Comings and Goings

You know, it’s funny how life just keeps on moving, and the cycles that you once lived are now being lived by your kids and your grandchildren. And now?

Well, we’re the parents and grandparents that are standing at our door waving goodbye–again–as our offspring get on with their lives.

It seems such a short time ago that it was MY parents who waved goodbye, keeping up brave smiles, as we backed out of their driveway after a visit. We lived so far away that sometimes two or three years could go by before we would see them again.


I don’t even try the brave smile stuff.  I just let the tears come, because they’re going to anyway, sooner or later.

This morning we said goodbye to out son Dan, who is flying to England to reunite with his wife and start a new life in the UK.  We’re happy for them. Really.  But we don’t know when we’ll see them again, and that’s just hard.

I’ve been busy all day, which is a good thing.  Taught my homeschool co-op class–Dickens Great Expectations.  Packing for a week-long holiday with friends. We’ll be flying tomorrow, and I’m so glad to have this to look forward to.

Once we’re back home, life will soon pick up its normal rhythm and I’ll adjust to having another son living across the ocean.  After all,  parents down through the centuries have seen their children off into places unknown.   Those days must have been extremely difficult for those who never saw their loved ones again, communicating infrequently through letters.  At least communication today is quick, easy, accessible–and you can even Skype or  use another program to chat  face to face over long distances.

Okay, I think I’ve talked myself out of my schlump.  Dan and Maria are reunited by now,  possibly even have made it to their flat in London.

See?  I’m already speaking British 🙂



The Day of the Lord

Isaiah 34:7-8. “And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls: and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.  For it is the day of the Lord, a vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.”

The word unicorn means a wild bull, buffalo, antelope, or rhinoceros in the several places where it is used in scripture.  It does not refer to the mythical animal we think of today.

The armies of Antichrist will be sacrificed like animals. It will be a terrible reckoning because of the controversies over Jerusalem and Israel.

The day of the Lord  is the Second Advent, when He returns to earth to defeat Antichrist and set up His kingdom on earth for 1000 years.


The Sword of the Lord

Isaiah 34:5-6. “For My sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of My curse, to judgment. The sword of the Lord is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidney of rams: for the Lord  hath a sacrifice in Bozra,, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea.”


Idumea is Edom; Bozra (Bezer) a chief city in the north of Edom.  Petra, in the south of Edom, will be the place where Israel is protected from Antichrist during the Tribulation.  It would seem that Edom cooperates with Antichrist during the Tribulation period, and as a result it is singled out for the wrath of God during God’s destruction of the armies of Antichrist, which are vast.

As I read through this passage, I am reminded again of the great mercy and grace God showed His own people, Israel, all through the Old Testament as well as after the death and resurrection of Christ.  Over and over,  He pleaded with His people to turn to Him. There would even have been grace for the nations that will assemble under Antichrist if only they had turned from their evil against Israel and acknowledged Him as Lord.

There will come a time, however, when “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess, that Jeus Christ is Lord.” (Phil. 2:10).


Doom of the Nations

Isaiah 34:3-4. “Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcasses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood.  And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig three.”


The death toll will be terrible as Antichrist gathers his armies against Israel, against God Himself. We are told in Ezekiel 39:2, Joel 3, Zech. 14:1-15, and Rev. 19:11-20 that all but a sixth part of the vast armies of the nations under Antichrist will be destroyed in one day as the forces of heaven are hurled against them.

The numbers of the dead will be so vast that it will take Israel seven months to bury them, and in the meantime their bodies will be left in the open. The stench will be  be horrible.

The mountains shall be melted with their blood: In Ezekiel 38:17-21, God says that there will be a mighty, destructive earthquake that will bring the mountains to the ground.

Verse 4 refers to the rolling together of the clouds and their moving on as if they had dissolved and passed away, and to the falling of meteors like leaves and figs–something like that under the 6th seal (Rev. 6:12-17).  Stars or meteors will fall also at the second advent of Christ (Matt. 24:29-31; Rev. 16:17-23).

These events are not easy to imagine, or to write about. The only way for us to understand them is to understand the full power and sovereignty of God; to understand that He will finally end the evil of Satan and Antichrist, and that in their resistance, they will be destroyed.  God will bring all the power of heaven and earth against them, and very few will survive.

Why?  Because God will have had enough of the evil and rebellion in the hearts of man.

Armageddon: Nations Mobilized

Isaiah 34:1-2. “Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein: the world, and all things that come forth of it. For  the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and His fury upon all their armies: He hath utterly destroyed them, He hath delivered them to the slaughter.”


The nations who hate Israel, and who have cooperated with Antichrist, will be called to account.  This entire chapter is far future, unfulfilled until after the Great Tribulation and Armageddon, when God will pour out His wrath on those nations who have persecuted Israel.

Here are some other scriptures passages that talk about this same event:

Joel 3; Zech. 14:1-5; Rev. 16:13-16; 19: 11-21.

Some may ask, “How can a loving God be so angry, and destroy so many people?”  The answer is clear all through the prophecies of the Old Testament. Over and over, God used the prophets to warn His own people, the Jews, to turn from their idols and repent, and be restored.  The Gentile nations were also warned that those who harmed His people, Israel, would suffer His wrath.

Finally, after so many thousands of years, God will have had enough. The time will come for  His plan and purpose to take place.  He is neither unloving nor unjust. He has been patient, but the nations have ignored Him and persisted in their efforts to destroy His people.


Sunday Morning Coffee: Weather

It’s been weird here in my corner of PA.  Colder than cold, then a sudden rise to 60º and now another dip.  It’s supposed to reach a high of 25º today.  Not horrible, but it feels as if we’re on the downside of a very steep rollercoaster right now.

It reminds me of  James 1:6-8:

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

The passage is talking about a person who can’t make up his mind, even when asking God for something.  He is not praying in faith, but in doubt.  He wavers to and fro in his mind, like  the waves of the ocean in a wind storm.  He won’t get an answer, because he is of two minds; the double-minded man is always unstable, never able to make up  his mind about anything.



The people in this man’s life are subject to the vagaries of his instability. They never know what they’re going to get. His moods, his ideas, his choices about everything from his tie to which cereal he wants, are all over the map. (By the way, please understand that I’m using the masculine pronoun because I’m old school–the masculine embraces the feminine.)

Believers are gifted with the surety of the promises of God. We don’t need to waver back and forth.We can ask God for wisdom, which He gives liberally, withholding nothing, We can ask Him for direction in all our choices, large and small. I believe we can even ask Him for a sure sign, as Gideon did when he asked God for two different results from putting out a fleece overnight. God gave him the results he asked for, and God never rebuked Gideon for asking either the first or second time  (Judges 6:40).

Sometimes, the answers we seek are already in the pages of God’s Word. For instance,  should we ever be afraid, inhibited from moving forward because of fear and dread?  No.  Absolutely not.  There are 365 places in God’s Word that tell us “don’t be afraid” in one way or the other.  That’s one for every day of the year.  And here’s my favorite:

Isaiah 41:10. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”


Lawgiver, Judge, and Savior

Isaiah 33:22-24. “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king: He will save us. Thy tacklings are loosed: they could not well strengthen their mast, they could not spread the sail: then is the prey of a great spoil divided: the lame take the prey. And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.”

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Once the Battle of Armageddon is over, and Jesus Messiah claims His rightful throne in Jerusalem, there will be no more need for human government.  Jesus will not be a tyrant, but He will be the One Who is our lawgiver, judge, and savior.

Verse 23 describes the complete disarray of Israel’s enemies after Armageddon. They will be helpless against the power of Messiah, and the persecuted people of Judah will easily divide the spoil among themselves.  Even the lame will be able to take spoil from the defeated enemies of Judah.

For the first time ever,  Jerusalem (Zion) will be free of threat. The people will be healthy,  and they will be forgiven by Messiah for their sinful idolatry, and will be restored to Him.

And there WILL be peace on earth.

Israel’s Material Restoration

Isaiah 33:20-21. “Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down: not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. But there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby. ”

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A Millennial prophecy, after Antichrist is defeated:

The city of solemnities, or festivals, will be restored to a place of safety, beauty, and peace. It will become indeed the City of God. It will never be destroyed again; not one brick or cord will ever again be taken down.

Our glorious Lord will be like broad rivers and streams of water. No more galleys, rowed by slaves, will appear there; no more gallant sailing ships will dare to pass by the city in search of plunder.

Where Are They?

Isaiah 33: 18-19. “Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? where is the receiver: where is he that counted the tower? Thou shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive: of a stammering tongue, that thou canst not understand.”

Isaiah 33:18-19(NIV)

18 In your thoughts you will ponder the former terror:
    “Where is that chief officer?
Where is the one who took the revenue?
    Where is the officer in charge of the towers?”
19 You will see those arrogant people no more,
    people whose speech is obscure,
    whose language is strange and incomprehensible

The Jews in Judea, when Messiah comes, will think about the horrors they have just come through in the Great Tribulation. The change will be so sudden that they will look around and wonder what has happened to the officials who persecuted them. They will be gone, never to return, and the Jews will at last be free to return to their homeland in peace and safety.

The Righteous

Isaiah 33:15-17. “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 places of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him: his waters shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.”

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These verses answer the question in yesterday’s passage:  “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire?  Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?”

The answer is clear.  Those who escape will be those who walk, or behave, righteously. After making that statement, Isaiah goes on to be quite specific about exactly what that righteousness looks like.

  1. Speaking uprightly–being honest, being respectful
  2. Despising the oppression of the poor, taking advantage of their need
  3. Refusing to accept bribes
  4. Refusing to listen to talk of murder and bloodshed
  5.  Refusing to observe that which is evil

Those who live in such a manner will have a fortress of rock, which is probably a reference to Petra, where Israel will flee for safety during the final years of the Tribulation.  There, food and water will be plentiful.

The last generation alive on this earth when Messiah comes will see Him with their own eyes. They will see Him in all his power, His glory, His beauty–the beauty of holiness.

They will be permitted to look at any part of their land, even if it is far away, and see that it is finally free of their enemies.