My people behave like an enemy. Micah 2:8-12.

Once again, I find myself struggling to keep a clear picture of who is being addressed.

As you can witness, in Micah 2:6, we have Micah speaking against those who want him to shut his mouth, as they say, “Enough of your preaching!

Micah 2:6-7 CEV “Enough of your preaching!” That’s what you tell me.”We won’t be disgraced, so stop preaching!”  (7) Descendants of Jacob, is it right for you to claim that the LORD did what he did because he was angry? Doesn’t he always bless those who do right?

Israel asserts “We won’t be disgraced.” To call the voices speaking against Micah, Israel is a broad assumption but a fairly logical one. Why?

  • Based upon Micah 2:1,2 we know that the word Micah speaks applies to both sides of the divided kingdom – Israel and Judah; he is talking to those who have the power to rob and defraud the people of their land and therefore their inheritance. And, God is never speaking this way to everyone, although, such as in the case of humankind, all suffered the effects of Adam’s treasonous act – something we like to call sin – something that is so much easier to understand if you consider the “sin” a genetic modification that impacted ALL peoples since that day.

(Seeing as the Assyrians and Babylonians will soon take everyone captive or kill them, inheritance is somewhat of a moot point; unless there is that one person that remembers that God promised His people the land of Canaan. As long as someone is keeping records in their head there is the probability that land could be reclaimed if that opportunity ever arose again; and apparently, it did. Looking to a time well over 2700 years later this becomes important again, as the words of Micah 2: 4,5 indicate that there will be no left that could reestablish inheritance claims.)

  • Israel, for the longest time, was ruled by judges. Samson and Gideon are two that come quickly to mind. But Israel cried out; we want a king like the nations around us have, and so their first king was Saul. How quickly that went sour on them, and God warned them that it would. By the time Micah is speaking out against what is going on it feels more like some twisted struggle between the monarchical, aristocratic, and an oligarchical system. How is that possible? Well, consider that in Jesus day, although the Romans seemed to have the final say, who did Pontius Pilate turn to for the last word on the fate of Jesus? The Jewish council, which itself was a blend of oligarchical and aristocracy leadership.
    The kings, for the most part followed God in name only, and the relatively, wealthy Jewish council were the voices that spoke for the people, whether they wanted them to or not.

SoMicah is, for the most part talking to the ruling bodies.

Micah then retorts – “this is what you are saying, Does GOD lose his temper? Is this the way he acts? Isn’t he on the side of good people?”(MSG)

On a personal note, I was told by a particular pastor not to give words to the body of Christ any longer because several people expressed to the pastor that they thought I made God sound angry. Why do we believe God would not get annoyed, particularly if we are operating contrary to the will of God?

In contrast to the kind, pleasant, and somewhat encouraging words of verse 7, where it says, “doesn’t he always bless those who do right?” there is verse eight through eleven to bring us back to reality.

Micah 2:8 – 11 NET.“ but you rise up as an enemy against my people. You steal a robe from a friend, from those who pass by peacefully as if returning from a war. 9) You wrongly evict widows among my people from their cherished homes. You defraud their children of their prized inheritance. 10) But you are the ones who will be forced to leave! For this land is not secure! Sin will thoroughly destroy it! 11) If a lying windbag should come and say, ‘I’ll promise you blessings of wine and beer,’ he would be just the right preacher for these people!”

The Complete Jewish Bible opens with this: But lately my people behave like an enemy,” “ against my people.”(NET)

If God can generalize, using a sentence such as, ” rising up as an enemy against my people,” while saying “you are the ones who will be forced to leave,” about whom is He talking? Ruling bodies, which, for the most part, is the Jewish priestly council.

To refresh our memories –

Micah 2:1-2 MSG Doom to those who plot evil, who go to bed dreaming up crimes! As soon as it’s morning, they’re off, full of energy, doing what they’ve planned. (2) They covet fields and grab them, find homes and take them. They bully the neighbor and his family, see people only for what they can get out of them.

Since God called Israel Babylon at one point, and Babylon is not a clearly defined entity, is it possible that He is speaking about the ruling class and those who think they have a right to oppress merely because of money? Absolutely, and we see this despicable activity throughout history.

Isn’t it the people with money who own the land from which the widows are being evicted? And that is the lead into verse 9.

Micah 2:9 NIV  You drive the women of my people from their pleasant homes. You take away my blessing from their children forever.

Naomi is a good example of verse 9. When we meet Naomi, her husband is dead, and now her sons have died as well. [You can find much of this information in the first chapter of the book of Ruth] Naomi knowing she is the inheritor of land in Israel decides she will go back there. She tells the two daughters-in-law to go back home to their families, butRuth stays with her. Even in Israel, repossessing her land does not mean she will eat or pay any taxes owed, and so Ruth sets out to glean from a field so that they can survive.

In response to Israel’s claim that no harm will come to them, God says,

Micah 2:10 NIV  Get up, go away! For this is not your resting place, because it is defiled, it is ruined, beyond all remedy.

Daniel had spent most of his adult life in Babylonian captivity (Daniel 1:2-4). Sitting quietly one day, reading the scroll of Jeremiah the prophet, he understood “that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.” That time, which was almost over, was the result of Israel disregarding the Sabbath years.

When I point these things out to people, many immediately come back at me with, I have never seen that in scripture. I have, but I don’t have it memorized and had to look it up.

2 Chronicles 36:20-21 KJV  And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia:  (21)  To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years.

The command was to let the earth rest every seven years. Obviously, Israel did not do that. This idea of the seven-year sabbatical time plays a role in the time of God’s wrath, as at the end of that time there is a restoration of all things. You see, nothing in God’s scheme of things happens by coincidence, nor outside of God’s timing.

Micah 2:11 NIV  If a liar and deceiver comes and says, ‘I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,’ that would be just the prophet for this people!

The NIV is a somewhat loose translation, but it conveys what Hebrew is saying through the mouth of Micah. Let me show you another translation that demands an explanation.

Micah 2:11 KJV  If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.

Walking in the spirit — The Hebrew for walking is haw-lak’ and means to walk continually and be conversant. The Hebrew for spirit is rûachand means wind, but it also means breath or spirit. The Hebrew word rûach is the counterpart to the Greek word pneuma meaning a current of air, breath, or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively a spirit.

Is Micah, in verse 11, defining a “prophet” that is walking in Spirit of God? Not a chance. This analogy of a false prophet is precisely what they have all been calling for, plenty of beer and wine for all; nothing will happen but good!

Micah 2:12 MKJV  I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel. I will put them together like the sheep of Bozrah, like the flock in the midst of their fold. They shall be in commotion because of men.

I frequently forget that the limitations within my mind do not limit God. This statement, by the mouth of Micah, is just another word picture that shows Israel diminished in number to where the imagery of a shepherd, tending to a manageable number of sheep immediately comes to mind.

Just for the fun of it, I looked up the population of Israel. It is 8,907,000. A loss of 2/3 reduces the population to just over 3 million.

Seeing as we see God gathering the remnant the Message translation makes sense.

Micah2:13 MSG Then I, GOD, will burst all confinements and lead them out into the open. They’ll follow their King. I will be out in front leading them.”


Micah2:13 AMP The Breaker [the Messiah] will go up before them. They will break through, pass in through the gate and go out through it, and their King will pass on before them, the Lord at their head.

Seeing as the Jewish mind has been trained to refuse flamboyant words, the prophecies that are respected and valued are those that fall into repeated patterns and are verifiable by scripture. Micah 2:13 is just such a prophecy, an example, can be found in the words of prophets like Amos.

Amos9:11 AMP In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David, the fallen hut or booth, and close up its breaches; and I will raise up its ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old,

Yeshua/Jesus Christ the Messiah will come as the conquering King that Israel has longed for; it just won’t happen in Israel’s timing, and that is proven out by the fact that Israel will take a horrendous beating. If you are not aware, Israel has been sustaining a large volume of missiles being shot at them from Gaza.

A friend of mine asked me, do I think that Israel is experiencing that time called Jacob’s troubles. Initially, I responded with, it seems like it, doesn’t it, but an intense look at the passages surrounding the verse where Jacob’s trouble is referenced indicates that this time is specific to the midpoint of the seven-year period.

Jeremiah 30:7 KJV  Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.

While the troubles Israel, all of Christianity, and the innocent bystanders of the world are experiencing can easily be classified as trials. Jesus told us that tribulations would be a part of our lifestyle, this is especially true for those who, like me, live on the front lines of this battle called life.

John 16:33 MKJV  I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.

Posted in Assyrians, bible study, gentiles, invasion, Israel, Jacob, Jerusalem, Jesus, Jews, Judah, Mercy, Micah, Millennium, overtaken, restore | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You won’t have anyone left! Micah 2:5-7

Micah 2:5 NIrV  So you won’t even have anyone left in the LORD’s community who can divide up the land for you.

I must include the context that leads to this sad statement.

Micah 2:3-4 NIrV  So the LORD says to them, “I am planning to send trouble on you. You will not be able to save yourselves from it. You will not live so proudly anymore. It will be a time of trouble.  4)  At that time people will make fun of you. They will tease you by singing a song of sadness. They will pretend to be you and say, “We are totally destroyed. Our enemies have divided up our land. The LORD has taken it away from us! He has given our fields to those who turned against us.'”

It often helps of me to break things down in a childlike manner.

  • I am planning to send trouble on you.
    • You will not be able to save yourselves from it.
      • You will not live so proudly anymore.

        Search for similar verses that speak of pride and arrogance, and you will find that there are many; more than I want to bog you down with them all.

        • It will be a time of trouble.
          • At that time people will make fun of you. They will tease you by singing a song of sadness. They will pretend to be you and say, “We are totally destroyed.
            • Our enemies have divided up our land.
              • that breaks out and burns up something, whether people, things, or animals (Exo_22:6 [5]).
              • Both idols and the golden calf were burned up by fire (Exo_32:20; Deu_7:5, Deu_7:25; Deu_12:3).
              • In some cases, it was fire from the Lord which consumed sacrifices (Lev_9:24; 2Ch_7:1, 2Ch_7:3).
              • It was used to depict lightning in the plagues in Egypt (Exo_9:23-24.
            • The LORD has taken it away from us!
              • He has given our fields to those who turned against us.”

                Since we now understand how bad it will get, the realization sets in.

                Micah 2:5 NIrV  So you won’t even have anyone left in the LORD’s community who can divide up the land for you.

                Who are those who divide the land?

                I suppose you could say that real estate agents do. But then, even they have to submit to county records, and then there is the county assessors office who taxes you on what you own. Maybe the bottom line is that governments divide the land. When Israel came out of Egypt God spoke through Moses, and He divided the land, we now call Israel, among the twelve tribes. Since ownership among the tribes was done away with through captivity and foreign domination, it would seem that the government has taken over.

                The point is, this onslaught is so bad that there is no one left of God’s people that could redistribute the land.

                Have you ever endured harassment from “believers” about the things you understand and words you say?
                I have, and so did Micah. Hopefully, your words are in line with scripture and not so much about your opinion, otherwise, these zealots we have to deal with could be correct in their assessments of us.

                Micah 2:6 AMP) Do not preach, say the prophesying false prophets; one should not babble and harp on such things; disgrace will not overtake us [the reviling has no end].

                He just as easily could have said, this is what I hear: Do not preach; one should not babble and harp on such things; disgrace will not overtake us. Micah continues with, this reviling has no end.

                A “brother in Christ” and a pastor, both, at different times, pointed out that the admonition that we wait expectantly for the Lord was given well over 2000 years ago. They say Jesus is not coming back anytime soon. They both effectively told me that I should not babble and harp on such things; Jesus will not come anytime soon.

                The word translated as disgrace is the Hebrew word kelimmāh: It is a feminine noun referring to disgrace, shame, humiliation. It has the meaning of embarrassment.

                So, in majority, Israel, then and now, are saying they will not be overtaken by:

                • shame
                • humiliation
                • embarrassment
                • And of course, disgrace.

                One would think that the German death camps would have fulfilled all those terms, and they did. So we are really talking about some future event, aren’t we?

                Do you read any of the news coming out of Israel? They are not so different from any other modern nation, as they are barraged with scandal, not only in the government, but within the priesthood of Israel; and this is not accounting for the multiple, daily attacks on citizens, police, and the military.

                What is being conveyed by Micah’s words is far beyond the scope of the ordinary harassment that occurs daily. Two-thirds of Israel will be killed, buildings and homes will be turned into rubble, and there will be no one left to live in them – much like Damascus.

                First, I want you to see Micah 2:7 in the King James Version, as it is archaic and hard to decipher at times.

                Micah 2:7 KJV  O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?

                The Modern KJV reads like this: “House of Jacob, it is said, The Spirit of Jehovah is limited if these are His doings. Do not My words do good to him who walks uprightly?”

                Clearer, but I still don’t get it. Well, what is the prophet trying to say?

                • First, Micah is addressing God’s people. However, I also have to take into consideration the fact that Micah is speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and therefore this is God talking. Whoever the speaker is, he is addressing the House of Jacob – Since all Israel has descended from Jacob, then the speaker is talking about Israel/God’s people. Keep in mind that the nation has split into two kingdoms; Israel in the North, and Judah in the South.
                • What do the people say? it is said, The Spirit of Jehovah is limited if these are His doings.” What are his doings? As stated in Micah 2:3,4 I am planning to send trouble on you. You will not be able to save yourselves from it. You will not live so proudly anymore. It will be a time of trouble.  4)  At that time people will make fun of you. They will tease you by singing a song of sadness. They will pretend to be you and say, “We are totally destroyed. Our enemies have divided up our land. The LORD has taken it away from us! He has given our fields to those who turned against us.'”

                Perhaps another translation may help us.

                Micah 2:7 CEV  Descendants of Jacob, is it right for you to claim that the LORD did what he did because he was angry? Doesn’t he always bless those who do right?

                Do you really think that God cannot be angry? He warned Israel repeatedly that they should turn from their evil ways, but they did not, nor would they turn back to God. Do we think that these great countries we live in will be excluded from God’s wrath? Haven’t we too turned our backs on God?

                God has always been relatively straightforward, spelling out the good and the bad and then giving the hearer a choice. Note what Micah/God says, “Do not My words do good to him who walks uprightly?” And they will; God’s word will do good to those who follow it.

                Posted in bible study, guilt, hypocrisy, invasion, Israel, Jacob, Judah, Micah | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

                They covet … houses, and take them away. A look at Micah 2:1-4

                These studies on Micah started as personal readings as I had no understanding of Micah and who he was talking to. Having been accosted by a pastor who told me to stay away from Eschatology, I was thrilled to see that Micah spoke with precision about such things. Another aspect of Micah that has troubled me for years was the division of the Northern and Southern Jewish kingdoms, Israel in the north, and Judah in the South. I feel strongly that I have a clear picture of much of that.

                The men I sit with several days a week, are always asking me what I am studying, that prompted me to turn my own questions and thoughts into something that might help someone else understand. I realize that much of scripture is self-evident, however, if you grew up in church, as I did, then you have a lot of tales, traditions, and false teachings to undo. Undoing these things takes some dedication on your part, and that lack of commitment to God’s word becomes evident as the people around you will fight with you to maintain those tales and traditions.

                Here it is November 9, 2018, and this morning we learned that a beautiful, peaceful, retirement community of Paradise, Ca. has pretty much burned to the ground. The lady who put up the video and showed you the destruction as they drove out of town to safety, continually said, “Oh my God!” You see, the majority of us have just enough experience with a self-serving and convenient religion that we can fight back with religious terminology. We are not fooling anyone, for we have chosen to do what Israel not only did but still does, they turned their back on God. They will, however, just like the person on the street, fight to protect what they think is right.

                If I had one purpose it would be to get people interested and excited about reading the Word of God. I find it a fascinating journey, and I know the end of the story. 

                Enough of this, on with the study. 

                Micah 2:1 MKJV  Woe to those who plot wickedness and prepare evil on their beds! When the morning is light they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand.

                • Woe to those who plot wickedness.
                  • and prepare evil on their beds!”
                    • because they have the power to do what they want.”

                      Micah 2:2 MKJV  And they covet and seize fields, and houses, and take them away. And they oppress a man and his household, even a man and his inheritance.

                      • they covet and seize fields, and houses, and take them away.”
                         In a previous post on Micah, I made a point of talking about the things that would have motivated the prophet (you know, life.) For example: suppose God brings some Hells Angel motorcycle rider to Christ. That man would undoubtedly have a rough exterior until God is through refining the man (by the way, God won’t be done perfecting us until we are changed just before entering heaven.) Micah had to deal with people like, King Ahab, who wanted the field of Naboth; a field which was profitable and happened to be next to the castle. Ordinary ploys at bartering did nothing to change the mind of Naboth, and so, Ahab’s wife, who had the power in her hands to take it, had Naboth killed. There is no reason to think that Micah would not have found out about this, especially since Jezebel’s actions brought a relatively swift judgment against her, and she was thrown out of an upper window, where she splattered and was eaten by dogs, leaving nothing to bury. This kind of action is high drama.
                      • And they oppress a man and his household, even a man and his inheritance.” By power wrest the estates out of the hands of the owners. This kind of action is precisely what I was trying to portray when I brought up Naboth.

                      Seized property. The acquisition of property by oppressing the poor and weak violates both the law against coveting as well as the injunction not to violate the covenantal division of the land to each Israelite household after the conquest. Despite these laws, the mounting debt of small landowners and the political power exercised by large landowners led to abuses, which are mentioned in Egyptian wisdom literature (Instruction of Amenemope).[From the IVPBBC]

                      Isaiah 5:8 MKJV Woe to those who join house to house, laying field to field, until the end of space, and you are made to dwell alone in the middle of the land!

                      Oppressive real estate development. Expansion of real estate holdings in the ancient world was usually at someone else’s expense. The story of Ruth is such a tale. Even though the Jews had laws which demanded that another Jew’s property was to be returned after seven years, the Jewish investors looked for ways to get around these laws. In Israel, this was a theological as well as an economic crisis. Since God had given them the land as a benefit of the covenant, each family considered its landholdings as its little share in the covenant. Therefore, what otherwise would be a financial tragedy (often with an oppressive dimension) also served to deprive family members of their part in the covenant.

                      Here in America we had, several years ago, some lousy banking practices where they made sub-prime loans. These loans were made to people who would not be able to make their payments, and a deluge of people lost their homes to foreclosure.

                      Micah 2:3 MKJV So Jehovah says this: Behold, against this family I am plotting an evil from which you shall not remove your necks; nor shall you go proudly, but it is an evil time.

                      • against this family.”
                      • I am plotting an evil from which you shall not remove your necks; ”
                      • nor shall you go proudly, but it is an evil time.”

                      Judges 2:15 MKJV Wherever they went out, the hand of Jehovah was against them for evil, as Jehovah had said, and as Jehovah had sworn to them. And they were greatly distressed.

                      Jeremiah 8:3 MKJV And death shall be chosen rather than life by all the rest of those who remain of this evil family, who remain in all the places where I have driven them, says Jehovah of Hosts.

                      Amos 3:1 MKJV Hear this Word that Jehovah has spoken against you, sons of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying,

                      Micah 2:4 MKJV In that day one shall take up a parable against you and mourn a mourning of mournings, saying, We shall be completely laid waste. He has exchanged the share of my people. How He has removed it from me! To the apostate He has divided our fields.

                      • In that day.”
                        • We shall be completely laid waste.”

                          Micah 2:4 ISV When this happens, someone will compose a proverb about you, lamenting sorrowfully, ‘We are completely ruined! He has given my people’s heritage to others. How he has removed it from me, dividing up our fields!’

                          God restored Israel to their land; this restoration began to happen 1917 with the Balfour agreements. But Israel became an acknowledged nation in 1948. And yet, here again, Israel will be completely laid waste. To those who do not read the Bible, with the purpose of understanding, this makes no sense, and neither does God. We are told things like God is love, and because of love, God gave His only Son to die so that the world, through Him, could be saved.

                          Why then does He not just save these people He calls his own?

                          Note how I said, through Him, we could be saved. It is an open-ended invitation, and all one has to do is to walk through the door. Soon that door, which is now open, will be closed; and thus will end the age of Grace. Is the opportunity to find or come to Him still available? Indeed, but after the catching away of the church, you will have to prove your allegiance through your actions and testimony. In the face of some entity, like ISIS, you will probably lose your head. Here in America, where loving God is on the verge of becoming a criminal act, you will probably be arrested and thrown into one the FEMA camps that are already set up across this nation. There is a good chance you will die by guillotine. I failed to mention that during the seven years following the catching away of the church, the violence and animosity towards mere people will skyrocket. And none of this accounts for the destruction God will send upon the earth.

                          How do I know this stuff? I have read my Bible and subjected myself to lousy Bible studies, that were so bad that I had to go home and study out what scripture had to say myself. My guess is you figured out that I am no Einstein; I am just a regular guy that has learned to rely heavily on God’s grace and mercy.

                          Posted in Assyrians, bible study, gentiles, Israel, Jerusalem, Jews, Micah | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

                          A look at Micah. Chapter 1: 6-16. The end of chapter 1.

                          May I be honest? There are some portions of the Bible that I find tedious, like the book of Numbers and these next few verses. Let’s see if I can invest a bit of life into them.

                          Micah 1:6 MKJV And I will make Samaria into ruins of the field, planting places for a vineyard; and I will pour down her stones into the valley, and I will uncover her foundations.

                          This verse reminds me of another scenario in scripture, where it spells out the destruction of Damascus. Isaiah 17:1 tells us that Damascus will cease to be a city.

                          Look at this picture of Damascus; If it is not yet uninhabitable, it will be soon.

                          A Drone picture of Damascus that shows the destruction going on there; “no copyright infringement is intended.”

                          The IVPBBC gives us this piece of information. “The Syro-Ephraimitic War which raged during the middle 730s ended with the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III invading Syria and Israel and devastating both of these rebellious states (734-732). The Syrian kingdom ruled from Damascus by Rezin (see Isa_7:1-9), had been Israel’s principal political and economic rival. He had meddled in Israel and Judah’s internal affairs and had encroached on their territories for over a decade. It seems apparent, however, that Rezin overstepped his bounds in leading an anti-Assyrian coalition. Assyria did not welcome a rival “Greater Syria,” and the destruction of Damascus in 732, as recorded in the Assyrian Annals, was massive, leaving hundreds of sites looking “like hills over which the flood had swept.” This widespread destruction also included both the reduction of much of the city of Damascus to rubble as well as the redistribution of its territories in Syria as well as in Transjordan and the Galilee.”
                          [The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament; Copyright © 2000 by John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews, and Mark W. Chavalas]

                          Apparently, the destruction is happening once again.


                          From ESV maps showing the range of the Assyrian empire. Note where Samariah is located, directly above Judah.

                          Although I went into great detail about why there was such a hatred of Samaritans, I can’t just walk away from the region because the Holy Spirit seems to keep drawing that area into the equation.

                          Note: Samaria was taken by Shalmaneser (2Ki_17:6) B.C. 724; razed to the ground by Hyrcanus (Josephus, Ant. l. xiii. c. 18); restored by Herod, and called Sebastê; and is now a small village called Sebusta, its ancient site being converted into gardens.

                          So, we have learned that Samaria was taken all the way to the ground, and will, like Damascus, be destroyed again. One of the main problems I see with that area is that it sits in the Megiddo valley and Ezekiel 38,39 decree that the Megiddo valley will be filled with blood soon.

                          Micah 1:7 MKJV And all her graven images shall be beaten to pieces, and all her gifts shall be burned with the fire, and I will destroy all its idols. For she gathered it from the reward of a harlot, and they shall return to the reward of a harlot.

                          Let’s consider two aspects of this verse for a moment.

                          • And all her graven images shall be beaten to pieces, and all her gifts shall be burned with the fire.”
                            • and I will destroy all its idols. For she gathered it from the reward of a harlot, and they shall return to the reward of a harlot.”

                              And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, …By the Assyrian army, for the sake of the gold and silver of which they were, made, or with which they were adorned, as was usually done by conquerors to the gods of the nations they conquered; these were the calf of Samaria, and other idols; and not only those in the city of Samaria, but in all the other cities of Israel which fell into the hands of the Assyrian monarch;” see Isa_10:11; [John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible]

                              Micah 1:8 MKJV Therefore I will wail and howl; I will go stripped and naked; I will make a wailing like jackals, mourn like the daughters of an ostrich.

                              [I will wail and howl] The prophet took up wailing because of the invader and the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem (Mic_1:8-16). [Dake]

                              Dake’s commentary wants us to believe that this is Micah, speaking about his actions and reactions. I have to remind myself that Micah is speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit (even if he didn’t know he was doing that,) on behalf of God. Micah is speaking God’s heart. Why would God strip himself naked and wail like a jackal? That idea doesn’t even seem reasonable. The bottom line here; I am not sure to whom I should assign these words. If it is Micah, he is indeed trying to make a point.

                              Micah 1:9 MKJV For her wounds are not curable; for it has come to Judah; it has reached to the gate of My people, to Jerusalem.

                              Interesting how the problem initiated with Samaria, in Israel, the Northern divided kingdom. Imagine that, God’s people divided against themselves. Does that happen today? Oh sure, it happens all the time and churches will split over divisions.

                              When we consider a wound, does it typically heal? Certainly. Now some things take longer than others, and, in war, a leg blown off does not grow back. Some spiders, on the other hand, leave you with necrosis, which, in some cases, will not heal.

                              [wound is incurable] This expresses the fact that nothing could prevent her utter ruin, inasmuch as the nation had utterly filled up her measure of iniquity. [Dake]

                              Micah 1:10 MKJV Do not declare it in Gath; weep not at all; in the house of Leaphrah roll in the dust.

                              “Do not declare it in Gath” is interesting, as Gath is where Micah hails from, and eventually, so does Goliath.

                              John Gill’s commentary points out that this phrase is borrowed from 2 Samuel.

                              2 Samuel 1:20 MKJV Tell it not in Gath, do not let it be known in the streets of Askelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.

                              One commentator stated, “why would you tell the enemy about the crushing punishment that was to be dealt out to their enemies; they would only laugh.”

                              Micah 1:11-12 MKJV Pass over to them, O dweller of Shaphir, in nakedness of shame. The dweller of Zaanan has not gone out; the mourning of Beth-ezel shall take from you his standing. 12) For be grieved for good, the dweller of Maroth, for evil came down from Jehovah to the gate of Jerusalem.

                              Joseph Benton’s commentary communicates this: “Passye away, thou inhabitant of Saphir —Houbigant says that Eusebius places this city, the name of whichsignifies fair,or elegant, inthe tribe of Judah, between Eleutheropolis and Askelon. Some think,however, that Saphir is not a proper name, and that there was noplace so called in Judea; but that the clause ought to be rendered,Pass away, thou inhabitant of a delightfulplace, that is, Samaria, which was verypleasantly situated. The prophet herethreatens the inhabitants of that place that they should go intocaptivity, in a way very unsuitable to their former softness andluxury, even stripped by the conquering enemy, and without so much asa covering to hide their nakedness. Theinhabitant of Zaanan — A place in thetribe of Judah, called Zenan,Jos_15:37;came not forth in the mourning ofBeth-ezel — “There was no burial ofher dead with solemn mourning out of the precincts of her city, butshe was besieged and put to the sword.” — Newcome. Or, themeaning may be, the inhabitants of Zaanan were so much concerned toprovide for their own safety, that they took no notice of themournful condition of their near neighbour Beth-ezel, which seems tohave been a place near Jerusalem, termed Azal,Zec_14:5.Grotius, however, supposes Zaananto denote Zion,and Beth-ezelto signify Beth-el,called here by another name, importing thehouse of separation, because itwas the principal seat of idolatrous worship. Heshall receive of you his standing — The standing, or encamping ofan army against the city; that is, the enemy shall encamp among you,shall stand on your ground, so that you will have no opportunity ofcoming out to the help of your neighbours.For the inhabitant of Maroth —A town in Judea, (the same probably that is called Maarath,Jos_15:59,)waited, &c.— Or rather, as the words may be translated, Althoughthe inhabitant of Maroth waited for good, yet evil came, &c.,unto the gate of Jerusalem — Such acalamity as stopped not at Maroth, but reached even to Jerusalem. ByMaroth, whichsignifies bitterness,or trouble, Grotius understands Ramah,or, expressed as it often is in the plural, Ramoth,a place in the tribe of Benjamin, near Beth-lehem, and not far from Jerusalem.

                              Micah 1:13-15 MKJV O inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the stallion; she is the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion, for the sins of Israel were found in you. 14) Therefore you shall give parting gifts to Moresheth-gath; the houses of Achzib are for a lying thing to the kings of Israel. 15) Yet I will bring an heir to you, O dweller of Mareshah. The glory of Israel shall come to Adullam.

                              The following is from: JosephBenson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

                              O thou inhabitant of Lachish This was a strong fortress in the tribe of Judah: see Jos_15:39. Bind the chariot to the swift beast — In order to flee from the approaching enemy. Lachish was one of the first cities that Sennacherib besieged when he invaded Judea. She is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion — She was the first among the cities of Judah which practised those idolatries which the kings and people of Israel had begun. Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moresheth-gath — Or, to Moresheth of Gath; that is, to the Philistines of that country, either to defend thee against the enemy, or to receive thee under their protection. The houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the kings of Israel — The word Achzib signifies a lie. There was a town of that name in the tribe of Judah, mentioned Jos_15:44. This place, the prophet here foretells, will answer its name, and disappoint the kings of Israel that depended upon its strength and assistance: see 2Ch_21:3; and 2Ch_28:19. Israel is sometimes used for Judah, and so it may probably be taken here. Yet will I bring an heir unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah — This was another town belonging to Judah, mentioned Jos_15:44. The name signifies an inheritance; so here, by way of allusion, it is said, that a new heir or master should come and take possession of it, namely, a conquering enemy. He shall come unto Adullam the glory of Israel — Or, The glory of Israel shall come to Adullam; the Assyrians, whom Israel once gloried in as their ally, shall come to Adullam. This was a town in Judah not far from Lachish: see Jos_15:35. Some think the meaning of this clause is, that the chief men of Israel should be forced to hide themselves from their enemies in the cave of Adullam, as David did when he fled from Saul, 1 Samuel 23.

                              Micah 1:16 MKJV Make yourself bald, and cut off your hair for the sons of your delight; make your baldness large like the eagle; for they go into exile from you.

                              By these phrases the prophet signifies, that the calamity would be so great as to deserve the strongest expressions of grief.”

                              [Make thee bald] Making the head bald in mourning was forbidden under the law (Deu_14:1), but since Judah had become like the heathen, she might as well mourn like them. Dake’s commentary

                              Cutting the hair, or shaving it close, were expressions of mourning and lamentation anciently used among most nations. Enlarge thy baldness as the eagle — When she molts her feathers; for they are gone into captivity, &c. — By these phrases the prophet signifies, that the calamity would be so great as to deserve the strongest expressions of grief. Joseph Benson

                              Posted in Assyrians, bible study, Dispelling myths, enemies, gentiles, invasion, Israel, Jacob, Jerusalem, Jews, Judah, Micah, overtaken, Peace, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

                              Micah 1:5 part two, What is the transgression of Jacob?

                              So let’s go back to Micah 1:5 for a moment.

                              Micah 1:5 NASB All this is for the rebellion of Jacob And for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the rebellion of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? What is the high place of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem?

                              The verse states, “All this is for the rebellion of Jacob and for the sins of the house of Israel.” As you can see the verse ends with a period, and then, inserts a question. Perhaps they should have ended with a comma and then said, “but,” what is the rebellion of Jacob, because I, nor you, know. I can now conclusively tell you how Samaria came to hold such disdain in the eyes of the Jews, but I cannot tell you what this rebellion was with any specificity. So let’s find out.

                              “What is the transgression of Jacob?”

                              The transgression of Jacob. (According to the UCRT cross reference all these references apply to Jacob’s transgression.) 2Ki_17:7-23, *2Ch_36:14-16, Isa_50:1-2; Isa_59:1-15, Jer_2:17; Jer_2:19; Jer_4:18; Jer_5:25; Jer_6:19, Lam_5:16, 1Th_2:15-16.

                              Without diving into scripture, there is the incident that all of us who have been around organized church for a long time are aware of; the short version of it goes like this. Issac is old, cannot see, and is dying., At his mother’s prodding Jacob deceives his brother Esau, and then his father. Because of this deception, Issac gives Jacob (the second born) the blessing that was due the first – sheep, land, and the promise of God’s best upon his life. Esau of course now wants to kill his brother Jacob, and so Jacob flees for life, at his mother’s direction, to the land where her brother Laban resides, and thus begins our tale.

                              Now this deception aspect alone might be the answer to what the transgression of Jacob might be, but strangely, you still the blessing of God (what a coincidence that Issac gave him that blessing,) upon his life – along with constant problems. So, I am uncomfortable pinning the transgression/rebellion to this incident alone.

                              When searching for a reference that explains the transgression of Jacob, this passage in Genesis 31:1-3 is one of the places you are taken.

                              Genesis 31:1-3 NASB Now Jacob heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s, and from what belonged to our father he has made all this wealth.” 2) Jacob saw the attitude of Laban, and behold, it was not friendly toward him as formerly. 3) Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”

                              Note how Jacob heard Laban’s son say, Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s. They were, of course, referring to the goats that had distinct markings, an agreement that Laban made with Jacob, and broke several times by stealing the goats away from Jacob.

                              Genesis 30:31-35 NASB So he said, “What shall I give you?” And Jacob said, “You shall not give me anything. If you will do this one thing for me, I will again pasture and keep your flock: 32) let me pass through your entire flock today, removing from there every speckled and spotted sheep and every black one among the lambs and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and such shall be my wages. 33) “So my honesty will answer for me later, when you come concerning my wages. Every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats and black among the lambs, if found with me, will be considered stolen.” 34) Laban said, “Good, let it be according to your word.” 35) So he removed on that day the striped and spotted male goats and all the speckled and spotted female goats, every one with white in it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave them into the care of his sons.

                              Laban agreed and then had his sons take those same sheep out of the herd so he would not have to pay Jacob. At this point, I would say that all the transgression is on the part of Laban.

                              The sons of Laban may have also been referring to their sisters when they said “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s,” but that too was an agreement that their father had made and did not uphold. Still, Jacob had done nothing wrong to Laban.

                              As I go through references to Jacob, the first thing I find is the deception performed by Jacob and his mother, against Esau and Issac. But as I follow that trail, it seems that God had his hand in it all along, and blessed Jacob regardless.

                              There is, however, a drastic change when they meet Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite:

                              Genesis 34:2 MKJV  And when Shechem, the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her and lay with her, and humbled her.

                              Almost all of Genesis 34 is centered upon Dinah, this young man Shechem and his actions, and the primary focus, the deception and deadly violence committed by Jacob’s sons.

                              Who or what’s to say men are good; but didn’t this young man and his father seem to want to do the right thing. What you can’t ignore is that Shechem raped Dinah; at best he seduced her, but when you consider the Jewish idea that a young girl is marriageable at 12 years and a day, how could you expect her to have the skills to resist some smooth talking man?. Besides all that, Shechem, we learn loved Dinah and wanted to marry her; while that seems excellent look at the IVP commentary below. Still, it seems men died without cause at the hands of Jacob’s sons, while Jacob did and said nothing. Perhaps now we have what might be the transgression of Jacob.

                              The IVP Bible Background Commentary has this to say about rape.

                              Ravishing women. Rape as a means of obtaining a marriage contract was apparently one stratagem used in the ancient Near East. Laws regulating this practice are found in Exo_22:16-17, Deu_22:28-29, the Middle Assyrian Laws and the Hittite laws. These often require the rapist to pay an especially high bride price and sometimes forbid any possibility of divorce. Sumerian Law 7, like Genesis 34, deals with a case where a young, unbetrothed woman leaves her parents’ home without permission and is raped. The result is an option by the parents to marry her to the rapist without her consent.

                              On a side note: this phrase, “and he did and said nothing,” should have a familiar tone, for this was the way King David ran his own family.

                              Genesis 34:11-13 MKJV  And Shechem said to her father and to her brothers, Let me find grace in your eyes, and whatever you shall say to me I will give.  12)  Heap upon me ever so much price and dowry, and I will give according as you shall say to me. But give me the girl for a wife.  13)  And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father, speaking with deceit because he had defiled Dinah their sister.

                              Again, the conversation starts with Jacob but quickly turns to the sons, who are doing all the speaking on behalf of the family. Everything the son’s say is deceitful, with the purpose of making them pay for what Shechem did to Dinah.

                              Genesis 34:14-17 MKJV  And they said to them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised. For it is a reproach to us.  15)  But in this we will agree with you, if you will be as we are, that every male of you be circumcised,  16)  then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will live with you, and we will become one people.  17)  But if you will not listen to us, to be circumcised, then we will take our daughter, and we will go.

                              Jacob is sitting right there, listening to every word, and yet he says and does nothing. Maybe he thinks this is all reasonable; and maybe it is.

                              Genesis 34:18-24 MKJV  And their words pleased Hamor and Shechem, Hamor’s son.  19)  And the young man did not hesitate to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob’s daughter. And he was more honorable than all the house of his father.  20)  And Hamor and Shechem his son came to the gate of their city, and talked with the men of their city, saying,  21)  These men are at peace with us. Therefore let them live in the land, and trade in it. For behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters.  22)  Only on this condition will the men agree to us, to live with us, to be one people, if every male among us is circumcised as they are circumcised.  23)  Shall not their cattle and their substance and every animal of theirs be ours? Only let us agree with them, and they will live with us.  24)  And all that went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and to Shechem his son. And every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city.

                              The assumption, on the part of the Hivites, was that these people and their “wealth” would be joined to their community, making it stronger. The sons of Jacob had no intention of doing that and therefore waited until the third day after this barbaric surgery so that they could kill them all.

                              Genesis 34:27-29 MKJV  The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister.  28)  They took their sheep and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city and that which was in the field.  29)  And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives, they took captive, and plundered even all that was in the house.

                              What was it that Laban’s sons accused Jacob of taking, all that belonged to their father; and now Jacob’s sons have done just that to the Hivites. Jacob, who has said nothing, now has something to say.

                              Genesis 34:30 MKJV  And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, You have troubled me, to make me stink among those who live in the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites. And I, being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and kill me. And I shall be destroyed, my house and I.

                              Now the story goes on, but is it possible that this incident is one of the primary roots of Jacob’s transgression?

                              2 Kings 17:7 MKJV  And it happened because the sons of Israel had sinned against Jehovah their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods,

                              Note what 2Kings 17:7 says, “ And it happened because the sons of Israel had sinned against Jehovah their God.” While the reference has little to do with Shechem and the Hivites, these are the tribal names that evolved from the same sons that we just witnessed, deceiving the Hivites, slaughtering all the males, taking all the females captive, and looting all that they possessed. Is it possible, that as representatives of God on this earth, that they just misrepresented God? Why can I ask that question, because I have learned that God is, above all else, filled with mercy and justice.

                              If you know the story of Jonah, then you know that narrative ends with Jonah having a pity party because God showed the Ninevehites mercy and temporarily spared them. I can think of one other misrepresentation, and that was performed by Moses when he, against God’s direction, struck the rock instead of speaking to it. Oh sure, water flowed, but what I see is Moses misrepresenting God. The people, most likely see God as an angry, vengeful God instead of one who operates out of mercy.

                              What is a predominant belief that most of us have?

                              That God is a vindictive God with one purpose, send as many people to hell as possible. I have come to understand this twisted theme from the mouths of church elders who lead studies at the churches I have attended over the years.

                              There is one last predominant thing that stands out against Jacob, although it is preceded by God’s blessing once again as God changes Jacob’s name to Israel.

                              Genesis 35:6-16 MKJV  And Jacob came to Luz in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people with him.  7)  And he built an altar there and called the place El-bethel, because God appeared to him there when he fled from the face of his brother.  8)  But Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died, and she was buried beneath Bethel, under an oak. And the name of it was called Oak of Weeping.  9)  And God appeared to Jacob again when he came out of Padan-aram and blessed him.  10)  And God said to him, Your name is Jacob. Your name shall not be called Jacob any more, but Israel shall be your name. And He called his name Israel.  11)  And God said to him, I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall be from you, and kings shall come out of your loins.  12)  And the land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give to you, and to your seed after you I will give the land.  13)  And God went up from him in the place where He talked with him.  14)  And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He talked with him, a pillar of stone. And he poured a drink offering on it, and he poured oil on it.  15)  And Jacob called the name of the place where God spoke with him, Bethel.  16)  And they moved from Bethel. And there was only a length of land to come to Ephrath. And Rachel travailed, and she had hard labor in her bearing.

                              This is where things get even tougher for Jacob, as Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin, and Reuben has sex with one of Jacob’s concubine.

                              Rachel’s tomb around 1930’s

                              Genesis 35:22 MKJV  And it happened when Israel lived in that land, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine. And Israel heard it. And the sons of Jacob were twelve:

                              You follow the story out to the end of Genesis 35 and what do see happening to Reuben? Nothing. The next time we hear of Reuben is in Genesis 37:21 where he is trying to save Joseph’s life. While his words may have diverted the brothers from killing Joseph, Joseph was still sold into slavery. Reuben says something interesting here which tells us that many things happen in the background and we are not aware.

                              Genesis 37:29-30 MKJV  And Reuben returned to the pit. And behold! Joseph was not in the pit! And he tore his clothes.  30)  And he returned to his brothers and said, The child, he is not. And I, where shall I go?

                              Much time has passed. Joseph has become second in command in Egypt, and the brothers have convinced Jacob/Israel that they need to go and get some grain from Egypt or they will die. Things go badly for the brothers because Joseph recognizes them and wants them to squirm a little.

                              Genesis 42:22 MKJV  And Reuben answered them, saying, Did I not speak to you saying, Do not sin against the youth? And you would not hear. Therefore, behold, also his blood is required.

                              After all these years, Joseph is a middle-aged man with a family, since Reuben’s indiscretion with his father’s concubine, and finally, we hear some disdain against him.

                              Genesis 49:3-4 MKJV  Reuben, you are my first-born, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power.  4)  Unstable as water, you shall not excel, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it. He went up to my couch.

                              Jacob/Israel called his sons to him and spelled out prophetically, how their lives would go as a nation. Jacob had no idea it would include 400+ years of slavery in Egypt, but that was yet to come. Jacob died and was buried with Rachel in Samaria.

                              Now that is the summary of Jacob’s fraudulence, the transgressions done to him, and his lack of action about his sons’ bloody violence. Can I pin any one thing on Jacob and say this is what got him in trouble? Not really, but if you noticed, God seems to portray a consistent family line and ownership of problems through that line. Rebecca, taught Jacob; and Jacob taught his sons; and when they got out of line, we see nothing done to them.

                              Posted in bible study, deception, enemies, Genesis, hypocrisy, Israel, Jacob, Mercy, Micah, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

                              A look at Micah. Chapter 1 verse 5. What is the rebellion of Jacob? Is it not Samaria?

                              Maybe you don’t ask questions, but I do. I ask questions like: Why is Micah giving this prophecy? Merely asking that question prompts a dozen others, such as, what impact was the known world having on the prophet Micah; what were the immediate things that affected him; and, was he the only one who felt this way? We covered enough ground in the previous posts on Micah to be able to answer the question without going much farther. Fortunately, Micah 1:5 answers many of these questions.

                              Micah 1:5 NASB All this is for the rebellion of Jacob And for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the rebellion of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? What is the high place of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem?

                              The Amplified Bible puts it this way,

                              • All this is because of the transgression of Jacob,
                              • and the sins of the house of Israel.”

                              The verse itself asks, and then answers the question when it says, “Is it not Samaria?

                              But then, there is this covert question within the verse that asks,

                              “What is the high place of Judah?” Again, an answer is given, but what does it mean when it says, “Is it not Jerusalem?”

                              When you read any mention of Samaria in the New Testament, you would think it was a forbidden city to the Jews; that was not the case; however, the hatred and animosity of the Samaritans indeed ran deep for a very long time. This disgust and hatred began developing over 930 years earlier. Perhaps this brief history lesson may help us understand where this disgust and hatred began.

                              A brief history lesson – from the Chronological Bible.

                              We are told that “the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah was one of gradual decay with only brief interludes of hope. The two nations spent most of their existence as vassal states, serving first the Neo-Assyrian Empire (934-612 B.C.) and then the Neo-Babylonian Empire (626-539 B.C.) Israel was destroyed by the Neo-Assyrians; Judah [in the south] by the Neo-Babylonians. Israelite kings built a new capital for the northern kingdom at Samaria.

                              King Ahab [of the northern kingdom] rebuilt the stables at Megiddo and made it once again a great city. He also built a palace at Hazor as part of the renovation of the city. His economic power made him an international force. According to an inscription of Shalmaneser 111 of Assyria, ‘Ahab the Israelite’ brought 2,000 chariots and 10,000 infantry the battle of Qarqar (853 B.C.) Israel appears in other important inscriptions of the period. The famous Moabite Stone tells how King Mesha of Moab rebelled successfully against Israel in the 9th century B.C.

                              The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser 111 (840 B.C.) shows conquered kings paying tribute to the Neo-Assyrian emperor. King Jehu of the Northern kingdom, Israel, is one of those shown kissing Shalmaneser’s feet. Records and annals of Assyrian kings reveal multiple contacts between the Neo-Assyrian empire and the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

                              The Neo-Assyrian empire fell around (612 B.C.) to the Medo-Persian empire approximately (612 B.C. – 609 B.C.), but in its place arose the Neo-Babylonian empire, which would ultimately destroy Jerusalem and carry the kings of Judah into exile. The Assyrian’s were one of the great superpowers of the ancient world, with an empire centered on the Tigris river. While they were skilled in the arts, they were also unspeakably cruel and tortured prisoners on a regular basis.

                              The other superpower in the East was the Babylonian kingdom. One of their greatest kings was Nebuchadnezzar, whose armies destroyed Jerusalem in (586 B.C.)

                              Biblical books that relate to this period come from three groups, the first consisting of portions from Kings and Chronicles. The second group of books relates to the Neo-Assyrian period and includes the prophetic writings of Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Jonah, and Zephaniah.”

                              “Amos and Hosea preached in Israel, with an emphasis on social and economic injustice.” To give you an example, look at what the prophet Micah has to say.

                              Micah 3:2-5 CJB  Yet you hate what is good and love what is bad. You strip off their skin from them and their flesh from their bones,  3)  you eat the flesh of my people, skin them alive, break their bones; yes, they chop them in pieces, like flesh in a cauldron, like meat in a pot.’ ”  4)  Then they will call to Adonai, but he will not answer them; when that time comes, he will hide his face from them, because their deeds were so wicked.  5)  Here is what Adonai says in regard to the prophets who cause my people to go astray, who cry, “Peace” as soon as they are given food to eat but prepare war against anyone who fails to put something in their mouths:

                              While Micah’s words are metaphorical, the weight they carry is tremendous. Micah is speaking to community and religious leadership, which is proved out in Micah 3:1.

                              Micah 3:1 NASB And I said, “Hear now, heads of Jacob And rulers of the house of Israel. Is it not for you to know justice?

                              Our history lesson continues with excerpts from the Chronological Bible.

                              “Isaiah was a counselor to the kings of Judah. He worked through tow major international crises, which he saw as God’s rule over the nations.” “Micah,” on the other hand, “was a rural contemporary of Isaiah who also preached against injustice, but lifted up a vision of a day of peace and salvation.”

                              “The third group of books relates to the Neo-Babylonian period. Parts of the book of Daniel tell the story of a Jewish youth exiled to Babylon, while the book of Lamentations mourns the destruction of Jerusalem. Included in this third group are prophecies form Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Nahum, Ezekiel, and Obadiah.

                              Jeremiah lived through the destruction of Jerusalem; Habakkuk records the pain of seeing the Babylonians on the march, while asking the question – where is God; Nahum rejoices over the defeat of Assyria; Ezekiel was the first prophet to write from exile in Babylon; and Obadiah, is a song of anger against the people Edom for their part in the destruction of Jerusalem.

                              Samaria was the capital of the Northern kingdom, Israel.

                              Samaria was taken by Shalmaneser (2Ki_17:6) in (724 B.C.); razed to the ground by Hyrcanus (Josephus, Ant. l. xiii. c. 18); restored by Herod, and called Sebastê; and is now a small village called Sebusta, its ancient site being converted into gardens. The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury

                              2 Kings 17:5-6 NASB Then the king of Assyria invaded the whole land and went up to Samaria and besieged it three years. 6) In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and carried Israel away into exile to Assyria, and settled them in Halah and Habor, on the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

                              In Micah 1:6 (NASB) we are told, “For I will make Samaria a heap of ruins in the open country, Planting places for a vineyard. I will pour her stones down into the valley And will lay bare her foundations.” 

                              Samaria is right in the middle of the Megiddo valley, a place destined to be one of the bloodiest places on earth.

                              2Kings 17:7 – 23 is entitled by the NASB, in speaking about Samaria and Judah, as

                              Exile(s) Because of Idolatry

                              2 Kings 17:7-18 NASB Now this came about because the sons of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and they had feared other gods 8) and walked in the customs of the nations whom the LORD had driven out before the sons of Israel, and in the customs of the kings of Israel which they had introduced. 9) The sons of Israel did things secretly which were not right against the LORD their God. Moreover, they built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city. 10) They set for themselves sacred pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree, 11) and there they burned incense on all the high places as the nations did which the LORD had carried away to exile before them; and they did evil things provoking the LORD. 12) They served idols, concerning which the LORD had said to them, “You shall not do this thing.” 13) Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets.” 14) However, they did not listen, but stiffened their neck like their fathers, who did not believe in the LORD their God. 15) They rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers and His warnings with which He warned them. And they followed vanity and became vain, and went after the nations which surrounded them, concerning which the LORD had commanded them not to do like them. 16) They forsook all the commandments of the LORD their God and made for themselves molten images, even two calves, and made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal. 17) Then they made their sons and their daughters pass through the fire, and practiced divination and enchantmentsand sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him. 18) So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from His sight; none was left except the tribe of Judah.

                              It is not clear to me why, but the king of Assyria decided to have the land resettled. We see this process in 2Kings 17 starting at verse 24.

                              2 Kings 17:24 NASB The king of Assyria brought men from Babylon and from Cuthah and from Avva and from Hamath and Sephar-vaim and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the sons of Israel. So they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities.

                              But look at who the Assyrian king put there: Babylonians from Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sephar-vaim, and “settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the sons of Israel. So they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities. There were no Israelites left. There was, as far as we know, no one who knew to put their trust in the God of Israel.

                              Watch what happens next.

                              At the beginning of their living there, they did not fear the LORD; therefore the LORD sent lions among them which killed some of them. 2 Kings 17:25 NASB)

                              The next voice we are made aware of, is either those settlers of Samaria who are surviving or they are counselors to the king giving him a heads up.

                              So they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, “The nations whom you have carried away into exile in the cities of Samaria do not know the custom of the god of the land; so he has sent lions among them, and behold, they kill them because they do not know the custom of the god of the land.” Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, “Take there one of the priests whom you carried away into exile and let him go and live there; and let him teach them the custom of the god of the land.” 2 Kings 17:26-27 NASB)

                              Watch how the Assyrian’s respond to this disaster.

                              So one of the priests whom they had carried away into exile from Samaria came and lived at Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD. 2 Kings 17:28 NASB)

                              Now the Assyrian’s would not have known this, nor cared about it, but didn’t we just read that no one in Israel followed God’s ways or instructions?
                              I get it, this is another of those examples where we are shown the extreme when you know there had to be good people in this mix.

                              Look at 2 Kings 17:7-18 and you will understand how I might say there was no one left who followed after God.

                              So maybe they got lucky and this priest is adept at what he is doing. Perhaps, he is even teaching these people, who could probably care less, how to live under the commands of Jehovah. However,  what happens next.

                              But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the houses of the high places which the people of Samaria had made, every nation in their cities in which they lived. 2 Kings 17:29 NASB)

                              At this point, if I was from Judah, in the south, my reasons to hate those from Samaria may be starting to develop, especially since there isn’t a Jew among them.
                              Based on verse 29 I don’t see nations, I see one nation Babylon, but Babylon is a collection of conquered peoples, some fortunate enough to live.
                              When the Assyrian king places these people there, they use the facilities that Israel built to false gods for their own; these places of “worship” were everywhere.

                              This integration of peoples made their own cities. As best I can figure, there were five different nations represented here.

                              The men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima, and the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech the gods of Sepharvaim. 2 Kings 17:30-31 NASB)

                              Here is where it all turns against them.

                              They also feared the LORD and appointed from among themselves priests of the high places, who acted for them in the houses of the high places. They feared the LORD and served their own gods according to the custom of the nations from among whom they had been carried away into exile. 2 Kings 17:32-33 NASB)

                              Alright, the language is a little deceptive because of this phrase, “They also feared the LORD.”
                              The word LORD is yehôvâh – yeh-ho-vaw’, “(the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God.” 

                              So where did these people come to recognize and/or fear God?
                              Fear is the Hebrew word yare meaning to fear: The implications are that they became…frightened.

                              • They literally feared God.
                              • They appointed priests from among themselves to administer over the high places.
                              • And, they served their own gods according to the custom of the nations from whom they had been carried away.

                              If they kept that last part to themselves perhaps they would not have been a bother. On the other hand, this was land God had chosen for His people, not the nations.

                              To this day they do according to the earlier customs: they do not fear the LORD, nor do they follow their statutes or their ordinances or the law, or the commandments which the LORD commanded the sons of Jacob, whom He named Israel; with whom the LORD made a covenant and commanded them, saying, “You shall not fear other gods, nor bow down yourselves to them nor serve them nor sacrifice to them. 2 Kings 17:34-35 NASB)

                              Now, when it says, to this day, it is not, as a rule, talking about October 29, 2018. The author is talking about the time frame in which they are living.
                              Can I exclude any application in the future?
                              Not necessarily.
                              If I took the command, “You shall not fear other gods, nor bow yourselves down to them nor serve them nor sacrifice to them,” and applied it today; does it work? Absolutely.
                              About 730 years later, when Jesus was admonishing the Pharisees and the Jewish people, the commandments were just as valid.

                              Now, to get to the point.
                              Jesus strolled through Samaria because He was on a mission. We are not privy to the details until they start to unfold before us, but the impact, after this meeting with the Samaritan woman, demonstrated what kind of fruit He came to pick. He came to rescue people.

                              Go to John chapter 4 and you can experience the shock in the woman and religious banter as she tried to claim a heritage based upon “their father Jacob.” Jacob was buried in Samaria.

                              Knowing now that one Jewish priest was placed among the representatives of five non-Jewish nations, that choose instead to serve the gods they were comfortable with; how could they call themselves any form of Jewry simply because they decided to claim an inheritance through Jacob.
                              They were not Jews by any stretch; they were stepchildren at best.

                               Now, is it still that way? No, I would say that Jesus made himself real to them, and thus began an amazing series of changes for the better.

                              Posted in Assyrians, bible study, condemnation, End times, enemies, false teaching, gentiles, hypocrisy, invasion, Israel, Jacob, Jerusalem, Jews, judgment, Micah, overtaken, Prophetic, strongholds, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

                              A look at the book of Micah, chapter 1 verses 2-4.

                              Occasionally some bible reference comes from the speaker and I feel like I got left behind because I realize I know so little about the person or the subject matter; Micah is one of those books.

                              To be honest, there is also a little touch of Godly vindictiveness when I open a book like Micah for I immediately see the connection between this authors words and end times events. Considering that my former pastor told me, on the premise of Godly wisdom, not to study or speak about end times events for five years (and yes, he was serious.) It just makes me chuckle to read a book like Micah, which is laden with Eschatology – end times events and the study thereof. And yes, I am an Eschatologist; I am passionate about it and look continuously for a crack in the door so that I can teach about this time frame that the disciple Peter, speaking as a prophet, said was upon us, merely because the Holy Spirit had fallen on the sons and daughters of Jerusalem, on that Pentecost day.

                              I covered the first verse in the overview on Micah, but since we are all about context let’s add it in here once again.

                              Micah 1:1 MKJV  The Word of Jehovah that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

                              The break between verses one and two, in the NASB, indicate:

                              The Coming Destruction.

                              Micah 1:2

                              Micah 1:2 NASB Hear, O peoples, all of you; Listen, O earth and all it contains, And let the Lord GOD be a witness against you, The Lord from His holy temple.

                              While this version of the NASB seems clear enough, the Complete Jewish Bible states God’s position with some attitude.

                              CJB Listen, peoples, all of you! Pay attention, earth, and everything in it! Adonai Elohim will witness against you, Adonai, from his holy temple

                              As I mentioned before, God is talking to Samaria and Jerusalem. Both of these were the capital cities of the split kingdom – Israel in the North, and Judah in the South. Don’t think for a second that one was better than the other; they were both infused with horrific problems, lousy leadership, and idolatry.

                              But, verse 2 extends the retribution far beyond Jerusalem and Samaria when it says,

                              Listen, peoples, all of you! Pay attention, earth, and everything in it!”

                              However, in the overview we were told that Micah was very specific about whom he was talking; so let’s try to sort this out.

                              • Earth and all it contains. Currently, it contains me, and a lot of other people. A vast majority of those people fall under the category of “the nations” or gentiles. So let’s talk about me for a moment (just playing with words.) Having given my life over to Jesus Christ as a child, my love for the Father has only become more vibrant and more profound, but let’s assume that buys me nothing outside of “being in Christ.” This being in Christ, which is monumental in itself, makes me a part of the body of Christ – the church. The Church is excluded from the category called the nations when it comes to Eschatology. As a follower of Christ, I have been grafted into the rootstock, Israel (God’s people.) This all happened in the spiritual realm, a portion of which makes up the identity of every believer.
                                • Being the body of Christ, and, therefore the Church, comes out 1Corinthians 12; particularly verses 12-27
                                • This grafting of the believer into the vine/root stock comes from Romans 11:17;
                                • And trying to understand who or what you are, will force you to go to several locations in the Bible to get a firm answer.

                                Here we have God, creating what seems to be a single entity, man, in his own image.

                                This new creation is given a somewhat generic term ‘âdâm which covers both man and mankind, but to add to your confusion, the verse itself indicates He created them male and female. When I look up the words male and female; female is the Hebrew word neqêbâh. The word is pronounced nek-ay-baw’, and means female (from the sexual form): – woman. Some might see this as a roadblock to understanding, not because there is a distinct male and female assignment, but because we are trying to make sense of it all as we attempt to figure out where the physical body came into play, and therefore, us.

                                At this point in the creation timeline, âdâm does not have a body, and yet mankind, if you will, has been made in the image of God. There is an explanation, and it comes as we see Jesus responding to the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus told her, God is a spirit, and they who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. John 4:24.

                                [As a side note: We waste far too much time trying to picture God in some form that matches our nationality and color of skin, when in reality, God, who is a spirit, is probably more closely related to nuclear fission – bursting with color and energy.]

                                So, where then did we get this physical representation we call man?

                                • That my own initial creation and pattern is from and of God.
                                • Since God is an eternal spirit, then so am I, but I have this body I have to drag with me everywhere I go.
                                • But, most everyone understands that there will be a judgment at some point (that happens at the end of the 1000 year reign,) and that some of humanity will be sent off to eternal fire with its torment. Sorry, even there, that eternal spirit never dies; it is, however, eternally separated from any access to the Father God. This punishment comes down to which master you chose to serve.

                                O earth and all it contains” then, it is without a doubt, directed at the Jews and the nations.

                                Micah 1:3

                                Micah 1:3 MKJV  For behold, Jehovah is coming out of His place, and will come down and walk on the high places of the earth.

                                If I look at 1Kings 8, I can get a very Jewish understanding of where the Messiah lives.

                                1 Kings 8:38-39 ISV  whatever prayer or request is made, no matter whether it’s made by a single man or by all of your people Israel, each praying out of his own hurting heart and anguish and stretching out his hands toward this Temple,  39)  then hear from heaven, the place where you reside, and forgive, repaying each person according to all of his ways, since you know their hearts—for you alone know the hearts of all human beings—

                                The follower of Christ also believes that the Messiah/Jesus will come from heaven.

                                Revelation 19:11 ISV  Then I saw heaven standing open, and there was a white horse! Its rider is named Faithful and True. He administers justice and wages war righteously.

                                Followed by the armies of heaven.

                                Revelation 19:14 ISV  The armies of heaven, wearing fine linen, white and pure, follow him on white horses.

                                Isaiah chapter 2 spells out, in great detail, what will happen when Jehovah comes out of His place to finish this nonsense.

                                Isaiah 2:10-19 ISV  “Go into the rocks! Hide in the dust to escape the terror of the LORD and to escape the glory of his majesty!  11)  The haughty looks of mankind will be brought low, the lofty pride of human beings will be humbled, and the LORD alone will be exalted at that time.  12)  “For the LORD of the Heavenly Armies has reserved a time to oppose all who are proud and haughty, and the self-exalting—they will be humbled.  13)  He will take his stand against all the cedars of Lebanon, against the proud and self-exalting; and against all the oaks of Bashan;  14)  against all the high mountains, and against all the lofty hills;  15)  against every high tower, and against every fortified wall;  16)  against all the ships from Tarshish, and against all their impressive watercraft.  17)  “Humanity’s haughtiness will be humbled, male arrogance will be brought low, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.  18)  Their idols will utterly vanish.  19)  “They will enter caverns in the rocks and holes in the ground, to escape the presence of the terror of the LORD, to escape the splendor of his majesty, when he arises to terrify the earth.

                                Micah 1:4

                                Micah 1:4 AMP And the mountains shall melt under Him and the valleys shall be cleft like wax before the fire, like waters poured down a steep place.

                                Verse 4 is a continuation of thought from verse 3, so let’s put them together.

                                For behold, the LORD is coming forth from His place. He will come down and tread on the high places of the earth. The mountains will melt under Him And the valleys will be split, Like wax before the fire, Like water poured down a steep place. Micah 1:3-4 NASB)

                                The obvious factor is that He will come, and He will stand upon the ground once again. Keep in mind that we are talking about Jesus here – the same Jesus that walked upon the earth and ascended into the heavens.

                                The idea that the mountains will melt is symbolic, but it is also literal in a sense.

                                The Hebrew word for melt is mâsas and means to liquefy. To put this in perspective San Francisco, California is built on landfill and backfill. When the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 struck, it was said that the land liquefied. The scientific terminology behind this process is called liquefaction, where the underlying sandy soils become saturated, in this case by the ocean water and literally shake apart, just as though they were liquid.

                                What might be taking place when Jesus touches down as Jeremiah describes?

                                Olive trees on the Mount. of Olives.

                                Zechariah14:1-4 NASB Behold, a day is coming for the LORD when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. 2) For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. 3) Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. 4)In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.

                                The prophet Nahum gives us another point of view.

                                Nahum1:5-6 NASB Mountains quake because of Him And the hills dissolve; Indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence, The world and all the inhabitants in it. 6) Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire And the rocks are broken up by Him.

                                The Hebrew word for melt is mâsas and means to liquefy. To put this in perspective San Francisco, California is built on landfill and backfill. When the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 struck, it was said that the land liquefied. The scientific terminology behind this process is called liquefaction, where the underlying sandy soils become saturated, in this case by the ocean water and literally shake apart, just as though they were liquid.

                                Ezekiel tells us there will be a horrendous earthquake at this time.

                                Ezekiel 38:19-20 NASB “In My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare that on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20) “The fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, and all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence; the mountains also will be thrown down, the steep pathways will collapse and every wall will fall to the ground.

                                Posted in bible study, End times, enemies, invasion, Jerusalem, Jesus, Jews, judgment, Micah, Millennium, overtaken, Prophetic, Revelation, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

                                A look at the book of Micah, an overview.

                                As I told you in my previous post, I was recently in Emmett Idaho. On the ranch, there was no internet or phone service, and I was the volunteer groundskeeper for a week. My ability to post was non-existent. I managed to squeeze in a few minutes on the laptop computer, as I worked on the questions for a home group I am involved with and began looking at Micah while I was there.

                                No one has asked me, but I will tell you whether you ask or not, as to how I come up with ideas for posts. My primary sources were “men’s Bible study,” and some of the twisted messages that come from the pulpit. Since I have separated myself from much of that, I have to listen to the Holy Spirit and my friends for ideas. Sitting at the table on a peaceful morning, it occurs to me that I need to look into the book of Micah, and so I did.

                                One other thing, I have no problem with using reasonable information from commentaries, Biblical dictionaries, and encyclopedias like the ISBE, as long as they ring true to what the Holy Spirit is trying to say. I know that last aspect is vague, but there are times when you open a resource, and immediately your gut responds with a NO, or at least, what is this person trying to say. Some, like a man I knew who has a Theological Doctorate, merely wants to fling large words around because it makes him sound important.

                                On the book of Micah

                                When I look at the overview of Micah, I am told, by almost every commentator, that little is known of the Prophet beyond his name, his place of origin, and the personal tone of his book. And yet, even I can find a historical setting which indicates that Micah’s career extended from the reign of Jotham 752 BC to Hezekiah’s reign which ended in 720 BC. Simple math could put Micah in the range of 50 years old at minimum.

                                Street columns, Ancient Samaria.

                                J. Vernon McGee tells us “There are many Micah’s mentioned in the Scriptures, but this man is identified as a Morasthite, since he was an inhabitant of Moresheth-Gath, a place about twenty miles southwest of Jerusalem, near Lachish.”

                                The book itself centers on the threat of the Assyrian invasions that occurred throughout this period, beginning around 730 BC, culminating in 701 BC against Judah.

                                Micah 1:1 MKJV  The Word of Jehovah that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

                                From J. Vernon McGee – (Most commentators say the same thing.)

                                “Micah the Morasthite 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; and perhaps, since Micah was probably a younger man, he felt that Isaiah could take care of the southern kingdom while God directed him to speak to the northern kingdom. You will never misunderstand Micah because he makes it very clear to whom he is speaking.”

                                Still gleaning information from J. Vernon McGee –

                                …Samaria was the capital of the northern kingdom, Israel. The city was built originally by Omri, king of Israel, and was the seat of idolatry. It was made famous—or infamous—by Ahab and Jezebel who built there a temple to Baal. The city stood in a very lovely location, but it lies in ruins today… The desolate ruins bear mute testimony to the accuracy of Micah’s prophecy concerning Samaria.”

                                Micah was from Gath; yes, the same place as Goliath.

                                David, as something other than a child, facing Goliath.

                                Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions, tells us: môrashtı̂y – Morasthite see Moreshethgath = “possession of Gath” 1) an inhabitant of Moresheth.

                                E.W. Bullinger helps to establish the beginnings of Micah’s prophetic voice.

                                “MICAH begins, apparently, a year or two before the end of Jotham’s reign, Isaiah, in that case, had already been prophesying some seventeen or eighteen years.”

                                By comparing Micah 4:10 with Isaiah 39:5,6, we have another case of similar words occurring in two different prophets. Note that we are told that Micah also functioned during the days of Hezekiah; it may be presumptuous to assume that Micah prophesied to or against Hezekiah as Isaiah did.

                                Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD of hosts, ‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house and all that your fathers have laid up in store to this day will be carried to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the LORD. ‘And some of your sons who will issue from you, whom you will beget, will be taken away, and they will become officials in the palace of the king of Babylon.'” Isaiah 39:5-7 NASB

                                Continuing with Bullinger’s exposition/commentary –

                                “In this ease, the period covered by Micah and Isaiah was almost exactly the same (cp. Mic_1:1 with Isa_1:1; and see Appdx-77). It is no wonder that the circumstances did call for similar utterances, constituting a confirmation of the Word of Jehovah “by the mouth of two or three witnesses.” Both were independent, without any idea of “copying” one from the other, as is alleged by the writer in The Encyclopedia Britannica, eleventh (Cambridge) edition, 1910, 1911, vol. xviii, p. 357, who says: “it is impossible that much, if any, of these chapters (Mic. 4-7) can be ascribed to Micah himself”. This is said in the face of the fact that Jeremiah (Mic_26:16-19) definitely quotes and refers to Micah.”

                                Since Bullinger points out how similar Isaiah is to Micah, I choose to give you Isaiah 1:1 here.

                                The vision of Isaiah, the son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem, which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Isaiah 1:1 NASB

                                Some notable differences would be Isaiah’s reference to King Uzziah, something Micah did not do. Both are speaking toward Judah and Jerusalem; however, Micah chooses to use the term Samaria, which was the capital of the Northern kingdom.

                                I want to add one more thing here –

                                I have come to understand the Jewish concept of prophecy, and it does not include the flash and pizzazz we have become accustomed to. Prophecy is repeated patterns to the Jew, and the idea of two or three witnesses is an essential part of the verification process.

                                The ISBE defines Uzzi’ah for us – His name means the (strength of Jehovah). King of Judah B.C. 809-8 to 757-6. In some passages, his name appears in the lengthened form Azariah: After the murder of Amaziah, his son Uzziah was chosen by the people, at the age of sixteen, to occupy the vacant throne; and for the greater part of his long reign of fifty-two years, he lived in the fear of God, and showed himself a wise, active and pious ruler. He never deserted the worship of the true God, and was much influenced by Zechariah, a prophet who is mentioned only in connection with him. 2Ch_26:5.

                                Under the reign of Uzziah,

                                ”the southern kingdom was raised to a condition of prosperity which it had not known since the death of Solomon. The end of Uzziah was less prosperous than his beginning. Elated with his splendid career, he determined to burn incense on the altar of God but was opposed by the high priest Azariah and eighty others. See Exo_30:7-8; Num_16:40; Num_18:7. The king was enraged at their resistance, and, as he pressed forward with his censer, he was suddenly smitten with leprosy. This lawless attempt to burn incense was the only exception to the excellence of his administration. 2Ch_27:2. Uzziah was buried “with his fathers,” yet apparently not actually in the royal sepulchres. 2Ch_26:23.”

                                A few other Prophets around this time frame.

                                Isaiah 1:1 NASB The vision of Isaiah, the son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem, which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

                                Obadiah 1:1-2 NASB The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord GOD concerning Edom–We have heard a report from the LORD, And an envoy has been sent among the nations saying, “Arise and let us go against her for battle”– 2 “Behold, I will make you small among the nations; You are greatly despised.

                                Nahum 1:1-3 NASB The oracle of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite. 2 A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies. 3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, And clouds are the dust beneath His feet.

                                The Word from Micah is concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

                                In considering Samaria, I am reminded of the hatred and racism that we see in the gospels, as the Jews would walk the longest way just so that they would not have to pass through Samaria. And then there was the interaction Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at the well. That well was within Samaria, and her comments pointed out some of the hatred and prejudice she lived with on a daily basis.

                                Names that are mentioned: Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, several of which were Kings of Judah.

                                The reason I emphasize the names is that they may give us some insight into why the Word came. Keep in mind; nothing is random or by accident; and, you cannot separate the Word given from the human emotions that are a part of the speaker, in this case, Micah. The idea here is to find the link and possibly the reasons behind the “Word” given by Micah.


                                The ISBE tells us that Jotham was the – Twelfth king of Judah, son of Uzziah and Jerusha, daughter of Zadok (2Ki_15:32-38; 2Ch_27:1-9).

                                Jotham was 25 years of age at the time of his father’s attack of leprosy and was at once called upon to take the administration of the kingdom (2Ki_15:5; 2Ch_26:21). In doing this, he not only judged the people of the land by presiding at the administration of justice but also was over the household of the king, showing how complete was the isolation of his father. He was thus king in all but name and is invariably spoken of as reigning in Jerusalem. His reign lasted for 16 years (2Ki_15:33; 2Ch_27:1), 759-744 (others put later). While the father loved husbandry and had much cattle (2Ch_26:10) – external affairs with which he could occupy himself in his retirement – to the son fell the sterner duties and heavier responsibilities of the state.


                                Again we turn to the ISBE.

                                “The name is the same as Jehoahaz; hence appears on Tiglath-pileser’s Assyrian inscription of 732 bc as Iauhazi. The sacred historians may have dropped the first part of the name in consequence of the character of the king.”

                                Ahaz was the son of Jotham, king of Judah. He succeeded to the throne at the age of 20 years (according to another reading 25). The chronology of his reign is difficult, as his son Hezekiah is stated to have been 25 years of age when he began to reign 16 years after (2Ki_18:2). If the accession of Ahaz be placed as early as 743 bc, his grandfather Uzziah, long unable to perform the functions of his office on account of his leprosy (2Ch_26:21), must still have been alive. (Others date Ahaz later, when Uzziah, for whom Jotham had acted as regent, was already dead.)

                                “Although so young, Ahaz seems at once to have struck out an independent course wholly opposed to the religious traditions of his nation. His first steps in this direction were the causing to be made and circulated of molten images of the Baalim, and the revival in the valley of Hinnom, south of the city, of the abominations of the worship of Moloch (2Ch_28:2, 2Ch_28:3). He is declared to have made his own son “pass through the fire” (2Ki_16:3); the chronicler puts it even more strongly: he “burnt his children in the fire” (2Ch_28:3). Other acts of idolatry were to follow.” [These acts are spelled out in detail in 2Chronicles 28.]


                                Hezeki’ah. (the might of Jehovah). The ISBE informs us that he was the twelfth king of Judah, son of the apostate, Ahaz and Abi or Abijah, ascended the throne at the age of 25, B.C. 726. Hezekiah was one of the three most perfect kings of Judah. 2Ki_18:5. Sir_49:4. His first act was to purge, repair and reopen, with splendid sacrifices and perfect ceremonial, the Temple. He also destroyed a brazen serpent, said to have been the one used by Moses, in the miraculous healing of the Israelites, Num_21:9, which had become an object of adoration.”

                                “He refused to acknowledge the supremacy of Assyria. 2Ki_18:7. The instant war was imminent Hezekiah used every available means to strengthen himself. 2Ki_20:20.”

                                “It was probably at this dangerous crisis in his kingdom, that we find him sick and sending for Isaiah, who prophesies death as the result. 2Ki_20:1. Hezekiah’s prayer for longer life is heard. The prophet had hardly left the palace when he was ordered to return and promise the king immediate recovery and fifteen years more of life. 2Ki_20:4. An embassy coming from Babylon ostensibly to compliment Hezekiah on his convalescence, but really to form an alliance between the two powers, is favorably received by the king, who shows them the treasures which he had accumulated. For this, Isaiah foretells the punishment that shall befall his house. 2Ki_20:17.”

                                Posted in Assyrians, bible study, condemnation, enemies, gentiles, guilt, hypocrisy, Israel, Jerusalem, Jews, Judah, judgment, Micah, Philistines, Thoughts on scripture, wrath. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

                                A blog update and some thoughts on confession.

                                I know I haven’t written for a couple of weeks, but I have an excuse; I was invited, no, told is more like it, that I was going with a friend to the town of Emmett Idaho. It is a mere 900+ miles North East of me and about a 15-hour drive on a good day.

                                Our day, when you look at the physical evidence, was not that good, but, as you can see, got better.

                                Second tire blow out of the day.

                                Our first day on the road was met with two tire blowouts, which cost over $1200 and burned up about four hours of our day. We rolled into Emmett on the second day of our adventure.

                                SONY DSC

                                We stopped and started the truck many times as we headed toward the ranch. The trailer we towed, was finally parked and disconnected, and the vehicle was parked for the last time that second day. Wouldn’t you know it, the truck would not start. The majority of the plans we had centered around the truck working. By the way, both of these vehicles were borrowed. We got the truck out of the shop, after an overnight stay, on Thursday evening; too late to get any work done and still leave at 0300 on Friday morning. While this story so far doesn’t leave me the room to tell about how God’s grace and mercy played a massive role in this trip/adventure, but it was clear to us.

                                Emmett Valley, Idaho, USA

                                This adventure, however, is not exactly what I wanted to convey to you. Lacking any internet or phone service from the ranch, I only had brief minutes to contact my wife as we made excursions into town with an older jeep that had a mind of its own. As I think back on it, I believe my friend told me that there was little contact with the outside world while we were on the ranch. Considering the plans, he has for the property and the number of people he foresees coming there, having internet will be a good thing and should have been resolved by the time you read this.

                                So, what did I do in my relative few minutes to myself? I finished a home study worksheet and emailed it off, just so they could have my two cents on the subject matter; and, after a few moments of pondering, decided to start an in-depth look at the Book of Micah.

                                My time at the ranch took me away from a home group; a home church I had one chance to attend, and the two guys I meet with twice a week. These two guys have become somewhat of an accountability group for me. What I mean is this – we are told in scripture to confess our sins to one another.

                                James 5:15-16 NASB and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

                                This phrase, “and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him,” really bothers me, especially when it is couched in tones of guilt and manipulation, as some pastor is doing his best to control the irrational behaviors of his audience. Get real, saps like me, who go into their pastor’s office, with hopes of talking openly and freely – like you might with a friend, hoping they will be a sounding board as you “confess” your sins, quickly learn that the pastor is not and never will be our friend.

                                Sins are the simple act of missing the bull’s eye on a target. We, as followers of Christ, are shooting to hit the target constantly, every day. The obvious factor is that the target is often eighty yards away and now looks to be about the size of a button on your shirt. If I give myself the freedom to indulge in rage, I have missed the mark, at least for that moment. When I sit with my friends, I talk about these moments, and, I talk about the constant, grinding issues that live with me and feed into my anxiety.

                                All these things have helped to make me who I am; and, if I am willing to open my mouth, following the lead of the Holy Spirit, the results can be amazing. The way I see it, God made me who I am, and there are people out there who can relate to me and are just waiting for me to feed into their lives.

                                Well, this is not a bible study, but more of a little insight into me; and that, has everything to do with Micah at this point.

                                That being said, what about this book of Micah?

                                Having come back from Idaho with barely enough time to cover Micah 1:1, I did not feel prepared to lead a bible study on the book. To put it bluntly, I fouled up and got mislead by the verse and my search tools, as I tried to find out what made Micah the person he was.

                                Some would ask, why is knowing what things influenced Micah important to the study? Because, external influences create attitudes, motivation, language, and reactionary ways. Take Jephthah for example. I always refer to him as the biker gang leader of the Bible. You find his story in Judges 11:1-10. I will leave you to read that for yourself.

                                So as I sat with my friend (the other guy got a job and won’t be around anymore), I opened with this confession about my shoddy preparations to walk through a study on Micah.

                                I saw what verse one had to say, and honestly, I stopped right there.

                                Micah 1:1 NASB The word of the LORD which came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

                                Aside from Micah, which I know so little about, the only other names that rang any bells are Ahaz and Hezekiah, and so I began to do word searches.

                                The first name I looked at was Jothan.

                                Jothan, it turns out was also a son of Gideon, but not the Jothan I was looking for. Gideon was one of the judges of Israel – that means he fought and won a battle or two giving Israel peace for a few years. It turns out Gideon liked women and had a rather large concubine, hence we have Jothan. But in finding Jothan, we find Abimelech, another son of Gideon, who, after the death of Gideon decided to go rogue and take the lead over Israel by killing off seventy of his brothers. It turns out that Gideon even has an eighth generation grandson named Ahaz. After close to five hours of pursuing this detour, I found myself realizing that Jothan is being referred to as the son of a king; and that could not be referring to Gideon.

                                Although killing your brothers, all on one rock would be evil in my book, Abimelech did nothing in comparison to king Ahaz who is described in the ISBE as: “a gross idolater, and sought safety in heathen ceremonies, making his son pass through the fire to Molech, consulting wizards and necromancers, and other idolatrous practices.”

                                On top of that, there was no link between Hezekiah and Gideon; and all of them were referred to as kings. One other error became blaring apparent to me as, Micah comes on the scene somewhere around 730 BC, while Gideon is dated back to 1191 BC, over 400 years earlier.

                                So, in light of confession, I told my friend about this side trip and how much time I wasted. [My friend was a youth pastor at one point in his life, and, he was a church elder.] Odd how I should use the term wasted, as I gained great insight into the life of Gideon and his sons. But it did nothing to further my understanding of Micah. I had to make a U-turn and begin looking in more appropriate places for information pertaining to Micah.

                                So as I sit with men, like my friend, I am always reminded of this theme in James, as I “confess” my attempts at hitting the mark/bullseye and do not do such a good job. We laughed about the process and enjoyed some fantastic conversation about Micah as we discussed what my friend had learned by merely reading a few chapters ahead.

                                I mentioned I had been in the State of Idaho, USA., the previous week with minimal internet usage.

                                On one occasion into town, I found that one of my brothers had put up a lengthy video in which he discussed sanctification. He opened the video with a brief introduction of himself, and then said something to this effect: this is going to be a long and difficult discussion, so sit back, relax, and let’s dig into the scripture. At that point, I shut the video off as I could not afford 45 minutes of my time.

                                Several days passed and we were now traveling back home from Idaho when I said to my friend as he drove, “are you ready for some deep theology?” He paused, looked at me, and surprisingly said, sure, go ahead. I replied, “alright then, let’s talk about sanctification.” I had already mentioned to him about my brother’s video and how I felt about it. I said, Jesus died and rose again, during which time the book of Hebrews explains how He, as the high priest, sanctified all the heavenly utensils, and us, with His blood. I said, Jesus, is not incapable nor inadequate; therefore He is never changing His mind, nor will His actions toward us ever change. He sanctified us, one time, for all eternity. And, there is nothing that I can do to alternately affect His actions toward me. At this point, I stopped and said, there is sanctification in thirty seconds or less, and it was not that difficult, was it.

                                Knowing I was going to a place with minimal distractions, and that a primary reason for being there was to reduce my stress somehow, I had talked with God about restoring some level of communication with Him. As the character Christopher Robin would say to Winnie the Pooh in AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, you silly old bear, I too heard something like that and realized that God had never stopped talking. I had allowed the overwhelming stress factors to drown out His voice. Something simple as a thirty-second conversation about something so profound as sanctification, made me aware, once again, of how close the Father indeed is to us, should we choose to follow Him.

                                Posted in bible study, comfort, Dispelling myths, God's character, healing, Hearing God, Hope, In Christ, Jesus, judgment, Micah, Peace, redemption, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

                                Why would Jesus say that?

                                This topic comes up every so often, in different forms, and has to do with that moment when Jesus, from the cross, said: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?

                                To show Jesus on the cross.
                                Jesus Christ Cross Photo Black White

                                The explanations I have heard are varied, but few seem to make sense. I suspect this question is one that bothers many, as the man who recently brought it up is relatively knowledgeable in scripture and should have a reasonable understanding of what happened on the cross.

                                99 percent of the time, the person questioning Jesus’s anguished cry, and the one attempting to explain it, are typically quoting from Matthew 27:46. Here is the somewhat standard version we usually hear from.

                                Matthew 27:46 MKJV And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?

                                The word forsaken doesn’t seem so horrendous unless you attach a human to it. Indeed, horror is precisely what Jesus was trying to convey. What was happening to Him was awful no doubt, it was something He had never experienced, and it was happening to Him as He hung on that cross.

                                The word Forsaken, for the sake of clarification, means Deserted; left; abandoned.

                                I think I can understand why someone might challenge why Jesus would ask this question – “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” Because Bible translations don’t always convey the depth of anguish being felt by the subject, in this case – Jesus. Perhaps looking at other translations will help us grasp it all.

                                • The Amplified Bible puts it this way, “why have You abandoned Me [leaving Me helpless, forsaking and failing Me in My need]?”
                                • The Contemporary English Version states, “My God, my God, why have you deserted me?
                                • And I will stop with this one. The Easy to Read version tells us that Jesus said, “why have you left me alone?”

                                Operating on the understanding that Jesus is God; an integral part of the Godhead, and the one who spoke the universe into existence; any form of separation from the Father, it seems, was unfathomable.

                                John 1:1-4 NASB, 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 came into being through Him, and apart from Him, nothing came into being that has come into being. 4) In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

                                As a side note: What is a significant component of hell? The total and complete separation from God. Many, claim a separation now, they just don’t realize how close He is to them; sadly, they will find out.

                                I can make a logical assumption here, and say that Jesus was experiencing a complete separation from the Father, even if only for a short time. There is no doubt that this separation had some horror associated with it.

                                Several commentaries point to Psalm 22:1, where King David is pouring out his heart in anguish before God, as he says, “My God, my God, why have you left me? You seem too far away to save me, too far to hear my cries for help!” Many of the commentaries indicate that Jesus is fulfilling this verse as a prophecy. While that might be true, I do not think it is that complicated. Jesus, the Jew, was trained in the Law and the Prophets and spoke in a language the people would understand.

                                Another idea passed along to us is the idea that God cannot look upon sin.

                                I have looked for this phrase, “God cannot look upon sin,” on several occasions, and I can find no direct reference in the Bible. I am going to play on the assumption that I merely bypassed this idea that God cannot look upon sin, then I can allow myself to consider that sin played a role in being deserted because Jesus became sin.

                                2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB 21) He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

                                Consider that for a moment. Maybe the best way to approach this idea of abandonment or desertion comes from comes from Israel’s practice of placing their sins upon the “scapegoat.”

                                Leviticus 16:9-10 ERV “Then Aaron will offer the goat chosen by the lot for the LORD. Aaron will make this goat a sin offering. 10) But the goat chosen by the lot for Azazel will be brought alive before the LORD. Then this goat will be sent out to Azazel in the desert. This is to make the people pure.

                                This scapegoat is meant to take the sin away from the people, and that is what Christ did. The sad aspect is that most of us don’t understand or believe that took place on the cross.

                                Another piece of information and a bit of common knowledge is the bronze serpent upon the pole; it was a type of Christ. This terminology “type” is meant to show an alternate representation of Christ before He came to earth as a man.

                                Numbers 21:8-9 NET. The LORD said to Moses, “Make a poisonous snake and set it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will live.” 9) So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole, so that if a snake had bitten someone, when he looked at the bronze snake he lived.

                                Yes, in essence, He became the serpent, just as He became sin.

                                Since the premise is that God deserted or abandoned Christ while He hung on the cross, then how do I fit this into the idea of a loving God that will never leave us or desert us?

                                Isaiah 53:4 NASB Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.

                                Note how it says, “Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.” So it is not about God leaving Christ; it is how we have perceived His actions and effect of the cross.

                                I tried hashing through what I understood, with my wife. She, responded with what most say, God could not look on sin and that is why He forsook His own Son. I paused a moment and replied, then what do I do with a God that loved the world so much that He gave His only son. There was no turning His back or forsaking people. We were all born into sin – train wrecks that should have been thrown into a trash dumpster, and yet Jesus willingly, in-spite of our brokenness, allowed Himself to suffer the pains of a complete desertion from God; and to die on our behalf.

                                Posted in bible study, Dispelling myths, forgive, God's character, Hearing God, Hope, Jesus, Mercy, redemption, restore, Sin, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment