To people who are feeling guilty and condemned. I John 2:1-2

I opened the Bible program on my computer this morning, and this is the first thing I see, the headline leading into 1John chapter 2:1-2.

To people who are feeling guilty and condemned,

It goes on to say, John (the disciple and revelator) offers reassurance.

Why, after all these years, do I still struggle with guilt and condemnation? Perhaps you do as well.

I sat down one day with my Pastor and talked openly and honestly about things going on around me; things like family members that moved back in and live with us, and how they do not seem to understand what the word boundary means; or, what it means to take care of your dogs. That might seem trivial to some, especially when they are firebombing the church you go to or torturing you for your beliefs in a God other than Allah; but I can assure you it feels real to me.

We are told in scripture to confess our sins one to another, and maybe how I feel could fall under this idea of confessing our sins, especially when “sin” is merely missing the mark – up to and including, some substantially ugly stuff. In truth, I am not even sure what this idea of confessing our SINS looks like, as there are people that you should NOT reveal any of your secrets too. I suppose this idea of confession requires that you spend some time with random people to find out how trustworthy they are.

In recovery there is a constant barrage of instructions that goes something like this, what is said here, stays here!

That is what you would hope you find in the real world as well. I can tell you from experience, that even with such counsel your so-called friends will walk up to your wife, right in front of you, and ask, “are the things he says about you in the group, true?”

James 5:16 CJB Therefore, openly acknowledge your sins to one another, and pray for each other, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

I suppose in a way, confession is what I did when I talked with the pastor, but I was not looking for a verbal beating. What I wanted was a compassionate and hearing heart; what I got was, “I can’t believe that you, being a follower of Christ for all these years, would feel this way.” My internal reaction was, are you kidding me; you didn’t just say that to me?

What does scripture tell us?

Galatians 6:1 MSG Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out.

When you consider that SIN is merely the missing of the small center of the target, then we all sin daily.

But what happens when someone falls into sin?

Translations vary from the word sin to the sad reality of being caught in and overtaken in a fault. At least with phrases like being caught in sin and overtaken in sin, you immediately can tell that there is much more than a gentle push from the wind while trying to hit a target. The phrases can imply being too casual about the problem, or a non-caring attitude because you think you can handle whatever it is; unfortunately, sin can be deadly.

To be overtaken is the Greek word prolambanō and means to take in advance, that is, (literally) eat before others have an opportunity; (figuratively) to anticipate, surprise (Strong’s concordance)

The words that the Greek conveys cause me some grief, for how do I understand this idea of being captive when the strongest implication comes from the phrase, to take in advance? If I were to collect my earnings before payday, it would either be by permission (most employers would look at you warily from that point on,) or, you stole the money thinking they owed you anyway. None-the-less, you took it in advance. The second option being theft. If what I am trying to understand is this idea of being caught in sin, then perhaps some of the other words available make more sense; such as to “have an opportunity,” or to “surprise.Having an opportunity indicates some thought has been applied, quite possibly for some time, while the word surprise alludes to something that is suddenly before you. A car crash on the motorway can undoubtedly be a surprise, but the result can be a terrible chain of events, with appalling consequences, all of which contribute to the idea of being taken in a snare.

John MacArthur’s commentary tells us that to be overtaken is literally to be “caught,” which may imply the person was seen sinning or that he was caught or snared by the sin itself.

A fault is the Greek word paraptōma and means a sideslip (lapse or deviation), that is, (unintentional) error or (willful) transgression: – fall, fault, offense, sin, trespass.

Paul goes on to say,

Galatians 6:2-3 ERV Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. 3) If you think you are too important to do this, you are only fooling yourself.

We should, at this point, understand that the potential for help and comfort is there. The guest speaker at our church sat and talked with me, saying, we the church should be the place where we can go, take our hurts, and be accepted. I laughed as I said, sadly, that is not reality.

But, what if your guilt and condemnation have been drilled into you through parents, caretakers, childhood, bullies: (many times these can look like church leaders.)

1 John 2:1-2 NASB My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2) and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

Note the words, “if anyone sins.” Of course, we are going to sin; it’s built into us.

But 1 John 2:1-2 gives us hope, for:

  • we have an Advocate with the Father,”

    Advocate – paraklētos – An intercessor, consoler: – advocate, comforter.

  • Jesus Christ the righteous;”

    What gave Jesus His ability and right to stand on our behalf? One, you should understand that He is God, and two, His willingness to pay the price on the cross. He repurchased us, and, He bought our redemption. At one point, He told the disciples and those listening, that this same advocate would come in His place if He went back to the Father, and He did. Therefore, the comforter/advocate has come.

John 16:7 NASB “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

  • and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins;”

    Propitiation – hilasmos atonement, that is, (concretely) an expiator: – propitiation.

    This atonement is what I spoke of when I said, “He gave His life on that cross.” Jesus, we are told, poured out His own blood on the heavenly altar, just as the priest would. In so doing He became our high priest. And, God raised Him up and seated Him at the Father’s right hand.

  • and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

    His atonement covered, not only those of us who believe but everyone – the whole world. This blanket forgiveness seems to be the hardest thing for the religious to understand. This lack of belief or understanding is proven out by comments indicating how everyone caught in sin is going to hell. Logic would ask, what sins, seeing as sins have been forgiven. Taking this idea one step further, what then condemns the world? A lack of belief in Jesus Christ.

There it is, this Jesus has taken all the guilt and condemnation onto Himself. He purchased us back from the debt WE owed. (If you are a movie fan, then the movie adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, tells this story, as Aslan had to make the secluded deal with the witch, as they met in the tent. Aslan, a symbol of Jesus, gave His own life in place of Peter’s. And, just as Aslan did, Jesus rose from the dead, with great power, and, He was unstoppable.

What is required of me? Faith.

Can I believe that someone, namely Jesus, would do that for me? Yes, and I did, and so can you.

What’s to keep the entire world from accepting such salvation? Nothing, as He simply asks us, in this age of grace, to believe.

Back to this problem of me, struggling with “sins” after so many years in the Lord.

An aspect of what makes me work is the voices in my head. No, I am not nuts, we all have voices in our heads. To some, they sound like a drill sergeant; to others, like me, they sound like my dad or mother; often they sound like some moral authority, especially when acting moral is very inconvenient.

Fortunately, after all these years, I can definitely say that one of those voices belongs to God/Holy Spirit. While I just admitted that I hear from God, I also argue with Him, and that bothers me. Recently I heard Him tell me to go to another fast food stand instead of the one we typically go to on Tuesdays because I was going to have trouble there. Now, in my defense, He did not explain why I would have trouble, but I think I knew why and I saw an image of them. My foolish, manly response was that I could handle problems. It turns out I couldn’t and just about had the police called on me – I sound like a large bear when I get that angry. And yes, I let anger and rage get the best of me. Having spent some time in recovery because of the anger, I have come to the determination that, like the alcoholic, I will fight with this for the rest of my life. (This understanding is really the sanest approach. I like to call it honesty.)

At this point in life, my conclusions are that I (just like all of you) have built-in damage that tries to motivate me to live out of my self-motivated desires; and, I have sustained damage from others that have wounds deep enough to be an active cause of my griefThere is, unfortunately, the third cause of troubles in our lives and that is the enemy, Satan.

Paul speaks to this idea of being snagged by the enemy.

2 Timothy 2:25-26 NASB with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26) and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

Were you aware that people were caught in snares set by the devil, at his will?

It sounds like a hopeless situation and would be if Christ had not purchased our redemption, and that is why we have the freedom of confession (one to another;) an advocate – Jesus Christ; The Word of God, and Galatians 6:1 which admonishes our brothers and sisters in Christ to come to our aid.

Galatians 6:1 NASB Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself so that you too will not be tempted.

This passage came up after the leader of the Monday morning group said, “I believe that if you have fleshly thoughts when the rapture comes, that you will have trouble making it through the pearly gates.” This unsubstantiated statement was his attempt at not adding to scripture, and he informed us so right before he said it. What it shows is this man’s grievous lack of understanding about God’s: word, character, and nature – as the group leader, in effect, is condemning all who sin, to hell. Do you see Christ’s paying the penalty and doing away with the handwriting that was against us, in this leader’s statement? NO.

Moments after making these statements the 92-year-old co-leader asked me directly what I thought about what the leader said; it became a habit with this guy to challenge people in the group by saying, “do you have a problem with that?” I can tell you that he is not looking for a correct answer, he is merely siding with the leader and looking to humiliate someone; this time it was me. I paused to think about this for a moment, and this man called my name out once again. With that, I said, “an alcoholic, if they are honest, will admit that they are an alcoholic and will be for the rest of their life. So, when it comes to human reasoning, I can’t perceive of “fleshly” thoughts any differently than the alcoholic, as I will deal with, in my case, anger, for the rest of my life.

How does one not have human thoughts?
How does a preacher deal with the scantily clad ladies that come to church? Do they only look at the ceiling lights as they are preaching or teaching in order to avoid such “fleshly thoughts?  
And what of the hellfire and brimstone television preacher Jimmy Swaggart (whom many of these men adore) who sinned, multiple times? We only know of his sins because he got arrested.

And yes, once again, in my response to this guy, I let my anger get the best of me. No, I did not cuss, I merely pushed this sacred cow called Jimmy Swaggart down and effectively kicked it in the head.

I was, as I expected, accosted for my statements. However, another pastor in the group brought up Galatians 6:1. He did this because there was no kindness or gentleness in the leader’s response to me.

So, what have I/we learned? That we, as followers of Christ, have an advocate, as does Jimmy Swaggart, and, so does the false teacher of our group.

1 John 2:1-2 NASB My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2) and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

Posted in 1 John, advocate, bible study, caught, comfort, condemnation, false teaching, forgive, Freedom from sin, Galatians, God's character, grace, guilt, Hope, Jesus, Law of liberty, Mercy, overtaken, recovery, restore, strongholds, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The man of lawlessness and what it means to me. 2Thess 2:7-12

I ended the last post with this verse –

2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 WNT 7) For lawlessness is already at work in secret; but only until the man who is now exercising a restraining influence is removed, 8) and then the Lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will sweep away with the tempest of His anger, and utterly overwhelm by the awful splendor of His Coming.

I keep running these concepts through my mind, and, when possible, talk with my wife or a few close friends about what I think I see. Recently we had finished eating, and once again I brought up 2Thessalonians 2:3 where it says

2 Thessalonians 2:3 NASB “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,”

I find myself breathing a heavy sigh as I read this passage. For me, the heaviness comes out of a sincere desire for the church body to be firmly grounded in an understanding of end times events and how those events will fall into place, but it also comes out of the reality that all these years later we are no more confident in our faith and comprehension that they were all those years ago. During a fifteen year period, I attended three churches, and I can tell that it is rare to find anyone that has a firm grasp on what Paul is saying here in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. When you begin talking to them about Paul words here, some respond with confused or distorted views of “the day,” while others seem to feel that you have challenged their long-held beliefs and therefore attack with a loud and caustic defense that demonstrates no logic, that they do not read for themselves, or that they choose not to think.

The other side of Paul’s teaching, not spoken of in verse three, is “hope.” Our comprehension that Jesus is coming back for His church is a part of this anchor we call hope. Since hope is integrated into our faith in Jesus’ words that He will come back for us, wouldn’t it be beneficial to understand why we have this hope, and where we place our assurance?

John 14:3 WNT And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will return and take you to be with me, that where I am you also may be.

[In case you did not notice, Jesus did go already]

I primarily use the NASB and it refers to this man that is to come, as the man of lawlessness. Since verses three and eight have a common thread, the man of lawlessness, let’s ponder this person for a few moments.

The man of lawlessness

He is also known as the son of perdition; the man who separates himself from Torah; the man of sin; the man of evil; the son of destruction; the wicked one. One last example comes from the Weymouth New Testament, a translation that, in this case, gives much more definition.

Thayer’s definition of lawless: Greek anomos 1) destitute of (the Mosaic) law; 2) departing from the law, a violator of the law, lawless, wicked

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 WNT 3) Let no one in any way deceive you, for that day cannot come without the coming of the apostasy first, and the appearing of the man of sin, the son of perdition, who sets himself against, 4) and exalts himself above, every so-called ‘god’ or object of worship, and goes the length of taking his seat in the very temple of God, giving it out that he himself is God.

What do I know about this guy?

  • the appearing of the man of sin, the son of perdition.”

    This is merely an explanation and a title at this point; however, he will fulfill every aspect and detail of Biblical prophecy about himself in time.

  • who sets himself against, and exalts himself above, every so-called ‘god’ or object of worship,”

    To set oneself against God doesn’t seem so bad, and yet we do it all the time. We do it with our money; vehicles; homes, and for some, trophy wives. First off you need to understand that EVERY thing in this world works in opposition to God. And yes, that includes religion. So what we are doing is committing adultery with the world. This guy takes it to the extreme as he exalts himself above God, and, every so-called ‘god’ or object of worship. Not even the Catholic church does that; there is, however, an ideology that does, and it is called Islam. Every nation in the world where Islam exists, the Muslim’s that live there are under a mandate to infiltrate and put that nation under the Islamic laws of Sharia. Islam’s ‘god,’ invented by Mohamed, is called Allah.

  • goes the length of taking his seat in the very temple of God, giving it out that he himself is God.”

    This idea of someone taking a seat in the temple, has, since 70 A.D., been difficult to grasp as there is no temple. At the time Paul wrote this letter the destruction of the temple was at least 20 years away. Short of a revelation by the Holy Spirit, Paul would not have known this.

    In May of 2018, the Israeli Prime Minister spoke openly that the temple would be rebuilt. As you can imagine, at the time of this writing, this borders on impossible, and if it were restored, the rioting would be horrendous. And yet, scripture tells us it will happen.

    What an absurdity it is to know that this man of sin will exalt himself above God and place himself in the most Holy seat, all the while decreeing himself to be God?

Still under the heading of what we know about the man of lawlessness, comes the Islamic prophecies. Here is just a portion of what they expect to happen.

The ten major signs known as alamatu’s-sa’ah al-kubra (the major signs of the end).[note 56] They are as follows:

    1. The false messiah—anti-Christ, Masih ad-Dajjal—shall appear with great powers as a one-eyed man with his right eye blind and deformed like a grape. Although believers will not be deceived, he will claim to be God, to hold the keys to heaven and hell, and will lead many astray.[35] In reality, his heaven is hell, and his hell is heaven. The Dajjal will be followed by seventy thousand Jews of Isfahan wearing Persian shawls.[note 57]
    2. The return of Isa (Jesus), from the fourth sky, to kill Dajjal.[36]
    3. Ya’joo and Ma’jooj (Gog and Magog), a Japhetic tribe of vicious beings who had been imprisoned by Dhul-Qarnayn, will break out. They will ravage the earth, drink all the water of Lake Tiberias, and kill all believers in their way. Isa, Imam Al-Mahdi, and the believers with them will go to the top of a mountain and pray for the destruction of Gog and Magog. God eventually will send disease and worms to wipe them out.[note 58][37]

This information comes from Wikipedia.

What do Islam prophecies and what Muslims believe, mean to me?

Since we know from scripture that the plan of redemption was written long before Mohamed had this message about Allah delivered to him in a cave, is it possible that this information, much like everything else Satan has done, is a fraudulent and intentional misrepresentation of truth?

While we are aware that someone, in the role of the Anti-Christ, will come, but that is not who Paul spoke of when he used the phrase, the man of lawlessness. We should also be aware that one we know as the false prophet, will show up, but not until the mid-point of the seven years of tribulation. According to Islam, both of these are known to them. The man of lawlessness to us, is the return of Isa ibn Mariam, the Islamic Jesus. This is the information I presented above as the first and second points of their major prophecies.

I will add that Islam believes this man, will be a Jew; a descendant from Aaron and therefore have a legitimate right to the priesthood; that he will pledge his allegiance to the Mahdi (I believe that this Mahdi person fulfills the role of Anti-Christ); he will perform great signs and wonders (Sadly, this will cause many to follow him. In other words, he causes many to also give their allegiance to Islam.) And, this Isa bin Mariam will be the enforcer of Sharia.

What does this last aspect concerning Sharia mean to any of us?

As followers of Christ, the Church will be caught up to meet Him in the air. Now many believe, such as the man who leads our Monday morning Bible study group, that everyone in that room will be able to bypass the wrath that will be poured out upon the earth. Sorry, but that is not necessarily true. I know this because of the parable of the ten virgins. This parable was an aspect of Jesus response when the disciples asked, “when will these things happen and what will the sign of your coming?”

Matthew 25:1-13 NASB “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2) “Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3) “For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4) but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5) “Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6) “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7) “Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8) “The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps, are going out.’ 9) “But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10) “And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. 11) “Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ 12) “But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13) “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

Notice, how all the virgins got the same invitation, and, all got ready, but there is an exception, for five of them merely grabbed their lamps off the shelf, while the others took the time to refill their lamps and take extra oil. This oil or the act of taking extra seems to play a critical role in this equation. Sadly, I cannot tell you with precision what that oil represents. It may be in the preparation, as it demonstrates looking intently for Him to come; while for others, it may mean study; and still, others, seem to emphasize desire. My experiences have included a pastor that told me NOT to study eschatology and another brother in Christ who called me a firebrand that momentarily excites people; He went on to say, “besides that, we have been looking for Jesus to return for over two-thousand years.” I suppose that pastor who told me not to study, and that brother in Christ feel as though Jesus will not come back for perhaps another forty plus years. May I say that I believe He is riding upon the winds as we speak. I have seen this imagery in my spirit, and I can hear the sound of the trumpets in the distance (not the phony Haarp sounds the governments are playing with.)

Know this, this man, whatever you wish to call him, will be NOT be announced as the man of lawlessness. Because he is a Jew and will have access to the Holiest of Holies within the temple, he will probably be a high priest, and he probably a well-respected man right now. We are there!

but only until the man who is now exercising a restraining influence is removed, and then the Lawless one will be revealed,” (WNT)

This statement above is an excerpt from 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8. When I read this, there is an intense clarity about the timing in which the church; the restraining force that is removed; and “the man of lawlessness” that will be revealed. Since there is no doubt in my mind that the restraining influence is the Church, then the emphasis, therefore, is on the removal of the church before to God’s wrath is poured out. Because of this information, I cannot for the life of me figure out how people can assert that the time of wrath upon the earth is something that the church must go through.

How do I rationalize verse 3 and verse 8 as they both indicate that this man will be revealed?

As I pointed out, verse three seems to be our introduction to the man, although it will not be as “the man of … .” In a sense, he will be quite normal. Since we understand that he will be a Jew that turns his back on the Law of God, then we can better understand why Jesus would say that “he” will cause the best of them to be deceived, and He meant the Jewish leadership.

2 Thessalonians 2:9 GNB The Wicked One will come with the power of Satan and perform all kinds of false miracles and wonders,

In general, I can safely say that the church will not see unleashing of Satan’s power, because all this is designed to happen 1240 days into the time of wrath.

2 Thessalonians 2:10 CJB He (the adversary/Satan) will enable him to deceive, in all kinds of wicked ways, those who are headed for destruction because they would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them.

This statement “those who are headed for destruction because they would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them,” is primarily speaking to the Jews. Could I apply it to the nations? Indeed, for many of them would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them.

2 Thessalonians 2:11 NASB 11) For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,

Imagine a gathering of Pharisees, like Paul so intensely trained in the laws of God, that God must send a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false. Suddenly, it seems like this is all God’s fault, is that the case? Hardly, as they turned their backs on when He sent a steady stream of mercies coming to their direction. Israel, since Egypt, has been entrenched in the idolatrous ways of the nations around them, and verse 12 proves that out.

2 Thessalonians 2:12 NASB 12) in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in wickedness.

Posted in 2 Thessalonians, Apostasy, Assyrians, bible study, Deception, deception, End times, false teaching, gentiles, God's character, Gog, Hope, Islam, Jerusalem, Jesus, judgment, Magog, Matthew's gospel, Millennium, parables, Prophetic, Thoughts, wrath. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In his time he will be revealed. 2Thessalonians 2:5-8

I started writing this blog in 2014. I am writing this because I woke up one morning, years ago, and began listening to the late J. Vernon McGee talking on the radio about this very passage. If I heard him correctly, he implied that 2 Thessalonians 2:5-6 was talking about the removal of the church, an event that allows for the man of sin to be revealed. If this is true, and I want it to be, the things that Paul was saying in this letter to the Thessalonian’s make so much more sense to me. Without that understanding is the possibility that the man of perdition can and will show up just before the church leaves the earth. That, of course, opens the door to a world of hurt coming.

As you should already know, Paul opens the second chapter by restating what he had already told the church in Thessalonica on a previous occasion. There will be a point in time, in which we will all be gathered together, as we meet Him in the air, but that has not happened yet. And, Paul seemed to be aware that this event, though it could happen any minute, was for the distant future. I happen to believe that we are living in that “distant future” now.

Paul goes on to admonish the church at Thessalonica that false information should not easily shake them, whether it be from a spirit(??), or a spoken word or letter represented as coming, in this case, from Paul. This admonition causes me to think. Since the only words we have from Paul are embedded in scripture, where might false information come from today?

Paul’s instructions to this church body are, don’t let anyone deceive you, in any manner, “For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed.” (What day? In verse three, Paul is specifically talking about the time when Jesus returns to the earth as the Warring Messiah. This time frame is proved out by the terminology used, terminology which becomes more apparent when you see it in the Complete Jewish Bible.)

As you move into the next few verses, you come to understand that something is restraining this man that fulfills every job requirement of the false prophet we know is coming.

2 Thessalonians 2:3,4 CJB Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed, the one destined for doom. 4.)He will oppose himself to everything that people call a god or make an object of worship; he will put himself above them all so that he will sit in the Temple of God and proclaim that he himself is God.

So, there are two requirements for that day to come.

  • The revealing of the man of lawlessness.

I opened this post by telling you that J. Vernon McGee implied that this information applied to the removal of the church. However, verses three and four do not sustain that theory, as the events, described by Paul, primarily happen at the midpoint of the seven-years of wrath.

There is an exception if this phrase “and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed,” means that the man of lawlessness will be revealed before the church is caught away. Even then the majority of us will not recognize who this man is because we are all looking for him to come from Rome; that or, we think he will pop on the scene moments before his introduction to the world.

Get serious; this is just like cooking a lobster. We are all in the stewing pot with the heat being turned up slowly, and most of us don’t realize it. Having a better comprehension is why I give you the Complete Jewish Bible translation, as it spells out clearly, that the guy we are looking for (to fill the role of the false prophet) will be a Jewish priest that will have access to the new temple.

Just recently 05/28/2018, a headline from a Jewish news source, quoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as saying, “the temple will be rebuilt.” That’s interesting, but where and when. Knowing that the plans are in place for a tilt-up temple, wouldn’t the plans be in place for a high priest to preside over that temple? Israel has a high priest even now, is he the man?

  • And the apostasy must take place.

Apostasy simply means:

An abandonment of what one has professed; a total desertion, or departure from one’s faith or religion. The desertion from a party to which one has adhered. (Webster’s)

Since what we profess can be taken several ways, including our freedoms, ask yourself, have we lost or given up those freedoms? California, along with several other states, have, or are in the midst of passing laws against “books” and the usage of such, if they advocate or enforce gender change (The implications are that freedom of speech is gone.) So, a school district can force your child and you to endure their attempts at advocating gender identity change, but you cannot stand against them. Sadly, much of this came out modern-day exorcisms, where the person in question is taken a hostage in an attempt to regain or enforce their original gender identity.

There is no doubt about it, we are neck deep in apostasy, and it’s getting deeper.

About “the day”.

I find that, like many of you, I am continually stopping as I try to figure out which day is being referenced. Just off the top of my head, I can think of four clear points in time, each of them being referenced in some way, to “the day.”

Some of the many examples of “the day” are found in:

Ezekiel 30:3 NASB Even the day of the LORD is near; …, A time of doom for the nations.

The Jewish understanding knew it was a day of punishment, but for the nations, and not for them. Why would this be a time of doom? Because, for the most part, the nations will be those rising up against the Lord in battle. Those who choose to fight will cease to breathe in short order. Ah, but what of those who do not fight? They will endure mandatory obeisance throughout the 1000 years. But let’s say, with the veil lifted, they come to acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus. We can only assume that they will be able to partake of the leaves of the tree of life and obtain eternal salvation. I could go on with this for several pages and I prefer not to right now.

Matthew 12:36 NASB “they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.

Jesus, speaking to a Jewish audience, spoke of a time of accounting. While the audience related what he said to the nations, He was talking to Israel as well.

Luke 17:30 NASB “It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.

When will Christ be revealed? At the end of the seven-years of wrath.

1 Corinthians 5:5 NASB so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Paul, speaking about a “Christian” who decided to return to his debauchery, talks like this man has an eternal salvation with God, but is still subject to the pains of this earth.

Ephesians 4:30 NASB by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Since Paul is speaking to the church, albeit a church with the majority being Jewish converts, he would have brought them to the understanding that, for the church, the day of redemption would be the catching away. Outside of the church redemption can only come when the Lord resurrects the martyred saints at the end of the seven years.

1 Thessalonians 5:4 NASB are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief;

Again, Paul is speaking to the church. The modern church will tell you that we are in darkness, not having a clue when Christ will return for the church, but that is not what this says, is it? Although we may not know the precise timing, we can indeed be in the ballpark. This ability to understand the times and seasons will give us the advantage as we put wisdom to work and speak intelligently about what is going on in the world around us. While this can be taken two ways my first logical assumption would the catching away of the church. Lacking that understanding, then I would have to be looking for Jesus to come back as the conquering Messiah at the end of the seven years.

2 Peter 3:10 NASB the day of the Lord will come,… the heavens will pass away … the elements will be destroyed … and the earth and its works will be burned up.

And this too will be a day.

1 Corinthians 15:52 NASB 52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

The point of writing this was to comprehend what is going on in 2Thessalonians 2:5-8, so let’s continue our pursuit of understanding.

2 Thessalonians 2:5-6 NASB 5) Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6) And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.

The Greek word for restrain is katechō and means to hold down (fast), in various applications (literally or figuratively): – have, hold (fast), keep (in memory), let, make toward, possess, retain, seize on, stay, take, withhold.

  • “And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.”

What restrains him is the church, plain and simple. Remove the church and the onslaught is unleashed. What do I mean by the onslaught? While God’s wrath is being poured out upon the earth, so is the wrath of mankind.

Daniel 12:1 NASB “… And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; …

Why would any of this be the least bit important to any of us?

  1. We need, now more than ever, to understand the importance of our prayers and actions. In other words, we need to be proactive in our opposition toward the enemies actions.
    But, it also tells us that, based upon verse six, there is a time in which nothing will restrain the man of lawlessness/the man who separates himself from the Torah.
    Should that information cause us to stop resisting? Not unless you have no breath in you.
    You must understand that God has a plan and nothing will stop it. His plan and intent all along were that all things would be redeemed and restored and that the church would resist the enemy.

  2. The second reason this is important is that there is so much confusion.
    I know this because I sit with men who have been involved with religion for fifty plus years, and they are no less confused than the person on the street who has no religious comprehension. Why would that be, because they have allowed themselves to be shaken by a spirit or a message? We, as a Bible study group, get this perverted teaching every week. When Paul instructed them to not “be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us,” what were the chances that someone would show up 2000 years later, with a new letter from Paul, stating something in opposition? Not likely, so what do we hear constantly?
    “Now what Paul is saying it this.” That’s odd since Paul’s words, (which may not make much sense to our Gentile ears with their Western mentality,) are printed right there on the page. Having listened to many of these, when they say, now what this is saying, I start voraciously looking up words in my concordance, and find that the speaker has frequently skewed those words to make their point. So, the “teacher” is presenting their interpretation, as though it is Paul’s heart.
    For the angry skeptic, not all teachers are false teachers, but if I feel something is amiss, I check it out, as I will not accept anything as though correct unless you can back it with the Word of God. Even then, I will examine the context of the scripture they used.

If I wanted a passage that spoke powerfully about an entity holding back the man of lawlessness, it would be this one.

2 Thessalonians 2:7 NASB 7) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.

You have eyes allowing you to see that the world is falling apart and lawlessness is taking control. How long any of us live in civilized nations, is hard to say, but I can see the anarchy coming. Sadly, the methods of control will turn each nation into a police state under martial law. The obvious thing is that no one person is restraining the enemy. The Murdock translation puts it this way.

2 Thessalonians 2:7 (Murdock) For the mystery of the evil One already, begins to be operative: and only, if that which now hinders shall be taken from the midst;

Simply put, whether we read of the ones doing the restraining as “he” or “that” there will be a point at which the hinderer will be taken from the midst; this is a direct association with the snatching away we call the rapture.
For the next couple of verses, I am going to use the
Complete Jewish Bible. There is a strong reason for that, and I will explain momentarily. I include verse seven because it uses the terminology “For already this separating from the Torah is at work secretly.”

2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 CJB For already this separating from Torah is at work secretly, but it will be secretly only until he who is restraining is out of the way. 8) Then the one who embodies separation from Torah will be revealed, the one whom the Lord Yeshua will slay with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the glory of his coming.

Try to grasp the complexity of what is being said here. Everyday life goes on, while in the background, this horrific, Satanic plan, is already happening.

I always assume that I have new readers, and, that they have not read anything like what I am about to say. Consider that we are talking about a somewhat unified, global entity. The explanation of what is to come was defined as, a kingdom, but it is a kingdom that is not like any other. Is the Islamic empire like a standard kingdom? NO, it is more like a chain of department stores, in which there are independent managers; most of whom don’t even like each other. History has demonstrated that the Ottoman Empire most closely fulfills almost every definition of this last beast/kingdom. The Ottoman Empire lasted the longest, only to be stopped to the point that many presumed its demise. Founded in the 1300’s the Caliphate was effectively abolished on March 3, 1924. Unfortunately, it rose again. In previous posts, I have mentioned that Islam has its own set of prophecies, one of which includes a man who is a descendant of Aaron and will function in the temple. This man will turn his allegiance away from Jehovah to Allah. It also informs us that this man will do powerful miracles, signs, and wonders and that he will become the ENFORCER of Sharia. Many followers of Jesus Christ will die because of this man.

Revelation 13:12 NASB He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.

In Daniel 7:17-27 we see that Daniel desired to understand what he saw, and the explanation came. ‘These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth.

The standard explanation for the fourth kingdom typically points to the Roman Empire; however, that does not work. Daniel desired to know the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head and the other horn which came up. A part of the explanation concerning the last horn was that it had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts.

What was described to Daniel parallels Revelation 13:5 NASB

There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.”

That horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them.

Revelation 13:7 NASB It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.

Under the leadership of the horn with a mouth, the saints were being killed in horrific numbers until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom.

Daniel 12:1 NASB “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.

Revelation 11:18 NASB “And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”

The explanation continued, ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. ‘As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. ‘He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.” Daniel 7:24,25.
The idea of making alterations in times and law, come out of Islamic Sharia law. Islam has only one desire that the world submits to Allah and Sharia Law, this, of course, means that we all run on the Islamic calendar. ‘But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever.

Revelation 19:20 NASB And the beast was seized, and with him, the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. ‘Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’

Posted in 2 Thessalonians, antichrist, Apostle Paul, bible study, Daniel, Deception, deception, End times, false teaching, Islam, Jesus, Jews, judgment, Our being caught up, Revelation, the fourth kingdom, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture, wrath. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Questions and challenges: Revelation 20 and the Great White Throne.

Questions and challenges: Revelation 20 and the Great White Throne.

The premise, posed far too many times, is that God sends everyone appearing before this throne to the lake of fire and it’s eternal hell.

Question: If all you used for your argument was Revelation 20 verse 15, could you find God showing anyone mercy there?
The mercy is there, but you have to look for it, and you have to take in the entire context of an aspect of God’s conversation that he is having with John, as he describes the judgment taking place there.

Before we dive in, there are some considerations to keep in mind.

  • The entirety of the Revelation is about Jesus Christ.

Revelation 1:1 KJV The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

  • This reference to a Great White Throne is only found here in the Revelation.

However, you can find references to, the throne of His kingdom; a great throne of ivory, covered over in gold (1Kings 10:18); the Lord’s throne (Psalm 11:4); His Holy throne (Psalm 47:8); Isaiah 66:1 says, Heaven is My throne; Jeremiah 17:12 calls it a glorious throne, and, Matthew 25:31 which declares that He will sit on His Glorious Throne.

  • This throne represents judgment.

Isn’t that odd, our introduction to Matthew 25:31 is presented by the translators of the NASB as the throne of judgment as well, and that idea is seen here in Psalm 9:7.

Psalm 9:7 But the LORD abides forever; He has established His throne for judgment,
In opposition to the throne of judgment, Psalm 76:9 tells us that His purpose is to save the humble of the earth.

To the Jews he said,

Jeremiah 2:35 Yet you said, ‘I am innocent; Surely His anger is turned away from me.’ Behold, I will enter into judgment with you Because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’

Ezekiel 20:35 and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face.

Ezekiel 39:21 “And I will set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them.

But to those who have placed their hopes and lives into His hands, He says,

John 5:24 NASB “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Jesus, as recorded in John 5:25-27, tells us the same thing we see in Revelation 20. There is, however, a difference as he says, “when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” Perhaps this can explain how the dead are now standing before the throne.

John 5:25-27 NASB “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26) “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27) and He gave Him authority to execute judgment because He is the Son of Man.

Note how many of the aspects of this statement from 1 Corinthians parallels Matthew 25:31

1 Corinthians 4:5 NASB Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.

One last thing I want to consider as I ponder the potential for mercy in Revelation 20:15, is that all judgment has been given to Jesus and that all punishment for sins was placed upon Him, on the cross.

The evidence for this statement comes from several locations throughout the Bible; here are just a few.

Ezekiel 16:62-63 NASB “Thus I will establish My covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the LORD, 63) so that you may remember and be ashamed and never open your mouth anymore because of your humiliation, when I have forgiven you for all that you have done,” the Lord GOD declares.

Jesus declared and established this new covenant when He ate the last supper, with the disciples. For us, the cross was sealed with the blood of that covenant, His blood.

Colossians 1:20 NASB and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

To reconcile is to bring a thing back into harmony. Did that happen that day on the cross? Without a doubt. I know this because Colossians 1:20 tells me it happened through the blood of His cross.

Colossians 2:13-14 NASB 13) When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14) having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

So, with all that being said, what then are these people being judged for, as they are brought before the “Great White Throne”?

Perhaps the answer to that could easily be summed up with a verse or two.

John 12:44 NASB And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me.

Believe in Jesus and believe in the Father who sent Him. While there is always more to such a simplistic statement, the premise is just that simple. Here is a bit more depth.

John 14:10-13 NASB “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11) “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. 12) “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13) “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Romans 4:21-25 NASB and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22) Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 23) Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24) but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25) He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.

Your belief in Jesus is tied in with your faith in the Father. That Father is Jehovah, Elohim, not Allah.

Occasionally, our men’s study leader takes a few weeks off and switches topics, but eventually, the judgmentalism creeps back in. When it does most of the men that attend the study, side with the leader and demand that all before that Great White Throne are sent to hell. While there is no doubt that some in that crowd get sent to hell, but it is only because they have chosen, in their arrogance, to go there.

2 Peter 3:9 NASB The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

As you can see from above, that God is not looking for reasons to punish anyone; and, He is certainly not going to penalize us merely because we currently have this built-in ability to create and participate in iniquity. I understand this based on the passages I have already shown you. If your actions include breaking the laws of man, then there is a prescribed punishment met out here on earth, and it often includes jail time. But God has set all sin aside, by putting the sentence and payment upon Jesus. Since that time God is looking for one thing, did you, in any way, act in the nature and character of God who created you?

Revelation 20:15 – We will start this dissemination here, with the KJV, as that was shoved in my face recently.

Revelation 20:15 KJV And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

As I have pondered these words a bit more, I can see that the KJV is not so ominous and that it does demonstrate some variability.

The phrase, “and whosoever was not found,” indicates that there was a serious look, in this case, into the Book of Life. Obviously, there were some who did not have their names written in that book. There is nothing about the phrase that indicates an all-encompassing number. It does, however, open the door to some quantity that was found there.

As I have talked about this Great White Throne scenario with a few open-minded people, I pointed out how this becomes little more than a cruel joke when you bring people before this throne of judgment, with the possibility that you might gain entrance into the kingdom of God; only to find that God knew all along that there was no hope for you. What I have described in this paragraph, is in complete opposition to who God is and how He acts. God already knows whether your name is there or not, and some of these people are found in God’s books. Look at this interaction between God and Moses.

Exodus 32:32-33 KJV Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. 33) And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

Without the assurance of salvation which we obtain in Jesus Christ, how did Moses understand that his name was written in God’s book? And then, God’s response, whosoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. The implications are that we are erased, not written in.

How did King David know that his name was already in the book?

Psalms 139:16 CJB Your eyes could see me as an embryo, but in your book, all my days were already written; my days had been shaped before any of them existed.

When I was challenged about Revelation 20:15, it was an attempt to draw me into an ongoing argument with my father and another bible screamer who was a part of the dinner crowd that night. My dad pushed his phone at me, which was the KJV and said read it. I responded by bringing up the NASB and thrust it at him and said the same thing. My version reads, “if anyone.” This phrase takes no effort on my part to see that it is a variable. I used see statements like this in math. The variable is that He does look for their names and finds many.

I believe that what we see here in Revelation 20:15 is the same story as Matthew 25:31, only from a different perspective. The major differences are,

  • The Revelation focuses on Jesus as God, while the story in Matthew 25 focuses on Jesus as a gentle shepherd.

  • In Matthew’s account, it merely says that all the nations shall be gathered before him, while the Revelation tells us that all the dead are brought before Him.

How do you rectify the differences between the two versions? Walk through the known factors.

  • The church was caught up, and the dead in Christ rose first.

    This act, on God’s part, eliminates the church from the equation.

  • After the rapture, the wrath of God is now being poured out upon the earth, and people are being slaughtered for the testimony which they held. There is little to protect these people from 100-pound hailstones, and the other onslaughts being poured out and are therefore killed by God’s wrath and the wrath of humankind.

Those who die for their testimony are resurrected at the end of the seven-years and reign with Christ throughout the thousand years. So, they are not included among the nations or the dead we see before this throne.

So, who is left?

Keep in mind that since Christ formed the church, there have only been three people groups in the world: the Jews; the nations, and the Church. Since the church has been caught up, leaving only the Jews and the nations those who’ have not accepted God’s leadership, then you are left to fall under the category of the nations – those outside of a relationship with God. We know from the Revelation that the number of people who come to a relationship with Jesus Christ is innumerable.

From the beginning of time there have always been those outside of relationship with the Father, and these are the focus here at the Great White Throne, but the assumption is that you have to be alive to stand there, and that is not what we see in Revelation 20:12 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.”

The next question you have to ask is, do we ever really die? The answer is no. God then, brings in all those who have previously ceased to breathe, and, have no standard religious form of salvation, as the church requires. Some would argue that NO ONE comes to the Father except through Jesus and their path through the religious form would prove their acceptance into the kingdom.

Isaiah 26:19 KJV Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

Again Matthew’s gospel recorded one of Jesus responses which we find in Matthew 25:1-13. Here Jesus told us about the ten virgins, all receiving the same invitation to the wedding. However, half were not prepared and therefore missed the entry. If this is an allusion to the church, then next time you sit among your congregation look around, for half are not prepared and will prove their allegiance to the Father, during the time of wrath, with their lives.

Since the book of Revelation is the revealing of Jesus, then this is none other than Jesus sitting upon this great throne. Should they obtain mercy, then yes, they are only coming to the Father through Jesus, and the dilemma is solved.

Matthew 25 speaks only of the nations being brought before his throne of glory. I point this out in contrast to Revelation 20 where we only see the dead being brought before the throne. Once again, the church was taken out of the way, and the martyred saints were resurrected to reign with Christ, leaving only the Jews and the nations. This throne of judgment is set up at the end of the thousand-year reign, immediately after the mass deception where the nations have risen against God and the Holy City. Here, all those deceived are killed (caused to no longer breath.) While this number makes up a vast portion of those standing before the throne, there will be others and may include some Jews and pretend church people.

Since we can’t tell who the pretenders are most of the time, perhaps the best approach is to educate them on and in, God’s word.


Posted in bible study, End times, false teaching, gentiles, God's character, Jerusalem, Jesus, Jews, judgment, Matthew's gospel, Mercy, Our being caught up, Revelation, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A topic far too familiar and yet do we know how to study the Bible?

It’s not just that we don’t know our Bible but that we have so fragmented, dissected, and compartmentalized the Bible that we have lost sight of its great overarching story.”

Hugh Whelchel i

Occasionally I ask myself, what motivates me to write. In response, I would have to say it’s religious opposition and a deeply seated desire to see the church walking in truth. The idea of walking in truth, in my mind, means a church that is trained appropriately in the Word. I don’t see that happening at any of the churches I have been a part of.

An aspect of that opposition recently occurred as a “brother” in Christ, told a friend of mine, that I believe life has to be one-way, mine. Have you read any of my posts? Do I present myself like that? Hardly, I attempt to show God’s word as the only basis for truth, and, in a manner that people can understand. I suppose, to some degree, that means adding my commentary to what I write in an effort to promote understanding, but leaving the decision-making process to the reader, as they accept or reject God’s word. With that understanding you are not rejecting me, you are denying God’s truth and mercy, as you refuse what God’s word says.

Elijah, the prophet, bemoaned his situation and cried out that he was alone in Israel.

1 Kings 19:9-10 NASB Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10) He said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

And yes, that is the way I feel some days. God’s response.

1 Kings 19:18 NASB “Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

I realize that I am not alone, but the number of those who are passionate about God are few. I am fortunate to sit with a few of them on a weekly basis.

Having had someone say of me, “he believes it has to be, his way or no way,” is somewhat like a slap in my face, and I can tell you I am highly intolerant of actions like that. So, why would someone say something like that about me? Perhaps it is because I am very passionate about truth and God’s word.

Sending everyone to hell at the Great White Throne has nothing to do with truth; it merely demonstrates how adamant this man is about judgment, something we are to leave to Jesus, [especially since ALL judgment has/or will be given to Him.]

The Apostle Paul was not put off by the scholars of the Berean community. In fact, he thought highly of them. This body of believers did their research and found that Torah and Tanakh validated what Paul was saying. Having legitimized Paul’s statements they believed. When you consider the limited resources, these men had, our accolades for them should be even more significant.

Let me give you an example of what this opposition to, and the rejection of, the truth looks like.

The man who leads the Monday morning study, once again pointed out that he was an ordained Bible study leader, not a pastor. As the leader, he has just about every week, exclaimed that everyone brought to the Great White Throne judgment is sent to hell. If you are a reasonable student of the Bible you should be asking, is that a correct statement? The answer is NO, but why would you know that?
Because you have read the Word of God, as you should; you looked at the context; compared alternate texts and scenarios, and, like a hungry pet who has, awaited you to come home so they can eat, chewed on and ingested every word so that you could understand the depth and meaning of the Greek words being used and their Hebrew origins. But here is where the problem lays, as statistically, no one does that?

The statistical work I am going to show you were undertaken by Lifeway Research in 2014. Here is an excerpt from Christianity Today.ii

Some Stats to Consider

Bible Reading

Americans read the Bible on occasion—churchgoers a little more. In a recent LifeWay Research study, we learned the following about our Bible reading habits among church attendees. They indicated that they read their Bible as follows:

19% – Every day

26% – A few times a week

14% – Once a week

22% – At least once a month

18% – Rarely or never.

There are a couple of interesting takeaways from this study. Almost 60% of churchgoers open our Bibles at home during the week at least once. And for every person who is reading his/her Bible every day (19%), someone isn’t… at all (18%).”

Do you think, in this condition of apostasy, that the numbers would improve any as time progresses?

I was pondering this idea before pulling up the statistical information. My guess/estimate would have been about 20% of the “church” actually reading their Bibles every day. But even then I could see a problem with that number because I sit with some of these 20% per-centers, and know for a fact that they will not move off their traditional interpretations and understandings regardless of what you show them in scripture. Are you beginning to see a problem? Illiteracy has no option but to run rampant through the church; And, it is not just the church. I just read yesterday, 5/10/2018, that schools have found they are going to have to take down the analog clocks on the schoolhouse walls and replace them with digital clocks because no one can read them.

Let’s go back to the significant false teaching of the morning “bible” study – how that everyone coming before the Great White Throne goes to a fiery hell.

The first question is: how does one study the Bible? It seems to me that everyone should know how to do this; in truth, I had to learn how.

Every student should:

  • Read the text without a premise.

    As you read ask, what is this passage supposed to be saying to me?

    Do not merely assume that the teacher standing before you, saying things like, “What Paul is saying here,” is the truth. [Here is a heads up. Paul, a former Pharisee, a man who was very skillful at what he did, had no problem speaking to JEWS, about this new life and grace found in Christ. This is the case as Saul/Paul spoke about the Hebrew wording within the Law and the Prophets and pointed out the evidence in those words, which led to an understanding, in those who chose to listen, that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah they longed for. Paul made it clear that our acceptance of Yahshua brought about this life and the hope we have come to understand.]

    The idea of reading without a premise can be applied to my pastor’s sermons since he has a motive and a point to be made. In pushing his motive, he has created a premise and is working to make the scriptures fit his premise. These directed efforts often work in opposition to my understanding of Bible study.

  • Look at the context.

    An example of this applies to what I am going to analyze momentarily – Matthew 25, where we see the sheep and the goats at the throne of judgment. The context surrounding this word picture begins in Matthew 21, when Jesus rides into Jerusalem, on the back of an unridden donkey – the Rolls Royce of the day, and He is perceived as the Messiah Israel hoped for. Unfortunately, He did not do what the disciples, nor the people expected, as He overturned the sellers tables, chairs, and loosed their merchandise where they had been selling, in the court of the Gentiles. And then, Jesus got into a verbal confrontation with the elders and Pharisees. All this activity shook the disciples and prompted them to ask, “when will all these things come to pass, and what will be the sign of your coming as the Messiah.

    I am always analyzing the scriptures even as the pastor speaks. I examine the context and what the interlinear Greek or Hebrew dictionary says the words mean. Occasionally, the pastor is preaching in opposition to what the words mean. As a side note: Pastor and I had a bad moment one day, as he challenged me about my intensive focus on end times and the eschatology books of the Bible. In his indictment of me, he said, “Notice how in my sermons, I present the gospel in a manner that brings about change in people.” I try not to overthink the pastor’s words that day, but isn’t that what the Word of God is supposed to do, change people?

  • Look for a comparative text.

    Many of the Calvary Chapel pastors, like Don Stewart or the late Chuck Smith, used to say, “allow scripture to define scripture.” What does that mean? As I read the Revelation, I see where John, on two occasions, in speaking to the churches, uses the term the Synagogue (Rev 2:9, Rev 3:9.) Why is this significant? Because John, was not writing in code as some would ascribe, he was writing to Jewish converts/followers of Christ. And therefore, spoke in a language they would immediately understand. Greek, of course, was one aspect of this language but the other carried the oral history and word stories from the Old Testament. The evidence for this is rather extensive and is demonstrated in the writings of James (James 2:2) and the Apostle Paul. Read Acts 18. In every city we find Paul entering the local Synagogue and preaching. For over fifteen years Paul preached, almost exclusively, to Jews. It was only after years of abuse at the hands of religious Jews that Paul finally said, and I am taking this message to the Gentiles.

    The Apostle John, James, Peter, and Paul focused their attention on the Jewish community. Peter, although he had a brief exchange with the Roman Centurion’s family, maintained, as did James and John, a focus on Jews. [Read Paul’s account in Galatians 2,] Many of these believed for years that this gospel of Jesus was meant exclusively for Jews. Peter, in 2 Peter 3:10 says,

    But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” NASB

    This passage has clear and definite associations with Isaiah 13:9; Jeremiah 46:10 among others.

    In conjunction with the idea of comparative texts, was the indication that everything, aside from direct revelation from the Holy Spirit, came out of the Torah and Tanakh. Paul’s letters; James words on wisdom, and the Revelation that John conveyed, all came from the Old Testament. We can put this idea of comparative texts into action where Revelation speaks of a multi-headed beast with crowns and horns (Revelation 13:1). This imagery is found in multiple locations but primarily in the words of the prophet Daniel (Daniel 7:7).

Matthew 25:31-45, where we see the sheep and goats, is a comparative text. The words Jesus spoke were in response to questions His Jewish disciples ask him, and those words made sense to a Jewish audience. If you had been a student in Synagogue school you were expected to memorize the Old Testament teachings. Therefore, one might expect that these people were looking for these events to happen.

  • Try to take in as much of the background wording into consideration as you can.

    When I look at Matthew 25:31-45 in the NASB, the segment that speaks of the sheep and goats carries the headline, The Final Judgment. That headline in itself gives me nothing of value except as a reference point. If I were looking for a direct association to the final judgment, there is nothing within these verses that define this explicitly by using that terminology.

    Can I find an inference of final judgment in verse 31?

Matthew 25:31 NASB “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.

  1. Here you see the Son of Man coming in His glory.

    This is the same Jesus that Stephen saw, as he stood before the Jewish council (Acts 7:55-56,) and it is the same Jesus that Daniel saw in Daniel 7:13.

  2. And, He will sit on His glorious throne.

    There is a passage in Joel 3:12 that would cause the audience listening to the speaker that day to take note. Joel 3:12 LITV Let the nations be awakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat. For there I will sit to judge all the nations all around.

This passage in Joel can easily be associated with the judgment we are about to see in Matthew 25. These two points alone do not convince me, as we see Jesus coming in Revelation 19 prior to Him being seated for judgment, and, there is no account of Him sitting upon His throne in Revelation 19.

To be honest, I have to stretch my mind a bit to see the final judgment. However, if I look at the next verse, the finality suddenly becomes clearer, especially if I have an understanding of Joel 3:12. [Mat 25:32 And before Him shall be gathered all the nations;]

There is only one glorious throne.

Is this the same throne that we see in Revelation? We have to look at Revelation 20:11 and see if there is something here that matches.

Revelation 20:11 NASB Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.

    • A great white throne

      Our only references to a white throne come from 1 Kings 10:18 and 2Ch 9:17, and they are effectively the same story

      1 Kings 10:18 NASB Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with refined gold.

      Ezekiel tells us what he saw, Ezekiel 1:26 NASB Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man.

lapis lazuli – Sapphire – Clear heavenly blue. Apparently, the color is insignificant.

In 1Kings 10:18 it is clear that this is a great throne, and in Daniel 7:9 Daniel sees the throne as being fiery flames.

Although you don’t see this happening in Matthew 25, Revelation 20:7-8 tells us that after the thousand years, Satan is released from his prison and he deceives the nations. Those nations, in turn, surround the city of God in an attempt to kill God and His people. Those gathered are killed in an instant. The next event scripture shows us is the gathering of the nations, or, as Matthew 25 puts it, the dead are brought before this great throne.

Although my methods of sorting out what I read, and disseminating the false teachings I hear, might be different than what you learn in seminary, they work for me. You also just got the added benefit of some insight into a false teaching that seems to enjoy sending all who approach the throne of judgment, to hell. A serious look at scripture will demonstrate that such a teaching is blatantly false and damaging to our understanding of who God is.

iThe Church’s Secret: Biblical Illiteracy in the 21st Century, Hugh Whelchel, writing for the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics. March 13, 2017.

Posted in Apostasy, bible study, Cult teachings, deception, false teaching, gentiles, God's character, grace, healing, hypocrisy, In Christ, Jesus, Jews, Law of liberty, Mercy, Peace, Prophetic, recovery, The supremacy of Christ, The Word was God, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A study/commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-4

I primarily use the NASB, but occasionally I find it deficient; I will insert other translations if they can clarify the context. Those translations will be duly noted.

Chapter one was an appropriate greeting, but chapter two stands alone and begins to immediately address fears that have come as the result of some false teaching.

This theme was not a new to Paul as he had written to the Christ-followers in Thessalonica on a previous occasion.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 NASB 13) But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15) For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16) For the Lord, Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17) Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Considering the years between these two letters, the new members that had been added to the church body, and the addition of some false teachings, the fear has had a chance to creep in. I see the effects of false teachings frequently in the church bodies I have had dealings with, as people espouse things they know so little about; all the while continuing to cloud the issue.

So let’s dissect the passages and see if we can understand all that Paul is trying to say.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 NASB 1) Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,”

Coming – is the Greek word parousia; a being near, that is, advent (often, return; specifically of Christ to punish Jerusalem, or finally the wicked.) Strong’s concordance.

In the explanation above I see two distinctly different things.

  • One being Jehovah’s return in the clouds to catch His church away. This catching away is called the harpazo, but it is also known as the advent or return.

  • The second possible understanding is this idea of the punishment of Jerusalem or the wicked. This concept pertains to the wrath of God being poured out. One of the keys to understanding the difference between Jesus return for His church and His coming as the conquering Messiah hangs on this phrase – “ the day of the Lord.” Using the NASB concordance, the expression shows up in 22 verses. 18 of those references are found in the Old Testament. Since the Tenach is designed for a Jewish audience then the language and references are expressly Jewish; that means that the phrase – the day of the Lord, is almost exclusively about the return of the Messiah.

    Of the four verses left and found in the New Testament, three of them are exclusively about the catching away of the church. This catching away is that time when Jesus comes back in the clouds for His church, and they will be caught up to meet Him in the air. 2Peter 3:10 leans more toward the time of the end, as it tells us that, “the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” While all of these things are a part of the seven-year period the implications are that this will happen almost all at once when Jesus returns to the earth for the final time. You see, this is one of those areas that are not that black and white.

    So, let’s see if the context of the passage answers the question about when this event will happen.

While I understand that Paul was addressing the body of believers in Thessalonica (a primarily Jewish audience,) these words also apply to us. I do not hear this complaint or question anymore, but I am aware that many do believe that Christ has already returned. If that is the case, what are we doing and why are we wasting our time?

But Christ has not already returned. How do I know that? Well there are markers, or some might think of them as guideposts along the way, and Paul spells them out.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 NASB 3) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

  • The apostasy comes first.”

    Since apostasy means a falling away, I ask you, has that happened? Absolutely, and at an exponential rate.

  • and the man of lawlessness is revealed,”

I want to show you some alternate readings.

This second selection is from the Complete Jewish Bible, and it translates this passage entirely different from anyone else. Why is this significant? Because even the Muslims have prophecies, and one of them describes such a man;

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Darby Let not any one deceive you in any manner, because it will not be unless the apostasy have first come, and the man of sin have been revealed, the son of perdition;

2 Thessalonians 2:3 CJB Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed, the one destined for doom.

  • A man who is a descendant of Aaron –

    The priests were to come from the lineage of Aaron. Since we know that the temple will be rebuilt, then practically every preparation would have to be made at this point, for a high priest to be installed. He then would be the one to enter the Holy of Holies and sprinkle the blood of the lamb.

  • The Muslim prophecies tell us that this Jew will reject the Torah, pay homage to the Mahdi, and follow him.

    Do you grasp the depth of this action? Many who have esteemed this Jew enough to appoint him as the high priest over the new temple will be deceived, turn from the true God, and follow his actions as they too will bow to the Mahdi in worship. This Mahdi appears to be the Islamic religious leader that will soon be saying peace, peace. Most of this takes place 1260 days into the time of wrath upon the earth.

I am always concerned that people will see my words as unbelievable.

If, you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then, you are under a mandate to study to show not only, yourself, to be approved by God, but to judge the words being said to you, as to whether they are true or not. You are not doing this type of study to bash people, although I sometimes think that many should shut their mouths, but you are studying these things so that you can know what is right.

Let me show you an example: I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture, regardless of the poor choice of words we traditionally use. Although there is a voluminous amount of those in opposition to this understanding, I did my homework and became even more thoroughly convinced that Jesus is coming back for His church that is waiting for Him, and, He is going to do so before God’s wrath is poured out upon the earth.

Specific reasons why I believe in a pre-wrath rapture.

  • Matthew 3:7 NASB But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

    The obvious thing I see here is that Jesus just acknowledged that it is purposeful to flee from the wrath, and, that there is wrath coming.

  • Luke 21:23 NASB … for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people;

    Here we can see that the intended target is the land and these people. Now the statement, “to this people” is relatively generic and needs some clarity. Luke 21:24 NASB tells us that “they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations;”

    It is easy enough to see that a part of this fulfillment comes upon Israel and it’s people, the Jews. However, pay attention, and you can see one other group, the Gentiles. The Gentiles and the nations are the same. If you are not a Jew, and you are a follower of Christ, then you have been engrafted into the vine and no longer fall under the category of being a Gentile in God’s eyes.

    Those with a veil over their eyes will not get this concept. Since we are “in Christ” then we are part of the church and not subject to this wrath.

  • Romans 1:18 NASB For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

    What is evident to me is the terminology, the wrath of God. Pay attention to the words being used and upon whom they are directed. Romans 1:18 can be taken as a somewhat broad spectrum statement.

    An example of this broad spectrum idea – I know a man who came to church for a time and did all the appropriate things. He came down front, cried his eyes out, made sorrowful and repentant statements. Why he even got baptized in a swimming pool as a symbol of this new and changed life he wanted to live. That didn’t last long. Does he belong to God and is therefore not going to be subject to this wrath because he is part of the church. I do not know, because any fruit he produces is rotten and stinks before it falls off the tree. This pattern has been going on for years.

  • Ephesians 2:3 NASB Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

    The Apostle Paul taught that we were formerly children of wrath, and no longer subject to the “wrath of God.”

  • 1 Thessalonians 1:10 NASB 10) and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.

    1 Thessalonians 1:10 is one of the most specific examples that Paul gave us. Since we are in Christ, Jesus has rescued us from the wrath that is to come.

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:9 NASB 9) For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

    Many think that we deserve punishment. Well, that might have been true, but as followers of Christ, we are of those who have agreed to and accepted His salvation. You see, you need to have a firm grasp on what Jesus did. I am continually trying to remind people that all sins were forgiven – past, present, and future. Then what are people being punished for? Look at what Colossians 3:5-6 tells us,

    Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6) For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, NASB

    Simply put, you either follow Jesus, or you follow the god of this world, Satan. He will go to an eternal punishment, as will all those who choose to follow him. This punishment, as many want to believe, is not the end-all statement, as God is a merciful God beyond everything else; ask Jonah. And that is why we have the sheep and goats of Matthew 25. Take the time to study that.

  • Revelation 6:14-17 NASB 14) The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15) Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16) and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17) for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

    There are three things I want you to see here. Verse 15 gives us a description of some of the people affected by what is happening: kings of the earth; great men; commanders; the rich and strong, and every slave and free man. No one upon the earth is left unscathed by what is coming.

    In verse 16 we see them crying out to be hid from the presence of “Him who sits on the throne, AND from the wrath of the Lamb. This lamb is Jesus Christ. Since I used an example from the Revelation, let me point something out to you. This entire book is a Revelation of Jesus Christ. Even the rich, in this scenario, understood that God played a hand in this, and at the same time, they are acknowledging Jesus. It’s all about Jesus.

    And the last thing, although I have already intimated it, is that this wrath is coming from God/Jesus.

Since we are going to be like Bereans, a people who had enough sense to verify that what Paul was teaching was right, what then do we use as a basis for what is true? Keep in mind, that the Bereans did not have Bibles, they had some scrolls. Those scrolls were so valued that only a limited number of priests could handle them, and so the Torah and Tanakh were read aloud. This idea of scrolls changes the whole idea of Bible study. The Bereans had no New Testament, it was being spoken in their ears by Paul and lived out right in front of them. I, on the other hand, have over thirty translations of the Bible on my computer, and over forty commentaries that I can glean from. I have no excuses.

The answer to the question is The Word of God. Now, since we know that there are errors across translations, is it wise to merely open the NIV for example, read it, and then say, “this is how that is supposed to be understood!” NO, because, as I said, there are errors. (Do not for a moment think that these errors are on God’s part, as God’s wisdom has been substantiated by His ability to get His message across plainly to those who choose to pursue this wisdom.)

So, what am I saying to you? Be open but alert; trust the Holy Spirit to guide you; judge everything against the word of God, and, remove yourself, if you can, from false teachers. They will corrupt you with the simplest of things, such as David conquering Goliath when David was only four foot tall. That is not even close to the terminology used in the descriptions of David. King Saul, who knew David well for David was his ARMOR bearer, called him a youth. But what does that mean? Are these things critical to the story? NO, but if you are willing to build false images about the nature and character of David, what else will a false teacher do with God and His word.

I can tell you what some will do, for I have experienced this first hand. These false teachers send everyone that comes to the Great White throne judgment to hell. There is nothing about that scenario that definitively points to that happening; these same teachers refuse to see that Matthew 25 and the story of the sheep and the goats, is just another picture of the Great White Throne. In other words, they will twist the gospel so tightly that in time, you will not be able to understand what is true.

Posted in 2 Thessalonians, Apostasy, Apostle Paul, bible study, End times, false teaching, gentiles, Jesus, Jews, judgment, Revelation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What about Jacob? Or, Can a man find healing in a woman? Part three

I introduced a section within my first post in this series, as one of the most unbelievable scenarios you could read. In that section you have Rebekah and Jacob pulling off the deception of a lifetime, as Isaac is tricked into believing that Jacob was Esau merely by strapping a piece of sheepskin on Jacob’s arm. I have to ask, have you ever seen sheep? They exceed the hair of man about 100 to one.

While most would have run for their lives but not Jacob; and, I cannot give you any good reason why? As you see in Genesis 28:6-7, Isaac, after the deception, has instructed Jacob not to take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. After hearing this Jacob leaves toward Haran in order to comply and his mother goes with him. What just happened?

Watch what Esau does.

Genesis 28:6-7 NASB Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take to himself a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he charged him, saying, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan,” 7) and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Paddan-aram.

This is the first time I noticed this aspect of the story. Note how it says, “and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Paddan-aram.” When you think about the reality of the situation and how furious Isaac should have been at Rebekah, then it makes all the sense in the world for her to with Jacob. Besides that, she may need to make the introductions and marriage arrangements for this favorite of sons.

Esau, on the other hand, seeing how irritated his mother became about the women he married, (This is the same mother who deceived Isaac his father, and helped to cheat him out of his rightful inheritance,) went out and found himself a few more.

Genesis 28:8-9 NASB So Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan displeased his father Isaac; 9) and Esau went to Ishmael, and married, besides the wives that he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth.

This next section focuses entirely on a dream that Jacob had.

Indeed, it was a very vivid dream, in a manner similar to the dream that Abram had, it was as close to reality as you can come. You have to wonder how much understanding Jacob had about God, or where he got that understanding. The only thing we see is Isaac praying to the Lord in chapter 25. Isaac, being the son of Abraham, I can understand how and where he learned of the Lord, but the apparent influence on Jacob is not seen.

Genesis 25:21-23 NASB Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22) But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is so, why then am I this way?” So she went to inquire of the LORD. 23) The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger.”

Jacob’s Dream – Genesis 28:10-22

But first Jacob has to kneel before his father, apparently at his father’s demand.

Genesis 28:1 NASB So Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him, and said to him, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.

This is the second time Jacob has been blessed, however, Isaac is well aware of the deceitful methods that were used on him. Without going any farther, I already see a prime example of the nature and character of God, as Isaac overlooks the “sin” and bestows a purposeful blessing upon Jacob.

Blessed is the Hebrew word bāraḵ: A verb meaning to bless, kneel, salute, or greet. The verb derives from the noun knee and perhaps suggests the bending of the knee in blessing.

  • Would we expect to see Isaac kneeling before Jacob at this point?

    Not a chance, so it is Jacob, this time with intention, kneeling before his father.

  • Do you think it is possible that Isaac could bring some punishment upon this son?

    No, and again, this is an example of God’s grace, as we too, caught in our sins, deserved punishment, but what happened? The Son Jesus took all punishment on our behalf.

I am well aware that I have no key character, in this scenario, that takes the punishment for Jacob. What I do see, is Jacob suffering abuse, at not only the hand of Laban but his own sons when we get to them.

Pay attention to what Isaac tells Jacob.

Perspective: The flood has come and gone, and, with it, should have been the giants and the evil and violence that were associated not just with them, but people in general. And, secondly, this has taken place before Moses and prior to the law.

  • Is that what happened?

    Not exactly, for men still had the right to choose how they would live, and the giants returned. Genesis 6:4 tells us that afterward, they showed up again. After what? The flood.

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” Genesis 6:4 NASB

Two pieces of evidence for giants after the flood comes from Numbers 13:33 and 2Samuel 21:16, both of which speak of giants still permeating the land. Canaan was one of those places and we learn of it when Israel sent 12 men to spy out the Land of Canaan.

You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.”

Do a word search and the first place Canaan shows up is in Genesis 9.

Genesis 9:18-27 NASB Now the sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem and Ham and Japheth; and Ham was the father of Canaan. 19) These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated. 20) Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. 21) He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. 22) Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23) But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24) When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. 25) So he said, “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brothers.” 26) He also said, “Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant. 27) “May God enlarge Japheth, And let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant.”

Notice how Canaan is pointed out as the son of Ham; this is not a favorable distinction.

Genesis 28:2 NASB “Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father; and from there take to yourself a wife from the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother.

The town of Bethuel gained it’s origins in a man, as was the case with every city.

Genesis 22:20-23 NASB Now it came about after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, “Behold, Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor: 21) Uz his firstborn and Buz his brother and Kemuel the father of Aram 22) and Chesed and Hazo and Pildash and Jidlaph and Bethuel.” 23) Bethuel became the father of Rebekah; these eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother.

So here is your ancestry moment, It was told, Abraham:

  • Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor

  • Uz his firstborn and Buz his brother and Kemuel the father of Aram 22) and Chesed and Hazo and Pildash and Jidlaph and Bethuel.”

    Kemuel produces a son Aram. Note the similarities to Paddan-aram!

  • The son to be born to Nahor is Bethuel.

  • Bethuel became the father of Rebekah

Rebekah is the wife of Isaac, the mother of Esau and Jacob. This also means that Bethuel became the father of Laban.

Jacob, still kneeling before his father Isaac, receives all these instructions and blessings; as though what he stole was not enough.

Genesis 28:3-5 NASB “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. 4) “May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.” 5) Then Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Paddan-aram to Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.

  • May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples.”

    • May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.

      What were the blessings of Abraham?

      Genesis 12:1-3 NASB Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; 2) And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; 3) And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.

      Genesis 17:6-8 NASB “I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you. 7) “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. 8) “I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

    • I will make you a great nation

    • I will bless you

    • and make your name great

    • I will bless those that bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.

    • In you, all the families of the earth will be blessed.

    • I will make you exceedingly fruitful

    • and I will make nations of you

    • kings will come forth from you

    • I will establish my covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you … for an everlasting covenant.

    • Be a God to you and to your descendants.

    • And, I will give you and your descendants … all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession.

So, tell me, is this what you say to someone who has just deceived you? And yet, this is exactly what Isaac just did. “May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.”

Genesis 28:10-11 NASB Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11) He came to a certain place and spent the night there because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place.

Haran, isn’t that the place where Abram was and God told him to go to a land that He would show him? Yes, it is. But it is also the place where so many things will take place, and now Jacob is going there to find himself a wife. Fortunately, Jacob has his mommy with him to make the introductions; although we are not told that, it works for the moment.

Genesis 11:26-31 NASB Terah lived seventy years, and became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. 27) Now these are the records of the generations of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran; and Haran became the father of Lot. 28) Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans. 29) Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah. 30) Sarai was barren; she had no child. 31) Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there.

Note this: “Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there.

It seems God has His hands in everything, doesn’t it?

  • He came to a certain place and spent the night there because the sun had set;”

    Genesis 28:19 NASB He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz.

  • And he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place.”

    Genesis 28:18-22 NASB So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. 19) He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz. 20) Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, 21) and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the LORD will be my God. 22) “This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.

God’s house? This statement is immensely significant, and so is this, “and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

Without any motivation of “law,” Jacob has made a commitment to tithe.

Posted in bible study, Deception, deception, false teaching, Genesis, grace, healing, Jacob, judgment, Mercy, recovery, redemption, strongholds, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What about Jacob? Or, can a man find healing in a woman? Part two.

This entire blog was spawned from a sermon entitled, What about Jacob? Or, can a man find healing in a woman? To make this brief, I did not understand, nor was I able to track with what the pastor said, as he tried to prove his point about Jacob. Sorry, I can’t really see it but I am enjoying the study, as usual.

As we finished part one of our look at Jacob, the grand deception was complete. Do you think Rebekah and Jacob gleefully danced around the campfire that night as they celebrated how well they pulled it off? Hardly, for Esau, as you will see, has every intention of killing Jacob once Isaac is dead.

Notice how there is no concern on the part of Esau for how this will affect his mother. And, all this evokes another question, is it possible for Esau to regain his birthright? I don’t think so, at least not in God’s eyes.

Cheating not only Esau but your father as well, you would think that Jacob would be gone already, but only minutes from now Issac calls Jacob before him and commands him to not a wife from the same cluster of women that Esau had chosen from. Isaac directs Jacob to Laban, Rebekah’s brother. Maybe, Isaac knows full well what kind of man Laban can be considering the backhanded maneuver Rebekah has just pulled on Isaac.

With that said, let’s continue on.

I mentioned in the previous post, that Esau did not take this selling of the birthright serious. If he had

  • Wouldn’t it seem logical to say something to Isaac?
  • Wouldn’t Isaac have known?
  • Why would Esau bother to respond Isaac as though there was not a problem?

As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac, his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting.” Jacob logically only has seconds to get out of Esau’s presence, and, his fathers.

Genesis 27:30-37 ESV As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac, his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting. He also prepared delicious food and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that you may bless me.” His father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” He answered, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.” Then Isaac trembled very violently and said, “Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed.” As soon as Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me, even me also, O my father!” But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.” Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” Isaac answered and said to Esau, “Behold, I have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?”

The deception is pulled off, and now you would think that Jacob has to flee, an exile. And Esau is the reason.

Genesis 27:38-41 NASB Esau said to his father, “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” So Esau lifted his voice and wept. 39) Then, Isaac, his father answered and said to him, “Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling, And away from the dew of heaven from above. 40) “By your sword, you shall live, And your brother you shall serve; But it shall come about when you become restless, That you will break his yoke from your neck.” 41) So Esau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him; and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”

So Rebekah calls Jacob in once again.

Genesis 27:42-45 NASB Now when the words of her elder son Esau were reported to Rebekah, she sent and called her younger son Jacob, and said to him, “Behold your brother Esau is consoling himself concerning you by planning to kill you. 43) “Now, therefore, my son, obey my voice, and arise, flee to Haran, to my brother Laban! 44) “Stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury subsides, 45) until your brother’s anger against you subsides and he forgets what you did to him. Then I will send and get you from there. Why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?”

But Jacob still hasn’t left. To make matters worse, we now learn of Esau’s wives and what grief they are causing Rebekah.

Genesis 27:45 NASB until your brother’s anger against you subsides and he forgets what you did to him. Then I will send and get you from there. Why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?”

In response to Rebekah, Issac calls Jacob in once more.

Genesis 28:1-5 NASB So Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and charged him, and said to him, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. 2) “Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father; and from there take to yourself a wife from the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother. 3) “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. 4) “May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.” 5) Then Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Paddan-aram to Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.

While Isaac’s command is that he get a wife from Laban’s daughters, we don’t see anything that tells us he knows what he is looking for. Jacob, in a sense, stumbles upon Rachel, and she is a vision of how a girl should look. He wants her and is willing to work for her to get her. There is an irony here in that Rachel, is not an accident by any means, for Laban, her father is Jacob’s uncle. (Consider: If Rebekah knew how to be devious it only makes sense that Laban, Rachel’s father, would also know how to be underhanded.)

Jacob makes no effort to negotiate for her but tells Laban that he will work seven years for her. (That timeframe may be significant on several levels. Seven is the number of perfection, redemption, and a theme that recurs throughout scripture.)

It may be essential to consider Rachel’s age at this time. I doubt he would have pursued her if he did not think she was old enough to marry.

Joseph married at about age 30 (Gen_41:45). This was old by Egyptian standards, since most males were still only boys when they married. Yet it is clear that a boy had to be not only sexually mature but also able to provide for his wife and thus settled in his occupation before he married. Girls seem to have married between about twelve and fourteen. They did not have to wait until established in a career. Some royal marriages, occurring for dynastic or other political reasons, took place when the individuals were very young. For example, Tutankhamen died at the age of eighteen or nineteen after a nine-year reign and marriage, so he must have been nine or ten when married.”
NELSON’S Bible Manners & Customs, How the People of the Bible Really Lived,

Jacob does not do what many desperate men would do, and rape her, he waits the seven years. He then goes to Laban and demands that she be given to him for he has paid for her.

Laban deceives Jacob just as Jacob had deceived Esau and gave him Leah.

Laban makes a statement here, in response to Jacob’s shock and disappointment, that I never noticed before.

And Laban answered It is not done thus in our country, to give the younger before the elder. Genesis 29:26 Brenton)

As that particular pastor exclaimed: “this had to cut Jacob like a knife, as this is precisely what Jacob and his mother had done to Esau.” And, Uncle Laban may well have been told of it. If not, it is amazing how the Holy Spirit puts words in your mouth.

According to the pastor, the premise behind all this is that Jacob, a broken man, (I am not so sure he could understand that for a long time,) pursues Rachel, the vision of perfection, in hopes that she would heal him and make him a better man. I am not sure I see all that, but it makes sense, as most men do just that. While the hope of finding something that calms the inward brokenness he feels may be going on in the back of his mind, it is not directly noted in scripture; many things aren’t, and yet the more in-depth answers and subjects are there if we pursue them.

One of the things that I see in scripture is that God is in control, regardless of how lousy the circumstances seem to be.

The pastor said, “that God gives us examples of people who are messed up so that we can know what not to do.” If that theory is correct, then why would God tell Israel, explicitly, not to learn from the surrounding nations, for the surrounding nations were doing everything wrong, worshiping idols, and sacrificing their children to gods. While I might argue that learning from my neighbor how to work with Iron could be a necessity that would allow a civilization to create water pipes. However, there is often a hazard in close associations, especially with those not so grounded, as it can cause us to be drawn away by the deviant and those used by Satan. Along that line, I have had several acquaintances that claimed to be Christians. One, it turns out, was in a men’s home (the men’s home is somewhat irrelevant except that you can make an obvious assumption – and that is that the person from the home has had some mighty struggles in the past.) While the leadership of the men’s home had mandated church services and Bible studies they had to attend, they could not seem to get the world out of this brother. He, in a short period, took a job on the night crew, and I rarely saw him after that. His reattachment to the world seemed to grow and he left the group home he was a part of.

You shall make no covenant with them or with their gods. They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against Me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you. (Exodus 23:32-33 AMP)

And you shall consume all the peoples whom the Lord your God will give over to you; your eye shall not pity them, neither shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you. (Deuteronomy 7:16 AMP)

You didn’t merely live by their ways and act according to their disgusting practices, but in a very short time, you acted more corruptly than they in all your ways. (Ezekiel 16:47 CJB)

Is it the person becoming the snare? Perhaps, but what we do know is that Satan will deceive you through any means possible. In some cases, it might be an innocent but attractive looking woman.

Yes, Jacob’s life is one huge psychodrama. He is a liar, a cheat, and a general a mess; he does not even seem to slow down all those years later when he meets Esau again. But there is a method to God’s madness. God seems to use broken people; he even seeks them out. He seems to find pleasure in lifting them up and healing them. On the plus side, our savior is a descendant of the line from Jacob.

My point: That no matter how messed up the narrative, or, our story is, we can and should glean as much as we can from each one, for it is God’s story. Sure, you think it is all yours, but it is never anything less than God’s plan, you merely get to be a part of it.

“For I know what plans I have in mind for you,’ says Adonai, plans for well-being, not for bad things; so that you can have hope and a future. ” (Jeremiah 29:11 CJB)

Posted in bible study, Deception, deception, Freedom from sin, Genesis, grace, healing, Jacob, judgment, Mercy, recovery, redemption, Thoughts on scripture, Vengeance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What do we know about Jacob, or, can a man find healing in a woman? Part one

This article was first posted on 05/09/2011.

It has been heavily edited and covers a lot of ground.

The story is found in Genesis 25-31.

One of the churches we were going to at the time had Saturday night services. The pastor was talking about relational issues between husbands and wives, and this night he threw Jacob into the mix. He, of course, had to do a quick overview in an attempt to explain what interactions “created” this man Jacob we read about. In other words, what were the family dynamics that made him respond to situations the way he did? I remember thinking, some are blatantly obvious, what else can there be?

The pastor opened with, “The story equates to a broken man. A man that looks to a woman, Rachel, to bring him wholeness.” I did not take the best notes as my mind went racing off to find the origins of some word the pastor had focused on.

You may not be into humor, but this transition about words reminds me of a movie I watched years ago called, The Three Amigos. The movie is about three comedic American actors around the 1940’s, finding themselves in old Mexico. There was a point in the film where the bad guys were sitting around the fire while trying to assess the situation; when one of them says, Mi Jefe, I have seen them, and there is a plethora. To which the jefe responds, I do not think you know what plethora means. Do not use words for which you do not know the meaning.

What am I trying to say here? I listen to pastors, and teachers throw out words as though what they are saying is the authoritative definition of that word. Unfortunately, I am frequently disappointed, for as you look into a good concordance, you usually find that there are multiple meanings for the word, proving that perhaps they should not use words for which they do not know the meaning. Occasionally, you find that the word they chose is in opposition to the context. I will simply say, that I can’t wholeheartedly see the association between Rachel and Jacob’s so-called search for wholeness if that is what he did; and yet, as I edited this post for readability, I found so many fascinating things that comprise this family. Things that many would bring little more than reproach in most peoples eyes. Essentially, I keep seeing that God is in control. If you take one thing away from this, I hope it is that God is in control.

Let’s start off this look at Jacob with a strong shocker!

We are all broken, and though we may not want to admit to it, most of us are looking for something that dulls the pain and takes our mind off of it for at least a few moments. Sometimes that thing that dulls the pain takes the form of a woman. Why, because, for several reasons we won’t talk about, she quiets the storm momentarily?

If a man were honest, he would tell you that there is little that removes all the hurt inside. It is moments like this you need to get real. You know the moment – it’s those times you stand there looking at yourself, and you see the pain. Scripture itself tells us that all of creation is crying out for redemption, so how can you be excluded; you can’t.

Romans 8:22-23 NASB For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23) And not only this but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

What do we know about Jacob?

Esau, the first-born becomes a man, a very hairy man. Jacob, of course, was born second. When you are young, this second child thing is not that important to you. But, depending on how you were treated in the home there may be a massive sibling rivalry problem, that in some cases lasts a lifetime as a result of the favoritism was shown toward the elder brother in this case. For example, your father makes sure that you understand the position that you do not hold, and it’s not first-born. You are taught that the older will rule the family when the father is gone, and the eldest son will get the lion’s share of any inheritance; this being born first could work in the opposite as well, as oftentimes the eldest is held to a higher standard and takes more punishment for mistakes they did not make (I speak from experience on this one.)

Whatever the case is with these two we do not know, but there are clues.

Genesis 25:23-26 NASB The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger.” 24) When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25) Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. 26) Afterward, his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them.

Esau was first-born, but then there is this prophecy given in a dream, how the older will serve the younger.

Gen 25:27 NASB tells us: “When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents.”

What does Gen 25:27 mean when it comes to Jacob?

While one was always outdoors and active, the other seems to be busy cooking and cleaning the tent. In the eyes of a father that wants to pass on the family business, Esau is the boy you want to brag about in the marketplace. If this was the case, this incessant bragging has to play a role in the character of Jacob.

Outside of speculation, we do not know, at this point, what made Jacob such a conniver. Some would begin an argument at this point, and to a degree, they would be correct, but then, who do we have as a deceiver in this family? Issac is one of those who described his wife as his sister. For the sake of space, I have not included the full text here. I suggest you look it up. Genesis 26:7-13.

Genesis 25:28 LITV And Isaac loved Esau, for game was in his mouth. And Rebekah loved Jacob.

Here is what we have next.

One day, Jacob was cooking some stew, when Esau came home hungry and said, “I’m starving to death! Give me some of that red stew right now!” That’s how Esau got the name “Edom.” Jacob replied, “Sell me your rights as the first-born son.” “I’m about to die,” Esau answered. “What good will those rights do me?” But Jacob said, “Promise me your birthrights, here and now!” And that’s what Esau did. (Genesis 25:29-33 CEV)

While you probably do not pick up on a dominant attitude with most translations, there is no doubt that it is there. Interpretations range from a polite please; to I am starving give me, or feed me.

Here is an example of a similar attitude that Jesus spoke of.

The parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus. Both characters have died. However, Lazarus is now comforted, and the rich man is now demanding, pretty much just as he had always done, that Lazarus is sent back to warn his family. This parable is an example that probably escapes most people, because the interpreters inserted the word please, as though the rich man was now polite when it was his custom to order people around; and, he still thinks that he can order Lazarus around.

And he said, Father, it is my request that you will send him to my father’s house; (Luke 16:27 BBE)

Esau, though probably not on the verge of death, is hungry enough sell his birthright to Jacob.

  • Doesn’t this imply that the birthright issue has been part of Jacob’s thinking for a long time?
  • If you felt confident that you were going to be taken care of by your father then why would you steal what was not meant to be yours?

Apparently, Jacob did not feel very confident.

So Esau sells his brother his birthrights.

Sure he did (in a sarcastic tone,) apparently Esau believed these were meaningless words and had no intention of giving up what was his. Besides that, how do you enforce an illegal sale (where are the witnesses,) with a father who is the only one who has the right to give it, and who is probably not that fond of Jacob anyway?

Genesis 27:1-4 LITV And it happened when Isaac was old and his eyes were dim for seeing, he called his elder son Esau and said to him, My son! And he said to him, Behold me. 2) And he said, Behold! Now, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. 3) And now please lift up your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go to the field and hunt game for me. 4) And make for me delicious things, such as I love, and bring to me, and I will eat; so that my soul may bless you before I die.

If Esau had thought he had thrown away his birthright, why did he act like nothing was wrong when his father said, “that I may bless you before … my death.?
He knew what those words his father would speak meant; and, he knew what they meant to Jacob.

Now we add Rebekah into the mix.

Genesis 27:5-6 GNB “While Isaac was talking to Esau, Rebecca was listening. So when Esau went out to hunt, 6) she said to Jacob, “I have just heard your father say to Esau,”

It would seem that she knew about the deal that Jacob had made with Esau, and, she has decided that she is going to make this deception happen. The turmoil that was about to begin started long ago with these words:

Genesis 25:23 LITV And Jehovah said to her, Two nations are in your womb; even two peoples shall break from your body. And one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

Under the category of things we don’t know:

  • Does she remember those words Jehovah spoke to her all those years ago?
    Are those words the motivation for what she is about to do?
  • Or, is she merely a player in this plan God has, where we do what we think is beneficial for the moment, and yet God is directing every move regardless of how it looks?
  • Do you suppose that she is aware of the grief she is about to cause, or the humiliation Issac is about to face as he is tricked into blessing the wrong son, according to tradition?

Rebekah makes her move to protect Jacob.

Genesis 27:8-10 NET. Now then, my son, do exactly what I tell you! 9) Go to the flock and get me two of the best young goats. I’ll prepare them in a tasty way for your father, just the way he loves them. 10) Then you will take it to your father. Thus he will eat it and bless you before he dies.”

Sometimes, even the best of schemers forget a detail and so Jacob includes that possibility.

Genesis 27:11-12 NASB Jacob answered his mother Rebekah, “Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man and I am a smooth man. 12) “Perhaps my father will feel me, then I will be as a deceiver in his sight, and I will bring upon myself a curse and not a blessing.”

Rebekah is willing to bear the blame.

Genesis 27:13 NASB But his mother said to him, “Your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, get them for me.”

There is little about what happens next that is believable, and yet it does. Sheepskin, with all that hair, a voice had to be decidedly different, and Esau was not the cook. The trap is set, and the deception works.

Genesis 27:14-29 NASB So he went and got them, and brought them to his mother; and his mother made savory food such as his father loved. 15) Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her elder son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. 16) And she put the skins of the young goats on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. 17) She also gave the savory food and the bread, which she had made, to her son Jacob. 18) Then he came to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” 19) Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn; I have done as you told me. Get up, please, sit and eat of my game, that you may bless me.” 20) Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have it so quickly, my son?” And he said, “Because the LORD your God caused it to happen to me.” 21) Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come close, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.” 22) So Jacob came close to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23) He did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him. 24) And he said, “Are you really my son Esau?” And he said, “I am.” 25) So he said, “Bring it to me, and I will eat of my son’s game, that I may bless you.” And he brought it to him, and he ate; he also brought him wine and he drank. 26) Then his father Isaac said to him, “Please come close and kiss me, my son.” 27) So he came close and kissed him; and when he smelled the smell of his garments, he blessed him and said, “See, the smell of my son Is like the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed; 28) Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, And of the fatness of the earth, And an abundance of grain and new wine; 29) May peoples serve you, And nations bow down to you; Be master of your brothers, And may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you, And blessed be those who bless you.”

While the premise is that we are supposed to be looking at Jacob, we have spent a lot of time on Rebekah. However, taking a serious look at what makes us dysfunctional forces us to consider background information; Rebekah and Issac play a huge role in that background. Consider how much dysfunction a child, up to about the age when they learn to say NO, has buried within them. It would seem none, as they have to learn to be liars, and deceivers, as Jacob did. And his parents taught him.

Consider another huge factor, sin. I bring this up because of the legalists among us, as they try to tell you that sin pushes you to do what you do. But consider, in the garden did Satan push Eve? No, he deceived her. So, when Adam then partakes, was he pushed? No, and neither was he deceived, he merely followed his wife’s lead. Sin is little more than missing the smallest of bullseyes as you go through your day, the process of which is a perpetual task that sometimes borders on the impossible. Sin then is that motivation to do what we want to do, and sometimes I grow weary of trying hit the bullseye on targets that seem to be several hundred yards away and no bigger than the head of a nail.

Stay tuned as part two has Jacob getting out of the house and fleeing toward Uncle Laban’s, as he looks for the woman of his dreams, maybe.

Posted in bible study, comfort, Deception, deception, Genesis, healing, Hope, hypocrisy, Jacob, judgment, Mercy, Peace, Prophetic, recovery, redemption, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On the subject of vengeance.

Several weeks ago the Monday morning study leader announced that the following week we would be starting a study on vengeance. To show that the carnal side of me still exists, I wrote this on my notepad, Coming up next week, Vengeance!, Yeah baby! I was messing around, as the first reaction I had, was to moan because every study is a fitful barrage of legalism. However, when that particular “study” ended, I turned to my friend and said, that wasn’t all bad.

The leader was giving an introduction, but he had already lost me, as I was looking up passages on vengeance. The first thing I came to was a passage in Leviticus.

Leviticus 19:18 ISV “You are not to seek vengeance or hold a grudge against the descendants of your people. Instead, love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”

The first thing I realized is that this is “the law,” and we, are not under the law; or, are we? If we are not under the law, then what do I do with this statement from the Apostle Paul?

Romans 12:16-19 ISV Live in harmony with each other. Do not be arrogant, but associate with humble people. Do not think that you are wiser than you really are. 17) Do not pay anyone back evil for evil, but focus your thoughts on what is right in the sight of all people. 18) If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in peace with all people. 19) Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me. I will pay them back, declares the Lord.”

Wait a minute, Paul, the reformed Pharisee, and one of the most prominent advocates of grace; tells his audience of Jewish converts, and us, do not put yourself back under the bondage of the law. And yet, here it is.

Nahum 1:2-3 AMPC The Lord is a jealous God and avenging; the Lord avenges, and He is full of wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries and reserves wrath for His enemies. [Exodus 20:5] 3) The Lord is slow to anger and great in power and will by no means clear the guilty. The Lord has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. [Exodus 34:6-7]

There are many scriptural illustrations that Paul could have pulled from, but Nahum conveys the idea of vengeance well. If Paul could be comfortable drawing examples from the “law” while speaking of those same laws as a return to bondage, then your spirit should be telling you that there is something more involved in this idea of bondage than mere constraints put on us by God. The “laws,” such as, love your neighbor as yourselves, are, at the very least, a better way of living; And, they are the very thing that keeps us out of God’s way, as we focus on the positive rather than our hidden agenda of supplanting God by dishing out vengeance and judgment.

So then, even the New Testament conveys constraints that parallel the law.

I have mentioned, many times, how we live under the perfect law of liberty.

James 2:10-12 NASB For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. 11) For He who said, “DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,” also said, “DO NOT COMMIT MURDER.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12) So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.

James is also the one who tells us that we are blessed when we walk in this law.

James 1:25 NASB But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

We then, do not have the freedom to seek vengeance, nor are we entirely free from the God’s law.

As the morning’s study progressed a brash statement was made, when we get to heaven, you will not find a Pharisee there as they will all be in hell. A quick inventory in my head put me in remembrance of Nicodemus, Simon of Arimathea, and the Apostle Paul, all of which, were prominent Pharisees who displayed a love of Jesus Christ.

Several minutes passed and I raised my hand. When the leader finally acknowledged me, I said, as a recovering Pharisee who struggles with judgment I want to share a story with you. At this point, I told them about a stepson who had inappropriately taken one of my handguns into the backyard to show a friend of his. You need to understand that there had been a series of events that ended with a stolen bicycle, and this young man in my backyard had played a role in that. I that moment, with them fondling my revolver, I merely held out a hand, and my stepson placed the gun in my hand. I simply said, had you asked me I would have taken you to the range and taught you how to respect the weapon and shoot it, but since you chose to go behind my back you have lost that opportunity. I began that day to pray that God would remove bad influences from my stepson’s life. Two weeks later, the other boy shot himself in the head while playing Russian roulette. The important thing was I merely asked God to intervene, but I did not try to tell Him what to do about it.

I remind you of Romans 12:19 which says,

19) Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me. I will pay them back, declares the Lord.”

I don’t know how I did it because I was angry in the days that preceded that young man’s death. I was the one who walked my son into the police station and made him “return” this obviously stolen bicycle, and this entire process was laden with humiliation and fear for both of us, but it worked out, as they apparently realized that my actions had ingrained a serious lesson in my son.

Once again look at what James has to say.

James 2:12-13 NASB So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13) For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

Pay close attention to verse 13 where it says, “For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy.” In my story above I feel like I did it right. I feel no blame for the young man, but I grieved with his father who explained how they had seen unusual patterns beginning to develop.

I can assure you that there were multiple times that I did not get this right, and here is one.

Having been raised in the church, I was severely wounded by a few sarcastic church elders. I carried their wounds most of my life. Did they always occupy my mind? No, but a string of events that I can relate to codependency, seemed to bring their brutal tongues to the forefront of my thinking. The bottom line here is that in my mind I hated them and wanted them to suffer slow, prolonged, and painful torture, for what they did. When you think about the logic in all this, you can see that this pain I believed I inflicted upon them, and the chains I held them in, was all in my head. That means I gave them too much free space in my head. And never, were they aware of this bondage I held them in. During the time involved, I had to maintain the chains, keeping the rust off those chains by oiling them. All this maintenance cost me a tremendous amount of time and energy. Sadly, I felt justified in all this.

Primarily I learned I needed to forgive them.

Yes, I needed to forgive; the problem is, I had no idea of what to do. Oh sure, mother had her designs, which amounted to letting people continue to slap you until you are spinning, but that was not going to work for me either (anymore.) Thankfully there was a day when a prophetic woman stopped me and said, you have to forgive those men who hurt you! I responded with, alright, but how? She said, it’s simple, you merely release them from the debts you think they owe you. To be honest, it only took me a couple of days to realize that I was having no impact on them and that my efforts were simply me, judging them. After, what seemed like a lifetime I released them from the bondage that I felt they owed me. Quickly, I began doing that with ex-wives and others that had offended me.

I have, over time, told these truths to others, only to have them say its hard to forgive!

I respond briskly with, no, it’s not. The only difficult part is you letting go of the imaginary control you think you have. You see, when we set ourselves up as judges and put people into the prison of our minds, we have set ourselves up as God. We have supplanted God and tried to take over His job. In doing this, we have set up our own fates, which James spells out.

James 2:12-13 NASB So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13) For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

Since we are not under the law, and yet have an almost identical command in the New Testament, then let’s try one more and see if we can find the freedom in it.

Deuteronomy 32:35 CJB Vengeance and payback are mine for the time when their foot slips; for the day of their calamity is coming soon, their doom is rushing upon them.’

On one hand, this tells us that all vengeance belongs to God, while on the other hand, it speaks to payback, which is His also. Their day will come, whether they be religious or ungodly.

I will show you Romans 12:19 once again.

Romans 12:19 ISV Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me. I will pay them back, declares the Lord.”

By taking yourselves out of the judgment seat, you are putting these people back into God’s hand. As the ISV translation says, leave room for God’s wrath.

Alright, there is time for just one more story.

On a particular day, I was put in charge of the office where I was outnumbered by women who had taught us men, how to install and repair pay phones. A particular lady, who had a horrific case plantar fasciitis, whined incessantly about how she could not do the job. I suspect that I misread her that day, and thought that she was saying that she could not do the added dimension of installing the wiring. I asked her to stay in the office for a moment and proceeded to tell her, in my most Pharisaical tone, that as a Christian I was ashamed of her because, we, as believers, can do all things through Christ. The short of it, within about six months my judgment came back on me, and I found myself ashamed of my actions. I don’t know what became of her, but I lost everything dear to me. So, I understand how this works, and you don’t want to get into the judgment game.

Posted in Apostle Paul, bible study, false teaching, Freedom from sin, God's character, Hearing God, judgment, Law of liberty, Peace, Things I have never noticed before, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture, Vengeance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment