Assembled at Armageddon?

Armageddon
While reading through Revelation I again run upon something that intrigues me. In the 16th chapter verse 16 of Revelation states, “And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” I am curious to find out what the author of Revelation meant when he wrote these words and more importantly, what is this statement representative of. In the verses leading up to the 16th verse the reader sets the scene for the assembly of a battle that is apparently about to ensue. “The original Hebrew word Har–Magedon literally means “Mountain of Megiddo.” Although no such literal mountain existed, a place known as Megiddo does exist. It is located at a strategic crossroads in the northwest of the area inhabited by the ancient nation of Israel. Many decisive battles were fought near that location. Therefore, the name Megiddo became associated with war.” Since many believe that the word Armageddon does not in fact represent the “end times,” but does however, represent a battle between good and evil, so writes the author of Revelation. The author sort of sets the stage for what is to come in the battle between good and evil, but after verse 16 the author doesn’t elaborate any further on the battle of Armageddon.” “Smiths Smaller Bible Dictionary gives the hill or city of Megiddo as the scene of the struggle of good and evil and this is suggested by the fact that the place had been a battlefield previously. The Plain of Esdraelon was famous for two great victories, involving the defeat of Sisera the Canaanite and Gideon’s rout of the Midianites, and also for two great disasters, the deaths of Saul and Jonathan and the defeat of King Josiah.” This to me makes perfect since as to why the author would use the battle field of Armageddon for a representative image of what is to come for this battle between good and evil. Again, like many other instances throughout the Bible, the author is relating to something that his audience would have a strong recollection of, and know very well to better represent what the author is trying to get across. This of course is all speculation amongst researchers, but I believe that the evidence is profound to what is being represented by the author of Revelation. The book of Revelation is a perplexing one to say the least, and will continue to intrigue generations to come.

Works Cited
http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2012082
http://www.ensignmessage.com/calledarmageddon.html

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A Star Named Wormwood?

WORMWOOD
As we all know, the book of Revelation has many perplexing aspects hidden within its words. While reading through the assignment with week I came across something that I thought was very interesting, that being a star named Wormwood. In chapter 8 verse 11 the book of Revelation reads, “The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter.” This verse got my mind rolling in the idea of what exactly is wormwood and why is it associated with a star in this sense. In the way that the book of Revelation mentions this wormwood, it is quite obvious that it is associated with something that is undesirable because of John’s use of the word bitter. If you are unfamiliar with the taste of something undesirable or even the task of many poisons, so it is said that poisons have a bitter taste which leads me to believe this is the idea in which John is trying to explain with what he has seen. “Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) is a perennial plant or shrubby plant found all over the world. Its appearance is characterized by deeply-incised leaves and small yellow flowers. Literally and somewhat metaphorically, wormwood often grows in waste places. The leaves are bitter-tasting, and so the word wormwood is also defined as a description of something grievous and bitter.” Perhaps the name of this bitter plant was drawn from this area of scripture, or this could have been the medium in which John was using in order to get his point across about the wormwood. The second part of the verse is important as well, “..and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter.” What exactly is John trying to describe to us in the second part of this verse? Because of the wormwood infecting the waters, many people died from the water; again John is I believe using this as a metaphor for what is to come of those who drink of the bitter water, which is what many believe to be the “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” “This phrase catches our attention because in the other trumpet calls, people who lose their souls from the apostasy are seen as symbols such as grass or sea water. Here men are men (men and women by current usage). I believe that the “men” here are also symbolic. The term emphasizes the atheistic reliance on humanity, feeling no need of God.” This topic like most others in the book of Revelation is prophecies for what is to come to those who do not heed to what the spirit of the Lord is sending to them. Without getting theological it is interesting to divulge into the topics to see what exactly the author was talking about and in this sense to see the medium through which he might have traveled in order to describe to his audience what he needed to.

Works Cited
http://www.mgr.org/wormwood.html
http://www.bibleexplained.com/revelation/r-seg07-08/r08g-3rd-trump-v10.htm

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Digging into Something New

jesus-praying
As we all know this class’ goal is to discussion the Bible simply as a work of literature with the effort of trying to avoid theological discussions. (Which I will say I believe we do this rather well). Most of us in the class are un-aware of the others faith or “denomination,” or even if they belong to a church at all. I will divulge some personal information and say that I am not a member of the “Baptist” sect of Christianity. You should know however that I am a Christian and I am a member of a church, the sect of Christianity I will not disclose, I’ll let you figure it out on your own. With that being said I have wanted to do this for a while and I am quite excited about researching the “Baptist” faith. Why you ask? Well, mostly because many, many of my close friends are of the “Baptist” denomination which has always intrigued me to try and spot the differences between my sect and theirs. “The Baptist tradition is one of the largest of the Protestant Christian denominations. Most Baptist churches agree with the basic Protestant doctrines, but they stress the belief that only Christian believers should be baptized (called “believer’s baptism”) and that this baptism should occur by immersion, a practice they trace back to the early Church.” Like any other denomination the Baptist church has its fair share of differences between different sects even within the Baptist faith. Many of my friends are from different sects of the Baptist faith and many will argue over something as simple as one single verse in the Bible that accounts for less than .5% of the Bible, it’s silly really. Not picking on the Baptist faith whatsoever, this is a problem across the board that I have personally seen across all denominations, mostly in the way in which different aspects of the Bible are translated amongst believers. I wanted to know though, how in fact the Baptist church got its start. Much like the Catholic Church many people of the Baptist faith claim they can trace the church lineage back hundreds and hundreds of years. This quote is particularly helpful in understand just where the Baptism church originated. “In years past, some folks affirmed that a church was begun by John the Baptist during his personal ministry. However, we find that most have given up that idea. The New Testament does speak of a church but not until after John died. Frank S. Mead said, “It is often heard among them (Baptists, jfd) that they have no founder but Christ and that Baptists have been preaching and practicing from the days of John the Baptist. That is true in a limited sense; there were certainly men and women holding what have come to be considered distinctly Baptist principles all across the years. But as a church, or as organized churches, they began in Holland and England.” I think it’s particularly interesting that the Baptist church draws their name from John the Baptist; this is something that makes perfect since to me but prior to this I was unaware exactly where the name was from. I hope that if you are in fact of the Christian faith, we as a whole can come together and agree to disagree so to speak. “Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the Churches of Christ greet you.” (Romans 16:16)

Works Cited
http://www.patheos.com/Library/Baptist.html
http://www.truthmagazine.com/archives/volume27/GOT027052.html
The Literary Study Bible. General Editors: Leland Ryken & Philip Graham Ryken. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Bibles.2007

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The Earth was Created with Water?


While reading through the book of 2 Peter, I read a verse that sort of boggled my mind in the sense of the way in which Peter described a particular event from the Old Testament. In 2 Peter chapter 3 verses 5 the Bible states, “For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God.” This verse got my mind churning in the way in which the earth was formed according to the Bible. We know through the Bible that God put everything into existence, but it is common thought amongst Christians that God created the earth according to what is written in Genesis in the first chapter. “for as these men were such as had professed Christianity, and had the advantage of revelation, and had the opportunity of reading the Scriptures, they might have known that the heavens and the earth were from the beginning; and that they were made by the word of God; and that the earth was originally in such a position and situation as to be overflowed with a flood, and that it did perish by a general inundation; and that the present heavens and earth are kept and reserved for a general burning; and it might be discerned in nature, that there are preparations making for an universal conflagration; but all this they chose not to know, and affected ignorance of.” I like the way in which this individual sets up this verse in that from the beginning God knew ultimately that he would destroy the wicked of the world with a flood that would engulf the entire earth. Peter sort of draws from this belief in the way he lays out his verse, Peter sort of explains the earth after the flood as the beginning of the earth much like it was with Adam and Eve. Peter then goes on to explain in his letter that like from the beginning of time the earth was going to be destroyed. The first time the earth was destroyed with water, and as Peter goes on to explains the earth will ultimately be destroyed with fire on the Day of Judgment. “Peter’s first argument is that the world is not eternally stable. The point he is making is that the ancient world was destroyed by water, just as the present world is going to be destroyed by fire. The detail of this passage is, however, difficult.” I agree in the way in which this source explains similarly the way in which I comprehend the scripture. The verse is indeed difficult to understand exactly what Peter is trying to explain, and the point he is trying to get across to his readers. Ultimately, I believe from the research presented, that Peter wasn’t necessarily dwelling on the way in which the earth was created but rather trying to get his point across to his audience that the end was in fact near.

Works Cited
1. http://www.pbministries.org/Landmark_Baptist/Seminary/Bible_Study_Courses/2Peter/2_peter_gill03.htm

2. http://www.ldolphin.org/peterflood.html

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Be Sure to be Properly Seasoned?

Salt
While reading through the book of Colossians I stumbled upon verses 5 and 6 located in chapter 4 of Colossians which states, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” I believe that this verse gives an overall insight to the way in which a follower of Christ should conduct one’s self to others whom are outside of the faith, however, to others reading this passage I believe it would be easily taken out of context in the way in which the apostle Paul instructs the recipients of this letter to be “seasoned,” so to speak. “But what does Paul mean when he says “Seasoned with Salt” … Jesus used Salt to express how we as Christians would be Salted with fire (Holy Spirit) which means we would be fiery or passionate. Jesus goes on to say that if salt loses its flavor, we would not use it on our food therefore if we as Christians lose the salt (passion) we are useless to the Ministry. Mark 10:49-50” Paul in saying “Seasoned with salt” is using an expression that has been used before this by those who he is striving to be like and striving to spread the word of, like Jesus. I believe that Paul used this analogy because it is something that is well known to the audience reading it. Most everyone in the world is familiar to the way in which salt will enhance the flavor of just about anything it is applied to which gives the relativity for Paul’s statements. It is also clear that Paul is giving instructions to those who are receiving this letter that there will be others coming to them that will be sent by Paul himself, and Paul almost gives instruction to the people reading the letter on how to conduct themselves to those that are coming to them. “If the grace of humor brightens, the salty grace of being gracious makes speech pleasant and persuasive. If love be the ruling motive, graciousness will be the sure outcome. Love is the best seasoning and the most persuasive pleader in all conversation.” These verses found in Colossians are not only a theological discussion based simply on the way in which believers of Christ should conduct themselves to other believers but the statements in chapters 5 and 6 of Colossians are sort of an off branch of the golden rule in the way in which one should conduct oneself to others. Once again the Bible contains an important lesson, not only to believers, but to the entire human race.

Works Cited
1. http://www.christianityoasis.com/dailybread/Colossians/SeasonedWithSalt.htm

2. http://pastorwalt.hubpages.com/hub/Speech-Seasoned-With-Salt

3. The Literary Study Bible. General Editors: Leland Ryken & Philip Graham Ryken. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Bibles.2007

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The Bible in Popular Culture

Bible pop culture
As we know the Bible has influenced just about every aspect of modern day life, and especially popular culture today. Luckily our beloved show The Walking Dead is chock full of biblical allusions, satires and even directs quotes. The entire show is essentially based around an end times type scenario, whether all of the charactersa in the show or even the audience wants to admit it, the entire idea of an “end times” type event is drawn straight from the Bible. The idea of an “end times” scenario is further strengthened by a particular quote from the show that is made by Hershel which reads, “I can’t profess to understand God’s plan, Christ promised the resurrection of the dead. I just thought he had something a little different in mind.” This quote was the first thing I thought of instantly after thinking about biblical themes found in The Walking Dead, simply because the quote I believe gives two different aspects to the show, with those two being: firstly, that the show is representative of the “end times” scenario that is such a fad for people in this generation to really dwell upon. Secondly, the quote gives a direct reference to what is said in the Bible which is “So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.” 1 Corinthians 15:42 If one simply reads this verse from the Bible and applies the context to something “physical” into what is actually intended which is “spiritual,” one could easily make the argument that the author of 1 Corinthians was actually alluding to zombie like creatures that are hard to kill, born like normal humans, have died, and are now imperishable, (Unless the brain is destroyed) which is portrayed in our beloved show The Walking Dead.
Bible pop culture 2<
Like The Walking Dead, many other television shows in modern day pop culture have been influenced in one way or another by the greatest work of literature of all time, the Bible. Nip/Tuck while on the spectrum of provocative and risqué when it comes to television shows, it is still not completely absent of biblical allusions. Unlike The Walking Dead, Nip/Tuck is based around two very successful plastic surgeons who consistently find themselves in dramatic scenarios. The show isn’t based around an “end time” scenario but it does have multiple allusions, one of my favorite being from season 2 episode 8 which features a client that claims to be a stigmata for the Catholic church, but claims that she self-inflicted the wounds that look like what possibly the wounds of Jesus looked like when he was nailed to the cross. The entire episode is an allusion to the Bible in the character of the woman with the stigmata Agatha Ripp being a Christ like figure, but to me personally seems more of a Mary Magdalene type figure. Agatha has healing powers and also directly quotes scripture, while at the same time allows the other characters to experience the underlying issues in their life. While the main characters life and belief is compromised throughout the show a religious concept continually clings to the structure of the entire show. I think that the writers of this show really racked their brains in order to provide their audience with an idea that would get their point across, and what better than the Bible, the most known literary work in the world. The Bible provided the writers with concepts such as betrayal, lust, and dishonesty that make it easy for them to get across the subtle and major points that they need to in order to make it very understandable by most any audience.

Much like popular television, books have had a similar impact on popular culture throughout the ages. It seems as if this generation has taken a particular interest in the “end times,” which would account for all of the popular books that have been written on this particular subject. The book that I chose “This I know: Sarah’s Confession,” is a book based around the “end times” scenario. The book is full of direct quotes to the Bible, and also has many scenes that while the Bible isn’t directly mentioned, the author has drawn inspiration from the Bible in order to justify the situation taking place in the novel. In the book after the apocalyptic type events start to unfold the characters of the book are forced into a cave that has been set up by a “chosen one,” after being in the cave a short time the people demanded leaders and they all knew that a form of hierarchy had to be established for day to day life to be functional and have form. They ultimately choose the character Nathan who is well versed in biblical theology and was a preacher before the apocalyptic disaster. After different events unfold Nathan ends up not being the leader that the other characters of the book perceived him to be, which reminded me of the story of king Saul which we read last semester in the book of Samuel chapter 15 verse 11 which says, “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.” And Samuel was angry, and he cried to the LORD all night.” The character Nathan is not following in the way that the people would’ve liked and they quickly became sorry that they had appointed him. Much like the story of King Saul in the book of Samuel, the character Nathan in the book is dispatched, not by murder, but by his own wrong deeds. Nathan is killed by a falling wrong from the cave after disobey the orders of what everyone is insisting, which again alludes to a similar way in which King Saul himself died which has when he fell upon his own sword. This work of literature is littered with biblical themes, direct quotes as well as allusions and I believe is a prime example of the way in which the Bible has influenced popular culture today.

Below is the trailer for the Novel, This I Know: Sarah's Confession

Works Cited
The Literary Study Bible. General Editors: Leland Ryken & Philip Graham Ryken. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Bibles.2007
Weiss, Reba P. This I Know: Sarah's Confession. Charleston: Self-Published, 2012. Print

Links:
Link to Nip/Tuck:
http://www.free-tv-video-online.me/player/gorillavid.php?id=p84cslihs55w
Link to The Walking Dead Quotes:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1804265/quotes
Link to Hershel's Picture:
https://www.google.com/search?q=the%20walking%20dead%20beside%20the%20dying%20fire%20herschel%20quotes&hl=en&biw=1440&bih=766&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=wOMvUaZUhLGpAfC5gZgI#imgrc=oJFFqVvT-_NEGM%3A%3BrBqq4cAwBX7CtM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fstatic.tvtome.com%252Fimages%252Fprocessed%252Fmini_viewer%252F21%252F84%252F371271.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.tv.com%252Fpeople%252Fscott-wilson-1%252F%3B185%3B247

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Why is Romans 12 read so often in weddings?

Why is Romans 12 read so often in weddings?
Recently while attending a friend’s wedding the preacher during the service read from Romans chapter 12, specifically verses 9-21. I thought to myself, why this verse and are these verses even talking in a physical wedding context between a man a woman. Romans chapter 12 verses 9-21 reads, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil: hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you: bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written. Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry feed him; if he is thirsty give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” To me personally when I read these verses marriage isn’t the first thing that pops into my head. Upon further research of why these verses I learned that Romans 12 was read during the royal wedding, which for me gives me further interest into why is this verse so important to love and between the marriage of a husband and wife. One source says, “If an engaged couple wanted a simple listing of virtues to bring into their marriage and cultivate there, Romans 12 provides it. There are some wordings that seem strange given our modern tastes, but they really stand out and make one think.” I like the way in which this source provides insight into why this verse may be so important to a wedding ceremony and a newly married couple. This source makes a good point that these verses provide simply rules and guidelines that will lead you into the right way of thinking not only in marriage but also in life. I think that my other source also provides some interesting insight into Romans chapter 12 and its true meaning. “It is vitally important that we know and understand the doctrines Paul has taught in the first 11 chapters of Romans. But we must recognize they are truths God intends for us to put into practice. We must not file these truths away in the back drawer of our minds; we must live them out in our daily walk in the Spirit. These two verses are a call to commitment, a commitment to be worked out by a whole new way of thinking and behaving. Heed well these words. More importantly, is obedient to them. Let us now look for the commitment called for in these verses, and do as Paul urges to the glory of God and to our good.” I think that this source says something pivotal to the reasons in which Romans 12 is so beloved to those who are newly married. That being that in chapter 12 Paul explains in chapter 12 something much different than what he has taught in the precious 11, which is that he explains the way in which Christians are to carry themselves throughout life and how to treat others as well as how to love one another. I believe that this chapter in Romans has become such a famous chapter to be read in weddings simply because if its structure, and the way that the chapter lays out a structural way in which one is to love another as well as how to conduct one’s self in the world.
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Works Cited

http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/2008/07/02/wedding-lectionary-romans-121-2-9-18/

http://bible.org/seriespage/road-renewal-romans-121-2

The Literary Study Bible. General Editors: Leland Ryken & Philip Graham Ryken. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Bibles.2007

Link for Photo: http://www.google.com/search?q=romans+12+wedding&hl=en&tbo=d&biw=1440&bih=766&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=-mEhUZTVJ6fU2QWMkYCoCg&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ#imgrc=eQh_qkPvvl76EM%3A%3BPLannFsQgJBBqM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Flh6.ggpht.com%252F_JbfKdSBkoWQ%252FTb4bGyy43-I%252FAAAAAAAAESc%252FBrU6VcDdQ70%252Fimage-1-for-royal-wedding-wills-and-kate-tie-the-knot-in-westminster-cathedral-gallery-785155735_thumb%25255B12%25255D.jpg%253Fimgmax%253D800%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fsamaritanxp.blogspot.com%252F2011%252F05%252Froyal-wedding-scripture-reading-and.html%3B345%3B248

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