Saturday, June 5, 2010

273: False Prophecy & Zechariah: In Review

Zechariah 8-14
"Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." - Zechariah 9:9

God repeats his normal promise to Israel in the first chapter today. He says that, at some point, he will bring the Israelites back to Israel and everyone will live happily ever after.

In the beginning of chapter 9 God promises to punish all the enemies of the Israelites. He says that never again will an oppressor overrun his people. God conveniently forgets that the holocaust is going to happen.

The next portion of chapter 9 holds yet another "prophecy" of Jesus (or so my teen study bible claims). God tells the Israelites that their king will come to them riding a donkey. This prophecy falls into the same trap that all the others do. Jesus was never king of anything. God says that the rule of this king will stretch to the end of the earth. The only way this makes sense is if Jesus is a metaphorical "king", which strikes me as bullshit.

In chapter 10 God repeats his sentiment from chapter 8. He says that though the Israelites are now scattered among the nations he will eventually bring them back to Israel and strengthen them.

In chapter 11, we descend back into incomprehensible craziness. God tells Zechariah (I think) to pasture the flock marked for slaughter. I'm not sure if this is a metaphor or not (I assume that it is). Zechariah says that he took two staffs, named one "favor" and one "union". The flock detests Zechariah (if this isn't a metaphor, then sheep detest Zechariah). Because they detest him, he breaks his staff called favor. Some from the flock give him 30 pieces of silver (yes, the sheep have money), and God tells him to throw the money to the potter. Zechariah throws the money, then breaks the other staff. I officially have no idea what's going on. My teen study bible says that the 30 pieces of silver are a prophecy of how much Jesus will be betrayed for. How they got that out of this shepherd/flock/staff breaking nonsense I have no idea.

Chapter 12 says that there will be a day when everyone is against Jerusalem. On that day God will make Jerusalem an unmovable rock. Again, I'm not quite sure what this is supposed to mean.

Chapter 13 continues the discussion about this mysterious "day". On this day, a fountain will be opened for the inhabitants of Jerusalem to cleanse their sins. God says that if there are any false prophets in the land on that day, their own parents will stab them to death.

In the final chapter of the book of Zechariah we reach a climax of crazy. God says that on the "day of the Lord" God will send all the nations to fight against Israel. God says the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. He then says that, on that day, he will go out and fight the nations that were against Israel. He will split a mountain east of Jerusalem in half and the Israelites will flee through the newly formed valley.

On this day, there will be no light during the day, but as soon as evening comes there will be light. At the same time, God says there will be no daytime or nighttime. Still on that day "living water" will flow out of Jerusalem. All the nations that fought against Jerusalem will be struck with a plague. This plague will cause them to rot so fast that their bodies will dissolve while they are still on their feet.

The survivors will be forced to participate in the feast of the Tabernacles. If they do not, they will be given the plague. Finally, "Holy to the Lord" will be inscribed on the pots of all the Israelites. And God will wipe the Canaanites from the land.

Zechariah: In Review
I said yesterday that the craziness of this book didn't beat four headed angels with eyeballs all over their bodies. But I may be rethinking my opinion. The competition is certainly close.

This is probably the first book where I would say that the majority is incomprehensible to me. The parts that I did understand seemed either insane or like someone that was incoherently rambling.

Out of this, we are supposed to get prophecies of Jesus, and probably prophecies about the end of days.

I'm sure a biblical expert would have far more to say about this book than I do. I'm still waiting for beautiful narratives and inspiring passages. All I see right now is God saying he's going to make people rot while they're still alive. I'm still holding out hope for the New Testament.

As if to mock my non-understanding of the bible, I read an article today titled "Bible has the answers you need".
The other day someone asked how many times I have read the Bible from cover to cover and is there any question I could not answer? My answer was "You could read the Bible for a lifetime and not scratch the surface." There's no other book like it. You can't read the Bible without it affecting your life and the lives of those around you.
I guess the question he couldn't answer was "how many times have you read the bible from cover to cover?".
When I was a senior in high school, it was permissible to bring your Bible to school with you, and I did. One day when I was reading it during lunch break another student came up to me and asked a different kind of question. He asked "are you some kind of Jesus freak?"
It still is permissible to bring your bible to school. If you're going to pull the standard "Christians are being oppressed" at least make it something more plausible than that. If a public high school prohibited someone from bringing a bible on the premises I can almost guarantee you they would be front page news.
I did realize something that day though, the Bible has the power to draw a reaction just by looking at it.

Why? It's because there seems to be an aura the Bible generates which no other book does. Try laying a newspaper on your table while eating breakfast at a restaurant, and no one will give you a second look. But lay your Bible on that same table, and most people will stare at you, watch you chew your food, and maybe even read your license plate when you get into your car
Where does this guy live? Coming from the bible belt, I've seen many people openly carrying bibles. This includes carrying bibles into public high schools, which the writer claims is prohibited. Nobody, including me, gave these people a second glance. In fact, I've been that person carrying a bible. I, due to this blog, sat in a McDonald's (free internet) with my bible open on the table for 4-5 hours. One person went out of his way to say how he loved free internet, nobody said anything about my bible.
That's because the Bible creates a sense of God's presence that forces a reaction in the hearts of men and women. We are changed as we read it. Our core values are altered, peace enters our spirit, joy wells up within our heart. Martin Luther said, "The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me."
Free internet forced more of a reaction in the hearts of men, in my experience, than did the "aura of God". Does this mean I should be worshiping free internet (people already worship Google)? Maybe it's not the bible that's making people look at him funny.

1 comment:

  1. Zech 14:20: On that day HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the LORD's house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar.

    So "Holy to the Lord" is not inscribed on the pots, but rather on the bells of horses.

    As for the part about God never letting the Israelites be overrun again - God states in Zech 14 that he himself will have Jerusalem sacked and pillaged. And then there were the Greeks, Romans, etc.



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