16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.
I happened to have seen an advertisement on the television during a program I had been watching and it was in regard to a new model of mobile phone by manufacturer ‘Samsung‘. Like most adverts use of subtleties, suggestions and general assumptions were used to convey the idea that we, the public, wanted what was advertised. Throughout the advert a song was being played, the words of which suggested we did, ‘Give them what they want’……Well maybe I am the odd one out here but that suggestion is a subtle way of attempting us to believe that we want the latest product because everyone else wants one and I am not taking the bait. In fact I don’t like the kind of technology that one day threatens to run our lives. If you don’t believe that then just look around and see how many people are joined at the hip to their ‘smart’ phones. No-one takes any notice of their surroundings anymore, their eyes are glued to their little (or big) screens and their ears are being pumped whatever sounds they are tuned into. This is only the beginning, technology is only in its infancy despite what has been achieved so far. You can be sure more is to come. In relation to the Bible verses above one day technology will dispense with the need to carry cash, cards (even those with RFID chips) or smart phones to make purchases. The technology will be inside us! Those who allow it that is. However, as the verses state, nothing will be purchasable without it! We will be under the control of others………….Okay it might not happen during our own lifetime but there again the technology is already here and in some countries people really do have RFID chips implanted. Imagine what the world would be and will be like when everyone has implanted technology………
Read the Book of Revelation. It is the last book in The Bible for a reason……
These past weeks have seen me so busy I’ve had little time for myself except at the weekend. It’s insane. I do reject calls of course but some of the requests are ridiculous. For instance here are some that I have received lately, the hinge on my fridge is a little loose. My satellite dish has been loosened by the wind. The self-rewind device for the cable on my vacuum cleaner is stuck. I need a lamp changing in my light fitting. Can you repair my oven? ( I once did that sort of work when working for someone else). Can you replace my bath? The taps (faucets) on my sink need replacing. Will you hang some pictures and a mirror for me? The list goes on. They think I am a Jack (Jill) of all trades! Well in fact I can do all of those things but I advertise as an electrician and that is the only work I want to do for others. I went to a house late on Monday afternoon to disconnect an old cooker and connect a new one when it arrived. To save me going there too early and having to stand about waiting for the new one to arrive I suggested to the guy who’d asked me to do the job if he could switch off the cooker wall switch and simply cut the flexible cable on the rear of the old cooker which evidently had been pulled out from the space. He had already disconnected the gas pipe to the cooker but told me he couldn’t locate the wall switch. The switch would either be on the wall nearby or else be inside an adjacent cupboard. If he could do that then the guys coming with the new cooker would be able to take the other one away and I would arrive later to connect the new one. In the end I went along earlier and disconnected the cable myself. The switch was on the wall adjacent to the cooker yet he couldn’t find it! When I showed him the switch he confessed he didn’t know what it was for! I couldn’t believe it. Neither did he know what the only other switch nearby was for. It was for the cooker extract hood! When it came to anything to do with the house services he hadn’t a clue so his wife and teen-aged daughter told me later. Now I wouldn’t expect a customer to do more than cut an isolated cable unless I knew it could be done safely and easily but I already knew this guy was capable of such a simple task. It seems he was stumped because he didn’t know how to switch off the supply using the switch in front of him! Earlier in the day I had been to install a replacement ceiling light fitting and I isolated the main supply at the relevant circuit breaker. The lady came to tell me that there were still some lights working. They were plugged into the power points around the room. She thought everything was supplied by the one circuit breaker which obviously they are not. Whenever I have the opportunity to explain the basic layout of an electrical system in someone’s house I am amazed just how little most people understand about their own installation. Some do not even know where to locate their main power distribution board. These are basic things everyone should know regarding their household water, gas and electrical services but many just don’t have a clue.
Mankind is forever searching for knowledge and never seems satisfied until all is known that can be known about any subject. When he thinks that he has the answers something else comes along to upset the theories and a re-think is needed. At the lower end of knowledge we know enough to solve our everyday problems and the system works fine but as we seek a deeper knowledge things are not what they seem. I remember learning about straight lines at school and how each end of a straight line extends to infinity in either direction. In more recent times the scientists tell us that there is no such thing as a striaight line in space because space itself bends. How do they know that? Years of painstaking study is how and a determination to discover new things. Some knowledge is learned quite by accident or as a by-product of other research. At any given point in time there are scientists at work searching for solutions to mankind’s problems, for example in the area of medicine looking for a cure for specific diseases and ailments. Will they ever reach a point though when all we can know is known? In The Book of Ecclesiastes in The Bible we read ‘Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body’ (Eccl.12:11b)
12 Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them’– 2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain; 3 when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, when the grinders cease because they are few, and those looking through the windows grow dim; 4 when the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades; when people rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint; 5 when people are afraid of heights and of dangers in the streets; when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags itself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then people go to their eternal home and mourners go about the streets.
6 Remember him – before the silver cord is severed, and the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, and the wheel broken at the well, 7 and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
8 ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Everything is meaningless!’
The conclusion of the matter
only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the
people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.
11 The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails – given by one shepherd. 12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.
Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.
13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.
And speaking about God it says in Isaiah 44:25 -‘who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense,’
The whole chapter
New International Version – UK (NIVUK)
Jerusalem to be inhabited
24 ‘This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:
I am the Lord, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself, 25 who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, 26 who carries out the words of his servants and fulfils the predictions of his messengers,
who says of Jerusalem, “It shall be inhabited,” of the towns of Judah, “They shall be rebuilt,” and of their ruins, “I will restore them,”
For all the knowledge mankind seeks is meaningless, it will count for nothing in the end. How much knowledge do we really need? How much of what we know and seek is completely useless to our requirements? We can know too much and yet what we know seems not enough for some. Are we really any better off than our ancestors for gaining some of the knowledge we have?
There are many people out there in Internet Land who would have the rest of us believe they know everything there is to know about their favourite subject. Much of what is written is opinion or misguided information. I suppose by now all of my readers will know that I am a Christian for on occasion I promote Jesus in this blog, as I did yesterday. I try not to post on the subject too often for obvious reasons but feel it right to do so sometimes. At the moment that is about once a week. What I write is based on the fundamental teachings of The Holy Bible without any self interpretation on my part, sticking only to the facts contained therein. The point of the exercise is to point people to God, to Jesus Christ and it is up to them if they respond. It’s a little like commercial advertising where a presentation is made to encourage further investigation or a possible purchase. That is all as a Christian I am supposed to be doing. It is part of being a Christian. However there are those who like to preach about the many things concerning the faith. Some of those do it with authority because they are scholars or men of the cloth as they say but many are simply lay-preachers and their presentations and arguments quite frankly leave me somewhat puzzled at times. I am no expert but I know enough to see errors in their interpretations and presentations, in fact as Christians we are specifically told to search the Scriptures for ourselves to verify what we are being told, The Holy Spirit being our guide. Many of these people are out there writing articles for posting on the Internet but the reality is, most of their readership is already Christian so unless their purpose is to edify the Church outreach is pointless. There is the danger of misleading those who have little or no understanding about the subject and in many cases they do more harm than good. It is the Churches responsibility to teach newcomers to the faith, all we are called to do as individuals is to proclaim The Gospel Message. I have used this subject as an example of course but there are many other subjects where self-interpretation is prominent over the actual facts,
Recent reports indicate that ‘scientists’ have found that eggs, specifically the yolks, are bad for our health in that they promote arterial cholesterol deposits leading to possible heart attacks or strokes. Many years ago eggs were declared not a good food to eat but then more recently we were told, hey, they aren’t as bad as we first thought! We are told that hard cheeses are similarly bad for our health in the same way. Too much fruit is bad for the teeth because the acid eats away at tooth enamel and yet we are told that we should be eating more fruit and vegetables. Drinking milk counterbalances the acid erosion if it is drunk whilst eating the acidic fruit but too much milk isn’t good either especially if it is the full fat variety. Butter is high in saturated fat so that makes it a health hazard. Years ago we were encouraged to eat less of it but then there was the huge butter mountain of accumulated European Community over-production and soon it was suggested that butter wasn’t all that bad after all. Well now the butter mountain has diminished, possibly gone altogether, butter is back on the hit-list and we are advised that margarine, if it is the right kind, is far better but spread it thinly! Spread it thinly on what? Why bread of course but wait a minute, isn’t eating too much bread not a good idea either? Think of the fat content, the extra pounds put around the waist. Meat is high in protein which we all need but now we are being told that too much red meat causes health problems too. It doesn’t seem to matter what we eat, whatever we eat will probably be bad for our health if we are to believe everything the scientists and food experts tell us! Oh and lay off the alcohol as much as possible but if indulging in the occasional drink, make it the occasional drink! Remember the days when we could eat bacon butties, butter on our bread, boiled eggs for breakfast, as much fruit as we wanted oh and good old fish and chips from the local purveyor of such delicacies? No forbidden fruit, no guilt-trip if we indulged once in a while with full-fat ice-cream or black puddings, pork pies and chocolate bars! Gone are the days of such innocence and a care-free lifestyle. I have to admit that knowledge is a good thing when it comes down to what we place in our mouths but constant bombardment from men or women in their little white coats can be quite a pain in the proverbial at times don’t you think? We all say it, ‘haven’t they got better things to do’? Ah, but it is all in the name of providing us with the tools for a healthier and longer life, so they say. Sometimes though I think ignorance can be a blissful thing. Just for the record, I do eat healthily but it does become tiresome when Big Brother or Mother Hen don’t allow us a little freedom in life.
I am referring to earthly knowledge here. Whatever becomes the subject of inquiry these days can be known. When once all we had at our disposal to find out about things were the knowledge and experience of those we met or through the written word in encyclopedias now we can gain access to that knowledge ourselves through the Internet. We need never again be totally ignorant of things we previously had no knowledge. It appears that there is nothing on this earth that is without accessible information. This levels the playing field somewhat and whilst there will always be specialists in any subject, no subject will be out of the reach of anyone interested. It is written in Scripture as a prophecy that mankind will be rushing here and there in the pursuit knowledge. So here we are in the 21st century doing exactly that. As human beings we seek knowledge and we can never stop seeking it, it is as though it is part of our make-up. Forever seeking, forever searching and with each scrap of knowledge there becomes a reason to seek more. One thing leads to another but when will it all end? Will it all end? Is it possible to know all things? Is it worth knowing all things? Wikipedia, the on-line encyclopedia of collective knowledge goes a long way in aiding the pursuit of knowledge but I see it still in its infancy and not the only source of knowledge I’m sure. Whereas many years ago research into any subject was a long and laborious occupation it has been made a lot easier by having information at our fingertips and only seconds away. No longer will there be a need to sit for hours in a library searching through endless books and manuscripts to discover what we want to know if it is all recorded electronically. There is nothing therefore in this world that we have to remain ignorant about if we put our minds to it. Maybe one day we will know all things. Personally I don’t think we’ll gain all knowledge this way but that is another story for another post.
Mankind is constantly on a quest for knowledge, never satisfied with what is known but always seeking further knowledge about the environment in which we live, the way things work, how they are constructed, the origin of our being, the origin of the Universe and an endless list of other things. Mankind’s appetite for knowledge cannot be quenched, it appears that we are ‘programmed’ to seek out these things. Too much knowledge can be a bad thing, too little can be dangerous. We have to know how we came to be and why, was it by accident or design? The simplest answer is that we were designed, not by Nature but by a Creator God. In the Old Testament of The Bible are many things about the Earth that could not have been known when the words were written down but have only become known in more very recent times. We can go on seeking knowledge by ourselves but ultimately we can know many things now simply by reading that book. It is a book about life, how it was created and why. It is worth reading and will address many of the questions we seek the answers to if we open our hearts to what it says. Either that or we continue to seek answers elsewhere and ultimately get nowhere.