Glass Blowing Analogy

For those in the know, the “jars of clay” metaphor is often used in Church language. Originally based upon the fact that man was made from the “dust of the earth” (Genesis 2:7), the “clay vessel” analogy asserts that a person is being moulded into the shape and purpose of the “Potter” (i.e. the Creator (as described in Jeremiah 18)). Additional to the “clay” allegory, the biblical editors also use other earth elements such as “mire”, “dirt”, “stone” and even “sand” (to name a few) to describe an individual or society…

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Stephen ShephardComment
Does Interpretation FOUR Solve the Daniel 9 Prophecy?

Commonly known as the “Traditional Messianic Interpretation”, this view has many similarities to other interpretations (please refer to other blogs), but the main point of difference is that the determined 490 years is seen as “divided sections” across time. That is, the prophetic weeks are stretched over 2,500 years ending with the second coming of Christ. So once again we have to ask: “Does this interpretation have the winning argument?”…

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Superman

Did you know that Superman was created in 1933 by two Jewish writers named Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. This fictional character is about a baby boy sent from the heavens to Earth: who grew up having superhuman powers, and whose destiny is to save the people on this planet. Yes, Superman can fly; has incredible strength; able to leap tall buildings with a single bound; and gives the bad guys the justice that they deserve. Wikipedia reminds us that this character has many epithets: such as the Man of Steel, Big Blue Boy Scout, the Man of Tomorrow, the Last Son of Krypton, and of course the Greatest Hero of All Time…

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There are TWO Hells

My daughter came back from her young adult’s group meeting asking me again my thoughts on the subject “Hell”. She knew I had a particular bent on the term, and wanted to be reminded seeing as it’s not taught in Church anymore (there was a time when the Church would preach “hell, fire and brimstone”, but now this is seen as a ‘scaremonger’ approach, which conflicts with today’s Hippie Jesus model of ‘love’). I reminded her of my early Christian years, where I would discuss “hell” to non-believers as a way of encouraging salvation. But I must admit that my ‘evangelical’ approach was not very successful, as many would retort back saying “Hell sounds like a fun place!” and… “Well, at least I’ll be partying with my friends!!!”... which to be honest, is actually a fair-enough argument. But over the years, I have learnt that just like there are three heavens and earths within biblical literature, there are in fact two hells… which means that the “hell” they taught me in Church is not the correct picture…

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Christian Writers Retreat 2019

Occasionally I’m asked to speak to larger groups (which is a nice change from the often smaller home group models), where recently I had the privilege of speaking at the NZ Christian Writers Retreat 2019… held at Flaxmill Conference Centre in the Coromandel.

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Stephen ShephardComment
Should we pray to Allah? A solution.

The horrific Christchurch Mosque killing of March 2019, where 50 people were gunned down in their house of prayer, has many kiwis in discussion. What is best for our country? What is the right thing to do? Our national radio talk back shows are debating the controversy together with fears of future Muslim takeover.

In my own circle, our Churches are on hot debate as the local Anglican Church invited all the Church leaders to pray in unity for the people in Christchurch. However, only a few were aware that a Muslim leader was also invited to that prayer meeting. Obviously surprised with the non-transparency of the invitation, some struggled whether they should be praying with the Muslims, while others were publicly adamant that they would not.

So I guess a question is “should, we pray to Allah?

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Does Interpretation Two solve the Daniel 9 Prophecy?

This theory is a relatively recent and standalone interpretation that also advocates a literal 490 years. However, it is not seen in a linear timeline where each marker ‘connects together’, but rather that there are two separate timelines that ‘overlap’ each other. Find out to see whether this interpretation has some weight that can be banked on?

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Chiastic Structure: The Book of Revelation

As promised, the chiastic structure of the Book of Revelation:

For those unsure of what this means, a chiastic structure is an ancient literary style that some biblical writers used. It is basically a symmetry pattern of writing.

For example, the beginning of the narrative and the end of the narrative have ‘mirrored’ themes… and as the narrative progresses, the next chapter and the ‘second to last’ chapter also have similar themes… so too does the third chapter and the ‘third to last’ chapter. This pattern progresses throughout the narrative, until then it ‘pivots’ around the central key point that the writer really wants us to know what his story is really about!!!

Thus while reading the Book of Revelation, I uncovered the following:

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Stephen ShephardComment
Seventy Sevens versus Seventy Weeks

Every now and then, the topic comes up with regard to the “70 x 7” (“seventy times seven”) verse that is mentioned in Matthew 18:22, where some theologians have assumed that Jesus’ forgiveness reference is associated to Daniel’s 490 year timeline. That is, the “seventy sevens” of Matthew 18 is the same as the “seventy weeks” of Daniel 9. They say that because Jesus suggests that “forgiveness should not have limits”, that this is an argument that “Daniel’s prophecy should also NOT have limits”.  Well… nothing could be further from the truth!!! A mistranslation of Matthew 18:21-22 and worthy of unpacking…

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Stephen ShephardComment
Prediction 2018: Cyrus the Great

It was some ten years ago when I predicted that the “Anointed One (King) would issue the decree to rebuild Jerusalem” in the year 2018… and here we are today, the news has confirmed my prediction. Praise God!!! But, as mentioned in previous blogs, I did not expect the Anointed One to be Donald Trump as my eyes were on someone else. Irrespective of my speculations, the above principle seems to be honoured.

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Stephen ShephardComment
New Video: The Revelation 12 Prophecy

Stephen Shephard travels throughout Vietnam while examining Chapter 12 from the Book of Revelation, where he discovers an ancient literary style which is crucial to understanding the message of John.

In other words, Stephen discovers a secret chiastic structure that is not only characteristic for Chapter 12, but is also the central theme for the entire book of Revelation… revealing a fundamental truth that should be understood before commencing further study of this amazing book.

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Stephen ShephardComment
The Prophecy of the Lazarus Parable

It needs to be said that the Church has compounded confusion towards understanding “Heaven” & “Hell” by creating doctrine based solely upon Jesus’ Lazarus parable. In the Book of Luke, Jesus describes a very wealthy self-absorbed man who rules over a poor sick servant man called Lazarus, where both have died: the rich man has gone to “Hell”, and Lazarus has gone to “Heaven” (Luke 16:19-31). There’s a lot to unpack, but the point with any of Jesus’ parables, is that they are purely allegories in order to demonstrate a point (or several). But what is so amazing about the Lazarus Parable is that Jesus not only challenged the Pharisees regarding their incorrect doctrinal beliefs, but Jesus put a twist on the story making the parable become a prophecy…

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A Day is like a Thousand Years

For those who have watched the Genesis Prophecy, the following table gives a summary of the first page from the Book of Genesis: the blueprint for mankind’s determined history.

Yes, the seven days of Creation is an allegory of God’s great plan.

That within the parameters of time, the alpha and omega has been predetermined to only seven thousand years, and that each thousand year increment is representative of each specific day as recorded in the Genesis account.

Isn’t God just amazing?

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Stephen ShephardComment
Does Antiochus IV Epiphanes solve the Daniel 9 prophecy?

This particular interpretation (which I call Interpretation One) was once esteemed as the most popular viewpoint, having reference to Antiochus IV Epiphanes who ruled during the middle stages of the Seleucid Empire for a period of time in the second century BC (circa 175 BC to 164 BC). Does it solve the famous Daniel 9 prophecy? Well, I think you’ll know what I’ll have to say on the matter…

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Stephen ShephardComment
Dragon, Devils, Demons and Dylan

Over the years, it seems that people tend to mix up the terms “Satan”, the “Devil” and “demons”… thinking that each ‘entity’ is synonymous with each other. This is a half-truth, because they are all different. Just as one would argue the differences in the Trinity concept: (1) that Father God has no form (i.e. no body) as He is spirit (John 4:24); (2) contrasted to Jesus who has form (i.e. Jesus has a body and has breath); and then (3) there is the Holy Spirit (soon to be explained). Three separate ‘God-entities’ yet united in common purpose. With this in mind, let me share my understanding of Satan and the Devil?

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Pinot Noir Anyone?

Have you ever wondered why Jesus turned the water into wine? He and his mum were celebrating a local wedding party… and a party it was, especially as all the wine was consumed. With no alcohol left, Mary seemingly coerces her son to turn the clay-urns (that were filled with water) into wine. The party was back on, and everyone hailed that this wine was the best they had ever ever ever tried (John 2:1-10). Analogy principle: every wedding should have a Jesus to make sure the grog is flowing….!?? No, not really… so let’s unpack this:

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Is Michael really Jesus?

We are taught that there is an Arch-Angel called Michael… who, being a mighty warrior, is one of the Seven Arch-angels of God within the military division of Heaven, and has battled with the likes of Lucifer and his demons. Yes, this character has shaped many a sermon as well as several blockbuster Hollywood movies. However, I have particular views on angelic theology that goes against the grain of modern day Christianity... where I smell a similar ‘Luciferian doctrine’ (please refer to previous blogs). Consequently, I found something quite unexpected:

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Does the Second Coming of Jesus solve the Daniel 9 Prophecy?

I was invited by a friend to come and hear a ‘guest speaker’ visiting our local town, where that evening he’ll be conversing on the subject of eschatology, and would be focusing on the Book of Daniel. Naturally, I was intrigued and did some background research on this scholar’s podcast from the Church he was attending… only to become disappointed as he advocated ‘Interpretation Six’ of the Daniel 9 Prophecy.

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Table of Kings

Thought this might be helpful for those wanting to know the ruler-ship years of some of the Old Testament Kings: from King Solomon (Israel) through to King Darius (Persia). It will be different to what Google says as Scholars have adopted a chronology based upon other historical documents in front of them (e.g. Herodotus), which has unfortunately influenced our understanding of biblical literature. The following is a chronology taken straight from the Bible only:

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Does the Pentecost Interpretation solve the Daniel 9 Prophecy?

I must say I was initially intrigued with this new interpretative view, as it advocated patterns within other timelines. Put simply, this exposition argues that a “week” (“shabuwa”) refers to the Pentecost “Feast of Seven Days” celebrated every year (as spoken of in Deuteronomy 16). And because this “Feast of Week” is an annual event, it is therefore believed that the “70 weeks” of the Daniel 9 prophecy equates to a literal “70 years” (i.e. a ”week” means a “year”). And so, seeing that this viewpoint is unique, I have performed an intensive exegesis on this particular interpretation… only to find that it too has stretched the facts, which consequently forces it to join the abyss of other bias arguments.

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