Jeremiah – Chapter 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. jStark

 

 

Advertisements

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

The last book of the Bible - RevelationsChapter 6 of Revelation is a turning point in the prophecy of this final book of the New Testament and the Bible. This is the chapter of the Scroll “SEALS.” There are a total of seven seals. Chapter 6 discusses 6 of these seals. This is also the chapter renown as the chapter of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. What so many do sometimes fail to understand is, the breaking of each seal is what releases each horseman. Chapter 7 is the breaking of the 7th seal. This helps us locate events in Revelation 6 and 7. In chapter there are 6 seals and in chapter 7 we find the 7th seal.. Seal number seven in the 7th chapter of Revelation is the sealing of the 144,000 witnesses and the seal of Christ on all who accept Him during the Tribulation. We will get back to Seals #5 & 6 later in this discussion, but for now we want to discuss the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.seal

i.e. Chapter 6 finds the 6 Seals broken and completed;

Chapter 7 finds the 7th seal opened, the sealing of the 144,000 witnesses from the twelve tribes of Israel and God’s wrath poured out on those who are not sealed in Him.

Each of the first four of the six seals broken “the lamb” in chapter 6, the only one worthy to open the scroll, reveal four different colored *horses:

Click on the accompanying graph to see the sequence of these four horsemen and their fulfillment of scripture during the Tribulation.             Tribulation graph

Seal #1 is the WHITE horse and rider;
Seal #2 is the RED horse and rider;
Seal #3 is the BLACK horse and rider;
Seal #4 is the PALE horse and rider.

*As you read this full article, allow for the possibility that there is nothing that demands in these verses or insists that the riders are different men, but possibly the same rider on a different horse; only his mission changes.

Before discussing seal #5 and #6, let’s discuss these four horsemen of the Apocalypse. Too often one will hear or read the short descriptions of these horsemen and then discuss or preach on what each signifies. This is almost too obvious. But, let’s put them into perspective with the Apocalypse of the (7 year) Tribulation. Here is what scripture tells us per the very first seal/horse-man.

Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering (nikaō) and to conquer (nikaō).
(Revelation 6:1-2)

What we learn from this passage is that there is the white horse, a rider with a bow, and that he is out to *conquer. What we only sometimes hear is what is going on as it compares or should be placed on an End Time Line graph.

The Koine Greek states the word nikaō is what we translate “conquer.” There is nothing in the Strong or Thayer translation of this word that suggests war type conquering… to overcome, the end result, maintaining ones cause, to prevail. One can do all of this by diplomatic treaty. Remember he has ONE crown and a bow without arrows.

Let’s step back and recall that the 7-year Tribulation is divided into two 3 ½ year periods of time and listed events. Israel is given a promise of peace for 7 years by someone (antichrist) who dominates global politics enough that Israel believes in his or its power to enforce this peace agreement. In other words, he has conquered the world diplomatically or with a show of unquestionable military force. He then breaks this peace agreement with Israel at the 3 ½ year point. This is the guy on the white horse who conquers. He has a bow in his hand, no arrows, but a crown (singular) is given to him. It is the antichrist who signs the pact of peace with Israel and our absolute indication that the 7-year tribulation countdown has begun.

This white horse and rider cannot be Jesus Christ. He comes with a sword on a white horse at the END OF the 7 year Tribulation. No one gives Christ a crown, but he is wearing many crowns. No other horsemen follow him other than his angels all on white horses; not a red, black, then pale horse. Seals 5 and 6 cement this truth. What follows the first white horse are three evil horsemen all bent on war, death and the destruction of ALL mankind.

If you have not previously clicked on the graphic link that comes with this article, please do so now. Notice that the first seal and this particular horseman on the graph begin the Tribulation and up to the 3 ½ year mark. This is when the Red horse and horseman appear. (JIV: I believe the horses change color for identity purposes but the horseman is one and the same. Each horse indicates a different calling or mission for this rider)

The Second seal; second horseman. A fiery Red horse appears at the breaking of this seal. This does not stipulate we have a different rider now in charge, It does however tell us that this guy takes peace from earth and causes huge conflict between mankind on earth… beginning in the Temple at Jerusalem where he sets himself up as a god to be worshiped. This still sounds like the Antichrist from the white horse and seal #1. It could simply mean that he has changed steeds from a peace-keeper (deception) to a war monger; i.e. the fire-red horse. What we do know for a fact is he breaks the covenant at the 3 ½ year mark. He signed one with Israel assuring their peace for 7 years. Deception is now running rampant in the world. People are scrambling and begin fighting amongst themselves.

This fits perfectly on the graph as located at or shortly after the 3 ½ year Tribulation mid-point. What we know about Islam today and their actions as Muslim (means life style believers), it makes it highly unlikely Islam is going to simply go away. We should factor this into any thoughts that this conflict between men beginning at the 3 ½ year juncture of the Tribulation may be as political as it is cult or religious based. (Be patient; when we get to the pale horse, things will begin to make a lot of sense)

Since the second half of the Tribulation is identified as the Great Tribulation; Jacobs trouble (Jeremiah 30:4-7), there is going to be much bloodshed and conflict with it beginning in Israel/Jerusalem and the Temple Mount that Islam believes to be one of their top three holy places. Not just with Israel, but with world leaders and those trying to become world leaders. The antichrist is the one on top, but even he has to put down three of the ten nations in their military alliance when they rebel per his policies, dominance, or fighting tactics. (Read Jeremiah 1:10, Joel 3:2, Daniel 7:23, 24)

imageofhorseThe Black horse (third seal and rider: This rider is renowned for the scales (of his justice?) in his hand. Since this article identifies these scales as “to take or not take” the seal of 666 (antichrist)” this could still be same person or his agent using a different tactic to conquer.

And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
(Revelation 6:4; NIV)

Great famine and economic inflation occur at this time. Let’s consider the mark of the beast discussed in Revelation 13. This famine for some may reflect that if one does not receive the mark of the beast, s/he cannot buy, sell or trade in the globally controlled market. This seal is on his or her hand or forehead. Replacing “discriminatory evangelical practices,” such as not politically correct beliefs, will be a *semi-global world false religion. It is likely this is when Islamist’s are given a portion of the world to run rampant and this world false prophet religion, mostly in of the western powers, temporarily controls the rest of the world. The mark of the beast may or may not be a factor with Islamist’s and in fact may be the grounds for breaking the forth seal thus entering the Pale horse and horseman.

*I say a semi-global false religion when there will most likely be two conflicting and at war false religions on earth at this time, The revived Holy Roman Empire of Europe (King of the North) and the Middle East and Africa dominated by Islam; i.e. the King of the South; controlling ¼ of the world.

The Pale horse is a yellowish-green color. This is the color of Islam today. If they are given dominance over ¼ of the earth as an appeasement with some deal to leave Israel alone during the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation and in agreement with the anti-Christ, we now have the King of the North and the King of the South poised for a major head-to-head conflict.

Here is what scripture says about this fourth seal and Pale horse-horseman.

Revelation 6:8: And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

“…over a fourth part of the earth?” Simple mathematics tells us how and where this prophecy might play out. There is 57,000,000 square miles of habitable land on this planet. 71% of this world’s surface is water. In the Middle East there is 3,600,000 sq miles of land and Africa has 11,608,000 sq miles of land. This is a combined total of 15,200,000 square miles of habitable land. This is very close to ¼ of the total world land mass… 15,200,000 x 4 = 56,000,000. (CIA global land mass calculation).

There is great turmoil on earth during the tribulation. No one is simply sitting neutral on the sideline. This is a true global conflict; man slaying man; man jockeying for political power and dominance; great military forces trying to virtually eliminate each other; in short… mankind destroying mankind. This is precisely why Matthew 24:22 is written as a warning.

Zechariah 12:3b states “…And *all nations shall be gathered against it.” This is the net result of the Red Horse, Black Horse and then the Pale Horse and why the sequence is shown on the included chart/graph of the 7 Tribulation years. A huge number of mankind will be slain, Christian, Gentile, Hebrew, Israelite, Arab, … When the king of the North and the King of the South converge in the Valley of Jezreel to war with each other, about 50 miles north of Israel, they are joined by Russia and China from across the Euphrates. This is when they find a common enemy in the new guy on the block of world powers standing over on the Mt of Olives about 50 miles south of this 200,000,000 million man army; i.e. Jesus Christ on the Mount of Olives where he declares himself King of the World.

So ends our current discussion and graph help per Revelation 6

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