Zechariah 7 – Hearts of Stone & Khmer, An Empire of Temples

Finger Pointing UpAs I had stated in earlier boxes, One World Order is not a new concept, it’s been in the fix as far back as the Tower of Babel (Gen 11)

Yet, that is not the only time the idea has been initiated, it’s worldwide.  Different nationalities, different lifestyles, different cultures, different languages, but they all want the same thing. But those that are pushing for it ARE NOT with God.

1 The temples of Angkor
The temples of Angkor Wat are absolutely stunning. The Angkor Wat temples were built around the height of the Khmer Empire as a capital for all of South East Asia.

As you can imagine, these temples are massive. One can really appreciate the power which the Khmer Empire welded when visiting Angkor Wat.

There can be no question that one man stands behind it all, and that’s the devil.  Satan is not God, he’s not even close to being like God, he was created by God, he’s a fallen angel. 

God doesn’t need everyone in one place to speak to or even control, as He showed that in the very beginning.  During the building of the Tower of Babel everyone was the same, but God made us different nationalities and languages (Gen 11:6-7).

Satan is not omnipresent, omniscient, or omnipotent like God, and he needs to get us all in one conglomerate to control and destroy us.  The best way for him to do that is for us to have One World Order.

I have no valid proof of this happening, other than the Bible, but I guarantee it’s going to happen and it’s going to be bad.  I am unsure if this will occur before or after the rapture.  Of course, I am unsure if the rapture will occur before or after the Great Tribulation.  My belief is that true Christians will not see the Great Tribulation.

Yet none of this matters, stay strong in the Lord no matter what, it will all be worth it, besides, don’t we owe that to Jesus for what He did for us?

Tomorrow we’ll take a closer look at…

Zechariah 7
Hearts of Stone

2 Full view of Biston
Full view of Biston, the largest stone relief
and inscription in the world, near Kermanshah.

1 And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius, that the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, even in Chisleu;

“Fourth year…fourth day…ninth month” – December 7, 518 B.C. – not quite two years after the eight night visions.

2 When they had sent unto the house of God Sherezer and Regem-melech, and their men, to pray before the LORD,

3 And to speak unto the priests which were in the house of the LORD of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years?

4 Then came the word of the LORD of hosts unto me, saying,

7:4-7 – a rebuke for selfish and insincere fasting on the part of the people and the priests.

5 Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?

3 A Close view of the rock relief
A Close view of the rock relief and inscription
with Darius the Great standing in front of his defeated enemies. Fravahar, the symbol of Ahura-Mazda is seen above them.

“Fasted…fifth and seventh” – since these fasts commemorated events related to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, the 70 years here are to be reckoned from 586 B.C.  strictly speaking, 68 years had transpired; 70 is thus a round number.

6 And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?

7 Should ye not hear the words which the LORD hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain?

8 And the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah, saying,

4 A close up of Darius the Great
A close up of Darius the Great showing his feet on the body of Gaumata the false king; while holding his right hand up thanking Ahura Mazda for his triumph in saving his empire.

9 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:

7:9-10 – four tests of faithful covenant living, consisting of a series of social, moral and ethical commands.

10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.

11 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.

12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.

“Adamant stone” – see Eze 3:8-9.

13 Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts:

14 But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate.

Khmer, An Empire of Temples

5 Khmer An Empire of Temples

The title Khan means “Great Lord of Lords,” and certainly he has a right to this title; for everyone should know that this Great Khan is the mightiest man, whether in respect of subjects or of territory or of treasure, who is in the world today,” wrote Marco Polo of the Mongol emperor Khubilai Khan. This was not medieval hyperbole.

As great khan, Khubilai ruled over an empire stretching from the Pacific to the Mediterranean. While Europe was struggling to rebuild after the collapse of the Roman Empire, Asia was witnessing a flowering of powerful civilizations from Southeast Asia to China and across the steppes to the Black Sea.

6 Cambodian stone carvings
Cambodian stone carvings depicting he birth of Buddha.

Early in the first millennium A.D., the peninsulas and islands that now make up Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar (Burma) became a crossroads of trade between the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Indian merchants introduced their culture to the region—Sanskrit, architecture, and, most significantly, the Hindu religion and the idea of the ruler as god-king.

Indian influences shaped the loosely organized kingdom of Funan, which grew up around the lower Mekong River in the 1st century A.D. Flowing out of southwest China, the Mekong winds its way to the South China Sea through subtropical lands that alternate between dry winters and wet drenched summers.

One Mekong tributary runs into Cambodia’s huge lake, Tonle sap, which quadruples in size every flood season.  By the 6th century, migrants from the north were pushing into the fertile river valley. 

The Funan kingdom dissolved, and for a time invaders from Java controlled the area. Eventually they were replaced by a larger, more powerful and more centralized empire: the Khmer, ruling from the kingdom of Angkor.

Like some other legendary leaders, the founder of the Angkor kingdom began his career in exile. Jayavarman II (c 770-850) was either a prisoner or a hostage at the Hindu court of Java before he returned to the lower Mekong plain as a vassal of the Javanese around 800.

Within two years, he had thrown off Javanese domination and  established himself not only as ruler of the Khmer people but also as a devaraja—a divinely anointed king. At Mount Kulen, northeast of Tonle Sap, he built his first capital, crowned with square towers.

Soon he moved closer to the lake and built another capital, Hariharalaya, featuring even larger, stepped-pyramid Hindu temples.

7 King Jayavarman at Bayon Temple near Angkor.
King Jayavarman at Bayon Temple near Angkor.

Jayavarman’s son inherited the throne, but in 877 he was supplanted by his cousin, Indravarman I. Indravarman topped the architectural achievements of his predecessors by building the largest temple yet at Hariharalaya: the Bakong “temple mountain.”

Made primarily of stone, it used a hundred times more material than any previous temple. More valuable, in a practical sense, was Indravarmans construction of a vast reservoir, one of many that would be built over the centuries along with a widespread, sophisticated system of irrigation canals.

Water collected in the reservoirs during the monsoon season could be released in the dry months, allowing for multiple rice harvests.

Succeeding Indravarman was Yasovarman, who established the city for which the empire is famous, Angkor Thom (Great City), at the end of the 9th century.

Built on the banks of the Siem Reap River, just north of the Tonle Sap lakeshore, the city became both a religious center, filled with temples, and the core of a thriving agricultural civilization. Hundreds of miles of canals and dikes connected to huge reservoirs spread out around Angkors walls.

The walls themselves, almost two miles on a side, enclosed a metropolis the size of modern New York City that at its height might have had 750,000 inhabitants.  More than a thousand temples rose within the city, which was laid out to reflect the Hindu world order.

A moat symbolizing the oceans surrounded the walls. In the center, sacred Mount Meru was represented by the Bakheng temple, five stories tall with 109 towers; 33 towers are visible from each side of the temple, possibly represent 33 gods living on Mount Meru.

Tens of thousands of priests, workers, and dancers served Angkor’s temples and in turn were supplied by a sizable population of rice| farmers in the countryside.

8 This 11th century
This 11th century bronze figure of Vishnu reclining, from Angkor, is one of thousands of images of Hindu deities from Khmer capital.

Despite occasional periods of conflict, the kingdom was for the most part calm and prosperous under Yasovarman’s successors. As the 11th century began Suryavarman I reestablished control over breakaway areas and took over portions of Thailand to the west.

After some dynastic struggles, Suryavarman II (unrelated to the previous Suryavarman) took the throne in the early 12th century.  Also a vigorous soldier, he is better known today for beginning the magnificent temples complex of Angkor Thom.

Dedicated to the god Vishnu, it’s central temple re[presents Mount Meru.  Miles of bas-reliefs along its wall show scenes from Hindu sacred texts, vignettes of daily life (men playing a board game for instances, a victorious battles against warriors from the neighboring kingdom of Champa in Vietnam.

Throughout the centuries, the Khmer rulers struggled with their neighbors, but during the 11th and 12th centuries, they were largely victorious.  At their greatest extent, the leaders of the Khmer Empire expanded their rule over part of what are now Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Laos, as well as Cambodia.

Cham invaders destroyed parts of Angkor in the 12th century, but they were driven out by Jayavarman VII, who conscripted hundreds of thousands of workers to build new temples in the complex. 

Buy Jayavarman VII’s rule marked cultural change in the Khmer Empire.  He was a devout Buddhist, although religiously tolerant.  Buddhist temples joined earlier Hindu structures in Angkor Wat.

9 A carved aspara
A carved aspara (celestial dancing girl) at Angkor Wat. The Khmer absorbed religious imagery from India.

Although surrounding kingdoms nibbled away at the Khmer Empire in the next couple of centuries, Angkor remained a prosperous city and a hub of trade.  As a visiting Chinese official, Chau Ju-kua, described it in the 13th century:

“The officials and the common people dwell in houses with sides of bamboo matting and thatched with reeds. Only the king resides in a palace of hewn stone.  It has a granite lotus pond of extraordinary beauty with golden bridges, some three hundred odd feet long . . .

There are some two hundred thousand war elephants and many horses, though of small size…The native products comprise elephant’s tusks…good yellow wax, kingfisher’s feathers (Note: Of which this country has great store), dammar resin, foreign oils, ginger peel, gold colored incense, sapan wood, raw silk, and cotton fabrics.

The foreign traders offer in exchange for these gold, silver, porcelain ware, sugar, preserves, and vinegar.”

In the 14th century, Angkor began to decline. Thai peoples, pushed south by Mongol forces, began to invade the kingdom along Angkor’s fine roads.  Climate change and the decay of Angkor’s complicated irrigation system may have contributed to a stressed, dwindling population.

By 1432, the Thais had captured the capital city, driving out the Khmer and establishing a capital farther west.  The exquisite temples of Angkor Wat were overtaken  by jungle vines, remaining in obscurity until they were brought to international notice by awestruck European explorers in the 19th century.

…Angkor Wat.

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