Thursday, April 7, 2011

"King Jehoiakim Burns the Word of God"

As I commented last night on Christopher's post "Burning Holy Books" at Word Around the Net,

"...Pastor Jones' statement has prompted discussion of what the Bible really means to us, and has pushed front and center a deep secular question as well: are we still a nation of leaders and defenders, or are we a nation of capitulators and outright bullies?

"For it is the bullies & capitulators who leaped to condemn Pastor Jones without first declaring that the actual murderers owned full responsibility for their actions. However one feels about his actions or his motives, whether self-agrandizing, misguided or prophetic, there is no denying that it takes courage to stand against the mob that is the worldwide media industry today."

Christopher's post is one of many in which people are discussing why Christians do not riot over desecration of Christian beliefs and the Holy Bible, why Americans demand and will riot on behalf of Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Thought, Freedom of Religion.

I've written about this before, in a post last August titled "Failing Liberty for Afghanistan by Failing Freedom of Religion", and in another titled "Time Magazine has just earned my subscription".

By inspiration or coincidence, the antique Sunday School card pictured above illustrates a 2,600 year old event that resonates today. Here is a little insight into the authority and authorship of the Holy Bible, from the Bible itself, in the book of Jeremiah, the prophet, along with a story of a king who burned a Bible, and what happened because of it:

During the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king in Judah, the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: “Get a scroll, and write down all my messages against Israel, Judah, and the other nations. Begin with the first message back in the days of Josiah, and write down every message, right up to the present time. Perhaps the people of Judah will repent when they hear again all the terrible things I have planned for them. Then I will be able to forgive their sins and wrongdoings.”

So Jeremiah sent for Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated all the prophecies that the Lord had given him, Baruch wrote them on a scroll.
Then Jeremiah said to Baruch, “... go to the Temple on the next day of fasting, and read the messages from the Lord that I have had you write on this scroll. Read them so the people who are there from all over Judah will hear them. Perhaps even yet they will turn from their evil ways and ask the Lord’s forgiveness before it is too late. For the Lord has threatened them with his terrible anger.”

Baruch did as Jeremiah told him and read these messages from the Lord to the people at the Temple. When they heard all the messages, they looked at one another in alarm. “We must tell the king what we have heard,” they said to Baruch. “But first, tell us how you got these messages. Did they come directly from Jeremiah?”
So Baruch explained, “Jeremiah dictated them, and I wrote them down in ink, word for word, on this scroll.”

....The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. Jehudi brought it from Elishama’s room and read it to the king as all his officials stood by. It was late autumn, and the king was in a winterized part of the palace, sitting in front of a fire to keep warm. Each time Jehudi finished reading three or four columns, the king took a knife and cut off that section of the scroll. He then threw it into the fire, section by section, until the whole scroll was burned up.

...After the king had burned the scroll on which Baruch had written Jeremiah’s words, the Lord gave Jeremiah another message. He said, “Get another scroll, and write everything again just as you did on the scroll King Jehoiakim burned. Then say to the king, ‘This is what the Lord says: You burned the scroll because it said the king of Babylon would destroy this land and empty it of people and animals. Now this is what the Lord says about King Jehoiakim of Judah...."

This post contains an excerpt. If you go to the link and read the entire chapter (Jeremiah Chapter 36), notice that not only the names of all the various people involved are given, but also their geneologies so they can be specifically identified, along with time-line data to enable the reader to pinpoint the year in which this occurred: November/December 604 B.C.

The Bible is no fantasy story to entertain children, it is no marketing document designed to fool the unwary - this is a record of real people and historical events, in just the same way that today's birth certificates record who, what, when, and where.

Image: The photo is an antique Sunday School card, dated 1901. It is part of a series of dozens that children used to study their Bible lessons. They collected and traded these. The paper is supple and not brittle, the chromolithograph has beautiful rich color that remains unfaded today. Our ancestors built for the ages, while our "green initiatives" build for decay.

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