Greatest Evil?

I was watching a show last night on the History channel about Michel de Nostredame (AKA Nostradamus), the alleged oracle of the 1500’s. I thought Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller fame) made a good point in that documentary. When asked what he thought about the validity of Nostradamus’ prophecies, particularly as they relate to the events of 9/11/2001 in the United States, he said something to this effect:

“Where were the Nostradamus enthusiasts on 9/10?? If someone knew this thing was going to happen in advance and didn’t tell anyone, I can hardly think of a better definition of evil than their act of silence.”

From the very little I know of Penn, I perceive that he and I share little in common regarding faith in God, or our responsibility to the Almighty. However, I believe this paraphrased statement of his is true. What kind of black-hearted degenerate sees such a heinous evil approaching and tells no one?

It occurs to me that true prophecy must have a selfless purpose. While Nostradamus’ prophecies could hardly serve anyone but himself, the words of the prophets of God are always a public service announcement to all, accompanied by a call to action. That action was always “Turn from your own ways; turn to God and seek His perfect ways.” The true prophet’s audience is warned of impending judgment, yes; but there is always action they can take to avoid judgment, and find the path to true peace by the same action. What action? Love God supremely, and then love others as much as we love self.

Do you and I believe in our hearts and souls that to receive the gift of God’s love exemplified in the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life with God? Do we believe that rejecting this gift results in eternity apart from God?

Is failure to warn 5,000 people about an attack that would end their mortal lives the definition of the ultimate evil? What then can we say of ourselves if we refuse to warn people about the fate of their eternal souls! Let us not be weary in well doing. Work, for the night is coming. The night is coming, when no man can work.

Ezekiel 38 & 39: Wooden weapons? Armageddon?

If the prophecy given in Ezekiel 38 & 39 hasn’t yet been fulfilled, what’s the deal with wooden weapons being burned for seven years?  Will primitive weapons be used during the battle of Armageddon?  Does this passage refer to Armageddon at all?

I believe the correct answer is: “I don’t know.” There are truths in scripture that God wants to be very clear, and which a child can comprehend. There are also many passages which are unclear. This prophecy is an enigma, and any conjecture on the details of its fulfillment is just that.

One thing I’ve noticed about prophecy in scripture is that it often has multiple applications. A prophecy can be fulfilled more than once, in different historical settings. I think both scriptural and secular history would have certainly recorded the fulfillment of an event so cataclysmic as the one prophesied in this particular passage. Still, I can’t visualize spears and bucklers being used in a large scale post-nuclear-era war.

I also can’t visualize the fulfillment of another prophecy from Revelation 14:20, which describes blood as high as a horse’s bridle, flowing a distance which is said to be roughly the full length of Palestine.

However, whether or not our feeble minds can comprehend these things has zero bearing on their fulfillment. It would be nice to know the answers, but I think we’re not intended to know the answers for now. If these prophecies were crucial to our salvation, or our ability to follow God’s commands, they would be abundantly clear. 

I think God uses these images in prophecy to describe the extent of His judgment and hatred of sin, not to give us reason to bicker with our brothers and sisters in Christ over their exact interpretations.  

My goal is this: to be careful to apply the clear commands of scripture to my own life, and accept the fact that some content in scripture is not for us to understand for now.