Thursday, February 08, 2018

Rt. 66-4: It's a Fact

The wonderful thing about numbers is that they speak for themselves in any language. History is much the same.

Both statistics and raw data can be misused, but at least when they are presented it is up to the jury, that is, the reader, to decide. In the book we call Numbers, the reader finds many names and numbers to show God and His followers what they had and what was needed to face the coming challenges.

Victory in battle, though, was an harbinger to disaster when it brought forth arrogance. When a gifted, but unbelieving, prophet found he could not curse the Israelites, he advised his king to infiltrate via marriage. To the extent that it succeeded, Israel failed.  Moses countered with drastic countermeasures to restore the young nation.
Even the laws covered here read like a primer for godliness.

Such it is with data mining. It this review of 40 years, the facts speak for themselves. We see who the leaders were and where they went. This is nothing but the best history media available.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Rt. 66-3 The Perfect Gift

Did you ever sit in on a planning meeting? Moses listened closely as the LORD told him exactly how He was to be worshipped. For the most part, there were no surprises.  Abraham has understood burnt offering, as had his sons after him.

In Egypt the people had forgotten much of their heritage, so God instructed Moses personally on everything from doves to divorce. Sacrifice inside the tent would affect how someone would behave between the festivals and Sabbaths.

What are we to make of all the arcane laws and regulations? What do we care of burnt bread and the smell of carcasses being roasted on an open fire?

On the other hand there are practical ways to show that you are taking God seriously. These are more related to the 10 commandments. What good are worship sevices when you live like the world?

Who would have thought that the Creator of all things might just know how it all works? Step back and try to see things from the outside. Yes, God's ways are far better than anything we can imagine.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Rt. 66: 2 The Great Escape

Imagine that your family and friends, from as far back as anybody can remember, has been living in substandard housing, working twelve hour days with little or no time off, and suddenly you had an opportunity to get away from all that?

That is what happened to the people the great Zaphenath-paneah had brought in as refugees as he was managing an economy gone bad due to a drastic change in the climate of his adopted country.  That's right, Egypt was in dire straights, but a young Hebrew slave had risen, by the grace of God, to save not only the Egyptians, but the extended family of his father Jacob.

His management style, though, had reduced the people of Egypt to wards of the state.  A total welfare state had arisen when people sold themselves to Pharaoh to make it through the Great Famine.  It is not hard to imagine the Egyptians' jealousy over the freedoms afforded to the immigrants.  But Joseph died after 70 years in power, so the people of Egypt begged the government for relief. And sure enough, a new dynasty had arisen which promised to ease their load. 

The solution was obvious: make the foreigners do the work.  The native Egyptians cheered as the government began to utilize the labor force of the growing Hebrew population.  The trouble was, that population was growing to fast.  The solution the Pharaoh came up with was ghastly: infanticide!  In ancient society, as in most of the world even today, the men who married a woman conferred his citizenship to her.  If the Pharaoh's plan had worked, the Hebrews would have become Egyptians within a generation.  But God was in control, and at least two midwives disobeyed the civil magistrates and saved many of the boy babies from being drowned in the Nile. One such baby would come to be called "Moses" by his adoptive mother, the daughter of the royal house!

The baby had been technically "thrown into the Nile" at the age of three months.  His cries had been heard by neighbors and a plan had been hatched to assure his survival. He was placed in the Nile in a little box--the word is the same as the waterproofed "ark" of Noah--and sent adrift in a place known to be used by the princess.  The baby's big sister watched from afar to assure that the plan went well. In God's timing, it would be 80 long years before the Hebrew slaves would be freed by the elderly statesmen that the son of Amram, a Hebrew slave.

The return of Moses after a forty year exile was unexpected, with the man who likely grew up with him sitting upon the throne. Moses still feared his adoptive family, and with good reason.  It took a reprimand from the LORD Himself, and the eloquent tongue of his older brother Aaron, for the fateful reunion to take place.  The miraculous signs that God provided were enough to convince the vast majority of the Egyptians that it was too much trouble to keep these Hebrews around. But the Pharaoh was not impressed enough, but was hardened in his hate.  What seemed to be a sanctioned deportation soon became a death trap.

But, God built a wall!  At first, it was a wall of plasma in the form of fire at night and impenetrable cloud during the day.  But then there was the water in the way. With no way of feeding the people, even that great manifestation of divine protection was inadequate.  Then a greater miracle occurred: a great wind came down from the sky--a hot down current so powerful that it forced the waters of the Red Sea back creating a corridor with walls of water.  The escape route had been provided, not by a team of engineers, but by the Creator of the universe!

The walls did not hold, though, and came roaring back on the horses and chariots that attempted to follow--beyond reason, or perhaps a warped sense of science--killing them all.  The great escape had come off without a casualty among the Hebrews. It would take a few days before they could relax, and when they did, Moses went up to a mountain he grew up near to once again meet with God.  This time it was not a bush that burned, but a mountaintop. It was there that the LORD gave his "State of the Nation" message, laying out timeless principles by which not only the Hebrews, but all people everywhere, could live by.

The book of Exodus has a lot for we Gentiles, as spiritual sons of Abraham, can take to heart. The laws of the world are largely based on the principles of life and relationships found in the "Second Table" of the Law inscribed on the tablets. Though the two tablets may have been copies (per ancient laws regarding treaties of a monarch to his subjects) the dividing of the Laws between worship of God and dealing with people are rightfully divided. No expectations would arise that a particular worship style or day of worship would apply to the world at large. However, when the governments of the world take on the authority not inherent in their station as institutions made by man, they often take on an attitude of divinity.

Common law requires loyalty to a national government over all other governments in order to assure each nation will remain as sovereign over its citizens. The flying of flags that represent these government reflect dimly the "idols" of gods being worshiped around the Hebrews as they journeyed to the land promised to their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  It has even been proven that a periodic day of rest is needed for a society to avoid burnout.

History has shown that the Hebrews got a better deal than their former masters. Under the direct leadership of the Creator of the universe, they would survive if they but would obey their new Master. Unfortunately, that would not go well, for the people were used to doing things their own ways.  When they began to act like pagans, God would let them--for a while. But the downside was death and destruction.  Not a good trade off!

Reflecting on the Exodus and the Law, one can only look on in amazement at a people blessed by God turning on Him at every opportunity.  But then, we don't have a wall of plasma all around us. God's presence is not as visible to us.  But, ninety-three million miles from us, His created star bombards us during our waking hours. Rocks filter water as it comes out of the ground hundreds of miles away. Oceans and rivers divide nations around the world.

God is good, all the time! 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Rt. 66, Stop 1. Four Heroes

The story of Genesis encompasses about 2400 years. That is longer than from the founding of Rome until the present day. It is about as long as the period between the Great Flood and the birth of Christ.

It seems strange when people. Argue that the first part of the story, being two thirds of the time, should be passed off as a myth. Jesus treated Adam and Eve were truly the first parents. He should know, for his preincarnate presence was there. Some sixteen and a half centuries later, Noah was called on to save a tiny remnant--his own family--becoming the first "hero" of note in the history as in came unraveled around him. Humanity was given a second chance.

Then came Abram born soon after the grandfather of all living died. Until recently I thought naming a child the equivalent of "Exalted Father" was odd. But for 350 years, Noah had been venerated, most likely even living in Ur.  Perhaps the name was reflective of the Hero from the Flood. Already an old man, Abram became Abram, the father of those who believe.

The third hero was an unlikely choice--a coniving scoundrel who cheated his older and ran for his life, never seeing his mother again. In a strange turn of events, his misfortune yielded 12 sons of four women.. These boys would become tribal leaders of which would become a unified people for 120 years. Jacob, the coniver, would hold his family together up through some hard times. If it had not been for his favorite son, Joseph, the savior of Egypt.

Genesis was a continuous story, from the Garden to a codon in Egypt.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Route 66: Mile 0.

To begin any journey, one must have a goal in sight. In this journey, our guide is the Chief Engineer, so to speak, the Creator not just the road, but the land and lands over which it passes.

We learn from the apostles of Jesus, commissioned to get the Word out, that the goal is remarkable, even out of this world. We're not talking about just going to be with the Lord, but of Him coming to be with us!!

The early chapters of Genesis, being so full of the majesty and power of God, are largely disregarded by mankind today. Relegated to "myth" chapters 1 through 11 lay down the heritage into which the man Abram stepped some four thousand years ago. This period was not "prehistory" to him. Since Moses preserved the records under God's guidance, I see no reason not to study these chapters with that same guidance. In fact, Jesus's half brother James tells us:

1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all menliberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

And so, my bags are packed, and my travel guide is open, let's see what is at our first stop.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Old age and what to do about it

And so, I am now officially old. Well, not "really" old, since the government keeps moving the full retirement age up. But, then, my wife tells me I can't be old, so table that thought.

I have previously discussed turning 2 billion, so it all depends on how you measure time. As I enter my 66th year, I must post more just in case my memory really is slipping. I have learned that hardly anything ever disappears from the blogosphere, so here's to all you historians out there!

There is no turning back, but we can all learn from history. But we must also remember that historians are human, and make mistakes in interpreting the records they find.

I choose to trust the historicity of the record found in the Bible. This includes the first 11 chapters of "prehistory" in Genesis.

That being said, in this, my 66th year plan to take a trip down Route 66, Bible edition. The first stop, tomorrow, will be an overview the first of 66 books in the Bible, the history of redemption in Genesis.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Day 2,189,153

Sometimes, I think I might have OCD.  I got to thinking about the "exact day" in history that I might be in.  That lead me to the "Julian day" used in astronomy.  It is based on the exact number of days, based on the Julian calendar starting on January 1, 4713 BC.  Since I choose to use the Autumn equinox, September 20, 4004 BC as the day of creation, I have to make adjustments for my "day count."

My first problem is the apparent adjustment of the length of the months and years.  In the prophecies found in the writings of Daniel and John, it appears that years were only 360 days long in the beginning.  The genealogies in Genesis 5 seem to show that the Great Flood began on the 17th of the 2nd month of the 1656th year of the world.

With months measured by even lunar cycles of exactly 30 days each, there would have been 595,847 days before the flood.  Then, things changed during the Flood event.  The month the flood began the moon apparently got about one and two thirds percent (1/60) closer, shortening the months to 29.5 days each. That cycle brought the time inside the ark to just over 365 days.  And so, a new length of year had begun.  The fraction of a day took time to be added, but by the time of Julius Caesar, the period of 365.25 was accepted as standard.  A leap day was established for every four years and the Julian Calendar was established.

Pope Gregory had to have the calendar adjusted in the 1500s to take into the account that the 0.25 was slightly wrong. Century years that weren't divisible by 400 were exempted from the leap year rule, so 1600 and 2000 were officially shorter after that.  Retroactive changes were made to discern exact dates before that; but one day in 400 years didn't seem like much anyway.

Adjusting to the new lunar cycles, month two would be counted as 29 days, followed by 10 more months or 295 days to the end of AM 1656.  Seventy days later, Noah would step out of the ark.  However, moving to the later Roman Calendar, the date the Flood began must be calculated.  Day 17 of the second month would be day 47 following September 20th.  That works out to November 7, 2347 BC. At this point, probably at sundown, the door was closed and the catastrophe began. We cannot know the co-ordinates on the earth where this happened, but we know it ended somewhere in western Asia (40s N, 30s E).

To synch with the system used in astronomy, let's say this sunset was at UT-2, or 18 hours into the day as measured from the International dateline. As the global calendar is "reset" the remaining days of 2347 BC are filled with rain fall and rising waters.  The rain stopped December 17, and the new year began 15 days later.  The count of new days had begun as 2347 BC ended on day 55.  2346 BC, when added to AD 2016 is 4362 years. Because there is not year 0 on the Gregorian calendar, year 1 BC was a leap year, leaving each 4th year before that to be counted as one less than it is.  The first "leap year" after the flood would have been 2345, the year of the birth of the first child in that new world.

UPDATE: I erred by seven days.  I apologize to those who may have read this blog today, February 10, 2016

Now, for the count.  There would be 1090 leap years measured on the Julian calendar, but adjusted to the Gregorian calendar, there would be a loss of 10  of those days to the years "divisible by 400" on an absolute count (with no Year AD 0) for 1080 leap years.  And so, the calculation to the end of AD 2016 would be 55 + (4362*365) + 1080. That adds up to 1,593,265 days. Add in the pre-flood days, and you reach 2,189,112.  And finally, today, February 9, is now February 10 at the probable starting place.  Adding 41 more days, we are in day 2,189,153 since the beginning of the earth.

Doing a quick calculation, I was floored to find that we are nearing the end of the "Prophetic Year" 6081. By this time next week, it will be AM 6082! Since this project divided history at the flood, assuming the apparent change in the length of the year, I don't think this number means anything prophetically.  Elsewhere, I have shown that September 11, 2001 was "exactly" 2000 "prophetic years" from Pentecost of AD 33 (or perhaps AD 30). So I won't go too far with that.

However, just for the fun of it, adjusting the old "original calendar" to the new lunar/solar calendars, we are in the middle of year 5993. Let that soak in.  By Gregorian figures, year AM 6000 would be 6.4 years from now. If your are a purist, I suppose AM 6001, based on constant years, would begin the seventh millennium, so perhaps we have a few months to get ready for the apocalypse.

On a lighter note, if the year did not change its length because of the Flood, 1656.8 years works out to 604,850 days.  Adding that to the Gregorian days after the flood we come to 2,198,122 days. That would be near the end of Prophetic Year 6106, or early in Gregorian year 6018. Either way we would be safely into a "golden age."  One can get rather silly if one is not careful.

So many options! I guess it is a good thing we were told that we cannot know the exact dates based on looking at the calendar.  Though the stars and the moon were designed to show us "times and seasons," the "signs of the times" will most certainly be here on the earth.