Ezekiel 38 and 39 form the Gog Oracle: a final dramatic conflict between God and the hordes who dare to disturb His land and people. Much commentary on this exciting passage opines on its application to contemporary geopolitics, a practise that can quickly exchange study of the text for wild speculation.
This article makes seven propositions focused on revisiting the text, genre, and context of the oracle in order to better understand its meaning to an ancient audience. Such a foundation can then serve as a robust framework for evaluating our expectations of future events.
Challenging and questioning the dominant culture from the divine perspective
It is unsurprising to find that the poetic form and language of prophecy speaks to individual Christians in different ways. Writ large in metaphor and hyperbole, the motifs of judgement and salvation present an enduring message of hope that has universal reach. But indiscriminate application of these words to contemporary events imposes modern concerns on text intended to convey something entirely different: the divine perspective. Continue reading “Prophet Model: the divine perspective”
Building a foundation for understanding the message of the prophets
Modern prophetic interpretation is surprisingly diverse, often presenting a bewildering array of national, personal, and cosmic predictions. Opaque scriptural symbols appear to have insufficient predictive potential, making even fulfilled prophecy frustrating to understand. As blood moons pass, “significant” dates come and go, and Planet X stubbornly refuses to destroy the earth, we are forced to reflect on our approach to prophecy. Are we doing it wrong? Continue reading “Prophet Model: A War of Words”
It’s easy for people who consider themselves chosen to forget the basic principles of justice and and mercy
When we think of prophets, it is common to see them primarily in terms of those who make predictions. This is however only part of the story. A common way in which to remember the purpose of prophecy is to see them as forth-tellers, rather than foretellers. A prophet certainly would predict doom, or future restoration, but this was usually in the context of berating the nation for failing to adhere to the terms of the covenant with God. When we look at it this way, one prophet certainly comes to mind, and that is Amos. Continue reading “Let justice roll down like waters”
Jeremiah was called to be a messenger for God in his youth, and charged to go to whoever he was sent, boldly speaking as commanded (Je 1:7). From the outset, Jeremiah was informed that the fulfilment of his commission was to be outworked in a perilous and frightening context; although he is told not to give way to fear nor back away from firmly sharing the thoughts of Yahweh with his people (Je 1:8, 17-19). He is assured that his God is with him – “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth…” (Je 1:9) and in the subsequent record of Jeremiah’s words and actions we have the account of a man attempting to faithfully communicate the word of his God whilst enduring many trials of a painful and personal nature. Continue reading “Jeremiah – “I have put my words in your mouth””