Sunday, December 20, 2020

The Throne of David And The Daughters Of Zelophehad

King David

Here's a puzzle from the Bible. It says that Jesus will sit on the throne of King David. It also says that King Jeconiah, who is descended from David, will never have a descendant on the throne. So how can Jesus, apparently a descendant of Jeconiah, sit on the throne of David? First let's look at what the text says.

The Lord said to David on his deathbed.

2Sa 7:16  And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee:
thy throne shall be established for ever.

It says the Messiah will sit on David's throne forever. 

Isa 9:7  Of the increase of his (Messiah) 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 for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. 

And that Jeconiah's descendants will not sit on that throne, (he is mentioned by name in Jer 22:28).

Jer 22:30 Thus says the LORD, 'Write this man (Jeconiah) down childless, A man who will not prosper in his days; For no man of his descendants will prosper Sitting on the throne of David Or ruling again in Judah.'

Chuck Missler sums up the problem this way.

This curse created a rather grim and perplexing paradox: the Messiah had to come from the royal line, yet now there was a"blood curse" on that very line of descent! Koinonia House [1]

If you like this (or not), check out my other articles at the
Between The Ears BLOG INDEX, with titles and summaries.

The Beginning of the Solution

The genealogy of Jesus given by Matthew shows Mary's husband Joseph to be a descendant of David, Solomon, and Jeconiah. Does this imply that Joseph was in line to be king of Judah? IDK. If you compare this genealogy to 1 Chronicles 3:15–16, you will note that some kings are actually skipped, basically for wickedness - Genealogy of Jesus [2]. Note also that Jeconiah is also called Jechonias, Coniah, and Jehoiachin. Verses skipped for brevity.

Mat 1:6  And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; 

Mat 1:11  And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon:

Mat 1:16  And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

But the genealogy given by Luke lists the ancestors of Mary. Notice that Nathan, not Solomon is listed. This neatly avoids the blood curse on Jeconiah. Again, verses skipped for clarity.

Luk 3:23  And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, 

Luk 3:31  Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David,  

In the Greek, Joseph is named without a definite article, meaning the genealogy is Mary's - ChristianityStackExchange [3]. The phrase "as was supposed" occurs in nearly all English translations; it is taken from enomizeto, meaning "by law", showing Jesus as the legal heir of Joseph - BibleOne [4]. Joseph is considered more of a son than a son-in-law in this case.

So, it took a virgin birth to get around the blood curse of Jeconiah. But does it place Him on the throne of David?

Enter the Daughters of Zelophehad

Five Daughters of Zelophehad

There is an exception to the law of inheritance. If a man has only daughters, inheritance could pass to them as long as they married within the tribe. The daughters of Zelophehad got a judgment from Moses, and set a precedent.

Num_27:7  The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father's brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them.

Num 36:6  This is the thing which the LORD doth command concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying, Let them marry to whom they think best; only to the family of the tribe of their father shall they marry. 

The Bible doesn't record it, but apparently Heli (Mary's father) had no sons, so Mary could actually pass on Heli's inheritance to Jesus - [1]. Note that Heli (really Eli since he was a Jew) means "My God" - Abarim Publications [5]. The only other Eli in the Bible is the High Priest of ancient Israel, whose sons Hophni and Phineas were not righteous men and were rejected by God. Eli raised Samuel as his own son. Samuel became a prophet and judge of Israel, but could not be High Priest because he was not of the line of Aaron - ChristianityStackExchange [6]. The point is that Heli's inheritance passed to Jesus - does that include the right to the throne of David? Having male heirs to pass on one's name was extremely important in that culture, it figures prominently in the story of Boaz and Ruth - The Kinsman Redeemer [7].

Enter The Critics

This paints a nice workaround to the inheritance puzzle created by Jeconiah's curse, but is it necessary? The Zelophehad theory was first presented by C.I. Scofield, circa 1910 in the Oxford NIV Scofield Study Bible [8], promoted by Chuck Missler [1], where I first heard it. But first-century Christians believed that Jesus fulfilled the messianic promises of the Old Testament, which included David's throne, without ever mentioning Zelophehad. In fact, the New Testament writers never acknowledge that there was such a problem to overcome - Jeconiah's Whammy [9]. On the other hand, they knew the inheritance laws from experience and didn't need them explained.

Solomon's Throne
The promise to David cited above is unconditional, and looks like God promised an unbroken dynasty from David to the Messiah. It is difficult for me to see it otherwise. It says David's throne would be "established forever". Yet in terms of Solomon's dynasty, Jeconiah was the end of the road. Some scholars insist that kingship can only be passed on through the male line, but not to adopted sons. By that reasoning, Joseph was the royal line, but couldn't pass it to an adopted son - Wikipedia(Davidic Dynasty) [10]. If you accept the Zelophehad theory, the scepter of kingship passed to Jesus Christ  through Mary, but not in a way that satisfies everyone. The Zelophehad theory assumes Mary had no brothers, which seems like a detail that should not be omitted from the record if inheritance, indeed the monarchy, depends on it. Since Nathan was never a king, are his descendants eligible to ascend to the throne of David? And if Nathan's line were selected over Solomon's, did it pass to Heli? An alternate explanation is that the scepter still came through Joseph, but ancestry came through Mary. Going back to David on his deathbed, it appears that the perpetual dynasty is to come through Solomon.
2Sa 7:13  He (Solomon) shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. 


Coronation Chair
Stone of Scone
Some explain the unbroken succession of Solomon's line survived because the prophet Jeremiah took the daughters of King Zedekiah (Jeconiah's uncle) of Solomon's line, and brought them to Ireland. They married royalty there, and according to this theory, are the ancestors of the British throne, that is the British throne is David's throne. Adherents to this say when Christ returns, He will take over and sit down on an existing throne of David, here on earth - Church of the Eternal God [11]. They neglect the large gaps where an heir of David was not on the throne of England - Hope Of Israel [12]. They say the meaning of Luke 1:32 is that an heir will be sitting on David's throne at Christ's return, but does it really say the throne will exist on earth at the time of the end? With an heir of David on it?


Luk 1:32  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 
Also, the Bible also says that Israel will be without a king.
Hos 3:4  For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: 

Some scholars say that when  David received the promise that his house, his kingdom, and his throne would be established forever (2Sa 7:16), it did not mean an unbroken monarchy.

God did not promise an unbroken monarchy but an unbroken line of descendants from David who would be qualified to sit on that throne when it was reestablished. David’s line would not fail before the righteous Branch came to claim His throne (cf. Luke 1:31-33). The genealogies of Matthew and Luke show that this promise was fulfilled as Christ was able to trace both His legal line through Joseph and His physical line through Mary back to David (Matthew 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-31) - Bible Knowledge Commentary [13].

Meaning, qualified descendants, not necessarily kings. Which brings us back to the daughters of Zelophehad. In the end, the exact meaning of God's promise to David is unclear to me, and beyond my scholarship. When Christ returns, He comes as King of Kings, and will sit of the throne of David. When and where He was or will be given the throne of David is not clear to me. 

I started writing this thinking I had a nice small topic, a lesser known nugget of Bible truth to share, inspired by the teaching of Chuck Missler. But like many things Biblical, I didn't find consensus. But I didn't want to waste all that research, so I tried to cover the different points of view - I still find it interesting, even if I don't have certainty. Until Jesus does return and set the record straight, the best I can say is to do your own research, and draw your own conclusions. And please, share your thoughts with me.



Friday, November 20, 2020

On Vultures' Wings

Exodus 19:4 is a familiar verse. It is also the subject of the devotional Hymn "On Eagles' Wings" composed by Michael Joncas - Wikipedia(On Eagle's Wings) [1].

You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.

Griffon Vulture in Flight
Some translations say "carried you on eagles' wings", I like that image. Note that Ex 19:4 reads eagles plural, not one giant eagle. Being an American, I always pictured the Bald Eagle in this verse. Commentaries, written by Americans or Europeans, probably imagined some majestic eagle as well. And they write many lessons about how eagles care for their young, how they teach them to fly and so forth. But Bible scholars no longer think this verse refers to the eagle, but really refers to the vulture.

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According to HaAretz [2], this is a problem in translation. "The first translators of the Bible from Hebrew and Aramaic, the Greek translators that created the Septuagint, got it wrong and wrote a’etos, which is the Greek word for eagle." That error has continued to this day. All of the 28 translations on BibleHub(Ex 19:4) [3] translate this as eagle, so why do scholars say it means vulture?

Again from HaAretz [2].

It all began when the Reverend Henry Tristram, a Bible scholar and ornithologist, traveled to the Holy Land in the 1860s. In a book he published in 1867, Tristram wrote that the biblical nesher was not an eagle but a vulture. This was picked up by the Israel Aharoni, a highly influential zoologist working in Palestine in the early 20th century. In his 1923 book Torat Hachai (“Zoology”) he announced the flip and suggested that the word nesher be reinstated to its biblical use, and used to refer to the vulture.

Bible scholar AND ornithologist? Apparently, this caused quite an argument in the Academy of the Hebrew Language, which eventually accepted the ornithology argument over linguistic or poetic ones.

Let's look at some of the technical details, then explore what we can learn from this.

"Bald" Griffon Vulture

Eagle is translated from the Hebrew word nesher - Cambridge Commentary [4], and is used 26 times in the Old Testament - Strong's(H5404) [5]. One reference to note is Micah 1:16 which mentions "baldness as an eagle", which must refer to the Griffon Vulture. It is not actually bald, but has a white downy covering on its head and neck. American Bald Eagles aren't bald either, they have white head feathers.

As an American, I view the eagle as majestic, but not the vulture. It turns out that this is a cultural thing. In the ancient world of the Middle East, the Griffon Vulture was seen as the king of birds. Indeed, it was seen as a symbol of royalty - Biblical Natural History [6]. The Griffon Vulture is actually an amazing bird. 

Griffon Vultures 

  • have remarkable eyesight
  • can spot its prey from three kilometres away
  • have binocular vision
  • are the highest flying bird (37,000 feet! [6])
  • have a wing span of 9 feet or more

So if the word vulture bothers you, think of them as raptors or birds of prey.

Text and Context

One lesson that I see from this change in translating nesher is that we can't entirely escape our own biases or the translator's biases when reading the Bible. It was written thousands of years ago by and for a people who spoke a different language, and had a different history and culture. I don't think that translating nesher as eagle instead of vulture is going to cause a problem for anyone, but learning that fact reminded me I still view parts of the Bible through my modern American lens. Just like the way I misunderstood the symbolism of the Crimson Grub Worm [7]. So, in addition to historical, linguistic, and cultural context, I have to add zoological context. 

A better question to explore is why did God use this image to describe deliverance from Egypt? Because the eagle (vulture) is unclean to eat and a bird of prey. J Vernon McGee [8] says it is not a symbol of God. Sue Nelson (womanofnoblecharacter) [9] says the opposite "The image of God as an eagle (vulture) is found throughout the Bible". The Bible appears to agree with Sue Nelson.

Deu 32:11 Like an eagle (vulture) that stirs up its nest, That hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions.
12 The LORD alone guided him, And there was no foreign god with him.

Symbolism Of Vultures

"Venue" of vultures
EnglishGrammarHere [10]

What lessons can we see in the symbolism of a vulture picturing God? We can see the vulture as a sign of strength, embodied in the opening quote where God carried Israel on vultures' wings. I have to point out that despite the word picture of being carried on the wings of a vulture, Israel walked out of Egypt. So the word "carried" isn't literal here. Many commentaries speak of God caring for Israel the way that eagles care for their young (and I assume Griffon Vultures as well), emphasizing supremacy, strength and protection [9]. They build nests where no other birds can reach them. They fiercely protect their chicks. They provide all their food. And teach them to fly.



When they teach them to fly, both parents are involved in the training program. As the little one takes off from that dizzy height and attempts to follow its parent in flight, the eagle (vulture) swoops beneath it and bears the little fellow on its wings when he seems exhausted. [8]


Photographer/Artist Zvi Suchet [11] wrote
"I can imagine the vulture’s expansive outstretched
wings lovingly sheltering the children of God."

One other trait of vultures that has symbolic meaning is that vultures feed on carrion, that is feed on the dead. That doesn't normally sound like a characteristic of God, but the picture symbolizes that He brings life from death - Beth Tikkun(2Tim 2) [12]. And this is the hope of our resurrection, that God will bring us from death to life. The Bible records that believers will be strong, swift, and tireless like the nesher. "Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles (vultures), They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary" - Is 40:31. This analogy does break down however, for example, we don't expect God to actually eat carcasses. "Now He is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live to Him" - Luke 20:38.


We see many lessons when we consider the vulture in Scripture. Whether nesher is translated as vulture, eagle, or raptor doesn't really make a lot of difference. But it does alert us that we approach the Bible from our own background, and sometimes we need to strive to see it through the eyes of the authors as much as we can. We also see the symbolism that so many parts of creation point us to some aspect of God, the vulture in this case teaching us of the supremacy, strength, and protection of our God.

More trivia from English Grammar Here [9].
  • Cast of vultures. "The corpse was inspected by a cast of vultures."
  • Kettle of vultures. If you see a group of vultures that flying in the sky. You should call them a kettle of vultures.
  • Committee of vultures. To describe a group of vultures as a committee, they should be landed.
  • Wake of vultures. When you see a group of vultures that are feeding you call them a wake of vultures.
  • Venue of vultures.  Unlike the word, “kettle”, “venue” is used when a group of vultures not flying.



Sunday, November 8, 2020

A Tale Of Two Natures

Consider this short story from the book of Exodus. It takes place after Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the Red Sea. The Amalekites come to make war with them. 

Israel at war with Amalek
at Rephidim

Ex 17:8 Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. 9 So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” 10 Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. 13 So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

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On the surface, it's a simple piece of history as Israel entered the wilderness. They clearly were not welcomed to the neighborhood.  But if we dig deeper, we can see more meanings. We are told that the stories from the Old Testament are examples for us.

1 Cor 10:11 Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

The word translated "examples" is typikos, rendered in Young's Literal Translation as "types" - BibleHub [1]. Type means an impression or mark, or in the religious sense a pattern, model, or foreshadowing - Strongs(G5179) [2]. The Bible is telling us to look deeper, see the pattern. So let's do that.

The territory of Amalek is not near Rephidim [3]
First, let's look at the historical context. As I said above, Israel had crossed the Red Sea, they were in the desert on the way to the promised land. As if ten plagues and parting the Red Sea were not enough, right before the war with Amalek, God caused manna to cover the ground every night and water to come out of a rock, enough water for two million people plus livestock. Then came Amalek. Maybe they just didn't want to share the land (it appears that Amalek went out of his way to make war against Israel, that is, they didn't live nearby), maybe they wanted the water; the Bible doesn't say. 

This is Israel's first fight. In Egypt, they were never told to fight. Their most aggressive act was to plunder the Egyptians for valuables, which the Egyptians were happy to give if it meant rid of Israel. At the Red Sea, again God fought the battle for them, all they had to do was walk to the other side. After receiving water from a rock at Rephidim, Amalek attacked, and Moses told Joshua to choose men to fight. Why didn't God overthrow Amalek like the Egyptians? One answer is that Israel had to start taking responsibility, they had to take the reins of their own future. "When means of help are put within our reach, God expects us to use them. What man can do for himself, God will not work miracles to do for him" - J. Orr [4].  Just like a child needs to learn how to be a responsible adult - they learn little by little from their parents with jobs where they can succeed or fail safely. (Disclaimer: I never had kids, but I think that's a fair statement.) Moses was on the hill, picturing the fact that God was still in the picture for Israel. Like a parent, God was watching over them. 

Another reason why God allowed the Amalek attack was a bit of punishment for Israel. Yes God gave them water out of a rock right before this, but only after the people complained first - Moses thought they were ready to stone him.

Another reason was to show Israel that fighting their battles was both a physical AND spiritual effort. Joshua led the army, but Moses went up on the hilltop. Moses is the spiritual leader of the nation, Joshua the physical leader. They both had roles to play - Spurgeon [5]. It is an expression of faith and works. All nations are like ancient Israel, battling between good and evil. War with Amalek shows that the battle is both carnal and spiritual. It doesn't mean that God abandoned Israel during their battle (punishment), He was still there helping their efforts, pictured by Moses on the hilltop. I think the parallels with modern America are especially strong. As a country, we are fighting a national battle of good versus evil, and our future depends on the choices we make now. The country's problems cannot be solved by purely physical (political) means. Are there enough people holding our leaders hands up to prevail against our Amalek?

We as individuals are also like ancient Israel, we have two natures and have to fight on a personal level, "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" - 1 Jn 2:16. And it takes physical effort as well as spiritual effort. And this battle takes place "Between The Ears". There is a continual battle between the flesh and the spirit.

Gal 5:17  For the desire of the flesh is against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, in order to keep you from doing whatever you want.

Aaron and Hur

Moses supported by 
Aaron and Hur

Let's dig deeper by exploring who is represented by the people in this passage. Who or what do Aaron and Hur picture? These are the men who held up Moses' arms. 

Aaron is the older brother of Moses. The name Aaron is unique in the Bible, there is no one else named Aaron. His name is probably derived from the word for light or mountain - [6]. So one interpretation could be God's messenger who brings light.  Aaron became High Priest, and one of the jobs of the priesthood is to teach God's ways. 

Mal 2:7 For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

Hur's ancestry is unclear. Jewish tradition says Hur was the son of Miriam, Moses's older sister, but the Bible doesn't record it. Hur may have been the grandfather of Bezalel, principal creator of the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant - Wiki(Hur) [7]. If Hur was the nephew of Moses, then the three of them would be related, all of one family, whatever that may mean. The name Hur comes from a word meaning heat - [8]. Chuck Missler(Exodus #7) [9] says that Hur means light. 

I don't see a definitive interpretation of Aaron and Hur according to the meaning of their Hebrew names. I see some possibilities. For example, both names seem to involve light. This fits well with the golden Menorah in the Tabernacle, the only source of light in the Holy Place, and it fits well with Aaron representing the priesthood teaching the people from the word. These verses amplify that.

Psa_43:3 Send out Your light and Your truth
they shall lead me;
They shall bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your tabernacles.

Psa_44:3 For by their own sword they did not possess the land,
And their own arm did not save them,
But Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence,
For You favored them.

Psa_119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

Pro_6:23 For the commandment is a lamp and the Law is light;
And rebukes for discipline are the way of life

Another interpretation is that Aaron and Hur represent the basic tools of spiritual warfare - prayer and study. Prayer and study picture a two way street, God speaks with us when we study His word, we speak with Him when we pray; and on a more personal level, He is involved with our lives, speaking to us through circumstances - like winning the battle with our own Amaleks. We pray on the mountaintop, and win the battle on the plain.


What about the meaning of the name Amalek? "The Amalekites were thus either known as the Nippers or as the Lickers" - [10]. Look at the way they fought with Israel. One might say that they "nipped" at their heels.

Deu 25:17  Remember what Amalek did to you on the way when you came out of Egypt, 18 how he confronted you on the way and attacked among you all the stragglers at your rear when you were tired and weary; and he did not fear God.

Others say that Amalek is derived from amal, which means to toil, or wear down, implying that the Enemy wears us down so we give up making intercession - Axel Sipparch [11].

After the war with Amalek, Moses records two somewhat contradictory things - Amalek is to be blotted out, yet Israel will continually be at war with them.

Ex 17:14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner; 16 and he said, “The Lord has sworn; the Lord will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.”

The good news is eventually Amalek will be completely defeated, meaning eventually in the kingdom of God. We will overcome, not in the flesh, but in the spirit. The bad news is that this was a fight Israel would keep having, and so will we, in the flesh. In other words, until the kingdom comes, we will have Satan to deal with. One reason that Amalek would always trouble Israel is because Israel didn't deal with them when they were told to. King Saul was told to utterly destroy Amalek; he mostly did, but didn't finish the job. You can read the story in 1Kings 15. Descendants of Amalek keep showing up in Israel's history, nipping at their heels. Haman, the villain of the book of Esther, was descended from Agag, the king spared by Saul, and Agag was a descendant of Amalek. See the Scroll of Esther [12].

Amalek in Hebrew, "blotted" out

Other Typology

Notice that this war occurred after they received water. Water is a Bible symbol of the Holy Spirit, which believers receive at baptism. Because our baptism is like Israel passing through the sea, some say that is when the battle actually begins. Remember, Israel did not fight in Egypt. Only after deliverance from Pharoah, and baptism in the sea (the birth of the nation Israel) did Amalek make war with them. "And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea 1Co_10:2". 

Even Joshua's sword has symbolism. It says he overcame Amalek with the edge of the sword. And this is the word of God, tying it all back to Aaron the priest.

Eph 6:17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 


This simple story of Israel warring with Amalek has much meaning under the surface; meaning for nations, meaning for individuals. The typology of the war with Amalek is rich with symbolism for us today. We all have to fight the Amalek within us, and this story shows us the battle is both physical and spiritual. As a church or as a nation, we win as long as we hold up the arms of our leaders. As individuals, we win as long as we amplify our physical efforts with the spiritual tools of prayer and Bible study. 



Saturday, October 24, 2020

Anxiety In Perilous Times

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  2Ti_3:1 

I think it is clear that we have entered those perilous times. So far in 2020, we have seen wildfires in Australia (remember them? - ABC News [1], WashingtonPost [2]) and the western United States. We have lived with a novel Corona virus for 8 months as of this writing which shut down much of the world. In America, we have seen a summer of rioting. We’ve had so many hurricanes, they’ve run through the alphabet naming them, and had to resort to Greek letters. Indeed perilous times.

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Reactions to Anxiety

What is our reaction to these times? Many openly admit anxiety and depression. I spent a few sleepless nights, especially when news of the Corona Virus first broke. I live near Minneapolis, which was the starting place for rioting. As a college student, I lived two blocks from Lake Street, Minneapolis where the rioting happened. I am deeply saddened that this happened, worse yet started, in my home state.

One reaction is an increase in the consumption of alcohol and chocolate. Apparently it's true of men AND women - Israel365 News[3], Axios [4]. Deaths from suicide and drug overdose are up due to the Corona virus - CBN News(opioid_deaths) [5]. If you are depressed, especially if to the point of considering suicide, help is available, you can call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

One reaction is "Prepping", that is preparing for disasters, be they natural like hurricanes, earthquakes, or pandemics; or be they man-made like economic collapse, or pandemics.  Being prepared for normal emergencies is a good thing. We all experience power outages or heavy snowfall (in Minnesota) from time to time, even job loss, we need to be ready for these things. It is good to have flashlights and candles, food and drink, at the ready. “What man can do for himself, God will not work miracles to do for him. When means of help are put within our reach, God expects us to use them.” - J. Orr [6]. However, it can be hard to know where that line is.  Or as we used to say “a lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine”. But prepping goes beyond flashlights and candles, "in modern usage it’s come to be associated specifically with preparations for large scale disasters and catastrophes." - Secrets Of Survival [7].  Here are some quotes from an article on prepping with a Biblical perspective - BIN(Biblical_Prepping) [8].

Those who know how to best prepare for pandemics, food shortages, civil unrest, economic collapse, world war, and other nightmare scenarios are suddenly the smart person in the room. Those who mock the idea of preparing and planning have become the crazy ones.

If Hashem (God) is with us, a reasonable amount of prepping will be sufficient, and if, God forbid, Hashem (God) is not with us, no amount of prepping will save us.

No amount of prepping is enough to cover all the bases, and one slip or stroke of bad luck is enough to thwart the best prepping.

Related to prepping, some are reacting by increasing their self defense. Gun sales were already up due to the Corona pandemic, then the riots started, then the call to defund the police. Gun and ammo sales are through the roof with many first time buyers - Washington Examiner [9], US News [10]. 

What should the Christian's response be? This verse comes to mind. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." - Philippians 4:6. Add to anxiety guilt. Not only do I feel anxious, I feel guilty about it.

Some might use Exodus 14:13 as the example to follow.

Ex 14:13  And Moses said unto the people, Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians wmarkhom you have seen to day, you shall see them again no more for ever. 

Fear not. Stand still. The guilt is strong now. I'm anxious, and I want to run.

Does Knowing Prophecy Help?

Maybe we think that we won't have fear because we know prophecy. But does  knowing prophecy reduce anxiety? In some cases, knowing prophecy adds to the anxiety. We know about the time of Jacob's trouble, the Great Tribulation. 

Dan_12:1  And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which 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.

Mat_24:21  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Some might think they can outsmart world events because they know prophecy.  But prophecy is not always well understood, the "experts" don't always agree. For examples, can you answer these questions about prophecy? And even if you do know the answers, what can you do?

  • What is the mark of the beast?
  • Have the four horsemen ridden yet?
  • Who is the man of sin?
  • Will the Jews build a third temple?
  • Who is the King of the South/North?

Maybe we just need a modern prophet. But no prophet that I'm aware of predicted the Corona virus, the wildfires, or the riots.

Let's look at a Bible example of someone who did know prophecy, who knew exactly what would happen, and His reaction. I'm referring to Jesus, on the night He was betrayed and arrested, He prayed on the Mount of Olives.

Luke 22:39 And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him.
40 When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
41 And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray,
42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”
43 Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him.
44 And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.

The medical term for this is hematidrosis, or hematohidrosis.

Sometimes Hematidrosis seems to be caused by extreme distress or fear, such as facing death, torture, or severe ongoing abuse. It's probably where the term "sweating blood," meaning a great effort, comes from - WebMD [11].

 Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray Him/hand Him over to the Jewish authorities. That was clear at the Last Supper in John 13:21 when “Jesus was troubled in his spirit.” The Greek word for “troubled” is etarachthe meaning “to strike one’s spirit with fear and dread, take away calmness, render anxious or distressed.” - EarlyChurchHistory [12]

Jesus literally “sweat blood.” The English translation here “was like drops of blood” makes it appear as though sweating blood is a metaphor or a simile. In the Greek it is clear that His sweat was blood. [12]

I find it interesting that an angel strengthened Him before He sweat blood. 

Prophecy doesn't exist for those in the know to avoid the perilous times. Jesus knew exactly what was coming, He prayed that there be another way, but ultimately, He had to go through it, not around it. The church of Smyrna was told "Rev 2:10  Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." Knowing about prophecy won't save you. Similarly, knowing about God (His word, His plan, His church) is not enough. We have to know God, not just know things about Him. He is the deliverer, we don't save ourselves. You cannot think your way out of this.

Promises Of Psalm 91

Of course many scriptures are given that help us cope with anxiety by comforting and assuring us of God's love for us and His plan for us. I find Psalm 91 quite relevant in today's perilous times. You may have a different favorite. Let me know what yours is.

Psalm 91 - Scholars argue over the authorship, was it Moses or David?

Felix Mendelssohn must have liked this Psalm as well. I know of two choral pieces he wrote based on Ps 91 – “In Thy Secret Place” [13] and “He Shall Give His Angels” [14]. 

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!”
3 For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

How often I wanted to gather your children
as a hen gathers her brood under her wings
and you would not have it!

Look at all the places of protection mentioned in these 4 verses.

Shelter, Dwelling place, Shadow, Refuge, Fortress, Under His wings, Shield, Bulwark.

Pinion - the terminal section of a bird's wing - MerriamWebster [15]
Bulwark - a wall, a barricade, protection, and defense 
against attack.
Both Shield and Bulwark are an encompassing shield 
of protection - IsraelTodayMinistries [16]

In verse 5, the psalm switches from "he" to “you”. The “you” forms are all singular, not plural: the psalm is addressing an individual - Hermeneutrix [17]. That is, it is addressing each of us as individuals.  BTW, the Ten Commandments [18] are also given to singular male "you".

5 You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day;
6 Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
7 A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, But it shall not approach you.
8 You will only look on with your eyes And see the recompense of the wicked.
9 For you have made the LORD, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
10 No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent.
11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways.
12 They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and cobra, The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.

These are not promises of trouble-free experience, but of God’s presence in trouble, and of ultimate rescue, honor, and salvation. [17]

The last three verses of Ps 91 shift focus again. God is speaking directly, directly to each one of us. "The closing of Psalm 91 delivers one of the most direct, emphatic, unambiguous, divine promises in scripture" [17].

14 Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.
15 He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With a long life I will satisfy him And let him see My salvation.

Don't take any of these promises out of context, like Satan did when tempting Jesus – Mt 4:6. He quoted Ps 91 but misapplied it. Christ told him we are not to tempt God. The Fall Holy Days (Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles) reveal to us the end of the prophecies, that Jesus returns and establishes His kingdom. We have to keep that in mind when reading prophecy of these perilous times we are in.


12. ech

Saturday, September 5, 2020

It's A Jungle Out There

The jungle metaphor is common in America. It pictures a brutal world view, where people are vicious to each other, likening humans to animals in the jungle. The Free Dictionary [1] puts it this way, "The real world is severe. It's hard to get by in everyday life." Or how about a few lyrics from Randy Newman's song It's A Jungle Out There [2].

It's a jungle out there
Disorder and confusion everywhere
No one seems to care  

It's a jungle out there
Even the cops are scared today

Newman released the song in 2003, but it seems even more true and relevant today. The police in some cities have an impossible assignment to keep the peace without using force. In some areas, the police have been targeted by rioters - Breitbart [3],  Conservative Daily News [4].

If you like this (or not), check out my other articles at the
Between The Ears BLOG INDEX, with titles and summaries.

The riots in America are a fulfillment of something Jesus said when describing signs of the end of the age

Mat 24:12  KJV And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 

The word "iniquity" doesn't really convey the underlying Greek word anomia, which many translate as "lawlessness". Nomia means law, anomia means "not law". And we are seeing violence and lawlessness on an unprecedented scale - And Magazine [5], Mass Resistance [6]. The second half of the verse says the love of many shall wax cold. Sounds like Randy Newman's line "no one seems to care".

Some would argue that the Jungle has a law of its own, where the strongest survive - [7]. Rudyard Kipling wrote that animals live by a code - Jungle Book Fandom [8].

In the novel The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling uses the term to describe an actual set of legal codes used by wolves and other animals in the jungles of India. In Chapter Two of The Second Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling provides a poem, featuring the Law of the Jungle as known to the wolves, and as taught to their offspring.

Now this is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky, And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die.

Keep peace with the lords of the jungle, the tiger, the panther, the bear; And trouble not Hathi the Silent, and mock not the boar in his lair.

When pack meets with pack in the jungle, and neither will go from the trail, Lie down till the leaders have spoken; it may be fair words shall prevail.

When ye fight with a wolf of the pack ye must fight him alone and afar, Lest others take part in the quarrel and the pack is diminished by war.

The lair of the wolf is his refuge, and where he has made him his home, Not even the head wolf may enter, not even the council may come. 


Kipling makes wolves appear more civilized than humans.  It's hard to say how much an animal's behavior is instinct and how much is learned - I plan to sidestep that question. But according to The Kipling Society [9], "Kipling believed that without a degree of order, provided by law, life would be nasty brutish and short, in the world as well as the jungle". That is, even in the jungle, law is necessary. How much more is law required for humans? Indeed, the phrase "Law of the Jungle" has taken on a meaning that is the opposite of what Kipling meant - "kill or be killed", but what Kipling meant was "order provided by law".

The jungle has no courts of law, no system of justice, no judges, and no attorneys. A humpback whale found a fabulous lunch of salmon at a fish hatchery in Alaska, a lunch estimated to be worth 13 million dollars - Big Geek Daddy [10]. Who is there to bring this whale to justice? Actually, the Bible gives one case where animals can be brought to justice, in the event an animal kills a human, the animal is to be killed - Gen 9:5, Ex 21:28.

How did we get to the place where so many people want to do away with law? The place where people want to disband and defund the police?

We could look at the choices that Adam and Eve made. Gen 3:6  "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise". What did she do? "she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. " Adam and Eve decided for themselves what was right and wrong (with help from the serpent).  And mankind has been doing that ever since.

Even the theologians, the ones who should know better, teach that the Law, referring to the Ten Commandments, is done away. Kipling knew better - "order provided by law". Doing away with the Law brings immorality, violence, and anarchy. Many people think that freedom is having no law, anomia, but freedom comes from law - "How Can the Law Set You Free?" [11].

Anarchy is the stated goal of the rioters - RealClearPolitics [12], PJMedia [13]*. They talk of tearing or burning the system down - NYPost(anarchy) [14]. I guess they think that a better world will rise out of the ashes like a Phoenix. But strong safe countries don't happen by accident. When the rioters get a little power,  they become oppressors.  They intimidated people saying "give your house to us" - NYPost(demand) [15]. These are not the actions of selfless benevolent leaders. In my youth, ordinary citizens were afraid of biker gangs, now biker gangs are better behaved than the rioters and looters - RideApart [16], GatewayPundit [17]. If the rioters get their wish of anarchy, a new order will appear, but not the one they hoped for [12].

*Selected quotes below, in References section

We  could lay the blame at the feet of the serpent in the garden of Eden, who is identified in Revelation 12:9 "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." Whether you like conspiracy theories or not, the Bible says Satan is the one deceiving the whole world. This means now, not just once in Eden.

Blaming Satan might make one feel they have no responsibility, but ultimately we are all like Adam and Eve, deciding for ourselves what is right and wrong. It might be summed up in the phrase, "you can't tell me what to do".

God can tell us what to do, and He does tell us what to do. He has given mankind 6000 years to do things our way, form governments, write laws, and dispense justice. That 6000 years is nearly up, the signs of the end of this age are in the headlines now. Jesus said "For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah." What was it like in the days of Noah? "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence - Gen 6:11". The word translated violence is the Hebrew word hamas. It's no surprise a modern terrorist group which hates Israel is called Hamas. Violence now fills America too. To give time for repentance, God is slowly raising the heat by removing His blessings and actively sending curses, escalating curses. Four times in Lev 26 we are warned "if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins - Lev 26:18". "Seven times" could refer to duration and/or intensity. Some will repent, but sadly many won't. He has a plan to deal with them too, "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance - 2 Peter 3:9".

The jungle does have laws, not the ones Kipling wrote, but the laws the Creator wrote. Animals are not free to violate those laws, and they are not held to the Ten Commandments. They do what comes naturally to them. Clearly, people are different. God wants us to know right from wrong, but not decide for ourselves what is right and wrong. The time to repent is now, before the curses escalate.


There have been reports officers being attacked with Molotov cocktails, bricks, stones, and just about anything else the rioters were able to get their hands on.
What started as a protest highlight police brutality regressed into anarchy in the 3rd Precinct in Minneapolis. Protestors resorted to violence. From ransacked stores to fires, with footage displaying rioters looting goods from stores.
The intent of these carpetbaggers isn’t justice but anarchy
Many of them see an eschatology at work whereby internal contradictions will collapse America on itself. That will then create a void, in which their hallucinated Brigadoon of choice, a communist paradise or a white ethnostate, can be brought about.
 Liberty and justice are dependent on civil society, the very thing these creeps are attacking. Again, chaos is the point. It’s why liquor stores are such a common target.
Eventually some new world order is supposed to arise. But the more immediate goal is the void, sheer nothingness.
Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price says what he has seen in Dallas since Friday night are not protests.
“I can’t sit idly by. This is not protest. Just don’t keep wrapping it as though its protest. It’s not protest. It’s anarchy,” he said. “And it’s not as if you’re talking to somebody who has never protested.”
It’s not a project to embrace or enhance the American project. They want to destroy that. When they deface American monuments, this is what they are saying.
And that’s what people need to know about Antifa. They don’t make demands because that’s working within “the system.” Their unambiguous goal is to destroy all American institutions and then the country itself. When they spray-paint or shout, “Burn it down,” they really mean it.
A group of Black Lives Matter protesters in Seattle marched through a residential neighborhood this week demanding that white residents give up their homes, dramatic video shows.
Total citations were most closely matched of all, with 1,334 issued for 2020 compared with 1,336 in 2019.
At one point a tall Antifa goon with purple hair kicked bike and that’s when all hell broke loose. The Sturgis bikers erupted and police took the purple haired goon. The rest of Antifa had to get a police escort to get out of town.