Early Christians used the fish as a symbol of Christianity because Jesus called disciples to be “fishers of men” and preached in the area of the Sea of Galilee (Matt. 4:19). In fact, fish are prominently used in the mosaic tiles of that area. In time, Papacy and the Roman Catholic Church absorbed both the name of Christianity and the symbol of the fish, which is seen in the cardinals’ pointed split “fish” hats, portraying the head of a fish. As the Catholic Church rose in power and influence and was recognized by the Roman Empire, the pagan priesthood, seeing which way the wind was blowing, very conveniently converted to supposedly become consecrated Christian priests. They brought with them a lot of their symbols, one of which was the symbol of Dagon. Cardinal Newman tried to explain the compromise and absorption of pagan customs into the Catholic Church in past centuries and how they became sanctified. An influential Protestant at one time, he converted to Roman Catholicism and wrote a book, trying to explain and justify the pagan idiosyncrasies. Incidentally, the word “nun” is an adaptation of “nin,” meaning the female aspect of a fish.
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Chapter 47 is a prophecy of the destruction of the Philistines. In verse 1, God told Jeremiah to prophesy against the Philistines before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, smote Gaza. Then, starting with verse 2, the account seems to radically change, for it talks about a flood coming down from the north with noise, chariots, and a wild commotion, whereas Egypt would attack Gaza from the south. However, the chapter talks about the destruction of the Philistines and not about Egypt.
The judgment was against nations that are Israel’s immediate Arab neighbors today. Is the antitype the Psalm 83 setting prior to the destruction of mystic Babylon?
The first chapter of Zephaniah and part of the second chapter speak of the complete desolation that occurred when Nebuchadnezzar invaded the land and left no inhabitants. Although the judgment to occur on the Arabs in the near future will not be utter desolation, there will, nevertheless, be devastating developments to remove the Arab threat. This judgment will solve the problems with Israel’s more local and surrounding enemies, but not with the distant ones, who will be dealt with when God saves the Holy Remnant out of Jacob’s Trouble.
“We [Jeremiah and Obadiah] have heard a rumour [confidential information] from the LORD.” God originated this information, and He let certain individuals know what He intended to do. Then the trusted individuals, such as Obadiah, transmitted the information to the public. Such confidential information should make us bestir ourselves to righteousness.
The Book of Obadiah is fourth in the listing of the 12 minor prophets. Generally speaking, the listing is in chronological order with the exception of Obadiah, which stands out like a sore thumb as not fitting the sequence. Although no specific king’s reign is mentioned to pinpoint the time setting and Obadiah’s relationship to the chronology of the kings, internal evidence in the book helps us to know when Obadiah gave his message, as will be seen.
We think the reason Ezra, who superintended the compilers of the Old Testament, inserted Obadiah after Amos, rather than much further on, is that this book concerns only Edom (or Esau) from beginning to end. Moreover, it seems to be a sequel to the prophecy of Amos, part of which pertains to Edom, and provides more details with regard to that message of rebuke.
Zechariah 9 is a very exciting chapter. It starts out with more detail about Psalm 83 which is the Arab-Israeli war that is coming very soon (see Newsletters for more details), also gives more details about the Gog and Magog invasion that follows the Psalm 83 incident and then discusses Israel’s coming back into favor with God with the rescue of the Holy Remnant. Here we connect the scriptures that pertain to the subject (Valley of Dry Bones, and Parable of Rich man and Lazarus) when the prisoners (who have hope) are released out of the pit where there is no water. What beautiful harmony there is in the Word of God.