"Son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel and say, 'O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD. This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The enemy said of you, 'Aha! The ancient heights have become our possession.' ' " - Ezekiel 36:1-2
God starts off the day talking about sheep. Maybe. This is one of those metaphors that seems a lot like it's not a metaphor. He's very angry at the shepherds of Israel for not taking proper care of their sheep. The shepherds take the milk and wool from the sheep but do not take care of the injured or the ill. They also let their sheep wander all over the world (apparently sheep can swim across the Atlantic).
Because of the shepherds' mistreatment of their sheep, God says that he is going to take them away and take care of the sheep himself. So here's the big question: is God talking about sheep or is he talking about the people of Israel? I want to say this is a metaphor for the people of Israel because there are big parallels, but the bible gives no indication that this is a metaphor.
The middle chapter is a prophecy against a random nation (Edom). This prophecy goes about the same as all the other prophecies. The Edomites apparently approved of the destruction of the Israelites. For this huge offence, all the people of Edom are to be killed. God says that the whole world will rejoice as he makes Edom desolate.
The last chapter gets a little trippy. God has a message for Ezekiel to deliver. But this time he's supposed to deliver a message to inanimate objects (namely, the mountains). God sympathizes with the mountains because all the nations have ridiculed them. God then reassures the mountains that he will have many animals and trees grow on them. Again, surely this is a metaphor, but the bible gives no indication that God knows the mountains can't hear him when he talks.
The rest of the chapter is about how God is going to bring all the Israelites back to Israel and how they're all going to worship him loyally. Fat chance.
We have a classic fundie letter to the editor today (i.e. I'm right, you're wrong, cause I said so).
No, God does not favor only Christians in this current world. Unfortunately, for the millions of Hindus, Muslims, Oprah's new age Christians, etc., he will not favor them in the next world unless they turn their hearts to his son, Jesus Christ. (Romans 10:2-4). Israel is characteristic of many religious people because the zeal of the person for his/her faith is fruitless because it is not according to full, correct and vital knowledge.
God doesn't favor only Christians in this minuscule life (as compared to eternity) but he is going to punish you forever if you don't accept Jesus. It makes perfect sense! Also, I have a sneaking suspicion that those other religions think they are operating on full and correct knowledge. In fact, I bet they would say you aren't operating on full and correct knowledge.
The Rev. Franklin Graham is only doing what the Bible commands him to do; to preach the Gospel to a lost and dying world (Matt.28:19-20). If your child is in a burning building and screaming to be saved, wouldn't you try to save that child? As a Christian, this is what Graham is trying to do; to rescue the perishing by preaching the Gospel. He does this out of love for God and his neighbor.
Ok, but what if your child was in a building that looked relatively fine screaming "there's no fire, stay out of this house". Even better, what if it wasn't a child, and it wasn't your house? If I may take this metaphor to the extreme: It seems like you're breaking down the door of a house that looks fine screaming, "There's a fire! Get out!". Maybe Christians just need to worry about their own houses. I like how other religions are a helpless child and the Christians are the rescuing parent in this metaphor. Was he going out of his way to be patronizing?
I may as well quote the rest of his article (it's pretty short):Doesn't Kathleen Parker know she's sending helpless souls to the fiery pits of hell? Since when is the bible a love letter? I sure haven't gotten to that part yet. It's currently a letter from God telling everyone about all the destruction and death he is going to cause. Maybe he'll mellow out in the New Testament (I'm a chronic optimist).
As a columnist who is read by many people, Parker should be very careful of her words. After all, who can say how many souls were lost or will be lost because of the misguided words of a Winfrey, a Darwin, a Mohammed, etc. A Christian is always a work in process. But by reading God's incredible love letter, the Bible, we know that our life is but a vapor and there are wonderful things awaiting us when we meet Jesus Christ. On the behalf of Graham, in Christian love, we invite Parker to come along on the journey.
(via Jackson Sun)