Jeremiah – Chapter 7

Book of JeremiahIf a given people have the Temple of God in their midst, might they think that they are indestructible because GOD’S HOUSE is in their town? This is similar to a very big guy standing between you (us) and someone who wants to fight or defeat us. What we forget is the attitude and idea of the big guy. Is he going to do anything to prevent an attack? Does he even care? Might he be a person in who we put hope but it is not in his mind to protect those who had previously abandoned him? Have we previously given the big guy little recognition?

This is the opening scenario in Jeremiah 7. This chapter is full of “what ifs.” We will concentrate on them with this blog. Most quotes will be from the CEV and when not, the translation used will be identified. We strongly recommend one reads this chapter before delving into the blog review and study of chapter 7.

The Kingdom of Judah is on the verge of collapse yet no one in Judah, the king, synagogue leaders, and general population wants to acknowledge it. The previously ruling dynasty of the Middle East was Assyria. Babylon under the leadership of Nabopolassar through off the overlord of Assyria and began the road to Middle East dominance. His son Nebuchadnezzar finished the job his father began by conquering Judah and defeating Egypt.

Now that the reader is up to date, let’s look at the defiance and bad attitude of the Kingdom of Judah just before this time of Assyria’s fall and Babylon’s rise to power.

Jeremiah was told by YHWH – God to stand by the gate of the Lord’s house and announce: “Confess or be punished for 70 years under the rule of a kingdom where you do not even know the language” [paraphrased]. Recall in our chapter 6 study, the people and leadership of Judah, to a soul, did not live an honest life.

Pay attention, people of Judah! Change your ways and start living right, then I will let you keep on living in your own country.” [v3]

Here is another one of those promises that begins with an “If you will….” God can do anything as He is sovereign, but man has a free will. We opt in or out; God only offers. To stay neutral means to NOT TO OPT IN so the end result is the same.

Verse 4 is unusual for scripture. It is common to find “verily, verily I say unto you.” But, here is something repeated three times.

‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’

God is not speaking here. It is the voice of the people of Judah and the leadership of false prophets. In modern terminology one might ask, who are you trying to convince? Me or you? Verses 5-7 list the prerequisite conditions God sets for preventing being overrun and dispersed into captivity by the Babylonians.

  1. Amend your ways
  2. Amend your deeds
  3. Execute justice
  4. Do not oppress the stranger or traveler, widow, poor
  5. Shed not innocent blood (child sacrifice)
  6. MOSTLY… get rid of those useless idols of stone, wood, wealth, position, influence

Verse 7 helps us to understand why in verse 4 screaming multiple times that “this is the temple of the LORD” is useless. The Lord is not IN THE TEMPLE TO SERVE THEIR PURPOSES handing out good enough certificates of protection. He has been abandoned by Judah for idols and other gods. It is just a building. This bothers me personally to realize the many churches where the LORD is not part of the service or worship and praise. They offer words to bounce off the ceiling but never get to the Lord’s ears. They sing catchy tunes with spiritually meaningless lyrics. They preach that God is Love and pass over the fact that He is also JUST.

Jer 7:9 You steal and murder; you lie in court and are unfaithful in marriage. You worship idols and offer incense to Baal, when these gods have never done anything for you.

Jer 7:10  And then you come into my temple and worship me! Do you think I will protect you so that you can go on sinning?

Ever hear the phrase NO BRAINER? It fits well with the above two verses. Somehow I think they people of Judah may be looking back at the Ark of the Covenant protection during times of battle and war. I like how Jon W. Quinn puts it… They were wrong about that [too]. It was at Shiloh where the Ark of the Covenant had been captured by the Philistines and the unfaithful people of Israel defeated (1 Samuel 4:10-11). It was as if they believed that the ark was like a lamp and God was a genie inside enslaved to whoever possessed the ark. That was certainly a mistake. What Jon is saying is that the Temple of the LORD is not going to protect an evil.

3d rendering words lie and believeJeremiah 7:8 reminds us of how some search the scriptures for support of whatever stance or issue for which s/he needs that third-person validation. “…ye trust in lying words that cannot profit.” In other words, we search or listen for that which supports our pre-desired opinion or outcome, then ignore the context or rest of the verse or chapter. As a 20 year college professor and Dean, I often saw this in papers from students. Instead of looking for the truth after stating a supposition, s/he only keeps that which supports his or her desired outcome. Commentators constantly say, “they believed lies.” We disagree. They desire it [lies] to be right as this is how they wish to live their lives.  People do the same thing today by taking scripture out of context in a way it supports his or her lies, or self-deceit.

In Jeremiah 7:11 God – Jeremiah puts it all on the table. “You are thieves, and you have made my temple your hideout” [CEV].

I guess standing in a garage does not make one an auto mechanic. Neither does attending college make one a scholar. This is verse 11 in layman terms. Showing up to church and tithing does not make one a Christian. We hasten to remind our readers of James 2:19 and Romans 10:9 & 10.

James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.

Romans 10:9,10 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Jeremiah is not being unkind however today he would be crucified by the news and social media for being so very politically incorrect, discriminating and offensive of others rights to “shut him up.”

Dr. jStark

 

 

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Revelation Chapter 14 (b)

Continued from Chapter 14 (a)miniJim

Revelation 7

This chapter is very specific in identifying who will be marked; 12,000 from 12 Tribes of Jacob (Israel). The Tribe of Dan walked away from their designated spot in the Promised Land and is not included as a tribe mentioned in Revelation 7. Ephraim’s name is simply replaced by the name of his father, Joseph of Egypt fame. Manasseh, Joseph’s first born in Egypt is listed as one of the twelve Tribes.

Additional considerations from Revelation 14:

  1. The souls under the throne and the handing out of white robes until the right number have died. Might this “right number” equal 144,000?
  2. Those who appear in great multitudes that cannot be counted.
  3. Who are 24 elders?
  4. The woman in chapter 12 and the woman in chapter 15
  5. The dragon, 1st beast, 2nd beast, the image and the false prophet.

A blog cannot cover all of this but we do recommend that the serious student go through Revelation Chapter 14-1Power Points provided and identified with chapter 14 and chapter 15 in this website. The PP for chapter 14 is long but has an identified division point where one can leave off and return to it at later time. The Power Point blog addresses many of the specifics of chapter 14.

The “virgin status” of those “men” (People) identified in C14 are people who are new babes in Christ, probably converted during the Great Tribulation. They know (YADDA) they are going to pay a severe price for their decision by accepting Christ therefore denying the mark of the Beast and his image. They have no reason to violate any of Gods laws or principles since their decision is a permanent and a do or die decision. These are not Sunday or Sabbath Day Christians. It is and end in and of itself so no purpose is served in them making a false statement. No lie is to be found on their lips after this decision to follow Christ to their death during the Tribulation of 7 years.

no more ignorance14:6 & 7 answer the question of whether or not all people hear the gospel or are doomed to condemnation due to their ignorance. There is NO IGNORANCE. Every tongue, every tribe, every nation, every people; leaves little room for someone to be missed. After all, this last angel with the final opportunity to accept the gospel follows the 3 ½ years of the two witnesses in Jerusalem who also were heard world-wide. Yet, many still refuse to accept Christ.

We have a fascinating sequence of events within the next few verses;

Verse 6 finds an angel announcing to the world (no exceptions) the eternal Good news. Verse 7 gives due warning and instructions for all individuals who heard the angel in verse 6.
Verse 8 Informs the same global population that the false prophet and leadership (Babylon) is now destroyed so they have nothing to fear from this group.
Verse 9 tells of the consequence for not heading this final warning and message from an angel in the sky. It also explains the consequences for taking the mark of the beast or worshiping either it or its image. It is the unforgivable sin.
Verse 10 says it straight… “He also shall drink of the wine of God’s wrath and ultimately tormented with fire and brimstone (in hell).”
Verse 11 specifically states it is forever and ever.

Here is an absolutely new fact of end time as read in Revelation 14:13…

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. From henceforth now, says the Spirit that they may rest from their labors. For their works follow them. [BRB]

“…from this point forward?” These people are probably the ones redeemed from earth for their flawless living after all the above has transpired. We are well into the Great Tribulation at this point in time and any choice is but one; follow Christ or follow the beast. No murky waters or fog at this time in history. This also explains why these men of earth who reject the beast and accept Christ are identified as the first-fruits and sinless from that point forward. They have everything to gain and KNOW IT. They also know the only thing they have to lose equals NOTHING! Poor example but a human thought with heavenly meaning…to give up a fake pass to Disney for an everyday any day pass is not a loss. There is no need to fake anything.

JIV NOTE: In 14:10 we read something about “spiritual fornication.” Does one actually grasp the depth of this statement? Revelation 10:9-10…

9) “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,

10)  he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

There is a parallel to this when the Tribe of Dan “leaped out of Bashan, leaving the Promised land in the Old Testament. His people worshiped idols and set up”high places” outside the realm of what God had instructed Israel, His chosen, to do. They walked away from the Promised Land and are not included in the list of Tribes and 144,000 identified in Revelation 7.
The very first commandment of the Old Testament states: ‘mankind’ shall have no other gods before me.” In verse 9 we see many will have openly worshiped the beast and its image receiving their “seal [club membership] of approval.” It is a one way membership club. One can get in or stay out, but cannot get in then back out. Verse 11 re-explains who these folks are. Here is no guess work. It is laid out in plain language.

harvest readyChapter 14:14 to the end of this chapter is the reaping of the earth. The first thrust of the sharp sickle is to harvest the *fully ripe grain or followers of God/Jesus Christ. This is the first harvest.

In verse 17 we discover a second harvest; one of grapes. These are thrown into the wine-press of God’s WRATH. Not a good thing. They are crushed or punished for their continual rejection over the past 7 tribulation years;  3 ½ years with the two witnesses in Jerusalem but who were heard and seen worldwide; the angel who proclaimed the gospel to the entire world near the end of the Great Tribulation period; the individual witnessing of the 144,000 who died “from this point forward” for their testimony [14:13]; and the their acceptance of the false prophet, the beast, its image and the Mark of the Beast.

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

Amos’ Earthquake

The Bible often mentions earthquakes. If they are so, they are also a matter of secular records making these Bible records the same history as found in secular records. This series is designed to explore secular history, archeological digs [discoveries] and scriptural records of Biblical Earthquakes. This series will end with an article or two on End-Time earthquakes.

Earthquake
Earthquakes reveal much. Our classes on this at Northern Michigan Bible School, September 2011 through April 2012, studied this prophetic and profitable stroke of God’s hand upon his chosen people and end time events. The purpose of this first article is what is known by many as The Amos’ Earthquake; 750 B.C.Amos 1:1 The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam II the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake; ESV.It is rarely discussed from the pulpits in America and I have personally met not a single person who questioned the curious fact of the Bible mentioning this particular earthquake. Over 200 years later the Prophet Zechariah points to it in Zechariah 14: 4, 5.It is easy to understand other earthquakes mentioned in the bible such as: Matthew 27:51-54 (crucifixion), Matthew 28:2 (Christ’s resurrection), Numbers 16:32 (wilderness revolt against Moses), Job 9:6, Nahum 1:5 (end times), I Samuel 14:15 (Jonathan and his armor bearer attack the Philistines)… etc. But, the question of curiosity and the demand for inquiry come in to play when there seems to be more to the verse mentioning an earthquake.

This new series begins a study of such earthly disasters and God’s judgment paralleling modern day seismic activity and recording of their history with the Bible mentioning of the same thing at the same time in the same places. When end times come into play, we have an even greater curiosity; will we look at it as just that, a curiosity or will we realize God is telling us something about the end of this old earth and his tolerance of sin? See and read Matthew 24.

We will use the USGS (United States Geological Society records), secular history as recorded by the ancients, the Beck Index and the Bible throughout this series. It will be discovered by the reader that there is NO CONFLICT between these independent records of the earth shaking, burning, convulsing, up heaving, splitting mountains into two or three separate mountains with new valleys and the fact that the Bible is not full of stories, but historical facts that align with scientific facts.

In 750 B.C. and as recorded originally in Amos 1:1 there was a significant earthquake. Yes, we are beginning in the middle of much historical timeline fact/data, but this is where God took this writer over the past weekend while doing my personal Bible Studies. So this is where we will begin.Creation Faith Facts records: “Widely separated archaeological excavations in the countries of Israel and Jordan were conducted in 1955 by archaeologist Yigael Yadin. He found architecture bearing damage from a great earthquake…earthquake evidence is seen prominently at Hazor, Israel’s largest ancient city. Excavations in Hazor revealed tilted walls, inclined pillars, and collapsed houses. The city of Gezer was also severely shaken. The outer wall of the city shows hewn [hand-cut] stones weighing tons that have been cracked and displaced several inches off their foundation. Earthquake debris at six sites…is tightly confined [by strata] to the middle of the eighth century B.C. So, the evidence points to a single large regional earthquake that occurred about 750 B.C. at magnitude 8.2 on the Richter Scale”Isn’t it a curiosity in and of itself that even secularists call the great earthquake in the Middle East of 750 B.C. Amos’ Earthquake? Why? As far as I can tell Amos predicted it and it happened when God’s hand of judgment once again fell on the divided kingdoms of Judah and Israel. He made it a cornerstone of a major event in his writing of the Book of Amos and what made it an even more memorable was the 8.2 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter in northern Israel/Lebanon. There must be secular records of this event.We must back up a bit in history to pull things together during the time of Amos and the earthquake he mentions in Amos 1:1. Much archeological work has been and continues to be done in the Middle East, Palestine, Egypt, Israel and Jordan (river basin and country). These ventures make discoveries and log the findings as secular findings of past events. Recall the history of Samson. He was a judge of the combined original Tribes of Israel in the Promised Land being ruled by judges. Samson was not a Samuel or a Moses; other judges of Israel. There was not yet a king over Israel at the time of the judges. Each Tribe “did what was seen as right in their own eye” Judges 17:6.

Sampson, as did future generations of Israel, often contended with the Philistines. They had five basic cities in the area south-west of Israel; Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, *Gath and Ekron; I Samuel 6:17. Mario Seiglie , Scott Ashley, Tom Robinson co-authored an article in God, Science and the Bible, about many archeological digs and discoveries. While doing a dig within the territory occupied by the Philistines, they discovered evidence of several earthquakes; one of them dating to the precise time of Amos’ Earthquake, 750 B.C., as recorded in Amos 1:1. Note: *Gath, a Philistine city, is recorded in scripture as the hometown of Goliath.

Previously in 1955 archeologist Yigael Yadin discovered and dated the same earthquake while doing a dig in Hazor, Israel’s largest ancient city.

Point in history: Amos is a contemporary of Hosea, Isaiah, *King Uzziah (aka: Azariah) of Judah and King Jeroboam II of Israel. The theme of the Book of Amos is the Judgment of God, then and yet to come..

*LEARNING NOTE: King Uzziah is listed in the Bible as within the genealogy line of Jesus.

Here is another fascinating learning note in bible/secular history. Uzziah was struck with leprosy for falling away from God (2 Kings 15:5); (2 Chronicles 26:19-21). Edwin R. Thiele (archeologist, renown author and Old Testament professor) dates Uzziah being struck with leprosy to 751/750 BC, at which time his son Jotham took over the government as co-regent. Uzziah died with his leprosy in 740/739 B.C. Why is this 750 B.C. date so important? It is the same date as Amos’ Earthquake; a judgment brought on Judah and Israel for their low-point in following God.

We read in 2 Chronicles 26:15-16. Uzziah’s pride led to his downfall; even after many years of “doing what was right in the eyes of God” [2 Kings 15:3]. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. As a lesson to God’s people, Amos warns about the wrath of God (the earthquake hit at the same time as Uzziah was stricken with leprosy. End Times Note: Zechariah cautions us that in the end times there will be a future earthquake that will rattle people as much or more than did Amos’ Earthquake.

Here is the key to Amos’ Earthquake and the immediate leprosy of King Uzziah as seen through the writings of secular historian Flavius Josephus…

Josephus, the First Century Jewish historian, described the events in Jerusalem during this earthquake [750 B.C.; emphasis mine]. King Uzziah was in the Temple trying to offer incense on the altar at Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, a duty only allowed the High Priest (Lev. 16 and 17). The priests tried to stop him, but he was defiant. Josephus records what happens next: “But, while he [Uzziah] spoke, a great tremor shook the earth, and, as the temple was riven, a brilliant shaft of sunlight gleamed through it and fell upon the king’s face so that leprosy at once smote him” (Antiquities of the Jews 9:225; LCL 6:119; II Chronicles. 26:19-21, 23). The Bible does not place the two events together chronologically, but Josephus had access to records that are no longer available to us.

Here is aha-bible/secular history from this time period; i.e. 750 B.C.

• King Uriah struck with leprosy at the same time as the 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck the area
• King Sardui of the Kingdom of Urartu, a small but powerful enemy of the Assyrians caused great consternation in the heart of Assyrian rulers
• It marked the beginning of the end for the northern Kingdom of Israel
• The legendary Romulus ruled in Rome
• Hosea, Micah, Isaiah were contemporary prophets at this time
• The Greeks began colonizing Italy and Sicily.
• Harnesses and horse bits began to be used
• Sparta becomes a very disciplined society. The famous laws of Sparta were said to have been given by the legendary Lycurgus shortly after the time of Homer. Plutarch in his Life of Lycurgus credited the lawgiver with redistribution of the land into equal lots. [redistribution of wealth; sound a bit like America today… 2008 – ?]
• Egyptians build the first known dam called the Sadd el-Kafara; 37 ft tall, 348 ft wide of rubble masonry filled with 100,000 tons of gravel and stone.
• Homer writes the Iliad and the Odyssey
• Caste System firmly established in India
• 750 to 612 is “the time of the Assyrians we read of in the Bible”

Enough said as we begin our study of earthquake history and its implications to world events including the Bible times of this same world during the Amos’ Earthquake. We will limit our scope of study to the earthquakes mentioned in the Old and New Testaments with the sole purpose of demonstrating to the reader that the Bible is not a story and world history something else. They happened at the same time and are a part of the same history book; one of these books is the inspired Word of God.jStark3

Egypt? Yemen? Tsunamis? Libya?

What in the world is going on?

What in the world is going on? Is this a sudden drive for nationalism and democracy in these Arab worlds’ or is there something more sinister? Is it in scripture? Did God warn or try to alert us to such happenings? As Christians we are not to be negative, add to the fire and fear or be personally fearful regardless of whatever is going on. At the same time, we need to be alert and prepared. Let me explain.

Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 are parallel chapters. These three different books discuss the same topics; Jesus’ teachings and prophesies, AND, end times. This is not a time or place for discussing doctrine such as pre, post, mid, or “a [non]” anything. However, the Bible does tell us to be alert and the signs of end times will be as obvious as are the seasons. Alert to what?

Disclaimer: All three of these “synoptic” books in the New Testament attest to Jesus’ insights as he teaches one last time prior to his crucifixion. This time is referred to as the Sermon on the Mount [of Olives]. He answers questions posed to him by his disciples on issues of prophecy. Good men today disagree as to the timing of events on this earth, mankind and end times, but the fact remains, Jesus states emphatically that these end times will come. Believers will disappear from the face of the earth, chaos will result, and the people remaining on earth will try to return to a normal life; but it won’t happen!

Every serious student of prophecy is typically able to defend or make a strong case for his or her particular view of the sequence of end times, but once again… well, let’s look at it from The Book of Luke. Luke 21:7-8 states, “Teacher, when will these things happen? What will be the sign that they are about to take place.” Jesus is quick to reply and rather than directly answer the questions of his disciples he offers a caution: “Watch out that you are not deceived. Many men will come in my name claiming ‘I am he.’” [When this happens] “The time is near. Do not follow them.”

His answer is in contrast to being direct. Jesus gives us a strong clue as to what will be going on around us at the time we “draw near” to the end times. “Watch out…” But, he doesn’t stop here. The contrast to a direct answer to the disciples’ questions is Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32; only the Father knows when.

This does not change the fact that events will happen to give us clues as to when the end time is drawing very near. Jesus says these things MUST HAPPEN; Luke 21:9b. But the first part of this verse is what we as Christians can universally hang our hat on; “When you hear of *wars and revolutions, do not be **frightened.” As a theologian and researcher I find the word “fright or frightened” interesting. In the King James we find the phrase “fear not” 74 times and “be not afraid” 46 times. In the Greek it can mean to “cause one to fall.” To fall? Might this relate to being faint or weak-hearted? You decide but don‘t dismiss it. It is a caution from Jesus himself.

*Wars [Greek: polemos] a single or multiple conflicts; upheavals; revolts.
** Frightened [Greek: ptoeho] to draw back as when one is frightened; cause one to fall

This is very assuring when we read Luke 21:14a; “make up your mind (when? NOW!) not to worry.”

Luke 21:25 states, “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.” This isn’t intended to drive you to the Weather Channel but it is a thought. Jesus is again the author of these words. Different translations say it a multiple number of ways but all come to the same conclusion; something is or will be quite wrong and unusual.

It is particularly fascinating to read the next two verses in Luke 21; [v26] “Men will faint in terror, apprehension of what is coming of this world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” [v27] “AT THAT TIME they will see the Son of Man coming” [where?] “in the clouds.” Nothing is stated here that Christ will plant His feet on earth… “they will see” [Greek: optanomai] as in gaze in awe with wide open eyes. Who is ‘they?’ From my best guess [J.I.V.] it is those who did not either expect or believe in Jesus Christ, or his return.

It isn’t the purpose or intent of this article to “preach” or teach a certain doctrine. It is to point out that Jesus himself said in Luke 21:34-35 “Be careful or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and anxieties of life. That day (end times or Christ’s coming?) will close on you like a trap. Be always on the watch, and pray that YOU MAY BE ABLE TO ESCAPE ALL THAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN.”

Perhaps this last statement in verse 36 is why Jesus prefaced his answer to the disciples’ questions with Luke 21:9 “When you hear of wars and revolutions, signs in the sun, moon and stars. These things must happen first.” This doesn’t in any way mean to gather in some jungle in South America or some mountain top and wait. Jesus does say at the end of verse 9 “…but the end will not come right away.”

Now you know the Rest of this Bible story as it regards these rumors of wars, unrest and anxieties in this world. You decide. But before you do, read  1 John 4:1-3 and Matthew 24:25-27.

jStark3=Dr. J