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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Laughing at Prophecy

Laughing At Prophecy

Where American
Dad Went Wrong

The other day I happened to be alerted to an upcoming episode of the mediocre animated TV comedy “American Dad”. Which is produced by the same group of people who make “Family Guy” and “The Cleveland Show”, and they seem to have taken over the Sunday night spot on Fox television, for some reason I cannot clearly see. I’ve seen these comedies before, and as someone who once found Family Guy to be ahead of its time and now finds Robot Chicken to be the last vestige of truly great writing for this kind of genre, I have to say that they seem to have run out of gas doing what they once did rather well. The Sunday night on Fox is doomed. You heard it here first. The Simpsons is a hold over from another era which long ago lost its special magic and is really just waiting to catch the last train for the coast, but the rest of these shows have become rancid and are starting to stink up the room.

I say this because they seem overly concerned with dissing the Christian faith instead of concentrating on making a halfway decent program. Really, what is the deal with these guys now? They are so brave and cutting edge that they can’t make light of Muslims? They can’t make light of Buddhists? You go anywhere in the world and see a country where Christianity is not a major force and you get a society that treats women like less than human. You have less charitable work and organizations that are birthed inside the countries themselves. If we take away the restrictive religion and just concentrate on the love of Christ, which is the way it is supposed to be, how do you find “the diary of a madman” in the Bible, as they put it.

Let’s face it, they have given up the ghost and are going for the visceral pleasure derived from this sort of so called rebellion. And that should tell them something. It should tell them that there is a “satisfaction” gained from mocking Christianity that they just can’t get anywhere else. Why is that? They need to really stop and think about where the ideas for these plot lines are coming from. American Dad did a whole satirical take on the Rapture of Christianity just before the end of times and, of course, they made it look impossibly ridiculous. Not only that, but they got a lot of it wrong, some of it they got wrong because they wanted to be funny (which they weren’t) but other parts they got wrong because they really don’t know the subject matter, they just wanted to be populist, or so they must believe.

But is there something to be mocked here? Can we see the things like the predicted Rapture as evidence of abject silliness and insanity by a mass of society? Is it possible to make that kind of judgement from something that has been testified to by millions and millions of people all over the world for several thousands of years now? Wouldn’t something that’s “just nuts” have long ago disappeared with the onset of generations that always think they know better than the last generation? You bet it would. And yet, mockers come and go, but Christianity, the real thing, stands firm in its continuance.

Let’s take a look at one of the most mocked portions of Christianity, the fulfillment of prophetic scripture. Fulfilled prophecy is indeed one of the strongest evidences for the Bible. It is unique among books of the world in this respect. There are lots of vague forecasts out there, but nothing comes close to what scripture in the Bible has to say about what has, does and will happen.

Nostrodamus, Jean Dixon, Edgar Cayce and many others have made many predictions, but all too often they sound like horoscopes that are nebulous and could mean anything. A few things invariably do seem to have been fulfilled, but only in the most generalized way, the rest of it is a complete failure, and I suppose, not good fodder for sitcom mockery.

Anyone can be a predictor, of course, based upon individual experiences and attention to patterned details. Scientific forecasters can often make correct short term predictions, weather, stock market trends, and the like. Careful statistical analysis of data can bring about a correct short term prediction. Occultists will tell you they can contact the spirit world and even the demonic world, and some of them have made a few predictions correctly according to their available information. This points to another world though and they would perhaps be best not to prove one side of a coin since inevitably they prove the other side as well. But the information they receive can often be from entities who, although evil in Christian respects, are far from indolent and wouldn’t waste a minute trying to convince you that there is another way besides THE WAY.

But no man, sage, soothsayer, angel or demon can predict specific events and personages that will appear hundreds of years in the future. Only God can do this, and not coincidentally, the Bible is the ONLY place where you can find this kind of prophecy.

Let’s talk about nations that have come and gone. Egypt and Babylonia were two of the big dogs on the block in antiquity. Noph or Memphis, was the capitol of lower Egypt and (No) Thebes was the big capitol of all of Egypt. If you know anything about the archaeology of Egypt you know they were an amazing country, not unlike some of the biggest centers of commerce and industry we have today. Jeremiah 46:19 says, “Noph shall be waste and desolate without an inhabitant.” Ezekiel 30:16 says, “No shall be broken up.” These prophecies were fulfilled centuries later. Ezekiel 29:15 said of Egypt, “It shall be the basest of kingdoms.” Egypt was a great and powerful nation for many centuries after this prophecy, but finally it became a shell of its former self and has remained so since. It was not predicted for extinction, however, as many others were, and in the Bible toward the end times Egypt is still a nation, as it is to this day.

Edom was a small powerful nation that descended from Esau, a Bible figure. Its center stronghold was Mt. Seir, and its capitol was Petra, the rock city. Petra was impregnable and deeply rich. Obadiah 18 says of Edom, “There shall not be any of the remaining of the house of Esau.” Today, the Edomites no longer exist. There isn’t a trace of them.

The same is true of the Philistines. You remember those guys? Philistia was still around about 1200 A.D., think about that, Robin Hood is set around 900 A.D. The nation of Vietnam was founded around 900 A.D. (by two women). Zephaniah says about Philistia, “The word of the Lord is against you, O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will destroy you and there shall be no inhabitant.” Where are they today?

What about big daddy Babylon? Herodotus, the greek historian, reported that Babylon was 15 miles square, surrounded by walls that were 350 feet high and 87 feet wide (thick). 87 feet???? It had avenues, parks and public buildings like downtown New York city. Jeremiah said of Babylon, “The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire.” Many people don’t know this, but Babylon was defeated by its enemy damming up the river that ran through the city from outside, and while the populace had a party, enemy soldiers entered the city through the then empty canal opening.

What about the Assyrian empire that came afterwards? It too was a mighty fortress, a teaming populace. I say this because many times old nations and armies were comparatively small to today’s standards. If you compared the army of the nation of China, over 200 million footmen I believe, to several sections of fans in a football stadium, you get an idea of what a lot of the armies of the day were like, I mean to say 12,000 men was a big army. Zephaniah says of Assyria, “ He will stretch out His hand against the north and destroy Assyria. Nineveh will be dry like a wilderness.” (desert)

The two great cities of the Phoenicians were Tyre and Sidon. Ezekiel says of Tyre, “They shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea.” Today, fisherman work their nets on the rocks where Tyre once stood. The site of ancient Tyre is still quite inhabitable, but the prophecy has now stood in place for over 2000 years. Ezekiel 26:14 says of Tyre, “Thou shalt be built no more.” To this day the site sits desolate with no inhabitants, despite its potential.

Just in case you think it is all a matter of entropy ruling the universe, Tyre’s sister city, Sidon was the target of a different type of prophecy. Ezekiel 28:23 says, “For I will send her into pestilence, and blood into her streets; and the wounded shall be judged in the midst of her with the sword on every side.” Sidon still exists today, she was not predicted for destruction, and she has suffered more war and bloodshed than any other nation on the planet. Sidon has been destroyed in the past and then rebuilt, many times over, but Tyre has never been rebuilt.

Just like Philistia, Ashkelon was another great city that was around in the year 1270 A.D. . Zephaniah says of Ashkelon, “Ashkelon shall be a desolation.” The same prophecy also includes two other cities, Ekron and Gaza. In both cases the prophecy was fulfilled. We can also include Bethel, Samaria, Jerico and in the New Testament, Capernaum, Bethsaida and Chorazin (Matthew 11:20-23) in similar prophecies of desolation and they have ALL been written and fulfilled.

How about the remarkable fore view of world history from the book of Daniel? Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, an actual person documented by archeological science and historical study, has a dream that was interpreted by Daniel, a Jewish boy whom had been taken into exile when Israel was sacked by war. He saw a great statue of a man that represented all the empires of the world. Daniel interpreted the image as four influential dynasties in the coming world history. Babylon, with its gold head was the first empire. The breast and arms were the Meado-Persian Empire (silver), the guys who brought Babylon down. The mid-section was the Greek empire (brass), with Alexander the Great. And the fourth was the Roman empire represented by the iron legs.

The decrease in metal value is relative to the increase in metal strength, since gold is more valuable but also more pliable and lastly iron is less valuable but a lot stronger. The Romans were not only the strongest of the lot, but they existed the longest as do the legs of the whole body. It also split into two capitols at Rome and Constantinople, just like two legs. In fact Rome was still around in the late 1600’s or so in one form or another, just before the American revolution, and there are those who say it still exists as a system, political and religious, but with much less power, symbolized by the clay mix with iron in the feet of the statue.

The sequence of world history has been fulfilled directly and is now in the feet stage (a small stage comparatively) just before the “ten toes” take their form. Hmmm. Not a lot to laugh about there. I don’t need no Mayan calendar to figure out the next movement. While the prophecy given to Daniel is down right scary, there are many other smaller prophecies in the book that deal specifically with events pertaining to the Medo-Persian empire and the Greek empire as well as their respective dealings with Egypt, Syria and Israel. These prophecies are so specific that it makes the nay sayers convinced that the book MUST have been written sometime afterward and MUST be a complete fraud. Those who have studied this book and searched out its validity have come away confirming it, and now the only reason to doubt it is the desire to refute divine inspiration.

And now, I have to ask, What are you gonna do with the Jews??? The continued existence of the Jewish people both exiled and dispersed but still coherent, is a real sticking point against refuting prophecy. The restoration of the nation of Israel in our own time is a rather incredible example of prophecy coming true after hundreds of years of non fulfillment. You can’t just ignore this folks, considering what we have already covered in the fates of past nations that once stood side by side the Jewish nation in history. Genesis 12:2,3 says of Israel, “I will make you a great nation... I will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you and because of you all the families of the world shall be blessed.” Under David and Solomon, Israel became a great nation, historical fact! Nations that have befriended the Jews have also been blessed, the United States, England and France and several others. Nations that have persecuted the Jews; Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Rome, Spain, Nazi Germany and others, including Russia whose communism is now fallen, have all gone down to ruin.

The Bible itself, written by Jewish hands for the most part, has indeed been a blessing to all families of the earth, just about anywhere you can find someone who has been blessed by it. God promised Israel great blessing and promise if they were faithful and also great defeat and shame if they turned from his care. Both of those promises have come true for Israel down through the ages. Jeremiah says of Israel, “And I will deliver them to be removed among all nations of the earth, for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in every place I will drive them.”

Despite all this, there is also a prophecy that Israel will not be exterminated. (Listen up Iraq!) Jeremiah also says, “Though I destroy all nations where I have scattered you, I will not bring an end to you.”

Even more impossible that a nation should retain it’s cohesiveness without a homeland is the miracle of it’s re-establishment hundreds of years later. Yet this is exactly what prophecy has predicted and it is also exactly what has happened.

Even many Bible believing Christians throught for hundreds of years that God was done with Israel, and I have still heard this spoken of today. Many wanted to relegate the involvement of Israel to a spiritual meaning, because they wandered throughout the nations of the earth for so long, but now they are re-assembled in their homeland practically overnight. Not only that, but if you look at current photos of the land of Israel today, you will no longer see a desert of desolation as was once the case for so long. Israel is becoming one of the major exporters of some of the best food stuffs on the planet, literally a rose has bloomed in the desert.

So there really is a great amount of folly in laughing at prophecy, as incredible as it may seem to the ordinary man of today, for one never knows where things may go and what may happen. I’ll talk more on this next time, for there is still much more to be said.

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