Jeremiah Chapter 43

 

The story goes something like this. A man and a woman were going someplace “to get away from things.” They had just been through some life trauma and wanted to get away from it all but had little funds to support it. She sought some advice. Her husband asked her, “where would you like to go?” She replied, “why don’t you just ask our travel agent.” So he does. He later reports back what the travel agent recommends. He was assured by the highly recommended agent that if they stayed local, he could guarantee their safety, price, enjoyment, and still get away from the trauma. There has been violence in the surrounding areas. However, if they go outside of their home territory, they will pay a great price for so doing and their trauma will simply follow them.

Once her husband reports back to her per the travel agent’s advice, she immediately accuses him of being self-serving, he was lying, it wasn’t what she wanted, (Florida was on her mind) and the agent didn’t understand their circumstances. What does he know anyway? Then she gathers up the family, packs up luggage along with a charge card, tells him to get in the car, and off they go to a Florida. (See article on Chapter 44; trauma does follow them)

This is similar to Jeremiah’s situation in chapter 43. The Judean survivors and remaining militia of Judah, following the traumatic invasion of the Babylonians, sought out Jeremiah and begged him to ask God what they should do. Most of the Judeans… king, rulers, and leaders were taken captive to Chaldea-Babylon.

This takes us into chapter 43. Looking back at chapter 42 we discovered that Jeremiah was assured by God that if they stayed within their homeland, he would protect them from any further Babylonian trauma and any other enemy, but they must believe and have faith in him [42:10, 11]. In short, God had changed his mind and would protect, provide safety, offered a life from additional trauma, and at a cost of simply worshiping him as their God.

Jeremiah is accused in verse 2 of chapter 43 [ESV]…”You are telling a lie. The LORD our God did not send you to say, “Do not go to Egypt to live there…”  Essentially they accuse Jeremiah of being a turncoat and since the Babylonians had looked favorably upon Jeremiah, he was seen as a traitor. Remember that up until now, these very same “captains of the army (militia)” and the Judean citizens had resisted all of Jeremiah’s counsel and prophecy even though it now all came true.

The army had good reason to continue fearing the Babylonians. In all likelihood, it was these military men who had initially recommended to King Zedekiah to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. Why would they now want to hang around? They even go so far as to accuse Baruch, Jeremiah’s secretary, of setting them up for destruction; Baruch’s “get even” plot.

JIV NOTE: One of the great mysteries in the bible is why do the Israelites (including Judeans) constantly want to flee to Egypt for protection; the very same place they served as slaves to the Pharaohs for 400 years??? We recall in Exodus 5:2 that the Pharaoh said to Moses…”who is the Lord that I should obey him?” This is a continued explanation as to why God was judging Judah. They wanted help, but they wanted it their way… “Do your job God and protect us but let us serve other gods.”

We must make note of the following few verses. Many times one who reads this passage is left with the impression that all of Judah was not taken into captivity by the Babylonians. A remnant is left behind. This is true however no one is to be left in the former Kingdom of Judah, now a province of Babylon.

Jeremiah 43: 4-7; [ESV] So Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces and all the people did not obey the voice of the LORD, to remain in the land of Judah.

But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces took all the remnant of Judah who had returned to live in the land of Judah from all the nations to which they had been driven–the men, the women, the children, the princesses, and every person whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan; also Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch the son of Neriah. And they came into the land of Egypt, for they did not obey the voice of the LORD.

JIV: Once again contrary to some theologians, this is not the return and again the removal of the Tribes to Israel. It is those of Judah who had fled Nebuchadnezzar. Those who returned to Judah were JUDEANS; i.e. Tribe of Judah.

The (Promised) land is now vacated. This is the argument of the Palestinian Arabs today; 2017. They argue that the Israeli’s of the ten tribe Northern Kingdom were totally dispersed by the Assyrians well over 100 years before this time, and never returned. They were forced into and throughout the world. Now the remaining remnant of Judeans left (fled) the land of the former Kingdom of Judah and escaped to Egypt. Per modern Arab thought, it was desertion of their Promised Land so it now defaults to the other son of Eber (through Joktan), and other Arab descendants of Esau (son of Isaac) and Ishmael (son of Abraham).

If a church or denomination wants to believe that the New Testament REPLACES the Israeli covenants of the Old Testament, then even so-called Christian Churches today will take this same stand albeit in their shallow Arab understanding or ignorance of the Word (promises) of God. “People have deserted the church so it is no longer valid” so they think.

Jeremiah now unloads on his remaining countrymen in vocal dynamics probably unmatched in his previous prophesies and warnings. He tells the fleeing remnant to ‘Stand ready and be prepared, for the sword shall devour around you.’ God warned them though Jeremiah in chapter 42: if they desert their Promised homeland they would not be protected by their God, or avoid the sword, pestilence, and death.

Here is a very interesting archeological insight. God tells Jeremiah to bury some large stones under the pavement of the entrance to the city of Tahpanhes, Egypt. He is to do this in the full view of these of the fleeing Judean militia and Jews within this remnant. He does what God commanded of him while prophesying… the Babylonians will not only attack Egypt, but will also kill those who think they have avoided God’s judgement. The evidence is where Jeremiah buries these large stones. Nebuchadnezzar will set his tent on that very spot when invading Egypt. No one can avoid God’s judgement! The encyclopedia describes this very event…

A platform of brickwork, which has been tentatively described as the pavement at the entry of Pharaoh‘s palace, has been discovered at this place. “Here,” says the discoverer, William Flinders Petrie, “the ceremony described by Jeremiah 43:8-10; ‘brick-kiln’ (i.e. pavement of brick) took place before the chiefs of the fugitives assembled on the platform, and here Nebuchadnezzar II spread his royal pavilion”. The site was discovered by Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie in 1886. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahpanhes)

However, the fleeing Judeans are not the only ones to suffer upon settling in Tahpanhes, Egypt. When the Babylonians finally attack Egypt they utterly destroy much of the land itself including burning their temples of evil and other god worship and other artifacts now discovered by William Flinders Petrie.

The Babylonians still had a score to settle with the Egyptians. When Nebuchadnezzar was laying siege to Jerusalem, just as Jeremiah had prophesied, the Egyptians marched out to engage him in war. King Zedekiah of Judah and Egypt had signed an alliance. Their armies, however, never engaged. The Egyptians retreated after the Babylonians army pulled out of Judah to fight them. This is probably why so many of the Judean army was still around. They had probably gone out to join the Egyptians and were not in Judea when Nebuchadnezzar attacked. Some undoubtedly were in hiding.

Next article – Chapter 44: How far had the people of Judah turned their hearts from God? Next article is another WOW moment.

miniJimDr. J. Stark

November 2017

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Jeremiah Chapter 37

The last king of the Kingdom of Judah (including any part of the former nation of Israel, is identified in the first verse; Zedekiah, the uncle to the disposed King Coniah ; aka Jehoiachin. In this chapter he appears to be more sympathetic to Jeremiah’s pleas and prophecies, but for all the wrong reasons. Sometime we need to consider and be introspective of our own prayers as to the real motives for our requests, petitions, and pleas to God.

Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon. He appointed Zedekiah son of Josiah to be the king of Judah in the place of Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim. (ERV)

We can read that Zedekiah’s motives were not to serve God but to serve his own interests. We find this in verse 2 of Jeremiah 37. He requested that Jeremiah “Pray to the Lord our God for us.”

foxhole.jpgA bit of knowledge goes a long way in helping us determine Zedekiah’s motives per his request of and for Jeremiah to pray for “us.” First, it was not a request of forgiveness. He wanted reprieve, but offered no request for a prayer of confession. This is what we call in modern times, a fox hole prayer request.” Get me out of this mess!

Second: the words of his request seem to be okay; i.e. “the Lord our God” but the word God in this sense is ‘ĕlôhı̂ym. This can mean one of many gods. As Strong’s translation puts it…”the plural of gods in the ordinary sense.” King Zedekiah was leaving open the possibilities of other gods but wanted Jeremiah to claim “our God” as the protector, not the one of sole worship.

Third: Jeremiah 37:5 reads (ESV)… The army of Pharaoh had come out of Egypt. And when the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard news about them, they withdrew from Jerusalem.

It appears that Zedekiah’s concerns were alleviated due to the armies of Egypt coming out of Egypt and the Babylonians (Chaldeans) changing courses to confront them. The next few verses make it clear that there is more to this than meets the normal read-through of chapter 37. With the withdrawal of Nebuchadnezzar’s armies Zedekiah figured he didn’t really need “the Lord our God” for the problem resolved itself. This again shows the motive behind King Zedekiah’s request that Jeremiah pray for them. He wanted relief from the pending doom but did not include any confession of his or the people’s sins.

gate-of-damascus-676492_1920Zedekiah had rebelled against being subservient to the Babylonians. That is why Nebuchadnezzar was at the gates of Jerusalem. Recall that previously Zedekiah was put on the throne of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar. This was about 10 or 11 years later. So how do we conclude these possible thoughts of Zedekiah? The next two verses tell us. God tells Jeremiah to go to the king and tell him that Pharaoh’s armies were going to retreat and never confront the Babylonians. This is opportunity spent. God had the solution to Judah’s predicaments. It was on its way out of Egypt. BUT!!!! Rather than appreciate what God was preparing to do for Judah by confessing HIM as their real and only God, they only saw that the armies of Babylon had pulled back. No longer was Babylon an immediate threat. In fact, the princes of Judah hoped it was a done deal. They deluded themselves into thinking the Babylonians thought it unwise to attack Jerusalem/Judah.

JIV: If the people and leadership of Judah had accepted that this possible reprieve was God preparing a potential escape; a way out for them if they confess their sins, God would have not turned the armies of Egypt back to their home. It is like getting out of personal trouble only to return to one’s selfish motives.

God tells Jeremiah to inform Zedekiah that the armies of Egypt will retreat and the Babylonians will return to Judah (Jeremiah 37:7-9). “Do not deceive yourselves”  (v9).  Not only did King Zedekiah now think he didn’t need God to resolve the (albeit temporary) siege by the Babylonians, he figured he didn’t need Jeremiah either. He had him arrested on false charges of desertion. He was accused of deserting to the Chaldeans when he left Jerusalem to return to his homeland in the territory of Benjamin (Jeremiah 37:13). He had purchased land in his home town and was simply returning to it. Find this in our chapter 32 article.

Jeremiah is very blunt. He denied the false charges and told them that God would allow the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem “even if every Babylonian solder was dead or wounded.” This made the royal leaders of Judah really angry. They thought or better stated, the retreat of the Babylonians was permanent and Jeremiah was now a traitor and false prophet. Two very poor assumptions, but they once again it provides us with insight per the motives of Judeans at this time. It isn’t a factual assumption but more of a “this is what we want to believe” position.

King Zedekiah still had a few reservations about Jeremiah’s original prophecies regarding Judah. We find in verse 17 that the king takes Jeremiah aside to inquire if there is additional “…word for them from the Lord.” Jeremiah tells him the same thing; Jerusalem and Judah is doomed. This is a great example of us today. We know what is right and make allowance for it but go right ahead and do what our human nature desires; not what is good for our souls and relationship with God (or Jesus in N.T.). We want to make God in our image instead of the way it was from the creation of Adam and Eve.

Here is what we read in the ESV:

Jeremiah 37:9 ”…Thus says the LORD, Do not deceive yourselves, saying, “The Chaldeans will surely go away from us,” for they will not go away.

Jeremiah 37:10  For even if you should defeat the whole army of Chaldeans who are fighting against you, and there remained of them only wounded men, every man in his tent, they would rise up and burn this city with fire.”

This got Jeremiah put into prison once again but this time it was the palace or court prison under relatively kinder conditions. A few verses earlier (v15) when he was judged by the “princes” of the land he had been put in a dungeon called the house of Jonathan.  He remained there several days but Zedekiah’s curiosity and deep-down awareness of the true God got the best of him. He had Jeremiah brought to him for questioning but in secret.

Isn’t this so much like humans through the ages? We know the truth but refuse it and hope for our selfish or personal preferences. Jeremiah remained in the Palace Prison until chapter 38. Soon things go from not-so-good to a tough time for Jeremiah when Zedekiah releases him into the hands of the Judean princes.

miniJimDr. J. Stark

October 2017

 Revelation 11 – Part 2 of the Two Witnesses

Watch For Wildlife. Large SUV in Front of a Deer in Deep Forest at Night. Road Danger at Night. Deer Crossing. Wildlife Photo Collection.

The two witnesses of Revelation 11 have as much identity speculation as does a deer that might dash across the road in front of someone’s car during the time of the year when bucks have lost their horns. We can speculate on size, possible weight of that particular deer, shade or color of its coat, how it loped across the street, or whether a couple of deer crossed prior to this particular deer as the buck tends to lead from behind. Whatever is one’s guess, we really don’t know the make and model of the daring deer that challenges the front end of one’s car, SUV, or truck.

The same is true as to the identities of the two witnesses who proclaim Christ in Jerusalem for 1260 days; up to the point where the beast from the abyss declares war on them. They are slain and their bodies remain in the heat of the Middle East sun for 3 ½ days as a witness to the power of the anti-Christ or the beast. We might insert here that this is during the Tribulation Period and most likely during the first half of this 7 year period of time. WHY? This is when the beast from the abyss makes his power insertion and entrance to the world scene declaring him-self to be god. It is an interesting puzzle to sequence and fit each event such as:

  1. The arrival of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse;
  2. The revealing of the man of evil;
  3. The false prophet;
  4. The false and acceptable one world church (council of Popes perhaps;
  5. The opening of the 7 Seals;
  6. The 7 trumpets and their messages;
  7. The 7 vials or bowls of plagues poured out on those who…
  8. …take the Mark of the Beast (when does this happed?);
  9. The church? Is it here or raptured?
  • The 2,000,000 man army that moves against Jerusalem;
  • The rebuilt Temple of Judaism;
  • The agreement of peace between the anti-Christ and Israel;
  • The return to Israel of the Lost ten Tribes (pending, already happened or a spiritualized symbolic event)
  • The beast that rises out of the sea with heads and horns… is this spiritualized? A combination of global or European uniting of nations?
  1. Existence of a one world government?
  • What about the question as to when the King of the North and the King of the South wage wars against each other? Who are they and when does this happened? What about the “rumor” of forces coming from the North and East?
  • Is Armageddon [Har Megeddo] the battle ground or simply a staging place for the massive armies preparing to attack Jerusalem?
  • Why might these forces from the south, north, and east unite? Against whom?

Beautiful view of Jerusalem city, Israel

It is easy to understand the confusion when these and many more mentioned factors such as the drying up of the Euphrates River, the armies from the East and the North need to FIT into this same period of *time. However, one may think it is beyond human minds to conceive of these this occurring within a 7 year period of time plus the return of Jesus Christ at the sounding of the 7th trumpet, Mount of Olives splitting north and south along recently discovered fault line that runs through the center of it. [I wonder if John of Revelation was also a gifted seismologist or if he simply wrote what the angel told him]?

*Daniel, Jude, Revelation, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Malachi only to mention a few books of the Bible that address the above issues of End Time.

These questions and other Tribulation issues will all be answered during this series on End Time, but drinking from a fire hose is very difficult. Therefore we will reduce the water flow and sip at each item pulling them together as best as scripture will allow. This approach is the Learning Curve; i.e. awareness first, beginnings of understanding, comprehension of the puzzle pieces that match, building the framework around the entire puzzle first, the desiring to fill in the spaces with pieces that logically fit together.

The Two witnesses:

Some denominations and seminarians want to think it is not limited to two key prophets/witnesses. This is clearly mistaken as scripture identifies the masculine terms of “they, them and these.” They are men… there are two of them.

Many speculate that the identity of one of the witnesses is Elijah. Malachi 4:5 tells us… “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. The obvious question from this verse is what or when will be the “great and awesome day of the Lord?” This great and awesome day of the Lord piece of the puzzle fits well with the 7th trumpet. We can consider Joel 2:31, Leviticus 23:36-37, Revelation 11 and Jeremiah 16:14-16 just to mention a few passages pointing to this same event. What is that event? When Christ sets foot on the Mt. of Olives, it splits along natural east-west fault lines pushing massive mountains north and south [Zachariah 14:4]. This is when Christ and heavenly hosts declare earth as now his kingdom. This will stir up the leaders of other nations. They will put aside their warring differences and attempt to attack this “self-declaring king” in Jerusalem; i.e. Jesus Christ.

However, this does not explain the BEFORE in the great and awesome day of the Lord.” Since it is the slaying of these witnesses that reveals and establishes the evil one (dragon/beast) as a power who sets up his throne in the Jerusalem Temple, we are most likely looking at the termination of the two witnesses at the end of the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation and the beginning fo what the bible identifies as Jacob’s troubles; Matthew 24:15-22.

But, what about the identity of the two Tribulation Witnesses? The answer is similar to the deer that darts in front of our speeding car in the spring. It has no antlers so we can’t be sure. The Children of Israel were led out of 400 years of semi-captivity in Egypt. They were established in Goshen by the son of Jacob… Joseph. This is *lower Egypt along the forks in the Nile River that feed into the Mediterranean Sea. This second return to Jerusalem (Israel; Zion) is another exodus from where they were scattered then migrated back in the 700’s and 600’s B.C. by the Assyrians, Babylonian’s, Medes and Persians.

*Over the history of Egypt there were often an upper and lower Egypt ruled by two different Pharaohs. When united they were ruled by one Pharaoh.

Some religious sects identify these two witnesses as the 144,000 witnesses described earlier in Revelation {Revelation 7 & 14). Others try to persuade the bible student it is Elijah’s spirit in John the Baptist that returns to earth. Let’s think this through a bit more logically.

There are two men who never died according to scripture: Elijah who was taken up in a fiery chariot [II Kings 2:11] and Enoch [Genesis 5:22 & 24] who walked with the Lord and was no more.

Now turn to Hebrews 9:27. Some theologians try hard to convince themselves that this is not applicable to these two witnesses. They try to drive a wedge between Hebrews 9:27 and the two witnesses who are finally slain by the evil beast from the abyss. Why complicate understanding? Just as the judgement days, the pouring out of the vials, the blowing of the trumpets, and the Millennial Reign of Christ is fact. Why not consider the puzzle piece here as the two men of God who had never died. We actually don’t know for certain, but the pieces of our Tribulation time and two witnesses puzzle fits together nicely.

In all fairness we should acknowledge Luke 1:17 where it points out that John the Baptist will come in the spirit of Elijah. This timing is after the birth of Jesus and John the Baptist was a forerunner and contemporary of Christ. This being said, a good bible student must allow for this possibility when we add Matthew 11:11a to this mix of guesses and speculate.

Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist.

Then, it is just as possible that the two witnesses are or will be men of that day; known to the social media during this time of the Tribulation. We don’t know so anyone’s conclusion even if supposedly supported by scripture is still debatable. What is important is one’s personal relationship to Jesus Christ. Avoid the Tribulation period altogether and be a part of the Rapture.

Dr. jStark

The Great Flood

Noah's ArkThe Great Flood? In this short space the best we can do is outline some of what was discussed in our Bible Insitute on Wednesday evenings. [Geologist theory] “The earth’s axis shifted about 8,000 years ago. The obvious consequence of such an action would have been a dramatic change in atmospheric conditions. The polar ice caps, suddenly transposed to the temperate belt, would melt, and the level of the oceans would rise accordingly. Volcanoes would erupt, suddenly filling the skies with ash. This protective canopy of vapor would react like a greenhouse, and the resultant condensation would cause torrential downpours. The entire earth would be exposed to the full fury of waters above and below the earth”…just as recorded in the Bible.

Coincidently or conveniently for the sake of secular science/geologists/archeologists, a large *meteorite hit the oceans at the same time as the polar caps melted creating a big splash (theory only). This splash propelled indigenious species from one continent to foriegn lands. This explains, in minds of secular scientists that is, how their skeletal remains got there. 

Talk about a great deal of faith, it takes less faith to simply believe that God’s hand was and remains in all activites on earth today. The Bible story is not a story. It is actuality history.

1. Nakhichevan/Naxuana at the base of Mt Ararat claims to be “where Noah settled” after the flood. They also claim his grave site is located in this city. Noah lived 350 years AFTER the flood, long enough to have established a city in this location.

2. The flood theory, according to some secular scientist, is a probability, but not due to a supernatural intervention. It is due to a rapid one day melting of the polar caps and a large *meteroite splashing into the ocean. [**JIV: the polar caps didn’t exist until after the flood when the world tilted on its axis. Up until then, the globe was tropical explaining why tropical plants and sketetal remains can be found in the thick ice caps; e.g. the Ark  landed on ground, not snow swept mountain ice ridges Genesis 8:13]

*a. Meteorite Splash [secular scientist theory]
i. It was the splash that caused the appearance of a flood when the polar caps suddenly melted. 
ii. The splash bounced land creatures and sea mammals to parts of the earth they are not considered today to be indigenious. This supposedly explains why geologists find their bones and fossils there today.
iii This means the ice caps melted and the meteorite were contemporaneous events (Wow! Scientific faith?)

3. The difference between historic and prehistoric is BCE [Before Current Era], and AD [Ammo Domini; Latin] 

4. Adam lived 930 years and Methuselah lived 969 years. They overlapped by 243 years covering the prehistoric/antedeluvian period from creation of man to the Great Flood. Creation to the Flood is *1656 years
a. Methuselah [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methuselah, Hebrew Book of Jubalees and Book of Enoch ] died the year of the Great Flood ending the prehistoric/predeluge years.

*930 [Adam]+ 969 [Methuselah] – 243 = 1656 [Coincidence? Perhaps]

5. Berossus, a Babylonian historian of 300 B.C.E., basing his research on the Temple of Murduk stone tablets, named ***ten generations of kings/rulers living between creation and the Flood. Fact! He is a secular historian recording that the flood happened similar to as later stated in the Old Testament records written by Moses.

***The Bible records 10 generations between the creation of Adam and the birth of Noah (another coincidence? How many coincidences does it take to make an actuality?)

a. He records the last ruler before the flood was Utnapishtim (Babylon’s name for Noah) 
b. Utnapishtim, Babylonian name for Noah, escaped the Great Flood in a boat. 
c. Beside the Babylonians, the Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Chinese, Fiji Islanders, Aboriginal American Indians, Brazilians, Peruvians, and many other cultures have  a similar legend, or story of a Great Flood. 

6. The *Gilgamesh Epic/Record: Noah’s own words of the flood parallel the records of Genesis. 
a. Gilgamesh was the 5th king in the first dynasty following the flood.

8. *Secular records state that King Gilgamesh visited Utnapishtim’s post-flood home; 
a. * Gilgamesh Seal, stone tablet record of the flood, now on display at the University Museum of Pennsylvania.
b. Why the visit? He loved reading the pre-deluge [flood] stone tablets [records] and …
c. …Noah lived for 350 years after the flood. He may have still been living when King Gilgamish visited.

AHA MOMENT

AHA MOMENT

Additional Aha Moment: 

Did Jacob and twin brother Esau have any other siblings? Genesis 27:29 is the only place in scripture where this curiosity question can be answered: “…the sons of your mother.” 

jStark3