A look at the book of Micah, an overview.

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

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

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

On the book of Micah

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

Street columns, Ancient Samaria.

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

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

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

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

“Micah the Morasthite means that he was a native of Moresheth of Gath, which is southwest of Jerusalem. Although he was in the kingdom of Judah, he prophesied to both kingdoms, but his main message was directed to the northern kingdom. I have often wondered about that. His contemporary, Isaiah, was a prophet to the southern kingdom; and perhaps, since Micah was probably a younger man, he felt that Isaiah could take care of the southern kingdom while God directed him to speak to the northern kingdom. You will never misunderstand Micah because he makes it very clear to whom he is speaking.”

Still gleaning information from J. Vernon McGee –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continuing with Bullinger’s exposition/commentary –

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

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

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

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

I want to add one more thing here –

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

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

Under the reign of Uzziah,

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

A few other Prophets around this time frame.

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

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

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

The Word from Micah is concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

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

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

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


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

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


Again we turn to the ISBE.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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A blog update and some thoughts on confession.

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

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

Second tire blow out of the day.

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


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

Emmett Valley, Idaho, USA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That being said, what about this book of Micah?

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

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

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

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

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

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

The first name I looked at was Jothan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why would Jesus say that?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 1:1-4 NASB, In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2) He was in the beginning with God. 3) All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him, nothing came into being that has come into being. 4) In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And be joined to his wife? Genesis 2:24

This is another subject that came up among my friends one recent morning.

In the world of sin, I have done more than my fair share. What do I mean? Considering that “sinning” is merely missing the mark, then yes, I do that daily; and if you were honest, then you would admit that so do you.

So then, we need to establish something here, who is setting the mark for these goals we try to meet and how many goals are there, because it can be exhausting some days? Well, since we, as followers of Christ have submitted ourselves to God as the moral authority in our lives, then really He is the primary one setting the goals.

(This moral standard, of course, is all on a theoretical basis, as many of those who call themselves “Christians” use the law they created in their head as the moral standard. Having watched that so-called moral standard in progress, I can tell you that you have little to no consistency in your standards, and you are not showing me anything I want to copy. I happen to think most of these inconsistent standards are picked from the bits and pieces the world offers us – just as long as it suited our lusts [desires] and needs.)

Why bring any of this up?

Because I too have felt the sting of judgment, as I lived with a woman before I was able to marry her. (Let me point out that the friend/brother in Christ that wanted to “turn in me” to church management, later on, had a fling with a woman he was not married to and had to turn himself into that same church management. That church put him on the shame list and limited his interactions there, for six months with total separation from that woman, just as he was going to do to me. Now, before you get all religious and high minded thinking you have any right to judge me, hear me out.

The State of California does not recognize a common law marriage and has not since 1895. The law in California:

requires both parties to consent to be married, but mere consent does not a marriage make. Generally, there must be a marriage license issued, a solemnization and authentication following the issuing of the license and a recordation in the county where the solemnization/authentication took place.”


So then, if consent without love, is the sole approving factor, then why are we getting married?

Because your marriage, under state laws, makes you a corporate, tax identity, and a statistic. Is a legal marriage mandatory for love? (I’m being somewhat sarcastic here,) and you know that is not true. It sure seems like a good way of tracking you, as a marriage license is just another method of tracking and controlling you. If blacks in the South could deem themselves married by jumping over a broom, in front of witnesses, then what are we doing? Although I had to pay the fees and get a marriage license, my wife and I were married in our attorney’s office by a man I hired through the internet. I did this because we were trying to take out a mortgage on the home that had once been paid off so that we could buy out my wife’s brother (my wife’s mom had died, and the brother wanted his half of the estate.) Some might look at our actions as merely fulfilling an immediate need; when in fact we were two weeks away from being married about 15 years earlier. That marriage would have happened if it were not for religious legalism deciding to get involved. What that overzealous legalistic pastor did was to ask us if we had had relations with each other. I could either hit him in the face, answer him with the sarcasm he deserved, or tell him the truth, and so I answered his question without lying. Instead of marrying us, (and mind you, all the announcements were printed,) we were restricted from marrying in that church and told to stay apart for six months. Needless to say, I did not comply and we did not get married.

Do you have to be in love to consent to a marriage?

So clearly, this idea of love, as an aspect of your consent, is counterfeit because here again, my first marriage had little to do with love.

Again, let me explain. A young man does not fall in love; he falls in lust. Love is something profound that grows over time and is based in commitment; which is in part: choice, desire, and the longing to be with someone – theoretically, forever. So though my first marriage might have had those components as part of the plan, my wife, at the time, had no intention of carrying through with words she pronounced before everyone that day. Within six months she had sex with a friends boyfriend and then did it again seven years later with someone she met at a bar in Las Vegas. After she committed adultery twice, we separated, and two years later we divorced. My ex-wife had no longing to stay married, and her counselor helped me to understand that by telling me so. What made this more difficult was the religious legalism imposed on me by the church in which I was raised. You see, there was a tremendous amount of guilt interlaced in those marriage vows; not to mention the fact that the pastoral counseling you had to sit through helped to emphasize that point.

I suspect that much of this legalism comes from the Old Testament, but inevitably a little bit comes from some pastoral training, where they are apparently taught to control the flock God has given you, and this is how you do it. Some of those potential verses come from Genesis 31; Genesis 22, and Genesis 24. Jesus, in response to the Pharisees who were looking for ridiculous ways out of their marriages, spoke of divorce and the hardness of their hearts in Matthew 19. Paul, almost as if he is assuming that a woman would never cheat, spoke in 1 Corinthians 7 about a wife’s reactions to a cheating husband, and how you are to stay single, but who does that?

Ah, but you say, we are not under the law but grace.

If you believed that you would be reading this with an open mind and heart, and you are not. You are judging the heck out of me – so shame on you. So, when it comes to God’s law, I am sorry to disappoint, but God’s word stands forever, and those same laws are now written in our hearts by God’s Holy Spirit. Yes, those laws are there to keep us out of trouble, and when you hear them spoken to your heart it would be wise to obey them.

If there was a woman that caused a man trouble, it would be Eve; and yet, Did you see Adam divorcing his wife? I did not think so.

One of the most excellent answers Jesus gave when asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” Was this:

Matthew 22:36-40 NET. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37) Jesus said to him, ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38) This is the first and greatest commandment. 39) The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40) All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Instead of advocating laws perhaps we should be promoting God’s love (Just saying.)

Several years back there was a movie called The Three Amigos. The main characters were fictional movie heroes that somehow got caught up in a Mexican town’s power struggle with some bad guys. At one point a bad guy says to the gang leader, “there are a plethora of men coming.” The leader pauses and responds to the man, “do you know what plethora means?” The man admitted that he did not, but liked the sound of the word. The leader comes back with, “do not use words to which you do not know their meaning.”

So, I say to you, I do not think that word wife means what you think it means.

The first occurrence of the term wife shows in Genesis 2:24, but the story does not start there. So let’s look at the beginnings of this man and woman relationship.

Genesis 2:18 MKJV And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.

Now you might think, this is where God makes Eve, but it isn’t.

What does this idea of “help meet,” mean?

God made animals and birds. Did he expect for the man to find a helpmate out of this collection? When I started looking at this intently, I was in place with any high tech tools and had to rely on the commentary and limited concordance of my Dake Bible. Dake’s tells me that this idea of a helpmate was,

someone suitable intellectually, morally, and physically – as the man’s counterpart.”

Aside from the animals how many choices did Adam have that would fit this description given by Finis Jennings Dake? Zero, and yet the next move God makes is to form, out of the ground, every beast of the field and every fowl of the air.

God sees a need for the man to have a helpmate, but watch what God does.

Genesis 2:19-20 NET. The LORD God formed out of the ground every living animal of the field and every bird of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them, and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20) So the man named all the animals, the birds of the air, and the living creatures of the field, but for Adam, no companion who corresponded to him was found.

As you can see in verse 20, that “for Adam, no companion who corresponded to him was found.” Does this surprise anyone? When I was a child, watching television in the early 1960’s, I saw many black and white television westerns in which there was that one guy who lived back in the hills, and was content not interacting with anyone but his dog. I think that type is a rarity.

God’s solution and I cannot believe that He thought Adam would find his helpmate in a corral, was to make an exacting duplicate of the man, with a few body style modifications of course.

Genesis 2:21-25 24) (Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother and cling to his wife, and they will become one flesh.) 25) Even though both the man and his wife were naked, they were not ashamed about it.

  • God caused a deep sleep to overshadow the man.

    If you will, the first instance of anesthesia.

  • He removed one of the man’s ribs and closed up the flesh where it had been.

    The first case of surgery.

  • The LORD God formed the rib that he had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man.

    Why did God bring her to the man in this manner? Was it out of respect, or was He allowing for the man to name her, or both?

  • And then, there is this odd exclamation we see in Genesis 2:24 CJB This is why a man is to leave his father and mother and stick with his wife, and they are to be one flesh.

    Why say its odd? Adam may well understand that God is ab or Father, but where would he get the concept of mother ’ēm? The KJ concordance shows that this word is used 220 times in the Old Testament. All but six of those examples indicate some form of mother.

    The Hebrew words El Shaddai – implies a complete sufficiency to nurture, but can also mean the Breasted One. In the Jewish culture, this is understood as the God who sustains us and loves us like a mother loves her newborn child.

Do I then perceive Adam as pulling away from the all-sufficiency of God, to pursue what, life on the prairie? Or, is Adam speaking of a future time, when others will and should learn to live life outside of the parent’s immediate intervention? Perhaps a Jewish viewpoint might help to bring forth an answer.

When I look at a website, http://learn-biblical-hebrew.com/hebrew-scripture/garden-of-eden-story/genesis-224/ (The short address is: http://tinyurl.com/lmtopj2I get this:

What we understand as the word, Thereforeis the Hebrew phrase, עַל־כֵּן (`al-ken) and is not part of the story. Rather, its use introduces an editorial comment on the part of the author.

Because we understand the author to be Moses, then we can perceive that this is conveying that the man understands his need to stick with his wife through thick and thin.” “The text seems to say that the quality of loyalty and fidelity is constitutive of “one flesh.” After all, one need not be loyal (or even loving) to have sex and live together. The idea in view here is a commitment, especially of the man for his wife.

Verse 24 is kind of where this journey begins and our first instance of the word wife.

Genesis 2:24 MKJV Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh.

The second occurrence of wife presents itself here.

Genesis 3:8 NASB They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

The Hebrew word for wife is ishshâh and means a woman, a female, or a wife.

Since the concept of a wife, as defined by modern law, could not possibly have existed in the early days of man, what did? While the answer comes off like a cave dweller, the answer would most likely be “my woman.” I seriously doubt that term would have conveyed disrespect as we expect some people to express in this “modern” age. Today, the usage of the term woman is more closely associated with someone sitting in the corner of the couch, wearing a dirty tee-shirt, demanding this female living with him, to bring him another beer.

Question; throughout the Old Testament, were there any public recording offices available to verify your marriage documents back then, thereby making you legal according to the laws of that particular county?

No, I didn’t think so, and yet God seemed to recognize their relationships and often bless the relationship by having them produce some offspring like Samson, or better yet, Jephthah. You can find the story surrounding his life in Judges chapter 11.

Why then, do pastors impose such legalistic ideals on people, as though they are the gatekeepers, capable of allowing you entrance, or preventing you from entering the kingdom and away from God’s love and grace?

Posted in Adam, bible study, caught, condemnation, creation, Creation, deception, Dispelling myths, Genesis, God's character, Hearing God, Jesus, Jews, overtaken, restore, Sin, Thoughts on scripture, Wife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For the sake of argument. Zephaniah 1: 2-6, Part 2.

Since we covered verse one in the introduction to Zephaniah, we will only touch on it lightly. That word lightly makes me laugh because I rarely do anything lightly.

Zephaniah 1:1 NET. This is the prophetic message that the LORD gave to Zephaniah, son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah. Zephaniah delivered this message during the reign of King Josiah, son of Amon of Judah:

If you read my introduction to Zephaniah, then you would know that I wanted to find out what might have been Zephaniah’s motivation to speak such a strong word. I realize many will not understand my simple idea of motivation, as “God,” we assume, speaks to us, telling us to jump, and we simply say, how high. It doesn’t work like that. For me, it was a major trust issue as the Holy Spirit was kind enough to give me something like “and the” for a starter. I had to trust Him to fill my mouth, and He always did. As I sit in groups, it is rare to find people who recognize that God/the Holy Spirit can and does speak to us. On this thought line, I was recently reminded that Proverbs tells us of God’s attempts at talking with us more than any other book.

Proverbs 1:20-21 NET. Wisdom calls out in the street, she shouts loudly in the plazas; 21) at the head of the noisy streets she calls, in the entrances of the gates in the city she utters her words:

If Proverbs 1:20 is an example of the Holy Spirit speaking, then you can see that He is not merely talking, He is calling out with a loud voice. With the understanding that God is Wisdom, then you should be able to grasp that He is calling out to you all the time.

For the sake of argument let’s assume that you don’t or can’t believe that God will speak to you. If that is your understanding, then you would never discern that the twisted path God has taken you on was meant to build the character and personality in you that you now have (even if you look and like a biker.) The truth is, God has never let you out of His hand and has directed every move you made; even the painful ones. Why did those things have to happen to you? Because God needed the person, you became to reach that one person who will only listen to you.

I don’t know if you realize what is going on here as I write, but I am also talking to myself; a man who struggles with several damaged aspects of my life (those aspects are primarily emotional, but the damage is real and often impedes my progress.) In other words, I like many of you, am a walking miracle.

In my earlier post, I emphasized the impact of the evil King, Manasseh’s reign.

The assumption would be logical and practical to consider him, as he played the greatest role in Zephaniah’s life, and strove to create an environment that was not so dissimilar to the Nazi regime’s goals of eradication. Manasseh’s regime, in many ways, matches the current apostate condition of the world we now live in; a world where the name of the Lord is on the verge of being outlawed. Here in my state, California’s state assembly has moved to pass an Assembly bill 2943. This bill will make the Bible illegal literature because the words and message in the Bible have always stood against homosexuality. The reality is that there are many words in this book we call a Bible that anger people, many of which are religious. The Bible irritates because it stands in opposition to our selfish desires.

As a side note. I feel no compulsion to use my Bible as a harsh motivation against sin, as it speaks against sin on its own. My motivation for teaching is meant to get you excited about the life and potential that are found in the Bible, and then let that control you.

One commentary stated, all we know about Zephaniah is told to us in verse one. 

Chapter one verse one tells us that, “Zephaniah delivered this message during the reign of King Josiah son of Amon of Judah.” Now, how do you argue with that? You don’t, but it makes sense to take in the whole picture, and Josiah obviously plays a role in that picture. An assumption I could make here is that Manasseh created a passion for justice, while Josiah gives Zephaniah the freedom to speak about it.

Since Josiah is set before us, then we need to learn about Josiah.

2 Kings 22:1 NET. Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned for thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother was Jedidah, daughter of Adaiah, from Bozkath.

Seriously? How useful or self-directed would an eight-year-old child be?

The reality is that someone that who held Jehovah in high respect, regardless of Manasseh’s oppression, was helping to direct Josiah’s actions and words. Now, I would expect Josiah, if he had a heart for it, to be a follower of the law and God’s way, and that is what we see. We also know that he reigned for thirty-one years, well into adulthood. This information does not tell me what Josiah did that demonstrated a life of dedication to the Lord, but verse two does.

2 Kings 22:2 NET. He did what the LORD approved and followed in his ancestor David’s footsteps; he did not deviate to the right or the left.

Having listened to Pastor Chuck Smith, the founder of the Calvary Chapels’, talk about Josiah, you would think this young man would put King David to shame. Put this information in context, as we are all human and this idea of hearing God would have been a struggle, even for a king, especially for a young king. Therefore, again, it is safe to assume that sane people, led by God, were able to assert great and unselfish wisdom into the life of the young king.

Since the passage has compared him to King David, then you should be able to appreciate that David was a man after God’s own heart. A reality check: David had all the human faults a man could stand, so what is it that qualified David for this title? Solomon’s interactions with God gives us a clue.

1 Kings 11:4 NET. When Solomon became old, his wives shifted his allegiance to other gods; he was not wholeheartedly devoted to the LORD his God, as his father David had been.

In spite of his flaws and failures, David was wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord. A look at the word devoted reveals this:

šālēm: An adjective meaning full, complete, safe, whole, peaceful. This adjective has several uses when it suggests complete, safe, unharmed, natural.

So David felt safe, whole, peaceful and natural. Take that in for a moment. Do you have anyone in your life that produces those feelings in you? I don’t. A few come close, like my wife, but then there are those moments when you are ready to leave even the sanest people behind. The most important thing, even if it was only the overlapping of Zephaniah’s life by eight years, is that Josiah followed the Lord.

One could hope that the impact brought through Josiah’s rule and life, would exceed and outlast any of the damage and horrors Manasseh’s reign brought. We all know that was not the case as the damage lingers on for years. I point this out because even though I have seen the goodness of God in my life, I still carry much of the hurt and damage that life has dished out. I continually have to do self-checks, as I wonder if the voice I heard in my spirit was not something inspired by the negativity and abuse I was subjected to; and, when I speak about the trials and tribulations we endure, I freely admit the realization that there are issues I will struggle with my entire life here on earth. Some people cannot hear these words and understand for they have never experienced such pains.

Can I be sure Zephaniah understood the damage Manasseh caused?

No, but since problems and abuse are common to all of us, then there is a good chance Zephaniah would understand this conversation.

Moving on; the caption precedes verse two, but may not accurately convey all that is happening here.

The Coming Judgment on Judah.

Zephaniah 1:2-6 NASB “I will completely remove all things From the face of the earth,” declares the LORD. 3) “I will remove man and beast; I will remove the birds of the sky And the fish of the sea, And the ruins along with the wicked; And I will cut off man from the face of the earth,” declares the LORD. 4) “So I will stretch out My hand against Judah And against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, And the names of the idolatrous priests along with the priests. 5) “And those who bow down on the housetops to the host of heaven, And those who bow down and swear to the LORD and yet swear by Milcom1, 6) And those who have turned back from following the LORD, And those who have not sought the LORD or inquired of Him.”

Without going into details, the general theme I get here is an angry God cleaning house.

If I base my understanding on the caption, Judah is the Southern Kingdom, and Israel is the Northern Kingdom. In the long run was one Kingdom better than the other? Absolutely not, and even if they became unified under the name Israel, they all went into captivity. During the days of Josiah, it was a divided kingdom. To give you some perspective, while Godly men are presumed to have reigned over Judah, Kings like Ahab and his hell-bent, murderous wife, reigned over Israel, but not at the same time. In reality, no one was safe and most simply forgot about Jehovah.

What does this judgment entail? The removal of all things from the earth.

  • Man and beast;

  • the birds of the sky;

  • the fish of the sea;

  • the ruins along with the wicked;

Ah, here comes the big clue.

  • So I will stretch out My hand against Judah And against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”

Now, if I wanted to play with words, then I could put forth the premise that He did not include Israel, but you know that did not happen.

Why does God feel this way?

  • Because His people are worshiping Baal;

    And, I can assume that all of Israel, in some way, is still worshiping Baal.

  • Because there are idolatrous priests along with the priests.

    The conveyance that there are some who are not so idolatrous does not excuse their complicity.

  • Verse 5 in the Amplified translation tells us: “And those who worship the starry host of the heavens upon their housetops and those who [pretend to] worship the Lord and swear by and to Him and yet swear by and to [the heathen god Molech or] Malcam [their idol king],”

    Stephen, in the seventh chapter of Acts, declared how God’s people brought Molech out of Egypt with them. What Stephen said was a very intense history lesson, which NO ONE disputed.

  • And, they have turned their backs from following the Lord.

    I find this theme in the Revelation; Daniel, and others.

Were these conditions exclusive to Judah? Not a chance and any of the books that speak of end times events will prove that out.

Zephaniah 1: 2-6 covers one more group of people; and, I just about guarantee that this one will make you mad.

  • And those who have not sought the LORD or inquired of Him.

While it may have been easier to see this as strictly a Jewish problem, this last sentence expanded it to include us church folk. Let me give you an example to chew on. I recently learned that a pastor committed suicide. Many would think, why, as pastor’s should be the ones that have it all together. At least that is the impression you get, as the pastor says to you, as he did me, I can’t believe that you, being a Christian for over 40 years, would think or feel that way. One of the men I sit with asked me what I think of a pastor who kills himself. It only took a second for a response to come into my spirit. Having dealt with depression and anxiety it is typically a problematic event that has accumulated over time and has not been adequately dealt with. Events that cause this kind of damage often come from childhood, but they can also build up from work and relational situations. This particular pastor’s wife said “I am thankful that he is now in heaven.” This statement too became a part of the discussion as there are doubts in the minds of many religious persons that a person who commits suicide is not entitled to heaven.

My answer – and I explained that I have learned to err on the side of mercy, was this.

    • The pastor was not in his right mind and therefore not thinking clearly.

      Do we judge the impaired when they may not have the capacity to think rationally? One of the brothers argued against that. That same brother in Christ, will, however, argue for Judas to receive mercy. You can’t have it both ways.

    • If you are going to play the judgment card, then you can exclude yourself from any mercy.

      Why say that? Because Jesus went to the cross as the last sacrifice for sin, for the entire world. Paul told us that there is NO MORE sacrifice for sin, therefore we need to accept the fact that sin and price for it was done away with. So, if you must stand before God to be judged, then it would only be for what did or did not do with Jesus. That is it.

When you begin to have this discussion, there is always a zealot who will play the scriptural card, and it goes like this:

1 John 1:7-10 NASB but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8) If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

This passage is real and true. If I look at sin from its old English origins, then I know that sin is merely missing the mark. I do that all the time; not in big ways, but having set some goals for my life, I know I have not achieved them yet. I do, however, talk about my shortcomings with several friends I meet with. In my mind, I am confessing my sins. God, on-the-other-hand, reminds me that my sin was cast as far as the East is from the West, an unreachable destination.

I have sat with some of those who “have not sought the LORD or inquired of Him.” I know this because they feel they have the right to hold people in judgment. If you sought the Lord and knew his nature and character, you would never do that.

1 John 4:8 NASB The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.


1The Amplified Bible identifies this Milcom as Molech. Molech was the half man, half calf god that the people had Aaron recreate for them to worship. Molech was half man, half calf upon which they roasted their children as an offering.

Posted in bible study, End times, God's character, Israel, Jerusalem, Jews, Josiah, judgment, Manasseh, Thoughts on scripture, wholeheartedly devoted, wrath., Zephaniah | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Study on Zephaniah. Part 1, an introduction.

I will tell you what motivated this study. I went to a “Bible Study” that to some degree was promoted by a Southern California Christian radio host. I think the man is sincere and I think the work God has done in him, throughout the years, is legitimate. So a group of men, under the flag and theme of this radio host, put out a call for men to come to their bible study by using Instagram. I thought I would check it out but quickly determined that this was not what I thought it was going to be. What I did take away was a new found interest in the Book of Zephaniah. The “pastor” of this group told us that he had been at a loss as to what to talk about, and felt that he was lead to Zephaniah. I honestly do not remember anyone teaching out of Zephaniah, and so as he found some legalistic aspects to focus on, I began skimming through the three chapters that comprise the book and quickly heard this inside my spirit, this book is talking about the last days. I felt so strongly that night that I need to do a study on who the man was and what he had to say. This is that effort.

The overview given by The Biblical Illustrator tells us this

“Of Zephaniah, we know absolutely nothing but what he himself mentions in the superscription of his Book. No information can be gathered from the contents of the prophecy, where the writer’s personal history is wholly unnoticed.” 1

That seems like a hard way to start, especially when we have some particular information about Zephaniah.

Dake’s Bible2 gives us this information.

Date and place: The prophetic words were written in Palestine about 679-648 B.C.

Author: Zephaniah the prophet.

Proof of authorship: We have the testimony of the book itself that Zephaniah wrote it.

Zephaniah 1:1 NET. This is the prophetic message that the LORD gave to Zephaniah son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah. Zephaniah delivered this message during the reign of King Josiah son of Amon of Judah:

Theme: Judgment of God upon both Jews and Gentiles for their many sins; and His goodness to the godly of both classes. The book opens with a message regarding immediate judgment upon Judah by Babylon, then depicts their judgment in the future day of the Lord (Zep_1:1-18). Zep_2:1-15 is devoted to immediate judgments of God upon Gentiles by Babylon-Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Ethiopia, and Assyria. The prophet then returns to the immediate judgment upon Judah by Babylon, and also makes predictions regarding Israel in the future day of the Lord, in the reign of the Messiah (Zep_3:1-20).

Purpose: To make it clear to Judah that unless they would consecrate to do the will of God judgment would surely come, and to encourage the godly of the nation regarding the fact that final and complete restoration under the Messiah would come.

I have looked at more than just the commentaries I mention here. And yet, these authors convey, in few words, what I have seen with consistency in most. One thing I wanted to add here: several authors indicated that Zechariah’s father and grandfather were prophets. In the Jewish mindset that meant that you were most likely to be a prophet as well. Don’t you wish it worked that way? The Apostle Paul tells us that it is a gift and that we are to long for it. I am not sure why, but it helps to make life more interesting, especially when people say to you, how did you know that. I suppose I am just more willing than some others. I don’t try to make it something to brag about, hardly anyone believes you anyway.

Albert Barnes commentary spells out another fact about Zephaniah.

“Zephaniah was called to his role not long after Habakkuk. Since his time was near to that of Habakkuk, so his subject was also related. Both lived when, for the sins of the reign of Manasseh, God had pronounced an irreversible sentence of destruction upon Jerusalem.”3

Dr. John Gill states

“He is the last of the minor prophets that prophesied before the Babylonish captivity. His name, according to Jerom, signifies either “the Lord’s watchtower”, or “watchman”; or else “the secret of the Lord”; or, “his hidden one”; deriving his name, either from hpu, which signifies to “look out”, as a watchman from his tower; or from Npu, “to hide”; which latter derivation is best; and some interpret it “a revealer of the secrets”, or “hidden things, of the Lord”4

With the knowledge of the time in which he operated, and, the Babylonian captivity, I can piece together some of the events that would have motivated the man. People don’t seem to understand something about the prophet, or the prophetic, there are humans involved, and unless you can lock yourself in a closet and do little else but commune with God, then you will be affected by the world around you. In other words, you cannot separate the man from the message.

An example of what I am saying can be gleaned from Daniel’s life.

When he was taken captive, he was the cream of the crop. Educated, trained in several facets of life, which may have included diplomacy. If nothing else, in time, he would have been a Pharisee or a ruling member of the Jewish council. Daniel would have been of marrying age and therefore may have had a young lady picked out to be his wife. Captivity changed all that rapidly. Nebuchadnezzar would have had the young man castrated immediately, this act served a multitude of purposes, such as removing all hope of ever going back home to a normal life. Jewish law disallowed a castrated man from ever serving in the temple or entering for that matter; and, it ended his hopes of being married.

Another example and one that is even more prominent is Jonah.

We do not know if Jonah had been an eyewitness to what the Assyrians were capable of, or the stories he heard were very graphic; because of this ugly history of abuse toward Israel Jonah hated the Assyrians. These feelings of hatred were so intense that Jonah was willing to commit suicide to avoid bringing the prophetic message to them. What was Jonah’s message? It offered no hope, and he gave none; at the end of forty-five days, Nineveh will be overthrown. All of Jonah’s feelings and emotion can be summed up in one verse. This particular verse comes after the Ninevehites repented, hoping that God would change His mind or relent. Well, God did, and we find Jonah lamenting that decision.

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.

I could expound upon other aspects of Jonah’s saga, but they rely on history and logical speculation. The question you should ask is, why would a people so warlike, fearless, and bloodthirsty, give such immediate attention to a man like Jonah? The answers are there if you are interested and willing to dig just a little.

What kind of mental picture is painted about Zephaniah?

Nothing so ominous. Living between 679-648 BC, he would have been primarily influenced the Assyrian empire, just as Jonah was. We are told that Zephaniah operated prophetically under the rule of Josiah; yet, a timeline shows Josiah’s influence to be from 640 – 609 BC and would, therefore, have no impact on Zephaniah’s life. He did, however, live under Manasseh’s rule. So the question you have to ask is, who and what had the greater and certainly more painful influence on Zephaniah, and most importantly, the people of Israel?

So how did we get to Manasseh?

2 Kings 20:19-21 NET. Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The LORD’s word which you have announced is appropriate.” Then he added, “At least there will be peace and stability during my lifetime.” 20) The rest of the events of Hezekiah’s reign and all his accomplishments, including how he built a pool and conduit to bring water into the city, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah. 21) Hezekiah passed away and his son Manasseh replaced him as king.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee in his commentary said this of Hezekiah.5

This may seem like an awful thing for me to say, but Hezekiah should have died when the time came for him to die. Three things took place after God extended his life that were foolish acts: he showed his treasures to Babylon, which will cause great trouble in the future; he begat a son, Manasseh, who was the most wicked of any king; he revealed an arrogance, almost an impudence, in his later years. His heart became filled with pride. 2Ch_32:25 tells us, “But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him and upon Judah and Jerusalem.” You see, it might have been better if Hezekiah had died at God’s appointed time.”

Since we are now aware of Manasseh’s reign, let’s see what we can learn of the damage he did.

Smith’s Bible dictionary informs us of Manasseh.

“The thirteenth king of Judah, son of Hezekiah, 2Ki_21:1, ascended the throne at the age of twelve, and reigned 55 years, from B.C. 608 to 642. His accession was the signal for an entire change in the religious administration of the kingdom. Idolatry was again established to such an extent that every faith was tolerated, but the old faith of Israel.”6

From Easton’s dictionary, we get this.

“Though he reigned so long, yet comparatively little is known of this king. His reign was a continuation of that of Ahaz, both in religion and national polity. He early fell under the influence of the heathen court circle, and his reign was characterized by a sad relapse into idolatry with all its vices, showing that the reformation under his father had been to a large extent only superficial (Isa_7:10; 2Ki_21:10-15). A systematic and persistent attempt was made, and all too successfully, to banish the worship of Jehovah out of the land.”7

Now I can begin to understand some of the issues that perplexed the man giving the prophetic word. Manasseh had turned Israel into an idolatrous wasteland and was attempting to remove the worship of Jehovah out of the land. Sounds a bit like the world we live in today; no wonder he declares with such zest how God will wipe all flesh from the land.

Here it is August 26, 2018. Pastor Greg Laurie recently completed his massive gospel campaign at the Anaheim Stadium. However, even Pastor Greg had to deal with some controversy, as just before the series of meetings some whiner cried loud enough and caused them to change several of the billboards that pictured Pastor Greg holding a Bible. If you are a follower of Christ then you know that the Bible offends many people, including some “Christians”.

Here in California, our state assembly is working on the last actions necessary to pass Assembly bill AB 2943 which will make books (primarily the Bible) and other methods (such as counseling) that convey the idea of gender modification (a return to the sexual identity and orientation you were born with, whether it be in thought or deed,) illegal. That means that the Bible may become an unlawful piece of literature.

I don’t know about you, but it sounds more and more like there is a systematic and persistent attempt being made to banish the worship of Jehovah out of the land (just as in the days of Manasseh), and I see it happening all across this nation called America.

Some may read this and get angry; others will consider a piece like this and decide it’s time to get off their behinds and get proactive.

Do I know for certain that these are the things that motivated Zephaniah? No, but sin and debauchery have not changed, it merely spreads quicker in the modern world.

1The Biblical Illustrator By Joseph S. Exell, M.A.

2Dake’s Study Notes (Finis Dake) Copyright © 1961, 1963, 1989, 1991 by Finis Jennings Dake. All rights reserved in the U.S.A. and Other Countries.

3Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, published 1847-85

4John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible; Dr. John Gill, D.D., (1697-1771); Published in 1746-1766, 1816; public domain.

5Thru the Bible Commentary By J. Vernon McGee; Thomas Nelson Publishers Nashville; Copyright 1981 by J. Vernon McGee

6Smith’s Bible Dictionary, By Dr. William Smith. Published in 1863; public domain.

7Easton’s Bible Dictionary. M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Published in 1897; public domain.

Posted in Apostasy, Assyrians, bible study, condemnation, Deception, deception, End times, false teaching, Freedom from sin, guilt, Hearing God, hypocrisy, Israel, Jesus, judgment, overtaken, Prophetic, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An annoying level of religious legalism


These are a few of the websites that my grammar checker assumes I plagiarized. All of the examples have to do with my scripture quotes, as they are quoting large passages as well. Considering the common usage of scripture and how that I, with few exceptions, have noted the source, I would not remotely think this is plagiarism.

I did take a minute to look at a couple of these sites and I will direct some comments to those as I progress. 

The first one that came to my attention was arewelivinginthelastdays.com.
At some point, if we are all going to write about end times prophecy, w
e are going to use comparable biblical terminology, such as we do when we reference a scripture passage that covers the subject. Having never seen this website prior to this, I can tell you now that I do not agree with the assertions and analysis; besides all that, it is an overwhelming amount of information. 

Gog Magog: The key event that sets the stage for Tribulation. http://www.arewelivinginthelastdays.com/article/gogmagog/gogmagog.htm

In Touch is another website I have not visited prior to today. The article is entitled Exposing False Teachers – In Touch Ministries.

Centering on several paragraphs I noticed in Charles Stanley’s “In Touch” website. I found they that have a disturbing level of religious legalism that I feel must be addressed. I did not notice who the author was, but merely assumed that it was the work of Dr. Charles Stanley, as I have heard him on the radio, and this sounds like something he has said in the past.

False teachers’ lives and messages are self-indulgent. Their enticing ideas appeal to their listeners’ fleshly nature. In fact, false teachers will often permit activities prohibited in Scripture. Some deceivers describe God’s grace as a license to live without restraint (Jude 1:4). Paul clearly denounces this lie, teaching that believers have died to sin and shouldn’t live in it (Rom. 6:1-2).”

  • ” False teachers’ lives and messages are self-indulgent.” 

I have a friend who reminds me constantly that certain faith teachers are false teachers (these, for the most part, have become successful to the point of having their own television programs.) I am not arguing with my friends’ assertions, as there are many others who say the same thing; I just don’t care to hear it continually. I, however, am not their judge, God is, and He will deal with them. Besides that, I separated myself from that group years ago. And though I agree that faith is essential to our communication with God, I do not believe that God is the least bit interested in the amount of stuff you have, nor it’s value. In general, people with money, even if you came about it by begging it off of little old ladies, tends to make you self-indulgent.

An irritating aspect of this assertion that the false teachers’ life and the message are self-indulgent, is that a similar declaration was used on me by my pastor (thankfully, he is stepping aside and a new guy is coming on as pastor.) Having someone actually say that you are, in a form, self-indulgent, especially when you anything but that and have struggled with self-esteem issues due to abuses as a child, is really quite annoying.

  • “false teachers will often permit activities prohibited in Scripture.” 

Statements such as this make me want to scream, for if you think about it, isn’t that the pastors perceived job – making sure we, as a flock, are perpetually steered away from anything that looks like sin? An acquaintance of mine believes that Star Wars and Jurassic Park movies can and will lead you to the devil. That is the most asinine of thinking.

As I was hacking my way through this idea of me permitting sin simply because I have found the mercy and grace that is in Christ, I talked with my wife and said, I can take this a couple of ways:

    1. Because I lean heavily upon grace and mercy, I do not find it necessary to judge and beat people up verbally about their sins; I let the word of God take care of that. So, the implication is, that by displaying mercy I am condoning their sin. Wow, that opens a can of worms, because the presumption is, that I, by showing you mercy – the kind of mercy that draws many to Jesus, is “permitting” your sin. [Sin, by the way, is simply an old English term, for missing the bullseye on a target. If that target is a long distance away, and now looks like a black dot about the size of your thumbnail, what are the probabilities that you are going to hit that bullseye? Now, add a few of life’s distractions and the fool of a friend that is willing to tickle your ear with a feather just about the time you are ready to shoot]. The mere fact that you hit the target from such a great distance is monumental, but at least you tried. Then there are those who shoot themselves in the foot, and a few that never even come close to hitting the target (whatever that target may look like.) You might think, they don’t even try; and, you could be right. But mercy, so often, demands that I show them, love. Having spent some time in recovery, I saw this process happen many times as people repeatedly “fell off the wagon.”
    2. An alternate interpretation would be that I, because of the mercy that Paul preached, advocate the freedom to indulge in sin. As the author puts it, “activities prohibited in scripture.” Again, this opens an ugly can of worms. Allow me to give you an example: Moses comes off Mt Sinai after forty days and nights with the ten commandments. Since one has ever survived that long without food and water, he is presumed dead by the reluctant masses Moses has rescued from Pharaoh’s grip. As a side note: God’s chosen people had effectively been Egyptians for four hundred years. Even after seeing the signs God performed in Egypt, and then, watching Pharaoh and his armies become consumed by the Red Sea, they still clung to the gods they brought out of Egypt. Stephen, in Acts chapter 7, gives a history lesson to the Jewish council that was about to kill him, on how that these people brought the temple of Moloch and the star, the symbol of Rempham out of Egypt with them. Acts 7:42-43 LITV “… O house of Israel? And you took up the tent of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, the figures which you made in order to worship them. …” Commentaries tell us that what Israel did with Moloch and Remphan were so detestable, that they would not speak of the acts committed there. Some might argue that these chosen people, at that time, had no law, but I disagree, and we can take this argument all the way back to Cain where God says to him –

      Genesis 4:3-7 NASB So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering, but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7) CJB If you are doing what is good, shouldn’t you hold your head high? And if you don’t do what is good, sin is crouching at the door—it wants you, but you can rule over it.

      How inappropriate it would be to make such a statement unless God had first, in some way, conveyed what was right and good. Most will not see it as they read the garden account, but the answer is there and we find some of the clues in Genesis 3:21 where it says, “ The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” NASB  God, in the process of making them clothes, had initiated the pattern of sacrifice for sin; this is the same pattern that He showed Abram the dream. In this dream, God laid out the covenant of blessing and cursings. I understand many of you will doubt this, but does God ever change? The answer is NO, and so we see a consistent pattern in His nature and character.

      In God’s interactions with man, what did you see? You see God say, “as for me.” Are there repercussions for not sticking with the rules? Certainly, and I think I heard Dr. Billye Brim convey it well when she said, “Adam handed the trust deed for this earth over to Satan.” Because of that act, and without the authority of the name of Jesus, we can and will be dragged through the mire which is the only thing this earth has to offer. The damage from Adam’s act is simply something that is there, and the worst of it comes when someone chooses against turning their life to Jesus Christ. Even as I write this I am aware of those that say, there is a sense that God does not care. And perhaps that is the point, for He is certainly not throwing around violent condemnations, as he tries to get you to stop sinning. The choice is ours; on one side is life, while on the other is death and quite possibly an eternal separation from the God.

As I try to think through this morass, I find myself asking, what directive did Jesus give us? To go and preach the gospel, the good news.

Mark 16:15-16 NASB And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16) “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved, but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

Were we given a directive to condemn and prohibit the activities of people? No.

I am also aware that Jesus words were directed to Jewish disciples, and it was more than just the twelve. However, as recorded in the book of Acts, most took the message to the Jewish community. The Jewish community deemed the nations – the Gentiles as the pagans. Surely, the Jews were not a crowd that needed condemnation. It is always those people who are different; well that, and the fact Jewish disciples were not eager to set a foot in the homes of Gentiles. It took a bizarre dream by God to get Peter to go to the Centurian Cornelius’ home.

When I think about the Jewish woman that was brought before Jesus, in a public environment, for the express purpose of humiliating and condemning her (To what degree they wanted her to be condemned I am not sure, although stoning was a prescribed method, for both the man and the woman.) What was Jesus response to the woman after her accusers had left? Neither do I condemn you, now go and sin no more. Short of an internal change, that admonition was pointless as we have no strength on our own to stop this brokenness inside called sin. Since Jesus, as many would suggest, did nothing more than counsel her to not sin, did he then give her permission to sin? No, the laws against sin were fixed by the law of Moses. Under grace, we want to believe we are free to ignore such admonitions, but we are not. An example of this comes when a police officer orders you to comply. Under current standards, if the officer feels that you are threatening his life, then you will be shot. Is God to blame for you being shot? Hardly, for there is little defense for you to not grasp the law, especially if the officer I spoke of is screaming commands at you. Simple logic tells us that ignoring caution signs, simply because you think you know better, should put all responsibility for the hazard that is about to befall you, is entirely on you.

Dr. Stanley’s post ended the segment with this –

The body of Christ is expected to use Scripture as the standard against which to measure our leaders’ lifestyle and words. When we seek divine truth, we are given the discernment to differentiate between a holy message and a misleading one.”

I understand that the motivation behind this entire diatribe has everything to do with false or corruptive teachers. Unfortunately, misleading teachers can be difficult to spot at times; and flashy suits and bright smiles will draw many into the web of deception.

Having attended a men’s Bible study for several years at an Assembly of God church, you might think I would have received much truth there, when in fact it was just the opposite, as the leader taught from skewed tradition and opinion. If you hold tradition and opinion up against the Word of God, they will typically fail, and that is exactly why I left. Confronted by the Word of God that particular false teacher would not submit to the authority of the Word. That means he held his opinion and church traditions, no matter how incorrect, higher.

I will add, that Jesus told the disciples, and therefore us, that when he goes he would send the comforter. Well, He did just that. The comforter, he said, would lead you and guide you into all truth. Trust him and allow that to happen. If you think you are struggling to hear God’s voice; that voice that will lead you, it sounds very much like the Son’s, and we have those words in this book we call the Bible.

Posted in comfort, Cult teachings, Deception, Dispelling myths, false teaching, God's character, grace, healing, Jesus, judgment, Law of liberty, Mercy, recovery, strongholds, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Lord Restores Israel, again. Ezekiel 39:25-29

Let’s bring this look into the Ezekiel 38, 39 to an end.

What have we learned? That well over 900 years before Ezekiel came along there was a man named Gog. That man moved north and formed a nation (people group) built on alliances and similar destructive goals. Gog, in time, became the title of a leader, and though this man does not go by this title, we are feeling his wrath as we speak. This leader (Gog) will head a coalition of forces against Israel and many will die, including Gog. However, God has no intention of letting all of Israel get killed and so He sends a firestorm of some manner upon those who have chosen to fight against Israel, not only on the mainland but in the coastal regions as well. When you associate Islamic nations and their goal to wipe Israel off the map, this attack against the coastal areas makes more sense

Joel Rosenberg wrote a fictional book called the Ezekiel Option, which lays out an exciting and plausible scenario. In his book the war comes before the catching away of the church, and, there is an interesting background twist as some leadership in the Middle East have survived and made their plays for the oil. It may help to build an interesting visual in your mind.

Most Bibles entitle this last section: The Lord Restores Israel

And he certainly will, but the question is when?

Ezekiel 39:25-29 NASB Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for My holy name. 26) “They will forget their disgrace and all their treachery which they perpetrated against Me when they live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid. 27) “When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations. 28) “Then they will know that I am the LORD their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land, and I will leave none of them there any longer. 29) “I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” declares the Lord GOD.

Verse 25 boldly states, “thus says the Lord God, Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for My holy name.” But there is a problem with this if you take it at face value. Most people, and I am one of them, will read the statement and say, the war is over, and now God is immediately going to put Israel on the pedestal where He meant them to be. The problem with that assessment is that we stop reading and ignore verse 27, which says, “When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies.”

Anyone that has a simple understanding of the Bible knows that God already scattered Israel, several times; and, that they were restored as a nation-state on May 14, 1948. So what are God and Ezekiel saying to us, that this attack by Gog will scatter Israel once again.

Is there anything in Ezekiel 38,39 that tells us that Israel is scattered once again and restored before our eyes? No. If they are dispersed and taken captive, we can only understand through passages like verse 27, 28. Since we see nothing in the two chapters that demonstrate anything but the possibility of death –

Ezekiel 39:14 “They will set apart men who will constantly pass through the land, burying those who were passing through,”

then the instrument of restoration can only apply to the moments after Jesus comes back as the warring Messiah for which Israel longed.

Ezekiel 39:26 tells us, “They will forget their disgrace and all their treachery which they perpetrated against Me when they live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid.” I have events that occasionally run through my mind and make me cringe every time I think of them. Short of mental health issues you do not forget anything. So verse 26 has to include an event that changes the heart and mind of the person. For those who are followers of Christ, there will come a day, a moment in time, in which we will be changed.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 NASB … we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

Will it work this way for the remnant that enters the Millennial reign? We don’t have an answer to that question; at least it is not spelled out how God will make that adjustment, but it will happen. We know that some change will be made because we are told that no evil thing will enter the New Jerusalem.

Does Israel live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid? Relatively, for they have enemies to the North, South, East, and West from the Mediterranean. During the days of Solomon, there was peace.

1 Kings 4:25 NASB So Judah and Israel lived in safety, every man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.

However, peace is short-lived, and Israel once again went into captivity. And yet, God’s heart still spoke of the time when they would live in peace, and He would be their God.

Jeremiah 32:37-39 NASB “Behold, I will gather them out of all the lands to which I have driven them in My anger, in My wrath, and in great indignation; and I will bring them back to this place and make them dwell in safety. 38) “They shall be My people, and I will be their God; 39) and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them.

The mere fact that they live in a relative peace right now does not mean that Jehovah is genuinely their God. Sadly, they will continue to feel His anger, wrath, and indignation, until the day that He brings them to the New Jerusalem.

If you watch the news, there is, on a daily basis, a car ramming; a knife attack; a fire kite or mortar being launched from Gaza. Have they eliminated the causes of fear? Not hardly. If you think about the New Jerusalem, things are going on outside the city walls that could bring alarm. How and why should God have to say, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15) Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.” Revelation 22:14-15 NASB.

Why would you be afraid if you were immortal and invincible? As we will be during the thousand years.

Ezekiel 39:27-28 NASB “When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations. 28) “Then they will know that I am the LORD their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land, and I will leave none of them there any longer.

A friend of mine said I thought God was going to gather them already!

After World War two, there was a mass migration toward Israel, something you might have expected. However, the idea of living in Israel must have slowed, and for several years now Israel has been actively advertising Aliyah (This is the Hebrew word for immigration,) and for many, Israel supplemented your move and income for a time.

  • then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations.”

    Sanctified means to be set aside as Holy. So, God is telling us that because of His actions toward Israel, that He will now be thought of as Holy in the eyes of the nations; the very ones whom you would least expect to see Him as Holy.

  • Then they will know that I am the LORD their God…”

    I intentionally only gave you a portion of the self-explanatory passage, however, without the complete sentence one might take the logical approach and look at the context. Since the previous sentence had to do with the nations, you might think that they would be thinking of God as their own. You might expect me to say yes, and you would be partially correct, but the sentence ends with:

  • because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land;”

    If you applied a broken human nature to this, the typical reaction would be anger and thoughts of revenge; instead, you see them come into an in-depth and respectful knowledge that the Lord is God, their God. This would be another reason to think that the Jews specifically, go through an internal change, just as the Church did.

  • and I will leave none of them there any longer.”

    Think about this, “because I made them go into exile,” and yet, there is no anger and remorse, only love and a longing for the God who taught them a lesson.

Why this change? The opportunity to love and understand had been there are along. Seriously, even I learned that He was love. I comprehend that God made me go into exile also, but I cannot say that I have fully embraced the love in those moments that have, in some cases lasted for years.

It’s odd, how I can write these words and yet think of at least one Bible teacher whom it seems has lived his entire life protected in the arms of Jesus. Is that possible? What I know for sure, is that we are ALL broken people. Some, like myself, have learned to embrace the brokenness, as it allows me the opportunity to find some healing and mental health. An added benefit is that in expressing my understanding, it encourages others to share and not be afraid. Sadly, there are those in the religious world, that will use your words against you. Stay brave and do what God told you to do anyway.

Ezekiel 39:29 NASB “I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” declares the Lord GOD.

At some point I expressed the idea that God never turned His back on me, but how would I know that if He did. If He did it was meant to drive me back to Him; and, I have always known He was right there, arms open wide, waiting for me to come back to Him. Is that what we see here? Perhaps. There is a key to understanding this, it is in the statement, “for I will have poured out my Spirit on the house of Israel.” I am one of those who chose to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit; yes, we are told that the Holy Spirit is a gift. Gifts are given and we, the recipient merely have to open the package to obtain what is inside. Well, I opened my package, this free gift, and over time have come to depend upon His Spirit in my life.

Consider these verses in your own time for this is what God will do for and to Israel. 

John 7:38-39; John 14:12-13, 16-17; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 20:22

Posted in bible study, End times, Ezekiel, gentiles, God's character, Gog, invasion, Islam, Israel, Jerusalem, Jesus, Jews, judgment, Magog, Magog, Millennium, overtaken, Prophetic, restore, Thoughts on scripture, war, wrath. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Ezekiel 39 what has taken place so far?

I do nothing quickly, but I am going to try; let’s begin with a short recap.

In Ezekiel 39 what has taken place so far? Though it is not spelled out, as some might wish, Gog and his armies have attacked Israel – from every direction.

A Fire has rained upon Gog and his armies, as well as the coastal lands. One might presume that these coastal lands would be strictly associated with the Mediterranean region, but that can be nothing more than an assumption. Since the word fire is a somewhat generic term meaning heat, then we cannot exclude the idea of nuclear strikes. But this idea creates other problems, for how and why would God have atomic weapons? The problem with our thinking is that we see God as the creator and holder of this fire. While it is true that God generated the sulfur and brimstone hail that rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah, He is also adept at using the armies of enemies, along with their stockpiles of weapons, to bring judgment (and that is what this is,) against Israel and Gog. Nuclear weapons, as you can imagine, kill everyone within range, not just an enemy, and therefore many within Israel will die.

So, in killing off Gog, God has managed to kill off a large quantity of Israel as well.

Ezekiel 39:22 NET. Then the house of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God, from that day forward.

What is the timing of this war? There are several possibilities.

  1. Some, because of the reference to Gog, believe that this happens at the end of the Millennial reign. Let’s see if that argument holds up.

    Revelation 20:7-8 ISV When the thousand years are over, Satan will be freed from his prison. 8) He will go out to deceive Gog and Magog, the nations at the four corners of the earth, and gather them for war. They are as numerous as the sands of the seashore.

    Using the ISV, as I have, you can see that Gog is no longer a person, but a people group. That definition alone should dispel the idea that Gog himself must be there in this battle. The verse itself shows that the people groups of Gog and Magog, are spread to the four corners of the earth; and, they are as numerous as the sands of the seashore. In speaking to Abram, God said,

    Genesis 13:16 NET. And I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone is able to count the dust of the earth, then your descendants also can be counted.

    God wasn’t just talking about the descendants through Issac; he was talking about Ishmael and Esau as well.

    Genesis 17:20 DRB And as for Ismael I have also heard thee. Behold, I will bless him, and increase, and multiply him exceedingly: he shall beget twelve chiefs, and I will make him a great nation.

    With this information, you should be able to see that many of this line of descendants have been destined for this moment. So what we see in Ezekiel is NOT the final war of Revelation 20.

  2. Because there is a Mosque in Jerusalem, The Dome of the Rock. It is safe to assume that there will be no temple as long as that Mosque stands, and yet, as any student of Eschatology knows, there will be a final temple built by man. How convenient would it be if God blew the Mosque off the map with this firestorm? It seems that this war with Gog could play right into that scenario. So, let’s pursue that timing out for a moment.

    This idea of a temple being built falls into place with several other events, such as the Antichrist collecting signatures on his peace treaty (which does not have to include Israel.)

    We also know that two witnesses from God, appear and stand in the streets of Jerusalem for 1260 days. The tumult will be incredible, and in a sense, people will be trying to survive. Since no Palestinian will tolerate the temple being built, these two from God may play a role in keeping a relative peace (especially since they can call fire down upon anyone who tries to harm them.)

    While I don’t pay much attention to modern day prophetic words, I will give more credence to a word if it is something that God was speaking to my heart about, or, I see the same theme in the scriptures.
    When I read my bible I keep seeing a war that breaks out right before the catching away of the Church, or immediately after thereafter. As I said in my previous post, the timing here would put everything after the “rapture” into the category of God’s judgment. And, since it becomes clear that Israel is the object of God’s judgment, then to have this war with Gog immediately after the rapture makes all the sense in the world; (and yes, I am well aware that God does not need my opinion about when He can make his moves in this earth.)

    Having been asked numerous times if I thought that we, as a church, would go through the tribulation, the answer is yes; but, I believe that the answer to that question is already skewed. It is skewed, or maybe a better word is biased because the person asking the question has intertwined the last seven-years of judgment into what Jesus said would be an everyday lifestyle, tribulation.

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand that what we like to call the tribulation is the last seven years, but misnaming this period has done far too much harm. When these arguments and terms come up, I often say, tribulation seems to be a relevant issue, for there are followers of Christ all around the world that are dying daily because of their faith in Jesus, while the person asking the question effectively lives in the protected lap of luxury.

There is, without a doubt in my mind, two more wars, if we consider Jesus, rather violent return, one of them. When the Antichrist breaks the covenant at 1260 days, several events happen.

  1. So let’s consider what will happen when the Antichrist breaks the covenant midway through the seven-year period.

    • The two witnesses are allowed to die, be resurrected after three days, and return to the Father.

    • The False prophet will divulge his true identity. This false prophet has full access to the Holy of Holies in the temple and therefore performs his desecration. As I read about his actions in the temple, I could not help but think, this man has to be a high priest (however, until recently I did not know there was one. Islam too believes that a man like this will come. When he makes his move, he will give his allegiance to the Mahdi. That action means that he worships the beast and takes his mark. He will set up the image of the beast and make it talk; this also implies that the false prophet worships the image as well, and, he expects all to follow his lead just as he has done. In addition to what seems like the biggest betrayal in the world, there are the amazing miracles this false prophet, now empowered by the beast, performs. Because of his clout, miracles, and actions: like converting to Islam, many of the elite Jews, and a few others will be deceived and follow him. You can look this up in Matthew 24:24.

      Let’s go back to this idea that the false prophet has access to the Holiest place in the temple for a moment. Mere access would mean that he is the high priest unless he comes by force – but scripture does not show us that. Sometime around August of 2016, the Sanhedrin appointed such a person. His name is Rabbi Baruch Kahane. With that piece of information, we may be looking at the man who could potentially become the false prophet. Yes I know, I sound like an angry, slanderous, fool; but what if I am right. You see the problem with having prophetic insight is that no one believes you until it is too late.

      Islam, once again, gives us some insight into this false prophet, as he will become the enforcer of Sharia law. This move to enforce Sharia is when the martyrdom of those who follow Jesus will become almost pandemic in proportions. It is of this time that we are told, and it will become so horrific that if God does not stop it, no one will survive.

      In trying to find some definition, war-wise, that explains what will happen when the false prophet comes into his own; Daniel is the prime source that comes to mind. I am trying to conserve space, so I want you to look these verses up for yourselves. Daniel 11:38-45. Pay attention to verse 44 because it conveys what seems to be a theme throughout his reign.

      Daniel 11:44 KJV But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.

      Verse 41 tells us that many countries shall be overthrown. If you understand the goals of Islam, then you know that they have come to take over and turn your country into a Muslim nation. The Qu’ran gives the impression that money is evil, in spite of this, the Antichrist person, we are told in Daniel 11:43 “shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver.” So he is an enigma, to say the least.

      Daniel 11:45 KJV … yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.

      Does he come to an end because Christ comes back, or, do the purists find him to be out of line with the standards outlined in the Qu’ran? Hard to say, as the truth about most dictators is that they are after money and power.

  1. Thankfully, point three is the perfect transition into Christ’s return as the Conquering Messiah.

    Revelation 19:11 KJV And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. Revelation 19:19 KJV And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. Revelation 19:21 KJV And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

    Whether this takes minutes, hours, or days is indeed none of our concern, as merely knowing that the Millennial reign will begin rapidly, and peace will rule for a thousand years. My mind has never understood peace, as I have battled with mild depression and anxiety for many years now.

I opened with a brief discussion about the final war. When you read the account in Revelation, you can see that God is talking about people groups, NOT a man called Gog. Regardless, this war ends rather quickly, again with a fire strike, and then the White Throne judgment. The best part is that we all slide off into an undisturbed eternity with the Father. How I long for that day, for in a moment, a twinkling of the eye, we shall be changed, and then, we shall be like Him.

Posted in antichrist, bible study, End times, Ezekiel, gentiles, Gog, Hope, invasion, Islam, Israel, Jerusalem, Jesus, Jews, judgment, Magog, Millennium, Prophetic, Revelation, Thoughts on scripture, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All the nations will see my judgment. Ezekiel 39:21-24

In my last post, I skirted past Ezekiel 39:18-20. I did that because they were more of a repetition of verse 17, and they were almost word for word what Revelation 19 conveys when it says that Jesus comes as the Warrior King (Messiah,) that Israel has longed for. The Messiah calls out, come to the feast, speaking to the meat-eating birds and beasts that they should gorge themselves on the flesh of kings, mighty men, and all others who chose to fight with God.

In this post, we will continue with Ezekiel 39:21.

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

  • And I will set My glory among the nations

    Set is the Hebrew word nâthan and means to give, used with great latitude of application (put, make, etc.): – add, apply, appoint, ascribe, assign, avenge, be ([healed]), bestow, bring (forth, hither), cast, cause, charge, come, commit.

    So when I associate appropriate word choices with the context certain words stand out; such as: apply, ascribe, bestow, cast, and, cause. Why would these words be important? Because the nations, in general, have not honored God’s glory, recognized it, or cared that it even existed. Sadly, Israel similarly treated the Father.

  • And I will set My glory among the nations

    Glory, in this case, is the Hebrew word kabod and means abundance, honor, glory. Other words available to us are riches and splendor.

    While I honestly cannot exclude God from setting his riches among the nations, but they why would He do that? Fortunes have not turned anyone to Christ. Jesus said to the disciples; it is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom. The disciples were stunned by this statement and asked why. To this Jesus replied, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter. While Jesus statement opens the door to chance, it is obvious to see that riches are little more than a hindrance.

    Now, to set one’s honor, God’s honor, among the nations would be to show them who He is – His nature and character. One aspect of His nature is that He does not lie.

  • And I will set My glory among the nations;

    The phrase, among the nations, is only one Hebrew word gôy and means a foreign nation; hence a Gentile. To the Jews it meant heathens. Now, if God did set his honor and splendor among the nations, what might be the result? Having seen what God can, and does do, many will turn their hearts toward Him. We have evidence for this, and we find it in Revelation 7:9.

    a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;”

    Note where they are from – every nation, tribe, people, and tongues. Apparently, God’s plan worked.

  • and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them.”

    Again, the emphasis is on the nations, as they see God’s judgment, which He has laid on them. Who then, is them? It seems like a legitimate question, seeing as Gog, is the one having fire reigned down upon them. Ah, but if you were paying attention as we worked our way through chapter 38 and now 39, then you would have realized that Israel takes a tremendous and deadly beating in all this, especially if this fire is nuclear.

    Another question we should be prompted to ask is, why is Israel being judged so harshly? This type of question is precisely one of the reasons that I want to teach Bible study. The direct and implied answer, found throughout the Bible, tells us that Israel rejected God. That is the short answer, but it will suffice for the moment.

Ezekiel 39:22 NASB “And the house of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God from that day onward.

So, not only do the nations learn that Jehovah is God, but Israel seems to acquire the full understanding that Jesus is the Lord God. Ask yourself a question, why does it take such extremes to get out attention?

Prompted by horrific events, we have been driven to ask some hard questions. Well, here comes the answers.

Ezekiel 39:23-24 NASB “The nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile for their iniquity because they acted treacherously against Me, and I hid My face from them; so I gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and all of them fell by the sword. 24) “According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I dealt with them, and I hid My face from them.”‘”

The nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile for their iniquity because:

They acted treacherously against Me, and I hid My face from them

What then happened to them as God hid His face?

To put it bluntly, this attack, led by Gog, will cause many in Israel to die. This statement will cause some grief, because the readers, like Israel, think they are safe and protected. In a previous post on Ezekiel 38, I mentioned Dr. David Reagan who said this battle with Gog could not happen anytime soon because Israel is anything but safe. Maybe, the safety is all in their heads.

  • I gave them into the hand of their adversaries.”

    Psalm 83 speaks of ten nations gathered against Israel. Ezekiel 39:6 tells us that God will send fire against those living securely in the coastlands. You should be asking, which coastal nations is He talking about? Since we know that Libya and Ethiopia are two of them, what might be the common factor here? Islam. If Islam is the commonality then what other Mediterranean coastal nations could be affected? Spain, Algiers, Somalia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, France, Italy, and Greece. Are there others? How far do you wish to speculate? Most of these are committed Islamic nations, while others are being taken over. I suppose the point here is, that in many cases these nations are allied with Gog and his armies, in their fight against God.

  • All of them fell by the sword.

    Apparently, not all fell by the sword, but many certainly did.

    • According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I dealt with them.

      Ezekiel 39:24 is where we find this, but look at the same verse from another translation.

      Yes, I treated them as their uncleanness and crimes deserved; and I hid my face from them.” CJB

      While the majority use the word uncleanness, the International Standard version conveys that, It was because of their defilement. I believe I can understand the depth of this perversion as I read through the Old Testament, but what do I know of the Modern day Israel? Very little. As far as perversion goes, Israel has their gay rights parades, just as America, or most any other nation. While that could be the problem, God always seemed to be focused on Israel’s idolatry, and, in a sense, adultery – the pursuit of other lovers.

      Consider that Balaam (the prophet for hire,) told Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab that he could take Israel down by introducing women from the nations, as they would bring in their gods and Israel would fall prey. Well, they did.

  • I hid My face from them.

Hid is the Hebrew word sâthar meaning to hide (by covering), literally or figuratively: – be absent, keep close, conceal, hide (self).

Attempt to explain to me how the God that has engraved our faces on the palms of His hands can hide his face from His people? The answer lies in scripture itself.

Deuteronomy 31:16-18 NASB 16) The LORD said to Moses, “Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers; and this people will arise and play the harlot with the strange gods of the land, into the midst of which they are going, and will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. 17) “Then My anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide My face from them, and they will be consumed, and many evils and troubles will come upon them; so that they will say in that day, ‘Is it not because our God is not among us that these evils have come upon us?’ 18) “But I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they will do, for they will turn to other gods.

They had not been out of Egypt for very long when they pressured Aaron to make the idol Molech. Pressure may be too intense a word considering that Aaron may have actively gone along with the idea.

How do I know it was the idol Molech? In Acts 7 Stephen is brought before

 the Jewish council; his life is on the line. With his life in jeopardy, what does Stephen say to these learned men? He gives them a history lesson, which none of them disputed. In that lesson, Stephen brings out something that seems to be avoided in our Bible reading.

Acts 7:43 CJB No, you carried the tent of Molekh and the star of your god Reifan, the idols you made so that you could worship them. Therefore, I will send you into exile beyond Bavel’ (Babylon.)

Do your homework and find out how people worshiped before Molekh; it will disgust you.

As for my own life, I spent a good deal of time running from God. Religion teaches that it is your sin that keeps God from you. However, I can tell you, that no matter how dark it got, I always knew God was right there. I, on the other hand, was too embarrassed by my actions to think he would speak or listen to me.

Why would He have been any different with Israel? All they had to do was turn to Him with their whole heart, just as we should.

Posted in bible study, End times, Ezekiel, gentiles, God's character, Gog, invasion, Islam, Israel, Jews, judgment, Magog, Magog, Prophetic, Revelation, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment