel fellowships. Luke converted to Judaism and is a controversial internet blogger.[57]

    Ford's biography, written by Milton Hook, was published in 2008.[58]

    Ford has written around 30 books and numerous articles:

    Unlocking God's Treasury, 1964
    Discovering God's Treasures, 1972. Same book as Unlocking God's Treasury.
    Answers on the Way, 1976
    Daniel, 1978
    The Abomination of Desolation in Biblical Eschatology, 1979
    Daniel 8:14, The Day of Atonement, and the Investigative Judgment, 1980
    Physicians of the Soul, God's Prophets Through the Ages, (Nashville, TN: Southern Publishing Association, 1980) ISBN 0-8127-0262-X. Includes Ford's views on Ellen G. White as a prophetess. It also traces Ford's childhood encounters with Adventists and the influence of Ellen G. White's books on helping him find Christ and becoming an Adventist.
    The Forgotten Day, 1981, about the Sabbath
    Crisis, 2 vols., 1982
    The Adventist Crisis of Spiritual Identity, 1982
    Coping Successfully with Stress, 1984
    Will there be a Nuclear World Holocaust? 1984
    How to Survive Personal Tragedy, 1984
    A Kaleidoscope of Diamonds: The Jewelled Glories of the Cross Revealed, 2 vols, 1986
    Worth More Than a Million, 1987
    Daniel and the Coming King, 1996
    Right With God Right Now: How God Saves People as Shown in the Bible's Book of Romans, 1998
    The End of Terrorism, 2004
    Eating Right for Type 2 Diabetes, 2004
    God's Odds, 2006
    For the Sake of the Gospel: Throw out the bathwater, but keep the Baby, 2008
    Jesus Only, 2008
    The Time is at Hand, 2009
    The Coming Worldwide Calvary, 2009
    The Final Roller-Coaster, 2010
    How Long, O Lord, 2010
    Jesus Only (abridged), 2013. Abridged by Ritchie Way.
    For more publications see Hook, p. 394, 395

    Also:

    Inside Story (written by Gillian Ford)
    Why Believe? Source Book

    References:

    1.Jump up ^ Peter H. Ballis (1999). Leaving the Adventist Ministry: A Study of the Process of Exiting. Praeger. p. 123.
    2.Jump up ^ (Selected Messages vol. 1, p. 24)
    3.Jump up ^ http://www.goodnewsunlimited.org.au/
    4.Jump up ^ Milton Hook (2008). Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist (Adventist Today), 9–10
    5.Jump up ^ Hook, p11–16
    6.^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k http://www.goodnewsunlimited.org.au/ See the brief biography on the Good News Unlimited website
    7.Jump up ^ Hook, p10
    8.Jump up ^ Hook, p17, 20–24. Desmond Ford, Physicians of the Soul (Nashville, Tennessee: Southern Publishing, 1980), p99–100, 105, 108
    9.Jump up ^ Hook, p26–30
    10.Jump up ^ Hook p27, 32–36.
    11.Jump up ^ Hook, p39–43
    12.^ Jump up to: a b Colin and Russell Standish, The Gathering Storm and the Storm Burst, p53
    13.Jump up ^ Hook, p46
    14.^ Jump up to: a b Interview with Desmond Ford by Adrian Zytkoskee in Spectrum 11:2 (November 1980), 53–61
    15.Jump up ^ See Hook, p30–32, 39-40, 47–49. Another source is Archibald Hefren, "Life Sketch of Gwen Ford". Australasian Record (25 May 1970), p14; cited in Hook, p37
    16.Jump up ^ Hook, p50–51
    17.Jump up ^ Hook, p51–54
    18.^ Jump up to: a b c d e "Ford, Desmond (1929- )" in Historical Dictionary of Seventh-day Adventists by Gary Land
    19.^ Jump up to: a b c d e Reflections On Adventism: An Interview With Dr. Desmond Ford by Adventist Today Forum. Accessed 25 October 2007
    20.Jump up ^ "The Abomination of Desolation". Retrieved 15 June 2006.
    21.Jump up ^ Schwarz, Richard W. (1979). Light Bearers to the Remnant. Boise, Idaho; Oshawa, Ontario, Canada: Pacific Press and General Conference Department of Education. pp. 456–461. ASIN B0006CZ2QO.
    22.Jump up ^ Evangelicals And Adventists Together See Item # 4 in article
    23.Jump up ^ George R. Knight, ed. (2003). Questions on Doctrine: Annotated Edition. Berrien Springs, Michigan: Andrews University Press. pp. v, 516–522. ISBN 1-883925-41-X.
    24.Jump up ^ Questions on Doctrine, page 60,(The Desire of Ages, p.25), He "took upon Himself human nature" (The SDA Bible Commentary, vol.5, p.1128), He "took the nature of man" (The Desire of Ages, p.117), He took "our sinful nature" (Medical Ministry, p.181), He took "our fallen nature" (Special Instruction Relating to The Review and Herald Office, p. 13, May 26, 1896), He took "man's nature in its fallen condition" (Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898).
    25.Jump up ^ Questions on Doctrine, annotated edition, 2005.
    26.Jump up ^ The Signs of the Times, May 29, 1901.
    27.Jump up ^ QOD Assumed Liabilities of Human Nature pp. 653-654
    28.Jump up ^ The Review and Herald, July 28, 1874.
    29.Jump up ^ Woodrow W. Whidden II (1997), The Humanity of Christ, Review and Herald Publishing Association, p. 70
    30.Jump up ^ Ellen White on the Nature of Christ by Denis Fortin.
    31.Jump up ^ Pain and Progress: The 1960s, chapter of The Shaking of Adventism by Geoffrey J. Paxton
    32.Jump up ^ E. G. White, Signs of the Times, August 29, 1892
    33.Jump up ^ Are We Born Saved or Lost? See quote in article "Willful choice makes one a sinner (1 John 3:4; Isaiah 59:2)."
    34.Jump up ^ Original Sin in Questions On Doctrine Manuscript by Froom, Anderson
    35.Jump up ^ Original Sin
    36.Jump up ^ "Advance and Retreat: The 1970s" chapter in The Shaking of Adventism
    37.Jump up ^ "Church Growth Experiments in Secular Australia" by E. Bruce Price in Here We Stand: Evaluating New Trends in the Church edited by Samuel Koranteng-Pipim. Berrien Springs, Michigan: Adventists Affirm, 2005. ISBN 0-9677622-1-9 (publisher's page). Chapter republished in Samuele Bacchiocchi's Endime Issues Newsletter No. 130. The quote is from the official report, as reprinted in Price's chapter
    38.Jump up ^ "Christ Our Righteousness" (DjVu). Adventist Review (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald) 153 (22): 4–7. ISSN 0161-1119. Retrieved 23 October 2007.
    39.Jump up ^ Adventisarchives.org"DjVu.
    40.Jump up ^ Adventists: Heirs of the Reformation, chapter 1 of The Shaking of Adventism by Geoffrey J. Paxton
    41.Jump up ^ L. R. Tarling, The Edges of Seventh-day Adventism (Bermagui South: Galilee, 1981), 215-16; D. Ford, "The Historical Background of the Crisis," in D. & G. Ford, The Adventist Crisis of Spiritual Identity (Newcastle, Cal.: Desmond Ford Publications, 1982), 23.
    42.Jump up ^ Ford, Desmond (November 1980). "Daniel 8:14 and the Day of Atonement" (PDF). Spectrum (Roseville, California: Adventist Forums) 11 (2): 30–36. ISSN 0890-0264. Retrieved 24 October 2007.
    43.Jump up ^ The Desire of Ages, page 819
    44.Jump up ^ Seventh-day Adventists Believe, 1988, page 315
    45.^ Jump up to: a b Ostling, Richard N.; Jim Castelli; Dick Thompson (2 August 1982). "The Church of Liberal Borrowings". Time (Time Inc.). ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 22 October 2007.
    46.Jump up ^ Sanctuary Debate Documents
    47.Jump up ^ Knight 2000, p. 175.
    48.Jump up ^ Trevor G Lloyd, "Sydney Adventist Forum assesses Desmond Ford and Ministry magazine against Consensus Document". Adventist Today online, 12 November 2010
    49.Jump up ^ Hook, p54–55
    50.Jump up ^ Chapter of a recent Ford book. Reprinted from notes from a presentation made by Desmond Ford to the Sydney Adventist Forum meeting at the Castle Hill Adventist Church (website) in 1997
    51.Jump up ^ Hook, p63–64
    52.Jump up ^ Hook, p104
    53.Jump up ^ Hook, p104–111
    54.Jump up ^ Hook, p119–121
    55.Jump up ^ Mangofillfarm.com, Cath Fouracre, "Love at First Sight Impressions Last". Caboolture News 20 August 2008, p9; reprint
    56.Jump up ^ "A Labour of Love Bears Fruit"; reprint
    57.Jump up ^ Noah Shachtman (1 February 2001). "'The Most Hated Man in Web Porn'". Wired. Retrieved 14 June 2007.
    58.Jump up ^ Milton Hook (2008). Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist (Adventist Today).








    Last edited by orthodoxymoron on Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:40 am; edited 3 times in total
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    orthodoxymoron

    Posts : 7781
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    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Tue Apr 12, 2016 2:03 pm

    One summer, a long time ago, I went on a seven-week history-tour around the United States -- and occasionally I rode in a very-nice motorhome, driven by a dentist with a biblical first-name and the last-name "Davidian". I don't know if he was related to the Branch Davidians, but I've often wondered. This was long before the Waco Holocaust. Shortly after the history-tour, I was in a Sabbath-School class at Pacific Union College (in the choir-room) and in walked several somewhat strange-looking young-men -- one of whom I am sure was David Koresh (but who knows, I might've been mistaken). They slowly and arrogantly walked across the room, looking at the class-members, with the strangest grins and smirks (as I recall). Anyway, I will continue to include a lot of upsetting and controversial material in this experimental-thread. I wish to be positive -- but sweeping the negative-stuff under the rug is probably a bad-plan.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waco_siege The Waco siege was a siege of a compound belonging to the religious group Branch Davidians by American federal and Texas state law enforcement and US military between February 28 and April 19, 1993.[4] The Branch Davidians, a sect that separated in 1955 from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, was led by David Koresh and lived at Mount Carmel Center ranch in the community of Elk, Texas,[5][6][7] nine miles (14 kilometers) east-northeast of Waco. The group was suspected of weapons violations, causing a search and arrest warrant to be obtained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

    The incident began when the ATF attempted to raid the ranch. An intense gun battle erupted, resulting in the deaths of four government agents and six Branch Davidians. Upon the ATF's failure to raid the compound, a siege was initiated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the standoff lasting 51 days. Eventually, the FBI launched an assault and initiated a tear gas attack in an attempt to force the Branch Davidians out of the ranch. During the attack, a fire engulfed Mount Carmel Center. 76 people died,[8][9] including David Koresh.

    Much dispute remains as to the actual events of the siege. A particular controversy ensued over the origin of the fire; a government investigation concluded in 2000 that sect members themselves had started the fire. The events near Waco, and the siege at Ruby Ridge less than 12 months earlier were both cited as the primary motivations behind the Oklahoma City bombing that took place exactly two years later.

    The Branch Davidians (also known as "The Branch") is a religious group that originated in 1955 from a schism in the Seventh-day Adventist Church of the Shepherd's Rod (Davidians), following the death of the Shepherd's Rod founder Victor Houteff. Houteff founded the Davidians based on his prophecy of an imminent apocalypse involving the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the defeat of the evil armies of "Babylon".[10] As the original Davidian group gained members, its leadership moved the church to a hilltop several miles east of Waco, Texas, which they named Mount Carmel, after a mountain in Israel mentioned in Joshua 19:26 in the Bible's Old Testament. A few years later, they moved again to a much larger site east of the city. In 1959, the widow of Victor Houteff, Florence Houteff, announced that the expected Armageddon was about to take place, and members were told to gather at the center to await this event. Many built houses, others stayed in tents, trucks, or buses, and most sold their possessions.[11]

    Following the failure of this prophecy, control of the site (Mount Carmel Center) fell to Benjamin Roden, the prime organizer of the Branch Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Association (Branch Davidians). On his death, control fell to his wife, Lois Roden. Lois considered their son, George Roden, unfit to assume the position of prophet. Instead, she groomed Vernon Howell (later known as David Koresh) as her chosen successor. In 1984, a meeting led to a division of the group, with Howell leading one faction (calling themselves the Davidian Branch Davidians) and George Roden leading the competing faction. After this split, George Roden ran Howell and his followers off Mount Carmel. Howell and his group relocated to Palestine, Texas.[12][13]

    After the death of Lois Roden and probate of her estate in January 1987, Howell attempted to gain control of Mount Carmel Center by force. George Roden had dug up the casket of one Anna Hughes from the Davidian cemetery and had challenged Howell to a resurrection contest to prove who was the rightful heir to the leadership. Howell instead went to the police and claimed Roden was guilty of corpse abuse, but the county prosecutors refused to file charges without proof. On November 3, Howell and seven armed companions attempted to access the Mount Carmel chapel, with the goal of photographing the body in the casket as evidence to incriminate Roden. Roden was advised of the interlopers and grabbed an Uzi in response. The Sheriff's Department responded about 20 minutes into the gunfight, during which Roden was wounded. Sheriff Harwell got Howell on the phone and told him to stop shooting and surrender. Howell and his companions, dubbed the "Rodenville Eight" by the media, were tried for attempted murder on April 12, 1988; seven were acquitted and the jury was hung on Howell's verdict. The county prosecutors did not press the case further.[14] While waiting for the trial, Roden was put in jail under contempt of court charges because of his use of foul language in some court pleadings, threatening the Texas court with sexually transmitted diseases if the court ruled in favor of Howell. The next day, Perry Jones and a number of Howell's other followers moved from their headquarters in Palestine, Texas, to Mount Carmel. In mid-1989, Roden used an axe to kill a Davidian named Wayman Dale Adair, who visited him to discuss Adair's vision of being God's chosen messiah. He was found guilty under an insanity defense and was committed to a mental hospital. Shortly after Roden's commitment, Howell raised money to pay off all the back taxes on Mount Carmel owed by Roden and took legal control of the property.[15]

    On August 5, 1989, Howell released the "New Light" audio tape, in which he stated he had been told by God to procreate with the women in the group to establish a "House of David" of his "special people". This involved separating married couples in the group and agreeing that only he could have sexual relations with the wives, while the men should observe celibacy.[15][16] He also claimed that God had told him to start building an "Army for God" to prepare for the end of days and a salvation for his followers.[16] Howell filed a petition in the Supreme Court of California on May 15, 1990, to legally change his name "for publicity and business purposes" to David Koresh; on August 28, he was granted the petition.[17] By 1992, most of the land belonging to the group had been sold except for a core 77 acres (31 ha). Most of the buildings had been removed or were being salvaged for construction materials to convert much of the main chapel and a tall water tank into apartments for the resident members of the group. Many of the members of the group had been involved with the Davidians for a few generations, and many had large families.[18]

    "If you are a Branch Davidian, Christ lives on a threadbare piece of land 10 miles east of here called Mount Carmel. He has dimples, claims a ninth-grade education, married his legal wife when she was 14, enjoys a beer now and then, plays a mean guitar, reportedly packs a 9mm Glock and keeps an arsenal of military assault rifles, and willingly admits that he is a sinner without equal."

    -- Opening passage of "The Sinful Messiah", Waco Tribune-Herald, February 27, 1993[19]

    On February 27, 1993, the Waco Tribune-Herald began publishing "The Sinful Messiah", a series of articles by Mark England and Darlene McCormick, who alleged that Koresh had physically abused children in the compound and had committed statutory rape by taking multiple underage brides. Koresh was also said to advocate polygamy for himself and declared himself married to several female residents of the small community. According to the paper, Koresh declared he was entitled to at least 140 wives, that he was entitled to claim any of the females in the group as his, that he had fathered at least a dozen children, and that some of these mothers became brides as young as 12 or 13 years old.[19]

    In addition to allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct, Koresh and his followers were suspected of stockpiling illegal weapons. In May 1992, Chief Deputy Daniel Weyenberg of the McLennan County Sheriff's Department called the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) to notify them that his office had been contacted by a local UPS representative. A UPS driver described a package that had broken open on delivery to the Branch Davidian residence, revealing firearms, inert grenade casings, and black powder. On June 9, a formal investigation was opened and a week later it was classified as sensitive, "thereby calling for a high degree of oversight" from both Houston and headquarters.[20][21] The documentary Inside Waco claims that the investigation started when in 1992 the ATF became concerned over reports of automatic gunfire coming from the Carmel compound.[22] On July 30, ATF agents David Aguilera and Skinner visited the Branch Davidians' gun dealer Henry McMahon, who tried to get them to talk with Koresh on the phone. Koresh offered to let ATF inspect the Branch Davidians' weapons and paperwork and asked to speak with Aguilera, but Aguilera declined.[23][24] Sheriff Harwell told reporters regarding law enforcement talking with Koresh, "Just go out and talk to them, what's wrong with notifying them?"[25] The ATF began surveillance from a house across the road from the compound several months before the siege. Their cover was noticeably poor (the "college students" were in their 30s, had new cars, were not registered at the local schools, and did not keep a schedule which would have fit any legitimate employment or classes).[26] The investigation included sending in an undercover agent, Robert Rodriguez, whose identity Koresh learned, though he chose not to reveal that fact until the day of the raid.

    Former Branch Davidian Marc Breault claimed that Koresh had "M16 lower receiver parts"[15] (combining M16 trigger components with a modified AR-15 lower receiver is, according to ATF regulations, "constructive possession" of an unregistered machinegun; the manufacture of a firearm that would be classified as a machine gun;[27] the Hughes Amendment to the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 outlawed civilian ownership of any newly manufactured machine guns manufactured after the date of enactment[28]). According to the affidavit presented by ATF investigator David Aguilera to U.S. Magistrate Dennis G. Green on February 25, 1993, the Branch Davidian gun business, the Mag Bag, had purchased many legal guns and gun parts from various legal vendors, such as 45 semi-automatic AR-15 lower receivers from Olympic Arms. Deliveries by UPS for the Mag Bag were accepted and paid for at Mount Carmel Center by Woodrow Kendrick, Paul Fatta, David Koresh, or Steve Schneider. These purchases were traced by Aguilera through the normal channels used to track legal firearms purchases from legal vendors. None of the weapons and firearms were illegally obtained nor illegally owned by the Mag Bag; however, Aguilera affirmed to the judge that in his training and experience, in the past other purchasers of such legal gun parts had modified them to make illegal firearms. The search warrant was justified not on the basis of there being proof that the Davidians had purchased anything illegal, but on the basis that they could be modifying legal arms to illegal arms, and that automatic weapon fire had been reported from the compound.[29] The affidavit of Aguilera for the search warrant claimed that there were over 150 weapons in the compound. The paperwork on the AR-15 components cited in the affidavit showed that they were in fact legal semi-automatics; however, Aguilera told the judge: "I have been involved in many cases where defendants, following a relatively simple process, convert AR-15 semi-automatic rifles to fully automatic rifles of the nature of the M-16."[30] Aguilera stated in the affidavit and later testified at trial that a neighbor had heard machine gun fire; however, Aguilera failed to tell the magistrate that the same neighbor had previously reported the noise to the local Waco sheriff, who investigated the neighbor's complaint. Paul Fatta, who was also involved in the failed takeover of the group in 1987, told The New York Times that Koresh and he had visited the sheriff after the surveillance had been spotted and claimed that the sheriff's office told them their guns were legal.[31]

    Using the affidavit filed by Aguilera that alleged that the Davidians had violated federal law, the ATF obtained search and arrest warrants for Koresh and specific followers on weapons charges due to the many firearms they had accumulated (Search Warrant W93-15M for the "residence of Vernon Wayne Howell, and others", signed by U.S. Judge or Magistrate Dennis G. Green, dated 25 February 1993 8:43 pm at Waco, Texas).[32] The search warrant commanded a search "on or before February 28, 1993" in the daytime between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm. ATF made a claim that David Koresh was operating a methamphetamine lab, in order to establish a drug nexus and obtain military assets under the War on Drugs. However, the evidence was stale, partly based on an unreliable "hot spot" detected by infrared surveillance, partly based on disgruntled ex-members who had left six years earlier, and it ignored all the evidence that the lab had been dismantled by Koresh when he took charge and had been given to the Sheriff for destruction.[33][34] The commander of the Special Forces detachment questioned the request, and the ATF obtained only a training site at Fort Hood, Texas from February 25–27 with safety inspections for the training lanes, and was given only medical and communications training and equipment.[34]

    ATF had planned their raid for Monday, March 1, 1993, with the code name "Showtime".[35] The ATF would later claim that the raid was moved up a day, to February 28, 1993, in response to the Waco Tribune-Herald's "The Sinful Messiah" series of articles (which the ATF had tried to prevent from being published).[22] Beginning February 1, ATF agents had three meetings with Tribune-Herald staff regarding a delay in publication of "The Sinful Messiah". The paper was first told by ATF that the raid would take place February 22, which they soon after changed to March 1, and then ultimately to an indefinite date. ATF agents felt the newspaper had held off publication at the request of the ATF for at least three weeks. In a February 24 meeting between Tribune-Herald staff and ATF agent Phillip Chojancki and two other agents, ATF could not give the newsmen a clear idea of what action was planned or when. The Tribune-Herald informed ATF they were publishing the series, which included an editorial calling for local authorities to act. Personnel of the Tribune-Herald found out about the imminent raid after the first installment of "The Sinful Messiah" had already appeared on February 27.[36]

    Although the ATF preferred to arrest Koresh when he was outside Mount Carmel, planners received inaccurate information that Koresh rarely left it.[37] The Branch Davidian members were well known locally and had cordial relations with other locals. The Branch Davidians partly supported themselves by trading at gun shows and took care always to have the relevant paperwork to ensure their transactions were legal.[38] Branch Davidian Paul Fatta was a federal firearms licensed dealer and the group operated a retail gun business called the Mag Bag. When shipments for the Mag Bag arrived, they were signed for by Fatta, Steve Schneider, or Koresh. The morning of the raid, Paul Fatta and son Kalani were on their way to the Austin, Texas gun show to conduct business.[39]

    The ATF attempted to execute their search warrant on a Sunday morning, February 28, 1993. Any advantage of surprise was lost when a KWTX-TV reporter who had been tipped off about the raid asked for directions from a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier who was coincidentally Koresh's brother-in-law.[22] Koresh then told undercover ATF agent Robert Rodriguez that they knew a raid was imminent. Rodriguez had infiltrated the Branch Davidians and was astonished to find that his cover had been blown. The agent made an excuse and left the compound. When asked later what the Branch Davidians had been doing when he left the compound, Rodriguez replied, "They were praying." Branch Davidian survivors have written that Koresh ordered selected male followers to begin arming and taking up defensive positions, while the women and children were told to take cover in their rooms.[22] Koresh told them he would try to speak to the agents, and what happened next would depend on the agents' intentions.

    Despite being informed that the Branch Davidians knew a raid was coming, the ATF commander ordered that the raid go ahead, even though their plan depended on reaching the compound without the Branch Davidians being armed and prepared.[22] While not standard procedure, ATF agents had their blood type written on their arms or neck after leaving the staging area and before the raid, because it was recommended by the military to facilitate speedy blood transfusions in the case of injury.[40][41]

    ATF agents stated that they heard shots coming from within the compound, while Branch Davidian survivors claimed that the first shots came from the ATF agents outside. A suggested reason may have been an accidental discharge of a weapon, possibly by an ATF agent, causing the ATF to respond with fire from automatic weapons.[38] Other reports claim the first shots were fired by the ATF "dog team" sent to kill the dogs in the Branch Davidian kennel.[42] Three Army National Guard helicopters were used as aerial distraction and all took incoming fire, but they did not return fire.[43] During the first shots, Koresh was wounded, shot in the wrist.[44] Within a minute of the raid starting, Branch Davidian Wayne Martin called emergency services, pleading for them to stop shooting.[44] The resident asked for a ceasefire, and audiotapes record him saying, "Here they come again!" and, "That's them shooting! That's not us!"[44]

    The first ATF casualty was an agent who had made it to the west side of the building before he was wounded. Agents quickly took cover and fired at the buildings while the helicopters began their diversion and swept in low over the complex, 350 feet away from the building.[43] The Branch Davidians fired on the helicopters and hit them, without injuring the crew, and the helicopters immediately stopped the mission and landed.[43] On the east side of the compound, agents hauled out two ladders and set them against the side of the building. Agents then climbed onto the roof with the objective of securing the roof within 30 seconds to reach David Koresh's room and the arms storage. On the west slope of the roof, three agents reached Koresh's window and were crouching beside it when they came under fire. One agent was killed and another wounded. The third agent scampered over the peak of the roof and joined other agents attempting to enter the arms room. The window was smashed, a flashbang stun grenade thrown in, and three agents entered the arms room. When another tried to follow them, a hail of bullets penetrated the wall and wounded him, but he was able to reach a ladder and slide to safety. An agent fired with his shotgun at Branch Davidians who were shooting at him until he was hit in the head and killed. Inside the arms room, the agents killed a Branch Davidian gunman and discovered a cache of weapons but then came under heavy fire and two were wounded. As they escaped, the third agent laid down covering fire, killing a Branch Davidian. As he made his escape, he hit his head on a wooden support beam and fell off the roof, but survived. An agent outside provided them with covering fire but was shot by a Branch Davidian and killed instantly. Dozens of ATF agents took cover, many behind Branch Davidian vehicles, and exchanged fire with the Branch Davidians. The number of ATF wounded increased and an agent was killed by gunfire from the compound as agents were firing at a Branch Davidian sniper perched on top of the water tower. The exchange of fire continued, but 45 minutes into the raid the gunfire began to slow down as agents began to run low on ammunition. The shooting continued for two hours.[45]

    Sheriffs Lt. Lynch of the McLennan County Sheriff Dept. contacted the ATF and negotiated a ceasefire.[22] Sheriff Harwell states in William Gazecki's documentary Waco: The Rules of Engagement that the ATF agents withdrew only after they were out of ammunition.[46] ATF agent Chuck Hustmyre later wrote: "About 45 minutes into the shootout, the volume of gunfire finally started to slacken. We were running out of ammunition. The Davidians, however, had plenty." After the ceasefire, the Branch Davidians allowed the ATF dead and wounded to be evacuated and held their fire during the ATF retreat.

    Four ATF agents (Steve Willis, Robert Williams, Todd McKeehan, and Conway Charles LeBleu) were killed during the raid. Another 16 were wounded. The five Branch Davidians killed in the 9:45 am raid were Winston Blake (British), Peter Gent (Australian), Peter Hipsman, Perry Jones, and Jaydean Wendell; two at the hands of the Branch Davidians themselves.[47] Nearly six hours after the 11:30 am ceasefire, Michael Schroeder was shot dead by ATF agents who alleged he fired a pistol at agents as he attempted to re-enter the compound with Woodrow Kendrick and Norman Allison.[22] The news media initially reported Schroeder was shot breaking out of Mount Carmel. His wife claimed that he was merely returning from work and had not participated in the day's earlier altercation.[46] Schroeder had been shot once in the eye, once in the heart, and five times in the back.[48]

    The local sheriff, in audiotapes broadcast after the incident, said he was not apprised of the raid. Alan A. Stone's report states that the Branch Davidians did not ambush the ATF and that they "apparently did not maximize the kill of ATF agents", explaining that they were rather "desperate religious fanatics expecting an apocalyptic ending, in which they were destined to die defending their sacred ground and destined to achieve salvation."[49] A 1999 federal report later noted:

    The violent tendencies of dangerous cults can be classified into two general categories—defensive violence and offensive violence. Defensive violence is utilized by cults to defend a compound or enclave that was created specifically to eliminate most contact with the dominant culture. The 1993 clash in Waco, Texas at the Branch Davidian complex is an illustration of such defensive violence. History has shown that groups that seek to withdraw from the dominant culture seldom act on their beliefs that the endtime has come unless provoked.[50]

    Chronology of events on February 28

    05:00 76 agents assemble at Fort Hood for the drive to the staging area at the Bellmead Civic Center. According to a later Treasury Department Review, the agents drove in an 80-vehicle convoy that stretched for a mile (1.6 km) with a cattle trailer at either end.
    09:45 ATF agents move in on the compound. A gun battle begins.
    09:48 Branch Davidian Wayne Martin, a Waco attorney, calls 9-1-1.
    11:30 Ceasefire reached.
    16:00 The first message from Koresh is relayed over KRLD Radio In Dallas.
    16:55 Michael Schroeder is shot dead returning to the compound.
    17:00 ATF spokesman Ted Royster says gunfire has continued sporadically through the afternoon.
    19:30 David Koresh is interviewed by CNN. The FBI instructs CNN not to conduct further interviews.
    20:15 ATF spokesperson Sharon Wheeler says negotiations continue with Branch Davidians and gunfire has ended.
    22:00 By now, four children have exited (two Sonobe children, two Fagan children).
    22:05 Koresh talks for about 20 minutes on KRLD, describing his beliefs and saying he is the most seriously wounded of the Branch Davidians.

    ATF agents established contact with Koresh and others inside the compound after they withdrew. The FBI took command soon after as a result of the deaths of federal agents, placing Jeff Jamar, head of the Bureau's San Antonio field office, in charge of the siege as Site Commander. The FBI Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) was headed by HRT Commander Richard Rogers, who had previously been criticized for his actions during the Ruby Ridge incident. As at Ruby Ridge, Rogers often overrode the Site Commander at Waco and had mobilized both the Blue and Gold HRT tactical teams to the same site, which ultimately created pressure to resolve the situation tactically due to lack of HRT reserves.

    At first, the Davidians had telephone contact with local news media and Koresh gave phone interviews. The FBI cut Davidian communication to the outside world. For the next 51 days, communication with those inside was by telephone by a group of 25 FBI negotiators.[22] The final Justice Department report found that negotiators criticized the tactical commanders for undercutting negotiations.[51]

    In the first few days, the FBI believed they had made a breakthrough when they negotiated with Koresh an agreement that the Branch Davidians would peacefully leave the compound in return for a message, recorded by Koresh, being broadcast on national radio.[22] The broadcast was made, but Koresh then told negotiators that God had told him to remain in the building and "wait".[22] Despite this, soon afterwards negotiators managed to facilitate the release of 19 children, ranging in age from five months to 12 years old, without their parents.[11] However, 98 people remained in the building.[22] The children were then interviewed by the FBI and Texas Rangers, some for hours at a time.[11] Allegedly, the children had been physically and sexually abused long before the standoff.[52] This was the key justification offered by the FBI (both to President Bill Clinton and to Attorney General Janet Reno) for launching tear gas attacks on the compound to force the Branch Davidians out.[53]

    During the siege, the FBI sent a video camera to the Branch Davidians. In the video tape made by Koresh's followers, Koresh introduced his children and his "wives" to the FBI negotiators including several minors who claimed to have had babies fathered by Koresh. (Koresh had fathered perhaps 14 of the children who stayed with him in the compound.) Several Branch Davidians made statements in the video.[54] On day nine, Monday March 8, the Branch Davidians sent out the video tape to show the FBI that there were no hostages, but in fact everyone seemingly was staying inside on their own free will. This video also included a message from Koresh.[22] The negotiators' log showed that—when the tape was reviewed—there was concern that the tape's release to the media would gain sympathy for Koresh and the Branch Davidians.[55] Videos also showed the 23 children still inside the compound, and child care professionals on the outside prepared to take care of those children as well as the previous 21 released.[11] As the siege continued, Koresh negotiated more time, allegedly so that he could write religious documents which he said he needed to complete before he surrendered. His conversations—dense with Biblical imagery—alienated the federal negotiators, who treated the situation as a hostage crisis.

    As the siege wore on, two factions developed within the FBI,[22] one believing negotiation to be the answer, the other, force. Increasingly aggressive techniques were used to try to force the Branch Davidians out (for instance, sleep deprivation of the inhabitants by means of all-night broadcasts of recordings of jet planes, pop music, chanting, and the screams of rabbits being slaughtered). Outside the compound, nine Bradley Fighting Vehicles (carrying M651 CS tear gas grenades and Ferret rounds) and five M728 Combat Engineer Vehicles (CEVs) (obtained from the U.S. Army) began patrolling.[22] The armored vehicles were used to destroy perimeter fencing and outbuildings and crush cars belonging to the Branch Davidians. Armored vehicles repeatedly drove over the grave of Branch Davidian Peter Gent despite protests by the Branch Davidians and the negotiators. Two of the three water storage tanks on the roof of the main building had been shot at and holed in the initial ATF raid. Eventually the FBI cut all power and water to the compound, forcing those inside to survive on rain water and stockpiled military MRE rations.[22] Criticism was later leveled by Schneider's attorney, Jack Zimmerman, at the tactic of using sleep- and peace-disrupting sound against the Branch Davidians: "The point was this – they were trying to have sleep disturbance and they were trying to take someone that they viewed as unstable to start with, and they were trying to drive him crazy. And then they got mad 'cos he does something that they think is irrational!"[56]

    Despite the increasingly aggressive tactics, Koresh ordered a group of followers to leave. Eleven people left and were arrested as material witnesses, with one person charged with conspiracy to murder.[22] The children's willingness to stay with Koresh disturbed the negotiators, who were unprepared to work around the Branch Davidians' religious zeal. However, as the siege went on, the children were aware that an earlier group of children who had left with some women were immediately separated, and the women arrested. During the siege, a number of scholars who study apocalypticism in religious groups attempted to persuade the FBI that the siege tactics being used by government agents would only reinforce the impression within the Branch Davidians that they were part of a Biblical "end-of-times" confrontation that had cosmic significance.[57] This would likely increase the chances of a violent and deadly outcome. The religious scholars pointed out that—while, on the outside, the beliefs of the group may have appeared to be extreme—to the Branch Davidians, their religious beliefs were deeply meaningful, and they were willing to die for them.[57]

    Koresh's discussions with the negotiating team became increasingly difficult. He proclaimed that he was the Second Coming of Christ and had been commanded by his father in heaven to remain in the compound.[22] One week prior to the April 19 assault, FBI planners considered using snipers to kill David Koresh and possibly other key Branch Davidians.[58] The FBI voiced concern that the Branch Davidians might commit mass suicide, as had happened at Jonestown where over 900 Peoples Temple members and other people killed themselves or were murdered at leader Jim Jones's behest in 1978, although Koresh had repeatedly denied any plans for this when confronted by negotiators during the standoff, and people leaving the compound had not seen any such preparation.[59]

    Newly appointed U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno approved recommendations by the FBI to mount an assault, after being told that conditions were deteriorating and that children were being abused inside the compound.[52] Reno made the FBI's case to President Bill Clinton. Recalling the April 19, 1985, The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord (CSAL) siege in Arkansas (which was ended without loss of life by a blockade without a deadline), President Clinton suggested similar tactics against the Branch Davidians. Reno countered that the FBI was tired of waiting; that the standoff was costing a million dollars a week; that the Branch Davidians could hold out longer than the CSAL; and that the chances of child sexual abuse and mass suicide were real. Clinton later recounted: "Finally, I told her that if she thought it was the right thing to do, she could go ahead."[60] Over the next several months, Janet Reno's reason for approving the final gas attack varied from her initial claim that the FBI had told her that Koresh was sexually abusing children and beating babies (the FBI later denied evidence of child abuse during the standoff) to her claim that Linda Thompson and her one-woman "Unorganized Militia of the United States" was on the way to Waco to aid or attack Koresh.[61]

    Because the Branch Davidians were heavily armed, the FBI's arms included .50 caliber (12.7 mm) rifles and armored Combat Engineering Vehicles (CEV). The assault took place on April 19, 1993. CEVs used explosives to puncture holes in the walls of buildings of the compound so they could pump in CS gas ("tear gas") and try to flush out the Branch Davidians without harming them. The stated plan called for increasing amounts of gas to be pumped in over two days to increase pressure. Officially, no armed assault was to be made, and loudspeakers were used to tell the Branch Davidians that there would be no armed assault and to ask them not to fire on the vehicles. FBI agents had been permitted to return any incoming fire, but no shots were fired by federal agents on April 19. When several Branch Davidians opened fire, the FBI's response was to increase the amount of gas being used.[22]

    FBI also delivered 40-millimetre (1.6 in) CS grenade fire from M79 grenade launchers; very early in the morning, the FBI fired two military M651 rounds at the Branch Davidian construction site. Around mid-morning, the FBI began to run low on 40mm Ferret CS rounds, and asked Texas Ranger Captain David Byrnes for tear gas rounds; the tear gas rounds procured from Company "F" in Waco turned out to be unusable pyrotechnic rounds and were returned to the Company "F" office after the fire.[62] 40mm munitions recovered by the Texas Rangers at Waco included dozens of plastic Ferret Model SGA-400 Liquid CS rounds, two metal M651E1 military pyrotechnic tear gas rounds, two metal NICO Pyrotechnik Sound & Flash grenades, and parachute illumination flares.[62][63] After more than six hours, no Branch Davidians had left the building, sheltering instead in a cinder block room within the building or using gas masks.[64] The FBI claimed that CEVs were used to punch large holes in the building to provide exits for those inside.

    At around noon, three fires broke out almost simultaneously in different parts of the building and spread quickly. The government maintains the fires were deliberately started by Branch Davidians.[22][65] Some of the Branch Davidian survivors maintain that the fires were accidentally or deliberately started by the assault.[66][67] Only nine people left the building during the fire.[22][65] The remaining Branch Davidians, including the children, were either buried alive by rubble, suffocated by the effects of the fire, or shot. Many who suffocated from the fire were killed by smoke or carbon monoxide inhalation and other causes as fire engulfed the building.[65] According to the FBI, Steve Schneider—Koresh's top aide, who "probably realized he was dealing with a fraud"—shot and killed Koresh and then killed himself with the same gun.[68] Footage of the blaze was broadcast live by television crews.

    Chronology of events of April 19

    05:50 Agents call Branch Davidian compound to warn they are going to begin tank activity and advise residents "to take cover". Agents say the Branch Davidian who answered the phone did not reply, but instead threw the phone and phone line out of the front door.
    05:55 FBI Hostage Rescue Team deploys two armored CEVs to the buildings. CEV1 goes to the left of the buildings, CEV2 to the right.[69]
    06:00 FBI surveillance tapes from devices planted in the wall of the building record a man inside the compound saying "Everybody wake up, let's start to pray", then, "Pablo, have you poured it yet?" ... "Huh?" ... "Have you poured it yet?" ... "In the hallway" ... "Things are poured, right?" CEV1 receives orders to spray two bottles of tear gas into left corner of building.[69]
    06:04 Armored vehicle with ram and delivery device to pump tear gas into building with pressurized air rips into front wall just left of front door, leaving a hole 8 feet (2.4 m) high and 10 feet (3.0 m) wide. Agents claimed the holes not only allowed insertion of the gas, but also provided a means of escape. Agent sees shots from inside the compound directed at CEVs.[69]
    06:10 FBI surveillance tapes record "Don't pour it all out, we might need some later" and "Throw the tear gas back out." FBI negotiator Byron Sage is recorded saying "It's time for people to come out." Surveillance tapes record a man saying "What?", and then "No way."
    06:12 FBI surveillance tapes record Branch Davidians saying "They're gonna kill us", then "They don't want to kill us."
    06:31 The entire building is gassed.[69]
    06:47 FBI fires plastic, nonincendiary tear gas rounds through windows.[69]
    07:23 FBI surveillance tapes record a male Branch Davidian saying, "The fuel has to go all around to get started." Then a second male says, "Well, there are two cans here, if that's poured soon."
    07:30 CEV1 is redeployed, breaching the building and inserting tear gas. Branch Davidians fire shots at CEV1.[69]
    07:48 On FBI tapes of agents recorded during the siege, FBI agent requests permission to fire military-style tear gas shells to break through underground concrete bunker. Gets permission, fires two shells.[69]
    07:58 CEV2, with battering ram, rips hole into second floor of compound and then minutes later another hole is punched into the backside of one of the buildings of the compound. The vehicles then withdraw.[69]
    08:08 Three pyrotechnic military tear gas rounds are shot at the concrete construction pit (not the concrete bunker), away and downwind from the main quarters, trying to penetrate the structure, but they bounce off.[70]:28–32 Agent in CEV reports that one shell bounced off bunker, did not penetrate.[69][70]:30
    08:24 Audio portion of FBI videotape ends, at request of pilot.[69]
    09:00 The Branch Davidians unfurl a banner which reads "We want our phone fixed."
    09:13 CEV1 breaks through front door to deliver more gas.[69]
    09:20 FBI surveillance records a meeting starting at 7:30 am between several unidentified males.[71] UM: "They got two cans of Coleman fuel down there? Huh?"UM: "Empty."UM: "All of it?"UM: "Nothing left."
    10:00 A man is seen waving a white flag on the southeast side of the compound. He is advised over loudspeakers that if he is surrendering he should come out. He does not. At the same time, a man believed to be Schneider comes out from the remains of the front door to retrieve the phone and phone line.
    11:30 Original CEV2 has mechanical difficulties (damaged tread), replacement breaches through back side of compound.[69]
    11:17 – 12:04 According to the government, a series of remarks such as "I want a fire", "Keep that fire going", and "Do you think I could light this soon?" indicate that the Branch Davidians have started setting fire to the complex around 11:30.[70]:15–19[71]:287 Surviving Branch Davidians testified that Coleman fuel had been poured, and fire experts in Danforth's report agree "without question" that people inside the complex had started multiple accelerated fires.[70]:15–19, appendixes D and E
    11:43 Another gas insertion takes place, with the armored vehicle moving well into the building on the right rear side to reach the concrete interior room where the FBI believe Branch Davidians are trying to avoid the gas.
    11:45 Wall on right rear collapses.[69]
    12:03 Armored vehicle turret knocks away first floor corner on right side.
    12:07 First visible flames appear in two spots in the front of the building, first on the left of the front door on the second floor (a wisp of smoke then a small flicker of flame) then a short time later on the far right side of the front of the building, and at a third spot on the back side. An FBI agent reported seeing a Branch Davidian member igniting a fire in the front door area.[70]:18
    12:09 Ruth Riddle exits with computer disk in her jacket containing Koresh's Manuscript on the Seven Seals. Third fire detected on first floor.[69]
    12:10 Flames spread quickly through entire building, fanned by high winds. The building burns very quickly.
    12:12 Emergency call placed for Waco Fire Department. Two Waco FD trucks are dispatched. Shortly after, Bellmead FD dispatches two trucks.
    12:22 Waco fire trucks arrive at checkpoint, where they are halted;[citation needed] Bellmead follows shortly after.
    12:25 There is a large explosion on the left side of the compound. One object hurtles into the air, bounces off the top of the white bus and lands on the grass.
    12:30 Part of the roof collapses. Around this time, there are several further explosions and witnesses report the sound of gunfire, attributed by the FBI to live ammunition cooking off throughout the buildings because of fire.
    12:43 According to fire department logs, fire trucks arrive at compound.
    12:55 Fire begins to burn out. The entire compound is leveled.
    15:45 Law enforcement source says David Koresh is dead.

    In all, 76 Branch Davidians died[9] and nine survived the fire on April 19 (five others had been killed in the initial ATF raid and buried on the grounds, one had been killed by ATF after the raid, and 35 had left during the FBI standoff).[65] Fatalities included:

    Chanel Andrade, 1, American
    Jennifer Andrade, 19, American
    Katherine Andrade, 24, American
    George Bennett, 35, British
    Susan Benta, 31, British
    Mary Jean Borst, 49, American
    Pablo Cohen, 38, Israeli
    Abedowalo Davies, 30, British
    Shari Doyle, 18, American
    Beverly Elliot, 30, British
    Doris Fagan, 51, British
    Yvette Fagan, 32, British
    Lisa Marie Farris, 24, American
    Raymond Friesen, 76, Canadian
    Sandra Hardial, 27, British
    Diana Henry, 28, British
    Paulina Henry, 24, British
    Phillip Henry, 22, British
    Stephen Henry, 26, British
    Vanessa Henry, 19, British
    Zilla Henry, 55, British
    Novellette Hipsman, 36, Canadian
    Floyd Houtman, 61, American
    Sherri Jewell, 43, American
    David M. Jones, 38, American
    Bobbie Lane Koresh, 2, American
    Cyrus Koresh, 8, American
    David Koresh, 33, American
    Rachel Koresh, 24, American
    Star Koresh, 6, American
    Jeffery Little, 32, American
    Nicole Gent Little (pregnant), 24, Australian
    Dayland Lord Gent, 3, Australian[72]
    Paiges Gent,[73] 1, American
    Livingston Malcolm, 26, British
    Anita Martin, 18, American
    Diane Martin, 41, British
    Lisa Martin, 13, American
    Sheila Martin, Jr., 15, American
    Wayne Martin, Jr., 20, American
    Wayne Martin, Sr., 42, American
    Abigail Martinez, 11, American
    Audrey Martinez, 13, American
    Crystal Martinez, 3, American
    Isaiah Martinez, 4, American
    Joseph Martinez, 8, American
    Julliete Martinez, 30, American
    John-Mark McBean, 27, British
    Bernadette Monbelly, 31, British
    Melissa Morrison, 6, British
    Rosemary Morrison, 29, British
    Sonia Murray, 29, American
    Theresa Nobrega, 48, British
    James Riddle, 32, American
    Rebecca Saipaia, 24, Filipino[74]
    Judy Schneider, 41, American
    Steve Schneider, 43, American
    Mayanah Schneider, 2, American
    Clifford Sellors, 33, British
    Scott Kojiro Sonobe, 35, American
    Floracita Sonobe, 34, Filipino
    Aisha Gyrfas Summers (pregnant), 17, Australian
    Gregory Summers, 28, American
    Startle Summers, 1, American
    Hollywood Sylvia, 1, American
    Lorraine Sylvia, 40, American
    Rachel Sylvia, 12, American
    Chica Jones, 2, American
    Michelle Jones Thibodeau, 18, American
    Serenity Jones, 4, American
    Little One Jones, 2, American
    Margarida Vaega, 47, New Zealander
    Neal Vaega, 38, New Zealander
    Mark H. Wendell, 40, American

    A large concentration of bodies, weapons, and ammunition was found in the bunker. The Texas Rangers' arson investigator report assumes that many of the occupants were either denied escape from within or refused to leave until escape was not an option.[75] It also mentions that the structural debris from the breaching operations on the west end of the building could have blocked a possible escape route through the tunnel system.[75] An independent investigation by two experts from the University of Maryland's Department of Fire Protection Engineering concluded that the compound residents had sufficient time to escape the fire, if they had so desired.[65]

    Autopsies of the dead revealed that some women and children found beneath a fallen concrete wall of a storage room died of skull injuries. Autopsy photographs of other children locked in what appear to be spasmic death poses are consistent with cyanide poisoning, one of the results produced by burning CS gas.[46] The U.S. Department of Justice report indicated that only one body had traces of benzene, one of the components of solvent-dispersed CS gas, but that the gas insertions had finished nearly one hour before the fire started, and that it was enough time for solvents to dissipate from the bodies of the Branch Davidians that had inhaled the tear gas.[76]

    Autopsy records also indicate that at least 20 Branch Davidians were shot, including five children under the age of 14. Three-year-old Dayland Gent was stabbed in the chest. The medical examiner who performed the autopsies believed these deaths were mercy killings by Branch Davidians trapped in the fire with no escape. The expert retained by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel concluded that many of the gunshot wounds "support self-destruction either by overt suicide, consensual execution (suicide by proxy), or less likely, forced execution."[70]

    The new ATF Director, John Magaw, criticized several aspects of the ATF raid; for instance, he compared the raid leaders Phillip Chojnacki going with a helicopter team and Chuck Sarabyn going in one of the horse trailers to a football team's coach and assistant coach going onto the field with the players. Magaw made the Treasury "Blue Book" report on Waco required reading for new agents. A 1995 GAO report on use of force by federal law enforcement agencies observed that, "on the basis of Treasury's report on the Waco operation and views of tactical operations experts and ATF's own personnel, ATF decided in October 1995 that dynamic entry would only be planned after all other options have been considered and began to adjust its training accordingly."[77]

    Nothing remains of the buildings today other than cement foundation components, as the entire site was bulldozed two weeks after the end of the siege. Only a small chapel, built years after the siege, stands on the site.[78]

    The events at Waco spurred both criminal prosecution and civil litigation. On August 3, 1993, a federal grand jury returned a superseding ten-count indictment against 12 of the surviving Branch Davidians. The grand jury charged, among other things, that the Branch Davidians had conspired to, and aided and abetted in, murder of federal officers, and had unlawfully possessed and used various firearms. The government dismissed the charges against one of the 12 Branch Davidians pursuant to a plea bargain.

    After a jury trial lasting nearly two months, the jury acquitted four of the Branch Davidians on all charges. Additionally, the jury acquitted all of the Branch Davidians on the murder-related charges, but convicted five of them on lesser charges, including aiding and abetting the voluntary manslaughter of federal agents.[79] Eight Branch Davidians were convicted on firearms charges.

    The convicted Branch Davidians, who received sentences of up to 40 years,[80] were:

    Kevin A. Whitecliff—convicted of voluntary manslaughter and using a firearm during a crime.
    Jaime Castillo—convicted of voluntary manslaughter and using a firearm during a crime.
    Paul Gordon Fatta—convicted of conspiracy to possess machine guns and aiding Branch Davidian leader David Koresh in possessing machine guns.
    Renos Lenny Avraam (British national)—convicted of voluntary manslaughter and using a firearm during a crime.
    Graeme Leonard Craddock (Australian national)—convicted of possessing a grenade and using or possessing a firearm during a crime.
    Brad Eugene Branch—convicted of voluntary manslaughter and using a firearm during a crime.
    Livingstone Fagan (British national)—convicted of voluntary manslaughter and using a firearm during a crime.
    Ruth Riddle (Canadian national)—convicted of using or carrying a weapon during a crime.
    Kathryn Schroeder—sentenced to three years after pleading guilty to a reduced charge of forcibly resisting arrest.

    Six of the eight Branch Davidians appealed both their sentences and their convictions. They raised a host of issues, challenging the constitutionality of the prohibition on possession of machine guns, the jury instructions, the district court's conduct of the trial, the sufficiency of the evidence, and the sentences imposed. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated the defendants' sentences for use of machine guns, determining that the district court had made no finding that they had "actively employed" the weapons, but left the verdicts undisturbed in all other respects, in United States v. Branch,[81] 91 F.3d 699 (5th Cir. 1996), cert. denied (1997).

    On remand, the district court found that the defendants had actively employed machine guns, and re-sentenced five of them to substantial prison terms. The defendants again appealed. The Fifth Circuit affirmed, in United States v. Castillo, 179 F.3d 321 (5th Cir. 1999). The Branch Davidians pressed this issue before the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the term "machine gun" in the relevant statute created an element of the offense to be determined by a jury, rather than a sentencing factor to be determined by a judge, as had happened in the trial court, in Castillo v. United States, 530 U.S. 120 (2000). On September 19, 2000, Judge Walter Smith followed the Supreme Court's instructions and cut 25 years from the sentences of five convicted Branch Davidians, and five years from the sentence of another.[82] All Branch Davidians had been released from prison as of July 2007.[83]









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    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

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    Several of the surviving Branch Davidians, as well as more than a hundred family members of those who had died or were injured in the confrontation, brought civil suits against the United States Government, numerous federal officials, the former governor of Texas Ann Richards, and members of the Texas Army National Guard. They sought monetary damages under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), civil rights statutes, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and Texas state law. The bulk of these claims were dismissed because they were insufficient as a matter of law or because the plaintiffs could advance no material evidence in support of them.

    The court, after a month-long trial, rejected the Branch Davidians' case. The court found that, on February 28, 1993, the Branch Davidians initiated a gun battle when they fired at federal officers who were attempting to serve lawful warrants.[citation needed] ATF agents returned gunfire to the building, the court ruled, in order to protect themselves and other agents from death or serious bodily harm. The court found that the government's planning of the siege—i.e., the decisions to use tear gas against the Branch Davidians; to insert the tear gas by means of military vehicles; and to omit specific planning for the possibility that a fire would erupt—was a discretionary function for which the government could not be sued. The court also found that the use of tear gas was not negligent. Further, even if the United States Government were negligent by causing damage to the buildings before the fires broke out, thus either blocking escape routes or enabling the fires to spread faster, that negligence did not legally cause the plaintiffs' injuries because the Branch Davidians started the fires.

    The Branch Davidians appealed. Their only serious contention was that the trial court judge, Walter S. Smith, Jr., should have recused himself from hearing their claims on account of his relationships with defendants, defense counsel, and court staff; prior judicial determinations; and comments during trial. The Fifth Circuit concluded that these allegations did not reflect conduct that would cause a reasonable observer to question Judge Smith's impartiality, and it affirmed the take-nothing judgment, in Andrade v. Chojnacki, 338 F.3d 448 (5th Cir. 2003), cert. denied (2004).

    Thirty-three British citizens were among the members of the Branch Davidians during the siege. Twenty-four of them were among the 80 Branch Davidian fatalities (in the raid of February 28 and the assault of April 19), including at least one child.[53] Two more British nationals who survived the siege were immediately arrested as "material witnesses" and imprisoned without trial for months.[80]

    Derek Lovelock was held in McLennan County Jail for seven months, often in solitary confinement.[80] Livingstone Fagan, another British citizen, who was among those convicted and imprisoned, says he received multiple beatings at the hands of correctional officers, particularly at Leavenworth, Kansas. There, Fagan claims to have been doused inside his cell with cold water from a high-pressure hose, after which an industrial fan was placed outside the cell, blasting him with cold air. Fagan was repeatedly moved between at least nine different facilities. He was strip-searched every time he took exercise, so he refused exercise. Released and deported back to the UK in July 2007, he still held on to his religious beliefs.[80]

    In the weeks preceding the raid, Rick Ross, a self-described cult expert and deprogrammer affiliated with the Cult Awareness Network, appeared on major networks such as NBC[84] and CBS in regard to Koresh.[85] Ross would later describe his role in advising authorities about the Davidians and Koresh, and what actions should be taken to end the siege.[86] He was quoted as saying that he was consulted by the ATF[87] and he contacted the FBI on the March 4, 1993, requesting "that he be interviewed regarding his knowledge of cults in general and the Branch Davidians in particular". The FBI reports that it did not rely on Ross for advice whatsoever during the standoff, but that it did interview and received input from him. Ross also telephoned the FBI on March 27 and March 28, offering advice about negotiation strategies, suggesting that the FBI "attempt to embarrass Koresh by informing other members of the compound about Koresh's faults and failures in life, in order to convince them that Koresh was not the prophet they had been led to believe".[86] The ATF also contacted Ross in January 1993 for information about Koresh.[86]

    Several writers have documented the Cult Awareness Network's role in relation to the government's decision-making concerning Waco.[84] Mark MacWilliams notes that several studies have shown how "self-styled cult experts like Ross, anticult organizations like the Cult Awareness Network (CAN), and disaffected Branch Davidian defectors like Breault played important roles in popularizing a harshly negative image of Koresh as a dangerous cult leader. Portrayed as 'self-obsessed, egomaniacal, sociopathic and heartless', Koresh was frequently characterized as either a religious lunatic who doomed his followers to mass suicide or a con man who manipulated religion for his own bizarre personal advantage".[88] According to religious scholars Phillip Arnold and James Tabor who made an effort to help resolve the conflict, “the crisis need not have ended tragically if only the FBI had been more open to Religious Studies and better able to distinguish between the dubious ideas of Ross and the scholarly expertise.”[89] In a New Yorker article in March, 2014, writer Malcolm Gladwell wrote that Arnold and Tabor told the FBI that Koresh needed to be persuaded of an alternative interpretation of the Book of Revelation, one that does not necessarily involve a violent end. They made an audiotape which was played for Koresh, and seemed to convince him. However, the FBI waited only three days before beginning the assault, instead of an estimated two weeks for Koresh to complete a manuscript sparked by this alternate interpretation, and then come out peacefully.[90]

    Rolland Ballestros, one of the agents assigned to the ATF door team that assaulted the front door, told Texas Rangers and Waco police that he thought the first shots came from the ATF dog team assigned to neutralize the Branch Davidians' dogs, but later at the trial he insisted that the Branch Davidians had shot first.[91] (Ballestros was not called by the government in the later trials.) The Branch Davidians claimed that the ATF door team then opened fire at the door and they returned fire in self-defense. An Austin Chronicle article noted, "Long before the fire, the Davidians were discussing the evidence contained in the doors. During the siege, in a phone conversation with the FBI, Steve Schneider, one of Koresh's main confidants, told FBI agents that 'the evidence from the front door will clearly show how many bullets and what happened.'"[92] Houston attorney Dick DeGuerin, who went inside Mount Carmel during the siege, testified at the trial that protruding metal on the inside of the right-hand entry door made it clear that the bullet holes were made by incoming rounds. DeGuerin also testified that only the right-hand entry door had bullet holes, while the left-hand entry door was intact. The government presented the left-hand entry door at the trial, claiming that the right-hand entry door had been lost. The left-hand door contained numerous bullet holes made by both outgoing and incoming rounds. Texas Trooper Sgt. David Keys testified that he witnessed two men loading what could have been the missing door into a U-Haul van shortly after the siege had ended, but he did not see the object itself. Michael Caddell, the lead attorney for the Branch Davidians' wrongful death lawsuit explained, "The fact that the left-hand door is in the condition it's in tells you that the right-hand door was not consumed by the fire. It was lost on purpose by somebody." Caddell offered no evidence to support this allegation, which has never been proved.[92] However, fire investigators stated that it was "extremely unlikely" that the steel right door could have suffered damage in the fire much greater than did the steel left door, and both doors would have been found together. The right door remains missing, and the entire site was under close supervision by law enforcement officials until the debris—including both doors—had been removed.[92]

    Helicopters had been obtained from the Alabama and Texas National Guard on the pretext that there was a drug laboratory at Mount Carmel.[34][93] There were, however, no drug-related charges on the arrest warrant served on the morning of February 28, 1993.[94][95] The official version of events has always stated that the helicopters were merely used as a diversion, that the crew only had 9 millimeter sidearms, and that no shots were made from them.[43]

    Critics suggest that, during the final raid, the CS gas was injected into the building by armored vehicles in an unsafe manner, which could have started a fire. While two of the three fires were started well inside the building, away from where the CS gas was pumped in, survivor David Thibodeau claimed in a 1999 interview with Reason that damage to the building allowed the gas to spread, stating, "They started to break the walls, break the windows down, spread the CS gas out." The FBI had planted surveillance devices in the walls of the building, which captured a number of conversations which the government claims are evidence that the Davidians started the fire.[71]:287 The recordings were imperfect and many times difficult to understand, and the two transcriptions that were made had differences at many points.[71]:287 According to reporter Diana Fuentes, when the FBI's April 19 tapes were played in court during the Branch Davidian trials, few people heard what the FBI audio expert claimed to hear; the tapes "were filled with noise, and voices only occasionally were discernible. [...] The words were faint; some courtroom observers said they heard it, some didn't."[96] The Branch Davidians had given ominous warnings involving fire on several occasions.[97] This may or may not have been indicative of the Branch Davidians' future actions, but was the basis for the conclusion of Congress that the fire was started by the Branch Davidians, "absent any other potential source of ignition." This was prior to the FBI admission that pyrotechnics were used, but a yearlong investigation by the Office of the Special Counsel after that admission nonetheless reached the same conclusion, and no further congressional investigations followed. During a 1999 deposition for civil suits by Branch Davidian survivors, fire survivor Graeme Craddock was interviewed. He stated that he saw some Branch Davidians moving about a dozen one gallon cans of fuel so they would not be run over by armored vehicles, heard talk of pouring fuel outside the building, and, after the fire had started, something that sounded like "light the fire" from another individual.[98] Professor Kenneth Newport's book The Branch Davidians of Waco attempts to prove that starting the fire themselves was pre-planned and consistent with the Branch Davidians' theology. He cites as evidence conversations the FBI recorded during the siege, testimonials of survivors Clive Doyle and Graeme Craddock, and the buying of diesel fuel one month before the start of the siege.[71]

    Attorney General Reno had specifically directed that no pyrotechnic devices be used in the assault.[69] Between 1993 and 1999, FBI spokesmen denied (even under oath) the use of any sort of pyrotechnic devices during the assault; however, pyrotechnic Flite-Rite CS gas grenades had been found in the rubble immediately following the fire. In 1999, FBI spokesmen were forced to admit that they had used the grenades; however, they claimed that these devices—which dispense CS gas through an internal burning process—had been used during an early morning attempt to penetrate a covered, water-filled construction pit 40 yards away,[69] and were not fired into the building itself. According to FBI claims, the fires started approximately three hours after the grenades had been fired.[69] When the FBI's documents were turned over to Congress for an investigation in 1994, the page listing the use of the pyrotechnic devices was missing.[69] The failure for six years to disclose the use of pyrotechnics despite her specific directive led Reno to demand an investigation.[69] A senior FBI official told Newsweek that as many as 100 FBI agents had known about the use of pyrotechnics, but no one spoke up until 1999.[69] On May 12, less than a month after the incident, Texas state authorities bulldozed the site, rendering further gathering of forensic evidence impossible.

    The FBI received contradictory reports on the possibility of Koresh's suicide and was not sure about whether he would commit suicide.[59] The evidence made them believe that there was no possibility of mass suicide, with Koresh and Schneider repeatedly denying to the negotiators that they had plans to commit mass suicide, and people leaving the compound saying that they had seen no preparations for such a thing.[59] There was a possibility that some of his followers would follow Koresh if he committed suicide.[59] According to Alan A. Stone's report, during the siege the FBI used an incorrect psychiatric perspective to evaluate Branch Davidians' responses, which caused them to over-rely on Koresh's statements that they would not commit suicide. According to Stone, this misevaluation caused the FBI to not ask pertinent questions to Koresh and to others on the compound about whether they were planning a mass suicide. A more pertinent question would have been, "What will you do if we tighten the noose around the compound in a show of overwhelming power, and using CS gas, force you to come out?"[49] Alan A. Stone wrote:

    The tactical arm of federal law enforcement may conventionally think of the other side as a band of criminals or as a military force or, generically, as the aggressor. But the Branch Davidians were an unconventional group in an exalted, disturbed, and desperate state of mind. They were devoted to David Koresh as the Lamb of God. They were willing to die defending themselves in an apocalyptic ending and, in the alternative, to kill themselves and their children. However, these were neither psychiatrically depressed, suicidal people nor cold-blooded killers. They were ready to risk death as a test of their faith. The psychology of such behavior—together with its religious significance for the Branch Davidians—was mistakenly evaluated, if not simply ignored, by those responsible for the FBI strategy of "tightening the noose". The overwhelming show of force was not working in the way the tacticians supposed. It did not provoke the Branch Davidians to surrender, but it may have provoked David Koresh to order the mass-suicide.[49]

    The Oklahoma bombing in April 1995 made the media revisit many of the questionable aspects of the government's actions at Waco, and many Americans who previously supported those actions were now asking for an investigation.[99] By 1999—as a result of certain aspects of the documentaries discussed above, as well as allegations made by advocates for Branch Davidians during litigation—public opinion held that the federal government had engaged in serious misconduct at Waco. A Time poll conducted on August 26, 1999, for example, indicated that 61 percent of the public believed that federal law enforcement officials started the fire at the Branch Davidian complex. In September of that year, Attorney General Reno appointed former U.S. Senator John C. Danforth as Special Counsel to investigate the matter. In particular, the Special Counsel was directed to investigate charges that government agents started or spread the fire at the Mount Carmel complex, directed gunfire at the Branch Davidians, and unlawfully employed the armed forces of the United States. A yearlong investigation ensued, during which the Office of the Special Counsel interviewed 1,001 witnesses, reviewed over 2.3 million pages of documents, and examined thousands of pounds of physical evidence.

    In the "Final report to the Deputy Attorney General concerning the 1993 confrontation at the Mt. Carmel Complex, Waco Texas" of November 8, 2000, Special Counsel Danforth concluded that the allegations were meritless. The report found, however, that certain government employees had failed to disclose during litigation against the Branch Davidians the use of pyrotechnic devices at the complex, and had obstructed the Special Counsel's investigation. Disciplinary action was pursued against those individuals. Allegations that the government started the fire were based largely on an FBI agent's having fired three "pyrotechnic" tear gas rounds, which are delivered with a charge that burns. The Special Counsel concluded that the rounds did not start or contribute to the spread of the fire, based on the finding that the FBI fired the rounds nearly four hours before the fire started, at a concrete construction pit partially filled with water, 75 feet (23 m) away and downwind from the main living quarters of the complex. The Special Counsel noted, by contrast, that recorded interceptions of Branch Davidian conversations included such statements as "David said we have to get the fuel on" and "So we light it first when they come in with the tank right [...] right as they're coming in." Branch Davidians who survived the fire acknowledged that other Branch Davidians started the fire. FBI agents witnessed Branch Davidians pouring fuel and igniting a fire, and noted these observations contemporaneously. Lab analysis found accelerants on the clothing of Branch Davidians, and investigators found deliberately punctured fuel cans and a homemade torch at the site. Based on this evidence and testimony, the Special Counsel concluded that the fire was started by the Branch Davidians.

    Charges that government agents fired shots into the complex on April 19, 1993, were based on forward looking infrared (FLIR) video recorded by the Night Stalkers aircraft. These tapes showed 57 flashes, with some occurring around government vehicles that were operating near the complex. The Office of Special Counsel conducted a field test of FLIR technology on March 19, 2000, to determine whether gunfire caused the flashes. The testing was conducted under a protocol agreed to and signed by attorneys and experts for the Branch Davidians and their families, as well as for the government. Analysis of the shape, duration, and location of the flashes indicated that they resulted from a reflection off debris on or around the complex, rather than gunfire. Additionally, independent expert review of photography taken at the scene showed no people at or near the points from which the flashes emanated. Interviews of Branch Davidians, government witnesses, filmmakers, writers, and advocates for the Branch Davidians found that none had witnessed any government gunfire on April 19. Finally, none of the Branch Davidians who died on that day displayed evidence of having been struck by a high velocity round, as would be expected had they been shot from outside of the complex by government sniper rifles or other assault weapons. In view of this evidence, the Special Counsel concluded that the claim that government gunfire occurred on April 19, 1993, amounted to "an unsupportable case based entirely upon flawed technological assumptions." The Special Counsel considered whether the use of active duty military at Waco violated the Posse Comitatus Act or the Military Assistance to Law Enforcement Act. These statutes generally prohibit direct military participation in law enforcement functions, but do not preclude indirect support such as lending equipment, training in the use of equipment, offering expert advice, and providing equipment maintenance. The Special Counsel noted that the military provided "extensive" loans of equipment to the ATF and FBI, including—among other things—two tanks, the offensive capability of which had been disabled. Additionally, the military provided more limited advice, training, and medical support. The Special Counsel concluded that these actions amounted to indirect military assistance within the bounds of applicable law. The Texas National Guard, in its state status, also provided substantial loans of military equipment, as well as performing reconnaissance flights over the Branch Davidian complex. Because the Posse Comitatus Act does not apply to the National Guard in its state status, the Special Counsel determined that the National Guard lawfully provided its assistance.

    David Koresh's lawyer called the Danforth report a whitewash.[100] Ramsey Clark—a former U.S. Attorney General, who represented several Branch Davidian survivors and relatives in a civil lawsuit—said that the report "failed to address the obvious": "History will clearly record, I believe, that these assaults on the Mt. Carmel church center remain the greatest domestic law enforcement tragedy in the history of the United States."[101]

    Raid (February 28): 75 federal agents (ATF and FBI); 3 helicopters manned by 10 Texas National Guard counter-drug personnel as distraction during the raid and filming.[93][102] Ballistic protection equipment, fire retardant clothing, regular flashlights, regular cameras (i.e. flash photography), pump-action shotguns and flashbang grenades,[103] 9mm handguns, 9mm MP5 submachine guns, .223 AR-15 rifles, a .308 bolt-action sniper rifle.[104]
    Siege (March 1 through April 18): Hundreds of federal agents; 2 Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopters.[105]
    Assault (April 19): Hundreds of federal agents; military vehicles (with their normal weapon systems removed): 9–10 M3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, 4–5 M728 Combat Engineering Vehicles (CEVs) armed with CS gas, 2 M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks, 1 M88 tank retriever.[102][105]
    Support:[102] 1 Britten-Norman Defender surveillance aircraft;[106] a number of Texas National Guard personnel for maintenance of military vehicles and training on the use of the vehicles and their support vehicles (Humvees and flatbed trucks); surveillance from Texas National Guard counter-drug UC-26 surveillance aircraft and from Alabama National Guard; 10 active-duty U.S. Army Special Forces (Delta Force) soldiers as observers and trainers (also present during assault); 2 senior U.S. Army officers as advisers, 2 members of the British Army's 22nd Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment as observers;[107] 50+ men in total.[108]

    The Branch Davidians were well armed with small arms,[108][109] possessing 305 total firearms, including numerous rifles (semi-automatic AK-47s and AR-15s), shotguns, revolvers and pistols;[65][70][110] 2 .50 caliber weapons with armor-piercing ammunition[not in citation given] and 46 semi-automatic firearms modified to fire in full automatic mode (included on above list): 22 AR-15 (erroneously referred to as M16), 20 AK-47, 2 HK SP-89, 2 M-11/Nine[70][110] Texas Rangers reported "at least 16 AR-15 rifles,";[65] 2 AR-15 lower receivers modified to fire in full automatic mode;[110] 39 "full auto sears" devices used to convert semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons; parts for fully automatic AK-47 and M16 rifles; 30-round magazines and 100-round magazines for M16 and AK-47 rifles; pouches to carry large ammunition magazines; substantial quantities of ammunition of various sizes.

    Other items found at the compound included about 1.9 million rounds of "cooked off" ammunition;[65] grenade launcher parts; flare launchers; gas masks and chemical warfare suits; night vision equipment; hundreds of practice hand grenade hulls and components (including 200+ inert M31 practice rifle grenades, 100+ modified M-21 practice hand grenade bodies, 219 grenade safety pins and 243 grenade safety levers found after the fire);[110] Kevlar helmets and bulletproof vests; 88 lower receivers for the AR-15 rifle; and approximately 15 sound suppressors or silencers (the Treasury reports lists 21 silencers,[110] Texas Rangers report that at least six items had been mislabeled and were actually 40mm grenades or flash bang grenades from manufacturers who sold those models to the ATF or FBI exclusively;[111][112] former Branch Davidian Donald Bunds testified he had manufactured silencers under direct orders of Koresh).[40]

    The ATF knew that the Branch Davidians had a pair of .50 caliber rifles, so they asked for Bradley armored vehicles, which could resist that caliber.[113] During the siege, Koresh said that he had weapons bigger than .50 rifles and that he could destroy the Bradleys, so they were supplemented with two Abrams tanks and five M728 vehicles.[113][114] The Texas Rangers recovered at least two .50 caliber weapons from the remains of the compound.[65][70] There is the question of whether the Branch Davidians actually fired the .50 caliber rifles during the raid or during the assault. Various groups supporting gun bans, such as Handgun Control Incorporated and the Violence Policy Center have claimed that the Branch Davidians had used .50 caliber rifles and that therefore these types of firearms should be banned.[115][116] The ATF claims such rifles were used against ATF agents the day of the search. Several years later, the General Accounting Office, in response to a request from Henry Waxman, released a briefing paper titled "Criminal Activity Associated with .50 Caliber Semiautomatic Rifles" which repeated the ATF's claims that the Branch Davidians used .50 caliber rifles during the search.[117] FBI Hostage Rescue Team snipers did report sighting one of the weapons, readily identifiable by its distinctive muzzle brake, during the siege.[118]

    Timothy McVeigh cited the Waco incident as a primary motivation[119] for the Oklahoma City bombing, his April 19, 1995 truck bomb attack that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, a U.S. government office complex in downtown Oklahoma City, and destroyed or damaged numerous other buildings in the vicinity. The attack claimed 168 lives (including 19 children under the age of 6) and left over 600 injured in the deadliest act of terrorism on U.S. soil prior to the September 11 attacks, and as of 2016 it remains the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in American history.[120] Within days after the bombing, McVeigh and Terry Nichols were both in custody for their roles in the bombing. Investigators determined that the two were both sympathizers of an anti-government militia movement and that their motive was to avenge the government's handling of the Waco and Ruby Ridge incidents.[121] McVeigh testified that he chose the date of April 19 because it was the second anniversary of the deadly fire at Mount Carmel. In March 1993, McVeigh drove from Arizona to Waco in order to observe the federal standoff. Along with other protesters, he was photographed by the FBI.[122] A courtroom reporter also claims to have seen McVeigh outside the courthouse at Waco, selling anti-government shirts and posters.[123]

    Other events sharing the date of fire at Mt. Carmel have been mentioned in discussions of the Waco siege. The April 20, 1999, Columbine High School massacre might have been timed to mark either an anniversary of the FBI's assault at Waco or Adolf Hitler's birthday.[124] Some of the connections appear coincidental. April 19 was the date from the American Revolution's opening battles ("the shot heard round the world") and was also the date of the opening of the siege on the CSAL group in Arkansas in 1985. On April 17, 2013, a fertilizer plant exploded at West near Waco,[125] two days after the Boston Marathon bombings that some speculatively connected to an upcoming 20th anniversary of the Waco incident of 1993, as well as to an anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre of April 16, 2007.[126][127]

    The Waco siege has been the subject of a number of documentary films and books. The first film was a made-for-television docudrama film, In the Line of Duty: Ambush at Waco, which was made during the siege, before the April 19 assault on the church, and presented the government's view of the initial ambush of February 28, 1993. The scriptwriter, Phil Penningroth, has since disowned his screenplay.[128] The first book about the incident was 1993's Inside the Cult co-authored by ex-Branch Davidian Marc Breault, who left the group in September 1989, and by Martin King who interviewed Koresh for Australian TV in 1992. In July 1993, true crime author Clifford L. Linedecker published his book Massacre at Waco, Texas. Shortly after, in 1994, a collection of 45 essays called From the Ashes: Making Sense of Waco was published, about the events of Waco from various cultural, historical, and religious perspectives. The essays in the book include one by Michael Barkun that talked about how the Branch Davidians' behavior was consistent with other millenarian religious sects and how the use of the word cult is used to discredit religious organizations, one by James R. Lewis that discussed the large amount of evidence there was that the FBI lit the fires, and many others. All of these perspectives, however, are united in the belief that the deaths of the Branch Davidians at Waco could have been prevented and that "the popular demonization of nontraditional religious movements in the aftermath of Waco represents a continuing threat to freedom of religion".[129] Other scholarly articles after the tragedy also condemned the government's actions, especially on the day of the final siege, but also on the days leading up to it. An article by Stuart A. Wright that was published in Nova Religio discussed how the FBI mishandled the situation, saying that "there is no greater example of misfeasance than the failure of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to bring about a bloodless resolution to the 51-day standoff".[130] Some of Wright's major concerns about the operation include that the FBI officials, especially Dick Rogers, behaved increasingly aggressively and impatiently, when the conflict could have been resolved by more peaceful negotiation. He mentions that Dick Rogers said in an interview with the FBI that "[W]hen we started depriving them, [we were] really driving people closer to him [Koresh] because of their devotion to him",[130] which was very different from what he said in the Department of Justice report. Because of these tactics, Wright says, pressure was added unnecessarily, creating conflict.

    The first documentary film that was critical of the official reports were Waco, the Big Lie,[131] and Waco II, the Big Lie Continues, both produced by Linda Thompson. Thompson's films made a number of controversial allegations, the most famous of which was her claim that footage of an armored vehicle breaking through the outer walls of the compound, with an appearance of orange light on its front,[132] was showing a flamethrower attached to the vehicle, setting fire to the building. As a response to Thompson, Michael McNulty released footage to support his counter-claim that the appearance of light was a reflection on aluminized insulation that was torn from the wall and snagged on the vehicle. (The vehicle is an M728 CEV, which is not normally equipped with a flamethrower.[133]). McNulty accused Thompson of "creative editing" in his film Waco: An Apparent Deviation. Thompson worked from a VHS copy of the surveillance tape; McNulty was given access to a beta original. However, McNulty in turn was later accused of having digitally altered his footage, an allegation he denied.[134] The next film was Day 51: The True Story of Waco, produced by Richard Mosley and featuring Ron Cole, a self-proclaimed militia member from Colorado who was later prosecuted for weapons violations.[135] Thompson's and Mosley's films, along with extensive coverage given to the Waco siege on some talk radio shows, galvanized support for the Branch Davidians among some sections of the right including the nascent militia movement, while critics on the left also denounced the government siege on civil liberties grounds. America Wake Up (Or Waco) is a 2000 film by Alex Jones that documents the 1993 incident with the Branch Davidians.

    In 1997, filmmakers Dan Gifford and Amy Sommer produced their Emmy Award-winning documentary, Waco: The Rules of Engagement,[94][136] presenting a history of the Branch Davidian movement and a critical examination of the conduct of law enforcement, both leading up to the raid and through the aftermath of the fire. The film features footage of the Congressional hearings on Waco, and the juxtaposition of official government spokespeople with footage and evidence often directly contradicting the spokespeople. In the documentary, Dr. Edward Allard (who held patents on FLIR technology) maintained that flashes on the FBI's infra-red footage were consistent with grenade launcher and automatic small arms fire from FBI positions at the back of the complex toward the locations which would have been exits for Branch Davidians attempting to flee the fire. Waco: The Rules of Engagement was nominated for a 1997 Academy Award for best documentary and was followed by another film in 1999, Waco: A New Revelation.[137] In 2001, another Michael McNulty documentary, The F.L.I.R. Project, researched the aerial thermal images recorded by the FBI, and using identical FLIR equipment recreated the same results as were recorded by federal agencies April 19, 1993. Subsequent government-funded studies[138] contend that the infra-red evidence does not support the view that the FBI improperly used incendiary devices or fired on Branch Davidians. Infra-red experts continue to disagree and filmmaker Amy Sommer stands by the original conclusions presented in Waco: The Rules of Engagement.

    The documentary The Assault on Waco was first aired in 2006 on the Discovery Channel, detailing the entire incident. A British-American documentary, Inside Waco, was produced jointly by Channel 4 and HBO in 2007, attempting to show what really happened inside by piecing together accounts from the parties involved. Branch Davidian survivor David Thibodeau wrote his account of life in the group and of the siege in the book A Place Called Waco, published in 1999. The City of God: A New American Opera, an opera by Joshua Armenta dramatizing the negotiations between the FBI and Koresh, premiered in 2012, utilizing actual transcripts from the negotiations as well as biblical texts and hymns from the Davidian hymnal.[139] In 2015, Retro Report released a mini documentary looking back at Waco and how it has fueled many right-wing militias.[140]






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    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

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    References

    1.Jump up ^ Report of the Department of the Treasury on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Investigation of Vernon Wayne Howell Also Known as David Koresh, September 1993, PDF of actual report, p. 8.
    2.Jump up ^ Report of the Department of the Treasury on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Investigation of Vernon Wayne Howell Also Known as David Koresh, September 1993, p. 1, 9, 11, 213.
    3.Jump up ^ Report of the Department of the Treasury on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Investigation of Vernon Wayne Howell Also Known as David Koresh (PDF). September 1993. pp. 51, 77.
    4.Jump up ^ Justin Sturken and Mary Dore (February 28, 2007). "Remembering the Waco Siege". ABC News. Retrieved 2008-06-23.
    5.Jump up ^ Wright, Stuart A. (September 20, 1995). Armageddon in Waco: Critical Perspectives on the Branch Davidian Conflict. University of Chicago Press. p. 269. ISBN 9780226908441.
    6.Jump up ^ Smyrl, Vivian Elizabeth. "Elk, Texas". Handbook of Texas - Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
    7.Jump up ^ Ames, Eric S (May 4, 2009). Images of America WACO. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0738571317.
    8.Jump up ^ Dick J. Reavis, The Ashes of Waco: An Investigation (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995), p.13. ISBN 0-684-81132-4
    9.^ Jump up to: a b Gennaro Vito, Jeffrey Maahs,Criminology: Theory, Research, and Policy, Edition 3, revised, Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2011, ISBN 0763766658, 9780763766658, P. 340
    10.Jump up ^ "Scholars tackle "cult" questions 20 years after Branch Davidian tragedy - WacoTrib.com: Religion". WacoTrib.com. 2013-04-13. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
    11.^ Jump up to: a b c d [Psychotherapy Networker, March/April 2007, "Stairway to Heaven; Treating children in the crosshairs of trauma." Excerpt from the book The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog by Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz.
    12.Jump up ^ "Adventists kicked out cult, leader". Chicago Tribune. March 1993. "After spending two years regrouping in Palestine, Texas, Koresh returned to Mt. Carmel ..."
    13.Jump up ^ Jordan Bonfante in Los Angeles; Sally B. Donnelly in Waco; Michael Riley in Waco; Richard N. Ostling in New York (15 March 1993). "Cult of Death". TIME magazine (TIME.com). Retrieved November 1, 2010. "It ended with Howell being driven from the sect at gunpoint. He briefly established his own desolate congregation, living with them in tents and packing crates in nearby Palestine, Texas."
    14.Jump up ^ Clifford L. Linedecker, Masscre at Waco, Texas, St. Martin's Press, 1993, page 70-76. ISBN 0-312-95226-0.
    15.^ Jump up to: a b c Marc Breault and Martin King, Inside the Cult, Signet, 1st Printing June 1993, ISBN 978-0-451-18029-2. (Australian edition entitled Preacher of Death).
    16.^ Jump up to: a b Ashley Fantz. "Who was David Koresh? - CNN.com". Edition.cnn.com. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
    17.Jump up ^ Clifford L. Linedecker, Masscre at Waco, Texas, St. Martin's Press, 1993, page 94. ISBN 0-312-95226-0.
    18.Jump up ^ Ten years after Waco, People Weekly, April 28, 2003
    19.^ Jump up to: a b Waco Tribune-Herald, "The Sinful Messiah," February 27, 1993.
    20.Jump up ^ s:Activities of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Toward the Branch Davidians/Section 2|Activities of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Toward the Branch Davidians: II. The ATF Investigation.
    21.Jump up ^ Steve Higgins (July 2, 1995). "The Waco Dispute – Why the ATF Had to Act". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
    22.^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Neil Rawles (February 2, 2007). Inside Waco (Television documentary). Channel 4/HBO.
    23.Jump up ^ Marc Smith, "Agent allegedly refused Koresh's offer," Houston Chronicle, September 11, 1993; "Gun Dealer Alerted Koresh to ATF Probe, Lawyer Says," Houston Post, Associated Press, September 11, 1993.
    24.Jump up ^ Henry McMahon, Testimony, 1995 Congressional Hearings on Waco, part 1, pp. 162–63. Stuart H. Wright, Editor of Armageddon at Waco, and Robert Sanders, former ATF Deputy Director, also remarked on the ATF refusal of Koresh's offer in testimony.
    25.Jump up ^ Darlene McCormick, "Sheriff says he did not curb probe," Waco Tribune-Herald, October 10, 1993.
    26.Jump up ^ "Tripped Up By Lies: A report paints a devastating portrait of ATF's Waco planning – or, rather, the lack of it", Time, October 11, 1993.
    27.Jump up ^ In United States law, a Machine Gun is defined (in part) by The National Firearms Act of 1934, 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b) as "... any weapon which shoots ... automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger."
    28.Jump up ^ Rep Hughes, William J. (1986). "H.AMDT.777 to H.R.4332". Library of Congress THOMAS. Retrieved August 3, 2010.
    29.Jump up ^ Affidavit of Davy Aguilera, Special Agent with the US Treasury Department, BATF, Austin, Texas, sworn before Dennis G. Green, United States Magistrate Judge Western District of Texas – Waco on the 25 February 1993. Aguilera affirmed: "On January 13, 1993, I interviewed Larry Gilbreath in Waco, Texas, and confirmed the information which had previously been related to me by Lt. Barber. Mr. Gilbreath told me that although he had been making deliveries at the "Mag-Bag" and the Mt. Carmel Center for quite some time, his suspicion about the packages being delivered to those places was never aroused until about February 1992. At that time the invoices accompanying a number of packages reflected that they contained firearm parts and accessories as well as various chemicals. He stated that in May 1992, a package which was addressed to the "Mag-Bag" accidentally broke open while it was being loaded on his delivery truck. He saw that it contained three other boxes, the contents of which were "pineapple" type hand grenades which he believed to be inert. He stated that there were about 50 of the grenades and that he later delivered them to the Mt. Carmel Center." Gilbreath described the grenades to Aguilera as inert; the ATF website FAQ lists such inert grenades as "curios and ornaments" and not as weapons requiring entry in the National Firearms Act (NFA) registry. They are commonly sold at gunshops and Army/Navy surplus stores as military souvenirs.
    30.Jump up ^ Affidavit for search and seizure warrant by Aguillera, Special Agent, US Treasury Department, BATF , Austin, Texas, signed February 25, 2009.
    31.Jump up ^ "A Believer Says Cult in Texas Is Peaceful, Despite Shootout". New York TImes. March 6, 1993. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
    32.Jump up ^ Theodore H. Fiddleman, David B. Kopel (June 28, 1993). "TF's basis for the assault on Waco is shot full of holes – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms fatal attack on the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Texas – Column". Insight on the News. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
    33.Jump up ^ House of Representatives report, Activities of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Toward the Branch Davidians, Section 5, 1.3 c. the alleged drug nexus: "ATF did not mention a drug lab or possession of illegal drugs as suspected crimes in its search warrant."
    34.^ Jump up to: a b c Thomas R. Lujan, "Legal Aspects of Domestic Employment of the Army," Parameters U.S. Army War College Quarterly, Autumn 1997, Vol. XXVII, No. 3.
    35.Jump up ^ Eric Christensen (June 18, 2001). "Reno's halfway house". Insight on the News.
    36.Jump up ^ Report of the Department of the Treasury on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Investigation of Vernon Wayne Howell Also Known as David Koresh, September 1993, PDF of actual report, p. 9-10.
    37.Jump up ^ Report of the Department of the Treasury on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Investigation of Vernon Wayne Howell also known as David Koresh, September, 1993, p. 136-40.
    38.^ Jump up to: a b Albert K Bates (Summer 1995). "Showtime At Waco". Communities Magazine. Thefarm.org. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
    39.Jump up ^ Clifford L. Linedecker, Massacre at Waco, Texas, St. Martin's Paperback's, July 1993. ISBN 978-0-86369-713-5.
    40.^ Jump up to: a b "Agents prepared for worst before Waco raid". Associated Press. July 5, 2000. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
    41.Jump up ^ Davidian Criminal Trial Transcripts, Richardson – Cross (Mr. Rentz), pp. 2054–2055.
    42.Jump up ^ Bovard, James (May 15, 1995). "Not So Wacko", The New Republic: "Rolland Ballestros, one of the first ATF agents out of the cattle trucks, told Texas Rangers and Waco police shortly after the raid that he thought the first shots came from agents aiming at the Davidians' dogs."
    43.^ Jump up to: a b c d House of Representatives report, "c. Pre-raid military assistance requested by ATF and assistance actually received". Also Section 4, chapters "1.3.5 5. True Army National Guard role only made clear 24 hours prior to the raid" and "1.5.2 2. Were shots fired from the helicopters?". Also final version of Danforth report, pages 24–25 (footnote 26), 33, 42–43, 132, 134.
    44.^ Jump up to: a b c Waco: The Rules of Engagement
    45.Jump up ^ Chuck Hustmyre, "Trojan Horse: Inside the ATF raid at Waco, Texas," TruTV Crime Library, 2003. An account by an ATF agent, Chuck Hustmyre, who was part of the raiding party.
    46.^ Jump up to: a b c William Gazecki (2003). Waco – The Rules of Engagement (Film documentary). New Yorker Video.
    47.Jump up ^ Coulson, Danny O & Shannon, Elaine, No Heroes ISBN 0-671-02062-5
    48.Jump up ^ Linda Thompson (1993). Waco, the Big Lie (documentary short film). US: American Justice Federation.
    49.^ Jump up to: a b c "Report and Recommendations. Concerning the Handling of Incidents Such As the Branch Davidian Standoff in Waco Texas". October 10, 1993. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
    50.Jump up ^ FBI, "Project Megiddo," January 31, 2000, page 29; United States Department of Justice, "Operation Megiddo" November 2, 1999. A strategic assessment of the potential for domestic terrorism in the United States undertaken in anticipation of, or response to, the arrival of the new millennium.
    51.Jump up ^ Report of the Department of the Treasury on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Investigation of Vernon Wayne Howell also known as David Koresh, September, 1993, Appendix D, 136–140.
    52.^ Jump up to: a b FBI. "Report to the Deputy Attorney General on the Events at Waco, Texas/Child Abuse". Retrieved 2009-01-08.
    53.^ Jump up to: a b Nick Davies (January 14, 1994). "Lost in America". The Guardian.
    54.Jump up ^ Waco: The Rules of Engagement contains several sequences taken from the FBI negotiation videotape.
    55.Jump up ^ PBS Frontline Waco Timeline from the government report "Evaluation of the Handling of the Branch Davidian Stand-off in Waco, Texas, February 28 to April 19, 1993" by Edward S.G. Dennis, Jr. October 8, 1993, at 11. Footage from this tape was later obtained and used in the documentary Waco: The Rules of Engagement.
    56.Jump up ^ Testimony to the Subcommitee on National Security et al., loc cite. Congressional Record, July, 1995.
    57.^ Jump up to: a b "U.S. ignores religion's fringes". USA Today. October 4, 2001. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
    58.Jump up ^ Lee Hancock, "No Easy Answers: Law Authorities Puzzle over Methods to End Branch Davidians Siege," Dallas Morning News, April 15, 1993.
    59.^ Jump up to: a b c d FBI. "Report to the Deputy Attorney General on the Events at Waco, Texas/Attitudes of Koresh and others in the Compound". Retrieved 2009-01-08.
    60.Jump up ^ Bill Clinton, My Life, Alfred A. Knopf, Vintage Books (Random House), ISBN 1-4000-3003-X, 2005. Pages 497–499.
    61.Jump up ^ "Joe Rosenbloom III, "Waco: More than Simple Blunders?," Wall Street Journal, October 17, 1995". Pbs.org. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
    62.^ Jump up to: a b Interoffice Memorandum Memo to Bruce Casteel, Chief, Texas Rangers, from Earl R. Pearson, Captain, Texas Rangers, Company "A," dated September 3, 1999, in Texas Rangers, Department of Public Safety, Branch Davidian Evidence, Investigative Report No. 2, January 2000.
    63.Jump up ^ Texas Rangers, Department of Public Safety, Branch Davidian Evidence, Investigative Report No. 1, September 1999; Investigative Report No. 2, January 2000 (PDFs available at Texas Rangers website). The Army considers the M651 a pyrotechnic device and that it is known to cause fires, note that the Army does not have a formal definition for "pyrotechnic device" (from Casteel memo). Army Tech Manual for the M651 (TM 3-1310-243-10 January 1975) warns the M651 can penetrate 3/4" plywood at 200 meters and "projectile may explode upon target impact." During inventory of the Waco evidence the Texas Rangers also found flash bang grenades in FBI evidence envelopes labelled as Branch Davidian silencers.
    64.Jump up ^ "Tanks, chemicals couldn't break resolve of cultists", Associated Press, Washington Times, April 23, 1993.
    65.^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i "Report to the Deputy Attorney General on the Events at Waco, Texas/The Aftermath of the April 19 Fire ("The Fire Development Analysis" section)". Retrieved 2012-04-25.
    66.Jump up ^ Waco: The Rules of Engagement, 1997 film directed by William Gazecki, produced by Michael McNulty. Congressional testimony and interviews of Branch Davidian survivors David Thibodeau, Clive Doyle and Derek Lovelock.
    67.Jump up ^ David Thibodeau, A Place Called Waco: A Survivor's Story, Public Affairs 1999, ISBN 1-891620-42-8.
    68.Jump up ^ http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-982694.html
    69.^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Daniel Klaidman & Michael Isikoff (July 20, 1999), "A fire that won't die", Newsweek
    70.^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i cesnur.org "Final report to the Deputy Attorney General concerning the 1993 confrontation at the Mt. Carmel Complex, Waco Texas," by John C. Danforth, special counsel. Issued November 8, 2000
    71.^ Jump up to: a b c d e Newport, Kenneth G. C.The Branch Davidians of Waco: The History and Beliefs of an Apocalyptic Sect, 294–301 (The FBI transcript quote is on page 298.) (Oxford University Press, 2006). ISBN 0-19-924574-6, ISBN 978-0-19-924574-1
    72.Jump up ^ "Dayland Lord Gent ( - 1993) - Find A Grave Memorial". Findagrave.com. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
    73.Jump up ^ "Paiges Gent ( - 1993) - Find A Grave Memorial". Findagrave.com. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
    74.Jump up ^ Wright, Stuart A. (September 20, 1995). Armageddon in Waco: Critical Perspectives on the Branch Davidian Conflict. University of Chicago Press. p. 380. ISBN 9780226908441.
    75.^ Jump up to: a b A team of independent arson investigator assembled by the Texas Rangers. "Report to the Deputy Attorney General on the Events at Waco, Texas/Appendix D". Retrieved 2008-04-17.
    76.Jump up ^ "C. Identification of Bodies/Medical Examiner Reports". Report to the Deputy Attorney General on the Events at Waco, Texas. April 3, 1993. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
    77.Jump up ^ United States General Accounting Office, GAO Report to the House Subcommittee on Treasury, USE OF FORCE: ATF Policy, Training and Review Process Are Comparable to DEA's and FBI's, March 1996, page 49.
    78.Jump up ^ Mabin, Connie (April 19, 2000). "Branch Davidians hope a new church can close wounds". The Independent (London).
    79.Jump up ^ p. 7403 of the trial transcripts.
    80.^ Jump up to: a b c d 'The British Waco survivors'- The Sunday Times December 14, 2008.
    81.Jump up ^ United States v. Branch[dead link]
    82.Jump up ^ Staff reports, "Davidians have prison terms cut", The Dallas Morning News, September 20, 2000.
    83.Jump up ^ Six Branch Davidians due for Release 13 Years After Waco Inferno, FoxNews, April 19, 2006; personal letter to Carol Moore from Livingstone Fagan, June 2007.
    84.^ Jump up to: a b Zulaika, J. and W.A. Douglass. 1996. Terror and Taboo: The Follies, Fables, and Faces of Terrorism: Routledge.
    85.Jump up ^ Johnstone, Nick (December 12, 2004). "Beyond Belief". The Observer (London). Retrieved October 24, 2008.
    86.^ Jump up to: a b c Wright, S.A. 1995. Armageddon in Waco: Critical Perspectives on the Branch Davidian Conflict: University of Chicago Press.
    87.Jump up ^ Report to the Deputy Attorney General on the Events at Waco, Texas February 28 to April 19, 1993 (Report). United States Department of Justice. October 8, 1993. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
    88.Jump up ^ MacWilliams, Mark (2005). "Symbolic Resistance to the Waco Tragedy on the Internet". Nova Religio (University of California Press) 8 (3): 59–82. doi:10.1525/nr.2005.8.3.59.
    89.Jump up ^ Weitzman, Steven P. 2013. "Religious Studies and the FBI: Adventures in Academic Interventionism." Journal of the American Academy of Religion 81 (4): 959-995.
    90.Jump up ^ Gladwell, Malcolm (March 31, 2014). "Sacred and Profane". The New Yorker (New York). Retrieved March 29, 2014.
    91.Jump up ^ "James Bovard, "Not So Wacko," ''The New Republic'', May 15, 1995". Jimbovard.com. 2007-04-19. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
    92.^ Jump up to: a b c Robert Bryce (August 18, 2000). "Prying Open the Case of the Missing Door". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-07-28.
    93.^ Jump up to: a b House investigators determined that "someone" at BATF lied to the military about the Davidians being involved with drugs in order to get U.S. Army Special Forces and other military aid, in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. Subcommittee on National Security, International Affairs, and Criminal Justice of the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight and the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary at the Oversight Hearings on Federal Law Enforcement Conduct in Relation to the Branch Davidian Compound near Waco, Texas, and appended documents, Congressional Record, July, 1995.
    94.^ Jump up to: a b "Waco: The Rules of Engagement" Official site of documentary.
    95.Jump up ^ House of Representatives report, Activities of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Toward the Branch Davidians, Section 5, note 168: "ATF did not mention a drug lab or possession of illegal drugs as suspected crimes in its search warrant."
    96.Jump up ^ Diana R. Fuentes, "Davidian Told Grand Jury of Arming before the Raid," San Antonio Express-News, February 16, 1994, 4A.
    97.Jump up ^ Katherine Ramsland. "David Koresh: Millennial Violence". trutv.com. Retrieved 2008-08-04.
    98.Jump up ^ s: Graeme Craddock Testimony on Waco Fire, October 1999 civil suit deposition regarding April 19, 1993 fire at Branch Davidian home and church.
    99.Jump up ^ Brigitte Lebens Nacos (2002). Mass-mediated terrorism: the central role of the media in terrorism and counterterrorism (illustrated ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 168–169. ISBN 9780742510838.
    100.Jump up ^ Koresh's Lawyer Critical of Danforth Report, UPI, July 22, 2000
    101.Jump up ^ Lichtblau, Eric (July 22, 2000). "Report Clears Feds in Deaths of Davidians". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 27, 2010. (page 3 in the link)
    102.^ Jump up to: a b c Activities of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Toward the Branch Davidians: V. Military involvement in the Government operations at WACO
    103.Jump up ^ House of Representatives report, Activities of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Toward the Branch Davidians/Section 5, section about equipment for raiding a methamphetamine lab being used or not by ATF agents the day of the raid.
    104.Jump up ^ Hustmyre, Chuck. "Chuck Hustmyre, "Trojan Horse: Inside the ATF raid at Waco, Texas," TruTV Crime Library, 2003". Trutv.com. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
    105.^ Jump up to: a b Report to the Deputy Attorney General on the Events at Waco, Texas Appendix B. List of Military Personnel and Equipment Archived March 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
    106.Jump up ^ FBI brings out secret electronics weapons as Waco siege drags on, by James Adams. The Sunday Times, p. 23, March 21, 1993
    107.Jump up ^ "SAS history and operations list". Sasspecialairservice.com. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
    108.^ Jump up to: a b Evaluation of the Handling of the Branch Davidian Stand-off in Waco, Texas. (section "3. FBI Restraint") Edward S.G. Dennis, Jr.
    109.Jump up ^ Report to the Deputy Attorney General on the Events at Waco, Texas Appendix F Copy of indictment.
    110.^ Jump up to: a b c d e US Treasury Department July 13, 1995 Memorandum to the Press "Weapons Possessed by the Branch Davidians."
    111.Jump up ^ Part 1 of "Investigative Report #2," EXHNUM 001037, 001383, 001525, and also 000768, 002247, and 002248
    112.Jump up ^ "Texas Rangers Branch Davidian Evidence Reports", Texas Department of Public Safety, released online September 1999 and January 2000.
    113.^ Jump up to: a b David Kopel. "Can Soldiers Be Peace Officers? The Waco Disaster and The Militarization of American Law Enforcement".
    114.Jump up ^ Victoria Loe (March 14, 1993). "FBI'S "A-Team" Plying Varied Skills in Sect Talks But Experts Say Obstacles Numerous". The Dallas Morning News.
    115.Jump up ^ Brady Campaign "Selling High Powered Military Weapons in the Suburbs" [1].
    116.Jump up ^ VPC Criminal Use of the .50 Caliber Sniper Rifle [2].
    117.Jump up ^ Office of Special Investigations, U.S. General Accounting Office, Briefing Paper: Criminal Activity Associated with .50 Caliber Semiautomatic Rifles, Number, presented to GAO/OSI-99-15R of the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform, July 15, 1999 p. 5 [3].
    118.Jump up ^ Whitcomb, Christopher. Cold Zero: Inside the FBI Hostage Rescue Team. ISBN 0-552-14788-5
    119.Jump up ^ Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck, American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh & The Oklahoma City Bombing (New York: ReganBooks, 2001); ISBN 0-06-039407-2.
    120.Jump up ^ Prior to 9–11, the deadliest act of terror against the United States was the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 189 Americans.
    121.Jump up ^ Agent describes Waco video found in Nichols' home, CNN and Associated Press, November 17, 1997. Retrieved March 15, 2008, "A key government witness, Michael Fortier, has testified that Nichols and Timothy McVeigh, his Army pal and convicted Oklahoma City bomber, began plotting the bombing in response to the government's deadly raid on the Branch Davidian compound." (see archived copy)
    122.Jump up ^ Vidal, Gore (2001). "The Meaning of Timothy McVeigh". Vanity Fair (September).
    123.Jump up ^ Lopez, Pat. Presentation: OKC National Memorial. July 2012. DVD Recording. Oklahoma City National Memorial Center Archives, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Acc. No. 397.5.078.
    124.Jump up ^ "Boston, Oklahoma City, Waco: Why Patriots Day? - CNN.com". Edition.cnn.com. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
    125.Jump up ^ "Texas Explosion Casts Pall Over Waco - ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. 2013-04-18. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
    126.Jump up ^ "Boston Marathon Explosion Date Evokes Oklahoma City, Columbine, Waco And Hitler's Birthday". Ibtimes.com. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
    127.Jump up ^ "Fox And CNN Speculate Link To Boston Marathon Bombing: Waco And Oklahoma City Were On Patriots' Day". Mediaite. 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
    128.Jump up ^ Penningroth, Phil (2001-08-25). "Righting Waco: Confessions of a Hollywood Propagandist < Killing the Buddha". Killingthebuddha.com. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
    129.Jump up ^ Lewis, James (1994-01-01). From the Ashes: Making Sense of Waco. Rowman & Littlefield.
    130.^ Jump up to: a b Wright, Stuart A. (2003-10). "A Decade After Waco: Reassessing Crisis Negotiations at Mount Carmel in Light of New Government Disclosures". Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, Vol. 7, No. 2. Check date values in: |date= (help)
    131.Jump up ^ Waco: The big lie, documentary, Google Video.
    132.Jump up ^ passage of "Waco: The Big Lie" showing the tank scene
    133.Jump up ^ Ewing, Phillip; Hoffman, Michael (May 30, 2009). "Flamethrowing Tanks Gave U.S. the Edge on Iwo Jima". Marine Corps Tankers Association. Retrieved April 25, 2010.
    134.Jump up ^ [4]
    135.Jump up ^ Day 51 Waco Tragedy Memorial & Information, link to film Archived July 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
    136.Jump up ^ News & Documentary Emmy Awards (1999)
    137.Jump up ^ Waco: a new revelation, official site of the documentary.
    138.Jump up ^ a, b, c, d, and e.
    139.Jump up ^ Larry Bangs, Review of "The City of God", DC Theatre Scene.com, July 15, 2012.
    140.Jump up ^ Retro Report. "The Shadow of Waco". Retro Report. Retro Report. Retrieved 15 July 2015.

    Government investigations and hearings

    "Hearings before the Subcommittee on Oversight of the Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress regarding Administration's fiscal year 1994 budget proposals for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, U.S. Tax Court, and Internal Revenue Service, April 22 and 28, 1993." Link to online and PDF versions.
    "Events surrounding the Branch Davidian cult standoff in Waco, Texas: hearing before the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, first session, April 28, 1993." Archive.org Link to online and PDF versions.
    "Raid on the Branch Davidian Compound, Waco, Texas. Hearing before House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations subcommittee on the Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government Appropriations, June 9, 1993."
    "Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers Branch Davidian Evidence Reports", released online September 1999 and January 2000. Texas Rangers Investigative Report, Branch Davidian Evidence, September 1999 34.6 MB PDF
    Texas Rangers Investigative Report No. 2, Branch Davidian Evidence, January 2000
    Report #2, Part 1
    Report #2, Part 2
    Report #2, Part 3
    Report #2, Part 4

    "s:Report of the Department of the Treasury on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Investigation of Vernon Wayne Howell Also Known as David Koresh September 1993." archive.org, PDF Department of the Treasury, Memorandum to the Press "Weapons Possessed by the Branch Davidians" July 13, 1995.

    "s:Report to the Justice and Treasury Departments regarding law enforcement interaction with the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas," by Nancy T. Ammerman, September 1993 and "s:Correspondence to Deputy Attorney General Heymann regarding Waco Report - Addendum" from Nancy T. Ammerman, September 10, 1993.
    "s:Report to the Deputy Attorney General on the Events at Waco, Texas" (redacted version), USDOJ, October 8, 1993. Also available from Department of Justice. "s:Lessons of Waco: Proposed changes in Federal Law Enforcement" by Philip B. Heymann Deputy Attorney General. October 8, 1993. (Washington: USDOJ, 1993). ISBN 0-16-042977-3 Also available from Department of Justice.
    "s:Evaluation of the Handling of the Branch Davidian Stand-off in Waco, Texas" (redacted version), Edward S.G. Dennis, Jr., USDOJ, October 8, 1993. Department of Justice version.
    "Recommendations of Experts for Improvements in Federal Law Enforcement after Waco," October 8, 1993 (Washington: USDOJ, 1993). ISBN 0-16-042974-9 (not available online)
    Wikicommons FBI photos of April 19, 1993 siege and fire at Mount Carmel

    "s:Branch Davidian Negotiation Transcript from April 18," the day before the 1993 FBI actions and the Mount Carmel fire.
    "Report and Recommendations. Concerning the Handling of Incidents Such As the Branch Davidian Standoff in Waco Texas", Alan A. Stone, M.D., November 10, 1993. (Also known as "Stone Report") (full copy including all documents, appendixes, press release, exhibits, etc.)
    "House of Representatives Report 104-749 – s:Activities of federal law enforcement agencies toward the Branch Davidians." Joint report by the House of Representatives' Committee on Government Reform and Oversight and Committee on the Judiciary's July 2005 hearings. (Or see Government printing office PDF.) "Joint Hearings before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary House of Representatives and the Subcommittee on National Security, International Affairs and Criminal Justice of the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, One Hundred Fourth Congress, First Secession." Part 1 – July 19, 20, 21, 24: PDF; Part 2 – July 25, 26, 27: PDF; Part 3 – July 28, 31, August 1: PDF
    "s:Department of Defense: Military Assistance During the Branch Davidian Incident," August 21, 2000 letter from Carol R. Schuster of National Security Preparedness Issues, to Dan Burton, Chairman of the Committee on Government Reform. PDF version
    "s:Remarks to Federal Law Enforcement" regarding the House hearings, July 20, 1995 by Bill Clinton

    "The aftermath of Waco: changes in federal law enforcement. Hearings before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, One Hundred Fourth Congress. October 31 and November 1, 1995." Link to online and PDF versions.
    "s:Final report to the Deputy Attorney General concerning the 1993 confrontation at the Mt. Carmel Complex, Waco Texas," by John C. Danforth, special counsel. Issued November 8, 2000. (Also known as the "Danforth Report.") (cesnur.org copy, linked from PBS report [5])
    "House Report 106-1037 – The Tragedy at Waco: New Evidence Examined, Committee on Government Reform. Thursday, December 28, 2000."
    Sacred and Profane: How not to negotiate with believers by Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker, March 31, 2014

    Legal proceedings

    United States v. Branch, W.D. Texas Criminal Case No. 6:93cr46, trial transcript January 10, 1994 – February 26, 1994; 91 F.3d 699 (5th Cir. 1996)
    United States v. Castillo, 179 F.3d 321 (1999); Castillo v. United States, 120 S.Ct. 2090 (2000); on remand, 220 F.3d 648 (5th Cir. 2000)
    Andrade v. United States, W.D. Texas Civil Action No. W-96-CA-139, trial transcript June 19, 2000 – July 14, 2000; 116 F.Supp.2d 778 (W.D. Tex. 2000)
    Andrade v. Chojnacki, 338 F.3d 448 (5th Cir. 2003)
    s: Graeme Craddock Testimony on Waco Fire, October 1999 civil suit deposition regarding April 19, 1993 fire at Branch Davidian home and church.

    Books

    Anthony, D. and T. Robbins (1997). "Religious totalism, exemplary dualism and the Waco tragedy." In Robbins and Palmer 1997, 261–284.
    Bell, Randall (2009). Strategy 360. Laguna Beach, CA: Owners Manual Press. ISBN 978-1-933969-16-9.
    Christopher Whitcomb. Cold Zero: Inside the FBI Hostage Rescue Team. ISBN 0-552-14788-5. (Also covers Ruby Ridge.)
    Docherty, Jayne Seminare. Learning Lessons From Waco: When the Parties Bring Their Gods to the Negotiation Table (Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 2001). ISBN 0-8156-2751-3
    Kerstetter, Todd. "'That's Just the American Way': The Branch Davidian Tragedy and Western Religious History," Western Historical Quarterly, Vol. 35, No. 4, Winter 2004.
    Kopel, David B. and Paul H. Blackman. No More Wacos: What's Wrong With Federal Law Enforcement and How to Fix It (Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 1997). ISBN 1-57392-125-4
    Lewis, James R. (ed.). From the Ashes: Making Sense of Waco (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 1994). ISBN 0-8476-7915-2 (cloth) ISBN 0-8476-7914-4 (paper)
    Linedecker, Clifford L. Massacre at Waco, Texas: The Shocking Story of Cult Leader David Koresh and the Branch Davidians (New York: St. Martin's Paperbacks, 1993). ISBN 0-312-95226-0
    Lynch, Timothy. No Confidence: An Unofficial Account of the Waco Incident (Washington: Cato Institute, 2001).
    Moore, Carol. The Davidian Massacre: Disturbing Questions Abut Waco Which Must Be Answered." (Virginia: Gun Owners Foundation, 1995). ISBN 1-880692-22-8
    Newport, Kenneth G. C. "The Branch Davidians of Waco: The History and Beliefs of an Apocalyptic Sect" (Oxford University Press, 2006). ISBN 0-19-924574-6, ISBN 978-0-19-924574-1
    Reavis, Dick J. The Ashes of Waco: An Investigation (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995). ISBN 0-684-81132-4
    Tabor, James D. and Eugene V. Gallagher. Why Waco?: Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995). ISBN 0-520-20186-8
    Thibodeau, David and Leon Whiteson. A Place Called Waco: A Survivor's Story (New York: PublicAffairs, 1999). ISBN 1-891620-42-8
    Wright, Stuart A. (ed.). Armageddon in Waco: Critical Perspectives on the Branch Davidian Conflict (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995).















    Last edited by orthodoxymoron on Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:16 pm; edited 4 times in total
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    orthodoxymoron

    Posts : 7781
    Join date : 2010-09-28

    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Tue Apr 12, 2016 4:23 pm

    This might not be the right time or place BUT New-Testament Eschatology can be somewhat problematic -- even under the most peaceful and scholarly circumstances. The Peaceful-Jesus seems to be in conflict with how the world ends -- who goes up -- and who goes down. The early-chapters of the Old-Testament can be faulted for their brutal and gory violence -- which includes conquest and the killing of women and children -- but the second-half of the Old-Testament often seems to be a Kinder and Gentler "Middle-Way" in an often frighteningly-violent Bible. Some throw-out the Bible entirely. Some place equal-weight on every-word -- and hold the entire Bible in the highest-regard imaginable. I see a messy and violent past, present, and future -- but I wish I could look the other way -- with a clear-conscience. I'm trying to imagine Biblical-Eschatology without the Book of Revelation -- but it's not going so well. Some days I just want to do the Peale and Schuller routine -- and leave all of the BS behind -- but a proper historical-analysis should probably precede clean-sheet of stone solutions in modernity. Hope Springs Eternal.

    THE DAVID KORESH MANUSCRIPT:  EXPOSITION OF THE SEVEN SEALS

    Copyright 1994 by Phillip Arnold and James Tabor
    (Reunion Institute, PO Box 981111, Houston TX 77098).
    Permission is granted for non-commercial replication of or excerpting
    from this material, provided that appropriate notice is included
    of its copyright status, as above.

                                 EDITORIAL PREFACE

       On Wednesday, April 14th, following the eight day Passover celebration
    David Koresh released what turned out to be his final letter through his
    lawyer, Dick DeGuerin.  In it he joyfully reported that ``his waiting
    period was over'' and that upon completion of a manuscript containing the
    ``decoded message of the Seven Seals'' he would come out.  He considered
    the composition of this manuscript to be a privilege allowed him by God,
    the direct answer to his prayers which he had sought for the past seven
    weeks.

       Although many questioned both the ability and intention of David
    Koresh to produce this manuscript, we received this news with great
    relief.  We had been urging David for several weeks through radio
    broadcasts and cassette tapes to exit Mt. Carmel peacefully as he now
    proposed to do.  We had based our case to him on interpretations of the
    Book of Revelation which we felt he might find persuasive.  This was only
    five days before the tragic fire on April 19th.

       We now know that David Koresh did begin work on his manuscript and
    truly took it most seriously.  A computer disk containing his dictated
    text was carried out of Mt. Carmel by Ruth Riddle, a survivor of the fire.
    Indeed, Ruth tells us that she and David worked for several hours on
    Sunday night, the last night of his life; him dictating and she typing out
    his thoughts.  She reports that the Branch Davidians were calm and joyful
    that evening at the prospect of David completing his work and their
    impending exodus.

       David's work will speak for itself to those who are interested in his
    exegesis and understanding of the mysterious Seven Seals of the Book of
    Revelation.  Regardless of one's evaluation of the content, one point is
    clear--in a short time, under most trying circumstances, David Koresh had
    produced a rather substantial piece of work.  He had completed the
    Preface, which is a poem, the Introduction to the work as a whole, and
    Chapter One, which covered the First Seal.  Judging from this work we can
    estimate that the finished product would have run about 50-75 pages and
    might have taken him another two or three weeks.

       David Koresh, in that last letter, asked that the completed manuscript
    be given to his lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, then passed on first to us.  He had
    apparently come to trust our knowledge and integrity in discussing with
    him his interpretations of Revelation.  He then authorized our release of
    copies to scholars, religious leaders, and the general public.  Although
    David died a few days later, and was thus prevented from finishing this
    work, we still thought it best to release this portion which he did
    complete, following his instructions. Actually, his exposition of the
    First Seal was perhaps the most vital in understanding his sense of his
    own mission, the reasons for the Waco siege, and what ultimately
    transpired.

       The text is produced here precisely as it came to us from the computer
    disks.  In the interest of accuracy we have also gone over the entire text
    word for word with Ruth Riddle, who typed it on the Sunday evening before
    the fire. It is clear that David was working quickly because he left
    sections blank where he obviously planned to go back and insert Scripture
    quotations. We have put these citations in bracketed [italics] in places
    where David offers commentary. David's last sentence is a suggestive one
    which urges readers and followers to be ready to ``come out of our
    closet.'' He calls upon those of us on the outside to forsake our own
    personal dark closets and he summons the Branch Davidians to ``come out''
    of Mt. Carmel and face the world as lovers of Christ. Chapter One
    concludes with two scriptural quotations which promise the reader that God
    will one day reestablish David's fallen community.

    Dr. Phillip Arnold
    Dr. James Tabor
    Rosh Hashanah, 1993


                    TEXT OF THE KORESH MANUSCRIPT

                                    EDEN TO EDEN

                         Search forth for the meaning here,
                             Hidden within these words
                      `Tis a song that's sung of fallen tears,
                            Given way for two love birds.

                       Love birds yet not of feathered creed
                             Shot down for gambled play,
                   And caged a far distance betweenst themselves
                       For the hunter felt it best that way.

                       ``She bird is mine,'' the hunter said,
                   'Twas this bird I raised and faithfully fed.''
                   'Twas he bird who released her from her cage,
                          Sought her womb in youthful age.

                    Love birds the name, these birds they call,
                         Two, plural, love bird, takes two.
                       'Twas not her womb of which he sought,
                            And certainly not her youth.

                    Love birds, the name these birds they call,
                         Two, plural, love bird, takes two,
                           It's just that he needed she,
                             To fly the skies of blue.

                           And now we see the hunter man,
                               Robbed without a prey,
                          The evil which he sought to do,
                           Caused the birds to pass away.

                           For loneliness and solitaire,
                              Is death to every soul.
                        For birds of God were meant to pair,
                           The two to complete the whole.

                          And now we see the final meaning
                              Of this rhyme and verse:
                          The pending judgment of the King
                              Who rules the universe.

                                     
                         For with Adam and his spirit Eve,
                             To share the kingdom fair;
                     But when they sinned they lost their crown
                           In exchange for shame to bear.

                     So Eve travailed and brought forth death,
                            And passed the crown to all;
                         For each to learn the lesson here,
                              The kingdom of the fall.

                        For virgins do not bring forth sons,
                              Until God does reverse,
                           The inner meaning of the law,
                           To remove man from the curse.

                       For in the Christ, we've seen a bride,
                            The water mixed with blood,
                       The wife with cloven tongues of fire,
                           Of whom the Christ has loved.

                        And now He's back to sing His song,
                             The life of every spring,
                     And love birds gather, each one with mate,
                            For the marriage of the King
                                       
                                  INTRODUCTION
                                   John 18:33-38

    [Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and
    said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?  Jesus answered him, Sayest
    thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?  Pilate
    answered, Am I a Jew?  Thine own nation and chief priests have delived
    thee unto me.  What hast thou done?  Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of
    this world;  if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants
    fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom
    not from here.  Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king, then?
    Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king.  To this end I was born, and
    for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the
    truth.  Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice.  Pilate saith unto
    him, What is truth?  And when he had said this, he went out again unto the
    Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.]

       Strange indeed for the judgment of man, for who knows within himself
    that his judgment be true?

       Scripture tells us that Pilate was convicted of the truth in Christ,
    but failing to take heed thereto, he lost his soul, causing the blood of
    the innocent to be shed.  How many of us since the dawning of time have
    committed such things?  Who was this Jesus?  Who was this Saviour that
    nearly a whole religious nation rejected?

       Matthew told us.  Mark Luke, and John all recorded their side of the
    story of which remains unto this day, read and judged of all.  Likewise,
    the Acts, the Book of Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians, and such
    books open for our learning this most unique mystery of judgment and
    justice undone.  But of all the records the most awe inspiring remains to
    be the most misunderstood, that being the Revelation of Jesus Christ
    written by the Apostle John to the churches of Asia and left on record
    that all who follow may ask the question:

    ``Who is this Christ and what remains to be the mystery of Him?''

    In my work to unfold this mystery to you I will not use great techniques
    of scholarly display nor indepth reasonings of philosophy, no
    sophisticated, congenial language shall be used, just simple talk and
    reason.

       First of all, the Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto Him
    to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass are to be
    seen just as that: a revelation of Jesus to reveal to men His wishes and
    His desires for those who make up His church.  For the kingdom of God
    being that of heaven, and not of this world, is to be revealed unto this
    world by the means He has chosen -- the foolishness of preaching.  John
    the Apostle while on the Isle of Patmos received the Lord's messenger and
    in obedience placed in written form all that he saw and all that he heard
    pertaining to the mysteries of Christ.  And in good faith the Apostle
    stated, ``Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this
    prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein for the time is
    at hand'' (Revelation 1:3).

       Likewise John was commanded of the angel, ``Write the things which
    thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be
    hereafter'' (Revelation 1:19).  Simply, John's record contains the past,
    present, and future events that revolve around the Revelation of Jesus
    Christ.  John in faithfulness sent his writings to the seven churches in
    Asia and the will of Christ for these churches is plainly revealed from
    chapter 2 to chapter 4 of Revelation.  Therefore on record, all may read
    and see how Christ has dealt

       Our subject of interest will be taken up from chapters 4-22, for these
    passages entail the events that are to be after John's time.  For it is written
                                      (Revelation 4: entire chapter):

    [After this I looked and, behold, a door was opened in heaven; and
    the first voice that I heard was, as it were, of a trumpet talking with
    me; which said, Come up here, and I will show thee things which must be
    hereafter.  And immediately I was in the Spirit and, behold, a throne was
    set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.  And he that sat was to look
    upon like a jasper and a sardine stone; and there was a rainbow round
    about the throne, in sight like an emerald.  And round about the throne
    were four and twenty seats, and upon the seats I saw four and twenty
    elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads
    crowns of gold.  And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and
    thunderings, and voices; and there were seven lamps of fire burning before
    the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.  And before the throne
    there was a sea of glass like crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and
    round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes in front and behind.
    And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and
    the third beast had a face like a man, and the fourth beast was like a
    flying eagle.  And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him,
    and they were full of eyes within;  and they rest not day and night,
    saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is, and is to
    come.  And when those beasts give glory and honor and thanks to him that
    sat on the throne, who liveth forever and ever, the four and twenty elders
    fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth
    forever and ever and cast their crowns before the throne saying, Thou art
    worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for thou hast
    created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.]

    John states that ``that which must be hereafter'' -- sometime after his
    day there will be a God who sits on His throne.  There will be a jury of
    twenty-four elders.  God will be declared as ``worthy'' to receive glory
    and honour and power,'' because unto Him and for Him all things were
    created.

    John continues to say (Revelation 5: entire chapter):

    [And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written
    within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.  And I saw a strong
    angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and
    to loose its seals?  And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the
    earth, was able to open the book, neither to look on it. And I wept much,
    because no man was found worthy to open and read the book, neither to look
    on it.  And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not; behold, the Lion of
    the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book,
    and to loose its seven seals.  And I beheld and, lo, in the midst of the
    throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a
    Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes which
    are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.  And he came
    and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
    And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders
    fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden
    vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.  And they sang a
    new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open its seals;
    for thou wast slain, and has redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every
    kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God
    kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.  And I beheld, and I
    heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and
    the elders, and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand,
    and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb
    that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and
    honor, and glory, and blessing.  And every creature that is in heaven, and
    on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all
    that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and
    poower be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever
    and ever.  And the four beasts said, Amen.  And  the four and twenty elders fell
    down and worshiped him that liveth forever and ever.]

       Very clearly John tells of a judgment in which only one question is
    asked, ``Who is worthy'' to open or to reveal a book found in the right
    hand of God clearly sealed with seven seals.  John states, ``No man in
    heaven nor in earth, neither under the earth was able to open the book
    neither to look thereon.'' Then John is pointed to the hope of all men:
    the Lamb that was slain.  Here is a revelation of Christ as our High
    Priest in heaven.  Here His work is revealed:  the opening of the
    mysteries of God.  These mysteries of which reveal Christ and His
    sufficiency to save all whose prayers are directed to God through Him.
    Likewise Paul the Apostle has stated:

    [So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest,
    but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee.

          For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better
    hope did, by which we draw near unto God...But this man, because he
    continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.  Wherefore, he is able
    also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he
    ever liveth to make intercession for them.

          But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much
    also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon
    better promises.

          For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands,
    which are the figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear
    in the presence of God for us;

          But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever,
    sat down on the right hand of God, from henceforth expecting till his
    enemies be made his footstool.  For by one offering he hath perfected
    forever them that are sanctified....  For if we sin willfully after we
    have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more
    sacrifice for sins... of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he
    be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath
    counted the blood of the covenant, with which he was sanctified, an unholy
    thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

          For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that
    burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest.... See
    that ye refuse not him that speaketh.  For if they escaped not who refused
    him that spoke on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away
    from him that speaketh from heaven.] Hebrews 5:5; 7:19,24-25; 8:6; 9:24;
    10:12-14,26,29; 12:18,25.

       Clearly then, John is showing us of that very event of which Paul the
    Apostle so clearly writes.  Christ is the mediator of the New Covenant and
    that New Covenant is contained in the seven seals.  If we the church have
    been so long awaiting that which must be hereafter, why is it that so many
    of us in Christendom have not even heard of the seven seals?

       Why is this Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him such a
    mystery?  The Apostle Peter gives us a clue when he said (1 Peter 1:3,5):

    [Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to
    his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the
    resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead ...  who are kept by the power
    of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last
    time.]

    Truly Christ is our only Saviour, our only Mediator between man and God.
    Likewise, it is true the opening of the seven seals by Christ is as much
    or more so important for our salvation as any other former gospels.  If
    this salvation is ``ready to be revealed in the last time,'' as Peter
    says, then we  should hear another statement from the Apostle Peter  (1 Peter 1:13):

    [Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end
    for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus
    Christ]

    So the question remains -- What are the seven seals?  And the answer
    remains -- a Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto Him to show
    unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass.  If these things
    were to have shortly come to pass then surely they must have already been
    fulfilled, and if so, does that mean we are His servants if we know these
    things not?  Or could it be that the things which must be hereafter
    pertaining to God's throne, the judgment, the book, and the Lamb receiving
    that book are events directed primarily to the last times or the last
    days?  If that's the case are we in the last days?  If so then it must be
    time for God's servants to know these things (Psalms 90:12-17; 91:1-4;
    11:3-4).  The servant of God will find as we continue in our searching of
    the scriptures that every book of the Bible meets and ends in the book of
    Revelation.  Gems of most sacred truth are to be uncovered, golden
    promises never before seen are to be brought to view, for when has grace
    ever been needed more than now in the time of which we live?

                                        CHAPTER 1
                                   THE FIRST SEAL

       Although we, the servants of God, do not live in Asia, we are none the
    less to be beneficiaries of their counsels; and they likewise, not being
    alive today are no doubt to be a part of the grace which we are to
    receive.

    Revelation 6:1-2.  Here in our Heavenly Zion we see the Lamb loose the
    first seal.  This preview of God's revelation of His Son is to be of our
    utmost interest, for not only will it more clearly reveal the nature of
    Christ, but it will likewise unfold more clearly the Divine nature of God
    who is the Author of this revelation.

    Now let's turn to Psalms 45

    Verse 1:  ``My (God's) heart is inditing a good matter: I (God) speak of
    the things which I (the Creator of all things) have made touching the King
    (Christ), my (God's) tongue is the pen of a ready writer.'' Here we see
    God not only creates all things by His Word but in His wisdom, He has
    chosen some things to be written that by the power of His word He may
    bring to pass in His own time.  Here we see God by His written Word
    foretelling his determined purpose for His Son, Christ.

    Verse 2: ``Thou art fairer than the children of men, grace is poured into
    thy lips; therefore God hath blessed thee forever, Gird thy sword upon thy
    thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.  And in thy majesty
    ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy
    right hand shall teach thee terrible things.'' Clearly in the Revelation
    Christ is fairer than the fairest.  Those who receive the seals receive
    the grace found therein.  Christ is capable of destroying his enemies for
    His majesty truly is great in heaven, for it is witnessed that all angels
    bow before him.  What is it that Christ shall ride but the white horse
    because the book given to Him is the truth and He shall ride prosperously.

    Verse 5: ``Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies
    whereby the people fall under thee.'' Here we see the meaning of the bow
    of which the first seal speaks.  Let us pray that none of us refuse ``Him
    that speaks from heaven '' and the Spirit of Truth that is now speaking
    from heaven for it is likewise written in verse 6:

    ``Thy throne O God, is for ever and ever;  the scepter of thy kingdom is a
    right scepter.  Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness:
    therefore God (Christ), thy God (Father), hath anointed thee with the oil
    of gladness above thy fellows.  All thy garments smell of myrrh, and
    aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee
    glad.  Kings's daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right
    hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir, Hearken, O daughter, and
    consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, thy
    father's house; so shall the King (Christ) greatly desire thy beauty; for
    he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.''

    How can any man deny that the first seal is a preview into the event
    spoken of by the 45th Psalm?  How important is this insight?  How
    important is it to God, or to Christ, or to the church?  While on earth
    Christ spoke many parables regarding His kingdom and his bride.  Let's
    hear one and see if we cannot more clearly understand the importance of
    these things.  Matthew 22:1-14:

    [And Jesus answered and spoke unto them again by parables, and
    said, The Kingdom of heaven is like a certain king, who made a marriage
    for his son, and sent forth servants to call them that were bidden to the
    wedding; and they would not come.  Again he sent forth other servants,
    saying, Tell them who are bidden, Behold I have prepared my dinner;  my
    oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready, come unto the
    marriage.  But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm,
    another to his merchandise;  and the remnant took his servants, and treated
    them shamefully, and slew them.  But when the king heard of it, he was angry;
    and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up
    their city.  Then said he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they
    who were bidden were not worthy. Go, therefore, into the highways, and as
    many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.  So those servants went out
    into the highways, and gathered together all, as many as they found, both
    bad and good;  and the wedding was furnished with guests.  And when the
    king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man who had not on a
    wedding garment. And he saith unto himn, Friend how camest thou in here
    not having a wedding garment?  And he was speechless.  Then said the king
    to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him
    into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  For
    many are called, but few are chosen.]

    Notice that in this parable of Matthew, Christ clearly teaches that those
    with indifferent attitudes who would not come to the Marriage Supper were
    to be slain.  Their disinterest offended the King who we know is God.  So,
    likewise, today if we disregard the truth of the first seal we really
    disregard Christ, who opened it and in so doing we disregard God who gave
    it.  This indifference most surely will place one's salvation in jeopardy.

    Matthew 21:42:

    [Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The
    stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the
    corner; this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?]

    In this passage we see Christ pointing his hearers to the Rock (His God).
    We know in Revelation 4 God is pictured as one who appears to be as jasper
    and sardine stone.  This one is the same stone to which Christ referred
    to.  So again we are reminded that what the Father gives to Christ is a
    revelation of Jesus Christ that God gives to Him to show unto his
    servants.

    Was it really David who wrote the Psalms or was it God who spoke through
    David?  Was it really the prophets who wrote their books or was it God who
    spoke through the prophets?  If it was God, we must conclude God claims
    the book as His and we should more earnestly take it as God's Word.

    We find now in Revelation 19 a verification of the events we have just
    read.

    Revelation 19:1-13.

          ``And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in
    heaven, saying, ``Alleluia!  Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power
    unto the Lord our God;  For true and righteous are his judgment; for he
    hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her
    fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.'' And
    again they said, ``Alleluia!'' And her smoke rose up for ever and ever!
    And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and
    worshipped God that sat on the throne saying, ``Amen! Alleluia!'' And a
    voice came out of the throne, saying, ``Praise our God, all ye his
    servants, and ye that fear him both small and great!'' And I heard as it
    were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and
    as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying ``Alleluia!  For the Lord God
    omnipotent reigneth.  Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him
    for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself
    ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen,
    clean and white for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.'' And
    he said unto me, ``Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the
    marriage supper of the Lamb.'' And he saith unto me, ``Thus are the true
    saying of God!'' And I fell at his feet to worship him.  And he said unto
    me, ``See thou do it not!  I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren,
    that have the testimony of Jesus:  worship God:  for the testimony of
    Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.  And I saw heaven opened, and behold a
    white horse, and hethat sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in
    righteousness he doth judge and make war.  His eyes  were as a flame of fire
    and on  his head were many crowns, and he had a name written, that no man
    knew, but he himself.  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood and  
    his name is called The Word of God.

    Notice how in verse 9 it says, ``Blessed are they which are called unto
    the marriage supper of the Lamb!'' And he said unto me, ``These are the
    true saying of God!'' Being the true saying of God, the first seal of
    Revelation 6:1-2 must be true according to the saying of God in Psalms 45.
    And how can we be blessed if we know nothing about the Marriage Supper of
    the Lamb nor what it entails?

    Isaiah 33:17:

    [Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty;  they shall behold
    the land that is very far off.]

    Are we starting to see the King a little more clearly?  And how about that
    heavenly land very far off?

    Isaiah 55:3-4:

    [Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall
    live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure
    mercies of David.  Behold, I have given him for a witness to the peoples,
    a leader and commander to the peoples.]

    Has not David truly witnessed on behalf of God by God's own power this
    beautiful marriage of which all are called to receive the knowledge of.

    Isaiah 61:8-10:

    [For I, the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering;
    and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting
    covenant with them.  And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and
    their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge
    them, that they are the seed whom the LORD hath blessed.  I will greatly
    rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath
    clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the
    robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments,
    and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels.]

      We should surely at this moment realize the importance of learning more
    thoroughly the meaning of Christ according to the seals lest we be found
    without ``the wedding garment'' of God's judgment, for if we receive this
    enlightenment, this grace which comes from heaven, we shall surely be
    partakers of the marriage of the Lamb for we are the guests who will
    ``Hearken and consider.''

    Jeremiah 23:5,6,7,8,18,19,20:

    [Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto
    David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall
    execute judgment and justice in the earth.  In his days Judah shall be
    saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name, whereby he
    shall be called, THE LORD IS OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.  Therefore, behold, the
    days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth,
    who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, but the
    LORD liveth, who brought up and who led the seed of the house of Israel
    out of the north country, and from all the countries to which I had driven
    them, and they shall dwell in their own land....For who hath stood in the
    counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word?  Who hath
    marked his word, and heard it?  Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone
    forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind; it shall fall grieveously upon
    the head of the wicked.  Then the anger of the                         
    LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed
    the thoughts of his heart; in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.]

    This beautiful prophecy, the Desire of Ages, entails of Christ the Lord
    our Righteousness and also warns us of the latter days should we be found
    not standing in the counsel of the Lord.  If we, the church of God, stand
    in the counsel of Christ, especially in the light of the seven seals,
    shall we not be a part of that beautiful bride spoken of in Jeremiah 33?

    Jeremiah 33:14-16:

    [Behold, the days come, saith the  LORD, that I will perform that  good
    thing which I have promised unto  the house of Israel and to  the house
    of Judah.  In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch  of
    righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment  and
    righteousness in the  land.  In  those days shall  Judah be saved,  and
    Jerusalem shall dwell safely; and this  is the name of which she  shall
    be called, THE LORD, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.]

    She, the city, she, the saints, those who are clothed with the
    righteousness of Christ and His Word, for it is also promised in verse 17,
    ``David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of
    Israel.'' For Christ remains a King ``forever.'' (Psalm 45:6)

    Ezekiel 37:24-25  Daniel 12:1:

    [And David, my servant, shall be king over them, and they all shall have
    one shepherd; they shall also walk in mine judgments, and observe my
    statutes, and do them.  And they shall dwell in the land that I have given
    unto Jacob, my servant, in which your fathers have dwelt; and they shall
    dwell in it, even they, and their children, and their children's children
    forever;  and my servant, David shall be their prince forever.]

    [And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth
    for the children of thy people,  and there shall be a time  of trouble,
    such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time;  and
    at that time  thy people shall  be delivered, every  one that shall  be
    found written in the book.]

    If we are to be found written in the book, surely we should be found in
    the first seal for there Christ is revealed, shall not we also be revealed
    as one who ``hearkens and considers'' for is not He ``our Lord'' and shall
    not we ``worship'' him ``in spirit and in truth'' (John 4:24).

    In Hosea 2:14 we read, ``Therefore, behold I will allure her [and bring
    her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly unto her]'' The Christian
    Church being scattered from Jerusalem went throughout all nations.  Being
    amongst the Gentiles, the gospel was to impart unto the Gentiles the
    riches of God's mercy.

    Verse 15: ``And I will [give her her vineyards from thence, and the Valley
    of Achor for a door of hope;  and she shall sing there, as in the days of
    her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of] Egypt.''
    Here it is promised that once the unfaithful ones as Achan are taken from
    amongst God's people we will definitely have a deliverance and all the
    prophets agree.

    Verse 16: [And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt
    call me Ishi, and shalt call me no more Baali.] If we are to call God by
    such an endearing term, we are to know Him a little better and what better
    [way] to know him than in the revelation of Jesus Christ.

    Verse 17: [For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and
    they shall no more be remembered by their name.] All false teachers and
    false prophets are to be forgotten for there is one God, and one Lamb and
    one seven seal truth.

    Verse 18: [And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts
    of the field, and with the fowls of the heavens, and with the creeping
    things of the ground; and I will break the bow and the sword and the
    battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.] Just as
    Isaiah 11 has promised, so Hosea also promises, peace for those who are
    called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

    Verses 19 and 20:  [And I will betroth thee unto me forever;  yea, I will
    betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in
    lovingkindness, and in mercies.  I will even betroth thee unto me in
    faithfulness; and thou shalt know the LORD.] So again, here we see the
    importance of this opportunity of learning these seven seals and the
    complete entailment of what that includes.

    Verse 21: [And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the
    LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth.] Are we not
    a part of this event by faith?  Is not heaven in total unity to the
    receiving of these seals from God?  Is not God's word supreme in heaven?
    And it being the Word which reveals Christ now is the time like never
    before to pray that we may be worthy to understand these things more clearly.

    Verse 22 and 23: [And the earth shall hear the corn and the wine, and the
    oil; and they shall hear Jezreel.  And I will sow her unto me in the
    earth;  and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I
    will say to them who were not my people, Thou art my people; and they
    shall say, Thou art my God.] We will not go at this point into the in
    depth meaning of the book of Hosea in every particular for our primary
    subject at this point is the first seal and the Marriage is that subject.
    This should inspire us to look into the meaning of Hosea 3:5 ``Afterward
    [shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD, their God, and
    David, their king, and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter
    days.]

    Joel 2:15,16:  [Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn
    assembly.  Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the
    elders, gather the children, and those that nurse at the breasts; let the
    bridegroom go forth from his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.]
    Yes, the bride is definitely to be revealed for we know that Christ is in
    the Heavenly Sanctuary anticipating His Marriage of which God has spoken.
    Should we not eagerly ourselves be ready to accept this truth and come out
    of our closet and be revealed to the world as those who love Christ in
    truth and in righteousness.

    Amos 9:11,14,15: [In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that
    is fallen, and close up the breaches of it; and I will raise up his ruins,
    and I will build it as in the days of old ... And I will bring again the
    captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities,
    and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyeards, and drink their wine;
    they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.  And I will plant
    them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their
    land which I have given them, saith the LORD, thy God.]

    Obadiah 21: [And saviors shall come up on Mount Zion to judge the mount of
    Eaau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD's.]

                            COMMENTS AND CLARIFICATIONS
                       Drs. James D. Tabor and J. Phillip Arnold

       David Koresh asked that his completed manuscript be given to us
    through his lawyer, Dick DeGuerin.  Evidently he expected that we would
    read it with sensitivity and offer some reaction and evaluation based on
    our academic study of Biblical texts and our knowledge
    of the history of the interpretation of            
    the Book of Revelation.  The following preliminary comments will help the
    reader who is not technically trained in these esoteric texts to follow
    David's rather involved thinking and interpretation.  Whatever one thinks
    of the Branch Davidians and their Biblical views, one can at least
    endeavor to understand their systematic interpretation of Scripture which
    they obviously found so compelling.

       The key to understanding David Koresh and his perception of his
    identity and mission clearly centers on one question taken from the book
    of Revelation -- ``Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its
    seals?'' (Revelation 5:2).  The text identifies a figure known as the
    Lamb, or ``Root [Branch] of David'' who alone is able to open this
    mysterious book sealed with Seven Seals (5:5).  Traditional Christianity
    has, of course, always understood this one to be none other than Jesus
    Christ of Nazareth.  Hence the endless confusion as to whether or not
    David Koresh actually claimed to be ``Jesus,'' or even God himself, for
    that matter.  This manuscript makes it clear that he claimed to be
    neither, despite all the confused and misleading reports about his
    self-understanding.  However, he certainly did claim to be this Lamb who
    opens the sealed scroll, as well as the figure who rides the White Horse
    when the First Seal is opened, and appears at the end of the book, still
    mounted on the same White Horse, when the ``marriage of the Lamb'' takes
    place (Rev 6:1-2; 19:7-19).

       Part of the confusion has to do with the use of the term ``Christ.''
    This Greek word is not a name, but a title.  It means ``an anointed one''
    or to use the original Hebrew word, a ``messiah.'' All the ancient high
    priests and kings of Israel were ``anointed,'' and in that sense can be
    called ``christ'' or ``messiah.'' This is standard Biblical usage.
    However, the Prophets began to focus on a specific and ideal Christ or
    Messiah who is to come.  This one was to be a ``Branch of David,'' that
    is, a descendant of King David, and would rule as a King in Jerusalem,
    bringing peace to Israel and all nations (Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5).
    This Christ, like David of old, is also called the ``Son of God'' (Psalm
    2:6; 2 Samuel 7:14).  David Koresh clearly believed that Jesus of Nazareth
    was this Christ.  However, he also maintained that the prophets foretold
    of another ``Christ,'' a Branch of David, who would appear at the end of
    time and open the Seven Seals.

       Psalm 45 is the key to the First Seal, according to David.  Here the
    King is anointed, that is made ``Christ,'' and rides his horse
    triumphantly (verses 1-7).  This is parallel to Revelation 6:1-2 and
    19:7-19 -- so this figure is none other than the Lamb.  After conquering his
    enemies, the marriage feast takes place.  This Lamb marries virgin
    ``daughters'' and has many children who are destined to rule with him over
    the earth (Psalm 45:10-17).  Jesus of Nazareth, though anointed as Christ,
    never fulfilled this role 2000 years ago. Accordingly, David believed that
    Psalm 45, along with several other key Messianic texts, could not apply to
    this appearance of Jesus Christ of the first century.  Jesus never married
    and had children, as this text requires.  Psalm 40 also speaks of the same
    figure: ``Then said I, Lo, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written
    of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God, yea thy law is within my
    heart'' (verses 6-7).  The text goes on to speak of this one as having
    ``iniquities more than the hairs of mine head'' (verse 12).  This so-
    called ``sinful messiah'' is none the less the one written of in the
    scroll -- which David connected, obviously, to the Seven Sealed Scroll of
    Revelation 6. The same figure is mentioned in Isaiah 45:1 and called by
    name:  ``Thus says the LORD, to his anointed (christ), to Cyrus (Koresh in
    Hebrew), whose right hand I have held, to subdue nations before him ...''
    This Cyrus, or Koresh, is called Christ.  His mission is to destroy
    Babylon.  Historians have understood the reference to be to the ancient
    Persian King Cyrus, who literally destroyed ancient Babylon.  But there is
    a deeper spiritual and prophetic meaning according to Koresh, and for that
    matter, the book of Revelation.  The whole religious-political system is
    called ``mystery Babylon the Great.'' As the text says, ``Babylon is
    fallen, is fallen,'' hinting at a double meaning and fulfillment (Rev
    18:2).  The last Babylon is defeated by                 
    the last Christ/King/Koresh, the ``Branch of David.''

       In his manuscript David barely begins to get into the many texts of
    the Prophets who speak of this ``Davidian'' figure (Jeremiah 23:5-8;
    19-20; 33:14-16; Ezekiel 37:24-25;  Hosea 3:5).  He makes the point
    repeatedly that this Christ comes in the latter times, and perceives that
    Jesus of Nazareth, who came 2000 years ago, never fulfilled these texts.
    The Lamb who opens the Seals comes right before the End, is humiliated and
    maligned, and like Jesus 2000 years ago, offers the world God's truth.  In
    other words, David was the actual, final manifestation of the Lamb, who
    will fulfill these prophecies regarding the Messiah.

       According to this perspective, the Waco standoff and ``waiting
    period'' was a test for all humanity.  It did not have to end as it did.
    David believed that the world was being offered a chance to listen to this
    last Christ/Koresh, who could open the Seals, and thus show the way of
    repentance to our society.  There was even an opportunity given for the
    actual decoding of the Seven Seals in written form, to be openly shared
    with all who wanted to hear.  This was all cut short.  The rejection and
    death of David, at age 33, around Passover time, became a strange
    repetition of the past.  The Fifth Seal, which allowed for a time of
    repentance while the message went forth, ended with the ``rest killed'' as
    predicted (Rev 6:11).  The Branch Davidians now believe that the probation
    period is up, and the Sixth Seal of the Judgment of God is pending.

       The manuscript indicates that who respond to the message of
    repentance, who turn to God and begin following the Law of God, through
    accepting the Lamb/Koresh/Christ/King, will be invited to the ``Marriage''
    feast.  They are those ``elect'' ones who make up the Bride of the Lamb.
    As Koresh ends his discourse on the First Seal, this is mainly on his
    mind.  Those who are truly part of the ``Bride'' are to come out of the
    ``closet'' and be revealed for who they are.

       The manuscript also carefully maintains the distinction between the
    God the Father and His Lamb or Messiah.  In that sense David Koresh never
    claimed to be God.  However, like the Hebrew Prophets of old, and like
    Jesus of Nazareth, he did claim to speak the words of Yahweh God (the
    Father) directly, and in that sense could use, as they did, the first
    person mode of discourse.

       The Poem entitled ``Eden to Eden,'' is quite fascinating.  Like Paul,
    David implies that the ``marriage of the Lamb'' is a mystery which somehow
    rectifies what happened at Eden in the Fall (Ephesians 5:31-32).  The
    physical sexual union (``the two shall become one flesh'') has a deeper
    meaning, and involves the perfect bonding of ``Adam and his spirit Eve''
    in the ``new Man'' to come.  David taught the importance of the feminine
    side of the Divine and implies that Adam was created to express this dual
    image.  However, through sin, Adam and his descendants were separated from
    the spiritual, feminine side, and remain in need of restoration.  Through
    the revelation of Christ in the person of the Lamb, people are being
    reunited with their fragmented selves and gathered as lovers of God for
    the ultimate marriage union which will restore Eden.

                                 LITERARY ANALYSIS

       What evidence is there that David Koresh would have kept his pledge to
    ``come out'' of Mt. Carmel, as he stated in his letter to his attorney,
    Dick DeGuerin on April 14th?  We know that the first chapter of this work
    was completed on Sunday evening, the night before the fire, and was
    typed onto a computer disk by Ruth Riddle.  This disk survived the fire,
    carried out by Ruth Riddle in her jacket pocket.
                                     
       The existence of the manuscript itself, as well as internal evidence
    within the text, confirm that David was keeping his promise to produce an
    interpretive document.  Such evidence also supports the view that David
    actually intended to lead his group out peacefully.  A literary analysis
    of the text clearly shows that David was not merely ``pretending'' to
    write on the seals, and that his pledge of April 14 was not a con or sham.

       An analysis of this newly-released manuscript offers three reasons to
    conclude that David genuinely planned to compose a full written
    interpretation of the Seven Seals and that he intended, upon completion,
    to make this work available to the public.

       First, the form and structure of the manuscript indicate that David's
    efforts were genuine, purposeful, and tangibly productive.  After
    conceptualizing the project over that last weekend, David dictated to his
    typist on Sunday evening, April 18, in one long sitting of approximately
    four hours. The text consists of about twenty-five double-spaced pages of
    coherent and organized exegesis and commentary on biblical passages.
    Using both deductive and inductive logic, David presents his
    interpretation of biblical prophecy. Although his interpretation is unique
    in its specific application and reference, it is similar in method and
    style to other well known exegetes such as Isaac Newton, Joseph Smith,
    Ellen G. White, J.N. Darby, C. I. Schofield, or Hal Lindsey.

       The structure of the manuscript is well planned and suggests that the
    author took pains to organize it in such a way that it would be
    well-received as a readable exposition.  For example, the work begins with
    a preface consisting of a poem, written or arranged by David.  The poem
    is entitled EDEN TO EDEN and contains fifty-two lines divided into
    thirteen stanzas of four lines of metered and rhyming verses.

       Further evidence of a careful hand at work appears in the section
    which follows the Poem.  David entitles this section the ``Introduction.''
    It sets forth the hermeneutical principles and general themes which follow
    in the main body of the work.  Following this Introduction the author
    begins ``Chapter One,'' in which he turns his attention to the meaning of Seal One.

       Chapter One is subdivided into thirteen headings which consist of
    specific passages from the Bible.  It remains to be seen whether these
    headings parallel the thirteen stanzas in the poem which prefaces the
    work.  David comments on each of these biblical chapters and creatively
    associated them with the First Seal found in the Book of Revelation.  In
    this way he combines insights from the Old Testament and the New Testament
    using traditional Rabbinic and Christian exegetical techniques.  He closes
    with a clarion call for his readers to consider his presentation and
    decide for themselves if it is true. The Chapter ends with two biblical
    quotations, offering a sense of closure in regards to the First Seal and
    expectancy regarding Chapter Two on the Second Seal, which would have been
    dictated at the next sitting -- probably on the very day of the fire.

       The second indication within the manuscript that validates David's
    pledge to exit Mt. Carmel has to do with his intended audience as
    indicated by his style.  Throughout the work David carefully directs his
    words to those on the outside of Mt. Carmel, assuming an audience who
    would not know the meaning of the Seven Seals.  The vocabulary of the
    writer, and his style and approach, show that he expects his words will be
    read by non-believers outside Mr. Carmel.  The implied audience is
    non-Davidian.  This indicates that David wanted to persuade his hearers.
    He considered the delivery of the manuscript to his lawyer, Dick DeGuerin,
    as his God given task and privilege.

       Finally, specific statements in the text support David's pledge to
    come out.  Ironically, the very last words we have from David in this
    manuscript read: ``Should we not eagerly ourselves be ready to accept this
    truth and come out of our closet and be revealed to the world as those who love Christ in                   
    truth and in righteousness?'' David not only expects some readers to
    accept his teaching, but he also prepares his followers inside Mt. Carmel
    to ``come out'' of the center.  This is seen further in his reference to
    Joel 2:15,16, which is quoted immediately before the sentence above.  This
    passage orders those in Zion (read:  Mt. Carmel) to ``gather the people
    ... assemble the elders ... gather the children" and infants and follow
    the bridegroom (read: David), ``from his chamber and the bride out of her
    closet.'' The Davidians understood other passages from Isaiah to refer to
    their refuge at Mt.  Carmel as a ``chamber'' where they could wait for
    God's intervention.  This use of the term ``come out,'' drawn from
    Scripture, used in David's April 14th letter, and now appearing in the
    manuscript, clearly indicates what was on his mind.


    Last edited by orthodoxymoron on Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    orthodoxymoron

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    Re: The United States of the Solar System: A.D. 2133 (Book Two)

    Post  orthodoxymoron on Tue Apr 12, 2016 5:21 pm



    I am more embarrassed, depressed, disillusioned, and despondent than anyone can imagine -- regarding my internet-posting (particularly my two United States of the Solar System threads). This has been a cathartic-brainstorm and/or a cry for help -- but I'm done posting and crying. My honest-vulnerability has been replaced by stone-cold impenetrability. I have created an unorthodox form of science-fiction by using religious-controversy. I'm NOT trying to convert anyone (although perhaps I should). I have suggested the possibility of studying the following sources (as a mental and spiritual exercise):

    1. The SDA Bible Commentary -- Volume 3 -- 1 Chronicles to Song of Solomon.

    2. The SDA Bible Commentary -- Volume 4 -- Isaiah to Malachi.

    3. The SDA Bible Commentary -- Volume 6 -- Acts to Ephesians.

    Is this a match made in heaven -- or damnable-heresy?? Spiritual-Switzerland and/or Spiritual Manage-Trois?? Is this positively-reinforcing Sacred-Scripture?? Once again, I come from an SDA heritage, yet I have wandered far from the flock, and lost my way -- but a Shepherd Leads Even the Most-Wayward of His Flock -- or so I'm told. Once again, how do we REALLY know anything about antiquity and the otherworldly, with any certainty?? Will the Info-War morph into a Bloody Holy-War?? Should one compare the Theology of Volume 1 (Genesis to Deuteronomy) with Volumes 2 to 4 (Joshua to Malachi) -- noting especially how much (or how little) of the Torah is found, observed, and discussed throughout the rest of the Old-Testament??

    Regarding the following portion of this article http://spectrummagazine.org/article/book-reviews/2010/03/08/untold-story-bible-commentary has anything been published from that five-year committee or seventeen-year study?? How much of Raymond Cottrell's research might've ended-up in Desmond Ford's books and lectures?? I'm wondering if they uncovered HUGE Issues -- of which Ford's material was just the tip of the iceberg?? One more thing. This article seems to be exceedingly-important -- yet there has been absolutely zero discussion (on a liberal SDA website)!! Why??

    Cottrell conducted a poll of Adventist Bible scholars regarding the topic and was appointed by the General Conference president to the Committee on Problems in the Book of Daniel (which adjourned after five years without consensus). He embarked on his own "unhurried, in-depth, spare-time, comprehensive study of Daniel 7 to 12 that continued without interruption for seventeen years (1955-1972), in quest of a conclusive solution to the sanctuary problem," he wrote in his "Asset or Liability" paper. But he decided not to publish "until an appropriate time" his resulting 1100-page manuscript, which he edited down to 725 pages.

    I think the SDA Bible Commentary is a unique blending of the old and the new -- the liberal and the conservative -- the exclusive and the ecumenical. Imagine teaching and/or studying the entire SDA Bible Commentary -- combined with Sacred Classical Music -- in the context of a Cathedral or Ivy-League University!! Our fast-paced computer-age probably militates against such things -- but where is this civilization heading?? Please take a look at this Adventist Heritage pdf (especially starting on page 26 -- regarding the SDA Bible Commentary). https://www.andrews.edu/library/car/cardigital/Periodicals/Adventist_Heritage/AH19980701-V18-01.pdf

    I hesitate to say the following BUT did you notice that David Koresh album was titled Songs for Grandpa?? Sherry Shriner claims she is King David's grand-daughter. Her show is mostly apocalyptic in nature. Think about the name Branch Davidians. Then, think of the name David Koresh. Was David Koresh perfectly-possessed?? Did you watch that Koresh sermon I posted?? One more thing. Has anyone considered the possibility that most of the people at Mt. Carmel went deep-underground into a well-hidden bunker -- and didn't die in the fire?? What about other historical-atrocities (including the WWII Holocaust)?? I HATE to speculate in this manner BUT how hard would it be to plan and orchestrate this sort of thing -- especially if one were the God of This World?? Sherry Shriner seems to know a hell of a lot about how things REALLY Work. How does she know so much?? She says a lot of obviously crazy stuff BUT I think she slips in a lot of Good-Stuff (or should I say Bad-Stuff??). Don't stop thinking about King David -- King Solomon -- and the Queen of Sheba (figuratively and literally -- with archangelic and/or reincarnation implications and ramifications). That's all I'm going to say about that.
    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sherrytalkradio/2016/04/12/04-11-16-monday-night-with-sherry-shriner

    My cynical theory is that ALL Churches ultimately work for the same boss -- and not necessarily a nice one -- so everything is flawed and compromised. Still, I think SDA's have had brilliant researchers -- especially on the Edges of Adventism. I think there are other ways of looking at Prophecy in general -- and Daniel in particular -- but my most recent theories are quite devastating to Christianity and Judaism -- as we know them to be -- which might be why this Daniel thing has been such a hot-potato. BTW -- You might find the videos on Luke Ford's site to be somewhat interesting!! Luke is Des Ford's wayward-son!! Surf his site for a good-time!! Some of you might know what I'm talking about!! http://www.lukeford.net/blog/?p=38161

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_seals The Seven Seals is a phrase in the Book of Revelation that refers to seven symbolic seals that secure the book or scroll, that John of Patmos saw in his Revelation of Jesus Christ. The opening of the seals of the Apocalyptic document occurs in Revelation Chapters 5-8 and marks the Second Coming. In John's vision, the only one worthy to open the book/scroll is referred to as both the "Lion of Judah" and the "Lamb having seven horns and seven eyes".[5:5-6]

    The 7 seals contained secret information known only to God until the Lamb/Lion was found worthy to open the scroll and to look on the contents.

    Important scrolls being secured with seals is mentioned in earlier Bible examples including Book of Daniel 12:4...

    "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."

    (The prophecy was to be sealed up - not understood - to the end of the age.[1])

    Upon the "Lamb" opening a seal from the book, a judgment is released or an apocalyptic event occurs. The opening of the first four Seals release The Four Horsemen, each with their own specific mission.[6:1-8] The opening of the fifth seal releases the cries of martyrs for the "word/Worth of God".[6:9-11] The sixth seal prompts earthquake cataclysmic events.[2][6:12-17] The seventh seal cues seven angelic trumpeters who in turn cue the seven bowl judgments and more cataclysmic events.[8:1-13]

    Certain words and phrases used in Revelation had a clearer meaning to ancient readers familiar with objects of their time. For example, important documents were sent written on a papyrus scroll sealed with several wax seals.[3] Wax seals were typically placed across the opening of a scroll,[4] so that only the proper person in the presence of witnesses, could open the document.[3] This type of "seal" is frequently used in a figurative sense, in the book of Revelation,[5] and only the Lamb is worthy to break off these seals.[3]

    From the Reformation to the middle of the 19th century, the seals in Revelation have been interpreted through various methods, such as the historicist view that most Protestants adopted and the views of preterism and futurism that post-Reformation Catholic circles promoted. Idealism was also a fairly major view that became realized since the time of Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (AD 345-430).[6]

    The preterist usually views that John was given an accurate vision, of a course of events that would occur over the next several centuries, to fulfill the prophetic seals.[7]

    Robert Witham, an 18th-century Catholic commentator, offers a preterist view for the period that spans the length of the opening of the seals;[8] it being the period from Christ to the establishment of the Church under Constantine in 325.[9]

    Johann Jakob Wettstein (18th century), places the date of the Apocalypse as written before A. D. 70. He assumed that the first part of the Book was in respect to Judea and the Jews; and that the second part, about the Roman Empire. The “Sealed Book” is the book of divorcement sent to the Jewish nation from God.[10]

    Isaac Williams (19th century), associated the first six Seals with the discourse on the Mount of Olives and stated that, “The seventh Seal contains the Seven Trumpets within it… the judgments and sufferings of the Church.”[11]

    Traditionally, the historicist view of the Seven Seals in The Apocalypse, spanned the time period from John of Patmos to Early Christendom. Scholars such as, Campegius Vitringa,[12] Alexander Keith, and Christopher Wordsworth did not limit the timeframe to the 4th century. Some have even viewed the opening of the Seals right into the early modern period.[13] However, Contemporary-historicists view all of Revelation as it relates to John’s own time (with the allowance of making some guesses as to the future).[7]

    According to E.B. Elliott, the first seal, as revealed to John by the angel, was to signify what was to happen soon after John seeing the visions in Patmos. The general subject of the first six seals is the decline and fall, after a previous prosperous era, of the Empire of Heathen Rome.[14]:119,121,122

    Moderate futurists typically interpret the opening of the seals as representing forces in history, however long they last, by which God carries out His redemptive and judicial purposes leading up to “the end”.[15]

    The idealist view does not take the book of Revelation literally. The interpretation of Revelation’s symbolism and imagery is defined by the struggles between good and evil.[6]

    Opening the seven seals

    First seal

    Revelation 6:1-2

    1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
    2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

    (--Authorized King James Version)

    [16] Preterist view

    Johann Jakob Wettstein (18th century), identified the first Horseman as Artabanus, king of the Parthians who slaughtered the Jews in Babylon.[10] However, Ernest Renan, a 19th-century modern rationalist preterist interpreted the First Horseman to be symbolic of the Roman Empire, with Nero as the Antichrist.[11] This rider who "went forth conquering" was Rome's march toward Jerusalem in the year 67, to suppress The Great Jewish Revolt.[17]

    Historicist view

    In the historicist views of Nicholas de Lyra (14th century), Robert Fleming (17th century), Charles Daubuz (c. 1720), Thomas Scott (18th century), and Cuninghame, they agreed that the First Seal opened thereupon the death of Christ.[13]

    Puritan Joseph Mede (1627), associated the opening of the First Seal to year 73, during the reign of Vespasian, just after The Great Jewish Revolt.

    Campegius Vitringa (c. 1700), Alexander Keith (1832), and Edward Bishop Elliott (1837), considered this period to have started with the death of Domitian and Nerva’s rise to power in the year 96. This began Rome’s Golden age where the spread of the Gospel and Christianity flourished.[18] To 17th-century Dutch Protestant theologian, Vitringa, it lasted up until Decius (249).[19] However, a more common historicist view is that the Golden age ended with Commodus making peace with the Germans in year 180.[17]

    Futurist view

    This rider represents the antichrist who will head the revived Roman Empire at the end of history, shortly after the Rapture of the church.[17]

    Idealist view

    This rider is a symbol of the progress of the gospel of the conquering Christ mentioned in Rev. 5:5; 19:11-16.[17]

    Second seal

    Revelation 6:3-4

    3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
    4 And there went out another horse [that was] red: and [power] was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

    (--Authorized King James Version)

    Preterist view

    Ernest Renan (19th century), interpreted the Second Horseman to be symbolic of The Great Jewish Revolt and the insurrection of Vindex.[11] During The Great Revolt, civil war broke out amongst the Jews. The civil war not only dissipated their stand against Rome, but also divided the Jewish people into factions that eventually dis-unified Jerusalem.[17] Hugo Grotius (17th century), interprets “the earth”, in verse 4, as the land of Judea. Johann Jakob Wettstein (18th century), identified the Red horse as representing the assassins and robbers of Judea in the days of Antonius Felix and Porcius Festus.[10] Volkmar, a modern rationalist preterist, broadened the scope of the Second Horseman to include major battles that occurred after the year 66: the Jewish–Roman wars, Roman–Parthian Wars, and Byzantine–Arab Wars.[11]

    Historicist view

    The common historicist view of the Second Seal is associated with the Roman period fraught with civil war between 32 would-be emperors that came and went during that time. It was the beginning of the end for the Roman Empire.[17] The Puritan Joseph Mede (1627), captured this timeframe from years 98 to 275.[19] Christopher Wordsworth, in his Lectures on the Apocalypse (1849), declared a 240-year timespan, from years 64 to 304. During this period, Wordsworth indicated Ten persecutions: First, Nero; Second, Domitian; Third, Trajan; Fourth, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus; Fifth, Septimius Severus, Sixth, Maximinus; Seventh, Decius; Eighth, Valerian; Ninth, Aurelian; Tenth, Diocletian.[10] The common historicist view of the Second Seal ends with Diocletian in 305.[17]

    Other 19th-century views were that of Edward Bishop Elliott who suggested that the Second Seal opened during the military despotism under Commodus, in the year 185. While the Church of Scotland minister, Alexander Keith applied the Second Seal directly to the spread of Mohammedanism, starting in the year 622.[19]

    Futurist view

    The Antichrist will unleash World War III, and crush any who claim to be Christians after the Rapture. He allies with the Arab world in an effort to conquer the entire world. (Ezek. 38; Dan. 11) Only Jerusalem will stand in his way to world supremacy.[17]

    Idealist view

    Seal judgments two through four represent the disintegration of both human civilization and creation resulting from their rejection of the Lamb of God. The rider on the red horse represents the slaughter and war that the kingdoms of men perpetrate against each other because they reject the Christ.[17]

    Third seal

    Revelation 6:5-6

    5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.
    6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a denarius, and three measures of barley for a denarius; and [see] thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

    (--Authorized King James Version)

    Preterist view

    Hugo Grotius (17th century) and Johann Jakob Wettstein (18th century), viewed this rider as corresponding to the famine that occurred during the reign of Claudius,[10] the Roman Emperor from years 41 to 54. Volkmar, a modern rationalist preterist, pinpoints the start of the famine at year 44, which kept repeating right into the First Jewish–Roman War of 66. Ernest Renan (19th century), viewed year 68 as the most significant year of the famine.[11] The famine was so severe that “mothers ate their children to survive”, while Jewish revolt leader, John Gischala, and his men, consumed the oil and wine that were luxury items from the Jerusalem temple.[17]

    Historicist view

    The common historicist view of the Third Seal is associated with the 3rd century. This was a period of financial oppression imposed on Roman citizenry, created by heavy taxation from the emperors. Taxes could be paid in grain, oil, and wine.[17] Joseph Mede (1627), indicated that the Third Seal had opened from the rule of Septimius Severus (193) to Alexander Severus (235).[19] The English clergyman, Edward Bishop Elliott (1837), also highlighted the significant period of taxation that was imposed under Caracalla’s edict in the year 212.[10]

    Alexander Keith (1832), took the opening of the Third Seal directly to the Byzantine Papacy in year 606,[10] following Pope Boniface III as an "Easterner on the papal throne" in 607.[20]

    Futurist view

    Inflation and famine will plague the earth during World War III. Though many will starve, the wealthy will enjoy the luxuries of oil and wine.[17]

    Idealist view