Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Real History

An archived letter from a Southern blacksmith during the Civil War —

"Those blacks are starting to believe we are at war to end slavery but I am a blacksmith and this damn war is about saving the Bill of Rights and Constitution from aristocrats in Europe who want to turn us all into something called taxed employees. Texas needs to remain its own republic for the sake of Liberty. The only the government and those bankers can keep controlling folks is to end their legalized slavery, which there ain't many slaves I ever seen in my lifetime. We use cotton gins and former slave babies own land and have business too like me, though most are too dumb to make anything of themselves unless they blame us white folks who ain't never done nothing to them. Blacks sold blacks to the bankers and aristocrats. We never owned a slave. Hell we are all slaves to those bastards in the government and banks. Slaves are human and God's creatures but so are white slaves and Native slaves, and Mexican slaves. But those banks took over our government before I was born, like Santa Anna, and make us all employees of these very same aristocrats who are the real slave owners in the North, South and in Europe. This is why blacks are joining forces in the south, and the uneducated ones run to the north for promises Lincoln will never keep. Those aristocrats they will kill him first. The educated blacks anyway, stay here in Texas. Ain't no poor white man ever beat a colored black or native. We are best friends in the watermelon patch. It is the rich folk who ain't like us who done all that killing and whipping and starving. And I suppose it is a black mans right to find personal justice. But it ain't us poor white folk and blacks know that. But European money is now helping Lincoln and we can't win unless we take down Washington. Lee is a true American, and he has lost battles on purpose to save lives on both sides but the Union is crazy as hell and wont stop coming. Its like they are possessed like demons or something. Full of hate and rage. I suspect Lee will surrender just in hopes to save Americans lives. We are both North and South, all Americans. White, Black, Native. Lee thinks he can do more by ending the war then after words politically fighting the establishment and bankers. I think we need to wipe them off the face of the earth for good or they will rewrite history and no one will ever know the real truth about this unholy war that the bankers started. They will change history and burn all the evidence in Dixie Land to the ground."
In God's Hands,
Originally posted by "Pvt. Ben." This was his great-great-great-grandfather's letter. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Palm 🌴 Sunday


One of the issues with the programmed Sunday school "quarterlies" of my childhood was that they were written as single-event lessons. If, make that a big IF, any dots were ever connected, they were drawn almost exclusively as "good character" themes, rarely as cause-and-effect in the flow of history, and never as patterns of how God works. Moving forward…

Today, the congregation was challenged to draw their own dot-connecting lines and go google the kinds of palms used on the First Palm Sunday. I discovered that this is easier said than done.

My first search was for "genus species palms jerusalem jesus triumphal entry".  (It used to be that starting big would weed out many mismatches, but Google changed algorithms over the years, effectively dumbing-down searches and guiding them to those that are more popular or more politically correct. As often happens, this "simplification" has made life harder.)
  
All of the first four matches had "Palm Sunday" in the title. Notice that "Sunday" was not a search term!
My third match, one that you'd think would be pretty close to what I had asked for, included:
When God Isn't Green: A World-Wide Journey to Places Where Religious Practice and Environmentalism Collide, by Jay Wexler  (Sounds fun, doesn't it? /sarc)
Wiggles's Easter Journey, by Jamie Lynn Walters, a 22-page paperback children's book that retails for $10.95
• This Youtube video of a "Palm Sunday Cross" which might be more accurately titled, "Chanters with Staple Guns Gone Wild."   (click and it will open in a new window)  By the way, "male singer synonyms" gets blocked as an "unsafe search!"  

So that was a no-go. And yet, I persevere…

No surprise, the palm used the first "Palm Sunday" was the date palm, (which is also cultivated commercially in California, btw, some random trivia). I found the best search term to be "trees of the holy land." This yielded lots of matches, an overwhelming percentage of which are geared to children  🤔 hmm…

But according to the Science of Correspondences website, the date palm symbolizes knowledge of the Lord. Its singular stem (we'd probably call it the trunk, but biologically it is a stem,) rises straight heavenward and its leaves branch in all directions; there is no direction in which He cannot save.

Palms also show up in temple art.
1st Temple — And he (Solomon) also inlaid all the inner walls of the Temple—both the inner and outer sanctuaries—with carved engravings of cherubim, palm trees, and blooming flowers.  […] He covered the two doors of olivewood with carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers. He overlaid them with gold and spread gold on the cherubim and on the palm trees.  1 Kings 6:29, 32
2nd Temple — It (the inner temple) was carved with cherubim and palm trees; and a palm tree was between cherub and cherub, […] From the ground to above the entrance cherubim and palm trees were carved, as well as on the wall of the nave. Ezekiel 41:18, 20
Interestingly, and no doubt purposefully, the palms are found on doors and entrance halls; not at a destination but in places that lead to somewhere else.

Palm branches show up again in Revelation 7:9.
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; Revelation 7:9 - NAS
Palm branches used during the Feast of Tabernacles typically represent Thanksgiving. I'm going to go out on this limb and posit that all the many symbols for palm branches apply here: knowledge of salvation, joy of the king, and thankfulness they made it!  


And now back to my connecting-the-dots complaint of the first paragraph—
In case you grew up with disconnected Bible stories too, here are three tidbits about Palm Sunday that I've cobbled together as an adult:

• The story about raising Lazarus from the dead was not far back in the timeline. In fact, as we learn toward the end of the 11th chapter of John's Gospel, that was the miracle that triggered the forming of the plot to kill Jesus. Jesus' few remaining weeks were spent teaching parables, essentially exiled in the wilderness near Ephriam. This puts a different light on the fact that the disciples had an extremely hard time at first believing that Jesus was resurrected. They had seen someone come back from the dead fairly recently, so Jesus wasn't being "unfair" in setting high expectations for their faith.
The raising Lazarus story and Jesus' subsequent "time out" from the area around Jerusalem also helps explain the large crowds on Palm Sunday. It wasn't a handful of kids like the artwork in my Sunday school lesson. This was the first opportunity for most people in and around Jerusalem to see the man who had raised Lazarus from the dead, and they came in droves.

• When the crowds called Jesus the "Son of David," that was almost a throw-away ID in my childhood Sunday school. The teacher who did take the time to explain it said that people didn't have last names back then, so they'd refer to an ancestor to know which family was meant.
But… David had a real son, Solomon, who also rode a beast of burden on the day he became king. This is one of those patterns from the Old Testament that repeats or corresponds to something in the New Testament. I will even look it up for you:
and David addressed them. "Take your lord's servants, have my son Solomon ride on my own mule, and take him down to Gihon. 1 Kings 1:33
Can you say foreshadowing?

• Another pattern is found in Psalm 118. Beginning at verse 19 we are told about entering at the gates, a description of Jesus follows, and by verse 27 we read:
The Lord is God,
and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up to the horns of the altar.
The horns of the altar were covered with gold, a kingly metal, and would be touched by the priest with the blood of a sacrifice as a sin offering.  This is yet another type and pattern that connects dots.



So there you go...

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Temporary post...


We were given a couple of challenges at the end of Sunday morning's Christmas service— these are some notes that I am parking here temporarily.



How was begotten used in John 1:14?
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.


Begotten • μονογενής • monogenḗs,  meaning 'single of its kind'

Strong's G3439  only-born, i.e. sole:—only (begotten, child).

Webster's 1828 -participle passive of get. Procreated; generated.

Thayer's Greek Lexicon expands: "He is so spoken of by John … because by the incarnation of the logos in him, he is of nature or essentially Son of God, and so in a very different sense from that in which men are made by Him." In other words, John didn't want us to think Jesus was God because the Father 'put' an eternal Word/logos in him, but because He is the logos.

Even with only a simple high school science background, "mono genes" probably jumps out when you see the Greek transliteration monogenḗs.  (Although it is pronounced more like muh-nog-ga-NACE).



Did the shepherds really hear the angels sing in Luke 2:13?
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying..
(the specific word for singing was not used) When Paul and Silas were "singing" with the prisoners, Acts 16:25, the Greek word used was hymneō. (And you don't even need high school science to see that "hymn" is there.)

praising: aineō  to praise, extol, to sing praises in honour to God

saying: legō  to say, to speak, to call (using words in systematic discourse)

The word used for 'praising' can imply singing. It certainly does not rule out that the angels sang. What stood out for me, though, was that legō is a 'systematic discourse.'  One look at sheet music for a good Bach Fugue pretty much is conclusive evidence that music is 'systematic.'

But surely angelic beings have the ability to sing, right?
Hmm... The verse that I thought would be conclusive, isn't. In God's challenge to Job, (38:7,) He said that, "the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy."  If God is being literal and not figurative, then the early star matter was resonating and pulsing to produce sound and the angels were shouting about it.

All of this considered, I think the angels probably did sing, but that Scripture was written to emphasize the message of the song, not the music. 

================================
Well, maybe not so temporary after all.  I have two unpublished drafts from 2016 too. I don't remember where I was going with any of them, but this one can stay.  edited April 2017




Saturday, December 19, 2015

Why My Christmas Tree is NOT an Idol ♠ Part Two




In my last post I mentioned that I discovered that many of the "Christmas is a Pagan Holiday" websites that were coming up in searches were also anti-Catholic. I am far from being a champion of Catholicism, their "coronation" of a Pope frequently gives more honor to a man than their other actions give to the Word of God; however, down through the centuries there have been many Catholics who loved and honored God. Satan has surely assaulted the Church's leadership with temptations of power and wealth, and while many succumbed to those enticements, it has also done enough things right that it has survived through the centuries and ministered to untold millions. In this post, I'd like to address the three undeserved criticisms made about the Catholic Church as regards the celebration of Christmas.

• The Catholic Church made up the holiday. Nowhere in scripture are we told to celebrate the nativity.

This is a common charge, and it was one of the Puritan's favorite denunciations of Christmas. It loses some of its punch when you realize that Jesus attended a festival that had not been instructed through Moses. "At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple…" John 10:22, 23. Today, we call this Hanukkah. It commemorates the Maccabean revolt (167-160 BC) and subsequent cleansing of the temple after it was profaned by Antiochus Epiphanes. Our canon does not cover this time period; nowhere in scripture was Jesus told to recognize this event. But apparently, the absence of a command did not cause Jesus to shun it.
Paul addresses a similar situation, "One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind." Romans 14:5

• Jesus wasn't born on December 25th. 

Once you understand why the Catholic church picked that date, you will see that they did not choose it to deliberately coincide with a pagan festival. They started with Luke 1:5, "In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah." They compared it with the list of priestly succession in Nehemiah 12. Abijah is found in verse 17. Abijah served during the eighth week and the 32nd week, and the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the 1950s reconfirmed¹ that those weeks remained a consistent assignment through the years. Zechariah, as a descendant in the division of Abijah, would have been serving in the temple week of Yom Kippur when the angel appeared to him. Zechariah and Elizabeth conceived John the Baptizer within a month after Zechariah completed his service. The Catholic Church calculated that St. John the Baptizer was born on June 24, and this remains his feast day on their liturgical calendar. When the angel visited the Virgin Mary at the conception of Jesus, he told her that her cousin Elizabeth was in her sixth, month. cf Luke 1:36. They reasoned that if the future John the Baptist was six months older than baby Jesus, then Jesus's DOB would be on December 25th. Right or wrong, (and yes, strong arguments can also be made that Jesus was born during one of the Jewish fall feasts,) the date was picked using reasoning that had nothing to do with pagan festivals.

• The Christians celebrated the nativity during an existing pagan festival to avoid detection.

I first heard this theory in my high school Latin class, but there is no reason to think that the early Christians, who were willing to face lions, would shrink back and fudge the date of Jesus' birth to hide behind a pagan festival.  Of the two potential festivals sometimes named, neither are a perfect fit for the theory. One, the Saturnalia, concluded on the solstice, three days earlier. The other, Natalis Solis Invicti, was established by Emperor Aurelian, 270-275 AD, and was not continued by his successor Tacticus. It was started after the church fathers had calculated the December 25th date and was not around long enough to make a difference.

The Catholic Church, for all its faults, and especially the early Catholic Church before either Constantine's conversion or the beginnings of the Dark Ages, was not yet willing to blend with pagan practices to make their religion easier to swallow when proselytizing pagan countries.

The hard, undeniable evidence that Christmas is pagan simply does not exist. If your heart's motivation in having a tree is to glorify God and to honor his incarnation on Earth, then that is the purpose of your Christmas tree. Don't let the devil steal your joy. 


¹ I have not checked this out personally. The research was reportedly done by Shemaryahu Talmon, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, published in 1958


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Why My Christmas Tree is NOT an Idol ♠ Part One



Like a good many devilish things, the accusation that Christmas trees are rooted in paganism is—in addition to being horticulturally incorrect—also doctrinally backwards. 180° backwards. Christmas trees are not so much copies of pagan practices as the pagan rituals were corruptions of God's original creation.

I have met more than my share of self-appointed Scrooges and Grinches who cannot get their seasonal jollies by baking gingerbread men or sucking on candy canes like normal people. No, they find their holiday cheer by putting a bug in your hum as they self-righteously announce "The decoration of Christmas trees is a survival of pagan tree veneration," or smugly advance their rhetorical query, "Do you really want to give the impression that you are worshipping a tree?" Then, while you are staggering on the defensive, they bring out the coup de grâce, the deathblow of argumentation; they quote scripture.

For the customs of the peoples are delusion;
Because it is wood cut from the forest,
The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool.
They decorate it with silver and with gold;
They fasten it with nails and with hammers
So that it will not totter.
But they are altogether stupid and foolish
In their discipline of delusion—
   their idol is wood!
Jeremiah 10:3, 4, 10 NASB

Jeremiah does state that the heathen nations in the vicinity of ancient Judah decorated trees in their polytheistic rites of worship. So now, please explain the 2000 year gap that shows how this Babylonian custom overcame the language barrier, was transported to another continent, and carried on until 1521 in Alsace, (then, a district of the Holy Roman Empire; present-day, the region around the French and German border) where the first occurrence of a Christmas tree is recorded.

While you are working on finding the missing links for the evolution of the Christmas tree that way, I will tell you how the medieval Christian church in Europe was educating the illiterate peasantry about sin and redemption. They were putting on plays. One of the most popular dramas was the Paradise play that told the story of Adam and Eve's fall and subsequent ejection from the Garden of Eden. The staging was usually simple; often, the only item on the set was a fir tree with fruit tied to its boughs. Although these plays could be given any time, some dates were timelier than others. The Passion play depicting Jesus' crucifixion was usually given in the spring; plays about the revelations that Jesus shared with St. John were commonly held about the time of his feast day in late June. And this play with the paradise tree was often performed around December 24 because it was the feast day of Adam and Eve. If you are looking for a custom from which the modern Christmas tree could have developed, then this one fits the timing, the geography, and the culture far better than Canaanite idol worship ever did.

After a couple of days spent researching the so-called pagan beginnings of the Christmas tree, I began noticing a pattern; the overwhelming majority of claims for the pagan origins of Christmas were also Catholic-bashing articles. These generally focused more on date setting and on claims of "making up" a feast not specifically prescribed in the Gospels. Since neither of those are Christmas tree specific, I will address them in a separate post. What is noteworthy, however, is that Christmas trees first became popular during the span of the Protestant reformation, which is fairly strong circumstantial evidence that Christmas trees did not have a pagan origin. 
 

Now, it is certainly true that trees in general, and evergreen trees in particular, have taken on meanings in pagan societies that exceed mere symbolism. Indeed, the general concept of a Tree of Life is so ubiquitous that instead of supporting any claim that the Christmas tree copied pagan ones, it is far more likely that the pagan trees are all contorted adulterations of the original tree in Eden.  

The Celts and Druids were into fantastical wood lore. On the European continent, sacred groves were common among both the Scandinavian and Germanic tribes. The Greeks had their wood sprites and dryads. The sakaki is an evergreen tree used in sacred rituals of Japanese mythology. India has its kalpa-vriksha, a wishing tree. The African baobab tree is associated with a rich and complex history that blends fact with folklore. Smith's Dictionary of the Bible summarizes, "Tree-worship may be traced from the interior of Africa not only into Egypt and Arabia, but also onward uninterruptedly into Palestine and Syria, Assyria, Persia, India, Tibet, Siam, the Philippine Islands, China, Japan, and Siberia, also westward into Asia Minor, Greece, Italy, and other countries."¹
 

(Curiously, the one area of the ancient world where tree worship was less common was among the Native Americans, who were also the most geographically separated from their contemporaries. And while they still had their totem poles and prayer sticks, in the absence of a written language, those were used principally as memory devices. As a generalization, trees were considered as gifts of the Great Spirit for healing and were not directly worshiped.)

Why did the heathen begin using trees for worship? I have come to believe that the answer for that centers—literally centers—on the Garden of Eden. "and Jehovah God caused to sprout from the ground every tree desirable for appearance, and good for food, and the tree of life in the middle of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil." Genesis 2:9.  In time, Adam and Eve's eyewitness account of these trees would be imbued with mysticism. 
 

Ask the Rabbi² estimates world population at the time of the Tower of Babel at over 920,000 people, and bases this on his timeline of 339 years between disembarking the ark and the dispersion at Babel. Andrew Snelling,³ using a 101 year calculation for that period, figures a 9,000 person minimum. Either way, it leaves a rapidly expanding youthful population, which has very few elders to pass along the knowledge of God. (And at least one of those was drunk for a spell!) In a world with harsher climatic conditions, little-to-no wealth laid up for a jump-start inheritance, altered nutritional needs, and the time-stresses inherent in raising children, it would be fairly safe to assume that some details about the trees of Eden are going to slip some minds, some will be embellished by some others, and that some of the second- and third-generation children who never knew life in the old world will decide that the old geezers don't know what they are talking about. Satan, who was in Eden and knew better, could spin a confusing web of fables and disinformation to misdirect mankind into worshiping the creation rather than the creator. cf Romans 1:25.
 

Like the Doctrine of Evolution, history and archaeology have provided some metaphorical fossils that could be interpreted to support the notion that the Christmas tree grew from pagan origins, but there are missing links in that record. Other than saying, 'It surely looks possible,' the theory cannot be proven. The true believers who carry the torch of Truth across the generations are not going to willingly copy a heathen practice. Give the reformers some credit and exercise the wisdom of Gamaliel here: if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.  Acts 5:38. Christmas trees have been around for almost five centuries now; if the original intent was to mock God with tree-worship, the tradition would not have survived, at least not outside a few cults.
 

And there is another reason that deconstructs the possibility that my Christmas tree could be an idol. I have been taught since childhood that it represents New Life, both the new life of a baby in a stable and the new life He would purchase with blood when He became a man. It has always been this way for me. It wasn't until I was well into my teens that I learned that the Druids thought of a fir tree as a sacred wood, so I definitely could not have retroactively made the Christmas tree into an idol. It wasn't until sometime later that I read an article by a wiccan author who gleefully crowed that they had "infiltrated" Christianity with tree-worship, without providing a shred of evidence that Christians are worshiping trees. You cannot take a snapshot of an "effect" and then go to your smorgasbord of "causes" to pick one that suits your worldview. Those are straw man arguments that do not prove a thing.

But mostly, my Christmas tree is not an idol because I do not idolize it.
 



¹ Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, Genesis of Earth and Man, p. 139
² Ask the Rabbi http://www.jewishanswers.org/ask-the-rabbi-3463/noah-tower-of-babel-population-growth/?p=3463
³ Snelling, Andrew. Earth's Catastrophic Past: Geology, Creation, & the Flood. Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research, 2009. p. 289
 


Friday, November 13, 2015

Missing Info for Life's Mission


I am at a place in life where it is super easy to look back and see faults in my early Bible teachers. As a child, I was taught to honor them, which I certainly don't regret, but...

The 'buts' are coming rapidly these days. It may have been that my teachers believed that they needed to dumb down the Bible so kids could understand it, or it may have been that they were themselves fairly clueless, and I will even concede that possibly, (on very rare occasions, of course,) I may not have been fully listening, but...
But the fact of the matter is that I fell victim to a lot of lopsided Bible teaching. I try to be more "Berean" about things now. cf Act 17:11

For one, I was taught that it was more important to be polite than it is to be courageous. As nice as that seems in the moment, that idea ultimately is corrosive to faith.

I remember the days of teaching the story of Joshua to my own children. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

It was still abstract for me. Joshua the Super Hero might be able to decide that he would not tremble, but me? Nope. My early childhood teachers never even hinted that this was a command that we could choose to obey. Kids need to be told that while they are still little. Later, by youth-group age, I was taught that we could choose to do the courageous thing, but was never told that it could be done without dismay.

The no-trembling and the no-dismay are also choices, and those choices are not contingent upon "feeling" that God is with us.  The key that no one ever bothered to hand me was that faith for 'God being there' was/is a boost to not being demoralized.  So I learned a lot about the hard parts, but not so much about where the faith to achieve them would come from. I never learned how to appropriate the confident faith of being tremble-free in any childhood Sunday school. Sometimes it was held out as a mystic goal, (if God chooses,) but there was never much fruit to show for it. 

If we are wanting to use a Gospel pattern of agricultural metaphor, then my early church experiences were big on watering; (Oh yeah, and they were good at dampening spirits of rambunctious children too,) but Oops! somebody forgot to plant the seeds!  I do not remember anyone ever intentionally planting God's vision for me, in me. I can see a few sporadic times that happened, but those were "accidental" mercies, and it is unlikely that the people who spoke into my life even knew that God was using them.  

This fall, I went through the video lessons and workbook, Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed. It is a study of three seasons in the life of King David. It was good. Detailed. Rich in insight and practical application. Even encouraging. But the way I remember the "anointed" part dealt far more on how Jesse & Company's flesh-based reasoning discounted David as being "just a youth out in the sheep pasture," and how we must use spiritual eyes to see as God sees. That is a good lesson, to be sure, but it glossed over what David's finding his calling as Samuel spoke it over him did to David and how it altered (or maybe supplemented) his world view. Being anointed by Samuel changed David. 

Here is the way one eBook described it:
David had been anointed by the prophet Samuel when he was a boy. God placed in David the image of a king.  He knew who he was. He knew what he was called to do.  That’s why, when the rest of Israel saw an enemy, a giant, David saw an opportunity.  David was confident of victory because he was confident in his covenant with God.  He had God’s profile deep in his heart.  He had the profile of an anointed king.  Slaying Goliath was just a matter of doing what was already inside him. He acted out that profile by faith… and his covenant with God did the rest. (Copeland)
"Just a matter of doing what was already in side him!" Can I miss something that never was? If so, I miss not having a Samuel speaking over me. Most of what I know about what is inside me I have just stumbled upon in conversations with God. Consequently, I didn't really know how to transfer knowledge of a life mission to my own children. I did better than my parents, but the original baseline was so abysmally low that even that is not saying much. 

I have come to believe that "choosing" a career is the wrong mindset for Christians who wish to be effective and satisfied during their life on Earth. We should spend more time discovering what God has placed in us, and then walk that out by faith. 

And yes, I know that the Lord does not characteristically give us the big plan all at once.  The biblical pattern is "from faith to faith," one step of faith at a time. cf Romans 1:17. But we could be doing a lot more to teach children how to hear God because today's children are going to need an ark. The life raft that I got from my childhood training isn't going to be seaworthy in the storms of today. 





Footnotes:

Shirer, P., Moore, B., Arthur, K. Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed: A study of David. Nashville, TN: LifeWay Press, 2008.

Copeland, K. Do You Fit the Profile of a Prosperous Believer? Fort Worth, TX: Eagle Mountain Church. p. 3.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Blue Skies


If you had been traveling my rabbit trail today, you'd have noticed that the sky was the same color as the 'economy tarps' they sell at Harbor Freight. Yes, they were the same shade of blue! It was sort of hard to believe, even though I was looking straight at both. The sky, the tarp, the sky again.

The next rambling of my thought went to a sermon I'd once heard preached about how God has a sapphire throne, because if true, it mush have been leaking out some color down here. The preacher  had based that upon  Ezekiel 1:26, "And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire." 

Hearing that the Throne Room is sapphire perked up my thoughts, "Wait a minute!" because I had long thought the Emerald Rainbow of Revelation 4:3 "And a rainbow was around the throne, in appearance like an emerald," was rather conclusive: green, not blue. But...

I needed a tie-breaker.  It wasn't long until I found Exodus 24:9-10, when the Mosaic Covenant was sealed:
Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself.

Two votes for sapphire then.


Today, however, it matters not. I am not in any hurry to check it out; there will be time enough for that in the next age. Here in the now, the lighting of the sky is spectacular. And it glorious over my rabbit trail.