Jeremiah – Chapter 21

When nothing is going wrong to us individually, that is of which we are aware, life in the fast lane is bliss. But, as our knowledge grows our surroundings, enforinment, or culture within which we live and our understanding of outcomes or consequences increases, bliss becomes tainted. This is precisely the situation King Zedekiah finds himself in chapter 21. He suddenly realizes, better said, he finally accepts as true knowledge with the beginnings of understanding, what Jeremiah has been prophesying is now surrounding the cities of Judah and Jerusalem; i.e. Babylonian troops.

JIV INSIGHT: Pashhur son of Malkijah is not the same Pashhur we discussed in chapter 20. The second Pashhur is mentioned in Jeremiah 21:1. The “Zephaniah” mentioned in the same verse is NOT the same man who wrote the Book of Zephaniah. *Zephaniah the author is Zephaniah the son of Cushi and one of the twelve Minor Prophets. Zephaniah in verse 1 of C21 is Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, a Levite priest.

*Zephaniah the son of Cushi and author of the Book of Zephaniah is the great, great grandson of King Hezekiah of Judah but he is NOT the same Zephaniah (Levite) mentioned in chapter 21.

Are you confused? Me tooJ

When one looks down the road of potential trouble (such as Babylonians on the march in this chapter) we try to take escape or evasive action. NOW Jeremiah is suddenly important to the leaders of Judah, both the religious (Zephaniah) and the secular (Pashhur). We see this in the selection of these two as negotiators sent from King Zedekiah to Jeremiah.

Verse 2 is very telling. The bible tells us that God looks at the true intent of the heart (kavanah, chavanah, sometimes spelled cavanah). It is an easy to question the motives of the religious and secular leadership of Judah. Here is verse 2 from the ESV:

Inquire of the LORD for us, for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is making war against us. Perhaps the LORD will deal with us according to all his wonderful deeds and will make him withdraw from us.”escape

There is nothing in this request from King Zedekiah to Jeremiah to pray for the sin of Judah and its leadership or a hint of repentance. The intent of their heart is to escape or evade; not return to the God of Israel. They are hoping that God will deliver them as he has done in the past histories of Israel as a nation and later as the (southern) Kingdom of Judah.

Good verses to keep in mind at this point include:

James 4:3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousnessbut only if and when we confess them.time

Jeremiah 21 verses 4 and 5 are a comparison and contrast with Jeremiah’s tenure in history and the coming Apocalyptic End Time but we can draw comparisons. Verse 4 is very similar to both Jeremiah’s and End Time but the oxymoron with End Time is found in verse 5.  Verse four tells us that the weapons of Judah will be useless against such an enemy (Babylon) just as as they will against a 200,000,000 man enemy of End Time. Both times God will bring the enemy into the city of Jerusalem itself. However, in verse five, God says (ESV) “I myself will fight against you with outstretched hand and strong arm.” In End Time Revelation 19:15 we are told Jesus will fight the battle for Israel against the overwhelming odds circling Jerusalem; destroying the enemies of Judah/Israel with the words of his mouth. 

“On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place” (Zechariah 12:6). “On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:9). (the 200,000,000 man army destroyed)

Verse six it is similar in events coming to the world during the 2nd [black] and 3rd [red] horsemen of the Apocalypse; pestilence, disease, starvation, death on a great scale. But verse 7c needs a bit of insight. It reads: “and he shall smite them with the edge of the sword; he shall not spare them, neither have pity, nor have mercy.” This is NOT GOD doing the smiting, but Nebuchadnezzar and his armies.if

Verse 8 & 9 are conditional promises just as stated in previous articles from this website regarding God’s intervention or help… “If you do ____, then I will do ____”. The total statement goes through v10 but here is the gist of it. “…and he shall smite them with the edge of the sword; he shall not spare them, neither have pity, nor have mercy.” But verse 8 also gives a condition of choice, just like we have today. It says, understand that I will let you choose to live or die” (but you must___.) This too is very similar to End Time issues surrounding Jerusalem (Revelation 12:6 where the woman referred to is Israel). We can learn much about the end of the Church age by studying the O.T. histories of actuality an alternative word for Israel. Much is foreseen in Daniel and spoken of in Matthew 24. It is in Luke 21 (20-24) where we draw the parallel of Jerusalem being surrounded by enemy. We also can’t leave out references in Zechariah 14:1-3 or Joel 2:1-10. There are strong parallels in each of these passages.

NOTE: The bible student will look up these passages where the casual reader will read on. Both may be students of the Word but the casual reader is seeking awareness and the student who searches is fulfilling a need for knowledge and understanding.

Jeremiah 21:14, the final verse in chapter 21, leaves no wiggle room. It reads… (ERV) “You will get the punishment you deserve. I will start a fire in your forests that will completely burn everything around you.'” This message is from the LORD.”

However, lets’ summarize these past and future events discussed in chapter 21 by what Ray Stedman writes. He is referencing Matthew 24 but implying Jeremiah 21…

Ray Stedman,

Who are they who must flee so urgently when the last days begin? Who dare not hesitate long enough even to go back into the house to pick up a wrap, but must immediately head for the hills? There is no need to wonder, for the Lord says plainly, “those who are in Judea” Now Judea is a geographical part of the land of Israel, ancient Palestine. It comprises the hill country surrounding the city of Jerusalem and includes the city as well. It is to the residents of Jerusalem and Judea that this warning is addressed. Furthermore, the Lord’s mention of the Sabbath establishes the fact that these residents of Judea are Jews. He urges them to pray that their flight will not be in the winter, with its distress of cold, or on the Sabbath, with its travel limitations, for Jews are allowed to travel only a short distance on a Sabbath day. Later in this passage these Jews are called “the elect” (“for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened”), and this makes clear they are believing Jews, that is, men and women of faith who know and love Jesus Christ as Lord and are prepared to live or die for him. They are not Christians in the usual sense of that term, referring to those who are members of the church, for we are told that in the church there is neither Jew nor Gentile, bond nor free. Jews are not to be distinguished from Gentiles within the church. These distinctions, we are precisely told by the apostle Paul, have been invalidated in the church. The “middle wall of partition” has been eliminated; there are no distinctions of background, race or religious training that are recognized within the church of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, Christians, we are told, are free from the law and no longer observe special days, special feasts, new moons and Sabbaths. In his letter to the Colossians the apostle Paul clearly speaks of the fact that the Sabbaths were included in those shadows which were done away in Christ. But here the Sabbath distinctly will be a restricting factor in the flight of these people. Here then will be a class of people who cannot be identified with the present day church but with Jerusalem. These people will be Jewish believers in Christ who will be converted after the removal of the church and before the time of the Great Tribulation.

miniJimRev Dr. Jstark March 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeremiah – Chapter 20

Jeremiah Chapter 20

If one was to encapsulate chapter 20 the answer is in verses 7-9. Using the C.E.V. translation:

Jer 20:7  You tricked me, LORD, and I was really fooled. You are stronger than I am, and you have defeated me. People never stop sneering and insulting me.

Jer 20:8  You have let me announce only destruction and death. Your message has brought me nothing but insults and trouble.

Jer 20:9  Sometimes I tell myself not to think about you, LORD, or even mention your name. But your message burns in my heart and bones, and I cannot keep silent.burns heart

CEV= Contemporary English Version

Jeremiah says God tricked him, that God only allowed him to bring messages of a negative nature, and finally Jeremiah says he tries to understand his prophesying call to warn Judah of their doom, and get it all out of his mind. But…Your message (to me) burns within my heart and bones and I cannot keep silent, (even if I really tried).

How God supposedly tricked him is an unknown. It may mean Jeremiah’s idea of prophesying would bring about a confession and a return to God by his fellow Judeans. That didn’t happen. It only got him into trouble with the political and religious leaders AND the general population. Even Jeremiah’s so-called friends and neighbors didn’t like his messages very much. This is where we get the idea and phrase, “with friends like these who needs enemies?”

Since the name “Pashhur” (v1) was as common a name back then as is the name “Bob” today, we cannot for certain identify which “Pashhur” is being discussed. We know he is the son of Immer and that he had something to do with the high offices of the Temple or Sanhedrin. It may be the one identified by this archeological Clay Bulla discovery of the official seal of Gadeliah who too is identified as a son of Immer. Truth is we simply don’t know if this Pashhur was the father of Gedalia. Note the clay bulla says “Ha-Cohen.” Ha in Hebrew is the word ‘THE’. Cohen means priest. So the emblem would say Gedaliah is a son of a (high) priest.

The culture and political sway of that time in Judah was something similar to street gangs, if I can take such a liberty to parallel them. The Temple officials had police powers around the Temple. Anyone violating Temple laws while on Temple grounds would pay a Temple price for his or her violation. Jeremiah was prophesying against the Temple agents and priests as to their sinful neglect of the one and only true God and did so inside and on the Temple grounds. Street gangs have their “territory” and exercise authority within these defined boundaries.

To keep our attempts of records and histories straight, think about this. Jeremiah’s father was the prophet and Kohen-Gadol (High Priest) Hilkiah. This by family and default made Jeremiah a Levite descended from Aaron. Jeremiah began his prophecies in the thirteenth year of King Josiah’s reign. The prophet Zephaniah and the prophetess Hulda also lived at that time. This means Jeremiah was a Levite by birth and contemporary prophet with Zephania and Hulda. This gave him rights to the Temple that others did not have. However, Pashhur still punished him for speaking out as a prophet and against the stance of the ranking Temple priests.

Jeremiah was put into stocks by Pashhur near the Gate of Benjamin which itself is within the Temple “block” and center of power of Pashhur. This Gate of Benjamin is NOT the South African rock band called by that name. “Jeremiah was put in the stocks at the Upper Benjamin Gate – the northern gate of the upper temple court. It was one of the most conspicuous places in the city” (Feinberg). Pashhur released him the next day but only to the scorn of Jeremiah. The prophet told Pashhur his name would be changed to reflect his actions. God changed his name according to verse 3, to Magor-Missabib meaning “terror on every side.” This itself was a prophecy. Jeremiah told Pashhur that any and all who came alongside him from now on be it friend, family or neighbor, s/he would suffer terror at the hands of the Babylonians. All would die soon or at the hands of the Babylonians in Babylon.

In verse 6 (CEV) it reads…”Pashhur, you are guilty of telling lies and claiming they were messages from me. That’s why I (God) will have the Babylonians take you, your family, and your friends as prisoners to Babylonia, where you will all die and be buried.”

It is in the next verse where Jeremiah says God tricked him. He thought (actually had hoped) that his prophesying would bring change, but it didn’t. It brought pain to Jeremiah instead. And…since he now realized his preaching was pointless, he wondered why he had even been born. But, after have a good and basic accusing discussion with God, Jeremiah comes to his senses in verse 12 but then reverts back to the “woe is me” syndrome in verse 14. In actuality it isn’t Jeremiah just cursing the day he was born but more of a full love for his people and the *dead end message he was appointed to deliver. He figures if he had not been born, the message would not have been or needed to be delivered to Judah.dead end

*Dead end message…this is a parallel prophecy to New Testament End Time. People will simply reject the Word of God as it won’t fit their life style then. However, there is no commandment or even a suggestion that those alive and Christian at this End Time should cease to witness for God.

We see this at the end of verse 15…”a son [Jeremiah] is born to you making him (his father) very glad.” There was to be nothing glad or wonderful about Jeremiah’s calling and life. It would be a life of struggle, message of bad news, the end of a kingdom (Judah), and great death and sorrow; just as will be true during the Great  Tribulation. Jeremiah does not mean it would have been better for him personally to have not been born, but for his people of Judah…so he hoped. Even though he knew his purpose in life, one might say the birth of Jeremiah concerning Judah was a bad omen. Once again we see the messenger being hated and the message simply ignored. This too happened to Jesus in the New Testament. He carried a message that was ignored by many of his own people (Jews) and hated by the same type of religious and secular leadership of that time. In the case of Jesus, he is both the messenger and the purpose of the message; i.e. the messenger-message.

Let me conclude this article with the issue raised by Jeremiah in verses 9 & 10. When we are called of God while on earth and the Holy Spirit is active in our lives, it is more miserable to deny our work for HIM than it is to simply fulfill our calling. It becomes a Life worth Living as Bill Gaither puts it in one of his songs. Here is a summary of Jeremiahs thought process as concerns rejecting doing the will of God:

  • Jeremiah couldn’t because he dealt with God’s word.
  • Jeremiah couldn’t because that word lived in his heart.
  • Jeremiah couldn’t because that word burned in his heart like fire.
  • Jeremiah couldn’t because that word pressed against his very being, as if it were shut up in his bones, requiring great energy to hold in (I was weary of holding it back)
  1. “He found out the impossibility of denying his call. He learned that it was irreversible and that God’s word was irrepressible.” (Feinberg)
  2. “Under the stress and strain of his sufferings, he was tempted to abandon the work, to refuse to speak any more in the name of Jehovah. But when he attempted thus to find release from suffering in silence, it was impossible; for such silence became more intolerable than suffering.” (Morgan)

In our next chapter, the Judean leadership now turns to Jeremiah for salvation from the besieging Babylonians (Chaldeans). God shows no mercy as we will explain in chapter 21 of Jeremiah.

miniJimJStark

 

Jeremiah – Chapter 19

potters hand.jpgOnce again Jeremiah writes at the beginning of a chapter…”and the Lord told me to________.” Chapter 18 finds Jeremiah visiting a potter’s shop to see how a potter formed his pots; reminiscent of God’s creation of Adam. Now he is going to use a pot to demonstrate to the leaders (Civil and religious) of Judah how God is going to deal with them for their sinful and reluctant hearts.

JIV: There is something more than meets the eye and it is found here in chapter 18. Why would God have Jeremiah VISIT a potter’s shop? I have read up on pot making. It can be formed, shaped and made functional when it is soft clay; pliable to the molding of a potter’s hands. Once it is fire-hardened, it can only be patched or tossed away. When Adam and Eve sinned, their bodies became cracked or destined to die for it is now “been appointed once for a man to die” (Hebrew 9:27). In the meantime, God will patch us up spiritually if we are pliable spiritually.

Yes, Judah still has the Temple at this time in their history but they have forgotten that it is to be a place of monotheistic worship; i.e. one God. It had become “just another place of Judean worship but no longer just one God. They were still making sacrifices but one will shudder to learn they were sacrificing their own children to foreign gods. Some theologians suggest it is excused in their minds as parallel to Abraham taking his own son Isaac up to sacrifice him. It sounds more like it is post-birth abortion.

Deuteronomy 12:31 (see also Leviticus 20:2-5, Jeremiah 32:35, Ezekiel 20:26, Isaiah 57:4-5) tells us: You must not worship the Lord your God in their [foreigner’s] way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.

These people (Tribe of Judah and their Levite priests) already knew this passage from Deuteronomy, Leviticus and Ezekiel. In the time of Jeremiah, it is several hundred years after these passages were written in Israeli histories. Even if they thought it may be similar to the Abraham and Isaac history, it violates these Old Testament and Hebrew books/scrolls.

If you, the reader, read this website’s article about SHIN then this next paragraph will make more sense. It has to do with the Valley of (Ben)Hinnom, sometimes identified as Tophet. This is a location south-east of Jerusalem where their garbage, animal bones, and wasted sacrifices were dumped and burned. This is also where the bible tells us these Judeans required their children to “walk through the fire” in honor of Moloch. Not much different than today’s abortion clinics…a child dies. The word “Tophet” means drums. The drums were beat so loud that the cries of children (babies) being sacrifices could not be heard. As if they didn’t know it was wrong? God did and so did they. Why else beat the drums loudly to cover up cries if it was a right thing in God’s eyes?

Valley of (Ben)Hinnom was renamed by God as the Valley of Slaughter. There is so much more to this but not in this article. We will address it more as we go through Jeremiah and later chapters.

JIV NOTE: Verse 3b of chapter 19 says: (ERV) “…the God of the people of Israel, says: I will soon make a terrible thing happen to this place! Everyone who hears about it will be amazed and full of fear.”  This is a prophecy soon to happen and parallel to End Time. The invasion (Armageddon) of Jerusalem may very well come through that valley and from that direction. To come from the other direction would require troops and machinery to cross two valleys and mountainous land. This also refers to the direction of Nebuchadnezzar’s (Babylonian) invasion of Jerusalem after he finished dealing with the Egyptian army. In a bit of what some so-called historians would call a coincident, this valley is also the placement and ritual of heathen god worship by Judah and their leadership; Valley of Death.

Jeremiah 19:4 amplifies the JIV NOTE.

An interesting but evasive to this author’s understanding or piece of mind is, why this is even mentioned in the bible; i.e. the bottle or pot Jeremiah used in his demonstration of God’s destructive plan for Judah is called a “burbuk” or “bubuk.” That name represents the chugging sound a liquid makes when coming out of a thin-necked bottle or pot. If someone has an idea or opinion as to its application or implication, e-mail me at drjstark1@gmail.com. Please provide evidence as to the conclusion or thoughts. I have plenty of opinions. Archeologists of the 20th century have found an amazing number of burial or crypt sites in this same area of Judah.

For a deeper understanding of this historical area, click here… http://www.kinghussein.gov.jo/his_nabateans.html

petraPetra: Not mentioned in Jeremiah 19 but relevant as we will see in later articles. It is speculated by some theologians that this is to where the people of Israel/Judah will flee in End Time Tribulation. This impressive city was hidden away in a cleft in the rock with access through a narrow crack in a mountain. The crack is over 1200 meters long and 3 to 6 meters wide, flanked by 100-meter high canyon walls. Why hide a city? http://nabataea.net/who.html NOTE: The Nabateans were also known as Edomite’s. But then, Genesis 25:13 gives us another possibility. It is Isaac’s half-brother Ishmael’s eldest and first born son’s name (Nebaioth/Nebayoth).

Jeremiah 19:5 is a very specific declaration. God says that the Judeans “burned their sons” and that “he did not ever tell them to do this; it never even crossed his mind to do such a thing.” However, this sin was but one reason God was holding Judah accountable as even more sinful than their northern cousins in the then nonexistent Kingdom of Israel (10 Tribes).

Jeremiah is told in 19:7-9 to instruct prophetically to the leaders of Judah their horrible consequence for betraying their God and as His chosen people. Verse 10 then says for Jeremiah to break the Burbur (pot) in front of them. We find that the death blow on Judah by the Babylonians will be so extensive that there will remain no one to bury the dead and no place left to bury them. God says “he will make this land (Jerusalem) like Topheth; a place of death.

Verse 13 in chapter 19 needs explaining. It mentions “roof offerings.” It is obvious in this verse that offerings of sacrifice were also done on roof tops. But why? The answer is geographical. Most of this land area is flat and has no “high places” upon which to lift up their offerings/sacrifices. This is also a parallel to the New Testament command to “lift up the name of Jesus.” This includes the eternal sacrifice made by Jesus when “For he was lifted up on the cross to pay the debt of our sin.” Isaiah 6:3 is a great example of lifting up for the correct reason.

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.

Jer 19:15  “Listen, everyone! Some time ago, the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, warned you that he would bring disaster on Jerusalem and all nearby villages. But you were stubborn and refused to listen. Now the LORD is going to bring the disaster he promised.” [CEV translation]

When we take Jeremiah 18 and 19 together as the content, we get the context of the potter working us, molding us, making us. In chapter 19 the potter breaks us when we become as useless as a cracked pot. This is God’s message to all of Judah. They still didn’t listen.

miniJimDr. J. Stark

Jeremiah – Chapter 18

(God says He can change His mind)

Over 30 times in Jeremiah a chapter begins with something similar to “The Lord spoke to me about such and such or said…” Jeremiah was in constant contact with the Lord [1 Thessalonians 5:16-18].

In chapter 18 we find God telling Jeremiah that he is no longer satisfied with the Israel-Judah of His original design and is going to remake them. Remake them into what is a later chapter.

potter wheel

Verse 1: “And the Lord told…”  Jeremiah is about to get a visual lesson at a clay potter’s shop. There will be people there, in the streets and commercial center. Jeremiah is instructed to go there, observe the potter at work, and then speak to those around him when God puts the words in his mouth. In the same sentence (v2) Jeremiah may have been in a dream state as God tells him to RISE UP, arise,… The ERV leaves out the word “rise” but such a word indicates he is to get up. We know that in the working and waking hours craftsmen make their wares to sell in the afternoon markets. This is not of real important but we can glean from this that Jeremiah may have been hearing the Lord in a dream; i.e. in the spirit [John 4:24].

When Jeremiah “rises up” and gets there, the potter is busy. The potter however is in a sort of dilemma. He is not in the process of making what he originally planned with the lump of clay but is remolding it to something different. Why? V4 says: (ERV) “He was making a pot from clay. But there was something wrong with the pot.” Before going any further, this chapter is about God re-creating his chosen people of Israel-Judah into something other than his original plans… “But there was something wrong with the pot.” The potter was remaking the original pot into something still of value but different from his original design. But to remake or remold the clay, he had to first lay hands on it, clump it back into a heap, and then begin again.

  • The Potter represents God
  • The clay represents Israel-Judah

Verse 5: At this point Jeremiah gets the analogy of the clay, the potter and Israel. Note that it is NOT just Judah to which God is speaking through Jeremiah. How do we know (yada)? V6: “O House of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD…” (ESV). HOUSE OF ISRAEL? The ten northern Tribes of Israel were dispersed by the Assyrians into the neighboring lands far and near 120 years earlier. However, God still holds them as His chosen and His people. He isn’t pleased with them so chapter 18 explains what God plans. He is going to reshape them but using the same lump of clay. This will take many years and up to End Time. We will discuss this further in later chapters in this Jeremiah study.

Verses 7-10 God is declaring once again His total sovereignty over man. He can break us up, cast us out, reshape us or keep us under His thumb. It all depends on the attitude and heart of the kingdom, nation or people to which he is making this declaration; even America. Congress cannot prevent it and neither can some Circuit Court or federal judge. ifThe promise, as we have discussed so often in our bible blogs once again fits the “If you_____, then I will _____.” God tells Jeremiah that if the people of any (v7) nation or kingdom repent, I, God can change my mind. God is not arbitrary in that He is unrelenting or merciless. However, we once again glean from this passage that God includes ANY group of peoples; not just Judah. But it goes both ways. A given people must continue (v10) or return from their evil ways of rejecting God. He will “relent of the good he intended for them” if they don’t. Be careful America. We were once a Christian nation but former President Obama set the record quite straight when in his ignorance declared America to “not just be a Christian nation (anymore)” (emphasis mine).

In this given situation the CEV translation is good: “…but [if or when] its people start disobeying me and doing evil, then I will change my mind and not help them at all” (18:10). In a sense God is still offering Judah-Israel the chance to be redeemed; no 70 year bondage in Babylon but only if…! In carefully reading this passage we can also reason that God’s original plan for man is good, not bad. We still have chapters 19-52 to discuss so it doesn’t end here. However verse 12 tells us the Judeans refuse the offer. How blatant can one be? Proverbs 12:1 tells us “he who loves correction loves knowledge; but whoever hates correction is stupid.”

By using a correlation with the snowcapped mountains of Lebanon and the waters that flow from these mountains in verse 14, God renounces his protection of the people of Judah; the one’s he now identifies as “this people.” God recognizes all the Tribes of Israel as arrogant and self-centered. As he did with the Pharaoh of the time of Moses, he turns them over to their own ways without his intervention, protection or influence. He does not bring the disaster as some teach. He allows it to happen. Babylon is already on a military roll through the Middle East conquering even their former masters the Assyrians. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, is identified as God’s servant in Jeremiah 27:6. This isn’t what it might seem to be at first read. We will discuss this in greater detail when we get to chapter 27. If you can’t wait, go to our study of the Book of Daniel. It is explained in one of these articles.

“For they have forgotten me…” (v15).  A better translation of the word “for” in this verse would be “because.” “Forgotten” or epilanthanomai in the Greek, one of the longest Greek words used in scripture, means, to “put out of mind; totally neglect as opposed to reject.” God is not even a consideration by the peoples of Judah at this time. To put this in modern terms, absence does not breed a stronger bond; it breeds total forgetfulness. At this time in history, Judaism is no longer a way of life with God Jehovah, but it is a religion. We can see from this passage why 600 years later the Scribes, Priests, and Pharisees had no recognition of their Messiah Jesus when he was born in Bethlehem.

In verses 16 and 17 we get the purpose of the practice of modern day shunning or excommunication; a severing of all ties with an individual or group ostracized. (V17; ESV) Like the east wind I will scatter them before the enemy. I will show them my back, not my face, in the day of their calamity.” The Jewish Publication Society Bible (JPS) puts it differently. They say that God will look upon THEIR backside instead of their faces. Think about this difference.

At this point in chapter 18 Jeremiah shifts gears. He points out to God that his own people are planning ways to remove themselves from the words of Jeremiah. They do it, initially, by declaring the Law of Moses and the insight of the Levite priests to be of a greater value than these words from Jeremiah. They are declared words, not prophecies. Besides, during this time and in previous chapters Jeremiah mentions that there are others who declare themselves prophets with words contrary to what Jeremiah says; i.e. the tickling of their ears. Recall in chapter 7 of Jeremiah these people declare they have the Temple. They forget that it is God not the Temple that is their protection.

There is a saying that goes something like this: “No good deed shall go unpunished.” In essence this is what Jeremiah points out to God in verse 20. “I have been good to the people of Judah but now they are paying me back with evil…” (ERV). The ERV adds that not only are his fellow countrymen plotting to wage a war of tongues (debate) with Jeremiah but they plan to kill him. However, Jeremiah has the divine protection of God (Jeremiah 1:17, 18). By this time and as expounded upon in later chapters, Jeremiah is asking God to pour out His wrath. “Let their children starve and let women lose their husbands” he says to God in verse 21.

If we look closely at what Jeremiah is asking of God, he is asking for judgment upon his own people due to their total rejection of the message he delivered to them from God. Not only do the Judeans reject the message, but plot to kill the messenger. How might we see this in light of today? We are the messenger but is there a limit to our rejection? Is there a point of no return? Might there be a time we “shake the soil from our feet as we leave a place that has rejected God, the message and the messenger? [Matthew 10:12; Luke 10:10-11] Read these passages and judge for yourself.

miniJimRev. Dr. Jstark February 2017

 

A Blue Rose

blue rose

I needed to go to the store for some needed items, which included light bulbs, paper towels, trash bags, detergent and Clorox. So off I went.

I scurried around the store, gathered up my goodies and headed for the checkout counter, only to be blocked in the narrow aisle by a young man who appeared to be about sixteen-years-old. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I patiently waited for the boy to realize that I was there. This was when he waved his hands excitedly in the air and declared in a loud voice, “Mommy, I’m over here.”

It was obvious now, he was mentally challenged and also startled as he turned and saw me standing so close to him, waiting to squeeze by. His eyes widened and surprise exploded on his face as I said, “Hey Buddy, what’s your name?”

“My name is Denny and I’m shopping with my mother,” he responded proudly.

“Wow,” I said, “that’s a cool name; I wish my name was Denny, but my name is Steve.”

“Steve, like Stevarino?” he asked. “Yes,” I answered. “How old are you Denny?”

“How old am I now, Mommy?” he asked his mother as she slowly came over from the next aisle.

“You’re fifteen-years-old Denny; now be a good boy and let the man pass by.”

I acknowledged her and continued to talk to Denny for several more minutes about summer, bicycles and school. I watched his brown eyes dance with excitement, because he was the center of someone’s attention. He then abruptly turned and headed toward the toy section.

Denny’s mom had a puzzled look on her face and thanked me for taking the time to talk with her son. She told me that most people wouldn’t even look at him, much less talk to him.

I told her that it was my pleasure and then I said something I have no idea where it came from, other than by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I told her that there are plenty of red, yellow, and pink roses in God’s Garden; however, “Blue Roses” are very rare and should be appreciated for their beauty and distinctiveness. You see, Denny is a Blue Rose and if someone doesn’t stop and smell that rose with their heart and touch that rose with their kindness, then they’ve missed a blessing from God.

She was silent for a second, then with a tear in her eye she asked, “Who are you?”

Without thinking I said, “Oh, I’m probably just a dandelion, but I sure love living in God’s garden.”

She reached out, squeezed my hand and said, “God bless you!” and then I had tears in my eyes.

May I suggest, the next time you see a BLUE ROSE , whichever differences that person may have, don’t turn your head and walk off. Take the time to smile and say Hello. Why? Because, by the grace of GOD, this mother or father could be you. This could be your child, grandchild, niece, nephew or any other family member. What a difference a moment can mean to that person or their family.

From an old dandelion! Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest up to God!

“People will forget what you said, People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel!”

Jeremiah – Chapter 17

Dr. JThis sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron and with the point of a diamond: It is engraved upon the table of the heart…” (KJV).

Powerful picture words in the opening verse of Jeremiah 17. In this case the CEV is more understandable and not off doctrine… [The CEV is written plain English. At times excludes important words in a given verse or passage not giving a good picture of the verse’s intent].engrave forebver

“People of Judah, your sins cannot be erased. They are written on your hearts like words chiseled in stone or carved on the corners of your altars.”

This statement throws the doors of theological debate wide open, as if the doors are torn from its hinges. Unforgivable and eternal? Not really. What message is God telling Jeremiah to convey to his people? He is telling them (Judah) through Jeremiah that he (God) has tried for centuries to make a point they (all Israel) keep rejecting. There is only one GOD and he will not accept any other god before him; nothing; nada; gar nichts…! This is also why we find later in Jeremiah 31:33: (NIV) “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” God simply tells Jeremiah to convey to the people of judah there is a price to be paid for their persistence and pentchant toward departing from or replacing worshiping HIM for other values first in thier life.

Jeremiah 17 is full of things for us to put in our heart and recall daily. Let’s discuss them as we go through this chapter today. An immediate aha moment can be found in the first four verses of Jeremiah 17. The Hebrew 70 scholars and scribes who translated their own Hebrew scrolls into Greek under the instructions of Ptolemy of Egypt opted to not include them in the Septuagint or first Greek translation. If we look closely at these four verses it is easy to see how scolding and incriminating they are to the Jews and their scribes.

Verse 1 is blunt. There is little to NO wiggle room for misunderstanding. Rejection by ideologists, yes! Even the translators of the Hebrew by the hired scribes of Levite descent did not wish for the Greek to see it. But then so is God’s offer to salvation. Their continual sin and returning to it is so reprehensible, God is no longer going to defend them as his pride and joy. Yes Israelis remain Gods chosen, but we might identify this scene as being sent to one’s room for a 70 year timeout.

Judeans at this time is similar to what God did to this in individual Pharaoh of Egypt during the final five plagues. Pharaoh kept hardening his own heart until God finally refused to offer any intervening spirit to convince this ruler to “Let my people go.” He turned Pharaoh lose to his own vises. This example of the time of Pharaoh and his heart is similar to what is happening to those of Judah, civilian and ruler-leaders, at this time in the life of Jeremiah. God released them to their own vises.

Verse 2: The idols and particularly the Asherah poles are seldom discussed or properly identified in other commentaries or from the pulpit. The Asherah Pole is the same thing in practice as the dance poles used in strip clubs. They are for one purpose and it is the youth of Judah who hang around them lusting and fantasizing. This is the “children” referred to in V2. Not really children but more like a den of sin and enticement for those of early ages.

Verse 3: God tells Judah (Israel) that what they had will now belong to others. Possessions are one of the greatest identities of these people. It is all about self, wealth, pleasure and thinking themselves exclusive; nothing about true worship. ..throughout all their borders.” It means not only Jerusalem but all of Judea including the already occupied lands of the former Northern Kingdom of Israel (10 Tribes).

Verse 4: Strangely enough, verse four is Arab-Islam’s claim to what they say was formerly the blessing of Jacob but now the blessing by default to the descendants of Esau and Ishmael. In other words, this passage if out of context could read, “Israel/Judah, you have now forfeited God’s blessing that Jacob stole from his twin brother Esau. I am giving it back to its rightful owner the first born of Abraham (Ishmael) and the first born of Isaac (Esau). I will cause you to serve your enemies; an anger that will be forever.”  Only is this true when taken out of context. God will fulfill all of his promises (covenants).

We can easily see why the Hebrew translators DELIBERATELY left these verses out of their writing of the first Greek copy of the Hebrew bible (Old Testament) that being the XXL or Septuagint. They begin their translation with 5th verse as it can be applied across the identities of the human race; not exclusive to the Jew (Israelite).

Jer 17:5 I, the LORD, have put a curse on those who turn from me and trust in human strength. (CEV) 

Jeremiah 17:5-10 are applicable to all (kole in the Hebrew) mankind. Jeremiah steps aside from criticizing Judah specifically and takes a global look at the dynamic nature of God and his original creation. The Contemporary English Version (CEV) mistakenly returns to Judah by inserting their name in verse 9. I am not familiar with any other translation that does the same thing. Taking liberties with God’s true word is dangerous both to the author who takes the liberty and to those who use a given translation exclusively in his or her bible studies.

Quotes to all mankind from 17:5-10…

    1. Bad things happen to those who put their trust in man
    2. Bad things will happen to those who depend on human strength as it means trusting God is not primary.
    3. To be like this is like a bush in an isolated part of a dry parched desert. It lacks any knowledge of fertile, well-watered environments
    4. Those who trust “fully” in the Lord will be blessed. This does not mean or include those who simply believe in God or a supreme being. They fully believe but not fully trust.
    5. To know God is to (study) know his covenants with man.
      1. They are confident even during a dry season
      2. Like a tree next to a brook that does not seasonally run dry
      3. Their leaves are always green
      4. They always produce fruit.
    6. The human mind is deceitful and can call bad good and self-justify any evil committed.
    7. V10…”But I am the LORD and can look into a man’s heart (mind)” (ERV).
  • Although the CEV does miss in its interpretations from time to time, they do put it in plain English. 17:10b…”I [God] will make sure you get what you deserve.” The ERV puts it… “I (God can) give each person the right payment for what they do.” 

A unique characteristic of some birds such as the Quale (Partridge) is it will sit on or steal the eggs of another bird until they hatch. But the birds do not recognize the surrogate mother. They will fly the coop. The ERV v11 puts it well in comparison to humans:

“Sometimes a bird will hatch an egg that it did not lay. Those who cheat to get money are like that bird. But when their lives are half finished, they will lose the money. At the end of their lives, it will be clear that they were fools.”

Look closely at this passage (above). It does NOT SAY wealth in and of itself is a sign of misgivings or wrong doing. It is the wealth gained unjustly or by cheating that condemns him or her who selfishly gathers it.

Jeremiah again beginning in verse 13 shifts thought. First he praises God just like the opening of the Lord’s Prayer. We should begin every prayer with a praise to and recognition of who God is. Simply put, He is sovereign.

Verse 13b is something we all need to pay attention to. (KJV) “…and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD,…” Written in the earth means their value is now like the dust. It will easily be swept away.

Jeremiah asks God a question in verse 15. It shows the depth of Judean’s contempt for God. They actually challenge the prophecies of Jeremiah by saying PROVE IT! If God has said it, let it happen now because we challenge your prophecies and HIS authority to accomplish it. WOW! What dangerous grounds to be upon. Jeremiah who once pleaded with God to forego his condemnation of Judah now asks God to fulfill it (V18). Jeremiah aches in heart and soul for his countrymen. Their arrogance and stiff-necked attitudes are the issues at stake and for which God has already condemned them in verse 1. It hasn’t happened (yet again; forgetful memories they have) so they feel immune. Woe onto men who feel their superiority and self-reliance.

Jeremiah again switches topics and begins discussing the Sabbath Day. The last few verses of Jeremiah 17 including Exodus 20:8-11 is the basis of 7th Day Adventists (and Judaism) setting aside Saturday as the day of worship instead of Sunday. We can discuss this topic in the future as it has holes, but not in this blog. One three simple considerations: On what day was man created? Was it identified by God as anything other than sequential day 6? What day of a week was the 7th day if there were no calendars back them; just a sequence of days?

JIV NOTE: Beginning with verse 24 but prefaced with v19 – 22, God offers another “If you ____, then I will ____. Just like every covenant promise made by God in the Old and New Testament we are given the same condition. If we firs do this or that, then God will fulfill his end of the offer; and offer made by GOD, not man. Somehow this also has hints of End Time conditions. It also includes a promise beyond the 70 year Babylonian captivity they (Judah) has yet to endure.

The Covenant Promise: (in short) Honor the Hebrew Sabbath “Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David…”. For how long? The end of this same verse says forever. Read this passage closely. It refers ONLY to entering the gates of Jerusalem, God’s holy city, bearing a load or work detail (V24). People will come from throughout the lands to worship but the reference to the Sabbath work load is in reference to bringing the work load into the city of Jerusalem via any of its 12 gates.

Once again this supposition of it being exclusive per work on the Sabbath, the concluding verse on chapter 17 states in part… “‘But if you [Judeans] don’t listen to me and obey me, bad things will happen. If you carry loads into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, you are not keeping it as a holy day…’” 

END NOTE: Something for each of us to remember about bad habits “One cannot break a habit. S/he can only replace it with something else, good or bad” (Jstark). Israel replaced their worship of the true God with works of their hands and other motionless and useless gods. They could not simply stop their false worship as many good Kings of Judah tried to do without returning to a full-faith worship of Yahweh.

There is something similar to this passage and a well tilled and cultivated garden. Initially it appears to be without weeds. Then, they begin to appear amongst the crop or garden. They were either hidden weeds (sins) or inherited from it environment. This is Israel of old.

miniJimRev. Dr. Jstark

February 2017

 

End – Time Prophecy

geneissThe first and often least recognized end time prophecy is found in the curses God gave at the Garden of Eden. We know about Adam and Eve being expelled and cursed; we know about the Satan serpent. Man will be expelled from the Garden and labor but the sweat of his brow [Genesis 3:17-19] to feed his family. Women; I will now greatly increase your pain during child birth will *now have pain delivering children [Genesis 3:16]. There will be enmity between the serpent and the woman

  • This passage as it reads suggests Adam and Eve already had children. If God is going to greatly increase the pain in childbirth. Eve must have something with which to compare labor pain so she already must have a child or two. One can’t greatly increase something with which s/he is not already familiar.

The snake in the Garden of Eden:

Genesis 3:14 & 15 state: God saith unto the serpent, `Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all the cattle, and above every beast of the field: on thy belly dost thou go, and dust thou dost eat, all days of thy life; and enmity I put between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he doth bruise thee–the head, and thou dost bruise him–the heel.’ [YLT]

This highly suggests the snake in the garden was not one that looked like the snake as we know it today…sneaking and sleuthing through the grasses and in the tree branches. Every depiction we have today of the Eve and Satan encounter shows the snake already belly-bound. This is NOT what scripture tells us. It says “from now on…”

Genesis 3:14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.” The obvious is missed. Up to this point in the Garden of Eden incident, the snake did NOT crawl on its belly and eat dust. Our depiction of this moment in the history of mankind is totally wrong per imagery.

Genesis 3:15 tells us an end time prophecy most miss. “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” It is found with careful reading…”he will crush your head.” Note the gender change from a woman to “he.” The King James uses the word “it.” None the less, the change in the ‘who’ is in the verse itself.

Israel is often identified as a woman in end time prophecies. Just as the church is the bride of Christ; i.e. an identity of a woman, so is the nation of Israel. As has been true since the start of the church age at the cross, Satan has bit at the heel of the church and the church has tried to crush the head of Satan through prayer and worship of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Genesis 2 continue… (YLT) And Jehovah God doth make to the man and to his wife coats of skin, and doth clothe them.

Gen 3:22  And Jehovah God saith, `Lo, the man was as one of Us, as to the knowledge of good and evil; and now, lest he send forth his hand, and have taken also of the tree of life, and eaten, and lived to the age,’

It is obvious after reading v22 that there was another tree in the Garden; i.e. one of eternal life. Two or three conclusions for end time come from this verse in Genesis 3.

1.     The other tree in the same Garden is one of eternal live eternal life. Jesus paid the wages of sin on the tree or cross on Golgotha and now we can take of it and live up to, through and beyond the end time.forever

2.     There were never for bidden to eat from the Tree of Eternal life. Just as in end time we will not be forbidden to eat of the tree of life through Jesus or to eat of the deliberate deception of Satan.

3.     This (#2) being true, then Angels and Satan’s motley crew are already eternal. This however does not make him, them or us without consequence for our sins.

There is another analogy that needs to be mentioned. The Tribe of Dan is NOT included in the 144,000 mentioned in either Revelation 7 or 14.” Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path that bites the horse’s heels, so that its rider tumbles backward.” (Gen. 49:16-18). Note the similarity of a snake and the biting at the heel; Genesis 3:15 and the prophecy of the Tribe of Dan in Genesis 49:16-18. The question not asked often enough is who is crushing the head of the snake? , “who is the ‘her’ in 3:15 who becomes a he in the next sentence?” Is it the horse’s heel and the rider? This is not as mysterious as one might make it to be.

We cannot write in a single blog the connectivity, but it is there for the student of the bible to seek and to find. What started in the Garden of Eden will end with the people of God (Israel) and the people of the Church (Jesus) having total victory of Satan.

What about the Tribe of Dan? When Dan “leaped out of Bashan” (Deuteronomy 33:22) after migrating north from the land area originally assigned by Joshua to that tribe, they conquered Laish (Judges 1:16-20) in northern sector of the territory of Bashan. They did not take the Lord God with them. They took idols and their wicked ways with them as the marched out of Bashan. They deliberately left the Promised Land refusing to conquer it.

We will go deeper into this historical and detailed filled discussion next fall in a series entitled, Which Way Did They Go?

Needless to say but we will anyway, the 144,000 mentioned twice in Revelation, do not include Dan. Dan left God behind, not the other way around. Dan’s offspring may be those who may be the last and perhaps the least to respond to God’s end time call. They may likely be some of those who respond in or during the tribulation; a time called Jacob’s Great Troubles. But, the Tribe essentially rejects the promise of the Promised Land. Consider this…what about modern day rejection of God even after knowing about the Promised Land in heaven? Can we give up on what Jesus promised us as believers and “do it our way?”

If one no longer feels as close to God as s/he once did; guess which one moved?

Dr. jStarkminiJim

 

Jeremiah – Chapter 16

Dr. JJeremiah – Chapter 16Book of Jeremiah

This chapter could easily be described as Jeremiah’s life-style and ordained, like in predestined, message, his life’s mission and a preview of a portion of End Time. Why? It begins with the Lord Jehovah instructing Jeremiah to NOT GET MARRIED AND NOT HAVE CHILDREN.

The “what” in 16:3 and 4 explain bluntly but also seem to have a qualifier.

They will die of horrible diseases and of war and starvation. No one will give them a funeral or bury them, and their bodies will be food for the birds and wild animals. And what’s left will lie on the ground like manure.

This reminds us of chapter 15 verses 3 & 4 where God’s frustration [the why] with “this people,” the Judeans and all Israelis for turning their back on their God and redeemer (salvation) over and over again. God no longer calls them HIS people. He steps back now calling them “this people.” What a horrible position of condemnation. Can one imagine if our own eternal security and salvation was revoked due to our putting other gods before God such as money, pleasure, not studying or neglecting his Word?

This passage gets franker in the message from Jehovah to Jeremiah. Verse 5 instructs Jeremiah the Prophet of Judah to not even lament those he knows who die or visit the families of those who have died from this point forward. This means, as it is today, the usual “after funeral” luncheons. There will be so much carnage that others in Judah or neighboring territories won’t have time to lament the loss of family, neighbor or leaders. No time to even bury them.

If there is an after death luncheon, verse 6 instructs Jeremiah to NOT set foot into a house where this is being offered. Is there sorrow? Yes! What will it take to get these people, God’s chosen, to not only return to him but remain in HIM? This propels us to End Time when God tells Jeremiah in chapter 31 that he will write His word upon their hearts. It is also stated in Hebrews 8:10 and 10:16. However even today we make this mistake of not keeping God first. Charles Spurgeon said, “We write our blessings in the sand, and we engrave our complaints in the marble.”

Taking verse 6 and 7 into context, no one will bring wine of food to comfort those with the loss and if they supply it themselves, don’t attend.

Verse 9 needs some explanation. It reads in the CEV: “Warn the people of Judah that I, the LORD All-Powerful, will put an end to all their parties and wedding celebrations.” This would better translate “their desires to party and celebrate.” Many have experienced something somewhat similar when invited to a party today. The invited person(s) simply have no desire to go. The attempted party is there but there is no celebration. The King James puts it: “…the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride.” There will be moments to celebrate. The emphasis in verse 9 is the words to celebrate. It will be gone.

Now Jeremiah gets a bit contemporary. We all know the “what did I do” expression the guilty say when trying to dodge the accusation of wrong doing. When a person back then, as it is true today, answers a question of accusation with a question, s/he is avoiding answering. However, God gives Jeremiah an answer or reply to this or their attempt to defer. He is to tell the people of Judah to realize they are even worse than their ancestors who turned to idols. These people in Jeremiah’s time did whatever came to mind; good, bad, and simply evil. Read verses 11 & 12 of Jeremiah 16. A good read is found at: [Control + Click to follow] https://books.google.com/books?id=zYXhAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA80&lpg=PA80&dq=Judah+is+even+worse+than+the+Tribes+in+the+north&source=bl&ots=Hl2arjbk4K&sig=3rl9M2xOqEQuxvEBf9ZtA-2BALE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiC2IyE2OrRAhXqxVQKHaLeDA4Q6AEIPDAG#v=onepage&q=Judah%20is%20even%20worse%20than%20the%20Tribes%20in%20the%20north&f=false

hope.jpgThere is Hope

At 16:14 & 15 God offers an eventual plan of redemption to the people of Israel/Judah. This is the covenant of End Time and Israel. This simultaneous fulfilment of the two covenants, one with Israel and one with the New Testament (church) plan of eternity. (Israel) “…For I will bring them [Israel] back into their land which I gave to their fathers.” Do you want to know the solution to the Palestinian issues today? Reread the previous sentence. The West Bank is former Judah and Samaria. Lands to the east of the Jordan River belonged to the Tribes of Gad, Reuben, and a half tribe of Manasseh.

Beginning with verse 17, Jeremiah explains the “what” and the “why.” But to fully understand chapter 16 in Jeremiah, we must realize God is actually telling Jeremiah of the past, present, and future. God even include a critical but often overlooked portion of verse 19. It explains a time will come when those people and nations that have challenged Israel and Israelis from their time in Egypt through a prophetic End Time Apocalypse, will see the truth. They will admit that they have been deceived by their Gentile ancestors who were and are anti-Semite. The truth will be known as the Kingdom of God is ushered in.

Let’s break down this past, present and future of which Jeremiah is writing using the ESV translation’ verses 17 – 21.

For my eyes are on all their [people] ways. They are not hidden from me, nor is their [both Israelite and Gentile] iniquity concealed from my eyes [This is the past and present]. But first I will doubly repay their [the Great Tribulation] iniquity and their sin, because they [both Israelite and Gentile] have polluted my land [Palestine and Canaan] with the carcasses of their detestable idols, and have filled my inheritance [Promised Land] with their abominations.” O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in the day of trouble [both Israelite and Gentile; i.e. the Great Tribulation], to you shall the nations [Gentiles; future tense] come from the ends of the earth and say: “Our fathers [Gentiles; future tense] have inherited [Gentile nations; past and present tense] nothing but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit. Can man make for himself gods? Such are not gods!” “Therefore, behold, I will make them [future tense; Gentile] know, this once [one time offer] I will make them [future tense; Gentile] know my power and my might, and they shall know that my name is the LORD.”

This is one of the most powerful and promising chapters in Jeremiah. The same things are echoed in Daniel, Revelation, Isaiah, the Minor Prophetic books (12 books at the end of the Old Testament) and in part, several New Testament books.  The challenge to peripheral bible study or reading, the individual seldom realizes these differentiations as identified in the previous paragraph.

But then…don’t take my word for it. Study it for yourself.

miniJimRev. Dr. Jstark January 30, 2017

 

Father Forgive Them – Easter 2017 Article

“Father Forgive Them”… but who is THEM?

A small sentence and request with a global affect; Luke 24:34. Tens of thousands of sermons JESUS onCrosshave been preached on this phrase and thousands more will be. Some with traditional conclusions but seldom does anyone point out the THEM and what or who it includes or included. It is not proper to say “who it included” as that is speaking in the past, present tense.  What it is is a request or agreement consummated and at that moment fulfilled between God the Father and God the Son for past, present and future sin of mankind.

Both Strong and Thayer agree but from a slightly different angle per the word THEM. The translation is ἐγώ is egō; emphasis on the second half of this word.

Strong/Thayer: A primary pronoun of the first person, I (only expressed when emphatic): – I, me.

If the translation was ἡμᾶς; i.e. hēmas it would be “an accusative plural of them.”

JIV NOTE: Pronounce this word (hēmas) and think about one of the arch enemies of Israel today…HAMAS! It is the name of a terror group but written in the Arabic which is closely related to their cousins’ Hebrew language;  ???Father, forgive Hamas???

Another applicable translation of the Greek word for THEM is αὐτός; i.e. autos. This use of the word “THEM” has three similar but different points of references:

1) himself, herself, themselves, itself;

2) he, she, it;

3) the same.

Critical thinking: Note that both translations of the Greek word ‘THEM,’ autos or hēmas, mean a singular factor; I, him, her, me, himself, herself, itself… all personal pronouns in the first person.
crowd

This is the point missed by so most in the church leadership and seminaries today. Jesus identified “THEM,” either autos or hemas, as individuals needing forgiveness. He was not limiting his agreement with God the Father with “Father Forgive Them” meaning those he could see and knew were trying to terrorize him and his followers.  It was not limited to his tormentors (terrorists) and those who had a direct hand in his death on the cross.  It was global, to the world for which he was paying the wages of sin. In short, with that statement we begin the church or the New Testament. The Old Testament was about a nation; the New Testament is about individuals.

To conclude this short blog, let me give the reader the lyrics of a short chorus this author wrote. It was a song with which his quartet often closed a concert.

God’s grace is sufficient for all of the human race;

God’s grace is sufficient for all who are in this place.

God’s grace is sufficient for each of us, you see.

God’s grace is sufficient for me, yes, just for me.

miniJimDr. jStark

Easter 2017

Jeremiah – Chapter 15

The sword to kill: the dogs to tear, the birds to feast and beast to devour. Death but no burial is what this passage in Jeremiah 15:3 prophecies. The KJV is specific; the sword to slay and the dogs, fowl, and beasts to destroy and devour. By default this is carnage without honor and burial.  There are no funerals. Judgment will be swift. Judeans have pushed the envelope containing God’s covenants with them too far. Remember that every covenant says…”If you ___, then I will ____.” This includes disciplinary action.if

In a very real way, this predicts and previews End Time. Death will be so rampant little time will be allowed for burials. Ezekiel 39:12 tells us that after the Battle of Ezekiel it will take Israel (note Israel is still existing) seven months to bury the dead of the enemy to cleanse the land. This battle is better known as the Battle of Gog and Magog. Back up a few verses in Ezekiel 39 and we read information that needs discussion and clarification. There is not adequate time to fit this into our Jeremiah study but this shouldn’t stop the reader from taking this under her or his wings and pursuing it as a person studying to show one’s self approved of God.

This is not a pretty scene. Once again in chapter 15 v1 God addresses His people as “this.” Even the God honoring Moses and Samuel would not be able to deter Gods’ wrath and punishment on Judah. If we recall from an earlier chapter article on Jeremiah, God says Judah is even worse than the Northern Kingdom of Israel that was totally dispersed 120 years earlier. Judah witnessed the punishment of her northern cousins but continued in her evil ways…hiding behind the fact they have the Temple in Jerusalem. Similar to claiming attendance at a given church or synagogue in today’s culture means God is on our side. No matter what we call it, it is the focus of worship that only matters.

JIV NOTE: We can take from this and other passages that up to a given moment God can be reasonable with His creations and change his mind.

The Contemporary English Version (CEV) puts it this way per verse 3: “I will punish you in four different ways: You will be killed in war and your bodies dragged off by dogs, your flesh will be eaten by birds, and your bones will be chewed on by wild animals.”

Now comes one of the mysteries of this chapter. God tells Jeremiah that this punishment of Judah is also due to the actions of King Manasseh of Judah. According to Charles Spurgeon, King Manasseh was not a believer in his own God of Israel-Judah, lead the way in rejecting Him, then in his later years repented. In a sense this parallels the life of Saul/Apostle Paul. Manasseh was the son of *King Hezekiah, a relatively honorable king. What made King Manasseh’s sins so punishable, it was not covert, but overt sin. What makes this verse so curious is that Manasseh was not king during the lifetime of Jeremiah.*King Hezekiah is the king God told he was about to die. He pleaded with God and God extended his life by 15 years. Amazingly, Manasseh was born during Hezekiah’s 15 year extension on life that God had given to him. Yet, Manasseh learned nothing from it as a child even though he was only 12 years old when his father died. (Hint: 15 minus 12 = 3; Hezekiah fathered Manasseh three years after he received his 15 year extension to his life)

King Manasseh put his idols in the Temple of God; one might say in the face of God. WOW! How overt. He had no shame. He was going to do it HIS WAY even though he was a descendent of King David, these choices in life are individual. The church will not save us. Neither will membership. Our bloodline must be with Jesus. The only way is HIS WAY.

Jeremiah is dealing with a people who blatantly sinned and by unanimous consent, their choice. The bible suggests God’s punishment is because of the sins of Manasseh. Let’s understand this better. God is not blaming Manasseh and just now, in the Book of Jeremiah, taking it out on the people of Judah. (Thank you Lord for this insight) It says in verse 4 “…because of what Manasseh did…” It isn’t because of Manasseh personally, but the blatant sins and in-your-face attitude he had before finally repenting. This sinning was still prevalent in Judah at this time. They are just like him in attitude. Manasseh eventually confessed and returned to God seeking forgiveness. One could easily give him the title of “The Prodigal King.” Judah did NOT repent or believe Jeremiah. He ruled Judah for 55 years.jerusalem-2

JIV NOTE: We often hear today much debate about borders and building walls to protect our homelands. Well, after King Manasseh was released from Babylonian captivity, he built a great wall around the city of Jerusalem. Not to keep his people in, but to keep out the enemies who have not been properly vetted from entering the gates of into Jerusalem [II Chronicles 33:14].

II Chronicles 33:9 tells us that the people of Judah exceeded the evil done by the people God drove out of Palestine/Canaan to make room for his chosen 12 Tribes; i.e. The Promised Land. Egregious is what comes to mind using our English vocabulary to describe Judah at this time. This is the scenario found in Jeremiah 15.

We know that God is willing to change his mind when we confess sin and follow Him. Jeremiah 15:6 simply states that God tired of showing mercy (changing his mind) for the sake of what we might call fox-hole believers of but not in YHWH. Once things are good and okay again, as it is stated in Proverbs 26:11, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so do fools repeat their folly”. 2 Peter 2:22 also comments the same. Judah had other idols before YWHW-God. To them they returned so they could have a god they create instead of following the God who created them.

Jeremiah 15:7 gives us an insight many miss by purely reading this chapter…by scattering you like straw blown by the wind. I will punish you with sorrow and death, because you refuse to change your ways. We usually consider the Babylonian captivity a 70 year punishment after which the Jews of Judah (see above archeological clay tablet discovery)  would be allowed to return to Jerusalem. This is partially true. The Book of Daniel expounds on this promise and its fulfillment. However, only a remnant returned after Cyrus the Great decreed the captive Judeans in Babylon were free to go home. He even payed their way to return and rebuild their Temple. Only a very small subdivision of Judeans ever returned. Greats like Daniel, Nehemiah, Ezekiel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-Nego, ­­­­­­­­did not return to resettle in Jerusalem.

An interesting and easily misunderstood word used in some of the translations, as in v9, is the word sword. “…the residue of them [left in Judah after the Babylonians overran them] I will deliver to the sword.” The Hebrew for sword is “cherub” and can also mean drought. Driven by sword, knife or drought. The residue of left behind Judeans were scattered to the winds of the world like chaff.

At 15:10 we actually have a new topic, change in paragraphs, and change of thought. Jeremiah complains once again to the Lord God. He basically falls into self-pity saying it would be better had he never been born. The ERV puts it: “…[I am] a man [Jeremiah himself] of strife and contention to the whole land! I have not lent, nor have I borrowed, yet all of them curse me.”  Woe is me is the context of Jeremiah’s declaration to God.

Verses 11 and 12 state that God will protect Jeremiah, and he did, but the people or army of Judah would not defeat their Babylonian enemies. All that is in the land of the Kingdom of Judah will be spoils of war. If it can be removed, the victorious Babylonians will take it. Even their wives, daughters and possessions will fall plunder to the invading Babylonians. But Jeremiah isn’t finished trying to put the blame on God’s shoulders instead of the Kingdom of Judah. The CEV in verse 15 says “You can see how I suffer insult after insult all because of you God.” Jeremiah is still suffering from the human nature born into us. What he says per it being God’s fault is not inaccurate. It is for the cause of God that Jeremiah is suffering a very limited social life, a single man without family, and an outcast in his own country. Jeremiah is trying to remind God of something God already knows. God anointed Jeremiah just for this purpose in life. Jeremiah knew this from the beginning yet he opts to make mention of it to God.

We are getting ahead of ourselves but we already discussed it in our Book of Daniels studies. When the opportunity arose for Jews (Judeans) of Babylon to return to their land only a very small number answered the call. This was largely because they had carved out a niche for themselves in Babylon. It was not perfect, but it had a lot of advantages. Millions of those who now live in and around this same area today now known as Iraq, Iran, Syria, and the Mesopotamian Valley area, don’t even know they descended from the Tribe of Judah; the captive Judeans who remained in Babylon 2500 years earlier.

As we close our look at chapter 15 and move on, it is paramount that we fully grasp the final verse in 15. Why? Because of the debates over what happened to Jeremiah at life’s end. We will discuss this in later articles but for now…

Jer 15:21 “I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.”

God makes a covenant with Jeremiah and God is a person of His word. He will be delivered out of the hand of the wicked AND redeemed from the grasp of the ruthless (his own people). Remember this passage as we continue going through the Book and life of Jeremiah.

Rev. Dr. JstarkminiJim
January 22, 2017