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

Jeremiah – Chapter 14

drought.jpegDrought, drought and more *drought. This does not mean a season of little or no rain. It means several seasons of dry arid weather. The oddity of drought in this land can’t be avoided. It is or WAS the land of milk and honey [Deuteronomy 31:20].What happened? Rabbi Yuval Cherlow once said, “The health of the land depends on our responsible behavior.” This is secular thought. What he didn’t say was what God told Israel over and over, “If you worship me, I will bless the land I have given you. It is a Promised Land. If you don’t then…” Jeremiah was the last prophet before the demise of Israel as an independent kingdom; this chapter and a few others is his warning from God to them.

*Prolonged drought in California, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, the Southeast and northern east coast states. Hmmmmmm? Since October of 2016, huge amounts of moisture have refilled the reservoirs or places where water levels had dropped to serious lows; i.e. October of this year. Prayers for this country have gone up from many Christians and churches per saving this country and the national elections. Franklin Graham prayed on the steps of every State capital this past summer. He prayed for God to forgive America. One can’t help but wonder if there is a connection. I report the facts. You decide for yourself!

The Talmud interpreters try to minimize God’s involvement by identifying the milk as that from goats and honey meaning the figs grown there [http://www.myjewishlearning.com]. But that does not support the fact God called it “an already existing land of milk and honey.” Did someone forget the huge crop of grape clusters brought back by the original 12 spies sent into the land by Moses [Numbers 13:27]? This was hundreds of years before this drought in Israel.

Now, what does chapter 12 hold for us:

Drought is the theme of chapter 14. Other than God telling Jeremiah to “not pray for these people of Judah” [V14], Jeremiah’s confessional plea, and questioning God’s ability to keep the promises to the fathers of his chosen people are of chapter 14. Let’s consider these points as a basic chapter 14 outline. But we need to fill in and explain some of the details for the bible student.

The Drought…

Since both Judah and Israel kingdoms [once the nation of Israel] existed in the Levant. It is an area of great lands, fertile for crops, grass for herds, and well-watered. God used its strength against them as a form of punishment. God was once again trying to get their attention. Jeremiah writes in verse 12 that God sees them as wanderers; not place to place, but god to god. The very first verse says “God came to Jeremiah concerning the drought [dearth].” Obviously it was a serious subject. There was no debate that a great need for reservoir water existed; and a great need for rainfall.

Here is an interesting side note about the idol-god Baal, the predominant idol in Judah during this time. One of the defining characteristics of Baal is, as the David Guzik Commentary puts it: “Baal was thought to be the god of weather and rain. Many ancient Israelites were drawn to Baal worship because they wanted rain.” How ironic. The very god that Judah was worshiping as the god of weather and rain was a god that could not provide conducive weather and desperately needed rain. This rain-god theory is supported many years earlier by the confrontation of the Prophet Elijah, the 600 priests of Baal and Jezebel in I Kings 18:19-40. The northern Kingdom of Israel under King Ahab was in a drought situation and for the same reason, worshiping false gods.

https://www.lds.org/manual/old-testament-stories/chapter-34-elijah-and-the-priests-of-baal?lang=eng

Their situation was the same then, years of no rain in the northern Kingdom of Israel. Ahab was king at this time. Jezebel was queen and devoted to Baal. Once again God was punishing the Kingdom of Israel for their unfaithfulness (wandering feet that go god to god while ignoring the only God; (Jeremiah 14:10). The idol-rain-god Baal failed them back then also.

JIV NOTE: The existence of King Ahab is historically; i.e. secularly supported outside of the Bible. Shalmaneser III documented in 853 B.C. that he defeated an alliance of a dozen kings in the Battle of Qarqar; one of these was King Ahab of the northern Kingdom of Israel. [Kurkh Monolith, discovered in 1861 by the British archaeologist John George Taylor]

In verse 2 we read that Judah mourned…but for the wrong thing. They did not mourn their lost relationship with God, but their loss of water and comfortable way of life. It is suggested by some theologians including us, the reason verse 3 says the nobles (fathers) sent their little ones to fetch water was that the drought had become a self-survival exercise; their servants had left to seek a life of self-existence since their landlords  could no longer provide them a living or life.

Even the animals of the wild and open fields suffered greatly; the deer; the cattle; the sheep and goats; the wild donkeys [14:4-6].

Now Jeremiah, the ever faithful Judean, pleads with God to make things right for God’s name sake [v7 and again in v14]. He admits the sins of Judah are great but does not confess or speak for the people. Why? God appointed him as a young prophet to condemn Judah for their sins; not to plead for them. He identifies God as “the hope of ISREAL” (not just Judah) and the one who has redeemed them from other troubles. In short, Jeremiah pleaded “God you did it before so do it again.”

Isn’t this like many Christians today? One gets into trouble then pleads with God to get him or her out of that trouble. Frightfully, making promises during the plea-bargaining with God that they do not fulfill.  Jeremiah is getting quite pointed in his comments to God by his time. Why are you (God) a stranger like one to whom only occasionally visits this land? Are you (God) a powerless warrior? Where are you (God) in this time of need?

Jeremiah already knew the answers but was hoping to change God’s mind as had some of ReminderIsrael and Judah’s ancestral prophets and leaders. V10 should have scared these Chosen People right out of their evil ways but it didn’t. It only made Jeremiah more determined to petition God for relief. God points out Judah’s sin: “The people of Judah really love to leave me. They don’t stop themselves from leaving me. So now the LORD will not accept them. Now he will remember the evil they do. He will punish them for their sins.” If the Lord God will now “remember the evil they do,” it defaults back to a time when God opted to not remember their sins. The word ‘remember’ in the Hebrew is zâkar. It means to “make note of; to put it to record.”

At this point God changes the subject while Jeremiah continues to act as an intercessor (attorney) for Judah. God heats up the pending punishment of Judah by telling Jeremiah to not even pray for these people because he will turn a deaf ear to his and their prayers. In other words, at this point God has spoken and the consequences are now irreversible. There is an often unspoken reason that God will bring them into punishment even if (v11) they repent, fast, cry, wail, use sackcloth and ashes, or offer burnt offerings. It is because the people of Judah do not want to return to God. They want to return to their life style, worshiping other gods AND feel protected since they have the Temple of God. They got caught and this is now their sorrow. WE have the Temple they say, but forgot to worship God in it.

In v13, Jeremiah points out to God that there are other “so-called” prophets in the land making contrary prophecies; like God didn’t already know this? These are what is called “tickle the ear” prophets; something like “tickle the ear ministers” today. Their messages are anything but from God, the bible or the scrolls. They sound wonderful if only they were truthful, but they aren’t. After all, Israel has the Temple so why would God leave them? He didn’t! They left HIM!!!!

The word “consume” in v12 needs to be understood. It is “kâlâh” in the Hebrew. The intent is to convey that the fertility, milk and honey of Judah that once knew will come to an end; cease to exist. This is precisely what happened including during their 70 banishment to Babylon.  They had gone from a land of plenty to a land that is now desolate, without much water, wind torn territory, and greatly reduced in population. This became the opportunity for the surrounding Gentile neighbors to move in and claim it as their own land. This is still the debate and issue today in the Middle East. Arabs believe the Jews (Israelis) lost their right to the land. They forget as conquered people themselves; Assyrians and Babylonians (Persians) moved them to this land when they removed them from their original home lands. This was a common practice of victorious nations at this time.

Consumed by the sword can simply mean that the existence of a self-ruling Judah would be the result of and under the rule of someone’s sword. Conquered or controlled by the sword.

JIV NOTE: Most people do not connect the Judah Jeremiah is talking about in chapter 14 is today called the West Bank. The West Bank is the territory Jordan captured from the new Israel in 1948 and then occupied it with undesirables in their own land. Today’s West Bank IS THE JUDAH OF JEREMIAH. Today’s Palestinians have a home land. Jordan is 80% Palestinian Arab. Jordan occupied this part of Israel in order to force its undesirables into that territory. Yasser Arafat was one of them. The PLO didn’t exist until 1963. (To not know history is to delete it –Jstark)

What the false prophets of Judah are saying in their ‘tickling of the ears’ prophecies, God calls a LIE in v14. However, the people prefer to believe them over Jeremiah. How closely this resembles Daniel’s and Revelation’s end time message when people will totally fall for the lies rather than the honest truths. Even if one only considers the two witnesses [Revelation 11:1-14], the people of this world or in this case of the two witnesses, most of the people of Judah will once again opt to not side with the truth. “When one does not understand their own history, they are destined to delete it from memory” (Jstark, 2017). In other words, within one or two generations, it never happened.

If one questions God’s anger and deep disappointment of Israeli’s from the Tribe of Judah, re-read v10a. It says. “Thus said Jehovah concerning this people: Well they have loved to wander,…” THIS people? He doesn’t even call them His people at this time. This is very similar in meaning when in the New Testament Jesus on the cross cries, “Father, why have you forsaken me?” [Matthew 27:46].

It will be bad for these people of Judah (Prophets, priests, rulers and residents) who fake a worship of the true God because they have the Temple, but put other values in front of God and first in their lives while actually sacrificing to Baal and other false gods. V16…And the people to whom they prophesy shall be slain and cast out in the streets of Jerusalem,…There will be no one to bury them.” Their death will be so sudden and their removal from the Promised (West Bank) Kingdom of Judah will be swift. Those who try to resist the Babylonians will die on the spot and left for the wild beasts and birds to devour.

Note in V16d God says it is not his punishment but “the calamity they deserve” (NIV). He simply allows it to happen. After all, Babylon is already invading, rampaging and conquering the former lands of the Assyrians and Egypt. God simply removed his protection. If the king and the leaders of Judah did as Jeremiah instructed them to do, just surrender, none of these consequences would have happened. God promised in a later passage that the Babylonians will suffer for their brutality.

V18 explains the vast dismay of Judah. Those in the field of battle will be slain by the Babylonians. Those who are sick and starving within the walled cities of Judah and particularly Jerusalem will be left to die; those already dead in the streets will simply be ignored by this invading army of Nebuchadnezzar. Their leaders and most of the remaining population will be transported to Babylon; a place and a language they do not know. This is explained in the historical reference to what happened to Daniel, *Hananiah, **Mishael and ***Azariah (Hebrew) also known in the Babylonian Chaldean language; *Shadrach, **Meshach, and ***Abed-Nego.

Now Jeremiah gets down right pointed in his conversations with God. Do you despise Judah? Why have you afflicted *us? We cannot be forgiven or healed? FOR YOUR NAME’S SAKE (putting the responsibility back onto God’s shoulders a second time) SAVE JUDAH [v21].

*Jeremiah already knew the consequences of Judah’s sins. Why he would include himself in their ranks by saying US is a human attempt at avoiding the obvious. If I tell God that he is also doing this to Jeremiah, then perhaps Jeremiah’s credentials will bring salvation (forgiveness). God doesn’t bite.

V32 God immediately challenges Jeremiah with a counter-question. He asks, ”Do the worthless idols bring rain or the skies themselves send down rain?” This is enough to snap Jeremiah back into God’s reality reminding him with whom he is arguing to whom he is offering a defense. Jeremiah simply replies in the last verse, ”No, it is you oh Lord.”

In our next chapter, God gives Jeremiah a very good counter-explanation as to the irreversible consequences for Judah’s continuing sins.

Rev. Dr Jstark
January 2017

Jeremiah – Chapter 6

Verse 1 in Jeremiah 6 does not step outside of Judah. The Tribe of Benjamin was absorbed by Judah during the split of the 12 Tribes into two separate kingdoms. There were also remnants from the northern tribes who opted to live in Judah when the evil kings of the Kingdom of Israel to the north rejected God (YHWH).  The City of Jerusalem was part of the Benjamine territory when the land was divided by Joshua some 900 to 1,000 years earlier in history.

It is not uncommon to see different names in reference to the same people, place and thing. Not only in the Bible, but also the secular part of the same history. The King James Version is a bit difficult to understand when it comes to Jeremiah chapter 6. Following is the *CEV version; easier to understand and read. [*Contemporary English Version]

sound the trumpet.jpgJer 6:1  Run for your lives, people of Benjamin. Get out of Jerusalem. Sound a trumpet in Tekoa and light a signal fire in Beth-Haccherem. Soon you will be struck by disaster from the north. *

V2  Jerusalem is a lovely pasture, but shepherds will surround it and divide it up,

V3  then let their flocks eat all the grass.

V4  Kings will tell their troops, “If we reach Jerusalem in the morning, we’ll attack at noon. But if we arrive later,

V5  we’ll attack after dark and destroy its fortresses.”

V6  I am the LORD All-Powerful, and I will command these armies to chop down trees and build a ramp up to the walls of Jerusalem. People of Jerusalem, I must punish you for your injustice.

V:7  Evil pours from your city like water from a spring. Sounds of violent crimes echo within your walls; victims are everywhere, wounded and dying.

V8  Listen to me, you people of Jerusalem and Judah. I will abandon you, and your land will become an empty desert.

V9  I will tell your enemies to leave your nation bare like a vine stripped of grapes. I, the LORD All-Powerful, have spoken.

V10  I have told the people that you, LORD, will punish them, but they just laugh and refuse to listen.

V11  Your anger against Judah flames up inside me, and I can’t hold it in much longer. Don’t hold back my anger! Let it sweep away everyone-– the children at play and all adults, young and old alike.

V12  I’ll punish the people of Judah and give to others their houses and fields, as well as their wives. I, the LORD, have spoken.

V13  Everyone is greedy and dishonest, whether poor or rich. Even the prophets and priests cannot be trusted.

V14  All they ever offer to my deeply wounded people are empty hopes for peace.

V15  They should be ashamed of their disgusting sins, but they don’t even blush. And so, when I punish Judah, they will end up on the ground, dead like everyone else. I, the LORD, have spoken.

V16  The LORD said: My people, when you stood at the crossroads, I told you, “Follow the road your ancestors took, and you will find peace.” But you refused.

V17  I also sent prophets to warn you of danger, but when they sounded the alarm, you paid no attention. *

V18  So I tell all nations on earth, “Watch what I will do!

V19  My people ignored me and rejected my laws. They planned to do evil, and now the evil they planned will happen to them.”

V20  People of Judah, you bring me incense from Sheba and spices from distant lands. You offer sacrifices of all kinds. But why bother? I hate these gifts of yours!

V21  So I will put stumbling blocks in your path, and everyone will die, including parents and children, neighbors and friends.

V22  The LORD said, “Look toward the north, where a powerful nation has prepared for war.

V23  Its well-armed troops are cruel and never show mercy. Their galloping horses sound like ocean waves pounding on the shore. This army will attack you, lovely Jerusalem.”

V24  Then the people said, “Just hearing about them makes us tremble with fear, and we twist and turn in pain like a woman giving birth.”

V25  The LORD said, “Don’t work in your fields or walk along the roads. It’s too dangerous. The enemy is well armed

V26  and attacks without warning. So mourn, my people, as though your only child had died. Wear clothes made of sackcloth and roll in the ash pile.”

V27  Jeremiah, test my people as though they were metal.

V28  And you’ll find they are hard like bronze and iron. They are stubborn rebels, always spreading lies. *

V29  Silver can be purified in a fiery furnace,

V30  but my people are too wicked to be made pure, and so I have rejected them.

This is a powerful chapter defining Judah is at this time, and in general, what all of Israel, north and southern kingdoms became in the eyes of their God YHWH. We can see that Jeremiah is talking about what is about to happen to Judah and a bit of the events during the Tribulation period in a distant future.

The highlighted portions of the CEV verses above will be our primary discussion points in this chapter 6 study.

In Tekoa:  This is the birthplace of the prophet Amos. It is only a few miles south of Jerusalem.  The interesting note is that Tekoa, where the trumpet is to be sounded, is located south of Jerusalem but the enemy approaches from the north. Judah has become a dreadfully sinful place and Jeremiah cannot find a single soul through which Judah and Jerusalem will be saved from God’s punishment. Zechariah 3:9 is a future event not yet fulfilled but it addresses the sin of Israel. “God will remove their sin in a single day.”

…but shepherds will surround it: We see pictures on TV of what Jerusalem looks like today. The curse of God has left the surrounding lands lacking in water or much rain.  Desert is easy to see in and around the outskirts of Jerusalem. However, when the Children of Israel entered into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, it was the land of milk and honey. The huge clusters of grapes hauled out of the countryside took two men to carry one cluster [Numbers 13:23]. The shepherds, the future occupants of this land, may be in reference to what Jeremiah writes in Jeremiah 1:15; kings of northern kingdoms.

Kings will tell their troops: Note that this is plural…KINGS. Babylon itself had but one king; Nebuchadnezzar. Close examination of scripture leads us to believe this prophecy is not only of the pending Babylonian invasion and Judah’s consequential 70 year captivity, but a future time when many from the north will come up against Jerusalem. In our Revelation study we saw that the gathering of troops from every nation in Har Megiddo; I.E. what we will call Armageddon, about 50 miles NORTH of Jerusalem, will be a combination of armies from every nation. All gathered to storm the gates of Jerusalem…200,000,000 men.

I must punish you for your injustice: God is love BUT, he is also justice. He is patient and longsuffering but will not be fooled. Israel is God’s chosen [wife] people. As does a good father, he does not spare the rod only to spoil his children [Proverbs 13:24]. Judah has been warned for by prophets since the fall of their northern cousin tribes in the Kingdom of Israel. At a time when Jeremiah is actually pleading with God to spare Judah and Jerusalem, he couldn’t find one single honest person in the country.

Evil pours from your city like water from a spring: The religious leaders had made a sham of the Law of Moses and used it only when to their advantage. Child sacrifice was a practice at this time; akin to our sacrifice of children via abortion. Lying, cheating, moral standards, and the fact that Judaism had become a religion instead of a way of life gave God his fill of tolerance. Jeremiah said “it poured like water from a spring.” That is abundant, not random sin. This is reminiscent of Genesis 6:5… “…every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.”

I will abandon you, and your land will become an empty desert: Recall that at one time this land was “milk and honey.” When my father visited Israel, he could see the difference between the cultivated lands of Israelis and the sands of the Arab territories. The point is what once was watered by God now has canals and irrigation ditches [2017]. Just as in the Garden of Eden where no labor was required to produce the fruits of the garden, after the fall of Adam, man had to cultivate to eat. Genesis 3:19 tells us just that. But the promise of God will still be a fulfilled covenant of God and Israel. This is described in the Millennial Reign of what Israel will be.

…bare like a vine stripped: Important note. God says in Jeremiah 6:9 that he will command the enemies of Jerusalem/Judah to strip the vines of their fruits. This is a twofold thought. To strip the vine of its grapes means to remove them from the garden. However, there is another more subtle point in this same passage. He, meaning God, did not say pull up the vines by their roots. This leaves the potential of future grapes/population. This is the future Kingdom of God-Jesus on the throne in Jerusalem; King of all kings; ruler of the earth; Satan bound in the pit.

V10 is the underlining statement of why God will punish his chosen people: “…but they just laugh at me” (Jeremiah that is). This was and is still true today of most prophets, evangelical preachers, teachers and witnessing testimonies of the Word of God. People do not take kindly to their sins being pointed out. The last four kings of Judah are prime examples of “in your face YHWH” attitudes. We will see in chapter 36 that King Jehoiakim burned the scrolls, the original copy of Jeremiah, in his heating pot at his winter room in Jerusalem. He not only laughed at but scorned both Jeremiah, through his scribe Baruch, and God. Very dangerous ground as it borders on the unpardonable sin. There is little doubt that King Jehoiakim will not be one singing the praises of Jesus on the great resurrection morning.

Let it sweep away everyone: This is actually Jeremiah pleading with God. He was very angry for the stupidity, rejection, and blasphemous statements of his fellow countrymen. Their self-confidence and cocky attitude was about all Jeremiah could take. If he could, he might have slaughtered them on his own. However, the Lord God follows up Jeremiahs pleading to destroy these people is found in the very next verse (V12).

V12  I’ll punish the people of Judah and give to others their houses and fields, as well as their wives. This verse needs little explanation. The punishment will be severe and total. The last half of this verse reads…”I the Lord have spoken.” From 72 A.D. to 1948, this vow was fulfilled.

Everyone is greedy and dishonest: In the ESV this same verse reads: “For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. The word “everyone” in the Greek [kole] means NONE EXCLUDED. Once again we return to the pre-Noah days and the condition of the people’s heart. It is the fear and belief of this bible blogger that America is getting closer and closer to the same condition. The split and disrespect of peoples has never been greater aside from possibly the Civil War. Even back then it was mostly over principles and not hate and greed. Today it is hate and greed. What’s in it for me? Even ministers plead for more and more money’s to line the pockets of their own ministries. Huge churches have huge overhead. This tends to cause compromise of the scripture and appeal to those who are religious but want to attend a church with great chandeliers, huge auditoriums (not sanctuaries), professional bands to lead the music, and songs that sometimes are difficult to recognize as ones that praise or honor God. Catchy tunes but shallow lyrics.

In verse 14 I prefer how the King James Version puts it. Peace, peace; when there is no peace. This is what the priests and leaders offer the people of Judah; false hope in something that does not and will not exist until the Millennial Reign of Christ. This is a man’s peace; not God’s. Since the leaders of Judah at this time, secular and religious, were not in the foot prints of God, anything they did was in the foot prints of man.

They should be ashamed of their disgusting sins: Do you know anyone who is such a compulsive liar or evil (Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, and others) that they don’t even faint back a bit, add a sheepish grin or blush when sinning?  This is similar to Pharaoh of Egyptian captivity times. The Pharaoh didn’t hesitate to withdraw or hold back his support for Israel slavery. His heart hardened each time it got a little bit soft. Pharaoh’s concerns never were for Israelis. It was always for him and his kingdom rule. Judah was the same at the time of Jeremiah. No shame; only lust for more.

Follow thweight of the world.jpge road your ancestors took, and you will find peace.” But you refuse: Even though history tells us that Israel of old had an on and off again relationship with God, there were times of a true peace for them. Let’s put it this way. Do you have a hidden sin? One that you must hide day after day in the hopes it stays hidden? There is no peace. This is what Jeremiah is talking about in this verse. Sin is more denial than hidden. I have often asked others when he or she is trying to justify a given action or hate: “Who are you trying to convince? Me or you? When it does happen and a wrong is made right, people feel a true peace. We identify it with the saying, “the weight of the world or a great weight has lifted from my shoulders.”

I tell all nations on earth: The word “ALL” is significant in this Jeremiah passage. When the bible says ALL, it means all! No exceptions. If anyone thinks America is exempted, s/he is all but right. What else might ALL THE NATIONS ON EARTH possibly mean? America, specifically the United States of America, is not mentioned in scripture. However, this verse is without exception and that does include the Americas. This verse is connected to the passage where God calls the Kingdom of Judah more evil than was their northern cousins, the Kingdom of Israel. Judah did not learn from what she saw happen to the ten tribes in the north. Jeremiah is telling us to learn from what we see. Yes, God is love, but he is also just.

“…the evil they planned will happen to them.” The word “evil” in Hebrew is rah which means naturally or morally. Since man cannot bring supernatural evil upon others, Jeremiah points out that God will use their own devices against them. Upon whom shall this evil be allowed? The answer is in the use of the word “Them, They or People.” It is “’AM in Hebrew meaning a specific tribe or group of people such as a given or multiple Tribes of Israel. In the King James 619 reads “even the fruit of their thoughts.”  Watch out ‘oh people,’ even their thoughts will materialize if it is bad.

You offer sacrifices of all kinds. But why bother? People today as back during this time of Jeremiah, have a lot to learn. It is not the value of the gift that God accepts as better or worse. It is not expensive spices or large checks that dazzle God or, in a sense, bribe his attention. It is how the gift is given. We can look at our own giving as see why it is we give. A minister once said “to give until it hurts.” I disagree. It is better to give until one is satisfied in his or her heart.” That is the value of the gift; i.e. the intent of the heart.

Look toward the north, where a powerful nation has prepared for war.

V23 Its well-armed troops: Jeremiah is not prophesying into the distant future at this point. He identifies the threat as ONE NATION this time. This is an imminent prophecy. God tells Judah and their leadership from which direction the enemy will come and probably identifiable by them per it being a power house nation; i.e. Babylon.

Verse 24 is somewhat a confliction. Jeremiah is saying one thing and the “tickle thy ears” prophets of Judah are saying “we are safe.” But then V25 says the Lord God says “don’t work in your fields.” This creates a dichotomy of interests and priorities. If the people of Judah don’t work their fields, there will be no crop; thus famine or starvation. Jeremiah has told the people of Judah to not fight the Babylonians when they invade. Their captivity is ordained of God. Jeremiahs primary message is, on’t make it worse by resisting. 

[Verse 26 begins a new paragraph in the this book but the same chapter] “ Wear clothes made of sackcloth and roll in the ash pile. V27 Jeremiah, test my people…” This set of instructions is not for Judah but for Jeremiah. Jeremiah is God’s tower and example for which HE wants the Judeans to emulate. Just as heat and boiling purifies lead, silver, gold, water and other metals, God identifies the entirety of Judah as bullheaded and hard as metal per being persuaded. They are [V30] “reprobate or mâ’as (Hebrew) skum at the top of the pot. They are NOT the purity God desired of them. However, God will purge their hearts and minds. It states in Hebrews 10:16 and he is talking about Israel at this time…

“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” 

miniJimJames W. Stark (M.M., Rev. Dr.)
December 2016

Jeremiah – Chapter 5

Jeremiah Study:

This week’s blog and the following picture graph is to help each to better understand that Jeremiah is not a stand-alone book per activities and participants. Five Kings of Judah, at least 5 other major prophets overlap the life of Jeremiah, the Judean exile of 70 years, the historical Battle of Carchemish between winner Babylon and loser Egypt, the fall of Assyria (Nineveh of Jonah and whale fame) to Babylon-Medes, the history of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniels’ dream interpretations in Babylon, Athens ends it rule of hereditary kings and becomes a democracy, Rome (Etruscans) begin a future Roman Empire but as a small city/village, and let’s not forget Obadiah in the later years of Jeremiah or Nebuchadnezzar’s Hanging Gardens… a wonder of the world; Shadrach, Meshrach, Abenego… all during the lifetime of Jeremiah. Fact and history.

Chapter 5 adds to this mix of history during the life of Jeremiah. Jeremiah is told of God in 5:1 to…

The LORD says, ‘Go up and down the streets in Jerusalem.

Look round you. Think about what you see.

Search through the market places.

Can you find just one person who acts honestly?

Can you find one person who tries to tell the truth?

If you can, I will forgive this city.

Does this remind us of something that happened about 1,500 years earlier? In Genesis 18 we find Abraham doing just what God told Jeremiah to do.  Abraham was pleading with God for Sodom where his nephew Lot was living. God told Abraham to find but a few believers in Sodom and he would not destroy it. Jeremiah was told a very similar thing in the opening verse of chapter 5. Abraham had to find ten persons; Jeremiah needed to find but ONE to prevent Gods judgment. Jeremiah didn’t find even one.

As amazing as it may sound, Jeremiah in 5:4 and 5 tells God it is because “these people are

entendre

They refused to listen.

Israel and Judah didn’t listen

poor and ignorant.” They simply do not know what God expects. Jeremiah tells God that he will go to the leaders and re-explain what God’s chosen people are supposed to be doing and who they are to worship. NOT TO BE! These people of Judah wanted a god created within their own image, not accepting that they were chosen of God, were once a dynamic nation of Israel under Saul, David and Solomon, and that Judaism was a life not a religion.to be followed. None listened.

Verse 7 of Jeremiah 5 is quite plain and blunt. It reads…

. “How can I pardon you? Your children have forsaken me and have sworn by those who are not gods. When I fed them to the full, they committed adultery and trooped to the houses of whores” (ESV)


JIV NOTE:
The harlotry and whores mentioned here means, according to Strong, “Jewish people being regarded as the spouse of God have chosen other gods to worship.”

God reminds Jeremiah that HE as the husband of [all] Israel supplying her every NEED time after time.  Yet, they seek and prostitute themselves to other gods of stone, wood, child sacrifice. 100 plus years earlier (8th century B.C.), Amos and Micah tried to appeal to the Israelis and their relationship with each other and to God. Israel and Judah didn’t listen to them either.

In Jeremiah 5:9 God tells Jeremiah two reasons for his anger. One reason is that the people of Judah, as did the dispersed tribes of the northern Kingdom of Israel, rejected the commandments of God given to Moses and have forgotten HIM. Second the people of Judah by this time were taking oaths in the name of foreign gods; not the God of Israel. God is simply asking Jeremiah “why should I hold back my anger?”

In verse 12 we see the true attitude of all Israelites and especially those in Judah. Since THEY were the children of God, they thought themselves to be exempt to punishment. God promised them this Promised Land. God had not destroyed Judah, yet they had witnessed what God had allowed to happen to their northern cousins 120 years earlier. Oh you stiff necked and uncircumcised people… [Acts 7:51]

Go through the nation’s vineyards and destroy them.

But do not destroy them completely.

Tear off their branches,

because these people do not belong to the LORD.

The people in Israel and Judah

have not been loyal to me at all’, declares the LORD.

Those people have lied about the LORD.

They said, ‘He will do nothing!

Nothing bad will happen to us.

We will never see war. We will never be hungry.
What a false piety and attitude of these people. God will NOT destroy us??? Who do they think they are? Truth be known, there were a great number of false prophets running around at this time in Jerusalem and Judah.  What was their message? We are safe and will never go hungry. In a sense and although defeated in wars and battles since they were established as Tribes in the Promised Land and governed by judges, they have already forgotten what happened to their northern cousins only a 100 plus years earlier. One can almost imagine their thoughts. “It happened to them up north but our king has always been a descendant of King David. It has been over 100 years and we are still here even though they are not. Nothing bad will happen to us. We have priests and the Temple.”

Elijah could destroy 600 priests of Baal and Jezebel [I Kings 19} but Jeremiah was just a messenger. He knew the eventual outcome. He also knew that God would not stay angry forever; just 70 years this time. We say this in anticipation of the next verse; i.e. v15. Other bible bloggers or commentators either don’t see this or they opt to not discuss it. In verse 15 Jeremiah goes from discussing Judah to “Oh house of ISRAEL.” [All Israelites are not of the Tribe or Kingdom of Judah] This is a leap forward in time to the books and contents of Daniel and Revelation; the future yet to be called history in the End Time events of the 7 year Tribulation. In a sense it is a parallel to what is about to happen [Babylon] and what is going to happen during the time of Jacob’s Trouble; that is the 70th week of Daniels dream; Tribulation period. For more insight to this, refer to the Daniel Study or the Revelation study found on this website.

V16, although it identifies “cases of arrows” it identifies these weapons as certain death or possibly weapons of mass destruction. This will be the machinery and weaponry of the 200,000,000 man army of Armageddon. Then in verse 19, just as it was asked when Babylon attacked Judah in the 6th century B.C., Israel will ask the same question at the time of the great tribulation (Revelation) when the antichrist attacks…”why is the Lord God doing this to us?”

Jeremiah 5:18 adds credibility to this thought of the THEN and again at the END TIME being parallel prophecies. Jeremiah writes, “But even in those days, declares the LORD, I will not make a full end of you. BUT EVEN IN THOSE DAYS??? This is a jump forward to what has yet to happen. Babylon is at their back door at that time, but the Great Tribulation [those days] is yet to happen to Israel and the world of Christianity.

Jeremiah 5:19 may also be a double application prophecy. Them that Judah will serve in a foreign land is/are Babylon. They know because Jeremiah is telling them. Those “foreigners” of End Time and to where they are now [current history] dispersed as a former nation of twelve tribes, then as a divided kingdom of North and South is yet to happen.

Jeremiah 5:23 to the end of this chapter describes a “Jew” as defined by the world today. They are stubborn; they do not fear God but are secular; they are deceivers or what many would call wheelers and dealers… mostly deceivers of themselves; (v26) they set traps to catch men (mostly off guard); (v28) they have grown greedy and wealthy; they are willing to listen to false prophets and those who wish to tickle their ears with only good news; not the truth.The end writing draw in sand

The end of chapter five is a powerful question for us today. It reads in the last sentence: “…but what will YOU DO when the end comes?” Hmmmm?

miniJim

Jeremiah: The Weeping Prophet

jeremiahHe began his prophecy during the time of the prophet Zephaniah and prophetess Huldah, in the thirteenth year of King Josiah’s reign around 627 B.C. His ministry immediately preceded that of Zephaniah. Habakkuk was a contemporary, as most likely was Obadiah. Since Ezekiel began his ministry in Babylon in 593, he too was a late contemporary of the great prophet in Jerusalem. Jeremiah lived until around 560 B.C. but his prophesying ended with the capture of Jerusalem around 597 B.C. Jewish history tells us he fled or was taken to Egypt. However, Nebuchadnezzar befriended him as he had prophesied NOT to resist since this was a judgment of God.

Jeremiah was probably 20 to 22 years old when God called him. That is quite young for a guy to be called in front of the King of Judah or any high official. He would fit in well with the protests of the college campus students over everything and anything they want to protest per his age grouping. The major difference, Jeremiah was called of God, not some protest group. They protest without answers or solutions. Jeremiah didn’t protests. He simply gave the solution; one the kings of Judah did not want to follow. Jeremiah served as one of God’s prophets through the rule of five kings of Judah; Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah. Contemporary prophets during the time of Jeremiah include Zephaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Daniel and Ezekiel.

A great timeline website for the deep study bible student, one who enjoys historical knowledge go to http://www.generationword.com/notes/jeremiah/prelim-notes.pdf

He was repeatedly arrested and King Jehoiakim had his prophecies burned after personally shredding them. But, Jeremiah’s scribe Baruch produced new copy.

Jer 1:1-10 – Jeremiah’s call
Jer 7:1-34 – Sermon against the Temple
Jer 16:1-4 – God instructs Jeremiah not to marry
Jer 36:1-32 – Jeremiah’s burned scroll by king Jehoiakim of Judah
Jer 43:1-7 – Jeremiah taken to Egypt (voluntarily or involuntarily is not know)

Jeremiah was born in Anathoth. Other mentions of this village in Jeremiah are found below:

Jeremiah 1:1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:

Jeremiah 11:21 Therefore thus says Yahweh concerning the men of Anathoth, who seek your life, saying, You shall not prophesy in the name of Yahweh, that you not die by our hand;

Jeremiah 11:23 and there shall be no remnant to them: for I will bring evil on the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation.

Jeremiah 29:27 Now therefore, why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth, who makes himself a prophet to you,

Jeremiah 32:7 Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle shall come to you, saying, Buy my field that is in Anathoth; for the right of redemption is yours to buy it.

Jeremiah 32:8 So Hanamel my uncle’s son came to me in the court of the guard according to the word of Yahweh, and said to me, Please buy my field that is in Anathoth, which is in the land of Benjamin; for the right of inheritance is yours, and the redemption is yours; buy it for yourself. Then I knew that this was the word of Yahweh.

Jeremiah 32:9 I bought the field that was in Anathoth of Hanamel my uncle’s son, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver.

 

ANATHOTH

an’-a-thoth (`anathoth; Anathoth): A town which lay between Michmash and Jerusalem (Isaiah 10:30), in the territory of Benjamin, assigned to the Levites (Joshua 21:18). It was the native place of Abiathar (1 Kings 2:26), and of the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:1; Jeremiah 11:21, etc.). Here lay the field which, under remarkable circumstances, the prophet purchased (Jeremiah 32:7). Two of David’s distinguished soldiers, Abiezer (2 Samuel 23:27) and Jehu (1 Chronicles 12:3), also hailed from Anathoth. It was again occupied by the Benjamites after the return from the Exile (Nehemiah 11:32, etc.). It is identified with `Anata, two and a quarter miles Northeast of Jerusalem, a small village of some fifteen houses with remains of ancient walls. There are quarries in the neighborhood from which stones are still carried to Jerusalem. It commands a spacious outlook over the uplands to the North, and especially to the Southeast, over the Jordan valley toward the Dead Sea and the mountains of Moab. There is nothing to shelter it from the withering power of the winds from the eastern deserts (Jeremiah 4:11; Jeremiah 18:17, etc.).  (Wikipedia)

 

  1. Ewing:
    Jeremiah’s attitude toward the *Deuteronomic reforms of King Josiah of Judah is difficult to assess. Clearly, he would have found much in them with which to agree; a passage in chapter 11 of Jeremiah, in which he is called on by Yahweh to urge adherence to the ancient Covenant upon “the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem,” is frequently interpreted as indicating that the prophet traveled around Jerusalem and the villages of Judah exhorting the people to follow the reforms. If this was the case, Jeremiah later became disillusioned with the reforms because they dealt too largely with the externals of religion and not with the inner spirit and ethical conduct of the people. This is not uncommon even in today’s churches.

*Deuteronomists were a school or movement who edited the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings into a more or less unified history of Israel (the so-called Deuteronomistic History) during the Jewish exile in Babylon (6th century BCE).[

Jeremiah prophesied not just during the reign of Jehoiakim, but began his prophetic career during the reign of Josiah ramping it up when Jehoiakim came to the throne of Judah. Josiah is seen as a good king. However, Jehoiakim very much disliked Jeremiah and his prophecies per the Kingdom of Judah. King Zedekiah, the son of Jehoiakin, put him in prison and on the run a number of times. He prophesied through the end of the reign of Zedekiah who himself was taken into captivity by the Babylonians. Jeremiah was allowed to remain wherever he wanted as the Babylonians saw him as an okay guy. This attitude was not shared by others in Judah.

It is difficult to discern any structure in Jeremiah, probably because the book had such a long and complex composition history. It can be divided into roughly 6 sections:Book of Jeremiah

  • Chapters 1–25 (The earliest and main core of Jeremiah’s message)
  • Chapters 26–29 (Biographic material and interaction with other prophets)
  • Chapters 30–33 (God’s promise of restoration including Jeremiah’s “new covenant” which is interpreted differently in Judaism than it is in Christianity)
  • Chapters 34–45 (Mostly interaction with Zedekiah and the fall of Jerusalem)
  • Chapters 46–51 (Divine punishment to the nations surrounding Israel)
  • Chapter 52 (Appendix that retells 2 Kings 24.18–25.30)

Jeremiah was active for forty years, from the thirteenth year of Josiah (627 BCE) to the fall of Jerusalem in 587. It is clear from the last chapters of the book, however, that he continued to speak in Egypt after the assassination of Gedaliah, the Babylonian-appointed governor of Judah, in 582. This suggests a theological parallel about Jeremiah comparing him to Moses . Moses spent forty years leading Israel from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land, Jeremiah’s forty years saw Israel exiled from the land and Jeremiah himself ultimately exiled in Egypt.

Several passages in Jeremiah that can be understood as “confessions or laments;” they occur in the first section of the book (chapters 1–25) and are 11:18–12.6, 15:10–21, 17:14–18, 18:18–23, and 20:7–18. Jeremiah wrote the book of Lament-ations (Lamentations).

The following is a list – not exhaustive – of noteworthy sign-acts found in Jeremiah:

  • Jeremiah 13:1–11 The wearing, burial, and retrieval of a linen waistband.
  • Jeremiah 16:1–9 The shunning of the expected customs of marriage, mourning, and general celebration.
  • Jeremiah 19:1–13 the acquisition of a clay jug and the breaking of said jug in front of the religious leaders of Jerusalem.
  • Jeremiah 27–28 The wearing of an oxen yoke and its subsequent breaking by a false prophet, Hananiah.
  • Jeremiah 32:6-15 The purchase of a field in Anathoth for the price of seventeen silver shekels. A demonstration of Jeremiah’s prophecy of a return to this land.
  • Jeremiah 35:1–19 The offering of wine to the Rechabites, a tribe known for living in tents and refusing to drink wine. This was done in the Temple, which is an important part of the breaking of societal norms.

Nebo-Sarsekim Tablet is a clay cuneiform inscription referring to an official at the court of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon. It may also refer to an official named in the Biblical Book of Jeremiah.

It is currently in the collection of the British Museum. Dated to 595 BC, the tablet was part of an archive from a large sun-worship temple at Sippar. Archaeologists unearthed the tablet in the ancient city of Sippar (about a mile from modern Baghdad) in the 1870s. The tablet is dated just eight years before the events in Jeremiah. According to Jursa, the rarity of the Babylonian name, the high rank of the rab ša-rēši and the close proximity in time make it almost certain that the person mentioned on the tablet is identical with the biblical figure.

No one knows for sure how Jeremiah died. Some think he was stoned to death while in Egypt and by his own people. Some connect him with the British Isles. Some say he returned to Judah to possess the lands he purchased as stated in Jeremiah 32.

His book that bears his name is full of ancient and modern advice about the human character, our mind, and being close to God. Even though he never married he often gives examples of Israel (a wife) and her relationship with her husband (God). It might be wise here to point out to the reader that in Old Testament times God declared himself as the father of Israel. In the New Testament Jesus makes this claim over the church; bride and bride-groom. For those confused by these two seemingly at-odds statements read within this website our lessons on Daniel and Revelation. For those who want the short of it, Daniel 2:4 states: “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.”

Revelation 19:16 brings Jesus to the forefront of this kingdom mentioned by Daniel. It reads: On his [Jesus’] robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.”

Add Revelation 19:6c and 21:3 to this understanding we find in 19:6… “For the Lord our GOD the Almighty reigns.” Then in 21:3 we read: “…the Lord our GOD will live with them. God himself will be with them.”

Jeremiah knew this but Israel continually refused to honor the covenants made between God and them as a separate people. Jesus covenants with the church, although they differ from God’s covenants with Israel, lead to the same conclusion and singular kingdom on earth.  Much of what Daniel studied in his years and lifetime in Babylon was the writings of Jeremiah. It will do us as students of the Word to do the same thing.miniJim

 

+———————-++++++++++++++++++++++

Revelation Chapter 21

The last book of the Bible - RevelationsWe are about to conclude our look at and study of the Book of Revelation. Other than the first three chapters it is all about Israel and those who live in and during the tribulation 7 years. It will be good for us to recall a few things about Israel.

Every conflict in or around Israel is not THE [Revelation] SIGN of End Time. There has been conflict in the Middle East and especially with Israel since recorded history. The only time on can point to a semi-peaceful time in Israel was BEFORE King Saul. For 400 years the 12 Tribes lived within their own territories and only joined forces when an outside force caused problems or attacked one of the other tribal territories. But, even during the time of the Judges there was trouble, wars and in some instances, inter/intra-tribal conflict. We do not wish to get off topic so here are a few reminders of Israel and End Time: [God’s covenants with Israel are FOR ISRAEL and will be fulfilled to the letter]

  1. There will be a mass return of Jews to the land of Israel (Deuteronomy 30:3; Isaiah 43:6; Ezekiel 34:11-13; 36:24; 37:1-14).
  2. The Antichrist will make a 7-year covenant of “peace” with Israel (Isaiah 28:18; Daniel 9:27)… but will violate it at the 3 ½ year point (Daniel 9:27)
  3. The temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 11:1).
  4. The Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel, and worldwide persecution of Israel will result (Daniel 9:27; 12:1, 11; Zechariah 11:16; Matthew 24:15, 21; Revelation 12:13). Israel will be invaded (Ezekiel chapters 38-39).
  5. Israel will finally recognize Jesus as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10). Israel will be regenerated, restored, and regathered (Jeremiah 33:8; Ezekiel 11:17; Romans 11:26).
  6. James 1:1 “… To God’s people who are scattered all over the world” [ERV].
  7. Genesis 32:12 “…and they (Israelis’) will be as the sands of the sea.” This means there will be so many of Israeli DNA in so many different places no one will be able to count them. One reason is that millions of these people do not know they are DNA of Israel. Yes, truly lost in annals of time that is no more.

Jeremiah wrote: The LORD says, “At that time [End Time Tribulation or beginning of the Millennial Reign] the people of Israel and the people of Judah will be together…once again. The dispersions of the Northern Kingdom was in 722 B.C., and the Southern Kingdom, 597 B.C.). They will cry and cry together, and together, they will go look for the LORD their God.”  (Jeremiah 50:4-5).

Ezekiel as does Isaiah has much to say about the same thing. What God reveals to him is miniJimwhat is going to happen during the return of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem by setting foot on the Mount of Olives. God says (not Jesus) that He will join the two sticks of Judah and Israel.

“Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick…” [Ezekiel 37:19; NKJV]
In Revelation 21 we get a glimpse of the New Heaven and the New Earth through the eyes of the Apostle John. Recall that the first heavens (the skies above) and earth flee from the presents of God in our previous blog (Chapter 20:11 & 21:1). Judgement has come and these created elements flee their creator.

This brings to mind Philippians 2:10… “… at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven, on earth AND UNDER THE EARTH.” Even the fallen angels (demons; servants of Lucifer) will bow a knee. Can we even imagine this? It is the pinnacle example of the word TOTAL.

The New Jerusalem descends from Heaven and “Now God’s home is with [the, among] His people. He will live with them…” Verses 3 and 4 of Revelation 20 summarize it for us. No more pain, death, sorrow, tears, regrets, all of the old is no-more. God says that he will make EVERYTHING NEW. The Greek for all or everything is pas. It means “totally inclusive. No exceptions.” Then, the most famous of statements; reminiscent of what Jesus said on the cross when he gave up his spirit, God himself says in verse 6 of Revelation 21… “IT IS DONE!”  What God created in the beginning, the Alpha, is now the Omega; the end. All things will be new. We are given a very small glimpse of the new. Whatever it is, it didn’t exist prior to this moment. This also means that “TIME” as created back in Genesis 1:5 is no longer. This is the definition of eternity. Time is not a factor as it no longer exists. We will see this in chapter 22; our final blog on Revelation.

People often miss the fact that all this happens after the Tribulation, the Millennial Reign of Jesus and God, the Great White Throne Judgment, and the Battle of Gog/Magog when Satan is released for a short time.  John does not record nor is there any evidence that he has a glimpse of what is on the other side of the wall separating the old creation and the beginning of the ALL NEW. John simply tells us it is all new and only the faithful, chosen, redeemed and Saints will be there. During the Millennial Reign there will still be those who reject the rule of Jesus. Satan will call on these people for his Gog-Magog war against Jerusalem after the Millennial Reign.

Verse 7 is very telling: He who overcomes will inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he will be my son. The faithful, chosen, redeemed and Saints will:

  1. Inherit all things…
  2. God will be their (father because)…
  3. They will be his sons (children)

What happens to the rest of the judged? Verse 8 is quite clear on this matter; i.e. the second death and lake of brimstone.

V9: One of the seven angels who had [take note as this is past tense… *had] one of the 7 bowls or vials of judgment (plagues) comes to John to give him additional insight. This time it is something good. John is going to see “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” We must once again note why we believe Revelation, after the first three chapters, is mostly about Israel. John is shown the bride of Christ; i.e. the New Jerusalem descending from and going to a place not mentioned. We can easily figure this to be located on the new Earth. Verses 12-14 are all related to Israeli identifications. After all, this is the New Jerusalem so it is Israelites who occupy it and probably those Christians who have been grafted in per Romans 11:17.

*This means that each of the 7 bowls of judgment are now empty; judgment done.

The New Jerusalem [v10] John sees descending from heaven is given exact measurements (1,400 miles in length, width and height). For more detail go to http://www.tourofheaven.com/eternal/new-jerusalem/size.aspx

Verse 21 is where we find the description of the streets paved with gold. The description of the New Jerusalem is not the entirety of the new earth. What John sees is only Jerusalem that descends from heaven (v10). We are not given any additional information as far as what the rest of the New Earth looks like; just the new Jerusalem. But we do know that more than the New Jerusalem exists. Verses 24 tells us:

“And the nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth bring their glory into it.” [KJV]

There is some form of “nations” that will receive their light from the glory of Jesus and God residing in the New Jerusalem. We find this “light” described in V23; “…for the glory of God did lighten it, and the lamb is the light thereof” [KJV].

Verse 25 tells us that the night and day created back in Genesis 1:5 is no more. This verse tells us that “there shall be no night there.” The closure of verse 27 in Revelation 21 is very clear as to who will and who will not be part of this “new everything.”

written.jpgThe only ones who will enter into this new creation will be those whose names are written in the Lamb’s “book of life.” The names are entered when one receives and accepts Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior. We demonstrate our faith in our actions, prayer, and bible study life. Being a Christian is a life style, not a religion.

Final word of caution to those who think Christianity is a religion and God is only love, not just(ice). Revelation 3:5

He who is overcoming–this one–shall be arrayed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the scroll of the life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before His messengers.

Are you overcoming and making Christ the center of your life thus overcoming? If not, then pay very close attention to the condition for NOT BEING BLOTTED OUT of the Book of Life. [I John 2:19; Hebrews 3:12; Mark 13:13; Exodus 32:32,33; Psalm 69:28]

 

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.

 

You Are Here – Mother of All Earthquakes

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. This is article number six in the series.


 

Zech 14:3,4 (The Mother of all Earthquakes)Then the LORD will go forth
And fight against those nations,
As He fights in the day of battle.
And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,
Which faces Jerusalem on the east.
And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,
From east to west,
Making a very large valley;
Half of the mountain shall move toward the north
And half of it toward the south.

These two verses in Zechariah are fascinating and say more than first glance might reveal. The casual or even semi-serious Bible student needs to pay attention to the information this verse provides concerning the future. It doesn’t matter what is one’s Millennial or Rapture position. We will all know who is right per this theological debate when it is over. By then those who are in the rapture won’t care or know the difference since there is *no sorrow in Heaven. C.H Spurgeon and many others write on this subject (http://www.biblebb.com/files/spurgeon/0643.htm). *Please refer to “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”–Revelation 7:17 as a beginning discussion point. (The serious student should add Revelation21:1 and 4 to this must read list).

Let’s breeze by the obvious in this verse; i.e. God will be in full armor. Now look at the verse line that says, “And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives.” To even the serious Bible student it is easy to accept this location as just that… a location. But, consider today’s politics in the Middle East. The Palestinians, as they call themselves, want to partition Israel to the WEST of the Jordan River. The Mount of Olives is to the EAST of the “old city” of Jerusalem. This is territory that falls within the land claimed by the Arabs. In other words, Christ would, under today’s political lines, be returning to land dominated by Arabs and Islamists.

This means one of two things. Either Israel will NOT relinquish this land prior to the Return of Jesus Christ or The Arabs are in for one huge surprise. It doesn’t matter which it is. The event is prophesied and will happen as the Bible tells us it will.

What follows in Zechariah 14… ? “The Mount of Olive will split in two.” It will split east to west meaning half of the mountain will move north and half of it will move south creating a very significant valley. Will this be supernatural? Might the geology of this land and fault lines already be in place per secular geologists? Seismologists? Might the split be supernatural but it will be along already existing earthquake faults? Perhaps, however, like in the *plagues of Egypt He used natural events to make His point.
Earthquake
Let’s first look at a known fact per secular science. The seismologists map of this area shows a fault line known as the Jordan Valley riff, there is a natural plate movement that cuts right through the center of the Mount of Olives. Part of the plate is shifting to the north and part of the plate is shifting to the south. Just as Zechariah 14 claims will be a dramatic shift the rips apart the Mount of Olives. Just too as the plagues on Egypt prior to the exodus of the captive Israelis (the 10 Plagues) were mostly Return of Jesus Christ accelerated by God; water turning *“red as blood”, frogs, lice, locus, flies, diseased livestock… all natural events to Egypt. The difference is God exasperated and accelerated these events. He made them intolerable and many times their normal expectations in this land.

*The naturally occurring floods of the Nile, prior to the building of the Aswan Dam which was completed in 1870, would move tons of soil down-stream toward the mouth of the Nile River at the Mediterranean Sea. This would muddy the waters but not kill off the fish and make it undrinkable to livestock. The plague of the Nile was increased to the power of and made it totally undrinkable by anyone and killed off the fish. Why? It was turned not to just murky waters, but bloody.

The already existing fault line in the Middle East, as pointed out by secular science, fits very well with the Zechariah prophecy of over **2500 years ago. This old scripture was written well before seismologists had much of a science. It is ready to be an event accelerated by the Return of Christ when He plants his feet on the Mount of Olives.

**Zechariah is specific about dating his writing; Zechariah 1:1 (520-518 BC).

This is still an earthquake yet to come. However, according to secular sciences and reports, it will be a natural event and is well overdue. According to the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius, in 31 B.C.E., 30,000 people lost their lives in an earthquake in this area. (http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-is-due-and-ill-prepared-for-a-major-earthquake-1.261497)

This earthquake to which Josephus Flavius refers is associated per per time lines associate with either the death or resurrection of Jesus Christ as also reported in the Bible’ three days apart. Simply put… The Holy Word of God is not a textbook full of religious stories and the basis of and handbook for a religion called Christianity. It is the same history as secular history but reporting on a specific niche in the history of a world God created. How else would it be that a prophet could predict an earthquake upon the return of Jesus Christ and be so pin-point accurate with location and fault lines? These are the fault lines with conditions that the same secular scientists of today tell us is well overdue for an earth shattering event.

Other sources saying the same thing but from different points of view:

http://yonkerstribune.typepad.com/yonkers_tribune/2012/12/dr-naseer-alomari-speaks-of-the-fault-lines-of-the-middle-east-on-westchester-on-the-level-december-.html
http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?_adv_prop=image&fr=yff80-sfp&va=fault+lines+of+the+middle+east
http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message417568/pg1
http://www.tsunami-alarm-system.com/fileadmin/media/press/articel/en/National-Geographic-26_07_2007-Major-quake-tsunami-likely-in-middle-east.pdf
http://bibleproject.blogspot.com/2007/07/major-quake-tsunami-likely-in-middle.html

If this is all a coincident, I would need to be deliberately blind to what all of the authorities say per this pending earthquake. Perhaps if one is a non-Christian, s/he should take notice. The Bible tells us it will happen, where it will happen and the event that will cause it to happen. If this pending earthquake is soon to come, perhaps one should also believe that Christ too is soon to come. After the fact, it will be too late. You have been notified.jStark3

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