Sunday, December 18, 2011

Two Jerusalems?

Isaiah 66

1 Thus says the LORD:

“ Heaven is My throne, (Heaven being the cloudy area above the volcano)
And earth is My footstool. (Land around volcano)
Where is the house that you will build Me?
And where is the place of My rest?
2 For all those things My hand has made,
And all those things exist,”
Says the LORD.

“ But on this one will I look:
On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
And who trembles at My word.
 3 “ He who kills a bull is as if he slays a man;
He who sacrifices a lamb, as if he breaks a dog’s neck;
He who offers a grain offering, as if he offers swine’s blood;
He who burns incense, as if he blesses an idol.
Just as they have chosen their own ways,
And their soul delights in their abominations,
4 So will I choose their delusions,
And bring their fears on them;
Because, when I called, no one answered,
When I spoke they did not hear;
But they did evil before My eyes,
And chose that in which I do not delight.”
The LORD Vindicates Zion
5 Hear the word of the LORD,
You who tremble at His word: (Because they're afraid of the noise of the volcano?)
“ Your brethren who hated you,
Who cast you out for My name’s sake, said,

‘ Let the LORD be glorified,
That we may see your joy.’
But they shall be ashamed.”
6 The sound of noise from the city!
A voice from the temple! (Noise from the volcano?)
The voice of the LORD, (Eruption sounds?)
Who fully repays His enemies!
7 “ Before she was in labor, she gave birth;
Before her pain came,
She delivered a male child.
8 Who has heard such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day?
Or shall a nation be born at once?
For as soon as Zion was in labor,
She gave birth to her children.
9 Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?” says the LORD.

“ Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?” says your God.
10 “ Rejoice with Jerusalem,
And be glad with her, all you who love her;
Rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her;
11 That you may feed and be satisfied
With the consolation of her bosom,
That you may drink deeply and be delighted
With the abundance of her glory.”

12 For thus says the LORD:

“ Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
And the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream.
Then you shall feed;
On her sides shall you be carried,
And be dandled on her knees.
13 As one whom his mother comforts,
So I will comfort you;
And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”
The Reign and Indignation of God
14 When you see this, your heart shall rejoice,
And your bones shall flourish like grass;
The hand of the LORD shall be known to His servants,
And His indignation to His enemies.
 15 For behold, the LORD will come with fire (Volcanic fire?)
And with His chariots, like a whirlwind, (Chariots of fiery ash clouds...his weapon?)
To render His anger with fury,
And His rebuke with flames of fire. (Volcanic fire?)      
16 For by fire and by His sword (By fire?)
The LORD will judge all flesh;
And the slain of the LORD shall be many.
 17 “ Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves,
To go to the gardens
After an idol in the midst,
Eating swine’s flesh and the abomination and the mouse,
Shall be consumed together,” says the LORD.

18 “For I know their works and their thoughts. It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see My glory. 19  (People will come to see what? What glory is there to see? The fiery caldera?) I will set a sign among them; (Fiery eruption?) and those among them who escape I will send to the nations: to Tarshish and Pul[a] and Lud, who draw the bow, and Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off who have not heard My fame nor seen My glory (What could there be to see in an ordinary temple?) . And they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles (What could people run off to report about on an ordinary temple?). 20 Then they shall bring all your brethren for an offering to the LORD out of all nations, on horses and in chariots and in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem, (So Jerusalem is a holy mountain with something glorious about it that people will travel to and run off to tell others about?)” says the LORD, “as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD. 21 And I will also take some of them for priests and Levites,” says the LORD.
22 “ For as the new heavens and the new earth
Which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the LORD,

“ So shall your descendants and your name remain.
23 And it shall come to pass
That from one New Moon to another,
And from one Sabbath to another,
All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the LORD. (So they couldn't worship you where they were? They had to travel to get to you to worship you, just like the Hebrews of the Exodus did?)      
24 “ And they shall go forth and look
Upon the corpses of the men
Who have transgressed against Me.
For their worm does not die,
And their fire is not quenched.
They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

Either these metaphors are throwback terms from the days of the Hebrews at Mount Sinai or Solomon's Temple was built on or next to a volcano that was called Jerusalem, meaning there are or were Jerusalems.

In the year 1950 in a forlorn corner of Arabia, in the southern peninsula below Saudi Arabia, lived many Jews who traced their ancestry back to Jews who settled in Yemen during the times of King Solomon and the first Temple, some 3500 years ago.

The first mention of Jews in the areas of modern-day Saudi Arabia dates back, by some accounts, to the time of the First Temple.

Why so far away? Or was it not that far away then?
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  1. Isaiah lived about 500 years after the events at Mount Sinai. Did Isaiah think that his Lord was essentially a volcano-god?

    Isaiah at least used a lot of poetic imagery -- the mountain, the fire, the thunder, etc. -- that resonates with that ancient belief.

    Isaiah also, however, used a lot of imagery indicating that God lives in the Heaven over the Earth. You can suggest that this imagery refers to clouds over a volcano, but few people will be convinced. There is too much evidence that the common belief in ancient times was that God lived primarily in Heaven, in the sky, far above the Earth. That is the place that Isaiah seems to have in mind.

    God lived also in a Temple on Earth. And in an ancient era before the Jews had a main Temple, perhaps God lived in a volcano for a while, because there was no Temple.

    In general, though, God always lived mainly in Heaven.

  2. Mount Sinai is almost certainly not the only volcanic incident in the Hebrews' history. Why do you assume everything after Mount Sinai is just poetic imagery? Saudi has experienced volcanic eruptions throughout recent history and who knows whether or not there has been one or more catastrophic continental drift movements? Archeaology may prove one day that the whole rift area is a hotbed for violent natural activity.

    Few people will be convinced even Mount Sinai was a volcano. What is a fact is that we know very little about what went on. That means we need to explore all possibilities. Restricting out thoughts to what we are told most people believe will not lead us to the truth because those people still do not know the truth.

    God certainly did not live in the sky during the time of Mount Sinai.

    Maybe 'heavens' is used to signify high up and therefore, when talking about a volcano's summit, god's place of residence becomes heaven due to the altitude. That is a possibility.

    Genesis says god created the heavens and the earth, meaning the top and the bottom, but Genesis was written retrospectively. I believe Exodus was the starting point for everything so we need to look at where the Hebrews believed god resided then and discount every other location.