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Thursday, April 25 2019
A Bible Journey, 180: The Shadows Of Lawlessness
"These shall stand upon Mount Gerizim to bless ... And these shall stand upon Mount Ebal to curse"
Hills (see Hometowns: Nazareth) and mountains (see The Life Of John: From The Mountains To The Valleys), sea-level plains (see Old Testament Armageddon), to the far-below sea level Salt Sea ("Dead Sea"; see The Salt Sea In History And Prophecy) make Israel a land of topographical extremes in a relatively small area.
Mount Ebal, from the Hebrew word pronounced ay-bawl, meaning rocky, is a mountain in the Samaria region of central Israel. At a height of 3,077 feet / 937 meters above sea level, and 1,200 feet / 365 feet above the level of the adjacent valley, it was located on the north side of the ancient city of Shechem. Mount Gerizim was to the south of Shechem on the opposite side of the valley.
While Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim were easily visible from each other, from the sight of each other Mount Ebal's barren appearance (due largely to its more shaded north face) contrasted with Mount Gerizim's more profusely-covered side (due largely to its brighter south face).
There is no "dark side of the moon." It's a term that originated because the moon turns on its axis (the "day" on the moon) in the same period as it orbits the Earth (a month) - thereby producing the visual effect that only one side of the moon is visible from Earth. In that same way, Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim both had a contrasting "light" and "dark" side as viewed from each other, even though they also each had their light and dark side. That natural contrast was used in a ceremony to symbolize the blessings for those who obey God, and the curses for those who disobey - a principle that applies as much now as at any other time during the history of humanity.
"27:1 And Moses with the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Keep all the commandments which I command you this day. 27:2 And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over Jordan unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaister them with plaister: 27:3 And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over, that thou mayest go in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, a land that floweth with milk and honey [see Deuteronomy 6: The Way To Milk And Honey]; as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee. 27:4 Therefore it shall be when ye be gone over Jordan, that ye shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, in mount Ebal, and thou shalt plaister them with plaister. 27:5 And there shalt thou build an altar unto the LORD thy God, an altar of stones: thou shalt not lift up any iron tool upon them. 27:6 Thou shalt build the altar of the LORD thy God of whole stones: and thou shalt offer burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD thy God: 27:7 And thou shalt offer peace offerings, and shalt eat there, and rejoice before the LORD thy God. 27:8 And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly." (Deuteronomy 27:1-8 KJV)
The Levites (see the Fact Finder question below) then declared the Will of the LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ - see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God), with the result of obedience or disobedience - blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience.
"27:9 And Moses and the priests the Levites [see Numbers 3: When Were The Levites Set Apart? and Numbers 18: The Inheritance Of The Levites] spake unto all Israel, saying, Take heed, and hearken, O Israel; this day thou art become the people of the LORD thy God. 27:10 Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the LORD thy God, and do his commandments and his statutes, which I command thee this day.
This Day In History, April 25
404 BC: At the end of the Peloponnesian War, Lysander's Spartan Armies defeated the Athenians (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids).
775: The Battle of Bagrevand ended an Armenian revolution against the Muslim Abbasid Caliphate. Numerous Armenian nobles fled to the Byzantine Empire (i.e. the East Roman Empire; see also The Prophet Daniel: Kings Of The North and South).
1530: The Augsburg Confession was read at the Diet of Worms (i.e. Vorms, a city in Germany). Written primarily by Philip Melanchthon, the document comprised the first official summary of the "Lutheran" faith.
1590: The Sultan of Morocco launched his successful attack to capture Timbuktu.
1607: During the Eighty Years' War, the Dutch fleet destroyed the anchored Spanish fleet at Gibraltar.
1644: The Ming Chongzhen emperor committed suicide during a peasant rebellion led by Li Zicheng.
1707: At the Battle of Almansa, Franco-Spanish forces defeat the Anglo-Portuguese.
1792: Nicolas Pelletier, a convicted forger and highwayman, became the first person executed by guillotine.
1809: The Treaty of Amritsar, concluded in India between the British East India Company and the Sikh Kingdom of Punjab. It settled Indo-Sikh relations for a generation.
1849: Governor General Lord Elgin signed the Rebellion Losses Bill, which gave compensation to residents of Lower Canada (i.e. Quebec - "Upper" and "Lower" Canada were geographic terms based on the flow of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River toward the Atlantic Ocean) whose property had been damaged in the rebellions of 1837. It became known as the "rebel rewarding bill" because in the confusion some rebels were compensated. Opposition to the bill was severe; Elgin was attacked by an English-speaking mob and the Parliament Buildings in Montreal were burned down.
1859: British and French engineers began construction of the Suez Canal.
1867: Tokyo was opened to international trade.
1882: French commander Henri Riviere seized the citadel of Hanoi. French colonial involvement in Vietnam eventually resulted in the division of the country into North and South Vietnam, which in turn caused the Vietnam civil war, which the U.S. became mired in after the French retreated from it. The result of their century of war is that Vietnam is today a single country again, just as it was a long ago before the French and then the U.S. empires claimed "leadership" over the Vietnamese people in their own country.
1915: During the First World War (1914-1918), troops of Australia and New Zealand landed at Gallipoli in Turkey (see also The Assassination That Triggered Two World Wars).
1925: Paul von Hindenburg became President of Germany. The old "conservative" was soon replaced by a "liberal" - Adolf Hitler (see When Do Liberals Become Conservatives? and Why Are Politicians Called Left Or Right? and What Did A Father Of Democracy Predict About It?; also The Terrorist Attack That Enabled Hitler To Become A Dictator and Iniquity Liberal Or Conservative? and Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1926: In Iran, Reza Kahn was crowned Shah and chose the name "Pehlevi." His brutal, undemocratic regime lasted until the Iranian revolution of 1979 (the "hostage crisis" of the U.S. Embassy in Iran began not long after Pehlevi fled the country; see also Has Another Haman Arisen?).
1945: Representatives of fifty nations gathered in San Francisco, California to begin the United Nations Conference on International Organizations. The U.N. general assembly headquarters was later constructed in New York, apart from its many offices and agencies in Europe.
1959: The St. Lawrence Seaway, linking the Atlantic Ocean to Canadian and US ports on the Great Lakes, opened to shipping.
1967: Britain granted internal self-government to Swaziland.
1971: Bangladesh (which means "country of Bengal") was declared. Civil war immediately followed which killed an estimated 1 million people before India intervened against Pakistan.
1974: Antonio Salazar was overthrown in Portugal.
1988: John Demjanuk was sentenced to death by an Israeli court for war crimes committed during the Second World War (1939-1945). The verdict was later overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court in 1993, after which Demjanuk returned to his home in Ohio.
2007: The funeral of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin was held. It was the first funeral to be sanctioned by the Russian Orthodox Church for a head of state since the funeral of Emperor Alexander III in 1894.