It is Near

What is "Near"?

June 13, 2023 Owen Kindig Season 1 Episode 1
What is "Near"?
It is Near
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It is Near
What is "Near"?
Jun 13, 2023 Season 1 Episode 1
Owen Kindig

it is Near explores the immediate future -- the next two or three decades from now to 2050. 

Is it bad? Way worse than even pessimists think, 

Is it good? Way better than any of us can imagine. 
I'm hoping you will join me to look with curiosity and without fear at all of the happenings that are right around the corner. My goal is not to preach, or change you. We are exploring the human condition without trying to influence what comes next.  We need to turn down the volume on judging and blaming others, and turn up the intensity of our efforts to understand.

Regardless of your background or beliefs, you will be challenged and at times irritated when you hear things you don't believe. This will be good, because the truth is wider and deeper than all of us are able to wrap our heads around. 

It is Near focuses on the alarming and the hopeful; the frightful and the forgotten; the blinding glare of giant problems, and the dark secrets that lurk even more menacingly in the shadows of global trends. "Amazing Grace" may have taught our hearts to fear, but for most Christians and non-Christians alike, divine grace as commonly conceptualized does not those fears relieve. It is Near will be informative, accessible, comforting, and challenging to every thinking person. It will call Christians to account and provide a breath of fresh air for secularists who, for once, would like to hear a conciliatory and intellectually honest message from a thoughtful Christian voice. Owen Kindig of Sitka, Alaska is your host, and is responsible for the content.

"Even the bad news is good news."

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

it is Near explores the immediate future -- the next two or three decades from now to 2050. 

Is it bad? Way worse than even pessimists think, 

Is it good? Way better than any of us can imagine. 
I'm hoping you will join me to look with curiosity and without fear at all of the happenings that are right around the corner. My goal is not to preach, or change you. We are exploring the human condition without trying to influence what comes next.  We need to turn down the volume on judging and blaming others, and turn up the intensity of our efforts to understand.

Regardless of your background or beliefs, you will be challenged and at times irritated when you hear things you don't believe. This will be good, because the truth is wider and deeper than all of us are able to wrap our heads around. 

It is Near focuses on the alarming and the hopeful; the frightful and the forgotten; the blinding glare of giant problems, and the dark secrets that lurk even more menacingly in the shadows of global trends. "Amazing Grace" may have taught our hearts to fear, but for most Christians and non-Christians alike, divine grace as commonly conceptualized does not those fears relieve. It is Near will be informative, accessible, comforting, and challenging to every thinking person. It will call Christians to account and provide a breath of fresh air for secularists who, for once, would like to hear a conciliatory and intellectually honest message from a thoughtful Christian voice. Owen Kindig of Sitka, Alaska is your host, and is responsible for the content.

"Even the bad news is good news."

Owen Kindig:

Welcome to the first episode of it is near -- a podcast that explores the immediate future, all of it, not just the 21st century. But the next two to three decades from now to 2050. Is it bad, way worse than even pessimists think, is a good, way better than any of us can imagine. I'm hoping you will join me to look with curiosity and without fear at all of the happenings that are right around the corner. My goal is not to preach, we are exploring the human condition without trying to influence what comes next. It's going to happen, whatever it is, we are looking at all the things people are doing, without judgment and with love for the entire human and animal kingdom. But there's one thing about this podcast that will be a challenge for you and for me, to face what we find, without prejudice. That won't be easy, because the odds are you and I have different prejudices. I come to you, as a Christian, who trusts and loves the Bible. The odds are, you have many reasons not to trust the Bible. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much we have in common. And if you are a Christian, you'll have even more reasons to turn off this podcast. Most Christians who care about the Bible, don't want to hear from a guy who uses the Bible to disprove hell, or the popular view of Jesus' return as a "doom and gloom" event. So if it will make you nervous to hear a challenge to your worldview from another Christian. I hope you'll give this podcast a try. No question. If you are a Christian, you will probably disagree with even more of what I'll be sharing then if you're a skeptic, or an ex Christian, or Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. So why shouldn't everyone -- atheist and Christian alike -- just save yourself some time and turn off this podcast right now? Because you are curious. You won't ignore fairly presented evidence. You like to think, and you're worried about what's going to happen next. And you already know that different does not mean bad. And by the way, because I will never get sponsors or waste your time on ads. There's only one reason why I'm paying to put this out in the world because I know, if you hear me out, you'll find that even the bad news I bring is good news for everyone.

I give you my solemn promise, this podcast will be galling. :

-) I guarantee you will not want to hear some of the challenges to your faith or your skepticism, or your sense of equanimity about what's happening in the world, to which this podcast will drag you. You do not want to meet the likable Christians or the lovable atheists or the well spoken scientists who are studying climate change and environmental disaster. But I predict you will keep listening because I respect you. I will be kind to you. I am not trying to change you. And I am living proof that truth is too broad to be owned by one person or the other. One party or another. One religion, or no religion. One scientific theory or the next. There will be interviews. I love Sam Harris, and Neil deGrasse Tyson. No less than Alistair Begg and Tim Keller of blessed memory who I'm too late to be able to talk to. Hopefully, maybe someday, people like the ones I've named, will find it worth their while to join you and me in conversation.

I'd love to talk to some of the wounded veterans of the Christian-ism enterprise:

people like Frank Schaeffer, and Brian McLaren. And I'd like to talk to some of the stalwarts of Christianity who people trust, who are willing to discuss orthodoxy with an earnest and civil tone.. The things about their understanding of the Bible that myself and many other people find so upsetting and disappointing, is that is indeed the plan of God. Are the contradictions and controversies too much? Nah, not at all. It's time to stop shopping for a source who just carry stuff you already believe in and trust. I promised to be fair and balanced without being anything like Fox News. The physical world is full of matter and antimatter. Contradictions and controversies are part and parcel of the universe as it has been made. Exploding galaxies of light mingled with black holes, and the spiritual world. All religions are even more contradictory, a swirl of darkness and light and mystery and Revelation, where the deepest wisdom is profoundly paradoxical. If the Bible is to be believed God made humans perfect, and immediately allowed a deceiver to invade paradise and tell them lies. Lies that they believed lies that we've spent 6000 years trying to unlearn and live with virtually no guidance, very little guidance. The Bible is not a search light, it is not a streetlight. It's a flashlight. It's a candle. [It's a treasure trove to actual people of faith, and the most important book for a disciple of Jesus. But for people today who are not feeling a call to follow Jesus, the Bible is increasingly useful as a source of prophecy and historic perspective. With it, we can understand how to face the challenges of a time of war, crime and displacement. And thankfully, there are other candles that have been lit in the last century as well. And I am convinced that there is harmony to be found. When we take the candle light from the Bible, with the candle light of science, astronomy, biology, physics, genetics, archeology, and we start putting everything together and amassing a composite picture of what the lessons of history might be able to tell us. From childhood to the grave, we constantly wrestle to understand these paradoxes, mutually exclusive truths that can't be and yet are real at the same time. God is love, and God is a consuming fire. Believers are justified by faith and yet know that justified by works. Man has free will. And yet, no man is free. Unless he is! Or as Luther put it in a very refreshing little best seller. A Christian is a perfectly free Lord of all subjects to none. Period. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all period. How many vegetarians does it take to eat a hamburger? Only one as long as no one is looking. So when push comes to shove, we can laugh at each other's inconsistencies. Every issue the world faces today, whether in matters of faith or practical living, is complicated. Every policy has good and bad results. And every virtue carries within itself the seeds of its own demise. You cannot love without tripping over hate. We cannot pursue life to the full without coming face to face with death. No composer can write a symphony without including high notes and low fast melodies and slow tone poems. The substance of this podcast as you must know by now is three short words it is near will go there together me and you in my unlikely and tippy kayak full of listeners paddling together toward the horizon of truth, singing Kumbaya in a few minutes that is.... But first I want to give you a concrete example of how this insignificant little microphone hooked to a Mac Mini has the capacity to draw together Christians and atheists, people of faith and scientific thinkers, all under one tent and listening to each other's ideas respectfully. So let's take a look at an example together. Who has not heard of Sodom and Gomorrah, those two ancient cities that the Bible says were destroyed by fire from heaven. When during the lifetime of Abraham, according to the Bible, Abraham, who many people today don't even believe was a real person. And yet all Christians, Jews, Muslims, Druze Rastafarians and behind worshippers trace their religious roots back to Him. The Bible talks about Saddam a lot, many places in the Old and New Testament, but no one has ever found even one settlement that fits the description until about 20 years ago, When a team of archaeologists working at an ancient site called Tall El-Hammam discovered that something exactly like the conflagration recorded in the Bible destroyed that city about 3700 years ago. That would be right at the time when Abraham, according to chronologers, must have lived. If you Google Tall El-Hammam or simply "Sodom" "asteroid", you'll find lots of articles and videos about this topic.

There's an impressive amount of research, I'm going to start quoting from some articles that were written not by people who have a dog in the Bible fight, you know, not people who really care about whether or not Abraham existed, or whether even the name of this town was once called Sodom. I'm just going to quote from people who observe what they find in the soil and can date with it confidence to that period of time. Christopher B, Moore is the archaeologist who writes this article. And he's compiling this information from people who are specialists in their own field:

a geophysicist named Allen West, a geologist named Ted Bunch, a space physicist named Malcolm Lecompte, an archaeologist named Phil, Sylvia. These are all secular people who have been researching this topic and have worked together to develop a complete understanding of what happened to this town. Maps are available. And you can see maps that show a kind of star shaped blob with lots of little radiant points. That is centered above the Jordan River just at the northern end of the Dead Sea. And it includes this town, which can be documented to go back years before the episode that they're studying when it was destroyed instantly. I'm going to read a few things from it, because I want to emphasize that the evidence here is not based on the Bible. It's based on really the research of modern scientists who have had the opportunity to study known observed flashes of light meteor or asteroid explosions in the atmosphere above Siberia, a couple of them in in the 20th century, also, who have studied the what happened when the atomic bomb was ignited at about 90 feet above the ground in Trinity, New Mexico. In fact, a mineral that was formed by that explosion was kind of a green crystalline mineral that they call Trinitight. And they found pieces of rock that looked just like that mineral. And the people who saw it said, "Oh, we found some Trinitite." Well, what they really found were rocks that had been cooked at a very high temperature for a moment in time at Tall El-Hammam. Let me read a little bit from this article. It says,"Flashing through the atmosphere the rock exploded in a massive fireball about two and a half miles above the ground. The blast was around 1000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb. The shocked city dwellers who stared at it were blinded instantly. Air temperatures rapidly rose above 3600 degrees Fahrenheit. Clothing and wood immediately burst into flames."

I digress for a minute: They know this is a big city because there was a four story palace in that city. And it was mounted on great big stones -- very very large stones -- and then built up with baked mud bricks to a height of over 40 feet. Going back to the quote:

"Some seconds later, a massive shockwave smashed into the city. Moving at about 740 miles an hour it was more powerful than the worst tornado ever recorded. The deadly winds ripped through the city, demolishing every building. They shared off the top 40 feet of the four story Palace, which I just mentioned to you, and blew the jumbled debris into the next valley. None of the 8000 people or any animals within the city survived. Their bodies were torn apart and their bones blasted into small fragments." So, they've actually found human remains in the city. But they're all very small fragments about a minute later. 14 miles to the west of tall El Hamam winds from the blast hit the biblical city of Jericho. Winds from the blast hit the biblical city of Jericho. Jericho, those walls came tumbling down and the city burned to the ground. I'll come back to Jericho. Because I don't think that this destruction of Jericho is the one that's recorded in the Book of Joshua. That was much later. But in this particular destruction of Jericho is interesting because people who believe the Bible might be tempted to think that this destruction of Jericho is the one recorded in the Book of Joshua. But apparently it's not because there are no arrows found in the rubble here. There is no evidence of a war, there's no evidence of a fire that was lit by people and burned the city down. What happened here was this shockwave that comes through and just levels everything, and sets everything that can burn on fire. "The Conversation" -- that's the article that this magazine appears in -- brings you analysis from scientists and medical doctors. "It all sounds like the climax of an edge-of-your-seat, Hollywood Disaster Movie. How do we know that all of this actually happened near the Dead Sea and Jordan millennia ago, now called Tall El-Hammam? The city is located about seven miles northeast of the Dead Sea, in what is now Jordan. And there's a picture that was supplied by NASA showing the map of the area and the footprint of this splash that comes through. It's shaped kind of like an oval, with little fingers that come out from it. Getting answers required nearly 15 years of painstaking excavations by hundreds of people. It also involves detailed analyses of excavated material by more than two dozen scientists in 10 states in the US, as well as Canada and the Czech Republic. When our group finally published the evidence recently in the Journal Scientific Reports, the 21 co-authors included archaeologists, geologists, geo chemists, geomorphologists, Mineralogists, Paleo botanists, sedimentology, lists, cosmic impact experts, and medical doctors. Here's how we built up this picture of devastation in the past. The subheading next is called Firestorm throughout the city. Years ago, when archaeologists looked out over excavation of the ruined city they could see a dark, roughly five foot thick, jumbled layer of charcoal ash melted mud bricks and melted pottery. It was obvious that an intense Firestorm had destroyed this city long ago, this dark band came to be called the destruction layer. No one was exactly sure what had happened. But that layer wasn't caused by a volcano, earthquake or warfare. None of them are capable of melting metal, mud bricks and pottery, which is exactly what happened in this climactic event. To picture out what could, our group used the Online Impact Calculator to model scenarios that fit the evidence. Built by impact experts. This calculator allows researchers to estimate the many details of a cosmic impact event based on known impact events and nuclear detonations. It appears that the culprit of Tall El-Hammam was a small asteroid similar to the one that knocked down 80 million trees in Tunguska, Russia in 1908. It would have been a much smaller version of the giant miles-wide rock that pushed the dinosaurs into extinction 65 million years ago."

By the way, one of my favorite books I've read in the last few years is called "Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs." That tells that story, amazing story. Back to the quote:

"We had a likely culprit. Now we needed proof of what happened that day at Tall El-Hammam."

And the subheading is Finding diamonds in the dirt": "At the site there are finely fractured sand grains called shocked quartz, that only form at 725,000 pounds per square inch of pressure." And then in parens they say, "Five Giga-Pascals" -- which would mean something to a scientist who knows what he's talking about. (Quoting again):

"Imagine six 68-ton Abrams military tanks stacked on your thumb. That's what 725,000 pounds per square inch would feel like. The destruction layer also contains tiny diamondoids that as the name indicates are as hard as diamonds. Each one is smaller than a flu virus. It appears that wood and plants in the area were instantly turned into the diamond-like material by the fireball's high pressures and temperatures."

[Owen's comment]: So things that are made of carbon -- living things, plants and wood -- turned to diamonds in the heat and pressure of this shockwave that came through. [quoting again:

] "Experiments with laboratory furnaces showed that the bubbled pottery and mud bricks at Tall El-Hammam liquefied at temperatures above 2700 degrees Fahrenheit.That's hot enough to melt an automobile within minutes. The destruction layer also contains tiny balls of melted material smaller than airborne dust particles called ferrules. They are made of vaporized iron and sand that melted at about 2900 degrees Fahrenheit" [even a litle hotter.] "In addition, the surfaces of the pottery and melt glass are speckled with tiny melted metallic grains, including Iridium with a melting point of 4435 degrees Fahrenheit. Platinum that melts at 3215 degrees Fahrenheit, and zirconium silicate at 2800 degrees Fahrenheit. Together all this evidence shows that temperatures in the city rose higher than those of volcanoes, warfare and normal city fires. The only natural process left is a cosmic impact. The same evidence is found at known impact sites such as Tunguska, and the Chicxulub crater created by the asteroid that triggered the dinosaur extinction." [That's in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. And that's again, quite a very interesting story. And amazing how much they know about it from the extensive research that they've done, they've actually found the point where the asteroid hit, which wiped out the dinosaurs in the matter of four hours.]

I'm quoting again:

"One remaining puzzle is why the city and over 100 other area settlements were abandoned for several centuries after this devastation. it may be that high levels of salt deposited during the impact event made it impossible to grow crops. We're not certain yet, but we think the explosion may have vaporized and splashed toxic levels of dead sea salt water across the valley. Without crops, no one could live in the Valley for up to 600 years, until the minimal rainfall in this desert like climate, washed the salt out of the fields." All right, so there you have a description of something that if you read the Genesis account, sounds very much like it. And other scientific articles I read on this topic talk about the fact that the small asteroid that came in and entered the Earth's atmosphere -- they know the angle it entered, they know the speed with which it was moving. They know the altitude at which it melted because it got so hot in the atmosphere that it turned first to liquid and then to gas plasma. And that's what hit the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, they were all called the "cities of the plain". And Lot, Abraham's nephew, chose to live there, when Abraham gave him the opportunity to take his herds wherever he wanted to go. And he chose to live near the cities. And he chose the valley where it was, he said, "very well watered". And it would be a great place with plenty of lush grazing land, to graze his animals. And Abraham instead moved towards the wilderness in the desert, to be more alone, more off by himself, rather than with the people who Lot wanted to be around. So as you might imagine, a story like this would make a traditional Christian salivate. It makes me salivate. I am excited. It verifies to me the Bible, but when you Google it and read the articles by Christians who are talking about this, they're using it as an apologetic article. They're using it to say, "See, the Bible is true. And you better clean up your act, because if God did that to Saddam, he's probably getting ready to do it to us." So there's this judgement message and this warning message that's coming from Christian circles. And I totally understand why -- I understand the righteous indignation that they feel about things that they detect in human culture today that are kind of oblivious to the notion that there's a God that they are responsible to. And I understand why they would be nervous about that. And I also understand why their way of reading the Bible has taught them that Sodom and Gomorrah are like a downpayment on divine anger and wrath towards the human race, in their view, given us a merciful indication by destroying a few little cities in the Middle Bronze Age, destroying those cities as a warning to people here, and the whatever you want to call it, "the nuclear age". Okay, so where am I going to disagree with with these findings? I'm happy with the scientific findings of all the researchers who have published their articles. And I'm content with their unwillingness to say "okay, so now we know for sure that Abraham was real. And the story in the Bible is true." This doesn't prove that. This doesn't prove that. It just proves that at precisely the time, that people who study Bible chronology say Abraham was alive, this cosmic event happened in the area just north of the Dead Sea and wiped out a number of cities, including Jericho, and this big city that could be the city of Sodom that the Bible is referring to, or that the Bible story is based upon. And [from an honest skeptic's perspective] it could be that people at the edges and fringes of these events, saw what happened, and then that story evolved into the biblical account. I would say that the problem with the Christian use of this story, this scientific finding, as a proof of the Bible, and extrapolate from that into a warning and a prophecy of doom for the world of mankind today, I would argue that they are not paying close attention to everything that the Bible says about Sodom. So now let's flip this discussion and look at what the Bible says about Sodom.

The most important thing that I want to point out is that there are several passages in the book of Matthew, where Jesus talks about these ancient peoples, and transports them into a future time that he calls the Day of Judgment. For example, in Matthew 11:

23, and 24, Jesus says, "And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven," -- what did He mean by that? "They are exalted to heaven." Oh, he's saying that, comparatively speaking, "you're caught up to heaven, because you're getting to see a foretaste of the Messiah of the world, you're seeing me, and I'm going around, and I'm healing people." And that's not the whole deal. That's just a foretaste of the future. So he says, "Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades." Ah, that's interesting. Capernaum will be brought down to Hades. What's Hades? Well, we'll have to turn to the scriptures, we're going to have to turn to the words of Moses and the words of the prophets to find out what that means, aren't we? Well, we'll come back to that. But it says, "you will be brought down to Hades, for if the mighty works which were done in you," (that is, the works that I did, as, as the Son of God, I came and I healed people and I raised people from the dead -- three people. And before long, he isn't saying this here, but Jesus himself will be raised from the dead. That's a mighty work. "If the mighty works, which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day." All right, let's stop there for a moment. What is that saying? It's saying that if God had sent somebody like Jesus to Sodom, they would have repented, even as hardcore as Sodom appears when you read the Genesis account. You know, it really sounds like whoo, Boy, these are some pretty nasty folks. We're talking gang rape and various other things. That's really rough. He's saying "if the mighty works, which were done in you and Capernaum," in first century Judea, you know, a few miles north of where Sodom was, "if those mighty works that were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained to this day". The city would have kept right on going for another 1500 years after it was destroyed. Okay, so that's interesting. "But I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you." Oh, okay. What's that saying? Is that saying that it will be intolerable in the day of judgment for them and for Sodom? In other words, you're going to come back and you're gonna burn in hell? And it'll be intolerable for everybody? I don't think so. I think he's saying that the Day of Judgment, it's a time of reckoning and a time of learning and people who are quicker to learn their lessons, and who are less hard hearted, will have a more tolerable time, in a time of judgment and a time of correction and teaching, than people who are a little thicker skinned -- a little a little more resistant to the truth that they've seen with their own eyes. That, I think, is what he's saying.

To test that, let's turn to another passage in Matthew where Jesus says something similar. In the next chapter, Matthew 12, starting in verse 36:

"Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, 'Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.' But he answered them, 'An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the Judgment with this generation, and condemn it. For they repented at the preaching of Jonah. And behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will rise up at the Judgment with this generation and condemn it. For she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. All right, what's he saying? First of all, he's saying that "the men of Nineveh" -- that's a, that's a non-Jewish nation, is it not? And it was a wicked nation. "The men of Nineveh will rise up in the Judgment..." What does "rise up" mean? Well, it's a very straightforward word that Jesus uses many times, to mean resurrection. He's talking about resurrection of non-Jewish, unrighteous people. And he's saying that when those unrighteous people rise up in the judgment time, and are dealt with, according to what they do at that time, the character that they already have coming from the grave will put them in better stead than the character that I see you guys displaying right now. He's saying that the characters that we form in this life will have an impact in terms of how receptive we are, to the message of salvation and the message of hope, and righteousness and obedience, that's going to be taught in the future age that he promised he would bring. He's saying that the men of Nineveh would, comparatively speaking, they would do better, they would, they would respond more quickly and more obediently, then perhaps the people of Jesus' day who were rejecting him at the time. Now remember, Jesus was condemning them for rejecting their own observation of his miracles and His person. And I dare say, that we as Christians don't have the right to claim that our talking about Jesus and our preaching about Jesus, -- and our bad examples in many ways in life -- can at all be compared to the righteous display and miracle-working that Jesus did in his day! He's talking about a time when there really were miracles, and they really were obvious to the people who saw them. He's not talking about the people who never saw them, and never heard about them. He's talking about people who saw with their own eyes, miracles. And the people of Nineveh, the miracle they saw was a guy coming out of a fish onto the ground, and then giving them a message. That's the miracle they saw. But the miracle of you know, the people of Israel in Jesus day, well, we don't know how many thousand people Jesus healed but it was, it was apparently a significant number. It was it made quite a stir in that little backwoodsy nation of Israel in those days, and even Roman soldiers at the time were hearing about it and were coming to find out -- "Who is this guy? Should I pay attention to him?" And there were some who were converted, of course. All right. Now let's turn to one of the prophets. Ezekiel, in his 16th Chapter, near the beginning of the chapter, he says, "Son of man, make known to Jerusalem, her abominations." So this is a story about the nation of Israel, whom Jesus we've just quoted, rebuked when he was alive at that time, and by the way, I love Israel. And I know that according to the Bible, both Jesus and God love Israel, and Israel will be forgiven. It says that in Romans 11, they're going to be forgiven for all of their sins. And I also know that the sins and abominations that Israel is described as having by Ezekiel, those same abominations are spoken of in the book of Revelation by Jesus as referring to the abominations of Christianity. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Verse two of 16, "Son of Man, make known to Jerusalem, her abominations," and then it goes on and describes all the many things that God did to the nation for the nation of Israel, to make them special to make them know some things about the way he thought and the way he worked and what his plans were for the future. And they became very blessed as a nation because of their association, as Paul put it, "Unto them, we're committed the oracles" or the spokespeople, "of God." They got to hear God's words, and they got to record those words, and they got to live those words, they became the "people of the book." So going on down through Ezekiel 16,it describes what God calls whoredom, adultery, spiritual adultery, meaning, idolatry. And then in verse 30, it says, "How sick is your heart, declares the Lord GOD, because you did all these things, the deeds of a brazen prostitute, building your vaulted chamber at the head of every street and making your lofty place in every square, yet you were not like a prostitute, because you scorned payment." In other words, usually a prostitute at least is going to get some money out of the deal, right? And he's saying that the Jews didn't receive payment for their, for their spiritual idolatry. "Adulterous wife, who receives strangers instead of her husband." (Her husband, being God Himself.) "Men give gifts to all prostitutes, but you gave your gifts to all your lovers." Again, this is saying that so perverted were the spiritual ways of thinking of the Jewish people, or many of the Jewish people that Ezekiel is addressing at this period of time, right before the Babylonians capture the city and burn it to the ground. He says that what they did is despicable. It's about as strong language as anywhere in the Bible. And the Bible does use an awfully strong language. It's about as strong a language as you'll find anywhere to describe the spiritual sins of many of the people who lived in Israel.

Okay, now, let's keep going in this chapter, in verse 44: "Behold, everyone who uses proverbs will use this proverb against you: 'Like mother, like daughter.'" That too, is a phrase used in the book of Revelation, not talking about Israel, but talking about, -- we'll see, I'll prove to you hopefully in the future -- the Christian-ism. The Christian geopolitical enterprise.The colonial masters of the world. That is what I think R evelation is talking about as being a new harlot, and a new mother and daughter, also called a beast that we'll cover in future discussions about Bible prophecy. But today, we just want to focus on this one thing related to Sodom:

"You are the daughter of your mother who loathed her husband" (again, talking to Israel), "and her children and you are the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. And your elder sister is Samaria, who lived with her daughters to the north of you. And your younger sister who lived to the south of you is Sodom with her daughters. Not only did you walk in their ways and do according to their abominations, within a very little time you were more corrupt than they, in all your ways."

Okay? This is in harmony with what Jesus said, is it not? When he spoke to the people of Jerusalem and Judea in his day, and he said, "it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in my judgment day than for you." Okay, he's saying that their sins were more significant than Sodom's sins. Even though Sodom's had this amazing example, they were made an example of God's determination not to allow sinful ways to prosper in the future of the human race. Second half of verse 46: "Your younger sister who lived to the south of you is Sodom with her daughters. Not only did you walk in their ways, and do according to their abominations," (speaking to Israel, to Judea,) "within a very little time, you were more corrupt than they in all your ways." And now, verse 48:

"As I live declares the Lord GOD, your sister, Sodom, and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom, she and her daughters had pride, excess of food and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy." Hmm, interesting. What is that saying? Who do we know today? If we look around the world? Who has pride, excess food, prosperous ease, and neglects the poor and needy? Hmm. I think I know. What about you? What do you think? Sometimes I feel guilty being an American. "They were haughty --" [Sodom], "and did an abomination before me. So I removed them when I saw it." So when God saw Sodom, he wanted to make an example. The apostle Jude describes it in his book. He says that Sodom suffered the vengeance of "eternal" it says in the King James. "fire". Obviously, it wasn't eternal fire. Literally, the Greek word means age lasting, a Aonian. Aonian fire they suffered the vengeance of a aonian fire. Is that fire that keeps burning? No, of course not. It burned a few seconds, maybe a few hours, in the aftermath, the wood that was left got burned, started burning. In a day that fire was consumed. What does it mean, then, "age lasting fire"? it means that the city of Sodom and the few cities around including Jericho, were burned to ashes, and there was nothing left. And so "eternal fire", which some of my Christian brethren believe, sincerely believe, is referring to some sort of fire that will never burn out. And the people who were destroyed by it back in, you know, 3700 years ago, that those people are somehow being kept alive and tortured. No, I don't think so. It was a flash, a crash, and they were gone. So if we can learn anything from it, we should learn that if and when God finds it necessary to punish people for being, you know, just rotten to the core, it will be an instantaneous thing. If they were to be destroyed, not a permanent, eternal thing that will keep them alive, feeling pain forever. So I think we should start thinking about ruling out that idea.

All right, now look what happens next. So I read the part about the sin of Sodom, and I compared it to the United States. And I read the part that says, I removed them when I saw it. That was verse 50. Verse 51:

"Samaria has not committed half of your sins. You have committed more abominations than they and have made your sisters appear righteous by all the abominations that you have committed."

By the way, what did Jesus do with Samaria? He walks through Samaria. He talked to the lady at the well, who was the first person that he identified in so many words as himself as the Messiah. And when she went back to town and told everybody that she had met the Messiah, they came out and he spent three days in Samaria preaching and a lot of people believed on Jesus in Samaria. So that was a blessing that Jesus brought to Samaria. Here we're talking about how Samaria was guilty of many sins. But on a comparative scale were was better, better people, less depraved people, then either Sodom or the people of Judea in Jesus day. Now, we're gonna get to the crux of this. And this is why this is something I have never heard anyone say, on any platform, in any website, in any book that I've read, nowhere do I find this. But here's what it says in verse 52:

"Bear your disgrace, you also ..." (this is again, talking to Israel again) "Bear your disgrace, you also for you have intervened on behalf of your sisters, because of your sins in which you acted more abominably than they, they are more in the right than you, so be ashamed. You also and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous."

He's saying that Israel of Jesus day, and also even in Ezekiel's day, make Sodom appear righteous. Now verse 53, and here's where we start seeing something that makes a lot of my Christian brethren uncomfortable. Quote:

"I WILL RESTORE THEIR FORTUNES." That is Sodom, Samaria, "I will restore their fortunes, both the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters, and the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters. And I WILL RESTORE YOUR OWN FORTUNES IN THEIR MIDST. That you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all you have done becoming a consolation to them. As for your sisters, Sodom and her daughters shall return to their former estate in Samaria, and her daughters shall return to their former estate, and you and your daughters shall return to your former estate." What is the former estate? It's living, it's being alive here on planet Earth. They're all going to be restored, they're going to return to life! "Was not your sister Sodom a byword in your mouth in the day of your pride? before your wickedness was uncovered? Now, you have become an object of reproach for the daughters of Syria, and all those around her, and for the daughters of the Philistines those all around who despise you. You bear the penalty of your lewdness and your abominations, declares the Lord." Okay? He's not saying I'm going to completely absolve you and, and completely ignore your sins, He's going to deal with the sins he's going to. He's going to bring them back to life, and he's going to have them be conscious of where they need to change their thinking, and their actions. And then here's the punch line, verse 59, "For thus says the Lord God, I will deal with you as you have done, you have despised the oath in breaking the covenant, yet, I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant."

"Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed when you take your sisters, both your elder and your younger, and I give them to you as daughters. But not on account of the covenant with you. [the Law covenant of Moses, which they had broken. See Jeremiah 31:

31ff] I will establish my covenant [the New Covenant of grace Jeremiah talks about, based on the Abrahamic covenant which was unilateral -- a gift of God to all the families of the earth] with you. And you shall know that I am the Lord, that you may remember and be confounded and never open your mouth again, because of your shame. When I atone [forgive through a process of expiation] for yo u for all that you have done, declares the Lord GOD. Other translations say "forgive". We're talking about forgiving them by paying a price. And we know as Christians, we know that the price that he has paid for the sins of Israel and Sodom and Samaria, all the sins of the human race. All of those sins were paid for and atoned for and forgiven as a result of that one big sacrifice that Jesus made for the world of mankind. Everybody is going to be restored to life, including the people who were set up as examples of utter failure to believe and obey God when they knew him. Okay, So, what am I getting from this? I'm getting something that makes the folks who just look at scientific evidence uncomfortable, perhaps, because now we're, we're reading into all of these Bible stories, promises of divine intervention in the human race, the restoration, and resurrection from the dead of people. That's, that's weird. That's hard for people to want to put much confidence in. It doesn't sound very scientific. It's just interpretation of the Bible, isn't it? Well, that's what we're going to spend some time studying and figuring out. And it also makes the Christians uncomfortable, because they want to use Sodom as a, as a cudgel. I suppose that's how it feels when you listen to the sermons. It sounds like they want to get people who are inclined not to believe in Jesus and the Bible, to I guess, repent before it's too late? That's the idea that is contained in so many of the sermons that I've found online about this topic. They're using the recent discoveries of fire from heaven that destroyed Sodom, using that as a way of saying, okay, all of those stories, we've been telling you, that God is going to burn up the earth, and he's going to show his anger towards sinners. And then it'll be too late . Nah, no, I'm not going there. I don't think I don't get that from reading what Jesus said or what Ezekiel said, or what Jude said about Sodom.

So there's a good example of how the evidence that we can look at is Bible evidence, and historic evidence, and even scientific evidence, using archaeological and paleontological tools. All of that evidence, can be used to try to find a harmonious thread that shows that yeah, the Bible was right is it's historically true that there was this thing that burned up these cities and, and kind of left them uninhabitable for several centuries. And yet, Earth healed itself, people started living there again. And new generations of people came along. And then Jesus comes and talks to the people who are living in his day. And we just keep moving through history and through time and through what the Bible says what's recorded. And we try to find, okay, what's where, where is this going? Where is this going? And so where it's going is this thing that Jesus talks about in Matthew 24, this thing called the kingdom of Christ, this thing that Ephesians [1:

10] calls the plan of God, the plan of ages, that God has revealed to His followers, Jesus followers, on only in the last 2000 years, and it's only been more increasingly understood in the last 100 years. We're starting to get a glimpse of what it is and what it means -- the thing that is near. And we're starting to pay attention to phrases that we've ignored, Christians have ignored for centuries. Phrases like the reconciliation of all people. Wow, talk about biting off more than you can chew. You know, we can't even coexist right now, let alone be reconciled to one another. And yet, that's what the Bible talks about. And that's what I think Jesus was talking about when he said, "It is near." When you see certain things. Well, what are the things? Well, we'll talk about that in more detail. But in a nutshell, "when you see the fig tree", again, what is the fig tree? We'll get there. But when you see the fig tree happening and blossoming and bringing forth leaves, not fruit yet, but leaves "know that summer is near". Summer is near. So we're going to be looking at prophecies about summer, we're going to be looking at prophecies about a new heavens and a new earth. We're going to be looking at prophecies about "times of trouble" in the book of Daniel. 1260 days, 1290 day,s 1335 days in the book of Daniel. We'll be looking at prophecies about prophetic time in the book of Revelation. But 1260 is mentioned five times in the book of Revelation in five different ways, 1260 days, three and a half years or times, 42 months. All of that is stuff that we will try to understand. And we will test it with what the Bible says, And we'll test it with what history says as well. You're going to be astounded, I think. You're going to learn some things. And you're going to have opportunities. One more thing I want to mention, in this first episode, I have created a link, a web link that will allow you to ask me questions. It's kind of like an arm's length transaction, you get onto the site, you ask me a question. I get onto the site, I hear your question. If you state that it's a public question. I'll play it for the audience. And then I'll give my answer to that question. It'll be a good way of introducing listener comments and listener questions to this discussion, so that it truly is a dialogue. We're going to listen to each other. I'm going to pay attention to the objections. And I know there are many, by Christians who just really think I'm off base in my interpretation of Scripture. I'm still listening, I'm all ears. And I trust that you will be listening too. Because none of us is totally certain and totally knows all the answers. We need to listen to each other to try to find that. What did I call it earlier? The horizon of truth. Anyway, I think I've used about as much time as I can, but I'd like to, I'd like to go out on a few song lyrics. I find that the the world of mankind today is being prepared, it seems to me, for the notion that it would be really nice if we could live forever. Have you noticed how, first of all how devoted to celebrities and famous people we are? And I don't think that's a good thing. But, but there's a lot of famous people that we really admire. We really admire what they said, you know, Martin Luther King, "I have a dream." He's dead, but his dream speech is listened to by millions every year. Why is that? Because humans invented a way to record audio and to record pictures, we have movies, we have hundreds of movies of Martin Luther King giving his I Have a Dream speech. And so it's like, Martin Luther King is immortal. And people today who grew up 50 years after he was alive, admire him and look up to him. So what is the human race thinking with all of this? They're thinking, Hmm, memories can be preserved, can't they? human character and personality can be captured and replayed -- by humans! Humans can do this! Imagine what would happen if God did that! Imagine what would happen if the human race if each person who ever lived was captured and preserved and got a new body that wasn't destined to die of old age, a new body that could live without degrading? Imagine if they could get their thoughts back, if they could get their personality back.. If they could get all the good things that made them who they were, and made them loved by their family and their friends -- If those people could come back! Like it or not the human race, more than ever before in history, has a feeling that it sure would be nice. If that were to happen. We're always taking pictures of ourselves and sending them to our friends. In a sense, we are turning ourselves into immortal beings. Who even after our organism is gone. Our thoughts and our words and our actions and our tone of voice can still be preserved. I have friends who died years ago whose Facebook pages are still open. And have you ever noticed how people actually speak in terms of dead people in present tense? Have you noticed how funerals kind of backfill and resist the the reality of death nowadays? Have you noticed that? Funerals are becoming a celebration of life, rather than you know, thinking of the end is here, you know, in the grave, whatever ... We're thinking "they're up there." We imagine that they can hear us. We imagine that they are still thinking, they're still alive. Technically, I think that at the moment, they're not. We should not hide ourselves from the reality of death. But the notion that death is not a permanent thing -- now, that's a big idea. That's something interesting. And we're going to talk about that. We will do whole episodes on things like that. So I said I was going to end with some song lyrics. That's what I'm going to do right now. I have some that I've prepared here. A smattering of several songs that I think are beautiful. I saw a movie this week. I shouldn't have I didn't have time, but I did. And I'm glad I did. It's called Living. It's a movie on Netflix. The star of the movie is the great Bill Nighy, who is still living, still with us. And he plays an old man, which he is. And it's a beautiful film and I won't tell you anything about it other than to say, it's a very humble and beautiful parable about what it means to decide what's important, and to go after it. Okay, in that movie, he sings a song called The Rowan Tree. And the song occurs two or three times in the movie and it's just beautiful. And it's an old Scottish hymn"Oh Rowan tree. Oh, Rowan tree. shall aye be dear to me. Entwined thou art with many ties of home and infancy. The leaves were aye the first spring the flowers, the summers pride. There was no sic a bonny tree." I think that means there was no such a bonny tree What beautiful or good tree "in all the countryside. Oh Rowan tree, how fair wert thou, to summertime." It talks about his mother and his memories of his mother and his memories of his father. And it's just a beautiful story that has the effect of tying together the notion of life being not just a circle, not just a repeated thing. But a thing that maybe comes to an end but then starts again and then keeps going. Here's a song by Emmylou Harris called I will dream. "In my imagination, you are my dear companion. And I'm the one you cling to, and your voice still calls my name." That's a beautiful sentiment. Now in her case, she sings about lost love and sadness. But the human heart wants to believe in the permanency of love and of the redemptiveness, the redemption of human aspirations and human failings. In verse two, she sings, "in my dreams, you are the swallow coming back to Capistrano." In other words, yeah, maybe he's gone. Maybe her lover is gone. But she dreams that he'll be like a swallow that returns as the as do the swallows in Capistrano. In the outro, it says "the sorrows flow down like a fountain or the miles beyond our countin more than the flowers of the mountains are the raindrops in the sea. But if heavens just a dreaming, surely my love will be redeeming, and you will dream your dream of me". She hopes against hope that the breakup that has shattered her life will somehow be healed. This is the notion of Colossians two verse 10. The reconciliation of all.

Of course, there's Imagine by John Lennon: "Imagine there's no heaven. It's easy if you try. No hell below us above us only sky. Imagine all the people living for today." You know, when I was young, and maybe a little more self important than I am now, I thought this song was a model of unbelief, a model of humanism, you might say, eliminating any spiritual realities. That's what I thought it was driving at. But now on the cusp of old age, I hear it differently. I hear it as hope. I hear it as a time when Heaven the way it's been taught to us -- heaven the way it's been preached as something that's only available for the few and heaven that is kind of a kind of a piece of riches that not everybody can aspire to, because they don't have, they don't have the benefits that allow them to accept it. And to allow them to believe it. Maybe they weren't raised as Christians, maybe they didn't come from a happy home. And to them, heaven, they don't measure up to the picture of a, of a good person that they're, they've heard about in church, if they even went to church. So with that in mind, I'm going to mention a few more lyrics from this song: "Imagine there's no countries, it isn't hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for." Wouldn't it be great if we could "imagine all the people living life in peace?" Wouldn't it be great if you could go to a coffee shop on the sidewalk in Ukraine and not worry about a kamikaze drone exploding over your head? "You may say I'm a dreamer," he writes, "but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us and the world will be as one." Now that's a biblical notion, isn't it? The world will be as one! [Ephesians 1:

10] The whole world united. This is the thing that I think is "Near.""Imagine no possessions. I wonder if you can. No need for greed or hunger. A brotherhood of man." I can't improve on this! This is awesome.

Okay, let's go into another song. The land of 10,000 mothers by Cozy Sheridan: "In the land of 10,000 mothers every song is a lullaby. Nobody marches to war. No one stands in the airport and cries. Nobody dies on the highway. Too many words are unsaid -- in the land of 10,000 mothers, we all sleep safe in our bed." Rather than living under again, Ukraine is such a perfect example. Or we could talk about Haiti, you know? The poverty and the the uncertainty of Haiti. Earthquakes, one after another, floods now, one after another. Poor governance, ignorance, disease, all of the things that are impoverishing the children of God on this planet. That's what I'm looking forward to:

a reversal of those things. Towards the end of the song it says, "You are welcome no matter what chases you, whatever road you chose, through the woods, in the land of 10,000 mothers, somebody loves you, and knows you are good." Somebody loves you and knows you are good-- somebody like the God who according to the book of Genesis looked at the human race that he had created, and even though he knew it was going to go through some dark times and discover first-hand the knowledge of good and evil -- even though he knew that was going to happen, he knew that they were good. He said, This is very good, this creation, this planet, and these people on that planet, they are very good. And I'm gonna make them into my likeness. They are created in my image, but I'm going to make them into my likeness. They're going to learn to be like God. And you can't learn to be like God until you can manage yourself. And until you can understand what pain is, and what it means to hurt someone, or to be hurt by someone. These are the lessons that the human race has been learning the hard way. All of us are, all of us are learning those things. And I'm convinced, -- I am absolutely convinced -- that we are all going to learn a different way to live. And things will become better.

Jackson Browne. I could go on and on with Jackson Browne lyrics. But here's "Standing in the breach":

"Though the Earth may tremble, and our foundations crack, we will all assemble and we will build them back." I see that as the future of the human race in just a few decades. "And, we will rush to save the lives remaining still within our reach, and try to put our world together, standing in the breach." Think about it. If the human race is going to be restored, at the very early stages of that it's going to take people who survived the trouble that we're sliding into now. The wildfires and the hot temperatures and the air pollution and the wars and the senseless violence -- all the different things that are happening, because we are, you know, a failed civilization that doesn't have a connection with God, mostly. Until those things -- once we reach the time, when God steps in, and the Messiah takes control and starts governing the world with good people in the government -- once that happens, it's going to still take time, it's still going to take 1000 years, according to the book of Second Peter, it's gonna take 1000 years to turn things around. It's gonna take a lot of people working really hard. Resurrection? That's easy. You know, if you do 2% a year, it would only take a couple hundred years, to resurrect all the billions of people that have ever lived. Two percent of human population . Starting with say, let's say, let's say a billion people die in the trouble that we're facing right now. So we start with seven, maybe six, [billion] okay? We come out of the time of trouble with six or 7 billion people, most of them very young, what is going to happen? We're going to spend maybe a couple centuries, maybe longer, just trying to get things working right, you know? Stop the glaciers from melting, stop the pollution, stop eating all the fish, stop killing all the insects, letting pockets of nature and wildness, come back. And that six or 7 billion population will have to work together for a couple centuries to try to understand. And to try to learn God's ways. I don't think it's going to all be a magic wand, it's going to be a lot of human study. And it'll be knowledge based learning and character based instruction. And then what? Well, then everyone will turn their hearts towards their fathers and mothers and they'll say, we'd like to see our fathers and mothers again, we feel we're ready. We've met, we built a house for them. We have enough food for them. Now. There's enough water. Already, the ice caps are starting to form again, there's snow on the mountaintops, again, the rivers are flowing. We've cleaned up the lakes and rivers, to a large extent. So now we're ready. What can we do? Are we ready to have our parents come back? And sure enough, we'll start seeing some real movement was started -- seeing Jesus doing the kinds of things he did in microcosm, on a big scale. And people coming back from the dead, not just one woman's son; not just two sisters' brother. Pretty much everybody's father and mother. And if we take 2% of the population each year and build for them the houses they need, and provide for them the food they'll need, it'll be doable. [120 million newly resurrected people every year for 200 years equals 24 billion -- probably about the total who have ever lived]. And within two or three centuries, everybody who's ever lived will be back. You can do the math, that's how it's gonna work. And then we'll have another 300 to 500 years, just everybody learning together, everybody redoing the planet, this is what I am saying is "Near". And I know I'm not offering any proof. And it sounds really wacko and really "out there". We're going to look at this scientifically, and we're going to look at this with the Bible. You'll be amazed at the number of things in the Bible that point right to this very thing that I'm describing. And we'll also look at all the things in the Bible that most of my Christian friends have grown up believing, said something entirely different, that have a completely different paradigm about where the world is headed and what God is going to do. We're going to look at all those things too. And we're going to consider it. And we're going to have fun comparing notes. And next week, we're going to have the next two weeks, we're going to have episodes that I recorded last summer, an interview of one of my dear friends, Murray Murdock from Cedarville University, who does not share my views about the future. But we have a very civil discussion comparing Scripture with Scripture. It's called the man to man talk about Hell. So that'll be the next thing that comes up. And then we'll keep moving forward with topics related to the prophecies that talk about the nearness of God and what it means to draw nearer to God and what it means for God to draw near to us. Okay, so I think I've exhausted my time and I hope that you find something here that's piqued your interest whether you are religious or not, and I hope that we can study and learn some things together and have some fun doing it. Thanks for listening.

This has been episode one of "It is near." The content is produced by Owen Kindig who is solely responsible for this content. You can find the It is Near website at And I want you to remember what it says right on the website -- and that must make it true -- :

-) "even the bad news is good news." See you next time.

Unknown: Singer:

Amazing Grace

opening - intro - Exploring the next 20 years...
You are curious... respect for all sides
Contrasts, contradictions, paradoxes are part of truth.
"It is Near." What is near? First, a detour to Sodom and Gomorrah...
A problem: Christian apologists are ignoring the grace of God toward Sodom promised in the Bible. Matthew 11 and 12, and Ezekiel 16
Everyone is going to be restored to life -- even Sodom. A kingdom that includes everyone?
The thing that "is near"... "The fig tree"; "summer"; "new heavens and new earth"; "the reconcilation of all"; "times of trouble" ...
How we can learn from each other in this podcast... to find "the horizon of truth".
Have you noticed that people can now imagine what it would be like to live forever?
Imagining a world at peace.
Amazing grace.