God’s steadfast love and compassion. Micah 7:18-20.

This post will be the end of our journey through Micah’s prophecy.

The NLT translation headlines this section as,

God’s Steadfast Love and Compassion

If you have been following my study on Micah, then you will agree that what Micah had to say was hard to hear. Much applies to our lives although we don’t want to admit it, but pay attention to the last three verses.

Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love as you promised to our ancestors Abraham and Jacob long ago. (Micah 7:18-20 NLT)

  • Where is another God like you? Many translations say it like this, Who is a God like you, as though there was something out there to compare Him to.

An acquaintance of mine, vehemently said, Jesus cannot come back because not everyone has heard the gospel, and yet those same people who have not heard the gospel serve a multitude of gods, many of which are carved out of the trees or palm branches near them. So then, what is the distinction?

  • [It is God] “who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?” (NIV)

The ERV translation puts it this way – You take away people’s guilt. What other god, if there is one, does that? Ponder this statement, “You take away people’s guilt,” for a moment. Where else do we see this theme? For most of us, our minds look to the New Testament, but it is a theme repeatedly found in the Old Testament; one example is found in Exodus. Sadly, in the Old Testament, forgiveness was only temporary and required the death of a sacrificial animal, but with the New Testament, Jesus was that lamb, and He too was sacrificed once for the sins of the world. Jesus alone had that authority. Luke’s gospel tells us that this forgiveness would be proclaimed to all. This process we see in Luke’s gospel, how that Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead on the third day, is critical in God’s plan to regain His creation, humankind, back again.

  • The CEV translation phrases verse 18 like this, “We are all that is left of your chosen people, and you freely forgive our sin and guilt.”

I have sat in a Bible study, led by a man who is willing to tell you that no Jews advance into the millennium. In light of Micah’s statement, and what Luke tells us, everyone who believes receives this forgiveness and therefore obtains eternal salvation and life with the Father. Religion constantly berates us for sin, almost as if the cross did not exist. But the cross indeed happened, and sins were forgiven. That is one of the reasons why both the Gentile and the Jew are forgiven. The burning question then will be, what did you do with the Son, the Messiah I sent to you? If you are a student of the Bible, then you know that there is a time of wrath coming. Sadly, we the church improperly call this time, the Great Tribulation when it is a time of wrath and judgment. An aspect of that judgment is against Israel for their rebellion and rejection. God told them it would come, and it will, but during this horrid time, many will come to understand that Jesus is the longed-for Messiah God. Understanding and believing are the requirements to obtain this eternal salvation, but once you are in the time of wrath, you must endure what that period holds.

  • Many ask, what is God’s character, and how can I know that? Well, here is one of those examples that tell us what His character is – “ because you delight in showing unfailing love.”

How did Micah know that? Because he and others like him were taught an oral history; a history that spoke of examples of God’s love and mercy. There is no doubt that these stories were all intertwined with what seemed like perpetual war, but then that is what this community, called God’s people, has been done since they left Egypt. Why call Israel a community at war? Because their mission, under God’s orders, was to take the land God promised, and there was no way of doing that without conflict; that is why practically every story we read has a thread of bloodshed in it. I could not help but think about Jonah when I read this statement. The majority of the story we get on Jonah shows us a man, without reason, doing his best to escape God’s directive to go to Nineveh. Bypassing all the details in-between, Jonah arrives at Nineveh and exclaims, 40 days and you are dead! This judgment is precisely what Jonah wanted; however, they repented, and God relented – showing them mercy (for the time being.) Where we find Jonah’s real motive is at the end of the story where he says, I knew you would do that! What did God do? He delighted in showing His unfailing love to these barbaric Assyrians.

  • Once again you will have compassion on us.”

While God is always looking for ways to show compassion, the reality is that this will happen after Jesus comes back as the warring Messiah. Then compassion will be seen for not just God’s people, but all who accept Him. 1000 years of peace, a time I have a hard time picturing.

  • You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!”

This verse has a familiar theme for me. Compare this statement above with a couple of others. Psalms 103:9-14 speaks of God’s love for all who worship Him, and, how far He has separated us from our sins. Look at what Isaiah says. Jeremiah also speaks of God forgiveness. And lastly, Daniel reminds us that there is a price to be paid for sins – we have laws that uphold those penalties, but God, for reasons not explained in this verse, will put an end to their sin, atone for their guilt, and bring in everlasting righteousness? My opinion is somewhat irrelevant, but I see much of this happening on the cross. The requirement, on our part, is to believe in the Son. I suppose that means that I, in time, comprehend all that He did, but for now, to believe is enough.

  • Micah 7:20 NLT  You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love as you promised to our ancestors Abraham and Jacob long ago.

Once again, with men like Jeptha, Gideon, and Samson, all you focus on is the violence as they tried to free their people, but maybe that is where the faithfulness and unfailing love is hidden in the background as God is calling Israel back to Himself. A friend of mine seems to be undone by the possibility that God created evil. He heard Radio Pastor John MacArthur say God created evil. At this point, my friend became so inflamed that he turned off the radio and swore never to listen to Pastor MacArthur again. Perhaps created is an entirely inappropriate choice of words, and here is why. I hate when Pastors say, “this is what James is saying,” this is especially redundant and insulting when it is obvious what, in this case, James is telling us. Consider the logic as we learn that:

  • it is not possible for God to be tested by evil.”

Fortunately, we have an explanation, for God spoke about the person who foolishly says, God put me through this test or evil.

  • and He tempts no one.” (MKJV)

That would eliminate Him tempting or testing you and I. My friend, influenced by far too many voices, suggests that God instilled Adam with evil. If you read the creation account, you see nothing that indicates that, and there is definitive evidence that Adam and Eve obtained the knowledge of evil through the consumption of the fruit of the tree that represented that knowledge.

Let’s play out one more scenario. If God, as Isaiah tells us, created evil, and humankind, in the spirit form, is made in the likeness of God, why wouldn’t Adam know evil as well? To answer the question I need to understand what Isaiah said!
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” Isaiah 45:7 KJV 

Formyāṣar: A verb meaning to form, to fashion, to shape, to devise. The primary meaning of the word is derived from the idea of cutting or framing. [Word Study Dictionary]

The word create. Heb. bara, Poel Participle, which with “evil” requires the rendering “bring about.” So I can understand the idea of creation, in Isaiah 45:7, as God brought about.

Light – the Hebrew word ’ôr. It is a masculine noun meaning light. In a literal sense, it is used primarily to refer to light from heavenly bodies.

Darkness is the same word we see in Genesis chapter one where we find the creation account. Most innocently read Genesis 1:2 where it says, “and darkness was upon the face of the deep,” and see the earth as a place that simply had no light. But an in-depth look into a simple word like darkness and you find something ominous.

Darknesschôshek the dark; hence (literally) darkness; figuratively misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness: – dark (-ness), night, obscurity.

Isaiah gives us one more word, evil.

Evil is the Hebrew word ra‛ or râ‛âh. It means bad or (as noun) evil (naturally or morally). This includes the second (feminine) form; as adjective or noun: – adversity, affliction, bad, calamity, displeasure, distress,

But, in speaking through Isaiah, only moments later, we get this:

“For the LORD is God, and he created the heavens and earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos. “I am the LORD,” he says, “and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:18 NLT 

He (God) made the earth perfectly, and, inhabitable from the moment of its origination; and yet, something appears to have happened, and because of that we find the earth covered in darkness – chaos. Isaiah distinctly tells us that God brought about evil. Since God cannot be tempted with evil, nor does He tempt any man with evil, then evil must have come from some other direction or source, and God, in time, had to allow it to be brought forth; we see that happening with Adam at the forbidden tree of knowledge. Jesus told us that He beheld Satan fall like lighting to the earth. Since Satan’s one purpose in life now is to usurp God’s authority and position, then it is safe to assume that the evil, calamity, distress, and adversity came with him.

  • [What does the BBE translation of James 1:13-17 say?] But every man is tested when he is turned out of the right way by the attraction of his desire.”

So, are you telling me that Eve was turned out of the right way because of personal desires? Yes. The MKJV puts it this way – But each one is tempted by his lusts, being drawn away and seduced by them.” Having struggled most of my life with self-esteem issues, I asked a counselor that used hypnotism about how this is done; this was important to me as I desire freedom from the fear associated with low self-esteem, and, I have seen stage shows where people do odd things like acting like a chicken. On a positive note, I have also seen a hypnotist get a lady past her morbid fear of snakes. When he was done with her, she was comfortable enough to hold a rather large snake. The counselor I spoke with, told me that the people doing odd things have a deeply inset desire to do those things and that these are the same people who drastically change with alcohol consumption. The counselor also told me that there was nothing they could make a person do if it is against their will. So, the hypnotized are only acting out upon their lusts/desires. In the MKJV you can see that they used the word lusts in James 1:13-17. Many perceive lusts as purely sexual, but it is not. Lusts are only desires that you have, like a fast or flashy car. In the case of Eve, she saw that the tree was not only good for food but that it gave you knowledge. The problem is that it was a knowledge that was not beneficial, for so many reasons; nor did she understand or care that her actions included the genetic alteration of the human species from that point forward – this is the best way for me to understand how we could all be born into sin.

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Wait for the salvation of God. Micah 7:1-17.

As I move into the last chapter of Micah I feel a sense of relief because it seems that book studies/commentaries can, at times, be wearisome. In looking at statistics on the blog, I can see that readers have dropped off, especially when I use some of the oppressive wording that God is conveying in that portion of scripture. Perhaps that is why people do not and will not read their Bibles, because God often comes across as tedious. I too have to labor through sections as I try to make some of the darker passages more palatable. So when I opened Micah chapter seven today and began to do a quick read through, in hopes of moving quickly through Micah in one post, I found myself reading about many of the same feelings I feel as I write these posts. One sentence stands out, whether it is true or not is irrelevant, as it feels like it is.

No one is loyal to God; no one does right.

I recognize that many of you have a heart toward God and desire all that God has for you, but there are others, that after reading a few lines, catch only a vague feel for the heart of God and simply leave the post, just as they leave the Word of God. Welcome to the heart of Micah and the close of his book.

This section is entitled by the translators as Wait for the God of Salvation.

The passage seems long, but I will break it down.

Micah 7:1-17 CEV  I feel so empty inside— like someone starving for grapes or figs after the vines and trees have all been picked clean.  (2)  No one is loyal to God; no one does right. Everyone is brutal and eager to deceive everyone else.  (3)  People cooperate to commit crime. Judges and leaders demand bribes, and rulers cheat in court.  (4)  The most honest of them is worse than a thorn patch. Your doom has come! Lookouts sound the warning, and everyone panics.  (5)  Don’t trust anyone, not even your best friend, and be careful what you say to the one you love.  (6)  Sons refuse to respect their own fathers, daughters rebel against their own mothers, and daughters-in-law despise their mothers-in-law. Your family is now your enemy.  (7)  But I trust the LORD God to save me, and I will wait for him to answer my prayer.  (8)  My enemies, don’t be glad because of my troubles! I may have fallen, but I will get up; I may be sitting in the dark, but the LORD is my light.  (9)  I have sinned against the LORD. And so I must endure his anger until he comes to my defense. But I know that I will see him making things right for me and leading me to the light.  (10)  You, my enemies, said, “The LORD God is helpless.” Now each of you will be disgraced and put to shame. I will see you trampled like mud in the street.  (11)  Towns of Judah, the day is coming when your walls will be rebuilt, and your boundaries enlarged.  (12)  People will flock to you from Assyria and Egypt, from Babylonia and everywhere else.  (13)  Those nations will suffer disaster because of what they did.  (14)  Lead your people, LORD! Come and be our shepherd. Grasslands surround us, but we live in a forest. So lead us to Bashan and Gilead, and let us find pasture as we did long ago.  (15)  I, the LORD, will work miracles just as I did when I led you out of Egypt.  (16)  Nations will see this and be ashamed because of their helpless armies. They will be in shock, unable to speak or hear,  (17)  because of their fear of me, your LORD and God. Then they will come trembling, crawling out of their fortresses like insects or snakes, lapping up the dust.

In a sense, Micah is pouring out his heart in anguish before God.

  • (1) I feel so empty inside— like someone starving for grapes or figs after the vines and trees have all been picked clean.

Who hasn’t felt that? Maybe there are some; my wife would say to me, I don’t understand depression. After several tries at explaining some of the symptoms of depression, she is now aware that she too goes through depression as well.

  • (2)  No one is loyal to God; no one does right. Everyone is brutal and eager to deceive everyone else.

You should know that is a false premise. It is, however, the same premise that Elijah moaned about when he said, I am all alone; there are no other prophets besides me! God told him differently. The problem here is that it is easy to feel alone and needs to be recognized for what it is, a deception from the enemy. This happened to me. A group I used to sit in had someone new show up; the assumption that several of the men made was that this new guy knew nothing, and so they immediately tried to impress him with their knowledge. The question was asked, how tall was David when he slew Goliath? After several moments of awkward silence, as no one knew the answer, I responded with, about six foot four inches tall. Needless to say, I was verbally attacked. I could give you several strong reasons for saying what I did, but because I had gone against tradition, I was deemed disloyal to God, and they, were brutal and deceptive in their responses.

  •  (3)  People cooperate to commit crime. Judges and leaders demand bribes, and rulers cheat in court.  (4)  The most honest of them is worse than a thorn patch. Your doom has come! Lookouts sound the warning, and everyone panics.

That has never changed; it is a part of that nature we inherited from Adam. Everyone does it, but it does not make it the right thing to say. Saying that the entire world has gone down the toilet is nowhere close to a true statement. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, said that a small portion of Joel chapter two had been fulfilled in their ears. This was the Holy Spirit of God talking through Peter, and God has never changed His mind about this statement.

It goes like this: Joel 2:28b-29 NLT  “I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions.  (29)  In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on servants—men and women alike.

Are you having visions; dreaming dreams; has the Holy Spirit pour His spirit upon you, and are you prophesying? I know the answer and it is NO. Do you ever wonder why? Joel chapter two sounds more like hope and power; I would rather live in that instead of focusing on the doom that has come. I want to live in hope and power.

  • (5)  Don’t trust anyone, not even your best friend, and be careful what you say to the one you love.  (6)  Sons refuse to respect their own fathers, daughters rebel against their own mothers, and daughters-in-law despise their mothers-in-law. Your family is now your enemy.

These are the words of a wounded man – he is wounded by people he trusted; people he thought would receive the words he gave them. You can’t cross deeply embedded tradition and not expect an attack. Religion, no matter how safe you think it is, is not your friend. Don’t mistake a relationship with Jesus for religion. Jesus himself told us that those of our own households would become our enemies. Matthew 10:36.

  • (7)  But I trust the LORD God to save me, and I will wait for him to answer my prayer.  (8)  My enemies, don’t be glad because of my troubles! I may have fallen, but I will get up; I may be sitting in the dark, but the LORD is my light.

In the midst of Micah’s moaning, there is this amazing bright light. These words should be our battle cry no matter what.

  • (9)  I have sinned against the LORD. And so I must endure his anger, until he comes to my defense. But I know that I will see him making things right for me and leading me to the light.  (10)  You, my enemies, said, “The LORD God is helpless.” Now each of you will be disgraced and put to shame. I will see you trampled like mud in the street.

We don’t know what Micah did; we assume he led a pristine, carefree life. I don’t think so, because God seems to take those of us who have been battered and turns us into testimonies and warriors for Him. Maybe, Micah was like me; he understood his weaknesses and frailties. In that understanding, I can easily say, I too have sinned. Paul said, confess your sins one to another; well I can guarantee you that I am not sharing my life with many of you as you will eat me alive just as they do on the Walking Dead television show. I have to be selective about who I share things with and how much I share. Just know, that I have a couple of people that I can and do share things with, and, there are things that I will take to the grave. Religion and selfishness almost guarantee that some will gloat over me, but note this truth – I will see you trampled like mud in the street.

  • (11)  Towns of Judah, the day is coming when your walls will be rebuilt, and your boundaries enlarged.  (12)  People will flock to you from Assyria and Egypt, from Babylonia and everywhere else.  (13)  Those nations will suffer disaster because of what they did.

Verses 11, 12 both reflect hope and prophesy. To some degree the walls were rebuilt, and, in the six day war, Israel’s boundaries were enlarged. The UN would love to see that undone. Sadly, the prophets, including Micah, have spoken of enemies from those same nations that will flock to Israel, attacking Israel in the last days. The disaster that befalls them comes in the form of a firestorm [Ezekiel 38,39] and then a tremendous slaughter of all fighting forces when Jesus returns to earth. [Revelation 19:15]

  • (14)  Lead your people, LORD! Come and be our shepherd. Grasslands surround us, but we live in a forest. So lead us to Bashan and Gilead, and let us find pasture as we did long ago.

Verse fourteen is prayer and a plea to God.

  • (15)  I, the LORD, will work miracles just as I did when I led you out of Egypt.  (16)  Nations will see this and be ashamed because of their helpless armies. They will be in shock, unable to speak or hear,  (17)  because of their fear of me, your LORD and God. Then they will come trembling, crawling out of their fortresses like insects or snakes, lapping up the dust.

Verses 15 -17 is God’s response. In the end, the nations will fear/respect the Lord God, and they will come and bow before Him – end of discussion.


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Thoughts on the Gap Theory, Genesis 1:1-2.

A writer for Prophecy in the News, by the name of Terri McInnis, posted an article on their website, entitled, Gap Theory Exposed. She immediately referenced a book she had “just begun to read,” by Dr. Henry Morris named The Beginning of the World. She goes on to tell us that Dr. Morris was: an American Young Creationist, a Christian Apologist, and, an engineer. He also founded the Creation Research Society and the Institute for Creation Research in Dallas Texas. I have done this as well, giving you the reader, the titles, and accolades of some person, with the hopes of building acceptance of some thesis. In doing this, there is also the hope that you will accept these words as the only proper way of looking at a subject.

Young Creationist is merely another way of saying that Dr. Morris is a young earth proponent – that means, in the Doctor’s mind and others like him, God made all creation in a literal six days, and therefore the earth is only a little over six thousand years old based upon the age of Adam (Adam may well have lived an indeterminate amount of time before he and his “wife” ate the fruit and initiated the process of physical death – all time, as we know it, stems from that act.) I have a sister who also leans hard on the young earth theory; the problem with that is that my sister has no valid arguments to prove her point. You can scream at me all day long, arguing that carbon dating is invalid, but you can’t adequately explain where dinosaurs came from, or that there were multiple extinctions.

The other thing proponents of young earth have, is a problem with the word yôm.

The Word Study Dictionary explains the meaning of the word yôm as: “A masculine noun meaning day, time, year. This word stands as the most basic conception of time in the Old Testament. It designates such wide-ranging elements as the daylight hours from sunrise to sunset (Gen_1:5; 1Ki_19:4); a literal twenty-four hour cycle (Deu_16:8; 2Ki_25:30); a generic span of time (Gen_26:8; Num_20:15); a given point in time (Gen_2:17; Gen_47:29; Eze_33:12). In the plural, the word may also mean the span of life (Psa_102:3 [4]) or a year (Lev_25:29; 1Sa_27:7).”

The Strong’s concordance tells us that the word yôm primarily means to be hot.” However, it also carries the same connotations that the Word Study Dictionary does.

People who are adept with the Hebrew language will tell you that the word is defined when associated with another word that would define the length of time, in this case, a hot phase, and therefore a 24 hour period since it is associated with “darkness.” However, the scriptures do not give us that precise definition. Let me show you.

Genesis 1:3-5 KJV  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.  (4)  And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.  (5)  And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Since a day is as a thousand years with God, then I can assume that the measure of time can often be an irrelevant thing with Him. (Anyone knowledgeable in scripture is aware of the 70 years of captivity assigned to Israel; and although a defined period of time they remained in captivity for several years beyond that time. And then, there is the very specific timing that we learn of in Daniel’s prophecy; a timing that spells out, that “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks of years – 490 years. The fascinating aspect of this is that Jesus, in the role of Messiah, placed himself on that young colt and rode into Jerusalem on the 490th day, just as it was given to Daniel. All this proves that God is capable of keeping precise time if He needs to.

Based on what I see in verses 3-5 of Genesis chapter one, can I assume that God has a clock and this period, like most sports, is a mandatory precisely timed period? NO.

So, what do I see in Genesis 1:3-5?

God, creating light. Light and day are obvious counterparts that separate the daylight hours from the night, but, as you pursue the depth of the Hebrews words find two diversified events which I will explain.

Light is the word ore and means illumination, or luminaries – in this case, stars and planets. Since our Sun falls in the category of stars, and we are the perfect distance from our star, then the earth has just the right amount of warmth or yôm. In verse five He calls that light that gives heat day. But verse four points out that there is also a darkness present. Before His creation of luminaries, I suspect that there was nothing more than vast, cold darkness.

Now, look up the word darkness, and you get something ominous. “chôshek meaning the dark; hence (literally) darkness; (figuratively)misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness: – dark (-ness), night, obscurity.”

Could I look at the creation, as I do the Book of Revelation, where we see a cyclical and repeated telling of the chain of events and the possible interruption of those events? Perhaps, but perhaps God is trying to get us to understand something deeper; like the fall of Satan. That event is shrouded in secrecy; or is it? It could be that this “gap” is where Satan was thrown to earth.

In Luke’s Gospel, the disciples came back excited about the short missionary trip Jesus sent them, and they said, “even the devils are subject to us through your name.” Well, that is fascinating news, but Jesus knew it would work for them; and yet Jesus responds with what some might perceive as negativity.

Luke 10:17-18 KJV  And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.  (18)  And he said unto them; I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

From what I understand sarcastic banter, intended to outdo the other, was a way of life for the Jew. I can hear many of you now saying, Jesus would have never entered into such an exchange; but He did, with Nathanael. When Philip found Nathanael to tell him about finding Jesus, the one the scriptures talk about, Nathanael responds with, can any good thing come out of Nazareth? Jesus, knowing this, cuts Nathanael down to size with, you thought that was something, wait till you see what else happens. Read the first chapter of John’s gospel to get the whole picture.

John 1:50-51 KJV  Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these.  (51)  And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

So when we look at Luke 10:17-18, he is telling them, that there is more, and that I was there and witnessed this event. Now you should be asking, what did Satan’s fall look like? One Bible teacher described it as though Satan was thrown like a dart. Considering how extremely hard God could throw something, I can picture an impact crater much like the one found off the Yucatan Peninsula. Scientists tell us that the Yucatan crater alone could have caused at least one of the extinctions. Just something to think about.

I will tell you straight away; I lean toward the idea that the earth is billions of years old; it just makes more sense to me based upon evidence and what I see when I look at the Hebrew words that tell us of the creation. The bottom line here, is that my beliefs, in my mind, do not diminish God in any way, but instead make Him more powerful and surprising; and, neither do arguments for a young earth decrease God in my mind, although I have watched people struggle with their beliefs as they deal with these conflicts we are so adamant about.

One the first things Ms. McInnis points out, presumably from Dr. Morris’ book, is that “most Christians do not believe in evolution, yet they believe that the earth evolved over 16.5 billion years!” Stop here for a moment; as of yet I thought we were talking about the possibility of a very long and indeterminate gap in time between verses 1 and 2? No one said anything about evolution, yet, but we will. Can I understand that something happened to make the earth void and formless? Yes, I can. Look at what Genesis 1:2 tells us.

The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. (Genesis 1:2 NASB)

Now stop for a moment and allow me to show you verse one.

Genesis 1:1 JPS  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

If God spoke everything into existence, then why not the earth? We assume he did. But without form and void certainly does not sound like He did, unless he made the earth in the spinning blob form that scientists occasionally depict. If that was the case and God had to allow for cooling and settling, you might think He would have told us. Note this passage from Isaiah:

Isaiah 45:18 NASB For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the LORD, and there is none else.

While it clearly says he formed it to be inhabited, it also clearly states that the earth was formed. Now that can take some time, or, God can merely speak the globe into existence – He is capable of doing that. Even if God created it perfectly in the first few moments, there was no light to sustain plant growth, and, if you are doing your advance reading, then you know that we did not have sun until the fourth “day.”

Now, let’s go back to this idea of evolution for a moment. In time, as we read the creation story in Genesis, we see a couple of things –

Genesis 1:26-27 KJV  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.  (27)  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Genesis 1:26-27 may cause some people grief as they try to understand what just happened, but suffice it to say, this is a spiritual event. Humankind, as yet, has no earthly bodies. It is not until Genesis chapter two that we see the man being formed.

Genesis 2:7 KJV  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Even though He formed the man, He does not form the woman from the man’s rib, for, once again, some indeterminate time.

What is my take away from this? Man did not evolve. But then what of something like the Paracas Peru elongated skulls? DNA testing has shown them to be pre-Nazca, but show haploid associations with European and Middle Eastern groups; and, they have mitochondrial DNA “with mutations unknown in any human, primate, or animal known so far.” [https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/breaking-new-dna-testing-2000-year-old-elongated-paracas-skulls-changes-020914]
Now, how might that be explained? For that answer, we have to indulge ourselves in Genesis chapter six.

Genesis 6:2-4 KJV  That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.  (3)  And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.  (4)  There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

I am not going to take the time to pursue this, but there is something mysterious and ominous going here. Men like LA Marzulli, go to tremendous lengths to explain the giants, and, how they came back into the earth after the flood of Noah’s day, that destroyed all flesh, but Noah and his family. This information tends to indicate that our discoveries from the Paracas region, with their elongated skulls, may have been pre-flood, but then, as I said, the giants continued to show up after the flood.

Why point all this out? Because I don’t see an evolution within God’s creation of man at all. What I see is a demonic infiltration with mutations, and that should concern us more than the age of the earth because apparently, this infiltration not stopped.

Back to Genesis

If the earth was perfect as Isaiah 45:18 declares, then what happened? Perhaps this can help to explain.

Genesis 1:2 NLT  The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

  • “And darkness upon the face of the deep.”

Deep is the Hebrew word abyss, and we should all know what that is. Darkness – is the Hebrew word choshek and means; the dark; hence (literally) darkness; (figuratively) misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness: – dark (-ness), night, obscurity.

Genesis 1:2 says that “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Spirit is the Hebrew word ruach and means wind, breath, mind, spirit; this should have an immediate significance to what we recognize in New Testament terms as the Holy Spirit. Where else do we see the Holy Spirit? At the beginning of creation.

John 1:1-3 ESV In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) He was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

Why, if God merely spoke a perfect creation into existence, does He now have to move upon the face of the waters with His Spirit? Is it to put things back into order? Or, is it just part of the plan? There is little doubt that the earth was filled with some form of chaos for a time; a time long enough to petrify trees, and cause multiple generations of dinosaurs to be buried alive.

Maybe I have not opened or closed the gap in the theory, but I hope that I made you think. There are some things that I don’t think we need to be so brutally adamant about, and the Gap theory is one of them. It may bring some answers, but as several of my friends would say, it is a minor argument in the schemes of things.

Posted in 70 weeks, bible study, creation, Creation, Daniel, false teaching, Genesis, Things I have never noticed before, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Micah 6:10,11. Houses filled with treasure gain by cheating.

When we ended Micah 6:9 we were left with this ominous declaration, The armies of destruction are coming; the LORD is sending them.”

Does anybody see the banking system in this passage from Micah 2:2? I do. Here in America, we had a horrendous collapse of the banking system. One, in particular, stands out, as they were consistently on the nightly news for a time; this bank is one in which I used to do business. The problem, as some see it, is that they got caught; the others, to put it simply, were not found out?

But why?

I said, “Listen, you leaders of Israel! You are supposed to know right from wrong, but you are the very ones who hate good and love evil. You skin my people alive and tear the flesh from their bones. (Micah 3:1-2 NLT)

Here, we see leaders being the very ones who hate good and love evil. Micah wrote these words almost three thousand years ago, and yet those very words are more legitimatized today. Again, here in America, we have gone through years of televised Senate hearings about subversive actions by our very governmental leaders. My take away as I listened; these people are, on both sides of the witness stand are evil; and, they seem to prefer evil rather than good.

Now we are looking at Micah 6:10.

Micah 6:10 NLT  What shall I say about the homes of the wicked filled with treasures gained by cheating? What about the disgusting practice of measuring out grain with dishonest measures?

How would we, the “impoverished” who have to work for a living, know what is in the homes of the wealthy? We never would if it wasn’t for the books that have been published that show us the lifestyles of the rich and famous. If Micah’s words are meant to get us to look at those who have caused us grief, then how do I separate myself from the judgment associated with the envy that typically develops out of such a look? What did Jesus tell us about judging?

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:1-5 NIV)

While Matthew 7:1-5 seems to be saying that we will receive a comparable result to what we dish out, it does not tell us that the judgment will come from God, in the last day, before the great white throne. I have found my judgments slapping me in the face six months after an event that I provoked against another follower of Christ. In religious settings, the teaching on judgment often comes across as though God is storing up some wrath against us; for the believer, this wrath will allegedly be dispensed at the Bema seat of Christ, or, as some portray, we too will stand before the Great White Throne, with its potential of a fiery hell. These teachings are blatantly wrong and contrary to scripture which conveys that ALL wrath was placed on Christ, so that we, as believers, no longer have to experience the wrath that our sin demands.

To try to understand the depth of the passage, based upon one translation, in this case, the NLT is preposterous. I shall show you some others, the entire purpose of which is to demonstrate the need for something other than superficial readings.

Micah 6:10 NIV  Am I still to forget your ill-gotten treasures, you wicked house, and the short ephah, which is accursed?

Micah 6:10 KJV  Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable?

Micah 6:10 ERV  Do the wicked still hide treasures that they have stolen? Do they still cheat people with baskets that are too small? Yes, all of this is still happening!

Micah 6:10 ESV  Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed?

As I contrast the various Bible versions, the common theme I see is treasure, improperly acquired, and stored up in the houses of the wicked. Since we have established that the wicked, in this instance, are the leaders, who have become wealthy at the cost of those they have done business with, then I can make the argument that the wealthy of Israel had given themselves to the Babylonian spirits of lust and greed.

While I have associated Micah 6:10 with the banking system, there is another theme present, and that is the Babylon system. I have, on several occasions, been asked what I think Babylon is, I can tell you decisively what it is not. It has nothing to do with the physical location of the city that God said would be uninhabitable.

How the hammer of the whole earth is cut down and broken! How Babylon has become a horror among the nations! I set a snare for you and you were taken O Babylon, and you did not know it; you were found and caught because you opposed the LORD. The LORD has opened his armory and brought out the weapons of his wrath, for the Lord GOD of hosts has a work to do in the land of the Chaldeans. Come against her from every quarter; open her granaries; pile her up like heaps of grain, and devote her to destruction; let nothing be left of her. (Jeremiah 50:23-26 ESV)

and Babylon shall become a heap of ruins, the haunt of jackals, a horror and a hissing, without inhabitant. (Jeremiah 51:37 ESV)

For me, the obvious factor is that when Revelation 17:5 and Revelation 18 speak of Babylon. These passages are not talking about a destroyed city; they are talking about a harlot, and since there is no harlot per se, then we have to be talking about idealistic doctrines of greed, lust, and spiritual darkness. Yeah, I know, this last one “spiritual darkness” is vague, but then, so is the spirit world. If you operate on the principle that a vast number of angels, equaling one third, fell to earth with Satan, then you have the entities that are promoting all methods of killing off anything that looks like Christ. At this point, you might say, no one looks like him, and therefore none of us should be harassed. Unfortunately, you would be wrong, for all of us were made in God’s image, and that has never changed. In addition to that, we, by acknowledging that Jesus is God’s Son who died for the world, become one of His own through adoption. Now, look at the verse below, for it validates the idea of Babylon having demons as its greatest motivation.

And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast. (Revelation 18:2 ESV)

I have been mocked and laughed at enough to know that references to things like “the New World Order” and the “Illuminati” cause people trouble, but if you had been paying attention, then you would know that these are real entities that have grandiose plans to eliminate the consumers of goods and keep the best for themselves. The rich seem to understand that this earth is limited in its resources and that we, the insignificant, consume too many resources. In my mind, this is the basis of the Babylon system that scripture tells us will be destroyed. Think about it: money, banking systems, land possession, inflation, (deadly) pollution, and the dissemination of information; who controls it all? A relatively small group of people, who only get richer every day. Welcome to the world of the harlot, dressed in scarlet, that rides the beast. Spend a few minutes reading Revelation 17; it paints a far-reaching picture of this harlot that drinks the blood of the saints.

Is there anything we, as followers of Christ, can do about it? Well, yes and no. Yes, we can vote, make our voices heard, and do whatever is necessary without harm. This battle we are in is first and foremost a spiritual battle and should be fought in the realm of the spirit. What does that mean? It means we pray. One of the things I have, once again, become aware of, is that spiritual entities have names, like depression, and poverty; understanding that gives me direct ammunition in prayer and I speak directly to those things. God never asked us to sit and take a beating, and neither would I.

The “No” side of this coin shows its ugly head as you realize that God is fulfilling His plan. Unfortunately, His plan doesn’t always coincide with ours. Let me ask you a question. Have you ever heard of the phrase, a false flag? A false flag is a pre-planned and staged event, invoked by some government entity, where crisis actors are sent to portray victims and aggressors. These events are acted out to: distract us from some other issue, promote fear, raise a level of rage in people, demonstrate a need for more gun controls, to name a few. Sadly, in these scripted events, real people can and do die. As I pointed out in Micah 6:9, the enemies that are coming to destroy Israel, are being sent by God, Do you now understand what I am saying when I say, these events may well be part of God’s plan? We are experiencing the birth pains Jesus spoke of in Matthew’s gospel.

Matthew 24:3-9 ESV  As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”  (4)  And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray.  (5)  For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.  (6)  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.  (7)  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  (8)  All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.  (9)  “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.

In closing this out we will look briefly at Micah 6:11.

Micah 6:11 NASB “Can I justify wicked scales And a bag of deceptive weights?

Those that abide by God’s moral code, can quickly answer, NO. Some, argue the point, as they think there is an appropriate condition in which cheating is good or suitable.

“You must use accurate scales when you weigh out merchandise, and you must use full and honest measures. Yes, always use honest weights and measures, so that you may enjoy a long life in the land the LORD your God is giving you. All who cheat with dishonest weights and measures are detestable to the LORD your God. (Deuteronomy 25:13-16 NLT)

While I don’t live under the law, I do live under grace, and cheating is still not acceptable.

Posted in armies, Assyrians, bible study, caught, condemnation, destruction, End times, God's character, guilt, invasion, Islam, Israel, Jerusalem, Jews, judgment, Micah, overtaken, Sin, Things I have never noticed before, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I am regularly challenged by the horrendous lack of understanding in the church body.

My friends and I meet each week; we have no set Bible study plan, but we do open our Bibles each time we meet. If it were a study, there would be some detectable pattern in our methods, such as an intense look at a particular book of the Bible, or some preassigned passages we could talk about on our next visit. What does happen, almost without hesitation, is that one man, in particular, will have questions from his readings which stretch across the entire Bible. The rest of the time we talk about life, and that is a good thing.

I am regularly challenged by the lack of understanding this brother seems to have; it convinces me more, each day, that we need legitimate Bible study in our church bodies. If you, like me, have endured the book studies most leaders offer, then you would also know that the books are written to promote the author’s way of thinking or some organizations viewpoint. I happen to think they should encourage God’s point of view. So let’s see if we can find God’s point of view in a couple of subjects.

Here are a few of the questions that are presented to the group by this brother.

Having read Genesis 3:5 he asks, who is the “you” that is giving the woman trouble, and who is “his” seed?

I could attempt to answer his question without much thought, but it is so much more convincing when you have scripture to back up your answers. There is a problem with this process, and that is, we have answered this very question before.

Genesis 3:15 NIV  And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

Enmity is the Greek word ‘êybâh and also means hostility, hatred.

If I take the narrow view, looking only at Jesus as the woman’s seed, can I see evidence of that hostility? By merely reading the gospels, you can perceive this hostility culminating in the brutality the Jewish leadership bestowed upon Jesus, in His questioning at the home of Annas and then Caiphas the high priest (John 18,) and then pushing Pilot to hang Him on the cross.

If I take the broader view of Eve’s seed, then I am looking at the human race. It seems that some have less hostility focused against them, while, as the recent news conveyed, the Christian church in Nigeria is suffering from deadly violence. We, as the church, do suffer as Satan tries to badger, or belittle us, into not acting and walking in the excellence and beauty that Christ established for us. Bluntly said, Satan is trying to take us out of the way as we represent the thing he hates more than himself, Jesus.

The NASB uses the word seed instead of offspring. Now both terms convey the idea of a product of interaction, but the term seed has intimacy as a part of its definition.

Seed is the Greek word zera‛ and means offspring, descendants, posterity, children. But, it also speaks to us of moral quality or a practitioner of righteousness. Certainly, if we give this verse some consideration, we can visualize the idea of a practitioner of unrighteousness as being an offspring of Satan.

There may have been a pause in our conversation that morning, but only because we attempted to answer the first question. As we tried to answer Genesis 3:15 he jumped into question/challenge #2.

He had been doing as he says, reading in both the Old and New Testaments with no apparent purpose when his reading took him to the gospel of Mark where it says:

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32 NIV

Most religious people, when they use this verse in a conversation, are trying to push some limited understanding and their fear of the future, on the listener. Let’s see if I can stay within the boundaries of scripture as I try to respond to my friends’ arguments.

  • First, Jesus is speaking to His Jewish disciples.

    Can we, without thinking this through, assume that He is NOT talking to the modern day church? We have to be careful about a challenge like this, for there many things within the law that the disciples understood, that are applicable to us – even if they were spoken under the law; and what about things God said prior to the law, as in the Abrahamic covenant?

    It is wise to NOT be so closed minded. The law seemed to have very little freedom in it, while the New Covenant is filled grace and constraints as well.

    One other thing; Paul, was an expert in the law, and God used that knowledge base to teach Paul the “freedoms” that we now enjoy as followers of Christ. So, the law, then, is the basis for the grace.

  • Everything Jesus is saying in Mark 13:32, is under the auspices of the Law.

    We are not under the law. Does the law serve as a benefit and guide to our lifestyles? Absolutely, but our greatest source of information has now become the Holy Spirit.

    John 14:26 NASB “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

    The obvious factor is that this is Jesus speaking. If I have the freedom to disregard Jesus words simply because they were spoken under the law, then I should disregard what Jesus said in John 14:26.

    “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. John 14:26 NASB

    The problem with setting the passage aside without understanding is that Jesus fulfilled all that He said, and returned to the Father. The Father/God, in turn, sent the Holy Spirit as He said, and we have Peter, speaking on the day of Pentecost – filled with power through this new Holy Spirit they had been promised. The law, therefore, had no negative impact on the fulfillment of the promised gift of the Holy Spirit.

    As believers, not under the law, what then constrains us? We are to consider ourselves slaves to the Holy Spirit, just as Paul did.

    and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” Romans 6:18 NASB

    So, even though I am free from the law, I am still, by my own decision to follow Jesus, a slave to righteousness. Personally, I find no bondage in that decision, but freedom.

While it would be narrow-minded to reject information from the Old Testament, What then, do we have to guide us? The New Testament.

What are some passages that speak toward knowing what things are to come?

Acts 1:6-8 NASB So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (7) He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; (8) but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

I included verse six because it demonstrates that the Jewish disciples asked when He would restore the kingdom to Israel (Means that they had a particular mindset when they asked – one we Gentile believers don’t seem to get.) We know that Jesus will restore the kingdom shortly after the seven years of God’s wrath. The problem is that there is nothing that gives us a clear, distinct, timing as to when the seven years begins.

My friend asks, how is it possible that Jesus, the same Jesus who is God, would not know the time? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that Jesus chose to be a man. He has never stopped being a man. Yes, Jesus is God, but, is it possible that in His choice He gave up some inherent abilities, such as reading the Father’s mind.

Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you, yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night.
(1 Thessalonians 5:1-7 NASB)

The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessaloniki, with the express purpose of settling their nerves; someone had convinced them that the rapture had already taken place, leaving them stuck in the time of God’s wrath. This is an important concept to understand, especially if you have allowed yourself become convinced that God would allow those He calls His own to suffer wrath when Jesus took all the wrath meant for us, upon Himself, on the cross.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. (Romans 5:8-9 NASB)

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 NASB)

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

Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. (Revelation 3:10 NASB)

The writer of Hebrews spelled out a similar theme when they spoke of Rahab, a citizen of Jericho who hid the Israeli spies and then following their instructions brought about her own salvation/rescue from pending destruction. You can find the entire story of Rahab in Joshua chapter 2.

By faith Rahab, the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace. (Hebrews 11:31 NASB)

In 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 Paul addresses another piece of evidence that helps to promote the timing associated with God’s wrath being poured out upon the earth.

And you know what restrains him now so that in his time he will be revealed. 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. (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 NASB)

We, the praying church, are the thing that is holding back the lawless one, and we will do so until the day we are removed from the earth. When this takes place there will be destruction coming out of every pore of the earth, and from above as well. Do not think for a minute that this will stop humankind from trying to eradicate followers of Christ, as well as each other, it will not; but even worse, will be at the three and a half year mark with the revealing of the false prophet. That man will be the enforcer of sharia, and heads will roll.

In Matthew 24 Jesus disciples asked Him a direct question:

Matthew 24:3 NASB As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

He answered it like this.

“See to it that no one misleads you.” (Matthew 24:4b NASB)

We constantly have people trying to mislead us; many of them sound reasonable, and that is the scariest part of this equation.

One of the greatest clues we have comes out of Jesus responses in Matthew 24 when He said:

“Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. (Matthew 24:32-34 NASB)

That fig tree was Israel, and it became a nation in 1948. Scripturally the average lifespan of a man is seventy years. We are given some leeway, but a little math puts us in the year 2018. I don’t know whether you noticed or not, but 2018 has come and gone, and we are still here. See what I was saying about leeway.

What does this all mean? It means, as far as I am concerned, that much like the World Series, we are in the ball game. God happens to be the one that picks the start date. We know that the series will only go seven games and that God will be the winner.

Currently, we are watching all the playoff games as they go on around us.

As the prophet James Taylor once said, keep your eyes on the Holy Land, and surrounding vicinity, because the series is about to begin.

Posted in bible study, character study, Cult teachings, Deception, false teaching, Genesis, gentiles, God's character, Hebrews, Hope, In Christ, Israel, Jesus, Jews, judgment, Matthew's gospel, Our being caught up, Rahab, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Micah 6:9, the armies of destruction are coming.

It has been a rough week and I needed to spend some time the Father.

Micah 6:9 NLT  Fear the LORD if you are wise! His voice calls to everyone in Jerusalem: “The armies of destruction are coming; the LORD is sending them.

Without explanation, let’s break this down.

  • Fear the LORD if you are wise! Words of wisdom, no matter who you are, or, what you are doing. Notice how it says if; perhaps we should all look at this as one of those self-analyzing questions that now and again needs to be asked as you say, if I am found to be wise, let it be in your eyes Father. I guess that means that I recognize that He is your Father and that you need to hold the mirror of the word up frequently as you would a mirror and look in it.
  • His voice calls to everyone in Jerusalem:” The NET translation implies that this can also be read – “the voice of the LORD is calling.” Keil & Delitzsch, in their commentary on the Old Testament, state, “because Israel is altogether wanting in these virtues, the Lord must threaten and punish. Mic_6:9. “The voice of Jehovah, to the city it cries, and wisdom has thy name in its eye; hear ye the rod, and who appoints it!” With these words, Micah introduces the threatening and reproachful words of the Lord. It is not to be taken by itself, as an exclamation, “Hark! voice of the Lord!” as in Isa_13:4; Isa_40:6, but must be connected with what follows.”

The deadly nature of the warning comes next.

  • The armies of destruction are coming;” J. Vernon McGee attempted to give us a portrayal of Micah; it goes as follows. “We have seen that Micah has been directing his prophecies largely to the urban areas, to the cities. His writing reveals that he is a very sophisticated writer. He was in the know; he belonged to the upper echelon. He is in contrast to Amos who said, “I’m no prophet. I’m just a gatherer of sycamore fruit.” And yet, it was McGee that gave me this: “Micah the Moresthite means that he was a native of Moresheth of Gath, which is southwest of Jerusalem. Although he was in the kingdom of Judah, he prophesied to both kingdoms, but his main message was directed to the northern kingdom. I have often wondered about that. His contemporary, Isaiah, was a prophet to the southern kingdom;… You will never misunderstand Micah because he makes it very clear to whom he is speaking.”

If Micah had not told us, we would have never known of such a place called Moresheth in Judah. Isaiah the prophet, also from Judah, was born of influence and therefore had access to the court of kings and influential people. Isaiah’s lifestyle, it seems, was not Micah’s. As you can see above, Micah prophesied to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, where Samaria lay.

Many will read a passage like Micah 6:9 and only see the relatively immediate Assyrian destruction that is coming, first to Israel and, in time, to Judah. The Assyrian invasions that occurred throughout this period, beginning around 730 BC, and culminated in 701 BC against Judah, however, as Micah tells us, the Assyrian is coming again.

The next aspect should cause some to shudder.

  • the LORD is sending them.” The simplistic definition of this is that God is sending all that this “Assyrian” represents. In the passages from Micah 5:5-6, I see, not only a singular entity but again, fighting forces. That entity, I believe, is known to us as the Antichrist. Now, what of this “they” that rules Assyria with drawn swords and enters the gates of the land of Nimrod?

Micah 5:5-6 NLT  And he will be the source of peace. When the Assyrians invade our land and break through our defenses, we will appoint seven rulers to watch over us, eight princes to lead us.  (6)  They will rule Assyria with drawn swords and enter the gates of the land of Nimrod. He will rescue us from the Assyrians when they pour over the borders to invade our land.

Because we now should be able to make a strong tie between Micah 6:9 and Micah 5:5-6, we should able to grasp, at least minimally, some idea of this Assyrian and where he comes from. Let me help you by showing you a map.

Everything that is yellow, green or a blend of those colors comprised the Assyrian empire. When Micah 5:5-6 speaks of Nimrod we are talking about the region that comprises modern-day Iraq.

To be honest, the first thing I thought of as I saw the name Nimrod was Jonah and Nineveh; these too were Assyrians. Unless you have been living in a cave then you are aware of the group, of which we seem to have no origins called ISIL, or their preferred name ISIS. With firearms lifted high, they entered the region that formerly was Nineveh and retook towns like Mosul – a town that sat on the outskirts of Nineveh after Americans “liberated” it in the Iraq wars.

In so many ways I can see ISIS fulfilling some of Micah’s prophecy, but the greatest fulfillment is found in Ezekiel 38 and 39 when Gog, the leader of Magog, swarms over Israel and dies on the hills of that country.

Keep your eyes on the Holy Land.

Posted in antichrist, armies, Assyrians, destruction, invasion, Islam, Israel, Jerusalem, judgment, Magog, Nimrod, overtaken, Prophetic, Thoughts on scripture, war, wisdom, wrath. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Matthew 10:28, Him who able to kill the soul and the body.

A question came up about the soul. We seem to think that it is immortal and that it will, either live with the Father in heaven or, exist in permanent torment in hell. Are there any other options? Jewish thought on the subject is varied; it is, however, the origin of what we, in Christianity, believe. I give you two examples.

Gehinnom: A Jewish Hell

Only truly righteous souls ascend directly to the Garden of Eden, say the sages. The average person descends to a place of punishment and/or purification, generally referred to as Gehinnom.

The name is taken from a valley (Gei Hinnom) just south of Jerusalem, once used for child sacrifice by the pagan nations of Canaan (II Kings 23:10). Some view Gehinnom as a place of torture and punishment, fire and brimstone. Others imagine it less harshly, as a place where one reviews the actions of his/her life and repents for past misdeeds.

The soul’s sentence in Gehinnom is usually limited to a 12-month period of purgation before it takes its place in Olam Ha-Ba (MishnahEduyot2:9Shabbat33a). This 12-month limit is reflected in the yearlong mourning cycle and the recitation of the Kaddish (the memorial prayer for the dead).

Only the utterly wicked do not ascend to the Garden of Eden at the end of this year. Sources differ on what happens to these souls at the end of their initial time of purgation. Some say that the wicked are utterly destroyed and cease to exist, while others believe in eternal damnation (MaimonidesMishneh Torah, Law of Repentance, 3:5-6).

From https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/heaven-and-hell-in-jewish-tradition/

On their website – myjewishlearning.com, the information ends with a bold exclamation,

We Don’t Know, So we Must Make Our Lives Count.”

Instead of focusing on the potential torment, why not focus on a God that loves you so much that He gave His only son as the final, all-encompassing, sacrifice. Perhaps such love is a motivation to live for Him.

Another website article dated June 18, 2013.

Written by, By Rabbi Baruch HaLevi, entitled:

I’ve always read that Jews don’t believe in the concept of hell. Is that true?”

There isn’t one definitive understanding of life after death or heaven and hell.

https://www.jewishboston.com/ive-always-read-that-jews-dont-believe-in-the-concept-of-hell-is-that-true/ has this to say.

“First, let me distinguish between what “Jews believe” versus what “Judaism” believes. Quite often one has nothing to do with the other and this is a perfect example. Jews may not believe in the afterlife—heaven and hell—but Judaism unequivocally does.

Growing up I was told that Jews don’t believe in the afterlife. No heaven. No hell. No nothing. However, like most everything else I learned about Judaism growing up, this was incomplete. Although there are strains of modern Judaism that would argue against life after death, the vast majority of Judaism, Jewish history, Jewish theology, and Jews themselves unequivocally believed in Olam Habah—the world to come.

(So,) Yes, Judaism believes in “heaven,” and yes, Judaism also believes in “hell.”

I did not have any of this information on a recent morning as I sat with the guys; it wouldn’t have mattered anyway, as one fellow, the one who keeps finding unusual and bizarre things to talk about, doesn’t seem to want to hear the truth.

Let’s get something straight here. I am not the final source of all truth and knowledge. If I don’t have the answer I will tell you, but, if you give me a chance, I will look it up and give you an answer. At that point, the Bible is my definitive source for truth. The Bible program I use has 45 translations available for me to choose from; are they all correct? I seriously doubt it, as many translations have known errors, and language so weakened that it makes those word choices seriously inadequate at times. Don’t give up hope, for God still manages to bring hope and healing even through problematic scriptures; this is why I constantly compare translations, and it is a problematic passage that is what brings me to the verse in question.

Those that refer to this passage generally focus on fearing God and the hell that seems to be dangling out there as a threat in an effort to keep us on a straighter path. My friend, that morning, showed great interest in this phrase, “God, who can destroy both the soul and the body in hell.”

Matthew 10:28 NLT  “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

The NLT is fairly new to me, and it says that God can destroy both the body and soul in hell; that, is not what I was taught growing up. We were taught the soul is eternal and never dies, however that is not the implication here. I went through a translation comparison and every version I have uses the word destroy.

First, I have to ask, what is the context. Well, the conversation that evoked this comment by Jesus started all the way back in verse one of chapter ten. You can look it up for yourself if you have the time. Suffice it to say, Jesus called his disciples, prepared them, and sent them out in pairs with this message:

Matthew 10:6-8 NASB but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (7) “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (8) “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.

At this time they were to only go to the Jews. You might think that the lost sheep would welcome this message of life, but there was obviously some animosity. Matthew 10:16-23 speaks directly to the hostility, that not only His disciples would eventually face, but we, the church, as well, and it’s not pretty.

If you are a follower of mine, then you know that I have recently talked about a friend who, in opposition to what scripture says, believes that the church must go through the “tribulation.” There are many reasons, based in scriptures, that convince me otherwise, however, there is an overwhelming abundance of evidence to show that our everyday lives will be filled with tribulations. Just today, I learned that China literally blew up a mega-church in China. According to Open Doors USA, North Korea tops the list for persecution, with Afghanistan a close second. If you are interested check out the ranking list on the Open Doors website – https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/.

When talking about the time period in which tribulations will exceed human reason, you are talking about the time of God’s wrath and judgment. Jesus, on the other hand, said tribulations, and that includes deadly events, would be a way of life. We here in America have yet to grasp the horrors of great tribulation, but we will.

The Greek word for kill is apokteinō and that is the word used when Jesus spoke of, “those who want to kill your body.” That word means to kill outright; figuratively to destroy: – put to death, kill, slay.

When Jesus told them to “rather fear Him who is able to destroy both the soul and the body..” He used the Greek word apollumi. That word is a derivative of two words and means to destroy fully (reflexively to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively: – destroy, die, lose, mar, perish.

Just looking at the alternative words – lose, mar, or perish, I wonder why the translators would choose the word destroy, over say, mar. One could mar an expensive piece of furniture. It might retain its functionality while losing its value. Furniture, unlike a Ming Dynasty vase, might be repairable, or should I say, salvageable. Merely using the term salvageable makes me think of who God is, and what He seems to do all the time, salvage people.

I find I can’t get away from this idea of total destruction. One of my own brothers was advocating that a merciful God would not simply put people into an eternal, torturous hell. To that I would say He did not do that to them, they did it to themselves. You see, we all have the knowledge of good and evil, and some simply choose to follow the evil path. Many would say, some of those followers had no choice. If I use the children next door, I have watched them develop some nasty attitudes that closely resemble the “adults” that are raising them. Influence may leave a stain on you, but the choice to act right, at some point, will be theirs alone.

This discussion and its vagueness are one of the reasons I included the Jewish thoughts on hell at the very beginning; as they too can see those condemned to hell as being imprisoned for a period of time and then, totally eliminated. Really, that makes a lot of sense. I cannot fathom an eternity of torment, no more than I fathom what an eternity of peace will feel like. But make no mistake, I choose eternity with the Father over any other option.

Over the course of several weeks, uncomfortable things have happened. One of those things was the passing of my mother. That woman had every confidence in the world as to where she was going when she died. I could say, she had an assurance, based in scripture, and her confidence prompted me to seek answers for myself. I could no longer trust what I deem fairy tales, I learned in Sunday school. I ascertained for myself, that Jesus words and actions were true and verifiable; therefore, I too have that same confidence in my destination. The other side of that coin is the anguish I hear when people say, how can I know what will become of me when I pass. Obviously, a few of the options, are either eternal hell in torment; a relatively short time in hell followed by vaporization of some sort or a life filled with peace in the Father’s arms.

Since my life in Christ affords me the confidence of life with the Father, then I have chosen that option.

As my Jewish friend stated:

We Don’t Know, So we Must Make Our Lives Count.”

Posted in bible study, condemnation, forgive, God's character, grace, guilt, Heaven, Hell, Hope, Jesus, Mercy, Peace, Things I have never noticed before, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Micah 6:6-8, He’s already made it plain how to live.

The NASB entitles this section of three verses:

What Does the Lord Require?

But if you read the words to gain understanding, there is something more here than oppressive demands.

Micah 6:6-8 NASB With what shall I come to the LORD And bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, With yearling calves? (7) Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams? In ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? (8) He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?

I am not a fan of poetry, but as I looked these three verses, this is what I saw.  (NLT)

What can we bring to the LORD?

Should we bring him burnt offerings?

Should we bow before God Most High with offerings of yearling calves?

Should we offer him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil?

Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins? 

No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good,

and this is what he requires of you

to do what is right,

to love mercy,

and to walk humbly with your God. 

If I dissect the passage, the first thing I am confronted by is this:

  • What offering should I bring when I bow down to worship the LORD God Most High?” ( CEV)

I should not apply human attributes to God in trying to understand this because human characteristics have greed and selfishness attached to them, and these are things that have nothing to do with God’s character. In my desire to comprehend a sentence like this, what if I compare to people who think they have everything. There are always those who, when you think about what to buy for them, you struggle because they have the resources to buy anything they want, and therefore open the gift you gave them, feign a smile, and quickly set it aside because they already have at least one.

The reality is, we, outside of what God makes us, have nothing to offer him.

The association we should be able to make is that the Jews in this scenario, are religiously bringing the sacrifices/offerings that God ordered.

[I have often thought about why God put such heavy demands on these people, and here is what I came up with. By the time Moses leads them out of Egypt, they are nothing less than Egyptians. Oh sure, there are a few that still remember their oral history; this fact is obvious because Moses was raised by his mother until she deemed it ridiculous to having him suckle on her anymore. That amount of time was long enough to impart to Moses who he was – a descendant of Abraham. To prove my point, when Moses saw the Egyptian, who was beating “one of his own people”, Moses killed the man; but this does not mean that everyone held tightly to any moral standard, for there was none. Remember, every man did what was right in his own eyes. Not long after escaping from Egypt Moses comes down off the mountain after forty days and finds “God’s people” roasting their children to the god Molech, one of the many gods these people brought out of Egypt. God had to straighten them out. I sort of see it as if you trying to control a massive street riot; sadly, in most cases, extreme and severe actions are necessary to restore order, and that is what we see.]

Typically, the Jews would be coming with a sacrifice, but in this verbal exchange, there is a sense of sarcasm as though God is reading their minds, and merely saying what they are already thinking.

  • Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, With yearling calves? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts?”

God challenges the whining of Israel with a question, and then answers the question with,

Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams, In ten thousand rivers of oil?” No, He does not, however, projecting into the future, God will sacrifice his son in one final act of salvation for the entire world.

  • He has made it clear to you, mortal man, what is good and what the LORD is requiring from you—“ (ISV)

This idea that He has made what is good and what the Lord requires, clear to us, makes me think. Before the law came, humans, it seems, were a law unto themselves. That lack of interaction with written law, or the voice of God, doesn’t seem to have been an excuse for them. That sin, now incorporated within us, made humanity responsible. [Read Romans 5:13-15, and see if you agree.]

We can take this logic and responsibility all the way back to Adam and his son, Cain. With nothing more than an assumed knowledge of good, God holds Adam responsible for the entrance of life-altering sin, into the world. There is much to this statement, and I don’t have the space to cover it all now, suffice it to say that Adam had been given inside information on how everything was to play out. So when Adam gives up the rights to the earth through his tacit consent with Satan, the battle for control of the planet was on. Now God quietly tells the man about the damage he had done, the consequences of his actions, and the only way the damage would be undone.

But what about Cain?

In the story of Adam, we never see God speaking directly to Eve at any point. Therefore, we can only assume that information and instructions were passed through Adam. This would have been the same method passing information to Abel and Cain. Abel, as we see, knew how to make a sacrifice; therefore, we can logically assume that he knew what that sacrifice required and why. We know this because God gave Abel His approval, saying, “he had done what was correct;”

Genesis 4:4 ISV  while Abel offered the best parts of some of the firstborn from his flock. The LORD looked favorably upon Abel and his offering,

Cain, on the other hand, chose to bring whatever he wanted. It wasn’t even the first fruits.

Genesis 4:3 ISV  Later, Cain brought an offering to the LORD from the fruit that he had harvested,

Again, I want to point out that this all happened, “before the law of Moses.” So what then governed people like Adam and Cain?

Adam enjoyed something none of us have experienced, direct contact with God. In these direct conversations, is it possible that God told Adam how to live? Perhaps another way to understand this would be to say; God taught Adam what was right, and instilled a moral baseline and authority in him. Indeed that is a possibility. A very revealing scenario is played out in Genesis chapter three.

Genesis 3:7-8 ISV  As a result, they both understood what they had done, and they became aware that they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.  (8)  When they heard the voice of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden during the breeze of the day, the man and his wife concealed themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Previously, they knew good, but now both had the knowledge of evil. If you paid attention to the wording of verse 7, you saw that there was a process, for they became aware.

The word evil that we find in Genesis 2:9, a part of the description of the fruit they were not to eat, has a rather broad definition. The Hebrew word is rā‛āh:

It is “an adjective meaning bad, evil. The basic meaning of this word displays ten or more various shades of the meaning of evil according to its contextual usage. It means bad in a moral and ethical sense and is used to describe, along with good, the entire spectrum of good and evil; hence, it depicts evil in an absolute, negative sense, as when it describes the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (The Complete Word Study Dictionary)

Note what Genesis 3:7 says, “they both understood what they had done.” I present this as evidence that they now knew both good and evil. Since this is the first occurrence we see of them wearing any coverings, then where did they get the ones they were about to wear?

Genesis 3:21 ISV  The LORD God fashioned garments from animal skins for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

Most assume making clothes was all God did; it was not, and Cain is our evidence for that.
Question: was Cain physically there when God made clothes? NO, and therefore knowledge of what he was supposed to do – in following the law, must have come through Adam. Look at what Genesis 4 tells us about Cain and his sacrifice.

Genesis 4:5-7 ISV  but he did not look favorably upon Cain and his offering. When Cain became very upset and depressed,  (6)  the LORD asked Cain, “Why are you so upset? Why are you depressed?  (7) If you do what is appropriate, you’ll be accepted, won’t you? But if you don’t do what is appropriate, sin is crouching near your doorway, turning toward you. However, you must take dominion over it.”

The NIV says, “If you do what is right.”

So, we really cannot escape this idea of “law” being a part of who we are. Every human is born with the knowledge of good and evil. Just as Cain had to take dominion, so do we.

Posted in bible study, condemnation, Deception, End times, God's character, Israel, Jews, judgment, Micah, Prophetic, Sin, strongholds, the nations, Things I have never noticed before, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture, wholeheartedly devoted, wrath. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Micah 6:1-5, Listen, you mountains, to the indictment of the LORD.

I don’t know about you, but after a long string of bad news, both scripturally and personally, I am ready for some good news; but that is not the case in Micah.

Our high point came when Micah spoke of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. When we covered that section, I tried to show you how the priesthood, at the time of Jesus birth, had trained shepherds that cared for the sheep born in that specific region because these sheep were to be the sacrificial sheep and could have no spot or blemish. Jesus, who was to become the lamb that would be slain for the sins of the world, could not have any spot or blemish. In God’s ironic and humorous world, his lamb was born here. Those specially trained shepherds were also taught the Torah and Tanakh and knew the signs that would signify the birth of the Messiah. Perhaps this is why they came with haste, as they understood the significance of their skill sets and presence.

When Herod, almost two years after the birth of Jesus Christ, saw the Wise men coming, with their entourage, panicked and called the chief priests and elders for an explanation. They knew exactly why these men had come, and yet denied that this child born in Bethlehem was their king. Herod ignored their unbelief, and after the wise men left he had the male children two and under murdered, to eliminate anyone competing with him for power.

What do we learn from this? Predominantly, the religious leadership denied the Messiah and taught others to reject Him as well. This concept can help with your understanding of what God is now saying to Israel.

Micah 6:1-5 NASB Hear now what the LORD is saying, “Arise, plead your case before the mountains, And let the hills hear your voice. (2) “Listen, you mountains, to the indictment of the LORD, And you enduring foundations of the earth, Because the LORD has a case against His people; Even with Israel He will dispute. (3) “My people, what have I done to you, And how have I wearied you? Answer Me. (4) “Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt And ransomed you from the house of slavery, And I sent before you Moses, Aaron and Miriam. (5) “My people, remember now What Balak king of Moab counseled And what Balaam son of Beor answered him, And from Shittim to Gilgal, So that you might know the righteous acts of the LORD.”

How do I understand verse 1?

  • “Arise, plead your case before the mountains, And let the hills hear your voice.”

If it seems odd that God is speaking to the mountains, perhaps this passage in Deuteronomy will demonstrate how common it is for God to do this.

Deuteronomy 30:19 NASB “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,

God called heaven and earth to witness against the persons who decided not to follow God’s law. Are you telling me that these things we see as inanimate objects bear witness to what we say and do? Apparently, our perceptions of what God created are wrong, for Jesus told the Pharisees, if the disciples stopped crying out in praise for Him, the rocks would immediately cry out in their place. You can look this up in Luke 19:39-40 NASB.

Verse two shows God addressing the mountains.

  • Listen, you mountains, to the indictment of the LORD, And you enduring foundations of the earth, Because the LORD has a case against His people; Even with Israel He will dispute.”

So the mountains sit in witness against us. Look at what Isaiah has to say.

Isaiah 1:2-4 NASB Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth; For the LORD speaks, “Sons I have reared and brought up, But they have revolted against Me. (3) “An ox knows its owner, And a donkey its master’s manger, But Israel does not know, My people do not understand.” (4) Alas, sinful nation, People weighed down with iniquity, Offspring of evildoers, Sons who act corruptly! They have abandoned the LORD, They have despised the Holy One of Israel, They have turned away from Him.

  • Sons I have reared and brought up,”
  • have revolted against Me.”

He compares us to oxen and donkeys (Donkeys are a polite way of saying Jackasses.)

  • An ox knows its owner, And a donkey its master’s manger, But Israel does not know,”

He calls Israel a-

  • People weighed down with iniquity,”

The direct, politically incorrect, speech continues, as God tells them straight, how He feels and understands their actions.

  • Offspring of evildoers,
  • Sons who act corruptly!
  • They have abandoned the LORD,
  • They have despised the Holy One of Israel,
  • They have turned away from Him.

The words seem so harsh, but are they? Yes, but how do I know this? It is like studying a great painting. As the student, you have read the criticisms and admiration’s bestowed upon this particular painting, and as you stand there taking it all in slowly, you become aware of every brush stroke, and, in some cases, the motivation behind the work; such is the case with God’s word.

Verse three of Micah chapter six says this:

My people, what have I done to you, And how have I wearied you? Answer Me.”

God answers his own question in verse 4.

  • Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt And ransomed you from the house of slavery, And I sent before you Moses, Aaron and Miriam,”

The logical response, in my mind, would be to understand freedom as a good thing. There is, however, an event that takes place in the hearts and minds of captives – that would be all of us, and it is called the Stockholm syndrome. A simplistic definition is this: “Feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim toward a captor.” It seems that this was the case with God’s people. Their immediate reactions were to revert to the known ways of Egypt; based on this information I claim they were effectively Egyptians, for, by the time they were escorted out of Egypt, they were nothing more than abused slaves.

How or why would they have feelings of affections for Egypt? We all do it, we fall into a comfort zone, even though it includes pain and bondage. Welcome to the world of bondage and addictions.

The last thing we read in this section of scripture is this:

  • .. remember now What Balak king of Moab counseled And what Balaam son of Beor answered him, And from Shittim to Gilgal, So that you might know the righteous acts of the LORD.”

First, I want you to see a context here. God had just finished saying, “I brought you up from the land of Egypt And ransomed you from the house of slavery.” But, this event with Balaam and Balak has no good associated with it that I can see, such as their rescue from Egypt. Let me show you.

So Moab was in great fear because of the people, for they were numerous; and Moab was in dread of the sons of Israel. Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this horde will lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time. (Numbers 22:3,4 NASB)

“So he (Balak) sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor (a “prophet” for hire), at Pethor, which is near the River, in the land of the sons of his people, to call him, saying, “Behold, a people came out of Egypt; behold, they cover the surface of the land, and they are living opposite me. “Now, therefore, please come, curse this people for me since they are too mighty for me; perhaps I may be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.” (Numbers 22:5,6 NASB)

So here we have the motivation behind Balak’s request/demand. There is nothing noble in the scenario; however, the verse opened with, “My people, remember now What Balak king of Moab counseled And what Balaam son of Beor answered him.” I do not think that the admonition itself is a positive one, but one that causes you to remember what happened as a result of Balaam’s response to Balak.

(Numbers 22:7 NASB) So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the fees for divination in their hand; and they came to Balaam and repeated Balak’s words to him.

God intervened for Israel (this was not their title as yet,) and withstood Balaam through speech and actions on multiple occasions. Even though they brought money, Balaam refused. Do not think for a second that this man is to be thought of highly.

(Numbers 22:14-15 NASB) The leaders of Moab arose and went to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.” Then Balak again sent leaders, more numerous and more distinguished than the former.

The third time, God used Balaam donkey to speak to the man. (For the sake of drama and color, I will add, that God used the man’s jackass to address him. Apparently, mule speak was the man’s language.) Oh yes, there was also an angel of immense proportions waving a sword in front of Balaam, and God let him see that. The passages are rather lengthy, and I will let you look them up for yourself. (Numbers 22:22-34 NASB)

In a strange turn of events, God gave Balaam the green to light to speak to Balak, or so it seems, and Balak continued to push Balaam. In the middle of this Balaam said the most amazing piece of truth, and it goes like this:

Numbers 23:19 NASB “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

These words from Numbers 23:19 are some of the greatest validations that we have for God’s character and nature.

Balaam continued to speak.

“Behold, I have received a command to bless; When He has blessed, then I cannot revoke it. (21) “He has not observed misfortune in Jacob; Nor has He seen trouble in Israel; The LORD his God is with him, And the shout of a king is among them. (22) “God brings them out of Egypt, He is for them like the horns of the wild ox. (23) “For there is no omen against Jacob, Nor is there any divination against Israel; At the proper time, it shall be said to Jacob And to Israel, what God has done! (24) “Behold, a people rises like a lioness, And as a lion it lifts itself; It will not lie down until it devours the prey, And drinks the blood of the slain.” Numbers 23:20-24 NASB

They sound invincible, don’t they, and yet, they were not. Balaam continued to pour out blessing upon Jacob and God’s people. Balak, of course, was infuriated. Do not cut Balaam any slack for there is this:

Revelation 2:14 NASB ‘But I have a few things against you because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.

Strangely, we don’t see this teaching portrayed in the story about Balaam that the book of Numbers conveys to us, and yet, there it is.

2 Peter 2:15 says this:

“forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;”

Balaam’s words spoke of end times events and how one would come forth, things which stand as monuments in biblical prophecy, but look at how Numbers chapter 25 opens.

While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the LORD was angry against Israel. (Numbers 25:1-3 NASB)

What is my take away from Micah 6:1-5 –

God’s question, “what have I done to you, And how have I wearied you? And His response to that question, remember.

These words remind me of a worship song from a few years ago, that says, “I remind myself of all that you’ve done.” Burdened by the, often, fiery trials that come along, it is easy to forget that God brought us out, and what He brought us out of. In our forgetting, our immaturity often kicks in, and we go back to the comfortable but deadly stuff, like alcohol or rage simply because it numbs the mind, and we don’t have to think anymore.

God never told you to shut your brain down. He says come to me, and I will give you rest. I find no shame in telling you that I picture a large glowing man with no face, sitting on His throne, and holding out his arms to me, as He beckons me to come rest on His chest. When I do that, I find peace and words of comfort; there, He tells me that I am loved, wanted, and cared for. Words like this are the things I have longed to hear all my life. He is love, and I have come to know and love this nature and character I have found in him.

Posted in bible study, condemnation, End times, forsaken, Freedom from sin, gentiles, God's character, grace, guilt, Hope, Israel, Jesus, Jews, Mercy, Micah, overtaken, Prophetic, redemption, restore, Sin, strongholds, the nations, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I need to talk about death for a moment.

On Sunday, February 10 of 2019, my mother went home to be with Jesus.

Only a few days have passed since she died and I find myself talking about her death with a smile on my face. How can I do that? To answer that I have to back up a couple of months.

When we learned that there was a probability of her having pancreatic cancer, it was mid-December. The primary piece of evidence for this diagnosis was a blood test. Normal readings on her pancreas should have been 13; hers were 1100, but, from what I understand, the Doctor could not decisively say he was dealing with pancreatic cancer because he did not have a biopsy (The Dr. also felt it was foolish to put mom through a biopsy surgery, at this point.) I have known people who obtained a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and died painful deaths within months. Some will doubt this, but I heard the Holy Spirit say, “she only has two months to live.” I knew that this information, with no definitive evidence, would not be received well, and it was not. I told the family member who shared the vague information from the doctor with me, no good will come of this. I did not say this to be negative, I listen to the Holy Spirit, and that is what I heard. Oh, there is always the possibility of some good, as I serve a God who is never without a plan. At 82, mom had few realistic options, especially since the last surgery she had, a hip surgery, was very hard on her and she fought, prematurely, to leave the hospital. I told you all that to say; I feel the Lord was preparing some of us, for her departure.

Another reason I can smile is that I know where she went. She went home to be with Jesus. I have looked into this phrase before, and spoken about it in my blog; however, I will admit that the scripture reference is just a little thin.

We say: “To be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord.”

But here is what Paul said,

2 Corinthians 5:6-8 NASB (6) Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— (7) for we walk by faith, not by sight– (8) we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

Let’s logically attack this for a moment.

  • knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.”

If being at home in my body, makes me absent from the Lord, then the inverse must be true. Therefore, if I am absent from my body, then I must be present with the Lord.

Of course, I left out a minor detail, as this is all contingent upon a relationship with Jesus Christ. A simple explanation goes like this – when Jesus was asked what must a person do to be saved, Jesus responded with, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, the one sent by the Father. Well, that is what my mother did, as mom had a long term relationship with Jesus Christ and longed to be with Him. I too have this kind of relationship with Jesus. The Apostle Paul went on to say that the preferred condition would be, “to be absent from the body and be home with the Lord.”

So, I had time to say my goodbyes, and to tell her that she could go home if she wanted to; and, I have the knowledge that she is at peace, rejoicing in heaven with Jesus, just as she longed to do.

Is there emotional pains, certainly, and some are much more trouble than others; and, there was an abundance of family drama. One of the ways I have learned to deal with the drama is a simple phrase, it is not my circus, and they are not my monkeys. While that works to some degree, it is often difficult to keep the monkeys from throwing their food and debris at you, and that makes life difficult at times.

A friend of mine insists that we, as the church, are destined to go through the seven years of God’s wrath. I have tried, in several ways, through scripture, to show him how wrong he is. On my last chance to spend time with my mother, I was lying near her, holding her hand, and watching Charles Stanley on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, the night before she died. On this night my friend sent me a message explaining how he had challenged some Christians about their belief in a pre-tribulation rapture. Sadly, we, as the church, seem to think that we get to escape ALL tribulation and discomfort. My response to this belief that we get to escape discomfort is, we are fortunate to have been born in the United States. How do you, who think discomfort means you are not a believer, explain the horrendous torment followers of Christ in the Middle East, African nations, and China, for example, go through? When did I respond to his message I told him that I was lying next to my mom, who was dying of pancreatic cancer and did he not think that this was a fiery trial? It was and continues to be for some.

Jesus told us, that in this world we would have tribulations. Welcome to the world, and welcome to this life we have in Christ. It is real, and there nothing you can do to avoid the discomforts of the world.

Posted in comfort, finisher, forgive, grace, healing, Hope, Jesus, Mercy, Peace, Prophetic, redemption, restore, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment