Think Of The Homeless

There are over 30 million Americans who live on the streets of our nation. Can you consider giving something to a shelter near you? Your fellow human beings need socks because they walk everywhere. Food and shelter are great too, if they will take them. So please give.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

 Man of Steel

A film that brings the best aspects of the Justice League type Superman to the real live screen, but with just as much depth as the 2-D animated series. Cavill and Adams bring all the best of "actor ability" to their respective parts as Superman and Lois Lane, directed well enough by Snyder to show us their earnest positions and motivations, but we fail to receive much in the way of motivation to root for them. Much as we want to believe that this is a "first contact" type film, Lois Lane seems a bit too ready to accept that she's smack dab in the middle of science fiction type realities that her character can't possibly piece together while in the midst of facing certain death at every turn. Cavill's Clark Kent does a bit better with a boy/man who like many of the audience when they were a child, might often wonder if they are the only one going through strange life moments that may or may not also belong to the rest of the surrounding society. Kent comes out of his bizarre childhood experiences simply befuddled, instead of deeply psychologically scarred, and then somberly comes to grip with the self revelation of his own history which would truly take a SUPER man to come to grips with. We believe his understanding and commitment to his new found life, but boy Kent just doesn't "fall apart" enough to make us want to be glad to root for him once he becomes steady in his new found role.

Michael Shannon's General Zod has an eclectic mix of good and bad points in his own motivation which leaves one actually considering his position as not necessarily wrong, just different from Russel Crowe's Jar-El. Zod is actually a hometown hero who is tragically attempting to maintain the status quo of his society's existence, an existence he is deeply committed to keeping alive. We can understand his position to a point, and even consider that perhaps the concept of genetic engineering, loathed by us Freedom loving Americans, is perhaps better nipped in the bud than allowed to flourish for centuries, before we condemn a man who is only attempting to preserve his way of life. We get his argument position, no matter how seemingly wrong it is, but we're held back once again from committing to him because of his wanton disregard for alien life, namely the Earth's alien life, at the expense of maintaining the dream lost by circumstances beyond his control.

Jar-El and his wife, Lara-Lor Van are tragically accepting of the end of their lives and their world, and this makes them unfortunately one dimensional in comparison to the motivation behind Zod and his people. We CAN root for them... of course.... and the actors bring a sense of grief and inevitability to their roles which sits wholly on one side of the issue. Despite this, they are still off the scale of human empathy to the point where we can commit to feel for them, and the glod-black-silver color motif of Krypton itself is so befret from color and visual relevance for the audience that one feels trapped in an 18th century french mausoleum.

The relief comes from the ordinary humans of Ma and Pa Kent, played with their own understandable somberness by Kevin Costner and Diane Lane. Superman is one lucky guy to have come from heroic, self sacrificing parents and then landed on a world where good and just farmers take him in and give him the stability he needs to deal with an encroaching reality that would turn most kids into psychopaths. Earth itself is damned lucky not to have an unstoppable monster that could have resulted from this scenario, just as easily as the global protector Superman does become. However, in the case of the overall film, only Ma and Pa Kent bring to us the soul and heart we're looking for when supporting the good guys. Costner is great at keeping his shirt on for his son in explaining his son's position and then committing to his own prime directive in dealing with Clark's otherworldly history. Diane Lane proves that beauty has a face at any age, and her Martha Kent is as open and supporting of her adoptive son as we would like to expect ANY mom of Earth to be when her child is set apart from the cumulative standard. These folks we know... we understand and we wish they were a larger part of the overall principle so that their heart and soul could leave us "wowed' when the movie is over.

This is simply not the case, however, as the principles already discussed seem less human in their all too ready acceptance of an incredibly bizarre plot which is understood to be something earth DOESN'T see everyday. In the end, after all the amazing fight scenes from the planet's floor and then out into space and back, we're left with the feeling we've been eating dessert for lunch. Don't get me wrong here, there are some amazing set pieces, and wonderful screen shots that would make classic art posters that few could imagine creating with just a pen and pencil, but is it enough to be able to knock out the audience visually? And you can believe it, it does indeed entertain in that aspect! But it's also hard to ignore the fact that all the explosions and falling buildings and disaster footage could not have gotten past the inevitable death toll that followed the destruction of Metropolis. Superman did have to break a few eggs to make an omelet, but the movie ignores the carnage that we're all becoming increasingly aware of in our own everyday reality, and that too is a bit of a cheat. Superman is as equally wrong in his disregard for the destruction and death that had to follow this movie's plot as Zod was in wanting to terraform Earth at the expense of it's inhabitants. But he's Superman, so we forgive him. .... and really, what choice does he have for most of the events that happen here? Snyder's movie is indeed a tour def force of movie making, I just wish I could have gotten my gut more involved in the proceedings.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My Descent Into Death

By Howard Storm

“I was frightened, exhausted, cold, and lost. It was clear that the help that these terrible beings had first promised was just a ruse to trick me into following them. I was reluctant to go farther, but any hesitation on my part brought abuse and insults. They told me we were almost there, to shut up and take a few more steps.

A few of the voices attempted a conciliatory tone that amused the others. Among themselves the mood was one of excitement and triumph.

For a long time I had been walking with my gaze down to watch my step. When I looked around I was horrified to discover that we were in complete darkness. The hopelessness of my situation overwhelmed me. I told them I would go no farther, to leave me alone, and that they were liars. I could feel their breath on me as they shouted and snarled insults. Then they began to push and shove me about. I began to fight back. A wild frenzy of taunting, screaming, and hitting ensued. I fought like a wild man. As I swung and kicked at them, they bit and tore back at me. All the while it was obvious that they were having great fun. Even though I couldn’t see anything in the darkness, I was aware that there were dozens or hundreds of them all around me and over me. My attempts to fight back only provoked greater merriment. As I continued to defend myself, I was aware that they weren’t in any hurry to annihilate me. They were playing with me just as a cat plays with a mouse. Every new assault brought howls of cacophonous laughter. They began to tear pieces off of my flesh. To my horror, I realized that I was being taken apart and eaten alive, methodically, slowly, so that their entertainment would last as long as possible.

These creatures had once been human beings.” 

When I read the rest of the telling of Howard Storm’s story, the above exchange was a hard one to put away. In fact, it has never really left me since I read the account of his trip through death and back some months ago. The very hard thing to accept was that not only were the creatures who were torturing him now some form of demonized humans who, like himself, had found themselves cast into the outer darkness once they had died... but they were his own people. They were people from his own family, some of which he had known and who were sent forward into the dark at the time of his death to retrieve him and bring him to his final destination.

In a complete reversal of the book “Heaven is for Real”, the story of a trip through what happens when someone dies, related by young Colton Burpo; My Descent Into Death is very much a dark an unflinching re-telling of the trip into the death of an adult atheist who was given a second chance to come back and tell his story.  So while one may look with mild curiosity at the story of a small, 3 year old boy, it is much more difficult to ignore a college professor who always thought that those who wanted to believe in God were just suckers who deserved whatever they got in life.

Howard Storm found himself at the height of his career, the summit of his human power, with all the answers. He had fought the good fight, he had never broken the law of man to achieve it either. Nope, he had simply taken what worked in the reality of man’s existence and laid out his success accordingly. Then suddenly he found himself far from home and deathly ill. One day he was standing on the mountain, the next he was flat on his back bleeding to death internally with no hope coming from the medical community around him.

Having died in his Paris hospital bed, he suddenly found himself standing there staring down at himself, feeling completely disconnected from the flesh and bone before him. As he says, the body in the bed seemed like some other thing, some other object and not really himself. Next to his bed his wife silently sat, her face etched in quiet disbelief and sadness. Before he knew it, there was a doorway with voices from far away calling to him to join them. It was another world, another existence, which as an atheist he had always denied even existed. There would be no arguments, no parrying back and forth about what may or may not be true, or the scholarly interpretation of facts and imaginings. The grey area he had once lived in was now overwhelmingly black. That blackness was beyond debate.

I’ve read a lot of the atheist manifesto about what they believe in reference to God and the Bible and even Angles and their existence.  It’s really something the extent to which they will go to explain how something like Angles don’t really exist and how Satan was just a created concept out of ancient beliefs to only symbolize other created concepts and so on and so on. And I know in my own heart, that it takes a mighty ego to push aside the FACT that the Bible was written over 1500 years by different authors who all ended up composing the same story from beginning to end, or the FACT that Israel as a nation was scattered over the world for hundreds of years and yet remained a nation, or the FACT that millions and millions of people down throughout history have not only KNOWN God personally, but have changed the world with their lives because of him. It takes a big, big ego to see all that and yet say man only believes in God because his mind is not yet evolved beyond a need for there to be a God.

Here, Howard Storm finds himself actually dead, a devout atheist, and even in the throws of vicious attack by those who would probably lead him into an eternal sadistic torturing, he is admonished to pray to God. Finding his situation beyond his ability to argue it away, or even deny it even exists... he is left with no choice but to pray. And pray he does, to his best ability. Nothing he has worked for here on Earth is available to him once he has passed on. No logic. No education. No empathetic reasoning. Only an appeal to God. A God he strove to dismiss all of his life.

Given this chance, the reality of this spiritual existence, formally unseen, spreads wide the gap between what he was sure he knew about the stark reality of man’s existence and the inevitable final end he was now being inexorably drawn into. Retrieved by Angels who don’t exist and being guided by a loving savior, Christ himself, who takes him on a journey through this spiritual world which includes a trip to the Holocaust, Storm’s concept of reality is forever shaken to its roots. Brought back from this journey, and now living with us today, I know it must be difficult to understand how atheists think and feel about God, Jesus (Yashua) and Angelic existence and realize that he was once one of those who spat on the love and immense care that God has for each individual born into the flesh upon Earth.

The lessons he learned from his ordeal and the message he has today for each of us still living in that “grey area” are paramount in their implications regarding how we are to live here in this life and the decisions we make concerning our eternal existence. What does God care about? He cares about people. He cares about you and me. Keep in mind that the risen Christ is risen as an intricate part and at the same time a wholeness of the Godhead who also still retains his human form in which he became a unique creation in the universe. He is people, too. He also understands wholly who and what we are as people, this focus on the hearts of mankind over the immense, incredibly diverse universe, should make everyone hold their collective breath when attempting to “figure out” God.

I could say more, but one needs to read Howard Storm’s book for themselves. And, I certainly hope that when you finally leave this mortal coil, that you will meet your long passed relatives along a beautiful river surrounded by trees whose colors you have never seen, on your way to a party that will never end; and you will not meet them in the tragic way described in this book.

Yashua, the sacred name.   

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Con men: Snake Oil in the New Millennium
One might be amazed in this day and age of high technology and supposedly higher education that con men still exist. Indeed they do, and still today many thousands of people are given a “financial shiv” for even considering the wares that are promoted to the public. Some con men have made a decade of living off of selling junk to the public in the form of fraudulent business operations and made millions, no matter how far fetched the deals may seem to the persons who come across their unscrupulous paths.

In the movie “Boiler Room”, there is an excellent representation of how just such an operation works. Although in this case the movie is about stock brokers, much of the same motis operandi still applies to the real criminal organizations. It’s a contest to see who wins and who loses. If the salesman gets your money, he wins. Guess who loses?  Boiler rooms still do exist, and are often raided by the Feds, sometimes in multiple locations as they move from place to place preying on the public.

And it can all seem rather innocent and legal. They can run ads on television for something like an internet kiosk business opportunity.  Investors can make millions they say, with these kiosks set up in high traffic areas like airports and shopping malls. For a small fee, travelers can do business on the kiosk or check email and such. This was of course, way before the technology that we all have today, and was a great idea based on finding a need and filling it.

Interested parties were told that they could make about $30,000 dollars on one of these kiosks. But, of course, this would never happen. Sold at markups that would seem embarrassing, they could have taken in about $17 million in eight months time. Employees in the offices of these boiler rooms often would not even know there was a criminal organization giving them employment.

When the Federal Police arrest these criminals, they often go to jail for maybe three years or so. And YOU KNOW what happens next.

The people who run these scams love to hear you say how obvious a scam is, and how they would never fall for it. They love to hear it because you would be surprised at the professional level of those who do fall for them. Just like in the movie, “Boiler Room”; these people don’t want to chat with the so called “stupid” people who fall for “get rich quick” scams. They want people with money. Now and then, of course, there is the young person who has just gotten an inheritance from a dying parent and is fresh for fleecing, but that is small potatoes to the professional scam artist.

They want persons with $50,000 to invest. Those people are often doctors, lawyers, engineers and college professors. Fraud is a crime that anyone can fall for. All it takes is the right con man and the right victim. The victim with the right buttons to push.

These are dangerous predators, make no mistake about it. If they set their mind to have you hand over your grandma’s insurance money and her gold coins, they will make it happen. How will you know them? They will usually say one thing every time: “You and I are going to make a lot of money together.”

I have written in this blog before about the car dealership industry in my article: “Car Dealership Hell” and mentioned how the industry actually favors hiring ex-cons because they don’t mind the way car dealerships do business. Personally, having seen the workings from the inside, I am amazed that ANY dealership isn’t outlawed in every state. But, for the boiler room con artist trade, it’s the drug user who is favored. They actually like the experienced person who will do anything for that next fix, and if that means saying anything and everything to get you to sign over the mortgage from underneath your family’s feet, then so be it.

It begins with the assuming of a social mask, a phoney persona, if you will. In a deceitful acting job the seller comes off as a person that seems legitimate. This is someone who is confident and successful on the phone, even if the reality is that he sleeps in his car.

Just like in the real “sales training”, the workers are told to imagine themselves in the big office, driving the Ferarri. They are the college football hero with trophies on the wall, pictures of their smart kids entering Harvard or Stanford for a bright future.

They are the big wig everyone wants a piece of, whom everyone wants to know because they figured it all out. They found the magic coin that turned failure into a King’s ransom. The idea is that when you finally ask for the money... and we’re talking hundreds of thousands here, their is no hesitation whatsoever in implying that the client on the phone isn’t going to be making the next entrance to easy street.

Understand this now, what I have said here is the key to understanding how drug addicts can persuade successful professionals into writing ridiculous checks without any investigation of their own. They are charming, forward thinkers with pin striped tailored shirts that have white cuffs and collars and a watch and chain hanging between their vest pockets. They have no conscience or love for their fellow man. They are street corner thugs without a gun, but with a million dollar smile instead.

Amazingly, a business can hire professional actors and run commercials right there on television with the late night movie. I personally know of a scam business that paid for a news segment on a morning show to advertise their “opportunity”. (In the guise of a news item) This was a “personal assistant” business on the outside, but inside it was a “money mule” smuggle. Thousands and thousands of people respond to these advertisements based on the appearance of a famous face, and it’s all a sham. The poor actors are paid for their read and their presence for the veil of legitimacy and then they leave when the contract is fulfilled. (Imagine having been a kid who just wanted to act, only to grow up and finding this kind of thing a reality.)

So how can this happen? How can successful smart people get conned so easily? Well, its all about the cloud of emotion. If you think you can’t fall for a scam, just be careful not to underestimate your emotions. We all have emotional needs, and they make us vulnerable. Fraud victims can’t separate their emotional needs from financial decisions and that is what makes them easy prey.

Getting a person emotionally confused is the first step to putting you under the “spell”. Yes, salesman everywhere know this is a sales tactic. Just try to talk to a car salesman’s customer when he is getting something from his office, he might pull a gun on you for messing with his “magic spell”. It’s called “under the ether” when they have a client in the fuzzy state where one doesn’t know which way is up. Once you are fuzzy and emotional, or in the case of the car salesman; once you have been in the dealership for eight hours and are worn out, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. You are fodder for the slaughter. (By the way, never give your keys to the salesman so he can move your car for you, they will throw them on the roof to keep you there until you buy.)

Need and greed are two of their most powerful tools for making you their victim. Once salesmen begin to engage you in the personal questions mode, the game has begun. I have had salesmen tell me that this is not true, right in the middle of a sale as if he had not even started on the presentation yet, but I know better. The sale begins with “hello.” Don’t you ever believe anything else. The conceit is that no one anywhere has ever had sales training and no one knows how it works or what they are doing, but if you’re reading this, you do now. So don’t be bullied into believing I am just a sore loser or some such thing. This is the truth.

Once your conversation sounds like a first date, you are being sold. “How many kids do you have?” “Are you paid off on your house?” Even scam artists know where to look for button pushing in your life. Once you start thinking about problem solving and NOT whether or not something is a scam, they have you right where they want you.

If one uses logic to deal with the sale, one would walk away every time. Your hard earned money is better off in your pocket or bank account than in some ”opportunity” presented by a complete stranger. But in a world where we are constantly fed “Nihilistic” philosophy; that is... that man is alone in the universe.... the more we tend to want to believe that the only fix to our problems comes from ourselves and the quick acquisition of fortune when it suddenly appears.

The other side of it is the promise of huge sums of money. For many people this is a life long dream, and they are already in love with any idea that looks like it can deliver.

Older people get scammed all the time because they are sitting on a nice, hefty, life long build up. The emotional needs of an elderly person are much more fragile. Ever ask how the grand kids are? You know what comes next. They have some real world concerns, things like having a fixed income or an economy that is leaving them behind... not to mention a world that places them on the fringe until they leave the world for good. With these folks, button pushing is easy and the tiger traps don’t have to be too deep.

One may not realize it, but there are traps everywhere, hiding in plain sight. Much of what you see in oil and gas deals, or bogus business opportunities, or even gold coin offers; are really just tools for stealing your hard earned money by convincing you to turn it over. Men are usually the biggest targets for these kinds of flim flam deals. Man is full of ego and “alpha male” type psychology, and that is all driven by their emotions. Insecurity is a silent partner, and “never feeling adequate enough” is the guy who lives in the guest room.

As I have said here, the sale begins with hello. If the guy on the phone can get you to do something, then he’s only a few steps away from getting you to do anything. If you are even directed to just write down the salesman’s name, because “it’s a name you will never want to forget”, then you have let the wolf in the door. Telling the guy you’ll just grab a pen and be right back is a big part of it, but it’s HOW you do it that tips the guy off. Rolling over emotionally and turning your brain off will cause you to come across as submissive. They have a sixth sense when this happens, and you are already sold, and sold hard... you just don’t know it yet.

Getting emotional quickly and forgetting the logic of it all is like placing the word “sucker” on your forehead. And conversely, if you investigate too strongly, ask too many questions or want to review with a lawyer first, the guy on the phone will probably hang up. It happens this way in car dealerships, too. If you insist too hard on having things that fit YOUR budget, and not the dealership’s profit, they just might angrily tell you to get lost. I’m putting that nicely for my readers. You had better not pull out a calculator either, or you will incur the wrath of hell. But, think of it this way, those are sure fire exit strategies if you ever need them.

Suckers don’t ask questions... they answer anything the sales guy asks. They don’t read paperwork, they don’t look for why the offer is a scam... they want the salesman to babysit them. You can always ask them for verification of the offers productivity, but you’ll be deferred to do so until after the call is over. At that time it will be too late. Funny thing about people is they often just want to hear the sales guy confirm legitimacy, rarely do they ever do their own homework. Scammers know this, and they count on the public’s “lemming” type thinking.

I know there are many of you who have seen the ads for reverse mortgages on TV. There are some older actors who seem legit and remind the home owner of his or her younger years, but these too can very easily be only a scam. If your home is worth $500,000 and you have paid it off, then you have $500,000 in the bank. Scammers know this, and they spend a lot of time just coming up with entire promotions to make you think about situations you would probably never consider otherwise, to loosen up your “invisible” money.

Why leave that equity for the grand kids, when you could turn it liquid now and invest in my dried up oil well? Wouldn’t a thriving oil well pay off better than the equity quietly sitting in your home value? They want you to think so. And remember, those commercial actors often know nothing about the veracity of the offer, they are just doing an acting job.

Not everything is a scam, of course, but often times the deal is a better one for the salesman than it is for you. I simply don’t understand how anyone can live with themselves working in sales. I really don’t know. Tell your grandma never to sign anything that some stranger gives her for taking out a loan with the bank and making investments. Make sure there is always someone who knows the legalities of any agreement before pen goes to paper. I say this because, going to the lawyer afterwards will get you invited to the door quicker than you can imagine. No one can really help you once you have signed to an agreement.

It isn’t only the real estate market which can be operated in an unregulated fashion, much to the hurt of the relator industry, but also the coin industry goes unregulated. Gold and silver coins can be sold today at stupid prices and their total lack of value won’t be discovered until years later when the trail has gone cold. I am not talking small change here either, one could pay around $25,000 dollars for those “once in a life time rare coins”, only to find they are worth only a few thousand dollars a decade later.

Just try and remember folks, in a fallen world, there are many people who do the will of their father, and that will can be very harmful to you and your loved ones. Be smart with money, learn discipline and teach it to your kids early. There are sharks in the water.... and they want your life blood.

...and oh yes, one more thing. NEVER finance your car through a dealership. NEVER! Listen to me, not them. You’ll thank me.
Ah! There he is!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Though this section is devoted to the Babylonians, the Assyrians 
deported thousands of captives after their defeat of the Judeans 
in 700B.C. Here a group of men, women and children are leaving 
Lachish after it was sacked and burned by Sennacherib's army. 
Some road in ox drawn carts, but others were forced to walk hundreds 
of miles to Assyria. A sudden plague stopped them at Jerusalem, 
but in this campaign Assyria captured 46 towns


Anguished Prophet of Disaster 

Part 3


The First Exiles to Babylonia

When the Babylonian forces first marched on Judah in 604 B.C., King Jehoiakim gave up without so much as a struggle and paid heavy tribute to Nebuchadnezzar. In 601, the Egyptians won a major battle against Babylon and forced them to retreat back to their homeland. Jehoiakim made a foul error in rebelling against the Babylonian overlords at that time. The Babylonian king, still rebuilding his army, sent several vassal states against Judah before finally sending his own army to finish the job.

Before any action could be taken against the imminent attack, Jehoiakim died without warning. His son, the 18 year old Jehoiachin, was thrust into the role of King just in time to face the legions that were surrounding the capital. After three months of siege the city surrendered on March 15, 597.

Many treasures from the temple were carted away by the invaders, though the capital was hardly effected. Jehoiachin and all his peoples; the nobles, the soldiers and influential citizens, skilled craftsmen and “celebrities”, were all taken away as prisoners to Babylon. Zedekiah, the Kings uncle, was installed as the ruler pro-temp. He was a weak leader, one who was constantly being influenced by those who wanted a return to independence from Babylon.

Jeremiah, watching these things unfold, demanded that the nation accept its fate in payment for violating the Lord’s covenant. He then, as is obvious, became even more unpopular to the citizenry at large. He was regarded as turncoat by many. To dramatize the need to submit to God’s judgement of Judah, he wore a yoke around his neck for months in the streets and in the temple precincts.
Babylon's Ishtar Gate guarded the northern entrance to the city.
It lead to the Processional way, a road that passed in front
of Nebuchadnezzar's palace.  Brick was the standard building
 material in a land almost without ANY stone. 

Zedekiah and his compliment were one day plotting a revolt when Jeremiah sent them all a message. His message from God went like this: “If any nation will not serve the King of Babylon, I will punish that nation with the sword, with famine and with pestilence.”

“Bring your necks under the yoke of Babylon, and serve the King and his people.” Whatever may have been the case for Zedekiah’s next action, cannot be fully said, however, Zedekiah did indeed abandon the conspiracy.

Jeremiah then sent word to the Judean exiles in Babylon telling them to submit to the rule of the Babylonians, for it was God’s will that they remain for seventy years after which they would be restored to Judah with all their fortunes and peoples from all the nations. This did, of course mean, in terms of generations, that only the children would return to Judah and those taken away had been exiled for good.

Back in Judah, nationalist factions continued to press for independence. Nine years went by, and Zedekiah finally gave in to them. Ignoring Jeremiah’s warnings, he declared independence. Nebuchadnezzar, now at full strength, bulldozed through Judah. Azekah, Lachish and Jerusalem were the only cities left at one point, and put  up a mighty resistance, but to no avail. In December of 589, Babylonian soldiers hammered at the walls of Jerusalem.

Jewish exiles wept for their lost city by the waters of Babylon. No doubt they felt strongly that they had betrayed their ancestry and destroyed the legacy their forefather's had suffered and died for. In this painting derived from excavations, the Euphrates river runs past Babylon's western wall. A temple of Marduk and a huge ziggurat, (South America?) dominated the city's enclosure. Already 1000 years old when Nebuchadnezzar was king, this 300 foot tower could have been the Tower of Babel  
One does have to wonder though, how a people can expect to reach heaven 
with a base that isn't the breadth of a mountain like Mount Everest. 

Zedekiah sent a delegation to Jeremiah to ask for counsel from on high. Jeremiah’s response was, for all intents and purposes, a snubbing of the King and his wishes. He was told that only those who surrender will live. All those who resist are destined for death. The King of Babylon will purify the land with fire, he told the King, and his own anguish at the news sent Jeremiah weeping once again.

Surprisingly, an Egyptian army invaded Judah and the Babylonians withdrew from Jerusalem to deal with the new threat. Undaunted, Jeremiah continued to press for surrender from the people. When he tried to leave the city to visit his homeland, he was arrested as a traitor and brought before the ruling council, who had him beaten and thrown in a dungeon. He was there for three days before King Zedekiah sent for him. There in his home, the two secretly spoke.

Excavation of the city of Babylon

Zedekiah pleaded with him for a word from the Lord. Jeremiah flatly informed him that he would be turned over to the King of Babylon. Zedekiah reduced Jeremiah’s sentence to a mere house arrest despite his disappointment at the bad news Jeremiah always seemed to have.

The respite lasted almost two years before Babylon picked up where they left off before leaving to deal with the Egyptians. Jeremiah’s renewed  insistence on surrender resulted in the people calling for his execution as a seditionist, and the King agreed, placing him in a deep cistern filled with mud to await his demise.

An Ethiopian named Ebed-melech, pleaded for Jeremiah’s life and the King, ever wavering, had Jeremiah lifted from the cistern. A few days later he once again inquired of Jeremiah if indeed there was any hope for the city. Jeremiah would no longer cooperate under the usual terms and refused to answer unless his life was sworn to be safe from the King and his peoples. With that promise made, Jeremiah told him once more, “Surrender and your life will be spared. The city will not be burned and the people will live.”

Zedekiah simply could not bring himself to come under the direction of Jeremiah’s prophetic warnings and the siege continued. In the city, food supplies dwindled, water became scarce and suffering increased in leaps and bounds. Jeremiah, still imprisoned, was given a loaf of bread each day until all the bread was gone. The summer heat was now an added enemy of Jerusalem as the smell of rotted corpses filled the air. Babylonian soldiers made ready outside the gates with giant battering rams, ready to knock down the walls of the slowly dying city. The next step, as one can imagine, was the people of the city turning to cannibalism.

In July of 587, the walls were breached and Babylonian warriors flooded into the city. Zedekiah ran from the city with some of his people but was soon re-captured near Jericho. In Riblah, north of Damascus, he was forced to watch his sons executed. He was then blinded and taken in chains to Babylon where he died in prison.

As was true to the word of Jeremiah, Nebuchadnezzar had the city razed and looted. The buildings and walls were flattened and the people were slaughtered and left to decompose on the open ground. To our day and time, the ninth day of Ab, the Jewish people have remembered this day as a day of mourning.

Jeremiah was now about 60 years old and spared by the King of Babylon for his insistence on surrender. Brought to Ramah, about 2 miles north of Jerusalem, a Babylonian official told him that he had free reign to do as he pleased, to go where he desired. His choice was to remain in his homeland. The government of Judah was now relocated to Mizpah, about 8 miles north of Jerusalem. Gedaliah, a former prime minister, was now appointed leader of the government. To Mizpah Jeremiah went, to his home, but with a broken heart over the fate of Judah.

Things went well under Gedaliah for quite a few years until a "rabble rouser" named Ishmael began making noise of a resistance with the King of Ammon. IN 582, during a banquet, Ishmael’s group turned on Gedaliah and his people and slaughtered them. The next day they moved forward and made many citizens their prisoners, including Jeremiah.

A Captain Johanan and his group of loyalists, crushed the rebel forces but allowed Ishmael and his people to escape. Babylonian retaliation was now a very real fear. “What to do now?” Everyone wondered. Flight to Egypt seemed the best recourse. Jeremiah prayed for ten days for guidance and then advised them all to remain in Judah. Once again, however, no one listened to him. Johanan’s group fled to Egypt dragging Jeremiah along with them. (One would have to wonder just how many things have to come to pass for a prophet before anyone pays him any

With the murder of the Babylonian officials  by the rebels yet un-avenged, Babylon returned to  carry away still more of the citizens who yet remained. A Samarian governor was placed in charge and settlers from Edom, Ammon and Moab moved in to merge with the remaining Judeans. Thus the Israelite social order and religious identity were all but swallowed up.

Jeremiah never saw his beloved land again. He strove to keep the Israelite identity alive among the people who now lived in Egypt and may or may not have died in that country. Some say  it was Jeremiah who sailed a boat to the eastern shores of what is now known as Ireland with the young red headed princess of the King of Israel known as “Tea Tephi”, in the line of King David and that is where one of the lost ten tribes has now spread forth throughout northern Europe, but that is perhaps a story for another time... another day.

Tea Tephi?

Jeremiah’s prophecies gave renewed hope to those carried away in exile and those dispersed throughout the world.

“Surely the little ones of their flock shall be dragged away. Surely their fold shall be appalled at their fate. At the sound of the capture of Babylon the earth shall tremble, and Babylon’s cry shall be heard among the nations.”

“Israel and Judah have not been forsaken by their God, the Lord of hosts... Babylon must fall for the slain of Israel. As for Babylon have fallen the slain of all the Earth.”                     

Escape The Hezbollah