Jeremiah – Chapter 29

And the beat goes on… Jeremiah 29:11 is one of those controversial and taken out of context verses. Jeremiah empowered by God’s promises to Israel is speaking of Israel in this verse using as present and far-future tense. Using the YLT (Young’s Literal Translation) it reads:

29:11… “For I have known the thoughts that I am thinking towards you–an affirmation of Jehovah; thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give to you posterity and hope.”

continue

more to come…

 

Let’s however begin with the 29:1 then explain the controversy of verse 11 a bit later.

Jeremiah laments that he is “left in Jerusalem” while his brethren and fellow Judeans have been taken as captives to Babylon. The royalty, skilled labor/craftsmen, and the brightest of the youth (including Daniel) have been removed to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar hopes to leverage their skills, contacts, and *governing potentials. These are mostly men of value to any economy, politics, and society.

*Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed Nego became government officials of Babylon. So did many others whose names have not been recorded in scripture.

King Jehoiachin and the royal leaders/family are no long residents of Jerusalem and never will be again. This includes a truck load of prophets, priests, and religious leaders. Jehoiachin’s (aka: Jeconiah) uncle Zedekiah is placed on the throne in Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar.  This eventually becomes another issue for Nebuchadnezzar but we will address it later in our study. A letter is sent to Nebuchadnezzar and the captives in Babylon that points out that it was God who allowed ol’ Neb to even capture Israel and the people of Jerusalem…”Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all the captivity, whom I have caused to be carried away captive from Jerusalem unto Babylon.”  In a very real sense, this letter reminds all of them that Jeremiah warned and they refused to listen. He (God) is also putting Nebuchadnezzar on notice. We find this in the Book of Daniel.

Basically God tells these captives to dig in and thrive because they will be there for quite a while (70 years). God even explains that HE does not want their numbers to diminish but increase while there.  Let’s go back several lessons for a minute. God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob the Promised Land. It included a much greater territory than they ever conquered or occupied through the Judges, Saul, David and Solomon, and the divided kingdoms; about 800 years by this time. He promised that if they follow and worship him, HE will expand their borders. Well, Israel did not follow God but God is not slack in his covenants in either the Old or the New Testaments.

The Assyrian captivity and dispersion of the northern Kingdom of Israel 120 years earlier spread these people into lands that were to be Israel’s if they kept their end of the covenant. They didn’t. So they (Judean-Israelites) do occupy the land but are not rulers within them the same is true of the southern borders of the covenant with Israel. Sooooo, Babylon takes them captive moving large numbers of Judean-Israelis east of their small homeland. By doing so, they now occupy lands God had promised them; BUT…they are not rulers within this territory.  God actually tells his chosen people to work with not against their captives. He tells them to pray to him for the welfare of their captivity people in Babylon. WOW!

prefer liesAt the same time God through this letter and Jeremiah once again cautions these Judeans to not lend listening ears to the false doctrines and prophecies of those within their midst. Go back to our article on chapter 28 and re-read how Jeremiah dealt with on of them named Hananiah. It cost him his life for his false statements. You can believe several of these false prophets moved with them into captivity. God had ill plans for them but they are not recorded in scripture. Prophesying is one thing but to do so (lie) in God’s name….!!!! (See 29:21 to 26; 30 to 32). God will deal with all false teachers of the Old Testament and today per the New Testament. Vengeance is HIS!

Now we get into the controversial discussions of Jeremiah 29:; i.e. verses 10, 11, and 12. Here they are in the ESV:

Jer 29:10   “For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.

Jer 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jer 29:12  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.

The primary issue is that it appears according to history as we know it, God did NOT make things better for them. Fact is, they got even worse after returning to Jerusalem 70 years later. There were the Greeks, Romans, Turks (Ottomans), WW I, WW II, Arabs and eventually Islamists. So where is the promised prosperity? This is where one must understand that God is referring to a distant future meaning when Jesus returns and sets up his millennial kingdom in Israel. Things are still going to get even worse for these people, i.e. Jacob’s Trouble in the latter half of the Great Tribulation. That is at least 2,700 years in the future from this time Jeremiah is lettering.

Author and blogger Mary DeMuth has another worthy opinion. She says, Jeremiah 29:11 Doesn’t Mean What You Think. As she explains, “the heart of the verse is “not that we would escape our lot, but that we would learn to thrive” in the midst of it.” There is some value to her thoughts but the fact is Jeremiah is referencing a prophecy yet to be fulfilled even today.  Of course this is not what the new captives wanted to hear. They wanted to make it a short tenure in Babylon then return to the “prosperity” of their home in Judah. Therefore, it is easy to conclude that they didn’t even fulfill this commandment; i.e. to pray for the prosperity of Babylon, not just their personal health and wealth. Most of those taken into captivity would die during the 70 years. (More on this in a later blog)

Dr. Coffman puts it: The crowd of false prophets similar to Hananiah were circulating the same falsehoods in Babylon; and the letter in this chapter was written by Jeremiah in order to counteract and frustrate the evil campaign of the false prophets.”  It is no easy task to accept what one does not want and then learn how to live with it in praying for the prosperity of one’s enemies; in this case, the Babylonians.

Jeremiah 29:14 makes verse 11 clearer and more obvious. God restates that he will regather all of Israel from all of the nations where they have and continue to this day to be scattered. What is the condition? ”When you finally decide to follow me” says God. This explains the WHY in the second half of the Great Tribulation; aka: Jacob’s Trouble. God needs to FORCE these bull-headed people into finally accepting and seeking HIM.

God even tells these exiles, through Jeremiah, that those who remain in Jerusalem, the poor farmers and undesired of Nebuchadnezzar, he will (verses 17-19) bring upon them the things that later bible writers like Daniel and John of Patmos (Book of Revelation) prophesied; pestilence, the great sword, make them a horror, a curse, burden and reproach  to “all” other nations. We see this in the daily news today. It is a prophecy yet to be completed. This is another example of this author’s often noted statement… “God says, if  you ____, then I will ____.

Today we are at the threshold of seeing this Jeremiah 29:11. We are opening the door of this End Time history soon to be played out. It is all around us; nation against nation (meaning territorial and political fighting) and kingdom against kingdom (meaning political, racial, religious, petty family feuds, political and literal fighting and sabotage, fake news, spreading of the soon to be southern kingdom of Daniel prophesies; i.e. Islam, border wars, … You name it. This is what the passage in Matthew 24:6 means when correctly translated.

miniJimDr. J. Stark

August 2017

Jeremiah – Chapter 26

Jeremiah 26 (The Trial of Jeremiah continues)

“…believing that they (Judeans) were safe from the consequences of their actions (Jer. 7:10). As a result of their continual rejection of God’s Torah and their belief that the Temple would guarantee their safety, Jeremiah announced that the Lord would destroy the Temple of Jerusalem in the same way he had allowed the sanctuary at Shiloh to be destroyedhttp://jbq.jewishbible.org/assets/Uploads/421/JBQ_421_5_mariottiniuriah.pdf

herewegoagainWe all know the old saying, “here we go again.” This is poor Jeremiah’s task once again even after so many years of warning his people to actually sound like it is him who threatens them, even after his trial of sorts in chapter 2 (and 26). We pointed out in two previous blogs per this Jeremiah study that the people of the Kingdom of Judah held the Temple (Jerusalem) in greater esteem than they did their worship of God. In fact, those in Judah felt God had an kant to them since the Temple stood in Jerusalem; not the place of worship their northern brothers (cousins from the ten other tribes) had set up in Samaria; now defunct and emptied of Israelites in the Kingdom of Israel.

JIV NOTE: Chapter 26 is history prior to chapter 25 and 24; it was the first year of Jehoiakim’s rule as king. Chapter 24 is after Jehoiakim is taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. Chapter 25 is during the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s rule and the first year of Nebuchadnezzar’s rule in Babylon. In a very real sense, Jeremiah is not a sequence of events but a list or recorded history of them. I as the web page blogger will eventually summarize Jeremiah putting the chapters into a sequence for the sake of the bible student and blog reader.

If we think back in secular-bible history, perhaps the reader may just now be discovering and made aware of this knowledge, *Shiloh was the former place of worship (a tent) prior to the Temple being built by Solomon. It is where the Ark of the Covenant was placed then stolen by the Philistines. It was as now in Jeremiah, a time that the people had fallen back into self-gratification over worship of Jehovah God. At that time of the Judges (400 years) and King Saul, King David, then King Solomon (120 years), Israel was a confederacy of tribes, then a combined nation; not two separate kingdoms North and South with individual kings. The Kingdom of Judah was always ruled by descendants of King David.

*Psa 78:60  “He [God Jehovah] abandoned his place at Shiloh, the Holy Tent where he lived among the people.”  (here we go again)herewegoagain

Where is Shiloh? Here the tabernacle was set up after the Conquest ( Joshua 18:1-10 ), where it remained during all the period of the judges till the ark fell into the hands of the Philistines. It was in central Palestine, totally secluded, and forgotten until it was rediscovered by Dr. Robinson in 1838. It was in the Tribal Territory of Ephraim on the north side of Bethel (http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/shiloh/).

Can God change His mind? Read Jeremiah 26:3 “…if they change (their ways), then I will change my mind about my plans to punish them…” (ESV).

However 26:5 pretty much establishes the weak probability of these Israelites (Tribe of Judah) paying attention to Jeremiah. It says, “I have sent my prophets to you again and again, but you did not listen to them.” If they didn’t listen “again and again,” it is highly unlikely they will do so now, but God is patient. (here we go again)herewegoagain

Verse 6 of Jeremiah 26 is and became the consequence of the Judeans not changing their ways and returning to their God-Jehovah. It tells us that God assures them that not only will the Temple in Jerusalem be demolished with Him abandoning it like in the Tent of Worship in Shiloh, so will the great city of Jerusalem fall to rubble; all at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.

JIV NOTE: Since this is a dual or parallel prophecy in Jeremiah, it is also a prophecy of End Time yet to happen in history; i.e. Zechariah and Revelation prophecies. Consequences are similar. (here we go again)herewegoagain

It must absolutely be pointed out that there is a Hebrew word of huge significance to the End Time parallel prophecy of Jerusalem in 26:2. It is the use of the word “curse” in the King James Version. In the Hebrew this word is qelâlâh, pronounced *kel-aw-law’. It means total vilification by others. Is this not what is happening right now in our time? The status and acceptability of Israel as a whole and Jerusalem in particular is vilified by nation after nation, Arab after Arab, global leaders, Hollywood stars, Prime Ministers, Presidents (not Trump however), and even large numbers of those nation-states that are members of the United Nations.

So does the reader still think that End Time is a far-off distant event? Think again my friend. Read the newspaper and watch the news. Even the fake news has some degree of prophetic truth….”deceitful warnings and news intended to lead people astray.” (here we go again)herewegoagain

*kel-aw-law’ (total vilification) is from the root word kaw-law’ in Hebrew; “the end, finished, completed, terminated, destroyed, or to cease.”  Remarkably, it is the same word used in End of Time prophecy discussed in the Old Testament.

Jeremiah 26:6-11 point out the typical human response. If one kills the messenger that action somehow voids the message. The rulers and people call for Jeremiah’s death. How similar to the life of Jesus some 600 years later. Killing the messenger was the solution to voiding his message. The Priests and religious leaders during the time of Christ thought: crucify Christ; void his message. How dumb! Go ahead and jump off of a 1,000 foot cliff after being warned it is a death jump. Don’t text while driving. Just visit the doctor but not follow his instructions. YES, just kill the messenger then take that leap. We will be safe because we killed the messenger. (here we go again)herewegoagain

Jeremiah does not back down at the threat of death by the hands of his tribal family members and Levite Priests. He simply says to do with him as they see fit but cautions them: to kill a true prophet of the Lord is to bring condemnation upon themselves and their precious city/country/kingdom [v 14 & 15]. This makes them decide that perhaps there is precedent to let him speak and go in peace. Jeremiah 25:19 reflects a time past when during the reign of Hezekiah the Prophet Micah gave the same warning as Jeremiah. He was released.

However, as the old Rock n’ Roll song goes…”and the beat goes on….”. Jeremiahs prosecutor(s) say:  Jer 26:20  In the past there was another man who spoke the LORD’S message. His name was Uriah son of Shemaiah from the city of Kiriath Jearim. Uriah said the same things against this city and this land that of Jeremiah.

Jer 26:21  King Jehoiakim, his army officers, and the leaders of Judah heard Uriah and became angry. King Jehoiakim wanted to kill Uriah, but Uriah heard about it. Uriah was afraid, so he escaped to the land of Egypt.

Jer 26:22  But King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan son of Acbor and some other men to Egypt.

Jer 26:23  They brought Uriah from Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim ordered Uriah to be killed with a sword. Uriah’s body was thrown into the burial place where the poor are buried.  [ERV]

We have two different consequences for two different prophets who carried the same message. As students of the Word of God (Old Testament), we must wonder by now why God has been so patient and why these people of Israel so stubborn? Perhaps if we look closely at our own lives, we should ask the same question. The question to be made in Jeremiahs “day in court” before the people and leaders is which precedent do they follow; death as in the case of Uriah (King Jehoiakim) or life as in the case of Prophet Micah (King Hezekiah)?

Verse 24 gives us the answer… “There was an important man named Ahikam son of Shaphan who supported Jeremiah. He kept Jeremiah from being killed by the priests and prophets”  (ERV).

JIV OBSERVATION: Many of us know about the prolonged movie series Star Wars. Many of the character actors are Jews; especially the heroes. Note their names and the parallels with bible names but usually with a slight change in their spelling. Ahikam is very similar in name to the Star Wars good guy Anakim. No spiritual application in this suggested correlation of names, but check out some of the other names. Here is today’s modern church and modern Christian…we know more about Star Wars than we do about the true historical beings in the bible. Go ahead and do some movie and bible study on your own. Don’t simply take my word for it. Seek and you shall find. (here we go again). This comparison is loaded with aha moments.herewegoagain

miniJimRev. Dr. Jstark – June, 2017

Purim 2017 is Today –Sunday

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Purim banner, holiday greeting

­­Book of Esther… (Purim 2017 is March 11th and 12th)

In the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on its thirteenth day … on the day that the enemies of the Jews were expected to prevail over them, it was turned about: the Jews prevailed over their adversaries. – Esther 9:1

And they gained relief on the fourteenth (Adar/March), making it a day of feasting and gladness. – Esther 9:17

[Mordecai instructed them] to observe them as days of feasting and gladness, and sending delicacies to one another, and gifts to the poor. – Esther 9:22

Purim is a time of recalling the story and bible history of Haman, Mordechai, Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus; aka: Artaxerxes. As Jews of Judaism sit to eat and drink, there is no limit to how much they drink as long as Jews/Judaism do not misbehave (i.e. sin) for if they are drinking to fulfill the mitzvah, a mitzvah should not cause them to sin. There is no limit to how much they can sing, dance or relate insights into the strange but true story that took place a bit more than two thousand years ago. Purim centers on those who descended from the Babylonian captive Jews who did NOT RETURN to Jerusalem after being released from Babylon captivity; at that time called New Persia.

Ad d’lo Yada means that Jews/Judaism can drink until they no longer know the difference between blessed in Mordecai and cursed in Haman. Drinking to the point of being drunk is a point that Judaism is at odds with most other religions. In some religions alcoholic beverages are strictly forbidden and in other religions being drunk is forbidden. Judaism however makes it a mitzvah (which means only on this one day) and indeed Jews/Judaism must understand why!

The origin of Purim and the mitzvah of the festive seuda meal dates back to the majestic banquet that King Ahasuerus (also known as Xerxes or Artaxerxes) made in the capital city Shushan; see Daniel 8:2. Ahasuerus was the king of one hundred and twenty-seven countries or city-states. He ruled the world from India to Africa. This banquet lasted one hundred and eighty days (six months!) and was to celebrate King Ahasuerus unification of his kingdom. Drinks were set out and all participants could enjoy as much as they desired; no one was forced to drink or to stop drinking.

The king drank so much that he became drunk. In his drunkenness he boasted of the beauty of Queen Vashti. He ordered her brought to him and his ministers naked, that all should realize that indeed she is the most beautiful woman in the world. Vasti not being drunk of course refused. The king was incensed that she refused his (drunken) request and he ordered her to be eliminated. How, we do not have those details but she is never again mentioned in scripture or secular records. We can use culture of that time to speculate. If one even dared to enter the presents of the King without being asked, it meant instant death.

JIV NOTE: Many modern day women libbers point to this instance of denying the request of a husband as creating the right of other wives to do the same thing as at this time in history. Those in the king’s court feared that would happen in Persia and demanded a quick and threatening punishment for Vasti. We still do not know of her punishment but knowing the now Arab and Islamic world from this same area, it was probably very severe even though she was probably right.

After her elimination the selection of the king’s new bride began (and subsequent queen). We know this was Esther. Mordecai was Esther’s uncle. After Esther was established as the queen he heard of a plot to kill the king. He reported it to Esther who reported it to the king who investigated and found it to be correct. The king had the would-be assassins executed. But somehow he ‘forgot’ to give a reward to Mordechai.

In the meantime, the wicked Haman the Amalekite, the greatest anti-Semite in his generation, had become appointed Prime Minister of the greater Persian Empire. He was a descendant of Amalek who had no historical love for the Jews having attacked them when they left Egypt; i.e. Amalek was a Canaanite descended from Ham.

Note that knowledge from our Old Testament college course connects a few dots with this information from the Book of Esther; i.e. Egypt, Israel, 12 spies in Promised Land, Amalekites giants and the wandering of Israel.

Haman had a huge ego and he wanted all to bow down before him when he became Prime Minister of Persia. Mordecai was the only one (and only Jew) that refused. This of course infuriated Haman. Haman began a plot to exterminate not just Mordechai, but also his people the Jews of Persia/Babylon.

Mordecai told Esther that she should realize that the reason God anointed her to become queen was in order to rescue her people. It was up to her to do something. She knew that the king’s weak spot was a good brew and although they did not have Jack Daniels and Johnny Walker in those times, they did have strong wine. She held a drinking party for King Ahasuerus and Haman. King Ahasuerus wondered why she invited Haman. He also noticed that Haman was feeling quite pleased with the high status accorded to him by the royal family of Persia (formerly known as Babylon; now Iran).

The king asked Esther the reason for the party and she declined to tell him telling him that at another party she will reveal her purpose. In the meantime the king went back to his palace a bit suspicious or at least quite curious of Haman.

The Old Testament tells us that very same night, the king could not sleep; Esther 6:1. He requested his scribe to read to him from the Persian archives. When the reader mentioned Mordecai and how he saved the king’s life he asked what reward had he been given. The reply was nothing. Ah ha, the king reasoned because he did not reward this man, no one has come forward to tell him what is going on between Esther and Haman. He wanted to know why Haman was invited to Esther’s party!?

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Haman had other plans for Mordecai the Jew who would not bow before him. He built a high gallows to hang him. Unfortunately for himself and fortunately for the Jews of Persia (today’s Iran), at the next drinking party that Esther arranged for Ahasuerus and Haman, she revealed to the king that Haman planned to kill her. She being a Jew was under the wicked Haman’s death decree to eradicate all Jews.

The king became infuriated. Being bit tipsy ran out of the room to think. Haman realizing his personal jeopardy and difficult predicament fell to his knees in front of the queen to beg for mercy, but being also a bit tipsy fell onto Esther. That was just as Ahasuerus re-entered the room. Imagine the shock of Ahasuerus  to see his top minister lying on top of the queen! He did not hesitate one moment to call for the guards to take Haman and execute him immediately. As the Bible tells us in the book of Esther, Haman was hung from the very gallows he planned to publicly hang Mordechai.  This was between 486 and 465 B.C. This is recorded in the bible and Persian records.

The events described in the Book of Esther began around the years 483–482 BCE, and concluded in March, 473 BCE. This is the same location from where Daniel had a vision (Daniel 8:2).

A quote from my Levite Priest friend in Tel Aviv: “Thus through drinking and drunkenness the Jews were saved from destruction. Therefore to commemorate the miracles that happened then, we today imbibe more than normal. Jews are generally not drinkers and therefore this is a difficult *mitzvah to perform. But when one considers that G-d directs the entire universe even to the point when each leaf that falls off from a tree it is guided by G-d to where it will land, we must realize that G-d will protect us if when we drink our desire is to fulfill the mitzvah of Ad d’lo Yada.”

*Mitzvah means “for one day only.”

P.S. Like manmade denominational rules, this is a Jewish celebration not ordered or sanctioned by God.

 

Murphy James

Jeremiah – Chapter 11

If someone says to another, no longer go here, do this or that, it can be taken two different ways. One might be a punishment of the individual being told to NOT, the other may be a boycott of the here, this, or that. The latter is what God is telling Jeremiah in 11:14. He says to him, [ESV] “Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.”

The “this people” to which is referred in verse 14 is those living in Judah. Jeremiah loved his Tribal people and had previously begged God to overlook their sins ONE MORE TIME. The people of Judah had pushed God to the end of his patience. His judgement was pending and almost upon them. He knew Jeremiah’s love for them and his attempts to get them to do away with their idolatry. Matthew 10:14 is similar to God telling Jeremiah to “let it go.” “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”

[Oddly enough both verses in Jeremiah and Matthew are V14. There is no scriptural implication by this but it will help the bible student to remember the verse addresses].  

book of lifeGod is giving Jeremiah the same marching instructions in chapter 11 that Jesus gave his disciples in the book of Matthew chapter 10. It is not our job as Christian witnesses to bring people to the Lord as much as it is our responsibility to bring the Word of God to them. Every decision for Christ is a personal one. Brow beating is never suggested by God (O.T.) or Jesus (N.T.). This is the job of conviction and that is part of the job description of the Holy Spirit.

The first few verses of Jeremiah 11 are reminders of what God had done for Israel as a whole. This includes by default a consequence for not recalling God’s intervention on multiple occasions on behalf of Israelis. The covenants or promises God made with Israel (and the Christian Church) always include an “If you do______, then I will do _____.” Of course, this also means if Israel or today’s Christian (church) does not fulfill his or her end of the covenant-promise, God is no longer obligated to fulfill His end, thus a consequence is in order.

Verse 4 specifically tells Jeremiah that God is talking about the agreement I (God) mane with Jeremiah’s ancestors when He brought them out of bondage in Egypt 1,000 years before Jeremiah’s time. ‘Listen to me and obey all the commands I give you. Then you will be my people and I will be your God.’ We would be wise to continue doing the same today…obeying his commands. However, if one does not study the commands of God and Jesus we will not know them. In secular terms, ignorance of the law is not a defense in court.

Verse 5 is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob fulfilled their end of the covenant as did Moses and ultimately Joshua. This resulted in several million Israelites ending up in a fertile and Promised Land. God said to Jeremiah, “You are living in that land today!” many Christians today think us immune to punishment if we do not follow the prescribed “way of living” in the Christian life. This is the message of Satan, not God. Two examples:

Proverbs 3:11-12 (NIV) My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

Proverbs 15:5 (NIV) A fool spurns his father’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.

We can add a third example in Hebrews 12:11… “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

Jeremiah 11:9-11 is the consequence. God is no longer going to listen to their cries. In a modern way of thinking, it is similar to making a promise for reprieve or safety but once that is gained, we forget our end of the promise. It is the basis of the saying, “foxhole Christian.” God says I will no longer listen to their pleas. This then takes us up to our opening statement when God commands Jeremiah in verse 14 to NOT PRAY FOR THEM. But we must not skip the meaning of 11:13. It is saying that Israel has as many different gods as are the cities and villages in Judah. The streets in Jerusalem number fewer than the number of idol alters in that city alone. It is the final straw for God.

Earlier in Jeremiah we discussed that the people of Judah felt safe because they had the Temple in their city. God is telling Jeremiah that it isn’t the temple (sanctuary in modern terms) that will save and redeem, but it is God alone. This may help one to understand. If one carries a picture of Jesus on his or her person or carries a bible to church, somehow this is good enough? Even asking this question begs of silliness.

olive tree.jpgAt verse 16 God makes a comparison with a young, strong Olive tree that is nourished by its planter. God had fulfilled one of his covenants by planting the offspring of Abraham in the Promised Land. The blessing of the olives was plentiful but by this time in history, Judah was taking all this for granted. God therefore is going to pull them out of the Promised Land (garden of plenty) and transplant them in a foreign land. The analogy continues when Jeremiah discovers his fellow villagers in Anathoth are out to kill him. He becomes the tree they wish to cut down.

By verse 20 Jeremiah is no longer defending his people of Anathoth, Jerusalem or Judah. He is calling for God to fulfill his promise of a consequence for not obeying; refusing to rid the kingdom of idols, confess their sins to God, and worship only him. Specifically, those men of men of Anathoth who connive to kill Jeremiah will be punished. They will be left with no heirs. Not all of Anathoth, but those who threatened Jeremiah will pay for their threats.

Behold, I will punish them. The young men shall die by the sword, their sons and their daughters shall die by famine, [v23] and none of them shall be left. For I will bring disaster upon the men of Anathoth, the year of their punishment.” [ESV]

Preview of our next study article

Jeremiah 12 brings a very interesting question to the study table. Why does it seem that the evil people prosper while those who wish to follow God-Christ seem too often to come up short? This is very much contemporary today. We will see this in full in our chapter 12 discussion.

miniJimRev. Dr. Jstark
January 2017

Jeremiah – Chapter 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Break up the fallow ground

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“This is what the LORD says,

‘I will destroy the country.

But I will not destroy the whole country.”

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

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

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

Also look back at Jeremiah 3:8.

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

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

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

Rev. Dr. Jstark – December 2016

 

 

Appendix:

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

 

Revelation – Chapter 20

There is plenty to discuss in this short chapter but as usual, we will take the approach of Dr. jStarkidentifying or defining the significant and major points made by the Apostle John. Revelation 20, 21, and 22 could easily fall in sub captions of 1) the fall of the dragon (Satan), 2) The new Heaven, and 3) The New Earth; a closing well deserving our attention.

A Revelation 20 outline subhead form looks like this:

  1. Millennial or statement per the thousand years,
  2. Satan’s final judgment,
  3. The Great White Throne judgment of those resurrected to face their eternal decision on earth while alive.

We could add the Battle of Gog and Magog along with the Lake of Fire but these will fall into our discussion of the above outline of a, b, & c.  In chapter 19 many theologians and commentators would identify as Armageddon and chapter 20 as the Battle of Gog/Magog. Either way, keep in mind that both battles follow the 7-year Tribulation. Yes, there will be wars and rumors of wars [Matthew 24:6] but these lead us up to and into the Great Tribulation. Satan is alive and well and can cause such destruction that Jesus has to return to the earth less there are no humans left alive [Matthew 24:22].

Hosea the prophet clearly tells us that the latter days are a specific time when the Tribes of Israel will return to the State of Israel. They are dispersed throughout the world; the four corners of the earth. [Isaiah 11:12]. However, Israel today is mostly those descended from the Tribe of Judah. They are the New Testament Jews who crucified Jesus. “Jews” descended from those who were exiled for 70 years in Babylon. Only a very small remnant returned. There has yet to be a massive return of Israelites from the other 11 tribes. We mistakenly try to identify the Jew as all-inclusive of Israelites. In the first five books of the Bible [written by Moses] he never Identifies Israelis as Jews. The word Jew is the Anglo-Saxon/Greek version of Judah or from the country or territory of Judah; the predominant people in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus Christ on earth. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jew_(word)]

The sequence so far is: Church Rapture – 3 ½ Tribulation plus 3 ½ years of Great Tribulation – The return of Jesus to the Mount of Olives – the earth shudders, shakes and divides along natural fault lines (including the one geologists say goes right through the center of the Mount of Olives – Armageddon – the beast and false prophet captured, judged, and thrown into the Lake of Fire – birds of the wild feast on the dead the dead 200 million man combined army in Har Megiddo 55 miles north of Jerusalem who try to attack Jerusalem – THEN CHAPTER 20: the beginning of the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ on the Throne of David in Jerusalem.

This is the point at which one can get distracted by or caught up in the theological positions of a-millennialism [no millennium], postmillennialism [all after the fact including Christ’s return; the power of the church binds Satan not the angel from heaven], and premillennialism [the position of this website since it makes most sense without drawing at straws or spiritualizing factual scripture throughout the Bible]. We are deliberately side-stepping the minor disagreements between the classical and the dispensational premillennialists; both for the sake of the reader of this blog and its authorJ.

A lengthy but good discussion on Revelation 20 can be found at: http://www.centralbaptist1873.org/downloads/revelation/Outline%20for%20Revelation%2020.pdf.  Not yet studied by us, website blog appears to be solid.

We won’t get into the theories of what the key or chain may represent in verse one. The bottom line: this angel has the power to grab, hold, restrain, and bind Satan in such a manner as his personal powers are useless to either escape or to any longer influence the peoples and nations of this world. Powerless until the thousand year millennium is over. One might ask as we addressed in the previous blog, “why must Satan be released even if it is but for a short time after the millennial reign of Jesus and God?”

Good question. The answer is hidden in plain sight. If Satan is able to assemble a huge army after the thousand years of “iron scepter” (Revelation 2:27; Psalms 2:9; Revelation 12:5) rule of Jesus, it is obvious there are still those who do not Love or Accept Jesus as his or her Savior or King. Satan’s last stand (phrase borrowed from Custer’s Last Stand) will be judged. Satan first, then the books (plural) are opened and each person is judged according to his or her deeds; i.e. different levels of eternity in Hell (?).

Taking a slight step backward, be mindful that Jerusalem is the bride of God (O.T.) just as the church is the bride of Jesus Christ (N.T.). Let me borrow a quote from:  http://tedmontgomery.com/bblovrvw/emails/thewoman.html

The Church did not “replace” Israel; rather, it was grafted into Israel. At a future time, Israel (Zion) will receive all of the blessings promised to her millennia ago by God (Isaiah 45:17, 51:2,3,16; Jeremiah 50:4,5; Ezekiel 36:1–37:28). Also, the “woman” does not represent only Jews, who are descendants of Judah, since they are only one of the twelve tribes of Israel. (Read Revelation 11 once again or revisit the blogs in this website of Revelation 11, 12, 13, and 14)

Verse 4 of C20 is significant:revelation-20

(paraphrased) The souls (not bodies) of those beheaded, who had not worshiped the beast, his image, or taken the mark of the beast. These must be the Christians martyred DURING the tribulation and probably the voices of those “souls” heard under the Throne (Revelation 6:9) asking for justice (Revelation 6:10).

This, as hinted to in Revelation 6:11 and as previously discussed in this series of Revelation blogs, could be one of the two 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 7:4 and again Revelation 14:1-5. It matters little as to if separate or different groups of 144,000 per Revelation 20:4. Those who die, for their witness of Jesus Christ during the Tribulation, will “Live and reign with Messiah (Christ) a thousand years.” (Also read Isaiah 51:11)

However, verse 6 should not be overlooked per a resurrection. This can get to be sticky theological detail here but here is the quick kick of it all. Being that if there is a pretribulation rapture, those who are the bride or church of Jesus Christ are already gone; i.e. Rapture. Those who die for their witness during the Tribulation are resurrected in verse 4.

Easy answer to the obvious question… who is left on earth before this resurrection? Answer: those who rejected God (O.T.) or reject Jesus (N.T.). This is how we get the first and the second resurrection. The dead in God/Christ are resurrected for the Millennial Reign. Recall from previous blogs in this study that millions have died by now via Satan’s effort to destroy mankind. Millions have also died at Armageddon; Tribulation ended. We calculate that between 1/3 and ½ of the world’s population have died within a short period of time. Then Gog and Magog deaths. No problem with overcrowding on earth.

The second resurrection is those who died without God or Christ. This is the Great White Throne judgment and capacity is no problem since “the heavens [sky] and earth flee the presents of God.” We see this verse in Revelation 20:11. But first let’s not skip some important discussion beginning in verse 7; i.e. Satan’s final judgment.

If unbelievers are wrong and chapter 20 is right, they have a serious and eternal problem of resurrection, judgment, and Hell. If I am wrong as a believer, then I will simply die like the rest of the world’s population; past and present. You decide but there are only two options. Reject Christ and possibly be wrong and the judgment correct, or accept Christ and be safe regardless of end time. Being a believer is not a safety net; it is a life style!

As already mentioned, Satan is bound a thousand years. When released, he raises an army the sized or “like the sand on the seashore; [then] march the breadth of the earth, surround Jerusalem [V9c], but never get to fight. They are devoured by fire from heaven… only to be raised in judgment in the second resurrection shortly thereafter. They see a second death; one of eternal punishment. I have been asked many times; what might Hell be likened to? My best guess is like the fire or burning of a deep-rooted hate, or lust for something one cannot get or get over. This feeling will be stamped into one’s mind to the power of ten, never to leave or be replaced by another thought while camping out at the lake of fire.

In verse 10 we are reminded that the beast (anti-Christ) and his false prophet are already in the Lake of Sulfur waiting for their cherished and loving Satan (pun intended) with very warm and open arms of welcome. Thanks for joining us you devil!!!!!! The beast and false prophet have already been there a 1,000 years. That is plenty of time to develop a very warm welcome for their master deceiver… Satan.

Finally, chapter 20 closes on the subject of the Great White Throne Judgment. We previously discussed some of this but allow us to point to or remind the reader-student the exposé of a few additional facts.

  1. The earth and sky flee from the presents of “him who is seated on the throne.”
  2. The dead resurrected, small and great, stand before the Great White Throne.
  3. The BOOKS are opened; books that have recorded his and her life and deeds while on earth. This opens up the possibilities of greater or lesser punishments but does not eliminate the fact of a judgment.
  4. Another book (singular) is opened and those whose names are written in the [Lamb’s] Book of Life are given life with God (trinity). These are possibly those who are still alive on earth but repent of their sin before the judgment day of reckoning. (emphasis mine)
  5. V13c: (NIV) “…and each person was judged according to what s/he had done (while on earth). (emphasis mine – see #3)
  6. “If anyone’s name is not found written in the Book of Life, s/he is thrown (accordingly) into their Lake of fire for eternity.” (emphasis mine)

Revelation Chapter 16

Check out the overview by clicking on link below:

Power Point Presentation for Chapter 16

Dr. jStarkIt is difficult to write on something that so many other scholars and want-to-be teachers have already covered in so many different formats. The FACTS don’t change. Bible content is something that cannot be copyrighted. Just like the free will of man to accept or deny the existence of a God supreme, it cannot be outlawed. Simple example in America: To pass a law about discrimination in any form does not eliminate it. This country (2016) is more polarized today than it was just 8 years ago. We can probably go back to the Civil War and see very similar hate, choosing of sides, difference of opinion in neighborhoods and a cluster of houses in a common section of almost any town feeling they are not a neighborhood-in-common.

I state the above as we close in on the end of our Revelation study. This is precisely what the Apostle John and many other bible prophets and authors of books in the bible have said for 3,000 years. They go into much greater detail, but without knowledge, how can one prepare for End Time? Simple answer… they can’t! This however does not mean End Time will also not come. It simply means that millions will lose his or her opportunity to survive it and spend eternity in a much more preferred place than hell.

Revelation 16

A voice from out of the heavenly temple commands the 7 angels to “go their way and pour out the vials of God’s wrath upon the earth and mankind”. Note that John hears the command that all 7 angels are told to GO! Not go #1; then go #2 and so forth. There is an order or sequence but no timing is evidenced. Since all 7 are told to go with ONE COMMAND, it is highly unlikely that there is a span of much, if any time between the pouring out of the wrath bowls of God. [suggested insight follows later]

The sequence is as follows:

  1. Bowl #1 is great sores upon man (and woman) if they have worshiped the beast, his image or taken the mark of the beast.
  2. *Bowl #2 is God’s wrath on the sea. We are not told if this includes lakes, ponds, or oceans. The Greek word used here is Thalassa. Thayer and Strong point out that this is a term usually indicating the Red or Mediterranean Seas. Since Thalassa is a prolonged form of halce, which means “salt” it would be unwise to conclude it does not include the great oceans and gulfs.
  3. *Bowl #3 is when and where the rivers, streams, springs are included in God’s wrath. The third angel pours out his bowl upon these waters.

    *a word of caution… some bible translations say “the waters turned to blood like a dead man.” Young’s Literal Translation from 1898 says “blood.” We do not know if this analogy is a comparison of similarities or the actual thing. It is not important to know which as all translations worth any study say that all living creatures within these waters die.

At this point there is a short interlude as an angel “in charge of the waters” points out (v5) that God is justified in doing this to his creation. He explains that man has shed the blood of God’s followers and “deserves” the same treatment. Then in verse 7 a voice from the alter seconds this proclamation made by the angel of the waters. The obvious…this is at the end of the Great Tribulation Period of 7 years.

We might also note that the first three bowls of judgement are similar to judgements one and six cast on Egypt at the time of the Israeli bondage in that country. Even though these Egyptian plagues were limited to Egypt, we do know what these “plagues” were limited to in durations. This may only be studied speculation, but it gives us some insight as to the possible duration of each plague in Revelation: The first Egyptian plague lasted for 7 days (Ex 7:25), the 9th Egyptian plague lasted for 3 days (Ex 10:21-23), and the 10th was for one night, beginning at midnight (Ex 12:29-31); all within a given week. This may be helpful to those who want a duration number or some possibilities given for the plagues in Revelation. For some reasonable speculation on days of duration, go to http://www.jesusalive.cc/ques219.htm.scorchingsun

  1. Bowl #4 is the sun scorching those on earth (this does not include anyone who has not worshiped the beast, his image, and/or taken the mark of the beast. One must speculate that the turning of waters into a blood-like substance is not a permanent plague. Mankind would die after a few days of no water. Add the 4th plague of a scorching sun to no available water and mankind would fall like flies in a very short period of time.

We hasten to add another note for the reader. Verse 9 states flat out that men cursed God and refuse to repent or recognize Him for who and what He was, is, (and at this point in Revelation) is to very soon come. It appears there is room for men to repent or at least give God recognition for who He is. Not to keep adding Greek to this blog, but sometimes it helps our understanding of scripture. The word “repent” in verse 9 is metanoeō in the Greek. This means to “change one’s mind.” However, we must recall what Revelation 14:9-11 states. If someone repents at this point, it could be suggested that their eternal punishment from the “books that will be opened” [Revelation 2012] could be lessened. However, changing one’s mind does not mean changing one’s heart. One can begrudgingly accept a previously denied fact but still not embrace it.

  1. This is a turning point for Satan, the beast, and his false prophet. Up to this point the false trinity may have escaped the plagues on earth and man. But, plague #5 is pointed… God’s wrath is turned upon the kingdom of the beast. There will be total darkness and an unspecified pain poured out on the throne of the beast and his kingdom. People will finally see that the false-god isn’t even able to prevent or immunize itself against these judgments. What a Day That Will Be!
  2. Now to set the possible stage for the fulfillment of Plague or curse #6. We have the angel of vial #6 drying up the Euphrates. We know that this is already happening. Type drying of the Euphrates River into your search engine and read it from secular sources. There are multiple events happening at this time. Let’s briefly look at a few of them.dryingupriver
    1. Water has by now become very scarce due to the plagues. It may even replace the demand for oil by that time. There already is and has been a short supply of drining water in the Middle East; even during the time of Jacob.
    2. Putin and Netanyahu have recently agreed to a joint venture in developing oil and gas reserves found in Israel.
    3. The most recent world class oil reserve has been found in Har Megiddo; i.e. Armageddon territory; 55 miles north of Jerusalem.
    4. When oil reserves are threatened, armies converge to protect or steal it.. Examples? The Kuwaiti war with Saddam; Iraqi War; WWII… *(See the asterisk paragraph below)
    5. When water becomes totally scarce the Aswan Dam in Egypt will become a terrorist target. If breached or destroyed, this will fulfill the prophecy of Ezekiel 29:9.
    6. The dams in Jordan, Russia, Syria, Turkey…; King Hussein of Jordan has said “the volatile issue of water could drive the region to war. (See Matthew 24:22)
    7. UN Secretary-General Bhoutros-Ghali, while he was still Egypt’s foreign minister, said, “The next war in the Middle East will be fought over water, not politics.”
    8. Ironic as it may sound, the Persians defeated the Babylonians by diverting and drying up the river waters to Babylon back in 539 B.C.. Is this a preview of the fall of the Revelation Babylon???

*There needs to be something that calls these armies together at Har Megiddo; 55 miles north of Jerusalem. We are not without strong compelling attractions to this Valley of Jezreel in northern Israel AKA, Har Megiddo. Here are a few:

  1. Daniel 11 prophecies battles between the King of the North (probably the anti-Christ) and the king of the South (probably Muslim nations who refuse the anti-Christ as their master.) In their final battle they meet at Har Megiddo.
  2. In order to protect its oil rights in Israel and as agreed upon between Putin and Netanyahu (2016), Russia marches in to fend off destruction of their oil rights only recently discovered. See Daniel 11:44.
  3. A dry Euphrates River allows the king(s) of the East cross over and to get into the battle to either prevent a mutual destruction or to make sure it gets its fair-share of booty after the fight (war)
  4. Why would they gather to do battle? Revelation 16:13; it is all God arranged.

Plague #7:

Cataclysmic events such as islands disappear, mountains collapse and are no more, Jerusalem rises up to a high altitude as the waters from under soon-to-be Throne of God in Jerusalem begin to flow both toward the Jordan River and to the Mediterranean Sea. Jesus Christ sets foot on the Mount of Olives east of Jerusalem. Zechariah (14) tells us that the place of Jesus’ return to earth will not be Zion, Illinois, but the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Israel. The city of Jerusalem is divided into three parts. The armies gathered in plague #6 march on Jerusalem and are judged by Jesus. Babylon the Great, city or an institutional power, is destroyed as announced by an angel in Revelation 14:8 and again in Revelation 18:21. Great and fiery hail falls from the heavens. This hail from heaven has similarities to the Exodus account of plague #7 on Egypt recorded in Exodus 19:13-35. Is it a coincident for us to overlook the fact that this hail in Revelation is plague #7, just as it was in Egypt; i.e. #7?

Much of these plague events and event to follow occur simultaneously and/or in rapid succession. These events continue to be recorded by John in the next couple of chapters in Revelation.

Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army [Revelation 19:19; NIV]

___________________________________________________________

 REVIEW QUESTIONS

1) What are the main points of this chapter?

– The pronouncement (1)

– The seven bowls of wrath (2-21)

2) What did a loud voice from the temple say to seven angels? (1)

– “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth”

3) Upon what was the first bowl poured out?  What happened? (2)

– The earth; foul and loathsome sores came upon those who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image

4) Upon what was the second bowl poured out?  What happened? (3)

– The sea; it became blood as of a dead man; every living creature in the sea died

5) Upon what was the third bowl poured out?  What happened? (4)

– The rivers and springs of water; they became blood

6) Why did the angel of the waters proclaim God’s judgments as just?

(5-6)

– Because they had shed the blood of saints and prophets

7) Upon what was the fourth bowl poured out?  What happened? (8-9)

– On the sun; men were scorched with great heat

8) Despite these judgments, how did men respond? (9)

– They blasphemed the name of God, and did not repent and give God glory

9) Upon what was the fifth bowl poured out?  What happened? (10)

– On the throne of the beast; his kingdom became full of darkness, and people gnawed their tongues because of the pain

10) What again is said about the response to these judgments? (11)

– They blasphemed God because of their sores and pain, and did not repent of their deeds

11) Upon what was the sixth bowl poured out?  What happened? (12)

– On the river Euphrates; it was dried up, so the way of the kings from the east might be prepared

12) What did John see next? (13)

– Three unclean spirits like frogs coming of the mouths of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet

13) What were these, and what was their mission? (14)

– Spirits of demons, performing great signs

– To gather the kings of the earth to the battle of the great day of God Almighty

14) What warning and beatitude did Jesus give at this point? (15)

– Behold, I am coming as a thief

– Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame

15) Where were the kings of the earth gathered? (16)

– To the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon

16) Upon what was the seventh bowl poured out?  What happened? (17)

– The air; a loud voice from the temple of heaven, from the throne, proclaimed, “It is done!”

17) What then occurred? (18-21)

– There were noises, thunderings, lightnings, a mighty earthquake

– The great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell

– Great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath

– Every island fled away, and the mountains were not found

– Great hail from heaven fell upon men

18) How did people respond to the plague of the hail? (21)

– They blasphemed God, because the plague was exceedingly great

 

Revelation Chapter 14 (a)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ezekiel 9

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

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

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

 

Revelation 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 12 (Part 1 of 2)

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

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

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

Deuteronomy 7:6 (The New Living Translation)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Revelation 12 (Part 2) coming soon.miniJim