Archive for June, 2011

I’m sure there were many things God could have asked of Jonah that he would have done without questioning. The thing that God needed wasn’t easy though. God wanted to save some people who Jonah would rather have seen destroyed. The Assyrians were the enemies of Jonah’s people, the Hebrews. The Assyrians of Nineveh had a reputation for brutality, at a time when the whole world seemed brutal. Jonah may have thought that if he refused, God would send someone else.

Usually God does send someone who is willing to do the job, but not that time. There were more than a hundred and twenty thousand lives at stake, and Jonah was the man for the job. Many people don’t understand there are special cases in the Bible, and Jonah was one of them.

Theologians sometimes do a world of harm by forming doctrines around things which are actually special cases. When Paul and Barnabas, disagreed on whether Mark should be allowed to accompany them on a mission, God allowed both of them to have their way. They parted company for a while, and Mark went with Barnabas, and a man named Silas joined Paul. God allowed them both to exercise their freewill.

The thing with Jonah became a contest of wills however. It played out something like this. God told Jonah to take a message to the Ninevites. Jonah boarded a ship heading in the opposite direction. God sent a storm to stop the ship. The sailors called on every “god” they could think of, but the storm grew worse. They threw their cargo overboard to lighten the ship, but that wasn’t enough. They awakened Jonah and finally discerned what was happening.

Jonah thought he’d rather die than go to Nineveh, and that his life was over either way. He probably would have jumped overboard if he had the nerve. The sailors tried to return to land, but had no success. God had already gone to the backup plan. To pray, “Forgive me Lord, for what I’m about to do,” is a risky prayer. I don’t recommend praying that prayer, though I’m sure it’s been said many times. That’s what the sailors prayed, and then they threw Jonah overboard. When the sea grew calm, the sailors began to believe that the God of the Hebrews was real.

It would have ended there for Jonah, but that wasn’t the plan. I think God’s backup plan probably worked better than plan “A” might have, though I don’t think God manipulated Jonah into disobeying him in the first place. Humans possess freewill, as does God, and there is an interaction between all of us.

It could be argued that none of us are perfectly free, though we all have freewill. A king would normally have greater freedom than a slave, but not necessarily in the event of war. The mind of a king may not be as free as that of a slave, and yes, slavery still exists today. Perfect freedom can only exist in God’s kingdom that is yet to come. It does not exist outside of God, either in this world or in eternity.

In this world, even God has bound himself to his word. You might say he didn’t have to give his word to begin with, yet sometimes love constrains us to do all we can. So what if God knew exactly what Jonah would do, and had a huge fish or whale waiting to transport him to land somewhere. That would be better than many alternatives. I don’t think the Ninevites would have taken Jonah very seriously if he had gone straight from God to them. Jonah may not have survived very long as a street preacher there either.

If credible news of a Hebrew who survived being swallowed by a fish, reached Nineveh before Jonah showed up, he might be taken seriously. At any rate, the “will” of the people of Nineveh changed toward God. That change gave God the freedom to intervene for them. Whatever disaster was looming over Nineveh was averted. This was probably the best thing that could have happened for Jonah and his people in that day. Israel, in Jonah’s time, apparently paid taxes or tribute to Adad-Nirari III of Assyria, but he wasn’t as tyrannical toward Israel as other Assyrian kings were.

I’d like to tell you that Jonah was a changed man after being inside the fish for three days, but that doesn’t seem to be true. There’s no record that he changed at all. The dominant Christian philosophy of our day would contend that this happened to Jonah to build his character. Jonah did go to Nineveh, but he seems to have been just as hard-headed at the end as at the beginning; God only knows.

At the end of the book, Jonah was angry that Nineveh had been spared. He needed God’s grace just as the Ninevites did, and just as we all do. Jonah was human, but he was a prophet, and his three days inside the fish were a prophetic symbol of Jesus’ time in the grave (Matthew 12:39-41). Jonah was a sign or symbol, though a very imperfect one, of the coming Messiah.

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I want to share a little more information about the Antichrist’s mark before I switch to something else. The “Symbol” font is installed with the operating system on most computers. In the Symbol font, when you type “c,” it gives you the x-shaped Greek Chi (χ=600). Shift C gives an uppercase Chi (Χ). Typing an x gives you the Greek xi (ξ=60). Shift X is the uppercase XI (Ξ). Shift V gives you a symbol that can be taken for “stigma,” (ς=6). This symbol is probably intended to be the final sigma, since “stigma” is an obsolete letter. I don’t know whether that is revealing or only confusing. Typing a v without the shift key gives you an alternate “pi” symbol used in astronomy for “longitude of perihelion.” I don’t see any connection in that to the subject here. The v, as you know, would also be the key to represent the sound of “Vau” or “Digamma.”

The Symbol font is set up to accurately represent the Greek alphabet, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes however, computer programmers and engineers have toyed around with symbols and symbolism taken from the Bible. I assume that’s mostly just a game, and I don’t want to get too far off base. Does the fact that there are .cxv computer file extensions mean anything? It might mean absolutely nothing, and there are many such things that seem silly to mention. I think the purpose of some things is to cause those who mention them to appear silly. It is probable however, that some of this stuff will play into the hands of the antichrist.

I do want to mention that while I believe Antichrist will be a secular leader, Islam yet plays a major role. An Islamic mosque sits in the area where the Jewish temple once stood, and at least some within Islam believe that 666 represents the Quran. You can find some information on this by googling “666 and Quran.” Most of what you’ll find is confusing, but there is at least a segment of Islamic society that would welcome the mark. Some of them try to assign a post-Islamic date to the book of Revelation. Remember however, it is the Revelation that has warned us concerning the coming of the mark. You would have heard nothing about the mark of the beast if not for the Revelation.

Many Christians believe, as I do, that the Jewish Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem. A literal reading of 2nd Thessalonians 2:4 sounds as if Antichrist will physically take God’s place in the Temple. There are many things in life that you can’t see clearly until you are looking back. I don’t know when the antichrist will appear, or how to put together all the clues scattered throughout the Bible. I don’t know of any person who does.

The study of this subject is one of the things that led me to become a Christian, because I could see that it will happen. The world will go ahead with this, perhaps thinking that nothing will actually happen, and Christianity will finally be disproven. It will be a great shock to them to find they’ve proved it to be true instead. The Bible predicts a time when the world’s citizens will not be permitted to buy or sell without having a special verification mark. In some manner, that mark will translate as 666. As you look around and see the stage being set, consider how remarkable that particular Biblical prophecy is. The world will force God to a showdown on this. How surprised they’ll be when the Lord shows up. “All that call upon the name of Jesus (Acts 2:21) shall be saved.”

I called this series of posts “Antichrist’s Control,” because I wanted to emphasize the controlling nature of man, and the Antichrist in particular. We see so much happening, and yet we know we could not be seeing it all. Plans that chart the course of nations begin in meetings behind closed doors. These events could be just around the corner, or yet far into the future. Today is the best day to call upon the name of the Lord.

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There are several ways to keep the world in the dark about the mark of the beast. You can teach that it has already been fulfilled by Nero, or some other Roman emperor. That will keep some people from recognizing the mark. Some churches teach that interpretation. You could have others expecting the Arabic numerals 666 visibly tattooed on the hand. While they’re looking in that direction, you could talk them into investing in microchip technology. The billions of dollars already invested will keep the world from turning back.

I’ve mentioned that some interpreters think the Greek word “epi” in Revelation 13:16 means the mark must be visible on the skin. According to Strong’s Concordance, the Greek word used was “en,”  usually meaning “in.” I’ve tried to verify the Strong’s, but all the manuscripts I’ve seen use the word “epi.” That doesn’t mean a lot however, because the word “epi” can also be translated as “in,” depending upon sentence structure. I have a copy of the Septuagint, and there are many places where “epi” is translated in such a way. In some places the word “on” could have been substituted, but others would have to read “in.”

Please note that I am not saying the mark cannot be the visible Arabic numerals. I am saying that some form of the original Greek numerals seems to make more sense. The Antichrist can point out that we have been using the Greek symbols in many ways for ages. The Antichrist will be the perfect politician. He’ll seem to have all the answers.

According to Daniel 7:25, he will attempt to change “times and laws.” Rulers always attempt to change existing laws and to enact their own, so this sounds like something different. I think the laws spoken of are scientific laws, or “laws of nature.” I believe he’ll try to make these changes through the miracles of science. Some scientists believe that someday we’ll be able to extend our lives well beyond a hundred years, and perhaps indefinitely (Ref. part 1 of “Death” in my Dec. 2010 archive, and part 2 of “Life,” April 2010 archive).

Many people interpret certain Bible verses to teach that at some point the Antichrist will undergo some sort of resurrection. The Bible definitely teaches that the Antichrist will give life to an image of some sort. Antichrist will likely promise extended life to those who accept his mark. That will look pretty good considering the alternative of not being able to buy or sell.

There is a link between the Greek Chi (χ or 600), and the oriental Chi (qi). There’s more than one Chinese logogram for Chi (the life force), but those I’ve seen have three horizontal slash marks in common, very much like the uppercase Greek Xi (Ξ is uppercase, and ξ is lower). (Xi is the Greek numeral for 60). Somewhere in the distant past, there is also a language link to “Chay,” a Hebrew word for life.

Daniel 11:36 says that the Antichrist will exalt himself above everything that is called God (ref. 2nd. Thessalonians 2:3-4). Daniel 11:38, (KJV) says the Antichrist will serve a strange god, a “God of forces.” Rulers have always exulted in power, so I don’t believe this will simply be military might and control. I believe that Antichrist will worship the forces of science. Science is the vehicle taking us in that direction. Crime and Terrorism are chasing us. Secularism is in the driver’s seat, and Religion is giving its approval. The forces that will bring Antichrist to power seem to all be in place.

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I’m going to cheat a little in depicting the Greek numerals for 666 (χξς). WordPress gives you access to custom characters. The Chi symbol (χ or 600) is available, as is the Xi symbol (ξ or 60 ). Stigma is not available, so I have used the “final Sigma” ( ς for 6) instead. There’s very little difference from Stigma, depending upon who draws them. The obsolete letter Stigma, pronounced stau (st), was a combination (ligature) of the letters Sigma (s), and Tau (t). A different ligature of these two letters serves as 6 in the modern Greek.

The obsolete Greek letters Digamma and Vau (Waw) have also been used for 6, and although they have different shapes, the Stigma shape was, at least sometimes, used to represent them as a numeral. It’s difficult to make sense of some of this information. Some of it seems to be camouflage, making it more difficult to grasp what we’re seeing. Nevertheless, it is part of the picture.

“Vaw” in the Hebrew language is used for the numeral 6, as “Vau” is used in Greek. Both Vau and Vaw serve as a “W,” thus WWW, the initials of the World Wide Web, could be considered the same as three sixes. That’s another one of those “coincidences.” Strictly speaking, the mark of the Beast is six hundred and sixty-six, and not simply three sixes.

One thing we don’t want to do is to become so dogmatic in our interpretations that we fail to recognize the real thing when it occurs. That’s why most people didn’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah when he visited Earth. That may partially explain why the church has withheld information about this. On the one hand you have the wild interpretations, with different groups going off on one tangent or another, and on the other hand you have the silent majority. They either don’t know what to think, or are afraid of appearing radical themselves.

This results in very little open discussion leading to understanding. The Bible calls Satan the author of confusion. Whenever you find confusion, either within the church or outside its walls, Satan is involved. Silence can sometimes communicate as much confusion as a babel of disagreement.

The X symbol is used in many ways. I’m only going to list enough of them to prove my point. The shape of the “X” comes from the ancient letter “Tau” which means mark. There are X-rated movies. The NC-17 designation was intended to lessen the stigma attached to the X rating. X indicates a wrong answer, and it stands for the unknown. In the XXXOOO of love letter lingo (kisses and hugs), X stands for kiss. Some people think it stands for the hug, but it’s probably kiss because the sound of the Greek letter Xi (ksi) is similar to the word “kiss.”

Some people don’t think of the X in Xmas in a negative way, but to me it seems negative. It is true that X is the first letter of the word Christ in Greek, but X is much more representative of Antichrist. It doesn’t take much extra time and space to write the name Christ instead of substituting an X. Someone has noted that “Christ,” and the name of the Antichrist, both begin with X and end with st, but the other letters of the names are different. A name directly related to the sound of the Greek letters χξς would be at least two syllables long, and probably three.

“X” is used in transactions involving our Soc. Sec. #’s, Credit Card #’s, etc. to hide some of the digits. What you’ll see on a paper copy of such transactions will be xxx-xx-xx12, for example. Sometimes an asterisk, either a pentagram (5 points), or a hexagram (6 points), is used instead of X. Hitler’s swastika is essentially an X-shape. “X” is the symbol for multiplication, and has other functions in math and computer programing.

In Biology “X” indicates a hybrid. “Chi” is used to stand for Computer-Human-Interaction, and there are various Chi groups that study that interaction. I think that if time were to go on long enough, man would eventually become a sort of computer-human hybrid (see part 2 of “Life” in my April 2010 archive). When mankind accepts the mark, it will allow Antichrist to exercise censorship to a degree never before possible.

I don’t know to what degree that science would eventually be able to control the human brain, if time progressed far enough. If God didn’t intervene to keep it from happening, it may even be possible to electronically block “undesirable” thought patterns. In each of these posts, I’m not only trying to share information, but also an awareness of the danger our world is getting itself into. Speaking of the delusion that’s ahead for the world, Jesus said in Matthew 24:24 that if it were possible, even the very elect would be deceived. “X” is neither the way, nor the way out. It is critical to understand that accepting Jesus is going to be the only escape.

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