1.And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
Chapter 15 and 16 of Isaiah contain the prophet’s declaration of God’s judgment against the Moabites, enemies of the Israelites. The Lord would humiliate these people. Isaiah declared, by making them bald and cutting off their beards.
The prophet Zephaniah declared that God would eventually punish the Assyrians for their cruelty and pagan worship (Judges 1:6 and Nahum 2:3). Their capital city, Nineveh, would become a laughingstock among the nations.
Yes, God decides to prosper some nations (Old Testament Israel most dramatically) at the expense of neighboring nations (three are mentioned in this psalm). As land is limited, when God gives land to Israel, it must come at someone’s expense. In this case, Canaanite fiefdoms “lose.” in that sense, some nations are put down.
In the ancient Near East dreams were one of several ways people sought to see the future and to make decisions that would be beneficial to them. In some societies, people went to temples or holy places to sleep in order to have a dream that would show them the best decision to make.
Saul was a young man dutifully searching for his father’s stray donkeys. Samuel was the renowned prophet, priest, and judge of Israel reluctantly searching for his nation’s first king. When their paths crossed, the course of Israel’s history changed dramatically.
Samuel had served as the Lord’s representative leader of Israel for decades, but he was growing old. When his sons proved to be unfit to succeed him, the people of Israel demanded that a king be appointed to rule over them. They were envious of the monarchies common in surrounding nations.
Worship of the sun and other heavenly bodies was common among the pagan nations of the ancient world. For example, the city of Ur in Mesopotamia from which Abraham migrated was a center of moon worship. The Egyptians worshiped the sun god known as Ra (Gen 12:15). The Lord, speaking through Moses, specifically prohibited this form of idolatry.
Israel’s greatest problem throughout its history was syncretism-the mixing of pagan religion with worship of the true God. God judged Israel severely for failing to keep worship clean and pure. And one of the easiest inroads to Israel’s heart was through intermarriage with pagan people’s Ezra knew this well, thus his vehement and emotional opposition to taking foreign spouses. Continue reading WHY WAS EZRA SO UPSET ABOUT MIXED MARRIAGES?→
The Israelites found themselves in the midst of a Canaanite culture that was awash in pagan immorality. These heathen nations had merged spirituality with sensuality to create a very alluring and very dangerous combination. To keep His people from joining this around-the-clock celebration of perversion. God decreed severe punishment for those guilty of sexual sin. Continue reading WHY WERE PENALTIES FOR SEXUAL SIN SO SEVERE? (LEVITICUS 18:29)→
God addressed Ezekiel with an unusual title which will later become Jesus’ favorite way of referring to himself. The title is “son of man.” In the original Hebrew language, it’s literally ben Adam or “son of Adam” since Adam means “humans.” Continue reading WHY “SON OF MAN”?→