Jonah – Dispelling some myths. Chapter one.

Recently Jonah was used as an example in a talk someone was giving. The speaker noted the mercy of God for He preserved Jonah alive in that fish for three days. This example is just one of the vast derivations and assumptions on the Jonah narrative. Very few of them have any understanding of what happened, nor do they demonstrate the truths buried within the story.

Typically, our lead into Jonah comes from the book after his name, where it tells us:

Jonah 1:1-3 MKJV And the Word of Jehovah came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2) Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their evil has come up before Me.

However, that is not what Jonah did. Because of his actions, we make huge assumptions about the man and leave off pertinent information. Continuing with verse three we Jonah on a ship to Tarshish, hoping to get out of God’s sight.

3) But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of Jehovah. And he went down to Joppa. And he found a ship going to Tarshish. And he gave its fare, and went down into it, in order to go with them to Tarshish, away from the sight of Jehovah.

Try to find maps showing Tarshish from the time of Jonah, and you will see that they are nonexistent. Most place the location of Tarshish on the Southern tip of Spain. These days, there is a town called Tarshish in Lebanon. That location, however, does not work for the story as Jonah was attempting to run in the opposite direction, and Lebanon would have been a rest stop along the way.

We have to go to another book of the Bible to find Jonah’s hometown and his familial background.

When we learn of Jonah in 2 Kings 14:25, it is as a side note in the life of Jeroboam, who restored the borders of Israel from the entrance of Hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah. This act of rebuilding the borders of Israel takes on immense significance when you realize that Hamath was north of Damascus, and the region of Arabah was south beyond the dead sea. And, this action was foretold through a prophetic word given by Jonah. Since we know that Jeroboam lived from 793-752BC, then we can also assume that the restoration of the border of Israel would have been toward the end of Jeroboam’s life. With a minimal amount of research, we can understand that the word spoken by Jonah was before the restoration of the border.

2 Kings 14:25 MKJV He (Jeroboam) restored the border of Israel from the entering of Hamath to the sea of the plain, according to the Word of Jehovah, the God of Israel which He spoke by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher.

The passage explains Jonah to us as: “the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gath-hepher.”

I can understand this statement two ways:

  1. Jonah, a prophet, was the son of Amittai;

  2. Or, Jonah was the son of Amittai, who was also a prophet.

From 2 Kings 14:25, I can approximate about where Jonah was when he opted to catch a boat ride to Tarshish. Because Gath is in Northern Judah, it would have logical to find a boat ride at one of the local ports, and that is what we see.

This familial relationship is not that uncommon as many of the prophets were sons of the priest or high priests in the old testament; nor is it essential. However, their family backgrounds and education would have allowed for training in oratory skills and may have played a role in their ability to stand before kings.

When we look at the book of Jonah, the Expositor’s Bible commentary tells us that the date range is about 539-331 B.C and this would put Jonah in Nineveh long after the restoration of the border of Israel.

What we typically hear when we hear the name, Jonah.

Jonah is now on a boat ride to Tarshish to escape from God and his directive to go to Nineveh.

Albert Barnes commentary points out that, “It has been asked, “How could a “prophet” imagine that he could flee from the presence of God?” Plainly he could not. Jonah, so conversant with the Psalms, doubtless knew well the Psalm of David (Psalm 139:7,) “Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit, and whither shall I flee from thy presence?” He could not but know, what every instructed Israelite knew. And so critics should have known that such could not be the meaning.”

“How could a “prophet” imagine that he could flee from the presence of God?”, seems like a good question; the answer of which should have been understood by Jonah.

Dake’s commentary aspect of his Bible, tells us:

The book (Jonah) is a story of a bigoted Jew who, after being chastened by the Lord for disobedience, preached to and converted the whole city of Nineveh.

Bigoted seems like a harsh word, especially since I grew up during a time of intense racial bigotry.

Bigoted, – Means to be obstinately and blindly attached to some creed, opinion, practice or ritual; unreasonably devoted to a system or party, and illiberal towards the opinions of others.

What would drive a man to such hatred? J Vernon McGee, a man who had a doctorate in Theological studies, states:

Assyria was one of the most brutal nations of the ancient world. They were feared and dreaded by all the peoples of that day. They used very cruel methods of torture and could extract information from their captives very easily. … As an army, the Assyrians moved in an unusual manner. One of the reasons the Babylonians were able to overcome them was the slowness of the march of the Assyrian army. They took their families with them and had very little order in the army. They moved as a mob across the countryside. It is very easy to see that their disorder would militate against them. However, when they moved down like a plague of locusts upon a town or village, it is said that they were so feared and dreaded that on some occasions an entire town would commit suicide rather than fall into the hands of the brutal Assyrians.”

2Kings and 2Chronicles both speak of years of tribute paid to Assyria, and how Israel went into captivity for generations at the hands of Assyria. Jonah would have been witness to much of this. To put it bluntly, they were cruel people and Jonah would rather have seen them dead.

If you believed that God would strike these people dead, why would this provoke your attempt to run from God? This logic does not make sense. However, if Jonah knew something about God that we are not privy to at this point, then we need to understand what that is because it is the most potent motivation behind Jonah’s attempt to flee from God’s mission. We don’t find out what this motivation is until the last chapter of the book.

Jonah 4:2 NET. He prayed to the LORD and said, “Oh, LORD, this is just what I thought would happen when I was in my own country. This is what I tried to prevent by attempting to escape to Tarshish! — because I knew that you are gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in mercy, and one who relents concerning threatened judgment.

What evidence does Jonah have that God is prone to show mercy?

Exodus 33:19 NET. … I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy.”

Psalms 78:38 NET. Yet he is compassionate. He forgives sin and does not destroy. He often holds back his anger, and does not stir up his fury.

Psalms 86:5 NET. Certainly O Lord, you are kind and forgiving, and show great faithfulness to all who cry out to you.

Being the son of Amittai, the prophet, Jonah would have been well schooled in the Torah and Talmud and knew the nature and character of God. This nature and character are concepts that are in complete opposition to the leader of the morning bible study, which, once again spoke of God bringing everyone, except for those who have accepted Christ under standard, strict oversight, before the great white throne and sending them to hell.

We now find Jonah out on the ocean, in a storm.

Jonah 1:4, 5 NET. But the LORD hurled a powerful wind on the sea. Such a violent tempest arose on the sea that the ship threatened to break up! The sailors were so afraid that each cried out to his own god and they flung the ship’s cargo overboard to make the ship lighter. Jonah, meanwhile, had gone down into the hold below deck, had lain down, and was sound asleep.

Things that catch my attention here:

  1. Brenton’s translation – “and there was a great storm on the sea, and the ship was in danger of being broken.”

  2. NASB “Then the sailors became afraid, and every man cried to his god,”

  3. MKJV “And they threw out the ship’s articles in the ship, into the sea in order to lighten it.”

  4. NASB “But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep.”

The fact that each sailor cried out to his god says a lot. This action is contrary to what we see in the world we live in now.

Jonah 1:6 NASB So, the captain approached him and said, “How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.”

Sleeping? There was little he could do above deck, for Jonah was not a sailor. He was, however, a man of God, with particular skill sets. Having the captain approach him might not be that unusual, but then I am projecting forward to modern standards where there would have been an insistence upon wearing a life vest, but not in this era; safety standards would have been minimal at best. What does the captain say? “Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.” It was surprising, years ago, to hear how common it was in India for a family to express worship to many gods, Jehovah, being one of them. Much like you might see in gambling, they are just hedging their bets to protect against the odds that they chose the wrong god.

Jonah 1:7 NASB Each man said to his mate, “Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity has struck us.” So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.

This is no different than gambling. How odd that the dice would point to Jonah. God uses the most unusual methods and people to convey His message.

Jonah 1:8 CEV They started asking him, “Are you the one who brought all this trouble on us? What business are you in? Where do you come from? What is your country? Who are your people?”

A highly superstitious lot, maybe not so much. Having done some fishing, I like to take bananas as a snack. They are a self-contained, clean food; so easy to open, and filling. However, the men who work the boat, and those who fall prey to superstitions, start crying foul as they believe that bananas bring bad luck. Hogwash!

I cannot read these next words without hearing them come forth with authority and power.

Jonah 1:9 CJB He answered them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear Adonai, the God of heaven, who made both the sea and the dry land.”

Watch their reaction.

Jonah 1:10 CJB At this the men grew very afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done?” For the men knew he was trying to get away from Adonai, since he had told them.

Pay attention to this eye-opening statement. “For the men knew he was trying to get away from Adonai, since he had told them.” I checked multiple commentaries trying to find something that told me who the author of Jonah was, for it does not make sense. Look, I am not a grammarian; I use a paid aid to correct my grammar, but I picked up on the fact that the book is written in the third person. If you were writing about yourself would point out the flaws? Maybe not, most historians were selective about the information they gave us. Based on what we see in verse nine, there is no indication that Jonah revealed why he was here. We, as church-going folk, don’t like to acknowledge our flaws, and yet, there it is, and he told them.

Jonah 1:11 CJB They asked him, “What should we do to you, so that the sea will be calm for us?”—for the sea was getting rougher all the time.

They asked him, …What should we do to you?” They had no clue. What if this man’s god is as ominous as some have portrayed? Throwing a man overboard did not seem to be high on the list of things to do. Jonah’s answer.

Jonah 1:12 CJB “Pick me up,” he told them, “and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will be calm for you; because I know, it’s my fault that this terrible storm has come over you.”

Whoa. Think about this a moment. They may be lost at sea for all we know, with no hope of swimming to land; they are being pushed severely by winds, and battered by waves to the point that the boat is close to destruction. Whatever load they were hauling, is now lost, and anyone going into the ocean will be lost and dead in a matter of minutes. I can appreciate the brevity of this, having experienced several overnight fishing trips myself; one skipper decided to inform us that, “in this chop, even with the deck lights on, if someone does not have eyes on you in the water, we will not be able to find you, and you will drown!”

This may be hard for most readers to handle, but Jonah asked the crew to assist him in committing suicide.

Does he care about the potential outcome of his actions? Considering what he has already done, foolishly deciding to run from God, and, making it clear that he does not want anything to do with the Assyrians, I don’t think so.

What does the crew do? They tried to ignore Jonah’s ludicrous request.

Jonah 1:13 CJB Nevertheless, the men rowed hard, trying to reach the shore. But they couldn’t, because the sea kept growing wilder against them.

The crew rowed harder. Still, the conditions got worse.

Jonah 1:14 CJB Finally they cried to Adonai, “Please, Adonai, please! Don’t let us perish for causing the death of this man, and don’t hold us to account for shedding innocent blood; because you, Adonai, have done what you saw fit.”

Somewhere in this process, the crew had made their decision. They knew Jonah would die.

Jonah 1:15 JPS So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea; and the sea ceased from its raging.

Issues we need to address at this point.

  • I mentioned deck lights, but, as you can imagine, they had none. The description of an incident I experienced, happened around eleven P.M., making the telling of the story relevant to the passengers who stood at the aft rail, in rough seas, while underway, and necessary for safety reasons. But there is nothing in the story that tells us it is nighttime. What we do have is Jonah going below to sleep; this leads us to believe that it was night.

    Having experienced seasickness, the way I fought it off was to go to sleep in a bunk. Did Jonah have seasickness and therefore slept? We don’t know. I am merely pointing how quickly we make assumptions. Assumptions will get us in trouble, and we are trying to avoid misunderstandings.

  • So, let’s assume it was daylight. A boat, large enough to have two decks does not equate to an ocean-borne freighter, and so a safe assumption would be that it was getting tossed about like a toy. We have no information about the size of the crew and therefore might have been simply a captain and two crew members. Nonetheless, having a man go into a rough ocean like this, would have meant his death.

  • So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea; and the sea ceased from its raging.”

    Translations range from ceased, to immediately. If the sea stopped immediately, why then did they not get Jonah? An obvious answer is that they made the correlation between their problems and having the man onboard.

    But then, why do we get large choppy waves on any body of water? Disturbances, primarily from the wind. We know that they were experiencing a brutal wind storm. So, what stopped? The wind, and we recognize that they saw the correlation between throwing Jonah in the water and the wind stopping. However, it was going to take some time for the water to return to its normal rolling condition. Regardless, Jonah could not and would not survive. And yet, it seems he did. We will pursue that soon, in the next chapter.

Even in the midst of our worst decisions, God still comes through in unusual ways.

Jonah 1:16 JPS Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly; and they offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.

The men, seeing how the God of Jonah, had an immediate impact on the weather, feared the Lord exceedingly. A small portion of Gill’s commentary reads, “they feared him, not only because they saw his power in raising and stilling the tempest, but his goodness to them in saving them. Think this entire scenario through for a moment.

  • Because one man runs from God and His mission, it would seem that God is willing to kill everyone on the boat.

  • Jonah effectively asks the crew to kill him, and, in time, they do. Does God show anger toward anyone involved? No.

  • Since Jonah is apparently dead, the weather lies down. The crew of the boat sees a correlation between tossing Jonah in the sea as the effect on the wind is immediate; the waves, not so much. Regardless, the crew now make commitments to the God of Jonah.

What is it that we do when we come to the Lord?

  • We demonstrate some faith in Jesus Christ, the one who paid our debts in full.

    Some might regard this motion of ours toward God, as something done out of fear of the Lord. While it is true that many promote coming to the Lord out of fear, this “fear” we speak of is more of respect. The crew of the boat indeed found great respect for the Lord they did not know, that day.

  • The crew “offered a sacrifice unto the LORD.”

    Look at the context of the words once again. NASB “Then the men feared the LORD greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.” The word sacrifice – is to slaughter. If this all happened on the boat, what was left to slaughter?

  • And, under the religious umbrella, we make our own vows.

    For example: We make a commitment to the Lord, much like we do in marriage. However, we all know that commitment is only as strong as our backbone. Fortunately, Jesus side of the commitment is built on a stronger foundation; a sin free foundation, and therefore He says things like – I will never leave you or forsake; Or, speaking to the Father, he says, “all that you have given me I have kept, and, “no one can take them out of my hand.” Strong words I realize, but nonetheless true.

It is is not clear to me who wrote the book of Jonah, for I can see that it is written in the third person dialogue (as if one had been standing back watching and is now telling you what they saw.) If Jonah wrote the book in that manner, as most agree he did, is he then merely taking for granted that this crew (we assume they are gentiles) changed their hearts and suddenly offered up a sacrifice to God. We make these leaps of assumption because:

  • Jonah came from the same area as the Philistines, and therefore these people must have played a role in his life. All assumption.
  • In trying to escape from God he catches a boat in Joppa. But no one bothers to fill in the blanks as to where Joppa is.
  • We assume the captain and crew of the boat are anything but Jewish, however, there is nothing to define them, and we cannot rule out the possibility that are Israelis. The only evidence we have comes when they all prayed to their own gods to be saved out of the storm.

We assume that these were not Jews because of the varied gods to which they prayed, but wasn’t that Israel’s problem from the day they left Egypt? We see evidence of their attachment to idols as one of the first things they did was roast their children on the altar Aaron built to the god Moloch. I realize that most of you refuse to believe that, but it was Stephen (of the New Testament) who makes this fact clear as he addressed the Jewish council prior to their having him stoned. (You will find all this in Acts 7, specifically verse 43.) When Balaam was asked to curse Israel, God told him not to, but he did take the liberty of telling king Balak that if you introduce the good-looking women from the surrounding nations, Israel will take them in, and will be destroyed from the inside out as they adopt the other gods these women bring with them. (Numbers 22)

In trying to understand Jonah, I am reminded of Moses. Moses is said to have written much the of the books of the Law in the third person, but not all. If Jonah were dead he would not have known about the actions these men took. Anything we say to define what exactly happened is merely conjecture. What does seem feasible, is that God, like he did with Moses, saw fit to relate many aspects of this story to Jonah or some other author. We then must chose to believe, as we did with the books written by Moses, and find, as the crew did, the awesome God, who shows mercy, and responds to prayer.

Posted in bible study, Dispelling myths, God's character, grace, Hearing God, Hope, hypocrisy, Jews, Jonah, Jonah, judgment, Mercy, Prophetic, strongholds, Things I have never noticed before, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Maybe God is trying to tell us something? A prophetic word from 2007.

On September 9, 2007, I sat down to write in my journal. It is something that I did sporadically. I often wish I journaled on a regular basis because looking back shows me things that: are still important, and, how far I have come.

In 2007 God had been speaking to me quietly, and I could not get comfortable enough to give this word to the body. I am going to try it now.

“Why do my people think I have to speak to them as though they were Ken and Barbie dolls, living in a cute, perfect world.

I am going to disrupt their lives just as I disrupted Israels.

My entire purpose and intent is meant to drive you to me, for I am a jealous God, and I desire your attention.

I, like a child playing with dolls, am going to mess up your environment.

I wish for your heart, but all you have given me is your hand, so now I will get your attention.

Know that my desire is to commune with you in intimate fellowship. A fellowship that causes you to hear my voice and walk in the paths that I choose.

But you say, God does not talk to me, for I am.

You ask: What about my condition?; my age? Or, my position in life?. Many will say, I am broken.

What is that to me? I made you who you are, and I did it for my purpose. Keep in mind that if you were the only one, my desire would have been for you.”

When I read this today, all these years later, I was prompted in my spirit, to post this Word, as it still applies.

I might add, it occurs to me that this post has a correlation to the post I put up this morning entitled, The Act of Fixing my eyes on Jesus, based upon Hebrews 12:1-2.

Maybe God is trying to tell us something?

Posted in End times, fixing, Hearing God, Hope, hypocrisy, Jesus, Prophetic | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hebrews 12:2 The act of fixing my eyes on Jesus. An edited repost.

This idea of fixing my eyes on Jesus will not let go of me.

Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The KJV puts it this way:

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;”

The Greek word for fixing or looking is aphorao and means to consider attentively.

To be honest, I have a problem with this idea of looking, because it implies distance, and distance suggests that I can never get close to God. Some churches I have been a part of, with their superstar pastors, have demonstrated what it is like to have a leader that is untouchable, and I have had more of that than I can stand. I have also, because of choices I made, experienced infidelity in marriage and divorce. The battle I had to fight was learning that God did not act like the people who have created false imagery in me. While God may never leave me, I sometimes wonder how embarrassed He is with how I talk or act. In the worst of conditions I have never experienced any distancing toward me on God’s part, but I can assure you I have felt significantly distanced at times. There is no doubt in my mind that this distance I felt was because of my selfish indulgences.

The NET version says: “keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus,..” This version has pulled in both concepts; keeping our eyes on Jesus, and the idea of our fixation upon Him.

Why would you fix your eyes on something?

Detectives do it because they are on the hunt for something. Artists study or set their eyes upon a subject so that they can capture what they see. We, as believers, are told to fix our attention, vision, thoughts, and emotions upon Jesus because I believe that God wants us to live in a state of peace that passes understanding.

To be filled with peace, at a time when it is illogical, passes my understanding. Yet, having read this, and desired it, I find it easier to comprehend knowing that was God in the situation, though I did not know it, and He only wanted good for me.

Hebrews, the faith book, is meant to train us and establish us with the benefit of a solid information, and believable eyewitnesses. If I could equate this life to a trial, the evidence for the prosecution would be overwhelming and beyond a reasonable doubt. In reading Hebrews, I find out that the peace I just spoke of, requires faith, and is wrapped up in my faith.

Is it my faith or God’s?

I suppose both. I have to exhibit some degree of faith in the process of accepting my position within the family of God; I have to act in faith upon God’s promises to me to live in this world; And, God has placed His confidence in me that I will succeed and join Him in eternity. Example: There was a brief time in my life that I was keenly aware of a tremendous faith for healing.

How would I know that? I was a shy person who for the longest time was very timid. Speaking out boldly, or placing my hands upon someone for healing, would have been out of character for me. However, in several circumstances, I saw God’s hand at work in extraordinary ways. Here is where the faith aspect comes in. God’s word tells us to lay our hands on the sick, and they will recover. There is no emotion needed in that, merely obedience. The faith part is acting and letting God do what he said he would.

“Not with bodily eyes, for at present he is not to be looked upon in this manner, but with the eye of the understanding, or with the eye of faith; for faith is a seeing of the Son;” ( John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

Having read several commentaries on the passage, I agree with Gill. I believe that the intent is to focus on Jesus at all times and in every circumstance, but that seems impossible to do. When I was at work, I was barraged by customers, to the point that I barely had time for a thought of my own.

Where and how do I squeeze God into this hectic scene?

I know I am not alone in this struggle, because it is a human struggle, and it does not take a detective to realize that few people invest quality time with God to the degree that He becomes predominant in their thinking. For me to say, I am looking at Jesus with the eye of my faith makes it sound like I am very spiritual, although I sometimes wish I could be like Enoch and simply walk off the earth, that will never happen. In reality, this ability to stay focused on God seems to imply some act of our inward man that can operate aside from the circumstances the body is experiencing. What we are talking about here could be nothing more than the ability to reason, and that ability to reason would have to include the mind, would it not?

For the skeptics who think this inward man talk is something new age, I give you Paul’s own words.

2 Corinthians 4:16 NASB 16) Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

If you consider our beginnings then this inward man idea may make more sense. In Genesis 1:27 we see God creating man in His image.

NASB “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

God’s image is a spirit, therefore the man was a spirit, and, just like the Father, eternal. We don’t see a body on the man until Genesis 2:7, after the completion of the earth.

John 4:23-24 NASB “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24) “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

This plays a role in our understanding of death as well, for the spirit never dies. Since the spirit never dies, then how did Adam understand this death that was to come upon him should he partake of the forbidden fruit? Because of the eternal nature of the spirit, death, in one regard, would have to mean eternal separation from the Father God. God, in the form of Jesus, had no intention of allowing that to happen as long as He could do something about it, and therefore, through Christ’s activities in “death”, we were redeemed. Paul, in Ephesians, speaks of a mystery.

Ephesians 1:6-9 NASB to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7) In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8) which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight 9) He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him.

It is almost overwhelming when you let it all sink in.

It would seem that the spirit, which wars against the flesh, can function independently of the body.

Galatians 5:17 NASB For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

If that is the case then I should be able to have a conversation with you and the Father at the same time. In truth, I am not that good. If I have too many conversations going on at the same time, then someone is going to lose in the battle for my attention.

I believe that Paul was speaking to this distinction between the spirit and the flesh when he wrote:

For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 1 Corinthians 14:14 NASB

Perhaps I am missing the point. It may be that Paul is saying that the spirit bypasses human reasoning. I have never been able to pray in the spirit without involving my mind, as something had to initiate this conversation. That does not mean that if I am praying in the spirit (that means praying in tongues to me,) that I am always keenly aware of what I am praying, but I always have a general idea.

Do not despair at the apparent futility of this exercise of the tongue for James tells us that God gives wisdom to those that ask. Is he talking about understanding everything that you might say in tongues? Probably not, but at least we have the opportunity to understand a great deal of what we say in tongues.

Since the topic had to do with fixing our eyes on Jesus. I think we have found that there is so much more to this simplistic phrase. Fixing my eyes on Jesus entails all of me, body soul and spirit. And, the spirit wants to take a well-needed advantage of the desire to commune with the Father. Now, this is where I could move into an entire teaching on aspects of our communications with, not only the Father but the body of Christ as well.

Back to my struggles with fixing my eyes on Jesus (A funny thing happened as I wrote this. I slipped up and wrote ears instead of eyes; I have since fixed that error. Why that might be funny is because if we could hear what God is saying, and respond, then maybe we would be walking as Enoch did. We have no evidence that Enoch saw God. So then, any seeing would have been by faith. Hearing, on the other hand, is a different story altogether.)

So, as I was trying to deal with the continual onslaught of customers at work, I could at the same time be praying in the spirit on the inside If I can pray in the spirit, then I can have communication with the Father at the same time too. I think it would primarily be Him talking to me.

The trick in this is to fine-tune your listening skills.

You should be aware that there are too few of us that have any clue how to listen to others. With your insight, you picked up on something. How does one fine-tune their listening skills so that God becomes the focus? Prayer, which is merely conversations you are having with God, often on behalf of others; that, and spending time in His word. The words that God uses currently, are no different in theme, from those he has already spoken. Trust me on this one, God can speak your language. How many translations of the Bible are there?, many, and yet He has brought innumerable lives into the family by speaking their language or slang. There is always the skeptic who does not believe that God speaks all the time. While God is not just incessantly rambling to hear His head rattle, as we often do, but there is a purpose in everything He says.

Keep this in mind as you read your Bible; everything in that book has a purpose. For example, why does the Gospel of John emphasize things like the cloth that was folded so precisely in the tomb (there was a reason); why is the trip to Samaria a three-day journey?; Why did Jesus go to the Samaritans, they were effectively Gentiles, and going there was contrary to his stated mission? There are things that all throughout the Bible that seem like nothing and yet the Jewish leadership believes that when the Messiah returns (he already did) that he will explain even the spaces between the letters; they are that serious about God’s word. If only we were that serious about His Word as well.

Posted in author, bible study, comfort, finisher, fixing, Hebrews, Jesus, looking, Peace, Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

David and Goliath – Dispelling some myths.

We all have versions of the David and Goliath story in our heads. In our men’s group, we are reading Max Lucado’s book Overcoming your Giants. In the first chapter the author talks in odd descriptives about a young David, but the focus centers on how long we have been fighting our own giants. Max Lucado, at one point, details what some of those “giants” might be. Things, such as pornography, loss of income, whiskey, anger, drugs; you should be getting a general idea.

I, like several others in the group, found myself focusing on the physical aspects of the David story. For example, Max Lucado speaks of young David bending over the stream to collect throwing stones. He continued by saying, if the water had been calm he could have looked longingly at his youthful, handsome face. Instead, David quickly gathered five, smooth, flat stones for his belt bag. Max. Lucado embraced his ridiculous reasons for picking flat rocks. This idea of collecting flat stones was one of the places where I stopped and said, WHAT?, as I found myself thinking, this guy has never shot a slingshot because you want the smoothest and roundest stones you can get. There is a practical reason for this, as anything else will do strange things, like curving away from the target when you sling them. This factor alone would have meant death for David, as he might not get a second shot. I am also aware, from video shot in Israel, that the Palestinians still have people who can accurately launch larger stones from long, leather slings, which is what David used.

One of the men in the group asked the question, how big do you think David was? I immediately answered, 6 foot 4 inches. As you can imagine, that response got met with hostility and rebuttal. The person that asked the question, then said that is impossible since David, having had the armor placed on him, could not even pick himself up off the floor. Responses like this one about David, make me wonder where we get the garbage we are willing to spew out of our mouths as Biblical literacy. It also proves that the individual making the statement is unwilling to read the Bible for themselves. Sadly, all this unbridled talk was meant to educate and impress the fellow sitting next to me, a man who has only been a “Christian” for three weeks.

I have shared my understanding of David, the young man who killed a bear and a lion, and how and why I think that he was a tall, well built young man with a handful of people. But, because our traditions are so deeply ingrained, I am typically met with resistance. A friend of mine asked, where do you get this information. I will tell you, but you must know, it is not all in one place, and, you have to apply some logic and put flesh and blood on these Biblical people; after all, we are not reading fairy tales, now are we.

When we first meet Saul, the man that was to become the king Israel demanded, he was looking for the donkeys of his father, Kish. 1 Samuel 9:3-6

Saul, aware that there was a man of God living in Zuph, opted, along with his servant, to go this man for “all that he says surely comes true,” and they were going to ask him about the donkeys. That man was Samuel, the prophet. What they did not know, was that God had a plan, and had already been talking to Samuel about Saul.

1 Samuel 9:1-2 NASB Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, the son of a Benjamite, a mighty man of valor. 2 He had a son whose name was Saul, a choice, and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel; from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people.

God, always has a plan, and these donkeys played a role.

1 Samuel 9:15-16 NASB Now a day before Saul’s coming, the LORD had revealed this to Samuel saying, 16) “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over My people Israel; and he will deliver My people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have regarded My people, because their cry has come to Me.”

So, now you understand, to some degree, how and why Saul was anointed the king of Israel. What I left off, because, at the moment it had nothing to do with Saul becoming king, is his overall appearance.

1 Samuel 9:1-2 NASB Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, the son of a Benjamite, a mighty man of valor. 2 He had a son whose name was Saul, a choice, and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel; from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people.

The message translation tells us, “he literally stood head and shoulders above the crowd!” So, there you have it. You cannot merely assume that the tallest man in Israel was only three and a half feet tall. There had to be large men, like myself, who stood six foot four inches tall. Therefore the probability of King Saul being seven foot tall or taller is reasonable.

How tall was David? We are not given that information, so what do we know about David, the son of Jesse?

When we first meet David, Samuel has been sent to anoint another man king over Israel. While there was a time when Samuel could boldly speak into King Saul’s life, that time had passed. Saul was wallowing in a bipolar depression on a frequent basis and was no longer fit to be king. In Samuel 16 we see Samuel having a conversation about the task God has asked him to perform.

1 Samuel 16:1-13 NASB Now the LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.” 2) But Samuel said, “How can I go? When Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ 3) “You shall invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for Me the one whom I designate to you.”

Stop here for a minute. Samuel knows that he is a dead man if Saul finds out what he is about to do. His instructions so far are clear, but there is no indication, other than being a son of Jesse’s, who this young man is.

4) So Samuel did what the LORD said, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and said, “Do you come in peace?” 5) He said, “In peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.”

I am interrupting here, to point something out. Note the reaction of the city elders, they came trembling to meet him and said, “Do you come in peace?” Assuming this is all you know about Samuel, what reason would they have to fear the God-man? However, they still remembered when Samuel hacked up king Agag, whom Saul, had taken captive, in direct opposition to God’s orders.

He also consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

Jesse, having been given instructions by Samuel off stage, brings in the older, mature sons to present before Samuel. Jesse, by-the-way, has no idea what is about to happen, he merely assumes that it will good for one of them. Samuel, may not know Jesse, nor how many sons Jesse has.

6) When they entered, he looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’S anointed is before Him.” 7) 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.” 8) Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” 9) Next Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” 10) Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel.

Jesse brought them in, one at a time, from oldest to youngest, but he did not bring David. Why? Could I presumptuously say, it was because David was just a little boy, too young to serve, nor understand what would be asked of him? No, we don’t have enough information to make that kind of decision. What we should realize is that there was a birthright order to be followed, and the firstborn son always got the most significant and best share; at this point, Jesse is merely following Jewish guidelines. In Jesse’s mind, Samuel should have been done with the first son. Perhaps this gives you a little more insight into the hostility David received from his brothers when, under orders from his father, entered the battle zone.

10 cont.) But Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.” 11) And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are these all the children?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep.”

You still have nothing that tells you his size, or age. All we know is that he had been tending sheep.

11 cont.) Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” 12) So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance.

Let’s look at the words used to describe David:

  • Ruddy – Hebrew word ’aḏmôniy: An adjective meaning red, ruddy. At best, with this information, we can assume he was a redhead with freckles.

  • He had beautiful eyes: The Word Study Dictionary indicates that the Hebrew word yāp̱eh: Is “an adjective meaning lovely, beautiful. It is used in many settings to describe the beauty of various things and persons: of women (Gen_12:11, Gen_12:14; 2Sa_13:1; Est_2:7). It is used to indicate a healthy appearance (Gen_41:2). It may be used to mean good-looking, handsome of young men or adult males (2Sa_14:25).”

  • Or, he had a beautiful Countenance, as some translations state. The Hebrew word ‛ayin is the word for eyes. So his eyes played a role in his attractiveness.

  • And goodly to look at – The Hebrew word is ṭôb and means pleasant and agreeable to look at. Nothing here gives us a description that assigns age or stature. So, I nothing with which to determine an age yet.

Again, nothing that gives away his age. One more thing. We, love to speak of God holding no one accountable until the “age of maturity.” It’s not a bad standard, and it sure let’s many ten-year-old children off the hook for their role in gang murders. However, you will not find that concept in the Bible. It is purely a Jewish tradition. If I could apply it to God’s acceptance of David, then the young boy would have been older than twelve. Your problem when attempting to use that logic is that God is not the least bit concerned with the traditions of men. Besides that, if we are using only the word of God for our argument, you will find that God did not use this tradition to make His decision.

Let’s finish off the selection 1Samuel 16:1-13.

12 cont.)And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is he.” 13) Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah.

After this, Samuel fled for his life; now, wherein these passages did you find the description of a child of 12? You didn’t, did you?

Our next piece of testimony, for the defense, also comes from 1Samuel.

1 Samuel 16:14-18 NASB Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him. 15 Saul’s servants then said to him, “Behold now, an evil spirit from God is terrorizing you. 16 “Let our lord now command your servants who are before you. Let them seek a man who is a skillful player on the harp; and it shall come about when the evil spirit from God is on you, that he shall play the harp with his hand, and you will be well.” 17 So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me now a man who can play well and bring him to me.” 18 Then one of the young men said, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, one prudent in speech, and a handsome man; and the LORD is with him.”

What can I gather from this?

  • First, there is nothing to indicate how much time has passed since Samuel anointed David.

  • Secondly, Saul’s servants went out seeking a MAN who is skillful at playing the harp.

  • Thirdly, without looking, one servant volunteers some information about David, whom he has seen. So, we have eyewitness testimony.

  • Fourth, note how this man describes David: A mighty man of valor; a warrior; one prudent in speech; a handsome man, and, as a bonus, the Lord is with him.

At this recommendation, David is hired. What do we see next?

1 Samuel 16:19-23 NASB So Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David who is with the flock.” 20 Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread and a jug of wine and a young goat and sent them to Saul by David, his son. 21 Then David came to Saul and attended him; and Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor bearer. 22 Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David now stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.” 23 So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him.

  • Verse 21 tells us that David came to Saul and attended him.

  • Saul loved him greatly

  • And, David became Saul’s armor-bearer.

Once again we have conclusive evidence that shows: David was not a little boy; that Saul knew David well, and that David was very acquainted with Saul’s armor.

The word familiar, as used in this context, would imply that David knew how much it weighed, how it went on, and what to look for as he concerned himself with damage. He not only carried it but polished it as well.

There can be little doubt that Saul knew full well who David was when he returned that day to fight Goliath. Considering how close Saul and David had become, and what his job was, causes me to have even more questions about his brother’s reactions to him. I cannot see what they said as anything less than jealousy. Some time passes, but we do not know what the length of time was.

We are now looking a 1Samuel 17 where we are introduced to Goliath.

1 Samuel 17:1-7 MSG The Philistines drew up their troops for battle. They deployed them at Socoh in Judah, and set up camp between Socoh and Azekah at Ephes Dammim. 2) Saul and the Israelites came together, camped at Oak Valley, and spread out their troops in battle readiness for the Philistines. 3) The Philistines were on one hill, the Israelites on the opposing hill, with the valley between them. 4) A giant nearly ten feet tall stepped out from the Philistine line into the open, Goliath from Gath. 5) He had a bronze helmet on his head and was dressed in armor–126 pounds of it! 6) He wore bronze shin guards and carried a bronze sword. 7) His spear was like a fence rail–the spear tip alone weighed over fifteen pounds. His shield bearer walked ahead of him.

As you read through commentaries, you find statements such as no one in Israel wanted to commit suicide by facing this guy. Goliath, knowing full well the fear he imposed upon Israel and their now weak-kneed king, was devastating.

1 Samuel 17:9 NASB “If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.”

Other translations use the word slave. It is not difficult to imagine the fate awaiting Israel. Israel, on the other hand, had standards for keeping slaves and servants, and abuse was not allowed. The word slave is the Hebrew word ebed. The Word Study Dictionary defines ‛ebed in this way:

A masculine noun meaning a servant, a slave. Although the most basic concept of this term is that of a slave, slavery in the Bible was not the same as the slavery of modern times. The period of slavery was limited to six years (Exo_21:2). Slaves had rights and protection under the Law (Exo_21:20). It was also possible for slaves to attain positions of power and honor (Gen_24:2; Gen_41:12).

There was nothing to indicate that the Philistines would abide by Israel’s standards.

Although the Philistines would come forward on a daily basis, shouting taunts, it seems the entire verbal exchange was between David and Goliath that day. However, there is this:

1 Samuel 17:16 NASB The Philistine came forward morning and evening for forty days and took his stand.

I had wondered why Saul acted like he did not know David that day, when in reality Saul loved David, and as his armor-bearer saw David frequently. Scripture tells us that David went back and forth between his father’s sheep and Saul.

1 Samuel 17:15 NASB but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s flock at Bethlehem.

David had returned that day at his father’s direction.

1 Samuel 17:17-20 NASB Then Jesse said to David his son, “Take now for your brothers an ephah of this roasted grain and these ten loaves and run to the camp to your brothers. 18) “Bring also these ten cuts of cheese to the commander of their thousand, and look into the welfare of your brothers, and bring back news of them. 19) “For Saul and they and all the men of Israel are in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.” 20) So David arose early in the morning and left the flock with a keeper and took the supplies and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the circle of the camp while the army was going out in battle array shouting the war cry.

I have never had a clear image of how and why David’s brothers had such a caustic interaction with him. Perhaps this verse explains that.

1 Samuel 17:22 NASB Then David left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line and entered in order to greet his brothers.

He entered the battle zone. Since he is on a mission from dad, then, with his brothers gathered in one place, he may have been asking obvious and foolish questions.

1 Samuel 17:23 NASB As he was talking with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine from Gath named Goliath, was coming up from the army of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words; and David heard them.

Suddenly everything changed.

1 Samuel 17:24-25 NASB When all the men of Israel saw the man, they fled from him and were greatly afraid. 25) The men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who is coming up? Surely he is coming up to defy Israel. And it will be that the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father’s house free in Israel.

It is safe to assume that David heard what they said, but he had to ask once again, perhaps for verification.

1 Samuel 17:26-27 NASB Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” 27) The people answered him in accord with this word, saying, “Thus it will be done for the man who kills him.”

David asked, “what will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel?” I can perceive this two ways: 1. He is referring to one of the troops, or, 2. He includes himself among the men that day.

When we were going over chapter one in Max Lucado’s book, Facing Your Giants, the point was made that David said this phrase “the armies of the living God” or something similar, at least eight times. My take away, was that our focus in the midst of facing our giants is to give God and his power, the emphasis, instead of emphasizing the problem.

1 Samuel 17:31-33 NASB When the words which David spoke were heard, they told them to Saul, and he sent for him. 32) David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33) Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.”

There is a noticeable age difference, but there is nothing about this statement that turns David into a whining pre-teen. When the job came open to play the harp, they were looking for a man; they found David. When David was presented as the perfect candidate, he was pitched as a man, a mighty warrior, and a valiant man. What changed? The reality that all of Israel’s life was at stake here. If David loses, they all become slaves to the Philistines.

Since Saul now refers to him as a youth let’s see what the Hebrew word means.

nâ‛ûr The Word Study dictionary states: It refers to the early stages and years of a person’s life and the experiences and characteristics of that time: every person, all humankind experiences this time of life (Gen_8:21). It is a time when skills are best learned (Gen_46:34); a time of dependence on parents (Lev_22:13; Num_30:3 [4], Num_30:16 [17])

Therefore, considering David too immature is only a presumption on our parts. Why would I say that? Because the man giving the references for David says, tells us he is, “one prudent in speech.” Webster’s dictionary defines prudence in this manner:

Prudence implies caution in deliberating and consulting on the most suitable means to accomplish valuable purposes, and the exercise of sagacity in discerning and selecting them. Prudence differs from wisdom in this, t

David and Goliath ( )

David and Goliath ( ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

hat prudence implies more caution and reserve than wisdom, or is exercised more in foreseeing and avoiding evil, than in devising and executing that which is good.”

Having fought off a bear and a lion, I would say that David was skillful at combat, but men are slightly different from animals, as they can carry spears and slings as well. So, David expounds upon his resume by giving Saul the details.

1 Samuel 17:34-37 NASB But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, 35) I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36) “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.” 37) And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and may the LORD be with you.”

At hearing this, Saul says, “Go, and may the LORD be with you.” If there was an implication of David a small boy, putting Israel’s life into the hands of a giant, it just went out the window.

Posted in 1 Samuel, bible study, David, David and Goliath, Dispelling myths, false teaching, Goliath, Hearing God, Hope, King Saul, Philistines, strongholds, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lightning, voices, and thunder – edited part two of two. Revelation 11:19

Jesus, the Messiah that came as a lamb and offered himself up as our sacrifice, told us that in this world we would have tribulation as an ongoing aspect of our lives. While discomforts come in many forms, such as illness, distress, or finance, the real grief seems to come from religious folk, and if Jesus, Paul or Stephen (of the New Testament) are our example, then lynching, beatings, and death at the hands of these zealots are a possibility. Take the time to read 2Corinthians chapter 11. In it, Paul gives considerable detail about the things that happened to him and takes pride in the fact that he could bear the marks of Christ.

Tribulation, many of you are up to your necks in it, and I pray for your strength and courage. But know this, as followers of the risen one we have an unquenchable hope, and that is an eternity in the arms of Love himself, God the Father. I long for that day, but until then, I attempt to explain what is coming upon the earth, and perhaps, warn those that will listen so that they may avoid the horror that is yet to come.

What is the context of what John sees here in chapter eleven?

  • In verses one and two, the temple has been given over to the nations.

The Complete Jewish Bible calls them, the Goyim. In the Jewish mindset, this indicates idolatrous outsiders. Since the Jews give little consideration to Christianity, we too may be included in this thought process. Since the rapture has taken place and the church is removed from the earth, the focus here in Revelation is on those who are utterly contrary to God’s laws. The primary group that fits this descriptive is Islam. This trampling of God’s ways, and what is thought of as, God’s temple, goes on for forty-two months – three-and-one-half years.

  • In Revelation 11:3 we see this: God places two witnesses in the middle of Jerusalem. Revelation 11:3-12. Read this passage intently, as it is eye-opening, and the actions of these two are almost played in reverse when the false-prophet comes on the scene.

When the scene opens, the CJB says, “also.” Also indicates that there is a multitude of things happening at the same time. As you saw in the first point I made, the temple is given over to the nations. The ramifications of this event are beyond belief, especially when you consider how

English: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli politician

English: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli politician (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

strongly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks about the strength of Israel. Many Israelis think they are invincible, and that is not the case.

As you will see in a moment, the two witnesses are called back home. Since their “ministry” lasts three-and-a-half years, there is only one logical place to insert them, almost immediately after the catching away of the church.

  • God will call these two witnesses back home after they have laid dead in the streets for three-and-a-half days. This time period is hugely significant and is the same number days that Jesus was in the grave. We, however, know that no tomb could hold Him, but to the Jews this was precise.

We are told in Revelation 11:14 that this ends the second woe, and now a third is coming. How could things get any worse? While still within the framework of, “what is the context of what John sees?”, we have this section which takes us up to verse 18 of chapter 11.

Revelation 11:15-18 NASB 15 Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” 16 And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying, “We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign. 18 “And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”

What we see here in Revelation 11:15-18 is extremely condensed.

  • We have to jump forward to chapter 19 to see Christ, sitting upon the white horse and a flaming sword coming out of his mouth. It is with this sword that He subdues the nations. But this does not happen until the end of the seven-year period, and we are presently looking at the midpoint so far.

The Messiah is in control, and yet not.

Luke 22:69 Jesus, speaking of himself, said,

“But from now on THE SON OF MAN WILL BE SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND of the power OF GOD.”

Paul, in Ephesians 1:19-20, is describing Jesus when he says,

and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,…”

This line, “and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe,” was not a question, Paul is telling us what God had done in the process of raising His son from the dead.

Does the fact that Christ is sitting on the throne ruling, and yet, has a rule that is still to come, imply that Christ is not in control right now?

Not at all, for nothing is out of his control, and all things are going according to His plan, even when it makes us uncomfortable or looks like it is out of our control. He is seated upon that throne as we speak, and yet, there is coming a day when the totality of government will come. In the meantime, we watch the plan being played out.

As I talked about the events of verse 18, I indicated that the outcome described applied to the end of time. But, as you read, you are frequently thrown back in time and then abruptly brought forward again, such as we see here. Why do that? Because all time is His, and it is all under His control. Another way to perceive this is that it is a revealed mystery, as scripture calls it all, “the day of the Lord.”

  • Yes, Revelation 11:15-18 speaks of a judgment of the nations, and Christ, upon the white horse brings much of that about, but, it is not the final judgment, as my legalistic friends think. This final judgment happens at the Great White Throne, which takes place at the end of the thousand-year reign.

    But make no mistake, neither of these events is a final, concluding judgment, for in both cases, which are spelled out in Matthew 25 and Revelation 20, there are those that are shown mercy. Matthew 25 most clearly spells out the fate of the sheep – those from among the nations, that acted in the character of God by exhibiting kindness in the smallest of ways.

As usual, that was a bit long, so allow me to jog your memory by showing you from where we came.

Revelation 11:17-18 ESV (17) saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. (18) The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”

There is a line in verse 17 which says, “for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.” If I focus on this from a Jewish mindset; one in which Jesus reigns as the recognizable Messiah, then what we see in John’s writing is precisely that. This idea of reigning is what Israel thought they were going to see that day He rode into town on the young colt – the luxury vehicle and ride of kings. But did he take control and overthrow the Roman oppressors? No, He began overturning tables in the courtyard of the Gentiles and arguing vehemently with the elders, scribes, and Pharisees.

When we read the letters that comprise the lion’s share of the New Testament, we see events that had to take place. Things like His going into the depths of hell; stripping Satan of the keys to death, hell, and the grave; preaching to the captives and releasing them; and, His ascension into the heavens. These truths come from various places in scripture, and yet, put together, tell the whole story. Colossians 2:12-15; Ephesians 4:8; Hebrews 2:14-15; Revelation 1:18; Hebrews 1:3.

At this point in the timeline, things are falling precisely into place.

The world, as we know it, is finally at peace. Christ is seated as the Messiah and the martyred saints, an innumerable quantity of people, have been raised from the dead and are set upon thrones to maintain peace. Weapons are quickly being turned into farming tools, and thrones are set up to keep order and rule over the earth. Why, under the rule of the Messiah, would anyone dare to carry out some form of an uprising?

But you must remember that, contrary to popular religious belief, not everyone is arbitrarily slaughtered and sent to a burning hell. Many from among the nations enter the millennial reign with their free wills intact.

We are finally in verse 19.

After all that introduction the question I find myself asking is, when does this event we see in Revelation 11:19 take place?

Revelation 11:19 ESV Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

If what we see here is a demonstration of God’s glory and power, then the beginning of the time of wrath is the perfect time to show the world those attributes, as they are descriptives of many of the things the earth will experience during the seven years.

Two persons stand out in my mind as I read this, Daniel and the Apostle Paul when he was known as Saul. Both apprehended God’s voice, but those around them only heard what sounded like rumblings and peals of thunder.

Albert Barnes commentary explains that “The vision was of the temple the symbol of the church – and it was “opened” so that John could see into its inmost part,” and that may be true. As you transition from Revelation chapter three into chapter four, there are the words, “after these things.” The implication is, after the church age. This idea would cause Albert Barnes commentary to sound very logical.

But the focus throughout the eleventh chapter is primarily on the last three-and-a-half years of the tribulation.

Will God fling the doors to the temple open and leave them that way for the entire period?

Maybe, and maybe that is none of our concern. If I have been raptured with the church, then I am in heaven with Jesus, and this is nothing worthy of worry. I am not saying I do, but because the things we talk about in our gatherings of the body scare and concern the newer Christians and those who prefer to let some administrator read the Bible for them, then someone needs to be able to answer these questions intelligently. No doubt that within the seven-year period horrible things happen, but it all comes to an end someday.

A quick overview of what transpires during the seven-years of wrath.

Immediately after the church is removed from the earth, the judgment begins. This removal of the righteous from harm’s way has direct ties to the ruling God brought upon the earth in the days of Noah (Luke 17:26-27.)

Jesus never said, this period, in which all the things that happen will be bad migrating rapidly to worse, will be the tribulation. What he did tell us was that it would be bad, and at the mid-point, there will be great tribulation. It is non-stop horror during the seven years. However, it will get so much worse from the halfway point on. Jesus said it would be so intense that unless God shortens time no one would survive. (Revelation 4:1; Matthew 24: 21, 22)

If you look at Revelation 7:14 you will notice that the speaker uses the phrase great tribulation, but it does not classify the seven-year event as “The Great Tribulation.” It is merely pointing out a time of severity.

Revelation 7:13-14 NASB 13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” 14 I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

This seven-year period is also clearly established as a time of God’s wrath and anger against the nations and Israel.

As you read the Revelation, the things that begin to happen are also categorized as being a part of the seals; the trumpets; the bowls and the vials. There is a tremendous amount of death, shaking, fire, and destruction.

  • First seal judgment – Revelation 6:2 ESV And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.

  • The second seal – Peace is taken from the earth. Rev 6:4

  • Third seal – Widespread famine. Rev 6:6

  • Fourth seal – Massive casualties over a fourth of the earth: from the famine, pestilence and predatory wild beasts. Rev 6:8

  • Fifth seal – Tremendous numbers of God followers will be merciless martyred.

  • Sixth seal – A devastating earthquake, accompanied by severe cosmic disturbances. People everywhere try to hide. Rev 6:12-17

  • Seventh seal – Results in the unleashing of the trumpet judgments, which are even more catastrophic.

A man that scripture calls: the anti-Christ, the beast, the Assyrian, and a number of other things will show up. The anti-Christ will be charismatic and well-spoken (I believe that he will be Islamic). Islam calls this man the Mahdi, a long-awaited prophet of Allah. He will bring Israel into a seven-year peace treaty. (Why would Israel sign a peace treaty unless there is a significant issue with peace. Here we are five years after I wrote this piece originally, and finally, things seem to be escalating for Israel. There are now the threats are almost daily from Iran, Syria, Turkey Hamas, PLO, and others; and yet, Israel still acts like they are well defended and secure.

Something drastic is going to change all that. Ezekiel 38,39 describes armies amassed against Israel, and a firestorm from the God wiping those armies out. Where exactly this fits into the seven-year scene, I am not sure. Joel Rosenberg portrays this happening right before the rapture of the church [You can read a description of this in his book The Copper Scroll.] Since the players are rapidly falling into place, I cannot imagine why this does not happen any day now.


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Lightening, voices, and thunder – edited part 1. Revelation 11:18 through.

I believe what we see here in Revelation 11:18 is the end of all things, but on what do I base that assessment?

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

Taking this sentence apart, we find:

  • Now is the time for the dead to be judged,”

    Revelation 20:12 NASB And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.

    Daniel 12:1 NASB 2 “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.

  • the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great,”

    Revelation 2:23 NASB ‘And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.

    2 Corinthians 5:10 NASB 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

    2 Timothy 4:8 NASB in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.

  • and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”

    Psalms 58:10 NASB The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance; He will wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.

    Daniel 11:44-45 NASB “But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many. 45 “He will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain, yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.

    1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NASB 16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.

By this point, you should get the general idea that this is the end of the thousand-year reign. If you have read the Revelation all the way through then, you have a general idea of how things fall into place.

  1. The church is caught away to be with Jesus Christ.

    We love to call this the rapture, and since the Latin Vulgate calls it rapio then we should be okay with the word. The rapture seems to be a trigger for the entrance of the seven-year period. While being caught away is a good thing, it is not for everyone who sits quietly beside you in the congregation. Matthew 25:1-13 tells us that fifty percent are not prepared and will have to endure the seven-years of wrath.

  2. The seven-year period entails a wide and disastrous volume of events; we call it the Tribulation. This time is also called: the day of the Lord; the time of wrath, and the time of judgment. It’s all God’s plan and will be carried out from above as 100-pound hailstones, mixed with fire and ice, fall from the sky. Earthquakes of deadly proportions, and the violence of men, as they loot, rape, plunder, and kill.

    In addition to all the dreadful things that will happen during the seven-year period, there is the advent of the anti-Christ. There is a good chance that this man is active today. I strongly suspect he will be a Muslim because of the power he will wield over Islamic forces. We see this in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.

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

    One more aspect that is seldom talked about. Almost as quickly as the church is caught away, there will be a call for peace. Why? Because there will be a large scale war. If I asked where the next big war will be, the majority would probably say, Israel, as they fight against Islamic fighters from Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. You might justifiably feel good about adding Turkey into the mix. Just look at the daily news. Israel is shooting down drones and jet fighters while pointing out how military installations in Lebanon and Syria, impede the safety of Israel as a nation. The prophet Daniel speaks of this in chapter 9:26, 27. The strong covenant this man makes only lasts three-and-a-half years.

    There is one more huge piece of information that impacts this scenario above.

    Ezekiel 38:14-16 NASB “Therefore prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “On that day when My people Israel are living securely, will you not know it? 15 “You will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army; 16 and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog.”

    Obviously, someone is coming. Gog is definable. Descendants of Noah, they have ties that run deeply through every known enemy of Israel. This group of people integrated with Assyrians, Egyptians, Siberians, and tribes to the West. Do a little research and you will Attila the Hun intertwined in the family mix. They were an expansive tribe of aggressive and dominant horseman and feared by everyone.

    Ezekiel 38:22 NASB “With pestilence and with blood I will enter into judgment with him; and I will rain on him and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire and brimstone.

    Because of God’s intervention, the armies against Israel will be firebombed. The description sounds almost nuclear. No wonder the Antichrist cries peace.

    By the way, the temple has not been built. Plans have been made for a tilt up, which can go up rather quickly, and Israel will be using the temple for almost the full three-and-a-half years. We know this because the Antichrist breaks the covenant and the false-prophet sets up the image of the beast in the temple, halting all Jewish practices and worship.

  3. There is a midpoint three-and-one-half years into this time. The anti-Christ which may be known as the Mahdi will have been calling for peace. All fury should break loose, as another persona, the false-prophet will come upon the scene. Islam calls him the enforcer of Sharia. This series of events is the reason that Jesus told us, that if God did not shorten time at this point, no one would survive. In the Revelation, John had two looks into the heavens, in which he saw the martyred. With the second look, which would be associated with the second look, the number of martyred dead, was uncountable.

  4. As the end of the seven-years comes to a close, Revelation 19 tells us that Jesus Christ returns riding on a white horse with all the saints. He will fight with and slaughter all those who choose to fight against Him. This return causes peace to reign on the earth, as the martyred will now sit on thrones and rule over the earth during the thousand-year reign. Those Jews who have survived will come to acknowledge Christ as the Messiah and will lead many to a knowledge and understanding of Him. By the way, Satan will have been cast into prison during this time, so, if you act out, it is all on you and your personal depravity.

  5. At the end of the thousand years, Satan is released. Immediately he goes out and deceives the nations. Yes, there will be those, at the end of this road, who will not wholeheartedly accept Jesus as the ruler over their lives. This is their choice, and it is important to note that God has not removed free will, nor will He. The deceived will try to rise up by surrounding the Holy City in an attempt at killing God. They will be killed with fire from heaven, and almost instantly brought, with other dead, before the great white throne.

  6. I cannot tell you with precision what happens next. What I do understand is that we walk into eternity, never to deal the problems of earth, as we understand it, again. Some have referred to this restored earth as the restored Eden. Considering what I suspect Eden was like, bring it on.

I have come to a point in life where I need to make something profoundly clear. We the church have caused great misunderstanding and harm to ourselves. Why?, because we have attributed the terminology “tribulation” to the seven-year period that begins in Revelation chapter 4 when it is a very well defined time of wrath and judgment, from God, being poured out upon the earth, the nations, and Israel for their rejection of Him.

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But before faith came. Galatians 3:23

Sorry, if this trip through Galatians is becoming tedious, but imagine that moment when a new reader drops in and has no idea of what we are talking. It happens.

We are working our way through Paul’s letter to the Jewish/Messianic converts, in the region of Galatia, an area that entails most of Southern Turkey today. There was no particular church, so we can easily assume that letter was meant to be read to anyone who would listen. With every village, Saul/Paul entered, he and those with him looked for the Synagogue. They would not have been elaborate structures, probably more like the buildings we have seen in Iraq or Afghanistan. Because Paul was a scholar in the law and the prophets (The Torah and Tanakh,) he was the perfect man to be an apologist for the gospel of Yahshua, the crucified and risen Son of God. He could take his audience directly to the passages that identified Jesus as the Messiah for which they longed. Some were hungry for this hope and promise. While others, acted like Saul, the Pharisee and zealot he used to be known as when he persecuted the church, looking for ways to harm, or if necessary kill the Apostle, the man we come to recognize as the Apostle Paul.

We left off with Galatians 3:22, which according to the Complete Jewish Bible tells us:

the Tanakh shuts up everything under sin; so that what had been promised might be given, on the basis of Yeshua the Messiah’s trusting faithfulness.”

It is not so dissimilar to what we will see in verse 23.

Galatians 3:23 NASB But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.

Before faith came.”

Didn’t Abraham show faith? What about Moses, and the prophets? Apparently, they did, then this has more do with a person or event.

What then would that event have been? The Cross, but not just the cross; it was all that encompassed those three days.

If it was a person, who would that person be? Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

“we were kept in custody under the law,”

Within the Jewish community, they were kept in check, to some degree, by the law. The law originated with ten simple commands. In the desert, under the guidance of Moses, the portable temple was set up, along with ordinances of worship – the distinct methods associated with righteousness. As a result, the priesthood added over six hundred laws; this too, kept Israel, the Jews, and strangely the Gentiles, in custody under the law.

“being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.”

Galatians 3:22 told us that everyone subject to the law was shut up under sin, but now in Galatians 3:23, we learn that we all were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.

G4788 sugkleio From G4862 and G2808; to shut together, that is, include or (figuratively) embrace in a common subjection to: – conclude, enclose, shut up.

So, the Jews/Israel were embraced in a common subjection to the law; and incapable of having faith.

Is that true, they were incapable of having faith?

Let’s use Christ’s birth as an example of Israel’s incapacity to have faith?

The Magi from the East (Matthew chapter two,) seeing His star in the east, gathered together – complete with entourage, and came to Jerusalem looking for the Child that was born the King of the Jews. What is so dramatic about this event is that Herod called all the chief priests and scribes of the people to him, demanding who is this king and where is he. The priesthood knew the answer but had no faith in Yahshua as the Messiah and king of the Jews.

Within that same story, we find Jewish shepherds; men who were not held so tightly to the man inserted laws, by which the Jews gained their righteousness. These shepherds sought out the child who was born the king of the Jews when directed to do so by the angels. Those shepherds could have chosen to ignore the angel voices, much like the majority of the priesthood had done.

In opposition to the idea that ALL of Israel had no capacity for faith, there is:

Anna Luke 2:36-38 NASB And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. 38 At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

Simeon – Luke 2:25-32 NASB And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, 28 then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word; 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.”

And – Hebrews chapter eleven takes up several verses defining characters from the Old Testament, whom, by faith, did things ranging from the simple to the amazing. Indeed many had faith, but they were not in the majority amongst their peers.

Now, apply this same thought to the Gentiles that lived in and among the Jews.

One of the dominant Gentile characters is the Roman Centurion Cornelius that invited Peter to his home so that they could hear the gospel. (Read this in Acts chapter ten.) Now, God had alerted Peter that He was about to do something radically different, through a vision, in which a blanket was lowered having clean and unclean animals in it. Peter was told to take and eat. Appalled at the thought of eating pork and a few of the others, Peter begins to tell God that there is not a chance because I am a Jew and I don’t eat unclean things. God replies to that with, don’t call unclean what I have made clean. Now that made little sense to Peter at the moment, but it would soon. No sooner did the vision end when a messenger summons Peter to the Centurion’s home. Imagine that, being summoned to the home of someone who could have you imprisoned. But there is an addendum, this man Cornelius is “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household.” Peter knew what it meant for a Jew to be devout, but what about a Greek, and, how did this come to be? So Peter went.
Upon learning about the Centurion’s desire to hear the gospel more fully, Peter begins giving them his best sermon. However, right in the middle of that discourse, God extends His hand of mercy and fills the entire family with the gift of the Holy Spirit, and they all spoke in other tongues.
Evidently, the Gentiles could have faith as well.

So, is the statement that all were shut and incapable of having faith true? No, but it is true when applied to the majority.

the faith which was later to be revealed.”

Jesus was buried, and the disciples (all 120+ of them) mourned like puppies without a mother, for they still did not understand. On the third day, the two women went to the tomb. But what did they find? The stone rolled away, the guards gone, and an angel sitting on the stone. That angel spoke to them, saying, He is not here. Read this in Luke 23:54-56 and Luke 24:1-9.
I use these two women and the disciples in general because they all demonstrated little faith in Jesus words which informed them that, He was the Messiah; the Son of God; that he would rise again, and that He would have tremendous power bestowed upon Him by the Father. Not to mention the ability that He was going to confer upon them.

After that morning at the empty tomb, Yahshua began appearing to them. Think the impact these sightings, signs, and His words would and should have on the disciples – a rather large number of people. First, He appeared to the two ladies at the tomb. Then, he appeared to the two on the Emmaus road. Later, he walked through the locked door and into the upper room where over 120 disciples, including the women, were gathered; Thomas, the one who said, I will not believe unless I can put my hand into His wounds, was invited by Jesus to touch those same wounds. Jesus walked among them for forty days, eating, drinking, and elaborating on the scriptures, from Moses through the prophets, about the things that they witnessed. On the road to Emmaus He had spent the day with them, and yet, they did not realize who it was until later that evening at dinner.

It is in this room in which they had gathered, that He entered even though they had locked the door, that the Holy Spirit, which could only be described as cloven tongues of fire, lit upon them all and they all spoke in utterances that they did not know. While it may have been mere sounds to them, others heard these so-called unlearned people, speaking in a multitude of dialects, and attesting to the glory of God.

What held them together, both mentally and physically, to the point that the overwhelming sadness and lack of faith were overcome? They followed Jesus instructions and stayed firmly knit together. We see this in Acts 1:14 NASB. The faith came.

These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”

We call this fellowship. Simplistic as it seemed, there was a purpose involved, whether they understood it or not, for It fought off the depression and sadness, while helping to maintain unity and purpose.

Once the Holy Spirit fell upon them with power, they were changed, people. Peter preached before thousands that Pentecost day; Philip, ran alongside the eunuch’s chariot, and explained the portion of Isaiah’s prophecy, which the eunuch was reading.

Every one of these so-called faithless disciples eventually had a tremendous impact on the world.

Could we then say that faith came in the course of time? Absolutely, and it will come to us as we pursue Him.

Posted in Apostle Paul, bible study, Freedom from sin, Galatians, gentiles, grace, Hearing God, Hope, In Christ, Jews, Mercy, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can I apply the principles learned here, even if I am not a Jew. Galatians 3:22

Sometimes, like today, I am battling with insecurities and wondering why I think anyone needs another commentary. But maybe, you’re just like me and find yourself overwhelmed by the high theology of some; the convoluted approach of others, and the shocking oversimplification that you encounter in many of the Bible translations.

When it came to Galatians two things stood out in my mind. The radio pastor who seemed to be fixated on the phrase, “you foolish Galatians!”, and pointed those words at his listening audience, which included me. I don’t value that approach. The other came from a Sunday morning adult class which used some “Christian” book on Galatians. The questions the authors asked were leading and poorly formed. Both of these instances left me with a lack of desire to pursue Galatians any further; and yet, here I am.

What have I learned? I have learned that Galatians was written explicitly to the Jewish converts if I can call them that. Can I apply the principles learned here in Galatians, even if I am not a Jew, to myself? Indeed, and we would be wise to do so with frequency.

So, let’s see if we can find something in Galatians from which to learn.

Galatians 3:22 NASB But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

The phrase, “But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin,” is confusing at best. Some, would take this confusion and preach it, out of context, as though it is truth and the final word on our lives.

Why would it be confusing?

  • Scripture to me, a former Gentile, means the New Testament. Some would act as though we do not need to spend any time in the Old Testament; not true. Since scripture, especially, at the time of this writing, would have been the Torah and Tanakh. These “scriptures” would only be found in the form of valuable, fragile scrolls, which were exclusively kept in the synagogues. So, from Paul’s statement, I have another assertion of the Jewishness of this letter.

  • If I apply the elements of Paul’s letter to myself, what I find is freedom; a freedom that goes far beyond the limitations of my consciousnesses. Did not Christ’s actions on the cross set us free (primarily regarding our freedom from the burdens of Sin; a condition which would shut us up under sin.)

    So, am I shut up under sin?

    Some will try to tell you that you are. However, because I have learned who I belong to, and what Christ did too and for me; not a chance.

  • Why then would Paul say such a thing?

    The entire context of Galatians has been enveloped in Jewish believers returning to the Law (scriptures.) The Complete Jewish Bible translates this verse this way:

Galatians 3:22 CJB But instead, the Tanakh shuts up everything under sin; so that what had been promised might be given, on the basis of Yeshua the Messiah’s trusting faithfulness, to those who continue to be trustingly faithful.

This Jewish understanding of being caught up in the Tanakh is why Paul opened what we call chapter three, with:

Galatians 3:4-5 CJB Have you suffered so much for nothing? If that’s the way you think, your suffering certainly will have been for nothing! 5 What about God, who supplies you with the Spirit and works miracles among you—does he do it because of your legalistic observance of Torah commands or because you trust in what you heard and are faithful to it?

Notice something else about Galatians 3:22.

But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”

The Gentiles did not live under the laws of the Tanakh; how then did the “scripture” apply to them. The same way it applied to Adam. The partaking of the fruit brought about the knowledge of GOOD and EVIL. Therefore an understanding that there was a moral authority existed since the beginning. Even without “the law” there was an understanding that God expected certain things, and He would carry out, faithfully, what He had promised. This idea is the underlying reason that we see Abel making the sacrifice of a lamb with no apparent instructions. The instructions were passed down from his father who had watched God himself perform the same process. This sacrificing wasn’t done because God liked roast lamb, but because it was symbolic and the only method of maintaining a just relationship with the creator until the Lamb of God, the Son, would come and end the need for all this blood.

The Tanakh, in its original state, was universal, and satisfactorily passed along for generations by oral tradition, or it was held solely within ten commandments engraved in stone, that plainly told Israel, to love God only and treat your fellow man decently. The Tanakh then put everyone under the same rules, efficiently leveling the playing field.

This idea that we are all on an equal basis under sin is something we have seen before. While we have used this verse to stimulate people into a state of repentance.

Romans 3:21-24 NASB But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

The Tanakh, which was not just commands or demands written in scrolls, they were an understanding that God was the moral authority and compass. And, man, because of the fall, was broken and incapable of following this discipline and needed a savior, Jesus – the Son, was meant to demonstrate that God’s mercy and grace were poured upon all people if they should accept it.

I sometimes find myself thinking if Christ’s actions paid the price for sin, and redeemed us out of the hand of the enemy, then why do we need to accept anything? Because, still operating under those same laws that shut us up under sin, brings about our freedom through our ability to choose. Haven’t you wondered how a God that would go through all this, to save a world that admittedly does not seem to love Him, would merely acquiesce to letting so many of them just go to a fiery hell? Well, He doesn’t simply assent to the idea but honors the choices we make and allows us to serve whomever we choose. Freedom, peace, and a life with the Father in the Eden of eternity is available to all who choose to follow God as their master. The other path becomes painfully evident in time.

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With the concept of a mediator in place, we continue. Galatians 3:20-21

When we last saw our hero Paul – I am just kidding because it has been weeks since I stepped away from my commentary on Galatians. Like most of Paul’s letters, this letter to the followers in Galatia is an admonition to those who grasp the expanse of this grace; it is the grace under which we live. Though we do not live under the Law/Torah of God, we still have constraints, such as walking in love. We call those never-ending rules, the perfect law of liberty.

If you followed my commentaries on Galatians, then you understand that Paul’s target audience was, believing Jews. The letter to the Galatians was not written to a particular body of believers; he addressed what is effectively the Messianic Jewish congregations of Asia Minor.

Some might question, how do I know this?

  • Galatians 1:2 says,”… To the churches of Galatia:”

    He is telling us to whom he is writing, and he continues with his customary greetings and blessings.

  • After Paul’s conversion, all we see him do was take his message into the synagogues. We see examples of this in:

    Acts 13:13-44 NASB “Now Paul and his companions …arrived at Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down.”

    A significant portion of the chapter details what Paul said, and how the attendees clamored for more the following Sabbath.

    Acts 13:45-48 details how the Jews got jealous and began contradicting Paul and Barnabas.

    Paul’s response, recorded here, is one of the primary places we find him saying, I am taking this message to the Gentiles. This reference about the Gentiles was convenient because there were a number of them that heard his voice as he spoke in the open, and they were excited about what they heard. And yet, Paul never explicitly took this message to the Gentiles. The other place we find multiple references to Paul taking the gospel to the Gentiles, is here in Galatians. The fact that most of us have found a relationship with Jesus Christ is evidence that Paul did just what he said; however, it is difficult to find a vast number of references to his doing so.

Because we can perceive the book of Acts as chronological, then virtually every example we find of Paul’s preaching in the book shows him first entering a synagogue.

  • Acts 14:1 they entered the synagogue.

  • Acts 17:10 they went into the synagogue.

  • Acts 19:8 And he entered the synagogue.

Since Gentiles were not allowed in the Synagogues, then it is safe to say there are only Jews there.

In Galatians 1:13-15 Paul tells the reader that he had a former life in Judaism, and how he, as one skilled in the Law and Prophets, persecuted the church, which was primarily comprised of Jewish followers. He also speaks of how God set him apart and called him to this grace that is found in the Messiah. None of this would have made sense to the Gentiles for they were not subject to Saul’s (as he was known then,) brutal persecution.

Galatians 2:15-16 gives us the statement, “We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles;” Would make no sense to a Gentile, and they might find it insulting. The reason being that it is a Jewish way of thinking. Paul straightens this all out by pointing out that man is only justified through faith in Christ Jesus, not obedience to the Torah (law.) The Torah, or Law, also meant nothing to a Gentile.

One last passage to demonstrate who Paul was writing too.

Galatians 3:1 NASB You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?

If you read the letter to the Galatians, you would know that Paul went before the Jewish elders of this new Christian faith in Jerusalem, and told them the message that he preached before the Jews and the Gentiles. In a sense then, the statement, “you foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you,” could apply to anyone who has fallen back into their legalistic patterns. What makes this such a Jewish statement, is that the Gentiles had nothing to fall back into. Regarding law, the Gentiles only understood the law to mean whatever the Romans were enforcing. The Jews, however, had Roman law and their own, called the Torah.

Previously, we read this.

Galatians 3:17-19 NASB What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. 18 For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise. 19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.

What happened, according to this section of scripture, 430 years previous? God made a covenant; a pact; a contractual agreement, with Abraham. That contract has never ceased to be valid; it has never stopped working as it should. Paul asks, why then add the Law? We are told the answer, although we may not grasp the reasoning, “it was added because of transgressions.” And, this Law would have to hold “until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.” That seed and the mediator was none other than the Son, Jesus Christ.

With the concept of a mediator tightly in place, we continue.

Galatians 3:20-21 NASB Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. 21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law.

Webster’s dictionary defines “MEDIA’TOR,” n. As “one that interposes between parties at variance for the purpose of reconciling them.”

Because of Adam’s transgression we were all put at variance with God.

Who then became the mediator, and what was the outcome?

The answers are found in scripture.

1Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

The entire eighth chapter of Hebrews explains the whys but focus on verse 6.

Hebrews 8:6 NET. But now Jesus has obtained a superior ministry since the covenant that he mediates is also better and is enacted on better promises.

As for reconciliation.

Romans 5:10-11 NET. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life? 11 Not only this, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation.

So, not only do we find Jesus in the role of mediator, He has enacted and obtained better promises. Note, that it says promises, not laws.

Since one of the themes of Galatians is the grace and freedom we have in Christ, then shouldn’t we be able to do anything without regard? The answer is NO because we live under the Law of liberty. Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians 8.

I suggest that you pay attention to the entire selection.

1 Corinthians 8:9-12 NET. 9 But be careful that this liberty of yours does not become a hindrance to the weak. 10 For if someone weak sees you who possess knowledge dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience be “strengthened” to eat food offered to idols? 11 So by your knowledge the weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed. 12 If you sin against your brothers or sisters in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.

What are some of the variables in this passage?

  • This liberty of yours.”

    Given the freedom of grace, it seems that many of us set our own standards for liberty. In trying to make a firm point about the grace we live under, the late Pastor Gene Scott would sit in a chair, in front of the television cameras, sipping Scotch whiskey and smoking a cigar. In the church, I grew up in, where grace was spoken of, you understood there were limits to this grace. These boundaries, it seems, were imposed by the church, and the older people who had been forced to live sterile, non-indulgent lives.

    Having spent some time in recovery, as a participant and a leader, you become acutely aware that some people are spiritually and emotionally fragile. Many, on a regular basis, “fall off the wagon.” Talking freely about what you are comfortable with can provoke, often unknowingly, others into pushing boundaries they don’t need to keep exploring. I, put myself in recovery because I had anger issues. After time and some understanding, I have learned, most of the time, to step away from things that will agitate me and set off.

  • If someone weak sees you who possess knowledge.”

    I get it, you and I are not mandated to encourage co-dependency and weakness in others. But what harm does it do to set aside your so-called freedoms for a moment? Imagine the believer who lives in Amsterdam, where Marijuana is sold like Starbucks’s coffee. Just knowing what it used to do to me when I was younger, precludes me from indulging.

    When someone recently tried examining the hows and whys involved with Jesus not sinning. I calmly responded with; He was born without the driving force that makes us do, what we want to do. Think about for a moment. When challenged, Jesus replied, I only do what I see and hear the Father do, NOT his own thing. So then, our so-called liberties are more a satisfaction of wants as we take advantage of this freedom we have in Christ, often to extremes.

  • dining in an idol’s temple.”

    Wait a minute; this just took a twisted turn. That so-called weak person didn’t just see you in the market; they saw you in an idol’s temple. I am not sure what to equate this too, as we rarely find a building that is openly identified as an idol’s temple. What we do have is other forms of worship that do not honor God. Such as: lodges, fraternal organizations, bars, strip clubs, and organizations that qualify as cultist in nature.

    I suppose the question is, what do they idolize there?

    A former father-in-law paid for our steak dinners at a particular bar years ago. Since they were known for their inexpensive steaks, I thought little of it. But, if I were spotted frequenting a topless club, I can’t imagine the “I go for the steaks” plea working.

    My first reaction when I read “dining in an idol’s temple,” is that I am dealing with a Gentile world. But that is not the context here in Galatians. I already established that Paul was addressing a Jewish audience, and by Jewish law, there should be no idolatry. And yet, idolatry has been God’s problem with His people since their inception.

    1 John 2:15-17 NET. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, 16 because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever.

  • will not his conscience be “strengthened” to eat food offered to idols?”

    Strengthened typically implies something good happening, but that is not the case here. The concept is that the weak brother or sister in the Lord, who sees you, taking full advantage of your liberties by eating dinner in the temple of an idol, will be bolstered or reinforced to partake in behaviors that will cause them harm. You surely know that pathetic expression, if you can do it, then so can I.

  • So by your knowledge the weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed.”

    Your knowledge equates to your understanding of this grace given to us, through our relationship with Christ. However, taking advantage, without regard, can cause a person not just to stumble, they are destroyed.

  • If you sin against your brothers or sisters in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.”

    What do I make of all this? My unnecessary self-indulgence and misuse of liberty can cause the weak believer to be destroyed, and God calls this sin. Are they damaged to the point of losing God’s love toward them? Probably not, but why, once again, do we think we need to test God to see if He has any boundaries.

    What do you think was happening when God sent Jonah to Nineveh or, destroyed all humankind with a flood? God had reached the limit of His boundaries. And yet, there was still enough mercy left for a short reprieve in Nineveh’s case, and, here we are, a great expanse of time after the flood, discussing such matters. In my mind, this is merely one of the proofs that we serve a merciful God.

Posted in Apostle Paul, bible study, false teaching, Freedom from sin, Galatians, gentiles, God's character, grace, Hope, hypocrisy, In Christ, Jews, Mercy, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Leave a comment

Biblical characters that demonstrated trust. Let’s look at Noah.

There was a time when my actions caused my world to collapse. That collapse drove me to my knees and toward God with a passion that I did not realize was in me. I read the Bible incessantly, and in so doing I found a God of mercy and grace. I found all this through Jesus, the Son, but then, isn’t the Son of God an exacting image of the Father. It seems that when you find something this good, you want to share it, and so I tried. The problem is that the religious crowd was raised on a God of judgment and punishment, and they preach that side of Him that was meant for Satan and his followers. Maybe that is why so many people fear God. I guess it is safe to say that, this characteristic I found in Jesus permeates everything I do and say; at least I try to live my life that way. The reality of that statement is that I frequently have to set aside my judgmental attitude (the one I was raised with,) and look for the mercy. That said, a few months ago our men’s Bible study was focusing on Trust, and who the Biblical characters were that demonstrated trust. The Bible is filled with them. Let’s just take a look at one, Noah.

Let’s assume we know little about the man, and we stumbled upon this description in the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 11:7 MKJV By faith Noah, having been warned by God of things not yet seen, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

Now, what can we say we know about him?

  • By faith, Noah was warned of God about the coming of things he had never seen, experienced, or explain.

In the old testament, many were spoken to by God. However, when you read their stories, you find out it was through some incredibly vivid dreams. Abraham could be used as an example of a man who had some explicit dreams. In these dreams, given to Abraham, God’s plan was laid out. Here also, there are repercussions because you now have insight into the future.

  • It goes on to say, that Noah was moved with fear to prepare an ark.

    Fear is the Greek word eulabeomai meaning to be circumspect, that is, (by implication) to be apprehensive; religiously, to reverence. Strong’s

Circumspect – means, looking on all sides, looking around. Hence, Cautious; prudent; watchful on all sides; examining carefully all the circumstances that may affect a determination or a measure to be adopted. Webster’s Dictionary

Since there was no apparent need for boats, he might have been hard-pressed to understand how to build one, especially one of such proportions. How did Noah deal with the variables involved with those instructions? Around him, as he went off to harvest lumber, were large, aggressive, warring tyrants; that aspect alone could cause you to walk with caution; then there was the word that God gave him, most likely through a dream, indicating that all flesh would die. Was it common for God to talk with men at this time? Apparently not, as most men were only violent and their thoughts were solely evil.

We speak of Noah as a preacher and living testimony, but to whom?

As far as we know there were no vessels, nor were there any large bodies of water and therefore no reason to build boats. Noah had to look like the fool in their eyes. Conservative estimates put the process of building this boat between 55 and 75 years, and the time frame alone would make you the madman. Noah’s sons would have been too young to be of much help, and I doubt he got any help from the unfriendly community around him. Cutting trees, shaping lumber, and the daily effort of feeding his family would have hindered our traditional concepts of preaching and evangelism.
If anything, Noah’s witness came from his actions and persistence.

Since fear, a word used to describe Noah includes being circumspect as a definition; to be so, conveys the idea of carefully examining all the circumstances. Maybe this fear had more to do with what God had pronounced. Another side of this picture that you rarely hear. Noah is not a fool, and the possibility that God’s design could carry all men is ludicrous. The obvious point is that Noah can see that virtually everyone will die. What did Noah do with this understanding? He kept building and preaching as if that was necessary.

  • Noah’s actions brought about the salvation of his household.

    But, what does that mean? Since we comprehend the outcome of the story, we know that it involved his sons and their wives. Why would this be an issue? You would think that Noah raised his sons to be just like he was, a follower of God. But, how often does that happen? When you consider the underlying perversion that Ham reintroduced into the mix, you should be able to understand that anyone can wander, even if briefly.

    • Noah’s actions and determination condemned the world.

      Condemned is the Greek word katakrinō, and according to Strong’s concordance, means to judge against, that is, sentence:condemn, damn. The Word Study Dictionary adds, to pronounce sentence against someone or something.

      I have a question Didn’t God condemn the earth and bring the flood?

      Let me show you something. Verses 1-3 indicate something radical is beginning to happen on the earth, that is not good, and entirely contrary to God’s plan. And yet, as it happens, there is no assignment of punishment or destruction. The interactions between “the sons of God” and the daughters of men become so extreme that we get verse four, which speaks of giants in the earth. The verse also points out that the same giants became mighty men, as though that was a good thing. If you do a quick study of the word mighty, you find the expression gibbôr, which means warrior tyrants.

      Genesis 6:1-4 KJV And it came to pass when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. 3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years. 4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

      Genesis 6:6,7 demonstrates a shift in God’s attitude and direction for the earth, at least for the moment.

      And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” KJV

      This passage shows that the change has everything to do with these “sons of God” and their influence, not only in the earth but mankind. The redeeming quality seems to point to one man, Noah. Some that I listen to have stated that Noah’s was the only bloodline not impacted by this demonic interaction with women, which produced these giants.

      Giants is the Hebrew word nephil; properly, a feller, that is, a bully or tyrant: – giant.
      A feller – One who hews or knocks down. Isa 14.

      And yet in the midst of these Nephilim, there was a man.

      Genesis 6:8 NASB But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

      Favor is the Hebrew word mâtsâ‘. A primitive root; properly to come forth to, that is, appear or exist; transitively to attain, that is, find or acquire;

  • For his efforts, Noah became the heir of righteousness; a righteousness that only comes about through the usage of, or the having of faith.

Now I have to ask, what is faith? Webster’s dictionary tells us,

FAITH, n. [L. fides, fido, to trust; Gr. hupóstasis meaning to persuade, to draw towards anything, to conciliate; to believe, to obey.

Noah, given a path to follow, chose to follow God. What other options do you suppose Noah had? One gave hope of a better future, while the other probably involved your imminent demise at the hands of warrior tyrants.

Scripture defines faith as: the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 MKJV

Other translations define faith as:

The realization of, or The essence of the thing not seen. Moffatt’s translation, tells us that it “means we are confident of what we hope for.”

The Word Study Dictionary defines the Greek word hupóstasis as – to place or set under. In general, that which underlies the apparent, hence, reality, essence, substance; that which is the basis of something, hence, assurance guarantee, to have confidence in (with the obj. Sense).

I want you to see something. If you start with the Jewish understanding of time, it puts us at 4004 B.C. – the fall of man and the beginning of recorded time. Counting backward using the ages given to us in Genesis chapter five, you find some extraordinary bits of information. For example, Adam overlapped Enoch by over three hundred years. So, if you ever wondered how Enoch gained the understanding and ability to talk so intimately with God that he could just walk off the earth, this interaction with Adam is a strong possibility.

What about Methuselah? He was the oldest man on the earth, living 969 years. Does that mean that he died in the flood and was therefore included among the unrighteous? I don’t think that is the case. Many years ago I heard someone say, that Methuselah’s name meant, “when he dies, it will come.” I looked for solid evidence of this statement for years. Just recently I found this, (“he dies, and it (the flood) is sent.”) A name given prophetically by Enoch, or given after the event. Phoenician inscriptions use methu or betha (“a man”). Fausset’s Bible Dictionary. By Andrew Robert Fausset, co-author of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown’s COMMENTARY ON THE WHOLE BIBLE. It appears that Robert Fausset pursued this through Phoenician writings, but that is not clear, and I can still find nothing more to back this claim. What I do have is Strong’s concordance, which defines Methuselah’s name according to the Hebrew.

H4968 – methu^shelach – From H4962 and H7973; man of a dart; Methushelach, an antediluvian patriarch: – Methuselah.

Man of a dart means nothing to me, but the name Methuselah is a combination of names.

H4962 – math – From the same as H4970; properly an adult (as of full length); by implication a man (only in the plural)

Was he born an adult? No, but the possibilities are good that Methuselah would reach full adulthood. We know that happened.

H7973 – shelach – From H7971; a missile of attack, that is, spear; also (figuratively) a shoot of growth, that is, branch:

Considering that we get our names, typically within minutes of our birth, how is possible that a name, given so early, could define our future and how we act? In a way, the name does not decree the course our lives will take, but I believe that God has His hand in everything. What we see as a human choice or mere coincidence, is no less than God’s influence in our lives. For the most part, this is God spelling out the direction your life will take.

Now, I could understand “a missile of attack,” from several directions, but one of them could be perceived as God’s plan and direction for Methuselah’s life. If you look at the figurative portion of the definition, which conveys that Methuselah could or would be representative of a shoot of growth, or a branch. All of which represent life. What do we know of that matches that terminology?

Isaiah 4:2 In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel.

Zechariah 3:8 ‘Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch.

So, the branch then is Jesus. Can we be so bold as to say that Methuselah was a type of Jesus?

Noah, in light of the world in which he lived, and the timeline we can understand, makes him shine all the more brightly. We know from scripture that there were Nephilim in the land. These sons of God that we understand to be fallen angels essentially mated with human females and produced extraordinarily large beings. Because of the information that, not only Adam had access to, but the others that may have had this same information, like Enoch, apparently shared this information. Anyone with common sense can see that there were some highly intelligent and vicious men walking the earth. Should you decide to do a word study on the phrase “mighty men,” you will find that it means warrior tyrants. This scenario was the world, not only Noah but many other men of God. Some have said that Noah’s family line, which I just spelled out above, was the only lineage that had not become contaminated by the demonic influence.

Posted in bible study, God's character, grace, Hope, Mercy, Prophetic, Things I have never noticed before | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment