Jeremiah – Chapter 24

figsFigs are not uncommon in the Middle East particularly in Israel. Just as olives, figs are native to this land. However, not too many people have visions or figs. Jeremiah did in chapter 24. He saw two baskets of figs. One basket was full of good figs, but the second basket of figs was too rotten to eat.

God’s message to Jeremiah is another example of the pending doom and gloom for the Kingdom of Judah. We will return to this thought in a paragraph or two. First, Jeremiah 24:1 gives us a specific example of who Nebuchadnezzar desired to first be taken into captivity to Babylon. It reads in the ESV:

“After Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken into exile from Jerusalem Jeconiah [aka: Jehoiachin and Coniah] the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, together with the officials of Judah, the craftsmen, carpenters and the metal workers,…” [emphasis mine]

Nebuchadnezzar knew what he wanted per resources and skilled labor. The empire of Babylon was growing and he needed skilled labor, not just laborers or captive slaves. This included the likes of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (aka: Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego). He took the best of the best.

Interesting but not sure of its implication is the fact Jeremiah described the figs were VERY good or VERY bad; not just good or bad. Jeremiah 24:4 states that this is when he gets it; i.e. the message of the Lord came to him.

Oddly God tells Jeremiah that the good figs represent the Judeans taken into captivity, not the ones left free to roam in their homeland. Verses 6 and 7 go on to support this by saying:

[6] I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up.

[7] I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.

If one reads on we discover that very few of these captives returned to their home land. Not so much due to dying there, but by choice NOT to return when release after the 70 years of Babylonian captivity. So, what does God mean in verses 6 & 7 of Jeremiah 24? Let’s begin by looking at the first sentence in verse 6…I will bring them back to this land.” A quick read of this first sentence leaves the assumption this means after the 70 years of captivity. This is not what it actually states. That is a false assumption. God has always promised as in covenanted with the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (aka: Israel) to bring them back to the Promised Land.  This is end time prophecy yet to be fulfilled.

The bad figs are those people who will remain as in left behind, in Judah. Jeremiah 24:8 to the end of this chapter paints a very gloom ending for these who are left behind. In a sense, it parallels the people of earth who remain after the Rapture of the church. Few theologians see this in this passage so I will qualify it as a JIV (Jim’s Introspective View). However, in my heart of hearts I see the strong parallel.

God says I will punish them with terrible disasters, people will tremble with fear, people will be forced to seek refuge or forced to go to foreign lands, they will be cursed and called names, war and hunger will be rampant, disease and sword will strike them down, they will finally disappear from the land… (this is key to JIV), and the land will be *void of these rotten figs.new earth

*This is the New Earth and the New Heaven prophecy, void of those who refused Christ. The rotten (sin) will be gone as Satan is bond then a thousand years later is cast into eternal Lake of fire from which there will be no escape or another chance given to him or others who ultimately reject the Holy Spirit and Christ.

miniJimRev. Dr. Jstark May 25, 2017

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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

Jeremiah – Chapter 4

“If thou wilt [KJV & the JPS; Jewish Publication Society]….” are the opening words of chapter 4. There is not a single covenant or promise in the bible not prefaced with something ifsimilar to “IF THOU WILT,” then the condition of what it is God expects in return for his extra blessings. If we commit, then God will commit. If we don’t commit, then God is not held to a different standard since it is HIM who sets the standards; not the other way around.

Jeremiah had the same message to both the dispersed throughout the known world Tribes of the Northern Kingdom and the still existing Kingdom of Judah. Although Jeremiah already knew the people, leaders, King and Synagogue members would not listen, he still carried the message. We are not called to save souls, but to share the Word of God and our testimony.

As the CEV translation puts it in 4:1… The LORD said: Israel, if you really want to come back to me, get rid of those disgusting idols.

The ESV translation says… “If you return, O Israel, declares the LORD, to me you should return. If you remove your detestable things from my presence, and do not waver,…”

No matter how it is translated it boils down to If we; then HE will…! But, Jeremiah 4:2 does not stop there. He explains the credentials of the Lord: swear to the Lord who lives, is truth, is just in judgment, and righteous, [then back up to the last sentence of verse 1] then shalt thou not [be] remove[d]. Judah is facing the fact that Babylon is on the move and conquering the nation-states around them. Once they were subject to Assyria but Nabopolassar, King of a re-established Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar’s father, defeated Assyria in 609 B.C. (secular records). Nebuchadnezzar later conquered Judah in two separate stages; 597 B.C. and 587 B.C. He reduced the population of Judah each time. People like Ezekiel, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego went with the first deportation.

NOTE: Parts of Assyria and Babylon fall within and overlap modern day borders of Iraq. The reader should keep in mind that all Israelis are Semitic, but not all Semites are Israelis. Abraham had other sons through Keturah [Genesis 25:1] and we must not forget Ishmael. His descendants are also Semite but today we know them as Arabs.

shovel in the ground in the vegetable garden, on a background of green onions

Break up the fallow ground

Verse 3 of chapter 4 actually begins a new paragraph. Jeremiah changes thoughts. “For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.”   The next several verses explain what Jeremiah is telling the leaders of Judah. At verse 7 he explains the consequences and prophecy of not “breaking up the fallow ground.” We might say in modern terminology in 7-9, the alarm clock has been set. Choice is still available for the people and leadership of the Kingdom of Judah but it is either/or and no neutral choice. In verse 7 we read that “the destroyer of the Gentiles” is about to descend upon Judah; i.e. Nebopolassar conquered the Gentile nations then his son, Nebuchadnezzar captured and deported Judea/Jerusalem.

Jeremiah, a true prophet of God, and those who called themselves prophets but were not of God and falsely tickled the ears of the king of Judah, had many run-ins and collision courses. We will learn more about these as we progress through Jeremiah. Jeremiah 4:10 sets the stage for this and is a point in history where Jeremiah himself challenges God… “LORD God. You have not told the truth to the people in Judah and in Jerusalem. You have told them, “You will have peace”. But soon the sword will kill us.’ Jeremiah is looking back at previous and historical promises (covenants) God made with His chosen people and to what the false prophets were saying (Jeremiah 6:13,14). Simply put and as already pointed out in our opening paragraph, Judah did not stay faithful to God, so God no longer was held to his promise of safety. In simple terms, it is similar to one breaking a treaty. Once an agreement is violated, then the other party is no longer held to his agreement or terms.

For the student of Middle East studies and bible history, this website gives a great brief perspective. http://www.worldology.com/Iraq/assyrian_empire.htm

The circumcision of the heart referred to in verse 4 is explained in verse 14… (ESV) “wash (circumcise) your sins from your heart.” Verse 13-18 goes back 120 years; a reminder that what God did to the Kingdom of Israel, the ten northern tribes, is about to happen to Judah and the now absorbed Tribe of Benjamin. See verse 15 for the specific identity where often the Tribe of Ephraim is synonymous with an identity of the northern tribes.

At verse 19 we once again get a change in Jeremiah’s topics or paragraphs. This verse is a bit like one with a bad case of the flu and one’s abdomen is telling him or her there is cause for great alarm. No time remaining to consider alternative solutions. To carry this further, verse 20 where it reads “SPOILED” one could just as easily have used the analogy from the flu and insert “SOILED.” Gross? Yes, but the truth is not to be denied. “IN A MOMENT” (4:20b) says God through Jeremiah.

At verse 23, then continuing through verse 29, Jeremiah goes back to Genesis 1:2. With this retreat, he prophecies forward to Luke 21:5-38, the book of Revelation, and the Book of Daniel when the mountains tremble, the birds flee, Jerusalem being in total chaos. God uses a vision and example of this end time event back in Jeremiah 1:13-15. It happened in 587 B.C. and will repeat itself during the Apocalypse of the Tribulation.

Verse 27 is a one-way promise from God himself. It is true of this time in scripture and of End Time as also portrayed in scripture. Similar to Daniel 11 if one wishes to do a bit of self-study.

“This is what the LORD says,

‘I will destroy the country.

But I will not destroy the whole country.”

Verse 30 of Jeremiah 4 is very pronounced and profound. Both the Northern Kingdom of Israel (sometimes referred to as Joseph; i.e. Ephraim his eldest son from Egypt) and the Southern Kingdom of Judah are referred to as the “wife of God.” The website found at http://www.hope-of-israel.org/yehovahswife.html is a good source for additional information per Israel as a whole being identified as a wife (of sorts) to God. Exodus 19:5 (through 8) is sometimes referred to as the “wedding vows between God and Israel. Exodus 19:5 is God’s vow and Exodus 19:8 is Israel’s vow.

Exodus 19:5  “…you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples,…”  (husband’s vow

Exodus 19:8 “…All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” (a wife’s reply)

Also look back at Jeremiah 3:8.

We can summarize this portion of our study in Jeremiah 4 with the words of Hilda Bright, a blogger and studied individual. She uses the Easy English Bible and commentary. The following are her words commenting on verse 28 through end of this chapter (v31).

Verse 28 Jeremiah describes the earth as a person who is sad. The sky becomes black because the light has gone (verse 23).

Verses 29-31 The people in Judah heard the enemy coming nearer. So the people ran away. They were afraid of the arrows that the enemy used. The people in Judah tried to find safe places to hide. They went into the woods and into caves in the cliffs (Isaiah 2:19). Jeremiah describes how Judah tried desperately to be at peace with the enemy. He describes Judah like a prostitute. The prostitute puts on bright clothes. She paints on a black powder round her eyes. It makes her eyes look larger and more attractive. But it was no use for Judah to make herself look beautiful. Judah’s ‘lovers’ were Egypt and Assyria or Babylon. But they hated Judah and they wanted to kill her.miniJim

Rev. Dr. Jstark – December 2016

 

 

Appendix:

Source Date Events
2 Kgs 25:1; Ezek 24:1-2 10 Tebeth =
27 Jan 589 BC
Beginning of final siege.
Jer 34: 8-10 1 Tishri =
29 Sep 588
Release of Hebrew slaves at beginning of a Sabbatical year.
Jer 34:11-22; 37:5-16 Between Tishri 588 &
Nisan 587 = Oct 588 to Apr 587
Babylonians temporarily lift siege due to approach of Egyptian army. Slaves taken back. Jeremiah arrested as he attempts to go to Anathoth.
Jer 34:22; Ezek 30:20-21 7 Nisan =
29 Apr 587
Egyptians defeated. Siege resumes.
2 Kgs 25:2-4; Jer 39:2, 52:7;
Ezek 33:21, 40:1
9 Tammuz =
29 Jul 587
Wall breached. Zedekiah captured.
2 Kgs 25:8 7 Ab =
25 Aug 587
Nebuzaradan arrives at Jerusalem (cf. Jonah 3:3) from Riblah in Hamath and begins consultation with commanders in the field regarding the pillaging of the city.
2 Kgs 25:9-19; 2 Chr 36:18-19;
Jer 52:12-25
10 Ab =
28 Aug 587
Nebuzaradan leads forces into Jerusalem (cf. Jonah 3:4) to pillage, destroy, and burn the city and its temple.

 

Jeremiah – Chapter 2

Jeremiah Chapter 2 – Backslidden IsraelBook of Jeremiah

This chapter is somewhat similar to the  message to the Church of Ephesus as found in Revelation 2:4,5.

“But I have this against you: You have left the love you had in the beginning. [2:5] So remember where you were before you fell. Change your hearts and do what you did at first. If you don’t change, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place.”

Israel did and now Judah continued(s) to turn their back on the God of creation. They know [yadda] that they are God’s chosen people. In a sense it gives them self-sanctioned proprietary claim to life and land. One might say it has gone to their heads. They feel it is license to do as they please as chosen people of God. They want to add additional gods, one or more to their liking; one they create. This is their desired reality but it is not God’s actuality. The same is true in many churches today in America and on TV.

This is so much like Christians today in practice. We want to be God’s chosen but want license to do things we should not and are not pleasing to God. He is NOT a way of life but only a part of our life. This is in a nutshell what Judah is during the time of Jeremiah. It is also a lot like a foxhole Christian; God get me out of this mess and I promise….; but once out of the mess, we do it our way (sorry Frank Sinatra). This is chapter 2 of Jeremiah.

Like it clearly states in verse 17 of Jeremiah 2, “the people [of Israel] have brought it upon themselves.” In our previous chapter blog, we see the historical context of this time and the life of Jeremiah. Verse 4 adds to this context.

[ERV] “Family of Jacob, hear the LORD’S message. Tribes of Israel, listen.” [note the repetition, family of Jacob is all the tribes of Israel.]

We know that the Kingdom of Israel was dispersed by the Assyrians over 100 years earlier, but v4 brings us to a future yet to happen. God is not finished with his chosen people. This includes all twelve Tribes of Israel. He is reminding them of what Daniel and the Apostle John have yet to write in the sequence of global histories. In the first few verses of Jeremiah 2 Jeremiah recaps what God has done for the Israelites since they became a people in Egypt then retrieved to a Promised Land; promised to Abraham.

sin.jpgThis is similar to someone getting away with a sin, for a while, and his or her confidence in getting away with it becomes their foundation for continued sin action. Numbers 32:33 if taken out of context says one’s sins will find thee out. This passage in Numbers has to do with the three Tribes: Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh. They did not want to cross over Jordan to help the other tribes settle their land and dislodge the sparse nomadic inhabitants west of Jordan. Moses told them they must help their brothers fight the good fight before returning to the land that today is known as Jordan. If they did not help, then Numbers 32:33 says, be sure thy sin (of not helping) will find them out (paraphrased). One might just as easily see this as analogous to the makeup of today’s church. “ Just let us sit in the pew [on our side of Jordan] and cheer on those who carry the load against the enemy.”

However, as Dr. Jack Hyles puts it [2015], “Some of the members of the tribes of Gad and Rueben [half tribe of Manasseh] are still alive today. In fact, America is full of these loafers who say, “We are tired of fighting. Let us relive our victories in the wilderness. It is time for us to rest and enjoy the fertile plains on the east side of the Jordan.” Oh, these people still go to church. They just don’t want to fight.

Blog Note: For the geography impaired, this land on the east side of Jordan is the country or State of Jordan, 2016.

Jeremiah is reminding (2:4) those from all 12 tribes that the fight is far from over. The Kingdom of Judah is going to pay a price for their sin as did those in the Northern Kingdom of Israel 100 years earlier. A great and applicable message on sin finding us out as it applies to us today can be found at https://www.baptist-city.com/sermons/your_sin.htm.

This time in Jeremiah’s life is a three-way grudge and continual fighting between Assyria, Egypt and Babylon. Each striving to dominate the regain with Israel stuck between the three battlers. Some may have studied the “hanging Gardens of Babylon as one of the seven wonders of this world. This all happened during the time of Jeremiah. Around 1125 B.C. there was another ruler in Babylon named Nebuchadnezzar I. He is not related to the Nebuchadnezzar II of Jeremiah’s time.

A Wise Note: Often Christians are criticized by claiming that bible history not being documented (which is false in and of itself per archeology) so it didn’t exist. Well, how many have heard of the “hanging Gardens of Babylon; i.e. the seventh wonder of the world? We all studied it is school history, However, read the following from the encyclopedia Wikipedia:

The Babylonian priest Berossus, writing in about 290 BC and quoted later by Josephus, attributed the [Hanging] gardens to the Neo-Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II, who ruled between 605 and 562 BC [the same time period of the 70 years of Judean captivity in Babylon]. There are no extant Babylonian texts which mention the gardens, and no definitive archaeological evidence has been found in Babylon. [Emphasis mine].

However, our American school history books report it as one of the 7 wonders of the world and as fact.

Another fact and historical note is mentioned almost in passing in Jeremiah 2:2d… “in a that had never been planted by other inhabitants.” Israel did not simply move int5o the Promised Land and kick others out. Secular historians want us to think this is what happened. God says, it is “in a land that was NOT SOWN” (planted-grazed). Make a personal note that the Promised Land was not overpopulated by other people at this time but was under occupied.

When Jeremiah mentions in verse 2, “At the time you were a young nation, you were faithful to me. You followed me like a young bride. You followed me through the desert, through a land that had never been used for farmland.” The “young” time two which Jeremiah relays this information told him of God was when for almost 400 years the 12 Tribes of Israel lived as a confederacy without a king but judges. [Read this in the Book of Judges]

Verses 5-8 in Jeremiah 2 are in contrast to the years of loving and following Judaism and the God of Israel as a confederacy.

  1. Israel wondered from me
  2. They worshiped worthless Gods
  3. They did not seek God
  4. They ruined the land God promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Moses)
  5. The land was good soil at first but they ruined it
  6. False prophets spoke message from Baal.

Verse 10 is amazing in and of itself. God tells his people to, Go to the coasts in the west and look. Send people to the countries in the east. Let the people look carefully. See if there has been anything like this (Promised Land).”

God instructs his people to go west; go east; compare their land with what God had provided their forefathers and the God he was to and for them. Providentially, this is exactly what happened to the people of Israel. They were dispersed east and west to the four corners of the earth; Isaiah 11:12, Isaiah 12:15, Ezekiel 22:15 and 36:19, Daniel 7, Jeremiah 29:14, Ezekiel 11:17.

Verse 13 really tells us God’s attitude and analysis of his Chosen People Israel:

My people have been guilty of two sins.

They have left me.

I am like fresh water that comes up from the ground.

But my people have dug their own wells.

But these wells have cracks in them.

They cannot hold any water.

To quote Hilda Bright in her analysis of Jeremiah 2:17,18: “Verses 17-18 ‘To drink water from the River Nile or the River Euphrates.’ This describes how Judah tried to make friends with the powerful countries called Egypt and Assyria. The LORD had rescued his people from Egypt. But they were turning back to a country that could not help them. Judah was trusting Egypt for help. Already Isaiah had said that this was foolish (Isaiah 30:1-5; 31:1-3).”

This is also why Jeremiah fought and resisted his fellow countrymen when they forced him to flee to Egypt with them. We will study this when we get to Jeremiah 43.

Jeremiah 2:20 – end of chapter is very explicit. God compares his people who have deserted him to the whiles of wild living; wild animals seeking to mate; running from one to another to get what one can on his or her own; sniffing the wind to go with the direction of, might we say today, political correctness; telling a piece of wood “you are my father-god,” I have disciplined my people Israel but they did not learn; you have killed my *prophets.

*How prophetic of this as they also killed Jesus Christ. Even Muslims see Jesus as one of the great teachers and prophets.miniJim

Revelation Chapter 22

Chapter 22 (“It Is Done” says God)

Having carried his description of Satan’s destiny and the resurrection of unbelievers to miniJimtheir conclusions in chapter 20, John now returns to the beginning of the Millennium to describe the new home of the Church in chapter 21 and the new Heaven and Earth in chapter 22 [Jack Kelly; https://gracethrufaith.com/the-book-of-revelation/revelation-21-22/#more-314].

We should keep in mind that when discussing the harlot, the Great City of Babylon and the dragon [in some senses], we are discussing political, economic, and religious institutions; each distinct. There are three different positions from which to study these three involved factors. Each of the three is connected to one another one way or another but each of these three institutions has their individual destructions; i.e. the kings and rulers; the great wealth and economies through Babylon, the merchants and those made wealthy because of her; the false prophet and false religious institution.

EXAMPLE: In chapter 17 we have the religious aspect of these three institutions: the harlot, Great City of Babylon (by name only) and the multi-horned/headed dragon. In chapter 18 we probably have the political and economic factors. Babylon is not only a false religious system but one of political impact and economies.

Word cloud for Events of RevelationIn a very real sense, chapter 20 sets the stage for the binding of Satan, the thousand year millennial reign of God and His son Jesus, the New Jerusalem and the eventual new heaven and new earth. We also find the Great White Throne judgment of those who have died in the past “since the creation of earth.”

Verse 1-5 in Revelation 22 is distinct as is Ezekiel 47:1-12 but similar in context. Chapter 21 is also a distinct point in time. We can find the WHEN by reading verses within each reference. All are end time issues. The Ezekiel passage is the millennial reign as is Revelation 20 from the binding of Satan to his release and judgment. Revelation 21:1 explains this is the New Earth and New Heaven “for the old [first] heaven and earth are passed away” [Revelation 20:11].

John is instructed to write out what he has seen and heard. Do not keep it a secret [Revelation 21:5b]. Daniel was told to NOT write all that he had seen and heard for it was for another time in history yet to be played out.  This is probably what Daniel also saw in Old Testament time. The Apostle Paul is post crucifixion and New Testament.

It is likely that Revelation 22:2, which talks about twelve manners of fruit cannot be the new Heaven and Earth. Why? Eternity by definition means there is no longer “time.” As one person (originator unknown) put it some time ago… eternity is the total absence of time. There is also no longer a need to heal nations after the Great White Throne judgment at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. We don’t know if such will still exist after the white throne judgment.

Revelation 22:5 skips ahead in its own time capsule; “..and there shall be no more night.” This suggests that since there is no distinction between a day time hour and a night time hour; there must no longer be anything called TIME. Although much of Revelation is sequential or “at the same time” reports by John, he sometimes follows a given topic through to its end before returning to the concurrent or chronological events.

A most likely scenario is that twelve manner of fruits [22:2] is during the Millennial Reign itself. We do not understand what is on the other side of the wall dividing current earth and heavens and when eternity, which by default means time does not exist, begins. We do know from chapter 21 that tears are no longer, there is no more death or sorrow, hell and hades are cast into the lake of Fire…

In a simple way, chapter 22 of Revelation is God putting his stamp of finality on his initial plan for man from the creation of earth, that is, the Garden of Eden. John is told a second time, now by an angel in 22:9 & 10 that he is not to keep this information and prophecies to himself. We read in the verses following 9 & 10 that the world will continue to be as it has since the fall of Adam and Eve up to the point of Jesus Christ and God’s “living amongst us” [21:3].

When Christ does return the second time he will bring his rewards with him. This is a point needing clarification. The Greek for the word reward (misthos) can mean a good thing or a bad thing; i.e. everyone’s JUST reward for what s/he has done during his or her life on earth [v12]. God again points out that He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last [v13].

In verse 14 we must go back to the only other times the Tree of Life is mentioned:  Genesis 2:9; 3:22; 3:24 and once again in Revelation 22:14. We begin in the bible with the Tree of Life and no one being able to pick its fruit and eat of it to that restriction being removed in Revelation 22. “Those who do his commandments have right to the tree of life.”  In some way of thinking, God will re-institute the Garden of Eden without the ability of Satan to again interfere of influence whose occupying it.

With verse 16 it is not John talking. It is Jesus himself authenticating the truths and correctness of the Book of Revelation. Jesus is declaring his position as a descendant of King David per his physical birth and right to the throne. He also has another right that is found in John 1…

Joh 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Joh 1:2  He was in the beginning with God.

Joh 1:3  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Joh 1:4  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

Joh 1:5  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 

jesusJesus is the word; Jesus is God.

 

Can we lose our salvation? This is addressed in a backhanded way in the one of the final verses of the bible; i.e. 22:19…

 

“…if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”

 

One can only take away something that the losing individual originally had, right?

 

Jstark (M.M., Th.D. Rev.; ordained unaffiliated)

Revelation Chapter 14 (a)

There are three other articles/blogs on this website that address specific topics within miniJimchapter 14; 666, What happens to those who never hear of the Gospel? The 144,000.  This blog is more of a shorthand review of other issues with which one should be familiar and  connected to Revelation 14.

Chapter 14 begins with the mentioning of the 144,000 standing with Jesus (the lamb) on Mt Zion. They have the Father’s name written in their foreheads. Some translations say the Father’s and the Lamb’s (Jesus) name. Let’s consider some of the differences between this 144,000 in C14 and the 144,000 in C7.

  1. end of the ages Revelation 7: the 144,000 are all identified as specifically from the multiple Tribes of Israel, then in verse 9 John sees *a great multitude around the throne wearing white robes that **came out of the ongoing Great Tribulation; 7:9. Before the tribes of Israel and their count is given; 12,000 from each, the first couple of verses in this chapter express a great calamity about to overwhelm man and earth. The 144,000 Israelites are protected from these calamities. In short, the calamities (God’s bowl judgments; the 7th Seal) are about to be poured out. These 144,000 folks are still on planet earth.

*They were from every nation, tribe, race of people, and language of the earth. They were standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They all wore white robes and had palm branches in their hands [ESV].

** “These are the ones who have come out of the great suffering” [ESV; 7:14]. JIV: perhaps these are the souls under the throne waiting for their deaths to be avenged by God [Revelation 6:10].

  1. 144,000 of Revelation 14 have specific traits that differ from the 144,000 discussed in chapter 7 of Revelation. John sees them standing with the Messiah on Mount Zion going everywhere he goes. This passages says they are “purchased from among men” (on earth) and are the first fruits. The word “men” here is “anthrōpos” meaning redeemed from the *earth. Contrast this to the specifics of chapter 7 where the 144,000 are selected from specific Tribes of Israel; not the generic anthrōpos,  men on earth and in general.

*redeemed from the earth is quite different than being protected while on earth.

  1. C14 has angels flying around making proclamations where C7 mentions a few angels with specific jobs or tasks to perform. Chapter 14 becomes what I call the “harvest chapter.” The only mention of great masses of people in this chapter is associated with a warning to NOT worship the beast, its image or take his mark, and the reward for those who do NOT take his mark or worship him. (14:7 and 14:9). People are still on earth and God’ kingdom on earth has yet to be established.
  • They sing a NEW song only they can learn (also with an orchestra of harps)
  • They are new babes in Christ (virgins); totally committed 24/7 for the duration of the Tribulation
  • They follow the lamb everywhere. This suggests Christ 2nd advent has now occurred.
  • No lie has crossed their lips since their tribulation acceptance of the coming messiah
  • They stand before the Throne, the elders and the 4 Living creatures.
  • They are reaped through the gospel message proclaimed world-wide by the angel spreading this good news and with fair warning found in verse 6.

There are some other passages we should consider as they too relate to chapter 14. One should ask, what about some of the other distinguishing or mentioned characteristics unique to groups of people in end time sealed or marked in one way or another.

Ezekiel 9

This book is focused on Israel, as is most of Revelation following the first four chapters that discuss the seven Messianic Christian churches.

  1. Ezekiel’s vision is isolated to Jerusalem, not throughout the world
  2. Those marked (tauv) in Jerusalem by the angels lament the sins of the city (historical past and present just as did Daniel for the nation of Israel in *Daniel 9). Here is how Rev. Dr. Robert Deffingbaugh puts it:
    1. Verses 24-27 [of Daniel 9] begin to spell out future events in detail rather than with vague, mysterious symbols. While all may not agree on the meaning of these verses, all Christians would agree they provide very specific information concerning the last times. For the first time in Daniel’s prophecy, the suffering and death of Messiah is introduced.
  3. The rest of the population [in Jerusalem] is slain without pity
  4. The context of this judgment goes back to Ezekiel 7: (1-10) but should include the entire chapter 7 in Ezekiel.

tavPS: Tauv is the last letter of the Hebrew Alphabet.

 

Revelation 13:1-10 (­­­­Part One)

The name or word antichrist can mean either the opposite of Christ OR instead of miniJimChrist. In our study it is probably both; the “opposite” as in opposing AND “instead of” such as a Satanic substitute. This would include the ancient worship of idols or a future “false christ” performing miracles as a form of persuasion that HE is the Christ; not the one from the New Testament. Jesus specifically warns about this. When Jesus Christ  returns to earth it is not to demonstrate anything, but to take possession of his earth and out of the hands and influence of Satan. He will appear in the eastern skies, put foot on the Mount of Olives and claim his kingship as King of kings. He will NOT be some political figure. His appearance is at the very end of the 7 year Tribulation and after the last 7 plagues.mountofolives

The rider on the white horse in the apocalypse comes to make peace; a false sense of security for Israel AND the rest of the turbulent waters or nations of this world. The word antichrist never appears in Revelation. It only appears in 1 John (3 times; twice in one verse) and once in 2 John. Of course this is the same John who writes Revelation but never uses the word anti-Christ in this final book in the bible.

The bible gives the antichrist many titles:

– The little horn of Daniel 7:8

– The king of fierce countenance of Daniel 8:23

The Prince that shall come of Daniel 9:26

– The willful king of Daniel 11:36-45

– *The one who comes in his own name of John 5:43, whom Israel will receive as a messiah

The son of perdition, the man of sin, the lawless one of 2 Thessalonians 2:3

*This in and of itself suggests it could be of the Tribe of Judah or Levi who is the real antichrist. This may also suggest that this is why the nation of Israel accepts the peace treaty offered by this leader. He is a Jew!?

In Revelation 12 John presents this beast as the extension of the fourth beast of Daniel 7, connecting his empire with the characteristics of the great empires of the past. This final world empire will have the catlike vigilance of a leopard, the lumbering but crushing power of a bear, the authority and ferociousness and stalking power of a lion. In chapter 13 he describes the “beast” as a combined creature of Daniel’s dream; resembling a leopard; feet of a bear; mouth like a lion but a singular beast. In the Book of Daniel these world powers had yet to come. In Revelation, it is the combined power represented by these animals that force the world into a singular governed economy. These animals are popularly recognized as Babylon, Mede-Persian, Greek, then, Rome.

It is a fascinating discussion per 13:2b:

The dragon will give this critter His power; His throne; great authority. Certainly Satan has in the past and continues to make earth HIS DOMAIN and possession. He gives it all to this critter from the Sea. This is very similar to Matthew 28:18. Christ makes this claim of power and authority as from God his biological the Father.

Verse 3 tells of the deadly wound at which the whole world must be aware. However, there is no indication as to who is the one striking this deadly blow to him; It SEEMED (hōs) to have a deadly blow to one of its heads.  This same Greek word is translated as something that appears to be so, but is not definitive. “…and all the world wondered after the beast.” This [first] beast is not an institution, nationality, or organization as many denominations and theological theorists suggest, but a person. This is Satan’s effort to once again parallel anything and everything God created or did, including the sacrifice and resurrection of one of his own if not a direct bodily possession of a man who is dead but possessed of Satan and then appears to be alive. Scary thought!

What we have so far in Revelation 13:1-10:

  1. Satan
  2. Dragon
  3. Beast from the Sea
  4. A dragon who gives this beast from the sea his powers, throne, and authority.
  5. A wounded head among the multi-headed beast that “appears” to be fatal.
  6. A step back, but Daniel 7 is the parallel scripture to Revelation 13

NOTE: It is good to recall or learn that the 4th beast of Daniel 7 is NOT IDENTIFIED as a creature he recognizes. Daniel 7:19… “the fourth best is diverse from all the others.” This is probably so as the other three beasts can be identified to kingdoms in the past. The fourth beast is described but of unknown quantities, symbolisms, and prophetic clarity. This is also true of Revelation 13:1 & 11.

Another fascinating note is the language used in Daniel 7:26; i.e. the word “THEY.” “…and THEY shall take away his dominion to consume and to destroy it unto the end.” It is the court according to scripture, but who is the court? This is worth researching on one’s own in order to take ownership of the results.

At verse 4 of chapter 13 we see that mankind will be deceived but accepting to the worship of this 1st beast AND the Dragon father. The warning comes in chapter 14 that if anyone who worships this beast and/or its image, they have committed the eternal sin for which there is no longer any forgiveness.

There are some, however, who believe this to fit the passage that reads, “he was, then is not, but then is again” [Revelation 17:11]. This might be the rise, death then resurrection of the old Roman Empire through the Vatican; i.e. the Pope’s:

1 global power until the 1700’s when Napoleon stripped him of it,

2 noninvolvement in secular world affairs for several hundred years after Napoleon,

3 revived involvement in politics and environmental discussions as we see it today.

Verses 4 & 5 suggest the same thing that God did for his son Jesus while he was on earth and right after his resurrection; he gave all power/authority in heaven and earth to Jesus his son – Matthew 28:18.  This was right after his resurrection (read Ephesians 1:20-23). This again is a parallel to and a false deception propagated by Satan himself when he simulates this with his false trinity. There is often discussion of the meaning or purpose or function of the “little horn” in Daniel 7:8. One might suggest this is the “Son of Satan” just as Jesus is the Son of God. Martin Luther and John Calvin believed this little horn to be Islam. He is the one who rises up as the little horn and plucks three rebelling horns out of his circle or power.

Stay tuned while considering the following:

Question: Do these passages suggest that predestination is established for certain pre-identified individuals or for those who use his/her free will to follow Christ? [Blue Letter Bible]

– The work of Jesus was ordained before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20)

– God chose His redeemed before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4)

– *Names are written in the Book of Life before the foundation of the world (Revelation 17:8)

– The kingdom of heaven was prepared for the redeemed before the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34)

Answer: No! These passages mean that God preordained his chosen people Israel to be a light unto the rest of the world even though they have failed so to do, and, FROM the point of creation of the earth, man, and its inhabitants. *This passage is misquoted from Revelation 17:8. 17:8 does not say the names are written before the creation of the world, but since or from the point of creation forward “names are written into the book of life.”  The Ephesian passage is written out of context. God has chosen us (to be) in him before the foundation of the world. This is what he hoped for Adam and Eve. They failed him.

GODsoloveMankind has a free will of choice. Once we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, we fall into the predestination of becoming a child of God; brother to Jesus. It is predestined that those who accept Jesus and follow him will have salvation. Those who chose to follow and worship him are predestined to be called children of God. It is discussing the who but the process of HOW it happens.
 

Revelation 12 (Part 1 of 2)

Author’s Note: Rather than do a verse-by-verse discussion of chapter 12, as can be found in so many commentaries and web sites, we will discuss the implications and try to clarify some of the misunderstandings adding to our reader’s knowledge of the truth.

The last book of the Bible - RevelationsDoes this chapter belong in the Book of Revelation? At first glance or even with additional reads it doesn’t seem to fit. Revelation is written mostly in a sequential or chronological order, but reminders and additional prophecy is added to enhance one’s understanding. Chapter 12 seems out of place when read in the vein of Revelation content. However, there is a very good reason or two this chapter belongs right where it is found. Later in another post, we will explain why chapters 12, 13, and 14 are one basic thought.

Setting: We have a woman, new born child and dragon. They are signs to John appearing in heaven. This means they are signs outside the realm of simple earthly issues. Therefore we need to look beyond the earth and events here on earth, at the same time assess their application to things of End Time; in actuality, the beginning of a NEW time. This is the Book of Revelation. Let’s first look at a few passages of scripture as backdrop to this rather odd or seemingly out of place chapter.

Deuteronomy 7:6 (The New Living Translation)

“For you are a holy people, who belong to the LORD your God. Of all the people on earth, the LORD your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.”

We might add to this that such a designation as HIS PEOPLE out of all the people on earth is why anti-Semitism has been around since Israelis have been around. Their troubles began in Egypt when the “Shepherd Kings” took the *Pharaoh ship of (lower) **Egypt. These foreign Pharaohs are those who “did not know Joseph”

Exodus 1:8]. “Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” (NASB)

*To paraphrase Wikipedia… some time before 1650 BCE the arrival of the *Hyksos led to the end of the Thirteenth Dynasty of Egypt. *Shepherd Kings.

**It was not unusual for there to be two Egyptian Pharaohs in power at the same time; one in the north [lower Egypt] and one in the south [upper Egypt]; i.e. two kingdoms; the upper and the lower. Since Egypt is south of the equator, Lower Egypt borders the Mediterranean Sea nearest the Equator; Upper Egypt is closer to the Sudan, perhaps best identified as Thebes. This is sometimes difficult to understand for those of us who live north of the equator.

Valley of MegiddoThe Bible tells us that in End Time armed forces gather at Har Megiddo (Armageddon; i.e. the Valley of Jezreel sometimes call Esdraelon). The actual fighting will be 55 miles south of this area in Jerusalem; i.e. the Valley of Jehoshaphat. As of the last week in February, 2016, it is reported out of Israel that there is a possible joint effort between Israel and Russia to drill for what might be a world class oil field in the Har Megeddo area. I report… you conclude. A future article in this website will address the possibilities and their fit with the Bible and End Time. Perhaps I won’t need to report as the news channels will cover it for us. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3346302/posts

Back to our discussion topic: At times it can be a bit difficult to grasp the combined meanings of Revelation 12 and Daniel 7 but here is an attempt. To the Point:

In Daniel we find four beasts rising from the sea (of people) but in Revelation we find but one beast with multiple heads, 10 horns and crowns. To see that there is a direct connection one must go to Revelation 13:1-2 where John visualizes Daniel’s beasts, now as ONE creature; part leopard, feet of a bear, mouth of a lion together with 10 horns… (ESV) And to it [singular] the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.”

Leopard? Bear? Lion? That is only three. What happened to the fourth beast of Daniel? Look back at Daniel 7. We see that the fourth beast is not given an animal identity; only that it differs (Daniel 7:7d) from the other three and is more powerful. A few verses later in Daniel we read that Christ arrives to claim his throne. The fourth beast, unlike the other beasts, is probably Satan himself.

Revelation 20:2 tells us that eventually Satan is bound for a 1,000 years and his power stripped. This leaves the other kings/crowns of the other three creatures without power. Daniel 7:12 says… “As for the other three beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives are prolonged for a season and a time” [ESV]. Why Jesus gives these three enemies of his additional time is an enigma. Any opinion at this point is just that… an opinion.

*Revelation 12:9… and the great dragon is cast out (of heaven), that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceives the whole world; he is cast out [of heaven] into the earth… (v12) beware or woe to the inhabitants of the earth…” [emphasis mine].

PS: there are at least four times where the bible records that Satan is defeated by God.

  1. When he rebelled against God in Heaven but still has access to the Throne of God to complain about the faults, flaws and sins of Christians. Revelation 12:10
  2. When he is hurled down from heaven and can no longer approach the Throne of God. Revelation 12:10b
  3. When Christ returns to the Mt of Olives and establishes His kingdom rule over all of the nations. Revelation 20:1-3; Zechariah 14:4
  4. When Satan is defeated at the end of the 1,000 reign of God’s Kingdom on earth and he is judged then cast into the Lake of Fire that has been reserved for him, the beast, and the false prophet. Revelation 20:10

In verse 13 of chapter 12, we finally get back to the woman who brought forth the man child, the dragon, and the persecution. What eliminates the possibility that it is now the church itself being persecuted? The church has been persecuted since its origination under Roman rule following the crucifixion of Jesus almost 2,000 years ago. This is nothing new to John, the author of Revelation. What he sees is something new, not ancient or status quo.

Revelation says: for the woman was given two wings of a great eagle that she may fly into Egypt, right? NO! Mary, Joseph and Jesus fled to Egypt right after Jesus was born and only for about two years; not the wilderness. Revelation says “that she may flee to the Wilderness where her every need will be provided.” This also occurred when the children of Israel fled Egypt (Book of Exodus), the rule of the Hyksos Pharaohs in Lower Egypt, and after their 400 year captivity and slavery. The church is not even mentioned yet suggested. This is about Jerusalem, Christ on his throne in Jerusalem, and Israel. This is about Israel (the woman) where she is nourished for a time, times and half a time (3 ½ years); the second half of Daniel’s 70th week [Daniel 9]. This is about God’s chosen people… Israel.

A recent thought per Armageddon… the recently discovered [2016] and significant oil rights in Har Megiddo… Israel, along with Russia’s assistance at drilling gives Russia a vested interest and reason to control or prevent a clash between the King of the North and the King of the South in this area. The problem is that this section of Golan Heights is still recognized as “in Syria.” Israel has never annexed it since taking back control of it in 1973; 40 plus years ago.

Let me quote something that Don Koenig wrote per part of his discussion on Revelation 12:

Genesis 37:9,10… Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me. But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?”

Jacob (Israel) probably rebuked Joseph because Joseph was arrogant and he misunderstood. The dream was not just prophetic about what would happen in his life. Jacob and Rachel never bowed in worship to Joseph. Rachel died long before Joseph became a ruler in Egypt. The dream was a similitude of Joseph representing the Messiah that would come.

http://www.thepropheticyears.com/The%20book%20of%20Revelation/Revelation%20Chapter%2012.htm

This closely reflects or has a parallel to what John witnessed on the Island of Patmos while writing Revelation 12. The sun, moon and stars in obeisance. In Revelation we have the stars in a crown on the head of a woman. Some theologians and commentaries identify the stars as the Tribes of Israel, some the Disciples of Christ, others really stretch imagination to its limits making their ignorance or denominational patriotism known per their opinions on chapter 12. The differences are also obvious. The woman flees from a great dragon, she is in hiding protected by God for 1,230 days; 3 ½ years, and she is in the wilderness, not Egypt.

What also stands out is the specific mention of 3 ½ years. The Children of Israel wandered for almost *39 years in the Wilderness. However, they were protected, they had provisions of manna and quail, and there were enemies all around them who sought their demise.

*Before being condemned by their God to wander in the Wilderness, Israel had already spent 1 year trying to get into the Promised Land. 40 – 1 = 39 years

The application is not clear but Revelation 4:1 and 11:19 have similarities. 4:1 states “After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven!…” Revelation 11:19 states “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened,…” [ESV]. Both regard heaven being open and the Temple in heaven being open.

The Stars being swept from heaven by the dragon’s tail [1/3 of them] are the angels of rebellion who sided with Lucifer/Satan. There may also be a tie between their fall from heaven and the meteorite shower of the heavens collapsing onto earth as read in Revelation 6:13, Joel 2:10 and Mark 13:25. It is obvious to even Satan that when he is finally denied access to heaven after his second war with Michael and the other 2/3s of the heavenly angels he is defeated. Now he reverts to trying to deny the remaining humans on earth a chance to confess Christ. He does this by causing great slaughters of mankind; wars and rumors of wars; man killing off mankind. As the Bible states in verse 12b of Revelation 12… “…for he knows his time is short.”

Author’s Note: The quote from Revelation 12:12 about Satan knowing his time is short, is amazingly underscored by Daniel 12:12… “Blessed is the one who waits and reaches the end of the 1,335 days” (1,260 plus 75 days) This 1,335 will be explained in a later article. However, the fact that both of these assurances, one of Satan being very angry (disparate) and the other of the hope to hold on are found in a chapter 12 and a verse 12; both end of time books. Hmmm?

By the way, the sea to which Revelation 12:12 refers is “the sea of people” remaining on earth. There is little justification for it to be anything else. Just like the waters in the “flood of water” from the mouth of Satan attempting to destroy “the woman” (Israel) found in Revelation 12:15 is an army of very significant size.

Revelation 12 (Part 2) coming soon.miniJim

 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 Earth Was Without “form and void”

(Genesis 1:2 – The Gap proven)gapaha

How might God (Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit) create something that is less than excellent when in its original created form? When we read the second verse of Genesis 1 in the Holy Word of God, we can easily ask this question, but not easily conclude. We will likely be left conjecturing if doing anything other than reading a few words as a devotional or in one of our races to “read through the bible” in a year. This is why it is critically important to STUDY the Word of God; not just read it. To “study through the bible” requires dedication and certainly more than a year.

Sadly, this is the limit, content without context, of far too many so-called Bible studies; i.e. read a few verses then have a surface discussion of only the obvious, then share several “my opinions” without additional bible support of those personal opinions. Usually the discussion just reiterates or echoes the obvious. In the above example from Genesis 1:2 the discussion question would be something like… “what is form and void? What does it mean to be without?” This is a discussion type that usually takes a group of would-be bible studies to the land of nowhere. To get the rest of a bible passage we venture into STUDY; sometimes word-by-word study.

Too often one assumes that every verse or passage in the Bible is sequential without even considering that there might be a gap (time lapse) between them. Has any of us ever told a story or relived an incident in life and left out details within our sequence of events? What about the part that is left out? Might it influence or change one’s conclusion?

Example: Where were you? Answer: I was at the store. Missing or the gap in this store venture… “I also stopped over to see _____, then grabbed something to eat at a quick stop.” Would any of this additional information left out of the original change or influence YOUR analysis or conclusions of the events? Of course it would. Would the summary of “I was at the store” be the truth? Yes! It is a summary, but not an unabridged review of events.

Realizing this human example may be weak, it does make the point that additional information would help with a better conclusion. The Bible does not record every event in every historical discussion within its pages. That would require volumes; an entire library, not one bound book called the bible. This is also why 11 Timothy 2:15 tells us:

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth (NIV)

Let’s now apply study and show ourselves approved of correctly handling the word of the truth; the gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Let’s also realize that there was a time people didn’t understand algebra, calculous or physics (Hebrew or Greek). That is, until s/he takes the time to “STUDY” and grow his or her knowledge one piece of new information at a time.

Genesis 1:1 states that “God created the Heavens and the earth… in the beginning.” This slight detour is not part of this blog, but it is part of this thought and study process. What does “in the beginning” mean to you? What does God and author of this Holy Spirit inspired book, penned by Moses, intend it to mean? It certainly doesn’t mean the beginning of God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are eternal.

First, the heaven being referred to in this verse is shâmeh in the Hebrew; the skies and universe above and within our sight; telescope and Hubble space craft included. It means the beginning of when earth, the heavenly bodies we can see that surround us today were created. This all had a beginning. It will also have an end if we study the bible books of Revelation, Ezekiel, minor Prophets, Daniel, Matthew, Luke and other scripture.

Matthew 24:25 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (NIV)

Now that we better understand the words “in the beginning” and the “heaven” in Genesis 1:1, let’s increase our awareness and understanding by offering convincing knowledge of why there is very likely a GAP between 1:1 and 1:2.

a focus on Genesis 1v1, that God created.

We communicate via words be they written or spoken. Even signing is a form of words and communication. The Bible is written for us to study and understand. One does not walk into a foreign language class and immediately understand without background and study of that language. This is true of the Bible; we must examine it; not just read it and express opinions without something to back up the opinion.

The creation of earth in a perfect state and before v2 that tells us it “was without form and void,” requires a bit of bible searching. Let’s go to Job 38. Job is being challenged by God himself. One question God asks of Job is (38:4) “where were you when I laid the foundation?” This questioning continues through verse 6. Then in Job 38:7 we get proof that the earth was originally created as a site to be seen: “…while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy.” In Job 38 God is talking about the creation of our known universe and the heavenly bodies were amazed. This simply does not fit with “without form and void” as we find recorded in Genesis 1:2.

The Hebrew helps our understanding much better than do most translations: Morning stars (bôqer kôkâb) are the elite princes or angels of heaven; “sang together and *all (kôl) the angels shouted for joy.”

Not hidden but often missed is additional insight(s) into the heavens and earth of Genesis 1. First, in Job 38:7 the heavenly beings are rejoicing over the laying of the foundation and creation of the earth. If this creation was little more than dull, void, and without form, why would the prince angels and angels of heaven SHOUT with joy (amazement)? Second, the word “all” in this passage is kôl in the Hebrew. kôl according to Strong, #3605 means: the whole; any (totally inclusive). Therefore the angels and the prince angels mentioned have to be the entirety of God’s angelic creation. This also points out that Lucifer and his 1/3 of the heavenly stars (angels) he pulled with him when cast out of heaven were still amongst the heavenly bodies; not yet cast out of heaven [to earth]. On a graph it would look like the following:

God creates earth – all the angels rejoice and are amazed – Lucifer, an angel, is part of “all”

Logically and without one earning a degree in theology, we can conclude that God’s perfect creation in Genesis 1:1 somehow became a waste land in v2. Who might have an interest in wasting it? The answer is too simple but explains much. Lucifer, the “morning light and most beautiful of prince angels,” became Satan once he rebelled against God. He claimed that the earth was his domain when he tried to tempt Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:1-11) by offering him the world’s kingdoms if he would only bow and worship him (Satan). He roams to and fro upon the earth seeking whom he may devour (Job 1:7; 2:2). He wants to destroy anything beholding to or created by the God-head.

What Satan destroyed between verse 1:1 and 1:2 God redesigned beginning in verse 3 by “shedding light” upon this now formless void. The 2nd verse of Genesis 1 begins, depending on the translation being read, with words like: the [ESV], and [KJV], now [NIV], when [ISV], and etc. Let’s go directly to the Hebrew Old Testament; i.e. the Tanakh. It reads (v2): (reading left to right – translated Hebrew)… והארץ(earth) היתה(became) תהו(desolate) ובהו(empty)

“Earth became desolate, empty”…

Note a couple of things. There is no prefixed word like now, the, when, etc. in the original text of the Tanakh. Also the second word is “became.” This suggests earth in verse 2 is not what it was created to be in verse 1 when all of heaven rejoiced. Something happened between verse 1 and verse 2. JIV (Jim’s Introspective View): Satan was cast out of heaven to earth and he promptly made a mess of God’s creation; a vindictive attitude toward even his own creator.

Here us how the Summarized Bible puts it… (cut and pasted from e-Sword)

“Gen. 1 (v2) is not a history of the original creation, but of a reconstruction following a cataclysmic judgment which had befallen the original creation.

  1. Gen_1:1 Original creation.
  2. Gen_1:2 Its destruction.
  3. Gen_1:3 and on, Reconstruction.”

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary puts it this way:

…the earth was without form and void — or in “confusion and emptiness,” as the words are rendered in Isa_34:11. This globe, at some undescribed period, having been convulsed and broken up…

One might easily dismiss researching this topic on his or her own as it is “too complicated.” The same argument is given for only reading and not studying any scripture. All that means to this author is that one is not interested enough to do the work. This brings us back to 11 Timothy 2:15… right? Christianity is not a religion. It is a way of life and how can one determine or be convinced s/he is doing this without reading the manual?

jStark3

Rev. Dr. Jstark
November 12, 2015