Ronald L Dart عمومي
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Reading through the stories of the last kings of the house of Israel, I always get a feeling of ineffable sadness. That nation had been served by two of the greatest prophets who ever lived—Elijah, the archetype of all prophets, and Elisha, who had a double portion of the spirit of Elijah. There were only two more significant prophets during the en…
 
The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lor…
 
It was now 126 years after the death of Solomon and the division of the Kingdom of Israel into two houses—the House of Israel and the House of Judah. A man named Amaziah came to the throne to rule for 29 years. To give you a feeling for the passage of time, if you count forward from the Declaration Independence—a similar sort of division—that 126 y…
 
It is a sobering thought to consider that the Kingdom of Israel was once ruled by a woman—but not a very good woman. To secure her throne, she had all the royal children murdered. But a priest, Jehoiada, hid one of the boys, and thereby hangs a story. Athaliah, the queen, ruled for six years until the boy Jehoash was seven. Then the priest and the …
 
Evil has lasting consequences. Not only was King Ahab corrupt, so were his children, who learned in their mother how to get the things they wanted. The corruption of his sons seemed inevitable, and the results of that corruption as inevitable as tomorrow’s sunrise. Of course, repentance was just as open to his sons as it had been to Ahab. It was ju…
 
All through this period of Kings, there is pattern that develops. The people would fall away, go after idols, and suffer all the results of that. In Judah, though, they would occasionally be led back to God by a reforming king—and God’s holy days would often be the reason for the reform. They showed the way back to God and out of idolatry. But in t…
 
The days of the prophet Elisha seem to have been somewhat unique in the history of Israel. Prophecy was vital in those days, but most of it was delivered orally. We don’t encounter much in the way of writing prophets until somewhat later. One Jewish writer, though, had this to say about a much later time in the history of the Jewish people that she…
 
Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man from their territory, and set him for their watchman: If when he sees the sword come upon the land, he blows the trumpet, and warns the people; Then whosoever hears the sound of the trumpet, and takes not war…
 
Why is God silent to us? Oh, I know there are would-be prophets who claim they speak for God or they had a vision or a dream, but I’ve learned those people are mostly frauds. And I certainly know if they don’t speak in agreement with the Bible, God has not sent them. I’ve even had some of them try to tell me things about myself, but they always mis…
 
I’m still amazed at how many would-be prophets want to take on the mantle of Elijah. I think I mentioned that I have met three or four Elijahs in my time. What’s funny is that and I don’t recall anyone claiming to be a successor of Elisha, who had double the power of Elijah. That man is astonishing. But there is a reason for that. The reason is tha…
 
One of the most dramatic moments in all the stories of the Bible is that moment when Elijah and Elisha have crossed over the river Jordan, and a great whirlwind comes down from heaven, and a chariot of fire drawn by horses of fire carries Elijah away. It was really something to see, I suppose. It was the moment when power was transferred from Elija…
 
It has been 62 years since the death of Solomon. For 62 years there have been two Israels: the House of Israel, now with a capital in Samaria; the House of Judah, capital in Jerusalem. You can cast your mind back 62 years from today and get a feeling for the passage of time even if you weren’t alive then. There are many old people who still remembe…
 
Not everyone gets this, but let me have a run at it anyway: God does not care for centralized authority. That is not to say he hasn’t allowed it. And I realize that, in one sense, everything that happens is allowed by God or it wouldn’t have happened. But there is another sense in which God seems to say, Okay, what you are asking for is not the bes…
 
[...] Behold, I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and will break his arms, the strong, and that which was broken; and I will cause the sword to fall out of his hand. And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries. And I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, and put my sword in his hand: b…
 
I simply cannot imagine a greater prophet than Elijah. He was not a smooth man, like I suspect Isaiah was. Isaiah was a poet, and a great one at that. I see no hint of poetic utterance in any word Elijah ever spoke. But then, every prophet that God ever called was chosen for the job at hand and for the people he was sent to talk to. One prophet was…
 
He is the archetype of all prophets; his name was Elijah. Probably one of the reasons he is so well known is because he is so persistent in the Bible—he keeps cropping up. He was to come just before Jesus (John the Baptist, everyone sees, fulfilled that) but most students of prophecy expect him to come again at the end time. This naturally leads to…
 
I was standing, looking out an open window in my hotel room at Victoria Station in London one night. My wife and I had been to the theater, had just got back in, and opened the window for a little fresh air. I heard a rumble, uncharacteristic of London weather, and I remarked, I hope that’s thunder. It wasn’t. The IRA had set off a bomb two blocks …
 
When you settle in to read the Bible, you run into any number of difficulties—none of them fatal, of course. The sense of the Bible is not that hard, it is just that the writers of the Bible wrote, not only in a different language, but out of a different culture. Things that would be important to the modern reader don’t even cross their minds. Ther…
 
You are the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set you so: you were upon the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the multitude of your trade they have filled the midst of you with violence, and …
 
Never take counsel of your fears. The saying is often attributed to Andrew Jackson who also, plainly, read his Bible. It is fascinating how often fear strips a man of victories already won. This was the case with one Jeroboam, the son of Nebat. After the death of Solomon, God handed him the largest portion of Israel—10 of the 12 tribes. He was a go…
 
When you read those books of the Bible that contain the history of Israel, the lessons come at you one after the other. There is a man in the Book of Kings named Jeroboam, for example, who will embody several of them. Jeroboam is described as a mighty man of valor. Now, what that means in biblical-speak is that he was a fighter, and very good at it…
 
When you are reading the history in the Bible, you have to resist the temptation to see things in terms familiar to the modern reader. Take the idea of cities, for example. Solomon has finished the Temple, and somewhere along the way, he has married the daughter of Pharaoh. Well, Pharaoh wants to give his daughter a present, so he goes up along the…
 
One of the most incredible museums that the world has ever known was also one that hardly anyone ever got to visit; it was the temple that King Solomon built. When the construction of the Temple was finally complete, Solomon brought in the things that King David had dedicated—silver, gold, furnishings—and placed them in the Temple’s treasuries. Wha…
 
Therefore thus says the Lord God; Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and will cause many nations to come up against you, as the sea causes its waves to come up. And they shall destroy the walls of Tyre, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for the spreading of nets …
 
Sometimes, in the Bible, you come across descriptions, details, and lists that can be a little hard to follow. One example of this is the description in 1 Kings 6 of the construction of Solomon’s temple. It’s not too easy to work your way through it, and there are just too many details missing to get an accurate picture. You can find artists’ conce…
 
In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give you. And Solomon said, You have shown unto your servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before you in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with you; and you have kept for him this great kindness, that you have give…
 
Nothing is ever easy in the Middle East, and the transition from the man who was Israel’s greatest fighting king to her greatest peacetime king was stormy. It wasn’t that there was a problem between David and Solomon. The problem was another son (probably David’s oldest) who decided to usurp the kingdom while David was, he thought, too weak to do a…
 
Abraham, the father of the faithful, is obviously the greatest figure in the Old Testament. But the greatest man in the history of Israel has to be King David. He was not only a king, he was a prophet. David was not a priest, and he never attempted to usurp the office of the priesthood as Saul did, but he was a man after God’s own heart. He was a m…
 
Son of man, behold, I take away from you the desire of your eyes with a stroke: yet neither shall you mourn nor weep, neither shall your tears run down. Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the turban of your head upon you, and put on your shoes upon your feet, and cover not your lips, and eat not man’s bread of sorrow. So I spoke un…
 
In the first chapter of the Book of Daniel, a rather interesting event takes place that I have often thought of and considered with some fascination. Daniel and his three friends were among a number of young men who were being prepared to become part of the king’s staff of wise men. They ultimately showed themselves to be perceptive men—men of much…
 
[…] Behold, I am against you, and will draw forth my sword out of its sheath, and will cut off from you the righteous and the wicked. Seeing then that I will cut off from you the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of its sheath against all flesh from the south to the north: That all flesh may know that I the Lord have d…
 
Many years ago, before I learned better about arguing religion, I was engaged in a discussion focused on people who never even heard the name of Jesus anytime in their lives. How could it be right for God to torture these people forever? Tell me he is just going to leave them dead and we have one picture. Tell me he has arranged for their eternal t…
 
[...] What is your mother? A lioness: she lay down among lions, she nourished her cubs among young lions. And she brought up one of her cubs: it became a young lion, and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men. The nations also heard of him; he was taken in their pit, and they brought him with chains unto the land of Egypt. Ezekiel 19:2–4 KJ2…
 
Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel; And say, Thus says the Lord God; A great eagle with great wings, longwinged, full of feathers, which had various colors, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar: He cropped off the top of its young twigs, and carried it into a land of trade; he set it …
 
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