A big thank you to those who left thoughts on my prophets post yesterday. I greatly enjoyed the thought-provoking comments which made some things a bit clearer to me!
Remember the archaeology book I mentioned the other day? It jumped into my arms at the library Tuesday afternoon....remember? Anyway, I started reading it that evening and finished it Friday morning. It had around 320 pages, but some of those were full-page colored pictures so it wasn't like I had to read that many pages. I really liked that book and had fun imagining myself living in certain areas during ancient times.
I also finished another book I'd been reading for about three weeks, God & Government. It talked about how the Kingdom of God wasn't something you could bring into society by political means, but it was about change happening on a more personal level when people's hearts and minds and thus behaviors are changed by God. The author didn't say Christians shouldn't be involved in politics; only that we should remember that the societal changes we want aren't going to happen through legislation. In other words, our hope is God not government. I already shared the Father Jerzy story which I got from this book. I also have some sentences from the book that I copied for another post. I wanted to remember some of the principles I learned from it.
I have read through sura 45 now and made note of a few things from each which I'll share in upcoming posts. Here are the next in line to discuss.
Sura 39 - Az-Zumar
Mostly just a repeat of the message of the Quran: God is one. This sura also depicts some about heaven and hell and the people being lined up for judgment. I was visualizing these verses as I read 65-70.
First, all who associate anyone with God are cast aside. No matter what good deeds you did.
65. Surely you have been commanded, as those before you were: "If you associate (any one with God), wasted will be all your deeds, arid you will perish."
A trumpet blasts and people "swoon away" except those God chose to not swoon away (vs. 68). Then another trumpet blast will cause everyone to stand with expectation. The earth will light up with the presence of the Lord. Each person will be given his or her ledger of deeds. The apostles and witnesses will be called. Judgment passed equitably with no wrong being done. And finally,
70. Each soul will be paid in full for what it had done. He is cognisant of what you do.
The following verses describe the unbelievers being driven to Hell in groups and their arrival and welcome into the gates of Hell. Then "those who were mindful of their duty to their Lord" will be driven to Paradise in groups where they will be welcomed with peace and live in joy.
75. You will see the angels hover round the Throne, singing the praises of their Lord; and justice will be done between them equitably, and it would be said: "All praise to God the Lord of all the worlds."
Sura 40 -- al-Ghafir
7. The bearers of the Throne, and those around it, sing the praises of their Lord and believe in Him, and seek forgiveness for those who believe: "O our Lord, Your mercy and knowledge embrace everything; so forgive those who turn to You in repentance and follow Your path; and preserve them from the torment of Hell.
8. Admit them, O Lord, to the garden of Eden which You promised them, and those of their fathers, spouses and progeny who are upright. You are truly all-mighty and all-wise. 9. Protect them from evil; and whosoever You preserve from evil on that Day shall have surely received Your mercy. This will be the great triumph."
Who are these bearers of the Throne? And why are they seeking forgiveness on behalf of the believers? Do the believers need intercessors speaking for them? I thought I'd read in an earlier sura about no intercessors in Islam. Is this like a prayer for the believers?
Is God seated like a king on a throne and people are holding it up (thus bearing it)? Or does this have another meaning?
I just recalled discussing Islamic intercession late last year in this post about Muhammad or Jesus - Who is Interceding for You. So I guess intercession is a part of Islam.