Severe Weather + Mr. Miyagi

Friday, June 12th, 2020

Severe Weather + Mr. Miyagi, Audio Version

In this blog post, I wish to take you to the Nile delta, where I invite you close your eyes and imagine some extremely severe weather. Picture a severe and intense thunder storm, with lots of rumbling, tremendous explosive cracks, and frequent, intense flashes of lightning. Now add some sustained heavy hail — extremely heavy hail, pummeling your rooftop for a prolonged period of time. The sound of the thunder and the hail terrifies everyone, especially the crying children. The hail is coming down so hard that you wonder if your roof can withstand the intensity of the bombardment, not to mention the weight of the accumulating hailstones. If you briefly consider whether to run outside to bring your animals to shelter, you immediately banish the thought. It is far too dangerous. You realize that you simply cannot go out there, because the bodily risk to yourself is too great. The surprising size and sheer speed of the hailstones could severely injure or even kill you. Sadly, neither the animals nor the maturing crops will survive out there; nor would you, should you foolishly go out there. You have no choice but to cower in fear as you shelter in place, until this ferocious and fearsome storm finally passes. 

What you might not know is that your national leaders were actually forewarned about it. They had been told in advance that this destructive storm was going to occur. They had a heads-up. They had been given a very accurate weather forecast. Not only were they told that the storm was coming, they were advised to tell the populace to protect themselves, their families, their animals, and their neighbors. Some of your leaders took heed of the forewarning and spread the word. But many of them scoffed and chose to ignore it. They chose to ignore it because they did not like the messenger. They held him and his unknown god in disdain.     

The Book of Exodus says that this historically unprecedented hailstorm actually pummeled the property of the polytheistic Egyptians. This plague was the seventh of the ten plagues visited upon the Egyptians and their obstinate Pharaoh.

Exodus 9:20-21 says this: “Then whoever feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh hurried his slaves and his livestock into the houses; but whoever did not pay attention to the word of the LORD left his slaves and his livestock in the field.” 

Everything hinged on how the servants of Pharaoh responded to the word of the LORD. Did they fear the word of the LORD or not? Did they consider the word of the LORD credible or not? Were they humble enough to accept what they heard and act upon it? Some of them were, some were not.

Consider that. Put yourself in their sandals. It is sobering.

Enough said? I could end this blog post right here. If I say nothing more, I have given you enough to consider for today. But I want to connect this to my over-arching objective. If you have followed my previous posts, you know I have one over-arching objective, which is to interpret the timely and pertinent Book of Revelation.

Do you remember the character Mr. Miyagi from the movie Karate Kid? The movie came out when I was a teenager. Karate was a popular martial-art back in the 80s. Near the beginning of the movie, a would-be martial arts student played by Ralph Macchio asks Mr. Miyagi to teach him karate. Mr. Miyagi agrees, but first asks his eager teenage student to paint his fence and wax his car. Mr. Miyagi insists that Ralph paint his fence in a very exact and somewhat strange way, using a particular up-down vertical form. Mr. Miyagi also insisted that Ralph wax his car in a very exact and somewhat strange way, using a particular clockwise/counter-clockwise circular form. What Mr. Miyagi did not explain up front was that Ralph would actually be learning karate moves by painting as instructed and by waxing as instructed. Ralph was learning proper karate techniques without even realizing it. Painting a particular way was a karate technique. Waxing a particular way was another karate technique. Ralph nearly gave in to impatience and gave up on Mr. Miyagi before everything was explained. There was a method to Mr. Miyagi’s madness. 

There is a method to my historical madness. Through many of the historical accounts I portray, I am walking my readers or listeners through the events that I believe are subtly referenced in the Book of Revelation. Sometimes I talk about other historical events, simply because I enjoy doing so; I was a history major, after all. But more often than not, I focus on the events to which the Book of Revelation refers or alludes. The seventh plague on Egypt is one such allusion. In context of the whole plague-filled chapter, Revelation 8:7 seems to subtly point back to the hailstorm of Exodus chapter nine. If so, why? Why does Revelation 8:7 point back to seventh plague on Egypt? I want to suggest that the answer may have something to do with how someone hears and responds to the word of the LORD. Does that person fear and heed the word of the LORD? Or does that person scoff at the word of the LORD and reject it?  

If my reading is right, then the hail represents the judgment of God. Those who heed the word of the LORD are protected when judgment passes through. Those who do not heed the word of the LORD are pummeled and suffer loss.   

Take heed to the weather forecast. Take heed to the word of the LORD.

Pentecost Pandemonium

Monday, June 1st, 2020

A Panda at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.
Pentecost Pandemonium, Audio Version

In a nod to the calendar, I ought to mention that yesterday was Pentecost Sunday. Yesterday was Holy Spirit distribution and installation day. Yesterday was the birthday of the Church Universal. She is almost 2,000 years old, or young. Happy Birthday, Bride of Christ!  

It was a rough birthday for the Church, though. At least, it was rough here. This past weekend fit the definition of pandemonium. Protests, unrest, rioting, vandalism, and looting occurred in many cities across the United States. Here in this country, we had plenty of pandemonium on Pentecost. The pandemonium was everywhere on social media and everywhere in the news. It was nearby; and it was unsettling. Even now, we are hoping and praying it all calms down.  

Until someone else mentioned that it was Pentecost, I had forgotten. Yesterday we spent part of the day visiting my parents. One of them mentioned that it was Pentecost. “Oh, yeah,” I thought as I was startled to recollection. I had completely forgotten. The pandemonium of the previous days had me preoccupied. Until that moment, immediate circumstances and events had loomed a lot larger than a long-past historical event, however significant. The immediate overwhelmed the permanent. Yet the spiritual effects of Pentecost are permanent and eternal, while this present pandemonium is only sporadic and passing. The Holy Spirit is here to stay, as long as the Church remains on Earth below. 

Did you know that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost is referenced symbolically in the Book of Revelation? I did not know that until last year. But I hope to show it to you and convince you that it is there. The birthday of the Church Universal is mentioned in Revelation. More accurately, it is symbolically depicted in Revelation. But the depiction is easy to miss, because it is veiled in oblique references to the Old Testament and in surprising symbolism. 

Are you ready? The Pentecostal birthday of the Church Universal is depicted in Revelation chapter 8, verse 7. If you go read it, you’ll come away wondering if I am a bit crazy. You may suspect that I’m seeing things that are not there. A trumpet is blown. Hail and fire follow, mixed with blood. The hail, the fire, and the blood are thrown upon the earth. A third of the earth is burned up. A third of the trees are burned up. All the green grass is burned up.  

Is this fulfilled literally or symbolically?

Yep, that is Pentecost. That is how Revelation depicts the Pentecostal birthday of the Church way back in the first century AD. Admittedly, this claim requires a lot of interpreting and explaining. I cannot do it all here, because it will take too long. But I will, eventually. Let me say a few initial things here. First, the seven trumpets symbolically depict seven chronological events, most of which have already occurred. The first four occurred in the first century. Those first century events can be precisely named and dated. The first event is the Pentecostal birth of the Church Universal, which you can read about non-symbolically in Acts chapter 2.

None of this makes any sense unless you pick up on the fact that the seven trumpets are decoded by referencing the Old Testament. What is symbolized by the hail, the fire, and the blood? These are actually allusions, or subtle references, to Old Testament events and prophecies. Once you know that, you can begin to piece together what the events and prophecies point to. You can begin connecting the dots. In the case of the first trumpet, the dots connect in a portrait of Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church. 

You don’t need to believe me yet. Just give me a chance to make my case, which I will attempt to do in upcoming posts.