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

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The Coming Change On How We Train Leadership

Murphy JamesThere seems to be a great need in the Body of Christ in the way we train our leaders but most especially our ministers. What do I mean by this? It has been my experience that our top leaders, those who train and lead our ministers have been taught to chase the wrong things. As a result of their training they are passing on those flawed leadership priorities. We have so far deviated from the Biblical pattern of raising up our leaders that we no longer seek to duplicate the methods Jesus used and instructed His disciples to follow.

ifollowjesusI do not wish to disparage or blame anyone for this tragedy only to look for and diligently pray that we return to the biblical examples left us by our Lord and savior. It has been said that 1800 ministers a month in the United States are leaving the ministry. In our own denomination the average age of our pastors has increased dramatically and churches that need qualified ministers are taking longer and longer to fill. I talked with a pastor just the other day who said he does not know any pastors who enjoy what they are doing but rather are going through the motions in obedience to their calling. This scenario is not new to me, for over ten years ago a beloved minister was sitting in on one of our elder’s meetings and when it was over and the elders left, he began to weep. He said very sadly, “Bob you are the only pastor I know that still loves what he is doing. The rest of us are just being obedient.” Obviously, he was speaking from deep wounds and did not speak for everyone. Yet there are far too many Godly men and women who fit Ezekiel’s sad vision.

Ezek 37:1-3 NKJV

37 The hand of the Lord  came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord , and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones.

2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry.

3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

In many ways this vision of Ezekiel is a perfect picture of much of the ministry today. Broken, scattered, divided, and dry. Where is this frustration coming from? How many men and women of God must be sacrificed on a broken system before we seek to find out what is wrong? I write a great deal on the broken men in leadership but what about the precious wives who are often times the ones who suffer the most? I remember my precious wife once had the wisdom to say to me, “Honey, I will always love you and always be your wife, but I will not stay here to watch this church destroy you. I will be at my Mother’s. and when the Lord releases you from here I will be ready to go with you.” Her wisdom was great enough for me to change what I had been falsely taught and put my family first. I changed very quickly and was able to save my marriage and my sanity. I learned that the first church I must pastor is my own family. It is here that we learn the real skills that matter in Godly leadership.

How did we get where we are, and why I am I writing like this? Yet more importantly is “how do we change?” The dear Holy Spirit is taking many of us down into this valley of dry bones and requiring us to walk up and down in it until we see just how dry, how divided, broken, and lifeless it truly is. May He keep us there until we are ready to totally give up on the present system and allow Him to put His words of life into our spirit and empower us to Prophesy until our ministers are filled with life and power once again.

Ezekiel walked this valley so thoroughly that he knew no human plan, program, or strategy could bring life into this valley. Indeed, it is our confidence in programs and plans that has largely created this valley of despair.  There is a place for programs, but they must never be the priority. For many decades now, we have run to conferences and seminars to learn about an effective program that we can take back to our churches to see them grow. Yet how many conferences have we attended that focused on the top priority of Christ likeness?

The error it seems is that our leadership think that Christ likeness is something we are responsible to gain on our own time, and it is their responsibility to teach us methods and programs. In reality, we must see the passion of our leaders to be like Christ, and the relationship building they are doing to pass that passion on as their chief priority.

I have and still do love my leaders. Yet in all of my interactions with them, I cannot remember a time when I was inspired to be more like the Christ life reflected in them, save one. This is a great departure from the admonition we receive in scripture.

1 Cor 4:16 KJV

16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.

1 Cor 11:1 KJV

11 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

Phil 3:17 KJV

17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

It is very difficult to write on the need for change without becoming negative. We must not allow ourselves to walk in criticism or use negative methods to bring about the change that is needed. We must always remember it is Christ who is building His Church and the gates of hell will never prevail against it, but we must also know when Christ is speaking to us about change.

I will try to state how I see that our present system works. As I have watched over the past thirty years of ministry, I have seen some amazing things happen. What do I mean by this? In my area the leading cutting edge ministry, when I first came to this region, was the ministry of a church called Resurrection Life. It seemed they could do nothing wrong, and that everywhere they started a church it grew to a thousand or more. Right now, that ministry is waning and another ministry is gaining prominence and every church it starts seems to grow in the thousands. Yet when we look more closely at these ministries we are seeing that it is almost if not all transfer growth. One of our good churches lost 600 members to the Harvest Ministries.

Here is what I see happening. These ministries have come up with a program and method that is superior to other ministries in caring for the flock. So much so, that they draw great numbers of transfer growth. Many of our own sheep have flocked to them. Yes, indeed they do have a great system of caring for the members of other churches. They are superior in their abilities to meet the needs. Yet I have not seen the kind of Christ-like change in the members they have gathered. Do not mis-understand me in what I am saying. I am very grateful for these ministries and what they are accomplishing. Still it is not the pattern that is impacting the unsaved with believers who are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

food_factoryPerhaps, I can better state it like this. There once was a factory that produced the most delicious food. When asked how much of that food they were able to bring to the market and sell they said, “Oh, we cannot sell any, we need all that we have to feed and care for those here in the factory.” Then another factory came along with better methods of producing a tastier product, and they grew much larger than the other one and they were asked, “How much of this excellent food are you able to make available for others to buy?” They too responded, “Oh, we do not have any leftover, we need all that we make to feed our workers.” This is what I have seen as the pattern for much of what we see here in America. Can you see what I mean? Oh I know that some of what we have is getting out saving the lost and reaching the world but, dear one, it is very little. It seems we need all of our strength and energy just to care for those we have. We must not disparage what we presently have, but we must recognize the truth of what we are calling church growth is not really the church growth the Lord is after.

Yes, and I can say that at one time the ministry that I led developed a better system, and many flocked to what we had. I, too, counted that as a kind of success and found identity in the “church growth” that was happening under my ministry. Yet I am here to say there is a better way. Earlier this year I heard the Lord say I am going to take Oak Crest back down to its very foundations, so that what is built again is built upon me. My character changing presence will be the priority, and programs and methods will be in their proper time and order. Indeed, I was called into the Holy of Holies to experience what the Lord wants to do.

Guest Blogger

Robert D. Roberts

 

Revelation Study Guide

miniJimShort Study Guide:

Revelation Bible class blog Study Guide: We need to stay focused and need God’s help distinguishing who is and who is not a part of the following numbers discussed in Revelation 14 and Revelation 7. [See Revelation Chapter 14-1 PowerPoint on chapter 14, 144,000, and Who Are They]

  1. Ezekiel 9:4-6 a mark is put on those who grieve and lament their sin and the sin of Jerusalem. Mark in this Hebrew means TAUV, the last letter of the Hebrew Alphabet.
  2. Revelation 14 people have the name of the father and the lamb written on their foreheads.
  3. Revelation 6:9 The Tribulation Saints “[souls] under the throne” who have an exact number that must be killed before vengeance is taken by God. Is their number one of the groups of the 144,000 or simply a great sea of people?

Different marks/seals mentioned in scripture:

There are 21 Greek words for “mark” and 28 words form “mark” in the Hebrew.
There are 6 Hebrew words for “seal” and 3 in the Greek.

  • Revelation 7:2, 3
  • Revelation 13:16, 17
  • Ezekiel 9:4-10
  • Revelation 14:1

Distinguishing or mentioned characteristics about 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 seven the Messianic Christ churches.

  1. It is in Jerusalem, not throughout the world
  2. Those marked (tauv) lament the sins of the city (historical and present)
  3. The rest are slain without pity
  4. The context of this judgment goes back to Ezekiel 7:(1-10) but should include the entire chapter.

Revelation 7

This is very specific in identifying who that will be marked; 12,000 from 12 Tribes of Jacob (Israel). Dan has walked away and is not included as a tribe. Ephraim name is replaced by the name of his father, Joseph of Egypt. Manasseh is listed as one of the twelve Tribes.

Additional considerations:

  1. The souls under the throne and the handing out of white robes
  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

Personal Notes:

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 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

Chapter 10 of Revelation: Seven Thunders & Little Book

The last book of the Bible - RevelationsWoe, woe, woe (Revelation 8:13b)! Chapter10 begins the introduction to the 3rd woe. Like the 7th seal introduces the 7 trumpets, the third woe introduces the 7 vial (bowls) judgment; plagues or curses on those who have taken the 666 seal of the anti-Christ. We already have credit cards with embedded chips. We have computer programs and televisions that are voice sensitive. There are also control words that search or key in or when we type on line, send e-mails, or do web searches.

More Than A Data Center

More Than A Data Center

http://www.darkgovernment.com/news/huge-nsa-data-center-under-construction-in-utah/

None of the network or cable news programs will report on such. Conspiracy? You decide as you continue to read these articles on Revelation. Perhaps it is prophecy being completed in clear sight, but no one is looking. This is all for national security… right?

Comparing this angel in chapter 10 verse 1 to the angel in Isaiah 14:12 and Revelation 9:1, this mighty angel in 10:1 “came down from heaven.” He was not cast from or fallen from heaven. This messenger is from God and comes with His blessing. As majestic as this angel is described, it is not likely it is Jesus as some commentaries suggest. Verse 6 in chapter 10 makes this abundantly clear. Recall some of the descriptions of Satan as an angel; Ezekiel 28:13. We also find two other strong angels mentioned in Revelation. They are found in Revelation 5:2 and 18:21. Each Revelation angel is identified as “another strong angel.” This means each is separate from the other two strong angels. One might make a connection with these angels and The Book of Daniel angels found in *10:5-6 and 12:5-7.

*this passage discusses the destiny of Jerusalem, the Jews and Israelites; Tribes of Israel [O.T]. These are God’s chosen. Gentiles [N.T.] are destined by his or her choice of accept or reject (staying neutral) of Jesus Christ.

The mighty angel in 10:1 has a “little book” in hand. He is so powerful that when he speaks, it is like seven thunders of voices. In verse 4 John is told to “seal up the message” but only after John hears each of the seven different messages from the 7 thunders. The reader must be cautioned at this point in Revelation. Things on earth are about to be totally altered at the hand of God the Father, Son [and Holy Spirit]. God made man and woman (Adam and Eve) to fellowship with him. Satan now knows his destruction is at hand. He pulls out all stops to help destroy man’s trust in God. His attitude is altered. He now wants to not only keep people from believing in Christ, but destroy what he can’t rule over. One might suggest Satan wishes to take to hell any he can keep from the Kingdom of God on earth… “…thy kingdom come, they will be done on EARTH as it is in heaven.”

John is the last of the disciples (Apostles). His revelation of Revelations is the final message of the Holy Word of God to us. The next step in God’s design is his kingdom on earth. No more revelations; no more sightings; no more written visitations; no more Bible. Read the last few verses in Revelation 22 and we see the seal of God’s hand on such events. Next stop? Jesus returns to earth to claim the Kingdom of God from all nations eventuating Millennial Reign.

Revelation Commentary puts it this way: (http://www.revelationcommentary.com)

“The single most important point of chapter 10 seems to be the angelic announcement that “in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound [the 7th trumpet], then the mystery of God is finished.” Now that we know this fact, there will be no need for the strong angel to descend from heaven to report a fact already known by the reader of the Revelation. “ [emphasis mine]

Much is ventured as to what this little book is and to its content. To hazard another guess serves little purpose. We understand according to scripture that it is “sweet to the taste but bitter to the stomach.” Ezekiel had the same or similar experience. In the Book of Ezekiel 2:9, 10 to 3:3 it reads in summary: “There were all kinds of sad songs, sad stories, and warnings.” Ezekiel is specific to Israel and a caution of worldly events to come. PS: this is also where one finds the proverbial Ezekiel’s Wheel passage.

The reason we won’t discuss or venture a specific guess to the contents of this little book in Revelation 10 is found in verse 10:4; the book is sealed up.” That which the Lord God orders sealed is SEALED. Mankind does not know what is in it until God reveals it. Any one claiming to know is speaking in scriptural ignorance or a deceiver. When the contents of this book is revealed, all will know.

What draws or should demand our attention is found in the next couple of verses. In short, it states… “there is no longer any delay. When this 7th trumpet begins to sound the mystery of God will be finished.” [Paraphrased from the KJV). There will no longer be any purpose to delay the understanding of God’s Mystery. It is again venturing a guess, but this could not only be the End of Time as created in Genesis 1:4, but as to whom and what is God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It may be a description of the Millennial Kingdom. It could be the nations of the world uniting against Christ’s arrival in Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives. Your education idea is or may be a solid as anyone’s. It is a mystery. The book was sealed up in John’s heart. No one knows until we all know.

Eine Frau sagt als Zeuge bei Gericht in einem Gerichtsverfahren aus. Wird vereidigt und schwört auf die Bibel.

We have a practice in our judicial system of lifting a hand and swearing to tell the truth. This is, was and continues to be a practice throughout the world. Even a salute is similar to showing one has taken an oath. The angel in verses 5 and 6 reflect this practice. So help me God…! This angel swears that esomai (should be) no time anymore. It is a futuristic but eminent event. Time will be no more. Just as we are promised a new heaven and a new earth, time will be senseless. This is the essence of eternity. It is not measured in time since time is no longer. This too may be what John read in the little book. Any church or gospel song proclaiming a number of years after this point, as well meaning as they are, are based upon bog thinking; i.e. dangerous grounds.

From this point forward in chapter 10 things move fast. John is told to take the little book from the hand of the great angel and eat it. It initially is sweet to the tongue. It might be similar to one eating something that is good, but later it is tough on the stomach; i.e. indigestion. John had a severe case of indigestion after eat the book. Again, to venture guesses at this cause and effect is at best speculation. However, we do know the result of this bad taste after-affect. John is told, this is why that which caused the indigestion is the reason he (verse 11) MUST prophecy again (palin) with a renewed spirit. He is exiled to the Island of Patmos when he writes Revelation. This tells him that he will soon be released and must continue doing what it was that got him exiled in the first place.

In chapter 11 of Revelation, there is a significant shift in time and events. We now find ourselves studying the events of the Tribulation. This is the two witnesses. I will speculate at their identity in the next article in our Revelation Study. It will be nothing upon which to build doctrine but it will be supported by other scripture.

Dr. jStarkRev. Dr. James Stark

December 2015

The Millennial Reign

What happens during the Millennial Reign of God and Jesus?

I have often wondered what it is going to be like during the Millennial (1,000) Reign following the Tribulation. Let me begin by telling you there are many hints of how we will live during these years, what will happen to us, how long life expectancy will be, if work is still required, will there be families, children, animals? Let’s begin by understanding something that Isaiah 55:8 tells us:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.”

The meaning is too obvious. We need to take God and the Word of God at its word without trying to make God into something that fits our ideals. We need to understand that he makes us into something he wants. After all, if we created god then it/he is useless for eternal or even current needs or events. But God created us. That being so, he is the potter and I (we) are the clay. The clay pot does not tell the potter what we wish to look like; what shelf we want to be on; do we get a window view; or if am I going to be a tall, short, round, skinny or a corpulent pot. We are what we are so let’s get past that. What we need to know is our purpose. That is to worship the Lord God almighty, make Christianity a way of life not a religion, and realize our destiny is determined by our acceptance or neutral or flat out rejection of HIM.

Let’s avoid for now the discussion of the Tribulation (pre-post-or mid), plan of salvation, or any preaching. Let’s simply review the facts as the Bible tells us per what life will be like during the Millennial Reign of King Jesus.

Understand that this will not be a totally inclusive blog per life in the Millennial, but it will be inclusive of enough references to give us a great idea of what it will be like during the Millennial Reign.

Wikipedia defines the Millennial *Reign as:

*Often identified as Kingdom.

Millennialism (from millennium, Latin for “thousand years”), or chiliasm in Greek, is a belief held by some Christian denominations that there will be a Golden Age or Paradise on Earth in which “Christ will reign” for 1000 years prior to the final judgment and future eternal state (the “World to Come” of the New Heavens and New Earth).

Theopedia describes the Millennial Kingdom as: (http://www.theopedia.com/millennial-kingdom)

…the thousand-year reign of Christ specifically mentioned in Revelation 20:1-6. This is usually seen as the same Messianic Kingdom anticipated by the Old Testament prophets.

Let’s first realize the 1,000 years will not be spent on the beach, in churches, standing around the Throne of God in Jerusalem or flying about the universe with a pair of angel wings. All but the last are possible but not the norm for life during the Millennial Kingdom. Recall, or learn for the first time, this reign of Christ in Jerusalem will come out of and at the end of the Great Tribulation. The pre-Tribulation time will be as “the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37). It will be wise for the reader to read through to verse 39. This is the world situation leading up to the beginning of the 7-year tribulation and the Apocalypse, Day of Reckoning, Armageddon or Day of Destruction as so many movies, books and discussions have and continue to be based upon. But this is not a written monologue of pre-tribulation events.

Mankind, along with some strong assistance from Satan, will have all but been eliminated by wars, disease, starvation, murder when Christ returns to the Mount of Olives and proclaims himself King of Kings and ruler of the world. Yes, there is a little thing called Armageddon at this point in history and yet to be played out, but this article is about life for those who survive and enter the Millennial Kingdom.

Skipping past the resurrection of some of the dead, the return of those who were (will be) in the Rapture prior to the Tribulation period, and those Christians and Jews killed during the Tribulation we get to our goal; life during the Millennial Kingdom and reign of Jesus Christ ON EARTH. It is not my intention to explain why some of these prophecies have what is known as plural or dual points in history and that which has yet to happen. We are going to simply look at life during the Millennial Kingdom; ”thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth (millennial kingdom) as it is (already) done in heaven.”

Here is the setting: Christ returns to the Mount of Olives to the east of Jerusalem; an area now known as the West Bank. He declares himself King of the world then must defeat the combined forces of the King of the North (Antichrist: Europe or the resurrected Holy Roman Empire), the king of the South (Islam?: Middle East and Africa) and the forces from the north and east:*China and Russia? These forces will gather together to invade and eliminate Jerusalem/Israel (Joel 3:2; Zechariah 14:2; Matthew 24:29; Revelation 20:8) but only after having fought amongst themselves (Matthew 24:7). Continue reading

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