Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

The Plain of the Jordan, then and now

I love the old photos of the Holy Lands. Here we have a approximately 117 year old stereoscopic photo of a shepherd and a boy overlooking the plain of the Jordan. (Stereoscopic Images of the Middle East).

plain of the jordan

The caption from the book says,

‎We are looking southeast, across the northern end of the Dead Sea, six miles to the south, over the mountains east of the Jordan.

‎Yonder on the right we can see the head of the Dead Sea, and beyond it the long line of the hills of Moab. There is the Jordan, after its long wandering, finding rest in the sea. See the once fruitful plain of the Jordan with only stunted trees and bushes growing upon it. Do you notice where the plain rises, nearer us, into a higher plateau, over which a path runs? There stood the Old Testament city of Jericho. All that is left of it now are those ruined heaps, and those are later than the Jericho of the Old Testament. This part of an old aqueduct on which these men are resting was probably here in Christ’s time, as its foundation can be traced out over the plain to the site of the New Testament Jericho, on the extreme right of our view. To the left in the distance are the few buildings that make up modern Jericho.*

‎Vivid pictures of the past surge before our mental vision as we look out over this site of once proud cities. We see Old Jericho defying the attack of Joshua (Joshua 6:1); we see the collapse of those sturdy walls under the strongest assault history records (Joshua 6:3–20). We see Elijah and Elisha walking down yonder path toward the river, while by the banks of Jordan waits the fiery chariot that shall part them. Centuries later we see Jesus coming up to the gate of another Jericho, while blind Bartimeus cries out to him from the wayside, and eager Zaccheus looks down upon him from the sycamore tree.

‎*See “Traveling in the Holy Land through the Stereoscope,” by J.L. Hurlbut, D.D.

The plain of the Jordan figures is in several passages. Here is one,

Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: (Genesis 13:10-11 NIV).

That area was home to five cities of the plain, not just Sodom and Gomorrah. Admah and Zeboiim, and also of course Zoar (AKA Bela) to which Lot and his daughters fled when the brimstone came down on Sodom.

Though the plain is a sulfurous wasteland now, once it was grassy and watered like Eden’s garden. And once again it will be!

And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. Fishermen will stand beside the sea. From Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets. Its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. (Ezekiel 47:9-10).

Praise the Lord that what was once fresh and vibrant and living and beautiful, that now has become salty, dead, and barren, will once again be renewed. It will become “very good” again. (Genesis 1:31; 2:10-14)

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

War no more

Sin is the oldest negative thing on earth. After God created the world and the two people and called it all “very good”, sin came. Shortly after that came murder, lying, anger, jealousy, polygamy, and war.

War has been with us for so long.

I remember growing up, the Viet Nam War. It was the first war to be broadcast on television, and in living color, too. There were reports every single night. We’d hear the tally of dead and wounded. Scenes to my young eyes of limbless men hanging off gurneys in the jungle, helicopters, camouflaged men skulking with rifles pointed through the leafy undergrowth were plenty scary. They were scenes of chaos and blood.

That’s war.

I saw a news article from the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

A cannonball fired by the British during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759 has been unearthed at a building site in Old Quebec. The rusted, 90-kilogram projectile was unearthed during excavation work last week at the corner of Hamel and Couillard streets and still contained a charge and gunpowder. The work crew that found the ball picked it up and gathered around it for photographs, unaware that it was still potentially explosive.

The cannonball is from Britain and was fired at Quebec City from Lévis,
across the St. Lawrence River. (Facebook/Lafontaine Inc)

In Genesis 4 we have the first murder. The Bible isn’t specific on how Cain killed Abel. Later in Genesis 4:22 we read, Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron

Knowing that Tubal-can was in the line of ungodly descendants of Cain, and knowing the evil heart of man, I’d say with near certainty that some or all of those instruments were instruments of war. Many of those implements were likely arrows, shafts, spikes, and the sort.

Then by Genesis 6:11 we read Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence.

Violence that included war, with implements, I’m sure.

We all know about Galileo. He was famous for looking through his telescope and making

“observations that strengthened his belief in Copernicus’ theory that Earth and all other planets revolve around the Sun. Most people in Galileo’s time believed that the Earth was the center of the universe and that the Sun and planets revolved around it.” (Source: NASA).

But 20 years before that, Galileo experimented with, produced, and wrote about military technological advances, in a treatise called The Operations of the Geometrical and Military Compass. Galileo’s invention of the military compass was used to calculate precise trajectories of cannonballs and other military killing projectiles.

Throughout the Renaissance many attempts were made to develop a universal instrument  that could be used to perform arithmetical calculation and geometric operations easily. This need was felt especially in the military field, where the technology of firearms called for increasingly precise mathematical knowledge. … The geometric and military compass of Galileo belonged to this class of instruments. [T]he Accademia Delia was founded in Padua to provide mathematical instruction for young noblemen training for a military career.

Imagine how much of our mind will be released when we don’t have to devote so much of it to devising evil. Imagine when we are freed to think up ways to worship Jesus, or ways to praise Him, or anything else, than to creating military items that maim and kill and destroy.

He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. (Isaiah 2:4)

Jesus will dissolve the earth in a fervent heat. When He creates a new earth, there will never be a cannonball to dig up. There will never be any implements of war found anywhere, like arrowheads or bullet casings or swords. Forgers of instruments of bronze and iron will be making plowshares and pruning hooks.

Won’t it be great when we will study war no more? Peace. Peace will reign in men’s hearts, between men and Jesus, and between men and men (and animals). Peace, shalom, war no more.

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

The second best moment in all the universe

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:10-13)


The best moment in all of the universe through all of time, of course, is when Jesus arose from the grave, victorious over death and sin and Hades. The second best moment in my opinion, will be the culmination of all things, when God puts an end to sin and refreshes the universe by scrubbing it from His presence forever. This will include destroying the old heavens and earth and making a new heavens and a new earth.

The end of this world is a good thing. Jesus will regenerate the earth, He will cleanse us from our sins by glorifying our bodies, He will heal us completely, He will resurrect the saved, He will restore the damaged children, He will appear to us in His full glory, and much more. Who wouldn’t wish for that?

We are blessed, yes, blessed to be watching the Lord of the Universe work visibly in the world. He gave us the Word, and He is allowing us to see His word alive, organic, living and breathing coming true before our eyes in His providence and in His people. He regenerates hearts and His children bear fruit before our eyes. He transforms lives and we watch it before our eyes. The cycle of seasons march through years, and we see His hand ordaining and sustaining it all.

His promises are true, and though no one likes to see hunger and pain and grief, but we do see through those hardships that His promises are true. His promises that trials will come also include all of the above as well- the glory and the justice concluded and the conclusion of His work in the Church Age.

And in addition, when the day comes for your death, or the rapture, you will say as Paul did, “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  (2 Timothy 4:6-7).

There is no shame in longing for His appearing!

Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8)

Do not be embarrassed at wishing for His will to be done! There is glory! His glory, made manifest in us who walk the earth doing His will, pointing to the only Hope!

We are waiting…waiting…