Daniel 5:5-6

This is an evangelical Christian speaking with other three persons, which we'll call X, Y and Z: "Are you aware that Jesus is coming soon? And that there will be earthquakes, wars, famine and death around the world?"

X gets funny and says, "Well... that's what you people say. But the Bible was written in the times of Rome and Jesus hasn't come yet. I don't think we should take it so seriously... Besides, haven't we got enough with wars and disasters already?"

But Y doesn't make jokes about these things: "Look, there are some people say He is coming, another, that it will not happen... I don't know if He comes or not, but I go to church sometimes, I make confession and leave some alms... I want to be in peace with God, you know? Nobody knows!"

Z takes a look to Y and gets professoral: "In my church we learn that the second coming is not a literal event. It only means that Jesus comes to us. Besides, the Millennium is going to grow gradually, because the church will evangelize the whole world. I think those evangelicals are a sect"

Which one is right?

We'll give you the answer. But observe the judgement which king Belshazzar saw:

Daniel 5:5-6

"Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking"

NIV has rendered fairly the original Aramaic version. But the word "legs" is Aramaic "kharáts" corresponding Hebrew "khaláts". In most english versions it is translated as "loins" or "hip". In the Bible, these "loins" are the middle part of our body, between the waist and the legs. When the muscles become weak in that region, we get crooked. Now imagine the king with a pale face, getting smaller and trembling. Even when he didn't understand the writing, he knew very well that it was an ungodly act that they were doing, and he became terrified by the vision.

December 26, 2004, was a Sunday like any other. From dawn, people from India, Southwest Asia and Indonesia were waking up and getting ready for their day, suspecting nothing. At 7:00 AM, a strange phenomenon appeared in the sea. One hundred feet high waves were coming to the land! They swept away everything in coastal communities and killed - only in Indonesia - more than 160 000 persons. Other very affected countries were India (18 045 estimated dead) Sri Lanka (35 322) and Thailand (8 212)

That well-known 2004-tsunami killed circa 230 273 persons. It is more than the entire population of Salt Lake City, USA, Oviedo in Spain, or Uppsala in Sweden. Beside death, there were disappeared and wounded people, material damage and other consequences.

We can read in the Bible about a similar inundation. The waters from the "great deep" and rain caused a flood upon the earth. You can read it in Genesis chapters 6-8. God warned Noah, who made an ark to save his family and all animals around him (by pairs) and then the deluge killed the rest of mankind.

Probably you have heard about this story! And probably you know that many treat the whole thing as a "myth from the Bible". Because it is refuted on the basis that an "universal deluge" is physically impossible (which is true, by the way) But before you listen to those who deny the Word of God, let me give you some details they prefer to ignore.

The Second Letter to the Corinthians tell us to "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ". The Greek word which is rendered "thought" is "nóema", that means also "mind" or "purpose". Observe that it is referring always to some "mental" thing, in contrast with physical things.

One of the most unfluential philosophers of history is the Prussian Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) who commented extensively about the difference between the "noumenon" - or "the thing-in-itself" - and the "phenomenon", the things as we see them, or perceive them through other senses. As "noumenon" comes from Greek (compare noúmenon and nóema) "phenomenon" comes from the same language and is used in Hebrews 11:3 to mean "what is seen" (God's created things, which we see)

In every language you hear about "sunrise" and "sunset". From the earth's surface, we see the sun as a light circle which appears at dawn and dissapears at sunset. This is the "phenomenon" that we see. But "noumenon SUN" is a star, which is many times bigger than earth, and which is always visible from earth somewhere. It is not a circle, and it doesn't appear and disappear. This kind of language is the expression of what we see.

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) and Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) shouldn't have any conflict with the Papacy, which "infalibly" sustained that the Earth was immobile and the Sun was revolving around our planet. The discoveries of those astronomers have been confirmed, and the Bible is right about the fact that - as we see - there is "sunrise" and "sunset". When we speak of "noumenal" or "phenomenal" things we don't have to be lying in any way. They are only two ways of approaching the same thing.

Now when we are aware of this important difference - that we can be speaking of "things-in-themselves" or about "things-as-we-see-them" - then we can understand that the flood didn't have to be "universal" so that the whole planet was submerged in an world ocean higher than Mount Everest. Those who experienced it spoke phenomenologically and described a flood which killed mankind IN THAT TIME, the human community which was living in that region where Noah built the ark. They described WHAT THEY SAW from their position. See the NOTE at the end to get deeper in the whole idea, and BELIEVE! The Word of God desn't lie, and it is not a myth.
Why do we speak about the flood in the context of this writing on the wall?

Let me tell you, Our Lord used the flood as a "writing on the wall", a warning of a coming judgement. In the eyes of Jesus Christ, the story wasn't some kind of myth or legend, but a real event which He used to compare with real event which will occur. This is what He said in Luke 17:26-27:

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all"

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ will be a most glorious event for us who believe in Him. He will take away unrighteousness from this earth, He will bind Satan for a thousand years and He will reign in this Millennial Kingdom. Peace and knowledge of God will fill the whole earth, and the believers will reign with Him. But for the unbelievers, it will be a total disaster which ends in judgement, after seven years of wars, famine, persecutions, death and cataclysms. This final judgements will be so violent that Our Lord used Noah's and Lot's examples (the flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah) to illustrate them. They are condemnatory judgements, where there will not be a possibility of repentance. You can read, before continuing forward, about the difference between a disciplinary and a condemnatory judgement in Daniel 4:28-29 in this site.

When we read Daniel 4 we see a disciplinary judgement which came upon king Nebuchadnezzar until he acknowledged Israel's God. Other judgements to discipline men on earth were pronounced in Eden (they were casted away so that they shouldn't eat from the tree of life, Genesis 3) and before the scattering of those who were building the tower of Babel (so that they should leave that project of them which didn't glorify God, Genesis 11) with many others. These features identify a disciplinary judgement:

1) They look for a response from people, which is repentance
2) They are limited, it means, until they reach their goal
3) They don't destroy life
4) Their purpose is not condemnation but salvation

But that judgement which came upon king Belshazzar was not to discipline him. That very night the king died and Babylonia fell before Persia. The Word of God shows us several judgements of this kind (condemnatory) as those we saw in the Words of Our Lord about the flood, the Second Coming and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. We can see the fall of the mystic "Babylonia" in Revelation 17-19, the fall of the "beast" - the Antichrist - and its army in Revelation 19:19-21, and the victory over the rebellion of "Gog and Magog" in Revelation 20:7-10. All this condemnatory judgements are very different of the disciplinary ones. The condemnatory judgements:

1) Come upon sinners to punish them (there's no escape)
2) Have an eternal effect (they are irreversible)
3) Bring eternal death
4) Make condemnation real for those who didn't repent

It isn't casual that Nebuchadnezzar was "worried" about his vision, but Belshazzar was "terrified" about his. The first one was hearing about a seven years disciplinary judgement, but this one, an eternal condemnation.

Many people wonder: "why, if God is love, and God is good, he has sent so many judgements, and even send and will send them? Why do so many people die in wars, pandemics and catastrophes?

This is what the Word of God anwers in Romans 1:18:

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness"

What is "to suppress the truth by one's wickedness"?

Let me give you an example. On December 30 last year, in the United Nations Security Council, a vote was made in order to legitimize the Palestinian Authority - which rules upon Palestinian Arabs, which don't have a country. The way to do this was to recognise a "Palestinian State". If you are aware of the situation in the Middle East, then you know that Israel lives under constant attack from those Palestinian Arabs, which use terrorism against Jewish civilians, fire rockets against the State of Israel and has built a tunnel system to invade Israel and take Jewish hostages. This "recognition" of an authority which makes war, a very dirty war against a sovereign state, ignores that this authority has never promised to recognise Israel state, and that their goal is to make war to the Jews until they cast them away from their land, which God gave them back. Their goal is a muslim state without Jews, with Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian Arabs.

In the UNSC meeting, eight countries voted in a way which "suppressed the truth by their wickedness". Those countries determined that the terrorists were worthy a prize, that it is right to make terrorism against the Jews and to teach their children to hate them, that they need their own state in spite of Israel's existence. Eight countries voted for the terrorists and against the people of God.

Have you seen Gud's judgement?

Some days later, one of this eight countries, France, was mourning and seeking several muslim terrorists - the same kind of Hamas, which got their vote on December. Those muslim terrorists think that it is right to kill Frenchmen who make use of "freedom of speech", a basic right in democracies, but an alien concept in islamic dictatorships. Why? The Frenchmen made some caricatures portraying "their" prophet - which is not "the" prophet in Christianity, Judaism, Atheism, Hinduism, Buddhism or "prophet" at all for six BILLION people on earth who aren't muslims. And the muslim terrorists think that they have the right to kill those cartoonists.

Is this event unrelated? We don't think so.

God's judgements show also His patience. 2 Peter 2:5 says that "He did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others". The sinners could give ear to Noah's words, who was preaching during the time it took to build the ark, it is, "when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built" (1 Peter 3:20)

At the beginning of this page we saw the illustrations of some different human opinions about the Second Coming of the Lord, and about the terrifying judgements which will happen at the time of this glorious event. To king Belshazzar, the writing on the wall was a mistery, a supernatural vision which he didn't understand - and even so, he got terrified. The judgements which are coming on earth are a mistery also for many people who have not received the Word of God, and who don't believe it. These persons from the beginning illustrate three kind of unknowing people which the Bible shows us. Let's call them the "scoffers", "religious" and "manipulative" ones, corresponding to X, Y, Z.

The first ones are represented in 2 Peter 3:3-4, "Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised?" Ignorant people and unbelievers often scorn those things they don't understand. It was Thomas idea when he said, "Let us also go, that we may die with him". The Lord should go to Lazarus, to rise him from the dead. But Thomas, the unbeliever, saw the whole thing as ridiculous. If Lazarus is dead, what can we do? Humanly, nothing, of course. But God is a God of miracles. The Lord went to Bethany and resurrected Lazarus. He showed Himself to Thomas after His resurrection, and the apostle, who had been in doubt, acknowledged Him as "his Lord and God". In spite of those scoffers who deny the revelation of God, the Lord will come, will save those who belong to Him - as He did in the times of the flood and in Sodom - and will pour terrifying judgements upon the rest of this world. Atheism doesn't make God to dissapear. It causes the sinners to go to hell.

About the second ones we can read in Jeremiah 11:14-15, "Do not pray for this people or offer any plea or petition for them, because I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their distress. What is my beloved doing in my temple as she, with many others, works out her evil schemes? Can consecrated meat avert your punishment? When you engage in your wickedness, then you rejoice". God forbids the prophet to pray for those apostates who were serving Baal, and He rejects their religious acts. No religious act can save us from the coming judgements! Only receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior makes it possible to be eternally save.

The last ones, which we have called "manipulative", are those who "distort the Scriptures" to make them say what they want. In 2 Peter 3:15-16 we read, "Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction"

But the truth is not altered because of "ignorant and unstable" people distorting it. In the history of the Church have we seen many wrong doctrines which appear because of this position - some of them we have refuted in this site - and the Lord doesn't want somebody to perish. There is no salvation without Christ, but the eternal fire of hell, the lake of fire where those, whose names aren't written in the book of life, shall be thrown (Revelation 20:15)

If you have been deceived, if you are walking without Jesus and living in error, there is time yet! The only thing you need to do is to kneel, pray to the Lord, repent and give Him your life. The blood that was shed on Calvary's cross has power to save you, and to bring you with God for the eternity.

Receive Jesus today!

May the Lord bless you. In the love of Christ, your brother

Israel Leonard

PS. Jesus is coming soon!

NOTE to the flood:

There are some questions which make it physically impossible a flood which drowned the whole earth. Here are some of them:

1) The ark - which is specified in the Bible with its size - has no place for:
2 277 species of rodents,
1240 species of bats,
2 species of solenodon (they live only in some Caribbean isles)
257 species of ungulates (here, the great herbivores as the elephant, giraffe or camel)
114 species of cats (here lions, tigers, jaguars and cougars - these two last ones exist only in America)
334 species of marsupials (all of them are endemic in Australia-Oceania, as the kangaroo and the koala, or in America - opossum)
76 species of canidae (here wolves, dogs, ravens and coyotes)
30 species of bears (including the polar bear, only in the arctic region) To make it easier, let's gather
10 000 species av birds in a single group (remembering some endemic species, as the emu in Australia and Tasmania, or the cassowary in Australia and New Guinea) Besides, Noah had to make some rum for
9 400 species of reptiles (as snakes and lizards)
So that the list doesn't bore you, let's only remember that only from 1500 AD to this day there were more than 800 species of animals which are now extinct (and maybe more from Noah's time to 1500) By the time of Noah there could be mammuts, saber-toothed tigers, mastodonts, and many more. Finally, remember the apes! Noah should have gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans and many more.

2) There are "endemic" species which have never been in the ark. For instance, kangaroos are endemic in Australia and New Guinea. If you take a look to Australian savannahs, you'll see kangaroos jumping and having fun. If you dig two meters deep in Australia, most possibly you'll find kangaroo bones, from those kangaroos who died for many years ago. If you dig deeper in Australia, you'll find kangaroo fossils, from those who died many millennia ago. But in the Middle East nobody has found a kangaroo fossil, from those kangaroos which should have leave the ark and travel all the way to Australia and New Guinea. Not in Irak, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India or all the other countries. As a matter of fact, we have no information about some trace of kangaroo but in Australia and New Guinea. That's why it's called "endemic" of that region. Only human beings aren't endemic. We are the only beings which expansion from the Middle East can be traced to the whole world, exactly as the Scriptures say.

3) The waters which were supposed to cover the whole earth fifteen cubits over mount Everest should conform a "water world", an ocean covering the whole earth surface, more than 8000 meters higher than the seas we have now. That amount of water doesn't exist in this planet, not even if all the clouds become rain and the atmosphere is left in 0 % humidity.

4) In Genesis 8:3 we read that the waters "receded" from earth. The waters moved back. That hypothetical 8 kilometers high ocean should have nowhere to "recede". Genesis 8:11 notes also that the waters "had receded". A such amount of water, if it evaporates, can't be retained in the atmosphere. Besides, the Bible don't specify that the "world ocean" evaporated. The Bible says that the waters "receded", as it happens in a local inundation like that of tsunamis.

Is the Bible wrong, then? Is this a myth? Or is the rendering from Hebrew to English wrong?

Let me tell you, Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke about the flood and Noah, and He used the story as example, like an historical event. When you read the Hebrew from the original, you won't find any great difference with the New International Version. And the Word of God is never wrong.

Who's wrong, then?

Remember the difference we talked about, between noumenon and phenomenon (the thing-in-itself and the thing we see) Those things aren't similar, and sometimes they are very different.

Is it possible that the flood affected the earth, every person and every specie, ONLY in that land where Noah and family lived?

Observe these verses:

Luke 2:1 "In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world" (the original Greek doesn't say "Roman", only "the entire world". But the translation is correct in this context)

Acts 24:5, "We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world"

Romans 1:8, "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world"

As we have said, Luke 2:1 speaks in the original about a census of "the entire world". But NIV's rendering says very well, "Roman world", because Caesar didn't mean to include in that census the incas, olmecs or inuits. Maybe because they weren't Roman citizens, but mostly because he didn't know that those peoples existed. Paul's accusers didn't talk about riots among the Jews of Greenland, Scandinavia or Australia. Because there was not a single Jew in those territories by the time of Acts. And Paul doesn't give thanks to God because the faith of the Roman believers is reported in China, Korea or Japan. By that time, in those nations nobody knew that Our Savior had died and resurrected.

"The entire world", and "all over the world" are not noumenological expressions (the thing-in-itself) but phenomenological ones (the thing in the eyes of the speaker) In the first verse, "the entire world" is the Roman Empire. In the second, "every place in the world where there were Jews dwelling". In the third verse, "the known inhabited world".

Have you followed us so far? then let's read 2 Peter 3:5-7:

"But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly"
"They" who "deliberately forget" are the scoffers we saw before, the ones questioning the Second Coming of the Lord. Peter says that they forget that "the world of that time" was deluged and destroyed. Now look! For Peter, the flood didn't inundate New Zealand, Mexico or South Africa. Because Peter's "world" was the territory from the Middle East to India, South Europe and North Africa and a little bit of Russia, by the Caspian Sea. This world of Peter's time is estimated to have a population of 200 million inhabitants. But it is yet many times greater than "the world of that time" he's talking about, the world of Noah and the flood.

The world that we are living in has a population of 7 BILLION people. This is 35 000 times more people than Peter's world, only two millennia after his time. Imagine Noah's world, many millenia before Peter. Only if there are - a very conservative number - a thousand times less people, then we should have that "mankind" in the times of Noah was circa 200 000 persons. This is a smaller population than the total of persons who died because of the 2004 tsunami.

Is it hard to believe that the flood, which killed mankind in Noah's time, affected 200 000 persons?

Is it hard to believe that Noah preserved those species in that land he dwelt in, and that for him, they were "all species of the world"?

Is it hard to believe that the waters of the flood covered "all the mountains" ONLY in the sight of those who were in the ark? This fact should mean that the description of the flood is a phenomenological one, which means simply that they tell what they saw.

Only someone who wants to discredit the Scriptures will sustain the "myth" of the flood. But if you want to be saved, certainly you are not in the group of those who want to disrepute the Word of God. The Bible is always right. We don't have to try to make it say something that is not there.

If you want to read or hear about these issues - especially about Genesis, the most rejected book among atheist scientists - then you are welcome to:

(From "Reasons to believe" ministries. These authors are, like Dr. Luke who wrote two books of the NT, "Christian scientists", proving that the Bible is not an enemy of scientific knowledge - and that scientists don't have to be atheists)

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