Ronny Graham, noting that animals often serve to symbolically represent human traits, points out that Jacob referred to some of his offspring in Genesis 49 as having animal characteristics: Benjamin as a ravenous wolf, Naphtali as a peaceful deer, Dan as a wily serpent, Issachar as a burden-bearing donkey, and Judah as a lion's whelp, symbolizing the protective fierceness of a mother lion. The lion, the king of the beasts, symbolizes the coming King of Kings, who will appear as a terrifying lion to end all human wars and forms of government, sitting on God's throne, bringing peace, righteousness, and harmony under God's government, enforcing God's laws.
Ronny Graham, reflecting upon the prophetic warnings about wild beast ascendency at the end times, suggests that unwise environmentalist policies may have been a contributory cause of this impending curse. Alligators (with an estimated population of 1,500,000), bears, mountain lions, coyotes, and wolves, because of protectionist policies, have come back from the brink of extinction to the current state of threatening human beings, livestock, and domestic pets. The increase in predatory and non-predatory animals is a precursor to the pale horse curse of Revelation 6:8
The last of the Four Horsemen, named Death, rides a ghastly pale horse and is accompanied by Hades. In this concluding installment, Richard Ritenbaugh explains these symbols, reiterating that the horsemen picture God's judgment due to man's rejection of His way of life.
Just about half of the continental United States suffers under severe drought conditions. And lack of water is not the only thing we need to worry about. Richard Ritenbaugh warns that such "acts of God" should make us take note.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: Behaviors have consequences. ...
John Ritenbaugh focuses upon the watchman responsibility as defined in Ezekiel 33:2 and Isaiah 62:6, consisting of both physical and spiritual aspects. Part of the pastor's responsibility is to carefully observe economic, social, meteorological, and political trends, warning the flock to take prudent precautions, including making a prayer offensive, making careful and thoughtful self-examination, actively repenting, submitting to God, looking to God's providence for a possible way of escape, but realizing that the place of safety has conditions attached to it. The exact standards of qualification for a Philadelphian have been left purposely vague to keep the prod to spiritual growth fairly intense. Our focus should be to seek God's kingdom, reciprocating God's love, committing ourselves to a life of service fulfilling His purpose for us, doing so without complaining, or comparing our lot with others, realizing He will supply exactly what we need.
Prophecy tells us that one of the plagues of the end time concerns attacks by wild beasts. Ronny Graham, an avid sportsman, relates how this may be coming to pass.
John Ritenbaugh, citing a rather sobering reflective article by Vaclav Havel, observes that although we enjoy the benefits of scientific progress, we understand ourselves less and less; everything is seemingly possible, but nothing is certain. Without the spirit of God, mankind becomes guided by another spirit leading to dreadful destructive sinister consequences- made increasingly more menacing by increased technological capabilities. A person having only the spirit of man is absolutely held in bondage to it. It is impossible for mankind, without God's Spirit (Deuteronomy 5:29) to responsibly use the powers and abilities God has given to him. By yielding to God and using the power of His spirit, we can experience a foretaste of the times of refreshing and restitution which will eventually be made available to the entire creation (Acts 3:19)
John Ritenbaugh focuses upon the book of Mark, emphasizing the symbolism of the ox, whose enduring servitude and sacrifice produces a great deal in the way of growth. Downplaying or understating kingly authority or lordship (the hallmark of Matthew) Mark concentrates on the uncomplaining and sacrificing traits of a servant. Jesus sets a pattern for us by serving without thought of authority, power, position, status, fame, or gain, but as a patient, enduring, faithful servant, practicing good will and providing a role model of pure religion (James 1:27) for us to emulate.
Through Acts 1-15, God (primarily through the work of Peter, Paul and James) has removed His work out of the Judaistic mold, creating the Israel of God (the church) designed to spread to the Gentiles. Though certain ceremonial and civil aspects of the law were (for a time) suspended, the Law of God was never suspended, especially as it relates to defilement of conscience or disregarding of scruples that could cause permanent spiritual damage or unwittingly place one in communion with demons. We must always conduct ourselves with the long —term spiritual interests of others paramount on our minds, being sensitive to conscience and scruples of others as we exercise our 'rights.'
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