A short course in Isaiah. Chapter 13 – The message about Babylon.


Now this is where it gets interesting.

Isaiah 13:1 NET. This is a message about Babylon that God revealed to Isaiah, son of Amoz:

My first question is, what do we know about Isaiah?

While this may not seem important to others, I believe that knowing something of Isaiah’s background might answer important questions and possibly give me an understanding about this religious garbage that was thrown at me, in an attempt to convince me that Isaiah quoted from some Babylonian mythology. I suppose then that we should not take the things Isaiah said so seriously. As a side note: If I can discredit Isaiah in one area, then perhaps he should be disregarded in all other aspects as well, such as chapter 53 where he describes the horrendous price the Messiah would pay.

Pastor John MacArthur tells us that, “Isaiah is quoted directly in the NT over sixty-five times, more than any other OT prophet, and mentioned by name over twenty times.That tells me that others thought highly of Isaiah’s words.

  • Isaiah, the son of Amoz, ministered in and around Jerusalem as a prophet to Judah during the reigns of four kings of Judah: Uzziah (called “Azariah” in 2 Kin.), Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (Isa_1:1), from c. 739-686 B.C. Moment of clarity: Judah was the Southern Kingdom, and Israel was the Northern Kingdom.
  • He evidently came from a family of some rank, because he had easy access to the king (Isaiah 7:3).
  • He was married and had two sons who bore symbolic names: Shear-jashub (“a remnant shall return,” Isaiah 7:3) and Maher-shalal-hash-baz (“hasting to the spoil, hurrying to the prey,” Isaiah 8:3).
  • When called by God to prophesy in the year of King Uzziah’s death (c. 739 B.C.), he responded with a cheerful readiness, though he knew from the beginning that his ministry would be one of fruitless warning and exhortation (Isaiah 6:9-13).
  • Isaiah prophesied at the same time as Hosea and Micah.

What is Babylon?

If you are so inclined, do a word search for Babylon, you will find that it shows up 297 times throughout scripture.

Its origins began before the flood in Noah’s days. Apparently rebuilt by Noah’s descendants, it appears in the book of Joshua where Achan, against orders, took some of the spoil (silver and gold) and hid them in his tent.

Joshua 7:21 NASB when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them;..”

What other information, perhaps historically, do we have that associate and identifies the Shinar plane as being a part of Babylon.

Shinar – A region in Mesopotamia, the plain between the Tigris and the Euphrates. Here the rebels against God’s will built the Babel tower (Gen_11:2-3). Derived from sheni “two” and ‘ar or nahar “rivers.”

What is surprising, perhaps even shocking about this scenario is what Achan said as he described what he did; I coveted them and took them!

As you read through the Bible, you find a deep hatred between the religious Jews (Pharisees) and the Samaritans. The Samaritans – as they came to be known, had originally been the Israelite kingdom. Since both the Southern and Northern Kingdoms eventually went into Assyrian captivity, it became evident to the Assyrians that they needed to repopulate the region of Samaria.

2 Kings 17:24 LITV And the king of Assyria brought men in from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and made them live in the cities of Samaria instead of the sons of Israel, and they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities.

An obvious factor to God and a few astute others was that these were all Gentiles (Goyim), and they did not fear Jehovah.

2 Kings 17:25-26 LITV And it happened at the beginning of their living there, they did not fear Jehovah, and Jehovah sent lions among them, and they were striking among them. 26) And they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations that you have exiled and have made to live in the cities of Samaria do not know the custom of the God of the land, and He has sent the lions into their midst; and, behold, they are killing them, since they do not know the custom of the God of the land.

So the Assyrian king sees what he believes to be the solution and places a Jewish priest back in Samaria to reteach these people the Hebrew customs and laws. How did it all work out?

2 Kings 17:32-34 LITV So it was that they feared Jehovah, and made for themselves, of the lowest of them, priests of the high places and they sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. 33) They feared Jehovah, and served their own gods, according to the custom of the nations from where they exiled them. 34) To this day they do according to the former custom; they do not fear Jehovah, and do not do according to their statutes, and according to their ordinances, and according to the Law, and according to the commandment that Jehovah commanded the sons of Jacob, on whom He set His name, Israel.

  • they feared Jehovah.”

    The word fear can either mean to be afraid of, or to reverence. Since Israel seemed to do neither, I am not sure what this is trying to convey.

  • and made for themselves, of the lowest of them, priests of the high places and they sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places.”

    There were no “high” places in the temple worship, so this had everything to do the creation of places where they could worship their own gods and offer sacrifices to them.

  • They feared Jehovah, and served their own gods, according to the custom of the nations from where they exiled them.”

    Oh sure, we know Him, but this is what we do. We brought it from our country and these priests we have here, they say it’s okay.

I seem to have shot by this rather quickly, and I want you to see something here. One of the first things that Israel did after leaving Egypt was to coerce Aaron into making them a copy of the god Moloch. We love to call it merely, the golden calf. But all these years later, the most religious would not speak of the horror involved in this incident. Stephen, in the book of Acts, as a part of his defense before the council, pointed out that one of the gods Israel was worshiping was Moloch, a god that demanded child sacrifice by roasting them alive. No one challenged him. It does not take a genius to figure out that God values the lives of children, and yet, still today, in this modern world we live in, we are still sacrificing children to some god and calling it a different name.

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

We are still trying to define Babylon, although somewhat loosely,

If I could think of Babylon as a physical location only, then this would explain its origins to some degree.

Genesis 10:8-11 NET. Cush was the father of Nimrod; he began to be a valiant warrior on the earth. 9) He was a mighty hunter before the LORD. (That is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD.”) 10) The primary regions of his kingdom were Babel, Erech, Akkad, and Calneh in the land of Shinar. 11) From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah,

We run into several problems as we read our sterilized translations of the Bible.

Nimrod; he began to be a valiant warrior on the earth.”

  • Nimrod was a gibbôr, and many times translated giant. However, 1 Samuel 17:51 (NASB) translated the word as champion.

    Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.”

    If I take the liberty to reinsert the Hebrew, it reads like this: “When the Philistines saw that their gibbôr was dead, they fled.” You might even read it as: “When the Philistines saw that their giant was dead.” Ask yourself, what is the common understanding as to what Goliath was? A giant of a man, at least nine feet tall.

  • he began to be” comes from the Hebrew words chalal H2490c and hâyâh H1961.chalal; a primary root; to pollute, defile, profane.hayah (224a); a prim. root; to fall out, come to pass, become,

    It becomes evident that Nimrod changed. If he had a comprehension of who God was, he was swiftly defiling everything God stood for.

  • a valiant warrior.”This is where we come to understand that Nimrod was a giant. But, the Hebrew word gibbôr also carries a much more sinister definition: powerful; by implication a warrior, tyrant.
  • The primary regions of his kingdom were Babel, Erech, Akkad, and Calneh in the land of Shinar.

    Where did I begin this explanation of Babylon? With an incident that originates in the plains of Shinar.

    Joshua 7:21 NASB when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them;..”

    • Note the other name that appears here, Babel. This is the early origins of the name Babylon.

      When we associate the name Babylon with its originator, then we find people whom, in general, are willing to pollute, defile, and profane God, while intentionally falling away from Him.

  • From that land, he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh,”

    Now there is a familiar name to even the simplest of Bible students. Jonah, the prophet was told by God to go there and say, repent or destruction from God will come upon you. Jonah tried to commit suicide to prevent speaking to the Ninevites because he knew God would show them mercy. This becomes evident at the end of the story. What you have to ask is why Jonah felt this way. That is some fairly intense hatred he has.

In attempting to understand Babylon, what have we learned so far?

  • Babel was founded by a savagely violent giant named Nimrod, a man who turned his back on God, by polluting, and defiling God’s name. Those who followed Nimrod built the tower at Babel, and because of the things involved with that action God eventually destroys all mankind, except for Noah’s little family, with a global flood.

  • Babylon became symbolic, and Israel gains that reference on several occasions.

  • A global governing body now represents the effective representation of Babylon. The people at the top of this pyramid, much like those that worship Moloch, care nothing about sacrificing children and the have-nots while setting themselves up as godlike entities.

And one last thing about Babylon.

Jeremiah 50:12-13 NASB Your mother will be greatly ashamed, She who gave you birth will be humiliated. Behold, she will be the least of the nations, A wilderness, a parched land and a desert. 13) “Because of the indignation of the LORD she will not be inhabited, But she will be completely desolate; Everyone who passes by Babylon will be horrified And will hiss because of all her wounds.

she will be the least of the nations, A wilderness, a parched land and a desert. 13) “Because of the indignation of the LORD she will not be inhabited, But she will be completely desolate;”

We know where Babylon is; Saddam Hussein was attempting to rebuild it before the war, but it is no less bleak, and only a small number of people live there. So, I think we can accurately say; we are no longer looking for the rebirth of a city.

If you are thinking, what about the empires Babylon represented, you might be closer to understanding; however, most people, regarding empires, seem to stop with the Babylonian. While it is true that Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian King, took the Hebrews (both kingdoms – Israel in the north, and Judah in the South) captive, he was an Assyrian king. The kingdoms that followed, as spoken of in Daniel and demonstrated by the statue explained by Daniel, show that the Medes and Persians became the dominant force. How much evil can we assign to the Medes and Persians, at this time, when Daniel was still given positions of power and authority under Darius the Mede, and Cyrus the Persian. The empires we need to give consideration to initiate with the Grecian empire under Alexander, as he controlled significant land masses and those play a role in future events.

I get it! This is called a short course in Isaiah, and we just spent two and a half pages on Babylon. What’s up with that. Look at verse one of the thirteenth chapter once again.

Isaiah 13:1 NET. This is a message about Babylon that God revealed to Isaiah, son of Amoz:

In this instance, it is a message about Babylon. Awe yes, but this story takes a serious 180 and quickly.

Isaiah 13:2-3 ESV On a bare hill raise a signal; cry aloud to them; wave the hand for them to enter the gates of the nobles. 3) I myself have commanded my consecrated ones, and have summoned my mighty men to execute my anger, my proudly exulting ones.

I myself have commanded my consecrated ones”

So far it sounds okay. I am always rooting for the good guys, and I might be assuming this is directed at the bad guys. But what is this?

to enter the gates of the nobles.”

Job 21:28 NASB “For you say, ‘Where is the house of the nobleman, And where is the tent, the dwelling places of the wicked?’

The word nobleman is the Hebrew word nâdı̂yb / naw-deeb’; properly voluntary, generous; as noun, a grandee (sometimes a tyrant):

Since the Hebrew conveys the possibility of a tyrant, and it is easy to ascertain that Nimrod was a tyrant, we might be able to say that what we see in Isaiah 12:2,3 is God directing His own to enter the gates of the tyrant. The most convincing piece of evidence for this comes from Job 21:28 where he, by the influence of the Holy Spirit, calls this so-called house of the nobleman, the dwelling places of the wicked.

Surely, you can see from the terminology, dwelling places, that this is not speaking about a house necessarily. When you look the word house up, as used by Job, you will get over seventeen hundred applications directing you to the idea of a home, whatever that looks like,

housebayith

BDB Definition:

1) house

1a) house, dwelling habitation

1b) shelter or abode of animals

1c) human bodies (figuratively)

1d) of Sheol

1e) of abode of light and darkness

1f) of land of Ephraim

2) place

3) receptacle

The definition is rarely a tight fit for a particular concept, and we find that bayith was also used to define a dungeon twice and a prison.

Job speaks of a tent, specifically saying, “where is the tent?” This too is revealing, but you would never know that unless you decided to probe deeper.

Tent is the Hebrew word ‘ôhel / o’-hel, and means a tent (as clearly conspicuous from a distance). This is the same word that used to describe the tabernacle that Israel built in the desert. In a sense, it was an edifice, meant to be seen.


So, Babylon is a structure that is not so tightly defined, intended to be seen, and, most likely filled with tyrants/giants – but giants of what?

These influential people have turned their backs on God and the have-nots of the world and are intentionally destroying economies for their personal benefit.

Do not think for a second that governments are not part of this or, at the least in collusion, as we can see their irrational decisions and complacency, to the point that they play golf while the country under their watch is destroyed from within.

By the way. I do not think it is fair to the poor to address them as such. At the date of this writing, Louisiana has suffered what they are calling a 500-year flood. Almost in an instant many of the people, who do not live in a flood plain and therefore have no access to flood insurance, have lost everything and have no way of replacing what they lost. In October of 2012, Money magazine stated in an article that 30 million people were on the edge of poverty. Considering that many live on credit cards, merely opening another when one gets maxed out. The problem with that tactic is that the bills will catch up with you, and your entire paycheck is then committed to payments. What does poverty look like when you live in a state where the median income is fifty thousand dollars a year and the average price of a home, even in the worst of neighborhoods, is in the mid $300,000 range. You will not attain this median income unless you obtain a bachelor’s degree at minimum, and even then that guarantees nothing. I spent some time working at Home Depot and worked with many who had such degrees. They worked at the hardware store, hoping to get into management because they could not find a job in their field of study. An example of this might be the aerospace industry, which pulled up stakes and moved to Arizona about fifteen years ago.

Well, I made it through three verses. Stay tuned and we will continue to pursue understanding.

Posted in Apostasy, bible study, Deception, End times, Prophetic, Things I have never noticed before, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A short course in Isaiah. Chapter 12.


Everywhere I go, where “Christians” gather, they speak foolishness, falsities, and opinion. They don’t talk truth. They lean upon tradition and false teachings. How would I know this? I sit in their bible studies; I gather with them at the coffee shop, and I have heard this garbage preached from the pulpit. To put it bluntly, I can’t stand it.

I am painfully aware that I can’t fix anybody, especially those who are prideful and unwilling to look at the truth. Apparently, those who lead the studies I am familiar with, are arrogant enough to challenge God by ignoring scripture and declaring that’s my opinion, and that is all that matters. I suspect this arrogance will one day catch up with them.

Pained by their responses and wanting the body of Christ to not only grow up in the Lord but learn what the nature and character of God is, I challenge and attempt to teach. When you do this, you find out quickly what they believe when you hear them ignorantly dispatching people to hell.

So, what can you do to combat the ignorance and judgmentalism? Spend time in God’s word; study and educate yourself; ask questions of God and His word, and dive into things like the book of Isaiah, so that you can become familiar with the understanding that is so lacking in the body. And learn what He is going to do in these last days.


At the heart of my examination into Isaiah is a statement that was made to me, indicating that Isaiah was quoting from some Babylonian mythology which has been lost to us. [Sadly, I found several commentaries that conveyed this same message. One had the foresight to say, “Most modern interpreters believe that Isaiah is using a well-known mythological tale as an analogy to the failure and consequences of the king of Babylon’s rebellion and arrogance, but no known literature matches the details of Helel’s rebellion.i” This challenge came from the mouth of a Theologically trained brother in Christ who told me definitively, that Isaiah was using a well-known mythological tale as an analogy. Since I am highly suspicious when there is no evidence, then my only recourse is to examine the portion of scripture that contained the saying and its context. This criticism merely promoted my desire to pursue what, not only God but Isaiah had to say about Babylon and end times events.

Isaiah 12

Isaiah 12:1 NASB “Then you will say on that day, “I will give thanks to You, O LORD; For although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, And You comfort me.”

When you open chapter 12 and immediately realize that you have been placed in the middle of someone’s thought process, “Then you will say on that day,” you should ask, What day are they talking about? First, we need a context and we can find this in chapter 11 of Isaiah.

Isaiah 11:10-11 NASB Then in that day The nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; And His resting place will be glorious. 11) Then it will happen on that day that the Lord Will again recover the second time with His hand The remnant of His people, who will remain, From Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, And from the islands of the sea.

If you were to challenge the passage (referred to above) and ask, at what point in time the phrase “in that day” is referring to, merely looking at the paragraph and inquiring if the nations are resorting to the root of Jesse, might answer the question?

Since we know that the root of Jesse is Jesus Christ, the Messiah, are the nations resorting to Him? The answer is NO! The apostasy, scripture informs us of, is a destructive, growing, and ongoing process. The small vocal antichrists (anyone denying Christ and trying to get others to do so, is an Antichrist.1)

Isaiah 12:2-3  MKJV Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; He also has become my salvation. 3) And with joy you shall draw water out of the wells of salvation.

This chapter Isaiah 12:1-6 is a part of the vision which was commenced in Isaiah 10:5. The prophet had foretold the deliverance of the nation from the threatened invasion of Sennacherib (Isaiah 10;) he had then looked forward to the times of the Messiah, and described the certainty, the character, and the consequences of this reign (Isaiah 11.) The eleventh chapter closes with a reference to the deliverance of the nation from the oppression of the Egyptians. That deliverance was celebrated with a beautiful ode, which was sung by Miriam and ‘all the women,’ who ‘went out after her with timbrels and with dances’ (Exodus 15:1-21.) In imitation of that deliverance, Isaiah says, in this chapter, that the deliverance of which he speaks shall be celebrated also with a song of praise; and this chapter; therefore, is properly an expression of the feelings office redeemed people of God, in view of his great mercy in interposing to save them.

It should be read given the great and glorious deliverance which God has performed for us in the redemption of his Son and with feelings of lofty gratitude that he has brought us from worse than Egyptian bondage – the bondage of sin. The song is far better applied to the times of the Messiah than it could be to anything which occurred under the Jewish dispensation.ii

Isaiah 12:4 MKJV “And in that day you shall say, Praise Jehovah! Call on His name; declare His doings among the people, make mention that His name is exalted.”

Here we are with that expression, “in that day.” There is no doubt that that He is speaking of the end of the time of wrath and shortly after the migration into the millennial reign of Christ. Why would I know that? Because of this, “you shall say, Praise Jehovah! Call on His name; declare His doings among the people, make mention that His name is exalted.” There is no time on earth when this will happen, and there will be nothing from that time forward that will disturb our peace. In that day, His name will indeed be exalted.

Isaiah 12:5-6 MKJV “Sing to Jehovah; for He has done excellent things; this is known in all the earth. 6) Cry out and shout, O dweller of Zion; for great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst.”

One of the problems I see is how God will manage to spread His name throughout the earth. As I spoke with a “brother” in Christ, about how there was nothing that was holding back the Lord’s return. The “brother” angrily retorted, he can’t, because there are people groups, (at this point he had numbers, and he spewed them at me,) that have not received the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So, how does God get around this problem, if there is one?

  • He causes an angel to fly around the globe broadcasting the gospel.

    Revelation 14:6 MKJV And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those dwelling on the earth, even to every nation and kindred and tongue and people,

  • It is possible that the continents are moved back together. Since there are least two massive earthquakes, that may allow for freedom of movement across continents.

    Revelation 6:12 MKJV And when He had opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake. And the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.

    Revelation 16:18 MKJV And voices and thunders and lightnings occurred. And there was a great earthquake, such as has not been since men were on the earth, so mighty and so great an earthquake.

  • Scripture tells us that those gathered around the throne, will declare His doings among the people, make mention that His name is exalted.

     

    It is possible, lacking the obstructions of a broken world, that the gospel will be spread with vigor among the nations.

 

11 John 2:18-22 MKJV; 1 John 4:2-3 MKJV

iThe IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament.

Copyright © 2000 by John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews and Mark W. Chavalas

InterVarsity Press

P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515
World Wide Web:
www.ivpress.com
E-mail: mail@ivpress.com

 

iiAlbert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible; Albert Barnes (1798-1870)

Posted in bible study, false teaching, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A short dive into Isaiah – Chapter 11


A short trek through Isaiah – Chapter 11

This is not very interactive, as I am doing this out of my own personal interest. Having been challenged recently about what many assume is the probability that Isaiah was quoting a mythological saying of his time, as though it was scripture, I decided I needed a deeper understanding of Isaiah. For me, there is only one way to do that, and that is to dig.

If you don’t mind digging you are welcome to join me on the journey.


Isaiah 11:1-3 NASB “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;”

  • Of whom is the writer speaking?

    • Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

Note the descriptives: “The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.”

You should understand that the word fear, used in instances like this passage, mean a deep and healthy respect and reverence.

Reverence: In the Old Testament, occurs as the translation of two Hebrew words, yārē’ and shāḥāh. The root idea of the former is “fear.” It is used to express the attitude toward God Himself, as in Psa_89:7 the King James Version; or toward His sanctuary, as in Lev_19:30; Lev_26:2. So the group of ideas there would be “fear,” “awe,” “reverence.” The root idea of the second is “falling down,” as prostration of the body. It is used to express the bearing toward another who is considered superior.

  • “And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear.”

I am involved with several churches, most of which deem themselves to be open-minded, non-denominational. And yet, from old to young they spew judgment out of their mouths. Don’t get me wrong, I am adept at judgmentalism and fight against it always. Why? Because I, like everyone else, have sat under false teaching while refusing to open my Bible and find out what the truth is for myself.

Often, as some Bible study leader is trying to explain some horrid statement they made, will speak of God and His Great White Throne judgment, as a point of no return, where all brought before him are sent to the eternal torment of hell. Does that sound anywhere close to this descriptive we see of God? [Yes, I know, we are talking about Jesus here aren’t we. However, I integrated a visual taken from the Revelation of Jesus. And yet, when you read Revelation 20 we presume this to be God sitting in judgment here. Why do we do that; because we take someone’s word for it and do not educate ourselves.

Where else do we find this concept?

1Samuel 16:7 NASB “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.””

Isaiah 11:4,5 NASB “But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. Also, righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist.”

Alright, since you understand that the Lord looks at the heart, then this should demonstrate the mercy that far too many do not understand. That is that God, having looked upon the hearts of people, will be able to make a sound decision and grant multitudes entrance into the kingdom of heaven, solely based upon their good deeds.

I am not making this stuff up, for you see it in both Revelation 20 and Matthew 25. This mercy, found in both books, is more descriptive in Matthew’s gospel because the focus is on the sheep, not the goats. In Revelation 20 it says little about those whose name is found in the Book of Life because that is not the focus there. That lack of description does not mean they don’t exist, and it would be improper to say otherwise. I am telling you this because I have heard it taught that Revelation 20 is exclusively a judgment where everyone gets sent to the lake of fire and that is not the case.

Isaiah 11:6-9 NASB “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. Also, the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea”; this is definitely what the Jewish mind sees when they speak of the eternal kingdom.

  • For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.”

A rather dramatic assertion that only God could fulfill.

Allow me to ask you a question. Why would this be a concern in the eternal kingdom?

I can’t imagine it would be, but I can see a reason for an emphasis like this during the millennial reign because the nations continue to exist and continue to have a freewill choice. Forced to come to the New Jerusalem each year, they must participate in the Feast of Tabernacles. Failure to do this has some dire consequences, but this is not the final judgment, that does not happen until the Great White Throne.

Jeremiah 31:34 NASB “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

Isaiah 11:10,11 NASB “Then in that day The nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; And His resting place will be glorious. (11) Then it will happen on that day that the Lord Will again recover the second time with His hand The remnant of His people, who will remain, From Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, And from the islands of the sea.

In that day, or, on that day, what does this all point toward?

The phrase has multiple meanings, some of which are particular moments, while others cover a broad spectrum such as the “seven-year” period and the millennial reign of Christ.

  • The nations will resort to the root of Jesse.”

Romans 15:12 NASB “Again Isaiah says, “THERE SHALL COME THE ROOT OF JESSE, AND HE WHO ARISES TO RULE OVER THE GENTILES, IN HIM SHALL THE GENTILES HOPE.””

Isaiah 11:1-5. – We have already discussed these passages, and it is clear that it is speaking of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. But this speaks of a branch from the root of Jesse. When I worked with plant propagation, we learned that it was common for growers to take a rootstock that resists disease and nematode invasions common to many soils. The variant was then grafted onto the root stock. Most roses that we buy have already had that done, and we don’t even pay attention to it, nor do we care.

Ruth 4:17 NASB “The neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi!” So they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.”

Obviously, he is talking about a lineage; an ancestry, specifically initiating with Jesse, the father of David. I think it is safe to say that Jesse was a righteous man, but what did Jesse do? He fathered David, who later became the king and a man after God’s own heart.

Isaiah 11:12,13 NASB “And He will lift up a standard for the nations And assemble the banished ones of Israel, And will gather the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth. (13) Then the jealousy of Ephraim will depart, And those who harass Judah will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, And Judah will not harass Ephraim.

  • And He will lift up a standard for the nations.”

He is the Messiah.

Since an aspect of our discussion is “the day of the Lord” let’s talk about that for a moment.

If you do a search for the phrase, “in that day”, the NASB produces 89 verses; most of which speak about God’s anger, hiding his face, and a time of judgment. This information should prompt you to ask when this time will be. We, in Christianity, love to call this time the tribulation. I have a problem with that since Jesus told us that tribulations would be a way of life. The time that is coming is called a time of judgment and wrath, and you can find that throughout scripture, especially in the Revelation.

Isaiah 10:20 Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 17:7 In that day man will have regard for his Maker, And his eyes will look to the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 19:21 Thus the LORD will make Himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day. They will even worship with sacrifice and offering, and will make a vow to the LORD and perform it.

Zechariah 2:11 “Many nations will join themselves to the LORD in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you.

I hope you get a general idea, for this aspect has never been clear to me. If others attempted to teach on it in my youth, I do not remember, or it made no sense. Since I am a visual learner, and I have not been able to visualize this scene in my mind, I am still not sure I am getting it.

  • “Then the jealousy of Ephraim will depart, And those who harass Judah will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, And Judah will not harass Ephraim.”

From MacArthur: “Ephraim … Judah. These were the two major divisions of Israel after the schism under Jeroboam (1Ki_12:16-20). Ephraim was the name representing the ten northern tribes, and Judah the two southern tribes. When the Messiah returns, they will reunite in a lasting peace.”

1 Kings 12:19 NASB So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David (Judah) to this day. (Emphasis, mine.)

  • “those who harass Judah will be cut off.”

    • Will this be in one fell swoop, or progressively?

      Since we see no relief for Israel, it might be best to see this as one massive military action, although I am not sure God calls it an operation. We see this in Revelation 19:11-21.

      Revelation 19:11-21 NASB 11) And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12) His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13) He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14) And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15) From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16) And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING

      When Jesus comes in his glory

      When Jesus comes in his glory

      OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” 17) Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in mid-heaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 18) so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.” 19) And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20) And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21) And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

    • This battle will be quick, decisive, and only against those who choose to fight against God. Since God sees those that fight against Israel as fighting Him, then I am certain they will be included.
    • One other thing, it will be global. But, you have to keep in mind what has going on in the world before this happens.
      • Hail, fire, stars falling from the sky, and earthquakes that are off the scales. It is entirely possible that the land masses may be reconnected at this point, making the definition of global to mean a much smaller world.

Isaiah 11:14 NASB “They will swoop down on the slopes of the Philistines on the west; Together they will plunder the sons of the east; They will possess Edom and Moab, And the sons of Ammon will be subject to them.”

  • They will swoop down on the slopes of the Philistines on the west;”

    • My first question is, who is being referred to when it says “they”?

 

Philistea along the South Western coastal border, we understand as Gaza.

Philistia along the South Western coastal border, we understand as Gaza.

Because the present subject is Ephraim, who has set aside, it’s hostility to Judah, the Southern states (I suppose that is one way to look at it.) Then I think it is safe to assume Ephraim – Note: the world does see any distinction here, as any action is identified as Israel. This assumption can create problems as two-thirds of Israel, the nation, will be slaughtered during the time of wrath, while it seems the other third flees. I do not see anyone left to defend a populace. But, then I am not God, and God does not live inside my subjective box. Therefore this could happen as you read this. Currently, it seems that Gaza is allowed to live within their limitations until missiles start raining down on Israel once again, and then the active military efforts deluge them.

These efforts, however, only seem to be temporary fixes to the problem.

Isaiah 11:15 NASB “And the LORD will utterly destroy The tongue of the Sea of Egypt, And He will wave His hand over the River With His scorching wind, And He will strike it into seven streams And make men walk over dry-shod.”

A highway from Assyria

A highway from Assyria

The IVPBBC states: “gulf of the Egyptian Sea. This is the only occurrence in the Bible of a body of water called the Egyptian Sea and is therefore difficult to place with any certainty. Most commentators identify it with the Gulf of Suez.

  • And He will wave His hand over the River With His scorching wind, And He will strike it into seven streams And make men walk over dry-shod.”

Isaiah 11:16 NASB “And there will be a highway from Assyria For the remnant of His people who will be left, Just as there was for Israel In the day that they came up out of the land of Egypt.”

Was there a highway, as we understand it, coming out of Egypt? Nope, but God did cut a path through the Red Sea, expansive enough to march over a million people across on dry land. That means that it was broad and entirely dry when they crossed. The Egyptians, when they assayed to cross were drowned in that same sea. So, in a sense, this was the highway. We might assume that this will happen again because the precedent has been set.

Egypt and the Nile

Egypt and the Nile

Posted in End times, Prophetic, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An inquiry into Isaiah chapter 14:12 – Alright, it is a wee bit of a rebuttal as well.


English: Lucifer, the fallen angel

English: Lucifer, the fallen angel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Study in Isaiah

Chapter 14 verse 12

A profound motivation to search out what is said in Isaiah came as a result of a post I had made on Facebook that addressed some of the religious ceremony having to do with the Pope. The video opened with an opus, sung in Latin, apparently had its origins in the book of Isaiah. As the young man sang, the English translation appeared the bottom of the screen. Strangely it said nothing of Lucifer. In the video, made in 2014, the originator of the video asks, “did you notice what he said?” Since I don’t know Latin, I feel like I missed it entirely. He went on to explain that the song began by giving Lucifer an equivalency to God. My impression is that the person posting the video is telling us that the Pope too gives Lucifer that level of distinction as well. The subplot to this is that the Pope, if not the Antichrist, is certainly kicking open the doors as he fulfills scripture about the apostasy.

So, the burning question is: Where is this found in scripture, what is it saying to us, and, does it elevate Satan/Lucifer to the status of God?

Where is this found in scripture?

Without going into great detail at this point, the passage originates in Isaiah 14:12, and, according to the CJB reads like this:

How did you come to fall from the heavens, morning star, son of the dawn? How did you come to be cut to the ground, conqueror of nations?”

This dive into the Hebrew and associated Strong’s numbers may only confuse you, but I want you to see the KJV w/Strong’s numbers.

Isaiah 14:12 KJV+ HowH349 art thou fallenH5307 from heaven, H4480 H8064 O Lucifer, H1966 son H1121 of the morning! H7837 how art thou cut down H1438 to the ground, H776 which didst weaken H2522 H5921 the nations! H1471

Note how the word Lucifer is attached to the Strong’s number H1966. The word in Hebrew, translated Lucifer by some, is hêylêl, pronounced hay-lale’; and means, (in the sense of brightness); the morning star: – Lucifer.

Isaiah 14:12 also happens to be the only place you will find this word used in scripture.

In the Strong’s we are told that it is from the root word hâlal, pronounced haw-lal’. (Strong’s number H1984). It means to be clear (originally of sound, but usually of color); to shine; hence to make a show; to boast, and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; causatively to celebrate.

One other thing you should pay attention to, especially if you read this in the KJV. Note how verse twelve points out that “the morning star” (for understanding and liberties sake, we will call him Lucifer), was cut down to the ground. The impact of that was a weakening of the nations.

I have been told that this is the basis for the word hallelujah, and is the root word for praise.

What is the obvious take away from this?

That Lucifer’s origins included praise to God, but that in no way makes this fallen angel an equal with God. We know from scriptures that he was a created being and that deceit was found in him. God certainly did not make him that way, but also given a free will he chose to usurp God’s authority. Satan’s attempt at mutiny got him stripped of his position and thrown to earth. Because we find him walking in the garden we might assume that this was before his fall, but we also find him deceiving the woman, and that would have certainly been after his fall. Through deceit, he wrangled the dominion and power over the earth away from the man (Adam) and, without a doubt, has been weakening the nations ever since.

An acquaintance of mine, with a Masters Degree in Theology, responded unkindly to the video I posted and took it upon himself to chasten me for pointing out the possibility that the Pope is advancing some form of Luciferian worship. This acquaintance also opted to defend the Pope. This attack, in my mind, is not so unlike something my mother might have done when I was under her authority, for mom’s religious background caused her to defend even the worst of people. To help you understand my rant, my definition of mothering is meant to imply any over overstated correction that assumes you don’t have a brain in your head. I believe that when we take on this attitude and mothering role we are not being useful, but judgmental and controlling. Seeing as part of his chastisement toward me was to point out that Isaiah was talking exclusively about an unknown Babylonian king while quoting a well-known mythological tale taken from the surrounding idolatrous nations, let’s pursue that for a moment.

As for the well-known mythological story.

Here is what the IVPBBC says:

Many interpreters, ancient and modern, see it as a designation of Venus, the morning star. It is this interpretation that was behind the early Greek translation of the term, as well as the Latin Vulgate’s luciferos (shining one, i.e., Venus). Most modern interpreters believe that Isaiah is using a well-known mythological tale as an analogy to the failure and consequences of the king of Babylon’s rebellion and arrogance, but no known literature matches the details of Helel’s rebellion.”

Keep in mind that old challenge, do you jump off the cliff just because everyone else is doing it? The short answer, I hope, would be, not a chance. Why, because you have the ability to make decisions. The Apostle Paul associated this concept with the Bereans who would not merely accept what he said but validated it with the Word of God and were then convinced.

Allow me to apply some of my logic to what the IVPBBC said.

  • Many interpreters.”

As a part of my Bible study program on my computer, there are 45 commentaries, many of which I have purchased and at least that many translations of the Bible. I could say, that I draw from 45 interpreters of scripture. Some have a use, but I do not agree with everything they say. When I tell people this, and I rarely do, their response is often, why? Here is one good reason. The KJV has issues, but after all these years they are well-known, and this excludes Elizabethan language issues. However, compared to the NIV or ESV which leaves out large blocks of text which diminish the strength of the book, the KJV or NASB seem to hold truer to the character and nature of God, that I have through experience come to understand. Over simplified versions can open the door to conversations that might not happen with the KJV, and I get that. So, the variety of translations give us varied flavors, and that is okay, as long you are getting appropriately fed.

Is it possible that the many interpreters are merely following each other, as they steer those of us who buy into their garbage, astray? Certainly.

As a side note: Pastor John MacArthur, a brilliant man, says, the gifting involved with the Holy Spirit has been done away with. Since I can see the Holy Spirit involved in my life, do you think I am going to buy into Pastor John’s interpretation on this subject? Not a chance.

  • Most modern interpreters believe that Isaiah is using a well-known mythological tale as an analogy.”

You might as well tell me that most people buy into this fresh idea of killing cops as well; especially when it ‘s obvious they don’t. They don’t buy in because most people are sensible, wishing to live quiet lives. I know I am. It is always the squeakiest wheels and a minority that try to push people into the twisted doctrines of life. Since Satan is a deceiver and the passage itself tells us that he weakens the nations, then it is possible that advancing theories like this “ mythological tale” only weaken our resolve and understanding of God.

I have never heard of a mythological Babylonian king named Helel; that does not mean the story does not exist. Though I did not have the chance to read everything written by every author in the world, I did have to read some unusual stories for college, and that was not one of them.

The practical side of this mythological argument is that we use a Bible that was supposed to be inspired by the Holy Ghost as God spoke through men. God was also very implicit in His commands to stay away from the practices and beliefs of the idolatrous nations that surrounded them. Why would Isaiah have stooped so low as to interject some mythological person into prophecy? He would not have, and to have someone suggest that he did irritates me immensely.

  • king of Babylon’s rebellion and arrogance,”

While rebellion and arrogance may be okay words to describe some kings, we only know of a few and for the most part, they all seem to stem from Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. When Nebuchadnezzar holds his head a little too high in arrogance, God humbles him and has him grazing like a cow in the grass for seven years. In time we come to consider him a man who understands God.

The one personality who best fits this rebellion and arrogance is Satan, formerly the light bringer.

  • no known literature matches the details of Hele’s rebellion.”

If there is no public research to back your argument, then why promote the case for this being some unknown mythological Babylonian king? And furthermore, how do you, an intelligent theological commentator makes such ridiculous presumptions without substantial backing.

He may have been the light bringer, but now he is the deceiver of the whole world, and his end is seen in Revelation 20 after the thousand year reign of Christ over the earth.

The Modern King James version interprets Isaiah 14:12 this way.

How you are fallen from the heavens, O shining star, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!”

The translators of the MKJV took the reasonable route in interpretation by excluding the name Lucifer. Applying a Berean attitude and eliminating the name Lucifer at this point would be the safer road to travel, especially since this is the only place in the Bible we can find this word hêylêl.

So, what does Isaiah 14:12 and its general context, have to say to us, the modern church?

  • First off, as a believer, you should be aware that we have an enemy.

No, Satan cannot be everywhere at the same time as God can, but a third of the angels fell with him. Ask yourself, how many is a third of an uncountable number? A lot.

  • Secondly, we learn that Satan was stripped of his title and thrown out of heaven and down to earth.

It is evident from Isaiah 14:12 that “he” has fallen. But, do you know from where?

Jesus told the disciples that he saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. (Luke 10:18.)

  • Third, Satan, though stripped of his divine authority, is well versed in the Scriptures and skilled in deception. He stole control/dominion over the earth away from Adam.

I know that far too many “Christians” do not understand this concept or believe it. Consider that when Satan tested Jesus after the forty days fast, that he took Jesus up onto a pinnacle of the temple and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and he said they were his to give. Jesus never contested Satan’s claim but merely shut his mouth with the Word of God.

Putting this statement “I saw Satan fall like lightning” (Luke 10:18) alongside other evidence like Ezekiel 28:13 where it shows the light bringer walking about in the Garden, and his deception of Eve in that same garden further on in time (See Genesis 3.) We get a picture of stolen authority.

  • Fourth: While Satan was thrown from Heaven, we know that it was not a permanent expulsion, as we assume, but more of a stripping of a title and position. One of the passages we use to validate a claim like this is found in the book of Job.

Job 1:6-8 MKJV “And a day came when the sons of God came to present themselves before Jehovah. And Satan also came among them. And Jehovah said to Satan, From where do you come? Then Satan answered Jehovah and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And Jehovah said to Satan, Have you set your heart against My servant Job, because there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil?”

At one time thrown from Heaven, he is still found meandering in the outskirts of heaven among the other angels, close enough to have God speak to him.

The final question then, is Satan equal with God?

There may be an honor bestowed signifying the one who created you, but when it comes to angels, they are messengers. They are not sons as Jesus became, and all of the angels must worship Him.

Hebrews 1:5-7 GW God never said to any of his angels, “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.” And God never said to any of his angels, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” 6] When God was about to send his firstborn Son into the world, he said, “All of God’s angels must worship him.” 7] God said about the angels, “He makes his messengers winds. He makes his servants flames of fire.”

If you have any doubt as to Satan’s origins, as the Jehovah’s witness have, then ponder this:

Ezekiel 28:13-15 MKJV You have been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the ruby, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the turquoise, and the emerald, and gold. The workmanship of your tambourines and of your flutes was prepared in you in the day that you were created. 14] You were the anointed cherub that covers, and I had put you in the holy height of God where you were; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15] You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you.

  • Name wise; he is understood to be the anointed cherub that covers.

The allusion seems to be to cherubs covering the mercy seat.

Why would that be? Perhaps because of his rank, or because of his strength. It does not matter for we have no definition for that but what we do know is that he learned deception.

The other reliable reference is found in Isaiah.

Isaiah 54:16 KJV Behold, I have created the smith that blows the coals in the fire, and that brings forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.

While destruction may be a hard concept to swallow, in the scheme of things it is possible that God had this planned all along, with the eventual goal of purging the world of all that would stand between his people and the love he has for them.

So, Satan was created, and with no flaws. And yet, he became flawed. Considering who made him, what chance do you and I have without a savior? None and that is why it is imperative that we find our life in Christ and quickly.

Posted in Apostasy, Cult teachings, Deception, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Adventures in False teaching. Chapter two – Is there a judgment of the nations?


Have you ever heard the saying, “you should have been there!”

If you had you would better understand why I responded with the comment, “it was comparable to watching a tornado tear through a farm.” I made this statement in response to a friend who asked me what I thought of the morning’s study. Think about what happens in an event such as a tornado: The tornado rips through a farm, tearing the barn to pieces; quickly you begin to see two-by-fours swirling rapidly next to metal siding, a cow, and a farm tractor. Any and all of this could kill you. Now imagine someone asking you to describe what you see in the tornado. On which piece do you focus? That was the morning study.

Since the men’s study, for weeks now, has been attempting to address the presumed judgment of the nations, let’s see if we can find that theme in scripture.

With some frequency, the teacher has been referring to Matthew 25:31,32. Unfortunately, the reading always seems to end with verse 32, and therefore falsely conveys a horrific judgment upon all. Let’s look at this together, and I will use the NIV, a translation I cannot stand, but it is a simple read.

Matthew 25:31-32 NIV “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. (32) All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

Without knowing the context, we assume that what Jesus said in Matthew’s gospel applies to the time immediately following the “tribulation.” Here is the problem with this thinking. Jesus responded to the disciples questions with answers that were specifically Jewish. This issue about when Jesus would return in his glory is one of those that is important to the heart of the Jew. While there is no denying that Jesus comes back at the end of the time of wrath and Revelation 19 makes that clear. Is that the end of the story? Not even close, as Jesus, in his glory, for the next thousand years, continuously sits upon the throne providing the light for the world.

At the end of the thousand years, Satan is released. Having had the time to deceive the world there is, once again, judgment. Matthew’s gospel calls this “the nations.” Focusing on the nations as countries can be a problem, as this is merely people, and a study of the words in Greek demonstrate that.

Although he denies the connection, the study leader makes the assumption that there is a particular judgment of the nations based on passages taken from Revelation chapters 19 and 20. I know this because he misquotes and takes these verses out of context, turning them into a horrific, merciless, and judgmental paragraph, which condemns everyone that remains to the lake of fire, simply because he sees no one specifically mentioned as coming from the book of life.

Revelation 19:11-15 NIV (11) “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice, he judges and wages war. …”

Revelation 20:4 NIV “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. …”

Revelation 20:11-12,15 NIV (11) “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. … The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. .. (15) “Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Since there is a consistent placement of Jesus sitting in judgment, let me point out several fallacies that I can see when using these verses.

  • In general, we do not see Jesus, alone, sitting upon a throne during the thousand years. Yes, Revelation 20 speaks of Thrones, but not just one.
  • The question posed by the disciples at the beginning of Matthew 24 was, when will you come back as the Messiah we expected. We see this glorious return in Revelation 19 as he rides in on the White Horse. However, Matthew’s gospel speaks of His return as well. Matthew 25:31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.”

But what do we do? We ignore the undefined pause (noted by the period at the end of the sentence) and make a huge leap forward one-thousand years in time, to where Jesus/God gathers all the nations before him. Is that a problem? Not to the Jew, for they understand that when the Messiah comes his reign will last forever. It can be an issue for us though because we have a Western mentality that segments this event. What the Jew treats as a glorious event is merely one long migration into eternity.

  • Revelation 20:4 tells us that the dead are brought before the throne.

Matthew did not mention their physical condition, why should he, for the idea of an eternal soul is an integral part of the Jewish understanding.

Consider these dead and what they might mean. Since Revelation 20 tells us that Satan will be released after the thousand years for the specific purpose of deceiving the nations, we also know that God slaughters all those who rise against Him in this battle. So let me make an assumption here. Having joined themselves to Satan’s cause, a final battle, can I then say that these dead have made their choice as to whom they will serve?

Because we only concern ourselves with the dead here in Revelation 20, we need to be asking who the dead are. We already know that many died in this final battle, but this gathering does not exclude people throughout the generations. And, since the only thing that seems to die is the mortal body, are these actually dead?

Nowhere in Revelation 20:4 does it name Jesus sitting in judgment over the nations. It does, however, tell us that there are those who have been given authority to judge. Here are a few instances from Scripture where the judges we see are defined.

1 Corinthians 6:2 NIV Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?

You should be asking yourself a couple of questions here. The first is, who are the Lord’s people? And the second might go like this; I thought we were talking about the nations, and yet this says the world. So is it the world or the nations? Before I address either of those, I want you to see the NASB translation of the same sentence.

1 Corinthians 6:2 NASB Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?

The Lord’s people initiated with Israel. God has never decommissioned them. He did, however, punish them severely for their disobedience. Unfortunately, that punishment continues through the time of wrath and judgment, which we foolishly call the TRIBULATION. We, the church, have had the fortune of being adopted into the family and likewise gained the title, the Lord’s people.

There is another group of individuals called saints in scripture entitled to carry the title, the Lord’s people, the martyred saints. It is always good to have scriptural backing for your statements, and besides, most people want proof so here goes.

Revelation 20:4-6 NASB “Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (5) The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. (6) Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these, the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

A quick tally of those reigning gives me: the church and now the martyred saints, which also reign with him. Note the phrase, “with Him.”

Scripture tells us that Jesus told his disciples that they would reign in judgment with Him. Look at this passage in Luke’s gospel where Jesus is talking to His Jewish disciples.

Luke 22:28-30 NASB “You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; (29) and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you (30) that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

The “you” he mentions, were the disciples, and the trials that Jesus speaks of are the ongoing events, including the beatings, scourging, and the cross. For their dedication, both now and in the future, Jesus tells them, they will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes. While this does not answer any direct questions about a judgment of the nations, they are indeed sitting in judgment over Israel – the twelve tribes. It does, however, give us a huge clue about an aspect of the twenty-four elders, whom we also find sitting upon thrones. While Luke’s Gospel speaks of the elders sitting on thrones judging, I see no direct correlation between the elders and judgment in the Revelation. Since the Jewish law states that there must be two or three witnesses to make a case, then based on the fact that we can only find one witness, I would be hesitant to make a case out of this.

If I were to draw a conclusion from what I have pointed out so far, it would be to say that I see judgment handed off to the church and the martyred saints. Considering the horrendous treatment these martyred received, it is a logical choice. I am not so sure God operates like that, but it makes sense to me.

Focusing specifically on judging the nations.

No matter what my conclusions the adamant will still insist that Jesus is to judge the nations; And, as I pointed out, they pull aspects from Matthew 25: 31-32 and Revelation 20, beginning at verse 11 to make their case. In doing so, they create a theory from the various scriptures, so that they can validate their claims. I am going to start with Matthew 25 since that one comes up most frequently.

When trying to ascertain what scripture is saying to me, I need to understand the context. In this case, it begins in Matthew 21, where Jesus, not because of some innate connection with the Father, but through understanding, like the prophet Daniel, knew that it was time to ride into Jerusalem, on a young colt, as a KING should.

I cannot begin to fathom the excitement the disciples felt as they thought, He is finally going to step up and reign as the King for which they had longed. That excitement was short-lived, for just minutes later he was clearing the outer courts of the temple, chasing vendors, people, and the elders out; His actions brought a verbal firestorm, and the disciples had nowhere to hide. The rhetorical barrage between Jesus, the priests, and elders, lasted for two days, neither did he take the throne as they had imagined. Exiting town Jesus heads toward the mount of Olives; we now find the disciples struggling with something intelligent to say. I probably would have done the same thing they did. Passing by the temple, the symbol of Jewish tradition and the focal point of Jewish pride, it seemed to prevent them from seeing Jesus as the Messiah. In response to their statement, Jesus told them the temple would be destroyed. Trying to redirect their focus He tells them what is coming. This response from Jesus prompts a short string of Jewish-oriented questions, which He meets with a long response that was specifically Jewish in nature. This Jewish orientation is what we see in Matthew 24 and 25.

If I approach what Jesus said, with even a minimal amount of Jewish-oriented thought, I will have a greater understanding. In Matthew 25: 31 – 46 an aspect of His response includes the statement, “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him.” To the Jewish mind, “coming in His glory and all the angels with Him,” would have been highly symbolic, prophetic, and indicative of when He would return as the Messiah/King Israel anticipated. It makes sense, for Jesus is painting a picture of the time after the period of wrath and judgment when He will physically come back to earth. Yes, this time of glory includes the migration into eternity. So, the Son of Man, coming in His glory is what we understand to be the physical, second coming of the Messiah. This second coming includes what is defined in Revelation 20 beginning with His reentry into the physical world, which we see described in Revelation 19:11, and culminates with the Great White Throne judgment.

In Revelation 19 He comes riding with the sole purpose of judgment; this is evidenced by the visual that he is covered in the blood of His enemies.

  • If this is the sole judgment of the nations or merely an aspect, it should not matter for it could all be over in a second. But, if it takes a few days, what is that to us? There is no way it will take God a thousand years to bring judgment, culminating with the White Throne.

But what do we do when we look at Revelation 20, where Jesus/God takes a seat and passes judgment upon some of those gathered before Him, we extend his judgment over the nations across the span of the millennial reign to the moments just after the years of wrath. We do this because we are not clear on what Scripture says, and we allow foolish teachers to feed us this garbage without question. (P.S. – You can have graduate degrees and still be a fool.)

  • If this is the sole judgment of the nations – then why are survivors among the nations made to come to the New Jerusalem every year, participate in the Feast of Tabernacles, and bow before Him.
  • If this is the sole judgment of the nations – And, you teach that this includes a final decision and a one-way ticket to hell, then why would there be any nations left to deceive after the thousand year reign?
  • If this is the sole judgment of the nations – then why, in both scriptural references, does he also show mercy to some and give them entrance into the kingdom?

While judgment might be what is happening, the argument, initially presented by the study leader, was intended to be a concise, chronological representation of what he thinks he sees in Scripture. What it turned out to be, was a convoluted merger of multiple verses that cover two different time frames.

In Matthew 25:32-46 it does say that the nations will be gathered to Him.

Yes, but if that was all you based your understanding on, then you have a problem, for the Greek word used here for nations is ethnos, and means Gentiles, people, or a people of similar habits. Why that could be anybody; And, it would best be thought of in that manner. So Matthew’s Gospel is telling us that people will be gathered before him. Mind you; they will be from every corner of the world, but they will be there.

Since, in the broader spectrum, people are not quite nations, what evidence do we have that all nations will be gathered to Him?

Isaiah 2:4 tells us that, “He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples, And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.”

While judgment is spoken of, so is the concept of rendering useful decisions for people, somewhat less judgmental than I expected to find.

The following verse in Isaiah 34:2 is rather grim.

Isaiah 34:2 NASB For the LORD’S indignation is against all the nations and His wrath against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to slaughter.

Sure, this speaks of all, but that is never the case. [I say this because I have read Matthew’s account and the account in Revelation 20. Both speak of those who are granted mercy and entrance into the kingdom of God, based upon their works. That causes most of us in religious circles great grief because we are hard pressed to explain it when compared to what the majority of the New Testament tells us, that it is faith, not works that grant our acceptance into the kingdom of God.]

In Deuteronomy chapter 13, God is speaking to Israel about false prophets and how to identify them. If found out the community was to kill the prophet by stoning them. This method of death is a horrific event, even without dragging the entire community into it. However, God gave these instructions with an express intent, which we see in:

Deuteronomy 13:11 “Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such a wicked thing among you.” (NASB)

Did that happen? I think it would be safe to say that every male among the Israelites camp heard this word. (I said every male because it was a decidedly male authority structure back then and it would have been expected for the men to pass this information along. What if that did not happen, could I still say that all Israel heard? ) You would think that all Israel would have wholeheartedly followed these instructions, but they did not.

If I consider the Hebrew children in Babylon, where Nebuchadnezzar is demanding that ALL bow before the image (The assumption here is that EVERYONE is there) one might suppose that Daniel, a highly respected leader, would have been there too, and yet he was not.

I think it is clear to say that the word all is a generalization. Does this understanding diminish God in any way? Not at all, it merely reveals how merciful God truly is.

An attempt at a final thought:

Confronted by what I see in God’s word, I need to submit to His authority and change my understanding, even if it challenges every tradition and false teaching I have ever learned. Grasping His mercy over judgment is not difficult for me, for He has shown great mercy to me. My problem is, how do I explain a mercy I do not fully understand, nor comprehend. I cannot adequately explain why it appears that in both Revelation 20 and Matthew 25 people are granted entrance into the kingdom of God based on their good works. Which by-the-way, is very clearly explained in Matthew 25 when Jesus responds to the sheep, that your acts of showing kindness to Him when He was: hungry, thirsty, in prison, had no clothes, etc. I think you get the picture, and a predominant visual is Jesus in prison. That never happened, and so I must assume that He is in or represented by this broad range of people; And, the little ways we help them, is doing what? Apparently, stepping outside of our selfish desires, if even for a minute. Since I was taught that the guarantee of my salvation came through acceptance by faith, I am going to stick with that. Having tried gambling I can tell you that I am not good at it; And, though occasionally compassionate, I am not going hope that the one sandwich I gave a person is going to buy my way into heaven. I came to understand who Jesus was and is; I also know what He did for me by giving His life, and I am putting my life and trust in that.

Grasping His mercy over judgment is not difficult for me, for He has shown great mercy to me. My problem is, how do I explain a mercy I do not fully understand, nor comprehend. I cannot adequately explain why it appears that in both Revelation 20 and Matthew 25 people are granted entrance into the kingdom of God based on their good works. Which by-the-way, is very clearly explained in Matthew 25 when Jesus responds to the sheep, that your acts of showing kindness to Him when He was: hungry, thirsty, in prison, had no clothes, etc. I think you get the picture, and a predominant visual is Jesus in prison. That never happened, and so I must assume that He is in or represented by this broad range of people; And, the little ways we help them, is doing what? Apparently, stepping outside of our selfish desires, if even for a minute. Since I was taught that the guarantee of my salvation came through acceptance by faith, I am going to stick with that. Having tried gambling I can tell you that I am not good at it; And, though occasionally compassionate, I am not going hope that the one sandwich I gave a person is going to buy my way into heaven. I came to understand who Jesus was and is; I also know what He did for me by giving His life, and I am putting my life and trust in that.

I cannot adequately explain why it appears that in both Revelation 20 and Matthew 25 people are granted entrance into the kingdom of God based on their good works. Which by-the-way, is very clearly explained in Matthew 25 when Jesus responds to the sheep, that your acts of showing kindness to Him when He was: hungry, thirsty, in prison, had no clothes, etc. I think you get the picture, and a predominant visual is Jesus in prison. That never happened, and so I must assume that He is in or represented by this broad range of people; And, the little ways we help them, is doing what? Apparently, stepping outside of our selfish desires, if even for a minute. Since I was taught that the guarantee of my salvation came through acceptance by faith, I am going to stick with that. Having tried gambling I can tell you that I am not good at it; And, though occasionally compassionate, I am not going take a chance that the one sandwich I gave is going to buy my way into heaven. I came to understand who Jesus was and is; I also know what He did for me by giving His life, and I am putting my life and trust in that.

One of stories/parables we read about is the vineyard and those hired to work it. We find this in Matthew 20. As the day is coming to an end, the owner hires others for the same pay as those who started at day break. Having worked all day in the hot sun, they are mad and do not think that is fair, and they tell him so. Well, that is many of us, and, as I point out these things I see in scripture, this is almost word for word what I hear. These guys I sit with, steeped in their religious tradition and imposed rules, have suffered their entire lives as they restrained themselves from doing the things that “world” does. And, now they are incredulous at the possibility that God would show mercy and allow someone into the kingdom (our payment if you will), and they do not have to do anything.

Since I was taught that the guarantee of my salvation came through acceptance by faith, I am going to stick with that. Having tried gambling I can tell you that I am not good at it; And, though occasionally compassionate, I am not going hope that the one sandwich I gave a person is going to buy my way into heaven. I came to understand who Jesus was and is; I also know what He did for me by giving His life, and I am putting my life and trust in that.

Posted in bible study, Deception, End times, false teaching, Revelation, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Adventures in false teachings. Chapter one – Does the Second coming bring judgment.


After a two week interlude, our fearless leader came back to lead men’s bible study. Oh, dear Lord, save us. He did the appropriate thing by thanking the person that “lead” the group for the previous two weeks, adding, “I am sure that what you explained was excellent.” It was not, for the past weeks teaching was an attempt at defining what it means to “plead the blood” and how that you just do not hear that much about it anymore. Since there is absolutely no biblical reference to pleading the blood, nor are we directed by Jesus or Paul to do so, lacking any of those three things I see no legitimate reason to teach it or emphasize it.

Let’s get something straight here; I am not in the leader bashing business. I admit that there were moments where I wanted to send them home crying, but on the overall, I have politely raised my hand and waited to be recognized; presented scripturally based arguments while demonstrating context. And, I have shown them in Scripture the love and mercy of God in contrast to the judgment they spew out of their mouths, only to hear him respond with, this was his opinion, right or wrong, and that he was going to stick to his opinion. His refusal to adapt to the word of God and continue preaching things contrary to scripture makes him a false teacher, and he will be held responsible for the damage he has done. Of those men who sit around the table with him, the majority are confused and blindly follow him as they shake their bobble-heads in agreement.

The permanent leader opened with, “the last time we met we were studying about end times events; the Second Coming of Jesus, and our continued Contrasting the judgment of the nations with the Great White Throne judgment. So let’s pick up there.”

He emphasized that: the judgment of the nations is immediately after the “tribulation.”

I tackled every aspect of this tornado called a Bible study; it took up nine pages. I felt like I covered every aspect vigorously, but a voice in my head, that sounds very much like a lady friend who pointed out that I needed to be more succinct. It seems inspiration oft times comes in unusual moments, and I had one of those in which I saw how to break this up into chapters, as I have done before.

Before I dive in, I want to point out one huge problem in the body of Christ. We are all inundated with false teachings, wrong teachings, misconceptions, and tradition. Why do I say that? Because I experience its impact on those around me on a daily basis; And, no one seems to notice or care.

Chapter one, Judgment. Let’s stop here and talk about judgment for a moment.

The first thing I want to challenge about judgment is this horrid emphasis on punishment.

We hear it every week, and much of it is directed at the men at Bible study. Why? Because there is a degree of religious control involved. I have seen this in all of us, that lack of faith or lack of understanding that God is capable of taking care of those who are His. What kind of sick darkness permeates you that you have to yell so loudly every week about the judgment of God and direct it at so many. This attitude flies in the face of God and is contrary to the love I see in Him and the desire of His heart.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 NASB First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, (2) for kings and all who are in authority so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. (3) This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, (4) who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

So, in general, I can safely say that God has no desire to punish the world’s population.

If you are a student of the Bible, then you can see that there is the creator of the universe and Satan, the god of this world. We will either, out of love follow the author, or, because of self-imposed bondage, follow the god of this world to his tortuous end. Hell was not made for man, but man can choose to go there. If you are a Bible teacher, hopefully having a broad overview of scripture, then you should have a good grasp on the LOVE of God. Having said that, what kind of sickness permeates you to the point that you must focus on people suffering and spending eternity in torment?

I do not deny that there is judgment in scripture, nor do I deny that there is a hell.

What I am denying is that God’s sole intent is evil. Having come to understand what His nature and character are, I can tell you that he is anything but merciless. I also know that God does nothing blatantly, without any consideration. Therefore, the idea of God unjustly sending people to eternal punishment is preposterous. Since God’s judgment is associated with his wrath let’s see what enlightenment we can find on the subject.

I did a word search on the word wrath. The word, as used in the NASB, comes up 183 times. The second instance I came upon is found in the book of Numbers. Since we like to portray God as an ill-tempered character, the primary place we find this is in the Old Testament. So we will start with a reference in the book of Numbers.

Numbers 1:51-54 NIV “Whenever the tabernacle is to move, the Levites are to take it down, and whenever the tabernacle is to be set up, the Levites shall do it. Anyone else who approaches it is to be put to death. (52) The Israelites are to set up their tents by divisions, each of them in their own camp under their standard. (53) The Levites, however, are to set up their tents around the tabernacle of the covenant law so that my wrath will not fall on the Israelite community. The Levites are to be responsible for the care of the tabernacle of the covenant law.” (54) The Israelites did all this just as the LORD commanded Moses.”

This placement of the Levites is one of those; I have never heard or seen this before moments. (Sure I have, especially since I have read through the entire Bible. But this time, it meant something to me.) The Levites – the priest, and teachers of the “law” were to set themselves in-between the thing that would bring wrath and death, and the people. Not to merely keep them away from God, but to take the wrath away from them. In reading Numbers 1:51-54, I am immediately confronted by a God that shows mercy, not wanting people to die. Can you also see who has the greater responsibility here? The Levites. In modern language, the teachers, and leaders whom God has put in front us. Hey, get real here, God did not put people in front of you merely to play the fool. Over the course of time, many of our leaders and teachers became deluded by the world and ceased to be safe.

Since we see a great responsibility upon leaders, this should evoke a question. How can you keep yourself safe as a leader? You need to keep your head in the book – The Bible because that truth never changes; and, if necessary, get away from unstable people.

Another example from the Old Testament is Deuteronomy 9:8-20.

My personal paraphrase goes like this: At Horeb, you aroused the Lord’s wrath so that he was angry enough to destroy you. (What happened at Horeb? That is where they convinced Aaron to build that so-called calf, actually the god Molech upon which they would roast babies in sacrifice to an Egyptian god.) God, it seems, finds that detestable and was willing to kill anyone associated with it, including Aaron. But Moses fell upon his face before God and interceded for the people to be saved, and many were. Note to self: There is often a painful price to pay for selfish desires.

Do not think for a moment that God will only hold your hand as you walk through life and never spank you. I can tell you from experience that that is not the case. But in his judgment, I have never felt that He did not love me. Look at this:

Deuteronomy 29:24-28 NIV (24) All the nations will ask: “Why has the LORD done this to this land? Why this fierce, burning anger?” (25) And the answer will be: “It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their ancestors, the covenant he made with them when he brought them out of Egypt. (26) They went off and worshiped other gods and bowed down to them, gods they did not know, gods he had not given them. (27) Therefore the LORD’s anger burned against this land, so that he brought on it all the curses written in this book. (28) In furious anger and in great wrath the LORD uprooted them from their land and thrust them into another land, as it is now.”

The area he is referring to is Israel. Did he leave them this way? Not at all, for Israel was restored and became a nation in 1948. Does that mean they turned to God wholeheartedly and accepted Him as the Messiah? Not at all, and that is why God’s judgment and wrath are coming upon them again. But, there is hope for not all will be destroyed. Many Jews, after the rapture, will turn their hearts to Him and accept Jesus as the Messiah. Yes, they will pay the martyrs price with their heads, but eternity awaits them in the promised land, heaven.

Although there are many more references in the Old Testament to wrath, what about the New Testament. Does the New Testament speak of His wrath? Yes; how about this one, where John the Baptist challenges the Pharisees and Sadducees who wanted to be baptized by him. This act by them would have been a purely legalistic ritual.

Matthew 3:6-8 NIV Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. (7) But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? (8) Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

Lacking the grace that only came through the sacrifice of Christ, the Jews only had works to rely on as an evidence of their righteousness. And they flaunted their righteousness like jewelry.

One last piece of generalized evidence from the New Testament, though there are many, is this:

Romans 5:8-10 NIV “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! (10) For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”

Before the cross, the world had no hope, as nothing could change us. Sure, sacrificing a lamb might bring temporary relief from sins, but what happens five minutes later as you merge your camel onto the highway just in time to be cut off by some hot shot on his sports camel. And, because he is texting, you go all road rage on him, dragging him to the ground to demonstrate how mad you are? There went your righteousness, just that fast, and you cannot get your money back.

Before I leave this aspect of God’s judgment and wrath coming upon the earth. I want to focus on the Revelation itself. When the first seal is opened the result is this:

Revelation 6:15-17 KJV “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; (16) And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: (17) For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”

We find people, but what kind of individuals? “ the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man.”

Doing what? “ Hiding in the dens and the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne.”

Why? “ For the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?”

So the great down to the poor understand that this is God doing this; that this is His judgment, and, that they need to hide from His wrath.

In Revelation 11 we see that there is a time of judgment associated with God’s wrath.

Revelation 11:15-18 KJV (15) “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (16) And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshiped God, (17) Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. (18) And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou should give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth.”

What is His judgment? To “destroy them which destroy the earth.”

Do not take this concept of destruction so literal. For God to see to it that you stop breathing air merely means for you to go to sleep, until the time of final judgment. Since we see a leniency in Matthew 25 then perhaps there is hope for even the worst, but I would not count on it. The final outcome will take place at the Great White Throne where God makes the decision, based on whom you have chosen as the Lord over your life, and some will go into eternal separation from God.

Revelation 14:7 and 18:10 both speak of judgment, and they use a phrase that might give us a clue as to how long God will take complete what he needs to do. In 14:7 we see, “for the hour of his judgment is come.” While in 18:10 he says, “for in one hour is thy judgment come.” This concept of His judgment coming in an hour is not enough to make a doctrine out of, but it may answer generalized implications that God’s judgment will last for a thousand years.

One last dip into Revelation, focusing on chapter 20.

Here are two references to the word judgment. The first, in Revelation 20:4, speaks of Thrones. It is who we find sitting upon them that is the peculiarity, for they are the martyred saints. And though Jesus may be sitting on one of those, He is not mentioned. Between Revelation 20:4 and 20:11, Satan is released from his thousand-year bondage to deceived the nations. In a short period, he does an adequate job, and they attempt to do battle with God, one last time. God’s immediate response after destroying the armies is to throw Satan into the Lake of Fire, where the beast and false prophet are. It is at this point, at the end of time as we know it, that John sees a Great White Throne set up. This Great White Throne is the final judgment.

Some things to pay attention to:

The book of Revelation is the revelation of Jesus Christ, and so, when we see God sitting upon a throne, as we do in Revelation 20:11, we are seeing Jesus.

Revelation 20:12-15 tells us that “books were opened.” At least one of those books was the book of life. However, the focus of most every man in Bible study, rests upon this statement, “if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” They make the assumption that only the negative books are dealt with and seem to relish the fact that people are sent to an eternal hell – the lake of fire, along with Satan, the beast, and the false prophet.

Is it reasonable or appropriate, to pick and choose what you are going to believe as far as God is concerned?

Posted in bible study, Deception, End times, false teaching, In Christ, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What does pleading the blood mean? Subtitle: Why we don’t do this anymore.


Monday morning men’s bible study. Where every week is a fiasco and this week was no different as it initiated with:

“What does pleading the blood mean?”

It should have been subtitled,

Why we don’t do this anymore.”

Thank God we don’t.

The so-called Bible study took a broad swath through the Old Testament as the substitute leader tried desperately to find and then create scenarios from the law and other examples. Since that failed miserably, he sought to get us to consider the children of Israel, in bondage, under Egyptian rule. He said, “putting the blood on the doorposts, not only demonstrated the power of God but also showed God’s mercy, for anyone could receive that mercy by entering in under the roof of that house.” [ Go read about the Passover in Exodus 12.]

While there is some truth in what he said, it is twisted, and the implication takes God instructions far beyond the context of bringing Egypt to its knees. When you consider the nature of the angel that passed over the land, you see that it had one purpose, kill every first born. Unfortunately, the command was a blanket statement meant to force Israel into compliance as well. Painting the blood of the lamb on the door posts caused the angel to move on.

Within seconds someone said, “that mercy could have applied to the Egyptians as well.” I responded with a loud yes. The ancient one and overseer of the group gave me an odd look, so I began to elaborate. Caleb!

Caleb was not a Jew (think about why a man was a Jew), in fact, Caleb was a descendant of Esau, an Edomite, and they, in time, gave Israel a tremendous amount of grief through their descendants. And yet, Caleb attached himself to Israel in such a way, as to be one of the spies that went into the promised land and eventually received a portion of that land as an inheritance. So, yes, those Israelis could have invited any or all the Egyptians to join them under the covering of the blood because this night is going to be a bad one. We know that Caleb took advantage of that protection and never left their side. Why he even became a valiant warrior for Israel.

There are a thousand sermons one could preach on the blood. How difficult can that be when the Bible has absolutely no inference of “pleading the blood?” Yes, it is true, there is nothing in the bible about pleading the blood (assuming Jesus blood) over a person or demonized thing, which is how I primarily heard the phrase used.

If there were a moment in time where “pleading of the blood” might have come in handy would have been the time that desperate father brought his demonized child to Jesus; but, we did not see that happen. Note: The father said, I brought him to your disciples, and they could do nothing. Isn’t that odd? Look this up in Matthew’s Gospel chapter 17 verses 14-18.

How does one spend that much quality time with God and not have some rub off on you? But it did rub off; we know this because eventually, Jesus sent them out in pairs, giving them specific instructions, saying, pray in my name – Jesus name. When they came back, they were excited because even the demons responded to them in your name. So what was going on with the man and his son? Consider the number of people that followed Jesus and deemed themselves disciples, around 120. Pick one. I don’t see Judas Iscariot healing anyone, but then who knows.

As for “pleading the blood”, staying focused on ritualistic practices is nothing more than legalism, and Paul preached in opposition to that. Take the time to read Paul’s letter to the Jewish converts of the Galatian province. Here is a small portion.

Galatians 3:10-13 KJV For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (11) But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. (12) And the law is not of faith: but, The man that does them shall live in them. (13) Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree:

So, what does Scripture say about the blood?

  • Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

    Here is where you have to think. Where, and why was Jesus blood spilled out? At the cross and upon the altar. [The things in the temple were merely a copy of the heavenly things.]

  • Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross.

    Peace through his blood? Yes, that thing in us that causes us to miss the mark – continually, also separated us from God.

    Due to Adam’s treason we became owned by the god of this world, Satan. God, through his son, purchased us back to himself.

    I see two things here: The sin that separated, and someone else owning us. God resolved both of those things through the Son, and that brought the peace back. Yes, I get it. You struggle with peace, but I can guarantee you that you are not feeling that push back from God, it is all wrapped up in your inner struggles and failures. Make up your mind to run to him. He is looking for you and will run to you.

  • Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

    the blood of Christ” offered to God, so that you can purge your conscience and serve the living God.

  • Hebrews 10:19 “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,”

    We have this boldness not through pleadings, but through His act of righteousness.

  • Hebrews 12:24 “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling,..”

    He already did this, and, if you know your bible, then you know that He is never going to offer himself up again. Once was enough/sufficient.

  • 1John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

    We have a piece of wisdom that sounds like this, he who says he has no sin is deceiving himself. So, even though we have been cleansed from all sin by that blood, we still continue to sin. Now, what do we do? You remember that you have been washed by that blood, and God needs to do nothing more to make you righteous in his eyes. If you are bothered by your obvious need to sin, then make some huge adjustments and trim some people and things out of your life, especially since they are a snare to you.
    To say you have no sin just makes you look stupid, for sin, that natural propensity to miss the bulls eye, is built into us. Fortunately, there will be a day in which we will be changed, and that broken aspect of us will be fixed. Until then, stay humble and honest before Him. He likes that.

When it comes to the wild idea of pleading the blood, here is the closest thing I see:

Rev_12:11 “..they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.” Since the passage gives us nothing in explanation, it is foolish to make assumptions – that will only get you into false teaching.

Overcome = subdue

by = through the channel of an act

blood = literally of men or animals. Since sacrifice does nothing and is a merely legalistic ritual, then this has to be their blood being spilled.

If you read this in the Amplified, you get this: And they have overcome (conquered) him as a result of the blood of the Lamb and by the utterance of their testimony.”

Many people struggle with the Revelation; maybe it is our traditions that feed into this fight. Let me explain. One of the theories I hear, speaks of the Holy Spirit being removed from the earth along with the church. Two reasons why that cannot possibly be: 1. They, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one, and you are not removing God from the picture, no matter how things look. 2. It is the Holy Spirit that draws all men to the Father, and John tells us that the number of martyred for their testimony will be uncountable.

So, tradition, as in “pleading the blood” might be how they overcame. At this point, you would be making the assumption that they successfully withstood the beast. But where do you see these? In heaven among the martyred, so that did not work. Well, logic tells us that overcoming is to win against an enemy. The problem with that is you are not asking God what winning looks like, and to him, these slaughtered like lambs, they won.

Another aspect of understanding is not to overlook simple words. An example of that comes from the word “by.” When you look that word up in the Greek, you find that it means through the channel of an act. The act, in this case, would apparently be their defiance by saying NO!

Since Ephesians 6:11-18 was thrown into the mornings teachings, let’s look at that for a moment.

I suspect he brought it up because it mentions blood. So, let’s look at this together.

Ephesians 6:11-18 KJV Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (13) Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (14) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (15) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (18) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Okay, this is one of those context things. In the statement, Paul says, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood.” Since, in truth, we fight every day, and those opponents, especially those with big mouths, look like humans it is easy to lose focus and think that your enemy is people. They are not, our battle is entirely spiritual as you stand against highly active fallen angels, who are motivating people to do evil.

I think the second reason he tossed this out is that he believes that “the blood” should be part of our spiritual arsenal. While that might seem reasonable to you, it is not unless Scripture teaches on it or demonstrates it in use. Without either of those things happening in scripture, this concept of pleading the blood of Jesus is nothing more than a fairy tale and a tradition.

There could be a third reason. However, it is purely emotional. For a variety of reasons I left the Assemblies of God in my early twenties, and none of them were because I hated it. Consider that if you are brought up in an atmosphere, you will either despise it someday or always have some fond emotional attachment to it. So, as a young man, I frequently heard things like “pleading the blood;” although this may have been mostly at home, there is still a familiar comfort associated with the phrase. Does that make the saying right, healthy, or godly? No, it just makes it familiar.

If you understand the concept of brainwashing at all, then you know that creation of a perverted familiarity is a very useful tool for getting people to adjust their “normal” behavior. An example: violent, gory, war games. They are one of the tools used to get young men prepared to kill the enemy, especially when the enemy looks like a human being with thoughts, feelings, and family like yours. If you make them nothing more than a target with no consequence, then it is easy to treat others without regard. What do you think motivates gang mentality?

No doubt, Jesus blood was spilled at the cross, and there is no question that the same blood was splashed upon the heavenly altar and utensils, but it also brought cleansing and atonement for our sins, just as the lambs that were slain under the Old Testament law. When Jesus came, with him came forgiveness – a making of all things right in God’s eyes. What Jesus did in His death and resurrection, paved the way for our return to fellowship with the Father, but do we do that? No, most do not, but the number that does is uncountable.

Posted in bible study, Deception, false teaching, healing, Hope, Revelation, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Drunk with the wine of her immorality – The woman in purple.


My pastor gave us the heads up that he would be teaching on prophecy recently; that day has come and gone, but the ripple effect has continued for several weeks. The subject was, “Where is the United States in Bible Prophecy?” He has been our pastor for a little over a year and thankfully he has delved into end times prophecy on several occasions.

One of the points he tried to make in this particular sermon had to do with the woman clothed in purple. He stated that the woman represented the church. Just hearing this throws up a string of red flags for me, and this was only one of the issues I had. So let’s talk about this.

As I sat with several of the men, one who goes to the church said, “wasn’t that a great talk? He covered it all so well.” I am learning to soften my blows so as not to dishearten someone so excited. I responded by saying, yes, he made his point well, but there were points he made that I take issue with. The Apostle Paul ran into people like this but he did not let it bother him. On the contrary, he seemed to admire their tenacity to search the scriptures. In Paul’s case, they were the Berean’s, and they found what Paul said to be true. Sadly, as I sit in church, “bible studies”, and more casual conversations with people who should be skillful in God’s word, I hear opinion and tradition preached as gospel, along with bold statements, such as, the woman in purple represents the church, without anything of substance to back up the claim.

The Apostle Paul ran into people like this but he did not let it bother him. On the contrary, he seemed to admire their tenacity to search the scriptures. In Paul’s case, they were the Berean’s, and they found what Paul said to be true. Sadly, as I sit in church, “bible studies”, and more casual conversations with people who should be skillful in God’s word, I hear opinion and tradition preached as gospel, along with bold statements, such as, the woman in purple represents the church, without anything of substance to back up the claim.

There is a horrendous problem in having someone like a pastor make blatant statements, such as, “the woman in purple is the church.” The problem emanates from his  place of authority as many,  sitting in the pews, merely accept what he says as law without challenge. Another issue has to do with the terminology. As the Pastor makes the claim that this woman is the church. Since no direct correlation to scripture was given, the audience is left to make the assumption that there is one. Presumptions then are made about the Catholic church, associating it with Revelation 17:9 CJB which states: “This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven hills on which the woman is sitting; also they are seven kings.” But did the pastor clarify that there are many cities that sit upon seven hills, including Jerusalem? No, so, once again we are led to potentially false conclusions because of a man’s position.

Am I to make a blanket statement indicating all blame falls back on the “believer”, as we should be taking the time to study on our own. And, therefore not be subject to false teaching because we read on own? Think about the advent of the printing press, which, in time, made it possible for many to have a copy of the scriptures. The early church and let’s take this all the back to Paul’s day. In the majority, converts were Jewish that had come to accept Jesus as the Messiah. No one, except for synagogue elders, would have been permitted to touch the scrolls because of their rarity, fragility, and expense. That means all training in the scriptures would have done through oral teaching. Now, tell me how the masses could have possibly been held responsible for a lack of understanding? Jump forward to today, where many, like myself, have ten copies of the bible, many of which collected dust for years.

In light of false teachings and our lack of understanding let’s talk about this woman in purple.

Since he initiated the study in the Revelation, I did a concordance search within the book for the word woman. The NASB produced 15 references, but, as I took the time to study these out, I found that there are only three women: Jezebel, Israel, and a final, seductive entity, clothed in purple, and identified as “that city Babylon.”

The first woman you meet in Revelation is Jezebel.

Revelation 2:20 ‘But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.

At the time of this writing, the historical Jezebel, the one every Jew makes an association with, is long since dead. Now, it is even remotely possible that there is a continuous string of women, with the same name, having a similar adverse impact on the church body, while acting like the ancient, evil one by the same name? Probably not; so, what are we looking for? Most likely something spiritual, demonic, and deadly. Keep that idea in mind.

The next woman we see is distinctly Israel and takes up the entire twelfth chapter of the Revelation. For the sake of space, I suggest you read it yourself. (Revelation 12:1-17 MKJV)

The last woman, while being undefined and nameless, is introduced to us as a harlot. Several translations call her a whore. This is the woman in purple. Again I urge you to read Revelation 17:1-18 independently.

Some points to consider:

Revelation 17:1 NASB “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters,”

  • She is brought into our view so that we can know that this entity will be judged.

  • Note that it sits on many waters.

If this is something like the Illuminati or Bilderberg group, it is well-known that these people, who think they are in control, supersede all government, and come from every corner of the earth.

One of the methods of gaining clarity and understanding is to let scripture interpret scripture. The following is an example of that and applies to verse one.

Revelation 17:2 NASB with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.”

  • This is an entity that has served in the role of a harlot/whore, with whom the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality.

How could all the kings, throughout all time, have committed their acts of evil with one woman? They could not, so this has to be something more, something spiritual.

There is still a clue buried within verse two. Note where it says “those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.” Perhaps the answer lies in 1 John 2: 15-16.

1 John 2:15-16 NASB “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life is not from the Father, but is from the world.”

  • So these “kings” are apparently indulging in everything that opposes God.

They have no love for the Father for they do not know Him. They feed their lusts (desires) and their pride, at the cost of the populace.

  • What makes this even worse, is that the tortured populace are too drunk pursuing their desires to pay attention or do anything to stop the cruelty of the rich.

If this seems ridiculous, then try to explain how we have voted traitorous people into office and then reelected them again and again after they have obviously destroyed everything we stand for.

“a woman sitting on a scarlet beast”

Revelation 17:3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns.

Both this woman and the woman of Revelation 12 are found in the wilderness. If, the woman of Revelation 17 is Islamic and means to harm Israel, then perhaps it would make sense to find her in this wilderness. But keep in mind, that the woman in purple only possesses physicality in her scattered lovers; while the beast, however, is a somewhat unified body with a central leader. The beast fits the Islamic description more closely when you think about it.

An obvious thing to note is what she is sitting upon “ a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns.” What do I make of this; that the “beast” is backed, supported, and used at the whim of the lustful wealthy of the earth? Do you know anything about the Rothschild family? They have funded both sides of every “modern” war. Why, because wars create opportunities for the wealthy and evoke economies.

Revelation 17:6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly.

“I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus.” This entity called a woman, sounds nothing like the church, for she clearly has a hand in killing off the Saints. As I tried to explore some possibilities other than the Catholic church, with a small gathering of men, one of them had to point out the damage done by the Catholic church in the crusades.

A short synopsis.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: “The Crusades were a series of intermittent Papal sanctioned military campaigns beginning in the late 11th century. They commenced with a call to arms by Pope Urban II who was responding to a request for military support for the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Emperor, Alexios I, needed military reinforcements for the conflict with the westward migrating Turks in Anatolia. Historians debate Urban and the Crusader’s primary motivations. One of Urban’s stated aims was to guarantee pilgrims access to the holy sites in the Holy Land that were under Muslim control while his wider strategy may have been to establish himself as head of the united Church and bringing together the Eastern and Western branches of Christendom that had been divided since their split in 1054. What is known though is the unprecedented response to Urban’s preaching and the basis it established for later crusades. Hundreds of thousands of people from many different classes across Western Europe became crusaders by taking a public vow and receiving plenary indulgences from the church. Some were peasants hoping for Apotheosis at Jerusalem. Urban preached that anyone who participated would be forgiven by God of all their sins. In addition, some historians argue that participation satisfied feudal obligations and provided opportunities for economic and political gain.”

I get it; horrible things have been done in the name of religion, but I cannot buy into the “woman clothed in purple” as being the Catholic church. Besides, watch how scripture answers our question about who this is.

Revelation 17:9 “Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits,

Verse nine requires thought, much more thought than the traditional answer. I did a quick internet search for cities that sit on seven hills, and there are many, including Jerusalem.

English: The Vatican.

English: The Vatican. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

A List of cities claimed to be built on seven hills:

  • Amman, Jordan

    A very Westernized Arab country east of Jerusalem. They recently made the news as their president put on his uniform and flew into battle, a retaliatory move against ISIS for murdering one of Jordan’s pilots.

     

  • Istanbul, Turkey

    An aspect of Asia Minor, where the Apostle Paul did a great deal of his preaching.

     

  • Jerusalem, Israel

    During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.[5] The part of Jerusalem called the City of David was settled in the 4th millennium BCE.[6] In 1538, walls were built around Jerusalem under Suleiman the Magnificent. Today those walls define the Old City, which has been traditionally divided into four quarters—known since the early 19th century as the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters.[7] The Old City became a World Heritage Site in 1981 and is on the List of World Heritage in Danger.[8] Modern Jerusalem has grown far beyond the Old City’s boundaries.

     

  • Moscow, Russia

    Moscow has acquired a number of epithets, most referring to its size and preeminent status within the nation: The Third Rome (Третий Рим), and this interesting name – The First Throne (Первопрестольная), [From Wikipedia]

     

  • Rome, Italy

    After the fall of the Western Empire, which marked the beginning of the Middle Ages, Rome slowly fell under the political control of the Papacy, which had settled in the city since the 1st century AD, until in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870.

     

Beginning with the Renaissance, almost all the popes since Nicholas V (1422–55) pursued coherently along four hundred years an architectonic and urbanistic program aimed to make of the city the world’s artistic and cultural center.[8] Due to that, Rome became first one of the major centers of the Italian Renaissance,[9] and then the birthplace of both the Baroque style and Neoclassicism. Famous artists, painters, sculptors, and architects made Rome the center of their activity, creating masterpieces throughout the city. In 1871 Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, and in 1946 that of the Italian Republic.[From Wikipedia]

While verse nine “The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits,” is something that can throw you for a loop, verse 18 tells us explicitly what this woman is.

Revelation 17:18 “The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.”

The word “sits” in Revelation 17:9 is the Greek word kathemai and also means: to have a fixed abode, or to dwell. Since we recognize that this entity, represented as a woman, is primarily a demonic, spiritual being, how then can we give it physical traits? We also know that fallen angels/demons are incredibly powerful and have particular regional assignments. So, I can assume that this one has a task that also impacts a group of “kings of the earth” as they get drunk with the wine of her immorality?

Remember what I described the woman as in the beginning of this post?

“An entity that has acted in the role of a harlot/whore, with whom the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality.”

How could all the kings, throughout all time, have committed their acts of immorality with one woman? They could not, so this has to be something more; something spiritual.”

How can this be physical and spiritual at the same time? Not likely, is it.

The questions this symbolic woman poses exposes our need to study to find the relationship between the beginnings of Babel (Babylon) and this whore.

I pointed out how 1 John 2:15-16 tells us: “ not to love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life is not from the Father, but is from the world.” This is but another clue that helps our comprehension.

An obvious factor to some would be the almost strictly bible study nature of this post. Well, much of that stems from the foolish and unskilled responses I get from “learned” people. Spend a fair amount of time in church and you will hear about giftings of the Holy Spirit. Because, like a multi-level marketing scheme, the church needs new life and members to stay fresh and alive, they will emphasize evangelism. Pastor Greg Laurie is an amazing example of an evangelist, but I can tell you emphatically, that evangelism is not my calling. Teaching is.

Here is my shot at evangelism: Whether you agree or not, you need Jesus. He paid a huge price to redeem you out of the slavery to sins demands. While sins are forgiven, ignoring his love will not be treated the same. You see, to ignore him tends to put us in the category of those will worship the beast, take his mark, and worship his image. Those three things will seal your fate. If I was not a good gambler, and I am not, then trying to push the boundaries of God’s grace would not be a good thing for me. An example might come from having “them” drag my children in front of me and do horrendous things. What would I do? The answer is, I don’t know, and that can be a huge problem because I might just collapse and give in. That is one reason I would not want to take that chance. Besides that, God loved me. He proved that on the cross and I have experienced that love. It is beyond anything this world has offered me, and since it is personal and experiential, you will just have to experience it for yourself. It all started with, Jesus, make yourself real to me.

Posted in bible study, Deception, End times, Prophetic, Revelation, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Attempting to understand Matthew 25:31-46. Chapter three continues to look at the nations and the sheep.


It is evident to me that some of my greatest impacts have come from exposing my frailties and successes in recovery. We all have things that push our limits, and false teachers are one of mine. I subject myself to some of them every Monday. My girlfriend asks me why I keep going if it makes me so angry, I have given that much thought, and I think I stay there because I need fellowship and the twisted concepts they conjure, give me a good measure of how confused the majority of us are. This confusion is why I have a burning desire to teach the Bible.

I want you to understand something. I am not naive; I know I cannot change anybody. But, what if I could get people to think and then apply some logic and knowledge to the Word of God. Maybe then we would not say things like the Revelation is difficult and we will probably never understand it.

Continuing with our look at Matthew 25: 31- 46.

I am a huge advocate of context, and since the passage, I want to begin with picks up in mid-sentence let’s bring those that do not follow closely up to speed.

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;” (Matthew 25:31-32 NASB)

In the word picture Jesus paints:

  • He comes in his glory.

  • Angels come with Him. (Not to mention the saints.)

  • He will sit upon His glorious throne.

  • The nations are gathered before Him

  • And, out of this crowd, He separates them (as though a judgment or assessment has taken place.)

Why should or would any of this be important?

Because as a Jew you would have been expecting the Messiah to come back in this manner.

When Jesus comes in his glory

When Jesus comes in his glory

One of the biggest problems in the “Christian church” is that we have cast aside our understanding and acknowledgment of our root-stock – Israel. This lack of knowledge is probably the main reason our Bible study leaders tell us things like the Revelation is a hard book to understand. The good news for us “Gentile” followers of Christ is that we were adopted – grafted into the good root stock and therefore have every right to the same information and rich heritage that Israel had. Now, because this background information was meant to be essential to the root stock, perhaps this knowledge should be something that excites us as well.

We know that Israel awaits the Messiah. Sadly, Jesus, the Messiah, has already come, but he was not accepted, and thus, God’s anger comes against Israel (Take the time to read Jeremiah chapter 5.) The good news is that followers of Christ get to bypass God’s wrath that is coming upon the earth as the prelude to the physical return of Jesus.

For people everywhere report how you welcomed us and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus, our deliverer from the coming wrath. (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 NET.)

But since we are of the day, we must stay sober by putting on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet our hope for salvation. For God did not destine us for wrath but for gaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that whether we are alert or asleep we will come to life together with him. (1 Thessalonians 5:8-10 NET.)

One other quick thing.

Since we accepted Christ, a profound and lasting relationship, we have transitioned from being Gentiles into being the Church.

Alright, take notes here. There are only three people groups in the world, as far as God and the Bible are concerned. They are The Jews; the Church, and, the Nations/Gentiles. If you are a follower of Christ, even though you came out of the nations or were first a Jew, you are now part of the group known as the Church.

The Jews anticipated the Messiah’s coming in this manner before they were Jews.

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith, he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow-heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:8-10 NASB)

Abraham was not a Jew unless you wish to deem him one because he subjected himself to the sign of the covenant agreement he made with God through circumcision. Even then, the number of them were not called Jews until much later in their history, after Judah. For the longest time, we see the nation referred to as Israel, and this begins with the captivity in Egypt. So, long before there was a Jew, there was this man, Abraham. A man who believed God. And he, with no concept of what was to come, looked for this home, “whose architect and builder is God.”

All the nations will be gathered before Him.”

In trying to understand who the nations are I have to ask some questions:

  • What is the context of the question that evoked this response?

    The question asked by the Jewish disciples was a response to Jesus saying the temple will be destroyed almost immediately after they elaborated on its greatness, as they walked toward the Mount of Olives. They asked two questions: One had to do with the destruction of the temple, while the other was specific to the time when He would come back as the Messiah. (Remember, the disciples did not grasp who He was until sometime after His resurrection.)

  • What is a Jewish understanding of the nations?

    In giving Israel its admonition to go and take the land, God tells them what He will do to the nations.

    Exodus 34:24 NASB “For I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your borders,..”

    An aspect of Israel’s understanding is that the nations have caused them to stumble and fall.

    Leviticus 18:24 NET. ” ‘Do not defile yourselves with any of these things, for the nations which I am about to drive out before you have been defiled with all these things.

    And, there is an expectation of judgment coming upon the nations.

    The LORD of hosts has sworn saying, “Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand, to break Assyria in My land, and I will trample him on My mountains. Then his yoke will be removed from them and his burden removed from their shoulder. “This is the plan devised against the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out against all the nations. “For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?” (Isaiah 14:24-27 NASB)

  • And, who are the sheep?

    Since God has gathered the nations, it does not seem reasonable to think that any of these would be remnants of Israel. The nations were always the enemies of Israel/God. In the light of the Christian church, they are also perceived as those outside of a relationship with Christ. Sheep, on the other hand, are always God people. An example would be:

    “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have allowed them to go astray…” (Jeremiah 50:6 NET.)

    However, it appears, based upon Israels own actions, that Israel has been deemed not to belong to God. (I highly recommend you read Jeremiah chapter 5 to get a better understanding of how God comes to this decision about Israel, His sheep.)

Jeremiah 5:9-11 MKJV Shall I not judge for these things? Says Jehovah. And shall not My soul be avenged on such a nation as this? (10) Go up on her vine-rows and destroy, but do not make a full end; take away her branches, for they are not Jehovah’s. (11) CJBi “For the house of Isra’el and the house of Y’hudah have thoroughly betrayed me,” says Adonai.

So Israel’s actions cut many of them off from God and categorized them as being among the nations.

It is possible that you read passages like Matthew 25:32-46 you find yourselves asking, why no one else gets the benefit of God’s mercy at this time? And that leads me into the next section, so stay tuned.

iScripture quotations are taken from the Complete Jewish Bible, Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. Published by Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. www.messianicjewish.net/jntp. Distributed by Messianic Jewish Resources Int’l. www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Posted in bible study, End times, In Christ, Prophetic, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Strongholds and the voices in my head.


As the morning Bible study opened this week it was evident that something was different; half the men were not there. There is another group I am involved in which had at least twenty people attending when I first joined them, and it has dwindled down to two, myself and the remaining leader. I had seen this occur on several occasions, as well as when it happened to a group I co-led. I know what the lousy, demonic voice in my head says, “you played a role in their leaving”, but I know that is a lie. If you hear that kind of garbage in your head, then you need to take authority over it in the name of Jesus. If you don’t and allow that voice to rule your life, then you have made a stronghold out of it, given a foothold to the enemy of our souls – Satan, and, presented him with the freedom to torture you in other ways as well.

Long before I got involved in recovery I was hurting, and desperately began reaching out to anyone I thought would listen. Sadly, most turned their backs and walked away. A lady friend, a prophetic woman, stopped me one day and said, “you are drawing these (hurtful) people to you!” I could just picture myself walking around with a sign on my back that says, kick me! No one in their right mind would do that. To be honest, I was furious. Months later I heard God say this in explanation, “Because of agreements you made with the enemy, you have given Satan an open door into your life. And, because he knows your triggers, he is sending these people to you to keep you occupied, defeated, and distracted from what I have called you to do.” I am telling you this because this kind of attack, (and yes, there is depression and anxiety wrapped up in it,) has eaten up far too much of my life.

Another example of how the enemy attacked comes from a time when I was 25, shortly before I got married the first time. Not understanding how co-dependent I was I was not even trying to draw boundaries, nor was I in agreement with how God felt about me and therefore sought to find my identity in a beautiful girl (a classic mistake.) A youth pastor, from the church I grew up in, was leading a Bible study and the woman I was engaged to, went to it once. That man, allowing himself to be used by the devil, said to my future wife, “why are you going to marry that loser?” and said my name. He did this in front of the group because that was a sarcastic pattern with him. Foolishly, my fiance told me. Here is the problem; I allowed that comment to become a stronghold, that then fueled a raging hatred. In my mind, I built a prison and put him in it. I demanded recompense and retribution, things I came to realize he could never pay. I wasted so many years oiling the prison doors and keeping the rust off the bars; and, the only person that suffered because of my demands was me.

That same lady friend again stopped me one day, and said, You need to forgive these people you hold in your prison, who have hurt you. They can never repay the debt they owe you. And, as long you try to stay in control of your life and surroundings you are playing God, and God will never be a part of that. You have to forgive them! I had heard my mother use that phrase “forgive them” so many times, but when she said it, it meant be co-dependent and don’t you dare have boundaries. Just keep sticking your face out there and let them slap you. I told my friend, I do not even know what it means to forgive. She responded with the simplest of answers, “You release those people from the debt you think they owe you!”

We all find it easy to say, “I don’t know why it is so hard to (insert the hurtful attitude/habit you do not want to give up here) _______ ?” It’s only hard because you believe you have control, and therefore, go around doing God’s job. In your mind, you bring the constant pain upon them (yeah right). All the while your personal life is like a plane spiraling out of control toward the ground. One of the concepts you learn in Recovery is that you are powerless over persons and things.

By the way, I never did anything to this pastor I mentioned, outside of being friends with a young man that broke a bobble head ornament he purchased. He, like most perpetrators, merely chose me to be one of his victims, the target of what he thought was humorous abuse. Many of you have been subjected to abuses and need to forgive them. Here is what I said that gave me freedom again. “I release you, [insert name here], from any debts I think you owe me. You do not owe me anymore, in the name of Jesus.”

Did they owe me? Not really; in my head I suppose they did, but then we have all been forgiven a sin debt that none of us could pay; And, we were released from the punishment associated with that debt – sin. Consider that.

Posted in Freedom from sin, healing, Hope, In Christ, recovery, Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments